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Things looked all too familiar in USMNT loss to Costa Rica


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SAN JOSE, Costa Rica– We heard how things would be different. How Friday night’s World Cup qualifier vs. Costa Rica would look different than any road qualifier we had seen the U.S. Men’s National Team play before.

What we saw instead of different was a scene that was painfully familiar. The U.S. team that put together a 12-match winning streak, and came here with so much confidence, played more like the American teams of hexagonal rounds past. Overwhelmed and buried early, even if an improved second half provided more consolation than some past blowouts.

The reality is the U.S. couldn’t impose themselves on the Ticos, not with a stadium full of fans who had spent the past six months stewing over the perceived injustice of March’s snow-covered World Cup qualifier in Colorado urging them on. And not with the pre-game loss of Michael Bradley to an ankle injury costing the U.S. team its most poised player.

Losing Bradley hurt, make no mistake, but to pin the defeat on that twist of a fated ankle is too easy and a cop-out. Yes, we were reminded that Bradley is the most irreplaceable player on the U.S. team, but Friday night’s loss wasn’t about Bradley’s ankle injury. It was about much more.

It was about Jurgen Klinsmann’s lengthy streak of smart lineup moves coming to an end in the wake of Michael Orozco’s forgettable turn at right back. It was about a defense that simply couldn’t cope with the speed and skill of the Tico tandem of Bryan Ruiz and Joel Campbell. It was also about some normally reliable veterans turning in subpar performances.

In fact, there weren’t many positives you could point to. Yes, the U.S. team did play better from about the 35th minute to the 75th minute, and early in the second half it did feel like they might just find a way to come all the way back. A strong Costa Rica finish put an end to those hopes though, and made it much more difficult to shine a light on any sort of moral victories.

No, the U.S. aren’t suddenly a terrible team because they lost a road qualifier to a good Costa Rica side that is now topping the Hex standings. What they are is a team that have made things much tougher for themselves by not only delivering a flat performance, but also picking up a trio of yellow cards that will leave the U.S. even more short-handed on Tuesday against Mexico.

Now, the Americans face a struggling and desperate Mexico side that knows winning Tuesday is a must, and they must do so without Jozy Altidore, Geoff Cameron, Matt Besler and possibly Michael Bradley. That is four starters from the team that tied Mexico in March.

Those absences will create opportunities for other players to step up. Players like Aron Johannsson, Kyle Beckerman, Mix Diskerud and Michael Parkhurst. It will also be an opportunity for Klinsmann to recapture his magic touch when it comes to selecting lineups and personnel deployment.

On Friday, it was tough to look at the production if his attacking quartet and say he made the right calls. He chose to deploy Dempsey as the lead forward in a 4-2-3-1 rather than Eddie Johnson, and chose to deploy Graham Zusi on the right wing rather than Landon Donovan or Alejandro Bedoya. The result was Dempsey struggling to connect with the midfield, while Zusi was largely invisible on the right wing, save for his great pass to help Fabian Johnson draw a penalty kick.

Then there was the decision to start Orozco at right back. He chose Orozco over Cameron, who is starting regularly at right back at English Premier League side Stoke City, and Michael Parkhurst, who started and played very well at right back in the Gold Cup. He chose Orozco despite the fact Orozco had never played right back for the national team before.

Now Klinsmann’s right back quandary grows worse. Cameron’s yellow card suspension leaves the U.S. coach with the options of either trotting Orozco out again, or starting Parkhurst despite the fact Parkhurst hasn’t been playing for his club team.

Klinsmann might rue his bad luck at right back, but it’s a mess of his own making. His failure to incorporate Eric Lichaj remains perplexing, and he has yet to offer an explanation for why Timmy Chandler has been sent to the national team wilderness Landon Donovan was previously sent to.

If anything, the fact Klinsmann’s maneuvers didn’t work was more surprising because of just how well his moves had panned out over the past three months, and in some ways you almost came away from Friday feeling like Klinsmann’s recent success had emboldened him to try new things, and take some risks. But like a Blackjack player riding a hot streak only to run out of luck by making riskier and riskier plays, Klinsmann saw his moves miss the mark and end the hot streak that had him looking like he could do no wrong.

The biggest consolation to come from Friday’s loss, the U.S. team’s eighth straight qualifying loss in Costa Rica, is the fact that the evening’s other CONCACAF qualifying results went about as well as the Americans could have hoped for. Panama dropped points at home to last-place Jamaica while Honduras stunned Mexico with a 2-1 victory at Estadio Azteca.

That small consolation won’t ease the pain of yet another disappointing trip to Central America in the Hex, and yet another loss in Costa Rica. The good thing for the U.S. team is the fact they don’t have much time to dwell on the loss. They have four days to shake it off and prepare for a match against Mexico that not only could book their place in the 2014 World Cup, but strike a major blow to arch-rival Mexico’s World Cup hopes.

In order for that to happen, both Klinsmann and his players will need to be much better than they were on Friday, when they delivered a disappointing effort and squandered a chance to make history, and secure their place at the 2014 World Cup.


  1. Last night was a strange game, predictably chaotic with the injury early on. The right side was just absolutely steamrolled over and over the first 20 minutes or so. In hindsight it would have been nice to have Bedoya and his great work rate out there over Zusi, who definitely hasnt played well enough to keep that spot anymore. Theres too much competition on this team now and he isnt cutting it.

    Overall not too worried, theyll bounce back and hopefully not have someone go down right before the game. We always play better in game 2 of these short camps too.

  2. With the focus today squarely on Klinsmann’s irritating penchant to play players out of their club positions, was thinking that today would be the ideal time, with MB out of the picture, to call up Jose “Gringo” Torres to play for the first time under Klinsmann as a central deep-lying playmaker, or Number 8, ahead of either JJ90Y or Beckerman.

    Klinsmann, as he has done with other players, has tried to turn Torres into a player he is not, first as an attacking midfielder and then as a left winger. Why not try something totally innovative, like letting Torres finally get a shot on the USMNT at the same position he plays for his club against Mexico?

  3. The sky is falling, it must be WCQ season again… Maybe a lot of new USMNT fans on these boards, but every cycle of CONCACAF qualifiers for the USA is rinse-wash-repeat: win nearly every game at home, get embarrassed in a couple of the away games, but still manage a few key results away, and ultimately, qualify.
    Sure we were awful yesterday, but people on these boards are looking way too much into it. Our schedule is very favorable with some home games, we’ll rebound and be in Brazil in all likelihood.
    Lessons though from yesterday:
    – Bradley is a key player for us (where are all the “nepotism” people now, eh?)
    – Beasley is a good spot player, but at this stage in his career definitely can’t be our LB. He can fill in there or the left wing in an emergency and be serviceable. But if we want our strongest option, we really need to play Fabian there.
    – Besler-Gonzo needs some more work. Of the two, Besler seems more solid, Gonzo being more blunder-prone. Time to start grooming Brooks perhaps.
    – Right back should be Cameron’s, he plays there in the EPL why not with the US? Orozco seems awkward at RB.
    – Dempsey as a straight up striker doesn’t really work,

      • Well I wonder if their are better replacements for Bradley in midfield than Cameron which might lessen the blow. Mixx and to a lesser extent Kljestan and Bedoya can play a possession oriented CM that may have held off the early craziness last night. Jones and Cameron are both incredibly defensive players (also Beckerman) which meant that there really was nobody even trying to do Bradley’s job.

      • I agree, but it’s easy to say that in retrospect. We needed a midfielder who could keep the ball for a second and move it forward. I would have given Mix the call only because I think he the most capable of the mids on the roster of doing that, but Bradley is the sine qua non for this team.

      • If Jones is cemented in the middle, than Mix is our best option to fill-in for Bradley. We don’t need two destroyers who lack any offensive creativity.

      • I was unimpressed with Mix in the GC. He did ok against 2nd team players from CONCACAF, but ok against those teams is not going to cut it against a full strength squad. He does continue to show some talent, but when the opponents pressured him quickly, he floundered pretty badly. I do not think he would have fared well in CR>

    • Agreed. We got a bad break with Bradley, played poorly against a motivated, talented team, and lost. Time to move on. The overall program continues to grow.

      Beasley is not a left back. He should instead come off the bench as need to add spark to the left flank. Good teams will continue to beat him. Agreed that Fabian’s a good choice for now, but he’s not an LB either.

      We need Brooks in the starting lineup at least occasionally, as we will need him in Brazil. Goodson has proven he’s of WC caliber.

      Dempsey plays best under another striker. Because is out of shape, he may not recover in time for Mexico. He can be very poor when fatigued.

      Altidore continues to be immature. Not sure he’s ready for WC either.

      • Altidore is not ready… Sure, let’s go ahead and leave him off the plane to Brazil. Wait, you’re serious?

    • “every cycle of CONCACAF qualifiers for the USA is rinse-wash-repeat”

      That is part of the shock and disappointment. It was finally looking like we had the depth and talent to break out of that cycle and at the very least avoid embarrassments away from home. A tightly contested 1-0 loss would have been one thing but getting completely overrun from the first 20 mins and ultimately getting shellacked 3-1 shatters that dream for this cycle. We have a lot of young guys with high potential coming up the pipeline though so maybe 4 yrs from now will be different.

  4. —————TH—————

    Bring in Johansson 2nd half

    • Kljestan isn’t in camp and Klinsmann doesn’t like to play him centrally (for no reason that I understand). Hopefully,its Mixx in that position but it will probably end up being Beckerman

  5. What’s interesting to me is that Fabian play’s as a LB for Hoffenheim yet plays as the LW for the USMNT. Beasley plays LW for Puebla but Klinsy insists on playing him at LB. So I guy that primarily play’s LB for club is playing LW for the USMNT and the other guy who play’s primarily at LW for club is playing LB for the USMNT? Uhm, I am at a loss here. Beasley will stay rooted to the left wing while Johnson floats around when played at LW. Fabian left Beasley out to dry because he didn’t stay on the left. Would it not strengthen the left side to move Fabian back to LB and move Beasley to LW?

      • I agree with JK that Fabian is a more natural midfielder. The problem is that so is Beas. We continue to need a natural, left back. We need two.

    • FJ has played both positions for club and country. For us, it comes down to the simple fact that we need a proper left winger over a leftback. Hopefully Shea steps up this season.

      • Shea improving enough to be an asset for a whole game is the definition of hope. They guy has repeatedly demonstrated that if what he can do well is not working that he has no plan B, nor even the sense to stop trying to do what isn’t working.

    • Well said. For me, Beasley is the best left mid on the roster. He can beat the defense with speed and on the dribble, puts his crosses in useful spots, puts his shots on frame and throughout his career on the wing has always gotten back quickly to aid the defense. He also has more than a decade of experience playing effectively with Donovan. Why JK doesn’t play Fabian at the back (where he has more experience) and Beasley at LM (where he has more experience) is a continuing mystery.

  6. Just a comment on the final goal that essentially ended the game. When are we going to learn that when a lightning fast striker gets us one on one 30yrds out with our backs to the goal we need to FOUL said striker! I’m not saying break his legs or maliciously assault him just give him a knock or tug his jersey.
    We were eliminated from the World Cup because Bocanegra failed to do it. And all of our momentum died last night for the same reason.
    It just seems obvious and necessary, sometimes our guys seem not to realize how slow they are….

    • I agree. Besler was running with him for way too long. Grab his shoulder and bring him down. The red is better than a goal at that point. Besler ends up missing the match anyway… Kind of funny.

      • I do not agree. I think Besler played this as well as he could. He didn’t want a red or a yellow (which he got later) to put him out if Mex.

        If Howard was decisive he could have challenged instead of being caught in no mans.

    • Yes, the smart play by Besler in that situation was to commit the foul and take the red card that would go with it. (He was already out of the next match anyway and being down 2-1 with 10 men is better than down 3-1 with 11).

      • BTW, that is one of the things Bradley said in a pregame interview when asked about all the yellow cards. He said play smart, but that there may be times when you have to commit the foul to diffuse an attack.

  7. What is everyone’s obsession with Eric Lichaj?

    The coaching staff obviously values Michael Parkhurst much higher than Lichaj seeing as Parkhurst has yet to play any league minutes so far this season and got the call-up.

    All of the Orozco hate is unwarranted as well. I blame Graham Zusi for the right side of the field being nonexistent last night.

    Geoff Cameron although hardworking is the classic American player… No touch, vision or decision making. Definitely would not want him in the midfield without a Michael Bradley playing next to him. And definitely not at RB either. He plays for Stoke… That should tell you enough. He doesn’t push the ball forward from that position with Stoke. That is why we won’t see him at RB anytime soon for the MNT.

    Lastly, I think our center backs are vastly overrated.

    Did we play a poor game? Yes

    Losing our best player (by a mile) Michael Bradley in warm ups was definitely a crushing blow. But that being said, we should’ve weathered storm of high pressure from the Ticos. But our defense was clearly inept last night and our “goalie” in my opinion cost us the game…

    • I agree, It’s hard to criticize guys like Timmy and Dempsey for all they have done for the team over the past years. They are great players but maybe a bit off form at the moment.
      Dempsey’s intangibles and the fact that there isn’t another position player that is good enough to take his place should keep him safe…..But somebody has to be thinking about a keeper change

      • What goal should Howard had saved? All three goals were the result of soft and shambolic defending in front of him. This team will go as far as its CBs, and they’ve looked weak all qualifying.

      • He got five holed on a soft shot on the breakaway… This isn’t hockey. Bad positioning on the other.

        The set piece goal wasn’t his fault though.

      • He got exposed 3 times by his back line and was fast enough off to save it twice. The ball goes through his legs but he’s trying to spread out as much as possible like every other GK would to block as much territory as possible.

      • You’re being too nice to Timmy. He isn’t immune to criticism. He has a job to make the save, regardless of the fact that our defense looked like Swiss cheese… A change in goalies would force him to elevate his game to get his spot back.

    • The Eric Lichaj obsession is analogous to an older married individual day dreaming about seemingly more younger attractive alternatives. Because they are angry/disappointed at their current option, they are more likely to over look obvious faults in the alternative. Going further, the alternative soon becomes an empty vessel, devoid of actual agency and filled with all the hopes, potentials and desires of the onlooker. I for one, can’t remember Eric Lichaj actually performing consistently for an entire season, heck I am not even aware of half a season. Has he put in 8 games in a row? How long had he been a professional now?

      Zusi was certainly invisible on the right last night. But late in the first half he was willing to come central and pick up possession for the team (dragging the team back in the game) in a way Geoff Cameron couldn’t do. Orozco looked pretty overwhelmed, and was often not linked up with the rest of the back line, leaving massive gaps on his side.

