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USMNT outdone by late rally, Bendtner hat trick in loss to Denmark

Michael Bradley Nicklas Bendtner 65



There is seemingly just no fix for the U.S. Men’s National Team’s second-half woes these days.

Entering the final eight minutes with a 2-1 lead, the U.S. was outdone by two of Nicklas Bendtner’s three goals to suffer a late 3-2 loss to Denmark in a friendly on Wednesday. Bendtner struck in the 83rd and 91st minutes, turning the match at a rainy NRGi Park on its head and giving the veteran forward his first international hat trick.

The Americans had entered the home stretch of the game with the lead after returning forward Aron Johannsson struck in his former club home in the 66th minute, but the defensive struggles that persisted throughout the match came back to haunt Jurgen Klinsmann’s side. The U.S. has now conceded a combined 11 goals in the second halves of its seven games dating back to October, and has won just once in that stretch.

Jozy Altidore opened the scoring for the U.S. with a splendid volley in the first half, but it was Bendtner who put on a show to lift a Danish team that was superior from the run of play for much of the night.

Playing in a 4-4-2 formation due to the absence of injured captain Clint Dempsey, the U.S. was unable to keep possession on a slick field that played fast for much of the game. Still, the Americans twice took leads before seeing them go to waste.

The Americans jumped ahead initially against the run of play in the 19th minute, as right back Timmy Chandler made up for a gaffe a minute earlier by sending in a cross from deep on the right. The ball took a bounce in the penalty area before Altidore put himself in position to smash home a half-volley with his left foot. The goal was Altidore’s 27th for the U.S.

The lead lasted all of 14 minutes. An open Bendtner scored the easiest of his three tallies feet from goal following some deft passing that included a nifty flick from Lasse Vibe.

Denmark’s momentum slowed a bit after the halftime whistle, opening the door for Johannsson to push the U.S. ahead again.

Playing in his first international match since last summer’s World Cup, the 24-year-old forward struck when Michael Bradley dropped a gorgeous ball into Altidore’s path. Altidore waited patiently for Johannsson to catch up before teeing him up with a square ball that a marked Johannsson needed to just direct on frame.

Denmark responded by attacking relentlessly, and they tested goalkeeper Nick Rimando on several occasions before Bendtner pulled off his late magic.

The Wolfsburg forward started the comeback when he smacked home a shot following a failed attempt at a headed clearance by debuting American center back Ventura Alvarado, who entered the game as a substitute and is now provisionally cap-tied to the U.S.

Bendtner then found the winner a minute into stoppage time, latching onto a sublime ball over the top from Christian Eriksen and hitting it on the hop with a technically perfect strike that was just out of Rimando’s reach.

Denmark could have put the game away for good a minute later but substitute Martin Braithwaite scuffed a shot from the right side of the penalty area.

In the dying seconds, U.S. defender John Brooks had a chance to even the match, but sent what looked to be a promising header wide of Denmark’s goal.

The Americans will wrap up this European camp with a friendly against Switzerland in Zurich on March 31.


What do you think of the U.S.’s 3-2 loss to Denmark? Are you really worried about the inability to close out games or do you chalk it up the multiple substitutions that occur in friendlies? Which Americans impressed you against the Danes?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Wow! MLS and their teams and staff are on here like crazy trying to fuel a fire JK campaign, while he makes the absolute right move to search for talent in a small window before a number of important tournaments.
    Frankly this shows that MLS has no respect for the american soccer fan, thinks they are stupid. And maybe a few of them bought this BS, there are hundreds of MLS and their teams staff that are writing this BS on the clock.
    MLS puts their interests before the USMNT, it’s the american way!

  2. Try Ream at left back. Can’t be that bad, honestly. And I want Williams to partner next to Bradley. Bedoya on the wing

  3. So what does Eric Lichaj have to do to get a call up? I’m not saying he is the answer but I’m tired of JK giving chance after chance to a few golden boys while leaving others out in the cold. EL is in form has top flight experience and has shown well in the few times he played for the national team. I think has earned an opportunity succeed or fail on the field of play.

  4. Ok, so 1. where do these trolls come from that post on SBI with the whole tired BS about atheletes and not a soccer country… or that JK is terrible … or that these friendlies are establishing a worrying trend? Its like ESPN during football pre-season where everyone freaks out about a score when the starters have been subbed off for 15 minutes. It boggles the mind.

    2. Bradley played very well (and his midfield distribution is top notch so STFU all you troll morons out there who say he isn’t a 10 – the only thing I will concede is that he learned the pirlo style, not the messi one), Altidore still has a lead touch (I understand why he doesn’t make it in the premier league) but he shows that he can score, and I just think that our RB and LB combo are not very good right now (Chandler takes half the blame on the first goal for keeping the play onsides and losing his mark… but Garza and JB were terrible too). Then on the second goal, Garza got caught… I don’t know, was he having tea with JK on the sidelines? He has to be responsible for JB’s back-side… or at least yelling to JB that there is a Bendtner over there! Finally, morales might be very, very good for this team… he showed me something once he calmed down a bit. and the lack of communication in this group was really glaring… but that is a function of never having played together. They will get that this summer… right now it is just about saying hello and going out to have fun and kick it around and see if you can handle the 1v1 pressure… my thoughts are that Altidore, Johannson, Bradley, JB, Oroszco, Morales, Yedlin, FJ, can do it. Shea remains an enigma to me, as does Garza. Neither looked good, but how much was communication (or a tired Fabian)… Also, is chandler any good? I mean, I have never figured that out. He plays for a good club, but he has never seemed like quality on the US team…

  5. 5 years in and JK still has no clue how he wants the team to play.

    Comparing his winning percentage to past US coaches is silly unless you really think the US player pool haven’t improved

    Why is JK getting all this money and power over USSF?

