USMNT flops in friendly loss to Ukraine

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The U.S. Men’s National Team might have wished Wednesday’s friendly with Ukraine was canceled after all.

In a lackluster performance — highlighted by the disastrous center back pairing of Oguchi Onyewu and John Brooks — Ukraine jumped all over the USMNT in a 2-0 victory at Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium in Larnaca, Cyprus.

For Ukraine, the highest-ranked team not to qualify for this summer’s World Cup, goals by rising star Andriy Yarmolenko and Marko Devic on both sides of halftime gave the Eastern European country something to cheer for after being wracked by weeks of violence and political turmoil. The protest-fueled violence led to the relocation of the game from its original location of Kharkiv, leading to doubts that the game would be played at all.

The USMNT lineup of mostly European-based players was largely punchless on the evening, with their best chance at a goal perhaps coming on a beautifully struck volley by second-half substitute Aaron Johannsson off an 87th-minute corner kick.

The U.S. defense struggled mightily, with Edgar Castillo, Onyewu and Brooks all having forgettable performances.

It didn’t take long for Ukraine to exploit the gaps present all across the USMNT back line. In the 12th minute Denys Garmash made a late run out of the midfield and easily broke the USMNT’s high line, collecting a long ball before firing on goal. Howard made the initial stop but without much help from his defenders, Garmash found Yarmolenko who finished into an open net.

Yarmolenko continued to torment the U.S. defense as he zigged and zagged his way past Castillo and Brooks on the right side of the field with quick passes and intelligent runs. The Ukrainians might have been denied a fair goal in the 16th minute when Garmash was ruled back for being offside. Video replay showed him level with the last defender though as the U.S. were slow to leave the box off a corner.

The U.S. were able to break in down the left side in the 32nd minute when Fabian Johnson found Castillo in space, but the Tijuana left back couldn’t find a teammate with a cross. The U.S. had two further chances before halftime but a free kick couldn’t find an American head and a corner kick was eventually headed over the bar.

Following the halftime break, the USMNT came closest to scoring in the 55th minute when Jozy Altidore fired a header from a Geoff Cameron cross just over the bar. Though the U.S. began to improve and were showing a few more positive signs, Ukraine struck again through the middle of the field to destroy the USMNT’s hopes.

In the 68th minute, the substitute Devic ran through the heart of the field, latched on to a long ball, and similarly to the first goal, had multiple attempts to finish, doing so with hardly any USMNT defenders in the area.

From this point on, the U.S. never threatened Ukraine’s goal outside of an impressive volley attempt from Johannsson off a corner kick in the 87th minute. Ukrainian wing back Oleh Gusev was able to clear the shot off the line.


What do you think of the U.S. team’s dismal performance? Who were you most disappointed with? Who were you impressed with?

Share your thoughts below.

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448 Responses to USMNT flops in friendly loss to Ukraine

  1. Brad says:

    It wasn’t even that they lost, but how they looked in and during the loss. What a lack of heart.

    • Ted Tran says:

      And class.

      • USMNT Fan says:

        The overwhelming trend is that an opponents through pass between the CBs leads to good chances against slow and lumbering defenders. We are better served playing CAMERON-BESLER tandem. CBs that are calm in possession, quick to recover and know the midfielder position to react to BRADLEY-JONES errors.

        • Eurosnob says:

          It was not just the lack of speed, but also positioning mistakes. I agree that Cameron-Besler would be our best CB pairing, but I think Klinsi will use Cameron as a RB and use Besler-Gonzo as CBs.

        • danny says:

          Nobody should be surprised that we gave up 2 goals. Starting Brooks and Onyewu as our CBs is just a disaster and everyone should know that ahead of time. The real disappointment should be not scoring or creating enough chances.

          • Philly Union Used to Rule says:

            +1 Onyewu passes to two people. Howard, and Howard

            • bryan says:

              looking at his passing distribution on Chalkboard is hilarious.

            • Tim Riggins says:

              I think you mean Howard and the ball boy

            • AMPhibian says:

              He passed it to Dempsey like three times in a row, when he was in the opponent’s half, but Dempsey kept one touching it to him, and eventually, Gooch kicked it out of bounds. A good example of both their games tonight: Gooch looked rusty, Demps looked lacking confidence.

              • Alecko says:

                watch Gooch on the second goal. He falls down. Brooks is caught in no man’s land. Gooch JOGS back. Closes down from behind in slo-mo. And watches the goal. Frightening lack of determination.

          • Stuart says:

            Who would u have played instead? Will packwood? The only other defender, tim ream, left the squad before the game

            • danny says:

              Good point. I don’t know who Will Packwood is, but maybe. I would have called in other players from North America. Pick best 22-26 year old MLS centerback not named Besler or Gonzales, or someone playing in Mexico.

            • Beckster says:

              Will Packwood would have been better than Brooks and complemented Gouch better in my opinion.

          • The Imperative Voice says:

            On Brooks and Gooch the benefit is they got their tryout in March and blew it and I wouldn’t even waste the camp call on them. Brooks should maybe get called to camp to go through the motions before cutting him so he doesn’t go AWOL.

            I felt like Castillo was the bigger waste because it was basically reproving the summer lesson.

            And I didn’t think Cameron played that well either…..just not pitifully bad like the rest.

            In terms of scoring, I think the combination of B side and players needing matches showed. Kljestan rarely played a ball forward, Jozy looked lazy, and there just weren’t incisive enough of services or passes. Reminded me of the Early Klinsi period where there was lots of possession but not enough real chances and virtuosity. But a lot of these guys will be on the bench or cut.

            • Birgit Calhoun says:

              Its not the pairing that matters. It’s that each player needs to know what to do even without communication. That comes with a lot of paying and knowledge wa anther playr can do.

              • The Imperative Voice says:

                I disagree, I thought the problem was you had 3 poor defenders, 2 of whom are immobile. Communication and positioning was their only hope, but from what I’ve seen from them lately, it was naive to hope they played well.

                If you put some more athletic backs in there they can’t try the same runs. The supposed need for communication dissipates. More mobile backs can recover from their own mistakes and don’t need to have perfect offside trap timing or positioning or communication to try and cover their weaknesses.

              • Matt says:

                Your delusional to refer to brooks as being “immobile.” I will be the first to agree that he struggled like hell, but to call him immobile is simply an asinine statement . Can you tell me one time in which he was ‘beat for pace?’ Certainly not on the first goal, which if you had any knowledge of soccer, would surely recognize. His mistake was positioning and failure to identify with the runner. If you had watched the game you would have seen that JAB actually showed some good pace. Particularly in the multiple times that he was forced to cover for Castillo’s defending and positional deficiencies.

              • The Imperative Voice says:

                When people repeatedly run by you on breakaways, one might humbly suggest you have a pace problem. Or should they have waited up for him and run the race by IAAF track sprinting rules, blocks, gun, etc.? Ukraine clearly thought they could take advantage of our lack of speed.

              • DWE4 says:

                The back line failed on a multitude of fronts: poor positioning, poor communication, slow though processes, and lack of pace. The least problematic of these is pace. Puyol isn’t fast. Bocanegra was never accused of being fast. Back in the day, Carlos Llamosa was very good for the US, and I’m pretty sure he was the slowest person on the field (including the linesmen) every time he stepped on the pitch.

                Speed of thought and the ability to read and anticipate situations are critical. There were so many tactical flaws and execution flaws between Gooch and Brooks. They were out of their element. It’s alarming, but this was the best game for Klinsman and his staff to discover that.

            • The Garrincha says:

              Good insight Imperative Voice.

              • The Garrincha says:

                although Brooks has a lot of promise, most likely for next cycle.
                Sad to see Gooch is done, his injuries have left him immobile, makes him tentative. unable to make that split second last push for a stop.
                Thank you Gooch for all your USMNT service.

    • slowleftarm says:

      Generally, I’d say that when people claim players lack “heart” it’s because they don’t actually understand what’s going on.

      • Brad says:

        Read my other posts before you start trolling Slow. And if you had any experience playing soccer, or any sports, you would recognize the half-baked effort out on the field.

        • Byrdman says:

          As a rule I always stand on the opposite side of issues with Slow, but in this case, he is right. Who are you to judge the heart of a player on the other side of the world you watched on TV.?

        • slowleftarm says:

          I have plenty of experience playing soccer and I didn’t see the game because I was working. Just stating my opinion based on my general experience.

      • AMPhibian says:

        saying a performance lacked heart is not a dumb thing to say. to me, it’s saying that the performance wasn’t fully committed, or lacked passion. now, i don’t agree that we lacked heart, i thought we hustled as much as they did. they might have had a little more to play for as a team, with just missing the world cup, and everything that’s going on with their country, but i feel the loss is mostly to blame on them being better than us. with these squads, they had at least the two most talented/in form attackers, and better team chemistry.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I think no Bradley or Mixx hurt because it then became a more defensive contest for us and we had a defense that needed to be hidden. It’s probably just as well this got exposed now but I think from a competitive standpoint it hurt to transition from people who set people up going forward, to aimless possession types and lots of backpassing.

    • Dennis says:

      Mostly, this game was about answering some questions about who would be the backups to the starters in Brazil. What we found is no good answer at CB. Castillo did not help his case at LB. Bedoya did make a case to start over Zusi. Cameron probably moved ut to starter at RB (if you thought Evans was the starter before this game). The “spine” of the team did not have the best of games; Bradley was missing, Dempsey and Altidore struggled and Jones, while he displayed the toughness he is known for did not exactly rule the midfield. FJ was OK, but he did not really overwhelm his opposition and remains a likely backup at LM and is possible starter at LB. AJ looked good, and will go to Brazil, but it is not clear where he fits in in JK’s formation, he is probably in direct competition with Dempsey, Donavon or EJ for starting as the withdrawn forward or as a replacement if they cannot go, he did nothing to change that. I think for AJ to start he would have to simply outclass one of the “old guard” during the May camp.

      From the perspective of the team, I thought the central defense, both backs and midfielders, had poor games, even Jones who did his usual tough guy defending got lost a couple times and he is not one who often makes great passes to spring an attack. It is hard to separate many of the other things out due to the defensive failures. Dempsey had to track too far back to get involved and Altidore was getting the ball only when he had 3 (or more) defenders to deal with. Jozy did make a couple nice passes out wide to relieve that pressure, but he also misplayed more balls than I would like to see. Bedoya probably had the better of it compared to FJ, but he had Cameron to support him while FJ did not enjoy the same safe support from Castillo (while Castillo did get forward, LBs need to defend first).

  2. Hussman says:

    Looks like all that resting Altidore did with Sunderland didn’t help at all.
    He still can’t perform the most basic of soccer moves.

    • Ralph says:

      Think his performance and touch indicated quite why Poyet dropped him from the gameday squad.

    • QuakerOtis says:

      Silver lining: I won’t be waking up at the a** crack of dawn to watch Sunderland anymore.

      • USMNT Fan says:

        I know Ives is a massive supporter of JOZY, but hopefully KLINSMANN will judge his performances over the stretch of six months and make the correct call. In just a short time JOHANNSSON was able to put a shot on goal and he understood that at the international level there isn’t always time to collect the ball so he hits it first time. That’s quality that we desperately need.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          Yeah but he’s really more the Dempsey/Donovan type who plays off the 9. He’s too tiny to be the center striker unless you’re just going to give up on that and try two running forwards (which you might have to start considering if he looks this feckless…..people forget he got shoved aside as 2010 South Africa came to pass).

          The Jozy Problem is from a tactical standpoint it would be better to replace like with like and there is no Target Option ready in alternative. Boyd is not ready. EJ is as sloppy. The other options are more like speed strikers.

          • Scweeb says:

            You could always give Boyd a shot! He is a hold up striker who is on form. Why JK hasn’t given him a shot by now is beyond me.

            • The Imperative Voice says:

              I think Jozy’s form has generally been so poor it’s worth a shot, and I’m also not a fan of putting all your eggs in a basket.

              I also think we should be looking at a two forward alignment — which itself would deemphasize Jozy — because it simply seems to be what has worked this cycle. How many games have we won the last two years only after the sub and formation adjustments get made? Right up to AJ and the Panama comeback.

              • rorschach says:

                i’m with you on the eggs in one basket. now would be the time to try out a plan b. I would like to see AJ given more time and even if at Jozy’s expense and playing to the in form striker. with all of the player assessments, I’ve seen little comment on Klinsmann’s performance, which I thought lacked the tactical response that it needed, but it may have been due to wanting to see what the players would do.

        • I concur, Johannshon showed a lot more comsure on the bnall and decisiveness than Jozzy. Dempsey tried but he wasnot at his at mhis best either. The worse of all was our two cnter full backs. They were simply inept.

      • Matthew says:


    • Hogatroge says:

      Yet Klinsmann didn’t find a way to get Boyd any minutes and Agudelo only a handful.

      Yes, I know he saw them all in practice and made his decision, but we know Jozy will be in the 30 man pre-WC roster 100%. Why not let the other guys get a look? At least they’re scoring.

      • Hussman says:

        At this point Altidore needs to stay on the field as long as possible to help him work himself out of that funk he’s been on. Looking at his situation with Sunderland it seems like the only PT he’ll get between now and the WC is with the national team.

        • slowleftarm says:

          He played most of the league games prior to the cup final.

          • UclaBruinGreat says:

            He clearly wrote “seems like the only PT he’ll get BETWEEN NOW AND THE WC…”

            • slowleftarm says:

              Right, except that based on the fact he was playing regularly before the cup final, why won’t he get any PT from now to the end of the season? Has Poyet said he’s benched for good?

          • The Imperative Voice says:

            The cup final for a team this bad was the Match That Mattered. Sunderland also remains in a relegation position where I think the rubber hits the road in terms of side selection. Poyet has CYA’d in terms of man management by saying he cares but I’d pay more attention to his actions, ie, does Jozy play, is he transferred out when it’s all over.

        • Don says:

          I’m sorry but he has had way more shots than anyone at his position and If JK insists of playing the single forward and that single forward is Altadore…. we will not score at the WC. JK needs to sit him down and try something else. This is not working at all

          • Paul Miller says:

            In a lot of 4-2-3-1 schemes, the so-called striker really isn’t expected to be the scorer. They only call it striker because that’s easier than saying ‘the guy who keeps defenders honest while playing back to goal and laying off balls to midfielders.’

