Monday, June 4, 2012

USMNT Struggle to 0-0 Draw In Toronto

Article by William Schulz
Twitter @SportingTulsan

The United States Men’s National Team played its third match in nine days Sunday night, and certainly looked worse for the wear. The U.S. played on the road for the first time in what coach Jürgen Klinsmann has dubbed a “five game tournament” when they travelled north to face off against Canada.

The USMNT came into the match looking to bounce back from a 4-1 loss to Brazil, but would ultimately find little to cheer about.

By the end of ninety minutes, neither side had managed to score a goal despite several chances for each side. Canada had the better of the opportunities, including a perfectly good goal that was called back by the referee for reasons unknown. The U.S. had opportunities as well, but never found a way past Canadian goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld.

There were positives for the United States, though fewer than there have been in the past. Fan favorite Clint Dempsey made his first start of the camp and played the full ninety minutes, a big step toward a return to full fitness. Clarence Goodson also made his return to the starting lineup, and had a good game in the center of defense.

Unfortunately, the positives are overshadowed by the negatives. Herculez Gomez was downright invisible compared to the way he played against Brazil, managing to earn a few corners but little else. Michael Bradley was given the role of defensive midfielder, and was unable to use his incisive passing to provide an attacking spark. Fabian Johnson, who had been performing well and was scheduled to start, suffered a calf strain minutes before the match and was unable to participate.

Compared to the 5-1 victory over Scotland or the 4-1 loss to Brazil, Sunday’s match was an absolute snoozer. Perhaps it was the fact the U.S. had played three matches in three cities in nine days, but the Americans looked anemic and gave their worst performance of the camp so far. Hopefully the U.S. Men can get some rest and find some answers before World Cup Qualifying begins on Friday, June 8 against Antigua & Barbuda.

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