Following the rough 2-4 loss to Colombia, the USMNT will need to learn from their mistakes to compete with the best sides in the world. There were some bright moments for the young yanks, but it ended in a battering defeat. Fielding a full strength squad that boasts one of the most lethal attacks in the world, the USA clearly showed their youth and inexperience against a top side. With that being said, it wasn’t all bad from the young lads and will need to learn from the highs and the lows of last night’s game. Here are 3 takeaways from the USMNT’s 2-4 loss to Colombia
DEFENSE NOT YET COMPLETE
It was a very difficult game for the USA backline, letting in 4 goals, 3 of which came in the 2nd half. The defense is probably the greatest strength in the developing team but showed that it is still learning and struggling like the rest of the squad. In Brooks, Miazga and Carter-Vickers, the United States has extraordinary young and European depth at CB. Sarachan has rotated through the 3 of them but this goes down as the worst performance.
The CB tandem of Brooks and Miazga looked disjointed, highlighting a major lack of communication and decision making. Time and time again the both of them were caught double-teaming a man in the middle just above the box and completely exposed runners through the middle. Miazga as he cleared the ball over the crossbar in the dying minutes showed a face of clear agony as he wanted the game to just end already. It was a heartbreaking game and a disheartened performance from the CBs.
LB Antonee Robinson endured a nightmare performance as he was beaten down the line time and time again. Failing to close down the attackers on the flanks was target practice for top notch players like Juventus man Cuadrado. After a promising start to his USMNT career, his performances have lacked significantly of late. To cement his place as the LB of the future for both the USMNT and Everton, the on loan Wigan man must do better.
THE ATTACK FINALLY HITS STRIDES
The USMNT team hit the back of the net multiple times from open play for the first time since late May against a Bolivian B team. Against a top team in Colombia, the United States actually had some good looks at goal and effectively buried great changes. Bobby Wood, after recording a brace for Hannover at the weekend continued his goal scoring form with a well placed finish passed Ospina. Tim Weah looked lively in the 2nd half before coming off and notched a smart assist to Bobby Wood. In what was the best play by the United States all game, Kellyn Acosta makes a darting run all the way down field and emphatically finishes home in the top corner. The US actually had a lead against Colombia in the beginning of the 2nd half but were unable to hold the lead. For the first time in a long time the USMNT has looked dynamic in attack; however, it was for only a space of about 7 minutes. The team died out but needs to learn from its successes in attack against a top side like Colombia. It’s also important to note that Acosta, back in his natural CDM role with the national team came up big at a pivotal time for the United States and should remain there to establish his role with the team.
DO NOT PANIC OVER GOALKEEPING
Was it Steffen’s best performance? No. Was it one he would like to have back? Obviously. Should he remain as the USMNT No. 1? Absolutely. Conceding 4 goals will never merit a “great” performance but it always acts as a learning experience with a developing side. Last game marked Steffen’s record-tying feat of debut season caps with the national team as a goalkeeper (six). Let’s journey to the past and look at the USMNT exactly a year ago today….Eliminated from World Cup qualifiers, the USMNT was devastated and needed a complete revamp, starting with the goalkeeper. The days of Howard and Guzan were over and no one was certain who would take over. Hamid looked to be the one, until his move to Denmark failed miserably. Horvath came next, and then his dip in form for Club Brugge and a disastrous mistake against Portugal cost him his spot. Steffen came through and offered the only hope of consistency within the side. Howard was the goalkeeper for the national team for over 7 years, establishing his legacy. What the USMNT needs is stability in net and in Steffen they have that; to take his spot away from him now will only put more question marks in a team that doesn’t know which direction to head.
Written by: Andrew Diefenderfer