    • mouf,

      • US winning % 57.69 130 USMNT games
      • Career Overall 52.72
      • US winning % 53.75 80 USMNT games
      • Career Overall 49.48
      • US winning % 55.74 61 USMNT games
      • Career Overall 56.83

      All three have similar winning percentages probably because they have had very similar player talent thin player pools available.

      Has the pool improved since Arena started? Yes but it is still a mile wide and an inch deep. JK has jump started that improvement by recruiting so many dual nationals but it will still take time to bear fruit.

      Today the US still has a small group of regulars who have proven to be, in practical terms, currently irreplaceable. Just like it has always been.

      Real depth means you have a backup who can more or less reliably replicate the starter’s production either for the short term or, should the starter falter for whatever reason, the long term.

      If Jozy goes down who is the proven replacement? Sure there have been and still are a lot of POTENTIAL replacements ( SBI loves to anoint saviors) Boyd, EJ, Zardes, Rubio, AJ, Wood, etc. but would you feel confident if Jozy was out for the rest of this year ?

      Does the US have a proven replacement for Boca or Gooch? Again same story as Jozy, lots of candidates, little consistency. Cameron, Gonzo, Besler, they are all great until they are not. Lose Guzan and Howard for the rest of the year and are you that confident in Nick and the others? And who do you have right now who can boss the team like JJ can if he goes?

      Hopefully by the end of the Gold Cup some of these new guys will separate themselves and prove their talent and consistency is of the required standard but as of today, the USMNT’s depth isn’t a whole better than it was during the Arena/BB era.
      • US winning % 57.69 130 USMNT games
      • Career Overall 52.72
      • US winning % 53.75 80 USMNT games
      • Career Overall 49.48
      • US winning % 55.74 61 USMNT games
      • Career Overall 56.83
      All three have similar winning percentages probably because they have had very similar player talent thin player pools available.
      Has the pool improved since Arena started? Yes but it is still a mile wide and an inch deep. JK has jump started that improvement by recruiting so many dual nationals but it will still take time to bear fruit.
      Today the US still has a small group of regulars who have proven to be, in practical terms, currently irreplaceable. Just like it has always been.
      Real depth means you have a backup who can more or less reliably replicate the starter’s production either for the short term or, should the starter falter for whatever reason, the long term.
      If Jozy goes down who is the proven replacement? Sure there have been and still are a lot of POTENTIAL replacements ( SBI loves to anoint saviors) Boyd, EJ, Zardes, Rubio, AJ, Wood, etc. but would you feel confident if Jozy was out for the rest of this year ?
      Does the US have a proven replacement for Boca or Gooch? Again same story as Jozy, lots of candidates, little consistency. Cameron, Gonzo, Besler, they are all great until they are not.
      Lose Guzan and Howard for the rest of the year and are you that confident in Nick and the others? And who do you have right now who can boss the team like JJ can if he goes?
      Hopefully by the end of the Gold Cup some of these new guys will separate themselves and prove their talent and consistency is of the required standard but as of today, the USMNT’s depth isn’t a whole better than it was during the Arena/BB era.

  6. I *really* hope we see a lot of Tim Ream against Switzerland. He cannot possibly have a worse game than Brooks did. I want to see to what extent his consistent time on the field in England has improved his awareness and composure. He should have a chance to be the kind of CB that JK wants — smart, steady, and good at distribution.

  7. Late subs (*cough* Alvarado *cough*) may have been a problem, but from what I was able to see over the last 30 minutes, the left side of the defense (Garza and Brooks?) was a shambles. Acres of space and multiple miscommunications. Just inexcusable, really.

  8. This being my fourth cycle watching this team I don’t sweat the early cycle friendlies much anymore, but the trend is concerning. I think that we need to start showing how to grind out ugly games in the last 20 min.

    The first 70 or so minutes of this game, Chile, Panama, Colombia, Honduras and Ecuador were all very entertaining and promissing games but its time to start playing 90 across the 11 positions.

    • i just don’t think you can divorce the performance in the last 20 minutes from the fact that that’s when we’ve made our 6 subs in these friendlies. i’ll concede that, against a couple of these teams (ireland and honduras, for example), it shouldn’t be an excuse–our bench should be good enough. but it’s no secret that depth is still a glaring flaw in our team.

      if the trend continues throughout the gold cup, then it’s time to start worrying.

      • clarification: didn’t mean that we *started* subbing in the 70th; that’s just generally when we start throwing people on in friendlies.

      • true, at some point in all of these games (usually after 4-6 subs) the team looks disjointed and without any urgency to defend or grind out the game. And that’s not great but its not uncommon for teams in friendlies with 6 subs.

        i like that we have introduced some great players since the WC and id say that our depth chart is looking pretty good these days!

        Im just saying that hopefully we start to use these friendlies to build 90 min mentality – something I think is lacking right now – that could mean using less subs or using them to slow down the game once we have the lead.. holding possession, fouling, defending and attacking across the 11..

  9. Again the late subs cost the US in a friendly, nothing new there.

    The team relies on Bradley to do too much and that hurts the team, other players must step up to help calm things and maintain possession. Zardes, Shea, FJ, Morales and Yedlin all suffered from poor first touches and bad passes at dangerous times/locations. The work Bradley put in resulted in his getting tired and he was late stepping up to prevent the pass that sprung Bentner on the 3rd goal.

    The defense was not very organized ( not very surprising given the short time they have been together, the starting back 4 have only 47 caps between them and probably none with all 4 together; the sub got his first cap). Still, how often can you leave Bentner alone? Only his last goal was a result of his skill, the others were basic poor marking.

    Altidore looked like he was able to dish out some punishment to the defenders, coupled with that first strike it helped to keep the Danish defenders home as they did not join the attack often (thank god since the US defense could not handle the other 5 players very well). Johannsson was pretty invisible the first half he was too often in a line with Jozy and the ball so the US mids had only one direction to play the ball forward, he needs to have more movement to drag defenders and make himself more available.

