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USMNT proud of World Cup showing despite falling in Round of 16 again

USA coach Juergen Klinsmann applauds the fans at full time following his sides elimination from the World Cup

Photo by John Todd/


SALVADOR, Brazil — Same round. Same result.

The U.S. Men’s National Team exited the World Cup in the Round of 16 for the second consecutive time on Tuesday night, once again suffering a demoralizing 2-1 loss in extra time. But whereas there was much disappointment four years ago from not being able to capitalize on the fortuitous schedule that was present through the knockout rounds, the consensus from the Americans following the defeat to Belgium at Arena Fonte Nova was that the program had not stagnated.

That progress had been made even if the end result for Jurgen Klinsmann’s men was the same to that of Bob Bradley’s in 2010.

That there was plenty to be optimistic about going forward.

So what exactly made this finish different?

“Because the country was paying attention and I think we’re building on something,” said U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati. “Listen, you’re not going to have progress every tournament because otherwise whoever wins the World Cup has got nowhere to go. We’re building on something. Bob did a great job, Bruce (Arena) before that.

“Jurgen’s building on that and so we’ve got some new, exciting players. … It’s progress on the field and it’s especially progress the number of people at home that were paying attention to it.”

While that may be true, some observers will be discouraged by the manner in which the Americans played. Yes, they had a difficult group that pitted them against some of the world’s best players. But the proactive style of soccer that was promised by Klinsmann when he initially signed on to be the U.S. head coach in 2011 was largely missing.

The 2-2 draw with Portugal in Group G play was the one real exception. Other than that, the U.S. struggled by and large to take the game to its opponents until it was in need of a late goal.

Still, the feeling within the group is that it did well enough under extremely difficult circumstances — tough group, lots of travel, an injury to its top forward — to consider this World Cup a success.

“This team showed, once again, it has balls,” said midfielder Michael Bradley. “Even in a difficult group, even when a lot of people weren’t ready to give us much of a chance to get out, even on a day like today when you’re playing one of the best teams in Europe, even at the end when you’re down 2-0 and it’d be easy to just pack it in, we continued to fight and continued to have a group of guys who leave everything they have on the field.

“Just because you do that doesn’t guarantee anything, doesn’t mean you’re going to win, doesn’t mean you’re going to play well. But that is a special quality and we have that and it’s something that we’ll continue to make sure is such a big part of who we are.”

There will be plenty of Klinsmann critics in the coming days, weeks and months. After all, almost no one escapes scrutiny after departing the World Cup.

Gulati, however, likes the job that Klinsmann did. Not just in navigating out of what was declared the Group of Death in Brazil, but over the course of Klinsmann’s three years in charge this cycle.

“In some ways, I did that evaluation before the draw when we re-signed him to a contract,” said Gulati. “We had seen enough positive movement and not just in the national team, but in the whole program. This is always the swing game where we are now for the U.S. — getting to the Round of 16.

“We don’t do that? We’re very, very disappointed. We get here and it’s kind of the swing game. We get beyond here, then it’s generally viewed as very successful. This year was a little different because the group we had in the first round. That, I think, was already a success and we’ll digest it a little bit.”

Klinsmann did not want to initially defend his work as U.S. head coach when given the opportunity in the post-game press conference at Arena Fonte Nova, but he eventually did. Klinsmann, like Gulati, cited the strides he feels are being made in the entire program and the overall World Cup showing as reasons why the U.S. is headed in the right direction.

“I think that we worked tremendously over the last couple of years,” said Klinsmann. “I said at the beginning of the last couple of years that I continue on the foundation that Bob passed on to me, which was a very strong foundation with the great job that he’s done. I found ways to introduce new, young players into our program and develop the game on every front of it. If it’s on the younger level, it’s on the senior level, on the organizational side, wherever it is, I think we’ve done a lot, a lot of work those couple years.

“Now it comes to a point where you have to swallow a game like this today and have to find a way to move on. Obviously, we’re excited about some young players through the ranks, some young players that maybe were not there yet but we know now what we have with them. We are excited with building a next Olympic team cycle, which is huge for us going to Rio de Janeiro in two years. We have a very exciting competition two years from now with Copa America in the United States.”

Klinsmann also noted the amount of attention that the Americans garnered back home. From the massive watch-parties in several cities of the United States to the media attention his side received, Klinsmann appeared more than proud about what he and his players had accomplished during the build-up to the World Cup and in the few weeks that they were in Brazil.

“The way that the people, the fans, embraced the team and the sport in the last couple years will only continue to grow,” Klinsmann said. “Especially with a league that is getting stronger and stronger and with the competitions we have ahead of us next year with the Gold Cup, then Olympics and Copa America, and then hopefully the Confederations Cup and then the four year cycle goes into the World Cup in Russia.

“I think we’ve done a lot of work. We would have liked to continue longer in this tournament, there’s no doubt about it. There’s a disappointment there, it’s just normal. … I think there’s a lot to build on going forward.”


  1. Somewhat true, but some players like Dempsey, Cameron, Besler, Zusi and Bedoya were worthless against Belgium. In this World Cup, USNT looked outclassed and inferior in games, compare to World Cup of 2010.

  2. Don’t bash Dempsey. He is the best we have. I agree we need better, but our improvement won’t be marked by Dempsey’s absence, but rather how we replace him.

  3. USMNT is a contender now. The evidence was most clear in its last free kick after Julian Green took one.

    Swiss had a free kick at about the same location and the same game time after Argentina got one in.

    Facing a lousy Argentinian defenders, Swiss kicked a ferocious kick to the defending wall and wasted the last chance.

    Facing Belgium’s champion league defenders and goalie, US made a cool pass to Dempsey and forced goalie to make a tremendous save.

    Swiss was a seated team. US was not.

    • How long will we continue to talk about future? We were in QF in 2002 and if you want to talk about quality of play we outplayed Germany as well. 12 years later we can’t duplicate that in 3 WCs. Who is to say that we will be there in 4 years. The future was now and Wondo embarrassed himself (I know he apologized but that does not really matter). Let’s compare: 4 years ago LD had a ball on the 91st minute and scored. This time Wondo…. So as much as I think we don’t have anyone better that JK he made a major mistake not bringing LD instead of Wondo.
      By the way, progress is measured relative to quality of players on other teams. Where was Belgium 4 years ago? And, sorry to remind everyone but Costa Rica has done better. That’s embarrassment for the US. How long will we wait to be consistently among the best?

  4. The bigger difficulty in evaluating progress and coaching ability is that there is some luck involved in what the talent pool looks like for a given timeframe. Maybe it’s just because I am old, but I would take the 2002 World Cup team or the 1995 Copa America team over this team any day of the week. And, I don’t think if Klinsmann was coaching the 2002 or 1995 teams he would have done any better than Arena or Sampson.

    But, the whole US system from youth teams up to the senior team is in a better position than in 1995 or 2002 and Klinsmann helped to spur that on. So all things considered, I think I would put up with four more years of his coaching to get the benifit of his vision as technical director.

    • I fully agree. Both those teams were better and results proved that. Luck goes to those who deserve it. One thing should be clear. If JK does not very good results in Copa in 2016 in the US then he should go.

  5. Sometime in the next cycle I like to see this formation. With 3 CB’s and FJ and Yedlin playing wingbacks.






    • FJ is a midfielder too. Why not put him in front of Yedlin and put Chandler at left back? Copa America will demand more speed on the flanks.

    • I’m a big fan of the back 3. We should have tried it this cycle because Cameron would have made an excellent CB in the system as he could have supported the attack from behind like the great liberos of old.

    • interesting idea.. it has worked well for CRC and Mexico lately.. and is a pretty entertaining formation to watch play.

      FB’s that can really attack like Mexico’s Layun really make that formation work. They play like a point guard down the lines. Fabian could bring that game, Yedlin maybe too.

      While this does put our best xi in good positions you gotta think those are realistically our only 3 cb’s.. with a more conventional system like a 4231 or 433 you can plug pretty much anyone from our pool into the 541 takes a special pool.. might happen

      Lastly; SBI can you do a ’23 for 2018′ like you did 4 years ago!!! Really great to look back and see how crazy things get over the 4 year cycle.

  6. And can I just correct the record and say that WE DID NOT BUNKER DOWN v. Belgium!

    The Swiss bunkered down against Argentina, keeping 9 men literally in the 18 yard box and giving everything else to the Argentines. For our part, on the other hand, Klinsi tried to keep the boys thinking attack. That is what left us so thin on the flanks and that is precisely why Howard had to come up so big. Still, followers of the game have to know that we were THOROUGHLY OUTCLASSED, which can make it look as though we were bunkering down. But that is not the same as bunkering down. I am glad that we could try to work a little bit of tactics against a world power and still end regulation with a chance to win (Wondo). That and the performance against Portugal are the biggest positive take aways from this tourney. On the other hand, the final goal Against Portugal and the abundance of fear against Germany are the biggest negatives that we have to think about for the next cycle.

    • I agree with what you are saying about bunkering down. That was my initial assessment but upon reflection, I think we just gave up the ball too quickly in our attacks and were slow to get it back again. We looked good in possession at times. Other times we looked sloppy. I’m a big fan of JJ, maybe my favorite player, but he wasn’t exactly perfect with the ball.

      • no question, you can’t be so quick in attack that you don’t secure the ball in transition. Possession with purpose is what we needed. Not tiki-taka, just two touch passing until someone in the middle third can get their head up and play a nice high-percentage ball into space.

  7. Do some of the guys have European moves on tap? Would like to see Yedlin, Besler, and Gonzalez go abroad to continue their development. Bradley, too, although that’s not happening.

  8. My take on the WC over all and what happened is that we had 1 game plan and we brought a squad for that 1 game plan. The reason for this 1 game plan is that we just don’t have the depth off talent to have a plan B to face the type of teams we did. And unfortinatly that all was depending on Jozy being healthy. He was suppose to be out out let valve that worked with Dempsey to make it so are out side back and out side mids had the time to look up and make runs. Unfortinatly that didn’t happen cause of that early injury we had to scrap up a new way to play with out a good release valve.
    Cause in my eye the formation we were forced to play a line up that you really couldn’t see players like mix being subed in for Bradley, or davis who doesn’t play the most defensive game come in and work, or chandler who is a more stay at home defender come in. Or Johanson who could come in for say Clint and give a speedy burst at the end with Jozy still dishing the ball off.
    Now i know Boyd is the closest thing we have to a Jozy replacement but is Boyd really that good at hold up right now against the competition he would have faced. NO. Would LD have made a the shots the Wondo missed. Who really knows. All in all we played our selves out of the group of death with a team we brought to play one formation and the main and vital component for the line up got hurt.

  9. I don’t know where to start. My stomach is still in knots. I am proud of the way The Concacaf displayed exciting futbol. The future is bright. Panama is growing, and will pester Honduras for a slot in the next World Cup. I remember back in 94 how the US would just bomb balls upfield and hope someone would just get lucky and go for a goal. I do see progression. The MLS is about the 18th best league out of lets say 30 in the World. I see the speed of play progressing slowly, but progressing nonetheless. Everyone who has posted here has said the truth both with negative opinions and positive opinions. Coach Klinsmann has done a very good job with the talent he has been provided. I never thought that our BULL Josey would get hurt. It happened, and it changed the dynamics for the rest of the cup. Coach changed his tactics to ensure the team got thru to the knockout rounds. We played some of the beastly teams in the final eight. Im not going to harp on Wondo missing the sitter which could have won the game for us against Belgium. Thank you Wondo for the good you did for the team. The future is bright. Our brand of soccer is still in development, and there is much respect for the guts and fight on the National team. Just ask those teams that played us.Just ask the Belgium National team coach, who stated his heart could not take it after getting thru the US team.So we lost the war, but won many hearts, and respect in this World Cup. One last thought, Timmy, There may be goalkeepers that win accolades cause they are on powerhouse club teams, but you showed to be a true warrior who most would say I would love to go battle with Tim minding the nets…..nuff said

  10. I am writing this note to say a big Thank you to JK and his team. You guys did America proud period. You overcame several obstacles along the way and played each game with sheer grit purpose and American spirit. You watched bigger (better) countries wilt and collapse but not you guys.
    With the Centenial generation growing up, you guys helped finally put soccer on the US map. From Twitter exploding, late night TV and most local stations all talking soccer, you made it a house hold name and made us all proud to be a Americans You guys have to be proud!
    For all you arm chair critics, I say this no regrets we came aLONG way and will go further. Sure IF you were the coach, maybe you would have done it differently, but at the end of the day I salute JK and this team that he chose . Thank you. I believe one day we will win it all

  11. I have been following the USMNT since Bob Gansler was in charge. Bruce Arena is a hero and legend to me. But I believe that Jurgen Klinsmann is the best thing to happen to our program in a generation. Klinsmann is a genius. We are lucky to have him. He did an excellent job this summer with the limited talent available in the player pool. Even though he just got a new contract, I would consider giving him a pay increase. If we were to lose him, who would we turn to to lead the many facets of our program? Tab Ramos? Claudio Reyna? NO THANKS!!!! Klinsi is a God. As long as he is with us, the program will only continue to rise.

