France 1, USA 0: A Look Back

USAvsFrance (

It wasn't a game USA fans will be re-watching for entertainment purposes, or one American players will want to remember, but the U.S. national team's 1-0 loss to France still offered up plenty of information, if not attacking soccer.

France was always going to be favored and expected to be the better side, even with a young lineup, but the U.S. team's total lack of attacking punch, and one of the worst midfield performances in recent memory, make the France loss a particularly disappointing and discouraging one.

In case you had not seen them yet, here is my Fox Soccer column on the match, which focused on the poor play in midfield. Also, here are my player grades.

Here are some more thoughts on the match:

Clarence Goodson was beaten for the goal, but he had played very well before that, making several key defensive plays. Anybody who thinks he played poorly must have not been paying attention until Loic Remy's goal.

the Beckerman-Edu central midfielder partnership does NOT need to be seen again. It just doesn't work. Some will blame Beckerman, some will blame Edu. Whatever the case, the tandem just isn't one that works. Either one or both needs to go, and there are plenty of candidates to turn to.

Of the two, Beckerman has been the better of the two, but Klinsmann needs to start taking a look at the other options. Beckerman can hold his own against CONCACAF competition, but I'm not sold on him doing well against elite teams. He had some moments against France, but the French central midfield dominated, and Beckerman was beaten a few times and didn't get nearly enough of the ball.

Just how badly did France dominate the midfield? Yann M'Vila possession stats were comparable to Beckerman and Edu COMBINED. Beckerman and Edu completed 57 of 70 passes. M'Vila? He completed 45 of 50. Now, M'Vila is a beast and one of the more highly-sought-after midfield prospects in Europe, but those stats suggest Klinsmann might consider other options, like the ones who actually play in top European leagues.

Neither Tim Chandler or Brek Shea had a good game, but they are STILL the best options on the left flank.

Steve Cherundolo and Carlos Bocanegra aren't getting any younger, but they are still the best options and should stay as starters for a while. Can't see either of them not starting when World Cup qualifying starts for the USA next summer.

Jozy Altidore looks sharp and is miles ahead of all other forwards in the US pool. It would be nice to see him partnered with a striker in a 4-4-2, but he's developed his hold-up game to the point that he can handle himself as a lone forward. The problem is if people aren't moving off the ball or getting him the ball he's not going to have many chances to score.

Fabian Johnson showed some glimpses, but his cameo wasn't long enough to show what he can really do. He needs to get a start to show what he brings to the table.

Speaking of attack-minded midfielders, given the fact that Klinsmann has been reduced to playing a defensive midfielder on the right wing, why is he ignoring attack-minded midfielders who could actually play the position, unlike Danny Williams? Alejandro Bedoya, Sacha Kljestan, Freddy Adu and Benny Feilhaber all would make more sense, but none can get a sniff from Klinsmann.


What did you think of the USA-France match? What players impressed you? Which players did you consider just flat awful? What midfielder would you take out of the lineup if you had your choice? Better question, besides Danny Williams, which midfielder would you take out of the USA lineup?

Share your thoughts below. 

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159 Responses to France 1, USA 0: A Look Back

  1. Grubbsbl says:

    I agree with your comments all around. Not sure I buy the Altidore remarks though. Only being able to hold the ball up just isn’t good enough at this level. Plus I am not even sure he is actually very good at that. Additionally, his movement around the goal leaves a lot to be desired. I prefer to see a Dempsey, Donovan pairing up front.

    Edu is just too slow in possession and his first touch is never settled. I don’t know how Klinsmam thought it was a good idea to play a guy who plays holding mid in the awful SPL in an attack mid role. Beckerman reads the game well defensively but can’t play the ball forward.

  2. Tim in NC says:

    Feel as though a lot of people on this blog need to take into perspective that the team is still growing. While this was by no means a good performance, it was good to show us more of what needs to be done. Mainly, I would have to feel as though the central miss need to be tweaked. Remember, this was a game on the road in France’s national stadium. Let’s see what happens on Tuesday.

    Let the crucifixion of my comments begin.

  3. NATO says:

    Beckerman is a decent player but not starting material. Maybe Jurgen is trying to help him get some PR so some low European team will pick him up.

    I think we need Bradley/Jones with Edu coming on as a sub for 1 of them. Altidore is the best striker we have. Gomez/Buddle are decent but only as subs. We need Donovan and Dempsey playing together. when is Holden back from injury?

  4. NATO says:

    Far better to lose to great teams than to win meaningless matches against the likes of Bermuda

  5. Khan says:

    If you told me before the game that we’d hold Ribery and Benzema to almost no good chances and no goals I would be ecstatic. Defense was superb.

  6. jev says:

    We need more of our players playing in Europe. Give Brek Shea another year in MLS and then ship him off to Holland or Germany

    HECK maybe Beckerman can get some interest from a Scandinavian team

  7. chris says:

    Jozy is our best forward. He got absolutely no help what so ever

  8. abc says:

    “the Beckerman-Edu central midfielder partnership does NOT need to be seen again. It just doesn’t work.”

    I’m shocked, SHOCKED, by this unexpected development.

  9. chris says:

    Against a young B French Team

  10. Turgid Jacobian says:

    Ribery and Benzema both had some good chances, I thought, but I also thought we were looking at a 3-0 defeat (going in).

    Beckerman was passing into traps the whole game (as were our fullbacks, but that was more down to lack of motion in our central midfield). Bradley and Edu would probably be better. Or Bradley (learning the trade of a lockdown Dmid in Serie A) and Kljestan (more attack minded, and getting some real polish in Belgium) better still.

    Why Williams was playing out of position also befuddles. Hell, put him and Sacha in for our central midfield.

    No comment on Johnson.

    Defense… can’t really badmouth them too much. They did well to contain some really talented attackers.

    Shea is rowing on me all the time, and if he solidifies, Shea + Williams (untul we get a real-life LB) + a strong Dmid that leans left is just about the best we can do… maybe be sure that Los stays healthy and eats his wheaties.

  11. abc says:

    It’s not about one game, it’s about every game they have played under Klinsmann so far. Yes even the 1-0 victory at home over Honduras.

