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USA 2, Russia 2: Match Highlights



  1. I have finally watched the highlights and I have to agree with deepvalue’s comment above: “It looked like Jozy was stepping over Danny as he was trying to quickplay the re-start. Danny’s boot got scuffed or stuck because of Jozy’s crowding.”

    I watched the replay several times and it appears to me that Williams pulls his foot back to kick. Jozy is walking by (very closely) and Jozy’s left foot appears to step between William’s kicking foot and the ball (at 0.44) right before Williams pulls the trigger. And when Williams kicks (0.45) his foot is impeded slightly by Jozy’s foot and he did not hit the ball squarely and the ball lamely goes directly to the Russian..

    I am not the biggest fan of Danny Williams, do not think he should be starting yet for the USMNT in important games, but let’s face it: He is a good player and not the kind of guy to do a stupid kick directly to an opposing player wide open in the final third of the field. So I reverse my opinion and no longer blame Williams for the screw-up as I did yesterday.

    • Hope that somebody has another conversation with Jozy. This is supposed to be a high paced team. Not a team where you trip up your teammates as you slowly walk around when you are 50 yards out of position. Jozy should have been on a dead sprint at that moment. He’s an amazing talent, but not a fit for the current team. Watch the replay and you’ll see what I mean. Other guys are buzzing around the field for 90 mins and he’s just walking.

  2. Two AWESOME goals, this game. How many have the US had in the run of play this year? We used to stack the defense and rely on set pieces. We can practice them when we really need them. So many goals in the run of play has to be a credit to Klinsman.

  3. That was not a deflection on the Diskerud goal. He volleyed it downwards, and the goalie dove down to save it. But, the volley was so strong it bounced over the goalie.

  4. What is it with the US? Yet again they give up an early easy goal and spend the whole game digging themselves out of trouble. I don’t think this is coaching, at least not in the technical sense, Klinsmann has this problem, Bradley had it and Arena had it in his last 4 years. It seems to me that somehow the USA’s approach in the early going is just too casual.

    I thought Gatt was guilty of too many giveaways, he did make some nice runs and received decent balls as a result. Too often he did nothing with his chances. Still he looked like he could get the job done if he was a bit more tactically aware (a player should figure out much sooner than he did just how good the defender he was facing is/ He did seem to figure it out but not until over 30 minutes into the game.)

    Jozy had a pretty good game, the through ball from Jones was probably just a bit too far in front for him to reach it and for Lalas to say it was a bad touch is just wrong, Why not fault Jones for making the pass 6 inches too far forward instead of Jozy for being 6 inches too slow? Neither makes sense, you just want those connections to be better. In any case, he was winning the long balls and knocking them back to US players, unfortunately too often especially in the first half the teammates gave the ball away.

    Bradley’s header miss was not as easy as it might have looked since the ball was still rising from the bounce and there was little time to readjust. Jones’ miss from (I forgotten whom) was a real solid chance he should have done better with.

    Defensively, every player had some bad moments. Other than the Williams fiasco (yes it was his fault!) and Goodson’s clumsy late foul most of the errors went unpunished by Russia. Johnson was beaten and let a cross in that Cameron(I am pretty sure it was him and not Goodson) let the attacker get to first, only a poor finish by the Russian made Howard’s job easy. It was a much easier and better chance than either Bradley’s or Jones’ misses.

    Gomez did some running and played a bit of defense, but he was invisible for too much of the match. In comparison to Jozy he looked unavailable for the ball much of the time.

  5. Is there any way we can rate the commentators? I thought one of the slickest plays of the game for the US was when Kljestan nodded the ball down for MB, yet Twellman thought it was the worst play ever.

    • Good call. I too was dumbfounded on this. Perhaps the header could have been a bit more cushioned (that bounce was hard), but it was a great look considering how much space Bradley had in the box. I also enjoyed how Ian Darke tried to downplay Twellman’s reaction.

  6. Can we discuss what happened with the Danny William’s giveaway goal? It looked like Jozy was stepping over Danny as he was trying to quickplay the re-start. Danny’s boot got scuffed or stuck because of Jozy’s crowding. Williams even pointed at Jozy as if he had been fouled by an opponent before realizing it was his own teammate that caused the debacle. Really embarassing stuff. From what the replay showed, it was 100% Jozy’s fault.

    • To me, it looked like the pass hit Jozy’s heel as he was moving up field. The only person that can be blamed is the person who made the pass. There was zero need to play that ball quickly, especially with at least to forwards very far back.

    • Jozy’s fault? What a crock. What a steaming pile of horse manure.

      Jozy forced Williams to take the kick? It’s a free kick. Williams can stand there all day if he wants. If he was confused all he had to do was do nothing until he got un confused..

      Which is what he should have done.

