Jurgen Klinsman, Jermaine Jones and Ricardo Clark. The first a German, and famous at that. The second a mix of American and German, currently playing his club ball with Schalke 04 in der fatherland. The third born in America, a defensive midfielder in the 2nd Bundesliga for Eintracht Frankfurt. Could it be some hidden understanding from this shared German-ness that pushed Klinsman to pick Clark off the bench, and for Jones to find the late substitute with a perfectly dipped cross? Probably.
The US dominated so much of the game. Their attack was often pleasantly quick, pushing up the wings and trying to hit darting runs into the box out of their 4-2-3-1. They looked relaxed in back, and very often played the ball out patiently along the ground. It was some of the best movement they’ve produced so far under Klinsman’s guidance, but they still miss the finish.
Maybe that will come with the return of guys like Donovan and Dempsey to the tournament side. There has been talk from corners about Dempsey being wasted in an attacking midfield role instead of being used as a number 9. But even with these guys back, and others from the full A-squad returned, there’s still no world class striker available. Maybe, maybe, Altidore will grow to understand his power and proportions in the Eredivise, and with that too his touch and understanding of the game. But it’s a lot to ask and he’d be a better bet if he were 18 not 22.
This has become a team that plays an attractive brand of football. There is certainly room for improvement all around, but they were impressive at switching play and worked hard to control the midfield. Now they just need someone to make good runs behind the back line and break the structure of the defense. Soon enough they’ll be putting balls into the net consistently.