Lackluster performance sees USMNT settle for scoreless draw with Scotland

Sacha Kljestan of USA and Scott Brown of Scotland

Photo by Matt West/


A lesson in frustration. That is essentially what the U.S. Men’s National Team’s friendly in Scotland was all about.

The U.S. settled for a disappointing and unimpressive scoreless draw with Scotland at Hampden Park in Glasgow on Friday in their penultimate match of 2013. The Americans endured a subpar performance in an underwhelming first half before showing more creativity in the final 45 minutes that allowed for more chances but ultimately no goals.

Jurgen Klinsmann’s side came close to breaking the deadlock on several occasions in the final 20 minutes of the match after several substitutions were made, but a lack of quality in front of goal saw the U.S. fail to score for the first time since a goal-less World Cup qualifying draw in Mexico back in March.

U.S. captain and goalkeeper Tim Howard was involved in arguably the game’s biggest moment. Early in the second half, a free kick from Robert Snodgrass was headed for the top corner but Howard denied the shot with an impressive leaping effort.

Howard also had to make some other routine saves, but by and large he went untested against a Scotland side that was looking for redemption after suffering an embarrassing 5-1 loss to the U.S. in friendly in May 2012 and failing to qualify for the World Cup last month.

The Scotsmen enjoyed more possession during a first half in which the Americans looked rather pedestrian, but the hosts only ever came close to scoring once in that stanza. Craig Conway had a golden opportunity in front of goal in the 36th minute following a pass from Snodgrass, but he failed to test Howard by scuffing his shot and sending it harmlessly wide.

Playing in a 4-2-3-1 formation, the U.S. saw more offensive production in the second half when it picked up the tempo. Klinsmann’s side, however, only began to really test Scotland once a plethora of substitutions were made.

Klinsmann’s insertion of Aron Johannsson, Brek Shea and Mix Diskerud allowed the U.S. to look more threatening in possession, which put the Scotsmen on the ropes.

Johannsson nearly scored on a couple of occasions, but he fired wide left on one chance and saw goalkeeper David Marshall get down low to deny him on another.

Starting forward Jozy Altidore also had a pair of chances to find the winner, but also could only watch in frustration as his shots were either cleared or off the mark.

The Americans will try and rebound from this performance when they close out 2013 with a friendly against Austria on Tuesday.


What do you think of the U.S.’s scoreless draw with Scotland? Which players impressed/disappointed you? Starting to become worried by the Americans’ tendency for slow first halves?

Share your thoughts below.

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185 Responses to Lackluster performance sees USMNT settle for scoreless draw with Scotland

  1. ZZtoppppp says:

    If Kljestan and EJ start against Austria I won’t be watching. They were both awful today.

    • Ryan Nanez says:

      Same here.

    • Nihal says:

      I think Kljestan is good in a deeper role. I really don’t like EJ as a winger or a striker, but he is ok off the bench as a striker.

    • HoboMike says:

      I’m curious to see the posters who keep saying that Kljestan would be great once he’s put in his best position. He was today. He wasn’t great.

      • bryan says:

        i’m not a Kljestan fanatic, but he was NOT played in position today. the position he has ALWAYS played at the club level is a #8 in a 4-2-3-1. today he was the #10 in a 4-2-3-1.

        • HoboMike says:

          He played as the #8 against Panama, with less than stellar results as well.

          I know it may sound like I have a thing against him, but all I hear is that he needs to be played in position. The (admittedly few) times he is, he has never impressed except for that hat trick 5-6 years ago.

          • bryan says:

            Dude, you said he played in his best position as the #10. That is wrong. He is a #8. I made no comment saying he is good or not good. It’s irrelevant. I was rejecting your notion he played in his “best position.” He didn’t. There’s nothing more to analyze. I don’t care if you love or hate him. Just pointing out your comment about his best position is incorrect.

          • bryan says:

            Otherwise I agree that even as a #8 he left a lot to be desired. He never steps up in he USA jersey.

      • Amru says:

        Yeah he wasn’t great, but can you really name someone that had a good game today? I think the blame for that falls on klinsmann. EJ was always bound to drift more centrally, which means we had no width on the left and it clogged the middle of the field, leaving all three CM with little room to operate

        • ZZtoppppp says:

          I thought Mix looked good off the bench, I thought Cameron looked good, I thought Bedoya had a solid game and I thought Shea brought some much needed energy. I think that is the only place Shea deserves on the team though, as a sub.

    • Umlaut says:

      I want to see Kliestjan paired with Bradley deeper and then have someone up top of them like Mix or Johansson.

    • Gary Page says:

      EJ was pretty bad, but I though5t that Kljestan showed ability on the ball and his main problem was that he was sometimes too negative with his passing. Perhaps that reflected the defensive role he is used to. I am neither a Kljestan hater or promoter and can’t understand all the negativity about his play today. Maybe I missed something, but I didn’t see him make a lot of turn overs or bad passes.

    • RP says:

      I’m not a Klejstan fan but I think he held possession well today. I can see him in Brazil. EJ in the other hand fell a few places today.

  2. John says:

    US soccer might have trouble putting together a highlights video for this one

  3. biff says:

    Watching that game was pretty much like watching paint dry. Mind numbing. Jozy didn’t wanna be there, Jones in awful form, EJ is not left winger and Sacha not a central attacker, and Evans not a right back and Beasly not a left back and Cameron, who at the current time is our best right back, looked lost as left central defender, and MB several bad passes. Lichaj seemed a bit nervous. Clint and Landon and Fabian I bet are all happy they were able to skip this camp. Austria will be interesting. The Austrians I think will play with a bit more fire in their bellies than the Scots.

