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USMNT 1, Switzerland 1: The SBI Breakdown

USMNT Switzerland 78

 

By FRANCO PANIZO

It may not have ended the way some fans and observers had hoped, but the U.S. Men’s National Team made positive strides in its 1-1 friendly against Switzerland

The Americans conceded another late goal after Jozy Altidore was sent off on Wednesday, but there were plenty of good things for U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann to draw from the match. From looking more dangerous in the attack than in the previous game vs. Denmark, to defending better as a unit, the U.S. showed in Zurich that it might just be finding a groove before its CONCACAF Gold Cup title defense this summer.

Not everything was positive, however. Altidore provided the latest example of him losing his temper, and forward partner and up-and-coming prospect Gyasi Zardes had a tough time finding a rhythm against the Swiss. Then, there was the whole conceding late thing again.

Here is what SBI is taking away from the U.S.’s 1-1 draw with Switzerland:

ALTIDORE NEEDED THIS REMINDER

Let’s get this out of the way: Jozy Altidore is a big, strong, imposing forward. Overmatched defenders that are not as gifted physically tend to try and slow him down by fouling him, and sometimes calls don’t go his way. Frustration is bound to kick in.

Still, Altidore long needed a reminder on how to keep his cool. He had been jawing at referees for several U.S. matches now, complaining adamantly about challenges that he felt were uncalled fouls. It was only a matter of time before he was punished for it, and thankfully for him and the U.S. it happened in a friendly and not in a more important setting like the Gold Cup or World Cup qualifying.

Altidore should know better, yes, but even the most poised veterans can lose their cool – Zinedine Zidane in a World Cup final, anyone? – during the heat of a match.

However, the 25-year-old Altidore has shown this type of behavior before at the club level. He was sent off in similar fashion with two successive yellow cards back when he was with AZ Alkmaar, and also allowed his emotions to get the best of him when he head-butted an opponent and got sent off in his final Hull City match.

CHANDLER PROVING A GOOD OPTION AT RIGHT BACK

This will surely draw the ire of some, but some of the criticism directed at Timmy Chandler during the past two games seems misguided. Is Chandler the most sound defender in the U.S. pool? Absolutely not. But what he is is an offensive-minded fullback that gets forward into the attack often to provide an outlet for midfielders that might be under pressure. Chandler’s crosses can also be quite dangerous, as evidenced by some of the balls he whipped in against Switzerland.

Chandler was one of the only wide players to actively and aggressively make darting runs down the flank in both these March friendlies. The defensive issues were there – especially against Denmark because the U.S. back line was under constant pressure – but Klinsmann has long said he wants fullbacks who can jump into the attack and help play a more proactive style. Chandler showed, vs. the Swiss especially, that he fits that billing.

WILLIAMS MAKING CASE FOR NO. 6 ROLE

Mix Diskerud has been tipped to be Michael Bradley’s central midfield partner in recent months, but Danny Williams helped his cause greatly vs. Switzerland.

Making his U.S. return vs. the Swiss, Williams was very adept at cleaning up things and quickly pushing the ball forward to one of his teammates. There were times where he could not cover as much space as necessary – he doesn’t have the range of a Jermaine Jones – but his defensive bite was necessary and something that had been lacking in recent matches.

With the aging Kyle Beckerman seemingly falling out of the U.S. picture, Williams could be the de facto No. 6 that Klinsmann will need to turn to on occasion. The Reading midfielder allows Bradley to have less defensive responsibility and operate further up the field.

This was just one game, however. Let’s see how he does in the summer friendlies before the Gold Cup.

BEDOYA BEST SUITED FOR WIDE RIGHT SPOT

Alejandro Bedoya put on a Man-of-the-Match performance against Switzerland on Wednesday, and it only reemphasized the fact that at the international level he is best suited out wide on the right. Sure, Bedoya can fill in centrally when need be, and plays inside at the club level every now and then. But his most effective matches for the U.S. dating back to the Bob Bradley era have come when he has been out on the right side of the midfield. Look no further than the 2011 Gold Cup or 2014 World Cup.

