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Jurgen Klinsmann finally got his first victory as head coach for the United States in a 1-0 win over Honduras, his fourth appearance as head coach for the team. Since taking over from Bob Bradley in July right after the Gold Cup, the United States has tied with Mexico, and lost to Costa Rica and Belgium.
Since these international friendlies are meant to give the crew a chance to experiment with what works and what doesn’t, we saw many positive and negative aspects in the USA-Honduras match that will greatly impact the way the United States national team is shaped in upcoming matches. A list of what worked and did not work with the club includes:
One thing is for certain about the U.S. team: Clint Dempsey is a key figure and has one of the biggest impacts on the match whenever he is on the field. Dempsey scored his 23rd international goal late into the first half of the match against Honduras, providing the only goal of the match and victory for the U.S. team.
Being able to work with newcomers such as Brek Shea, along with veterans to international soccer such as Landon Donovan and Jozy Altidore, shows his versatility to whatever Klinsmann has in mind for the U.S. national team.
Another thing is for certain about U.S. soccer: our young talent, even though a good amount are coming from the German Bundesliga, is quite effective on the pitch and will grow into formidable players in the years to come. Along with the upcoming stars in the MLS like Brek Shea and Juan Agueldo, four German-American players have been given looks and playing time on the national team.
Such players include Danny Williams from Hoffenheim, Schalke midfielder Jermaine Jones, Nuremberg defender Timmy Chandler, and Hoffenheim midfielder Fabian Johnson, sidelined by a neck injury, has been approved by FIFA last month for a switch from Germany to the U.S.
One of the main concerns with the U.S. national team is their defense. No matter the situation, whether the team is in form or not, the defensive back line is always struggling to keep the opposing team out of their half of the field.
Veteran defenders like Carlos Bocanegra and Steve Cherundalo, who have made close to 100 appearances for their national team, have been through many tactical changes throughout the years. However, the ineffective changes that have happened in the past couple of years have been changes that the defensive line has, so far, been unable to recover from.
Probably the biggest problem that will need to be fixed for the next international friendly is whether the tactics and changes that have been made will be effective once the stars from the starting roster come off the injury list and are inevitable thrown back into the mix up.
MLS star Landon Donovan has been on the injury list due to a sprained right quadriceps, and it is not entirely sure whether or not the tactics that were used in the match against Honduras will be as effective with the top American players in the squad.
Only time will tell if changes in the pros and the cons will help or hinder the U.S. national team in the near future.
Image Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/babasteve/