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USMNT 1, Honduras 1: The SBI Breakdown


The U.S. Men’s National Team wasn’t very good on Tuesday. There’s no secret to it. Tuesday’s performance wasn’t a good one, and the USMNT looked like they were well on their way towards being punished for it yet again.

Until they weren’t, thanks to a Bobby Wood goal. Call it luck, call it timing, call it whatever you want. The USMNT will call it a point, and a much-needed one.

In a match all but controlled by a resolute and dangerous Honduras side, the USMNT escaped San Pedro Sula with a point. It was a match with few moments of brilliance, few strong performances, neither individually nor collectively. But it was also a match that displayed some major talking points, for better or worse.

With that, here’s a look at the big takeaways from Tuesday’s draw:


Bobby Wood has shown a knack for scoring big goals in big games, and he did so again on Tuesday.

Kellyn Acosta’s ridiculously well-hit free kick set it up and Matt Besler and Jordan Morris did the major lifting with contested headers. Eventually, the ball simply fell to Wood, and he smashed it exactly where he needed to.

Was it pretty? Absolutely not. It wasn’t one for the highlight reels. It wasn’t even one for the medium-light reels. It was an ugly goal for an ugly game, and it certainly fit the script.

A healthy, fit and confident Bobby Wood will be vital to the USMNT in the coming qualifiers. The USMNT faces must-win games, and those are the types of games Wood tends to pop up in.


Bruce Arena’s tactics were far from spot on against Costa Rica. Again on Tuesday, the USMNT XI was being thoroughly outplayed in a match that looked well on the way to a U.S. loss.

The difference was Arena made the changes on Tuesday, and the U.S. stole a point because of it.

Arena’s lineup featured a whopping seven changes, and the logic was there for most of them. Players weren’t fit and the heat was bad. Jozy Altidore was suspended. Friday’s performance raised questions about several players.

In hindsight, and we’re blessed with the opportunity of hindsight, the decision to bench Geoff Cameron might not have been the best idea. The two fullbacks were repeated roasted for a lack of pace. A three-at-the-back set may have been a better fit tactically.

That said, credit to Arena for seeing that himself and making the change midway through the second half. His team is now one step closer to a World Cup because of it.


No reason to put it lightly: the USMNT central defense has been exposed in the past week.

There have been too many individual mistakes, too many mental lapses. It’s been chaos at the back, and the U.S. has dropped points because of it. At any level, the team’s spine is vital, and when the bottom half of that spine is running around making mistakes, it’s hard to do much of anything.

To start, we’ll spare Matt Besler from this, because he had a pretty good game. Geoff Cameron almost kind of made up for his shocker against Costa Rica. Omar Gonzalez made the game’s big mistake, missing on a slide and allowing Romell Quioto to fire Honduras’ goal.

The good news? Individual mistakes are fixable. Things happen, and teams tighten up. It is what it is. The bad news? It’s hard to see what the first choice defense looks like for the final two qualifiers. John Brooks isn’t walking through that door and, even if he did, the thoughts of his own Costa Rican nightmare loom large.

The U.S. has a month to figure out who to start in central defense for two massive games. It’s a big question, but at least we know what we’ve seen over the last week or so won’t be good enough.


We knew DeAndre Yedlin’s absence would be big, but it was plain to see just how different Tuesday’s match would have been with the Newcastle defender.

Graham Zusi was, for lack of a better word, toasted several times by Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto. DaMarcus Beasley didn’t fare much better. Honduras knew they had the advantage on the wings. The U.S. knew that too, but there was nothing they could do to stop it.

Eventually, the subs and the switch came, but it was too late to undo the goal or the questions that followed it. At right back, matters are fairly straight-forward. When Yedlin is healthy, he’s in, and the U.S. is a better team.

At left back, though, questions remain. Has Jorge Villafana shown enough? Can DaMarcus Beasley still play at this level? Is it time to just give up on the Fabian Johnson midfielder experiment and just jam him back at left back?

The latter might just be the answer, given Johnson’s success at the position and relative anonymity in the midfield. Zusi and Beasley can probably be veteran pieces, but starting them against world-class pace is a scary, scary thought.


Let’s talk big picture for a second. A point against Honduras, on paper, isn’t ideal. Few will argue that Honduras is a better team than the USMNT. The U.S. is simply a stronger team with better players. That’s that.

But better teams and better players, in some ways, don’t matter in CONCACAF, as weird as it is to say. For all of the constant jokes and critisicms, CONCACAF is a strange beast where things always seem to go wrong one way or another.

