USMNT: Hold My Beer

Titans Bastard

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Let's start a new thread now that the long interregnum between WCQ and a permanent managerial hire has ended. After much irritation and angst, it's officially Gregg Berhalter.

His background:

Berhalter played HS soccer in the late 80s in north NJ. His HS classmate was Claudio Reyna, so they must have had a really sick team. He played for four years at UNC, then went on to play for three Dutch clubs (Zwolle, Sparta, Cambuur), Crystal Palace, and two German clubs (Energie Cottbus and 1860 Munich). He ended his playing career with three seasons at LA Galaxy; in his final season, he was a player/coach under Bruce Arena.

He coached Hammarby in Sweden from 2012 to mid-2013, but was fired after 1.5 seasons. He got the Columbus Crew job at the end of 2013. During his five seasons there, the Crew made the playoffs four times and reached MLS Cup in 2015.

The "process":

Personally, I think Berhalter is fairly solid coach who has done well with limited resources in Columbus both in terms of results and in playing attractive soccer with a possession-based scheme. He still has plenty to prove, however.

The process through which the USSF hired him was painful — the USSF GM Earnie Stewart always seemed to want him despite an epically long "search" that dragged on forever despite nothing much seemingly happening. Regardless of his qualities as a manager, Berhalter will undoubtedly be required to deal with absorbing the frustrations of fans who are unhappy with the USSF sham "search". His brother is also a prominent executive within the USSF, which will surely bring us back to the spirit of 2007 when the online US soccer community spent the year having a pissing match over Bob Bradley, Michael Bradley, and accusations of nepotism.

Looking ahead:

Process aside, Tuesday was Berhalter's big media day, so there have been lots of articles and interviews floating around. The most extensive one I've seen so far is this ~20 minute audio (IMO this is a worthwhile interview with good questions and good answers). It's clear from the outset that Berhalter likes to talk tactics in a somewhat more specific way than what we have heard in recent times. Jurgen Klinsmann, Bruce Arena, and Dave Sarachan all were incapable of or unwilling to discuss tactics in anything but the most general and cursory terms.

It's still too soon to have any idea which players Berhalter will favor or what tactical scheme he will employ. However, what is clear is that he is required to hit the ground running. After wasting all of the 2018 friendlies with Dave Sarachan's "Harry Redknapp but with no personality" tactical mindset, Berhalter will have just a handful of games to knit his team together before competitive games begin in the form of the Gold Cup.

Next up for the USMNT:

January camp: (MLS + Scandinavia-based players only)
1/27 vs. Panama (Glendale, AZ)
2/2 vs. Costa Rica (San Jose, CA)

March friendlies
(both TBD, but rumored in the foreign press to be Chile and Ecuador)

June friendlies
(TBD)

Gold Cup
6/18 vs. TBD (Saint Paul, MN)
6/22 vs. TBD (Cleveland, OH)
6/26 vs. TBD (Kansas City, KS)
 

Cellar-Door

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An important process note that you forgot. One of the members of the committee who selected Stewart was Jay Berhalter, so always nice when you let an executive hire a guy who then tailors the requirements for a coveted position carefully to fit the executive's brother, refuses to consider a wide array of qualified candidates, then interviews 1 or 2 other people before giving the job to the brother of the man who helped hire him.
 

67YAZ

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The Gold Cup is a tricky one given how few matches & camps there will be to prep under Berhalter. Will he skew to the young side of the pool and use this as prep for qualifying? Will he skew to the veteran side and try to rebuild momentum & positivity? Will he use it as a tactics sandbox or will he install an approach that he feels will give the best chance of winning the tournament? Or will he try to split the difference in both these areas?
 

teddykgb

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The Gold Cup is a tricky one given how few matches & camps there will be to prep under Berhalter. Will he skew to the young side of the pool and use this as prep for qualifying? Will he skew to the veteran side and try to rebuild momentum & positivity? Will he use it as a tactics sandbox or will he install an approach that he feels will give the best chance of winning the tournament? Or will he try to split the difference in both these areas?
It's the USMNT so i'm sure he'll choose to do the worst option out of all of these. Probably play a vet team in an unfamiliar formation, thereby developing neither players or an identity.