    • Spot on, especially about the first touch. Too many times (and not just this game), the ball would bounce 5+ plus feet away from players when they would receive a pass. There were too many turnovers without a Danish player taking it from a USA player, but rather just a terrible touch and giving it away. If JK wants more possession, he needs to go back to the little basics. Tactics are important, but will never work if they players can’t even do the basic first touch.

    • They were better today. If they played in the US, or even a neutral location and the US has all of its starters, Denmark might not be better. Not one of the players who played in today’s backline for the US started a World Cup game. Only Brooks played at all, coming in as a sub because of injury to Besler. People kind of overlook what are rather important facts when judging the US performance.

  10. Why does it matter that Denmark played with the three midfielders in the middle and US with two?

    It matters when you are not the dominant team. If USA didn’t give up those late goals, it wouldn’t be an issue. We don’t question the number of midfielders Germany, Argentina, Brazil, etc. play when they win. Strong teams make weaker teams adjust to them, not the other way around. The USA needs to play with a stronger mentality and force game-style upon other teams.

    • Roy man, I definitely question the midfield tactics… shit, remember the Euros? Spains downfall came as a direct result of everyone watching an exhausted Italian team play well against Spain using a 5 MF formation to not concede the midfield… oh no… you don’t because you know shit about soccer?

      look, if I come out with 3… I am either going to dominate the middle, or the forward flanks. (or both). If I am facing that with a flat 4… then I need to spread the ball wide, and hit cross-field balls to expose the middle 3. OR… I can drop a forward back, and even the odds in MF… Or I can drop a defender and even the odds in the center… or take my defender and run him up the wing all day to expose the narrowness of the formation (Garza did a crap job of that until Shea came in)… which, incidentally is when you start seeing what looks a lot more like a 3 back system… and which then leads to the second Denmark Goal.

  11. I cant stand Klinnsman hard on for Rimando, a 5’9″ GK… Rimando is old news, old cycle. A taller GK with longer arms wouldve stopped Denmark’s last goal…

    US has better keepers, even Yarborough should be ahead of NR… what up with JK?

    • I thought so as well. 6’5″ would have stopped that goal. He was literally a hands-length away. However, Chandler was atrocious.

    • dude, relax… this guy is our 3rd GK and is getting a run out to build some confidence… Guzan/Howard is 1 and 1a, and some young buck we don’t know about yet is Number 2. Chillax.

  12. how about Shea today? did you all see the time he chest thumped the ball to Rimando that was almost pounced unpon for the goal? Or the “first touch” that ended up a 15 yard pass to a Dane? Or the time he stepped over ball and left it for the attacker?

    Why is this guy given opportunities at this level, it is embarrassing

  13. Managers are expected to get results. Dare I say….Managers (in all walks of life – less Government) are EXPECTED TO GET RESULTS. Why is it that everyone can suck up to JK, and explain away loss after loss, after loss….. to teams that we THE UNITED STATES should beat. We have the talent pool? We lack cohesion, chemistry and the leadership to get results. Yes, I do believe measured experimentation is needed to developing the pool, diversifying tactics, pushing out of their comfort zone, etc… But at the end of the day, this team looks “RUDDERLESS”. Cornerstone players 12 months ago (see Michael Bradley) look confused, uninspired, weak and listless. I cannot remember a time when I have seen so many good players look so bad wearing our crest. THIS IS ON JK. He is the captain of the ship, and we are stuck in the DOLDRUMS.

      • Just a reminder. The last time we played Denmark in Denmark, under Bob Bradley, we lost 3-1. Denmark currently leads their group in Euro qualifying. Christian Erickson is considered one of the best young midfielders in Europe and although Bendtner isn’t nearly as good as he thinks he is, he still plays consistently in the Bundesliga and most of their players play in top European leagues.

      • Their midfield is much better than ours. Look at the players and where they play. US players do not look calm on the ball. They do not play in that type of environment. I have watched MLS every week for a decade. You do not face players that are as tactical or technical as is required against better teams. JK cannot teach that, clubs do.

        I have no problem with him experimenting during meaningless games. It’s EXHIBITION! I only care during qualification

    • Explain to me why our talent pool suggests we are “supposed” to beat Denmark. Go ahead. Go through the rosters player-by-player, and tell us why our players are better. Fact is, we aren’t. Denmark have superior talent, and they were playing at home

      • The fact is the US gives up far too many goals after the 80th minute mark under Klinsmann. I don’t care what the talent level is, you should figure out a way to close out matches. Half the goals the US has given up since the World Cup are in the last 10 minutes.

      • Probably has something to do with the fact that 5-6 subs have been made, and there is no continuity. But I agree with this. Gotta close better.

    • What a drama queen. You know how the USMNT gets better? By playing tougher competition in hostile environments. The boys are going to lose some games, but in the end, they will come out more ready to compete when the competitions matter. Nothing focuses the mind more than getting your rear ends handed to you by a superior side. This showing wasn’t all bad. Jozy is showing some form and at times linked well with AJ. Orozco can certainly contribute this summer. Bedoya turned in a good defensive shift and Morales showed he deserves more looks and so did Brooks. I admit that there were a lot of disappointments… the wing play and FB play was extremely poor and the back line played way too many long balls.

    • listen jackwagons… “… are expected to get results” ok, well (a) results require competition… so if we don’t win the gold cup, then by all means be pissy. (b) if we tank out of Copa America, feel free to piss all over JK, and finally, (c) if we do shitty at WC18 then, by all means, fire JK (hell probably leave then anyway). But based on past form, and the plan taking shape… none of that will come to pass. Meantime, this is not a rudderless team, this is a team that is an ongoing experiment (which by the way, is the whole point right now) How will we know who can replace dempsey? How will we know if Morales can hang? or if we will have to trot out a 400 yr. old beasley at LB in 2018? IF all you want are wins, in meaningless friendlies… then you are the problem with the US national team.