            Only in England is that not understood.

            • Chris H says:

              And maybe Paul, therein lies our problem with Jozy. He doesn’t pester the defenders to keep them honest, he half jogs at them and tonight his layoffs to others were very poor. I agree it’s mostly a confidence issue, but I also think it was a wasted opportunity that could have been used to try a different formation that would actually create some fluid attacking options.

              • Paul Miller says:

                Well, I missed the game, but the problem with Altidore is I can too easily visualize what your describing.

            • The Imperative Voice says:

              Our quality tends to pick up when Klinsi transitions out of his 451 into a 442 and either sidelines Jozy or gets him a partner. How many games have we come back in the second half? Even going back to Gold Cup.

              You want to go down with the lone striker ship — particularly one spot playing and not scoring — have at it. My experience watching us is that what works is combo play, including getting someone up there under Jozy for him to work with. I don’t think he has the back to goal chops to play alone.

              England hasn’t rubbed off on him.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          At what point does it become doubling down, in gambling terms? We shouldn’t be going home wearing a barrel because Jozy got too many chances and we never considered Plan B.

          I’d have given Boyd 45 because you know Jozy is off form but will make the 23 regardless of how bad he plays. I’m not sure Boyd is ready but if Jozy looks this bad then maybe you give Boyd the chance to underline that it’s Jozy’s problem and not just us being generally overmatched.

  3. ROP says:

    I think Jozy and Clint are real issues going into the World Cup. Neither is playing well and both are long term starters for the USA and part of the “spine.” I am very worried that JK has invested so much in them that he can’t bench them. They may not be his best options at this point though.

    • bbstl says:

      Before the game, I thought that Jozy and Clint were actually going to be good at the World Cup. But after watching that, I don’t know what it is with them. They seem completely disinterested and, Clint especially, scares the crap of of me when he is in the lineup.

      • USMNT Fan says:

        For forwards confidence is the key, but they haven’t seen enough goals lately. You can see the frustration in their play (DEMPSEY and JOZY), demeanor (JOZY) and poor sportsmanship (DEMPSEY). It’s unlikely that a captain be benched heading into the World Cup, but JOZYs position may be up for grabs. Enter JOHANNSSON.


        • bbstl says:

          I’m also wondering if we don’t see the 4-4-2. We looked much better in that formation once Johannsson came on.

        • MJC-DC says:

          That’s never going to happen. Johannsson is not a target striker. You’ve got a much better chance of Dempsey leading the line then Bacon.

    • Gary Page says:

      Anybody see some of the Austria vs. Uruguay game? Suarez had a break in alone on the GK and shot it straight at him for an easy save. What a lousy striker, they shouldn’t even bring him to the WC. A little over the top sarcasm. I’m not comparing Suarez to Dempsey or Altidore, but I keep saying we shouldn’t jump to conclusions yet. The whole US team looked poor and its hard to play well when your teammates aren’t doing their jobs. I’m as disappointed as anyone in this game, but it doesn’t mean we give up on the team.

      • Ben says:

        No one is giving up, but I think people are right to be a bit concerned. It’s not like fringe players or even just a starter is looking poor; it’s two of our best players, and our two best offensive weapons.

    • asfa says:

      I agree completely. I think Dempsey and Altidore should be replaced by Donovan and Johannsson. I know it would be psychologically difficult for many, but the enthusiasm for US soccer in general would take a big hit if they finished last in the World Cup again. Spain or Germany wouldn’t hesitate to bench their “stars” if they were performing so lamely game after game after game. USMNT is fortunate to actually have options up front this time out – use them, please.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Clint looked bad but the difference you can hope for is that he will go play for Seattle and he has more of a running game and maybe with a little fitness he finds sharpness. But Jozy is not an effort player, he’s a streaky poacher, and I’m worried that his current club situation has basically made his bed. He might do well to get loaned someplace if Poyet has lost faith.

    • Dennis says:

      I think you are right. If JK wants to replace those two, especially Altidore, without changing the style of play, Boyd and AJ (or Donavon) would likely be the replacements. Other than that, I think it would be required to change the style of play for instance either to more of a counter-attacking setup or or one based on wing play, if (big if) wings can be found (Zusi, Donavon, Shea, ?) to serve in crosses to EJ, Wondo, or ?.

      I think it is kind of late in the process to make that kind of style change and it would be a desparation move. I think JK will use what he has set in motion so far. So Altidore and Dempsey simply must do better.

  4. Shark says:

    Please God let the Jermaine Jones ‘experiment’ end…..and while we are at it enough of Edgar Castillo too…..

    • Ralph says:

      How is anyone disparaging Jones?!?!

      He was our best player by a long shot.

      • Increase0 says:

        No Joke why is bagging on Jones this game? He actually prolly had the best game on team.(Howard was good too.) He did his job and he did it well. He isn’t supposed to mark strikers…..

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          I think this game was lost when Bradley stayed home with a painful zit or whatever TFC’s excuse was. Kljestan looked poor and the other mids were anonymous.

          Jones did his job but in Bradley’s absence (as well as Mixx’s, who probably gained by comparison) the central midfield looked punchless. Maybe one good ball forward to Dempsey where the keeper stuffed it. But blaming that on the DM is silly.

      • bryan says:

        i certainly don’t think JJ had a bad game. he’s always the scapegoat. but neither him or Kljestan tracked back on that 1st goal.

        but i agree, JJ was not the problem. his pass almost set up Dempsey.

        • Hogatroge says:

          Kljestan was a void the 1st half and was lucky to not get pulled. He showed OK after the break until he was pulled.

          Jones was average in first half and our best player in the 2nd.

      • JH says:

        I disagree as Jones was the best U.S. player in the game. Yes on Castillo. On the first goal he was ball watching when the goal scorer (first goal) ran past him. Castillo didn’t start to move until the guy was several (like 5-10) yards past him and about to receive the ball to score.

      • Rick says:


    • arsenal says:

      Jones was the best player out there, by far. Castillo, I agree, but Jones was and has been fantastic. What needs to end is Kljestan being called in.

    • dan murphy says:

      AGREEEEEDDDD! jones is terrible, Cameron and Bradley middle please!

    • Dc says:

      Blaming anything on Jones is just ridiculous. He had a solid game. A few bad touches, sure, but we are not Spain.

    • MiamiAl says:

      The Jones Experiment??? LOL. He’s one of our best players.

    • Kyuui-Musikq says:

      Edgar Castillo was one of the most demanding attacking presences the US had out their tonight. You don’t know what your looking at if you don’t see all the positives he brings to the table with his game. How many times was he fouled and earned one few number of set pieces we had tonight?

      Having the technical ability to operate in tight spaces and the making difficult successful dynamic plays or being able to cut into the midfield from his position and land nutmegs on everyone is something that he does unheralded, yet still better then some of our best midfield players

      • MaxRecline says:

        The current game plan for Ghana, Portugal, & Germany = dribble around whatever traffic cone we put at left back and make sure goal difference doesn’t keep them from advancing out of the group.

        If FJ isn’t playing left back in these games, we are going to be reliving france ’98.

        • Kyuui-Musikq says:

          If that’s the case, then FJ should start. But having Castilo is a great option to have to come on late to push forward for a goal. He created better some of our other winger options

        • Paul Miller says:

          Agree completely. JK has got to get away from this idea of using Johnson in the midfield. He’s the strongest LB (maybe ever for this team), while we do have other comparable options for wingers.

          Put the absolute best four we can on that back line – save the creative impulses for the rest of the field, or Brazil will be the longest 270 minutes of three short games we’ve had in a while.

        • Dennis says:

          or Germany 2006

      • Gary Page says:

        What he gives us on the attack is outweighed by his defensive liabilities, IMO. Last t8ime I saw him in League MX his defense was okay, but it’s clear it’s not up to international standards.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        Are you kidding? He can’t defend. They routinely worked the ball up his side to create dangerous chances. I didn”t see the attacking upside you are suggesting…..until Shea came in.

        We are playing Germany, Ghana, and Portugal. You do not stick red meat out there like that, even if you push him to mid.

      • Brian says:

        Castillo was repeatedly burned all game. He proved he can’t defend at this level. Easily one of our worst players along with Sacha today

      • Dennis says:

        Yes, he got forward, but a LB’s first job is to defend well and he did not do that.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          I think if he was even passably decent at the prime directive you could weigh the cost-benefit of a defender with attacking ability but defensive vulnerability. But he is so obviously vulnerable that it would have to pop out on tape and if he ever played teams would go after him. I mean, people don’t just fake him out, they blow right past him.

  5. Ralph says:

    Jones was our best player.

    I think Brooks does much better when he’s not having to cover Castillo and Onyewu.

    Kjlestan was really poor.

    Dempsey embarrassed all of us and the crest with his performance and those antics.

    Jozy needed to finish the open header Cameron set him up for. It was a gimmie.

    Johannson, Johnson, Bedoya and

    • Brad says:

      Ralph, we are all excited about Brooks, but it could not have been more clear that he is still a year or two away from making an impact on the international team.

      • Gerard D. says:

        That’s probably fair.

        He’s still 20 years old, and in the centerback world that’s a wee youngster.

      • Chris H says:

        Agreed, when Brooks had the ball he distributed nicely, but he was waayyyyy out of position too many times, not ready for the big time YET.

    • bryan says:

      agree with everything. but i think Brooks is just too young and his HB coach was not joking about JAB not being a mature player.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Brooks can win headers right now. Other than that he is tactically naive and not up to task. The only question is do you put him in the camp/23 to keep him committed or do you judge him objectively as a liability and call in someone less presently hopeless.

  6. RF says:

    Bradley, Mix, and Reams stock all rose, just for skipping this game.

    • malkin says:

      Bradley’s stock is valued somewhere along the lines of Google + Tesla + Apple + Berkshire Hathaway, and that has nothing to do with this game. We are a completely different team without him, and we have been for years.

    • Landy Cakes says:

      Or do we blame them for the disaster?

      • Philly Union Used to Rule says:

        +1 You can Never blame the players that are not there. without Bradley, we lack vision out of a crowded midfield.

        • Ronniet says:

          please stop acting like Bradley is a saint and can do no wrong, because he is not smh….there have been may games where all Bradley has done is pass the ball backwards, and lose possession so he is not exempt from getting criticized! JJ struggled slightly in the first half because in my opinion he is short of match fitness, but he was spraying balls left and right, on point I might add and that pass to Dempsey was world class! Jozy was horrible, Dempsey looks disinterested and chills way too much and I thought gooch played pretty well to be honest! He was never caught out of position, except on the last goal when he slipped but the middies didn’t track back at all to help cover and JAB was constantly out of position which quite frankly made gooch look bad!

    • away goals says:

      Goodson basically entered lock status today as well.

  7. dude1 says:

    There are two reasons I’m OK with this.

    1) Ukraine, the country, needed a win, their players gave it to them.

    2) we found out what players shouldn’t be on the plane, and which shoudln’t be on the field. Castillo is the latter, maybe even the former too. Klejstan and Gooch shouldn’t be on the plain.

    On the bright side, this was a much more calm and controlled performance from Jones. His long passes were excellent. It remains to be seen if he’s ready to really partner with Bradley but good things.

    Also, Zusi, Donovan, Bradley, and Besler need to be there for this team to be competitive against quality sides.

    • Hogatroge says:


      I do, however, think Zusi isn’t a like-replacement for Bedoya. I think Zusi needs to be on the right side of midfield and Bedoya needs to be in the spot Clint was last night (which is where he plays for Nantes).

    • Ali Dia says:

      Exactly. This was an opportunity for guys to show why they DON’T belong in Brazil just as much as those who do. A number grabbed the former with both hands. Howard also probably put to bed any remaining questions about whether Guzan should be moved in front.

      The loss is ho-hum because many problems can be addressed with the selection of first-choice players. Also, France took its first choice away against this team and lost by the same scoreline in the playoffs, so it’s not an epic disaster.

      A lot of people seem to think Jozy and Dempsey are the biggest causes for concern. Certainly, we’d like to see better, but having MB on the pitch along with Dempsey/Zusi will help the attack significantly.

      For me, the real alarms are still at the back. I didn’t expect much out of the Gooch/Brooks pairing, but this was really terrible and more than just a lack of experience playing together. Gooch is just a bit too old/slow now, and I can’t get comfortable with John Anthony Boumsong in the least for this summer. He would be directly liable for multiple goals, I have no doubt. Let’ reopen his case for Russia 2018 but playing him this summer would be a disservice to all involved.

      Right now we have a few options… most agree Besler is in a position for one of the two, but we need to find out who the first choice tandem and very, very soon.

      • Paul Miller says:

        Gonzo. He’s improved over the course of his caps, and besides it’s not like there’s anyone else right now.

        • Ali Dia says:

          I would say he and Goodson are the only ones to state a case for the positive recently. Gonz has more upside and should really be moving into the “automatic selection” category by this point in his career but the lapses, while nowhere near JAB frequency, still inspire some worry.

    • The Garrincha says:

      Dude1, +10 for Pele.

  8. bill says:

    ROP is right. worried about Clint and Jozy in the run up to the WC. are they so out of form, particularly Dempsey, that you start looking elsewhere in a hurry?

    But, anyone who did not see a lopsided loss for this fixture, was not be realistic.

    • jones says:

      yes, Dempsey and Altidore have a ways to go to get it back and I sure hope they do.

      However I am also concerned about our captain’s behavior. I like Clint as a player and as a person but think he is too prone to hotheadedness to serve as our captain, especially when stakes/tensions will be much higher in Brazil. We need someone who is can maintain composure and levelheadedness in the worst of times.

      • jones says:

        I’ll add that even Jones, who tends to foul irresponsibly, shows more composed behavior/fewer outbursts as far as I’ve seen

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          Jones surely realizes he is in for his One Shot. The shin problem cost him South Africa and by Russia he’ll be too old. He has every incentive to mind his ps and qs until we arrive in Brazil. Then all bets are off.

  9. Joe B NYC says:

    I think we can all say this loss wasn’t all Jozy’s & Clint’s fault. I can say that Brooks and Onyewu aren’t going to Brazil…

  10. cabrito says:

    Many scoffed at me when I questioned why Dempsey was a “lock” on many lists for the final 23 for Brazil, including the SBI 23, last week. Please defend your reasoning today…..

