Looking at Jurgen’s lineup from the St. Vincent & Grenadines game you would think that he listened and learned from all his critics. He set his team up to attack from the opening whistle going against a highly inferior opponent and they followed his lead by slotting 6 into the back of the net.
With Fabian Johnson playing on the left side of midfield like he does for Gladbach and DeAndre Yedlin playing right-back, his natural position, the team seemed more fluid and tactically sound. However, Yedlin did make a defensive mistake that put the United States 1-0 down within the first 5 minutes by forcing Oalex Anderson onto his left foot, but still giving him too much space to take a touch with his right foot that resulted with a nice finish to beat Brad Guzan. In a standard 4-4-2 formation, Bradley and Jones worked off each other defensively but when in possession Bradley would sit deep and collect the ball routinely looking for the next pass while Jones played more of a box-to-box role. Jurgen realizing that Michael Bradley might be better used as a deep-lying playmaker instead of being the playmaker at the top of the diamond should be a relief for USMNT fans.
The 6-1 victory was a fairly easy result and one that we can’t take much from because of the opponents’ stature within CONCACAF. It will be interesting to see if Klinsmann sticks with the same tactics or changes it up, again.
Tuesday night will present a more difficult task in Port-of-Spain going up against Trinidad & Tobago. A squad with only 5 players playing domestically, the hosts are led by star forward and captain Kenwyne Jones. Jones, a prototypical target man is one of the toughest and strongest players in CONCACAF. Currently playing for Cardiff City, after helping Bournemouth secure promotion last season on loan, he is will be one of the most experienced players on the pitch and the biggest threat to the United States in their quest for 3 points.
It would be nice to see some consistency with the U.S. in terms of the starting lineup and realistically we shouldn’t see a huge overhaul of the team, 3 changes max not counting Howard being put in net. The real question is do we get bad Jurgen or good Jurgen since the German native is very unpredictable and it seems he’s always experimenting with this team. The starting lineup will be very telling to how Jurgen wants to approach these qualifying matches.
Projected Lineup (4-4-2): Howard; Yedlin, Cameron, Besler, Ream; Nagbe, Bradley, Beckerman, Johnson; Morris, Altidore
Projected Lineup (4-3-3): Howard; Yedlin, Cameron, Besler, Ream; Bradley, Diskerud, Nagbe; Zardes, Altidore, Johnson