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Mexico 3, USMNT 2: The SBI Breakdown

Jermaine Jones disappointed USMNT CONCACAF Cup 11

photo by Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today Sports


For the first time in four years, the U.S. Men’s National Team lost to Mexico. For the first time in Jurgen Klinsmann career, Mexico defeated him. For the first time in a long time, it was crystal clear who the best team in CONCACAF was.

The U.S. suffered a demoralizing and painful 3-2 loss to Mexico in extra time of the CONCACAF Cup on Saturday, with a golazo from Paul Aguilar in the 118th minute proving to be the difference at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

The Americans’ may have lost by just a goal, but their performance in the instant classic that was the match left a lot to be desired. Mexico was far better from the run of play, bossing possession, creating chances, and pinning the U.S. deep in its own half.

For Jurgen Klinsmann and his players, the bitter, frustrating, and disappointing loss was just the latest setback in a 2015 year that has been miles from perfect. Not only was it a setback for the U.S., but it left and raised plenty of questions as to how this team plans to tackle World Cup qualifying in the months to come.

Here are some takeaways from the U.S.’s 3-2 CONCACAF CUP defeat to Mexico:


When Jurgen Klinsmann signed on as U.S. head coach four years ago, there was plenty of talk about making the Americans proactive and not reactive. The idea was to have the U.S. become a side that could dictate the tempo and impose its will on, maybe not powerhouse, but ones that it is better than or about equal to.

Well, what we saw on Saturday night was not proactive soccer. In fact, it was as reactive as ever.

The U.S., overwhelmed with Mexico’s deployment of three forwards, defended deep for much of the 120 minutes. The Americans were very organized and mostly disciplined, but once again struggled with possession and lacked ideas in the attacking half. Movement was abysmal, passing was predictable, and the long-struggling attack floundered. The end result was just.

All this would be at least more acceptable – it’s been the U.S. way for years, after all – if one of Klinsmann’s stated objectives was not to make his team less reactionary and if the head coach was not getting paid a hefty sum by U.S. Soccer to push the Americans to a different level than his predecessors.

Some will say that the U.S. simply does not have the attacking-minded players to be more possession oriented, but that’s not true. Benny Feilhaber, Lee Nguyen, and Sacha Kljestan are creative players who are doing fairly well in MLS, but they continue to be ignored in favor of players more known for their defensive skills and work rates.

It was always said that it would take time for the change to happen, but the U.S. is now entering Year 5 in the Klinsmann era and showing little signs of progress in becoming more proactive. That might not matter much in World Cup qualifying because the reality is that CONCACAF’s campaign is as forgiving as any around the world, but in higher-level games that matter – where the pressure is cranked up and something is truly at stake – the U.S. is no different than it was years ago.

That’s concerning given how much has been invested in and entrusted to Klinsmann.


There were plenty of negatives for the U.S. to dissect and dwell on, but one huge positive was the play of Geoff Cameron.

Despite playing on a back line that gave up three goals, Cameron impressed in a big way at centerback against Mexico. The goal he scored on a set piece in the 15th minute was well-taken, but what really stood out was the way he held his ground against wave after wave of El Tri attacks. Cameron also did a good job of organizing, which helped keep the Americans’ defense compact and sturdy for prolonged periods against a Mexico side that hogged the ball.

Cameron looked a natural back there even though he had not played much for the U.S. since the 2014 World Cup. He complemented fellow centerback Matt Besler well, avoided the type of blunders that have plagued the U.S. in recent months, and was key in the Americans’ ability to deliver the strongest defensive performance in recent memory.

It surely helps that Cameron is regularly seeing time in central defense at Stoke City, but he should remain a starter for Klinsmann even if that changes. Cameron not only has the physical tools to be a solid centerback, but can also pass and is still at a reliable age at 30-years old.


Klinsmann talked in the lead-up to the game about how the CONCACAF Cup could be the final time some of the players that are over 30 represent the U.S., and it certainly looks as if that is the case for Kyle Beckerman.

The U.S. lost the possession battle by a wide margin against Mexico, and part, though certainly not all, of that falls on the shoulders of Beckerman. The veteran midfielder was unable to break up plays to help jumpstart attacks on a consistent basis for the Americans in the No. 6 role. Beckerman looked a step slow, just like he did at the most recent CONCACAF Gold Cup, and resorted to fouling quite a bit to halt the Mexicans.

Beckerman, 33, was a key to and very overlooked part of the U.S.’s success last cycle and in the World Cup. Now, however, with Danny Williams, Alfredo Morales, and other young options like Perry Kitchen available, Beckerman’s international career is over. In fact, let’s not forget that Klinsmann seemed ready to move away from Beckerman in the fall 2014 when he stopped calling up the Real Salt Lake star in favor of younger players.

DaMarcus Beasley, who is also 33-years old, may also have a similar fate. Beasley remains one of the top two fullbacks in the pool – even after his game-costing hiccup on Saturday – but Klinsmann has on more than one occasion sounded ready to part ways with the long-time U.S. mainstay.

Remember, Beasley retired from international duty last year before coming back for the Gold Cup due to Klinsmann’s lack of prepared options. Then, after Beasley’s poor showing in the third-place loss to Panama, Klinsmann sounded unsure if Beasley would play again internationally while the player himself said he was not retiring from the U.S. again just yet.

The players behind Beasley on the depth chart may not be as ready to step into the starting lineup as the defensive midfielders that could replace Beckerman, but Klinsmann has options. There’s Greg Garza, Brek Shea, and Timmy Chandler, and the U.S. head coach might be inclined to start relying heavily on them at the expense of Beasley.

As for the 33-year-old Jermaine Jones and 32-year-old Clint Dempsey, their places in the team same safe for now. The two are still capable of being difference-makers at the international level, but their automatic places in the lineup do not seem as secure as they did earlier this year.


Along those lines of going with youth, it is time that Bobby Wood gets some starts. Not only did he impress once again as a super sub by scoring via a cool finish in extra time, but he has also been in good form at the club level with 2. Bundesliga outfit FC Union Berlin.

Wood is looking a much more confident player these days than he did last fall when he was getting his feet wet with the senior national team and rarely seeing the field at the club level. He’s scoring goals for club and country, and demonstrating good movement and a willingness to take an array of shots.

Inserting him into the lineup will prove difficult as it likely means the removal of one of Dempsey or Jozy Altidore, but that is something Klinsmann will have to figure out. The Americans’ attack is in sore need of another goal-scoring threat and a different, less predictable look, and Wood continues to look plenty capable of providing that.

Starting would of course provide a new set of challenges for Wood, but he needs to learn how to overcome them and the only way to do that is by being included in the lineup. There will surely be rough patches and inconsistent performances, but his development will benefit from those experiences and so would Klinsmann and the U.S.


  1. Good comments in general. I agree that we will likely not ever have the same technical ball control skills that European or S. American players do, primarily because of the way US kids grow up; they tend to play 3-5 sports and they don’t spend a lot of time in unorganized street games (although I can’t comment on the experience of immigrant kids in barrios).

    However, we are well suited, or have been, to play smart, attacking team soccer as seen in the BPL; a lot of the English teams play with a high pace and quick passing, requiring athleticism and an understanding of the game but not loads of ball control skills.

    We have at times played that way in the past, and I think it’s a reasonable path forward. Under Klinsmann, however, I am quite concerned that we have taken a huge step back from where we were.

    Take for example the 2002 World Cup. Ages ago, but with young players (including, ironically, Beasley) who went after Portugal with gusto and got a result partially because of speed and a willingness to take the game to their opponent. They then went after Germany in the quarters with a lot of speed and attacking ideas, as well, and that game made me proud as a fan despite the result.

    Contrast that to our performance in this game and the game against Belgium and Ghana particularly in the WC. What I saw in those big, big games was a bunker defense and generally lazy attacking play that did not show many players moving together or any sort of creativity. I think at the end of the day you have to put that down to coaching. If you watch US players at the youth or college level, even now in our ‘dysfunctional’ suburban system, kids know how to pass and move as a team offensively. Can they do a Cruyf or show some awesome move at full speed? Not usually. But they CAN play as a team with a good collective IQ.

    No one, bar perhaps the Italians, can bunker like we did and hope to pull off a win. That’s what I saw, other than Bobby Wood and Yedlin’s move, was a boring, stodgy, ‘catenaccio’ style of play. We just don’t have the defensive skill to pull that off, even if it was a reasonable style to use. Against Belgium, Howard was awesome, but that in and of itself was a big indictment of the team–why did we need him to make that many saves?

    Even more concerning, against Ghana, we ceded huge amounts of possession and time and were unable to play with them. Dempsey’s goal was brilliant, so was Brooks–but in-between there was minimal possession and few ideas going forward.

    Klinsmann may have raised our profile and introduced expectations, and he did open up the player pool to some areas previously closed, including German players and latino players. However, what I saw during the final was a poorly coached, timid, tired effort, defending way too far back, with nothing going forward. Depressing. It was definitely a just result–Mexico scored smart, skillful goals, passed well, and went after the game.

  2. – Unless you think Bradley is a #10 — like JK mistakenly thought in the World Cup — then we were back to three defensive midfielders. Is Bradley the best playmaker in the player pool? Going forward, Bradley should play the JJ/Beckerman role, and we must see a true playmaker in front of him in the midfield.

    – Say what you will about Jones’s valor and commitment — and I won’t disagree with you — one thing he is not is a wing player. Imagine — playing someone out of position.

    – Was there any real speed in the starting lineup?

    – JK’s post-game comments, as always after a defeat, were limited to references to the need to “work harder.”

    – I have grown tired of Dempsey’s act — dribble a bit, look for a killer pass that’s not there, go to ground when it’s obvious it’s not going to work.

    • Yeah I thought we learned that after the 2014 World Cup. Everyone was saying how Bradley didn’t have a good world cup (well yeah he was out of position the whole time). Bradley was played as a DM in Roma. In 2010 he played CM but went forward when he needed to (I know we used a 4-4-2 at that time). That said, we seem to have a lack of quality in our wingers. If JK moved MB to DMF next to Jones and brought Clint up to attacking forward, who do we put on the wings? Yedlin has great speed, but has some technical weaknesses. On Saturday his speed was stopped every time by the Mexicans who had a gameplan to deal with him and executed it well. They jammed his running lanes and when he did get open they fouled him. He never got clear on the night although he did well on the assist.

  3. Mexico is better than us right now because they have better players. JK has always gotten too much credit and now too much blame. I don’t think there is much argument that we fielded our best players in a reasonable formation. I actually give our guys a heck of a lot of credit for fighting so hard, battling back twice despite being a bit overmatched. We still have that mental toughness the US has used for so long, but for the first time I can remember Mexico matched that aspect. They were organized, tough, and relentless. And toward the end of the game, the talent gap finally showed.

    Time to reboot for the US. Bring in some new younger guys, give them the trial by fire in a pretty easy WCQ round. Maybe a complete formation change. Back to the drawing board.

    • I meant to add that maybe it’s time to rethink our “spine”. The midfield and forwards have just not been good enough this year. I still think that Bradley, Altidore, and probably Dempsey are among our best players but maybe its time to use them differently or off the bench. This is what I really meant by reboot. It would be informative to try an entirely new midfield setup and players. Maybe it doesn’t work and what we had is still the best we have. But I really hope not.

  4. I attended the game and have a few thoughts:

    1) concerns about horrible mexican fans are overblown. I figure fans were 70% mexico/30% USA. We tailgated and everyone got along quite nicely. I also sat in a mixed fan area. everyone had fun and there was no crappy conduct. During goals some drinks were thrown from areas above us. But this was a few jerks only. I had a few “where’s waldo” comments thrown at me and they were in good fun. I saw one fight involving an older man in a mexico jersey who was wasted, some younger mexican fans were apologizing for him. Many groups of latinos had some people wearing USA and others mexico gear. Others wear jerseys that are half mexico half usa. Love it.

    2) USA has no counter. I’m not a super expert on tactics, but we used to be masters at the counter. We beat better teams with good tactics, patience, and a strong counter. We also had a master at speed and finishing named Landon Donovan. Our counter attack sucked. It was always half assed, with no aggression or teeth.

    3) Dempsey. Was he even there? I can’t remember one notable plus he gave us. He is known for being invisible and then creating magic. But he had none.

    4) Altidore. I’m breaking up with you. I’ve supported you too long. Move aside for people who score and make things happen.

    5) Klinnsman. I’ve been a doubter. US did well at the world cup. We’ve had some cool victories. I bought tickets and flew to the Gold Cup Final in Philadelphia and had the joy of cheering on Jamaica. I’m not sure you are a genius, and we need one. I’m concerned your player history has taken you further than your coaching brain should have allowed. Please tell me we are going to qualify for the next world cup. I’m concerned.

    • Yeah it seemed like it years past the team was set up to counter a little more from the start. Now with Klinsmann it’s hang on for 70 minutes then maybe we bring on Yedlin so there’s some speed.

    • Agreed. I was there too. The fans were generally good, but the beer throwing got old really fast. I must have seen may 10 or 12 beers thrown into the air. That does not happen in any other sporting event in the USA. The stadium security was powerless. When they got called into a nearby row they didnt eject the guy because I dont know they didnt have enough proof.

      Anyway, yeah the counter was bad. On one play, I think Johnson ran up the right flank and had nobody to cross it to or even pass back to because everyone was too tired to get forward. That kind of summed up the evening. We got lucky with those two goals we scored and were lucky that Mexico didnt make it 5 or 6-2. It was one of the worst games I have seen the US play. I haven’t seen them that dominated since they played Belgium. But I mean Belgium is Belgium, this was Mexico. Why did we let Mexico have so much space and treat them like a European power?

  5. Wow, can’t believe a team of mls players couldn’t win this game.
    Well, at least mls players scored the two goals, oh wait – that didn’t happen.
    Well, at least the mls is growing and developing talent, and most importantly collecting money from USMNT tv contracts, they really deserve it.
    For those that didn’t realize that was sarcasm – this is not -> mls fans are suckers, keep rewarding #bushleaguemls

    • But…. you’re an NASL fan. How exactly has that league helped develop US soccer? An NASL all-star team would have lost by 10 goals last night.

