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USMNT not thinking about past stumbles, focused on crucial qualifier against Honduras

After two losses to start the final round of World Cup qualifying, the U.S. Men’s national team enter Friday night’s World Cup qualifier with one goal in mind: a desperately-needed three points.

“We understand the position we’re in,” Bradley said after training at Avaya Stadium on Tuesday. “Because we didn’t start the Hex the right way, we put ourselves behind the eight ball.

“Friday night is the beginning of our chance to put things right and to get ourselves back in a good position.”

The USMNT lost its first two World Cup qualifying matches in November – a 2-1 loss to Mexico followed by a 4-0 blowout by Costa Rica – which led to the firing of head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and the re-hiring of Bruce Arena.

“We let ourselves down in Costa Rica,” Bradley said. “We didn’t play well enough, mistakes turned into bigger mistakes, which turned into bigger mistakes.

“There is zero point in continuing to look back at that in the moment. We are where we are now and it’s about Friday night, beginning the process of moving ourselves back up the table and stepping on the field in the first minute and playing in a really aggressive way that, ultimately, leaves no doubt as to who’s stepping off the field.”

The United States currently sit in last place in the table, trailing winless Trinidad and Tobago in goal differential (-5).

Arena put together a veteran roster for this situation, and this USMNT lineup will determine if experience really does go a long way. Of those on the 24-man roster, 19 players enter these qualifiers with World Cup qualifying experience. Ten players on the squad have been in 12 or more qualifiers and five have played in more than 30 qualifiers: Clint Dempsey (36), Jozy Altidore, Tim Howard and DeMarcus Beasley (33 each) and Bradley (31).

“Experience counts a lot in games like this,” Bradley said. “Guys who understand what games and these moments are all about. Obviously, in (Howard and Dempsey’s) cases, their experience and their track record speaks for itself. Guys who have been on the field for us on so many big days, on so many important days.”

But not everything has been perfect within the national team. The USMNT suffered a few blows to the roster before this week began. Bobby Wood and Fabian Johnson were scratched from the squad due to injury and goalkeeper Brad Guzan will miss this round of qualifiers as he and his wife are expecting their second child. Graham Zusi, Chris Wondolowski and David Bingham were all called up to take over the vacated spots on the roster.


  1. Worried about the injuries and the suspension of Jones (less worried about absence of Chandler). I hope he doesn’t go with Gonzales/Brooks but I’m not that happy with Orozco on the field either. Would have preferred Birnbaum as either right or center back over Orozco. Is Birnbaum injured/out of form? Just curious. Does anyone know if Honduras/Panama has significant injuries/suspensions? Thanks

    • Birnbaum gave up two penalties over the weekend, but that was after the roster was released. I don’t think he’s been bad. Both Orozco and Omar are regular starters on two of the bette LigaMx teams so maybe they were chosen because they are in midseason form.

      • i’m a DC United fan, and having watched every game of this season Birnbaum belongs nowhere near the national team. He’s been slow to react to things in the back and his confidence is just shot.

  2. “USMNT not thinking about past stumbles, focused on crucial qualifier against Honduras”.

    …so this is what I think: everybody need to stop questioning the coach’s selections, keep their cool, get off their high horse, move on from past mistakes, move on from Klinsmann and put their trust in Bruce Arena (and his decisions), like geez,but


    OK, got that out the way, I guess go USMNT!!!!!….lol

    • Wow Bizzy you were the biggest Wondo supporter just a few months ago!

      I think roster selection and even where those people are placed were not actually the problem. Bruce has basically called in the same guys plus Lletget. The problem was JKs lack of vision or lack of ability to communicate that vision. Fans will always criticize the roster selection and they do in every country around the world. If Bruce wins it will all be fine, if we get less than 4 points this weekend look out.

      • wait, the problem was his lack of vision? I agree with you that if you win, all is fine… and if you lose its not. But in most countries, if you lose, the players take the heat… yes, sometimes the collateral damage is the coach via his lineup selection… but the point is hating on a player. Like, in Italy… Balotelli couldn’t go to the supermarket after the last world cup… in the US… we criticize the coach and blame him for not communicating a vision. smh. If people are criticizing Arena after getting less than 4 points, I’ll smh to that too because coaching is not the problem here.

      • Turk you may be at least partially right. I don’t think the current pool is as good as others on here, as I say it may be wider but it is yet to be proven deeper.

