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Chile 3, USMNT 2: Five Observations

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Lessons were always going to be learned after using a new formation for the first time, but some familiar issues also rose to the surface for the U.S. Men’s National Team.

The U.S. was handed a 3-2 road defeat by Chile on Wednesday, as a promising but far-from-perfect first half was undone by yet another ugly second stanza. The Americans struggled mightily in a number of areas during the closing 45 minutes, and wound up surrendering a halftime lead to suffer a loss that extended their winless run to five games.

The result was not what mattered most, however. Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann trotted out a new 3-5-2 formation against the Chileans, and how his players adapted to and performed in that set-up was always going to be more important than the final score.

The U.S. showed some encouraging signs in between the expected hiccups, but there were also problems that did not stem from the formational change, problems that Klinsmann will want to take a closer look at in order to solve them.

Here are five observations, both good and bad, that SBI took away from the U.S.’s 3-2 defeat to Chile:

WINGBACKS NEED WORK

A key ingredient for the U.S. to be effective in the 3-5-2 formation on Wednesday was always going to be the play of the wingbacks. Brek Shea and DeAndre Yedlin both started out well, buzzing up and down their respective flanks and scoring or helping to create the two Americans goals. Offensively, they were solid.

Where they had trouble was on the defensive side, which was expected given their skill sets. Yedlin, especially, had a tough time preventing attackers from getting in behind him and closing down the space in front of them. It is from his side where all three goals emanated – he fell asleep on Mark Gonzalez’s run that led to Chile’s second – but he was not alone in having a tough time. Shea was also beaten easily on a few occasions on the left.

Yedlin and Shea were never going to play perfect games in these new positions, but it’s clear there is room for improvement if this formation is to stick. A lot of room for improvement.

JONES SHOWS PROMISE LEADING THREE-MAN BACK LINE

For all the questioning that there was last fall when Klinsmann opted to experiment with Jermaine Jones at centerback, the veteran continued to impress in his new position against Chile. This time, however, he was used as the central defender in the U.S.’s three-man back line and was tasked with both breaking up plays and starting attacks.

Aside from one very poor pass that was picked off deep in the Americans’ defensive third, Jones did an exceptional job in the first half in his defensive role. He cleaned up a number of messes in the air and on the ground, covered acres of space, and showed a real command in trying to begin attacking sequences by building out of the back with short passes or making surging runs forward with the ball.

Jones was not as solid after halftime when he was moved into the midfield, but he still looks like a legit option at centerback, especially if Klinsmann wants to continue using this new 3-5-2 look.

WOOD EXPERIMENT NEEDS TO END FOR NOW

Bobby Wood is not a bad player. He has shown some positive things in his recent appearances, and, at 22 years-old, there is plenty of room for him to grow. Still, he has been largely off the mark in his recent outings and has accumulated quite a bit of rust from not playing on a weekly basis at the club level.

Nowhere was this more evident than on Wednesday, as Wood struggled with his touches and failed to have much of a positive contribution. He hustled and tried to find the game, but his decision-making wasn’t sharp, he surrendered a good look on a set piece after falling asleep on his mark, and couldn’t even win 50-50 balls. All in all, he looked like a player not confident in himself before coming off at halftime.

Finding a new club where Wood will see time should help correct some of those things, but Klinsmann shouldn’t give the youngster another look until that happens.

KEEPING POSSESSION STILL PROVING DIFFICULT

As was the case in their final games of 2014, the Americans were unable to maintain possession for large stretches on Wednesday. Michael Bradley and Mix Diskerud moved the ball well at times with quick one or two-touch passes that Klinsmann was demanding from the sideline, but they also mis-hit a few that they should’ve been cleaner with.

While the American defenders were intentionally doing their best to build out of the back and not hoof long balls up the field, the U.S. still could not penetrate down the middle. The Chileans deserve credit for pressuring well in the center of the field and forcing Bradley and Diskerud to operate from deep and away from playmaker Clint Dempsey.

Klinsmann’s side still should have done better going forward and not relied so much on attacking primarily down the wings through the speedy Yedlin and Shea. It needs to be better in central midfield from Bradley and Diskerud, two players known for their ability to move the ball quickly, accurately and effectively.

ALTIDORE TURNED IN A GOOD SHIFT

Jozy Altidore was responsible for the turnover that led to Chile’s second equalizer, but he also had several positive moments throughout the match. Apart from doing well to place his one-timed shot in the back of the net in the 31st minute, Altidore worked his tail off. On numerous occasions he dropped back into the U.S.’s defensive third to cover for a wingback or help apply pressure. It was something that neither Wood or Dempsey did, and showed that Altidore can be effective in ways when he’s not seeing a ton of the ball.

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Did you like the way Jones played in the middle of the three-man back line in the first half? Agree that Klinsmann needs drop Wood for the time being?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. May I recommend learning the triangle passing system and stop passing to people who have their backs to goal. Never seen a worse passing team!

    Reply
  2. Lose early in the cycle while auditioning talent and formations, when more before and during tourneys.

    Just what JK did last time.

    Reply
  3. I think the praise for Jones is a bit myopic. He’s done well in actual defensive acts, like making tackles and clearances and whatnot, but his positioning has been awful. That said, it takes time to learn how to play the center of a 3 man backline, especially when you’ve almost never played CB before, so I’m not yet expecting fluency. But his failures to step up in the right situations and to not go too far astray at the wrong times had a major impact on the midfield’s struggles last night.

    I agree wholeheartedly with the other four points though. One thing that sticks out to me is that we have players who have the qualities to be very good wingbacks, but it’s a very hard position to learn and a very demanding one, and if they can’t master it, a 3-5-2 will never work.

    Reply
    • “One thing that sticks out to me is that we have players who have the qualities to be very good wingbacks, but it’s a very hard position to learn and a very demanding one, and if they can’t master it, a 3-5-2 will never work.”

      +1, especially with brek. his skills are prototypically wingback, but i kind of doubt he’s got the ‘soccer IQ’ to make it work. fabian, on the other hand…

      Reply
  4. Chile 3, USMNT 2: Five Observations

    1. Jermaine Jones might work in a 3 at the back, but he should not be in the middle. In the games he has palyed in the back, he has been beaten in the air. Brooks or Gonzalez needs to be in the middle to win the aerial battles.

    2. Duece was mostly invisible, and needs to stop flopping. It is getting to the point where you blow on him and he falls over… He will get better as the season progresses, but if we are going to win the Gold Cup he will need to kick it up a notch.

    3. Love to see Jozy scoring!

    4. Yedlin will not be seeing the field, as a wing back, anytime soon for Spurs. Kyle Walker is not worrying about his job… Love the speed, but he was constantly watching the Chilean player running behind to create chances.

    5. Same old same old under Klinsi, nowhere near enough possession. There were way too many unforced errors. 5 to 1o times players just played the ball to Chile, or not to a US player. It got really ugly.

    added bonus points

    5a. Trapp not ready yet
    5b. Zardes looked good.

    Reply
  5. Don’t know why you posted this three times. Oh well.

    So first goal… that’s Yedlin’s fault. As a wing back, you get back and do everything you can to stop the cross. He half-assed that defensive effort. You just can’t do that at this level. I promise you Philipp Lahm gets in a defensive position and doesn’t allow the cross.

    If you want to blame a CB, you should blame Rimando instead for poor communication. For a CB, it’s not easy to track back, watch the ball, your defensive line, and incoming runners. The keeper needs to sort that out, and he is the only one that can see everyone coming in while being in the correct position.

    In a team sport, if you get beat 1v1 physically, you shake the guys hand. If you get beat because you make mental mistakes, you have bigger issues than one player losing a mark.

    Reply
    • Always blame the keepers…damn. You know they have to watch the ball, which as wide on the field as it could be and ALL THE OTHER PLAYERS! or it is his fault according to the defense. One of the guys two yards from the mark couldn’t see the runner, but the goalie was supposed to.

      I just watched it, and Besler let the man go, but Jones played him onside. Which may be what Rimando was most upset about, though Yedlin was close to the same position.

      And that isn’t even acknowledging the fact that maybe Rimando did call it out. and that’s why he knew right where to go after the clear header. I would have been yelling, and I would have been yelling fr Jones to pick him up and Besler to peel back to the next guy.