    • Landy Cakes says:

      he’s still a lock. he can’t play badly enough for a long enough period of time to undue the goals he scored last year and the year before.

      I want Mike Magee in Brazil. I want a 4-4-2 with Magee and AJ Up top.

    • Dc says:

      I think people are just hoping he hits his stride at the WC. The old Clint we know and love. He can come back. I don’t think there is any way he deserves a starting spot just based on this year’s performances.

      • Petro4ever says:

        I don’t think this performance is enough to put him in doubt for the final 23. I think it’s reasonable to ask, however, whether Dempsey is a starter and 90-minute player at this level anymore. The trouble is, we are dangerously close to the World Cup, Clint is our captain, and a number of our other options to play underneath a lone striker are either too young (Johannson), too inconsistent in the CAM role (Donovan, Diskerud), or haven’t played the position for the national team (Bedoya, Agudelo).

        If Dempsey doesn’t recover his form to start the MLS season, I’d consider shifting Donovan to the center and flanking him with Fabian Johnson on the left and Johannson on the right. But to a certain extent, all of these alternate line-ups for our front 4 (playing Clint or Aaron or Donovan in the hole, swapping out Altidore for Boyd or Agudelo) are really just shifting deck chairs on the Titanic. Our best combination in the attack is simply playing like crap right now and any boost in energy that you get from making switches is negated by a trade-off in terms of quality.

        Happy Wednesday!

        • Paul Miller says:

          Donovan on the right, Dempsey on the left. Dempsey will float in toward the middle than will Donovan, who likes his space. FJ can fill any gaps out of LB for when Dempsey does float. Then you get all the advantages of what JK is trying to do without letting the other team orient toward that. The only question is who plays CAM. Maybe Mix. Whoever it is will have help because Bradley will be box to box and Dempsey will crowd anyway.

      • Gary Page says:

        Today he wasn’t playing his usual position or role. It looked to me like he was trying to be the MB type player along with a little Donovan–going back to help on D and trying to distribute on attack. Those are not the strengths of his game.

  11. hartley says:

    Lackluster kits. Lackluster performance.

  12. Keith says:

    Great day for MLS.

  13. argh says:

    just got home from work. forgeot my gate key so i spent 30 mins waiting for a neighbor to open it for me

    what happened? I need clips to see about the game. what went wrong?

    • Increase0 says:

      Centerbacks mostly. Both too slow mentally or physically. Sometimes both.

    • Hogatroge says:

      CB pairing totally inadequate for this level.

      Castillo playing too far up the pitch as usual.

      Poor finishing on limited chances. Jozy missing open header on goal when the momentum just began to swing in the USMNT’s direction.

      Complete void in midfield for 1st half (Kljestan’s fault, mostly)

  14. Godfrey Ingram says:

    Question: Why does Kjlestan keep getting called into the US team? He can’t connect a pass to save his life. He seems to play well for his club and then get the call, however he has never, ever, ever played well for the US in a top tier game, yet keeps getting an opportunity. Seriously he is no good at the international level.

    • bryan says:

      after this game, Kljestan is off the team.

    • Peppersteaks says:

      This is my first post ever on Ives. I just had to associate myself with your comment. Kjlestan should never be called in again. So many chances, so much evidence against him.

      • Chicagobanksy says:

        And for at least 6 mounts on this very site I read how Klinsmann was an idiot for not callin Sacha in. This is why he didn’t call him in!!! Homie is over rated.

    • Kodi says:

      But he is the only US player with the belief to regularly play in the champions league.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I think he was 3rd choice for this game behind Bradley and Mixx but their sick days forced his hand and left us Doomed From the Start.

      Since every lesson from this game seems to be negative, one can only hope that this silences the Central Kljestan calls. He got his chance and spent his time playing the ball backwards or giving it up.

  15. USMNT Fan says:


  16. bryan says:

    it was obvious there was no chemistry, especially between Gooch and Brooks. that was expected. but JAB and Gooch weren’t even communicating. what was JAB doing on that first goal? completely out of position and neither Jones or Kljestan tracked the run. truly awful.

    on the 2nd goal, it blows my mind that JAB and Gooch were just standing around. Goodson was secretly fist pumping back home while watching those two. Castillo reminded everyone he was not joking when he said he is not a good defender.

    Kljestan just gave up his seat to Brazil. Bedoya, the only bright spot outside of Howard, probably just booked his ticket. he was the only one doing anything or generating any offense.

    Dempsey and Jozy just not getting the job done, but they also didn’t have a ton to work with. Both should have done better with the chances they got though. AJ was a nice spark. Shea kind of was but tried to do too much. Cameron and FJ were both okay, hard to fault much with them. Cameron should have done much better on a lot of those crosses though.

    after this game, the Scotland game, and the Austria game, i’m not that optimistic. the South Korea game is irrelevant but i’m hoping for a much improved showing against Mexico. we need it.

    • Increase0 says:

      Castilo oddly wasn’t the problem but no he is not a good defender. He and Fabian did well the first 15 minutes but after that nothing.

    • Matt says:

      “Dempsey and Jozy just not getting the job done, but they also didn’t have a ton to work with. ”

      I’ve said that before too, but I’m ready to stop giving those guys breaks. If you’re the leaders on your team, you have to be the ones to make things happen.

      • bryan says:

        for sure. Jozy has to finish that cross Cameron sent him.

        • Gerard D. says:

          That was like a silver platter from Geoff. Unmarked header from the center of the six? Has to be in the net or at least on target.

        • Dc says:

          He has got to finish that, not because it was easy, but because all of Cameron’s other crosses went directly out of bounds or two a defender. That was his only chance.

          • bryan says:

            that is true. Cameron’s crosses were poor today.

            • Eurosnob says:

              On the other hand, Bedoya’s crosses from the standards were very good. He is the only player who improved his stock today. Jones and Cameron did not hurt their standing either.

          • beachbum says:


            not all bad in the assessment department when viewed from the perspective of guys playing their way on or off the team. lots of data today

            • Ali Dia says:

              This is why I need to scroll down before replying to comments. I just wasted 10 minutes of my life when bryan had already said it perfectly. Dead on, bud.

  17. Gerard D. says:

    Going to have to agree with Alexi Lalas. The question MUST be asked–does Clint Dempsey even make the 23 man roster for Brazil.

    “Clint Dempsey, I’m not even sure he’s in Cyprus right now”
    – Lalas

    • Herschel Skywalker says:

      Yeah, great idea. Why don we leave our best player home because he is in a slump? Maybe we should bring second and third rate MLS players just because they play together a lot, even if they don’t have the quality. We should be concentrating on getting our best players firing again rather than throwing our hands up and trying to promote Brad Evans and Kyle Be Kerman for the World Cup squad.

      • Gerard D. says:

        Slumps don’t last an entire season. Fact of the matter is that Clint Dempsey is not the same player he was at Fulham or even Tottenham.

        • Don says:

          Bingo… been saying that for a long time…. hes finished

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          But he has a running game where maybe he gets in shape and form and catches fire. Unlike Jozy who is running out of season to change his trajectory, Dempsey has plenty of soccer to play. I’d be more worried if he’s playing like this in May.

      • Dc says:

        Best player? Have you actually heard anyone say that since he signed with Seattle? No.

        • Herschel Skywalker says:

          Who do you think is better wise guy? A defensive midfielder or one of the other forwards who are not scoring? Or maybe you’re a supporter of the young kids with one or two years in the top flight of some second rate league? Which is it?

          • Ali Dia says:

            I will take the defensive midfielder. Next question.

          • UclaBruinGreat says:

            Donovan, Altidore, Iceman, Bradley are all EASILY better than Dempsey right now. There might be more players that you can add to that list.

            • Herschel Skywalker says:

              “Right now” being the qualifier. But Form is fallacy. The original comment had to do w/ who we should take to Brazil. Only an idiot would leave home CD, just because his form is low right now.

            • dman says:

              Considering Dempsey’s form over the past year……. I would add bedoya, zusi, howard, besler and Johansson to that list.

          • cps says:

            Dempsey will be on the plane but JK needs to drop him from the starting 11. This move is way overdue. I would have dropped him for his antics alone a long time ago. I can tolerate Dempsey’s stupidity much more when he’s playing well.

      • Ronniet says:

        Not our best player…..that would be Donovan sir!!!!

  18. USMNT Fan says:

    Williams continues to show well… He’s a more athletic and versatile Beckerman.

    • bryan says:


    • Hogatroge says:

      Should have started 2nd half w/ Jones. I know they’re both Dmids, but Sacha might as well have been a ghost the 1st half.

      • BKBOOGER says:

        SK was the worst I’ve ever seen in a US shirt. Soft would be the four letter word I would use to describe his playing style tonight.

        Williams to Reading was one of the most underrated YA moves last year. It’s clear consistent playing time has sharpened his game. Reading probably won’t get promoted but he is the only “yank” getting consistent on a competitive championship side.

      • Don says:

        Id just really like to know if JK picks the players or that boot licking, suck up that is always attached to his elbow. I find Martin extremely annoying

        • foooo says:

          Way to make ridiculous, childish assumptions.
          Do you know what goes on behind closed doors when JK and MV are talking shop? Do you have superpowers that enable you to know exactly how the two men work together when out of the public eye?
          Didn’t think so.

  19. Brain Guy says:

    As the TV guys said, JK was looking for answers, and he certainly got some, especially as regards the back line. I don’t think we’ll be seeing Gooch or Castillo again this year. JK also could not have liked Brooks’s terrible mistake at midfield that almost led to a goal.

    From what I saw, Altidore was again disappointing, particularly in his hold-up play. Johannsson looked much more active and dangerous. Dempsey was enigmatic and unfocused in what is becoming a distressingly familiar pattern.

    The MLS guys back home (Bradley, Donovan, Gonzo, Besler) and even Tim Ream may have gained ground just by standing still while others went backward.

    • Hogatroge says:

      I think Castillo gets another look in April, but it’s clear he’s not an international level defender. He actually showed some skill to get out of some tight spots, but only in the attack.

      IMO, he and Fabian should have switched to open the match. Maybe wouldn’t have made much of a difference, but if Castillo has any place in this squad it’s at LM, not LB.

  20. Colin in MT says:

    On the positive side, I thought Cameron looked really solid. Sure, some of his crosses were off the mark, but he got forward well, he makes smart forward passes, and his speed and athleticism allow him to recover well on defense.

    Although his performance could have been exaggerated by the poor performances of his defensive partners

    • Gerard D. says:

      He really has to work on those crosses… I think he hit the stands with two.

    • JD in Fl says:

      Cameron was not as effective as one would want in the offensive third, but solid in defense. How many Ukraine chances came down the right side? Seemed they went through the middle and down the left. Cameron gave us at least one good ball into Altidore, and kept things generally clean on his side of the defense. I think that’s a decent international performance.

    • Dennis says:

      Cameron was the best of the starting backs by a wide margin.

  21. downintexas says:

    With Bradley, LD and a better CB pairing we win this game.

    • Matt says:

      Without a war going on in their country, they’re even more focused and crush us. Come on, we can play the stupid “what if” game all day long, and what it comes down to is the players that were there should have been good enough to either win, or at least put in a non-embarrassing performance.

  22. Brad says:

    So we lost…I can deal with that.

    It has occurred to me, that we may not find the net in this world cup. I don’t like to be such an alarmist, but I just don’t see where we will get them from. Altidore in so cold, and his back up is not the type of player we can plug in to his spot. The only player that can do the job we expect of Jozy is Eddie.

    Just let that sink in for a minute.

    • Brad says:

      My kingdom for a #9.

    • Dc says:

      People need to remember the EJ of past years. His slump was waaaay longer than Altidore’s, like 4 years, and most of the goals he scored the last two years were against minnows, not against WC level competition. I think he can serve a purpose at the WC, but no way he is a starting target forward.

      • Dc says:

        Hah, I guess that is what you were saying. Agreed, then!

        • Brad says:

          I hate it when I do that on this site, and are unable to edit your post, so no worries Dc.

          The only way I see us getting to goal this WC is if we line up 4-4-2. We will have to tell Bradley and Jones to stay home a lot, and protect our back 4, which is a real shame, considering they are 2 of our classier players. (And any of the teams in our group are more than capable over running them any way) If we play 3 in the mid, we might get 2 or 3 chances the whole game, regardless of who we post up at striker.

      • Dennis says:

        EJ’s great year for the USMNT was 2005. He was young and had a wealth of potential, The problem is that he is pretty much the same quality now as he was back then.

    • usaalltheway says:

      I love how I get attacked, personally, for saying these same exact things.

      However, you are right. The US will not score in the World Cup.

      The team is a total mess and the only one to blame is the coach. He had enough time to get it together.

      The players played poorly but for JK is “the” problem. Once this cycle is done, I hope he is out.

      • Brad says:

        I don’t think a better coach is the answer. Do you think we would win our group with the best coach in the world? I don’t. We don’t have the class.


        For what it’s worth, these are problems I love to have, as I remember what our teams looked like as far back as Italy in ’90.

        • Nate says:

          True. Half those guys would have trouble making the Gold Cup C squad…

          Credit JK for deepening the pool.

      • Duke says:

        I disagree. My beef with JK is he gets locked in on certain players and formations and he stays with it.

        It’s not working but he won’t change. We have more talent than ever before but they are just being misused and he carries too much dead wood

      • Chris says:

        You get personally attacked for making sweeping statements such as “The US will not score in the World Cup” and defending them as the only possible factual scenario.

        It’s sad you can’t comprehend why you get attacked.

        Also, I will not forget your little goal prediction come this summer.

        • EspinDOHla says:

          Thank you Chris. I tried to explain something like this similar to usaalltheway in a previous blog post.

      • Byrdman says:

        Ridiculous thought. He just got a contract extension.

    • Gary Page says:

      I’m trying to remember who we had in the attack in 2010. Oh yeah, it was Altidore, Donovan, Dempsey and Robbie Findley. Amazing we scored at all then, I guess.

  23. Joe B NYC says:

    I’m happy Jozy had a shot on goal. I’m really not surpised with Dempsey. He’s been playing this way for a while now. We need to relax with our attack. We still have Donovan, Zusi, Bradley to factor in. Brooks (although he’s young) & Onyewu scare the ish out of me… Thank heavens we have Biesler and Gonzalez.

