USA vs. Brazil: Live Commentary

Just one win to show in 16 against Brazil in 16 outings for the States. Tally differential: -21 to the home side. However, eleven matches have been decided by only one goal.

The US starting line-up in a few hours; Brazil’s has already been named.

Herculez vs. Hulk. Greek god vs. marvelous superhero. About to get it on….

117 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by saer on 2012/05/30 at 3:17 PM



  2. Posted by matthewsf on 2012/05/30 at 3:31 PM

    Where can the US gain an advantage tonight? With the continued 4-3-2-1 and Torres and Donovan working against an overzealous CM pairing of Sandro and Romelu. Both are excellent, excellent players, but they have a tendency to both over pursue and take the wrong angles.

    Anyone else getting ready to watch?


    • Posted by Sam on 2012/05/30 at 3:42 PM

      Getting psyched over here. Not sure if I agree with you on where the US could take advantage, however. Think this was mentioned in the comments on Orange Slices, but I think the continued 4-3-2-1 leaves the US too narrow against Hulk and Neymar on the flanks. Torres and Donovan would probably drop back to help out Dolo and Fabian, forcing the counter (the place where the US could exploit Sandro and Romelu) to start deeper and develop slower.

      I think we see something more like what we saw against France.


    • Posted by Antonio Henry on 2012/05/30 at 4:28 PM

      TBH I think our midfield trumps their midfield. Why not play to our “strengths”? (pun intended). Everyone’s talking so much about how are we going to deal with Brasil’s wide play, but none has been asking how they are going to deal with the numbers and strength we put in the midfield. Yes of course Brasil is the better team, but it would be naive for Menezes to not address the matter.

      I do understand that we played Scotland, who was horrible, but still…


  3. Posted by brysonwebster on 2012/05/30 at 3:44 PM

    I hope we go at Brazil. It may be risky, but what do we have to lose?


  4. SO REMEMBER, YOU HEARD IT HEAR FIRST! The US is gonna dominate brazil!! think germany-argentina 2010wc. brazil won’t know what hit them. im a firm believer in teamwork,strategies and tactics over superstar players. JK has put a system in place for this US TEAM( OUR BEST EVER) to now ground and pound teams into submission. We have quality at every position now. One of the best functioning midfields of any national team in the world.(donovan-dempsey-bradley-jones) the world has been waiting for the american superpower to flex its muscle in men’s soccer(football), with the win at italy, a demolition of scotland, and a domination of the great brazil, the world will finally be on notice what the US MEN’S NAT’L TEAM is capable of on the pitch. US 3-1


  5. what are we witnessing as us soccer fans? Jurgen klinsmann modeled his 06 german team from that of the top flight teams in the epl. he asked his germans to play ungermanlik; highpressure, uptempo, possession style (all leading to more goals) the likes of man u, arsenal,or chelsea. he has now modeled another team to play not like it’s national team style(american) if you will, but an epl team similar to chelsea or man u. i always felt that building a team using this model would be preferrable as these teams play year round and are superior to national teams in style of play, cohesion, and effectiveness


  6. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2012/05/30 at 3:57 PM

    Getting exposed on the flanks — isn’t that one of the main drawbacks of a 4-3-3??


    • Posted by Antonio Henry on 2012/05/30 at 4:30 PM

      Brasil are the one’s playing the 4-3-3, so technically it would be better for us to play a 4-4-2. The 4-3-2-1 will suffice though if Torres and Donovan drop wide to cover the flanks on D


  7. Posted by mbw on 2012/05/30 at 3:57 PM

    Been a while since I’ve gone into a US game less sure of what to expect.


  8. Posted by John on 2012/05/30 at 4:12 PM

    Just want to wish you all good luck…..[/NIELSEN]


  9. Posted by Union on 2012/05/30 at 4:13 PM

    Tonight’s starters for the #USMNT: Howard; Cherundolo, Onyewu, Bocanegra (c), Johnson; Bradley, Jones, Edu; Donovan, Gomez, Torres #USAvBRA


  10. Posted by Union on 2012/05/30 at 4:14 PM

    Was hoping for Boyd/Gomez over Edu, but figures they want to go heavy on defense.


  11. Posted by Bob on 2012/05/30 at 4:15 PM

    Gomez and Gooch in tonights lineup.


  12. Posted by Alex on 2012/05/30 at 4:17 PM

    Hopefully we can still protect the flanks. Especially the left side. Johnson is going to have to prove his defensive chops tonight


  13. Posted by Bob on 2012/05/30 at 4:20 PM

    Dempsey listed as a sub.


  14. Posted by SamT on 2012/05/30 at 4:26 PM

    Go Herc! A couple weeks ago we were wondering if he would be called. And now he has the start against Brazil.


  15. Posted by Union on 2012/05/30 at 4:36 PM

    Gomez deserves the start. Great chance for him to show what he can do. I expect Boyd/Dempsey to be subbed in for Gomez/Torres respectively. Maybe Dempsey for Edu if they want to make a tactical adjustment.


