The United States lost to Germany, 1-0, on a rain-soaked field in Recife, Brazil, on Thursday. While some would say this was a respectable result for the U.S. – after all, the Germans are easily one of the top three teams in the tournament – Doug Gottlieb believes the final score was not indicative of the true disparity between the two teams.
Is he overstating just how much better Germany was than the U.S.?
“No, I don’t think you’re overstating it at all,” former U.S. soccer player Cobi Jones said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “You could see, especially at the very beginning of the match, the quality of the German side. And once they got the goal, you could tell that’s when the U.S. (started to play more aggressively), but that’s also when Germany let off the pedal a little bit. They were content to go the rest of the match with a 1-0 victory. Even if the U.S. did score, a 1-1 draw for Germany at that time would still allow them to go through in first place.”
The Americans looked sluggish from the start. Was it the weather? The travel? The difference in skill?
“Well, one of the things that people have to remember is any team that has played in Manaus – where the U.S. played Portugal (on Sunday) – has lost (their next) game,” Jones said. “I think that’s because of the weather and the heat and humidity and the draining aspect of the games that take place in Manaus.”
Which is why Gottlieb was surprised that Jurgen Klinsmann did not use all of his substitutes. Alejandro Bedoya came on for Brad Davis in the 59th minute and DeAndre Yedlin came on for Graham Zusi in the 84th minute, but Klinsmann kept one in his back pocket.
“Well, I think he was pretty content with the way that his players were playing,” said Jones, the all-time leader in caps for the U.S. “I think for the U.S., you want your best players out there if they can still give it to you, so I’m not too concerned about it. I feel right now it’s just about having those players get the proper rest and eating the right foods and everything so they can recover as quickly for the game Tuesday.”
The U.S. plays Belgium, which won Group H, on Tuesday at 4 p.m. The game will be played at Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador.
Belgium won its last game against the U.S.
“They actually kind of dominated us,” Jones said, “but I think that was a completely different (U.S.) team from what we’re seeing now. This is a team that’s much more confident that has continued to improve. I’ve seen a team that’s getting better and better. They’re definitely going to have to be very active defensively.”
Whatever happens, the U.S. should be proud of surviving the Group of Death, especially after all the controversy the team endured. Jones, who covers the L.A. Galaxy, is very close with Landon Donovan and does not think he is missed.
“Before the tournament, I would have said, ‘Yes, he’ll be missed,’” Jones said. “But right now, this team is playing well without him. He’s obviously a talented player and could be one of the 23, but I don’t think this team at this point is missing Landon Donovan.”