Curb Your Enthusiasm: US Youth National Teams, Prospect Hype, and Youth Development Thread [The DA is DEAD updates]

67YAZ

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McKenzie to Genk, no fee disclosed yet.

Belgium is a good destination for young players. It’s a competitive league that recruits widely and is scouted heavily by the Big 5. McKenzie will bring Genk’s nationality representation up to 13 countries. They’ve also sold 5 players for £10m+ - 2 of those for £20m+ - in the past 2 years. It’s going to be a lot of competition, but should be plenty of opportunity to get in the first team, too.

Edit - a little more digging shows that in the last 3 years, Genk has sent 4 players to Serie A, 3 to the EPL, 2 to Bundesliga, and 1 to La Liga. Three of those Serie A transfers were to Atalanta...having an American there would be a ton of fun...
 
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Titans Bastard

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McKenzie to Genk, no fee disclosed yet.

Belgium is a good destination for young players. It’s a competitive league that recruits widely and is scouted heavily by the Big 5. McKenzie will bring Genk’s nationality representation up to 13 countries. They’ve also sold 5 players for £10m+ - 2 of those for £20m+ - in the past 2 years. It’s going to be a lot of competition, but should be plenty of opportunity to get in the first team, too.

Edit - a little more digging shows that in the last 3 years, Genk has sent 4 players to Serie A, 3 to the EPL, 2 to Bundesliga, and 1 to La Liga. Three of those Serie A transfers were to Atalanta...having an American there would be a ton of fun...
In the article Tannenwald said that Celtic's bid of $4m was rejected so he thinks the fee Genk will pay is higher.

Agree that this is a good move for McKenzie.

The Dutch league and Belgian league are good platforms to use to move to the Big Five, but IMO you are only going to get so many of these transfers from MLS. A majority of clubs in both the Eredivisie and the Jupiler league are financial weaklings compared to MLS clubs and couldn't possibly afford to pay a reasonable fee for solid American prospects. Smaller Dutch clubs would have a hard time simply justifying an American's wages given the high salary minimum for non-EU players in th Netherlands. (Someone like Luca de la Torre is only at Heracles Almelo right now because he has an Italian passport and isn't subject to such rules.)

It has to be prospect like McKenzie, who is (a) good enough to be in demand for the better Low Countries clubs who can actually afford him, (b) not so good that these clubs will definitely be outbid by Big Five teams.
 

67YAZ

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In the article Tannenwald said that Celtic's bid of $4m was rejected so he thinks the fee Genk will pay is higher.

Agree that this is a good move for McKenzie.

The Dutch league and Belgian league are good platforms to use to move to the Big Five, but IMO you are only going to get so many of these transfers from MLS. A majority of clubs in both the Eredivisie and the Jupiler league are financial weaklings compared to MLS clubs and couldn't possibly afford to pay a reasonable fee for solid American prospects. Smaller Dutch clubs would have a hard time simply justifying an American's wages given the high salary minimum for non-EU players in th Netherlands. (Someone like Luca de la Torre is only at Heracles Almelo right now because he has an Italian passport and isn't subject to such rules.)

It has to be prospect like McKenzie, who is (a) good enough to be in demand for the better Low Countries clubs who can actually afford him, (b) not so good that these clubs will definitely be outbid by Big Five teams.
Forgot that Toronto bought Pozuelo from Genk a couple years ago for €9m. Some nice dealing with MLS here for Genk, and interesting to watch MLS position in the global transfer hierarchy evolve.
 

Titans Bastard

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Interestingly, Toronto bought Pozuelo by activating his release clause and Genk were NOT happy about losing him (since it was February and they couldn't buy a replacement when they had a legitimate title run going) and they tried to reject the release clause by claiming he had made some sort of binding verbal agreement to stay through the end of the season. "Binding verbal agreement" isn't really a thing obviously, so he would up in Toronto, but it wasn't a harmonious or simple transaction.
 

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RSL signed goalkeeper Jeff Dewsnup '04 to an MLS deal. He'd have been one of the contenders to start with the U17 national team had the WC not been canceled. Hopefully David Ochoa wins the starting role next year and Dewsnup starts for their USL team.

rsl.com/post/2021/01/11/rsl-signs-rsl-academy-goalkeeper-jeff-dewsnup
 

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In the article Tannenwald said that Celtic's bid of $4m was rejected so he thinks the fee Genk will pay is higher.

