USMNT Fall 2023 - Spring 2024: Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

wonderland

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Jul 20, 2005
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On that choppy field, I hope the stadiums with turf fields can come up with a better solution to switching to grass for these next two tournaments in the US. The ball just bounced all night long.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill
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Sep 9, 2008
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The stop the game solution for homophobic chants is counterproductive. There is no incentive for the bad behavior to stop. If anything CONCACAF ends up looking impotent or worse complicit. I don't know how you fix it other than to make a competitive consequence. Next time it happens, we deduct a goal in your next match. Happens again, you forfeit a game. I don't know, maybe that makes it so that opposition fans can game the system. Maybe there just are no good solutions. It's really just disappointing.

Can FIFA step in -- not that they will for a future host -- but at least they won't be as driven by short-term economics as CONCACAF is when trying to find an appropriate consequence for the team in the region that sells the most tickets.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Aug 23, 2008
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If I had their midfield, I'd try to bypass them too, at least against the US. Their second-best midfielder, Luis Chavez, plays in Russia. Chiquito looks good for Pachuca (from what I hear) but never as good for El Tri. And Guardado and HH got old. They're facing a USA who's 5 deep in guys who can dribble, pass, move and challenge better than anyone on their side except maybe Edson, and frankly I'd pick a couple of our guys over him at this point too.

Gio just totally outclassing the entire field out there. How in god's name did he get enough power on that shot? Nevermind the placement, despite having to kick it while jumping in the air. And I'm not even sure if that was the most ridiculous athletic move he made all evening, it just happened to matter the most to the outcome. Dude was dropping 40-yard field-switch dimes and juking defenders out of their shoes. I feel like Mexican players and fans largely know what to expect from Pulisic, and they feel like they can more or less contain him (he's still effective, obviously, but he's not mauling them every time). They are terrified of Gio though, ever since that slaloming run in the Azteca where he dribbled like 8 guys in a row, some of them twice. For decades, they've relied on "OK, the Americans might be more athletic, but we have better technique and tactical cohesion and we can beat them by our press and better combination play". That was the wake-up call of, oh shit, we have nobody in that guy's league, or anywhere close to it. And Forest lets him rot on the bench.

Not to mention that the press has been so ineffective against us the last few times around that they largely abandoned it last night in favor of what looked like a 5-4-1 mid-block. We started our "press resistant XI" last night - I cackled when I saw the RAM midfield on the lineup - Reyna Adams McKennie - and realized this was the first time we could really deploy that in a game. Witness the power of this fully armed and operational battle-station, etc.

Who was it who said Uriel Antuna looked like the most dangerous guy on the field for Mexico in the semi? He was subbed out with the lowest rating on the team, had 11 touches in like 70 minutes and was 3 of 7 in completing passes. Completely non-threatening. Chucky Lozano was outclassed too, but at least he was running his ass off out there and took some pride in the proceedings. Gonna be a long plane flight to Eindhoven for him with Malik and Dest there, though. Hey Chucky remember when I did some beach-soccer moves and got past you and 2 other guys? Hey Chucky remember when I juked you and you fell over in the middle of the field?

Man what a night.
We'll see how this progresses moving forward but if Gio stays healthy I think it's going to be hard to favor MMA over RAM as the starting unit assuming the same formation and everything. Musah is good for possession and generally a great floor raiser for the midfield but at this time (he is still very young) he just doesn't compare to Gio when it comes to attacking a D. He's a slick player but still a little too reticent.

Gio is plenty comfortable going straight into the teeth of a low block and finding the right pass into the box. And he's got that near-mystical ability to appear that he is moving at half-speed as he leaves defenders in his trail. Tremendous economy of movement. For the B's fans among us it is the same kind of thing that prime David Krejci could do to a defense—just slows time down for everyone else. And the more comfortable everyone gets playing off Gio the better it will be. Pulisic is so good at finding the right runs so if they can get a connection going it will be great.

And while Gio isn't necessarily the defender that the other options are, he can hold his own and if we are generating turnovers in the midfield as we like to do, I certainly trust him to be able to pick out the early ball for the quick counter. Haji's 2nd goal the other night was kind of a picture perfect example—midfield creates chaos, Gio pounces on the ball and finds Haji before the D can get organized.

At full health, having Musah as your top depth option in the MF is pretty damn good, and if in a tournament you need to dip into the 4/5/6 guys you have to feel much better about the options moving forward and our ability to continue playing our game, as opposed to bringing in Acosta and Aaronson and holding our butts for the last 25 minutes.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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The stop the game solution for homophobic chants is counterproductive. There is no incentive for the bad behavior to stop. If anything CONCACAF ends up looking impotent or worse complicit. I don't know how you fix it other than to make a competitive consequence. Next time it happens, we deduct a goal in your next match. Happens again, you forfeit a game. I don't know, maybe that makes it so that opposition fans can game the system. Maybe there just are no good solutions. It's really just disappointing.

