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USMNT left with plenty to improve upon after suffering rout vs. Brazil

Neymar Brazil USMNT 78

photo by Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports


FOXBORO, Mass. —  This much was evident after the U.S. Men’s National Team’s latest loss: There is room for improvement. A lot of it.

Hulk scored early, Neymar bagged a brace and Brazil routed the U.S. to the tune of 4-1 in a lopsided affair at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday that frankly could have been worse for the Americans. The U.S. looked overmatched from the onset, struggling to come up with attacking ideas when it had the ball while scrambling to stay organized and tight in defense.

Brazil, for the most part, cruised to victory, and that is likely to set off plenty of alarm bells for U.S. fans given that the CONCACAF Cup match with Mexico is just around the corner.

“It freaking sucks that we got it handed to us, but at the end of the day everybody can look at themselves in the mirror and say, ‘This was (crap),’ for lack of a better word,” said midfielder Alejandro Bedoya, who was substituted 36 minutes into the game. “We know we’ve got to do a lot better than this. You learn a few things from today and Mexico is going to be a whole different atmosphere, a whole different type of game, and everything.”

Mexico might not pose the same kinds of threats and problems that Brazil did when the CONCACAF powerhouse takes on the U.S. on Oct. 10. The Americans cannot, however, afford to be as toothless and lifeless as they were with the ball on Tuesday night if they wish to win next month and advance to the 2017 Confederations Cup.

The defense also has to improve. While a makeshift back four limited Brazil to one goal in the first half, it was overrun and maybe even embarrassed after the intermission. The dynamic Brazilians took better advantage of the space allowed and repeatedly capitalized on the Americans’ errors, including on the 50th-minute foul from Geoff Cameron that gave Neymar the game-winning penalty kick.

“They’re not used to that,” said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann when asked why his players struggled. “It’s a tempo that is played in (the UEFA) Champions League. If you watch Champions League, this is Champions League tempo, and it’s not only the technical tempo that plays one-, two-touches and then they dribble whenever they think it’s the right moment to dribble.

“It’s the speed of thought. They are always two thoughts ahead. It’s like playing chess. They are just two moves ahead, and that’s that level. We’ll try to catch up as much as we can, but if they turn it on and then you make a couple of mistakes that you shouldn’t make – like the penalty in a moment where we actually start to get a bit into the game – then you get punished.”

Some of the gaffes that the U.S. had were attributed by Klinsmann and some of his players to fatigue. Having to run after the technically-gifted Brazilians for much of the match in their second game in five days, the Americans admittedly wore down over the course of the 90 minutes.

There will not be another game before playing Mexico, but El Tri is another team that is possession-oriented. As such, the U.S. will need to do a better job of winning the ball back and keeping it next month at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Otherwise, Klinsmann’s side could again find itself with tired legs and in a less than favorable position.

“If you’re able to keep the ball like that and have productive possession and you make the other team chase, you get tired,” said forward Jozy Altidore. “This is normal at any level.”

Added Tim Ream to SBI: “You’re not going to pick out names, but you could definitely see the guys who just started with their seasons and maybe are not used to playing (two games in quick succession).”

Nonetheless, the U.S. remains confident about its chances next month. Klinsmann is hoping some of his walking wounded can return for the bout with Mexico – especially forward Clint Dempsey and fullback Fabian Johnson – and he is optimistic that they will.

Yes, this was an ugly loss, but one that will quickly be forgotten about should the Americans report to camp next month and get the job done vs. their southern rival.

“We didn’t think we were the best team in the world when we beat Holland and Germany in friendlies in June, and we don’t think we’re the worst team in the world right now,” said captain Michael Bradley. “You always have to maintain a level-head and kind of be able to look at things in a reasonable way. At the end of day, this game is not the be-all, end-all for us this year.

“It’s disappointing. I don’t think we handled it as well as we should have. I’m not trying to just sweep it under the rug completely, but at the end of the day, we’ll look at it, we’ll talk about, but there’s bigger things to come.”


  1. While the Germany/ Netherlands games gave us all a glimmer of hope that we could “turn it on” against top competition, we cannot be too surprised that our team is capable of a poor showing. It happens to all teams at all levels on occasion.

    While individual performances did stand out and deserve the critique that they receive, my overall concern was around how tentative we looked after the first goal.

    – In the first 8 minutes we had this big energy and were buzzing around. Not everyone looked sharp but the team had belief
    – After the first goal you started to see a lot of backwards passes and long balls. Not sure why we lost our nerve but the “fear” of getting blown out leads to that kind of poor play.

    While the US hasn’t always been the most technical or creative team out there, I prefer to see them fight and lose than to play with “fear”. Hopefully they will get through the shock of Gold Cup and the recent Brazil defeat to stand up to Mexico next month. But even if we lose that game we HAVE TO get our fight back.

    • As a one off game, getting ripped apart by Brazil isn’t a big deal. It happens and I’m sure will happen again. The building questions really has more to do with the poor Gold Cup, and over all lethargic appearance of this team.

  2. USMNT has a long way to go. We are the only country that applaud and support mediocracy. It blows my mind how we can create excuses for the coach and players alike, even though things are so blatantly obvious. No wonder Klinsmann does whatever he wants and teams are having their way with us because he is not under any pressure at all, from anyone

  3. Ream is, in my opinion, the best-passing defender the USA has ever had. RBNY STH, so I’ve seen a lot of Ream. And his positioning and “soccer brain” were good last night. Here’s the thing though: It’s a team game. Defenders WILL be put in bad positions by their teammates, no matter how good the defender’s positioning is. And that’s a big reason you need speed–it can make up for a lot of sins.

  4. To any media person listening…..
    Please ask coach klinsi if:
    1) he has ever experienced (playing days) a situation whereby the level of excessibe experimentation conducted by a coaching staff, made it difficult to develop team chemistry, and…
    2) as a competitive person, did it detract from overall team cohesion, chemistry and a drop in imdividual amd team competitiveness?

