Jurgen Klinsmann’s side took to the pitch with a defensive intent that saw them keep a clean sheet against the Mexicans for the fourth time running in games played at Crew Stadium. While the victory wasn’t all beautiful passing and brilliant attacks, it was the type of disciplined effort the
Clinching the team’s berth in next summer’s marquee sporting competition two games shy of the final hexagonal game is perhaps the biggest feather in Klinsmann’s cap yet since taking over the team in 2011. This U.S. side has been through a lot over the last year and has come together in a way we’ve never really seen before to create a new style of play and way of thinking about the game for a U.S. squad, but last night’s performance was quintessentially American.
After squandering first half opportunities through a reluctance to make the final pass or take on a shot in a daring moment and relying far too heavily on the diving hands of its goalkeeper, the Americans found their first goal through resourcefulness as has always been typical of them. A corner kick and an Eddie Johnson header created the separation between the two teams and the U.S. took a very workmanlike approach from there.
The early going saw the
Michael Parkhurst coming on for Fabian Johnson seemed like a bit of a blow to our attack at first, but it actually seemed to help as the U.S. was able to rely more heavily on Parkhurst’s defensive presence to help them win the ball back. Klinsmann’s second substitute came in the form of Mix Diskerud, who couldn’t have made a better entrance coming on for Eddie Johnson in the 75th minute. His first touch on the first pass delivered to him at the edge of the Mexican 18-yard box was a deft, beautifully placed tap into space that allowed him to take the defender toward the end line and lay a beautifully placed cross into the box to Landon Donovan waiting on the far side for a tap in.
Diskerud hasn’t earned himself a starting role in Klinsmann’s setup, that is fair to say especially when Michael Bradley is healthy, but he has shown that he belongs on the roster at the very least having shown his playmaking ability both here and in the Gold Cup run over the summer where he was one of the best players on the team.
Speaking of Michael Bradley, his absence that was so harshly felt last Friday was eased last night by two guys playing some of the best soccer they’ve played in
Beckerman started a little rough with some clumsy challenges, but in the end he would earn some whistles of his own in the right direction and was solid defensively all night long in front the center backs. It was a performance that spoke to the depth everyone has been talking about for the last four days and in the case of Beckerman shows that MLS can cultivate players that the
As for the center backs, well, Omar Gonzalez and Clarence Goodson look pretty comfortable together. Goodson was in the right place at the right time all night long, while Gonzalez was a beast in the air throughout the match. Between the two of them and Howard playing in form,
The only let downs in this match for the
They are amongst a small group of teams who have captured a place in
Undoubtedly, the Americans will want to finish top of the group and get into the best possible pot they can for the World Cup draw this December. But regardless of what happens from here, we’re going to
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