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USMNT 0, Canada 0: A Look Back


It is probably the last thing you want to do, isn’t it? Look back at Tuesday night’s horror show of a scoreless draw delivered by the U.S. Men’s National Team against a Canada side that had no intention of just laying down and being anybody’s punching bag.

It was forgettable, drab and disappointing, at least for a good majority of the very players Jurgen Klinsmann was counting on to show they were ready for future consideration for the national team. Instead of a showcase, Tuesday night turned into a criminal case of underperforming ineptitude.

The result itself doesn’t matter, at least not for the U.S. team. It will matter to a Canadian national team program in desperate need of something to build on and be positive about after last year’s horrific World Cup qualifying elimination against Honduras (an 8-1 humbling that should to this day keep Canadian fans from feeling all that emboldened by Tuesday’s draw).

No, the result didn’t matter, but the individual performances did and there just weren’t enough good ones to leave anybody feeling like the January camp was all that successful.

It was far from a waste of time though. The camp helped mold some defenders and give Klinsmann a front-row seat to check out some top young talent (even if he chose not to use all of that young talent on Tuesday). There were also some good individual efforts amid the mediocrity against Canada. You also have the fact that the January camp allowed some regulars (like Eddie Johnson and Graham Zusi) a chance to get fit during the MLS off-season in order to be in line for consideration for next week’s crucial CONCACAF World Cup qualifying Hex opener against Honduras in San Pedro Sula.

So what did we learn from Tuesday night’s draw? Here are some observations on the match, and some conclusions we can draw from the performance:


It’s a tricky one when considering how centerbacks Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler fared on Tuesday night. They pitched a shutout, and faced no serious threats, but they also faced a Canadian team playing a 4-5-1, with the lone striker being a midfielder in Dwayne DeRosario. Truth be told, we didn’t see all that much in the run of play to give us a ton of added confidence that either Gonzalez or Besler is ready to handle a starting role in qualify.

That doesn’t mean it won’t happen eventually. Both defenders look poised, and dealt with the situations that came their way. Gonzalez showed that he can be a threat on set pieces while Besler showed his sharp passing skills.


When you don’t make the most of your chances to impress a national team coach, you can sometimes find yourself waiting a long time for the next chance. That’s something Brad Davis was already aware of, and on Tuesday night he had a decent but still disappointing showing against Canada. On a night begging for a starting American midfielder to impose himself, the U.S. attack simply didn’t have the ideas or ability to break down the Canadians.

Davis was among the guilty in that regard, and while nobody could expect him to carry the U.S. attack on his own, he simply didn’t show an ability to be a factor against a mediocre Canadian side. That doesn’t really bode well for Davis being able to be a factor in World Cup qualifying.

Chris Wondolowski didn’t fair much better. He tried to be active, which is one of his hallmarks, and he saw some chances, but he failed to convert yet again and a player who is trying to erase the stigma of being unable to score for the national team absolutely needs to finish chances, and even convert a half-chance or two.

Some proponents of Davis and Wondolowski might argue that Eddie Johnson and Graham Zusi didn’t exactly light the world on fire either. That may be so, but neither of those players came into the match having to prove that they belong on the national team. Both showed that in qualifying just last fall.


He didn’t do anything extremely flashy, and the casual observer might not have even noticed him, but Kyle Beckerman had a good case for being the U.S. team’s best player. He handled his role as midfield anchor perfectly, thwarting any midfield threats from Canada and keeping the ball moving for the U.S. attack (even if it would eventually sputter in the final third).

Beckerman was likely a safe bet to make the qualifying squad even before Tuesday night, but now you have to wonder if Klinsmann will consider Beckerman for a starting role against Honduras. That might sound crazy to some, but with Danny Williams struggling for playing time at Hoffenheim, and with Beckerman having shown successful form against CONCACAF competition in the past, Klinsmann just might go with Beckerman in the defensive midfield role against Honduras.

Benny Feilhaber is also looking like a good bet to at least make the trip to Honduras after his outstanding second-half performance against Canada. He helped spark the U.S. attack, created chances and moved the ball around well despite Canada putting numbers behind the ball. It wasn’t a game that will catapult Feilhaber into first-team minutes, but it does pump up his standing in the USMNT depth chart.


Josh Gatt and Alfredo Morales were two of the youngest American players on the field on Tuesday (along with Juan Agudelo) and both showed glimpses of why they are considered bright prospects for the future.

Gatt is an absolute burner, with the kind of speed we haven’t seen since Landon Donovan’s early years. Morales didn’t get many minutes, but in his brief cameo he looked sharp on the tackle and he tried to make things happen with incisive passes.

Gatt is an especially intriguing prospect because of the lack of wing options for Klinsmann. He is still a bit raw, and expecting him to play a role in the early part of the HEX may be a bit too ambitious, but it is definitely going to be exciting to see how Gatt progresses in a year when he should at the very least play a key role in the Gold Cup.


Coming into Tuesday’s match there was so much anticipation about the U.S. attack and what it could do against a weak Canada side. The stable of forwards on hand figured to have a field day.

Then Klinsmann started Brad Evans as the squad’s attacking midfield.

No offense to Evans, who is a very good player, but casting him as the attacking tip of the a diamond midfield against an opponent playing an ultra-defensive 4-5-1 was the definition of a futile exercise. The result was about as ugly a 45 minutes of soccer as we have ever seen from the national team.

That’s why it came as no surprise that Evans wound up looking so much better when deployed at right back, and the offense showed so much more life when Benny Feilhaber was inserted into the midfield.