Tuesday was one of those games, and plenty went wrong for the USMNT, as you can read above. However, they still did enough to earn a point and, in this case, that’s good enough.

The U.S. went into Honduras needing something, anything. They got a point. It’s not great, but it’s okay, and Russia doesn’t look quite as far with that point in hand.


  1. The U. S. match against Panama will require a win and nothing else. Otherwise, they will get to see Russia on T. V. in 2018. This will also be a Gut Check for the U. S. team. They are the better team and if they want to be in Russia in 18, they should give all the physical and mental energy they have to this match. Otherwise, their names will go down in infamy for their failure to make it out of CONCACAF.

  2. There are some key points that have been overlooked. First, CR is much better than Honduras and they executed a well thought out game plan impeccably and it was individual mistakes that doomed the US. Honduras was not really good, the US was just bad, all over the field, which is why this game was much worse. If you remember, the US controlled the play the first 12 to 15 minutes and Honduras made some really poor, unforced errors. After that it was almost all Honduras and their only real advantage was speed on the wings. That should have been been prepared for by positioning and having a game plan to counteract that by keeping your fullbacks from getting too far forward and having CB’s and defensive mids in position to cover. Offensively, the US was a mess for much of the game. We were hampered by turnover after turnover due to long balls that were totally wasted. Bizzy, speed is important, but is hardly the end all or be all. Big mistake by Arena to not include Chandler as he has make up speed. Also, a mistake to not play FJohnson at LB as he too is speedy. Marvell Wynne is a good example of how speed is not enough. It’s taken Yedlin about 3 years to become a decent defender. What the US should play is FJohnson, Besler, Cameron and Yedlin/Chandler across the back. When we want a defensive approach, bring in Acosta with Bradley. The US has the personnel to play a much more possession style than shown against Honduras and that works best anyway when you want to preserve fitness in hostile environmental conditions. Let the ball do the work and make the other side chase. Arena chose the exact worst tactics for the Honduras match. Finally, the US did a lot more standing around and a lot less moving around than both opponents. Have they even practiced triangles? Shockingly poor soccer for top internationals. I’ve seen high school teams play more intelligent soccer. A large part of that has to be laid at the feet of the coaching. Surely our players know better, what has Arena been telling them in the locker room? The last two games Arena has made Klinsmann look like a tactical genius.

    • High schools? I’ve seen 6th grade teams play better!

      Its funny, but when I was a kid, I was in the ethnic neighborhood in NJ… Myself, a portuguese kid, another Italian or 2 an argentinian, a couple german kids, a couple chilean kids… I even played with Rossi a couple times (he was phenomenal, played up like 3/4 grade levels)… anyway… we all had two working parent homes, and so there were lots of games when we could only muster 9 or 10 kids to show up… yet we still won those games… 3-0, 4-0 etc.

      Why? How can 9 beat 11? passing, ball movement and spacing. JK was trying to instill that in our guys… but a couple bad results and we abandoned the plan for kick-ball. [sigh].

      • Klinsmann gave up on that plan though too, reverting back to the 4-4-2 for large swaths of his tenure. The US just isn’t patient enough to allow teams to develop Costa Rica after their run in 2014 was awful in 2015 0-5-5 to start but by the time qualification started they were back in form with a few replacements and several regulars back with fresh legs and in good standing with their clubs. Of course, the resignation of Wanchope also came about this time.

    • Yeah, I usually am an Arena supporter, but not including Chandler, even if on the bench, is just to baffling. Fabian is lacking conditioning and Chandler has been playing. At least for the Red Bulls Arena game where his speed can help widen the field and also to get back compared to Zusi’s obvious lack of speed.

  3. About 2 months ago I said that 15 to 17 spots on the roster were probably locks if they made it to Russia but after the last 2 games I think that drops to about 8 to 10 if they qualify. If they do make it and some of the younger players getting mins need to be called into camps. Like I hoped for in this camp why waste spots on Dax Wondo just to name 2 when Arena could have called younger players to get a look. They probably wouldn’t have played anyway. The experience factor everyone had been talking about isn’t working so get some young hungry players that want to show what they got. I also said that these next few months should be interesting especially if a few players can earn mins. Like I said these players I’m about to mention need mins at their club and if they do get them they should be called in: Hyndman can play the 10 and relieve the pressure of CP as the only play maker, Miazga should take one of the CB spots as depth, Johnathan Gonzalez and Mckinnie could be younger more technical options than Dax, Garza has had a good season for ATL at LB, even Russel cannouse has stepped right into DCs lineup and made an impact. There are some others out there but just naming the ones that have stood out to me, and like I said as long as these players are getting mins I think they should be looked at

  4. FB at LB (back 4) or LWB (w/ 3 CB’s). He has pace, can defend, and can get forward with skill.
    CP at the 10 spot centrally. Bedoya or Arriola at RM.
    Bradley and Acosta as the two in-front of the back line.
    When we qualify for the World Cup … would not mind seeing the 5-4-1 that Costa Rica runs … 3 CB’s and two wingbacks to defend and attack. Could work if we work on it … and we seem to have the personnel for it.

