Where will USMNT finish in the semifinal round of qualifying?

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photo by Nick Turchiaro/ISIphotos.com

Only two days separate the U.S. men's national team from the start of its 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, but plenty of questions about the team still remain after the three summer friendlies ended with mixed results.

Whether it was tired legs at the end of a three-games-in-nine-days stretch or Canada's ability to stymie the U.S. midfield this past Sunday, the Americans looked far from a team firing on all cylinders ahead of World Cup qualifying.

Jamaica, Guatemala and Antigua and Barbuda are likely to deploy similar defensive gameplans against Jurgen Klinsmann's side in the coming months, and the U.S. team will need to do a better job of breaking compact defenses if it is to finish in first place in Group A of the semifinals round of qualifying and advance the Hex.

History has shown that anything can happen in this round and the United States is not guaranteed of breezing through its competition en route to finishing atop the group, especially if it does not improve in multiple areas over the six matches from now until October.

From their defending against counter attacks to finishing, the Americans have room for improvement as the beginning of qualifying looms with a game against Antigua and Barbuda on Friday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Fla.

With that said, where do you see the United States finishing in this round of qualifying? Expecting them to breeze through the competition or will there be hiccups on the way to the Hex? What aspect of the team are you looking forward to watching?

Share your thoughts below.

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158 Responses to Where will USMNT finish in the semifinal round of qualifying?

  1. Jermaine says:

    I expect a struggle, especially with the 23 that Klinsmann chose. Very little in the way of offensive creativity, and too many holding Mid’s. The right flank defensively will be a liability, because Cherundolo has lost pace, and will be exposed by the likes of Jamaica. I expect a second place finish in this group, and the fan base to lose it’s mind.

  2. Kenny says:

    I honestly believe there will be some people panicking after the Guatemala game. But the US will finish in 1st. Jamaica is a team we cannot take lightly. We saw how much improved they were at last years Gold Cup. The USA is in for a battle.

  3. Scott says:

    Do you think any team we are facing has the equivalent level of players to a Bundesliga captain and the fourth leading scorer in the EPL? Your analysis is absurd. Of course we are favorites to win.

    Can things go absolutely sideways? Sure they can, but on paper we should breeze through relatively unscathed. We are more talented, better conditioned, better tested, and hopefully better coached than our opposition.

    If we don’t top the group I will be stunned. We have plenty of creative talent.

  4. Byrdman says:

    I expect them to sweep all games played in the US and to struggle but take all three in Guatemala and A&B. Jamaica could be a hiccup but are ally I think they take all points. This is a week group. Mexico may do the same even though their group is much tougher. El Tri is the real deal right now. If they can stay away from the steroids invested meat, or do a better job masking the roads we will have a very hard time winning at home. Azteca may be a death march.
    Q

  5. Rlw2020 says:

    Guatemala and Jamaica wont be easy but anything less that 14 points sould not be accepted. That would be 2 wins vs A&B and at a minimum 1 win and a draw vs the other two.

    Most looking forward to who emerges this fall as USNT key players

  6. HectorT says:

    They will breeze right through the group, yes, they haven’t been playing so well, but they’re not going to struggle against teams like Jamaica and Guatemala.

  7. Jermaine says:

    Absurd? Entitled to your opinion, as I’m entitled to mine.

  8. Spank says:

    Huh?

  9. Rlw2020 says:

    Game in Guatemala could be scary, really hope they are ready.

    The August friendly at the Azteca will be very important but i expect Mexico to prove their dominance. A year from now we will be much better prepared to get a point or three vs Mexico

  10. Jermaine says:

    I also seem to recall that same idea was going on in the Gold Cup…we saw what happened there right…in the US…

  11. slowleftarm says:

    Have to say I agree with Scott.

  12. ChelseaMatt says:

    We can afford to take Antigua and Barbuda lightly. Jamaica and Guatemala are potential challenges — especially away. The last qualifiers we played in Jamaica and Guatemala were 1-1 tie (courtesy Cobi Jones, I believe) and a 1-nil win (courtesy Clint Dempsey, I believe) in 2004 and 2008, respectively.

  13. Sarasota says:

    I believe number 1. I beieve in Klinsmann and trust his long term vision for USSOCCER. However, it is time to get our act together NOW. If I were coach of the USMNT, I would do the following immediately:

    1. Drop Torres, Edu and Parkhurst. All good guys, but Torres adds NOTHING offensively and look at our record when he starts (Corona is better); Edu is a turnover machine and is a terrble passer (D. Williams is better) on the ball); Parkhurst gets smoked at this level

    2. Bring in Lichaj, and if I were a German legend, I’d find a way to get Timmy Chandler in here tomorrow. He makes us better!

    3.Play two paired forwards-Altidore/Bo

    yd with Gomez and use Dempsey and Donovan as “central wingers”.

    4. Unleash Michael Bradley–Right now he is our best “string puller” in the midfield. Let him create and have Jones (or Danny Williams) provide him cover.

    Vamos Estados Unidos!!!

  14. Nate says:

    I think the US will top the group, but the away game in Guatemala will set the tone. A win there and the US will run the table, a loss and they’ll be scrambling for points.