Against Switzerland, Bedoya used his array of skills to get forward and provide width to the American attack. He combined well with the marauding Chandler, moved forward with a purpose when he didn’t have the ball, and also whipped in an incredible cross to a wide open Gyasi Zardes that should’ve been put on frame in the first half.

The right midfield spot best suits Bedoya, and it is where he should line up more often than not from here on.

ZARDES ADJUSTING TO SPEED OF PLAY

A change of positions still could not help Zardes have the type of impact he had in his first two U.S. appearances during this year’s winter camp.

Zardes was used up top against Switzerland instead of out wide like against Denmark, but again struggled to find the game. He did have moments where he looked good, but largely was unable to get into the flow of things and missed badly on his one golden opportunity to score in the first half.

While this might be seen as a step back from his first couple of caps, the youngster is still adapting to the international game. You could see from watching him against Switzerland and Denmark that he has trouble with the speed of thought at this level and is unsure what to do with the ball at times. But all that will come with time and more exposure to the international game, and Klinsmann should and likely will keep the talented prospect in the picture in the immediate future.

Comments

  1. Bradley and Morales switch position: Bradley is superior recovering and controlling the tempo from back, while Morales committed so many mistakes defending in second half and the Swiss’ goal was part Morales’ fault. Zardes needs just experience and play with different USNT’s players.

    Shea and Chandler were amazing, both were smart in defending and on the attack. Maybe because the midfield gelled.

    USNT needs a new centrelforward, maybe Novakovich or Tall are it, or Boyd once he recovers back match-fitness. I am not sure what position Wooten plays.

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  2. The speed of thought for the international game can be developed in Europe or South America as well as Champions League, Europa league, concacaf champions league. This is what JK points out to when he wants to see players challenge and strive in higher competitive leagues.

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  3. So, according to the writer Chandler is a defender that can’t defend too good but he’s good attacking. Makes as much sense as a forward that can’t score but defends well.

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  4. Pretty good game. Happy that it was better than Denmark. US had 40% possession yet until the end, most all of the good chances. With better finishing it could have been 5-3.

    I am still not sold with Bradley at the top of the diamond. But I am also not sold on him at the bottom of the diamond. Could he play the left side of the diamond? I realize he is not left footed, but others have. Then you could get Mix or Nguyen at the top of the diamond, Jones or Williams, Beckerman at the base and Bedoya out right…

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    • I like your comment because it drives at the real dilemma – Bradley – without painting the picture so black and white. It’s gray, the solution is by no means obvious. What is clear is that he is our most important field player. So if we want to be an attacking team, then it is logical, in a way, to want to put our best passer and midfield general further up the field. But it is also logical, analyzing his game, that he plays cleaner from deep, as in beneath a bunch of teammates making runs, so that he can see them, while keeping the team more compact. But if he is at the bottom of the diamond, he has to play a lot of defense, which against a good team would paralyze our best player….

      So then adding an extra midfielder – with a 3-man central midfield including Williams/Beckerman, Jones and Bradley for example, is tempting. But then we’d have to either pull a forward or a defender. It is probably why Klinsmann wanted to try a 3-5-2 recently, to give Bradley more freedom to roam.

      It is challenging, and game by game probably depends more on how the players react to situations more than a particular formation. Remember how well Bradley played at the top of a diamond midfield vs. Mexico before the world cup, alas, for only a half until Mexico adjusted :

      http://www.sbnation.com/soccer/2014/4/3/5578334/usa-vs-mexico-2014-analysis-michael-bradley

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      • You bring up some good points and brings out an idea I had lurking in the back of my mind. I think both in the World Cup and these friendlies one result is that Bradley tries to do too much and the quality of his play suffers. In the World Cup he ran himself ragged and in these friendlies, he tries to both help the attack and defense and I think his play in the offensive end isn’t as good. I don’t think he really had a very good game vs. the Swiss. As I have mentioned before, we really don’t have any better as a play maker. Maybe the solution is to put both Diskerud and Williams as defensive mids, or maybe Cameron in that spot with one of the others and let MB concentrate more on the offense. Alternatively, we could put him back more in a defensive role and give the play making role to Mixx. Maybe by 2018 Zelalem will be ready to be a play maker in the middle. One can hope.