  5. The thing that keeps bugging me about JK is that he keeps throwing his players under the bus. At halftime, he explained the Bedoya sub by saying Bedoya couldn’t find his rhythm, but how about copping to playing him out of position against one of the best teams in the world, in front of a first-time center back tandem? How was he going to find a rhythm? Own up to that mistake! Then, after the match, talking about how they missed Beasley and Johnson… as if that would have solved everything. Must have made Ream and Cameron feel awesome to hear that. Really gets your players ready to fight for you when you publicly wish you had different players available.

    I’m waiting for JK to claim the sun was in his eyes. This is enough of his crap. Also, stop lying to us. Seriously… the time for experimentation is over, he says. Then he trots out that line-up? I am tired of double-talk and excuses. I don’t care that this was Brazil, or player X wasn’t available, or whatever.

      • Klinsmann called him and persuaded him to “unretire” for the Gold Cup. So, of course Klinsmann then ignored him, right? No, Beasley was injured or he would have played a lot.

  6. CM and CB was major weakest in this game, and Bradley as playmaker doesn’t work well for USNT.

    Morris is actually did more than Altidore, in this game.

    Both Ream and Cameron are good enough to play mexico but not against top class speedy players.

    • “Both Ream and Cameron are good enough to play mexico but not against top class speedy players.” All too true and also true for most US players. To quote Shakespeare, “Aye, that’s the rub.”

  7. People can blame JK all they want but I am a realistic that no coach could take our talent pool and make us complete with top five maybe top ten on a regular basis. I think they make some huge changes after the mexico game for WC qualifying. We should go young and get them experience leading up to the WC. I think Colombia had and average age of like 23 or 24 in Brazil. That might be a good thing for the USA. Ease in zelalem, hyndmann, rubin, tall, and Joe gyua when healthy because he is yedlin with technical abilities. There are some others but these younger ones coming through all have technical abilities that no one on this team has now. Ee can’t string together any series of passes or hold possession. I think it will get better but need to change sooner than later. I still believe in JK and his proactive style he just needs the players to do it.

    • Look at the team we finished with on the field…2 defenders from the Championship, one midfielder from the Championship, one midfielder from the German second division and a college kid! Playing against one of the best teams in the world. And people are seriously saying Benny Feilhaber and (57 year old) DeMarcus Beasley would have made a difference against one of the best teams in the world?…Take a deep breath people!

      • We got along way to go and some people don’t see that. I agree we need players playing at higher levels and our younger ones are getting there. So play them. I would rather miss the confederation cup than moving farther through the world cup. World cup Is most important

      • Things like the Confed Cup give the teams invited a big advantage as it allows them to play in the stadiums, training grounds and hotels they will use in the WC. Details like this and fixing schedules in maximizing FIFA points to give the US a chance (however small) to get a FIFA seed in the WC. In fact, by positioning the USMNT in, let’s say the top12, a rrun to the final in the Confed Cup with it’s 3x multiplier, could give a team a seed the next year n the WC.
        Having a seed in the WC is ulimatly important as it insures you will not play another top 8 team until the playoff stages, and maybe even not then. In getting far along in the WC, you need a good team, luck and a good seed.

      • Yeah, we should be losing games like this. We don’t have Bayern’s new winger. We don’t have Barcelona 30 goal a season super star. We don’t have a locked in starter for Chelsea. All three of those guys playing for the team that won their league last year. 1 won a bloody Treble.

        We have Fabian Johnson who was out injured.

        Now, I don’t think we should get hammered and I wish JK would stop bloody experimenting. But lordy guys like Yedlin to do to take responsibility and not ball watch.

      • In addition to following soccer I also follow government and politics a lot and have a lot of training and experience in that area. There is one commonality between those two areas. There are a lot of people voicing opinions about US politics’/government and many who comment on US soccer who are delusional and completely unrealistic. It’s like they live in an alternative reality. There is also a lot of opinion based on belief and not on facts, reason and logic.

  8. I think JK did a great job in the previous cycle, but I think if we lose to Mexico he needs to go. International coaches rarely succeed when they coach a second consecutive cycle. Things just get stale, players get tired of training the same way, hearing the same talks, and players that are trusted by the coach get tired and lose their form but play because they are trusted. Look at Arena’s second run, Domanech in France, even del Bosque in Spain. It just seldom works, I think even Andy from Atlanta could manage us to qualification for Russia so I’m not worried about that, but I don’t see JK getting us out of the group stage just based on coach fatigue.

  9. Im a self admitted Klinsmann guy. That being said I cant supoort the constant and never ending experimenting. As great as I think Klinsmann will be for us long term I would be estatic if would step down and just be the technical director. If you still dont know your CBs then go with Cameron and Ream. Besler look confident against Peru and should get the nod against Mexico. Who starts opposite is anyones guess. Just not Alvarado. Im over Jozy and Alvarado getting every chance to fail while others are not getting the same opportunities. Tired of seeing players playing out of position. Quit with the ADD coaching style. F Donovan.

  10. Too much JK blame. Sure the lineup lacked in depth but brazil is a good squad A lesson was learned by yedlin bedoya and others. Mexico is next.

    • Not enough JK blame.
      Plays Bedoya out of position, then throws him under the bus.
      Plays a totally inexperienced duo at CB, and is amazed it doesn’t go well.
      Plays Altidore up top alone, when we know that never works against top teams.

      • Half the negative comments on Altidore is that he can’t play with a partner. So which is it? I made it a point to count all of his touches for the Brazil game and I ended up Jozy having 21 touches 11 of them being either bad trapping, bad passing ans 1 scuff shooting.
        He needs to do way better with 21 touches in 75 minutes of play, with or without a partner.

    • “Too much JK blame?”

      That lineup was set up for failure against ANY team, not just Brazil.

      Bedoya as a DM? An unfamiliar centerback pairing, of Orozco and Alvarado no less!? That’s on Klinsmann.

