USA vs Nigeria: USA Got It Right While Nigeria Got It Way Wrong

By far this was the best I have seen the US play in a long time.  I really like Beckerman sitting next to Jones allowing Bradley freedom to be the #10.  Klinsmann learned a big lesson vs Turkey.  We can’t be a free flowing attacking team that stretches the field in the 442 diamond.  Klinsmann said “formations don’t matter”  before the game – in a way he is right and in a way he is way off. We need to sit deep and counter. Period.  In a 442 or 4231 it doesn’t matter to me, although I prefer 4231 for the US. If we sit we have a chance to hit people off the counter with Altidore and Dempsey.  Nigeria was flat out bad today.  The players are talented individually but as a team their tactics and understanding of each other was some of the worst I have seen – not to mention their fitness and mental toughness seemed very suspect to me as well.  They had little to no idea how to break down the US when we were sitting deep.  The Nigerians movement off the ball in possession was non-existent, when they had the chance to counter at speed they never did, they literally got in each others way in possession.  Nigeria played hard for 65 minutes and did whatever for 25 minutes.  They flat out came undone.  The US were very good today but we are still very susceptible to the counter off the counter.  However, Nigeria never capitalized and I don’t think they understood how to.  We were a more soccer intelligent team today by far.  I watched Italy play Nigeria and thought the same thing.  I see Nigeria being eliminated in the group play.

The hard part about watching the US play on ESPN is listening to announcers.  They never give any real insight into the game.  Today they made Bradley out to be Messi and Altidore to be Drogba after his first toe tap goal.  I am a hard critic but Im not afraid to give credit when credit is due. We are a very intense, hard working team with a couple world class players. We have strengths and weaknesses.  Our tactics need to hide the weaknesses and play to out strengths.  This is exactly what we did today ( with the help of a Nigerian team that got it all wrong). On the flip side we have some major weaknesses.  The US back four is not very good.  They work hard but they can be exposed against top teams.  Bradley is good going forward only when he has time on the ball.  He should have been booked multiple times today for pulling players down from behind who easily glided past him.  All teams need to figure out is that Bradley is actually a slow sprinter. I know he is the fittest guy on the team! Doesn’t mean anything for sprinting speed.  Man mark Bradley with a physical and fast player and he becomes a shadow of the player he is when he allowed to roam free. The US has two world class players –  Dempsey and Howard.  We also have guys that can really compete and get the job done efficiently in Jones, Zusi, Beckerman and Fabian Johnson.   I do like Altidore as a worker and physical presence but he still needs to make better decisions on the ball for me.  The last thing is team has fight and heart.  We play hard for 90 minutes every game.  It sounds easy but its not.  We do that well.  Can we make it out of the group?  My answer lies with Klinsmann.  If he gives the team the proper tactics and player selection – than yes.  We can counter and beat Ghana ( 50/50 ).  Portugal we can render Ronaldo ineffective if we sit deep.  Basically we have to sit for all three games and do well on the counter.  It’s that simple.  The odds are not in our favor of getting out of the group but it is possible.  I give us a 30% chance of getting out of the group.  My pick for the final is Brazil vs Argentina! Anyways – thats my take on the US going into the world cup.  Hopefully we will do well!