  5. Before the red card, this was the best US performance since the pre-WC Nigeria friendly… both matches which started with Bradley at the tip of a 4-4-2 diamond, nominally anyway. Bradley’s going to roam no matter what, but as long as he has a couple of targets ahead of him, he’s going to play well.

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  6. The way Altidore carries on whining and throwing his arms up when his teammates do something wrong is just pathetic. He needs to grow up and stop acting as if he’s some sort of superstar.

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    • TONS of players do this, natural part of the game. only when it gets repetitive does it become a problem.

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  7. I just want to put in a good word for Zarrdes. I have been a fan of his since he started playing for the Galaxy and have followed him and touted him since. He seemed over matched in the Denmark game, but may have been jet lagged somewhat. I thought he looked much better against Switzerland, very capable of playing at this level. I’m not about to claim he should now start for the US, but by 2016 he could be a regular and by 2018 maybe even a star. About Franco’s criticisms. I wonder why he and some others have gotten on Zardes about his miss, but don’t mention MB’s miss in front of goal? That doesn’t seem fair to Zardes. Regarding Zardes, when I looked art the replay it appeared to me that to reach the cross he had his left leg at full extension and reached the ball with the end of his foot. Had he been able to get it on his instep, maybe he could have put it on frame. I have seen this before in games where it looks like someone misses a golden opportunity when you view it in real time from a distance. Then you see a closer shot in slow motion and you will see that maybe the ball was just a couple of inches too much one way or another to get a good foot on it, or it took a strange bounce at the last second, or whatever. This is one reason there isn’t a lot of scoring in high level soccer; it’s hard. Another time Zardes made a glancing header that went a few inches wide. When I looked at the replay you could see that the ball was angled so that it should have gone inside the far post. However, because he hit it with the side of his head, it put enough spin on the ball that the spin took the ball wide. In short, I thought Zardes had a pretty good game and he got himself into good scoring positions twice. I hope he gets some more opportunities in the future.

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    • He should have headed that ball, diving header, so, wrong decision. Bradley should have scored, but he leaned back, so bad technique. The other sitter Bradley failed to convert was a result of bad awareness, coupled with a tough bounce which required a quick decision that he didn’t make.

      Who are we to judge? But better players think faster. Simon Kuper wrote an excellent piece on ESPN about this the other day.

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      • agreed. should have been a diving header. i think the biggest issue on that play was his clear indecisiveness. he was caught in two minds.

    • “I have seen this before in games where it looks like someone misses a golden opportunity when you view it in real time from a distance. Then you see a closer shot in slow motion and you will see that maybe the ball was just a couple of inches too much one way or another to get a good foot on it, or it took a strange bounce at the last second, or whatever”

      GP, spot on bro, it reminds me of an infamous “sitter” jozy missed while at sunderland. the ball came off a deflection with a wicked spin and wizzed by him before he could get there; detractors were quick to call it a “sitter” when sitters are technically easy, while that shot was not. good eye tho.

      Concorde…… “He should have headed that ball, diving header…” best couch coach comment of the day……

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      • Concorde simply re-stated what many people said. TT, Wahl, Nicol, Lalas, Holden, etc. the comment was should have been a header attempt but Zardes seemed to be indecisive in the moment. it happens though. but it’s still an accurate note.

      • Zardes was running full sprint to get there. he had already raised his hand to call for that ball, he timed it and ran but the cross, good as it was, was just a hair out of reach; unlucky, simply as that. to say he was indecisive or should have attempted a Van Persie “diving header” is a bit much, IMHO. the idea was there, the dice was not, no big deal. good try Gyasi.

      • i disagree and i haven’t seen one pundit say he wasn’t indecisive in that decision and that he made the right choice instead of trying to head it. literally, every single report mentions this. maybe they are all being unfair, but if that many people, with that many opinions, agree on that one fact, you have to wonder if they have a point. to me, they have a point.

      • The “sitter” you mentioned is probably the same play I had in mind when I wrote that line. It’s hardly the only example, however.

  8. I thought one of the top 3 long game stories out of this game was Brek Shea. Very possibly he might be the long term option at LB. Especially as he learns the position better and better.

    #2 is Danny W.

    I agree with the Chandler comments.

