After nearly four weeks of training camp, the U.S. men's national team played Canada to a 0-0 tie Tuesday in its first match of 2013. The best players on the field? A pair from north of the border who play for D.C. United: Dwayne De Rosario and Dejan Jakovic.
That's not a good sign for a supposedly deep U.S. team preparing for a 10-game final round of 2014 World Cup qualifying. Against Canada, former Maryland standouts Omar Gonzalez and Graham Zusi, along with Maryland-raised Kyle Beckerman, were decent enough, and Benny Feilhaber provided a second-half boost.
But for all of coach Jurgen Klinsmann's intention to get more out of his players, they appeared to have had their creativity coached right out of them. Klinsmann's own tactical indecision was on display, too.
Of course, it wasn't the first-choice team he will take to Honduras, but mediocrity on the sidelines has been as frequent in his tenure as it has been on the field. Wednesday's opener at Honduras will be as difficult as any road game during a slate that also includes visits to Mexico City and San Jose, Costa Rica.
"Just because you won a game in the World Cup in the knockout stage, you haven't won anything," Klinsmann told the Wall Street Journal last week -- a message for his players. He, of course, won a World Cup as a player and reached the semifinals coaching his native Germany. But until the United States qualifies for Brazil, in his current position he has achieved less than his players have.
- Craig Stouffer