Top Stories

USMNT earns draw in Panama to collect four points from March qualifiers

The U.S. Men’s National team went from the elation of a road goal to the disappointment of a poor concession to the satisfaction of a road point in the Hexagonal round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

The USMNT tied Panama, 1-1, in Panama City on Tuesday night, benefiting from a Clint Dempsey opener before Gabriel Gomez leveled the clash of continental foes before halftime.

USMNT sensation Christian Pulisic dazzled on the right side of the penalty in the 39th minute in the buildup to his assist to Dempsey. Pulisic, who received a beating for most of the first half, stripped Felipe Baloy of the ball before feeding an open Dempsey, who knocked in his 56th-career international goal. Dempsey is now one goal short of Landon Donovan’s all-time USMNT record of 57.

Getting to halftime up a goal would’ve been a huge step forward for the U.S., but they were undone by a long throw. Tim Ream mistimed his leap on Adolfo Machado’s long throw, which led to the ball bouncing off his body and to the feet of Gomez, who powered in a 43rd-minute equalizer.

As bad as Ream was on the Panama goal, the Fulham man made a goal-saving tackle to preserve the point in the 58th minute after Omar Gonzalez was caught out by the Panama attack.

Not long after Ream’s terrific tackle on the right side of the box, Tim Howard made a remarkable denial in the same area on a Luis Tejada shot. Howard slid toward the Panama forward, and the ball remained stuck between the American goalkeeper’s legs after Tejada beat Ream to get open for the shot. The save was one of three for Howard on the night.

For most of the final 30 minutes, the USMNT bunkered in the defensive half and Bruce Arena used the fresh legs of Alejandro Bedoya, Kellyn Acosta and Paul Arriola to ensure no major lapses occurred when Panama was in possession.

After stumbling out of the gates in the Hex, the USMNT is back on level footing in fourth place with four points and a sufficient goal difference coming from the 6-0 thumping of Honduras on Friday in San Jose. Panama remains in third place with five points.

Next up for the USMNT in the Hex is a home match with Trinidad and Tobago on June 8 before a trip to the Estadio Azteca three days later. Panama will travel to Costa Rica and host Honduras in the next set of World Cup qualifiers.


  1. incredible improvements in this team in 2 games…from zero points in 2 games to 4 points in 2 games. you all doing the bit ching are hilarious

    make shift back four playing together for the first time on the road gets a result and concedes one goal…that is pretty damn good

    playing the tactics we played last night are how to produce in CONCACAF if you are the USA on the road. the biggest problem last night was the middle of the field when we had the ball, and it wasn’t MB becasue he dropped back between the CBs to distribute…and found no one open, consistently. JJ is lousy in that advanced role, just like MB is lousy in that advanced role. If they are on the filed together, they both have to play facing forward, can’t force one of them to play with his back to goal, neither are good enough at it. Last night perfect example.

    who else can deliver set piece balls? please

    with all the injuries to so many, these 4 points, including following up the worst defeat (4-0 to CR) with the best victory (6-0 over Hon) is the quick turnaround we needed from the pathetic state the USMNT was in after Klinsman departed finally

    long fliipin way to still go because of that hole we were left in

  2. arena is arena (i love that man!) but i think (as the previous person implied) that the old method of always driving down the wings and whipping crosses into the box will be replaced by a new mentality (the overall trend in mls for the last ten years) to keep the ball on the ground and work the ball up the field with passing combinations. i’m excited to see it. i think it will be good. maybe the best version of ourselves yet?

  3. Since crossing the ball in is the least effective way to score from run of play , I hope we can throw that old style baloney out the window . One of the positive things about Nagbe is that he is not apt to cross the ball, thank god. Why would you not use your fullbacks in attack? what phantom Neymar are you defending all the time. At least one side must be able to attack. Bradley is not and can never be a box to box midfielder. He is at best a deep central mid, Like the diamond they had against Honduras .Jones is catastrophically bad and must be given a retirement game immediately.Jones is the reason we did not score against Panama. I am sure you can reason that one out by yourself. If Bradley gets hurt, Our spine improves immediately. His distribution is poor, His creativity is poor, His defense is just adequate. If he lasts till the WC, we are in deep do-do. Once the hex is done, we must prepare for the WC. Jones, Bradley, Altidore must be gone by then.The purpose you give Altidore is in the fantasy league only. Green is such a longshot, he should not figure into anything right now. If he turns into a playert eventually, count it as a bonus. Morris has a log, long way to go to be a good player. His movement off the ball is juvenile. He should have gone to Germany where they could teach him something. Up till now , Seattle is not a teaching location. He is better than Altidore though. Did anyone notice that Altidore is overweight? To even mention Mccarty as a possible midfielder is shocking in its lack of vision.

