The US Men's National Team lost to Guatemala on Friday, 2-0. If you read this blog, you probably knew that. As beIN sports is not a channel that I get, and the game occurred over Shabbat, I missed it. I didn't miss the analysis, the reactions, or the recriminations. The opinions came swiftly, and boy were they strong.
Most recent US win over a top 100 opponent: 1-0 vs. mighty Haiti, ranked #79 at the time in last summer's Gold Cup. US outshot 15-5 that day— Matthew Doyle (@MLSAnalyst) March 28, 2016
Mix Diskerud is so bad it's hilarious. You watching @J_Klinsmann ?— Ty Colla Blind (@TylorArthurs) March 19, 2016
Even Michael Bradley was pretty brutally honest:
Asked Michael Bradley what has to get better for Tuesday's rematch vs Guatemala in Ohio. "Everything."— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) March 26, 2016
Remarks toward Jurgen Klinsmann were especially cutting:
Klinsmann says he doesn't play USMNT players out of position. This is very demonstrably false. https://t.co/zxDz3vvzog— SB Nation Soccer (@SBNationSoccer) March 28, 2016
They should replace Klinsmann with a roomba for one game and see if there's any difference.— Pablo Maurer (@MLSist) March 26, 2016
From the past two years of watching the USMNT, there are a ton of ways Friday's game was indicative of all the problems. Except, like, all at once. Here are some recurring problems, exposed again against Guatemala:
-> After Tim Howard, Clint Dempsey, and Michael Bradley, we don't have any certainty about who should start.
-> What formation does the US play? The team has dabbled with a 5-3-2, a 4-1-2-1-2, a 4-3-3, and a flat 4-4-2 in just the past year.
-> What position does everyone play? DeAndre Yedlin played right mid instead of right back. Mix Diskerud has been a holding midfielder instead of an attacking mid. Jermaine Jones has played at center back. I could really go on and on...
-> The team doesn't have a clear center back pairing. Since going to the 2014 World Cup with an impressive duo of Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez, the USMNT has played Alvarado Ventura, Michael Orozco, Matt Hedges, Steve Birnbaum, Matt Miazga, Greg Garza, Tim Ream and John Brooks in various combinations in the middle. (To be fair, in this match the team was set to go with perhaps its best pair, Matt Besler and John Brooks, but both turned up hurt - Brooks with a knee contusion, and Besler with a lingering concussion.)
-> The team doesn't have an identity anymore. The USMNT used to be tough, physical, hard to break down, and played to hit on the counter attack. Now... what are we exactly?
-> Are we playing our best midfield? Mix Diskerud and Danny Williams have received a lot of time in midfield, although few observers have seen their contributions as productive. Lee Nguyen and Darlington Nagbe haven't played much. Benny Feilhaber isn't even on the team.
It's normal for soccer twitter to become absurd and irrational after a loss. They lose their mind a lot. From the games I've watched, and the things I've seen, they're right to.
Everything above is a problem. And everything above has been a recurring problem for about 18 months now. And none of those things has really gotten better. The USMNT has lost their way, playing confused and disorganized soccer with no grand plan.
Soccer twitter has lost it's damn mind. And it was right to.