Wednesday, April 1, 2015

U.S. Draws With Swiss - Three Things

1) The U.S. lacks mental toughness. Breakdowns late in games can often be attributed to mental shortcomings. A missed assignment, a bad decision, poor communication, etc. These have plagued the U.S. since the World Cup as we've seen an inability of this group to hold leads late in matches against any level of opponent. Yesterday we saw a new type of mental breakdown when Jozy Altidore earned himself a double yellow by cursing out the referee after committing a foul. Instead of comfortably hanging onto a 1-0 lead on the road, the U.S. spent the last 20+ minutes a man down in a hostile environment and eventually conceded an equalizer. These mental mistakes have to stop if the U.S. is to go anywhere in this summer's Gold Cup.

2) Brek Shea is coming around. Shea scored his second goal of the year when he drilled a free kick over the wall and into the back of the net from just outside the penalty box. Shea is starting to shake off the rust that comes with sitting on the bench for an extended period of time and looks to be a lock at left back for Klinsmann moving forward.

3) The U.S. is having issues on both sides of the ball. It's not just the offense or defense that is struggling right now, it's both. The defense has holes, and I defy you to put money on a starting backline. It's anyone's guess who our best three or four (or five?) defenders are at the moment. Offensively, it's been great seeing Jozy showing glimmers, but we still aren't creating enough opportunities and aren't finishing the ones we're getting. Even the goalkeeping has been somewhat suspect as neither Brad Guzan or Nick Rimando has done anything to distinguish themselves since Tim Howard's leave of absence. Klinsmann has his work cut out for him. All hope certainly isn't lost, but we're running out of time to figure this all out.

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