While the United States men’s team certainly didn’t make coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s first win easy, there was plenty for the Stars and Stripes to build on.
The Americans might have only found the back of the net once in their 1-0 victory over Honduras, but the midfield created numerous chances to score, which should be an encouraging sign. The former Germany and Bayern Munich manager will also be pleased with the performances of Jozy Altidore and Timothy Chandler.
Altidore, despite not finding the net, worked hard and was constantly drawing fouls and finding his teammates. Chandler might look very right-footed at left back but he didn’t allow that to affect him as he played well on both sides of the pitch.
Finally, after years of the U.S. searching for a No. 10, Klinsmann might have finally found his man, even if he is already one of the team’s established stars.
Clint Dempsey fits well in the No. 10 role
In trying to find its trequartista, a player who can play behind the striker and provide flair, the U.S. has employed Freddy Adu, Sacha Kljestan and Benny Feilhaber in the role to limited success. On Saturday, Dempsey showed how it’s done.
The Fulham FC star has traditionally played opposite of Landon Donovan on the left flank, but he showed that he is more than capable playing as a second forward.
While most will point to Dempsey’s game-winner as his brightest moment of the match, his first touch, penetrating runs and steady passing were just as vital. As he and, assumingly, Altidore continue to find chemistry up top, there is no reason why Klinsmann can’t expect both to be his leading goalscorers heading into the 2014 World Cup.
No more Michael Orozco Fiscal, please
Whereas Fiscal's initial selection to Klinsmann’s first camp was viewed with intrigue, his next start might be met with bewilderment. Fiscal isn’t strong enough to cover physical forwards and while he is a mobile player, he often gets lost in coverages. Frankly speaking, he hasn’t shown anything in his past four caps that warrants being picked over the other defensive options.
With Oguchi Onyewu beginning to get back to his old form and Tim Ream on the bench, don’t be surprised if someone else is lining up next to Carlos Bocanegra Tuesday against Ecuador. Let’s not forget about Los Angeles’ defensive stalwart Omar Gonzalez, who, according to recent reports, is contemplating preserving leads for Chicharito and Mexico after being repeatedly snubbed by Klinsmann.
U.S. finally has depth at wing
It wasn’t too long ago when the Red, White and Blue only had DaMarcus Beasley as its only natural option at winger. If the United States proved anything Saturday, it's that the position is quickly becoming a strong role for Klinsmann.
Brek Shea, Daniel Williams and Beasley all showed glimpses of technical quality against Honduras. Despite it being his first cap, Williams showed no signs of nervousness, confidently attacking from the right hand side and creating opportunities for his teammates.
Shea created the game-winner as his superb cross found Dempsey, who’s added a bit of magic to the ball to finish. There are still things that the FC Dallas star has to work on in the international level, as he squandered a sitter in the second half, but overall he showed the aspects of his game that is piquing the interest of scouts from Europe.
Finally, after once appearing to be out of the national-team scene under Bob Bradley, Beasley has proven to Klinsmann that he can have a second life under the German. He doesn’t have the electrifying pace that made him naturally talented in his early 20s, but he has adapted well becoming a tactically astute player whose work rate has heightened tremendously. He was relentless in his substitute performance, never giving up on plays and finding his teammates in dangerous positions.
If those players can repeat or even improve on those performances, there will be a tight competition for places at the wings considering that the U.S. also has Landon Donovan, Robbie Rogers and even Alejandro Bedoya, if he can become a regular for Rangers. A problem that Klinsmann will likely enjoy having.
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