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    • It’s like Shea has been reborn. This is the Brek Shea we’ve been waiting for and if he continues to play well and improve, we will see why Klinsmann has stuck with him so long. I certainly had my doubts before.

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      • interesting that by giving him more defensive responsibilities it makes him play better; slightly odd but whatever works.

      • In addition to him holding his mark better and his improved crosses, what I noticed most was his ability to pick out a sometimes difficult pass when an outside back has possession at the top of the defending third. Something new was I saw a few nice passes into the middle to find Bradley and a real good one to find Jozy drifting up the wing.

        Plus with his physical attributes he wins almost all one on one battle. Even though he could have done better covering the middle on the ‘best swiss chance’ it was his pressure and he was possibly in position to block a shot if it happened.

        Give him 6 more months of playing it consistently and we might really have something here.

  9. by Gyasi Zardes… do we mean Wesley Snipes’ clone? Does he not remind one of wesley snipes? The whole game, all I could think of was “always bet on black!”

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  10. Not a big Altidore fan, but was glad to see him have a good game against Denmark. Very disappointed to see him pull a U12 select obvious (uh oh, is he really going to chase down that player and foul him from behind in a fit of juvenile retaliation certain to get carded? Yup, he did, and now he’s staring right at the ref and cursing at him which is a move sure to get you tossed at any level (pros curse and grumble in a way that enables a ref to pretend he didn’t hear and avoid the toss)). Saw lots to like about Shea (despite obvious problems getting overlapped) and was pleased with the many balls Zardes won. Until Jose punked out, the team played well.

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  11. I think the 442 diamond is here to stay. It should be our formation and just stick with it and work on it. If klinsman sticks with a formation he likes he can call in players to fit that formation and all the players will understand the formation his tactics and all the nuances of it all and not be confused every game with different players formations etc.

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    • Ur failing to remember that lots if coaches change formation due to opponents. It’s clear the 4231 and 442diamond are our main forms. The 433 and 352 are used less and generally only used to match the opposition.

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    • That’s not a bad idea. We’ve really looked best in that formation for the past year. And arguably our player pool fits it better than any other formation. We have a wealth of hybrid, box-to-box or shuttler midfielder types. Even our DMs tend to be ones who don’t exclusively sit back (think Jones in the 2014 cycle). Those versatile midfielders are great in a diamond.

      Also, our forward pool is full of guys who always work best in a pair; and despite our issues at the position, our fullbacks are to a man speedy wide attacking crossers.

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    • Definitely a better performance tactically than the disaster in Denmark. There were much fewer gaps defensively and in the press. Maybe now that Vogts is full time, he’s been able to calm JK’s impulsively detrimental experimentation, but getting JK to stick to one or two formations is a big ask. He’s more impulsive than an ADD teenager.

      I’d rather see Bradley at the back of the diamond if we keep it. He’s great in pressure and at making those deadly late runs from the top of the diamond, but when he does get the ball, he’s too exhausted and spun around to make great plays, finishes and decisions. He’s best from the back where he can see everything in front of him and pick out passes.

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    • I think everyone is looking at these formations too as static. A. this was more of a 4-3-1-2 as I watched the game, it even appeared like a 4-3-3 at times. I think Klinsman has been preaching… and the players getting… that they need to adjust their positioning as the game develops. At times Bradley was up pressing like a center Forward… then at times he was off set back in midfield…

      and sometimes, williams and bradley were pairing up effectively in the middle to break down the Swiss press (ala flat 4-4-2). it was better from these guys to not feel completely locked in to static positional thinking.

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    • I think that people need to remember and take into consideration the available personnel. Originally Dempsey was going to be an important cog, then he got injured in training. Then Johannsson got injured during the Denmark game, leaving only Jozy and Zardes as attackers. Then Jozy was sent off. If this had been a tournament Jozy wouldn’t have been available for the next game, leaving the US with only one attacker. My point is, you can;’t be wedded to one system or formation because things happen and you may not have the best players for the system you want when it comes time to play the game. What some people see as Klinsmann experimenting is what I think is him emphasizing versatility and flexibility. By using all kinds of different formations and player combinations, if injuries or suspensions require the team to adjust, they will be able to because of past experience.

