Donovan nets double, Holden masterful as USMNT crush Guatemala

Landon Donovan

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By IVES GALARCEP

It didn’t start off in the prettiest of fashions for the U.S. Men’s National Team, but a slow start was soon replaced by an outstanding second half in what wound up being a rout and a great showcase for several players.

Landon Donovan, the all-time leading scorer in USMNT history marked his return to the national team with a pair of second-half goals to help lead the U.S. to a 6-0 thrashing of Guatemala at Qualcomm Stadium on Friday night.

Donovan drew and converted a 55th-minute penalty to become the first American male to score 50 international goals, then capped an encouraging return to the national team by delivering a quality finish of a perfect Stuart Holden cross for a 73rd-minute finish.

The match marked several firsts for the U.S., with Chris Wondolowski and Alejandro Bedoya both scoring their first international goals.

Donovan goals will grab headlines, but the outstanding play of midfielders Stuart Holden and Mix Diskerud in the second half of the match truly stole the show. After a disjointed first half for starters Kyle Beckerman and Jose Torres, Holden and Diskerud replaced them at halftime and helped take control of the match.

Holden was particularly effective, turning in a Man of the Match-worthy performance in steering the attack with several dangerous passes to lead attacking surges through Guatemala’s defense.

The match started in forgettable fashion for the U.S., with Guatemala applying heavy pressure high up the field, and unsettling the midfield and American defense, but as Guatemala began to tire, the U.S. took control, opening the scoring in the 42nd minute when Herculez Gomez latched onto a long pass from Jose Torres.

Klinsmann inserted Holden and Diskerud for Kyle Beckerman and Torres at halftime and the duo helped kick the U.S. attack into another gear. Donovan also stepped up his game, and benefited from the increased dominance of the U.S. midfield.

Donovan made it 2-0 when he drew a penalty in the 55th minute and converted his chance right down the middle for his 50th career goal. Wondolowski made it 3-0 when Donovan drove into the attack and laid off a pass that was re-directed to the San Jose Earthquakes striker, who finished it off.

Donovan notched his second just two minutes later when he finished off a perfect Holden cross to make the score 4-0.

Clarence Goodson made it 5-0 with his fourth career USMNT goal by following up his own chance with a powerful shot from close range in the 84th minute. Bedoya made it 6-0 by racing onto a pass from Brek Shea, who was also outstanding for the U.S. as a late sub.

The Americans will hope to build off their dominating performance when they kick off the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup on Tuesday vs. Belize in Portland.

What did you think of the match? Who impressed you the most?

Share your thoughts below.

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196 Responses to Donovan nets double, Holden masterful as USMNT crush Guatemala

  1. SanFran415 says:

    Donovan had an awful first half.
    Donovan had a great second half.

    Clarence Goodson scored. We’re all getting laid tonight.

    • Tony in Quakeland says:

      I think awful is grossly over stating the first half. He had some good moments, but the midfield was too packed. As he shifted up top, the attack took shape. He was having a positive influence by the end of the half.

      • wandmdave says:

        Donovan shook off the rust quickly especially after he moved forward but his touch and pa$sing were way off at the start of the game. He had several very poor giveaways to his name by the 30 min mark.

        • Tony in Quakeland says:

          He had two by my count in the first ten to fifteen. After that, he was fine.

          • Hogatroge says:

            This. It’s pretty impressive to be able to shake off a slow start and become a force in the game by the second half.

    • sergio says:

      done..lol

    • futbolisimo says:

      Didn’t watch the game but caught highlights… sure looks like USA was playing against a bunch a orange cones…

  2. Nihal says:

    All I got to say is: We need to have more games on NBCSN. Last time it was 5-1, this time 6-0. Pretty good. It was great to see Stu look so good, it looks like he never even left.

  3. bizzy says:

    Ok, for starters the Holden negativity must stop (that goes for me too..lol)…..he is the best option we have going into the Gold Cup. Mix Diskerud is a better option than Beckerman (who had a good game). Mix + Holden = 5 goals. Onyewu and Goodson scored most of the goals in practice and with Parkhurst our back looked solid today. Nick was on vacation. Donovan’s game opened up considerably with the inclusion of Holden and Diskerud in the midfield. Gomez was quick (and alway seemed to be at the right spot) and is the point man for the US going into this competition. Castillo had a good game in Midfield (especially the ability to make runs and alternate/overlap with Beasley) but Shea is a better option on the wing. With a few switches the second half team should be our team for the gold cup

    • Sleeve says:

      I thought Castillo was terrible. Lost the ball every time he touched it.

      • Old School says:

        Castillo can’t defend.
        Castillo made no threatening passes.
        Castillo isn’t a threat to score.

        Castillo shouldn’t be playing. Period.

      • Falsify says:

        I disagree about your Beckerman statement. I thought he didn’t have the best game and it was clear that once the substitutes came on we got better.

