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USMNT Post-Mortem: What went wrong

Discussion in 'Breakfast with Gazza (with Sachmoneious Bullcrap)' started by Titans Bastard, Jun 5, 2018.

  1. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    There's another well-sourced WCQ post-mortem here that gets into the evolution of the USMNT locker room problems, among other things.

    To me what stands out is the triumvirate of guys who are totally incapable of acknowledging mistakes: Klinsmann, Arena, Gulati. Give me a leader with an ounce of self-awareness and the capacity to reflect on occasion.
     
  2. Mr Mulliner

    Mr Mulliner Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    What that article confirmed for me was that the Landon Donovan decision was the inflection point for Klinsmann. So, so many people around the team got butthurt about that decision. And whether that decision was right or wrong, when players felt their was a crack in the hierarchy, they bum rushed it with every complaint they had about tactics, morale, favoritism, playing time, etc.

    As with any organization, the second that leadership isn't 100% united, people start to exploit weaknesses, and then it's only a matter of time until it crashes down, especially for someone who is authoritarian and controversial, like Klinsmann.

    I still think he had the big picture stuff right re players needing to test themselves, MLS being a massive detriment to US Soccer development, no one feeling they were owed a place in the team, confidence to play big teams without immediately bunkering, etc..

    I've said this before here, but even when the US got results against decent teams in the past, it was from defending and set pieces only. We had NEVER won on European soil, and we played noting but kick and chase. Juergen needed a tactical helper, but I think a lot of things are still being blown out of proportion by former USMNT players, coaches, executives and the media members who have relationships with them who still think US Soccer was actually good under Arena the first time around.

    And to hold the Belgium game up as an example of failed philosophy is absurd. Yeah, were badly outplayed by one of the best teams in the world - there are only about 10 teams that wouldn't have been, and no one thinks the US is at that level. The difference was that, for awhile, we actually played a possession-oriented style against CONCACAF opponents instead of just 11 charlie-hustles with the touch and field awareness of 8 year olds.
     
  3. Cellar-Door

    Cellar-Door Member SoSH Member

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    One thing that stood out, nobody had a comprehensive plan. Gulati was flying solo, with only Flynn having any say in anything. They wanted to not give control to Klinsmann, but they had no goal for youth development for example themselves. Now Klinsy may have borked that given the chance, but saying... "nope, you can;t have that power" then just letting the youth development program rot in it's neverending stew of cash grabbing and carefully excluding clubs without the right levels of income and connection (ie everything but rich/middle class white kids) was idiotic and continues to this day.
    USMNT should make the World Cup every cycle, Gulati, Klinsmann and Arena all failed there, but it overshadows the real issue if USSF ever wants the US to be a real power which is that the culture of USSF is one that highlights profit and priviledge over everything else. The president serves his constituents, and his constituents are all about protecting themselves at all costs to ensure they wring as much profit and glory from the game as they can.
     
  4. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    The election this past winter sure shone some light on this. Those reps from state-level adult and youth organizations... it feels like in that particular niche of US soccer, nothing has changed since 1987. The things they cared about were just so disconnected from the issues that US soccer fans talk and care about.

    On an administrative level, Klinsmann can't do much other than cheerlead and spew sound bytes, but even if he had tried to do stuff as TD, he wouldn't have gotten very far. The GM job is shaping up to be a bust, too.
     
  5. Jed Zeppelin

    Jed Zeppelin Member SoSH Member

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    Feel like we’d never see a real reckoning until/unless we bomb out of 2026 early on home soil.
     
  6. Morgan's Magic Snowplow

    Morgan's Magic Snowplow Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Agreed. JK has a lot of faults but that article spends a lot of time blaming the trees in the hopes that readers will miss the forest with respect to the disfunction within US soccer that Klinsmann was trying to change (even if his reform attempts were not implemented well).

    There is also this weird and blatant whitewashing of Arena's results, making it seem like the T&T match was the only bad result and that he just didn't have enough time or margin for error given the situation he inherited. The team lost the first two matches but those were the 2nd (@CR) and 3rd (Mexico) toughest matches of the Hex, for which the expected points were very low. They then had eight matches under Arena, seven of which they had a good shot to win, and won only three of them.
     
  7. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Yeah, I think the article should have mentioned the dearth of talent born in the 1990s and how US Soccer and MLS contributed to that.

