So the USA lost a pivotal first game vs #3 Ranked Columbia (yes #3 in the world by the way). The 2-0 loss was interesting as it was a set piece and a PK that decided the win for Columbia – the US actually outpossessed Columbia – let me repeat that – we had 55% they had 45% – this was even true in the 1st half. Listen I thought the US outplayed them in the field – we had more possession in their half and the shots were even. The Mexican Ref (yes out hated rival reffed this game – HOW CAN THAT HAPPEN? – only in COPA. I have very little good to say about the way COPA is putting on this tourney – yes its in the USA – That is the only GOOD thing about what they are doing. The refs have made horrible calls in multiple games that honestly affected the outcomes of the matches. Brazil, USA, Jamaica- just to name a few. The stands are empty except the huge teams (Brazil, Mexico – the true home team, and the US sort of. I saw a lot of fans dressed as empty seats in the opener – the opening ceremonies – how can that happen? Well let me tell you – the DAMN COPA people demanded everyone buy full session passes – the Chicago that was 4 Games at in my case $75 per game for good level 2 seats – ($135 for level 1) that’s $75 X4 = $300 + fees or $325 per tickets x 2 = $650 for 2 tix per game. That’s not chump change. Now I realize that is how the World Cup often sells but this is not the World Cup. It is however the biggest Soccer Tourney the US has seen since 1994 on the men’s side and now that the tickets are being sold per game – We (the USA fans should sell out the games now). But the organization to start with was greedy – I a guess that is why there were only 15K fans in Chicago with me on Sunday (yes they said 25K – NO WAY). Now it does look like the USA – MUST WIN game vs Costa Rica – is nearing a sellout – so that should be fun. (I still have 2 tickets left at cost $75 per if anyone wants to join me and Bill and Family.)
Now on the US Men – well the German (read Klinsmann) put the team out there and they played ok I guess. Honestly they did out possess and had some real chances throughout the game. I thought Bradley was horrific – worse player on the field in his natural #6 spot which was hugely disappointing and honestly in my mind probably cost us the game. His passing was off all night long – worse I have ever seen him. Now I think he bounces back vs Costa Rica – he can’t play much worse – you have to start him – I think in the same spot but we will see. So at lot of talk about Dempsey being too old – but did someone see something I didn’t see? Dempsey had our ONLY Dam Real Scoring Chances. Now is he a target man (NO!!!) I really think his spot is underneath say a Bobby Wood up top in a 4 /4 /2 . But that is just my take. He needs room to roam and be free to get into dangerous spots and create for a forward in front of him and play off one he’s underneath. He’s perfect with Altidore – he’s still our best scorer – so lets put him in a spot where he can score.
I see Wood and Dempsey up front. Nagbe (solid off bench- he’s the only player who can possess the ball) he’s got to come in for Jones who was a Ghost (besides his 1 shot above the post did you even hear his name called – I didn’t till he left the field and questioned the German’s tactics – which he should – the German has no tactics. I thought the D was solid with Cameron being the best player on the field. Other than his losing his mark on the goal – he made multiple saves and covered for the AVERAGE Brooks who was run by at least 3 times before Cameron saved his a$$. Yedlin was great on the edge, Johnson ok at a left back (I am still not sure he’s not best at left wing – especially if we fall behind – he is the only player on our roster to score multiple goals in Champions League by the way). Maybe it’s a 4-5-1 in reality.
Shane’s roster rollout –
Johnson/Nagbe / Bedoya
Castillo (Leija really but he’s off squad?), Brooks, Cameron, Yedlin
Listen Costa Rica and Paraguay tied – 0-0 (the perfect result for the US) We win 2 games we are thru. Win 1 and tie 1 – you might survive. The bottom line is Costa Rica – has beaten us lately – 2 in the last 4 games. They are ranked higher than us – but this is a home game and the type of Game the US usually pulls out. If this game is in the US home fortress known as Columbus, Ohio – I guarantee a victory. But in Chicago – with I don’t know how many Americans on hand ?? I don’t know ? Hopefully us AMERICAN’s actually show up and Support our US National Soccer Team – I know the American Outlaws have 6 sections behind the goal levels 1 and 2 sold out – 4 of us will be there in full voice and regala! GO USA please – I think we pull it out. 2-1 maybe in this very physical-must win match!! I Believe – I believe that we will, I believe that we will win!!
Oh yes don’t forget huge game tonite – Argentina vs Chile – in a rematch of last year’s COPA Final – 10 pm on Fox Sports 1!!
2 TICKETS TO SEE the USA Men Play LIVE – Soldier Field Chicago – Tues Night- June 7 @ 8 pm
So I have 2 tickets to the COPA AMERICA USA vs Costa Rica game on Tuesday night, June 8 pm (Central Time) in Chicago – Soldier Field. Tickets just $75 each (face value w/o the fees).. Re: or email email@example.com
COPA America 100 in USA
Group B – Preview – Brazil + Ecuador
ALL GAMES ON TV
Mon, June 6
7 pm FS1 COPA – Panama vs Bolivia
10 pm FS1 COPA – Argentina vs Chile
Tues, June 7
8 pm Fox Sports1 USA vs Costa Rica – Solider Field – Tix Available!
