USA 0, Canada 0: A Look Back

USAvsCanada (

There were no goals, and few quality scoring chances, only question marks and some concern for the U.S. national team as it heads toward World Cup qualifying following Sunday's 0-0 draw against Canada.

Credit to the Canadians, they stayed organized and compact and never let the Americans get comfortable in the final third. The result was a game where the USA enjoyed an edge in possession, but mustered fewer truly dangerous chances than Canada did.

Here is my Fox Soccer column on Sunday's game, which talks about, among other things, Jurgen Klinsmann's decision to build such a busy schedule and then run most his starters through it in order to try and replicate the conditions of a tournament.

Does the draw mean the USA is in trouble heading into qualifying? Not really. But the result does raise some fresh questions about the state of the team as we sit a year away from the Hex, and two years away from the 2014 World Cup. The U.S. team is very much a work in progress, and the recently friendlies have only served to magnify that fact.

Here are some other quick thoughts looking back at Sunday's match:

Here are my Fox Soccer post-match grades for the USA in the Canada match. Having had a better chance to digest the results of the match, and watch some of the action over again I'd say I probably graded Edgar Castillo a bit too high and Michael Bradley a bit too low. I still think Castillo was better than many are giving him credit for being. Way too many are pointing to the turnover he committed on Canada's disallowed goal. The fact is Canada was whistled for a foul against Castillo before the goal play began, and the linesman raised his flag. American players can be seen halting play as that sequence went on, so to still discuss the disallowed goal as some sort of robbery against Canada just doesn't fly. You can argue whether the foul on Castillo was a legit call, but you can't argue that the flag was raised and players were aware of this fact and briefly stopped playing as Canada's players kept going. We will never know if Canada still scores a goal if the flag is never raised, and for that reason it doesn't make much sense to keep harping on about the disallowed goal.

Is Edgar Castillo as good as Fabian Johnson? Certainly not. Is he better than Eric Lichaj? I still don't think so even though Klinsmann seems to disagree. These things being said, I still think Castillo showed signs of why Klinsmann liked him, and I think he fared better than he's being given credit for. He did better than most (including myself) expected him to do as a late fill-in for Fabian Johnson.

Clarence Goodson was very good, but we need to consider a few things. First, Canada played a variation of a 4-3-3, with Dwayne DeRosario and Tousaint Ricketts deployed wide. This left Olivier Occean to battle with the USA centerbacks, a challenge Carlos Bocanega spent more time on. This left Goodson with the freedom to help defend, break up plays and distribute. He did all these things very well, but again, we must consider the role and the degree of difficult of that role before anyone starts calling Goodson a defensive juggernaut. What Goodson did show is poise and confidence, which at the moment is enough to keep him in the starting lineup.

As I stated in my Fox Soccer column, I think the team was tired, and I think Landon Donovan was clearly tired. Blame for that falls on Klinsmann for playing three friendlies in nine days AND playing many of his starters in all three matches. Nothing wrong with scheduling friendlies, but to have his starters play so many minutes in all of them definitely opens Klinsmann up for some criticism. The five days off before the Antigua & Barbuda match should help the USA recover and look better on Friday.

Lastly, I'm not sure why people are writing off the 4-4-2. Dempsey spent too much time dropping deep for Sunday's formation to really be called a 4-4-2. Look for Jozy Altidore and Herculez Gomez to start alongside each other in a 4-4-2 on Friday.


What did you think of the match? Who impressed you the most? Who concerns you the most with the way they looked on Sunday?

Share your thoughts below.

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116 Responses to USA 0, Canada 0: A Look Back

  1. THomas says:

    We all thought it was a good idea at the time, having three friendlies in the build up to WC Qualifying. So it seems a bit unfair to criticize it now if you weren’t critizing it before.

    (SBI-It’s not the scheduling of the games alone, but the decision to play most of his starters for ALL three games. Not sure anybody though that was going to happen.)

  2. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Except we’re not national team coaches with extensive playing experience. I’d like to think Klinsmann would have a better grasp on this than I do.

  3. RLW2020 says:

    lame game, everyone was tired before it started. I almost wish canada won.

  4. David St. Hubbins says:

    Not impressed with Castillo. He didn’t do bad but he didn’t do good either. Won the ball back a lot but also committed lots of silly turnovers and bad decisions with the ball. Would have preferred to see Lichaj.

  5. Spectra says:

    Game reminded me a lot of the Algeria game. But there they had some motivation to push through their tired bodies

  6. HectorT says:

    I have to admit the US team looked pretty bad, I mean Canada’s a team that tied St Kitts & Nevis in round 2 of the CONCACAF qualifiers! Good thing we play in CONCACAF, the US should steamroll their group.

  7. Freddie F. says:

    Jones needs to sit as he is a yellow (or red) card waiting to happen. I think the US should play a 4-1-4-1 with Edu as the defensive mid, Bradley on the right, Donovan on the left and Dempsey behind Gomez up top in a withdrawn role.

  8. Mat says:

    Hard to make to much of this game. A clear fitness deficit between the US and Canada, very obvious after the 65 minute when the Americans were one step behind.

    Only thing I’ll retain from this game is that Goodson-Boca should be the central pairing. It’s solid enough and when they’re out there we seem to allow less goals. Gooch will be back at some point and others such as Cameron or Ream may be knocking at the door, but it’s Boca & Goodson’s job to lose.

