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USMNT Notes: Bradley reflects on 100th cap; Klinsmann praises Dempsey; and more


Photo by Kevin Jairaj/USA Today Sports



Following a tournament-opening win over Honduras, Michael Bradley took a little bit of time to reflect on his most recent international achievement.

The U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder picked up his 100th cap Tuesday night, adding yet another milestone to what has been become a long and productive USMNT career. Bradley, as per usual, remained focused on preparing for the team’s upcoming match against Haiti, but the U.S. captain did reveal exactly how much it means to continue to press on as a member of his national team.

“I’ve said it a few times this week: growing up, if somebody told me I would have the chance to just play one time for this team, I would have bitten their hand off and said it was a dream come true,” Bradley said. “To have the chance to play 100 times is honestly more than I ever could have imagined and I don’t ever take it for granted. I step on the field every single game ready to give everything I have for the team, the colors of our country, and that part will never get old.

“I know there will be time later to look back on it and remember it in some ways, but at the moment I’m much more concerned with trying to move ourselves forward in this tournament to find a way that at the end of the month we’re holding up a trophy.”

Here are some more news and notes from the USMNT’s win over Honduras:


After all of the controversy surrounding his U.S. Open Cup incident last month, Clint Dempsey offered Jurgen Klinsmann a glimpse into exactly what the USMNT head coach wants to see.

Dempsey bagged a brace in Tuesday’s victory in his first game since seeing Michael Bradley given the title of captain that the forward had possessed for the past few years. For Klinsmann, the only title of Dempsey’s that matters is that of a goalscorer, a title that Dempsey more than lived up to on Tuesday night.

“We made a decision and he was absolutely on board with it,” Klinsmann said of Dempsey. “I was a striker myself, and you go through those moments where you made a mistake or you did something wrong, and all you want to do is you want to move on. As a striker, what you want to do most is scoring. You live for that as a striker. You just want to put that ball in the net, and he did now again two times tonight.

“I think when you score two goals you have to be happy with Clint. He’s doing exactly what he does best: he’s scoring.”

While Dempsey provided his team with a pair of goals, his strike partner, Jozy Altidore, was held relatively quiet before being substituted early in the second half. For Klinsmann, that was to be expected, as Altidore continues to round into form given his recent hamstring injury with Toronto FC.

As the tournament wears on, Klinsmann expects to get more and more out of the TFC forward, especially as Altidore continues to work himself into better game shape. Having seen positives in his contributions on the first U.S. goal, Klinsmann believes Altidore will be a major factor as the U.S. continues into the latter stages.

“Jozy is still in a phase where we have to build him after his hamstring,” Klinsmann said, “and the only way we’re going to get him stronger is by giving him minutes, playing him and working him hard also in training. Jozy will improve everyday here in this tournament.

“He’s not there yet, which we knew. He came with that hamstring injury, so we’ll do everything possible to get him to top form as quickly as possible, but it’s not going to happen overnight.”


The end of Brad Guzan’s season with Aston Villa was anything but ideal, but the USMNT goalkeeper’s performance has not been altered in the eyes of Klinsmann.

The USMNT head coach says that he was very impressed with Guzan’s performance in Tuesday’s game, as the goalkeeper provided steady hands in the back to help the U.S. survive and early Honduras onslaught.

Despite being relegated to second choice with his club, Klinsmann says that Guzan was always going to be the USMNT’s top choice, reiterating his faith in the goalkeeper going forward.

“I think for Brad as well, after a tough ending as well with Aston Villa, being there on the bench, that was tough to swallow,” Klinsmann said. “We knew that he was going to be our number one, so we wanted him to come in with all of the confidence in the world. It didn’t work with the FA Cup final, but he’s there and he will get better every day as well.

“He deserves every credit like all of the other players as well,” Klinsmann added on Guzan’s performance. “You come off the field against a very strong Honduras team with three points and I think we just need to go from game to game, and he will improve and get into a better rhythm. We will fine-tune a lot of things. We will have a better understanding with every training session that we get to do now.


Despite putting on an impressive performance in the team’s opening game, Klinsmann believes he is just starting to see the best of his crop of young wing players.

Stationed on the right, Timmy Chandler was paired with winger DeAndre Yedlin, while Gyasi Zardes played in front of Fabian Johnson out on the left. For Klinsmann, but maybe not most other observers, all four players proved impressive Tuesday night.

The USMNT head coach expects the quartet to improve and become even more fine-tuned as all four collect more experience.

“You see the flank play from Timmy with DeAndre Yedlin, two youngsters. You have Gyasi on one side with Fabian,” Klinsmann said. “This is something that will just get better in the future. All four of them have speed, have technique, but they just need more experience.

“There are times when they need to make maybe other decisions defensively, but this will come only by experience, by games, by growing.

In particular, Klinsmann singled out Chandler’s performance, as the fullback was particularly active on both sides of the ball. Despite not being perfect, Klinsmann was proud of Chandler’s play and, most of all, his mettle in the face of adversity.

“Timmy had a couple of difficult moments in the first half, but then he really had a huge impact on that game,” Klinsmann said. “He’s a positive nature. One of his strengths is that he shakes it off right away.

“He knows he made a mistake, but he shakes it off. It doesn’t influence his next touch, and I think this is really important.”


The USMNT struggled to make much of anything happen from open play on Tuesday night, but where the team did thrive was on balls in from set pieces.

Both of Dempsey’s finishes came on dead-ball opportunities, with the first coming via a coreographed short corner that decended into a bit of chaos. The second was a result of a perfectly weighted ball in from Bradley, giving the U.S. the goal that would turn out to be the gamewinner.

Klinsmann and the USMNT understand the importance of set pieces, a point that was driven home with Tuesday’s result. As the tournament wears on, Klinsmann expects his side to become even more clinical from dead balls as the team fine-tunes more and more in training sessions.

“It’s tremendously important, no doubt,” Klinsmann said. “I experienced it myself with Germany when Italy won the World Cup with 70 percent set pieces. Did they play the most beautiful soccer in that tournament? You can answer that one, but it is something that you have to train, something that you have to believe in, something that you have to be really determined to train that.

“The last couple of days, we did that. Every time we’re in camp, we try to figure out some new elements of it that hopefully can give the opponent a surprise with it, but also need the players that are convinced to go after these balls and be hungry for these balls. It’s a physical battle that happens on every corner kick and every free kick and I think we have a strong element in our team.”


  1. how does jk think that chandler did well?! may have been the team’s worst player. has shown time and again that he can’t handle humidity at all and just falls asleep on too many plays

    • Chandler seemed to do okay in the European games (well, at least he wasn’t bad), but seems to have trouble with CONCACAF teams. Like you, I don’t see the positives in his play that Klinsmann does.

  2. Anyone know how the yellow cards are handled during the Gold Cup? Is it two, forces you to sit the next match? Up till the knockout stage? if so then once the Haiti game is locked up, Brooks should deliberately earn his second, thus having him sit the Panama match prior to the KO stage. I thought that the really shaky rookie Mexican ref took, although probably choking, took immense joy in blasting our starting CB last night. Similarly to his awarding :Los Cat’s that dangerous free kick to try to get level, after extra time had run out.

    • 2 forces you to sit the next match. But a yellow card in the Group Stages does not carry over to the Knockout stages. So Regarding Brooks there is no reason for him to purposefully get a 2nd yellow against Haiti. If anything if we beat Haiti and Panama loses or ties Honduras then we have 1st locked up in the GS. Then we can decide to sit Brooks if we want, or play him until we get up on Panama then sub him out to ensure he doesn’t get a yellow. Or not worry about it and if he gets a 2nd yellow against Panama and has to sit out against a 3rd place team…so what. No matter what unless he is injured or gets 2 yellows in the first KO game, he’ll be good to go for the 2nd.

