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SBI Tuesday Rewind: USMNT and Portugal worse for wear; Mexico holds Brazil to draw; and more

 USMNT Starting eleven

Photo by John Todd/


While John Brooks was reveling in his first goal with the U.S. Men’s National Team — a goal he had dreamed about scoring just two nights before the game — coach Jurgen Klinsmann was answering questions about player fitness, SBI staffer Franco Panizo reported from Brazil. During a huge win over Ghana to open their 2014 World Cup campaign, Clint Dempsey’s nose was broken in a high-kicking challenge while Jozy Altidore and Matt Besler both suffered hamstring injuries, which were not caused by over-training, Klinsmann said.

Meanwhile, Portugal — the Americans’ next group opponent — has some of their own injury woes. Starting left back Fabio Coentrão, a key piece of Portugal’s defense, will be out for the World Cup with a muscle tear. Portugal had already lost Pepe, who will serve out a one-game red card suspension when they play the U.S. Sunday.

In other World Cup action, Mexico fought their way to a scoreless draw with World Cup favorites and host Brazil, putting El Tri in good position to advance out of their group.

Here is a rundown of all the stories featured on SBI today:

Klinsmann provides updates on injured USMNT trio

Jones draws rave reviews after stellar showing vs. Ghana

USMNT left battered and bruised following physical affair with Ghana

Brooks makes dream a reality by scoring late World Cup winner

Portugal defender Coentrão out for World Cup

Mexico rallies behind Ochoa in scoreless draw with Brazil

SBI World Cup Man of the Match: Guillermo Ochoa

Fellaini, Mertens come off the bench to save Belgium in win over Algeria

SBI World Cup Man of the Match: Marouane Fellaini

Akinfeev error dooms Russia to draw with South Korea

World Cup Day 6: Your Running Commentary

World Cup Day 6: A Look Ahead



  1. I’d prefer moving Dempsey to the top and packing the midfield into a 4-5-1 look very similar to the 4-2-3-1 that Klinsmann seems to prefer for the US. I think we see this.


    I think Davis plays and it shouldn’t surprise anyone. Klinsmann would not waste a roster spot unless he had plans for Davis and I think this was the game he had in mind. We saw Portugal struggle with Germany’s long passing and crossing, and that is why Davis is in the squad. Yedlin is the shocker, and Klinsmann always likes to add a wrinkle. I think Klinsmann will want (and the team will need) his pace in defense, and we will definitely need a defensive midfield to cope with Portugal’s possession play. The good news is that Portugal will let us have the ball because they don’t want to press and tire themselves out. If things go well and we get an early goal or two, we can take off Mix or Bradley and put Rastaman in there to play the destroyer. Jones might have to come off with a yellow card because Klinsmann will undoubtedly tell him to be physical with CR7 when he tries to attack the back 4. One solid knock on that sore knee and he will wilt.

    If things go poorly, and we give up one or two early goals. We can pull off one or two of those midfielders and put in Johannsson and Green to run at the backline and leave Dempsey roaming underneath.

    Like I said before, I think we play well and get some goals. Portugal might have the “wounded animal” need to attack, but we have the “mix of young and old coming together to win dramatically” edge going for us. We get our goals, but end up conceding the draw late in the match. The draw will not hurt morale because we know it will be enough to put us through to the next round. The final match will be a nice Sunday kickabout.

    • I think it’s more complicated than the author of that article makes it out to be. In certain systems and contexts, AJ is probably better. In other systems and contexts, Jozy is better. For instance, Jozy at his best against Ghana would have been able to hold the ball up, allowing for more significant possession to spell the defenders a bit more than AJ did. Against teams that don’t possess the ball as well, or teams without the ability to counter as effectively as Ghana, we’ll have more possession, and maybe AJ is a better option.

      That’s just a couple of thoughts – there are plenty more ways to look at this issue. I don’t think there’s an easy answer.

      • I still think that against a smaller, less physical defense (compared to Ghana) and with the advantage of knowing he’ll start, AJ has a good chance to do some damage. Portugal might be vulnerable to counters. Plus he didn’t play the full 90 so he may be less worn down.

    • I think it’s a ridiculous article. The author said that Jozy is not that good because he dominated the Dutch league and failed at a higher level, while Johansson has dominated the Dutch league (but hasn’t failed on a higher level….yet).

