It goes without saying that a trip into any foreign land for a World Cup Qualifier is a tough task. It also goes without saying that any team that wants to consider itself a “good” team needs to perform well, no matter what the game day situation is. A great team can perform poorly, yet sneak a win out of any given day. Right now, after that dismal, dreary, dilapidated, despondent and depressing performance what kind of team is the USMNT? Sure it is one game but one game can set the tone for the rest of the Hex.
Let’s start with the first XI. The back four was a mystery to me. How can you go into a hostile environment without some kind of veteran leadership at the back? I have nothing against Geoff Cameron but he should not be your most experiences center back in the opening game especially when Carlos Bocanegra is sitting on the bench. You need organization, you need leadership, you need someone who has experienced the madness of this game before. Bocanegra was it and leaving him out was a poor choice from Mr. Klinsmann. Here is what Tim Howard had to say about the first goal, “Someone once said three mistakes cost you a goal. We did not get tight to [Carlos]. Costly, then we did not clear the ball. Then we gave the corner away, the corner comes over and we don’t close it down. At the end of it there is a world-class goal. But there is a buildup to a goal, we had three or four chances to clear it and we did not do it.” The inability for anyone to step up and make a play was a huge problem for the USMNT. That was made incredibly apparent multiple times in the game, culminating with the inevitable game winner when Cameron was slow to react to a through ball and Omar Gonzalez was caught sucking his thumb. Unacceptable in my opinion.
And that’s it. The back four start forward movement, win the ball back, and organize all players in front of the them. For me, this sent the wrong message to the rest of the group and left them wondering if this back four was capable of handling the situation. The answer is they weren’t and I hope they find themselves a bit better in coming matches.
I borrowed a quote from Foxsoccer.com and this is 100% part of the problem “We’ll see a totally different team in the next game,” JurgenKlinsmann. There is no consistency. There is no camaraderie, there is no fluidness and combinational wonder created by the USMNT. This is largely due to the constant mix and matching of players in the first XI. Yes, you are in Honduras and should start a defensive minded line-up, but as the USMNT, a team that is supposedly capable of making noise in the next World Cup, you can’t go in and bunker down and hope to get out of there without conceding. There is a bit of parity in these games. The teams aren’t as different as they used to be. Teams will find the gaps, find the seams, and find the moment to take a chance and the game by the horns.
The USMNT is not in a good spot. There are five games left to get it right and we are on the bottom of the table. Jamaica looked strong, sneaking an away point from Azteca. Honduras tops the group, everyone is on a point except for the lowly USMNT. I hope they turn it around.
To cap this off, could Landon Donovan have changed that game? I think so.