U.S. sprouts another loss as Belgium bounces Americans in Brussels

This was essentially the same sort of Belgium team I’ve had the misfortune to watch every few years since 1970 – one that grinds out results with a packed midfield/defense despite an obvious dearth of talent.

On the other side of the field this U.S. is looking more than a bit familiar as well just three games into the reign of Jurgen Klinsman with young players learning on the job, no real attacking strengths (Clint Dempsey aside) and yes, another loss. On the plus side the back four looked pretty steady again, too.

The biggest question that needs to be answered: Is the U.S. seeing progress under Klinsmann?

What do you think?

Hey, if it’s any consolation the Galaxy’s Robbie Keane was shut out again in Ireland’s 0-0 Euro 2012 qualifier today against Russia.

Here’s the game story from Associated Press Writer Slobodan Lekic:

BRUSSELS (AP) — The U.S. national soccer team lost to Belgium 1-0 Tuesday, leaving Jurgen Klinsmann without a win in three games since he was hired as the Americans’ coach.

This was the first road game for the U.S. since Klinsmann came aboard. The Americans earlier tied Mexico and lost to Costa Rica.

Nicolas Lombaerts’ half volley in the 55th minute was the only goal in an exhibition game
dominated by the Belgians on the rain-soaked field.

“It was an interesting game for both sides,” Klinsmann said. “For the first 25 minutes the
U.S. had a good passing game going, but then the individual Belgian class started to show. The players have learned a lot from the game.”

Klinsmann, a former German star and coach, is looking to assemble the players who will play in the World Cup qualifiers that start next June. He pointed to such promising players as Juan Agudelo, Jose Torres, Brek Shea and Timmy Chandler.

An inexperienced U.S. team rarely threatened, and second-half substitutes Agudelo and Kyle Beckerman did little to energize play.

Still, the Americans had their best chance five minutes before the end. A midfield cross found its way to Edu, who headed the ball past Mignolet. But the referee disallowed the goal because Clarence Goodson was ruled to have handled the ball inside the box.

The U.S. played aggressively only in the opening minutes. In the sixth minute, Clint Dempsey’s free kick was fumbled by Belgian goalkeeper Simon Mignolet. Ten minutes later Torres curled a free kick from the right just past the far post.

In the 25th minute, Timmy Simons struck a low ball from the right edge of the area that U.S. goalie Tim Howard deflected. Seven minutes later, Dries Mertens crossed the ball into the area to an unmarked Marouane Fellaini, whose shot was stopped by Howard.

Belgium coach Georges Leekens said the U.S. played well for the first 15 minutes.

“Then we got a grip and we really wanted to win at home after the Azarbaijan match,” he
said.

Belgium drew against Azerbaijan on Friday, weakening its chances of qualifying for next year’s European Championship.

Lineups
Belgium: Simon Mignolet, Laurent Ciman, Toby Alderweireld, Vincent Kompany, Nicolas Lombaerts, Timmy Simons, Eden Hazard (Marvin Ogunjimi, 61), Marouane Fellaini (Romelu Lukaku, 61), Igor De Camargo, Axel Witsel, Dries Mertens.

United States: Tim Howard, Steve Cherundolo, Timmy Chandler, Clarence Goodson, Carlos Bocanegra, Clint Dempsey, Robbie Rogers (Kyle Beckerman, 46), Maurice Edu, Jozy Altidore (Juan Agudelo, 46), Jose Torres (Jeff Larentowicz, 75), Brek Shea.

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  • studs & elbows down

    Talk about a dearth of talent, we displayed absolutely nothing. We’ve got to fast track some imported talent to beef up the US team. I’ll take any of the Belgian players you want to cast off Nick and give you all the Robbie Rogers of this world.

  • studs & elbows down

    Talk about a dearth of talent, we displayed absolutely nothing. We’ve got to fast track some imported talent to beef up the US team. I’ll take any of the Belgian players you want to cast off Nick and give you all the Robbie Rogers of this world.

  • studs & elbows down

    Talk about a dearth of talent, we displayed absolutely nothing. We’ve got to fast track some imported talent to beef up the US team. I’ll take any of the Belgian players you want to cast off Nick and give you all the Robbie Rogers of this world.

  • studs & elbows down

    Talk about a dearth of talent, we displayed absolutely nothing. We’ve got to fast track some imported talent to beef up the US team. I’ll take any of the Belgian players you want to cast off Nick and give you all the Robbie Rogers of this world.

  • Inigo Montoya

    Blah. Back line looked okay, and the Belgian goal was lucky rather than well-earned. Four times out of five that kick would not have scored. OTOH, the US didn’t create many opportunities even for luck.

    The midfield did very well in possession until Belgian pressure revealed their lack of technical skill in close quarters. (They must have watched film of the Mexico game.) Dempsey, Torres and occasionally Shea were exceptions. No opinion on Edu.

    Even when they had good possession, US showed no ability to establish a perimeter and gradually close it in on the 18 they way they did in the second half with Mexico. As possession declined, nothing nothing nothing. Almost no genuine threats in the run of play.

    I can see the possibility of this team improving as they get organized and learn to attack together, but the inability to work in close quarters gives every quality team a means to beat them with pressure. Hard to see how that changes any time soon.