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USMNT vs. Serbia: SBI Live Commentary


The second Bruce Arena era truly begins on Sunday afternoon with the first U.S. Men’s National Team match of the new year.

Following several weeks of January cap, the U.S. takes the field on Sunday in San Diego to face Serbia in the team’s first friendly since the firing of Jurgen Klinsmann. In the build-up to Sunday’s match, Arena trimmed the USMNT squad to 23 to complete a roster with a mix of new faces and experienced regulars.

The USMNT lineup features several regulars, including Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones and Alejandro Bedoya. Darlington Nagbe and Sacha Kljestan also return to the lineup, while a returning Greg Garza holds down the left back position with Graham Zusi on the other side of the defense.

The SBI staff will be offering updates and analysis in the comments section below, so feel free to follow along, and as always, please feel free to share your own thoughts and opinions below.

Enjoy the action.


    • Disappointed with the level of the team, but
      this served to prove what I expected from
      some players, zusi, bedoya and nagbe
      playing from the sides leave the team
      without speed and strength to attack, it also
      serves to show that we need new players
      because with These players will be more of
      the same, little football

      • FINAL: Scoreless in San Diego as the U.S. settles for a draw in Arena’s first game in charge. Some positive moments, but plenty to work on. Lack of rhythm to be expected, but U.S. had chances, especially late. U.S. returns Friday against Jamaica.

    • first of all, i think “dollar store version of Pirlo” is still a compliment; he’s one of the best of all time.

      and no, you won’t see bradley make too many tackles, but the majority of defense is positioning, closing down the ball, and cutting off options before they appear—and he is good at that.

    • 47′ Chance for the USMNT as Kljestan slips in Altidore. Just a bit too close to the goalkeeper and the shot is blocked out of play. Ensuing corner is cleared.

      • 58′ Great cross in from Lletget, but Kljestan’s header loops just wide. The LA Galaxy midfielder has looked good so far. Arena said he could be an option to replace the suspended Jones in March, and he’s certainly looking the part.

      • 63′ Nagbe involved in another good sequence following a one-two with Kljestan. Cross gets cut out, but a solid idea.

      • 90′ SAVE RIMANDO! Serbia gets on the break and could have easily one it. Good work from Rimando to push it out. On the other end, two opportunities for the U.S. as Agudelo fails to pull the trigger before Pontius rolls one just wide.

      • In stoppage time, Morris gets loose and rips one will over the bar. Great pass from Feilhaber to spring him.

  1. I’m not seeing the game, but with the team
    that started the game , the lack of
    goals is understandable, who will give speed
    to this team? The full backs? No, the wingers? No, Bradley, Jones and Kljestan?

    • Definitely a lack of pacey wide players with the current group. To be expected that the wide areas would be a struggle without players like Yedlin, Johnson, Zardes, Wood. Two fullbacks have been solid, but don’t have the explosive attacking aspect.

  2. Decent half for the USMNT. What are your takeaways from the opening 45? What do you expect from the second half?

    Feel free to offer some comments/criticisms or fire some questions my way to get us through the break.

    • with this group, right now, 4 3 3 no

      Nagbe has had some chances to make the final decision, hasn’t connected yet, but I expect he will get more chances so we’ll see

      Lletget, I’m excited to see if he hacks it, pulling for him to prove he belongs. we’ll see

    • Solid B/B+ half

      Nagbe started off ball watching but turned it up a notch in last 20

      Jozy very active and leading the attack

      Jones looks like “that old guy playing pick up”– plays up to par but started breathing heavy in the first 5 minutes

      Zusi looks lost but still contributing.

      Garza is never lost positionally but can’t seem to make an impact.

      Birnbaum looks strong

      Marshall strong too but hasn’t a clue how to pass at midfield

      Bedoya is working hard but also complains 2.7 times per minute

    • sup ryan

      my impression is that our guys are playing it pretty safe, which is fine for this friendly.

      i would like to see the fullbacks advance more. kind of surprising considering both garza and zusi are more offensively-minded.