    • Sucked his way to 5th all time on the scoring list, and scores at almost the exact rate as LD. Like all forwards he needs service, especially holding forwards, who aren’t going to drop in the midfield like LD or Clint remember both of those guys were combo midfielders/forwards.

      • What’s amazing to me is that a 20 year old amateur player (Morris) can a play a few times for the NATS and make better runs, have better holdup play and passing than Jozy who’s been given so many chances and has such a professional club resume. The fact that he is still the key guy at striker reveals a lot about the state of attacking player development in the US.

      • “The fact that he is still the key guy at striker reveals a lot about the state of attacking player development in the US.”

        you said it all right there- you’re blaming jozy for not being as good as you want him to be while acknowledging our general attacking weaknesses.

      • An in-his-prime Didier Drogba wouldn’t have scored last night! Watch the game…Every time Jozy got the ball he was surrounded by three defenders and only on rare occasions did anyone (Bradley) even make an effort to give him somewhere to pass to.

      • You make it sound like Morris had a great game, his strategy is to run fast at people. it works for him, I can’t recall him holding the ball up once last night or in most games. Jozy had a bad game I think 90% or more people would agree, but don’t distort the truth to make your point.

      • I didn’t think Morris had a good game. But, thought he did fine relative to the rest of the U.S. team. My comment was more about how bad Jozy is at those things. I did observe Morris a couple times make a good run back to receive the ball in space, have a good first touch and connect a pass to another US player. Basic skill that you’d expect from a decent professional striker.

    • Maybe because he scores goals! Not his fault the rest of the team can’t keep the ball and feed him in the box. His only chance was from Yedlin and was blocked at the last second. Lets see Johannsson do better!

    • Great, let us know when you find them!
      Why aren’t we bringing in all our talented strikers that are playing well in the EPL, La Liga, Italy, etc?
      Why do we keep playing a guy that consistently scores?

      • Dom Dwyer will be a US Citizen before the 2018 WC and has indicated he want to play for the US. We have a lot of U20’s strikers eg., Maki Tall who are eligible for the USMNT and will be in their early 20’s by 2018.

        The Galaxy recently brought in a young Uraguayan who played in the Brazilian Fluminense U20 team. He has great skills but is not as fit as they want for him to play up top for 90 mins in the MLS so he’s been assigned to the Galaxy 2. He was born in Ft Lauderdale, FL USA

        Morris was found by accident, and there seem to be a disconnect between Klinsmann and the coaches of the USYNT coaches in bringing forth young strikers, but here are a lot out there.

  11. Jozy-Dempsey
    Zardes – Bradley – Bedoya
    Ream/DMB – Belser – Omar – Johnson/Cameron

    Subs: Yedlin for Bedoya, AJ/ Wood for Jozy, Feilhaber for Bradley

    • I would put Cameron as right back, DMB as left back, and FJ as left mid. Going Ream/Besler/Omar/Cameron means we’re playing with 4 CBs. I also wouldn’t mind a Bedoya/Yedlin right sided combo. Bedoya tracks back to help Yedlin and cuts inside to naturally let Yedlin overlap.

      Still need to get Jones out there, probably for Williams.

      • Ream and Cameron are fill ins if the other two are still injured. I think Yedlin at RB gets us too stretched and your right Bedoya ends up covering for Yedlin. So why not just put a defensive back in there and let Bedoya play his natural midfield instead of spending most the game covering for DeAndre. DeAndre at this point is a 15 to 20 minute player against tired legs.

      • Jones showed against Brazil that he is not 90 minutes match fit. We don’t want to throw in a fresh DMid 65 minutes into the game against Mexico. Granted, Jones has 1 month to get into match shape, so we’ll see.

    • You are missing the best midfielder in the entire pool of players besides Bradley…

      BF we need you! Kiss Klinsy’s taint and make it all better

      • I had added him as a sub just for you Andy. Don’t see it happening though. But as JK always says you need competition and Bradley needs someone pushing him in training he has looked awful all Summer.

  12. Outplayed, outclassed, outhustled
    Why would you try a 4-2-3-1 formation and put the one person you know can’t find the back of the net (against top opposition or when properly marked) solo up top?
    You know Brazil is going to score regardless, so why would try to play defensively and attack with counters…..when we don’t even have the speed to do so. If Brazil is going to get theirs (which you know you can’t stop), why not try and get yours (4-3-3 worked against Netherlands or flat 4-4-2 worked against Germany)?
    Why are we still moving players around, still learning new formations and still don’t even have an identity? What are we known for when teams play us? Fitness….effective counters……or the clueless maneuver?
    It’s hard to put a finger on what’s broken because everything appears to be broken. While we are flopping around like a chicken with their head cut off Mexico is tying and almost beating world class opponents (the number 1 ranked team in the world, with Messi and Tevez)

    • “Why would you try a 4-2-3-1 formation and put the one person you know can’t find the back of the net (against top opposition or when properly marked) solo up top?”

      Did you forget who bailed us out against South American opponents four days before? He did his best to hold the ball up and was starved of service. It didn’t get any better when Morris, Wood, or Johannsson came in. Go away troll!

      • This. Jozy wasn’t great this match, but he wasn’t bad. I don’t know what more could have realistically been expected from him.

      • Against Peru? A tap-in and a penalty? Bailed us out? Conner Casey could have scored those goals…so what was special about his play? Nothing and only the USMNT recognize a skill call “HOLD-UP PLAY” (and you wonder why we look lost). Against real opposition he sucks. Since when do you remove your “top striker” when you are on the verge of being humiliated or in time of crisis?? People like you are the reason Altidore still plays for the USMNT and Klinsmann is not worried about his job

  13. Great point on attacking in numbers. When Brazil did that, hardly any USA players came over to help and even the numbers on parts of the field. They continue to be too rigid.

