U.S. Men's National Team

France 1, USA 0: A Look Back

USAvsFrance (ISIPhotos.com)

It wasn't a game USA fans will be re-watching for entertainment purposes, or one American players will want to remember, but the U.S. national team's 1-0 loss to France still offered up plenty of information, if not attacking soccer.

France was always going to be favored and expected to be the better side, even with a young lineup, but the U.S. team's total lack of attacking punch, and one of the worst midfield performances in recent memory, make the France loss a particularly disappointing and discouraging one.

In case you had not seen them yet, here is my Fox Soccer column on the match, which focused on the poor play in midfield. Also, here are my player grades.

Here are some more thoughts on the match:

Clarence Goodson was beaten for the goal, but he had played very well before that, making several key defensive plays. Anybody who thinks he played poorly must have not been paying attention until Loic Remy's goal.

the Beckerman-Edu central midfielder partnership does NOT need to be seen again. It just doesn't work. Some will blame Beckerman, some will blame Edu. Whatever the case, the tandem just isn't one that works. Either one or both needs to go, and there are plenty of candidates to turn to.

Of the two, Beckerman has been the better of the two, but Klinsmann needs to start taking a look at the other options. Beckerman can hold his own against CONCACAF competition, but I'm not sold on him doing well against elite teams. He had some moments against France, but the French central midfield dominated, and Beckerman was beaten a few times and didn't get nearly enough of the ball.

Just how badly did France dominate the midfield? Yann M'Vila possession stats were comparable to Beckerman and Edu COMBINED. Beckerman and Edu completed 57 of 70 passes. M'Vila? He completed 45 of 50. Now, M'Vila is a beast and one of the more highly-sought-after midfield prospects in Europe, but those stats suggest Klinsmann might consider other options, like the ones who actually play in top European leagues.

Neither Tim Chandler or Brek Shea had a good game, but they are STILL the best options on the left flank.

Steve Cherundolo and Carlos Bocanegra aren't getting any younger, but they are still the best options and should stay as starters for a while. Can't see either of them not starting when World Cup qualifying starts for the USA next summer.

Jozy Altidore looks sharp and is miles ahead of all other forwards in the US pool. It would be nice to see him partnered with a striker in a 4-4-2, but he's developed his hold-up game to the point that he can handle himself as a lone forward. The problem is if people aren't moving off the ball or getting him the ball he's not going to have many chances to score.

Fabian Johnson showed some glimpses, but his cameo wasn't long enough to show what he can really do. He needs to get a start to show what he brings to the table.

Speaking of attack-minded midfielders, given the fact that Klinsmann has been reduced to playing a defensive midfielder on the right wing, why is he ignoring attack-minded midfielders who could actually play the position, unlike Danny Williams? Alejandro Bedoya, Sacha Kljestan, Freddy Adu and Benny Feilhaber all would make more sense, but none can get a sniff from Klinsmann.


What did you think of the USA-France match? What players impressed you? Which players did you consider just flat awful? What midfielder would you take out of the lineup if you had your choice? Better question, besides Danny Williams, which midfielder would you take out of the USA lineup?

Share your thoughts below. 

  • Dennis

    Holden is good. He is outstanding for Bolton. He has yet to perform on the international stage at the same level of excellence. He may. It is overstating things to say he is the savior of the US in the midfield. He is an excellent prospect, but we have not really seen what he can do against the best international competition.

    I do agree Edu and Torres are probably not the answer either and Holden is certainly a very strong prospect, but it is not a done deal yet.


  • Dennis

    The problem is that the US pool of potential players is very thin. There are a few MLS players who might (and I emphasize might) cut it. Brad Davis, Omar Gonzales, John, and even the much maligned Wondolowski come to mind as players who might fit into what Klinsmann has in mind. (I am not so sure about Gonzales since he is more of a pure defender rather than a player who can start play from the back, Ream can, but he needs to be a better defender). I’ve not seen John enough to have a well-formed opinion.

    Anyone who thought that Bob Bradley was not scouring the world looking for potential USMNT players is mistaken, he called in over 100 players in a year. Klinsmann will have to pick up the pace if he is going to match that! OTOH, so many players meant that many were never really expected to stick, more that they were invited in to see what it was all about and to see if there was potential for the future, rather than serious contenders for starting spots, even in friendlies.


  • Dennis

    Not quite accurate. Dolo and Chandler can both transition into the attack quite well. Against France, neither had a great game in the attacking aspect, but France is very good and they had their hands full simply doing their primary job, defending. Of course, Chandler still needs to improve his left-footed crosses, but that will come, it is not as if he is absolutely one-footed.

    In the back, I am more worried that Chandler is the only young back who has demonstrated the ability to defend at the international level. The rest are either getting a bit on the old side for 2014 or have not shown the kind of defensive concentration needed to succeeed.


  • Dennis

    Klinsmann had the luxury of a much deeper player pool in Germany than he has in the US. I am not so sure he has come to grips with that yet. Wishing that some of the U-23s or U-20s will suddenly burst onto the scene and make us forget the likes of Altidore, Edu, Beckerman, Jones, Bradley, etc. is nice, but does not make it so. The U-20s failed to qualify for their WC. The U17s were drubbed out earlier than other recent US teams, Both teams were “highly rated” but ultimately not so successful. The U-23s should compete in the Olympics next summer, but recognize they could only tie Azerbaijan and managed a 3-1 win against a mix of first teamers and youth players from the Bundeliga II team Bochum, not so inspiring. Of course, there might be some bright stars in those teams that under-performed, but it is sobering.


  • DC Josh

    The missing strike partner for Jozy?

    None other than Landon Donovan. He is the only player that can stretch the defense and work well with Jozy. No one else on the team can play up top and has Donovan’s pace. Dempsey is too slow to play up top, evidenced by his “break away” where 2 or 3 French defenders caught up to him within 20 yards.


  • Miller T

    No you his attacking movements from the midfield….especially when there were none vs. FRA.


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