    Castillo was actually OK, his speed makes up for his over zealousness at times. He can be a decent backup to Johnson for now, though Lichaj will likely get in the picture as well, though something tells me that with Chandler’s non commitment, Lichaj should be groomed at RB since I doubt Dolo will still be in the USMNT picture after 2014.

    At least we didn’t lose, eh? (ok bad Canadian jape)

  9. Mat says:

    Jones is good. He’s an assist machine and a real offensive threat when he gets a bit more freedom. There’s a reason why he plays in a Champions league caliber team.
    I think I liked the 4-3-3 setup with Jones and Bradley having more offensive involvement and Edu cleaning up and breaking up plays – which he does a good job at despite what people on these boards seem to think.

  10. Yellow Submarine says:

    Jones was arguably the best player on the pitch against Scotland (even with Donovan having a hat trick).

    Our soccer mom culture needs to get over his aggressiveness. I understand he is a yellow card waiting to happen but his tenacity in the middle is a welcomed change from the vanilla Edu/Bradley pairing.

    Edu literally disappears for 60 minute stretches. More often than not, the only time he grabs your attention is his countless turnovers via dribbling or passing.

  11. Mat says:

    On another note, Canada seems to have a couple of promising players. The number 10 that came was fast and technical. De Rosorio I believe is playing some of his best soccer. Their GK is solid. Perhaps this is the cycle they finally make it back to the WC. They still have so holes in their roster but they have an interesting mix of youth and experience. We’ll see.

  12. Mat says:

    Edu is great when his role is to be in front of the defense as a play breaker type of player. His ability to disrupt passing lanes and take pressure off others is highly underrated. That’s also what makes him successful in the EPL. He’s the reason Bradley and Jones had so much freedom vs Scotland. He’s basically a stronger better version of Beckermann and those types of players are quite useful.

  13. Mat says:

    I meant SPL not EPL. Wish there was an edit post option on this board…

  14. Mat says:

    Dolo, Goodson, Boca, Johnson
    Bradley, Edu, Jones
    Dempsey, Altidore, Landon

  15. bryan says:

    wrong. the two above me covered it well.

  16. Vic says:

    Could Klinnsmann be overplaying players? Klinnsmann has complained that the MLS season is too short. That players need only 2 or 3 weeks off. Sir Alex Ferguson give players a minimum of 4 weeks off. After a long European season, Klinnsmann is putting players through two a day practices and playing his starters in 3 consecutive friendlies. Seems like a recipe for burnout.

  17. matt says:

    US was training two times a day inbetween every friendly.

    Why? So that our team is prepared for the grueling nature of a world cup and is one step ahead of the competition.

    good for jurgen. keep it up!

  18. chris says:


    This would be my ideal lineup to start on Friday. The US needs to come out going for throat and put some in the back of the net early.

  19. Yellow Submarine says:

    Even after this incredibly uninspiring performance, I still think it was a good thing.

    The time for experimenting has passed. Jurgen needs to know what he’s working with (to say nothing of this being his first pairing of Donovan/Dempsey as coach) and I support him borderline running his players into the ground.

    Nine days between matches is a lifetime for our athletes to recover and regain their fitness.

    Formations be damned, I think our most effective Starting XI should be:


  20. Brain Guy says:

    I don’t read too much into this game or the result. Every game raises questions as well an answering some. Sometimes the answers are about what certain players and formations don’t do well just as much as they are about what they do well. The MNT will always be a work in progress. (What team isn’t?) They have more than a week before the one tough game of the two upcoming qualifiers. JK can rest the tired legs against Antigua & Barbuda.

  21. hogatroge says:

    +1 with the Jones commentary

    I think you’re a bit harsh on Edu. He plays well when he’s tasked to sit in front of the CBs, but Klinsmann keeps trying to play him higher up. In the SPL he has the occasional chance to fire a rocket at the goal, but the international pace is faster.

    Mo needs to be played in the one position he is fit for internationally.

  22. Yellow Submarine says:

    As a destroyer-type role, I would side with you that he *can* be effective.

    Allowing the freedom for Bradley/Jones to pick their spots and attack against Scotland was extremely refreshing to see (hence why I prefer the three midfield pairing as I posted my Starting XI above).

    However, when he’s one of two midfielders and is needed to provide distribution and defense? His play is severely lacking.

  23. Joe+G says:

    Mexico did the same thing (beating Wales, Bosnia-Herzegovina & Brazil).

  24. Yellow Submarine says:

    I agree with your opinion and Mat’s in hindsight.

    I’ve tried to clarify that a bit in my response.

  25. Mat says:

    Fair point. He does struggle if he’s called to be more an offensive threat in a 4-4-2 scheme.

  26. bryan says:

    like i said in the other thread, i would trot out:

    Dolo, Goodson, Boca, Johnson
    Bradley, Edu, Jones
    LD, Jozy, Dempsey

    Subs: Torres, Guzan, Boyd, Corona, Gooch, Castillo, Gomez

    however, if they want to do a 4-4-2 again:

    Dolo, Goodson, Boca, Johnson
    LD, Bradley, Jones, Dempsey
    Jozy, Gomez

  27. Canary says:

    Number 10 is Simeon Jackson who plays for Norwich City in the EPL. Yeah, he looked great when he came on last night. If Canada had him and Junior Hoilett paired up front this team would have a real chance to make it.

