U.S. defense shows its inexperience as Robinson and Saief struggle on the left

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TAMPA, Fla. — For a lot of Dave Sarachan’s time in control of the US males’s nationwide crew, the main focus has been on methods to generate a extra constant assault. Heading into Thursday’s pleasant with Colombia, the U.S. had scored simply eight targets in its final eight video games.

However within the Four-2 defeat to Los Cafeteros, it was the U.S. protection that furrowed extra brows and brought on extra heads to shake. From the opening whistle, Colombia determined it could check the left aspect of the U.S. protection, manned by left-back Antonee Robinson and left midfielder Kenny Saief, and it proved to be a productive line of assault.

Radamel Falcao ought to have put Colombia up inside three minutes, solely he by some means managed to volley Santiago Arias’ cross broad. Irrespective of. The trail down that flank had been recognized, and even because the personnel modified in the course of the match, there was nonetheless time and area available.

“Within the first half that they had a great interchange with James [Rodriguez] coming into the center and Arias going out broad and crossing the ball,” U.S. defender Matt Miazga mentioned. “We tried to nullify them however they discovered methods [to get through]. What we have now to do now’s return, evaluation some video, make some changes in coaching and study from it. That is all we are able to do.”

Robinson, 21, has essentially the most studying to do, given his general lack of expertise and the way the area between him and center-back John Brooks (in addition to that of Saief) was pierced again and again. The Wigan defender did make amends to a level when his cross — with the assistance of a slight deflection — was volleyed dwelling by Kellyn Acosta, sparking a quick second half-revival. However Robinson’s defensive struggles continued and he was duly substituted after 76 minutes.

These sorts of difficulties are anticipated to a level. Robinson additionally suffered throughout final month’s recreation in opposition to Brazil, solely to bounce again in opposition to Mexico. Sarachan is hoping for the same revival.

“These video games are perfect for everybody [on the squad], however for a man like Antonee, these video games are important by way of his progress,” Sarachan mentioned throughout his postmatch information convention. “He is under no circumstances moved himself right into a place the place you’d say he is a extremely skilled man, however I actually consider he is clever, he is received qualities and he’ll study from all of those video games. And that is the funding we make now for the long run. We nonetheless consider in him and hopefully he will get extra run-outs.”

Compounding issues was the truth that Robinson received treasured little assist from Saief and Brooks. That is extra distressing as a result of each gamers are older — Saief is 24 and Brooks is 25 — and should have completed extra to shore up the U.S. protection.

Granted, Saief’s abilities are extra on the attacking aspect, and he is additionally working his manner again to full health after a preseason damage, however he cannot be a passenger on protection and anticipate to see the sector. The truth that he ended up switching sides with the 18-year-old Tim Weah spoke volumes.

Colombia is little doubt a ridiculously proficient aspect. The truth that the U.S. was lacking Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams can be price noting. What was surprising was that Adams might need been missed most of all. His ball-hawking and mobility had been wanted when the sport opened up and have become extra stretched, particularly when Falcao sprinted previous Michael Bradley and scored Colombia’s third objective.

Such was the enormity of the U.S. crew’s defensive struggles that it was straightforward to miss just a few attacking vivid spots. Julian Inexperienced was strong as soon as once more enjoying as a second striker, and it was his deal with — a heretofore unknown attribute for Inexperienced — in addition to an incisive go that helped arrange Bobby Wooden’s objective. Inexperienced just isn’t going to exchange Pulisic when the Dortmund midfielder returns, however he is at the very least evolving into a good second choice.

Weah’s deadeye go was simply as instrumental on Wooden’s tally. Not dangerous for participant who’s often scoring the targets somewhat than setting them up. And Wooden is starting to point out some indicators of life for membership and nation after a brutal membership season in 2017-18.

Classes get absorbed by totally different gamers at totally different charges of velocity, and it would not take a lot for the steadiness between assault and protection to go awry, particularly on a crew this younger. The excellent news is match in opposition to Peru in 5 days’ time gives one other probability to enhance and apply these experiences.

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