  24. Vic says:

    Klesjtan shouldn’t be called up again. If Jozy and Clint don’t improve form VERY quickly they should NOT start at the World Cup. Castillo isn’t a LB. Brooks isn’t ready yet. Oneywu shouldn’t be called for Brazil. I still think we have plenty of depth. Johannssen and Boyd are in excellent form and should be given an opportunity to start. Donovan and Diskerud are in very good form. Williams, Torres and Corona are players that can give us possession. If either Gonzalez or Besler aren’t available, Cameron should be moved to central defense. Lichaj and Chandler are adequate at RB. Fabian Johnson is our best left back and should start in that position.

  25. USMNT Fan says:

    The overwhelming trend is that an opponents through pass between the CBs leads to good chances against slow and lumbering defenders. We are better served playing CAMERON-BESLER tandem. CBs that are calm in possession, quick to recover and know the midfielder position to react to BRADLEY-JONES.

    • John says:

      I just feel like when Cameron plays as a center back he gets caught up feild far too often and it often cost us. The result was different because Jozy had an amazing game but the Cameron Brooks partnership gave up 3 to Bosnia.

  26. Expat4455 says:

    Did anyone think like I did? When the camera fixed on Klinsmann, he looked a little out of it, a little confused? That he had a question but didn’t have the answer?

    • Gerard D. says:

      Probably disappointed at the performance of some of the players he gave a huge opportunity to–Dempsey, Jozy, Onyewu, Kljestan.

      Klinsmann was a striker that brought it hard in every game. He’s what, Germany’s 3rd leading scorer in history? 2nd maybe?

      He probably can’t even imagine having a player be lazy during a national team call up.

      • Bac says:

        That’s a good point Gerard, and that’s the message he keeps trying to pound home… it’s not in his DNA to go less than 100%, especially with a WC right around the corner

        • JH says:

          Agree and Agree. Reading your posts, I remember hearing the story from Eric Wynalda saying that Germans take their soccer seriously, so much in fact that when Wynalda was playing in Germany, after a loss, he made a joke about a shot on goal that he missed and a teammate got ticked and hit him in the head with his soccer cleats. I wonder if Klinsmann has any of that in him…I don’t think so as he seems like a pretty level headed guy.

    • biff says:

      I saw that also, Expat4455. Klinsmann had a look on his face like the stuff just hit the fan.

      • Expat4455 says:

        I have watched a lot of important football matches on the internet and Klinsi looked a lot different than other coaches whose sides were behind. Most coaches looked like they were into the game, not bewildered.

        • Byrdman says:

          A friendly with half the startets,hardly an important game. Could have been helpful to some trying to make a case. But actually it eliminated some probably. Finally you have to think Sacha is out, along with Onyewu. Bad for them, but it clarifies the waters a bit.

  27. Dc says:

    That back line was a disgrace. I felt very bad for poor Timmy. Only 1 of those 4 makes it to Brazil, and that is only because he can play multiple positions.

    • Joe B NYC says:

      I agree. hopefully we’ll see a Cameron-Biesler-Gonzalez-Johnson lineup. I think that’s the best we have now… The centerbacks failed to do their job…

    • Hogatroge says:

      Howard was phenomenal. That second goal, he gave the team TWO opportunities to clean up their mistakes, but the ball still found the net.

      • usaalltheway says:

        I can only imagine Howard in the locker room.

        I bet he had a few words for his center backs.

        Like you said, he totally saved them to keep the clean sheet and yet, somehow, they get scored on. That second goal was unbelievable. Truly, I don’t ever remember seeing anything like that EVER from the USMNT.

      • beachbum says:

        watch Edgar on that first goal. he will not enjoy the replay of that one

        • JH says:

          Seriously! I can’t believe it when watching the replay. He just watches Yarmolenko run past him with wide open space and only starts walking a bit faster when he sees the ball passed right before the goal. No spark, no hustle, no drive. It was like he didn’t care that a potential spot on the plane to Brazil was on the line in this game.

  28. Kippers says:

    -Brooks, Onyewu, Castillo, Dempsey, Kljestan are not national team material at the moment.
    -Williams has shown more in in his short stint than Kljestan has in his 60.
    -Altidore and Dempsey have comeplety lost whatever format they had.
    -Fabian must play LB
    -We must find a way to get Johannsson into the starting 11.

    • biff says:

      I agree Fabian needs to play left back. As a left winger today he was mostly bad to average. Looked lost, maybe because he has been playing right back. But I will say, he did not look much better when he took over at left back from Castillo. And for all the people hating on Castillo, he was not responsible for either of the goals and Fabain was involved in the second goal and should have done better. But the point is Klinsmann has finally gotta pull his head out now that we are only 100 days to WC 2014 and he needs to carve Fabian’s name in granite at left back. So stupid of Klinsmann-the-Tinkerer to be dinking around this late in the game and it could come back to bite him (and us fans) in June. A few of us have been pleading for the past year that Fabian should be playing left back for the USMNT. I just get it, what is Klinsmann doing? Is Martin Vasquez whispering in his ear?

      • Fredo says:

        All of these uncomfortable feelings are going to help us fans when June rolls around.

      • Dennis says:

        Castillo did give up on the goal that was disallowed after he did not respond to a simple give and go. Since the goal was arguably not off side his lack of good a good defending is not acceptable.

    • JH says:

      I think we might be getting ahead of ourselves with Dempsey. We have seen his form drop before and he finds a way to pick up his game. If we were Germany or Brazil, yeah we could easily replace one player with another, but we don’t have the depth to drop someone with Clint’s experience and playmaking abilities. He is in a bit of a slump, but I think he will come through. He will definitely be on the plane to Brazil.

  29. Sabella says:

    I only saw the first 35 minutes but thought Dempsey looked ok considering he had very little to work with. Jones had a good game. The rest of the lot, now that is another story. In could not believe how poor Sacha was. He showed no heart or desire to fight for the ball nor did he move in to position to receive the ball. I have never seen him play at Anderlecht but am wondering what the disconnect is. I will echo comments above in that Brooks is simply too inexperienced and Gooch, well, it didn’t work out today. Again, reiterating my comments of yesterday, we are inside of 100 days to Brazil and I feel it imperative that our starting 11, and more importantly, our actual entire Brazil roster, be present for these last friendlies. Make no mistake, the fact that 1/2 the Spanish national team has been training together every day since they were teens at La Mascia cannot be underestimated. Chemistry matters.

    • Increase0 says:

      It’s so ridiculously how little the full team actually gets to play together. It seems like we are always missing Donovan or someone.

  30. Jeremy says:

    Ok, stupid Alexei Lalas just said Geoff Cameron has done shown enough to start at RB over Brad Evans. ????????????? Did Klinsmann pay him to say that?

    • Matt says:

      Um…maybe he watched Cameron play in the EPL and you don’t?

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        Maybe he just watched him stink like the rest of us. Cameron got beat to the line for a couple chances, and hit punchless wormburner crosses when given a look. He left the door wide open for all RB candidates.

        He will have as good of a chance as anyone at a backline slot but that’s because it’s kind of a least worst situation…….Beasley over Castillo because Castillo can’t even keep up. Gonzo over Brooks and Gooch and Goodson because none of them can defend. Cameron over the uncommitted and injured Chandler. Etc. etc.

    • John says:

      done shown?

    • bryan says:

      he didn’t say that. he said Cameron did NOT show enough……

    • Jeremy says:


      I started off saying “he has not done enough” then tried to switch to “has not shown enough” and this happened. Gotta reread my comments prior to posting. Or risk sounding like Dubya.

      But seriously, Lalas says he hasn’t shown enough. This guy has no credibility.

    • Dennis says:

      NOOOOOOOOOOO! Lalas actually said something that was not wrong, the world as I knew it is changing!

      • Dennis says:

        So Lalas did not actually say Cameron will start at RB instead of Evans. Whew! That had me scared for a moment that Lalas had actually said something that was not wrong.

  31. bryan says:

    i can’t take Lalas seriously when he says Cameron didn’t do enough tonight to overtake Evans. he ABSOLUTIST did and he didn’t even have a great game.

    • Matt says:

      Wait, Jeremy above says Lalas said he did enough, you’re saying Lalas said the opposite. Which is it folks?

      • bryan says:

        Jeremy definetly heard wrong. Lalas said Cameron did NOT do enough to overtake Evans and that he thinks Cameron should only be considered at CB or as a #6.

        • Bac says:

          I specifically logged on just to comment on Alexi’s moronic statements.. seems everyone beat me to it…
          On the flipside, it’s a good sign that JK started him at RB instead of in the middle.. even if he was way off the first few crosses, he’s gotta be our starter there over Evans

          • beachbum says:

            have to agree. in looking at it all now I wonder if Klinnsman wanted Dolo there all along so chose Evans to keep it warm for him knowing he could drop Evans at any time really. That Evans had a run of good games is a credit to him whatever the circumstance but Geoff has emerged into the RB instead and perhaps Evans’ seat warmer role still worked out. some will say Chandler should be the guy now too

      • Increase0 says:

        Lalas said he didn’t do enough.

    • slowleftarm says:

      Why would anyone care what Lalas says?

    • bl says:

      I thnk that was the point Lalas was trying to make. Nobody, including Cameron, did enough to unseat anybody who wasn’t there. My guess is that Lalas believes that Cameron is the better answer at RB over Evans but was hoping he would grasp the opportunity and make it clear that the spot is his…he didn’t do that today. Doesn’t mean he wont be the starter come June but he didn’t do enough to lock it down today.

      • Dennis says:

        No, that interpretation would mean Lalas was being reasonable, something I reject out of hand.

  32. Dinho says:

    After today, I see these guys getting a ticket 23:

    GK: Howard*, Guzan, Rimando (3)
    D: Cameron*, Besler*, Gonzalez*, Beasley, Orozco, Goodson, Evans/(Chandler) (8)
    M: Donovan, Zusi, Bradley*, Jones*, Williams, Diskerud, F. Johnson*, Bedoya* (8)
    F: Johannsson, Altidore*, Dempsey,* Agudelo/(Green) (4)

    * JK’s Starters

    My preferred Starting XI
    Bedoya —————————— Zusi
    ——– Johannsson – Donovan ————-

    • Dinho says:

      Oops, forgot an * next to Donovan’s name

      • USMNT Fan says:


        Guzan, Rimando
        Gonzalez, Goodson, Beasley
        Williams, Diskerud
        Zusi, Green
        Altidore, Boyd, Johnson

        • Dinho says:

          A couple issues:

          (1) This assumes Chandler is healthy. If so, I’m on board with that back-line.

          (2) Jones’ inconsistency scares me

          (3) You’re right that Dempsey makes the XI (as captain), but IMO, Dempsey hurts more than helps at this point.

          (4) You don’t bring Altidore, Boyd and EJ. They play the exact same role.

    • EspinDOHla says:

      Looks good Dinho. I also think this will be close to the final roster, if not the final roster.

      If Green chooses US, he’ll go. Heck, that might be the (massive) carrot that JK dangles in front of him to pick the US. If Green does not pick us for now, it will be interesting to see what happens with that last forward spot that you have Agudelo in. Gomez might squeeze in there!

      Also, will be interesting to see what happens with Beckerman and Williams. I think they are going for the same spot and think JK might take Beckerman over Williams. But if Williams is selected, that move to Reading will have been brilliant in hindsight.

    • Dennis says:

      This 23 has no sub for Jozy. I expect Boyd or EJ for that (though Dempsey could move there.) There is really no room for “spots for young guys” unless they have everything needed to surpass others. Not sold on Agudelo and haven’t seen Green, either will have to show better than Boyd, EJ, Wondo or Gomez before they make it.

      Feilhaber might get added to the midfield in place of Mix or Bedoya, tiem will tell.

      I think Williams is athletically better than Beckerman, but Beckermann is solid and I suspect the May camp will be used to decide between those two.

  33. AC says:

    Well, that was a waste of viewing time.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Did ESPN run a 2 year old Klinsi in Europe game instead of the scheduled material? Like this should have aired on Classic?

  34. KJ says:

    It’s the jersey.

  35. MiamiAl says:

    I pray Cherundolo can make it back. Cameron at right back is not the answer.

    • bryan says:

      Dolo isn’t gonna make it back. pray for Chandler. and remember, FJ has been playing RB recently.

    • Hogatroge says:

      He had some aberrant crosses, but he also set up the team’s best scoring chance and didn’t give up anything significant to Konoplyanka.

      Brad Evans was continually torched by S. Korea’s B-team.

    • Gary Page says:

      You should watch Cameron play at Stoke. He;’s the best we have right now.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Maybe you can find the discarded prayer cards people were using for Holden because it’s roughly as likely. Your knees are gone you can’t play. It’s a running game.

  36. Dc says:

    IVES, you better give us the ol’ “Calm down folks” speech or we are going to lose it!

  37. Matt says:

    In other news the Womens team tied Japan…

  38. Dan says:

    Jozy Altidore needs to be benched and Aaron Johansson needs to start. And Brek Shea needs to come off the bench sooner. Those were the only 2 guys that played well. And we need to get Timmy Chandler back at Right Back as soon as possible. The defense looked atrocious.!

  39. Jo Jo beans says:

    Clint Dempsey and lazy altidore are awful and shouldn’t be playing
    . Klinsman has to have some balls and bench them. There are better players on the bench that should be playing like Johansen, brek Shea , even Boyd is scoring goals and actually aging and contributing to his club team. Just bc Dempsey is who he his doesn’t mean he should be an automatic starter. I would rather see Aaron johansen with Donovan up top. Two players that know how to finish and create and have the necessary skills.

    • Helium-3 says:

      I agree with everything you said but Donovan up top.

      Put Shea up with AJ, and let Shea be the out and out striker since he can run and pull defenders out of position and beat them. AJ is probably the best finisher on the team.

      Boyd should get more time to see if he can do it at this level. You can’t draw any conclusions about him due to his lack of playing time so far.

      Donovan needs to go on the wings as speed and decision making are his best attributes.