  8. Let me first say that I wasn’t able to watch the game. However, after learning how it played out before the game, the result was fairly predictible. Our most important player goes down just before kickoff. This would be like the Broncos losing Manning in warm-ups. Don’t think they would respond well either. Then you replace your only creative central mid with another defensive one, who hadn’t played there recently. Then you throw in the decision to start Orozco at fullback instead of more proven players. Then up top you put Dempsey out of position as a number 9. If I’d have known all of this before the game, I could have predicted this result.

    • Agreed. When I saw the lineup, I got a pit in my stomach, which got deeper when Bradley was scratched. The phrase, “all too familiar” is accurate. The Ticos attacked our weaknesses very well.

  9. Without suggesting the sky is falling, the Mexico game may be very difficult with essentially 3 starting players missing. I’m actually quite concerned about the loss of Besler (didn’t have a good game against CR but who did) as a somewhat more cerebral and organizing player in the back. Mexico is probably not the kind of team to play giant slow centerbacks and we may actually find Orozco playing a CB. Loss of MB is enormous. I actually like JJ but in the few games I’ve watched him with Shalke this year I thought he played pretty poorly with a lot of giveaways and errant passes. I think we had a kind of perfect storm with Dempsey not fit but starting in part because of the captain issue, MB’s last minute injury, JJ’s poor form and running into a buzzsaw in the first 20 minutes. That said, there was a point in the second half where I thought we might pull it out.

    As a long time fan, player and coach, Alltidore’s yellow left me shaking my head. Inexcusable but it’s now spilt milk. Oh and I was yelling at the TV “Don’t let Clint take the penalty!”

    Which Mexico will show on Tuesday, a team in disarray with their tails between their legs or a team of cornered rats fighting for their world cup lives? First goal will be enormous.

  10. Id like to see Germany, England, etc go into San Jose, San Pedro, Mexico City and for that matter Columbus and get a result in a match of that intensity. I wouldnt change the game plan too much.

    Most of all i am infuriated with Jozy, Cameron and Besler getting lame cards and forcing them out of the big game on tuesday. Whatever happened to (try to) tie on the road and win at home…

    • Jozy, yes. Cameron took a smart yellow to slow a potentially dangerous play down. Besler we don’t even know what he did. Or at least I never saw replay of the incident

  11. 1. neither the CR game nor the upcoing game v Mexico are/were “must wins”

    2. CR is really tough at home, particularly motivated by the snow game

    3. chillax kids, the US will be ok

    • besides think how beautiful it will be if the US is able to win v Mexico in Columbus, practically eliminating Mexico’s chances to be in the top 3 in the hex

      • Mexico has at Costa Rica and at United States (their two hardest games) with the home match being to Panama which trails them by a point. There’s a realistic chance that they only take 1 pt from the final three and finish 5th.

  12. I think Ives is understating the impact of losing Bradley moments before kickoff.

    Also, the win-streak was primarily against confederation B squads during the Gold Cup, with a few friendlies and Hex games thrown in. The most notable wins were a friendly and against Panama, which got to the Gold Cup finals because they brought their A- team. And how is Panama doing against A teams in the Hex?

    Don’t get me wrong. This schedule wasn’t a terribly soft run based on USMNT history. These are the types of teams we’ve always played, and haven’t won that many in a row before. We now have some credible depth at some positions, and that feels new, too. I just think both the proponents and detractors from this team ought to keep things in perspective.

    • I’ve seen us play friendlies against Germany at home and away in Europe before. In the past we were schooled. This year we won. We may have lost to CR on the road but let’s not diminish our other accomplishments.

  13. ok, the reactions on here are crazy. We lost to a good team at a place we have never won at before. CR have us all we could handle in a snowstorm– did folks really think we were gonna waltz in and dominate at their place? as poor as the US looked at times, the result was in doubt until the breakaway late.
    We are still in great shape to qualify, even if we lose to a desperate Mexico. typically the US team rallies in these types of situations, though. We were never as good as our 12 game win streak, and certainly not as bad as we looked in Costa Rica.
    Tactically the game in Columbus should be interesting. Mexico is going to try to exploit our suspect fullbacks, and the best strategy may be the good old counter. Will Klinsy play that way, though? I suspect we are going to see another Donovan moment in the sun. 2-2 draw….

    • Great points…I think we learned a few things here though:

      Cameron as DM in meaningless game v. Guatemala is not the same as Cameron as DM in road qualifier at venue where team is winless in 8 tries.
      Zusi is not an ideal outside attacking option; he is no Donovan.
      Klinsmann was desperate to win this game. Why sub in Jozy, who is on a yellow and nursing an injury?
      We need more invention in the midfield. Drop Donovan and Dempsey deeper; move Beasley to the more advanced position he plays in the Mexican league. Allow FJ to overlap from LB.

      Here is the lineup we need to see against Mexico (4-4-2):

      Beasley Donovan

      Mix Jones (Beckerman)

      FJ O. Gonzalez Brooks Orozco

  14. Honestly, Klinsi has long been “perplexing,” but in some ways predictably so. He gets ideas about players and then makes decisions that are objectively ridiculous but fit squarely into his notions. In the thread here where Ives made his prediction for the lineup, I correctly predicted that Zusi, Dempsey, Donovan and Fabian Johnson would start in the attack, and that Eddie Johnson would not. All the replies attacked implying I was some kind of fool because only EJ was an adequate substitute for Altidore up top.

    The thing is, I wasn’t offering my preferred lineup, I was trying to predict Klinsmann’s lineup. Frankly, I didn’t give RB much thought, or I might have nailed Orozco there, too. Klinsmann’s lineups have nothing to do with putting players in their best roles or in putting together lineups that seem to hang well together. Klinsmann is all about putting the 11 best players on the pitch, however he defines that or sees that at the moment.

    That’s how you get Beasley trotting out at LB match after match, even though any casual observer can see he is overmatched there because of his slight size and the fact that he’s not a great defender. It’s how you get Orozco at RB, because of Klinsmann’s obsession with Liga MX players. The good thing is that Klinsmannn usually tries not to make the same mistake twice. In fact, I think that’s why Chandler hasn’t been seen or heard from — bad run-out with the national team leaves Klinsmann questioning his quality and usefulness. He’d rather try someone there that he holds in higher regard, even if that player is not a fullback.

    The absences next week will create some real headaches for Klinsmann because they’ve removed at least 3 players he thinks very highly of, along with Cameron, who Klinsmann is on the fence about.

    • Please allow me to gloat some more about meaninglessly predicting the correct lineup. I guessed just like everyone else, but now I will tell you all to kiss my ring of glory. Let me bore you with my reasoning some more. Blah blah blah

      • Not gloating — I’m just saying that Klinsmann has a method, and I’ve identified it. I don’t agree that this produces the best lineups, or even lineups that make any sense, but it’s how he thinks.

        He will reassess his evaluation of the players and if he thinks they really showed they can’t play the position, then he’ll find a replacement. I doubt we’ll Orozco at RB again. I’d also suspect that Klinsi is going to look for an alternative at LB, but that’s gonna be complicated right now.

      • the alternative at LB is the least complicated position klinsmann has right now.

        it’s fabian johnson, moving beasley up to outside mid.

        seriously, how long did it take us to find a solid attacking left back in fabian johnson? and then klinsmann says, f— that, i’m playing beasley there!