  16. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2012/05/30 at 5:04 PM

    This basically Brazil’s Olympic team, right?


  17. Posted by Antonio Henry on 2012/05/30 at 5:28 PM

    brazil are over pursuing trying to cut off passing lanes. we need to turn quicker and get eyes up


  18. Posted by Jason on 2012/05/30 at 5:28 PM

    PK seemed VERY harsh. Not that it didn’t strike Gooch’s arm but a penalty for that is excessive IMO. Then following it with the mystery yellow on JFT, this ref is not making any friends tonight.


    • I thought it was a little harsh too. But Onyewu should know better to keep his arms tucked in.

      Guessing the yellow was due to verbal abuse?


      • Posted by Jason on 2012/05/30 at 5:43 PM

        Agreed. Doesn’t mean I’m happy about it though! 😉


        • I’m willing to bet a decent amount of money that Paco said something en Español. And as my buddy put it, “the ref was spitting so much yellow you think he was calling flopping in a Real Madrid game.”


      • Posted by Jared on 2012/05/30 at 5:48 PM

        Onyewu never seems to learn how to avoid giving away penalties.

        Is this referee from a Concacaf nation south of the border? He’s been terrible.


  19. Posted by Ufficio on 2012/05/30 at 5:31 PM

    A five-man choreographed celebration after a penalty during a friendly? What a bunch of fucking idiots.


    • Posted by Jake Claro on 2012/05/30 at 6:12 PM

      Yeah no kidding. Certain acts set of my “punks” alarm…that one certainly did. Glad we got one back before the half. Should be 1-1.


      • Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/05/30 at 8:38 PM

        Imagine that…Marcelo acting like a dick. Very few players that I hate…just hate that prick.


  20. Posted by Union on 2012/05/30 at 5:37 PM

    Awful games so for? Gooch/Gomez. Torres so so


  21. Posted by Union on 2012/05/30 at 5:38 PM

    Also, want to know what is common of people getting over confident and predicting the US will win big games? This.


  22. Brazil have been pressing very well. At times, the US cannot string together more than three passes.


  23. Posted by Jared on 2012/05/30 at 5:57 PM

    Herc! That’s exactly why everyone thought he should be in the team.

    Great pass by MB90 for Johnson to run onto.


  24. Posted by Ufficio on 2012/05/30 at 6:03 PM

    I’m trying to keep my excitement tempered and all, but Michael Bradley is really looking like a super-stud these days.


  25. Who would have guessed that the US would be the only team with a goal from the run of play.


  26. Posted by Bob on 2012/05/30 at 6:08 PM

    Onyewu…awful. And Edu is just giving the ball away in midfield too many times. Dempsey in for Edu and Goodson in for Onyewu. Honestly Onyewu should be dropped from the team


  27. Posted by BernieBernier on 2012/05/30 at 6:09 PM

    Is it just me or is Gooch terrible with the ball tonight? Its like Brazil wants us to pass it to him.


    • I found it odd that Gooch was selected for the quicker more technical team and Cameron was chosen for a more physical match up


    • Posted by Ufficio on 2012/05/30 at 6:12 PM

      Totally agree. Gooch has looked pretty awful.


    • Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/05/30 at 8:47 PM

      No not you at all. They looked like they took a large step backwards with he and Boca together. Very strange selection considering who they were playing. I thought that Cameron looked OK against Scotland and his upside is much higher than Gooch’s at this point.
      It was painful watching them try to move the ball around and out from the back. This was a good opportunity to put Cameron in a tough situation and he couldn’t have done any worse than what you know Gooch brings.


  28. Onyewu and Edu had bad halves.

    Onyewu has been a liability with the ball at his feet. Always has been a knock on him. At one point I saw him start dribbling backwards when he received the ball with no Brazil player within 25 feet of him. Movement especially laterally has been suspect as well and he should have covered closer when the Brazil player was clearly bearing down and out pacing Bocanegra after he coughed it up. I really am not sure if Onyewu has the defensive stoutness to outweigh his shortcomings in the longterm with the pace of the international level.

    Edu is dropping back too deep and not pressing nearly close enough. He has been trying to play Bradley’s holder position all day and it has subtly (though influentially) allowed Brazil to pick their spots from the middle all day. Expect a sub and reconfigure with Demps coming in.


  29. Posted by twewlife on 2012/05/30 at 6:15 PM

    Why oh why do we continue to play Edu. He was by far the weakest player on the pitch in the first half. Yes Jones lost his man which lead to the second goal, but he’s also given some positive contributions to the game. Edu, he’s done nothing.

    Twenty says he gets pulled within 15 minutes in the second half.



