USA v. Ukraine: Live Commentary

One hour to Cam vs. Kono at UFC 238. (If you missed the preview, it’s here.)

USA vs. Ukraine as the US tunes for Brazil.

The grounds ... via Rog Bennett, ESPN.

The grounds … via Rog Bennett, ESPN.

33 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Tristan on 2014/03/05 at 12:02 PM

    Jermaine Jones continues his aesthetic transformation into Cobi Jones


  2. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2014/03/05 at 12:28 PM

    This US back line is so disjointed. Should not be done so easily with simple balls over the top. Very lucky not to be 0-2 down.


  3. Posted by Ufficio on 2014/03/05 at 12:33 PM

    Altidore’s had a couple of beautiful lay-offs that would’ve put him in on goal with a better return pass. Really too bad.


  4. Posted by Ufficio on 2014/03/05 at 12:38 PM

    Is Cameron’s crossing this poor for Stoke?


  5. Posted by James H on 2014/03/05 at 12:41 PM

    US looks slow, ponderous. Nice recovery by Gooch and Brooks, but boy do they look rough. Ukraine is strong!


  6. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2014/03/05 at 12:43 PM

    One thing that is easy to over look is Bradley being an outlet for the CBs. Definitely missing his one touch play. Jones always seems to require a touch to settle then look to find his teammate. Whereas Bradley knows where he’s going to pass before he receives the ball – so much more fluid than Jones.


    • Posted by James H on 2014/03/05 at 12:51 PM

      True. Jones’ first, best role is destroyer. This is a big chance for Sacha but I’m not sure he is delivering anything close to Bradley thus far.


    • Posted by mbw on 2014/03/05 at 5:43 PM

      Yeah, scariest thing about this game to me — this is what the US look like if something happens to Bradley between now and June….


  7. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2014/03/05 at 12:49 PM

    Castillo / Brooke’s are really struggling when Yarmolenko comes off the flank / plays inside.


  8. Posted by James H on 2014/03/05 at 12:58 PM

    Horrid first half. Lucky to be down on 0-1. Get the impression a few players would rather be elsewhere. This attitude out there doesn’t seem very “Klinzy” to me. It will be interesting to see the what the 2nd half brings.


  9. Posted by Usually Ranting on 2014/03/05 at 1:02 PM

    Kljestan pretty glaring. A lot of people going after Altidore, a lot of people defending Altidore.

    Let me just say this – there comes a point when really great strikers make themselves a factor in a game regardless of service. There is a very happy medium between those that say Jozy sucks and those that say its not his fault. Its a little of both. He’s a mediocre striker. Especially as a target guy. He needs to make better runs. He is still way too stationery.

    Kljestan is just not that great. Very outclassed. Not much else to be said.

    Cameron’s crossing has been off, but that happens sometimes. Castillo is just not good enough to be a LB at the international level.

    AJ is going to come on and be the best player in the 2nd half, watch.


  10. Posted by Chazcar2 on 2014/03/05 at 1:05 PM

    That two man midfield looks over run. I think the US needs those three center mids to really control that part of the park. If you are going to send the fullbacks that far forward someone from midfield needs to drop in between the centerbacks.

    Also, no one is staying wide on the left. Castillo isn’t overlapping he is coming inside. But johnson is already there. We need width from the fullbacks.


  11. Posted by James H on 2014/03/05 at 1:30 PM

    Undone by Gooch and Brooks again. Not sure either are WC worthy at this point.


    • Posted by Usually Ranting on 2014/03/05 at 2:02 PM

      CB’s made mistakes, but lets not discount the brutalness of the attack.


  12. Posted by James H on 2014/03/05 at 1:41 PM

    Is this what they call a drab affair?


  13. Posted by Ufficio on 2014/03/05 at 2:56 PM

    Didn’t really learn anything that we didn’t already know: this team badly needs Michael Bradley.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2014/03/05 at 3:00 PM

      Worse — because of some poor coaching decisions we saw maybe three total duels between Kono and Cameron. Missed opportunity.

      We saw lack of correction of simple things. Keeping the CBs positioned closely together.
      Castillo tucking in and conceding the wing if he was going to get beat like a drum up and down the field (as was expected.)

      We saw no configuration changes or what looks like “work” on the attack–with Dempsey stagnating in the middle of the park again.

      Missed opportunity.


      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2014/03/05 at 3:23 PM

        This is supposed to be the elite level. I think they should know a little more about defensive spacing and positioning than they actually demonstrated tonight. It wasn’t just once either. And don’t get me started on both players going walk-about getting dragged out of position far too easily and frequently.