    • Klinnsman has not done any better in terms of results than Bradley or Arena, and I would argue he hurt the team with his personal issue with Donovan. Leaving him off the team was a huge mistake, and we sorely missed his counter attacking quality and creativity. Zusi, Davis and Bedoya all played their hearts out but are nowhere near the player Donovan is.

      The 2002 team with Claudio Reyna was a much better team that made it past the round of 16 and then outplayed Germany, getting cheated by a missed hand ball. Sorry but Klinnsmann is definitely no genius, unless you’re talkng about his own self-promotion. Also I think he needs to reexamine the overtraining- there was a ridiculous amount of

      • Germany by 2002 was starting to get as stale as England is now. Klinsmann took over that team and shook it completely apart, and that performance against the US was no small reason why Germany allowed him that license.

        That 2002 team you remember so fondly also had a much easier group – against hosts South Korea (who, other than the fact that they had the refs in their pocket literally every game, were not very good…and who we tied), Poland, who was…OK (and beat the US 3-1), and a very good Portugal team, who we shocked 3-2. Then we lucked out and got Mexico in the Round of 16 and beat them 2-0, which is what we do to Mexico.

        Even that stale German team, which was flat as day-old Doctor Pepper, managed to get all the way to the final…beating Paraguay, the US, and mighty South Korea along the way, all 1-0, before finally getting rubbed out by Brazil 2-0 in the final.

        World soccer simply wasn’t what it was in 2002. Yes, the USA has gotten better…but so have a lot of other people. You look at teams that made the World Cup in 2002, and you see a lot of bottom-feeders like Saudi Arabia and China that failed to earn even a single point in their groups and had -10 and -12 goal differentials. Spain, Germany, and Holland weren’t nearly what they are today. Heck, even Argentina in 2002 wasn’t particularly good.

        Different world then.

    • I usually say this with sarcasm, but when you call Klinsman a god, I have to say it in all seriousness “PUT DOWN THE COOL-AIDE!!!!”

    • I was pleasantly surprised by his composure in all three matches he played in. His speed is otherworldly and almost shocking when he turns the afterburners on; if he continues to learn the tactical side of the sport, he could be an absolutely fantastic player. Very high ceiling.

    • If Yedlin, with the skills he displays right now, was from Argentina, Germany, Italy or Brazil he would be purchased by a European power right now for about 6-9 Million and loaned to a secondary champions league team or a Europa team where he would likely get minutes for 1-2 season, and then assuming good health and good adjustment would be competing for a roster spot or sold to a secondary power (like Roma or Shakle ect) for a profit. But because he is American he is destined to be bought by a mid-level to poor bindisliga or EPL team with a manager who rather have a player from Argintina Brazil or Germany.

      Seriously Yedlin just went 90 against belgium and was a terror on the wing all game, went against Hazard all night without ever getting beaten in a 1 v 1. All at the age of 20 years old, that’s a player for a mid to lower table team?

      • His composure on the ball was what surprised me most. I knew about his speed from earlier Sounders games, but thought he showed some good skill – especially in opening up room for crosses. I’ve seen headcases before where the pressure of the moment causes an absolute collapse. Congrats to him for rising above it all and making all of us a little more excited about the future of the team.

  12. Comparing the play of some of Germany and Belgium’s other opponents to ours has left me worried about how we played defensively. Both teams look great on paper but simply have not performed as advertised in attack EXCEPT against the United States. I thought Belgium, in particular, struggled to create chances in earlier games and they simply carved us up. What does everyone thing this boils down to? At first glance, it doesn’t seem like it could be personnel. It’s hard to argue that Algeria or South Korea would have better players. That being said, our defenders do seem to have a habit of not tracking runners. We could also be doing something wrong tactically but I don’t know what that would be.

    • I can speak for the MLS defenders. Few forwards make dangerous runs in MLS on a regular basis. Maybe once or twice a game, but that’s about it for most teams. So, if you are playing in a league where you can count the truly dangerous forwards on one hand, you aren’t going to be used to tracking runners except when in camps or NT games. I have no idea why it was such an obvious flaw in Cameron’s game though…can’t figure that one out.

      • once or twice a game? the worst few teams, ok, but most teams? no way. Go watch RSL, Red Bulls, Portland, Galaxy, SKC, Seattle and others

    • To be fair the US gave up exactly 1 goal this world cup from being broken down when they were set defensively. That goal was Ghana’s who just executed a beautiful sequence of passing and finished without Howard making a world class save (which he is more than capable of doing often).

      Portugal scored hitting us on the counter with defensive mistakes (second goal), and scored on an absolute gift which never should have happened but sometimes does in soccer (first goal).

      Germany scored on a set piece off a rebound with a world class strike from distance they did not break the US down when set.

      Belgium by my count broke down the US twice when we were set defensively and Howard made two amazing saves, The rest of their chances were limited to angles and distances where they would only score with absolutely perfect strikes (which are rare and they didn’t get any). They scored again hitting us in transition after a turnover and us having tired legs.

      Against Algeria and Korea (who they played mostly with 10 man) they struggled to break them down as well when they were set defensively. oh and buy the way if we had played Belgium in the group stage we would have left with a 0-0 draw.

      The US played well defensively for the tournament but we got burned on transition (like every team does) against teams with world class attacking talent.

    • The only thing I can think of is that we didn’t put pressure on the perimeter of our defense and conceded plenty of space to dribblers. If your point defender is aggressive on the ball the defenders behind him can be more aggressive coming forward to intercept passes. We sat back and waited for the bad pass or collapsed on the ball when it entered the penalty area. This may have been due to our choice in personnel not being ideal to being too aggressive up front, because that can backfire as well.

  13. I am still p*ssed. Big time p*ssed! If Julian Green had come on at half-time, or come on at the 72nd minute instead of Wondo, or even come on at the end of regulation time with the score 0-0 we would have won the game! Why didn’t he come on sooner, why didn’t he come on at half-time in the Portugal game? No-he came on for the first time in the world cup at the 105th minute with the score Belgium 2-USA 0.

    And you all saw, just as I did, what a difference it made. For the first 105 minutes the U.S was on its heels while Tim Howard was doing what no keeper should ever have been asked to do. The final 15 minutes it was the other way around, Belgium were on its heels. Every U.S player played better, it was like a night to day transformation due to the insertion of a single player. A teenager named Julian Green.

    There are many very good players and a few great players in every team sport. What makes one great is beyond being a very good player himself he also has that extra something that makes his teammates play beyond their individual talent level. (Think Larry Bird.) This kid is that type of soccer player and it will take me a LONG time to stop thinking “what might have been” if only Klinsmann would have played him.

    • It isn’t logical to argue that if only (a) happened differently, (b) would be the certain outcome. Had Green come on earlier there is no guarantee he scores his goal earlier or impacts the game substantially. Just like there’s no guarantee that if LD/EJ was on in place of Wondolowski the ball would have fallen to him just so and he would have scored. You change one piece of the puzzle and everything rearranges.

      • Then you did not see what I, and many many others, saw in the final 15 minutes of play.

        But I will amend my “would have won” to “most likely would have won”.

      • That logic doesn’t apply to football. Would he have been as effective in the 70th minute against a Belgian defense that was that much more fresh? Would his presence on the field (a small, slight-framed forward) have helped defend those corner that Belgium kept having in the dying minutes of the first half? What if he had gone in and because of him Belgium had scored in the dying minutes of regular time? Or worse, scored 2 or 3 because they were that much more fresher? All the woulda, coulda, shoulda doesn’t amount to anything once the final whistle is blown.

      • The key is what you just said: “Then you did not see what I, and many many others, saw in the final 15 minutes of play.” Last 15 minutes. He had the impact that he had because it was the last 15 minutes of play in a game that had already gone 105 minutes. There’s no way to know whether he would’ve had any impact at all had he gone on at the 72nd. That’s soccer.

      • we needed to defend out the end of regulation. We were also nursing a few injuries. Once we went down, I’m not sure why JK continued to wait.

    • Eddie, Fabians injury threw that monkey wrench into the plans. Julian was warming up during halftime but with 2 subs left & possibly 120 minutes to play..that really makes it tough.
      If he’d come on earlier, and someone else went down, 20 million people would be crucifying him saying “we sacrificed our last sub so he could get his Bayern boy his minutes but left us with 10 men”

      • fair enough. After that first goal went in though, JK should have brought Julian in immediately. I would have brought him in for Omar at that point. He is slow and a liability on counter attacks, which if we are pressing forward we will concede.

      • Omar good at breaking up counters when playing a high line, it’s actually a strength of his imo interestingly

      • Both Goals happened with Besler at fault, so maybe there is something too that, but I certain hate seeing speedy wingers running at Gonzo, he always looks like a liability in those situations.

    • I disagree. My opinion is that Julian Green shone because of a few reasons.

      1) His speed against an exhausted opposing team paid dividends
      2) There was absolutely zero pressure on him – the US were going to lose
      3) There was absolutely zero pressure on him – this appearance was Klinsmann’s way of giving him field time because we were going to be knocked out
      4) He made a good run and scuffed his shot somewhat, which made it tricksy though it might have gone in anyhow with the power he was striking with

  14. A JK-improved USMNT is an illusion.
    We were outclassed this WC as in previous cups.
    US interest in soccer hasn’t changed appreciably.
    Mexican-Americans, a substantial portion of futbol fans, are more interested in the Mexican team.
    Our lack of technique on the field continues to bite us whoever is the coach.
    Belgium is a small nation which has capitalized on their immigrant population by having a superb youth system.
    We are a large nation with other major sports that attract youth, immigrant or not. Since soccer is a minor sport here, we cannot compete even with small nations. Our youth system, even a vastly improved one, will be depleted by desertion of players to other sports. It’s just reality.

    • I agree, I don’t see a meteoric rise in U.S. talent that probably a lot of younger fans think is going to happen. They fall for the hype and the hope. I think I’ve seen incremental progress over the last 16 years but maybe that’s being wishful.

      There’s no incentive to develop US talent if MLS teams can bring in foreign players and likewise no incentive for American youth to continue with soccer with it’s low wages and bias for foreign players. People are not going to choose a career they don’t think they will get a fair shake at.

      • I think the US has improved to the point where we are constantly between the 10-20 best team in the world in terms of being able to achieve results and our record and world cup preformance reflect that. We will/should always qualify for the world cup, we have a fighting chance to make it out of the group stage and probably should shift expectations to that we should get out of the group stage, and now the next step is to be a consistent quarterfinal team.

        That said the jump from consistent group stage success to going into deeper runs into the tournament is probably the biggest gap and most difficult. Remember you are competing to be the top 8 teams in the world to make a quarter final, ties don’t matter and at that level there rarely is a mediocre team displace or take advantage of. No shame in not being better than Germany, Brazil, Agentina, and golden generations from south american and European countries at this point.

      • Not meteoric, but a ratchet. With lots of small teeth–as it has to be. MLS is trying to thread the needle–become long-term, high-profit means you need to balance consumption (quality NOW on field) and investment (player development). Putting quality on the field for now requires a fair whack of foreign players.

      • I hear it, about the need for quality and foreign players, but I kind of feel it’s rubbish.

        So are you talking about the former greats, celebrity-type players who are near the end of their careers and come to the US to retire? Or bread-and-butter type players who came in to fill a needed spot for a team?

    • We are in the midst of change. Look around you at the American enthusiasm. It is up at every bar, every office, and most important at every school. The kids of the next generation are bored by baseball, there is an opening for more athletes to find soccer. To ignore the changes we’ve seen in soccer from 1980’s to now is naive. Major strides have been made. Millions and millions of Americans care. The youth appreciate soccer more than any previous American generation. Soccer will never be “THE” sport. It will always compete for viewers and participants in other sports. In many ways it has already passed hockey. The big 3 sports are still ahead, but the gap is not as large as it once was.