  4. Thoughts on our squad going forward:

    Bruce Arena’s past teams loved to use wide speedy technical midfielders to stretch the defense and deliver crosses into the box for big target man type strikers. He may adapt from this style but his LA Galaxy teams have used a similar formula over the years too. That said my analysis is based on Arena’s heavy tendency to use the 4-4-2.

    Wide Midfield. Fabian Johnson more that fits the bill on one wing as a modestly speedy and very technical wide midfield player and he can deliver a good cross too, of course we already know he’s a no brainer in the starting lineup, but he to use on the other side?

    I’m probably going to get flammed for this but I’m not a fan of Nagbe’s play at least what I’ve seen so far in a US shirt. He’s a good straight line dribbler but is over reliant on his speed to out pace defenders on the dribble and I saw him fail to make several key passes to his overlapping LB last night and against Honduras several times. His tendency is to dribble at defenders towards the middle or slightly backwards. Saw very few cross attempts from him and again most often when he receives the ball his first instinct is to pick a direction and keeps his head down and dribbles but fails to look up to make the unlocking pass or more importantly in his wide midfield position get into a crossing position and deliver a pinpoint cross. On a few of his dribbling runs into the middle he dribbled himself right into three defenders and lost the ball. Happened enough to become predictable while watching imo. However, if he can begin to find that pass a half second or two earlier before dribbling into two or three defenders his skill set could be very useful but he has to learn to make his carrying run and find the open teammate as he draws the defense to him. He could be deadly if he adapts to this but time will tell. Makes the squad but not a starter imo.

    So, here are a couple options I think Arena could use if he’s seeing the same things. This is a creative solution for sure so don’t go crazy when I say Timmy Chandler. Chandler is a whole other set of problems especially as a RB but his best qualities as a RB are getting forward and delivering crosses into the box. He is of course not the most spatially aware RB at least in a US shirt. Could he be used a RM with Fabian at LM? He would be out of position relative to where he plays for his club but maybe that’s where he fits at the international level. I’m just saying I’d like to see it tried out during Gold Cup in a game or two. Another similiar options would be to use Yedlin at RW also and find a suitable replacement at RB. Arena’s teams usually don’t ask the fullbacks to push as high forward into attack as Klinsmann did so this would utilize Yedlin’s skill set more if Arena asks the fullbacks to stay back more often than Klinsmann did.

    Other wide midfield options I can see are Zardes who we know Arena already likes. Julian Green although I think his skill set is more at withdrawn striker. Certainly Llegett could be used again. Gold Cup will be key for finding options for who pairs with FJ as the other wide midfield player.

    Left Back. I think Villafana did okay but I think we still need to try out Lichaj and others there to see who’s serviceable at the position. He also tends to get a little to far up field and if I was an opposing manager I would have been yelling for my squad to make runs and passes into that space on counters. Bad giveaways in central mid field aren’t his fault though and he and other fullbacks in the past take the blame for being out of position when those turnovers happen in leading to counter attack opposition goals. I expect Arena to ask his fullbacks to be less involved in attack in the future based on his managerial style in the past so the skill set he’s looking for in the fullback position are different from what Klinsmann was looking for.

    Biggest issue ongoing for our squad is central midfield. The difference in performance with an attacking and creative player in front of Bradley is striking. Pulisic’s spatial awareness in the 10 role is very high and he routinely gets himself into the holes of space allowing Bradley to feed the ball forward faster. Klejstan also showed this to some extent although against inferior competition. Jones on the other had seemed to make himself unavailable most of the Panama match and you actually saw Dempsey recognizing this and dropping back deep into midfield to help Bradley move the ball forward. I’m not sold on Bradley as a true #6 either and think he’s more of a true box to box central midfielder. Still he may be our best #6 at the moment but he needs to be told to stay close to his CB and allow others to help defend wide positions or move to forward in attack, yet I’ve seen him in both recent games challenging defenders on the wings and scoring goals at the top of the box, not bad but a gamble for a #6. Right now if Bradley gets hurt our spine is really shot. We need to start getting other CDMs time in the role for depth alone. Not really sold on any of these options but we need to start trying them more often and Gold Cup will be where we find a reliable backup hopefully, Kitchen, McCarty, D Williams, Stanko. Morales is intriguing also but he’s more of a box to box midfielder which has put him behind Bradley and Jones in the past. Hyndman is also more of a box to box type.

    Centerback. Pretty straightforward just finding the right pairing. Brooks Cameron, Brooks OG. I’d go with Brooks Cameron unless Arena wants to try Cameron at #6 and then i think we’ll see more OG in the lineup.

