Wondolowski hat-trick leads USMNT in romp over Belize in Gold Cup opener

WondoLandon (janeGershovich)

Photo by Jane Gershovich/Soccer By Ives

BY MIKE DONOVAN

PORTLAND, Ore.- The U.S. Men’s National Team started the Gold Cup with a bang, routing an overmatched Belize side and sending a message to the rest of CONCACAF that the Americans are intent on living up to their label as tournament favorites.

Led by Chris Wondolowski’s first-half hat trick, the Americans added second-half goals from Stuart Holden, Michael Orozco-Fiscal, and Landon Donovan on their way to a 6-1 victory in front of 18,724 fans at Jeld-Wen Field. Donovan also notched two assists on the night which made him the first U.S. player to record 50 assists, and the first player in international soccer to reach the 50-goal and 50-assist mark.

Wondolowski earned the start over Herculez Gomez and made the most of it as his first-half hat-trick left Belize with little chance of a monumental upset. The 30-year old called getting the nod to start a “huge honor.”

The reigning MLS Golden Boot winner started the match with his name spelled wrong on his jersey (it was spelled Wondowlowski), but it clearly didn’t bother Wondolowski. Just 12 minutes into the match, Wondolowski made it two straight games with a goal when he pounced on a loose ball for a poacher’s finish. After working his way around the right-side of the Belizean defense, Jose Torres delivered a cross that found a Joe Corona header. After Corona’s header was blocked, Wondolowski found himself unmarked just a few yards from goal.

“The biggest part of our gameplan was to try to get on the board early because that would make them have to try and attack and we could find more space,” Wondolowski said.

Wondolowski wasn’t done as he scored his second and third goals just three minutes apart late in the first half. Both goals came off headers after Wondolowski was able to beat his man to the ball. His third goal was especially important because it came just one minute after Belize scored a shock goal on a free header from Ian Gaynair in the 37th minute.

“It’s just huge to get that victory,” Wondolowski said after the match. “I think it really sets us up for the rest of this tournament and puts us on the right foot.”

Donovan broke through the 50-assist barrier when he found a wide-open Stuart Holden in front of the Belize goal. He later added his 51st career assist, serving in a free kick that was put home by Michael Orozco-Fiscal in the 73rd minute. Donovan capped his performance by scoring a penalty kick goal, his 52nd career international tally, in the 77th minute.

“I thought we started well,” Donovan said after the match. “We’ve seen all the results from the last few days and knew that if we didn’t start right we could be in trouble.

“We’re real happy with the six goals,” Donovan added. “Pretty disappointed with giving up a set piece goal, but we’ll get better and we’re happy with where we’re at.”

Holden came off the bench at halftime, replacing an ineffective Kyle Beckerman, and promptly put his stamp on the match, notching his second career goal and also helping the U.S. better control possession.

U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann made some surprising lineup choices heading into the match, with his move to start Wondolowski over Gomez one of the head-turning maneuvers. Mix Diskerud stepped in for Edgar Castillo and looked solid in central midfield, while Orozco-Fiscal turned in a steady showing at centerback in place of Oguchi Onyewu. Post-match Klinnsman cited Jeld-Wen’s turf as one reason why certain players such as Onyewu and Gomez didn’t get the start.

Despite Belize’s FIFA ranking of 130, the U.S. didn’t overlook the Central American squad, especially after Martinique’s upset of Canada in the Cup’s opening match.

“I think we were all proud of the fact that is was a pretty professional performance,” Holden said. “I don’t think anyone is overexuberant about winning tonight, but it’s time to look to the next one now.”

There were few less-than-stellar performances for the U.S., with Michael Parkhurst joining Beckerman among the players who struggled. Coincidentally, both Parkhurst and Beckerman contributed assists on the night, each helping set up Wondolowski’s goals late in the first half. Giving up a goal to an unmarked player also was not the way the U.S. wanted to concede.

“They had one chance and they scored one goal,” Diskerud said. “That happens. But we had control the whole game forward.”

The match leaves the U.S. atop Gold Cup Group C, tied with Costa Rica on points after the Ticos posted a 3-0 win vs. Cuba earlier on Tuesday night.

“This is a tournament of attrition and fortunately, we have a roster of 23 guys that are all very capable,” Donovan said. “No team can play the same 11 guys for five or six straight games if you get there. So we have a big advantage in that we can rotate and change guys.”

The U.S. team returns to Gold Cup action on Friday with a match against a Cuba side that offered little attacking threat in its loss to Costa Rica.

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134 Responses to Wondolowski hat-trick leads USMNT in romp over Belize in Gold Cup opener

  1. Eric says:

    At least this ref was consistent in ensuring that both teams got CONCACAF’d once in the game.

    Good showing for the USMNT, but it really should have been 6-0. The marking on that Belize set piece was inexcusable.

  2. Wess says:

    Im so worried about our defense…..

  3. SanFran415 says:

    We are just crushing these teams now–as any great team does to the lesser teams in their respective region.

  4. bryan says:

    Yeah, despite the assists, both Parkhurst and Beckerman did not impress at all.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I understand Parkhurst — soccer IQ defender completely loses his Belize mark — but Beckerman had a nice assist and did a lot of dirty work.

      That being said, if Holden hustles around like that, he might have Beckerman’s job. I worry about his durability there but he outplayed him as a DM and has obviously superior upside. The talk will be Wondow Wondow but I think Holden’s the one actually showing he can contribute on a bigger stage.

  5. DYCSoccer17 says:

    Should have been 5-0, as the USA PK was a BS call…

    • wfrw07 says:

      True, but if the dude got sent off in the 46-47th minute as it should have, and we had a whole half of 11 on 10, could have been 8 or 9.

  6. bryan says:

    Yeah despite the @ssists both Parkhurst and Beckerman did not impress.

    • Neruda says:

      Beckerman keeps it simple had an assist and almost two. He’s not creative like Holden but that’s not his game. I can’t remember any bad giveaways on his part. It’s clear he should a defensive sub to lock down games against better sides and let Holden start to unlock bunkering teams from the get go.

      • Chris says:

        No bad giveaways? Watch again. Beckerman was responsible for nearly every single US giveaway of the first half.

        These not uncommon errors, combined with his lack of elite speed, makes him such a mystery for the team. Like Bornstein, I’ve never been able to understand why he’s called up. He’s a mediocre player.

        • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

          Not going to watch again but I’d bet Corona was right up there with Beckerman in the giveaway department. I wasn’t impressed with him at all despite his 2 good moments.
          Beckerman gets way too much stick from US fans. He’s a decent player who has an important role in the squad. He will be more important in the knockout rounds than against a minnow like Belize.

          • Toadvine says:

            Beckerman had an ok first half. Played one good ball had a couple of breakups. Then Holden came in and showed exactly how much we miss with Beckerman playing. It’s a night and day difference. Holden presses higher, still breaks up more plays, and gets into the attack and creates. This isn’t about hating Beckerman, it’s just bizarre that he gets so much run. Most of the other guys how do, even Bornstein, have some highs in their game and some lows and they play to see if they can work out how to focus the former and minimize the latter. Beckerman has one speed — a workmanlike approach to CDM, simple passes, not much speed, not very good in the air, never creates, not much quality distribution.

            Holden looks wonderful and it was good to see how well Mix played without Holden in the first half. I had some suspicion that he was receiving accolades for things Holden did against Guatemala, but Mix looked really comfortable on the ball and I like the way he drifts into open positions.

            • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

              The point I was trying to make was Beckerman’s game didn’t suit playing Belize. Holden was definitely an improvement but vs a team who can actually attack us, we will need someone with the intelligence and discipline to sit in front of the back 4, break up play, and play the simple ball to keep possession. Beckerman is not as good a player as a lot of guys on the bench. No one is denying that. However, the role he plays in the team will be vital to our success in the knockout rounds.

              I love Stu, but Stu loves getting up and down the field. Sitting in front of the back 4 isn’t his game.

              Agreed about MIx, he looked really comfortable on the ball and played some nice passes. Looking forward to seeing more of him.

        • BKbooger says:

          I agree, not sure why Klinsy rates him so high.

          He is a capable defender in 1 v. 1 situations but that’s really the only area of his game which stands out. The ball is too stagnant and doesn’t flow forward/wide when he is pushed into a forward position – I can remember at least 3-4 times when I shaking my head when he elected to just play Parkhurst wide instead of switching the field or trying to play off another player centrally.

      • nick says:

        The buildup that led to a USA goal (Wondo’s 2nd? I think) was off a TERRIBLE beckerman pass right into the defenders chest in the middle of the field. We’re lucky Belieze couldnt keep possession.

      • bryan says:

        yeah, Beckerman didn’t really give the ball away a ton. says he only lost possession 5 times according to MLS Chalkboard. the best out of ANY midfielder. if you look at his passes, 4 unsuccessful and 49 successful. but they are ALL sideways or backwards.

        even though Holden, Corona, Mix, Torres, etc all had much worse passing statistics when looking at the RAW data, you can see that they were still much more effective.

        and when you look at the defensive statistics, Beckerman didn’t even have the best stats (1 tackle, 6 recoveries). granted, there wasn’t much to defend…

        i think that is the problem with Beckerman. sure, he won’t really turn the ball over and he’ll recover decently…but you aren’t going to create anything with him on a consistent basis.

      • bryan says:

        yeah, Beckerman didn’t really give the ball away a ton. says he only lost possession 5 times according to MLS Chalkboard. the best out of ANY midfielder. if you look at his p@sses, 4 unsuccessful and 49 successful. but they are ALL sideways or backwards.

        even though Holden, Corona, Mix, Torres, etc all had much worse p@ssing statistics when looking at the RAW data, you can see that they were still much more effective.

        and when you look at the defensive statistics, Beckerman didn’t even have the best stats (1 tackle, 6 recoveries). granted, there wasn’t much to defend…

        i think that is the problem with Beckerman. sure, he won’t really turn the ball over and he’ll recover decently…but you aren’t going to create anything with him on a consistent basis.

    • Josh D says:

      Agreed. Espeically Parkhurst who had an awful game. Just awful.

      Beckerman did what he does best: crazy tackles and simple passing while sitting in front of the D. He wasn’t needed in this game and that’s why you saw him subbed. He’ll be needed against harder opponents later in the tournament.

      I was also disappointed with Bedoya. Corona hasn’t made the RW position his own and I was hoping Bedoya would own it.

      For now, and we saw it again in the second half, Mix and Holden are our starters.

      • Josh D says:

        Ives,

        I love this site. Been going to it for over three years and yapping my trap the whole time. But for a soccer site, when you can’t write p@ssing or @ssist without making it look like a cuss word or a graffiti, hacking site something is wrong.