  14. It amazes me that Klinsman expects players to play positions they’ve never played before with partners they’ve never played with before to have the speed of thought and find a rhythm quickly at a Champions League / Top 5 team international level. How difficult is it to realize that lining players up the way he does sure as heck makes it a whole lot harder…. Klinsman put his players on the field in those positions and he has no one to blame but himself. Maybe we American fans don’t understand the nuiances of the beautiful game the way the rest of the world does but we sure know when a coach is as full of crap as he is…

  15. 1) Jozy isn’t Neymar, but he needs to play more like him. Drop back into the midfield to collect the ball, face goal, run at defenders with some speed, draw fouls, create havoc. Stop being a “holdup” player, which only slows things down. If JK wants to experiment, play Jozy on a wing so it forces him to play facing goal. Jozy has always excelled facing goal with space to run. Always. Jozy would be a better winger than Zardes is now (though I’d like to see them both as wingers).
    2) Brazil is a masterclass at getting a numerical advantage around the ball then moving forward with it as a unit. That’s the biggest difference between top-level teams and the rest — their players move and constantly present themselves to the ball as options regardless of “position.” Marcelo bombs forward anywhere. Neymar and Costa start attacking from deep midfield and connect on the move. The US is still point-to-point passing and hopeful one-timers, which is why their passing looks so bad. ts predicatable, slow and does not generate quality possesion or disrupt defenses.
    3) Bradley either needs to sit in place of Williams or he and Jones need to play straight up central mid defense in a 4-2-4. The US is best when it uses speed to attack down the wings. I’d play Yedlin and F. Johnson as fullbacks, use Altidore and Zardes as wingers, and put Dempsey and AJ up front. Yedlin’s game-changing speed is nullified in the current setup because he is to far forward. Let him and FJ overlap when possible, and if you have central mids who don’t have to generate in the offensive half, you should have sufficient cover. If I have one criticism of JK, its that he’s too wedded to the idea of generating offense from a central mid. That should be opportunistic rather than attempted. Sit them back and let the burners burn in front of them.
    4) Central defenders give up goals the same way even the best pitchers give up runs. There doesn’t seem to be that much of difference now amongst the US lot in terms of ability. JK needs to pick a pair and stick with it.
    5) I like JK generally, and get what he’s trying to do. I think much of the criticism of him is uterrly nonesencial and not supported by facts But this game is the real Gold Cup final, he’s never lost to Mexico, and a non-competitive loss against Mexico at what should be the apex of his tenure should result in a change before qualifying (Pep Guardiola, anyone?). I don’t expect we’ll see that — I expect the US to win.

    • I will forgive US Soccer’s moronic idea to schedule a warm up against Brazil before a very important match and their absurd ticket prices ($75 for the cheapest seats) if they use dat money to hire Pep!

      • I think you are trying to be funny, Pep is not coming for any amount of money. You sound like Texas football fans saying lets throw a lot of money and get Belichek from the Patriots.

    • Doesn’t matter what you do with Altidore, he’ll never be a Neymar or even compared to Neymar, except unfavorably. I’m not a Jozy basher, but you can’t turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse. The US is limited in how good its players are. Consider things like Diego Valeri is arguably one of the best players in MLS and I think he has maybe 4 caps for Argentina. Could any US players make the current Brazil roster? If Dunga were coaching the US and Klinsmann Brazil, could the US then beat Brazil?

      • I think you missed my point on Altidore. He’s always been successful facing goal — go back and look at his AZ highlights — but has been missued as a holdup guy because of his size. Neymar is silky smooth. Altidore is a bull. Both styles can be effective running facing goal, even if Neymar will be better at it.

      • Yeah, I figured that out when he played for Hull in his first unsuccessful stint in the EPL. Big, powerful strikers fit the “route one” strategy of overhead balls to the lone center-forward who holds it up for other players, either withdrawn forwards, wingers or mid bypassing the midfield. But Altidore had good speed and when paired with one or two other strikers up front, was a beast, Verbeek discovered this when reviewing a lot of MLS tapes and thought he could do well hat way. He was right. The few time they used Jozy as a lone striker were when they needed to kill of a game. Taking off an attacker for defender and keeping Altidore forward, kept the opposition with 2-3 defenders back to defend Altidore, reducing their ability to throw in another attacker.

        But these tactics and formation came from dedicated talented and experienced coaches and not from a former player and dilettante coach.

        In the long run, the right coach and right tactics, formations can be used to bring Jozy back to being a bid time indispensable asset to the USMNT

  16. Everyone is enamored by Yedlin’s speed, but the guy is a turnover machine and can’t do anything at the international level other than run fast and cross the ball. His passing was atrocious last night and he no vision when things get compressed on the sideline. He should have been playing RB and taking his lumps there with Bedoya on the wing so we might have had some possession last night.

    Decent: Zardes (didn’t play scared), Williams (not just here for the goal), Ream (great positioning, better passing), Altidore (had good hold up play), Morris (plays with no fear), Spector (nearly had an assist)
    Bad: Yedlin, Wood, Jones (doesn’t look fit yet), Bradley (playing out of position)
    Ugly: Alvarado (can we lose his number?), Bedoya, Diskerud (quit calling him in), Klinsmann (Should be fired Oct. 11 if we lose)

    On another note, Willian looked as good as I’ve ever seen him play from Brazil. Seems like he gets stifled under Mourinho because he has never look as free as he played last night.

    • Can we stop with the Bradley playing out of position myth. He hasn’t played CAM since Nigeria pre world cup its been a flat midfield with a CDM in behind since Jozy pulled up lame. And its the same position he plays for Toronto. He’s played in that spot for two years. Whether its age or drop of skill or we just over inflated him because he was at Roma, MB is not the same player he was. He rarely played CDM for his Dad, did he have to come back and cover for Ricardo Clark and Mo Edu sure, but when you play 9 and 10 men behind the ball everyone looks like a CDM.

