Saturday, June 7, 2014

Here we go again... (sigh)

This has become exasperating. I mean, honestly. What on Earth is Klinsi talking about? He should have left the topic alone, because this stuff is just.... well, you decide.

"I think there are pro and cons (
to the 4-4-2 diamond), like with every system. But it doesn't really matter what shape we have or what system we have, it matters how we kind of connect with one another on the field."

First, he begins by explaining exactly why systems matter, then he says they actually do not. And, I hate to break the news, but how you connect with each other has a lot to do with the system. How do I figure that? Well, because that is only about half the reason systems are invented, from the first one ever through to now. That's how.

Oh... and if systems do not matter, then why change the team's formation? Why not stay in the comfortable one they've been running for about two years, which also closely resembles the system most play with their clubs? I love it. We drastically change the system, but it never really mattered then or now. Hilarious.

"All these discussions about different systems are actually not up to speed anymore. The systems are not the key anymore like it was maybe 10 or 15 years ago. It all changed for the best teams in the world, led by Spain. They made every system look stupid because they came up with a 4-6-0 in the last European Championship and beat everybody."

Ahhhh. So anyone questioning his system choice is basically out of touch. Gotcha. Then, he describes why this is so by pointing to Spain making other systems look 'stupid' by winning... because nobody knew how to handle their system.

"I think we need to go away from the system discussion. It doesn't get you anywhere. Years ago it was all down to the No. 10 to make things happen, but now maybe it's the No. 6 that makes things happen, or the fullbacks make things happen."

Oh sweet Moses. Who makes what happens all depends on... anyone.... anyone... Bueller? That's right, it's the system they're in. But let's focus on his first sentence, because that is the idea I am suddenly unable to escape.

If you have not noticed, there is now quite some effort around our bubble to erase the validity of any and all possible concerns or critiques. And it feeds into this larger tide of thinking whereby no matter what happens in Brazil, the coaching decisions simply cannot be questioned. 

Why? Because we have a tough group? So what? I see all these articles about how it's so great the coach is looking forward and hear people tell me in conversation that we were not going to get out of the group either way (insert your own issue of choice here; i.e. Donovan missing, the diamond, etc.). So basically, we now have a built-in excuse for failure at the 2014 World Cup. Apparently, to my surprise and chagrin, it's totally okay with many folks to use this World Cup finals as throwaway prep for the next one. What now?

And that's why you don't sign an international coach to a second World Cup cycle before he has completed the first.

- Greg Seltzer


dikranovich said...

Greg, you are a reporter, it's not suppose to be so personal with you. At least that's what I was told was the way it is suppose to be.

It seems like all this stuff is personal

You have been espousing the 4-3-3 for twelve years now...... We get it!!!

Greg Seltzer said...

Hmm. Seems to me the lost system is a 4-2-3-1. And to be honest, I would much prefer the empty bucket to a diamond at this time.

But I have no idea why you imagine this is personal. I am giving my opinion, and my opinion is that all these sudden and sharp changes are a mistake. And that I fear Klinsmann is already looking ahead to 2018, which to me is grounds for dismissal regardless of who the coach is.

This is all business, dude. When you see me making personal insult attacks on the coach, then you can say it is personal.

dikranovich said...

Greg, you kind of are misquoting the coach, and definitely taking the first quote out of context.

dikranovich said...

Just for example. The coach did not say, it KIND of matters how players connect with one and other on the field. Adding the word kind devalues what the coach is trying to say. I'm not sure if it is on purpose by the writer, or not, but it doesn't matter, because it was not said by the coach.

dikranovich said...

I guess it doesn't really matter if he said kind of or not. What matters is that the coach is making a point that getting bogged down on what formation Is best is missing the larger point, and larger points of the game.

Could we agree that if the USA has its best game today against Nigeria, then that is a good sign leading into the Ghana game?

Or we could agree that these warmup games are like playing poker with funny money.

Both POV's could be valid.

Greg Seltzer said...

You see what you do is an example of personal. And, yes, subsequently how I eventually reply to you becomes personal.

When I am talking about Klinsi, I am fully aware that about half of what he says is smoke and fog. I have been saying that since near the start of his tenure. So, in an ordinary circumstance, I would simply laugh it off and know better.

But now, we are shutting down discussion, shutting down dissent as if those barking folks are just silly little puppies. No. We are greatly concerned BECAUSE we are not puppies. We DO actually understand things. And if our praises will be accepted, then guess what? Gotta call em as I see em. I didn't know something back when I said attaboy good job and then suddenly become a clueless prat once I saw something that made my nose turn up.

