USA-Costa Rica World Cup Qualifying Player Ratings

Entering the game with an overall 14-game unbeaten streak and unbeaten in its last four World Cup qualifiers, the USA took it on chin in New Jersey. Marco Urena, who plays his club ball for the San Jose Earthquakes, scored one goal in each half to give Costa Rica a 2-0 win.

USA-Costa Rica: Highlights

Sept. 1 in Harrison, N.J.
USA 0 Costa Rica 2
Goals: Urena 30, 82.

USA Player Ratings:
Player (Club) Caps/Goals
4 Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids) 119/0
Looked off balance while beaten from narrow angle on Marco Urena’s goal and got no hand or foot near his second shot.

6 Graham Zusi (Sporting KC) 54/5
Right back hit several good passes in the first half, three of which led to scoring chances. Stifled most of Bryan Oviedo’s forays.

3 Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG) 26/1
Getting stripped by Urena in the 21st minute gave U.S. scare. Beaten by Urena when he scored in 30th minute.

2 Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG) 54/4
His sloppy passing was big problem for USA throughout the game, especially when Guzman capitalized and set up Urena’s second goal. And he could have helped out Ream on the first goal.

5 Jorge Villafana (Santos Laguna/MEX) 12/0
Left back set up Pulisic’s 24th-minute chance. Intercepted a dangerous through ball in the 21st.

4 Christian Pulisic (Bor. Dortmund/GER) 17/7
In the first half, troubled the Ticos with his dribbling, delivered the pass to Altidore before controversial PK no-call, but squandered his first three shots. His first shot in the second half was batted away by Keylor Navas. Lost his touch late in the second half.

4 Michael Bradley (Toronto FC) 137/17
His mid-range passes were more miss than hit. Failed to figure out how to unbalance Costa Rica's packed defense after USA fell behind.

5 Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers) 21/1
Came back deep to help the U.S. cope with high-pressing Ticos in the first half and also dribbled through crowded defense on a few occasions -- but shot poorly twice.

3 Fabian Johnson (Borussia M’gladbach/GER) 57/2
Didn’t connect much with teammates and did not threaten from the left wing.

4 Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC) 108/39
Beat two Ticos on right win before setting up Pulisic for 38th-minute shot that was blocked. Shot poorly in the 62nd minute and 80th minute. Lost composure, and got yellow card that suspends him for next game.

3 Bobby Wood (Hamburg/GER) 33/8
Made himself available to midfield passes in first half but disappeared in crowded Tico defense in the second half.

3 Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders) 138/57
Replaced Villafana in the 65th minute. Made no impact. Lucky to get only a yellow card for elbowing Kendall Watson.

NR Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders) 22/5
Replaced Zusi in the 84th minute.

NR Paul Arriola (Tijuana/MEX) 12/2
Replaced Pulisic in the 87th minute.

(Ratings: 1=low; 5=middle; 10=high.)

TRIVIA: Costa Rica ended an eight-game winless streak in World Cup qualifying on U.S. soil. The Ticos’ last win in the USA in qualifying came when they won, 1-0, in Torrance, California and knocked the USA out of contention to reach the 1986 World Cup.

Sept. 1 in Harrison, N.J.
USA 0 Costa Rica 2
Goals: Urena 30, 82.
USA — Howard, Zusi (Morris, 84), Ream, Cameron, Villafana (Dempsey, 65), Pulisic (Arriola, 87), Bradley, Nagbe, Johnson, Altidore, Wood.
Costa Rica — Navas, Acosta, Calvo, Waston, Oviedo (Venegas, 78), Gamboa (Salvatierra, 71), Borges, Guzman, Ruiz, Bolanos (Umana, 71), Urena.
Yellow Cards: USA — Altidore 80, Dempsey 91+, Costa Rica — Guzman 13, Calvo 67.
Referee: John Pitti Hernandez (Panama).
Att.: 26,500

STATS: USA/Costa Rica
Shots: 14/9
Shots on target: 2/2
Possession: 61%/39%
Saves: 0/2
Corner Kicks: 3/2
Fouls: 10/18
Offside: 0/1

49 comments about "USA-Costa Rica World Cup Qualifying Player Ratings ".
  1. cisco martinez, September 1, 2017 at 10:09 p.m.

