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USMNT hoping to answer some questions, solve second-half issues vs. Switzerland

Jurgen Klinsmann USMNT 18

Photo by Robert Mayer/USA Today Sports


Plagued by second-half troubles since last year’s World Cup, the U.S. Men’s National Team sorely needs to find some answers if it is to head into the summer with restored confidence.

Its next chance to do so comes on Tuesday.

The U.S. has conceded 14 times in the second halves of 11 games dating back to last summer’s World Cup, but will have an opportunity to correct that ugly trend when it closes out its March camp with a friendly in Zurich against Switzerland. The Americans are coming off a disappointing 3-2 loss to Denmark in which they conceded twice in the final seven minutes, putting the pressure on them to bounce back in one of their last tuneups as a complete U.S. squad before this summer’s Gold Cup.

A benefit for Jurgen Klinsmman’s side is that Switzerland, which is coming off a 3-0 win over Estonia in Euro 2016 qualifying, will likely be counting on some new faces at Stadion Letzigrund. Regulars like Valon Behrami and Xherdan Shaqiri could be rested in favor of some lesser experienced but still talented players who will be trying to impress head coach Vladimir Petkovic.

As much as winning is a priority for the U.S., it too could have some fairly new players in its lineup. Klinsmann promised some changes on Tuesday, and it seems likely that versatile veteran Fabian Johnson slides from left midfield to left back in an effort to fortify a back line that struggled to defend on the wings.

Two of the newer players in consideration to see time are center back Ventura Alvarado and goalkeeper William Yarbrough. Alvarado is the one of the two Liga MX starters to make his U.S. debut in the defeat to Denmark, and he could be in store for more than 10 minutes vs. Switzerland if Klinsmann wants to really assess where the Club America defender stands in the U.S. picture.

In the midfield, there could be drastic changes. Michael Bradley was the only starter vs. Denmark who accurately moved the ball forward with any regularity, but who lines up all around him is unknown. Alejandro Bedoya got the nod last week, and, while he did a good job of doing the dirty work behind Bradley, his passing and overall imprint on the game were not good enough to help stop the Americans from getting severely out-possessed.

Another reason for that was because of the amount of unforced turnovers the U.S. had, especially from the wide midfielder spots. Johnson and Gyasi Zardes saw passes go off the mark, and neither got into much of a rhythm offensively. Klinsmann will want to change that and might look at any number of options to start, including Bedoya, DeAndre Yedlin and Brek Shea.

Klinsmann will need to mull over what formation to deploy as well. Forwards Jozy Altidore and Aron Johannsson both scored from 4-4-2 setup against the Danes, but they were starved for service for much of the match.

With Johannsson sitting out because of a toe infection and youngster Rubio Rubin having played for the U.S. Under-20s on Sunday, Klinsmann could favor a one-man front line in order to help shore up a defense that’s had far too many issues in recent months. A switch to the 4-2-3-1 seems plausible, especially with the player personnel available, but Klinsmann may want to continue to experiment with different things to better gauge how his team and players handle different tests.

Klinsmann has said all along that he wants to go out and make statements to opposing teams in friendlies, especially on their turf, but he also has stated that he is okay with dropping results here and there if it means getting a better understanding of the player pool.

Even so, losing or tying in the same manner that it has during several of its most recent games would not be a good look for a U.S. side that is supposed to be kicking things into another gear ahead of its Gold Cup title defense. The Americans have won just twice in the eight matches they’ve played since the World Cup, with second-half collapses happening far too frequently and forcing the U.S. to settle for draws or defeats.

Bucking the trend and beating Switzerland on the road will require a much improved performance from the U.S. as a whole, but Klinsmann and his side will be keen on accomplishing that and doing away with the notion that they can’t close things out.


  1. Conceded 14 times in the second halves of 11 games dating back to the World Cup. That is the only stat you need to see to realize how bad it’s gotten, despite the apologists continuing to say “but they’re just friendlies!” That defensive record is inexcusable no matter the circumstances.