  14. when this usa of jurgen plays, all i see is a bunch of guys running around looking lost. none of them know where to position themselves or what to do with the ball. it must be tied down to his philosophy of just telling the player go out and express yourself.

  15. heres my immediate takeaways:
    Jozy played great
    Zardes was invisible offensively but put in a lot of work defensively.
    Bradley was great in the midfield, Bedoya, and Morales were way too conservative and would only pass backwards. Jermaine is still our midfield guy if Klinnsman stops his CB project with him.
    Garza was terrible kept getting out of position on overlapping runs
    Brooks was god awful, awful touches, awful passes, poor clearances, etc. He needs to step up but meanwhile Gonzalez and Besler have nothing to worry about going forward.
    Rimando is not good enough at this level. As a galaxy fan I loathe playing against him because he always is very good but every international game I watch him play he looks nervous, shaky, etc. I tremble whenever he comes out to clear a ball and his distribution is not what it’s like when he’s at RSL.
    And lastly, Klinnsman has such a man crush on Brek and I don’t get it.

    Just my two cents.

      • I don’t know about that. Their players can make pases and control difficult balls. Ours struggle with the basics. The coach has nothing to do with that.
        Klinsmann is a snake oil salesman that bullsheated his way into a great gig but our players still struggle with the basics.

      • The US first half vs second half stats since the World Cup are pretty shocking and at some level has to come down to game management.

      • Based on what? Your opinion? Look at the pedigrees of Denmark’s players. Or their transfer values. Or their achievements. Anything really.

      • Oh, let’s ignore the fact that Christian Eriksen is one of best young players in all of Europe or their starting midfield in this game play for: Tottenham, Wigan, Celta Vigo, former AS Monaco.

  16. “No solution to the US’s late game defensive woes?

    Yes there is: Fire Klinsmann! He’s a dung-throwing snake-oil salesman. Wake up, people!

    • Great analysis, there winner! Next time I want a proper analysis on the Big Bang Theory, screw Neil Degrasse Tyson. I am coming to you. Let’s forget about trying out new formation or players in MEANINGLESS friendlies. How about seeing that our midfield lacks players technical enough to hold the ball and be calm in tight spaces. Furthermore, when said midfielders are pressed by better midfields, they are overrun….and that is just the beginning.

      I am not a JK apologist. I see his flaws, but come on.

  17. Some thoughts:

    -Garza looked outclassed, but also had a tough task with his mark (forget his name). The guy was fast and crafty. He was also left out to dry on some midfield marking, but overall he did not look up to the task tonight.
    -Bradley looked good with his pressure and some nice searching passes. I agree that he should be an 8 rather than a 10, but there is the big hole for the US; there is no creative 10 that can be relied on. Mix? While he’s still developing, he doesn’t have the composure yet to be the de facto. With that, Bradley will continue having to play 2 positions at once.
    -Where’s the offensive movement? Once the US gained possession, everyone waited for the ball to come to them. Morales stood dead still every time the team gained possession. A comment awhile back that struck me was from Joe Gyau, who spoke about how he was learning about movement off the ball while playing for BVB, and I think everyone saw his potential when he was playing.
    -And the consistent pressure? One of the killers was the fact that not everyone was on the same page with defensive pressure in the midfield. They would run around and press, and then leave a acre of space for a Denmark player to pick his pass. I know Denmark played with 5 in the midfield, but still…
    -I think some players from the U-20 and U-23 will most certainly be auditioning for the 18 WC. This team is still up in the air and for every answer there seems to be, 2 more come up. The US needs some quick, skilled and composed midfielders to bring the collective beats per minute down and keep possession. JK does not really have that at the moment. Players like Pulisic and Hyndman are hopefully the future, and hopefully soon!
    -The conditions sucked, plain and simple
    -Denmark has some quality players
    -I now understand the Lord Bendtner reference and why people mock him constantly. In this case, I guess the joke is on the US

    • If we don’t have a true #10, why do we insist on playing with one? 4-4-2 would work better with this group. It isn’t trendy but it’s better than putting square pegs in round holes.

      • we did play a 4-4-2…

        also, a 4-4-2 can be played without a #10. remember the empty bucket? or the box midfield? doesn’t always have to be a diamond with a #10. and today, our 4-4-2 played more as an empty bucket than trying to play with a #10.

      • I think the injury to Dempsey may have thrown the formation for a loop. I would assume that if Dempsey were there, he would have played at the top of the midfield as a reserved CF and leave Altidore up top alone. Dempsey is able to make things happen as a faux CAM.

        Without him, JK may have switched to the 2 forwards since neither Altidore or AJ typically play that way.

        Also, someone needs to teach Altidore how to shield the ball. For someone that is supposed to be a holding forward, he constantly has the ball toe poked from defenders behind him. It makes me think there’s a scouting report that Altidore has an easy-to-read position, because it’s pretty consistent.

  18. This game reminded me allot of the Belgium match in the WC. US were COMPLETELY outplayed but managed to stay in the game by parking the bus. Match facts do not lie and in the end I’m just glad that score line was not worse than what it shows because it could have easily have been 5-2 Denmark.

      • Umm ok.. So because he didn’t stick at Arsenal he isn’t good? He’s still better than any USMNT player out there.

        Bendtner- Arsenal reject. Altidore- Sunderland reject/ Bradley- Aston Villa reject. Which one sounds better?

      • Not sure I agree but in any event, “Lord Bendtner” is a bit much. Plays well for Denmark but pretty anemic strike rate at club level.

    • Hhhahahahhaaaa. He should of had 4. Still laughing we were marking him often with one of our 5’10 Mexican center backs. No doubt Belser, Cameron and Gonzo were laughing there assess off today.

      • “Cameron and Gonzo were laughing there assess off today.”

        Funny you should say that.
        Denmark’s winner was very similar to the goal Besler,Gonzo and Cameron gave up to Portugal. Those guys would have no business calling out anyone for sketchy play at centerback for the USMNT.