  7. Tirade warning.
    I really want to give JK the benfit of the doubt and think that he is conducting experiments as some sort of mad scientist and doesn’t actually see these lineups as viable options in the future….but
    1. I can’t foresee any scenario where we play a 4-3-3 in the future. Not happening. Also, I guess he’s already forgotten about the disaster in WCQ, but how the hell do you play an attacking formation with 7 defensive minded players? It makes 0 since to me.
    2. JJ as an outside midfielder is repeatedly shown to be a terrible idea
    3. It’s hard to accurately evaluate the play of the defense with the midfield being such a complete and utter liability.
    4. Jozy will be lucky to get any more chances
    5. Of all the players at his disposal, he chooses D Williams to play CM in a 4-3-3? How can you possibly come to that conclusion? I just don’t get it, at all. I actually like him, but as with numerous other instances it seems like everyone is always playing an unfamiliar role.
    6. I’m willing to bet that the future of the USA defense is Chandler, Cameron, Gonzalez, Johnson
    7. I’m really looking forward to the gold cup.
    Ultimately, It’s astonishing to me that JK would go with a 4-3-3 and essentially 3 CDMs after what happened in WCQ. It was really infuriating for me to see the starting line up. It just seems liking such a glaringly bad plan that I just can’t think of any scenario where you would come to that conclusion. I just don’t get it. Does he just not ever want to keep possession or what? Dumbfounded

    • Deep breath….

      Bradley IS NOT A CDM. I’m not really sure how many more times people can say this. Even JK said it. He is a complete box-to-box midfielder. He routinely is all over the field. To label him as a defensive midfielder is ignorant. Oh, and our best offensive player was left home for the meaningless friendly. Something tells me that Dempsey may play a bit in the Hex. Just a hunch.

      JJ was not a wide midfielder, he was supposed to stay tucked inside. He didn’t. It actually wasn’t a terrible game for him when he had some discipline, but unfortunately he didn’t have too much of it.

      Williams played CM (or CDM) in the last 4 games of the last round of qualifying, and if I recall, he did pretty freaking awesome. He played in the exact same role today. He had a HORRIBLE game. That’s about it.

      Since you were so disgruntled, what would your lineup have been with the players called in?

      • I agree. Bradley is not a CDM. He isn’t an outside mid either. Holding mid is what he always reverts to regardless of what he is supposed to be doing. Mostly I don’t think he’s capable of being in a 3 man midfield period.He turns the ball over far too much and gets caught forward way too often. Historically an astonishing number of opponents goal’s come immediately after a Michael Bradley turn over. It’s hard to say what happens if Dempsey is in the mix, but I think his real value is central with 4 or possibly as a true CAM
        JJ was a wide mid. I’m not a fan of his at any position. But, if he is going to play, it’s not effective to have him out wide or that far forward.
        I’ll give DW a pass to some extent. But he seems to be most effective as a CDM or just generally linking the back to the middle in some sort of role. He was out of place all day. Again, I play the formation more than I blame him.
        My roster? I would be ok with just about anything other than what we had. I’m ok with the defense, but I think Boca should have been used more sparingly for quite a while now.
        A lone striker with wings slightly back or 2 fowards and a diamond midfield would have been useful. Again, my biggest issues aren’t with who was on the field as much as the roles they were asked to play. I’m also really curious as to what JK would do if this was an actual tournament match. He clearly isn’t interested in a bunker and counter approach, but a 3 striker formation is just more than our midfield and consequently defense can handle

    • 1. JK and his 4-3-3 have us winning in Italy and Mexico for the first time ever and todays draw against Russia. 2012 tied for the highest ever winning% for USMNT. We played 3 top 10 teams and went 1-1-1.

      2. J Jones has been a rock in the midfield, he has the highest “club pedigree” of any US player, and was quite dangerous going forward today including the left-footed cross (as a left midfielder) that led to Bradleys goal.

      3. The midfield struggled much of todays game, but Bradley and Jones held their own fairly well and both got forward some. Cant imagine any other player on the roster that wouldnt have been completely overrun by a team as ruthlessly efficient as Russia.

      4. Jozy’s first touch let him down on the one real chance he had. His effort was much better and played a beautiful ball to a wide open Jones that could have been an assist.

      5. Williams struggled today. His other performances as the #6 were stellar, including the critical Columbus match and the clincher in KC.

      6. I actually agree with this one.

      7. This too.

      Some perspective is needed before ranting and negativity. Anyone thinking this should have been a win and a great performance needs to be acquainted with reality. We are ranked around 27th in the world, and rightly so. Russia is ranked around 9th and rightly so. We are not a world cup title contender. Hopefully 8 or 12 yrs that may change. But tonight I saw a team go toe to toe with a world power who took them seriously. We have a good young nucleus to build around. JK has us playing tough teams and the guys will be better for it. JK deserves some credit for what he has done.

    • All that over a 4-3-3? Wow

      CDM? That is a made up term. Edu and Williams are what I would call part time utility men. And both Jones and Mikey are what they so infamously call all action, box to box midfielders, which is much more descriptive than CDM.

      You want to solve the US attacking woes with the current player pool?

      Bring back a healthy motivated Donovan and all this will go away.

      • I guess I’m not really making myself clear somehow.
        Playing with 3 forwards and those 3 in midfield against a superior opponent on the road makes me concerned. Yes, it was a friendly and doesn’t really matter, but why not play with a lineup/formation you may actually use in the future? It was very similar to the setup JK used in our worst WCQ performance. Whether good or bad, I don’t think we learned anything about anyone in this performance (well aside from Howard and Altidore perhaps). Friendlies have been wasted opportunities to evaluate the team, but when you ask players to do things you would hopefully never ask them to do in a serious match, what do you gain from the experience?

