USMNT ride pair of late second-half goals to beat Azerbaijan

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The U.S. Men’s National Team was on its way to a disappointing scoreless draw vs. Azerbaijan, but a pair of substitutes came off the bench to provide timely goals that paved the way for a victory.

Mix Diskerud and Aron Johannsson both made their impacts felt by scoring in brief cameos in a 2-0 victory over Azerbaijan at Candlestick Park in San Francisco on a windy Tuesday night. Diskerud scored the winner off a rebound in the 75th minute, and Johannsson added the insurance tally six minutes later to help the Americans overcome a subpar showing in their first send-off series match ahead of the 2014 World Cup.

The U.S. bossed possession for much of a match that began with Clint Dempsey being a late scratch in the starting lineup due to a groin injury. Chris Wondolowski took Dempsey’s place as a precautionary measure, but the veteran forward and the rest of the Americans were unable to find the back of the net until a flurry of substitutions were made by both sides.

“We knew it was going to be tricky with the conditions out there,” said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “You need to keep the ball on the ground. If you hit a high ball, you know that ball is gone. It goes all over the place. You want to play through their lines. They had 10 guys behind the ball, so the only way to get through that is with fast combination play or maybe a 1-against-1.

“It’s really difficult. I think they did the best they could do with those circumstances and they found a way eventually to get them under pressure and create something, even if it was a little bit later, but the goals came. Overall, we’re happy with it tonight.”

Diskerud, who wore the recently-cut Landon Donovan’s No. 10, found the game’s winner four minutes after entering the match as Jurgen Klinsmann’s sixth and final substitution. Michael Bradley started the goal-scoring sequence by rifling a shot on frame that beat Azerbaijan goalkeeper Kamran Agayev but was cleared off the goal line by defender Elvin Yunuszada. The ball then fell into the path of Diskerud, who one-timed it home for his third goal in 18 matches for the U.S.

Six minutes later, an unmarked Johannsson netted his second goal in eight caps. Brad Davis played a corner kick from the right and Johannsson raced onto it before perfectly placing it into the top right corner of the net.

The two strikes helped Klinsmann’s side overcome a lackluster first 70 minutes in which it had a chunk of the possession but struggled to breakdown an organized Algerian defense that put numbers behind the ball.

“It’s a difficult game for a lot of reasons,” said Bradley. “Obviously, the conditions, the wind make it difficult, and this is a team that is difficult to play against. You watch them play qualifiers in Europe against good teams and they make it hard. They close space down, they’re organized.

“The training exercise for us tonight was trying to find space, trying to find ways to break them down. At times that part was good, at times it could’ve been a little better. But it’s normal that now after 10 days, 2 weeks of hard work, that that part in stretches was good but can be even better.”

Wondolowski had the two best chances of the game prior to the second-half goals, but he was unable to beat Agayev with either of his headed efforts. Wondolowski peeled away from his mark and nodded a ball right at Agayev in the fourth minute following a free kick from Grahan Zusi, and then saw the Azerbaijan netminder spectacularly deny him with a flying save in the 15th minute after a cross from the right from Alejandro Bedoya.

“For Chris, it was a little hectic obviously, coming on at the beginning, but he did fine,” said Klinsmann. “With a little big of luck, he scores that header right away, and that was not an easy header to take because the wind just takes that ball in all sorts of directions. It’s not that you can really place the ball where you want. You just have to actually hit it.”

The Americans, playing in a 4-4-2 formation with a diamond midfield setup, were not tested much defensively. Tim Howard saw a free kick from Mahir Sukurov flash a couple feet wide in the 12th minute in one of Azerbaijan’s best chances of the match, and was forced into making just two saves while serving as U.S. captain in place of Dempsey.

Geoff Cameron helped Howard and the defense post the cleansheet, starting and playing a solid 45 minutes at centerback. Cameron demonstrated good passing abilities, but was not tested much before making way for Omar Gonzalez at the start of the second half.

“I think it was exactly what we needed at this point of our preparation after two fully-loaded weeks at Stanford with a lot of training sessions, a lot of work,” said Klinsmann. “They gave us a good game. We needed to grind it out. That’s what we told the players before. You’ve got to be patient. You’ve got to find a way to score a goal and then a second one.”

The Americans next head to Harrison, N.J. to take on Turkey at Red Bull Arena on Sunday.


What did you think of the USMNT’s 2-0 win over Azerbaijan? Who impressed and disappointed you? Chalk up the rough outing to it being the first match of the send-off series?

Share your thoughts below.

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329 Responses to USMNT ride pair of late second-half goals to beat Azerbaijan

  1. Ks:arma says:


    • McCallumKnights says:

      My take away is that this was a very impressive win considering Azerbaijan just made the Champions league final.

      • Rooney's Hairpiece says:

        Is it just me, or did anyone else find it strange that they did not use a Brazuca ball. All balls are different and wouldn’t you want to use the ball you will play in Brazil.
        Also, that Nike Ball was just plain hideous looking.

        • slim and none says:

          After watching this game I think our chances of getting out of the group are slim to none . . .
          . . . and slim just broke the MLS scoring record!

        • MisterJC says:

          The USMNT is sponsored by NIKE, and have been for a while. As a result, they’re required to wear and use NIKE gear and equipment, including match balls.

          I wouldn’t be too concerned if I were you. The MLS’ ers have been practicing and playing games with the Brazuca for weeks, along with those playing in Germany. The team will be more than acquainted with the ball by the time they start playing in the Cup…

        • Other Jim says:

          Just you…

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          Very little about that game made sense. Azerbaijan, in a chilly SF, to prepare for who we are playing (in tropical Brazil).

          The ball decision was surely Nike versus adidas. $$.

      • Galatian says:

        Are you kidding me? They didn’t even qualify for the World Cup and are ranked 85th in the world. The score should have 4-0 like France and Norway yesterday.

    • Ali Dia says:

      I don’t know exacty what this means… it seems that you slightly less drunk than “McCallum Knights” above, so I’ll bite. My take-aways:

      1) The Dempsey injury made everything a bit strage from the beginning. While ESPN was all-too-happy to pounce on the Donovan angle early and often, the more unusual bit was that absolutely nobody had info on the starting XI until moments before kickoff. Even in meaningful, competitive games, this info is avail about 45 mns before kickoff. You’d think if Dempsey was anywhere close to injured, they’d have made the decision around noon No reason at all for a game-time decision (who would they hide it from? Vogts?).

      We’ll know more when we do, but it could be suggested that JK remembered the very weak response that the team produced after MB went down in warmpus in CR, and decided to throw a wrinkle in right before kickoff, as a reminder that all the planning could go awry in an instant, and that the job for those on the field is to execute, improvise, and not make an excuse. But that’s only a thought

      2) Game was completely in line with expectation, through perhaps not for a few who expected 1970 Brazil to take the field in the first pre-tournament friendly. Sharpness was not there yet. Promising buildup fizzled due to lack of incisiveness. But team got the clean sheet. Got the win. Could’ve scored 4-5. Rarely tested otherwise. Portugal and Russia fared no better. And all without the captain.

      3) San Francsico… c’mon now. What was that? Total no show for the send-off. My word…. Trivia night at the gastropub or something?

      4) SBI…. Even worse. Whole lotta negativity. Whole lotta “new” commenters. And would you believe, an extremely high overlap among the two. Criticism is fine. The team isn’t perfect. Dialogue is good among us geeks Don’t get the sense that’s what is happening here all the time.

      5) Watching the USA score remains better than sex. Even when it’s ugly.

      • EQeki says:

        There was 25,000 at the game. I was there. We were all stuck in traffic. i didnt even get in until halftime

        Candlestick is a Sh**hole.

        • Ali Dia says:

          Then I offer my apology to you NSA. I should have excused those who showed. Good on you.. home team is home team.

          • JBSoccer says:

            Only 25k seats were made available. They sold out. Bay Area traffic was a nightmare last night and the Stick is a pit. It took forever to get to the seats and even longer to leave the parking lot.

        • vik says:

          There was a giants game and an A’s game going on, traffic was nuts. Candlestick is a veritable POS, and hopefully future games at Levi’s stadium will be more fun to attend and thus better attended.

      • Paul says:

        I agree with everything except the last point….:)

      • The Garrincha says:

        Very nice insight Ali Dia.+ 10 Pele, would like to congratulate Mix.

        Regarding the turn out, i’m thinking the LD, omission hurt the excitement throughout California in general.
        But you don’t take players to sell tickets
        you get players to win.
        Hopefully the two meet more often than they are strangers.

      • AMP says:

        I think these new people might just be part and parcel with the impending WC. Much of the commentary here has been unusually bad, but hopefully things calm down after the cup.

    • Tru Dat says:

      The playing conditions were a joke. We played bad, but the wind tunnel only made it worse.

      Will we be palying a game in Brazil where people will be wearing winter coats, hats and scarves? It’s Winter there but my understanding was they were practicing in the heat of Palo Alto to approximate game time conditions. Any reason NOT to play your actual practive games in the same conditions?

      • Chicago Josh says:

        Seriously! Who was the genius who decided the Stick would be a good location to prepare for Brazil?

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        Yeah I mean I am watching the German Brooks shivering on the bench….

    • Older & Wiser says:

      “Algerian Defense” — I did not realize that international friendlies allowed mixed squads.

      • Older & Wiser says:

        Still Algerian defenders on the Azerbijani squad — impressive. Does no one proofread these articles?

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I think the Dempsey change threw the starting lineup and rather than promote the second half second string he elevated the poor Wondo way beyond his value. Wondo then got several opportunities but directed them all right at the keeper. Which was more productive than Jozy but still sloppy.

      The second half subs (with the exception of Gonzo, who looks broken) looked more exciting in play but I think the first half lineup minus Wondo is actually what JK meant to do. Personally I think we have a better chance fielding the best players as opposed to leaving AJ or Mixx on the bench to be tactical subs behind Wondo/ Zusi/ Jozy/ et al.

      The team needs to “Feed the Bacon” or “Serve its Bacon.”

      Jozy didn’t look completely out of it, but this game underlined how he can disappear against fairly nondescript opposition.

