USA puts on sterling display beating Nigeria

Published Sunday, June 8, 2014 8:26 AM by Shane Barrow
USA puts on sterling display beating Nigeria

Now that boys and girls was a good performance.  The quality of which can get the US Soccer team out of the Group of Death in Brazil.  On Saturday afternoon in Jacksonville, Florida the Americans made impressive work of Nigeria.  The champions of Africa were made to look quite ordinary.

I  think we saw exactly what we will see in Brazil from the Americans.  A very defensively compact team that looks to blast out on the counter-attack.  Jurgen Klinsmann's men were willing to sit early against Nigeria and allow some non-dangerous possession.  Win the battles and race out with speed into the attack.

In the opening twenty minutes we saw Nigeria with 60% of the ball, but as the game wore on, the Americans slowly took control of the game.  From minute twenty until the last few minutes it was a US romp.

The Defense -
Can I say I loved that formation and the defensive discipline?  Finally we saw the formation that will best utilize our players.  It plays right into the American soccer player’s mentality.  Discipline.  Hard work.  Determination.  We can do this!  Kyle Beckerman and Jermaine Jones were very good in the holding position in front of the back four.  Sure both need to be a bit more tidy on the ball, but their main job is to shield the four and break up attacks and that they did.  Perhaps even more important is the fact that Beckerman and Jones gave Michael Bradley the freedom to completely boss the game…which he did.  Bradley was the best player on the pitch by a mile.  This defensive formation can work in Brazil.

The Attack -
The counter attacking style has been at the heart of American soccer for years and on Saturday Klinsmann unleashed all its fury.  With the back four and holding two doing their jobs well, Bradley, Dempsey and Altidore ran wild.  Time after time we saw Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey linking up through the midfield and blasting into the Nigeria back third.  

Jozy Altidore -
And that leads us to our striker.  Altidore has taken criticism for months.  A poor season at Sunderland called his participation and production into question.  On Saturday I think he put most of those questions to rest scoring twice.  Sure the first goal was an easy tap in, but a big part of being a productive forward is getting to the right spots.  The second goal was a pure striker’s goal on the highest level.  Good first touch.  Cut inside the defender and fire a low rocket into the net from 18.  Jozy Altidore can be a fine forward if he gets proper support and service.  Saturday he got that and he produced two goals.

The End -
This was a good win.  Forget the last goal on the penalty kick.  Both sides had made several subs and the entire flow of the game had been upset.  This won’t be the case in Brazil.  That match would have played out an easy American 2-0 win if not for the craziness of multiple subs.   Nigeria was well beaten by the 80th minute and they would have limped further to the finish if the three sub rule would have been in effect.  Sure there needs to be a bit of concern on the play leading up to the penalty.  It showed us once again that Omar Gonzalez is not ready to play a major role in Brazil unfortunately.

Off to Brazil -
The boys now head south with a ton of confidence. The Landon Donovan situation looks to be well behind the squad and they look ready for the World Cup.  Put in three performances like Jacksonville and the Americans could really shake up the Group G and justify why it is being called the Group of Death.