Agree that this is a good move for McKenzie.

The Dutch league and Belgian league are good platforms to use to move to the Big Five, but IMO you are only going to get so many of these transfers from MLS. A majority of clubs in both the Eredivisie and the Jupiler league are financial weaklings compared to MLS clubs and couldn't possibly afford to pay a reasonable fee for solid American prospects. Smaller Dutch clubs would have a hard time simply justifying an American's wages given the high salary minimum for non-EU players in th Netherlands. (Someone like Luca de la Torre is only at Heracles Almelo right now because he has an Italian passport and isn't subject to such rules.)

It has to be prospect like McKenzie, who is (a) good enough to be in demand for the better Low Countries clubs who can actually afford him, (b) not so good that these clubs will definitely be outbid by Big Five teams.
And possibly (c) young enough with upside that they can potentially flip him to a Big 5 team in 1-2 years.
 

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LA Galaxy signed Adam Saldana to an MLS deal. At 18, he's accumulated a solid amount of USL experience playing DM. Probably not much of a USMNT prospect, but he was on the last U17 team as part of a relatively shallow pool at CM among the 2002s. (Though it must be said that the '02 CM pool looks more than a bit better if Musah stays in the fold.)

https://www.lagalaxy.com/post/2021/01/19/la-galaxy-sign-midfielder-adam-salda
Anyway, LA Galaxy II didn't get any hype last year because the work that Philly and Dallas are doing get more attention. But Los Dos was the only MLS reserve team to make the playoffs, and they did so with a very young lineup. Ives Galarcep is reporting that they have signed a couple of '03s from that team and will announce them soon. Really hoping that with Vanney on board they do a better job of getting kids opportunities, both on a game-by-game basis and also from a roster construction standpoint.
 

Titans Bastard

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LA Galaxy signed another youngster, center back Jalen Neal. He's part of a strong '03 class and is one to watch. I suspect they will roll out one or two more this week as well.

https://www.lagalaxy.com/post/2021/01/20/la-galaxy-sign-defender-jalen-neal

KC signed three players:

- attacking midfielder Grayson Barber '00, who is coming off success with Clemson
- GK Brooks Thompson '02, who they previously had under contract in USL
- forward Ozzie Cisneros '04, who I've never heard of before

None of the three are actually from the KC area, which is common with KC academy signings. They recruit well.

https://www.sportingkc.com/post/2021/01/20/sporting-kc-signs-academy-products-grayson-barber-ozzie-cisneros-and-brooks-thompson
 

Titans Bastard

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https://www.intermiamicf.com/en/post/2021/01/26/inter-miami-cf-signs-academy-products-edison-azcona-and-ian-fray-homegrown-players
Miami signed two more academy kids. They are a couple of years older than Felipe Valencia, but still pretty young and still played a solid amount in USL1 last year.

Ian Fray '02 - a CB who has gotten minimal hype or attention.
Edison Azcona '03 - a winger with a bit of a higher profile; however, he is a dual national who just made his debut for the full Dominican Republic national team last month. He's not tied to them but the reality is that some reasonably interesting prospects are going to go elsewhere over the coming years.
 

Titans Bastard

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The U23 qualifier schedule is out. All matches are in Guadalajara.

3/18 vs. Costa Rica
3/21 vs. Dominican Republic
3/24 vs. Mexico

3/28 SF

3/30 F

We have to reach the final to qualify. The pool of available players has shrunk a bit with the sales of McKenzie, Aaronson, and Reynolds, and the loan of Dike.

Being in the same group as Costa Rica and Mexico is tough, but we'd probably have to beat one of them anyway and I'd rather have a tougher group and a slightly easier SF matchup. That said, I'm not sure that Costa Rica is as good now as they've been over the last 15 years. But CONCACAF youth tournaments always have a lot of unknowns.


View: https://twitter.com/SoccerInsider/status/1357760316772384773
 

Titans Bastard

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NYRB signed Bento Estrela '06. He's the fourth youngest signing in MLS history.