      • To answer your question regarding why the 4-3-3 vs a superior team: He wanted to see forwards play, and we saw five. GATT looks good to me, needs touches in international comp. Agudelo almost always impresses me, Jozy disappoints (one incredible goal will change that), Gomez represents, and
        Boyd could easily snag Jozy’s role.

      • You slot in Donovan in Gatt’s spot and Dempsey in Gomez’s spot and that team immediately becomes immensely more threatening.

        Suddenly Jozy has more space in the middle. Suddenly Bradley and Jones have options.

        You just can’t ignore the impact those 2 players make.

  8. Altidore was really bad today. He was supposed to be showing Klinsman what he can do and all he did was walk around and make bad touches on the ball. Bradley, Gomez and others are flying around the field closing opponents down and Altidore isn’t even jogging – he’s literally walking around slowly. Altidore is a great soccer player but he is a stationary player in a motion offense. He is not a fit at all. Show me players with a higher work rate and there is a whole list of them available to the team.

  9. After watching the game and then these highlights I feel like Jones should be a #6 for us. He may be able to play the box-to-box role but his strengths are his tenacity, tackling, and motor. There always seems to be confusion between him and Bradley about who should be surging forward. There was a lot of space behind Jones and Bradley for Russia to operate in. Doesn’t help that Williams had an off night.

    Moving Jones to the #6 would free up a spot for someone who can knock the ball around laterally and dictate the game more from the midfield like Kljestan, Corona, Diskerud, Torres.

    Our outside backs can give us width whether it’s Johnson, Dolo, Chandler, Parkhurst etc.

    Plus, if we’re playing a three man front line anyone of the forwards can make the run to the corner flag.


    • Jones is a square peg in a round hole as a #8. Playing two d-mids starves our forwards of service and leaves Bradley with it all to do offensively. Today the result was relatively positive but what happens when Bradley has on off game and the two d-mids in the midfield aren’t able to pick up the offensive slack. Going forward whether it’s Jones/ D-Wil/ or Edu only one d-mid should play behind Bradley and another more offensive minded midfielder. The sooner Holden comes back into the fold the better. I think him and Bradley would totally boss a midfield. Until that day comes Kljestan should get an extended look because I think he’s the next best option judging from his current form and his similar role at club level.

  10. Goodson was fine besides penalty, and there was constant pressure. The problems stared in central midfield for us, and also up front with little linkage play IMO.

    • HERE HERE. It was so hard to watch JJ and MB when Russia had the ball in the first 45. There is a reason why Williams had a bad game. When your two CMs chase the ball like 9 year olds, there eventually is a wide open area of the field. Good teams find those areas. They were better in the 2nd 45 and the USA played better.

    • goodson is a great defender that just seems to make reckless mistakes every once and a while, usually when he is trying to catch up after being caught on his heels. Id say the same about Cameron but he had an excellent game today.

      If goodson makes a move to a bigger league and starts playing better he could be a USNT player but right now id say that he is regressing like a few other CB’s in our pool.

      • Goodson’s ~3 years older than Cameron, and Cameron’s been much more solid lately.

        Time for Gonzalez or Besler to step up. Maybe JAB gets a January look or Gold Cup play.

        Edu (or maybe Jones) would probably be a better interim partner than anyone else.

  11. Howard appeared to give Goodson a serious tongue-lashing after the foul and after the game. We need someone else to partner with Cameron in the back. I don’t think Boca is going to last.

      • No way to know for sure if Okugo can make it as a CB at the international level, and highly doubtful he’ll even get a shot in time for WC14. But I agree that Boca probably either won’t last. The longer Klinsmann keeps Boca in there, the less time there is for someone like Ream or Gonzalez to grow into a partnership with Cameron. And I’d hate to see Boca have a World Cup like Agoos did in ’02.

      • Ream needs to get his house in order club-side before he gets some serious minutes on the nat’l side. Omar is busy with playoff right now, but I think he’ll get some serious minutes in 2013.

        I think that Goodson is doing a respectable job, but he’s also learning on the job. That said, there seems to be a lot more upside to Cameron right now, comparatively speaking, so if Omar shows well Goodson might be headed back to the bench.

        I will say this though, you can talk all you want about how Boca and Cherundolo are maybe losing a step or whatever, but no one comes close to matching their IQ and steadiness… it’s clear how it’s sorely missed when it’s not there.

      • BTW I’m a Union fan and I’m not even going to respond to the idea that he’ll be an international CB ready to start by 2014.

      • Judging by his club efforts, Ream won’t be up to par no matter how much time JK gives him on the pitch as a Nat.

    • Omar Gonzalez has won that role before even stepping on the field, I really hope he takes over in the January camps and into the Hex.

      Edu is another option, he played well today in a CDM role, but id rather go with Cameron+Gonzalez.

  12. Looking at Diskerud’s shot closely he struck the ball towards the turf and it bounded up pass the goal keeper, who thought he was in position…, wow


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