    Shea looked good. I wonder if he might not end up staying at Stoke instead of going out on loan and maybe start making the bench and maybe even getting some minutes.

  4. Ryan Nanez says:

    I have nothing nice to say whatsoever about this game except credit to the scots for making me believe I was watching an away WCQ game.

  5. Nihal says:

    Against Austria I want to see:





    • Hogatroge says:

      Agree. I wouldn’t say Kljestan did a good job today, but once again JK is expecting something of players that he shouldn’t. Sacha isn’t an attacking midfielder, but when he saw the ball today he did more with it than Jones.
      Let’s put Sacha with Bradley in the middle and someone attack-minded ahead of them.

      • Nihal says:

        Agree completely. Bradley has also said that he loves playing with Sacha.

      • Tony in Quakeland says:

        “once again JK is expecting something of players that he shouldn’t.”

        Agreed. Or more precisely, he is putting them in roles they don’t play and aren’t necessarily suited for. This is one of the most frustrating aspects of his tenure – playing guys out of position. When it works everyone things it’s brilliant… and they forget the many more times when it is lackluster, like today

        • Hansomejake says:

          JK expects the guys to be able to play out of their comfort zone, he puts them in uncomfortable positions to test them. The ones who excel and do well (Cameron, DMB, Evans) are going to Brazil.
          We are trying to be a top 10 team and versatility is what is going to get us there. As we climb the world rankings our players are going to need to do more.
          Domestic leagues are for players who can play a position, international games are for players who can do everything.

  6. Ali Dia says:

    I realized I have basically no opinion on Terrence Boyd as a USMNT player. JK gives him very few meaningful minutes And yet he would seem to be in pretty good position to make the 23 man roster– I wouldn’t even call him a “fringe” player. Mr. Anonymous, at the moment.

    • Dman says:

      we need to see Jóhannsson and Boyd start and play the first 60 minutes.. let Altidore and EJ sit on the bench with Wondo

    • Beto says:

      Yup the only time i have really ever seen him play was with the U23’s and various highlights from Rapid Vienna. The Austria game should his moment to prove he is one of the four strikers going to Brazil.

  7. Dman says:

    We need ICEMAN in the starting lineup. EJ, and Altidore together have no flair. Without Shea and AJ the 2nd half would have been just as boring as the 1st half

    • Umlaut says:

      Yeah there’s something about Johansson, when he’s in the game there always seems to be good things going on. And I agree, Shea was a real spark in the second half.

    • AndyL says:

      I too would like to see how AJ would perform as a starter. It’s one thing to come in as a second-half sub against a tired defense, and another to play consistently well over an entire game. EJ has looked his best as a sub winger, where his pace can overwhelm a tired backline.

      The question is what position to start AJ. I think Klinsmann is solidifying our formation as 4-2-3-1, and Jozy has been important for U.S. possession with his hold-up play at striker. Is AJ comfortable as a central attacker in a 4-2-3-1? Against Austria, I would assume that Boyd would get some playing time. Maybe AJ starts up front, then settles behind Boyd when he comes in the second half?

  8. ozotkd says:

    Shea gave me hope again that he can pick up his level. Johannsson needs to start over EJ.

    • usaalltheway says:

      I too noticed how well he played. He was the best player for the US by far.

      I am so sick and tiring of watching the ball being passed backwards. He doesn’t do that AT ALL. He attacks and goes for the throat. Without “old” Dempsey, the team lacks that all-important edge. I would love to see him used as a sub for the next game as well. Let’s see if he really can repeat that form.

  9. El Paso tx says:

    Klinsi needs to decide, do i take new young blood to brazil or take experience players who dont have nothing new to showcase but just play for pride and age.
    Per se, dempsey is not going to get better, same with donovan and altidore. Altidore might get better in the EPL, but his team totally sucks. As for EJ, he is a mysterious player.
    Like I said before, klinsi can make history with the depth in the team, but he can also f*ck up in a heart beat, due to lack of chemistry and hot heads.
    Imagine donovan, dempsey, altidore with johanson, diskereud and boyd, what an awkward trip, since they know they wont play together again in a world cup.
    So is it world cup history or fail……….its in your hands klinsi.
    By the way, johansson must start, Boyd needs more chances, diskerud is better than Bradley or play them together, but like I said, kilnsi needs to walk away from his favorites

    • John says:

      Diskerud is better then Bradley?
      Outside of that I don’t really understand your point, you take the best team

    • beachbum says:

      Cut and paste repost from the game thread with a couple of additions to the end of the post that include Diskerud is better than Michael…whatever man!

    • Tony in Quakeland says:

      Diskerud is better than Bradley? I’m curious – at what? You can’t mean soccer…

    • jordan in atl says:

      mix good bradley sooooooo much better…u nuts

    • Nano says:

      Altidore won’t get better? He’s only 24 He’s shown steady improvement over the years, and he will continue to improve. Every single coach of good national teams face problems when it comes to selecting a roster for the World Cup, not just Klinsmann. Come the World Cup many will be unhappy with his final cut. Oh, and Deskerud isn’t better than Bradley. Not yet anyway….

  10. bryan says:

    EJ should not start, he is a sub and nothing more. AJ should start over him. Kljestan is not a #10, we already knew that, but maybe JK knows now as well. he is a #8 in every way. keep Mix as the #10 for Austria.

    • AndyL says:

      I haven’t actually been that impressed when Mix has had an opportunity at the #10 either. He doesn’t shake himself loose fast enough from his marker to make himself available for a pass, and tends to lose the ball too often when pressed.