      • Absolutely not, just watch the games. He’s playing as number 10 under Klinsmann with limited defensive responsibilities. It’s so obvious he’s not fit to play as that. He should be in that box to box role with 1 pure destroyer behind him yet not the furthest advanced midfielder.

        He frequently played as a trequartista under his father as coach, picking up the ball from deep positions off of the centerbacks and starting the attack. This was one of his strengths as a deeper lying play maker who is able to make late runs into the box and finish. For some unknown reason Klinsmann likes to play Bradley the furthest forward out of all the midfielders and relegate players like Bedoya and Diskerud into defensive midfield positions. It should be the other way around! And bringing up Clark and Edu, Bradley played alongside of both in a double pivot role (empty bucket 4-2-2-2 formation). Bradley had the licence to charge forward late in the play, which is exactly what he should be doing now.

      • See what you want to see I guess, he doesn’t have the legs to run box to box anymore in case you haven’t watched him play recently I realize he’s only 28, but with all the full national team and youth team play he’s looked old or uninterested. I couldn’t find the stat anymore, but I believe at the end of the group stage in S.Africa he had run farther than any other player and I don’t think it was close that has taken its toll or he has a bad attitude not a good attribute for the captain.

      • I’ve been watching national team games for over a decade now, I’m pretty sure I know what I’m watching. We’ll agree to disagree.

      • I imagine it’s frustrating to play under the mind boggling tactics of the guy that replaced your father. And subconsciously you know that the only way things will change is if the team performs badly.

      • Jose Torres once played left back against some Antigua and Barbados in a giant US win. It doesn’t mean that he’s a left back all of a sudden. I’m sure Steven Gerrard in his prime could score 25+ goals in MLS, but it doesn’t mean he’s a center forward on the international stage.

        Look Bradley is our best player, and might be able to play in that role playing off a striker occasionally. But I equate his role similar to Yaya Toure of Man City (I’m just talking about their roles tactically). Toure has played that #10 role once in a while during Champions League play. But his best role is behind David Silva who is a much superior passer in close distances. Yaya is too big and tall to do the type of things Silva can do, who is smaller and quicker when the field is shrunk in the final third. Yaya plays as a holding mid but has a committed defensive mid behind him at all times (Fernandinho) so that he can join in the attack and make those late runs into the box. This is the role that suits Bradley the best.

    • Almost in complete agreement with you. Sigi Schmid identified and developed Yedlin as a fullback, because of his speed, which allowed him to cover flanks against practically anybody, and get back faster than anybody. He didn’t ask him to be a midfielder or winger because, although he does have some ball handling skills for a defender, they are not good enough for a midfielder. And while Yedlin can pass, especially as a defender, he cannot cross with enough consistent accuracy to be a winger.

      This is the story of the USMNT this year. We are constantly changing formations while the players do not play them at a club level and are not proficient. Combined with Klinsmann changing position or duties of players to the point that there is a dramatic fall off in ability at those position. It makes it difficult or impossible to evaluate and rate the players or the team’s overall ability. We do not know if the change of Cameron or Ream had an effect on Yedlin’s performance as a winger as we have no benchmarks to compare. This is ridiculous!

      Klinsmann has created a monster merry go round where it is impossible to grab the brass ring.

      The quicker this changes the better. And I hope Sunil Gulati knows it’s not too late to make a switch right now.

    • He will do everything he can to avoid calling Feilhaber up… He knows it is only a matter of time before the American Outlaws / Sam’s Amry revolt on him if he continues to leave him off when the guy is an MLS MVP candidate.

  17. This was the best I’ve seen Brazil play since before the world cup, so I’m not sure how much it matters what players or formation we put out. They are simply on another level as a team.

    That said, I think Klinsmann got it all wrong for this game. Bedoya is obviously not fit or in form and to put him out as the #6 in a position he has never played before (against frickin Brazil?!) is a mistake, and a bad one, for the team and for Bedoya. Bradley was mostly invisible and then poor on the ball in the final 3rd, Jozy was isolated, and these were things I knew were going to happen as soon as I saw the lineup in pregame. I know Yedlin is fast, but his defense and lack of crossing ability are too big a liability at this point.

    I wish the Bradley-as-attacking-midfielder experiment would end. It just hasn’t worked. I get that we don’t really have a natural player for that position but Bradley isn’t getting it done, and could have been used as a much more effective #6. If Bedoya is fit, he should be played out wide so maybe somebody could send in a decent cross. I don’t think it would have mattered who played centerback, they would’ve been overrun because our midfield was overrun, but I don’t quite get the rotation of players there. Isn’t Cameron starting for Stoke at centerback now?

    I’ve never seen so many of our players that seem lined up in positions they aren’t as familiar with.

    • We do have a natural player for the position of attacking midfield… His name is Benny Feilhaber and Jurgen hates him on a personal level…

      Stubborn grudges that this man holds continue to hurt this team… get rid of him when we lose to Mexico…

      • If Jurgen is simply not picking Benny because he does not see him as useful… that is actually a bigger problem than if it is merely a grudge… because it would mean JK is an utter moron who can’t evaluate talent or recognize a glaring weakness in his team… So we better hope it is in fact “a grudge” otherwise we have major problems and probably wont qualify for Russia… and by Russia… I mean 2018 not the Confed Cup…

        Yeah he is that bad IMHO…

      • Have you seen Feilhaber practice with the US team? I have seen most of the time he has played in the past, but is he one of the best US players now? Unless you have seen him compete against the other players the US regularly calls in, you can’t make an informed judgment. Sorry to tell you this, but MLS is not that great a barometer. Benny will be 33 and one half when the next WC starts. Do you really think he could make a difference then? I can’t understand the adoration for a player who has showed flashes in the past, but admitted that until the last year he never cared about fitness or defense. If you like Benny for the team, why not call in Freddy Adu, too. He has looked really good in midfield when he has played for the US in the past. Benny might be good enough to play against some in CONCACAF, but top teams? No way.