    • I think Klinsmann wants fullbacks that get into the attack more then Ream does. Ream’s best chance is at LCB. If Klinsmann doesn’t think Brooks is ready ( he still makes some mistakes that young CBs will) and isn’t happy with Besler’s fitness and form he could still push his way into that role.

  2. The US has traditionally not done well on European soil. and with a rather weak team, I do not expect the US to prevail against the Swiss. A tie would be a delight and a win would be an unexpected pleasure. Even if the Swiss were to rest many regulars from European qualifying, the US will still be the weaker team.

    in another thread I lamented on the haphazard way that JK has picked players, formations and even scheduling.

    Instead of building around a core of players who have trained and played together in more than several games , players that are adept with a favored or familiar formation and in which the players are familiar with and then supplement it with other players who are merged into the core. These may be younger or less experience , or, players who may play several positions well and cam be asked to step in on short notice.

    Instead players on the team are seeing too many new faces, too many different or unfamiliar formations and more importantly. too many mistakes and breakdowns in coverage or bad passing. which lead to too may loses in possession and goals against. It seems like the small things are not well planned, too haphazard and not well thought out/

    I am not the only one to see this; Matthew Doyle over at, points out these same issues.

    And then ther is scheduling. I still want to know why the US scheduled friendlies, home and away in the January/feb time frame that utilized only MLS players, the only pool of US players not match fit. Why not schedule some matches during the winter break in Europe.Yes. its off the FIFA calendar, but schedule the friendlies in a warm climate like So Spain ar the mideast where most of the winter break teams go and you would have far less resistance. Player cannot be match fit after only a thirty day camp and more than a few MLS take the winter off to nurse injuries,

    In short there is a litany of little and big things, that the current coaching staff seems clueless about.

    If you wonder about WHY we are losing games, it all starts with the details.

    • Let’s see, no non MLS clubs will release players on non-FIFA dates consistently (or at all). Sometimes Denmark, Norway, etc. will in January when they are not playing games, but just as often the clubs want their players in training with them, not a national team.

      So the January camp will always have almost only MLS, NASL, and an occasional player from some cold country or one that is out of contract.

      MLS does not stop play for FIFA dates , it strains the relationship between clubs and the USMNT when the club stars are absent for a game or more. Why Canadian club Totonto released 2 of its stars (Bradley and Altidore) for the present games is only because they had to, it is a FIFA date, but while RSL was also missing players, I am sure that Vanney would have loved to have kept Bradley and Altidore to avoid that loss.

      Until MLS gets on a schedule more like the one in europe, there will continue to be conflicts and US games that feature players far from the first choice.

    1. You don’t move players around because in doing so makes them not the best at that position anymore. USMNT pool doesn’t have the talent necessary for players to learn a totally new position in a short period of time (They can barely play effectively in their natural position as is)
    2. “Repetition of the same thought or physical action develops into a habit which, repeated frequently enough, becomes an automatic reflex” …….always changing things up degrades that Habit and rhythm (which is quite evident with the way we are falling down in the rankings)
    3. Trying players in key positions is all nice and dandy, but calling up a non-professional, a college forward to camp over all the strikers we have in MLS and LIGA MX is a slap in the face. It’s OK for the U-23 not the senior National team.
    How do we expect to win (and please do say this is just a friendly because if you are not trying to win you might as well stay home) with Zardes, Bedoya and Bradley playing out of their natural position, and with no CAM on the team?

  4. Did anyone read the Thomas Rongen’ s comments? Some people are referred to as JK haters on this Site if they voice disagreement with JK’s tactics, strategies, man management, player selection and contradictory statements. Oh, by the way, practice and friendly games matters. I’m sure Dunga was auditioning new players yesterday but beating Chile was their goal. Both Teams played as if winning was the only thing that mattered. We’ve seen an improved Brazilian Team since Dunga took over. I can’t same the same about the USA. Klinsmann, you’ll not find an answer because you don’t know what you’re looking for.