    I don't think that lets Klinsmann off the hook, as manager or as technical director. What exactly were his reform attempts, other than his rhetoric? I'm not saying he did bad things as technical director, I just think that he was TD in name only and rarely attempted to do anything at all. How did he engage with MLS academies? With the DA? With YNTs below the Olympic team? With grassroots development? With coaching development?
     
  8. Morgan's Magic Snowplow

    Morgan's Magic Snowplow Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    I'm won't defend JK on any of those counts - as you say, his reform attempts were much more rhetorical than substantive and the substance wasn't implemented all that well. My point is that the need for a reformer (even if he wasn't the right one) existed because the system was functioning poorly beforehand. It wasn't a case where JK was brought in and ruined a good thing that was working out well, which the article implies. Nor is it the case that the ship could have been righted if Bruce Arena had just been given enough time. As the hex showed, handing the reigns back to the Bruce Arenas of the world is likely to be a dead end for US soccer.
     
  9. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Okay, we agree on this.

    I still don't fully understand why the 1990-1994 birth years were so bad. It was a worse cohort than both the early 80s and late 80s.

    To put things in context, this cohort reached age 10 from 2000-2004, age 15 from 2005-2009, and age 20 from 2010 to 2014. One theory that I've heard is that the reorganization of the highest levels of US youth soccer into the Development Academy created a tumultuous situation that hurt development until things settled down. This occurred in the mid-2000s, when these players were in their early to mid teens. I haven't seen a lot of specific evidence to support or refute this thesis, though.

    Another thing that seems relevant is that MLS adopted its "homegrown player" rule in 2007 along with the creation of MLS academies. Especially in the early years, some MLS clubs signed players to professional contracts without having a real development plan for them. USL has since provided a stepping stone and clubs have spent a lot more time building a real pathway, but progress has been uneven across the league.

    A lot of the new talent coming through to the USMNT was born between 1997-2000. They turned 10 from 2007-2010, 15 from 2012-2015, and turned/will turn 20 between 2017-2020. This cohort looks a lot stronger. What about the developmental environment during this time period turned out so many better players?
     
  10. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    The USSF has an announcement scheduled for 2pm.
     
  11. Morgan's Magic Snowplow

    Morgan's Magic Snowplow Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    I don't have a good answer but I wouldn't rule out luck and statistical variance. Countries tend to go through Golden Generations followed by lean patches. Maybe we just didn't fully realize that those 1982-1989 birth year cohorts didn't only represent a leap forward in player development (although that was clearly part of it) but also riding the high side of variance, with negative regression inevitable afterward.

    Germany is an interesting comparison case because the time frames are very similar. When their recent Golden Generation emerged circa 2008-2014, there were many articles about how this reflected a concerted shift in youth development methods that focused more on technique and how the country would be this massive juggernaut now marrying classic German physicality and tactical acumen with the best technical soccer in the world, etc etc. But they haven't produced many top players with post-1990 birthdates at all, certainly nothing that compares with the Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Ozil, Muller, Kroos, Reus, Khedira, Gundogan, Boateng, Hummels, Neuer group from the 1980s. Of course, Germany's weak generations are much, much better than those of the US. But the inter-generational variance is at least as large.
     
    #11 Morgan's Magic Snowplow, Jun 6, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2018
  12. Infield Infidel

    Infield Infidel teaching korea american SoSH Member

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    Thank goodness. Ideally, he does so well at the start that they can't not eventually give him more control over the program.

    edit: or maybe he held out until they relented and gave him more say in youth and selecting a manager.
     
    #12 Infield Infidel, Jun 6, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2018
  13. coremiller

    coremiller Member SoSH Member

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    I think variance is a lot of it. France is another good example: a Golden Generation in the late 90s, followed by a trough in the mid 2000s, followed by another talent boom now (of the 20 outfield players on their world cup roster, 14 are 25 or younger). Were there significant changes in French player development practices over that time? Or is just flukey? Don't overfit the model.
     
  14. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Variation is probably part of it.

    It's also fair to say that 1982-83 in particular was a HUGE bumper crop (Donovan, Dempsey, Beasley, Onyewu, Convey, Beckerman) that papered over underproduction in other years and that also caused the USSF to draw some erroneous conclusions (e.g. "Bradenton is good!").

