May 30, 2012, 10:38 PM EST
- Where the big problem on the U.S. back line lies now
Remember when we all sat around straining our brains to fix the gaping hole along the back line, the one at left back? Timmy Chandler came along … and then dumped us like a cheating girlfriend. No matter, though, because Fabian Johnson rode in to the timely rescue. The Hoffenheim man has little wrong over two matches, strong in one-on-one defending, reasonably well positioned, troublesome on the attack, etc.
But there’s still a bugger of a problem back there; the trouble spot just shifted into the middle.
I’ve already written the early, brutal details about Oguchi Onyewu’s night to forget. He was a little better in the second half … until the moment when he was late stepping forward, leaving Tim Howard stranded to stop an unchallenged shot that turned into No. 4.
Carlos Bocanegra still has something to offer, but his speed will become an increasingly liability unless Jurgen Klinsmann can find a quality partner to situate alongside him, one with a little more speed. Maybe it’s Clarence Goodson. Or maybe it can be Cameron with a little more top-level experience.
Either way, the case is being built that it just isn’t Onyewu.
- The imperfect midfield fix
The United States still has spots that are weak and vulnerable. Center back is not the only one.
The midfield mix was good enough against Scotland, but suffered severely Wednesday. Much of the trouble can be traced to Jermaine Jones, who lost too many balls, took way too long to catch the pace of the game (much faster than Saturdays) and wasn’t in the right spots, providing the requisite cover at the moments his team needed it most.
Meanwhile, Michael Bradley had another strong match. Mostly, at any rate.
There are times when Bradley didn’t move out of the center channel to pressure (or better yet, forcefully eliminate) a Brazilian advance. It underscores a point I think we’re all learning: he’s not a defensive midfielder. Not that he can’t be serviceable there, but it’s not Bradley’s ideal positioning.
Bradley has evolved into a two-way man, and a darn good one. I know the Jose Torres backers may take issue, but Bradley is the best passer on the U.S. team. His ball into Fabian Johnson to start the U.S. goal was pinpoint perfect. Looking back over his body of work in the U.S. shirt, who can deny what he offers going forward, in arranging goals and scoring them?
The three-man arrangement looked better Saturday when Edu was the holding screener and Bradley’s starting positions were higher up the field. (Wednesday, Edu and Jones played ahead of Bradley in the triangle.)
- Too much whining, not enough “getting on with it.”
The United States looked a little undone by the early penalty kick decision. Good call or bad, they have to get past it.
Landon Donovan was complaining too much, throwing his arms around when he needed total focus on that bunch of yellow wizards. He must have thought he was back in the L.A. Galaxy uniform; they do a lot of that stuff.
Donovan struggled to get anything going against Marcelo, among the globe’s top left backs, so some frustration may be understandable. Then again, as the most experienced U.S. man, he’s got to provide a better example.
Jones kicked into his bad old habit of lashing out temperamentally, crunching Neymar along the sideline.
Bradley has trimmed that petulant element from his game, and thankfully so. Jones, 30, may be what he is, unable to turn that stuff off at this point. It’s another reason Klinsmann would do well to keep looking for a third central midfielder.
Bottom line: this is big boy soccer, and the stakes will rise dramatically in just over a week. Things won’t always go the U.S. way, and they just have to get on with it.
Dec 28, 2014, 9:27 AM EST
Manchester City looks to keep up its fine play with a home win against improving Burnley on Sunday morning.
Dec 28, 2014, 9:23 AM EST
Bojan Krkic proven himself fit to start for Stoke City despite coming off against Everton with a slight back injury.
Dec 28, 2014, 9:20 AM EST
Arsenal’s second London derby in three days comes at the Boleyn Ground, as Sam Allardyce’s West Ham United play host to the Gunners on Sunday morning.
Dec 28, 2014, 9:11 AM EST
A red-hot Charlie Austin looks to increase his Premier League goal tally at Loftus Road against the Eagles.
Dec 28, 2014, 8:58 AM EST
Spurs thwart United, as Red Devils fire a blank.
Dec 28, 2014, 8:16 AM EST
Can Saints upset Chelsea to see out 2014? Watch live, right here.
Dec 28, 2014, 8:15 AM EST
We check in on Lasso, as the former Spurs boss (for a day) adjusts to life as a broadcaster.
Dec 28, 2014, 6:48 AM EST
How to watch every single match in Week 19 live online or via the app.
Dec 28, 2014, 6:21 AM EST
Can Spurs hand United their first defeat in nine games? Watch live, right here.
Dec 27, 2014, 11:45 PM EST
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is aware of the great challenges the Spurs will face against Manchester United at White Hart Lane.
Dec 27, 2014, 9:45 PM EST
Former Manchester United goalkeeper Tim Howard knows Sir Alex Ferguson’s presence can be felt at all times.
Dec 27, 2014, 8:59 PM EST
Brendan Rodgers likes the scoring capabilities of Raheem Sterling after the 20-year-old has managed to capture form recently.
Dec 27, 2014, 7:30 PM EST
Arsene Wenger: “He developed into a very good player, so you don’t need to convince me he is a good player.”
Dec 27, 2014, 7:00 PM EST
Watch this midseason review of Premier League 2014-15 action.
Dec 27, 2014, 6:04 PM EST
Ron Henry, a club legend of Tottenham Hotspur, has passed away at age 80.
Dec 27, 2014, 5:06 PM EST
Andres Iniesta calls Barcelona the ideal place for the in-form Neymar to develop his already proven skills.
Dec 27, 2014, 4:15 PM EST
Fernando Torres is set to ink a permanent deal with AC Milan, according to Chelsea’s website.
Dec 27, 2014, 3:36 PM EST
Preview of Newcastle vs. Everton on Sunday.
Dec 27, 2014, 3:10 PM EST
While the Hammers are enjoying one of their best ever starts in the Premier League, their owners are in desperate need of dollars.
Dec 27, 2014, 2:21 PM EST
Here’s how PST’s lead writer and editor sees things panning out.
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