      In ’94 the overly optimistic pointed to the 2010 World Cup as when they thought we would arrive. It didn’t happen that fast, it can’t happen that fast. It is about progress though. Regardless of who our coach is, soccer roots are developing here. The tides have turned. We are becoming a “footballing” nation. We will compete, and someday, we will be a favorite to win our group. Someday, we will be a favorite to win a quarterfinal. Someday we will even be a darkhorse to win it all. We may never be as star studded as Brazil, but we will continue to gain traction towards being a Top 10 type nation. We are a sporty nation, we are an organized nation, we are a proud nation, the ingredients are there. I’m excited about the future.

  15. We need parental involvement in their kids acquiring and appreciating high level foot-skills.

    Football is ball vs foot.

    I did this with my son and it was great for his game.
    (member in National League and National Tournament team)
    Not many parents do this.
    Kids do not do this either.
    Basically, make sure your kid does his foot-skills homework.
    Until our children do this the parents must.

  16. People talk about us bunkering, but did anyone watch the Portugal game? We controlled the game against a very good European side on the biggest stage in soccer, the World Cup. First time I have ever seen that.

    The team still needs more players with skills and speed (running and speed of play). They are coming but it takes time because our youth coaching just really begin to change in the last 10 years and the guys that are really benefitting from it are not even out of high school yet.

    • Regardless of what your heard on TV Portugal is not a good team (or side for you English folks) look at their qualifiers record? They lost to some really weak teams.

    • Portugal got an early goal which forced us to be proactive. We were able to generate several chances against Portugal & Belgium only after falling behind. I’m not sure if this is a product of the other teams sitting back after scoring or of the US changing their approach. Probably a combo of both. Agree with you on our needs. Like the games, we are waiting for that moment to arrive!

      • I agree we looked good in that game, but Portugal was played two different midfielders as make shift left backs, and they both got owned by FJ. That game looks way different if Coentrao’s playing.

  17. Where is Birgit Calhoun???? Wondo’s biggest supporter? This person, among many others, just a few months ago, was arguing that Wondo should start over Jozy Altidore. Certainly, many others were clamoring for Aron Johannsson to start over Altidore. Now, I don’t see a single post that argues the US team is better off without Altidore in the lineup. Such a shame.

  18. Progress is pretty hard to measure in the World Cup but considering how we still bunker against good teams I just didn’t see any improvement between this team and previous ones. Especially considering what Mexico and Costa Rica showed this time around.

    • We definitely were able to hold possession in deeper parts of the field for longer periods of time during this cycle. I liked how we built flank attacks using our fullbacks. That seemed like progress. But to your point, our possession game in the center of the pitch was sorely lacking. That’s the next step in the progression. I don’t know who that player will be to step up in that role…

      • Our attacks on the flanks had to come from the fullbacks because the outside mids Klinsmann put on the field just aren’t good.

      • Yes and no. Yes our outside back were better at it, and our wings looked awful at it, but part of it was tactical. Klinsmann specifically built a defense made to attack so they could run into space unchallenged if they aren’t tracked. Our wings were always marked.

    • When you play teams that man-for-man are more technically proficient, you are not going to be able to win the possession game. Its not about what you WANT to do, or GAMEPLAN to do, it it just becomes reality on the Field.

      • agreed. and with regards to Mexico, it wasn’t some amazing attacking mentality that did it for them, it was their organized commitment to defend as a team imo. again, can’t say enough about how Herrera turned that team around once he got the gig

      • +1 Both good comments above. Herrera understood his players very well… he got them playing to a style that they all understood and bought into, in a short amount of time. And Marquez (outside of the soft-ish penalty that doomed them against NED) proved a very good move.

        Indeed, for all we have questioned our MF for our struggles in imposing our attacking will, there is plenty of work to be done in getting our CBs to guide play out of the back more effectively. Our guys were tough but they did not have this confidence or vision with the ball at their feet to any extent at all. Too often it was the ball into the midfield that killed us… the result was plenty of giveaways in transition and prolonged stretches locked in our half . We don’t have a guy like Marquez (thankfully for the most part) but having talent like his in that part of the field would probably have helped us more than anything

  19. I’ll say what I said elsewhere. BB played the same boring defensive minded soccer against everyone, whether El Salvador (again respectfully) or Brazil. You can’t expect us to “take it to” teams that are substantially more talented than us consistently and get away with it but I’m pretty sure we’ve already seen more attacking play (at times) in the run up. There was no opportunity to do this with this particular group of games. The evidence is there at a basic skill level. Look at first touch as a simple measure.

    We continue to improve.We play out of the back at times (which is why I don’t think OG is that good a prospect for the future). We combine better at times. I thought the set piece we used in OT was a great ballsy choice and might have worked with less of a stud than Courtois. I see improvement in style but we’re still not ready to dictate the pace of the game to the best teams in the world. We are however ready to beat up on lesser teams and BB teams didn’t do that. I lived in frustration watching teams of similar or lesser talent possess and combine against us while we bunkered, countered and set pieced our way through the game, giving up early goals and fighting back while the other team fell down, cried and wasted time. I think I’ve seen less of that under JK and I think that improvement will continue.

    • Duece just took to big of a first touch. He otherwise might have buried that.

      JK deserves credit for taking on the cupcakes in Concacaf with an attacking mindset. In the WC though, we played the same way BB did. Depend on Goalkeeping and hope to catch them on the counter. That is may be all our talent allows us to do, but it is disappointing to see that. Arena’s 2002 team seemed much capable of taking the game to our opponents.

  20. After all this, I still have some questions—some things that don’t make sense. I think Klinsmann got almost everything right, but:

    1. Why didn’t Beckerman play against Belgium? He was a beast against Germany. I don’t care if we feared Belgium’s Lukaku; the passing expertise of Germany is scarier than the physicality of any team. Besides, Becks played great against Ghana too.

    2. Was Mix seen only as a backup to Bradley?

    3. Was Aron seen only as a backup to Dempsey?

    4. Considering the previous two questions, who was seen as a backup to Altidore? Was Boyd really that bad in camp?

    5. Davis, Zusi, Bedoya, Green, Jones (in a sense), and even Beasley and Johnson—that’s 5-7 guys who could play LM. But how many could play hold-up forward? One. Again, was Boyd really that bad??

    • This is just one guy’s opinion, but…
      1 – Beckerman is a good player to have on your team when you are trying to not lose. His speed of thought and speed of play are too slow when winning is the only option. He’s a good group player.
      2 – I think so…In fact, I’d go so far as to say that Mix will replace the position Bradley played this go around and Bradley will go back to his natural and in my opinion world class position on the field. Mix is needs time in the weight room and playing against better competition on the club level. I think he’ll have that the next time around.
      3 – I see Aron as the next/better Davies…a partner with a guy like Altidore. He needs weight room attention as well.
      4 – Boyd came on too late to replace the future hopes of a Mix or Green. I doubt he lets that slide the next time around…he’s already moved clubs to start that process.
      5 – Davis is too small and too weak…he ain’t getting better either…his world cup hopes are gone. Zusi is too slow. He has a couple things that keep him on the fence, but too many younger guys have that and more…he’s gone for 2018 too. Bedoya is probably similar to Zusi. Green needs weights and time. He could be incredible in a few years…could be the next Adu too…time will tell. This was Jones’ cup and he made the most of it. He’ll stick around the team a year or two and fade into MLS…He’s my hero though. So glad he played the way he did in this cup. Beasley did his time and is another one of my hero’s, but Johnson or some other guy will be playing LM down the road. Heck, even Shea could pull his head out of his arse and be the next LM. Yedlin looked promising too. I don’t think Boynd was bad, just late to the party and didn’t get a date.

      • Beckerman was worn down too. I don’t think he could have played a 120 min match. That had to be a factor. Cameron was rested, and had the size and pace to shut down Felleini.

        Jones’s efforts in this world cup were heroic. He should always be remember for what he did in 2014. He did miss a chance to tie it OT, but hardly the chance that Wondo’s was.

        I don’t think Johannson is the next Davies, that position should be Julian Greens. He just needs to put on some muscle. Johannson should concentrate on emulating Dempsey for the next cycle.

        Our biggest need is to find an elite attacking midfielder. That is a position we haven’t ever really had (maybe John O’Brien?). Without that strength we continue to find ourselves bunkering down and hoping for a chance on the counter.

    • On #1, in the postgame, Klinsmann said he played Cameron specifically as an answer to Fellaini. For the most part, Fellaini was a non factor and Cameron did pester him. So I suppose if someone in MF had to make room for Cameron, it had to be Beckerman, and not Jones or Bradley. Maybe Bedoya couldve sat instead of Beckerman, but I think that JK believed we could take the game to them with Bedoya, Bradley, Jones and Cameron in the MF.

      • His pre-game attack of the referee might have been overdone, but we also got tons of calls against Fellaini which helpted.

    • King, regarding question no. 1, I think the Cam move was smart. He’s taller and faster than KB, and plays against those guys in the PL. And he did his job.
      KB could have come off the bench in any number of scenarios, whether tactical or injury, and been fresh for the duration. Fabians injury messed up a lot of flexibility to manage our subs.

      • I agree Cam did his job, shutting down Fellaini just wasn’t that important to limiting Belgium’s chances. They had sooo much space, and the attacks came right up the gut due to Origi’s great play. Honestly with their chances, he should have had a hat trick. We should have played Beckerman, and defended as a midfield unit. Guarantee we’d have given up less shots.

      • That wasn’t his only contribution. He was strong in the air, he offered enough support in attack, an there were some stats about his clearances and break up of plays that was strong. KB was awesome, Cam was a good fit for this game

      • Bac, In the big picture I agree with you: FabJo’s injury cost us a sub.

        But I don’t think that FabJo’s injury really messed us up—it resulted in Yedlin coming in and having yet another great game. True, that must have altered how others around Yedlin played, but overall I think Yedlin was {gasp} more effective than FabJo. (I do wish that Yedlin would learn more moves than the fake-dash-then-really-dash, but oh well.)

        As for Cameron, I know he had a solid game, but I still believe that Beckerman would have been better for the team. He is a better #6 than Cameron. It’s an extremely difficult position to play, but not because of athleticism. It’s difficult because it is tricky. Belgium sliced through our midfield with ease with passes that, I believe, Beckerman would have foreseen with his magic voodoo dreads like he did in the previous three matches. You know Paul the Octopus? He got his powers by resembling Kyle’s hair.

        Now maybe Beckerman was tired from the other matches, but I find that hard to believe. I watch a lot of RSL and Kyle has a motor like Bradley’s. The physicality advantage Cameron has over Kyle I already addressed in my original question: I don’t think it is a bigger advantage than Kyle’s positioning advantage over Cameron.

        I don’t think planning to sub out a CDM is smart idea, so I can’t see how FabJo’s injury messed up that plan; i.e., if that was the plan, then it was a bad plan. CDM is as difficult to sub in for as CB, especially if you’re the sole CDM in a 4-1-4-1 or diamond.

  21. To me, progress is when we have a top world class player. Just one. Right now, we have none.
    Until then we are what we are, a decent team with a top flight goalie

      • Honestly, I would love just once for FIFA to admit an “Everybody Else” team into the World Cup. Coach pulls players from each of the confederations in proportion to the number of spots in the Cup (i.e., 9 from UEFA, 3-4 from CAF, etc.). No players from qualified teams.

      • Ibra, Lewandoski and Bale up top. Scary. They can represent Qatar in 2022 since we know they won’t have a real team. Of course it has too much of a promotional feel to be realistic in the actual WC, but maybe a company like Nike or McDonald could sponsor 1 match. Let this All-Star team play the WC winners, or the official Best XI after the Cup ends.

    • I know you mean one top world class player in the outfield, because we are blessed to have Timmy who put on a clinic.

  22. I hope Bradley never puts on a US jersey again. Continuing to put him on our national team is holding us back.

    • Take a step back. Not having a number 10 is holding us back. Bradley was asked to play in a position that he is not used too. That’s not his fault. We simply don’t have a player that is capable

    • You’re in Stage Two of the Kübler-Ross model (five stages of grief). Next stage, bargaining. Catch up to the rest of us, will you?

    • I concur. You are a moron. Klinsmann played Bradley out of position because his ego would not allow him to put Donovan on the squad, the one player we have who can control possession ( that thing we lacked in every game) and the player we have who is the most composed with the ball. This failure is not on Bradley, it’s entirely on Klinsmann. Go sit in the garage with the door closed and your car running.

      • Suicide is not the answer, but everyone here is correct that Bradley struggled because he was played out of position. I had to tell my wife to back and look at who hit that pass to Julian Green too. That is very similar to the chip he hit to Fabian in the pre-world cup matches. He has that pass well within his Arsenal.

