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USMNT reacts to Guatemala draw



  1. Howard’s play at the World Cup was probably hampered by the rib injury suffered in the England game in the big collision. If anyone has ever had any rib injury, you know that it affects everything – overhead arm movement, breathing, etc. Watch his movements in the subsequent games – definitely “off”.

  2. This lineup is not set in stone yet everyone seems to think these players are with us for the long haul. It a LONG time until September and it gives the fringe players a chance to distinguish themselves. We’re probably going to see some new faces by the time the next camp rolls around…I will guess Lichaj, Ream, Williams, Agudelo and possibly Josh Gatt could be included next go around.

    A much needed injection of youth.

  3. All will be forgotten when we qualify for the Hex. Too much wasted energy complaining right now. If after the Jamaica games we are still in bad shape then okay, complaining will be fair. It’s not worth getting all crazy before we have a larger WCQ sample size. Also, remember that German fans were disappointed in Klinnsman’s WCQ as well. It worked out pretty well in the end.

  4. I have questioned Howard more than a little from the World Cup forward. He was adequate for much of the Cup and clearly really, really good vs. England. For the whole body of work, not tragic but clearly not brilliant.

    I still think he’s the best we’ve got currently but I’m not putting him in the top-5 like some used to say. He is a very good general in the box and he is a very good, fast distributor but he is not a great shot-stopper.

    That said, I love the guy, and his great attitude and again, I’m not suggesting anybody else in the US pool is better.

  5. I’ve been ridiculed for questioning howard just a little on that goal yesterday. Hard to get too upset, because for every goal like yesterday’s is a performance similar to his against France.

    I didn’t think he covered himself in glory at the World Cup, but he wasn’t terrible, was he? He at least didn’t spill into his own net.

  6. While he has been playing very well since the World Cup, where he was awful, I’m not a Howard fan.

    He tends to have trouble with long range shots and the odd “soft” goal. However, I think he was “unsighted ” on the Pappa goal, that is I think the wall prevented him from seeing Pappa actually strike the ball. It seemed “sneaky fast” to me and by the time it was visble I think it was probably mostly past him.

    It was not his finest moment but I would not hold this goal against him too much.

  7. How many hairdressers do you think Geoff Cameron had to try before he found one who knew what to do when he asked for “a Christiano Ronaldo cut”?

  8. “i’d say playing at EPL clubs or Bundesliga or Serie A clubs or the best club int he Mexican Premiera qualify as “big clubs” … ”

    I disagree.

    With the exception of the much maligned Jermain Jones, the US does not have one single player who is a regular on a team that could be described as a Champions League contender. Fulham does not match that description, nor does Bolton,Rangers, Hannover or Hoffenheim. And Anderlecht, Molde and whatever club Parkhurst is on, may be in the Champions league but they are not contenders.

    And if you don’t think big countires should never draw or tie with smaller countries, then you don’t watch the World Cup very much.

  9. Its not crazy to assume John would have played better than Cameron, Gooch, or Goodson.

    But whatever we’re on our way to qualifying even though we have a team that’s timid in the final third and have CD’s (with the exception of the captain) that always look 1 play away from blowing it.

    So long as we get through well have time to incorporate at least 1 new dominant defender (two if Omar heals and returns to form)
    And then figure out the attack as we have the talent everywhere else on the pitch

  10. I’m satisfied with the draw in Guatemala. I thought the US looked pretty good for long stretches last night possessing the ball. If the ref doesn’t blow an early whistle on that foul where Altidore goes through, the US probably wins 2-0 and everyone is singing their praises.

    That being said, I was disappointed with several things.

    1.) Altidore didn’t add much. He went down too easy and failed to continue his run on that one play. I’m not a huge Gomez fan, but there’s no way Gomez isn’t busting his butt to get to that ball that Bradley laid across the goal for Altidore.

    2.) The US still hasn’t figured out how to do more to break down a compact defense. I’m not sure what the fix is. I wouldn’t mind trading one of the d-mids for a more offensive type of player. I also think they need to get more width from somewhere. Cherundolo basically doesn’t come forward anymore, and Donovan always seems to cut inside. So, the only time they have width is when Johnson makes one of his runs forward. Set pieces also have to be better than they last night.