      • Hogatroge says:

        I would score Castillo pretty low based on 2 things:

        1. He misplayed a ton of balls

        2. Even though he found himself in great position many times, he would hesitate and play a backpa$s or lay it off to an overlapping Beasley. Wingers should take players on themselves and put crosses in.

    • TomG says:

      Stu/Mixx midfield… Drooool. Both so good at unlocking bunker defenses, something we’ve been sorely lacking.

      I was very impressed with Corona too. On several plays he surged forward into space and the defense collapsed on him yet still had the wherewithal to find an outlet and maintain possession. I love that mentality of looking to always attack but not sacrificing the ball when the play doesn’t develop properly. He seems to have a sophisticated understanding of the pitch.

      • Chance the Gardner says:

        + 1

        I want to see more of Corona. Agree with the assesment of his soccer/footy acumen. In a crowded midfield (after he switched with Donovan) during the first half he was one of the few bright spots

      • recovered amishman says:

        Holden and Diskerud did look good, but Guatemala was not playing a bunker defense in the 2nd half, not even close. The bunker defense lasted until the first goal and then they opened up. People are being pretty harsh on Torres and Beckerman, but their task was the more difficult one. If Holden and Diskerud had been playing the first half, they would not have had as much space to operate in.

        • Nate says:

          great point. Gomez’s goal from the Torres assist opened up the match. Holden, Mix and Donovan were the beneficiaries….

    • Dantheblue says:

      Castillo was horrible with bad touches and turnovers 85% of his touches…

      • TomG says:

        Admit it. You didn’t even watch the match, did you? Castillo was fine and worked well overlapping with Beasley. He even set up the first goal with his aggressive move to beat his man and dish to Torres for the cross.

        • Chance the Gardner says:

          What Castillo showed was nice recovery speed to track back after he lost the ball… maybe a little harsh

          But he wasn’t the only one with a heavy first touch- Shea and dare I say Donovan were both getting themselves in trouble
          with their first touch (moving LD up top at the end of the first half really opened up the/his game and gave Corona space.

          Also please no more Gooch- love the guy- but he sure knows how to kill the ball (and this was a good performance!)

        • RNG says:

          Actually, you’re both right. Castillo had several great runs forward where he looked very dangerous… and then several other times had silly give-aways. A truly schizophrenic performance.

          • Been There says:

            Anything Castillo did well was greatly overshadowed by the many other thigns he did poorly. He more than anyone was the biggest reason for a slow first half. He either took a terrible touch or dribbled in to two defenders resulting in costly turnovers that squelched anything the US had going forward. Anyone who claims he had a good game has lost their mind. Game changed when Holden and Mixx came in but it really opened up when Castillo went off. Hope to never see that experiment again.

            • PBJOHN says:

              A game like this just shows how much depth we have at certain positions (midfield) and how thin we are at others (the back four). I thought the Castillo/Beasley combo was the highlight of the first half. Get Castillo to be more willing to shoot rather than deferring to his teamates and he is dangerous. I’d like to see him play left back more during the Gold Cup where he is used to playing and he’ll do great. He and Beas are double trouble.

        • Jesse D says:

          Dude, TommieG, are you serious? I dare you to re-watch the game and count the number of God-awful turnovers by Castillo. My wife who knows nothing about soccer, said “who is the little guy who keeps giving the ball away.” She was talking about Castillo

    • Josh D says:

      Plain and simple: if Klinsi doesn’t play Mix and Holden on Tuesday he’s an idiot. Those two played the style he wants better than Bradley and Jones has ever done.

      I’m a Klinsi apologist. But if he roles out any other combo, I’ll be the first to shout hack.

      Not sure if Shea was brought in for Gatt but if so let’s see:

      Gomez, Donovan, Shea, Corona, Mix, Holden.

      • Broadsthooligans says:

        Only reason I could see nor to start Holden is fitness. I haven’t been following him close enough to know if he’s 90 minutes fit. If so would you rather see him for the first 45 or the last 30?

  4. Jeff says:

    2nd half was Holden and 10 others

    Rimando a train wreck waiting to happen

    • scott47a says:

      How could you possibly get anything negative about Rimando from tonight?

      • …especially considering the alternatives.

        • wandmdave says:

          He played with the ball back there too much and idk if he called off Goodsen or if Goodsen made the decision to leave it for Rimando but those 2 or 3 close plays outside the box were much more tense than they needed to be.

      • Jeff says:

        Terrible communication with his center backs leading to several near-collisions with them on the ball. Terrifying decisions on distribution.

        • Eric says:

          This. It was brutally obvious that Rimando, Goodson, and Gooch had never all played together before. A major kink that needs to be worked out if the US is going to win the GC this year. And Rimando’s distribution has always been a mixed bag for me…I like that he tries to build out of the bag, but he takes too many unnecessary risks in doing so.

      • Dont Care says:

        He looked pretty shakey coming off his line but im not worried about him

    • Riggity says:

      Totally agree

    • He made some not-very-good decisions. I was at the match.

