The postgame reaction was a mixed bag after the United States blew yet another late lead, falling to the fighting Nicklas Bendtners 3-2 despite leading 2-1 with 10 minutes to go.
Players seemed to be a little more disappointed than the head coach, and immediately after the game Michael Bradley saddled up for the ESPN broadcast to give his thoughts.
“We have to be able to finish the game,” Bradley said frankly. “It’s disappointing when you go up 2-1 at that point. Obviously it’s a tough game, it’s a wet night, but I thought we for the most part handled it well, but it all goes out the window if you’re not able to take care of things in the last few minutes.”
Bradley was asked about he and Alejandro Bedoya being outnumbered in the center of the pitch by Denmark’s three central midfielders. “There’s a lot of different ways to deal with that,” Bradley said. “You can put another guy in there, you can collectively step and press and close down. At times it was good, at times…look they played good football and they were able to move the ball. I wouldn’t necessarily say there’s one way to deal with that but for me, it’s the whole package.”
Meanwhile, Jurgen Klinsmann was much more even keel. As tweeted by Sports Illustrated’s Brian Sciaretta on site, Klinsmann after the game said “overall it was an even game” and “I think the back line did a fine job.”
It did? Now Jurgen, I know the team had a lead for a decent amount of time, but does that preclude actually commenting on what you saw? I know most of those watching had their hands shielding their eyes from the grotesque defending that took place. At this point, whether he actually believes they played well or he’s just trying to cover for his players, what is holding Klinsmann back from actually giving his honest opinion on the performance?
One more note from Klinsmann’s comments. Michael Orozco, who came off late for Ventura Alvarado – a substitute that clearly lowered the performance of the back line – was tired, according to the US manager.
There’s two things we can take from that. First, Orozco could have actually been tired, which would be a problem considering defenders should be able to go the full 90 even under pressure. Second, Klinsmann could be positioning himself to continue his crusade on the fitness of United States players, using the excuse to cover for flat out bad performances, which would also be concerning. Either way, this is not a good look.
Finally, let’s end on a good note: