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A dismal display from the USA
by Mike Woitalla, January 30th, 2013 12:59AM
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TAGS:  men's national team, world cup 2014


By Mike Woitalla

Against a team that lost its last two games by a combined score of 12-1, the USA managed a 0-0 tie. Jurgen Klinsmann’s men didn’t even come close to hitting the net against Canada, which Honduras knocked out of World Cup qualifying with an 8-1 win last October.

Honduras is the U.S. opponent next week when the final round of qualifying for the World Cup 2014 begins. Tuesday’s game was supposed to reveal which 6-8 players would join the foreign-based U.S. regulars for the showdown in San Pedro Sula. Whoever they end up being, it’s difficult to imagine they’ll add much of a boost based on the dismal display in Houston.

Equally puzzling is why a squad that spent three weeks preparing for this game could deliver such a dreadful performance.

A DRIBBLING PROBLEM. The Americans pretty much kept the ball to themselves as the Canadians packed their defense, obviously hoping to avoid yet another rout. But this possession broke down when they got close to the goal. The obvious problem was that while the midfield – with Graham Zusi, Brad Evans, Kyle Beckerman and Brad Davis, to start – could string passes together, nobody seemed able to beat opponents one-on-one. Needed was some dribbling to penetrate and disrupt the bunkering Canadians.

NO KLINSI LOVE FOR WONDO. Doesn’t a player who tied the MLS season scoring record with 27 goals last season deserve more than 45 minutes to prove himself? Chris Wondolowski, MLS’s top scorer the last three years, was pulled at halftime in a tactical switch. Before that he got little service, but he was part of the only impressive sequence when he combined nicely with Davis for a long-range shot, tried a hopeful over-head kick, and did his best with a half-chance off a low cross. Joshua Gatt replaced Wondolowski, who’s still looking for his first U.S. goal, and hardly troubled the Canadians.

VERDICT ON DEFENDERS INCONCLUSIVE. Depth is needed on the U.S. backline, so watched closely were, from right to left, Tony Beltran, Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez and Justin Morrow. But since the Canadians didn’t attack, we learned nothing -- but wondered why we didn’t see them join the offense much more. Presumably their potential was assessed during that three-week, two-a-day training camp. The camp during which Klinsmann failed to produce a team able to beat an opponent that four days ago lost, 4-0, to Denmark.

  1. Stevie G
    commented on: January 30, 2013 at 2:34 a.m.
    Denmark are a good team.
  1. Robert Kiernan
    commented on: January 30, 2013 at 5:47 a.m.
    First, like it or not, sad to say,at least SOME of these players will indeed be making the trip to Honduras. But that said, nobody looked strong in the first half against a team that failed to attack practically at all. But they will be the DEFENSE, not the offense... if Cherundolo and Fabian Johnson are both out, then just whom it is that gets the call at outside back is a REAL Question... maybe Chandler and Castillo, but likely their back ups are going to be from this group, and if Bocanegra is indeed having lower back pains, well figure Omar is likely a starter with Cameron. But judging our defense against a side that barely attack is problematic... as to Ric's comment about Eddie Johnson, well at least he kept possession and did work out there, nothing all that great but Wondolowski failed repeately to HOLD the ball up top, his shot from well inside the box was simply WEAK, his volley was wide at the near post, Wondo simply looked Woeful. The Players that impressed Me were Gatt, playing on the off left side, Agudelo and Feilhaber... but overall we just looked rather weak, especially in the first half... figure we simply can't expect to get away with playing a 4-3-3 in Honduras, so we are going to have to improve the level of player we allow to suit up in a US jersey... that means other than maybe a defender or two, I'm expecting a complete overhaul of the side come our match next week... some sort of a mix of Dempsey, Altidore, Bradley, Gomez, Boyd, Torres, Williams, Jones, Cameron, Castillo, Chandler, Howard, Edu, Corona, Spector, Guzan and if Klinsmann can get his head on straight maybe Lichaj. ... (ICE)
  1. David Mozeshtam
    commented on: January 30, 2013 at 7:23 a.m.
    Steve, that was at best Denmark's B team. All their top players are currently playing in European leagues, so the team that played Canada was made up of domestic league players only.
  1. David Mozeshtam
    commented on: January 30, 2013 at 7:25 a.m.
    There is a reason why there was no demand in Europe for Klinsmann after his failure at Bayern. All you need to do is to read what Bayern players have been saying about him. The USSF, two years ago, decided it needed a sexy pop figure instead of a soccer coach. That's exactly what we got.
  1. David Legge
    commented on: January 30, 2013 at 8:40 a.m.
    That was a dismal game to watch. There was no passion, no creativity,and very poor service. No one took the game on their shoulders and ran with it. It seemed like they were just going through the motion. Thank goodness the foreign based players will be available for Feb. 6th. I couldn't watch another game like that.
  1. Walt Pericciuoli
    commented on: January 30, 2013 at 11:22 a.m.
    Fellows, we can all take heart in the fact that almost none of the players we saw last night will see the pitch vs. Honduras.My real complaint is that we are wasting time and money evaluating players for international play among older retreads from the MLS that have never in the past shown that they are those kind of players.
  1. Julie Jacobson
    commented on: January 30, 2013 at 11:58 a.m.
    I was impressed with Davis and thought Bekerman played well, but I thought the problem was on the front line. We have no attack. Even when the ball went forward, no imagination and no running on and just like that, the ball was passed back. No one went wide when the middle was clogged and the forwards seemed unable to move in anticipation of a pass coming near them. I love the way Mexico attacks and floods the final third. I wished we had the confidence to do that. We totally controlled the time on the ball, but so few shots. Notsure that even having Dempsey up front will make a big difference, but I hope so.
  1. Alex G. Sicre
    commented on: January 30, 2013 at 2:07 p.m.
    A very lackluster, unexciting game, er match.
  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: January 30, 2013 at 10:56 p.m.
    Bottom line, the USMNT & Canada demonstrated through their performance that too many players lack a "soccer brain". A brutal display of incompetence.
  1. Dennis Mueller
    commented on: January 30, 2013 at 11:43 p.m.
    Klinsmann destoyed any chance the US had to breakdown the packed canadian defense when he had 5 players stay back to watch DeRo whike the other 5 US players were tasked with attacking 10 opponents. You might be able to blame it on the players, but Klinsmann did little to mess with the 5 defender strategy and only tried tweaking the hopelessly outnumbered US attack. What was he thinking?
  1. Joe d. Shaw
    commented on: January 31, 2013 at 12:30 p.m.
    The Colonel Klink era, may it be but brief, will go down as Sunil's Folly.He has alienated Donovan, insulted Dempsey in the WSJ interview, and generally shows no ability to convey expectations or cultivate a team style. A brulal and unecessay fitness regimen has produced a nervous, agitated, all-muscle-no-brain style that is really no style at all. This is going to end badly if after four Cup Qualifiers the team is still in disarray, then Gulati must act and come up with plan B: a replacement for the hapless Klink.
  1. Joe d. Shaw
    commented on: January 31, 2013 at 12:45 p.m.
    One other thing. The current state of affairs reminds me of the English chants when fans are disillusioned with the coach: Whaaatta Loaaada Rubbish! and You Don't Know What You're Doing. Both for me would be right on the money next time Klink serves up another debacle. He has set the program back 15 years.

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