It wasn't a game USA fans will be re-watching for entertainment purposes, or one American players will want to remember, but the U.S. national team's 1-0 loss to France still offered up plenty of information, if not attacking soccer.
France was always going to be favored and expected to be the better side, even with a young lineup, but the U.S. team's total lack of attacking punch, and one of the worst midfield performances in recent memory, make the France loss a particularly disappointing and discouraging one.
Here are some more thoughts on the match:
Clarence Goodson was beaten for the goal, but he had played very well before that, making several key defensive plays. Anybody who thinks he played poorly must have not been paying attention until Loic Remy's goal.
the Beckerman-Edu central midfielder partnership does NOT need to be seen again. It just doesn't work. Some will blame Beckerman, some will blame Edu. Whatever the case, the tandem just isn't one that works. Either one or both needs to go, and there are plenty of candidates to turn to.
Of the two, Beckerman has been the better of the two, but Klinsmann needs to start taking a look at the other options. Beckerman can hold his own against CONCACAF competition, but I'm not sold on him doing well against elite teams. He had some moments against France, but the French central midfield dominated, and Beckerman was beaten a few times and didn't get nearly enough of the ball.
Just how badly did France dominate the midfield? Yann M'Vila possession stats were comparable to Beckerman and Edu COMBINED. Beckerman and Edu completed 57 of 70 passes. M'Vila? He completed 45 of 50. Now, M'Vila is a beast and one of the more highly-sought-after midfield prospects in Europe, but those stats suggest Klinsmann might consider other options, like the ones who actually play in top European leagues.
Neither Tim Chandler or Brek Shea had a good game, but they are STILL the best options on the left flank.
Steve Cherundolo and Carlos Bocanegra aren't getting any younger, but they are still the best options and should stay as starters for a while. Can't see either of them not starting when World Cup qualifying starts for the USA next summer.
Jozy Altidore looks sharp and is miles ahead of all other forwards in the US pool. It would be nice to see him partnered with a striker in a 4-4-2, but he's developed his hold-up game to the point that he can handle himself as a lone forward. The problem is if people aren't moving off the ball or getting him the ball he's not going to have many chances to score.
Fabian Johnson showed some glimpses, but his cameo wasn't long enough to show what he can really do. He needs to get a start to show what he brings to the table.
Speaking of attack-minded midfielders, given the fact that Klinsmann has been reduced to playing a defensive midfielder on the right wing, why is he ignoring attack-minded midfielders who could actually play the position, unlike Danny Williams? Alejandro Bedoya, Sacha Kljestan, Freddy Adu and Benny Feilhaber all would make more sense, but none can get a sniff from Klinsmann.
What did you think of the USA-France match? What players impressed you? Which players did you consider just flat awful? What midfielder would you take out of the lineup if you had your choice? Better question, besides Danny Williams, which midfielder would you take out of the USA lineup?
Share your thoughts below.