        Especially when I can cuss, and have seen it in these replies, by using symbols. It defeats the purpose. I think you have to let @ss go. It’s rather annoying when you make a comment on the conversation and by the time it’s approved, the conversation has moved on.

        Cheers.

        • bryan says:

          seriously! i basically end up posting everything twice. i have to because it’s not guaranteed SBI will publish a comment when it goes into moderation. since there are so many, i’ve had multiple comments fall through the cracks…which is fine.

          the problem lies with the software and my issue is the continued use of software that clearly does not work. i’d rather let all comments go even if it means tr0lls. SBI can delete comments after the fact. but this moderation software is just pathetic.

          WOW, even this got moderated. IM SO SICK OF THIS. “tr0ll” is a bad word now too…

      • Hawk says:

        Bedoya played like 10 mins and almost scored with his first touch. Give him s break. I think you are a little too harsh on Parkhurst too. I don’t think you could really say anyone played terribly in this game.

      • bryan says:

        you know, looking back now at the stats, i think everyone may be a little harsh on Parkhurst, including myself. his stats were actually pretty good.

        he completed 113 p@sses and only missed on 14. he did lose possession 14 times, which is way too high and probably what we all remember. despite losing the ball a lot, he also made the most p@sses out of any player. he made more than twice as many p@sses than a lot of the midfielders. and a majority of these passes were in our offensive third.

        so we can all eat a little crow on that one…

      • bryan says:

        you know, looking back now at the stats, i think everyone may be a little harsh on Parkhurst, including myself. his stats were actually pretty good.

        he completed 113 p@sses and only missed on 14. he did lose possession 14 times, which is way too high and probably what we all remember. despite losing the ball a lot, he also made the most p@sses out of any player. he made more than twice as many p@sses than a lot of the midfielders. and a majority of these p@sses were in our offensive third.

        so we can all eat a little crow on that one…

  7. Jeff Carter says:

    Everybody gets an A for this one, kindergarten style, except for Fox Soccer. The fact that JP and Cobi were in studio for this one and not even at the game is pathetic. The sound sync was awful, commentary was awkward, and Grant Wahl’s tie was horrific. There are much smarter guys than me at Fox figuring out the finances for all this stuff, but if you’re going to buy the rights to these games, at least make it seem like you give a crap.

    • ex_sweeper says:

      The commentary on Univision was great, and I didn’t have to look at their ties even once.

    • MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

      Dude learn Spanish. . Watch on Unímas. The announcers are very knowledgeable about MLS/ USMNT/ CONCACAF ETC. Plus HD. And Hot Chics Commercials

      • SBI TroII says:

        To be fair, he’s paying extra for Fox Soccer so he might as well watch that than let his money go to waste.

    • Michael says:

      Dr Joe made it all worthwhile

    • Myett says:

      Totally agree…Fox didn’t even show the Uncle Sam tifo when it was hoisted up….a damn shame.

      • Ali Dia says:

        Glad somebody brought this up. FSC is dying a truly embarrassing death. I used to feel bad for JP Dellacamera for losing his gig doing primary play by play for USA soccer. Not anymore. Horribly lazy performance– seemed like he had been laying in bed for a couple years. Glad Ian Darke ate his lunch.

      • Dave says:

        As soon as I heard the difference between the national anthems on Unimas and Fox Soccer, I immediately switched over to Unimas. It’s not like this game was in Guyana, It’s embarrassing and I’d rather get something with live announcing/on-field reports and good production value that I understand 50 percent of the time to something I understand 100 percent of the time and know the entire FSC team sets themselves up as not giving a shit enough to even send people to the game.

  8. SBI Troll says:

    CONCACAF might call it the Gold Cup, but Americans call it the Goal Cup. Here’s to another 5 goals against Cuba.

  9. RB says:

    The nice @ssist notwithstanding, “ineffective” seems rather generous re Beckerman.

    Also it’s just Orozco Fiscal (no hyphen). Or Orozco alone also works (like on his jersey). Despite people often doing it, calling him just Fiscal does not work. We kinda ought to catch up with this basic rule of Spanish language naming practices as part of our growth in the sport, I think. (People don’t run around getting confused by Brazilian players with given names on their jerseys, for example.)

    • Joe Soccer says:

      Just to expand on the “naming convention” for those that don’t know, Orozco is his father’s surname and Fiscal is his mother’s surname. From my time spent in Mexico I would say most folks with his name would generally go by Michael Orozco. For instance I used to work with a guy whose name was Ricardo Rodriguez Vasquez and if you asked him his name he would say Ricardo Rodriguez.

      • Lil' Zeke says:

        Suppose you’re in a collapsed coal mine trying to conserve oxygen. Is it ok to call your buddy R-Rod?

  10. Nihal says:

    Am I the only one who thought they didn’t look that great?

    • hipvictor says:

      yes.

      • Nihal says:

        I should’ve rephrased that. They didn’t look bad, but they looked kind of sloppy to me, and they tried to do too much at time. I hope Holden can play a full 90 later in the tournament. Obviously overall I’m happy with the result though.

        • wfrw07 says:

          I don’t know that I agree. I thought for a lot of the match they didn’t play fast enough, and almost tried to be too perfect. It wasn’t until late in the game and the result decided that they seemed to play faster (and maybe a little sloppy).

        • wandmdave says:

          I didn’t see anything wrong on the offensive side. The intensity dropped at times. That’s not good but come on, its hard to stay intensely focused for a full 90 when the other team is barely putting up a fight. The passing in the final 3rd wasn’t amazing at times but Belize had all 11 guys in their final 3rd most of the time.