Aside from pride, is there any consequence to winning the gold cup? Confederations Cup qualification? At this point there's so much to do here that I'd prefer they focus on WCQ by figuring out which players are going to be relevant in that time period and finding a formation and style for them. There will be misses along the way, new players will arise, but i'm comfortable losing gold cup and confed cup matches in exchange for moving into the next set of players
 

67YAZ

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...but i'm comfortable losing gold cup and confed cup matches in exchange for moving into the next set of players
I agree - qualification is most important - but I think that with so many new guys in the USMNT power structure, from Berhalter to Stewart to Cordeiro...that these guys will feel or create pressure to show results at the Gold Cup. "Look, we've righted the ship, all is good, aren't we great?" That's what makes this tricky for Berhalter. He has to resist those pressures and implement a plan that pays off in qualification.
 

Titans Bastard

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I actually think the pressure to show to fans that the USMNT is invested in the younger generation and in trying to play decent soccer is greater than the pressure to win Gold Cup.

There is a desperate need to show the fans that there is something to be excited about and using conservative player selection and tactics to win games in CONCACAF won't solve that problem. I expect there to be a few more veterans in the mix than what we saw in the Sarachan friendlies, but I think we'll see a lot of the youth movement. I don't think it's even much of a tradeoff on quality to play youth.

The CONCACAF representative for 2021 Confederations Cup is determined by the 2017 and 2019 Gold Cups. Because the US won in 2017, the USMNT can qualify either by winning in 2019 or by winning the playoff against whoever else wins in 2019. There's a not a ton at stake.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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I actually think the Gold Cup is a little bit important now. Not because the Gold Cup is important per se, but because the program has already wasted a year experimenting aimlessly and getting the shit kicked out of it.

In terms of building to the World Cup, I agree that the best thing to do would be to continue experimenting, but now with a specific purpose. If the players were robots, I would be advocating that approach.

They're people though, who already had a year of international duty seeming pointless and arbitrary, I don't think they can have another year of pure tinkering, even if it goes from rudderless tinkering to tinkering with a purpose. I think if they don't start to cohere and have an eye towards actually winning things before qualification kicks off in earnest, there's a real danger to starting qualification flat and getting punched in the face early in the process again.

Berhalter still has to turn most of the squad over, it would be dumb to bring the whole band of 30somethings back together to try and take the Gold Cup. I think the two things that need to happen are:

1. Figure out who the right older depth pieces are and bring them back into the fold.
2. Figure out which members of the 18 - 22 YO group are your consistent core to build on and which ones need more time in the oven or need to fight to get back into the team.

I agree with TB above that it's critical to start developing the team style and the player pool that'll take us to 2020, but I think actually winning things is more important than the consensus here seems to be, for the players if not the fans.
 

Dummy Hoy

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Will Trapp had some interesting quotes about system and players in Tenorio's Athletic article:

Trapp also believes there are already some clear fits in the U.S. pool for Berhalter’s system, which the coach honed over his years playing in Holland, Germany and England and in coaching in Sweden and MLS.

“You look at what do we like to do with our wingers in Columbus? You can get the ball wide and run one-v-one, or come inside,” Trapp said. “Who is the best American player (ever) to do that, probably other than Landon Donovan? Christian Pulisic. So, think about plugging these guys in. Ball-playing center backs like John Brooks and Matt Miazga, that’s exactly what he wants. DeAndre Yedlin getting up and wide as an outside back. Those are profiles that fit what he has done in Columbus extremely well. … I think the bones are there.”
 

Jimy Hendrix

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If he really just goes for his Columbus system, I wonder who in the pool can step up into the Will Trapp midfielder role at the international level? I don't think Trapp has the physicality to do it and I'm not sure if any of our midfielders who do have the passing range yet.
 

