The United States Men’s National Team defeated Mexico Tuesday night in Columbus to bounce back from a loss to Costa Rica just four days earlier.
This win, along with Panama tying Honduras, was all the United States needed to gain a berth to the World Cup. The score-line was fitting for the game, which saw an un-creative Mexico thoroughly beaten. The U.S. missed some players that inject creativity in the midfield, but was able to persevere and claim the victory.
Without key players such as Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley and Matt Besler, the U.S. had to make some decisions regarding the starting lineup. Clarence Goodson took Besler’s place in the center of defense alongside Omar Gonzales. Together, the duo dominated the air and did a solid job of defending throughout the game.
The midfield is one of the problem areas for the United States when Bradley is out. He is a special player for the U.S., and players such as Jermaine Jones and Kyle Beckerman just don’t bring the same creativity to the table. Jones was tireless last night and deserves a lot of credit for his performance, while Beckerman does a solid job at breaking up play, but lacks quality going forward.
When Mix Diskerud came in, he had an immediate impact and shows what a U.S. midfield with creative players is capable of.
The U.S. still has some work to do in preparation for the World Cup. The defense has many solid options, something which has been missing in recent years. The forward line is in a very exciting state with Altidore in form and Landon Donovan, Eddie Johnson and Clint Dempsey backing him up.
The midfield is the area that needs the most work, but is still performing well. Someone must step up in the midfield to add some creativity to the mix. Players such as Beckerman and Jones are important, but there is only a place for one of them on the field at a time, and Jones has the upper hand as of now. Bradley needs help in connecting the defense to the forwards, and Diskerud could be the player he needs.
If the U.S. can figure this area of the field out, they will be looking very dangerous going to Brazil in 2014.
The U.S. did its job on Tuesday night and made a statement in doing so. With key players out, they handily defeated their fierce rivals. Some might argue that this Mexico side is weak, but a rival is a rival and the victory will be sweet nonetheless. The U.S. still has two games left in the hex, but having already been guaranteed an automatic berth to the World Cup, these will largely be to decide what place they finish in.
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