    3.) I wonder if Howard could have done better with Pappa’s free kick. The ball didn’t really seem that far from him. I can understand when keepers don’t react when the ball comes out of nowhere and is completely out of their reach, but it seems like Howard could have at least made an effort on that one.


    Read Solo’s quote, and then read my last paragraph. You might also note that my last paragraph doesn’t mesh too well with several of the names I mentioned in the paragraph(s) before that.

    Yes I was trolling. 🙂

    I’m happy enough with Howard, although I also would have liked to have seen him moving as the ball was struck. By the way, I am not sure when the last time Guzan played a game. Howard simply has to be the number one keeper for now anyway, unless Friedel decides to rejoin the US team….

  12. That was an astonishingly good troll. Or could you possibly be serious? I think it’s fair to question Howard. He has not been sharp — he has been fine. The Guatemala free kick and A&B’s goal were by no means unstoppable. You have to think a top-flight EPL goalie could have stopped both — they would be good/great saves, but that’s what we need, right?

    What I don’t understand is why Howard was rooted to the spot. Could he possibly have been *surprised* by a free kick taken right outside the box?

  13. Simmer down guys – we are a work in progress.
    JK is the current chef in the kitchen, mincing up the garlic and the ginger, and deciding how to bake or fry the the fish…… will wind up being a decent meal.
    JK is also someone who is really, really into sports psychology, meditation yoga, advanced sports medicine and nutrition, as well as having a little experience playing and coaching at the highest level, give him another 16-18 months at the helm.
    as far as our middies go – Duece is the only one out there who speaks poor boy Brazilian favela slang with his feet, with a working class London accent, and also can deal the cards in Espnayol, en Espanyol, en Celt-Ibero, en Catalan coloquial.
    Bradley is big E for effort, but tha boy needs to stop being so dawdlingly slow about dishing the sphere, he telegraphs his passes.
    He muddles along uni-dimensionally, following the flow of play L or R, and when a Xavi or an Iniesta do the St Normal thing, ie. stop, trim the ball, step over, turn 90 – 180 degrees and survey the space on the other side of the field, then pass, or dribble….
    the lad gets all wrapped up in making diddly stupid passes in the same direction he is moving in, way too late – from the flow of play, on a a break away, he sometimes pulls rabbits out of the hat – but he and Edu both need to become more dynamic, and decisive about dishing the ball – QUICKLY, incisively, address the sphere and deliver it with compass and sextant – briskly!
    Too much thinking, thinking, thinking, you don’t need your thinking mind for this – it;s a feeling lads, a feeling ,a flow, rhythm………let your spirits dance!
    Edu and Bradley maybe could use some lessons from NFL QBs about how to read the field quickly and check primaries and their saftey outlets…………….anyways……

  14. Yes you forgot some names.

    Spector, Brek Shea, Agudelo, Beasley.

    There is also Robbie Rogers, Kenny Cooper, Brian Ching, and Eddie Johnson of course.

    Finally, putting Tim Howard in goal was the wrong decision, and I think anybody that knows anything about the game knows that. There’s no doubt in my mind Brad Guzan would have saved that goal. And the fact of the matter is it’s not 2010 anymore. It’s 2012, and I think you have to live in the present. And you can’t live by big names. You can’t live in the past. It doesn’t matter what somebody did in a World Cup two years ago. Now is what matters.


    Take a look. Most of his passes were NOT backwards and the majority were forward passes. He’s a holding center mid whose job was to sit in front of the back line and push attacks wide away from the goal, in that element he succeeded as well as being pretty proficient in his passing. Whether or not you want to say he was great is debatable but he certainly did not stink. You can call him a turnover machine but stats simply do not back that up and, like it or not, they do tell a lot about someone’s possession. Could Williams do the job there? Maybe but we don’t know while he’s out injured.