    • Actually, I think we have at least a couple of good natural players for the attacking mid position, it’s just that JK is more enamored of the idea of Bradley there than giving either of them a real chance. Feilhaber and Nguyen are both natural attacking mids, and both would be a step up over forcing a wide/central attacking player into the d-mid spot.

      • Exactly. Klinsmann is that stubborn coach who is refusing to adapt. He’s in that desperate “wants to say I told you my way would work” mode. Hardly anybody is playing a familiar position on the team.

    • Yes, this is true. I have not seen Brazil play this well in a while either. This game of soccer is funny. Colombia beats Brazil in Copa America, Peru draws against Colombia and then they draw again last night and the U.S. beats a very good Peruvian side despite what most people might say. The haters are going to hate no matter what. Since the U.S, beat Peru, Peru must not be that good; and if the U.S. would have beaten Brazil, the haters would have made something up. It is all about styles and these South American teams are familiar with one another’s style. For this reason one would sees Peru draw against Brazil in qualifiers in the past when Peru was not even that good and so on. I am not saying that the U.S. would have won if JK put a better line up out there last night, but I doubt very much Brazil would have scored 4 goals. Last night, the pace of the Brazilians along with their technical abilities was just too much against the personnel that JK trotted out there. I wish Besler would have been available. This Alvarado Orozco combo along with the Bedoya experiment was doom’s day from the start

    • Before the game I wrote that :”the result isn’t important, what is important is how well the US plays.But you would be delusional if you think the US could play as well as Brazil. What I mean by how well the US plays is how well they play compared to how well they usually play.” Brazil was faster, quicker, and more skilled at just about every position. I was unhappy because I thought the US could have played harder. I don’t know if they could have played better, but they lost most of the contested balls and were out muscled too often. Not only is Brazil a lot better, they played harder and tougher, I thought. When you have a Brazilian on a run through the midfield on a counter and few players ahead of him, not once did a US player take a professional foul to slow the attack. The US made only a couple of tackles. It is those things that were poor and reason for upset. Most of what other people are complaining about isn’t realistic.

    • Brazil had Diego Costa and Neymar to play as strikers. The US had Altidore and Jordan Morris, who plays for Stanford. That was pretty typical of the talent gap. Which team is easier to coach?

      • Klinsmann said before the game that the US doesn’t have strikers. I suspect that is because strikers have to be naturals. They have to know how to connect with the ball and put it into the goal. You don’t even have to be a good dribbler. You just need to put it in, and that is hard to do. Dribbling around a few players helps, but scoring goals is mostly intuitive. Think of it in terms of playing pool. The pool cue pushes the ball and it hits other balls. You have to know how a ball bounces off of a player’s head or foot or chest. It can’t be learned. But it improves with practice. American players never get the practice kids get in Brazil or Argentina etc. They play in streets and alleys and rough places. US players don’t get to do that because mothers and fathers take their kids to practice and when the practice is over, they take them home. Kids in other countries go to practice and they practice and they practice and they practice..

      • Interesting, because it was Klinsmann who said that we had “enough” strikers prior to the World Cup in 2014, and that was his rational for leaving Donovan off the team, but leaving “broken foot” Johannson on the team.

        I am glad now that he has begun to personally blame players. It means that he is running out of excuses and time. I really want the US to go to the Confed Cup, but if a loss means the end of Klinsmanns reign, well, I’ve already visited Russia.

        I think we have a lot better chance to do well in WC qualifying and at the WC with a change. JK has not improved the USMNT or advanced US Soccer as much as Gulati promised.

        I do believe the some players have “given up” on Klinsmann, but not on the US Soccer team. We need a change, so that players can be ok with the former and not the latter.

  18. Good quotes from JK. Ream and Cameron did well at times, but were eventually outclassed by better competition (along with the rest of the team). The US looked like a pool of decent players from a first or second-tier league. And that’s exactly what we are.

    • Actually, Ream played very well. Sure he cannot match Willian’s pace, but Ream was not out of position and he managed to slow Willian down quite well. One time when he was forced to cover for the 2 CBs who let a a player get through, he did get back in time, but a clever play managed to slip the ball past both him and Guzan. If he had managed to get a foot on the ball, it would have been called good lest second defending, but… Still he should never have had to be in that position.
      Ream won the ball probably more than any other US player and then made a pass to a teammate (instead of to Brazil like Cameron, Yedlin and even Jones and Bradley did way too often).

      • I agree, I thought Ream put in another good effort against 2 very fast and talented players, Willian and Lucas. I think he slowed as the game went on and with constant pressure on him, but that can also come from Zardes’s lack of defensive awareness (still building) and Wood coming in with no clue how to play LM. I would be more than comfortable with Ream on the left against Mexico.

      • Agreed on Ream and Cameron. After Zardes came out, Wood was not offering the same level of defense from the midfield. Ream was also covering for blunders from Alvarado. If the Beas can’t go against Mexico, I still want Ream at LB. Otherwise, Ream should still be on the roster.

        Cameron definitely had some blunders, but he looked effective going forward at times and was often tucking in to cover for Orozco and Alvarado. I think we should have pulled Jones earlier, pushed Cameron to midfield with Bradley and Williams, kicked Orozco out wide, and put in Gonzo. Gonzo’s pace would have likely been exposed, but having a rangy guy like Cameron in midfield may have stemmed the tide a bit.

    • They would have looked even better if their team mates had helped them look better. There is still this feeling that the players are mainly looking out for themselves. That is something Klinsmann can help them with. If a player shows he is not passing to the best open player he should be substituted immediately.

      Berti Vogts was watching, and he could give loads of advice. But I suppose our US players don’t even know how important he was in German soccer WC wins.

      There is this preoccupation with speed and hustle. Speed is nice, but teams win also when they use position to their advantage. Dribbling is a very energy consuming activity. The ball gets there faster when people are anticipating passes. Same with step-overs. They should be used only when they lead to evading the opposition.

