USA – Panama: three things we learned

After much deep thought, here are three potentially life changing things we learned after the Camp Cupcake commencing friendly between the USMNT and Panama.


Don’t mess with Jozy, he’s probably the worst guy on the US to square off with, and he has no time for your shit.

Edit: Clint delivering freedom via push video is gone. Sad times.

Neither does Clint.

Wondo can make people say “Ayyyyy” rapidly. Jurgen enjoys people saying Ayyyyy!

All forward feistiness aside, the US got a win in a friendly, which has about as much impact as their loss against Chile in the friendly two weeks ago. The next really important game for them is in April, against Mexico. Three actual thoughts below:

Gyasi Zardes looked good, and not just as Geordi La Forge. He was calm and composed on the ball, wasn’t afraid to run at people, and made smart decisions, leading to his assist to Clint Dempsey and another that could have been to Michael Bradley. Sure Panama isn’t exactly the toughest opponent out there, but there was a world of difference in the composure of Zardes and that of Miguel Ibarra on Sunday, or Wil Trapp against Chile where it was clear that nerves were playing a real role. At this point Zardes has to be on the radar of some teams in Europe, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he is the next American player to leave MLS and make moves in Europe.

This is a phenomenal tifo, well done AO.

This is a phenomenal tifo, well done AO.

Brek Shea and DeAndre Yedlin aren’t the answer at fullback, at least not in the 4-2-3-1. Or in any formation with 4 backs. I know Jurgen is experimenting, and I’m a huge fan of that, but Brek especially just does not have the positioning to play left back. He played better overall against Panama, but both he and Yedlin don’t defend enough to play outside back regularly in a 4-2-3-1. Both were exposed regularly over the two games, and I think it’s time to let Yedlin get settled with Spurs, and Brek to try and get in form before we see either of them again for a while. It’s safe to say left back belongs to Greg Garza for the time being, while right back is a bit of a mystery, especially if Fab Johnson inserts himself into the midfield.

Mix Diskerud hasn’t locked down the middle. He was too anonymous against Panama, which is really someone who he should impose his will against. Those flowing locks should been doin whatever they wanted down the middle. But they weren’t. If he wants to start next to Bradley, he needs to have big performances in games like this. Less poetry Mix, more bossing the midfield against mediocre competition. Likely that he really isn’t at full fitness, but he should still do better.

5 responses to this post.

  1. Not sure we were watching the same games as Yedlin was by far the best player in the game against Chile (he was suspect against Panama), and Shea put in another excellent performance at covering both end of the field in both games.


    • I thought Yedlin played well against Chile as a wing back but he was not sharp against Panama. He made some horrible rookie mistakes on the back line to the point Rimando had to come out and hit a ball a RB should have cleared (first play on US vs. Panama highlights on youtube:, he was beaten a 2nd time not paying attention on RB, and had one of the worst passes I’ve ever seen early in the game to Rimando that goes our for a Panama corner. Needless to say, it was not his best day. Shea was pretty bad against Chile getting ran around on that left side but against Panama they weren’t able to really attack on the left side. Just my 2 cents. I am not sold on Yedlin at a true RB rather he’s more of a RM or wingback. I think we have more wingback options than we have true RB or LB options. I feel Fabian is more of a wing back, Yedlin too, Bedoya has played it before, and Garza could play both ways as could Chandler. Castillo is may more a wing back than a true LB and Rogers would definitely benefit with his speed as a wing back so its no surprise Jurgen is trying to find ways to use that to his advantage rather than limit our attack by having to play a true RB/LB. Just my guess. We’ll see moving forward.


      • Posted by biggysf on 2015/02/15 at 8:10 PM

        Interesting point on wingbacks, the US does have more players that suit that role than typical backs, at least Yedlin/Fab J/Castillo. I think Garza and Chandler are pretty steady outside backs in a typical back 4, but I hadn’t considered that this might be why JK is testing the 3-5-2.


  2. Posted by Paul on 2015/02/10 at 7:51 AM

    I think it’s too early to say Yedlin isn’t an answer at right back. He’s steadily improved in his defending in the past two years to the point he looked like a legitimate fullback with Seattle, and in a couple USMNT games last year. He had one particularly bad game here, and I don’t think anyone has a clue why.

    This week seemed like an anomaly for him given last year’s performances is all. But no fear, if he does indeed continue to stink it up on the right, Tim Chandler has improved as well and I don’t see why we can’t just plug him right in there, at least in a 4-man back.


    • Posted by biggysf on 2015/02/10 at 7:49 PM

      That’s fair, I meant more in the next six months. He didn’t look good against Chile either in my opinion, his positioning seems pretty bad. Good to hear Chandler has improved, I haven’t been keeping up with him of late.


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