  23. What you guys think about this for the future………… 2018
    4-2-3-1 can opt out for 4-1-3-2 w/ johansson under jozy
    Altidore (Boyd,Agudelo)

    Green Gil(Corona,Johannson) Fabian


    Farrell Brooks Gonzalez Yedlin


    Watch List: Klute, Villareal, Joya, Shea, Gatt, Arriola……..etc
    Wishlist/Buy Know: Fagundez, Zelalem

  24. No need to ever call in Wondo or Brad Davis ever again. Obviously Donovan and Klinsmann had some personal beef because Donovan would be done much better than those guys. Donovan on the right wing like he was at Everton would have been an upgrade to Zusi and Bedoya as well. Overall not a bad performance since we lost Jozy.

  25. Building blocks are being placed. The USMNT will be a force 4 years from now.

    proud of the team, but now it’s onward and forward as Americans always do. No time to dwell on this. Klinsmann and his staff will soon be constructing a new team and plan. September friendlies can’t get here soon enough!

    • I think that is an overstatement “a force”. We aren’t going to an elite team in 4 more years. We may be a team that is favored to get out of the group. That will be a step in the right direction.

      • Jesse: I think and hope you’re right. Either way, you are correct that that is really all we can expect in terms of our growth: we will be a team favored to get out of our group, maybe even if it’s the Group of Death.

  26. This World Cup … Coach Klinsmann and the players …. was a mixed bag.

    The thing that is driving me nuts. The minute Altidore went down injured we were behind the eight ball, but Coach Klinsmann’s roster choices ensured we were finished. Donovan should of been on the roster instead of Davis. Boyd or EJ should of been on the roster instead of Wondolowski.

    Now think of the scenarios. Altidore goes down and Dempsey fills his role. Donovan goes in the hole … a role he may be better at than Dempsey .. and Bradley’s play isn’t affected anywhere near the degree. Or … EJ/Boyd replace Altidore, Dempsey stays in the hole, and Bradley can link up with Deuce as he did throughout WCQ.

    it would be one thing if Green, Mixx, AJ, Davis, and/or Wondo played meaningful minutes over four matches …. but that was largely not the case. JK the “General Manager” left JK the coach with too defensive of a lineup.

    MLS has to get better. It has to get considerably better and fast. Our best players are too good for MLS, but not good enough to start in top leagues overseas. The gap has to close.

    Great performance by Timmy. Epic.

    • You hit some great points, Donovan opens up space. EJ has great vertical and speed to burn. Surely Bradley and Dempsey would have benifited from their inclusion.

    • MLS is getting better. Remember, twenty years ago it didn’t exist. Now it’s on par with mid-level European leagues and the second divisions in big European countries. That’s great but twenty years from now it needs to be (and can be) as good as the top European leagues. More and more money is starting to come into the league and once that happens MLS will be able to really compete for top talent.

      • That doesn’t change that right now EJ is playing badly. 1 goal in 13 matches? I’ll take my chances Clint Dempsey playing out of position.

      • No he is not. Johnson is better in the air, more athletic, and faster vertically.

        Everywhere else, Altidore is several notches ahead. He’s got better touch – Johnson’s first touch is often a brick – better understanding, a much higher soccer IQ, and has really improved his work-rate and ability to play a full 90. He’s better 1-on-1 and has a better shot from distance.

        I agree, it’s a step down from Altidore to EJ. But EJ, when he’s motivated and hustling, is (sometimes) athletic enough, strong enough, fast enough, and menacing enough in the air to make up for his technical limitations and often poor decision-making. He’s always got a puncher’s chance when he’s out there because of his athletic gifts and that of necessity can tie up both center-back and allow him to hold the ball up…which we sorely missed.

        Wish we’d have had him, personally. I think it would have been a mixed bag, but he surely would have offered more (in hindsight) than Wondo ended up doing.

        Ah, hindsight. Always 20/20.

      • Well said. And for all the hate on Bradley, I think a lot of his problems were due to Klinsmann’s player usage. He’s not made to play the tip of the diamond. He is a born box to boxer. All the US’s offensive rhythm (70 min or so vs. Portugal and the last 20 vs Belgium) came on the possessions when MB dropped deep and helped pass or dribble the out of the defense. As far as defense goes, we played MUCH better team defense when Beckerman was protecting the back four. Cameron’s role was to shut down Fellaini so Belgium struggled to play out of the back. The problem is that Origi was so strong and fast, and the middle in front of our back line was so wide open, that Belgium didn’t need the midfield to transition, they just hit Origi directly. If we had that kind of work from a target man, life for our midfield would’ve been so much easier.

  27. True..

    Kinda reminds me of the eastern conference finals back when Larry Bird coached the Indiana Pacers vs. Michael Jordan’s Bulls…

    The Pacers extended the Bulls in that series and couldve beaten Chicago head up Jordan andl all..

    Unfortunately.. Jordan and Pippen put on an absolute clinic in the final stages of game 7 at home..

    At one point.. after Jordan made an absolutely demoralizing play.. the camera panned to Indiana head coach Larry Bird..

    His look was priceless.. he literally looked as if he was thought to himself:

    I have a pretty good teamhere.. got Reggie Miller Mark Jackson and quite a few others..

    But if I were able to get my shorts and my converses on.. I would bust your ass…

    Kinda got that feel during periods of the last two matches..

    Kinda thinking that while the opponent had major respect for the US team (and was almost beaten) they knew an opourtunity would come and they had the guys to capitalize…

    • You know, the best first touch on the team belonged to … Klinsmann. The couple times the ball made it over to him on the sideline, he was more adept with the ball than any of our XI on the field. That, right there, is the difference. The technical ability of the truly world class. We’re getting there. Slowly, but surely. I promise, 2018 is going to be fun …

      • There were some long clearances that came his way and he hit them to the nearest player on the half volley softly enough not to cause an accusation of misconduct..

        With his hands in his pockets.
        And in loafers.

        That’s touch.

  28. Im disappointed and not as optimistic as most here. I don’t think JK will change his approach in the coming cycle and for me, that means I can’t support him. I didnt like bunker Bobs approach and had high hopes when JK took over. The promise (broken of course) of the US playing attacking soccer sounded like something I wanted to see. But as the Who once said, “meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” JK turned into basically a bunker bob clone. There is no way we can win if our attack is driven by a Bradley or Jones. While they have great heart, their creative abilities really arent good enough. I wish I had a buck for every attack that stalled when Jones got involved. Meanwhile, we had creative players that stayed parked on the bench while our offense was going nowhere. I can’t stand watching 4 more years of kicking the ball into the goal area and seeing if Jozy can do anything with it and yet I’m convinced that this is exactly what we’ll see under JK.

    I might change my mind on JK if he starts building for the next cycle immediately by delivering the attacking soccer he promised and by immediately cutting ties with anybody that will not be playing for the US in the next WC. Guys like Beasley, Jones, most likely Dempsey (maybe others) .. will be too old and they should not be part going forward. I also hope to see him looking for new players in the US, not beating the Euro bushes for US eligible players. There are plenty of rising stars in MLS and he needs to give them long looks. Finally, I need to get the sense he believes in our ability to get on a field and go head to head with anybody. That means with attacking players, not defensive players disguised as attackers. If he really doesnt think we can do that then he’s the wrong man for the job

    • Agree with almost everything you said. I though Bob played to conservativley, and then JK came in and one upped BB on the holdings midfielders. Klinsmann says all the right things, but does not act in the same way. He said he believed we could win, but then threw out a line-up that was made to try and not lose. Players that could help the attack, and actually poses the ball, were sitting at home (Take your pick, Donovan, Feilhaber, EJ, Boyd, Shea, Ngyuen, Corona, Mapp, Rowe, Agudelo, Gill, Torres, etc…). asked if we are better off than we were 4 years ago. To me, the question is, are we better off than we were 20 years ago. That was a team that played organized, defensive soccer and counter attacked. But that team had a better counter attack, and could posses the ball better than the current squad. Klinsmann has done nothing for this team except for taking credit for our never say die attitude that has shown through for the last 24 years.

      The only thing I don’t agree with you about is getting rid of all the older players right away. You need some veterans to lead the young guys and more slowly transition. You can drop a few right away, but saying guys like Howard, Dempsey and Donovan have no place now over looks the experience and knowledge that they have to pass down. The first time those young guys go down and play in Costa Rica, or even Kingston, I want someone like Donovan or Howard there with them.

  29. Today was the first time I can ever remember when being “on the edge of my seat” was literal, not a cliche, from Green’s goal to the end. What tremendous heart. You simply could not watch Tim Howard’s incredible performance, then that last 15 minutes, and not be proud of what this team said on the field about what it means to be an American.

    Then back down to earth. I think Michael Ballack had the most insightful comment in the post-game analysis. He was asked to sum up the game in a single sentence. His answer (I may have the exact words wrong but this is the essence): “Physicality is not enough.” He went on to praise the team and said US fans should be proud of the performance, but that there are limits to how far it can carry you. To reach that next level the US players must become more technical. Klinsmann genuinely wanted the team to play a fast, technical style building through the midfield. Anyone watching the way we struggled through Ghana, Germany and Belgium I think had to come away understanding that in the end, he just didn’t have the horses. Our speed of play in the middle of the field in particular was just a bit slower than those opponents and it was the difference between controlling the game and careening around corners on two wheels.

    What this team accomplished is remarkable. At this level and on this stage to go so far on guts and athleticism … this team accomplished more good for the image of the US abroad than any foreign policy ever has. But Ballack is right, it was going to end – if not Belgium then Argentina – because it isn’t enough to grab the brass ring at the World Cup.

    There was a much deeper pool of technically adept players in this year’s squad than any the US has fielded in the past, and it looks very much like the tip of the iceberg. There is a huge pool of new talent coming up the ranks now who have been coached in professionally run academies with an eye on long-term development, both in the US and in Europe.

    The professionalism of the environments aside, these players I sense also differ fundamentally from those of the past in their self-perception. An increasing number see becoming a professional soccer player as a viable career goal even from a young age. Until perhaps 10 years ago, most youth players in this country – and especially their parents – looked at the sport as a stop on the road to college, where they would turn into bankers and lawyers. The growth of MLS, the success of the national team since 2002, increasing professionalism in developing youth players for the long term, and a generation of youth who grew up with the game and are now the parents and coaches of today’s young players have changed that for good. It isn’t just the coaches who are thinking long term now, it is the young players as well.

    As I was considering this not long after the shock of today’s loss had worn off, a thought popped into my mind. Look at how far sheer guts carried this group. Then look at the progress in player development and the depth of the pool coming up. Then consider this: what happens when the US finally has that crop of technically gifted players, playing at the top levels… but they combine that skill with the guts and drive that are already part of representing the US flag? Look out, world! It’s coming.

    • This is an argument for soccer moms and dads to stop yelling at their kids to “be aggressive”. Instead, yell at them to go juggle in the backyard, kick the ball against the wall, dribble at speed, change direction. As much respect as I have for our midfield, that’s where the difference was at the end of the day. Ballack is right – the margins between the middle of the pitch and the attacking portion is where goals start to build. And we simply did not have enough quality in that area (until Green showed up, too late). Green is the kind of quality we need – comfortable on the ball, high soccer IQ, opportunistic, confident. Good pick by Klinsmann, and if it’s a trailer for what’s to come, sign me up for plane tickets to Russia.

      • Just thinking back to my days as a youth coach when I suggested that the kids have the ball at their feet all the time including during homework, dinner, etc. Should have heard the screams from the Moms – who by the way were their mostly Only supporters. Long time ago and I am sure things have progressed including the coaching (with playing experience instead of Moms & Dads who hadn’t even seen the game played). Culture of youth soccer has to change from one of an alternative physical exercise activity to one where talent has a real place to grow. What do you think the response would be if a youth coach today would suggest that a talented 9 – 12 year old look to a career in soccer instead of academics? Would it be the same as Europe or South America.

    • If technical ability is so important, than subbing in Wondo instead of AJ was a huge mistake. The reality is we were either a missed Wondo chance from the QF or a missed Dempsey chance from forcing PKs.

  30. 2015 Gold Cup
    2015 Women’s World Cup
    2016 Olympic Soccer (Men’s and Women’s, hopefully)
    2016 Copa America
    2017 Gold Cup
    2017 Confederations Cup play off series (hopefully not needed)
    2017 Confederations Cup
    2018 World Cup

    Going to be a fun four year cycle.

    • I hate talking about future because the only thing that matters is WC success and 4 years is a very long time. If only Wondo hit the goal…
      But if we do talk about future we need to change few things from the very junior level.
      1. We should stop political correctness at kids’ games where participation is more important than results and where weak players are supposed to get playing time.
      2. We should stop building soccer culture on college sports. It on.y works in sports where the world does not care about, not in soccer.
      3. Every MLS club need to have an academy where players stay instead of going to college and play professionally. Then we might get enough good players. Majority would never make it but we only need a small percentage of initial recruits.
      4. We should try to send top players from our academies to those in Europe. They will learn faster.

