The USMNT was unceremoniously rocked by Argentina. Hence my long silence. I was having recurring nightmares of Lionel Messi’s bending free kick that seemed to defy logic. It’s hard to blame Brad Guzan for it because he had the corner covered. Somehow it just went up and over his hand before dipping under the crossbar. From certain angles it looked like Guzan’s hand was over the cross bar, but who knows. It’s Messi.
The USMNT began this Copa America campaign by getting embarrassed by Colombia. Even though they were favored to do well according to the best sportsbook. Since that time we have seen a nice improvement within Klinsmann’s side, but we have to be keenly aware that few of the teams that the USMNT defeated housed the same kind of talent as Colombia does.
For all of the progress that the USMNT made, against Argentina, it all seemed to be undone by a few key absentees that Klinsmann answered with incredibly questionable subs. Starting Kyle Beckerman, the slowest player in the tournament, was never going to work. And it didn’t, it hurt. He doesn’t have the same athleticism as Jermaine Jones and we would have been better off with Darlington Nagbe.
The same was true with Wondolowski. In MLS he is great but against Argentina what does he offer? He’s not strong or fast. He’s a finisher. But he was never going to be in a situation where they just needed a finisher. Hindsight is 20/20 though.
Klinsmann needs to go back to what he knows and start the same old people. No Pulisic, no Nagbe, all Michael Bradley. But it has worked, so at the very least, we know there is hope. But that hope has to be invested in our faith that Klinsmann can change. He cannot keep doing the same thing. It seems pretty obvious that he wouldn’t, but the man did say that he was proud of his team after the fact. Which is what disturbs me.
We do know that we have Tim Howard in goal. That’s a big deal. With him, the USMNT is always in a position to see something special. Plus, the fact that Klinsmann is actually showing the ability to change should give us more of that ‘hope’ stuff that he can change in other ways too.
The USMNT is changing and Klinsmann needs to let that change happen rather than keep clinging to the same old thing.