USMNT 2, Nigeria 1: Match Highlights

Michael Bradley

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71 Responses to USMNT 2, Nigeria 1: Match Highlights

  1. Spencer says:

    Overall happy with it. Should have had another goal or two. Took a minute to get things settled but after that did good. I wouldn’t be sad if Omar didn’t play this cup though as his slow speed is a huge liability as was seen today. Which is a reiteration of his performance the entire year.

  2. Twosevenstreet says:

    The 4321 formation was excellent

    I love that Bradley and Dempsey alternated going to get the ball

    I love that Jones was able to push forward but also able to cover for Beas when he pushed forward

    I love that Bedoya was able to replicate Jones on the right side.

    Having Jones and Bedoya providing cover for Beas and FabJo overlaps will allow us to always have someone in a position to cover the strong wingers we will face.

    The 5 man midfield will help stifle the attacks we are sure to face in the Group

    A win against Ghana AND Portugal are truly realistic

    • shaggie96y bi says:

      I’m having a hard time understanding why people keep saying it was a different formation. It wasn’t. It was the same diamond 4-4-2 but with JJ on the left instead of Brad Davis. MB was never in a forward position, but Dempsey always was. He occasionally came back from the ball.

      I thought it was a solid effort from the starters. Two big concerns for me. First were the really bad giveaways that opened us up to several breaks. FJ was the biggest culprit, but not the only one. I loved his forward runs, but he tried to play killer balls every time and most of the time they were cut out and going the other direction. Second was Deuce’s terrible finishing for the second straight game. If he and Jozy could get hot at the same time, look out.

      None of the subs were very good imo. Zusi was too slow in his decision making and killed two or three good moves. Obviously Omar struggled. I guess Timmy was not bad and Mix didn’t do much either.

      • bryan says:

        it most certainly was not the usual diamond with Jones playing Davis’ role. especially not defensively. again, this circles back to it being a system and not a single formation. but this was absolutely a 4-3-2-1 when they were on defense. as they move forward, it seemed to change.

        • MikeG says:

          I saw mostly 4-5-1 on D that morphed into 4-3-3 when we had the ball.

          • bryan says:

            right, a 4-5-1 can be re-written as a 4-3-2-1 to be more specific.

            • shaggie96 says:

              Or 4-2-3-1 or 4-1-4-1…None of which is what the US was playing today.

            • malkin says:

              Can’t we just all agree it looked like a christmas tree?

              • peterprinciple says:

                I don’t think it looked like a Christmas tree at all…It looked like a 4-2-3-1 with Bradley really having free reign around the whole park. 4-2-1-2-1? Having Jones and Beckerman in front of the defense provided outstanding cover for the FBs, and freedom for #4 (which he often used to track back).

                Maybe it was just total football

              • bryan says:

                these pictures should clear it up for everyone:

                link to

                link to

              • bryan says:

                i can and i do. i posted two pictures to imgur of screen shots from last night. CLEARLY a xmas tree formation when defending. the links are awaiting moderation.

              • Diego's Maradoughnuts says:

                I didn’t exactly think so, though I don’t disagree entirely– more like a tilted Christmas tree (the kind I usually get).

                I thought there was significant and intentional asymmetry in our attacks, usually visible through the gaping spaces on the right (makes sense given the withdrawal of a right winger) when the attack came through the left side. These spaces would be filled by late arriving runs from FJ and/or Jones. The tactical imbalance between our attacks when orignated on the right vs. left side seemed to cause big problems for Nigeria in adjusting to our attacks and counters.

                I thought this was brilliant, and Jones and FJ really impressed with their ability to coordinate this without getting caught out.

        • Turgid Jacobian says:

          Definitely not a diamond.

          • peterprinciple says:

            I am certain there were times when the form was Christmas Tree like. Most teams come into that formation. When Bradley, who had free run of the park) fell back in the middle of the field, it looked like a Christmas tree, but that was not Bradley’s “line” it is just where it made sense to be at that time.If the ball were wide, and no threat in the center, I gather he would be moving around the pitche picking up open players.

      • Louis Z says:

        In a nutshell JJ played on the left the same way Bedoya always plays on the right. The major difference was JJ brought his horse this time, he looked good in the stifling Floridian heat.