10 pm Fox Sports 1 COPA- Mexico vs Uruguay
Fri, June 10 European Cup Starts
3 pm ESPN EURO- France vs Romania
Sat, June 11
9 am ESPN EURO – Albania vs Switzerland
12 noon ESPN EURO – Wales vs Slovakia
3 pm ESPN EURO – England vs Russia
7 pm Fox Sport1 USA vs Paraguay
9 pm FS2 COPA – Columbia vs Costa Rica
Sunday, June 12
Turkey vs. Croatia — Paris (3 p.m. CET/9 a.m. ET, ESPN)
Poland vs. Northern Ireland — Nice (12 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Germany vs. Ukraine — Lille (9 p.m. CET/3 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Ecuador vs. Haiti -6:30 p.m.FOX Sports 2Brazil vs. Peru-8:30 p.m. Fox Sports 1
Monday, June 13
Spain vs. Czech Rep — Toulouse (3 p.m. CET/9 a.m. ET, ESPN)
Rep of Ireland vs. Sweden — Saint-Denis (6 p.m. CET/12 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Belgium vs. Italy — Lyon (9 p.m. CET/3 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Mexico vs. Venezuela 8 p.m. FoX Sports 1Uruguay vs. Jamaica 10 p.m. FOX Sports 1
Tuesday, June 14
Austria vs. Hungary — Bordeaux (6 p.m. CET/12 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Portugal vs. Iceland — Saint-Etienne (9 p.m. CET/3 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Chile vs. Panama 8 p.m. FOX Sports 1Argentina vs. Bolivia 10 p.m. FOX Sports 1
Wednesday, June 15
Russia vs. Slovakia — Lille (3 p.m. CET/9 a.m. ET, ESPN)
Romania vs. Switzerland — Paris (6 p.m. CET/12 p.m. ET, ESPN)
France vs. Albania — Marseille (9 p.m. CET/3 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Thursday, June 16
England vs. Wales — Lens (3 p.m. CET/9 a.m. ET, ESPN)
Ukraine vs. Northern Ireland — Lyon (6 p.m. CET/12 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Germany vs. Poland — Saint-Denis (9 p.m. CET/3 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Copa America 1A vs. 2B Seattle, WA 9:30 p.m. FOX Sports 1
Friday, June 17
Italy vs. Sweden — Toulouse (3 p.m. CET/9 a.m. ET, ESPN)
Czech Rep vs. Croatia — Saint-Etienne (6 p.m. CET/12 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Spain vs. Turkey — Nice (9 p.m. CET/3 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Saturday, June 18
Belgium vs. Rep of Ireland — Bordeaux (3 p.m. CET/9 a.m. ET, ESPN)
Iceland vs. Hungary — Marseille (6 p.m. CET/12 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Portugal vs. Austria — Paris (9 p.m. CET/3 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Copa America 1D vs. 2C Foxborough, MA 7 p.m. FXCopa America 1C vs. 2D anta Clara, CA 10 p.m. FX
Sunday, June 19
Switzerland vs. France — Lille (9 p.m. CET/3 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Romania vs. Albania — Lyon (9 p.m. CET/3 p.m. ET, ESPN2)\
Monday, June 20
Slovakia vs. England — Saint-Etienne (9 p.m. CET/3 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Russia vs. Wales — Toulouse (9 p.m. CET/3 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
Tuesday, June 21
Northern Ireland vs. Germany — Paris (6 p.m. CET/12 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Ukraine vs. Poland — Marseille (6 p.m. CET/12 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
Croatia vs. Spain — Bordeaux (9 p.m. CET/3 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Czech Rep vs. Turkey — Lens (9 p.m. CET/3 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
Copa America W25 vs. W27 Houston, TX 9 p.m. FOX Sports 1Wednesday, June 22
Hungary vs. Portugal — Lyon (6 p.m. CET/12 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Iceland vs. Austria — Saint-Denis (6 p.m. CET/12 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
Italy vs. Rep of Ireland — Lille (9 p.m. CET/3 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Sweden vs. Belgium — Nice (9 p.m. CET/3 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
Copa America W26 vs. W28 Chicago, IL 8 p.m. FOX Sports 1
Euro Round of 16 Starts Saturday, June 25
Sat., 6/25Copa America L29 vs. L30 Glendale, AZ 8 p.m. FXSun., 6/26Copa America final East Rutherford, NJ 8 p.m. FOX Sports 1
MLS TV Schedule ‘ On Break June 3-June 17 for COPA
COPA AMERICA 100 –GAMES IN CHICAGO – still seats left for USA Game , Argentina game and Semi-Finals.
The US will step on Soldier Field’s grass on Tuesday night knowing they will need at least a draw against their CONCACAF rivals Costa Rica (8 pm ET; FS1/UniMás/UDN). The good news for them is that they know that they can get results at the 92-year-old stadium in Chicago because they have done it before.The US national team has played in Soldier Field 13 times. In those 13 games, they have been able to come out with a win on six occasions, with the most famous one coming in 2007 when they defeated Mexico in the Gold Cup final thanks to a world-class goal from Benny Feilhaber.They had defeated Canada in the semifinals of that tournament at Soldier Field and six years later they would lift the Gold Cup trophy again in Chicago, after beating Panama.The USMNT’s last loss in Chicago came in 2007, two and a half months after they had defeated Mexico, when Brazil beat them 4-2. It is the US’ only loss in Chicago in their last six games.
