November 11, 2011
U.S. struggles again in 1-0 loss in France
SAINT-DENIS, France - The Juergen Klinsmann era has gotten off to a great thud and has been a dud in his first six games in guiding the United States.
The goal-hungry Americans lost and were blanked again in an international friendly on Friday, falling to France, 1-0, before a near-capacity crowd of 70,018 fans at Stade de France.
The lone goal came in the 72nd minute from substitute Loïc Rémy, who came on in the 64th minute. Eight minutes later, Rémy found some space behind the U.S. defense to finish smartly for the game-winner.
Since Klinsmann took over for the fired Bob Bradley in late July, the U.S. has a 1-4-1 record, scoring only twice and finishing on the short end of four clean sheets.
Playing without Landon Donovan, who opted out of the game to rest for LA Galaxy's appearance in next week's MLS Cup, the U.S. attack was virtually non-existent.
"From a technical perspective, the shape, working, and really finding a rhythm was good," Klinsmann said. "The real piece that was missing was scoring a goal. I told them at halftime 'guys, you can absolutely compete here. You can go for a win.' Obviously it was difficult after their goal.
"In these types of games, if you make one or two mistakes you get punished. It was still impressive how they came back. They pushed forward and were getting close. We made life very, very difficult for France, and they realized after 30 minutes there is a team that has a go at them. Obviously you want to score a couple of goals sooner or later, so I wish there was one or two."
An organized and spirited U.S. defense kept the speedy French bottled up for most of the game, so much so that the French fans voiced their disapproval as the halftime whistle blew.
U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra, who earned his 99th career cap, had several timely tackles and clearances, while in the seventh minute his center-back partner Clarence Goodson did well to run down Jérémy Ménez after he had burst into the penalty area.
The Americans looked a bit disjointed in the attack and what danger the USA did produce came mostly through striker Jozy Altidore in the first half. In the 20th minute, Altidore pulled off a nice turn toward goal in the penalty area and seemed to be taken down by French defender Laurent Koscielny.
In the 34th minute, Altidore shook free from two French defenders in left side of penalty area but fired his shot well left of the goal.
After holding off France, the U.S. defense finally broke in the 72nd minute on a ball played over the top of the back line by Marvin Martin. Rémy held off Goodson, who went to ground, giving the French attacker room to strike a hard shot just past goalkeeper Tim Howard and into the left side of the net from 12 yards.
Klinsmann made four changes during the match, sending on Jermaine Jones for Kyle Beckerman in the 65th minute and DaMarcus Beasley for Brek Shea and Fabian Johnson for Danny Williams in the 71st. It was the first cap for Johnson, who recently received approval from FIFA for a change of association to play for the United States. Edson Buddle also came on for Edu in the 76th minute.
France is preparing for the 2012 European Championships after having qualified on the final day of group play by virtue of a 1-1 tie with Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The U.S. will play its final match of the year at Slovenia on Tuesday for the first time since the 2-2 draw in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Bocanegra could earn his 100th cap in that encounter.