Pair of second-half goals sees USMNT drop Jamaica, clinch Hexagonal

Jozy Altidore

Photo by John Todd/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO and DAN KARELL

A disappointing draw looked to be in the cards for the U.S. Men’s National Team, but once again head coach Jurgen Klinsmann pushed the right buttons to help lift his side to victory.

The U.S. defeated Jamaica, 2-0, at Sporting Park on Friday night thanks to a pair of second-half goals that came only after Klinsmann made all three of his substitutions and a formational switch. The win guaranteed the Americans would finish in first place of the Hexagonal round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying for the third straight cycle after Costa Rica lost to Honduras earlier in the day, and saw Klinsmann’s side finish undefeated at home in this round with five shutout victories.

“To finish the Hexagonal in the first position, leading the CONCACAF group and being No.1 in CONCACAF right now, everybody’s excited about that,” Klinsmann said after the match. “We adjusted a few things (at halftime) and we picked it up really well in the second half. It’s just exciting to see this group coming along, how the personality is slowly come through.”

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi, the first of Klinsmann’s substitutions, netted the winner for the Americans in the 77th minute with a well-taken shot that found the bottom left corner.

“(Bedoya) did well to get in on the right side,” Zusi said after the match. “I think his initial pass was blocked, but he stuck at it and did really well to get that second effort into me. After a little bit of a mishit by me, I think I saw it go into the bottom left.”

Second substitute Edgar Castillo set up Jozy Altidore’s insurance tally three minutes later that put the game effectively away and sealed Jamaica’s elimination from World Cup contention.

The U.S. came closest to scoring in a drab first half that they struggled through courtesy of pair of set pieces, but starting forward Aron Johannsson failed to find the mark despite finding himself unmarked on both occasions. Johannsson first smacked a shot from about 15 yards out wide left before seeing a volleyed attempt at the far post sky over the crossbar.

“We expected a tight game,” Klinsmann said. “They were very well organized, they closed the spaces down in the first half and we know them, physically (they’re) a strong team, and they can always hurt you on the counter-attack.”

It was the Reggae Boyz that looked the better side in the opening 45 minutes, but they had no answer for Tim Howard. The U.S. captain made a handful of routine saves to prevent his side from going down and also came up with a big stop early in the second half after Mix Diskerud was dispossessed of the ball inside the Americans’ half.

The U.S. struggled to create much from the run of play and looked destined to end the game without a goal, but Klinsmann replaced Landon Donovan with Zusi at halftime before ultimately switching from a 4-4-2 formation to a 4-2-3-1 with about a half-hour left to play.

The results were almost immediate.

Edgar Castillo, Klinsmann’s second substitute, allowed the Americans to widen the field against a Jamaican team that was pressing high from the opening whistle. Castillo constantly overlapped Zusi on the left side and that gave the U.S. an attacking edge they were missing for much of the first hour.

“We said to them simply at halftime, ‘guys you’ve got to raise the bar here, you’ve got to raise the tempo’, and that’s what we did,” Klinsmann said. After 55 or 60 minutes, we passed it through faster with a lot of passing sequences, one-touch only, and that’s when you open up any team.

“So the chances came and I felt on the bench that it’s only a question of time until we get that first goal.”

Klinsmann then removed Johansson and inserted Sacha Kljestan, who helped the Americans keep possession on the game’s decisive play. The ball started on the left and moved to the right before Zusi hit a low shot that snuck just inside of the far post. It was a special moment for the Sporting KC star, and he was able to celebrate it with his club and national team companion, Matt Besler.

“He (Besler) made a long run forward to celebrate with me,” Zusi said. “It was a special moment for both of us.”

The goal gave the U.S. a new-found confidence and they continued to push forward. The reward was Altidore’s insurance strike in front of an empty net following a low cross from Castillo, who almost added a third late but saw his flicked on shot go achingly just wide of the right post. Altidore has now scored in his last six starts for the U.S.

“If you look at this year, 2013, it’s just a tremendous experience for all of us,” Klinsmann said. “With the fans support, every place we played has been sold out in minutes, it’s really an enjoyable moment for all of us.”

The Americans will now head over to Panama, where they round out their 2014 World Cup qualification campaign on Tuesday.

——

What did you think of the result? Who impressed/disappointed you? Is the 4-2-3-1 formation the one the U.S. should stick with from here on out or is the 4-4-2 still worth trying out?

Share your thoughts below.

