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Klinsmann's men remain toothless
by Mike Woitalla, September 6th, 2011 6:02PM

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TAGS:  belgium, men's national team


[USA CONFIDENTIAL] Once a world-class striker, Jurgen Klinsmann watched his U.S. team create nearly nothing in front of the goal as it was shut out for the second time in two games. Here's what we learned from the 1-0 loss at Belgium on Tuesday ...

NO MIDAS TOUCH. Results may not matter in these early friendlies of the Klinsmann Era, which gets serious with World Cup qualifying play next summer. But one would have thought that the coaching change would inject more life into a squad that has now scored one goal in three games and remains winless through the honeymoon period. Since Klinsmann’s debut with a 1-1 tie against Mexico, the Americans have been shut out by Costa Rica (1-0) and on Tuesday, they fell to Belgium in another performance plagued by a depressing dearth of scoring chances.

DEMPSEY DISAPPOINTS. Clint Dempsey made his first appearance for Klinsmann on Tuesday, but seemed more interested in taking on refs than battling Belgians. Dempsey did manage the USA’s only two shots on goal. The first from a long-range free kick that skipped on the wet grass and came off keeper Simon Mignolet’s face. Jozy Altidore failed to reach the rebound. Late – too late – in the game Dempsey sparked into action. In the 70th minute, he finally beat a defender in the penalty area, but shot weakly to Mignolet. It was the second straight game that a key veteran disappointed. Landon Donovan, who wasn’t in Belgium, had missed a golden chance against Costa Rica.

DEFENSIVE CHANGES
. Klinsmann started Clarence Goodson instead of Michael Fiscal Orozco at central defender (alongside Carlos Bocanegra) and also dropped left back Edgar Castillo. Veteran right back Steve Cherundolo returned, and Timothy Chandler moved to left back. Midway through the first half, the Belgians had the U.S. defense on its heels, and keeper Tim Howard bailed it out a couple of times. But in 55th minute, Marouane Fellaini headed a throw-in to Nicolas Lombaerts, whose shot from 22 yards out skidded under Howard’s hands for the only goal the Red Devils needed. Offensively, the center backs made no impact, Cherundolo's best chance to contribute ended with a cross straight to the keeper, and Chandler shot poorly on two occasions.

AGUDELO SHOULD START. Klinsmann opted again to use Juan Agudelo as a sub, this time coming on for Altidore at halftime. The Belgians resorted to fouls to stop him while Scottish referee William Collum kept his cards glued to his pockets. The 18-year-old Agudelo is more comfortable on the ball and a stronger dribbler than Altidore – and is simply the best hope for the struggling U.S. frontline.

NOT MUCH FROM THE FLANKS. On the right, Robbie Rogers did nothing to indicate a long national team career awaits and the 24-year-old Columbus player certainly didn’t look like a “forward” as the official lineup described him. Brek Shea had more of a presence, wrestling his way down the field to somewhat disturb the Belgians but without ever delivering a pass that created scoring chances. And he still coughs up the ball far too often. But he’s only 21 and Klinsmann favors him, saying after the game he played as if he has been a national team player for a decade.

A PROMISING NO. 10. The player who’s stock has risen the highest in the past two games is 23-year-old central midfielder Jose Torres, who as in the Costa Rica game was ever available for passes during attacking buildups and gave the USA whatever cohesion it had. He also again came close to scoring with a long-range effort, his bending free kick from the wing just missing the top far corner in the 18th minute. It would, however, be nice to see Torres in the opponent’s penalty area more frequently. In fact, it'd be progress to see any U.S. players in the opponent’s penalty area.

