It's a dark time for U.S. Soccer. Four days after losing to bitter rivals Mexico in the CONCACAF Cup, the United States Men's National Team lost to Costa Rica. Not only was it the fourth straight defeat to a CONCACAF opponent, but it was a lackluster performance without any hint of inspiration, which makes it that much more frustrating.
Try to rationalize this horrific Summer/Fall for the USMNT is not an easy task. The tug-of-war between "Fire Klinsmann" and "Poor Player Pool" is just a minefield that isn't worth walking through at this point in time. It's obivous changes need to be made, but what are they? Here's what we learned from this loss to Costa Rica:
We have no creative players
We have heart and hustle. We have a few pacey players and we obviously have some strength. What we don't have is any players who can by dynamic in the attack and create scoring chances by themselves. A counterpoint that is always made is "Call up Benny Feilhaber and Lee Nguyen". While those two have had success in MLS, I still fail to see how they'd make a big difference with the USMNT.
A player like Gedion Zelalem is the type of playmaker that the USMNT desperately need to pan out, but he's 18-years-old and was just banished to the bench by the U-23 team. Until a true playmaker is developed, the National Team will struggle with creating chances in the final third of the field.
The youth movement needs to happen now
Get rid of the old guard and the players that just aren't cutting it anymore. Give new ones a chance to prove themselves. Klinsmann has time and time again stated that the team needs to get younger, but still continues to trot out the same veteran players. Maybe some like Jermaine Jones or Clint Dempsey have something left in the tank, but it doesn't matter. Move on and give this team a fresh look.
Jozy Altidore is the most frustrating player in the talent pool
I remember watching Jozy in 2007 score a brace against Brazil in the U20 World Cup. Ever since that day his National Team career has been nothing but a series of ups and downs. Lately it seems like we've seen mostly the downs. His two performances in this international break are not going to cut it for the USMNT. If he doesn't drastically improve his form in hurry it may be time to give him a rest for the next few months.
Hey Jozy and Jermaine what do you guys think?