Sometimes you can’t help but wonder if Klinsmann makes decisions like those to test his team and put them in adverse situations. It’s either that or Klinsmann really can be tone deaf when picking lineups sometimes.


Jurgen Klinsmann stated repeatedly that around eight players from the January camp could be expected to take part in the Honduras qualifier. Who are the most likely candidates for the eight spots? Here is a look:

Graham Zusi, Eddie Johnson, Kyle Beckerman, Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler, Juan Agudelo, Josh Gatt, Benny Feilhaber


What did you think of Tuesday’s match? Agree with these observations? Which eight players would you bring to the Honduras match from the January camp?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. That match was so frustrating. The way they rotated the ball was poor and egregiously slow. And way too many touches in along the back and midfield prohibited any fluid attack. It felt like I was watching a college match, not an international friendly. I could count the seconds between pass and reception, especially along the backline, which for me points to 2 important factors: 1.) lack of technical ability (mainly touch) & 2.) a glaring lack of confidence (due to lack of touch). Thankfully this was not the first-choice team & this game amounted to nothing more than a scrimmage. Gatt & Benny were a nice injection of skill/speed in the 2nd, but overall I was not impressed with anything.

  2. I was pretty gung-ho on Klinsmann when he was hired as coach, even though I thought the US team would do better with an American coach, but now I have little faith in him. I understand the US just isn’t that good anymore, and that Klinsmann hasn’t been coach for long, but I can’t help but feel that Klinsmann is running east looking for a sunset.

  3. My 18 for Honduras

    GKs: Tim Howard, Brad Guzan

    Defenders: Geoff Cameron, Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez, Timmy Chandler, Michael Parkhurst

    Midfielders: Michael Bradley, Graham Zusi, Clint Dempsey, Benny Feilhaber, Kyle Beckerman, Mix Diskerud

    Forwards: Herculez Gomez, Jozy Altidore, Joshua Gatt, Eddie Johnson, Terrance Boyd

    My Starting XI:

    – Howard
    (RtoL) Chandler – Cameron – Besler – Parkhurst
    – Bradley –
    – Zusi – Feilhaber
    Gomez – Dempsey – Johnson

  4. I blame USSF for the debacle. If they schedule a stronger team, we have the open free flowing game that we need to get a good assessment of the players on the bubble for the qualies. Both Canada and Mexico were able to play Denmark…we should have played Denmark. Someone was asleep at the wheel.

  5. I think Klinsman took out the players he thought deserved to play next week early in the second half, ie EJ and Davis. Both, along with Besler, were the only ones who looked decent at all. Beckerman is a mainstay on the national team now but he looked horrific last night. His positioning is absolutely terrible. There were too many times where he was standing next to Gonzalez and Besler while we were attacking and not lending a supporting pass. I have a feeling he was kept in there until the end because Klinsman is considering giving him the axe. Not to mention his passes were too sloppy. I think we can absolutely blame Canada on last nights mess. They didn’t play a 4-5-1, they played a 6-4-0. I say give most of these players another chance against a team that actually wants to play.

  6. Hey Ives, Gatt tweeted a picture of him and Mix flying back to Norway. You really think he’s gonna be making another Trans-Atlantic flight in a few days?

  7. That was just plain horrible. What was up with the commentators? The ref was horrible, but they completely ignored it. Where were the replays? Was there some deal where they agreed to not discuss the reffing?

    Eddie Johnson was horrible. Gave up numerous times. He was hardly engaged. At least Wondo seemed to care.

    How about some through balls? How many times can they kill momentum by pulling up and playing it back, sometimes going all the way back to the back line and even the goalie.

    That was so freaking frustrating!

  8. I read what klinsmann said about mix, but where does that leave him? Is he going to be used, or forgotten until he “toughens” up?

  9. Is Beckerman a starter for the USMNT. Probably not. Is he one of the top 18 Americans? Absolutely. It’s a shame he isn’t 5 years younger and a bit faster. I think he’s a great player. Last night, when he chose to turn it up a notch he controlled the game. He has to be the most underrated player by American fans. Feilhaber looked solid. Gatt looked quick. Agudelo did more in 15 minuted than Wondo or Johnson did with 45. My takeaways? Beckerman, Gatt, Agudelo, Feilhaber. Unfortunately, none are starters for Brazil.

  10. “casting (Evens) as the attacking tip of the a diamond midfield against (Canada) was the definition of a futile exercise”..”Sometimes you can’t help but wonder if Klinsmann makes decisions like those to test his team and put them in adverse situations.” — yup summarizes everything i was going to say.

    everyone seemed to be playing to save their own asses.. not the mentality they should be in vs. Canada; really ever against anyone.

  11. Does anyone besides me think that Freddy Adu deserves another chance? After this underwhelming performance by the B team, and how Adu over preformed in the Gold Cup he should get a chance in this summer’s Gold Cup. What do you guy’s think?

  12. If we take 8 of these players we probably won’t qualify for the world cup. Game was sloppy and boring with no rhythm what so ever. My only advice is that we have to quit investing in these big black fast forwards. Sure they look good on paper, but look at all of the ones that MLS teams drool over who can’t score a wide open shot, players like Altidore, EJ, and many more have proven time after time that they can do everything but control the ball and score. If you think these players will ever make a positive contribution to the National Team then you need to start watching women’s volleyball.

  13. Klinsmann needs to get over his thing with Donavan and get him back on the team because otherwise USA is in deep trouble.

    Bob Bradley’s line-ups were pretty solid. One thing he could do was evaluate talent, and I have seen nothing from Klinsmann to indicate he knows how to put a World Cup team together.