Estrela has a Portuguese passport, so NYRB likely wanted to lock him down before he got close enough to his 16th birthday to start thinking about skipping off to Europe. Estrela is CM who is reportedly very physically mature for his age, so he'll probably be with the U19s or maybe even the USL team at times this year.

https://www.newyorkredbulls.com/post/2021/02/09/new-york-red-bulls-sign-academy-product-bento-estrela
 

Titans Bastard

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A giant 48-man Olympic qualifying preliminary roster was submitted to CONCACAF. It's totally nonbinding, but there aren't many reasons to expect that Kreis and the USSF will engage in any funny business or subterfuge.

There aren't that many big storylines that can come out of such an inclusive roster dump because none of the difficult decisions that face Kreis have been made public yet. A few noteworthy things are:

1) There are very few Euro-based players and Kreis has publicly acknowledged that they won't secure the releases of almost anybody from across the pond. Llanez is the best possibility because he's having an awful year on loan at Heerenveen, who aren't very happy with him and don't care about him at this point. He's in the US at the moment due to a personal matter. It sounds like Johnny Cardoso could be available, but I'm not sure if there will be room for both him and Andres Perea.
2) Ayo Akinola does not appear on either the US or the Canada rosters. Supposedly he has an injury but he's obviously doing a lot of fence-sitting right now. I don't really blame him, as there are a ton of US forward prospects who haven't yet differentiated themselves all that much.
3) Efra Alvarez appears on both the US and Mexico rosters. He'd need to quickly file a one-time switch to play for the US. If he plays for Mexico, nothing really changes — he'd still be provisionally cap-tied to El Tri.

https://mcusercontent.com/78d3589fb61466b549ff752e5/files/6d38119e-be56-4a2b-b461-387ad3f10f46/Preliminary_Rosters_MOQ.pdf
 

Titans Bastard

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The USSF announced the roster for the pre-qualifying U23 camp. There are 31 players, but the list will be pared down to 20 by the time the tournament begins.

GK
Matt Freese '98 (Philadelphia)
Jonathan Klinsmann '97 (LA Galaxy)
J.T. Marcinkowski '97 (San Jose)
David Ochoa '01 (RSL)

RB
Julian Araujo '01 (LA Galaxy)
Aaron Herrera '97 (RSL)

CB
Justen Glad '97 (RSL)
Henry Kessler '98 (New England)
Mauricio Pineda '97 (Chicago)
Miles Robinson '97 (Atlanta)
Auston Trusty '98 (Colorado)

LB
George Bello '02 (Atlanta)
Marco Farfan '98 (LAFC)
Sam Vines '99 (Colorado)

CM
Frankie Amaya '00 (Cincinnati)
Cole Bassett '01 (Colorado)
Johnny Cardoso '01 (Internacional)
Hassani Dotson '97 (Minnesota)
Andres Perea '00 (Orlando)
Tanner Tessmann '01 (Dallas)
Eryk Williamson '97 (Portland)
Jackson Yueill '97 (San Jose)

Wingers
Brooks Lennon '97 (Atlanta)
Jonathan Lewis '97 (Colorado)
Uly Llanez '01 (Heerenveen)
Benji Michel '97 (Orlando)
Djordje Mihailovic '98 (Montreal)
Sebastian Saucedo '97 (Pumas)

FW
Jesus Ferreira '00 (Dallas)
Ricardo Pepi '03 (Dallas)
Sebastian Soto '00 (Norwich City)


There appears to be some sort of miscommunication surrounding the three Atlanta players. The local beat reporter is saying that Robinson, Bello, and Lennon will NOT be released. The U23s will overlap with the beginning of Atlanta's CCL first leg match. Furthermore, Atlanta has been generally hostile to releasing players for YNT camps since Miles Robinson got hurt on NT duty. C'mon, Carlos Bocanegra!

View: https://twitter.com/DougRobersonAJC/status/1366445141293215744
 

Domer

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There appears to be some sort of miscommunication surrounding the three Atlanta players. The local beat reporter is saying that Robinson, Bello, and Lennon will NOT be released. The U23s will overlap with the beginning of Atlanta's CCL first leg match. Furthermore, Atlanta has been generally hostile to releasing players for YNT camps since Miles Robinson got hurt on NT duty. C'mon, Carlos Bocanegra!

