U.S. still more Pinto than Porsche

U.S. 0 Costa Rica 1

Staff Writer Phil Collin has the Game story.

The difference in the game in pictures
i-af05b006891925eb40ff700f048f8a4b-landoncan'tlook.jpgMissing in action: Landon Donovan and the U.S. rues another missed opportunity on goal Friday in Carson (AP Photos).

i-8a44456e955e55da97a91ab5302b3953-wallacegoal.jpgHowards End: Rodney Wallace blasts the ball past Tim Howard for the goal that was the difference in the game.

Watch:

Was the U.S. – and perhaps Jurgen Klinsmann – schooled just a bit by a more experienced team Friday night?

Yes, a more mobile back four has improved, protected by a vigilant Maurice Edu on this occasion. Wingers Robbie Rogers and especially Brek Shea showed a willingness to take on opponents, penetrating and threatening, but not providing the final telling ball. And the forwards blustered, but couldn’t convert while Costa Rica nullified the high-energy, pressing U.S. game with 27 fouls and one finely executed counterattack.

Quotable:

“We’re buying into his system and his ideas,” said defender Carlos Bocanegra, a long-time Bob Bradley stalwart sounding like he was trying to convince himself of that, while declining to compare Klinsmann’s style to his predecessor.

“We’re going in with an open mind, which if the main thing,” he added.

But some players appear to feel more than a bit liberated under Klinsmann’s short tenure:

“He’s given me the opportunity to just play freely,” said midfielder Jose Torres. “And that gives you a lot of confidence.”

Next for the U.S.: Belgium on Tuesday in Brussels.

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  • studs and elbows down

    Technical shortcomings of US players proves yet again it doesn’t matter what system you play. If you can’t execute, you’ll lose. Donovan time and again ends promising plays with his miscues. Rodgers was a non-factor for the most part by cutting back just about every ball that came to him. Shea could not break away from the tight marking to really announce his appearance on the international stage. Poor Altidor played perhaps his best game but was left virtually all alone against 3 or 4 players at all times. Edu and Torres played with a lot of poise and confidence. Castillo was very dramatic, both good and bad. Chandler, with his awkward physique played a solid game but better crossing ability is required from

  • Inigo Montoya

    With 4-5-1 you get possession but not goals. The “withdrawn striker” only works if you play the ball through the middle, which CR shut down effectively.

    I don’t think the US put a shot on frame all night. CR sat back, had a disciplined offsides trap, and never allowed a single threatening counter.

    I mean, I’m happy that Jurgen likes what he sees, but there was nothing going on inside the 18 all night. Maybe that wasn’t the point but I hate to see the US lose to CR all the time.

  • studs & elbows down

    Believe it or not that was supposed to be a 4-3-3 line-up. But with Shae and Rodgers unable to make it to the corners and Landon and Jose not being able to penetrate collectively one in fact would think they meant to play 4-5-1.

    The big problem, individual players technical shortcomings aside, is still the Landon Donovan enigma. He is an open field player and needs space to maneuver. He cannot operate under tight marking in the middle of the field. Between him losing the ball near the box and Shea and Rodgers unable to move the ball to the corners there was seldom enough time for Torres to join the attack. Ideally, Klinsmann wanted a 5 man attack and we didn’t see that. He even had the field marked wider by 3 yards to create more space but that didn’t work either as the players got tired faster.

    Klinsmann may be making the same mistake as Winter has with Torono. You can expect a big spanking by Belgium on Tuesday if they play like that again.

  • studs & elbows down

    Believe it or not that was supposed to be a 4-3-3 line-up. But with Shae and Rodgers unable to make it to the corners and Landon and Jose not being able to penetrate collectively one in fact would think they meant to play 4-5-1.

    The big problem, individual players technical shortcomings aside, is still the Landon Donovan enigma. He is an open field player and needs space to maneuver. He cannot operate under tight marking in the middle of the field. Between him losing the ball near the box and Shea and Rodgers unable to move the ball to the corners there was seldom enough time for Torres to join the attack. Ideally, Klinsmann wanted a 5 man attack and we didn’t see that. He even had the field marked wider by 3 yards to create more space but that didn’t work either as the players got tired faster.

    Klinsmann may be making the same mistake as Winter has with Torono. You can expect a big spanking by Belgium on Tuesday if they play like that again.

  • studs & elbows down

    Believe it or not that was supposed to be a 4-3-3 line-up. But with Shae and Rodgers unable to make it to the corners and Landon and Jose not being able to penetrate collectively one in fact would think they meant to play 4-5-1.

    The big problem, individual players technical shortcomings aside, is still the Landon Donovan enigma. He is an open field player and needs space to maneuver. He cannot operate under tight marking in the middle of the field. Between him losing the ball near the box and Shea and Rodgers unable to move the ball to the corners there was seldom enough time for Torres to join the attack. Ideally, Klinsmann wanted a 5 man attack and we didn’t see that. He even had the field marked wider by 3 yards to create more space but that didn’t work either as the players got tired faster.

    Klinsmann may be making the same mistake as Winter has with Torono. You can expect a big spanking by Belgium on Tuesday if they play like that again.

  • studs & elbows down

    Believe it or not that was supposed to be a 4-3-3 line-up. But with Shae and Rodgers unable to make it to the corners and Landon and Jose not being able to penetrate collectively one in fact would think they meant to play 4-5-1.

    The big problem, individual players technical shortcomings aside, is still the Landon Donovan enigma. He is an open field player and needs space to maneuver. He cannot operate under tight marking in the middle of the field. Between him losing the ball near the box and Shea and Rodgers unable to move the ball to the corners there was seldom enough time for Torres to join the attack. Ideally, Klinsmann wanted a 5 man attack and we didn’t see that. He even had the field marked wider by 3 yards to create more space but that didn’t work either as the players got tired faster.

    Klinsmann may be making the same mistake as Winter has with Torono. You can expect a big spanking by Belgium on Tuesday if they play like that again.

  • Inigo Montoya

    I see what you’re saying. Smart analysis, especially on Donovan, and hard to disagree with.

    Is one possibility then to pair Altidore and Agudelo up top, so that you have a target player who can work with his back to the goal and a partner with close-quarters technique who can finish? (Not sure Agudelo is all that, yet, but can’t think of an alternative. Dempsey? Adu??) Then use Donovan, Shea and Torres (Dempsey, Holden, Bradley) to possess / work the ball forward and Edu as a holding midfielder?

  • Studs and elbows down

    Actually I don’t have a problem with this modified 4-3-3 that Klinsmann tried. The question is who are the right players for it. The game vs Belgium will tell us a lot more on how well suited this plan is for the US. I see Dempsey as an improvement over Donovan if he plays in the Donovan role in the middle. He is bigger and better handler of the ball in close quarters and should be able to play closer to the lone striker. But the withdrawn wingers, Shae, Rodgers or whoever must, must work the ball in the corners to allow the mid-field attackers to get in the box.

    The bottom line is we need better dribblers to break down defenses no matter what formation we use or we face.