And considering the specific variables involved in who is in for this ride and who is out, I am not going to hear how I suddenly turned on the team or how I suddenly don't know shit or how we should all just shush about it. It is creating a wave of people in our bubble that wish to erase any and all possibility to second guess the decisions made by the coach. And the coach has freely said there were some very big decisions. He knows what's up. But so do we.

I hope I'm wrong. But I'm likely not. And regardless of who it is, if I hear one whiff of a "sacrifice this Cup for the sake of the next one" vibe, I will lose it. Because that is highly unacceptable to me. And you know by know I'm gonna say so. None of this criticism I'm laying should be news to anyone here. You should have seen in coming down the Lincoln Tunnel from the other side.

heythisisrobbie said...

A 4-2-3-1 makes the most sense, by far, given our personnel.

Set Bradley as the most aggressive of the "2", and remind Bedoya/Zusi that Dempsey won't play any defense.

Greg Seltzer said...

Agreed. Meanwhile, some of the same people who insist 2013 was the best USMNT year ever in both showing and style are magically okay with all these drastic "last-minute" changes.

All I wish for is to go back to all the good work done by the coach that was built over two years and that everyone was already hopeful about. But apparently saying that makes me mean now.

Meh... people will believe what they want to believe. And the quickest way to be called a liar is to tell the truth - because nobody expects it and many just don't want it.

Dan said...

It seems to me that in these and other recent comments, Klinsmann is being cagey about what formation he'll play against who in the World Cup. These are the incoherent ramblings of someone who's trying hard not to tip his hand. You can (and should) criticize the diamond midfield experiment, but I don't think you can take what he's saying about it at face value.

Greg Seltzer said...

Okay, well if he is showing one thing and will do another in the Cup, I will find it a lot of hassle for minimal gain. If that is the case, it would be far better to simply carry on. But, of course, not all the concerning changes are about the formation.

And cagey is one thing, dismissing discussion as if it is folly is quite another.

Anonymous said...

>"If you have not noticed, there is now quite some effort around our bubble to erase the validity of any and all possible concerns or critiques. And it feeds into this larger tide of thinking whereby no matter what happens in Brazil, the coaching decisions simply cannot be questioned."

That's exactly what is happening and Klinsmann is absolutely attempting to preempt/dismiss any blame/criticism. And the bulk of the U.S. soccer media is going along. Worst part is that Klinsmann really believes his own hype at this point. In his head he thinks we are all rubes and in no position to question him or his greatness as a coach.

Both he and Sunil Gulati need to be gone after this WC.

Freegle said...

@ Dan- If Klinsmann is just posturing about the 4-4-2 then why would he have played it in the first two send off games? He has a very inexperienced first eleven and he is going to waste two preparation games trying to "not tip his hand?" If we come out in a 4-2-3-1 against Ghana then the past two games were a waste and if we come out in a 4-4-2, Ghana will own the midfield and likely end our World Cup dream right there. Either way.... bad coaching.

Nicholas said...

I'm not sure how Klinsmann making a point, however vague, is shutting down discussion. It seems, by your posts, by the flourishing (for good and bad) culture of expression, that there is more of a conversation than ever about the USMNT and especially tactics. The opinions of journalists are merely that and to imagine that "this" discussion should or might have an influence on whatever goes on in the USMNT's inner sanctum is absurd, which is the only conclusion I can infer you are attempting to make by claiming a suppression of critique. Do I agree your preference for formation has merit? Yes. Does it or should it matter? No. Do I think that Klinsmann is wisely managing expectations? Yes. Do I believe that is what he really believes? No. But again none of what I think, or you think, or anyone but the coaching staff and players think matters.

The petulance of the American fan base since Donovan's omission has been astonishing to me. I'm glad people respect Donovan, and to pay initial homage to him is one thing, but to continue on and on about it, is to diminish those who actually made the team and will be representing the country. If people want to worship Donovan, frame a photo on your wall, and bow before it. Yes the players have it easy here but it can't be helpful to have their positions still questioned because of Donovan idolatry. Oh, but Klinsmann created this question. Bullshit, the media and sheepish fan base continue to perpetuate something that should have been done and dusted a day or three after the announcement. If you want to see someone who handled things with class look to Terrence Boyd.

Glad to watch this mostly from abroad because I can't even imagine what the non-football observer has most likely spouting in their utter delirium.

Unknown said...

Is this really going to matter if we manage to get out of the group? We shouldn't judge Klinsmann by what he says, but rather by the way the team plays.

