U.S. Men's National Team

USMNT Notes: Klinsmann hints at future friendlies, Onyewu disputes PK & more


Photo by John Todd/ISIphotos.com


LANDOVER, Md. — In the middle of his post-game comments following Wednesday night's 4-1 loss to Brazil, Jurgen Klinsmann let slip what has been speculated for some time: That the U.S. men's national team will play Mexico and Russia in friendlies in August and November, respectively.

When talking about developing the team's overall attitude and growth and doing so against the world's more talented teams, Klinsmann alluded to both matches, which have yet to be officially announced and confirmed by U.S. Soccer.

"With these games against Italy, against France, against Brazil, we get those experiences and how to deal with them," Klinsmann said. "In August with Mexico, later on in the year we play Russia in Russia. Those are the benchmarks. 

"We want to play the big nations. Out of those games we learn a lot. We got a lot out of this (Brazil) game." 

Here are a few more notes from the United States' loss to Brazil:


Oguchi Onyewu's return to the U.S. men's national team's starting lineup was one of the more scrutinized aspects of Wednesday's loss, and for fair reason. Onyewu's night got started off on the wrong foot, with him being whistled for a 12th-minute penalty for handling Leandro Damiao's shot in the area. In Onyewu's eyes, referee Jeffery Calderon's call was harsh.

"I watched the replay, and I'm actually amazed that he would even call the penalty, one, that early in the game, and two, seeing that it wasn't intentional, my arms were inside my body," Onyewu said. "By no means was my arm spread out to block the shot. I was shocked, but you have to be prepared for this, this might be what we see in the qualification process. You have to accept it and move on to the next one."

Onyewu was not alone in his assessment of the play, as Klinsmann was also highly critical of Calderon's call. Klinsmann said he was "furious" and that it "kind of pisses me off, to be honest" with both the penalty call and the final Brazil goal, in which replays showed that Onyewu played Alexandre Pato onside despite Klinsmann's contention that Pato was "two yards offside."


One player to emerge with passing grades from the two opening friendlies of this five-game stretch is left back Fabian Johnson. The versatile German-American displayed his quality against Brazil, most notably in his forays forward and providing width to the U.S. attack.

Johnson assisted on Herculez Gomez' goal with a trademark run into the box and cross toward the goal mouth, and he had a hand in setting up a few other chances as well. He inspired a strong fan reaction with his second-half move to fake out Danilo and create space for a cross to Gomez that was headed across goal toward Clint Dempsey before being put out of play.

"He's a player now that gives us high quality, international-level quality," Klinsmann said. "He knows what he's doing with the ball, he can time the runs, he can play killer balls into the space."

Johnson, who was making just his fifth appearance for the national team, has asserted himself as the top-choice left back and has won over his new teammates in a rather brief time. 

"His ability to read the right times to get forward and use his quickness and agility to find space out wide in behind the other team's outside back, he's done really well for us," said Michael Bradley, who played Johnson through down the left for his cross that led to Gomez' goal. "He's somebody who, going forward, I think is going to be an important guy for us." 

Johnson was subbed off for Edgar Castillo in the 80th minute because of a minor calf issue, according to Klinsmann, but the substitution was more preventative than anything else, and Johnson is expected to be fine for Sunday's match against Canada.


Dempsey made his return from a groin injury, entering as a 56th-minute substitute for Jose Francisco Torres to finally appear on the field at the same time as Landon Donovan under Klinsmann. After returning to full training on Monday, the match against Brazil came a bit too soon to insert Dempsey in the starting lineup.

"We hope for every day of training of progress from Clint," Klinsmann said. "Certainly a fully fit Clint Dempsey makes a difference in our team, there's no doubt about it."

Dempsey was involved with a couple of scoring chances for the United States. His ball over the top toward Gomez led to two shots that were saved expertly by standout Brazilian goalkeeper Rafael, and he also had the chance at the goalmouth that was cut out at the last second by Thiago Silva. With 34 minutes under his belt and a couple of days to build more fitness leading up to Sunday's match, Dempsey could supplant Torres in the starting XI in Toronto. 

