When it comes to the first half of the 2-1 loss the United States suffered at the hands of Mexico, only one word fits the bill for the USMNT: disastrous. They looked all out of sorts in the first half, seemingly in large part to a new formation based around a three-man defense. The midfield getting overrun kept the defense under siege for much of the half. After the match, U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann was quick to point out exactly who he felt was at fault.
Klinsmann: 3-5-2 didn't work because midfielders "didn't get into the one-on-one battles we expected them to."— Andrew King (@AndrewKingMLS) November 12, 2016
Klinsmann actually says it was a 3-4-3. Again reiterates Bradley/Jones are the reason it didn't work.— Andrew King (@AndrewKingMLS) November 12, 2016
Given that both Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones, the key pivot in the heart of that midfield no matter what the shape, both looked very poor all night long, it’s hard to argue that point too heavily. Though if you ask Bradley, the captain of the USMNT, there might have been a different cause.
USMNT captain Michael Bradley on FS2 talks of needing clear tactical ideas in first half. Sounds like indirect shots at Klinsmann. #USMNT— Franco Panizo (@FrancoPanizo) November 12, 2016
That might not be a direct shot at Klinsmann, but given the team’s struggles with a new formation they likely only got limited practice with before this match, it’s easy to see where Bradley is coming from. With how improved the side looked when they switched to a more familiar 4-4-2, and then came out on fire in the second half, there might be something to what Bradley is saying.