    • tom says:

      I don’t want to do a “told you so” but I’ve been posting on several sites suggesting this formation was the way to go. Our strongest position is central/defensive minded midfielders and our weakest position is defense…arguably central defense.
      Having Beckerman sit in front of the back four, Jones run box to box and Bradley staying high lets us clog the midfield and remain compact and then break quickly from midfield. It’s not truly counterattacking in the sense that we’re not sitting back near our penalty area, instead we’re trying to break it up in the middle third and push quickly back up.
      I hope this is the general formation and tactic we use (but I also wish Donovan was available as a sub to play as the wide/forward that he truly is). We’ll see if this is used in the WC.

      • The Dude says:

        By the far the most complete and confidant game I’ve seen this team play in a very long time. Augurs well for the World Cup.

  3. MikeG says:

    happy they stayed compact in the first and second half. Second half we saw more counter attacks…overall when this team plays more compact in both penalty areas then Klinnsman makes more sense in the press. Playing compact up and down the field and left and right side helps the USMNT connect the dots and helps disconnect opposing teams.

  4. j4ton says:

    Anyone noticed the obese kid wearing the McDonald’s shirt?

  5. Jim in Atlanta says:


  6. MikeG says:

    I liked seeing the counter attacks. This could be our number 1 weapon to use against Germany when the time comes.

  7. Cheddar says:

    Do you take this scenario going into the 3rd game?

    Prior Results:

    Germany 5-Portugal 4
    US 1-Ghana 0
    Germany 1-Ghana 0
    US 1-Portugal 1

    Standings going into the 3rd game

    Germany: 6 points, +2 goal differential, 6 goals scored
    USA: 4 points, +1 goal differential, 2 goals scored
    Portugal: 1 point, -1 goal differential, 5 goals scored
    Ghana: 0 points, -2 goal differential, 0 goal scored

    Basically what this says is that a tie against Germany and we are in…….a loss, and our fate is ever so ironically, in the fate of Ghana. If Portugal were to defeat Ghana 1-0 (or any score), and we lost to Germany 1-0, Portugal would go on the goals scored tiebreaker.

    Would you take this scenario? A tie vs. Germany and we are through….a loss, and we would need Ghana to either draw or defeat Portugal.

    • Cheddar says:

      Let me offer a tougher choice

      Prior Results:

      Germany 5-Portugal 4
      US 1-Ghana 0
      Germany 5-Ghana 5
      US 1-Portugal 1

      Standings going into the 3rd game

      Germany: 4 points, +1 goal differential, 10 goals scored
      USA: 4 points, +1 goal differential, 2 goals scored
      Portugal: 1 point, -1 goal differential, 5 goals scored
      Ghana: 1 point, -1 goal differential, 5 goal scored

      In this case, a draw vs. Germany still gets us through…….but in this case, if we were to lose to Germany, we would need a draw from Portugal vs. Ghana to advance. If we lose to Germany, and either Portugal or Ghana win their third match (and do not draw against each other), then the winner would advance on goals scored as the tiebreaker.

      The same scenario as above…….just that instead of needing Ghana to win……we need a draw in the Ghana vs. Portugal game (should we lose to Germany).

    • MikeG says:

      This is a tournament. You play to determine your own fate and not rely on some other team. It’s true a little luck goes a long way. If the rare opportunity to rest a few players is possible before Germany only then can you look at writing your own script.

    • Louis Z says:

      I just don’t a score of germany 5 portugal 4, that is not going to happen.
      By the third game Ghana should be playing their best ball, so that result may go either way by a score of 1-0 or 2-1. And if Ghana wins then we are in even if we lose.

      • ann says:

        Excerpt of a German interview with Berti Vogts (link to ):

        Will Klinsmann be able to annoy Germany?

        Vogts: “It is the 3rd match of the preliminaries, when it depends on how both teams have played so far. The problem of the U.S. is that they first play against Ghana. The African teams are always very strong especially in the first tournament game – their concentration usually ceases over the course of the competition because the Africans have problems to build a solidarity for a longer run.”

    • Mason says:

      In any situation where a tie sends GER and USA through, GER and USA will sit for a tie. It will be West Germany vs. Austria all over again.

      • ann says:

        Nope. Both coaches have the winning mentality and want to win every match. (Remember Panama in the qualifiers?)
        Btw, in the relevant match Germany vs. Austria it was the team himself who decided to do so and not the coach.