  14. I for one am growing tired of JK. More and more he’s striking me as one of those coaches who believes solely in “the system” and “style of play” as though if guys buy into his way everything will go well.

    That is only part of the story.

    He’s the coach of young men. Young men who can battle, become inspired, play with passion, and be on board with something greater than themselves. The uninspired play seems due in large part to a general lack of inspiration. I’m not saying JK need to become a feisty cheerleader. I realize that’s not in his DNA. That said, he’s seemingly drained the entire program of that joy, elan, and work ethic that mark great teams. If we had the greatest players in the world, then the “system” would play a huge role in wins or losses. But we don’t. We have good players. And all a system will do for good players is make them mildly better individually. At some point, especially during qualifying, this is going to come down to guts, heart, and bravery. We seem to show very little of any of the above.

    We didn’t hire a three-ring binder or set of training DVDs. We hired a coach. One who needs to lead. One who needs to make a good team great. Utterly bummed about JK and the spirit surrounding this team.

  15. As much as JK seems to love Beckerman, he will not play against Honduras … if he even goes. I have to think he’s behind Bradley and the Germans and maybe even Edu in a DM position. He had a good game but in the end.. it will be the Bradley and the Germans

    I think there is not much to be learned from this game. You say the defense looked solid? How can you tell? When a team sends one forward out there, our defense should look poised. I think the fact that they even mounted a few attacks and had one good shot makes me raise an eyebrow and question them. I do think though that we have enough upcoming talent to sit Boca down soon

    I thought Benny helped his cause… the others didn’t. Im not counting Beckerman in this statement. Benny did have some clever passes that did create some attack

    Forwards – I think Wondo is history… he didnt get much service but also wasted what he got. Only the second half kids looked dangerous. None seemed to be able to create a chance for themselves.

    We HAVE to get a bunker breaker. We have a lot of trouble against a team that doesn’t attack and that goes way back.Benny and Gatt tried with limited results. As I’ve said before.. there is one guy that can fill this role but JK doesnt like him and we all know his name.

    Finally – never schedule Canada again. There is nothing to be gained from playing a bunkering team unless you’re trying to learn how to beat a bunker. This was a waste of time game and little was learned. To not be able to beat this team is a disgrace and an unacceptable result. If we don’t get a result in 7 days…we’re in trouble

  16. How fickle of fans can you people be? It’s understandable of course to be frustrated with the lack of performance we’ve seen at times ( Especially with this game ), but why is it that every time The Yanks end up with a disappointing result it’s because Klinnsman “doesn’t know what he’s doing” , and when we do well he’s ” Finally got his system working”. Maybe he’s actually trying to exercise the enormous player pool available to him? We’re becoming as bad as the English! So what has he accomplished? We’re on track to qualify for the World Cup, we beat some heavily favorited teams away (Anyone remember our trip to the Azteca?) And I’m confident he’ll continue to make the right selections -although he will also continue to through in some controversial wildcards- through to the Gold Cup. The point is he has been successful. It’s ridiculous to expect us to stomp every team we play AND develop new talent AND experiment with new tactics.

    • Because I don’t think his 451 works for us, and while he is getting by on the occasional Italy or Mexico where 1 forward plus bunker might work, most nights it’s annoying because we are unable to create good chances playing his style. Quite simply, if we put out a 442 with many of the same people we’d do better just showing up.

    • I fault Klinsmann for saying he plans on implementing attacking soccer and then has his teams play even more defensively than Bradley did. That is not being fickle it is demanding some accountability from the coach.

      I can’t fault him for playing defensively against Mexico in Azteca or against Italy, that simply puts the team in a position to succeed. But claiming to demand attacking soccer and then trotting out a defensive-minded lineup against Canada (and deploying 3 defensive mids in most of qualifying) is disingenuous at best.

  17. Davis did not help himself. He tends to run hot and cold and was cold last night. Too many crosses or kicks not past the first defender.

  18. I haven’t see much of Besler, or Gonzalez for that matter as I don’t watch MLS regularly. But, for this one game, I think it’s in injustice to Besler to group him with Omar. By this one game, I would give Besler the start over Gonzalez.

  19. I knew it was going to be a drab affair when the first 8 pass the US made were along its back line. It seems we still don’t have the ability to play through the mid-field even against a team of Canada’s stature.

  20. I’m not going to defend JK’s squad selection or tactics, but I’m also not going to judge a manager by the result of a friendly. I can’t believe so many of you are calling for his head after a 0-0 draw between our b-team and Canada’s b-team. Actually, I can believe it, that’s the disheartening part.

    Let’s see how he does in games that matter before burying or deifying him, shall we?

    • I haven’t read a single comment about calling for Klinsy’s head. Could you point it out to me?

      Are we not allowed to criticize a coaches 3 1/2 weeks of preparation?

    • No one is calling for his head, but the fact he had almost an entire month with these players and there still seemed to be no real game plan to break down a bunkered opponent is TERRIFYING. Also if you haven’t noticed this is a problem with our A team as well, plenty of possession but without any substance.

      Say what you want about Bob Bradley’s tactics and player selection, but at least the team knew what to do with the ball once they had it.

    • i’ve been on these boards too much the last 24 hours, and i’ve also yet to see anyone call for his job. i don’t think anybody should be doing that at this time, but think it’s surprising i haven’t read any comments of the torch and pitchfork variety. i have a bad feeling about the hex, so think this may be the quiet before the storm.

