Posted October 11, 2013

Three thoughts on the U.S.’s World Cup qualifier victory over Jamaica

2014 World Cup, U.S. men's national team
Aron Johannsson (left) was one U.S. player who didn't exactly take advantage of the chance to start against Jamaica.

Aron Johannsson (left) was one U.S. player who didn’t exactly take advantage of the chance to start against Jamaica. (Kyle Rivas/Getty Images)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Three thoughts concerning the U.S.’s somewhat sluggish 2-0 victory against Jamaica in a World Cup qualifier on Friday:

1. That was a nice late breakthrough. All week long U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann tried to create the sense that there were some stakes to this game, even though the U.S. already qualified for the World Cup last month. And so Klinsmann brought in his best team possible. He talked about this being the start of preparations for Brazil and a chance to create more competition at every position on the field. But until the U.S.’s two-goal outburst in the final minutes this game still felt like it didn’t count for much, which might have been a reasonable human response from the U.S. starters but wouldn’t go over well with Klinsmann. The fact that the U.S. perked up after the insertion of second-half subs — Graham Zusi, Edgar Castillo and Sacha Kljestan—will give the coaching staff some ammo to motivate the team for another (meaningless in the big picture) qualifier at Panama on Tuesday. It won’t necessarily get the U.S. anything, but clinching first place in the CONCACAF Hexagonal and finishing perfect at home are also nice achievements.

2. Several players had missed opportunities. The U.S. was missing Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Eddie Johnson and Omar González, which provided a real chance for guys with something to prove, including Aron Jóhannsson, Mix Diskerud and Alejandro Bedoya. But none grabbed it with both hands. Jóhannsson had some promising movement and got a couple chances, but he seemed to lose his nerve in front of goal. Diskerud never got totally comfortable and showed why Bradley is indispensable. And Bedoya struggled for much of the night after winning the start ahead of Zusi. None of these guys should be written off, but this game will be viewed as a missed opportunity for them. As for Landon Donovan, he got yanked at halftime after a fairly anonymous first half. Was Klinsmann sending a message?

3. Kansas City is a great soccer town. Seattle became the gold standard for U.S. Soccer crowds with its huge support for the win over Panama in June, but Kansas City is right up there when it comes to passion and a pro-U.S. crowd. Before the game I was talking with Joe-Max Moore, who was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame on Friday afternoon with Peter Vermes. Moore, who played for New England in the early years of MLS, marveled not just at the amazing $200 million soccer stadium but also at the support that now exists for the game here. These fans didn’t disappoint, creating a thunderous atmosphere and continuing to make noise until the attacking floodgates opened late. That’s not something to ever take for granted.

13 comments
Compatriot
Compatriot

Should Landon dislike being benched for the USMNT, he can always apply for Mexican citizenship to play for El Tri where he soiled Mexican soil at Azteca. Jurgen still might make headway with a head case....

crewfan
crewfan

Seattle and KC are both great sites for USMNT but the gold standard has to remain dos a cero x4! I admit I am biased since I was at the first 3 dos a cero games but I think Columbus has earned the reputation. I had no voice for 2 days after the first game.

salvaje50
salvaje50

Aron does look just like Kevin bacon

BillToscano
BillToscano

Sitting in a bar last night, and a lot of people were watching.

FredFlintsone
FredFlintsone

US  men's soccer has come a looooooong way from 10 yrs ago when the thought of them being in a world cup would have been laughed at. I like the direction its going in; sloppy 1rst half in a meaningless game for the US  but team turned in in the 2nd when it counted in a meaningless game for team USA.

4130mojo
4130mojo

Jozy was horrible and didn't help his young AZ teammate one bit. Agree that  Bedoya and Mix did not seal a place to Brazil.

KenKing
KenKing

Diskerud gets lost because nobody ever knows what Jermain Jones is going to do.  As soon as they went to 4-2-3-1 Diskerud was a different player. And had that Zidane move worked - it was only inches from doing so - it would be on every soccer highlight show until WC2014.

In addition, Altidore made things difficult for Diskerud. The few times that he actually broke a sweat, Altidore actively interfered with Diskeruds ability to run the transition. I give DIskerud a 4 for the first 66 minutes and a 7+ for the remainder of the game.

I would be very interested to see a 4-4-2 with Dempsey and Johannson up top, Bradley behind Diskerud with Donovan and Zusi on the wings.

bserious
bserious

@Compatriot Heh, should Compatriot want to make bizarre, nonsensical statements, he can always go to New Mexico where things are new.  Jurgen still might make a make weight with Maker's Mark...

(what in the world are you talking about?)

Action
Action

@FredFlintsone We've gone to every World Cup since 1990.  Yes, we're better in 2013 than we were then, but we advanced and won a knock out game against Mexico in the 2002 World Cup.  You might want to stick to other sports.

Ryan19
Ryan19

@FredFlintsone 10 years ago we were coming off a quarterfinal appearance in the 2002 World Cup.  A game in which we lost 1-0 to Germany and had an obvious PK (handball) go uncalled.  

O_Face
O_Face

@FredFlintsone Do you mean 20+ years ago? The U.S. has consistently been in the World Cup since 1990.

KenKing
KenKing

@4130mojo As was the case tonight, Diskerud is the only person who can replace Bradley, when injured or carded ( unless Holden stays healthy). His card is punched. Bedoya has a tougher road. Zusi used his 20 minutes well. So did Castillo. Fabian Johnson is probably in play in the midfield as well.

I still think that you need to reserve those last 3 spots for the one trick ponies - guys like Wondo, Shea, and Beckerman who may never start, yet give the team that single dimension that it needs  in a given game.