RFK Stadium, Washington DC – The United States Men’s National Team hosted New Zealand in their final friendly before their Hexagonal matchup with Mexico.
Julian Green scored the opening goal inside the first 27 minutes after cutting towards the 18 before firing inside the near post.
New Zealand answered in the 72nd minute as Monty Patterson slammed home the loose ball after a corner.
With both nations creating some decent chances, one goal each was all that they could conjure up.
The US played in a 4-3-3 setup as Jurgen Klinsmann looked to play possession and to also hit on the counter.
Matt Besler partnered up with Omar Gonzalez (like old times) at center-back, Michael Orozco played on the right and Kellyn Acosta occupied the left.
The midfield three was comprised of captain Michael Bradley, Perry Kitchen and Sacha Kljestan. Bradley dictated the midfield as usual whereas Kitchen struggled the most out of the three-man midfield. Kljestan was on a different level for someone who hadn’t been with the team regularly.
“He is absolutely under consideration (to be on the field against Mexico next month), Klinsmann replied to the question. “He took his opportunity in just the perfect way, you know. He was hungry for that moment (as) he knew he had to come in here and make a difference.”
With that said, against Mexico, Klinsmann could very well partner Bradley up with Kljestan as the holding midfielders in a 4-2-3-1 or even a 4-4-2. Today’s 4-3-3 with this lineup did not gel too well. Therefore, against a top Mexican side who can press, pass and attack for days, the US will most likely look to possess and hit harder on the fly.
Goalscorer Green played down the left, Jozy Altidore as the striker and DeAndre Yedlin played up the right flank. Altidore help play up well, but his final pass and touch were nowhere near his capability.
When asked about the experiment with Yedlin in the front line instead of right-back, coach Klinsman stated, “In the last game and in this game he struggled… he struggled and that is just (the) reality.”
This could very well mean that Yedlin sits out the game in Columbus, Ohio next month against Mexico… or he may even be cut from the team altogether. His speed, skill and ability to pressure are all vital for the team, but if he cannot perform in two rather simpler friendlies, should he be expected to against Mexico?
No. Not at all. Klinsmann will perhaps give him a break next month to snap back into his rhythm.
The passing, creativity, and movement were all there for the home side, but succeeding more than once in the final third proved all too difficult.
On November 11, the US will host Mexico in the same venue where “Dos a Cero” (2-0) became famous. This time around, the US is obviously expected to repeat that scoreline again. Mexico on the other hand will have different plans.
They can play in a 4-4-2, 4-3-3 or a 5-3-2 where either one of these setups will allow them to play their passing and pressing game. They will be fearless against a US side that honestly has looked quite shaky in these recent two friendlies.
If the US wants to defeat Mexico, they need to field their best lineup in the 4-2-3-1 or the 4-4-2. The 4-3-3 will be a bit too open against a team that can outclass them if they choose that formation.
Klinsmann had some positives last night, but the negatives were a bit too obvious. On to the Hex.