Tag Archives: target player

McCarthy’s Musings: Directness and precision prompt U.S. dominance over Honduras

jacobmay   February 5, 2018   Comments Off on McCarthy’s Musings: Directness and precision prompt U.S. dominance over Honduras

Klinsmann has shown the dexterity to alter his formation and use different players to extract the best performances out of his squad in this tournament. His decision to stick with the successful 4-4-2 setup – complete with the often criticized and quietly influentialKyle Beckerman in central midfield – and start Eddie Johnson up top reaped significant dividends against a Honduras outfit ill-equipped to cope with the problems presented by those selections. Johnson made particular sense in this match because he offered the Americans a chance to stretch the field vertically. He offers decent hold up work as a nominal target player, but his true strength remains pushing behind the opposing line and relying on his pace to unsettle opposing defenses. His immediate contribution against El Salvador on Sunday mandated his inclusion tonight. And his work on the evening – combined with the willingness to play narrowly on the shoddy and tight temporary surface at Cowboys Stadium – ultimately exposed the weakness within the Honduras ranks. Honduras coach Luis Fernando Suárez left out most of his regulars for this tournament and shunted a few of his remaining pieces into unfamiliar areas to form his 4-2-3-1 formation. The absences ofVictor Bernárdez, Roger Espinoza and Wilson Palacios proved particularly harmful on this night as the Hondurans prepared to deal with Johnson and the robust American approach. That particular trio adds the resolve and the steel necessary to deal with the combined threat of an in-form Landon Donovan buzzing around and Johnson trying to push through the defense. In their stead, the Hondurans completely collapsed when confronted with direct play from back to front. Donovan dropped off at will to pull the rearguard apart. Johnson operated as a target man from time to time and surged through the line frequently against a back four ill-equipped to cope with the movement and the power presented by… Read more »