  40. Hogatroge says:

    Questions answered:

    1. Not going to Brazil: Castillo, Onyewu, Brooks, Kljestan, Boyd
    2. #3 & #4 CBs ATM: Goodson, Orozco
    3. RB depth order, subject to change in April & May: Cameron > Evans > Parkhurst

    • Bac says:

      Well said

    • bryan says:

      1. disagree about Boyd. Boyd sat on the bench as back up which is normal for him. always in A team camps though.

      2. Goodson and Orozco were fist pumping while watching Gooch and JAB.

      3. FJ better than Evans and Parkhurst at RB too. if Chandler gets healthy, he jump above them all.

  41. slowleftarm says:

    Take a look at some of the other friendly results today. The results of these games mean nothing. This is like getting upset over losing a spring training baseball game. Individual performances may impact who JK takes to Brazil and, maybe, who he starts. So those matter somewhat. But that’s about it.

    • Expat4455 says:

      But the difference is the season’s baseball winner is crowned WORLD champions!

    • Fredo says:

      Meaningless friendly, sure, but I get upset when the team looks like crap.

    • Byrdman says:

      There it is…. Sanity. Slow this makes twice today i agree with you. One of us is getting smarter, or one is getting dumber. :).

      Thanks for the “step down off the ledge” speech. I think you have a good outlook on this onw.

  42. Expat4455 says:

    After this match I bet there is some serious talk going on between Bayern’s management, and the Bundesliga’s as well.

    • John says:


      • Expat4455 says:

        What to do about Julian Green of course.

        • John says:

          what dfference would this match make?

          • Expat4455 says:

            The U.S. National team did badly, lacked focus, and did not play very good as a unit. And their coach did not appear to be in the game.

            • dman says:

              You still don’t make sense. I don’t think Bayern Munich is counting on the usmnt or the german national team to develop its players…… What do they care?… I am guessing you think it would be bad PR to have the star of their youth team be associated with usmnt? That must be why Real Madrid is so upset about Gareth bale playing for wales….??? I hardly think that they care.

              • EspinDOHla says:

                What dman said.

                Also, I think Bayern Munich might actually want Green to choose USMNT to the chagrin of the DFB. Bayern is about to make a strong push into the US market. New office in NYC, US summer tour, MLS all-star appearance. Fox gets the Bundesliga rights next year=Bundesliga in a lot more households.

                From a business/marketing perspective, having a USMNT player on Bayern would help their brand in the US considerably and make them a lot of $$$. Heck, look how much coverage relegation-threatened Sunderland gets because of Jozy. Imagine if it was the current champions of Europe with a USMNT player?!

    • slowleftarm says:

      See that’s interesting. Because six months ago, people were saying how John Brooks was the answer to all our problems. Some commenters on here said it was one of the great moments in the history of US soccer when he committed to the USMNT. Now, he’s lost his spot at his club and, while I didn’t see today’s game, it sounds like he was awful.

      He’s only 20 and may wind up becoming a great player but I think we maybe we should try to find real solutions to our problems rather than just plugging in the Germerican of the month and expecting him to solve everything. Especially when Green has exactly zero first team league matches as a pro.

      • bryan says:

        yeah, it’s true. but 6 months ago he was in really good form for Hertha Berlin. he’ll be fine and is still very promising, but today proved that he has to be more mature in his play. he needs to find that form from months ago.

      • Gary Page says:

        Most of the people who post here lack context and perspective. I came to this website originally to get better insight and commentary. I think it has gone downhill, maybe because the WC has brought in a lot of people who don’t really know the game or the history of US soccer.

      • away goals says:

        Well a lot of us interested in the brooks call ups were just hoping he would be an adequate third or fourth string centerback (besler and cameron being most people’s preferred partnership at the time).

        Turns out he probably isn’t ready, but trying him out didn’t cost us anything. We still fall back on gonzalez and goodson, two known quantities.

        I guess you could make a case that his minutes should have gone to ream, and ream would have been the answer to all our problems. But that seems unlikely.

  43. rh says:

    Let me know when the US stops favoring brawn and size over soccer skill and brains.

    • Dinho says:


      I do NOT understand why Gooch is still in the picture. Useless. Utterly useless. Brooks is young. What’s Gooch’s excuse? (crickets)

      Give me 5 Orozcos and Beslers over a Gonzalez and Gooch, anyday.

    • Jeremy says:

      The real question is, “when will the United States START favoring skill and brains over brawn and size?”

  44. TomG says:

    Sacha, Gooch, JAB, and Castillo showed they should not be on the helicopter to Brazil. Maybe JAB or Gooch makes it as a reserve if they put on a show with their clubs and in pre WC camp, but seems unlikely. JAB did get the chance to show off his impressive catch up speed, but clearly needs work on positioning, communication, and overall focus. Castillo and Sacha just don’t fit. They don’t do enough work defensively and make bad turnovers in dangerous areas.

    The team as a whole did not come out with good intensity and did not put enough pressure on the ball. Possibly due to.weirdness of Ukrainian situation, but still not acceptable level of intensity.

    The back line did not communicate well (not a huge deal since 3/4 of them will not be in Brazil).

    We are in huge trouble if Bradley gets injured.

    JJ is not in good form yet. Not great pressure from him and invisible offensively.

    Dempsey needs to do more work off the ball and more ball winning like he did 1-2 years ago.

    Jozy’s form is still off. He wasn’t as efficient as usual holding the ball and missed a good chance, not a gimme, but a solid chance.

    Bedoya and Shea looked occasionally dangerous but both need to be cleaner and more efficient. I thought Shea actually made a big difference and looked to be a matchup problem.

    Agudelo, Williams, and AJ did nothing to hurt their chances and might deserve a look at some point over the guys ahead of them. Maybe not yet, but I wouldn’t rule it out.

    Fabian and Geoff were okay, but didn’t make the special plays that you hope to get out of them. Geoff was uncharacteristically way off on a couple easy cross opportunities early.

    Timmy was great.

    • RealMenChewGum says:

      I can’t wait to see Klinsmann piloting the United States’ Brazil-bound helicopter!

  45. Kyuui-Musikq says:

    Edgar Castillo has shown, with his performance against Urkraine, all of the wonderful attacking attributes he has in his game and why he’s a valuable asset at the LB for the US to have on their 23 man squad, come this WC squad.

    • TomG says:

      Really? Were we watching the same match? You mean the same Castillo who was continuously exposed over and over on the left?

      • Kyuui-Musikq says:

        He was exposed a few times, so yeah I guess the same. But he had nowhere as near as bad a game as the two CBs had, which affected the whole team, throwing the whole team shape off and tactics out of whack.

        You can tell that the tactics called for Castillo to push up behind Fabian Johnson while he dried to get into the box and John Brooks was supposed to push up behind Castillo, but didn’t do it affectively enough tonight because his miscommunication with the back line.

        However, he was of the best attacking players on the field tonight, and is going to get another game to build on this performance in Mexico.

        • socrates says:

          you’re way off buddy. Castillo is out of his depth at the international level. he’s demonstrated it time and time again. he can’t defend at this level and his offense is a mixture of hopefulness and randomness.

          he, Kljestan and Gooch removed themselves from consideration last night. several others did their best to do the same, but based on previous effectiveness are highly likely to get further chances.

          let me just reiterate: Castillo sucks.

  46. TimH says:

    Jones did a good job defensively today. He stayed home and covered behind the outside backs when they pushed up high. I wasn’t impressed with his passing when we tried to build from the back, but the TV angles were such that I couldn’t tell if the problem was him or his targets.

    Our best passing combinations were Gooch to Howard, Brooks to Howard, and Jones to Howard. With service like that, we really need Howard to score more often.

    Jozy and Clint are going to Brazil, but if they keep playing like that, they shouldn’t start. We can only replace one and still hope to make it out of the group stage, I suspect.

    I don’t really care that the third string CBs gave up 2 (should have been 3) goals. It’s the lack of attack that scares me. Five out of six of the starting front six are going to Brazil, and three are supposed to be starters, yet we didn’t have much of an attack.

    • TomG says:

      I didn’t think JJ provided enough pressure on the ball, but he certainly wasn’t alone in that regard.

    • Bac says:

      Yea Jones looked good I thought a good part of the game. You could tell he’s not yet 90 minute match fit yet, but looked good. I don’t know why anyone is looking at him at fault for the first goal, he was almost on the ball when it was played…it was Sasha who was caught looking in space not tracking.. and the CBs.. but whatever

  47. biff says:

    That was an ugly, ugly showing today–like a slow motion train wreck or the wheels coming off the bus. Jozy showed absolutely no desire. Makes me wonder about Jozy being left off the roster for the Cup final on Sunday against Man City, whether Poyet might have asked for Jozy to be excused from international duty because of all the games Sunderland will be playing in a relegation battle but got turned down. In other words, maybe Jozy would have played if no international duty. I still cannot see how Poyet could have put Fletcher and the kid, Scologo or whatever his name is on the bench but no Jozy.

  48. ETGoodyman says:

    There’s a lot of negativity on here today. I was not pleased with the overall performance either. I’m not sure why so many are bashing Dempsey & Jozy though. Rather than playing poorly, I think they didn’t get many opportunities. Dempsey had to drop way back just to get involved in the game. He looked rusty, but not awful. Jozy missed a good opportunity, but my thoughts when it first happened was that he jumped a little too early and couldn’t direct the header down. At other times, I thought Jozy played decently. He had maybe 2 heavy touches and several nice layoffs. Geoff Cameron and Jermaine Jones were the two standout players and I thought Bedoya had a good game as well. Anyone who thinks Johannsson should start in place of Jozy doesn’t understand the difference between the two. I don’t ever see AJ as a target forward type of player and I would prefer that AJ and Jozy start up top together when playing appropriate competition. The only straight replacement for Jozy in my mind is Boyd and I think he should go to Brazil for that reason. Onyewu and Brooks were not good. Castillo looked out of position and Klestjan looked awful. There were many other issues, but that’s most of what I took from this game. Also, I thought Ukraine looked pretty darn good but we would have beaten them with our starting eleven.

    • biff says:

      Those are some good points, ETGoodyman, especially about Cameron and Jones. Both died have good games. And yet we have the Number One Timothy Chandler fanboy up above on his knees praying that Chandler can get healthy by June because Chandler is the best fullback in the USMNT player pool. I assume he means the same Timothy Chandler who has been in a funk for the 18 months on at the club level whose coach, Verbeek, was saying in December did not do enough to help Nurnberg and he wanted to bring in a better right back and the Timothy chandler who is a weak defender and who in the past two years and five months has played a grand total of two games for the USMNT and most likely if brought back into the roster in May would inject mega bad chemistry into the locker room. That’s just what the team needs for Brazil, a player like that on the roster.

      • Expat4455 says:

        Is this the same Timothy Chandler that made the Bundesliga eleven of the week for 2 straight weeks before he was injured, the same one that, at the age of 23, has been a starter for 3 years at Nürngerg, or is it a different Timothy Chandler?

    • Nate says:

      Finally, someone with some commom sense!

    • Gary Page says:

      The most rational analysis I have seen on this thread so far. So many people are way over reacting. Put Besler and Gonzalez in the middle and it might have been a whole different game.

  49. AC says:

    Doom and gloom time. Screw you rationality.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      In terms of rationality, two steps back says to me that was nowhere near a first choice CAM and that maybe the game is at least a Bosnia two way goalfest if we have a playmaker on our side. The defense was the B/c team and that was going to be hard to overcome but I can’t imagine this is this bad if Bradley or even Mixx plays.

  50. automata says:

    I already preferred Beasley to Castillo, but that definitely reinforced it for me. Johnson still probably our best option though.

    • Chris H says:

      I actually like the idea of FJ at right back and Beasley at LB. I don’t think Beas is the best defender, but I lthink he does well enough. I’d rather see Cameron and Besler in the middle (until Gonzo regains the from from a year or so ago).

  51. Rick says:

    Fabian HAS to be our left back come the WC.

  52. rh says:

    If I were a coach, and I had literally hundreds and hundreds of people to choose from, I’d bench anyone who “doesn’t pressure” or “give their best effort”.

    Is this a kid’s game or something? Do you have to teach adult professional athletes to work hard EVERY game?

    • usaalltheway says:

      Think about all the adults in your life. Now, how many of them are mature, responsible, kind, compassionate people who work hard and do the “right thing”?\

      Now think about those people getting millions of dollars to play a sport.

      So, the answer to your question is: YES, He needs to teach them every game. Some more than others but yes.

    • cps says:

      +1. That’s why I was/am a Herc Gomez fan. The guy never stopped running and applying pressure on the opposition.

      • EspinDOHla says:

        Love Herc.

        I think he could sneak into a roster spot if he gets it together. Those forward spots to Brazil are not at all set in stone. I would love to see Herc make the team if he can get back to his scoring ways.

  53. Garth says:

    Altidore’s touch is terrible. His work rate is continuously disappointing and his attitude is bad. Yes, he’s big and strong and we all hope that he can produce consistently, but I can’t help but compare him to first rate international strikers and be very disappointed. Sure Wondoloski or Aguedelo or Boyd may not have the same physical tools, but I’d rather have them hustling on my team.

    • GW says:

      “I can’t help but compare him to first rate international strikers and be very disappointed”

      That is true for the entire player pool except perhaps the keepers.

      So you should just stop making the comparison.

      England-Denmark, Italy -Spain, Netherlands-France, Germany-Chile were all on TV today, Mexico-Nigeria is on tonight .

      Why don’t you watch those games instead?

  54. usaalltheway says:

    Despite everything, it’s always nice to see Brek play. He isn’t very good but he does more forward and attack. Always.

    The team seems to always be scared and worried. Too timid to get forward.

    This will all be over soon. The team will bomb out in the Cup, JK will leave and the US will get back to playing good but non-sexy football.

    Until then, we just have to suffer through this mess.

    • Chris says:

      You poor confused soul.

    • Gary Page says:

      I think you should go into a cave and come out after the WC and either exult or apologize profusely. You offer absolutely nothing to the conversation; a real Johnny One Note.

      • Lil' Zeke says:

        And you sir, curl up in a ball and squeeze into a storm drain, where your cheerful chirps can echo for all the molemen to hear

    • Byrdman says:

      Have you considered the results this cycle. Have you considered the shambles the defense was in when JK took over. Do you not remember the 3 or 4 dmids we played every game to cover for the back? Thats why Williams was a right side midfielder. Not because he had any chance of adding to attack. To cover our back line.

      Sorry USA, J k is not going anywhere. He isnt the world’s best, but we are definitely better with him this cycle. Next cycle….well we shall see

  55. Dan says:

    Dump Jozy once and for all. Play Aaron Johansson. And have Brek Shea come off bench in relief in 2nd half, he is good at that. Adding spark when we need it.

  56. Garth says:

    JK – How about we forget about a true #9 and put Donovan and AJ up top and let the two of them ebb and flow between striker and withdrawn striker?

    • GW says:

      Did you see Spain- Italy today?

      Their Jozy is a guy named Costa and he was just gumming up the works.

      Your idea makes sense if you think , Donovan- AJ are comparable to Silva-Iniesta or Silva,- Fabregas or Iniesta -Fabregas.

      Is that what you think?

    • Fredo says:

      Landon is a goal scorer. Jozy is rarely going to score with his head. If Klinsi wants triangle passes into the final third, low crosses, and movement, seems like a good idea to me. Then, the question is: who takes Landon’s spot in midfield?

  57. Dan says:

    That is good. AJ up top with Donavon behind him. And sit Jozy down!!!!!! (or don’t even take him to Brazil. Take Wondo, Eddie Johnson, or Hec Gomez instead.).

    • Nate says:

      You do know Jozy is #6 in all time US goals, right? How do you not take that player to Brazil?

      • Advocate says:

        The same way we don’t take Wynalda (#3), McBride (#4) and Moore (#5). Klinsmann can’t put anyone in his starting lineup or even on the plane based on how they used to perform. I’d include Jozy among the 30 and see if he improves playing with Donovan, the assist machine. But I think Dan is right, that AJ and LD in front of Bradley and the rest of our midfield talent will produce the goals we need, while Jozy seems a much more speculative possibility based on recent performance.

    • John says:

      Love Herc but he has been just about as bad as Jozy recently

  58. Kfre says:

    I don’t get it with comments trashing Onyewu… Can anyone actually specify an error he made?? Why are the errors made by Brooks attributed to Onyewu as well?? With the number of interception, clearances and completed passes I believe he showed adequately. All I see are folks blaming the “pairing” thereby scapegoating Onyewu for the poor play of Brooks.

    Anyone saying Castillo had a solid performance should take another viewing. If he plays at LB in Brazil he will be torched.

    Not sure of Bedoya a MOTM… He was invisible the first half. They had zero width which made getting into the offensive third rare. Good adjustments in the second half after the intro of Shea and AJ. MOTM should have gone to Howard.

    • danny says:

      Gooch is not very good and shouldn’t have even been in consideration for this game and Brazil. JAB is there cuz he is young and has potential. Both sucked in this game.

      • GW says:

        Gooch showed he was mobile and could get through a game without getting hurt. That is progress.

        And you forget just how much experience the man has. This game was a cluster but it was good for Gooch.

        • danny says:

          Sure its progress for him personally, but this is about the World Cup. I see your point about his experience, but other players bring that and there are many left off with plenty of experience.
          The type of player he is doesn’t really fit with Klinsman’s possession oriented play and the US has other large/strong defenders as well. Given that, he’s only worth taking/playing if he is close to his 2009 form (the last time he was in peak shape and dominant against good competition).

      • bryan says:

        100% disagree. Gooch deserved to be there and looking at his Opta stats, he wasn’t as bad as we all thought.

        the issue was his lack of chemistry with JAB, his failure to communicate with JAB, and being paired with another CB so similar to him.

        i think Goodson and Orozco certainly have the edge, but if Gooch keeps up his form at the club level, he’ll still be in the conversation.

        • Kfre says:

          @bryan the definition of NOT being lazy with your analysis. There seems to be a herd point of view on this board at times. I agree that the pairing was not ideal but I don’t believe that was reason for the individual errors by Brooks and Castillo.

          My prior comment was for @danny

        • beachbum says:

          on Gooch’s game today, agreed. Ives was mentioning this in the game commentary

      • Kfre says:

        As I expected – Nothing tangible backing your comment and you completely avoided the question. I didn’t ask why either Onyewu or JAB was called up for the match.

        • danny says:

          2nd goal- did you see how slow he was getting back?- a light jog when if someone had sprinted they could have been there to help Howard after his initial block. Even on the first goal, he was very slow to get back but that’s somewhat forgivable given the situation. Also, positioning didn’t look good overall (sorry can’t be more specific- play by play). Also, he is the more senior CB so JAB bad positioning also reflects on him, who should be leading the line.

          • Kfre says:

            So both goals he was at fault for not cleaning up a mistake made by others…particularly on save Howard had no business making (compliment to Timmy) – got it. Other than the high line on the second goal when the whole was pushing forward I don’t follow your positioning criticism. At the senior level each player should be responsible for their own positioning and get off the hook with “well Gooch didn’t tell me where to stand”. Weak. Whatevs, we disagree and I maintain the harsh comments are unwarranted.

  59. Chris says:

    If anyone is upset about a Castillo-Oneywu-Brooks pairing on the back line not going well than they need to re-evaluate some things.

    Clearly all three of those players were just trimmed from the World Cup squad. Its all good, every team needs to cut the roster down.

    MLS players get a nice opportunity against Mexico to step up and take the spots that a few bums left open tonight (I’d add in Sacha to the list at the very least).

    • Kfre says:

      Comments like this are exactly what I’m talking about. Castillo gets torched, Brooks is late on the man making the run and Gooch gets lumped in bc eh why not? Just lazy analysis.

    • Chris says:

      Marking free runners through the middle is a collaboration between central defenders. Sorry that my analysis didn’t meet your high standards man.

      You look forward to Oneywu playing in a World Cup match?

      • Kfre says:

        The responsibility for man marking depends upon where the player is making the run. The attacker on the first goal made the run between Castillo and Brooks. I’m not sure where you see Gooch failing to mark the man making the run behind Brooks – he can’t play across the entire back line at the same time. Any and everyone can put forward an opinion but its reasonable to have something backing it up.

        Look, if either Besler or Gonzo go down, my preference barring injury and uninterrupted playing time at club level would be Gooch over Goodson, Orozco and JAB.

  60. Hejduk4President says:

    The amount of misplaced negativity on here is insane. Yes, this was a pretty disappointing result, but lets think about some things.

    A: 3 of the 4 defenders today won’t see the field at the WC.
    B: Ditto most of the midfield, with the exception of Jones and Dueceface

    I do think the concerns about Dempsey are pretty legit, however. He’s had a an off-season break, as well as some consistent EPL training and games but still looks half a step too slow and a little lightweight.

    And as for Jozy…ehh. I guess we all hope he hits some form/confidence in Brazil. When he’s on his game, he’s a serious threat.

  61. Colt says:

    Shea definitely helped himself today. Not sure if there room for him, but he’s a Klinsi fave.
    Bedoya definitely has a chance to start.

    Jab, Gooch, klestjan, Castillo lost their ticket. Castillo was miserable and Klestjan was worse. JAB will be a star in time, but has done maturing and tactical awareness to develop first.

    My 23 in March:
    Howard, Guzan, Rimando

    Cameron, Chandler, Johnson, Beasley, Gonzo, Besler,
    And one more defender (not a Goodson fan, but Gooch and Jab aren’t ready; Evans isn’t World Cup caliber, don’t want to see Parkhurst there; hoping Cherundolo is healthy but doubtful)

    Bradley, Jones, Williams, Diskerud, Bedoya, Donovan, Dempsey, Zusi, Green, Shea

    Altidore, Boyd, Aron

  62. Marc says:

    All our issues can be traced back to the new kits.

  63. Expat4455 says:

    biff, you made a statement of fact about Timothy Chandler; “…his (Chandler’s) coach, Verbeek, was saying in December he (Chandler) did not do enough to help Nürnberg, who (Verbeek) wanted to bring in a better right back.”

    Please post a link where what you said can be confirmed. I believe you are full of it. But if you can provide proof of your outrageous accusation well……………

    • biff says:

      My pleasure, Expat4455. here’s one link

      link to

      • biff says:

        And here is a second. There are more.

        link to

      • bryan says:

        thanks for the links, but these are old articles during or before the winter break (like you and Expat said, December).

        after these articles though, he re-gained the trust of the coach and was starting again. and he repaid the coach with solid outings before injury.

        but point taken, the coach did say those things.

    • biff says:

      Now, Expat4455, I would like to respectfully ask you about a statement of fact that you have been perpetuating on the SBI boards numerous times in the past couple of weeks, including yet again above on this thread. You have been saying that Chandler “made the Bundesliga eleven of the week for 2 straight weeks before he was injured.”

      I have checked both and and could not find Chandler listed as a member of the Bundesliga 11 of the week on either Web site for the first two weeks after the winter break. I am not accusing you of making this up, because maybe I made a mistake in reading and, or maybe you are referring to other publications. Could you please provide links to a publication (or publications) that lists Chandler as a player of the week for each of the two weeks before he was injured? Thanks.

      • bryan says:

        comment in in moderation. but it was Kicker Online’s team of the week for both the weeks Expat is referring to.

  64. Samuel says:

    Owned by a team that’s not even going to the WC. I can see Portugal beating this bunch of lazy losers by 5-0 with four by Ronaldo; and Germany beating them also 5-0. Ghana will beat them 3-0 because after all they got our number. And then they will go home and Mexico will make it to the semis and the new cycle with Klinsi, the soccer alchemist, will begin again.

    • Chris says:

      I guess you didn’t grasp the fact that a whole bunch of the players for the USA in this game won’t be seeing the field in Brazil.

    • Gary Page says:

      Did you know that Ukraine was the highest rated team to not make the WC and France needed a late goal at home to advance from their playoff? Ukraine is really pretty good and the US was hurt by not playing first stringers, except for Cameron, in defense.

  65. Chris H says:

    Bedoya was ok, but my issue with him is that he rarely stretches the other team’s width, he drifts inside, as does FJ, which doesn’t help the team shape. Bedoya has good moments, but I don’t like his passing and movement in tight spaces.

    I honestly am done with the 4-2-3-1 for the US if we don’t have a solid, confident striker who can consistently win and hold up the ball. It should lead to dominating midfield possession but it doesn’t for us. JK needs to go back to a 4-4-2, or at least give it an honest shot. I know we did well in 2013 with the formation, but when we play the higher skilled teams that have solid midfielders (like Ukraine) it seems we end up chasing the game.

    In a 4-4-2 you could play a Donovan, Herc, AJ or Aguedelo up top with a Jozy or Boyd, and actually stretch the defense.

  66. Dan says:

    Jozy should not be going to Brazil. The guy is a head case. He cannot handle the pressure. And, slow, plodding, lazy! Aaron Johansson up top and Brek Shea for midfield relief and second half spark. Timmy Chandler for right back too, if he gets healthy.

    Jozy….just stay home! You suck!

  67. Samuel says:

    All of a sudden Eddie Johnson is looking like a savior in that forward position. Id take him and Johannsson only with Deuce as a back up lone striker and beef up the midfield and defense. The hell with Antigoal Agudelo Boyd Hercules Wondo or any other loser striker.

  68. flagermunsen. says:

    “In a lackluster performance — highlighted by the disastrous center back pairing of Oguchi Onyewu and John Brooks.” This is an over simplification, obfuscation and proclamation that misses out on the point that center backs rarely look bad when their midfielders play well. In the first half the midfield (Kljestan, Dempsey and Jones) consistently turned the ball over in bad areas. Additionally, the midfield was not running with the Ukraine central mids. Even Twellman complained about it several times during the game. If Twellman could see it… I don’t think we can make Brooks and Onyewu the scapegoats for a poor performance tonight. The midfield amplified their poor performance.

  69. Adam M . says:

    Everyone is too wedded to their physical positions on offense. It’s very A-B-C right now. There needs to be more churn in the final third. Not just overlapping runs, but cutting runs with the ball and runs behind and around the ball. The 4-4-2 would help solve those problems, but I think the 4-3-3 is where we need to go. Williams-Bradley-Jones behind AJ-Altidore-Donovan. Give Bradley, Donovan and AJ freedom to move, overlap with the fullbacks FJ and Cameron. Williams and Jones destroy and cover the backs and look for the odd offensive pass. AJ and Donovan need to run, create space, which is what Jozy needs. Jozy as a lone striker isn’t playing to his strength and trying to force crosses isn’t playing to the team’s strength.

    • Helium-3 says:

      You are spot on. I was going to post about this then saw your posting.

      Jozy needs to make smarter decisions what to do to make things happen. The way he played last night is how he plays for Sunderland and not how he played at AZ. If he has his back to the goal in the box, and 2 defenders on him, he just stays there waiting for the pass instead of moving out to open the space and bring defenders with him, so someone else or ball can go into the previous space.

      Another example was late in the game when Shea beat a defender just outside the box from the left, and was coming into the box; guy covering Jozy moves away from Jozy and goes to meet Shea, then Jozy instead of going into that space that his defender left, just continues to run straight into the middle of the goal box where there were already 2 US players waiting, among with several other Ukrainians.

      If Jozy went into the space just vacated, all Shea had to do was drop the ball to him and Jozy would had an open shot to the near post. This is just another example of him making bad decisions. He’s a grown ass man and not some rookie, so we would not be expecting this of a national team level player.

      Also, Agudelo made a bad decision when he got a ball just outside the box on the right, and quickly tries to force a pass to Johansson who was double teamed. Agudelo could have just made a beeline for the goal since no defenders was in front of him. But this is expected since he is young, but no excuse for someone like Jozy making bad decisions.

  70. Joamiq says:

    Man, you know it was a bad game when missed opportunities to cross the ball are noted in the match report.

    I have no idea why on earth we were playing a high line with that centerback pairing. It was suicide from the start. Tactics in friendlies aren’t anything to be concerned about 99% of the time, but stuff like this sometimes makes me wonder if Klinsmann knows what he’s doing.

    • whoop-whoop says:

      Because the purpose of the friendly was not to eek out a win bunkered in, it was to answer some questions coming into WC… to determine if fringe players such as Brooks and Gooch are cut out to play the type of system/tactics Klinsman would like to and will deploy in Brasil. Questions answered.

