I’ve gotta warn you, we’re going to be wading into snark-infested waters over the course of these “Three Things” after the United States struggled to string multiple attacking passes together in a woeful 2-0 loss to Guatemala on Friday.
But we can wade together, right? You’ll come with me?
W-T-J?!? (WHAT THE JURGEN)
What was he thinking? Even hamstrung by the injuries — see Thing No. 3 below — Klinsmann started a number of players in precarious positions.
Yedlin couldn’t play there, though, because he was playing right wing. And Mix Diskerud couldn’t play on the wing, because he was playing as, essentially, a box-to-box midfielder.
Here’s the worst part: He made substitutions that made the team not only more competitive, but more logical. Michael Orozco was terrible and hadn’t been playing for his team, and Gonzalez isn’t a natural partner for him.
So Klinsmann moved Cameron central, dropped Yedlin to right back and moved Michael Bradley a bit further back in the midfield. He brought on Gyasi Zardes and Darlington Nagbe to open things up for Bobby Wood and Clint Dempsey. And it kinda worked (as much as it could in a horrific 2-0 loss).
None of the above is good. Hamstrung by injuries or not — he was, this team has the depth of a kiddie pool — Klinsmann’s critics deserve the field days they will stretch through at least Tuesday. It bears asking: Is there a chance Klinsmann won’t make it to Columbus?
INJURIES (IT MUST BE SAID)
This is no way excuses Friday’s performance, but the U.S. is having a horrible run of luck. John Brooks has been thriving with Hertha Berlin, but was sent back to Germany after picking up a knock. Matt Besler was also hurt, and both Fabian Johnson and Jozy Altidore were unfit to start.
With the exception of Besler, those guys were major absences for a side already without Aron Johannsson and Terrence Boyd. Even Christian Pulisic, breaking through at Borussia Dortmund, got sick ahead of this one and only might be available for Tuesday’s return match in Ohio.
The United States men’s national team does not have good depth on the whole, and we’re seeing that they will struggle when down to their second-choice unit.
MOTTA WAS GOOD, YANKS MADE HIM LOOK BETTER
Paulo Motta won’t have to buy a meal in Guatemala any time soon after he made some terrific saves on Friday, but it was certainly American-aided.
Clint Dempsey should’ve pulled the Yanks to within one early in the second half after Darlington Nagbe and Bobby Wood combined to lay a ball right into the Clint Zone, but the American forward hit the ball right at Motta.
And while Motta made a tremendous save on Jozy Altidore late, you do want you striker to find a way to put that ball home.
That said, Motta was decisive and claimed seemingly every ball within his reach. He was vocal and, frankly, had me pumped up with his gesticulations. Sometimes, you’ve gotta tip your cap to the victor. I’m doing that now.