  21. As has been mentioned, Evans being casted the creative force in the middle with a bunkered team is a head scratcher. JK wasn’t putting him or the players in a good position to carry out the assertive, free, open kind of game he was paying lip service to.

    I will say that the complaints about Canada putting 10 men behind the ball are rather humorous considering this has been the prevailing tactic used by US Soccer since it’s inception. Truth be told, these types of complaints mirror the Mexican comment section following a game vs. the US! Playing a bunkered team is frustrating yes, but…. no sense in whining/better get used to it…. it is also a common strategy used many teams the world over since the game was invented…. including a few of our future CONCACAF opponents. It is quite possible our players could be put in a position in a tournament where it needs the win and the opponent a tie to advance. Where and how are you going to get time in, working at solving this type of defense? Makes for a hard to watch game for fans, but is not pointless in developing a team. Would we have learned anything more had this been played like a pickup game/had the young Canadian team opened up and let us cut them up? Certainly would have been more enjoyable to watch but would have been misleading… they’d have been tested and JK would have learned less. It’s much easier to look good and be creative when there are acres of space, quite another in a plodding, congested game.

    • i agree. who cares how canada played? we could not find an answer, and that’s what is disappointing. either JK had a bad idea about what to do, or the players (at least most of them) did not understand his orders or how to execute them.

  22. Why couldn’t Klinsmann anticipate the defensive strategy Canada would surely employ and have some plan to at least get more players into the attack (5 was many more than needed to stop DeRo) and have some strategy to get the ball deep before crossing into the box so at least the defenders would be facing their own goal?

    The forwards were stuck in the middle with 4 or 5 canadians around them and asked to somehow find the ball from the rushed service of the 2 midfielders who seemed even marginally capable of providing it and themselves mostly out numbered on the ball.

    The dearth of ideas exhibited despite the changes in personnel points to the coach not having a workable plan.

    • At some point I’m going to have to go back and round up all the old Coach Klinsmann quotes about how these January camps are a poor idea. And how if he were in charge things would be different. How he would have taken the A team to the Copa America. How he would change the style of play. etc.

      I like JK’s openess – but so far he has underwhelmed in ‘stylistic’ points and personnel decisions.

  23. One one hand: who cares how we played since the vast majority of these players will never sniff USMNT rosters in serious games.
    On the other hand: this camp cupcakes bunch is very poor compared to years past. Not much to get excited about from this MLS generation.
    But: our current USMNT contains a lot of young players yet to peak, so I wouldn’t look too much into last night’s game.

  24. I hope beyond all hope that Feilhaber gets the call to Honduras. It’s amazing how quickly he can change a game with his passing and vision.

    He played some excellent balls into space to open up the game yesterda. He changed the dynamic and flow of the WC game in 2010 against Ghana. He provided the killer spark and pass off the bench in the Confederations Cup win against Spain. This is the type of player we need.

    • I think he looked more on his game and when he and Holden are “with it” they are much superior to Zusi, Kljestan, etc. People forget how involved Benny was last go-round and I hope we can get those two back involved.

  25. This was the worst possible game we could have had. A team that basically didn’t attempt to attack us and put 11 men behind the ball. That will make life difficult for any attack, especially one who has never played together before. Our new CB pairing, who really needed to be tested, faced nothing all night. Canada played right into Beckerman’s hands. They diddn’t push any numbers forward leaving him not having to mark anyone. He cleaned up poor clearances and attacks of 2-3 players. He played his role very well though. So some credit has to go to him for that I suppose.

    As for Gatt, who seems to be getting praise for his energy and directness, I think its more a product of our poor attacking display than him actually doing anything. He turned the ball over quite a bit and never really produced anything. He was fast and actually tried to make something happen, but really didn’t accomplish anything. Davis seemed pretty stagnant and just lofted balls into the box all day so Gatt was a nice change of pace even though he really didn’t do anything of note. ugh, what a terrible terrible game

    • Agreed all around.

      I truly hope this is the last time we see Wondolowski in any time of meaningful situation (Gold Cup B team notwithstanding). I understand service could have been better, but he’s simply not internationally capable.

    • One question that I am curious to hear people answer is…
      Where does Benny Feilhaber stand after this game?

      He was a very solid player for us last cycle and had a decent world cup coming off the bench. Can he play that role for us again? Where does he stand against other players competing for that role (Kljestan, Zusi, Corona, ect)?

      • This is what I posted that didn’t go through for some reason.

        I hope beyond all hope that Feilhaber gets the call to Honduras. It’s amazing how quickly he can change a game with his passing and vision.

        He played some excellent balls into space to open up the game yesterda. He changed the dynamic and flow of the WC game in 2010 against Ghana. He provided the killer spark and pass off the bench in the Confederations Cup win against Spain. This is the type of player we need.

        In my mind, he’s behind Zusi (different type of player) but above Kljestan (you won’t get the spectacular killer pass) and Corona (too raw).

      • I think of Benny a lot like Kljestan. I think both of them as guys who will come in and not make big mistakes, but not make any big plays either. They are very good at being exactly what you said, solid players. The problem is that most of the time that never sticks out in people’s mind. We need some players to play their role and help the bigger guys make the plays. But you can’t make a team of guys like that.

        I think Zusi plays a different role than either of those two. He has played a lot on the wing for JK. He looked good last fall for USMNT, so I think he keeps his spot on a wing (opposite Lando if he shows up?). He made a lot of things happen last fall and nobody was too impressive last night so hard to knock him too much for that. If it happens more often down the line, then there’s issues.

