What's Klinsmann's vision for this team?

By Paul Gardner

So, another shapeless, luke-warm performance from Jurgen Klinsmann's team. Of course he'll take it, three points on the road, in Jamaica where points have always been hard to come by.

But the soccer was predictably poor. This is an aspect of his team’s performance that seems to matter less and less to Klinsmann. Something he never bothers to mention in his tangled post-game remarks. Something he has never, that I am aware of, bothered to seriously address during his two years in charge.

Is there a Klinsmann vision for this team? Does he want it to play like Barcelona or Inter Milan, like Brazil or like Germany? He talked, when he took up the USA job in 2011, about how soccer should reflect a country’s culture -- told us he “deeply believed” that -- and spoke also of a “pro-active” style of play, and identified possession as a starting point.

So we’ve had two years of Klinsmann-style pro-active possession, and the team looks little different from the way it looked under Bob Bradley. The results are not noticeably better. They are bolstered -- maybe hyped is the better word -- by that win against Italy, the win in Mexico, and now -- just a week ago, the 4-3 victory over Germany.

Three exhibition games in which the performance of the opposition left something to be desired. The game against Germany, in particular, sunk to a near farcical level, with the Germans sending a decidedly “B” team. Well, that happens in these games -- and some will insist that you get a tougher game that way, as the reserves and substitutes give their all trying to claim a place on the full team.

Maybe. But it didn’t happen this time. This was the sort of game that gives friendlies a bad name. The performance by the Germans was shamefully weak. So lacking in effort and spirit that it made a mockery of any attempt to rate the caliber of the American play. Just 13 minutes into the game the German defense allowed Jozy Altidore to hover, unmarked, on the penalty spot as a cross came in from Graham Zusi. Altidore’s volley into the net was a beauty, but the lackadaisical marking by the Germans (one defender a yard behind Altidore, no other defender within three yards) was barely believable. This was not a last-second darting run into space from Altidore, he was literally standing still, waiting for the cross.

Three minutes later the developing farce took a detour into slapstick as the German goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen presented the U.S. with the mother of all own goals.

That just doesn’t happen. When German coach Joachim Loew remarked later that he would “almost call my team sleepy at times” he was understating the case by a huge margin. This was a disgraceful performance by the Germans. To see the game -- a key event in the U.S. Soccer Federation’s centenary celebrations -- close with an all-smiles hug between Loew and Klinsmann did not seem appropriate.

Yet it was all taken with enthusiastic fervor up in the ESPN booth, taken seriously by the chief commentator, whom I need not ID, as though the USA was really beating Germany. That was not what was happening. The USA was clobbering a German team made up of unmotivated reserves, not one of whom is likely to be a starter when Germany takes the field in next year’s World Cup.

All that was learned from the game was that the USA plays better against sleepy-second-stringers than it does against determined Concacaf teams. The result meant nothing. But the result of the previous game, against Belgium, meant a lot. Belgium brought pretty much its full team, and came to play. And the USA performed poorly under the pressure.

But we -- and surely the U.S. players -- are used to these ups and downs by now. They have been a steady part of U.S. national team play for decades now. Now that does tell you something. It tells you that American players do not throw in the towel, do not get utterly demoralized. They bounce back, often quite quickly.

The spirit and the resilience of the American players has never been in doubt. Why should it be? That is the story of American involvement in any sport. Winning has always been damn important, and the fighting spirit has always been there. Yet there have been times when Klinsmann talks as though his players lack commitment, as though they don’t respond when things get tough.

In fact that, along with reminders of how tough Klinsmann’s own playing background was, have been perhaps the most prominent of his comments on the qualities of American players.

If Klinsmann sees his main duty to be that of making American players tougher (or nastier, to use his word) it is not to be wondered at that his team comes up short on the style front.