  15. Jason B says:

    We’ll by alright. First in the group and probably around 13-14 points. We might drop the road game in either Guatemala or Jamaica. I think the Canada game was an aberration based on the team being a little worn down.

  16. Mark says:

    I think with qualifiying against ConCaCaf, the 4 3 3 or 4 5 1 will work best because it dominates the game play. Against difficult teams or teams that just plain better, i.e. Brazil, Mexico, 50% of UEFA, we go with the classic counter and attack 4 4 2.

  17. Mark says:

    Also, it is alarming that
    Bradleys 3 game friendlies prior to W.C qualifying. We lost two (England and Spain and tied Argentina. I wonder what we can draw from it.

  18. Carlos says:

    Torres adds that offensive touch to want to go forward. He just hasn’t been place in the right position. If you let Torres rotate the ball with Bradley and Jones next to him, he’ll shine.

  19. Andy says:

    Wish we had some attacking creativity like Adu, Zusi, or Feilhaber that we could throw in the attacking midfield instead of Beckerman who is kind of just taking up a spot on the roster because we are more than set at holding midfield. I kind of thought Danny Williams or Graham Zusi would have been better options than a few of the players we have on the roster now because D-Will in holding midfield would be better than Edu probably if Klinsmann would try him there. Maybe even CB… he or Jones could be the answer to some of our CB problems.

    That was a lot of jumbled thoughts that I just spit out…

  20. Jermaine says:

    Good for you.

  21. GW says:

    “I wonder what we can draw from it.”

    Nothing.

    Bradley is managing Egypt now and the team is very different now.

  22. UMN says:

    I also agree with Scott.

  23. Kevin_Amold says:

    They played pretty well in the group stage, but they were pretty thoroughly beaten down by the US in the knockouts, right? Is my memory incorrect?

  24. Byrdman says:

    Sorry my typing is atrocious. What I was trying to say is “really I think they take all the points available. The Mexican team is so strong right now. they are playing together as a unit and are very confident.

  25. Jermaine says:

    That’s the funny thing about having an opinion, you don’t care who agrees with it.

  26. Shawn says:

    I agree. I think Guatemala on the road will be tricky. But this isn’t the Gold Cup, and I think the US has improved significantly since then. So while I wouldn’t be surprised if we drop points in 1 or even 2 road games, we’ll still finish 1st, probably w/o a loss.

  27. RLW2020 says:

    as much as I defend Beckerman, i agree. The only thing is Adu, Feilhaber, Zuzi really arn’t ready. After a strong MLS season hopefully they are.

  28. Michael F. says:

    The way we breezed through Canada?

  29. bryan says:

    we’ve been saying that for awhile. we really need to pull it off. this team has the talent, they just need to do it.

  30. Shawn says:

    I’d agree about wanting to see Zusi, because he’s actually been in the mix. But let’s be honest, Adu and Feilhaber are not even making real impact at the club level right now. Why in the world would they merit a place in the 23? I’d say Torres has more consistent skill at this point than Feilhaber is showing. And Adu needs to earn his place, not be handed one.

  31. Jermaine says:

    And I’d expect everyone in Concacaf to use the same formula Michael. This idea that anything is going to be easy has been proven in the last 2 years. U20’s not qualifying for the world cup, The Gold cup loss to Panama, and the destruction to Mexico, The U23 not qualifying for the Olympics…The region is catching up, and we are in a transition stage.

  32. bryan says:

    well, i think we should and will finish in 1st. i agree with the point totals a few have mentioned above. like others have said, the guatemala game will likely set the tone for the rest of qualifying.

  33. fred says:

    Feilhaber is putting it down for the revolution, but the goals and assosts aren’t there. He has been a catalyst for our offense all season.

  34. Jon says:

    I believe that we will win!

    *bounces up and down*

  35. PGS says:

    i understand we need to be in the top 2 after this round in order to advance to the hex, but does anyone know if it matters whether we are 1 or 2?

  36. TGA says:

    if we dont get max points in every match Klinsmann should be gone…and we overhaul the entire US youth soccer system. free play until 16. we should be destroying these banana republics.

  37. pd says:

    Guatamala will be tough home and away, especially if the ref allows the kind of muggings that went on last time (if Jermaine Jones doesn’t get ejected from one of those games it will be a minor miracle, given CONcACAF ref’s history of penalizing the imperial norteamericanos). Jamaica will be tough away.

    We’ll grind it out one way or another, but it will not be pretty. Never is in this conference. My greater concern is how folks will keen about the sky falling if we don’t win by multiple goal margins… Anytime I see American soccer fans acting like foot-shooting hypercritical English football fans I get edgy.

  38. The Imperative Voice says:

    Beyond saying nothing less than first in the group and advancement should be expected, the specifics get harder to predict. If this unit flops and loses points I assume Klinsi will make adjustments for the next callups. So all is not lost because he didn’t call up some pet player this time.

    In terms of these two games, I expect us to clobber Antigua at home, and have our work cut out for us in Guatemala. I’d be confident in six points if the selection seemed sounder but I think Dempsey is out of position, the wings underpowered, and the defense potentially vulnerable. The suboptimal roster for Guate, whether omits like Shea and Lichaj or headcases like Chandler, puts the game in play.

