USMNT still confident heading into tonight’s crucial qualifier vs. Jamaica

HappyUSMNT (ISIPhotos.com

Photo by John Todd/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

COLUMBUS, Ohio — For a team that just played one of its worst matches in recent memory, the U.S. men's national team is heading into tonight's crucial World Cup qualifier against Jamaica sounding extremely confident.

Tonight's match (8pm ET, ESPN2/Galavision) isn't quite a must-win, but the U.S. needs a victory from tonight's qualifier to avoid falling into a serious dangerous zone in CONCACAF Group A. A victory would push the Americans back into a tie with Jamaica with seven points, but a loss, coupled with a Guatemala win vs. Antigua and Barbuda, would see the Americans drop three points out of the qualifying zone with two matches remaining.

U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann remains cool and composed despite his team having just four points after its first three games in qualifying, and his players are also boasting that same type of mentality ahead of a game that could put them back in pole position of the group.

"As a team, we want to win every game so we would want to even if we won last game," said Brek Shea. "I'm not looking at it as a game we have to win. We don't want to look past the game but we're going to go out there just like any other game and we're going to try to win."

The U.S. players also shouldered lots of the blame for last Friday's defeat, even with a large section of the media and fans pointing the blame at Klinsmann and his tactics in what was a poor showing in Jamaica.

"I don't think it's fair to break it down into certain eras where coaches have come and gone and players remain the same," said Steve Cherundolo, who missed the away game due to a calf strain. "We're the ones on the field. Not unless Jurgen is going to sub himself in tomorrow, which I don't think is possible. Bob Bradley didn't score too many goals, Bruce Arena didn't score very many goals for us, so it's the guys on the field getting the job done."

For the Americans to do that, they will need to vastly improve in a number of areas. Two of those areas that Klinsmann singled out during his pre-game press conference on Monday afternoon were possession and width.

The U.S. struggled to keep the ball for long stretches and failed to create many quality looks on goal in Kingstom, but when they were able to string passes together and get the ball wide, they seemed to be at their most dangerous. That is what the team has been working on in training in Columbus for the past couple days and something it hopes translates onto the field.

"The effort is always there. That's something you always get with this team but unfortunately the effort came maybe in the wrong moments," said Cherundolo. "We saw some good things out of the game; when we possessed the ball, when we moved the ball around, we instantly created chances. That's something we're taking away from that game and applying hopefully."

Changes will likely be made to the midfield by Klinsmann if the Americans are to get three points, but the German-born head coach has not hinted one way or the other as to who he might insert in order to help make that happen. Still, at least a couple of changes are already known, as Klinsmann has indicated that Cherundolo and captain Carlos Bocanegra will be back in the starting lineup for this pivotal match, which is being played on the 11th anniversary of 9/11.

"We haven't really talked about it but everyone knows," said Shea on the significance of playing the first U.S. game on this date since before the tragedy in 2001. "Kind of as a team we haven't talked about it, but small talk about what it means to this country and the day, so it means that much more for the game."

Shea and the rest of the U.S. squad got a visit on Monday night by three members of the New York City Fire Department, who addressed the team about the significance of the date given that some of them were too young or not in the country to grasp the severity of everything that transpired.

Adding to that will be the soldout crowd at Columbus Crew Stadium on Tuesday night. A turnout of 24,000 fans is expected and most will be wearing red, white and blue and rooting for the Americans to pick up the three crucial points that will put the team back atop the group and ease the pressure they are receiving.

"It's certainly one of the few venues where we truly have a homefield advantage and that's something we relish because we don't get it very often," said Cherundolo. "Hopefully we feed on that atmopshere in the stadium and really from minute one to 90, put Jamaica under so much pressure that there can only be one winner."

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38 Responses to USMNT still confident heading into tonight’s crucial qualifier vs. Jamaica

  1. Jmnoles says:

    Let’s go yanks. Fired up and ready to go (oops I mean drink)!

  2. bizzy says:

    USMNT “still” confident heading into tonight’s crucial qualifer vs Jamaica….THEY BETTER BE AND REMAIN CONFIDENT…lol

  3. MSNats says:

    Team jogging must be awesome!

  4. beachbum says:

    Come on boys…Represent!!!

    GO USA!!!!

  5. Ceez says:

    I’m not making any predictions this time around.

  6. Jason says:

    Let’s hope that confidence isn’t overconfidence and they take their foot off the gas after they score a goal. There’s no reason they shouldn’t demolish Jamaica.
    Even if Kyle Fakerman ends up playing. They aren’t going to be in a stadium full of actual Rastafarians like last time, so his mind should be more focused.

  7. Mark says:

    USA vs. Jamaica

    West Los Angeles Soccer Viewing Party!