      I think if Austria was a must-win game, we should actually throw Bradley up at the #10. He works hard to create space to accept passes, and has good through-ball passing instincts. If you trust a pairing of Jones / Kljestan or Jones / Mix to keep order on defense, I think Bradley in the #10 gives you connections throughout the pitch.

      But since this is a friendly to build our players’ chemistry at their positions for Brazil, I would expect Mix to get the #10 start against Austria.

  11. quozzel says:

    Ugh. Awful showing.

    Despite that, we still should have won. Scotland really only generated one dangerous chance the whole game; towards the end the US finally had the Scots on their heels.

    • Benny says:

      You are absolutely right and with a full strength side, the U.S. would have won. The U.S. had some bad luck in not burying at least one of those two great chances deep in the second half.

    • beachbum says:

      Formation change out of the dismal 4 2 3 1 finally sparked life late

  12. Love it or leave it says:

    Any coincidence that it was a lackluster game because it had a lackluster crowd?

    might want to do a focus group on that!

  13. John says:

    For Austria

  14. Bac says:

    In friendly matches …we are never as bad as we look in bad games, and we aren’t as good as we think we are in the wins.
    Hopefully these 2 games are helping JK make up his mind on a few guys.
    For example, everyone was ranting about Shea’s inclusion.. but today he showed well.

    Don’t get too high or low… even in a sleeper like today there’s much to learn

  15. Ulysses says:

    EJ must be really good in practice because he ends up starting every time he gets called up. This was true with Bradley and now with Klinsmann. I know EJ has scored some important goals for USA, but if he plays, he should be playing up top instead of out in the wing. Importantly, I see him more as a sub. Johannsson looks a lot more dangerous and should start. The same for Diskerud. Bedoya didn’t really threaten goal today. No crosses. It was good to see Lichaj get some minutes. At least, he wasn’t getting beat outside. Evans struggle with fast wingers. So, on to Austria. I would like to see Brooks, Lichaj, Johannsson, Diskerud start.

  16. Four Cents says:

    Iceland Bacon “Footloose” (you heard it here first) was the only good thing this game had. Kids a bada**…

    • Ali Dia says:

      Not bad, although that finish was more like Flatliners.

    • peterprinciple says:

      I liked his performance, but he rally should have done better with that chance Shea set up (better shot or the right pass). Shea played well also though, and Howard seems in good form.

  17. Benny says:

    I would also like to see Brooks, Lichaj, Johannsson and Diskerud start.

  18. Birgit Calhoun says:

    There is so much hoopla about Johannson. Granted he played better than E. Johnson. However, when Johansson had the ball and sent it wide in front of the goal, he could have passed it to Wondolowski instead, and he would have scored. Wondolowski was in the right place every time. It’s just when those people who are adored (Brek Shea, and other player) over all others start playing, they forget that passing the ball to a person who has a better shot would have allowed. It takes some maturity to allow teamwork rather than looking out for number One.

    • Dman says:

      That is a good point.

      However the reason for the hoopla around Johannsson is that he brings an energy, a drive to score right NOW, and a level of technical skill that we don’t see in any other member of the team.

      When Aron is in the game it just feels like good things are about to happen. He has that something special that makes him very dangerous. He can beat guys 1 v 1.

  19. Brain Guy says:

    I can easily see Donovan playing on either wing, but Dempsey lacks the speed you like to see in a winger. If we assume Altidore as a striker, and given all that Johansson brings, is it heretical to believe that Dempsey is not going to be a first-choice starter in Brazil?

    • chris says:

      Not at all. I don’t think he’s going to be a starter come WC time.

    • John says:

      When is that last time Donovan really put in a strong preformance on the wing? His best preformances in the last 2 years have all come when playing in a forward roll. Half the times he’s started on the wing under Klinsmann he’s been moved or benched at half.

    • Herschel skywalker says:

      Not heretical, just not realistic. Dempsey will start, and so will Donovan. We are just looking at the backups now, how certain tandems play together, and letting some guys rehab, get minutes, or try improve their confidence. We will see a 4-2-3-1 at the WC with Jozy up top, Dempsey behind him, Landon on left or right, JJ and Bradley in the middle and probably Gonzo and Besler in the back. If Dolo is healthy, he will start at RB. That leaves only one winger/attacking mid to fill and left back. I think JK is seriously considering starting Beas (though I hope not),, which would fill the roster w/ FJ on the left wing and either Lichaj or Chandler at RB if Dolo doesn’t make it back. The real question now is the subs, and who will be able to (1) provide a spark, and (2) cover more than one position or cover a very important position well if someone goes down. That’s it. Don’t get so excited. JK has to let some of the guys on the depth chart play themselves out of or into their backup positions (like EJ and Wondo dropping down and AJ and maybe Bedoya or Shea moving up). JK will make his final decisions based on overall quality, b/c, as Ives says, “form is fallacy.”. And the truth is, Dempsey, Donovan, et al have more quality than many of the newbies, no matter how well they may play in one or two games or how high their current form.

    • Gary Page says:

      I have seen a lot of world cups, dating back almost 40 years. What I have observed is that the intense pressure and high level competition is matched only by a CL final. I have seen many talented teams not even get out of their group because they had players with no WC experience. I think in the WC you need some players who have that experience to provide the leadership and calmness necessary. Aron Johannsson has shown he is a talented player with a lot of potential. He has played a little less than one year in the Dutch league, in Denmark before that, and small parts so far for the US. IMHO, it would be a mistake to start him or others like him over players like Donovan and Dempsey unless D&D and those like them have severely declined in quality or have injuries.

