New England Soccer Today

Jones & Nguyen See Action for USMNT


Jermaine Jones earned his fourth straight start at center back while Lee Nguyen came off the bench in the 79th minute during the United States’ 2-0 win over Panama in Sunday’s international friendly at the StubHub Center.

With Sunday’s match marking the conclusion of the U.S.’s winter camp, Jones and Nguyen are expected to join the Revolution for preseason preparations later this week.

Here are some quick hits about the Revolution’s representatives.

-At this juncture, any performance in which Jermaine Jones doesn’t attract scorn for his work at center back can only be viewed as a success. Even so, Sunday’s outing was Jones’ best showing on the backline to date. Yes, it probably helped that he wasn’t the sole center back in a 3-5-2 formation. And, OK, maybe it was only Panama, which featured a healthy dose of poor finishing in the final third. Regardless, Jones seemed to have a better rapport with Matt Besler, and the pair did well to keep their adversaries from breaking through the heart of the defense. He also resisted the temptation to get forward on a whim. He got a sniff at goal in the 60th minute when he shed his mark and snapped a Michael Bradley free kick on goal that flew right into Jaime Penedo’s mitts. Overall, it was a sound performance for the Revolution midfielder, who seems to slowly growing into his new role.

-What did this camp prove as far as Jones’ future goes? For starters, he shouldn’t be deployed as the sole center back in a 3-5-2. That just can’t happen again. As a player who’s still learning the nuances of his new position, his performance against an enterprising Chile selection was nothing short of a disaster. But paired with a capable center back in a four-man backline against a mild foe, the Revolution star seemed to gain confidence and, perhaps more importantly, wasn’t as tempted to push forward haphazardly. If Jones’ long-term future is indeed at center back, this camp set the wheels in motion.

-Nguyen replaced Miguel Ibarra late, and got a few touches in during his 11-minute cameo. But he made a bit of a boo-boo when he was dispossessed along the right in the 81st minute on a sequence that nearly saw Panama take advantage. His opportunities were few and far in between with the U.S., holding a two-goal lead, tapping the breaks late.

-While Nguyen has certainly proved himself at the club level, he didn’t quite distinguish himself during this camp – at least when the bullets were flying. He showed a couple of flashes against Chile, but was largely anonymous pitted against Panama. It’s hard to say whether Nguyen strengthened his case for more call-ups based on those performances.

#USMNT correct lineup: Rimando; Yedlin, Jones, Besler, Shea; Bradley, Diskerud; Zardes, Dempsey, Ibarra;

— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) February 8, 2015

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