Five Things We Learned From USA 5, Scotland 1
Posted on May 29, 2012 3:57 am
It’s been a couple of days since the USA handed Scotland their tartan-clad arses on Saturday night, so the Total Soccer Show podcast is here to offer a little perspective.
Click play below to listen to our in-depth review of the game:
And, as promised, here are five things we learned from watching the game:
1. High pressing and fast passing works. See the US’s first goal for evidence. We win possession deep in Scotland’s half because Torres and Boyd are doubleteaming a fullback, then a few quick passes later and Donovan has the ball in the net. We’re acting not reacting; the Klinsmann style has arrived.
2. Maurice Edu is key. The three man midfield of Edu, Bradley and Jones looks pretty much perfect. Edu does the Makelele/Obi Mikel holding role, allowing Bradley and Jones to charge forward. And, as Daryl says on the podcast, if you advocate trying to “improve” the US midfield by replacing Edu then you deserve a punch in the face for your ignorance.
3. Fabian Johnson is our starting left-back. Timothy Chandler doesn’t seem that keen, and Edgar Castillo doesn’t seem all that good. Fabian Johnson looks like he’s both. Plus he offers genuine width going forward from left back, allowing Torres to step inside and make clever passes.
4. The talk about Landon Donovan losing his passion was bullsh*t. And if you read that Grant Wahl interview, Donovan basically just suggests that he’s getting older and the end of his career is visible in the distance. Every footballer has to retire eventually, and Donovan is no different. But until that day comes, he’ll keep banging hat-tricks past USMNT opposition goalkeepers.
5. Clint Dempsey is not the Alpha and Omega of this US team. Yes, he’s our best player on current form. But the US midfield looked so perfectly balanced versus Scotland that it would be a crime to displace anyone to accommodate him. Including Mo Edu (see above.) If we were to shoehorn Dempsey into the XI that thrashed Scotland, it would probably be up front in place of Terence Boyd. Not because Boyd did anything wrong, but because he was only–in Albert’s words–”adequate,” whereas everyone else was outstanding.
BONUS LESSON: “The Star Spangled Banner” is an extremely difficult song to sing.
AND A HISTORICAL RETHINK: All that talk of Klinsmann being just a grinning figurehead for the 2006 Germany team while Jogi Loew took care of the tactics now looks silly. In less than 12 months, Klinsmann has transformed the USMNT by establishing a high-tempo, high-pressure style of play. You don’t do that without knowing your onions.
What did you learn from this game?