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92 Responses to Pair of second-half goals sees USMNT drop Jamaica, clinch Hexagonal

  1. Bac says:

    As excited as we all were to see Aron & Mix & others in the starting lineup.. this game really showed us something
    Man we missed our starters…

    • Shawn says:

      Oh, it showed us something else too.

      All the Zusi haters here are out to lunch. All he did was play MoM in a half. He may or may not be a 1st XI in Brazil, but we need him in the side.

      I also got a chuckle out of the team becoming more aggressive switching to the 4-2-3-1, when all the conventional wisdom is the 4-4-2 is more attacking.

      I did think ArJo showed flashes during his run. But for whatever reason, there’s no chemistry between him and Jozy. And Altidore is the better striker. Still think they both go to Brazil, because Johannson would still be an excellent late-game sub for when you wanted a goal.

      Very disappointed in Landon. It was pretty clear his head was elsewhere entirely.

      • Ben says:

        Are there Zusi haters? He is in Brazil. Frankley, the fact the MLS is keeping guys like Zusi ans Besler around is a huge win for MLS, even if it dampens their chequebooks.

        • Shawn says:

          If you don’t think there are Zusi-haters on this board, go read through the threads where people say he doesn’t belong on the team. Doesn’t offer anything. Can’t create, etc. etc.

          But I agree. That Zusi, Besler, Gonzalez, and others can stay in MLS and still earn a respectable living as a professional, and still demand consideration for USMNT, is a win for the League. It’s indeed the very mission MLS was commissioned to create.

      • Birgit Calhoun says:

        Fact is Donovan really would have preferred to be resting up for the next Galaxy game which right now is only one point behind the Earthquakes. As it turned out he wasn’t needed for that game. Shows you what kind of so-and-so Klinsmann is.

      • SJ says:

        Zusi is 50-50 for me. He disappears far too long from games. His passing is hit-&-miss, as are his crosses. When he’s on, he’s on–but it seems like its only for 10-15 minutes a game. He was fortunate that his scuffed shot went in (by his own admission).

        He took advantage of his playing time today. But the biggest influencing factor was the formation change and a tiring Jamaican team.

        • mack says:

          He also hit a beautiful lob pass that Castillo should have squared up for altidore and a perfect cross where the keeper denied sacha. Could have easily had a goal assist and hockey assist in 45 minutes from a place on the field that was non existent for the first 45

    • Big Red says:

      How did we miss our starters when we won 2-0?

  2. Liz says:

    This game needed more Wondo :'(

  3. Neruda says:

    Once Jurgy got the tactics right it became an entertaining game. Are Castillo’s defensive liabilities overcome by his ability to attack the goal? It will be interesting to see what changes JK makes for the next game. Can’t wait to watch Mexico sweat it out against Panama.

  4. Dimidri says:

    Who were the 5-7 people who contributed on the first goal? Or am I counting some people twice?

    Also was livid the US didn’t get the advantage, 9/10 times you would rather have that free kick then the ball in a not super threatening position like the US had. Guess I was wrong .

  5. Soccerhorn says:

    Kljestan for Johansson made a huge difference. We controlled the ball far better in the attacking half of the field for the last twenty minutes, and it showed.

  6. euroman says:

    Franco did you miss the goal line clear by Evans with Howard and the whole defense beaten? I didn’t see it in your article. If they get that it’s different match, still boring but different.

    • Dirk McQuigley says:

      It looked like Timmeh mangled the cross and spilled the ball right off of Evans’ thigh. Fortunately, he didn’t panic and calmly cleared the ball. While technically not a goal line clearance, Evans still prevented an own goal with his hustle.

  7. dude says:

    Klejstan and Mix are the big stories tonight. Zusi was clutch, but the goals didn’t come till Klejstan made the move into the middle and Mix moved up. Both were excellent, and brought the calm, composure, and class that Jones astonishingly failed to bring.

    • Shawn says:

      It’s not astonishing that Jones fails to bring class in his touch. He’s never been as effective going forward as he thinks he is. He’s convinced HE should be the #8, no matter how many times he’s told he’s the destroyer.

      And I am sick and tired of Jones making challenged like Roy Keane and falling over like a glass bowling pin whenever he’s caught in possession.

      • dude says:

        Yeah, the astonishing part was sarcasm. I want Cameron and Klejstan to convince JK that this guy is a crutch.