      Reply
      • I played keeper at a pretty high level, however not professional. The players, specifically Besler should have had their marks 35 yards out. Rimando hopefully did say something. When the ball gets played out wide, Besler should know to get goal side or play the offside trap.

        The part that gets difficult is that in a 3-5-2 the back line plays much more zonal, thus Jones covers the near post ball / run, and Besler covers anything past that. I’m not sure Jones is the best in a zonal backline since he does like to wander (the 29th minute he is the highest player up the field, dont know why). Add the fact that Birnbaum is caught up and you’re in trouble.

        The best way to break the play up is 1) don’t let the cross in (look at Eddie Robinson’s twitter for a professional’s opinion) and 2) have your marks in the box, which comes down to communication. Either way, its bad.

  6. DW as in Danny Williams? I think an ideal back 3 would be jones in the center, besler left and Gonzales right. Besler has the wherewithal to play from the back in right spaces and great distribution, Gonzales has the athleticism and emergency defending to make it work. I was impressed with Shea and Yedlin. They both have all the raw material to be great wing backs with the right amount of reps and mental conditioning.

    Reply
  7. Uh, Jones was a hot mess against Chile. He was not effective; he was constantly out of position, confusing his other central defender partners while making suicide runs all night. He really needs to clean up his possession and quick distribution. I would not characterize this as the type of performance you want from your defensive linchpin. I agree on all other points. Altidore, while definitely rusty with his passing, hustled back on long runs to cover Yedlin’s area on two or three occasions. Really good effort from him – the kind a coach loves to see. As for Dempsey, not sure he is the ideal AM for the 3-5-2. He tends to disappear for long stretches which puts a lot of pressure on the two holding central mids, and this is why you saw a lot of effort made to go down the flanks.

    Reply
  8. What this team needs is Claudio Reyna circa 2002. Hold the ball in tight spaces, link players, control tempo and not shrink from an occasion.

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  9. It seems like the new formation was definitely a struggle for this team. I know JK is not the most popular guy right now but to say he’s doing a poor job with the U.S would be an overstatement for me. People need to look at the play of the team from a situational perspective and realize that the way the team looks isn’t solely dependent on the personnel. We tend to scrutinize individuals with this team instead of looking at the way the system is influencing us. I’m probably being way too intellectual with this but sometimes I feel as though some of the opinions surrounding the USMNT are very short-sighted and devoid of any real insight.

    Reply
  10. I agree that our midfield needs to do better but disagree with naming Bradley AND Diskerud. It was Bradley that continuously turned the ball over. He has not played well in the last few games. Incredible shot that hit the post but was not the Michael we saw a year or so ago. He just cant seem to get many passes right.

    Mix on the other hand did quite well and is solidifying a starting spot.

    Reply
  11. 5 observations:
    DO NOT CHANGE A FORMATION THAT GAVE YOU 2 GOALS
    With the addition of Lee Nguyen and Zardes we should have stayed with the 3-5-2 instead of going back to 4-4-2. If you are experimenting do so with like terms

    JERMAINE IS OUR BEST MIDFIELDER
    With maybe the exception of Yedlin no one has the wheels of Jones. Why are you putting your best midfielder at CB and expecting him to move way forward to join 5 midfielders in the center?? He needs to be in the in the center of those 5 midfielders, that’ll take pressure off the 3 man back line.

    YOU DON’T CREATE/TRY AN EXPERIMENT IN AN EXPERIMENT
    If you are experimenting with Jones in the back (which is not his natural position) why would you adjacently try a weak 3 man backline with him in it? Putting that much “bend” in it and it is sure to break

    FIRST GOAL WAS BESLER’S FAULT
    Its part of the game and yes we are experimenting with a 3 man backline but that cross was way too easy and he lost his man. There has to be sound accountability and awareness when playing a 3 man backline. Galaxy are champions because of a good defense….Omar Gonzalez should be playing behind Jones, with Besler on the left and Birnbaum on the right..

    EXCELLENT FLASHES OF PASSING
    The Steve Birnbaum TO Jones BACK TO Birnbaum TO Mix BACK TO Birnbaum TO Jones BACK TO mix on a run—-who sent Yehlin down the flank—–that set up a throw-in TO mix by Yedlin due to a sliding tackle— who fed Yehlin again who returned the favor BACK TO Mix in the 18—–who squares it TO Altidore—-who scores was just unbelievable. LOL

    We lost but for some odd reason, base on what I saw, I’m not disappointed or upset…..

    Reply
    • Not sure the first goal was all Besler’s fault. Rimando went straight to Jones after the goal to explain positoning or something to him.

      Reply
      • I think it was Besler’s fault. I also think Yedlin missed that play, he did not pressure the cross. Jones is going to have the freedom to be out of position, because JK wants him starting the attack. For some reason. BUT Jones was in position to track the runner and he did not for some reason.

        And Rimando is not world class

    • I believe this is accurate actually – Matt Doyle mentioned something on a recent March to the Match podcast (RIP) about how our +/- is massively positive when Mix is on the field.

      Reply
  12. Clearly as a result of this article Bobby Wood will start the next 4 US games…

    I agree that it looked like the team was under a strict direction to not play the ball long, and I thought the same in the Ireland game as well, which had disastrous consequences. I get the training ground point of it, but sometimes you have to play the ball long, whether to defuse danger, or just keep the opposition from being able to crowd your end with impunity. Just like American football, sometimes you have to go deep to keep their defense stretched. It became too easy for both Ireland and Chile to jump on our guys in our end of the field without having to worry about the ball getting behind them.

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  13. I really had no problem with the game. Road game in South America, scoring two goals, what’s not to like? Really sharp quick combination plays from the boys, but the Chilean pressure was too much. Had to throw more balls over the top, there was space on the flanks all day.

    Also, playing in the “counter attack” mode, we were leading until we made some changes at the half, so perhaps there is a depth issue. Despite this, I am glad Trapp got minutes.

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  14. Sorry, but USA did not know how to respond to Chile tactics. They were lucky it was only 3. Felt bad for the players floudering around like that. How sad to see.

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  15. Sorry, but USA did not know how to respond to Chile tactics. They were lucky it was only 3. Felt bad for the players floudering around like that. How sad to see.

    Reply
  16. Unless the players get more experience from their clubs using various formations, it is an exercise in futility. Players need more experience playing in the formation and they will not get it in a short camp or one or two games, moreover they need someone experienced using formations to actually coach them in the ins and outs of a 3-5-2, or q 4-5-1 as compared to a 4-4-2. Players have to learn how the passing lanes are changed, who covers who, where what and when. It was painfully obvious that dis-possession was the order of the day for the US, players especially the rookies and first time cappers had no idea who and where to the lay the ball off to. The 3-5-2 also lead to the backs covering a lot of ground, something you should not be doing in the off-season. Klinsmann made changes far too late in the game and left a lot of gassed defenders in to favor more attacking players.

    I do believe that Klinsmann is in far over his head as far as tactical formations go. Remember it was Joachim Lowe, Klinsmann assistant during Klinsmann spell as head Coach for Germany, that laid out the formations, tactics and strategy, A position Martin Chavez held, and now , I believe Andrea Herzog holds, neither are in the same league as Lowe, who won the WC.

    With his constant tinkering, waiting for the “A-HA!! formation and combination of new players to arrive, the US will continue to suffer more defeats While there is some discovery to be done for any good team, the US should have arrived at a schema for success by now and use it as a template to integrate new players. Instead Klinsmann continues to sport new lineups, players in new position, new players playing out of positions and, of course, new formations, each causing new puzzlement for fans and players. Although Klinsmann must be given some leeway for trying to integrate players from various leagues and seasonal fitness, using virtually all players from the MLS with marginal fitness against in-form and in-shape opponents is a recipe for failure.

    At some point, and maybe its already arrived, players will shun career advice for JK and do their own thing. Already many US players will choose not go to Europe and be subjected to the vagaries of selection in the merry-go-round coaching carousel that is common in in many Euro leagues. When this spreads to the players on the field, a change must be made.

    There will be a time, and it will probably be sooner than later, that Gulati will tire of the great Klinsmann experiment and decide to make a change. Frequent losses to teams we should beat, due to bad tactics, strategies, and player selections will outweigh the small progress being made.

