Ireland 4 USA 1: Take a Deep Breath, America!

Published on 18-Nov-2014 by J Square Humboldt

Soccer    Soccer Daily Update

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Ireland 4 USA 1: Take a Deep Breath, America!

Unlike the College Football Playoff's Selection Committee, FIFA has a specific formula it uses to rank national teams.

So when the USA is listed at No 23 in the world, it's a safe bet they're No 23 in the world.

At the moment -- the updated list will be posted on Thu 27 Nov -- Colombia is No 3. The Americans gave them a respectable outing last Friday. Not bad, considering Jürgen Klinsmann's long-term planning.

Considering the buzz in some quarters of the USA soccer scene, this interview from 2012 is telling:

Under Klinsmann, the USA exceeded expectations in Brazil. Dude's got a world view, and it's getting results when the spotlight's shining in major competitions.

The friendly in Ireland was obviously not one of them. And frankly, Ireland's 4-1 result flattered the Green Army to deceive. But Klinsmann still wanted to see a harder edge from his charges:

We have to make it clear that they have to go through pain, get tougher,” Klinsmann said. “And when I used that word two or three years ago where I said we have to get nastier, some people were very critical of me. ‘How can you say that,' you know?

First, the goals:

Here's what's not in the highlight package:

  • Both Fabian Johnson and Jozy Altidore hit the woodwork in the first half.
  • Altidore hammered another dangerous challenge just after halftime.
  • Run of play was all USA.

USA pass chart v Colombia and Ireland

Yes, the back-to-back losses were the first time it's happened since 2011, which is also the same year the Americans endured a four-match winless patch. But there's no denying Klinsmann's success in between.

He's building for the 2018 World Cup in stages. The USA hosts two major upcoming competitions, the Gold Cup in 2015 and the Copa América in 2016. He's in the process of sorting out the core of that roster. So a host of prospects are getting runs at the international level, including Jordan Morris, the 20-year-old Stanford winger who became the first college player to earn an American cap.

The USA is making strides in player development, but it's not where the top powers are yet. If their poobahs are looking for results now to further promote the game in America, why would they begrudge Klinsmann's shortcuts of recruiting dual citizens to play for the RW&B or advise the most promising youngsters to head for top European soccer academies?

Rhetorical question.

They need to zip it. Klinsmann's direction may seem harsh right now, but the last time anyone checked, the German way is a rather effective model. Let it run its course.

I’ll say it again: We have to get nastier. It’s just normal. It’s not a negative word. We have to become more physical. We have to hold our ground more. Dominate.