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USA 2, Nigeria 1: SBI USMNT Player Grades

USMNT Starting 11


The U.S. Men’s National Team has made it to Brazil, and has already begun preparing for its World Cup matches, but it’s time to take a look back at the encouraging performance that has them feeling so confident as the tournament draws closer.

The U.S. team’s 2-1 victory against Nigeria wasn’t a masterpiece, or blowout, but it was the very first clear sign of significant progress for a team that was very much still trying to figure things out during the World Cup Send-Off series. Several questions were answered, and at least one important solution was seemingly unearthed amid what was a strong team  showing.

The 4-3-2-1 system deployed by Jurgen Klinsmann showcased the strengths of some of his best players, and covered for some of the issues that were keeping previous combinations from working ideally. Yes, it is just one match, and against a tired Nigeria team resting some of its best players, but the results were still a reason to feel optimistic about the direction the U.S. team is heading in.

Here is a look back at how the U.S. team’s players fared in the 2-1 vs. Nigeria, with SBI’s Player Grades:


TIM HOWARD (6). His 100th cap didn’t see him face a ton of shots, but when Nigeria threatened late he stood up to the challenge well with some key saves.

FABIAN JOHNSON (6). Continues to dazzle as an attacking right back, and his assist on Altidore’s first goal was quality.  Where he falters a bit is in tracking back after his attacking forays, and he also had a few head-scratching moments defensively.

GEOFF CAMERON (5.5). Steady for the most part, though did appear to lose his mark at times during Nigeria’s numerous corner kicks. Looks set as a starter at this point.

MATT BESLER (6). His best showing of the Send-Off Series saw him look more like his steady self. Gave up the penalty kick, but it came at the tail end of some other defensive breakdowns by teammates.

DAMARCUS BEASLEY (6.5). Had the best performance along the back-line, if not the most flashy. He successfully pulled off every defensive challenge while also getting forward at times. Still has the speed to deal with fast wingers, locked down the starting job.

JERMAINE JONES (7). His best USMNT game in recent memory, Jones took full advantage of having the freedom to attack, but also showed a willingness to hustle and help out teammates. Showed why Klinsmann has considered him a locked-in starter.

KYLE BECKERMAN (6.5). Did the dirty work in central midfield, using his impeccable positioning and crisp passing to support Jones, Bedoya and Bradley.

ALEJANDRO BEDOYA (5.5). Played in a bit of a deeper role than usual, but it worked well to take advantage of his impressive work rate. He needed to do better on several attacking opportunities, but did have a hand in the first U.S. goal.

CLINT DEMPSEY (6). Very active in attack and probably scores at least one if not for the outstanding work of Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama. Will be a big beneficiary if Altidore can heat up as defenses key on the big striker.

MICHAEL BRADLEY (7.5). Was at his playmaking best, creating several top-notch chances, and delivering some tasty passes.

JOZY ALTIDORE (7.5). His first goal was a tap-in, but it came via some hustle, while his second goal was a combination of skill and brute force, showing off all the qualities that make him such an enticing forward option. You can see the confidence building as he heads toward his second World Cup.

GRAHAM ZUSI (5.5). Came on and provided good energy, staying active in the attack, even if he wasn’t as sharp as usual.

MIX DISKERUD (5). Looked smooth on the ball, once again showing a good passing touch and movement. Wasn’t his best sub’s performance, or usual instant impact, but tidy.

TIM CHANDLER (5.5). Showed off his impressive speed as he brought fresh legs late in the match. Could definitely be a difference-maker in the second half against tired teams as he attacks from deep, though he has lost out on catching Beasley for the starting left back spot.

OMAR GONZALEZ (3). Only played 10 minutes but managed to put together a handful of frightening moments in that short amount of time. Looked slow, and almost looks injured, in being beaten and caught out of position.


What do you think of the grades? Which player do you feel deserved a higher grade? Who do you feel we gave too high a grade? Which performance were you most encouraged by?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Bedoya is underrated here. His pass was the one that unlocked the defense on goal #1.
    He made a couple quick 50/50 decisions that didn’t pan out, but he was up the field in dangerous spots in a hurry.

  2. I’d have given Zusi a three I guess. He was simply awful and didn’t look like his game translates out of concacaf/mls/Azerbaijan. I sincerely hope it was just a bad night for him but I’m not so sure.