USMNT games in Chicago (Soldier Field)
|6/21/07||Canada||W, 2-1||Gold Cup Semifinal|
|6/24/07||Mexico||W, 2-1||Gold Cup Final|
|6/6/09||Honduras||W, 2-1||World Cup Qualifier|
|7/23/09||Honduras||W, 2-0||Gold Cup Semifinal|
|7/28/13||Panama||W, 1-0||Gold Cup Final|
USA vs. Costa Rica, Copa America 2016: What to watch for
Many people have had many scapegoats over the past few days. To some, Jurgen Klinsmann is the architect of this lumbering manatee of a team, and should be vilified accordingly. To others, certain players needed to be taken to task, as the midfield only looked disjointed and no one particularly covered themselves in glory on the night. There will also be those to whom the Colombia game was symptomatic of the entire U.S. development system and the way we have come to the state of the current player pool: maybe we just don’t have any really, really good players.I would like to propose that not one of those things was the problem with the U.S. against Colombia, but all three at once. Sorry for the gloom and doom, but that’s what I keep coming back to re-watching that game. The U.S. seemed to go out looking to press, but there was no organization to it and nearly all moves to pressure opponents in the attacking third looked reactionary and not in sync with other teammates around it. Klinsmann’s lopsided midfield shaded all the way to the left to help out Fabian Johnson(the player with the most glimmering credentials on this team), but he still had problems with Juan Cuadrado all night, and the midfield never really got any sort of meaningful linking play going into the attack. Bradley made rookie errors in possession. Gyasi Zardes, a man who played one of the worst passes I’ve ever seen at this level, might have been one of our best attacking threats.
One flick of the boot and Nagbe’s in on the backline, doing what he does best. Really. The guy who made that decision was one of our better players. The U.S. were just about a complete disaster against Colombia, who weren’t particularly good themselves on the night and never looked troubled. Now the U.S. will play Costa Rica, fresh off a draw against Paraguay. We should beat them, right? Wrong. The last four matches with Costa Rica have been a split affair, two wins apiece, and one of the USMNT’s wins came in the 2013 “B-Team” Gold Cup. We simply don’t live in a world where a victory against Costa Rica is an assumption anymore. It’s a coin flip, and one the U.S. will need to hope lands their way if they have any hope of advancing out of the group stage.
L (0-2) – Colombia – Copa America
W (4-0) – Bolivia – Friendly
W (1-0) – Ecuador – Friendly
W (3-1) – Puerto Rico – Friendly
W (4-0) – Guatemala – WCQ
D (0-0) – Paraguay – Copa America
W (2-1) – Venezuela – Friendly
W (3-0) – Jamaica – WCQ
D (1-1) – Jamaica – WCQ
L (0-1) – Venezuela – Friendly
What to Watch For:
Who does Klinsmann put out – This is really my only section here, because I think that bouncing back is going to be difficult against a Ticos side that see the U.S. as being very vulnerable, and will no doubt come blazing out of the gates to take the game to the Stars and Stripes. On the other hand, just like the infamous “SnowClasico” in the last installment of CONCACAF’s Hexagonal, this game has the chance to galvanize a shaky-looking U.S. team and propel it onwards in the tournament. So what does Klinsmann do here? Will he change formation altogether after the flat performance against Colombia left the U.S. attack down to Clint Dempsey dragging himself in front of defenders and winning free kicks? Is Michael Bradley shifted around the field yet again after another disappointing performance against top competition? Does Klinsmann give the keys toDarlington Nagbe, or Christian Pulisic, or even introduce someone like Edgar Castillo into the mix to get Johnson out of defense and into the midfield where at least we’ll have an actual winger playing on the wing? Klinsmann’s got a mess on his hands, and the Ticos have the goods to exploit that mess the same way Colombia did: strong defense and quality attackers who will punish mistakes.
I have a sneaking suspicion Klinsmann might capitulate entirely and roll out a 4-4-2 almost identical to the one that so categorically sucked in the Gold Cup and last year’s CONCACAF playoff against Mexico, but it’s hard to tell how he plays this one. That would be a pretty direct admission that he had been playing Bobby Wood and Gyasi Zardes out of position, which is impossible in his book. So, here goes nothing:Sadly, I think Bobby Wood gets punished for not playing very well on the wing (who could’ve seen that coming). Jermaine Jones gets put in the sin bin for questioning the tactical approach against Los Cafeteros and Kyle Beckerman comes back again at D-Mid. I really do think Darlington Nagbe will start this game. I don’t know for certain whether that will be on the field, but I think it’s time. Clint Dempsey can do no wrong for Klinsmann, and he’s determined to make him the target forward that Dempsey will never be, so he leads the attack again, while Bedoya slots back out to the right wing after a bit of an anonymous outing against Colombia.Will it work? Meh. Maybe. As a bonus, here’s the lineup I would prefer to roll out against the Ticos.Free Bobby Wood. Let the man play where he scored 17 goals for this season. Rest Dempsey and let him wreak havoc as a sub after a physical outing on Friday. Nagbe and Jones patrol the middle as an 8/10 hybrid and pure 8, respectively, with Bradley hanging behind them. Finally, get Fabian Johnson into the attack. It’s one thing to try to shoehorn all of your best players into the same lineup, and another to not have any left backs. But if this team can’t put the ball in the back of the net anyway, keeping a clean sheet won’t even matter. The U.S. aren’t exactly at win-or-go-home mode yet, but it’s close enough at this point that I’m throwing caution to the wind. Let your best attacker attack, and see hat happens.
USA out to avoid repeating history in ‘must-win situation’ vs. Costa Rica
It was a tough start for U.S. men’s national team as it fell to Colombia 2-0 in the opening match of Copa America in Santa Clara, California.
CHICAGO — In its 101-year history, the U.S. national team has played in 28 major tournaments that began with a round-robin group stage. In 27 of those 28, the first match proved prophetic.Twenty times the Americans won or tied the opener of a World Cup, Confederations Cup, Copa América or Gold Cup and 20 times, they qualified for the knockout rounds. The U.S. lost its first game on the other eight occasions. Seven times it failed to advance. The outlier came seven years ago, when coach Bob Bradley’s squad sensationally rebounded from two heavy defeats to rout Egypt and move on to the Confederations Cup semis. That goal differential miracle required in South Africa probably won’t come around again.Maybe it’s about the momentum it generates or stalls. Perhaps it’s simply the first indication of whether a team is good enough to escape the group.Either way, tournament openers typically set the stage. And if the commentary and collective angst that followed Friday’s 2-0 loss to Colombia is any indication, the curtain already is coming down on the Americans’ participation in thisCopa América Centenario.The U.S. wasn’t very threatening when it had the ball at Levi’s Stadium, made the sort of mistakes in its own end that good teams punish, and never really looked like a squad capable of challenging the Copa favorites. Whether one prefers to focus on a trend lasting two days or another lasting a century, the prospects don’t seem promising.PODCAST: What happened to the USA vs. Colombia?
On the inside, however, this is a team convinced that the weight of history—or that of Friday’s loss—has little impact on its future. From coach Jurgen Klinsmann on down, the national team seems to believe it still controls its fate and that the door to the quarterfinals remains wide open.“Everybody is a little bit too much our critic,” defender John Brooks told reporters on Sunday morning here in Chicago, where the Americans are preparing for Tuesday’s Group A match against Costa Rica. “I think the game that we saw [against Colombia] and that we played was O.K. We got caught on two set pieces. It’s little bit bad but we’re still in the [tournament]. Costa Rica and Paraguay tied, so everything is open for us.”Indeed, Saturday’s scoreless draw between Costa Rica and Paraguayleft the U.S. just one point out of second place. Victories on Tuesday and next Saturday in Philadelphia—games the Americans should be expected to win on home soil—will send them through. “I think we played our toughest opponent that we’re going to face,” midfielder Darlington Nagbe said Sunday. “The next two games are a good opportunity to go there and take points from that and control what we can do.”On Friday in Santa Clara, California, Klinsmann preferred to focus on the run of play against Colombia—the No. 3 team in the world—rather than the final score. He argued that the eighth-minute goal Los Cafeteros scored off a corner kick forced the U.S. to play to the strengths of an opponent that’s at its best when staying compact and counterattacking. The Americans won the possession battle but managed to put only two shots on target.“I mean, we were totally even. We didn’t give them anything,” the manager said. “It’s really important for our players to see that they’re absolutely beatable, that they come out of this game and say, ‘O.K., you know what? Give the three points to them. But it’s absolutely no problem going forward to say we play Costa Rica to get three points and we play Paraguay to get three points and then we’re in the quarterfinals.’ The message overall is positive to the players even though if we’re obviously disappointed we didn’t get any points.”STRAUS: Guzan details painful season on, off field at Aston Villa The U.S. faced graver must-win circumstances in March, when a loss to Guatemala could have derailed qualification for the 2018 World Cup.Klinsmann’s team responded with a comprehensive 4-0 win.
“Everybody’s ready, ready for [Tuesday’s] game,” said Clint Dempsey, who notched the game-winner that night in Columbus. “It’s a must-win situation. Our backs are against the wall. We’ve been there before.”Dempsey’s role is one of the key tactical questions Klinsmann faces. The veteran forward spent too much time on Friday retreating into midfield to find the ball, and neither Gyasi Zardes nor Bobby Wood was able to stretch Colombia with runs behind the defense. Proactive possession became even tougher to maintain as the threat of Colombia’s timely pressure and counterattack pulled the U.S. midfield apart. Jermaine Jones said he spent so much time watching Colombia winger Juan Cuadrado that he was unable to contribute much going forward. Captain Michael Bradley had difficulty establishing his own rhythm and connecting with U.S. teammates, committing several troubling turnovers. Klinsmann could stick with the 4-3-3, or he could shift to a 4-4-2 that gives Dempsey more support up front. Consequently, Jones would play either as an attacking midfielder behind the forwards (the days of the two-man pivot appear to be over) or closer to the touchline. The latter would open up the No. 10 role for Nagbe. It’s one that many would like to see him play. But it also would force Jones into a wider spot, giving him less space with which to work. Klinsmann likes having options and hasn’t been afraid to make changes. But he said Friday that alignment is less important than approach.“I think it plays no role at all. You keep a 4-3-3 or you go like the last 20 minutes [against Colombia] into a 4-4-2,” he said. “The key is to find ways to play through a very compact and very well organized Colombian side. We have to find ways there to find the forwards up front, to find spots to go through. It doesn’t really matter what system you play there. We have to find those opportunities against Costa Rica and finish them off.”Figure out a way to do that and avoid big mistakes in the back (Geoff Cameron lost his mark on the opening goal and DeAndre Yedlin committed a handball that resulted in a Colombian penalty kick), and Costa Rica can be beaten. Friday’s performance may leave fans thinking that those are big asks of a U.S. team that lacks forward momentum. But that hasn’t seemed to damage confidence here in Chicago. Costa Rica isn’t Colombia, and lessons were learned in Santa Clara. “It’s not a mentality question,” Brooks said. “We also showed a good mentality against Colombia and that mentality we have to bring on the field also against Costa Rica and Paraguay.”Dempsey understood the doubts and argued the U.S. is capable of erasing them at Soldier Field.“It’s not so much what you say. It’s what you do,” he said. “We got to go out and we’ve got to motivate the crowd. We’ve got to work hard and we’ve got to inspire them and get them on our side. We appreciate the fans’ support. It’s always awesome to be in a stadium and have a pro-American crowd. But at the same time, actions speak louder than words, and we’ve got to go out there and show what we can do.”
