“To go from Portugal to Azerbaijan for example is almost the same or the same as if you go to New York. For the fans it’s no problem but we should see. It’s a European competition so let’s think about it.”
Given the preseason matches played in the United States, China, and Australia, it makes sense to stage an important UEFA match outside Europe. Those first two countries especially aim to become power players in the game, and certainly it would benefit UEFA to showcase its absolute finest (if only as a reminder).
We don’t get to see entire first teams playing the game in earnest when friendlies hit U.S. soil, and the successful Copa America showed UEFA that CONMEBOL and CONCACAF trust the States with critical matches.
Selfishly, of course we want this. And selfishly, of course Europe wants to keep it. Their fans wouldn’t necessarily want to take an incredibly expensive trip to see a UCL final.
Playing without Fabian Johnson, Geoff Cameron, John Brooks, Christian Pulisic and their top two goalkeepers — amongst others — the U.S. struggled to implement a 4-3-3 and allowed a late corner kick to disrupt its clean sheet in a Tuesday friendly at RFK Stadium in D.C.
What three things do we take away from the outing? Read on…
Julian Green’s star is picking up shine again
Julian Green’s bright first impression for United States supporters surely lost a lot of shine in the two-plus years after he scored against Belgium at the 2014 World Cup, but the 21-year-old Bayern Munich man was strong in both of this international break’s friendlies.
Green bounced a shot by a flummoxed Stefan Marinovic for the game’s first goal, but that was far from his only contribution. In fact, he was the most daring and dangerous U.S. attacker in each of the two matches. He showed some remaining immaturity with an extra touch after a takeaway in his own third, but he also made the takeaway. Competition aside, Green earned himself a November call-up… but at whose expense?
Gooch gives Klinsmann something to chew on
If Green’s two-goal week made Jurgen Klinsmann’s player selection for November’s critical World Cup qualifiers harder, Gooch did his best to make it a hair-pulling affair.
The Sunderland man made his U.S. debut with about a half-hour to go, and showed smart movement and terrific crossing in a short window of time. He combined well with Michael Bradley in particular, and deserved an assist for his efforts.
But how does he squeeze into a 23-man roster when Klinsmann already has Fabian Johnson, Jozy Altidore, Bobby Wood, Jordan Morris, and Christian Pulisic in his forward ranks? And if you think that’s tough for Gooch, imagine what injury has done to the fortunes of Gyasi Zardes.
Depth issues at several key spots including midfield
Jurgen Klinsmann and even U.S. Soccer fans should not be too put-off by the Yanks’ disjointed attempt at a 4-3-3, mostly because this was always going to be a slog given the absence of so many key pieces.
Still, what were we to expect from a team starting its fifth-choice keeper (William Yarbrough), a back line full of non-starters who have rarely, if ever, played together, and a newly recalled holding mid who never found his footing in the match (Perry Kitchen).
What the Americans have in attacking depth they lack at the back. And honestly, this is completely acceptable. If there was a major tournament that demanded a 23-man roster right now, how many of tonight’s starters get the squad call? Bradley, Altidore, and Yedlin as starters, and maybe 5-6 players as reserves.
Heck, say what you will about Timmy Chandler, but the man is a week-in, week-out starter for a top-half team in this early Bundesliga season. Michael Orozco and Matt Besler aren’t regular club starters right now.
This was a match designed to give some guys a chance, and no one should logically fault the team for drawing against a first choice team with a Americans’ B-squad (and that’s being gracious with the B).
Again, these guys were healthy and missing:
Bobby Wood Tim Howard Brad Guzan
These guys were hurt or missing for family reasons:
Alejandro Bedoya Clint Dempsey
There’s some question as to the United States’ formation thanks to this batch of players sitting in front of goalkeeper William Yarbrough, who scoops up cap No. 3.
Kellyn Acosta has been used as a left back by Jurgen Klinsmann, and DeAndre Yedlin is usually a right back. But Klinsmann has called upon defenders Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez, and Michael Orozco as well.
Holding mids Perry Kitchen and Michael Bradley are in the lineup, as are Sacha Kljestan, Julian Green, and Jozy Altidore.
It seems likely we’ll see Yedlin, Altidore, and Green atop a 4-3-3.
This is the lineup the U.S. will use at RFK Stadium at 8 p.m. ET.
MIAMI SHORES, Fla. (AP) For U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann, it’s all about one thing: Mexico.
His team is training at Barry University, with two tuneup games coming up. The first is against Cuba in Havana on Friday, the first game for the U.S. on the island since 1947. The next is against New Zealand on Tuesday in Washington.
“The bigger picture behind these 10 days is clear – it’s preparing for Mexico on Nov. 11,” Klinsmann said.
That game – in Columbus, Ohio – is the first match for both teams of the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The U.S. plays Costa Rica follows four days later.
A number of young players will get their chance in the two tuneup games.
“We want to see them taking the initiative,” Klinsmann said. “We want them to come in here and make a very strong impression. I think a good example is Sacha Kljestan. In the last two World Cup qualifying games we told Sasha, `Listen this is your opportunity, but you’ve got to take it.’ You’ve got to come in and make an impression and he did that in both games. A similar message to Danny Williams and other players. The door is always open.”
Veteran goalkeepers Tim Howard and Brad Guzan are not on the 23-man roster, giving David Bingham, Ethan Horvath and William Yarbrough a chance to show what they can do.
“It’s our job to bring along the next wave of goalkeepers and try to give them opportunities,” Klinsmann said. “The only way they can go grow is if you let them play.”
Christian Pulisic, a promising 18-year-old midfielder, has been playing well with the U.S. and the German club Borussia Dortmund.
“He’s a good young player,” captain Michael Bradley said. “He’s smart in terms of making the right decisions and being a guy who knows the game and understands when he can maybe try a little bit more and when he needs to be more simple. I think he continues to show he’s going in the right direction.”
Defenders Geoff Cameron and Fabian Johnson and forward Jordan Morris worked out but did not practice. Midfielder Alejandro Bedoya is out with a strained rib muscle.
The team will train Wednesday before heading to Cuba the next day.