    If we do what you suggest and play Jozy up top (don’t mention Boyd, he has yet to play a professional game and is a project right now. Nowhere near as good as even Wondo right now) with Gomez, Dempsey and Donovan underneath (I’m actually going to assume Gomez plays up top with Jozy in this scenario) then you’re relying on Jones and Bradley to provide your midfield defense. This might work except that we’ve seen before that both of them like to press forward to much and leave the backline exposed. So yes, you will likely score more goals but you’re leaving the backs exposed. This is especially dangerous when you have slow centerbacks (the US lacks a speedy CB outside of maybe Cameron) and when your outside backs are constantly pressing forward like Johnson and Cherundolo do. I’m not saying your completely wrong but there could be some serious weaknesses of what you’re suggesting.

    Finally, I think you severely underestimate some of the Guatemalan players simply because they don’t play in Europe. Are they as good as the US based on talent? No. But the US wasn’t as good as Spain when we beat them. This is why qualification is spread out. In the hostile environment on the road, with a ref that was very poor and caving into the home crowd, it was going to be tough to get a dominating win. Again, don’t confuse a draw with a loss. It’s not like the US was backed into their own defensive end the entire game. They spent a good majority of the game possessing in their attacking half.

  16. Edu and Bradley and Jones didn’t know who was going where half the time … sure they got forward sometimes but none of them are “attackers” … the US need 4 bonafide attackers who’s first and foremost responsibility is to attack in the lineup … especially against minnows. 3 CMs might be good against Brazil but not Guat.

    i don’t care what the stats say Edu sucks … he is a turnover machine and his only passes are backwards … he is terrible and both Daniel Williams and Jones could do the same job but with more ball control and passing.

    it is pretty simple .. you start Jozy or Boyd with Gomez/Landon/Dempsey as the 3 behind them and then play Jones/Bradley.

    you do that and i guarantee you the US is more dangerous and effective and is up 3 by halftime.

    but hey … if you think a draw against a team who’s best player is worse than the worst player in the US squad and who is the 6th best team in central america behind Mex/Hon/CR/El Sal/Panama is a “not bad result” you are entitle to your pathetically low expectations.

  17. But to be a upper class national team you must be able to go to Guatemala and win. Period. This lose is very bad news. We do not have the players to compete.

  18. surely none of the USMNT players ply their trade at such lofty clubs like Marquense and Deportes La Serena or SuchitepĂ©quez but i’d say playing at EPL clubs or Bundesliga or Serie A clubs or the best club int he Mexican Premiera qualify as “big clubs” … there more big clubs in the world than just the top 3 from each of 5 leagues … and by comparison to the array of rubbish clubs the Guat players plied their trade at even Brondby is a “big” club.

  19. First… “this loss is an embarrassment. in the mid 90s when our team was pretty crappy getting draws against other crappy teams from central america was acceptable.” This was not a loss. It was a draw. On the road. Big difference. Besides, given the harsh environments you encounter on the road in CONCACAF, I’d say a point is hardly the end of the world. Keep in mind that this was also the fifth match in a close stretch for the US so fatigue might have also played a factor here.

    Second, you criticize JK’s roster selections but who would you really pick over some of them? It’s easy to play armchair coach and criticize but the reality is that the US pool isn’t as deep as Mexico’s.

    As for Edu, check the stats in the game. His passing completion was 38 for 48, which is a 84% passing completion and most of it was under duress. I think that’s pretty good. Jones couldn’t play the same role as effectively because of how high he likes to press and Edu’s job is to sit and protect the back line. Don’t confuse constant movement with effectiveness.

    Also, the US does play with four attackers most of the time at a minimum. Watch the game again. The US would often have a center forward (Gomez when he didn’t drop down into the midfield which is another problem, or Jozy staying high) with Dempsey, Donovan, and usually both Bradley and Jones supporting as well. That’s not even including Fabian and Cherundolo who were constantly getting forward. The US often had at least 6 players getting forward into the attacking third, and many times left only the two CBs and Edu back to play defense.

    The US controlled possession for most of the game and can honestly say they were a bit unlucky at times, with Jozy’s goal having been called back and the ref awarding the Guatemalans several weak fouls. In fact, the US’ biggest problem was that they continued to give soft fouls around the box when they knew how easily the Guatemalan players were going down and how much the ref was giving them the benefit of the doubt.

    I think JK deserves some scrutiny after every game, as does every national team manager, but I think most of your points are misguided as well. I’m open to debating this with you though.