Darlington Nagbe start for United States could pay off vs. Costa Rica
Doug Mcintyer – ESPN FC – CHICAGO — With Tuesday’s match against Costa Rica being seen as a must-win for the U.S., it’s fair to wonder how different national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s lineup will look compared to the one that started the 2-0 loss to Colombia in Friday’s Copa America opener.U.S. die-hards have been clamoring for the inclusion of national team newbies Darlington Nagbe and Christian Pulisic since before the tournament started, as both made an impact off the bench in the Americans’ final two pre-Copa tune-ups. Some fans — and a few pundits — have even suggested that Clint Dempsey, who had the home team’s three best chances againstLos Cafeteros, should be one of the players to make way.Changes are certainly possible. Klinsmann said weeks ago that given the short turnaround between group stage games, he’d probably need to switch up his starting XI to ensure players stay fresh.But based on his postgame comments Friday, when Klinsmann insisted he was “very pleased with the performance” against Colombia and “Clint was a warrior out there,” it’s hard to see the coach benching his most reliable goal-scorer in a game that his team, even if it doesn’t win, absolutely cannot lose.”I’m fine,” Dempsey, who was sporting a black eye after playing 90 grueling minutes in 80-plus degree temperatures in the opener, told reporters before the Americans trained Sunday. “I’m good.”Still, the smart money is on Klinsmann making at least one or two tweaks. For a U.S. team that struggled mightily to create chances last week — partly as a product of trailing the world’s No. 3-ranked team for almost the entire match, to be sure — inserting the slick-passing Nagbe into an attacking role would make a lot of sense.The Portland Timbers midfielder has impressed in his eight international appearances, all of them as a substitute. He’s prepared to play from the beginning against the Ticos if called upon.”I’m just staying patient because I think the team is playing well,” said Nagbe, who scored a late winner against Ecuador in the Americans’ penultimate tune-up. “If it’s off the bench, I’m fine with that. I’m just waiting for opportunities.”Still, it was interesting to hear his response when asked what the Americans could do better against the Costa Ricans: “As a whole, maybe just keeping the ball a little bit more, having more possession.”Those are precisely the qualities Nagbe offers. Now that he has some experience under his belt — and his teammates are familiar with how he plays — seeing what he can do from the start could pay off handsomely for the hosts.”I think chemistry is huge when it comes to the national team because you’re not together all the time,” he said. “It’s getting there.”But who would come out of the lineup to make room? Nagbe replaced Jermaine Jones against Colombia, and Alejandro Bedoya is the most-like-for-like player, but young forwards Gyasi Zardes and Bobby Wood are more likely candidates to sit. Could Dempsey be one too? The wondering will continue for another couple of days.
Brooks finally arrives (What? What game were you watching? He was beat around and over like 3 times??? Seriously??? )
The John Brooks that American fans have been waiting to emerge as a dominant force since the 6-foot-4 central defender headed home that unforgettable winner against Ghana at the 2014 World Cup is finally here. Nobody doubted the 23-year-old’s talent; the German-American center back has been a stalwart in the Bundesliga for his hometown Hertha Berlin for much of the past three seasons. But for much of the past two years, he struggled to replicate those club displays with the U.S. — until this summer.What changed? Part of his evolution with the national team is rooted in failure. Brooks struggled in his first go-around as a full-time U.S. starter, when the Americans finished a disappointing fourth at the 2015 Gold Cup. But to hear Brooks tell it, that tournament, which was hosted by the U.S. and played in scorching July temperatures, helped prepare him for this year’s Copa America.”I think I finally found my spot a little here on this team,” Brooks said Tuesday. “When you come every time from Europe, it’s a little bit different here.”The Gold Cup was a good experience,” he added. “You can’t really compare, but it still was a good preparation for this Copa America, so I know what to expect. I learned a lot.”Brooks was perhaps the best American player against Colombia, but he thought his teammates did just fine too.”Everybody is a little too much of a critic. I think we played OK,” he said. “We’re still in the [competition]. Costa Rica and Paraguay tied, so everything is open for us.”
What does he expect from the Ticos?
“The Colombia game was a tough game with a lot of physical battles,” he said. “I think Costa Rica is coming with the same.”Playing in Chicago is special for Brooks. His father’s family is from the area; some of them will be at Tuesday’s game. Brooks has a tattoo of the Windy City on his right elbow, with one of Berlin on his left.”It’s my first time here since I was 3 years old or something like that,” he said. “It’s nice to be back here again.”
— The U.S. squad was en route to Chicago on Saturday and therefore wasn’t able to watch Costa Rica’s scoreless tie with the Paraguayans. The Ticos will be without defender Kendall Waston for the match after the Vancouver Whitecaps center back — a finalist for MLS defender of the year in 2015 — picked up a late red card in Saturday’s match. Yet Dempsey, who has battled Waston often as a member of the Seattle Sounders, doesn’t think that’s a huge edge for the hosts. “I’m sure they have other guys who can step in,” he said.