His results are acceptable -- as they would be for any coach in his position. I have never doubted that the USA will qualify for the World Cup, nor that there will be a few hiccups along the way. There’s nothing either particularly good or bad to be said about the results (for the above reasons, I am not including the friendly results because the USA should be beyond the stage in its development where it has to parade pseudo-scorelines as genuine achievements).

But the absence of good soccer is disturbing. No, the team does not have to play like Barcelona. But it should have a rhythm and a style to its play. After the humiliation by Belgium came the 4-3 win against Germany. If that game was for real, then it should have been a thoroughly rejuvenated U.S. team that played against Jamaica. Yet we got another so-so performance, won by a goal scored in the last seconds of the game.

If the game against Germany was meaningless (I would rate it worse than that, it was totally deceiving -- to those willing to be deceived) then the U.S. performance against Jamaica was pretty much what was to be expected. Either way, it was not good enough. Panama is next -- and can anyone, including Klinsmann, say with confidence that he knows how the USA will perform in that game?

36 comments about "What's Klinsmann's vision for this team?".
  1. Allan Lindh, June 9, 2013 at 2:39 a.m.

    Dear Paul, you sure don't leave a guy a single moment to enjoy a decent victory or two. "Klinsmann's style" is a meaningless phrase. We don't have the skill players to do anything other than play straightforward, workman-like football. We don't have a Claudio Reyna or a Tab Ramos. We have a miscellaneous collection of intelligent hardworking journeymen, at best, with our usual good goalkeeping. Bradley's a little better than that, Donovan once was, Holman maybe can be again. Getting to the WC will be an accomplishment for these guys, and barring a miracle -- two or three quick bloomers from the U-20s maybe -- we'll get squashed in the first round in Brazil. So why don't you lighten up a little and enjoy the ride.

  2. Pat Sharp, June 9, 2013 at 3:32 a.m.

    Paul Gardner has always been very negative, as a writer. He can't find much good to say about anything.

  3. David Mont, June 9, 2013 at 7:17 a.m.

    I don't always agree with Paul, but he's absolutely right this time. To observe the euphoria that followed the Germany game was quite amusing, to put it mildly.

  4. Gary Levitt, June 9, 2013 at 7:41 a.m.

    The end game is to qualify for Brazil. How we get there really does not matter. The media put color to our 4-3 win over Germany because it was a win against a perennial world does not matter to the casual supporter that it was Germany's 'b' team. And for those of you who have never been to "The Office" it is a very tough venue to play better than playing in San Pedro Sula or San Jose. Tuesday night, though at home, will be very interesting v a Panama side that matches our physicality and for the most part has better speed than our 10 field players. Blend that with no Jones or Zusi and the game in Seattle could be problematic. Let's hope not.

  5. Joe Bailey, June 9, 2013 at 7:53 a.m.

    "This was not a last-second darting run into space from Altidore, he was literally standing still, waiting for the cross." Please Paul, stop lying. I agree with you on Klinsmann but just because the US isn't playing the way YOU want to see them play shouldn't make you write such a childish article. Dempsey, Zusi & Altidore worked hard to make that goal happen. That was the same German 'B' team that ripped Ecuador apart 4-2, but you would have them as a hastily arranged 2 Bundesliga Select Team. And when exactly were we beating Jamaica at the Office with skill and authority that we can totally write off the win in this game, hmm?

  6. Charles O'Cain, June 9, 2013 at 8 a.m.

    This article continues the schizoid approach to criticism of USMNT coaching by this columnist: "coaching" isn't important except when the team loses, or doesn't play "attractive" soccer, and then it's all-important. Can't really have it both ways. A national team coach can't initially be held responsible for player development. The skill is in player selection and deployment, and the limitation is the player pool available for selection. The soccer culture of the nation is responsible for supplying this pool. Our culture is as yet primitive in this regard and our pool is shallow. Interest is growing exponentially, however, and our culture will evolve. Klinsmann is not our savior; he is doing a reasonable job (we all have our opinions about selection). But we would not win the World Cup even with del Bosque, though Spain and Germany might do pretty well with Pulis and Allardyce (others coming in for harsh criticism in this column).

