Wednesday’s “friendly” ended in 1 – 1 draw
The U.S./Mexico match in Philadelphia Wednesday night was noteworthy only because it was Jurgen Klinsmann’s first match as the U.S. men’s national team coach. Otherwise, it was a fairly sloppy game with lively patches few and far between. Here are my match notes:
-The US starting lineup was unexciting. Buddle over Brek Shea or Freddy Adu? I know Adu’s not necessarily a forward, but still. Buddle? I thought we’d see Klinsmann begin to reinvent the wheel, even in his first game, by naming a bigger ratio of newbies to veterans. Instead, the starting eleven was a pretty familiar bunch.
-17th min: Fluke Mexican goal, which ricocheted off a green-shirt via corner kick.
-Interesting, old school move by Klinsmann to remove names from the back of the US jerseys. It sends the signal that the team is rebooting. Some seem to think it’s an unnecessarily junior league thing to do. I kind of like it.
-The US was very drab in the first half, creating next to nothing. Zero shots!
-It was weird to see Jose Torres out there (for the US) because I’d almost forgotten about him! I thought he was pretty swell in World Cup 2010 so it was good to see him back. He had a quiet first half, but showed some promise in the second.
-At halftime, ESPN’s Alexi Lalas and Taylor Twellman were rightfully upset by the lack of American creativity in the first half. I agree with the frequently grumpy-seeming Lalas that there is far too much emphasis on the US somehow needing more Latin players to improve. At a recent FC Dallas game, I even overheard a dude ask his buddy whether or not he thought the booming Hispanic population in the US would mean we’ll win the World Cup soon. Degree of latin-ness has nothing to do with it. I’m pretty certain soccer skill has not been detected in the genetic code in any part of the world yet.
-57th min: Solid header by Bocanegra off a corner. Mexican GK had to make a great diving save. Should’ve been the equalizer!
-Overall, I expected to see a lot more US hustle since everyone is auditioning for Klinsmann.
-60th min: Brek Shea replaced Jermaine Jones. Juan Agudelo replaced Buddle. The US tempo almost immediately spiked.
-61st min: Youthful waste of a shot by Agudelo. Sorry, but I don’t see what all the excitement over Agudelo is about. He did make some decent passes before the night was over though.
-73rd min: Shea slid the ball through the box from the left side to Robbie Rogers (?!) who tapped it in! Game tied 1 – 1.
-Donovan finally woke up for the last 15 minutes. Not sure what took so long, but his late surge was a reminder that he’s still got skill to spare. Perhaps he’ll be unleashed to play with more freedom under Klinsmann.
-Robbie Rogers was a surprise. I’ve never been too impressed with him, but he demonstrated potential during his short stint.
-I was most excited to see Brek Shea get some quality time. He made the most of his trial. What I like so much about Shea is his hustle. He always works hard. I think we’ll be seeing him in Brazil in three years.
-It was a good first result for the US under Klinsmann. No one was expecting much since he’s only been on the job a couple weeks. Still, we got to see some new faces, and we didn’t lose, so overall, a positive night. It is refreshing and fun to see Klinsmann on the sideline. He will be good for US soccer.
What did you think of Klinsmann’s lineup choices? Feel free to share your thoughts below…