  5. Hopper says:

    This Gold Cup squad is no joke. Call them a “B” team, but top to bottom they’re better than our ’98 “A” team. Ultimately their quality will be judged on whether or not they can beat Mexico.

    • Dennis says:

      Yes, if you go back 15 years, the US had weaker teams. But really this was not a soccer match, it was more like target practice. When this team plays Costa Rica, Honduras and Mexico we will learn a lot more about how good they are.

      • Ben says:

        True, and Klinsi and already stated that this is important in terms of being half way to the next Confed Cup, so it will be a fun tournament to watch going forward.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I think it’s fair comment on the offense but the defense looked iffy. We’ll see what happens when a better offense comes at them because they were having communications problems and Beckerman bailed them out some.

  6. TomDL says:

    The insertion of Holden/Mixx in place of Torres/Beckerman completely changed the match. Holden looked fantastic. The one-time ball he hit to Shea was pure class. I think he has to be in the starting line-up Tuesday, and, although a lot can change in a year, has established himself as a favorite to be on the World Cup roster.

  7. Tony in Quakeland says:

    I think you are missing how the game started to change when Donovan went up top in a 4-4-2. The pressure started there. Then Dix and Holden finally blew it open.

    • scott47a says:

      +1
      Not sure if Klinsi made that call or if Donovan and Corona just started switching, but it changed the game. And then the introduction of Holden and his superb passing just opened everything up.

    • Advocate says:

      Exactly right.

    • Ben says:

      yeah but formation are mostly for defensive purposes. The movement and exchange in the second half on offense was very good.

    • beachbum says:

      +1 this is it right here.

      the game changed when Coach went 4 4 2 and LD was pushed up top. That stretched the Guatemala D and all changed. Then Stu and Diskerud came in and the floodgates opened

      the early problems were by forcing the ball forward from our midfiled instead of playing with patience against a bunkered D and moving the ball quickly from side to side. Beckerman in particular struggled with this

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Freudian slip there?

      Sorry dude the momentum went insane when Mixx and Holden came in for the second half. I refuse to consider Landon going higher and getting shoved over for a PK a game changer. Landon did show some fire and that may begin his case for a spot but the stars of the game were the second half center middies……why didn’t JK start them?

      • beachbum says:

        sorry dude, but it all changed in the 1st half with the formation change. refuse to consider whatever you want, including what actually happened

        and no one is arguing that the midfield change wasn’t a HUGE catalyst too

  8. jim in Atlanta says:

    I know Shea is supposed to be leaving but if he were to stay.

    ——————Gómez——————–
    Shea———-Donovan———Bedoya
    ———–Mix————Holden———-
    Beasley—Goodson–Gooch—Parkhurst

    • jim in Atlanta says:

      Corona in middle if Shea gone Donovan on left Bedoya on right

      • Bobb says:

        Did you watch the game?

        Corona did better when he was moved to the outside than when he started in the middle.
        Donovan did better when he was moved up top next to the striker than when he was on the outside.

        Now you want to repeat the mistakes that Klinsmann made and then corrected?

        • Chance the Gardner says:

          +1

          the switch definitely opened the game up at the end of the second half

          • Chance the Gardner says:

            *first half

            Also props to JK for pushing the tempo in the second half

        • jim in Atlanta says:

          Did you not read my first formation?

          It had more to do with a better central pairing than anyone playing better.

          -9

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      He looked sufficiently bad what’s the point.

  9. Nihal says:

    Also, does playing in the Gold Cup cap-tie a player?

  10. Phlub says:

    Shea, Holden, Donovan, 2014 Brazil

    That second half said a lot. We should win Gold Cup.

    Diskerud, maybe. Good match, but a lot to prove still.

    Outside of bad communication, back line played rather well.

    Weak Guatemala defense makes it hard to tell, but the US depth is finally taking shape.

    • Dennis says:

      No, the weak G. defense makes it impossible to tell if this group of US players have anything special.

      • RNG says:

        Diaagree. Shea looks as if he has his speed and power no matter what. Holden looks as if he has his vision no matter what. And Donovan can still play no matter what.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Shea looked awful. He needs to go get fit and in form and come back because that crossing was Ashe level.

      • Jesse D says:

        He could have had some better touches, but his physical skill set is obvious, he has the tools be a real challenge for opposing defenses. He takes risks, he just needs to develop that final pass/shot in the box.

  11. Dont Care says:

    -Stick to the 4-4-2
    -Holden looked good
    -Donovan is better closer to goal
    -Shea looked rusty but still a good showing
    -Beasley keeps doing his thing
    -Guatemala looked muy muy mal

  12. wandmdave says:

    Donovan made a good case with the goals but also his ability to attack the defense in the second half.

    Holden was amazing and Diskerud was not far behind.

    Shea looked great for the most part but he *has* to sharpen up his final ball. If he can do that in the next year he’ll start in the WC for sure.

    Parkhurst and the Castillo/Beasley combo were some of the brightest spots in the first half.