  30. Posted by Rafael on 2012/05/30 at 6:15 PM

    Onyewu has been horrible. The penalty was harsh, but Onyewu should have been better with his positioning. Onyewu gave away the corner kick that led to the goal. Later he gave away another unnecessary corner kick. He gives away cheap corners by mishitting the ball, not clearing it to the sidelines, or away. I would have liked to have seen Cameron can the star. Cameron needs to be subbed in to get the experience, and show what he has got with this type of competition.


    • Posted by twewlife on 2012/05/30 at 6:18 PM



      • Posted by twewlife on 2012/05/30 at 6:22 PM

        gooch lost his marker, leading to the third goal….


        • Cherundolo was exposed, 2 vs 1 on the lead up to that goal.
          Who was tracking Marcelo? Somebody needs to pick him up – thought it should’ve been Bradley, but need to re-watch.


          • That was my initial reaction as well, but we had a total of three guys ball-watching on that play.


            • Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/05/31 at 6:50 AM

              Rewatched a few times and essentially you had three attackers (Marcelo, Neymar, Hulk) and 3 defenders (Dolo, Gooch, Mike).
              Mike jogs alongside Marcelo and Dolo is left with Hulk and Neymar overlapping, Gooch makes NO movement to cover Neymar’s run until after he’s out. Stevie is left completely in no man’s land and chooses to mark the first threat (Hulk) who plays to Neymar overlapping (still no Gooch slide from CB!) Gooch belatedly chooses to close down the touchline cross vs Neymar’s run as Mike decides to jump in to chase down Neymar since Gooch wasn’t. You can see Mike motion to Gooch to stay and pick up Marcelo. Gooch’s late response to Neymar’s run and inability to recognize Marcelo over his shoulder leaves a mess.
              Boca also doesn’t recognize the threat and takes up a goal mouth position instead of closing down Marcelo.
              I’d have to lay the root cause there at the CB’s feet (or head) who does a poor job of :
              First-Positioning to help out Dolo with two attackers from 30 yds out. If he slides 3-5 yds to his right and up to close or shuttle Marcelo wide that gives Mike a clear signal to close on Marcelo and gives Dolo cover so he can leave Hulk and follow Neymar’s run. Doing nothing gave the 2-1 advantage to Brazil on Dolo
              Second- Recognizing the overload and communicating to Mike to pick up Marcelo more aggressively
              Just really poor central defending to be straightforward about it.

            • I didn’t catch Bradley’s motion – I’ll have to go back and check it out again.

            • Alright, having watched it again, I’m ready to lay a lot more of the blame at Gooch’s stone feet. He’s not covering anybody at any point on that play; Bradley has to come towards the ball to mark Hulk and he’s right to expect his centerback to cover the goalmouth threat. Dolo did all he could on that play, he can’t step outside Hulk and push him towards the middle for obvious reasons.

              Overall, Gooch just seemed tentative in everything he did. The man’s a horse, but in terms of touch and passing skill, he’s on par with a Clydesdale. There’s probably something in that due to his not getting many games recently, but he and Boca cannot be on the field at the same time, especially in this system. I would rather see the ball at Timmy Howard’s feet with a defender bearing down than Gooch have the ball in space – at least Timmy can play the ball out from the back with some semblance of accuracy.

        • Agreed that Gooch lost the mark there. Drifted to the ball for no reason.


  31. Posted by Rafael on 2012/05/30 at 6:20 PM

    Onyewu and Bocanegra were starting to show their ages in the first half. Bocanegra got beat a couple of times and had that knockdown, give away, and burn that almost led to another goal. We are going to need younger CBs sooner rather than later.


    • Posted by Jared on 2012/05/30 at 6:26 PM

      It’s not even age with Gooch. It’s just that he’s never learned to adapt his style of play to deal with his injury. He was never the best marker/passer and now he’s lost the physical gifts he had initially. He’s only 30 but looks older than Boca by a few years.


  32. Gooch caught ball watching, poor marking overall. Now is how we see how respond to being down 2 again.


  33. Posted by Jared on 2012/05/30 at 6:28 PM

    That was awesome by Jones. Neymar is always in need of a good kicking just for his haircuts. Messi and Ronaldo have earned the right to be called the best in the world but because Neymar’s Brazilian he gets lumped in with them.


    • Believe it was Pele who made the comment originally.


      • Posted by Jared on 2012/05/30 at 6:38 PM

        Pele could use a good kicking from Jones at this point as well. He’s living in a fantasy world where he refuses to recognize Messi.


    • Posted by Piaggio on 2012/05/30 at 7:24 PM

      Agree 100%


    • Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/05/30 at 8:54 PM

      Jones just brings the nasty. He actually got the ball first but he fully utilized his trailing leg to blow up that little frig. In a nonfriendly thats a borderline red…he’s a crazy dude.
      BTW-Can we put Twellman in the Harkes bin? He is awful in most of the exact same ways….just a dope.


    • The only way that yellow could’ve been more satisfying is if that had been Marcelo that Jones blew up. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – he’s the Ron Artest of the USMNT.


      • Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/05/31 at 9:57 AM

        actually if we’re talking dream scenarios (cue the squiggly lines. and harp music..)…Jones is playing DMF (or BA-DMF) in a pickup game and within the first 10 mins sends the following group cartwheeling off the sideline (aka “Neymars’ them) (in order of desire for harm):
        -J Mourinho
        -M v Bommel
        -a recently recovered Michael Ballack (just one day before his triumphant return as captain for the next WC)
        -A Hitler (notice he’s right below Ballack in the order)
        – N de Jongg
        -Roy Keane
        -Jonny Evans
        -Darrin Fletcher
        -Rafa Marquez
        -John Harkes (wait….maybe Wynalda is in this game too….)
        -Roy Hudson (just to get him to shut up for few mins)
        -Sepp Blatter

        Please feel free to add your own….


        • Oh, this could be fun.

          I would submit that de Jong should be far higher on that list. Jonny Evans didn’t make a dirty tackle on Holden, it was more of a poorly timed one – at least, there didn’t seem to be malice in it.

          My list:
          -Nigel de Jong
          -Rafa Marquez – I still haven’t forgotten the spikes into Timmy’s leg
          -Ribery…this could actually kill Franck, I think
          -Busquets…the turd in Camp Nou’s punch bowl.
          -van Persie
          -Balotelli…that one would probably start a fight. I’d run and hide behind Gooch
          -the linesman who missed the handball during the 2002 quarterfinals.

          I’d rather see Boca put a shoulder into Hitler in a five-a-side game. Y’know, Captain America and all that.


          • Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/05/31 at 10:22 AM


            How could you tell if Ribery was dead..
            Ramos was an egregious miss on my part….
            Balotelli-as much as I don’t care for him or the antics I don’t think it would have any impact on him…he’d just wonder why people don’t understand him and want to criticize him…


  34. Posted by Jared on 2012/05/30 at 6:30 PM

    I think Ian Darke is confused on how to pronounce Brazilian names. I think he just called Juan – Who-an.


  35. Posted by Jared on 2012/05/30 at 6:34 PM

    Wow. Johnson just burned his man with a move that a Brazilian would be proud of. If we lose Chandler to Germany but keep Johnson then I think we’ve won in that trade.


  36. 2 kick saves in a row? Props


  37. Posted by Jared on 2012/05/30 at 6:50 PM

    If this game hasn’t convinced Klinsmann that Herc deserves time with the national team then I’m not sure what Klinsmann wants out of a striker. He’s made good runs and done a ton of running to try to pressure the ball. He even struck the ball across the keeper to force a rebound on the pass from Dempsey. Watching this display makes it all the more ridiculous that both Bradley and Klinsmann left him out for so long.


    • Posted by Mrs. Gomez on 2012/05/30 at 8:03 PM



    • Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/05/31 at 4:06 AM

      His intangibles are what this squad has missed since Charlie Davies went down IMO. That “want to” that makes everyone around you want to a little more. Never stops running and makes intelligent runs that open spaces for he and others. Jozy could learn alot watching him in the next few matches…


  38. Posted by Jared on 2012/05/30 at 6:58 PM

    The defense has been very suspect but the offense has created chances.

    I didn’t even get to type that comment before Pato beats the trap to score. Gooch is way late to come up. Gooch needs to go away again and this time not come back.


  39. Posted by Cornelius on 2012/05/30 at 7:10 PM

    I didn’t like the midfield setup to start, but Gooch looked like he’d be a liability in any setup. Cameron’s own goal against Scotland was unfortunate, but I’d like to see him or Goodson starting for the near future. Gooch was slow: slow dribbling, slow and sloppy passing, slow to pick up runners, and slow to set the offside trap.


  40. I don’t know…that’s a little hard on Gooch coming back from injury and not totally in form after playing quite well prior to his time off.

    Scoreline I think looks much worse than what transpired. US had Brazil on the back-foot during much of the 2nd, and opened itself up to some well executed Brazilian counters. But its the attacking edge that I’ve wanted to see against good squads that was on display here late in the game that still has me relatively positive about this game.

    The backline is a little worrisome, so something to continue to watch moving forward. I keep hoping for this, but Holden would be absolutely HUGE in Jurgen’s system. He either takes over for Edu, or Jones depending upon how many forwards we play, but he is much better on the ball then both of them and does as much tackling. Jones is a little too erratic and seems to hold the ball more than he should in the defensive half of the field, getting caught with the ball more than my liking.

    I could see Herc sticking here and perhaps seeing the team move to 2 forwards. He just has such a knack for getting into good goal scoring positions and makes a lot of really good runs that create space for the mid-field players.