  12. ce says:

    Jozy is by far our best forward

  13. ShaggyReAL says:

    I disagree about Beckerman. His strength is on the defensive end, but he can play the ball forward if he has options.

    One of the problems with US soccer is we don’t act, we always re-act to the ball being kicked. We have very few players that can anticipate where & when the ball will be placed.

  14. Mike says:

    The “B-team” comments are misleading. Every player from that France team last night is capable of starting at EURO 2012. I agree with whoever said it was a B+ or A- team.

  15. ShaggyReAL says:

    Williams? That dude looked bad the whole game. Ball hog and can’t pass. Why would we want him in the midfield.

  16. chris says:

    4-4-2 next game:




    I would say try some young players out but there are none worth looking at in this camp

  17. chris says:

    A definite B team defense

  18. Jose says:

    the team look very weak, there is a problem in the middle, i would say since 2009 when was Bradley-Clark we dont have a solid middle.(sry for the english)

  19. chris says:

    Also our U-20’s with U-23’s sprinkled in just tied Azerbaijan’s U-21’s with the same 3 man midfield formation. I thought there was supposed to be a youth overhaul. Fire gulati

  20. Tim in NC says:

    I agree it is about more than one game. But really, nothing matters until next summer. I will reserve judgment until we have all of our players (mainly Donovan and Holden)

  21. downintexas says:

    Keep drinking the Klinsmann kool-aid.

    Yes we are still “growing” but we should be able to put atleast 2 shots on goal in any game. Remember in 2010 we won our group in the WC. Remember in 2009 we beat Spain and lost to Brazil 3-2 in the Confeds Cup finals. Looks like we have taken several steps backwards.

    I don’t see how playing 3 Dmids is a step in the right direction please inform me otherwise.

  22. Futbol4a says:

    How about we just play everyone in the position they play for their club team? Can’t we just pick 2 DM in the roster: Beckerman, Jones, Edu, Bradley, Williams? I would like to see two F (Altidore, Dempsey), one DM (Williams-see what he can do), and Shea-Johnson-Beasley behind the forwards. I thought the back four and K were solid. I was also surprised no one was called in to replace Donovan.

  23. Grubbsbl says:

    I am a fan of Beckerman, and I was probably too hard on him with my earlier comment. With Torres/Holden out with injury, and Donovan availible, we have no creativity in the center of the park, which certainly hurts Beckerman. I would like to see Bradley next to Backerman Wednessday.

    And there is no way Altidore is better than Dempsey or Donovan. Altidore can’t beat anyone off the dribble, is decent but not great at holding the ball up, makes zero runs behind defenders and his movement in the box is poor. He constantly makes runs that hide behind the center back; instead of darting across the defender to the near post. I know he is in decent form for his club, but plenty of average strikers have scored bucket loads of goals in the Dutch League. So have world class strikers, but Altidore is no where near that.

  24. Sabella says:

    Our midfield was non-existent. There was just no link between the defense and Altidore/Dempsey.

    Beckerman and Edu are simply not cutting it. Their inability to possess, move off the ball and just knock the ball around for even a few passes is totally unacceptable. They have seen more than their fair share of playing time so its time to give other guys a look at center mid.

    The lack of minutes seen by Michael Bradley is extremely difficult to understand. He is starting every week in Serie A. The fact that Klinsmann isn’t giving him any time suggests there is something else going on there. I like the pairing of Bradley and Jose Torres (when healthy) with Shea and Donovan on the flanks.

    It was a great defensive effort but aren’t we tired of relying on Timmy and crew? Until we get the midfield under control, its going to be a lot more of the same.

    I was very happy when Klinsmann was hired but his honeymoon is over.

  25. siv says:

    Good national teams are 2-3 players deep at every position on the field. France had their A team .

  26. downintexas says:


  27. downintexas says:

    Maybe Klinsmann bought into the whole nepotism bullcrap.

    I never liked the Klinsmann hiring, but I think 10-15 years down the road I might enjoy it. He is brining in a diff. mentallity to the game for americans, atleast philisophical (attack minded) but then he brings in 6 Dmids for camp so not very practial yet

  28. dan says:

    Why do they start 2 defensive center mids all the FREAKING TIME! Bradley did it and now Klinsy does it. Beckermann and Edu are you kidding me? We need a midfield maestro badly and the only one we seem to have has been injured for a year, Holden. There’s gotta be someone else to be paired with Jones/Beckerman/Edu/Bradley but they should never start together. I say Jones is our best option

  29. Tony in Quakeland says:

    I would trade Beckerman, Edu and Jones for Alou Diarra in a heartbeat. That shows why you only need ONE defensive mid, if he’s the RIGHT defensive mid.

    Only other comment is that people criticizing Jozy’s game do not need to be taken seriously.

  30. Joshuaw says:

    I’m gonna go out on a limb and be positive for a moment. For those of you that think Altidore is a hack need to learn more about the game of football. His hold up play was superb and he had ABSOLUTELY NO help in the attack. It was usually him vs 2-5 french defenders.

    And for all of those Debbie downers about the current USA team I think we are only quality attacking players away from being as good or better than Mexico. (bare with me) If and i mean IF, Brek Shea continues to develop as meteorically as he has, if we can get Holden/Donovan healthy, and if we can get one of Gatt/Adu/Renken/Gyau/Terrence Boyd to develop into a quality attacking player I think we like a very very dangerous team.

    That’s my piece. Bring on the hate

  31. dan says:


    what do u think? i know its ideal but just shootin ideas

  32. Joshuaw says:

    *only 1-2

  33. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Bradley over Jones. I’d put Holden on the right and play Shea over Davis.

  34. Tim in NC says:

    Not drinking any Kool-Aid, just aware of the fact that friendlies don’t matter.

    I agree that we need to be getting more shots on goal, and that playing 3 midfielders in the center of the park that are defensive-minded can’t be the answer. But please, tell me what creative options you would like to see? While I agree that either Beckerman or Edu should give way to MB, and Williams should not be playing on the right, please tell me where that creative spark is going to come from?

    This is the team that Klinsmann puts together, with the players he has available. Remember, Donovan decided that he couldn’t make two trips across the ocean, Torres and Holden are hurt, Adu hasn’t played consistently for club. The only CM that should be in the camp that is not is Kljestan.

