Ugly. Uninspiring. Worrying.
Granted, the conditions weren't ideal for slick passing soccer and Antigua packed it in for most of the match, but the USMNT did not look sharp or particularly motivated. What they looked was tired, and if the whispering out of camp is to be believed, that falls squarely on Klinsmann and his over-training. What can't be laid at his feet is the dicking around with the ball when shots were there to be had, especially on slick turf against a packed defense.
- Onyewu isn't ready to be thrown back in the fire. If Johnson can't go at left back on Tuesday, it's Parkhurst time, either at left back or central with Bocanegra wide as intelligent positioning may be more useful than brute force against Guatemala.
- Not impressed by the central midfield trio. Edu is useful for breaking things up, but often brainfarts in possession, Jones is a time bomb, and Bradley's usual range of combination play and through balls weren't coming off. Maybe a little less grit and a little more guile? Maybe Torres in the middle at the expense of ... Jones? Then again, a holding trio might be just the trick against Guatemala, assuming they all manage to stay on the field for 90 minutes...
- I'm sick to death of Donovan's tentative play. Take defenders on! Shoot the goddamn ball! Where was the Donovan from the Scotland friendly? "Playing within himself" again no doubt. More like playing with himself. Sigh.
Count me as more than worried about Tuesday. This didn't look like a team that was up for a fight, and that's what they're going to get in Guatemala. Tired legs and tired play aren't going to get the job done. It's got to be quick, precise, and lethal, all of which the US displayed against Scotland, to a lesser degree against Brazil, and almost not at all in the last two matches. Perish the thought, but might we be about to be "Svenned" like Mexico were at the beginning of the last qualification campaign? At least the US should be more threatening on set pieces against a smaller, less physical team.