Dec. 21, 2016
USA vs. Costa Rica Preview
The narrative seems to be the same for the USMNT. Coming off a big loss in the Klinsmann reign, the US is looking for a huge result away in Saprissa, Costa Rica. A place they have never won before, and will have to find any possible way to get a result.
Past Game: This past Friday in Columbus, Ohio, the US Mens Soccer Team tried to continue it's winning ways against Mexico on home soil. The first 20 minutes , the US was on its back heels as Mexico has multiple chances come close via the bar or narrowly mi the net. Mexico was finally able to breakthrough via Miguel Layun, on a deflected shot that Tim Howard just narrowly missed getting a few fingers on. After giving up the goal, Howard had the misfortune of taking a misstep on a goal kick and the result was a substitution due to injury. His backup and former # 1, Brad Guzan came into replace him for the last hour of the game. It seemed that after Howard's injury, the US started to play a little bit more aggressively and control the play by switching to a more comfortable 4-4-2 formation. The US got off to a flying start in the second half with Bobby Wood getting on the end of a well placed Jozy Altidore pass, and tying the game up at 1. Wood has seemed to really enjoy playing Mexico as that is his second goal against them in as many games. After that goal by Wood, the US would continue to control the field of play and have opportunities being created by the wonderkid Christian Pulisic, Bobby Wood and Jozy Altidore. As the game was starting to wind down, Mexico seemed to get on the front foot, making a few aggressive subs, and try to get the goal to go ahead and end the 15 year winless drought on US soil. Sometimes things don't go as hoped and the same story cannot be told year after year, and Mexico would nab the go ahead goal late in the 89 minute via a Rafael Marquez corner kick goal. As we would come to know after the game, John Brooks missed his assignment, letting Marquez get on the end of a free header. After so many years of US dominance at home, especially Dos A Cero having three sequels in Columbus, Mexico had ended the streak. Now the US goes in Costa Rica tonight for a seemingly vital away qualifier.
US vs CRC Preview: The USMNT comes into the game tonight with a lot of uncertainty. Whether it be the play of captain Michael Bradley, the formation changes by manager Jurgen Klinsmann, or the man in net Brad Guzan having limited playing time for club Middlesborough.
For starters, would Klinsmann be willing to bench Captain Michael Bradley? Bradley frankly has not looked like himself since his return to the MLS. Whether it be the system the US is playing or the change in player quality, he seems to go in and out of games much more often than he did in prior years. I say to start him because he still is the best option for holding mid. Will Klinsmann start Jermaine Jones even though his play has been down for the past two years since his stellar World Cup in Brazli? My personal belief is to let Bedoya play a holding role with Bradley, as he has had a season to adapt to the role in the MLS for the Philadelphia Union. The back four seems to be a question mark now, after having a summer where things to seemed to look so much clearer. After finding the CB combo with Brooks and Cameron, with Johnson and Yedlin as the backs, Klinsmann went away from everything due to Cameron missing due to injury and Timmy Chandler regaining his form in the Bundesliga. Since the US needs to get a result tonight, the smart move would be to place Yedlin back in the starting XI with Fabian Johnson at the left back position and Matt Besler with John Brooks to man the Center Back roles. Up front is where things will get very interesting for the US, after having Jozy and Bobby Wood combine so well against Mexico. Depending on the formation that Klinsmann opts for, will make for a possibly attack heavy lineup, or more defensive lineup. I'd like to see Klinsmann go for it tonight, as a loss wouldn't completely knock the US out, and a result is what is needed. With that said here is my lineup for tonight's game against CRC. Guzan; Yedlin, Besler, Brooks, Johnson; Bradley, Bedoya; Pulisic, Kljestan, Wood; Altidore. Similar to this summer, have Wood playing on a Wing and essentially creating a pivot 4-4-2 system.
Prediction: US 2 CRC 1