        I am just so frustrated because there aren’t too many games left for experimenting, and this seems like a waste of an opportunity for players to gel in a game situation. I know questions have been answered, but when it’s been answered so emphatically, it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. Omar Gonzales and Matt Besler must be ‘cheers-ing’ each other after that CB performance.


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2014/03/05 at 5:41 PM

          Completely agree. Confluence of circumstances, some understandable. But seriously, you just DON’T GET SPLIT DOWN THE MIDDLE AS CENTERBACKS in international competition like that.

          Lack of ball pressure and reactivity yes, but that’s just basic. Same with Castillo — I hope (and I haven’t seen the quotes) that Klinsmann didn’t offer a comment like, “they need to learn,” but seriously if you’re Castillo and you keep getting beat up the line. Take 3 freaking steps in and play off your man and reset and least until the flow of the game changes.

          These are simple things. Countless times I saw SK or JJ in possession and Brooks for one failing to support him by offering a dropback pass on the outside. Basics!


        • Posted by gino744 on 2014/03/05 at 11:49 PM

          Klinsmann definitely got some answers today and they were as follows:

          He needn’t book airline tickets for 3/4 of this starting backline.
          Cameron is either our starting RB or first alternate at CB.
          He should have started Williams at CM instead of Kljestan.
          Brek needs to clean up his final touch but warrants one last look in the May camp.
          Bacon needs to get on the field more, preferably not just when we’re trailing.
          Bedoya is on the plane. It’s just a question of coach or first-class.
          Take away Deuce’s armband to light a fire under his ass. It wasn’t all JJ and Sacha’s fault in that first half.


  14. By the looks of this performance by the center backs, I gotta believe Gonzales and Besler will start this summer. I’d prefer Goodson (no relation) as the third CB over either of those I saw today. Klesjan is not international quality, and there is concern over the form of the players that have that quality. It’s interesting that the players we will most depend on are now in MLS. Don’t know if that’s good or bad. Tangentially, what does Lalas offer as an analyist?


    • If nothing else, we could throw a jersey on him and he’d be our fourth best CB in the pool (assuming Cameron stays wide). Yeesh. The play up the middle might’ve been the worst I’ve ever seen out of our senior side. JAB – not ready. Glad to have that question answered but I could’ve done without having it beat over my head. Gooch – not back to where he was and frankly, I don’t think he should be starting even if he was at his peak. It’s effectively playing down a man on offense when he’s on the field. Set piece value, yes. Otherwise, it’s horrendous.

      Bedoya looked inspired on both ends and covered well (I would also argue that he had the second or third best chance of the night on the volley he took), Jones played significantly better in the second half, Johannsson is a lock for the 23 at this point. Otherwise, I saw very little tonight that gives me hope. Clint did his disappearing act (there were a few moments of his usual swagger but God almighty, was he dropping deep – this is what happens when Mikey doesn’t play). Jozy should’ve done better on his chance, had a few decent layoffs and didn’t do much else to excite me in any way. Barely noticed Johnson and Klesjan for the most part.

      The lesson, as always – Mikey makes the engine run. But that doesn’t mean much if we’re leaking stuff up the middle like a freaking sieve.


  15. I really wish Williams would have gotten more of run, if I remember during the game they said he plays a role like Jones but does anyone remember seeing him play cm recently?


  16. Posted by Alli N on 2014/03/05 at 11:05 PM

    Is it just me or did Gooch come out of nowhere? I had no idea that he was still being considered for Brazil. I assume that his name has been permanently removed after that performance…


  17. Posted by chris_thebassplayer on 2014/03/05 at 11:57 PM

    That line up had to be put together to bring max pressure and eliminate a few players from the conversation. Practically a no win situation having that CB combo, Castillo at LB and JJ/SK trying to provide distribution and protection for the back line. I felt bad for Fab…nobody to combo with. It will be real interesting to see how much slack JK gives Deuce, because he gives us so little at that position.


  18. Posted by TPS on 2014/03/06 at 6:32 AM

    Other than Ale Bedoya, was anyone in the “attacking midfield” worth even mentioning? The ball spent so little time in Ukraine’s half that the only things you can really take away from it are defensive problems. Cameron’s the only one who really showed us anything in the back four; Sacha just made a constant string of errors, Jones is not a regista, he’s a defensive player with less than consistent skill in possession of the ball.