— One advantage the Americans have is rest — about 18 extra hours of it. “An extra day of rest is always good,” Brooks said. “We need it too. But still it’s going to be a tough game.”
— Whether or not Nagbe makes his first international start on Tuesday, he is thoroughly enjoying his maiden tournament experience. “You dream of these opportunities and these games,” he said. “To be on the bench against Colombia and seeing the atmosphere, the national anthems and the whole thing, it was great.”He also believes the U.S. can advance.”I think we played our toughest opponent that we’re going to face,” he said of the group stage. “The next two games are good opportunity for us to take points and control what we can.”Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @DougMacESPN.
Is it time to reduce Clint Dempsey’s national team role?
It’s time to have a very difficult conversation.Clint Dempsey has been a staple with the United States men’s national team since 2004. Twelve years and 125 caps into his international team career and the country’s second all-time leading goal scorer is beginning to show signs of slowing down.He’s not exactly at the stage where he’s painfully hanging on too long like some aging players do. Dempsey is still a more than useful player, but the fact remains his prime years are behind him.The 33-year-old’s position within the team has always — And I mean ALWAYS — been a hot topic of discussion. Is he a striker? Is he a winger? Is he an attacking midfielder? The answer to all of those questions: No.You can’t put a positional label on Clint Dempsey. If you have to pinpoint one label to describe him with, it would have to simply be “Soccer Player.” He doesn’t fit into any structured formation. If you try to come up with one, you’re just fooling yourself. Managers that have Dempsey in their team gameplan around him, they don’t insert he. For many years, when he was at the top of his game and banging in goals left, right, and center that was perfectly acceptable. But what happens when that productivity and dynamic threat starts to diminish? As hard as it is to admit, you’re left with a player who is in the way from a tactical standpoint.During the USA’s opening match loss to Colombia in the Copa America Centenario, Dempsey had an average match. Despite having a header off of a corner kick saved off the line, a left-footed strike that went just inches wide and a free kick that was just saved, he wasn’t very dangerous in front of goal. Other than a handful of moments, he seemed lost within Klinsmann’s lineup. Having to play as the team’s target striker is just another in the long line of roles that he doesn’t fit in.The question now becomes, do you change the formation and strategy once again to try and accommodate a player who is on the decline? Or is it time to make the difficult decision to sit him on the bench and save him for late match situations?Most sentimental USMNT supporters, who don’t want to accept that Dempsey’s coming to the end of his national team career, will be begging for the former. A switch to a two-striker formation would likely have to happen in that scenario. A strategy that Klinsmann has used plenty with Dempsey and a plethora of partners with varying results.When Dempsey isn’t forced to play as a target striker he has a bad habit of drifting way too deep into the midfield to collect possession and make things happen. This, once again, ruins the formation and the gameplan as it leaves his strike partner on an island.Dempsey has been a conundrum for the USMNT his whole career. Scoring 49 goals during his time proves that something must’ve worked in the past. That something was simply throwing him out on the field and letting him do his thing. As Bruce Arena famously said about him, “He tries s***.” He’s made a career off of that mindset and play style.Unfortunately, Father Time leaves no man behind and Dempsey clearly isn’t the player he used to be. He still has some goals in him, but is it worth consistently pigeonholing him into the lineup to hope they come?It’s likely that Klinsmann will continue with the horse that got him here. But the idea of a Clint Dempsey-less USMNT starting lineup doesn’t seem so crazy anymore. It’s time for the possibility to be seriously considered.
USA vs. Colombia, Copa America 2016: Stock up, stock down
TWEET SHARE (7) PIN Last night’s performance was tough to watch. The United States came out to start the Copa American Centenario and fell flat on their face. The U.S. was dull on attack and struggled to keep up with Colombia’s forwards. But Colombia wasn’t particularly sharp on the night either. No, what really doomed the USMNT was the team’s insistence to shoot themselves in the foot. The team’s offense was nowhere to be seen. The midfield was disjointed. And the defense was constantly exposed. While most of the players saw their stock go down, there were a few moments that weren’t so bad. Let’s start with who saw their stock go up.
John Brooks and Geoff Cameron
Yes, Cameron lost his marker on the opening goal. However, aside from that moment, the center back pairing did a decent job. In spite of the players in front of them frequently making unforced errors and turnovers in bad places, John Brooks was good all night, smothering fires in the middle and helping out the overwhelmed Fabian Johnson. Cameron took initiative upon himself and stepped up into midfield on several occasions. On the ball, he was mostly calm and collected. This pairing looks to have a good future.
Nagbe’s stock went up mostly because Jones and Bedoya started instead of him. Jones and Bedoya were completely disjointed and really poor on the ball. By not starting, Nagbe ends up looking like a whole lot better of an option then he did going into the match.
On Thursday, I said the following. “Bradley isn’t going to be losing the ball if a single attacking mid put him under a little pressure. That would be an exceptionally careless move.” Thank you, Michael. I will have you know, crow is not particularly nice to eat. I find it a bit gamey and deeply unsatisfying.