I remember the days where the only way we would score were through set pieces. Now since Klinsmann has taken over we actually score on the run of plays. Is the way the US plays perfect? No, but it is progressing.

Paying attention to quotes like that doesn't do any good to what matters most, the 90 minutes of futbol.

Unknown said...

Thank you Nicolas and Luis. This critiquing of JK leading up to the WC is not going to make a bit of difference. Obviously it's too late to install anyone else, so we're just along for the ride on the crazy train. Player selections or tactical discussions won't take away my trust in him as a coach at this point. Getting 0 or 1 point in the group stage in Brazil will take away my trust. Jose Mourinho plays the same game (albeit much better) and it drives fans and the media crazy.

I understand that toying with formations and personnel this late in the game is maddening. Is there a method to this madness, or is it just plain madness? We won't know until 90 minutes are up vs Ghana. To indicate otherwise would be folly.

Anonymous said...

>"The petulance of the American fan base since Donovan's omission has been astonishing to me. I'm glad people respect Donovan, and to pay initial homage to him is one thing, but to continue on and on about it, is to diminish those who actually made the team and will be representing the country. If people want to worship Donovan, frame a photo on your wall, and bow before it."

What a total load of laughably condescending horseshit. If it astonishes you then you aren't very bright.

People continue on an on about it because people know that Klinsmann, due to a flaw in his basic character, has made our WC team weaker by omitting Donovan. Yes, he has insulted Donovan by cutting him because of a petty grudge but, aside from that and worse, he has also insulted and rightfully drawn the ire of U.S. soccer fans by significantly weakening our team.

In short, people go on and on about the Donovan decision because they aren't stupid.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ nicholas:

Considering his point is literally "I think we need to go away from the system discussion" and he is at least partially referring to media criticism, it seems a plenty fair point. And I in no way believe my opinion will have any impact on how things get run, that is not my function.

As for the Donovan bit, I think you are the one being harsh here. Idolatry is not in play. It is a pretty salient observation to note that the most experienced and one of the best players in the pool has been left out of World Cup, and at least partially in deference to a player at the same general position who has less than an hour of friendly experience and three minutes of club ball, while at the same time explaining it away with paper thin talk about how he doesn't fit into the system... that doesn't matter anyway. Now, are we idolizing or deifying Donovan to note that this is lunacy? I think not. Because it so is. And it is judged lunacy purely for team field reasons. Which clearly cannot be said about the reason he was judged with a straight face to be, ahem, slightly behind Julian Green. Lunacy. And anyone complaining about it should be encouraged to speak just as much as they do when there is praise.

@ luis:

If the USMNT gets out of the group phase, I will almost certainly come here admitting he was right and saying I was dumb and hailing him as a genius. But I think we all know that is most likely not going to happen. Not like this.

Tony M said...

"The petulance of the American fan base since Donovan's omission has been astonishing to me."

Futfan beat me to this one. I second everything he said. I'll only add that the same character flaws - the ego, the petulant need to prove himself clever, the shifting criteria for being included in the team, the planting excuses ahead of time - have been characteristic of his entire tenure. And they echo criticisms that have followed from his previous coaching jobs.

If people suddenly decided they hated the guy because he cut their favorite player, that would be petulant. But that is not near the case for those of us like me, great and futfan who have been complaining about JK's self-serving nonsense for years now. This is just the worst example of it.

Greg: A few months ago JK was saying things like "get out of the group and anything can happen". And now he is preparing the ground for failure. I'm not sue he has ever actually said that he is preparing for the next one, but if he is, please someone ask him how bringing Jones, Wondo, Beckerman, Davis all to their first cup in their 30s, and bringing back Beasley at 32, is a youth movement? Apparently the only youth movement cut was Donovan. But if he is really writing off this CUp somehow for the next one, he should be fired for that alone.

Tony M said...

By the way, we have gotten out of the group two of the last four world cups. Bruce Arena got out of a group with Portugal (a pre-WC favorite) and the host nation, plus a strong Poland team. Bob Bradley topped a group that included England.

Getting out of the group should be a baseline expectation for us. JK was supposed to do more, bring us to a new level. This is shaping up to be a new '98.

Nate said...

It seems to me that more important than what system we are using, that the players know / understand / internalize it. It doesn't mean the system is unimportant, but the implementation is more important.

By tinkering with both the system and the personnel, Klinnsman is doing two contradictory things, one is trying to create an innate resiliency (almost that the players create the optimum implementation on the field according to what's happening at that time) and he is risking not having the players know / understand / internalize any of the systems because this type of approach requires years of playing together.

