U.S. fails to impress in 0-0 friendly against Canada
HOUSTON -- Three thoughts on the United States' 0-0 tie against Canada in a friendly on Tuesday:
• There's a big drop-off from the U.S. first team to second team right now. Considering this was a young Canada squad that got pasted 4-0 by Denmark a few days ago, and considering these U.S. players had big incentives to earn a spot on next week's World Cup qualifying roster, the Americans put on a surprisingly weak performance for most of this game. Let's blame Canada in part for rarely trying to get forward, but the U.S. needed a lot more quality to break down the defense and struggled to find it. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann's decision to start Brad Evans as an attacking central midfielder ahead of Benny Feilhaber and Mix Diskerud (who wasn't even in uniform) didn't make much sense, and Graham Zusi and Brad Davis had quiet games on the flanks. After three weeks of training, the U.S. should have been sharper.
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• Was that Chris Wondolowski's last chance? The San Jose Earthquakes forward has been tremendous in MLS the last three years, setting a league record for goals over a three-season period with 61. But Wondo has yet to score in a national-team jersey in nine games, and after turning 30 on Monday he may not get many more chances to make his mark. International soccer can be a cruel game, and nothing will change the fact that Wondolowski is one of the great success stories in the history of U.S. soccer. But the reigning MLS MVP isn't the first big-time MLS scorer who couldn't translate that success to the national team. (See: Taylor Twellman and Jason Kreis).
• A couple U.S. players showed well. Let's be honest: The player who had the most at stake in a game without many stakes was Omar González, the U.S. center back who was making his first appearance since Klinsmann took over. And while González had little to do defensively, he was solid when he was asked to do anything on the back line, plus he added some real danger in the box on set-pieces. I fully expect him to be on the roster for Honduras. Josh Gatt also provided a burst of energy and speed when he came on in the second half, and Feilhaber had a few quality moments that showed why he shouldn't be written off moving forward. Otherwise, this was a game that very few will or should remember.