Top Stories

USMNT starts well, but fades in second half as Chile rallies for comeback win

Mix Diskerud USMNT Chile (Getty Images)


A new formation at the start of a new year showed some promise, but the U.S. Men’s National Team couldn’t avoid starting 2015 with another winless result.

The U.S. began 2015 with a 3-2 road loss to Chile on Wednesday evening, falling prey to a second-half brace from Mark Gonzalez at Estadio El Teniente. Brek Shea and Jozy Altidore gave the Americans two separate leads in the first half, but the U.S. faded after switching formations at halftime and failed to come out victorious for the fifth straight match.

Jurgen Klinsmann’s side, which started the friendly in a new-look 3-5-2 lineup but switched to a 4-4-2 in the second half, was punished by Gonzalez’s excellent play on the Chile left flank.

Gonzalez set up the hosts’ first equalizer in the 10th minute, and went on to beat U.S. goalkeeper Nick Rimando with a pair of strikes in the second stanza that came nine minutes apart.

Three U.S. players made their international debuts in the match, with D.C. United’s Steve Birnbaum earning a start in the three-man back line and Wil Trapp and Gyasi Zardes coming off the bench.

Shea and Altidore each netted their first goals for the U.S. since joining MLS clubs this winter. Shea netted the opener six minutes in after latching onto a superb aerial ball from centerback Matt Besler, and Altidore one-timed his 26th international goal in the 31st when Mix Diskerud fed the striker with a short pass inside the penalty area.

Chile had several chances of its own against a 3-5-2 formation that saw the U.S. find success out wide but struggle with possession. Gonzalez set up Chile’s first goal, crossing a ball from the left that Roberto Gutierrez nodded home perfectly after shaking free from a stagnant Besler.

U.S. right wingback DeAndre Yedlin had a good opportunity four minutes later to put his side back in front, but pulled his shot wide of the Chilean goal.

The Americans, who appeared to be avoiding hitting long balls in an effort to build out of the back, almost conceded on two other looks in the first half. Another Gutierrez headed goal was called back for offside, and Rimando came up with a huge block from close range to deny Diego Valdes after centerback Jermaine Jones committed a poor turnover.

Klinsmann deployed the U.S. in a 4-4-2 to start the second half, but the Americans were unable to keep up with Chile’s tempo and conceded a number of good looks.

Gonzalez eventually evened the match in the 65th minute, racing in behind the defense and firing a Bryan Carrasco pass to the near post past Rimando.

Nine minutes later, Gonzalez found the winner when he blasted a rebound into the back of the net with an impressive effort.

The U.S. struggled to create much in the second half, but almost found a third through a Michael Bradley blast from distance that was denied by the crossbar.

The Americans will now return back to the United States to prepare for a Feb. 8 friendly at home against Panama.

What did you think of the USMNT’s 3-2 loss to Chile? Who impressed/disappointed you? What are your early impressions on the 3-5-2 formation that Klinsmann used?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. easy fix here, go young. I know its not a FIFA break but our best line up should be Garza,.Brooks, hedges, yedlin in back with mix and Emerson up, the green, zelaham when eligible, and Joe gyua then Altidore or Rubio up front

  2. Here is something I have been thinking about: for the USMNT coach they should get Biesla. He has a system that is based on constant pressing and fitness. He is famous for making average teams better because they use his system. The US is going to be an average team for the foreseeable future so why not bring in a coach that has a proven system that works that could get the best out of players and their strengths. He seems like he would be ideal. He might have too much fire in the belly though for Gulati.

  3. Not the end of the world, but Jurgen is in his fifth year at national team coach — a luxury few national team coaches outside the USA enjoy. I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect more consistency and structure — in tactics, formation, player selection and overall approach… Nearly all superior coaches (Wenger, Ferguson, Guardiola…) have a recognizable approach. Jurgen continues to be all over the place.

  4. A few thoughts from that slop last night:

    1. JK is obsessed with several players and is trying to build a formation around them (even if they aren’t the USMNT’s best players). It’s clear that he is obsessed with Yedlin and Shea and specifically trotted out at 3-5-2 to get them bombing up the field, but god forbid a team puts the pressure on and they have to defend.
    2. “Anyone can play left back?” Well not Brek Shea. Wow that was cringeworthy when he actually had to defend once they shifted into a 4-4-2.
    3. Stop the Jermaine Jones at CB experiment. Enough. US has given up nine goals in the last 3 games. He’s a bulldog, but can’t stay disciplined enough to be a CB. And he’s awful in the air.
    4. The team had dead legs in the second half. Who wants to bet that JK ran them ragged in practice (even worse as everyone is in the offseason) and overtrained them. This is a clear pattern and is very troubling.
    5. I didn’t notice Birnbaum the whole night. That’s a good thing for a CB on his debut.
    6. Enough also with the Bobby Wood experiment. Yesterday’s formation should have been easy, Altidore and Demps up top (especially as Demps gets older, put him up top to ease the running on his legs) and Lee N with Mix and MB behind him. But no, let’s put a striker who hasn’t scored in almost a year in the starting lineup.

