Rewind: Breaking down the USA's late-game collapses

The USA continued its recent trend of late collapses with the worst one of all, blowing a 2-1 lead it held into the 83rd minute and falling 3-2 to Denmark on Nicklas Bendtner's second and third goals of the game.

If you throw out the 2-0 win over Panama in January, the USA has conceded goals in the 75th minute or later in all of its last six matches, beginning with the Landon Donovan farewell game.

The eight goals turned two leads into ties, two ties into losses, a 2-1 lead over the Danes into a loss and a 2-1 deficit into an embarrassing 4-1 loss to an Irish team of reserves.

If those six games had been in league play, the USA would have been in line to capture a healthy 11 points but instead finished with two points.

The USA could have done nothing about only one of the goals -- Robbie Brady's free kick for Ireland. But there was plenty of blame to go around on the other goals with an errant clearance, poor marking and ball-watching just a few of things that went wrong.

USA-Ecuador (1-1). Tying goal: Enner Valencia (88th minute). The USA looks headed for a win in Landon Donovan's farewell game when Valencia is given acres of room outside the area to fire off a dipping shot that gave Brad Guzan no chance.

USA-Honduras (1-1). Tying goal: Maynor Figueroa (86th minute). Figueroa beats his marker, Jermaine Jones, to Emilio  Izaguirre's curling free kick and heads it past Nick Rimando.

USA-Colombia (1-2). Go-ahead goal: Teofilo Gutierrez (83rd minute). James Rodriguez beats Jones to a through ball and lofts the ball to the far post, where Gutierrez jumps between Julian Green and Fabian Johnson for the header that beats Guzan.

Ireland-USA (3-1). Insurance goal: James McClean (82nd minute). Geoff Cameron fails to clear the ball, which goes to McClean, whose shot from 25 yards deflects off Cameron and wrong-foots Bill Hamid.

Ireland-USA (4-1). Insurance goal: Robbie Brady (86th minute). Brady's left-footed free kick from 25 yards out sails over the U.S. five-man wall and into the upper left corner, leaving a diving Hamid no chance.

Chile-USA (3-2). Goal-ahead goal: Mark Gonzalez (75th minute). Marco Medel's shot 25 yards out is parlayed by Rimando to his right, where Gonzalez beats DeAndre Yedlin and Steve Birnbaum to the rebound and fires it into the goal.

Denmark-USA (2-2). Tying goal: Nicklas Bendtner (83rd minute). Denmark's Lasse Schoene jumps between Ventura Alvarado and Timmy Chandler for Thomas Delaney looping cross, which Rimando fails to grab. It deflects off Chandler to Bendtner on the far side to fire into the goal.

Denmark-USA (3-2). Goal-head goal: Nicklas Bendtner (90th+1 minute). Bendtner latches on to a ball played over the top of the U.S. defense and fires a dipping volley past Rimando inside the far post.

13 comments about "Rewind: Breaking down the USA's late-game collapses".
  1. cisco martinez, March 26, 2015 at 10:58 a.m.

    I was surprised that ESPN was talking about Klinsmann's last 9 games, we are 1-6-3 and nearly 50% of goals scored on the US were past the 75 minute mark, which to me brings up two major questions, lack of mental toughness or Klinsmann not making tactical changes to close out games? Good coaches like Mourinho and Van Gaal are able to close games in tough circumstances, Chelsea 3-2 this pas weekend and Manchester 2-1 both Chelsea and Man U won away.

  2. brett wyatt, March 26, 2015 at 2:21 p.m.

    we're weak at the back. he's been trying out different combinations to hopefully find one that works. of course we're going to give up goals with experimental lineups, especially throwing a guy like ventura Alvarado in for the last ten minutes. look at our lineup for the game, Garza brooks orozco chandler. we have to see if these guys can play and friendlies are the time to do it. hopefully we can come up with something better than besler/gonzalez... bottom line is the results in these matches are irrelevant. the next competitive matches are in the gold cup.

  3. Sean Murray, March 26, 2015 at 3:17 p.m.

    Many factors contribute to the failure of U.S. soccer. Youth soccer continues to focus on the athletic game with a couple passes followed by a long ball instead of a possession game.

    Additionally, due to the pay for play system coaches are to malleable and provide players who don't earn their way playing time (since they paid) instead of utilizing a merit based system. You might have two or three players playing 80 minutes in a youth game which certainly is not conducive to building stamina and pace (not speed pace but pacing yourself so you can last 90).

    As long as the system plays U.S. soccer (kick, kick, kick, long ball) it will continually fail. There is a reason the best players for the U.S. come from overseas.

    I watched a bit of the U-17 matches and it was the same thing. There is no patience and possession in the U.S. game.

    Keep the Ball!!!!!