    • Brian says:

      We are going to beat Ghana and Portugal. By the time Germany comes around we will be through to the knockout round and playing for the top seed.

  8. BrianK says:


    You have to offer greater insight in your summary for it to be any value. Tell us something we don’t know.

  9. MikeG says:

    the formation makes up how effective a team will be getting the ball into the penalty area and keeping the ball out of the penalty area. Numbers up on offense is good. Parking the bus on defense is good…it’s the transition in the middle where a counter attack with speed can really keep the defense of the other team off balance. Possession is enhanced when a team plays compact off the ball in support. Basically, it is like follow where the ball goes while maintaining position and organization.

    • ann says:

      Pep Guardiola after Bayern’s win vs. BVB (1st clash of the season 2013-14):
      “Overloading midfield was the key to win this game.”

  10. solles says:


  11. solles says:

    win, good.
    Jozy 2 goals, great.
    Nigeria, bad.
    Inability to put the game out of reach, very bad.

    My nightmare scenario now is, the US goes up 2 against Ghana, misses a bunch of chances to go up 3, and Ghana comes back to win 3-2, basically ending our world cup for the third time.

  12. Dan says:

    Altidore scored but without a doubt Jermaine Jones was the man of the match. His work rate was incredible.

    • Smacking says:

      I still give MOM to Jozy, but re-watching the full sequence on the first goal highlights Jones work. Jones covers a ton of ground and its his movement that unlocks the attack. It’s a great team goal. I believe Beasley is the only player that doesn’t get a touch.

    • Louis Z says:

      i second that.

    • QuakerOtis says:

      I half agree. Would completely agree if Jozy hadn’t needed that in the way I think he did. I liked Beckerman out there too.

      • peterprinciple says:

        Bradley was awesome. Tell me he couldn’t play for West Ham or something every game. Altidore was awesome and showed why he is a promising international striker. Jones was great. He gave away a lot of possession eventhough he won back a lot as well. He looked good given more space as good as I can remember, but he was the 3rd best US player. Maybe 4th, because Fabian is really an outstanding fullback as well.

  13. Wallace says:

    I liked your write-up, Enzo.

  14. Ga1atic0 says:

    Klinsmann will probably go with this line against Ghana and use Aron as a sub. Anyone else tired of seeing Gonzo not performing well?

    • Jack says:

      Maybe I’m too much of an Omar apologist but I think the team just lost its shaped there at the end and they got too stretched out.

      • #10 says:

        Definitely an apologist. He’s just a step off the pace.

        • AMP says:

          I think tales of Gonzo’s inadequacy have been a little exaggerated. On the penalty, Besler was caught too far upfield for the second time in 3 minutes, and Cam also took a poor looking stab. It was Besler’s fault times two. People who are singling out Gonzo are being hyper-critical, probably based off passed performances, which isn’t an out-of-bounds point of view, just not very fair, imo.

          Not saying I want him to start, or even trust him, but as far as this game goes, the whole back line kind of fell out of sync after the two subs.

          • GW says:

            “as far as this game goes, the whole back line kind of fell out of sync after the two subs.”

            Which should tell you that defense is a TEAM thing not just a back four issue.

          • Murray Braun says:

            You’re right.
            But Besler at times worries me more than Gonzo.

          • Fredo says:

            Agree. Where was Chandler? Omar’s job is to sit centrally and clear balls. Having him pressure crosses from the wing while Chandler roams forward is not wise.

  15. Luke says:

    What was up with the big inflatable pickles?

  16. MikeG says:

    The only thing I don’t like about Gonzalez was signing for the Galaxy. Sure, he got hurt in Nurnberg. Scared to go back to Europe tells me it’s a confidence problem…well, I may be wrong, but I am not wrong about Gonzo having a confidence problem.

  17. Ken says:

    It’s crazy how many Jozy goals Fabian Johnson has assisted in the last 12 months.