    JK is stubborn, his favorites better start delivering soon.

  5. if JK constantly changes things and move people around he can never be held responsible game to game because there isnt any consistency. he has it figured out, get a huge contract and extend it without making yourself look that good or bad

  6. Will I ever read an article about a USMNT match that does not include the phrase “struggled to maintain possession” or “struggled in possession”? Ever? I realize these things take time, and am willing to give JK the current WC cycle, but he has taken apart the engine and as he rebuilds it, we’re going to get either a much faster car or an absolute wreck.

  7. OK, everyone, deep breaths. It was just a friendly, not the end of Western Civilization as we know it. I never watch the things. If I wanted to watch a scrimmage, I could go watch one of the local high school teams and get some fresh air while I was at it.
    That said, I think anyone who has listened to Jurgen for more than a few minutes would realize that he is mostly hot air. Yes, yes, the USA has won some games while he has been coach and, yes, yes he is sort of cute and cuddly. Nonetheless, his record, for all the hoopla, is not much different from that of either of his predecessors. I suspect that, despite all the fuss about coaches, a national team’s fate is largely a product of the quality of the players available, and even Jurgen can’t screw that up too much… or raise the USA to the “next level.”
    I am not suggesting we give Jurgen a pass. He is after all in his fifth year in charge, a luxury few national team coaches outside the USA ever enjoy. By now, we should be getting a great deal more structure and consistency. Really good coaches have their “approach” whether it’s Wenger or Ferguson or even Bo Ryan. I just don’t see that. If I understand what all the posters have been saying, this latest game looked like the work of someone who just took over.
    But I am willing to wait until games that count, the Gold Cup and WC qualifying.

  8. A lot of negative comments here! Certainly a team in preseason form; Besler, Yedlin missing marks, Bradley’s missed passes, even Rimando looked 80%, But overall a lot of positives here.
    First off, i think people are missing the fact that we just went down to South America and played a very entertaining attacking game. Wasnt long ago our best plan was the nervously bunker and grind out a draw.
    The 5-3-2 looked very promissing and when you add FJ, Garza, Cameron, Brooks and Chandler to the mix i think it will really be a formitable lineup. Yedlin, as expected, was good in the attack but just hasnt leared how to close down and mark defenders yet.
    In attack we were lively and agressive all with poor games from Dempsey and Bradley. Still plenty to work on but optimistic start to the year

    • This + 1000

      People have such a short memory they forget we used to have to watch Mexico and Costa Rica in our half of the field for 90% of the match because under Bob Bradley and Arena we played BunkerBall and would look for a draw away from home. Hoofing the ball up the field over the top to no one and clearing the ball like your trying to kick it out the stadium than to a teammate.

      We’ve come a long way. To use a 3-5-2 away from home and nearly pick up a win. That formation used 10 years ago would have given up 5-6 goals last night. We’re making progress but it takes time.

      Klinsmann at least tries to win when he’s on the road and he’s scheduling much harder opposition particularly for a the annual Camp Cupcake as the January camp is know. We used to play teams like El Salvador or Guatemala for this camp. We were 2-1 up on Chile for a good portion of the match in their house, albeit with their B squad.

    • Wow, I guess I was watching the other USA-Chile game .Entertaining,attacking? my My goodness.How is Yedlin going to learn about defense.?Certainly not from JK

  9. So second half, JK starts Lee who is a possession player with creativity. Then we proceed to play the ball over his head and into the corners. He comes off looking like nothing when he could hardly see the ball for the first 20 of his 45 minutes. It was a toss up as to weather Altidore or Shea would turn the ball over and kill any attack. And where was Shea playing anyway? Seemed like he was wherever the ball was and mostly screwed things up and getting in the way.

    I want to see Lee succeed at this level, I think he has the skill but he will never succeed if grouped with unorganized people that just ram around with no purpose. He did create a few feeds that were promising and one the resulted in a good shot but he needs to see a lot more of the ball it this is to work. Thought his yellow was harsh.

  10. Not concerned at all. JK said this would be time for experimentation and like someone said previously, I’d much rather see this than a game of 0-0 kickball. He’s trying to get them to play out of their comfort zone. Obviously that’s going to lead to some issues, but he’s finding out who can be flexible if we need to change into a 3-5-2 at some point if we’re getting dominated in the MF.

    I’m just so tired of getting on here and seeing troll after troll bashing the coach. Whether it be JK, Bradley, Arena. Let’s go over the facts again… We made it out of the group of death. We had an unreal run of wins during qualifying. We’ve played much better looking soccer than any time previously. And yet you get a few crap performances at the beginning of the next cycle when there’s a bunch of experimentation going on and everyone flips out. Take a deep breath, relax, and let’s see what happens in the Gold Cup.

    And Ives, please get rid of this Baptista troll.

    • Reasoned opinion? Perspective? Not on a blog, my friend. Sadly, even though the comments here have gone down in quality, it is still much better than the alternatives. Sigh.