    Overall, I think the US in the second half realized that the Brazilians aren’t oozing some kind of magical class and played them equally if not better despite the goal tally. This is something that I hope emerges more as the US plays under Jurgen. The mentality that “Hey, I play in the same leagues as these guys, what I’m I afraid of?”. This is not to say that the Brazilians aren’t incredible technical players—they are and the US needs to be very disciplined—but when the US was really pressing forward the Brazilians looked rattled; if not for a few superb saves, and some help from the crossbar, this game looks a lot different.

    Looking for a thrashing of Canada coming up, especially after the Olympic team debacle.


    • Posted by Cornelius on 2012/05/30 at 7:53 PM

      “…Gooch coming back from injury and not totally in form…” How is this a defense of Gooch’s play or JK’s decision to put/keep him in? This is a just an explanation of *why* he played badly. If Gooch is not in form, he shouldn’t be starting over other, better options.

      It’s been an eternity since Holden has played. Statements like “[Holden] is much better on the ball than [Edu and Jones] and does as much tackling” seem false to me — or at least really weird. Given that Holden isn’t playing soccer at all, and hasn’t for so long, it’s hard to evaluate him as better than anyone that currently plays.

      I agree about Herc and the US confidence in the second half. If the defense and midfield setup were better to start with, I think the scoreline would have been closer.


      • Posted by Piaggio on 2012/05/30 at 8:07 PM

        The back line needs new blood badly… Gooch is 30, and as we saw tonight he is increasingly unreliable, Boca is 33 and he has clearly lost pace, Cameron is still very inexperienced at this level and Goodson, while generally solid, is also 30 and not very fast… Apart from Ream, who I hope Ream improves a lot for 2014, I don’t see many other good young defenders :S….


        • Posted by Andrew M. on 2012/05/30 at 9:48 PM

          I think you’re exaggerating a little. John and Gonzales are only 24 or so. Both better than Ream from a purely defensive standpoint.


      • Posted by Piaggio on 2012/05/30 at 8:09 PM

        And I posted my reply in the wrong section XD. But yes, you are right about Holden. He is great when he’s fit, but after such terrible injuries we’ll never know if he will be the same again (I hate to be a pessimist, but I think we have already seen the best of him).


      • If my Holden comment seems “weird” or even “false” then you simply haven’t seen him play. I get it, he’s been hurt for awhile—I’m not ignoring that—but that doesn’t somehow erase the skill he was displaying as a CM in the Premier League where he was voted into the first half all-premier league team by fans (or something like that—too lazy at this point to look it up).

        I’ve seen enough to know that he is miles ahead of Edu on the ball, and based on his tackling rate—which many believe to be the reason he got hurt, in essence putting himself into dangerous situations on the pitch—it’s not beyond the imagination or reasonable inference to say that we wouldn’t be losing defensive quality if Holden swapped with Jones. A lot of people have given up on the young man, but I still think he has gas in the tank, and with his attitude, will be back playing at a high level in the near future. Perhaps I’m higher on him than others, but to me his technical ability is undeniable and he covers ground all day long. Call me crazy, but hoping that a player of his caliber returns to the squad doesn’t seem too far-fetched—which is precisely what irritates me when people wave off his return as if it would be a neutral event. I’m arguing it would be a huge development for the team, and there’s enough evidence from his time in England to back this up as far as I’m concerned.

        Also, who said my comment was a “defense” of Gooch. I was responding to the comment above that was saying he should never return. I disagree with that sentiment if its based purely on tonight’s display—his first USMNT game in quite awhile and coming off of an injury. He didn’t play well, but I don’t think that earns some kind of banishment, considering how well he was playing in the past year, how good he actually looked in prior USMNT games, and the aerial capability he showed in the latter stages of the game that makes him a nuisance for teams on set pieces. He’s getting up there for sure, I’m just not a fan of knee jerk hyperbole. If he continues to trend in a way that demonstrates his defensive capabilities are fully eroded, sure lets go with something else—and this is more and more likely as he becomes more prone to injury and periodic loss of form.


      • @Cornelius
        Wrote a long reply that didn’t stick…but the jist is, your comment about Holden is bizarre. It may seem “weird” or “false” only if you’ve never seen him play. I’ve watched him enough to know that he is miles above Edu regarding composure on the ball and passing ability, and considering that he had one of the highest (possibly the highest?) tackling rates in the Premier League when he was playing indicates to me that there would not be much of a drop in defensive quality if he played instead of Jones with a 2 striker formation. Indeed, he is a true box-to-box, cover the whole field for the whole game type of player.

        Yeah, I get it, he’s been hurt for awhile. But this doesn’t somehow wash away the player that he is when he steps onto the field and has demonstrated to be at a very high level. His technical ability is undeniable, and his motor constant. This hand waving about his return, that it wouldn’t be of significance is what strikes me as weird—like it would be some neutral event or hardly desirable. I just think that’s bizarre and I continue to hope, and have confidence that with his overall attitude, he will return to a high level of play soon and be a major contributor to the USMNT. I guess these are tough times to be an optimist.


      • Additionally—why would my comment be a “defense” of Gooch? I was simply pointing out that the comment about him needing to be banished, made by the person before you, was hyperbolic—indeed, as you acknowledge, my comment was an explanation for why his performance may have been so poor, not some defense for his overall inclusion in the squad tonight. If he continues to slide, sure make a change. But in an exhibition, give him a run and see where he is—You’ve got another game against Canada to find the pairing you want and Gooch when on his game can be dominant; tonight he wasn’t. Though I would say, his aerial play late in the game is precisely why you roll the dice in this game——he gives opponents fits on set pieces, as he did when he was healthy and in form with Porto.

        I just think that if you’re going to make outlandish statements, they should at least be based on a longer timescale and consider context. He was playing well in Europe, had played well in his prior appearances with the USMNT, so give him a run to see where his form is at after the injury. I guarantee you won’t see Jurgen taking the same risks in qualifying games.


    • Posted by Jared on 2012/05/31 at 8:27 AM

      Didn’t Gooch come back from the injury about a month and a half ago playing in at least a handful of games for Sporting? That seems like enough time to not look like you’ve barely played the position before.

      I think you’re being overly optimistic on Holden. Injuries won’t take away the mental aspect of his game but it can very easily take away his physical ability especially as they are knee injuries. The amount of ground he can cover is another aspect that will greatly be affected. He’s barely played in a year and a half.


      • Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/05/31 at 9:35 AM

        For a sad reality check on Stu and massive unrealized upside….google “Owen Hargreaves”….sniff….


      • Disagree on Gooch. His playing time at Sporting has been sporadic since his return—he has played in two games since April. Considering how long it took him to look comfortable from his last injury, even a handful of games is not enough to knock the rust off, and two certainly isn’t (The last game he was sent of during the 67th minute, so It’s technically not even two full games). Especially for a defender whose game is premised on physical dominance.

        I would agree I’m optimistic on Holden. For every Hargreeaves there’s plenty of examples of players recovering and playing at their pre-injury level. It certainly raises the possibility that the physical side of his game won’t return, but at his age I think he’s in a better position than most to return. I realize this is a different injury, but look at how David Beckham was able to return after tearing his achilles—and he has much more mileage on his body than Stu. I also think that, let’s just say Stu returns to the field in the near future, his coverage of the field is not going to be effected even if his knee was not 100%. Perhaps his overall speed, agility, and acceleration, but it’s his desire and internal motor that gives him the ability to track as much ground as he does—it’s in his lungs more than his legs. Maybe he won’t be tracking it as quickly, but I don’t see why the injury would effect his overall ability to cover ground throughout an entire game to a substantial degree.


  41. Oh yeah, and as if it needed to be said, but…Fabian Johnson is a stud. I know we shouldn’t utter the words Chandler here, but man, if that dude can make up his mind, all of a sudden the right-back position is looking deep with a healthy Lichaj in the mix.


    • Posted by Piaggio on 2012/05/30 at 7:58 PM

      I don’t think they should ever call Chandler back. Really, who turns down the chance to play a World Cup? If he does, the reason is probably because he is just not that committed to playing for the US, which is alright, but I don’t think JK should welcome him back anytime he feels like kicking some balls in Miami while his teammates freeze in Nuremberg. Don’t forget he already turned down the opportunity to play an official tournament for the US; it’s not even about love for the country, this kid is just not being professional. The US already has good options (some may be a little raw, but still) for WBs and Wingers and JK should start building on those players who seem more committed.

      But you are right, Johnson is a beast 😀


  42. Posted by Piaggio on 2012/05/30 at 8:02 PM

    Players that can play LB: Castillo, Johnson, Lichaj
    RB: Dolo, Lichaj, Parkhurst, Gatt
    LW: Shea, Dempsey, Johnson, Gyau
    RW: Donovan, Dempsey, Gyau, Gatt, Shea

    Throw in some of the young wingers who could very well play some matches at RB or LB and the US should have no problem covering those positions.

    PS: This is, of course, considering they keep getting better and stay fit (for the young guys especially)


  43. Posted by Bob on 2012/05/30 at 8:07 PM

    Solid games for Bradley, Gomez and Johnson. There is no room in the team for guys that can’t play simple possession. Onyewu is nervous when he gets the ball and there is no one within 25 yards of him. Sorry, not at this level. Edu just doesn’t cut it as a central midfielder if he can’t possess the ball in tight spaces. As an aside, since obviously we still need his quality, but Donovan had a bit of a nightmare today. He was completely shut down by Marcelo. That’s one of his major weaknesses…playing in tight spaces under pressure. Give him space or send him behind a defense and the guy is a top-notch player. But, pressure him immediately when he gets the ball, and he has problems. Also, Torres has to be on the pitch. The guy has has just too much quality.