    Forwards. Also fairly straightforward just finding the right pairing. Altidore Dempsey, Dempsey Wood, Altidore Wood. Morris gives you everything Wondo did in off the ball runs and poaching but also will speed and far better technical ability so he’ll be a reliable backup but not really a creator. I’d be shocked if Wondo every gets to put the shirt on again, but I thought that was the case after 2014 WC too. Never been the biggest fan of Altidore but he has his purpose which is to occupy opposing CBs and make distributing passes that a target forward should and he does this relatively well. I do think Wood is close enough to Alitdore in the target forward ability but give you so much more technically and spatially with his runs that he’s got to be ahead of him now. Never know Terrence Boyd and Aron Johansson could get back in the mix also.

    Julian Green is who I’m most excited about for the future with the exceptions of Pulisic of course. I’ve watched a lot of his tape and replays. IMO he’s serviceable at LM but he excels at the withdraw striker position. I really believe he should be groomed to be Dempsey’s replacement. Watch his tape and goals, he has a hunger to score. Scores efficiently of just one or two touches and strikes the ball with they type of pace and placement I’ve only seen from Dempsey, Donovan, and now Pulisic in a US shirt. I’m salivating over him and Wood up top with Pulisic at the 10 and FJ out wide.

    Thanks for being patient.All that said here’s my lineup today if everyone’s healthy:

    4-4-2 diamond

    Wood Dempsey(Green)


    FJ Chandler


    Villafana Brooks Cameron Yedlin


    Ideally I’d like to find a better RW option or wing pairing for FJ than Chandler but just not seeing it in Nagbe or Zardes right now. Haven’t seen Lleget enough to say anything either. I would like to see Green start getting significant minutes as Dempsey tires or slows down or start Green and sub him for Dempsey so Deuce has fresh legs going against tired legs for last 30 minutes of a match. Bradley has to be told and made to stay in a defensive midfield position, no roaming wings and pushing into opposing box.

    All in all this would be probably our most accomplished started lineup from a success with club team and league point of view, but that’s not always who is the best player or what makes the best team. One paper this looks good but it needs to be tested on the field.

  5. I thought it was interesting that we got the goal within minutes of the tactical switch to return to the 4-3-1-2 from Friday. Immediately after the goal, we switched back to the 4-4-2. Imagining FJ at RM with Pulisic at AM and Nagbe at LM and Wood in place of Altidore. Get Yedlin back at RB and we might actually have a lineup that can put some fear in people.

  6. Its tough to complain much about a road tie when half the field will/should be replaced with others once healthy. Add Wood, FJ, Cameron, Brooks, and Yedlin. Subtract Zusi, Ream, Jones, Nagbe and Altidore. That’s a material improvement everywhere and as a unit. Bradley is a much better player as a solo operator in the defensive midfield. He never has chemistry there with a partner, and playing with two defensive mids bogs down the offense (the only reason this formation has ever worked for Brazil is because they usually have world class wing backs bombing forward and their mids have more technical ability).

  7. Last night was always going to be what we saw, hoping to find a goal and maybe steal 3 points. As it was we got a point, and more importantly, kept Panama from gaining 3 points on us. If you look at the standings. Probably worse case scenario is we are fighting for the 3rd place automatic spot, behind Mexico and Costa Rica. I expect we eventually catch and pass Costa Rica. But Panama is the team we will be looking at and maybe Honduras. Tonight we stayed within a point of 3rd place. We still have 2 games with the weakest team (T & T). We are the last to play them.

    Last night we put out a very poor team, many of those guys will never get on the field again during the Hex barring a myriad of injuries again. Ream, Zusi – done. Gonzo probably done. Arriola has a chance but he faces stiff competition. Why play Jones and MB together again? Because of Gonzo, Ream, Zusi, and an unexperienced Villafaña. It was always going to be ugly and lack incisive passing. We needed a point, and we got it. Jozy and Deuce weren’t pressing, because that wasn’t the game plan. Last game there was 3 up top(CAM Pulisic) pressing a weaker opponent at home. This game, tired legs, weak lineup, it all called for 2 dmids. I was bored except for Pulisic’s great play. Phil Schoen offers little, and Jay Demerit talks way to much as a color analyst. All in all a forgettable night, but a successful night in my opinion.

  8. Panama thugged the game up like we expected, a point is respectable but that display left alot to be desired. A couple of takes:

    – San Zusi looked to have partially repaired Panamas heart break from the last WC cycle with that performance, it was just plain bad
    – The midfield combo of Jones and Bradely continues to disappoint, it’s time to move on from it
    – Aside from Dempsey’s goal and that lifted pass to CP10 he was non existent, he looked tired or disinterested most of the match
    – Jozy was worse, still can’t properly trap a ball with his chest and was never an attacking threat
    – CP was great again and you could tell Panama made it a point to try and get in his head with fouling
    – That amount of fouling was never punished by the referee and it’s sad that he let it go that far
    – Ream and Gonzalez showed up and played well, that goal in the box was rather fluckish if not lucky
    – Our defense on corners is bad beyond belief, needs to be fixed asap
    – We have seen way better set piece delivery from Bradley but last night he turned a strength into a weakness
    – I have been in theBradley camp for a long time but now i’m even seeing that he’s just not getting t done. Is it time to sit him??

