Italy vs. USA + More: Live Commentary

It’s the USA vs. Italy today in Genoa at Stadium Luigi Ferraris. Kickoff is at 11:30am PT on ESPN 2, 3, 4 and 37 and in Spanish on Galavision.

Jurgen Klinsmann, Genoa, Italy, Clint Dempsey

Jurgen Klinsmann used to man the attack for Sampdoria in the same stadium today that the US battles Italy...


USA line-up - *official


179 responses to this post.

  1. Current rumor is a 4-5-1 with Jozy up top.


  2. Annnnd here is the lineup supporting this! Howard; Cherundolo, Goodson, Bocanegra (c), Johnson; Bradley, Edu; Williams, Dempsey, Shea; Altidore


    • Posted by dth on 2012/02/29 at 11:38 AM

      Even Bob Bradley thinks sticking a defensive midfielder at RW is excessive.

      (Or is this a #6/#8 /#8 4-3-3–like what Man City was playing last year–with Dempsey and Shea on the wings?)


      • Let’s just think that this is a 4-3-3.

        Klinsy does love his overloaded sides though.


      • Posted by JGD on 2012/02/29 at 11:43 AM

        It’s an ugly 4-3-3 if it is. Going defense-heavy big-time with all the offense coming down that left wing.

        In the line-up above, I’d rather see Edu and Bradley switched. Unless Bradley is being tasked with a Pirlo-esque deep-lying playmaker role, which is doubtful.


      • Posted by Zach on 2012/02/29 at 11:45 AM

        Except Dempsey won’t really play out on the wing. Always comes inside

        No triple destroyer chat yet?


  3. Posted by Wallace on 2012/02/29 at 11:45 AM

    Any snapshots of the new jersey?? I’m dying to see it in action.


  4. Posted by matthewsf on 2012/02/29 at 11:48 AM

    I think the real thing about this line-up if you think about it (as it’s been used many times now) is it puts a lot of pressure on Clint Dempsey.

    Only Dempsey amongst the attackers can create opportunities in tight spaces. Shea isn’t there yet and Altidore’s 1st touch betrays him.

    Look to see how far up the the pitch the US presses. I bet they don’t go up *as high* as against France so they can still have attacking room.


    • Just imagined Altidore’s first touch pulling a Brutus on him. It was quite dramatic.

      Et TU first touch!


      • Posted by Paul on 2012/02/29 at 5:33 PM

        Ah, the canard of Jozy’s first touch. Yes, it isn’t world class yet. I think his goal over the weekend, and his layoff to Deuce this afternoon, showed that this portion of his game has improved.


  5. Actually the USA is going to be one of the first countries to play a diagonal 3-3-3-1. It is the NEW revolution!


  6. why is dolo up higher then williams if williams is the make shift outside back? MORE DIAGONALS




  8. Posted by Union on 2012/02/29 at 11:58 AM

    I mean, given the roster/injuries, what else can Jurgen do? Clearly, if Donovan/Chandler are available, he’d have Fabian on the left wing (a guy who CAN pass in tight spaces with Dempsey) and Donovan taking D. Williams’ spot on the right wing, with Williams’ likely moving to Edu’s spot. I really am not that high on Edu and I have a feeling that he is going to stick out as being subpar in today’s game. As for the rest of the lineup, again, he put his best player’s in a position to succeed. And I’m almost positive you’ll see Boyd subbed in for 20-30 minutes. If the US is down 1-0 and creating 0 chances (I mean, with all due respect to our boys, how the hell are they going to crack Italy’s defense with the current lineup), I could see Edu coming off for a second striker.


    • didnt only 1 of 4 defenders listed in the TSG preview get put in the actual lineup for italy? could it be we have a better shot than originally though??


  9. Posted by Shawn on 2012/02/29 at 12:08 PM

    Any chance Danny could stay in the middle and put Bradley at RM?


  10. Posted by dth on 2012/02/29 at 12:44 PM

    TSG–is that lineup diagram your best guess or based on more official information?

    Width will be a problem for the U.S. in this formation.


  11. Posted by dth on 2012/02/29 at 12:45 PM

    New jerseys–I kind of like them, but the collar is “meh”


    • Dislike them. Once someone pointed out that they look like a sweater vest… well…. yeah… ruined it for me.


    • It’s got too much. It’s like the designer had massive ADHD. The collar, the sash, the sleeves, the sweater vest look, it’s just too much.


      • Posted by BW on 2012/02/29 at 1:35 PM

        Not a fan of the white sleeves either. And sorry, but high school letterman jackets are a great inspiration for a senior national team.


        • Posted by BW on 2012/02/29 at 1:35 PM



        • Posted by Paul on 2012/02/29 at 5:42 PM

          It is a tad much. The sash just doesn’t look modern or inspired, especially being a slightly darker shade of blue–and when the blue on blue action doesn’t look bizarre, it fades into a single blue splotch on tv, confounding the idea of having the sash at all. A more conservative blue jersey with white sleeves might work, sans sash and crazy collar. But such a boring, commonsense pattern just doesn’t strike the chimps who churn out these pieces of trash at Nike HQ as sensible. Nike’s patterns make me feel nothing but embarrassment for my country, which has to wear this trash, and for America in general, which fostered the damn company that produces this trash. No glory in the (damn it, not another) new kit. Just waiting for the Nats to get clothed in a piece of crap initially destined for the University of Oregon: anyone up for Deuce to model a kit featuring neon yellow and various shades of green?


  12. Posted by Antonio H. on 2012/02/29 at 12:56 PM

    I really do miss TSG play-by-play…*cough*


  13. Posted by Arisrules on 2012/02/29 at 12:56 PM

    Well, this is the first team that is exposing our high line. No other team has done it as aggressively as the Italians are doing, and even with three d-mids in the midfield, we need to put more pressure on Pirlo and co so they can’t release the forwards this easily.

    We look “sharp,” but I think our tactics are a mess. Why is Danny Williams out there?


    • Posted by dth on 2012/02/29 at 12:59 PM

      It’s a problem with the formation–Williams is a halfway-winger, halfway-CM who gets pulled wide because of the lack of width on that side.


    • Posted by dth on 2012/02/29 at 1:03 PM

      re: high line: I think we’d find more success w/ Geoff Cameron and his pace in there than the slightly slow Goodson/Boca combo.