        We don’t know what actually was said in training and pre game meetings but reports are JK was light on details and high on rah rah. For some guys that worked like Dempsey, Zardes, Jones, even Pulisic “be aggressive, make a play, express yourself.” For other guys like Bradley you could see the what do you want us to do look. No one seemed to know what the other was trying to do because the plan was “to express” themselves. Certainly some of that is overblown, but even when playing well the US under JK depended on a big individual play at least on the offensive end. This group with exception of Pulisic doesn’t have a lot of just straight out talent to be successful they need to function as a team so yes if we lose one of the next two that will fall on Arenas shoulders. I would also think Bradley, Jones, Bedoya, Jozy, and Zusi would also take plenty of heat though too.

      • coaching is never the total problem, but it can be a big problem is bad decisions are made. For example, if a coach takes a player out of his comfort zone for the sake of making him comfortable i really don’t see how that is making the group better! Yes, in the end it may make the player more versatile but is that making the sum better?? Tactics are another thing that can harm a group, especially if they are not communicated well. I don’t think anyoneis totally blaming everything on JK but he’s at fault for alot of the things he did and when you hear stories of an impending mutiny by the team and that he no longer go through to the team that’s a problem!

  3. To get back to my original post, what do other people think about our chances and is my feeling that we should win relatively comfortably unjustified?

    • I think the federation, many supporters and likely most players believe in Arena to lead us otherwise there wasn’t any point in making a switch.

      Anything less would be an obvious failure, but one we have no reason but to avoid.

    • Boys(and girls), we all come here because we love discussing the game, i think above all the USMNT. Obviously, there will be disagreements in opinions, thats the beauty of these sites, so let’s just respect each others opinions without verbally attacking one another. I know i’ve come to respect everyones take on this site and it’s one of my favorites because i can interact with the posters that i have been for several years!

      As far as Fridays game, i think 6pts should be the target, we have more talent than both teams combined, but i wouldn’t be surprised if we drew Panama in Panama. My only concern is how quickly we gel considering the new manager and his different outlook on how this team should play. Bruce tends to be pragmatic with his approach to the game so i see him putting players in their best positions to be successful which should allow the group to play freely and to their level!

  4. “The USMNT lost its first two World Cup qualifying matches in November – a 2-1 loss to Mexico followed by a 4-0 blowout by Costa Rica – which led to the firing of head coach Jurgen Klinsmann..”

    After looking at the Wondo article comment thread, I bet reading that above sentence still hurts for some of you. Probably a few tears running​ down your cheeks. Pour those tears in a cup so that I can drink them. I guess I can understand it. Mistreated and abused children often still get sad and miss their abusive fathers when they are taken away by the authorities. I guess it’s something like that. I wonder how many of you are actually rooting for the US to lose these upcoming games? Just so you can say, “See see! It wasn’t Jurgen!! We should have kept Jurgen!!”. C’mon you can admit it.

    I kidd I kidd. But seriously, the title of this article says, “USMNT not thinking about past stumbles, focused on crucial qualifier against Honduras.” Perhaps some of you should consider taking that same approach.

    Wait this sounds familiar… “Get over it already.” Why does that sound familiar? Oh yeah it’s what the Klinsmann lovers would say about the Donovan WC exclusion. Remember your own words my friends. Klinsmann got canned. Get over it already.

    • Am I the only one who thinks you come across as arrogant and condescending? Instead of crowing about some perceived victory for your opinions, try contributing some insights into the subject of this article, if you have any. Despite the losses from our roster, we still should have better players at just about every position than Honduras. I think Panama is the better team of the 2 and will present a bigger challenge. The US usually plays best when their backs are against a wall. Hopefully this will continue this Friday. We should win about 2-0. That’s should, not a prediction.

    • Gary you are half-right this particular time, although you picked the wrong words. I am not being condescending at all and I am not arrogant. I am actually one of the few on this website that will give others credit and say something like, “oh you are right on that one, you got me on that point”. Something you would never do by the way. You are too proud. When you are proven wrong you simply don’t return to the thread. I’ve seen you do it over and over.

      But what I am doing is purposely being celebratory and gloating (crowing as you put it) about Klinsmann being gone. Yay.

      As far as adding to this article there is nothing to add. It’s simply wait and see how the team will do against Honduras. The conversations and analysis will come after the game.

      • Gary is right stop being a jerk. Joking about domestic violence is not cool and you are a messed up person inside, get help.

