I owe Jurgen Klinsmann that much after panning his lineup before the match, since it was chock-full of central/defensive midfielders. I worried that they would spend 90 minutes bumping into each other and checking back to the ball instead of finding gaps and exploiting them at pace. My worries were, as it turns out, totally unfounded.
A few things:
The formation was a 4-3-2-1
It's called the "Christmas Tree," and like most tactical innovations, it was brought to us by the Italians. The strength of it lies in having a pure d-mid — in this case Maurice Edu, and later Kyle Beckerman — sweeping directly in front of the backline. This both protects the somewhat fragile US central defense (still the area of main concern) and allows the other central midfielders to push forward both with and without the ball.
Edu wasn't flashy, then, but he was effective. And with Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones pushing up, Scotland hardly had time to breathe when they were trying to play out of the back.
Offensively, the width was usually provided by overlapping fullbacks, which allowed Landon Donovan and Jose Torres to help crowd the midfield, forcing turnovers and moving quickly into space. In a 4-3-3 (which is what Scotland played — and they did so without a true ball-winner, which is suicide), they would have started much wider.
Boyd's off-the-ball movement was stellar
The other thing that made the formation work was Terrence Boyd's unselfish running. He looked like a more athletic (and far less polished) version of Conor Casey out there, and the similarity is no accident: Like Casey, Boyd has spent time learning in the Borussia Dortmund system, one where the center forward is expected to do as much work creating space off the ball as he does with it.
The best example of that came in the 11-pass sequence that led to Donovan's shot off the post in the 50th minute. Instead of showing for the ball, Boyd cut diagonally through the box, dragging two defenders with him and opening the lane for another touch and that cheeky cut-back shot.
If it had gone in, Boyd wouldn't have gotten an assist—- or any note in the box score at all. But it was a huge, heady, veteran play from him.
And hardly the only example on the night. His activity opened space for Bradley's golazo, and he was instrumental in forcing the early turnover to make it 1-0.
Wide play is a concern heading into the Brazil match
The weakness of the formation, of course, is that you give up a lot of width. Yes, Donovan and Torres pulled a bit wider on defense than in attack, but the few times Scotland got by them, there were acres of space to exploit. That's when the Scots were very dangerous — and where the goal came from. Geoff Cameron gets the blame, but it was a central midfield miscommunication that left Bardsley wide open to pick his spot for the cross once he was past Torres.
This was somewhat of a recurring theme throughout the evening. It's also a real worry because neither Steve Cherundolo nor Fabian Johnson are great 1-v-1 defenders, and because Brazil love to overload the flanks.
Landon Donovan never wanted to be Batman
He wanted to be Robin. I don't doubt for a minute the sincerity of the interview he gave last week, but I think the underlying cause is what's telling.
Donovan has worn a heavy mantle during the last 10 years, almost always regarded as the US' best player. The fact that the team and the league have progressed so dramatically with him as the focal point says something about his talent.
But as soon as the pressure's off, as soon as it's someone else's team, he starts playing without the weight of expectations. We've seen it at Everton, we've seen it in flashes over the last three years since Clint Dempsey has started to really challenge for the mantle of "Best US Player," and we definitely saw it Saturday night.
Expect more of the same for as long as people are saying this is Dempsey's team. Landon seems totally at ease with the notion, and when he's feeling like that, the scoreboard tends to light up.
Here's a look at the first two goals from the US national team's 5-1 romp over Scotland on Saturday night in Jacksonville, Fla. More to come thoughout the night, but also make sure to check out the recap and final stats here.
WATCH: Donovan puts US up early
WATCH: Bradley's half-volley from distance
WATCH: Donovan gets his second
WATCH: Donovan finishes his hat trick
WATCH: Jones completes the rout
You have an iPhone. You use it all the time. You sing songs to it. You need it. You love it. Maybe a little too much.
Maybe you sleep with it under your pillow. Maybe you grouse to it about your boss. Maybe you tell it about that one time in college when you... well, that's between you and Siri. Because Siri understands.
