United States' Fringe Players Fail to Impress Fans, Klinsmann Against Canada

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJanuary 30, 2013

HOUSTON,TX - JANUARY 29: Brad Evans #8 of the USA goes up for a header against  Terry Dunfield #7 of Canada in the first half at BBVA Compass Stadium on January 29, 2013 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Going into Tuesday's men's national team friendly against Canada, there was plenty of hope that the fringe players selected for Jurgen Klinsmann's January training camp would impress in front of the crowd at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.

The result after 90 minutes of play was nothing like what American fans had expected to see. The United States played to a 0-0 draw that can only be described as ugly. 

Canada decided to park the bus in defense from the outset and it befuddled the American attack the entire match. The first 45 minutes were barely watchable, with Canada getting the best chance on goal early through MLS veteran Dwayne De Rosario. 

The forward pairing of Chris Wondolowski and Eddie Johnson failed to muster any chances on the Canadian goal in the first half.

But one player who disappointed more than Wondolowski and Johnson was Brad Evans, who received a surprise start in the attacking midfield position. Evans played 45 minutes in the attacking midfield position before being banished to right-back at the start of the second half. 

Hometown hero Brad Davis was supposed to be the shining light in Klinsmann's struggling attack, but it was not to be for the Houston Dynamo star, who most likely will not get a call for the first match of the Hex against Honduras on February 6. 

Klinsmann had plenty of room to make changes and give other players a chance to shine off of the bench. The U.S. manager did use all six of his substitutions, but only two of them proved to be somewhat effective as the Americans desperately searched for a goal.

Josh Gatt and Benny Feilhaber came on at halftime and were the two most successful players in the American attack.

Feilhaber guided a few long passes into the final third of the pitch, but the final touch was lacking from the forwards in the American lineup. Gatt also provided a much-needed spark on the pitch with his pace on the left wing. 

Amongst all the pitiful attacking play on Tuesday night, Gatt stood out for a brief 10-minute spell and will most likely make the trip to Honduras next week. 

As for the players who did not receive much attention for their strong play on the pitch against Canada, Kyle Beckerman earned his spot on the roster for the Honduras match as well as Omar Gonzalez.

Beckerman was assigned to play in the defensive midfield role in front of the center-back pairing of Gonzalez and Matt Besler. 

The Real Salt Lake midfielder came out of the match in the 74th minute and he was the only player in the midfield to earn plenty of praise from fans and pundits alike for his performance against the neighbors from up north. 

Gonzalez was the second-best player on the pitch for the U.S., and he showed glimpses of his attacking prowess on two set pieces in the second half. There was no doubt that Gonzalez had a secure spot on the squad moving forward, and he did nothing to hurt his standing with Klinsmann in this latest friendly. 

Other than Beckerman and Gonzalez, no player who stepped foot onto the pitch Tuesday night even deserves a trip to San Pedro Sula in eight days, but some players like Johnson and Graham Zusi will travel with the team because of their performances over the past year for the national team. 

For the rest of the players involved in the January training camp and Tuesday's awful performance, the next shot to impress will come this summer at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, where a less experienced squad is expected to be fielded.

For everyone that watched the atrocious display of the so-called B Team on Tuesday, we can only hope that the A Team steps up next week and erases the horrid performance against Canada from our memories. 

Follow me on Twitter, @JTansey90. 


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