Monday, June 27, 2016

TDATDA: Colombia - Part Deux

Forgive my tardiness, I burned the crap out of my thumb cooking dinner last night and just was not up to typing. But here we are, with an extra day of reflection (not that it's softened my critical edge any). In case you missed them, here are my USMNT player ratings for the bronze medal match loss to Colombia and here's a little tourney aftermath take...

  • Now that's it all over, I gotta ask: Why were Castillo and Kitchen even on the squad? I don't mean that as a knock on those players. It's just that Klinsmann clearly had no intention of ever using them. Don't get it twisted, he had optimal situations to use both guys and did not.

    Judging from his maneuvers, Kitchen was at best the fourth defensive/holding midfielder on a 20-man field roster - and that's only if you don't include Jones on the list. In addition to starting Beckerman against Argentina, the coach preferred to bring Birnbaum into defense and push Cameron into midfield over playing Kitchen. That strikes me as highly wasteful staffing for one position out of 10. Meanwhile, we got an underwhelming Johnson and Orozco at left back, options which gave opponents downhill running on that flank throughout the six games. The field tilt never went our way on the left, something even Castillo critics would admit he can help with - and that's before you factor in sliding FabJo to left wing, where he so obviously belongs. So both went unused, and the team's glaring lack of one legit playmaking #10 option stuck out like a sore thumb as much as our lack of industry from the wings did.

    Don't forget, Klinsmann also squandered two rosters spots at World Cup 2016, when neither Chandler nor Diskerud saw the field while everyone was wishing we'd brought another proper lead striker type along. This stuff makes me feel like Ben Affleck doing Batman v. Superman press after the reviews/interwebs verdicts have come in.

  • The bright spot of the tournament? Brooks coming into his own as an international player (Argentina semi-stinker notwithstanding). He's going to be the boss at LCB for a while, friends, and there's still plenty of room to grow.
  • Check out my man Matt Doyle's Copa-capping word, which includes some rather telling stats about Klinsmann's record against top opposition, as compared to his predecessors.
  • While you're at it, give this rather spot-on assessment of the overall USMNT program and the perceptions surrounding it by Jon Townsend. Many of these things have been said before, but it's well put together and adds several layers to the tale. This take is certainly more astute than ESPN voice Colin Cowherd's nutty, but predictably popular/populist rant about how the Nats' current problems have nothing to do with poor coaching and just about everything to do with needing more criticism.

    Gimme a break with that. Those guys get hammered a lot, nobody kid gloves them. In fact, some fans can be downright brutally impossible to please. As for his silly media culpability nonsense, yours truly was not alone in ripping the side several times during Copa. Actually, I'm now being accused of criticizing the players too much. Cowherd's partner Jason Whitlock offers a far more salient point about our country's woes in failing (for now) to reach the often-discussed next level. By worlds, not miles.

And as always, the end of a tournament means the start of a new USMNT Clipboard. I'll get that rolling tomorrow.

- Greg Seltzer


Dany Tzvi said...

the numbers doyle gives about klinsmann are frightening.

i like what whitlock and townsend say and i have high hopes for the no-tuition policy that many MLS academies are moving to.

the townsend piece is very good, and i think he does a great job analyzing the drag that many MLS policies have on US Soccer development.

Patrick said...

Doyle's numbers are cherry picked. A defeat of a German C team in a Gold Cup is a win but a defeat of their mostly A team in a friendly in Germany is not. Doyle hates Klinsman, tread carefully. Wins against Argentina in a meaningless group game and B Brazil team in Gold Cup also in there.

Klinsman bringing Brooks to the WC was seen as a waste of a roster spot. But if out of four players (Chandler, Diskerud, Green, Brooks) brought that people thought were wastes; we get a world class CB for the next 12 years, that is better than expected. Do that every time! People love to joke about Green especially, and it hasn't worked out. But Brooks was as speculative and he might be paying for Germany in 2018 if JK doesn't play him in Brazil.

DaM said...