    • Robbo –
      Very few people are of the opinion that friendlies don’t matter “at all”. For most they just mean less than truly competitive matches. Friendlies (outside of those leading into Tournament play) are for evaluating a variety of players and formations in order to determine which players are capable of contributing in the present time, the short term (1-2 yrs) and possibly long term (2-4 yrs)….and which formations will potentially give the team a tactical advantage.
      We won’t see what JK believes to be the “A” Team until the June 5th Friendly. And even then expect to see a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to formation and substitutions as JK and his staff make some tweaks before the GOLD CUP starts.
      While I’ve not been impressed with how the TEAM has been playing since the end of WC, there have been positives; although few & far-between; at a Player level. There are a lot of aspects & players that need to be better….but the sky isn’t falling either.

    • Robbo,

      So you are saying that JK and Dunga have similar options in terms of rebuilding their respective teams?


      Rongen said that JK may not be the best fit for the USMNT because he does not understand the US player as well as BB and JK.

      If so how do you explain Beckerman, Zusi and Besler doing so unexpectedly well under JK?

      • All 3 were MLS stars. They were only expected to be poor because JK said MLS players do not challenge themselves and are not as good as they could be. Everyone more or less questioned Beckermann’s speed, but not his tactical awareness and it was the latter that allowed him to do well in the WC. Similarly Besler was/is the best back passing out of the back. Zusi is fast and works hard. These were not surprises.

        Gonzo was a surprise, he failed to make game-changing mistakes which was a real positive.

        I do not know who organized the US’s WC defense, JK or Vogts, but it worked pretty well. The shambolic organization since then makes me suspect it was Vogts who had a major hand in that, not JK, since Vogts has only just returned to the US.

  5. Ok we have given goals. Big deal they r mostly ramando and bill Hamid our number 3 and 4 keepers. Chill people count all the ones the gave up.

  6. A major problem as I see it, are articles like this one. Franco writes as if the Denmark and Swiss games are world cup games. All ;this about finding the right formation, the optimal line up and so forth greatly exaggerate the situation. It makes it seem like these are important and meaningful games. I don’t want to repeat all the points I have made in the past few days, but the main point is that only the games in the Gold Cup this summer are at all meaningful And they only matter because they insure a US trip to the Confederations Cup. Journalists want to write stories and if there is no real story, they will create one. So, a loss in Denmark becomes important or they don’t have much to write about and people wouldn’t read so much about it. I have been following soccer for 50 years and have seen a lot. These games are nothing to get excited about.

  7. If Fabian does indeed revert to LB that would be waiving the white flag at that position especially if it means putting Brek in the game. I still don’t understand why Lichaj hasn’t gotten a call. I’m not saying that he is the answer but he is an experienced professional that will still be under 30 when the WC rolls around and he should be getting an extended look if only to light a fire under JK’s favorites.

  8. I just want to see what we have from a few players, and I’m not concerned with the result. If Klinsmann is going to keep calling in guys like Ibarra and Green then we need to see if they are going to be able to contribute to the Gold Cup or not now. I thought Morales looked improved and would like to see some more of him too.

    • Agreed. Throw em’ in the fire and see what they’ve got. The back 4 should be better tonight after a week to gel with each other. The keeper (hopefully Yarborough) needs to command the line better. MB could use some help & hopefully we see Williams starting tonight with Bedoya on the wing. Morales in the second half for Williams, (his possession vs. Denmark after he got comfortable left me with a warm and fuzzy feeling). I’d like to see 433 with Green, Zardes, & Jozy up front at some point as well (not necessarily tonight). Looking forward to having Gyau healthy again, as well as Boyd.

  9. Chandler are Brooks were really sloppy defensively and Orozco had to clean up after them all night.

    Ream and Orozco would really give us an opportunity to really play possession football.