    1982: Donovan, Beasley, Onyewu, Beckerman, Gomez, Goodson
    1983: Dempsey, Convey, Clark, Wondolowski
    1984: Guzan, E. Johnson, Parkhurst
    1985: Cameron, Kljestan, Holden, Feilhaber, Findley, Evans
    1986: Davies, Spector, Edu, Zusi, Orozco, Castillo
    1987: Bradley, Bedoya, Besler, Torres, [F. Johnson], Ream
    1988: Gonzalez, Lichaj
    1989: Altidore, Adu, Villafaña


    There's a decline in among players born in the 1980s, but I'll chalk this up to variation. The best players from the late 80s (Bradley, Altidore) aren't as good as the best players from the early 80s (Donovan, Dempsey), but it's hard to draw massive conclusions from that.

    But then the early 1990s are just so much worse and while I'm cognizant of @coremiller's warning about overfitting a theory, check out the best players from this generation:

    1990: Nagbe, Hamid, Corona, Shea, Hedges, [Chandler], [Diskerud], [Dwyer], [Morales], [Johannsson]
    1991: Zardes, Garza, Rowe
    1992: Wood, Lletget, Agudelo
    1993: Yedlin, [Brooks], Trapp, Zimmerman, Parker, [Saief]
    1994: Morris, Bono (this year is sooooooo bad for some reason, there aren't even many decent MLS pros)

    If you made a best XI from all the players I've listed above based on their primes, the only US-developed player from the 1990-94 group who would make it is Yedlin. Granted, 1982-89 is eight years and 1990-1994 is five years, but the ratio is still bad.

    I'm sure there's some luck involved, but there has to be other things going on as well. The shittiness of the Bradenton model & its coaches, changes with the DA, endemic complacency among to players...I don't know.


    1995 has depth but not much high end talent. It will get a boost if Miazga and Steffen can emerge as NT first-stringers. 1996 is bad. 1997 and 1998 are good. 1999 probably won't be epic but should be okay, maybe better if a few players hit the jackpot on their potential. 2000 looks very solid. So we are on the upswing.

    Given the population and resources we have, there's really no reason why a solid year like 1985 shouldn't be the bare minimum. Crank out two EPL starters (RIP Holden's career), and some players who had their moments like Sacha and Benny. I believe that you can't control when the truly elite players will come around, but you can control the baseline and you can create the conditions so that elite players reach their potential when they do appear on the scene. There's no reason we should have years anywhere near 1994, when there just aren't many players who are even decent at soccer.

    Ultimately we need the soccer powers that be in this country (and I'm not just talking about USSF bureaucrats) to acknowledge that even 1982 type years are just scratching the surface given how many kids play soccer. Can you imagine how good the US could be if we had even 1/6 of the productivity of Iceland or Uruguay?
     
  15. 67YAZ

    67YAZ Member SoSH Member

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    I’m done with the postmortems. Organization evaluations are only meaningful to the extent that the organization is attempting to improve. Everything we have seen from USSF is recent months is that they are trying to appear to change while simultaneously maintaining petty fiefdoms and spheres of influence.

    As for the Missing Generation, variance is always at play when we’re talking about generating an infinitesimally small number of world class players from a massive population. But the the other question we need to ask is how optimal are the conditions to produce world class players? In general, these are elements such as: broad participation at young ages; rigorous and thorough talent identification; well designed, resourced, and differentiated development pathways; and opportunities for the highest performers to compete against others at the same and slightly better level of performance. To that extent, the rise of MLS and its homegrown rules during the 90s do throw a wrench into proceedings.
     
  16. Schnerres

    Schnerres Member SoSH Member

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    Hm.

    The eight guys from the 80s are superb players with experience at all kinds of competitions:
    Neuer(32), Hummels(29), Boateng(29), Khedira(31), Reus(29), Müller(28), Özil(29), Gomez(32).