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      • +1, complainers fail to realize also that in competitions that matter (WC, Gold Cup, etc) JK has generally gone with a 442 diamond or a 4231. the 352/532 only came into play during friendlies when the point is to experiment and work on different tactics that may come up depending on the opposition.

    • I think that everyone needs to remember that people are looking at thinking about everybody or failing to remember everything.

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  12. Good point about Shea. I think the thing is, he was so surprisingly . . . solid(!), that his contributions (other than the goal) went mostly overlooked. It’s a great thing to be saying he had a solid, consistent match. Hopefully many more. Also, is it just me, or has the kid gained like 30 pounds? He looks huge, in a good way. I remember him being like a rail a few years ago.

    And regarding Chandler, I’ve seen a lot of improvement, and agree with the pro-Timmy camp at this point. He had one really bad glaring error yesterday when he somehow blanked on Shaqiri blazing up his flank. Other than that though, you can see tons of points in the match where he made great tackles, and stopped chances point blank. All four of the back line had those moments, and it was a great display from each of them. Re-watch the match, and if you’re looking you’ll see that Chandler’s defensive display was really very good.

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  13. We’ll see how CHandler does if he gets called in for Mexico. Last time he faced Mexico, they beat him like a rented mule

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  14. I have criticized Shea in the past, but he, at least in this game, seemed to be able to do more than use his size ans speed to run at defenders. He mostly kept his mark at bay, was able to get forward from time-to-time, actually pulled off a couple nifty passes and his free kick was great. I wasn’t really watching to see if his first touch has improved, but it may have since I do not remember experiencing any OMG moments when he was receiving he ball.

    I thought Bradley did better than expected in a forward role. He will likely never be a player who can make quick dribbling runs in tight spaces, but he can spot others and feed them the ball; he does need to think of shooting more often; on one counter, he held the ball waiting for Jozy to make the obvious run, but Jozy was too late and the passing lane closed up.

    The backs did a better job of defending as a group, especially in the first half (maybe partly because three of them had actually played together in a game before, partly thanks to a few days of training together), the second half was not as good, especially when the Swiss began attacking in earnest in the last 20 minutes and the defense got pulled out of shape too often, on set pieces no less!

    The US did have more meaningful possession than they did against Denmark, but it was hardly a great display of possession. Bedoya was much better in his wide role, but Morales and Williams seemed content to only defend and did not make themselves available for passes that could have helped maintain possession, they need to be better off the ball. Zardes did little to help either possession or the attack.

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  15. Fair assessments, but surprised not see any mention of Brek Shea. He had a very strong match and was my pick for Man of the Match. His crosses and defensive cover were better than Chandler. He also did well to slow one of the top young talents in the world, Shaqiri, who frequently tried to attack from his side.

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    • Best Brek Shea game ever. On the heels of a couple of decent ones as well. Would be great if this freak could solidify LB and free our german Johnson to push into attack. Shea/Johnson and Chandler/Bedoya could be pretty good tandems- at least for CONCACAF this summer.

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      • i like the wing tandems. offensively minded fullbacks and defensibly able wingers – should produce a solid defending and attacking along the outside. if its as good as it sounds on paper that should be really good vs Mexico and Costa Rica

      • by the end of the 1st half Shaquiri was seen on Chandler’s side of the field trying to make head way after being pretty much closed down by Shea…

      • Not sure what game you were watching but Shaquiri played mostly centrally during the first half. Any time he drifted wide was when the Swiss looked more dangerous.

      • I was watching the game where the majority of the 1st half when Shaq drifted, he drifted towards Shea and was shut down.

    • Wait, what? Shea stayed at home in this game. He didn’t get forward at all. He had literally zero crosses. What game were you watching?

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      • He was fine defensively, by the way. But he added nothing to the attack (aside from his free kick goal, obviously)

      • LOL at “he added nothing to the attack” (except half the goals in the entire game and 100% for his team) Anyway, he also put a cross in that Bedoya put on goal, connected on 24 of 29 passes. Most importantly though to me is that he was NOT a defensive liability. Brek can attack, we have seen it his whole career, but we are unsure about his ability to defend, which was encouraging.