    • Brooks had his moments, but I’d like to see Ream and Orozco (see above).

      Chandler was terrible on both sides of the ball. That Altidore goal was pure happenstance.

  10. Dinho,

    “The team’s collective ability to fight and preserve a lead will be questioned, regardless of who is on the field and how many changes have been made.”

    That implies that preserving a lead is merely a matter of will and fighting hard enough and that is untrue.

    Soccer in general and defense in particular is very much a game of rhythm and coordination. Think of how much in sync your players have to be to orchestrate the offside trap effectively. If one guy is just a little bit off the whole thing is useless.

    Why do you think All Star games are usually such messy affairs?

    You can either use these experimental friendlies to see as many players as possible or you can use them to get a particular unit in sync.

    It is pretty hard, if not impossible, to do both at the same time.

    You can’t have your cake and eat it too but I guess that is what you expect.

    • GW, I am well aware of the components of a good team, but thanks for your assumptions and condescending rant.

      I am merely explaining that, sometimes, keeping a lead involves more than just orchestrating a well-timed trap. The “collective ability to fight” does not mean physical play, it means fighting to keep the ball by virtue of good decision-making and overall smart play.

      Yes, All Star games are messy affairs because no one is going to risk a tackle because they don’t care about their teammates. This, however, is a different story. Whether playing in a friendly or in the Cup, they are wearing the crest. They should care. Ask Michael Bradley if he likes losing, friendly or not.

      So, if you’re saying I am asking too much of these guys to do the dirty work and play composed soccer, then I guess I am.

      • Dinho,

        ” it means fighting to keep the ball by virtue of good decision-making and overall smart play.”

        By definition a mistake is a bad decision and the last time I checked even the best players make mistakes. An individual player can make a smart play but if it is not supported by his team mates then the whole thing is wasted.

        It’s a team game. Guys have to work together and that doesn’t just happen because you work hard and have a strong will and are smart and brave and pretty and wonderful though I’m sure all that helps.

        “All Star games are messy affairs because no one is going to risk a tackle because they don’t care about their teammates.”

        So you are implying that Brooks and Morales and Alvarado and anyone who makes a defensive error doesn’t care about their teammates?

        That’s an interesting way of looking at it.

      • GW:

        Not every mistake is a bad decision. Sometimes, the thought is good, but the execution is imperfect. So, that analysis is flawed. Yes, it’s a team game. That’s my point. I don’t really see where you’re going with this.

        Regarding the defensive errors, not exactly, But, Chandler comes to mind before any of the other three you mention.

      • Dinho I agree. Ignore people like GW. Some people here are such staunch JK supporters that everything becomes about protecting him. So right now since the USMNT is on such a horrid run of form, the conversation by the JK supporters has switched to: “Friendlies don’t matter”, “we are only losing because of the late subs” , “JK is just experimenting right now, he doesn’t care about winning these games, you guys are overreacting”.

        GW, as I said above, this whole “subs throw off the team rhythm” is overplayed. It might be true of a BADLY COACHED team, but if a team is well coached then it shouldn’t be an issue. First of all the team practices before a game and everyone practices, not just the starters. They talk about and plan how they want to execute during the game. Then as a substitute, a player is subbed in for another player that plays the same position as him. They should be able to slot in and keep the machine running with no issues. If they can’t, then that’s because A) the players are bad, B) the coaching is bad, or C) all of them above.

        The thing people conveniently leave out is that the National teams we are playing against are facing the same factors that we are. They also have players coming together from different club teams. They also have potential chemistry issues. They are also making subs throughout the game. Yet the majority of them manage to not only beat us, but completely outplay us.

      • And, please tell me sage one, how many times did the US beat a European national team at their home in friendlies before Klinsmann? In the old days, a 3-2 loss in Denmark under those conditions would have been celebrated as a good result. The last time the US played in Denmark, in 2009, they lost 3-1 and it wasn’t last minute goals, but 3 goals between the 47th and 58th minutes.And this was the year before the
        World Cup and during qualifying when the US was trying to optimize the team.You are the one blinded by your bias toward Klinsmann.

