The United States captured the mind and hearts of everyone that watched them in Brazil. Jurgen Klinsmann's men displayed incredible amounts of resilience, passion and courage in the four games they played, putting other sides to shame and leaving fans to lament their countrymen's efforts.
The Stars and Stripes fought out of the Group of Death and were one Chris Wondolowski stoppage time horror miss away from facing Argentina in the Quarter Finals (FIFA's post game report shows Wondolowski was not flagged offside as presumed by commentators, the linesman was simply signalling the goal kick.)
The American's were excellent and valiant and all the other nice words people have to say about them. But they need to push on from this and not stick with the same gritty performances that saw them reach the knockout stages.
Klinsmann promised the US fans an open and aesthetically pleasing style three years ago when he took the job. The German is not just head coach of the National Team, but Technical Director of US Soccer as well. Yet we saw close to no technique in the form of ball retention from the players he chose to put out on the field.
Painfully slow midfield
The midfield that played in those four games was incredibly defensive, in-expansive, and limited. Geoff Cameron, Jermaine Jones, Alejandro Bedoya and Kyle Beckerman were in the side with the sole purpose of being solid on the defensive side of the ball and attacking was just an afterthought in Klinsmann's plan.
We can't have another World Cup of this from Klinsmann. At some point the US has to transition to players that can actually attack. Bringing in players like Julian Green, Darlington Nagbe, Joshua Gatt and Mix Diskerud - fast, skilful attacking players that cause defences nightmares has to be a priority now. No more slow build up and a midfield unit full of defensive midfielders and Michael Bradley.
Full back Fun
Coming into the World Cup, if you had told any ardent US fan that the full back spot would be their greatest strength in Brazil they would have laughed you off. But DaMarcus Beasley, Fabian Johnson and DeAndre Yedlin all put in fantastic performances in defense, and more noticeably, in attack. They became the States main threat which only came about through having such a narrow midfield.
The defense is good enough for Klinsmann to build on for the future. The midfield and attack has to change. The hard-fought performances this year were great. They shouldn't be accepted in the future however.
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