Siri also understands updates. She loves 'em. And we love 'em, too.
So here's the MLS iOS app update, which was just approved in the store.
Key new features:
- Condensed games for MLS live subscribers
- Enhanced highlight ui
- New live ui
- Bug fixes
Oh, and Android users? Your update is coming. Be patient.
Sent from my flip phone.
The rumors have been swirling around about a possible -- no, probable move away from Fulham for USMNT star Clint Dempsey this summer. The player himself has been very vocal about his desire to play in the Champions League.
"I've always said I'm grateful for everything Fulham has done for me," he said recently. "Some of the best memories I have in soccer have been there. But the fact remains that I want to play in Champions League. I want to play at the highest level possible."
That could become a reality this summer, if a big club comes along to pluck the EPL's 4th top scorer this season. All it will take, according to The Guardian, is £15 million ($24.5m). The English paper rates Dempsey #42 out of the top 50 transfer targets this summer, just behind Chelsea defender David Luiz and just ahead of Benfica midfielder Axel Witsel.
Is that about where Dempsey sits in the pecking order? Probably, though, I think I speak for most US national team fans when I say, someone is going to get a deal if they pick him up for just £15 million this summer.
La journée qui s’annonce fera office de dernier effort avant deux week-ends sans match en MLS pour presque tous les clubs.
Les abonnés à NBC Sports Network se régaleront ! Dimanche, ils pourront assister au déplacement du leader San José, roi du retournement de situation, à Kansas City, à la recherche de son second souffle. La veille, ils auront eu droit à l’affiche de la dernière Coupe MLS, entre Houston, emmené par un Ching qui occupe un nouveau rôle, et le LA Galaxy, où Landon Donovan semble prendre moins de plaisir. Sans oublier le match amical entre les États-Unis et l’Écosse…
Les téléspectateurs de TSN et RDS2 pourront voir comment Vancouver réagit à sa défaite en coupe, face à Portland. À Toronto, les sourires sont revenus, et tout le monde croit à la victoire contre Philadelphie.
Il faudra également surveiller de près le déplacement de Seattle, où le gardien Meredith assume sa part de responsabilités dans les récents mauvais résultats, à Chivas USA. Favori contre Dallas, Salt Lake devra se passer de plusieurs de ses internationaux.
Le match sur Univision Deportes mettra aux prises deux équipes qui économisent leurs forces, Columbus et Chicago. À domicile, DC United, dont la défense est renforcée grâce à la polyvalence de Woolard, partira favori contre New England.
LE PROGRAMME COMPLET
Samedi 26 mai
14h30 : Houston - LA Galaxy
16h30 : Toronto - Philadelphie
19h00 : Columbus - Chicago
19h30 : DC United - New England
21h00 : Salt Lake - Dallas
21h00 : Colorado - Montréal
22h00 : Portland - Vancouver
22h30 : Chivas USA - Seattle
Dimanche 27 mai
16h30 : Kansas City - San José
Toutes les heures HE (heure de New York et Montréal)
Rendez-vous ici pour la disponibilité des matchs sur MLS Live et les diffuseurs locaux
Hors États-Unis et Canada, vous pouvez voir des matchs de MLS via ces diffuseurs ou LiveSport.tv
Where there's smoke there's usually fire.
News surfaced earlier this year of a proposal for a unified tournament between CONMEBOL and CONCACAF to take place in 2016 in either Mexico or the United States. Now it seems like it's a reality.
The Jorge Ramos y su Banda show on ESPN Deportes yesterday confirmed that the first edition of the Pan American Cup will take place in the USA in 2016 and feature a combination of nations from both Confederations.
It's one of the news elements that has reportedly emerged from the CONCACAF Congress held in Budapest, where Jeffrey Webb was elected as CONCACAF's new president.
— Jorge Ramos & Banda (@ESPN_JorgeRamos) May 23, 2012
Could Geoff Cameron become the latest US men's national team player to make the jump across the pond?