    • I know… I dont understand why anyone cares so much now. These games dont matter. If JK messes up the gold cup, fine this reaction makes sense. It doesn’t make sense now.

    • I don’t feel I am trolling the coach in saying that I think playing Jones at center back is a bad idea that is ultimately going to fail. In fact, I simply don’t see the point in it; there are center backs in the U.S. pool that play that position for their club teams that deserve a shot. Also, the Bobby Wood thing is getting a little pathetic at this point. Until he starts playing consistently with a club (or even just making the bench!), he shouldn’t even be in the pool, much less starting matches. Zardes deserves those minutes much more than Wood, and honestly looks like a more talented player.

    • This. Context is so important. Of course we’d all be horrified at this performance and these tactics in a meaningful game, but this was not a meaningful game. Klinsmann needs opportunities such as this to see what tactics, what formations, and which players show some potential moving forward. It was darned ugly, but one learns from ugliness, and this was and will continue to be the time to do so.

      One big positive and one big takeaway from this game from my perspective. The positive is that I think that using a core of established USMNT players and supplementing them with new faces to see how the latter fare is definitely the best way to judge these new faces, rather than resting all our vets and putting a completely “B” team out there. The negative is Bobby Wood. Haven’t we seen enough of him by now to start giving some of that precious audition time to other fringe players?

  11. Most of our good players have regressed since they returned to MLS and are no longer challenging themselves. Bobby Wood can’t get playing time on a second division German side and now comes in and stunk the joint up. Who would have thunk it? Oh yea everyone not named Klinsman. The coach of his club team is probably keeled over laughing after finding out wood got a start with the nats

  12. This is from’s player ratings for the game:

    “Coach Jurgen Klinsmann (3) – Most of the problems experienced against what was, at best, Chile’s “B” side can be attributed to tactical and personnel decisions. At this point, it’s as hard to detect what constitutes the overall plan as it is to tell what position Jones is playing at any given moment. There’s no organization on the field, no continuity from game to game and the result is getting daft-punked late yet again.”

    Granted, MLS might not feel too warm and fuzzy regarding Klinsmann, especially after his comments about the league. Nevertheless, this is pretty damning.

  13. U.S. Soccer had an extremely rare chance to put itself over with American sports fans in a huge way by making it to play against Argentina on July 4th. Tremendous opportunity missed. Really big blow to the growth of the game in the U.S.

    The reason? Klinsmann put Julian Green on the roster instead of Landon Donovan. Epic fail by Klinsmann and today looked like more of the same. The men’s national team is regressing as soccer in this country grows exponentially around it.

    • wrong. LD was left off in favor of Wondo or Davis. Green was going to the WC with or without LD and to suggest otherwise means you aren’t trying to have a serious conversation.

    • wrong. LD was left off in favor of Wondo or Davis. Green was going to the WC with or without LD and to suggest otherwise means you aren’t trying to have a serious conversation.

  14. The formation worked well for USNT, but fitness was issue, and players like Woods can’t finish. We really need new forwards and more C level teams develop understanding with each other and tactics understanding.

  15. To think, this wasn’t even close to Chile’s A team..Bravo (Barcelona), Alexis (Arsenal), Vidal (Juve), Medel (Inter), Jara (Mainz), Isla (QPR), Pinilla (Atalanta), Vargas (QPR), Orellana (Celta de Vigo), Fernandez (Fiorentina), Albornoz (Hannover), Diaz (Basel), Silva (Brugges), Gutierrez (Twente).

    I’m reading a few comments on this page where some people are actually facing facts and just seeing that we are just not heading in the right direction. We really need to get rid of JK or find a new formation thats identical to our play style. We are not a ‘holding position’ type of team.. TBH I don’t know what kind of team we are besides a defensive wall and counter attack…. Sad..

  16. Bradley was probably the best player in the first half for the US. He did fade badly in the 2nd and committed several uncharacteristic bad turnovers.

    Dempsey, where were ye?

  17. Jones did not help in the first half with his adventures forward and was pretty useless in the second half.
    Besler looked good, made some great passes and covered defensively except for the times an attacker got into the space between him and Jones and neither took responsibility.
    Yedlin made a great pass to Mix that setup Jozy’s goal, but he needs to play more defensively since his absence on counters was a disaster.
    Shea is still big, strong and fast, but his teammates do not seem to trust him as several times they did not make a quick, easy pass to him and instead looked away and either kept the ball or tried a more difficult pass.
    Bradley had a very good first half, but in the 2nd, his passing deteriorated.
    Jozy scored, tracked back well, but like Bradley faded in the 2nd half and a bad pass let to Chiles 2nd goal.
    Dempsey, where are ye?

  18. I remember reading a few days ago a lot of people saying that using the 3-5-2 was a good idea. Well, the result was a lot of confusion on defense. Why should we be surprised when we go to a new formation that the team doesn’t play well? Now I read so many people saying it was a stupid idea. I think a lot of people just like to complain. However, Chile definitely outplayed the US and seemed more intense and focused. The problem wasn’t just the formation.Chile got most of the 50/50 balls and the US had too many turnovers. You would think with the experience we did have on the field–guys like Dempsey, Altidore, Jones, Bradley etc. that the US could deal with the pressure better. However, even with experienced international players it seems like the US is still very vulnerable to high pressure. I find this very disappointing.