      • I mean, you can LOL all you want, but the US had a lot of great attacking movements in the first 65 minutes and Shea was a part of none of them. A set piece goal doesn’t change that. This isn’t a criticism of him – as a LB, he’s been staying at home for both club and country and he’s been surprisingly good with his positioning and marking. So that’s definitely good. But you can check the Opta chalkboard if you don’t believe me – he didn’t attempt a single cross, nor did he attempt a single pass in the attacking third. He hit one good long ball from about 40 yards out. He did not get forward. So I’m still not sure what game you were watching.

      • I didn’t say he was good at attack last week. I said it is a humorous notion that the goal scorer could have given “nothing”. At any rate. If he never attacks, but scores a free kick goal, he is more than worthy of inclusion on this squad. Like I said, the encouraging thing from Shea was his defending and marking, which were in some doubt while his attacking has always been inconsistently brilliant and won’t be as counted on as a LB instead of LM

    • I find it interesting that people give Shea credit for containing Shaqiri, but no one seems to be giving Morales credit for the same thing. Morales was a thorn in Shaqiri’s side nearly all game, which has a TON to do with why Shea wasn’t carved open by him. Even as early as the first half, Shaqiri was rushing some of his touches when Morales was coming hard at him, because he knew Morales was going to get up close and personal with him.

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    • Shea had a good game but lets put it into perspective. Shea got into our offensive half ONCE in that game…his free kick. why? because he was clearly tasked with being a “stay-at-home” fullback in this game. further, Morales spent most of his game in our defensive half? why? to help out with Shaqiri. as JK said, they marked him all game on purpose.

      because of that, we chose to attack down the right via Bedoya/Chandler. the Swiss figured that out and took advantage of Chandler being too far forward at times, but it was a calculated tactic from JK.

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  16. TIMMY CHANDLER IS A DISASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN! Seriously though, has he had a good performance for the U.S. where he hasn’t been burned multiple times or looked WAY too slow since his debut against ARG? His few crosses into the box do not make up for his complete liability on D. I keep saying to myself, well he is a regular starter in the Bundesliga, so he must have figured it out. Nope, wingers get behind him all the time and he is caught ball watching far too often. He does not pass the eyeball test.

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    • I HAD to make a comment about Chandler before finishing reading the article. I did not see the SUI game but against the Danes he was horrid in the final 3rd. I will give him credit that at least he recovered quickly but he seemed slow afoot and slow of mind. He is physically unimposing (not that fullbacks generally need to be) but he was blown by way too many times. I must say though that I am intrigued by B.S. on the left. Now WTF are we going to do at the central positions???

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      • What he did well was give the MF outlets to keep the attack progressing. That was important and that did make an impact. What he did poorly was track runners into his area. Now, can we live with that? I don’t know, but he did provide something.

    • I think his first appearance was at Honduras in qualifying and he was maybe the worst player on the field. Some people gave him slack because of the distance he had to travel and the heat and humidity. My feeling is that if you want attacking full backs, use Shea and put F Johnson at right back since we have a lot of good midfielders. Like you, Chandler scares me by the way he gets beaten so often by attackers.

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      • The way its developing we may want/need Fabian at LM.

        In which case, the decision point is the benefit he’s bringing to the over-all balance (which is something as peterprinciple succinctly points out) or choose to absorb it with potentially a stronger ‘defender’ in Cameron.

        btw — The qualifier at Honduras cup tied him. (I missed that game) However his first game was v Argentina where he was arguably the best or at least most dynamic USMNT on the day.

      • no, his debut was against Argentina and he kept Messi in check all game. it was crazy. then, when he finally committed, he had the Honduras game where he played the exact opposite. but of course, the whole team was bad that day and he had got to Honduras the day before and didn’t even get to train. so there’s always more to the story.

      • I guess I missed that Argentina game; I don’t remember that at all and I certainly would have remembered Messi being held in check.

      • must have because that performance from him got so many people so excited about him. to be fair, it was the 2nd half that was the half that had everyone talking. in a 4-5-1, the first half was all Argentina. at halftime Bob put in Agudelo & Chandler and went to a 4-4-2 and that’s when everything clicked:

        “When he debuted for the U.S. national team against Argentina back in 2011, he had only been a professional for a few months. But the way he played on that night – displaying speed, power, and an ability to get forward as a right back – offered a tantalizing glimpse of what he could offer.” – CARLISLE

        Scored a 7 in his performance here: http://goal.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/27/player-ratings-u-s-vs-argentina/

        “At halftime, Bob Bradley made two very interesting substitutions that changed the game. He showed a lot of confidence inserting 18-year old Juan Agudelo into just his third game for the United States.