      • To me our key players there were :

        Claudio Reyna
        John O’Brien
        Landon Donovan
        Brad Friedel
        Brian McBride
        Tony Sanneh
        Eddie Lewis

        At the time only McBride and Donovan were MLS players; Donovan had just joined MLS and McBride was about to leave.

        And everyone remembers the match vs. Mexico, which was great (but not even as strong a performance as that vs. Germany, which was epic), but forget how we came minutes from getting knocked out by Poland.

      • At the end of our sad defeat by Poland, we were knocked out. We only advanced because the South Korea defeated Portugal.
        I still say the only reason that happened was the Portugese started insulting the Koreans by making dirty fouls during the second half, and the hosts finally decided that they weren’t going to just play for a draw.

      • Yeah, but in 2002, there were only 2 of the Mexican starters on that day that played on European teams. All the rest were in the Mexican League. On Saturday’s game, 7 Mexican players play on champions league teams compared with only 1 US player (who is a dual national German-US). The current Mexican squad is part of a golden generation that won a youth world cup. They have moved past the US in terms of development. MLS is getting better, but there is no comparison to the experience of Champions league soccer and the fitness levels in europe.

    • You know this loser was cheering when Mexico scored because he cares about NASL and Hempstead Cosmos more than US Soccer. What a clown.

  6. Any questions about who is and has always been the best National Team in CONCACAF?
    Any questions about who has the best league and has the best players in CONCACAF?
    Any questions about who wins the key matches regardless of meaningless statistics such as “shots” “possession time” “corners” “saves” or recent results and trends in “friendly matches”?

    Folks; Unfortunately CONCACAF is still a very mediocre confederation not of the same level as CONMEBOL or most European Super Powers.

    • “Folks; Unfortunately CONCACAF is still a very mediocre confederation not of the same level as CONMEBOL or most European Super Powers.”

      Thank you, Captain Obvious.

  7. Here we go again, one more thing. You made me laugh when you said they don’t listen to me
    Of course they don’t listen to me. They don’t listen to anyone. There are 100 guys that are better coaches than me that they don’t listen to. This is why I said I saw this coming

  8. Time for a fully committed transition to the new generation of players.

    Zardes — Aron– Wood

    Bradley — Bedoya

    FJ—- Besler– Cameron— yedlin


    Depth chart
    Fwd: Dempsey, Morris
    mid: Shea, morales, mix,
    Def: garza, jab, Omar g, Alvarado, chandler
    Gk: guzan, horvath

    I’ve give up on Jozy. Wcq was obviously a fluke. He is not skillful enough. Dempsey still makes it as a calming veteran who can be subbed into help control tempo. FJ and Yedlin can bomb the wings while Williams provides cover for defense. Was tempted to start horvath, but I’ve watched more of hamid

    • Too early to “give up on Jozy.” He’s the number 5 goal US goal scorer ALL TIME and he’s a year older than Johansson. His goal per game average for the Nats is roughly similar to McBride and Dempsey. You are singling him out for reasons that are clearly disconnected to his performance. He certainly is not the reason why the Nats crashed out of the Gold Cup. Dempsey didn’t step up in any of those games (Jamaica, Panama, or last night). In MLS, Jozy’s goal per minute average is in the top 5.

      And I like Jordan Morris, but I wouldn’t put him over professional players. After all, he went scoreless against a bunch of u23 Hondurans in a must win game yesterday. So, please, lets take a step back here.

      The biggest problem yesterday is that the team did not create many chances. Klinsmann’s lineup was too conservative. This wasn’t Germany or Portugal. I would have started Yedlin on the wing to put Mexico on the back foot. Jones would have sat in front of Cameron and Besler. Beckerman to the bench.

      • Agree with your hindsight lineup suggestions. But dinging Morris (or anyone) for not scoring in a single specific match is too rough, especially since he did get a goal that was called back by a dodgy offside call.

  9. Here we go again, I am glad that you enjoy my posts and I hate having to mention the length of time I worked at US soccer but I do it as a way to deter some guy from posting something dumb that I don’t feel like dealing with
    What kind of solutions are you looking for?