    The other guys are also supertalented, great players with some of them with obviously less experience, but if you think about them in four years, they will be in that same superstars with experience group of 15 players:
    ter Stegen(26), Trapp(27), Ginter(24), Hector(28), Kimmich(23), Rüdiger(25), Süle(22), Plattenhardt(26), Brandt(22), Draxler(24), Goretzka(23), Gündogan(27), Kroos(28), Rudy(28), Werner(22).
    Half of those guys is already absolutely world-class and ready to play in a WC winning team. The other half can also be a starter in four years (think someone like Süle, Rüdiger when Boateng or Hummels could be too old or injured in 2, 4, 6 years). Players as Kroos, Kimmich, ter Stegen, Werner, Gündogan, Draxler, Hector will all get starting minutes (ter Stegen might not, but he´s a Top5 keeper right now) and they´re all born in the 90s. How has Germany not produced as many world-class players born in the 90s? It´s not true. Some don´t get the worldwide recognition (Süle, Werner, Hector, Kimmich especially). Those guys just lack some experience, but Kimmich is what Lahm was, for example.
     
  17. DennyDoyle'sBoil

    DennyDoyle'sBoil Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill SoSH Member

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    It’s just such a downer. After getting over the disappointment of failing to qualify the silver lining was that this had to be the catalyst for real change. Alas, no.

    Because there are ten games, I think that it can tend to mask just how narrow the margins are between qualifying and not qualifying. Focus naturally goes to the T&T game because of the dramatic way the last ten minute off CONCACAF played out. But results like the T&T game are always going to be part of the hex, and the idea that any one nation is so good that they are guaranteed results on the road in CONCACAF always has been a fallacy for as long as I’ve watched World Cup qualification and probably always will be.

    The truth of qualification in CONCACAF is this: You must take care of business at home. The end. If you don’t you are in trouble. You may get lucky if another team does you a favor or you may navigate the gauntlet of the five road games with enough skill to rescue yourself but you can’t count on it.

    The accurate way to analyze the U.S.A.‘s qualification bid, in my view, is that It lost it at home on the late Mexico header and the shit game against Costa Rica, and they failed to rescue those results with a better road performance.

    Results like T&T happen in CONCACAF and I don’t think they are reflective of some awful issue like all these retrospectives would have you believe, no matter what the teams’ relative rankings. T&T was tough at home and if they get to the hex next time they will be again no matter the teams’ rankings. Panama overcame losing there. Each of the other three teams that qualified got a result at home to Costa Rica and I think you could say in a literal sense that it was the difference that the USA did not.

    I don’t have an opinion anymore on who was at fault or wasn’t and I’ve stopped caring, but I think if we want to be accurate about where qualification was lost, using reasonably recent history of CONCACAF as a guide, it was lost at home to CRC and MEX.

    Edit: Typo
     
    #17 DennyDoyle'sBoil, Jun 6, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2018
  18. Morgan's Magic Snowplow

    Morgan's Magic Snowplow Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Partly it just depends where you draw the (arbitrary) line: I was looking at 1991 onward and putting Gundogan and Kroos in the older group and that younger generation doesn't look so good without them.

    I'm sure some of the younger players will develop really well but I don't think its a stretch to say there is a substantial gap between them and the older generation of players. Players like Ozil, Muller, Lahm, Neuer, Schweinsteiger, Kroos, and Reus all had multiyear runs where they had legitimate claims to being among the very best handful of players in the world at their respective positions. I can see a player like Kimmich having that kind of success, and maybe Ter Stegen too, but would be surprised if it happened for the likes of Draxler, Werner, and Brandt. They look like fine players but its just really hard to reach that next level where you're truly among the best in the world.
     
  19. OilCanShotTupac

    OilCanShotTupac Sunny von Bulow Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    a WAG: the early 80's and following was the time of ascendancy of the NBA, with Sixers/Erving - Celtics/Bird - Lakers/Magic, leading then into Jordan's Bulls and the Bad Boys Pistons. Maybe a larger percentage of the player pool got diverted into hoops at the expense of soccer development? In 1985 the NBA was orders of magnitude more popular than in 1975, so it would make sense if more kids in the mid-80's got pulled into basketball, even recreationally. I know I did and I was terrible (at everything, but I chose to be terrible at basketball). That would have affected this cohort.
     
    #19 OilCanShotTupac, Jun 6, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2018
  20. Morgan's Magic Snowplow

    Morgan's Magic Snowplow Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    I hear what you're saying about away matches being very difficult. At the same time, all the matches count equally, in the prior three hexes we earned seven points from away matches each time, and this cycle we earned three away points. So I think you could fairly say that we failed to qualify because we stunk both at home and away.
     