View: https://twitter.com/DougRobersonAJC/status/1366445141293215744
So the USSF gifts the five stripes a spot in the CCL (through zero sporting merit) and they repay US Soccer by kneecapping our Olympic team? Get bent.
 

Titans Bastard

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More Rapids:

Oliver Larraz '01, a local academy midfielder.

https://www.coloradorapids.com/post/2021/03/03/colorado-rapids-sign-midfielder-oliver-larraz-homegrown-player-contract
Michael Edwards '00, a former DC United center back who spent a bit of time in the Wolfsburg system. They traded to get his academy rights from DC.

https://www.coloradorapids.com/post/2021/03/03/colorado-rapids-sign-us-youth-international-michael-edwards-homegrown-player
Dantouma "Yaya" Toure '04, a former NYRB academy winger. Like with Edwards, the Rapids had to trade for his rights. Toure was at times characterized as one of the top prospects of the 2004 class. He lost time due to an ACL tear a year or two ago, but he has since recovered. He's rumored to have some off-the-field troubles and is now having a change of scenery.

https://www.coloradorapids.com/post/2021/03/04/colorado-rapids-sign-us-u-17-winger-yaya-toure-homegrown-player-contract
 

Titans Bastard

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MLS Next expands its map a bit for 2021-22. New clubs in St. Louis, Dallas, Birmingham, Raleigh, and Statesboro, GA.

The overall density of clubs is still below that of the dearly departed DA. A bunch of clubs returned to the ECNL amid the confusion that followed the USSF's sudden decision to pull the plug. Hopefully MLS Next can grow and regionalize a bit more so that travel doesn't suck so much for many clubs.

I'm glad to see Birmingham represented. Richards, Tessmann, and Servania have all been capped by the USMNT over the last two years, which is really impressive for a smaller city. Access to the level of competition and exposure of MLS Next will be good for players from there.

https://www.mlssoccer.com/post/2021/03/04/mls-next-adds-five-more-clubs-ahead-2021-2022-season
 

67YAZ

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The official Olympic qualifying roster just dropped.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Matt Freese (Philadelphia Union; Wayne, Pa.), JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes, Alamo, Calif.), David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake; Oxnard, Calif.)

DEFENDERS (6): Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy; Lompoc, Calif.), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake; Tucson, Ariz.), Aaron Herrera (Real Salt Lake; Las Cruces, N.M.), Henry Kessler (New England Revolution; New York, N.Y.), Mauricio Pineda (Chicago Fire FC; Bolingbrook, Ill.), Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids; Colorado Springs, Colo.)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Johnny Cardoso (Internacional/BRA; Denville, N.J.), Hassani Dotson (Minnesota United FC; Federal Way, Wash.), Ulysses Llanez (Heerenveen/NED; Lynwood, Calif.), Djordje Mihailovic (CF Montreal/CAN; Jacksonville, Fla.), Andrés Perea (Orlando City SC; Medellin, Colombia), Sebastian Saucedo (UNAM Pumas/MEX; Park City, Utah), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes; Bloomington, Minn.)

FORWARDS (4): Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas; McKinney, Texas), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids; Plantation, Fla.), Benji Michel (Orlando City SC; Orlando, Fla.), Sebastian Soto (Norwich City/ENG; San Diego, Calif.)

Four non-MLS players. Among the MLS contingent, 4 come from Salt lake - too bad they don't have an owner to build on that roster. Atlanta kept Lennon, Bello, & Robinson out due to their upcoming CCL tie, which should give my guy Mo Pineda pole position for a starting CB slot. Efrain Alvarez wasn't ready to make a decision yet, so he's not on the US roster.
 

Titans Bastard

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Well, it ain't exactly our best possible U23 squad, but such is life when so many players are unavailable due to FIFA rules.

A few thoughts —

GK: This is fine, and these are probably our top three U23 goalkeepers right now. Marcinkowski is the only club starter in our U23 pool, but it's possible that the staff prefers Freese, who is stuck behind Andre Blake at Philly.

Fullbacks: Good. Dest, Cannon, and Reynolds are unavailable, but Araujo is a good player and Herrera is a really solid pro who can also play LB. Vines is no worse than second on the NT depth chart at LB.