    The difference between this team and Bradley’s team, that I see, is that they are doing much better defensively as a cohesive unit. More like the squad at the Confederations Cup than that of WC2010. Not letting goals in the first 20 minutes is enough for me. Now we just need to score.

    Let’s watch Tuesday, and see what Klinsmann does.

  35. Benny says:

    Yeah, and with Klinsi we would have beaten Brazil. Klinsi knows exactly what he is doing. This is the time when you can afford to experiment with different players and putting them in different positions, formations, etc. When it is time for qualifying, this U.S. team will be just fine.

  36. biff says:

    I agree, Kahn-er. Were talking about freezing out two of the best striker-attacking midfielders in the world who play at the two of the best clubs. That is a great accomplishment in Paris. And all the people complaining about Edu and Beckerman, an SI reporter based in Paris reported that L’Equipe, the French sports daily, rated France central defenders Laurent Koscielny and Adil Rami highest of all players, giving them 6 ratings. The newspaper gave out six 5 ratings, four of them to Americans: Howard, Boca, Edu and Beckerman. I am not saying I would agree that Edu should be rated above Jozy and Demps, just noting that a purely objective French newspaper was impressed with Edu and Beckerman.

    In Klinsmann’s first six games we have given up only 5 goals. That last time the USMTN gave up five or fewer goals in six games was between September 2008 and February 2009. At that time it also was a total of five goals that included two games against that powerhouse Trinidad-Tobago, and games against Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico and Sweden. As for our offense against France, yes, we struggled. Does anyone truly believe should have dominated against a team that good, that now has gone 16 straight games without a loss.

  37. Sabella says:

    On the nepotism thing, I can totally see Klinsmann going out of his way the first few games to give other guys a look. But at this point, fair is fair. Bradley has earned the time vis a vis his playing time/performance with Chievo. Beckerman has gotten some time and has convincingly shown he isn’t ready.

    I agree, the Klinsmann attack minded philosphy is exciting but his player selection in midfield is prohibiting him from executing on that.

    On positive note, I do think Jozy looked solid but he can’t do it all himself.

  38. spencer says:

    If you think our team is ever going to look good and be able to attack with 2 d mids you do not understand the game. We have a solid back 4, even though Cherundolo is definitely losing a step especially now that he isn’t starting for his club. Jozy is looking better but Rooney or Chicarito couldn’t score on our team. It is the complete lack of service and play making ability. Till we get someone who can create and hit great passes forward we will never hit our potential. The few chances we had Dempsey refused to pass and blew our chances, for example when he had Buddle wide open. We are one attacking player from being a good team. Adu did well when he played. Maybe you can turn to Kljestan, Benny, or Johnson. The thing is till we have someone who can help us move the ball through the midfield we will never hit the level that we could be.

  39. my 2 centz says:

    Meanwhile, Mexico’s dismantling of Serbia last night was CLINICAL. Anyone catch it? Why do the Mexicans look dangerous whenever and wherever they get possession while our guys look like they’re defending even when they have the ball? There was a couple times yesterday when a pass to Edu resulted in an Edu slide tackle! It’s like, OK, good D, but I thought we had the ball. The contrast between the Mexico’s game vs a top level Euro opponent and our game was striking. We’re miles behind Mexico.

  40. Matt says:

    Good god you people are dense. See what happens after a year of actually training with klinnsman instead of 4 months. Or realistically multiple camps instead of 4 one week training sessions.

    Good god.

  41. fish says:

    Hey Grubbs,

    I know this is your cumulative summary after many years of watching Jozy, but are you reflecting on last game or just sticking to your biases? The game is on replay on ESPN3, why don’t you focus exclusively on Jozy and come back with an analysis from that game. I’ve watched the game twice now, and Jozy looked like the unquesionable best US player last night

  42. JW says:

    + 1000 to what Fish said.

  43. GW says:

    A few months ago according to most of you on SBI Micahel Bradley could not:

    Pass the ball

    Tackle anyone

    Beat anyone off the dribble

    Play one touch football

    After a handful of games at Chievo suddenly he is the saviour?

    What a bunch of fairweather band wagon jumpers

  44. Jw says:

    Don’t think we should have Shea and Beasley at the same time.
    Same left sided players.

  45. JesseMT says:

    The player we most miss right now, playing the Klinsmann system, is Stuart Holden. With him, the first choice lineup is:

    Shea Dempsey Donovan
    Holden Beckerman
    Back 4

    Having Beckerman with a creative player like Holden would let him just focus on defense, simplifying his job on the pitch. Stu could get forward and support the attack and help keep possession, while Beckerman would be the ball winner. As just a ball winner, he is probably better than Bradley. But partnered with somebody like Edu, Beckerman is asked to be more of a complete 2-way mid and he’s far behind Bradley in that department.

    But we don’t have Holden. Klinsmann has tried Torres in the role, and Edu. They’re not the answer.

  46. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Speak for yourself. I thought he was our best option then and now I think our midfield play without him makes the case even clearer.

  47. Tom says:

    Ha,true. There are no US CMs who can do all four of the above well. Holden is the closest, just fantastic at one touch, tackling (well, as long as his leg doesn’t get broken) and passing in general, but lacking beating opponents off the dribble and final through balls.

    The others are generally worse at these things so we get upset about whoever is in there and exposing their weaknesses, and forget that the guy who’s not playing was just the same.

  48. RB says:

    The French are whacked if they were impressed with Edu’s performance. Plain and simple.

  49. RB says:

    Torres worked fine in the role (though whether he wpuld be as good as / better than a healthy Holden is a whole nother question). Most certainly Torres looked much better than Edu has.

  50. Tony in Quakeland says:

    The SPL is NOT helping Edu. If he hasn’t regressed, he certainly hasn’t progressed. He needs to move on.

  51. Turgid Jacobian says:

    No, Beckerman in any role is inferior to Bradley in the same role.