    No one performed well. Arenas tactics to play low press in the first half backfired, passing out from the back, and having Ream in center back were all mistakes that led to the two goals scored by Costa Rica. We didn't utilize the flanks when Costa Rica started with a 5-3-2 formation where we had numerical advantages 2v1. Moreover our team is not technically good enough to play from the back, particularly as Arena noted at halftime that we played to slow, which directly means that our players have no speed of play. Again why aren't we playing to our strengths, American soccer players aren't at the level as Barcelona technically, we need to utilize our speed and strength, we need to play players like DWyer, kosta, behler, and why isn't feilhaber not in the team again to try to break down a defense?

  2. David Mont replied, September 2, 2017 at 8:16 a.m.

    I agree with Cisco. I wish the US team stopped playing that "possession soccer". Endless passing (mostly backwards and laterally), very little in attack. Just 2 shots on goal the whole game! Play to your strength, especially with Altidore and Wood upfront. There is no shame in being direct and playing long ball. The objective of the game is to win and score goals, not passing the ball around with no forward movement.

  3. Glenn Manning replied, September 3, 2017 at 11:28 a.m.

    The trying to host a WCQ game NEAR NYC experiment was tried and failed! We should NEVER be in this situation again (like in the early 90's) where so many opposing fans can OLE for their team connecting passes on our home soil!!! I was at game too...And that just hurts to hear :(

  4. Glenn Manning replied, September 3, 2017 at 11:31 a.m.

    this comment should be down by Mitchy Mitch. Not sure why its here!!

  5. Nick Prodanovich, September 1, 2017 at 10:50 p.m.

    These are some of the lowest marks I have ever seen for a meaningful USMNT game. Probably the other lowest rating was the 0-4 defeat to CR earlier in the Hex.

    Almost everything in this game was poor including: tactics, player selection, formation, execution and urgency.

    This is all very much unlike an Arena team. Well the fat's in the fire now depending on some other results.

  6. Ben Myers, September 1, 2017 at 11:01 p.m.

    Ugh! My comments about individual players would insult them.

  7. R2 Dad, September 1, 2017 at 11:53 p.m.

    Tim Ream and Michael Bradley sucking? Whodda thunkit? Last time we lost to Costa Rica, the coach got fired. Except not this time, because all the players are happily playing for Bruce--right? We're still not in danger of not qualifying (and never have been), but I'm not worried about CONCACAF. Russia, yes. Note to Bruce: Costa Rica made it to the quarters last world cup--you better bring your A game next time.

  8. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, September 2, 2017 at 9:43 a.m.

    Yes not this time because the team hadn't lost in a year before last night. JK should have been fired at least a year earlier.

  9. Kent James, September 1, 2017 at 11:54 p.m.

    I feel like the score (which came from 2 isolated plays) colored the ratings for all the players. I'll go out on a limb here and say the US was not that bad (or CR was not that good). If you watch the game without those two plays (which probably lasted 20 seconds total) and the US dominated the game. I'm not saying the US deserved to win, but for the players not responsible for those 2 plays, why should the score so dramatically affect their ratings? CR deserves credit for a lot of defending and an incisive counter attack (though most of those counters didn't lead to anything; I mean, how many balls went harmlessly to Howard? The last 10 mins they looked more dangerous, but that's when we were throwing everything forward). So while the loss clearly hurts, and we certainly didn't play as well as we could have, I don't think we suddenly suck.

  10. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, September 2, 2017 at 9:45 a.m.

    I agree with this actually. Individual mistakes caused the CR goals (Ream, Howard, Cameron) and otherwise the US were on top. Counterattack was the CR strategy though.