      • Fischy, your analysis of Klinsmann’s strategy is so vague and ambiguous as to be meaningless. “He picks the best players based on his contextual, subjective preferences.” Big deal – in one sense, that’s how all decisions, coaching or otherwise, are made.

      • No — most coaches decide how they’re going to play and they’ll pick out their best strikers and midfielders and defenders. Klinsi grabs the 11 he wants — the best 11 players based on form or talent or the league they’re in, or some combination (it’s not as vague as I’m laying it out, but if you pay attention, it is predictable. Then, he tries to figure out positions and formation. He’ll only make concessions to positions if he can’t figure how to get that particular 11 on the field — that there’s no one else plausible for that position.

      • Wow! You totally blew my mind. Please don’t tell me the starting line-up against Mexico than. Just list out the usmnt depth chart based on “form or talent or the league they’re in.” Because according to you, that’s who they’re trotting out. Positions simply don’t matter. And only by default, do we even consider using a real goal keeper like Howard or Guzan.

      • Based on your feedback, JK should play only forwards and midfielders. Because I’m confident that no one on the backline would crack the top 11 best players on the usmnt right now. And if you feel that these are all concession picks, than you ARE being vague and ambiguous. You will also prove that JK picks his squad like every other coach: Formation first.

    • My gut feeling is that Chandler is the new Altidore. Promising, and JK knows he probably has a future with USMNT, but JK also felt at Chandler’s young age he needed a wake-up call. It’s what we’ve come to see as typical JK. “You haven’t done sh!t, yet, young man! But you will, if you want it badly enough. Now let me tell you where I wasn’t playing at your age…”

      Just my take on it. With Chandler cap-tied and qualification seeming more likely than not, JK felt he had this luxury. But then take Evans and Parkhurst out of the picture, and make the obligatory phone call to check on Dolo’s progress again, and suddenly it is looking like a very expensive luxury. I don’t know why he didn’t go with Cameron at RB and Diskerud for Bradley (which isn’t great, but no solution to replacing Bradley is).

      • Maybe, Paul Miller, but I doubt that Klinsmann is trying to teach Chandler a Jozy lessson. And quite frankly, I don’t think Klinsmann snubbed Jozy to teach him a lesson but instead didn’t call him up because he was deservedly angry after Jozy’s “incompentence” tweet. I have the sense there are three factors for Chandler’s exclusion.

        1. Quite simply, he has sukked at the club level/

        2. His run-around the past — count ‘em 22 months — snubbing call-ups and trying to catch Jogi Low’s attention most likely turned off a lot of his USMNT teammates. Calling him back might trigger some major chemistry problems.

        3. It is well documented that Klinsmann wanted Timothy to play in the Gold Cup. But, as usual, lazy Timothy declined, while Landon Donovan, a player 20x better than Chandler with 140 caps lowered himself to play on the USMNT B-team, which some of think would probably beat the USMNT A-team

        What Klinsmann has not yet acknowledged and no idea why, is that Geoff Cameron is at the current time the top right back in the US player pool. And what does Klinsi do last night, starts Orozco at RB and sits Cameron, who then comes in to replace MB.

      • @Biff, I think your reading of Geoff is accurate. My comments towards him in this thread are a little harsh. I thought he would have been a great RB last night. We needed defenders to weather the storm, not a player who looks good in possession in a league not known for defending. Geoff is very good at digging in and tackling, as well as defending crosses. Instead, Klinsi put a player at CM who was afraid to have the ball and plays for a club team that clearly focuses on team shape in the back and set pieces. When Bradley went down the game called for a bold move, should have put Beckerman in there.

  15. What happened the first 25 minutes is not on Orozco– he was symptom, not the cause. Cameron, Jones, Dempsey, Zusi, FJ could not hold possession and their first touch was horrific. It looked like they had never played in rain. Orozco looked like a guy who had no idea what to do positionally. Every time I see the US back line having a nightmare it’s because the midfield is failing. That 1st 20 minutes was a midfield disaster. If you recorded the game, watch how many poor first touches were followed by turnovers. I’d argue the midfield snapped out of it, but Dempsey never did.

    • A draw would be just fine for us, but put massive pressure on Mexico. We would be 5 points ahead of Mexico with 2 games remaining. Given that those games are Jamaica at home and Panama (on the road), you gotta think the US can get 2 more points in those, which would give us at least 3rd place.

      If we lose to Mexico, things get dicier, but still look decent. So long as we beat Jamaica, it’s hard to see how Mexico gets ahead of us. Mexico’s last game is in Costa Rica, so they’re unlikely to run the table.

    • If we draw Mexico, we qualify with a win against Jamaica. But a draw and a Panama loss on Tuesday clinches at least 4th place for us (At worst a battle against NZ for a spot).

      If we lose, the scenairos get complicated, but as long as we beat Jamaica, we’re fine.

  16. I was thinking about Jozy’s silly shove that got him the (deserved) yellow card and am wondering about some of the other stuff going on around the field. There was the Costa Rican who fell, claiming that he was struck/shoveded/elbowed by Eddie Johnson. And then the Costa Rican dropping, claiming to be knocked by Besler, who got the yellow card after the Ref consulted with the linesman.

    1. Does anyone know exactly what Besler was accused of doing?

    2. If there were at least three cases of USMNT players doing these shenigans when the ref was not looking, I don’t recollect this ever before happening with USMNT players. Why would this have happened last night? Especially Besler. Hard to imagine him doing that without impulse from someone.

  17. OK- so besides the obvious gut punch of losing Bradley right before kick off, this loss falls squarely on Klinsy. The decision to play Orozsco is perplexing. I have never seen him play well in a US shirt except one Gold Cup game against an absolute minnow of a team. I have no idea why he continues to get called in yet Chandler and Lichaj don’t. He shouldn’t see the field ever again. He cost us on the 2nd goal for sure and was a turnover machine all night.

    Also, I don’t know why the Icelandic kid didn’t see the field sooner, and why he risked Jozy at all with the Mexico game looming and his hammy giving him issues. Obviously his gambles didn’t pay off. Time for some changes for Mexico. And as long as I’ve been a supporter of Timmy Howard, I think he cost us last night. He didn’t control his box, the second goal looked somewhat reachable (at least make an effort). Guzan stood on his head at Azteca- I say give him a chance, He was AV’s player of the year last year and has already gotten off to a solid start.

    My lineup for MExico:


    Parkhurst Brooks Cameron F Johnson

    Zusi Jones Bedoya Donovan

    Clint Johannsson

    • @Mike in Baltimore: Guzan was fantastic in Mexico City in March. He was the truly the general of the defense barking orders and keeping this defenders on their toes. I found his clean-sheet performance that game amazing.

      But, please, can we forget Timothy Chandler. Geoff Cameron is a better right back and call in Eric Lichaj in October for a look.

    • Cameron is out against Mexico for getting a tactical yellow in the second half. I was baffled at Orosco getting the start at RB instead of Cameron or Parkhurst. Beasley played poorly and was a liability. The team might be better served with FJ playing at LB instead of LM. For Mexico, JK should probably start Howard, Parkhurst, Gonzales, Brooks, FJ, Beckerman, Diskerud, Bedoya, Dempsey, Donovan, and AJ. I would have EJ ready off the bench and I would call in Corona or Klestjan to replace Cameron. Thanks to Jozy’s stupid and immature foul, as well as the bogus call on Besler, who BTW played poorly, Klinsi will be very limited both with the starting 11 and the overall squad of 23. IMO Guzan DESERVES to start, BUT Klinsi shouldn’t make the change against Mexico because at that time it becomes a distraction. If necessary, do it for the final two Hex matches next month.