  52. Supsam says:

    I am probably alone in this thought but i do believe that we shouldnt be playing against elite teams in their own turf and instead be playing against our weaker CONCACAF brethren here. Its alot more effective to learn and implement a new style of play against a weaker foe than against a strong foe who will throw our gameplan out the window. What did we learn from deploying 3 defensive mids and bunkering down against France?

  53. Turgid Jacobian says:

    Except, I guess, things requiring hair.

  54. PetedeLA says:

    Well… if Klinsmann’s goal was to contain the wingers, he did a decent job.

    Having coached Ribery, he was probably worried about being humiliated by him. If that was the case, mission accomplished.

    But he has to learn that Edu just isn’t good enough at the moment.

    I’ve said this once before, but I’ll say it again:

    If we could try out Brad Davis in the center of our midfield, we may find him to be the answer for a more creative defensive mid. Pair him up with Bradley and I could see a very good match.

    Furthermore, our wingers need to be way more dangerous. Shea is doing almost all we can expect from someone with his lack of experience. But I’m all for putting Dempsey back on the wing– left or right. The goal threat from out wide helps our entire attack.

  55. Supsam says:

    i agree about Beckerman. Paired with a more linking midfielder, Beckerman can excel on the field if he doesnt have to worry about jumpstarting a attack. Beckerman’s best game under Klinnsman was when he was paired with Torres.

  56. Citronomics says:

    +1. Appreciate the balanced assessment. Does Klinsi need to improve his player selections and Mid combinations – yes. Are we attempting to install and deliver a more top level, international style that I think, hope will elevate our competitiveness and ultimately results – yes I think so. Lets see where we are come next summer.

  57. SwerveZ says:

    I agree, AND Jozy did draw a penalty in the box with a very nice move…NO HELP though and with no help, how can you look good?? the center of the park was dismal. Two players that should be on the bench. Bradley and someone else.

  58. FlyMaster says:

    You win for most intelligent and forward-thinking comment.

    First, because you didn’t put Dempsey as a forward. So many others keep wanting him there, but that’s not where he excels.

    Second, for recognizing the absolute importance of Holden, or someone like him, who can creatively organize the attack.

    Third, for emphasizing that Beckerman’s strength is his defense and that all he needs is a good offensive-mid pairing to let him focus. That, in fact, seems to be exactly what Klins has in mind, as he has repeatedly said that Beckerman is doing “exactly what he is asked to” on the pitch.

  59. beachbum says:

    agree with you Ives and your fox report.

    on injured payers and their potential impacts,

    CD9, Gooch and Stu, right up the spine of the WC2010 team, went down and it hurt that team, no doubt. but who cares? had to get things done anyway

    the idea that ‘we’ll see when we’re all there and healthy’ is nice and I undersatnd the sentiment, but it’s wishful and doesn’t work for me. we have to be able to play anyway and get things done even if LD, Stu and Paco are not here

    let’s see what happens vs. Slovenia. Hope Michael starts and plays well and gets after it, that we score early because we know we can best these guys, then we can be more comfortable to control focus and expression aggressivly and not just reactively

  60. Dennis says:

    Claiming that with a different coach we would have beaten Brazil is just silly. Maybe Klinsmann knows what he’s doing, I am not convinced. Either he has not paid much attention to the US games in the last couple years or maybe he imagines there is something there that is invisible to us mere mortals. I kind of doubt that.

    Like all coaches, he will live and die by the quality of the players available and by his adjustments to put players where their strengths will be on display and their shortcomings will be less obvious. (For example, putting MB at a wing midfielder where he would be expected to get chances to dribble at players is not so good, it displays the weakest part of MB’s game, better for MB to win balls, challenge centrally with his strength and make passes. Similarly for Williams.)

  61. Reality check says:

    I agree and it also goes to show you how good Donovan makes this team. Even though he has been off his game lately, when he is on the field he makes the offense better and no one can question his defense anymore.

    Bring on the Donovan haters.

  62. CE says:

    Jozy also beat two defenders off the dribble to get a shot off

  63. Dennis says:

    Of course under Bradley we tied Argentina, twice. Played well against Brazil, beat Spain, etc. I would never claim to be ecstatic about limiting a team that did not make it out of the first round in SA to one goal. That said, losing to France 1-0 is no disgrace, but it is not something to smile about either.

  64. Matt says:

    Uh oh spain lost to England 1-0.

    they are terrible now. they should hire a new coach.

  65. Since 82 says:

    Unequivocally our best field player with little to no help.

  66. AdamFromMich says:

    Yes, this is the time to experiment. But Klinsman isn’t experimenting very much. He’s settled on some players that I don’t understand, like Williams at right mid. He’s not experimenting with the central mid positions, and he needs to. I like both Beckerman and Edu, but the combination isn’t working.

  67. Since 82 says:

    I have always rated Bradley > Jones > Edu. I am not sure what to think of Beckerman. In additon, MB almost always has a strong work rate. He should be starting. Period.

  68. hogatroge says:

    fish has it right. Jozy was one of the game’s few bright spots.

    As far as the lack of creativity you mentioned, however, I agree. As much as people like to comment on Sacha Kljestan’s inconsistent USMNT play when he was with Chivas 3+ years ago, the guys is playing great soccer at Anderlecht and is the most creative midfielder we have who is in 90 minute form (Adu is up there, but he wasn’t even starting for the Union). To exclude him from the roster, even after Donovan dropped off, is mind-boggling.

  69. ShaggyNOTReAL says:

    YEAH! Williams is a Ball dog! If it weren’t for him the US would have scored at least 5! YEAH!

  70. hogatroge says:

    The thing is, a French B team is not a laughing matter like a US B team. Look how Man U and Real Madrid’s reserves far against competition around the world.

  71. Since 82 says:

    I would like to see Adu moving forward as well. (IMO) he has an important role on this team in WC 2014 and offers a skill set that is largely absent in our player pool.

  72. AdamFromMich says:

    I don’t know. I’m starting to think we need to play a team we can beat 3-0, just so our boys remember how to score.

  73. hogatroge says:

    Well, as usually, Edu was the definition of inconsistent. Excellent stop followed by horrendous pass followed by studs-up foul-causing tackle.

  74. RB says:

    There you go.

  75. hogatroge says:

    I like your assessment.