  39. Mug says:

    I agree. I think Bradley needs to be the advanced midfielder.

  40. Tyler says:

    Good points although, I can’t say that Corona is better than Torres yet. Danny Williams is injured right now but he should definitely have a crack at the CDM position which would allow Bradley and Jones to venture forward and create more. Boyd isn’t quite ready to start yet. He needs more time on the field at the club level.

  41. Tyler says:

    I don’t think Zusi can cut it at the international level yet.

  42. Tyler says:

    That sounds about right to me.

  43. Tyler says:

    We’ll definitely struggle some on the road in Central America but lets be honest we struggled last time too, but we found a way to get it done. Every US supporter knows what CONCACAF brings in terms of qualification. Raucous crowds, crappy fields, even crappier officiating.. Plus we’re still ironing out the wrinkles in terms of player’s roles and their understanding of what Jurgen wants from them positionally.

  44. Rysubaru says:

    Are the Onyewu supporters from a few weeks ago still here? I’m not sure why this guy is on the roster. We have to go young on defense, and we might as well start now. Don’t even get me started on Castillo.

    300 million people and we can’t field 23?

  45. Max says:

    Anyone know what the deal is with Fabian Johnson? Will he be ready for Friday? And even if he is, is it worth risking him in what should be (heavy on the should be) an easy win?

  46. Peahead says:

    You are out of your cotton pick’n mind, boy!!!!!!!!!!

  47. Peahead says:

    No, the way we beat Italy, moron.

  48. joejoe says:

    They’re going to qualify without problem. Will end up in the top three. It really doesn’t matter which spot. Over all its going to be US, Mexico, Honduras, and Panama.

  49. EvertonBrian says:

    Well I don’t know if I would go so far as to say a “struggle,” however I just freaked myself out by going to the Concacaf 2010 qualifying and being reminded of how many early goals we gave up, and how many times we had to put off near impossible comebacks to secure our place in South Africa.

  50. Jermaine says:

    Why the name calling…is that the extent of your argument?

  51. Peahead says:

    El Tri is not the real deal.You are nuts?They have only played average until the Brazil game. The only good game they had, with the help of the ref,in which thy got dominated, was against a tired Brazil. Remember the last time they played in the semis,they were fortunate to make it out on goal difference to Jamaica.

  52. Tom P says:

    I thought this out over some time so please criticize my conclusions and not my ability to analyze.

    I would expect a struggle as we continue to struggle “Latin” style football and our defense continues to age and thus grow even slower reacting to quick counters and two tap offensive attacks.

    We will need to be very solid at home because I expect multiple problems on the road vs. Honduras, Panama, and this WC campaign, even El Salvador and Guatemala.

    On these nights we have to bunker in and hope for counters.I think even Klinnsman may know this by now. Deep midfield- either Jones,Bradley(who I think should play forward center mid even though Klinnsman does not seem to agree) or Edu, are going to have to be huge destroyers of attacks on the road and we all know that Jones is not going to behave well with CONCACAF refs. (i.e. at least 2 suspensions for yellow card accumulation or possible straight reds)

    Mexico owns here,there and everywhere right now so I see us finishing 3rd at the end of the
    Hex behind a Panama,Honduras or Costa Rica is a realistic outcome/perdiction.

    I would like to see Canada make it, I really would. If they play like they played the other night vs. us I can see them getting points on the road because basically that was the Bob Bradley blueprint for how to play on the road in CONCACAF. But the problem with them is they blow so many matches/points at home.

    We need to develop some fast, younger and more mobile center backs. How and whom is the question that begs an answer to that question.Also- can Steve C. still be the solid right back he has always been as age creeps up on him? And as much as I love Boca, and he is my favorite all time U.S. player and its most loyal servant, when he is your best center back,slow of foot to begin with and pushing 35 you have real problems.I believe Williams will do some dumb things but ultimately be a very solid left back.Gooch- less said the better and Goodsen is perfect for Europe but the wrong fit for the Americas.

    All that being said- I will live and die with each match regardless who we play or who we put on the field because U.S. men’s soccer is really the only sport I still have a huge passion for anymore.

  53. Jermaine says:

    And that was a team firmly in place. Bradley had a Gold cup victory under his belt, and that team was on it’s rise. Not playing a new system, not still struggling with it’s best 23. Lets be honest, if Beckerman, Castillo, Wondolowski, and a few others where on the 2014 world cup roster…would you like our chances?

  54. Seriously says:

    Your opinion is absurd.

  55. Peahead says:

    Mexico is not better you idiot!!!!!!!!!!!

  56. Jermaine says:

    Oh and a confederation’s cup 2 place.

  57. Peahead says:

    ARE YOU ON DRUGS????????????????

  58. Jermaine says:

    Original. Got to give you that.

  59. Jermaine says:

    Well thought out, and not a knee jerk reaction, and I agree with you.

  60. Lost in Space says:

    You do realize that the coaches are only locked into these 23 players for the next 2 matches…after which Lichaj and/or Chandler could be added to face off against speedier teams.

  61. jake says:

    Over 6 games, chances are a lot lower of making those kinds of mistakes twice.
    If you don’t care who agrees with your opinion, why are you posting about it?

  62. Jermaine says:

    Because I can?

