U.S. Men's National Team

Torres thriving on Klinsmann's USMNT squad

Jose Torres MNT (ISIPhotos.com)


CARSON, Calif. – Jose Torres has had his ups and downs as part of the U.S. men's national team over the past three years, but Torres has enjoyed a national team renaissance under new U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann

Despite the U.S. team' s 1-0 loss to Costa Rica on Friday night, Torres was one of the standout American bright spots, and was arguably the best U.S. player on the night. That's not bad for a player who had gone more than a year without a national team appearance before being called in by Klinsmann last month.

“Bob [Bradley] gave me an opportunity to be here and to get a good World Cup in and I tried to do good but played only 45 minutes,” confessed Torres. “After that, I never got called in again. I never heard from him again.

“I got interviewed a few times and they asked me if i thought I was ever getting called in again and I just thought hopefully. And then Klinsmann came in and I got called up again."

Since taking over as U.S. head coach, Klinsmann has had nothing but praise for the Texas native and has even gone to the lengths of promoted him to a new position on the team.

At Pachuca and with the national team under Bradley, Torres has operated as a central midfielder, but in the Klinsmann era he’s spent more time on the left flank.

“My usual role is in the midfield, but Klinsmann puts me out wide on the left to attack a little more,” Torres explained. “But wherever he puts me I try to do my best.”

After Friday night’s 1-0 loss to Costa Rica, in a game that was dominated by the Americans in the first half, Klinsmann had nothing but praise and admiration for his side, and singled out Torres as one of his best players.

“Overall, the feeling is very positive,” Klinsmann said. “You can see that he’s more comfortable and confident, and he needs these types of games to grow and I think he’s doing it at a very fast pace.”

Though Torres was muscled off the ball a few times, he was able to deliver precise passes, sometimes even under heavy pressure, and was working through every part of real estate on the pitch.

“I think he has a very good vision," Klinsmann said. "He sees the spaces, he passes those balls, and he can switch it really quick to the other side.

"And we told him to take those risks and not to worry about a pass not ending the right way.”

Torres is a skilled player with experience, but he’s still young and developing. Klinsmann understands that the way to help Torres keep progressing and improving is to keep encouraging him and giving him experience in pressure situations.

“The more he’s here, the more he understands his role, the more comfortable he’ll get," Klinsmann said. "He’s definitely a player that we’ll build in the months and years to come."

  • Ed

    Rogers justs needs to be a bench guy rather than 90 mins, thats why he was so effective vs. Mexico


  • PetedeLA

    I just watched the first half. Chandler looked good,but Rogers (the player in front of him) was pretty useless. So Chandler ended up having to play two positions basically. There were times when he was pushed forward and lost his man. But a lot of those problems were down to communication as Orozco (the right sided center back)is certainly no veteran.

    For me Rogers and Castillo cost the team from being effective. With those two under-performing, it was basically like playing a man down.

    But I advise to watch the first half like I did.

    I’d never seen the 4-3-3 work before with the US. We DOMINATED possession, but Donovan missed a relatively easy chance.

    I’d love to see basically the same set up, but with…

    After Donovan flubbing that easy chance I think Dempsey is the only person that can be relied upon to really put them away. Altidore seems to need that another center forward to feed off on. His touch is too leaden at times. Agudelo is still a bit too young for the responsibility. Bunbury is a bit too raw. So let Dempsey do his thing. He’s not a true center forward, but who cares at this point. He’s got the tools to get the job done.


  • beachbum

    Landon’s been tried and played in that centrally advanced role often. We’ve all seen him in other positions and roles in which he’s been more effective, roles that put him in space. Maybe centrally under JK he’ll be the answer, and I hope so. How do you think he looked there Friday night?

    it will be interesting to see what transpires tactically vs. Belgium on the old continent


  • Hush

    Adu is not a playmaker??? WTFudge? I strongly disagree. The only playmaker against Mexico & Panama was Adu. If I had to pick between Adu or Torres, I pick Adu every single time. Look at the different position looks Adu has gotten on the USMNT and how successful he has been in comparison to Torres. Torres was our best player on Friday and I hope continues to grow into a huge contributor.


  • Louis Z

    I agree with you, JFT had tons of time on the first half to look down field and pass. second half CR put more pressure which cause US to spend more energy and get tired which led to errors. JFT is a nice little player but he is nowhere physically strong as Reina was. FT is young and may improve.


  • russell

    This is a great point.. and could work well with Torres in the middle effectively pinching in giving the wingers space. Plus he likes to play deep allowing FB to get forward..


  • Russell

    It is true though that people newer to the game may not see his benefit.
    People under estimate the value of having someone control the tempo and play positive passes or ones that open up space when played behind midfield.

    Notice how when JFT is in the game how the centerbacks and Edu dont have to play the ball out of the back as much.