  28. Spencer says:

    lets remember it was a harsh card on Jones, considering the guy tripped over the back of Jones leg.

  29. Steve says:

    I came away very disappointed after the Canada match. That said, seeing the reponses above, there seems to be a general consensus around the best lineup: Howard, Dolo, Goodson, Boca, Johnson, Edu, Jones, Bradley, Donovan, Dempsey, Altidore.

    If the goal was clarity of 1st team. I think maybe we should give him more credit. Assuming that he actually trots out this lineup.

  30. matt says:

    So germany lost 5-3 in a friendly a little bit ago. I guess they will get killed in the euros…lets watch and find out.

  31. Sarasota says:

    I like Jurgen Klinsmann a lot as our coach, but I feel very strongly about the following:

    1. We play our best with two paired forwards, e.g. Jozy/Boyd and Gomez/ Agudelo

    2. Torres and Edu need to be replaced. Torres adds nothing offensively, and Edu is a turnover machine. Daniel Williams is better than Edu.

    3. Eric Lichaj needs to be on this team. Parkhurst gets smoked at this level.

  32. Jeff says:

    This looks pretty good to me.

  33. JW says:

    If he wanted to simulate a group phase, he did a good job. If you need an example, look back to our 3-0 win over Egypt a few years ago. Egypt looked gassed and we ran over them. These things happen in tournaments, the team needs to be able to respond. Hopefully Klinsmann has learned a lesson about not rotating a squad in a tournament, too.

  34. crocajun1003 says:

    I’d like to see what Torres looks like in Edu’s roll, but I completely understand this formation and player selection.

    I think this is our A squad as of right now.

  35. Vic says:

    I agree with all 3 points!

  36. Mike says:

    After hearing player comments and rewatching the game it’s clear to me that fitness was the issue.

    They were gassed before the match started. And it appears that the fatigue is exactly what Klinsmann was looking for.

    I remember him commenting that he didn’t think the US team had the fitness to compete with the higher echelon teams and that one of his focuses would be increasing the fitness regiment. He made these guys play 3 games in 8 days with two-a-day fitness practices on the off-days.

    Given all of that and Donovan/Dempsey’s first game starting together, it really puts the match in perspective. These guys were drained before the match even started and even then they held Canada scoreless and created some good chances.

    I think it’s a major positive to take from this.

  37. crocajun1003 says:

    Curious to know why you rate Boyd ahead of Gomez and Altidore?

  38. 2tone says:

    Hmm, I think people need to start realising that Donovan is not the same player. He has mentally and physically checked out. The old Donovan fought through being tired. He has plainly stated that he doesn’t have that competitive drive anymore, and it has shown. I think people are making excuses for him because they are in denial of the player he is now. He was in dreadful form for L.A. before being selected. While I think he still has a few more good performances in him, I don’t think he is the offensive catalyst anymore. People are shutting down his space,they are not afraid of him blowing by them anymore, and he doesn’t look to attack the opposing defense like we have seen in the past.

    On Torres- Not impressed by him, and I never was. Not a fan of Kljestan, but I rate him higher than Torres. Still haven’t seen these “killer” passes from him, and he is not an attacking threat to any team. Not impressed. This guy has been given ample enough time to prove himself. First with Bradley before and into 2010 WC, and now with Klinsmann. Just don’t see it. He seems like an average player to me.

    Don’t know what to say except I am not impressed with this team. Still don’t like the exclusion of Erik Lichaj. And Klinsmann’s explanation doesn’t cut it.

  39. pancholama says:

    I agree.
    Part of the brick-footed sloppy soccer we saw on Sunday I chalk up to sore thighs.
    Reflexes and deft first touches cancelled by sore bodies having endured some brutal aerobic conditioning – sore, tight muscles.
    Been there. It happens.
    But when we play Guatemala, in Guatemala –
    it won’t be the USA running out of gas in the final 30 minutes of ‘el partido calificatorio.’

  40. chris says:








    Wouldnt mind this lineup either

  41. gonzo the great says:

    Off the subject, but anyone know what it takes to get a bar in your town to become an official ussoccer bar? we really need one, the one i go to never puts it on the main tv or plays sound.

  42. chris says:

    I think he is better as a lone forward than the other two and with our lack of width in the previous games his hold up play would work better in this formation. I wouldnt mind him coming in as a sub against a tired defense though

  43. Mat says:

    Maybe if you tell the owner every time there’s a USMNT you’ll be at the bar with 25 people if they show it he might be convinced. Unless they’re anti-soccer, the promise of coin tends to open up things…

  44. marco says:

    It was a lifeless game from players who are losing interest. looking ahead, if USA qualifies for WC, I see only 3-4 starters from WC 2010 team making starting 11. I don’t know if this is a high number to replace in just 4 years, but the average age is probably dropping everywhere as the number of total games players now play increases. USSF and Rongen did not develop many top US players after the Donovan, Gooch, Beasley era, so Klinsmann will need to look everywhere to find WC competitive players. Do hope they qualify, but Guatemala game looms very large.

  45. Vic says:

    Did you see the Scotland game? Or his time at Everton this year?