  63. Jermaine says:

    That is why I prefaced my comments with this 23.

  64. jake says:

    Not great, although Castillo has potential. Its not 2014. None of those guys will have a major impact in these two games unless Johnson is really injured badly. Even then, we should be able to pull out a win and draw.

  65. jake says:

    I’m not sure what “acceptable” has to do with it. Progressing to the next round is what’s “acceptable” to me. 14 or more seems likely though. I think even taking one point from games at Jamaica and Guatemala will be enough to get us through if we win our home games.

  66. Yellow Submarine says:

    I agree with Jermaine.

    No, I really don’t.

  67. Jermaine says:

    ha!

  68. Yellow says:

    well since we aren’t playing Jamaica these two games, the speed on the right flank can be addressed with a new group. Try not to read too much into a uninterested US not succeeding against a fired up Canada. If we look bad against Guatemala then you can be negative. also if you don’t care what anybody thinks stop commenting on people’s replies.

  69. Jermaine says:

    True it’s not 2014. Yet I do feel like we are wasting constructive time to integrate younger players that will be on that roster.

  70. Jermaine says:

    I’m responding to people, isn’t that the point of posting? To engage in debate?

  71. steveo says:

    what? how could think that? are you insane?-wait, what was the question?

  72. marco says:

    From the three friendlies Klinsmann should have found out that he can’t play Bradley deep in front of the back 4 because the offense disappears. If he wants a distributor there, play Torres, that’s what he does at Puchaca. If he wants a destroyer play Edu or Jones there.

  73. marky mark says:

    Youve must of been rock. They are going to dominate for quite a while. Get used to it…. and i would love to eat my words,

  74. marky mark says:

    Really ????? i got say a lil of the same thing inconsistencies that seem to plague us

  75. marky mark says:

    Corona is difinetly worth a look, torres or corona should be able to handle any of the opposition at this stage.

  76. Artie says:

    Eh, you’re not debating. You’re just trying to piss people off.

  77. marco says:

    I agree. Klinsmann’s U-23 staff wasn’t ready for CONCACAF (they let Mexican ref signal play on after Boyd was punched in face) and I don’t think Klinsmann is ready either. He complained recently about the officiating where both Gooch and Jones might have been red carded in Guatemala or Jamaica. He ain’t seen nothing yet. Guatemala will be a brawl.

  78. Captain Obvious says:

    Obviously a lot of people haven’t followed the US team through qualifying. Welcome aboard. Two not so bold predictions:

    1. US is heavily favored in every game in this round.
    2. The US will not dominate any game, and have trouble in hostile road games.
    3. Away at Guatemala will be the toughest game of the group.

  79. Micronesian Justin says:

    Agreed…Yes we struggled against Canukistan, but it has to be hard to get up for CANADA after playing BRAZIL. We’ve seen highs (Scotland) and lows (Canada)…I can see us playing like we did against Scotland against Scotland-level competition…

  80. Jermaine says:

    wait a minute….I’ve had my comments called “absurd”, I’ve had someone tel me im out of my “cottin’ pickin mind”? Watched other people called “moron” “And on Drugs” and I’m pissing people off? Who have I insulted? I have backed up my statements with what I believe. You mistake having a difference of opinion with trying to piss people off? Never been afraid to support an unpopular opinion, I fought for my country to ensure it. What have you done?

  81. pd says:

    Costa Rica and Guatamala might have something to say about that.

  82. marky mark says:

    I dont think we have a choice dolo is showing his age along with donavon and bocanegra. I dont think klinns wants to be scrambling looking for their replacements three to six months

  83. THomas says:

    “History has shown that anything can happen in this round and the United States is not guaranteed of breezing through its competition en route to finishing atop the group”

    Yes it is.

  84. adrianfromtexas says:

    I do expect trouble. Not because we lack offensive creativity, but because the only thing consistent from the USMNT is inconsistency in the attacking play (which h a s always been the case for ages). This roster does have, in my opinon, enough creativity to get the job done against these teams; however, that does not guarantee a win. To use words that symbolize doom for the usmnt, my opinon again, lacks basis, as would stating that they will win. Now saying that the USMNT SHOULD win, i believe is based on these paper facts, which warrants more of a strong basis for debating the probability of USMNT success or winning of the group, as opposed to not.

  85. Jermaine says:

    Licaj was a choice, to at least call in. Watched him shut down Gareth Bale, and Man U’s Valencia…still baffled as to why he didn’t get the call.

  86. Jermaine says:

    We will see, I have the belief Klinsy will get it right, hopefully sooner than later.

  87. DCUPedro says:

    Costa Rica might, the Chapines wont.

    Whoever advances from the grouping of Panama, Canada and Honduras in the semis (along with Cuba, who figures to finish last) will be heavily in contention for a spot. Those two plus Costa Rica and Jamaica will battle for the third spoit and the playoff spot vs New Zealand.

    I think Mexico is the class of CONCACAF, with the USA a clear but distant second. Everyone else is closer to us than we are to Mexico. Which makes this the most contentious Hex ever.

  88. Sarasota says:

    I still believe Torres should be dropped. I was a big “Gringo” Torres supporter, but I have seen enough. He adds nothing offensively, and we need to move on NOW. And remember, Canada is part of the CONCACAF opposition. He was totally ineffective against Canada.