    Do you think JK meant to start Johnson on the right wing but got him confused with Williams?

    As far as Brek, he had a mediocre game, but he’s definitely shown he can play at a higher level.

    Sacha’s omission is glaring. He and Dempsey should have been starting in the midfield while all the other DMs competed for the other CM slot.

  76. hogatroge says:

    Williams made some poor passing decisions going forward, but he was being played out of position. He’s a defensive mid, and when it came to defending and hustling, he performed well. Blame Klinsmann for playing Williams out of position. Fabian Johnson starts for the same club as Williams (who comes off the bench) and actually plays on the right side. I think Klinsmann accidentally mixed them up when selecting the starting roster.

  77. hogatroge says:

    This lineup should have started against France. The only improvement I can imagine is to have called in Kljestan and replaced either Bradley or Jones based on who had a better camp. The other would be first CM off the bench.

  78. wilyboy says:

    Who else thinks it should be a 4-4-2? Eventually.


    Someone’s going to jump on me for Lichaj and Chandler, but Chandler has so much promise when allowed to cross, and Lichaj looked to be a solution before his injury.

    I dream of a functional 4-3-3, but that dream doesn’t work unless our wingers are tearing it up, and our midfield is stellar.

  79. AdamFromMich says:

    I’ll say we’re 3 players away. That’s not counting Donovan. We need someone to back up Donovan at right mid, and 2 creative central midfielders to replace Edu.

    In addition to that, we need to transplant Beckermans brain into Michael Bradleys body (JK).

  80. hogatroge says:

    But the U-23s whooped up on Vfl Bochum’s reserves.

  81. hogatroge says:

    The best healthy option, Sacha Kljestan, was not called into camp. Freddy Adu has the potential, but his inability to break into Philly’s starting lineup has hurt his case.

  82. JimJimmyJim of DC says:

    Ives, good article (ie, I agree with most of what you said).

    I certainly don’t think this was the worst game played by the Klinsmann managed US. The Defenders were organized for the most part, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone that France eventually scored(and had numerous misses) considering they held about 80% of possession.

    The US needs to learn to transition from defense to attack before the 80min mark. They did a great job weathering the French attack in the beginning, but then were completely unable to switch gears and take advantage of the growing frustration by the French and take some possession. Look at what Costa Rica did to us. That’s how that style is supposed to work.

    But what I’m curious about is when is this “attacking” style going use attacking players. Using Edu, Beckerman in the middle isn’t going to create many( any?) chances. That’s not their skill set. They illustrate the most glaring deficit of the US player – small space ball control. Sure they have legs and can boot the ball up and down the pitch, but they don’t possess the ball, and without possession scoring is IMPOSSIBLE.

  83. hogatroge says:

    Davis is too old, plays on the left, and is injured to boot. The only Dynamo player with real USMNT potential right now is Geoff Cameron at CB.

    Holden needs to be central with Donovan on the right. The sum total of their strengths would be better utilized that way.

  84. hogatroge says:

    While France is a better team than Serbia and Mexico was playing at home, I generally agree with your point.

  85. JimJimmyJim of DC says:

    In other opinions –

    Williams had a Horrible game. Very unsure with the ball. Dispossessed at will.
    Shea also looked Bad. I expected so much more, especially after training with Arsenal for..what 2 weeks now? he did nothing impressive and was unable beat anyone.

  86. hogatroge says:

    I think it needs to be a balance. I do want to see the Slovenia game, though, because we theoretically should be favored against them (though morale and other intangible factors might be working against us at this point).

    After all, the first 30 minutes of the Costa Rica game were beautiful, and if we had been using our current backline, things might have been different.

  87. hogatroge says:

    I’m curious why you want to play Brad Davis out of position? He plays on the left for the Dynamo in a 4-4-2. Their recent success in central midfield comes from the Adam Moffat-Luis Camargo pairing.

  88. hogatroge says:

    I really wonder why he hasn’t seen more time with Philly. I’m sure there is a good reason, but he looked sharp as a substitute against the Dynamo in the playoffs. At least he made intelligent and accurate passes in the attacking 3rd.

  89. hogatroge says:

    I like this lineup, but I fear it is only wishful thinking for a long time. I would also be interested to see a Holden/Torres CAM/CDM pairing, but I don’t think Paco has the body mass to play CDM against international competition.

  90. hogatroge says:

    Both Shea and Williams defended well, but has little attacking spark. I guess Shea just had an off game, but Williams is being shoehorned into a role Fabian Johnson already plays.

  91. Since 82 says:

    I think Chandler should be on the right side and I don’t see Cherundolo starting there in WC 2014.

  92. Two Cents says:

    I much prefer Edu to Beckerman. Together they are awful. We in general suck with two defensive mids because they lack creativity and vision. It’s really important that we stay with one CDM and the rest are attacking players.

    I’d really like to see Williams play his actual position, namely CDM. Have Fabian Johnson on the right, and use Dempsey as our creative CM. This way, we can use a 4-4-2, because as good as Jozy is becoming, he isn’t good enough alone. So, I’d like to see something like this.


    Subs: Goodson, Morales, Edu, Bradley, Jones, Spector, Hamid (not sure if 6 is the number of players on bench allowed for an international friendly, so I used 7)

    Although, we could use this opportunity to throw in Morales at the back for Dolo and see how he performs. Until Lichaj recovers, Chandler stays on the left and Dolo, as solid as he is now, is getting old, so it would be nice to have a solid back up now rather than wait until an injury or he is done with international soccer.

    Also, I’d really like to see Spector subbed into midfield. From the Birmingham games I’ve seen where he’s played the middle, he did very well. Surprisingly good touch and vision.

  93. Two Cents says:

    Woops, added Spector as a sub. Was thinking of the last roster. My bad. That now makes 6 subs available so that’s perfect.

  94. Scott says:

    Using currently healthy players:

    —–Dempsey——Sascha K—–Donovan

  95. Ricky B. Free says:

    Its funny how you didnt point out that while Bradley was the coach te team played the exact same way it played for 10 to 15 years before him.

    There was no learning curve. France had a crazy dude as coach when they went down in flames in the World Cup. Yeah thanks for being objective and pointing all the facts.