      • I 100% agree with Gary. You constantly come across as arrogant and condescending, and offer little insight in regards to anything related to the game. You know next to nothing about the sport, yet have this ridiculous facade that you’re knowledgeable. I’ve been on this site a looooonnnngggg time, almost 10 years now, and I rarely comment anymore because there is rarely anything insightful or significant said in the comments section anymore. However, I felt compelled to piggyback on Gary’s comment, because you are probably one of the worst of a bad bunch. In fact, Gary is just about the only poster who has ANY knowledge of the game.

      • Mike, really? You forgot to bring the troops into this as well. Or the poor children in Africa that wish they had the luxury of talking about soccer online. Spare me the pc guilt trip switcharoo.

        Francois, what you say has no effect on me. I know who you are. You are one of those posters that dislikes another poster simply because you disagree with them. I remember another article a while back where you said exactly the same thing about me that you just wrote above, and if I remember correctly I was criticizing Klinsmann about something. What a coincidence. I know nothing about the sport? Yea ok. Since you are a lurker and just admitted yourself that you rarely comment, I will pay you no mind. And you say I “offer little insight in regards to anything related to the game”. Hah, apparently I offer more than you, as you admit yourself.

        I guess I touched a nerve with this Klinsmann thing. So its ok to be happy if someone like Wondo doesn’t make the roster, but not ok to be happy that Klinsmann got fired? Ok. Got it. I hope you guys are collecting your tears for me. I’m thirsty.

      • I’m cool with you UCLA. We don’t agree on a lot of topics, but I certainly respect your opinion. Shoot we all can seem a little arrogant on here from time to time so what. Plus, your battles with Old School and Gary entertain me most of the time. I’m not sure why this one got everyone so hot and bothered today, but it was nice to see so many people on the posts today as we gear up for Friday.

        I think a lot of people come here to vent or sound astute because we don’t have a lot of people to talk Soccer with. If I begin to list the faults of Jurgen Klinsman or the technical struggles of Gyasi Zardes to my friends or co-workers their eyes would glaze over and they’d walk away. This is my water cooler and as long as you aren’t being racist, homophobic, xenophobic, or sexist I’m ok with you. I know at least half the time I’m completely wrong and I’m ok with that, and I’m ok if you are wrong some times too. Bizzy and I have had a few go rounds about Jozy and Beachbum and I have had some disagreements about MB, but I value all of you and the more that comment the better.

      • For what it’s worth I didn’t see any arrogance or condescension in your post. And I definitely didn’t think you were joking about domestic issues. Funny how we all read the same thing and come up with wildly deferring opinions. It was an interesting take and I agree that people don’t realize they’re speaking out of both sides of their mouths. Or maybe they do and do it anyway. In either case it’s silly. Thanks for the post I enjoyed it!

      • I agree Johnny. I’m just having some fun with these guys. By these guys I mean the staunch Klinsmann fans. Anybody that’s been on this site long enough knows already that Klinsmann is the most polarizing topic on here, maybe dual-nationals also but that seems to be tied to Klinsmann also. The Wondo article made me notice how salty the Klinsmann fans still are about he getting fired, so I couldn’t resist messing with them a bit and pouring salt in the wound. They are a bit sensitive though. But they need only remember they have tossed plenty my way over the years of the Klinsmann reign so they shouldn’t get mad.

        And yes you are right, everyone on here usually thinks they are right when they are arguing something. That’s why I don’t get worked up like some people here do. If you notice, I also have a style of never insulting anyone or calling someone names, but I will try to make someone look silly within the argument itself. Debating is half the fun. Funny that Gary called me arrogant and condescending, because he has been accused of the same by many people on here. I’m sure he remembers. Unfortunately many on here can’t debate or disagree with someone without making it personal. The people on here that have made it clear they dislike me are the leaders of the Klinsmann clan. CO, GW, Gary, Old, DLOA, etc. They are so sensitive. But I actually like those guys. I enjoy debating them. Unfortunately Klinsmann is gone and that was our main point of contention.

      • Thanks Lucas. That’s exactly the point I was making. Trust me they got it. They aren’t dumb. They just ignored it.

      • I frequently agree with and praise other people. Sometimes I will show my agreement by adding additional points supporting their posts, as I did just a day or two ago. As for replying to every post directed at me, I also comment on politics and college basketball and don’t have time to keep up with all the comments to which I am a party. I probably spend too much time on the computer as it is. Sometimes when I return to a comment here, the original article will be hard to find or superseded, so I don’t bother. I find it interesting that you find it necessary to respond so often and to every little thing. I do have a problem with your past behavior in that on at least two occasions when you disagreed with me you felt it necessary to engage in a personal insult and attack on my character. You have also voiced assumptions about me based on some of my comments and your assumptions were not accurate. Since they were not important I did not bother to respond, but it shows how you are willing to make judgments even when lacking supporting information. .