  3. Gonzo’s injury, and his documented (and yet to be fully corrected) tendency toward ball-watching and iffy positioning, put him behind both Cameron and Brooks on the depth chart, in my opinion. I have very little confidence in him right now. Indeed, I’d rather see Goodson and his considerable experience on the bench now than a risky Gonzalez.

  4. Klinsman will regret the day he left Landon Donovan off this team,,,you don’t just replace proven goal scoring ability with potential,,,,,,just look at the #’s from WC 2010,,,it speaks volumes,,,,Altidore/Dempsey,,,,I just don’t see it

    • Pele and Maradona are top scorers in this specific tournament, so by your logic, they should be on the BRA and ARG squads. Move on please.

    • I wonder,,,,,where you learned,,,,,to use commas that way,,,,,?

      For a moment, remember Claudio Reyna. Captain America, a yank on Manchester City’s squad, a beast in 2002 who anchored a run to the Quarterfinals. But in 2006, it was his give-away that lost the Ghana game and he looked old and slow the whole time. Klinsmann has a point about the difference between past and present abilities, and LD, as much as he has done for US Soccer, is not who he was. LD is this cycle’s Claudio Reyna, except he was left at home. Let’s see what happens differently.

  5. Did a double take on the photo above because Bradley looks as tall as Cameron. But if you move down and look at MB’s feet, you will see he is standing on his tippy toes. Why would MB feel the need to fake being as tall as Cameron in the team photo? ha-ha

  6. “World Cup: Despite rash of injuries elsewhere, USMNT still healthy” thank you mlssoccer you just jinxed the US.

  7. What Jozy does on the first goal that should be shown to budding strikers is he floats into space instead of just pressing towards the keeper and goal line. By drifting out and back towards the far post he provides the space for the pass and room to finish.

    Goal two he catches the keeper near post who was leaning towards the middle on his inside cut.

    When he does stuff like that, it’s like, he could be good. When we’re trying to work the ball through the middle third, less valuable.

    • i am still obsessed with the top button. Jones, Bradley, Johnson are buttoned. Others are not. Let’s all agree to button the shirt to the top.

  8. Anyone else concerned that the coaches and players are all talking almost exclusively about “getting ready for Ghana” to the exclusion of the two more difficult games? We dont wanna peak on Monday. I know GHA is a must-win game, but we need a result against either POR or GER to even have a chance of getting out of el Grupo de Muerto. And when I was starting to think Vogts was brought on to help prepare for GER, he discloses he is actually rooting for GER.

  9. Despite all the comments that this is the deepest squad ever for the US, I am not so sure. I think there is a significant drop-off when the US subs for any but Keeper(Howard, Guzan) or the 3rd midfielder (Bedoya, Zusi). On the basis of performance in the last 3 friendlies, only Mix, Davis and maybe Brooks outside of those mentioned were acceptable, but even they are not close to as good as the players they would replace. AJ and Wondo have their place, but they are not in Altidore’s league, the others, well I will just hold my breath if they play.

    • It’s the deepest US squad ever only from the perspective of how many players were in the pool. It has very little to do with quality, a lot with quantity.

    • I agree… this is mostly a function of disappointing individual seasons at club level over the past 12-18 months and US players on an individual level moving in the wrong direction… whose “stock” is actually rising? just look at whether US players have been moving up in playing time and competition or down-how many actually jumped a level up in competition and or had good seasons?

      Dolo and Holden knocked out by injuries…

      Bradley and Dempsey fled to MLS from uncertain playing times at Europa League level clubs…Jones had to move to Turkey… Brooks and Chandler definitely struggled at times, even when healthy…Jozy at Sunderland…

      Cameron and FJ were the only ones to start in a top league week in and week out, even Bedoya was a spot starter… Besler, Beckerman, Zusi were in MLS…

      who, outside of Julian Green is a “rising star”?

      • “who, outside of Julian Green is a “rising star”?”


        Unless you mean “international superstar.” I don’t think Yedlin is quite on that level (though I’m also not certain that Green is).

        I also think that FJ, who you mentioned, should qualify. Cameron would too if he were a tad younger. Johannsson had a good season, even if the end dried up a bit—I’d still call him a rising star. I mean, he’s got to have already caught the attention of bigger clubs.

  10. Big GREEN elephant in the room fellas: Julian Green phenom has been given zero minutes in send off series, unless I missed his performance. Could it be he was selected as a mascot? I sure hope he pans out as an exciting player, but to ride the pine in meaningless games is not a good sign of whether he will contribute in Brazil. Maybe he will light up the closed room in that Belgium scrimmage. Maybe he is a secret weapon like the Kraken, to be released on Portugal when all seems lost.