    For me, the US full team progress is secondary to coming up with a plan to turn us into a real soccer nation. Success at the international level is not the only component to becoming a better soccer nation. Developing players and an improved domestic league are just as important over the next 10 yeas as our success at the full international level.
    One of the problems is that our top administrators overstep their their roles and do not let real soccer people/coaches make the decisions. That being said, here is vision:
    *A player development plan that is controlled by US Soccer. Most MLS teams cannot be counted on for player development. Dallas,NY Red Bull and LA have done a good job but, in general, MLS teams do not pay enough to their youth coaches in order to get the best people in place. Therefore, we are not developing better players.US Soccer does have the money but they choose not to use it on player development.
    If I had my way we would start much younger and have regional development centers for a large pool of players ages 10-15. We would seek to get the very best coaches running such centers and that takes a commitment and an investment from US Soccer.
    Germany has over 1,000 full time coaches. We have about 18.
    I could go on for days about a player developmental plan but I wanted to make a quick response to your post
    Tell me what you think or are you looking for my ideal US Soccer lineup

    • Sepp, I shared a story a while ago- I’ll try to be brief.
      Looong time ago I spent a summer in Germany and Holland with a traveling team. Was at the Dutch academy under Weil Coerver as part of the tour.
      One quick example- They had their 9-12 year olds doing drills we’d never seen.
      One was for corners:
      Each kid had to do a scissor kick into a small net. They had to leave their feet and get horizontal every time. They were using regulation adult sized balls. The corners were delivered from an adult at full speed.
      And each kid had to do 100 of em. Not 100 tries, they had to score 100 times.
      Then they could take a break before the next drill.
      And they were NOT treated like 9-12 year olds, they were coached up the same as every age group.
      And that was just one example.
      It was eye opening, and that was a long long time ago. I know we have grown a lot as a soccer nation, but that experience made Pop Warner football in the inner city look like a ballet.

      • Wow. I get your sense of wonder, but is this really what you want? You sound as if you’re old enough to have lived through the Cold War. I thought the “American Way” — I’ll put that in quotes since the trademark logo is forbidden in this text editor — was explicitly NOT to turn our children into cogs in an industrial sports machine. That’s a NIGHTMARE. Think what you’re saying! You want 1,000 youth coaches to force preteen academy players to do 100 scissor kicks into Pug nets. I’m sure that has something to do with the fact that the Dutch now perennially flame out at tournaments rather than playing the beautiful soccer of Cruyff and Bergkamp. And I doubt either of them were dragooned into such a system. I desperately want American soccer to great. But that’s not the way.

      • Flame out ?

        The last two world cups they’ve been to finals and semifinals. Not so bad.

        Bac is absolutely right. I live in Europe and watch a lot of local soccer – I am sure it is the same in S. America and parts of Africa – kids can do things that American’s simply can’t, and must be learned at a young age.

        Another example, I recently spent an hour watching pick up beach soccer near Le Havre, France. Kids (mixed ages from 7 to 15 i’d say) form their own games, it is pretty freeform but there were improvised rules : the final pass had to be in the air and they could only score on a volley or header. After they scored that person would go in goal. It was fun and challenging too. They played and played, the game never devolved. This goes on all the time. It was in their freetime. Imagine what they do for their clubs?

        The game is played at extremely intense levels here, tactics that national teams use are taught to very young kids, and beyond that all they do in their free time is play with the ball.

        In one word, practice. In America kids don’t touch the ball enough. When they do, it is too often kicking a ball against a wall and doesn’t last that long.

        Read Malcom Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule.

      • Conrad,
        1. I am 47 years old- You can define that however you want. U may wanna Google Cold War.
        2. You must not know who Weil Coerver is. He was a former Dutch National Team coach. He was also considered to be a genius and revolutionary in terms of skill development through his training. It started a 5 part pyramid that begins with individual ball skills. And I didn’t just train at his academy, I trained under him directly…you know since I was old enough to live during the Cold War.
        You may want to Google him. Google a guy named Johan Cruyff while you’re at it, see if you can figure out his relationship with him. And we met Ruud Guillet there when he stopped by one day, but you know, he sucked because he was dragooned.
        3. Someone taught me a long time ago- If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. So if that means the premier US academies trained its young uns like Coerver instead of giving every kid a Gold star and eliminated things like keeping score, then why not.
        I mean after all, the US has produced an endless number of World Class players compared to the Dutch.
        Or maybe we can ask the Pop Warner coaches at Booker T or Glades to put their kids in Time Out if they make a mistake? I know, let’s eliminate the pads and helmets and only play flag football.
        4. I gave ONE example. And guess what, I specifically remember one kid who spoke great English, and when he would drill one in the net, he’d get up and laugh at us and talk trash while we were watching. He was so good, and so funny neither us or the trainers could stop laughing every time he got up and said something.
        They loved doing all the drills, had fun, had endless work ethic… oh and they were pretty good too.
        Oh- and did I mention- they had to do the drill with both feet? You may wanna know what you’re talking about before you start name dropping… With the guys you named you must have lived through the Cold War?. Dragooned into such a system? The system was built around them Einstein.

        FLAME OUT?
        At this point I’d settle for getting the match lit

    • This is much better and I enjoyed.

