Jurgen Klinsmann took his show on the road for a year end double header, and received a beating at the hands of Colombia and Ireland for his troubles.
Following a not unexpected 2-1 loss to FIFA’s third ranked team in the world, the U.S. MNT made the short hop over to Dublin where they took a 4-1 beating from what amounted to an Ireland B or C team.
So, what did we learn from this year end debacle? Here are 5 Thoughts.
1) Mix Needs a Move
Mikkel Diskerud scored the lone U.S. goal against the Irish Tuesday, after admitting that the pace of the Colombia match had surprised him.
Diskerud, a Norwegian-American midfielder has some enticing elements to his game, not the least of which is an ability to come up with a timely goal. As fate would have it Mix, as he prefers, is free to make a move this winter, and it is clear that he needs to step away from his comfort zone, in order to step up his game.
ESPN broadcaster Taylor Twellman said that 10 to 15 scouts were at Aviva Stadium Tuesday night to have a look at Diskerud. So, how did he do?
OK. He scored a nice goal and combined well at times with Alejandro Bedoya, but there wasn’t a whole lot else. Mix still has enough talent to make a move. At 24 years old Mix is no longer a kid. It’s time to make a move, and it needs to be a good one.
2) Geoff Cameron Needs to Move Further Up the Field.
Cameron is a good, rangy, athletic player. He has size, strength, decent speed and can push forward from time to time. Unfortunately Cameron has a bit of a tendency to screw up in front of his own goal. He had a key miscue in the World Cup against Portugal, and on Tuesday his swing and a miss in front of goal led directly to Ireland’s third goal, which deflected off of the defenders leg and into Bill Hamid’s net.
Play Cameron as a defensive midfield where he can use his skills a safer distance his own goal.
3) Will Youth Be Served?
When Tuesday’s embarrassing 4-1 loss to Ireland finally ended, 18 year old Rubio Rubin, 22 year old Bobby Wood, and 20 year old Stanford college player Jordan Morris were on the field for the U.S. MNT.
18 year old Fulham midfielder Emerson Hyndman is another youngster to receive a recent call up to the senior side. Will he be back, and when? And the others? It is early in the World Cup cycle, but the Gold Cup comes next summer, then there is Olympic Qualifying and in 2016 Copa America.
Will the young guns be ready? And just as importantly, if called can the next generation bring something different to the table?
4) Accountability- Part 1
U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann talks about accountability quite a bit. Then he selects Jozy Altidore, and even hands him the captain’s armband.
This is not to suggest that Altidore be buried, but he never plays for Sunderland, therefore he never scores for Sunderland. A bad penalty kick that found the net against Colombia is not reason enough to keep running Altidore out there. Tuesday night he hit the crossbar. Close, but not close enough. Strikers have to score goals. Enough with the close, enough with the service, enough. Goals.
And if Altidore needs to leave Sunderland to score those goals again, then he should get a move on.
5) Accountability – Part 2
Jurgen Klinsmann took over as the coach of the U.S. MNT in July 2011. He has coached this national team through a World Cup. He came in talking about a proactive, ball control style. No more hit and hope. This week, much of the talk was of passing the ball out of the back.
But constant tinkering has his defenders looking very uncertain, and his midfield is ineffective without veterans Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley.
The U.S. MNT seems a long way still from establishing any identity beyond the long standing loveable scrappers with good goalkeeping. Nothing new there.
And while it is still early in this cycle, we are deep into the Jurgen Klinsmann era. Accountability, and change, starts at the top.
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
IRL 1 3 4
IRL – Anthony Pilkington (David McGoldrick) 7th minute
USA – Mix Diskerud (Chris Wondolowski) 39
IRL – Robbie Brady (David McGoldrick) 55
IRL – James McClean 82
IRL – Robbie Brady 86
USA: 22-Bill Hamid; 23-Fabian Johnson, 20-Geoff Cameron, 5-Matt Besler, 21-Timmy Chandler (24-Jordan Morris, 76); 15-Kyle Beckerman (2-Tim Ream, 87); 11-Alejandro Bedoya, 10-Mix Diskerud (9-Rubio Rubin, 77), 4-Alfredo Morales (3-Greg Garza, 65); 18-Chris Wondolowski (19-Bobby Wood, 46), 17-Jozy Altidore (capt.)
Subs Not Used: 1-Brad Guzan, 12-Nick Rimando, 14-Miguel Ibarra, 16-Julian Green, 25-Sean Johnson
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann
IRL: 23-Shay Given (22-Rob Elliot, 85); 6-Cyrus Christie, 20-Alex Pearce, 5-Ciaran Clark, 17-Robbie Brady; 13-Anthony Pilkington (11-James McClean, 64), 18-Stephen Quinn, 12-David Meyler (capt.); 14- Anthony Stokes (7-Aiden McGeady, 60); 21-David McGoldrick (9-Shane Long, 77), 10-Daryl Murphy (8-Jeff Hendrick, 77)
Subs Not Used: 2-Seamus Coleman, 4-John O’Shea, 15-Richard Keogh, 16-Darren Randolph, 19-Jon Walters
Head Coach: Martin O’Neill
Stats Summary: USA / IRL
Shots: 13 / 10
Shots on Goal: 5 / 6
Saves: 2 / 4
Corner Kicks: 11 / 6
Fouls: 15 / 11
Offside: 1 / 3
USA – Kyle Beckerman (caution) 37th minute
USA – Jozy Altidore (caution) 65
USA – Geoff Cameron (caution) 85
IRL – Aiden McGeady (caution) 90
USA – Fabian Johnson (caution) 90+2
IRL – David Meyler (caution) 90+4