  89. 2tone says:

    I am going to say The U.S. will come out with 4 points from these two first games. 3 points against Anitgua and a point in hostile Guatemala.

    The U.S. will win the group, and will have a superior goal differential.

    I predict a 5-0 win against Antigua and a 1-1 tie against Gautemala.

  90. azgeezer says:

    Consider 5 goals against Scotland, 1 goal against a Brazilian team comprised of several under 23 olympic team players and 0 goals against Canada. How do these performances support a “breeze” through anything. It’s obvious that we all support the USMNT, but that support has to be temper with reality.

  91. pd says:

    Hear hear, cap’n

  92. pd says:

    I just hopes that if Jones gets suspended that he takes someone’s kneecap with him….

  93. Jermaine says:

    Good point…but be careful, if you don’t drink the kool-aid you are subject to abuse! :)

  94. pd says:

    Pretty sound observations, but I think until the day we see Edu in advanced role when qualifying points are on the line we give JK the benefit of the doubt that he’s been seeing something I training that we wants to give a run-out in a match that at the end of the day doesn’t amount to much. He might of have a specific matchup un mind or simply wanted to see what Edu could do in an advanced role. Now that he’s seen it and the matches matter hopefully we’ll see Bradley and jones further up and Edu as the #6.

  95. crocajun1003 says:

    What exactly will he need to do to be ready for things he cannot control? This is an odd criticism.

  96. pd says:

    Yeah, me too.

  97. crocajun1003 says:

    I’m not sure why all the “we’re going to have problems in Guatemala” talk is happening. I’m looking at their roster and I don’t see anyone who scares me.

    We should be able to simply outclass them.

  98. crocajun1003 says:

    Torres was delivering better set piece balls than Donovan was all night.

  99. crocajun1003 says:

    Would it be possible for you to disagree without insulting the other poster?

    No need for all the animosity.

  100. Amru says:

    While I agree that mexico is the best team in CONCACAF right now, they are not more superior to us then we are to Guatemala. I see it as Mexico US in a class of their own

  101. Scott says:

    A pertinent point about the last three friendlies that you are ignoring is the fact that we played these three games over the span of about a week. During this week, the team traveled thousands of miles, and participated in intense, two-a-day training sessions. The team was exhausted against Canada.

    They were unlucky against Brazil. The Brazilian keeper had the save of the game. When was the last time a USMNT faced a top-class opponent and Kasey or Timmy or Brad didn’t have the save of the game? The team is playing well.

    Jurgen seems to be enacting his preparation well. The previous games were all about preparing for the upcoming two. Brazil, Scotland, and Canada were practice effectively. Now, the team is fit and hopefully has a well-constructed plan. Antigua is basically a gimme. Guatemala in Guatemala is tricky as Central America always will be, but one early goal could open the flood gates. Jamaica has a pretty weak squad at the moment.

    None of these teams are in the same ballpark with the US as far as talent goes. I expect to win each game, but not without a struggle, particularly in Guatemala.

  102. Jermaine says:

    I have no doubt of Jurgens’ ability as a coach, I just believe that his selection is flawed right now. He is falling in love (Like all coaches tend to do…Bradley and Clark/Bornstien) with players that do not belong on this level. In big games these players get exposed. My main issue is that this team will as currently constituted will struggle against the Concacaf philosophy. If you watched the Canada game you saw what they did. Squeeze the middle and leave open the flanks. Torres is not a winger. Landon has lost a step. We need Brek, Gatt, even god forbid Beasley to stretch the wings…or we risk playing centered, and playing direct to turnovers. The blue print is there, and Cananda has used it twice. U23’s and that last awful friendly.I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t like the choices.

  103. Jermaine says:

    And I mean the elder Bradley, not the brilliant one that plays for Chievo.

  104. Eric120 says:

    Not qualifying as 1st in the group for the hex would be an embarrassment. Not qualifying at all would be a failure and of course JK would be out, but it’s not going to happen.

    It’s a lucky thing we are in CONCACAF, actually…

  105. Lost in Space says:

    Tom – in this round the USNT is the favorite in each match. Does that mean we’ll blow the other teams off the field…NO. But we should expect to advance in 1st out of the group.
    As for the issues (problem areas) you raised you have to take into account what JK is trying to do with these 5 games. He’s trying to simulate a tournament situation to better determine where the 23-27 players stack up physically and mentally over a compressed game schedule. Of the players currently in the 23…Beckerman, Wondo will shortly be on the outside looking in. Gooch, Dolo, Goodson, and even Boca & Donovan are likely in trouble of either being moved to the bench or cut if they don’t find their legs/passion.
    Young players are being integrated (slowly) into the team. Players like Lichaj, Ream, Shea, D. Williams, Morales, & Corona are all on the cusp. Others are almost there…Gyau, Gatt, & Adu. I expect all to be incorporated into the team by the time the Hex really picks up speed. There are others who belong, but are either recovering from injury (Holden, Gonzalez) or haven’t fully committed to the US cause (Chandler, Hines). If/when all the pieces are in place I think we’ll be a vastly different team than the lack-luster one that played the other night against Canada.

