United States vs Mexico: Thoughts from Jurgen Klinsmann's First Match in Charge

Andrew Jordan@@Andrew_JordanSenior Writer IAugust 11, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 10: Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann of the United States watches the team warmup before the game against Mexico at Lincoln Financial Field on August 10, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

After 12 much hyped days in the US Soccer community, Jurgen Klinsmann took charge of his first match as manager of the United States national team.

In what turned out to be a much better match than was expected, the United States tied Mexico 1-1 and were clearly the better side towards the final 30 minutes of the match.

From the beginning of ESPN's telecast there were mixed messages sent from the analysts. In the case of Alexi Lalas, he showed excitement for Klinsmann's first match and thought he was going to do wonders for the team. Meanwhile, Taylor Twellman proceeded on the side of caution and said that it was going to be too soon to expect results from Klinsmann.

In the minutes following the debate over Klinsmann, an interview between Julie Foudy and Klinsmann took place that showed where Klinsmann planned to take the national team.

The interview showcased how he planned to have poorer players start to infiltrate the national team rankings and his aim is to make the US into a top team, not a team that is going to win a World Cup immediately.

Klinsmann also removed the players last names from the back of their uniforms for this match. Personally I thought that was a brilliant move.

Mexico celebrating their only goal
Mexico celebrating their only goalDrew Hallowell/Getty Images

Not only did Klinsmann show that the shield on the front of the jersey is more important than the name on the back, but also that players will only get their name on the back in big matches.

Coming out in a 4-2-3-1 formation, the US were looking to take an offensive mindset (a feature Klinsmann wanted to implement) and five of the players starting had not played for the US in over a year.

The first half showed hints of the Bob Bradley era. The US lacked energy in the first few minutes and were on the defensive.

Despite starting to show some offensive flair, Mexico's Oribe Peralta was able to score in the 17th minute on a great cross from Andrés Guardado. The goal showed that the US were leaving too many holes open and that the Bob Bradley mentality of letting in early and undeserved goals was still in the minds of American players.

The US went on to play most of the remainder of the first half allowing Mexico to control the tempo and did not show complete teamwork.

However, Klinsmann was relaxed and did not take the half too seriously despite the fact that Mexico probably should have had more chances to score.

Starting off the second half, Klinsmann made no new changes and the US was able to register their first offensive chance in the 56th minute when a Carlos Bocanegra header was saved by Guillermo Ochoa.

But that offensive pressure only increased when Klinsmann took out the unimpressive duo of Edson Buddle and Jermaine Jones and implemented young MLS players Juan Agudelo and Brek Shea.

Almost immediately, the attacking game for the US picked up and after Michael Bradley was taken out in the 72nd minute, the US attack reached another level.

The Americans were able to utilize quick passes, which tired out the Mexican defense and allowed for deeper penetration into the Mexican penalty area.

In the 73rd minute, Agudelo was able to make a nice feed to Shea, who was able to beat the Mexican defense and feed substitute Robbie Rogers with his second ever goal for the national team, tying the match at one.

On the sideline, Klinsmann celebrated the goal with the same intensity as he did when he played for the German national team. He was clearly the most excited person on the sideline for the goal and he paid tremendous dividends for making the correct substitutions.

The US nearly got another goal two minutes later when Landon Donovan was tripped in the penalty area, but nothing was called. This call angered Klinsmann more than any other call that evening yet he was still extremely composed.

In the 86th minute, the United States was able to create a brilliant attacking play when Agudelo was able to feed Rogers on an apparent breakaway. However, Gerardo Torrado tripped up Rogers from behind which surprisingly did not lead to the Mexican getting sent off.

If Rogers wasn't fouled, he probably would have scored and won the game for the US.

The final great chance for the US came in the first minute of stoppage time. However, substitute Ricardo Clark did not feed Shea in the penalty area, instead trying for a cross to Donovan that missed badly.

After the match ended in a 1-1 draw, there were two distinct ways you could look at the match.

For Mexico, their players walked off dejected in a way that made them look like they lost. Of course if El Tri would have won, they would have won their fourth straight match against the United States for the first time since 1965-1975.

Landon Donovan was impressive against Mexico in Jurgen Klinsmann's first match in charge
Landon Donovan was impressive against Mexico in Jurgen Klinsmann's first match in chargeDrew Hallowell/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Klinsmann looked happy in his interview with Rob Stone. He praised his players and absolutely has some fantastic positives to take from this match.

Overall, five players really stood out to me with their great performances. Those players were Donovan, Shea, Agudelo, Rogers and Kyle Beckerman.

In the case of the final four players, they certainly will get much more chances and certainly made a great impression on Klinsmann. Of course Donovan will continue to start and thrive with Klinsmann in charge.

Now the outlook for the Americans is on their September 2 friendly with Costa Rica. Getting another chance to play a CONCACAF opponent will allow the US to further implement their attacking game plan and to get stronger as a side.

For Jurgen Klinsmann, my final impression is that he is that he is the right man to lead the United States into the 2014 World Cup and take this program to the next level.

I did not expect a positive result like the one we got from this friendly and he showed that not only will he make this side more complete, but that he cares about winning more than Bob Bradley did with his emotion on the sideline.

For more US Soccer insight, follow me on Twitter! @Andrew_Jordan


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