USA Faces A Virtual Must-Win On Tuesday

Posted: September 10, 2012 in Soccer, US Soccer
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Sort it out, Klinsmann!

After the sort of debacle on Friday night in Kingston, losing to Jamaica for the first time, 2-1, the US Mens’ soccer team faces a game where if three points aren’t a must, they’re virtually 99% a must.  Dropping points to Jamaica on Tuesday wouldn’t eliminate the US from the World Cup in Brazil, but it would make their qualification task nigh impossible.

I would hope that Jürgen Klinsmann makes a few lineup changes, even if he were to stick with the same tactics which I also hope he changes, since we’ll be at home & should play with more impetus on attacking & going forward.  Klinsmann’s tactics on Friday were quite defensive (3 deeper-playing midfielders in a 4-1-2-1-2 “diamond” midfield) which I hope was in response to both Michael Bradley & Landon Donovan missing the match through injury & not a choice made regardless of players available.  Having the midfielders we had starting on Friday led to the inevitable very narrow formation width& play being done virtually all through the middle all evening.  Jermaine Jones’ handful of attempts to play wider & give some flank play to the US often amounted to nothing the last time out.

Klinsmann was selected to be the USA head coach in part to implement & encourage attacking play but in the loss to Jamaica did what virtually all coaches do when faced with a problem, especially when playing on the road- play it safe & conservative.  It is actually quite a rare thing that a coach, in any sport mind you, actually be daring for than brief, passing moments (this is why my LSU brethren should quit bitching about Les Miles’ shortcomings & enjoy him while we have him).

Klinsi should, given the players available, start Brek Shea on Tuesday.  However, looking at players Klinsmann selected for the two qualifiers with Jamaica, there isn’t much natural width on the roster:

GOALKEEPERS (4): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (9): Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Maurice Edu (Stoke City), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Michael Orozco Fiscal (San Luis), Michael Parkhurst (Nordsjaelland), Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Jose Torres (Pachuca), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur), Herculez Gomez (Santos)

Practically all the midfielders, apart from Shea & Danny Williams, are more naturally central-playing midfielders.  Joe Corona, whilst sounding like a creation of a beer advertising campaign, can play as a winger, but he only has two caps to his name & I’m not sure Klinsmann would gamble playing both youngsters Shea & Corona.  Although if Klinsmann were to start with Corona, that would cap-tie him to the United States over Mexico, as he would have represented the US in a full official match.

Whomever Klinsi chooses to start on Tuesday versus the Reggae Boyz, I hope for the love of God he drops Stonernaldo (aka Kyle Beckerman).  Beckerman was complete rubbish on Friday & his performance was so awful, he should never see the field again for a US ‘A’ international ever again.

With that said, I would lineup like this:


Parkhurst / Cherundolo— Cameron — Bocanegra — Johnson —————

Jones —- Edu

Dempsey ——-Torres ———- Shea

Gomez / Altidore

But listening to his review of the match, I’m not sure how far Klinsi will deviate from his 4-1-2-1-2 / diamond tactics on Friday.  He doesn’t sound like he thinks he got the tactics wrong, just the execution of them.  It should be interesting to see how he’ll lineup with so much on the line in Columbus.

The match should be interesting emotionally as it falls on the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks & US Soccer plans to honor three FDNY firefighters who are also part of the FDNY Soccer Club.  There will also be a moment’s silence prior to kickoff to honor those fallen on 9/11.

Right then.  So with the US of A not exactly backed up against a wall, more like being judo-hold twisted towards a wall, but being on home soil, I’m looking for the Yanks to pip Jamaica for the win.  The players should be sufficiently motivated coming off of a loss & Jamaica won’t make it easy.  I expect the Reggae Boyz to employ the same high pressing tactic to win the ball back but on the road I expect them to try to hold possession a bit more than going straight into counter attacks.  At least, after 20 minutes or so.  They may try to ride their luck & press early & try to grab an early goal & then sit back.   I think they’ll get a goal as the US will have to play an attacking style from the off.          USA 2, Jamaica 1

 Come on, you Yanks!


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