    All that said its only one game and it was against a rebuilding Guatemala team in a friendly on home soil. Lets hold off on anointing anyone until we have a run of games against some better opposition.

    • wandmdave says:

      Also not sure where Donovan fits in the A squad if he isn’t playing on the wing. Who is he going to replace? Altidore? Dempsey?

      • Dont Care says:

        Donovan off the bench could be deadly

      • Eric says:

        My guess is if (and this is still a pretty big “if”–LD needs to have a good Gold Cup, and a brace against a terrible Guatemalan side doesn’t count) LD returns to the A-squad, he takes Fabian Johnson’s place on the left wing in order to accommodate both Dempsey and Zusi, and FJ returns to left back. DMB is good, but he’s still a winger, not a fullback.

        • wandmdave says:

          That is what I would have assumed too. But if that is the case I’d love to see him audition there and not at the withdrawn forward spot.

        • wandmdave says:

          That is what I would have a$$umed too. But if that is the case I’d love to see him audition there and not at the withdrawn forward spot. He looked pedestrian on the wing today against what is a weak Guatemala side as you mentioned. And while one game can’t condemn him either he needs to pick up his game if he plays out wide again.

      • Bobb says:

        ————————Altidore———————————-
        —–Donovan/Shea——Dempsey——Zusi/Corona——
        ———Bradley/Diskerud———-Jones/Holden——–
        F Johnson–Besler–Gonzalez/Cameron–Chandler

  13. evan says:

    Rimando better be benched. It looked as if he lost his mind out there on more than one occasion. Has to be better options than him.

    • wandmdave says:

      He is the best on the roster hands down. If you watched Hamid during Olympics qualifications he was very shaky and not just on his distribution. In the game that eliminated the team he took the wrong angle to get to a cross even. He is extremely raw for this level. Don’t know about Johnson but I’m guessing since he is behind Hamid he is worse.

      • evan says:

        Fair enough. Hamid is nothing special, and I do think Johnson isn’t any better. Hopefully, playing some games together will help Rimando and the D, cause that was probably the worst shutout performance a keeper can possibly have.

    • Eric says:

      Yes, there are, but not on the Gold Cup roster.

      I think if Rimando can work on the miscommunication problems with his backline, he’ll be fine. His shot-stopping has always been first-class.

  14. Dennis says:

    I don’t think we learned much. Holden looked ok for 45 minutes against a weak defense. The US defense was essentially untested. The US attack was allowed to get forward and deliver cross after cross. When the opposition is that lackluster, it is hard not to look good. When this team faces better teams we will learn what they can do. For right now, we learned not so much.

    • wandmdave says:

      While I mostly agree with your point we haven’t regularly unlocked mid level concacaf teams so readily until just recently. It says something that we are now able to take advantage of a weak D even when it is bunkering.

      • GW says:

        This was a rebuilding ,inexperienced ,slightly demoralized Guatemalan Squad. It was nowhere near the level of previous squads.

        Fun game but it was more like a shooting and passing drill.

        The Guatemalans were well organized and held on as long as they could but this was really just a formalized scrimmage.

        Everyone did very well but before you start giving all these guys spots on the World Cup team, just remember how impressive everyone looked when the Under 23’s opened their Olympic qualifying with a 6-0 rout of Cuba.

        Then remember how that ended up.

    • Ben says:

      It wasn’t so much about what Stu did, as how he ran and moved, which was fluid and without problems, and that was worth Comic Book Man’s weight in gold.

    • beachbum says:

      I’d say we learned that this team prefers the 4 4 2

  15. evan says:

    Oh, and how often is it that the US’s biggest grip about a game is goaltending? Crazy, no?

  16. Robo johnson says:

    Holden plays some beautiful soccer man if he was able to stay healthy he would have been something really special.

    Shea is an unbelievable athlete and tajent hope he finally puts it all together.

    I love 6-0 blowouts.

    • 2pac shakur says:

      Like I posted before, the debate can end, JK can coach. But I do think the pressure is on now. Gold cup or bust,no?

    • Ben says:

      I agree. So sad about Holden’s last year and a half. Had he been able to play, I raelly think he would be on a top 6 EPL team.

  17. Ok guys, let’s avoid an upset so my 63 dollar each tickets don’t go to waste for the final. (I think I paid 35 in ’07 and ’09).

    No excuses for not winning this thing. Too much talent. I just wish Brek could stick around, because Castillo was just wasteful. I’d like to see MacInerney get at least a half against Belize.

    • 2pac shakur says:

      @chris in Chicago if we win ill meet you in Wrigleyville for some victory old style

      • Tyrone says:

        @Chris: Castillo was wasteful, and Shea wasn’t? Shea skied at least three final balls, and if it weren’t for some lucky-bounce crosses, his only contribution on offense would have been running really, really fast.

        • Been There says:

          Shea had a couple of poor crosses around the opposing goal and not all over midfield like Castillo. I think he sent in more dangerous balls then he did poor ones. The last shot he took was about a foot away from going upper 90.