  11. Kent James, September 2, 2017 at 12:11 a.m.

    As for the ratings, I like Howard and Cameron, but Cameron played the worst game I've ever seen him play (he had already given the ball way many times unpressured before he gave away the one that led to the goal). While Howard was not awful, he gave away the ball on the first goal (when each of the centerbacks and spread wide to receive the ball, which put Ream at a real disadvantage trying to catch Urena), and it seemed like he covered the near post too much on the first goal (but that's a tough one). On the 2nd goal, I'm not sure why he didn't dive for the shot (he just reached down from a standing position, and couldn't reach it). They were god shots by Urena (well-placed) but not unstoppable. So Howard's had better days (an Navas having 2 brilliant saves was the difference in the game). Both Johnson and Villafena seemed invisible (especially on defense; it seemed like Ream and Zusi were playing 1 v 1 all over the back, and nobody else seemed much involved). As a team, we played too much 2 touch, not enough one-touch (we played too slowly). We seemed to have a lot of success down the right side in the first half (Zusi combining with Pulisic and Wood, mostly) but didn't try that much in the 2nd half. So yes, we did not play well, but it's not time to fire the coach. And getting the PK certainly would have changed the picture.

  12. Nathan Greene, September 2, 2017 at 12:20 a.m.

    Other than Pulisic, it was the European-based players who did not hold up their end, especially the defenders. And, both CR goals came from a MLS player. These considerations lead me to conclude that one might want to factor in time of year when making team selections. A strong MLS player in mid-season form may be a better selection this time of year than a slightly superior European-based player in early-season form. When you look at the additional time these American-based players had to train and compete together in the Gold Cup, the decision to start four European-based players (Ream, Cameron, Johnson, and Wood) should at least be reevaluated.

  13. Ridge Mahoney replied, September 2, 2017 at 1:14 a.m.

    CR's European players -- Ruiz, Borges, Oviedo, Gamboa, Navas -- were excellent.
    Collectively and individually, the Americans just didn't have it.

  14. Bob Ashpole replied, September 2, 2017 at 3:04 a.m.

    Good point Ridge. No silver linings found in this cloud.

  15. Miguel Dedo replied, September 2, 2017 at 4:25 a.m.

    This makes sense. Other than Mexico, teams in CONCACAF give the US fits with MLS players.

  16. Charles Stamos, September 2, 2017 at 2:16 a.m.

    USA camerooned and reemed! Why was Reem in there instead of Gonzalez or Besler? Cameron had too many poorly weighted or misdirected passes for any player, let alone a centerback. The midfield played OK, but the attack needs some diagonal runs and/or runs from 5 yards off the CR backline. The only creativity was Nagbe or Pulisic trying to dribble thru 3 or more players. That's not gonna work very often. Also, minus points for Altidore and Dempsey losing their cool late.

  17. Bob Ashpole, September 2, 2017 at 3:02 a.m.

    Costa Rica needed big plays and got them. The US needed big plays and got none. End of story. Time to focus on Tuesday.

  18. Goal Goal replied, September 2, 2017 at 10:41 a.m.

    Big plays? Just as in baseball games are won with base hits not grand slams. CR had consistent good basic soccer. We didn't. In addition we were out coached. Stuff happens. Regroup and move on.

    We seem to have a lot of litigators on the team. That crap needs to stop especially Altidore. Helps no one especially the team.

  19. frank schoon replied, September 3, 2017 at 5:14 p.m.

    Bob ,what gets me when you look at how the Costa Rican players handle a ball then you have to ask yourself why our players are unable to exhibit or do that or worse why all the hispanic players we have don't exhibit the smooth efficient ball handling skills....The USSF should seriously look at the training methods for we are producing meat and potato types and we neuter the style of hispanics here....

  20. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, September 4, 2017 at 10:06 a.m.

    Sounds like nonsense Frankie. You just see whatever affirms your preheld conceptions. CR plays bunker ball and it worked great. Nothing wrong with that, it's a perfectly acceptable strategy and they executed it perfectly. Two shots on goals from two US individual mistakes and they scored on both. Let's not make this some grand statement about the failings of US soccer. It isn't one.

  21. Miguel Dedo, September 2, 2017 at 4:26 a.m.

    Tim Howard is old and slow. Bill Hamid would have saved both Costa Rica goals.