          The defense on the other hand looked shaky again which isn’t really acceptable against Belize even if the CB pairing is new. Marking, tackling, and communication were poor a majority of the few times the D was called on to actually do something. Hope that gets worked out by the time we get to the knockout rounds.

        • wandmdave says:

          I didn’t see anything wrong on the offensive side. The intensity dropped at times. That’s not good but come on, its hard to stay intensely focused for a full 90 when the other team is barely putting up a fight. The pa$sing in the final 3rd wasn’t amazing at times but Belize had all 11 guys in their final 3rd most of the time.

          The defense on the other hand looked shaky again which isn’t really acceptable against Belize even if the CB pairing is new. Marking, tackling, and communication were poor a majority of the few times the D was called on to actually do something. Hope that gets worked out by the time we get to the knockout rounds.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      For about 30-35 minutes to start, yes. And I was much more comfortable with the late passing approach than hoofing crosses into the box. The Wondo crosses were effective to break down Belize and accumulate much of the result but I don’t think we can assume we will be poaching balls in the 6 like that. I wanted to see more of the second half of Guatemala just tear them down with possession.

  11. bring NASL to el paso tx says:

    I expected portland fans to crazier n rowdy for the game. Did i miss something or portland fans were holding back for a world cup qualifier.

    • Dave says:

      Did you watch on FSC or Unimas? If FSC then you should know they lowered the crowd volume to make their not-at-the-field announcers better heard.

    • RAMONE says:

      Was at the game.

      Decibel level in the stadium was about 80% of a typical Timbers game, perhaps 60-70% of a PTFC vs Sh!#le matchup (and it was also only about 80% full which is part of it … also a slightly different crowd coming out for the Nats compared to the Ts since the ticket prices were roughly 3x those of the Timbers).

      Don’t get me wrong, the crowd was engaged and having a good time, but when we put up goals 4 and 5 there was absolutely no suspense left (not that there was a ton to start with) and took the air out.

      Now put a WC qualifier in there that is competitive (ala 1997 vs Costa Rica) and it would be another level yet.

      • Falls City Outlaw says:

        Thanks for the field report. It’s really unfair to judge the atmosphere of a game by what we can see on the tube.

  12. SanFran415 says:

    Beckerman did great. What are people expecting from him? His job is literally to break up p@sses and get the ball off his feet quickly.

    The fact that he ended up with a beautiful @ssist is icing on the cake. He does a dirty job and does it very well.

    • wfrw07 says:

      I don’t think he got the ball of his foot that quickly. And while the helper was a nice ball, some of his other efforts were beyond terrible.

      He also has a habit sometimes of playing a ball high in the air to reach its target when a ball on the ground would do, which would also speed up the play.

    • Ryan nanez says:

      Beckerman did great. God I just LOLed so hard

      • SanFran415 says:

        There’s a reason two consecutive coaching staffs have played him often. He’s good at what he does.

        • Myett says:

          Yes, in the MLS…against international competition sans his one Mexico game he’s been very subpar

          • Neruda says:

            Any MLS team is better than Belize. Belize doesn’t even have any nasl quality players.
            He wasn’t asked to dominate in the attack but get it to playmakers which he did. He had an assist and almost a second and made no major mistakes.

            • whoop-whoop says:

              Final 10 minutes with a 5 goal lead, the assignment is to not make mistakes. You want to represent your country in international competition… the bar is a lot higher than that. He did do a few nice things, but they seemed to happen out wide. Against this side, he should have been much better… agressive. Instead he was stagnant, slow on the ball, little movement, few ideas. I say this as someone who likes Beckerman. Holden coming into the match brought immediate life and movement… ideas. Holden coming back into the fold pretty much bumps Beckerman to the remotes fringes of the roster.

    • RB says:

      “His job is literally to break up p@sses and get the ball off his feet quickly.”

      So, NOT to give the ball away to players on the other team?

    • wandmdave says:

      He may be worth something against a tougher opponent where we need more defensive bite (maybe not, not sure how Mixx and Holden do on the defensive end yet). But in this game where Belize were backing off him and daring him to pick them apart with good passing and runs he offered next to nothing. I remember one glaring instance where he received the ball past midfield with at least 15 yards of space all around him and he couldn’t manage to make a forward pass or even dribble forward. He literally stood there looking for a forward pass for like 5 or 6 seconds then gave up and dumped it off to someone with no pressure on him. It was not good.

      • Eurosnob says:

        Not sure which exact play you are talking about, but solely based on your description I don’t understand why you have such a problem with a player who read through his options, saw that no foward pass was available and, rather than forcing a forward pass with a high risk of turnover or leaving his holding midfielder position to dribble forward, made a safe pass to an open teamate which maintained possession and created a new set of options for his teammate. A player does not have to attempt charge forward at every opportunity or make a spectacular defense splitting pass every time he touches the ball. A simple safe pass can be a good play. Beckerman is not a No. 10, but a holding midfielder. His role is to win the ball and get the ball to more creative midfielders. Beckerman is not Iniesta or Neymar and he knows his limitations.

    • wandmdave says:

      He may be worth something against a tougher opponent where we need more defensive bite (maybe not, not sure how Mixx and Holden do on the defensive end yet). But in this game where Belize were backing off him and daring him to pick them apart with good pa$sing and runs he offered next to nothing. I remember one glaring instance where he received the ball past midfield with at least 15 yards of space all around him and he couldn’t manage to make a forward pa$s or even dribble forward. He literally stood there looking for a forward pa$s for like 5 or 6 seconds then gave up and dumped it off to someone with no pressure on him. It was not good.