  5. It’s looking like Fabian will be needed more as the left back then as the left midfielder. Him and Yedlin can be a great overlapping duo of fullbacks. Guarantee why don’t get torched as much as Zusi/Beasley. Only problem is Yedlin needs to be healthy, and Fabian needs game conditioning. BUT, they need to qualify first. Just qualify! It’s so crazy how CONCACAF is so different compared to playing European opponents, etc. It’s ugly, calls are inconsistent on both sides, dirty play, crazy conditions, and it’s just get the job done no matter how. Chandler will also be a great option against European opponents as he stinks in CONCACAF heat but Russia will be a different atmosphere all together. BUT FIRST, JUST QUALIFY. Forget style points, just get it done.

  6. I’m of a mind that it would be better to miss this next 2018 WC, and send off this last generation of Bradley, Dempsey, Altidore, Zusi, Beasley, Howard (Guzan) et al into tranquil, well-deserved retirement.

    That would leave a clean slate, a new coach, and the next generation of Pulisic, CCV and others to prep for the 2022 cycle.

    If the US somehow squeaks out a ticket to Russia, I can’t see how this current program acquits itself even modestly well. It looks to be potentially worse than Arena’s 2006 lst round implosion. And I like Arena. I just don’t think he’s the man for the job.

  7. THE USMNT NEEDS SPEED ON THE TEAM!!! WE NEED PLAYERS WITH THE MAKE UP SPEED OR BREAK AWAY SPEED, TO MAKE OR BREAK UP PLAYS. Players that have to be pulled down, obstructed or blocked to prevent them from blowing by (which will create set piece opportunities). We need players that have make up speed, because most of our players have poor ball control, can’t seem to make the critical passes and don’t know TIKI TAKA football any way. Why was Landon Donovan so successful? Why is Pulisic so dangerous? Why is Yedlin playing in the EPL/Championship? Speed…speed…SPEED. THE USMNT LACKS SPEED. we have Jordan Morris (who runs a 4.5-second 40-yard dash) but on the bench for Altidore, we have Acosta who is benched for Bradley, we have Yedlin but he’s injured, we have Pulisic who is causing all sorts of problems for teams but once he is locked down….there goes the USMNT attack. WHERE IS THE SPEED?
    Tim Ream – beaten by speed, Omar Gonzalez – beaten by speed, Michael Bradley lacks speed, Dempsey lacks speed, Zusi lacks speed
    If we don’t have players like Nagbe who are hard to displace on the ball, who can move the ball around, then we need speed. Finding speed means we will be fielding players that we normally wouldn’t…..
    Kekutah Manneh (fastest US player in MLS)
    Lynden Gooch (Opta data ranked him as the second-quickest player in the PL, reaching 21.87 mph in open play)
    Marvell Wynne (YES, HE HAS MAKE UP SPEED)
    Josh Gatt (YES, and I don’t care if he is on the bench with Colorado Rapids . How many times have benched players torched the US backline??? NO COMMENT.)
    We need to stop doing the same ol same ol and switch it up….COMPLETELY and field players that can at least give opposing team headaches to keep up, draw fouls and create set pieces, players with the pace to chase down players when we lose the ball, who can break up counter attacks and make up ground from poor passing.

    • Dude you started to lose me when you mentioned Manneh. Then Wynne had me rolling my eyes. However, mentioning Josh Gatt totally fell off he radar as an option. None of these players make an impact at the club level for various reasons
      I agree a lack of speed is apparent at both back positions. But a lack strength, balance, and anticipation is also needed to defend

      • did you know about Marco Ureña? Johan Venegas? David Guzmán? Francisco Calvo? How about Alberth Elis? Romell Quioto? Maybe Henry Figueroa?
        Well these are the players Costa Rica and Hondura use to beat / Tie us. Players that would not make the USMNT top 11. So if I lost you, you will continue to be lost

      • Bizzy, I watch the Dynamo… so I do know those Hondurans. They are GOOD. As for Urena, he is new… but so was Pulisic last year… Whatever. At least those guys understand how to play soccer. I am so depressed that Americans had no idea what JK was trying to do in teaching the players how to pass… now I’m watching Arena take us back to the 90’s and the kick-ball days. GAH!