    Dempsey didn’t do much, but for people complaining about him dropping deep, what else was he supposed to do, sit at the center circle and watch the defense get run through? I admit to being a bit of a Clint apologist, but when we were actually attacking, we didn’t look terrible. No shots on goal, which is bad. The ball just never really got from the defensive midfield to the attacking midfield, and that can really be laid at the feet of Sacha and Jones. Jones is not and never really has been a distributor, and Sacha couldn’t link up, either.


  19. Posted by Scweeb on 2014/03/06 at 7:44 AM

    The things that just pisses me off is we got answers to things we really already new. What we didn’t find out and what i want to know is if JOZY can’t score or we are just not making any offensive threat what is JK going to do to fix that. Cause the subs he made yesterday either didn’t do it or didn’t have enough time to show anything. We haven’t seen Boyd play and for one i want to see what he can do.
    If dempsey is lacking his bite then sub him, put Aaron or even Juan in there. Please do something JK instead of seeing Jozy stand up top not making anything for him self and aging Clint not be in form. Cause if that is the best are offense has then maybe we do need an 18 year old who hasn’t played at all in Germany to do something.


  20. Posted by Chazcar2 on 2014/03/06 at 9:32 AM

    One of the big things that continues to frustrate me is how and when the team back passes. Consistently I saw a player make a nice run down the sideline while another player was in position to play him the ball. Instead the ball when back to the centerback. It happened so many times to every player it has to be a coached instruction. Cameron makes a run bedoya passes to Onweyu or jones. Bedoya makes a run Cameron passes to Onweyu or jones. Castillo makes a run Johnson passes to Brooks or jones. Johnson makes a run Castillo passes to Brooks or jones.

    There is retaining possession, but this was just bad play. I am not talking about low percentage long balls chucked into the corner, but consistent lack of a simple ball down the wing into the final third from the middle third.

    Three time stamps to look at in the game are 48:41 (build up to bedoya’s deflected shot), 59:15 and 59:25. The build up to that shot at 48:41 has two failures to use the wide option. Bedoya receives the ball from Kljestan relatively wide, then dribbles inside. But off screen cameron is making the wide run completely unmarked. Then after some shenanigans the ball gets out to Kljestan, again relatively wide but marked, but cameron is STILL unmarked in the slightly wider position. A ball played to him in either case gives you the same basic attacking situation, but with an extra attacker. Not playing him the ball basically means he is doing nothing out there! The fullback, made the full field run, to a completely unmarked position and is NOT PASSED TO, TWICE!

    Not only have I seen this situation in this game a few times, but chronically throughout Klinsmann’s time in charge. Regardless of players or “formation”. If we are going to send that attacking fullback on the overlap, and clog the midfield with the wide mids, the ball NEEDS to get out to the fullback. Otherwise you have just made yourself weaker defensively for NO REASON!

    Deep breathe…. OK rant done.


    • Posted by chris_thebassplayer on 2014/03/06 at 9:57 PM

      Totally agree, you have to reward the overlap, the defensive risk is high if you don’t.


  21. Posted by Paul on 2014/03/06 at 10:09 AM

    Kleijstan was completely invisible nearly the whole time. It’s like we were playing with ten . . . well, ten, two of whom were pickups from the stadium lot.

    Brooks was god-awful, and from what I saw, he was primarily at fault for making Gooch look bad. I thought Onyewu actually played pretty well, for being the single center back trying to do anything useful. Sure, he’s not what he used to be, and he may not even be as good as Gonzalez, but he was solid most of the time, had some failures marking, and was left out to dry by a kid who looked confused about the entire game going on around him. I can see him getting another look in the 30-man roster.

    I can’t believe the entire defense watched two goals roll over the line with no attempt at clearing them, after great initial saves by Howard. Especially that second one . . . !

    Bedoya looked pretty good. Cameron was very solid, but that crossing was crazy erratic . . . one great delivery and at least two useless floaters out of bounds. Now I see I’ve been taking Evans for granted, and I’m having very very fond memories of Cherundolo and even Chandler’s brief couple good outings.

    The best thing I can say is that we definitely know what to do with JAB and Castillo now, and know that Kleijstan isn’t going to take a spot. Shea was a rather bright spot, until of course his final pass. It’s nice to see him actually look somewhat competent again, and you know, sooner or later just from dumb luck he’s going to hit an assist from that wing.

    The other good thing to remember is that I also recall thinking in Spring 2010 that things looked awful shaky in our warm up friendlies. By the time we got to the final friendly with South Africa out on that cow pasture, things looked a lot tighter, and we went on to have a decent tournament.


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