    It’s true too that JFT and Bradley’s style don’t mesh. So we know how that went.

    A good criticism I heard was that JFT needs to push into the final third more. And of course be stronger in the ball and tackle.


  • Warren

    Yep, pretty sure Bob always thought Mike was the best option. It is that simple, dad had a high opinion of son. Funny how that works. For Mike, obviously not so much for Jose, etc.


  • RangerSG

    Adu hasn’t been that successful with the national team, other than the Gold Cup. If you actually watched the match, instead of the You Tube highlights, you’d know that several of his ‘best sequences’ of that match were offside plays.

    And no, he isn’t a midfield playmaker. You see, this is where the problem is. A playmaker pulls strings and keeps touches to 1 & 2. He doesn’t run with the ball, dribble, or take players on as a 1st option. Valderrama was the classic MF playmaker. Reyna did something similar, though w/ more defensive responsibility, for the US. And those are the players closest to Torres.

    Adu isn’t that kind of player. Not even close. He WANTS to take people on, and he wants to get forward. That’s fine. But he’s not useful for maintaining tempo or switching the point of attack consistently. He’s not a player you run the game through.

    Adu isn’t pacey enough to be a winger, which leaves him out of the role that’s typically been used for his type of play for the Nats. He’s not of the mentality to be a deep-lying midfielder. His game is nothing like Reyna’s was, or Torres’ is.

    He’s a withdrawn forward. A free-role player who’s best served playing off a main striker and creating chances in the final third. And note again, this is the difference. I didn’t say Adu can’t create scoring chances. I said he’s not a midfield playmaker.

    Define terms correctly. He has the same problem Torres has with strength on the ball. But he lacks Torres’ vision of the field, willingness to slow play and restrain his dribbling, and general first instinct to play quickly to feet.

    Adu plays in the box, Torres plays at the back of the attacking third. Not the same player, and they’re not competing for the same place. Adu has to prove he’s more worthy of a spot than Dempsey and Donovan. But right now, let’s let him get off his club team’s bench, first.


  • RangerSG

    Yikes, that formation is a mess.

    Dempsey isn’t a CF, never played one, doesn’t want to be one. He’s a withdrawn forward, and lacks the ability to hold up play and link.

    Altidore isn’t a winger, and he’s not left footed. Holden ‘might’ play that role, but not as well as Donovan. And Adu isn’t pacey enough to play on the wing.

    Altidore is where he belongs. The problem against CR was ones related to service, primarily, and then Donovan drifting out of range to link up, because he was too far withdrawn, and Rogers being generally useless whenever he got the ball.

    Altidore @ CF, Dempsey and Donovan on the wings. Torres and Bradley behind them (until Holden is healthy, then you decide if he pushes one of them). Jones/Beckerman/Edu shielding the back 4.

    Agudelo and Shea off the bench. And let’s wait for Adu to be consistently in his starting 11 in MLS before bringing him into National team discussions. But still, he’s best off the bench for D or D.


  • GW

    I have no idea.

    I do know that listening to Wynalda pontificate about professional behavior is like taking a lecture from Bernie Madoff on business ethics.

    My guess would be Bob listened to his son about as much as he would to any of his other regulars.

    Have you ever worked with the son, daughter, wife or husband of your boss?

    I have, many times, and it can be different in each case.

    Some take advantage, some bend over backwards to show they are their own person. Some hate their parents, some are passionate about them. Some parents were twice as hard on their kids to show they were impartial to the point of being ridiculous and cruel. The worst were the in-laws, the husband/wife of your boss’s daughter/son.

    “they often build camaraderie by complaining about their coach to each other. This can’t really be done honestly and openly when the coach’s son is on the team.”

    Really? Is that they only way to bond with your teamates? There are other ways to build camaraderie. The players for the USMNT are professionals and if they hate Klinsmann, for example,they would be unprofessional, not to mention stupid, to bitch about him to their teamates. That is always a bad idea.

    I assume you aren’t stupid enough to criticize your boss to anyone who works with you?

    I see very little evidence that Bob Bradley let his son dictate how Bob ran the team but if he did let his son dicate how he did perform the best job he ever had,the job of a lifetime, then Bob Bradley is a lot dumber than I thought he was.

    Bradley is a stubborn man and I believe he played MB because he thought Michael was the best man for the job.

    And if I am right about that then it also means he is a man of great courage because it means, in order to do the best thing for the team, he was willing to take the enormous flak he had to know would come from people like you.

    But then again the USMNT is the team that, at one time,had their captain sleeping with their striker’s wife so I suppose even the unsavory things can happen to the USMNT and anything is possible.

    Though personally I see Bob Bradley as a bit smarter and more professional than a Prell model like John Harkes.


  • GW

    Landon looks tired. I’m not an Galaxy fan per se but I hope they win the Cup this year so Donovan can get that off his bucket list and move on to other things. I think he will be a better player if that happens.