      This game was an exercise in expending energy without reward.

      On more thing. The US team needs to practice playing in the penalty area making short accurate passes.

      • We need another Brian Strauss article before the CONCACAF Cup. Throw in some anonymous quotes about how the players are as baffled with Jurgen’s formations as the fans are. Add in some sound bites from Denny Heilfaber and Mark Pikehurst, and we’ll have just the motivation we need to win the Mexico match.

        In all seriousness, as bad as tonight was, I think a couple guys made their case for the Mexico match. Williams and Ream earned their spots, IMO. Cameron had some booboos but also showed some promise before the rest of the team also went to pot.

      • Your comment makes me laugh. The Brazil game was doomed from the start. What I found interesting, though, was watching Mexico play Argentina afterwards. Mexico was winning until Argentina (#1) caught up in the last few minutes to draw 2-2.. The US team needs that kind of fighting ability, to come back when all seems lost.

      • The exact opposite was true with the Peru game as players covered for one another. The difference was the Brazil speed that tore open the US defense. US players couldn’t get back fast enough whenever Brazil countered.

  19. Why does Jozy Altidore not put his hand over his heart when they play the National Anthem? Is this in protest? Doe she not have pride when playing for his nation? When you looks other countries, their players always sing the national anthem with pride and passion. Ours do not. Sums up their pathetic play lately…

    • I never noticed your observation about Jozy. I’ll just accept it to be accurate. But what I. Will say is that there are other dudes and chicks who don’t out their hands let their hearts and they ball.

      I think that your comment is a great oversimplification. I have no reason to doubt the man’s motivation when he puts on the shirt. I don’t think that there is any correlation between what he does during the anthem and his performance.

      Maximum respect.

      • Its a religious thing. He grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness. I don’t think you read much into it. Besides, who says you should put your hand over your heart during the national anthem. When people sing it, I rarely if ever see that. You remove you hat out of respect. Covering your heart is for the pledge of allegiance.

      • +1 million. there was a long debate on this subject a few weeks ago and i kept trying to explain this point. when they cut to the crowd there are people without their hand over their heart etc. the hand over the heart is the pledge of allegiance, not necessarily the anthem. it can be done during an anthem but not doing so doesn’t immediately equate to ‘un-patriotism’…

      • Also, pledge of Allegiance has nothing to do with patriotism. We invented it because commies are athiests and so wouldn’t be able to say the god part… or would refuse… and thus out themselves as commies. Like all good Turkmens.

        Also… check out the photo about how you were supposed to heil hitle…. I mean, pledge allegiance to the USA…

    • i would be very desirable to see all the players singing the National Anthem. Team spirit starts with the beginning of the game. It was very inspiring to see the Scotland and and Germany sing. Not only does singing get the lungs going it also shows that the teams mean it when they play for their countries. I presume some of those foreign Americans don’t really care whether it’s the USA they represent. They just want to be there because it looks good for their career. I hope JK explains to the players that it is important to sing. It isn’t necessary to sing well, but it looks better when they do. Even Klinsmann sings.

      Now to the game. The US team was defensive from the beginning. Their position play off the ball was reactive. There was nothing pro-active or aggressive about it. You can only win if you have scoring in mind as soon as you get the ball. That wasn’t there. Most of the time you could see at least nine players in their own half. Position play is important especially when you don’t have good skills. You also don’t get hurt as much.

      You also don’t exert as much energy if you are in position and anticipate where the ball is going to be rather than watch where it goes and then run.

    • Why does anyone care? It’s a ritualistic thing that has no real meaning. Sometimes I don’t. sometimes i forget to take my hat off for the Antehm in baseball games. So, sue me. I served 4 years in the Air Force, have done a lot of other things for my country, know I love my country as much as anyone else, so what do I have to prove? There are people who go to church, then behave abominably but call themselves good Christians because they go to church. It is what you do and how you behave that counts.

      • It may be ritualistic, but it gets the spirit going. Look at the Mexican players. They all sing their anthem with enthusiasm. That’s how they prepare themselves psychologically. And for that matter, why do you think people sing in church? They sing to get their spirits up. Trust me, it does a lot. You might want to try singing. It does wondrous things to your soul. It also helps you win games. Fans at stadiums sing. It connects the fans with the players, and it encourages them to play better.

      • Jozy has sung the anthem in the past. It’s just the ‘heart’ part that he doesn’t do. He’s also stated in an interview a while back that his family left Haiti to come to America and raise a family in a better country but Jozy acknowledges his ancestry saying that his “[heart lies with Haiti]”. so i don’t think it’s any slight at the US when he refrains, he’s sung in the past and, heck, sometimes i sing it when at a game and sometimes i don’t; the goal is more so to have all parties involved focus on a single idea; that of ‘THE USA’, and that in itself does “get the spirit going”. so singing helps that cause but the hand over the heart isn’t a determining factor; it’s neither here nor there as long as the player is focused, respectful and honorable as expected.

        personally i don’t care if people take their hats off either, that stemmed from the same ‘respect’ notion that led to people taking their hats off indoors… how ‘rude’ is it REALLY to have your hat on indoors? not that that’s the same as the anthem thing but as a relative analogy… it’s just a notion of respect, so doing it shows respect but NOT doing it doesn’t necessarily mean full disrespect…

      • I have sung in cfhurch and the anthem many times. You don’t want to hear me sing. Believe me, it is better if I keep my mouth shut. Yes it gets your spirits up, but if that’s what you need to get ready to play for your country, you don’t belong on the field. Being a chosen representative of my country for almost anything would be a crowning achievement of my life. If that is how the US players feel and they play like it, I don’t care if they sing the anthem or whatever.

    • I was raised to cover my heart when I said the Pledge of Allegiance but not cover it when singing the National Anthem. I don’t recall every being told to cover my heart for the National Anthem. Saluted when in the military. Took of hat when not in military. But not cover heart. I always sing it!