    • Jack says:

      4 from Fabian, 2 from Bradley, 2 from Zusi, 1 from Castillo , 1 free kick , 10 goals since 2013

  18. Jay says:

    Best part of the game…

    No Julian Green

    • peterprinciple says:

      So the team wins, scores two cracker jack goals, gets some lights out play from their best players in the midfield and you are most happy that a 19 year old that is obviously going to be counted on very little did not play as the highlight of the match? That’s some agenda you are cheering on

    • Robert says:

      Speaking of Green, I’d like to have seen a camera shot of the bench for Jozy’s goals. They had to be going nuts as we all know we need this kind of results from Jozy to advance. The goals have been the only missing part from his overall very good play.

  19. Zdub says:

    Anyone starting to wonder if Edgar Castillo, Joe Corona, or Brek Shea could help this team out as a winger. Castillo was a bad defensive back but always seemed to make things happen in the final third. Haven’t seen much to get excited about with Bedoya, Zusi, Green, or Davis.

    How valuable would it be if we had someone that could play right back (or centerback and have Cameron move over) and allowed us to play Fabian Johnson on the wing with Bradley, Dempsey, and Altidore?

    • bryan says:

      i would have loved to see Castillo at LM/LW. i think he could be fantastic for us there. he always looks good going forward. like you said, his defense is the problem which is never good for a LB.

      Garza should get 90 minutes every week now that Castillo is gone and hopefully JK will start including him if he does well. Chandler will be doing the same at RB with his “new” club. that frees up Johnson to move forward. it would be even greater if Gladbach plays FJ at RM for the club.

    • Bac says:

      Castillo: For all of his individual ball skills and quick pace, WAY too many times he gave the ball away either taking on 1 too many people or getting caught out of position. Would like to see him permanently switch to a LW to see if he improves
      Shea: In theory – sure. But in reality, when was the last time he looked like he could contribute? His winning tap in at the Gold Cup which bounced off a defender then whiffed by LD? He’s plummeted the last year..
      Corona: Definitely improved 2nd half of the season, but as a winger?? Very debatable if he’d be a better option. Mix took his spot.

      Garza: With Castillo moving, he now no longer will split reps, and I’m psyched to see how he enters the team going forward into 2016…He passes the eye test….

  20. bryan says:

    for anyone yesterday using quotes from JK’s past to support the idea he is a bad coach, look what Low had to say to FIFA today about JK:

    In 2006 you were Jurgen Klinsmann’s assistant at the World Cup on home soil. What special memories do you have of that tournament? And now that Brazil are in the same situation as hosts, will the increased levels of expectations on them be a disadvantage or will the sheer amount of enthusiasm in the country by advantageous to them?
    I don’t have any specific memories because the overall impression the tournament made on me was so huge and diverse. The tournament was a special experience for everyone; it was an intense, incredible and successful time, right from the Opening Game in Munich through to the emotional highlight of the Match for Third Place and the atmosphere in Stuttgart, as well as the reception we had in Berlin. We were carried through the whole tournament on a wave of enthusiasm. The situation’s different for Brazil though, because they are everyone’s favourites to win the title. Back then we gave everyone a pleasant surprise and exceeded all expectations. The best Brazil can do is live up to what’s expected of them.

    You and Jurgen Klinsmann have mutually helped shape each other’s careers and you will be reunited on 26 June in Recife when Germany play USA. How does it feel to suddenly be on opposite sides?
    It’s not the first time it’s happened as we faced the same situation on our USA tour last summer, but of course this time there’s a lot more at stake. I’m always happy to see Jurgen and we’ve stayed in close contact. I value his opinion and it’s always interesting to hear what he thinks about certain situations and ideas, away from football too. Jurgen is a very good coach with some outstanding qualities. He’s such a positive character and is always open, but is meticulous and wants to win above all else. We worked well together as a team and it was an unbelievably eventful and influential period of time. I know that I owe Jurgen a great deal.

    • solles says:

      Low didnt really say much though did he? beyond that they were friends and he owes him alot.

      • bryan says:

        says more than that, IMO. Low thinks he is a great manager, that he took a team with low expectations and placed 3rd, that the German team DID have a good relationship with JK, and that Low is not going to let people give him all the credit and ignore JK’s influence on the transformation of the German system.

        other than that, no, he didn’t say much.

  21. tom says:

    Taylor Twellman, or any other professional commentator, really shouldn’t ever say mashed up fake words like “Ginormous”. I don’t want to listen to games and hear “OMG he tot’s scored! LOLZ at the defense!!!”