After about 36 hours of letting the 3-2 loss to Chile really sink in, the Americans must be wondering how they let another one get away. They beat the Czech Republic 1-0 after a Round of 16 World Cup exit but the good news stopped there.
The USMNT drew against Ecuador and Honduras before losing the next two against Columbia (2-1) and Ireland (4-1) in dramatic fashion. Team USA looked good in the first half of both games before falling apart in the second half.
Jurgen Klinsmann and the USMNT had a similar problem on Wednesday as they took a 2-1 lead into halftime with Brek Shea and Jozy Altidore getting on the scoresheet early. But they didn't have the same luck in the second half, as two goals in transition saw Nick Rimando and the Team USA defense get pinned back.
The biggest problem for the USMNT seemed to be its new implementation of a 3-5-2. The midfield area of the field was the focus of the game and where former Akron players DeAndre Yedlin and Will Trapp were thrown in against Chile.
Yedlin started as a the more advanced winger on the right side, sitting in front of two defensive midfielders, at least that is what was supposed to happen. As a natural right back, it was strange to see Yedlin pushed so high on the teamsheet, but it looked like a pretty wise choice early on as the pacy winger got in behind Chile's back line multiple times.
What often didn't work out for Yedlin, who just signed for English Premier League team Tottenham Hotspur, was the defensive side of the game. Despite his speed, his man-marking was slightly at fault for the latter two goals for Chile as his inability to close down Marco Medel and Mark Gonzalez left his back line exposed.
While a three back pairing of Steve Birnbaum, Jermaine Jones and Matt Besler is not the strongest defensive pairing the USMNT could have used, it is still up to the wide midfeilders, like Yedlin, to track back and help defend the goal.
He may not have been much of a factor on the defensive end, but his contributions further up the pitch were fantastic. His service into the box was fantastic and his low cross-shot in the 14th minute almost found the onrushing Bobby Wood to double the lead but he played it about a foot to far. It was a mixed bag from Yedlin but he has the chance to put in a more-solid performance against Panama on Feb. 8.
Trapp also put in a very mixed performance. You could sense the nervousness for the Columbus Crew midfielder each time he touched the ball. He was substituted into the game in the 60th minute and received limited touches as the Chileans began to really press Team USA.
Six minutes after Trapp was subbed in, Chile equalized and looked the far superior team, stringing passes together and forcing the USMNT into multiple mistakes. This was not the ideal first-cap situation for Trapp and he will hope that if Klinsmann gives him another chance against Panama, he will be more calm on the ball.
All in all, it was a pretty pedestrian showing for the Akron products but against Panama, who currently rank No. 55 in the World FIFA Rankings, they should perform better with a game under their belts.