  9. Looking forward to getting Bobby Wood back. Between the lethargic Bradley/JJ pairing and lacking our most dynamic forward in Wood, offense was stagnant.

    We’re ok though. Hopefully in June we have preferred backline and Wood back.

  10. Very bad game, ream and zusi were very
    poor in the defense, Jones and nagbe were
    not well neither in defense nor in attack,
    altidore was horrible in that game, I hope
    Brooks, Cameron, Yedlin, Fabian are in the
    next games so the classification Come on.

    • Zusi was definitely a liabilty and if last night wasn’t proof that he can’t play RB at this level i don’t know what will! I’d argue Ream was our best defender…not sure what you saw that would suggest otherwise. He had several moments were he had to cover for Gonzalez and Villafana because they got caught ball watching or were too far upfield. I don’t put that fluke goal Panama scored on him like one article suggestedwhen you consider there were 2 other defenders in front of Tim that did nothing to deter that cross

  11. All coaches have blinders and flaws. Arena’s flaw is that he is too comfortable with seasoned vets, and not secure enough with the obvious. The big difference between the previous game and this one was Jones.If you look at Jones not as a fan but with some isolation, He is slow to react, terrible technically, very inefficient passer, undisciplined ,wandering all over for no reason. Just some observations. In the 6 min, lost possession,8 min same.10 min falls down with ball,13 minporr diagonal, lost ball, 14 min sensless foul and so on. By being undisciplined, he encroaches on Pulisics territory, giving him less room to work on the right side. Beside the fact that Altidore is useless, he got no service because of Jones and Bradley in the middle instead of Pulisic., Both bad distributors, choked off the flow. The obvious midfield was a diamond ,like Honduras, with Pulisic in the front, Nagbe and Bedoya on the sides, And Bradley in the back centrally like Kante (HA !) Do not believe the fantasy that Jones is a good defender. He is not, he has no idea how the challenge, never intercepts, just fouls. If he plays with Bradley, bet on the USA to lose very soon.

  12. There was a fatigue or lack of sharpness from the get go. Travel, preseason fitness, Panama better defensively, not sure exactly why but there was a big difference in our sharpness in this match.

    Pulisic and Nagbe were the bright spots, both looked dangerous in attack and defended very well. Also was impressed by Villafana, our best defender on the day by far. We got schooled in the middle of the field, again. Like others have said, Bradley and Jones just don’t seem to have any chemistry, despite years playing together. Both were awful last night, and that hurts to say because I admire them both. But phasing them out and finding replacements may be Arena’s biggest challenge this cycle.

    In the big picture, getting a point in Panama while missing the entire starting back line and having a gaping hole in centermidfield is a good result.

  13. Very disappointing outing last night. That was a Klinsmann like effort and we were lucky to get a point. Panama was far faster than us and it showed all night. I would give an A+ to Pulisic and not a lot of credit other places. Basically, Arena has problems that need fixing unless he wants to be Klinsmann 2. Problems are:

    1) Bradley/Jones – When has that worked? Not last night for sure. He needs to start looking for replacements for both of them. Jones looks finished against a speed team like Panama. Bradley is what he is and it’s no longer good enough. He really has lost a lot the last 2-3 years

    2) Defense – take Omar’s phone number, was it up into a little ball and eat it. He sucks and makes all around him suck too. BTW – lose Ream too. Might as well throw Zusi in there too, He is not an international level defender. Start looking at other MLS defenders that arent on or been on LA. They can’t be worse

    3) Forward – I am sick and tired of hearing people defend Jozy. He did nothing last night except mishandle almost every ball he touched. He is not that good and Arena has to see it. Dempsey… yes he scored but that wa due to Pulisic. Other than that, he was mostly MIA. Arena has to go younger and should start working on that now

    4) Mids – Already commented on Bradley/Jones but the new media darling… Nagbe. Had some nice touches but at the end of the day, nothing came of any of it and I think that’s the line on him. Promise but no results. I generally don’t like Bedoya but thought he outplayed Nagbe last night. I also think Arena favors bangers and Nagbe is too small for that game

    So it comes down to will Arena make the necessary changes or will he fall into the same trap that got him fired last time? I’m not sure he will ever sit down personal favs, no matter how they play. Number one priority should be a youth movement. Jones and Bradley are done. Dempsey is too unless somebody feeds him. Gonzo should be done and Zusi too

  14. The biggest piece missing that I could see over these last two games was yedlins presence to push forward and spread the defense. He would have help big time with his pace and getting down the right side with crosses. The fullbacks had really no attack at all

  15. Altidore and Dempsey up top together has to be a thing of the past. Cant have two guys walking all game and not making defenders work. Okay with one or the other but not both at the same time. Altidore had a good game against Honduras, but the constant walking…… Come on. At least Morris and Wood would make defenders work.

