Posts Tagged ‘US Jamaica WC qualifier’


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:

U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION
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:

4-2-3-1
Howard

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.

Prediction
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!

Advertisements

The international break usually means a dearth of club news, so we’re left with fantastic stories like Vito Mannone considers himself a “better keep in every way,” following his loan spell at Hull in the Championship last year.  Mannone certainly has acquitted himself in the last two matches following Wojciech Szczesny’s absence through injury but let’s slow down a bit, Vito, eh?

“I think I have improved in every part of the goalkeeper position,” Mannone told Arsenal Player.

“In my mind as well, I came back stronger and stronger [from my loan spell]. Especially after the mistake at Olympiacos – it’s never easy to come back, but when I’ve got my back against the wall, I don’t mind. I just roll up my sleeves and try to work because I know I can do well.

I’m not dismissing the Italian’s new-found confidence or belief but despite two good displays, he still is a clear  backup to Szczesny for me.  Mannone still looked a bit bothered on high balls in the box at times against Liverpool but his shot-stopping has been good.  Either way, here’s to hoping Mannone’s improvement continues & he plays well until Szczesny’s return.

Arsenal released their full playing squad lists for the UEFA Champions’ League & Premier League yesterday as well.  There’s 54 names on the full list, which for the Champions’ League includes a 25-man ‘A’ squad where interestingly, 17-year old Serge Gnabry has made the cut.  The youngster did well in pre-season & has done well also in the reserves early on, but likely will make his first team bow in the Carling Cup.  However, if Arsenal do well enough in their CL group perhaps Arsène Wenger will give the young German a run out in the final group match if we’ve qualified for the knockout stages by then already.

Andrei Arshavin made the list despite rumors of the mercurial Russian leaving the club before the Russian transfer deadline on Thursday.  I don’t have the CL roster rules in front of me but if Arshavin were to leave the club, I believe the club would be able to fill that roster spot with someone else without having to wait until the spring registration window (provided we make it through the competition that far, of course.)

And for the last bit of Arsenal news, let’s all take another gander at Abou Diaby’s Man of the Match performance against Liverpool over the weekend:

Not Patrick Vieira, but Diaby was Vieira-esque on Sunday

Moving on to some national news & it’s for the US.  USA!  USA!  USA!  Right.  US Soccer released the USMNT’s 24-man roster for their upcoming qualifiers against the Reggae Boyz of Jamaica on Friday & next Tuesday evenings:

U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION
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)

No real surprises in that group really given the injuries to Michael Bradley & Landon Donovan, & it looks like Jürgen Klinsmann is definitely set on moving Maurice Edu to the center of defense.  Klinsmann must no doubt want a defender who has a bit of ball-playing ability at the back as he looks to implement a more possession-based system than American teams are generally used to.  We’ve definitely never really had central defenders that were that good on the ball except maybe Marcelo Balboa & even ‘Celo was never going to be mistaken for Franz Beckenbauer or anything.

Molde FK winger, Joshua Gatt had been originally named in the roster & would’ve possibly made his USMNT debut, but he was withdrawn due to an injury in his last match with his Norwegian side.

I would also guess that captain Carlos Bocanegra moves out to left back & Klinsmann would go with a central defense pairing of Geoff Cameron & Maurice Edu.  Or maybe he pushes Edu up into midfield & starts Goodson next to Cameron?  From the players named & being a bit short in the midfield with Bradley & Donovan’s absences, I would imagine Klinsmann would go with a lineup of:

Howard

Cherundolo — Edu — Cameron — Bocanegra

– Jones — Beckerman

Williams —- Dempsey ——- Shea

Altidore

Friday’s match in Kingston, Jamaica will be televised on beIN Sport, which apparently is some new exclusive soccer network that I bet I don’t get.  Yep.  I don’t get it.  Sounds like I’m finding a feed on Friday.  Tuesday’s “return” match in Columbus will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 8 PM ET/4 PM AT.

Oh, by the way, I would be remiss if didn’t mention the USA’s recent win over Mexico IN Azteca last month.  It was the first time in history the US defeated Mexico in the seething cauldron that is Azteca.  The Mexicans can cry all they want about the match only being a friendly, but they know damn right having the kind of record where they had never lost against us, ‘The Gringos’, in their home stadium, drives them up a freaking wall.  Uno a cero, bitches.  Add that one to the historical wins list with “Dos a cero,” when a match DID matter the most.  You mad, Mexico?  Boo-hoo!

Uno a cero, perdadores!