  7. Eric Schmitt, June 9, 2013 at 8:32 a.m.

    Ah, yes, more JK hating from Mr. Curmudgeonly McCranky, aka Paul Gardner. Keep hating, Paul. We'll keep taking the points.

  8. Gus Keri, June 9, 2013 at 9:31 a.m.

    I wonder if Paul read the comments' section. He wrote similar article a couple of weeks ago and got blasted by the comments. I repeat, sort of: "the USMNT is the reflection of MLS. When you see a beautiful soccer played by most MLS clubs, you will see a beautiful soccer played by the USMNT."

  9. James Froehlich, June 9, 2013 at 10:38 a.m.

    How do you spell "sour grapes" ? P..A..U..L..G..A..R..D..N..E..R ---!!! Everyone is entitled tyo their opinion BUT not to their own FACTS. While the German team was nominally the "B" team, any objective observer recognizes that this was a highly talented team--just look at the high dollar transfer fees being touted for several of them. Admittedly this was not a good performance by them but so what!! Do we downgrade the opposition when WE have a bad game and lose -- of course not--unless we have an agenda like Mr. Gardner. Regarding the "failure" of JK to change the style in his 2 years, others have already noted the fact that the capabilities of the player pool have a lot to do with that. However, for me personally, I am thrilled to see the team "trying" to play possession soccer. That attempt can be easily measured by the few times that Howard has to resort to the long ball. Of course if you have already made up your mind about Klinsmann's failure, there is no need to look for evidence to the contrary, right Paul!!!

  10. beautiful game, June 9, 2013 at 11:36 a.m.

    Gus, you're on the money; the MLS is a physical league and its officials could care less for quality as the technical players pay a heavy price each game.

    It's ironic when Paul expresses his opinion and critiques about the USMNT, the pundits jump on him with venom...if the Germany and Belgium game did not raise eye brows about our overall performance and the ability to move to another level, than the pundits are in self-denial, delusional, hypocritical, and blind as to what is happening on the pitch. Next followed the qualifier with Jamaica, and again the squad's mediocrity stood out in deja vu fashion. As for them "trying to play possession soccer", "trying" means that they are going through a learning experience, when in fact, that is one of the basic team faults in addition to not playing with simplicity and efficacy. Here coach JK is trying to implement a euro-style mentality which in MHO is too much to ask for from its current squad.

  11. Millwall America, June 9, 2013 at 11:48 a.m.

    So let me see if I've got this right. Friendlies are meaningless little affairs, mere exhibition games with "pseudo-scorelines" that should be completely ignored...unless of course the US loses, at which point friendlies become critically important humiliations. Similarly, picking up three points away at the Office for the first time in six tries is inconsequential, because the USMNT weren't playing like Barcelona when they notched the victory. Does that about cover it?

  12. Matthew Lord, June 9, 2013 at 11:48 a.m.

    The problem with Mr. Gardner's statements is not the lack of style by the USMNT, it is the lack of style by Mr. Gardner. His columns, like this one, are typically negative without a solution. Having sat in MANY stands for matches from peewee soccer to USMNT and USWNT matches I hear this kind of ignorant whining all the time. I guess we can add another line to the old, "If you can't play it, coach it. If you can't coach it ref it". Mr Gardner allows us to add, "If you don't know anything about it, become a critic".

  13. Power Dive, June 9, 2013 at 12:06 p.m.

    iw - I don't think people are jumping on Paul because they don't see the fundamental problems that he points out. I think we all do. I think people jump on Paul because they are tired of the same ole song and dance from Paul and always being so negative. His articles can be predicted before he even writes them. I'm fairly positive if a miracle happened and the USA beat Brazil to win on their soil the headline of the article would read "Despite Absolute Brilliance and Dominance, Brazil Loses World Cup Because of Terrible Refereeing and Goonsmanship by the Opposing Side". Somewhere buried in the 4th paragraph would read something like "despite their goonish, ugly display of football, the referees handed the USA their first World Cup championship. The 2014 World Cup will forever be remembered as a travesty and the biggest joke of a champion we have ever witnessed. I have some adjectives to describe it, but I'm too old and lazy to come up with new material, so just refer back to the 50 I wrote to describe the USA victory over Costa Rica in Colorado."