  18. beto says:

    hope for more of the same vs Belize, Cuba, Costa Rica and beyond! this team should do very well in the Gold Cup!

  19. caerbannog fc says:

    I was excited to see Holden, Diskerud, Bruin, McInerney (ya…), and Corona and a bit morbidly curious about the others. Torres had a fine performance but Holden and Diskerud were on another level. I know Klinsmann thinks highly of Beckerman but in my mind there are 4-5 players ahead of him (Bradley, Jones, Holden, Diskerud and in certain circumstances Torres).

    Guatemala in a friendly at home is not a good yardstick. Even so very happy with the performance. Onyewu and Goodson looked in control at the back. Love how Shea stretches the game but don’t love some of his decision making. Klinsmann is going to love the way Donovan won that penalty, it is exactly the kind of “nastiness” he is looking for (not merely tackling but playing smart).

    I’ve missed a few positives (Gomez, Corona, Beasley, Congrats Wondo and Bedoya) but got to hit the hay. Excited for the gold cup… bring on Belize…

    • Bobb says:

      Bruin showed he doesn’t belong. Botched a few decent chances. He has the finesse of a rhino.

      • whoop-whoop says:

        By all means…. write off an international career 15 minutes into a first match. That’s reasonable.

  20. bizzy says:

    ———————Donovan—————–Gomez—————————–

    —-Shea———-Diskerud——–Holden———–Bedoya/Corona—–

    —-Beasley——Onyewu———Goodson———–Parkhurst———-

    ——————————-Rimando———————————————–

    • Ben says:

      With Donovan dropping back to pick up possession, I totally agree with this line up.

    • Bobb says:

      The only problem is, Shea is leaving to join Stoke. I wish he’d stay, but he needs to get in with his new coach so he’ll play this season.

  21. Thebumswillalwayslose says:

    You can’t really overstate how well Stu played tonight. He and Mixx completely bossed the midfield in the second half. Seriously, I don’t know what the second half possession stats actually ended up at, but they had to be close to 80/20 in favor of the US and you can thank those two for it. On top of that, all that possession led to 5 goals. 5. Damn.

    LD was ghost-like in the first 30 – 35 minutes, started to come on for the last 10 of the first half and then was his old self in the second half. Took him a minute, but a good showing from him in the end.

    I liked what I saw from Corona. Inventive and involved going forward. Wanted the ball and tried to make something happen when he got it.

    I’m on the fence about Castillo. The thought process and movement were there, he was making the right runs and the right reads. His touch just SUCKED tonight. I’m not usually one to overdo it on the commentary, but seriously his touch majorly let him down tonight, and that’s usually one of the better parts of his game.

    Stoked for Wondo. Say what you want, the dude deserved to get that goal.

    • Lil' Zeke says:

      I think “player X was a ghost because I didn’t happen to know what they were doing” is a dopey thought process

      • Chance the Gardner says:

        haha agreed

        the first 30 min LD was on the wing, then he and Corona switched

        • Thebumswillalwayslose says:

          I’m well aware of where he was positioned on the field, that does nothing to dispute the idea that he was not really involved in the first thirty minutes. Once he pushed up next to Herc? Sure, that’s when he started to impact the game and he was lights out in the second half. But again, go back and watch the first thirty minutes of that game and tell me how he was involved. It’s not like he played poorly, he just wasn’t finding the game until he moved up top.

      • Thebumswillalwayslose says:

        Well then, enlighten me. What exactly was LD doing in the first 30 minutes? He was on the right wing, while the majority of the play was on the left side. Where you at the game? Was he making off the ball runs to create space for others? Was he tracking back to help defend? Because none of that showed up on TV. And notice that I didn’t say he played poorly, just that he made no impact on the first 30 minutes before he was moved up next to Herc and Corona pushed out wide.

        I don’t mind being called out, but at least try to back it up with an explanation.

        • Been There says:

          Donovan was limited in the first half because when Castillo wasn’t fumbling the ball away on the left side, Gooch and Parkhust were losing it before it could be distributed to Landon. Moving him more centrally removed him from the wastel

          • Been There says:

            *wasteland that was the right side. He could then be more involved in the game and thus, things begin to open up.

            • Adam Samples says:

              Have you all forgotten that notorious element of LD’s game? He’s been disappearing for long spells of games since he was 17…. then comes the 10 minutes of brilliance where he creates. It’s nothing new. Aimless to critique it now.

    • Edwin in LA says:

      How did he “desev3e” hat goal?

  22. evan says:

    I get why peeps are dumping on Guatemala at home being a bad measuring stick. But we did what any good team should do, beatdown a really bad team. Germany takes care of business handily against teams like Malta and Kazakhstan. The best teams should do exactly what the US did tonight. So yea, while this doesn’t tell us a bunch about the US, it does tell us that more and more they are becoming the team that JK promised when he took over. We should always beatdown minnows like this.

    • Ben says:

      Thank you, and we did it with our B team. I’m not ready to annoit us the second coming, but it was a good showing.

    • Jeff says:

      You mean what we did in the 2nd half. 1st half was “old USA” – spend 40+ minutes to grind out one goal against a weak, disorganized side. The difference was two center mids turning forward in the 2nd half instead of facing their own goal. Playing with confidence rather than caution.

      • Ben says:

        True, but is that Hold and Mix, or the fact that Guatemala was starting to leave off after the first 30? Still, you’re right about the confidence, we played with it and it bloomed.

      • Conrad says:

        Guatemala was hardly disorganized. At least before the first goal.

      • beachbum says:

        the explanation of the difference has to included abandoning the 4 2 3 1 and sticking LD up top. the game changed immediately, and then the central midfiled changes blew it open. Stu was fantastic last night

  23. Dulliwhig says:

    Afer tonight, my best guess for 2014:

    Dempsey – Altidore
    Donovan – Holden – Zusi
    Bradley
    Johnson – Gonzalez – Besler – Chandler

    Thoughts?

    • evan says:

      Not ready to bump Jones out of the starting XI yet. Yes, he is imperfect, but I do think he adds something to this team. Also hesitant to take FJ out of LM. The A-team’s O really only turned on after moving him to LM. But if anyone can do just as well or better than FJ there, it might be Donovan. But he will have to show commitment coming back with how much FJ will go forward even as a LB.

      • Ben says:

        Agreed. Tragic about Holden’s last year and a half, but the spot, as of now, is still for Jones.

      • 2pac shakur says:

        People are prisoners of the moment smh. Y’all nuts if you think Jones wont be starting in São Paulo .

        • baropbop says:

          I can’t think of more than 3 games where jones played well. Ever

          • Wenzel Dashington says:

            Is this dude forreally?

            • baropbop says:

              Yes. For me, he is easily the most overrated usa player. Besides possibly vs costa Rica, would love to know when you think he played well. The midfield has looked horrible nearly every time he has paired with bradley and don’t even get me started on him as an outside mid. The midfield as a whole has looked best in the klinsmann era when he wasn’t on the field. What he does in bundesliga is irrelevant, he isn’t disciplined enough to fill the role in this formation.

          • Bobb says:

            I can think of 3 games Jones has played well in just his last 5 games with the US.
            Now that he’s more the 6 and Bradley the 8, the partnership is finally starting to work.

    • Joamiq says:

      I think Cameron is more likely than Gonzalez, unless Gonzo can find a way to stop making so many mental mistakes.

      I also think that Donovan will be on the right, with Fabian on the left and Beasley at LB, and I think that’s a better lineup. Zusi can put in some good crosses, but it’s a better attacking lineup overall with Johnson involved in the attack more often and with Beasley overlapping.

      • ACS says:

        I still think Gooch has a chance over Gonzalez/Cameron/Goodson if he can get back to playing every week, he needs games.

        • Joamiq says:

          I agree. Can’t say he’s back in the mix for sure after tonight, but he certainly didn’t play his way out of consideration either.

    • John says:

      I think you still start Bradley and Jones in the middle. Look at how many early goals we gave up in 2010. There experience is certainly needed to help settle the team into a rhythm. Then you can bring in Holden to give a bit more energy and creative spark. I don’t know if Chandler is even in the squad much less starting.

      • Dulliwhig says:

        I love Dolo, but he’ll be 35!

        • Steve Wise says:

          The injuries are piling up for Dolo, and he’s having difficulty getting on the pitch in the Bundesliga because of them. He’s had an outstanding career, but clearly it’s winding down.

    • skyman says:

      I’ve been touting Holden for weeks now, so am happy to see you agree. However, Jermaine Jones is a force, one that doesn’t have the established fragility that Holden must now burden (whether he’s actually fragile or not). Obviously, Holden isn’t taking Bradley’s spot, so Stu fills in for JJ when he gets cards or possibly injured. He can also come in for wing play as Bob Bradley used him in the WC.

      • Gerard says:

        Completely agree about needing central midfield depth. It’s inevitable that JJ will have to miss a game at some point in the WC due to yellow cards. The emergence of Holden and Mix likely pushes guys like Edu and Beckerman further away from the roster for Brazil. The upcoming club season will be huge for Holden.

    • iheartscoth says:

      I posted this on ESPN article and was getting railed. Pretty similar to your lineup

      My full strength preferred line-up as of now—-

      —————Guzan—————–
      Chandler —Cameron–Besler—Johnson
      Holden—-Bradley—Jones—-Donovan
      ————-Dempsey————–
      —————-Altidore——————-

      Gonzalez gets benched for his mental mistakes at this time. If Cameron got a few games in as center full I think he would do well. Holden has played right mid quite well and his crossing is first cl@ss. Way better than Zusi and his field awareness is sublime. Jones gets a lot of hate but he will enforce the midfield and let Bradley do his work. Super sub will be Gomez when we need a goal (He excels as a super sub in Mexico). And I realize Howard will start over Guzan but for me Guzan is in better form at this time.

      • PD says:

        Have no clue what you are basing Chandler and Guzan on other than your own feelings on the subject.

        • iheartscoth says:

          I think many would agree Guzan has been amazing lately and Howards form has dipped. As for Chandler… I actually may have overlooked Cherundolo who should start if Healthy but I don’t know if that’s feasible. Other than those two who else do you put in there? Maybe slot Cameron in there and put Gonzalez in the middle. Don’t tell me Evans, as a fellow UCI alum I root for him, but he can not handle first class strikers and does not have the necessary speed.

        • iheartscoth says:

          I think many would agree Guzan has been amazing lately and Howards form has dipped. As for Chandler… I actually may have overlooked Cherundolo who should start if healthy but I don’t know if that’s feasible. Other than those two who else do you put in there? Maybe slot Cameron in there and put Gonzalez in the middle. Don’t tell me Evans, as a fellow UCI alum I root for him, but he can not handle first cl@ss strikers and does not have the necessary speed.

    • Bobb says:

      While I don’t know who from the six defenders to remove. There is no way we’re playing a 4-1-3-2. It will be a 4-2-3-1, two defensive midfielders. Whether that’s Bradley/Jones or some other combo, no way we don’t use two.

      • beachbum says:

        why will it be a 4 2 3 1? Klinnsman appears to be moving away from that frankly, and it’s been working

        • Duracell says:

          What? We played the 4-2-3-1 in the three WCQ’s we just won. I get Dempsey played pretty much as a withdrawn forward, but it was still a 4-2-3-1. I think for the Gold Cup that isn’t the best formation, but I think the A team will keep playing that moving forward.

  24. Joamiq says:

    ————————Holden—————–Holden————————

    ———Holden———Holden———Holden———Holden———

    ———Holden———Holden———Holden———Holden———

    ————————————Holden————————————

    • markwriter says:

      Holden’s one time ball for Shea that eventually turned into Bedoya’s goal for 6-0 was sooo good…

      • Joamiq says:

        His assist to Donovan too. And the rest of his play. Just pure class. Watching him tonight was like watching John O’Brien play back in the day, every touch displaying a fluidity and fluency you so rarely see in the red white and blue.

      • John says:

        Holden’s ball to Donovan for the 4th goal is just perfect.

      • TomDL says:

        It was absolutely exquisite. I actually just shook my head and laughed when I saw it, it was that good…

      • Chance the Gardner says:

        outside of right foot, one-time off the bounce

        boom

    • mattchew says:

      I see what you did there. (+1000!!)
      And then :

      —————Anyone but Castillo———————-
      ——-Anyone but Castillo——————- etc. etc. !!!!!

  25. Rob Jones says:

    Means nothing Guatemala was an embarrassment.

  26. ACS says:

    Is Shea still going to be leaving after the game and not play in the Gold Cup? Also, making through one full healthy season will do Stu well, 2009 was his last full season, he has only played in 45 games total (Bolton/Sheffield/USA) since the beginning of 2010.

  27. baropbop says:

    Hercules or Jozy?
    Jozy has finally started making the easy ones, but Hercules should continue to make his case this gold cup

    • Michael says:

      Jozy! He compliments Deuce perfectly with Deuce playing behind him up front. Jozy’s ability to hold up play and his ability to finish in his recent form make him very dangerous. I could see Herc as a super sub though, I really like the energy he brings.

    • Bobb says:

      Altidore is a monster, and both the present and the future of this team.
      Herc is a hard worker, great guy to have around, and the perfect forward to bring in off the bench if you need a goal.

  28. Marlon says:

    Holden looked like someone who was simply a class above who he was playing against.

  29. bizzy says:

    Remember the days of US soccer when our excuse for playing badly was “oh it’s our B-team”……or when we use to say “we don’t have enough talent in our player pool to bench certain players”…….wow those days are long gone…..hahahahahah. Back in the day games like this ended 2-1 with us finding at least 2-3 players to blame.

    • Jeff says:

      Seriously. There are 16-18 players now in a top tier, no longer worried about where we’ll have to just work around the weaknesses. Arguments about best XI drawn from that lot are getting a lot harder. Dropoff to second XI not at all what it used to be, more of a slope than a cliff.

  30. mattchew says:

    Dear Jurgen,
    PLEASE tell us that that was Castillo’s LAST CHANCE !!
    Sincerely,
    US (or U.S.)

  31. Green76 says:

    Welcome back Stuart Holden!!! What a game! I can’t wait to see more.

  32. bryan says:

    Just got back! Great game. Great crowd despite only 20,000ish. Like RSL, the chants were unorganized at points. But when everyone was on the same page it was great!

    • bryan says:

      Oh, I also called that lineup perfectly, said Mix and Holden were paired together, that Gooch/Gppdson were looking solid, that LD looked good and that Cornoa looked good.

      Eat crow! Just like I did after saying evens was a terrible idea.

  33. Zztoppppp says:

    Hopefully mix and Holden can build on this performance and put themselves in front of kljestan, Williams, Beckerman and Torres before the World Cup. I personally think they already should have been though.