      • Agree we can’t keep the ball but looking forward with Emerson hyndman and zelahem and mix and green who gets a lot of hate we got a good young talent pool. Boxi at atlectico is gonna be scary. Be patient people

  19. Calm down boys. We actually switched our CB pair at the end of the game, and also left Garza on when he would have been pulled in anything but a friendly.

      • Sure. The problem is that we have been playing nothing but friendlies and and using all of our subs, as well as the fact that we are not nearly as good as people seem to think we are. Depth has never been our long suit.

      • Amen. A-freakin-men. Man, I dont know where it comes from and I still can’t figure out people’s logic, but why do people think the U.S. should be so good with what they have? It makes no sense. I’m not trying to be a Debbie downer, but when we play teams full of players who are all valued at a greater cost than several MLS teams combined, and against some players who’s salary rivals that of the entire league combined, I don’t understand where people get the idea we should handle those teams/players without a problem. I’m baffled, and when I read the comments after games like these I leave even more confused.

  20. man, i was so excited to see that backline but it was clear they had never played together as a unit. Garza was shockingly poor for long stretches. his Opta looks ok, but he was beat too many times. Chandler had a better game than Garza, and again his Opta looks pretty good, but too many dead long balls from him. i certainly do not fault him for that one goal though. Zardes was in lala land and ruined the offside trap. but still would like to see Chandler closer to that guy.

    Brooks and Orozco actually did pretty well. unfortunately JAB made a few mental mistakes that could have cost us even more. but generally he put out his fires. surprised to hear Orozco asked to come out at the end there because he was spent. but it does help with the seemingly random decision by JK to make a CB change at the end.

    FJ has a good Opta but was largely invisible. same with Yedlin and Rubin. thought AJ, Bedoya, Morales, and Shea did well enough. with Morales, he certainly started off terribly though. but even Opta seems to show solid enough games from them given the circumstances.

    Bradley did well per usual but Zardes was subpar. complete opposite of the Panama game. when the pressure was on, he folded. that was a shame to see. as for Alvarado, tough ask for him to come in but certainly not a good start to his US career.

    • re: Zardes, some people play better in certain formations. Zardes has generally played with a cam organizing the middle. in a trad 442 there’s a pivoted CM or a back-checkin ST as the option in the middle. it wasn’t just his side where this was evident. losing dempsey hurt and only shows why a true creating cam is needed. imagine a Giovinco type playing for the NT…….. a quick, skilled dribbler that is constantly checking to the ball as a clear option, etc. I think that’s what people saw in Lee Ngyuen, and maybe even in Zelalem eventually.

      • DLOA,

        It seemed to me Zardes saw a lot more of the ball today than he did in the Panama game.

        In the Panama game Zardes was not asked to do as much and the Panamanians are not as sophisticated in their defending as the Danes are. Plus it was an away game, cold, wet and miserable.

        Those who were so certain that Zardes’ emergence meant the US can just cast Jozy aside can now see why that isn’t true. Zardes will get better but experience is important.

      • i get all that and i understand Zardes out wide is not ideal. he needs to be up top. but that does not change the fact that he had a poor game. can’t only shine when you have the perfect set up. need to show you are quality even outside your comfort zone. that all said, it’s early and no reason to panic. it was just disappointing to see him so clueless out there today.

      • I am not saying anything bad about zardes but at 23 I want more out of a player. Put in rubio and let him play. Dempsey not being there hurt but jozy was good, back line was surprisingly aweful and I love bedoya but not in the middle and fabain started but never saw him.

      • People are going to be very disappointed if they’re expecting Zelalem to be that sort of player. If anything, I’d compare him to Michael Bradley. his 95th percentile career result has him looking like a more technical Aaron Ramsey, not a number 10.

      • Cesc isn’t a classic number 10 that plays behind the striker though. He operates a little deeper and makes late runs.

        I also think that Zelalem has more physical potential than Cesc. He’s got a big frame (even though he’s super skinny now) and hopefully he’s more assertive defensively than Cesc.

      • Sorry I thought you were arguing against what I was saying (that Zelalem isn’t the tricky dribbler type).

      • what CAM organizing the middle for the Galaxy? Keane? no, he checks back from time to time, true, but not what you’re saying. so was it Sarvas? no, he was a hard working technically strong player with vision but harfdly a #10. was it LD last year? no, he was out on the left wing soon after the CAM role he was given in that diamond formation vs. SKC didn’t pan out.

        so what are you talking about?

  21. Garza, Alvarado, and Zardes were terrible but they are rookies to USNT, while Rimando really has no future with USNT.

    • Garza and Chandler were terrible, FJ a close third. Zardes wasn’t terrible but wasn’t good consistently either. I think Zardes fits the 433/4231 better than a true 442 we tried to play today.

      • Zardes was terrible. Offensively, he repeatedly got caught drifting inside onto other players, and then not being good enough in tight spaces to help. Defensively, he looked confused about his role. In transition, he took too long to show feet for Chandler, which resulted in Chandler having to clear it without any other options.

        When a 4-4-2 goes against a 4-3-3, the outside mids have to be extremely good tactically. Zardes wasn’t, and that’s why I agree that he’s better in roles that require less tactical nous.

      • Zardes plays in a 4 4 2 with the Galaxy in EVERY GAME! both as a striker, underneath, and as a right midfielder.

    • The 3 you mention are not very experienced on the international level and it showed. Don’t know about Alvarado, but I know that Zardes has the physical tools and ability, he just needs to get more experience and up his game. Too many give aways. I’m still not sure about Garza.

      • Basically agree with you. Zardes and Garza both disappointed, but I saw nothing that would convince me to “write them off”…. They are inexperienced in the international game, and both were playing in Europe for the first time. I’d be fine starting both of them again vs Switzerland. I think they will improve in short order.

        Alverado is impossible to assess at this point. But as first outings go, he did fine.

