Put your hand up if you are an underwhelmed about the Jurgen Klinsmann era at U.S. Soccer as I am?
After last night’s 1-0 defeat to Ecuador at Red Bull Arena, the USA has managed just two goals in seven and a half hours of play since Klinsmann took over for Bob Bradley. Under Klinsmann’s leadership the USA record is now a miserable three defeats, one draw, and one win in five games.
U.S. Soccer fired Bradley, in-part because he was viewed as too negative. Bradley’s detractors pointed to the five goals that the U.S. scored in four games during last summer’s World Cup as an example of his negative play. But those detractors are strangely quiet as the USA under Klinsmann has scored just two goals in five games against Mexico, Honduras, and three teams not good enough to qualify for the World Cup.
So why can the U.S. not score? It has been an incredible 22 games since the USA scored more than twice in the same match, and that was a 3-1 victory over Australia in the teams final World Cup warm-up last June.
Against Ecuador last night, the USA had plenty of possession, but once again they could not turn that possession into goals. Juan Agudelo seems to be in a sophomore slump, while JozyAltidore has not scored in his last seven national team apperances.
When the forwards do not score, it puts a lot of pressure on the U.S. midfield players like Dempsey (who scored against Honduras on Saturday) and Donovan (who missed both games with an injury). The USA is simply not good enough to win games when it is missing its two best midfield players (Holden is injured also) and its forwards are not taking their chances.
Bob Bradley realized this which is why he played the style of soccer that he did. It will be interesting to see what Klinsmann does, as World Cup qualifying begins in less than a year.