USMNT V Canada: 6 Things We Learned About Klinsmann and His Team
The USA-Canada soccer rivalry has once again been renewed after the two squads battled to a 0-0 draw at BMO Field Sunday night. The friendly had plenty of scoring opportunities for both teams, but neither squad could find the finishing touch in the final third to break the deadlock.
While the score line might not suggest it, there were plenty of things that we can analyze from this performance.
Here are six things to take away from the USMNT's last friendly before World Cup qualifying begins. Enjoy!
Michael Bradley Needs to Have an Offensive Role
The difference between his Brazil/Scotland performances and his Canadian play was remarkably significant.
Possibly the main reason why Bradley didn’t impress anyone against Canada is because he simply was too defensive and did not move up enough to help the flow of the attack.
When he did have a more offensive mindset in these friendlies, we saw great things like his setting up of the goal against Brazil or his wonderstrike against Scotland.
I don’t know if it was Klinsmann’s poor formation or Bradley’s fatigue that prevented him from getting involved in the offense. All I know is we need Bradley to be in a playmaking role from this point on.
Stuart Holden Is Dearly Missed
Of all the games we have seen in the Klinsmann era, the USMNT's lackluster performance against Canada was the one that really made us notice the absence of the American playmaker.
In a game where the USMNT needed a creative force in the middle, there was simply no one to be found.
In a game where free kick after free kick simply was cleared by the first Canadian defender, all USMNT fans could do was dream of the curling balls Holden used to send in.
In a game where an experienced veteran had to take the offense by the reins and lead the team to victory, Holden was watching from home. It has been over a year since Stewie last suited up for the Stars and Stripes, and never before has his presence been so blatantly missed as Sunday night.
Clarence Goodson Is Solid, for Now...
As the endless search for a legitimate Centerback pairing continues, we now at least can feel a little more comfortable with the back line thanks to Clarence Goodson’s strong showing last night.
While Goodson may not be the most athletic of defenders, he may be one of the smartest we have on the roster and his good positioning was vital multiple times throughout the game. He isn’t the Centerback of the future, but Goodson certainly is a safer option than Onyewu, Ream or Cameron at this point.
Fabian Johnson Is More Important Than We Think
All things considered, Edgar Castillo put in a good shift last night after not dressing and warming up with the team prior to kick off. That being said, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the US struggled creating chances up the left wing and was opened up defensively without Johnson present.
Torres and Castillo could not get anything productive happening on the left side all game long, a massive contrast to when Johnson was in the lineup a few days before. Johnson also is less prone to “blunder moments” that Castillo can frequently be a victim of.
Overall, this game just highlighted just how important Johnson is to the defense and offense of this squad.
US Significantly Struggles Under Pressure
One of the harshest realizations most USMNT fans had during the disappointing performance against Canada was that when pressured, the Yanks run out of ideas very fast.
Canada did an excellent job pushing the USMNT back and giving Donovan and Dempsey absolutely no time on the ball in the attacking half.
Instead of using the Canadian’s over aggression to their advantage, the Yanks just frequently passed the ball backwards until an errant pass or poor ball over the top resulted in a turnover.
Hopefully, fatigue led to the USMNT’s lack of creativity when pressured last night. If not, CONCACAF teams just found a very easy way to silence the American offense.
USMNT Needs the 4-2-3-1 Formation
Jurgen Klinsmann’s decision to change to a 4-4-2 formation after playing a 4-2-3-1 against Scotland and Brazil sparked much confusion in the minds of fans. The US unsuccessfully tried to force the ball up the middle far too often and the team failed to get the ball wide enough to create dangerous opportunities.
The formation also severely limited the role Michael Bradley played in the offense as he was often forced to track back and cover being the last man in front of the defense. Why Klinsmann decided to change formations after two solid games against Brazil and Scotland is a mystery to me.
All I know is the 4-2-3-1 formation seems the most effective layout for the USMNT right now.