      • Gary, first of all you are asking me to go research the history of all USMNT games in Europe against European competition. I am not going to do that. Feel free to do it for me and provide me the data.

        Second, you are doing what many people mistakenly do in bringing up old history as if its relevant to the conversation at hand. To explain this is the simplest of terms, you are basically trying to say “we were just as horrible in the past” or “we were more horrible in the past”. So what? Being just as horrible or more horrible in the past has no barring on right now. It doesn’t make the USMNT any more or less horrible.

        My “sagely” wisdom I impart on you is to keep it in the present. 😉 We are talking about the USMNT, its players and JK right now.

      • UBG,

        “The thing people conveniently leave out is that the National teams we are playing against are facing the same factors that we are. They also have players coming together from different club teams. They also have potential chemistry issues. They are also making subs throughout the game. Yet the majority of them manage to not only beat us, but completely outplay us.”

        Are you talking about Denmark?

        The US has 1 win, 5 losses and 6 draws vs.Denmark.

        Denmark are in the middle of a Euro qualification campaign. They are at or near the top of their group; meaning if we did not play their starters we played guys who really want to displace their starters.

        It also means that they are very probably a whole lot sharper and match fit than anything the US can put on the field at the moment.

        You will have a hard time convincing anyone that the US is anywhere near as cohesive as the Denmark team they payed against.Their manager is Morton Olsen who has been there for 16 years which would make you think they have a pretty stable and cohesive set up.

      • Come on GW, don’t try to be clever. We are obviously not talking about just one game here (the Denmark game). If the US just randomly lost one game, which happened to be a road game in Denmark, then it wouldn’t be a big deal. That’s not the case though. You have to admit that the USMNT is on a bad stretch right now that is approaching a full year with consistent bad results, bad play, and a bad trend/habit of second half collapses. If you aren’t willing to admit to that then you are just too entrenched in your “defend JK at all costs” mentality.

      • UBG,

        What I said about Denmark could also be more or less applied to Chile and Colombia. Ireland not so much but the team the US put up against them was about as JV as it gets.
        I see these last 9 games or so as spring training, preseason friendlies whatever, games.
        You are talking as if they are the World Series, The NBA finals, the Super Bowl the World Cup all wrapped up in one.
        So of course, we disagree.

        I’m not defending JK. I have no need to do that his work can speak for itself.
        I am commenting on your logic not JK’s.

      • I disagree on Chile and Colombia (especially Colombia). Colombia game was soon after World Cup and JK used his “European based” USMNT team. They were in the beginning of their season (MLS end of season/during playoffs) just as the Colombia players were. Chile game was MLS offseason, but we did have the benefit of a long-term national team camp where the players got to practice and play together day in and out (January camp). The Chile players just got together a few days before the game in typical international friendly style.

        Who had the advantage? You could argue it both ways.

      • My preamble. I am lukewarm on JK. Not altogether satisfied with our play.

        I do think there are 2 main in the above conversation/disagreement.

        Number one being that a friendly is not a friendly. Goals/approach vary quite a bit depending on when it falls within the cycle as well as in relation to meaningful competition. I think your view of a friendly as a test run is more in line with a friendly later n the cycle/immediately prior to a competition with starting 11 roles and bench established. This is neither. It is early in the cycle with plenty players further down the depth chart being given their first appearance and a shot at further consideration- trying to determine if they make the team then roles etc..