        I don’t even want to hear it… if our strategy is to “play direct” god I hate that euphemism for kick-ball… then I could go down to CR or Honduras and grab 11 street urchins out of the ghetto and they would beat the US 11.

        That is all.

      • Johnnyrazor,
        Thats EXACTLY what our problem is. Stats
        “Hurtado has 3 MLS goals in four seasons. He’s 26 and hardly plays for a mid level club”…really??
        Which player on Costa Rican or Honduran team can be a strong regular on the USMNT? Which of these players are playing in the EPL, Bundesliga etc?

        Marco Ureña – bench player – San Jose – 4 goals
        Johan Venegas – bench player (Montreal Impact) – bench player (Minnesota) – 2 goals
        David Guzmán – no impact in Portland – 1 goal
        Francisco Calvo – part of one of the worst defenses in MLS
        Alberth Elis – alt bench player for Andrew Wenger? 7 goals

        These are the players Costa Rica and Hondura use to beat / Tie us CONVINCINGLY. Players that would not make the USMNT top 11. THE BEST PLAYERS (STATISTICALLY) DO NOT NECESSARILY MAKE THE BEST TEAM.

      • Bizzy the point is you think that these guys are bad because you don’t know who they are. Also, they have other factors other than speed. Yes, they may be fast but they are not just fast. Hurtado is behind Bolanos on the depth chart so you want to beat CR by playing players that are not as good as the Costa Ricans. The problem isn’t the quality of the US players, its finding the right mix and strategy. Costa Rica has found a system that fits its players the US has played at least 4 maybe 5 formations during Arena’s tenure. Honduras was awful this Summer during the GC they didn’t even score a goal in four WC matches but you add in Lozano from Barcelona and suddenly the score 2 on TnT and are dangerous throughout against the US.

        Also, Campbell didn’t get left off the team he’s hurt.

      • Forget Marvell Wynn, Hurtado has 3 MLS goals in four seasons. He’s 26 and hardly plays for a mid level club. And by the way Wynne hasn’t played a minute this season due to a heart condition so we probably shouldn’t call him in.

    • Bizzy man, please. Stop with the whole pick a name and their better thing. If they aren’t on the field its because Arena and/or JK and/or any number of other coaches and tapes showed that they aren’t better. SPEED alone does not win soccer matches. This is not a cross country meet. MArvyell Wynne?!? you have to be kidding me. The dude has a worse lead foot than Altidore (who has improved a bit)… just stop. There is no one to come save us…

      But yes, I would be calling Gooch into camps.

      • hahahaha….I hear you but at least lets try SOMETHING DIFFERENT. if we use Omar, Besler, Ream and get beaten under Klinsmann why should it be any didnt under Arena? why do bench players from these other country beat us when a lot of them are not even starters IN MLS. We just need something different man. Im sick of watching the same clueless soccer

      • BTW Bizzy… I wasn’t going to bring it up… but when we got rid of JK, I remember saying that the worst thing for us was going to be if Arena brought back the US Kickball team, and that I didn’t think he was an improvement, and that I thought if we were going to get rid of JK, then we should first find someone who was a great coach… anyway, These two games of clueless soccer are the Arena I remember… and I cry that I am vindicated in thinking he was not the answer.

        A bunch of people on this site said Arena had improved… I really wish they had been right.

        I’m sick of watching clueless soccer too!

      • Bizzy, “Why do bench players from those other countries beat us?” Well, ok… I watched Colombia-Brazil last night. I went for 20 minutes counting how long players had the ball at their feet. I counted 2 times where someone had the ball for more than a 2 count.

        Go try that in the US game. See how long you can go before an American holds the ball past 2. Then ask yourself… if you are intent on just defending and countering… are you happy or sad that the team you are playing is incapable of passing the ball around?

        Why did we get beat, seems we still haven’t learned how to pass.

