Nicklas (Lord) Bendtner scored his first international hat trick, as the USA once again could not hold onto a lead late in the game, as Denmark rallied to beat the Americans 3-2 in a friendly game at Aarhus, Denmark on Wednesday night.
Jozy Altidore scored in the first half and set up former club teammate Aron Johannsson’s goal in the second. But Bendtner tied the score in the 83rd minute and got the winner in the first minute of stoppage time. Christian Eriksen looped a ball over the defense and Bendtner ran onto it, took a touch and beat goalkeeper Nick Rimando from 15 yards for his 29th goal in 65 international appearances.
This was another performance that made fans question the approach of US coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Since beating Ghana in its opener at the World Cup last summer, the U.S. is 2-6-3. Yes, that is two wins in the last 11 internationals. More worrying is that the Americans have given up 12 goals from the 80th minute on in their last 12 games!
That is a ridiculously high number of goals to concede late. Klinsmann had been blaming the fitness level of the MLS players for the late goals conceded, but this was primarily a European based side, so fitness should not be an issue. But it is recurring problem that the USMNT have and at some point you have to question the coaching philosophy of Klinsmann and why his sides are so weak defensively late in games?
One reason for the late collapse is that under Klinsmann, the US has gone backwards in terms of ball possession. The chart from the Denmark game, from MLS Soccer shows that the Americans made 29 misplayed passes in their defensive third tonight:
You cannot win games at any level, never mind at international level, if you cannot play the ball out of the back to keep possession to the purpose of killing off a lead. This has been an ongoing problem for the USA under Klinsmann and if he does not get this problem fixed before the Gold Cup this summer, it will be the last competition that he manages the US.