  106. Scott says:

    I gotcha on the multiple Bradlys. I think Brek and Gatt will get their chances, although they are not quite ready just yet for major roles. God willing, Chandler will get in the mix during the next round of games, also providing some width.

    I think Lando still has what it takes to excel as evidenced by his latest Everton stint and the Scotland hat-trick, and Fabian is providing great width on the left regardless.

    I think what we really lack is the tempo-setting CM. Edu, Bradley, and Jones can all tackle and disrupt. Bradley and Jones can make some passes, but Jones is at his best disrupting and Bradley shows his quality through powerful runs into the opposing box and somehow getting back defensively, ahead of the counter. As you point out, a lack of width really exposes this.

    Most concerning for me is our CB situation. Boca is still serviceable, but his partner is yet to show up. Onyewu is not the same since the knee injury, Goodsen is not international quality on many levels, Cameron lacks quickness of thinking and therefore falls a step behind play, and Gonzalez may never be the same a la Onyewu. I’d like to see Edu get a real shot a CB.

  107. jermaine says:

    Edu would never go for it, though your right, it is the position that suits his skill set. As for being ready…Gatt is getting ready for champions league, how many of our players can say that? I by no means am saying that landon is done, just that he doesn’t have that blistering pace anymore that puts fear into you. The Scotland game was fools gold as far as preparation for these qualifying games. Scotland went at us, and as a result left gaping holes for us to exploit. They had a go, noone with the exception of Mexico is going to do that now. This pressure will be intense, if jamacia or guatamala get an early goal at home, it will become frenzied. I still believe we get to the hex, but the road will be bumpy.

  108. Scott says:

    I suppose I am just a bit more optimistic and/or confident with our position. Guatemala will be the litmus test. More than anything, I think we will see how strong and sharp we are mentally. We know we have the talent, but do we have the patience and guile to break down ten men behind our attack. Do we have the concentration not to make the critical error allowing a goal. I think Herc will be most crucial in finding goals consistently in qualifying for the year.

  109. jermaine says:

    Fabian was severely missed against canada, that kid is a gem!

  110. David J S says:

    just for the record, the scenario you just described would be 14 points. Maybe that’s what you meant but the wording makes it a little confusing.

  111. marco says:

    I’ll leave it to your imagination and the historical record of what coaches/ players do when they get socked in the jaw. There are things that can be done in real time. The last thing you do is play-on. Its and accurate criticism not odd at all concerning an event that cost the team a London trip. It’s what Ghana players said was wrong with the USA team in 2010.

  112. David J S says:

    to be fair, I don’t think Torres has played his natural/best position once since his injury months ago. He isn’t a winger/forward, and shouldn’t be deployed there. Gotta be a part of the midfield 3 if he’s in the lineup

  113. jermaine says:

    Really, i like Herc, but he was on the bench when Santos beat Monterey. That is powerful indictment after the season he had. Altidore and Dempsey need to dominate, if that happenes than all other things i’ve said on this post can be tossed in a bin! :) Those two have a epic qualifying and we are in it to win it. If they fall flat, we have trouble. I just want players who will have a go. Adu, Agudelo…cultured feet on the ball, and able to play a killer pass. Everybody says that they need playing time…and then i look at mexico…with dos santos, barrera, and even Hernandez who played so little, yet that talent is undeniable. Maybe playing for your club is overated?

  114. David J S says:

    couldn’t agree more. Torres & Bradley with Jones covering the back 4

  115. marco says:

    Correct, much better.

  116. Joel says:

    Torres besides Bradley may be the only other midfielder I trust on the ball. Everyone else seems to just give the ball away. He may make the safe pass often, but he keeps possession and he usually helps unlock the defense by either playing a great through ball or making a last second pass under pressure to the open man.

  117. JJ says:

    I like Gooch and some of Castillo

  118. biff says:

    That interests me. What did the Ghana players say?

  119. biff says:

    I want to see how we do in the next two games. If we struggle against Antigua and Barbuda and do not beat Guatemala, then I wold agree it is time for Klinsmann to shake things up and drop a few players from team. I don’t agree that Edu and Torres should be among the group dropped and I don’t think Michael Bradley is our answer for an attacking midfielder/creator.

  120. biff says:

    I agree, Torres can be a key to USMNT success and am growing a bit weary of Klinsmann trying to pound square pegs into round holes. Torres is not a winger. Damn, we learned this in Klinsmann’s very first game against Mexico last August, when Klinsmann started Torres off on the left wing and Michael Bradley as central attacking midfielder. At 60 minutes, when Klinsmann pulled Bradley out and moved Torres over to a central position, the team exploded offensively. Klinsmann did the same thing with Daniel Williams, playing him as right winger and it just did not work very well.

  121. biff says:

    Very good point, plus I think Edu, Jones and Beckerman are all better destroyers (holding midfielders, Number Sixes, whatever you want to call it) than Michael Bradley, who is more prone to defensive lapses.

  122. biff says:

    I don’t agree with everything you are saying, Jermaine, but have enjoyed reading your take on the situation. You have, to be sure, stated some unpopular opinions. But you have stayed on topic, you haven’t attacked any fellow posters, nor have you gotten viciously personal about any of the players, like we see one particular fan group of a certain midfielder do often do with Beckerman and Edu and Jones. Yet you are being attacked as a troll and being called a jerk for trying to p!ss people off. Weird.

