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

ThePrideofShiner

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He is not our best player, but whatevs. He can't stay healthy, gets no run on his club team and is an all-world shithead.

I'll take Pulisic over him all day every day.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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He is not our best player, but whatevs. He can't stay healthy, gets no run on his club team and is an all-world shithead.

I'll take Pulisic over him all day every day.
I mean, Pulisic has had his share of time on the shelf and getting no run for his club too. Hell, soft tissue issues and club trouble are practically an American rite of passage.

Edit: Ultimately I love a lot of our guys and want our best foot forward for ‘26 and that probably includes both CP and Gio leading the way.
 

Titans Bastard

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Tyler Adams looks like he wanted to kill Gregg. I’m not entirely opposed.
No one likes to be subbed on and then subbed off, but I'm on Team Don't Overwork Tyler as it's still very early in his comeback.
 

rguilmar

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No one likes to be subbed on and then subbed off, but I'm on Team Don't Overwork Tyler as it's still very early in his comeback.
This is why it was stupid to bring him on in the first place tbh. I know it was part of the plan, but you gotta change that plan when you’re down 1-0 at the 60 minute mark. There was always a solid chance for this one to go to extra time with or without him on the field.
 

Titans Bastard

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This is why it was stupid to bring him on in the first place tbh. I know it was part of the plan, but you gotta change that plan when you’re down 1-0 at the 60 minute mark. There was always a solid chance for this one to go to extra time with or without him on the field.
Stealing minutes from a bético to boot!
 

rguilmar

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That OG really saved the USMNT’s ass. I’ll be curious to see if Gio gets the start on Sunday. He clearly can pick a pass like nobody else on the team. I thought a lot of the players were poor overall but glad to get the win.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Tillman has never really looked great for the U.S. in limited looks which is weird because usually our players are more likely to look irrelevant for club then be great for country.

Also think Serg was very missed. The Weah-Dest-Wes triangles tend to be our most effective method of attack that doesn’t involve whipping in feckless crosses.

Meanwhile Jedi-Puli has never been a strong connection on the left.
 
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speedracer

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Meanwhile Jedi-Puli has never been a strong connection on the left.
Always seemed to me like Pulisic is more effective at RW, despite his personal preferences. From RW he can dribble baseline on his right or cut to the top of the box and shoot on his left. From LW he’s always seemed extremely right-footed to me.
 

rguilmar

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Having had a night to sleep on it:
  • The defense was poor. They were not under pressure much, but too often were caught off guard, and often seemed to get out worked by Jamaica’s attackers. I was disappointed in Richards in particular because he’s the CB of the future, though line breaking passes are great to see (albeit one or two got picked off).
  • Malik showed flashes but just didn’t have it last night. He hustled back to cover on defense which is something he was criticized for not doing in the past. Wes was ok I guess and Musah struggled at times. He took a while to grow into the game. I don’t know how much his fasting played a role, if any.
  • Flo makes those incisive runs and the team seemed to look for it more. In space, he’s electric, but there was never going to be much space for him. At times he was invisible, at times he connected well with his teammates. He’s out of form. CP and Tim were ok but we are used to much more from them both. Pulisic didn’t go into full hero mode, which was nice, and as mentioned above he played better on the right (appears more willing to go right or left on that side of the field but is more of a one trick pony on the left).
  • I know the calls will be for Haji to start on the left and CP on the right, but with Dest back I’d rather see the Tim-Serg right side.
  • Reyna showed why he is so important to this team. It’s not just that he’s talented, it’s that he can do things that nobody else on the USMNT can do. Idc if he’s considered the best player on the team, second best, third best, whatever. He makes the team much more dangerous. I also don’t care about playing time at the club level. CP was stapled to the bench and/ injured at Chelsea. Serginho was relegated to practicing alone in the basement of the Nou Camp. Tim was not playing much at Lille. Wes was so out of favor at Juve that they took away his parking spot at the training facility. Young players will have these struggles, and to Gregg’s credit more often than not he’s stuck with his best guys regardless of club form.
  • Gregg has his plan and he’s sticking to it, even after he gets punched in the mouth. I hate it, but we are stuck with it. His style tends to play better against better competition, so there’s hope for something better against Mexico.
 

InstaFace

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I feel bad for Jamaica. I'm glad we scored but really there's nothing here that makes me particularly optimistic.
Mexico will not sit back and concede possession, so on Sunday we will have plenty of what was working best for us last night: transition and counters. Mexico's midfield is pretty suspect other than Alvarez, and they persist in not playing an enormously in-form Santi Gimenez, so I think we're a terrible matchup for them and we'll look better in that game. Also, Dest will be back, and probably SUPER motivated.

If Jamaica hadn't scored in the first minute, they probably lose 3-0 in regulation. They'd have had to come out and try to get the ball, there would've been pressing opportunities, and Gregg wouldn't have had to take out Scally and put Wes at RB. That game was very idiosyncratic because of the early goal and Jamaica had the staff to put 10 behind the ball and defend for 95 minutes (but not 96!).
 

Dummy Hoy

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Especially given their injury/suspension situation I don't think Jamaica plays that one any differently regardless of the early goal. They countered pretty well a couple of times anyway and maybe should have had a second.

I also love Greggg doing little to change tactics but then throwing players under the bus for 'not listening' when he told them Jamaica would be tough.
 

Saints Rest

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Mexico will not sit back and concede possession, so on Sunday we will have plenty of what was working best for us last night: transition and counters. Mexico's midfield is pretty suspect other than Alvarez, and they persist in not playing an enormously in-form Santi Gimenez, so I think we're a terrible matchup for them and we'll look better in that game. Also, Dest will be back, and probably SUPER motivated.

If Jamaica hadn't scored in the first minute, they probably lose 3-0 in regulation. They'd have had to come out and try to get the ball, there would've been pressing opportunities, and Gregg wouldn't have had to take out Scally and put Wes at RB. That game was very idiosyncratic because of the early goal and Jamaica had the staff to put 10 behind the ball and defend for 95 minutes (but not 96!).
I they had defended less in the final minute, they probably would have won. #embeddedRedBull.
 

InstaFace

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I watched half of the MEX/PAN game (until it got to 2-0). Seems like Jamaica used speed down the middle against our CB's. Mexico speed seems to be with their RW.
The good news is, Chucky Lozano appears to be broken (and it was Ricardo Pepi that did some of the breaking).
 

Jimy Hendrix

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If Jamaica hadn't scored in the first minute, they probably lose 3-0 in regulation. They'd have had to come out and try to get the ball, there would've been pressing opportunities, and Gregg wouldn't have had to take out Scally and put Wes at RB. That game was very idiosyncratic because of the early goal and Jamaica had the staff to put 10 behind the ball and defend for 95 minutes (but not 96!).
They would have come out more than they did, but I don't know how much more. Coming out with 3 at the back and a 4th CB in your advanced midfield spot is a pretty extreme commitment to bunkering.
 

InstaFace

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Uriel Antuna was the guy who impressed me in the first half last night with his electric speed on the right wing.
Yeah they have quality attackers, even if ours are better (and so are Canada's, on a good day). But their defense is far worse, and their midfield has been a bit of a shambles since HH and Guardado fell off a table. Panama was able to get a bunch of decent chances against them, and they were basically unable to handle Carrasquilla all night, from what I saw (how he isn't playing in a Big 5 league yet is beyond me).
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Mexico will not sit back and concede possession, so on Sunday we will have plenty of what was working best for us last night: transition and counters. Mexico's midfield is pretty suspect other than Alvarez, and they persist in not playing an enormously in-form Santi Gimenez, so I think we're a terrible matchup for them and we'll look better in that game. Also, Dest will be back, and probably SUPER motivated.