So while I love the idea of smart players being tactically resilient, I think it is clear from the play over the last couple years, there is going to be inconsistent implementation (and frankly some of these particular players will never be tactically resilient).

Unknown said...

Bruce Arena: "I believe an American should be coaching the national team," Arena told the New York Times. "I think the majority of the national team should come out of Major League Soccer. The people that run our governing body think we need to copy what everyone else does, when in reality, our solutions will ultimately come from our culture."

Self-serving and xenophobic much?

Tony M said...

justinwkoehn: No, not the least bit xenophobic. Making that charge is just away to avoid discussing what he really said, which is that we have the best sports facilities in the world, we have a developing league and we need to let our own style and culture emerge out of that. (You left out much of his quote.)

I'm sure if Sigi Schmidt was national team coach, Arena would consider that trusting in our system and our culture (a culture Sigi has helped form.) It's not about "them anti-American foreigners". It's about the organic development of our game.

And that organic development is something I would argue JK has hurt in several ways, not the least of which is picking a 4th division 18 year old product of the German system over our most accomplished player and by failure to synthesize Mexican-Americans playing in the MLF into the team.

Chevis Ryder said...

If you want to see someone who handled things with class look to Terrence Boyd.

I don't know how Boyd handled his omission, because Boyd's making the team created absolutely zero controversy.

You seem to be implying that LD did not handle it with class, which belies your feelings. He addressed it once, saying (a) he was disappointed, (b) he felt he should have made the team (c) that people should move on and support the US like he would be doing and (d) would not talk about it again. Which he did not. Please point out where or how that was handled without class.

As for how US soccerfan is reacting to the omission of LD, sure people have reacted emotionally to his being left behind. Why wouldn't they? He's been the US' best player for the last 12 years. He's got more goals and assists than any player in the pool since 2011.

As Greg has pointed out, the reason why people are upset about the snub is that he is still not on the team, which means the team is still not as good as it could be. It has nothing to do with any personal feelings people have for Landon Donovan, though admittedly, I, and I'm sure a lot of (if not most) US fans, like Donovan a lot. Despite consistently being in the spotlight, and pretty much being the face of US soccer, he's been criticized for decisions that he's made on and off the field, yet has never shied away from his "responsibilities".

UnitedDemon said...

@ Chevis, dropping Boyd did creat controversy. It means Jozy is the only strong body we can throw against defenses. If he gets injured, or just plain tired, we lose a big part of the system. AJ and Wondo were brought to score goals, but many, including myself, wanted to see someone brought in to muscle the opposing defenders as well. Also, Boyd was on a major hotstreak for his club.

I agree with Greg. JK seems to be deflecting blame whenever possible. If he's going to make changes, own it. Even with Donovan, there was the BS about Landon being purely a forward. So when we brought four forwards, he could say Donovan wasn't needed. Donovan has played as a winner for the A team basically every time, so that isn't a genuine storyline. Bringing Davis and Green instead was a choice.

I think JK is uncomfortable taking responsibility because he wants all of his intentions to be clear of blame going into a tough group, with yet another cycle already in his hands. He can't be saddled with doubts both in the press and in his own mind. That's frightening.

UnitedDemon said...

make that Donovan+winger. Freudain slip.

Jolazo said...

@Tony M

"And that organic development is something I would argue JK has hurt in several ways, not the least of which is picking a 4th division 18 year old product of the German system over our most accomplished player and by failure to synthesize Mexican-Americans playing in the MLF into the team."

In what way did Klinsmann fail to synthesize Mexican-Americans into the team? He gave more call-ups to Liga MX guys than any of his predecessors did. It's not Klinsmann's fault that Torres, Corona, Orozco, Herc, and Castillo weren't good enough/in-form enough to make the 23 man roster.

soccer boy said...

Jurgen's not a great coach!

Pragmatic Idealist said...

Its not that complicated. Describing any system of play is more than the number system used. Its about roles and how those roles work together. Talking to a coach about the 433 vs the 41212 or the 4231 would be outdated.

That is what I get from what he says and it matches what I understand of playing systems.

Worrying about whether a diamond midfield will work or whehter a 460 will work is pretty low level analysis and understanding of tactics in today's game.

Instead ask about how individual pieces and nuance of those systems and I think you would get a much more interesting answer to from him about tactics and systems.

The medias questions and understanding of tactics are lacking.

If you don't trust Klinsi - fine. Michael Bradley is saying the same thing. Its not a problem with the coach dodging questions. Its the media asking an algebra question about a calculus problem.

Greg Seltzer said...