  21. DennyDoyle'sBoil

    DennyDoyle'sBoil Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill SoSH Member

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    Yeah, 12 points is disappointing no matter how you cut it. But it's not awful. And something that can happen even to a decent team. I was more trying to make the point that three road points isn't necessarily to me a beacon of dysfunction that people want to make it. Going into any CONCACAF qualification last round, if you offered me five road points I'd take it every time. I just think some of the retrospective what-went-wrong pieces act as though the T&T game was the problem and declare "the US has to be able to beat shitty teams like T&T." Good teams can lose down there, and 12 is a lot of points for a fifth place CONCACAF finisher in the final round. It was a perfect storm. The margins are pretty thin.

    Anyway, I don't even remember what my point was other than to say that I hate that that game is kind of becoming the focal point of "what went wrong," when that distracts from the real issues -- a point I guess that pretty much anyone who posts in breakfast with gazza on a regular basis already understands and agrees with.
     
  22. Kliq

    Kliq Member SoSH Member

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    Was the only anonymous source for that Ringer article Arena himself? It's very favorable to a man who grossly underachieved with the squad, even if he started off with a weak hand.

    I know it's been said by a lot of people, but I do want to say it again: For all the (necessary) talk about the needed improvements in player development from the youth game on up; the US did not miss the World Cup because they were not talented enough. The US has much, much more talent than Trinidad, Honduras and Panama, even with their disappointing squad. The reason the US failed to qualify was because the players (and the coaching staff) played terribly and underachieved. Those are the people directly accountable.
     
  23. Saints Rest

    Saints Rest Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    An interesting theory, but it would only hold if the other major sports also suffered as well. It's like competition in business, ABC's competitors aren't just NBC, CBS, and Fox, it's also movies, the internet, gaming, etc.

    It would be interesting to see if there is any such effect on the NFL, MLB and/or NHL at the appropriate number of years after the NBA hit it's zenith (which I think might be more driven by the ascendancy of Jordan vs Bird/Magic, but YMMV). Or maybe when MLB maxed out (McGwire/Sosa/Bonds?) or the NFL (Brady/Manning?).
     
  24. DennyDoyle'sBoil

    DennyDoyle'sBoil Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill SoSH Member

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    I guess one of the points that I'm trying to make is that I actually don't think the USA played terribly. Underachieved, yes. The final round of CONCACAF qualification is probably my favorite thing in sports. It is a grueling grind and it's decided on these tiny moment where the margins are razor thin, and for years I've always sort of wondered, "why does it seem to work out that the cream rises to the top, it seems like all it would take is a small series of events to keep the best teams out." And then 2014 happened and we saw that yes, that is the case. Mexico was two minutes from being out. This time, something I thought always could happen, did. And it took about five different things all going against the US.

    But I would submit that the 2018 version of the final round didn't actually look to me all that materially different from other years. The difference was in the results -- other than the two Costa Rica games which were obviously poor. (Though, actually, the second game was decent and in the end came down to some heroics by Navas.) Take the first Mexico game -- the US looked overmatched at times but that game was not that different from many games that we've seen over and over in the hex where it's the US that got the header just before the final whistle. The hex is always a difficult grind where depth, yellow cards, injuries, timing, schedule and so many other things can matter. I'd put the game the USA played in Orlando, just before the T&T game, as one of the most transcendant, joyous wonderful soccer moments I can remember from any hex. They just had no margin for error and that's footie.

    Again, I don't know exactly what my point is. Other than that the hex is really hard. For as much as everyone wants to say that the USA and Mexico have a cakewalk to the world cup all the time it's not as hard as people pretend to be last man out. (Though if the field goes to 48, I suppose the hex loses much of its suspense.)
     
  25. OilCanShotTupac

    OilCanShotTupac Sunny von Bulow Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Also- as has been noted elsewhere, not just here - Panama, Honduras, Jamaica, T&T, etc. have been improving. These second- and third-tier CONCACAF countries have increasing numbers in MLS and elsewhere, getting good experience. (How Everton couldn't do better at LB than Cuco Martina of Curacao for 2/3 of a PL season makes me sob into my pillow, but I digress). So in a cycle where USA backslid*, these other sides were juuuust better enough to make it harder to qualify.