  20. “we have players plying their trade at some of the top clubs in the world”
    Really???? exactly which American players are you talking about?

  21. I think a lot of people underestimate how difficult it is to play on the road in CONCACAF. Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, etc…these game are not “gimme’s.” I think there is some perception by many US fans out there that our only tough game should be Mexico.

  22. i am disgusted to hear JK spew this tripe about how a point in Guat is okay.

    the two best players for Guat were Ruiz and Pappa … two guys who in the last couple of years were good but not great MLS players. players who weren’t even as good in MLS as Wondo was over the same period … and Wondo is a guy who can’t get any minutes for the team because let’s face it he isn’t good enough.

    so fans and JK and others are okay with not being able to beat at team who’s best two players are worse than the worst player on the USMNT squad?

    this loss is an embarrassment. in the mid 90s when our team was pretty crappy getting draws against other crappy teams from central america was acceptable.

    this is 2012 … we’ve had a league for nearly two decades … we have players plying their trade at some of the top clubs in the world … there is no excuse for a nation with the talent and resources of the US not being able to beat the likes of Guat. now Honduras or Costa Rica or Panama … some of the top central american teams … sure … you might only get a draw there … but Guat is like the 8th best team in CONCACAF and the 5th best team in Central America.

    until the fans and the coaches and the execs of USSF raise their expectations and unequivocally demand that the USMNT perform at a level befitting a nation of the size and resources of the US they might as well just disband the USMNT because i for one am sick and tired of watching pathetic displays against inferiour opponents and it all being swept away in a torrent of nonsensical rationalizations.

    if we don’t demand better we’ll never get better.

    and i’d start with a coach who actually knows how to select a group of the best players available and how to put them into positions where they are actually suited to play … instead of selecting guys who have no business on the USMNT (Gooch, Castillo, Wondo), not selecting any wide players, and playing some idiotic formation with only 3 attackers (when creating and scoring is our buggaboo) and 3 guys all of whom do basically the same thing in the middle and get all muddled up (well some of them do it terribly like Edu who never saw a possession he wasn’t willing to give a way or a pass he wasn’t eager to send astray.

    it is pretty simple … against minnows you need FOUR attackers … one central striker and three guys to mix and match behind him. two central pivot midfielders … one with the main responsibility to screen the defence and the other with box to box responsibility (i’d say Jones for the DM since he can do waht Edu does but also … you know … pass the ball and then Bradley as the B2B).

    it isn’t rocket science … everybody can see it but JK.

  23. What he says in a press conference is likely not what he’s saying to the team behind closed doors. He’s not going to openly criticize players in front of the media, nor should he. I seriously doubt the players are happy that they didn’t win but a point on the road in Guatemala is not a bad result all in all. Don’t underestimate how tough road qualifying in CONCACAF can be.

  24. I’m starting to get annoyed with them picking out of the positives in a game where at times looked sloppy. Don’t be happy like you gotta say something to get this team motivated because if not we have a few more poor performances, it may come down to the last game of qualifying. Then we realize we should have had more fire in the games before….

  25. Don’t forget the list of players who should have played and would have saved the US:

    George John,Eric Lichaj, Tim Ream,Freddy Adu, Sacha Kljestan, ZAk Whitbread, Bewnny Feilhaber, Seb Hines, Josh Gatt, Joe Gyau, Wooten, did I forget anyone?

  26. I was so upset at Altidore for not tapping in that beautiful ball that Bradley provided for the game winner.

    I think Wondo should have been subbed in instead of Jozy. I can’t see him missing that one.

  27. According to the comment thread last night, on last count the following players should not play anymore-Tim Howard, Oguchi Onyewu, Steve Cherundolo, Michael Bradley, Maurice Edu, Jermaine Jones, Jose Torres, Landon Donovan, Jozy Altidore, Michael Parkhurst and Edgar Castillo. Some of those guys didn’t even play. But all the guys who JK didn’t call in are surely better right? Grass always greener sort of thing…

    US will be fine. The sky is not falling. All of our players don’t suck. JK definitely made mistakes(not giving guys enough rest, etc.), but I attribute that more to a learning experience than anything else and think he’ll be good in the future.


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