Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Klinsmann's Debut: Initial Reactions

Jurgen Klinsmann's US debut came and went and left behind a night-and-day performance and a 1-1 draw against Mexico.

So what can we conclude about the match? Well, I'm not one to draw major conclusions from a friendly, but since this wasn't just any other friendly, here are some things that jumped out at me.

* Brek Shea is good: Yes, the FC Dallas star is a pretty good player. I'd vote him as my MLS Most Valuable Player right now, and he continued his stellar game-changing performances against Mexico. Shea created the game-tying goal by finding space to slip a ball across the goal mouth to Robbie Rogers. Shea's play with FC Dallas has been screaming national team inclusion, and his play off the bench should help him gain a stronger foothold on the squad.

* Midfield madness: So many players saw time in the middle of the field on Wednesday. It was a good thing, don't get me wrong. It's just kind of difficult to digest all of them. For me, it was nice to see Jose Torres play as long as he did and also nice that both him and Shea were on the field at the same time. With Torres and Landon Donovan and Shea knocking the ball around to one another, there is potential there to create some offense and break down opposing defenses. Torres did better when Shea came in as he was allowed to play more centrally. It looks as if Torres could become a key figure in the middle of the field.

* Forward's struggles: Edson Buddle did well to knock bodies around but was unable to receive the ball too much. His replacement, Juan Agudelo, had some touches - some of them good - but had poor decision-making and was a hindrance more than anything. The forwards did not really perform well at all, but perhaps that was a difficult thing to ask considering how the team played overall in terms of where the buildup came from. Perhaps it would be best to play Clint Dempsey up top alone as his scrappy type of play may have come in handy on the field Wednesday.

* Solid D: Michael Orozco may not have been a first choice of many to start but Orozco did not look out of his league in the match. Quite the contrary, he more than held his own against Mexico. How much that has to do with his own ability and how much that has to do with the fact that he's seen most of those guys in league play is uncertain but what is for sure is that he is now in the mix to gain playing time in upcoming matches.

* Change is good: Change truly was a good thing for this team. There are a lot of areas that need addressing still and definitely some rough edges but that need softening but Klinsmann has had all of three days to work with the team and already it looked much different than the U.S. has looked in a while. It looked as if the U.S. players were ready to run themselves into the ground if need be. Donovan on one play showed some great determination when he darted around a defender on the left side of the penalty area and raced in towards the goal only to be knocked down and not receive a penalty in his favor. It may or may not have been a foul but Donovan sure did not look tired or winded while racing around the corner. And neither did any US players for that matter. There was a lot more energy and desire on the field tonight than there has been for a while.

What stood out for you the most?


drew_brown said...

What stands out to me the most is how crucial players from a previous coach/system suddenly don't look all that crucial and how expendable players from the previous coach suddenly look that much more important.

Stever11 said...

Some great coachable points for Klinsi--doing the little things can make a difference. The goal wouldn't have resulted if the throw-in hadn't been made quickly, Agudelo was in great position for the 1-touch to Shea--and Rogers made the run so that the goal was cake. Hope they remember that!

what'sgoingon said...

The biggest thing I noticed is how much I enjoyed watching this team in the second half. They were much more dynamic and fun to watch. I thought Agudelo was effective up top. He helped set up the goal with one touch and made an intuitive long pass to Rogers that should have resulted in a red card. I agree that Torres should get more playing time in the future. He made some mistakes, but I saw real potential out there especially in the second half when he moved more into the middle. I also was impressed by Orozco. He needs to be given more chances. Klinsi's energy is infectious. He was really having a good time out there.