  2. Josh D says:


    1 Bradley’s worst game. He was just awful.
    2 Jones proved to his naysayers that he is disciplined & can play the “Beckerman role”
    3 Zusi and Bedoya don’t work we’ll together: too much work rate, too little creativity
    4 Chandler looked more dangerous in attack and surer in defense than Beasley. I’d start him on Sunday
    5 If Dempsey is still injured, Aron deserves a start. He needs the US mins and he looked better linking up than Wondo
    6 Mix just makes things happen. He should be our first offensive sub
    7 Nothing can be determined from our CBs. There just wasn’t enough pressure on them

    • Josh D says:

      Oh and get well soon Dempsey. We need you!

      • ThaDeuce says:

        I thought Jones also looked poor, would liked to have seen Beckerman.

        I think Zusi and Bedoya looked fine.

        Cameron looked good.

        • ilikefreddyyesadu says:

          Agreed, Jones was unspectacular. AJ & Mix provided great life off the bench which was nice. Team seemed to lack creativity and energy without Dempsey. Chances are we won’t get that many set pieces in such dangerous areas in a WC game. The defending will be much better.

          • GW says:

            Defensive midfielders who look unspectacular often look that way because they are doing their job. A lot of dirty, boring , unspectacular but necessary stuff.

            Jones was fine.

            • Mason says:

              You realize you’re responding to someone who likes Freddy Adu regarding the play of a DM, right?

            • White Kix says:

              However, playing defensive mid against our World Cup opponents will be much different than playing it in this game. Will he be fine? We are still waiting on that answer.

        • sean357 says:

          Some people are so obsessed with who they like and don’t like that no amount of evidence to the contrary can convince them. Very obvious from this game that JK told Jones to stay back and he did it. Watch his off the ball looping runs behind Bradley while pointing for others to go forward as we he went back.

          • BookNerd says:

            +1. He did his job tonight and he wasn’t bad at all. The team looked tired, but its to be expected right now.

          • Bac says:

            Yea I think that’s the most I’ve seen him both stay home and bark out so many orders to try and keep people organized…

        • Mikey K says:

          Jones was excellent in the midfield. He was ay better than Bradley tonight.

          • Micronesia Justin says:

            Thought he and Bradley played well together. There’s chemistry there. Quick touches between the two.

      • C(note) says:

        While I agree Bradley was below standard…I think a portion of that was due to the wind. His long ball effectiveness was nil because of that. That doesn’t excuse a poor back pass causing Gonzales to cognitively defend(maybe JK said make gonzo work haha) and a slew of other give always. Everyone has bad matches and I have faith Bradley will be back to the general end of this week

    • Maykol says:

      Ehh on bradley i think overall he was ok, but definitely below his standards. Dint think i call him awful

    • Duracell says:

      Outside of number 1, I agree completely. I think Bradley’s game would have seemed much better if Dempsey had played instead of Wondo.

    • Increase says:

      I think the wind was really messing up any pass that went long. Bradley did have some issues. He made some bad passes that normally would be a very Jones thing to do. Jones did everything one would expect in that role.

    • JayAre says:

      Beckerman was actually playing the Jones role. Idk what the Jones haters have to say now. Beckerman will never ever ever be on the same level as Jones

    • ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

      1. This is the first time that I’ve really been disappointed in Bradley.
      2. This team hustled more than I’ve ever seen us hustle.
      3. People who impressed: Mix, Davis, Johannsson, Johnson, Wondo, Zusi, Beasley, Chandler. Altidore had his moments.
      4. Omar was better than I expected.
      5. Solid subs by Jurgen. You could tell these guys were trying to impress. Yedlin wasn’t super impressive but he worked his butt off and was aggressive the entire time he was in.
      6. I still want Donovan.

      • Nate says:

        6. !!!!!!

      • GW says:

        You obviously did not watch Mikey when he was coming up.

        This is however, the first game where I thought he looked tired from the kick off. Maybe he should sit out the Turkey game. Deuce too.

        I do not believe there is such a thing as a “minor” groin issue.

      • BlatterSUX says:

        Not sure I agree with #2. They looked lethargic after the 45 minute mark. Even the commentators expressed concern. Any hustle would have resulted in turnover goals galore.

    • Seriously says:

      1. A bit overstated here. Bad game by Bradley, but hardly “awful”
      2. Agreed, I thought he sat back and allowed Bradley the room he needs very well
      3. Fair. I’d like to see Mix instead of Bedoya just to see how that plays.
      4. Not enough evidence for me, Azerbaijan did nothing to say one way or the other how our outside backs really defended. I’d give both 45 Sunday and see what happens there.
      5. Aron looked good, but I wouldn’t complain with Wondo either and I’ve never really been a big supporter of his. He was showing up in the right places as usual in the first half even when the rest of the team seemed disjointed. Should have done better on the firs header, but he was diving, its hard to get precision from that and to be fair Mix’s goal was hit right at the keeper as well, his deflected in while Wondo’s out, bounces can go either way.
      6. If not starting. See #3
      7. Agreed, though Besler has had better games.

      • Advocate says:

        Donovan having been dismissed, the only creative players on the roster are Bradley and Mix (with maybe a glimmer from Bedoya). So I would try starting Mix, as you suggest. Because of that glimmer of creativity, however, I would have Mix replace Zusi instead of Bedoya. As matters now stand, if Bradley has an off day and Mix remains on the bench we can expect to repeat this evening’s unproductive first half — even against truly mediocre opposition.

        • SingularityCup says:

          Bull. Dempsey is the most creative attacker. Donovan was never creative. He had pace and a lot of industry mixed in with decent passing and dribbling skills. Not a knock on Donovan but he wasn’t this great creative force that most of you seem to think he was.

          • beachbum says:

            LD very creative, does it differently, not just pace…you don’t score and assist and create chances by being uncreative imo

            agree about Clint, the most creative player on the team

    • KingGoogleyEye says:

      I really think that Bradley was just fatigued. If correct, that would account for his multitude of errant passes.

      • Bac says:

        They all looked like heavy legs.. MB and JJ being in the middle and both going 90 it showed the most

      • little puppet says:

        The guys have been training like hell in camp, their sharpness is clearly affected by it. Passing, dribbling, running into space, it takes energy. Add to that a 10 man defense, I hope JK gives the guys some recovery time before the Turkey match so clearer conclusion can be drawn.

        • little puppet says:


        • bottlcaps says:

          I agree, However the US did not play well as a team. They gave up field position too easily when challenged and it was against an 85th ranked team, that you can be assured you can regain possession pretty easily,

          I would have liked the US to challenge the defenders more instead of back passing. This is what killed the first half for the US. It was only late in the second half when the US was looking to score, did the US challenge and hold field position, which ultimately set up the score. Maybe JK had specific instruction for the team, but it wasn’t assuring.

          We are NOT going to get out of the group by beating minnows 2-0 and the play of the US last nite, does not bode well for the US. Can we expect a far better team against Turkey and Nigeria? I sure hope so.

      • BlatterSUX says:

        His defense was lacking too. He overstepped most of the time, and wouldn’t chase people down with his patent-pending tackle from behind and cross-your-fingers no red card play. Well, maybe that’s a pro instead of a con.

    • Travis in Miami says:

      I can only say +1

    • bh ring says:

      I agree. This was the worst game I’ve seen Bradley play in at least two years. However, I leave the highest criticism for Klinsmann whose team showed no creativity in the last 1/3 of the field during running play. Now maybe the fool understands why Donovan was so important. Nobody on the team is as creative as Donovan. Nobody!

    • Billy says:

      Agree 100%

    • josh says:

      I was at the game, and the wind was messing with every ball.

      Jones was really strong, hung back well to give Bradley room, and showed for every defender bringing the ball out of the back.

      Chandler was strong defending, but consistently ran out of ideas going forward.

      Bradley was really sloppy with the ball. Uncharacteristic.

      Yedlin is freaking fast.

      Jozy did a lot of good work, but oh boy… that first touch is a doozy.

      Mix is awesome. Energetic and creative.

    • The Garrincha says:

      Josh D. I like you’re summation of the game.
      Although I don’t think MB was that awful I saw him playing Makelele to a tee,
      We we’re discussing just this point about MB recently.
      He is a defense first, box to box with some impulse and flashes of offense.
      also noticing his quick passing was
      a step ahead of what many on the team could handle early on.
      It would be great if they all could/would
      move, pass, and receive at that speed consistently.

    • John says:

      It’s not that Bradley played a bad game, it’s more like JK and a lot of fans thought that because Mexico trotted out a three man midfield with two attacking mids in the first half of our last friendly, that other teams would afford Bradley that kind of liberty and time on the ball. I mean, we saw it in the second half of that Mexico game that once they adjusted, Bradley’s influence diminished almost completely. The circumstances were obvious and I even pointed them out but a lot of people here on SBI always analyze games from our point of view and don’t even bother to see what the opponents are trying to gain out of these friendlies. A diamond midfield against any of our group opponents won’t cut it. We didn’t really need any more confirmation than what we saw against Mexico in the second half.

      Cam-Besler was a solid partnership. Certainly made me feel better than the Gonzo-Besler tandem we have been using. They’ll need time to gel and I don’t understand how JK decides to keep tinkering with the CBs three weeks away from the WC when he’s had almost three years on the job.

      Jozy is low on confidence. AJ looked much more lively when he came on. Azerbaijan may have been tired by the time AJ came on but we can’t keep handing Altidore games to get his wheels going at the expense of other players who may be able to provide more from the start.

      • James H says:

        Your first paragraph is such an important point its ridiculous. This formation simply won’t work against any of the teams in our group. What will happen is that we will quickly cede the midfield and our backline will come under immediate pressure. This will pull Bradley back into a more defensive role beside Jones and you’ll lose much of the creativity and forward drive that you were hoping to get in the diamond. And if one of the two forwards is not willing to come back and take up that midfield spot Bradley is forced to vacate, then it will be good night USA.

        Unfortunately, even if we go with a 4-2-3-1, the big elephant in that formation is Dempsey himself. Dempsey really isn’t that effective as a third midfielder; he is as a withdrawn forward. So you don’t really get that third mid when Demps is in the hole. Against weaker competition this is fine. Against tougher teams Dempsey gets isolated and taken out of the game.

        Now if JK really wanted to experiment, and based on what I saw last night, I would be tempted to slot Dempsey up top for Altidore, and have the midfield three be Jones-Bradley-Diskerud, with Mix as the up man.

        In any case, I’m not sure the US should really be working to develop the diamond this late in the game based on one good half against Mexico. It seems a very risky undertaking this close to the WC.

