I’ve been restating how the USMNT turned disappointment into elation all too much lately, so I’ll just skip it this time. You all saw the transformation between the match against Colombia and the match against Costa Rica. It was like night and day.
What made it so strange is that Jurgen Klinsmann made zero changes to his team. Everything remained the same. It was a massive display of loyalty and faith. He was telling his old guard that someone needed to step up, because no one was coming to save them. Must have been how George Washington and his Revolutionaries felt when they were trapped in New York during the Revolutionary War. The French weren’t coming. They had to do it themselves.
Well, call it an ironic twist of fate, but that person that stepped up was an American with a thick German accent. Jermaine Jones in all of his glory stole the spotlight, not just from Costa Rica, but from Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley as well. It was a pure display of passion and grit.
I heavily criticized Jones against Colombia. He looked slow, old and physically unable to keep pace with Juan Cuadrado. For seven minutes against Costa Rica he looked the same – slow and out of touch.
But by the end of the game, he was a hero.
Jones took control of this game. His goal, that crucial second goal, was a magnificent display of what hard work can get you. Jones went on his own to pressure the ball, won it back, kick-started an offensive move in the USMNT’s direction and ended up receiving a misplayed dribble from Clint Dempsey that Jones put exactly where it had to be placed. Low, skidding along the ground, and curling into the back post, every single angle did the goal justice.
And the celebration said it all. Pure elation. Jones went haywire. It had to be such a release after being so stifled recently.
In club competition, Jones came into Colorado firing on all cylinders. Just like against Costa Rica, he was embodying the word ‘unstoppable’. And then there was the slow decline. Jones has not had the greatest run lately and it led right into the Copa America Centenario.
But when it mattered most, that poor streak meant nothing to Jones. With Bradley still under-performing, Jones took control. I have to believe that part of the reason why Klinsmann switched to a 4-4-2 was to get Jones more involved in the center of the pitch so he could exude more influence.
It will be exciting to see what Jones will do against Paraguay. For being 34 years old, he is making a strong claim to being involved in World Cup 2018.