Joe D Reid

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The CONCACAF representative for 2021 Confederations Cup is determined by the 2017 and 2019 Gold Cups. Because the US won in 2017, the USMNT can qualify either by winning in 2019 or by winning the playoff against whoever else wins in 2019. There's a not a ton at stake.
Is there even a 2021 Confederations Cup? Infantino has already floated two different ways to kill or reboot it (Club World Cup and some kind of Nations League-generated 8-team event). I also don't know when they'd hold the thing given that you can't play soccer in Qatar in the summer and I can't imagine clubs letting players go mid-year in 2021 for the CC and again in 2022 for the WC.
 

Cellar-Door

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I think it's adorable that you think anyone in USSF will feel pressure. They had an embarrassing worst case scenario situation and 1 guy lost his job(and a temp) everyone failed up a seat, no changes were made and 2 insiders/yes men were added. They just proved that there is no real consequences for failure why would they feel pressure?
 

Titans Bastard

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Will Trapp had some interesting quotes about system and players in Tenorio's Athletic article:
I think Trapp is actually being modest about CP. I'd take LD over Pulisic in a system largely based on counterattacking and creating opportunities in transition, but if we're talking about slashing wingers cutting inside, Pulisic is a far superior 1v1 player.

If he really just goes for his Columbus system, I wonder who in the pool can step up into the Will Trapp midfielder role at the international level? I don't think Trapp has the physicality to do it and I'm not sure if any of our midfielders who do have the passing range yet.
Based on what I've heard from Berhalter so far, my sense is that he is smart enough to know that simply regurgitating the Columbus system won't work. Beyond the DM issue, the "Federico Higuain role" is an even bigger problem. We don't have a #10 in the pool who can provide to the US what Higuain does to the Crew.

The fundamental challenge for Berhalter right now is that we just don't have many good attacking midfielders, central or wide, other than Pulisic. (fwiw: I view Weah as primarily a forward.)
 

Titans Bastard

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Is there even a 2021 Confederations Cup? Infantino has already floated two different ways to kill or reboot it (Club World Cup and some kind of Nations League-generated 8-team event). I also don't know when they'd hold the thing given that you can't play soccer in Qatar in the summer and I can't imagine clubs letting players go mid-year in 2021 for the CC and again in 2022 for the WC.
Right, I forgot about that. If it's held at all, it definitely won't be in Qatar.
 

Dummy Hoy

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I think Trapp is actually being modest about CP. I'd take LD over Pulisic in a system largely based on counterattacking and creating opportunities in transition, but if we're talking about slashing wingers cutting inside, Pulisic is a far superior 1v1 player.
I'd agree with this- I was just more referring to the mentioning of ball playing CB and CB getting upfield wide as well. Gives a bit of a clue as to who could fill those slots.


(fwiw: I view Weah as primarily a forward.)
I know less than most people, but I don't see him anywhere other than the front line realistically...I guess I din't even think it was an option.
 

67YAZ

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I think it's adorable that you think anyone in USSF will feel pressure. They had an embarrassing worst case scenario situation and 1 guy lost his job(and a temp) everyone failed up a seat, no changes were made and 2 insiders/yes men were added. They just proved that there is no real consequences for failure why would they feel pressure?
Corporate sponsors & advertisers. They can sell the 2018 failure as an unfortunate bump in the road to soccer dominance in the US if and only if they can follow up with better results.

US Soccer already took a hit by losing out on World Cup prize money (~$10m) plus the revenue bump that comes with a World Cup appearance. The pressure comes from needing assuage sponsors and position USSF for the next round of deals.
 

Titans Bastard

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Hmm:


Mooney had joint oversight with Nico Romeijn over many key areas: youth national teams, the Development Academy, coaching education, and talent identification.

Mooney doesn't have much of a resume and has kept a very low profile. That low profile, along with the muddled nature of joint oversight, has created a particularly frustrating accountability gap given the importance of the job's portfolio.

I would really like to see Stewart absorb much of the Mooney/Romeijn functions at this point. Tab Ramos is still around as youth TD, but like Klinsmann as the full TD, it's not clear to me what he actually does beyond coach the U20s and coordinate the other YNTs. Certainly, the role of Mooney/Romeijn has undercut whatever authority the "Youth TD" title implies.

