Jürgen's Kids? Young Americans Tops in Prague
Make no mistake, the manager of Team Amerika has eine langfristige Strategie.
Jürgen Klinsmann isn't exactly building a clone of the World Cup champion German national team, but on this day of international friendlies where Die Mannschaft rolled out more of its next generation for a bit of seasoning in what's already a young side, it's not a coincidence that he opted to do the same.
Showing a different look in Prague for its first match since an encouraging World Cup performance accomplished two purposes:
- It prevented any hint of a backslide in the program if Team USA would lose; and
- It allowed Klinsmann to start the process of upgrading the side for the next round of competitions, which starts with the Copa America Centenario in 2016.
The fact Team USA produced the game's lone goal against a quality Czech Republic was a bonus.
It came when Mikkel Diskerud pounced on a poorly-chosen pass from Chelsea's Peter Cech to Vladimir Darida, who mishandled it, and the race was on. Alejandro Bedoya collected Diskerud's rebound and rang it up:
The midfield trio of Joseph-Claude Gyau, Julian Green, and Diskerud were dangerous all night. Sometimes, that was a double-edged sword, as their exuberance often left space and opportunity for the Czechs. The bright side there was goalkeepers Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando were up to the task when needed.
Despite spirited spells from the Americans, the Czechs had strong runs of play and will no doubt rue their numerous missed chances from brutal finishing. But that's for them to fix. Klinsmann was surely more than pleased at his side's work rate and athleticism.
Still, he's not done scouring his home nation for more German-Americans who have been trained since they could walk in a much more established and advanced system. He seems determined to pull more Yanks out of Deutschland than General Eisenhower did. It's definitely a shortcut to strengthening the program, it's ethical, and it's working.
Next up for Team USA is Ecuador in East Hartford, Connecticut on Fri 10 Oct. Chances are Klinsmann will deploy more regulars for the home crowd, but based on performances tonight, expect a measure of youth to be served again.