    The Iniesta comparison may not be a bad one as Iniesta generally floats all over the field and I think Landon would prefer to do that.

    I suspect Clint will eventually be that centrally located guy.


  • KillerInstinct

    I am not sure how he became the best player on the pitch…sorry guys, Im just not drinking the Torres Koolaid just yet…if you see the higlights of the first 30 minutes of when the US were playing well, it seemed to me, that it was the Brek Shea show. And good overall performance was Edu’s ability to cover lots of area in the midfield and he controled the the tempo very well….IMO…Yes Torres did have some plays, but he still seems to loose the ball when he starts cradling it and make aimless runs into the midfield with no purpose, instead of making an anticipated quick pass or simply by making a back pass to reset the attack.


  • GW


    It was RangerSG who said Adu was not a playmaker.

    My reply to that was:

    “It seems to me that is Adu’s main strength so we disagree there.”

    Kindly direct your fire elsewhere.


  • bryan

    yeah, he was not good. i’m not saying he was. i didn’t think he was terrible, but he was damn close to it. i also don’t think he is the best winger in MLS or that he should be on the USMNT.


  • RangerSG


    And he’s not, if you mean it in the sense of Valderrama, Reyna, Xavi, or how the term is TYPCIALLY used tactically. That is, a deep-lying midfield orchestrator, who helps defensively when needed, and typically stays deep in the attacking third to switch play. He does minimal dribbling, and typically stays on the ball no more than 1-2 touches, and then follows to take wall or return passes.

    Adu is a withdrawn forward, a free-role player who sits in the ‘hole’ between the striker(s) and defense. Typically he either makes the final pass, or takes follow on shots. He also has a lot more freedom to dribble, less concern for tempo, and little/no concern for defense.

    They’re not the same player. Adu’s sensibilities are to attack and take on players. Torres’ is to stay behind the ball, leave himself open as a square option, and control the field of play.

    The second is PROPERLY a playmaker. The first may create goals, but that’s not what the term refers to.


  • PetedeLA

    “Dempsey isn’t a CF, never played one, doesn’t want to be one. He’s a withdrawn forward, and lacks the ability to hold up play and link.

    Altidore isn’t a winger, and he’s not left footed. Holden ‘might’ play that role, but not as well as Donovan. And Adu isn’t pacey enough to play on the wing”

    You sound just like Bob Bradley.

    Dempsey HAS played center forward. And he HAS scored goals from the position.

    Altidore HAS played left wing. And if you think the fact that his stronger foot is his right disqualifies him from being a left winger then you haven’t been watching a professional soccer game in the past 20 years– C. Ronaldo, F. Ribery, R. Pires, A. Schuerrle, A. Iniesta, A. Arshawin, A. Young…. I could go on and on!


  • GW

    You are way over-emphasizing semantics.

    When people talk about things like the Valderramma role, there are always going to be slight variations because every player and every team is different.

    You are describing the role Adu has played.

    I described the role Torres has played.

    That Valderrama role you talk about isn’t exactly what Klinsmann seems to have asked Torres to do ( Torres is playing a little more like what Pirlo used to do for Milan) but, if JK asks either Adu or Torres to play it, they will both be learning a new position. Which was my point.

    Torres may be better at it than Adu but Freddy certainly has the skill set for it.

    As I said all the holdover players will be learning new roles so I’m curious to see what JK has in mind for the next few games.


  • AdamFromMich

    Shea had some great passes into the box; Rogers would have had a couple good ones, if he was a half-second quicker. But you are right about those two needing to go outside more.


  • AdamFromMich

    I had a couple other/additional problems with Rogers game. First, he was late on a couple passes to Jozy running into the box. I also remember Rogers killing a couple of promising offensive sequences with a poor first touch.

    I think Rogers is more effective coming off the bench in the 60th to 80th minute when his speed outweighs his shortcomings.


  • RangerSG

    And there’s where we disagree. Because I’ve never seen anything like the skillset you claim Adu has from him.

    He doesn’t have the patience on the ball. He doesn’t have the willingness to play 1 & 2 touch and restrain his dribble. He likes to play too far forward.

    It’s not semantics, it’s an entirely different position.

    Like it or not, Adu isn’t a midfielder. He’s a forward. And a withdrawn forward at that, which is a position non-existent in a 4-3-3. He isn’t a deep-lying player and has never been comfortable being one.

    And if he can’t get off the BENCH for an MLS club, he doesn’t belong in the starting 11 discussion for the National Team at any rate.


  • RangerSG

    I’m not Bob Bradley, and I’m all for wingers who can cut inside.

    But why do that, when Dempsey can play the position more naturally, and Altidore is the more natural CF.

    The idea is to play people where they’re strongest and combine best for the team. Not where it looks novel.


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