Changes A Must For USMNT Ahead of Costa Rica

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by Deny Gallagher

OP-ED: The United States were put on the mat by Colombia just eight minutes into last Friday’s contest thanks to a Cristian Zapata goal. It didn’t get any prettier from there, as the side came away with zero points in their first of three matches in Group A.

With all of that said, there were passages of positives play from the Americans, but only one or two ever seriously threatened the Colombian goal. While hope is not lost and the end of the republic is nowhere in sight, changes are required.

#FreeFabian

The first of these changes requires Jurgen Klinsmann to realize that Fabian Johnson is not an outside back. While it is understandable why a player of his quality would be a fit at the side’s thinnest position, it is limiting an already weak attack. The German-born winger showed this past season with Borussia Mönchengladbach that he is a next level player with a knack for scoring goals. While the move may leave the United States exposed at the back, Klinsmann was supposed to be the man to bring an attractive style of soccer to Stars and Stripes; and nothing is more attractive than a high-volume goal scorer.

“Fool Me Once …”

After a disappointing performance on Friday from captain Michael Bradley, fans went to social media to complain about the midfielder’s subpar performance against Colombia. The match marked the player’s return to the number six role for first time in recent memory. After a performance that saw the New Jersey native only complete 77 percent of passes, many are speculating whether the Toronto FC man’s stay at holding midfield will be short lived. For the sake of this team’s success in the tournament, fans should hope that Klinsmann has faith in the captain to play his natural position. With Bradley playing central, Johnson to the left, and Alejandro Bedoya at right midfield, the American attack could look a lot different going forward.

Jermaine Jones’ Last Stand

“Nine out of 10 times he’ll do something stupid. But that tenth time man…is pure genius.” While that’s how Ice Cube describes Kevin Hart’s character in the 2016 buddy cop movie Ride Along 2, USMNT fans feel the same way about Jermaine Jones. A nation remembers his masterful goal against Portugal at the World Cup, but more recently, the player has become a liability ahead of an always-changing backline. This inner conflict between nostalgia and current ability came to a head on Friday after another terrible performance from the player.

Jones was brought into the team in 2010 in an attempt to increase the quality of the side. In 2016, it appears that same thought process should move him to the bench for the rest of the tournament. Jones will undoubtedly be a super-sub for the rest of the Copa America Centenario if put into that position. After all, there is genius somewhere up his tatted right sleeve.