Austria vs. USA: 6 Things We Learned

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistNovember 19, 2013

Austria vs. USA: 6 Things We Learned

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    The United States men's national team fell to Austria, 1-0, on Tuesday in a friendly played in Vienna. 

    While the Yanks did show some improvements from their Friday draw with Scotland, they could not find the same attacking inspiration and the goals that they found during CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. 

    Although the United States were missing some key players, they still fell short in the end against an opponent they should have beaten.

    Here are six things we learned from the United States' loss to Austria. 

Geoff Cameron Inserted His Name into the Right-Back Discussion

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    As if the starting right-back discussion needed another candidate, Geoff Cameron turned in a solid performance in his normal position for Stoke City on Tuesday for the United States. 

    Cameron impressed with plenty of overlapping runs down the right wing as the United States searched for their elusive first goal that never came to be. 

    Cameron will undoubtedly make the trip to Brazil next summer, but where he will play has been up for debate since he began playing at right-back for his club. 

    With Steve Cherundolo still in the recovery process from his injuries and Brad Evans not being able to wow Jurgen Klinsmann enough to make the position his own, Cameron could start at right-back during the World Cup.

    It is likely that Cameron will continue to start at right-back throughout most of the English Premier League season, and if he continues to deliver a ton of quality for the Potters, Klinsmann could slot him into the starting 11 at right-back in Brazil. 

Michael Bradley Is Still the Most Valuable U.S. Player

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    This may be stating the obvious and beating a dead horse at the same time, but it is worth mentioning again that Michael Bradley's presence in the American lineup is immense. 

    Bradley had a bit of an off night against Scotland on Friday, but he did not disappoint in Vienna on Tuesday. 

    The Roma midfielder began to march forward in search of a goal as the second half went on as he let Jermaine Jones, and then Mix Diskerud and Sacha Kljestan, sit back in front of the back four. 

    While all of the talk after the match will be about how much the Yanks missed the likes of Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey, losing Bradley for Brazil would be a massive blow to the World Cup dreams of the United States. 

    Bradley is the fulcrum of the American midfield, and without him, Tuesday's result could have been a bit worse. 

Despite the Importance of Game, Goal-Line Technology Is Needed

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    The United States were denied the opportunity of celebrating an opening goal in the first half when Cameron's header clearly bounced over the goal line

    Before Cameron's header off of a Bradley corner found the back of the net and was not called, Austria's Marko Arnautovic handled the ball, but the referee failed to notice that as well. 

    As the match moved further into the second half and the Americans failed to score, the cries for the need of goal-line technology got louder.

    While the Americans have a valid argument here, the Yanks should not be making the excuse that the referee screwed them out of a victory.

    In all honesty, the Yanks should have scored a goal or two in the match and erased any cries for the reversal of a blatant bad call. 

Austria Has Some Real Quality in Their Attack

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    Say what you want about the Austria side that lined up against the United States, but they showed plenty of quality, especially in their attack.

    Arnautovic showed why Stoke City splurged some September cash on him and why he is starting ahead of Brek Shea for the Potters with his performance in front of his home fans at the Ernst Happel Stadion.

    Austria's starting forward, Marc Janko, gave the center-back pairing of Omar Gonzalez and John Brooks fits for most of the first half, and he was rewarded with the lone goal of the match in the 33rd minute.

    The host side on Tuesday also featured a world-class player in an unfamiliar position, which sounds all too familiar given the positioning of the United States, in David Alaba.

    Alaba lined up in the central midfield for his county instead of the left-back spot that he occupies for Bayern Munich. 

    If they had not been in a group with Germany and Sweden during UEFA World Cup qualifying, Austria may have been playing in a match with more meaning on Tuesday. 

John Brooks Is Not Ready for the Big Stage Just Yet

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    With Matt Besler back in the States getting ready for the second leg of Sporting Kansas City's Eastern Conference Final matchup with Houston and Cameron filling in at right-back, Brooks was given the starting nod at center-back.

    Brooks had one glaring mistake in the 33rd minute as he failed to clear the ball and set up Janko's shot that eventually beat Tim Howard. 

    While he will probably be handed a spot on the 23-man roster for Brazil if he keeps up his good club form, Brooks may not see much playing time, especially after his blunder against Austria.

    We have always known that Brooks' name is one for the future, and he proved once again on Tuesday that he is not yet ready to take over the starting role at center-back alongside Gonzalez on a permanent basis. 

Jurgen Klinsmann Has Plenty of Time to Fix Issues

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    Having two disappointing showings against European opposition could not have come at a better time for Klinsmann. 

    Now that he has digested the ugly reality that he has a squad that is not fully ready for Brazil, the United States manager will be able to look at the tape of both matches to see what his squad can improve on.

    With the January camp for all non-European based players coming up in just six weeks, Klinsmann will be able to coach up some of the mistakes made by his players during their ventures to Scotland and Austria.

    If we have learned anything about Klinsmann during his time as United States manager, it is that he can fix the mistakes from previous matches and turn the Yanks into an even better side.

    Here's hoping he is able to do that once more before the Americans visit Brazil for their most important business trip yet in June. 


    Follow me on Twitter, @JTansey90.