        You can’t exactly practice how you play as substitution patterns and the roster greatly differ as do cohesiveness/familiarity. Inserting players late in a match with no hiccups/the machine keeps humming along, at Barcelona…. sure. In general though national teams see/practice together much less, are not as cohesive as club teams and THIS is a national team in transition early in the cycle. For instance- they inserted Ventura Alvarado- fresh off a plane, never played with this team. How many games does Morales have paired with Bradley? How many has Garza played/practiced with Brooks or Zardes? Yedlin with Orozco? We could go on, but fair to say- not nearly enough for the intuitive cohesiveness you speak of- we ALL want. Hopefully we start seeing choices begin to narrow and we are able to head in that direction, but now s the time to see who/what we’ve got. I totally get the frustration… have to grin and bear it much as we had to early last cycle. Cheers.

      • Dalomismo, I agree with a lot of what you say above.

        What I disagree with is your statement that we aren’t close to or in preparation for those “real” games. You know who else would disagree with you? Klinsmann.

        The Gold Cup is around the corner (in International soccer terms) and we only have a few USMNT games left. I am using JK’s own words, he said this period was about getting ready for the Gold Cup.

    • I think it is impossible to evaluate a defender fairly if that defender is not part of an organized group. Sure you can learn about individual defending and ability to win headers, but good defending is more about never (or rarely) being forced into situations where good 1v1 defending is required.

      When the entire backline changes, there is no way the backs ability to play their part of an organized group can be evaluated. The group that started in Denmark were playing their first game together and with maybe 48 hours to get on the same page. Also, the midfield was pretty much in the same boat only Zardes, Bedoya and FJ have been backed up only seldom by any of these backs, even Bradley has relatively few games with any of them individually and none with them as a group.

      Not only were defensive uncertainty and errors likely, they were unavoidable.

      So what to do going forward? I think keeping the same back 4 makes sense in order to learn how quickly they can grasp what each-other will do in pressure situations.

      • Very good comment. What you are expressing was one of my biggest concerns going into WC2014. Strike partnerships are an overrated anachronism, and midfield formations change game-to-game, but defensive partnerships matter and are built on experience as defined by reps playing together.

        The Ukraine friendly in spring last year was terrifying in this way. Brooks and Onyewu were so amazingly terrible together, and it left me wondering, “how are we going to find a CB tandem / backine that works… let alone get them enough reps together to avoid disaster come June?”

        In truth I don’t really know how we did it. But we did. Sort of. Sure, we did manage to keep the goals down (Howard helped a lot here, too). But we didn’t do a great job working the ball out of danger, and I think that could be one key opportunity for improvement.

        Playing the ball out of danger (unless you intend to simply “hack it clear”) is a coordinated effort… it involves knowing where the defensive mids are, but also where the second and third options are, as well as where the cover is. As you’ve said, giving our guys more consistent reps together here can only help.

  11. I just don’t get the concern with giving up some goals in the last 10-15 minutes of a friendly. By then, the starters are usually half replaced and the team on the field has had only minutes to play together. If you want to concern yourself with holding the other team late, play the game like a real match — use three subs only and only as you would in a contested game. Otherwise, the focus should be squarely on the team’s’ performance during the first 55- 60 minutes and anything that stands out from inidivual subs good or bad over the last 30 minutes. A friendly isn’t meaingless, but if any part of a friendly is meaninglesss its the last 10-15 minutes.

    • Good point, although there is some gray area. The team’s collective ability to fight and preserve a lead will be questioned, regardless of who is on the field and how many changes have been made. This “trend” has gotten a bit out of control.

    • Adam I don’t think you realize what you are saying. Of course it should be of concern. You might not think so but you are wrong not to. Friendlies are important because they are basically dress-rehearsals for the official games. Ever hear the expression “you practice how you play”? Also friendlies are much more frequent than official games. They are televised, usually played in front of packed stadiums, have pride and patriotism on the line, and therefore everyone plays hard and tries to win.

      You say that the late collapses happen because our starters get subbed out. Don’t you realize that means the drop off from starter to next man up seems to be really big? That’s also a concern.