  18. Ives, I would argue the Klinsman’s starting lineups have not been as effective as people give him credit for. I have felt for several games like the half-time adjustments are what has allowed the US to take control of games, whether it be changing the formation or making a sub. I have also felt like like the team has a lack of ability to adjust to our opponents style of play on the fly. Again, it’s usually a halftime tactical adjustment that seems to take place.

    • Yeah, I’d agree with this. There were several instances in the Gold Cup, playing bad teams, where we looked flat in the 1st half (no matter what the starting lineup was), only to come out in the 2nd with a couple of new faces and a bucketful of goals. I think people got blinded by the results and forgot that the real strength was the tactical substitutions Klinsi made.

      Too bad we didn’t have those substitutions last night.

  19. as a Jozy supported and defender throughout I could believe that idiotic yellow he picked up. Unless the plan was to go back to Sunderland as soon as possible injury-free, I’m not sure what a shove in the back of a player without the ball right in front of a card-happy referee was supposed to accomplish?

    the drop off from Jozy to next forward is only exceeded by the drop from MB to the next CM

  20. All tactical problems aside, one of the worst moments of the match for me was Jozy’s yellow. Such a poor decision by a player who’s been making great strides in terms of maturity.

      • although altidore’s yellow was immature and inexcusable (reminiscent of his last action for hull city), i don’t blame him for laughing. yes, it made him look like he didn’t care, but i think it was a defensive reaction because he knew immediately that he had done something stupid; i think i would’ve reacted the same way.

      • Okay, Dr. Dollars. I don’t know that much about psychology of body language, but am skeptical that laughing in that situation is an admission of stupidity. And, for the record, unlike some USMNT fans, I fully support what Jozy did against the Hull guy. The guy bounced a ball off Jozy’s head and for me it had undertones of, how shall we say, a certain nature, and Jozy, IMO, had every right to loose control.

      • You don’t know much about psychology of body language. I agree with Nate Dollars assessment, it was a defensive reaction.

      • Nate- That’s a great point. I can think of many instances where I did something foolish and then self-critically laughed. I think Jozy has made great strides, and he’ll be fine.

  21. “Klinsmann might rue his bad luck at right back, but it’s a mess of his own making. His failure to incorporate Eric Lichaj remains perplexing…”

    Not to Villa fans, Eric had an absolutely disastrous year and I cannot imagine what about his current form at Forest makes you keep pining for his return? If that is who you choose to pin your hopes on, we might as well get ready to play New Zealand!

    • Yeah there is no logic behind the “Lichaj is our RB solution” that so many are clamoring for. It’s just another emotional “the next guy has to be the solution” response. The reality is his last game with the Nats (against Mex) was a disaster and he was beaten repeatedly. Like you said, he had a couple of unsuccessful years at club level, and is just now beginning to find some form at a Championship club. If he continues this, he will probly get a chance to be called up. But expecting him to step in a starting role in the Hex right now is just unrealistic. Orozco/Parkhurst can do the job. The team as a whole was really out of sorts early last night. To me the center midfield was a much bigger problem than right back.

      • the fact that you portray ‘so many’ people as saying “Lichaj is our RB solution” shows your bias. people have just wanted him called up, in case we ever needed him for depth, which is what ives was saying. no one is saying he’s the solution.

      • No bias. I would love nothing more than for him to get called up and be so much better than the alternatives that he gets the starting spot and makes a positive impact on future games. I just don’t think that’s realistic. More importantly I don’t think it matters much who was at right back last night, the early game problems involved the whole team.

      • cool, as long as you’re aware that commenters (and journalists) have *not* been saying that lichaj is good enough for the starting spot (the ‘solution’); they’re saying that klinsmann should’ve called him in at some point because he might be good enough for injury/suspension type situations.

  22. Deja vu how the Ticos looked like the Bob Bradley era of USA teams. USA dominated possession in this one, but Costa Rica scored off of headers in the box and counter-attacking. USA had it’s shots, but nothing too high percentage as Costa Rica did sell out defense. Not to say the USA hasn’t progress under Klinsmann, just crazy how the game plan for the Ticos was as it looked old school USA.

    I was all for Parkhurst at right back, as Klinsmann said now wasn’t the time to experiment. And then he puts Orozco out there. Might as well call in Lichaj, a more experienced right back if he’s going to do something like that. I was in the Lichaj will eventually get his chance camp, but after that decision with Orozco, might as well make it now.

    And for the Mexico game, 4-4-2! Donovan definitely proved he’s a step above Zusi, whom I’m still a fan of, but Donovan’s been through this before. Too bad Donovan can’t be cloned so we can have him on the right and as the 2nd forward.

  23. Not sure why Klinsi needs to state a reason for leaving Chandler out. It’s apparent to every fan: a lack of commitment the past two years combined with losing his starting role, and when playing for club, looking mediocre. Recent interviews with Chandler point to the fact that he himself knows it.

    Fiscal at RB was a risk but A. He has been playing it for club and B. a lot of fans here clamored for him to get that role. He was terrible in the first half but settled in the second. So I don’t blame Klinsi there.

    Jones was poor, but Cameron was awful. At least Jones dug in and tried to move the ball forward. Cameron watched the first half fly by him and his only contribution of not in the second was his yellow. And Jones did well to not receive a yellow when they were obviously picking on him a bit. Having a yellow on his mind also reduced him to simply stabbing at balls, too afraid to tackle and risk getting carded. I can see why Klinsi went with Cameron on the basis of his last showing at CM and wanting to shore up the middle. It didn’t pan out.

    Dempsey’s move to Seattle has really hurt us. Ruiz showed him that staying at Fulham may have been best. Dempsey was, like Cameron, content with watching the game go by. I wouldn’t even give him bonus points for the goal; it was a rather poor penalty and he got lucky. His poor performances for Seattle came with him to Costa Rica. Maybe like other DPs, Dempsey came to MLS to retire – he sure doesn’t play like a man on fire.

    Gonzo needs to learn how to close his man down. For the second goal, he was content letting his man cross, which is something he’s done in the past. I know he’s as slow as Gooch and it’s risky to go 1v1, but letting your man cross is equally dangerous. Get in his face!

    Lessons learned:

    1. We need a target forward. Dempsey has never and will never be that kind of player.
    2. RB is still a problem. Hope Lichaj is on standby. No I don’t think he’s the chosen one but he’s better than what we have.
    3. Cameron and Jones together are too similar. Doesn’t work. Mix needed to get in to control the game. Expect him to start Tuesday.
    4. EJ is where fast paced soccer goes to die. His mind just doesn’t work fast. He killed a bunch of one touch passes. Can we get Aron and forget to call EJ back to the team?
    5. Howard yet again had a showing where I thought he could have done better with at least one goal. I expect Guzan to start in October.

    Tuesday starters:
    FJ, Mix, Donovan,
    Beasley, Goodson, Gonzo, Fiscal,

    Assuming Goodson is brought in.

    • Jozy starts in my XI if he’s ready. I’m reluctant to start him because Id rather he not get injured and lose a spot on the Sunderland starting lineup. With Fletcher returning soon, he’ll have enough competition without an injury to screw up his season and our World Cup.