    Come support our boys on this emotional anniversary of 9/11.They have a huge screen there.

    Cock N’ Bull in Santa Monica. Tuesday 9/11, 5pm 2947 Lincoln Boulevard Santa Monica, CA 90405, (310) 399-9696

  8. bizzy says:

    We shouldn’t even be playing these games with out foreign based players. Our MLS’ers should be putting foot to a** right now:

    ——-wondo———-E. Johnson—

    ————–F. Adu—————
    —–Shea—————Pontius—-
    ————–B. Davis————-

    –Morrow–Gonzalez–Demerit-Beitashour

    ————Kennedy—————-

    Goal keeper and Backline used vs Chelsea minus Gonzo, creativity in midfield(is Alonzo a U.S citizen or still cuban..lol)
    US 2 Jamaica 0(and not off set pieces)……my work is done here

  9. arsenfan says:

    They do all seem incredibly happy, don’t they?

  10. Ryan Nanez says:

    he’s american now. still has to go through FIFA tho

  11. Nate Dollars says:

    bizzy for USMNT manager! :)

    that’s definitely better than I would have expected for an all-MLS side (esp not including donovan).

  12. biff says:

    I know I am setting myself up for a potentially massive heart-breaking letdown, but — assuming that Klinsmann does tweak the midfield line-up with a change or two — I think the guys are going to get some payback for Friday’s loss and whip Jamaica bad and improve the goal differential and be back in first place in the group when the game is over. Despite my criticism of Klinsmann the past few days, I still think he is a good coach but only human and everyone makes mistakes–Bob Bradley certainly made some during his tenure. The key question going forward is whether the Jamaica humiliation of last Friday has been a a wake-up call for Klinsmann to learn from his mistakes and make the necessary adjustments and changes.

  13. THomas says:

    Yes…this doesn’t actually look to bad. And it seams teams who field mostly domestic league players always punch above their weight because of continuity and familiarity with one another.

  14. cps says:

    I’m so pumped I could tear a phone book in half.

  15. THomas says:

    If we went all domestic w/ everyone healthy…I’d go:

    ————Wondolowski————–

    –Shea——-Donovan———-Zusi–

    ———Beckerman—Davis———–

    –Morrow—-Gonzalez–John—Dunivant–

    ————-Johnson——————-

  16. Goalscorer24 says:

    What worries me is Caleb Porter was extremely confident before the US U23s got bumped out of Olympic qualification.
    The US had better come to play! And please no Beckerman.

  17. dgoshilla says:

    For the life of me I don’t understand how you could include Spector on this roster…For me that says it all about the “progress” made under JK. Anywho, lets do this!

  18. TerkyJerky says:

    I’ll make a prediction then 1-0 Jamaica. (Hoping my reverse psychology works.)

  19. TomG says:

    My only criticism of Klinsi is that he seems to have gradually backed himself into the corner of playing 3 d-mids every match by his lack of imagination in selections. With the current roster, there’s not much else he could do, but if he had called in Mixx previously or given a better run to Sacha, he might have some more options. BB even called Adu & Feilhaber into service several times to great effect when the team needed a spark. But it seems like Klinsi has put all his eggs into the Torres basket, giving him one opportunity after the next and neglecting other options, only to finally realize that Torres might not be as good as he thought. Jones and Beckerman are 2 others that have not really shown that much with the Nats yet are automatic callups.

  20. TV guy says:

    “For a team that just played one of its worst matches in recent memory”…did we not play alot worse against Mexico and Italy?? although historic wins, the USMNT looked awful and awfully lucky.

  21. jon says:

    these guys might have a shot! a little slow and unathlatic though – not sure they’d be able to handle jamaica’s pace.

    But I do like the idea of sticking b. davis in with our d. mid goons – at least one guy who can keep possesion and pass.

  22. TomG says:

    Your point is partially correct imo, but I thought we actually played very well against Italy. It was certainly a conservative game plan, but inside that game plan, the US passed the ball around really well in tight spaces, they pressured well and yielded very few scoring chances. Jozy played an excellent hold up game and the goal was a really nice one. The Mexico match was much sloppier and somewhat similar in quality to the Jamaica match. The impressive thing about the Mexico match was that US was competitive in Azteca with a B/C squad and 2 d-mids playing central defense. Mexico and Italy are also vastly superior teams to Jamaica, so that must be factored in.

  23. RLW2020 says:

    when 4,000 people show up to watch you jog you better smile!

  24. jon says:

    couldn’t agree more. because Klinsi’s cultivated no depth in the creative mid ranks, he’s completely screwed when landon and bradley are injured. While i’d put sascha, adu, feilhaber behind lando and bradley on the depth charts, it would be nice to to have at least one on the bench when we’re down 2-1 in the 70th minute (a role Benny played well under bob, and adu too, but i remain an adu skeptic).