    Reply
    • bottlcaps:

      “Unless the players get more experience from their clubs using various formations, it is an exercise in futility. Players need more experience playing in the formation and they will not get it in a short camp or one or two games, moreover they need someone experienced using formations to actually coach them in the ins and outs of a 3-5-2, or q 4-5-1 as compared to a 4-4-2. Players have to learn how the passing lanes are changed, who covers who, where what and when. It was painfully obvious that dis-possession was the order of the day for the US, players especially the rookies and first time cappers had no idea who and where to the lay the ball off to. The 3-5-2 also lead to the backs covering a lot of ground, something you should not be doing in the off-season. Klinsmann made changes far too late in the game and left a lot of gassed defenders in to favor more attacking players.”

      So what you are saying is that national teams should only use formations that the available player pool are familiar with?

      “I do believe that Klinsmann is in far over his head as far as tactical formations go. Remember it was Joachim Lowe, Klinsmann assistant during Klinsmann spell as head Coach for Germany, that laid out the formations, tactics and strategy, A position Martin Chavez held, and now , I believe Andrea Herzog holds, neither are in the same league as Lowe, who won the WC.”

      The 2006 World Cup was nine years ago. Are you so sure you know what JK has learned in nine years? Chavez and Herzog may or may not be the tactical geniuses that Lowe is, who by the way credits JK for starting Germany on the path to winning the World Cup.

      But you are forgetting one very important thing, look at the players Lowe was drawing up tactics for and look at the players Chavez and Lowe had and do have to work with.
      Lowe’s players would make a lot of coaches look good.

      “With his constant tinkering, waiting for the “A-HA!! formation and combination of new players to arrive, the US will continue to suffer more defeats While there is some discovery to be done for any good team, the US should have arrived at a schema for success by now and use it as a template to integrate new players. Instead Klinsmann continues to sport new lineups, players in new position, new players playing out of positions and, of course, new formations, each causing new puzzlement for fans and players……There will be a time, and it will probably be sooner than later, that Gulati will tire of the great Klinsmann experiment and decide to make a change. Frequent losses to teams we should beat, due to bad tactics, strategies, and player selections will outweigh the small progress being made.”

      There is an old saying about not fighting this war with the last war’s tactics.

      The 2014 WC is over; that team is history.

      The USSF has already deemed JK’s turn with that team a success by extending him. Anyone can get fired at any time, contract extension of not but JK will have to alienate not just Gulati but the other 13 or 14 voting members of the USSF board. It seems unlikely they would dump him for a run of indifferent results with a B or C team in this last batch of friendlies after Brazil. The games have been at best experimental scrimmages to sort out a few things here and there.
      If he loses the Gold Cup then maybe you have something there but even so, if that happens it just means the US will have to engage in a playoff to get into the Confederations Cup, which is the main reason the Gold Cup is worth anything more than practice.
      You act as if the 2018 World Cup is this summer.
      It’s not. There are two and a half to three years left to sort out a number of issues. Can the US win the Gold Cup with essentially a slightly modified version of the Brazil team? Sure they can. But I suspect JK wants to move on from what was essentially Bob Bradley’s slightly modifed team to something more like what he really wanted.
      And more importantly you all said you wanted that when you chased Bob Bradley out of town with much glee because he was too conservative , did not talk much, gave his son too much playing time and wore track suits.

      ” Although Klinsmann must be given some leeway for trying to integrate players from various leagues and seasonal fitness, using virtually all players from the MLS with marginal fitness against in-form and in-shape opponents is a recipe for failure.”

      Do you want to tell me what other choices JK had? Try looking up who was avaialble to JK for this camp.

      “At some point, and maybe its already arrived, players will shun career advice for JK and do their own thing. Already many US players will choose not go to Europe and be subjected to the vagaries of selection in the merry-go-round coaching carousel that is common in in many Euro leagues. When this spreads to the players on the field, a change must be made.”

      If Shea ,Agudelo, Sacha, Jozy and even Mikey or Deuce were getting regular playing time and doing well at their clubs do you honestly believe they would have come back to MLS?

      Maybe Deuce and Mikey because they were getting crazy money.

      Do you think Hyndman , Gyau, Carter-Vickers, Steffen, Zelalem, Brooks , Cropper, Green and so on are planning to come to MLS anytime soon? I don’t. Yedlin has already stated he isn’t planning on coming back anytime soon if he can help it.

