Jurgen Klinsmann’s second game in charge of the USMNT didn’t go exactly as planned, as his side dropped a 1-0 decision to an MLS-heavy Costa Rica side at the Home Depot Center this past Friday night.
Real Salt Lake’s Alvaro Saborio and the Portland Timbers’ Rodney Wallace were involved in the game’s only goal, and the Ticos also suited up New York’s Roy Miller and Chivas USA’s Michael Umana.
Here are the highlights—scoreline a bit flattering to the visitors:
Next up for the U.S., this afternoon, is Belgium, which has one of its most talented squads in years, featuring Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini, hulking Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany, and buzzing Benfica attacker Axel Witsel.
Here is the U.S. starting lineup for that one:
Howard; Cherundolo, Goodson, Bocanegra, Chandler; Edu, Torres, Dempsey; Rogers, Altidore, Shea
A few quick-hit thoughts on this group:
• The Klinsmann regime is pushing the envelope with Brek Shea’s workload. The kid who just doesn’t like normal haircuts has logged a truckload of minutes in the past two weeks, between CONCACAF Champions League matches, MLS action, and the US Open Cup semifinal last Tuesday. He’s playing well, but he tired at the end of the Costa Rica match. Doubt he’ll go 90 today.
• To borrow a phrase from Red Bull New York GM Erik Soler, is there enough defensive fiber in this lineup? Belgium has a wealth of attacking options. In Torres, Dempsey, Rogers, Shea, and Altidore, the U.S. is fielding five almost exclusively offensive-minded players. Torres could even be described as a defensive liability. Clearly, Klinsmann is going with a “the best defense is a good offense” approach, but can these guys possess the ball against a team that has lost just once (1-0 to Germany) in its last seven games in Brussels?
• Timothy Chandler will make his audition at left back. Cherundolo will no doubt take up his customary right-back spot, moving the young German-American to the other side, where he’ll try to top Edgar Castillo’s recent performances. We’re backing him to do that, at the very least.