While praising his USMNT brethren for their accomplishments in the World Cup, Landon Donovan was also somewhat critical of the gameplan set out by Jurgen Klinsmann. It’s obviously like any sport where you can deconstruct a strategy, especially after it fails to land you in the next round. Specifically, Donovan was critical of how Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley were used.
“Michael was put in the wrong position,” Donovan said. “He was put in a position that he’s not used to playing. He does a better job, as you saw with Julian Green’s goal, being in a deeper position. And having someone in front of him, someone to help Clint also, makes him that much better because he’s got more opportunity to pick out different passes, more attacking options ahead of him. I think that was clearly an error.”
It’s nothing that a lot of others weren’t thinking and saying as the tourney was unfolding, however if Chris Wondolowski buries that ball in the back of the net and the United States wins that game 1-0, obviously there would be praise for Klinsmann’s strategy. Commentary is always really dependent on outcomes. There’s no telling that the USMNT wouldn’t have given up more goals if they’d skewed their strategy the way Donovan suggests.
But overall, I tend to agree with Donovan. I don’t have his level of expertise obviously, but Michael Bradley was either uncomfortable with his role in this World Cup or he was just struggling. Also, I felt all along that Clint Dempsey, while a phenomenal player, was mis-cast as a lone forward once Jozy Altidore went down with the hamstring.
Again though, if Klinsmann tinkers in a way I agree with and maybe they don’t escape the group of death.