USA falls to Ireland 4-1. It’s a Drubbing. Let’s look ahead and learn

Photo courtesy, The American Outlaws

Photo by Denise McCooey, The American Outlaws

By Robert Cross

The USMNT fell to Ireland 4-1 today in their final match of 2014.  An uneven first half that saw the Nats tied gave way to a porous, discombobulated effort with numerous defensive errors in the second half.  This friendly wasn’t kind to the USA, so I’m going to look at a couple of central themes as we head towards 2015.

* Coach Klinsmann wants us to play the ball out of the back, but we aren’t there yet.  The USMNT is going to great lengths to pass out of the back, possess the ball, and move up the field with purpose.  The problem is our CBs have struggled with distributing the ball, our FBs have been turnover prone, and the MF has not consistently put forward direct, incisive play that is necessary to transition into the final third.  Look for Lee Nguyen to surprise and emerge as the starter in the 10 role for 2015 Gold Cup.

* Donovan or Dempsey anyone?  The best player in USMNT history is retiring and Deuce will not be far behind him.  These two players have carried the load for years.  Who is going to step up in 2015 and lead us to a successful Gold Cup defense which would give USA a Confederations Cup berth in 2017?  Julian Green and Joseph Gyau are young and inexperienced on the wings.

Mikkel Diskerud has shown flashes, but has been inconsistent.  We will likely see more overlapping runs from Fabian Johnson and DeAndre Yedlin.  My money is on Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore carrying the national team next year.  Bradley will come back healthy and determined after an injury and World Cup struggles derailed his play.  Altidore will transfer to a better position and lead all scores for the NATS in 2015.

* Which young players will break through?  There has been a lot of talk about Julian Green and Joseph Gyau.  DeAndre Yedlin and Joe Garza are two young players in the back.  Both Aron Johansson and Terrence Boyd are retiring from injuries.  I think Rubio Rubin will exceed expectations and be a critical player for Coach Klinsmann by the summer.

That’s all folks.  Goodnight Cascadia.

Robert “The Boss” Cross
American Outlaws Portland (AOPDX)

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