When Sportscenter has U.S. Soccer as a lead story, you know it’s a good day. The men’s national team, debuting their new away kits, defeated Italy in Genoa 1-0, with Clint Dempsey providing the crucial goal. The win marked the first time the United States has been victorious over Italy in eleven matches, dating back to 1934. Klinsmann went with a 4-2-3-1, with Bradley and Edu both playing in the holding mid position, and each having their best game in recent memory for the national side. The win should not be overhyped because, again, it was just a friendly. But it should give the team a lot of confidence moving forward, something the side has been missing for quite some time. This is a game the team can build on, and it would have been great if they were playing another match in four days. Unfortunately, the next match will not be played until May 26 against Scotland.
1. Remember when Michael Bradley couldn’t get in a game for Aston Villa last spring? And didn’t have an impact during 2011 Gold Cup? Moving to Italy has done a world of good for Bradley. He has become a regular starter for Chievo Verona, and his performance against Italy will only enhance his reputation. Bradley, previously known for his constant running, which sometimes seemed without an end product, instead was composed in possession, disciplined in his runs, and the best player on the pitch over 90 minutes.
2. Danny Williams is not an outside midfielder - apparent once again - and at this point, Jurgen Klinsmann is doing a disservice to the player by putting him out there. He didn’t want the ball, and when he did get it, he didn’t know what to do with it. One of the roles of a coach is to put players in a position to succeed, and Klinsmann is not doing that right now with Williams. Watching the U23’s match, wouldn’t mind seeing Joe Gyau and his speed on the flank in a full national match in the next year!
One final thought. While watching U23’s win comfortably 2-0 over Mexico - if the team qualifies for the Olympics this summer, who will be the three overage players? Think any three from this group would make biggest impact on the team: Michael Bradley, Carlos Bocanegra, Clint Dempsey, and Landon Donovan.
USA Lineup: 1-Tim Howard; 2-Steve Cherundolo, 4-Clarence Goodson, 5-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 3-Fabian Johnson (13-Jonathan Spector, 77); 6-Michael Bradley, 8-Maurice Edu; 7-Danny Williams,10-Clint Dempsey (17-Edson Buddle, 90), 11-Brek Shea (16-Sacha Kljestan, 73); 9-Jozy Altidore (18-Terrence Boyd, 79)