    • A year ago I said that if either Beasley or Eddie Johnson were starting in Brazil I’d jam a pencil into my eye. I’m going to go ahead and welch on that. Even worse, I’m going to have to agree that DMB is our best option at left back. While I’m still less than thrilled, all credit to him for his work to get back to this position.

      • Hahahahaha. Looking at that picture I was thinking the same thing about Beckerman.

        He’s earned it, though. I really like this team.

    • Dempsey was awful and he ABSOLUTELY should have passed to Jozy for that goal he himself missed. What a selfish play. Later Jozy, instead of passing to Dempsey, turned and fired for goal #2. Pretty classless to see Dempsey not pass to a WIDE OPEN Jozy who needs goals.

      • Ehh, I though that at first, but the replay showed a defender sprinting into position who likely would have deflected any pass to Altidore. It was far from the ‘gimme’ some people seem to think it was.

        I like my strikers to shoot whenever they have opportunities. That was one of them.

    • Yeah. Under Dempsey, Ives wrote “[He] will be a big beneficiary if Altidore can heat up as defenses key on the big striker” but I’d flip that to say that “Altidore will get better looks and more goals if Dempsey continues to show some heat, as defenses will have to decide between Altidore and Dempsey rather than just focus on Altidore.” Dempsey looked more alive than usual, from how I’ve seen him for the Nats in the past. Which led to Jozy’s opportunities.

    • My take on Dempsey is that he is extremely selfish and a bit annoying. But he’s probably our most talented (not best) player even if he’s exasperating. We’ll need him to have a great tournament for us to do anything. So I’m not saying he’s not good or that we should bench him. But he drives me crazy.

    • Dempsey was ok. As usual only 50% good decision making. Makes a lot if dumb decisions in dangerous areas (offensive and defensive side of ball).

  11. I can’t believe that no one seems to have noticed that the penalty was a direct result of Chandler’s not even making any kind of an effort to get back after his run into the Nigerian box. If you have a chance, watch that moment again (starting at about 84:25), and you can see that Chandler is jogging back very leisurely, almost walking, while Nigeria is breaking down the right wing (the left, his, side of our defense). If this were basketball, I’m sure any coach would sit him down right away for an extended period of time. It was an unbelievable lack of effort.

    • Worth noting that chandler had just made an 80 yard sprint on the ball up the flank all the way to the attacking endline while holding off a pursuer.

      Also worth noting that there are physical limits to what the human body is capable of.

      So maybe not an unbelievable lack of effort.

      • Sorry, but he had only been on the field for a few minutes before this run, and he was already so exhausted? Bradley, Jones, Beasley, Johnson were making those long runs back all night long. The ref, who had been on the field all game and is not a world class athlete, easily outran him on that play.

      • Maybe not a lack of effort but a lack of judgment. Why is our left back making an 80 yard run up the flank and exposing the team to a counter attack while protecting a 2-0 lead in the 85th minute?

    • @David M, You can criticize other fullbacks but it is not allowed to criticize Chandler’s mistakes like the one you point out or his lazy give away of the ball against Turkey that resulted in a penalty. Chandler’s lack of grit and his weak defensive skills will be impossible to hide in Brazil and it could get very ugly but the fanboys will still be gushing about how great he is.

      • Chandler fanboys vs. those who still belive he’s not committed: the never ending battle.

        To say Chandler is directly responsible for the penalty is ridiculous. There’s a certain risk to attacking up the wings, sure, but is he expected to run all the way back and take over the defensive play from that far away? That’s why you have rotations for when things get out of whack. Same stuff happens when FJ attacks.

        The lengths people will go to slag off talented young players is ludicrous, and soccer seems to be #1 when it comes to this fan behavior.

      • Question: Is there some middle ground where people can be fans of Chandler, recognize that he has a lot of talent, be excited to watch him play, acknowledge that he sometimes makes mistakes—and yet be neither a “fanboy” nor a “hater”?

        Answer: Yes, unless hyperbole is your raison d’etre.

      • Sorry, I don’t see a lot of talent in Chandler. Actually I see very poor defensive skills and at best average offensive. I’ve never seen him have a decent game for the US. And yeah, I don’t like the fact that he basically refused to play for the national team for over a year and is then still picked to go to Brazil. Somehow his lack of commitment is not a problem, but it is a problem for the team’s all-time leading scorer.

