USMNT: Winners and Losers from Friendly with Russia

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USMNT: Winners and Losers from Friendly with Russia
Matt Stamey-US PRESSWIRE

Some friendlies matter more than others, either because of the opponent being played or the juxtaposition of the match with other national team events.

The U.S. men's national team (USMNT) friendly in Krasnodar, Russia, today had added significance for both reasons.

Despite their disappointing performance in Euro2012 this summer, the Russians are a top side, highly ranked and currently undefeated in qualifiers for the next World Cup.

Also, the next round of CONCACAF qualifiers will start in under three months.

Given that significance, Coach Jurgen Klinsmann can be satisfied with today's 2-2 tie. 

He may also note that the Russian goals were absolute gifts. Furthermore, Klinsmann may reflect on the fact his counterpart on the Russian side, Fabio Capello, fielded an A-minus team. It did not include Arsenal forward Andrei Arshavin nor Reading striker Pavel Pogrebnyak, but beyond those omissions, Capello put Russia's best on the field.

Comparatively, the USMNT was without Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan, which arguably sets our grade down to B-plus (because Dempsey and Donovan are more significant to the Americans than Arshavin and Pogrebnyak are to the Russians).

However, dwelling on those points too long might make one think the USMNT controlled the pitch, which is not quite what happened, or otherwise gloss over some very real ongoing concerns.

We are not going to do that here. This slideshow will present the full slate of USMNT "winners" and "losers" in all their glory and infamy.

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