  19. It’s not Klinsmann or the formation or the tactics. It is basic football. We have a terrible first touch and continuously loose the ball in midfield. There is an lack of basic individual skills that results in our needlessly loosing possession of the ball in critical field locations and at critical moments. It seems that when we loose possession we have real problems recovering. Until we resolve this issue we will not progress any further.

  20. Baptista kindly put up the Landon Donovan autographed dildo your passing around and stop making excuses for your boy Bradley. I hope Klinsmann sends a message and benches him against Panama. He was awful. I will patiently wait for you to get up to 88 mph and go back two years ago to find a world class Bradley. Maybe we could go back to the glory days of scheduling wins agaisnt weak opposition. If you cant play with the big boys get off field. Now if Klinsmann coached as good as he scheduled we would be in business.

    • LOL. I commend you on the snappy (if admittedly overly rude) rejoinder. Point for you.

      Actually I thought Bradley was looking better. Rusty…but those wooden paddles he seemed to have replaced his feet with last year actually looked like, well, feet again. His touch was better and he wasn’t just rebounding heavy touches into traffic. Which goes a long way towards cementing the notion that he was playing with a nerve injury, was getting Cortisone shots, and couldn’t feel his feet the second half of last year.

      I have a different takeaway than a lot of people. Call me crazy, but except for that left winger/forward, Mark, I thought Chile looked a lot like, say, El Salvador or Guatamala – technically proficient, nifty, and…slow. We looked like an intriguing collection of scary athletes who haven’t found each other yet.

      A little more cohesion in the midfield, a little more possession, a little less confusion in the back, and we would have owned them. Athlete for athlete, man for man, they did not match up.

      America’s generation of largely Under-25 super-athletes is here. They’re raw, they don’t have a ton of collective belief yet, they haven’t really gelled as a unit. But I have never, ever seen forwards like Jozy and Zardes bounding around on the same field for the USMNT, I have never seen USMNT wingers with the kind of speed Yedlin and Shea have, and I have never seen a central midfield pairing like Nguyen and Bradley.

      You can see where it’s going.

      They haven’t gelled, or even close, yet. But I saw enough flashes to have an idea what the ceiling of this group is.

      Klinsmann’s finding pieces. He’s found a bunch of them in a very short period of time. For all the invective about “veteran” players…the vets largely dominated the first half; Klinsmann took his lumps with the youngsters in the second.

      What does everyone expect him to do? That’s called doing your job…if you’re the USMNT head coach. Your job is not to win meaningless friendlies in January 2015; it’s to find, identify, and develop your player pool for 2018.

  21. If you are not prepared to play properly, you will lose. Chile was prepared to play, the USA was not.The USA believe it or not, was embarrased today. Not the players, The COACHES! you cant say “hold the ball” if the team does not know what to do and how to do it. Besler was decent, he covered Jones deficiencies. Midfield was horrific. Chile so took advantage of this system, that the USA is lucky it was only 3-2 . 2 lovely USA goals will hide the deficiecies of this whole setup. I can see internal team rebellion against this chaos.

    • Um, when the USA was playing a 3-5-2 they were up 2-1. It was only after switching to a 4-4-2 that they gave up 2 goals. Were you paying attention or just felt like bitching?

    • you said above that Yedlin, a 21 year old who is on a premier league team, is “rubbish” and down here you think the team really really really needs a 24 year old who is in the NASL

      this is great

  22. Same ol’ same ol’. Our players just are not very good at football and when we can’t outrun theem we get into trouble. Somehow we just don’t seem to be able to produce players with good technical skill that can get us to the next level. The one that doesn’t require out-hustling the other team.

  23. Not bad for first time in a 3-5-2, but 41 Chile crosses says it all. Both Shea and Yedlin had problems defending from the formation. Yedlin shouldn’t, as he is a regular RB. He seemed constantly lost and was partially responsible for 2 of the 3 goals.. Need to see Bradley’s passing percentage, very un Pirlo. Wood, Trapp and Nguyen are not up to this pace. The Panama game may be the last cap for a few of these chaps.

    • So what? You’re a dope. The U.S. is playing in Chile in the heat; MLS players have not even started their season.If the game were played in the U.S. , the U.S, probably wins.

      • Nope, ’cause they’re all too busy locking down their fall-out shelters because the USA lost a friendly. A friendly!! Oh the humanity! I can’t bear to think about the future.

        Please, please will some asteroid explode in the air above me and incinerate the building I inhabit to spare me the awful doom of having to live another day as an American after my team lost a friendly!

  24. So what will be the excuse for Bradley this game? Seemed like he played in a non advanced role as much as he played forward. Several unforced turnovers and got beat regularly. So tired of seeing lineups with Diskerud on the bench. Maybe with Mix playing in MLS some of you will give him his due.