  22. Jay Wall, September 2, 2017 at 7:46 a.m.

    HOW is the question? HOW is "Helping Opponents Win" and at all levels from age 6 to MNT games an analysis of what a team does to consistently help their opponents, usually leads to a short list of things, that if corrected, improve match perfornamnce. >> For example: 1. Too many square and negative passes that padded time of possession while giving our opponents all the time in the world to recover to set their defense and to take away passing lanes. > 2. Attacking and Midfield players taking the position they wanted and then not adjusting to be more open when opponents adjusted to take away the passing lanes to them. > 3. Too many in the air passes to our players in traffic, instead of our player being positioned to run onto lower, easier to take advantage passes just behind our opponents. > 4. Too much passing to teammates to try to win possession of the ball in the air when our opponents only needed to clear the ball in the air far and away from their goal to be successful. > 5. Spacing that didn't give our player with the ball at least two good passing options in or moving into space within 10 meters, so our player in possession often had to keep the ball or to play it too long giving our opponents time to move to pressure to win the ball. > 6. Becoming too focused on opponents playing physical and complaining to the referee with arms wide open instead of focusing on being more successful. >> MNT games are recruiting games! When you Help Opponents Win you make them look good and give those with dual citizenship every reason to play for their parents nation of origin if that nation plays more creative attractive soccer.

  23. Bob Ashpole replied, September 2, 2017 at 3:39 p.m.

    I like your analysis Jay.

  24. Wooden Ships replied, September 3, 2017 at 9:09 a.m.

    Well done Jay. We use soccer IQ (the word ) as a predictor of a quality player. What's misleading about that in soccer parlance is its implication of learned-instructed behavior. Think behaviorism, stimulus-response, BF Skinner. We talk about speed of play, thought. That's where our system, which is so concentrated on players responding to coaching/drills, inhibit instinctive players. Off the ball movement and showing and cycling and having those two options, during the run of play, isn't a cognitive thing. Its an instinct. Aside, from technical ball control issues our players all too often are outmatched by players and opponents that don't have to think.

  25. Bob Ashpole replied, September 3, 2017 at 1:30 p.m.

    Instead of instinctive, the way I put it is seeing the spaces. I think pattern play doesn't work because it focuses on looking for the players, not the spaces (where players should show). I don't think it is just semantics. I think it is the difference between creative tactical solutions and predictable attacks. You can't teach creative play with pattern play replacing decision making.

  26. frank schoon replied, September 3, 2017 at 1:46 p.m.

    It is both. For example, in rondo not 4v2 , you see the ball go around very fast, the more you do it the better you get at it, especially touch, but the exercise is somewhat mechanical as well. The more you do it you begin to recognize situations and therefore you can prepare ahead of time. By able to read and feel the situations perhaps coming to you automically prepares for the next execution. The 4v2 rondo is the next step from the regular rondo for now there are more game type situations involved but some situations from the regular rondo do come back in the 4v2 rondo as well. For example the first goal Costa Rica scored could have been prevented if Bradley had looked behind and moved 2 steps to left and closed the passing lane. This situation often occurs in the 4v2 rondo where defense moves a step or two to close the lane. It seems that Bradley never really played much 4v2.

  27. Mitch Mitchy, September 2, 2017 at 8:22 a.m.

    Agreed, we were shite.
    Why wasn't this game played in Portland or Seattle?
    It was nearly a home game for CR.
    Defeats the entire purpose of home and away.
    We need every advantage we can get.

  28. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, September 2, 2017 at 9:47 a.m.

    Agree. I was there and am a RBNY season ticket holder but this should have been played somewhere with a closer to 100% US crowd. It was about 25-30% CR. Of course with the way the game want the CR fans were the only ones cheering.

  29. Sean Griffin, September 2, 2017 at 9:19 a.m.

    Agree mostly with the ratings, but a little harsh in some areas. Big changes in tactic after goal 1 exposed lack of team intensity and chemistry that had started to show in Confed. Addition of Cameron, Ream, Wood, Johnson took away the emerging and more effective style. Cameron, for all of the solid play he may produce, has also very consistently made similar deadly mistakes with his club in England. Starting 11 looked kinda like a Klinsmann team. Overall, team didn't have a chance with several bad mistakes (by referee, too) which changed the momentum and tactic, taking away much of the effectiveness of those players that weren't asleep.

  30. Andrew Kear, September 2, 2017 at 9:46 a.m.

    The malaise that crept in during the final months of the Klinsmann era seems to be returning.

  31. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, September 2, 2017 at 9:47 a.m.

    Really? The team loses for the first time in almost a year and it's a malaise?