  22. We just didn’t play good. I just think we were spoiled by early Klinsmann results and the World Cup. As much as we want to believe we are getting better, we aren’t. Maybe in the long run we will be (U-20’s and u-17’s) but we are just going to get worse in the short run. Our player pool has nobody in it that can keep the ball and distribute very well (bradley has his moments). When we go up against any average or above team we are going to get out possessed and going to be hanging on for dear life in every game. It’s still the same ol U.S. team. A lot of hard working guys who just don’t have the technical ability to control the game. And Klinsmann just looks useless now. He is good at getting dual nationals and “motivating” but besides that, nothing good.

    • There was a 20 minute stretch in the second half where the U.S. looked like a proper soccer team, but before that and then again around the 80th minute, things just absolutely fell apart. The team lacks consistent composure and purpose; there are glimpses where you say, ‘Okay, I get it, something could be going on here,’ but it is fleeting and rarely lasts for much of a given match.

    • I want to vomit when I read comments like this. Basically, you are saying, “Jeez, we have been ‘spoiled’ by the universally successful results our manager has achieved in games that matter over the past 4 years.”

      I’m sorry that winning the Hex, emerging from the Group of Death at the WC, and waltzing to our easiest ever Gold Cup title are not satisfying to you.

      I will try to make sure somebody tells Sunil Gulati that we really need a manager who can deliver impressive wins in utterly meaningless Nov-March friendlies against teams with far better talent than us. Let’s put a ban on experimentation during this “utterly critical” part of the 4 year cycle and just go back to doing what we used to– flying to Europe and crushing teams with far better talent than we have…. we all remember those days…. don’t we?

      • Friendlies are like exhibition games in other sports, only worse in that you are bringing in a lot of new players in a game where team coordination and communication are critical, especially on defense. Losing this bothers me only in that the first two goals were pretty soft and with only minutes to go Bendtner shouldn’t have had any space to receive that pass. One other thing that bothers me is Bendtner’s hat trick because he seems like an insufferable egotist.

      • Did they have far better “talent?” I’m dubious.

        They had far better technical ability. At times, the Danes looked more than a bit taken aback by the American athleticism. They had no answer for the likes of Altidore, Zardes, Yedlin, Shea. It was our constant heavy touches and turnovers and oh-my-heavens shambolic defending in key areas that kept undoing us, and I kept thinking, time and again…oh, if we only had a #10…and then Morales decided to stop tripping over the ball and actually looked really, really sharp – like, razor sharp – for about 20 minutes, during which the Danes were under siege. Balls flying in from all over, we easily could have added 1-2 more.

        If I’m Klinsmann I’m frustrated. Because the team’s got talent. It just doesn’t have that…edge, and confidence, that composure. My question, if I’m Klinsmann, is: how do I get that final edge on some of these guys? I’m staring hard at the likes of Shea, Yedlin, Chandler, Brooks…I’m seeing guys with superior athleticism who could be difference-makers, but there’s times they’re just comically bad while in others they’re showing their quality.

        It could just be, you keep rolling ’em out there, and they’ll start getting it. But I do think we’re going to have to start transitioning from an audition phase to: hey, NOW we’re going to build our core, get ’em every meaningful match (like this) that you can.

        One positive was that Michael Bradley and Jozy seem to have taken the squad over…which was going to have to happen for the USMNT to really progress this cycle, and it’s probably very good that they’re on the same team in MLS. That could be huge for us down the road.

      • Good points. Biggest problem we have faced is a lack of a dominant leader on the field. Jones and Howard are the best leaders we have, along with Deuce, who was absent today.

        Pretty much everybody used to think Bradley was a shoe-in for captain earlier in his career. It’s started to become evident to me why Dempsey was preferred, and why Bradley may never actually be captain. He is a fantastic talent, no doubt…. but he hasn’t seized control of a game the way he used to be able to in a long time.

        MB would probably still make a good captain, but the real problem starts below him….. none of our younger players have shown me anything in this regard. Where are the natural leaders? Where are the guys who get angry when we concede? I just see a bunch of kids staring at their shoelaces. Not good!

      • Something important that you and others seem to forget or ignore. While there were some first teamers for the US, you had a lot of inexperience out there, too. Also, you had pairings like Brooks and Orozco that had never played together before and probably only had a few days to practice together. Zardes and Garza have few caps, even Johannsson doesn’t have that many and has spent most of this season injured. Alvarado is new, Shea is learning a new position. The only players who have significant international experience at the positions they played were F Johnson, Chandler, Jozy, Bedoya, Bradley and to a lesser extent, Orozco. It was those with little experience or at new positions who had the most trouble. So, talent wise, maybe we were equal, maybe not, but with these other factors and going to the home stadium of the opponent and playing in nasty weather, we shouldn’t be too surprised at the final score.

      • Wow, are you JK’s publicist or something? “Universally successful results”, hah! More like status quo.

        1. Winning the Hex. Been there done that. Even the much maligned Bob Bradley won the hex last cycle.

        2. Group of Death. Still with this? It was advertised as the group of death on paper before the games, but then the games started and we all found out it was not the group of death. It was Germany and three average teams. You conveniently ignore we were completely outplayed in every game except for the Portugal game which we tied. Somehow we beat Ghana even though we were dominated for like 85 minutes.

        3. Advanced out of group play in the World Cup. Bruce Arena and Bob Bradley did the same.

        3. Gold Cup. We won, nothing new. Recent Concacaf history shows us that the USA is usually the winner or runner-up loser to Mexico. We were aided by Mexico having a horrible year and us not having to play them in the Gold Cup. Still though, great that we won it, but nothing new.

        Universal success? Like I said, status quo.

        Bottom line is we have been on a horrible stretch since June 2014. USA has looked horrible, and that’s why JK is getting all this much deserved criticism. Current form shows us to be worst than both Costa Rica and Mexico within Concacaf. Not just with the results, but with the eye-test. We look horrible.

        Last point, stop with all this “just friendlies” talk. The majority of games at the international level are friendlies. You guys act like JK and the players say, “oh this is just a friendly, lets not really try hard”.