  16. While the emergance of Christian Pulisic as the US “danger man” is the headline of this round,…the blossoming Villafana and Nagbe combination on the left side should be highlighted. Have we found our left back,…finally.

    One last note,…I suspect Bobby Wood would have made a huge difference against the thuggish Panamanians. His athletic, hard-nosed edge would have been worth something in this match.

  17. 1- Thought Gonzo showed up tonight..
    2- Thought this was Nagbes best showing in a NT jersey, controlled the ball better than most on a crappy field, and his urgency seemed a level higher. Ran out of gas I guess.
    3- Disappointed in Jozy. After a great outing last game he looked gassed after 20 minutes. What did they say when he was subbed, only 14 touches? His age he’s in the prime of his career, I expected more.
    4- Disappointed in Jones somewhat also.. woulda thought he’d put more of a stamp on his shift. (Cue the MB/JJ talk)
    5- I feel more positive we can move Fabian to the wing than I thought before these two games

  18. I thought the US did not win its share of 50-50 balls. Most of the long clearances from either end resulted with Panama getting the ball. It wasn’t too bad when the balls were on the ground, but I would have expected the taller US to win more of the air balls.

    On defense, it is a good sign when you are not mentioned often. Villafana seemed to do the best in that regard followed by Ream and Gonzalez (each made at least one bad mistake, but made many more good plays). Zusi got way too much attention some of it was his own fault for over-committing, he was just OK at 1v1 defending, but got himself in unnecessary trouble by poor positioning or simply reacting too slowly.

    Bradley’s set pieces seemed predictable and the keeper handled most fairly easily. He asked a bit too much of teammates late in the game, feeding them balls they simply didn’t have the legs to reach. He did make a couple excellent long passes into the left corner late in the game that resulted in good crosses.

    Just once, I would like for Altidore to be a bit more like Jones when he is fouled. He seems to take too much pounding without ever retaliating, and when the referee is letting things get pretty rough he needs to get even.

  19. So sick of these concacaf “refs” who seem to let so many blatant and obvious fouls go uncalled. I saw Altidore, Pulisic, and Nagbe getting opponets arms at their head/neck either collaring them or in some cases knocking them to the ground with these are swings to the head area. I’ve watched every qualifier sonce the 2002 cycle and just sick of watching this same ish over and over agin. It makes the game unwatchable worried our players are going to get hacked to death from a bunch of semi pros. Just glad none of our guys got seriously hurt really.

    • I made the same point after another story that has strangely disappeared. I watched most of T&T vs. Mexico and Mexico was almost as bad as Panama. While Panama mostly pushed like crazy, Mexico made some horrible fouls with leg swipes, not even coming close to the ball and didn’t get any cards. Instead of the beautiful game, it is more like kickboxing. Worse, it’s very dangerous for the players on the receiving end. And remember Jermaine Jones’ red card in the Centenario for a hand to the face? Today there was no card at all for a worse case committed by a Panamanian player in this game. CONCACAF really needs to cut down this thuggish play.

      • But the US players also te away with ridiculous fouls and overly physical play. There’s been too many games where Jones, Brooks, Jozy, Dempsey and Bradley get away with cutting the run of play with fouls, pulling on shirts and leg hacks that go unpunished. Concacaf refs are terrible – but each team knows it and leverages it for their benefit when they can. Snow game, anyone? The US are just as bad. And when their rivals lose because another concacaf team cheats and fouls, what’s the response? Cheers. So, don’t make a big deal about it if you don’t call it out when you benefit from the same calls.

  20. Called it long before this game started, a Bradley / Jones midfield throws everything out of sync. Costa Rica exploited it, Mexico exploited it and other teams will keep doing it. Those two players are among the best we have but together they cancel each other out.
    Pulisic only had limited real estate playing on the wing but still got MOTM. It still behoves me as to why play your best CAM on the wing and limit his area on the pitch to make room for other players? Why change a team and formation that gave us our best WCQ result yet?
    I hope Bruce Arena wises up

    • How quickly you have soured on the Bruce. It looked to me like he played JJ and MB centrally to help cover the backline, but that just meant Zusi and Villafana were pushing up the wings and leaving space in behind, usually Zusi. Perhaps he had a similar thought to a lot of posters here, and was afraid of the carnage if CP stayed in the middle all night. To be fair the midfield and connection to the forward line didn’t get any better when Jones came off. Looked to me like our mostly MLS lineup (many due to injury) just didn’t have the legs on long travel and short rest.