  96. Geeps says:

    Correct Grubbsbi! I almost wanna cry when I read about Jozy having one of his best games. Even if those around him didn’t supply passes or movement — he does nothing to create his own chances. He doesn’t have the technical skills. He’s just a big body who has to be spoon fed. While I want to see USMNT do well, I hope they continue to suck. Everyone, including Klinsmann, needs to get over Jozy. Agree Donovan, Dempsey, Buddle, Gomez are far better combinations. Jozy alone up top is a sure no goal situation.

  97. Dennis says:

    Still nothing to smile about!

  98. Dennis says:

    Holden has done well for Bolton, and I think he is a ver good player, but it is hard to remember that he had any outstanding games for the nats. It might just a bit premature to think he will be the savior in the middle of the field. He might be, we still do not know.

  99. Fred says:

    What the $#$@ is Jozy going to up top alone? Hog air and space? Take maybe 1 shot on goal? I mean, really! This lineup will never make it to group of 16 in 2014. If Ronaldo, Messi and the likes are “A” type players. Donovan and Dempsey are “C”. They aren’t just behind Ronaldo. A few levels down. The rest of USMNT are “D” players. The comic relief of dissecting USMNT performances is too funny. USMNT isn’t good enough. Drink some coffee and wake from the slumber everyone!

  100. Joey says:

    Bingo…. I’ve never understood the love affair with Jozy. Hes our best forward cause hes the only one that gets chance after chance to play and yet rarely produces anything. If you look at his club track record…its usually the same thing. Plays for awhile then falls out of favor and then is looking for a new club.

    JK better get his head out soon. His player list isn’t working and no matter how many times he tries to push square blocks into round holes, it isnt going to fit. He needs a backup plan to Torres for starters. None of his current lot can do it…Look further…make a new list… call in Benny of Freddy or both. It’s too early to lock into a group especially when IT DOESNT WORK

  101. Kenny_B says:

    Did you even watch the game?

    What is your definition of technical skills? He delicately laid a ball off to Dempsey that started one of our only breaks. He nutmegged Kosceleny (I know that isn’t spelled right) and was fouled by him in the box. He held the ball up well when he did get it.

    I’m really confused by your remarks. Either you have a bias against Jozy or you don’t know what it means to be a “technical” player.

  102. Kenny_B says:

    JK said that Beckerman plays because Beckerman does what JK asks him to do 100% of the time.

    In my mind Michael Bradley is a much better player than Beckerman. But then maybe we have to consider that MB isn’t playing because of MB. Bradley has had a couple run ins with his coaches before.

  103. Kenny_B says:

    I’ve only seen Diskaruud play once. I was impressed. I realize he isn’t playing in the most challenging of leagues. I sure hope to see him for the Olympic tryouts. We need some players that are comfortable holding on to the ball and not merely making square or back passes out of the mid. I guess I’m holding out hope for something more than a defensive mid playing an offensive role.

  104. Kenny_B says:

    Portugal has had a miserable few Euros and World Cup qualifier runs. For all of Ronaldo’s talent, it hasn’t done Portugal much good. Ditto for Messi and Argentina. As far as I recall it’s an eleven man game.

    Why don’t you go somewhere else if you hate the US team so much?

  105. Joey says:

    Bull … we need to stop mining German players and start using our own

  106. Joey says:

    what is the big deal about Sacha? He’s proved time and time again he’s not good enough. Now all of a sudden we need him? NOT he turns the ball over like crazy.

    What we need is Benny. Hes way better than Sacha and is a good passer

  107. Joey says:

    jozy is NOT technical. He did seem to take the pass better with his back to goal than usual but thats about it. We need a lot more. JK needs to keep looking

  108. johnnycougar says:

    Am I the only one that would rather lose these friendlies 5-3 than 1-0? It’s not like the US has been prolific in scoring, well, ever, and I can only take so much of these moral victories. Score a damn goal. I don’t give a flying f*ck if we “held” France to 1 goal. Sure, great defensive performance, but that’s by playing 8 defensive players and making Shea play more defense than offense as well. It wasn’t quite parking the bus but it was pathetic offense. Bring in someone with a freaking spark of creativity.

  109. Joey says:

    I think that better NOT be the case with JK. Cant seeing him taking any crap from MB. His name would be filed with Bornstein’s if he did

  110. Joey says:

    Boy am I tired of this excuse. He earned additional calls at the Gold cup… the same Gold cup where he was the best player on the field for us.

    The fact that the same coach that kept him on the bench during his first stay in MLS is doing it again should not be used to judge his worth. Call him into camp and give him a chance…. We won’t qualify for the WC the way we’re playing now. We need to change

  111. Siberian says:

    +1 The team is missing Donovan big time.

  112. Phill says:

    Altidore had no help, and still almost earned a penalty kick, made a sweet back heel flick that led to a break and eventual yellow card, and looked pretty good overall. He did enough to earn his spot for Slovenia.

  113. Dan in Wien says:

    I’m pretty sure Jozy had a full season at Hull (minus the final month), and not a half season.

    Looking forward to watching our boys from the stands on Tuesday!

  114. Hayes says:

    Intertesting discussion. Klinsmann is receiving the same type of negative feedback he did in Germany leading up to the 2006 World Cup. By the end of the World Cup, the country was singing his praises.

    The fact is the US has little speed and/or agility in most of its attacking options at the this time. Landon being out because he needs more than a week to recover from a match did not help against France.

    We need some speed with technical ability playing out wide (Shea and Landon) and someone with some speed to help stretch the defense and play with Altidore up top. Remember we had a healthy Davies to do this before.

    Dempsey can play as the 2nd striker, out left or as an attacking mid depending on who you have to pair with him. Hopefully, some of the young guys that show promise can be ready after they get through the Olympic cycle but we need more options.

  115. says:

    Stuart Holden……

  116. buff111 says:

    Klinsmann is going to learn that the US can’t play with a single striker. Altidore keeps looking for a strike partner up top and there isn’t one.

  117. C(note) says:

    There at least two times in this match where jozy beat his defenders and one was in the box where he was fouled. Jozy needs help from a creative offensive minded midfield. He has grown tremendously.

