Wednesday, November 16, 2011

In a Fog: US 3 - Slovenia 2

Actual Image From TV of Jozy Altidore.  Do Not Adjust Your Television.
It looked for all intents and purposes as if I might need to break out the video of John Carpenter's The Fog again after watching the US play Slovenia on Wednesday. Played in a fog so thick it was difficult to make out the players at times (see above), the US' 3-2 victory over Slovenia represented the Yanks' first triumph on European soil in over three years.

It all got a bit scruffy toward the end of the game, as the US held on – by the tip of their fingernails – to take home only the second victory during coach Juergen Klinsmann's reign. The defense in the second half, particularly around the 60 minute mark, was a bit of a hot mess, as Slovenia pressed for a second goal and then an equalizer – and almost got them both. Still, a wins's a win, and an European one is doubly impressive.

Could it be a coincidence that the US switched to  a 4-4-2 lineup today, rather then the sole striker system that Klinsmann has been favoring of late?  Playing without their main man Landon Donovan, and the long-term injured Stu Holden, the Americans put on a much better performance than they have in their past games, and actually looked dangerous on the attack, especially in the first half.

The game can be characterized as a flip flop of sorts, the complete opposite of the team's more recent performances.  Generating almost 25% of the shots that they've managed to create under all of the previous games that Klinsmann has coached, the US created opportunity after opportunity in the first half.  The second half was a bit of a different story with the US just looking to hang on to maintain their victory margin. The victory may not please the purists, but I doubt Klinsi is concerned much about all that now.

He's headed back home with a win and some goals, and the critics are silenced -- for now.

This is farlieonfootie for November 16.

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