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USMNT 2, Turkey 1: Field-Level Highlights

Jozy Altidore

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  1. 1. Fabian is a lock. So so solid box to box.
    2. Beasley and Besler!
    3. Great timing Jozy
    4. Omar not ready
    5. With zero tune up minutes, it’s clear that Green was brought in as a mascot
    6. I feel better about Ghana now. Not so sure yet about Portugal and Germany
    7. Final Exams for Jurgen. He’ll get found out as a genius or a goat.
    Cant wait!

  2. The USMNT cannot be compared to other up and coming national teams.
    We don’t have the culture–at all.
    JK had a very hard challenge. He’s doing it his way and it’s paying off in some respects and not so much in others.

  3. From the Angle at 1:30, Bradley chance was even better than I had thought. I wish he had taken a better shot.

  4. Have seen a lot of excellent posts amongst the comments from this weekend– made me think quite a bit about how the things we have seen the team do in the past connects with what we are (or may be) seeing currently. It’s something of a “strategy” vs. “tactics” illustration… and in this case tactics (which are informed by the technical ability, experience and understanding between the individual players) is where we are really making strides.

    The “strategy” employed yesterday is generally not so unfamiliar (“bunkering” and counter-attacking” are among the common terms I’ve seen). More generally, it involves conceding 51+% of possession to the opposition, either because they are technically superior and likely to command the majority regardless (see our typical approach against opponents like Brazil/Spain/Italy) , or because you believe you can exploit this somehow to your advantage (Mexico in Columbus, and to some extent yesterday ). Even the very best teams use this strategy on at least a situational basis, most notably in the away-leg matches in the knockout stage of the Champions League. Obviously, the USMNT is no stranger to this strategy, either. It has been the strategy in our best moments and will remain in the playbook indefinitely. But it is “tactics” where the differentiation has really been happening.

    Look back our old successes using this “safety first” strategy and you will see an almost crude tactical approach by comparison. Really, it was “parking the bus and hoping for a mistake or set piece”. The tactics were unsophisticated but reflected our technical limitations and inexperience — it was about keeping a clean sheet and a “take what you can get” attack. The memorable 1-0 victory over Brazil at the L.A. Coliseum in 1998 is “Exhibit A” for this era. It was a godlike performance from Keller and a superbly organized take-no-prisoners defense, accompanied by a solitary free-kick from Preki that won the day. Not sustainable though… unless you are Greece

    We evolved considerably during the Arena/Bradley era. Players like Claudio Reyna and John O’Brien — who had world class technical skills, coupled with exceptional awareness and defensive/attacking versatility — opened new doors for us with regard to tactical sophistication. Over time, this was augmented by Landon Donovan unparalleled ability to lead a counter attack with pace, often from deep inside the defensive half. One could perhaps “bookend” this phase using the “bookends” of the 2002 performances vs. Portugal, and the 2009 Confederations Cup finals vs. Brazil.
    Now we are seeing yet another phase in this evolution. Look at the quality and consistency of the attacking tactics yesterday and there is no comparison to the old days. Everybody knows their role—who is supposed to join the attack, when and where they are supposed to be. The “fulcrum” of the counter is moving further up the field as we gain confidence in when and where we are likely to win the ball. The opportunities are strikingly similar in how they develop… only a teeny bit of sharpness (most notably pushing late-arriving players wide with through balls) has kept us from scoring 5 or more goals in these friendlies). And we are going through the center-channels with confidence, and keeping the ball in the attacking third after the initial attack is quelled, often for extended period.

    It’s very encouraging to watch. And while we may not see so much opportunity as we have against quality opposition, it’s good to feel like we have a “plan” and a shared vision of how we should be creating goals. Nigeria looked like it was the first day of school by comparison. Even with possession, it never felt like they knew what they really wanted to do.

      • Maybe if you’re bored you shouldn’t be here? Go outside. Watch games with other people. That’s where I’ve been all weekend.

        But I get it. I’ll cut it down.

      • I thought it was, and is, an astute and entertaining analysis. I’m seeing the same thing. We are going to have to concede possession and take advantage of countering. Even in 2002, Germany conceded possession to us, just to use 15 minutes of aerial and physical prowess to perfectly execute their offensive game plan. We will have to do the same, at least against Germany and Portugal, and most likely Ghana unless they’re having a very off day.