      • Turkmenbashy
        I agree with you. Lack of passing, lack of ball control skills, lack of technical ability…..but how are we going to change when the core players remain the same? How are we going to change when the players that might have the ball control skills are either on the bench (and are not seen) or don’t have the stats to make the USMNT. Other countries field players with technical abilities, REGARDLESS IF THEY ARE ONLY THE BENCH IN MLS OR NOT….. and are not too worried about stats. Example while we have an Altidore they have a Urena, while we have a Bradley they have a David Guzmán, we have Jordan Morris they have Johan Venegas etc…..we are better on paper, they are better on the field.
        Ball control
        Clint Dempsey, Lee Nguyen, Kekutah Manneh, Victor Ulloa, Cristian Roldan


      • Ball control has to be in your blood… AGREED! funny… In Italy the businessmen all say that the only reason they are businessmen, or attorneys, or whatever, is because they were bad at controlling the ball with their feet. 🙂 millionaires: “I am not as rich as I could be because I can’t control the ball.” They don’t say its because they can’t score… its all about ball control.

    • Bizzy,
      It’s the systems that these guys are playing in or the players they are with that change how they play. Urena has never been much of a player in Denmark, Russia, MLS, or even in Costa Rica. He’s also never had a Brian Ruiz to feed him the ball. Calvo and Guzman don’t play in 5-4-1 systems in MLS where they can overrun the opposition with numbers, Guzman isn’t goal scorer never has been and isn’t for Costa Rica but he has 6 assists for Timbers 2nd on the team. Ellis and Quito are regulars for Houston and considering their goals per minutes played are having very good seasons, they are just behind Torres who has had a resurgence under his old manager and a young Colombian who has been in their youth national system. Also when Ellis and Quito are with Honduras they have Lozano to pull the attention away, he being a Barcelona player. It’s about what they are asked to do and who they are playing with. All of those players you named on Honduras and Costa Rica are good players they aren’t one skill speed guys, you just might not have heard about them because they don’t play on RBNY, LAG, or NYCFC so they aren’t on TV much. Does the US need to do a better job with roster selection, as in pick a formation and bring in guys that fit that formation with backups who also do, absolutely, but scraping the current players for guys who aren’t good but can run fast? No.

      • johnnyrazor
        I don’t get what you are saying. Some of the guys that are listed are bench players in MLS and the ones that are not will not make the USMNT. So what is your point? Urena is not fast? He was quick and skilled enough to get by Ream. How about Bolanos? watch the 4 – 0 a$$ whupping they gave us and get back to me. How about Joel Campbell, that humiliated brooks and the US backline that didn’t make this team. “Ellis and Quito are regulars for Houston” true…so is Wondolowski for San Jose or Altidore for high flying TFC but they DON’T HAVE THE BALL CONTROL SKILLS AND SPEED we are taking about. SPEED and SKILL….two things this whole conversation is about. So again I don’t get your point.
        If we don’t start selecting players based on speed, skill and technical ability (and not stats)
        If we keep these regulars on the field that play kick-football (Bradley, Altidore, Zusi, Beasley, etc)
        If we don’t have players with speed and skill AS REGULARS on the field
        WE WILL ALWAYS BE THE “US KICK BALL” TEAM. And Russia will be a disaster and that’s something no coach can change using the same players

  8. I’m a huge fan of Pulisic and believe that he is definitely the future of our USMNT, but we need to realize that success in the Bundesliga has not translated to success in Concacaf. Except for Jermaine Jones, none of the guys who have experienced success in Germany have managed to perform consistently in tough Central American conditions.

    It’s generally acknowledged that Pulisic has been subpar the last 3 WCQ games. Chandler doesn’t even get called anymore. Johnson was anonymous. Wood had a moment of brilliance yesterday but has otherwise been subpar. Brooks was terrible against Mexico and CR. I’m sure you can come up with other Bundesliga players who have had good Concacaf games, but there’s clearly a pattern. I don’t have a theory, except the obvious one that German weather is significantly cooler than Honduras or, say, Texas. I lived in Germany for 3 years. Yeah, it doesn’t have the humidity. So is the solution to play primarily MLS players? I don’t know. Yesterday’s game did not seem to answer that question in the affirmative.

    How do we hang our hopes on CP22 if he can’t overcome this hurdle? Of course, he is being targeted by defenders and not being protected by refs. Neither was Donovan, but he managed to have an impact. And yes, he’s not yet 19, so he will continue to have ups-and-downs and he develops. So I’m left with many more questions than answers after this round, and not feeling at all confident we can squeeze into WC2018,..

    • In defense of CP, he plays with a much better supporting cast in Germany, so he is never double teamed, and he is protected by the referees. Donovan played a much more advanced role, and had Reyna, Earnie, ‘Dolo, McBride – and MB90 4+ years ago – all with the ability to make the killer pass to get him the ball so he could run at defenders one on one.