      • milkshake of despair says:

        Donovan and Beas circa 2002. Nuff said.

        • rorschach says:

          actually, i don’t think that one example of youth working out over experience is enough to make your counterpoint. it isn’t enough said. they are always going to be exceptions to this rule – a 17 year old pele, an 18 year old michael owen…but these are exceptions, not the norm. hence, naming the 2002 US WC team as the definitive proof that him assertion is incorrect is ludicrous.

        • Gary Page says:

          Doesn’t address my point. Who did Donovan and Beasley displace on that team who had WC experience? We didn’t exactly have a lot of top players back then. Donovan and Dempsey are the all time leading scorers for the USMNT and also have the most WC goals for the US.

  20. PD says:

    Please pair Kljestan and Bradley.

    • Herschel skywalker says:

      Kljestan will not be on the WC team I think because we don’t need him. We have a number of center mids who can play defense and are much better than him, and better attacking mids, which he is not. He’s a decent player, but we have better, and the backups we have can play more than one position, like Cameron plaing in the back line and Mix plaing in the attack. So what do we need with a guy who is decent at being a center mid, but not great, and can’t do anything else?

  21. Beto says:

    The best part of this by far was the US support in the stands. A good amount of US fans either travelling from the states or else where in the UK & abroad were at the game equaling the support that home fans made, which was down right shameful for them!. Have u ever heard the US doing this before? Plus i saw AO drew 2-2 with the Tartan Army XI last night! Not bad..

    As for Jurgen’s team … Not bad, not good .. Hoped for more .. Scotland was aweful!

  22. MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

    Howd lichaj do?

  23. MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

    How was “Break” Shea?

    • bryan says:

      i think most will say he had a positive impact. but that may have had more to do with EJ being awful at LM…anyone would have looked good.

    • John says:

      Promising for a guy who hasn’t seen first team action this year for sure. Blew by the right back in what might have been the highlight for the US on the night.

      • usaalltheway says:

        He was the best player for the Nats. He should have had an assist but the Iceman shot it a little too wide.

        As John pointed out, he basically hasn’t been playing at the club level so the fact that he had a good showing is impressive at the very least. He is a great sub. He is fast and goest for the throat. I hope to see him in Brazil.

    • Beto says:

      He looked identical to the Brek Shea of 2011, which is good as he was in good form then but also not good as this whole Stoke City time has been a wash at best

  24. This is why Altidore can be so frustrating. Some games he looks unplayable, other games he just sulks. You’d think that given the chance to literally compete head to head against your club striking competition would be motivation enough.

    • beachbum says:

      Those tasked with linking to Jozy–JJ,, Sacha and EJ–much more frustrating than Jozy imo, as the formation and positional deployment did not seem to fit the pieces on the field for much of the game imo

    • Duke says:

      Im thinking that what we saw is all there is…

    • usaalltheway says:

      Jozy was horrid. Just awful. He made mistakes that a professional SHOULD never make, like letting passes go by you. He did that at least three different times.

      From what I can tell, Jozy’s biggest issue is himself; if he is mentally in it, he is a beast. If he is even off a little bit mentally, JK might as well not even play him.

      IMHO the Iceman should take his spot. Jozy needs to push himself move at the club level and just find anyway possible to score. He is a big, strong, fast man and can make things happen if he wanted it badly enough. He also seems to go down way too easily.

      Still, he has shown up big for the USMNT before, so I always hold out hope. His club situation is less than perfect and it would be unfair to ignore that fact.

  25. Duke says:

    I dont understand why everybody gives Altadore a pass all the time? Except for a brief spurt with the NATS, he just doesn’t score. He had a few clear chances and muffed them all. Holding the ball up is all well and good but when you’re the lone forward, you have to be dangerous and he just isnt.

    EJ – was terrible. He should not start on Tuesday. Shea did more in his 20 minutes or so the EJ did in his 60 or so. Im not really a Shea fan boy but he did seriously outplay EJ

    Aron had the two best shots for the US and should have scored on the first one. I think it would have gone in but curved a little wide. I still like him better than Jozy though and would love to see him start next time out. Jozy needs to get hungry again and maybe some bench time would help that

    JK – has to stop playing people out of position and playing formations that dont work (lone striker) Scotland was not that dangerous and had he not had a dysfunctional defense, wouldnt have been dangerous at all. That being said… why the 2 DM’s? This was not a high powered offense that needed that.

    I thought Evans looked lost … as usual…most of their dangerous attacks came from his side…. Just stop trying to make him fit… it’s not working. Lichaj looked better but to be fair, the other subs started taking it to the Scots and he had less pressure than Evans did

    Jones looked like a guy playing with the flu or something but he still had a few good passes

    • John says:

      Isn’t that breif spurt the longest streak in US history?

    • usaalltheway says:

      You are absolutely correct about Jozy. He needs to lose his spot to the Iceman and get hungry again.

      There is no excusing him today. He was simply awful in every way shape and form. He was off, missing passes (which for me is a completely ridiculous mistake to make for multi-million dollar professional athlete), passes the ball to no one (although one might argue that others didn’t make their runs fit his) and got pushed around too easily. I mean, he is a BIG BOY. That shouldn’t happen.

      On the other hand, the Iceman came on and within minutes was making an impact. Harassing defenders, winning balls, making dangerous runs, passing well, shooting well, making space, everything basically.

      If I were JK, Jozy would sit. Iceman is the real deal and he needs the space to shine, not play second to the senior Jozy.

      Just my opinion remember.