      Specifics are good. I don’t care if your posts are 5,000 words long.. There are intelligent people on this site (not all of them, but enough) who will read them and think about them. Write to that audience and your insights will always be valued.

      • Here we go again. BAC and Concord
        Thanks, I enjoy this kind of discussion

        I never thought I would say we need to put 10 year olds in a regional development setting but the rest of the world does it so why don’t we?
        The coaching is the decisive factor for those development centers. We will not destroy a 10 year old if they are put in a good situation with an experienced coach. Actually we will develop the player and the person.
        We also need to guide the 15 year olds who are graduating from the proposed regional centers as to what their next step is. We developed them so we need to make sure that 16-20 year old phase of their career is EXACTLY what they need to be a pro/international player.
        I am very adamant that when our best coaches are working with our best 10-15 year olds we will start to succeed. We would have a 10 year seed planted and IT WILL WORK
        To address BAC point on Coever training. US Soccer needs to create a practice plan for technical development for kids/coaches to implement starting at a very young age.
        Concord refers to the 10,000 hour rule which states it takes 10,000 to be an expert in a certain area. Soccer skills are very hard to develop. Just like the piano or other instrument, it takes countless hours of the CORRECT practice. We have no guide for this in the US and therefore we don’t have a lot of players who are technical enough.
        Two players that I know for a fact who did technical training at a very young age for countless hours are Emmerson Hyndmann and Michael Bradley. Their grandfather and father, respectfully developed them.
        Plant these seeds and more (I have many more thoughts) and wait for them to grow. We will start to develop much better players.
        Right now, this kind of vision is even more important than our full team development.
        This type of vision should have come from the technical director and the 4 other people who make all soccer decisions in the US . Instead we hired “Double Pass” who’s assessment is good but not suited for America. Plus they are getting paid $2.5 million.

    • This was really interesting. I’d love for the USMNT to “flame out” at the world cup like Holland does (i.e. in the final or semis).

  10. Whenever I watch a JK coached team I see 11 players who are on 5-6 different pages.

    In the back, Cameron/Besler are the best pairing. Why it took so long to realize this, I do not know. Johnson is a good attacking player who is very disinterested in defending. I posted in another thread that he WALKED back on the second goal by Mexico. He jogged the last 5 steps and was still within 5 yards of Peralta. Hejduk, Sannah, Dolo or any of the past US right backs would have broken that play up.

    In the midfield, if you are going to make MB your centerpiece midfielder than he needs to have players that have the same mind and chemistry. Guys who can pass, get into spots, play simple, etc.
    Zardes, Jones and Beckerman are not these guys. Beckerman can break up plays and is a good soldier but he cannot even come close to dealing with a fast team like Mexico. He looked so tired last night and in the Gold Cup.
    JJ, when he is in pitbull form, is an effective player to do a lot of dirty work. He doesn’t combine with other guys well but can still be of service. This midfield last night needed to be able to hold on to the ball for longer stretches. They couldn’t and it put too much pressure on the defense.Eventually, the damm was going to break.
    There is no style of play, no more than 3-4 players on the same page and not much belief in the system or the coach.
    The current coach is also Technical Director and my fear is that if he gets released as head coach he will slide into this role (technical director) and run this aspect of US Soccer into the ground as well. And the u23s….Sigh.
    I saw this nightmare coming years ago, Sunil.

    • why hasn’t Klinsmann been fired yet. USMT won’t improve until someone else takes the reins. Klinsmann is NOT the right man for the job. All he proves is how much he doesn’t know and understand America and American culture. And that is not going to ever get any better. It’s time for a change, and a change to an American coach. oh wait, we had one before this guy was hired at a huge bump in salary. How’s that worked out?

    • “I saw this nightmare coming years ago, Sunil.”

      Yeah you and everybody else with 20/20 hindsight. Only difference is you claim to have all sorts of “connections” to the USMNT and apparently nobody is listening, or they simply regard you as not worth listening to.

      Hey we had a bad day. A bad 2-3 months really. And I especially agree that there was WAY too much walking going on– FJ was not even the worst offender (that was Jozy by a mile).

      But improvement is about making recommendations and finding solutions. You do a consistently excellent job of finding scapegoats but rarely do I see actually solutions regarding “what SHOULD be happening”. Just a bunch of “MB and JJ are awesome on good form” (no news here… they were both mediocre yesterday and they aren’t getting younger)

      I like your posts, but how bout some solutions?