      • Joamiq says:

        There was never any question in the first place. Brooks and Gooch cannot run a high line together. I don’t think Besler and Gonzalez can either, so I hope that’s not the plan.

  71. asfa says:

    ——————————— HOWARD ———————————
    —————————JONES —— BRADLEY ———————
    —————— ZUSI——DONOVAN —— GREEN (we can only hope)

    • Dinho says:

      I can dig this. I really think Donovan excels in that role in the “hole.”

      And, if not Green, then Beasley/Shea/Bedoya/Zusi battling for those spots.

  72. bryan says:

    there is a lot of talk (outside of here) stating that MLS players benefited big time from this game. i’m not so sure.

    who really gained though outside of Omar, Besler, and Goodson? Orozco did but he’s not in MLS anyway.

    FJ showed he should be the LB, which hurts Beasley and Castillo. Liga MX players. you could argue that Parkhurst gained by Castillo having a bad game at LB though.

    Kljestan having a bad game benefits Mix, another Euro-based player.

    Williams having a solid showing does not help Beckerman. It hurts him even if he still has the edge. One of those two will not go to Brazil.

    Bedoya’s strong game will put pressure on Zusi. Zusi is still ahead of him, but Bedoya nipping at his heels. Either way, Zusi was always going to Brazil. no gain there.

    Jones showed he needs to start next to Bradley. another negative for Beckerman.

    Cameron showed he is better than Evans. so Evans is likely the back up RB now and could even lose that if Chandler got healthy. so again, he gained nothing.

    Dempsey plays in MLS.

    Jozy is pressured from AJ who is not in MLS.

    LD and Bradley were always going to start, let alone make the roster, so they had nothing to lose and didn’t gain anything.

    point is, Cobi’s post is true about the league being stronger and contributing to the US team more than ever. but i don’t think any MLS player now has a better chance of making the WC roster other than Goodson and maybe Parkhurst. i’d love to hear otherwise.

    • dman says:

      Every US citizen now has a better chance because the guys who played today are now out of the pool. My centerback stock went up today I know that for sure.

    • Brett says:

      Cameron was horrible. Take off the rose colored glasses.

      • EspinDOHla says:

        While Cameron didn’t have the best game it’s comical to say he was horrible.

        • bryan says:

          Exactly. Watching Evans get destroyed by the South Korean B/C team was a truly “horrible” showing.

          • Bac says:

            Well stated Bryan, also important to remember that even though Evans did ok his first few times at a new position, he got worse each of the last 3 qualifiers too… Very slow, behind the play, had to make several desperation slide tackles.. giving up bad free kicks. While Cam has been getting better and plays with a high intensity level…
            JK obviously has seen this, which is why he started at RB.
            Too many fans base their opinions on what happened in the last 24 hours…
            Good post

      • Increase0 says:

        Horrible crossing but he is a defender sooo I’m not really upset.

      • bryan says:

        No, he wasn’t. And my glasses are confirmed by Opta and almost every post game review I’ve read. He lacked on crosses but was solid otherwise.

        • Brett says:

          If solid means slow on recovery, I agree. Also, shanking every cross you attempt is a pretty big deal for me. Maybe I just have high expectations.

    • EspinDOHla says:

      Nice post bryan.

  73. AMPhibian says:

    as a team, we didn’t perform very well today, but it was less about individual performances, and more about how the team meshed together. that concerns me, because i worry that even if we do get our best players on the field, they won’t have enough experience with each other/chemistry to score more goals than they concede.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      There is an argument to be made that from either a recent cap number standpoint, or a quality standpoint in many cases, we shouldn’t have expected to see a well-drilled team. Which was compounded by having the two best CAMs called in send sick notes.

      I think it was then about individual performances, and few people made their case. But then that is sometimes the case when you trot out the B or C team. I think a few people like Jones, AJ, and Shea made statements, most of the rest are either skating by on rep (Dempsey, Jozy) or in jeopardy already.

  74. euroman says:

    WC starting 11 based on current form:
    Davis Bradley Beckerman Zusi
    Johnson Goodson Gonz Cameron

  75. Len says:

    I can recall games in the not so distant past when the US team couldn’t keep the ball on their foot or complete a pass. I’m amazed at how negative the TV commentators were. I don’t expect homers but you would have thought that they were broadcasting on Ukrainian television. I just didn’t think it was all that bad. First of all, the Ukrainian team was pretty darn good with what appeared to be a number of their first string players and they appeared to be emotionally invested in the game. We had some bad defensive lapses by people who will either not be on the plane or will certainly not start. Even the maligned CB’s made some decent plays (“Other than that Mrs. Lincoln—“). The passing was really not that bad except for Sasha (the one player I believe deserved the bad press).
    Jozy is not that good in the air. For my money, Jones played very well and interestingly enough, I think he was playing more of a true 6. The only problem with that was that Sasha was playing a true 0.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Fair corrective but I think there was regression back towards Early Klinsmann games in terms of offensive incisiveness — we did possess but to little value — and the defense continues to leak goals. I find the latter more worrisome because that trend holds whether it’s the A team or not, and we have a tough draw. The attacking incisiveness will come back if Klinsi uses the right players when he does have his A team. It’s just a question of how big a hole this defense is going to dig because it’s no one earning the jobs with excellence, it’s who looks like they might mess up least.

      • Len says:

        I’ll venture some modest (perhaps) heresy here. At an elite level, attacking players are better than defending players (better touch, better possession, better ball skills). Defenses make mistakes (bad clearing, ball watching, not man marking etc). Offenses take advantage (sometimes they even score without a defensive mistake). I think you are correct regarding our defense but a great part of it will be that the attacking prowess we are facing in the World Cup is so daunting. If Besler and Gonzo are thought to be our best, so be it. I’m hoping for the best and expecting the worst. You never know. Who expected Gooch and Demerit to play the way they did in the Confeds Cup?
        Defending will have to be “all hands on deck”. Watch the first goal. There is a great over the top pass which beats everyone. The attacker hits Howard with the ball (or Howard makes the save). If you watch Castillo and Iarmalenko, Castillo is even or goal side but he jogs and Iarmalenko sprints. Result-goal. We can’t have that. We’ll need luck, all the right bounces, no catastrophic calls, all the stars in alignment.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          Whereas I tend to believe in talent, that give or take effort some incremental level of effort and determination, you are playing the cards you develop and field.

          My basic concern when I look at the US defense is the generation of players who were mainstays in senior-level Europe has gotten old. Boca, Dolo, DeMerit, etc. We’re now fielding people of the same generation who haven’t been flushed (Gooch), junior players who’ve not made their mark yet (Brooks), and then the best MLS has to offer, which is just OK. To me when MLS is the main pipeline to a position you are suffering talent deficit.

          I think at least some of the problem is that the current US trend seems to emphasize distribution skills, composure, and heading ability over the ability to win balls and clatter people. I want to show US coaches tape of Italian teams and point out it’s not mutually exclusive, defense and the ability to work the ball out once it’s won. I don’t think pushing finesse is wrong minded per se it’s just the US’ strength used to be a solid team defense with enough offensive talent to be able to counter.

  76. Brett says:

    Dempsey and Jozy should be fighting for the same spot, and frankly, Jozy is winning.

    Aron is 2nd forward by some distance, and Donovan and Zusi are our SMFs. Fabian has to play defense because Beasley and Castillo both stink. The back line is a total mess, but will be slightly better with Besler and Gonzalez back. Even at full strength, we are going to give up at least 6 goals in the World Cup if we don’t find a decent set of fullbacks.

    Bedoya is a one trick pony and his one trick isn’t that great. I do like his work rate though and I think he could make a great fullback. He probably has the best curling cross on the team.

    Brooks is too inexperienced to start but I think he is better than Goodson.

    Jones was okay, the shiniest turd on the pile, but I want him nowhere near the field in Brazil (I know he will be there) and Kljestan played his way behind Mix and Beckerman. That’s fine for me.

    In the end there were just too many missed chances, good chances from players who really needed to show well.

    My dream lineup is a 4-1-3-2. Back four is Fabian, Besler, Gonzalez, Bedoya. Bradley maestros from the holding spot. Ahead of him is a midfield trident Beasley, Donovan, Zusi. Up top Jozy works the point and Aron plays the shadow. It’ll never happen, but I think that’s our best eleven. Dempsey fights back in if he can start scoring, but I think he is ill suited for a midfield role at this point. His passing and running are both lazy.

    • Increase0 says:

      Donnovan is the second CM? or Zusi…?

    • Fair Observer says:

      surprisingly i dont have a big problem with your lineup, never thought about bedoya at RB but if JK can try B Evans back there he might as well try Bedoya. frees up a spot in midfield

      • Brett says:

        Ale Boy has played there before in later stages of matches. He’s got the motor for it, and the crossing ability.

    • Advocate says:

      It’s nice to see that someone values Beasley’s talents as a midfielder, as do I. For my money, he’s the best left wing on the roster (at least if Donovan plays elsewhere). That shift also puts Fabian at FB, where he is most natural and can make the best contribution. Of course, in the increasingly unlikely event that Dempsey regains his form, some adjustment would have to be made. In that case, I’d be inclined to sit Jozy, play Aron up front with Donovan and slot Dempsey into the center of your midfield.

      • Brett says:

        I’d like that idea if Dempsey had the work rate or midfield play. His passing has never been great either. I think his best role now is as a sub for Jozy, or possibly, his starting spot up top.

  77. David M says:

    No need to panic. We can always schedule a few home games against the likes of Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, so that Klinsmann the Messiah can lead the team to another impressive yearly record.

  78. Jim in Atlanta says:

    Ok ok ok. If no one else is going to say it then I will.
    Why don’t we play James Milner aka graham zusi at RB?
    I would love to see chandler back at right back because in my eyes neither Cameron nor Evans are not good enough. Cameron is to slow and can hit a cross to save his life and brad Evans…. well, BRAD EVANS!?

    I mean it works for Man city. Why can’t it work for us? He has all the tools to be successful there probably more than Beasley has to play LB.

    So there it is our RBs should be James Milner(zusi) and Timothy Chandler.

    • Bac says:

      I bet if you lined up Cam, Zusi, and Evans in a sprint…. Cam wins
      He’s got the experience in the back, and he’s played well this season… ok all but one of his crosses sucked today, but short of a Chandler resurrection..Cams the guy
      Agree with you Evans has no business at RB for the usmnt, Zusi is too slow

      • Jim in Atlanta says:

        HOW is zusi too slow? In what world is cam faster than zusi? Are you trolling me?

        • Matt says:

          I’d be willing to put my left nut on it that if you did a poll on this site, asking quite simply: If Cam and Zusi were to race from point a to point b, who would win?

          – 75% of the votes would be in favor of Cam. As would I.

          • John says:

            The only reason I might give it to Zusi is that run he made in the Azteca to clear out a cross with his head.

          • Jim in Atlanta says:

            Then 75% of you are either delusional, high, blind, or don’t know who zusi is lol. There is no way in the world Cameron is faster/quicker than zusi. No, just NO.

            • RealMenChewGum says:

              I also think Cam would win a sprint. But Zusi’s strength is in his acceleration. He has a very quick first step, which is probably what you’ve seen out of him.

        • Bac says:

          No. I’ve never taken shots at other posters on SBI, never been the internet tough guy. I’ve always said there’s too much wasted energy here in that way if you’ve ever read any of my posts. I was respectfully disagreeing with your point about Zusi, and agreeing with your point about Evans.
          The knock on Zusi has always been that he’s not very quick, or more specifically- not very fast…. and watching Cam- he can run. At 6’3″ and long strides he may not look it, but he can run with every forward he goes against in the PL.
          Zusi isn’t a defender.
          Trolling no. Disagreeing with part of your post and following with rational points, that’s what I always hope to do.

  79. Joseph D'Hippolito says:

    Riddle me this: If Altidore isn’t good as a single striker and if Eddie Johnson is not much better, then why does Klinsmann stick with the same tactics? At this point, change tactics and use the offensive strengths you have (Bradley, Zusi, Donovan and Johannsson) instead of trying to force players to be something they’re not.

  80. John says:

    What is the point of running Boyd out there for the last 30 seconds of the match? It’s just getting mean of Klinsmann at this point.

    • Helium-3 says:

      Dempsey should have come off with about 15 mins left for Boyd. Dempsey has definitely lost a step or two at this level. It’s the same Dempsey we saw playing for Seattle last season. He’s not going to get better playing MLS ball.

  81. Agnus Lazo says:

    OBVIOUSLY without M.B. the engine we look average.

    • usaalltheway says:

      Just don’t tell the others…they won’t like hearing it.

    • David M says:

      Average?? We didn’t even come close to average yesterday. Ukraine was average.

      • Kevin_H says:

        I noticed that soccer fans in England will call a team/performance “average” when actually they mean “less than average.”

        Maybe they’re just being nice.

  82. John says:

    I was hanging on to some hope that Dempsey and Altidore’s club form wouldn’t somehow effect how they play on the national team. The chances of that are looking less and less likely at this point. Perhaps they didn’t get a great deal of service but they also killed a good number of attacks them self.
    Jozy without a goal in 4 US starts now and Clint in 6 (unless you count the PK that bounced off the keeper).

  83. AH says:

    You’ll have to search long and hard for a worse performance by a centerback pairing.

    The runs that were cutting them apart consisted of one guy running straight up the middle and they could not sort it out. Gooch has long been an awful soccer player and shouldn’t get capped ever again. Brooks may have a future, but it’s a ways off.

    Other thoughts…

    Dempsey was awful. Altidore was pretty bad. Bedoya was a relatively bright spot. Sacha was just terrible. Shea, who is not good at soccer, may go to Brazil just because he is willing to run at people. Edgar Castillo was not good. Cameron is class but his crosses weren’t up to par today.

    • John says:

      Shea is such a confusing player. Sometimes he’ll look like he has no idea what’s going, wondering in circles and is scared to touch the ball. Other times he comes on, is making tackles and looks like the fastest most creative player we have. Every time you’re ready to give up on him he gives you this little flash where you just hope he could put it all together.

    • John says:

      If Jozy puts that header at least on target as he probably should, or Kljestan get on to the other cross as he probably should I think maybe we are looking at Cameron’s crossing ability in a different light perhaps.