    • Bubba says:

      I disagree. Jones broke things up, as a DM should do, and held the ball when no one else was doing anything. Diskerud was awful – heavy touches, bad passes, nothing useful, esp. during the abysmal first half.

      • dude says:

        Dude, you’re just wrong.

        The first half, we played a diamond formation, and it didn’t work. It didn’t work becaus AJ and Jozy are the same type of player, and it didn’t work precisely because Jones canNOT play the holding DM role. He barely functions as a partner to Bradley, because he doesn’t try to partner anyone. The game didn’t turn around until Klejstan decided to bring the calm and possession next to him (something he never helped with), and the “awful” Mix got a chance to create further up, because someone actually had his back.

        Jones just doesn’t fit. He’s a hot headed tackler with skill, but no consistency. He doesn’t like to complement anybody, because he thinks he should be pulling the strings. We saw clearly against Costa Rica that he himself can’t pull the strings. And then tonight, we were reminded that he’s not as good as Beckerman at covering the line and making the simple pass to keep the team together. He held the ball when no one else was doing anything partly because he couldn’t feed the system properly, instead choosing to pick out long balls from his position rather than helping those in front of him build the play.

        If Jones never played another game for the US, I’d be relieved. It means we’re finding someone who wants to do a job that we need.

      • Bubba says:

        It didn’t work in the first half for one simple reason: Diskerud was unable to do anything with the ball. He either made a bad pass or had a heavy touch every time if came to him. Jones did what he was supposed to do. But the offense died because Mix had nothing to offer in the midfield. Like the guy in general, but he killed us in the first half of this game.

        • Myett says:

          no….you’re wrong.

          • Greg says:

            Gotta agree here. While Mix wasn’t awesome in the 1st half (who was?!), JJ was just about useless in providing quality service. He’s got the destroyer thing down great, but unless he has a crutch right by his side to bail him out (Usually MB but tonight Sacha) he has zero chance connecting out of the back.

            Ironically it reminds me of the challenges they’re having at Sunderland, but don’t get me started on Jozy.

            Sorry but JJ is just not the player that can organize this mid.

  8. Scott e Dio93 says:

    I was wrong about “4-3-3-1″! The midfield was a mess, but Kljestan basically controlled the tempo, when Kljestan was sub-in. I like to see Kevin Bacon start with Donovan or Mix behind him, and Kljestan or Beckerman or Jones start in centrelmidfield.

  9. Ben says:

    Ultimately, I thought our movement and placement were very good, and the passing, for the most part, was very bad. It looked like a team that knew what to do, but just couldn’t quite pull it off. That said, especially now the top of the Hex is assured, I’d like to see Jones, who I know people have problems with, but for me is in Brazil, Donovan, and Beasley all take the next game off, and see who wants to earn it. I realize Zusi, who I also think is in Brazil, will have to play, but give him a chance to lead a team I say.

    • Shawn says:

      I don’t disagree Jones is in Brazil. But I don’t think he merits his automatic 1st choice XI and exclusion from competition for places the rest of the team gets. His sloppy play on the ball and continued inability to play disciplined as a marker, which his position DEMANDS of him, mean that I would be giving other players a chance. If for no other reason than to push him.

      And I don’t see Jones as a Captain of the team at all. He’s not disciplined enough.

  10. Ben says:

    Bedoya’s second half was much better than his first, but, for me, he showed is limitations in the first half. I’m not hating; I think he could easily justify inclusion in the 23, but I’m also not sure his passing is good enough sometimes.

    • G in Humboldt says:

      +1 I started cringing every time the ball came to him the first half. Klinsmann must of said a magic word at the half.

  11. K-Town says:

    I like that we use a 4-4-2 and 4-2-3-1. It makes us versatile and unpredictable. Sometimes one works better than another. Using both also allows JK to tailor his approach based on the players available that particular match. It also provides an in game switch that throws off opposing defenses once they think they have our gam plan figured out. JK has made these tactical switches a lot in recent matches and it usually has paid off with goals. And it stands out to me that he has started with both and switched to the other, both tactics yielding results.

    • Ben says:

      Agreed. I think the key is that he throws out line ups that are fluid enough to change to either depending what they begin with and other teams seem to struggle to match a change.

      • The Trawler says:

        Yes and yes to K-Town and Ben. And hooray to JK and the U.S. for tactical flexibility. It’s been a long time coming.