  123. Lane says:

    I know this will drive people crazy, but how about Edu holding, Bradley doing his thing from box to box and yes Benny Feilhaber on the left distributing. If you look at his performances in his last couple call ups he played fairly well.

  124. hush says:

    We need some creativeness from the U.S… Adu always shows up to play when he puts on the U.S jersey, I still don’t get his absense. Gio can’t even make the bench in Europe and ol boy gets number 10 and a starting position with the Mexican team.smh And the dude comes through every time. Same with Adu. I could name 3 players Adu could’ve have taken spots for.

    Against MExico and C.A teams, guys like Adu & Gyau can really come in handy. We already have players similar to Corona on the roster.

  125. strider says:

    Should have said this before, but this question needs a poll!

  126. Andy says:

    vs. Antigua and Barbuda. They have never gotten to this phase of WCQ before; they are just happy to be here. The entire population of the country can almost fit in the stadium. This will be no problem. 8-0

    at Guatemala. They always play tough at home, so I expect a gritty game with a high foul count. They beat Costa Rica recently at home and played them tough away. Still, Carlos Ruiz is their only offensive threat and I would expect the experience of our central defenders to be able to handle him. Hard fought game with home field ref advantage. 1-2 (USA win)

  127. strider says:

    Sorry, but the US WILL dominate at least A&B (including goals) and possibly Guat and Jamaica at home (possession). The question is, will the scoreline reflect that possession? Both Jamaica and Guat are potential spoilers, but we should do fine and win this group, even if we struggle some on the road.

  128. Brett says:

    I think we breeze through, like we should. The only bump in the road being away at Guatemala. Jamaica has quality players, but we match up well against them and should take 6. The only place I see us dropping points is away at Guatemala. A draw in that game will make me happy.

    Could strange things happen? Of course. But we have a lot of really good players and the best organizational foundation of any team in the whole confederation. We should be fine.

  129. Sticky says:

    Jermaine is not going to agree with this idea, and seeing as this is his thread, he will tell you about it as soon as he gets back to his device. And that means very soon, apparently.

  130. Alex G says:

    THS US IS PLAYING MEXICO IN THE AZTECA NEXT AUGUST

  131. Colin says:

    It is absurd to predict the USA not to finish top. Is it possible they dont? Yes it is, but mot very likely. No betting man would bet against the USA finishing top, and I would guess that includes you as well, for one it actually matter you would not claim the usa will finish second just to be controversial.

  132. NC Jeff says:

    Not at all (other than pride) … in the next round, you play all other 5 teams home and away, anyway. That said, if you can go out and win your first 4 and clinch with 2 left, it gives you a lot of extra flexibility – you can treat the final 2 as exhibitions, try out new tactics and players, and turn over some of your guys to their club teams.

    I expect the US will win their group. Jamaica could possibly end up ahead, but it’s just too much of a stretch to imagine A&B or Guatemala having the firepower to also finish ahead of the US in a 4-team, double-round robin tourney.

  133. Micronesian Justin says:

    “cultured feet”…I like it. But weren’t you espousing about international-quality players earlier? Adu & Agudelo couldn’t even get their team to qualify for the olympics (which you pointed out)…what makes you think they could help us qualify for the WC?

  134. Bobeto says:

    Remember we are playing Concacaf teams not European competition… Cherundolo will do fine and should offer a lot down the right side. Johnson will control the left and Dempsey and Donovan will be strong in the middle…I look for good results and glide through the competition.

  135. Brain Guy says:

    Well, if they don’t finish first I will be absolutely shocked. The U.S. should not struggle in such a round-robin tournament against these opponents. They should get at least 14 of 18 possible points.

  136. pd says:

    I’d say road trip, but I hate the smell of urine and am allergic to bullets.

    Oh, that was negative.

  137. Vic says:

    If our opponents sit back and defend we need a quicker attack. I’m worried about the lack of wingers. I’m hoping Castillo starts at left mid. I wish Bedoya was called as well.

  138. Chris says:

    I vote for Scott too..lmao

  139. Alex G says:

    lol, YEAH I HEAR U!

  140. Chris says:

    Mexico did too, cut the crap and the lame excuses

  141. Dennis says:

    Like you, I expect the USA will struggle in this bit of qualifying. But, by that, I mean that the US will lose or tie a couple of the 6 games, win by blow-outs in a couple and win close games in couple, still plenty to advance. The reasons you point out, difficulty playing against packed defenses and giving up counters to fast players, are my concerns as well.

    For every one of these opponents, a 0-0 tie with the USA would suit them very well and they can all be expected to play for that tie.

    In some of the games the USA will score early enough that the opponents must come out of a shell and attack, in some the opponents may get the first goal and redouble their defensive efforts.

  142. Itsjoshadams says:

    USA will finish 1st, although it will be tough playing in Guatemala and Jamaica (2 points from those games would be good, 4 points would be amazing).

    Honestly though, if we don’t cruise through this group, Klinsmann will have a lot of work to do getting this team where they need to be for Brazil 2014. I know it’s a work in progress, but we should be better than last cycle.

