Again, the USA wilts in the second half

The USA's performance in a 3-2 loss to Chile on Wednesday raises lots of questions and concerns for a team that has now gone five games without a win. Chief among them is the habit of Jurgen Klinsmann's team to fade badly late in games.

The USA has been outscored 12-1 post-halftime of its last eight games -- two of those games were during the World Cup.

Report Card | Three Takeaways

For all the talk about experimenting with a 3-5-2 formation and incorporating some young players, Klinsmann started six men who played at the 2014 World Cup team. Chile was testing its domestic players for this summer’s Copa America while its big stars remained in Europe. Only five players on Chile's roster had more than four caps and only one player saw 2014 World Cup action -- defender Jose Rojas, who played 12 minutes against Brazil.

Yet the Chileans looked the much more cohesive team, stringing passes out of the back, attacking in waves, and coming back from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to hand the Americans a third straight loss. Mark Gonzalez scored in 66th and 75th minute – and Chile had more chances after that.

In its previous game, the USA got pummeled by a second-string Ireland team, giving up goals in the 55th, 82nd and 86th minutes after being tied at halftime. It gave up an 87th-minute goal in the 2-1 loss to Colombia and goals in the last five minutes in 1-1 ties with both Ecuador and Honduras.

The run of such late-game failure from the U.S. national team is a new  phenomenon. Four years ago, Bob Bradley’s squad played eight games between the 2010 World Cup and 2011 Gold Cup against the likes of Brazil, Argentina and Spain and only allowed two goals after intermission.

Klinsmann's team faces Panama Feb. 8. At least one of the problems he needs to solve is crystal clear.

Mark Gonzalez's winner:
22 comments about "Again, the USA wilts in the second half".
  1. Dave Kantor, January 29, 2015 at 3:36 p.m.

    I haven't liked Klinsy since he left Landon Donovan off the World Cup squad, but this latest string of results should be setting off alarm bells at US Soccer. Wouldn't mind Bruce Arena coming back to the helm, he had a good run as USMNT coach and his MLS success is second to none.

  2. John Gallagher, January 29, 2015 at 3:59 p.m.

    There have been other coaches in other sports who have shown similar patterns of team performance. New coach has great initial success - he's new - he's different - he may be innovative, too, plus he's demanding - and this gets improved results - THEN - the team tires of his shtick and the team can't get it going anymore. Just like a mega shot of adrenalin - you go way up the performance scale, and then you crash and are just drained. Could this be the problem here?? As an outsider, it's hard to know for sure.

  3. Ed Arvizo, January 29, 2015 at 4:11 p.m.

    Last time I checked Chile was ranked #14 in the World and USA # 27. Can't see the 3-5-2 as successful going forward so that needs to get straightened out before WC qualifying. If Howard was playing would the result have been different and comments of a different mode?

  4. Mark Coppess, January 29, 2015 at 4:20 p.m.

    In reference to a comment last week about Tabs team. That a good coaches adjusts the game to the level of his players. I think that looks like what is happening. The players we have at the Top level overall are fundamentally weak, not all but the majority. Poor first touch poor descion making and so on. You will struggle trying to play out of the back, win the mid field or have ball movement in the final third with players who can't play to feet or on the ground so someone can make the right first touch instead of settling the pass first. At this level the players should be fundamentally sound so that the coach can work on soccer IQ. In my opinion that's where the fault is not choosing the right players or not finding the right players.

  5. Mark Torguson, January 29, 2015 at 4:20 p.m.

    Tough one here, not sure you can blame Klinsi for latest results seeing that they are friendlies and he is trying different things which is what these matches for the most part are for. However, pretty much his accomplishment as a manager is a semi final finish at a World Cup that Germany was the host, doesn't Germany pretty much always make the semis, especially at home? A failed time at Bayern Munich and some real rough patches with the USA at times. One win at the World Cup in what turned out to a mildly tough group, but certainly not the group of death. Bradley finished with a better record at the 2010 World Cup and was fired.

  6. brett wyatt, January 29, 2015 at 4:57 p.m.

    They're mass substituting unproven players in the second half of friendly matches, of course they're going to lose some leads...