        Corona, hard to get a feel for what JK would even do with him on the team. He needs a real chance on the team before we can judge him too much. It doesn’t seem like JK has too much faith in him but maybe that’s just me.

      • The difference between Benny and Klestjian is in their proven upside. At his best, Benny has been one of the key cogs in some the the best/most important USMNT performances in the last 6 years. I would love to see a 4 man midfield with two true wingers, Bradley holding and Benny as AM.

      • Personally not a fan of Bradley as our holding mid. I think he is quickly becoming our best player and we need to keep him as involved as possible. Sticking him at D mid doesn’t allow him to be as influential as he could be. My personal belief is that he needs to be paired with someone like benny kljestan ect (maybe even dempsey) with jones holding behind them.

    • Not sure if you play soccer but as someone with a lot of playing experience I can tell you that when you try passing around a teama for 75 minutes and you’ve got one shot on goal as a striker you need to take things into your own hands. Attack players 1 v 1, split defenses with speed and dribbling, draw defenders in. His head was absolutely in the right place. The sad thing is, he’s probably the only player on the field that realized it or was even capable of doing it. Maybe Zusi.

  26. In my mind, Canada is not getting enough criticism for playing the single most defensive game plan in the history of international friendlies. Klinsmann didn’t have creative players at his disposal: Clint, Bradley, Corona, et al all weren’t there. Could his lineup selections have been better? Yes. Should Diskerud have gotten some play? Probably. But the fact is that we were never going to get any form of cohesive and creative play with a B team against a side who routinely had 11 men behind the ball and refused to get forward even once (DeRo’s shot was almost by accident).

    I saw this happening when the friendly was announced. We always play these dull draws against Canada. After this, I say that Canada should not be considered for a friendly for quite some time. I get the fact that Canada didn’t want to get demolished again, but Christ that was terrible and made me happy that they are no longer in WCQ.

    • Regarding Canada’s ultra defensive approach, what else did you expect from the team that lost its last two games by the combined score 12-1? This game did not mean a whole lot for the US other than giving opportunities to players to audition, but starting Evans at the playmaker position, when Diskerud and Feilhaber were available was very odd.

      • Agreed that the lineups were odd, but friendlies are supposed to be used to gauge performance, try new tactics, and integrate new players, not parking the bus.

        What did Canada learn? That they can put 11 players in the box and not get scored on? Congratulations.

        Yes, I’m bitter.

    • Baloney! Take a look at the Dutch comments from the USMNT game against them in the run up to the 2002 world Cup. USMNT sat back even further.

      Supposedly, WE are supposed to be the aggressor in these games. Maybe Coach K can concentrate more on tactics and not on fitness. Maybe a better identification of the talent in the talent pool and less worrying about what brand of yogurt their eating.

      We are paying the dude $2.5 MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR for this?

    • It’s a home and home series for the 100th anniversary of the Canadian program (last year) and the American program (this game). We probably won’t be play each other for a few more years now.

      I should still be humbled about our 8 – 1 loss? Please, you’re B/C team couldn’t score against our u23+Dero. If anything our defensive display is going to deeply embolden the Canadian supporters. You were all expecting a blow out and when you don’t get it?
      “oh well we played a poor line up”

      And what did we play? Oh right, 3 starters were from Toronto fc…

    • Disciplined defense and counter-attack was the US strategy for decades. We perfected it all the way to World Cup qualifying. We are still in the process of transitioning to a possession-based attacking style with mixed results.

      It’s totally disingenuous to criticize others for using the highly effective strategy against us. Even in a friendly, Canada came away with a point on the road after suffering several embarrassing losses in a row.

      The only criticism falls to Klinsman for failing to predict and prepare. If ever an emperor had no clothes, he’s naked as a jaybird.

    • Davis looked terrible while in there. Didn’t have a problem with him being subbed. Although Bruin probably should have come on earlier. He played well enough last year to deserve more than a couple garbage minutes after EJ failed to impress. Really would have liked to see Bruin get more of a chance. We need somebody to join Altidore long term, and playing a bunch of 30-year-olds for 75 minutes isn’t the way to find/develop these guys.

      • Davis was the most positive player of the first half attacking-wise. He started the combo that almost had him a goal(the deflected shot that earned the US a corner). I’m not getting the snub against Davis. The game was much more watchable with him in the game, to me.

  27. ha-ha.

    “It is probably the last thing you want to do, isn’t it? Look back at Tuesday night’s horror show of a scoreless draw…”

    ha-ha. that is a nice lead, truly a lol…

  28. Beckermann starting for World Cup Qualifying? My worst nightmare is coming true. Next you’ll tell me Wondolowski will start too?

    Beckermann is like Wondolowski when it comes to International play. Too Slow, too predictable, too all-around Mediocre!! Beckermann looks good against poor to average competition, but against quicker, more technically saavy teams, he will be exposed.

    I wish we had 3 Michael Bradleys in Midfield…

    • Be careful what you wish for….2 “Michael Bradley’s” was disparaged as an ’empty bucket’. Would 3 be a 1/2 full bucket?

  29. Why isn’t Klinsmann getting more criticism? His tactics and squad selection did not match – If it were Bob Bradley… Brad Evans at the point of attack? Danny Williams out right?

    I get the impression the fullbacks were supposed to get forward, but didn’t. Against the 4-5-1, Wondo and Johnson have to get their movement better. Too many times they were in the same space, surrounded by white.

    • It was a meaningless friendly designed to try out young inexperienced players. He shoudl not get criticism over that game. Reserve judgment for the qualifiers.

