Lack of Midfield Dooms United States to 2-1 Loss to Jamaica

Herculez Gomez continues to demand playing time from Juergen Klinsmann.

It is easy to say where the United States Men's National Team went wrong this evening: they were unable to get effective attacking play from their midfielders and they were not able the defend set pieces. But like every generalization, it glosses over important facts that can be gleaned from the game. But make no mistake; the time for gleaning such facts is over and results are all that matter.

Let's start with what went well tonight. Even though each of them seemed to make one glaring mistake, save Michael Parkhurst, the back four looked solid throughout the run of play, at least defensively. If this is the passing of the torch from Carlos Bocanegra to Clarence Goodson and Geoff Cameron (I don't think it is quite yet), then I am still confident in the state of USMNT center backs. Parkhurst, as mentioned before, performed admirably, defending well and putting in the only dangerous crosses of the whole night. Fabian Johnson did well enough in defense, but was a non-factor going forward until the last ten minutes.

Speaking of non-factors, Jozy Altidore was basically absent the entire evening. His partner, Herculez Gomez, was able to get himself into more dangerous positions and affect the game in a much larger way, as most evidenced by his double shot assist in the 38th second of the game. Over the past few matches, Gomez has been laying a claim to a starting spot that is hard to argue with.

But as mentioned at the top, the big problem was the midfield. They are a large reason that Altidore was so ineffective. And what is even more impressive is that they were ineffective in two different ways. In the first half, the United States controlled much of the possession and passed well, but did not threaten. In the second half the center backs, whether by order or by choice, simply chose to bypass the midfield and attempt to connect with the forwards directly. This was a game that cried out for Michael Bradley, having him play Jermaine Jones' role with Jones in Kyle Beckerman's spot. Without the ability the build through the midfield, the United states was limited to its one moment of brilliance from Gomez and Clint Dempsey.

Those are a few thoughts that I can string together right now; please, give me yours.

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