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USMNT Notes: Responding to criticism; Ibarra talks positives of call-ups; and more

Photo by Dale Zanine/USA Today Sports
Photo by Dale Zanine/USA Today Sports

The U.S. Men’s National Team is fully aware of the criticism and frustration that surround the team entering World Cup qualifying.

After an unacceptable exit from this summer’s Gold Cup and a frustrating defeat in October’s CONCACAF Cup, the U.S. will end 2015 all but empty-handed. Overall, it was a lackluster year for the USMNT, one that has the potential to be one of the worst in recent memory.

With disappointment and angst comes criticism, something Jurgen Klinsmann is fully aware of as the team looks to rebound in World Cup qualifying.

“I totally accept it. Criticism when there are some bad results is part of your life,” Klinsmann said. “They are part of your job. You take those critics positively. You notice them. You discus them with your staff.

“Everytime we come in, we discuss what can we do better? How can we get the positive results that we have for three years? This is just a part of your normal process to go through, so I totally accept that.”

Klinsmann is far from the only one to hear and read what has been said about the team.

As a veteran, Jermaine Jones understands the importance of what lies ahead, as well as the importance of leaving the past in the past in an effort of responding in a positive way.

“If you lose games, make mistakes, those mistakes you have to fix as a team,” Jones said. “If we fix them, I’m 100 percent sure we’ll come back and win. We try to not look back at what happened. We try to look forward. We have two big qualifying games coming and it’s important to win those.

“I’m always saying that it’s kind of a part of the business of what we do,” Jones added. “If you win, people support you. If you lose, people maybe support you too but in a different way. You have to take it. The only thing we can do is get better and, the mistakes we made, put them away and come back with wins, and then you can say you shut the mouth of the people who talk.”

Here are some more of Wednesday’s USMNT news and notes:


Although his performances at Minnesota United were noteworthy, Miguel Ibarra’s big break came with a USMNT call-up that changed his career forever.

Called in for the first time in October 2014, Ibarra became the first second-division player to earn a USMNT call-up since 2005. The inclusion came on the heels of a Golden Ball-winning season in the NASL, where Ibarra established himself as a prospect to watch.

Since that first call-up, Ibarra’s career took a major turn. A move to Liga MX’s Club Leon came in June, signaling a major change for a player that was all but off the radar just one year prior.

“I think the development I was having at my last club, which was Minnesota (United), and then I got called up here to the national team,” Ibarra said. “That helped me a lot, and now being with Club Leon, the performances I’ve had there, have also helped.”

On the club level, Ibarra has played seven times for Leon and recently scored his first goal for the club.

Now, Ibarra is looking to continue his establishment as an international player. Having earned three caps prior to the upcoming qualifiers, Ibarra remains as an unproven commodity internationally as he looks to seal a more consistent place in the team.

“(Klinsmann) talked to me a lot, and he’s seen my games,” Ibarra said. “Being called here for this type of game is very important and it means a lot. He’s always given me a lot of confidence, and that’s always very good.”


Throughout his club career, DeAndre Yedlin has emerged as a right back, utiliziing his speed to cover massive amounts of ground when getting back to defend. Klinsmann, meanwhile, has seen the Sunderland speedster as a more forward option, opting to play him higher up the field.

For many, the constant switching and lack of continuity could prove to be a negative, but Yedlin insists he is prepared to contribute no matter what his role may be.

“It’s wherever the coach sees fit,” Yedlin told reporters. “That’s where I want to play. Obviously, I want to be on the field. If I’m not on the field, then obviously I want to get on the field and help the team anyway I can. It’s wherever the coach sees me fit.”

How do you see the USMNT responding to the criticism? What do you expect from Ibarra? What is Yedlin’s best position?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. JK is a worst coach in USSoccer history, he just keeps talking nonsense no performance. Gulati please shut him up and kick him out. More than 4 years of lying and deception. Gulati: be a man and fire f. JK.. Fans; please do not waste time to discuss any. this jerk “JK” will never listen,

    • Puh-leaze. You don’t remember Bob Ganglier and the losers who came before him (cough Walt Chyzowych or Alkis Panagoulias).

  2. My complaint would be that JK plays speedy wingers Zardes and Yedlin, but wants speedy/aggressive backs Johnson/Chandler/Beasley to make runs. What it ends up with is the outside midfielders and the backs ending up standing right next to each other and we can’t connect a pass because we’ve conceded all the space in the midfield by having Beckerman play back and Bradley play advanced.

    I get that a lot of people want a 4-2-3-1 as its the popular formation especially in MLS, but I think even if JK used it he would still play the two wingers so wide that again you would just leave the CAM all alone to try to stop or get open against 2 or even 3 opponents.

  3. So I went back and swallowed my vomit and re-watched the US-MEX match (I was at the stadium and so I had to re-watch it to really see everything… don’t ask). So here is what I saw, DEFENDING 6 ACROSS THE FREAKING BACK! for most of the second half. Now, what I don’t know about is who was the problem causing the 6 across the back issue, but I saw long stretches of Fabian doing a whole lot o nothing while Yedlin/Zardes/Jones/etc. were huffing up and down that side and playing a wide wingback position to boot.

    Which brings me to, Jones didn’t have a great game… BUT HE WAS PLAYING DEFENSE NEXT TO FABIAN for most of it! Does anyone have insight into why they felt the need to go 6 in the back?

    Mexico came out in a 4-3-3… OK, so maybe you have to drop beckerman into the middle to run with 9… and Jones too, why not. Then you are leaving the flank wide open to attack Fabian… BUT SHIT HE IS YOUR BEST PLAYER… ok, ok, maybe you go to 5 in the back… but then RELEASE FABIAN to go upfield as a MF and stretch your CB out to his side and drop Jones into the middle CB role…

    I just really didn’t get the tactics here… EVEN if MX went full force attacking with 6, you should be able to stop that with 7 – meaning 5 back, Beck and JJ helping middle. (was Fabian not able to run? is that why we had to defend with 8 full time?) I mean seeing Zardes pinned back on one side, Jones on the other with Beasley and Fabian tucked INSIDE of them was mind-boggling. I wish I could insert a GIF to show the strangeness.

    What I saw was that 6 in the back killed our counter time and again… and I also thought that we played nose to nose with MX for about 60 minutes of that game, and they pinned us back with that silly back-line for the rest of the time… We didn’t look as bad as I remembered it from watching the game, but I definitely need to know what caused that whole defense situation…

  4. Klinsmann seems to want central defenders who can play with the ball at their feet, over guys who can win defensive battles but then he neglects skillful midfielders for guys who run fast and try hard. Does this seam backwards to anyone else? Why have a central defender who can play a nice pass to the midfield, when the midfield is incapable of holding onto the ball?

    • Disaster? Keep shouting it on internet boards but you’re still in the minority.

      Yedlin played great, helped the national team a lot in the world cup while on the wing.

      • Yedlin is now a regular starter in the EPL at right back. Yet JK will still persist with Evans and Chandler. JK got acceptable results through the world cup (although nothing more than Bradley or Arena got) but the last 12 months have been complete garbage. We can do better. At least Yedlin is a better wing option than former USMNT “winger” Danny Williams.

      • None of those players you mention made the qualifying roster…

        But regardless I agree we should be doing better.

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