USA – France and USA – Slovenia Preview

Oh the irony. Jurgen Klinsmann needs goals. Klinsmann, one of most talented strikers Germany has ever produced, can’t seem to get his gringos to find the net. The Americans have notched just 2 goals in Klinsmann’s 5 games in charge.

Heading into the next pair of matches – France on the 11th and Slovenia on the 15th – there was hope that Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey, who have yet to play together under Klinsmann, would be able to jump-start the attack. Unfortunately for National Team fans, Donovan has withdrawn due to the LA Galaxy’s participation in the MLS Cup Final. The continued absence of injured midfielders Stuart Holden and Jose Torres only adds to the pressure placed on the remaining attack-minded Americans.

We’ve got a few suggestions for how Klinsmann can overcome the absence of the aforementioned trio and, hopefully, get rid of the goose eggs. In case you missed the manager’s roster, here are the players he picked for the friendlies, followed by our suggestions for the gaffer.

Roster

Keep up the pressure

Against Mexico, Klinsmann didn’t instruct his players to press up the pitch until the end of the match.

Expect Klinsmann to keep a formation similar to the 4-2-3-1/4-1-3-2 he's used in previous matches.

Unsurprisingly, the Americans were the better side for the final twenty minutes, even though they had previously struggled to control the match. High pressing allows a team to help the attack by winning the ball a little closer to the opponent’s goal. The offense has been anemic so far, meaning every little bit of help should be welcome.

Keep up the Shea/Chandler experiment

Against Honduras and Ecuador, most of USA’s best chances from the run of play originated through Brek Shea and Timmy Chandler combinations. No, Chandler isn’t a natural left back and, yes, we’d prefer to see Shea used as an inverted winger. But if the two continue to produce scoring opportunities without completely exposing USA’s left flank, why not let them keep developing a rapport?

Keep hoping Holden and Torres recover (or, in other words, in Deuce we trust)

While this roster has some quality central midfielders, they’re far too similar to create a balanced midfield. Following the 2010 World Cup, we took note of the three modern central midfield archetypes, destroyer, passer, and creator.

Not only did Dempsey cover a lot of ground against Honduras, his passes almost always found their target.

The squad is full of passers and creators – Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Maurice Edu, Kyle Beckerman, Fabian Johnson, and Danny Williams – but lacks a single creator.

Holden and Torres possess a level of touch and vision only approached by Bradley, but even Torres and Holden aren’t true Number 10′s. And since they’re absent anyway, that role will probably fall to Dempsey. The Texan is certainly capable of playing as a trequartista. Operating out of that position, he was often USA’s best player against Honduras and Ecuador.

With the other creative midfielders absent or injured, Klinsmann might have to put his faith in Deuce to produce another moment of magic if he wants to avoid another scoreless match.

Gringos, what do you think of the the upcoming matches? Think we nailed the formation? Will Deuce’s success as the trequartista be the key to generating goals?

One Comments Post a Comment
  1. bensten says:

    With Shea nice and rested, and both Bradley and Altidore now seeing substantial minutes with their clubs, maybe, just maybe we’ll have some more initiative in the attacking third.

    Still not sure about Williams on that right wing but I’m certainly open to it.

    I think you’re right about Dempsey being key–I just hope he doesn’t try to do it all alone…

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