      Also, this whole “subs throw off the team rhythm” is overplayed. It might be true of a BADLY COACHED team, but if a team is well coached then it shouldn’t be an issue. First of all the team practices before a game and everyone practices, not just the starters. They talk about and plan how they want to execute during the game. Then as a substitute, a player is subbed in for another player that plays the same position as him. They should be able to slot in and keep the machine running with no issues. If they can’t, then that’s because A) the players are bad, B) the coaching is bad, or C) all of them above.

      • First of all, the many of the starters in the Denmark were second or third stringers. No one who started started in the World Cup and only Brooks played there because of injury. Then the subs who came in were even less experienced and included someone getting their first cap. Secondly, Zardes and the Mexican players would have spent most all of Sunday in travel and would have had, at most, two days to practice before the game. You really don’t have realistic expectations.

      • Are my expectations unrealistic or are your expectations low? If you want to tell me that the USMNT players are horrible and we shouldn’t expect to win or play well then that’s fine. I don’t agree with that though.

        I’ve seen your comments Gary and it is safe to say you are a big JK supporter. So regardless of what you say about the roster, this is the roster your boy JK decided to bring. He told us all about how he was excited about the March friendlies because it gave him the chance to bring the strongest possible roster and then this is the roster he brought.

        Also lets look at the starting line-up:


        Except for Brooks (who happens to be a Bundesliga starter now day in and day out and also played in the World Cup) and Zardes, this is a very experienced/veteran roster. If you simply throw in Dempsey, you can argue this is the first string roster (remember that your boy JK now considered J Jones a CB). Not second or third string as you conveniently try to put it.

      • UclaBruinGreat – We’ve seen your comments as well and you tend to be a JK Basher. Regardless of what you may believe this is not an Experienced or Veteran Roster. Only 4 players have more than 20 caps to their name (Bradley, Jozy, Fabian, Bedoya).
        This is hardly what should be considered an “A” Squad for the USMNT. The fact that we’re using Rimando as a starting GK; a 3rd stringer at best; is evidence enough. But add the omission of Jones, Cameron, Gonzalez, Besler & Diskerud; all with more caps/experience than those called in, and this is a “B” Team at best. Regardless of JK’s statement after the January Camp of “Bringing in the Best available players for the March Friendlies.”
        In regards to your line-up….Iceman is out (foot infection) so at the very least he needs to be replaced. Since Rubin has been sent to the U-20 team your only option is basically Morris (called up from the U-23 squad).

      • Lost In Space, that is not my line-up. That was the starting line-up of the Denmark game.

        Also you need to ask yourself what matters more, the number of International Caps or actual experience playing in games (for both club and country). You brought up Mix, he is a perfect example. He is someone with caps because JK favors him, but until this season (season just started) he was someone who played on and off for his club team in a lower European league. JK started Bradley and Bedoya in midfield. So you are saying Mix should have started over one of them?

        Davis, nobody has proven me wrong in anything. You agreeing with Lost in Spaces OPINION over my opinion does not prove me wrong. There are many here that agree with me. Go back to staring at your Klinsmann poster on your wall. And wake me up when USC is finally better than UCLA again at something/anything. We now better in Academics, Sports (both basketball and football), prestige.

      • Mix Diskerud was a starter and a key piece for Rosenberg and played every bit of Europa league football for them, so i don’t know where you get the notion he played “on and off”, but that’s just incorrect.

        As for the Nats, the players that make up our team can be as experienced as they come, domestically or internationally, but if there’s isn’t enough chemistry or familiarity in the group, their not going to function at an optimum level.

        I have faith though that the closer we come to the Gold Cup, the more solidified our main core of players will be. This is just a big weeding out process and that is exactly what these friendlies are for.

