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Offense finally awakens as USA tops Slovenia

USA Slovenia 2 (Reuters)


Serious questions were being asked of the U.S. men's national team's offense after six games in the Jurgen Klinsmann era, but the Americans answered some of them in their final game of the year.

The United States won its first game on European soil in three years with a 3-2 victory over Slovenia on a frigid and foggy night in Ljubljana, Slovenia on Tuesday. 

Edson Buddle, Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore each scored in the first half, and the American defense fought off a second-half rally from the hosts in a wide-open and entertaining rematch of the 2010 World Cup group stage game.

Tim Matavz scored his second goal of the game for Slovenia just after the hour mark, but the U.S. team fought off a comeback attempt by getting numbers behind the ball.

That approach was a much different from the one the Americans used to begin the game. Playing in a 4-4-2, the United States started by pressing high and creating several chances in a game that marked Carlos Bocanegra's 100th appearance for the United States,

That led to an early goal for the U.S. team, as the ball fell to Buddle after Dempsey forced a turnover deep in Slovenia's half in the ninth minute. Buddle hit a cannon of a shot from 25 yards out that got past Slovenia goalkeeper Samir Handanovic and slammed into the near post before rolling in.

Buddle's goal was negated midway through the half when Matavz beat an offside trap to go free in on goal against Tim Howard, who was beaten with a right-footed shot.

The Americans continued to push forward and were rewarded in the 41st minute. Michael Bradley, making his second start under Klinsmann, sent in a corner kick that Dempsey headed home. The goal was Dempsey's 24th for the U.S. team, tying him with Joe Max-Moore for fourth most all-time in team history.

Altidore scored the eventual game-winner on a penalty kick two minutes later after Fabian Johnson was fouled by Miso Brecko. Johnson earned his first start in just his second cap for the U.S. team.

The Americans, who are now 2-4-1 under Klinsmann, will next face Panama in a road friendly on January 25, 2012.


What do you think of the United States' 3-2 win? Who impressed/disappointed you? Happy with the progress the team showed?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. We do need a second forward. Man Jozy is not good up top by himself when will people realize that. If you all look at when Jozy scores for club or country he is highly succesful when their is someone placed up top with him so he can hold the ball for them to run on to or vis versa.

  2. FJ was dangerous. Tight on the ball and great moving into the attack. This may sound crazy, but he reminded me of a younger Donovan – attacking the defender in front of him.

    If we can integrate him into the midfield without totally disrupting the apparent fragile connection between our DM and backline we have something dangerous for our opponents taking shape. I like the midfield we started today. Although Beckerman had a few poor touches, he stays at home which gives some coverage and a bit of freedom to the others.

    The MF depth we are developing can’t hurt in the long run. I’ve got my fingers crossed that some dominant CB steps up before we get into the meat of WC qualifying. There is still a huge drop from Boca and Gooch with respect to physicality and aerial presence. Goodson is promising, but he needs to stop getting pushed around.

  3. Decent result away,…but, does anyone else find it a bit troubling that the US goals were from: a turnover-a set piece (sound familiar?)-and a penalty? I find it a bit troubling.

    I was more impressed with the Slovenian goal production that came in the run-of-play from creative and coordinated build-up with high-quality finishing.

  4. I’m talking only about touch. I’m not saying he’s not strong, but I’ve never seen anybody extolling Bradley’s touch. He’s strong, has a great right foot, is calm under pressure, has pretty good distribution. But he’s not a technical guy in the slightest.

  5. You all said we are doomed in the upcoming friendly today and in the January friendly we were going to lose to Panama. You all were wrong and I cannot wait until January so I can come on here and gloat about us ripping Panama a new one.

  6. “Torres and Feilhaber…both have better touch than Bradley ever will…” Wow, let’s agree to disagree. Bradley is only 24 and his professional resume speaks for itself. Playing in Serie A might even give his game additional quality.

  7. Fun match to watch. As opposed to many of you, I do believe a 1 striker system will be our best system, but the key is having the right midfielders available and on the field. With the players available, I think using the 4-4-2 (diamond in the middle) with Buddle and Altidore was probably the best option. In the future though I would love to see either a 4-2-3-1:





    Holden and Bradley both have the ability to sit back or get forward. They also have the mobility to recover.

    Jones/Edu/Williams may be options also, but the key is having 3 attacking players in behind Altidore supported by 2 way midfielders. If Holden does not make it back all the way:





    In this lineup Shea and Landon can play as true wingers. I think Shea needs that role to be successful and Landon is good enough to play outside in eiter formation.