  118. Bill B says:

    I agree with the SBI assessment….it appears that unless you play in the Bundesliga you are not an option….Bradley is a better central midfielder and how long does it take to develop anyone that can play a set of defensive pairings — we have all been talking about this for atleast 6 years

  119. Grow_A_Pair says:

    Geeps, I think you just described Didier Drogba.
    USMNT needs a big body up front because there is not reliable service from the mid to allow players to get creative and have time on the ball.
    There is a lot of young talent coming into the USMNT right now. These next couple years are going to be rough, but I have the faith that we’re going to shine in 2014.

  120. Grow_A_Pair says:

    You’re the man Tim. Many a day passed in the Bradley era when 1 or even two goals were shipped in the first 20 minutes.
    The defense looked good, and under consistent pressure.
    Start from the back, and develop the team forward.

  121. Grow_A_Pair says:

    I know a lot of people hate Kilnsy for putting Williams on the wing but he kept Ribery in his place….
    Almost like that was a game plan or something…..

  122. biff says:

    There you go again, GW, expertly yanking a discussion that had gone crazy back to reality. I think Klinsmann’s second biggest mistake against France (biggest was playing Williams on the right wing), was not starting Michael Bradley as the lone holding midfielder, leaving Beckerman on the bench. I don’t think it would have been a pleasant experience for MB–or his supporters–and the carnage would have put a stop to those touting MB as better than Beckerman (as a lone holding midfielder). I gotta laugh when people touting MB, who is not known for speed, complain about Beckerman being too slow. Beckerman has generally played the lone holding mid role expertly under Klinsmann. No way in hell does MB have the defensive skills to play that hot spot as well as Becklerman. Chievo tried him there against Inter Milan a few weeks ago and MB did not have a good game.

    I think without question Beckerman, Edu and Jones are better defenders than MB. Beckerman is a better passer, always looking to move the ball forward while MB tends to take the easy back pass. And Edu and Jones are much faster, as evidenced by Jones outstanding play when he sped into the penalty box late in the game to clear the ball.

    I agree that Edu is purely a defensive mid and does not have the skills to be a good offensive midfielder. I am in total agreement with the Klinsmann haters that Edu should not be put up in front of Beckerman as an offensive midfielder. I suppose, though, Klinsmann has a reason for doing it. (Can’t someone in the soccer sports press pose this question to Jurg? Maybe there is a logical explanation.) In any case, Edu is a classic Number Six defensive midfielder and he should either be playing the position now being played by Beckerman as a starter or a sub. Or he should be one of two DMs in a 4-2-3-1 formation if Klinsmann ever reverts back to that, say late in a game to hold a lead (Yeah, I know, if we ever get a lead).

    Playing as a lone DM, I would rate Beckerman first, followed by Jones and Edu, with MB in fourth place. I am not sure yet about Williams, but it appears Williams has the skills and the fire to potentiallly grow and be better than any of his older USMNT DMs. And I don’t think any of the older DMs (Beckerman, Edu, Jones or MB) are capable of doing a satisfactory job as an offensive midfielder.

  123. MS says:

    Beckerman’s biggest issue is his size and pace. Sometimes he just can’t keep up. He was well positioned and made a number of nice passes against France. Earlier on in the year he kept getting caught in possession. He seems to have learned from that, Edu on the other hand…

    The whole 2 DMid’s complaint is true. Somebody has to link with Dempsey and Altidore up front… When your mids are only Beckerman, Jones, Edu… I don’t know how you do that.

  124. hogatroge says:

    Don’t get me wrong… I agree with you. He gets at least as much time as Alfredo Morales, even though I think the latter was only included to try and sway him toward choosing the U.S. over Peru or Germany.

    I’m just saying, in Klinsmann’s eyes, Adu isn’t getting the PT to get noticed.

  125. sandtrout says:

    The Germerican experiment was fun and intriguing till Friday. Now I’m just pissed that Klinsmann won’t give playing time to actual Americans such as Bradley, Klejstan, Feilhaber and Bedoya. It’s f’ing ridiculous in my book. These are proven players. It would be one thing if he were playing just one German or two, but we’re talking about 4 players, only one of which (Chandler) has shown signs of being something we don’t already have.

  126. sandtrout says:

    Amen. We have American players who can do the job he’s bringing in Germans for. Only one, Chandler, has shown signs of being something special. The rest are redundant, so let them compete for the German team!

  127. sandtrout says:

    And Bradley sits on the bench why? And Klejstan, Feilhaber, Adu and Bedoya, talented players from the United States, are not called in, why?

  128. sandtrout says:

    Appreciate your points, Spencer, but I think we have the options to try. Klejstan, Torres, Feilhaber, Adu, etc. all have potential as better distributors than what we put on the field Friday. For a coach who claims to want to attack, Klinsmann is making inexplicable choices.

  129. Sam says:

    Without Beckerman, this game is 2-0, 3-0….There has to be more offense from the midfield though. Donovan was sorely missed.

  130. Buffalo says:

    The Euro-softies are not impact players….We need to continue to look at and develop our domestic league.

  131. Mark says:

    I would much rather see Brad Davis than any one of those guys.

  132. Pete says:

    Bradley blows

  133. Randy says:

    Goodson is a stick figure….Where is Omar?

  134. 2 Way says:

    Preparing for the most important game in his life….Ching and Costly are no joke

  135. Jax says:

    we tried pass-back bradley, he isn’t that good

  136. Amp says:

    Brian Ching still > Out the door

  137. GW says:

    How can you miss someone who was never there?

    Other than his B team 2009 Gold Cup games, name me a game where Holden has put in an outstanding 90 minues?

    His best games were for Bolton not the US.

  138. endangeredMD says:

    Again, Why don’t we accept that we do not have a current player in the US system that is dangerous attacking threat as a forward. I think we need to eliminate the terms ‘forward’, striker’ etc from our American team. Furthermore, we do not have a defensive player who can transition into the attack. We need to keep a back 3 or 2, and play with a mix of midfielders. In other words an attack of two offensive midfielders, 3 true midfielders, 2 defensive midfielders, and 3 defensive players who will not go forward. A 0-2-3-2-3 or 0-3-2-3-2 if you will. Accept(embrace) reality and call it the new American System.