      Other than that this WC is not a success. No one will remember the group. The result is worse than in 2002.
      Thanks to all the players.

      • I blame more on the coaching: players out of position, player selections, and coaching ego’s. The player developement pyramid is not similar to Europe and South America, which are two continental areas playing the highest standard of a fundamental simple game. Too much NCAA influence in MLS coaching ranks. Let’s face it: we need a new fundamental approach to how the US plays soccer. We need new coaching material.

      • It’s already happening as former MLS and US national team players join coaching staffs (e.g., Brian McBride at Chicago Fire, Pablo Mastroeni at Colorado Rapids, etc, etc). It’s not as fast as most of would like, but it’s headed in the right direction.

      • ORM,
        Your points about youth development are well said, but not a popular opinion.
        I’ve shared a story previously about what I witnessed when training a long time ago one summer in Holland. The skill, exercises, training and expectations of their youth development was shocking.
        And I mean their 9-12 year olds, not their hi school or academy age kids. Those kids trained harder, and were so technically gifted it was humbling. And the drills they were doing were done with such a high expectation mixed with such positivity it was so impressive…

        The funny thing is, Ruud Van Nistolroy basically spoke on this exact point tonight after the game. He said something like combining the progress of US Soccer to getting it to the next level would be defined in this way (paraphrasing) and how the coaching was approached at all levels, down to the young uns…

        I hate talking about the future right now too, as I feel like I just drank battery acid… but thought your post worthy….

      • ORM, points 2-4 are fine, but you’re way off on point 1. Only recreational leagues abide by the “everybody plays” rule. Any kid who excels can, by age 10 in most of the country, try out for a select team. Really good players will move up another step to premier.

        The value of rec leagues should not be underestimated: you get kids playing soccer and, even if they’re not “great,” they may be good enough to pursue it as a hobby throughout their lives. That’s a soccer fan—and the US needs as many of those as it can get.

      • One note on youth development in the US. It is getting better. I have been around the game as a dad, coach and referee for the last 20 years. My older son who played academy and in college says that the kids that are 10 and 11 now are 5 years ahead in their development than when he played.

        It just takes time for the coaching changes that have been done at the lower levels to translate to the national team. These kids that we saw five years ago with excellent ball skills are still 8 years away from having an impact.

        Agree with the separation of the top players from the college system. Would love to see the academy system roll up to a U23 league supported by the MLS clubs.

      • Hayes, fwiw I’ve heard a similar sentiment from a few other players/dads who recently completed their time in the “upper echelons.” Thanks for adding to the optimism!

      • I was attempting to explain to my new to soccer friends about the youth development system in the US compared to other countries and I was honestly struggling. They wanted a comparison to a US sport as to how it should be and I honestly couldn’t come up with one. Here are the questions that I struggled with explaining to them:

        -Are playing anything other than academy programs (i.e. high school and college soccer) impediments to US players becoming better players?

        -Is it possible to continue on with high school and college programs AND academies at the same time?

        Thanks for your input guys.

      • Todd: first, I can’t identify another US sport that could be compared to soccer—perhaps because I don’t know much about other development programs. A tricky aspect about soccer development is the very young age at which players need to reach their prime. You don’t see that in a lot of sports, but maybe something like gymnastics would actually be a good comparison to soccer.

        Second, I wouldn’t say that playing high school or college soccer is an “impediment.” I would say that it is a “lesser option.” Meaning, if you want to be the best you can be, then stick with academies and don’t go to college. There are of course exceptions—DeAndre Yedlin played 2 years for Akron—but those are more likely just examples of people who suffered a bit by going to college but were good enough to overcome it anyway. (And get noticed by a club team real quick and leave college early!)

        The few kids I’ve met who play in academies stopped playing for their high school teams because it was boring. The level of talent was way below—like a high schooler still playing for his junior high team.

      • The American Baseball set-up is possibly the best comparison. It has different talent levels wherein some older players never make it to MLB and some younger players fly right through. But the salient point is that it is professional at each talent level. That’s how soccer generally works in europe.

      • Obsession with winning and results at youth level is damaging to player development. Players need to develop technical skills and tactical awareness at this age but too often that is sacrificed to win meaningless youth games.

        Also, there are way way too many games played by youth teams, including ridiculous tournaments where there 4-5 games played in a single weekend. Not nearly enough time to devote to practice and technical development. The development academy gets it right – only about 30 games a season and 4-5 practices per game. But that needs to applied at much younger age groups. All of this change takes time but it’s vital to our youth development system.

      • good post.

        Re. those stupid tournaments with 4-5 games packed into a weekend, we decided to not play in them anymore…what is that preparing kids for as they grow? Nothing

      • I hate reffing those things. I don’t do them anymore. By Sunday, I’m gassed, and I can tell the players are even worse off.

      • slow: yeah, those tourneys are a joke. Just feeds the American obsession with winning everything all the time so I can have a trophy room and instant gratification.

        It seems counter-intuitive, but I agree that the better the player, the fewer the tourneys he/she should play. If you don’t love soccer enough to love practice, then you don’t love soccer enough period.

      • totally agree about the rec leagues. the good ones feed the select teams with good players. the California valley has many examples

      • I’ve wondered where the really good soccer development spots are in the country. I’ve heard that So Cal does a fine job, and Seattle is pretty solid. SLC also does pretty well (like RSL, it swings above its weight). Where else?

      • good question, hopefully others can add more on their regions, but I hear that good things are happening around Kansas city, and all over FL. Virginia Beach area is another I hear about, St. Louis another

      • KGE: +1 on the differing roles between rec and travel teams. Travel makes soccer players, but without rec making soccer fans the game won’t thrive.

  31. Alright I’m done drinking non-Belgian beer. The 2018 cycle begins tomorrow. The future is bright boys, let’s do this!

  32. hard to really say if we did any better, but i feel comfortable thinking only the 2002 team makes it out of the group we were in this WC. i think we are unquestionably deeper and set up for the future better than ever. but we’re still waiting for everything to pay off and take us to a new level. we were close though.

    • Interesting thought… One way of conveying the depth using these examples might be to look at the guys who got it done in 2002 and their value vs. replacement. I don’t think it’s such a stretch to say that there was almost no zero room for injury/suspension/withdrawal that would still have seen that team through the group stage. No way we get through with the loss of any among the top available US talents who participated… O’Brien, Reyna, McBride, were simply indispensible— needed every single one, with Donovan/Mathis close behind, to say nothing of the individual performances in defense (Agoos maybe was not indispensible).

      At this event, and in this far trickier group, we lost our first choice striker within 20 mins, didn’t even bring Donovan, and made do with a group of guys who did not actually play out of their heads individually (outside of Yedlin, nobody “annonunced themselves” on the world stage). We got contributions across the board. But we also had plenty of people wondering “what if we had brought [player]?” Wasn’t a whole lot of that in 2002. Consensus was that we clearly had the best available back then.

      Great goalkeeping in both cases helped, of course.

  33. Not to diminish the near quarterfinal berth for this years team.. but the entire US soccer brain trust seems pretty confident in what’s being built here..

    From an individual player standpoint… the pure technical ability of the players coming into the spotlight seems a step above..

    Now does that mean that the the US will challenge for a place in the latter rounds of international competition…. maybe…

    It still depends on the style and philosophy of the US program…

    Belgium fielded a pretty talented team.. but do did Spain.. Italy and s few other countries..

      • Probably the same. We were outmanned at every position. Heck even Mexico has better attackers than we do. Herrera did a great job but he navigated a much easier group and ended up losing out to a great opponent just like we did.

      • Well it was only easier in the sense that Cameroon was a joke the whole time. Ghana kept it together until the last game.

    • The thing about Belgium is that they combine athleticism and technique perfectly and imo this is what US Soccer should try to emulate. Belgium have the speed to exploit the best on and off the ball, they have the size and strength to dominate set pieces, and they have the technique team wide to provide an individual moment of brilliance. They can grind out one game with a direct approach and dominate possession the next. They are a raw team but if they really get their sh!t together they will be very dangerous. Im definitely rooting for them to win it all.

      • Argentina will have there hands full. It could come down to the keepers in the run of play or penalty kicks.

      • Have you watched Romero? He’s definitely a weak link. If this comes down to goalies, I’m taking Courtios and Belgium 11 out of 10 times.

      • Because of Howard’s absolutely brilliant performance, US fans are overlooking how well Courtois did. Although he didn’t have nearly the pressure, he did extremely well when he had to. I remember an excellent cross from the right and there were two US attackers, pretty unmarked at the far post. The cross looked long enough, but Courtois leaped and got the ball with his finger tips.Most other goalies probably don’tg reach it and the US had a good chance to score. Also, that clever play on the free kick with the pass to Dempsey, Courtois did an excellent job in reacting quickly and coming out to snuff Dempsey’s shot. A half second later and Dempsey might have scored. I now understand why some are calling him the best young goal keeper in the world–he’s only 22 and most GK’s don’t hit their peak till their late 20’s or so.

  34. We’ve been saying it for what seems like forever…but the cavalry is coming soon with respect to a solid pipeline of attacking talent in big time European academies: Pelosi, Flores, Green, Akale, Zelalem, Hyndman, Yomba etc. combine that with other youngsters breaking through like Nagbe, Arriola, Rowe and Shipp…well, it’s looking good. Even the U17’s are kicking ass…against really solid recent competition.

    Obviously, not all of the above players will break through and make it, but the quantity AND quality is better than ever.

    • +1 and a big H*LL YES. Anybody with access to eyes, ears, even noses can easily accept that US Soccer converts are pouring in fast and thick. The short-to-medium term pipeline is already deeper than most are aware (Yedlin was the only guy besides Pogba to really make an impact thus far from last summer’s U-20 WC). Many of the guys you mention will be coming into their own… others who have yet to even emerge will be on the 2018 team, if history is any indicator.

      Plenty to love in the long-term too. We won’t be losing kids to baseball, basketball, football, etc. any longer. Those sports will still get the athletes who ae tailored to them (LeBron James was never meant to be a soccer player, as much as ESPN hacks have misplayed this argument in the past)…. but we won’t be missing out on prospects. No more 5’8″ guys chasing their NBA dreams without kicking a ball. Not a chance.

      I hope the teams from 2010, 2014 have given these kids a blueprint of our identity. Watching England wilt like daisies at 80 mins against Italy in the very first game was comedy compared to the big filthy balls we brought in every single game. It’s a matter of time before we have some $20MM players dotting our roster, like the rest of the teams we played. Let’s hope they keep this character locked in the DNA as it always has been.

      • Rather than losing soccer talent to other sports (football, basketball, baseball), I think the USA is really losing talent to other professions.

        Look at Thomas Muller; based on appearances, if he had grown up in the USA, he would have been an accountant 😉

        Teenagers who “like” soccer here don’t have a lot of incentive to pursue it with the drive that is required to become great. “Hey, devote your life to this and you might become a superstar…but more likely, you will play in the MLS for $56k.” Or, um, go to college and grad/law/med school and make way more.

        Soccer in the US is just too risky.

        Soccer in the US is also too expensive. A young soccer talent here will require the complete devotion of his parents (and any unfortunate siblings). Every weekend gets consumed with soccer—for the kid and at least one parent. Football and basketball also require family commitment, but nothing approaching the level for soccer. Again, not that kids say, “Soccer is too complicated; I’ll play basketball instead.” No, they just pursue other interests and/or get more positive feedback from their parents when they pursue other interests. Who likes to be the one dragging dad all over the state every weekend?

        All of this is getting better, of course.

      • Kids like Dempsey and his 6 hour round trip practices twice a week when he’s 12 years old don’t grow on trees unfortunately… and neither do Dempseys parents…
        (The real Bac here KGE)

      • Perfect example. For every Dempsey, there are 10 talents like him that decided to pursue their rap careers instead.

        Perhaps instead of pining about LeBron James or Richard Sherman playing for the USMNT, maybe we should be wondering about Snoop and 50 Cent.

  35. I need to get a couple thoughts out before I can even try to fall asleep tonight (fat chance).

    1. I think the primary reason for having Zusi and Davis on the final squad was to provide service for Altidore (and Wondo, I guess). Once Altidore went down, Zusi and Davis became much less effective, and because of their inability to take defenders on, a positive possession for them basically meant passing it backwards. I believe (tired of that phrase, by the way) this team would have looked MUCH different with Altidore healthy. And even then, I think the biggest roster mistake was Boyd because he provides a similar target for Zusi and Davis, allowing them to do more than take up space on the field.

