photo courtesy of U.S. Soccer Twitter/@ussoccer
I will be the first to tell you that when it comes to formations that I am not the best suited to talk about them. However, from what I saw during today’s USMNT international friendly against Chile, the 3-5-2 formation may not be the best suited for them.
In all honesty, I don’t believe that the USMNT have the personal to employ such a formation. As you can see in the photo above, USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann came out with Nick Rimando in goal, Matt Besler, Jermaine Jones and Steven Birnbaum in the back. The midfield consisted of DeAndre Yedlin, Michael Bradley, Mix Diskerud, Brek Shea and Clint Dempsey. Up top saw Jozy Altidore and Bobby Wood as the two forwards.
Overall not a bad squad to feature in your first match of 2015. Rimando played pretty well but you could tell there was some confusion here and there with the back three. In a formation like this, the two outside wingers, Yedlin and Shea in this case, are relied upon to get back and help on defense. Yedlin for the most part did pretty well, but Shea was another story.
Shea was constantly getting beat on the left side of the defense time and time again. Chile was able to find lots of open space on his side. After a while, you could clearly see that Shea was gassed around the 65th minute of the match. Besler and Birnbaum were solid for the most part. It was even Besler’s pass to Shea that set up the first goal of the match.
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Jermaine Jones, a midfielder for his domestic club, played as the lone center back in this formation. Klinsmann seems to be set on making him a center back for the national team and quite frankly, I am not sure I agree with the move. At times he looked over matched being the lone man in that position. He turned the ball over at times and if it wasn’t for Rimando, Chile would have had an early 2-1 lead. Jones was partial at fault for Chile’s first goal of the match. As the cross was being sent in, he seemed to let up and the Chilean that was in between him and Besler, got his head on the ball to tie the game at one.
The match announcers put most of the blame on Besler as he did not try to get in front of the player. In my mind, Jones should have never let up on the play and it ultimately cost the team. I know it is just the first match of 2015, but the USMNT need to figure it out and figure it out fast. They may be better suited to go back to the traditional 4-4-2.
The USMNT’s next international friendly will be against Panama on February 8th at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA. They have a few matches prior to Panama against lesser opponents and during that time they need to figure out if they are going to stick to the 3-5-2 or go back to a more traditional formation that better suits the team.