  139. tony says:

    I feel that the coach sees potential in some players that didn’t get the opportunity before. I’ll reserve my judgement until WCQ begins. If Jurgen had the job after the end of the world cup, then maybe at this point, we would see a better product on the field or get a better understanding that it may not work out. It’s going to take quite a while for USA to get used to this style of play physically as well as mentally.

  140. Chris says:

    Do comments get deleted for no reason? I had made a point earlier today about not using 2 defensive mids at once (if any) and now it’s gone. Just trying to figure out how this site works. I give a fake email, is that why?

  141. GJJ says:

    An England fan from the Telegraph website commenting on the England performance against Spain:

    “What is lacking in the English team are not so much special creative players, but players with enough basic skills to ping 4-5 quick passes together to break through Spain’s pressing game and move play in a quick and controlled way into the opposition half.

    Until we can do that we will just see the likes of Rooney isolated and frustrated and probably getting sent off for clattering into a Spanish player in a desperate attempt to get a touch of the ball.”

    Change a few names and it pretty much could be us. Went for a run today and was thinking about Michael Bradley and Adu in the middle as an experiment. What’s the worst that could happen? We lose another friendly. I really didn’t think much of Adu until his performance against Mexico….but after.. Maybe that was a fluke. Well, let’s give him a run out and see. I understand that he doesn’t start in MLS,etc, but lets just see to put it to rest. As for Michael Bradley, come back Michael all is forgiven.

    For the last ten years I have watched the US and said “if only we could get it out of back”. Well…now we can get it out of the back and I’m constantly watching the games and saying “if only we could get it up front”.

    I am yearning for a 4-4-2. Lets experiment with one more guy in the box and see if you we can find someone who can consistently get the ball in. If we try it for 3-4 game before WC qualifying and it fails what have we lost?

  142. GBF says:

    I agree. Altidore captures the ball enough, but then what? I only remember one creative pass from him the whole game. At this level, just holding the ball isn’t enough.

  143. my inner 12 year old says:

    Your mom blows

  144. Goalscorer24 says:

    Overall I like KLinsmann’s attitude on pressing the other team regardles of who they are, but he is just picking the wrong players. (ie.. Beckerman, and Edu)He has to be willing to try different players!

  145. Goalscorer24 says:


  146. Dennis says:

    Frankly, biff, I think you are simply wrong about MB. If you recall in the game against Argentina, he was pretty much given the job of stopping Messi. Messi did not have a good game, largely because MB steered him into traffic, or mad it difficult for teammates to find Messi. Messi did get loose in a scramble and was a contributer to Argentina’s goal, but, hey he is Messi!

    I do not think Beckerman can cut it against better teams and I did not think he played particularly well against France who owned the midfield . OTOH, he did not do as poorly as I thought he would. He actually made one good forward pass, but most of his passes put teammates in worse situations than he was in before he passed. Not the sort of thing you want for a team that is supposed to be striving for more possession.

  147. Dennis says:

    Holden is good. He is outstanding for Bolton. He has yet to perform on the international stage at the same level of excellence. He may. It is overstating things to say he is the savior of the US in the midfield. He is an excellent prospect, but we have not really seen what he can do against the best international competition.

    I do agree Edu and Torres are probably not the answer either and Holden is certainly a very strong prospect, but it is not a done deal yet.

  148. Dennis says:

    The problem is that the US pool of potential players is very thin. There are a few MLS players who might (and I emphasize might) cut it. Brad Davis, Omar Gonzales, John, and even the much maligned Wondolowski come to mind as players who might fit into what Klinsmann has in mind. (I am not so sure about Gonzales since he is more of a pure defender rather than a player who can start play from the back, Ream can, but he needs to be a better defender). I’ve not seen John enough to have a well-formed opinion.

    Anyone who thought that Bob Bradley was not scouring the world looking for potential USMNT players is mistaken, he called in over 100 players in a year. Klinsmann will have to pick up the pace if he is going to match that! OTOH, so many players meant that many were never really expected to stick, more that they were invited in to see what it was all about and to see if there was potential for the future, rather than serious contenders for starting spots, even in friendlies.

  149. Dennis says:

    Not quite accurate. Dolo and Chandler can both transition into the attack quite well. Against France, neither had a great game in the attacking aspect, but France is very good and they had their hands full simply doing their primary job, defending. Of course, Chandler still needs to improve his left-footed crosses, but that will come, it is not as if he is absolutely one-footed.

    In the back, I am more worried that Chandler is the only young back who has demonstrated the ability to defend at the international level. The rest are either getting a bit on the old side for 2014 or have not shown the kind of defensive concentration needed to succeeed.

  150. Dennis says:

    Klinsmann had the luxury of a much deeper player pool in Germany than he has in the US. I am not so sure he has come to grips with that yet. Wishing that some of the U-23s or U-20s will suddenly burst onto the scene and make us forget the likes of Altidore, Edu, Beckerman, Jones, Bradley, etc. is nice, but does not make it so. The U-20s failed to qualify for their WC. The U17s were drubbed out earlier than other recent US teams, Both teams were “highly rated” but ultimately not so successful. The U-23s should compete in the Olympics next summer, but recognize they could only tie Azerbaijan and managed a 3-1 win against a mix of first teamers and youth players from the Bundeliga II team Bochum, not so inspiring. Of course, there might be some bright stars in those teams that under-performed, but it is sobering.

  151. detroitFIRE says:

    Maurice Edu must go. Beckerman can stay, he’s defensive enough to handle his own. Put in Jones or Bradley or Klejstian for edu.

  152. DC Josh says:

    The missing strike partner for Jozy?

    None other than Landon Donovan. He is the only player that can stretch the defense and work well with Jozy. No one else on the team can play up top and has Donovan’s pace. Dempsey is too slow to play up top, evidenced by his “break away” where 2 or 3 French defenders caught up to him within 20 yards.

  153. Mike says:

    Easy,Tony Saprano

  154. Pat says:

    I saw him play once….he stunk

  155. Miller T says:

    No you his attacking movements from the midfield….especially when there were none vs. FRA.