Sept. 6 in Brussels
Belgium 1 USA 0.
Goal: Lombaerts 55.
Belgium -- Mignolet, Ciman, Alderweireld, Kompany, Lombaerts, Simons, Hazard (Ogunjimi, 63), Witsel, Fellaini (Hubert, 63), Mertens, de Camargo (Lukaku, 63).
USA -- Howard, Cherundolo, Goodson, Bocanegra, Chandler, Edu, Torres
(Larentowicz, 76), Dempsey, Rogers (Beckerman, 46), Altidore (Agudelo, 46), Shea.
Referee: William Collum (Scotland).



47 comments
  1. cony konstin
    commented on: September 6, 2011 at 8:07 p.m.
    The US National Team needs 11 attacking players on the field. So what I propose to Klinsman is to try an experiment. He has nothing to lose. Have Freddy Adu play left Attacking back, Nate Jaqua and Eddy Johnson play center backs and Chad Barrett play right Attacking back. They will not refuse because they love their country. If you do this. You now have 4 players that can attack immediately without asking them to go forward. The players who have been playing and currently played today can barely go forward collectively or indivdually. I am sorry you can not make chicken soup with chicken ####. Secondly you must create a mantra for the players. Our American players have been told for to many years defend defend defend. NO!!! We must attack attack attack relentlessly in waves like the pacific ocean. This must become our new mantra. Otherwise no matter what you do with it. Put it in nice box, wrap it with a nice ribbon, put a Gucci label on the box, @@@@ will always be @@@@. We need Radical Change for US soccer. We need a REVOLUTION. It is not going to come from playing it safe. We need unorthodox action to rock our world. People who know me personally know that I am not some crazy nut job. They know that I am 100% right. Klinsman if you want my help I am here. For Free. No Charge. No cost to you or our nation. I am a USONIAN and I am willing to do what ever it takes to make us Champions. I am sorry Mike for using Soccer America as a platform to reach out and bring real change for the betterment of the game. But I will continue to hammer my ideas and thoughts. It is what makes America great. Having a voice!!!!! So the people may be heard.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: September 6, 2011 at 8:20 p.m.
    Oh come on now!!! Tell me, you Cony or anyone else, just how long did it take Klinsmann to put his German squad together? And this while still living in Southern California and commuting to Germany! Cut the guy some slack, for cripes sake. And lastly, Mike W, why didn't ESPN televise the game? We gos some good ole boy car race! Had to watch a good part on ESPN3.com.... !

  1. charles davenport
    commented on: September 6, 2011 at 8:57 p.m.
    Yeah, give Klinsman a few more weeks at least (that's a joke). also, another reason I'm not a fan of ESPN.

  1. Mike Gaynes
    commented on: September 6, 2011 at 9:01 p.m.
    Ric, the game was on ESPN2, which is unfortunate, because I watched it on my big screen, and by 60 minutes I was wishing for a smaller one, maybe an IPad. Ugh. I'm absolutely willing to cut Klinsmann lots of slack. I'm far less tolerant of the timid, passionless performances of the players. Edu, Orozco Fiscal, Altidore, Goodson and Dempsey all seemed to be operating in slow motion, and Torres may bring cohesion, but there's no penetration. Ineffectual soccer is tolerable at this point in Klinsmann's regime. Unenthusiastic soccer is not.

  1. Philippe Fontanelli
    commented on: September 6, 2011 at 9:02 p.m.
    Note my earlier comment (yesterday)before the game against Belgium. "Unfortunately our confidence level is not there to win the game against Belgium. Had we won securely against CR then it would have been different. The belief of winning is not there. While understand JK's rationality I don't necessarily agree with him. I have mentioned before that his attacking concept was on the right road but he needed at least two goal scorers up front. I also feel that the midfield is out of balance and out of sinc." So I was right and now even with less of the confidence.

