1. Jermaine Jones. Can we get a round of applause for Jermaine “Yellow Card” Jones really quick? He has been the best player for the USMNT through two games at the World Cup and is playing like a man-possessed in midfield. Looking for a third superstar to pair with Dempsey and Bradley? You found him. While I have been quick to criticize Jones throughout his tenure with the national team, I have to admit that his play in the World Cup has been World Class. And his goal? WOW. One of the goals of the tournament.
2. Style of play. Be proud of this team, U.S. fans. They played with the trademark fire, grit and determination that we’re so used to seeing. More importantly, this U.S. team passed the ball with precision and class that we haven’t seen, ever. This was the type of football that Jurgen Klinsmann was brought to the USMNT to instill, and it was a masterclass type of performance. Simply put, U.S. outplayed Portugal for 80+ minutes which is something I’m not sure I’d ever say. This ain’t your grandfather’s USA soccer team anymore.
3. So close. The U.S. were seconds away from securing a place in the knockout round, and then Cristiano Ronaldo had a moment of brilliance and Portugal leveled the match with 20 seconds to go. The USMNT deserved to win and didn’t close the deal, which is something that Klinsmann harks on religiously. Geoff Cameron had two very costly mistakes which Portugal capitalized on to keep their slim hopes of advancing alive. Here is what needs to happen for the USA to advance to the Round of 16:
Upcoming: USA v. Germany, Thursday at 12 pm EST.
- Jurgen v. Jogi. How will Jurgen match up against his protege, Jogi Lowe? His tactics will need to be dead on if the U.S. have a chance to advance against an insanely talented German squad.
- Lineup changes? With the extreme conditions in Menaus, look for the U.S. to insert new blood into the lineup against Germany. Possible changes include: DeAndre Yedlin, Mix Diskerud and Chris Wondolowski.