  8. if DC had made it to the playoffs and the court case had stayed under wraps and if CD hadn’t finished the season on the bench I would agree with you, but props to Beckham, that guy has been the motor for LA down the stretch. It seems that CD is on the edge of something dark and I hope he doesn’t fall in.

  9. What I saw was the difference in Johnson growing up in a German society where futbol (soccer) is worshiped and instilled into kids at a young age, and a Shea growing up in a society where soccer is “the little sister of the poor” to the rest of the sports.

    While Johnson is a few years older, he is very savvy on the ball, knows the right spots to put himself in, and just has that attacking instinct and hunger (I know one game does not mean anything, but he was the MoM for me). Shea will probably get there, but is not there yet.

    Good hope for the future, wouldn’t mind seeing Johnson continue on the left, Dempsey in the middle, and Donovan on the right, with Bradley anchoring the middle.

  10. Donovan has too much quality not to start for the USMNT now in the games that matter. However, in 2014, when he is on the wrong side of 30, things may change.

  11. Now we are on the same page. What about LD up top with Jozy, leaving Deuce/MB/Johnson/Shea in the midfield? If Holden comes back strong and Bedoya gets a fair shot, we have some good interchangeable parts to work with. I don’t think Klinsi has had a full squad to work with and he is just experimenting at this point.


    Though, if we keep playing a high line, it would be nice to find a CB with speed. Gooch can play against more physical teams in place of Goodson.

  12. The best offensive performance from the USMNT ever? Let’s mark that one down as overexcited post game talk. Best offensive performance by USMNT under Klinsman, sure. But 3 goals against a defensively hapless Slovenia (a country with the population of about a quarter of NYC) doesn’t qualify for the top 20.

  13. I wonder if Charlie Davies will get back to form next season and add even more depth to the positives that were displayed today? Is he still having trouble with his knee or hamstring? He started MLS so strong and then just disappeared. Not surprising I guess after what he came through.

    And can you believe Beckham got Comeback Player of the Year over him?! Well, I guess I can, but CD9 would have made a much better choice, imo.

  14. Everyone keeps diagnosing this formation as a 4-4-2, which to me is only partially correct….to me it was really a 4-1-2-1-2, with a diamond in the middle.

    Lookes something like:







    Long and short, thought it worked very well, with the exception of Beckerman, who is admittedly one of the best, if not the best tackler on the team…but, an extremely weak distributor of the ball….and a tad to slow for the international level. Would like to see same lineup with Jones for Beckerman. Lastly, I think Buddle has improved in Germany.

  15. Johnson looks a LOT like Dempsey on the field. Those two will work very well together. In the fog, I kept thinking Johnson was Dempsey lol.

  16. How about Bradley in the beckerman role and them Torres or feilhaber advanced, with dempsy up top with jozy and Donovan and Johnson on the wings? A little possession and some attacking speed

  17. I think everyone saw what France did. Although France control most of the possession they couldn’t break the American defense until they started launching long ball. Then today the same thing happen with Slovenia. They couldn’t break the defense down so they started using long balls and open up the US defense.

  18. Buddle just doesn’t command 2 man marking like Jozy. Everyone seems to think he not all that great but some how the opposing team are still 2 man marking him. They must see something in him that most USMNT fans don’t

  19. The personnel might have been that of a 4-4-2 but the played more like a 4-2-3-1 majority of the game. Bradley tucked in a lot to help Beckerman and Jozy went wide a lot to try to get the ball down the right side.

  20. Bradley was good, but not man of the match.

    1. Fabian Johnson
    2. Edson Buddle
    3. Michael Bradley
    4. Clint Dempsey

    The rest of our team was okay, but not that good.

    Our back line looked like crap. Beckerman as usual was useless. Move Bradley back to CDM or Jones for that matter and kick Beckerman off the roster.

    Would like to see something like this come January:


    You can switch in Shea or Jones somewhere in the midfield, but other than that, I think this is our strongest lineup at the moment. We will also see the possible inclusion of Agudelo, Adu, Edu, Williams, Klestjan, Bedoya, Goodson, Morales, etc. in the starting lineups in January.

    There was a lot of positivity coming from this game, barring the defensive effort. But at least we scored some damn goals. Hopefully we continue on offense and adjust our defense accordingly.