    With that being said, I doubt Yedlin has the tournament he does if Altidore isn’t injured and JK isn’t as forced to try and find an option capable of taking defenders on.

    2. There are a lot of comments critical of JK having the team sit back and be content to play defense the whole game. I’m not sure that’s a fair evaluation. I think he was earnest in his declaration that we’ll take it to our opponents and try to impose ourselves more. We played a much higher line than people seem to give us credit for, which is partly responsible for the constant pressure Belgium was getting in the counter attack. Also, as has been noted our fullbacks were constantly in the attack. I don’t think we sat back at all, but what most affected us getting forward is poor trapping, touch, or creativity, which just killed attack after attack. That’s what makes Yedlin and Green and FJ, etc. so exciting, that they have potential to change the level of on-ball skill for the US and take us to another level.

    • When a US player had the ball it would have been simple to turn left or right to avoid immediate pressure and give themselves a little more time and space to find a supporting player. This is soccer 101. The worst part of the USMNT, with the exception of a few players, but the team as a whole, could not beat a person on the dribble. This is soccer 101 stuff. At the international level it is still soccer 101, but played faster and with more anticipation.

      • As much I am happy seeing Mexico get eliminated from the World Cup. I will give credit to what the coach did with the team. He changed the formation to a 5-3-2 that showed a lot of balance. It worked like a charm against New Zealand and they lived/died with it in the World Cup. They looked like a whole new team. The Mexican coach took a fundamental different approach to the game. Now, it’s time for Klinnsman to change the approach to the game. I like how Dortmund plays, compact and lots of running from defense to offense.

      • He has changed it and the type of change that was needed after Bradley takes time. There are times that you see it when we have the full roster to choose from. Altidore being out handicapped us. We had to batten down the hatches without a release valve to hold the ball up effectively. That shows our lack of depth. We are getting there but that is like a generation transistion to where we have the necessaru depth to lose a player and get a player of the same standard to step up at every position.

    • Speaking of Yedlin. If Chandler is good enough to play for a team like Eintracht Frankfurt MLS better not accept any low ball offer for Yedlin. They need a minimum of $15 million to get him off the sounders books. For all those who crucified him in sounders games you see how much good coaching can do. On the national team his defensive weakness wasn’t exposed because the coach had the knowledge to get people to cover for him when he went forward. Even Rio Ferdinand was praising Yedlin on twitter.

  36. Not a lot of space available in the latter rounds of the World Cup..

    The teams that play on are often the teams that capitalize on the smallest seam..

    The US has a pretty good system in place..
    Tim Howard Demarcus Beasley and a host of others were good enough today…

    But it was Belgium’s ability to capitalize on the smallest of openings that saw them through..

    Not a bad run for the US but you have to make a play when the situation presents itself…

    Numerous flubs were not cancelled out by a game changing offensive play..

    Belgium made numerous mistakes in both halves..

  37. Anything will be successful if Klinnsman moves away from the Bradley Foundation and plays the game typical of top German, Spanish, Italian, and dare I say EPL teams. Compact play with relentless pursuit of the penalty area. If Klinnsman continues to repeat the past and does not move forward in a progressive manner then the USMNT will just be stagnant. The USMNT needs a tournament formula approach to all games.

    • Anything will be successful if Klinnsman moves away from the Bradley Foundation and plays the game typical of top German, Spanish, Italian, and dare I say EPL teams. Compact play with relentless pursuit of the penalty area. If Klinnsman continues to repeat the past and does not move forward in a progressive manner then the USMNT will just be stagnant. The USMNT needs a tournament formula approach to all games. 90+ min should be played like only 10 min are left.

    • Allegedly, Klinsmann quit as Germany’s national team over disagreement about the direction that he wanted to take their national soccer program. In the US, which is a much larger country, Klinsmann has a chance to instigate his style programs and talent development…and he’s been doing that now for more than two years. The US needs an expanded youth soccer effort. College and MLS should have a talent conduit passing through them, or by passing them for Europe, not stopping with them. As diverse as the US sports world has become, there are thousands of athletes who are too short for the NBA, who can’t hit a MLB curve, and who aren’t hefty enough to play much American football. The main gotcha is that soccer should start young; that’s what works in the soccer nations of the world.

      • The progress has been going on before Klinsmann. I’m glad to have his contributions and ideas because they will be learned from but let’s not make it like Klinsmann is single-handedly changing everything.

  38. I’m glad Klinsman and the boys did well. I think JK could have brought in some different players. Dempsey had a hard time playing Jozy (he did do a great job) I was suprised by some of the players did Beckerman, Brooks, Green, they did outstanding. Not shocked nor surprised in how Wondo and Davis did. Shocked how Cameron played. Over all next four years are going to be better than the last 4 years and that is scary!

  39. PROUD doesn’t begin to describe it. Good job to our boys. Exceeded the bookies expectations. Outlasted most of UEFA. Gave us excitement in every game. Made the country take notice that this is here to stay.

    Trolls be d*mned. PIty exrat didn’t stick around to see JULIAN GREEN join the club today. Might have been able to enjoy the team, for a change.


    • Yep! Congratulations USMNT on a successful WC run. Just 3 weeks ago, we defined success as 1-1-1 in the Grupo del Muerto. Today’s game showed that we can play against the best Euro teams. I would say this was a B+ tournament performance for the team. Room for improvement, but did us proud.

  40. Proud of the team but it could’ve been better. Belgium is a great team and the moment Jozy went down, it was an up hill battle from there

      • I don’t know, maybe the guy took a look at his options and decided Clint up top was his best option if Jozy went down. I certainly don’t think we fare any better with EJ, Boyd or any of the other “target” forwards that keep getting mentioned here. You’re probably right, though, I imagine he was just flying by the seat of his pants.

      • The 2009 Bayern Munich team seemed quite sure Klinsmann was “flying by the seat of his pants” the entire time he coached there.

      • Ya, but I’m not convinced guys like Lahm have whats best for the their team. I don’t think Jurgen was the only guy under-preforming or creating issues at Bayern or in the German camp.

        Apparently there is kinda an issue in the Germany in that Lahm has public stated he wants to play Midfield and as Captain that seems a bit… um out of line.

        Anyone can see that he needs to be moved back and yet…. it doesn’t happen.

      • Can people stop talking about EJ? He did almost nothing for the US Nats. Had some surprising contributions recently but has proven he is a liability with his egotism and is a toxic addition to any team.

    • I agree. No Jozy changes everything. For as much as folks carped about leaving Landon at home, for me the haunting question is would Boyd have been a better choice?

      That said, I am so very proud of how these guys gave every last drop of what they had. They were just outgunned.

      I really think that this becomes really clear at moments like these. Ronaldo recently said it best — there are no miracles in soccer. Conventional wisdom said that four points and a bit of luck would see us finish second in the group of death. Conventional wisdom said Germany was going to win and Portugal and Ghana would be close affairs. Conventional wisdom said that Belgium is a team stacked with talent and that, given enough opportunities, they would find a way to click and start scoring. All of those things happened. Once you take Jozy out of the picture, without a suitable replacement, you create a situation where the team is essentially treading water, offensively contained by the opposition and forced to spend most of their time just trying to keep the team afloat defensively. To their credit, they did it as long as they possibly could.

      Klinsmann said over and over again that teams that do well have to be able to suffer and grind out results. JK also said the best footballing nations have teams that have starters playing in champions league caliber teams and in the top leagues in Europe. I have heard pretty pivotal guys in US Soccer say the same thing, and honestly I don’t know many experienced soccer fans that would disagree with that statement, and if you doubt it just run down the club listings of the teams that are still alive. Is it any wonder then that the players that seemed at home the most in this tourney for the US were players that fit that very description? Grinders with a few years of experience in the major european leagues in their resumes. Yedlin is maybe the exception, but he might get some interest overseas now, and if he’s smart he’s go, at least for a little while. How can anyone be surprised that Wondo missed that opportunity? It was the first time in his life he’s ever been in that position. Nothing he has done in his career comes close to that experience, and he got one shot at it. A striker like Klose might have hit that, but how many times has he been in that situation?

      I don’t say this to diminish the progress in the MLS or in US soccer. I support the hats teams with pride, and I root for the entire domestic league. We ARE climbing the ladder. But again, there are no miracles in soccer. You can’t cut corners, you can’t skip steps, and we’re taking big steps as quickly as we can. Germany is better than the US. Belgium is better than the US. Both of those teams deserved to win. Portugal on paper is better than the US. Them salvaging a point teaches our player and fans a very important lesson.

      But we’re catching up. This team is better than the one we sent in 2010 and the team we sent in 2018 will be better still. And frankly, that’s enough to make me optimistic about the future.

      I believe, and in large part because of the incredible performance of this team. They leave some very big shoes to fill.

      • Your insights are good but you’re hedging more than a little in that those teams that you cite as better than the US–and beat the US–are also FIFA world top-10 teams. In which direction do you really intend your faint praise? You’re either raising the US toward them, or bringing the world down to the implied level of the US.

        Don’t need to hedge. The convergence is real. The US has the 3rd largest population in the world; it’s time for it to generate the talent that should be available on the basis of scale, admittedly lacking the interest until now. The US has never had a player of the world class stature of Jurgen Klinsmann, among others. Arguably, the US has never had a coach with his kind of experience and insight into world class soccer. But what counts more is that the US seems to be ready for JK, yes?

      • The fact that Klinsmann got on the phone – and the plane – and went out and recruited like a college football coach didn’t hurt either.

        Say what you want about Jurgen, he learns. His approach to recruiting is absolutely American. He makes personal phone calls to prospects – he called Aron Johanssen after he made his first start for AZ Alkmaar, which shocked Johnanssen. He sends stuff like US soccer gear, hats, and personalized shirts to “prospects” – stuff that would actually get a college football coach gigged by the NCAA for recruiting infractions nowadays, but which they all used to do. He’s ID’ing dual-nationals early and getting on them before anybody else bothers and establishing personal repoire with them. Iceland is still whining about Johanssen, and you’d better believe Germany is not thrilled he lifted, say, Fabian Johnson, John Anthony Brooks, and Julian Green from them. Even the Germans know FJ was the best German right back in the World Cup this year, and Brooks and Green are guys who were certainly on their radar for the future.

        How far would we have gotten without our German-Americans this cycle…guys who came, in no small part, because of Klinsmann? People seem to forget how bare the cupboard was looking in 2011 after Mexico pasted us at the Gold Cup, Bob Bradley was fired, Landon Donovan decided to take his sabbatical, and Stuart Holden was busy going through the first of what would become a myriad of knee rehabs. In 2011 we had Altidore, Bradley, Dempsey, Tim Howard, and Brad Guzan…and that was pretty much it, as far as established US players who looked like long-term answers, and our talent pool was looking as shallow (or shallower) than it had been post-1998. It was that bad.

        Where recruiting didn’t serve, he went out and manufactured answers. We didn’t have anything resembling an International-caliber left back so he dusted DeMarcus Beasley off the scrap heap and converted him into one…considering Run DMB just held up against the world’s best for four games, that’s a pretty remarkable bit of coaching.

        Klinsmann did a bang-up job…not a perfect job (you know he’s kicking himself for not bringing Eddie Johnson or Terrence Boyd as backup for Altidore), but hindsight is also 20/20.

      • Q-
        Once again real good insight on an emotional gut wrenching night.
        I’d disagree with the statement about EJ. Since we don’t know what communication took place b/w them in the lead up, you could say
        -“JK may be kicking himself for not setting his expectations clear enough with him before selection”
        Or, if he did communicate it
        -“EJ fell way short of performing well enough to make the 30”
        But EJ fell off a cliff in 2014. Was poor in camp, and very poor in his MLS appearances. At some point some of these guys have to look at themselves and say they let themselves down and didn’t do enough to get ready. And at some point, maybe the fans will direct their disappointment at those players rather than JK.
        He could only take 30…

        The roster selections will be scrutinized and analyzed to death in the near future.And you’re right, hindsight will be 20/20.
        But revisionist history here we come huh…????.

        We don’t know how Boyd looked in camp, but going INTO camp, which of our forwards other than Deuce was playing the best? Prob Wondo-at least from what we as fans could “see”, since Boyd isn’t on TV every week.
        So I’d think the choice of Boyd, Wondo, or AJ was a tough one to make, but my disappointment in this selection is directed at EJ for going into a rut at the wrong time.