Can FIFA step in -- not that they will for a future host -- but at least they won't be as driven by short-term economics as CONCACAF is when trying to find an appropriate consequence for the team in the region that sells the most tickets.
Empty stadium games or you lose your next homefield game, instead it is played at the opponent's site should have some results, no?
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill
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Sep 9, 2008
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Empty stadium games or you lose your next homefield game, instead it is played at the opponent's site should have some results, no?
That has been the threat and it seems not to be working. They've had to play games behind closed doors and it doesn't really seem to be affecting anything.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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That has been the threat and it seems not to be working. They've had to play games behind closed doors and it doesn't really seem to be affecting anything.
Those games don't have the chanting, do they? Make the next X years' home games be in empty stadiums. Or move them to all road games if the home game empty stadium rule doesn't help
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill
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Sep 9, 2008
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Those games don't have the chanting, do they? Make the next X years' home games be in empty stadiums. Or move them to all road games if the home game empty stadium rule doesn't help
It might work if they do it again. The two games they punished Mexico for in 2022 for the chanting were pretty big games. A world cup berth was on the line. I guess maybe since they qualified, fans forget? But if closing the doors for WC qualification won't work, I'm not sure what you could take away from them that would work. They took 4 points in those two games, so maybe fans felt like it was no big deal.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Aug 23, 2008
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Unless you can specifically not sell tickets to Mexican-American fans of El Tri then it doesn't really matter if you take away home games. Sure you can mitigate the chant but if the goal is eliminating it, then having matches moved from Azteca to Chicago or wherever isn't going to do the trick.
 

Saints Rest

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Unless you can specifically not sell tickets to Mexican-American fans of El Tri then it doesn't really matter if you take away home games.
How does the EPL manage to do that? Reduce the number and location of seats available to fans of El Tri for any games on US soil (or any other countries where Mexican fans do this). Or go the other way, and eliminate any cluster of seats available to fans of El Tri -- divide and conquer, as I imagine this sort of thing is often driven by mob-mentality.
 

InstaFace

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Sep 27, 2016
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We'll see how this progresses moving forward but if Gio stays healthy I think it's going to be hard to favor MMA over RAM as the starting unit assuming the same formation and everything. Musah is good for possession and generally a great floor raiser for the midfield but at this time (he is still very young) he just doesn't compare to Gio when it comes to attacking a D. He's a slick player but still a little too reticent.

Gio is plenty comfortable going straight into the teeth of a low block and finding the right pass into the box. And he's got that near-mystical ability to appear that he is moving at half-speed as he leaves defenders in his trail. Tremendous economy of movement. For the B's fans among us it is the same kind of thing that prime David Krejci could do to a defense—just slows time down for everyone else. And the more comfortable everyone gets playing off Gio the better it will be. Pulisic is so good at finding the right runs so if they can get a connection going it will be great.

And while Gio isn't necessarily the defender that the other options are, he can hold his own and if we are generating turnovers in the midfield as we like to do, I certainly trust him to be able to pick out the early ball for the quick counter. Haji's 2nd goal the other night was kind of a picture perfect example—midfield creates chaos, Gio pounces on the ball and finds Haji before the D can get organized.

At full health, having Musah as your top depth option in the MF is pretty damn good, and if in a tournament you need to dip into the 4/5/6 guys you have to feel much better about the options moving forward and our ability to continue playing our game, as opposed to bringing in Acosta and Aaronson and holding our butts for the last 25 minutes.
Our midfield depth is fast approaching a strength.

  1. Gio
  2. McKennie
  3. Adams
  4. Musah
  5. Johnny
  6. De La Torre
  7. Malik
  8. Brendo

That's a squad you can shrug off an injury or two and still feel great about who we have out there. Wasn't that long ago we were talking ourselves into Aaronson as a starter at CM or winger.

edit: thanks rguilmar.
 
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Titans Bastard

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Unless you can specifically not sell tickets to Mexican-American fans of El Tri then it doesn't really matter if you take away home games. Sure you can mitigate the chant but if the goal is eliminating it, then having matches moved from Azteca to Chicago or wherever isn't going to do the trick.
Just to emphasize how significant this point is: Mexico almost never plays in Mexico outside of WCQ and Nations League games.

Since the beginning of 2020, they have played two friendlies in Mexico, and one of them was their first game back from the COVID shutdown of soccer.

During that time they played TWENTY friendlies in the US, only one of which was against the USMNT. They also played eight road friendlies in other countries, but six of those were neutral-site games in the immediate post-COVID era and two of them were neutral-site games in Spain just before the 2022 WC.


Mexico's home base is the US. Part of it is that everyone in CONCACAF wants the US to host the Gold Cup and the Nations League finals for $$$ reasons and part of it is things like the 2024 Copa America. But a lot of it is friendlies. All five of their upcoming friendlies in 2024 are in the US.
 

rguilmar

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Jul 16, 2005
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Our midfield depth is fast approaching a strength.

  1. Gio
  2. McKennie
  3. Adams
  4. Musah
  5. Johnny
  6. Malik
  7. Brendo

That's a squad you can shrug off an injury or two and still feel great about who we have out there. Wasn't that long ago we were talking ourselves into Aaronson as a starter at CM or winger.
You forgot about a locked in La Liga starter who missed this camp due to injury…

Given the flexibility of some of the players on the roster, I can see a world where GGG brings only 3 wingers and/or 3 fullbacks, allowing him to take seven midfielders in a 23 man roster.
 