  1. Mike Gaynes
    commented on: September 6, 2011 at 9:04 p.m.
    Apologies, I meant Bocanegra, not Orozco.

  1. Philippe Fontanelli
    commented on: September 6, 2011 at 9:14 p.m.
    I have further stated that" Donovan is getting older, is he the future beyond the next WC? I doubt it. Even now he floats in and out of form and personalities. Dempsey ditto who is a good player but not great, playing for a mediocre club team often mediocre performance." I did pointed out that Torres is a go and one of the strength of the future. Of course things could be different with Donovan, Torres, Dempsey and Holden, but that would take some juggling of the formation. The ideal would be with 2 attacking forwards with Donovan behind the two forming a triangle. This formation would fit in the other 3. Finally I was impressed with Beckerman. And I keep on saying please no more Rogers. Mke W, GOOD ANALYZATION!

  1. Gak Foodsource
    commented on: September 6, 2011 at 9:15 p.m.
    I am so tired of the lone forward. This, to me, has been the biggest disappointment of Klinsmann's selections and formations. America has always loved the Didier Drogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic types up top, but they exceedingly rare commodities, and not ones you can regularly develop. Ric is right, we are three games in. And we may have to take a step backwards to take two forwards. Thanks for the honest write up, Mike. And please, from time to time, keep us posted on Klinsmann's most important efforts, (the youth national teams, USSF coaching manual, abolishing college soccer). Those deserve our attention as much as todays game does.

  1. Gordon Shumway
    commented on: September 6, 2011 at 9:15 p.m.
    Why is the team and the players being tried still aligned as closely as the previous team? Best control midfielder Osvaldo Alonso possible or is there issues over being a former cuban player? Holding the ball, attacking, and a fire is missing from the last few games. Cony- Nate Jaqua? your kidding right? It will come together but I hope to see some more house cleaning, prep and build up soon.

  1. cony konstin
    commented on: September 6, 2011 at 9:19 p.m.
    I am not putting down Klinsman. I want to help him succeed. If he is going to be a great leader. He must open his mind to others. If he only listens to the status quo then he will be lost in the abyss. Bradely was successful to a certain point but to take the national team to the next level he was limited both tactically and player wise. Klinsman needs radical insight from someone like me because I am not running for mayor or president of the US. I am going be blunt and at times extremely unorthodox. But that's what klinsman needs. He doesn't need people to kiss his touche. He need people to help him kick everyone else touche..

  1. John Coia
    commented on: September 6, 2011 at 9:23 p.m.
    What to me, as a veteran, was as frustrating as the lack of offense was Altidore's reluctance once again of placing his hand over his heart at the playing of the national anthem. He does this every US match. It's the NATIONAL squad for god's sake. One of the most touching moments during the women's world cup was seeing our women saluting the military personnel in the stands. Sorry if I sound like an old romantic.

  1. cony konstin
    commented on: September 6, 2011 at 9:26 p.m.
    Gordon I am not kidding. Nate Jaqua and Eddie Johnson would be awesome center backs. These guys are very good athletes, strong, fast, skillful to play in the back but not as skillful to play up front. These two guys have more skill than all the defenders put together in the last 10 years that have played center backs for the US. I have been coaching for 36 years. And I have been very fortuanate to have travel all over the world because of soccer and futsal. So of course I come with different view. We need radical change. And if Nate and Eddie don't work no one is going to die or the US economy is not going to be saved. Risk takers are the ones who make things happen not conservative or liberal thinking.

  1. Gordon Shumway
    commented on: September 6, 2011 at 9:35 p.m.
    When has nate played that position?

  1. cony konstin
    commented on: September 6, 2011 at 9:35 p.m.
    John Coia thank you for serving our country. I am sure Altidore is proud to play for the US even though he might not put his hand on his heart but to me that is a different issue. My issue is that soccer wise he is not clicking with the team on the field. That to me is a major problem.

  1. cony konstin
    commented on: September 6, 2011 at 9:39 p.m.
    Gordon is doesn't matter. Hierro from Real Madrid was a forward for several years and then later converted to center back. Ronaldo from Brazil started as a goalie in futsal and later became el phenomino. In life you must be willing to take chances to taste from the cup of glory and greatness.

