|An exhausted and tactically flawed USMNT|
Jurgen Klinsmann opted to field a very narrow and fluid "4-3-3" with Jozy Altidore leading the line with Clint Dempsey roaming behind and Eddie Johnson on the left wing. Danny Williams sat behind Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones in the center of midfield and worked to primarily breakup the Honduran attack moves. Timmy Chandler and Fabian Johnson were relied upon to provide width to the US attack.
Width is where the US National Team continues to struggle under Klinsmann for a couple of reasons. First, while the US fullbacks are good, they are relied upon to do too much. The demands of the modern game require fullbacks to be more influential in the attack something both Fabian Johnson and Chandler can do well for club and country, however against a team like Honduras that had skilled wide players in Mario Martinez and Boniek Garcia, it would be best to limit the attacking responsibilities in order to keep the two in check. Eventually the fullbacks were too fatigued to get into advanced positions and the US attack became very direct and predictable.
Second, the ugly problem of wide midfield play continues to plague the US. This is where Landon Donovan is missed but also where Clint Dempsey is no longer as effective as he was under Bob Bradley. Under Bradley, Dempsey played on the left and Donovan on the right with both players cutting inside. At the time, Dempsey was an inside left midfielder for Fulham so he transitioned well into the position for the national team and Donovan was, and still is a right attacking player. However with Dempsey now playing centrally as a forward or attacking midfielder, there is a void at the position.
There has been one for as long as Klinsmann has been in charge. This is why Jose Torres received an endless amount of chances to prove himself at the spot even though he was not influential. This is why Brek Shea is as needed as much as Landon Donovan is right now and it is why Eddie Johnson is playing out of position.
Every solution Klinsmann has tried at the position has not succeeded. This isn't to say that it has failed but no left sided attacking player has thrived under Jurgen Klinsmann. Eddie Johnson's spell of success late last year came with the US initiating on the right hand side and him making inside runs into the area making him more of a striker than a winger as shown in the fact he had only one successful cross and failed to have a successful dribble. His replacement, Sacha Kljestan was failed to have an impact either with one unsuccessful cross and he lost possession seven times in 31 minutes.
This is why Brad Davis graduated to the hex camp. He is the next untested option, followed by the still developing Joe Corona and then the option exists of moving Fabian Johnson up to left midfield and playing Edgar Castillo at left back.
If we reach that point though, then the US are in serious trouble.
The Soccer Media Ratings
New for the hex we decided to keep track of all the player ratings conducted by various websites covering the US Men's National Team. At the end of the hex, we will know who will be viewed as the best and worst player for the team. The journalists/websites used include: the New York Times, American Soccer Now, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, MLS, The Yanks Are Coming and Yanks Abroad. We compiled their ratings and present the average rating of each American player. Note: Jurgen Klinsmann would be assessed but not every website chooses to rate the coach.
All ratings are out of 10. 1 being the worst, 10 being the best.
|Tim Howard, the AOTM|
Timmy Chandler - 3.92
Geoff Cameron - 4.42
Omar Gonzalez - 4.08
Fabian Johnson - 4.75
Danny Williams - 4.67
Michael Bradley - 6.42
Jermaine Jones - 6.00
Eddie Johnson - 5.83
Jozy Altidore - 6.00
Clint Dempsey - 6.42
Maurice Edu - 6.25
Sacha Kljestan - 5.17
Graham Zusi - 5.50
For round one of the hex, Tim Howard is the AOTM (American of the Match) and Timmy Chandler receives the lowest rating. Safe to say after yesterday, the only number on most American minds is 0. The number of points they have.
ONE GOAL ContributorChristian Araos (@Christian_Araos)