    • beachbum says:

      been playing different formations throughout games often and for sometime I think. biggest difference in this game was using the left wing, in this case LD and Zusi, as the underlying playmaker behind Jozy and AJ until going with Sacha and the changes… interesting tweak but ultimately not effective in scoring a goal; AJ and Jozy didn’t combine well plus we had no width on the left and Jamaica could play the ball there any time to escape pressure and charge up that flank.

  12. Eric viva galaxy says:

    Don’t be fooled. They came in with the game wide open as a poor Jamaica squad were gassing in the midfield. Klejstan and Party Boy still don’t belong in the starting 11 let alone 23.

  13. Joamiq says:

    Hindsight is 20/20 of course, but all of us who wanted to see Jozy and Bacon together were wrong. With this supporting personnel at least. Donovan doesn’t provide as much service from the wings these days as he used to (he’s too important centrally), and Bedoya can provide service, but that’s not his primary strength. So there wasn’t quite enough service for the two forwards – Aron moved fairly well and was able to get into some good positions, but Jozy didn’t really. Additionally, Landon wasn’t really moving enough on the attack, and with Jones sitting back, there were big gaps in the midfield.

    The formation change made all the difference. Twellman kept referring to it as 4-2-3-1, but that’s not really accurate – there weren’t two holding midfielders. It was really a 4-3-3, very similar to how Tottenham’s front 6 have lined up this season. We had a central midfield three of Jones holding, Kljestan playing as deep lying playmaker/runner, and Diskeruud as attacking mid. Crucially, this put Kljestan and Mix in their most effective positions. Zusi and Bedoya both played as cutting-in wingers, and Castillo obviously provided crucial attacking support up the left side. This setup was a lot more coherent, and it showed. Obviously Jamaica wasn’t exactly clicking on all cylinders at that point, and they basically gave up after the first goal, but that said, it’s no surprise that the US attack was more fluid and dynamic in this setup.

    This was a listless and frustrating performance for most of the game, but luckily we still came away learning something. That sort of 4-3-3 we played at the end can work with our regular personnel too – Bradley would perfectly fill the role Kljestan played, and Dempsey, Donovan, and Johannsson are all capable of playing the “forward” winger role (and Bedoya works there too if you need his hustle, which was pretty effective tonight), with Jozy as the target striker. In the attacking mid spot, you could go with Donovan, Johannsson, or of course Diskeruud (or, if he’s playing and in decent form, Corona). The best part is that this setup would be a much more sensible use of Bradley and Jones. In the 4-2-3-1 double pivot, Bradley and Jones still haven’t quite developed chemistry with respect to who goes forward and who stays back. I think the US is much better served having Jones as the designated #6 and having Bradley play ahead of them. So, whether Klinsmann uses some of tonight’s endgame tactics going forward will be something to keep an eye on.

    In any case, hooray for first place!

    • TomG says:

      Too early to say that, IMO. Certainly it didn’t work tonight, but a Bradley/Jones midfield and a healthier left side may free up AJ to link up more with Jozy.

    • Silversurfer says:

      Fantastic game analysis. I imagine you’re an accomplished manager. Should think of writing full time for SBI or Zonal Marking

      • Joamiq says:

        I’d like to be a manager someday, maybe at the youth level, but right now I’m just a fan trying to learn the game better like the rest of you. It’s funny, I played my whole life until college, but it wasn’t until I stopped that I started to actually learn tactics and such. Funny how as an athlete or a performer, you often just do things without learning the theories underneath them…

        • henry says:

          Totally agree with you I know the exact type of 4-3-3- you are talking about, I deploy it often in my football manager game when my teams strength is in its center midfield. As to knowing tactics, I agree as well. I only started figuring out tactics in the last few years, when I played, I just played the role assigned to me and just assumed all teams had the same formation or something (I generally played all over the pitch, decent shift at fullback, better on the wings, decent center mid, moderate center forward, looking back I now think my best position was winger on either side, I developed a really good weak left foot).

    • wandmdave says:

      I’m not saying Bedoya provides service like Beckham but he had the more dangerous crosses today. He needs to sharpen things up but he has good instincts and vision about where a cross needs to go, doesn’t mind taking the ball to the end line, and has the speed to make it there. I can’t really think of anyone else who checks all those boxes reliably for the US. Everyone else lacks speed (Zusi), prefers to cut it in (Donovan, FJ), or has no instincts or touch (Shea).

      • Hogatroge says:

        I think Bedoya is a runner up for MotM behind Zusi. He looked like the only player giving 100% in the first half.