        The LD exclusion will be hotly debated for years. LD fans will say it was criminal – period. His critics will say he played and spoke his way out of the 23. And nobody will ever change their mind. If LD plays terrible the rest of this year, his fans will still say he still belonged, his critics will say “Told u so.”
        If he lights it up, his fans will say “Told you so”, and his critics will say “where was this before camp”
        Emotionally, right or wrong, most will define this entire run based on this selection…which isn’t fair to LD or JK..and it’s not fair to the 23 who busted their butts… but as u said “hindsight”

        I know I’m in the minority, but I remember our posts when the roster came out, and U, GW, KGE, and I were predicting a diamond or 5 man backline, which was why we thought JK pigeonholed LD as a forward- and then cut him.
        This may have been his biggest mistake-committing to a system too early.. at least it’s a debatable one. I said at the time I thought Edu was the riskiest exclusion for depth behind MB,JJ, and KB..
        But tactically I’d say Davis over LD was the biggest mistake now, since JK did a great job adjusting, but didn’t have the best tools to adjust. I’d say Davis was the weakest selection-period..and I said that from the beginning. Unfortunately, that one selection had ripple effects with a lack of wing depth. I’m glad Julian went..I’ve always thought 1 wildcard was worth it-and he took Shea’s spot as that wildcard..the same Shea that JK gave a ton of chances to.

        As far as the remaining selections, I think he got em right. Nobody is as passionate now as they were 6 weeks ago about Evans, Parkie, Ream, Goodson, Corona, Shea, Wiliams, Castillo or even Edu. Hindsight is 20/20… right???

        I will always say the dual nationals criticism is unjust jealousy with an evil twist..none of those critics would tell those guys to their face-nor their fathers. It was the quantity of duals and LDs exclusion that drove that debate, but I’m proud of all of them and they certainly seemed dam proud to wear the Red White and Blue.

        All in all, I think he got more right than wrong..a lot more. Definitely 5 of 7, maybe 6 of 7… but that ONE will define the debate forever.
        I wish Donovan was on the team, but I’m not going to define or crucify JK, because nobody gets it 100% right. Yes, I’m in the minority, but I don’t subscribe to revisionist history.

        I’m gutted, heartbroken, yet proud. Sorry for the long post…

      • Bac, very good comment. (I can tell it’s the real you.) 😉

        Good call bringing up our old conversations. We should be held to our past criticisms/predictions.

        I agree that Klinsmann made some real mistakes. Many, many more brilliant moves, but still some mistakes.

        I’ve been wondering if that was his real problem. You think it was committing to a formation too early, but try this: JK made some crazy moves over the last 3 years that turned out to be brilliant. Lots of crazy-brilliant moves. Maybe he started to think he was a magician.

        No one thought DMB could cut it as LB. “Abracadabra!” Beckerman can’t handle WC competition. “Abracadabra!” Wondo is just an MLS poacher. “Abracadabra!” (9 goals in 5 apps.) Shea is a disaster. “Abracadabra!” (scores the winners against CR and Panama)

        So maybe JK started to think he was more brilliant than he really is—stopped scrutinizing his decisions as much as needed. For example: “I’ll bring Brad Davis and he’ll drop two laser-beam crosses for goals against Germany.” Never mind that Davis would never get the space to make those crosses (or have the gas in the tank to make them properly). Or: “I pushed DMB to LB and it worked great, so I’ll push MB to CAM and it will work too.”

        I guess I’m saying:
        JK = Icarus ?

      • great post, but I will hold JK to the coals for the LD snub because he deserves to be held to the coals for it as it appears to have come back and bite us in the butt…could have been on for Wondo, could have been on for Bedoya or Zusi, could have been the first player off the bench, could have given MB some relief from that role he was thrust into and struggled with, could have come on with Julian and even further changed the game, could have provided the counter attacking acumen this team did not have…so many things. Landon is an attacking player, and our attack was weak

        I can tell it’s the real you too 🙂

      • Is Icarus the one who flew too close to the sun that the heat burned the wax from his wings and he fell and died? I’m Greek and I’m terrible at Greek mythology<-

        If I were a reporter, this discussion would be a legit line of questioning. Because he really couldn't hide behind the answer if u think about it. If you guys remember, I said 6 weeks ago I'd try to think 3 or 4 steps ahead & not take everything at first glance. The problem I have with the "pundits" is they made up their minds and created their narrative immediately, and stuck to it. And like em or hate em- they have the power of the microphone. I want him to be graded on the totality of his decisions and results. He's the coach & tech director so he can say & do what he wants, but now he must answer..just like he said there were certain things he wouldn't discuss till after the Cup- remember that?? I only think that's fair.

        Why? If Wondo buries it, we've survived the Group o' deathness and beaten a favorite with a roster of Euro studs & overachieved-Wondo shanks it & JK now effed up every decision the last 3 years.

        Personally I think he got more right than wrong, and I'm on board with him continuing at least through 2016-Olympics/Copa/Gold etc.. but in the court of public opinion I may be in the minority.

      • quozzel, good comment, as usual.

        Just to emphasize your point, I thought I’d list a few details.

        First, here are the dual nationals on this roster who were recruited by Klinsmann:


        Cap-tied by Klinsmann:

        (Plus three who could only play for US: Besler, Yedlin, and Zusi.)

        He can’t take credit for Jones or Mix.

        Second, DMB played LB prior to Klinsmann. Klinsmann can take credit for recognizing the talent, but not inventing it.

        Third, yes, our talent pool seemed dry after Gold Cup 2011, but look at all the players Klinsmann stuck with despite everyone else writing them off:

        …and Davis (can’t win them all!)

      • From what I understand, it was one of BBs assistants who ID’ed Fabian & BB wasn’t involved.. and Boyd was originally ID’ed by (what’s his name-bowtie dude-name escapes my hungover brain)

      • Nate Dollars: I was going off of first call-up date, which for FabJo was in August 2011 (i.e., Klinsmann era). Where do you find info on him being recruited by Bradley?

        Bac: I didn’t count Boyd because he didn’t make this roster. (So I’ll count him next year!) 🙂

      • May I remind you that Germany recruited Klose and Podolski who were eligible to play for Poland; Ozil and Khedira, eligible to play for Turkey; and Boateng, eligible to play for Ghana.

      • This is a good and oft-overlooked point. Moreover, gotta say at a higher level I am having trouble focusing on anything you say. “Super Nintendo Chalmers” is simply too excellent of a name. +Ralph.

      • Very much agree. With or without JK, this US pool is getting stronger and deeper ever four years.

        Where Klinsmann deserves credit are the additions of the Germericans and Julian Green.

        Klinsmann should also take a lot of blame for the reaction to Green’s inclusion. There was a lot of anger and it wasn’t about Green, it was about Donovan. If Donovan was there, fans would have been thrilled about Green being there and hopeful to see what he could do… instead, Klinsmann put a major rift between US fans.

      • As an LD fan, there was no anger for Green with me. I think every coach should take a flyer or two on young talent at a world cup, especially on a team lacking attacking speed and flair. It was mostly Davis, and to a lesser extent Wondo that pissed me off. Every argument about “lost a step, “90 minute fitness,” “defensive tracking” applied to Davis tenfold over Donovan. I’m glad Green was there, and glad he scored. If you’ve ever seen Donovan captain an 80 yard counter (and he’s done it plenty this season)…you know how sorely he was missed. ESPECIALLY in the Germany game.

        On a side note. So dissapointed in Zusi’s touch. Whether it be heat, fatigue, pressure or whatever, him, Bedoya and MB struggled with their first touch, but St. Zusi was the worst. I truly expected better from him.

      • “The US has the 3rd largest population in the world; it’s time for it to generate the talent that should be available on the basis of scale, admittedly lacking the interest until now. ”

        It’s quality not quantity.

        How big is Spain,Holland, Italy or fricking Belgium? Is China a world soccer power? Did you see Russia play? No? Then you were lucky .

      • Before we get anywhere the youth system needs to be fixed. Pay to be seen and get anywhere is absurd. I was lucky my parents could afford it. There were three players I’ve played with in the last 10 years who were insanely good but came from poor families. No chance. Plus we need to realize sorry players can play to. Look at Shaquiri and Messi. They would have never made it through the US system.

      • I don’t disagree with you, but I think it’s going to take time to get the youth development system where it needs to be. The US Soccer Development Academy is a start. More of those teams should scholarship players with need, but the money has to come from somewhere. So, the ultimate answer will probably lie mostly with the pro teams’ academies: MLS, NASL and USL-PRO. I like the idea of MLS reserve teams in USL-PRO.

        It costs money to develop players, and we as a country need to find ways for the money to come from somewhere besides the players.

      • I think this point has been blown way out of proportion.

        My Son has played club Soccer for the last 10 years, and in the clubs we were at there were a couple of “superstars” whose parents couldn’t afford it…guess what? the club found a way to keep them, fundraisers, etc.

        The system may miss some late bloomers, but from what I have seen the standout players will be playing even if special exceptions or fundraisers have to happen. Just this year our young men did two car washes with the money going towards kids that couldn’t afford fees.

      • Perhaps blown out of proportion but a charity system is a slapdash approach compared to what any established soccer nation has. There are still lots of people slipping through the cracks.

      • If you really want to put your money where your mouth is, ref and donate your game pay back to the club.

    • If you would have told me before the tournament that we’d get out of the group without Jozy. Then we’d play Belgium without Jozy and losing Fabian Johnson, and it’d be close for 120 minutes… I’d have told you this was a pretty good result. Let’s be realistic. I think Klinsman did as much as he could to push this team and help it achieve. Against Belgium, he was put in a very difficult position once FJ went out. He kept telling the players to push higher on the field, to not give them “so much respect” but ultimately the U.S. guys on the field did what they did and it was out of Klinsman’s hands. It would have been nice to see Julian earlier, but it was logical to hold back on your last sub in case someone went down.

      • Bradley or Cameron should have been subbed out much earlier. Cameron was at least back and being disciplined while Bradley was a typical loose cannon and chasing. Both sucked. Beckerman sub at the sixtieth minute would have done wonders.

      • Except if you take Bradley out for “sucking” you don’t get the beautiful tear-drop pass to Julian Green for the only US goal. So there’s that.

      • This is how we fix things in US Soccer. We except that MLS is still in feeder league mode and we pump as many guys in to Europe’s big leagues as possible (ex Belgium) eventually a few will stick. The US is like a good basketball team with no bench. Ghana brought Essien and Boateng off the bench, Germany brought Klose and Bastian Schweinsteiger, Argentina didn’t even bring Tevez. Belgium killed us yesterday by bringing in Lukaku. Imagine having that kind of fire power on your bench!!!! Our defense is already solid like that in many ways because we can afford to bering guys like Yedlin, Cameron off the bench and not bring Ream at all and there is still no drop in quality but our attack is nothing like that that. As seen in this Cup one player goes down and we are screwed.

      • And yet we are much deeper than before. There were some tough decisions made even in the 30 and then some tougher decisions in selecting the final 23. Guys like Goodson and Parkhurst would have made prior US world cup teams.

      • And yet, as Gary says, we are much deeper than before. Point is: we had slim and none on the bench before.

      • Hmm, none. Just a few teams in each league that aren’t feeders.

        Heck, even the EPL is a feeder league to Barcelona and Real.

    • It was much more than Belgium being better, they wanted it more. They committed 27 fouls to our 14. It was an absolutely embarrassing match for everyone not wearing No. 1.

  41. Proactive soccer wasnt promised. He said he WANTED to get to that style. Of course when we play germany or spain things will look different…

    because our talent pool is what it is. (a long way to go)

    • You are too smart to post on this site. Why no one wants to be honest about the talent pool and what is actually possible at the moment is a mystery to me.

      • no one? come on now, some pretty savvy talent observers here I’d say who are right with you all on this and been saying it for years and years. we’re getting there though, it’s inevitable evolution, generation through generation, etc. I think. and hard work

      • Love that you are not a “no one”. Please excuse the passion here, but I often feel like voice in the woods.

        I don’t think it is “inevitable evolution”. If it was, for example, the US would have more than one striker in EPL/Serie A/La Liga/Bundesliga combined in each WC cycle by now (2014 (1); 2010 (1); 2006 (1); 2002 (1); 1998 (0).

        We need more people who understand this like Klinsi and we need USSF/MLS to do more to build a deeply professional and hugely talented pool of players like the winningest countries have.

        Hopefully this time real change starts and the evolutionary cycle really sets in.

  42. It’s really hard to measure progress because the difference between 1st round exit and semifinals is razor thin. Just look at 2002, if Korea takes Portugal’s offer for a draw we’re out. If the ref blows an obvious hand ball we may have made it to the semis. This year was just as close. The true acid test will be next time when it is in Europe.

    • I think it was progress. I believe that in comparison to 2002 and 2010 this group was more difficult from top to bottom.

