The US Men’s National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s tenure as head coach of team USA has been under immense criticism recently. Many in fact were calling for Jurgen’s time, as the head coach of the US Men’s National Team should come to an end. Klinsmann at times does have moments of questionable judgment when it comes to player selection, despite some of the players completely lacking a sense of intelligence on the field. Team USA’s latest matches however do show some positive notes to Jurgen’s side going into the Copa America Centenario.
The US Men’s National Team will be going into the opening match on Friday, June 3 against Colombia having defeated two teams from COMNEBOL. Jurgen’s side in fact did have to face quite a bit of pressure when they played Ecuador on the 25th of May. Team USA’s defense struggled against Ecuador’s left wing with English Premier League player Jefferson Montero. Klinsmann’s highlight came when USA won the match in the final minutes of the game when Darlington Nagbe professionally volleyed home the only goal of the match.
Jurgen fielded a starting eleven against Ecuador that very well could be fielded in the upcoming match against Colombia. Klinsmann fielded Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Kyle Beckerman, DeAndre Yedlin and Fabian Johnson all of which are senior players for the Stars and Stripes. The main issue that needs to be addressed for USA has been one of the major problems that have plagued the USMNT for some time. The issue is, whom will be the center-back pairing to lead USA’s defense? John Brooks and Steve Birnbaum definitely did not convince many when it came to handling Enner Valencia and Jefferson Montero.
USA also took on Bolivia in Kansas City three days after their 1-0 victory against Ecuador. Jurgen’s side looked far more confident against Bolivia with youngster Gyasi Zardes netting a brace for USA along with Christian Pulisic bagging his first goal for the USMNT at the “old” age of 17. Center back John Brooks also scored a goal in USA’s 4-0 victory against Bolivia. The match against Bolivia, Klinsmann implemented five changes that were different than his approach against Ecuador. The likes of Geoff Cameron, Michael Orozco, Matt Besler, Alejandro Bedoya and Bobby Wood came on for Fabian Johnson, DeAndre Yedlin, Steve Birnbaum, Kyle Beckerman and Graham Zusi.
The USMNT open the Copa America Centenario tournament at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara June third against Colombia. Colombia only had one friendly match in the lead up to the Centenario tournament, which was their match on Sunday against Haiti. Jose Pekerman’s Colombia side struck first inside 13 minutes with Club Tijuana forward Dayro Moreno scoring in the first half for los Cafeteros. Haiti did go on to equalize through Wilde-Donald Guerrier but also was reduced to ten men when Max Hilaire was sent off. Colombia defeated Haiti 3-1 with goals coming in the second half from Juventus midfielder Juan Cuadrado and Roger Martinez.
The first match against Colombia will be a big test for Jurgen Klinsmann and team USA, getting a result against the highly ranked Cafeteros will be perfect for the home side to set the tone of their campaign. Group A will definitely not be a walk in the park though, after the opening match against Colombia, USA will take on CONCACAF rivals Costa Rica at Soldier Field before closing out the group against Paraguay. The US Men’s National Team will have a strong possibility of advancing if they manage to pick up a draw or win against Colombia. The advantage of playing in front of the home crowd should give the USMNT an extra edge when it comes to playing against these tough opponents with confidence.