Jurgen Klinsmann debuted as head coach of the United States last night against a top Mexican side. As you can see by the energetic airborne German above, the USMNT grabbed a critical moral boost by drawing with their rivals, who had beat them in the three games prior.
I'll be the first to admit, a draw in this game did not look likely after a dismal first half. The team played poorly. Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones looked lost in the middle of the park and the midfield in general seemed to be grasping for possession. The fluidity of year's passed seemed gone. Thus, the attack was invisible
But on came the second half! As the US team steadily gained some bearings, Klinsmann made a few changes that essentially flipped the game. Juan Agudelo and Brek Shea were introduced, immediately adding the tempo upfront that was needed. As a result, Jose Torres was pushed more central, close to his buddy Landon, and got to be more creative. Yay!!!! Well, it worked. Passing was fluent and once Robbie Rogers injected his pace into the game, the Mexicans were roasted. Who would have thought the decision to put in Robbie Rogers would tip the tie?! Klinsmann, that's who.
Winning this game was something we could have done, but as a first test for a coach in charge for only nine days, a draw is more than satisfactory.
Brek Shea is awesome. His marauding play on the left-wing was just what the doctor ordered in the second half. A great assist to boot.
Jose Torres needs to play in proximity to Donovan. When they were both attacking in the center, their inter-play was mind-blowing.
Landon Donovan: still the best.
Robbie Rogers...did I just say that?! He looked fantastic. His impact was immediate and he rightfully could have won the game for Klinsmann.
Juan Agudelo looked lively. I can see Klinsmann favoring the quick and crafty striker as the years tick by...maybe it reminds him of someone?
Kyle Beckerman should still get the call up every now and again. His work ethic and shutdown ability in the midfield kept the team in check during the trying times of the match.
Edgar Castillo was OK. Not a bad second cap for the young man. He was attacked pretty heavily for most of the match and managed the best he could. Needs to work on that passing though!
Michael Orozco put in a good shift. He played a quiet role in quelling the Mexican attack - one which really did not generate much in front of goal.
Michael Bradley fits in where under Klinsmann? I know what everyone is saying after this performance, but listen, Bradley is good...he just needs to be used correctly. I think Klinsmann allows for more time to figure this out.
Oh and in case you missed the game:
And in case you missed the epic Klinsmann celebration dance, click here haha.