  143. Brain Guy says:

    If a website I found is to be believed, the US is 11-5-2 (W-D-L) all-time against Guatemala. The last loss was in 1983. In road qualifiers since 2000, the scores have been 1-1, 0-0, and 1-0.

  144. Dennis says:

    Actually I think Torres has played better for the USA recently than at any other time. He has always been able to keep possession and deliver good passes, recently he has managed to combine with teammates better and while he could still win more 50-50 balls, he is improving in that category.

    Edu does seem to give the ball away too much, but he did complete 90% of his passes against Scotland.

    Not sure Corona is the answer yet, but he could be if he continues to improve.

    Scoring goals is always a concern and other than Dempsey, (and Donavon when he actually shows up) you wonder who will score the goals. Every forward in the USA pool has either struggled at times or not been given enough time to show well and has an incomplete grade. I hope someone rises to the top and becomes consistent, certainly Altidore and Boyd have the physical tools, Gomez and Wondo some skills and both will work tirelessly to get on the end of something (right now Gomez seems to be better of the two, but that was not always the case), the younger guys are young guys and we can always hope for great things from them, but…

    Bradley is still improving and that is good, let’s hope that continues it bodes well for the USA.

  145. Dennis says:

    Can’t agree there. Bradley makes fewer judgement errors than either Edu or Beckerman and is on par with Jones. Bradley is not as likely as Jones to get pointless yellows (not so true when he was younger, but he seems to have lost that bit of youthful folly). Bradley can make better service than any of the others so it is likely he is more needed further forward.

    I case you’ve forgotten in the last USA v Argentina game it was Bradley who was largely responsible for ensuring Messi was disrupted in the middle of the field throughout the game and only a scramble near the goal (when Messi should have been a fullback’s responsibility) allowed Messi to make a clever assist.

  146. A bit fff topic. Instead of the Gold Cup and Copa America … I think CONCAFAF and CONMEBOL should combine for a tournament that is held every 4 years. It can have qualifying or simply use the top 8 FIFA teams from each region to create the 4 groups. Winner is tournament champion and their respective confederation. Champion of the other region is determined by the highest finisher. Those two go to the Confederations Cup.

    Not quite UEFA Euro’s but more exciting than just Gold Cup and Copa America. Also, good competition and experience for the USA. Make them tougher for those pesky CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers!

    Possible groups:

    Group A

    Brazil / Peru / El Salvador / Honduras

    Group B

    Agentina / Ecuador / Costa Rica / Panama

    Group C

    Uruguay / Paraguay / USA / Jamaica

    Group D

    Chile / Columbia / Mexico / Canada

  147. SoyDeMetro says:

    Here’s my pick. FWIW

    We lose to los Guats. We still win the group.

  148. Eric says:

    I expect 5-0-1 with a hiccup (tie) at Jamaica.

  149. Adam says:

    13 points and a 1st place finish.

  150. cactusface says:

    Jermaine is spot on with his opinions. Too many holding mids playing with their backs to the coal. How many times does a player make a run and send in a perfect cross to find the ball bounce in the box with ZERO us players around? We need more Speed and Youth. Donovan should not start anymore. Torres ? Bradley has taken the place as Donovan Realise it US fans. Just because you own a Donovan Shirt doesnt mean he is capable of playing past his prime. The guy has lost a step. We need more runners in the box. Gomez should play winger, boyd should start.

  151. Brain Guy says:

    I have seen Guatemala referred to as “Los Chapines.” Can anyone confirm/explain?

  152. nate says:

    That would be dope.

  153. DJ says:

    Even our best teams historically have struggled in away games in Central America. That’s just the way it has always been. I’m not sure that this team is any different. I think we’ll probably irk out a draw in Guatemala, and we should come out on top of the group. We need to get better (and in some spots younger) in order to make noise in the Hex/World Cup though.

    One problem is that our best players going forward lately play D Mid (Bradley, although he’s better further up) and Left Back (Johnson). Quite frankly, Fabian Johnson is good enough to start at any of the midfield positions on the team. If it were not for a dearth of international caliber talent at left back, he might just. He’s a difference maker in the final third, and he was missed against the Canucks.

  154. GW says:

    JFT is fun to watch.

    However, does the team play better when he plays? This is a results based situation. Do they win more often with him in the lineup?

    That is all that matters.

  155. GW says:

    It seems to me Williams wearing the # 7 worked out pretty well. We beat Italy with him in that role.

    Williams is very good on the ball. He was put into the midfield against Italy to help keep the midfield from being overrun and then tighten the defense. He was also a very good outlet for the defense when they were being put under pressure, as everyone knew they would be sooner or later.

    This allowed the defense to avoid having to use long clearances up field.

    Just because JK made him wear #7 doesn’t mean he wanted him to do a Frank Ribery or C Ronaldo imitation.

  156. GW says:

    “Adu always shows up to play when he puts on the U.S jersey, I still don’t get his absense.”

    How many competitive games (i.e non friendly) for the senior USMNT has Adu played in that the US have won?

  157. scooter says:

    Because they are just good enough that they could draw or win because they’ll play cheap and the refs usually let it go and their crowd will be ridiculously hostile