  32. frank schoon, September 2, 2017 at 12:05 p.m.

    Costa Rica deserved to win and they were the better team. Man for man they have better players , much better on the ball and able to handle themselves excellently in very small spaces especially with little triangles near the sidelines
    Again, Arena has done a lousy job setting up the midfield...WE HAVE NO MIDFIELD!!. Micheal Bradley is one of the problems. He drops back so far that he depletes any midfield strength the US has, he positions and looks more like a center fullback. He comes all the way back to ask for the ball, receives it with his back facing downfield, then if doesn't get the ball then Nagby comes back to ask for the ball, FURTHER DEPLETING THE MIDFIELD STRENGTH....HELLO ,DOESNT ANYONE ON THE COACHING STAFF SEE THIS! this is Midfield 101 stuff for this is happens continuously each game. As a result we are left with one man Robinson ,I think his name is that, at midfield.. The Golden Rule on Midfield 101 is never have just 2midfielders but 3; instead we're lucky if we have 2 and sometimes there is one. Remember the old saying without a midfield you can't win. Here is another problem at midfield, is ZUSI who plays right back. When you build up an attack from the back, NEVER, pass to the back unless he goes on attack. This is probably new for many coaches and I'm sure this is not taught at the USSF coaching academy for this mistake continuously happens.
    Zuni standing next to the sidelines standing still and is open gets the ball but he can't do anything for he's unable to make a run for the the player , Pulisic, ahead him didn't create a space for Zusi to run down the
    flank. What happens next is that Zusi ends up most of the time passing it back...completing wasting this offensive move. Also taking into account Zusi rarely makes offensive runs and he is not good 1v1 with a ball.
    This is why I prefer Bedoya to play Zusi's position. Furthermore, because of Zusi's lack of technical abilities and offensive threat that in itself hurts Pulisic abilities to be more effective. WHY? Pulisic need to be able to play with someone, on the combination and he needs to have someone behind him that can send him. Zusi can't do for he is a player with many limitations. And what further hurts Pulisic ,since Zusi doesn't make runs down the flank, taking an opponent with him, to open up things and create more space for Pulisic which also doesn't happen,further stalls the attack. As a result the lack of flank runs from Zusi make it more difficult for Pulisic because he consistently outnumbered sometimes 1v2 or 1v3. Pulisic as a result becomes isolated out on the flank. What I also noticed at midfield when Zusi has the ball is there are few passing options in the middle to go to because, Bradley is way back and Nagby is position to far left of center, and who knows where Robinson is. Another problem is see is that the two strikers, Wood and Altidore DON'T COMPLIMENT
    each other, each similar in style of play.

  33. Bob Ashpole replied, September 3, 2017 at 1:41 p.m.

    I am out of my depth here, but I think what you are complaining about is conventional wisdom for US coaches on how to "build out of the back." The emphasis now is to teach these movements beginning at the fundamental stage. What I am sure about is that the key to creative, adaptable players is to be well grounded in fundamentals. Unfortunately youth coaches for the most part short change fundamentals to teach players team tactics to win youth matches. My belief is that youth players during the fundamental stage should win matches through good fundamentals, i.e., superior skills, good positioning and good decision making. This also means using simple systems of play without any specialized role player positions or complicated team tactic so that there is no need for functional training.

  34. frank schoon replied, September 3, 2017 at 2:36 p.m.