      • Not sure why Mix didn’t get the nod at half. Now I’m scared that Jones will start next to Becks against Mexico. A recipe for barely crossing the half line.

      • Jozy is suspended for his inexcusable yellow at the end of the game. At least he won’t risk further injury I guess.

    • Nice comment, Josh D. Agree with most of what you are saying but baffled why still don’t see Cameron at RB for the USMNT. He has played RB for the past year in one of the best leagues in the world for two coaches. He should have been in the original line-up last night at RB even before MB was injured.

      As for Clint’s penalty, it was, as expected, awful and I am saying that as a Clint Dempsey fan. Actually, it should not even count on his USMNT goal count. Klinsmann needs to pull him aside and forbid him to ever take another penalty in a US shirt. Landon is the penalty man. And you are right. It cannot be overstated that Clint’s move back to MLS with a fat contract is a sure sign that he has entered retirement mode. Tottenham clearly no longer wanted him, but the old Clint Dempsey would have gone to another team in Europe and kept fighting. The new Clint Dempsey, I has lost some of that fire.

      • From a sample size of one international game since the return to MLS, and after just a short spell back playing at the club level, we are already declaring Dempsey’s move a failure! That’s some reactionary fandome right there. I thought playing Dempsey up top was a mistake, he was way too isolated. But go back and watch the game, Dempsey dug in and kept the ball moving in some tough spots. He still battled. And is quiet good with his back to goal, though its clearly not is strong point (we need him linking up play more). He’ll be fine, despite the rhetoric.

        The problem was we replaced a classy ball moving CM with Stoke’s utility player. And we can’t defend. Omar Gomzalez is useless, and Beasley played like all he could remember was his last horror showing in San Jose.

      • @Grubbsbl: Gotta say, agree with everything you say. As is well known, I am a big fan of Clint and, I guess, not happy that he took the easy route to move back to MLS. And, yeah, Clint did have the great move last night and then fired from the top of the box when he hit bar. A couple of inches to the right and he would have been a hero.

      • @Biff, glad ya took a breath and thought through the game again. As for “easy route” type comments that’s a debate for another day, though I think your understating the challenge Dempsey faces in a return to MLS.

      • I hope I am wrong, but I will be surprised if Clint will be able to hold the same high level of form playing in MLS that he maintained playing in England. Landon can do it, and I don’t know how. But Clint and Landon are two different players.

      • Dempsey was garbage. lucky penalty went in, one shot not on frame as per stats say. where was he? captain of what really…

    • I was yelling at my TV, WTF is Clint doing taking the penalty. LD has been our designated PK taker for years. He’s good at it. Dempsey is not a PK taker. LD usually has the keeper going the wrong way. We were so lucky to get the goal from Clint. That was not a well taken penalty.

  24. As crazy as it may sound, but I would bring Wondo in. First, we need to play with two strikers — I think that’s pretty obvious. Just look at the Mexico-Honduras game last night. When Bengston came in a second striker in the second half, Mexico had no answers. And with good service into the box, Wondo can do some damage to the very suspect mexican defense. I might even consider starting Wondo and Johannsson. There would be an added advantage of Mexican unfamiliarity with both of them.

  25. I’m amazed at how many still want Orozco at RB. He was all over the field!! He made way to many ill timed runs forward, leaving a huge gap on his side. Zusi and him did not mesh well at all, and Zusi also had a stinker. Losing MB90 hurt, bad. He is the glue for the team. EJ retards the attack by failing to make decisions fast enough. Play him as a sub in the forward role, that’s it. Dempsey is not fit, should have been out earlier. Howard? C’mon man, lofted cross to the top of the 6 and you’re rooted on the goal line? Go and get it!

    • Orozco was driving me nuts, especially in the first half. Constantly out of position, Costa Rica was easily passing right by him and crossing the ball in from his side. Besler was playing more right back than Orozco was, trying to cover for him. And Zusi wasn’t tracking back to help, either.

    • I actually think he caused most of the defensive problems. I know the midfield could have been better but I really thought we might have been running a back 3 for a while out there. Orozco caused the second goal and did something that led to the corner on the first. I think the only reason he was on the field is that Bradley got hurt.

      • Wrong, Increase. Orozco was already in Klinsmann’s original line-up with MB. When MB got hurt, Klinsmann replaced MB with Cameron.

  26. With Jozy Altidore, Geoff Cameron, Matt Besler out for sure and potentially Michael Bradley, can we bring in Corona, Lichaj, Goodson and Torres?

    • agree with all names, but for this one game against Mexico Corona, Torres and Goodson. Lichaj can wait until October, but must be called in then for a look.

    • Torres is garbage…he looses the ball way to much, because he is easily manned off the ball and against smaller opponents than ourselves and worst of all, he does not track back to recover/defend. It’s mind boggling that they were trying to make him our #10 when Klinsi 1st took over. I’d rather see Benny Feilhaber, who even though has not been shining in KC, but has experience (played in the WC cycle, Confederations cup) has been solid as our #10 creative player in the past.

  27. Stream of conciousness critique: Orozco decision was mind boggling. He got skewered at right back. Bradley makes this team go and without him jones and Cameron both look terrible in the middle. We need real right backs like Lichaj and Cameron, nothing else will suffice. On the left Beasley is a bench option only – we need chandler or bocanegra or even Lichaj who’s versatile enough to handle that side as well. Worst case put Johnson back there because while he’s better at left mid he can still play left back better than Beasley.

    Eddie Johnson is only a bench option striker. The decision to bring out altidore after you decided not to start him due match fitness coupled with the foolish card he got only added to the nightmare

    Dempseys penalty should have been saved as it was a poor effort that was so lucky to have gone in. I think our center backs improve tenfold with better wing play and bradley.

    Stop tinkering – the best lineup is readily apparent to all.

    My 23
    Forward: altidore (ice man and demolition man bench)
    Attacking mid: Dempsey
    Right mid: zusi (bedoya)
    Left mid: Donovan (corona)
    Holding mids: Bradley and jones (mix)
    Right back: cameron (Lichaj)
    Left back: fabian johnson (chandler, Beasley)
    Cb: besler (Goodson)
    Cb: Omar (brooks)
    Gk: Howard (guzan, Rimando)

    • only thing i disagree with is having beasley on the bench as LB. he is clearly a winger; let him play the goddam position!

      so donovan and beasley as our two outside mids, alternating sides so they can alternate crossing and cutting in. zusi drops to the bench.

    • @Aj striker: I don’t think it was mistake to insert Jozy. He looked absolutely fantastic out there and was bossin’ the Costa Rica defense. But that yellow card is as stupid as it gets and what is irritating is that Jozy was laughing when the ref waved the card as if he did not give a darn, the sort of stuff I would have expected form him last year when he tweeting and implying that K was incompetent.

    • The decision to play Jozy was even dumber considering he has a hamstring injury and playing on the soggy divot filled pitch might have risked injuring him. It was stupid to even expose him to a yellow.

  28. Is jones one of your “usually solid veteran’s who had an off night”? because he is usually far from solid and he was one of the worst players on the field against cr. just as critical as finding a rb is finding a reliable partner for Bradley. Also lets stop this Beasley at lb thing and just do the thing that makes sense in playing Johnson there, please.