  4. Al Gebra, March 26, 2015 at 3:23 p.m.

    "Late-game collapse"? The whole game was a collapse by JF. He keeps experimenting with players who don't even come close to making the grade when they play in the "friendlies". Can't JF tell that by just watching them play against whomever and in whatever league. What he should look at is basic skills. This crap about playing with unfamiliar players is baloney. Competent players in national teams throughout the world do just fine in that environment

  5. Allan Lindh, March 26, 2015 at 4:24 p.m.

    I'm not littlmans's greatest fan, his childishness in not taking LD to Brazil was close to unforgivable, but in friendlies he does throw on a lot of late subs, especially against Denmark, which leads to total chaos in the midfield and in back, and that accounts for not a few of the late goals. But he has to do better in the Gold Cup this summer, or he should be replaced.

  6. Jack Patton, March 26, 2015 at 5:58 p.m.

    Sean hits the nail on the head. Club coaches are despite their best intentions are paid to win right now screw development. Get big kids in the back who all they do is hit it as hard as they can, "midfielders" they're out there just in case the "defenders" don't kick it hard enough. don't look don't think just send it. Now fast forward 15 yrs and that is what you have to work with. Klins was hired to radically change the complete system. Throwing new players in various situations is how one finds out what those players are made of. For those who strain mightily over the importance of friendlies are a the sky is falling must win situations.... in the spirit of Aaron Rogers r-e-l-a-x, friendlies are just another work for "practices"
    Until there is a deeper more skillful pool of players things like this are going to happen.

  7. Tim Brown, March 26, 2015 at 6:13 p.m.

    Jack this Coach has made the team lose all confidence and individual players as well. When will guys like you wake up and realize that throwing a different line up over and over, friendly or not, shows me he has no clue. If he is still the coach in a year or two the USA will not make the next world cup. He has set us back 20 years. Those teams from the 90's would tear these guys apart. Cladio Reyna makes Bradley look like a joke.

  8. Jack Patton, March 26, 2015 at 6:47 p.m.

    If the players are losing all confidence over one game then they obviously don't have what it takes and it was worth it to find out now rather than later. First why is he looking at so many players? Because the ones he has aren't cutting it. He can only deal with what is sent him by coaches from Christmas's past. What does he have to pick from..... sorry soccer is the last "players" game, the coach can suggest, prepare, encourage, and teach but unless the players perform there really isn't much a coach can do. Except find players who can do it. Guys like you need to realize that 99% of the game has very little to do with the coach especially if he has so little to work with. It's amazing that the better the "talent" on a team the better the coach looks.

  9. Reuben Valles, March 27, 2015 at 10:42 a.m.

    Where i find fault in JK is his handling of our backline 4. At this point, we still dont have one. JK keeps tinkering and putting all kinds of players out of position on that back line. Even if a guy is starting for his club team and playing well, Jurgen will bring said player into camp and ask him to play the other side out of his normal position. Juregn does this over and over. I understand experimenting in friendlies. What i dont understand is that none of us can name what our "A" team back line is. This is just one example. We could cite this at all positions and we wont wont even get into what style or formation we play. I still dont know at this point. I feel Jurgen does this b/c its a way to always have an out or excuse for poor play. So far in 5 years, Jurgen has never been responsible for poor play, poor game plans, poor tactics, over training, too many pulled hamstrings, never responsible for guys playing out of position....not responsible for any of this. Its always Americas youth development systems problem. Even with half our team being German or European, Jurgen never takes the blame. Thats his real genius and Brilliance! Deflections!

  10. Andrew Kear, March 28, 2015 at midnight

    It is funny how the German players are fading away. Green and Brooks are becoming increasingly ineffective, while Jozy, Dempsey, and Bradley are becoming ever more important. Jozy is only 25 so there will be no Germans taking his spot before 2018. I always knew Jozy was the key to the U.S. offense!
    Btw, the team has never been "half German". I think in Brazil the team was about 80% American. The German American experiment is over, now all that needs to addresses is klinsmann's idiotic tactics.

  11. John DiFiore, March 28, 2015 at 12:33 a.m.

    Andrew, I wish the experiment was over. THE REASON we're not holding wins IS due to lack of "heart", BETTER KNOWN AS AMERICAN SPIRIT. These German guys, simply don't have it, nor do they get it. WHEN KLINSI WAS HIRED, i thought for sure he was going to come in and tell us (Our True American players) that with our spirit, WE CAN DO IT!! WE CAN COMPETE!! But he's bringing in these "one-off"(in terms of being american with american spirit) guys from DEUTSCHLAND. It's not tactical, nor technical, it's SPIRITual!

  12. John DiFiore, March 28, 2015 at 12:35 a.m.

    I thought Klinsi was going to be better than Arena at motivating our guys. I was wrong. BRUCE DID MORE WITH LESS.

  13. Zoe Willet, March 29, 2015 at 5:01 p.m.

    Here's to Brett Wyatt and Jack Patton, the only commenters who get it!

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