      This is fanboy talk, not professional writing.

  2. not sure why more people aren’t talking about using dempsey as the target forward. he’s great in the air, can link up well, and is an opportunistic finisher. i know klinsmann wanted to run the attack through dempsey, but he’s using bradley as our #10 now anyway.

    so either 4-1-2-1-2:

    or 4-3-2-1:

  3. Guys, you will think I’m crazy, but if Klinnsman wants to slot someone into Altidore’s role of big tough holdup guy, there is only one option. Omar Gonzalez. He has done this a few times for the Galaxy, he is pretty good with his head and will win everything hit his way. I don’t know if I would trust him at CB now anyway, so put him up front.

    • You do need a shrink…. Just kidding. I can see that idea late in a game, but not for the full 90 (Gooch did that a few times late in games for AC Milan).

      With Besler iffy, Gonzo needs to be available for CB cover, even if he is out of form.

      I think we will see Zusi and Mix start with Bedoya off the bench. Wondo up top with Dempsey and Johansson off the bench. DM trio is unchanged to start.

  4. Jody is down. We lucked out. The attacking midfield & forward played bad. It was our defense that won thy game, plus luck of course.

    IMO, the only we can improve our attacking flow is to start Julian Green.

    • Play some late role, yes. Start? NOPE.

      That said, I can see how his fellow newbie – JAB – making an impact can really inspire him to do his thing. That said, I would not start him in this game.

      The guys left can do the business we just came up against a very physical and athletic team that would have punished us if we went into a foor race with them. Portugal will not give us that kind of problem, which sould let us have some more of the ball. I start Wondo, or even AJ in this game. Space will be there this time.

  5. Assuming (as it certainly appears) that Jozy will not be able to participate on Sunday, I am coming to believe more and more that the way forward does not necessarily involve a decision between AJ and Wondo. AJ has plenty of potential but the problems on Monday ran deeper than a simple inability to play as hold-up CF— even on our rare counters, it was obvious that he was not in-sync with the timing and direction of the attacking moves… he isn’t able to slot into the Altidore role and it’s unlikely Wondolowski would fare any better.

    I’m more enthusiastic about seeing something more akin to a “False 9” (god I hate even typing that played-out phrase) seeing Dempsey move further forward, with Diskerud coming in as a creator and scoring option just behind. He he seems to understand the attacking dyinamic better— I believe he had been prepared for this in the event of a Bradley/Jones suspension better than AJ had.

    AJ has incredible talent, but he just looked a bit lost… played WAY too far forward to even connect with our clearances, and made confusing runs when he was able to get invovled. I don’t know that this can really be corrected and integrated in 5 days as easily as having Mix step in… MIx looked a lot more aware of the blueprint in his limited time in the send-offs…

    Anyway, one man’s thoughts… anybody agree? Violently disagree?

      • Cr*p.. I knew it. I hear ya. I heard about a 24 hour place that sells star spangled toilet paper.., Guess I gotta go for a drive, Might need a dogsitter 🙂

    • I can see where you are coming from, but in order to do that we have to then drop back to our 4-2-3-1 presumably, and unless you want either Jones or Bradley playing on the wing you are going to have to sit Beckerman and bring in Zusi AND Bedoya, or start someone else like Brad Davis. Of course, we could still lineup in our 4-4-2 diamond, but Mixx would have to stay a lot higher than he is used to, and at that point we might as well just start a normal forward no matter their holdup ability. Or else we may see Bradley struggling to find space as Mixx keeps dropping in to receive ball.

      Just my thoughts, I am with you though if JK can get those guys on the field versus AJ.

      • One of the three dmids will need to sit some anyway wont they? I would think it would be hard to 90 three straight games inside two weeks in the heat and humidity of Brazil. Maybe Becks starts on bench for 60 mins, bring him on once we have our 2-0 lead 😉

    • I think AJ, like most of the Europeans, are not used to the heat. You train for it and you prep for it but there’s nothing like actually playing in it.

      He’s a better player than what he showed on Monday. The heat combined with Ghana’s athleticism (and rough play) didn’t help him look good at all. That said, he’s quality but in Manaus…maybe we go with Wondo…just to keep the D honest.


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