USMNT Breakdown: vs. Germany World Cup Group G, Game 3
T.J. Zaremba breaks down USMNT’s 1-0 German beat down…
There are times when FIFA’s rankings make no sense. An example? The United States was inexplicably ranked fourth prior to the 2006 World Cup. Portugal’s inflated number four ranking at the start of this year’s tournament is yet another.
Germany, however, is certainly deserving of its number two ranking. Jogi Loew’s team put on a clinic against a worn-down American side on Thursday. The numbers show American fatigue.
For the United States, you cannot score if you do not have the ball. Germany made sure they didn’t.
The Germans completed twice as many passes as the United States did, and over 250 more than either of the Yanks’ previous Group Stage opponents.
Looking at the metrics the obvious question is, “How did USMNT keep their defeat to a single goal margin?”
For starters, the back four of Beasley, Gonzalez, Besler and Johnson were forced to stay home and compact, which meant they could rarely move forward.
This is because Germany owned the middle half of the field.
Just look at the Americans’ desperate defending (left)…
Tim Howard was everywhere.
Finally, the Germans took a lot of shots from distance, but couldn’t convert from close range.
Because the Yanks expended so much energy defending and chasing the game, they struggled to take advantage of the few chances they had.
Once again, Michael Bradley had a tough time getting involved in the US attack.
If the US stood any chance in this game, Bradley needed to make an offensive impact. Unfortunately, that did not happen for the USMNT’s midfield talisman, and it hasn’t thus far this tournament.
It appears Bradley’s struggles lie in the amount of work he’s expected to do. Bradley is tasked with defending in a flat four midfield, as well as creating at the top of a diamond in attack. Leading this transition required a tremendous amount of energy.
Expectations put upon him have resulted in Bradley covering over a kilometer more than any other tournament player in the Group Stage, and over five kilometers more than his next highest US teammate, Kyle Beckerman.
Thursday’s was not a bad performance by the Stars & Stripes, just a tired one.
Despite much optimism heading into the third match in Recife (after such a strong performance against Portugal in the Amazon) a let-down was likely expected.
But, despite more travel, and having one less day to recover than the Germans, USMNT kept the game within striking distance, which shows just how far the team has come under Jurgen Klinsmann’s leadership.
With the knockout rounds upon us, I like the Yanks’ chances. Bring on the Belgians!
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T.J. Zaremba was BarnBurner #110 and 1998 second-half season ticket holder in Section 8 of pre-mothership Soldier Field. After over a decade on walkabout, with a handful of guest appearances, he returned in 2011 and has been a regular (when his commitment to Uncle Sam allows it) at Toyota Park with his wife and the Hamster. Follow T.J. @TJZaremba