090813_usmex_practice_klinsmannjurgen_olson_us_mex_jo_9-9-2013_0749_dxo Jeremy Olson for American Soccer Now
Direct from Columbus

Team Effort Required To Help Piecemeal Back Line

Jurgen Klinsmann was reluctant to admit concern about his back line Monday, instead focusing on the need for a strong defensive effort from his whole team Tuesday night against Mexico.
BY Jon Arnold Posted
September 09, 2013
7:58 PM
COLUMBUS, Ohio—After starting yet another patchwork back line against Costa Rica on Friday, the last thing Jurgen Klinsmann needed was his most consistent defender to be unavailable for the next match.

But that's exactly what he got when Matt Besler was issued a yellow card in the 78th minute—thanks to a Joel Campbell flop that bamboozled the assistant referee.

Besler's absence against rival Mexico on Tuesday night because of yellow card accumulation will mean another piece maneuvered into a different place, but unlike most men Klinsmann doesn't fear change.

"I'm not concerned about tomorrow night in terms of switching things around, having another center back in there, making changes," he said at a news conference Monday.

It will, however, take a total team effort to prevent Mexico from scoring against the U.S.

"Conceding goals is always a sequence of several mistakes done by an entire team," Klinsmann said. "I always say defense starts up front."

It was the second goal his team allowed in Costa Rica rather than the third he proffered as an example.

There were several failures on the Celso Borges tally, but the giveaway and multiple players' failure to react to the bad ball put the team in a difficult situation that ended with a goal.

"The other night, they were into our backline quickly," goalkeeper Tim Howard said before training Monday. "As soon as the ball turned over, they were into our backline. And you need to make teams work for that."

Even on the third goal, in which Campbell outraced Besler and slid a ball through Howard's legs, Costa Rica transitioned from defense to offense efficiently.

While Mexico is struggling, it's still a team with talent and an in-form striker in Oribe Peralta. If the U.S. drops points in Columbus, it might be the result of a gaffe by a fill-in center back or overmatched defensive midfielder. But the manager is more worried about a lapse by multiple players allowing an El Tri triumph.

No matter how Klinsmann arranges his back line, or his midfield, or his forward – all units where he'll have to make choices – the eleven men on the field will have to do a better job executing the style of play the manager demands.

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