USA vs. Belgium (SBI Live Match Night Commentary)

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By IVES GALARCEP

CLEVELAND — The U.S. Men’s National Team kicks off a run of five matches culminating in three key World Cup qualifiers tonight against Belgium in a friendly at FirstEnergy Stadium (8pm, ESPN).

The Americans will be without some key first-team players who are out due to club commitments and injuries, including Michael Bradley, Fabian Johnson, Timmy Chandler and Maurice Edu. The rest of the U.S. team’s key players will be on the field tonight to face a stacked Belgium side that will be trotting out a strong team in preparation for a key World Cup qualifier against Serbia on June 7th.

Tonight will mark DaMarcus Beasley’s 100th appearance for the U.S. national team, making him the 13th player to earn the distinction.

Jurgen Klinsmann will be looking to test his defense against the dangerous Belgian attack, which will feature the likes of Christian Benteke, Romelu Lukaku and Marouane Fellaini.

SBI will be providing full coverage from tonight’s match, including tonight’s SBI Live Commentary, so please feel free to join us and follow all the action here. As always, you are welcome to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action (Tonight’s SBI Live Commentary is after the jump):

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137 Responses to USA vs. Belgium (SBI Live Match Night Commentary)

  1. Jon says:

    Per Goff and others on Twitter, the August friendly will be away to Bosnia. USSF won’t confirm.

  2. Shark says:

    Dempsey named USMNT Captain going forward….

    Wow….very surprised….in my opinion Bradley has earned this and should be wearing the arm band and I think few would argue that…nothing against Demps who I love…but you have to blind to not see who the leader of this team is…

    • jon says:

      i think it makes very little difference who the “captain” is. but i like the move. it gives respect to a distinguished vet, and forces demps to take on more of a vocal/leadership role than perhaps he’s used to, and i think that’s a good thing. and it will do nothing to diminish bradley’s natural leadership qualities.

      • Shark says:

        That is all the wrong reasons to name a guy a Captain….he either has ‘it’ or he doesn’t….and sends the wrong message to Bradley and the team….and feeds into the Sporting News Narrative from March….

    • Kyle says:

      Bradley isn’t in camp, I feel Dempsey to be a more that antiquated replacement

      • Shark says:

        You do realize this is permanent….right?

        • Kyle says:

          Micheal Bradley doesn’t have a rap video…I didnt realize it was permanent, and not to argue Bradley’s obvious leadership skills, Dempseys accomplishments with and without the national team does command respect from fans and fellow players alike

          • Shark says:

            Its not about accomplishments….its about leadership….if ti was about that Boca never would have been the Captain….

            • Judging Amy says:

              Maybe Deuce leads by example. Tough to tell from the outside looking in, you know?

              • Shark says:

                Not from the comments made by folks its not…and its pretty darn easy to see who the field general is….Bradley….the reason he is referred to as the ‘general’ in Italy…

              • Leo says:

                @Shark – You do realize that the captaincy is about much more than being a “field general”. A team has many different leaders that perform different tasks. Jermaine Jones is considered to be a “team leader”, even though he’s not a captain. I’d daresay Bradley also fits this mold, perhaps even to the point of being considered Dempsey’s lieutenant.

                As JA stated, you’re on the outside looking in. Unfortunately, you don’t have access to camps, training sessions and private conversations that the old ball coach has with his players. You see some weekly club matches and the occasional USMNT get together. What you see on the field on television isn’t enough to determine who the captain should be.

                I think one day Bradley will be the captain. Just not today.

          • AcidBurn says:

            Don’t tread on this!

      • vince says:

        why isn’t bradley in camp? Injury or club commitments?

        • Shark says:

          Will be available for the Germany Game….played in the Italian Cup Final on Sunday….thus unable to get to camp in time for the first game…

    • biff says:

      Clint Dempsey is without a doubt the best choice at the current time to captain the USMNT. Totally disagree with the guy above ranting and raving and whining for Michael Bradley. Still guys on the team who were around back when MB90 was Baby Bradley and the coach’s son. Until those guys who also were on the team back then are gone from the USMNT it would be a major mistake to name MB captain.

