US National Team Chip Shots – Klinsmann Experiment Blows Up

This week we saw Klinsmann being Klinsmann, and the young guns split in their final tune-ups before Olympic Qualifying.

USMNT

Last week we talked about the USMNT playing two “Warm-Up” games against Peru and Brazil to prepare for the all-important match against Mexico in October. Jurgen Klinsmann decided this would be a great time to tinker with the back line, again. It worked out in the match against Peru, but against the high powered, and beautifully delicate, match against Brazil, the Klinsmann experiment blew up in extravagant form.

Before diving into the mess that was the Brazil game, let’s discuss the Peru match. Coming off a third place finish in the Copa America Tournament, Peru was able to fend off a high octane start from the Yanks. However, it didn’t take long for the tides to change, and it seemed that Peru was on the door step of a goal; which they finally scored off a deflection from Omar Gonzalez. The second half saw another change in the tides, as the USMNT started to make more of a push and looked all but certain to get a goal when they were awarded a penalty kick in the 59th minute. Jozy put it to the keepers left, which was saved because it was a poor attempt, but Altidore followed his shot and put home the rebound to tie the match. The USMNT secured the second goal in the 68th minute after Zardes, who is looking like a main stay for years to come, sent a ball into the Peru box. After bouncing around, the ball fell to an unmarked Altidore for the easy finish. The USMNT would thwart off a few more attacks from Peru, Brad Guzan did what American keepers do, and the US secured the 2-1 victory in Washington, D.C.

Next up on the docket was the insanely talented Brazilians, who draw a large crowd no matter where they play. Jurgen Klinsmann decided to play a back four that have never played together, and were playing out of position. Bedoya was put in a defensive midfield role, one of which even he admitted he’d never played professionally before, and was subsequently subbed out after roughly 35 minutes of play. The speed on the flanks, and the majesty of the midfield dominance made this a great game to watch. Even the USMNT was caught watching a few times as waves upon waves of yellow and green jerseys were flying down toward Guzan’s goal. Give credit to Guzan, he was the one consistent bright spot for the USMNT. If not for him, the match would have ended much worse than the 4-1 score line. Danny Williams did score a beauty of a goal in the dying moments of the game, which has given USMNT fans something to cling to. Ultimately, the USMNT was outclassed in every single aspect of the game, and to be fair to the players, they weren’t set up for success.

Klinsmann has done some great things for the development of the game in the states, but this mix and match game of defenders is doing nothing to help right now. The complete decline of trust with some of the most steady and proven MLS defenders, such as Matt Besler, has many scratching their heads. His win/loss record, as well as notable upsets of top level programs such as Germany and Italy, has won a lot of new support in his corner. His debacle with the defense and refusing to acknowledge some MLS players, however, is leaving a sour taste with the supporters that have lived through some of the most treacherous times. He can right the ship with one outstanding showing against Mexico in October as well as qualifying for Russia 2018. Until then, he must continue to work on the defense.

The matchups for World Cup Qualifying have been announced, and we will jump into this more with next week’s column, so make sure you bookmark lastwordonsports.com so you can easily come back. You know you want to.

 

U-23 USMNT

The young guns concluded their camp in England with a final record of 1-1-0 in their scheduled friendlies. The first match was against their host country, England. The two teams remained deadlocked in the battle until James Wilson put England up 1-0. The Three Lions would go on to close the match out and take the victory in front of their home fans.

The second game of the friendlies saw Qatar come to England’s shores. The two teams were deadlocked at halftime, and it wasn’t until the 57th minute that Benji Joya converted a penalty kick to give the US a 1-0 lead. Gboly Ariyibi added a goal of his own in the 86th minute to secure the victory and give the guys a little bit of momentum going into the Olympic Qualifying tournament. The US dominated this game and led in every statistical category, which is the exact opposite of the England match.

The next match for the boys will be on October 1, when they will open the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.


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