  7. Edgar Soudek, January 29, 2015 at 5:19 p.m.

    Soon, very soon it is to be hoped Klinsi
    will get his marching orders from the top echelon...That arrogant plague of a coach(?) is bringing our Men's National Team to an absolute cohesion, no spark, no pizzaz, nothing!!!!

  8. Ginger Peeler, January 29, 2015 at 5:35 p.m.

    Mark and Brett have it right. These are friendlies and JK is putting inexperienced kids out on the field and saying, "Okay, let's see what you can do." Sure, they spent a little time together before heading to Chile, but it's still new to them. When my daughter played competitively, her coach once noted how different players reflected what they'd done in practice. Some kids would incorporate it in a month, some 6 months. But once they got it, it became easy for them. I think JK is more interested in how they play cohesively than whether they win games right now.

  9. Kent James, January 29, 2015 at 5:40 p.m.

    John, you make a good point about the trajectory of a new coach. I really wonder how the players feel about him (not that any would feel comfortable talking about it!). I was very surprised during the game to hear how much he was telling the players what to do during the game (the sound system in the stadium really picked up the US bench). Youth coaches often give fewer directions. I could see players really liking him (because of his pedigree, his positive outlook (at least at the team level), and his willingness to try new players and new systems) but I could also see them not liking him (because he is very intense, controlling, demanding, being openly critical of players, arrogance, etc.). Inquiring minds want to know...

  10. Robert Heinrich, January 29, 2015 at 5:41 p.m.

    Sorry, but it's not the coach. Who do you think was the best American player on the field against Chile? Nobody is the right answer, or lamentably, maybe Jermaine Jones! Could anyone else see why Altidore wasn't playing at Sunderland? Despite playing 5 in midfield, they were getting bossed. To my eye, it was primarily due to the technical superiority of the Chileans--clean first touches, crisp, accurate passes, good turns out of pressure. The U.S. couldn't get out of it's own half for long stretches after intermission. I agree that there is a glaring lack of cohesion that probably comes from too many different players from so many different places (league level of play, nationality, language, etc). One way to go is to get an "American" coach and stick with "American" players--like we used to do. It would probably help with team cohesion, but it's not likely to lead to better international results. We'll need "cohesion" and better talent to get that.

  11. Brent Crossland, January 29, 2015 at 6:08 p.m.

    This loss belongs to the players, not the coach. We have to be better on the ball. Just read the player evals on this site. (Bradley - "turned over the ball too often", Dempsey - "failed to inspire", Shea - "mishit half his passes") Plus we had players (Shea!) who looked like they were out of gas at 30 minutes. I was honestly surprised that we only lost by one goal.

  12. John M Cote, January 29, 2015 at 6:36 p.m.

    The MNT has never been anything to write home about. Contrast this to the women, who are spectacular, Hope Solo's travails notwithstanding despite the fact that she is one of the world's best GKs.

    The MNT is outclassed and there are too many expectations. I don't know if Klingsman is the right coach or not, but results have been awful.

    The WNT faces *real* competition at thge WWC in June and I hope that a) they will win and b) people here will freaking notice and appreciate their quality. The MNT could benefit from cross-marketing with the WNT. Use the better team to help prop up the lesser one.

  13. Ginger Peeler, January 29, 2015 at 7:20 p.m.

    Read Tony DiCicco's Soccer America Confidential interview and then tell me why only Tab Ramos is presently being considered as the only heir apparent to JK? Tony understands this game, he gets American thinking, he recognizes what teams need...he gets it! He's coached both men and women! Duh!!!

  14. Thomas Brannan, January 29, 2015 at 9:07 p.m.

    1) It took Germany 14 years to get things straightened out so they could win a WC and they were ahead of us to start. IT IS ABOUT DEVELOPMENT, systems of play come second.
    2) Why has US SOCCER not contracted with one of the anonymous companies they say they are talking to evaluate the "top" DAs when Gulati said that was going on the day after the US was eliminated from the World Cup?
    3) If Double Pass gets the contract will the entire thing be made public? And will it be possible to compare the US relative to other countries MNT programs.
    4) Also, can commentators go to training sessions to see how the team is being prepared. Can they go to all of them. It would be interesting to know how the team is being prepared.
    5) Wynalda said after the game this team, US MNT,

  15. Thomas Brannan, January 29, 2015 at 9:08 p.m.

    is either being over coached or under coached. I would say Eric it is the latter.

  16. James Froehlich, January 29, 2015 at 10:10 p.m.

    I personally find it extremely depressing to see the reactions to friendlies like this. US Soccer is going through a critical, exciting period of change. Instead of small backwaters of opinion crying out for a better model of the ideal soccer player, that conversation is now center stage. Trying to play a more possession oriented style is actually occurring (25%of the time!). Ethnic players have finally become a regular and REAL part of the national teams. The issue of raising the level of professionalism has moved front and center. How all of these issues play out over the next 10 years will determine the success of US soccer and it’s players. From this perspective, friendlies need to be criticized with a view to how the particular game reflects on the bigger picture. How did new players perform? Skill level? How did new formation work? Hysteria with losses is pretty much out of place!

  17. James Froehlich, January 29, 2015 at 10:15 p.m.

    There are friendlies and friendlies! Games prior to a major tournament are important as a means of fine tuning player selections and formations. However, at this stage, especially for the US, the friendlies are nothing more than for experimenting with players, player positions, and formations -- winning is the frosting on the cake. "Why bother watching it?" Good question! If your only enjoyment is winning the game, then I would recommend skipping the next few games. For me, however, I look at this period as a great time to concentrate on the play and individuals and not worry about the score.

  18. beautiful game, January 29, 2015 at 10:26 p.m.

    It matters not whether it's a friendly or qualifier. Too many giveaways, no simplicity and speed of play, no team consistency, and efficacy when it counts. As for the individual players; IMHO, let's see some new faces like Ibarra et al get a full 90 minutes in order to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses. Time to give Jozy a rest and start a different combo.

  19. Vince Leone, January 30, 2015 at 1:08 a.m.

    I'm wondering why one aspect of the 3-5-2 hasn't been commented on--the attacking play from the wings. We saw some effective offense from those positions, so the formation was fairly successful in that regard. Given that we don't score many goals, that provides food for thought.

  20. cony konstin, January 30, 2015 at 3:10 a.m.

    We need radical change. We need a REVOLUTION. Soccer in the USA is about buying and selling stuff. You want real magical warriors for the 21st century then you need to create a NEW SPARTA. Club soccer sole purpose is not to develop players. You can not develop a 21st world class player practicing twice or even three times a week. The pay to play model is an abomination if your goal to develop future stars. But our pay to play model is the best in the world if our focus is to fight youth obesity, teach life skills and finally give the kids some what a competitive environment. The parents god bless them all but most of them are clueless of what is happening to them. WE NEED 300,000 futsal courts in our inner cities and another 300,000 futsal courts in our suburbs. We don't need anymore coaching manuals, $300 cleats, more coaches, camps, clinics, tournaments, licenses,and any other gimmicks or smoke n mirrors. The kids need a place to play 24/7, 365, no cost, and no adult interference. FUTSAL for the masses. This can be our version of street soccer. We don't radically change our coaching environment to a playing environment then pro soccer in the US will continue to go out and get foreign players to fill the spots on rosters. We USONIANS need to wake up before soccer in the US becomes a cheap way to pay for day care. Our kids need a sandlot, playground free play environment so they can experiment and become creative risk takers. They need a sanctuary, a home, a place that is theirs. FUTSAL is our future in developing devilish players. Then those devilish players need a second phase of development and that is where a NEW SPARTA comes in. Everyone in this article means well but in the end you can't make chicken soup out of chicken s#$%. It is time for a REVOLUTION. It is time for radical change. It is time for unorthodox thinking. It is time for us to awake the sleepy giant

  21. Walter Crawford, January 30, 2015 at 11:26 a.m.

    We finally have a skin in the game. At one time the mnt wouldn't have gotten even a mention. Now people are upset when we lose. This includes me. But how do you expect a winning team to emerge unless you try players more than once and then, based on their over all performance, see if they make the grade.
    We should give JK our whole support and the players as well. We need to save our criticism for games that count. Go USA!

  22. Santiago 1314, January 31, 2015 at 1:13 a.m.

    I despise JK, but these are Try-out games... Can't really blame JK for thIs one

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