Tag Archives: Juan Cuadrado

New Post: Three Keys for the #USMNT Tonight against Colombia in #CopaAmerica

By, Kyle Gibson

The United States men’s national team gets Copa America Centenario started Friday night on home soil against Colombia, which ranks third in the latest FIFA rankings.

Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad is 3-10-4 all time against Colombia, with its last win coming in 2005.

While games against 23rd ranked Costa Rica and 44th ranked Paraguay won’t be as rough on paper, both sides are still very strong. This makes the first match imperative if the U.S. doesn’t want to be watching the rest of the games in the stands or on T.V.

Here are three keys that could help the Nats score three big points against the mighty Colombians.

1. Sound connection between  center-backs

We aren’t entirely sure who the center-back pairing will be for Klinsmann, but this is nothing new. He has used five so far in World Cup Qualifying. In the two tune-ups for Copa, he used John Brooks and Geoff Cameron (Bolivia) and Brooks/Steve Birnbaum (Ecuador).

I think that Brooks is a lock, but the second slot should be mystery up until the release of the line-up. Hopefully for the U.S., the central pairing performs well together and stays together throughout group play.

2. Play Michael Bradley in a defensive midfield role

This is especially important against Colombia, which sports many dynamic play-makers that can control the game in the midfield.

Klinsmann seems to like Bradley as an attacking mid, but I like him further back. I had the pleasure to watch him live once for Toronto FC and he completely controlled the game in a deeper position.

Some pundits say Bradley is near world-class when he plays this position and I agree. His trademark tireless running and organization serves the U.S. better than a Bradley that plays in an advanced role.

3. Contain James Rodriguez, Carlos Bacca and Juan Cuadrado

James Rodriguez rose to world stardom at World Cup 2014, winning the Golden Boot and best goal award. I profiled his likelihood of joining Manchester United on Thursday.

Rodriguez could give an unsteady U.S. back line fits, as could Carlos Bacca.

Bacca, a striker for A.C. Milan, scored 18 goals in 36 matches. He also has three goals in the six Colombia World Cup Qualifiers.

Juan Cuadrado had an incredible season on loan for Juventus. I could talk at length about his first touch, burst of speed and craftiness, but the video below sums it all up. I am predicting Fabian Johnson to get the start at left back tonight in order to match Cuadrado’s pace.

Follow Kyle Gibson on Twitter, @KyleisGibson. 

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New Post: What Will happen today when Brazil loses?

By, Kyle Gibson

Update: Boy was I wrong! Congrats to Brazil on a 2-1 Win. Kudos to James Rodriguez for a sensational World Cup, in which he could still win Golden Boot even after going out with two games left.

Things might take a very dark turn at the World Cup on Friday as host Brazil is looking incredibly vulnerable. What is going to happen when Brazil ultimately loses to a streaking Colombia side in Fortaleza, on home ground?

That’s what I believe is going to happen. After all, Colombia is simply looking like the better team. James Rodriguez is a goal machine who is shining brighter than Brazil’s Neymar. His 5 goals leads the World Cup. James is more than just goals, though. His boundless energy is sensational to watch and he is always there for his teammates.

Add Jackson Martinez, Juan Cuadrado and a solid defense including surprise goalkeeper David Ospina, who has turned heads with stable play, and you have a team that is truly poised for greatness. If the team had Rodamel Falcao, it’s star striker who is out due to a knee injury, and the team would more than likely be Champion favorites.

Colombia is playing old school Brazilian soccer, mirroring the “joga bonito” brilliance from days of old.

Brazil is looking very shaky so far. The team had a fortuitous penalty in its opener vs Croatia, tied Mexico 0-0 and then almost lost to Chile in the around of 16. The pressure Brazil has on its shoulders showed after the Chile win, when players cried tears of relief on the field.

The team has been overly reliant on star Neymar. Consistently, Neymar, who has 4 goals, is the only scoring threat Brazil has had. The back line has also looked terrible, there’s simply no way to sugarcoat that. Goalkeeper Julio Caesar was forced to save the team when it went to penalties against Chile. Without him, Brazil wouldn’t be playing on Friday.

So, I really believe that Colombia will beat Brazil today. What will happen when, again, Brazil loses on home soil? In 1950, Brazil lost the World Cup final to Uruguay at the Maracana. Players had to face the resentment from that game for the remainder of their lives. I think the same thing will ultimately happen to this team when it loses. The backlash will be horrible.

More than any team since England 1966, the pressure will be on this host nation to prevail and there will be no excuse for a team that honestly doesn’t have the talent to do it.

Brazil leads all countries with 5 World Cup trophies. Like Alabama football and Kentucky basketball, a championship isn’t just something that’s dreamt of, it is completely expected.

Neymar might go down as one of the two or three best Brazilians to ever play. It’s a shame that his nation might never let him live a home World Cup loss down.