    • Byrdman says:

      Yeah, JK needs to stop doing what he’s been doing. It isn’t working…….er nevermind.

  26. Sandtrout says:

    I generally watch all the USMNT games, whether recorded or live. What do you think — should I bother with this one?

  27. shawn wallace says:

    clear players who shouldnt be in squad

    Eddie johnson – altidore, aj, boyd, aguedelo are all better and younger

    Wondo- really? hes a one trick pony

  28. usaalltheway says:

    Anyone else get the feeling that JK still really isn’t a good coach?

    There seems to be too many people playing out of position or not replicating their club form for the Nats, i.e. Bedoya, Sacha, Cameron, and Jones. All of those guys shine on their respective clubs but fail miserably for the Nats.

    On top of that, the experiment that is Brad Evans and Beasly as our wingbacks needs to end. Both those guys are not playing their natural (or better) positions and it shows more often that not. Plus, I am sick and tired of watching a big build up in the attacking third to be passed back to midfield to create space to then finally being passed all the way back to Howard. In case they didn’t get the memo, the whole idea of the game is to score goals which cannot be done by going BACKWARDS!!!!!! (end rant)

    1) Iceman was great. Start him next game. Bench Jozy.

    2) Shea is a super sub. Sub him in next game.

    3) Cameron is not a centerback and should play right back unless…

    4) JK starts Lichaj and benches Evans.

    5) Let MB90 moved further up the field. He is our best player and we need his passing in the final third.

    6) Stop playing EJ on the wing. He is another great sub, not a starter.

    7) Let Mix start for Jones.

    All in all, I doubt we will be seeing much from the USMNT in Brazil. Luckily I am half Brazilian and live in Brazil. At least I have a team to root for that has a shot at doing well.

    • Chad says:

      I agree with most of your points, except 1 & 4.
      On #1: You need to understand that Jozy is out best forward…it’s not just about looking good on the ball. Jozy is strong, skillfull and can score. Most importantly, he holds the ball up much better than any forward we have.

      #4: How can you say this after one game when Lichaj looked scared out of his mind? Yes, this shouldn’t be Evans spot…but Lichaj is not there yet.

      • usaalltheway says:

        I see your points.

        I didn’t feel he looked scared. Perhaps I wasn’t looking hard enough. I just feel he is the best person for the spot. I might be wrong. Perhaps he should start just to see, no?

        I usually would agree with you about Jozy, although he was just awful today. I mean, God awful in every single way shape and from under the red sun on God’s green Earth. Just terrible. I have never seen a multi-million dollar athlete make so many rookie mistakes. H got pushed around too easily and was disjointed.

        He usually does all the things you mentioned but he didn’t today. Based on his performance, juxtaposed to the Iceman, I came to the conclusion that I wrote.

        • Chad says:

          I thought Altidore held the ball up well today, IMO he was physical but didn’t do enough today for sure.

          You are correct in we don’t have too many RB options. Cameron or Cherundulo (if he gets healthy) seem our best options there. Evans is just too slow.

      • dman says:

        It is debatable weather jozy is our best forward. He does not create his own chances, his first touch is still awful, and he dissapears for very long stretches.

        I know that we have not seen enough of AJ yet to anoint him king, however every minute that he has seen the pitch for the USA he has been the most dangerous player on the field. He consistently creates chances for himself and others, and his first touch is on a completely different level than jozy’s

        • Chad says:

          His touch is better, but soccer isn’t just about touch. Most CBs at the WC level will push AJ around like a paperdoll.

          • dman says:

            Yeah we don’t want skinny little guys like mezit ozil, luka modric, Wesley sneijder, and di maria, or little guys like messi, xavi, or David Silva

            • Lost in Space says:

              Sorry….but one of the things all those great players have in common is a big physical forward to play off of. BTW Ozil & Xavi are mids not forwards.

              • Nate Dollars says:

                yeah, that was hilarious–all of them are mids except di maria (a winger) and messi (best player in the world.

        • usaalltheway says:

          When Jozy is on, he is our best.

          When he is off, he is terrible.

          It’s very 50/50 with him. He is one of the big reason the team qualified for the World Cup and we shouldn’t forget that.

          EJ is great in the air. That is it. A great sub. Nothing more.

          Boyd is still too green and it shows time and time again.

          Dempsey is not a pure, out-and-out striker.

          Landon is too old.

          The Iceman is the only other real option at this point. I say give the kid the chance to start. I bet he will impress.

    • Detroit! says:

      I disagree.

      Yes, this game was a snoozer, to the point of embarrassment. Yes, the team was playing backwards the entire first half.

      But after initial skepticism about Klinsmann, I’ve come around. Here’s why:

      1) The team has improved under his coaching. It’s not perfect. Sometimes it’s downright weird. But the record speaks for itself, and the team is usually playing the way we hope it will, especially when the first team is on the field.

      2) The big knock–or at least question mark–on JK is tactics. Yet in game after game, the team plays better in the second half than the first. He is capable of making good substitutions and of switching things up, which is a sign that he’s open minded and able to change both players and his own plans.

      3) Regarding players out of position…I’m going to withhold judgment until I see the lineup, and how it performs, in the World Cup. He MIGHT continue to play guys where they aren’t as likely to succeed. Or he might not. And if he does, it might work, or it might not. In a friendly, especially, I’m not privvy to what he wants to see out of a certain lineup. I’m not real enthusiastic about the out-of-position guys, but I’m not freaking out about it until they’re clearly being used wrong when it really counts–and then when JK still won’t make an adjustment.