    Overall wasnt too disappointed. Yedlin looked strong, Shea looked way better than most expected. Nguyen I thought was invisable for the most part. I was hoping he would look better.

    • Bradley is one of the few players in the USA who are world class, the other two Jones and Dempsey. Bradley was covering for your boy Yedlin all game long. I sometimes thought it was Shea that had moved to that side, but it was Bradley. He hit the crossbar with a rocket by the way.

      • You cant be serious about Bradley. He barely won any balls in the midfield.

        He gave away possession multiple times. Not very impressive. He ran a lot.

        Its a friendly. Not too worried about it. It will be a completely different squad in the gold cup this summer. Should be interesting.

    • Yeah I see where some have been alittle harsh on Yedlin. He had a bit of a rough match but I think that was largely because we couldn’t keep the waves of attacks from coming and they really decided to pick out his side.

      • It looked like nobody told Yedlin they switched to a 4-4-2 in the 2nd half. He looked good in the 1st half and that 3-5-2 is a good fit for him.

        Even though they looked like sh!t it’s about what I expected with a new formation with guys who have never played it, or hardy played it together.

        Predicting JK is an exercise in futility..
        But consider this:
        1. If his thought is that he sees our current personnel best suited for the 3-5-2 for the Gold Cup, he’s gonna start using it now, despite who he’s got to work with from camp.
        2. If he’s thinking ahead (and we know there’s nobody who will miraculously make us better by summer) how does our current group benefit from this?
        When you include Fabian & Garza; they could both fit well
        When you include Omar and Cameron, they both fit well
        -all of a sudden, the back 5 (or 3) doesn’t look so bad
        When you drop Mikey he’s more comfortable playing deeper
        Cam gives you multiple options also
        Considering we have zero skilled wingers does this formation possibly cover that weakness??
        Isn’t everyone always saying Jozy does better with a partner up top??
        Same thing with AJ who was playing well before his injury
        Don’t they love Bedoya at Nantes, yet he doesn’t play very much on the wing there anymore
        So where are the potential time bombs:
        1. Deuce has to be one of the two up top. He’s just not an attacking mid any longer, he started in the wrong spot and you know he’s not going to track back consistently.
        2. Jones has to be on the field. His intensely and leadership and motor is needed, despite his age it doesn’t show. But as the center back he is too short. He is better suited as the RCB or back at def mid
        3. The guy playing under the forwards should be Lee Nguyen or Mix. They’ve both got the motor and it suits them

        Despite today’s fiasco, I wouldn’t panic. There’s a lot of pieces to this puzzle that could fit. IF, the potential time bombs I mentioned are avoided. That’s really where I’d assess JK going into the summer. Frankly we just don’t have enough skilled attackers or playmakers, and this experiment may be an answer to cover that deficiency

    • Uh, you do realize that Diskerud started, right? Also Ngyuen was involved in every attacking move the US made in the second half, but we didn’t have much possession.

      The excuse for Bradley is pretty simple – the wingers didn’t provide the central mids enough support, nor did Jones, and so he and Mix had way too much ground to cover on defense and in the transition from defense to attack. Both had trouble staying involved for that reason. Neither was bad though.

  25. Really didnt like the 5-3-2 look, i just dont like that formation in general because of the lack of a natural mark on crosses, which led to the first goal. Also with this group there is not enough quality in the wings, which is the most important positions in this formation. As far as the performance, it has to be better. They are more fit due to where they are in their season, but still with the “quality” we had on that field it just has to be better and more compact at the back. I’ll give letter grades to the players

    Rimando- (C) made some nice saves but was errant in distribution from the back. I feel like the gap between guzan and rimando is widening and hamid is surely catching up.
    Besler- (B) cleaned up some messes, nice assist on the first goal.
    Birnbaum (C) not nearly quick enough and lacked some understanding of the game, wouldnt mind seeing hedges against panama there.
    Shea (B+) played out of position but did relatively well, lacked some passing ability and awareness at times
    Yedlin (B) hes fast, but other than that his technical ability has increased but still needs to work on some tactical understanding
    Jones (D) just running around the field like a madman does not help this unit at all, he’s not a centerback due to his lack of aerial ability
    Bradley (B+) had some errant passes and bad turnovers but pretty solid, that shot was a rip
    Mix (B) nice assist on the second goal, was not present often
    Dempsey (C+) he does what he does, some times it comes off, sometimes it doesnt
    Wood (F) hopefully this is the last time we see this jober, did nothing with any purpose in his 45 minutes
    Altidore (B+) Took his goal well, worked back well, lost his legs after 60
    Trapp (F) Just not his time yet, needs more time in MLS. Couldnt complete a pass for the first 15 minutes on the pitch, and likely most to blame for the winning goal.
    Nguyen (D-) Didnt add much till the very end, should have slotted his chance home
    Zardes (B+) Really liked his time, smart, concise and sharp on the ball
    Wondo (N/A)
    Klinsi (F) Awful job in this one, who exactly did he expect to play at outside back especially if he didnt have yedlin? My god his lack of tactical understanding is dumbfounding
    Ref (D) Pretty bad, but honestly why would fifa assign an argentine ref to this game when chiles coach is argentine? Ummm okay.
    Fox (F) Pretty bad first showing for fox. Tons of technical problems, as well as bad replay timing. Although i did love the field mics by the bench.