    Bob, when I say a back should not receive the ball on the build up is that, one,he is standing by the sidelines, locked in there, two, by passing to the back by the sidelines makes the opponents shift to that side and at the same time pick up any of the back's passing options, in other words it is all blocked up. As a result you often see the back just pass the ball back to one of the center back, or to one of the midfielders nearest to him ,the offensive play has stopped. You pass to the back during the build up only if there is an open lane down the flank so he can make an attacking run and that requires the wing to go inward taken an opponent with him. So often teams just pass to the back in the build up and the result of this effort is a wasted pass. The first pass out of the backfield on the build up should not go to a defender in the first line but to a midfielder. The reason for that is, one, your away from the sidelines where it is easy to block an advance forwards, two a midfielder receiving the ball with his back facing downfield can easily lay off a one-touch pass to a free defender (3rd man) moving up facing downfield and keep the tempo of attack going, two, if a midfielder loses the ball you still have a defensive back line for support which is not the case if a defender receives the initial pass for if he makes a mistake he has no back support, three, a midfielder has better ball skills
    than a defender and he has more options around him. These are some reasons why you don't want to pass to a back on the build up unless he can go on attack right away and thus draw an opponents away from the middle.
    So many coaches are not taught how to build up an attack from the back properly for it isn't even taught at the Coaching school. The other problem in the build
    up,is we need defenders that can can give a good lead in pass to a player further up. What I mean by a lead in pass, is hard 25-35 yard pass forwards on the ground to the correct foot of the midfielder allowing him to quickly begin an attack. There are few defenders that have that ability of executing a GOOD lead in pass to midfielder.
    Dailey Blind of Man.Utd can do it nicely. Furthermore on the build up you need options to pass to downfield. You don't have many options around midfield when both Micheal Bradley and Nagby go back to get the ball. Here is another problem around midfield who calls the shots to restore midfield control when both go back to retrieve the ball. NO ONE!! No leadership out there.

  35. Bob Ashpole replied, September 4, 2017 at 7:57 a.m.

    Frank, I understand. I am saying that coaches intentionally use drills that reinforce the FBs receiving and returning passes. I was originally going to provide specific examples, but decided not to. What I think are particularly bad are drills (such as during warmups) that require pattern passing in the back line without including passes to the midfield or forward lines. While not as bad, I don't like using targets to symbolize forwards and halfbacks. It has the same training value as being pressured by cones instead of opponents. Coaches may talk about breaking lines with passes to the mids and forwards, but, if mids and forwards are not included in exercises, that is reinforcing the opposite movements from those desired.

  36. frank schoon replied, September 4, 2017 at 10:48 a.m.

    Bob,(this is going to be a rather long explanation and I enjoy conversing with for you understand what I'm trying to say). You are much more into what is going than I am. In all my years of coaching ,I never followed or paid attention to the standards, norms or the latest ways of training and coaching techniques, in part because I wasn't happy with the USSF. I saw too many out there with a coaching license who couldn't take a lamp post one on one, and to further compound my negative opinion on all this is was happened to Nene Cubillas.
    Yes, I ordered, in those days, late '70's, some books about training and coaching from Holland, including books from the KNVB courses. Something didn't add up to me, all this stuff felt too programmed, nice drawings of drills, but moves with a ball was never discussed. I also subscribed to the KNVB and the
    German monthly training monthly issues. It just didn't inspire me. At that time Cruyff retired and began to talk about soccer, gave many interviews and expressed how bad (we're talking '81) the youth skill level and game savvy was. . I realized then that I was on the right road when it came to my poor opinion on all what is happening with the coaching and training techniques of the youth. Nobody talked about teaching moves to inspire kids, for that is what catches the eyes kids to soccer first.I, of course, loved moves ,skills, dribbling techniques. I had 1100 moves written down on business cards. I watched moves of players studied them and I, myself, enjoyed beating someone one on one rather than scoring a goal. That is how I began to get involved in teaching and coaching. At this time, '81, a guy named Wiel Coerver wrote a book and made tapes on skills.( this was years before the Americans even heard of Coerver). He blasted the Dutch Coaching for failing to teach their coaches how to teach moves and skills to the youth. . I knew then that I was right road when it to teaching and developing youth. Also my generation began to retire in soccer in Holland and likewise all criticisms of how youth were being developed through how the Coaching school tells their licensed coaches how to develop the youth. I bought Coerver tape and book when it came out in "82. I read the book and watched his tape, it was good but it wasn't for me. I think it is good start for those who were not very technical and who need a direction. I had so many more moves beyond what Coerver had. I ended never using any of the Coerver methods. I just asked myself how did I learn soccer, in the streets, and than I began to pick it apart , all the elements of street soccer, how, where, conditions, etc , every phase of it. Coerver took elements of street soccer, but what he did was very rote, not creative. This is a long about explanation of why I never got involved with the latest training techniques. Next post

  37. frank schoon replied, September 4, 2017 at 11:39 a.m.