      • “How quickly you have soured on the Bruce”
        Johnnyrazor, I am one of the biggest advocates for Bruce Arena
        Secondly, like I told you again and again, the Jones and Bradley combo sucks, and you saw that on full display today. It will never get better with those two on the field. Anytime we blow out an average team Jones and Bradley are not together (apart from playing in the snow, which Costa Rica proved to us was a mistake). No offense (like I told you), no control and no possession (like I said). These players individually are among the best we have but when they are both on the field we suck (Like I said we would). Fresh players starting in certain positions that work should have been the theme of the day…not trying to rearrange the team when players are burnt out





        Keep it simple and consistant

      • The positioning was what was awful, like I said (see we’re both right) by playing JJ and MB next to each other there is never any space to make a pass, so one or the other has to bomb it deep or pass it back to a CB who bombs it deep. Also, with both playing so close there was a giant hole with Altidore and Dempsey up high and CP and Nagbe far out on the wings leaving no short quick pass to make except back..

        If you play Nagbe and Jones in line with the edge of the box with Christian between them, now Bradley has space to make a pass that isn’t 25 yards with the sideline there as another defender.

      • “The positioning was what was awful, like I said (see we’re both right)”

        Lol Sorry Johnnyrazor, you were ABSOLUTELY WRONG on this one by mentioning a Bradley / Jones midfield, there are no two ways to it.

        “Johnnyrazor – Jones will slot in on the outside in Bedoya/Lletget’s spot, he will be fine there. How quickly we all forget last Summer when he was our third best player at Copa America.”…….the answer to that is he will not, he is a DM by nature

        and as quozzel so eloquently put it:

        “quozzel – For realz. Jones is a heckuva player. The real question is, can he do OK slotting in as a true winger? Because he’s played centrally so long the natural inclination will be to tuck in, whereas with a true winger I prefer a guy whose natural inclination is to get sideline chalk on his heels as his default setting

        and you even said:

        “Johnnyrazor – Bizzy if you were wondering why the trap of Bradley was so effective the first twenty minutes before the US blew it open, it was because Bedoya and Nagbe SQUEEZE IN making it easier for Bradley to connect with them.” ……so how can you say now Jones played too close to Bradley?

        I told you we would be terrible with Bradley and Jones on the field (you argued), I told you Jones is NOT A WINGER and will not play on the outside (and you argued about that too). It not about positioning, its not about mistakes, its not about “playing JJ and MB next to each other”…….IT ABOUT PLAYING THEM TOGETHER, AT THE SAME TIME and the team struggles, period.
        Whenever we blowout a team worth mentioning they are never on the field together (we got away with it in the snow but Costa Rica showed us our advantage WAS THE SNOW lol). I means in order for us to produce goals it has to be JONES OR BRADLEY.

        It’s always a pleasure giving out opinions in discussions and this time you were wrong and you own this one Johnnyrazor lol

      • Bizzy you were correct playing Bradley next to Jones didn’t work and hasn’t for awhile. The difference is by lining up Bradley and Jones side by side in a flat 4-4-2 because Zusi was the focus of Panamas attack and Pulisic was on the right both Jones and Bradley drifted to the right clogging the space being only 5 yards apart many times. Had Jones played as a narrow RM with Pulisic at the point of the diamond and Nagbe narrower on the other side you have options beyond just hit and hope. It might have still been salvaged had Kljestan been subbed in for Jozy making it a 4-5-1 or just dropping Clint into that space. I think what many failed to realize was that a draw was all Arena really was looking for given all the injuries and fitness of the MLS players.

        The last time Jones/Bradley worked wasn’t Snowclassico it was last Summers 4-0 drubbing of Costa Rica in Chicago. When JJ was playing much more underneath Clint and Bobby than next to Michael, i.e. when they keep their space it works.

      • Both you and Bizzy are missing the point of why we sucked. Ream and Gonzales seem to not know how to play soccer. They hung WAAAAY back, were terrible at moving the ball into MF, and then epically failed to move up to provide compact support. Ream would literally get the ball, take 7 dribbles think about it, get closed down, look up, see nothing, almost turn it over, then play kickball… ugh.

  21. The line up seemed destined to do no better than a point, I get that Bruce wanted to play JJ and MB together in the center to protect the pieced together backline, but for two guys who have played a lot of matches together they do not connect at all.

    Thought being three games into the season mixed with the long travel really showed on the MLS guys. Nagbe made a couple nice runs early and did some good defensive work, but seemed a step or two slow in the second half. At least before Go90 crashed. Jones seemed to be managing his energy for most of the night, a run or two usually in support of Zusi, and then standing around doing little for a portion of time.