  14. James Froehlich, June 9, 2013 at 1 p.m.

    Iw -- I must disagree with your comment -- "...JK is trying to implement a Euro-style mentality which in MHO is too much to ask from its current squad" First of all, I, and many like me, expected JK to change the US style of play. If we were to wait until everyone on the team was up-to-speed on playing possession soccer, IT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN!!! Even now, the periods of good possession play are still sporadic. The good news is that in the last couple games we have still found ways to win even though playing less than stellar possession ball. Secondly, I believe that Arena and Bradley took the US as far as they could based on thr purely athletic, hardworking player. If we are ever going to move beyond what Arena and Bradley accomplished it will take a new type of player and corresponding playing style. For myself, making the WC is not at this moment the most important objective. Improving the capabilities of our player pool is and that won't happen unless coaches and players can see what the objective is and what future USMNT requirements will be. That is really why PG's recent tirades are so disappointing. For years he has stormed about the need to play a more skillful style and now that someone is actually trying, just because that person is not Latin, he has his nose totally out of joint. While I would agree that the current squad is no Barca, or even close, they are trying and, Iw, I guarantee that if you never try you will absolutely never succceed.

  15. Bill Anderson, June 9, 2013 at 1:58 p.m.

    Paul writes the same column every week. Oblivion...

  16. Roland Barral, June 9, 2013 at 2:17 p.m.

    Paul Gardner (Mr. Sourpuss) seems to delight in sharing his misery. I guess he wants company. However, his crticism of JK is warranted, but for very different reasons than those cited. JK needs to work with the culture of the players that he has and work with their skills, rather than try to mold them the team into a German/Mexican blended team. Additionally, JK needs to find a team that works well together and let them put in a string of games together. His philosphy of getting players to perform by criticizing them, punishing them, and keeping them in constant suspense is NOT WORKING. A good coach builds confidence and JK is not doing that.

  17. Kevin Leahy, June 9, 2013 at 2:27 p.m.

    while i don't always agree with Mr. Gardner, i do like how he is willing to point things out. Unlike Ridge Mahoney who never seems to watch the same game as i do. some of the ratings given to the U.S. players baffle the mind. Concacaf is a tough place to work your way through for a number of different reasons. we will see the U.S play at a better level when we start allowing skilled players to play on strong teams and they are encouraged to use those skills.

  18. Kent James, June 9, 2013 at 3:12 p.m.

    As any regular reader of PG knows, PG is a critic. In fact, he's clearly a curmudgeon, so we all have to accept that he will be critical, even under the best of circumstances. And I appreciate that he is highly critical; he's not the coach, he doesn't need to temper his remarks with positive reinforcement. So the question is, are his criticisms accurate? Hypocrisy about the importance of coaching aside (Charles was right to point this out), I think they generally are. I think the idea was that JK was going to take us to a higher level than we reached under Bradley; after all, if not, why fire Bradley? It may be a harsh judgment (or their maybe explanatory factors as to why he hasn't), but so far, we are not better than we were under Bradley. We can still make the necessary improvements, but I have trouble seeing the path JK is leading us on. That being said, I'm not suggesting a coaching change, since I'm not sure what the answer is. I do think we need a bit of stability, especially in the back. We also need to get our more technically gifted payers (Donovan, Holden, Torres, Feilhaber) back on the field. But right now we don't have the quality of players that will beat a first rate team like Germany. So we'll be relying on what we usually rely on; team cohesion, fighting spirit, and a bit of luck....