"We had to deal with his groin injury, we had to build him," Klinsmann said. "We couldn't play him against Scotland. He's not 100 percent yet, so we said, 'Let's bring you on in the second half.'" Hopefully now every day we see an improvement, every day we see more sharpness. He needs to be confident, he needs to believe in his body that everything is fine. We'll try to catch up as fast as we can, and hopefully he's available from the start against Canada."

  • bryan

    i agree dude. i absolutely remember when people were saying dempsey was trash. in fact, back like 4, 5 years ago (after 07 copa america), i was at RFK for a USA game. i bought the copa america jersey not too long before that but got dempsey on it (obviously he wasnt even in copa america). i remember multiple people, no joke, yelling out that he sucks. it was unreal. i’d like to know what they have to say now.


  • ThaDeuce

    gooch hasn’t shown while for the u.s. in a very very long time. i watch all the games. Maybe give him one more run, then got to try something else, like goodson, WHO is not better than gooch’s past, (nor Demeritt’s for that matter), but someone who is better than gooch is now, which is the best player at the position. Lets face reality, gooch isn’t wht he used to be, at least not yet, so if he continues to play or we replace him with another starter, it is a step down. Klinsi needs to find the smallest step down. I say goodson.


  • ThaDeuce

    centerback is no longer our strongest position. on the bright side, left back is.


  • bryan

    grrr, Sporting, my bad, i’m always mixing those two up and i don’t even know why. i’m not sure know how to answer that second sentence. of course you look at someone’s club play to determine national team lineups. you have to think of their performance for club play to make any decision on their form for the year. and this year, dude has been solid for Sporting. that’s it, it’s not complicated.

    what i also said was that it was clear he was absolutely rusty, tired and probably a coaches error starting him. while you should take in their club performance, you should also be making decisions based on training.

    again, my point is only to say gooch does not deserve this backlash and comments saying he was solely responsible for all four goals and his utter inclusion in the lineup caused our team to fail. to me, boca was just as bad last night. and a few people talk about that, but a lot have been attacking gooch. i also think bradley isn’t getting some criticism on goal 3 simply due to the fact he had a great game otherwise. because he certainly should have done better on that one.


  • bryan

    yes, we all watch all the games. moving on…

    gooch hasn’t even played for the USA in a long time and last time he did, we went to the Confeds Cup final. he essentially missed all of 2010 and some of 2011. so i disagree with that comment. due to that length of time away, the only thing the coaches have to judge him on are club performances. which he played very well in and was showing the same gooch pre-ACL injury and playing in a stronger league than he had been when in Belgium back in ’09.

    as for goodson, i agree that he should have started last night. and he should certainly start against canada. but do i think goodson should replace gooch permanently from the starting XI? not a chance. the truth is, both are 30 and are going to be nothing other than bench options in 2014. so for now, you base it on club performance and then fitness. JK should have realized gooch’s lack of fitness. but that’s is not gooch’s fault.

    again, my point is that no one should be saying gooch is done when we have yet to even start qualifying for the World Cup. eventually he’ll be fit again and if he can get back to his season form (which there is no reason to think he won’t), he would be one of the best CBs we have available.

    personally, i would like to try williams out there as a true replacement.


  • bryan

    oh yeah, i took it the other way. as in all friendlies were meaningless. but i see he was likely talking about countless friendlies against mexico. and that i agree with 100%.


  • dibo

    It’s everything: Skill, physical ability, tactical awareness. Yesterday was just a case of a team with 11 outstanding, in-form players (outstanding in all of the above areas) beating a team with maybe 4 outstanding players and a core of good players. And yet we were/are dangerous. Brazil learned from the 3-2 cup final and stopped our counter attack. We didn’t adjust to their higher pressure in this game, but that isn’t to say that we can’t continue to learn/grow.