        • Brett says:

          The center attacking mid in the 4-2-3-1 is basically the same as a withdrawn forward. Call it a 4-2-2-1-1 if it makes you feel better.

      • BlatterSUX says:

        I agrree, but he has to tinker. Half of his team were not part of the qualifying effort.

    • Drew says:

      1. Agreed and he still almost scored.

    • wandmdave says:

      In regards to 7. For the most part you are right but I saw some good and bad from Cameron that JK could easily make judgments on. I thought he paired well with FJ and his comfort defending out wide let us play essentially a 3-5-2 for decent stretches with FJ pushed up and Cameron sliding wide to cover. I felt that was a +1 for that pairing.

      That said I saw one counter where Cameron let a long clearance bounce and that gave an Azer. player a chance to latch onto it. Its always tricky judging distance on TV but it looked like he should have challenged immediately and could have gotten to it. Chalked it up to rust or wind, hopefully stuff like that goes away.

    • Shurls says:

      I agree with the assessment especially #3. This team really lacked a creative presence and it showed. If we are afraid to attack and run at this team then we may have a long go in a couple of weeks. We seemed to play really safe and no sense of urgency….especially from the wings.

      Link up play increased in the second half with introduction of the subs but I would like to see something a bit more exciting. At some point I would like to see Green Jozy and Johanson with Dempsey playing as a withdrawn forward.

    • JanksAbroad says:

      +1 “Beckerman role”

  3. Jack says:

    Whats up with Green not coming on. Are we saving our secret weapon until Ghana?

    • ilikefreddyyesadu says:

      The amazing Brad Davis must be rated above him. Both are good at nearly drawing penalties on the outside/inside of the box.

      • Kosh says:

        OR it could just be strategy or part of the prep or what the game dictated. Like them or hate them – these guys are our team. At some point in this process we have to start supporting our team. The guys that are there.

      • sean357 says:

        That was a penalty, just wasn’t called that way. Just cause you are pissed about Donovan doesn’t mean Davis had a bad game. Can only imagine if JG had come on and not scored a hat trick.

        • ilikefreddyyesadu says:

          Davis is a good player and his pace did not hurt him against a team like Azerbaijan. I like his hunger and his left foot but I don’t see him making a huge difference in Brazil. Those games & opponents are in a whole other class than this one. Not looking at the players outside the 23, I think others are better served to play against the athleticism of Ghana or Germany.

          • Seriously says:

            This is basically how I see it as well. I don’t think his service is enough to see him as a major player. He is extremely one dimensional, he might as well cut his right foot off.

          • GW says:

            “I don’t see him making a huge difference in Brazil”

            He doesn’t have to. He just needs to make a small difference. A good ball here and nice pass there. These little things win games.

            You really don’t understand how teams work do you?

            You guys keep criticising these players for what the CAN”T do instead of tthinking about what they CAN do.

            But you are not a manager and you really don’t know what they can do. so that makes sense.

            • Lil' Zeke says:

              The conspicuous absence of a right foot paired with a lack of compensatory speed may give up a lot of possession and subtract a lot of value. That’s a small difference I’d prefer he not make.

        • bh ring says:

          Every coach will notice that Davis couldn’t take the shot with his right foot and tried to transfer it to his left. Bingo! The center backs on Portugal and Germany will be keying on this weakness.

          • GW says:

            Mr. ring.


            Maybe you should tell the MLS coaches about your discovery so that they can stop Davis.

            Do you really think that every single defender in MLS does not know this about him? How do you suppose he has kept his job with the Dynamo all these years?.

            There are quite a few one footed players in the World Cup besides Robben and Davis.

      • Master of the Obvious says:

        Ohrrr….he’s gonna be great in Russia (sorry LD, 2014 is throw way until the US develops a player pool that can play JK fussball. Gotta make right for the future, right? You’re a team guy. You get it, right?)

      • John L says:

        I thought Davis had a good game. He created a spark when he came on and played well throughout.

    • JayAre says:

      A team is only allowed 6 substitutions and there are 2 friendlies left.

  4. ilikefreddyyesadu says:

    Donovan finishes both chances that Wondo could not convert. Cannot afford to miss those opportunities in a World Cup game.

    • Maykol says:

      Second one was a pretty good save. First one though definitely

    • H-town says:

      Get over it! He’s not part of the team; let’s move on.

      • Kosh says:

        + 1

        Get your points in before this thread gets flooded with stuff that had nothing to do with the game, whatsoever.

      • ilikefreddyyesadu says:

        Klinsmann doesn’t deserve for this to just go away. The players, yes but not JK. I’m sure they are all racing to see these posts on SBI though.

        • Curtis says:


        • wandmdave says:


        • White Kix says:

          Where there is no story? Are you serious? This is one of the biggest stories in the history of US Soccer. I believe most of the people on each side this fall into one of two catgories. Those who believe in Klinsmann, don’t think the US has any chance at the World Cup either way, but they are still happy cheering for a doomed campaign. Those who want Donovan on this squad, and aren’t content with just letting Klinsmann throw this cup away, believe that the US has the ability to compete, get out of the group and make a deep run, but Klinsmann is incapable of putting the best players on the field to make this happen.

          • Kosh says:

            Really? So what you are saying is that LD MUST be there for us to get out of the group? Dude’s good but he’s one of eleven and I don’t see how his inclusion equals instant success. For me that’s the problem here with this issue – folks who think JK is pruposfully killing our cup because without Donovan we don’t stand a chance. I just don’t see it that way.

      • Master of the Obvious says:

        Was at an AO viewing party. When Bedoya was down…everyone asking for LD. Every time Zusi’s set piece sucked (nearly every time btw…) everyone asking for LD. Every time (some peeps MOM) Brad Davis’s set piece hit the first defender – everyone asking for LD. Songs were sung for Tim Howard and …. Landon Donovan. Just sayin….

    • wfrw07 says:

      So can Bacon…..

    • shawn says:

      Sthu Donavon is home

    • Don't be a dou** bag says:

      I want donovan there more than anyone. but those were dempseys chances to convert and he would’ve scored the first one for sure

    • Lil' Zeke says:

      Honestly I see Donovan missing those two about the same way.

      But serving up two goals to others.

    • Helium-3 says:

      Those two misses affirm that Wondo is a not a big time player; if you only have two chances against Ghana/Portugal/Germany, and miss those, you deserve to lose.

      Any pro that has been playing that long should have aimed low and at the posts. If this was rec league, I could understand but he is an experienced pro and playing for NT, so no excuses.

      The defending on the AJ goal was comical, the guy marking him let him run behind him and just ball watched as he headed the ball in; as if he was paid to not follow him. There’s a reason why these Azeris did not qualify.

    • ben in el cajon says:


      Please watch the 136-goal Donavon highlight reel and count the headed goals.

      • wandmdave says:

        Didn’t you know, now that he’s gotten cut LD is better than Ronaldo, Messi, and Zlatan combined!

    • BulletToothTony says:

      Donovan converts neither. He wouldn’t have dove for a header, he would’ve tried to chest trap it down and would’ve been smothered. The second, he has neither the ups nor the physicality to win that ball in the air.

      Sorry. You need to reality check that one.

      • BulletToothTony says:

        Error on my part as well… in both instances, Donovan isn’t even in there anyway. He would’ve taken the set piece on the 1st, and tried to place it on frame, probably drilling the wall. On the 2nd header, he would’ve taken the corner, and probably not have played it short as they did there.

  5. stanson says:

    I think Jozy is just pretending to be terrible. Surely he’ll play well in games that matter, right? Right?

    • sean357 says:

      Wish that was the case, was hoping Jozy would step up tonight but despite all the negative talk of Jones, Davis, Bradley, etc. Jozy was most worrying. I’m starting to think cutting Boyd could be a much bigger mistake than Donovan as he is the only like for like big body striker we have. Hope I’m wrong and Jozy pulls it together.

      • Nate says:

        Man, I didn’t think Jozy was terrible at all tonight. When he got the ball at his feet, he rarely gave it away. He set up others in dangerous areas. He even managed to run at people. This was a totally different player than the one who was benched in favor of Fletcher, Scocco and Wickham. the only thing he didn’t do was score a goal. Snatched at the half volley (as did Bradley), but at least he didn’t miss a sitter (like Wondo).

        • sean357 says:

          Hope you are right. I know he has it in him, just needs to get his confidence back

        • bh ring says:

          Jozy wasn’t terrible. The midfield play was horrifically bad. Nice going, Klinsmann. Jurgen must be a magician because he has fooled the media and American people into thinking he is a genius of a coach.. It’s the players that make the plays, and Klinsmann is doing a darn good job of making sure the wrong players are in the game.

          I saw the pregame prediction: 5-0 USA wins with anything less than 3-0 being a major disappointment. Guess what? It was a HUGE disappointment.

          • dman says:

            That’s really a dumb comment. Portugal only managed to beat Azerbaijan 2-0 so of coarse USA should win 5-0..

            Don’t let your irrational hatred for kinsman get in the way of reality.

          • Mason says:

            No reasonable person predicted those scores.

            I realize that’s kind of a “no true Scotsman” but when does the US beat ANYBODY by those kinds of lines? Maybe GC? Playing Guadaloupe or some other CONCACAF minnow? I consider predicting those kinds of scores with the US to be prima facie evidence that the prediction-maker is not reasonable.

        • beachbum says:

          hmmmm, to me he was the same player…the one linking up to others thru midfiled and holding up well…did that pretty well for Sunderland actually

  6. ThaDeuce says:

    Is it possible Vogts threw the match with his late subs? I don’t know anything about them, but what is the point of using 6 subs in a match you could win and aren’t in tournament preparation mode looking at different player combinations? I imagine Azerbaijan is not that deep. Big drop off from starters to subs?

    • Josh D says:

      Az just don’t have the depth to compete with subs. The announcers made it out like the subs were young so they’re building toward Euro qualifiers. Plus, they might have gotten a tie but they weren’t close to scoring. I doubt it was thrown.

    • Increase says:

      Vogts didn’t throw it… he has to sub… It’s the point of a friendly.

    • alf says:

      No cards and no quarter from Azerbaijan. I’d say that match was some sort of test that was arranged. Otherwise it makes no sense to play it. Our players held their emotions well. There should have been two penalties and numerous cards but the boys did great.