Yeeeeah, that is not what he is saying.

In what sense exactly have I only criticized the numbers on the formation? And even if I had, he can use the formation when it suits to explain leaving Donovan out, but when the formation is also questioned, well, we should not talk about that.

Besides, it is not low level to discuss the formation if it has an obvious problem or two, such as leaving one guy at the gate in front of an inexperienced defense that barely knows each other or like leaving only two central midfielders to fight against three. These are not tiny glitches.

Pragmatic Idealist said...

No but every solution creaetes problems. If you bring Bradly back to have two guarding the midfield it pulls Dempsey back to fill the gap and link play. That leave Jozy up top alone more than having a partner to play with.

Every solution has a problem. Instead of it being about the number 4231 vs 41212- its about how far up does Bradley play? When does he get back? What space is needed between them?

Do both Jones and Bradley get forward or does just Bradley? Does Jones stay home more? Personally, having Bradley a bit more advanced and Jones more permanently stationed as the 6 make s more sense than a dual/ interchanging roles they played before.

Those are all about roles and how they interplay. They are not about having two dmids vs 1 dmid and 1 attacking mid.

Bradly can effectively play both.. so instead of what the number system is - its about where he is deployed, how often, and in what situations.

Those are nuance that your complaints are overlooking.

Instead of asking him about the diamond midfield, ask about how they decide how far up Bradly can play to still have effective transition game, keep Dempsey advanced while at the same time not allowing Jones to get outnumbered on the break.

There is too much obsession with the numbers and not the tactics and play. That is what both Bradly and Klinsi have been saying. imo

Greg Seltzer said...

Again, where have I overlooked any of this or contained my critique to the simple numbered name of the formation? I have been discussing these things in detail since before he took over.

And again, if my opinion is low-level now, how exactly was it high-level when I was praising the coach? Cannot have it both ways, man.

Pragmatic Idealist said...

You have overlooked all of this when you start complaining about a coach's disdain for talking about "systems" like they are cookie cutter formations taken out of a prepackaged box.

When you stop complaining about his disdain for systems and start critiqing his particular assigned roles and then you can be taken more seriously.

But anyone who understand the nuance of these different systems and how individual players affect those systems and how those systems can customized with all the individual roles--- shouldn't be getting so upset when coach and players disdain such low level questions about the diamond midfield.

Greg Seltzer said...

First off, I have discussed these little details you mention at great length for years already. I have discussed them at even more length in the comments of each of these posts. On top of that, much of my criticism has nothing to do with the formation at all.

Secondly, you are conflating two separate issues here - talk about the formation, and then his repeated assertions that formations do not matter and anyone questioning his is being silly.

Greg Seltzer said...

It is very convenient how suddenly now my criticism has become low-level dunce material. Funny, nobody has had that complaint when I have praised the coach. Imagine that.

Pragmatic Idealist said...

The "dunce material" is directed at the media asking repeated questions at the coach about the diamond midfield as if its precanned.

You fall in that category only when you are suddenly incapable of seeing this as what both Klinsi and Bradley and several other players talk about when asked about the diamond midfield.

These guys are being hounded repeatedly about the midfield like its a prepackaged overhaul of what they've been doing.

It's not. Its been tweaks to different roles that has resulted into something more like the diamond midfield than what they've used before.

Frankly, I expected more understanding from you because I come to this site because it normally contains that type of understanding.

Klinsi's and Bradley's responses to the reporters about it not being about the system is has been less about avoiding questions and more about the ignorance of those who are constantly writing and asking questions.

You should realize this as you are one of the few who can write intelligently about tactics. There aren't many sources for that type of analysis out there in the American landscape.

Is it so surprising that Klinsi and Bradley would be a bit bemused by much of the American media's fascination with a crude numbering system?

UnitedDemon said...

For me, the decision to scoff at formation numbers is a bit like denegrating the use of letters in writing. When Bradley is playing directly behind two forwards, with one DM protecting the backline, two wingers tucking in to allow fullbacks coming forward, the way we spell that tactical choice is 4-1-2-1-2, or simply 4-4-2 diamond formation. Yes, it matters. All of these details matter on the pitch. This is dramatically different from having Bradley sit deeper, and make runs from the midfield line, with Dempsey moving in space, Jozy up top, and the wingers allowed to counter. That's spelled 4-2-3-1. I simply refuse to accept anyone's argument that these details don't matter. Even when Spain played Cesc, it could be tongue in cheek described as a 4-6-0, because no one was a true forward, and possession in the midfield was everything.

Formations are formations, with caveats to describe the actual players being deployed. See JK's senseless 4-3-3 with three defensive midfielders not knowing what the frock to do. We put that behind, and whatever you want to call it, the formation that left Jozy up top alone worked the best. We could keep talking at length about what each player is doing, or we could just spell it out with numbers like a normal person, and call it a day.

Unknown said...

If the USMNT gets out of the group phase, I will almost certainly come here admitting he was right and saying I was dumb and hailing him as a genius. But I think we all know that is most likely not going to happen. Not like this.

I may have missed it, but did you ever own up about your assessment of one Mr. Poyet being coo-coo?

It seems to have worked out for him, no?

While I appreciate your work, it seems that the critiques of that situation as well as the JK stuff was/is being beat to death...

dikranovich said...

One of the things we know about the system, whatever that system may be, is that the coach likes to keep it compact, and he expects all the pieces to be moving as a group.

When you go back and think of all the central midfield players who have been asked to play in wide positions, it starts making more sense.

Coach was clear from early on that he wanted to keep the players on their toes, and he wanted to make them feel uncomfortable. He may very well have calculated the Landon bombshell for a particular moment, which he may have known would shock the rest of the team.

Deuce made it clear what he thought when he said he was blessed to have a chance to play in his third cup. That comment right there was from the captain, and it really should end the debate about Landon. Unfortunately, short of a gold star, we will hear what a bad choice it was, over and over.

I guess all comments are fair game and should be given at least some consideration.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ Andrew Green:

What exactly did Poyet do that I did not own up to?

And I suppose we will find out if my criticism hit the mark after group play. Correct?

@ dikranovich:

Why does anything have to end the debate? What is this obsession with ending the debates you do not like?

Pragmatic Idealist said...


Because its more complicated than that. In defense when the team can get completely behind the ball, they will look much more like a 4 4 2. Then when they transition, its a question of who has license to get forward. One of either Bradley or Jones always got forward before. But it was varied more by their indvidual choice. Bradley got forward some and Jones stayed back. Jones got forward and Bradley stayed back. How they decided to do that was driven more by the players. Wht has changed is nothing too dramatic. Bradley is given much more encouragement to get forward and Jones is told to stay home more. ITs not a clear either or.

Then its still a matter of degrees. Which Zones does Bradley go into and how often is he in those zones? I have rarely seen the US stay to a strict 2 dmid line with both staying home.

The same with the outside mids. They are still tasked with getting back and helping the outside back on d. They have always tucked in and allowed for overlaps. That hasnt changed. Brad Davis and Zusi are still getting wide now and whipping in crosses.

ITs not a firm, stagnant shape. Its more fluid and driven by roles more than adherence to a specific shape.

Greg Seltzer said...

1 - You are leaving out a monstrous aspect of what happened when Bradley or Jones went forward before: the third midfielder in front of them. Since when are we good enough without Donovan and with a back line prone to hiccups to go 4 v 5 in midfield against Germany, Portugal and Ghana?

And what happened vs. Azerbaijan when Mix came on and pinched inside to effectively return us to three in central park? Two goals, bang bang.

2 - Do you actually think a more fluid system is the best way for this group? I certainly do not.

UnitedDemon said...

Pragmatic, no one here is saying that the team is rigidly standing in a given formation the entire game. In defense, it is extremely rare to see more than two players forward at any time. So that's kind of a straw man, dude. And the way we've played the 4-2-3-1, Bradley is allowed to play more as a CM, which is a variation on the formation. As I said above, even well known formations have caveats. But they are still bloddy formations.

I disagree with you firmly on the outside midfielders always tucking in. Zusi especially in the past has been hugging the line, allowing Evans to mostly stay home. Now the formation has changed to give Fabian the chance to overlap. Fabian often started wide, than dribbled a litltle inside to let Beasley up the line as he himself facilitated possession. We haven't seen hardly anything from the wingers in the sendoff games, because they aren't able to get forward as much as they did in the superior formation.

You claim that the game is more fluid than that, but fulidity in soccer is still fluidity within a structure. Players overlap or switch positions, but they still are playing roles in a given formation. So have to disagree iwth you, full stop. And JK, who I don't think is being disingenuous intentionally, because he's talked about formations like they exist, only changing that opinion when it allows him to avoid consequences.

UnitedDemon said...

There were some errors in that, but you get the point.

dikranovich said...

Very exciting lineup with beckerman, jones and Bradley in central midfield triangle.....

The cats out of the bag, the coach knows what he is doing

dikranovich said...

Nice crowd in jvillle

Greg Seltzer said...

