Has US Soccer entered Elite Status with Win over Netherlands?

2015-usa-netherlandsEver since Jurgen Klinsmann took over as coach of the US Men’s National Team, American soccer has been on an upward trajectory. Even still, nobody expected this team to walk out of Amsterdam Arena with a 4-3 friendly victory. This is especially the case for anybody who was watching the game when the Oranje went up 3-1 in the second half.

However, the Americans battled back in this friendly, even when down 3-2 with just two minutes left in regulation. A quick Danny Williams’ equalizer and Bobby Wood game-winner gave USA a stunning win over the Dutch. That said, it’s worth asking if the Americans have finally entered soccer’s elite, or if they’re still a fringe team who benefited from good fortune in this match.

USA beat a Very Good Team – And Under Tough Circumstances

2015-usa-netherlands-1Let’s give the USMNT some major credit here: they beat the team that finished third in the 2014 World Cup. This is no small feat for a squad that wasn’t expected to make it out of the “Group of Death,” but did, only to lose 2-1 to Belgium in a game where they were overmatched. What’s more is that USA was playing on the road against what is still one of the best football teams in the world.

Another point worth mentioning here is that the Yanks were playing without the injured Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey, who was home to witness the birth of his fourth child. Finally, Klinsmann used this match as another one of his experiments, making seven defensive substitutions and giving the Dutch a great opportunity to run through his back line.

This may not be the Same Dutch Team

While the Oranje may still be very good on the international level, they’ve had their problems since the third-place 2014 Cup effort. First off, manager Guus Hiddink, who took over for Louis van Gaal, changed the defense from a 5-3-2 system to a 4-3-3. The results up until this point have been disastrous, which was proven in this match as USA took advantage of many Dutch defensive errors.

Another point worth making here is that it’s not like the Netherlands had their entire ‘A team’ out on the field either. Hiddink rested some of his top players as the team prepares for a Euro 2016 qualifier against Latvia.

Netherlands Largely outplayed the US

2015-usa-netherlands-2Regardless of the final score, and the Americans’ never-quit attitude, the Dutch still looked like the dominant team here. They maintained possession 61 percent of the time and remained on the attack, forcing the US to mainly rely on counterstrike opportunities.

In any case, it was the USMNT walking away with the victory here after an incredible comeback. And while they didn’t look to be quite on the same level as Netherlands, they are still a young team that’s improving. Furthermore, if they continue at this same pace, with Klinsmann at the helm, then they’ll be an even bigger threat at the 2018 World Cup.

US Men’s Soccer Betting: Chile tops USA 3-2

usa-vs-chileThe US Men’s Soccer team looked like they were going to start 2015 with a bang as they took a 2-1 lead into the second half of an international match against Chile. However, they crumbled down the stretch and suffered a 3-2 defeat in this high-profile matchup.

Mark Gonzalez was the hero here as he scored two goals in the second half. Roberto Gutierrez also scored for Chile as they staved off the Americans. On the US side, Jozy Altidore and Brek Shea netted goals at the Estadio El Teniente.

The game plan here was for head coach Jurgen Klinsmann to give some younger players a chance. Klinsmann followed through by penciling Steve Birnbaum and forward Bobby Wood into his opening lineup. He also subbed youngsters Shane O’Neill, Wil Trapp, Perry Kitchen and Miguel Ibarra into the match.

Team USA also experimented with a new formation, lining up in a 3-5-2 formation that puts extra defensive responsibilities on midfield wingers DeAndre Yedlin and Shea. The strategy seemed to be working quite well early on, as Shea received a perfect pass from Matt Bessler and put it past Chile goalkeeper Johnny Herrera.

Chile US SoccerHowever, the Chileans came roaring back just six minutes later after Gonzalez sent a magnificent cross into the penalty area, allowing Gutierrez to head it past US goalkeeper Nick Rimando.

Just beyond the half-hour mark, the Americans took the lead again when Mix Diskerud found Altidore, who fired a shot in for his 26th career international goal. The US would take their 2-1 lead into the locker room at halftime, despite playing on the road in a passionate soccer country.

But this homefield advantage would prove to be crucial in the second half, as Chile started to look like the superior team. In the 66th minute, Gonzalez made some sensational moves to find the bottom right corner of the goal. He capitalized 15 minutes later on a rebound attempt on the left side of the box to give Chile the lead for good.

This was obviously a tough loss for the Americans since they played so well in the first half. However, it can’t be understated how this match didn’t quite feature both teams’ best lineups. As mentioned before, Klinsmann is looking to use the upcoming international schedule to get new players some experience. The goal is to try and upgrade the talent on this US squad, which showed plenty of heart in Brazil, despite not having the guns to hang with more-traditional soccer nations.

Klinsmann’s team will get another chance to gain some experience as they face Panama on February 8th. So if you’re looking to do some USA vs. Panama betting before then, you’ve got plenty of time to research the matchup and place a wise wager. Just keep in mind that, once again, there’ll be quite a few young players on the field for Team USA.