  29. Cameron may have had a bad game maybe hes not good enough at mid this level but this irritates me he has played his whole carrier in mls as a freaken d mid so putting him there is nt out of position one season in epl as right back and he forgotten the position he played for like 8 years in college and mls and if you ask him that’s where he would like to play mid or cb

  30. Here is what I learned from last night:

    1. Beasley isn’t a good option at left back against decent competition

    2. Cameron is not a midfielder and replacing Bradley last minute by putting in a guy out of position was not a smart move.

    3. Eric Lichaj

    4. I’ve never been a fan of Dempsey as the loan striker (or as the penalty taker)

    5. Eddie Johnson should never play wing. He’s up top or on the bench.

    6. It’s time for Brad Guzan.

    • Last night was a disaster, plain and simple. Full credit to the Ticos, who played the first 20 minutes with ferocity. The USA had no answer to that, not from the coaching staff, not from veterans like Dempsey and Donovan, not from our newer played trying to establish themselves as the squad that’s going to take us a step further in Brazil. But last night I saw a team that was not fast enough, not tough enough and not patient enough. Costa Rica came at this team with everything and the USA buckled under. Plain and simple. They better learn from this and fast.

  31. hey bif did you know Cameron played most his carrier in the mls at df midfield then to cb because he thought hed have a better chance at the nats he goes to stoke they play him at right back so hes like 27 yr old and has played right back for one season and anyways hes a far better d mid than right back

    • Scottie, it’s irrelevant what he was playing years ago. he ended his stay at Houston as a defender and is now starting at RB and playing well againsts world-class attackers in the the Premier League.

      I’m done. Hey, will you beam me up, Scottie.

  32. Just want to note, this was Klinsmann’s original starting line-up before MB was injured: Howard; Orozco, Gonzalez, Besler, Beasley; Bradley, Jones; Zusi, Donovan, F. Johnson; Dempsey.

    In other words, Klinsmann was not going to start Cameron at right back before MB got injured, which in my mind is inconceivable. Cameron has been playing only right back so far this season in the Premier League and last year played there almost exclusively. Cameron is a right back and a good one, probably the best right back in the US player pool at the current time and Klinsmann opted instead for Orozco, leaving Cameron on the bench. And then, with MB’s injury, instead of bringing in DM Beckerman to pair with Jones, he brings in right back Cameron. Incomprehensible and I think the biggest reason for last night’s loss.

    • It’s hard to fault Klinsmann for having to make a snap decision at that point. I figure he thought Jones would help attack while Cameron would stay back to support the defense. Remember, a lot of folks wanted to see Cameron in that d-mid slot, but more so with Bradley. Bringing in Beckerman at that position would not have played any different since the role would have been the same. Even if Kyle is better suited there, he would not have facilitated the attack any better than Cameron or Jones. For my money, Jones and Mix should start in the midfield, with JJ playing the d-mid role.

      As for Orozco at RB, I think originally if it didn’t look good in the 1st half, Cameron would have come on in the 2nd. Plus, he was on a yellow, but now he’s unavailable. My only other preference would have been for Landon to play on the right and have Eddie start up top with Dempsey behind him, considering Jozy couldn’t start…

    • These are my thoughts as well.I was blown away that Cameron didn’t start at right back.His play for Houston at right back is why he is in England now.I thought for sure that Beckerman would replace Bradley.I was pretty blown away by some of the choices last night.

  33. It’s very easy to make brilliant lineup moves when playing at home against the likes of Belize and Cuba. Now, the team really needs Goodson, Lichaj at right back, and I would even prefer Boca over Beasley at left back. Not that I expect any of those moves to happen.

  34. Excellent article and for maybe the first time ever, agree with just about everything in it 🙂

    * Cannot blame this loss on MB’s absence. Team played great in the Gold Cup without Bradley and also in other games in the past without him, such as Azteca in August 2012.

    * Yes, Klinsmann has messed up big time at right back and it is finally time for the press interrogate him on Lichaj. This is weird what he is doing.

    * And my favorite line above is comparing Klinsmann to “Blackjack player riding a hot streak…making riskier and riskier plays.”

    That line says it all. There is something about Klinsmann’s personality, he takes great pleasure in being an iconoclast, trying to surprise with unconventional roster moves and hoping to look like a genius for things like playing Beez at left back and Cameron, a club right back, as D-mid. If you look at his Germany team from WC 2006, there were some no-name players on that team who he started who afterwards immediately fell off the radar and into obscurity in lower leagues and were never heard from again and he probably had better alternatives.

    • And I just wanna add to this: Let’s not forget that in February Klinsmann was still starting three d-mids and playing defensive-minded soccer and was perceived by some as giving preference to players who grew up in Germany. A lot of us fans felt he was making bad roster decisions and it’s clear that a lot of players in the pool also were not happy with him, as evidenced by the mutiny story published ahead of the Costa Rica Snow Bowl game in March.

      We will never know what would have happened had that story not been published, but things were looking grim and I think chances are high the US would have ended up with one point at most in March and Klinsmann eventually would have been fired. I think the article forced him to open up and allow the players to voice their frustrations and Klinsmann finally became more flexible and listened to the players and we quit seeing three d-mids and Daniel Williams at right wing and then we saw that absolutely great chemistry on the Gold Cup team, which I and a few others think could have beaten the US Men’s A-team. I think that Gold Cup team could have beat Costa Rica last night.

      But back to my point, just as Klinsmann was doing his 3 d-mid thing before March, since then he’s been going crazy playing players out of position. Beez at RB, Fabian as a attacking midfielder. And last night Clint at the point and Cameron, our best right back, at d-mid.

    • Yes, since we beat up on b teams in the gold cup, Bradley is unnecessary. This game was lost the minute Bradley turned his ankle. Without Evans, altidore, and Bradley, on the road against CR. We had no chance.

  35. One name I haven’t seen but is there any chance Boyd can get called in? He is just coming off an injury but I believe he scored in his last game. I just think he can do a little more of the back to goal work as a target forward that Jozy usually gives us.

  36. Honestly, Klinnsman and the players, are you not tired of this $hit? Get out of fantasyland. Put together a REAL lineup with players in proper positions. Let a skillful player be a skillful player Klinnsman. Quit trying to regiment a whole game. You got to get the mental side down. Time for some U-23 players to put out some fresh energy, enthusiasm, and some creativity. This team is Yin and Yang..never know what team is going to show up. How many times, Klinnsman, do you have to hit your head on the wall with the same mistakes, before you realize it hurts everybody? I would rather see you do everything possible with the right players in the right position and the best formation for the best players. Call up Bocanegra. Why start Gonzalez or Besler when Bocanegra is available? You need to have THE BEST players time to develope Gonzalez when you have better players ahead of him and available. Out of words and thoughts….tired of seeing the same mistakes made by the coaches over and over…Bayern Munich were correct about Klinnsman and Vasquez. Does not matter if USA qaualifies…time for regime change.

    • PS, the win streak really belonged to the players. Good job on that. The coaches have a responsibility, but the player’s have a bigger responsibility. You better put on your best war face against’re going to need it..Think Costa Rica kicked your rear? Mexico will do more and you KNOW IT.