  84. RealMenChewGum says:

    Here is a smattering of my thoughts regarding this game:

    Overall, it was a very disappointing showing. Not so much because of the poor individual performances (although there were plenty of those), but because of the incredible lack of energy. The U.S. (and also Ukraine, for that matter) had very little urgency in their play. A few players (Dempsey, Bedoya) would try at times to get some uptempo play going, but it never stuck for long. This was the most upsetting part of the game for me. Just not a fun game to watch.

    And now, here are my thoughts on the individuals, roughly in the order of how I think they performed:

    Howard – Didn’t have much to do most of the game. Made excellent first saves on the two goals only to have little help on the rebound.

    Bedoya – Most energetic player for the US. Most of the successful US buildups went through him. He also had a few sloppy giveaways, but for the most part his combination play was quick and incisive. Definitely raised his stock – mostly due to the dearth of good performances around him. It would take quite a free-fall for him to miss the plane to Brazil at this point.

    Jones – Had a few poor touches that killed counterattacks, but overall played very solidly. He was absolutely everywhere defensively. It seemed like he covered for everyone else on the team at some point or another. Distribution was ok but not excellent. To be fair, Klejstan didn’t really help him out with this. I would have like to seem him paired with Williams for longer so he could have more freedom to create offensively.

    Cameron – Other than his horrible crossing, I thought he played very well. He wasn’t caught out of position defensively and I don’t recall him ever getting burned one-on-one. He didn’t contribute much offensively in the first half, but he and Bedoya absolutely shredded the right side of the field for the first 20 mins or so of the second half. I think he has to start for us in Brazil and, as of now, it should be at RB.

    FabJo – While he didn’t have a particularly great game, this match solidified my belief that he absolutely 100% needs to be in our starting XI. His technically ability with the ball at his feet is miles ahead of most of the US players. He had a couple errant passes and didn’t look quite as dangerous going forward as he sometimes does. However, there were many times when he received a poor one-touch pass from a teammate in tight space and managed to save possession with incredibly quick feet and a deft touch. He NEEDS TO start somewhere on the left in the WC.

    Clint – I liked his approach to the game, but his touch and form just don’t seem to be there. He was one of the few players trying to make something happen, and you could hear him trying to lead on the pitch. However, too often his first touch and quick passes careened away from him. He’s obviously still struggling, but I think he’ll find his way back by the time the WC rolls around.

    Castillo – The way he played puzzled me. To me it looked like he was very tense and too afraid of making a mistake to play to his strengths. We know he’s not the most solid defender, but usually you’ll see him barrel down the left wing without abandon a few times a game. That is his strength. He struggled some defensively, but what really bothered me was his lack of aggression up the wing. Maybe Klinsmann told him to reel it in so he doesn’t get caught out of position. Whatever the case, it didn’t work. He’s on the fringe, but at this point I’d still rather see him over Shea as our left-footed-winger option.

    Altidore – Very disappointing showing. It looked like many of the Sunderland games he’s played in this year, except he was even less involved. His first touch was as bad as I’ve seen this season. And he started doing his pouty body language thing. I’ll be the first to admit I’m a huge Altidore fan – I still think he should be our starting striker at the WC – but he really needs to change his habit of throwing his arms up in the air exasperatedly whenever a bad touch kills an attack. I know for a fact he is a mature/selfless person and player but, for whatever reason, he has this one horrible habit. It makes him look like a much worse teammate than he actually is. THIS IS WHY you see so many fans call him ‘lazy’.

    Kljestan – He showed me… nothing. Just nothing. This is it for me. He just doesn’t perform for the national team. At this point, I’d rather not even see him in Brazil as a backup. Take your pick of his bad giveaways in midfield (and one of them led to a goal). I really wish Williams had gotten the start so we could see what he could do with Jones.

    Gooch/Brooks – Just never had any sort of organization or unspoken understanding of position, which is what you want out of your CBs. Both of those runs went right between them, and you can’t just get beat through that part of the pitch as CBs. The runners may have come from the midfield in both cases, and they may not have been able to stop those goals anyway, but they WERE SO SLOW to even notice those runs. The players were already by them when they started to cover. Both their stocks dropped significantly and all other CBs rose by default.


    Johannsson – Solid showing, nothing spectacular. Some people have said he showed particularly well, but I didn’t see anything amazing. Took that volley very well and at least got involved in the play. Solidly cemented as the #2 striker in my book.

    Shea – Decent showing. Got involved in his time on the pitch. But, again, he’ll often make a nice run down the wing and then just look like a deer in the headlights once he gets into the final third. Someone on this site explained it very well a while back: “He’s great at every part of soccer, except the soccer parts.” No change in his WC standing in my opinion.

    Williams – Not really enough time on the pitch to discern much. But if he keeps playing well in the Championship, I definitely want to see more of this guy.

    Agudelo/Boyd – I always feel like I’d love to see these guys get a real shot, but I just don’t see how to fit that in before the WC.

    And, for sharts and giggles, here’s the lineup I’d throw out for the WC right now (keep in mind, this is for the first half):


    Zusi/Bedoya on the right is pretty close for me right now, but I’m giving it to Bedoya by the slightest margin based on form.

    • Increase0 says:

      Good Run down. I would play Fabian back against Ghana. I think they have a crazy fast right wing. He can move up vs Portugal but fall back if Rolando Switches sides. I think Beasley could handle Nani.(Just bad right now)

    • Curtis says:

      Agree with almost all of your recaps — and I really love Bedoya’s effort and work-rate for this team. Sometimes looks like he is the only one busting his hump, although I know he is just a bit frantic at times.

      IMHO, Bedoya was man of the match for us, just based on work-rate alone.

    • Goalscorer24 says:

      Overall agreed with your observations.

  85. usaalltheway says:

    The team has looked completely disjointed for YEARS now. To this very day, we have no idea who are the players that JK wants to be play in Brazil. He mentioned a “spine” but that was only 6 players. What about the rest of the team?

    Who will be the fullbacks? Who do you really want in the midfield? Jones and Bradley don’t work well together and when Bradley is gone, the team is completely lost. Who are our wingers? There are just too many unanswered questions.

    I have watch 99% of the USMNT games since the World Cup in 2010. Since JK took over, the team has lost of it’s old qualities, while gaining no new qualities.

    The team used to be able to handle high caliber teams, counter with pace, defend very well, and boss around lesser teams. There was a sense of community and mutual support and love. You saw it on the field and off. It’s all gone now.

    All in all, I see no positives outside of Tim Howard.

    I think too many of the fans are overly positive. Rose-colored glasses. Too many excuses. Too much resting on this last teams numbers and not on the actual quality of the team or it’s opponents.

    The team is really a total joke right now. The World Cup is going to be a disaster. All one needs to do is just watch the games.

    • Joe from Philly says:

      You guys ever notice that no matter what some posters write, it always is the same thing? Yeah, me too.

    • Curtis says:

      Really agree on losing the old qualities and not adding any new ones. Klinsi constantly runs down the previous regime in his comments (i.e., “we are taking the program to new heights/levels”; “we are going to play a new, more attractive style of football”, etc.) — and he simply has not backed it up.

      Some good results (if not impressive performances) in Europe notwithstanding — where do we stand now just 3 months from Brazil? We seem to have lost much of our previous identity, and not replaced it with anything — at least not anything discernible to me as an outside observer. They just seem all over the place, and the concerns we had one year ago ( folks not buying into the system, rift with LD, etc.) that seemed to have disappeared may actually have been a portent of things to come.

      This feels a lot like lead-up to 1998 WC.

  86. gtv says:

    Jozy and Deuce’s off-season moves have really hurt us. I understand their motivations, but from a USMNT standpoint, it is a disaster. Jozy is so rusty now there’s no way he gets back in form by summer and Clint’s move at his age means his days as a world-class player are over. Playing on Astroturf in MLS will not help his injuries or his form. Gooch’s international career is over. No fault of his own, age and injuries will eventually catch up with anyone. Even more concerning, Bradley has left Roma and will also play on Astroturf in the MLS. I hate to be so pessimistic, but I am afraid we may not win a single point in Brasil.

  87. Brain Guy says:

    Caption for the photo: “Grandpa, you jump so high!”

  88. Dirk McQuigley says:

    Did you ever wonder why Klinsi scheduled this match, originally in hostile conditions, against very good opponents? He wanted to see what his players were made of. And even if that means the match served to ELIMINATE players from making the plane to Brazil, then it was useful.

    We know that Gooch is finished w/ the US MNT. We know that Brooks is not ready for prime time. Maybe in four years, but he does’t deserve a spot on the roster now.We know that Klestjan is a disappointment and that he shouldn’t make the team either. We know that Castillo has no business playing left back. Ever.

    What else did we learn from the match? Howard had an excellent game, save the time he was almost victimized by the 50 yard attempt on goal. That Jones, despite not playing very much at all for the past few months, did not hurt his spot on the team. Yes, he made some mistakes, but he put up maximum effort. I certainly can’t say that about Altidore. I’m very disappointed because he is one of my favorite players on the side but he is on his way to playing himself out of the starting lineup. This isn’t the first match for the Nats where he squandered excellent chances. Definitely against Scotland and a few other games too.

    Dempsey is also playing himself out of the starting lineup. IMO, he shouldn’t be captain either.

    Shea should only be used as a sub. And probably for no more than 30 minutes per game.

    AJ continues to impress. However, he works best when he is paired with a real striker and right now that’s not Jozy. Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of options available to make AJ more effective.

    Williams, if he stays fit and in form, might just play himself back onto the roster.

    Goodson is now looking like he is going to make the final 23.

    FJ did nothing at LM IMO. He did have a great game against Panama, but that was Panama and in Seattle mind you.

    I wish we saw Packwood but I think he was just brought in to get a taste of the US MNT experience.

    As bad as the defense played, the offense was, well, offensive. Lots of soft passes getting cut out by Ukraine. Maybe the pitch was responsible for the slow passes early in the match, but they never really developed any cohesion until early in the second half.

    The difference between this match and the matches at Bosnia and Russia was that the offense bailed out the defense. A few inches off on a pass here and there and a few inches off some shots and we would have been talking about three losses rather than a loss, a win, and a tie.

    Again, by their absence, we saw how important MB 90 and LD are. The same could be said of our starting central defenders.

    As disastrous as this match was, it doesn’t count. This isn’t a Group Stage match. Even the upcoming Mexico game and the three before the WC really don’t matter. Yes, good form is good for confidence but again these matches are friendlies.

    If the US is going to get out of the group, then conditions and fitness will be factors — just as they were in Korea. And as poorly as the US played and as much as we have some fundamental problems, the weather and fitness will probably shift things in our favor.

    I’m not saying we are getting out of the group. I am saying that the weather and our fitness level will give us a decent chance against Germany and Portugal.

    • Brain Guy says:

      An eminently reasonable assessment. This was like an episode of “Survivor” for some guys, and some of them voted themselves off the island. For a couple of others, if I may use a different metaphor, it was another test grade on the way to the final report card. I’d say that among the field players, Cameron, Johannsson, Johnson, and maybe Williams didn’t hurt themselves too badly.

    • Ah says:

      I don’t think we needed this match to “learn” that Gooch is done.

  89. Curtis says:

    Quite a disappointing show overall, albeit without five likely starters (LD, Bradley, Gonzo, Besler, Beasley). We really missed MB and LD. Agree that Klinsi didn’t have many too many options in the back, but the CB-tandem was doomed to failure against a team with this kind of movement off the ball, and I do not know why Castillo was called in again at LB. I hope and trust this will be the last time we see Gooch, Klejstan, and Castillo during this cycle. Beg of you. Please.

    FJ/Beasley should compete to be our starting LB going forward, with a nod to FJ. No more experimentation. We need to have a solid backline in Brazil, first and foremost, and I am not overly-impressed with FJ going-forward. Plus, moving him back opens-up that midfield slot for Dempsey/Zusi/LD, or perhaps allows AJo to get on the field with Jozy up top.

    Without overreacting to this result — but rather looking at the entirety of performances over the last couple years — I am concerned. Agree with poster above that Klinsi has taken away some old qualities from this team without much value-added. I am not at all optimistic about Brazil, and sadly foresee a three-and-out scenario as highly-likely. Would love to be proved wrong, but there are just WAY too many question marks with this side at this point:

    solid/experienced CB’s? where do the goals come from? outside backs? how quickly can everyone learn German?

  90. DC Josh says:

    Klinsmann’s tactics just don’t produce enough scoring chances. His formations don’t provide any continuity up top. Klinsi needs to move Dempsey up next to Jozy, and allow both of them freedom of movement along the backline. But, Klinsmann won’t; he will keep his drab tactics, and we will flop out of the World Cup without scoring a goal.

    • Curtis says:


      The thing that cracks me up during almost ever recent game as well: 1) the team has a horrid first half, looking lost and aimless 2) Klinsi makes adjustments at halftime 3) team play improves in second half 4) Klinsi is praised by commentators for his halftime adjustments

      But why doesn’t anyone ever talk about how poorly prepared/motivated the team looked in the first half?!?!

  91. Luke says:

    Question- Can anyone tell me how much English JAB knows? Not trying to make excuses, but two center backs that have never played together before is a setup for disaster. If they can’t even communicate effectively because of a language barrier, then I honestly would’ve expected it to be even worse (and it was pretty damn bad)

    That said, I think that too much is being made out of the poor defense as opposed to how bad the midfield was. Yes, our back four was horrendous, but it was exacerbated by the amount of times that the midfield just gave the ball up and forced them into action.

    I thought Castillo and Kljestan were awful. I feel like Cameron is not getting nearly the amount of praise he deserves, and I fully believe that he played well enough to show that he is our starting RB for Brazil. I would like to know about the communication between Brooks and Onyewu, but I’d have to say that I think Gooch performed better out of the two and wouldn’t mind him as our backup CB in Brazil. Dempsey and Jozy need to step there game up or we don’t stand a chance out of the group stages.

    A few years ago I never would’ve thought I’d say this, but the MLS based players are going to be crucial to the US’ chances in Brazil

  92. C.R. WELLS says:

    The worlds cup is not next year, so start using the right guys on the right team and get rid of those who won’t be going to Brazil. How about calling up FREDDY ADU he has more experience than most anyone on the USMNT