      • Francois, you are too kind. And, I do not claim any expertise since when I played so long ago nobody followed the sport here, there was very little coaching available, and total football hadn’t even been invented yet. I don’t think my college even had a soccer team. What I know is from watching several thousand games, most over the last 15 years, but stretching back over 40 years since the game was first televised in the US (WC finals, I think in 1974).

      • Gary, no point in having this discussion if straight lying is going to be brought​ into it. You say, “when you disagreed with me you felt it necessary to engage in a personal insult and attack on my character.” Wow, if anything that is something I should be saying to you. If I’ve ever said anything about you personally it’s been after you hurled the first insult. But nevermind that, as I said no point in discussing it if lying and making stuff up isn’t beneath you.

    • Wow. That entire sequence escalated quickly and widely missed the mark on a number of fronts. Nothing to be said that hasn’t already been addressed, but you kind of preemptively went off the deep end unprovoked, UCLA.

      Today hasn’t been your day. Take a breather, my man.

      • Missed the mark? Your mark maybe. But I hit my mark. By the way, there was no escalation. I was actually making the same hypocrisy point you were arguing in the Wondo article, just on a different topic. Maybe the reactions or overreactions to my post are what make you think things escalated. That’s on them.

      • “My mark”? Not even sure what that means, but I can nearly hear you mashing the keyboard in response to everyone’s posts in this thread and others yesterday.

        You missed the mark on humor, presenting yourself as some self-described servant of civility when you debate/disagree with someone (that only you seem to believe), and absolutey went off on some unhinged rant involving child abuse, pouring tears into a cup and having a post that appears to be talking to yourself.

        You didn’t hit “your mark”. You appeared to have hit your head.

      • Old School, same old same with you. You should try new things every once I a while. Diversify. So I am unhinged, I am raging mad? Yadda yadda. Same typical style of yours to try and invent a narrative about me in an attempt to mock me or get under my skin. It’s never worked with me. Try it with others. Funny how in the above thread I kept it general and kept it on topic (Klinsmann), and others are the ones that came back biting at me with personal attacks, but I am the angry unhinged one? Nice try.

        And what I meant by “your mark maybe” is that according to you I “missed my mark” but that means nothing coming from you because you will always say something negative about me. I’ve long ago gotten under your skin. So I might have missed the mark you think I was trying to hit, the one you set for me, but I hit my mark. The predictable people sure felt compelled to respond emotionally, further proven that I did.

    • Not sure you get the point here as old school mentions. We, those you lump together as JK fanboys, think that the problems on the US team ran/run deeper than JK alone and that changing him won’t address the underlying issues, and that blaming him for those issues was/is silly. So we were laughing amongst ourselves when the same problems come up again, but because people like this coach, for whatever reason, they gnash teeth instead of blaming the coach. Not sure what that has to do with not moving on. and for the record, I don’t shed tears over millionaires losing their job. But I still think that given who was hired, it was a bad move.

      • I don’t dislike UCLA at all. Having said that he sure tries to ram an opinion or assumption down peoples throats as if it were fact, from my point of view UCLA is far more a JK hater than these others mentioned are JK fanboys. I support the team and whoever is in charge because thats the only option I have, even when I don’t agree with all the call ups, tactics… etc. At the end of the day our resources are limited whoever is put in charge doesn’t have the option to go grab 20 shiny new toys that will for sure produce. Should Wondo still be in the picture? Not really. Do we want to rely on him at this point? No. We are in a tough spot and Wondolowski was chosen for his experience. JK and Arena did the same thing. One was bashed for it and one is being defended for it. Case closed. Now lets all hope Wondo can (sort of) make up for his one glaring blunder that he will never live down.

      • Turk, oh trust me I get it. You just don’t get that I disagree with your assessment. You say, “the problems on the US team ran/run deeper than JK alone and that changing him won’t address the underlying issues.”

        USA had two problems:

        1. Lack of talent compared to other good countries.
        2. Jurgen Klinsmann was the manager and doing a bad job.

        Now they still have problem number 1 but don’t have number 2.

        Now maybe Arena will turn out to be better, the same, or worst than Klinsmann. We shall find out. But to say Klinsmann wasn’t an issue is silly.

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