    • Under Bob Bradely, we would have bunkerded down against Canada and tried to catch them on a counter. But I hear you regarding the squad selection – some Klinsmann’s choices were real headscratches even for a B team. Casting Brad Evans as the playmaker for the USMNT was probably the biggest one.

      • If that had been Bradleys strategy – it would have been implemented after a 3 week camp…that you can be assured of
        What we saw last night was a good reason to not have a January camp. What was learned? That Brad Evans is not a playmaker? Seriously? Not counting Brad, how many of us already knew that? Everyone? Trying out Evans as the playmaker was the purpose of the camp?
        Klinsmann had at least 2 better options at that position Feilhaber and Zusi…even Brad Davis or dare I say it Diskerud. All are better in that slot than Evans – who is a fine player in his own right, but not a MNT attacking midfielder.
        There are no ‘meaningless friendlies’ they all mean something. Last night, not much was learned other than we lacked any creative player on the pitch in the 1st half.

      • Well, I think we learned a few things from this game other than Evans’ inability to be a playmaker. The players at the left and right back positions currently do not have quality to play for the USMNT. With the injuries to Dolo and Fabian Johnson, it was a very relevant test. Josh Gatt has speed, energy and competitive spirit, but he also showed questionnable decisionmaking and does not use his left foot. Agudelo looks physically stronger than he did last year, brought good energy from the bench and earned several free kicks in dangerous areas. He could travel to Honduras and be an option from the bench. Benny Feilhaber made some good passes against the packed defense, but wasted two free kicks in dangerous areas. Morales showed some promise, but also had some issues with the weight of his passes.

      • Under Bob Bradley, the US team played Canada twice and won both times 2-1 and 2-0.

        Under Klinsmann, the US team played Canada twice to scoreless draws.

      • Look, this is silly. You can also note that under Klinsmann the USMNT won at Azteca and against Italy, while Bob Bradley’s teams lost at Azteca and against Italy. Referencing match results without proper context does not do any good. Was it an A team or a B team? Was it a meaningful game or a friendly? Were the goals scored against the run of play?

      • Yeah I find that comment funny too; I mean he did coach against Canada, the team did win those matches, and the tame did not bunker… the US dominated possession in those matches as well.

        Frankly, we have not seen much in the form of creative attack or possession even in thos games referenced: Italy and Azteca.

      • Ives should ask Caleb Porter about how do you beat Canada when they are playing like they are just trying not to get embarrassed

      • Canada coming off two blowout losses had every reason to park the bus. But I think we were more concerned with trying out players than tactical changes to beat the bunker. I don’t think we expect Honduras to bunker.

        I would say that Klinsi’s 451 seems awfully weak most games and there have been plenty of scoreless games or limited chance efforts.

  30. A few more remarks about the coaching, please. The failure to get some coherent tactics on the field after three weeks together is highly disturbing. We have seen nothing of the promised attacking style, and I am actually afraid going into the Hex.

    As for your comments, Beckerman was clearly our best player in the first half…and that is terrifying. Not that he isn’t a good player, but really, is that what we wanted? As for Gatt, so far he is all energy and speed (good) but seemed frantic. Enough to be intrigued about, however.

    • I think, more than anything else, the apparent lack of tactics was actually the product of a long camp. Players were battling each other for weeks to have klinsmann’s consideration and once they suited up, they feared taking a wrong step and losing their spot. Klinsmann obviously instilled them with this fear and, with his criticism of our best players, was dangling carrots in front of them.

      Possession was an obvious directive, and the US were content to pass the ball without tactic. It looked like a sad combine game.

  31. shuttlehead, I have not been a Beckerman fan in the past. But he was the best US player last night. Against a bunkering team, he nearly always put himself in the right place to snuff out counterattacks. He was very smart positionally and careful with the ball. He played within himself and always helped out the team. I think he plays the way JK wants him to play.

    • No one is doubting that Beckerman was the best player last night but you can’t say its suprising. Half of canada’s line-up doesn’t even start in the MLS and they weren’t exactly throwing complicated attacking schemes at him all night. He did his job but the truth is he is still going to be far too slow when he plays against real professionals.

  32. Hopefully Gatt can go to a league like the Dutch league someday to develop more technically. Not comparing his talent level, but his speed is up there with Gareth Bale, but minus the experience and technical skill. Like mentioned in the article, he is raw, but haven’t seen someone with his speed in the MNT pool in a while.

    • continues American obsession with the dutch league…I understand its a league with a history of helping young players grown but it has become so cliche in American soccer circles these days.

      • Nothing is wrong with it, but it seems like 95% of the time there is a good young American player people scream SEND HIM TO THE NETHERLANDS ASAP!!

        Its a nice developmental league but not the place for everyone. I think development has a lot more to do with club situation and individual effort than the league a player is in.

      • I’m with you. Attacking players need to learn how to break down tough defenses. The Netherlands is known for having open play, light on the defense.

        American soccer fans want their players to go there so they can score boatloads of goals and then talk about how awesome they are.

      • Growth. That’s what Gatt needs and the Dutch system’s focus on growth is what it is good at. Players need growth before they can hit the bigger leagues like England, Germany, Spain, etc….Obviously, he probably could go to Bundesliga 2 where young players are worked with as well. But the reality is, Gatt needs work on his technical game. Speed only gets you so far if you don’t have better ball control.

      • I think the fairer argument is that the free wheeling total football of the Eredivisie might still not get Gatt sharper. 6-4 type games. Jozy scores 20. I think it would indeed suit Gatt but when you look at Jozy the question is, would he transfer anything improving back.