    In the end, enough of this tinkering, we need to go out and win games. That is the point of this crazy sport to win the game. Lets not tinker for three years for a one year world cup. Get your 30 or so guys and go with them.

    • I like winning… but tinker away. So far we’ve done pretty well in all the competitive matches we’ve played in, certainly no worse than previous managers and we have changed our playing style and a lot of our people. If we get our butt handed to us in the Gold Cup, Copa America, WC Qualifying etc then ya heads should roll. But even though I don’t understand half of what Klinsi does, it has seemed to work when it mattered. Previously it was 4 years of the same thing, over and over and over again. I’m still enamored we’re trying something new. If when the Klinsi experiment is over we go back to counter attacking 4-4-2 I’ll be a little sad but I’ll still support it. I feel like some of yall lack the perspective of America when we were one dimensional in all our games not played against minnows, and very reliant on repeated LD magic. I guess I mean to say mainly that it’s soccer, and it’s your team. Complain a little bit but keep the hyperbole in check, we’re doing alright for the time being.

      • “it’s soccer, and it’s your team. Complain a little bit but keep the hyperbole in check, we’re doing alright for the time being.”


      • Yup i dunno why people keep flipping out. Wait till the gold cup. If JK fails there, easy fire him. Then the replacement has time to get us in the Confed Cup and the Copa America to put together a team. 3 years of time….

    • The point of these is not to “win games.” The point is to win games that actually matter. Tinker away, and when the Gold Cup comes around, we’ll have our best players in our best formation.

  26. There was some sloppiness here and there, but overall I think there’s something there on which to build. Mark’s two goals were basically down to inexperience and miscommunication, both of which can be corrected. Rimando should have done better to push the ball out wide on the initial save, but he shouldn’t have been put in that position. We created some decent chances, and in a regular game, I think we pull that victory off. Most of our players are in their off season, so I anticipate things going better in the games ahead…

  27. Less Wood. More Nguyen.

    Can’t draw too many conclusions from this game. It was experimentation and practice, basically. 3-5-2 could be a good long term plan, but everyone has a lot to learn about positioning and transitions in this setup.

    • I see where this can be chalked up as “experimental.” But when do we call JK and co out for their choice of experiment?

      Serious question from an admitted pub-eager who’s had a few: If our players can’t see the game/field in a 4-4-2, why are they being asked to do so in a more complex or (by position) more demanding 3-5-2? Or is there something in this formation stuff I’m missing?

      • It’s the coaches’ fallacy. 3-5-2 is in vogue right now, the best teams in the world utilize it, or at least those considered to be headed by the best managers. Therefore, to be a great manager, one plays a 3-5-2. IT’a not creative, it’s not genius, it’s following. Great managers adapt their style to the players they have, and teach the others to follow.

        Look, Klinsy has some good attributes, no question. He’s ambitious, competitive, has a vision, and isn’t sentimental in his player selection. These are good things in a manager. Unfortunately, as yet, he’s shown no creativity in working with what he has, no ability to teach, no ability to effect change in his players. This may all gel this summer and we’ll be wowed. Or next year, or the year after. Players have good debuts with him, or just good moves to new positions, but they never get better. Once teams get a scouting report, they’re abused. This isn’t a normal game, where the team practices for a day or two, they’ve been together for two weeks, and look like they just met. I get that Jones, Birnbaum and Besler have never played together before, but they did just spend two weeks together, you’d think they’d have some sense of what to do? This team needs to win soon, or this could get ugly.

      • If he fails to deliver this and, or next summer. The 3-5-2 requires intelligent players, but what formation doesn’t? The whole of our federation should be versed on this formation.

      • There’s room for disagreement on this, but 3-5-2 makes sense to me given the US player pool at the moment – guys like Fabian and Yedlin fit perfectly as wingers in that system, and Jones, if he can learn to play that central position in a three man backline, makes a lot of sense as the CB who steps up into a stopper role when the wingers drop back. It also (theoretically) makes better use of Bradley by still giving him two forwards to pass ahead to while giving him a couple of CMs to share the burden of bossing the midfield with. If you can get it working, it makes a lot of sense.

        But it takes time to get it working, and there’s no guarantee it ever will. I don’t know if Jones will take to the position or not, and I don’t know if our wingers will learn how to transition more quickly and provide more support to the midfield. Last night they were quick to drop back a lot, but didn’t provide enough support to Bradley and Mix, who had way too much ground to cover in midfield. But this kind of thing is to be expected in the first game with a 3-5-2, which is why I can’t take too much away from last night.

        I’m generally a Klinsmann critic, and a lot of his experiments have been very obviously flawed (I want to cry when I think about the 3 d-mid/3 forward lineups he tried in qualifying last cycle, when we were in danger of not making it to the hex). 3-5-2 makes some sense to me though. In theory. Still a lot of question marks.

