Here are a couple truths to take away from the U.S. Men’s National Team’s 3-2 win over Iceland. 1) Yes, the USMNT winning will appear to some as if the team is heading in the right direction. 2) This win, great as it may be, doesn’t completely solve the USMNT’s problems.
Simply looking at the USMNT as a whole, they put forth a pretty good come from behind performance against a team qualified for Euro 2016. Especially since this USMNT lineup was very experimental with half the players not having much experience with the national team. Their 3-2 victory should be something to build on.
That is, until you discover that this wasn’t Iceland’s main lineup either and according to the shot stats, the USMNT should have beaten Iceland by more.
— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) January 31, 2016
But while the team sin’t going to solve their problems with just this game, there were some players who deserve praise for their performances.
First, the classic USMNT pairing of Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore were tremendous. Their first goal was a thing of beauty as Bradley slotted the ball right when Altidore got behind the defenders to get the ball and provide the kind of finishing skill fitting his talent.
While it won’t show in the record book, Altidore also provided a great ball to Steve Birnbaum to head to Michael Orozco to get his fourth goal as a USMNT player.
Steve Birnbaum also had a great game. In only his second appearance, he always seemed to be in the right place at the right time and while he is a defender, Birnbaum perfectly headed in a cross in the 90th minute to seal the win for the U.S. Men’s National Team.
Last, but not least, Jerome Kiesewetter looked like a natural in the red, white and blue. In his debut, Kiesewetter came on as a sub and really powered down the wing. It’s going to take some time, but Kiesewetter surely has given Jurgen Klinsmann the faith to give him some more playing time.
While this game doesn’t soothe fears about the USMNT’s performance at this year’s Copa America, there were some positives to take away and more positives from here in a game than in any game the previous six months. Next will be Canada on Friday and while they should be an easier opponent on paper, that may not actually be the case. Either way, a good performance Friday can at least get the team in positive spirits when they continue World Cup Qualifying later this year.