      • SBI Troll says:

        Lol, that not why Bradley isn’t captain. If you think players on the team care about that, I’ve got some beach front property to sell you.

      • Nate Dollars says:

        probably won’t see this, but are you joking, biff?

        first, the guy above wasn’t “ranting and raving and whining” at all.

        secondly, are you really saying that we need to wait until everyone who played under bob bradley (jozy too?) has retired for MB to wear the armband?

        i’m just going to assume you were joking.

  3. Raymon says:

    “test of defense” a given….I wanna see the offense create chances….hopefully we wont just park the bus in front of Fellaini and Lukaku. We had our 0-0 “win” already this cycle.

    I’m ready for Jozy and Deuce to light it up for USMNT.

    • Shark says:

      Until we find a playmaking attacking defensive midfielder (i.e. Donovan) the offensive drought is not going to get any better….and teams like Belgium and Germany are not going to go scoreless and they way we have been scoring two goals is all they will need…..honestly since this staff was installed and promised an offensive style of football we have seen nothing of the kind….often playing tow and three defensive mids…..my disappointment grows which each cycle under Klinsman….his decisions and tactics are puzzling and often border on baffling….

  4. Omar little says:

    Agree about Bradley and its only a matter of time before he is wearing the armband for years to come but Dempsey has earned the chance. None of us are in camps or in that locker room to truly have a legitimate reason to say otherwise. Plus, it has been suggested that klinsmann is trying to get every last bit out of Dempsey and more responsibility could very well be what he needs to evolve even more as a player.

    • biff says:

      Sorry, Omar little, but that is about the silliest comment I have ever read. Clint Dempsey does not need a band around his arm to give 110% on the field. He just does it. He is wearing the band because at the current time he is the best player on the USMNT and he commands respect of veterans and rookies on the team and he leads by example. No one can outwork Clint Dempsey.

  5. Guest says:

    If the defense is not focused then Hazard, Lukaku, and Fellaini will be allowed to run rampant. This will make Howard’s job even more difficult then it will already be.

    • AcidBurn says:

      If Hazard runs rampant I’ll be impressed considering he is not playing

      • bottlcaps says:

        I really think US will have it’s head handed to it tonite. I do not think Klinsmann has prepared the team right or has the right selection of players. Although I really hope I’m wrong on this.

  6. beto says:

    waiting for the USA game to start by watching the Chelsea vs City game in Yankee Stadium.. the field and stadium looks great but it is way too narrow! I wonder how that would work out as a temp stadium for NYCFC.. especially scheduling 82 MLB and 19 MLS games during the same time of year.. i guess KC did it for a while..

  7. Darwin says:

    I have a feeling that Beasley is going to destroy Alderweireld tonight.

    • Ed says:

      Hope so. I have a bad feeling this is the “oh THATS why he’s not a left back” game for Beasley. Fingers crossed.

      • Chuck says:

        Agreed. He was passable, not great vs. Mexico.

      • David says:

        Given that I’m sure one of those games is coming, I’d much rather it come against Belgium or Germany than in a WCQ. I love Beasley – on the wing, not in the back line.

        • AcidBurn says:

          +1

          If Beas is going to get torched, better tonight than by Dane Richards or Barahona in a game that actually matters.

          At least if he gets torched JK goes back to Fab for the qualifiers.

  8. Jeb says:

    USA !! USA !! USA !!

  9. STX81 says:

    FYI: Looks like the game is STILL on ESPN

  10. MidWest Ref says:

    Alright DMB – 100 caps – Fort Wayne, Indiana native!

  11. Mikebsiu says:

    Rode Duivels!!!!!

  12. Andrew In Tally says:

    have a storm in tallahassee. Reception pretty poor right now. anyone else having reception problems?

  13. Mike E. says:

    Nobody can complain about the service to Jozy on that blown chance.

    God finish your chance.

  14. Kung Fu Kangaroos says:

    Jozy needs to score with that service. In Int’l games you only get one or two chances. He needs to step it up. I’d rather see Boyd. Gonzo has a lot to learn in the Int’l game.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      “In Int’l games you only get one or two chances”

      lol, under klinsmann, at least.

  15. deepvalue says:

    Jozy still lazy. Continually allows opposing defenders to leisurely pass out of their own third.

  16. petedx says:

    Well that was easy looking

  17. deepvalue says:

    Beautiful goal!!

  18. thatkidnandez says:

    Garbage Zusi should never be called up again he’s crap! Donovan ,Gatt, and Corona deserve to start over zusi. He fits in the C team

    • Mike E. says:

      Insane.

    • meowmix says:

      maybe a bit of hyperbole, but I agree that Zusi is soooo overrated. Would take EJ or Corona over him any day. Donovan if he starts getting his game back up again

    • Beto says:

      Zusi has been one of the better players today; the one player that could push him to the bench is… You know..

      • Judging Amy says:

        That first recovery against (I think) Debruyne where Zusi slides in and covers for a back to prevent the cross sums up Zusi’s intelligence and effort. He makes plays like that all the time.

        Yeah, he’s not the most technical guy, but he’s not the least either and he’s smart. I’m really starting to like him even though he’s not super talented skill wise.

      • Citronomics says:

        Agree. It was Zusi’s pass that sprung Deuce into space to set up an excellent chance for Jozy. Not saying he’s better thn Landycakes but st least he can play positive soccer under pressure, which is something the entire squad can surely impove on.

  19. Beto says:

    Not bad first half; the front four were all pretty good, the back four not so much..

  20. Judging Amy says:

    I see a lot of positives in this game so far. I think the team as a whole is playing well against great competition.

    There was even a few nice stretches of great possession and movement where you can see some offensive progress.

    • Judging Amy says:

      With that said, back line looks a little out of sync with each other. Jozy needs to do better.

      Brad Davis looking surprisingly not terrible. The first few times I saw Zusi play I hated his selection, but every game I’m seeing it more and more– not a world beater but really solid, intelligent play and incredible work rate.

      Need to go back and watch Kljestan again, wasn’t able to get a good read on how he’s been doing. Thoughts on Kljestan?

      • MidWest Ref says:

        Sacha is not doing a lot to help himself to more call ups. His errors have been glaring (two really bad give aways on passes).

      • Citronomics says:

        Re: Kljestan… Tidy passing but not incisive and hope he exerts some influence in the second half as I feel JJ has exhibited better work rate (maybe a given) and has made a couple key plays to break up threatening play.

        Think 1H is another data point for USMNT fans who don’t view Sasha as an answer in midfield. Others?

    • Francois says:

      Completely Agree. I have no idea what Ives and the crew are talking about when they say that there are no positives so far in this game.

      • Judging Amy says:

        Yeah I mean if the team comes in and bunkers the whole time and gets a result against a team like Belgium, you still learn something.

        But that’s not even what’s happening here. In fact the US is going at Belgium some and having a little success too. Few teams are going to come in and dominate possession or get a bunch of chances against Belgium.

        • Ben says:

          You’re joking. Belgium wasn’t even trying hard most of the game, not even a sniff of pressing, and we still could barely generate anything offensively. Davis was just as pitiful as usual. Kljestan was a complete joke. This was a really poor performance for the US.

          • Judging Amy says:

            In the second half I agree. First half was much better for the US.

            • Ben says:

              In the second Belgium decided to play a little. In the first, they were strolling. Even when Belgium was walking, we couldn’t do anything going forward. That was some terrible soccer.

  21. deepvalue says:

    Belgium is really talented. Only guy not impressive is Dembele but I think he was nursing an injury all year for Spurs.

  22. Chop says:

    Gotta disagree with Ives on Dempsey so far. He’s held the ball too long (not unusual for him) on two different occasions (missed overlap with Zuisi and missed Davis heading to goal on the left late in the half) that have killed US chances to counter..

  23. Andrew in tally says:

    Can we settle the Kleschan …sp? question once and for all. He doesn’t bring anything to the game. Would love to see Holden. We need a decent forward pass to a forward making a run behind the defense,

  24. MidWest Ref says:

    Anyone else think that was a quick sub by JK to remove Altidore for Eddie? I would have given everybody another 15 to try to make things work.

  25. Goalscorer24 says:

    Ives, in your commentary you mentioned Davis, but on the listed starters you have Johnson listed. Is that an error?