If Jamaica hadn't scored in the first minute, they probably lose 3-0 in regulation. They'd have had to come out and try to get the ball, there would've been pressing opportunities, and Gregg wouldn't have had to take out Scally and put Wes at RB. That game was very idiosyncratic because of the early goal and Jamaica had the staff to put 10 behind the ball and defend for 95 minutes (but not 96!).
This is a good take, and gives me some hope. I just really wish we had more ideas when trailing. Needing the opposition to press for a second goal in order to give us the chance to draw isn't a great situation -- because often the team will get the second goal. Although I suppose this is just a fancy way of saying that being down 1-0 in a soccer game is never good. But, they got the job done, and so onward.

If the team is going to be in position where it has trouble scoring from the run of play in the final third, it seems like set pieces take on added significance. Anyone want to discuss Pulisic's service? I'm no expert and maybe they are running plays that are not apparent to me, but he seems pretty poor at it. Is this a case where he's the captain so he takes them, where the eye test is misleading and he's doing ok, or where we just don't have anyone better? Or none of the above? Gio has looked ok although maybe you prefer him in the box? I kind of feel like Pulisic has great instincts and the ability to play tricky plays even when well marked. The ball finds him sometimes, and so I guess I'd rather have him potentially get a lucky bounce on the set pieces than take them.
 

InstaFace

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If the team is going to be in position where it has trouble scoring from the run of play in the final third, it seems like set pieces take on added significance. Anyone want to discuss Pulisic's service? I'm no expert and maybe they are running plays that are not apparent to me, but he seems pretty poor at it. Is this a case where he's the captain so he takes them, where the eye test is misleading and he's doing ok, or where we just don't have anyone better? Or none of the above? Gio has looked ok although maybe you prefer him in the box? I kind of feel like Pulisic has great instincts and the ability to play tricky plays even when well marked. The ball finds him sometimes, and so I guess I'd rather have him potentially get a lucky bounce on the set pieces than take them.
Firstly, I think we score plenty from the run of play, but only when we're facing a team trying to soccer against us, and not a bunker that concedes 80%+ of possession. Which is most of the time, but less so against CONCACAF teams that are well below our level and adopt that strategy more often.

Second, regarding set pieces, here was the notes from Vince, one of the Scuffed co-hosts:

- Pulisic hit 7/8 corners into the defense.
- Malik passed a ball to Blake from a cutback to the dot
- Pulisic didn’t get a shot off after a 3 v 2 break where he got the ball in the box

Those are... not great. But they're also things that don't happen very often for us, certainly not all of them at once. I do generally think we should give Gio more of the corners and especially the dangerous free kicks, because this is more of a pattern for Pulisic than a one-game anomaly.

I'm on team "Gio is our best player, he processes the game faster than anyone we have including CP, we're only going as far in 2026 as he takes us". So I want him out there getting as many reps as his conditioning will let us give him. Pulisic has incredible dribbling and definitely great instincts around the box (every one of his coaches, from Tuchel to Lampard to Pioli, has said that his late arrivals in the box are world class), but he's not half the passer that Gio is. I'm not sure he's going to be as much of a threat if we put him in the mix for set pieces instead of serving them up, but him getting a rebound seems likelier than him putting a corner or free kick on a dime so we get lucky and score. Aaronson can also take corners pretty well IIRC.
 

rguilmar

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View attachment 79821


Firstly, I think we score plenty from the run of play, but only when we're facing a team trying to soccer against us, and not a bunker that concedes 80%+ of possession. Which is most of the time, but less so against CONCACAF teams that are well below our level and adopt that strategy more often.

Second, regarding set pieces, here was the notes from Vince, one of the Scuffed co-hosts:

- Pulisic hit 7/8 corners into the defense.
- Malik passed a ball to Blake from a cutback to the dot
- Pulisic didn’t get a shot off after a 3 v 2 break where he got the ball in the box

Those are... not great. But they're also things that don't happen very often for us, certainly not all of them at once. I do generally think we should give Gio more of the corners and especially the dangerous free kicks, because this is more of a pattern for Pulisic than a one-game anomaly.