  • PD

    BEST 2 outta 3, 3 outta 5 4 outta 7 or whatever until we win.

    and Japan, please.


  • PD

    you know that is something I didn’t think of. CONCACAF refs tend to get card happy with the US.


  • marco

    Nearly all USA vs Mexico games are played in ‘mexico’. El Tri probably play more home games than any other nation. It hurts them in international tournaments.


  • Cliff

    Don’t know how it came across on TV, but I was at the USA-Brazil match and the crowd was 9/10 in favor if Brazil in “Washington, D.C.” (Maryland).

    So maybe it’s not necessarily the proximity to Mexico, but the fact that the cities who host these games just aren’t sending fans of USMNT.

    Another thing I noticed last night: a LOT of the Brazil fans didn’t sound all that Brazilian. Not trying to generalize on looks and accent alone here, but I saw a LOT of people just rocking the Brazilian jersey (it seemed like). Also, a lot of fans who “sounded” genuinely South American seemed to be rooting for both sides. A lot of the fans in my section were cheering for USMNT too, just not as hard.

    I wonder if that’s what happens when we play Mexico on USA soil. A lot of Mexican-Americans show up in their Mexican colors but go both ways because, after all, futbol is football.


  • Cliff

    That’s pretty cool. I was at the game too. I was also at the USWNT-China game on Sunday and those players are awesome too. It’s really cool to have groups of athletes you don’t feel weird about letting your kids look up to.


  • ThaDeuce

    i agree,but my point is that it has been a long time. we can’t assume gooch is still going to be the best option moving forward. same with holden, davies, anybody else who is out for that long and then hasn’t produced for nats.

    i mean, i still wish demeritt was in top form.


  • ThaDeuce

    we have hopefuls. cameron, ream, john, etc. hell, i don’t get why spector isn’t getting a look.


  • ThaDeuce

    put bradley or jones next to torres is the one tweak i would make. oh, and consider herc over altidore.


  • ThaDeuce


    centerback is the new biggest hole in our team, in lieu of left back.


  • GW

    I’m curious as to what you think a Brazilian is supposed to sound like?

    I actually know quite a few Zimmermann certified genu- wine full blood Amercuns who love Brazil and wear their shirt.

    I’m not sure about the exact numbers but the DC area has a very diverse population and being on 95 is easily accesible to other cities with very diverse populations such as NY and Philly.

    They are only a couple of hours away, no barrier to a true fan.


  • Goalscorer24

    I never go to a Mexican national team blog site to say stuff about the Mexican team because I don’t care about them. But we always get Mexican team trollers here because they still care about what their big brother neighbor is doing. Just can’t help being jealous, sad really.


  • GW

    I don’t know if you had the chance to watch JK much during his playing days; if you had his behavior the other night would not have been surprising.

    JK’s German teams were expected to win by just about everyone,including the other team, a lot of the time. They usually did even when the other team had better talent which happened quite a bit. Which is why he expects us to beat the Brazils of the world.
    He knows it can be done.

    JK’s teams were very physical, borderline dirty, and tried to intimidate the ref and often succeeded. Jermaine Jones would have been considered a wuss by those guys.

    Remember that JK single handedly made an art form out of diving when he played for Spurs.

    The man is a seriously sore loser.

    If JK could find a way to transfer that sheer will to win to his players, we would have no worries.


  • Roman

    Did anyone else hear Ian Darke compare Jermaine Jones (positively!) to Yaya Toure. Absurd. Yaya is world class, jones is… not lol.


  • joejoe


    You touched the ball. Your arms were sticking out. That’s bad technique on your part. The rule says nothing about intent. Yeah it was a friendly and the ref should have looked the other way, but he didn’t. The ref wasn’t wrong. Bad play on your part Gooch. Two laps and foot massage for Fabian.


  • Céu

    Athletes: Pele, Zico and Ronaldo.
    No athletes: Garrincha, Socrates and Romario.