      • I didnt write that man, i enjoy people like you that give well-thought out posts, no matter the length.

        Apparently i made some other poster on here named Baptiste mad after i called him out for making an offensive remark about someone’s religion, and now he writes posts using mine and other guys names

      • Don’t sweat it bud. As I’ve said elsewhere, the signature runs far deeper than the ink. Don’t ditch your name… I doubt this fooled anybody here

      • Not a pointless rant at all. In fact, it’s a very well-written analysis, which means it’s far better than anything I’ve ever seen you contribute.

      • Yeah? Please give me an example of one my pointless posts since you are so smart buddy? Btw the real Maykol is writing this, i did not however write the one above

      • So did you or did you not write the post “Not a pointless rant at all. In fact, it’s a very well-written analysis, which means it’s far better than anything I’ve ever seen you contribute.”
        Cause if you did, i would love for you to tell me about all of my pointless comments on here

      • Yeah, the ADD generation has very little patience or ability to read more than a short paragraph at a time. Big blocks of text frighten them.
        And don’t get me started on scrolling! Takes so much effort.

      • See when I read it. I clicked my middle mouse bottom so it would just slowly move down. 1 click. Energy and physical exertion saved.

        Decent Read Ali. I think this team has been getting better and better over time. The USA now plays actual soccer and not just a decent version of kick and rush.

      • Thanks skyman. I do believe it’s important to not “take up too much airtime” and I may be guilty of that on occasion .I hope to be respectful — I think it’s a great community.

    • Go, Ali Dia! I feel you. What else is there than SBI? Work? Ha, that can wait… Gonna have many idle hours of speculation and beer ahead. Can’t wait till Thursday.

      • +1 billion. This is what we wait for. I could barge through a lobotomy while yelling “We are going to Brazil!” right now. Probably could get the doctor and operating staff to join in.

    • Ali, at the risk of dismissing someone that may have an actual issue with the length of your post, I’m pretty sure Baptista is behind all the negative responses.

      I loved it. Quality analysis like that is the main reason I’ve been coming to SBI for the last 6 or 7 years. Ives is great, but the community of commentators is really what makes this blog a special place to me.

      I’m not sure why this kid is doing this, but I’m not mad, and genuinely feel sorry for him.

      Anyway, keep it up. You’re definitely one of the names I look for on here.

    • well said… I loved the flexibility of the lineup and especially our back 7… that style of defense may hold up vs a lot of opponents…the trick is staying compact in central defense and not getting outpaced on the wings…and on some days we may just have the right mix of players to pull it off…

  5. Regarding Dempsey

    Loved the pairing of Beckerman and Jones yesterday. Defensively we look about the best I can remember. That bodes well moving forward. And remember I wast he guy a few weeks back lamenting jones’ play. Together those two are great to have on the field. Hopefully we can string a number of great games together. With that said, I think something that needs magnifying from yesterday’ match is Clint’s play.

    I’m somewhat torn. I’ve come to accept Clint’s way of fading in and out of matches. He’s like a cobra in that you never quite know when he will strike. However I’ve noticed that of late, in these friendlies he’s trying to make something happen for himself before looking to help the team get that goal. That ‘dempsey do’ we saw against Turkey looked cool, but that was the kind of move I experimented with in high school. The net result for it to be successful, much like you saw with clint when he executed it, is that the player needs a lot of space, other wise all you have a is a cute move, and then the other team has the ball.

    There were two instances in the first half of the game against nigeria where clint held the ball near the box, trying to be cute and missing out on a teammates open run, then there was the sidline move where he attempted to execute a no look nut-meg backheel instead of advance the ball to a teammate in the more advantageous position to goal. And lastly there was a quick turnover won by beasely sent to bradley, only clint was sauntering -ball watching and not moving to space until too late, Like he was playing ‘catch up’.

    Then there was the beautiful ball that bradley served him through in the 2nd half where around the 62nd minute. Clint makes a move first and takes the ball to goal himself when Jozy was parallel with him with NO defender in front of him.

    If we get a chance against anyone like clint did in the 2nd half, and he opts to try the harder door for the goal instead of the easy lay to a teammate like Jozy it could affect our chances for a win. Show off do moves etc, but know when the move is to make that quick pass for the easy goal. I have no forgiveness when a player selfishly costs his team an open look on net. Does this drive anyone else nuts?

    For all of his talents, I just wish he played a better team game when it mattered. It’s not that he can’t, I just fear he won’t.

    • Clint has always had clutch performances (keeping Fulham from relegation, Goal vs Juve, Confed cup performances, etc.). His scrappy goals are the reason we made it through the first round of WCQ. I don’t see why you’d question him now

    • I’m a big Clint fan but I agree.I was frustrated by his repeated decisions to be fancy instead of simple. Also although Bradley had a good game, early on I was troubled by his decision making – again there were simple options but he kept going for the killer pass. And the defense – a few times we had the ball and instead of patiently passing the ball out of the back, beastlier and Cameron went for long floating balls that expose forwards to be hit from behind. We played better, we advanced the ball better on the counter attack but I need more simple passing instead of forcing the attack.
      On beckerman – he did as he was asked to do but his physical limitations were obvious. He struggles to keep up with the pace of top class players.
      On the positive side – Beaseley and Johnson moving forward look dangerous. Jones and Bradley are going to be key. Delighted for Jozy. It won’t silence the haters but if he can give us three magical moments in the coming two weeks, things can go well.

    • Mordant he soccer 100% agree and saw the exact same as you. Hopefully Juergen points this out in film. A good coach would do this. Maybe because it was a friendly he didn’t take it as seriously so seemed a bit careless and selfish, but he has the experience and skills, just need for him to be a team player when it counts if a viable option is open in the box

  6. best the US has played for Jurgen imo. sure some will disagree but many I’ve talked to about this game agree. the 4-3 backline worked great, mainly because there was always 2 d mids holding in front of the back four; Beckerman basically never left there, so either JJ or MB could get forward, and both did very well, JJ more in the 1st half, MB in the 2nd

    could have used a goal on the counter to close out the match once Nigeria pushed forward with numbers, but without that, the game got a little nervy down the stretch. Gonzo looks like a shell of his former self

    • This style seemed extremely Bob Bradley in my opinion. I know it wasn’t 4-4-2 with Dempsey/Donovan on the wings and two forwards… But it was very much the “tight and compact on defense, quickly counter, play best make shift you can find at left back, out fitness your opponent”.

      While I believe this shape and starting 11 will give us a good chance in this group, it’s pretty obvious that we are going right back into this World Cup without the change Klinsmann touted.

      • Hey Lorenzo, we’ll see. I hear what you’re saying but there are different ideas in how to attack I think and to defend but same idea to defend and counter, but different idea on how
        playing it tight and smart and hard looking to counter is not a new idea from anyone, but I liked how it was employed must finish and create better on the counter. I like Michael in the ‘hunt the ball role’ with cover for him to do it

      • Lots of people saying the team reverted to bob bradley’s tactics. Have to vehemently disagree.

        First goal against nigeria came from a 20-odd pass sequence where we played howard’s feet at least twice. Double-digit passing sequences were virtually non-existent in the bradley era.

    • I think you want to actually grab his black anaconda, don’t you? What kind of a childish post is that? Altidore is our best striker ever, and you come here to belittle him by implying he is a circus freak. Shame on you.

      • AMP– In a time of swirling truth and floating identities, you have provided a brave and anchoring reminder that brevity is the soul of wit. While this may seem like an excessive compliment, I assure you there is nothing Over the Top about it.

        You may begin using the “AMP (jokes)” username whenever you see fit. You’ve earned it. And wait until you see your new rig….

  7. I love the field level highlights. Since I never played above High School, it gives me a different perspective. Sometimes I forget just how strong Jozy is. When you see him up close in action its pretty impressive.

    • The field-level highlights always come out several days after the actual highlights. Take a chill pill Colin.

      • USSOCCER is really fast about their highlights too. They don’t tease us by making them slow and hard to find. ESPN does a good job with the multiple camera too.

        Does anyone else know if any other Country’s are that good about giving fans multiple feeds and ways to see the game?

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