Bradley was bad. Really, really bad. His passes slowed the tempo down and made the American team listless in possession. When he tried to create opportunities through long balls, he over hit his passes. He repeatedly was dispossessed under the barest amount of pressure. Bradley couldn’t connect the attack to the midfield. That meant that the defense was repeatedly under pressure, even though the US had more possession. Bradley wasn’t complete trash. His corners were well placed and threatening. His positioning while on defense was decent and he had a number of good interceptions. However, Bradley needs to do a lot better moving forward. He is the linchpin of this US side and the team is dependent on him.
DeAndre Yedlin did not have the best game. He failed to push up into attack. On defense, he was repeatedly exposed by the Colombian attack. Zardes left a better note on that right side when it came to defense. And then, of course, the penalty. Yedlin is a starter at right back in the best league in the world. He has no business turning away from a cross. That is not the kind of pedigree that we expect from players playing at the highest level. In a sense, that penalty represents Yedlin’s whole performance. He couldn’t keep up with Colombia’s attack down the right and was all too often late on the play. We thought the USMNT had figured out what to do at right back. Yedlin needs to step up and show the same kind of form he had at Sunderland.
Fabian Johnson was one of the best players on a Borussia Mönchengladbach that played in the Champion’s League this season. He is one of the most technically gifted and creative players on the USMNT. And the only thing I remember him doing in Colombia’s half of the field was drilling a free kick into the wall. On defense, he was really bad. He was regularly torn up by one of Cuadrado or Arias. He regularly required John Brooks or Jermaine Jones to step in and help him out against a single player. And that hurt the team, especially in midfield. Take this quote from Jermaine Jones.”Today was more focused on Colombia and on the left side to help Fabi, so we lost one guy in midfield. So it was tougher to play, yeah.”If the central midfielders are doing double duty helping out the fullbacks, the team’s shape falls apart. And we saw that yesterday. The USMNT needs the fullbacks to be able to handle their own on defense.
Everybody else on that starting line up
Jermaine Jones and Alejandro Bedoya were missing in attack. Bedoya’s shot may have reached Pluto by now. Bobby Wood and Gyasi Zardes may as well not have been on the field. Dempsey complicated matters by dropping into the midfield instead of putting pressure on the center backs. While Deuce functioned as a clear focus for the team’s attack, there are questions of whether or not his inclusion makes the team too one-dimensional. And then, there’s Klinsmann. This was literally the first time we’ve seen this line up start. The defense had never played a whole match together. The midfield was disjointed. No player played at the same level as with his club. And all that’s on Klinsmann. His constant tinkering and reluctance to play players in their proper positions (Dempsey is not a center forward. Bobby Wood is. Play them where they go) has led to a performance that lacked chemistry. The whole team needs to do better going forward.
Midfielders Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones let U.S. down vs. Colombia
In a game that turned on an early goal, thanks to poor set-piece defending, the United States fell to Colombia 2-0 in the opening game of the Copa America Centenario. The Americans played from behind all match and were forced to chase the game with a makeshift forward line that failed to create many chances.By the time Jurgen Klinsmann’s substitutions entered and helped turn the tide back the Americans’ way, it was too late.
The player grades reflect the way the game played out: a couple disastrous errors that the U.S. could not overcome combined with an ineffective night from players across the midfield and forward lines.
Player ratings (1-10, with 10 the best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating): Shane adds his 2 cents in red – italics below –
GK Brad Guzan, 5 — Guzan was not at fault for either of the Colombian goals. He dashed off his line recklessly a handful of times, to varying effect. He looked shaky on a long shot in the second half.
5 -Bad Distribution – light years behind Timmy in that area
DF Fabian Johnson, 4.5 — He held his own against Juan Cuadrado for the first half. Johnson was effectively eliminated as an attacking element by the lack of cohesion in midfield and a need to stay wary of the counter from Colombia.
DF John Brooks, 6 — Perhaps the best American on the field, minus a few errors, Brooks held firm against Carlos Bacca and provided good coverage in the air when Colombia attacked with crosses.
5 – Minus a few errors – Cameron covered his but no fewer than 5 times in the 1st half alone – he did get stronger as the day went on.
DF Geoff Cameron, 5 — Cameron spent most of the night handling Colombia’s attackers and providing help to fellow defenders. Unfortunately, he lost Cristian Zapata on Colombia’s opener.
7 Cameron was the best field player for the USA in the first half – other than the bad mark on the goal. He covered for Brooks multiple times.
DF DeAndre Yedlin, 3.5 — Yedlin made the egregious mistake of leaving his hand up on the penalty that put the game out of reach for the U.S. Beyond that bad moment, he put in a good defensive shift. He did not impact the game going forward.
5? What game were you watching – yes on hand ball but otherwise – he played solid defense and make several runs up the side with decent service into the box. 3.5 you are drunk – a 5 or 5.5 at least.
MF Michael Bradley, 4 (2.5)– Bradley was surprisingly bad with his passing and made poor decisions on multiple occasions. He lost in a midfield trio outnumbered and pressed by the Colombians. The set piece service was adequate but not great.
2.5 – This was the worse game Bradley has played in a US Uniform. Bad service to boot – horrible !!
MF Jermaine Jones, 4 — Jones looked off the pace most of the night. He missed on several passes and was too easily dragged into ineffective positions. He turned the ball over on numerous occasions.
Really – he was a 2.5 at best – old guy turned the ball over didn’t hustle, couldn’t pass? Off the bench !!
