6613_dempseyclint_isi_usmnt0911123325 John Todd/isiphotos.com
ASN Weekly Debate

Will the United States Win, Lose, or Draw in Jamaica?

On Friday night, the Americans take on the Reggae Boyz in Kingston. Noah Davis and Ryan O'Hanlon debate the outcome and discuss whether Jurgen Klinsmann has any semblance of a plan.
BY Noah Davis and Ryan O'Hanlon Posted
June 07, 2013
11:00 AM
Noah Davis: Big game in Jamaica Friday night. Is it reasonable to expect three points?

Ryan O'Hanlon: I wouldn't "expect" anything with this team, but I think there's a decent chance they come away with a win.

Davis: Gosh, that's so specific of you. What's a decent chance?

O'Hanlon: Like, math?

Davis: You're the worst. I put win/draw/lose at 33/33/33 because nothing this United States team does surprises me anymore. Consistent, they are not.

O'Hanlon: I was actually gonna put win/tie a little higher, but now that I look at those numbers—you're missing a percentage point there, Pythagoras—I tend to agree. Am I rubbing off on you? They might win, tie, or lose!

Davis: That one percentage point is for cancellation caused by CONCACAF double booking The Office with the U.S.-Jamaica game and a Bob Marley Appreciation Concert/Fundraiser. Given CONCACAF's, errr, past history, one percent might be too low. But yes, it is a very O'Hanlon answer. I thought you'd be proud.

O'Hanlon: I just got a "tear" tattoo on my face so I remember this moment forever.

Davis: We've covered this before a bit, but it's remarkable how there's really no indication of how the team will play before the game starts. I mean, it's essentially the same group of guys, right? I would think they would have at least accidentally stumbled into some sort of default form by now.

O'Hanlon: Part of it, I think, is just the nature of National Teams and the the weird conditions of CONCACAF, I think, but it's also not totally a team we've seen before, right? The lineup  looks like it'll be substantially different from the last round of qualifiers. Although, the main guys are all still there, so you'd expect some cohesion, I guess, but outside of Michael Bradley, do you really know what you're getting, game to game, from, well, anyone?

Davis: But this isn't your U-12 team. These guys are professionals.

O'Hanlon: Sure, that is true, but how can you really expect anything consistent—not in a strict-results sense, but just in a what-we-see-on-the-field sense—when the team changes from game to game, and those games aren't even played all that frequently?

Davis: Well then maybe the team shouldn't change that much. I realize this is a "try everyone out" period, but that reaches a point of diminishing returns. Twenty-seven different Starting XIs in 27 games is a lot of freaking Starting XIs. That's on Mr. Klinsmann.

O'Hanlon: I agree; that number is a bit ridiculous, but, like, the USMNT isn't a normal situation, where you've got so many great players to choose from and can just settle on a certain group. Right now, you're right, I don't think the non-cohesion is helping the team—that's obvious—but maybe it pays off come the World Cup. I don't know, and I'm still not willing to put a stamp on it until they don't qualify or really stink it up next year.

Davis: It comes down to how you answer the question 'Does Jurgen Klinsmann have a plan?' Perhaps I am biased by the over-planned Bob Bradley era, but I'm not quite sure how I would answer that question.

O'Hanlon: The other day I realized that everyone wants to be German in soccer nowadays, and rightfully so. Their teams are the best, their league is healthy, their overhaul of the youth system was a huge success—and the U.S. has a German coach! Which should be a great thing! But it's never really looked at like that because we don't really know what he's doing. Not that he doesn't; it's just not easy to see.

Davis: You just realized that? Also, I thought we liked him when he was hired because he was good at soccer but also California cool. (Like you now, I suppose.) And no, Klinsmann is under no obligation to disclose his plans to us lowly onlookers. Frankly, I'd rather that he didn't. But I still can't help feeling like his plan is something along the lines of "maybe if I play enough combinations of players, one of them will sort of magically click" and/or "maybe I can play forward and get Beckenbauer to run the backline?"

O'Hanlon: I prefer the uncertainty because it makes it more fun. World Cup Qualifying is ultimately pretty stupid for the U.S. because it ends up being a formality—but at least we basically have no idea what's going to happen from game to game. He really could run out on to the field in injury time of a tie game, and I wouldn't be totally surprised. It also drives people crazy, which is also fun for me to watch.

Davis: I do like the chaos the uncertainty inspires. Let's wrap this up because our reader(s?)—(Hi mom!)—are bored. Prediction for Friday's match?

O'Hanlon: I'll say U-S-A. Two goals to one goal.

Davis: That's my prediction, too, which is no fun. I'll say goals from Ryan Johnson, Jermaine Jones, and Jurgen Klinsmann.

O'Hanlon: That would be fun. He'd get a yellow card for diving. Then score. And then get another yellow card for celebrating his goal too intensely. I'm in.

Davis: But could he coach the next game?

Noah Davis and Ryan O'Hanlon do this every week. There used to be cake.

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