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United States

Klinsmann: United States-Switzerland game to test Yanks' mental strength

ESPN FC's Adrian Healey and Taylor Twellman preview the United States men's national team's upcoming international friendly against Switzerland.

ZURICH -- With the benefit of hindsight, and video, Jurgen Klinsmann wouldn't defend the performance of his back line in last week's loss to Denmark a second time, a defeat he admitted Monday came down to a lack of concentration.

The U.S. coach also made it clear that if the U.S. is to avoid a second consecutive defeat when it meets 12th-ranked Switzerland in Zurich on Tuesday (noon ET), eliminating those errors will be key.

"At this level," the coach said in his pre-match news conference at Stadion...

Best fits with Bradley in U.S. midfield

Whom should Jurgen Klinsmann surround Michael Bradley with in central midfield?
Whom should Jurgen Klinsmann surround Michael Bradley with in central midfield?

One of the main goals for the United States in the 2018 World Cup cycle is to learn to set the tone of a game against world-class competition. The U.S. has a reputation for being a strong competitor that can challenge the world's best on any given day, but the fact the team averaged just 42.3 percent possession during the 2014 World Cup -- ranking 31st out of 32 teams -- suggests that the Americans are not able to consistently dictate the pace of the game against strong opposition. We saw this trend again in the team's recent friendly against Denmark, where the U.S. ended the first half with just 35 percent of the game's possession before climbing back to 48 percent by the end of the game.

The catalyst for improving U.S. possession is holding midfielder Michael Bradley. The Toronto FC midfielder led the U.S. with 59 touches per 90 minutes during the World Cup and has led the team with 58 completed passes per 90 minutes in his four friendly appearances during the new World Cup cycle.

This ability to link with teammates from a central position makes it important for U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann to surround Bradley with the right pieces to make the U.S. a better team in possession. Here is a look at what Bradley brings to the U.S. along with a breakdown of which formation and central midfield partners work best with his playing style.

Bradley's midfield value

Bradley is often the first option that U.S. players look for when the team gains possession, and is responsible for dictating the pace of the game with his passing and movement through the center of the field. This presence was evident in the World Cup, where Bradley led the U.S. with per-90-minute averages of 59 touches and 46 passes completed.


Klinsmann encourages inexperienced back line after Denmark debacle

United States head coach Jurgen Klinsmann remains optimistic in his back-line development despite the 3-2 loss to Denmark.

ZURICH, Switzerland -- "I think the back line, overall, did a very good job." Whether one believes that Jurgen Klinsmann is always entirely forthcoming in his dealings with the media, there is little doubt that the U.S. coach's comments are almost always calculated.

He's admitted as much himself.

So when Klinsmann stepped behind the microphone following the Americans' 3-2 loss in Denmark last week and told reporters that he was happy with what he saw from his four-man defensive unit, his comments...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Honduras down French Guiana to cement place in CONCACAF Gold Cup

Honduras claimed the final available place in July's CONCACAF Gold Cup after beating French Guiana 4-3 on aggregate in San Pedro Sula on Sunday.

Anderlecht midfielder Andy Najar starred for Los Catrachos, netting two goals to help Jorge Luis Pinto's men recover from a 3-1 first leg deficit.

Honduras will join Panama, Haiti and reigning champions the United States in Group A.

The Gold Cup kicks off on July 7.

Also on Sunday, four CONCACAF countries advanced to the second round of World Cup qualifying.