      • You can disagree about just how much talent Chandler has, but before you say, “he basically refused to play for the national team for over a year,” you should get your facts right.

      • He’s not that great. Chandler is fast but his positioning is poor and he gets caught out often. To add to that his work on the offensive side is only so-so. Ironically, people often knock Beasley for relying on his speed to get back, but his positioning was much better. I am a fan of Beasley from way back–when he chooses to go forward he is deadly. I would take Beasley over Chandler any day. And, it will anchor that side of the defense with a veteran who knows how to get out of the group stage in a WC.

      • It’s amazing that Chandler keeps getting good ratings here. In the Turkey game he was credited with the cross that led to Dempsey’s goal. In fact, he made a bad play. He was wide open on the wing and served a very poor ball that 99 times out of a 100 any defender will easily clear. That was one time when the Turkish defender completely messed up.

        And now we’re told that Chandler “Showed off his impressive speed as he brought fresh legs late in the match”, yet somehow his legs were fresh only to go forward but too tired to track back leading to a defensive breakdown and a penalty. What else did he do in the Nigeria game?

        With all that, I won’t be at all surprised if Klinsmann picks him to start against Ghana. As our special team adviser recently said, “Of course, Germany, Ghana and Portugal are superior to Americans in footballing terms.” So Chandler, being German, is clearly superior to Beasley in footballing terms. Thank god for our wise special adviser.

      • As Chandler comes on to the field you can clearly see Besler telling him repeatedly to “Stay home”. I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that he was telling Timmy to simply stay back and play defence and not rush forward.
        with that, Timmy clearly was not inclined to stay home and thus the breakdown that led to the penalty. Keep it simple, when you are up 2 goals, and you are a defender, DEFEND!

    • Yep, starts with Chandler being caught too far up. Omar makes right play to go to ball on flank. Next, mistake is Cameron not tracking runner down middle. Last mistake is Besler taking late runner out for PK. I don’t know why people are blaming Omar for that goal.

      • Because while the defense shifted properly to cover for Chandler’s run, which they are supposed to do, not sure why I see all this hate for Chandler doing what he does best, Omar totally whiffed on his man. When the fullback goes up, the CB or MF shifts over to cover the space, which we did properly. After that, you need to defend properly

    • agreed 100%. Chandler should have made that run back. Even 90% effort would have gotten him in front of the Nigerian, who won the penalty, before that guy even crossed half field.

  12. So can this formation work with Zusi in there instead of Bedoya? I thought we were severely lacking on set pieces, and Zusi is a beast at them.

    • Agree. Some of those corners we took were pretty pitiful. The issue is with Zusi AND Dempsey, the tracking back will be very poor, Bedoya does a great job of this. Perhaps Zusi against Ghana and Bedoya for Portugal/Germany?

      • They certainly have different strengths. I like Bedoya in there defensively, but with him and Jones, we lose a lot of our capacity to cross the ball.

      • I seem to remember Zusi tracking back fantastically against Mexico. Granted, that’s one game, but doesn’t he do this well?

      • he’s not the defender Bedoya is and he is significantly slower. Zusi is a way better crosser of the ball though.

    • Don’t see why not. IMHO Zusi is better at striking the ball (set pieces, crosses, etc.) while Bedoya is better with the ball at his feet but other than that I’d say they’re pretty interchangeable. Both guys hustle all-out every play. Bedoya might be a little better defensively but if so it’s not much.

    • It would work essentially the same, but probably slightly less effectively. Bedoya is better all around right now, aside from crossing/set piece ability. I agree the set pieces are lacking though.

  13. Ives, to say “Cameron lost his mark on corners” is a bit of a misnomer. The U.S. is defending corners zonally so they do not have specific marks, but instead are responsible for an area.

    • Cameron has a history of losing people who go blind side. You don’t get to just watch in zone, and even if it’s systemic as opposed to personal, the system is ill suited then to a raw, athletic back who loses track of his man and his focus periodically. He’s a dominating physical presence when the play comes right to him. When it is more indirect, he can lose track of things.

  14. Klinsmann: 9.0 because Jones + Beckerman = masterstroke.

    I was really happy to see Beasley play so well positionally. In the past, I’ve been critical of him using his speed to recover after making a defensive error. He didn’t have to resort to that vs. Nigeria.