I'm on team "Gio is our best player, he processes the game faster than anyone we have including CP, we're only going as far in 2026 as he takes us". So I want him out there getting as many reps as his conditioning will let us give him. Pulisic has incredible dribbling and definitely great instincts around the box (every one of his coaches, from Tuchel to Lampard to Pioli, has said that his late arrivals in the box are world class), but he's not half the passer that Gio is. I'm not sure he's going to be as much of a threat if we put him in the mix for set pieces instead of serving them up, but him getting a rebound seems likelier than him putting a corner or free kick on a dime so we get lucky and score. Aaronson can also take corners pretty well IIRC.
I’m with you on all of this. The USMNT has consistently struggled to score against teams that bunker in. Too much of that U-shaped passing around the outside with very little getting into dangerous areas. Having Gio helps in that regard because he can sit just above the box, is comfortable in tight spaces, and can pick a pass, but he’s not a cure-all. And he only helps if the team can get him the ball in a dangerous spot consistently. The US is at its most dangerous when they can get space and attack with speed. They did get some chances on the break last night, like you/Vince mentioned, but got nothing from them. That Puli chance stands out because I thought it was weighted well for him to shoot it first time with his preferred right foot (Meola said on the broadcast that he thought the pass should have gone to his left foot, but I disagree).

Pulisic’s poor set pieces are nothing new. Just have Gio take them and let Pulisic roam around just outside the 18. He has the technique to shoot a poor clearance. The problem is who takes them if Gio isn’t on the field? With a 23 man roster and everyone healthy, I would imagine Aaronson is on the outside looking in.
 

InstaFace

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Have we ever seen Sergiño pop a corner or a distance (non-shot) free kick? He's not going to be an aerial threat on them, so maybe he could drop them in. I think usually he's playing free safety so the CBs can get into the attacking box though.
 

rguilmar

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I feel like there was a friendly this winter where McKennie was the lone "star" in the lineup. His long distance services into the area were a treat to behold. Makes me think he would be excellent on set pieces from the 36 in.
He can definitely ping a nice cross, but he’s also pretty high on the list of players I want on the receiving end of a free kick.

Of course, his aerial abilities only matter if the cross is halfway decent.
 

InstaFace

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Finals tonight vs Mexico, 9:15pm ET.

Our game against them 3 years ago was an instant classic, and served as our announcement that we were capital-B Back from our Couva lows. They haven't beaten us since.
 

Titans Bastard

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Four changes, which hopefully will help keep the legs fresh.

Dest returns from suspension and replaces Scally.

Ream for Miles; I think it's sensible to split them up this way across the two games. Robinson's athleticism vs. the Jamaican counterattack, Ream's passing vs. Mexico

Adams for Musah. Musah didn't have the best game for the US, but will probably play a role since Adams' likely isn't 90 mins fit.

Haji for Balogun. Flo hasn't hit his stride in a USMNT shirt yet and Haji is the hot hand. Interesting choice. For a fan used to modest forward options, having Balogun and Pepi available off the bench is mind-blowing.

EDIT: whoops, five changes with Reyna in for Tillman. Also makes sense.
 

Senator Donut

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Finals tonight vs Mexico, 9:15pm ET.

Our game against them 3 years ago was an instant classic, and served as our announcement that we were capital-B Back from our Couva lows. They haven't beaten us since.
That was an absolutely magical night. It was also one of the first big post-COVID spectator sporting events (and the return of boorish fan behavior). Always a good excuse to post the 80’+ Watke recap.

View: https://twitter.com/watke_/status/1401800702733832193
 

InstaFace

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15 minutes in and I still have no particular idea what's going on. The only thing I know is that Mexico doesn't appear all that interested in taking the ball from us.
 

speedracer

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Mexico isn’t even trying to play through our press anymore, that’s probably a good sign
 

speedracer

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that was mildly scary from Mexico. I think we blew a counter-counterattack opportunity by being too slow
 

speedracer

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more of that from Dest or anyone else pls. mostly it looks like Mexico is clogging the middle third of the field, and we’re playing into their hands by slowing down once we hit the midfield block