  46. Baropbop says:

    I completely agree with almost everything you have said. although it has been a really long time since Donovan has played in a game that means something.Hopefully he will step for world cup qualifying and world cup final competition like he always has.
    I think the real key is that everyone needs to come to terms with the fact that the usmnt frankly does not have enough skill to play in the formations they have been trying for far too long. There have been games where there were 4,5, and debateably 6 midfielders on the field at once. Why do we need that many midfielders when we don’t play possesion and the ball generally spends almost zero time in the midfield? it’s time for 4-3-3 or 4-1-2-3.
    I know it’s ugly, and the opposite of JK, but I wouldn’t even mind seek a Greece-esque bunker and counter approach…especially against the likes of Brazil etc

  47. marco says:

    Agree, Many excuses, like number of games, starters used, fall apart when you see the Mexico efforts.

  48. THomas says:

    Good point, especially because I think Bradley, Jones, Torres would be better suited and rotating positions as the game went along than any other combination. That being said…I’d like to see them start in the 4-3-2-1 being it can change into anything we want it to once the whistle blows:









  49. marco says:

    Bradley in front of the back four has hurt the attack in the last two games. The benefits do not out weigh the deficits.

  50. Mat says:

    We also have to consider the bigger picture of JK’s run so far:
    – we’ve never gotten blow out save vs Brazil. For the most part our defense looks tighter than in the past
    – we’ve played many games away in tough venues (France, Belgium for example)
    – we beat 3 European teams in a row (Slovenia, Italy, Scotland), including 2 of those victories away from home. I don’t think this has ever happened before (beating Euro sides 3 in a row), but I might be mistaken.

    So overall, I think he deserves a pretty good grade so far.

    This said, the real test begins with WCQ. Let’s see if how the team reacts when the chips are down.

  51. THomas says:

    I’m not great at soccer tactics, having never played the game competitively, so correct me if I’m wrong.

    But with the lineup above I can see us move into a 4-3-3 if Donovan and Dempsey move up, a 4-4-2 if Dempsey or Donovan move out to their wing while the other pushes to forward, a 4-2-3-1 if Torres or Bradley drops back to help Jones in d-mid then the other pushes up with Dempsey/Donovan. Even a 3-5-2 if Johnson pushes up and Boca moves over to left back and Dempsey/Donovan move forward.

    This seems to give Klinnsman the free flowing style he’s seeking and we all want to see, and did see again Scotland. Plus with this personell on the field, you have players who can play almost anywhere the game may call for.

  52. biff says:

    count me in on the Jermaine Jones bandwagon and his outstanding play versus Scotland. Yes, Michael Bradley’s strike was nice, but the set-up from Jones was perfect–world-class. I think Klinsmann’s now infamous nasty comment after Brazil was not directed toward Jones, but was telling others that they need to play more like Jones in order for the team to be successful.

    I saw a German news article last week saying that Jones had been called into Germany’s Euro 2008 camp, but was cut at the last minute when Low reduced the roster to 23, thus leaving Jones not cap-tied to Germany and open for the USMNT. To be called into a Euro Cup camp by Jogi Low means the Jones was an extraordinary talent, even if he did not make the cut.

    Interestingly, the article tells how after a German player was emotionally shattered after being removed by Franz Beckenbauer before World Cup 1986 to get the team down to the required 22 players, Germany coaches afterwards (including Klinsmann) only called to camp the exact number of players needed for a tournament in order to avoid hurting feelings. But Jogi Low went back to the old system of calling in a few extras to camp and then cutting. Would be interesting to know why Klinsmann has reverted back with the USMNT to calling in a surplus to camp.

    Here’s a link to the story:

    link to

  53. strider says:

    Perhpas, but do you know how they worked their players in between. If we ran 2-a-days each day, that wears you down pretty good and you don’t rebound for the next match the way you would with lighter workouts. ALSO, if the point was to simulate a 3-game group you would NOT run the players so hard in the practices in between matches. So, the comparison is likely not as clear as you make out.

  54. Eric120 says:

    I came here to post this. Mexico played (and won) three games in eight days. Aren’t the Americans supposed to be more fit?

  55. biff says:

    I saw Canadian forward Olivier Occean of Greuther Fürth play a few times last season (against St. Pauli) in 2. Bundesliga and then against Dortmund in a Pokal game. I thought he looked good. He will be playing next season on the big stage in the 1. Bundesliga, as Greuther Fürth placed 1st and is moving up.

  56. biff says:

    I saw a stat in a news article a few days ago that of the 9 games the USMNT have played in the current Guatemalan stadium, USMNT have won only 2 (if i remember correctly). And Guatemala a few days ago beat Costa Rica. This is going to be a rugged test for the guys, much more difficult than Canada.

  57. strider says:

    I agree with the possible exception of Edu. I don’t think we have seen enough of him in the right position, right in front of the defense, to say he isn’t cutting it. Torres just hasn’t played well these 3 games. He slows down the offense and then does nothing helpful. Castillo isn’t bad, but he has to learn when to make a pass instead of trying to drible through everyone. Of course, he is obviously behind Fabian for LB. I strongly agree Lichaj should have been in this group. I really wonder why Klinsi left him out. Parkhust is obviously not as strong.

  58. The Imperative Voice says:

    Jones is the best DM of the bunch, has not received a red for the US, and historically has roughly Boca’s rate of yelow card accumulation. I’d rather play the superior player and maybe have to sit him for card accumulation one game every so often than give into some moralistic notion that we can’t have players with a nasty edge. This is the very sort of “soccer is a physical game” concern Klinsi was raising when he said we need to be nasty. You’re unlikely to beat a high quality knock it around side sitting back playing cute positional defense a la Parkhurst.