      • Great point about the Dutch league’s lack of great defensive focus. But luckily, he is being used as a winger in the national team scope. Obviously, every player must contribute at some point on defense, but I like how Jozy’s getting the fine tuning of his game. Hopefully Gatt will get the same technical working with at some point whether in Norway or another club that will give him time and work with him. Jozy is really getting that there instead of the wanting him to immediately have impressive numbers from the get go as Xerez, Buraspor, and Hully City wanted.

    • Lackluster in general.
      Gonzales and Besler, okay against what amounted to a one-man offense.
      Beckerman, did the job Klinsman apparently asked him to do.
      Davis, wish he’d done more.
      Wondolowski, didn’t do enough.
      Gatt, getting good tutoring from Solskjaer, who knows about playing at top level.
      Feilhaber, nice to see he still has his chops.
      Honduras, won’t be scared by what it saw last night, but knows it will see different team.

  33. Certainly never want to see those fullbacks again. They turned around or passed backwards every time. The game needed two things 1) some real creative leadership in the middle and 2) overlapping fullbacks to overcome the log jam in the middle.

    Which brings me to Diskerud. Don’t tell me he wouldn’t have done well in this game, he’s got a classier touch and is better in tight spaces than anyone else on the roster. Sure, he could use some toughening up, but what the game needed more was an eel of a playmaker who could make the lack of space work. Zusi, Feilhaber, Davis, no one proved why Mix shouldn’t dress.

  34. Klinsmann’s game plan was way too defensive. He essentially had 5 players dedicated to defending at most 2 canadian attackers. It was so poor that we did not even see if the backs could handle any pressure since Beckerman defused most attacks before the happened, except for the early cross into DeRo, a test the backs failed woefully.
    The other 5 field players were left to face 9 or 10 defenders content to sit inside their own 30 and clog up the middle. With so many bodies in front of goal, there was no plan in place to draw them out or to get deep and make crosses with the defenders facing their own goal. Instead the game plan seemed to be drive long balls into the box where the 2 attackers were badly outnumbered, or try dinky little passes up the middle which was way too congested. The second half brought NO tactical changes and predictably similar results.

    The attacking plan seemed to be pray one of the forwards can magically get the ball and then dribble 4 or 5 defenders and score.

    With that game plan Messi would have had problems looking good (a solution against a packed defense is a good dribbler in tight spaces, something the US does not have), of course even Messi would have found going 1 on 4 or 5 defenders pretty frustrating most of the time. A Maradonna dribble ending in a pass to a teammate now wide open because all the defenders had to collapse on Maradonna would work, but again, the US does not have a Maradonna either.

    • “The second half brought no tactical changes.”

      You mean other than the switch to a 4-3-3 when he brought on Gatt and Feilhaber and gave direction to get forward more? Or the switch back to the 4-4-2 with the inclusion of Bedoya and Bruin where we finally had 2 speedy wingers hugging the touchline?

      • With the 5 players still dedicated to sitting back, the tactical change was minimal. Personnel changes did have some effect, Bedoya did attack along the wing (and Gatt made some failed dribbles), but that was not a change in tactics. Feilhaber did a better job than Evans in the middle, but again that was personnel, not tactics. In both halves the team mainly relied on on long air balls from deep in an attempt to get past a packed defense. That is almost a sure path to frustration. The combination play still occurred mainly in the middle where it was too congested to be productive.

    • Actually the best way to beat a packed defense isn’t to dribble around, it’s to play 1 and 2 touch. Get the defense shifting a lot and pretty soon someone will lose their man. That’s when you hit the diagonal ball behind the defense. We tried, just people were not on the same page, nor could we hit a decent ball when it mattered.

    • I did not see the supposed 433 switch happen in reality. It still felt like a 4321 or 451. Which if we were treating it like a game was way too conservative.

      But I think we were playing the style and formation we intend to play vs. Honduras, at all costs, as a test. I don’t think that’s what fans want to see is us playing conservative against a soft team, but I think Klinsi wanted to see people playing where they might actually line up. Otherwise he should have been playing 2-3 forwards and trying to shove it through Canada.

      Was it wise? We’ll see how it goes in Central America. It was certainly no fun to watch a glorified tryout scrimmage.

  35. ” but now you have to wonder if Klinsmann will consider Beckerman for a starting role against Honduras. ” Please no, Please no, Please no, Please no, Please no, Please no, Please no.
    My worst fear. Beckerman shut down a college team – Impressive.

    • You say he shut down a college team but look who failed to score against a college team. Davis, zusi, ej, Evans and wondo. I’m not saying he deserves a start against Honduras but you have to apply the same level of criticism to the whole squad even the players that will carry over to the full team.

      • And he never said he wasn’t critical against the rest of the team. The people Beckerman is fighting against for a spot weren’t playing against Canada.

    • to use Klinsmans words “He is what he is”.
      Beckerman is solid as a deep playing midfield ball winner. He has struggled at times against speedy forwards and attacking mids…but so do 90% of defensive midfielders. He will also play you forward more often than given credit for.
      Beckerman is not the largest problem on the field – he is one of the 5 Defensive players in the game. It is the other 5 – the offensive players that struggled last night. Point your criticisms there…or at the Coach. But Beckerman accounted well for himself last night and on most nights (and I’m not a huge Beckerman fan).

    • All due respect but if this is as easy as it gets, then I should take the players who at least showed something, because it ain’t getting any easier.

      The players who showed me something were a lot of the second half subs, Gatt, Agudelo, Benny, plus Beckerman and Gonzo.