        • Joamiq says:

          I agree with you both – I think Bedoya’s willingness to hustle and move can be vital in this team. Other than Bedoya we have too many midfielders and forwards who are staid with the ball and positionally stay too strongly rooted to their nominal “positions”. It’s at odds with the kind of system Klinsmann wants to play. Bedoya is more willing to fill in gaps and provide outlets. He’s not the best passer but he can put in a useful cross or two. Depending on the rest of the tactics and personnel he can be a very good complementary player for us. I would certainly bring him to Brazil as things stand right now.

    • Chris Becker says:

      Was one of those pushing the JA-AJ 4-4-2. Liked much of what AJ did, but agree did not see the chemistry between forwards. Still would like to see more reps so the guys can build that understanding, but for now will be much less vocal about it. Turns out JK may know something I don’t ;)

    • beachbum says:

      agree with much you say except for the role of both LD and Zusi in the ‘4 4 2′ or whatever it was. They were both tucked underneath AJ and Zusi going forward much of the time, zooming in from the left to create the attack and work the linkups through the middle, even all the way across the field and completely vacating that left flank sometimes. Looked to be by design so both CMs could contain any counter from Jamaica, their clear best chance to score. The tactics/formation change provided true width on the left and also a true underneath target

  14. AC says:

    At times, it just had that feeling of players going at half speed to avoid injury, etc. You could see the subs going full steam ahead to impress. Obvious that no one is even close to the level of control in that midfield as Bradley is. Hope he gets playing time in his return as Roma is going great without him right now. Or at least get a loan during the January window if not much playing time comes with Roma. Too soon to tell with the Johannson/Altidore duo with not enough service, time together, etc….The players were too similar with Altidore sometimes having to drop too deep…Donovan definitely may be better in that center midfield position or as a 2nd forward. All in all, not the greatest game, but just had that feeling of getting business done without injury. Still great to have maximum points as possible and the Kansas City atmosphere was incredible.

  15. LM says:

    I’m sorry but to me those goals came by luck…the ball could have easily hit the post with Zusi and the Jamaican defense could have easily gotten back down in time to find Jozy. It was nothing big. Everyone can agree that Donovan is ten times better than Zusi and Aron at the top could have a good impact if Jozy stops being so selfish and passes the ball when he can. I just don’t really think that because of this game Zusi should be in the World Cup roster already like he’s the best player and stuff because Bradley is the best one.

    • John says:

      Your agruement is a goal could have hit the post? On every goal the ball could hit the post.

    • Bates says:

      Go home LM, you’re drunk

    • wandmdave says:

      The difference was we weren’t even getting those opportunities until Zusi and Castillo came on and the formation changed. You could debate which of those changes had the most impact but there was a clear difference in our pressure, communication, and passing after all 3 were in place.

    • SJ says:

      There’s a bit of luck in every game. Yes, the first goal had its share of luck. Bedoya’s cross deflected off the defender to Zusi, who’s shot was a mishit. And the second did, too.

      I’m not a fan of Zusi, but he made the most of his time tonight. Call it luck, or whatever you’d like. I’d call it taking advantage of the formation change and a tiring/desperate Jamaican team.

      Not the finest effort, but a W nonetheless.

    • Chris Becker says:

      You realize they aim about one inch inside those posts, right?

  16. chris_thebassplayer says:

    Ugly lifeless vibe in the first half…strange seeing some good technical players not being able to string three passes. Jozy was really poor connecting in any way…no hold up, lots of giveaways and poor passes, he had several opportunities to play LD wide…everyone else was close behind in their poor play. Johannsson gave the ball away cheaply and wasn’t sharp, but at least he put himself in places to have opportunities…very nervvy on the ball. The few times LD tucked in and Johannsson dropped deeper it looked better, but with LD out wide nobody could connect with him. Very frustrating.

    Another game that shows how much we miss MB in the middle. looks like it is difficult for any of the other mids to pair with JJ…the chemistry with Mix was poor. Seems like everyone can pair easily with MB, but nobody can comfortably pair with JJ.

    The 4-4-2 put too much pressure on the Mix/JJ combo to coordinate that amount of space… too much communication required.

    The formation change was the star of the second half. Very nice finish from Zusi. Happy to get the win but was disappointed by the lack of continuity from some solid starting players.

  17. John says:

    I think it’s worth saying the US allowed 0 goals at home during the Hex.