    Garrincha, THE JOY OF THE PEOPLE.
    In 1962 when Pelé was injured early on Cup Garrincha took on the responsibility and took Brazil to World Cup-Bi. He had Indian blood, drank, smoked, fled from physical training, and on top of his legs were crooked. With all this was more skilled than Ronaldinho.

    Socrates drank, smoked and had an unhealthy thinness.

    Romario, fled from physical training and living at night. Once in Barcelona and to ask Cruijff If 3 goals if he did would be released to an evening party. Cruijff said yes and Romario scored three goals in the match.


  • bryan

    i understand that, but what i am saying is i disagree in that regard. gooch DID come back and was playing very well for Sporting (holden and davies have not come back from anything). to the point where he was looking like the old gooch. he was then unlucky to get a minor injury that kept him out of some games towards the end of this season. then when he came back with two games left, he got a red card and missed the final game.

    so, he was clearly rusty. but if he had been fit, there is NO reason to think he would not have been playing as good as he has been for Sporting. and when he is playing 90 for Sporting, he is better than any of the other options you listed (for now). my guess is he showed well in training but they took a gamble on his fitness and sharpness, a gamble we lost. haha

    cameron, ream, john, etc. are hopefuls for sure. problem is, cameron is going to be 30 by the WC, so he isn’t a replacement, just a depth option. we have to hope ream can develop nicely and hope that williams turns out to be a solid CB.

    as for spector, he got injured right before camp. and he would likely play fullback or defensive mid as opposed to CB.


  • bryan

    yeah it was really cool. first time i have had a chance to do that. the closest time before that was yelling out my window at gooch getting off the bus going into the Four Seasons in Philly. we were staying at the Embassy Suites across the street. haha


  • tom


    He was culpable for one goal against and fortunately for us the other bad, bad ball watching incident came off the post. Watch the replay of the second goal. He stops the man at the top of the box, who then plays a diagonal ball. Bradley just stops, watches the ball, then his man takes three steps, and scores. Hey Michael. Just stay any where near that guy and he won’t even see a shot. Wow. You are a professional. How hard is that. Instead, you see him just standing in an empty space. There isn’t even a passing lane there to block. It is pure juvenile defending and he is guilty of it too frequently. Go back and watch Mexico give us a beat down in the Gold Cup. He was doing the same thing in midfield thus making Dos Santos look like the second coming of Ronaldinho. Of course you look good when the guys who are supposed to clog the midfield watch you run free and clear.

    Arrrgghh. Team like Brazil are too good to be given goals. They put too much pressure on you to give them preventable goals.


  • elgringorico

    Bro I was at the game too and you are CRAZY! I’d say the crowd was 60/40 Americans/Brazilian fans. 90% wtf?


  • Boise

    Bingo! Main thing I’d add to your comment is that it doesn’t stop with Bradley. All players, especially those in the middle, have GOT to man mark and stop ball watching. All JK has to insist upon is when the other team is in our third of the field, players have to stay goalside–and on–their marks. Players who loaf and ball watch should ride pine.

    If they had done this against Brazil, two goals would have been denied.


  • Josh

    To any JK skeptics:

    I think it premature to say yay or nay or anything in-between. He’s still in his late infancy at the helm. Let’s take a step back to remember that.

    And upon re-watching the Brazil match: Brazil were better but not by a lot IMHO. US had a lot of possession, created plenty of chances but couldn’t finish. Obviously finishing is what matters but if the ref doesn’t give that early goal to Brazil it’s a different game.

    If if if. If we could only let some time go by before there are sweeping JK judgments. And at that, Bradley was solid if not great.


  • Josh

    Those who lambaste Bradley are off base. Last I checked the US was down 1-0 fast then 2-0 within the first 30.

    A little Bradley redux, JK style, no?


  • Matt

    That sort of thing is called as a handball all the time. He hsould not have had his hands out from his body once he realized he would be blocking a shot. Gooch was at fault for two goals. Might be time to have him sit.


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