Nov 14, 2012

Five Talking Points: RUS 2:2 USMNT

  1. The scouting report on the USMNT is pretty clear for opponents.  High pressure, high intensity for the first 15-20 minutes will likely yield a goal.  Jurgen Klinsmann has got to find a tactical or a psychological solution to this problem for the USMNT.  One tactical solution for the U.S. is to just be frenetic for the first 20 minutes, run at defenses, long balls out of the back, open the field and let the superior physical fitness carry them through the half and into the second half.  If the solution is psychological--Klinsmann needs to hire a new sports psychologist and pronto.
  2. Klinsmann needs to find a true left-sided midfield player.  The trio of Bradley, Jones, and Williams/Edu does not provide enough linkage in the midfield to do all the things that need to distribute the ball out of the back and connect to the strikers.  Maybe a healthy Donovan (who has played on the left for both club and country) could do it.  Some might say Dempsey, but the defensive responsibilities take Dempsey away from where he is best.  I think the answer is probably someone new, which is a worry heading into the World Cup Qualifiers.
  3. Gatt--it is pronounced "Gatt" as in rhymes with "cat" I am sure his family was cringing and groaning every time Ian Darke mispronounced his name--showed some promise.  He was not significantly worse in the first 15-20 minutes of the game than anyone else.  The boy is fast and he has an eye for attack.  I think given that he trained for all of about two hours--maybe three--with the MNT before this game, I can't say he doesn't deserve more call ups.
  4. Can we finally put an end to the Geoff Cameron doubts?  He has been consistent all year long at centerback.      
  5. Overall team performance is a C+.  Were it not for the late game heroics of Bradley and Diskerud, as well as the never say die effort (another U.S. trademark is seems), then this would a lot lower grade.

Player Grades:

Howard--8      What can you say, he kept the U.S. in the game--as usual.
Chandler--6     Impressed with his movement and defensive skills.  
Cameron--7    Provided lots and lots of lateral cover, but has to be expected with F. Johnson and Chandler moving foward.
Bocanegra--5  Left early for an injury, played okay during limited time.
F. Johnson--5.5  looked suspect at times, but played well out of the back.
Gatt--5.5             See above.
Bradley--8.5     Man of the match performance.  Brilliant, and technically difficult, strike for a goal.  
Jones--5.5        He is not the attacking link we need out of a midfielder, but didn't totally suck either.
Williams--4.5    Although he found the game in the second half, I was wondering if Klinsmann was going to pull him out in the first half.
Gomez--6         Made a nuisance of himself, buzzed around, but not his best performance.
Altiodre--6.5    Was getting back and helping defend, working hard, had a few chances that didn't break his way.

Goodson--6     Had one golden chance on goal, some fine defensive work, and bad decision on fouling for the late penalty.  Still not going to supplant Bocanegra or Cameron in the central defense.
Edu--6             Compared to Williams, Edu was miles better.  Sharp and mistake free.
Kljestan--5       Didn't have as much an impact as I think he could or should have.  But workmanlike effort.
Agudelo--5.5    Smart header to set up Bradley, fair impact on the match which is what subs should do.
Boyd--5           Not really enough time
Diskerud--6     and yeah, that is all goal.  Not really enough time otherwise to make an impact.

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