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10 quick halftime thoughts from U.S.-Jamaica qualifier

Oct 11, 2013, 7:24 PM EDT

Soccer fans
  • Five minutes into the match and Jermaine Jones was already in hot water with the referee. Is there any doubt whatsoever that the volatile midfielder will get himself (and the team) in trouble next summer in Brazil at least once, with a bad card or a careless turnover?
  • Other than a three or four minute spell early where things got a little, uh, “loose” in the back, the back line held up OK. That’s significant since the central pairing, Matt Besler and Geoff Cameron, were matched up together for the first time.
  • The outside backs, Brad Evans and DaMarcus Beasley are dealing well with Jamaica’s speed.
  • Hardly a vintage Tim Howard performance so far. He had four chances to handle the ball under pressure and didn’t do particularly well with two of them. One shot was left in a really, really bad place and a corner kick fell a little too close him.
  • Alejandro Bedoya is having a stinker. Bad passes, one poor cross, an inability to read his teammates, little chemistry with right back Evans, one badly missed tackle, etc. Landon Donovan (on the left, opposite Bedoya in a 4-4-2) isn’t doing great, either, but he’s Johann Cruyff compared to Bedoya, who really needed a big game.
  • No surprise here considering no Michael Bradley to orchestrate, but the U.S. midfield is somewhere between ineffective and “blek.” Bradley makes things so much easier for everyone with his positioning and ability to play people into the right spots with his passes.
  • Mix Diskerud, essentially playing in the “Bradley role,” isn’t having much influence.
  • Aron Johannsson is making Jurgen Klinsmann look good for giving that first start.  He is finding good spots near goal – just needs to do a little better on the finishing end.
  • Plus, Johannsson’s technical work on the transition (hold-up play, that is) has been excellent.
  • Jozy Altidore’s passing is off. You have to wonder how the mess at Sunderland is affecting his confidence and ability to generate the kind of quick, decisive action that really makes a player.
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