    Bob, Since I wasn't impressed with all the journals books , and what the coaching schools taught. I came to realize to get a better insight into the game you go to the horses mouth...Cruyff. I read his interviews, books, and in addition, other interviews of great players as well as books,biographies, autobiographies of great players. It is there you'll learn the real insights of the game, not from some coaching book on the how to's and what not's.
    For example, a great player would talk about a certain game and what he or the team did to counter a certain
    situation or how he as a KID. There was so much more info to learn from, such as direct experiences from players ,tactically and technically speaking, then from some stupid coaching book written by someone who couldn't shine the shoes of one of those greats. My head would explode if I took a licensed coaching course for my knowledge of the game comes directly and pragmatically from the field and from those individually experiences of players who really know the game and in addition, my personality does not lend itself to follow these classroom norms. Now looking at all the nonsense the coaching school have come up with and few years later deny what was originally taught and the failure of the good youth skills, I feel I have made right decision on what I consider what is a better method of training. Arie Haan, a Cruyff teammate, stated that coaching is "SEEING". In other words , you can have all the coaching qualifications, let us say, and still not SEE" the game. And that statement hit me like a ton of bricks for this comes when you read a Cruyff's analysis of a game which watched and not see what he sees. I began to tape every dutch game for I knew Cruyff would give his opinion on what went wrong or how to do it better. I would watch the game again and try to catch what Cruyff sees and throughout all these years my "eyes" began to open more into seeing things, that I wasn't aware of before. Now getting to your point of the warm up drills that reenforces bad habits as related to build up drills, I think the drill in itself is ok. You eliminate a back or returning pass for given the situation a player might need to do that. Back passes is a reality and used properly it is fine. For example, in a 3rd man situation, so I wouldn't throw out the baby with bath water. I agree that back passing is not good and I agree with you that there should be other options like going forward to midfield like you said. But it is like this, remember that article SA had on Rondos. Rondos is good but it gives a very limited picture for all you see is the ball is being passed around real quickl but no one plays like this and it is unrealistic, but what it does do is to improve quick passing ,that's it. Next Post

  38. frank schoon replied, September 4, 2017 at 11:48 a.m.

    Bob,But what the author (educator) of the Rondo article overlooked is that it is really the 4v2 ,the holistic version that bring in the more real elements of how soccer is played. You have to compare that warm up exercise with the former exercise of Rondo, the quick passing, and what you want ,the adding more passing options downfield to the latter Rondo the more realistic one 4v2.
    The main problem is that these coaches don't know how to build up and attack and as soon as they realize that then they would change their orientation of the warm up. And they also need to realize the back passing in the backfield means players are not positioned well forwards. I enjoy you letting me know what is going on on all that other stuff that I have no clue on what is going on.

  39. Daniel Clifton, September 2, 2017 at 12:33 p.m.

    Johnson has not played well for the national team in his last couple of appearances. He needs to sit on Tuesday. I think Nagbe is more effective on the flank. Howard did not look good on that first goal. The ball was not struck that hard. The offense was virtually non-existent. I agree with the person who said something about less possession and how about some direct long balls for Altidore and Wood.

  40. Kevin Leahy, September 2, 2017 at 12:36 p.m.

    I believe Kasey Keller hit the nail on the head. There was't much in the way of physicality coming from the U.S. Players The # 20 for CR let the U.S. Know from the very beginning wifi his fouls that, CR would do whatever it took to get a result. They better be more physical in Honduras or they will get run out of the stadium.

  41. frank schoon, September 2, 2017 at 12:47 p.m.