  18. Mueller says:

    I know I am the minority in this, but I don’t think Donovan is a starter when this team is fully healthy. I think Fabian is a better attacking option on the left and I think Bedoya puts in a better shift running his butt off on the right. That leaves him or Dempsey in the middle and for me Duece’s ability to get a shot off with a foot of space is invaluable against top teams.

    Donovan might be the best USMNT player ever, but on the wings he gets lost for big chucks of the game. I think he might be better off coming in at the 65-70 minutes and just running at people.

    • mikeg says:

      You are right about Donovan. He is best positioned as a withdrawn striker in the middle of midfield behind a forward(s). Look at what he did in this past Gold Cup. Klinnsman has said in the past this is Donovan’s best position. I am hoping Donovan was just filling in. I am going to go out and say Zusi should not play on the wing anymore. Zusi should play in the middle of midfield or as an attacking mf and backing up Donovan. Zusi does not have speed on the wings, but speed is not necessary playing in the middle if you can pass with accuracy. Zusi is one of THE best passers on the USNNT.

    • wandmdave says:

      I’m leaning toward your opinion. Donovan just hasn’t had as much impact on the wings for whatever reason and looks far more dangerous as the withdrawn forward. Mixx was the same way but he is still behind Dempsey and Donovan. Between Dempsey and Donovan I agree Dempsey is the better poacher but if feel like Donovan has the edge in passing and possession. Either way we’ll see what Dempsey looks like after he gets healthy and establishes whatever his MLS form will be. Donovan could still clearly overtake him for that spot.

      It just sucks our best talents tend to be concentrated in a handful of positions. If we could just trade Donovan or Dempsey for a 6 or an 8 with great passing and vision to back up Bradley or for a superior fullback that would be fantastic. Not that every other team in the world not named Spain, Germany, or Brazil doesn’t have the same problem.

      • Arkie says:

        The interesting thing is that both those players have spent a whole lot of time on the wing for us to great effect, but I got to say in many ways I tend to agree. They both float in anyways. I still don’t know what Duece’s best position is other than “in the attacking third”. He just has to be there and there’s no telling what might happen, good or bad. But either way, no more PKs for Clint. I don’t know who takes them when Donovan’s not on the field, but I’m willing to give someone else a go.

        • MikeG says:

          Deuce would be better served as a playmaking forward paired with Altidore. Deuce can playmake and poach.

        • Joamiq says:

          You’re right that Deuce is sort of a man without a real set role. He plays best as a secondary striker supporting a target man, or a cutting in wing forward in a 4-3-3, mainly because those sorts of roles are best at getting him chances he can score on. The problem for Deuce is that Johannsson can fill the exact same role but is a better player overall – better touch, better passing, more creativity. For both those guys it’ll largely come down to who looks to have better chemistry with our other first choice attacking players.

    • Myett says:

      Dempsey has been in poor form for 4 months now despite his “injury”…I’d start Mix or Aron ahead of him at the CAM in the 4-2-3-1 as of today. Clint needs to step it up big time with the limited MLS games left if he wants an attractive loan

      • mikeg says:

        My opinion, but a loan for Dempsey would best serve him if he went to a Champions League team, but at the moment it looks like a chumps team instead.

    • Joamiq says:

      A motivated Donovan who’s working hard is too vital. He can help the offense flow in a way that no one else on the team can comprehensively. Last night’s Donovan was, for whatever reason, not working hard when we had the ball. Looked like he was saving himself for the Galaxy or something. I’d actually sooner drop Deuce than Donovan, because I think Donovan fits into the rest of the team better. Deuce scores vital goals out of nowhere, but I’d rather build coherent attacks and not have to rely so much on those kinds of goals.

      • Mueller says:

        I just don’t think he belongs on the wings. It’s a fair argument to choose Donovan over Dempsey. I wouldn’t because I think Dempsey’s runs in the box and scoring is more important than Donovan’s passing.

        Also (and this will probably sound lame but) Dempsey is tougher than Donovan and I think you need that toughness and grit as the underdog. For me Dempsey, Bradley, and Jones are the absolute heart and soul of this team.

      • beachbum says:

        disagree that LD wasn’t working hard…the role he was placed in didn’t click with the team imo

  19. mikeg says:

    I would not look too closely at the formations or lineup tonight. Looking towards the WC the US is not settled on a formation or roster. We are desperate for a right and left back to challenge for a spot. Can cherundolo be ready for the WC? Timmy Chandler self-destructed. When Fabian Johnson plays LW he produces assists for club and country. Davis does not venture too far forward. Davis is smart and knows how much speed he has. Davis relies on positioning and reading the play. I like Cameron as a
    RB more as a CB. Beasley has the speed to run down wingers in the WC and the offense to overlap with Fabian Johnson. Beasley in defense is about contain and get in your face. If we want more speed and skill we go with Beasley as LB and F Johnson as LW. Have Cameron back up Cherundolo.

  20. Cowboy Junky says:

    So who do we have on a yellow? Wouldn’t be stupid to play anyone on a yellow and even take the risk of losing them for the first game of the world cup? I expect that to shape the roster that we’ll field against Panama and the roster Costa Rica will field against Mexico.

    If I’m the coach the entire starting 11 and all my subs will be yellow free entering the match.

    • Joemybro says:

      This is the last game of the Hex, and Yellow Card accumulation does not carry over to the WC, so yellows are no longer an issue. A stupid Red would still necessitate a suspension, but I’m not clear on if that would be served in the next friendly, or the first WC match? Anyone?

      • CCJC says:

        I may be wrong, but I’m almost certain that any Player that has a yellow card, and receives a 2nd yellow on Tuesday, would serve the one game suspension at the WC.

        • Cowboy Junky says:

          I’m pretty sure you’re right, I thought I during the Panama Mexico broadcast that anyone who had a yellow and got one during the last game misses the first game of the World Cup. If that’s the case, why risk losing anyone? I would just start everybody that doesn’t have a yellow card and the subs I chose wouldn’t have yellow card either.

        • Joamiq says:

          No, that’s not right. Suspensions for yellow card accumulations do NOT carry over to the World Cup. Each confederation has its own rules on how yellow card accumulation works for its own qualifying tournaments, so it wouldn’t make sense for it to carry over to competitions outside the confederation.

  21. thurl says:

    ESPN showed the starting formation as a 4-4-2 diamond (I call it a 4-D-2), and it didn’t work. Mix was too high up the pitch to help Jones with possession. (and Jones crtainly needs the help.) When we switched to the 4-2-3-1 with Mix at the CAM spot and Kljestan pairing with Jones at CM we were much better.

    I thought the interesting thing about Zusi was how JK played him on the left, letting him cut inside constantly. It helped the midfield and cleared room outside for Castillo. Zusi usually plays wide right, although sometimes the outside mids switch.

    Big loser on the night was Beckerman. Jones seems to be the preferred holder, and Cameron can back him up. Kljestan may be taking Beckerman’s spot as a CM reserve.

    • Joamiq says:

      Kljestan and Beckerman play different roles though. Kljestan is more a potential Bradley backup. Beckerman is still the top Jones backup, possibly behind Cameron in the pecking order, but I think Cameron will nominally go as a defender.

  22. beachbum says:

    4 4 2 in name only seemed to me, at least not a 4 4 2 like this team plays before

    LD, and then Zusi, played underneath Jozy and AJ much of the night, leaving the left flank vacant or for Beasley to push into on rare occasion. Looked to be by design, especially after Zusi entered and continued with the same approach (and did it better than LD last night). But ultimately this didn’t work as Jamaica routinely pushed up our left flank once winning the ball and got after Beasley who did well enough to shut things down until LD raced all the way back across the field to help and/or JJ who was consistently over there defensively covering for LD and/or Zusi who were typically underneath once the ball turned over to Jamaica.

    LD, Clint and others have tucked inside for the USMNT forever of course but this was different, with Bedoya out right all night, no switching. Castillo’s width on the left after switching out of this system set up Jozy’s goal

    the formation change allowed the wings to stay wide with Sacha underneath instead of a winger sliding around as the main underneath playmaker and link up guy.

    It as fun to watch them try this latest tweak from Klinnsman, or this latest tinker as our good buddy biff likes to say, but it didn’t work last night I think we can agree. I think the idea was to keep both CMs back to thwart the counter, which is what Jamaica can scare you with. That AJ and Jozy did not combine well also hurt the attack often, particularly Jozy who did not have his best game

  23. henry says:

    It shows that as a footballing nation, we’ve reached this point, that we aren’t entirely happy with our 2-0 win because of how our players played. If we had a game like this a decade ago, we would be ecstatic with just the win, now our expectations are much higher.

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