People are bemoaning the USMNT 3-2 loss to Chile on Wednesday, January 28th, with good reason. It was not just a second-half collapse; Chile was the better team overall, and the score after the first half did not reflect the stats that Chile, not the U.S., were the attackers. Here are a few insights from the game:
1. I am losing confidence with Jurgen Klinsmann’s coaching ability. He used a 3-5-2 formation, only to switch back to a 4-4-2 without the bench players needed to back up the formation. The players, who are in the off-season, were not fit enough to sustain the formation, which allowed Chile to press the attack all second half. Brek Shea was our only natural defensive left-back, and he was gassed, but JK had NO subs for him. Why switch formations when you have a 3-5-2 roster? He seems stubborn, which first became apparent when he left Lando off the World Cup squad. Don’t pull a “Churchill and Gallipoli,” Jurgen!
2. Jermaine Jones needs WAY more work. Granted the 3-5-2 is a learning process, but he committed some egregious errors which led to more than one scoring opportunity for Chile. Overall, Chile had 20 shots the U.S. team’s 12, nine corners to the U.S.’s one, and a disallowed goal for an offside, which was VERY close.
3. Lack of scoring chances was glaring. Jozy had one shot the entire game, which went in. That was all for the starting forwards. No other shots, no other shots on goal. The U.S. had ZERO off-side penalties, which is either really good or really bad. Considering the lack of attack for the most part, it’s more “really bad” in showing a lack of aggression at pressing the attack. Bobby Wood had zero production the entire game. Subs Wondo and Zardes each had a shot on goal, and Wondo drew a foul. Maybe it’s time to end the Bobby Wood experiment?
4. Ball possession still haunts us. I am hopeful that Lee Nguyen will get more playing time so he can develop as a key USMNT midfielder. As far as I’m concerned, he should be starting over Bradley. I also want to see Kyle Beckerman on the pitch if the U.S. is transitioning to a 3-5-2.
5. Nick Romando is a great goalie. It’s hard to believe a guy 5’9″ (probably more like 5’7″) can be such a force in goal, but he made some great saves, coached his players well, and handled himself very professionally. It will be interesting to see what happens with Tim Howard being out of action for the foreseeable future. I just wish he were younger (aged 35!).
The most important thing to remember, too, is that this was Chile’s “B” squad. I shudder to think how lopsided the game might have been if Chile had been using their best players, like Alexis Sanchez.