    If he was Mastro out there accumulating reds, I’d understand, but surely we all understand the difference between red and yellow in terms of game/team impact. Bears reminding that Jones’ long suspension came from video review of a play, not a field call.

    And I’m just amazed after seeing us struggle to break down Canada on their own end that we’re arguing about how many and which DMs to load down our team with. How about some wings and setup players? Torres out wide, no Shea, no Agudelo, Dempsey starting forward. Like driving with the parking brake on, sheesh.

  59. The Imperative Voice says:

    There’s a difference between dead legs and lack of fitness. Canada was fresher, not fitter.

    Personally I’d have ditched the Brazil game because games like that and Argentina or Spain in recent years have been useless farces. We get throttled, we don’t really learn much about ourselves, and in this particular context we’re just more tired for a more apt opponent like Canada.

  60. 2tone says:

    Yes I saw a Donovan playing against an uninspired Scotland team. Yes I sawq Donovan at Everton. he wasn’t great.

  61. TheFrenchOne says:

    you make good points, mat. klinsman is trying to implement a new system against some pretty tough competition. i think we are a better team today than we were a year ago. i expect the next 2 games to bear this out. if we don’t blow out antigua and at least tie guatemala, then i’ll start to doubt

  62. The Imperative Voice says:

    IMO Landon is your classic example of this. When’s the last time he had a break? He’s Klinsi’s “keep busy” posterboy and also does not seem himself. Though you don’t want to get lazy in the offseason few accused Landon or many of these guys of that sort of problem anyway. Rest can be beneficial….

  63. biff says:

    Agree basically with everything you say. But I do feel a bit uneasy right now. Although the USMNT played with gusto against Brazil in a losing effort, the defense, which had been a strong point under Klinsmann (even against good teams like France), fell apart. We could justify that by saying Brazil is a great team. But Mexico held Brazil scoreless. It was good to see the US defense bounce back and hold Canada scoreless, but not heartening to see the USMNT unable to score a single goal.

    I am withholding final judgment until after the next two games. If we can bounce back and put two in the win column (or at least a tie against Guatemala), then I think we can call the camp a success. But if we struggle against Antigua & Barbuda and then lose against Guatemala, then I am going to start worrying and hope that Klinsmann makes some changes, takes some decisive actions.

  64. 2tone says:

    Have you seen Donovan’s form in MLS not very good. Did Donovan state he doesn’t have the competitive drive anymore. Yes. I am not in denial about Donovan. He was uninspring in last years Gold Cup, and he hasn’t looked good under Klinsmann. People need to realise that this is not the same Landon Donovan that was apart of the 2010 WC team. I know it hurts because Donovan may be your favorite player, but you can’t deny that the guy is very lackluster.

  65. The Imperative Voice says:

    Meh. I think Klinsi wanted to see what his team is made of over the course of several games and many practics, the question is whether he’s hurt Johnson and worn out Donovan etc. in the process.

    I think the “tournament” concept is oversold because they would train hard pre-tournament and be trimming back and pushing for peak performance during the tournament.

    I also think terming it a “tournament” pushes the commitment issue to the fore where players might otherwise have pressed for Altidore treatment. I still question how much we worked with Chandler on the demands. Make any more sense for him to say, woah hoss, I’ve been playing B.1 all year, in this context now? Or as another jock put it, “Practice?”

  66. prizby says:

    Hoilett was in the crowd last night…only hoping that watching the game made him feel like throwing his boots on soon!

  67. 2tone says:

    Changes need to happen regardless.

  68. The Imperative Voice says:

    Everyone appears to have forgotten that the truly effective US lineups of recent years featured Dempsey and Donovan on the wings with Dempsey pushed higher later. Dempsey has never struck me as an ideal 90 minute forward, and in the absence of Shea, Agudelo, etc. it’s a thin wing pool. Occean seemed able to fly down our wings in a way we were unable to reciprocate. I don’t think a lot of flashy pass and move replaces the basic need to get dangerous balls into the area.

  69. Mat says:

    re: the defense vs Brazil

    One wonders if in form Goodson would have been there in place of non sharp Gooch what would have happened. Our strong defense seems to come with Goodson-Boca paired.

    Lastly, if people think we will steamroll through WCQ, we won’t. In fact, WCQ is always sort of nail biting. It’s NEVER easy anywhere. Make no mistake, there will be stressful moments in qualifying, but hopefully at the end of the day we’ll make it through. The only time I remember the US crusing in WCQ was before 2006 I think and we all know how that ended up.

    Let the craziness of CONCACAF qualifying, with its hostile venues in central America, its flying bags of urine and harassing of players at their hotels during the night, begin!

  70. The Imperative Voice says:

    Nowak, ahem.

    I’m also going to note that the new style of play already demands a lot of pass and run, complaining that it wears the players out sounds a tad confused to me.

    I mean, you look at like the Algeria game for instance and that’s not screaming, we lack fitness and can’t take games late. If anything the difference is US teams had started slowly under Bradley and are now coming out energetically, only to then often run out of gas.

  71. Ozzy says:



    Those 3 European games meant NOTHING. Italy didn’t want to be there and most of the Scots were still hungover. When we play a motivated team in a real game they will chew up our defense like a pit bull eating a steak bone.

