The United States men’s national team is coming off a come from behind 3-2 victory over Iceland. What is wrong with that first sentence? In case you don’t see it, it’s “come from behind 3-2 victory over Iceland”. Jürgen Klinsmann should be embarrassed of the performance “his” team put on the field Sunday afternoon in Carson, CA.
No disrespect to Iceland, but the USMNT should have mopped the floor with them. In this writer’s eyes, there is no reason they should have conceded two goals to a team that rarely threatened the U.S. goal. Their first goal was lucky as it deflected off a U.S. player as goalkeeper Luis Robles was headed the wrong way. The second goal was pure laziness on the entire team on the field.
EASY GOAL IN SECOND HALF
After a questionable foul called, Iceland quickly played the ball while the U.S. was arguing with the referee. After a few passes, Aron Sigurdarson fired a laser beam to the far post and Robles had no chance in saving. Maybe if the team wasn’t arguing and had someone stand over the ball, that second goal would have never happened. The U.S. was lucky they didn’t concede a third goal late in the second half as well. Some darting runs by the Icelandic forwards had the center back out of position, but the ball was not put on frame by the attacking forward.
Yes, the team was able to come from behind twice and eventually got the game-winning goal from Steven Birnbaum in the 90th minute. Yes, they begin 2016 with a victory and will have another tough test coming later in the week against Canada.
There was a lot of good to come out of this match. Birnbaum notched his first assist and goal as a member of the senior squad. Jordan Morris and Jerome Kiesewetter made immediate impacts in the game and gave the United States the upper hand in the last fifteen minutes of the match. Jozy Altidore looked good as well. He made some great runs and leveled the score at 1-1 after Iceland took an early lead.
Even though he made some good substitutions at the end of the game, it still seems Klinsmann doesn’t know what he wants to do with the players he has on the field. He is constantly playing players out of position, but in this game it appeared most played where they normally play for their domestic teams.
The goal in the 48th minute was just horrendous. As mentioned above, players seemed to want to argue with the referee instead of standing over the ball to delay the restart. Somebody needs to step up and slow things down. Klinsmann needs to make sure his players understand this.
WHAT LIES AHEAD
The United States will now take on Canada on Friday, February 5th. After that, Klinsmann and his coaching staff will need to figure out what players to bring back into camp prior to CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying in late March. The U.S. takes on Guatemala (twice) in March, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago in September.
If Jürgen doesn’t win all of these games, it may be time for a switch. He could afford one tie, but a loss would be unacceptable at this time and if the U.S. makes it to the Hex, they would have a tough time advancing to the World Cup with this roster and this coaching staff.