I tire of people passing off poor coaching as just "klinsman hating" or the like. Maybe Mr. Doyle *appears* to hate klinsman because klinsman makes a lot of strategically indefensible positions and it is Mr. Doyle's job to point out the like. Maybe that's why it seems like ALL american soccer journalists hate Klinsi.

Greg Seltzer said...

People thought Brooks was a wasted choice in 2014? That's news to me.

And the issue is not that those players were wasted picks because of their abilities. I'm saying they were wasted picks because they went unused (despite there being clear chances to use them) when we had other pressing needs that had no solution during the tourney in question.

Jon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JJO said...

What bothers me the most about Klinsmann is that he keeps treading out some variation of "we're too naive" or "we showed them too much respect" nonsense as if he just flew in for the weekend and hasn't been in charge for 5 years. If our players, fans, and media are still too naive after 5 years and this is the biggest problem with the program then what exactly has he been doing all this time? If Wondo, Zusi, et al showed Argentina too much respect then why is the manager picking them?

If anyone is being naive, it is Klinsmann himself believing he is above reproach.

Josh Dorn said...

My main issues with Klinsmann are that he plays players out of position, gets tactics/subs wrong (which he doesn't seem to learn from) and that he very rarely if at all takes responsibility.

I am alright with playing some players in a different spot now and then to try and add to their game, especially if there are some overlapping parts of the skill set. However, consistently playing a player out of position is infuriating. Also, putting a player in a position that is horrible for their skill set. A prime example would be Bedoya at DMid, against Brazil none the less.

There are many times that Klinsmann's tactics have been baffling or substitutions (I don't feel the need to list endless examples).

The 3rd and worst part is Klinsmann not taking responsibility for mistakes. A prime example from this tournament is the Argentina game. He picks a horrible lineup, but then after the game the issue was that the "players gave too much respect". To me this is alarming because every coach makes mistakes, but consistently avoiding any responsibility for them makes me believe that in his mind he didn't make a mistake.

DaM said...

@Josh I think that is a pretty fair 3 part summation of why many of us, myself included, are frustrated with Klinsman. It has indeed gotten to the point where listing of examples is extraneous. We, as a soccer nation, have gotten to the point where we celebrate meaningless things like "he used the same starting lineup 3 matches in a row" solely because there is so little else that makes sense. Even if that starting lineip performs poorly.

Oh well. Here's my prediction for the world cup: we make it out of the group in 2nd place and win a knockout round match against a fellow midlevel team before bowing out to an actually good team.

I don't need to know our group or even who he is taking. He'll find a way to start pulisic at LB and zardes at CB while insisting Dempsey is a RW and jermaine jones makes perfect sense at CF as he'll make it hard for the opposing centerbacks to play it forward :)

JJO said...

Anyone else getting a kick out of the hype coming out of some corners of the English press for Klinsmann to replace Hodgson?

The irony is that some of what I've read is actually persuasive, i.e. the parallels between the recent England tournament performances and those of Germany prior to Klinsmann's appointment coupled with England needing a similar systemic revamp of their program. There's a few more valid points that makes me think that he could actually take that job and at the very least outperform the last couple of England managers.

Patrick said...

Manchester United, Monterrey, Everton, Man. United, Man. city, PSG, Barcelona, Barcelona, Inter, Napoli, Henbei


Aston Villa, Bor. Monchgldbch, Hertha Berlin, Stoke, Sunderland, Toronto FC, Real Salt Lake, Sporting KC, Seattle Sounders, LA Galaxy, San Jose Earthquakes

We can't find a manager out there that can consistently overcome the odds laid out above. We need more players starting at the top teams in the top leagues.

This is probably not going to happen until 2022 at the earliest and JK will be long gone.

Patrick said...

I agree. He won't last long, but will drop Rooney, take all the media scorn on himself, and let the players have fun again. The English players just don't seem to want to be out there.

kyle johnson said...

Your above statement is correct, no one thought we Should have beaten Argentina. However no one thought we would put up a weak performance like that, why, because we have a history of playing top teams tough when it counts but coming up short due to lack of talent. That lineup was a scared lineup that showed Argentina too much respect and we got pummeled without ever teally putting up much of a fight.