Power 5 Center Backs: Best Ball Skills at #3
According to a report on Soccer by Ives, the 26-year-old Houston Dynamo is attracting a number of suitors from across Europe. Though no specific teams have been mentioned, the report cites interest from England, Holland, Germany and Portugal.
If Cameron does make the jump to Europe, which league would fit his style the best? Should he jump straight to the big time and opt for a move to England or Germany, or would he be better off testing the waters in Portugal or the Eredivisie?
Wherever he goes, it's clear that we will begin to hear a lot more about Cameron. His play for the Dynamo has caught the eye of US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who now considers him among his top options in the center of defense thanks not only to his defensive abilities, but also his technical skills, which fit in well with Klinsmann's vision for the team.
Does Cameron have what it takes to cut it in Europe? Can he show he's the center back of the future for the US national team? Weigh in with your comments below.
Chicago Fire striker Dominic Oduro once bet his entire salary in a race against (the, in fairness, not professional athletes that are) his front office colleagues Brendan Hannan and Jeff Crandall. That might seem foolish, until you consider that Oduro thinks he is the fastest man in MLS.
The idea that anyone not named Usain Bolt would beat him in a race probably seems absurd to him, and it turns out that his confidence, in this case, was justified.
But apparently the Ghanaian's blazing speed is not reserved solely for the field. In the commercial below, you'll see Oduro get an entire shopping cart full of groceries in the five minutes until the supermarket closes and still have time for a shirtless celebration. If that's not impressive, I don't know what is.
Now when are we going to see him actually race someone so we can definitively settle the "fastest man in MLS" question once and for all? How about it, Dane Richards?
Los atacantes latinos en la MLS sacaron las garras este miércoles, anotando tremendos golazos en la Fecha 12 de la temporada regular (mira los goles aquí). Sin embargo, la controversia también estuvo presente, y Marco Pappa estuvo en el centro de ella.
El volante guatemalteco anotó el gol del triunfo por 2-1 del Fire ante FC Dallas luego de que el portero Kevin Hartman tapara un penal de Sebastián Grazzini al minuto 63. El chapín fue quien llegó de primero al rebote para poner el balón al fondo de la red.
Los jugadores de Dallas se quejaron del posicionamiento de Pappa al momento de que Grazzini cobra el penal, argumentando que el centroamericano se adelantó prematuramente, tomando ventaja sobre los defensas texanos.
¿Debió el árbitro Hilario Grajeda invalidar la acción?
Ustedes son los jueces…
Aucun point en championnat, invaincu en coupe : le Toronto FC a soulevé la Coupe des Voyageurs suite à sa victoire 1-0 contre Vancouver (aller 1-1) et représentera le Canada en Ligue des champions.
Après 20 premières minutes encourageantes, ça n’a pas souvent volé haut à BMO Field et on a touché le fond lors d’une empoignade collective qui a valu les exclusions de Le Toux et De Guzman. Qualifié à ce moment du match, Toronto a ensuite parfaitement appliqué l’adage qui dit que la meilleure défense, c’est l’attaque. Laissant peu d’occasions à son adversaire, il a inscrit le seul but du match grâce à Lambe.
Ce succès ramène la confiance à Toronto qui peut désormais se concentrer sur la MLS et doit commencer à y engranger des points. À Vancouver, il faudra d'abord digérer la défaite et apaiser sa colère, principalement dirigée vers le corps arbitral.
Loin de ces considérations, le troisième club canadien, Montréal, a officialisé la signature de Marco Di Vaio.
En MLS, San José a réalisé la bonne opération de la soirée, remontant un retard de deux buts pour s’imposer au LA Galaxy. Surpris 0-2 par Columbus, Seattle blâme les erreurs individuelles. À New York, Juan Pablo Angel a joué un mauvais tour à son ancien club en forgeant le nul avec Chivas USA.
Cliquez sur un résultat pour voir le résumé vidéo