    • I perceived the same thing. Beasley played well defensively and seemed to be in the right spot all night.

      After watching Ghana out muscle and run Korea, I’m concerned about Beas. I can see him getting knocked around pretty easily. A shoulder to shoulder challenge won’t go well for him. He will be depending on a ref with a quick whistle.

    • +1.

      So funny that there was always the debate over who paired better in Central Midfield with Bradley: Jones or Beckerman? Yet no one thought to say “why not both?” until now.

      • Who cares, the WC is about winning, style and beauty points do not count. The US needs to advance, not look pretty while losing. I am pretty sure that in open gmes Germany, Portugal and Ghana would have the talents to win pretty handily over the US.

      • depends on what your end goal is. To entertain and wins fans to the sport, or to try to win some games.

      • Fans care about winning. If the US loses 3 games with a 4-3 scoreline no one will care about those goals except that they lost and gave up 4 goals.

      • @ Jason, I’m with you on that thought But I don’t think that’s totally accurate to say categorically. If we lose by score lines like that and play exciting games, many will claim to still feel good about it and will say that for 4 years imo. But I want to win

      • Soccer is not “dancing with the stars” it is a competition with simple aims; score goals and don’t let the other team score. Style points do not count.

        In any case, there is a certain beauty in defending well as much as there is in running up and down the field.

      • Jason, Dennis: I gotta agree with beachbum and Jesse here. I want the USA to win so I can watch them play more matches—and by
        “play,” I do not mean “park the bus.”

        Klinsmann’s 3 CDMs were exciting because Jones turned into a LM on offense. He didn’t just bunker alongside Beckerman.

      • beachbum: I don’t see where I was trying to be “clever.” I was just trying to get my point across. I’m not trying to say how other fans should feel about winning vs. entertaining. Just my own preference.

        If I had been a Greece fan in 2004, then before the end of the Euros I would have stopped being a Greece fan.

        Which is not to disparage defensive soccer. I play defense. Like Dennis, I find “a certain beauty in defending well.” Parking the bus is the least interesting form of defending.

        Likewise, there’s a certain ugliness to only attacking well. (I stopped watching Barca after Puyol got injured because their defense became a sloppy mess.)

      • beachbum: okay, maybe you thought I was trying to twist your words. I didn’t read you in complete agreement with Dennis (or Jason):

        Dennis: “Who cares, the WC is about winning, style and beauty points do not count.”

        You: “I don’t think that’s totally accurate to say categorically. If we lose [4-3]…and play exciting games, many will claim to still feel good about it.”

        Maybe the emphasis of your comment was, “But I want to win.” Maybe I misinterpreted what you meant. Sorry.

      • +1

        That was back when we didn’t tend to deploy MB90 (and JJ to a lesser degree) in a more advanced position. Tactically, it was a different lineup, even if the same three players were on the pitch.

    • Absolutely agreed. His tactical changes were masterful (and I’ve been a big critic in the past).

      As for Beasley, I agree he was very good, and he and Jones seem to have developed an understanding as far as Jones covering for Bease when he goes forward.

  15. Hmmm — I really saw Bradley having a sub-par 1st half — several poorly placed passes and give-aways. Definitely improved in the 2nd half, but for me wasn’t really in the discussion for 7+ marks. Honestly I’m thinking 6 thanks to his improvement

    • I agree. MB had a couple of great passes including the assist to Altidore, but he continued the recent trend of sloppy turnovers in the back. We saw what Ghana does with those in their game against Korea.

    • Agree. Bradley is consistently over-scored on this site and Jones is unfairly knocked down almost every game. Bradley’s first half was relatively poor. Not sure how you guys have Cameron under 6 — would just switch his score with Bradley’s. The rest are about right. Also, can I just say how much I enjoy ESPN’s tactical cam? It provides such a better view of the game than the regular feed.

    • huh?

      Bradley created a half a dozen chances to score and chased down and stole the ball from attacking Nigerian midfielders… he was the best F-ing player on that field

      • Yeah, Bradley was flat out great. His pass completion rate has dropped a bit but that’s natural now that he’s playing higher and not making as many square passes to defenders.

      • Bradley always plays well, but his quickness & accuracy seem a bit slower in the last few games. Compare him to a year ago.

    • Thank you!!!

      I’ve gotten flak from my other forum and from my soccer-minded friends for saying the same thing (and pointing out that the pundits, including Twellman, glossed over it completely). I wasn’t taking away anything from his performance when what he was trying to do came off, but I thought Jones looked better as a playmaker in the first half.