  1. Gordon Shumway
    commented on: September 6, 2011 at 9:40 p.m.
    Position changes like that are not just simple movements but need natural ability and anticipations that make someone great vs good.

  1. Gordon Shumway
    commented on: September 6, 2011 at 9:42 p.m.
    A great individual maybe can do more but that is not Nate. Is sigi missing his talents? I don;t think so. No hamr in talking about it though. Klinsman will make a winning squad. Hopefully in time for 2014

  1. Philippe Fontanelli
    commented on: September 6, 2011 at 9:44 p.m.
    Ultimately what suprises me about JK is that he is playing (with the exceptions of a few) many of the "has been" players or players that "have never been nor ever will be". Why not try some of the uncapped and upcoming youth? If you produce negative result might as well go with the youth and let them prove themselves. JK needs to scout abroad (Europe and south of the boarder) all the teams with Americans playing. Furthermore he needs to watch religiously all the MLS games for some talents. Forget about visiting Everton and other futile locations.

  1. Amos Annan
    commented on: September 6, 2011 at 9:46 p.m.
    Looks a lot like the same team when Bob Bradley was coaching

  1. Amos Annan
    commented on: September 6, 2011 at 9:54 p.m.
    If Howard stops that one goal that slid under him (he should have stopped it) and they don't blow every goal scoring opportunity, some would be saying what a genius Klinsmann is. Small differences. No radical change is needed. Just a couple more top level players and/or some experience.

  1. Gordon Shumway
    commented on: September 6, 2011 at 10:04 p.m.
    I agree Antonio. Then again using known quality against new can give valuable insight. Once enough is tested jettison the known.

  1. Walter Burenin
    commented on: September 6, 2011 at 10:12 p.m.
    What is the story with ESPN. Some of us have jobs. I taped the game. Got home, grabbed a beer, turned on the game....and I get car racing. Missing the first 20 minutes of the Mexico match was bad enough. There is no excuse. Give me Fox Soccer Channel.

  1. John Burns
    commented on: September 6, 2011 at 10:41 p.m.
    I owe an apology to one of the ladies answering complaints at DirecTV. I set my DVR to record today's match early this morning and got home at 4:00 to watch it...and got full confirmation that all was OK getting to the match but then just 2 hours of Nascars running on circles!!! I called DirecTV and blew my top. Now I learn here it was not their fault at all The poor girl was very apologetic but now I know it is ESPN deserving of my rage...and if I could deliver it to them it would be like water off a duck's back.

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: September 6, 2011 at 11:19 p.m.
    Word! I emailed a nasty note to ESPN for changing the schedule. Told them to start taking soccer seriously and stop jacking around with the schedule since a lot of people DVR the games and them playing with the schedule really effs us up. We'll see if I get a response....

  1. Kent James
    commented on: September 6, 2011 at 11:20 p.m.
    Mike's comments are harsh, but fair. On the other hand, no mention of the goal that was disallowed for some unknown reason? Goodson was clearly not offside (and obviously neither was Edu), and I sure as heck didn't see any handling (and the AR's signal seemed to indicate offside). The only thing I can imagine is that the AR thought someone in an offside position (Shea?) somehow interfered with play between Goodson's header and Edu's finish. Or the Referees have a pact to disallow any goal scored by Edu for the national team. Belgium is a tough, European side (and the referee seemed to let a lot of "tough" play go), we traditionally have trouble winning in Europe, and most of our guys travelled a long way, so (especially given the disallowed goal), 1-0 was not horrible. What was lacking, and Klinsmann recognized this in his comments, was attempts on goal (or even as Harkes pointed out, people in the box to receive passes when we had the ball in the offensive third). Altidore cannot play up front by himself. Agudelo is better (because of his speed), but we simply have to get more attackers involved. Dempsey was absent the first half, and only seemed effective in the final 10 minutes or so. Goodson was adequate defensively, but he gives the ball away too much (Ream is a much better passer out of the back). Cony, while Buddle and Jacqua would be a stretch as central defenders, maybe Maurice Edu could work? His defensive work is admirable, he's got sufficient height to defend aerial attacks, and he's much better on the ball. Torres played well, but needs more support. I think Rogers is just not good enough at this level. Shea was one of the few bright spots; maybe work on the accuracy of his crosses but he we one of the few players taking people on and beating them on a regular basis. Chandler did well defensively, but needs work on his left footed crosses (and needs to shoot better when he gets the chance). Howard made 2 superb saves, so it was unfortunate that he was beaten on the goal. Belgium looked very strong for about 10 minutes towards the end of the first half, but their goal kind of came out of nowhere (a throw-in that Edu defended decently under the circumstances; perhaps Dempsey should have closed down the shooter faster, but it was a quick shot that was wickedly struck). I was disappointed that JK took out Torres and brought in Larentowicz, since he seems to be more defensively oriented. So a bit disappointing, but not yet time to panic.