      What has always made the USMNT great is that mix of domestic and foreign and I hope that continues.

      MLS will do very well, nothing can stop that now. The question is will it help push the USMNT into contender status or will it do for the USMNT what the EPL does for England’s national team?

      Reply
  17. This was two different games, the first 65 minutes when it was an open back-and-forth attacking affair that was pretty even and fun to watch. Then the last 25 when our entire team was so fatigued it became hard to watch. Anyway the biggest issue I saw (in the good 65) was the defensive shape. Besler did his best to cover everywhere he could, but everyone else struggled to mark runners in the box. As stated in the article, the wingbacks were constantly beaten on the flanks to start most of their dangerous attacks, and this seemed to be the root of the problem. Also I feel like Jones tried a little too hard at times to thread passes or create something. If he’s going to be the last defender, there are times he’s just going to have to clear the ball, or play it back to the GK to start over.

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  18. Franco, I really appreciate the insight as I was unable to watch the game last night. I’m probably being pedantic, but I hate seeing the abbreviation “legit” used formally. anyone else feel the same way?

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  19. Interesting take. Agree with you 100% on the wingbacks, jones, woods, and possession. But I thought Jozy actually didn’t hustle or presssure the ball when Chile’s backs had the ball. Maybe I didn’t track him as much as you. I want nothing more than Jozy to perform well, I’ve always been a big fan. But considering his past two seasons, and even last night’s game, I’d much rather give Zardes more run and see how he does. His energy level was so high, his runs were smart and effective. I hope he gets a fair shake.

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  20. I’ve thought that a 3-man backline was what we should have played since 2002. The best WC the US ever played was v. Mexico, and we came out in a 3-6-1 for that one. CB has always been a strength, but outside backs have not been. This gets our best midfielders on the field at the same time, gives Jozy someone to play with, and makes good use of our CBs.

    I thought Clint should have started up top with Jozy with Nguyen in the #10 role from the outset.

    Let’s not forget that we only really started to be overrun when Klinsmann switched to the 4-4-2, presumably because Yedlin and Shea didn’t have the legs to keep bombing up and down the flanks.

    Reply
    • I guess he’s referring to Danny Williams! He’s not a defender if I remember correctly thus he’d prove to be of little help for our backline in my opinion!

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  21. I think you’re being a little too harsh on Yedlin, and a little too soft on Jones. For me, I thought Yedlin was one of our better players on the field for 70 minutes. He lost his mark a couple times, but was solid 1 vs 1 and was probably our most promising player going forward. Jones wasn’t bad, but he and Besler clearly had communication issues (understandable, given the new system), but he also got caught driving forward too far a couple of times.

    Reply
    • james,

      “he also got caught driving forward too far a couple of times.”

      It was an experiment with a new attacking formation. What did you expect?
      I’ll tell you what I expected, which is that when Jones went forward, that someone would figure out that he needed to be covered.

      That’s what you do when you have a center back, or any defender, who goes on the attack.

      It’s not some way out of left field concept, it’s the same old, “when he goes forward someone has to cover the hole he left behind” concept. Everyone knows what JJ does, it’s just going to take his new teammates a little time to figure out
      It is always fascinating when SBI posters go on search and destroy missions to assign blame and then crucify individual players, especially for a glorified scrimmage.
      It’s a team game and this was a brand new team, playing together for the first time ever, using a brand new formation with several brand new players, away from home facing a pretty tough, clearly amped up opponent.
      This game was much more interesting than I expected. The score should have been Chile 6, the US 4.
      As for the disorganization so clearly evident, I remember in the summer of 2013 when Belgium dismantled a disorganized USMNT in Cleveland and then a few days later the US beat Germany at RFK. I also remember how terrible the USMNT looked at the beginning of the 2009 Confederations Cup.

      Reply
  22. Wood plays a production position and does not produce. QED. Same with Boyd that I like but has been hurt or had club form not translate. Same with Wondo.

    I was glad Jozy scored but most impressed by the work rate. I think a lot of the second half flak he’s taken is better directed at the people passing him the ball. If you play him a ball in a mass of people don’t be surprised if he loses it.