  19. Joe Linzner, June 9, 2013 at 3:28 p.m.

    I would like to know exactly what gives Mr Gardner the expertise to critique a game. Has he ever played, has he ever even kicked a ball, coached, refereed or has he been in any way been involved in the sport anywhere but here in the USA. Does watching soccer on TV or even from the stands give one the expertise to criticize any sport. Most of us have been involved with sports all our lives but very few of us have made that FUSSBALL. Some of us even started in foreign lands and lived the sport. I find these reviews to be nothing if not myopic. There has been significant change in our style already and if he cannot see it then he is wearing the wrong glasses. Passing for passing sake is unproductive. Possession on the surface is also not productive. The best soccer blends possession with long ball and fast breaks. Never allowing the opposition to get familiarized with your game. By combining that with continual high pressure to prevent the opponent to settle into their own style. Varying style, varying tactics keeps teams off balance and that is the style we should be playing. It is how Bayern beat Barca so convincingly..Yes we are a long way from playing freeflowing soccer ala Brasil, Spain but then do we have players of given quality. Klinsmann is adapting to the players we have and is infusing a more possession styled game. I am amazed at how Mr Gardner is so expert at seeing the negatives without ever even a passing acquiescence that at times we play some really pretty game. Pretty does not always win and if Ugly wins, let's take the win and say it could have been prettier but in the win column it looks gorgeous..Mich kann Er ja gern haben. Mann muss ja was koennen um was zu sagen, so glaube ich.

  20. R2 Dad, June 9, 2013 at 3:41 p.m.

    JF, this concept of playing possession really needs to be fleshed out better to understand how well we are (or are not) doing it and thus improving. I would love to hear more from JK on this topic. Yes, we possess the ball more when playing against a counterattacking side like Jamaica, but how good is that possession on a position-by-postion basis? When we play a Belgium or Germany, how does our possession differ? When we played Belgium our back line couldn't stretch the field because the Belgium front line was not concerned with being beaten on the dribble--our back line can't run at anyone and don't get forward with the exception of set pieces. In the attacking 3rd we are one dimensional with crosses into the box. It's only when we have a threat on the ground will our attack become multidimensional and thus less predictable. These are not state secrets and JK would build a better case by explaining what he wants our guys to do, even if they can't do it very well. I think JK should have assessed the situation and immediately brought in players who could have played this possession style, even if they weren't ready at 17 or 18. Risky, but he had 4 years to get them ready.

  21. R2 Dad, June 9, 2013 at 3:59 p.m.

    JK, teams that play lots of long ball are crap--always, always, always. The sooner everyone understands this the better of we as a soccer country will be. Whether that long ball comes from the keeper or the back line, it's ALWAYS the sign of teams with less skill who have no option otherwise. As an occasional tactic it is a handy tool, but for those who disagree, please review the success of Jamaica, Guatemala et al.

  22. Eric Shinn, June 9, 2013 at 4:49 p.m.

    Why does Soccer America still employ this clown?The US gets a win in Azteca? It's just a friendly. The US beats Italy? Same deal. Get the second ever point in a meaningful qualifying match in Azteca? Big deal, it was ugly. Beat Germany? It was a team full of scrubs that will never amount to anything (which I'm sure Mertesacker, Podolski, and Klose would be surprised to hear). Win for the first time in Jamaica? It wasn't pretty enough.

    I don't know why Gardner seems to have a chip on his shoulder against Klinnsman, but it is, frankly, unprofessional and embarrassing for a publication like Soccer America to continue giving him a forum for his childishness.

  23. Eric Shinn, June 9, 2013 at 4:59 p.m.

    Oh, and as for the content of this article, frankly you'd have to be a special kind of idiot not to see the improvement in playing style from this team. The one-two touch passing through the midfield, the play out of the back (not constant, but better than Gooch basically bombing it forward every time he touched it), the forwards starting to get every way this team has changed from Bradley's "boot it long and hope for the best or sit back and absorb all game and pray for a counter" strategies of previous teams. You have to actually CHOOSE not to see it. What I don't understand is why an AMERICAN SOCCER magazine continues to employ someone that flat refuses to see anything that doesn't conform to his preconceived notions.