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: September 6, 2011 at 11:23 p.m.
    John Coia, I couldn't agree with you more about the national anthem. I have posted about it many times but usually with no follow through. It really makes me mad that most of the guys on the team make no effort to look like hearing the national anthem before a game means something to them. Jozy is a big one, so is Clint Dempsey. Tim H and Carlos B both sing the song, kudos to them.

  1. Reuben Valles
    commented on: September 6, 2011 at 11:28 p.m.
    Now all of a sudden Bob Bradley doesnt seem as bad as everyone thought! Most will call me ignorant, but i actually believe that often during his tenure, Bob Bradley got the most of this National Team. He had them playing at their best. Or at least, he got the most out of his talent pool. The problem is that many US Soccer fans thought our current unit could have gotten more out of themselves. Bob probably got every ounce of effort out of the talent he had. We cant all of a sudden put a new guy on the sideline, and then expect the same players to have a 20% increase in talent level. Bob had the US team playing well in 2 World cups (Asamoah Guyan's winning goal was amazing), Confederations Cup (heck we were leading 2 nil in the the final), Aug 12, 2009 in the Azteca (we were oh so close to a draw with a very late game winner by Mexico and actually a freak lucky initial goal by Mexico on that day), solid wins by the US on most home WCQ's, and if not for injuries to Cherundolo and Holden at the gold cup, and a stinker of a game by Tim Howard closer to a 2011 Gold cup win than most believe..........my point is, we lost some games we should have won, but Bob Bradley got the most out of the kids. They were in finals, knock out rounds at the World Cup, Confed Cup finals, tough on the road in world cup qualifiers ect At this point, we are rebuilding. However, the worrisome issue for me is........we do not look very focused, we do not seem to play hard for 90 minutes, we seem very very disorganized during long periods of each game where the guys are trying to figure things out on the fly for themselves; JK admits he doesnt like to overcoach and lets the boys figure out the game on their own. Most importantly, JK has not implemented one new attacking/forward player or introduced a new attacking formation. Its just been mostly the same ol guys with the addition of some Mexican American players who play in the primera division of Mexico. Finally, i hope Im wrong, but the new The last time Torres was tried he showed to be a liability on defense, could not get up and down the field like is required in the fast paced international game, and made lots of passes from the defensive side of the field. He looks to be the same. I see a midfield that tired out big time against Costa Rica and very few passes from Torres that spring people loose and put them in dangerous positions b/c all his passes are from near the midfield line. Fianlly, with all the trials.....what about our most promising looking midfielder in the last few months (Freddy Adu). His performance during the Gold Cup should have warranted some serious playing time at the beginning of this new JK era. Its not that easy to put together a National Team and Bob Bradley did much better than people give him credit for.

