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USMNT can finally look at positives after 2-0 victory against Mexico

jordan-morris

The best news for a US Men’s National Team desperate for good news is that the biggest story emerging from their friendly encounter with Mexico was not the disaster that was the Alamodome turf. Instead, the story can be how the US beat Mexico once again by that famous scoreline, and how the problems that dogged them in previous friendlies finally receded, at least for one night.

Another game brought about another different lineup for Jurgen Klinsmann, which is evidence (if it wasn’t already) that there is no set XI, or even an XI best players for this edition of the USMNT. The first year of a World Cup cycle is usually reserved for experimentation and trial, and Klinsmann has taken that to another level. The only trend that has emerged from this brief camp is that the hot hand is more valuable than almost anything. Ventura Alvarado might be one of the flavors of the month on the backline, but he backed up the hype tonight. And Jordan Morris, who has repeatedly resisted the temptation to turn pro was active all night and was rewarded with a goal.

Michael Bradley, Kyle Beckerman (before his turf induced injury), Mix Diskerud and Juan Agudelo were also impressive. When the calendar flips to June, all of these players will certainly have their names called by Klinsmann again. They had the advantages of playing against a staggered and inexperienced Mexico side nowhere near its best or most cohesive, but credit must be given for a truly good performance. DeAndre Yedlin also deserves praise for a tight and controlled performance. As his confidence grows, one can wonder whether he’ll be starting sooner rather than later.

The story that will get swept under the rug because of the result will be the dire state of pitch. Getting away with grass fields over turf is usually bad enough (see the US-Panama game in Seattle two years ago), but combining that with playing indoors compounds the situation further, and the pitch conditions tonight were unacceptable. Kyle Beckerman was the only player that was “eaten by the turf monster,” and it’s a minor miracle more players weren’t devoured. The bounces were unpredictable, the seams easily noticeable, and the quality of the game showed. Even for a one-off friendly such as this, the pitch was absolutely dire, but because of the result of the game and the attendance (over 64,000 attended), very few will mention it after the fact.

But the turf should not take away from what was a useful performance to gauge the state of the USMNT before they reconvene for some difficult friendlies in June. Many players have made important statements in less than ideal conditions and given Jurgen Klinsmann more options to choose from, which is never a bad problem to have. Whether the newest star in the making Jordan Morris has a role to play going forward remains to be seen, but holding a clean sheet and reversing some negative trends with a less than full deck is a good sign as the terrain gets rougher going forward.

There isn’t all that much to glean from friendlies, especially one in the given conditions. But USMNT supporters can take solace that for at least the moment, the talk about the team is positive, not negative.

 

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Guy

    April 16, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    What? We only won 2-0? Klinsman obviously doesn’t know what he’s doing.

    Klinsman out! 😉

  2. CTBlues

    April 16, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    That field was probably worst I have ever seen a game of soccer played on by top national teams. I can’t believe USSF agreed to play in a dome when they could have played in Houston at the Texans’ stadium which is a grass field.

  3. Tim

    April 16, 2015 at 10:34 am

    That pace on Jordan Morris….wow

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