Old Futbol Buffet–The Dawn of the Klinsmannschaft
As I buried my head in disgust and shame after the Gold Cup Final debacle, I scanned on twitter that the US was going to play Mexico in a friendly in August. Great. The Yanks would take another beat down from our neighbors to the South. Why does the US play friendlies against teams that they will have to qualify against. US plays Costa Rica in September as an examples, seems like they are always playing Honduras. But I digress.
In the past I avoided US friendlies but lately I have given them a chance. For instance, I watched the Poland friendly a couple of months ago to see the Jermaine Jones Experience. Over the summer, I tuned in for games against Argentina (great second half) and Spain (nightmare). These games give me a chance to check out domestically based players because I don’t know anything them. When I saw the game against Mexico, my usual yawn appeared and I moved on. Until . . .
Bradley Out, Klinsmann In. Now I had a reason to watch. What I noticed at the time of the announcement was a lot of excitement and anticipation for the hire. Finally the Americans would have a coach who could take them to the “next level”. Finally the Americans would have a coach would take the shackles off their creative players. Finally the Americans would have a coach would understand the American players and system. Since that initial furor, expectations have been checked and with good reason. Klinsi is not going to change this system in one game or the US youth set up in two weeks. This is long term. Hell, we might not even see his influence—a new look team with energy and attack and drive—until World Cup 2014. Pack a lunch because if you want the real deal, you are going to have to wait this out.
So last night, I gathered the troops and headed out to a bar, which is right around the corner from where the Men’s Open teams play. We get there, a packed house with several different groups there, and only one open table, and they weren’t changing the channel. So we moved on down the street. We settle in and notice that the TV is on the wrong channel, ESPN instead of ESPN2. Simple mistake, except there is Little League Baseball on the deuce. Wait, what? A quick check of twitter reveals that the US Men’s National Soccer Team has been bumped to ESPNEWS for little kids hitting a baseball. WHAT??? Another hurdle for the American Footy Fan to overcome.
We missed the opening minutes but didn’t miss much. The US looked poor at best. Very little composure on the ball as Mexico played high pressure and constantly turned the Yanks over. There was one moment of quality passing in opening period that saw a ridiculous flick off a corner from Peralta. In 5he second half, the US started a little stronger, having a little more of the play. Couldn’t decide if Mexico was content with their goal or the US was playing better. Anyway, a couple of wayward shots at least had the US pretending that they could play. Eventually Bocanegra had a header saved off the line. With 15 minutes to go, great work from Agudelo found Shea (and his terrible haircut), who was able to cross across the six yard box for Robbie Rogers to tap in. Great equalizer and then Rogers broke free and was wrestled down by Torrado. Should have seen red but only a yellow and the game ended 1-1, with the US creating a couple more half chances.
Looking at the team, I am still wondering a couple of things. Grant Wahl asked on twitter who should be captain? I responded “not Bocanegra” because I really don’t see him leading the team in 2014 but what do I know. One of the first things Klinsi has to do is figure out the center back pairing. Jones was invisible. Beckerman didn’t play all that well, very sloppy in possession, but at least he was involved. Buddle was worthless, especially in the first half when the US would turn it over in the back and whack it downfield for him to chase. Deuce and Chandler should be back for the games in September and I think will provide some dynamic options to the squad that played last night.
All in all, a decent game, which saw the dawn of the Klinsmannschaft. It will be interested to see what he does with the games in September before heading into World Cup qualifying. Remember, this is who we wanted. Now we have to him time to put or shut up.