Centerbacks: People are fretting about this. While it's true that our best options are unavailable (Richards, McKenzie, CCV, et al), we still have a trio of MLS starters. Pineda is a good distributor of the ball, and Kessler isn't that bad at that part of the game either. In terms of actual defensive ability, this group is decent but not outstanding.

Central midfield: My biggest critique of this roster. The balance of CMs feels too defensive to me, especially if the still somewhat mysterious Johnny Cardoso is more of a workhorse 6 than a dynamic 8. I'd guess that Yueill will move to a somewhat more advanced position. Mihailovic broke out of his doldrums at the end of last season, but has done his best work from the flanks. I wonder why the staff doesn't rate Eryk Williamson at all.

Wingers: Decent enough. Lewis is dynamic, Saucedo is pretty solid for a good Mexican team. Michel is less experienced but has done well at times

Forward: Ferreira is coming off a terrible 2020 season, and a great USMNT friendly. Hopefully his mojo from last month continues. Soto is more of a classic center forward, so it's nice to have a couple of different looks up top.
 

67YAZ

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The roster suggests a 4-2-3-1 to me, which would provide more defensive cover for the CBs. But I also don’t see a real 10 on the roster either.

If they qualify, maybe Robinson gets released makes the central defense more stout and Pomykal stays healthy enough to make a midfield 3 work.
 

Titans Bastard

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Don't count on the 4-2-3-1!

Kreis told The Athletic last month that he plans to use the same 4-3-3 system as USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter.


Kreis has also been quoted in places as saying that he sees Dotson and Cardoso as being able to play the 8 as well as the 6. We'll see what happens, but unless a few of these CMs surprise us there's just not a lot of creativity or progressive play that we'd expect from this group. Hopefully the wingers can shoulder a lot of the offensive burden.
 

67YAZ

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Kreis has also been quoted in places as saying that he sees Dotson and Cardoso as being able to play the 8 as well as the 6. We'll see what happens, but unless a few of these CMs surprise us there's just not a lot of creativity or progressive play that we'd expect from this group. Hopefully the wingers can shoulder a lot of the offensive burden.
Kries reiterated that same idea yesterday. This could be a kind of Klopp-esque "the press is the playmaker" approach, but that just seems so much harder to pull off with a national team. (Also hard for Liverpool to pull off these days, too.)

“I feel we have a lot of guys that, in my humble opinion, are more 8s than they are necessarily 10s or 6s,” said Kreis. “And in the way that we are playing right now in the national teams programs, it's really good. We aren't going to necessarily have a player that has a free role to sit in a No. 10 spot. We need central midfielders that can do it all. And I feel like with this pool of guys that we've selected, they can all do it all.

“Maybe most people don't know this, but Johnny Cardoso was developed as a 9,” he added. “The couple of times we've had him in the national team camps, once with the 23s, once with the full team, the first time in the 23s I had him at 6 but then looked at him at 8 late in the camp and in the game. And he showed that he's got some real creative ideas in the attacking half of the field. So he's another player that I think is quite versatile.”
 
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Titans Bastard

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Atlanta United won’t release its players because of Champions League, but their round of 16 opponent Alajuelense is releasing EIGHT players for Olympic qualifying. Costa Rica, by the way, is in the same group as the US and Mexico.

https://mcusercontent.com/78d3589fb61466b549ff752e5/files/67be1584-4fbd-46c9-bc70-dad0332eaf66/MOQ_Final_Rosters.pdf
Wow, I hadn't processed this information.

1) This increases my concern about the Costa Rica game, since so many of their players will already have a lot of chemistry. Plus, Alajuelense won the Apertura by 7 points and are currently leading the Clausura by 8 points.

2) What are you going to do to Atlanta United if they get knocked out of CCL by an extremely short-handed Alajuelense?
 

Domer

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Wow, I hadn't processed this information.

1) This increases my concern about the Costa Rica game, since so many of their players will already have a lot of chemistry. Plus, Alajuelense won the Apertura by 7 points and are currently leading the Clausura by 8 points.

2) What are you going to do to Atlanta United if they get knocked out of CCL by an extremely short-handed Alajuelense?
Good point, I didn’t realize Costa Rica used the same winter calendar as Mexico. That’s another big challenge for our MLS players who are out of season and unfortunately Costa Rica is our first match.
 