      • wandmdave says:

        All that said I’m guessing he was only in there because JK doesn’t think Holden can handle a full 90 yet or that its too risky to push him.

        • FRANK FROM SF says:

          they play different positions. Holden is way more attacking mid.
          Plus somebody’s got to do the dirty work. Like SF415 said Beckerman is there to break up the other teams attack and release it to one of our more offensive players.
          I don’t love the guy, but he does fine for what he’s asked to do.

          • Toadvine says:

            Well, they are different players. But they were filling the same role yesterday and we didn’t change our tactics when Holden came on, so in this instance it is actually an apples to apples comparison. Holden gives you a lot more than Beckerman and still defends well. Granted, he ends up having to chase backwards while Beckerman almost always has attacks in front of him (except when he turns it over), but Holden can turn a match and Beckerman cannot.

    • Ali Dia says:

      Beckerman isn’t quite as terrible as the comments on this site would indicate. But he isn’t good enough. If it boiled down to one thing, it is his close control. Slow feet, and only capable of creativity against vastly inferior teams. As a ball-winner, he is okay… With the depth we have, I’d say the only way he merits a spot in Brazil is if there is a rash of ill-timed injuries in MF.

      • Kahoutek says:

        I wouldn’t mind Beckerman as a late-game defensive replacement, someone to stick in front of our centerbacks to protect a lead. But I don’t like him as a starter. He’s strong in winning 50/50 balls and tackling, but he doesn’t have the vision or touch to start an attack from the deep midfield. He’s good at getting the ball, but seems to be equally as good at giving it away.

        • RB says:

          “He’s good at getting the ball, but seems to be equally as good at giving it away.”

          This.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      i think a lot of people are mistakenly criticizing beckerman’s play, when what they don’t like is that beckerman was on the field in this game. his skill set is pretty narrow, and we really didn’t need it against belize, making him seem like a waste of space.

      • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

        Agreed, this was not the game for him to shine. He will be a more important player in the knockout rounds though. I don’t need to go through the list of reasons why Beckerman is an important player in this squad again. If people don’t see it by now then they are living in a FIFA/ Football Manager world. I honestly don’t think its a matter of opinion. He’s a somewhat limited player, which gets him stick, but is a necessary part of a winning team.

    • MLSsnob says:

      Get your “a” key fixed.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Beckerman did fine but Holden was breaking up things and also playing pretty soccer. Beckerman is making his case as an injury replacement for the 23 but Holden looks like someone who might be well in the “rotation.” As he was in 2010.

  13. Ryan nanez says:

    I’ve said this before, but ill say it again. I’ll sacrifice my first born child to the soccer gods just to have beckerman never put on a US jersey ever again. If you’re ineffective against Belize….well just yeah that speaks for it self. Plus I love the midfield combo of Holden and mix right now

    • Jeff says:

      I like the combo of Holden and LD even better – those two can probably complete each other’s sentences.

    • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

      I’d rather see us drop Torres and Corona than Beckerman. I think Torres is a solid player but I don’t see where he fits in our team/system. For whatever reason it never seems to come off right. I’ll admit my exposure to Corona has been limited, but he has not impressed me. A couple good moments doesn’t make up for his really average looking play for the rest of his time. I’d much rather see more dynamic players like Shea and Bedoya in those spots.
      Looking forward to seeing more of Mix and Stu also. Not positive how we fit all these guys in the 11 but they’ve both looked promising.

      • Toadvine says:

        Man, totally disagree. I thought Corona was really positive last night and I still think Torres has the ability to do some things that are useful. I guess this is the Gold Cup, so it doesn’t really matter, but I’d put at least Geoff Cameron, Jermaine Jones, Holden (I know it’s a slightly off comparison but that’s where he’s playing a lot here) ahead of Beckerman without losing anything defensively. There just isn’t room for Beckerman in the squad.

        • Toadvine says:

          Actually, agree with you about Mix and Stu!

          I’d like to see more of Bedoya and Shea also.

        • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

          I agree that there isn’t room for Beckerman in the full squad unless there’s a few injuries. I only meant in terms of the Gold Cup lineup. The team has a slightly different make up and, I believe when we face better opposition Beckerman will be needed. With the attacking players we have in place, a true #6 sitting in front of the defense to stay disciplined in his positioning break up play and play the simple ball.

  14. Joe A. says:

    Beckerman needs to go away.

    • MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

      Beckerman what is the purpose of you in a game vs. BELIZE!!

    • Joe A. says:

      I’m tired of his free pass to start because he’s an old MLS player who just runs around and looks awkward all the time.

  15. Cairo says:

    Super happy for Wondo. This was a crap opponent and I do not think he should be a starter for the full team, but this is one notch in the column for Wondo being a credible candidate for the WC Roster. Never flashy, he just gets in good spaces and makes the most of his chances. He’s a better player than most USMNT fans realize (that’s 4 goals in two games, folks)

    • Dennis says:

      +1
      And he led the MLS in goals scored over 3 seasons. Something no one else has been able to do has anyone else led for even 2 seasons? He did it when SJ was at the bottom of the league and when they won the supporters shield so you can’t claim he got exceptional service, that he only scored in games after the opponents had already sealed the deal.or that he did not score game-winners. I just don’t get the hate for him.