      • usaalltheway says:

        Your second point is valid. JK does switch things during the second halves and those changes do usually lead to results. Still, JK’s biggest weakness is tactics and second half changes will not make up for a lost 45 minutes. Other coaches will expose this during the World Cup and we will get scored on because of it. He is not good at tactics and despite his willingness to change this at the half, we have seen the same things over and over again to the point of embarrassment. It’s obvious Jones and Bradley DO NOT pair well together. They simply don’t. There is no argument to be made there.

        As well, this insistence in using a MLS midfielder as our right back when we have two perfectly great options in Cameron and Lichaj is outrageously dangerous and shows JK’s arrogance or lack of understanding. Evans cannot keep up with the big boys of the international stage and yesterday was just further proof of that.

        I will defend his other qualities; getting big-name friendlies, is ability to get the US more international presence and respect and his PR tactics. I feel he would make the perfect General Direct (if such a position exists) or something along those lines. Not mention that big, blonde German smile and like-ability.

        I really worry about the team at this point. It still seems like he doesn’t really have his perfect 11 in mind and it shows, despite injuries and players not being available.

  29. Chad says:

    Shea better go to Brazil, he always plays with determination and skill when put in on USMNT.

  30. Bac says:

    MLS site had a good takeaway:
    Sasha plays CM for his club but played the 10 today.
    Mix plays the 10 for his club but played CM today.
    Seems like JK is trying each out to see which of the two gives him more flexibility/options.

    I’m starting to think there will be a few surprises when he names the final 23.
    – Zusi & Bedoya give you almost the same guy, I’m not convinced they both make it
    – I think Shea is a shoe in. Not because he’s among the best 23, or can be a starter, but he can give you something nobody else on this particular team can, a 15 minute burst & a left foot
    – I think the guy who is now most at risk in the short term is EJ. Aron J is in the 23, and EJ is only great in the air. If he doesn’t find a good situation now that Seattle is shopping him, he has little to offer if he doesn’t show a solid all around performance in the lead up.
    -I think JK is more worried about Evans than he lets on. The last 3 games Evans has been terrible, slow, and lucky his late slide tackles haven’t burned us more. He brought in Lichaj & commented about him as a replacement when Castillo got hurt, but he subbed him in for Evans after that foul

    Despite all the tinkering, I think there’s some minor surprises upcoming

    • blokhin says:

      you’ll be 100% wrong on Shea-he needs 8 players in front of him to get injured first

      • Bac says:

        Blohkin, I have been thinking that same thing for the last 2 years, and if you read the context of my reasoning, its not that I think he deserves to go based on being one of the top 23, its that so many of our other midfielders are basically almost the same guy, and JK sees him as someone who can come in at the end of a game and add speed in the attack late. My reasoning is based on 3 things, 1. That JK called him into the Gold Cup which shocked everyone, 2. That he commented after his terrible game (his only start) that we should not overlook Brek Shea, and 3. That he got called into these 2 games when he hasnt played all year (which was another head scratcher)…
        We’re basically in agreement here, Im just predicting what I think JK will do

        • quozzel says:

          I agree. Shea’s got some massive holes in his game, is a major liability at times, and can be, by a lot, the worst player on the field when his composure slips and he gets tense. His feet turn into literal bricks.

          That said…Shea also gives you a dimension, off the bench, that no other player in a USA uniform gives you. He can turn games and eat people alive for about a 15-to-20-minute burst, especially late in games when defenders are tired. When Brek Shea is feeling it and driving at you, he is very, very dangerous.

          He’s had the game-turning goal, or game-turning assist, on numerous occasions recently…and he’s done it too consistently for it to be an accident.

          You have to use him in moderation…but I’m with you, Shea is headed to Brazil. I think Fabian Johnson and Landon Donovan are your other two wingers (and starters), and I think it’s going to be Zusi and Bedoya fighting it out for the last seat on the plane.

    • SJ says:

      Personally, I don’t think we should read anything into the Shea call up other than JK wants to give him some playing time. I still think, even with his 15 min bursts, he’s on the outside looking in unless he goes out on loan and does something.

  31. The Imperative Voice says:

    Bacon. Occasional Bradley. One nice Howard save. Otherwise that was 2 dreary hours I can’t get back.

  32. Chris says:

    Pretty boring game other than about the last ten minutes, learned a few things.
    -Tim howard is really good, so is guzan, but its howards spot for now
    -gonzo and cam were aight, shaky at times but only really gave up one good chance
    -damarcus beasley plays negatively way too much, evans struggled as well, prob worst game in this stretch for him, the evans at rb experiment is definitely losing some of its luster.
    -bradley was awesome as normal, dynamic, smart and tactical
    -im really losing my patience with jones, plays stupid and lazy at times, leaving way more work for the players behind him, could see beckerman taking his spot by the world cup
    -EJ out on the wing is a waste, he plays so slow that even if we have a break he slows it down so much, very poor match
    -Another solid outing for bedoya, hardworking, needs to be a little more decisive in the box
    -kljestan at least worked hard but was out of position
    -Altidore worked hard and had some nice work, not one of his best performances but not bad
    -Johannson, Shea and Mix were all dynamic off the bench, especially iceman
    My starting 11 for Austria:
    With boyd, shea, and kljestan all getting significant time off the bench

    • Chad says:

      I like the lineup but can AJ play LW? Would be nice to see if Lichaj can perform well with more mins.

      • Chad says:

        Also not sure Diskerud should ever play that high again…ever!

      • Chris says:

        at icemans previous club (i believe aarhus?) he played some on the wing, and I dont see why not, a lot of his attacks today came from the wings so why not play him there. If its not working on the wing have him shift forward and have mix swing a little more left and let beasley get forward and overlap

        • Chad says:

          AJ seems to have the touch & skill so seems he could play wing well, didn’t know he had prev exp there.