Titans Bastard

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The lineup looks to be:


Ferreira
Lewis -------------------------- Michel
Mihailovic -- Dotson
Yueill (c)
Vines -- Pineda -- Glad -- Herrera
Ochoa​

Not entirely sure if I have the players at RW/LW and RCB/LCB flipped.

For me the biggest surprise is Ochoa, who is much younger than the other two options. I know that Marcinkowski has been carrying a knock, but I thought Freese would be the backup. No big surprises along the backline or at DM. Dotson is the least sexy CM on the roster and internet fans will be cranky about Cardoso or Tessmann (who was a late injury replacement for Llanez) not starting in place of him, but we'll see. It's common for fans to overstate the progress of younger players relative to more experienced players.
 

Section30

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You can see that they haven't played competitively for a few months.

CR is leaving the flanks open and we are getting good positions because of it.
 

Titans Bastard

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Pineda was playing with a lot of nerves. As a CB, his relative strength is passing more than defending, but you really wouldn't know it from this one.
 

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Pineda was playing with a lot of nerves. As a CB, his relative strength is passing more than defending, but you really wouldn't know it from this one.
You could tell it was nerves by even the square balls to Glad going in weird directions. He got better as the half went on though.
 

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Glad to see Kreis make a few early subs when the team clearly started to look like it was slowing down.

Perea for Mihailovic, who was pretty anonymous. Yueill moves upfield. Saucedo for Michel.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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In addition to making a bunch of saves, Ochoa seems to have a motormouth and a weird Gumby/Rubber Band Man energy in his body movement.

I like him a *lot* right now.
 

Titans Bastard

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Yeah. Nearly the entire team is in offseason form and fitness. Costa Rica's team had their top guys, all of whom are in midseason form and fitness. I find it difficult to be too angsty over some bad individual performances.

The U23s are in great position. If they beat DR on Sunday and Mexico beats Costa Rica, they're through to the semifinal.
 

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Big. There were basically two must-win games in this tournament and that was one of them. Now it's basically just the SF.
 

67YAZ

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Just catching up - my guy Mo got his cap! But uh...he may have been too excited in the first half. He settled in eventually, hope he gets to build confidence against the DR.

The midfield works hard, but not a lot of spark or creativity.

That said, this was a tough opponent. Didn’t like 8 of these guys come from the same club that’s currently in season? That’s so hard to match in terms of fitness and cohesion.

3 points is huge here, doesn’t really matter how they were obtained.
 

Mr. Wednesday

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CR had top players released by Alajuelense, which is one of the top clubs in their domestic league. USA had top players refused release by Atlanta Utd from MLS, due to an upcoming CONCACAF Champions League tie with Alajuelense.
 

Titans Bastard

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Six changes for this match.

Marcinkowski comes in at GK. Araujo replaces Herrera at RB. Kessler replaces Pineda at CB. Saucedo replaces Michel on the wing.

Cardoso and Perea come in at CM for Dotson and Mihailovic. I'm not entirely sure how the midfield will set up. I'm pretty sure Cardoso will be one of the 8s, but I'm not sure whether Perea or Yueill will occupy the deepest position.

Glad is carrying a yellow.
 

Titans Bastard

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4-0 win over the DR.

DR worked hard, were disciplined & stuck to the game plan, and did well for themselves. I thought the scoreline was a bit harsh relative to what they deserved. The US accumulated possession but played poorly in the first half. The CBs didn't have the possession mistakes that plagued the US against Costa Rica, but there just wasn't much danger with a three-man midfield that lacked creativity.

There was a bit more urgency in the second half and DR ran out of gas. The subs played well, particularly Djordje Mihailovic, who was much more effective on the wing, and Hassani Dotson, who had two nice finishes. The third goal in particular was a great team goal.

Mexico is up 1-0 on Costa Rica at HT. If the result holds, the US will advance to the SF and the final group stage game will be fairly meaningless (unless there's a team in Group A who you really want to play and one you really want to avoid).
 

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Dec 15, 2002
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I don't expect the US to win the group at this point. Mexico's squad, which is fairly close to first choice, has more talent than our U23 C team, and of course they are playing at home.

Kreis should rest some key players, especially those on yellow cards. The SF is the only game that matters from this point forward. If you really want to beat Mexico, we'd likely face them in the final should we get there, anyway.