      • spartansoccer says:

        Wondo has alway reminded me of a “Larry Bird” type of player…what he lacks in visible athleticism he makes up for in having an end-to-end game; he displays an uncanny field awareness and possesses a sixth-sense sort of timing around the box. Over time he’s proven to be as durable as rawhide, and he maintains incredible stamina – Lord knows he can’t get any slower than he already is, but with his smarts and soft touch he’ll no doubt be able to provide a solid contribution at the MLS level for another five years, maybe more…

      • biff says:

        +2 Wondo is playing now like a man possessed with a point to prove and I hope he can keep it up. Anyone who would choose Terrence Boyd for the trip to Brazil next summer instead of a savvy, level-headed, polished, workhorse finisher like Wondo is absolutely nuts. Next summer in Brazil, in the late minutes of a knock-out game with the USMNT needing a goal to tie or win, would you rather see Wondo trotting into the game or a loose cannon like Boyd running around the field like chicken with his head cut off? Be honest. Boyd simply is not good enough yet for the international game. He needs a lot more time to develop. His time could come in WC 2018.

    • Artie says:

      Wondo reminds me a bit of what Buddy Ryan said about a future Hall of Fame wide receiver: “Cris Carter only catches touchdowns.”Well, Chris Wondolowski only scores goals. Ryan (bizarrely) didn’t mean it as a compliment; I do.

    • chris_thebassplayer says:

      My sentiments exactly. He is savvy in the box and reads the game at a high level. Playing with smart quality players will bring out the best in him. It may not be enough in the end, but he is far from the trash that a lot of ignorant fans make him out to be.

      • Ali Dia says:

        I get this attitude, but as far as I’m concerned, you might as well go for Lenhart at that point. Wondo will never trouble world-class defenders with his “savvy”… so let’s just go for the really irritating guy who might just get somebody sent off.

        • Hawk says:

          I remember watching MLS 36 when they highlighted last year’s MLS All Star Game against Chelsea. They showed footage at halftime of John Terry telling Wondo that his movement was incredible and giving him fits(paraphrasing). So you may be a little off on your assessment that he won’t ever trouble world class defenders. of course unless you consider Terry to no longer be word class.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I still think he’s this generation’s Twellman. Whatever people want to say about the running and soccer IQ, this was Belize’s defense and those were all poach-jobs near the 6. It would be like Mexico hoofing it into Chicharito to assume this translates to a higher level.

      That being said, it’s a production position and you might move him ahead of Boyd and certain others with a chance at the tail end of the 23.

      • Toadvine says:

        Yeah, I agree with you. He’s a solid goal poacher and will get his against teams like this. But he’s not going to give you much against really solid teams.

        Let’s face it — I can only think of three US forwards, only two of whom were pure strikers, who could ever give you anything unexpected or exceptional against quality opponents — Deuce, Altidore, and the Clint Mathis that played against Germany before whatever happened to him happened.

        • Lost in Space says:

          You’re forgetting McBride and Winalda. Both were very productive strikers. Brian was the Target/Hold-up guy and Winalda was the deceptive tactical guy running under him.
          Would love to have either option (in their prime) playing with the current midfielder options we’ve got now. Even if it were coming off the bench as depth.
          And this from a guy who hates Winalda.

  16. Joe A. says:

    As poor as cuba was they’ll beat belize.

    • Hawk says:

      Not so sure. You replace Cuba’s goalie with Belize’s and Costa Rica only wins 1-0. While I agree Cuba is a better overall team, their finishing was much worse than Belize and their goal keeping awful. Yes, I would expect Cuba to win but I wouldn’t be surprised if Belize were to pull the upset.

  17. Dennis says:

    It will be interesting who JK starts against Cuba. Will he put out what he thinks is the best team to seal advancement, and rest players against CR, or will he assume Cuba will be a win and save some of what he consideres to be his best players for the CR game to win there and win the group?

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      That was not the first XI yesterday. I got the idea starting Wondo and Torres and Orozco and Corona was actually putting out a weaker side on purpose or setting up a rotation. Cause if he was starting the XI I think you’d have seen Gomez and Holden and maybe Gooch.

  18. Myett says:

    Really think we should start Holden and Diskerud (who both impressed once again) in the central midfield once we start playing Costa Rica and the tougher teams. Then on the wings Bedoya and Brek Shea…both looked solid tonight. I understand Corona and Torres are out of position on the wing, but they just simply shouldn’t be starting there. I think we also have to find someone to slide in for Parkhurst – not been impressed with him in either matches. Beckermen threw in a cross that somehow found Wondo but outside that – another subpar performance from him. The backwards passes are becoming a bit tiresome from him. Anyways, just some things I took away.

    • EspinDOHla says:

      +1 to everything to Myett.

      But Mix does need to hit the gym a bit.

      RB is open for the taking now; I just don’t see Evans as our starting RB in Brazil and Timmy C won’t get on a plane. Get well soon DOLO!!!

      • Josh D says:

        That’s a European thing. They don’t value muscle like we do. Look at guys like Scholes, Carrick, Gerrard, Xavi, etc. They don’t rely on body mass.

        If it works for Mix, and it does, keep the pounds off.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Holden looked very good.

      Mixx showed flashes but was not as good as Guate. Beckerman was solid.

      Who disappointed me were Corona and Torres, it was basically the first Guate half all over. I’m still watching for some upside. I didn’t see anything exceptional from Bedoya. I’ve seen stuff in other games but I’m not sold he’s anything better or different than Kljestan. We have quite a few middies like that who can pass a ball around but aren’t athletic and don’t have a big shot.