    As good as Bruce was with his adjustments Friday, he seemed to either have no answers or not really be looking for any. (I know he was missing six or eight guys who would first or second choices to start if healthy)

    Four points is what we needed, but there still is no margin for error. TnT is going to come in in a must win game for them in June and then we have to go to the Azteca. As it stands now, the 4th place team would play Australia or Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, and S.Korea also possible. Wouldn’t want to go to any of those places needing a point.

    • If we have all our regulars or most of them for the next round, I think we can get 4 points again. While it was an away game, I don’t think Mexico looked all that great vs. T&T. It was a pretty even game.The key is if we are healthy or not. If we have to go with another patched up back line, we are likely to get killed in the Azteca. And I wish Arena would give up on his desire to play Fabian in the midfield. He is more needed at LB, especially vs. Mexico. We already have enough good midfielders. We don’t have many good LB’s.

  22. Concacafed: past tense of To Concsubcoa verb meaning for a referee or official to continually ignore reckless and dangerous play from a team from Mexico or Central America while simultaneously calling any touch foul against the gringo team for the purely emotional purpose of soothing your subconscious need of getting even with the gringo who wronged your country or ancestor.

    • Might have had some mental effect, but didn’t really effect the outcome. It wasn’t like he missed a penalty. The free kicks we did earn we did nothing with so can’t really blame the ref for the result.

      • Certainly failed to make the most of our chances the hacking and fouling is done to distrupt the flow of play and its very effective at disrupting our attack and is nearly never called evenly.

  23. The ref was awful. Panama should have been on four yellows. Jozy was bad, Zusi was what I expected at right back.

    Not a lot of bright spots really, but I thought Jones was the only guy winning headers for us. Would have liked to see more energy overall but the field was in bad shape and the ref was awful – so basically typical road CONCACAF. Glad we got the point.

  24. As a general rule, if you win at home and draw on the road, you’ll be okay. Considering we did neither in the first round, we need to swipe a couple of road points (T&T and maybe Honduras?) to be sure. Still, if we can do that the rest of the way we should still qualify.

    • Yup we are fine. 4 points is good. We will finish top 3. But I actually like the idea of two extra pressure packed games against a good Asia team in the playoff. It would be fun to watch. Win or go home. Nothing like the free and easy games Mexico got against New Zealand last cycle.

      • After 7 matches, that would either be Australia or Uzbekistan. Aussies good in the air, physical, but slow. New Zealand in the DC friendly last year looked the better team, so the Aussies are no pushover. Uzbekistan is a total unknown and that can be dangerous.

  25. Will keep bringing it up until something changes (improvement or criticism)…we need to find some other options for Bradley. It’s been upwards of 3 years now where he hasn’t been very good. Giveaways, hospital passes, nothing sharp going forward, lack of speed. Why doesn’t anyone notice?

    Not much good tonight, but Villafana was ok, I thought Nagbe was excellent. Omar didn’t give up a goal?

    Cons were Bradley, Zusi. Altidore/Dempsey/Jones simply never seemed to touch the ball. I get Altidore had zero service, but not sure where the other two were.

    Take the point and go home I guess. This reminded me of a classic BB/Arena game from years before. Can’t possess the ball, jacking aimless long balls, hoping for a quick counter. Really just a waste of a few hours.

  26. Bottom line is that Panama’s midfield outplayed Bradley and Jones today, but luckily our defense was solid except for the one play on the throw in where Panama scored.

    We had alot of set pieces we could have taken advantage of but the pass in was bad more often than not. Man if there is one area where we could use an unretired Donovan is his balls on set pieces. Omar Gonzalez with the Galaxy was a nightmare to defend against because Donovan always put the ball right on his head. Nothing close to that tonight.

  27. The game went about as expected: physical, tense, not great flow, and a likely draw at the end. A few observations:

    Pulisic followed up the Honduras game with another great performance. The work he put in to win the ball and set up Dempsey was unreal. He got hacked down a dozen times, but never backed down.

    Nagbe did very well, I was surprised he was subbed out. He had several promising runs to restart our offense, it was great to see.

    I’m not a MB hater, but his delivery of set pieces is horrendous. Surely we have someone else who can give us half a chance.

    I think JJ can still be a contributor for us, but I I barely noticed him out there. He should have been pulled by the 60th minute.

    Villafana showed more fight and got the job done.

    Jozy and Dempsey were starved for service (except for the Puliskc assist), so there was little for them to do.

      • Omar Gonzalez is a waste of height, Let’s face it…. We have a 6’4″ guy who basically everyone agrees is good for at least one potentially fatal brain-freeze per game defensively, but who cannot find a way to even nod a header on to a competent player off of a corner. Let’s cut the cr*p. Omar is not a starting XI player for any sort of team that intends to win. He’s a guy you bring as part of the 23. God help us if we actually have to use him against a decent team.