MF Alejandro Bedoya, 4.5 — He finally made an attacking contribution late on with the Americans chasing the game. Otherwise, Bedoya was limited in his influence. He failed, along with his midfield mates, to connect with the forward line.
FW Bobby Wood, 4.5 — Wood was far from effective pushed out wide, where his talents are less in play. He battled physically all day but was unable to provide much danger as part of the forward line.
4.5 Yes – he’s a Center Forward – put him up top with Dempsey underneath!
FW Clint Dempsey, 3.5 — Although involved in the few threatening moments the Americans had, Dempsey too often slowed down the U.S. attack. He isolated up top as a lone forward, which left his team with no backline pressure when he dropped into midfield.
NO – 4.5 he was the only dangerous player on the field for the US – he’s not a Target forward – he needs to be underneath free to roam and create magic.
FW Gyasi Zardes, 3 — Zardes was marginalized at right forward in the 4-3-3. He was not equipped to provide a wide threat, and his questionable first touch led to a number of turnovers. He made good contributions defensively.
FW Christian Pulisic, 5 — Pulisic showed his eagerness to make things happen but was limited to just a few moments of influence over the course of 25 minutes.
MF Darlington Nagbe, 5.5 — Nagbe added a new wrinkle to the American attack with his ability to dribble at defenders, though it came too late to make any difference to the outcome.
6 – this guy has to start a game for the US !!
MF Graham Zusi, NR — Zusi made no impact in a late cameo appearance.
Jason Davis is a writer from Virginia covering American soccer. He also hosts a daily soccer podcast that covers the beautiful game.
USA vs. Colombia in Copa America 2016 was second most viewed USMNT match in Fox Sports history
A lot of people watched the first match.
The United States men’s national team lost the first match of the Copa America to Colombia, 2-0. How many people watched? Take it away, Steven Goff of the Washington Post:
Is that for all soccer matches or….
… Second for a U.S. men’s match, that is
Okay, so very high ratings, but not historic. Still, the viewer count should satisfy any television network executives who still worry about showing soccer during prime time.And that number, as pointed out by Jonathan Tannenwald, doesn’t include Univision’s ratings. To put it pessimistically, a lot of people watched the United States lose last night.In my amateur opinion, stellar ratings can most likely be attributed to three things. First, it’s the U.S. men’s national team which always brings good ratings. Second, the Copa America is a massive tournament. Third, FOX has been doing heavy promotion. If you’ve turned on a television in the last month, you have some vague knowledge of the Copa America’s existence.As a person who enjoys soccer on television, I hope the high ratings continue for the rest of the tournament. High ratings means more advertising dollars. More advertising dollars means more soccer on television. More soccer on television means I have an excuse to stay inside and avoid human interaction.
USA vs. Colombia, Copa America 2016: What We Learned
On Friday night the United States men’s national team opened Copa America Group A play with a disappointing, yet perhaps unsurprising, 2-0 loss vs. group favorites Colombia. Two very winnable games remain, but the margin for error has disappeared. Here’s what we learned:
The U.S. shouldn’t be overly impressed with winning the possession battle
It looks good on the stat sheet that the United States held 53% of the possession vs. Colombia. But the meaningfulness of that number is questionable. Colombia likes to play this way, and has used Friday night’s formula to great success in 2018 World Cup Qualifying thus far. In each of its three WCQ wins, Los Cafeteros found an early goal and were content to then play without the ball and counterattack. Colombia earned less than 40% of the possession in March WCQ wins against both Bolivia and Ecuador. In each case, a goal in the first 15 minutes set the tone. Friday night’s game followed a very similar script.This is not to say holding possession should be wholly dismissed. It is encouraging to see the U.S. hold the ball against a quality opponent, because that’s ultimately how Klinsmann wants his team to play (so he says). But after going ahead in the 8th minute, Colombia was content to sit back, clog up the middle, and challenge the Americans to create quality chances. Without any true creators on the field and no space to operate, that just wasn’t going to happen.
Michael Bradley must be much better
If Michael Bradley has a poor tournament, the United States will not advance from Group A. It really is that simple. Bradley’s 78% passing efficiency wasn’t remotely good enough, and was a major reason why the U.S. midfield was so ineffective. There were too many unforced errors, possessions given away, and multiple passes to nowhere… or in some cases, directly to the foot of an opponent.As good as Bradley looked in the last couple of pre-Copa friendlies, he was just as poor vs. Colombia. The U.S. needs better from its captain. Changes may be made to the Starting XI for Tuesday’s critical clash vs. Costa Rica, but Bradley will remain a constant. If we see another such performance in Chicago, this tournament will be over for the U.S. in a flash.
Fortune favors the bold, as they say
Jürgen Klinsmann’s starting lineup was less cynical than many feared, but still wasn’t bold enough. Yes, Klinsmann could have gone super-cynical and opted to start Kyle Beckerman at the expense of an attacking player like Bobby Wood. We can be relieved he didn’t go that far. Unfortunately, he also didn’t go far enough.Knowing Colombia’s counterattacking tendencies, the U.S. needed players with answers in the final third. Darlington Nagbe and Christian Pulisic had minimal opportunity to impact the game over the last 25 minutes. By that time, Colombia was well settled into its defensive shell and content to run out the clock. What could the Nagbe/Pulisic duo have done playing on the front foot from the opening kickoff? It sure couldn’t have been less productive than what we saw.Klinsmann didn’t expect to beat Colombia. By playing it safe with his lineup choices, he got the result he both expected *and* deserved.
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