    • JK is right that we don’t have the players who can perform at this speed of play. Seems like that means more after this game than roster selections or formations. Just to consistently touch cleanly, already knowing what you intend to do with the ball, makes a ton of difference.

      • True. I’ve always given JK the benefit of the doubt, but lately, his selections are too questionable. By the way Brazil was playing, they were going to lose, but that beatdown was pathetic. Bedoya in the defensive midefield role? Continued look of “potential” for Alvarado? Bradley as a #10 even though he always plays as a box-to-box? I know, the same excuse of who else than Bradley? He should have been in Bedoya’s #6 role as he likes to drop back. JK continues to leave out true #10’s like Fielhaber or Nguyen. I can still remember Fielhaber playing a good game against the upset of Spain, and Nguyen playing great and keeping up with the speed of Colombia. Obviously, it goes both ways. How can this team perform when the coach is constantly experimenting, putting players in unfamiliar roles, etc?

      • I would think the approach to this game, with Mexico looming, is to line up as close as possible to how you intend to play Mexico. Whether that’s good for playing Brazil or not, there are times when you should value cohesion and familiarity over experimentation. How confident is anyone right now that they could predict six USMNT starters against Mexico by position?

      • Peru was about preparing for Mexico, last night was about cash. Mexico doesn’t play like or have the talent of Brazil. Mexico is better in the midfield than Peru probably at keeper, but pretty similar especially if Pizzaro would have been available. And probably Brazil encouraged MLS teams to release their players had it been Peru and S.Korea I don’t think you would have seen any of MLSers out there except Jones because it was home. Maybe Zardes because Arena understands and when you have so many other attacking options what does he care.

      • How soon people forget. Unavailable were Dempsey, F Johnson, Brooks, Besler, DMB, Jones is still not at full fitness. When you count Jones, that’s like half the starters on the team among the outfield players. If everyone is available, then expect Dempsey and Altidore up top, Zardes, Bradley, Jones and either Yedlin, F Johnson, or Bedoya in midfield, DMB at LB, FJohnson or Cameron at RB and some combination of Brooks, Alvarado, Besler, and Omar at CB. Among the choices up for grabs, it will likely depend on if anyone has a knock, is not yet 100%, hasn’t played much lately, or other physical factors like that.

      • Yes, they were missing players. And? Alvarado is being played on “potential.” Bedoya at defensive midfield? Never the same formation. Never a consistent line of defense. I’ve stopped giving Klinsmann the benefit of doubt. It’s always a “learning experience” as his excuse. In the end, is he really using players right? Or is the continued his idea of them in unfamiliar roles going to persist?

      • While I agree with you in the general sense, I think it is simply a matter of the lineup chosen, given those limitations. Sure, we were missing quite a few players, but I don’t think the way this game was played, nor the player selections were anywhere near good. This game could have gone a lot better from the start, assuming proper positioning and player selections, to overall formation and the players themselves.

        Just my take on the game, so I’m sure many of you have differing opinions.

        The CB pairing was strange from the get-go, but I was hoping they would at least play decently. That didn’t really happen. Playing Bedoya as a CDM is just weird. He never plays there and then you select him to play in that position against Brazil, when WIlliams is available. As usual, the Bradley experiment continues and is quite annoying from my perspective. He is a good player, but his skill set is not for a CAM or anything like that. He is a decent distributor from the back that runs a lot and hustles for every play. He has a good head on his shoulders and knows what to do, but he is limited in being able to use it, I feel. I think the tandem with Jones is good, and they should be able to yo-yo off each other, with Jones going forward more. Obviously, Jones is not fit yet and his play the last two games is not something to be remembered, but it wasn’t the worst. We don’t need 3 CDM’s on the field at once. They are too congested and thus will lose the ball in bad areas.

        Jozy as a lone striker has never been good. While his game is generally hold up play, a lone striker will also need to be able to get into space, make runs, and link play. That didn’t happen and aren’t strong suits of Jozy. If you pair him with someone, then his hold up play is useful as there is always someone near him to make things happen. He isn’t the type to take players on by himself. If he does, it normally fails.

        Bradley was in no-man’s land most of the game. It looked like he was trying to play 3 different positions and none of them well enough to be useful. For example, as I commented on another article, there were hardly ever triangle’s on the wings. It was normally 2 players on the touchline with no one as an outlet in the middle, at least somewhat up the field. That led to massive turnovers in poor spots, as the Brazilians were quick to counter and we now lost the advantage of players behind the ball.

        Subbing out Zardes for Wood made no sense either. Wood is not a winger, and you take out one the of the players that was trying to get forward and was doing a lot of tracking back. Instead, maybe Jones (not fully fit) should have been taken out, put Wood up top, and leave Bradley and Williams in the middle. Maybe then some actual possession would ensue, which would lower the chances of Brazil’s counters, and help with overall formation and positioning.

        Obviously, Brazil is a phenomenal side, but we shouldn’t be manhandled like this. Did I expect the US to win? No, honestly. But, I expected us to play with intent, pride, and some skill. It looked like none of that was present.

        I don’t think there were too many “good” showings, but there were some better ones by comparison to other players.

        Decent: Ream, WIlliams, Zardes, Morris (more towards “good” actually), Yedlin (minus the passing), Cameron (minus general distribution – a lot of giveaways from what I remember), Altidore (still not what I would expect, especially on the hold up side, but moving in the right direction), Spector (for limited minutes), AJ (minus that horrible shot)

        Poor: Bradley, Jones, Bedoya (mainly due to being played out of position), Alvarado, Orozco, Wood (mainly due to being played out of position)

        What I would like to see for Mexico, give or take a player (assuming no injuries, full fitness, and other factors):


        Give/take: Ream, AJ, Williams, and Yedlin as potential replacements in the starting lineup.

        Potential overall roster additions that could lead to more options either in the starting lineup or off the bench: Lichaj, Spector again, Lletget, Feilhaber, and Nguyen

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