  44. Posted by narkid on 2012/05/30 at 10:05 PM

    you win some, you lose some. reading about how awful people think edu was tonight, i cant help but think about world cup 2010 and the ghana game. i really think marvell wynne might just be the answer on the right side. no way he gives brasil all that space to operate tonight, no way.


    • Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/05/31 at 3:58 AM

      Oh my god….Marvell Wynne?….over the captain of a Bundesliga side? Dolo on his worst day should still be insulted… Marvell Wynne……???
      Please keep in mind that was Brazil yesterday and Stevie did very well IMO with nothing but Gooch to rely on inside of him. Having Neymar and Marcelo running at you for 75 mins is no picnic and the Marcelo goal scored was not his fault as Gooch just brain locked (as is far too common with him) and ball watched and didn’t look over his shoulder for his mark.

      Please can Marvell Wynne just be retired to the Jonny Bornstein HOF? If you watch the quality of a Fabian Johnson and Lichaj, Chandler etc out wide its obvious we’re moved past the point where an athletic guy with limited ball skills belongs on the MNT.


      • Posted by narkid on 2012/05/31 at 5:12 AM

        kickin, do you remember cherundolo on his worst day? it probably came in the first qualifier four years ago against guatemala, when he picked up red for trying to pull down a guatemalan after he was beaten. marvell is an MLS champion and colorado needs one player, to really be good, and it is not larentowitz or omar cummings.

        no offense, but if we had it your way junior bradley would be playing in the sand somewhere in egypt and holden would be pushing a wheelchair around running the central mid for the us mens team, and chandler would be wearing his mothers colors under his us team jersey.

        marvell wynne is a winner and has the heart that coach klinsmann is looking for. if coach ever watches a replay of the netherlands game from the last olympics, then marvell wynne will be in the next us mens camp.

        off topic, but freddy adu did hit a brace last night and his MLS team did not lose a third round us cup game.


        • Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/05/31 at 6:27 AM

          not sure where your Bradley comments come from unless….wait for it…..unless….narkid =dkranky spelled backwards (sort of). You trickster! I never would have suspected you until your completely irrational interpretation of my Mikey commens slipped out. I should have know that that was you under that Marvell Wynne Rapids cheerleading outfit.

          Many have been looking for you here to give props for your Mikey ManLove that you have so willingly offered up like a high school prom date. Good stuff and good to hear from you…even if you’re way off base))))


          • Posted by narkid on 2012/05/31 at 7:44 AM

            kickin, if i remember correctly, dkranky is a big dc united fan and of course a junior fanman. the hungry beast rules!!!! coach klinsmann, please release the beast


  45. Posted by WatertownMA on 2012/05/31 at 4:02 AM

    The U.S. had its chances, but didn’t finish or put the ball on goal. Bocanegra missed an open header. Edu, Torres and Donovan put shots over or wide. Dempsey came inches away from a goal, as did Boyd. Donovan could not beat his man when faced w/ one-on-one all night; at minimum four occasions where the defender took the ball off Donovan’s foot). Bad marking by Jones on that corner-missing offensively??

    Bright spots for me were Johnson and Bradley. John getting passed his marks to serve balls and Bradley’s touch and distribution looked great.

    Sometimes I wonder if there is a lack of anticipation when defending. That is anticipating how your opponent is attacking on a given play. Likewise, defensive reactions appear to be slowing.

    Other than attacking set pieces or corners, there doesn’t seem to be much use for Gooch anymore. He looked awkward-may as well have Ochocinco out there.


    • Posted by WatertownMA on 2012/05/31 at 4:06 AM

      Another bright side, the U.S. looked a lot better than when it played Brazil just after the 2010 World Cup.


    • Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/05/31 at 4:15 AM

      As many have stated, I think the Gooch Boca pairing may account for much of the “anticipation/speed of thought” issues that you saw out there last night. Both tended to be recovery defenders (ie blocking shots, chasing down attacks, strong in the air etc) that made up for their positional and anticipation issues. Now that they are physically limited by age/injury its become obvious they cannot cut it in this system..

      I don’t think its an overreaction to say that last night showed how unfit Gooch is especially for the Klinsmann style. His well below avg ball handling and distribution, coupled with poor positional/speed of thought was an anchor around the neck of the back four last night IMO.


  46. Posted by BernieBernier on 2012/05/31 at 5:51 AM

    Quick thoughts from the game:

    – I really need to say that despite the 4-1 score I felt better than I did from a number of previous 2-0 losses. The boys developed some good attacking opportunities against a great team.

    – Michael Bradley is really good. The idea that he is solely a DM needs to be buried.

    – Fabian Johnson is really really good. I am surprised that there is no talk of him going to a big team. He is so good moving forward. Can go wide and cross or cut in.

    – Gooch just doesn’t fit into this system. I think at this point he needs to be Boca’s back-up. Boca is more than capable of defending in the air. Boca can be the tough guy (see shoulder charge against Scotland). I think Boca and Gooch is something that should only be played in certain circumstances. Not sure if that means it should be Goodson or Cameron or someone else but hopefully Gooch moved himself down the depth chart based on last nights performance.