      I know it’s heresy but I’d rather have some Sheas and Agudelos and Gatts that have a danger element than a bunch of possession mids. 1 or 2 of these on a roster is all you need.

  19. Bac says:

    I’m the first to criticize others for posting their next usmnt starting 11formation after every single game… but I find myself wondering curiously if there is a 4-3-3 in our near future with a midfield of Jones Bradley & Holden with Dempsey Altidore and Donovan up top… I mean with Fabian Johnson as one of the outside backs the offensive possibilities are….. wait I have to shut up I’m gonna start criticizing myself…. am I nuts for thinking this or is it 3 am….

    • EspinDOHla says:

      I like this Bac.

      I also criticize people when they immediate replace a guy that didn’t even play with someone new. For example, after the Guatemala game so many folks said “Let’s go with Bradley/Holden partnership from now on.” I think people forget how solid Jones has been for us. He needs to be on the field. And if Stu can continue with the performances that he’s had in the past two games and regains pre-injury form, he needs to be on the field too. With your set up, it looks pretty nice!!!

      • RP says:

        I’m 100% with u but I’ll do it too.
        I was wondering about the starting formation that we saw and is juergen trying it out. with the A team its Jones replacing beckerman and Landon and Holden on the wings. Maybe Dempsey is on the wing.. Bradley of course in the middle.
        Not that I’m a fan of it but I could see it tried out.

    • FRANK FROM SF says:

      You’re not to far off with the 4-3-3, but against very strong and attacking teams it’a extremely important to know what each players movement is. Bradley and Jones wouldn’t be going forward much, a midfield of three could get streched out easily, then again with LD, Jozy, & Demps the attack would be taken care of.
      It would definitely be fun as hell to watch.

    • SBI TroII says:

      While that would put our best 11 on the field, Klinsmann has never played Dempsey on the wing. The Holden-Bradley-Jones trio would go through growing pains and need games togther. Also, who stays back? Jones doesn’t have the discipline to stay at home (except at Schalke), while Bradley and Holden both play that #8 role so well. Maybe Holden can play further up or out wide although neither are his best positions. I would like to see it but I don’t know if it’s realistic to play them all.

    • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

      I have a love/hate relationship with posting lineups but I’ve been campaigning for 4-3-2-1 (similar to your idea) for a while. Based entirely on if Stu can get back to 100% form/fitness.

      ———————–Altidore
      —————Donovan–Dempsey
      ———–Holden—–Jones—-Bradley
      Johnson———-CB—–CB————-Dolo

      • Lost in Space says:

        Overall it’s something I’d like to see as well. But would rotate the players around a bit…..
        I’d put Holden on the right, Bradley centrally, and Jones on the left.
        Donovan & Dempsey will swap sides constantly so doesn’t really matter how they line up.

  20. Ali Dia says:

    Can we call time on Torres? Can anybody make a case that he hasn’t plateaued? If we were suffering from a dearth of talent in central midfield, I might understand continuing with him– he has a technical competence that would have been regarded as high for an American MF 10-15 years ago. But he doesn’t unlock defenses, is a mediocre-at-best ball winner, and almost always makes whoever replaces him off the bench look like an improvement.

    I get the feeling that Klinsmann feels that zero-to-one among Torres and Beckerman might merit a spot on the plane to Brazil, if he had to decide today. On today’s evidence, that spot would go to Beckerman. Hard to see a good performance next summer that involves either of them, but a player has to serve a clear purpose. Torres doesn’t, and hasn’t for most of this experiment.

    • Falls City Outlaw says:

      Um, did you even watch the game? Torres was creating chances left and right and was unlucky to not have a brace. Torres knows how to maintain possession. It’s like the ball is glued to his feet. Beckerman can only go 2 or < passes before giving it away. And WE WERE PLAYING BELIZE!

    • That Guy says:

      I don’t know what you are looking at. For all the Torres hate, lets remember, he played next to Beckermen and still was able to get an @ssist (Guatemala game)! All jokes aside, Torres has a skill the USMNT needs that no one else has. Very few have his ability to unlock a defense. Unfortunately, he had to play with Beckermen when given his chance in central midfield. MLS posted an interesting article yesterday that I think really shows Torres’ skill. In everything except Avg p@ssing yards, Torres was the clear winner. For this Gold Cup, pair that with Holden, and I see huge potential to really see what Torres can do. Torres is nowhere near a USMNT starter, however, down a goal and in desperate need to defeat a team with a stingy defense, I am going to pull off my CDM (Jones) and put in Torres because Torres is that player who can provide that one instance that can change a game. Holden, Bradley, and Jones are all starters (IMO in a triangle shaped center midfield). Cameron is a replacement CDM. Diskerud isnt a game changer, he is a future starter. To me, Torres is the super sub that we need for the World Cup, he just needs to up his game a little.

      link to mlssoccer.com

    • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

      I like Torres but don’t see how he fits into our system/team. Like you said, I can’t find out what his role in the squad would be.

  21. Mueller says:

    After watching the last two games, I have 2 Questions. Donovan has not played much on the wing and when we did he wasn”t that good. He played much better as a withdrawn striker. I don’t think he can displace Dempsey so it leads me to wonder if 1) Is Donovan best as a sub or 2) are we switching to more of a 4-1-3-2 (removing Jones or Bradley to put him up top?

