What we learned from the US national team's 3-2 defeat to Denmark in Aarhus.
Another game, another collapse
There’s no hiding the fact that this is becoming a clear trend now. Since the 2014 World Cup, the US have been outscored 11-1 in the second-half of their eight friendlies, with 10 of the 14 total goals conceded coming after the hour mark.
Those problems were more than evident in the Denmark match, as Jurgen Klinsmann’s men twice lost the lead and conceded two goals within the final eight minutes to suffer their sixth defeat in 10 matches going back to the group stages in Brazil - the result made all the embarrassing due to Nicklas Bendtner's hat-trick.
Klinsmann has blamed both a World Cup hangover and fitness issues in recent months for his side’s downturn in form but, at this stage, it’s no surprise that fans are starting to point towards the German’s tactical failures.
Jozy banishes Sunderland demons
Jozy Altidore’s scoring struggles during his 18-month Sunderland stint have almost become the stuff of legend, having netted just once in 42 league games, but those dark times now look to be a thing of the past.
With his 27th international goal on the night, the imposing striker has now struck four times in his past six US appearances, while a brace on his Toronto FC debut earlier this month also served as an encouraging sign for those backing him to win the 2015 MLS Golden Boot award in his first season back in the league.
It’s amazing what a bit of confidence will do for a striker and, now he’s out of the North East, Altidore looks to be full of it.
A box-to-box Bradley is a better Bradley
Despite earning 93 international caps since his 2006 debut, last night was somehow the first time Michael Bradley has captained the US and, while couldn’t inspire his side to a positive result, his leadership and class were more than evident.
For the most part, that was down to starting in his favoured deeper midfield role, where he was able to see all of the pitch and provided one moment of magic with an exquisite ball over the top to Altidore in the lead up to Aron Johannsson’s second-half strike.
Klinsmann still sees to think the Toronto FC skipper is a number 10 for some reason but, pair him with a more defensive-minded partner in the centre, such as the absent Geoff Cameron for example, and good things will happen.
Nobody puts Bedoya in the centre
There was little of that past brilliance on show against Denmark, however, as the Nantes stalwart was back in the centre of a midfield-four and struggling to get on the ball before being replaced at the break.
While he was far from terrible, a role where he’s tasked with such precise defensive duties just isn’t going to get the best out of him and, if Klinsmann sees sense, then he’ll be back on the flank for next week’s match against Switzerland.
There’s no doubt that the former Rangers man could be an important part of the team’s World Cup qualification campaign, considering he’s one of few members of the squad getting regular minutes in a top European league, but it benefits no one if he’s not going to be used right.
Yedlin v Chandler? A straightforward answer
Chandler seems to earn rave reviews for his performances for Eintracht Frankfurt week after week but, for whatever reason, he just can’t convert that form to the international stage.
His latest outing was another in a long line of stinkers for the US, as he was caught out of position on several occasions and ended up being responsible for both of Bendtner’s first two goals.
Sure, he set up Altidore’s 19th-minute opener but, when even DeAndre Yedlin is made to look like a defensive savant in comparison, then it’s time for Klinsmann to start considering him for a more advanced role or drop him altogether.
Yedlin is going through some struggles of his own at Tottenham Hotspur at the moment, as he battles to break into the first-team, but, despite starting on the bench in Aarhus, the emerging defender should have few long-term concerns about losing his right-back spot based on his positional rival's performances for the stars and stripes.