    *No one is going to dispute that USMNT for the 2018 WC was worse than the 2014 edition, correct?
     
  26. Kliq

    Kliq Member SoSH Member

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    I agree that the margin of error is thinner than people think. Italy falls to Sweden in a playoff thanks to a deflected goal and they miss the WC and it’s an unthinkable crisis; yet had they gotten a penalty call or that deflected shot have sailed a few feet to the right and missed; they would just be another global power that struggled during qualifying and people would be picking them to make the knockout stage. The same could be said if Omar Gonzalez didn’t score that freak own goal.

    I also think people do underestimate how difficult it is to play these road games in CONCACAF. If it’s during the club season the European club players are flying across the world; it’s in a second class stadium with bad security and shoddy refereeing. I think it was the Costa Rica game where the US played the game at like; 2 pm local time on a weekday because that was when the humidity would be the worse. Yeah the teams don’t have the talent of most UEFA or SA sides, but the conditions make it much more difficult than it looks on paper.
     
  27. DennyDoyle'sBoil

    DennyDoyle'sBoil Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill SoSH Member

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    Nope, I don't think it's objectively debatable. Though I think the half of the game that gets far more than half of the attention -- the offense and attack -- was roughly on par. The difference was the backline and the decline from elite to less than elite goalkeeping that made the difference. Only three clean sheets in the hex and three games allowing multiple goals put the team in a difficult spot.

    You make a good point about the second tier. The other thing is that the upper tier was better and made it harder to nick points -- whatever the rankings, Mexico was significantly better in 2018 than 2014 and add in that Costa Rica was not only better but also has the one thing that can win a soccer game by itself -- a transcendent goalkeeper -- and there you are.
     
  28. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Oh, the 2018 team was definitely going 3-and-out in Russia if they had made it. Jozy would be out and we'd be debating the choice of whether or not to bring Josh Sargent, he of zero professional appearances. (And it wouldn't even be a silly debate.)

    The second tier of CONCACAF may be getting better, but let's not romanticize T&T. They sucked in the Hex AND they didn't even field anything close to their best team. We complain about talent that can't progress past MLS. T&T started multiple players who couldn't even hack it as backups in MLS. (I guess they did have to play for the F-U to the USMNT for ripping their hearts out in 1989.)

    Ugh, why am I even reliving this.
     
  29. Kliq

    Kliq Member SoSH Member

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    You know I hadn’t watched the highlights of the T & T game since it happened and I was reminded in that Ringer piece just how ridiculous that Gonzalez goal was. He couldn’t have screwed it up more if he tried. He took a routine clearance and turned it into a howler. Gonzalez has been shaky throughout his entire USMNT career and really shouldn’t be out there at all. Maybe if injuries had decimated the position and you were desperate; but Arena had a veteran; EPL-tested CB on his roster and he didn’t use him.
     
  30. DennyDoyle'sBoil

    DennyDoyle'sBoil Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill SoSH Member

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    Yeah, I mean I don't want to be suggesting that there are excuses for losing that game especially when we only needed a point. Other than the excuse that you should be able to overcome a single what the fuck game in the hex. Shitty Jamaica getting a result in Azteca, or whatever. It happens. The US had just left itself with no margin. But what's kind of remarkable is to look back at all of those late injury time headers that allowed the US to rise above the prior WTF moments in previous tournaments.

    The Gonzalez own goal probably stands out as the goal of the tournament that screwed the USA in the end this time around but I would also make a case for the late goal in Columbus in the first matchday. That's the fucking goal that we just never give up. To be sure, there have been some very close calls, like balls finding woodwork or Costa Rica being a fingernail offside in the snow. For whatever -- 5 concacaf final rounds -- it's been the USA that scores that goal. And actually, that's when I thought things had turned -- when Wood scored the late goal for a result in Honduras. But in the end the goal that did us in was the late goal in Columbus in the very first matchday that we fucking never allow. That was it. No margin after that.

    You want to drive yourself crazy, how about the injury time goal (or close to it) that Torres gets to draw level to Honduras in the middle matchdays. Honduras had that game won, and if that result goes the other way the USA probably gets the playoff at least.
     
