How comfortable are you with the state of the U.S. Men’s National Team as they are less than a month away from starting the Hex in Columbus against Mexico?
The two friendlies they just completed really did not help much in preparation. The Cuba game, while great politically as a statement, did nothing to show where the team is at the moment due to the poor condition of the field. New Zealand actually outplayed the U.S. for most of the game last night, but their style of play is nothing like the CONCACAF teams that will line up against the U.S. in qualifying. I know Ghana was the preferred opponent for the game in Washington, but they are not much like Mexico or Costa Rica either.
What did we learn that could help next month? Julian Green showed a new level of maturity in these two games. In Cuba, he was one of the few who really went for it. His goal against New Zealand showed a patience we haven’t seen out of him before, he held the play up long enough for Kellyn Acosta to make a sixty yard overlap that froze the defense. Green needs to be in consideration for the roster against Mexico and Costa Rica. Now, can we get him in a club situation where he will get some playing time?
Sacha Kljestan is essential for the U.S. to generate any real attacks from open play. When the U.S. was able to grab the game against New Zealand, it was usually because they were able to find Kljestan and let him create. He has to play in a free attacking role, either under a long striker or at the top of a diamond midfield.
What else stood out to you in these two games? How are you feeling with the Hex looming? Let us know in the comments.
New Zealand outplayed the USMNT in a 1-1 draw at RFK Stadium (Stars and Stripes FC)
Opta Spotlight on Patrick Mullins and his effect on D.C. United (MLS)
Charlotte Independence suffers operating loss of $2M for second straight season (Charlotte Business Journal)
Martinique defeats Kenwyne Jones’ Trinidad and Tobago 2-0 to put the Soca Warriors’ Gold Cup qualification in doubt. (Soca Warriors)
Mexico gets ready for Columbus with a 1-0 win over Panama in Chicago (FMF State of Mind)
The lights went out during the Venezuela vs. Brazil CONMEBOL World Cup qualifer:
Arturo Vidal’s game winner for Chile over Peru: