Chile's Hot Second Half Burns Americans

Published on 28-Jan-2015 by J Square Humboldt
Soccer / Soccer Daily Update

Flighing high.

Jürgen Klinsmann firmly believes friendlies are just that.

He's seeing what he needs to see in those matches, and the score is secondary.

Thing is, the USA has had five secondary scores on the trot. Two draws followed by losses in Europe to Colombia and Ireland, and now a lost first-half lead set up a 3-2 result for host Chile.

The Americans' German guru went experimental right from the start, deploying a 3-5-2 formation that showed definite possibilities. However, it also showed the squad often became disoriented within it. As Jozy Altidore explained:

The 3-5-2 was difficult because ... we were just trying to see if we could play that formation. Obviously, in the first half, we allowed them too much time and space to pick out a man, especially in the wide areas

On the flip side, it sprang Brek Shea ona  long ball from fullback Matt Besler in the sixth minute, when Los Rojas were still trying to adampt to it:

And then the first glimpseof  confusion set in. Roberto Gutiérrez split the back line to equalize moments later:

Target man Jozy Altidore's career may be on the wane in England, but he knew what to do in this match after a nifty 1-2 set him up 20 minutes later:

At the intermission, Klinsmann put resurrecting the 3-5-2 on hold, shifted to a 4-4-2, after which Chile shifted into high gear. How midfielder Mark González was allowed to scamper 50 yards unchallenged is anybody's guess:

And he wasn't done. Ten minutes later, aware of space, González put himself in the right place at the right time to rocket home a richochet for the game-winner:

The Americans had few answers at the end. Still, Michael Bradley's booming volley glanced off the upper right woodwork, and Lee Nguyen sent a last-minute grasscutter just wide of the right post.

So Klinsmann has more data as he points toward this July's Gold Cup, where the USA will defend its title. He expects his mixing and matching now to be well worth it. To keep the old boys at USA Soccer at bay -- and he's regularly trod on their toes in the process -- it had better be.

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