Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday Thoughts: A Rant on the USMNT

Last Friday we witnessed the US National Team in a tepid display against France. If you missed it, count yourself lucky as it was rough to watch. Tomorrow the team will have a chance at redemption against Slovenia. We're likely to see much of the same though. Jurgen Klinsmann hasn't done much to reassure fans of anything in the past months string of friendlies. Gone was the counter attacking display of the Bradley era and in place was the confused frustration that has come to define the Klinsmann era. While in the past I've preached calmness and patience, I'd be lying if I said that patience was not wearing thin. To say that Klinsmann's efforts are confounding is an understatement.

The players seemed lost on the field. With the exception of two or three players, there was a clear confusion about how to move the ball forward. It has been postulated that this confusion has comes from players playing out of their natural position. Co-signed and confirmed.

To quote the great Jurassic Park: "...So concerned with whether they could do it, they never stopped to think if they should." It's that comment that runs though my mind while I look at roster selections and line ups these past few matches. Klinsmann seems so inclined to bring in German-American talent, he overlooks those who could help his team now. The Americans have scored only one goal in matches under Jurgen. We have an American born forward on top of the scoring charts in the Mexican first division. 1 + 1 = 2. The logic seems clear...and yet Herculez Gomez is overlooked.

Another question that springs to mind is the apparent demand by the Gods to have 3 defensive mid-fielders on the field at all times. Just because we have talent there does not mean we should put them all on the field at the same time. Kyle Beckerman has performed admirably in his role as protector of the back line. Why not insert an attacking midfielder in front of him to allow the team to attack in free flowing soccer. Sacha Kljestan and Jose Torres are available for selection. Kljestan is in top form and Torres should be an option when he returns to full health.

Potential line-ups and rants on the national team are a dime a dozen as there are as many experts as there are opinions. While the frustration of watching the Americans lose over and over again is mounting, there is still time to see the ship righted. The panic button should not be pushed yet... but my finger is on the button and tempted to press.

We're confused too
Jurgen Klinsmann has time to continue his experimentation and the fact that he's trying new players in the pool is a positive. What is most worrisome though is that for all these matches, we're not seeing any improvement. Losses happen and to teams like France and Spain they're almost expected. Still, we'd like to see more personality come from the group as Klinsmann molds them. They'll have another chance against Slovenia on Tuesday. We'll all just have to hope we see improvement in the group.


  1. Is there a "what the hell!" button?

  2. Gomez would provide an excellent complement to Altidore up top. It's a shame Klinsy has seemingly thrown the two-striker set-up out the window.

  3. Agreed, with playing with only one striker you should have 2 (hopefully) creative, attack minded midfielders to balance a defensive minded midfielder.

  4. @timmy: Aka, Dempsey + Torres/Holden/Johnson with Bradley/Beckerman/Edu/Jones/Williams. Trying to fit B/B/E/J/W into the T/H/J role has been the bane of this team's offense thus far. Unfortunately, Klinsy seems content with having Dempsey paired with two defensive mids.

    Hopefully Altidore can keep up the tempo from his last game and continue to play well as target man. Otherwise, that alone might necessitate a formation shift.

    At full strength, I'd like to see this as our line-up: