Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Your USMNT Line-up v Honduras

Not feeling the diamond, as you would assume. Also a bit concerned about the left side tracking Najar while Alvarado and Chandler guard what he will see as the back post. This game could prove a grind, which openers can be for a favorite.





- Greg Seltzer

28 comments:

JJO said...

Did anyone else love Friedel in the booth? I thought he was pretty great.

Greg, were you able to hear the FoxSports feed?

As for the match, well a-win-is-a-win I guess. The first half was complete misery aside from a pretty lucky goal and the beautiful run and setup by FabJo. Honestly I was dozing during the second half and can't say if it was an improvement.

Bernardinho said...

ESPN's live chat was spilling over with variations of "Jozy's done" - Greg, do you see any kind of formation/personnel development through this cycle with even a remote chance of pulling Jozy off the field?

Greg Seltzer said...

@ JJO: I was not privy to the Fox feed.

@ Bernardinho: The ESPN live chat is off its gourd. Why anyone would pick out Altidore as a main issue last night is utterly beyond me. Frankly, I think there is just a group of fans that will bash him regardless of what he actually does on a given night.

futfan said...

On top of being an egomaniac, Klinsmann is also an incompetent bore. Roster and match-day player selection? A total joke. Far from being any kind of visionary, Klinsmann is actually a drag on us progressing. I would much rather have Jorge Luis Pinto at the helm.

Jozy is indeed done IMO. I predicted, toward the end of his Sunderland stint, that he would not be our starting striker for the next WC and might not even make the team. As things stand now that should turn out to be correct. Well, actually, probably not if Klinsmann is still managing the team. He'll keep sticking him out there. Beckerman never - and I mean NEVER - makes a forward pass. The best you can hope from that plodder is a square ball. Chandler is worthless. His crosses are consistently poor and his defense is suspect. Still including Wondolowski!? And actually playing him? Seriously? I mean, the list goes on and on.

It's not even fun watching the nats anymore. It just depresses me.

futfan said...

@ Bernardinho: The ESPN live chat is off its gourd. Why anyone would pick out Altidore as a main issue last night is utterly beyond me. Frankly, I think there is just a group of fans that will bash him regardless of what he actually does on a given night.

No, Jozy wasn't the main issue last night but he is an issue. The main issue is Klinsmann. Regardless though, we have seen the best of Jozy IMO. It's time to move on and give Johannsson, Wood and Morris real opportunities. Heck I'd prefer Zardes to Altidore.

Greg Seltzer said...

Yes, I can see you would prefer anything and everything to Altidore, which is certifiably bananas. The guy not only quite obviously has the most complete tool belt among our strikers, but he is 25 and has four goals in his last nine US caps. And yet a game where he basically teed up the opener and almost every field starter had a much worse game (including Zardes) is the final nail proof that he is done?

Sorry, I do not get it.

Tony M said...

JJO: Really? I thought Friedel was pretty poor. He whined about every Honduras tackle, ignored the numerous fouls NOT called against the US (it was that kind of game for both sides) and when he did acknowledge a US foul, he always downplayed it. Beyond that I didn't think he said anything that wasn't obvious ("goals change games") and really didn't capture the flow of the game.

Maybe you heard something I missed, but for the most part, I'm not anxious to have to hear him again.

JJO said...

@Tony M - I took it differently I guess. I thought he was honest in his view of the fouls and never "whined" about anything. He leveled fair assessments of Brooks' yellow card and the lack of yellow for a similar foul committed against Yedlin. He was also accurate in his criticism of the speed and thought of the US during the dreadful opening and had rightly highlighted that set pieces might be the key for the US to win against the Honduran setup. He gave Chandler credit when he amde defensive plays and was critical of his lack of ball security when I'd expect anyone else to just trash the guy (like 90% of player ratings reports today).

Maybe I'm just happy to hear a knowledgeable voice describing what is happening instead of hyperbole, rah-rah cheerleading, controversial staements for their own sake, or shoehorned preplanned talking points into match commentary that we get with most everyone else. That's how I heard him anyway.

LB said...

@Greg Seltzer: I, too, am amazed at the Jozy criticisms after last night. The second Wondo came on it became painfully obvious just how important Jozy is to the team.

If you could do a post-mortem on this game's tactics, here or on MLSsoccer, it'd be fascinating and, I think, important. In my view, Klinsmann's personnel choices, formation, and subs are what caused us to be outplayed.

That's so important for US fans to grasp because the real take away from yesterday's poor showing was not the poor individual performances but how so many of those poor individual performances were caused by JK's tactical decisions. This is the case for almost every American on the field last night...

The centerbacks (and entire back line, on defense) looked shaky b/c they constantly had attackers running at them, often in equal numbers. And Honduras constantly had attackers finding space in transition b/c our midfield was in shambles.

Out midfield was in shambles primarily because of the diamond formation, though also b/c of personnel decisions within that formation. The diamond lacks natural width, which played right into the hands of Honduras' 5-3-2 wingback formation. To compensate for that lack of natural width in the diamond, the US relies on its fullbacks to get forward. But with the fullbacks getting forward so much, they often got caught out in possession. This problem was only exacerbated by fielding Yedlin and Zardes on the midfield wings, neither of whom is defensively sound and neither of whom is adept at possession. End result: zero midfield cohesion to speak of, a game with a frenetic back and forth tempo, and a painfully slow Beckerman stranded in acres of space because Bradley and the 4 wingers were pushing up so much. Of course everyone is going to look horrific. They were set up to fail.

Unknown said...

@LB You took the words right out of my mouth. So much of this performance was based on how poorly Klinsi set up this team. Why don't we play a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1? It would take advantage of our fast wide players like Zardes or Yedlin, while giving the backline more defensive cover, and providing the midfield with more passing options and interchanging. Also, why Wondo instead of Johannson? This game was screaming for somebody that is able to hold possession and make smart runs in behind their defense. Bedoya should have started over Yedlin, because we actually need somebody who is good in possession, which Yedlin is not. That horrible touch in he midfield and then the giving away of the freekick at the end of the match was not just about dead-legs, he just is not very skilled technically, and shouldn't be playing what is essentially a central midfield position.

futfan said...

Sorry, I do not get it.

I think that's because you are too attached to him. If he has "the most complete toolbelt," IF that's true - and we can't really know because no one else has received significant enough time to judge - it's only because of experience and it doesn't say good things about the rest of our striker pool. His first touch is poor most of the time. His technical skill is weak overall for that matter. He's average at best in the air. The goals that he actually creates are few - he is mostly a poacher and an average one at that as he misses plenty of sitters (certainly did with Sunderland). His strong points are that he is bull-strong (when he uses it) and he can make a decent pass if he actually holds-up and controls the ball long enough to do so.

He just isn't very good IMO. He proved that at Sunderland. Yes, they are a terrible side with serious weaknesses in midfield but, regardless, the PL exposed him. And talking about his goal scoring record with the Nats is a red herring to a certain extent. You take, say, Bobby Wood right now and give him equal opportunity and I would not be at all surprised to see him have at lest an equal number or more goals to Altidore going forward.

I don't dislike Altidore personally or anything. He seems like a completely sincere, grounded, stand-up guy. I think he handled the Sunderland debacle (off the pitch) about as well as anyone could. And, yes, he's still young but, like I said, I think we've seen the best of him - his peak. He doesn't appear to be getting any better and indeed looks worse since the Sunderland travesty.

You honestly think he'll improve his footballing skills significantly prior to the coming WC? If not then it's time to go a different direction now IMO rather than waiting half-way through the cycle.

Anyway, he certainly isn't our biggest problem. I agree with that completely. We have a manager who is still calling on Chris Wondowlowski FFS.

DaM said...

For the record, thirded on jozy. Not great, but the passing out of the back 6 was atrocious and far more of an issue than Jozy. At least jozy set up a goal and had a couple of shots.

People who use Sunderland as an example of Jozy being bad neither watched Sunderland at all nor looked into the secondary stats with and without Jozy. Lazy argument. Jozy was Sunderland's best offensiv e player... the problem was he was only 1% as selfish as the rest of them. Just check out the stats.

Agreed wholeheartedly on the Wondo mystery. My best guess is JK felt like he needed to use him as a sub to justify bringing him to a world cup, a competition he just flat isn't good enough. Probably thought that the GC is lesser competition so maybe it'll work this time. He has no business being on the USMNT. Hooray for him scoring for San Jose, but just not a national team player. What he is doing coming off the bench before AJo as a late sub is completely and utterly beyond me.

I was almost ready to cut JK a break after the euro trip when he seemed to be breaking out of the diamond midfielt inanity and letting bradley play more of an 8 in the middle of a 4-1-3-2. He seemed to be making smart subs instead of trying to SEEM like he was making smart subs. I would give JK a 2 for last night's performance. Would have been a 0 if we didn't win.

justinwkoehn said...

What do you guys think about moving Bradley to a #6 role, instead of the 8/10?

Andy Palmer said...

For the record, fourth on Jozy. He connected well with the other attacking players, he held the ball up well, and made many good runs which were missed by his teammates. He's our #1 striker because he's, hands-down, the best striker in our pool.

It's funny that when other strikers, like Johansson, start, and don't do anything, that everyone is full of excuses (he got no service, he was left on an island, etc.) but when Jozy is out there, he's expected to take on four players alone and score and gets bashed when he doesn't.

If he's healthy, Jozy will start in WC2018. I pray that he is because our team plays so much better when he's out there. He was certainly missed in WC2014...

DaM said...

@justin bradley is wasted as a pure number 6. Then again if he is stuck playing in a diamond midfield, that is closest to his natural position. The point is he is a box to box guy who is ideal in a 3 man midfield with almost any combination of other midfielders. Trying to shoehorn him to a pure a-mid or d-mid doesn't make doesnt mean he can't contribute but it definitely doesn't maximize his abilities. He plays very well as the point guard of the offense, not in the box but about 10 yards out. He really is a box to box midfielder. Call it an 8 or whatever but that is where he does his best work.

Nicholas Gaspar said...

Greg, what's going on with Brad Guzan and Villa? Is he going to stay there?

Dany Tzvi said...

key thing about jozy, and greg mentioned this, is that he is still producing. 14 goals in his last 27 caps. thats a 1:2 strikerate, which is exactly what you want from your striker, and for it to come from a guy like jozy who excels at holding the ball and can play a fabulous pass it's really quite excellent.

lets also remember that jozy is coming off of an injury and is clearly not match-fit, but he did still contribute and he set up that first goal.

jozy produces. u can complain all u want, but as long as he keeps producing he should be and's gonna be our #1

Peter Mannes said...

It should not be understated how terrible the refereeing was in this match. Honduras was allowed to push and hack away at our team, and play was allowed to continue in situations where our players expected a whistle. It takes time for players like ours to adjust to the roughness of CONCACAF and find ways to adjust their game. I think European teams would be appalled at what the USA has to go through when playing in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and elsewhere in the region.

Ufficio said...

Other than the bizarre non-call on the Najar shove, I thought the officiating was fine.

DaM said...

There were a pretty fair number of yellow card worth challenges that didn't get called as such. There was the obvious yellow card foul on Yedlin in the first half that didn't get called at all. Several flops turned into free kicks. Pretty poor officiating. I agree, concacaf officials get away with a lack of scrutiny.

dikranovich said...

Jozy has scored 14 goals in 27 matches dating back to a Slovenia match back in 2011. Two of the fourteen goals have come in meaningful matches. The other twelve were meaningless. That's two goals in important matches in a little less than four years. One goal every two years in a meaningful game, which was about his strike rate at Sunderland.

Freegle said...

That's a great stat but what exactly are "meaningful games?" If we take them to mean WCQ or Gold Cup matches, remember that Jozy was on Klinsmann-forced hiatus for the first half of the 2012 WCQ matches, didn't play in the Gold Cup in 2013 because it was a "B Squad" and played only 20 minutes in the 2014 World Cup before injury. Furthermore, one could argue that a hat trick on the road in a friendly in Bosnia is far more meaningful than one against Belize in Portland despite the former being in a friendly and the latter being in a Gold Cup. I missed you dik!

Greg Seltzer said...

@ dikranovich:

Erm, he scored **four** goals in the World Cup qualifying hex, and then missed all but 20 minutes of World Cup. Nice try.

@ Nicholas:

Well, since they grabbed another cheap GK today, right now it would appear he should be the starter again.

@ justinWK:

Bradley should be an 8, period. Anything else is wasting a share of his skills.

DaM said...

@freegle JK also left LD off the WC roster. Let's not assume his decisions are good ones and blame Jozy for being on hiatus.

Freegle said...

@DaM I wasn't blaming Jozy at all I apologize if it read that way it wasn't my intent. Also, my dislike for Klinsmanns decisions is well documented on this site, particularly regarding the LD omission.

dikranovich said...

You know, I do stand corrected, and he did score four goals in meaningful games, in the last four years. I missed goals against Jamaica and Honduras. And three of his meaningful goals were game winners. I would still contend Jozy scored three against Bosnia after they subbed out their starters, in what was only a friendly, and he without a doubt has major room for improvement.

If Jozy does not score at least four goals in this gold cup, it will not be because of the players around him, nor will it be because of the tactics instructed to him by the coach.

He better score at least a hattrick against his parents country. Two goals tomorrow night should be a given.

Let's really count good touches tomorrow night versus bad touches, for Jozy altidore. Haiti and panama, he could get his four goals right there.

Every USA fan wants to not just see Jozy succeed, but they, we, want to see him excell.

Tony M said...

@JJO: Sorry to be late in replying and all well and good to disagree, even as widely as we do here. Juuuuussst so long as your comments were not meant to imply that I preferred "hyperbole, rah-rah cheerleading, controversial staements for their own sake, or shoehorned preplanned talking points."

Most announcers are mediocre. Most people doing anything are mediocre. But there are some ex players who do an excellent job. I thought Twellman was terrible when he began, but listen to him now - there are so many times when he starts pointing out trends in the game before they become obvious and have consequences. Kyle Martino was, I thought, fantastic on the sidelines of NBC Sports MLS games. Brian Dunseth talks way too much, but within the avalanche of words are lots of intelligent insights. Right now they are pretty much the only three ex-player color commentators worth listening to.

Lalas, who I don't mind in the studio, is the controversy for the sake of controversy all time leader. As for shoehorned prepared comments... well, the next interesting in game observation from Grant Wahl would be the very FIRST interesting observation he offered. Probably the worst ex-player was John Harkes, who mostly couldn't conceal his seething jealous, especially of Landon Donovan.

JJO said...

@Tony M

I was definitely not trying to imply your preferences, just trying to summarize common examples of commentary types - the types that I absolutely hate listening to. Sometimes I prefer listening in Spanish with limited comprehension even though they might be saying the same things.

Also, I agree with each of your specific examples except Lalas who I used to tolerate but has become too much of a clown since jumping to Fox.