Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Three things for USA-Honduras

Normally we'd sit you down in front of the e-TV and break it down for you a little more. But here's what I know I'll be looking at from afar in Salt Lake tonight.

1. Edgar Castillo
It's looking like he'll play either at left back or left mid. So be it. I want to see if he can handle fast, physical aggressive wing play for 90 minutes. He's come up big before, like against Mexico in Azteca, but to be a legitimate option at left back or left midfield going forward, he's got to show more consistency.

Regardless of where he is, but especially if he's in midfield, he needs to show a better understanding of combination play and link up with Dempsey and Altidore. Even his crossing from the left midfield spot has usually been meh. There's always the sense that he's better than he's been in the national team shirt.

If he doesn't show it tonight, Honduras will get an early foothold in the game either on the scoreboard or in confidence.

2. The midfield battle
This one's pretty simple. Last time, Jermaine Jones, Michael Bradley and Danny Williams lost it. For three points at home, they have to win it. Altidore and Dempsey should create plenty of space up top, so there will be room to drive.

But Roger Espinoza could detonate all that if he catches the US in possession like he did in February. Now, los Catrachos likely won't be able to press like they did then, but we're looking for something resembling dominance through midfield to seal a win. Klinsmann may allow Espinoza to force the battle wide, but the center midfielders, whoever they are, really should make themselves spoiled for choice.

3. Altidore, finishing
There will be chances. This is a badly wounded back line that has to defend a man-possessed Altidore. So good luck there, Honduras.

Even if Klinsmann's squad doesn't show the same wing productivity it has recently, there will be individual looks at goal for the biggest and baddest in the Netherlands. It's just a matter of bagging them early, and possibly often.

Recent form gives us every reason to believe Altidore will do it again. If he doesn't, though, there is suddenly a Kindergarten classroom's worth of questions. Perhaps Mr. Dempsey will answer those.

- Jacob Klinger


dikranovich said...

its ej and altidore heads up. who gets more goals? and its FJ at lb, like we all new.

and its a really hungry jj in the starting lineup.

this is a stuff it down the throat game. 4 nil for USA

jon said...

In a postgame interview Jozy was asked if his recent goalscoring form was the result of him adjusting to playing as a lone forward. And Greg, I believe you will not be surprised to hear his response was something along the lines of "huh, I played as a lone forward all year for my club."

Greg Seltzer said...

Yeah, I saw it. He was spot on.

Timmy said...

I believe Jozy's form is a direct result of Klinsmann's decision to not call him in to camp last winter. Or at least that's what Steve Davis says.

Jacob Klinger said...

I'm more inclined to look at his past 18 months of scoring and the fact that the team finally has some width.

Jay said...

Jozy's goal scoring run parallels the first consistent formation and line-up in Klinsmann's tenure. Not coincidence.

dikranovich said...

we need landycakes!!! then jozy will really go on a scoring run.

to me, it is clear that jozy is playing with more purpose and it aint got to do with width or lineup formations or any of that BS.

a lot of people had their minds made up about our current coach, and maybe now, they can hit the reset button.

Greg Seltzer said...

1 - Yes, we do need Donovan, because there are far tougher opponents ahead than Jamaica, Panama and Honduras.

2 - Dude, Altidore has been playing like this for 18 months. When a team only gets 11 shots on goal in their first five-and-a-half hex matches, the striker is not even remotely the issue.

dikranovich said...

altidore has been scoring goals for a while now, he is a striker though, but he has never been playing like he plays now. he might have shown glimpses in the past, but just recently, maybe the light bulb has gone off in jozys head, and maybe he is really starting to get it.

Greg Seltzer said...


dikranovich said...

is anyone aware of what the USA record was in the first five and a half hex matches? Honduras in rio tinto was the sixth match.

and don't forget, shots that hit the post or the crossbar and don't go in, are not counted as shots on target, unless they are knocked onto the bar by the keeper first, but either way, if they come of the bar, hit the keeper and go back in, yep, its an own goal.