    • You are blind, Frenchie. Pulisic was our best player in both games… which is why they played hack-a-shaq with him… In another league refs pull out red cards… or Jermaine Jones steps in and hacks at Ruiz in retaliation. Who is the guy to do that on this US team? That’s the problem… our attitude sucks and we aren’t good enough to make up for it.

      Italy has never been the same without Gattuso… say what you will about JJ, but he was our engine. As for other Germans, Chandler was never as bad as people made him out to be, and I’d have liked to have him instead of Zusi… Wood has done nothing but score in big games for us. Wood is our future… bench the shit out of Jozy and go Wood and Morris with Dempsey as super-sub…

      Dolo played in the Bundesliga and was great… and same with Brooks, so you are on crack when it comes to our German Americans.

      • Turkmenbashy: I never said “german americans”, I said bundesliga players. Wood and Pulisic, who are both having great success there, have struggled for. Yes, Wood has scored a couple of clutch goals in Concacaf, but he also was invisible against CR. Yes, Pulisic has scored 6 goals in WCQ, but how many of them have been against Mexico or CR?

        The purpose of my post was simply to point out that success in a top 4 league doesn’t always translated to being a baller in Concacaf. Donovan (my favorite American player of all times) struggled in Europe for the most part, but could play like few others in our WCQ games. These games are just different animals, and players need a different skill set. Just like some Euro teams probably couldn’t hack it in CONMEBOL qualifying.

  9. A big-picture breakdown for this World Cup cycle is needed The bottom line: this team just isn’t very good and clearly 3rd best in CONCACAF. The US has historically relied on solid central defense and a world-class ‘keeper to make spectacular saves to keep them in games. Throw in a couple of midfielders and forwards good enough to play in a big four league, some speed and some good ol’ American hustle and you’re looking at the US line-up ever since the ’90s.

    The US produced three world-class goalies in a row with Keller, Friedel, and Howard. Now, Howard is well past his prime and playing for the worst team in MLS. Guzan was good enough to play in England, but – like Howard – his best days are long behind him. Both of them have infuriating distribution: Howard’s poor distribution and positioning were at fault in Costa Rica’s first goal, and if I had to drink every time Guzan kicked a ball out of bounds while under no pressure I’d be passed out by halftime.

    None of the current US-produced defenders are good enough. Brooks is a beast (for the most part) when he is healthy. “Dolo” locked down the right side for a long time and we got spoiled.

    MB90 used to be one of the best players in the region, but since he hurt himself in warm ups against Costa Rica last cycle he has never been the same player. He has plenty of haters, yet he still covers more ground than anyone on the team and does the dirty defensive work. He’s the best we’ve got until someone else comes along.

    Offensively, Pulisic and Wood would probably make a regional best 11, but beyond that, our guys are too old (Dempsey) or just not good enough. We kept on getting knocked out of U-20 and Olympic qualifying tournaments because this over-hyped generation of Agudelo and Gil, etc. just weren’t good enough.

    At least Arena has them playing in their natural positions and the rot from Klinsmann is gone, but there’s only so much anyone can do with this bunch.

    The future looks bright. The current crop of U-17s and U-20s have done well. Until they pan out, I’m going to hold my nose and hope our boys don’t have to go to Damascus, and then keep my fingers crossed we don’t embarrass ourselves in Russia.

  10. “The latter might just be the answer, given Johnson’s success at the position and relative anonymity in the midfield.”

    This. It seems like Johnson just doesn’t click in the US midfield for whatever reason.

  11. Perhaps it was due to how awful the rest of the spectacle turned out to be, but I really wouldn’t classify that goal as an “ugly” goal. An ugly goal is a no-look hit off the shoulder or chin or shinbone, or a bad gaffe from the keeper. This goal consisted of a beautiful free-kick, a towering header, a beautifully-guided header, then a soft chest down to a split-second snap-shot. Everything about the goal was beautiful, in my opinion.

    • Soccering: Totally agree. The goal was actually a combo of skill (Acosta), grit (Besler + Morris), and calm-under-pressure (Wood). That chest trap in traffic and ability to volley it to the corner, that was a nice piece of work. 8/10 the forward will shank it or sky it (see Wondo).

  12. Arena got out-coach on both games. The victory over Costa Rica in Gold Cup 17, made Arena over confident in beating Costa Rica.

    Wood & Altidore combo does not work, the players have no chemistry with each other. Should start Wood with Pulisic as #10 behind Wood.


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