  21. I think the nepotism charge is well-founded. Bradley played today like he had to earn his spot. And he probably should have come off before he did; he got lazy once the ball passed the center line. But obviously, he’s good, probably the strongest option we have. I wish for more creativity, but Torres and Feilhaber, while both have better touch than Bradley ever will, are much worse when they have off games. Bradley’s a stalwart.
    I want to see Ream again, too. One fückup in a new system shouldn’t disqualify somebody with his distribution potential.

  22. He should only come in when we have a lead because he does have a high work rate and get himself into good position to intercept balls.

  23. When Bradley tuck jozy went wide so you really weren’t sacrificing a player since we were playing with a 2 striker set up and that’s bound to happen.

  24. Shea look almost as good as Johnson in his first 2 outing in the Klinsman era. Johnson has one good game and all of a sudden Shea is trash lol. I would like to see both of them on the field at the same time though.

  25. Dempsey is still the most technically skilled player on the team. Johnson is good, but let’s not anoint him just yet.

    Defense really isn’t that much of a problem. Beckerman has no business playing as the lone defensive mid. He looked completely lost at times and was definitely to blame for not marking on that second goal.

    Edu should play in Beckerman’s place now and that job will be Bradley’s when Torres/Holden return.

    Goodson is not Onyewu. Defense immediately improves when Gooch returns. Chandler looked weak today, maybe it’s time we moved him to his rightful position: he’s simply not a left-back.

    I’m not worried about the defense.

  26. it was your comment. i was simply pointing out, that statistically, it’s a “dufes” move to compare the two. one has 4 caps, the other has 22…but i see what you are saying in terms of the JK era. i’m a big supporter of Orozco, in the sense that i think he deserves his call ups. but at the same time, i wouldn’t go any further than saying they are on the same level. and even then, i still think goodson is slightly better. in the end, both aren’t going to be Boca’s and Gooch’s replacements. They are the second string, IMO.

  27. In order for the US to play a 1 striker system you need someone faster and better going forward then Beckerman playing his spot. That way Clint can stay closer to Jozy to get his outlet passes. If we are going to play Beckerman it’s going to have to be a 2 striker system allowing jozy and Bradley to drift like they did today.

  28. I don’t think we need a second forward although it did help this game. I just think someone else needs to play Beckerman’s position. If the person playing Beckerman can get forward more Clint will be closer to Jozy and Jozy will have an outlet pass. Even in this game Jozy was wide majority of the match almost like a winger with Bradley moving into the middle to make up for Beckerman’s deficiency.But if Klinsi insist on playing Beckerman then yep we are going to need a second striker.

  29. Lol at Jozy being Jozy, May be able to shield the ball from defenders and hold up play, but he can’t score goals…Unless it be a PK

  30. Klinsman has now managed 7 matches, one of which was just days after he took control, and you were already “sick” of his choices? Settle down a bit. Klinsman has been balancing availability and the desire to try new things. I find it interesting to watch the process, yet so many people get so up in arms.

    And regarding MB, how many of the 7 matches was he pulled into camp? Klinsman did the right thing letting him figure out his club soccer before bringing him in. And so what if MB didn’t play in some of the friendlies when Klinsman was testing new players. Let’s not overreact in either direction. These are friendlies in the beginning of a very long process. Let’s enjoy the ride.

  31. Bradley needs to take over for Beckerman, then move Johnson into the middle with Bradley. With Shea and Donavon out wide. We barely got anything down the right side unless Jozy goes there and get the ball. Bradley tend to drift to the middle a little to much. I don’t blame him he’s a midfielder. Also Beckerman just isn’t good enough going forward because he just doesn’t have a speed to recover when he lose the ball.

  32. Yeah I got you, I wasn’t trying to imply that at all.

    I wouldn’t say he was ‘covering’ for Beckerman, but I don’t think Beckerman did TOO much to help us get moving forward, sio in that respects I think MB and Johnson helped him out a LOT.

    My thing with Beckerman vs. Bradley is that Bradley and Beckerman can both help out the CB’s from that D mid position (that’s the basic job I guess). What I think decides who is better there is a) who is a better ‘destroyer’ and b) who can help get things going forward?

    I feel that Beckerman is a serviceable destroyer, but MB has been great in that role too, and he definitely gives us more going forward. With an LD in the fold, I don’t think there’s any logical reason not to slot MB where Becks is and leave Becks out. A diamond of MB, LD, Deuce and Johnson/Shea will look very very attractive if MB plays to this level consistently, which I know he can.


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