        Bradley also showed faith in the 20-year-old German-born right back Timothy Chandler, who made his first appearance for the Stars and Stripes. He was thrown into the fire with his first task for the national team to defend Messi and company.

        Every time Messi touched the ball, two or three Americans surrounded him and applied pressure. Messi did have success taking on defenders, but the physicality of the Americans was evident. “

    • that’s the thing…he was NOT a complete liability on defense. look at his Opta stats against Denmark and against the Swiss. he put in a TON of good defensive work. yes, he had mental lapses that he HAS to erase, but this is really the first time he has been the go-to RB for us. like with his club, give him time to get familiar with the other defenders. and look at the drastic difference there was when his RM was actually capable. i think the Bedoya/Chandler combo on the right side should be used extensively before we give up on Chandler.

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  17. GZ will continue to make positive progress and will be a real star in next WC. I for one prefer 3 min central mid with DW#6, MB#8 and DM#10…whatever else you want to do with formation really has to be built around this group. Jozy of course will play #9 and you will need a strong pairing in central defense, but from there wide players are wide players.

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  18. Didn’t get to see the game…damned work. Danny Williams should be challenging for that #6 spot, but don’t sleep on Perry Kitchen making a run at the same position (or a spot as a backup for Williams).

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    • You mean the Perry Kitchen who stomped on Chris Duvall’s foot on a PK a few weeks back and got away with it? Is he always so rash?

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    • I’ve been a DC United fan since ’96, and a fan of Perry Kitchen’s since we drafted him. I do not think he yet has the tactical acumen to play this position at the international level, and doesn’t have the physical gifts to make up for his lack of experience.

      I’m thinking he follows a Beckerman style path where he really contributes late in his career, when he has the mental chops to just be in the right place. Right now, he’s often seen trying to run down offensive players.

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  19. I agree that Jozy seeing red (in a friendly) is a blessing in disguise. He was more than due. He loses his cool and swears at the ref over EVERY call (or non-call). Even when the ref has clearly made the correct call, Jozy can’t help but shout/swear/whine like a fool. I’m a Jozy fan but his antics sure make him seem unlikable at times.

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    • Yes. Ref was absolutely biased all match long. Every time Shaquiri lost the ball, he immediately dropped to the turf, sometimes comically so without a US player within a foot of him, and the ref immediately blew the whistle whereas there were many US players mowed down without a whistle and many times where the whistle was so slow almost as if the ref was reluctant to call anything against the Swiss no matter how egregious. Even so, Jozy is a professional and his behavior was senseless. He’s not 19 anymore and knows better.

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      • With a good ref you don’t really think about him and the game flows smoothly. With a bad ref, the ref makes himself the center of attention by interrupting play, often for calls that are doubtful. Even if his calls weren’t biased, this was a bad ref. I thought Mikey should have talked to him in Italian and tried to calm him down. I saw him talking to him once but he seemed to be using English. Maybe he should have used the old, Hey, Paisan approach. Here’s a question I had. Switzerland has 3 official languages–German, French, and Italian. I wonder what language they use to communicate on the field. Anyone know? I guess I’m weird, I think about things like that.

      • Gary,
        Couldn’t agree with you more. I thought Bradley missed a few opportunities early to stick up for Jozy by talking to the ref. Hopefully a learning opportunity that Michael takes to heart. Jozy over reacted, mumbling horrible call or even shouting “how’d you miss that” would have been excusable. Saying “f you” multiple times was too much. Jozy can learn from it, he is a good guy from everything I’ve seen, just lost his temper.
        To your question about language, I’m pretty sure it is German. Everything I saw looked to be German.

      • Everybody in Switzerland speaks multiple languages, normally tied to which international border is closest. I agree that German is first among equals and most likely what was spoken in the game. Unfortunately for Jozy, their English comprehension is also quite good.

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