      • ThaDeuce says:

        Watching tv live I thought the Bacon pk was a flop.

        Not picking on Jones, but I agree with the announcers he would have gotten a yellow for yelling at referee in the first half, not a smart thing to do.

        • Bac says:

          See that’s where field leadership comes into play. In Europe, players yell and curse at the refs and most times it means nothing.. in central and south American it can get you carded if you’re asking a question loudly….

          And in the world cup….
          EVERYONE hates the US…. and we gotta deal with it…
          Just ask Gooch, or Mo..

        • Jovins says:

          Avoiding contact doesn’t make it a dive – he had to leap over the outstretched leg, which is a clear case of impeding the offensive player.

          • Mason says:

            Pick your words more carefully.
            Impeding? IFK.
            Tripping or attempting to trip?
            DFK or PK.

  7. Kosh says:

    First game in a tough, grueling camp. The legs were going to go – part of the process. Wind took some fun out of the game too.

    We beat a team we should have beaten. I’m sure JK takes the key things from this game he was watching for and incorporates them into their planning and prep.

    The rest, well we fans can litigate the rest. Looking forward to Sunday.

    • jj says:

      So many excuses out of this one.

      The Ghana coaches must be grinning.

      • Dirk McQuigley says:

        The wind at Candlestick is legendary. Giants pitcher Stu Miller was actually BLOWN OFF the pitchers mound during the 1962 All-Star game, resulting in a game winning balk.

      • Kosh says:

        OK. Ofcourse you know why it’s called a group of death right?

        I am not saying we’re dominating this group but I don’t think we’re the pushovers everyone experts like you seem to think we are.

        By the way those weren’t excuses they were my observations of where I think the team is right now in the prep process. I would love to hear yours as to why Ghana coaches are grinning though. You must have something more to offer I trust.

  8. wichin says:

    I don’t know why Wondo is ahead of Johansson. AS a striker you need to put away all shots. Johansson has better technique and would have put them away. Also, Davis is slow. Sure he can can send balls in but so can Lando. There were times when it shows that he has no experience playing the ball or running into a lane. He sits back to much an as a winger you must attack and be at the right place. Chandler needs to be given the opportunity to play where he can play, on the right side. I’d take Johnson and Chandler on the right so they can interchange over Bedoya or Zusi. Zusi not smart enough either. Again, lack of experience will kill us. That is why Klinnsman needed to play Green. The only way you get experience is by playing and he needed that today. Also, there is no leadership on the field…it is bad when the leader is in does he pump others up. Bradley had a bad last 15 minutes loosing passes but I am glad he did not give up. He should have been captain.

    • H-town says:

      Davis had a good game. Whether you think he is slow or not.

      • wichin says:

        Only on set pieces. He is one dimensional. He needs more. He won’t have that chance in the real games with all the speed we are playing against. His non-experience will kill any opportunities. Experience is way better than set pieces especially when you “had” an opportunity to have someone with both. I hope Klinnsman rethinks this. He still has a chance to change things by June.

        • H-town says:

          This was a real game. Look I’m not saying that Davis should start in the World Cup, I’m not saying that you should even get minutes, but I am saying that people are so butt hurt about his inclusion on this team they can’t even admit when he has a good game.

          He played well. There’s plenty of players who have been one-dimensional players that have done very well on World Cup teams. Ever heard of Beckham? He’s a set piece specialist but nobody was complaining about his inclusion. Even as he aged and slowed down.

          • sean357 says:

            +1 the Davis hate after that showing is bordering on the earth is flat and jesus road to work on a dinosaur for being out of touch with reality

            • GW says:

              Dinosaurs were b.c.

              Jesus could not possibly have rode to work on one. And why would Jesus need a job?

              • Mason says:

                Because all that carpentry (or masonary if you look at some newer research) isn’t going to do itself?

          • Nate says:

            Davis actually had his moments, but wow, Beckham? The England captain? They guy Real paid millions for to join the Galacticos? Brad Davis couldn’t even make the US team in his 20’s. There was a reason for that…

            • GW says:

              Yeah, he was too young and had not developed his skills yet.

              People would be better off comparing Davis to one of my favorites, Eddie Lewis, the poor man’s Beckham,, except Eddie was better than Brad..

          • Advocate says:

            To compare Davis to Beckham is ludicrous. Davis is, as you say, “one-dimensional.” Beckham was justly famous for his free kicks, but he was hardly one-dimensional. In the general run of play, Beckham had the touch, vision and creativity of the world-class player he plainly was. Even late in his career, playing with the Galaxy, Beckham would repeatedly put the ball in the most dangerous spot, even from 50 yards away.

          • wandmdave says:

            You went wrong with the Beckham comparison but otherwise +1. People had blinders on if they didn’t think Davis played well in this game.

    • away goals says:

      “As a striker you need to put away all shots.”

      So you don’t know why the guy who’d put away 9 shots in his last 11 appearances was used over johannsson?

  9. start Wondo says:

    a snoozer of a game TBH

    hard to gauge where guys are at right now against a team this poor

    • Baptista says:

      Every game that Wondo starts, FC USA wins.

      • Jovins says:

        Correlation isn’t causation.

        He isn’t played against tough opponents.

      • McCallumKnights says:

        Not true. Wondo started against Canada in a Friendly in Houston. I know cause I was there (Chris Berman voice). Game sucked real bad. The best part was the two times Josh Gatt dribbled with the ball with reckless abandon into the defense and lost possession.

        link to

    • Ali Dia says:

      They aren’t THAT poor. Portugal beat them 2-0 at home in qualifying on second half goals. They are toothless offesnsively but they don’t have any track record of being easy to crack at the back. Russia won the group with 2 goals over 2 games against them

  10. Jack says:

    Also who knew Karl from Workaholics plays for Azerbaijan.

  11. Ryan says:

    Figures. The one game jones decides to prove he can play disciplined in the deeper role Bradley decides to play like he did when his dad was the coach( his touch was god awful. Like it makes Maurice edu’s touch look good). On another note I hate the big “number 9″ target forward tactic. I wish we would scrap that once and for all

    • Jack says:

      I didn’t see too many long balls played up to Jozy to be honest. He certainly wasn’t asked to win a bunch of headers or anything.

  12. Craig says:

    1. Jones and Cameron were the two most consistent players in D.
    2. Wondo helped himself despite not conveying. He is the definition of “fox in the box”
    3. Mix and Kevin Bacon helped scored but did not really influence the game in the run of play and had the benefit of coming in with fresh legs.
    4. Brad Davis can influence a game, he is my first choice off the bench and I would consider replacing him with bedoya.
    5. Chandler outplayed Beasley and I hate saying that.
    6. We need a better MB90 and a better Jozy to get out of group play. I’m hopeful though b Dempsey links up well with both and he did not play.
    7. Cameron is our best CB. That’s scary

    • JayAre says:

      Wondo had 3 chances and missed all 3! Thats your definition of playing well?

      • Gene says:

        Not MOTM, obviously, but I think he played well. He got into scoring positions (which is what is expected of him), hit the target, and at least one of them was a pretty good save by the keeper. If he keeps getting into those positions, goals will come.

      • ThaDeuce says:

        Those were a couple of excellent saves, not misses.

        • ilikefreddyyesadu says:

          The header at the keeper’s feet was a miss. The other was a nice save. At least he is getting in the right spots. Chances won’t be as plentiful in Brazil so he needs to convert when it counts.

          • Mason says:

            The header at the feet was also a nice reaction save.

            • wandmdave says:

              Yeah but a better player would have put a wide open look in one of the corners. He did have bright spots but that particular header wasn’t a strong effort.

              • BulletToothTony says:

                A diving header in the wind would’ve been put into the corners with laser like accuracy? Really? That’s incredibly hyper-critical. Watch the play again; he had his head in that direction and his body didn’t catch up to the ball fast enough while diving. This isn’t your normal header where one would snap their head or neck in a given direction… it’s a diving header, playing a redirection on a ball…

              • wandmdave says:

                Took a look back at my recording and it was more of a diving header. I stand corrected.

    • Maykol says:

      I actually thought Mix helped the attack. Hes my first choice off the bench. He was pretty active. Davis looked awful to me in his first few minutes but he did improve

    • Increase says:

      Hard to say about Beasley and Chandler. I feel like Beasley had more to do but… neither did badly.

    • Skyman says:

      Sometimes I’m shocked by the different conclusions that posters get from a game. Such is not the case with you Craig. I agree on all points.

      • The Garrincha says:

        Ditto, copy that Craig, and Skyman,
        I like that “Fox in the Box”,
        it reminds me of an old friend
        “The Cat in the Hat”.
        Anyway, Pele like it also + 10!.

  13. mike says:

    Jozy – Aron

    hast to be.

  14. TrogDor says:

    Zusi is not smart?

    Cmon dude, he made all sorts of chances in the first half, along with some great runs.

    Bedoya was ho hum … lots of effort – little creativity.

    Johannsson deserves to start until he runs cold on scoring …

    • Jack says:

      Bedoya needs an open game to find the runs he likes to make,. He’s kind of useless when trying to break a team down.

    • buttian warlord says:

      Really? Bedoya gets all the credit in the book just for his versatility. He is probably a better rm than Zusi, and started out of position because Zusi is one dimensional.

  15. Baptista says:

    FC USA won and it made Klnsmann happy. The result is positive, the chemistry gets better. Let’s go FC USA.

  16. soundersdude says:

    So much negativity! No not the greatest game today, but with the 2 headers by wondo, and 2 legitimate penalty claims that we didnt get, this game should have been 3, 4, 5 or 6-0. Azerbaijan hardly threatened AT ALL. People calm down!

    • Baptista says:

      Well said. You Sir, get it; the haters don’t.

    • Kosh says:

      + 1

      I know it’s tiring that’s what this is. Watching all that Prem football has made us worse than our cousins across the pond. Mid camp in prep for the real big games our guys are coming along nicely. It’s a process. What else folks want at this point is beyond me.

    • JayAre says:

      +1. This was a dominant victory. I thought Barca already established that you could dominate a team and still with 1-0, 2-0

    • away goals says:

      Right? The live commentary comment section was a 90 minute elliott smith song, but meaner.

      In WC qualifying, azerbaijvowel conceded more than two goals exactly once, in a 0-3 loss to portugal in lisbon. Not sure why people expected us to steamroll them.

      • soundersdude says:

        Yea i checked out their results and expected a game sort of like this.