      • Saying JK is doing a good job does not mean Arena and Bradley (much-maligned? by whom? guy is a friggin hero on this site) did not do good jobs, as well. I actually think all three have been great managers who have overperformed with the talent at their disposal, particularly in the games that mattered.

        Group of Death. Yes. It was. Vegas agrees. And we got through. Period. Outplayed? Probably– all three teams had WAY better players than us by any standard. The “average” Ghana team you describe was the only team to claim a point off German and actually held a lead well into the second half. Against us, they started with KP Boateng and Michael Essien on the bench, for god’s sake. Average? Gimme a break.

        I don’t think we’ve looked very good since we beat the Czechs at the end of last summer, either. I also don’t care all that much. I want our teams to peak in June, when it matters. And they have, thus far.

      • “Vegas agrees”. Vegas odds came out before the world cup. Odds are always before the event. As I said, the group looked tough on paper before the World Cup started. When they did start Portugal didn’t show up, and Ghana had all kinds of drama going on within the team (as reported during the World Cup).

        I hope there is some sort of peak coming this summer, because if not, we will lose the Gold Cup, and then lose the playoff game for the Confed Cup.

      • I repeat. Ghana was the only team to claim a point, score two goals, or hold a lead against Germany. That Ghana team was good. Very good. The would have advanced out of any other group, in my view, and probably made a very deep run. And Portugal beat them. Where is the “average” here?

        You are calling Ghana a mess based on a bunch of off-the-field bs that is utterly normal for African teams.

        Moreover, plenty of teams in all sports have produced at high levels and even won championships in spite of off-field problems. Heck, Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth refused to even speak for the better part of a decade.

      • Trust me. Spain was looking past us and didn’t really care about the Confed Cup in ’09. If they cared, NO WAY we would have won. Casey was on for 5 min. The attacking line was Davies, Altidore, Donovan, Dempsey. Our backline was (pre-injury) Gooch, Bocanegra, Spector and Demerit. Bradley and Clark in the center.

        19 yr old Altidore opened the scoring and Dempsey added a goal. That might be most talented attacking unit we have ever had.

      • It’s just circular logic. If those teams had beaten us, you wouldn’t be saying those things.

      • hardly. we now know yours though. Portugal is pretty lousy and many here said that about that team before the World Cup started, and were proven right.

        Ghana imploded…did you read about the insanity in their locker room, and more? incredibly talented but that rendition of the TEAM sucked

        not to take anything away from the US, getting out of the group was its own accomplishment

      • If we played Ghana in the 3rd game (when they imploded,then maybe I buy it. However, we played them in the first game and the looked GOOD. They were the same team that took a point off Germany, who was trying to win.

        Portugal was a good team with more talent than they showed, but they started to implode. Even then with an injured Ronaldo they still could have gone through.

        I am a HUGE USMNT fan who thinks people underestimate our talent, but we had less collective then each off the team teams we played. Nobody on the USMNT would have made the starting 11 of either Germany or Belgium. Maybe 2 players would have made the Ghana 1st 11 and 3 players would have made the Portugal 1st 11.

        Did you watch the horrible touch our players had today. We not that good yet, but we are getting better.

      • I’ve seen the USMNT players play with good touch and not looking collectively as a group without touch

        as for the teams in question, I stand on what I said. If you think Portugal was a good team, we disagree 100%. Talent alone does not equal a good national team, thus the term team. Ghana was the paper lion of that tournament

      • Portugal with an obviously injured Ronaldo and a suspended Pepe are average, if that

        Ghana whose players were basically holding out during the tournament for more money were in turmoil right between their 2nd and 3rd games.

      • You are just showing your ignorance. Here are some facts, not just opinions, to consider. The US won the Hex with the highest score in our history. 2013 the US had its best year in history. According to FIFA rankings, it was the group of death and one of the strongest groups in WC history. That “average” Ghana team lost in the AFCON finals 2 months ago on penalty kicks, making them the second best African team. Compare the rosters of the other teams in our group and where their players play compared to our players. Absolutely no contest. The fact that Ghana beat Germany shows that Ghana is strong, not Germany weak. I guess you forgot that Germany beat Brazil 7-0 and won the World Cup and we lost to them only 1-0 when it was a must win for Germany for them to win the group. Under Klinsmann the US beat Italy in Italy for the first time, has beaten more European teams in Europe than all his predecessor combined I do believe and beat Mexico in Mexico for the first time. I am not a Klinsmann apologist, having heavily criticized his Donovan decision, his decision to leave Jozy off the team during the first round of qualifying, his decision for the roster for the WC and on a number of other occasions. But, I am a realist, and the results don’t lie.

      • “According to FIFA rankings”

        You acknowledged that you use FIFA rankings to weigh the group of death, so I’m guessing you know that the US has plummeted in the FIFA rankings lately ranking in the 30s under Klinsmann.

        “and the results don’t lie.”

        The results in the last 10 friendlies are abysmal. Klinsmann is fielding so many variations of different teams there is no consistency. Normally, I would say single friendlies aren’t too important and must-win type games, however any decent opponent this team has faced they lost, and look poor in most. The sample size is large enough to draw conclusions from.

      • Would it shock you to learn that the US would almost certainly have fallen in the rankings regardless of post-WC results? You need to learn how the rankings work…. you obviously don’t

        Gary Page is perfectly legit in using FIFA rankings to make his point. You are not. The formula and ranking system is specifically designed to be correct at the time of the WC, to ensure fairness of seeding Timing difference in competitive matches make this impossible for the remainder of the cycle.

        I will actually guarantee you that we race up the rankings as quickly as we plummeted starting around the end of 2016, if not sooner. It’s just a matter of timing and competitive calendars.

      • You do know we would have fallen in rankings no matter what, right? We have ONLY played friendlies since the World Cup. UEFA, CAF and AFC have ALL played competitive matches. AFC and CAF had their qualifications and regional cups and UEFA has Euro qualifying.