    – Hercules did very well, not sure if he surpassed Altidore but definitely put himself in the number 2 slot and made it a competition for #1.

    – I was really bummed for Boyd. He did everything right on that follow-up and I am really rooting for him to score.

    – Edu doesn’t seem to be as bad to me as he seems to be to everyone else. Edu is not as good as Bradley or Jones but I think both of those players are very good.


    • Posted by Adkins on 2012/05/31 at 6:01 AM

      I agree with most of your comments but Edu was criminally bad. He just doesn’t have the first touch necessary to play the midfield position at this high of a level. He lost the ball multiple times because he couldn’t control the simplest of passes under pressure. He’s physically gifted but he doesn’t have enough technique to play in our midfield against the top squads.


      • Posted by Berniebernier on 2012/05/31 at 7:10 AM

        Would you rather have Beckerman than Edu? Beckerman lacks the speed and was exposed against Solvenia. Edu was exposed for not having a good enough touch versus Brazil. Unless you want to change the formation you can either try and sell Beckerman over Edu (which I am not buying), or Sacha over Edu which I think takes a lot away from the defense.


        • Posted by Adkins on 2012/05/31 at 7:39 AM

          I’m not saying that I want Beckerman or Sacha… No way. All I’m pointing out is that Edu had a very bad game in midfield and it was due to the fact that his first touch is consistently poor. How we solve that is another issue entirely.

          Personally, I think that you have to look at a different formation whether it be a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3. Ideally, I would like a midfield triangle of Bradley-Jones-Dempsey with Bradley as the holder and Jones in a shuttling role. However, I don’t think that Dempsey plays defensively enough with the national team to make it work at this point in time.

          If I were to go off the cuff with a lineup that I would like to see in our next qualifier, given the people we have right now, I would set it up like this.

          Cherundolo — Goodson/Cameron — Bocanegra — Johnson

          Bradley — Jones

          Donovan — Dempsey — Torres


          I would unbalance it to the right with Torres cutting in so that Johnson can overlap. I liked how Torres and Johnson linked up last night the few times I saw it. I love Cherundolo but I don’t think his attacking skills are quite as useful so if we push through the right and create space for Johnson to run into, I think we can keep Cherundolo in a support position with his focus being on defense.


          • Posted by Berniebernier on 2012/05/31 at 8:01 AM

            Point taken. Edu did have a bad game. Although I am not sure I expect much more of Edu against this level of competition.

            I like your 4-2-3-1 formation however I worry that Dempsey ruins the pressure that everyone else contributes. If one man doesn’t press the press doesn’t work.

            I am struggling with what the formation for qualifying should be. Will be interested to see what we play against Canada.

            I could see Dempsey playing up top behind the 4-3-2-1 that we saw the last two games. I could see the 4-2-3-1 you suggested. I could see a 4-3-3 with Bradley Jones Torres in the middle and Dempsey-Lando-Altidore/Gomez up top.


            • Posted by Adkins on 2012/05/31 at 9:30 AM

              I agree with you about Dempsey. I’m afraid that a 4-3-3 with Dempsey and Donovan as the wide forwards would be harmful to us in terms of width. Both of them tend to cut in towards the middle. If only one of them did it, I’d be okay as it’s nice to create some space for an overlapping full back but both cutting in just makes it easier to defend.

              I could possibly see in the future a formation like this


              Johnson would be tasked with keeping width and cherundolo would have to make the overlapping runs on Dempsey’s side. If Chandler was to play for us, I would replace Cherundolo with him in the long run.

  47. Quick question, and I hope it’s not a stupid one, why is Maurice Edu not moved to CB. I know they tried it awhile back. But it seems he would be the perfect fit to play beside Boca. Again I am a novice so teach me something here


    • Posted by Jared on 2012/05/31 at 8:35 AM

      That position is a tough one to just jump into if you don’t play it regularly. The defense has to move as a unit so often to employ the offside trap that even the split second lag that would occur from a guy that has to think the play rather than just feel the play can be crucial as it was last night with Gooch being a couple steps behind his teammates on the Pato goal. You just don’t really want someone playing a position for the national team that they rarely play otherwise because there is far less time to train with the national team so the time needs to be spent on perfecting things like the offside trap rather than teaching a player how to play the position then getting to the other aspects.


    • It’s a combination of chemistry a lack of experience. If he were getting regular reps there with his club team then I’d be very much in favor of the idea, but you don’t see many guys move to centerback from another position for their national side – and if they do, it’s generally from fullback.


  48. Posted by Rafael on 2012/05/31 at 2:31 PM

    Whatever happened to Heath Pearce? Why not give him a Shot at LB to back up Johnson. He can’t be worse than Castillo. Klinsmann hasn’t called him in since he was injured for JK’s first game.


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