The United States Men’s National Team enjoyed a historic week with friendly wins in Amsterdam against the Netherlands and in Cologne against Germany. While the results were incredible from the perspective of a national team that has historically performed poorly on European soil, the more important takeaways were the performances of individual players.
Below we look at ten US National Team players whose perception and national team futures were impacted by this week’s performances:
Bradley turned in two consecutive poised and effective performances in an advanced midfield role. Bradley has shown he can play further up the pitch and also has not regressed the way many feared he would when he left Serie A for MLS 18 months ago. Bradley’s emergence as a creative and effective attacking midfielder makes the United States that much more difficult to defend against.
The college kid has played a role in three consecutive game-winning goals for the United States. His ability to play the right ball and make the right run into space is a marvel and debunks the established notion about the lack of tactical awareness among college soccer players.
Wood has been on the radar for years but never really impressed at the senior level. With an uncertain club situation, he picked the best time to explode onto the global scene with two game-winning goals against world powers.
Yedlin is still an unfinished article, but one thing we are seeing is that he can provide energy and width by running at tired defenses late in matches. He is particularly effective when placed in the midfield.
Simply put, the United States is much better with Beckerman playing in front of the back four, helping to dictate tempo and the pace of the game. His work rate frees Michael Bradley up to go forward with more freedom and confidence.
Dempsey might be the most visible USMNT field player, but he also lacks the tactical discipline to effectively compliment well with Michael Bradley when the Toronto FC man is deployed in an advanced role. Dempsey didn’t play for the national team this week, but his value is fading.
Chandler was poor at right back, failing to track runners on several occasions in both matches and seeming disinterested at times. He did perform better when moved to the left in the second half versus Germany.
Shea was very poor playing left back against the Netherlands, and it wasn’t a coincidence that the US had its best spell of the match after he got substituted. Shea did not play versus Germany.
Johnson failed to provide the natural width or spark he is known for. When placed on the backline against Germany, he was found wanting several times in the first half.
Agudelo provided little in his first US start since Bob Bradley’s tenure. Agudelo also failed to read the game well and was caught offside twice in the first half.
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