      • Posted by Arisrules on 2012/02/29 at 1:21 PM

        Even with GC out there, I don’t know if it makes a big difference. Balls are being lofted behind our fullbacks as well. Their fullbacks are basically playing as wingers essentially, and they aren’t paying for it. We’ve had some counters, but offensively we just aren’t a threat.

        Fabian Johnson has been ok at LB. Both him and Shea are working hard. But that side is being exposed repeatedly. JK needs to adjust, and he hasn’t so far.


        • Posted by Martin on 2012/03/01 at 5:29 PM

          Well they did adjust at half time.

          I would also point out that our high line did not give up a goal. Almost does not count, especially when you consider that we had so many starters out.

          Finally, there aren’t an awful lot of teams with a passer as gifted as Pirlo.

          The fact that the high line was a nervy and risky tactic does not invalidate it. You have to take risks sometimes if you want to beat the best. At this level that is just the way it is.


  14. Posted by dth on 2012/02/29 at 1:10 PM

    Jozy’s playing an interesting role here: in the center and hold-up during the beginning of the build-up, but he drifts to one side when it becomes a halfcourt role. In general I think he’s playing well.


  15. Posted by Union on 2012/02/29 at 1:14 PM

    I’m so sick of Jozy.


  16. Feel like the USA has done a decent job stopping the Italy attack, but the potential to get scorched on the offside trap is at an all time high right now.




  18. Posted by dth on 2012/02/29 at 1:25 PM

    Jozy has got to be the least convincing flopper I’ve seen.


  19. I really enjoyed that first half. Some good connection between the players on the left/through the middle. Some decent chances, worked Buffon, and didn’t give up a late goal at the end of the half.


  20. Posted by BW on 2012/02/29 at 1:37 PM

    is shea known for coughing up the ball? 3-4 times he’s been isolated in the corner and done nothing but ‘pass’ it to the defender in front of him.


  21. Posted by JGD on 2012/02/29 at 1:39 PM

    Altidore must have help up-top. He cannot cut it as lone striker, needs someone to play-off of. This is where Sapong would be a perfect fit.

    He is not a holding striker. Has the build, not the heart. Plays like a striker half his size.


  22. Apparently the USA’s current kits are the mirror image of the Nazi’s kit in “Victory”.


    • Holy Crap!!! All we’re missing is the red socks.


    • Haven’t watched the movie in forever and just saw a small clip of it that was grainy. Found a picture to confirm they aren’t identical (the kit in the movie has a lace up kneck and is black), but from a distance they could be mistaken.


  23. I was quite literally typing “The usa reverting to a shell in the second half” and then bam…. A great goal from dempsey.


  24. Posted by dth on 2012/02/29 at 2:01 PM

    Michael Bradley deserves a lot of credit for that goal–a nice ball to spring Johnson.


  25. Great hold up by Jozy on that goal. It’s what we’ve been begging for, for years.


  26. Posted by kaya on 2012/02/29 at 2:03 PM

    I know that was Jozy’s assist… but I just think he looks far more off tonight than a wrist injury. Have Italy been training with Inazghi?


  27. Posted by Andrew M. on 2012/02/29 at 2:06 PM

    Why is Danny Williams so afraid to pass the ball?


  28. Altidore having a much better second half.


  29. Edu is having a fantastic defensive game.


  30. Posted by liz2 on 2012/02/29 at 2:10 PM

    Great combo work from Bradley and Johnson. Have looked good together for the entire game so far. I hope JK puts in Sacha for Williams. it will add another dimension to our attack, and taking nothing away from our defending. because Danny Williams has been scarce


  31. At times the USA is playing FastSlow soccer on offense. Very interesting


  32. Posted by dth on 2012/02/29 at 2:14 PM

    This has surely been one of Michael Bradley’s best games for the US.


  33. Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/02/29 at 2:17 PM

    Mike Bradley is THE BEAST that we’ve all been hoping for tonight. He looks like a grown ass man out there and all credit to him for finding the right slot in Italy and rounding out the rough spots in his game.
    Props to JK for having the smarts to recalibrate his brain from the bob era by sitting him for a while and reinserting him. He and Edu seem to be working well together now that Mike is a bit more disciplined in his positioning and play.


    • Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/02/29 at 2:24 PM

      Where’s DKranky on here collecting his due for all the manlove he’s been showering on Mikey the last yr or so? come and get your :”told you sos” DKrank.


    • Posted by Arisrules on 2012/02/29 at 2:25 PM

      Disagree, he’s always been beast for us. JK is a jackass for keeping him out. He’s our best CM by a longshot right now, and has been for a while.


      • Posted by dth on 2012/02/29 at 3:00 PM

        Disagree with the disagreement. The defense is something we always knew he could do–it was the offensive passing play we didn’t know he could do at this level. I’ve seen flashes before but never seen it put together for an entire game like this. Hoping this is a sign of more things to come (especially when grouped with better, more possessive teammates–if you put in Donovan and Beckerman as opposed to Williams and Edu, I think you’d see a big improvement).


        • Posted by Arisrules on 2012/02/29 at 5:17 PM

          MB90 has more goals than John Harkes (and a bunch of other people who you would think have more) from a primarily defensive position. He’s always popped smart balls and through balls on offense. And MB90 is a gamer. AND, he’s never injured. He’s a constant.

          That he had to reassert his position, over somebody like Beckerman to me is ridiculous. It was obvious from the start that he should be on the field. He’s our best central midfielder by a long shot.


          • Posted by dth on 2012/02/29 at 5:30 PM

            It’s not the goals I’m interested in–note the phrase “passing play” in there. And his passing play has sometimes been good, sometimes connected but been too slow (or picked out the wrong player), and sometimes been outright poor. Today he was very good in his passing and conducting.


            • Posted by Arisrules on 2012/02/29 at 8:10 PM

              I think if you look at his opta stats (especially at the WC), Bradley has typically been a good passer, and this is one area of his game that has always been much maligned, but misunderstood by most USNAT fans. He plays a lot of simple passes. He’s always done that.

              Of course he’s more polished now then he was two years ago. He plays in one of the most difficult positions to master on the field. Yet despite his youth (he’s younger than Holden, Kleijstan, Feilheiber, and Edu), he has been our best player there now for more than a cycle.

              This was true when JK became coach, and it was true before. Why we had to go through this nonsense of him not playing is beyond me. We all knew what we had.

            • Posted by dth on 2012/02/29 at 9:01 PM

              The opta stats are one thing, and an important thing without doubt. That said, you have to look below the passing stats surface:

              1) are you selecting the right passes?
              2) have the right passes been selected at the appropriate tempo?
              3) are they telling passes, or passes just to complete passes?

              Today Bradley surpassed the tests posed by those three questions; frequently, however, he’s been lacking at one aspect or another.

            • Posted by LarryMontanez on 2012/03/01 at 11:25 AM

              In the previous games i saw him play for Klinsi, there were a lot of times he wouldn’t run over to show for the ball when the defenders had it, so the defenders were forced to kick it long. This was probably because he wasn’t playing regularly and was out of shape, which also led to him giving the ball away more. Now that he’s back in shape, he’s doing his thing again. still doesn’t have the rapier pass in his arsenal, but it’s more important for him to link and not lose the ball.

              And i first thot MB and Edu together might not work well, but it seemed to work a lot better than MB/Jones or Edu/Jones.

      • Posted by Jared on 2012/02/29 at 4:42 PM

        Klinsmann was smart keeping him out. It was the first time that I can remember that MB90 actually had to battle for playing time. It also showed that playing time at club level was something that mattered and MB90 hadn’t been getting much of it when Klinsmann first took over.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2012/02/29 at 9:50 PM

          Wasn’t he kept out because he was sorting out his club?

          Just finished watching the game.
          Must admit, thought Italy scored early on, but the lad couldn’t place it, and Howard made a great save.

          Bradley and Edu played very well tonight. An immense presence in front of the back four. Judging by Klinsmann’s comments, they carried out instructions to a tee. I thought Bradley in particular did well. Thought he circulated the ball well – although not too inventive, don’t remember any give-aways, and broke up play. Credit where credit is due.


        • Posted by Martin on 2012/03/01 at 10:15 AM


          “It was the first time that I can remember that MB90 actually had to battle for playing time. ”

          Michael played in JK’s first game.

          Then, based on JK’s comments, he did not pick him after that because he was going through the whole transition to Chievo and Italy.

          And he transitioned there comparatively quickly and became a regular there fairly quickly, far quicker than even Chievo expected.

          JK picked MB as soon as he got all sorted out and comfortable with Chievo.

          While we will never know what JK really thought, it’s not as if he made MB prove his worth and he had to battle for a spot on the USMNT like for example, Sacha has.

          MB has been a regular starter and, it appears, will be a regular starter for a long time. There are different rules for proven regular starters. For example, don’t think for a second Donovan isn’t going right back in the lineup as soon as he is settled.

          Sacha on the other hand may never get called in again because it appears unless he raises his game a lot more (and he could) he is not as valuable as the midfielders in front of him for the USMNT.

          I happen to like Sacha but this sort of depth is something you did not see three to four years ago. So it’s a good thing.


          • Posted by Jared on 2012/03/01 at 10:46 AM

            MB90 wasn’t settled at Chievo in November when he did not play against France? He only got a half against Ecuador in Oct and 30 minutes or so against Honduras. I’d say that’s a lot more competition for playing time than he ever saw on Bunker Bob. That’s what I was referring to not the times when he wasn’t called in as he was sorting out at club level.


            • Posted by Martin on 2012/03/01 at 6:12 PM

              I guess being “settled ” is different for everyone.

              JK has been quoted about how he spoke to MB before his Chievo move. JK told Bradley he was very happy about it because he felt MB would “learn a hell of a lot”. I got the feeling he was bringing MB along slowly because JK knows as much about adjusting to the Italian game as anyone. Now does that sound like someone who had questions about MB being a part of his team?

              MB90 started his first game for Chievo late in September. The games you mentioned were in early October. Not a lot of time to get settled in Serie A.
              And we should also remember that MB was not the only one getting settled with a new team.

              My point is I got the feeling that unless he was a complete bust at Verona, it was only a matter of time before MB got back in.

              This is not the case for guys like Sacha for example, who, in spite of playing very well at Anderlecht, will have to raise his game even more and pray for a bunch of injuries just to get a call up. MB is just a different class when it comes to the USMNT pecking order.

              Now it may be that MB worked harder than he ever has at Verona to get back his 90 minute USMNT status. But how are you going to separate that from MB’s desire to continue being a professional player since his misadventures at BMG and Villa put his livelihood in question? And if you are going to be a starting MF in Serie A you have to learn do certain things well and we saw how well MB learned last night.

              I hate to pick on him but Sacha has the exact same motivation MB has and you saw the difference last night.

              It is possible JK is lying about how this all went down but at this point who cares?

            • Posted by Jared on 2012/03/01 at 7:39 PM

              You’re missing my point. I’m saying that MB90 not starting every game whether settled or not is more competition than he’s had during his time with the national team. I’m not saying that Klinsmann was never going to bring him back in but he was going to have to earn it. If it was still the Bunker Bob regime then MB90 would have continued to start for the USMNT even though he wasn’t playing.

              MB90 was always going to be a big part of this team regardless of the coach unless he wanted to get fired as he is clearly either the first or second best central midfielder (depending on the health of Holden).

            • Posted by dikranovich on 2012/03/01 at 8:07 PM

              i really think american fans should stop trying to take shots at former national team coaches. its stupid. everyone knows certain fans tried to use michael bradley and his situation against his father.

            • Posted by Martin on 2012/03/01 at 10:07 PM


              No. Jared I did not miss your point.

              Now here is my point.

              Bob Bradley is no longer the manager

              There is plenty of evidence that MB 90 got the majority of his playing time on merit.

              There is no evidence Bradley “would have continued to start for the USMNT even though he wasn’t playing “.

              MB played well in the USMNT games he played while on the shelf at Villa. It was unlikely that the situation at Villa would have gone on indefinitely. However I’m sure if MB had gone on much longer without a club situation he would have been dropped. BB has often supported USMNT players he sees as valuable when they run into bad club situations (see Adu, Freddy and Feilhaber, Benny). So it is not just his son. BB has a lot of integrity and courage and I doubt he is much worried about what you or I or his son thinks about his reasons for playing a given player.