  26. petedx says:

    Well that was about the worst defending ever

  27. Citronomics says:

    Yikes! Omar – just boot the ball out for a corner.

  28. Increase says:

    Omar needs to realize that people in international games try hard to win. He keeps thinking the play is over and stops running.
    In that case, he just doesn’t clear it for some reason.

  29. Kung Fu Kangaroos says:

    Sasha is not impressing :-(. Good thing this is a friendly for Gonzo to learn that this is not MLS

  30. Kung Fu Kangaroos says:

    Boyd. Yes!

  31. petedx says:

    Off topic, but Galaxy and Sounders lost in the usopen cup tonight, that’s something.

  32. Dc says:

    3-1 down, oh hey, don’t worry, Brad Evens is coming in! give me an effing break.

  33. Chris says:

    Anyone still think Donovan shouldn’t have been in camp? Putrid performance from some putrid players.

    • Dc says:

      agree, but i don’t think landon’s position is the biggest problem here.

      • Ted in MN says:

        I agree that the back line needs to be more consistent (aka: get the damn ball out) but the midfield has been too error prone. The amount of times Ian Darke has mentioned misunderstandings or passes being a bit naive is simply ridiculous. Landon could help with that.

    • Increase says:

      Well, as he would replace Zusi… I wouldn’t say Zusi was bad. Pretty good rather.

    • Chris says:

      It’s irrelevant that MAYBE Zusi would be the player to sit out (and frankly I’m pretty sure we could put both on the field at the same time).

      Either way, Donovan is a class above about 90% of the players in this camp.

  34. Casey says:

    Bring on the krauts lol. That game is going to be ugly.

    • Dc says:

      Hah, for the first time in about 4 years, I wont’ be able to watch a USA game live, maybe that’s not a bad thing!

  35. ThaDeuce says:

    Wasn’t Christian offside?

  36. Judging Amy says:

    lol at that handball but we’ll take it.

  37. Dc says:

    ps. johnson is terrible, always has been, what does jurgen think is going to change? i know he just drew a penalty, the comment stands.

  38. petedx says:

    No way that was a penalty, but at least Dempsey took it well.

  39. Dc says:

    STU!!!!

  40. meowmix says:

    STUUUU!!!

  41. Judging Amy says:

    oh ej…

  42. meowmix says:

    Also EJ is killing it tonight

  43. Todd Marsch says:

    This game is pretty representative of the problems with the US team. They do OK keeping possession in the back third and middle third, but can’t consistently create chances against good teams. There is not enough individual pace, speed of passing, creativity, or individual skill to create anything against this caliber opponent. The defense has been fairly solid, but suffered from “rookie” mistakes and lack of cohesion.

    I’m really not sure what can be done until some more dynamic offensive come through the pipeline and some of the inexperienced defenders get more seasoning.

  44. Kung Fu Kangaroos says:

    C’mon Eddie, keep your head up and center it to Boyd.

  45. Scott A says:

    I don’t care how many heads crash into metal boards around the field…we must have advertising advertising advertising!

  46. Judging Amy says:

    hahaha did jones just give the belgian coach an unwanted waist hug? love that guy.

  47. MB says:

    Why do the US persist on playing Eddie Johnson on the wings, he is an out and out forward. His service crossing the ball isn’t good. US needs good wingers to compete versus real international squads in my opinion.

    • Judging Amy says:

      IMO he’s worse as an out and out forward at the international level. More useful out wide where his speed can stretch the d. Not a lot of good options at forward with Jozy unable to find himself for the Nats, EJ being EJ, Boyd clearly not ready yet (he runs so much and yet he’s invisible), and Gomez a limited and aging poacher.

    • MikeG says:

      HA HA HA

  48. Ted in MN says:

    Jermaine gets his requisite yellow

  49. MB says:

    Any thoughts on why US was better in the first half than the second, got tired?

  50. Ben says:

    Well Davis, Evans, and Kljestan just simply don’t belong. Klinsmann is doing everything he can to alienate our best striker and our all time scoring leader. We will see how the next two weeks go.

    • stewart says:

      usually do not post a comment but this has to be the dumbest comment of all time…JK has done everything he can to alienate someone who takes a sabbatical in the middle of world cup qualifying? while someone was watching the Costa Rica game at home the rest were out there freezing. I am sorry but that is too much

    • MikeG says:

      Did you just realize this now? Come on!

  51. deepvalue says:

    People are going to say a few big mistakes were the problem. But, there wasn’t much understanding between players either. Beasley may have been the best guy for the US.

  52. Travis is Miami says:

    Belgium’s quality a league higher than the US.

    Beasley is the man!

    —jozy — Dempsey
    ld- jones- MB – Beas
    defense = ya got me
    —howard/Guzan

  53. Eric says:

    Once again lanky Kljestan doesnt do a thing to impress. Just jogs around back passes, gives the ball away, please go away. Jurgen you suck too. Getting scored on I’m cool with this game means nothing, but having ZERO offense is inexcusable. Bring him back you stubborn mule.

  54. Joe B NYC says:

    Wow, is this what we got rid of Double B for?

    Sheesh.

    Also, if you’re going to play EJ on the wing wouldn’t it be good to keep Jozy on?

  55. Justin says:

    Germany is going to mop the floor with us come Sunday. Why does the squad always look out of sync/confused on the field? Perhaps too many players getting played out of position. It’s true Donovan would take the spot Zusi has been playing but I’ll take it. The chances he creates and experience/leadership/tenacity he brings to the squad is unparalleled.

    • Ben says:

      You have to swap him for Zusi, and anyone, even my grandmother, for Davis. I don’t have any big problem with Zusi, but he is too small and too slow for major competition; maybe he is ok in CONCACAF.

      • MB says:

        Would rather have Zusi out there who tracks back, versus a forward like EJ or Gomez who doesn’t. I would be happy with Zusi or LD on the right and LD or Fabian on the left myself.

        • Eric says:

          Completely untrue, Gomez works extremely hard, runs hard all game long and tracks back like a beast.

    • MikeG says:

      Not until Klinnsman says so…LOL

  56. Jean de Villiers says:

    We’d have won 8-nil if Mikey was playing, jeez

  57. Beto says:

    Belgium was a good team, much better than us… Not too bad, but the backline needs to get it together!

    Great: N/A
    Good: Zusi, EJ, Dempsey, Howard, DMB
    Okay/NA: Jones, Besler, Holden, Guzan, Goodson, Boyd
    Bad: Cameron, Gonzalez, Evans, Kljestan, Davis, Altidore

    Hopefully FJ, MB and el Homie can be what this team needs

    • MikeG says:

      LOL..how about a more tactically sound minded coach? Lahm was right!!!

    • bold says:

      How was Davis bad? He provided several good services and kept good possession when he had the ball. As sooon as he was subbed out we went down 4-1.

  58. Justin says:

    I think one of the most under rated players on the team is J. Jones. What the commentators said is spot on, not only what he does with the ball but what he does without the ball is class, somethig we need more of on the team. Take away the silly fouls here and there and he is one of if not the most complete player on the team. I’m glad Guzan is now the starter at Villa. He is undoubtedly stepping in for Howard as the starter after the World Cup next year. Also, glad we’ll have Bradley back for the next match. Now if we could get Juergen to stop playing people out of position and get a set back line to get cohesion and understanding with one another.

  59. Kildem says:

    This was our suck line-up against a full Belgium squad you idiots!!!!!!!!!. Kind of like Panizo sucks!!!!!

  60. mark says:

    OMG

    when you Klinsmann and USMNT

  61. mark says:

    OMG when will Klinsmann and USMNT fans realize that Jozy Altidore does not have either the heart, the desire or the skill to be a starter for this team.

    Herculez Gomez, Edddie Johnson and Terrence Boyd should be our strikers. period.

  62. MikeG says:

    The U.S. is a very very good nation at playing basketball. Nearly the whole world looks at soccer and plays soccer similar to street basketball. When I play soccer I have the mentality of a basketball player. I am either walking, jogging, or sprinting the ENTIRE game..never stop moving..I am like 7 Eleven..always open. Pick your worst 11 and put them out against Germany…Klinnsman would do it. Klinnsman is embarrassing the team and the country…we should embarrass him and buy him out of his contract.

  63. MikeG says:

    Lahm was right.