USMNT's Draw with Scotland Highlights Depth Issues for Jurgen Klinsmann

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistNovember 16, 2013

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Let's be brutally honest: The 0-0 draw that the United States recorded with Scotland was a drab affair that delighted no one in either camp. 

For the United States, the draw was even more disappointing because they had beaten the Scots on their home soil in May 2012 by a 5-1 margin. 

Just like every horrific showing by the Yanks in the Jurgen Klinsmann era, an issue that was on the backburner got its turn in the limelight.

Despite having first-team regulars like Tim Howard, Michael Bradley, Omar Gonzalez and Jozy Altidore in the starting 11, the Americans could only muster three legitimate chances on the Scotland goal all match long.

The glaring issue with the play of Klinsmann's side on Friday night at Hampden Park was the lack of creativity throughout the midfield. 

With Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Fabian Johnson and Graham Zusi all not in the squad for the matches against Scotland and Austria, Klinsmann was forced to play Alejandro Bedoya, Sacha Kljestan and Eddie Johnson behind Altidore in the 4-2-3-1 formation that the manager favors.

The problem was that Kljestan had never played the central attacking role in the 4-2-3-1 before; he is usually a defensive midfield prospect. 

GLASGOW, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 15:  Sacha Kljestan of the USA and Charlie Mulgrew (R) of Scotland compete for the ball during the international friendly at Hampden Park on November 15, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland.  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

The second troubling fact about the United States midfield was that once again, Eddie Johnson failed to show up and prove why he should be handed a starting spot at the international level.

Bedoya, whose stock has been rising since his move to Nantes in Ligue 1 during the summer, was the best of the trio, although that should not be taken as a compliment.

As the second half continued, Klinsmann opted to use Brek Shea and Mix Diskerud in the midfield. Shea delivered another decent performance off the bench for the Yanks, but he also failed to create any true chances on goal.

With another match coming up on Tuesday and the same underperforming midfielders to choose from, Klinsmann needs to shake things up a bit and see what he can get out of Shea and Diskerud as starters. 

One other option would be to hand Brad Evans a start in the midfield instead of using him at right-back. Klinsmann called Eric Lichaj into the squad for a reason: to see if he could add depth at right-back.

Brad Evans is regular starter in the midfield for the Seattle Sounders.
Brad Evans is regular starter in the midfield for the Seattle Sounders.Kyle Rivas/Getty Images

So why not make a common-sense decision and give Evans a shot somewhere in the midfield while handing Lichaj a start at right-back, a position that the Nottingham Forest player is actually accustomed to playing on a regular basis? 

If the manager of the United States can't get any quality out of the players mentioned above, then he will have to hope that nothing happens to his star quartet of Donovan, Dempsey, Zusi and Fabian Johnson in the months leading up to the World Cup. 

Klinsmann has proven he can get by with a makeshift back four and with forwards who may not produce as much as he wants, but when it comes to the midfield, he is royally screwed at the moment given how poorly his reserves played when given the chance to impress on Friday night. 


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