        But holy crap on the elliott smith reference hahah. So true but never thought id see his name in a comment on an SBI article in my life! good music though, as long as you are doing well in life.

  17. Chase says:

    Beasley is a good experienced player to have on the roster but i want chandler at RB and Fabian at LB. Bedoya played well. Didn’t like Wondo up top with Jozy for some reason. Johansson would fit better with him in a 4 4 2. Bradley had a rough game. Yedlin gained valuable experience and played well…dude can fly too! JK needs to tinker around a bit more to get the best starting 11 and the right formation.

    • sean357 says:

      I’m not sold on Yedlin but I think he could help as an 85th min sub with the speed which is what he would be in a WC game

    • away goals says:

      I really don’t get why chandler would play LB and fabian RB at the same time in brazil. Chandler is a charge-down-the-sideline-and-cross type but he can’t do that at all from the left. Fabian meanwhile is a twinkle-toes, play-in-tight-spaces skill guy, something he can do equally well on either flank.

      Unless the idea is that fabian will keep the left side of ghana’s attack honest?

      • Bac says:

        That seems to be the word, Fabian is our best outside back, and we have to face CR 7 & Asamoa (sp?)..
        Seems a tough call bc Chandler looks so much more comfortable on the right it seems lesser of two evils to put him on the left

        • Bumby Hemmingway says:

          The right footed Chandler on the left and the left footed Johnson on the right – appeared to make both players uncomfortable as the both would drive down the side line and then awkwardly stop and try to cut inside on their dominant foot.

          • SingularityCup says:

            Johnson is right footed he is not left footed.

          • away goals says:

            The black hole cup is correct, fabian is right-footed. But the fact that so many people don’t realize that kinda serves the point.

            Especially when it’s so obvious after his first touch that chandler is heavily right footed.

  18. Grande Bueno says:

    Donovan is miles better than Zusi, Bedoya, Davis and Wondo. He adds dimensions they can only dream about. Really a pity that Klinsmann over-emphasized the mind games aspect. Practical reality is that, when the wishful thinking subsides, Donovan will be sorely missed.

    • Baptista says:

      Well said Sr. Lando belongs.

    • Curtis says:


    • wichin says:


    • ilikefreddyyesadu says:

      Dempsey’s absence seemed to emphasize the point. The attack did not seem dangerous without them. Azerbaijan had some bad fouls that gave away set pieces but the offense was drab especially in 1st half

    • Skyman says:

      I’m over it. Get along now…..LD is done with international play, pleez STFU.

      • Don't be a dou** bag says:

        u suck

      • ronniet says:

        How about you stfu!!!!!! Whether you like it or not this forum was designed to allow people to do what you and I are doing and that’s expressing their likes and dislikes! Does it upset you that much when people comment about Donovan? You need to get over it because folks will continue to express their displeasure for an action that was clearly motivated by personal reasons, not footballing ones!

        • Mason says:

          Because that horse is dead. Stop beating it like a blind idiot. LD ain’t walking through that door unless CD is actually pretty hurt.

          It’s a PITA to talk about the ACTUAL TEAM that is assembled when the signal to noise is so low because of all the LD comments.

        • ilikefreddyyesadu says:


    • quozzel says:

      I liked Bob Bradley, but the team had also gotten stale as day-old Doctor Pepper under Bunker Bob.

      Jurgen was brought in to revitalize not just the team, but the whole way the USA plays – and it amazes me people can say with a straight face he hasn’t done that.

      We attack. We generate chances. We hogged the ball for 70% possession against Azerbaijan and generated 21 shots to 9. We have some extremely promising young players everywhere and even our older players are for the most part guys like Jones, Davis, and Wondo who are getting their first chance at the USMNT.

      I lost track of how many times in previous cycles the USA found a way to turn matches like this into the dullest of 0-0 draws. Instead Jurgen went to his bench and the guys he selected (over much hand-wringing!) produced.

      What the hell do we want?

      We wanted a fresh perspective and a different outlook, a hungrier, more offensive-minded team…and we definitely have that.

      I know. It was just Azerbaijan.

      But we steamrolled the competition on this side of the pond in qualifying, and in the Gold Cup. Yeah, yeah, people say. It was just CONCACAF.

      Okay. When’s the last time the USA has just consistently rolled over CONCACAF like that? I certainly don’t remember it.

      Say what you want about Jurgen’s roster selections, I also look out and see the deepest, most athletic team the USA has ever brought to a World Cup. Last World Cup we were bringing in guys like Robbie Findley and Edson Buddle as stopgaps, and I didn’t see any game-changers whatsoever off the bench. This time around…I see a bunch of very, very intriguing bench players. And they are obviously very hungry.

      And there’s something to be said for bringing guys as hungry as the ones we have off the bench. Whatever else this team is, it isn’t complacent, and it surely isn’t stale…and the guys one and all get after it. When Klinsmann has pretty clearly demonstrated he’ll cut anyone – ANYONE – who he perceives as Not Getting With The Program, people Get With The Program.

      And say what you want about Donovan, he just isn’t hungry like he used to be. Probably not even his fault – the guy has logged more miles than just about anybody on the planet and carried the burden of being the Face of US Soccer for so long it’d grind down durn near anybody. But the fact remains – he just ain’t hungry the way the guys I saw out there today are. As much as anything else, I think that’s why he’s not there.

      If you want to change a culture, sometimes you have to shoot a sacred cow right between the eyes, and as much as anything, I think that’s what Klinsmann did.

      A gamble – but maybe the right one. We’ll certainly see.

      • Don't be a dou** bag says:

        The best thought on the matter that I’ve seen from anyone…including wahl, ives, and seltzer. I still don’t agree, but it made me think. I think we still miss Donovan. PERIOD

      • usa says:

        holy hell…what a breath of fresh air on this.

        The fact that every post is negative and completely ignores how freaking useless beasley is just emphasizes the epidemic of ignorance in this soccer country. I believe that it is a healthy part of the process, we are moving out of total apathy into misguided passion as a culture. I sat down and watched a tape of the 2002 win over Mexico last night. The result still gave me goose bumps, but good lord were we terrible. We man marked their system, sat back, defended our box, slid, tackled, got lucky, and survived. We scored on an early counter and with a scattering of talent(reyna, obrien, young aggressive donovan), and a goalie that stood on his head like none that I have personally seen in a world cup eeked out a game that most often goes the other way. We are hardly there yet, but to completely ignore the modernization and shift towards a more rewarding style of play misses the point entirely.

        • Mason says:

          And Mexico should have had a PK from a handball in the second half. Hand of JOB, anyone? Converting that would have tied the game.

          (Don’t tell the Mexicans!)

      • SecretSquirrel says:

        This was a fantastic comment, and one I’m right on board with.

      • D-Bo says:

        Great post. I agree with everything you said.

      • White Kix says:

        You might not want to bring up the Gold Cup if you are defending dropping Donovan. He scored or assisted on almost every goal we scored that tournament. With Donovan, we would not have steamrolled anyone, and would not have won the tournament. There would have been no record breaking winning streak, or great win-loss record.

        Also, in the 2010 World Cup, we did have an impact sub, he just didn’t do the actual scoring. His name is Benny Feilhaber. When he was on the field that cup, we outscored our opponents 4-1, when he was on the bench we were outscored 1-4 (Our one goal being Dempsey’s gift from England). If that is not an impact sub, I don’t know what is.

        Finally, if you want to question Donovans hunger, go back to the 2012 MLS playoffs. It was right in the middle of Donovan’s talk about needing a break, right before he took his sabbatical (3 month offseason). The first playoff game against Vancuover, LA went down early, but LA was dominating. Beckham, Keene, and Juninho were running the game while Donovan was playing his role at right mid. After about 40 minutes, LA hadn’t scored even though they had most of the possesion. Then suddenley Donovan takes it upon himself and surges through midfield with the ball. From that point on, Donovan played great through the playoffs on the way to the Cup. When the team needed him, he stepped up and took charge, even in the middle of all his talk about needing a break. No matter what he is saying or feeling, Donovan steps up when needed.

      • atleticodemadridfan says:

        The rites of spring.
        The king must die.
        Out with the old, ring in the new.

        Also – look at the strength that has been banked in the reserve list.
        Donovan, Corona, Evans, Parkhurst, Edu, Boyd and Goodson. Those are some solid candidates who are ready to step into the breach if anyone gets injured.

    • bh ring says:

      Nobody on the USMNT has the creativity of Landon Donovan. Tim Howard knows it and stated it just a day or two before Klinsmann cut Donovan. Michael Bradley and Dempsey have both stated it in the past. Howard, Dempsey, and Bradley must be biting their tongues and shaking their heads right now wondering why Klinsmann can’t keep his petty personal biases out of the selection process.

      • dman says:

        I think mix is at least as creative as Donovan. Also AJ, and Dempsey are at the same level. Donovan in his prime was very fast, quick, and a deadly finisher he wasn’t iniesta.

        • QuakerOtis says:

          But didn’t you hear? Landon Donovan has more WC goals than Messi and Ronaldo combined! Therefore, Donovan cured cancer.

        • D-Bo says:

          Good post. I never viewed him as particularly creative. He was always a speedy guy who could get into good spots when needed. He was never much of a facilitator.

          • White Kix says:

            Donovan does not play as a traditional playmaker, but he is a great set up man. He has 58 assists in 156 caps. The whole World Cup squad has 65 assists between them. The number two assist man all-time for the US has 22 assists. Reyna sits at #3 with 19 assists in 112 caps. Donovan is by far the bast “faciltator” this team has ever seen.

            • wandmdave says:

              Yeah but he’s most effective in a style of play JK doesn’t want to use anymore. We aren’t a defend and counter team under JK (at least we are striving not to be) for good or ill. If you actually watch his goals and assists most are not a result of patient buildup. They are quick breaks. That would not have helped last night and given how JK likes to play it won’t be that useful in Brazil either.

    • YouGoddaBeKiddinMe says:

      Of course LD is way better and more creative, but Klinsi let a personal grudge cloud his judgment and now we all suffer the consequences.

    • wandmdave says:

      You’re the first person to make that useless point. THANKS!!!!!

  19. Karma says:



    1. Bedoya and Zusi are in great form. We will need Bedoya’s hustle in the group stages. Zusi created plenty of opportunities. We will need Dempsey and Altidore to finish.

    2. Our backs have serious speed. I forgot how fast Chandler is and how confident he is on the ball. Yedlin’s speed is even more impressive. Too bad he doesn’t have the on-the-ball confidence yet. Beasley was also quietly impressive in one-on-one defending situations.

    3. Bradley played poorly. His passes were too often intercepted and didn’t seem to have much creativity on the ball. Hopefully he is just pacing himself.

    4. I think the plan was to push Altidore the whole game. It was preparation for a very physical German backline. His touch wasn’t great, but he showed some signs late in the game. Let’s hope he continues to progress against Turkey.

    5. Jermaine Jones played a decent game. He gets knocked on here for being too aggressive,being out of position, or being reckless with his passes. He was much more under control tonight, but we didn’t see much pressure either.

    6. Wondo wants to play badly. He is practically foaming at the mouth. I would love to see him come on late against any team in the group. He might be our spark plug off the bench. I have never been a huge fan of his on the International level, but he plays like a man on fire.

    • Grande Bueno says:

      Lots of seeing what you want to see reflected in this post. Hustle and desire are critical, but not quite as critical as results.

      • Karma says:

        On the other side of the coin: Lots of only seeing statistics and not watching game play. Score is not the only indicator of how a game went, especially one intended only for tournament preparation.

        • Nate says:

          Okay, so aside from the shots Wondo failed to convert, what did he do to contribute to the attack? He barely got a touch in the second half…

          • Mason says:

            That’s the thing. He was two pretty good saves from, “Sure he scored, but what else did he do?”

            I really don’t know what to do with him. Every time I’m ready to cast him overboard, he comes up big. Maddening…

            • Karma says:

              If you are expecting Wondo to take possession, run at defenders, muscle for position, and then fire off a 25 yard shot, you will always be disappointed. However, if you understand the type of player he is you might be able to see how I came away with a positive impression:

              1. Positioning. Strikers are the most positionally unaware players on the field. Most of the time they are streaking for a spot on the field. That is why speed tends to make-up for players being out of position. Watch Wondo when he doesn’t have the ball. His constant movement is calculated and it puts him in a position to “only be a poacher”.

              2. Spacing. Why did he have two wide open chances? Because he creates space. Not with his speed, which is adequate. Not with his strength, which is average. With his “football IQ”. He has an uncanny ability to create a cushion.

              Look, I am not a Wondo apologist. He is FAR from the most gifted athlete on this team. I certainly wouldn’t build a team around him, but I wouldn’t bet against him either. Regardless, my comments were based on the work I saw him doing off ball, which most fans don’t notice.

    • bh ring says:

      Bedoya and Zusi were not in great form. What game were you watching?

      • Bac says:

        Well another way to look at it is the difference between activity and results. They both are workhorses right now which is nice to have, but Zusi’s offensive contributions came from set pieces and Bedoya made that one nice run down the left side. That’s it.
        Truth is nobody generated much against a team known for bunkering and not conceding…
        So…. on to the next game…

      • Karma says:

        Why does every American fan equate “in form” with “world-class”? You didn’t use those words, but I assume that is your general sentiment. Zusi and Bedoya are similar players. They both have high work rates; when they are at their best they are controlling, or at least active, on the wings. Zusi’s strength is on set pieces and delivering service. Bedoya has the speed and touch to create some great link-ups when space is available. They did just that. Azerbajian had zero success moving the ball on the wings. I know, I know, it was only Azerbajian. Well, does that mean they didn’t do their jobs? Zusi provided great service while he was in. That, in my opinion, was why he was subbed out. He showed Jurgen enough. Same with Bedoya in the second half.

    • The Garrincha says:

      Very nice Karma, has Pele, met you?.
      I do feel Bradley, was not as bad as many people think.
      He plays his role well. I also think he is regaining his full strength,
      thought he had some foot issue?.
      his play is just not sexy, he’s blue collar nuts and bolts.
      holding it down along with JJ the Destroyer.
      I was not totally convinced that Zusi, and Bedoya,
      we’re so terrific. not bad, would like to see more.

      • Karma says:

        Trust me, I am not that concerned with Bradley, particularly because of the type of game Azerbajian chose. Bradley thrives on open space which he will see more of in the World Cup against teams that aren’t packing the backline. It is worth noting that he had a higher percentage of his passes intercepted.

  20. Baptista says:

    Klnsmann is a bonehead.

    • Curtis says:

      Nicely said. Pithy and to the point.

      And accurate — ask Germans what they think of Klinsi as a manager.

      • BookNerd says:

        Since you make blanket statement without fact here you go. Germany loved Klinsmann.

        “Afterward, Franz Beckenbauer, previously a strident critic of Klinsmann’s, declared his desire to see Klinsmann continue as coach. There was also widespread public support for Klinsmann due to his team’s spirit and attacking style of play. The team’s strong performance is thought by some to have renewed national pride and restored Germany’s reputation as a top footballing nation. Due to his success coaching the national team, Klinsmann was awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz. He was even referred to as “Kaiser”, a term meaning “emperor” in German, usually reserved for German footballing greats, e.g. Franz Beckenbauer.

        Despite the highly acclaimed performance at the World Cup and the praise earned, Klinsmann declined to renew his contract, informing the DFB of his decision on 11 July 2006. The decision was officially announced by the DFB on 12 July 2006. Klinsmann’s assistant Joachim Löw was appointed as the new head trainer at the same press conference”

        • Curtis says:

          I lived in Germany for four years — Germans love Klinsmann based on his national team playing past, but found him to be naïve and unexceptional as a manager.

          He did reinvigorate the program in 2006 ( a HOME World Cup), mainly by bringing in Turkish-Germans and others who had previously been excluded from the German national team

          I imagine that the reception he got would have been quite different if he had brought in 7 Americans with tenuous ties to Germany and tried to force-feed them into the German national team set-up.

          Go ask a real German what they think — don’t quote a Wikipedia page.

          • RB says:

            I know many real Germans — some of them in my family — and my impression is that they don’t think so much along the lines you lay out here.

            It is also interesting that your 2nd and 3rd paragraphs seem to be rather contradictory. And there’s no difference between labeling the connections of some of our players as being “tenuous” and questioning whether they are “real” Americans, which is misguided and anyway, has no place in international football, which only requires that they be Americans.

            • Curtis says:

              Please don’t accuse me of racism next, RB, or suggest that I am calling for some sort of loyalty test for USMNT players.
              I am well aware that all of our German-speaking contingent are fully entitled to represent the USA in FIFA-sanctioned tournaments.
              I am, however, questioning the wisdom of bringing not one, but rather five David Regis clones to Brazil. This feels like France ’98 all over again.

              • Curtis says:

                And it would likely have been six if Danny Williams did not pick up a knock. That’s 6 out of 23.

                Team chemistry is important.

                And advocating for the American player when discussing the USMNT should not be considered controversial or “misguided”, even in your PC-infused world.

              • Mason says:

                Not rascist. Xenophobic.

                And you are.

              • RB says:

                Wow, you sure flew off the handle and into irrational assumptions and accusations in a hurry! Smh.

                At the same time, you’re still saying things like “the American player” and distinguishing such a player like Danny Williams or the others with the German connection. So that is to say that despite your angry defensiveness, you’re still clearly distinguishing degrees of American-news that are not applicable to the international game.

                It’s the same problem as with the original point about Klinsmann and the analogy you tried to make, where you suggested what might have happened if he’d brought in some players that had “tenuous” connections to Germany. There’s just no FIFA rule referencing anyone’s view on such a point as a litmus test for whether a player is eligible to play for a country of which he is otherwise a citizen.

                Now beyond that, well in any team sports situation, things like player selection, team unity and the locker room, those have always been things left up to the coach. Sure. I have no problem with that idea. Not sure why you seem to equate more players with some German background with lack of team unity and more of the “American” players you say you’re advocating for equating to more team unity. (And why no mention of others with foreign backgrounds, either, like Johansson or Diskerud.)

            • YouGoddaBeKiddinMe says:

              There are Americans with passports and then there are REAL Americans, guys who would jump on an airplane to don the stars and stripes and play for the USA with pride. Sorry if that upsets you, but it’s the truth.

              • RB says:

                Allow me to quote NolaJ, who summed it up quite well the other day:

                “They’re American because their Fathers are U.S. Military. I gather you haven’t served, or you would understand. Constantly belittling players because they grew up overseas after our country stationed their parents there is getting old, has always been pointless, is mean-spirited and is divisive. 23 players are going to Brazil to represent you and the rest of us. Support the crest.”

                link to

                Sorry if that upsets you.

              • wandmdave says:

                Other than Chandler all the Americans based in Germany have bled red, white, and blue. Since LD is the sacred cow lets compare his commitment this cycle to Jermaine Jones who got a freakin US flag tattooed on his knee and played on a bum ankle for us in qualifying. I know which I’d rather have.

          • The Garrincha says:

            Expat Curtis, BookNerd and such. Regards.

            Klinsy has become as German American as anyone can get.
            His immediate family is rooted in the states, and it was always going to be difficult to juggle everything with the strident and rigid commitments the DFB has. the back and forth and so on.
            in any event his new age soccer guru approach rubs some traditional German fans the wrong way, although a typical semifinal appearance turned into a resounding third place victory turned a lot of the consensus around, as much as you can bring a German around.
            I always liked Klinsy, and I thought his approach and style would work best with the general American athletic mentality.
            I would note that I’m also ok with appreciating Klinsy, and Donovan, at the same time.

        • RB says:

          Pesky facts! :-)

          (That said, mention of the source might have been good. Or a link or something.)

          • Curtis says:

            Yes — and I should caveat my statements with a disclaimer: my opinions are based on numerous conversations with Germans during and after the 2006 World Cup. Not facts, just my impressions of their sentiments regarding Herr Klinsi.

            Plus, my own personal bias gets in the way — I think he is a horrible man-manager with lousy personnel instincts. Hence, the Donovan debacle that unfolds before our eyes, and will bite us in the butt in about 3 weeks.


  21. Bac says:

    1. Get used to Fabian being our Right Back. Even though Chandler looks more comfortable on the right vs the left, Fabian will be the Right Back because of CR 7, Asamoa, Germany.
    2. Jones good job of discipline
    3. Davis looked good of the bench, nice surprise
    4. Not too much to take away.. We’ll never face a team with 11 behind the ball.. next two games more telling

    • ThaDeuce says:

      I bet Ghana will put numbers behind the ball in the second half when they are leading.