InstaFace

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Sep 27, 2016
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You forgot about a locked in La Liga starter who missed this camp due to injury…

Given the flexibility of some of the players on the roster, I can see a world where GGG brings only 3 wingers and/or 3 fullbacks, allowing him to take seven midfielders in a 23 man roster.
Good christ, I did. And I LIKE Luca! Eight, count 'em eight midfielders playable at an international level, all of them plying their trade in the Big 5 leagues. Plus we had some forwards at that level who got passed over too, like Pefok.

What a revolution for our pool. The one outfield spot we have depth issues (LB, bless Kris Lund's heart) is the one spot where we have an ironman who can play 90' twice a week and never slow down or break down. And the one spot we have talent-level / future questions (CB) is the one our coach's scheme protects the most from it showing up in the results. Begging pardon of our 2002 and 2010 squads, but our front 6 positions are an embarrassment of riches by comparison to any other period in USMNT history.

I'm starting to wish Mexico could get their shit together and hit on developing a couple talents again. I won't complain about rubbing their noses in it, of course. But much as I enjoy that, we frankly need a competitive rivalry fixture. They even lost to our B-team (Gold Cup 2021), and had a 1-1 draw vs our C team (last April's El Cashico). It's arguably more dire than what our own situation looked like in 2019.
 

rguilmar

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Jul 16, 2005
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Good christ, I did. And I LIKE Luca! Eight, count 'em eight midfielders playable at an international level, all of them plying their trade in the Big 5 leagues. Plus we had some forwards at that level who got passed over too, like Pefok.

What a revolution for our pool. The one outfield spot we have depth issues (LB, bless Kris Lund's heart) is the one spot where we have an ironman who can play 90' twice a week and never slow down or break down. And the one spot we have talent-level / future questions (CB) is the one our coach's scheme protects the most from it showing up in the results. Begging pardon of our 2002 and 2010 squads, but our front 6 positions are an embarrassment of riches by comparison to any other period in USMNT history.

I'm starting to wish Mexico could get their shit together and hit on developing a couple talents again. I won't complain about rubbing their noses in it, of course. But much as I enjoy that, we frankly need a competitive rivalry fixture. They even lost to our B-team (Gold Cup 2021), and had a 1-1 draw vs our C team (last April's El Cashico). It's arguably more dire than what our own situation looked like in 2019.
Oddly enough, the US is producing plenty of LB prospects now. Obviously not all will pan out, but between Caleb Wiley, JoGo, John Tolkin, Kevin Paredes (likely a winger but came up as a wing back) and so on, one or two will develop into a starting level player. Then there is always dual nat Christian McFarlane who most likely will be part of England's long term plans, but you never know.

Regarding Mexico, it's shocking how far they've fallen. Sid Lowe, Spain correspondent for ESPN and the Guardian, called Mexico historically the most underperforming nation in world soccer. They have the world's tenth largest population, and in terms of soccer crazy countries, they trail only Brazil in population. Their population is nearly triple that of Spain and Argentina, more than double that of Italy, and nearly double that of France. They have access to more soccer crazed youngsters than Spain, Argentina, and Poland combined, and that does not include the massive diaspora in the United States (equivalent to say, the population of World Cup semifinalists Morocco). It is absolutely shocking that they have such limited international success, and even more shocking that the national team is producing so little talent. They are also looking at arguably even worse batches of youngsters and are desperately looking at the Mexican-American population to fill the enormous developmental gaps that exists in their own programs. They might very well lose out on top prospects like Fidel Barajas, born and raised in Sacramento, which would be devastating for them. One might even start to feel bad for them. Until you hear the chant.

Given that there are fewer and fewer opportunities to play top countries due to continental competitions that did not exist in the past (Nations League etc), a strong Mexico is a good thing for the USMNT. Hopefully they can continue to participate in the Copa America in the future to get games against top level competition.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Moore is no great shakes, but I can't get too worked up about Moore in the specific circumstance where anyone who is a more exciting prospect than Moore is likely on the Olympic prep roster.
 

rguilmar

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Moore is no great shakes, but I can't get too worked up about Moore in the specific circumstance where anyone who is a more exciting prospect than Moore is likely on the Olympic prep roster.
There isn’t really much to be worked up about at all. I have a soft spot for Moore ever since I dragged my uncle to Reus to watch him play many years ago. I’m guessing the debates will be Trusty vs. Robinson, Lennon/Jones vs. Moore, and maybe a young GK (only two can go to the Olympics) vs. Johnson. My own quibble would be that I’d like to see Maloney assuming Adams isn’t 100%, but that’s minor.

The days of worrying about Lletget back passing away every counter opportunity are over. It’s all fringe stuff, which is true of any national team.
 

Titans Bastard

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I was hoping that there would be mutual interest to have Pepi be The Guy for the Olympic team.

The silver lining for me is that carrying Balogun, Sargent, Pepi, AND Wright, it holds open the possibility that Wright will mostly be a winger and that Weah might play a little RB in situations where we want a bit more attack than what Scally or Moore could give us.