    • SBI TroII says:

      Donovan and Dempsey were basically wingers under Bob Bradley. Yes at times it was a 4-2-2-2 and that gave them licence to roam and switch. But Donovan played wing until Bradley was canned.

    • Ali Dia says:

      Agreed very much. Much of the commentary on how Donovan may fit in has focused on him as a like-for-like replacement for Zusi. And that may be true from a lineup perspective. But when things are working well, it is because Donovan finds his way into the center channel effectively. Not the Zusi role (at least not for the USMNT). If Donovan does make his way back into the starting lineup in time for the WC (or before),I believe it will involve a more significant formational shift than a simple replacement of Zusi.

      Frankly, I am very curious about the value of Donovan as the super-sub, as you mentioned. Getting him to buy in might be tough, but it could be a superb and truly game-changing weapon… one that we don’t have right now.

      • Lost in Space says:

        IMO the role Donovan will have with the full “A” squad will either be as the Left Mid (moving Fabian to LB), As Rigth Mid (moving Zusi to the bench), or as the utility sub/replacement across the top of the formation for Injury, Card accululation, etc… (1st sub off the bench for attacking players).
        How LD is deployed will ultimately depend on the opponent and what players match best against them (speed, physicallity, ticky-tock).

  22. kmac014 says:

    Anyone know where I could watch a replay of this game?

  23. JB says:

    Alright ‘wondowl’….4 down, now only 49 more goals to go.

  24. MLSsnob says:

    Am I the only one who wasn’t impressed? Every single one of our chances came from crosses into the box, each goal was due to poor man marking, we couldn’t work anything on the ground the ought the middle. Against a side that has all of two professionals that’s not good.

  25. Chris says:

    -I liked orozco over onyewu in the back, he brings a little more in distributing from the back
    -Parkhurst looked awful, would not mind seeing beltran get a run out against cuba on saturday
    -Beckerman did his job and delivered a great assist, his job in a game like that was distribute balls forward and to the wings as well as slow down counter attacks, which he did well, also a beautiful assist to add
    -Torres is not a winger, he did pretty well there but hes still not a winger, hes a box to box mid
    -Glad to see Wondo scoring goals, deserves a start in the next match
    lineup vs Cuba
    ————-Donovan———–Wondolowski—————
    —–Diskerud/Shea———————————-Corona-
    —————Beckerman———Holden/Torres———-
    Beasley—–Goodson——-Orozco————-Beltran
    ————————–Rimando——————————–

    If Shea and Holden are 90 mins fit, start them, if not torres and diskerud should get the time

  26. TBONE says:

    Some people drive me nuts on here, support the freaking team that is on the field, who cares if it is Holden or Beckerman, or Mix, or JFT just support who is ever out there. people that are saying that they would give the first born son if Beckerman never saw the field in the US shirt again is just ridiculous! Show some pride in your country and support them no matter what! But people are right, Holden is a better player than Beckerman put you do know that they play 2 different positions rights??? Beckerman is a holding midfielder and Holden is more of a box to box midfielder. Another thing that is annoying is that people are saying Beckerman will never get on the plan to brazil, you are probably right, with Jones, Cameron and Williams all in front of him, it makes perfect sense that he is playing in the gold cup since all those guys just played all the WCQ’s. Quit bitching about who is better and just support the damn team!

    • Lost in Space says:

      Beckerman is further down the pecking order of CDM’s (#6) than even you stated:
      Jones, Bradley, Cameron, Edu, Williams, Beckerman
      The Box-to-Box CM Depth (#8′s) is just as deep:
      Bradley, Jones, Holden, Mixx, Cameron, Torres, Edu

      Will be hard for those further down the line to actually make a case for inclusion in the 1st team at either CM slot without significant decline/injuries to the top 3. Versitility will therefore be key….a CM who can also play wide or drop into the D will have a much better chance than a 1 trick pony like Beckerman.

  27. MLSsnob says:

    I love the picture, backwards, no look double low fives, so 80′s.

  28. Hawk says:

    Based on what has occured in this tournament so far, I think most people are being overly critical. I unfortunately watched most of the Costa Rica match and I found myself knodding off. If not for some terrible goal keeping, Costa Rica likely wins that game 1-0. For those of you who didn’t watch, the game was tied 0-0 at halftime and if not for a complete lack of skill in the attacking third, Cuba could have easily gone in with a lead.

    You combine that with Mexico losing, Canada’s dispicable showing, and Honduras’ sluggish outing, the U.S. actually put in a professional performance. They came out with a sense of urgency and created numerous chances. Yes, a lot of balls were whipped in from the wing but Belize had the middle congested. Additionally, the Belize goalkeeper, one of the few professionals on the team, had several great stops. If you replace him with Cuba’s keeper, the score would have been more like 5-1 at halftime.

    It wasn’t a spectacular preformance but exactly what they needed to do. The only thing that scares me is that somehow Belize managed to score. I don’t think you can really say any one player played poorly though. The overwhelming criticism of Beckerman and Parkhurst is simply misguided. I haven’t seen any teams in the tournament playing at the USA’s level right now.

    • Casey says:

      Same here. Besides the one brain fart (Gonzo has plenty) they moved well. I don’t think they will cross it as much next game and some of the players will be different as well. I don’t see what everyone is getting upset about. Had it been 2-1 like the A&B game I would see the reasoning. To me, I saw them pressuring high up the field. I thought the Belize goalie was great and really had no chance on the goals and stopped several that would have gone in on that Cuban goalie.