      • Gunner, thanks for the clarification. RE: Brooks.. “Catch 22?” in that I am of belief, that JK wants to keep the Brooks/Alvarado tandem together as much as possible and for as long as possible, yet I also doubt if JK wants to risk Brooks during any KO match. If we beat Haiti, does he rest them both v Panama?

  3. Seems like there is always some excuse for Jozy after he turns in another bad effort. Now its his post hamstring injury, not in form. Here’s a news flash JK. Don’t play him if he’s not ready. If you do insist on playing him, quit giving him excuses. You have a healthy Jóhannsson on the bench and Zardes playing out of position. Either of them is a healthy option at forward.

    So sick of everybody covering for JA all the time

    • Agree about JA’s fitness. I watched his movement as relatively restricted (read lazy) as he was always just not quite fast/quick enough to continue the run of play. I’ll give him some respect for a couple of times that he was able to hold up the ball, but overall, I think he specifically slows down most of our attacks. I think we are far more dangerous with a slashing speed forward up top to compliment Deuce. Johanson now or Zardes, then additionally Wood after the group stages would make us more dangerous.

      If I had a choice, I’d keep Alvarado and Brooks as a continuous tandem. The more that pair plays, the better for us for years into the future.

  4. After watching the Hati/Panama match I have a bit of concern regarding the defense. The strikers for Hati were very quick off the line and could trouble some of the slower US players (Gonzalez, Evans, Beckerman, Garza, etc….). The US will need to clean up there passing and hold onto the ball more effectively or those speedy strikers could have a field day.

    • Since JK basically said he was happy with the defense, the only one you named who will start is Beckerman and since he is backed up, he will not get in many foot races that he must win. Chandler and Johnson have the speed to recover, and Yedlin and Zardes to help, assuming they are all mentally in the game.

  5. Let me be perfectly clear about how much I’ve always respected Beckerman but can “back pass Beckerman” at least have a look at what’s in front of him once in awhile before he automatically goes backwards? I counted all but two of his passes going backwards or to the side (and behind his position in the pitch)…. In my humble opinion he killed at least 3 positive plays going backwards….

    • I agree with Beckerman in the lineup it is like playing with 3 CB’s. I will admit that i was a Bradley hater in the past (still kind of am but only due to his current role) but Bradley needs to be in that DCM position. Let me explain why. Moving Bradley up does not increase his activity in the offensive third. When I watch him (and I may be the only one seeing this) he thrives from about 50 -30 yards away from goal. He has great vision and plays fantastic balls from this position (The Mix pass and others) . When you move him 30 yards and in he just takes way to long to make up his mind on what to do (ie AJo getting frustrated at not receiving good balls in that 30 yd and in range the last few friendlies). I much prefer Mix in the ACM role. He is the exact opposite of how I described Bradley above. Mix is quick thinking in tight spaces(Mexico game and others) but not so great at the 30 -40 yd long pass. The only problem in my opinion is that the way the forwards play right now (JA and CD) suits Bradley playing higher up due to their lack of movement. Throw in a AJO, WOOD, or WONDO and it suits Mix playing high due to their movement wanting the ball.

  6. It sounds like JK is not going to change the starting lineup for the upcoming games. The tinkering is on hold until after the GC final (barring injury or maybe rest for a less fit player). I think that is a good thing, especially for the defense because team defending as a group is essential when facing better opponents.

    • Agreed. I would think the only changes we’ll see to JK’s starting lineup Friday is maybe Bedoya and/or Mix in a wide midfield position and maybe Omar for Alvarado on the back line. That’s probably it, though.

      • I thought Alvarado had a rough game. His lunge at the player on the goal looked as bad as my kid’s team. Terrible. But to me he sealed his fate right at the end with another atrocious defensive play. Everyone makes mistakes, especially younger players, but two gaffes of that magnitude should earn him some bench minutes.

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