The situation bears monitoring.
 

Titans Bastard

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We haven't heard the USSF's side of the story, but so far this is an awful look:

U.S. Soccer Foundation Sues U.S. Soccer Federation Over Naming, Logo Dispute

The U.S. Soccer Foundation, an independent charitable organization that has invested $125 million over the last 25 years to provide access to soccer, largely in minority and low-income communities, sued the U.S. Soccer Federation on Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Ed Foster-Simeon, the president and CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation, told SI.com he was stunned in August when U.S. Soccer requested a meeting in which it said it was ending the relationship between the two organizations—the federation president has always sat on the foundation’s board—and demanded that the foundation abandon the name “U.S. Soccer Foundation” and its logos.

In the lawsuit, the foundation said it is seeking a declaratory judgment that the foundation owns the name “U.S. Soccer Foundation” and related trademarks.
 

Quintanariffic

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Hmm:


Mooney had joint oversight with Nico Romeijn over many key areas: youth national teams, the Development Academy, coaching education, and talent identification.

Mooney doesn't have much of a resume and has kept a very low profile. That low profile, along with the muddled nature of joint oversight, has created a particularly frustrating accountability gap given the importance of the job's portfolio.

I would really like to see Stewart absorb much of the Mooney/Romeijn functions at this point. Tab Ramos is still around as youth TD, but like Klinsmann as the full TD, it's not clear to me what he actually does beyond coach the U20s and coordinate the other YNTs. Certainly, the role of Mooney/Romeijn has undercut whatever authority the "Youth TD" title implies.

The situation bears monitoring.
I'm not shedding any tears on this one. That article Mooney and Romeijn did with Mike Woitalla was utterly embarrassing. And I can't take anyone seriously who takes their corporate glamour shot wearing a black shirt with a tie. Would be interesting to see if whether, with the 2026 WC, GM and USMNT coaching decisions out of the way, this is a sign that Cordeiro is beginning to put his imprint on the organization from the inside out. Flynn leaving just a coincidence? Probably wishcasting, but a guy can hope.
 

Titans Bastard

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I'm not shedding any tears on this one. That article Mooney and Romeijn did with Mike Woitalla was utterly embarrassing. And I can't take anyone seriously who takes their corporate glamour shot wearing a black shirt with a tie. Would be interesting to see if whether, with the 2026 WC, GM and USMNT coaching decisions out of the way, this is a sign that Cordeiro is beginning to put his imprint on the organization from the inside out. Flynn leaving just a coincidence? Probably wishcasting, but a guy can hope.
Yeah, I am similarly unimpressed with Mooney.

Flynn's departure isn't related to Cordeiro. He's getting older and recently had a heart transplant, so retirement has been in the cards for a while.
 

Quintanariffic

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Yeah, I am similarly unimpressed with Mooney.

Flynn's departure isn't related to Cordeiro. He's getting older and recently had a heart transplant, so retirement has been in the cards for a while.
I think that's probably right. Whatever the case, it does represent another oppty for Cordeiro to put his stamp on the organization.
 

Cellar-Door

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I think that's probably right. Whatever the case, it does represent another oppty for Cordeiro to put his stamp on the organization.
It does not. CEO is the more powerful position as is the board, they used the opportunity of missing the WC to consolidate more power with board and CEO and pulled a decent amount from the president. CEO isn't a position Cordeiro will have any pull in the selection of.
 

67YAZ

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I'm not shedding any tears on this one. That article Mooney and Romeijn did with Mike Woitalla was utterly embarrassing. And I can't take anyone seriously who takes their corporate glamour shot wearing a black shirt with a tie. Would be interesting to see if whether, with the 2026 WC, GM and USMNT coaching decisions out of the way, this is a sign that Cordeiro is beginning to put his imprint on the organization from the inside out. Flynn leaving just a coincidence? Probably wishcasting, but a guy can hope.
One thing I took from the interview you reference is the whole Mooneh has a frustratingly hands off view of youth programs, Romeijin just doesn’t have the grasp of American society to expand youth development in this country. He’s Dutch, so I don’t blame him for not grasping how Mexican Americans in SoCal and Texas require a different approach than white suburban kids around Chicago than African immigrant kids in NYC. But the person in that jobs needs to have that understanding along with the technical know how and management/leadership skills.
 