Gosh, imagine that! Klinsi changes the formation back to the way it is (basically) and my two greatest concerns are instantly addressed. Now watch us go out and whoop Nigeria, too.

Greg Seltzer said...

I meant way it *was* - not is.

dikranovich said...

Fabian Johnson, wow, that is how you do it. Four passes, 100 yards, 1 nil.

dikranovich said...

Nice finish Jozy . We are seeing players playing for each other today.

Greg Seltzer said...

So.... is there anyone who has had beef with my recent critiques that wants to argue that we do not look 10 times better tonight, and against a better opponent, after Klinsi changed the set back to three in central midfield?

dikranovich said...

I think the key takeaway from the first half was that USA scored a goal, and continued to control the tempo of the game, and even push it at the screaming eagles Nigeria came close on a corner and showed a bit more the last couple of minutes, but this USA team is poised to strike on the counter at a moments notice.

Look at the balance we have with the wing backs, and zusi really makes this team even stronger.

How about mix in Bradley's spot and Bradley drops back.

This is a very fluid team and that is a good thing. It's coming together nicely, and let's see if the USA can turn it up a notch or two in the second half

Greg Seltzer said...

They only controlled play defensively. Nigeria had 58% of the ball. And if Jones plays like this, Beckerman is not necessary. He can be replaced by Mix or Zusi (with Deuce sliding underneath Altidore).

And frankly, if Beasley is going to play like this, the added attacker can be Johnson moving to the wing in front of him with Cameron taking right back.

dikranovich said...

There is a buzz out there

Unknown said...
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bob said...

Greg you do understand we will probably need more than one formation in the world cup right? What is the point of playing a system we know works in world cup tune up games that most of the team already knows. Like seriously your criticizing him for doing exactly what he is supposed to do in warm up games: experiment and attempt to build alternate strategies in case plan A doesn't work. That is literally the only reason these games are played. I would be upset if had only played the 4-2-3-1 system we already know works just for hell of it, thats what bad coaches do.

Team looks great to me, klinsman seems to be doing his job to the best of his ability. His job does not include making you or any specific player happy btw. Give me legitament, on the field issues as those are all that matters.

Paul Poenicke said...

@ Greg: Let's keep this lineup on the field against Ghana and Portugal. I agree that if we had more time, Beckerman could be replaced. Given the opponents in our group, the fact that our defense still has momentary troubles, and Jones's recent run of form in the position, I think keeping the trio of Beckerman, Jones, and Bradley would be best.

This does not mean that Jurgen is off the hook--far from it. Bringing on Chandler and Gonzalez nearly destroyed the cohesion we had built for seventy minutes. Frankly, it is sensible to think that a player playing out of position and another coming off of injury might be unhelpful. But Jurgen is forced to go for these subs because he chose Brooks and Yedlin over Parhurst and Goodson. Furthermore, Ream would have been an incredible choice; you eliminate Davis's spot to bring on a flexible player who allows Cameron to play right back or defensive mid (which we will need if we play with two defensive mids.) Finally, who thinks that Donovan fires in at least one of the chances Mix received today? Mix, a great player, a player I wanted to see in the final 23, is not the player you want on the end of a final ball.

Oh, and the sub pattern is questionable as well. Choosing to get Wondo involved in games instead of attempting to see where Jóhannsson fits into the squad? Bizarre. Wondo's place in the squad is secure; it is still an open question if Jóhannsson could play (or even start) in an advanced wide position.

A final point about Klinsmann: Look, Klinsmann has an ego--most great players do. However, he has been willing to rework his lineup and change his ideas when they are not working. Klinsmann has not taken favored players such as Evans and Boyd to Brazil, and he has moved away from an earlier emphasis upon Mexican-American players, an ethnic group Jurgen described as the future of US soccer. This is significant evidence against the claims that Jurgen is obsessed with getting as many of his "countrymen" into the US squad as possible or simply looking to the 2018 World Cup with his choices for 2014. Changing the team's formation in the Send-Off Series suggests he is open to change when results are not forthcoming--he may be obstinate, but he is smart enough to appreciate when change is necessary.

Jurgen may be a Machiavillian, he may be stubborn, and he may be a bit full of himself. But the mistakes he has made seem to be from a lack of judgement, not because of a character flaw.

(Note on the Donovan decision: Donovan was left off the team for a number of reasons, partially because it seems that Donovan did not respond to Jurgen's challenges. Jurgen has challenged many of his best players--Altidore, Bradley, Dempsey--to take their play "to the next level" and to guide the team. Donovan seemingly did not do this, and Jurgen wants more from his leaders. Frankly, it was a bad judgement, but a judgement that did not result because of a character flaw.)