              I never had a problem with MB playing so much because for the most part his competition for playing time was pathetic.

              As for Holden, he was a great midfielder for Houston and Bolton not the USMNT. Aside from his performances in the 2009 Gold Cup for the US B team, he has never had a run as a starter nor has he had a standout performance for the USMNT .

              You might inclined to blame BB for keeping Holden back in in an act of nepotism but the facts don’t seem to support that. He brought Holden along gradually as he did for most of his players. He even brought him along to the World Cup when many others would not have. It was pretty obvious BB rated Holden highly.

              I’m sure Holden would have eventually been a regular had he not had terrible luck with his injuries but that is just worthless speculation.

              Holden is far more popular, has better hair and is more personable than MB but the facts are when you add up Holden’s actual production for the USMNT and compare it to MB’s production for the USMNT there is no basis in reality for ranking Holden in the same category with MB. The guys has not played a competitive game for almost a year and a half, is recovering from a problematic knee injury and may not ever regain his full fitness and you have him as our number one or two midfielder?

              And you accuse BB of favoritism? Kettle, Pot, Black.

              I’m sure Holden will be back and I’m sure he will do well but how soon and how well no one knows.

  34. Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/02/29 at 2:20 PM

    Taylor Twellman is an ass. Starting to make Harkesytime attractive. Just kdding


    • Posted by Mike on 2012/03/01 at 11:25 AM

      Taylor Twellman makes Warren Burton sound like a Rhodes Scholar. Off of the top of my head I remember TT saying “My twitter don’t work” and “All’s he needs is a chance” Sir Ian’s eloquence and TT’s pidgin are not a good mix.


  35. Good game, Johnson


  36. Really trying to say this in the calmest way possible, but NOT SPECTOR.


  37. Posted by Union on 2012/02/29 at 2:21 PM

    Figured Jozy would make me eat my words.


  38. Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/02/29 at 2:21 PM

    Wait wait what! ??? a left back sub…Jonny specs??? and the turnstyling begins


  39. Posted by dth on 2012/02/29 at 2:21 PM

    Headscratcher substitutions:

    Kljestan at RW? Almost as if he’s being set up to fail.

    Spector at fullback is automatically awful b


    • Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/02/29 at 2:29 PM

      Agreed. Still not sure what he is doing. Last place you want Kljestan is out wide


      • Posted by Arisrules on 2012/02/29 at 3:09 PM

        But Williams wasn’t playing out wide, he was pinching in the whole game; so it was not really a RW position that Kleijstan was moving into.

        In fact, I would have preferred to have seen Kleijstan start over Williams, if only to help us with possession.

        Big win. Good finish by clint. But I had a lot of problems with our tactics today. If Italy’s RB from the first half (forget his name), provided better service, this game would have broken open.

        Also Italy recognized our high line, and exposed us repeatedly. The problem was, that even with three d-mids, there was no pressure on Pirlo whatsoever. If Williams point was to pressure Pirlo, he failed.


        • Posted by Excellency on 2012/02/29 at 4:23 PM

          Klinsi tried hard to fail but just couldn’t manage it. Italy deserved a goal – not all those offsides were offsides.

          Shea has to understand when the time has come to run up the middle instead of handing off to Dempsey. Dempsey will follow and be lurking around up field.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2012/02/29 at 9:53 PM

          Out of possession, shouldn’t Dempsey have dropped deep and picked up Pirlo?


          • Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/03/01 at 6:34 AM

            Great point GC and I was shouting the same thing a dozen or so times. We all love Clint’s massive contributions offensively but his tendency to just walk after change of possession is getting a bit maddening. Between that and Altidore’s disinterest in applying effective pressure Pirlo had a stroll in the park most of the game.
            And maybe the post foul staredowns could be minimized a bit too….this isn’t the NBA Demps…maybe save those for hard fouls or 1 out of every 3 no calls.


            • Posted by Martin on 2012/03/01 at 10:23 AM

              Pirlo has regularly had to deal with far better defensive markers than Dempsey and still prevail. I’d rather have Dempsey focus on attack as opposed to defense which he is not that good at anyway. The more time Dempsey spends lamely trying to shut down Pirlo is that much less time he spends attacking.

              If JK really wanted that then that is what Dempsey would have done and the score probably would have been 0-0.

              And, realistically,Dempsey was the only player Italy had to fear ( well maybe Johnson ).

              So on balance I don’t have a problem with Dempsey’s minimal attention to Pirlo.

            • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2012/03/02 at 12:17 PM

              I wasn’t suggesting a man-for-man marking – or dropping too deep / tracking Pirlo in his own final third, but more of a zonal marking when Pirlo was in deep playmaking territory.

          • Posted by Tyler on 2012/03/01 at 8:51 AM

            Dempsey talked about this himself after the game:

            “But also defensively, to shadow [Andrea] Pirlo because every time he got on the ball, he was just pinging [shots] for fun, finding his men. I just tried to frustrate him a little bit because he’s a great player. At times I would do that and at times I wasn’t. It was a little bit of a workout tonight but we got the result.”


  40. Boyd go nuts, put another one in.


  41. Great no call on that Kljestan tackle. I have to admit the refs have been great today.


  42. That is the second clutch fantastic breakup of play by Bradley.


  43. Posted by Rafael on 2012/02/29 at 2:27 PM

    Mistake pulling Fabian Johnson. He should have played out the game. He played great. Spector already got beat twice. Italy could have scored twice from his side.


  44. Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/02/29 at 2:31 PM

    who is 18 and why is he on the field? Makes Jozy look like a ball of fire.


    • Boyd, he is tracking back to try to play defense.


      • Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/02/29 at 2:41 PM

        To paraphrase Dean Wormer….Big, Dumb and Slow is no way to go through life.

        Even in a 10 min showing he looked way out of his depth and was useless up top


        • He is 19 and hasn’t even made the first team for his club. He got thrown into his national team side that he tweeted “It’s a dream come true” in the last 15 minutes when the US went into a defensive shell. I don’t think you can take anything away from his performance other than he is as good at tackling in the midfield as Fernando Torres and David Villa.


          • Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/02/29 at 3:02 PM

            Oh he’s 19. Well that makes all the sense in the world then. Good argument.


        • Posted by dth on 2012/02/29 at 3:01 PM

          He’s signed for Borussia Dortmund. Doubt he’s dumb or slow. He might have other faults, but Dortmund insists on a certain kind of player.


          • Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/02/29 at 3:06 PM

            Whether its his fault or not he sure didn’t look like he belonged out there in a critical juncture. 2 or 3 times he made a weak flail at the ball and then stood there and watched from 3 yds away. the open field breakout with Dempsey he looked completely lost as to what to do or where to go with it.
            Just saw nothing useful from him and he seemed more harmful than helpful.


          • Posted by Union on 2012/02/29 at 3:07 PM

            He’s 21. But, KickinNames, its good to know you’re set to come on here to throw haymakers about a subject that apparently, you don’t know that much about. Settle down. He’s neither dumb, nor slow. He was hyper on the field, but I have no problem with the way he performed given the circumstances. Seems like he has a lot of potential.


            • Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/02/29 at 3:16 PM

              You might want to settle down just a bit. We’re just posting our opinions on a blog. John is the one who gave his age as 19.

              My vantage point was that he ran around aimlessly, gave the ball up needlessly and failed to make an effort on a few balls that he could have helped defend against. Whether he plays for BD first or second team or he’s 19 or21 is irrelevant. Not sure which part of his game you found acceptable but i”m open to hear it.

            • Hey, I’m incorrect about an age, I do apologize. I still think that age and first team experience is the problem here. Klinsmann is at fault for throwing him in the deep end at that time. Boyd has the potential to be a fantastic player, but judging him on his effort for 15 minutes while the USA is bunkering is a bit premature.

            • Posted by Union on 2012/02/29 at 3:41 PM

              Klinsmann is at fault for throwing him in there? Jozy and Clint were gassed, so he subbed them out. Boyd had 1 bad turn over, and 2 poorly touched “chest” passes in tight space. And the one turn over he had, was on a breakaway 2 v 2 w/ Clint, when he should have put on the breaks and allowed the midfielders to get up the field. Mistakes, sure. But the one thing he DID do, was track back and pretty much run all over the field pressing the ball. And, um, when you are pressing for first team minutes for one of the top clubs in the world….that is absolutely not irrelevant. What is irrelevant is making huge judgments based on 12 minutes of soccer, against one of the top national teams in the world, oh…and it was his first cap.

            • Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/02/29 at 3:56 PM

              sooo in summary….while commenting in game on his performance I made reference to the fact that he made number of “mistakes” in critical minutes on the field. I don’t think he showed well. I didn’t say he couldnt ever play or indict Dortmunds scouting staff.He just wasn’t helping the USMNT in the 15 mins on the field. John shot back a comment that I didn’t agree with. and dth made the same BD second team discussion. I responded in similar fashion.
              Relax brother. its just a blog we’re posting on. been on here for a few yrs also and enjoy the repartee and analysis. it’s ok if we disagree.

            • We still all love each other here. Everyone simmer down and enjoy the orange slices.

            • Posted by Union on 2012/02/29 at 4:06 PM

              All good.

            • Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/02/29 at 4:33 PM

              All I hear is birds chirping and the sound of the Italian net rippling. Va bene.
              I just ordered my Terence Boyd number 18 jersey as a token of my sincere apologies.

  45. 4 minutes HOLY CRAP!!!


  46. Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/02/29 at 2:37 PM

    T Howard….Beaast!!




    • Posted by matthewsf on 2012/03/01 at 5:24 AM

      Just reviewing this now. Too funny.


      • Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/03/01 at 6:44 AM

        Dr Frankenstein…… your Monster! Hope you’re happy with what you’ve created here)))

        Have to reiterate again what a fantastic thing it is to find objective thoughtful analysis without the drama and troll name calling that is the norm in a sports blog of any kind. Massive props to you for what is the go to site for USMNT commentary.


  48. Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/02/29 at 3:08 PM

    Nice coaching by Bob Bradley today BTW…bunker in the first half, snatch an against the run goal and….bunker again. Im ok with it if Klinsi’s ok with it


    • Posted by Jared on 2012/02/29 at 4:45 PM

      I thought there was a lot more movement and passing moves than what we saw under Bunker Bob. The high defensive line clearly worked with Italy being offside the entire game. That’s a lot different that Bradley’s style of bunkering.

      Also, Bob would bunker against Panama. It’s one thing to do it against Italy and another to do it against Panama.


      • Posted by Berniebernier on 2012/02/29 at 7:16 PM

        100% agree. How many tough saves did Howard have today? 1 that I can remember. Under Bob Howard needed 8 great saves to get out of a half.


  49. Posted by dth on 2012/02/29 at 3:09 PM

    Would’ve liked to see Geoff Cameron’s pace and passing tried out at CB more often. Don’t think Goodson is the solution here.


  50. Posted by kaya on 2012/02/29 at 3:14 PM

    I don’t think anyone impressed me more than Bradley. I didn’t think he had it in him, but he’s become infinitely more two-footed and able to make the short range passes.
    He’s still mediocre putting in corners.
    Edu also surprised me being fairly competent, but I’m still thinking overall that this Italy squad just isn’t all that. Ian Darke seemed to be a lot more convinced they were on the verge of scoring than I was.
    Spector and Klejstan were were poor and Danny WIlliams did nothing but play around with and then lose the ball. Johnson looked promising but if anything, was hindered by a not-great game from Shea.
    Nice win, sure, but I can’t get too excited about this super historic, exciting occasion as it’s being billed.


    • Posted by dth on 2012/02/29 at 3:19 PM

      Agree about Edu. Some plaudits being tossed his way, but he was only OK for me.

      Kljestan was very poorly served by sticking him at the LW spot. Hopefully this was just enforced by the lack of bodies–otherwise it seems highly strange. He should get a chance for himself in the center of the park.


      • Posted by Martin on 2012/03/01 at 3:49 AM

        “He should get a chance for himself in the center of the park”

        Is he likely to outperform MB, Edu ,Jones, Dempsey,Beckerman, Williams or Torres?

        Sacha is okay but I don’t see him , at his best, being a significant upgrade over any of these guys. Right now, he is a soild second line player.


