Ukraine defeated the United States 2-0 in Cyprus in front of a sparse crowd on a neutral field Tuesday afternoon/night. This was not the result Jurgen Klinsmann and his staff wanted but it does give Klinsmann a good idea who on this mostly European based roster is ready to contribute this summer in Brazil. Here are a few quick observations I have after watching today’s match.
John Brooks Is Not Ready
John Brooks may someday become a fine international center-back who leads the Yanks back-line for many years but that time is not now. Brooks did not communicate with his teammates and was often out of position allowing Ukraine attackers an easy path to goal. Brooks did settle into the game and looked fairly good at several points winning some key headers but it only takes one mistake to ruin a good performance. Brooks is not ready for Brazil and 2014 but Russia and 2018 is a totally different story.
Dempsey Is On The Road Back To Being Dempsey
After a pressure filled start in the MLS after his big money move from Tottenham to Seattle Clint Dempsey was not the player we know he can be. We haven’t seen much of that player either during his current loan-spell at Fulham but honestly the Cottagers are doomed to relegation and he did not have much to work with there. In Cyprus versus Ukraine, Dempsey looked sharper than he has in months dropping deep into the midfield involving himself in the game while being a threat going forward at times. Let’s hope Dempsey gets into some good form to start the season with the Sounders and brings that form to Brazil. The yanks are going to need it.
Geoff Cameron Should Start At Right Back At The World Cup
Cameron while not outstanding showed enough of what we have seen from him at Stoke this season to overtake converted midfielder Brad Evans at right back. Cameron has all the tools to be a solid right back with his athleticism and overall good passing and crossing ability. He still needs to improve on his consistency when making those passes and crosses in the final third but then again almost every fullback does.
Let Off Of The Hand Break
At times during the first half the United States looked like they were playing with the hand brake on focused more on possession than meaningful attacks. The play was slow and most off the passes were backwards and sideways. Where was the expressive football that Klinsmann wants to see? We saw glimpses of it in the second half but if the USA wants to be at it’s best going forward we need to see tempo and better movement off the ball like we did in Cyprus even though the Yanks did not net a goal.