By, Kyle Gibson
The United States Men’s National Team received a strong sendoff yesterday in Jacksonville, recording a 2-1 win over Nigeria in front of more than 50,000 supporters. Jozy Altidore scored a brace, with a goal in each half, breaking a scoreless streak that stretched back more than a half a year for club and country.
Here are my big takeaways from the match.
Jozy Altidore played it cool, but he needed those goals
I chronicled the importance for Jozy to score against Nigeria earlier this week . For him not to have done so, it would have been a big issue in Brazil. Goals will be hard to come by as is, but with one of your star strikers completely out of form, it would have been a mini disaster in Brazil. Jozy played it cool after the match yesterday, saying his confidence had never really dwindled. Those who watched him play at Sunderland seriously doubt that assertion.
The 4-2-3-1 Seems to Work Well
After saying the formation the team plays doesn’t really matter, coach Jurgen Klinsmann seemed to find a formation that works to shore up the back line by adding extra defensive midfielder Kyle Beckerman. Jermaine Jones is probably more likely to go forward than Beckerman, so if need be the team could still have 4 midfielders commit to an attack with Beckerman staying organized at the back. Also, we know Dempsey and Bradley will occupy two of those three attacking midfielder positions, but there is a healthy rotation of mids to fill the third slot. Alejandro Bedoya started there last night, but Brad Davis, Graham Zusi and Mix Diskerud could all fill in that spot just as well. Personally, I am impressed by Bedoya and Diskerud. I also happen to think Clint Dempsey plays his best soccer in the midfield.
The backline still doesn’t work well, but at least we know the starting left back now
It kind of sucked that Matt Besler gave away a weak penalty in the 84th minute. That can’t happen in Brazil. I understand why it happened, with the communication between Omar Gonzalez, who made his first appearance this sendoff series. However, that’s two penalty kick goals in the last two games. With the US needing minor miracles in 2 of its 3 games and the importance of goal differential, you can’t give up the cheap ones.
DaMarcus Beasley, in my humble opinion, won the left back starting gig yesterday. Beasley looked head and shoulders ahead of Turkey starter Timothy Chandler and even contributed well with the attack. If Beasley and right back Fabian Johnson can make moves forward, any bit helps.
One Last Bit, Scoring Diversity is promising
Five different players have now scored for the US in the last three games. Aron Johannsson, Mix Diskerud, Fabian Johnson, Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore (2). Brad Davis, Michael Bradley, Johnson and more have set up those goals. It’s a positive sign that there are goals coming from so many different places.
Watch out for a new podcast tomorrow!
-Check out the Kicking It Podcast on soundcloud!
-Also check out the new Kicking It logo on Twitter. Give us a follow.