    • Posted by Tyler on 2012/03/01 at 8:59 AM

      From the post match comments it seems that the whole team including Klinsmann is taking it that way, too.


  51. Well, I guess I’ll be the one that is happy with the win… YAY TEAM!

    Sure there are some negatives to take away, but also some positives.

    Towards the end of Bradley’s coaching cycle, the biggest problems his teams had were giving up goals. Sure you would like to see more scoring but his teams leaked goals like they were going out of style. It appears that even if the USA doesn’t get to the tiki-taka soccer of Spain that at least they are going to stop them from going in.


  52. Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/02/29 at 3:34 PM

    Johnnyboy…as always a voice reason in this dark and dreary world.

    The D does seem to be shoring up and the possession from the back is taking hold. Enjoyable game on the whole.


  53. Posted by Rafael on 2012/02/29 at 4:00 PM

    Would have liked to see Edson Buddle come in for Jozy, and use Boyd at as a last minute subsitute like Buddle.

    Kljestan should have come in for Danny Williams. It’s obvious by now that Danny Williams is is terrible in that RW position. Williams should play in the middle and if he can’t cut it there, then I see no role for him on the team. Kljestan needs to play in the middle or on the right, because he has no business being on the left and is completely lost on that side.


    • Posted by Jared on 2012/02/29 at 4:48 PM

      Williams is being done a disservice by consistently being stuck on the right. I would prefer to see him alongside MB90 in central midfield or in central defense instead of Goodson.

      If Donovan ever decides he wants to play for the USMNT and get over being second fiddle to Demspey he wont’ be ther.e


      • Posted by Martin on 2012/02/29 at 6:53 PM

        Williams is of the big reasons the US won.

        He helped shut down the flanks and if you watched him carefully in the second half he was almost always around to hang onto an outlet pass from a burdened defense and bought them some time and relieved a lot of pressure,

        This was a vital part of what could be called defensive possession.

        There are only a few teams in the world that should field all out attacking lineups against Italy particulalry in Italy and the US is not one of them, particularly when they are missing so many starters.


  54. Posted by Union on 2012/02/29 at 4:14 PM

    D. Williams is a great defender (which is likely why is manning CD for Hoffenheim at the moment). He’s very physical and isn’t going to get beat often 1 v 1. Everyone should relax a bit about Sacha and Williams on the wings. Clearly that wasn’t Jurgen’s first option, just his only choice. Donovan will be on the RW for Jurgen at full strength. And I think Fabian will be on the LW, bc he is clearly the better player than Shea at this point. Williams has never played wing until Jurgen called him in, so I give him some slack. Sacha on the other hand, was again, getting dispossed a bit too easily. When he has time on the ball he is capable of doing some beautiful stuff, but he’s never going to get that time in international competitions.

    Anyways, the man of the match for me was clearly Bradley. What a game he had. Really impressive.


    • It is indeed easy to forget that Klinsmann’s hand was forced with this lineup. Losing Donovan, Chandler, Jones in the week before playing could have potentially given a reason for them to lose today.


  55. Posted by dikranovich on 2012/02/29 at 5:44 PM

    this was a nice win by team usa today and hopefully the usa can pull a daily double and collect a second scalp on the day when the u23s face mexico tonight.

    this win today is not about one faction of fans being right over another faction. this win was not about what is the best formation. and as peter vescey says, this is only a friendly. just in case anyone wasnt sure. this win was about where usa is as a soccer nation. with a handful of top players out, team usa can still handle herself and as opposed to four years ago, usa is able to compete and win without donovan on the pitch.

    of course holland won on the road today as well, after giving up a two goal lead.

    we have not seen the best from this team yet, under coach klinsmann, but it is coming.


  56. Posted by dikranovich on 2012/02/29 at 5:48 PM

    how about two wins in a row on european soil. a couple of years ago, that was about as likely as the new york jets winning the super bowl.


  57. Posted by Antonio H. on 2012/02/29 at 5:52 PM

    Matthew can you find hat formation diagram hat Klinnsman drew up in he locker room for one of the friendliest? A lot of people don’t understand how D Will’s position is intended to function according to Coach K. It’s not a RW at all, but more of a RCM with license to provide with to keep the defense honest and provide a hold up outlet for Steve C on the wing for some offense.

    Our formation reminds me a little of that of the Brasil team coached by Dunga. Robinho was on the wing slicing in like Brek, with Luis Fabiano as the target striker. Ramirez was in the Danny Williams slot opposite of Robinho. Except Ramires is not a winger, of course, BUT he was the outer most Center midfielder, paired with Elano in the Edu role, Kaka in the Sempsey role(I think) and then I’m missing the other Brasilin for the Bradley role. Of course Ramires’s general direction of ball carrying is different han hat of Williams(the former being more direct and goal-bound, the latter drifting out to he touch often) but that comes down to other things like tactics, etc.


    • Yeah, I think William’s narrowness was almost by design, especially since Jozy seemed to shade mostly to the right when Dempsey had the ball


    • Posted by Arisrules on 2012/02/29 at 9:35 PM

      Yes, he was pinching in the whole time, but it made no sense for a couple of reasons.

      First of all, Italy was narrow.

      Second of all, despite Williams presence in the center, Pirlo had no pressure on him at all. To be honest, if the referees didn’t bail us out a bit there, Pirlo’s passing all by his lonesome would have carved us up.

      If we had a real winger on the right side, we could have really exploited the italians better on the counter. Williams was useless out there.


  58. Posted by dth on 2012/02/29 at 8:09 PM

    We’ve got some fantastic hair at US Mexico.


  59. Posted by dth on 2012/02/29 at 8:23 PM

    Gyau’s acceleration is unreal. Top tier athlete.


    • Posted by Jason on 2012/02/29 at 8:54 PM



      • Posted by dth on 2012/03/01 at 11:39 AM

        Other thing that impresses me about Gyau’s athleticism is his balance–a player leaning on him doesn’t seem to disrupt him overly much. Very important for a smaller player.


  60. Posted by dth on 2012/02/29 at 8:41 PM

    Alfredo morales has been useless. Would substitute for Okugo


    • Posted by Dikranovich on 2012/02/29 at 8:54 PM

      Alfredo morales is one of the better players fOr USA.