Greg Seltzer said...

bob said...

Greg you do understand we will probably need more than one formation in the world cup right?

- Just because it was that way in the past, I don't see why that is necessarily so. And even if ti was, the diamond is not gonna work with this defense stable in this group. It's just not.

What is the point of playing a system we know works in world cup tune up games that most of the team already knows.

- Well, obviously the point is for cohesiveness and sharpness as a starting unit... not to mention that the back line has not played together so many times.

Like seriously your criticizing him for doing exactly what he is supposed to do in warm up games: experiment and attempt to build alternate strategies in case plan A doesn't work... etc etc.

- We do not agree on this at all. I don't want to see experiments up to the last tune-up. No way. Not for me.

Team looks great to me...

- The team looked great to you in the last two friendlies? I don't see how. Tonight, was mostly beautiful.

Paul Poenicke said...

@ Greg: Let's keep this lineup on the field against Ghana and Portugal. I agree that if we had more time, Beckerman could be replaced. Given the opponents in our group, the fact that our defense still has momentary troubles, and Jones's recent run of form in the position, I think keeping the trio of Beckerman, Jones, and Bradley would be best.

- I can't argue with this much, but then I think, would I rather have Bradley and Jones working out of that area or Beckerman and one of the other two? Not so sure.

bob said...
^Greg's attitude towards klinsi

Paul I dont agree with some of what you said, but the general idea is spot on.

Greg Seltzer said...

Oh, so what you're saying is they are infallible? Hey, if you think they looked great the last two games and we should still be experimenting, then we just have a fundamental disagreement. But I'll tell ya what else: my judgment is the same exact one that gave Klinsi a salutatory 9 in the US Player Ratings set to go up at MLSS. So square that circle.

dikranovich said...

I think DMB might have been man of the match today. He just has a lot of experience and is very cunning.

It's funny, but the idea of three defensive central mids was not very popular amongst many people several years ago, now it is seen as some kind of master stroke. we are learning together as a soccer nation.

Clearly Fabian Johnson is going to be a fullback of the highest order, and we as a nation, are lucky to catch him on this up swing.

These people that have been talking so poorly about our coach, you know who you are, so please come forward and receive penance.

dikranovich said...

Was john obi Michel even on the field today?

dikranovich said...

Tsar Gregor, they are calling today's lineup at your MLS publication a diamond, do pray tell.

Greg Seltzer said...

Do you really want to start making nicknames for each other? Because I guarantee you that is a losing proposition and a half for you.

As for what you read at MLSS, I am not responsible for what others write. I saw three central midfield players, with either Bradley or Jones bursting forward with three runners ahead. Of course, when I disagree with Matt, nobody acts like an ass. Let alone almost every time ever.

dikranovich said...

Matt Doyle, this is a good chance for you to step up, so we can have a nice conversation here at NSC. Was it a diamond, or wasn't it?

Was it some sort of hybrid system?

bob said...

In no way am I saying klinsi is infallible. Im saying you insanely condescending attitude suggests you believe you have a much much better understanding of the situation than klinsi and could do better yourself.

Greg Seltzer said...

Gosh, it almost sounds like I am just a terrible person. Heh.

Funny enough, I feel like last night displayed quite eloquently that I had a strong list of points. And yet again, I will just sit here waiting for one of you fellas to describe all the rude ways my analysis of the game last night utilized. This is the same eyes and brain that lavished praise on the coach in my Nigeria ratings. So maybe, just maybe I am not the one making it personal.

dikranovich said...

Greg, you are not a horrible person, but at the same time, you don't have your finger on the pulse of this team, but it is hard to from Amsterdam.

Matthew Doyle, come on, there would be no better time for you to step forward.

Matthew from shin guardian, you too, you. Little beach blonde frisbee tosser

Tom said...

My dog, dik, you are a really unpleasant presence.

Greg Seltzer said...

As usual, you assume as fact. But even if you are right, why exactly do I need to take a team pulse to properly observe their field performance?

There is only one answer with you: Klinsi rules and Greg drools. Every single thing you say can be summed up with that, regardless of the circumstance.

dikranovich said...

Greg, we have been "discussing" our team since before coach klinsmann, and many discussions have not revolved around the coach. There is no need to rehash a fish taco debate.

dikranovich said...

And god willing, we will be discussing the team after coach klinsmann.

Greg Seltzer said...

Dude, about 39% of the time when you are directly addressing me, I actually have no clue what you are talking about.