    Can I borrow your rose colored glasses? This team has a long way to go.

  72. Ozzy says:

    *Goodson is not an international CB but he is the best that we have. Keep in mind Carlos and Steve C will be 35 in 2014

    *We need to play Bradley higher up the field instead of getting the ball out of the back like a center back. He is by far our best player and the only one who can play a ball behind defenders. We had no balls behind the defense against Canada

    *Jones will lose it in a big game but he must be out there to allow Bradley to create more. MB is certainly not a creator but he is the best passer we have.

    *Donovan will play well in the easy games. I am sorry he missed the Canada game.

    *Demsey cannot drop into midfield the entire game. He needs to stay higher and score goals.

    *JK ablility to make adjustments is shockinly bad. Can Kyle Martino be on the bench?

  73. Mat says:

    So aside from official tournament games, which games mean anything?

  74. Bellus Ludas says:

    Personally…I think Klinsmann was trying to get a feel for depth on this squad and found he has less choices than originally thought. Here is what I hope for:


  75. Kevin_Amold says:

    Donovan was pretty good at Everton. I agree that Scotland wasn’t some formidable foe.

  76. Mat says:

    Why do you downplay our positive results like Italy, Slovenia and Scotland, but magnify any bad thing you see in games where we disappoint?
    You can’t have it both ways. Either you consider friendly games on the same level (and value those we win as those we lose in the same manner) or you dismiss them all together. Though you accuse me of rose colored glasses, your pessimism matches my alleged crime.

  77. Cactuspoppedmyfootball says:


    Subs: Donovan, Altitdore, Onyewu

    Defense on set pieces has been bad, I’d like to see somebody else organizing this as something is off. Edu has a terrible first touch, I’d like to see Cameron in that spot to see how he does. Everyone forgets he started the Scotland game and helped build up from the back center.
    The midfield is to crowded with 4 center mids. Bradley,Donovan,Torres,Dempsey equals four players that do mostly the same thing. In the Canada Game it showed clearly that the attack is predictable, the midfeild was to crowded. Give Bradley and Dempsey room to create. Let Donovan and Torres come off the bench. This game is 90 minutes How about we manage it a little better !

  78. Mat says:

    Unless Howard in injured, he’ll start

  79. Coach says:

    Yes because a 5 foot nothing guy who can’t win a ball is a wonderful idea as a holding mid. I like Torres but if his role is to win balls, break up plays, and then distribute…I don’t think that fits him.

  80. felipe says:

    maybe I missed it in an earlier post, but did anyone notice that Klinnsy’s “nasty” comment came about a week AFTER Coach Popovich said the same thing to his SA Spurs players during a timeout? ESPN and PTI made a big deal about the Nasty comment – does Klinnsy watch PTI?

  81. George3000 says:

    Disagree completely. Playing against the best – whether we are talking about the club level or the international level – leads to improvement. That doesn’t mean you’ll automatically rise to the level of a Brazil/Spain, etc., but at least you’ll know where the bar is.

    Conversely, if all you do is stomp the concacaf minnows, there is 1) less incentive to improve and 2) less of a concrete sense on what improvement means. If you are waiting until the World Cup to see what playing Brazil/Germany requires, you don’t have a chance.

  82. Boise says:

    I agree with your first point re’ fitness, but not your second point of ditching games like Brazil. The coaches should have learned two key points in that game:

    1. our defenders must stop ball watching and mark players instead. If we didn’t play Brazil, we wouldn’t have learned that lesson (and hopefully they did!)–and we would’ve gone into qualifiers not knowing that weakness.

    2. we have to learn to deal with pressure better in our defense and mid lines. Brazil pressed quickly and intensely, and it resulted in numerous turnovers; I assume they must have seen something in game film to suggest this was a good strategy. Although I didn’t get to see US-Canada, the descriptions I’ve read imply that Canada applied similar pressure. Again, great lesson; JK I trust will have drills to address that weakness, and because of these games, we know it’s something we need to improve.

  83. Baropbop says:

    Finally someone with some sense.
    Although I don’t think Jones should start.

  84. Baropbop says:

    Cameron at cdm is an interesting proposition.

  85. Baropbop says:

    guess so. Playing tough and minimal diving is what we all love about the USMNT. However, there is a think line between playing tough and being a loose cannon. I.e.: Jones, Demerit, Agoos, etc. Tougher teams will destroy us on set pieces and the team usually implodes when it should be inspired by this sort of play. Jones single handedly deteriorated the Brazil game into a whiny blabbering shoving match. Even dolo got sucked into it and more experienced players like Marcelo just baited them and ran away with the game.

  86. Baropbop says:

    I know I will be crucified for this but:

  87. Sam says:

    I understand what you’re going for, but there is too much of a demand on the fullbacks to have any width in the attack.

  88. Baropbop says:

    if it’s still rough in midfield. Take off Torres. Move Donovan to his spot and put Herc up top with Dempsey.

  89. Sam says:

    Yes…but mainly because qualifiers aren’t the time for experimenting.

  90. dan says:

    Mexico did not use their starters the three games. I think that is what SBI is questioning on the original comment from this thread.

  91. Baropbop says:

    I think it’s a solid defensive minded approach and it puts all 3 of the 3 most likely to score up front. I want to see Bradley play a role where he isn’t as responsible for getting back. I think this would also lend well to a counter attacking style, where most of the goals come from anyway. There’s only one person in there who hasn’t started in the 3 games.