      • Bac says:

        I assume you’re being funny.. but even if they’re leading, all our opponents have the ability to play with more possession than us.. hence why there’s not too much to learn tonight, rather a game under our legs

      • Increase says:

        No Joke. Portugal will put 10 behind the ball if they are leading.(#11 is Chrisy which sucks.)

        Ghana will too. I’m pretty sure they did last time we played them.

        • ThaDeuce says:

          They did, and it was very effective, and frustrating to watch. Good teams also play tactically smart and to win, would rather give their opponents no chance, which hurts worse sometimes than getting blown out.

    • KingGoogleyEye says:

      I couldn’t find the old matchcenter for the match to look at the heat maps. Did Beasley ever cross the half line?

    • bh ring says:

      The USMNT was playing the 85th ranked FIFA team. Davis tried to tap a ball, which should have been shot with his right foot, to his left foot and lost the ball. Every football coach is going to tell his fullbacks and center backs how neutralize Davis at the World Cup. Davis showed nothing important that could help in a real World Cup game.

      • QuakerOtis says:

        Yes, Davis showed nothing… Except a beautiful cross that sliced through swirling Stick winds directly onto the forehead of Aron Johanson. Looked great from my vantage point, 8 rows back from the corner.

    • The Garrincha says:

      Truth Bac,
      I also prefer Chandler on the right it’s certainly his more natural position.
      but your thought on this seems exact about FJ,
      unless Yedlin, does some sort of shadow dance on CR7 and like company.

  22. Pete says:

    Considering our group, figuring out defense should be the main goal from these warm up games. Not a lot to learn from tonight’s game. Turkey and Nigeria should provide a sterner test.

  23. Captain Obvious says:

    Tonight’s result showed that the US can barely beat a really bad team. Our defence was exposed the , mid looked sloppy, and our forwards can barely finish. It also showed that tim howard is bad at long distance shots. The US shouldn’t be happy about this result nor proud. Worst performance in a long time. Heck I think we looked better against ukraine.

  24. Withdrawn Striker says:

    Worried that all our goals and our good chances were all of of set pieces. Azerbaijan’s set piece defending was horrible.

    I’m not worried about our bench. I’m nervous about our (presumed) starters.

    • Pete says:

      Not sure we will get a lot of good chances from open play in our group games. So set pieces will be important but I agree the defense we faced tonight were terrible on set piece defense.

      • Withdrawn Striker says:

        Wondo on his 5′ near-goal and the Johannson on his goal were so WIDE open……

    • AH says:

      Agreed. Only good scoring chance from open play was Wondo’s header saved over the bar. We really never created anything else aside from set pieces.

      Wondo should have buried his diving header in the first half.

      The marking by Azerbaijan on set pieces was so bad that it was like they weren’t trying. Aron was just wide open with no picks or anything. Same with Wondo. Weird.

      I’m Bradley’s biggest fan and think he’s easily the best player and most important player on this team. But he was awful tonight by his standards.

      I don’t think we were good tonight but I’m not panicking. But nor do I think that Ghana, Portugal, and Germany will exactly be trembling with fear on tonight’s performance.

  25. Curtis says:


    Shocking defending. Will not be like that in Brazil.

  26. Good Jeremy says:

    1) Jones looked good. I’ve been a critic for a while but he stayed in position and calmed the game down.
    2) Bradley was off. Ditto Besler in the first half. Their passing was a mess.
    3) Davis and Wondo are one dimensional. Davis has a left foot and takes set pieces well, while Wondo outfoxes everyone and gets to loose balls. They both did well at exactly that tonight but neither can do much else.
    4) Beasley looked serviceable and Chandler looked good going forward. There was zero threat on their side so it’s hard to tell their defensive abilities.
    5) Yedlin is much better getting forward than I remember…. which is good because Bedoya and Zusi were largely ineffective outside of a couple plays.
    6) Jozy seems to have regressed. He can hold the ball well enough, but he isn’t creative or a great passer and doesn’t seem to have a nose for goal.

    • soundersdude says:

      I swear Yedlin bombs forward and is “caught out of position” because that’s what Sigi tells him to do. I was at a game last month and he seemed to camp near the other teams 18 all day. Sigi wants the trade off of attacking ability, and the hope that he can sprint back fast enough to cover that hes always being involved the attack. I could be completely wrong and biased though as well.

      • peterprinciple says:

        I agree that Yedlin got forward “well” (defined as getting upfield without sacrificing too much coming back) but he did nothing once upfield. I can remember nothing he did with the ball. I do remember Gonzo and JJ covering his area on counters though

  27. AH says:

    At one point Davis broke into the box and had a chance to get off a snap shot but instead awkwardly tried to hit it with his left foot. He’s one footed and awful. This U.S. team can’t afford the luxury of fielding a player who’s out of his depth in the run of play just because his left-footed set pieces are good. Still can’t believe he’s in the 23.

    Also, I hope that DMB is not a starter.

  28. bh ring says:

    This game was boring and lacked creativity. Michael Bradley lost the ball or made bad passes many times during the game. There was no creativity by the USMNT. If it weren’t for the fact that the Azeris couldn’t defend set pieces, the US wouldn’t have had the two good Wondolowski headers in the first half or the goals by Mix and Aron in the second half.

    Where does Klinsmann think the creativity is going to come from?
    1) Obviously, this team is more creative with Landon playing

    . 2) Get Fabian Johnson up on the wing, where he can create more scoring chances.

    3) Either force Jermaine Jones to stay back, or play Beckerman over Jones in order to free up Michael Bradley. Personally, I’d rather see Edu + Michael Bradley in he midfield, but that won’t happen.

    4) The was no creativity in the last 1/3 of the field during the normal run of the game (non-set pieces). How is Jozy Altidore going to score when NOBODY can feed him the ball?

    5) Bedoya and Zusi aren’t creative. Klinsmann had better have a plan #2 to rectify the problem. The problem is, who is Klinsmann going to use? 1) Landon was cut 2) Fabian Johnson is playing fullback 3) Mix Diskerud has never shown he can be creative as a starter 4) Bradley had a bad game.

    After three years, I would expect Klinsmann to have a better game plan than this!

    Furthermore, what is Klinsmann and US Soccer thinking when they scheduled a game in cold, windy Candlestick park? The USMNT games in Brazil are going to be played in 30C temperatures and 85%-90% humidity. The team should be playing its three warm up games in places like Houston, TX and Miami, FL.

    • Bac says:

      Fabian will be the right back most likely because of who we face.. he’s our best outside back

    • Mason says:

      1. Screw that noise.
      2. I’d like this, but he’s the best outside back on the squad, so he’s going to play there. Maybe DMB at LM in front of Chandler?
      3. Jones played well. Beckerman would not have been an improvement.
      4 and 5 are the same thing, and the answer is Clint Dempsey.

      • Good Jeremy says:

        2- I always thought that we would keep DMB, Fabian, and Chandler on the field at the same time, with DMB or Fabian moving forward. It gives us lots of speed and defensive cover while forcing their winger on whatever side two of them are on to play more defense.

  29. AH says:

    Twellman touched on this on the broadcast. Why schedule this friendly? What were we going to learn. We have plenty of experience trying to break down Concacaf teams who come to the U.S. and sit 10 behind the ball. We should have scheduled all three games against teams who can test our defense.

    • SJ says:

      Two words…Berti Vogts

    • YouGoddaBeKiddinMe says:

      The point of the match was to beat up on weak team and get some momentum going into the WC.


    • ben in el cajon says:

      Assuming we beat Ghana (I know), a point against Portugal would give us a real chance of going though. In the last 10 minutes, holding a 1-0 lead, what will Portugal do?

      Yup: Put 9 behind the ball and hope Ronaldo can kill us.

      So we cannot totally bomb forward. Instead, we take off a midfielder from our original 4-5-1 formation, throw on Wondo or Johannson, and switch to a 4-4-2 diamond midfield, where the CBs and Jones all essentially mark Ronaldo and the others push for a point.

      Oh, and we’ll be really tired, almost as tired as if we had been spending 10 days doing conditioning drills.

      There was a reason to engage a defensively minded team for one of three pre-tournament friendlies.

  30. mikeG says:

    I am not judging anything right now with this game. Too early to do so. Let’s see the next game.

  31. Benny Dargle says:

    Two random takeaways:

    1. It was a mistake to play this game in Candlestick. It is always cold and windy there, which replicates exactly none of the conditions the team is likely to face in Brazil. There is really no excuse because the weather conditions were utterly foreseeable. Send-off games should be against opponents and in environments that will prepare you for the real thing.

    2. Our corner kicks look nice when the other team doesn’t defend them. Seriously, could Wondo and AJ have been any more open? It doesn’t look like we ran pick plays. The defenders simply didn’t choose to mark them.

    • Fredo says:


    • Bac says:

      Amen to number 1.
      Every other statement pales in comparison to this one.
      We got 3 set up games for the WC, once every 4 years..
      Playing on a narrow green concrete field in normal San Francisco weather was a genius move…

      • Mason says:


        You play that match there (or at Oakland or SJ) so that you don’t have to move the team until later in the week. Otherwise, you’re leaving Stanford two days ago instead of two days from now.

        • Bac says:

          SJ much better option, or whatever it takes.. they make the rules… frankly anywhere but Candlestick

          • Mason says:

            Yeah… I won’t shed a tear when they burn that place to the ground.

            • QuakerOtis says:

              I was feeling nostalgic walking in… not when walking out. And they ran out of food at half time. No food! Only beer! Oh, wait… But seriously, no food by half time?

  32. Fredo says:

    Very uninspiring performance against an awful team. We didn’t look like we had a coherent plan to get the ball to Jozy in space going towards goal. We didn’t have good ball movement up the middle. Rarely was the ball moved quickly after winning it back. I expected a whole lot more than what I saw from the team.

    • bh ring says:

      We didn’t have a coherent plan to get Jozy the ball because we didn’t have creative players in the midfield. Even Bradley was terrible against the Azeris.