      • Posted by dth on 2012/02/29 at 8:59 PM

        Maybe in general, but today he’s been worse than useless.


        • Posted by Dikranovich on 2012/02/29 at 9:07 PM

          I’m afraid not dth.


          • Posted by Union on 2012/02/29 at 9:26 PM

            Yea dth what game are you watching? The outlandish opinions by informed posters on this board tonight is bizarre.


            • Posted by Union on 2012/02/29 at 9:29 PM

              Maybe that was too harsh. I usually agree with you on everything, but Morales has a terrific touch, his passing is silky smooth and he has good vision. Clearly a product of overseas youth development. He has played his role and linked well up field. I mean, worse than useless? That has to be some hyperbole. Btw, I’m liking everything about Porter’s team right now. And this is w/o Shea/Boyd/Chandler/Williams, etc. (not say the latter two will be a part of the team but…)

            • Posted by dth on 2012/02/29 at 10:08 PM

              No, I was being serious. Looked to me like Corona and Diskerud were doing all of the work defensively. So Morales offered nothing defensively and constantly misplayed passes, including two awful square passes that turned into Mexican possession deep. Also gave up a couple of bad fouls. So, yeah, I thought he was bad. Like 3.5 or 4 out of 10.

            • Posted by Union on 2012/02/29 at 10:27 PM

              Know you were being serious, but I didn’t see that at all. I saw him offering a lot defensively (though, I agree, Mixx trailed back a lot) and generally making terrific passes. I honestly don’t know what misplayed passes you are referring to. He is easily one of the most skilled players on the field in terms of fundamentals . Sure, he turned the ball over a few times, but so did every single player on the field. I’d give him a 6/7. Think you are being far too harsh.

            • Posted by dth on 2012/02/29 at 10:28 PM

              Well, agree to disagree I suppose unless OPTA took some stats.

            • Posted by Union on 2012/03/01 at 10:12 AM

              Fair enough. Everyone sees certain players differently.

  61. Posted by Michael on 2012/02/29 at 9:21 PM

    “I know Gyau is a winger but man he looks like he’d be better off testing backlines //man it is good to see Opara in a US kit.”

    Gyau = Robbie Findley v6.0


    • Posted by Union on 2012/02/29 at 9:34 PM

      By v6.0 I hope you mean 6x better?


      • Posted by Michael on 2012/02/29 at 9:43 PM

        Perhaps 6 orders of magnitude. But mostly saying that he could be a guy who tests backlines, but knows what to do when he gets to the touchline.


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2012/03/01 at 5:27 AM

        Sorry guys — was multi-tasking watching the match. Liked Gyau’s speed *and stopping* very much. I could see him–eventually, eventually–challenging Shea for time up left there.

        I haven’t seen his type of player “small, squirelly, quick” up top for the States in some time. Sadly best comparison–and a very very weak one– is a young EJ — don’t take the wrong way – I mean for the effect his speed had on opponents.


  62. Posted by Dikranovich on 2012/02/29 at 9:38 PM

    Mixx is the class of this squad, amongst a lot of other classy players. I hope we all agree on that.


    • Posted by Union on 2012/02/29 at 9:53 PM

      I think he’s had the best game, but I also think Gyau, Freddy and Agudelo performed very well. And Corona/Morales worked well together too. Honestly, the first team lineup was incredibly good. It should probably be 3-0.


    • Posted by dth on 2012/02/29 at 10:07 PM

      Would agree he’s MOTM.


  63. Posted by Berniebernier on 2012/02/29 at 9:52 PM

    I would love to see the posession stats for this game. Not just time with the ball but time in thirds of the field.

    Very impressive since its missing arguably the four best u23 players in Boyd, Shea, chandler, Altidore


  64. Posted by Antonio H. on 2012/02/29 at 9:59 PM

    No thank you, Tony Taylor -______-


  65. Posted by Antonio H. on 2012/02/29 at 10:01 PM



    • Posted by Union on 2012/02/29 at 10:28 PM

      Agree. Taylor and Duka didn’t show well in limited minutes. And Teal looks like he has hit a wall in terms of his development. Going to be tough for him to pass Jozy/Boyd/Agudelo. Juan had a great game.


      • Posted by Berniebernier on 2012/03/01 at 5:40 AM

        It seemed like all Teal wanted to do was shoot from 25 yards out. Not a good habit. Not his best skillet


  66. Posted by dth on 2012/02/29 at 10:10 PM

    Was something up with the ball? I don’t think I’ve ever seen both sides shoot worse, collectively, from long range. There was, what, only one on-target long range shot (the one that Hamid had a nice save from) the entire game.


    • It might have been the new Adidas ball that they have been switching to in MLS. Supposedly it has a different flight pattern.


  67. Posted by dth on 2012/02/29 at 10:29 PM

    Kind of crazy to think the following players were missing from the team:


    I ain’t mad.


  68. Posted by Union on 2012/03/01 at 12:47 AM

    Anyone know what players on the roster from tonight will likely participate in qualifying and what players won’t? Seems like the starting 11 had a ton of chemistry, but I worry some of the key players (Gyau/Morales/Mix being two that come to mind right off the bat) will have a tough time being released…