      Bradley is deadly more often than not, but sometimes tries to thread the needle when he should be putting one foot in front of the other. I’m not going to fault him for trying the spectacular or cutting passes, but especially early in the game it’s more important to keep possession and dictate the game than it is to take unnecessary risks trying to get an early goal. Just my opinion though, and I don’t mean to sound like I’m down on Bradley…I’m a big big fan. I just think that the turnovers are a result of him feeling the perceived burden that the media has heaped on his shoulders, and trying too hard to make stuff happen.

  16. i am excited to see how this new formation will play out, after watching Ghana play the past few weeks it makes sense for us to have the Midfield clogged with Defensive minded players such as Jones, Bradley and Beckerman.

    • Yeah, I watched the game twice and I think 5.5 is low for him. He might make a visible mistake here or there but that’s only because he gets himself involved so damn much of the time. And I feel like his better touches and decisionmaking are getting lost. He’s become a critical cog for this team. I like Zusi, but he’s a poor man’s Bedoya (but admittedly with a better cross).

      • like ale, but had some poor decisions in the final third…lacks donovans class, even now, when it comes to the final pass.

      • I agree that in some ways Zusi is a poor man’s Bedoya. Unfortunately, Bedoya is in some ways a poor man’s Zusi.

        Neither is the complete package.

        At this point though, I favor Zusi only because his weaknesses can be covered by FabJo and Beckerman playing on that same side.

  17. I know its not related to this post, but I was thinking, one article that would be great to see would be a ranking of best World Cup commercials. There are so many great ones that come out that we don’t even know about.

    Just a thought…

  18. Gonzo really struggled in those last 10 min as a sub. At this point, I rather see a health and strong Brooks coming on late as a sub;

    • I’ve been pretty high on Gonzo myself, but the dude is regressing badly right now. Might be the injury, might be a case of the yips, but I agree…something’s off there. Agree that Brooks might be the better third option right now. I suspect Klinsmann might have gone with Goodson over Gonzalez if he’d seen Gonzo’s recent deer-in-the-headlights form coming.

      Hopefully Cameron and Besler don’t require subbing.

      • It’s not that simple. He has to have a serious medical reason to declare him unfit.

        And that has to pass the FIFA medical committee.

        Gonzo’s injury may hurt his form but does not seem serious.

        So unless they can prove he is physically unable to continue, which I doubt is the case, they are stuck with him.

    • agreed – interesting that a year ago I would have thought Gonzo was 100 percent the starting CB – now I doubt he gets playing time.

    • I think thats to be expected of a central defender coming in a game late and trying to catch up to the pace of the game. Brooks struggled in his first few minutes against Turkey but he had 45 mins to get it right unlike Gonzalez

      • On the upside, Omar is a beast in the air and an asset on set-pieces going forward. This point though, is completely and utterly negated by his lack of pace and positional awareness in front of goal. He’s a ball watcher and I fear the worst every time he steps on the pitch. His ten minutes in Jacksonville have hopefully cemented his position on the bench in Brazil.

    • The fact that an injured Gonzalez is on the team is another reason why I have no respect for Klinsmann. He just wasted a roster spot on somebody who can’t help the team. Besides, have you noticed that Gonzalez has gone *backwards* ever since he played substantial minutes on the national team? How often does *that* happen? It’s not just his injury; his confidence is shot, and has been for quite awhile. That’s a *direct* result of Klinsmann’s constant experimenting with the back four.

      Klinsmann is so infatuated with his own way of doing things that he has no clue about how his decisions affect the team. How many coaches go into a World Cup with *no* defensive cover on the bench? That’s what will happen if Bradley, Jones and Beckerman start at the same time — which is Klinsmann’s best tactical option, since he wants his outside backs to attack at the risk of exposing his central defense.

      This is the man whom Gulati appointed to build the national team???

      The next two weeks will show the world what kind of a fraud Otto von Klinsmarck is.

  19. Was at the game. 1) The stadium sucks. Would hate to be a Jags fan. 2) I thought tha the starting 11 and having Bradley, Jones, and Beckerman was genius.

    I think that Beckerman has his limitations but that he is dependable and you always know what you are going to get. 2 years go never would want him near the team. Now I see what Klinsman sees in the guy.