  33. NASL TO EL PASO TX 915 says:

    Am i the only american fan looking forward to russia 2018.
    I don’t want to sound negative but the only way usa wins in brazil, is by putting bradley, diskereud, johansson, dempsey and altidore up front, some way some how.
    Those 5 need to get used to each other asap and play green and bedoya on the wings. Honestly with all respect to fans, zusi, sucks and bradley needs help. The backline is always the easiest to be form and kilnsi is poking his ass with the backline.
    But please kilnsi, you need to play Dempsey, altidore, johansson,diskerud, and Bradley together no matter what. Just like Argentina, Brazil, Spain, do it!!!!!
    Your left and right defenders need to have speed and creativity, we need a 4 3 3
    And this team can do it

    • Mason says:

      You said that already, and your lineup didn’t make any more sense last time. 433? Pshaw….

      • Andy in Atlanta says:

        Chandler Cameron Besler Beasley
        Mix =======Bradley=======Dempsey

        Dempsey and Mix constantly cutting into the middle of the field with speed of Beasley and Chandler over lapping and providing width.

  34. Jim in Atlanta says:
  35. The Other Jeff says:

    90 minutes of a cat toying with a mouse between its paws but never quite able to catch it. 70% possession, 86% passing accuracy, 21 shots (7 on frame), 11 corners, only one shot on frame against, but in the end no goals from the run of play. No breakout performances, nothing cringe-worthy either. Anyone else notice that MB took 5 shots tonight?

  36. rocky says:

    anybody else think that our right-side (ronaldo side) looked pretty strong in the first half? don’t think there were many turnovers or much sloppiness between johnson and zusi. that was good to see.

    gonzalez looked a bit gimpy, a bit like onyewu during 2010 warmup games..

    • Jack says:

      I don’t really understand all this focus on which side Ronaldo is on. Ronaldo kind of just goes where ever he wants, even more so with Portugal.

    • Chicago Josh says:

      Gonzalez also passed like Onyewu…the first touch he had, he was under no pressure and lobbed a long ball to absolutely no one. Infuriating.

  37. QuakerOtis says:

    1. Love Wondo, but his first touch betrayed him more than a few times. Turnover machine tonight.

    2. Ditto for MB

    3. Ditto for Besler

    4. Outside backs looked OK, but we didn’t learn much about Omar or our back line in general against the Azeris.

    5. Jones did not exactly excel, but I was happy with his discipline.

    6. Davis’ crosses were nice, and I liked the hustle, but yes, we need Deuce to make those runs.

    7. As to the lack of creativity:
    a. Sloppy midfield play. Just awful at times.
    b. The team appears uncomfortable with that much possession. They kept trying to force too much when they were in control, kept acting like they were on a fast break when they should have knocked it around more.

    8. This game should have been played at Stanford.

    9. They ran out of food at half time. How does that happen?

  38. JakeTheSnake says:


    – We played a below average team, and had average results.
    – I like the 4-4-2, but wonder if we will even use it at the WC
    – MB was average tonight, which in some peoples minds translates to awful
    – We did what we normally do against weak competition, we played down
    – Davis did his best to prove his worth, and looked good doing it.
    – I wish Julian got playing time just for my own entertainment.
    – Cameron needs to stay in central defense and not outside.
    – I’m not sold on Chandler being in the 23 yet.
    – Or Yedlin
    – I would love to see Johannsson and Denpsey start as forwards.
    – Jozy made a few good holdup plays, but he’s a striker, not Kyle Beckerman.
    – There were some awful shots we took. 21 shots total, 7 on goal.
    – some of those shots not on target were about a mile away.
    – Overall, decent result, learned a few things, but still need to see us against better competition.

    • The Garrincha says:

      Very nice J Snake, I like your succinct Analysis,
      However Chandler, can run roughshod and Yedlin, has great pace to cover.
      This is a particular point with me.
      The ability for a defender to either wam and ram em up to the attacking 3rd, or track and speed cover is vital.
      If you can’t do either?, then as a defender your value goes way down.
      MB is turning into Makelele, not sexy, but that appears to be what he is best suited to do in the short and long term…. and that’s a solid position to be.
      In MB’s, Roma days he played just about the same way,
      and time to time supported the offense,
      sprinkling in some timely runs and combination play now and again.

  39. MakinBacon says:

    It wasn’t the wind as much as JK’s usual poor starting lineup. Mix and Aron saved him from being embarrassed by a team that was not as good as the top MLS teams, This was a useless scrimmage…we learned nothing except that the two that scored should be starting and that no matter what, Jozy is a forward that won’t score. Wondo had two good chances while Altadore had none. What will it take for JK to not start him?

  40. P says:

    Essentially pick up soccer out there. No tactical plan against an utterly predictable opponent.

  41. Schretts says:


    I thought Beasley played fine but offered very little upside. Chandler just seems to have an extra dimension that gives me more hope in the attack.

    I think Johannson is key for us. Is there anyway to start him and keep Altidore and Dempsey on the field? Can Dempsey play the Bedoya role?

  42. RNG says:

    “struggled to breakdown an organized Algerian defense that put numbers behind the ball.”

    Wow Franco! That is some SLOPPY work.

    At least Ives would have gotten the team right.

  43. Brain Guy says:

    It’s hard to break down a determined, bunkering opponent when the wind takes away so many of your options. Fatigue from hard training also played a role. It wasn’t pretty, but it’ll do.

  44. Annelid Gustator says:

    Anyone have a link to the disaggregated passing stats?

  45. Chris says:

    Bradley’s turning into Dempsey: “only bring your A game if it’s an A game your playing in”. A cynical, very Euro attitude IMO. Maybe a professional’s career self-preservation approach.

  46. D-Bo says:

    I really like everything I see from Mix since he started becoming a regular. He seems to get better and more comfortable with every chance he gets to contribute. I really like Bedoya, but I would like to see Klinsmann give Mix a chance to start on the wing with Zusi on the other side. Their creativity added to a healthy Dempsey could be really fun to watch as well as dangerous.

  47. 57Tele says:

    We all watched the same game, yet so much disagreement. I guess that is what makes the blog fun. For every person who thought X player was good, there is someone else who thinks that player was bad. I’m trying to stay positive. Very windy; impacts both teams but AZ was really packing in defensively so I think it had less of an impact on them consdering their strategy. I think MB had a tough game as some posted (others thought he was good), but no one is great every game. He’s been a very consistent player so I am not too worried about him playing well in Brazil. I would have liked to have seen Green (X-factor that most of don’t much about having not seen him play either at all or just breifly). I think the US needs someone with dynamic one v. one ability. I hope Green is that player. I’m not sure there is anybody in the other 22 that has that. Turkey will be a better test and hopefully be more ideal soccer conditions for better fan/blog evaluation.

  48. Scott e Dio93 says:

    We won by Viking Power!

  49. Scott e Dio93 says:

    Isn’t Azeri league paying about same MLS? in some cases better?

  50. JJ says:

    Put Dempsey in for Wondo and Bradley lifts his game – we will look a LOT better. We looked fine though, nothing to worry about imo.

    Jozy – 8 – very good game, created a ton and worked his butt off
    Wondo – 6 – did half of his job very well, found space but couldn’t finish
    Zusi – 5 – pretty invisible, had some decent link-up
    Bedoya – 7 – showed great pace early, played some good balls in, fizzled out
    Bradley – 3 – worst game in a while, lots of turnovers, broke up our attack many times
    Jones – 8 – covered a ton of ground, defended physically
    DMB – 6 – did well picking times to go forward, wasn’t tested much defensively
    Besler – 4 – off his game today, not tested much defensively
    Cameron – 6 – like his movement, seemed organized
    Fabian – 6 – did well picking times to go forward, wasn’t tested much defensively
    Howard – 6 – solid showing, seemed to be as vocal as ever

    Chandler – 6 – did well picking times to go forward, wasn’t tested much defensively
    Yedlin – 7 – wow speed
    Aron – 8 – great movement, nice finish, did what Wondo couldn’t do
    Davis – 8 – very nice service, great link-up play, would have been my POG if he took that shot with his right foot
    Mix – 8 – makes things happen, good spark off the bench
    Gonzo – 6 – looked focused, didn’t have much of an impact

    • jompo says:

      How many times does Jozy need to fall over and give the ball away to get a bad score?

      • JJ says:

        More than Bradley? But honestly, he had a great game in my opinion. He put a couple balls on platters for others to score. His passing and hold-up play was phenomenal. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him run that hard either.

  51. Ah says:

    I hope JK is studying tape of Atletico’s performance in the champs league. They completely took Ronaldo out of the game and I’m not even sure how they did it. Because just lining up against him and hoping for the best is terrifying.

  52. PHist says:

    1-0 in the post-Donovan era!

  53. EndangeredMD says:

    James H has a great thought. Play Altidore as a more withdrawn striker. Jones essenetailly played a central defender (sweeper?) role last night. Chandler and Johnson would be able to move more forward. The line up would be this.


    NOW I see that ‘Spine’ was talking about ?!?!?

    • Chris says:

      It’s probably the safest lineup to play against the likes of Portugal and Germany.

  54. Alex H says:

    I don’t get why JK played Omar with the brace. If the brace is temporary than give Cameron the entire game to get acclimated to the position and let Omar heal. If the brace is permanent then give Omar the whole game to see if his knee can hack it and if not call in a replacement before the roster deadline.

  55. ChiTownFire says:

    I’m sorry but I think it’s criminal that Donovan isn’t in this selection. It’s just plain disrespectful to not put Donovan in this selection over Davis. Treating a legend like a has-been and not letting him get his 4th World Cup appearance is just sad…and the even sadder thing is Klinsmann can get away with it without the media getting in his face about it.

  56. bryan says:

    so do we stick with the 4-4-2 against Turkey?

  57. Dennis says:

    I thought Azerbaijan’s midfield and forwards did a good job of pressuring the US midfield in the US attacking half. They seldom challenged the US backs or Jones when they stayed in the other half of the field. That meant that whenever Bradley, Zusi, Bedoya, Mix or Davis received a pass they were immediately under pressure from one or 2 players.

    It was only in the second half when Chandler, Yedlin and Jones started pushing forward to makes the numbers closer to even that things got better, but that came at a cost of making the field more congested. I think Mix does well in that kind of congestion, but would have fared less well in the first half when he would have been under more direct pressure from multiple defenders.

    Bradley is at his best when he has more space to make good passes. In the first half, nearly the only passes available to Bradley were backwards, in the second half, the space was too congested to make long passes, but he did slip a couple balls through and did hit a good shot that was unlucky to not score.