When your “highlights” video is only 42 seconds long, you know your team stunk. It’s hard to describe how awful the US were tonight in their 2-1 loss to Jamaica‘s Reggae Boyz. We’ve had much bigger losses in recent years but tonight’s performance was simply dreadful after the first minute of the match. It was so awful I started losing interest from around minutes 70-85. Tonight’s loss also makes the USA’s World Cup qualifying campaign quite tricky from here on out.
Where to begin with this debacle? How about Jürgen Klinsmann’s midfield selection? We allegedly were in some kind of 4-4-2 diamond but the midfield selections of Kyle Beckerman (Stonernaldo), Jermaine Jones & Maurice Edu often were too deep & left the top of the diamond midfielder, Clint Dempsey, & the strikeforce of Jozy Altidore & Hercules Gomez often isolated. Never mind the fact that those midfield selections lacked imagination or impetus to go forward. For all the hoopla surrounding Klinsmann’s appointment to head coach of the USMNT, he got all squeaky-bummed with his lineup tonight (really, Klinsi? NO wide midfielders? WTF?) & it backfired big time.
Compounding the poor midfield selection of Beckerman, Jones & Edu, whose games are too similar in deeper positional play, was the trio’s complete & utter shitstorm of a performance. Jermaine Jones & Maurice Edu were very ineffective & their passing was quite dreadful at times. Jermaine Jones at times attempted to drift out wide on the right to feign some width for the US but Klinsmann’s formations, tactics & lineup selection made Stoke City of recent years look like a high-flying winger-led team. More worryingly, Jones & Edu looked slow in the tackle & often gave up fouls in poor positions, with Edu givimg up the foul for Jamaica’s winner (both of Jamaica’s goals came from freekicks).
Now, for Kyle Beckerman. It’s hard to see what Jürgen Klinsmann sees in Stonernaldo. I don’t watch much MLS so unless Kyle Beckerman tears it up there, Stonernaldo must have nudie pics of Klinsmann & a poodle or something. Beckerman was in a word- sucktasticfuckingdreadfulshitstormerrificcrappygarbage. It was a worse performance than old whipping boy of a left back, Jonathan Bornstein used to put in. The announcers kept saying how he was in the lineup “to keep possession of the ball.” Well, he failed. Miserably. He was too slow, couldn’t pass, couldn’t tackle, couldn’t keep the ball, couldn’t tie his own shoes, etc. He was also at fault for the opening goal when he gave away a foul in a dangerous position after being too slow to get anywhere near the ball. Then on the ensuing freekick it was his heel the ball deflected off of to wrong-foot Tim Howard for Jamaica’s opening goal. He was simply shambolic tonight. I know the US has injuries to Landon Donovan & Michael Bradley in the midfield but if Beckerman starts on Tuesday, I may turn the tv off in complete disgust. He should never see another cap in his career.
The backline actually played pretty well in spite of the midfield’s efforts to leave them isolated like the attackers. Clarence Goodson & Geoff Cameron paired well in the middle (Cameron has been playing really well of late) & Michael Parkhurst did fairly well in a surprise inclusion at right back following a knock picked up by Steve Cherundolo & Fabian Johnson did okay at left back defensively as well, but was lacking going forward & gave away the ball too often.
In short, the US played for one minute, the opening one where Clint Dempsey scored a goal after only 36 seconds, & then shut off for the next 89. We looked slow, we looked like we couldn’t pass, our formation was dreadful, our tactics dreadful, even the execution was pathetic. If you have bad tactics, sometimes you can overcome it with superior or even good execution but the only execution tonight should’ve been Beckerman’s national team career. Zing. Pow. Kaboom.
To make matters worse Guatemala beat Guyana, 3-1, to vault over the US into second in Group A. It’s not panic time just yet but after tonight’s loss, the Yanks have to win on Tuesday night otherwise it would be. Guatemala will most likely beat Antigua & Barbuda in their match on Tuesday evening which would put them on seven points as well where currently Jamaica resides in the lead of Group A. If the US drops points on Tuesday we’d be third & at least two or three points behind second with only two matches to go.
I won’t even do ratings because I’m pretty much in complete agreeance with Brain Sciaretta of the NYT soccer blog. Except I wouldn’t have given Bornstein that 3.5. He would’ve gotten a solid 3 for me. Worst performance for a national team player since I don’t remember when.
Here’s the “highlights,” for whatever it’s worth:
Early yays! turned into many later nays!
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Turning elsewhere for a bright spot, my high school alma mater & perennial football powerhouse in Louisiana, whom I played football for as well from 1989-1992, John Curtis Christian, took on & crushed Plant HS of Tampa, Florida tonight to the tune of 33-3. John Curtis Patriots went into the game ranked as high as #6 in the nation (by USA Today) & Plant was ranked as high as #7 (also by USA Today) & with their impressive & resounding victory over an overwhelmed Plant Panther team, the Patriots have thrust themselves into (mythical) national high school championship contention.
The Tampa take of the game where reading between the lines, Plant’s head coach Robert Weiner underestimated the Patriots in films:
“Honestly, they were a different team than we saw on film,’’ Weiner said.
“It’s not that you didn’t know the history …but they really were way more outstanding than any game I’ve seen them play this year on film.’’
Sorry, to burst your bubble Plant fans, but that’s coachspeak for “we got arrogant, thought we were better & overlooked this team.” Weiner made multiple comments before the game remarking how John Curtis played “old man football” & ran schemes that were outdated & too old too work against Plant.
Our veer offense which we’ve run from some 40+ years now & it’s “old man football” style claims yet another victim. Like I remarked to a friend back in December about the option- “it’s not schemes that win football games in the long run, it’s execution (of whatever the strategy is).” Another scheme which was supposedly outdated & wouldn’t work was our “picket fence” punt return scheme, where players set up a “wall” or “fence” to one side of the field to help shield a returner & create a lane for the returner to run. Well, that paleolithic punt return scheme scored on one occasion & had another TD called back on a flag on another. How’s that picket fence working out for ya, Weiner?
When will people learn that smashmouth football NEVER goes out of style. Running the ball down people’s throats will never go out of fashion no matter how many new-fangled supposed space age offensive schemes come along. You would think after watching the SEC win six national championships in a row, people would start to get it. Or watching year in & year out in the NFL that you at least need the semblance of a physical run game to win the Super Bowl. Ad infinitum powerful running attacks with good blocking will never go out of style.
I won’t even address how the Plant Panthers came out in the second half, down 27-3 at the time, & proceeded to turn into a frustrated bunch of cheat shop artists. Oh wait. Too late. Take your asses back to Tampa & wait for that LSU beatdown of Florida too, ya secretly candy-assed prima donnas!
Many thanks to iHigh.com for having audio of the game I could listen to & allowing me to listen to fellow alums, Kevin Fayard & Danny Wimprine broadcast (& cheer on) the John Curtis Patriots. And, of course, congratulations & many kudos on a job well done to my former coaches, J.T. Curtis, Michael Robertson, & Leon Curtis & former teammates who are now coaches, Johnny Curtis, Jeff Curtis, Preston Curtis, Jerry Godfrey, et al.
“Old Man Football” wins again!
This helmet & school is your daddy