    • The Garincha says:

      Ditto there ZZtop, been wondering when we would get Mix in there, one of a few who can exploit defenses and break them down with his movement and dribble.

  34. Steve says:

    Yes, Holden was superb. Great vision, aggressiveness, and feel for ball and game. What passes! Donovan shares a lot of that, the vision thing. I think Mix has some of it, too. And that is why the US were so good in the second half.

    Some how, Holden must play, even if ahead of Jermaine Jones. While Jones is aggressive and good defensively, his possession and passing, while good, is even bettered by both Bradley and Holden. I know JK loves JJ, but both Bradley and a Holden are better all around players and make the offense go better.

    I would love to see JK start Donovan, Jones, Bradley, and Holden in the midfield in Brazil. Jozy and Clint up top. Beasley, Gonzo/Besler, Cameron, and Fabian/Chandler on the back line. Howard in goal with Guzan right behind. That is our best 11 and they will have chemistry.

  35. Paul says:

    I think we can take the best 11 from this team, and give our ‘A’ team a match. While Guatemala is rebuilding, our 2nd team put on an impressive performance after working out some 1st half kinks. We have at least 3 more games, probably more, to go, but who stock rose?
    – That was the Holden who was projected as a sure starter for the Nats before the injury. Stay healthy Stu!
    – He’s certainly lacks impressive dribbling skills, but Onyewu neutralized Guatemala’s top striker. I don’t think he lose an arial battle all night. JK will have the CBs and Rimando link better in practices before Tuesday.
    – Corona has solid technical skills, impressive. Start him in the middle on Tuesday, and put a set of good DMs behind him. Let him create space.
    – While Mix displayed his usual solid skills, the question with him has always been his toughness and tenacity on defense. You need that to join the crowded MF with Bradley, Jones, Cameron and yes, Holden. Hopefully he is tested more in the GC.
    – We’re losing Shea, so the wings are still open. Both Castillo or Bedoya have more to prove in the GC.

  36. Chaca says:

    It’s a shame that Donovan’s 50th goal had to come from a dive.
    About par for the course for a player known for being soft and whinny

    • Conrad says:

      Whinny? Like a horse? Or was the typo there to let us know you’re simply someone with an axe to grind and not a thoughtful commentor?

    • Turgid Jacobian says:

      “Soft and whinny”

      What, is he a pony now?

  37. Brain Guy says:

    Castillo must have set a MNT record for giveaways.

  38. john says:

    Typical Altidore; signs big EPL contract and is INVISIBLE against Guatemala!

  39. Juan says:

    The one thing I want to see is if JK will reward those that performed with a start next game or do we have to suffer with his depth chart that doesnt work?

    Stu/Mixx have earned a start. Beckerman/Corona/Torres killed the attack by either constant back passing or turnovers or slowing the play. Those 3 should not start in the next game. Throw Castillo in with them too.

  40. Cincyred says:

    Holden was awesome, last night. Thought Mix was tremendous, as well. Bedoya was terrific…..loved his pressure and forceful, forward play. Don’t get to overwhelmed with the 6-0 result, as Guat was not in condition to play an entire match. They lost their conditioning early in the 2nd half. Still, great to see goal. I sense LD is trying to prove something. He will not go away quietly. Looks like he wants to contribute to our team next year in Brazil.

  41. Hogatroge says:

    So glad Stu was able to prove all the doubters wrong, and excited that Mix was able to make a statement.

    I am worried, though, that the weakness of Guatemala’s midfield might have us wearing rose-tinted gla$ses about Mix though. I definitely want the guy on the field, but I’m worried about giving him too much defensive responsibility in a game that matters.

    If we can lock up the 2nd round in the 1st 2 games, we should deploy him in MF against Costa Rica and see if he can hang with the big dogs.

  42. beachbum says:

    in the 1st half against a bunkered D, the midfield needs to move the ball quickly from side to side, not force balls forward into the bunker like Beckerman and Torres both did often in the first half, giving guys balls in bad positions time and time again.

    changing the formation helped at around the 30 minute mark, allowed LD to stretch the D up top with his runs which were numerous. Then Stu and Diskerud’s performances spoke for themselves

  43. solles says:

    Worth remembering that Guatemala are pretty poor. USA fans always do this… get overly excited and confident after crushing a minnow. The USA met expectations, nothing more.

  44. Cairo says:

    Holden was great, Mixx looked good. But let’s not make too much of the difference between first half v uys and second half guys. Guatemala pressed hard with a high line then ran completely out of gas. Torres and Beckerman were both fine, but shouldn’t be on the field at same time as thry are both pkssession and ball circulation guys, not incisive attackers. For gold cup, would like to try a Holden-Torres pairing. Congrats to Wondo for a score. Easy but calm finish.
    Would love to see Stu and Bradley together sometime

  45. Barack Obama says:

    Hopefully all the Wondowlowski haters will STFU now!