      • I had to watch the game from my office on the internet so I decided after the first Mexico goal to put down a mark on paper every time Dempsey or Altidore made a pass to a Mexican player or dribbled into trouble and lost the ball. I stopped at 28. That’s a huge amount of possession conceded to the opponent. To be fair, some of those times they were under a lot of pressure and can’t be blamed. However, there were six times when Dempsey held the ball too long and just lost it– at least 3 resulted in potentially dangerous counters. If Mexico held possession on average 30 seconds after each turnover, then that was an additional 14 minutes of chasing the game that could have been avoided. We can’t afford to do that.

      • Yeah seriously, there were so many bad passes and times where the US lost the ball. They usually build up the attack better than what I saw on the night. It was probably one of the worst performances I have seen from them, definately of the live games I’ve seen. That said, I don’t know how they came back both those times. They did show some heart and some guts. One play I remember that mad me mad I think it was fabian johnson or someone on the right I don’t remember. They made this awesome run down the right flank deep into Mexican territory, but the attack failed because everyone else was jogging up the middle. We had all this time to put in a good cross in the box but nobody bothered to try to get into a good position. Jozy wasn’t close (jogging), Bradley wasn’t close (jogging). So Johnson/whoever tracked back to find someone to pass to, but even then nobody bothered to run up to help provide a passing outlet and then got swarmed by three Mexican players and got the ball taken away.

  11. I know it’s not a popular opinion but it was still a pretty entertaining match. I thought after the first Mexico goal things might just get ugly. However a lot of guys put up a fight. Any good rivalry needs to be back and forth and maybe it was just Mexico’s turn to get a win.

    • Opinion shared !

      Mexico have a very good team. I’m happy for them. Our team will never be as skillful as theirs. Our country will never love the beautiful game as much as they do.

      • Lol, you sound so bitter. What do you base this on? Is it the u20 team getting destroyed by Germany or the Olympic team beaing outclassed by Honduras?

  12. Williams and Morris were major impact with wins over the Dutch and Germans (I know these friendlies aren’t important).

    • It still boggles my mind that Williams didn’t see a minute of time when both Beckerman and Jones had nothing left in the tank after 60-70 minutes.

  13. USNT played defensive style with 3 more defensive midfielders without hurry to win the game. Zardes on right was major mistake (Zardes is stronger on left with USNT), and playing Johnson out club position. And Dempsey is getting old and lazy, and Klinsmann will continue to spoil Dempsey.

    Klinsmann, job is safe no matter the results. WOW! Talk about being anti-American and more beaucratic system by Gulati.

  14. The biggest difference, the Mexican team was built around European based players (who for the most part are happy playing not in the EPL, but in 2nd tier Euro leagues where they actually see time) and Club America (who were the CCL champs). The Mexican players were more skilled and played cohesively.

    The Americans especially in the attacking third seemed more concerned with getting their own shot than working together to find a goal. Jozy, MB, JJ, Dempsey, all at certain times would just put their head down and ignore open teammates in order to shoot often times from less than ideal positions.

    • MB isn’t a 10, and has shown so many times now to not play well there, you could see Dempsey’s hit a bit of a wall this year even at Seattle. Maybe the Gold Cup just took much out of him. Jozy and Dempsey have never paired well together.

      • He wasn’t really playing that position last night although it may have been more reactionary. You could have Benny or Lee in that position last night and it wouldn’t have made a difference because no one could have passed it to them.

      • Jack, your comment about Jozy and Deuce not being a good pair holds a lot of weight to it that I think gets overlooked. Here’s why, Because Deuce laid an egg last night the angry emotions erupt. Same with the fact that Jozy has had an up and down year.
        But Deuce was never fast, and he doesn’t high press. But when you watch him and Maartens together one can’t say he’s not dangerous or can’t finish. Maartens runs his tail off, like Rooney has most of his career- just a non-stop energizer bunny. Having a partner like that makes Deuce more dangerous. Jozy isn’t, nor has he ever been, that guy. (Almost like it weakens 2 spots…sometimes)
        I think it’s a problem that right now has no solution. I’m not saying Deuce will be in Russia, I have NO idea. But he’s still this team’s best finisher. The guy played every minute in Brazil with a broken nose. Unfortunately, we don’t have another Dempsey or Donovan.
        But he was AWOL last night.

    • I’m not sure there was a huge skills disparity last night. One of the things I watch for in the first five minutes is who has the ball bouncing off their feet more, and last night it seemed both sides were struggling with first touch. The difference was Mexico’s intensity in defense phase. Think back through your memories of the game, and ask yourself who had more space/time to recover from awkward first touches?

      Our players were pressed in middle third throughout the night, and sometimes even in our defensive third. How many times did you see one of our players have to execute a turn just to get away from pressure, and then feel compelled to force a pass to another player in tight space?

    • Lazy analysis I think to blame it on MLS. Is playing in Portgual every week that much more challenging? Playing for Benfica and Porto against smaller teams they dominate? Is playing for PSV really that much more difficult than playing for Stoke or Sunderland? I don’t think so.

      Plus most of the guys on the field on Saturday have played in Europe. I think all of them have actually except for Beckerman, Evans, Zardes and Besler. And Zardes probably will at some point. Plus, many of their players play in Liga MX. Admittedly that’s a better league right now than MLS but it’s not Europe.

      I think the main issues right now are 1) the generation that should be coming to the fore now isn’t doing so, so we are relying on guys who are too old and should be retired from the USMNT (Beckerman, Evans, Beasley etc. and possible Jones and Dempsey soon) and guys who probably aren’t quite ready for primetime (Zardes, Yedlin, etc.) and 2) our coach is a poor tactician who gets outcoached on a regular basis. One of the those problems can be solved pretty easily and should be.

      • I agree somewhat, but I have been noticing though that in all of our big losses in tournaments, etc in the last 6 years we have had a lack of fitness which resulted us losing the game in the second half. Look at the following results: (’09 Confederations cup final – 3 second half goals lose 3-2; ’11 Gold cup final – 2 second half goals lose 4-2; ’10 World Cup round of 16 lost in extra time 2-1; ’14 World Cup round of 16 – allowed 2 extra time goals, lost 2-1; ’15 Concacaf cup – allowed 2 extra time goals). When Klinsmann said before the 2014 World Cup that our fitness was lacking, at first I didn’t believe him, but it is looking more and more like a core problem. I was at the game on Saturday. Our guys looked tired after 30 minutes. Partially that was due to defending all of the time, but some of that has to be that so many more of the Mexicans are in Europe and most of the US players are in MLS. MLS has improved a lot, but when most of the big name foreign stars are in their mid 30s and can do well, what does that say to anyone. It says that MLS is run at a slower easier pace than the euro leagues and there is less stress on the body and you don’t need as high a level of fitness which is why Gerrard and Drogba can come here and start on a regular basis and score goals. A US team made up of so many MLS players just does not transfer well to the international game. If we want to change the fortunes of those matches I listed above, then we need our players playing in Europe, ideally the Champions League, which is still has the best quality in the world. Key stat: Mexico- 7 of their players who played on Saturday play on UCL teams, USA- 1 of our players who played on Saturday play on UCL teams.

  15. It is past time that some of the “Elder Statesmen” of the USMNT were put out to pasture. Rimando, Beckerman, Beasley, Wondolowski, Evans, and possibly Jones & Dempsey as well.
    It’s past time that these changes were made in order to identify and prepare those who can actually contribute to the qualification effort and the 2018 World Cup.
    Bring in Nagbe, Finlay, Kitchen….give starts/significant minutes to Williams, Johannsson, Morales, Shea, Agudelo, Yedlin.

    • I agree with removing everyone except jones at this point as I thought he was one of the better players for the U.S. And just lost steam at the end. We as usmnt supporters may need to face reality that the U.S. Is going to be in transition with those younger players you mentioned who I don’t rate highly. We may see some pretty poor results in the few years leading to Russia and no guarantees we qualify

      • Jones & Dempsey may still have a part to play right now, but IMO they should be used more as Subs than starters. They can help mentor the next generation, be used as impact subs to hold a lead or get a needed goal, but the younger players need the Reps if they are to grow into the players we’ll need by the time the Hex roles around.

      • Jones looked poor after the first 70 minutes, which was unfortunately nearly half the game.

        I think it’s on Klinsmann that he didn’t sub him. Yedlin should have come in for Jones instead of Zardes, and Williams should have come in for Beckerman. Both of these things should have happened between minutes 65 and 70.

    • “It is past time that some of the “Elder Statesmen” of the USMNT were put out to pasture.” — Agreed,…but I would put it a little more delicately. Thank them for their service and move on,…is the way I would put it. Beasley, Beckerman, Dempsey, Jones, Rimando, Wondo, Evans.

      I would further that by giving Altidore a break. He just isn’t showing anything.

      He needs to bring in the sub-30s.

      • Absolutely they should be thanked for their service. Beasley is a true team player, which took me a long time to see. Same for Beckerman, Jones, Rimando, etc. Can anyone say enough about Jones? For a couple years, he played the enforcer, even when the fanbase was getting down on him for being the walking card threat. And he did it without complaint.

        As for getting the younger players ready for Russia, we need to think about just getting to Russia. It isn’t clear anymore that we’re in the top three or even top four of CONCACAF. We probably are, but we’ve seen enough to know we can’t take qualification for granted. Looking forward to next Hex, with our proven players aging and the younger ones unproven, we could be in for some nerve-wracking moments. I kind of feel like most of the Hex usual suspects have gotten a little better and we’ve taken a step back.

    • I think Dempsey still have a part to play for a while and Jones may too. Other than that, it’s time to move on from the other guys you mention.


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