  1. F. Kirk Malloy
    commented on: September 6, 2011 at 11:28 p.m.
    JK is doing the right thing. These results are meaningless. He is giving many new faces a chance while keeping some vets around for structure and continuity. JT is showing good promise, but needs some creative help centrally which has been thin. A healthy SH will make a big difference since he can play both sides of the ball so well. BS also shows menace, and has good skill for one so big and athletic. Two significant additions from the JK plan. Once he fields our best 11 we'll be a much better team than under Bradley. Also, CK's attack, attack, attack plan, using the best athletes/players, regardless of positional background, has a lot of merit. With rare exception our backline has looked comotose. Sure they can pass it backwards and sideways when they have numbers, but almost nothing positive develops against quality competition. After 4-5 maeningless passes they send the 40 yarder in JA's general direction and hope for the best, which is very hopeful given JA's first touch of stone. JK, take CK up on his offer! And get JA in more to help up front!

  1. Rick Potts
    commented on: September 6, 2011 at 11:36 p.m.
    Why is the US always on the receiving end of physical games? The Belgian (and Costa Rican)defenders were teeing off on Altidor, Shea and Torres. The US defenders should take note and give as good as they get. When is somebody on the US team going to give it back? Im tired of rolling over to these 2nd tear European and Central American hack teams. If we can't play pretty then we might as well take a pound of flesh....

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: September 6, 2011 at 11:38 p.m.
    Hey, any of you guys ever coach any team above the high school or collegiate level?

  1. Andrew Post
    commented on: September 6, 2011 at 11:44 p.m.
    I have to agree with many of you here. You CANNOT judge Klinsmann by these first 3 games. Give hime 6-12 months and he will sort out his regulars and have them playing his style. I think we all realized who some of those players are and are not. Are Nots: Rogers, Kljestan. Are's: Shae, Aguldelo, Chandler, Torres, Orozco-Fiscal. On the fence: Dempsey ( he has to find a place on this field where he can contribute), Altidore (too one dementional at this point), J. Jones(can you contribute on the attack?). I will patiently wait while Klinsmann assembles a much better team than BB or previous MLS coaches have put together. It is time that the US adopts many of the strengths of the international game played outside the US.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 2:45 a.m.
    To Rick Potts and Andrew Post, thank you, thank you, thank you! All it took was the two of you to tell it like I also saw it (on ESPN.3.com) and heard on the radio: the US gets pushed off the ball very easily, and don't seem at all willing to dish some of it back, though I suspect that our players might be shying away and fearful of getting carded, and I must also say that I noticed some bias against US soccer on behalf of some of the referees. Also, while I'm on this topic of bias, listening to the Spanish language radio or even tv broadcast here in the US, the anti-US bias by Spanish speaking commentators, color men, and the like is getting gawd-awful tiring and disheartening. But I agree with A. Post when he says "I will patiently wait...." Lastly, no one ever did tell me/us just how long it took Klinsmann in assembling his team for the German WC '06....

  1. david caldwell
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 9:22 a.m.
    Deep breaths. ESPN soccer coverage makes Fox look like public access.Gold Cup telecasts on Fox were high school quality. The scheduling thing was difficult yesterday, agreed. But just on announcing talent alone ESPN is a revelation. World-class Ian Darke! As for the team, some decent signs and frustrating ones too. I liked the speed of Chandler, though he may be more suited for the right side. I loved Shea's performance, he's truly dangerous. Aguedelo needs to create shots, but he gave one of the worlds best center backs (Kompany) all he could handle. These players are all 21 yrs old or less! This is the spark and youth we've been looking for! Obviously, we're lacking in the final 3rd. We know this. But I think it's coming. JK first built a new system based on short passing on the ground. They're doing OK on that. Next step is to get more dangerous in front of goal. I see progression.