  92. cactusfootballdummy says:

    They didnt hold canada scoreless the linesman did.

  93. GW says:

    Castillo was a lot better than the last two times he played for the US.

    It’s called improvement and it comes with playing time. Based on the trend he should be even better next time out.

    Lichaj isn’t here and unless something drastic happens won’t be for some time. And ther is no evidence he would have done any better that Castillo against Canada.

  94. GW says:

    It’s sort of like killing a snake by cutting off it’s head.

    Wing players are useless without the ball.

    If the opposition controls the midfield they control the ball.

    JK understands this. So first things first. Against Scotland we controlled the midfield and also the ball.

    Dolo,Johnson,Donovan offer the US their best wing options. If Castillo, who has improved from his last run out, continues to improve, he is also an option.

    Everyone else is unproven(Gatt,Gyau),out of form (Agudelo, Shea,Rogers,Bedoya), injured (Spector) or uninterested(Chandler). I like DMB and would have liked him here but he is also not a conventional winger. Frankly, Gomez, at this point, can do what DMB used to be able to do.

  95. GW says:

    I’ve watched Donovan a long time and I think you are wrong for one very simple reason.

    He has often been this lackluster and uninspired going back to 2006 and before.

    The Landon I saw these last three games looks exactly like the same guy I’ve been watching all along. JK knows this and is not about mess with it too much though I wondered about the substitution.

    Donovan is an exceptional player, arguably the best ever produced by the US but that does not change the fact that he has never been a guy that can take the team on his shoulders and carry it if they are not up to it.

    He looks to make others better, almost to a fault, but he can’t make NASL guys into EPL guys.

    He never was that kind of player. I mean look at the Galaxy, Magee, Cristman, Barrett? Give me a break.

    He is the ultimate team guy and if the team is motivated and playing well, he can feed off of that. Everton , both times, had some really good players and a genius in Moyes. They knew how to give him a lift and vice versa.

    And anyone who thinks Landon won that Algeria game all by his lonesome it a blithering idiot.

    It is possible that come qualifying he won’t be able to turn it on and off like he used to but until the money is on the table, we won’t know.

    I think he probably can. If not, oh well too bad.

  96. DC Josh says:

    USA lineup vs. Ghana 23 months ago:
    Howard, Bocanegra, Bradley, Cherundolo, Dempsey, Donovan, Bornstein, Clark, DeMerit, Altidore, Findley.

    We’ve only replaced 4 of these players. Gomez for Findley is a plus. Goodson for Demeritt is a wash. Edu/Jones for Clark is an upgrade, and Johnson for Bornstein is huge upgrade.

    My point being at the halfway point to 2014 Brazil, we haven’t gotten very far with progression, especially defensively.

    I know our starting XI June 2014 will be different, but these are the games for Cameron, Ream, Gonzalez, etc.

  97. marco says:

    I think they used just as many as the USA, and I’m guessing the practices were similar. Now based on the known, watching both teams this week, I personally feel El Tri is more fit and more motivated, based purely on watching, not guessing what was done or not done.

  98. marco says:

    “Perhpas, but do you know how they worked their players in between.”

    Apparently neither of us do, its unknown. Based on what we see, the known, I feel Mexico played with more energy.

  99. marco says:

    If Klinsmann insists on a distributor in front of the back 4, use Torres, that what he does at Pachuca, and let Bradley play more forward.

  100. GW says:

    “Jones single handedly deteriorated the Brazil game into a whiny blabbering shoving match. Even dolo got sucked into it and more experienced players like Marcelo just baited them and ran away with the game.”

    If you are referring to Jones’ near attempted leg break of Neymar, that was payback for Marcelo’s trying to kick Dolo in the face. Dolo by the way is far more experienced than Marcelo.

    The way it works is, you start stuff like Marcelo did and we put Neymar, your star player, at risk. Marcelo didn’t have to be that way and he started all this crap.

    And if you really want to know what JK meant by “nasty” go back and watch how his German teams played circa 1989-1998. Better yet ask Eric Wynalda.

    BTW, “minimal diving” ?? Go watch JK when he played for Spurs, around 1994.

  101. GW says:


    Any objective observer will tell you the US Ghana game was very close and could have gone either way. I thought we were unlucky to lose.

    You have three out of four upgrades and one wash. To me that means we win the Ghana game.
    I also think you have not mentioned that our depth is upgraded from the Ghana game.

    36% of our starters are now different.

    Given that there is about one and a half years to go and you do not want to peak too early, I see no reason to for you to start climbing up on a 10th floor window ledge.

  102. PetedeLA says:

    I want to see this, too.

    Let’s see what the boy’s got. We could be sitting on the next Pirlo (no sarcasm).

  103. GW says:

    The US has the skill to play the way JK wants.

    The players just don’t quite believe it yet.

    If you had been manager the US would have gone into a defensive shell against Brazil and we never would have known that the players could mount the kind of comeback they did mount.

    The US was unlucky not to tie that game.

    And who knows what would have happened if the very iffy penalty had not happened so early.

    You want to put the training wheels back on as soon as your kid crashes the bike. That way your kid will never learn.

  104. DC Josh says:

    Not ready to jump from the 10th floor, but the window is open.