Titans Bastard

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Berhalter talks tactics: (non-twitter link)


Nothing earth-shattering, but I enjoy it when coaches get into the weeds and talk shop.
 

Titans Bastard

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Beerholder's first roster (January camp) is supposed to come out tomorrow.

Unavailable: Pulisic, McKennie, Adams, Brooks, Weah, Miazga, Wood, Sargent, CCV, Yedlin, Horvath, among others. But you have to start somewhere.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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The very existence of the January camp seems to be offensive to some of the more “Europe is the only thing that matters” crowd, but I still find it interesting as an entry point for MLS guys, whether someone who could use national team time as a stepping stone to Europe or just someone in MLS who’s worth using for a cycle.

One thing I’ve always wanted to do but don’t have the spare time to is take a deep dive into how many players from their national league countries tend to have. I always notice that countries who could have enough pros in higher level leagues only to fill their teams (eg. many South American countries or more mid-level Euro countries) still tend to have contingents from their own league, and I am curious what the size of those contingents is compared to the US.
 

Titans Bastard

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The January camp roster is out:

1/27 vs. Panama
2/2 vs. Costa Rica

GK Alex Bono (Toronto FC)
GK Sean Johnson (New York City FC)
GK Tyler Miller (LAFC)
GK Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew)

RB Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas)
RB Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes)
RB Keegan Rosenberry (Colorado Rapids)
CB Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake)
CB Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls)
CB Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union)
CB Auston Trusty (Philadelphia Union)
CB Walker Zimmerman (LAFC)
LB Greg Garza (FC Cincinnati)
LB Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact)

CM Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids)
CM Michael Bradley (Toronto FC)
CM Russell Canouse (D.C. United)
CM Marky Delgado (Toronto FC)
CM Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders)
CM Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew)
AM Paul Arriola (D.C. United)
AM Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake)
AM Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy)
AM Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago Fire)

FW Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland Timbers)
FW Christian Ramirez (LAFC)
FW Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew)


Half of the player pool is in Europe and thus unavailable, so there are always going to be reaches in a domestic-only roster of 27 players. In this case, Berhalter only brought a handful of longtime US vets (Bradley, Zardes) and left off a number that he could have otherwise taken (Guzan, Nagbe, Besler, Villafana; I think Altidore is still hurt).

With no Guzan, Steffen is the clear choice at GK given the competition. Berhalter should do him a solid and make sure he gets a cap in every US friendly between now and this summer, even if it's only playing a half in some games. Steffen needs to maximize his caps to get a UK work permit so he can keep his loan options open in the UK after transferring to Man City.

Cannon should get the bulk of playing time at RB. Lima, who has also played some LB, is a sleeper option at LB until something better comes along. Garza has a good workrate, but he just doesn't have the legs to keep up with better competition. Lovitz is a rando, but there aren't good options at LB for this camp.

I'm surprised that Tim Parker didn't make it. Aaron Long is the best bet to start at CB, and it's anybody's guess as to who his partner will be.

CM: probably the most interesting part of the field. Lots of options to choose from both in terms of personnel, but also in style/formation/roles.

AM: Like our general pool, it's a bit weak. Word is that a 28th player will be added, which could be one of the Scandi guys (Gall or Amon), which would help a bit.

FW: Zardes and Ramirez are both mostly poachers and one-touch finishers. Ebobisse offers more in terms of hold up play and passing, but he's raw and inconsistent.

There are a number of fringe players here who are eligible for the U23 Olympic team: Cannon, McKenzie, Trusty, Glad, Mihailovic, Ebobisse
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Seems about as good as an MLS-based roster can get right now.