      • I’m pretty sure Gonzalez had one of the best games yesterday. Second best only to Pulisic. We lose yesterday if not for Gonzalez and Howard.

      • Wait what? Gonzales was one of our best players? you and I really have different views of the world. In my world Gonzales and Ream were both useless. Not that they didn’t manage to stop some counter attacks… but they also did not clear the lines well at all, their service/playmaking was horrific, and they sat WAAAY back. Even the commentators noticed, stating it was like looking at a split screen. Now maybe the field was so bad that they didn’t feel comfortable moving the ball… but the whole game they were so far back from the MF/FW that they weren’t in good position to get balls back to them, they permitted acres of space for counter-attacks, and weren’t in a position to play short balls to the MF… resulting in the kick-ball of yore.

        Look, this wasn’t our starting back-line. Fine. I don’t blame Zusi (who acquitted himself reasonably) or Villafana (who played pretty well other than the brain fart where he lost his man on the Panama goal). But Ream and Gonzales are US of the 1990’s defenders. They can’t pass the ball/don’t see the passes they can make/are unable to be in the right position to help relieve pressure. I’m not blaming the US for not playing better. But to act like those two guys were our best players is ludicrous.

      • Agree to disagree. You say Gonzalez was useless? Yea ok that pretty much says it all, hard to take you serious after that. Hmm lets see Turk, the announcers of the game praised Gonzalez for a good performance. SBI writers gave Gonzalez good reviews both in the game thread and game recap articles. Espnfc game Gonzalez an 8 in their player ratings. Panama scored 1 goal and that was on Bradley and Ream. But sure Gonzalez was useless right?

    • I’m not a MB hater, but his delivery of set pieces is horrendous. Surely we have someone else who can give us half a chance

      We have too many apologists for him. To clarify once and for all, you’re not a hater if you relay what your eyes see. I haven’t even watched the game yet, but Bradley has to be in the discussion for worst regular since pre-World Cup 2014 and he has very little competition.

      Jones isn’t the issue. Jones isn’t the liability. Bradley has regressed and anyone denying it is admitting a biased opinion that can’t be taken seriously.

      • Old School:

        I seem to remember a time when other players would take the occasional corner or free kick, but not recently. I actually thought MB was strong against Honduras (ok, almost everyone had a strong game that night), and decent last night. But yeah, I think I’m still clinging to the 2010 WC version of Bradley, hoping that guy will show up again. But ever since 2014 (including the Brazil WC), he just hasn’t played at the same level. Unfortunately, even though Arena is cast as a no-nonsense coach, there is simply no way he will bench MB. So at this point, I will just hope for Arena to phase him out of set pieces.

        I can’t say if JJ would have been more effective last night if he had been paired with another partner. To me, he was just invisible and very few touches. On the plus side, he didn’t commit any egregious fouls right outside our box, so there’s that. I thought Acosta looked really sharp and proactive in his 15 minutes, but some of that had to do with his fresh legs against some very tired players.

      • This comment is spot on. I admitted I was totally wrong when I was one that wanted other options when Klinsy was first hired. He sat Bradley a few games, and it was obvious that we needed him back.

        Eight years later, we need to revisit this. Dropping between the two CBs and putting a ball out to LB/RB isn’t helping. He isn’t a link to the attack, but effectively just another CB. His passing has regressed, and his set pieces are abysmal.

        Unfortunately, as others have noted, I think we are stuck with this through the World Cup, assuming we get there. With the way we we overrun last night, I think we might be better with the 4-5-1. Bradley simply can’t control the midfield in a 4-4-2 like he used to, and Jones/Bradley pairing just doesn’t work. I’m happy to set Jones out to pasture as well.

      • There’s a lot to like about Bradley’s leadership and personality, but one good sequence here or there, or MAYBE, one good match in 7 or 8 doesn’t justify him being written in with ink as he has been.

        For whatever reason, he escapes sincere criticism and the blame is juggled to everyone else but the primary source. I don’t forsee Arena displacing him, mostly because of spite as Arena is a stubborn son-of-a-gun and enjoys lording his wisdom over fans, but also because Bradley’s intangibles mesmorize every manager it would seem.

      • Absolutely. I’ve written/thought much of the same the last few years. I don’t get why there is no criticism, or a desire to bring some young guys along. In his prime, he was always the calming influence that controlled the game. Now, he is still calm, but constantly misplaying passes, and never gets up the field. I realize his position doesn’t lend itself to many obvious, game changing mistakes either way, but he needs to go. And for some reason the media refuses to identify this weakness, as you accurately mention, instead blaming other players. However, in such a dicey qualifying situation and BA in charge, we’re not going to see any change until 2019.

Leave a Comment