  37. We had to lose sooner or later, but this was certainly a poor way to go down. Although Bradley was certainly a huge loss, we could still have beaten Costa Rica, but from the get go, every pass seemed to go astray and we passed into pressure constantly, leaving Costa Rica to steal it away and counter. As others have said, JK has been making a lot of the right decisions as of late, but tonight was not one of them. Orozco looked awful and constantly out of position, which is why Costa Rica had so much offense being created from the left flank. Cameron should have been playing RB and you bring in *gulp*, Beckerman with Jones, or if so inclined, Mix. Cameron played poorly in the middle of the park, for whatever reason (not playing for club in that position, caught off guard with the Bradley injury, or was just off). Granted, Jones was not much better during the first half, but he picked it up considerably in the second half. Dempsey couldn’t hold onto the ball to save his life. Minus that one attempt on goal, he didn’t do much. I thought, all things considered, Donovan played pretty well. He seemed to be the only one creating chances for his teammates. Certainly not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but our most useful option going forward.

    Either way, I didn’t like the way we lined up from the beginning, as there was no width to our game. It seemed like there was always 6 blue shirts in a very small area, trying to pass it in the goal, and Costa Rica welcomed that type of attack, and countered regularly. I like Donovan playing up top because he is capable of doing so, but Zusi offered nothing going forward, and F. Johnson would show spurts of good movement, and then disappear completely, or seemingly end up way out of position. I was not too impressed by Howard’s play either. Sure, you can argue a couple of the goals one way or the other, but certainly could have done better I thought, but maybe I’m being unrealistic.

    Now, with that stupid yellow card that Altidore received, coupled with Cameron and Besler (did anyone see what happened there? It wasn’t showed on tv that I’m aware of, and he seemed pretty adamant that nothing happened, but I still don’t know if the yellow card he received was deserved) missing the next match as well, we have some serious selection issues. I’d like to see something like this (if Bradley is still not able to play. If he is fit, he starts with Jones):

    ————————————-E. Johnson————————————–
    F. Johnson————Jones———-Beckerman/Mix————Donovan

    Some may be calling for Johannsson, but EJ has been playing well for the US, so it is hard to discard that. Granted, I have not seen them in training, so it is hard to see if one is meshing better with the squad at the moment. Although Orozco looked awful at RB, he has played competently, of late, in the CB position. So, I’d likely put him in the game over Brooks for now. As far as Beckerman and Mix go, it just depends on how JK wants to play, more defensive/offensive minded. I’d personally prefer Mix, but it is pretty much guaranteed that JK starts Beckerman with Jones (again, only if Bradley is not available). We are definitely still a very good team, even with the injuries/suspensions, but the flow needs to be a lot better. It just seemed that for large stretches of the game, we were both flat and anxious, leading to poor buildup and giveaways. Time to beat Mexico, and put this game behind us.

    • Agree with you, Jones did pick it up after his miserable first half and was not bad in the second half. Has been in bad club form so far this season, but it could have just been bad chemistry caused largely by Klinsmann’s brilliant decision to start Jones with a d-mid partner who is actually a right back.

      As for Zusi, as I stated days before the game, Zusi is Klinsmann’s boy and no way was he not going to start in Costa Rica. We will see what happens Tuesday in Columbus. But my guess is that Zusi, who I do like, is gonna sit.

  38. Ok. Lets be very real about several things. Against big boys, the 4-2-3-1 is not good. No midfield control. Orozco did not play poorly. Beasley is a tremendous liability at left back. Yes he can make some runs, but his defending sucks. And at left back you have to defend. Fabian does well in midfield, but we NEED him at left back. And I’ll say this, Dempsey is sloppy and loses possession to much with errant touches. There is reason Tottenham didnt want him after having him. He can be effective as a poacher, but that’s it. Eddie Johnson, well he is a decent MlS player and that’s about it. Aron Jojannaen is real deal. Guy feeling there.
    Go with 4-4-2 for Mexico game. Goalie. Fabian-Goodson-Gomzales-Orzoco. Zusi-Jones-Beckerman-Donovan. Aron and someone up top.

    • Let’s be real about Fabian Johnson, he is a good left back but he is, at best, an average attacking midfielder and he was mostly bad last night. We have much better options, such Bedoya and Corona. I think Torres, although not a club attacker, could have played that role better last night than Fabian. Please, let’s end the Fabian as attacker experiment. I would like to see DaMarcus start at left wing against Mexico. He has bled for this team since March and has earned the right to finally play at his natural position under Klinsmann. If Beasley is simply benched and then fades into the background over coming months without a shot at left wing will be unforgivable of Klinsmann.

      • I’ve been a Beasley fan for years, but he was awful last night. If he hurts the team, which he clearly did, his loyalty and desire are meaningless. I agree that Torres or Corona or Donovan on the left would have been better than FJ. Rather see him overlap as a back and add that dimension to the attack. He’s a better LB than Beasley is. Period. Our defense is leaking and we need to shore it up against Mexico.

      • @Dirk McQuigley: But the point is Beez was bad at a position he does not play for his club. Let’s put Michael Bradly at striker and see how he does, or Jozy at center back.

      • You do realize Fabian Johnson was the best player on the pitch for us last night, don’t you? He created all of our dangerous chances, and if Clint and Zusi hadn’t played like crap he would have been responsible for a half dozen more as well.

        And all of you clowns attacking Klinsmann for putting Cameron at D-Mid need to get a hot clue. Most of you are the same guys who have been calling for him to start at D-Mid over Jones.

        And Ives, Orozco did not play any worse than Beasley or Besler. In fact in the second half he played a good deal better than anyone else on the back line. The problem was Zusi, who kept getting absolutely burned and/or completely failing to help track back on overlapping runs.

        Attacking Klinsmann because we came out flat for the opening ten minutes is frankly a bit silly. “Riskier and riskier moves”? What are you talking about? He played a very competent RB at RB and at the last minute put Cameron in for Bradley instead of a guy like Beckerman. Wow, what a wild man. LOL.

    • I thought he was the worst player on the field by a good amount. Cameron wasn’t great but was statistically better then Jones across the board. Lets not forget one of them actually plays the position.

    • One reason I want to see more and more players go to Europe is so we can find out if they are good enough without finding out during crucial qualifying matches.

      Look at Tim Ream. He got exposed as mediocre in England. That saved us from finding out when it really mattered for the national team.

      Would have been good if Omar, Zusi, and Besler, had undergone the European test already.

    • He’s good for a quality pass or two every game. Everything else over/under-hit and he disappears for too long of stretches in every match.

  39. Let’s all just take a deep breath. Sometimes man city loses to cardiff. It doesn’t mean you have to sell aguero and yaya.

    I’m especially baffled by the criticism of orozco. Nobody can point to anything specific he did wrong, but the fact that he started and we lost seems to be all the evidence needed to burn the witch.

  40. If Michael Bradley can’t go in Columbus on Tuesday, how about Mix Diskerud and Kyle Beckerman get the start? Mix lacks what Beckerman excels at and vice versa. Mix can provide the necessary creativity as well as the superb service from the midfield that we were lacking tonight. Jones seems to only play well when paired with Bradley and is far too prone to giving up possession. Cameron on the other hand looked utterly helpless tonight. I am in favor of this move. What do you guys think?

    As for the starting striker on Tuesday?

    Well your guess is as good as mine. But it may be time for young Johansson to be baptized by fire. Dempsey clearly is ineffective up top by himself and EJ is a one-trick pony suitable only in a spark plug type of role.

    I propose this lineup on Tuesday:






  41. On top of all the negativity, Dempsey should not be taking PK’s when Donovan is on the field. LD is more accomplished in that regard. I was preparing for the worst during the whole buildup. Lucky the bounce deflected into the side netting.


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