This past week the USMNT continued it's push to qualify for the World Cup with games against Costa Rica and Mexico.
The United States came out with 4 points and put themselves into second in the group for the time being. Having to deal with reports that some national team squad members were unhappy with the way coach Jurgen Klinsmann was running things, this seemed like it might be a terrible few games for the United States. The United States was without many key players too, Carlos Bocanegra, Tim Howard, and Landon Donovan were all either unpicked or unavailable for the United States.
The game against Costa Rica was a sloppy one, played in (basically) a blizzard the United States scored an early goal off a Clint Dempsey put back and it proved to be enough to guide them to victory. Truth be told, after that goal, the United States looked like it had no real attacking threats, when they pushed forward there was no creativity, and they were reverting back to the usual "give it to Clint and see what he can do" method that they have seemed to adopt as of late. Costa Rica had it's chances, and to be fair to them, if the game had been in better conditions I'm not sure the United States would have escaped with any points, as Costa Rica looked threatening on the attack after halftime.
Then came Mexico, the game most fans were looking forward to. The first time the United States was travelling to the Azteca since their victory in a friendly in 2012. But the chances of a US victory or even a tie looked slim as the United States had only ever taken a point in Mexico during World Cup qualifying once. Mexico came out guns blazing, and their pressure never let up. Massive amounts of pressure was heaped onto the inexperienced back line of the United States and interim goalkeeper Brad Guzan. The defense was up to the task though, stymieing the Mexico attack more often than not. Chicharito failed to put away 3 or 4 sure goals, and it seemed luck was on the American's side. But as well as the defense played, the same could not be said for the offense. Clint Dempsey was invisible on the field, playing like he was in over his head and obviously feeling the pressure of the stage. Altidore was just as bad, mustering no real chances for himself in what continues to be a disappointing campaign for him. Graham Zusi and Herculez Gomez looked good at times out on the wings, but the lack of pace against the pacy Mexico team was evident. Maurice Edu played admirably, but didn't do anything really exciting, and Michael Bradley played like, well, Michael Bradley. Consistently good and not having to worry if he would show up or not.
The United States will have to figure out a way to remedy the woeful attack it has at the moment, and maybe with Landon Donovan returning from a leave of absence and the readdition of Brek Shea to the squad the United States will be able to try out different attackers. One things for sure, if they don't fix it soon, and the back line starts to dip in performance the United States will find it difficult to qualify for the upcoming World Cup.
How do you think the USMNT did? Will they have trouble going forward?