The idea for this series is pretty simple: five video clips to show what I took away from a match, whether it's positive, negative or somewhere in-between. These aren't the most important moments in the match per say, just moments that told me something, whether it be tactical, about a player, so on and so forth. I've always felt that a majority of post match content lacks substance and is littered with generalities, so a series like this could be refreshing. That's the hope, anyways!
Without further ado, what I took away from Colombia's 2-0 win over the United States.
1. The U.S. need a creative midfielder.
A potential counter attacking opportunity is wasted after Jermaine Jones, the U.S.' most advanced central midfielder, is unable to control and carry Clint Dempsey's pass in transition. Instead, the ball is recycled to the back and Colombia have time to recover and regain shape. Ideally, a quicker, more creative player like Darlington Nagbe would have been able to receive the pass, release into space and make a decision with the ball in the final third.
2. John Brooks is special.
Evident to anybody who's seen him play for an extended period of time, John Brooks is a special player. In fact, I'm willing to say Brooks is one of the most physically gifted CBs in the world. In this clip, Brooks is 1v1 with Colombia's best dribbler, Juan Cuadrado, on a break. Brooks does extremely well to break up the attack, throwing in a perfectly timed slide tackle for added measure. I'm still not sure what Brooks is protesting to the ref but I'm 100% here for it.
3. The U.S. let Colombia find their feet in the second half.
After having a majority of the ball in the first half, I expected the U.S. to press the issue coming out at half and try to make up the two goal deficit. Instead, we saw a deeper, more defensive 4-1-4-1 defensive shape that asked Bobby Wood and Gyasi Zardes to mark Colombia's advancing fullbacks. While structurally sound, this led to a lull in action and let Colombia take valuable minutes off the clock with mostly empty possession, something they were more than happy to do.
4. Chances were not taken advantage of.
Colombia weren't great. They were compact, sat deep and didn't let the U.S. play between the lines. After an early goal, this much is understandable. To break down a team playing this way, you're going to need to use a high tempo, width, or capitalize on a lapse in concentration from the team sitting in their own half. In the sequence above, Colombian CB Jeison Murrilo closes down hard on Clint Dempsey, who has dropped deep into the midfield to link play. This opens space at the back which Gyasi Zardes correctly spots, runs into, and calls for the ball over the top. Instead, Michael Bradley, sitting right above the halfway line, plays an errant ball wide to Bobby Wood.
5. Michael Bradley is too aggressive to play DM in this system.
If you're one of the unlucky people who follow me on Twitter, you heard this all week leading up the the game. You cannot, I repeat, cannot, lose the ball in these positions against a team like Colombia. Bradley, who is used to playing with more creative freedom, often tries to make things happen with the ball by taking extra touches. This is fine higher up the field against CONCACAF opposition. It is not okay when James Rodriguez and friends are waiting on the counter. In addition to missing the correct pass, a simple ball to Geoff Cameron, Bradley fails to counterpress with any purpose, allowing Colombia to switch the point of attack with ease. I need a shower after watching this.