  3. Just got home and tuned into the game. I’m all for supporting Arena, but I didn’t get the memo that we were also turning back the clock to American football lines on the pitch, too.

  4. I think in the d shape there is too much space between the backline and th midfield right now, the d shape thru the first 15 or so…see if they tighten that up or play that way by design. MB dropping in to distribute between the two CBs on the backline in possession

    • JJ now dropping, B higher in distribution from the back

      the midfielders need to work to get open better, MB was bypassing them all the way through to the forwards to create the chances

      • back to MB dropping to distribute; Sasha dropped into midfield to present, MB hit him, and the USA moved up the field. maybe ore of that from Sasha and or Jozy to help the distributin with an extra body in there?

    • Definitely. Interested to see how it develops as the game goes on. Could be a 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1 or even a 4-1-4-1 depending on how things are going.

      • Been the formation of choice through January camp. Would expect to see a lot of it throughout the next several months.

      • 3/4 filed pressure, 2/3, soething like that…lines have to stay tight…ok so far but have to keep the depth right with the lies, not too deep or spaced in between with this look

    • 5′ Free kick coming for the USMNT. Several players standing over it, but it’s Kljestan who hits it right into the Serbia wall.

      • 9′ Another free kick and good delivery from Kljestan but it’s headed away. Altidore drawing several fouls early.

      • 19′ First real attempt at goal and it’s Jones with a long-range rip that goes just a bit wide. No real clear-cut chances for either side so far, but would say U.S. has had the better of the play to this point. Nothing spectacular, but certainly maintaining possession.

      • 23′ U.S. lucky not to give away a penalty kick, and Serbia creates a chance of the ensuing free kick. Cleared away, but Serbia getting into the game now.

      • 24′ Great tackle from Marshall inside the box and the U.S. springs the other way. Jones plays a ball across goal, but it just can’t get to Nagbe. Both teams finding success in the attack now. Could have been a goal at either end.

      • 29′ Good look from Nagbe, who has been balling throughout the first half. Definitely looking more than comfortable on the left. Very good on the ball so far. Most likely best player on the field to this point.

      • 39′ Nagbe JUST wide. Played in by Jones, and Nagbe curls one towards goal. Goes just wide. Had an option in Altidore, but certainly not a bad look for a player that’s definitely been the most effective so far.

      • HALFTIME: Scoreless, but positive signs. U.S. looking a bit better in the attack, but just lacking that final movement, as expected. Nagbe the star so far.

  5. Seems like a weak 4-3-3 offensive line up to me, especially since nagbe and bedoya aren’t known for scoring

    • Very interested in watching Nagbe in particular. At the Draft, Caleb Porter was talking up how effective he believes Nagbe is when played on the left. Says analytics and stats say Nagbe is much, much better on the left than as a 10 or a 6. Would expect Nagbe to play there a lot for the Timbers this season and this game could offer a solid look at how he handles it all.

      • Nagbe with the keys to unlock the Serbian D so far, hasn’t done it yet, getting right to the door tho; I like Nagbe, maybe with Lletget and MB 4 4 2 might unleash a goal for him or, maybe he can serve it to someone

    • You have to remember that this isn’t a FIFA Date. That means that player options/selections are limited to leagues that are on brake or players who aren’t featuring/competing for first team minutes at clubs in session.
      This may not be a A or B team for Serbia, but it’s not the US Team’s A squad either.

  6. Curious what everyone is looking for in this game ( the second coming of Bruce)? Player management style of play and formations or something else. Thoughts?

    • Biggest thing I’m looking to see is just a bit of confidence. On paper, U.S. should be the stronger squad and, aside from Zusi, seems that players have been put in positions that are certainly familiar. Just looking for some sort of identity and some sort of flow for the U.S.

  7. Good afternoon all. Big day of USMNT action ahead as the team takes the field for the first friendly of 2017. Looks like they’ll start in a 4-3-3 with Nagbe, Altidore and Bedoya up top and a midfield unit of Kljestan, Bradley and Jones in behind them.

    Still have some time before the game, so feel free to fire some questions my way, offer some predictions or discuss the USMNT lineup for today’s match.


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