      • UBG –
        Will have to agree to disagree when it comes to experience. International experience (Caps) carries more weight than age/years playing professionally.
        1) The National Team is a higher level of competition. The game is faster. It takes time for players to adjust….and some don’t (Brad Davis, Wondo).
        2) # of Caps indicate the players familiarity with the coaches tactics as well as the others that they are playing with. Chemistry , or the lack thereof, comes from players getting reps with one another.
        As for Mix starting over Bradley or Bedoya….No I wouldn’t start him over either at CM if he were in camp. Instead I’d have Him paired with Bradley as a CM and push Bedoya to the RW to start over Zardes. Or used a 4-2-3-1 with Bradley/Mix deep and Bedoya under the striker.
        Since you dislike JK so much how about you offer up a suggestion of who should be leading the USMNT. In all the posts where you bash JK I cannot recall a singe suggestion of who to replace him with.

      • UBG-

        “We now better in Academics, Sports (both basketball and football), prestige” (apparently not grammar……).

      • Don’t agree – you don’t sub uninjured defenders in a dress rehearsal.

        Bottom line is some friendlies are for taking a look at options and youth, and others are for playing more similarly to what you would do in a competitive game. So far this cycle, JK has leaned more toward the options and youth side of the fence. Predicting what he’ll do isn’t easy, but I assume as we move closer to the Gold Cup (like tomorrow) we might not see as many subs in the backline. Also, looks like we won’t be playing a 3-back (or 5-back) in the Gold Cup.

      • Well that was mildly condescending…

        I think, on the one hand it’s right to point out that our problems finishing out games actually date back to the World Cup, when we did have a full roster and the games did matter. On the other, I think Adam makes a very important point — that there isn’t much Klinsmann or anyone else can do about it in these 1-and-2-off friendlies, where the goal is to try out different players and different line-ups and see what happens. Since many of our weaker players come into games in the second half, and they are being plugged into line-ups that are already mixed and matched, it’s not really surprising that we’ve let in a bunch of 2nd half goals and you could argue that we’re in fact doing so for different reasons than we did at the World Cup (and actually, even at the World Cup, there arguably wasn’t a single reason that explains the late goals in each of our games). We won’t really see whether Klinsmann is capable of reversing the trend until the Gold Cup, when he settles on a first choice line-up and second stringers at each position and the back-line and midfield are actually able to gel (or don’t).

      • I’m not sure exactly how you date our finishing problems back to the World Cup. Other than the lazy late one we gave up to Portugal (where we were in the ascendancy for the entire second half), seemed like we finished with plenty of heart and strength, particularly as the teams we were playing were all better than us.

        I think your points are basically good otherwise, and I happen to agree that the late losses are more troubling than some think, simply because it can become a mentality.

        What I’d really like to see (that I haven’t) is more emotion and leadership out of our guys in these moments. When we give up these late goals, I see a bunch of guys staring at their shoelaces and rubbing their noses. And most troublingly, not communicating about “what went wrong” and how to correct it. I wanna see one of these young defenders step up and show that he is the new Bocanegra/Pope/Demerit etc. Leaders. Captain material. Why am I not seeing this in our backline?

      • Thanks, and I agree on the post-goal demeanor issues. In a way, that might be what we miss without Howard in goal — he’s noted in interviews that part of the reason he yells at his backline so much is that he was taught that the best time to address defensive mistakes is right after they happen.

        Just to clarify, when I reference the World Cup, I’m thinking not only of the last-second goal we allowed against Portugal, but the late one we let in against Ghana that necessitated Zusi and Brooks’s last-second heroics. But like I said, I think the reasons we allowed those goals are actually different from the reasons we’re allowing late goals in post-World Cup friendlies, and in the case of the Ghana game, it was unreasonable to assume that we’d escape with a 1-0 scoreline.

  12. Good summary.

    I agree that we see lots of changes. My best guess:

    ———————– Altidore ———————-
    Shea ————– Bedoya —————- Ibarra
    ————— Morales —– Bradley ————-
    F. Johnson – Ream — Orozco ——- Yedlin
    ——————– Rimando ————————-

    Garza for F. Johnson
    Chandler for Ibarra (push Yedlin up)
    Williams for Morales
    Zardes for Altidore
    Yarborough for Rimando
    Alvarado for Orozco


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