        Yes, we are 32 now, but Klinsman had us in 13 right before the World Cup.

        I think it’s funny, that people do not want a coach to experiment in meaningless game between qualifying. When should he experiment? During qualifying?

        How seriously do you take exhibition games during NFL and MLB pre-season? A lot or teams perform poorly and have great seasons. He is blooding new players, and experimenting. THIS is his pre-season.

      • uclabruin… moderate this fool! Dude, you must not like germans. JK is bringing around the best cupboard of american talent since 1999. As for getting out of groups, Arena had a YOUNG donovan and beasley, along with IN THEIR PRIMES, Reyna, mcBride, and Boca… plus the typically stupendous US keeping… Bradley had a young bradley plus a weak-ass group, plus an in prime Donovan and Dempsey and a veteran boca. Both did a good job with what they had ( though I will question Bradley’s loyalty to certain guys to my dying day (cough* clark* cough))… but all of that was done with 0 depth and some good ol’fashioned american grit.

        With JK I am starting to see a soccer team. I am starting to see the US actually control a game against quality European opposition for 20 minutes. I think that may be the first time I have ever seen that. I am starting to see the new young generation, and we are starting to get some midfield creativity again… for the first time since Reyna. So F* off D*bag. I want to see more of this!

      • The Gold Cup walk through was all Donovan, and we all know how our insightful manager managed that one.

      • with the struggles that Mexico were going through, winning the hex and the gold cup were expected. i dont know what is this group of dead you are talking about. the usa was in a group with portugal who was one of the worst teams in the tournament and a ghana team in which the players were on a strike and refusing to play.

      • USMNT play was so grossly regressive at the world cup its still stinking up the pitch nearly a year later.

    • It came down to 2 things. Our midfield COULD not keep position and our outside backs had horrible games. Brooks was caught on the 3rd goal, but the previous 2 goals were due to the outside backs (primarily Chandler).

      That being said, I have no problem with Klinsi epxperimenting in these meaningless game or blooding new players who are going to be key in 2018. May/June is a different story prepping for the Gold Cup. Next Year will be the Super Copa. 2017 will be Gold Cup & Confederations.

      This is WHEN you experiment and get to see who can hang or has the potential to hang. Brooks has potential, but he is not an organizing CB..yet Garza and Chandler look bad. However, let’s see if it’s a blip.

      If you don’t play guys in friendlies, how do we know how they will do in a real game? The primary issue is midfield control, then defense. When teams press us to get back in the game, the overrun our weak midfield and pepper or defense.

  23. US has now given up 7 goals after the 80th minute in the 8 matches since the World Cup. I get that it’s a friendly but why are you making a center back change that late in a match. Your not really going to get much information on a player in that time and its just going to throw everyone off.

  24. Garza was exposed pretty badly tonight. That was my main takeaway, considering he was seen as a possible solution at left back for this cycle. Maybe slide Johnson back there against Switzerland?

    • unfortunately i agree with you. Garza had seemingly locked up LB but this performance was poor. maybe related to him just getting back from injury. i think we’ll see Shea at LB with FJ at LM next game given Shea’s positive performance.

    • really worried about Garza being a lock at LB, I still remember him getting destroyed by Jurgen Damm, he is slow as hell.

      • Garza and Shea at LB will be destroyed by real wingers in international play…. Demmark right wing was mediocre at best.

        it is Jurgens mentality to have the converted outside backs join in the attack…at the cost of solid defense.

      • It is definitely not that novel an idea. A LOT of teams have backs join the attack. Our problem is we do not have great outside backs in our system. The US pool is full of decent CB and CM, but few acocmplished wingbacks outside Fabian Johnson, who is not playing well.

        In this game, our midfield had little control and our outside backs failed. Chandler was accountable for 2 goals (at least 1).

      • I agree that Garza looked slow and exposed, but it wasn’t against inferior competition. He lined up with Vibe all game, who had 29 goals in 36 games last season and has 5 in 4 this season in the Danish league. It ain’t the BPL, but he was easily faster than Garza and gave him fits all night.

    • Klinsi’s experimenting a lot here , so I’ll give him a pass since these are just friendlies and young lads. After the Mexico game, the experimentation should be over for sure. During the friendlies from June 5 to the 10th, right before the Gold Cup, the U.S. should be done with the experimentation. No more dopey subs as well, pops.

      • Exactly. Orozco was good. As a defender when I used to play, I have to say this is typical soccer commentary, the defense always gets the blame. Sometimes the defense does deserve blame, but in a game like today, you have to put the blame on the whole team for their lack of possession. If your midfield and forwards can’t hold the ball and have possession, then the defense will be bombarded for 90 minutes. Even the best defenders in the world will give up goals if they are having to defend the whole game.

      • Don’t get me wrong though, our defense did have some bone-head plays today, and our full-backs had a bad game. Could have been different though if we had more possession and better midfield play.

      • i’m with you. there is no other way to put it…Orozco had a solid game. and honestly, even though people rag on him, it shouldn’t be that surprising. this guy has been starting and playing 90 minutes as a RCB or RB for two straight seasons now.

      • I like Klinsi but It’s the sub change in the last 10 min that outdid the U.S. Really bad sub change.

      • I’m less concerned about the subs than the run of play for the whole game. There were giant gaps all over the midfield and defense. Every time a Dane got the ball, it was with acres of space and they always had a choice of wide open teammates to pass to. JK has one tactic: high pressure. When that doesn’t work, there is no plan b. There was no plan for passing the ball out of the back, there were no tactical adjustments. US should hire an independent assistant with a good, sound tactical background and tell JK he needs to listen to the new assistant and incorporate more tactics and communicate tactics to the players or he’s fired. This has happened at every stop for JK. The Bayern players all complained about this. JK does not spend enough time on tactics and does not communicate tactical gameplans to the players.

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