Five Reasons Why The USA Cannot “Play for a Tie” Against Germany

This week I have been receiving a lot of, to use a polite word, “guff” about the United States National Team from militant anti-soccer people. They constantly bring up the idea that the U.S. simply needs a draw to advance in the World Cup and, because Germany can also finish first with a draw, there is a major opportunity for collusion with Jurgen Klinsmann’s old team (see, more conspiracy!) and as a result the game will be fixed and boring.

Here’s the thing – they aren’t totally wrong. If the U.S. approaches tomorrow’s match as simply going for the draw, they could be in serious trouble. Here are five reasons why:

1. Germany is not as strong as you would think. If you have not yet read Kartik Krishnaiyer’s piece on the weaknesses of the German team, I highly recommend it. In it he details where the United States can exploit Germany’s weaknesses, including with the Yanks’ speed on the flanks. Simply surrendering when they have a match-up advantage would be a poor choice by Klinsmann.

2. The difference between first and second is massive. It’s very simple – the team that finishes first in this group will play the second place finisher in Group H, which right now is Algeria but could be Russia or even South Korea. The second place finisher in Group G will face Belgium, one of the hottest teams in the World Cup and one of the most talented. Belgium happens to be the team that slaughtered the U.S. with its B squad this spring in a friendly. Finishing first sounds pretty good, right?

3. Ghana is in shambles so a loss isn’t necessarily the death of the U.S.’s chances. The stories about the Ghanaian Federation flying cash to Brazil to ensure the team plays well aren’t good. Combine that with the fact that a wounded Portugal are still dangerous, and there is a chance Ghana loses their final match. Baring a miraculous goal-scoring output from the Portuguese, the U.S. can go for the win, lose, and still advance.

4. Italy is a great example of why playing for the draw can go wrong. Undoubtedly Italy were playing for a scoreless draw yesterday and their strategy almost worked. However a controversial red card early in the second half meant all of their tactics were out the window, and once Uruguay scored, there stood almost no chance of equalizing with who they had on the pitch. Sometimes the best laid plans of escaping with a draw can be undermined by factors outside of your control, especially with some of the shaky officiating we’ve seen in this tournament.

5. We are the United States, we play to win. Pleasing your fans should be the lowest priority for a national team, but the U.S. Soccer Federation has an incredible opportunity here. The TV numbers for these matches so far are tremendous and momentum behind this team has been building. If the U.S. team “mails in” this match and plays for a lifeless draw, some of those almost-converted fans could become cynical or listen closer to the soccer-haters who would, in a sense, be justified in their hatred.

5 thoughts on “Five Reasons Why The USA Cannot “Play for a Tie” Against Germany”

  1. “Simply surrendering when they have a match-up advantage would be a poor choice by Klinsmann.”

    I agree the US should play for the win but I don’t think this is a good reason. The marginal match-up advantage we may have on the wings is nothing compared to the advantage their attacking players have on our defense. Germany should win handily… on paper. Better to go down fighting!

  2. Of all these, the last one is the most relevant in my opinion. USA does not know how to play for a draw. It’s not in the DNA and further more they don’t have the personnel to carry it off. They were hanging on for dear life against Ghana after taking an early lead. Try that against Germany and they will come unstuck.

    Klinsmann knows this. Taking the game to Germany is the only way to go. It may well achieve the same result as sitting back……a draw.

  3. What if…..

    Julian Green starts. He lives and plays in Germany. He’s probably knowledgeable of Germany’s players. No one is expecting it.

    1. i really feel that of all the teams teh US are facing, they are most prepared against Germany.

      They have Klinsmann, the 5 germans on their squad, plus the removed the mexican assistant and replaced him with a German scout/assistant coach (also to make the german-ams more comfortable by speaking their 1st language).

      now this may or may not work for USMNT. but one thing they are not vs GERMANY is UNPREPARED.

  4. “Germany is not as strong as you would think.”

    Then Germany wins without even getting out of their warming up mode…

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