      As you mentioned in 2002 there many things that could have gone either way; but thats sports in general.

      But I felt that in this group stage (2014) we were in the drivers seat. We had control over our destiny the whole time.

      Also keep in mind Belgium is really good! They’ve swept the table for a reason.

      Im so excited going forward. I felt like the casual fan became USMNT fans this WC. I felt that in 2002 but not to this degree.

      I am proud of my team.

      • We all should be proud… We have a good core & only will get better. Exciting times for USA Soccer

      • YES, it was a good & proud accomplishment for the US soccer coach, team and fans!!! The future for US soccer looks great, especially now that the US fans and parents have an idea what soccer, the WC and the benefits of this healthy sport are all about!

    • I think there’s been a ton of progress since 2002. I thought then and do now that 2002 was a lucky stride for us, like it was for Korea and Japan. We over achieved and like the others, we’ve realized how hard it is to maintain a tournament level team.

      But this tournament you really felt like this team had it in them to make another dent. Klinsi just brings an aura around him that he always has a trick up his sleeve that can change the game whether it be subs or tactics. So that’s progress.

      We also have a deeper pool and more quality. I do think this 23 was weaker and no Donovan would not have made a difference. Jozy getting injured and not having a backup was a giant mistake which most of us pointed out. But in general out funnel has a ton of talent coming and that’s been thanks to a decade worth of work

      Obviously the media and public’s attention is progress. I’ve never see people here react the way they did. It’s not up to Sunil and co to continue that excitement into other tournaments.

      Our tactics are also pushing beyond Bob’s. We can’t play attacking soccer every game and we still lack a full XI capable of it, but you can see slight changes with our defenders passing the ball out from the back and our midfielders looking for forward passes. Those are both new.

      Finally, we’ve seen progress in terms of attitude. We no longer carry that stigma that we’re the underdog. These guys believe they can win. And that’s because of our record breaking last two years.

      So there’s lots of progress that’ll carry over to this new group who Klinsi will continue to mold. Klinsi faced an uphill battle with our defense, Donovan and injuries but he creatively came up with solutions (Evans, Beasley) and we carried on.

      • Speaking of Japan. One would think they are further on than we are due to guys like Kagawa and Honda. Yet, they didn’t managed the success we had though in a group that comparatively looks manageable.

        The point is that climbing the football ladder isn’t linear. If we failed to get out of Group G and Japan failed to get out to get out of group C, I would know which failure is worse.

        The J-League started playing 3 years before the MLS which isn’t much but they are a good program to compare to. They have a large population(Of old people I know.) and became serious about soccer around the same time.

        I think what the USA does better is mitigating our weaknesses and focusing on our strengths.

        Back to what Josh said about strengths. I think this squad is better about playing out of the back than before.(We panic a bit in this vs top teams though.) I think they link up in the run of play better.(Think of Portugal) I feel that we could ONLY counter attack in the past or score on a set piece. We lack the talent to do it all the time but it is an option. I think our defending is about the same as it ever was though.

      • I used to play in the J-League. Japan likes soccer and J-League is alright. Japan don’t really have good players besides Kagawa and Honda. It is very Japanese to not be selfish and to not showboat. Their forwards will always be horrible and goalkeeper mediocre and that will keep them from advancing.

      • It’s interesting you say that…I noticed a bunch of times where Honda could have just taken the game over and made something happen on his lonesome – the space and opportunity was there – and it was like he was almost compelled to pass and be unselfish. He definitely had the ability.

        Felt like they were coaching that out of those guys.

      • Urg, I know what you mean. You can see it in the way they play. They want pass the ball into the net and don’t like shooting. It doesn’t help that Kagawa was totally off his game.

        One of their big failures was fitness though. They faded hard around 70 minutes in the 2 games I saw.

      • I wonder how much jet leg and climate had to do with that.

        You will never, ever catch a Japanese team not working hard enough. But they were basically on the complete opposite end of the Earth from Japan, 10-or-11-hour time difference, and the climate was incredibly different from what they were used to. I think that had a huge hand in running the Asian teams down this tournament.

      • Hey Big Red,
        Maybe I missed it, I would be interested to know who you played for?,
        Like Gamba Osaka, or Grampus Nagoya?.
        I agree with you, I also think there homogeneity is there downfall, as it appears to be for other national teams as well.
        Where would Sweden, be without Ibrahimovic, and Henrik Larssen before him.

      • Josh D and Increase0: good points about the progress *toward* attacking soccer. We’re not there yet, but the signs of growth are!

      • True points; still I think Donovan would have made a difference. Especially given the injury to Altidore, it would have been nice to have an experienced player to provide composure on the ball, and with decisions that could have assisted in relieving the pressure. Zusi, Bedoya, and Davis, just don’t have that quality.

        Donovan would also have been capable of subbing in as a forward; he clearly was a superior choice over Wondolowski. I think last night proved that point beyond doubt.

      • Landon f******g Donovan! Legend! Deserved to be there. Fans deserved it. Team would have been better with him there.

        Period. End of story.

      • Your story is missing a lot of chapters. Including the smarmy commentary and self-loving commercials that took place after the he was cut.

      • I agree with you more but while everyone thinks that we lost because we didn’t have a like for like replacement for Jozy or LD wasn’t on the team I don’t think it was because of any of that. I think we lost primarily because of our wingers. Klinsmann always wanted to play a 4-3-3 but we really don’t have the right type of wingers for that. Its a shame but go back and watch all 4 games our outside backs were better than our wingers in everything from crossing to beating opponents one on one. All our opponents were able to attack with their whole team and white full force because Dempsey was the only one that pressed the defense.Say what you want about Brek Shea but we missed him badly for all the while antics he pulls he’s the only players capable of running down you throat on the wings without fear and if he didn’t stagnate at Stoke this may have been a different story. Also will Nagbe be a citizen by the next WC?

      • Nagbe will be a citizen in like 2 years I think. He got married and that speeds up the process.

        Lordy, we need a competent traditional winger. I reallly do believe LD can’t do it for 90min anymore. I would have loved to have the guy there. I don’t want to point fingers about it anymore though.

      • Except LD has been doing it for 90 minutes game in and game out and, based on how he performed exiting camp, he elevated his game while in camp and likely would have shown up even more at this World Cup.

        But, even as a sub, he’s a guy we needed as we were dominated in 3 of the 4 matches we played.

      • I just don’t understand why people think Donovan would have provided more quality than anyone else on the 23 man roster. LD’s best quality was his pace, and he doesn’t have that any more. He is not a possession-type MF or F. He has one move: push it right and blow by you, which he can’t do anymore.

        What we needed last night was a healthy F Johnson for 120 minutes. His injury completely changed the game plan. No way Zusi or Cameron get past halftime if Johnson doesn’t get hurt. LD would have offered us next to nothing in terms of ability to hold up play or keep possession. If you think otherwise you aren’t paying attention to LD’s skill set or current form.

      • Do you ever watch the Galaxy play? The answer must be rarely, because if you did you wouldn’t be making such ignorant comments about Donovan.

      • while i would disagree with people who argue LD starting would have been the difference, i completely agree with the idea LD should have been on the 23. i’d pick LD over Davis any day.

        that said, i was over it and had moved on by the time the WC started.

      • I agree with you. You look at Donovan’s goals and assists for the national team and just is general style of play and it was never possession based. He is a guy that knows how to operate on the break. Doing that is not equal to purposeful build up with an eye on keeping possession.

        Could we have used Donovan? Yes but only if we resorted to all out counters like we used to. In his absence we started to see the seed of proactive possession based soccer and managed some decent results with it even if it wasn’t consistent or pretty yet.

      • LD is great in the possession game, good grief people!!! AND on the counter.

        this one or the other thing is totally off base

      • Dad,

        Did you watch the Gold Cup? LD was anonymous starting out on the wing and then he moved centrally and his game took off.

        And this was against JV teams.

      • If we start deploying a 4-3-3 regularly I think you’ll see either F Johnson and Yedlin at MF with the other playing RB. I also believe Zusi showed his quality (or lack thereof) last night and his days as a starter on the USMNT will be limited as Green develops.

      • Before we started the WC I thought we would play F Johnson as a winger. We should have done so and then played Cameron or Yedlin at RB. BTW, on another thread yesterday someone provided a link to a FIFA site that had distance run and top speed for WC players. F Johnson was one of the fastest players so far during the tournament. It’s a shame he got hurt early in the Belgium game.

      • Perhaps you’re right but I have to imagine that if he was starting his plays more forward as a winger he wouldn’t have looked nearly as threatening because he would be marked. The game he really shined in was the Portugal game where he had a winger in front of him occupying the fullback and the midfielder, Ronaldo, not tracking him at all. That allowed him to receive in wide open space and run onto a makeshift left fullback at pace. He made the most of that opportunity so lots of credit to him but it wouldn’t have been nearly so easy if he was at the wing and starting every play covered.

      • Pat Nevin, a former Chelsea winger said that Fabian was the RB that Manchester United needed to buy, too bad about the move to BMG.

        The point is marauding attacking fullbacks do not necessarily translate directly to marauding attacking wingers.

        As pointed out elsewhere, fullbacks are unmarked and open so when they are as fast, quick and smart as FJ, then they can see beter where they need to go and get there before anyone can stop them. This same process does not necessarily happen when you are a midfielder or winger.

        FJ was a big loss for the Belgian game because even though Yedlin did very well, FJ might have been better able to exploit the holes the Belgian wingers were leaving behind them, but we’ll never know..

      • Agree about Zusi. Seems like great guy, but his game seems limited and did not play well at this WC cycle.

      • I would point out to people the US performance in the last CONCACAF tournament which was held in Mexico for the U-20 (or U-21, can’t remember) where Tab Ramos had the players playing a lot of very good attacking soccer that had even the Mexicans on their heels for most of the final. I am hoping that by 2018 we will see this start to show up in the senior team as well. People who decry the lack of attacking soccer in this WC by the US need to realize that the quality of the opposition had a lot to do with that. What if we had the good fortune to get Greece in the Round of 16 like Costa Rica did? I’m sure you would have seen a lot different US team then.

      • Agree with your U premise. The main problem is the same as it has been since the early days. How to get more out of the outstanding talent at U-15/16/17 etc so that they are big time players on the senior level. JK looks to be trying to fix that aspect of the program as well. I hope he is successful.

      • The answer is to stop the stupid college program. We need professional academies where top players go and the US Federation should be clear that any player who goes to college is letting his professional career a huge disservice. Only US-centric sports, the ones no one in the world cares about, or very few do, can coexist with college. We also need to send top US players to European academies. We should care about the quality of the USMNT and not MLS.

      • ORM – We haven’t even seen the professional academies hit their stride, yet. College soccer is quickly becoming a misstep in professional careers, because academy products are beginning to compete for first-team minutes in their teens.

        Yedlin is the first MLS academy product to play for the USMNT, and there are a lot more coming out of that pipeline.

      • Progress in most areas is undeniable. The press and the public are seeing that soccer is growing tremendously in thiis country and eventually will surpas baseball among the young. It is just a matter of time.
        Joe Santos sr

      • Regarding a replacement for Jozy – there is none, we don’t have one. Jozy is unique for us right now. Boyd isn’t there yet and every other forward I can think of brings a different skill set than Jozy.

    • ———Altidore——–Bacon———-

      Cameron is the utility for injuires

      • This looks like a potential Gold Cup 2015 team. Russia 2018 is too far away to accurately project the US lineup.

      • It is true that 2018 is too far away to project but it is very comforting to know that we have a plausible starting lineup with people that were on the current team and only 2 will be slightly past their 30th birthday.

        Oh and for the gold cup we might want to include the older guys if they still have it next year because we can get the Confed Cup berth if we win the Gold Cup.

      • Chandler has already made it quite clear – he is available for World Cup finals only. Forget about him in any other tournament. And forget about him being match fit. And forget about him really giving a rat’s *** about whether we win or lose. All of which is apparently fine with Klinsmann.

      • I am hoping that Zelalem will be in the discussion for next year. Also, you left out Besler. We look deep at centerback for the next cycle or two.

      • I don’t know about that. Our defense gave up more chances than any team save Iran. I agree that we have “depth” in that we have a bunch of guys who are solidly stamped into some of those spots. However, I’m not sure that’s a good thing. We are going to need Gonzo, Brooks, and Besler to continue to improve in order for that depth to actually be meaningful.

      • True, but you also need a competent midfield that can hold the ball and not give it away so much. Many chances came from the midfield not being able to control their space and then the opposition is in on the defense. So not totally the fault of the backs. It’s a team that needs to blend together. We are getting there.

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