  31. teddykgb

    teddykgb Member SoSH Member

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    The thing that continues to drive me mad about all these post mortems is the continued insistence that it was team spirit/focus/effort that went wrong. There's little doubt that there was something there given how much everyone is blabbing about it (even if often in contradictory ways) but making that point seems to force people to gloss over how bad the football was. I watched almost every match of qualifying and it was very seldom anything but hard, brutish unattractive football. Pretty much the only thing that salvaged the whole run was Pulisic becoming old enough to force his way into the setup and add some creativity to an otherwise uninspired mess. Regardless of coach, the skill and talent were poor. And while the players may play in better leagues and make higher salaries, they weren't leagues above their opponents in their ability to actually play the sport. They were consistently matched for speed, strength, and skill. As the GK and defense slipped they conceded and lost.

    All of this happens. CONCACAF qualifying is very difficult, as mentioned above. But it's so stupidly American to lose like this and cry that we just needed to try harder and pull for each other more and things would have been different. Reading that quote from Bedoya in a previous article about how he couldn't believe what he was watching and knew it wouldn't happen if he were out there sent me into a rage. I've watched Bedoya play for the USMNT for several years now. He's a fine player, but he's not such a fine player that he can be in the business of guaranteeing outcomes. He, like many in his cohort, has his good and bad days and has things he's good at and not good at. They've lost plenty of matches they should have won while Bedoya was out there.

    So for me, I'm fine with the idea of the post mortem digging deeper into what happened but fear we aren't learning the right lessons. Arena gets off far too lightly and as people are saying there's no time spent on WHY JK wanted to do so much reforming or any exploration into whether it was really dumb that reformation never happened. It is clear that JK lost a significant set of his players, and that makes firing him far more important to have done, and I couldn't help but wonder whether we should have just given him TD only and let him hire a coach. The whole thing probably would have gone over much better although in my heart of hearts i still believe the necessary talent just wasn't there. Lots of useful individual pieces but they just never had the right mix to consistently create and finish chances nor did they have the rock solid back line to get away with that limitation.
     
  32. Mr Mulliner

    Mr Mulliner Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    721
    Has anyone else listened to "American Fiasco", Rog Bennett's podcast on the 1998 team?

    In addition to having non-soccer people in charge of US Soccer (sound familiar?), and the resulting clear idiocy of having Steve Sampson as coach, what really stuck out was the nearly incomprehensible entitlement and arrogance of that generation of players, most specifically Lalas, Balboa, Agoos, Wynalda.

    They firmly believed that their starting spots on the team should have been ironclad, that they deserved it because they were AMERICAN and could win just out of sheer will and confidence. The reaction to David Regis being brought in is the clear bell that echoes with their comments in the last few years about German players.

    Veterans who didn't work as hard as they could who got dropped shows exactly why those same guys lost their minds when Landon was cut. Another echo.

    Their coach was an idiot, and in WAY above his head, but the players flipping out about being isolated for 2 weeks prior to the start of the tournament, their open mutiny after the Germany game and how they performed after that is really damning for everyone.

    I can't get over hearing Lalas say that Sampson called him to tell him he would be on the World Cup roster, but asking if he would cause problems if he wasn't starting - Lalas told him no, but immediately admits he was lying, and knew that he would, in fact, cause all the problems he could. He admits, and reading between the lines for all those guys throughout the 10 episodes this wasn't just him, that he bought into the hype post 94, and truly thought he was a world class player, despite literally no objective evidence to back that up. No humility, no understanding that a bunch of coddled American "stars" had never had to earn and fight for playing time at anything close to an elite level. But, they wanted the girls, the money, the fame and the playing time and would throw hissy fits if they didn't get them.

    I've harbored a burning hatred for Alexi for years - his contributions to this project affirmed everything I thought, and made me realize I'd underestimated exactly how awful he is.

    And now this same group are the ones who, in large part, dictate the discussion on US Soccer today. When all of their faults seem to be what cracked the US team 20 years later, it isn't just a coincidence.

    I will say - one thing that surprised me was the Harkes sleeping with Wynalda's wife discussion. Not that I wasn't aware of it, but hearing Wynalda say he, and everyone else except Sampson, wanted Harkes to stay on the team in spite of it, was interesting to hear.

    Anyway, if you haven't listened to it, do it.
     
