France dominant against the U.S.
France defeated the United States 1-0 Friday in the Americans' penultimate game of 2011. Here are five notes and trends coming out of the match.
• The U.S. men's national team drops to 1-4-1 under Jurgen Klinsmann, with all 4 losses by identical 1-0 scores. The loss assures the USMNT of its first losing calendar year since 1997.
• The U.S. has now lost all three matches it has played against France by a combined 10-0 score. It is winless in six straight matches versus European teams and has lost seven straight road games against European countries.
• The Americans were out-possessed the entire match by France. France finished with 411 passes completed to the U.S.'s 273. France also had much more possession in the attacking third, finishing with 101 passes completed in its final third compared to 59 for the U.S.
• France utilized this possession, particularly in the final third, to create excellent goal-scoring chances close to goal. France got off 25 shots from an average distance of 23 yards away from goal, compared to seven shots from the U.S. from an average of 33 yards away.
• The midfielders for the USMNT were particularly subpar. In the first half alone the U.S. midfield foursome (Kyle Beckerman, Maurice Edu, Daniel Williams and Brek Shea) completed 53 passes while the French midfield threesome (Franck Ribery, Yann M'Vila and Alou Diarra) completed 106. Controlling the midfield with one less body allowed the French to push more players into their attack, and conversely forced the U.S. back onto its heels. All four midfielders for the U.S. were replaced in the second half. The two forwards, four defenders and Tim Howard played the full match.
• One bright spot for the U.S. was the tireless work rate of forward Clint Dempsey. Dempsey drew a game-high five fouls against France, including two bookings. Entering the match Dempsey had drawn a total of four fouls in his first three games under Klinsmann.