USMNT v Jamaica

USMNT with another WCQ tune-up this time against Jamaica.

ex Timber Jorge Villafana starting at left back a position of crying need of late.  No idea who Walker Zimmerman is.   Google says he is a young (23) defender for Dallas.  This XI has a lot of 2nd tier type guys hoping to make an impression but not many looking likely to start in the WCQ.

1st Half

3′ USMNT pressing Jamaica and forces a turnover.   That pressure is really preventing Jamaica from establishing possession or finding any rhythm early on.  Nice back to goal ball split out leads to a cross back in but Morris can’t get much behind it as it dribbles well wide.   Wait, the field is 70-yards wide? why are we here? so TN can see the team?  That’s strange.  The sunken football markers are a nice throwback accent to dismal early MLS venues.

7′ Feilharber some slicing run through the middle.  Lletget with work on the left to draw a CK. The diminutive Dax McCarty gets on the end and his header is over.  Nice job getting free and getting some power behind it but a taller player might be able to head that downward and on frame.  Lletget suffers a hard foul drawing a yellow from the Jamaican.  Feilhaber chips one to Birnbaum and headed back toward the spot but cleared by Jamaica.

13′ pretty work with Feilharber but then gives it away to waste what looked to be a promising attack.  Still almost nothing from Jamaican attack.  Feilharber appears to take 2 good touches and then 1 terrible touch.  His inconsistency is maddening.  Some moments he looks like a dangerous #10 and the next like he shouldn’t be on the field at all.

19′ Lletget with a nice turn and run fwd and he beats Powell and he spins in a low cross but Aguadelo run take him too far past the post and he can’t direct the cross in a meaningful way.    Landon Donovan notes that Bruce Arena likes that near post run.  Yes, but you need a second run in the wake of the near post run to exploit the space.  Lletget’s only target was the near post run which was always going to be a difficult angle for the striker.  Takes about 22′ but GK Luis Robles gets his first touch.

25′ no shortage of speculative crosses from the USMNT but very little in the way of true threats.  USMNT has dominated the ball but isn’t really asking many questions of the Jamaican GK thus far.  Lletget with more room on the left (Alvas Powell’s domain) but again nobody making the run he needs.

31′ USMNT stringing passes together in the final 1/3 but its a lot of east-west and Jamaica doing a nice job of closing any creases off.   No urgency in the USMNT attack.  Jamaica nearly scores against the run off play.  Zusi is definitely not a leftback.  Too slow.  loses the ball badly in midfield and just roasted by the Jamaican attacker.  USMNT GK Robles deflects the cross right off a Jamaican player and it carries out for a goal kcik mercifully for the USMNT.

34′ for the first time a cross finds a USMNT open in the area but an awful first touch from Morris ruins it.  He’s fast and physical.  He is not technically gifted however.  USMNT still marauding down the left.

38′ Morris chases down (pace) a flicked header but not the cleanest touch and the angle is closed down by the Jamaican GK.  Clever training ground set piece from USMNT and just inches wide of the far post.

44′ Jamaica with a brief spell of possession but don’t do anything with it.  Careless giveaway in midfield by Lletget. miscommunication.   Sloppy end to the 1st half for both sides.  Morris 1-on-1 and dribbles to nowhere but able to preserve possession.  Half ends with a free kick into the area but glancing header brings us to the break.

HALFTIME: USMNT 0  Jamaica 0

2nd Half

49′ Jamaica off a USMNT turnover but impatient on the attack and smash a shot to nothing.  Announcers recounting Villafana’s story and noting dude has a real shot at starting at left back.

54′ Jamaica earns its first CK, steered toward the far post and Alvas Powell skies a shot from 35-yards for some reason.  Zusi fizzes a cross on the right.  Clever run and Jamaican GK tips it out for CK.  Scramble in the area and nobody can get to it.  That was messy.

58′ Pontius earns a free kick but taken quickly and Jamaican jumps it and going the other way.  Powell drives fwd for Jamaica showing nice composure on the ball.  and for some reason no call on USMNT defender who clatters over Jamaican player.

59′ GOAL USMNT.  McCarty with a nice pass centrally to Feilharber who has some nice 1-touch combination play with Morris.  Morris takes a touch to steady himself and slips it underneath the GK left arm.  1-0 US.

62′ Bradley on for USMNT to be joined by Nagbe in short order.  The theory from Landon Donovan is that Arena wants to evaluate Lletget-Bradley-Nagbe.  Meanwhile, Lletget sends a beautiful through ball to Zusi but Zusi wasn’t anticipating it and out for a goal kick.  Zusi duffs a cross but Jamaica can’t take advantage.

67′ Nagbe draws attention and frees Villafana to send in the cross. Aguadelo rises to meet it but can only steer the header right at the GK.  Zusi off for Evans.  I don’t see Zusi being an option at fullback.

70′ Jamaica seeing more of the ball now but just nibbling around the edges of the final 1/3 and no real ideas as to how to break through. USMNT draws a CK.  Good work by Morris to track back and force a turnover as Jamaica was looking to counter.  Bradley set piece finds Birnbaum at the back post and nobody can get on it.

78′ USMNT seems to be trying to slow things down, avoid turnovers, and comfortably drive to the finish.   Evans fires in a cross to nobody and Jamaica can get fwd.  Smart foul by USMNT slows the break.  Dangerous ball in rolls across the USMNT goal but nobody home for Jamaica.  Landon Donovan with a shot at JK who liked making players “uncomfortable” while Arena does the opposite.  Maybe, I think JK was more just trying to start the most talented XI irrespective of position.

84′ Jamaica finally starting to press a little bit.  I have no idea why Usain Bolt wasn’t on for the Reggae Boyz.  I mean it’s a friendly.  Lets have some fun.   Much like the first half, this one getting a little sloppy as we close it out.   Just a mix of turnovers, fouls, and aimless crosses.

90′ Powell draws a CK at the death.  He has looked decent getting fwd.  Less decent in his marking of the USMNT attack.  Bradley tries to cut it out like he couldn’t do against Portugal.    Nagbe heads to the corner to earn a throw and drain clock.   Bedoya snuffs out the last Jamaican attack and that’s all for tonight.

FINAL  USMNT 1  Jamaica 0

  • Jorge Villafana is a great option at left back.  You basically strengthen 2 positions.  Villafan at left back and Fabian Johnson can play higher up at outside mid.  Or put Fabian on the right.
  • Pusilic, Nagbe, Fabian, Lletget, Klestjen now viable options in midfield for the USMNT.  I’d put Nagbe on the left, Pusilic on the right and either Lletget or Klestjan in a central role.
  • Zusi is too big a liability to me at fullback.  Maybe in time he’d get it but he was caught out of position way too often.  And his lack of pace is a problem.
  • Steve Birnbaum did a nice stable job at CB and does a nice job redirecting crosses.
  • Juan Aguadelo was fairly invisible.  Morris got the goal but I will always be skeptical of his technical limitations.  Did appreciate his work rate and tracking back to bust up Jamaican counters.
  • Now Arena has some good options in midfield

SI Take

ESPN Take 

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