  33. Chad says:

    My suggested lineup for Austria, though torn on other striker with Altidore and wish I could think of another LB option:
    ————Altidore——Boyd or AJ-——

    • Chris says:

      Evans at CB?

    • dman says:

      Put Brooks in for Evans at cb. And split AJ with Boyd each getting an entire half. I have seen enough of EJ and beasley for now. I love beasleys effort, but not entirely comfortable with the beas against top level opponents. Not sure about shea as a starter he is a pretty great sub. I think Shea brings an element that defenders are not ready for in the later stages of the game.

    • Dirk McQuigley says:

      Shea should never start. As stated by other OPs, he’s like a relief pitcher. He works best coming on for 20-30 minutes, running at TIRING defenses. That sort of magnifies his speed in the same way (another baseball analogy) that my team Boston would do when Jon Lester would start after TIm Wakefield.

      As for Boyd starting, even though the match is in Austria, I don’t think he’s earned enough to justify that. Coming in for a full 45′ to end the game maybe. I’m also wondering if Bacon is more effective RIGHT NOW as a second half change of pace too. His speed is magnified running at already tiring defenses too. Then again, in his case, there is an argument that he tires a defense to begin with by stretching it with his speed. OTOH, Shea’s record as a starter is pretty mediocre (Cuba).

  34. dman says:

    WC starting 11

    Fabian Johnson —- Aron j —-Landon Donovan

    Lichaj —–Besler—-Gonzalez —-Cherundolo


    Cameron can take Holden’s spot if he is not fit.
    Sorry Clint

  35. Dennis says:

    I was travelling and unable to watch the game, even delayed. Sounds like I missed very little.

  36. Scott e Dio93 says:

    Johnson is only good against CONCACAF or C level teams, also Johnson lack the IQ and hearth in the World Cup level. I do agree Shea is only good as a sub.

  37. Nate Dollars says:

    probably not going to watch the recording of this game.

    can anyone comment as to whether johannsson/shea/mix may have only looked good due to coming in when scotland had tired/made subs? haven’t seen anybody mention this, so i’d be interested in a little context.

    • John says:

      I’m sure that’s always can be a factor. I felt like the US just wasn’t all that interested in going forward for much of the match. However when the subs got the ball they turned up feild with it. Much more direct in going to goal. While in the first half the US just passed it back in circles until EJ lost it or Jones hit a long ball that didn’t really work out.

    • SJ says:

      They played sloppy, had poor first touches, had Jozy checking way too far back to get touches, and gave the ball away in horrible spots, but really weren’t challenged despite it all.

      The Johannsson/Shea/Mix came at about the 62nd. The biggest difference was the shift in formation IMO. Jozy got a bit more support in AJ, Mix added more control/defined roles in the mid, and Shea just beat people with his speed. The key being they finally controlled the midfield and started to impose their will.

  38. aero says:

    Brek Shea is the offensive Bornstein.

    • SJ says:

      Shea could be the next Adu

    • usaalltheway says:

      What??? I can’t believe you said that.

      He was the best player on the pitch yesterday.

      He has proven time and time again that he is the perfect super-sub; he comes on and GOES FOR THE THROAT every time. It doesn’t always work but it has worked more than a few times, directly leading to goals.

      He attacks and attacks and if very, very fast. He is left-footed and brings that certain, “I don’t care who you are” attitude that the USMNT is in desperate need of.

      He needs to be there for that super sub role. He fits it to a T. Show some respect.

      In fact, he SHOULD have had an assist yesterday. The Iceman just blow it wide.

  39. Chris H says:

    My opinion on what the actual full strength line up should be:

    Run a 4-4-1-1 with the lower striker able to drop and switch with CAM


    Diamond midfield


    Defense (remember I said full strength)


    My main question is whether Brooks can be better than Gonzo (who I am ok with). If Cherundolo is out then it depends on the team we play, if we are playing against speed I want Chandler (providing he makes up with the team) so he can use his wheels, if we are playing against a more tactical, I’m ok with Evans (maybe Cameron) because I like his decisions most of the time.

    I realize this leaves out Jones, but I think Bradley can be more disciplined and consistent in Dmid spot.
    Deuce seems better when he isn’t too high up on the line where he is constantly getting hacked down (having to dive to save possession).

    At 65 minutes I would likely sub out Dempsey for someone like Mix or Jones (depending on the situation).
    If AJ is ineffective then I would sub him out for Bedoya and move Landy up top with Jozy.

    I just feel like the Bradley/Jones combo gets too bunkered in and when teams high press we don’t have enough spread to punish teams. My focus would be possession with enough speed spread out to cause damage. Today’s game was a good example of not having enough speed to stretch the defense. None of our CMs were quick, and Bedoya is not enough and EJ was… well, bad! Jozy has always seemed to work best when he has had a striker who helps stretch the D with speed.

    GK: Howard, Guzan, Rimando
    D: Cherundolo, Evans, Chandler, Beasley, Besler, Gonzo, Cameron, Brooks
    M: Bradley, Dempsey, Donovan, Fabian, Mix, Jones, Bedoya, Zusi,
    F: Jozy, AJ, EJ, Herculez

    Maybes: Boyd, Corona, Shea, Lichaj, Holden, Castillo, Beckerman, Sasha, I’m sure I’m forgetting someone (Wondow)

    • MikeG says:

      swap landycakes with Deuce. Landycakes will make the defense drop back and that can help the US with possession as well as Landycakes distributing would help with the final third.

      • Chris H says:

        True, but Deuce won’t help back much on defense in my opinion. Landy has traditionally been much better at tracking back.

  40. MikeG says:

    I would like to see Lichaj get more time with the national team. More time to get involved with the system and team under game conditions. I have not ruled good or bad..still neutral on the guy..not enough to grade him only on one game after such a longtime away. Hope he plays against Austria. I like his speed..would like to see him combine with other players and make shorter passes.

    • biff says:

      Yeah, we didn’t learn a whole lot about Lichaj from that brief appearance. He did appear much stronger defensively than Evans, with the Scottish players now willing to take him on one-on-one. But a couple of his passes were directed directly to nearby Scottish defenders, on a a yard or two away from him. Could not figure out what he was trying to do. But no harm was done, as Lichaj quickly recovered the ball each time.

    • usaalltheway says:

      Totally agree.

      The verdict is still out on whether he is good or bad. However, there is no question that he is a player that could fill a role that the team desperately needs. We are awful thin at both left and right back and he has shown that he can and does play both very well at the club level.

      The Brad Evans experiment needs to end. Enough already.

  41. biff says:

    On the day after that ugly game, am wondering whether Mike Magee would do better in the attacking position that Sacha was playing, or even as left or right winger.

    Other thought is why does Klinsmann keep wasting a slot brining in Terence Boyd. I like the kid he plays with heart but no way in heck would I trust him on the field in WC 2014 in Brazil and in the end don’t think Klinsmann will include him in 23-man roster. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to not bring in Boyd to this camp and move club forward and non-winger Eddie Johnson to the vacant forward slot and then bring in MLS MVP candidate and top scorerer and club attacking midfielder/winger Mike Magee for a test?

    Don’t want to exaggerate the overall awful performances of a meaningless friendly, and it is possible the guys were simply experiencing a let-down after the adrenaline of Hex WC qualifying, but Klinsmann’s continued tinkering and love of playing players out of position and questionable roster decisions are mildly worrisome.

    • Dirk McQuigley says:

      I’m not sure Boyd is going to Brazil. If Herc. gets healthy and in form, I don’t think there is any question he makes the team. Sure, he doesn’t always score, but he works his ass off running the channels and coming back and playing defense. As for Boyd, does Magee have an assist (game winner) in a WCQ? Boyd also assisted on Oroszco’s goal at Azteca in ’12. Last year was probably a career year for Magee. IMO he is less deserving of a spot than Wando. Yes, even with his limited skill set, he’s more valuable. IMO, the MNT is better served w/ guys like Bruin, McInerny (sp?), Villareal, etc. A relatively old guy who is going to take a roster spot — yes even for camp or friendlies — shouldn’t be in either the short or long term plans for US Soccer.

      • biff says:

        Too bad Mike Magee is not younger like 32-year-old Brad Davis, who Klinsmann brought into the mix and now stands a decent chance of making the WC 2014 roster…..:-)

        But seriously, it’s also hard for Magee to have an assist (or goal) for the USMNT if he is not playing for the USMNT. I could be wrong about this, but I seriously doubt that even Messie or CR7 would have any assists or goals for their national teams if they had not played.

  42. Should Bacon II should have scored? Yeah. But it was nice seeing him buzz around and gererally had a positive impact. It’s nice to have a forward we can throw on that adds a different dimension than Altidore and EJ.

    • usaalltheway says:

      The things that must impressed me about him was how he harassed the hell out of defenders. He literally was all over people, almost to the point where you might think he needs a booty call.

      He would lose the ball and then be hip to hip, shoulder to shoulder on the guy pushing him around until the defender passed in or lost it back to the Iceman.

      He seems HUNGRY and willing to get it done. And given that he is rather skinny and not very tall is impressive. I would love to see him start.

      Jozy needs to step it up or lose his spot to him, at least for the next friendly. Enough already! You are a multi-million dollar athlete playing in the best league in the world. Enough getting pushed around, losing the ball and not scoring. Enough with the drama and being upset. Get over yourself and score. You are a big, fast, tall man and have all the skills you need. Get your head in the game and out of your arse.

    • Dirk McQuigley says:

      I think he would have scored when he faked the guy out on the wing and cut inside the box but he laid the ball off to the 18 when he could have snuck one inside the near post.

  43. Brain Guy says:

    Shea is like a lefty relief pitcher. You don’t start him because he has limitations and opponents begin to figure him out. But in the right situation he brings some unique skills. Both are late-game situational subs who may not be as good overall as many others, but who offer something special in their moments.

  44. Clover362 says:

    I thought the game did show one important thing. There is a reason Shea is always going to get a serious look to be on this team regardless of his club status/form. At the end of the day Shea provides something that really no one else in the pool has demonstrated, an ability to beat defenders to the end line and send in dangerous crosses into the box even if he has little or no seperation from the defender. There is a place in this system and this team for a player who can do that and I think Shea will make the team as an attacki g sub in games the us is tied or trailing in.

  45. Krunch says:

    Everyone agrees that the last 20 min was our most dangerous period of the game. That was the only time of the game that we got the ball out of the defensive third. I don’t think Jozy had a great game but think about his chances( a little unlucky on 2 of them) and the way he held the ball for the most part, no other forward we have can do that. AJ looked great and hungry. I’m excited to see him coming off the bench in Brazil. One more comment. Whenever Cameron moved up good things happen. I still think he should play in Jones’s spot.

  46. ATX_Colin says:

    Well in regards Fletcher starting over Jozy for Sunderland, he was the better of the two forwards yesterday.

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