  33. EP Sox Fan

    EP Sox Fan Member SoSH Member

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    1,376
    Alexi Lalas and Jeff Fucking Agoos. The two USMNT players I loathed above all others. Lalas was a star only because US Soccer thought he was marketable. That I now have to endure him as a talking head feels like a double whammy. I'm sure he's good at something, but soccer and commentating...not so much.
     
  34. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    8,974
    My wife, who knew very little about soccer prior to meeting me, announced that she hated Alexi Lalas about 10 mins into the first Lalas-involved broadcast she saw.

    He was an epic failure as an MLS executive and now has settled into his role of resident troll/provocateur that the soccer media honchos have decided should exist.
     
  35. Mr Mulliner

    Mr Mulliner Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

    Messages:
    721
    And Agoos is SVP of On-Field Competition for MLS. Whatever that means.

    Either way, these dipshits have their fingerprints all over soccer in this country. And they’re in the ears of current players, there is no question.
     
  36. DrewDawg

    DrewDawg Dorito Dink SoSH Member

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    30,214
    It's awesome that Lalas the commentator would completely rip Lalas the player.

    And somehow make me defend Lalas the player.
     
  37. Spacemans Bong

    Spacemans Bong chapeau rose SoSH Member

    Messages:
    17,764
    Listening now - this is sensational. Way, way, way better than Nando Vila's We Came To Win podcast, which seems to be targeted mainly at people who don't know anything about soccer.

    I have very good memories of the mid-to-late 90s in US soccer, though I wasn't privy to the gossip about Harkes and Wynalda, and 1998 was probably more traumatic than 2018 in terms of "Oh shit, are we going back to the Dark ages?" The game is strong enough to withstand that now, back then not so much.
     
  38. Spacemans Bong

    Spacemans Bong chapeau rose SoSH Member

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    17,764
    Also, Frankie Hejduk sounds and acts exactly like I expected.
     
  39. SoxFanInCali

    SoxFanInCali has the rich, deep voice of a god and the penis of Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    10,785








    If Landon wants to make a few bucks by holding up a green scarf, then fine. But basically telling Boca that he should root for El Tri or it means he hates Mexicans misses the point badly.
     
  40. cromulence

    cromulence Member SoSH Member

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    3,980
    Weak shit from Landon, but what else is new?
     
  41. Silverdude2167

    Silverdude2167 Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    1,984
    I am tired of think pieces about this team where the source is clearly just Arena. Fuck Bruce Arena, I am 100% confident that the US qualifies if JK was still the coach.

    Instead, I now get to be sad watching the world cup and so many shitty teams without a shitty team to root for.
     
  42. Spacemans Bong

    Spacemans Bong chapeau rose SoSH Member

    Messages:
    17,764
    The amount of Mexicans cheering on some balding gringo telling an actual Mexican-American how to think is despicable.
     
  43. Reverend

    Reverend for king and country Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    36,858
     
  44. Spacemans Bong

    Spacemans Bong chapeau rose SoSH Member

    Messages:
    17,764
    I'm struggling to put into words how enraged that meme makes me feel. I'm just gonna do it Left Twitter style.

    tag urself - i'm the person who thinks choosing the most stylish packaging of the consumer product is woke
     
  45. Vegas Sox Fan

    Vegas Sox Fan Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    1,219
    Especially ironic that when asked about Mexico in 2005 he let this one go.

    "I don't like their talking," Donovan said. "I don't like their mannerisms. I don't like the way they treat us, the way they don't respect us. The way they treat us sometimes, you want them to be miserable. And the best way to make them miserable is to beat their national team. That's devastating to them.

    "I think that's what angers them about us, because we have lives beyond soccer and many of them don't . . . That's why they talk and say the things they do, because they can't do it on the field."
     
  46. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

    Messages:
    19,280
    For posterity's sake: the two teams that made it over the US, Costa Rica and Panama, combined to go 0-5-1 with 4 GF and 16 GA. I have no idea if the US would have done better but damn is that depressing.
     
  47. Domer

    Domer Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter SoSH Member

    Messages:
    3,333
    Can't really count it, but Australia, who beat out Honduras for Concacaf's half spot, was 0-2-1.
     
  48. speedracer

    speedracer Member SoSH Member

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    2,316
    I'd have loved to have seen what our 2018 side could have done, but the sides we trotted out in qualifying that had Gonzo and Besler at CB and Darlington Nagbe at CAM would have gotten crushed in any group in this tournament.
     

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