Jesse Marsch likes what he has seen from the United States national team over the past week, this as the group managed a hard-fought 1-1 tie at Panama on Tuesday night. The former national team assistant coach, now the head coach of the New York Red Bulls, sees progress happening with the national team.
Now under the direction of Bruce Arena, the United States won big on Friday night in a 6-0 result over Honduras and then scratched, clawed and perhaps was a bit fortunate in earning a draw at Panama. The string of results bumps the United States to fourth in CONCACAF’s World Cup qualifying standings, a marked improvement from a team that started the process with a home loss to Mexico and a drubbing at Costa Rica. Those results played a large part in getting Jurgen Klinsmann fired and bringing back Arena, who coached the United States in the World Cup in 2002 and 2006.
Arena’s current group, though battered with injuries, still did well to take a win and a draw in his first two qualifiers with the team.
“It wasn’t an easy game, it wasn’t the best quality game that the US has ever played. But what an important point, what an important point. Where they sit in the table, chasing Panama, the difference between Panama picking up three and not is huge,” Marsch said on Wednesday following Red Bulls training.
“Bruce has had an impact on that team. You can see the overall mentality of the US spirit, what those games need to feel like and look like, seems like it’s back. Overall, even though there are a lot of comments about it not being a great game, any of us who have been a part of these tough games in Central America know that it’s never easy and a point at this point is huge. So well done to them.”
Marsch who played for the United States national team, served several years under Bob Bradley with the program. Bradley’s national team won their group in the World Cup in 2010, the first time ever that the United States did that in the World Cup.