Greg Seltzer said...

The record was not the issue in question, was it? At some point you will need to realize it was the US that was late to the Jozy train and not the other way around. Regardless, he's being utilized to effect now and it doesn't matter anymore.

Unknown said...

"... width or lineup formations or any of that BS."

You mean fundamental elements of the team game?

dikranovich said...

Jacob, im just more than a little bemused that somehow, coach klinsmann has not been dealing with some sort of plan during his tenure, even though the guy is german and you know germans don't take a shit without a plan, or maybe that's the Russians, but anyway. and whatever that plan was, it was wrong, because somehow, getting 11 shots on target in the first five and a half games is not the fault of the striker, even though we were 3-1-1 during that span and probing Honduras during most of the first half last night.

dikranovich said...

yak, don't you think you are taking my quote just a little out of context?

Unknown said...

I never said Klinsmann didn't have a plan. I don't know for sure as I can't read his mind, but whatever plans he had, it's pretty apparent they've changed along the way. And that's fine, even good.

Jozy's a striker who can create for himself, but he's almost always double-teamed, it's not fair to expect, or demand that he will.

So yes, by allowing defenses to compact around him Jozy was put in a position to fail. To say he wasn't trying as hard before is nonsense and nonsense without proof.

It really is tripe to go and say that someone's trying now because they've scored while dismissing everything that goes on around and affects him as the focal point of the attack. So no, I don't think I'm taking your quote out of context.

To paraphrase and extend some Gretzkian philosophy on you, "You miss all the shots you can never take because you're back's to goal, surrounded by defenders with no attacking support due to your coach's refusal to put wingers on the field."

I credit Klinsmann for changing that last bit, and with it, everything that goes along with it.

But just because the team's winning now doesn't mean we should forget that earlier tactics were mind-bogglingly ineffective.

That's like saying Beasley wasn't poor against Brazil in '09 because we beat Egypt in the next game. That's just not how the space-time continuum works.

dikranovich said...

yak, I have read michio kaku, so I have a little bit of understanding about space-time. im not sure what dmb playing in 09 has to do with jozy altidore in 13, but if jozy was experiencing time more slowly, it sure wasn't because he was moving faster, because he wasn't, he was getting pushed of the ball by Jamaica.

dikranovich said...

Jacob, can you at least admit that coach klinsmann benched altidore for performance reasons, and other things too, like maybe yapping on twitter to much?

Greg Seltzer said...

Why do you cling to this stuff beyond all fact and reason? At least play a new song every so often.

dikranovich said...

"technically, im not happy with him, and there are other things too." now this a quote, not taken out of context, made by a dutch coach, named gertjan verbeek. maybe you guys have heard of him. he is altidores coach at AZ Alkmaar.

he is also the same coach who took his team off the pitch when it was invaded by an ajax "supporter", who tried a karate kick on the AZ goalkeeper. this was a noted incident because it happened in a cup game, but it was during a point when little AZ Alkmaar was in first place in the dutch ire division. they never did really rebound from that breach.

Greg Seltzer said...

Dude, that quote was from 2011. Do you think we are all stupid or something?

As for the rest... just stop. NOW.

dikranovich said...

this is a quote from a coach other than coach klinsmann. to me, this should take some of the criticism away from our coach. its not like cozy wasn't scoring goals when he was benched by verbeek, because he was and his coach, his club coach, wanted jozy reaching for a higher level. its similar to what coach klinsmann did, only jozy was not scoring goals for his country before coach klinsmann benched him.

all credit to the great coaches who teach our children well, and maybe tab ramos should not be starting a center half who had eight starts this season against a team as superior as spain.

Greg Seltzer said...

Okay, everybody, we can just close up shop now. Dik knows everything, obviously. The end.

dikranovich said...

I should also admit that I lifted the quote from a Brian Straus article, not that it should have any bearing on its authenticity.