Thursday, August 11, 2011

USA 1 - Mexico 1

I have to admit, I'm liking Jurgen Klinsman. Why? Because we seem to be on the same page. Let me explain. I watched last night's match. It was Jurgen's debut as the manager and I wanted to see what his thoughts would be on formation and general style of play.

A 4-5-1 formation was new to this team and I thought it had possibilities to control the midfield and get some good scoring chances. However, the team didn't seem to take to it right away. Instead of moving the ball forward when the opportunity presented itself, the US played the ball backwards. I pretty much was screaming at the TV (yes my wife knows and yes I understand they can't hear me) to move forward or play to the open man going forward. The result of the first half had the US down 1-0 with no shots. Now in soccer any shot that comes close to goal is counted. There are actually two stats, shots and shots on goal. The US had ZERO shots at all in the first half.

This is where I started to like Klinsman. He was interviewed at half-time and asked what they needed to do. The biggest thing he mentioned was to move the ball forward! Just like I had been screaming at the screen for them to do. He must have gotten his point across because the US did much better in the 2nd half with moving the ball forward.

The other part I like is that Klinsman is not using the same old players. Now granted this was a friendly and a time to look at new players. However, Klinsman brought in some players that under Bob Bradley probably wouldn't have even gotten a look. The players that Klinsman brought on definitely had a positive impact, especially Breck Shea. It paid off also as the US got the equalizer to the game through the efforts of the substitutes.

Klinsman has also stated that he wants to look more at the "latin" players in the US. This will be a positive as these players bring a style that will fit well with what American fans want to see. It also puts on notice that the same old same old types and routes to the national team may not cut it anymore.

One thing that Klinsman mentioned that I hope he will expand was the growth of the game in the lower economic regions of the country. In every other Soccer nation talent is found wherever it is located. The US must do the same. However, the US has a large rural population and there is talent there as well. I hope that Jurgen and US soccer will not only look to the inner city as it were, but also to the farmlands and rural communities. Why do I say that? Because I grew up in one and we had some talented players who with the right coaching and effort could have brought that talent to at least the collegiate level.

The game last night and Klinsman's comments give me hope that the National team can improve. World Cup qualifying starts next year. It's not about qualifying (that should be a given at this point) but rather about building a team that consistently goes deep into the tournament. The US may have found the right man to build that legacy.

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