    Another I problem is the triangle , Nagby, Wood , Altidore, all three are so similar in style of play and none of them compliment each other. All 3 are basically are made for run and gun soccer. Nagby reminds me of a young colt that after opening up the gate he wants to run out. Every time Nagby receives the ball he wants to run with it first. If you ask him the moment he receives the ball, "what are you going to do with it ?", he would have to think about it, but he knows he wants to run with it. You never see Nagby one-touch the ball in space and run on to it but instead he has to receive it first and look...He SLOWS the tempo of the attack. I would prefer Nagby to play outside back he is not a midfielder for he lacks ball and playing savviness.
    He is fast and strong, he is not good in receiving a ball with his back facing downfield along with a man in his back and would do much better to play as an outside back , facing downfield. So many passes coming from the back go to players receiving the ball with their back facing downfield, and also a lack of one touch passing to a player coming up facing downfield from that player. Notice that when Nagby and Bradley are in their own half wanting the ball the next line to pass forward to is sometimes 35 to 40 yards away, again BAD midfield positioning. Talk about positioning, I blame the first goal as much on Bradley as on Ream. Bradley all he had to do is to look behind him,take 2 steps sideways and would have blocked the pass to Urena. Defense is not just about following a man or tackling him but closing down space, and PASSING LANES through positioning which Bradley didn't do.
    The center backs were spread very wide and one of the reasons which is also why Bradley invites himself to come so far back . As a result the two center backs are used to having Bradley cover the middle space almost looking like a center fullback. This is why I'm not happy with the flatback defense employing two center backs square, in a zone for it forces the defensive mid to drop too far back at times which results in our midfield becoming undermanned and weakened. Another reason why the center backs are split so far is that when the wasteful pass to Zusi on the sidelines is made the right center back moves to support Zusi thus inviting Bradley to drop and fill the big gap...This whole Build up from the back is done WRONG!! and that is why we lose midfield.

  42. Zabivaka Sobaka replied, September 2, 2017 at 9:23 p.m.

    Schoon, still trying to write a formula for soccer?!

  43. frank schoon replied, September 3, 2017 at 10:59 a.m.

    There is no formula but there basic fundamentals, you perhaps have difficulty seeing. But unless certain truisms/ fundamentals of soccer are followed things won't fare well, as seen to what happened to the USMNT.

  44. Zabivaka Sobaka replied, September 4, 2017 at 7:03 p.m.

    Too many words in your analysis......It sounds like "have no clue but can speak"

  45. R2 Dad, September 2, 2017 at 1:24 p.m.

    Crappy Panamanian officials allow over physical play--big surprise. Should have just brought the MLS B team to slug it out, park and counter Costa Rica. Then we wouldn't have to worry about not having a midfield.

  46. Zabivaka Sobaka, September 2, 2017 at 5:30 p.m.

    Is Tim Howard a dual citizen?

  47. Ric Fonseca replied, September 2, 2017 at 9:56 p.m.

    Why are you asking? So what if he is?Oh, I get it, you think he might be Costa Rican!

  48. Fajkus Rules, September 4, 2017 at 11:11 a.m.

    Surprised no one has nailed Jozy for lackadaisical play, especially on the ball played long that Pulisic chased down and crossed and then Altidore dove when grazed in the back of the leg by the CR defender. CP ran from 4-5 yards behind Altidore to 4-5 yards ahead of him in about 40 yards. The US isn't good enough to have prima donna attackers who think they can take off from making full out runs or pressing on defense whenever they want. CP plays his heart out every game and needs a couple of front-line partners willing to match that effort, even if less-talented than a BW or JA.

  49. Mark Headley, September 4, 2017 at 2:11 p.m.

    appreciate much of the savvy analysis, wit.

    i can't say i noticed Costa Rica to be very superior technically.

    granted, the US didn't play well, but as noted above, if not for rough play, crappy officiating, correctible mistakes on a few plays, better shooting . . . ?

    does anyone doubt the US would have won if the only change were an exchange of goalkeepers? even without the blown penalty call, etc?

    when has the US ever been competitive against top teams without elite, usually superior goalkeeping? let alone what appears Howard's huge inferiority now to Navas?

    the only impt game that pops to mind was the 2002 quarterfinal against Germany? many commentators marveled the US actually outplayed Germany. Perhaps, i thought -- but only ignoring respective goalkeeping. no small matter.i wondered if we might have prevailed w/ Kasey Keller -- even against Oliver Kahn.

    why generally do soccer commentators commonly de-emphasize how crucial superior goalkeeping can be? seemed to me Iker Casillas' dazzling magnificence was key to Spain's dynasty. Yet never even nominated for player of the yr, no? nor of the 2010 World Cup? despite keeping clean sheets as Buffon had in the 2006 knock-out round?

    makes Barcelona's dynasty all the more impressive: what elite opponent's goalkeeping then then didn't outclass Valdez?

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