  24. David Mont, June 9, 2013 at 5:36 p.m.

    Millwall America: friendlies are meaningless to sides that travel half-way across the world to make some money and do some sight-seeing and who have nothing to prove; friendlies are not meaningless to sides that play at home and have a lot to prove.

  25. David Mont, June 9, 2013 at 5:43 p.m.

    Eric Shinn, I must be one of those you respectufully refer to as special kind of idiots who doesn't see any improvement under Klinsmann. What I do see is a grand total of 7 shots on goal in 4 hex matches (with more than half of that total coming against Jamaica). And mind you, the US didn't exactly play against world powers. Heck, we didn't even play against anyone on level with the likes of Russia or Croatia.

  26. Millwall America, June 9, 2013 at 7:26 p.m.

    Well gosh David, now I'm really confused. Does that mean the friendly victory over Italy should be ignored because the US was the visiting side? Or did that game mean something to Italy because they were at home but nothing to the US because they were just there to sight-see? Or maybe it meant nothing to Italy because they had nothing to prove? It's all so confusing, I'll need a cheat-sheet to keep track of all the rules for when friendlies do or don't mean something. No, wait -- I think it all just boils down to the fact that for some people, friendlies only matter when the US loses.

  27. James Froehlich, June 9, 2013 at 7:59 p.m.

    R2 Dad -- lots of things that I totally agree with. I would especially like JK to elaborate on the type of passing and possession tthat he wants to see. Partially to understand what his goals are but also to send a message to youth players and coaches as to what THEY should be trying to do. The only response to criticism of the the level of play is that JK has a primary goal of getting the US to the WC. The problem as I see it is that he has a player pool geared toward athletic counter attacking and if he totally ignores that fact and instead focuses totally on transforming the current pool into skillful possession players, he risks missing the WC. In essence, there is a basic conflict between his two primary objectives, (!) improve the style and performance and (2) get to the WC. Some people criticize him for not achieving (1) and others for not achieving (2)
    Eris Shinn -- great points especially regarding Gooch. If he makes it back ontothe roster, I will be very disappointed. The last time he appeared, he looked likke a deer caught in the headlights everytime he was expected to pass out of the back. David M -- I don't condone name-calling but I do agree with the points Eric S made regarding the type of noticeable improvements in play. The improvements, admittedly not great or consistent, nonetheless reflect the direction that JK and the USMNT are moving toward. While SOG is a nice stat it really means little. A good possession team could dominate the possession, take 4 shots, score 2 and win 2 -0. BTW, I'm not implying that I'm satisfied with the quality of play, but I certainly do recognize the difficulties JK faces and applaud the strides he's making to get us to the WC AND hopefully put us on the track to more skillful performances.

  28. David Mont, June 9, 2013 at 8:10 p.m.

    Millwall: sure you can do a better job at sarcasm, can't you? The Italy friendly was meaningful for both countries. To Italy because everyone wants to do well at home; to the US because the US always has something to prove against top teams. Italy-USA basketball friendly in Rome would be quite a different matter.

  29. David Mont, June 9, 2013 at 8:20 p.m.

    To James... when someone engages in name calling, I immediately lose any interest in whatever points the person might be making. As far as SOG -- it might mean little in any given game; it means quite a bit over a period of a number of games. I myself thought that the Jamaica game was the best qualifier US played under Klinsmann, but that was Jamaica, for crying out loud, and it still required a stoppage time goal to avoid embarrassment. You're talking about a good possession team. The US isn't one, and will not be in the foreseeable future. We just don't have the players. And trying to force this style on players who are just plain not capable of doing it might work against Jamaica but will fail miserably against even half-decent opposition. And frankly where is the evidence that the possession game is Klinsmann's goal? So far, under JK, the US team has been more defense-minded, more bunker-in mentality, than under Bradley. That's how the US achieved results against Italy and Mexico. We just bunkered in, hoping that Howard will bail the team out yet again, and score somehow through a lucky bounce.