  25. JMart says:

    Am I the only one who thinks Donovan should be playing at the top of the midfield / withdrawn striker? He’s lost a little in the wheels department, but he sees the game so well he could provide quality feeds into the box.

    I know he’s not available, bug I’m just thinking about how to use him in a different way, more like the late Arena period when he wasn’t scoring but providing loads of assists.

  26. jones says:

    Right, the big emphasis here is the “learn from his mistakes and make changes” part.

    Many coaches show a stubborn reliance on certain players despite evidence that they might do better with different personnel. The true test of whether or not Klinsmann is a quality coach is if he can not just see the problems, but adjust going forward (and not just for the next match or two but for the longer term).

    My fear is that, even though we still have plenty of time to try out new players (I’d like to see some more MLS guys given a chance before the January camp), Klinsmann will have already made up him mind about his roster (and it’s hoard of DMs).

  27. kevdflb says:

    You mean, like England?

  28. The squad says:

    Three words:

    World Cup Qualification

    As it stands, every nation currently alive in this phase of qualification has the opportunity to compete in 2014

    The United States, while having qualified for a number of years now must recapture the hunger that challenged the men’s program in previous regional tournaments.

    Point blank: Jamaica is hungry, yet so is Canada, Honduras and a host of others.

    While the experimentation with line-ups, players, formations and such has allowed the current coach to evaluate what the US has to offer as a soccer playing nation talent-wise; we need to display something motivation and hunger wise.

    Not just regarding being great individual players who gain spots on ‘Champion’s League-caliber’ teams, but towards building a cohesive unit that is firing on all cylinders come go time in Brazil.

    Klinnsman had a very successful World Cup run using the same rather unorthodox experimental style as the coach of the host nation the last time out.

    This game is his opportunity to mesh this thing into a solid team-first unit.

    More than just formations and names on backs of jerseys we need to see the type of passing and assignment defending that indicates that the eleven selected to start any game TRUST EACH OTHER and are up to the task.

    Once again Jamaica is hungry and confident

    The United States?

  29. jones says:

    Yes, Italy is one of only a few matches where we looked pretty good. We had another couple of matches with good possession and attacking football (even against Brazil), but I would say we have looked poor ~70% of the time.

    It annoys me how we often overlook poor play by the US when they pull out a win or a draw. We have looked terrible for a long stretch now – I am happy we stuck it out against Mexico, but we really didn’t show much there attack-wise and if Mexico hadn’t been so inept we would surely have lost. Don’t get me wrong, it was certainly historic and significant, but the problems we had there were not new and will continue if nothing changes.

  30. Shawn says:

    I’d buy 1 of those 3, Sascha. Feilhaber isn’t showing he’s worth playing in MLS right now, and neither is Adu. And Adu isn’t a #10, no matter how many times people want to say he is. He doesn’t have enough pace, he’s not strong enough on the ball. He’s a withdrawn striker, a role Dempsey plays better.

    I’d like to see more of Zusi and Pontius in particular. I think both of them could handle the pace and physicality well and still be creative.

  31. Shawn says:

    Honestly, I disagree. Donovan’s best attribute, his pace, is lost in the heart of the pitch, where he can be marked by 2-3 defenders. It’s much better for him to play as a Dutch-style winger, where he can stay wide and create crosses, or cut in and take chances, depending on what he’s given.

    He’s not strong enough to hold the ball in the heart of the pitch for long stretches. Dempsey is much better suited for that.

  32. Aaron in StL says:

    Just get the win and move on. Shouldn’t any more difficult than that.

  33. jon says:

    agreed. Donovan’s been at his best, for a while, on the wing. defenses have to account for his pace, and he certainly gets to express his vision/passing ability/creativity out there – not only cm’s are responsible for that. very clear how valuable he is from the jamaica game, with the lack of width and possession.

  34. jones says:

    Agree with jon and Shawn.

    Also, I believe Klinsmann tried Donovan there for one (or part of one) game and he wasn’t effective in that role. You lose some of what makes him great.

  35. super mario says:

    —–howard——
    dolo-cam-boca-fab
    —jones-torres—-
    zusi–demps–shea
    —–altidore—-

  36. Old School says:

    Dunivant at RB?

  37. Shawn says:

    Bradley and Arena both tried him in that role as well. It’s simply never worked well, and the better the opponent. In fact, much of the time people used to complain about “invisible” Donovan, it was back with this “experiment.”

  38. fish says:

    i like this post. my bias against beckerman is really due to his dreads