  69. The quick hits:
    -More Fabian Johnson, please. The kid was probably the second most dangerous player going forward in the first half, before Jozy decided to play like a legitimate target man in the second half. His defending was a little spotty early on but after the first five minutes, he acquitted himself well.
    -Not knocking Jozy’s performance this game, at least not as much as usual. His holdup play was far better than usual; that said his first touch is still not exactly what one would call “downy-soft”. He seemed to be fatigued by the 30th minute, but that may have been the injury to his hand causing him to make those faces. His assist was nothing amazing but the control of the ball and the awareness before that was quite good, especially for him.
    -Brek Shea’s stagnating again. He needs to get out of the MLS and into a more advanced league as soon as he can (for that matter, so does Agudelo, but he was on the U-23 side and I’m not talking about them right now). Every other player to see time is on a European side. The kid is undeniably talented, but he was actually a weak link on the left side; Johnson’s overlapping play would’ve been even more dangerous if Brek had elevated his game today. The square ball to Clint that got picked was his most egregious error of the game, and he had a chance to run at the back line but was too unselfish and laid it off instead. I am glad to see the Flock of Seagulls haircut again, though.
    -Michael Bradley went H.A.M., but not in his usual pants-on-fire way. This is far and away the best positional game I’ve ever seen Mikey play for the natties, and also the best passing game I’ve seen a US midfielder put together in a long time. He was calm and collected on the ball, playing out of trouble without backpassing like it’s going out of fashion, rode off challenges and worked his way into space, and played quite a few good (and dangerous) balls in the attacking third. I wasn’t thrilled with how far back from the play he was when we did push into the box, but that was by design and the only real beefs I had with his game were a few spotty corners and the midfield’s inability to stagnate the Italians when Clint and Jozy pressed forward. If this is the result of playing Serie A then I want more of our guys heading there. Tactically, Italian club soccer is second to none. Actually, this is where I would love to see Shea go.
    -That, in my mind, is the cause behind Pirlo having so much time on the ball. If Williams, Edu, and Bradley are all setting up shop directly in front of the back four, then there’s a large gap and Brek Shea’s out on the left, leaving central midfield with a gigantic amount of space in front of them. Either our forwards can’t press or the team needs to slide up. Now, playing a high line when Pirlo is doing his best Tom Brady impression is, in my mind, akin to suicide, so pressing may not be the best strategy there. The alternative is Dempsey tracking back to mark him on defense, which is an iffy solution at best.
    -I’m very, very glad that Tim Ream was nowhere near this game. Our back four struggled to deny those runs and got bailed out by a few very charitable offsides calls (and also Tim Howard’s usual solid game, after that ball in the first minute got knocked around at the top of the box), but on crosses they dominated the air. I can’t think of a single header that troubled Howard all game.
    -Following that, we got lucky on a few blocks and missed shots, but that honestly comes in every game. Spector looked better than he actually played, due to the fact that at least one and possibly two of his blocks resulted from him not being on his man tightly enough to begin with. We held together defensively and were able to deny the last ball…but we had to do it more often than I’m comfortable with.
    -Mo and Mikey did a very good job picking up trailers and shielding the back line from combination play coming from the midfield. Positionally both were very good and had more to do with keeping the clean sheet than the casual observer may have thought, particularly late in the game when there were less direct balls over the top and more possession-oriented attack from the Azzurri.
    -The centrebacks did very well in the air. Boca in particular denied service again and again, and did well defending passes in the box. I’d like to see stuff being shut down before it came to deflecting passes at the six, but there inevitably will be balls like that and we dealt well with them when we had to.
    -Stevie C looked good again for the first time in months. If we had a legitimate attacker instead of Williams, he would’ve been far more dangerous in attack than he was. Defensively, I didn’t notice him all game. That’s a good thing.
    -As I’ve said before…Danny Williams is by no means a wing player. And if he ever plays another cross-field square ball all the way across our backline while under pressure, I’m going to break his fingers one by one. Not really JK’s fault, because Landon had to pull out and Bedoya hasn’t seen a camp since Klinsy took over (I think that’s partially due to injury, but I’m not positive on that).
    -Deuce was in and out of the game today. The free kick was an absolute blast, and the goal was worthy of the form he’s on right now – he sees Buffon sliding across with the ball and goes back away from him with his right foot. Defensively, if Williams wasn’t marking Pirlo then Dempsey had to do more about that, especially if Italy was resetting an attack. Always dangerous in the attacking third but he didn’t always bring the energy that I tend to associate with him, that may be a fatigue thing, I’m not really sure.
    -Boyd didn’t show me much other than the willingness to get back and defend in a late game situation – which is a good thing – but he should’ve held up that ball where he and Clint had a 2v2. Dempsey was absolutely gassed and the best thing to do would’ve been eating the clock there.
    -Tim Howard, I love the beard, and I love you. And I’m very grateful that you’re our keeper.
    -I’m not a fan of the new kit. I’ve seen people describe it as resembling a sweater vest and the comparison is apt. However, I think my bowling shirt description is a good one as well. And I could’ve sworn that sash was black, not dark blue. I like its main color but after that…well, I like the red ones best. And the 2010 blue kits are beast as well. #USMNTGottaMakeMoney
    -I’m ecstatic with the result, but I don’t think it’s a great reflection of the game. I would’ve been happy with a 0-0 draw considering how we played. And I’m shocked playing Spector didn’t bite us in the butt.


    • Posted by Wixson on 2012/03/01 at 9:27 AM

      Nice breakdown, agree with most all the points. I don’t want to pick on Shea too much, but he’s just not good enough for this level. I don’t care what,why, how, Hes just not good enough. His inclusion speaks more to our lack of depth of our 2nd stringers. His last 4 games have been bad.

      Liked jozy hold up play, some don’t agree that he’s a target guy, due to his lack of touch and willingness, but when plays well as the holding target then it frees up lando/Clint to run off. He’s making better, more mature decisions with the ball.

      Williams is not a right winger, he doesn’t know what to do with the ball near the sidelines and with those angles. 3 games have more than proved that. I know he’s good for club, but if he doesnt displace jones/edu then I don’t know where he belongs on the squad.

      Bradley played like he was supposed to, solid, very solid. Motm for sure.

      Good win for the boys.


      • Posted by scipio on 2012/03/01 at 9:53 PM

        I really want to see Williams take over Edu’s role for a game. So much potential…but Edu is quietly a JK favorite.


  70. Posted by scipio on 2012/03/01 at 9:51 PM

    I sincerely believe that Agudelo’s form is due to his new haircut. Maybe there’s an inverse relationship between performance and scalp subtlety


  71. Posted by Tifoso81 on 2012/04/07 at 9:02 AM

    Italy needs that playmaker at the middle of the pitch who will collect the ball from the defense, take it forward and distribute or put a through pass to the strikers. That role has been vacant since Totti retired – this is why Prandelli will wait and wait and wait for Cassano and also give chances to Giovinco. Those guys are a little different from Totti but the best options he has in that regard. Italy will be fine at the Euro.

    Seeing Bradley play like this makes me wish more US guys went to the SerieA to play. Be selfish, forget the trophies. Go play at a mid-level club, or somewhere you can play regularly and develop your game. Bradley’s tactical and spacial understanding is stellar.


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