    I think the backline looked poor but I thought some of that had to do with playing a zonal marking system instead of man against an attacking opponent with 3 backs. Little apparent understanding of where responsibility stopped and started.

    Yedlin wasn’t really playing defense and that was a big problem.

    Reply
  23. Not keeping possession by far the biggest take away for me. Any defense is going to break down if you can’t keep the ball for more then 2 passes.

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  24. Perhaps I’m mistaken but wasn’t Jones responsible for the first goal? He’s not tracking where the runner is at all. Perhaps that wasn’t his responsibility but it kind of looks bad with him just watching the ball go over his head.

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  25. Anyone know where i can find opta stats for the game. It seemed to me that Bradley turned the ball over repeatedly. So any help to find the real deal would be appreciated

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  26. I think we’ll see significant improvement in the back line when if we replace Matt Besler with Tim Ream and Birnbaum with Cameron. No knocks on Besler or Birnbaum as players, who actually were solid, but Ream and Cameron seem much better suited as the outside centerbacks in a back three. Ream in particular has played that role for Bolton. Cameron regularly impresses at right back for Stoke. Greg Garza is also a good option.

    Fabian Johnson also should come in for one of Shea or Yedlin

    Overall, there were enough positives. I think the midfield trio has to be sorted out in order to also allow enough coverage for the back line – Dempsey isn’t really defensively attentive enough for the role at the tip of a midfield of that shape – but this wasn’t a bad loss or a bad game for the 3-5-2. Looking forward to more

    Reply
    • i think besler and cameron could do just fine, *if* they built some sort of familiarity between them. they’re both steady defenders, and they’re pretty mobile as well.

      they would actually be perfect as the outside of a static 3-man back line, but if jones is doing his libero-on-crack thing, they need to be playing together a good deal before it starts working.

      that said, i wouldn’t mind seeing ream getting a look back there; i’d like to see how much he’s improved since his last call-up.

      Reply
  27. Really was an entertaining experiment…both formation, roles and players. I would like to see a three man back line with JJ, FJ & DW. Enough athleticism to track things down, enough skill to pass out of back and enough German to…. 🙂

    Reply
    • I’d rather see a back 3 of…
      RCB – Cameron, CCB – Jones, LCB – Brooks

      But I think the best formation for the US will ultimately be a 4-3-2-1
      ———————————-Jozy/Boyd—————————–
      ————Dempsey/EJ————————-Lee/Clint———-
      ———–Fabian/Mix—————————-Bradley/Trapp—
      ——————————-Williams/Jones————————-
      Chandler/Garza———————————–Yedlin/Lichaj–
      ——————Brooks/Besler——-Cameron/Gonzo———
      In the Wings: Rubin, Gyau, Green, Agudelo, Powers, Hyndmann, Senora, Canouse
      There are a number of attacking options coming through the ranks as well as CM’s. Where we are a little thin is at outside back and CB. EPB & CV are not likely to be true contenders until after 2018

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  28. My observation is that we need some more accurate analysis here. Too much gut feeling, not enough tactical why did this happen. Most people, including commentators, just dont know what happened.

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  29. This columnist might be a nice guy, but he has no clue as to what happened yesterday. The wingbacks did not fall asleep, chile put them all in postions where they had to chose how to defend. They were not set up to defend Chiles attack and were tactically lost. Jones was terrible, technically and in particular postionally. Defense was so poorly organized, they could have gotten 5, They were lucky it was only 3. Middfield totally lost control of their territory. Watch the positioning and field balance of Chile vs. USA. Not the players fault. They just didnt know what to do. Bradley was lost. The team was not prepared to compete.

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    • Yup you’re right about the the score not being indicative of how Chile was taking the game to the U.S. Tons of space, crosses galore, and several missed opportunities (let’s not forget the goal that was called offside). They looked lost and I just think it’s a bit much to ask of the guys to be honest.

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    • I think there are a lot of holes in the 3-5-2 and on the first Chilean goal there was finger pointing going on afterward as someone was obviously out of position. I think there definitely confusion about who was supposed to be where and what their different assignments were positionally. I think this is to be expected when you install something new and it faces its first test. On top of that, Chile had more intensity and focus, won the vast majority of the 50/50 balls, were fitter, and the US couldn’t handle their high pressure.

