By Mark Vincent Lincir
You know you did it. At one point during each of the last few losses that the United States has suffered under Jurgen Klinsmann, you mumbled to yourself the Bob Bradley was doing better.
Coach Bob had his victory over Spain…now Klinsmann has his massive, historic, almost unbelievable win over Italy…IN ITALY!
Coach Bob was not above his players…Jurgen is. Coach Bob had never been there and done it as a player…Jurgen has. Coach Bob could never get his son to play simple soccer and simply clog the middle and forget about playmaking (something that he is terrible at)…Jurgen has achieved that in a short time as well.
So give credit to Jurgen for achieving the monumental 1-0 victory over a bewildered Italian side in Genoa on Wednesday, because he deserves it. He DOES have a plan and it IS taking time, but I have full confidence that Jurgen will know what to do and when to do it when CONCACAF qualifying starts this summer.
I’m still not sure if Jozy is the way to go up top…but just like Jurgen would ask me, I ask you…then who? Terrence Boyd came on late for Altidore and appears to have the body and mentality for the lone striker role, but can he put the ball in the net with some consistency?
Altidore set up Dempsey nicely, but he’s still not the answer when things get real for qualifying. I liked Danny Williams and Brek Shea on the wings and thought that Fabian Johnson is a solid fit at left back, though I would like to see Norwich’s Zak Whitbread get a look.
Check out some of Mark’s musings in his book A SOCCER LIFE IN SHORTS available at Amazon.
Edu and Bradley did well to clog the middle but Italy still slotted a lot of ball thru the U.S. defense, thankfully the Assistant Referees were calling it tight. If FIFA ever does the right thing and goes back to the offside rule being that there has to be daylight between attacker and defender to be offside it will make the flat-four extinct. I hope that FIFA does that because the tactic relies too much on the AR playing defense for you and that is not the point.
The best U.S. player is clearly Clint Dempsey and he came through again with a great finish for the game winner. EVERYTHING should go through him from here on out. Even when Landon is available he is being used outside as a set-up man. Sure, he’ll come through with the occasional opportunistic goal, but consistency is what will get the USA to the next level and it is something that Jurgen will DEMAND moving forward.
Cherundolo is not a liability at right back, but I still feel that for all his consistency he has been incredibly ordinary there for many years, but I guess that is what you want from an outside back…few mistakes and no magic.
The biggest challenge facing Jurgen right now is what to do at center back? I am hardly convinced that Goodson and Bocanegra are a good match. Both are too slow and both are prone to make the traditional massive mistake. Neither did against Italy, but again, if it weren’t for the AR’s trigger finger offside flag, Italy would have walked in on Howard many, many times.
So who at center back? I think maybe Ricardo Clark, who had played there for Frankfurt in the past…maybe Spector or Edu? There are a lot of interchangeable parts right now and almost all are players plying their trade in Europe, which is the most important element. Only one player in the starting eleven played in MLS on Wednesday and that was FC Dallas’ Brek Shea and I can almost guarantee that will change this summer when the transfer window opens again.
Players who want to be the best must be playing their club ball against the best players in the world. Not to knock MLS, but that is in Europe…England, Italy, Spain, Germany, France and Holland. The quality is there, the pressure is there, the 100% soccer/footballing culture is there. THAT is what it takes to be the best in this sport…and Jurgen is finally pushing the U.S. there.
Bayern Munich are kings of Germany and hope to be crowned kings of Europe at Wembley later this month!
The Liverpool 2013/14 soccer jersey is available for pre-order. The Reds are eager to compete for silver next season.
Ajax has released their away soccer jersey for the 2013/14 season. Get in the Gear.
The Juventus jersey for the 2013/14 was released earlier this week. Be the first to wear the colors of the Old Lady.
The push for more color on their cleats, adidas has added the infrared colorway to the adiZero f50 Line.
Borussia Dortmund hears Wembley Calling and are headed to London for the Champions League final.
One of the top soccer cleats for control the Nike CTR360 will not let you down on the field in tight spaces.
The adidas Nitrocharge is the most talked about new cleat in years. It was released on May 15 and will take your pitch by storm.
adidas has added some color to the Predator line with this new colorway. Released on May 17. Be the first to own a pair.
Chelsea won the Europa League on Wednesday. The Blues defeated Benfica 2-1 on injury time goal from Ivanovic.