U.S. men’s national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann has had his mad scientist’s coat on since the World Cup ended, calling up a variety of players and trotting out a number of different formations.
That includes the 3-5-2 he used for a good part of last week’s loss to Chile. During that game, Jermaine Jones continued his work as a center back, but this time with only two defenders with him.
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Jones is still concerned after having a rough go against Chile, and wants to keep the formation “in their back pocket.”
“I always say when I lose, I don’t play good. I don’t feel I was playing good,” Jones said Monday. “Of course, new formation, new system [and new position], it’s not easy. I would say I prefer, of course, to play more midfield, but if I go back [to the backline], I prefer to play in a back four.
“Still, the coach has an idea with three in the back, but sometimes it’s tough. To see that formation, see that whole system, for me it’s not easy … Chile was not one of my best games.”
Klinsmann, well, he’s just being Klinsmann. The 50-year-old coach points out that this is about the big picture, that a scenario could arise in a tournament where he’d like to go to a 3-5-2, and now his players have a bit of that experience together.
“I think it is worth that we always have it and we know how to play it, but everybody in a system like that needs to be on the same page,” Klinsmann said. “You can’t allow crosses to come in. That means the winger that you have, whomever it is, needs to block the crosses right away. And, obviously, there’s three [defenders], they need to develop an understanding: Who moves up, who does stay, who keeps the line? All these little things that in two weeks [of working with the alignment], you’re not getting that under your belt.”
That’s the problem with Klinsmann: He always has an answer that makes logical sense, but the wins do have to start coming, right? Yeah.
For that, the late collapses have to stop coming, which is probably the biggest thing we’ll see against a halfway-decent Panama side on Sunday. The USMNT should be able to get a lead, but will it have the wherewithal to withstand its substitutions?