    The team we have now will not be the group we send to Brazil. I thought we would see more fresh faces in the team by now, in particularly in defense. These friendlies and qualifying games against very weak opponents like Antigua are perfect situations for our future players to gain experience.

  105. QuakerOtis says:

    No, Simeon’s awkward right foot did.

  106. Adi from Oregon says:

    Yes, this game was against the Swiss which Germany had beat for the last 50 years. They had the same problem as the US, their defenders were too slow and had insufficient talent.

  107. beachbum says:

    Agree with what you are saying

    On fitness, never seen a more fit US team than Bradley’s WC team. hopefully we’ll see Klinsmann’s team display that level of fitness too. US teams have to own the fitness battle

  108. Louis Z says:

    I thought Castillo was more active than DOLO. So how was DOLO to you?

  109. Skinnyj says:

    yeah, we need a taller player, someone like Messi, he never wins any balls or distributes. I know he’s a striker- but he still has to win balls all game. That being said, one of the best players ive ever played with was on my college team and he played def mid and was a total stud- all 5 foot nothing of him. I really couldn’t disagree more with you, coach.

  110. louis z says:

    How can you say he needs rest when he hasn’t seen the USA NATS jersey for over 8 months, and with Galaxy he frequently misses games because of fatigue. Let’s face it, his tank can’t hold as it used to.

  111. Louis Z says:

    actually he took the team in the 2002 WC, specially in the Germany game. Has he looked that good since? probably not, he is very good and being in the right place at the right time. The problem with him is that he is not playing with the same intensity. At Everton I thought he was ok, very good at setting up people but back then he was no longer able to beat players off the drible.
    Last year when Galaxy won, it was with mostly the same players as they have today. what has changed? for one Becks doesn’t have the same drive, while LD is playing the same as last year which is so so.

  112. louis z says:

    If you are right, I would have wanted to see Jones take on Marcelo, why both pick on little guys, just like in elementary school, you seldom see one big vs another big, always they go after the little guy.

  113. Louis Z says:

    i was also expecting to see fresh faces for the Antigua game but after us crapping the bed in the Brazil and Canada game, I don’t think JK will chance it. he wants a “W” big time.

  114. GW says:

    “I thought we would see more fresh faces in the team by now, in particularly in defense.”

    Well you did but Chandler bailed on us, Lichaj got hurt, Gonzo blew out his knee, Ream has been just okay, George John bombed at West Ham, Cameron has been underwhelming, Whitbread’s body is 28 going on 58, Zach Loyd has been just okay, Potts is not interested and is ineligible anyway, Henley is Welsh, Boss is with Traffic and may actually play a high level game someday, Seb Hines may not be eligible, and all the Under 23 guys were unimpressive failures.

    How is all this the fault of JK and his staff?

    At least he got Johnson in and Castillo and Parkhurst may yet work out. And maybe Morales will get a game somewhere, sometime. I think he should call in Jeff Parke.

    “These friendlies and qualifying games against very weak opponents like Antigua are perfect situations for our future players to gain experience.”

    Not really. It’s a fine line. JK CANNOT afford to draw with A & B.
    JK has to build a team and yet MUST get points. Our opponents are pretty weak on paper but I remember how the Under 23’s were supposed to go through their group like crap through a goose and we all know how that turned out.

    If we slaughter A & B and Guatemala and get full points from all the games can we start messing around. And maybe not even then.

    The LA Kings were an 8th seed, the Orioles were supposed to be 30 games out by this time, Barca and Bayern were supposed to handle Chelsea easily, do I really need to point out to you that beating “weaker” teams is never guaranteed in any sport and there are no easy games? Look back at the New Zealand vs. Italy game in the last World Cup.

    People quickly forget, if they ever knew, that WC qualifying for the USMNT has never been particularly easy and it’s harder now than it has ever been.

  115. GW says:

    Because Neymar is the BIG money man, the star.

    Brazil can live without Marcelo.

    It’s like going after Messi or Gretzky to make a point, be nice or I’ll hurt you where it really hurts you.

  116. GW says:


    I’m sorry but you are wrong. That 2002 team was arguably the best team we’ve ever sent to a World Cup.

    Landon and DMB were the 20 year old spark plugs but that team also had arguably our two best midfielders ever, Reyna ( who went on to be named to the World Cup Best XI, first and only time so far for an American) and JOB in great form, Friedel doing his human wall imitation, Tony Sanneh and McBride in great form, Josh Wolff and Clint Mathis giving maybe their best USMNT performances. If those guys were in that same form now they walk right onto today’s squad.

    “At Everton I thought he was ok, very good at setting up people but back then he was no longer able to beat players off the drible.”

    Donovan has never been very good at beating people off the dribble, not even in 2002. Taking one touch and blowing by people, something he can still do occasionally, is not the same thing as stopping with the ball, faking someone out of their shoes and then blowing past them, which he was never any good at. Donovan does not do that.

    Everton loves him because he is committed to defense, is not a prima donna there, will do anything and everything Moyes asks him to do and generally gave them a shot in the arm. Moyes himself said Donovan was NOT a goal scorer.

    “Last year when Galaxy won, it was with mostly the same players as they have today. what has changed?”

    They are all one year older, have won the MLS Cup and are out of the Champions League which was supposed to be the big prize this year. Their defense has collapsed without Gonzo and it seems like they have nothing to play for I would say, at least as far as they are concerned.