  30. Allan Lindh, June 10, 2013 at 3:26 a.m.

    During the last 3 or 4 WC cycles we had Reyna, Ramos or Donovan in the midfield, the only three creative MF we've had in modern time. We don't have anyone of that ilk at this point, talk of possession soccer is empty w/o someone in the middle who can really make it happen. Banging the ball long may not suite some tastes, but bypassing the midfield is what most team do when they just don't have someone in the middle to make it happen. All friendlies and the Gold Cup should be used to see if between Donovan and Holden we can cobble something together in the middle.

  31. beautiful game, June 10, 2013 at 8:54 a.m.

    Allan, you're on the mark, and any soccer lover who thinks that games are not won or lost in the midfield has deja vu moments of his/her or their kids playing days and following the coaches instructions of BIG FOOT or SEND IT. For any top player, vision and ability to read the game is crucial, i.e., we had Subotic et al in the Development League who slipped through the cracks.

  32. James Hardern, June 10, 2013 at 9:19 a.m.

    Looks like someone got up on the wrong side of the blog today! What a cranky fusspott Mr Gardner is. Of course this team was never going to become Barcelona or Brazil - I don't think even the special one could work a miracle like that. And true, Klinsman has probably done no better than Bob Bradley; doesn't take a scientist to see the obvious, right. But where are the solutions or at least suggestions? It is easy tear someone down, but let's have some credible ideas to go with the criticism. Otherwise, you are just like any other armchair quarterback - always right and never getting sacked.

  33. John Klawitter, June 10, 2013 at 11:06 a.m.

    Paul, I'm often in agreement with you, although I think the anti-Brit announcer bit has had about as much air-time as it is worthy of. But, here, you have completely lost me to the point I feel we much have been watching a completely different match. Just by watching how the ball reacted and was held up made it clear that a team used to that field held a huge advantage. But, aside from that, this game offered so much to quell all of the Klinsman-nay-sayers, including yourself. Had the game played out the way you must have wanted it to in order to qualify it as godd soccer, we would not have been able to see a truly gritty American response to some adversity and we would not know as much about one answer that is Brad Evans. You can call the USMNT just sheer lucky or you can call them willing to provide the same kind of miracle response that perhaps Landon Donovan has held the patent on for a while. I love watching good soccer and I absolutely loved watching this game and I'm absolutely ready for people to begin having a little appreciation and gratitude for where Klinsman has this team headed.

  34. John Klawitter, June 10, 2013 at 1:04 p.m.

    Allen Lindh, I beg to differ with you regarding who we've had that would qualify as creative. Dempsey, be it at forward or in midfield, I would think qualifies as quite creative. You must possess an interesting set of criterion in making your assessement.

  35. beautiful game, June 10, 2013 at 4:40 p.m.

    John, beg to differ also, the Deuce is talented, but he does the Houdini more so than not. If you considered the Jamaica game as 'good soccer' against such mediocrity that we had no answer to exploiting the opponent's weakmesses which were plenty. Good soccer is making things happen and that was hardly visible.

  36. Kent James, June 11, 2013 at 1:07 a.m.

    Dempsey is creative, but he's more creative as a finisher, than as a playmaker. He ends the passing sequence, rather than orchestrating it. And he does occasionally disappear (but he also doesn't need lots of touches to have an impact). I think Donovan is also not quite in that mold; he's quite creative, but seems to rely on speed, quickness and finishing (all of which we need). I think he's best when he has some space and can run at defenders (especially when he has passing options). I'd like to see someone who can hold the ball under pressure (without going forward at speed), change the direction of play, and consistently thread the passes that dissect the defense. Someone like Reyna or Ramos; I think Holden and Feilhaber have potential to play like that, as does perhaps, Torres (though Torres seems to get knocked off the ball a bit too often).

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