The U.S. team's offense looked dominant in the first half but its defense whimpered in the second.The 4-4-2 formation was encouraging offensively but not defensively
Klinsmann decision to drop one holding midfielder and add a forward up top paid immediate dividends in the first half but sputtered quite a bit in the second half.
The U.S. looked more fluid as Fabian Johnson and Michael Bradley moved into open spaces and created opportunities for the forwards to get into the final third. Clint Dempsey also appeared to have more freedom playing as a central player behind the two forwards. The U.S. created nine scoring chances and had 14 shots overall, up from five shots in the match against France four days ago.
But the U.S. had a poor second half in the back.
Clearance Goodson is adequate as a backup and spot starter for the U.S. but as a consistent starter he continues to make mistakes in key moments. Slovenia forward Tim Matavz had his way against the 29-year-old defender and beat him twice with his two goals.
Removing a holding midfielder exposed the U.S. defense. Considering that Slovenia isn't known for its offense, the U.S. might have to stick with Klinsmann's initial formation of 4-1-4-1.
However, there is an argument to be made that problem doesn't lie in the formations used but the players that Klinsmann has chosen in his starting lineup.
Which leads to the next point...
Bradley is an integral player for the U.S.
Bradley's endless stamina and patience on the ball elevated Klinsmann's offense and provided something different from Maurice Edu, who the German coach had preferred in previous matches.
Edu provides a more physical presence but he isn't as gifted in passing or making runs.
It will be interesting to see if starting Bradley in Klinsmann's 4-1-4-1 formation would provide better results.
Let's give credit where credit is due
The U.S. hasn't won in Europe since 2008 and winning on the road in a hostile stadium with limited visibility due to fog should be applauded, even if it isn't against one of the continent's juggernauts.
Ranked at 27th, Slovenia is rated higher than the U.S., which sits at 34th. The Stars and Stripes' victory at the Stozice Stadium should be viewed as a sign of progress especially considering the team's offensive three-goal outburst in the opening 45 minutes.
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