    • Beckerman is steady, dependable, and boring, which is really two positive ways and one negative way of saying the same thing. That’s probably why it’s taken so long for many (including me) to warm to him.

      • Beckerman is a true 6 compared to Jones who is great but not as defensive. I thought the three of them (Jones, Bradley, and Beckerman) worked great. Hope to see it in the WC. If you watch Beckerman in RSL games, he is like the gel in the midfield. And then, every once in a while, he has an awesome shot from distance…

    • I was at the game too…WOW…the stadiums was poorly designed as far as its entrances/exits. Jacksonville in general, is pretty run down. The overall customer service (hotels, restaurants, ect..) was pitifull. It almost seems like they had no idea that there was an almost sold out game in their city, based on the city’s preparation (poor public transportation, lack of staffing in restaurants) and comments by the staff in different venues. The only positive was the way the USMNT played and the high attendance level.

      • Was at this game in section 237 – good seats but hard to walk getting to your seats…the ushers were horrible just like the Scotland game two years ago. Yes, Everbank Field is poorly designed….But we’ve drawn well when we play there so I’ll put up with it, especially if it gives us a home crowd advantage.

    • Yea I’d honestly bring Goodson in, if possible, before things even get started. He doesn’t look like he’s healed properly. If Cameron or Besler go down, Gonzalez will be our Johnny Bornstein and he’ll be right in the middle. If they go down early enough, that game’ll be all but a locked in loss.

      • Brooks has to be the #3 CB right now. If Gonzalez sees the field against Ghana we’re in for a world of hurt.

      • I agree guys. There is something wrong with Omar. I thought the same thing against azerbaijan. Everyone else was complimenting him though. His knees have gone Gooch on him.

      • Goodson? Seriously? Naw I’ll take my chances with Gonzalez. There really no competition there.

      • Gonzo can’t run, he isn’t healthy. What more is there to gamble with, hope that FIFA institutes rules allowing wheel chairs in the next week?

      • If he can’t go, I would call up Edu. We might need some extra cover at CM and he can play both in a pinch.

      • Agreeed If we play Beckerman, Jones and Bradley at the same time, which it looks like we will. We need some cover in case of injury or cards.

      • Yup. CDM at this point is KB and JJ, with no cover on the bench (assuming that MB and GC start and play CAM and CB/RB respectively).

      • MB can drop back and play for jj or Becks, and Cameron could cover as well. We have players that could slide into Cams and MB roles respectably.

      • I don’t see it that way. I would want to keep Cameron and Bradley in the roles they are best suited for, which is where they are playing now. Certainly I don’t want to mess the back 4 anymore, so Cameron needs to stay. Mix up top and Bradley pushed back is not ideal. I’d much rather keep Bradley up top and have an Edu come in underneath.

      • Sure… But it comes down to a preference between a EDU-BECK/JJ-MB(CAM) and a BECK/MB-JJ/MB-CD/AB/GZ/MIX(CAM) triangle. Moving AB or CD to CAM would have a knock-on affect of having to bring in GZ or BD or JG, depending on who takes the central position.

        That’s a lot of changes to make in the spine and in the attack. I’d rather keep people where they’ve trained, acclimated, and performed well. Thus, if given the opportunity to replace a struggling and injured Gonzo, I’d go with Edu. It shores up the midfield, and reduces the impact of a loss of a CDM. In a pinch, he can even play CB, but really… if we get down to CB 3 and CB 4 playing at the same time, we’re probably boned anyway.

      • “We have players that could slide into Cams and MB roles respectably”

        Maybe for Cameron but , unless Stu Holden is healthy and in form,
        you have no respectable replacement for Mikey.

      • ohh nice call Mueller, I was thinking Ream but he’s out of the picture and Mo would be a solid off-the-bench spark plug. Plus, his coach just got fired, he’s got nothing but free time!

    • The knee is straightforward, we know he tweaked that, I also saw the newfangled version of athletic tape on his back/neck before an earlier friendly. I think he’s walking wounded and not so quality you roll the dice.

      • And I’m not much of a fan of him when he’s well, he’s bambi on rollerskates with maybe a little more aggression than Goodson, but then he gets caught out of position like Cameron diving in.

    • Edu should have been on the plane instead of Gonzo…. especially with the 4321 becoming our formation.

      Edu could have covered for the CBs as well as the DM….

      JK needs to say Gonzo is injured to Edu can come in

      Plus it would seriously make people’s heads explode if a player got injured and it wasnt donovan that replaced that person


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