    • What exactly did Nguyen do? He tried passes and wasn’t connecting. He missed his shot. I worry he’s not as good at the next level. A finesse player needs to be able to implement that finesse in the same way or he’s the technical equivalent of hustling Wondo who can’t score for the Nats like he does in MLS.

      Bluntly it’s not an either/or, Wood shouldn’t be playing either.

  28. There were some positives to the play of the USMNT….but overall the effect was less than desired. Positives:
    Jozy Scored, some nice build-up play, explored the pool a little more capping some new blood.
    Fitness level was lacking (dead legs at the end), JK didn’t bring in Subs in time to spell those who needed it, Lee’s performance was less than expected, Tempo of the match in general….Chile was quick to get thing rolling while the US walked about at each re-start.

    Let’s hope that the next game puts a W on the board.

    • +1 Some good observations. Even in the middle stages of the game, the US seemed very slow to react to the ball, and gave the far-more-alert Chilean players way too much space. Certainly, some of this can be blamed on the fact that most everybody in the US side was lacking in anything amounting to match fitness. But it was unusually lethargic, and nobody seemed to be stepping up.

      Def with you about Lee — felt he really squandered an opportunity, and he may not get that many looks. I was very pleased when Lee was brought on for Wood at halftime, but to be honest I actually thought Wood had a better game (and Wood’s game was not at all remarkable). Lee was slow, indecisive, and a shadow of the beast we saw in MLS a few months ago.

      I hate to say it, but I think this was Rimando’s weakest game in a US jersey. Though his culpability in the goals is disputable (probably could’ve at least done better with his parry on the third), the real indictment was his inability to command the backline and alleviate the marking problems. Certainly, this would not have been easy, given it was an unprecedented and somewhat chaotic experiment in formation and personnel… but he appeared to be as confused (if not more) as anyone, and was hardly the vocal, confident presence that we have come to expect out of guys like Howard, Friedel, Keller, etc. I think I lost count of how many needless corners we conceded (Brek Shea may have set a record), mostly due to poor communication. Rimando has had a good series of performances previously, but this one may have been the clearest evidence that he lacks what it takes to really command the #1 shirt above the alternatives.

      There will be better days, no doubt.

    • +1 Some good observations. Even in the middle stages of the game, the US seemed very slow to react to the ball, and gave the far-more-alert Chilean players way too much space. Certainly, some of this can be blamed on the fact that most everybody in the US side was lacking in anything amounting to match fitness. But it was unusually lethargic, and nobody seemed to be stepping up.

      Def with you about Lee — felt he really squandered an opportunity, and he may not get that many looks. I was very pleased when Lee was brought on for Wood at halftime, but to be honest I actually thought Wood had a better game (and Wood’s game was not at all remarkable). Lee was slow, indecisive, and a shadow of the beast we saw in MLS a few months ago.

      I hate to say it, but I think this was Rimando’s weakest game in a US jersey. Though his culpability in the goals is disputable (probably could’ve at least done better with his parry on the third), the real indictment was his inability to command the backline and alleviate the marking problems. Certainly, this would not have been easy, given it was an unprecedented and somewhat chaotic experiment in formation and personnel… but he appeared to be as confused (if not more) as anyone, and was hardly the vocal, confident presence that we have come to expect out of guys like Howard, Friedel, Keller, etc. I think I lost count of how many needless corners we conceded (Brek Shea may have set a record), mostly due to poor communication. Rimando has had a good series of performances previously, but this one may have been the clearest evidence that he lacks what it takes to really command the #1 shirt above the alternatives.

      There will be better days, no doubt.

  29. In games that matter, in games that don’t matter, I think it is a systemic problem that I have seen at every level of U.S. soccer suffer from: the lack of composure on the ball leads to cheap turnovers and destroys any flow of play. Not sure if it is the players, the system, whatever. But it is becoming increasingly hard to watch. Every Chilean player looked like they knew exactly what they wanted to do before the ball touched their feet; by the time most of the U.S. players figured that out, it was too late and every lane of advance was closed. This is not just a one game thing; it has happened consistently, even in the World Cup. This team is a long, long way from where it needs to be.

    • What’s also becoming systemic under Klinsmann specifically is the lack of energy at the end. It’s obvious that Klinsmann trains his players too hard. You can’t keep possession if you’re tired. You make stupid mistakes and stupid decisions when you’re tired. It’s evident that Klinsmann uses his fitness regimen to compensate for his tactical deficiencies.

      Can anybody remember national teams under Bradley and Arena being gassed at the end? I can’t.

      • I think it’s all connected, the passing style is very frenetic and high energy and we may not have the energy to do it for 90. When I first saw what we were trying to do my thought was, can you play this way all game? You run out of gas. Even as fit as we are.

        The counterpunching style of old conserved more energy and so you have something late. The whole point is you absorb asorb and then make a limited number of breaks.