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  30. yea, I think Franco must be one of the few who thought JJ had a good game. We have a lot of young CB’s in the system and trying to find a position for Jones to play going into the next WC will come with a lot of heartburn.

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  31. Deuce was largely invisible. I hope that’s a temporary thing.

    I’m a big Yedlin fan. I see lots of upside. One glaring weakness, however, for all his speed, is his seeming inability to cut off the cross. His tight space one-on-one defending is pretty good, but if he gets beaten down the wing, he seems to lack the ability to recovery quickly enough to cut off the cross with a well-placed leg — the kind of stuff you see in the Premier League every weekend by the wing backs.

    I’m hoping he can develop that ability and it is a bit unfair to single him out since I think his performance was basically OK and there were others who didn’t do much by comparison.

    I’m not thinking Lee Nguyen is international caliber, at least not yet, from what I saw last night. True he didn’t play a full game and can’t have more than a handful of caps in total, so perhaps he too has room to grow, but that development needs to come pretty quickly.

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    • Dempsey and Jozy do not play well together. Which is unfortunate. Since there is only so much actual talent in our striking corps.

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  32. I love me some Jones, but he was awful in the first half. Not sure if he was given carte Blanche by Juergen to play wherever he wanted, but he was perpetually out of position in the back.

    I like the idea of him being involved in the back 3, but he needs to be more disciplined positionally

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    • He was playing the libero role and clearly given freedom to dribble up the field when he had space. In my opinion, his problems didn’t arise as much from being out of position as they did from making bad decisions with the ball when he ventured out of the back. I actually liked the way he played in the first half, but he had at least a couple of really bad giveaways that almost led to goals.

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    • agreed. when klinsmann told him ‘libero’, he must’ve thought he was free to do whatever the f— he wanted. if we had two dependable CBs to cover for him, it *might* work.

      that’s one of the problems with the 3-5-2: sure it’s fun, but you need some very specific pieces for it to work well.

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      • But aren’t our pieces much better fits? Fabian and Chandler bombing up and down the left? Brek too?
        Yedlin, Cameron on the right? If Jones is libero, than so could Cameron be. Besler has shown flights of dribbling ability as well ancd could perhaps fit in there,.

        The trick to me then is making sure the other two marking backs stay disciplined. Oh and getting more out of the other three mids.

      • as i said elsewhere: if we had the full roster available, i wouldn’t mind seeing this formation. but with only the players we had in this camp, it kind of felt like a waste of time–too many variables that would cast doubt on any possible takeaways.

        i told someone else, if klinsmann was set on jones as libero, i would love to see a back 3 of besler-jones-cameron, with fabian and yedlin as wingbacks. at least then we could reasonably determine whether we could keep moving in that direction.

    • I am like you, I love Jones, particularly as a marauding midfielder, but I honestly feel the experiment with him as a central defender will fail. He was by far the worst player on the field for the U.S. last night. If JK is going to stick with a 3 man backline, he needs to groom someone with much more discipline and less propensity for horrific turnovers to play that position.

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      • He certainly was not “by far the worst player on the field last night.”

        Did you not read the article? Yedlin was responsible (primarily in the second two) for all the goals last night.

      • Disagree. In the first goal it is Jones that Rimando went straight to after the goal to tell him what he did wrong. He was drifting out too far and allowed the space for the player to make the run to meet the cross and head it in. The second goal, where exactly was he? Knowing that your wing doesn’t defend well and gets caught upfield too often probably doesn’t mean that you as the back should go upfield with him. He is not a centerback and, at his age, never will be even if he curbs his marauding nature and learns the angles and position. He will be too old to be of much value over the long run versus developing a younger player now. Plus, he turned the ball over too much when trying to dribble it out leaving his other defenders exposed.

    • same complaints people always said when he played midfield! maybe its time to recognize that wherever he plays he will be one of the better players on the field and he is going to roam and be a bit random! he is not going to be a Brad Evans or Kyle Beckerman who stick to their assigned duties and nothing else; thats just not JJ!

      personally i really like his role in that game as he was free to help out the cb on either side or push into the attack. wasn’t his best game, a few mistakes, but i saw him comfortable in a spot that could play to his strengths.

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