      Now, should that earn them anything against Honduras? Gonzo I think gets a free pass. Otherwise, I dunno, although Danny Williams looked so awful against Russia that Beckerman might sneak in. Let’s be real, most of the people last night were playing for a spot on the Honduras bench. But perhaps going through the exercise and seeing who stands out is better than just picking 20 people on scouting instead.

  36. Not that Will Bruin had a chance of making it to Honduras but why did Klinsmann give Eddie Johnson so much time and not bring Bruin in earlier? Especially in a game that really didn’t have much meaning for Johnson as you pointed out early in the article.

    • Trying to get Johnson’s fitness up ahead of the Honduras match? As far as we know Klinsmann could still have Johnson in his plans to start, so getting him a good run-out a week before the Honduras game makes sense.

      • Ives,

        I hope you write an article about the state of Soccer in America.. We have ESPN now signing-on to Televise every Mexico Match in English on American TV… While the US National Team still has many of its games, including WC Qualifiers Televised on Random Stations (that no one gets) in Spanish..

        As a member of Sams Army, it’s really upsetting…

        All US National team games should be televised in english on a station that all Americans have access to. The broader the reach the better chance for the growth of soccer in our country…

      • While I agree it’s frustrating that I can watch Cape Verde in the AFCON on ESPN3 and not next week’s US/Honduras game, there’s nothing that can be done. It’s been said numerous times before. The only games we cannot see are away WQ qualifiers. The host nations have absolutely no responsibility to show the games on major channels in the US. All the US TV networks can do is bid on the games and hope they win. My understanding is that BeIN Sport paid outlandishly to get themselves on the map.

      • Mike,

        Perhaps I don’t understand this fully.. Couldn’t the US use the return-leg of Qualifying as a bargaining chip, to assure a major network in the US gets the rights?

        Example: We could sell the Honduras game rights to the Big Ten Network..

      • Nope. US Soccer has the rights to all of the US home qualifiers, so they sold those games to huge providers with national access (ESPN). The Honduran Federation has rights to all of the Honduran home qualifiers. They can do whatever they want – sell it to ESPN, sell it to Telemundo, not sell it at all, etc. If you remember in the last cycle, the Guatemalan federation didn’t sell the rights to the USA/Guatemala game at all, so no one in the US could watch unless they shelled out for PPV.

        There’s a much better explanation somewhere on the US Soccer website.

    • Agreed. I’m not a huge fan of EJ. He’s in there to be a target up front and lots of time left Wando alone on an island. Don’t like Bruin (but that’s more for MLS/personal reasons). He should have been in there for the opportunity to show something. It would be really nice to have someone assert themselves as a Jozy counterpart. Hard to show that when JK is intent on forcing EJ into the spot.

      • Who cares if Wondo was upset at EJ? One of them will remain part of the Nats and the other probably won’t. And we already know who’s who.

    • Klinsi tends to be conservative on introductions into the squad, and EJ is one of the incumbents, if an iffy one. With the exception of Davis the starting attackers were incumbents who’ve been recently capped. Bruin is just breaking in so he gets the late cameo.

      FWIW, Bruin is prone to disappear here in Houston and did precisely that last night. If you’re selling Honduras the best way is not for me to forget they subbed you on because you are so un-involved.

      I personally think EJ is a flawed player but in this context who was more dangerous? Not Bruin even if you think he’s the better soccer player.

  37. It can be attributed to off-season, but Eddie Johnson’s movement looked stagnant at times. But that really can’t be an excuse with him being in camp. Too many times he stood with the ball waiting for the defender or didn’t move off the ball enough. He wasn’t the only culprit though. Hopefully more games and rhythm can help.

    • I wonder if EJ is the type of player that needs a challenge to excel, when he gets in his comfort zone he looks uninterested. In a couple of plays that I thought he had a 50-50 chance to get the ball he just flat out quit. It can also be that he is not in shape which brings up the question if he is going to be ready for a hot and muggy Honduras match.

    • Thought the same thing. He ‘made’ the USMNT as a winger, he’s not looked good as a hold-up forward.
      & Ives is spot on with the Klinsmann’s “tone deaf’ syndrome. What was the point of playing Brad Evans at AM? Really, what was the point of playing Brad Evans at all? The team would have been much better served bringing in a true AM like a Feilhaber, or even Zusi at point and letting Gatt move to RB. I sit here scratching my head wondering what the heck Klinsman was expecting/looking for. But clearly, either he knew exactly what he was doing and he chose not to play a “US Style”, or he knew nothing and chose to see what a mish-mash of players could do…(hasn’t he done that enough to know the answer is ‘nothing’?)

    • I thought exactly the opposite. EJ seemed to be the only one hustling in the first half. He was chasing down balls and moving off the ball to get in position to receive the ball and distributing nicely within that packed in defense.

      I’m not a EJ apologist but I think it’s time to find a different punching bag.

      • On the contrary, EJ definitely has the talent and has matured to a new level. But there were literally a couple moments where he just stood there with the ball when a few guys were making runs but the ball never came. It looked like he was waiting for a move on the defense so he could make his. The ball ended up moving backwards. But on the whole, the entire team could not break down the compact Canada defense. He probably should have been in a winger spot more the way he plays with the first team.

    • What was driving me nuts when he was moved to striker is it was taking him so long to get the ball and get rid of it. He would start basically dribbling backwards and that’s my sign of weak target play.

      I felt like he was better in a wide role, an argument that could also be made of others like Jozy or Wondo. But then it’s always easier to play in space.


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