        I enjoy the new style but don’t think we’ve developed it into a higher scoring machine, and I’m not 100% sure it’s a competitive advantage or suits the personnel. Team defense and counterpunch suited our size and athleticism. This approach now assumes we can outskill and outscore teams. We’ve rarely been that type of side and aren’t now.

        For example, I think the ethos of passing from the back ALL THE TIME is self defeating excess. As a back, sometimes what the team needs is the ball hoofed the heck out and pressure off. Sometimes having to find and make a ground ball pass out creates unnecessary opportunities for mistakes. Some of this stuff I hope is just trying to test players and goes away at tournaments.

  30. Yedlin is, like they say in England, rubbish. Best players in this team Bradley, Dempsey, Jones. Everybody else are marginal players, including Altidore. See, Altidore is a player that makes no difference on the field. Just take all your Nguyen, Zardes, Trapp, Wood and the likes, package them and sell them as derivatives.

    • Ah, The comments are so poor here. This was NOT a 3-5-2 , this was a GO out there and do the best you can formation. You could see it in Jones play. He was put in a position that guaranteed his failure so he took it upon himself to wander forward at the end of the game.Pace had nothing to do with the result. Bradley had no idea what he was supposed to do. Yedlin is sooo technically deficient that he was embarrsingly exposed. REMEMBER, athleticism is not enough. You must play. and he is too much a liability to play in the EPL. therefore , no improvement . Shea is a an MSL player only. Pirlo is so bad now , he should retire as did Riquelme. Ultimately, Chile played soccer, The USA did not. JK does not know how to teach. He just talks a good game. Feel bad for the players to be sent out without preparation . They were lucky it was only 3-2

  31. Possession? Where’s our possession?
    We will continue to flounder without it whoever is playing.
    This is a continuing pitiful saga for the USMNT under Herr Klinsmann.
    I was thrown off Big Soccer for dissing Klinsmann and I was right.
    He sucks and so does the USMNT under his helm.

    • That’s the biggest take away for me as well. The formation is pointless if you can’t keep possession and let the wing backs move into the attack,

    • Defended Klinsmann before, but this… This formation stuff is either a gimmick or a plain admission of “I don’t know what to do with these players.”

      It’s similar to when the Quakes let Yallop go. The game before the “mutual parting”, Yallop tried some christmas tree bulls**t with Adam Jahn as a left winger. This signaled to me (and even Quakes Management… Quakes Management even!) that Yallop had given up on his player pool and was throwing crap at the wall.

      To me, as innocuous as the result in fact is, this is a sign that maybe, just maybe, JK has completed his assessment of our talent and said, more or less, “Eff it. This plan’s as good as any.”

      And after all that, Shea had to do us all the disservice of scoring…

      • Main point which agrees/meets with yours: based on the fact that JK started Shea in a FIFA 15 3-5-2, JK is done as Manager… unless he brings in another Tab Ramos to replace the Tab Ramos who replaced the other guy… who replaced Jogi Lowe.

      • I think he chose a formation to test out the players he had available and it might not necessarily be the one we see when the real games start next year.

      • I think you should read up on the concept of confirmation bias and other basic logic flaws such as “post hoc ergo propter hoc.”

    • While I may not love Klinsmann….I have to say that he employs a more attractive style than BB or many of the previous US Coaches did when they called the shots.
      The January Camp matches are usually ugly matches to watch due to the conditioning, the number of young (inexperienced) players, etc….
      Disappointing match….YES….but there were (are) going to be positives to take away from this. What they’ll be, hopefully we’ll see over the next couple months.

    • Did you just start watching the USMNT the last couple of years? This has been a problem for the US forever. The main difference is that Klinsmann stresses possession and building out of the back whereas previous coaches did not. Historically the US has relied on counterattacks.

    • Are your memories all failing you or are you not old enough?

      The USA has never, ever, been strong in possession versus good opposition.

      We’ve played better matches, or won without having the ball much (US vs Mex 2002, US vs Spain 2009, etc) but that comes down to any given day. This isn’t fantasy league.

      Obviously any coach would want his team to have the ball more than the other team, ideally.

  32. good first half but Chile’s mid-season form was clear in the 2nd. our players were gassed and then couldn’t possess the ball. their players looked much sharper with the ball in the 2nd half too.

    certainly positives, but giving up the lead and losing is going to overshadow any positives. and frankly, i just wasn’t THAT impressed…once again.

    Wood was useless, Jozy dropped off in the 2nd, Shea was useless outside of his goal, Lee didn’t prove anything, etc. i’m not stressing it though, just annoying to go through this again.

      • the Apertura just finished in December 2014, there is a very short break, and then the Clasura 2015 starts…..

        “With the new format beginning in 2013–14, the Apertura is now contested in the second half of the calendar year, with the Clausura following in the first half of the next calendar year. The new format retains the single round-robin schedule of the recent past, but has no play-offs; this resembles the current Argentine season structure.”

        so yes, they are early Clausura, but in terms of both, they are almost exactly half way through what equates to one full season. meanwhile, most of our players haven’t had a competitive game since November.

        and no, this was more like their C team while we basically had our World Cup starting XI out there.

Leave a Comment