  1. Walt Pericciuoli
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 9:48 a.m.
    I am still with Klinsi, but a loss is still a loss. The match was pretty even with each team dominating at different points in the match. The difference in my mind was that Belguim threatened with many more players in the attacking third. That needs to be addressed. Perhaps we need the 2nd forward. Please answer me this, if our lone forward has to come back past the MF line to help, who is up top to give us attacking depth?I do think JK is sorting out the "are's" and "are nots" and I like that he is willing to give the players more than a few minutes a game to prove themselves. Lets see if Rogers will be starting the next match, or if Altidore starts up top again by himself. Overall, it appears to me the team has improved in each match.

  1. Carl Walther
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 11:17 a.m.
    Regarding Dempsey: "but seemed more interested in taking on refs than battling Belgians." Come on, this is the guy who used to get into fights with his own team members, thought he was a rapper. He's just "ghetto."

  1. Clear the Ball
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 12:01 p.m.
    As an RSL fan, I've seen firsthand that patience can lead to dividends. RSL lost a lot of games figuring out their style, but now they are a joy to watch. I'll be excited to see what Donovan, Dempsey, Holden, Aguadelo and Shea can do when on the field at the same time. I've seen enough of Rogers, Castillo and Orozco-Fiscal (at center back anyway). I really like what Beckerman brings. Regarding cony's "team", with that back line, we could have Barcelona's attackers and still get drilled every game. Forwards can't play defense. At best, they are ankle breakers (Mondaini, you are an ***hole). I love 2 way players, but not one of those guys you put in there are that type of player.

  1. cony konstin
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 12:17 p.m.
    Skill is everything. If Spain did not have 11 attacking players they would never have won the world cup. That is the difference maker. Every player must have the ability to score and attack. Defense is only used for one reason and that is to get the ball back so we can attack attack attack relentlessly in waves like the pacific ocean. We need to look for talent and not positions. We need to think out of the box. We need to be unorthodox. We need to be radical in our thinking. Conservatism and Liberalism is holding us back. We must be willing to roll the dice. The Status quo has had it's chance. It is time for a REVOLUTION and not more mumbo jumbo.

  1. James Griffin
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 12:50 p.m.
    As we all know, soccer coverage by ESPN has been weak at best. Money, or its perception, will always drive their programming. Agree with most that we are going to have to give the Klinsman some time to sort things with this team. Some of the veterans have been lackluster and need to be challenged by new talent. Outside of having an impotent attack with average forwards, our midfield is sadly in need of a playmaker. Torres and Adu are players who are willing and able to take on opponents. They need to be played centrally to give them a chance. Dempsey is not a midfielder. Konstin has a valid point about the defense. Remember F Heyduk, a converted forward, who gave us plenty of exciting moments attacking from the back. Most true forwards are pitiful defenders. At the national level, if you give a good ball handler a choice of becoming a defender or not making the team, I believe the hungry player will make the right choice. I think another Heyduk is out there waiting for his chance. It is time for some new decisions about the team. If JK listens to his support staff and occasionally reads our posts, maybe he will make some bold moves. He was a great forward but lousy on defense, if you ever watched him with the German team.

  1. cony konstin
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 2:02 p.m.
    ‘I think the best way to improve your skills is to play football on a smaller pitch. I didn’t play 11-a-side football until I was 13. In Brazil most kids play what we call futebol de salao, which is similar to five-a-side. It is played on a hard surface and the ball is smaller and weighted with foam so it doesn't bounce as much. On a small pitch you need to have good control and move the ball around quickly. There isn't much space so you need to be skilful. That is why Brazil always produces players with great skill’. Juninho‘ In Futsal a successful team may use any or all of the four most popular formations; 3 – 1, 4-0, 1-2-1, 2-2. Futsal is not a game for players who only feel secure in their own few square metres of the pitch. What Futsal develops is speed and quality of decision making’ Javier Lozano – Manager of Spain – FIFA Futsal World Cup Winners 2004 Our national outdoor team must use futsal to help develop their outdoor game. It is never to late to learn. Read The Talent Code. Radical Change mind friends. Javier Lozano created the 4-0 System. Everyone must attack. Free Flowing. Every player must have skill and high futsal IQ.

  1. R2 Dad
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 2:18 p.m.
    Cony, you want us to play Total Football but we are not ready, yet. I don't know if JK is even ready to try that unless our back line continues to suck. Of course we are crap in the 18 yard box--we have been playing counterattacking football for the past 8 years and no one knows what a throughball looks like. This is going to take time to turn around the Bob Bradley battleship.

  1. cony konstin
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 2:30 p.m.
    Every country has it's problems and even worst problems then we do. Our problem is that we are not willing to think out of the box. We are not willing to take chances. Our national coaches have less chance in getting the boot then other countries so are coaches have a huge advantage in taking high risks but we don't. Why because are coaches are trapped in a bubble of conservatism and liberalism. We need to pop this bubble and shake up the foudations of soccer in America. Only through risk taking, radical thinking, and sh(( disturbing are going make headway. Bradley, Sampson, and Arena did their best. Now is the time to shake sh** up. Klinsman must roll the dice and go ba))s to rafters. I am willing to help him for free. I have a job. I don't need a job. But I do need a MISSION and winning the World Cup for the USA is a MISSION and not a job.

  1. cony konstin
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 2:38 p.m.
    Super Man you have a right to say what you want. So give me your master plan for soccer in America. Because that is what we need. A master plan and leadership to implement it.

  1. cony konstin
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 2:42 p.m.
    I am not going away. I am going to be here for along time. Trust me along time. But feel free to give your insight and wisdom in developing the future for soccer in America. That is what I am interested in seeing. Because the more input that we get from the masses eventually sonething unique will stick.

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 3:11 p.m.
    Let's not get too overwhelmed about the JK squad...sure it's toothless, it needs a #10, and who may that be, who is the unknown Platini, Messi etc., we don't have one, although we could have had Giuseppe Rossi whose quality for 90' is never questioned...cohesion and chemistry will deliver the playmaker that the USMNT requires and the finisher to complement the reinvention of this squad.

  1. John Roode
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 5:12 p.m.
    I'm telling you... You can not play with 1 defensive mid, 2 attacking mids and 2 attacking flank players and expect them to get forward. Playing 1 defensive mid puts too much pressure on the attacking flank players to defend AND get forward. It requires too high of a work rate for them. The Germans may have been able to get their outside backs to work that hard in the past, but even they don't do that anymore. Klinsmann is living in the past with that tactical formation. He needs to play 2 defensive mids, 1 attacking midfielder, 2 attacking flank players and 1 forward. He'll get 4 and sometimes 5 into the attack that way... 1 forward, 1 attacking mid, 2 attacking flank players... and sometimes a defensive mid. In other words, because of the 2 defensive mids, the flank players can truly become more forward-like. As it stands now, the way he is playing, he is only getting 3 sometimes 4. 1 forward, 2 attacking mids and sometimes a flank player.

  1. Paul Bryant
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 11:54 p.m.
    David C., you must work for ESPN. I use this term rarely, but ESPN SUCKS when it comes to soccer!! Like another blogger, I set my DVR to record the game on ESPN and I end up with two hours of NASCAR. Put the games on Fox Soccer where it will not get preempted. I don't need a top-notch announcer to watch, analyze, and enjoy a game.

  1. Paul Bryant
    commented on: September 8, 2011 at 12:13 a.m.
    Cony, It's the rare athlete that can successfully convert themselves from a forward/mid to a defender. Remember Chris Albright. He came into MLS as a forward, but had to make himself into a defender. He was average at best as a defender. This isn't rec ball soccer where you try to hide your worst players in the back. As you said, the best defenders in the world can participate in the attack. Ashley Cole, Marcelo, Micah Richards, Clichey, and Pique come to mind. Cony, do you think Adu and Jaqua have the defensive accumen of that group?


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