Really throws into sharp relief the horrible dearth of US attackers in the domestic league. Are there any good reads on why that is exactly?

Seems like a combo of the fact that the promising young attackers go to Europe more than defenders do along with MLS teams' tendencies to spend bigger and more internationally on attackers while filling the back with cheap American plugins.
 

Titans Bastard

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Seems like a combo of the fact that the promising young attackers go to Europe more than defenders do along with MLS teams' tendencies to spend bigger and more internationally on attackers while filling the back with cheap American plugins.
This, plus the fact that the US is usually better at developing piano carriers than piano players. Forget the decision of the Euro vs. MLS pathway, there aren't enough good attacking prospects to go around. Or at least there haven't been; there's some hope that the youngest cohorts will be a bit better. Of course, they haven't had enough time to fail yet...
 

Titans Bastard

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The USSF is convening another big January youth camp, although this one isn't quite as bit as the 2018 Youth Summit.

https://www.ussoccer.com/stories/2019/01/04/16/10/20190104-news-u20mnt-u19mnt-u17mnt-three-team-training-camp-kicks-off-2019-for-mynt

U20s:

GOALKEEPERS (2): Justin Garces (UCLA; Miami, Fla.), Trey Muse (Indiana; Louisville, Ky.)
DEFENDERS (8): Chris Durkin (D.C. United; Glen Allen, Va.), Aboubacar Keita (Virginia; Columbus, Ohio), Edwin Lara (Club Leon/MEX; Oakland, Calif.), Jaylin Lindsey (Sporting Kansas City; Charlotte, N.C.), Matthew Real (Philadelphia Union; Drexel Hill, Pa.), Sam Rogers (Seattle Sounders FC; Seattle, Wash.), Mark Salas (North Carolina; Dallas; Texas), Aristotle Zarris (Wake Forest; Sarasota, Fla.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Frankie Amaya (UCLA; Santa Ana, Calif.), Christian Cappis (Hobro/DEN; Katy, Texas), Jose Carranza (Louisville City FC; Manassas, Va.), Omir Fernandez (Wake Forest; Bronx, N.Y.), Anthony Fontana (Philadelphia Union; Newark, Del.), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas; Highland Village, Tex.), Brandon Servania (FC Dallas; Birmingham, Ala.)
FORWARDS (7): Ayo Akinola (Toronto FC/CAN; Detroit, Mich.), Simon Becher (Unattached; Brooklyn, Conn.), Griffin Dorsey (Indiana; Evergreen, Colo.), Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas; Dallas, Texas), Nebiyou Perry (FC Köln/GER; New York, N.Y.), Justin Rennicks (Indiana; Hamilton, Mass.), Nick Taitague (Schalke/GER; Midlothian, Va.)

Notes:
  • Jesus Ferreira, who is David Ferreira's son, is a pretty talented second striker who is about to get his US citizenship. I'm excited to see him in US camp, even if he's not quite eligible yet. The 2000 forward pool is stacked: Sargent, Weah, Soto, Ferreira.
  • I'm intrigued by Taitague, who keeps getting rave reviews, but the trouble is that he's been very fragile.
  • Edwin Lara is a LB who left our U17 program to play for Mexico a few years ago. He played in official U17 games, thus provisionally cap-tying him to El Tri, but has since filed the paperwork to make a one-time switch to the US. I'm not sure if he's actually good now, but he was well-regarded a few years ago.
  • This camp has some core players, but is mostly an attempt to look at some other guys in case anyone has really improved lately.

U19s:

GOALKEEPERS (2): Kristopher Shakes (Philadelphia Union; Coral Springs, Fla.), Samuel Fowler (Seattle Sounders FC; Issaquah, Wash.)
DEFENDERS (8): Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy; Lompoc, Calif.), Nathan Harriel (Chargers SC; Tampa, Fla.), Blake Malone (Seattle Sounders FC; Mercer Island, Wash.), Jean-Julian Nuphaus (California; San Jose, Calif.), Andre Reynolds II (Chicago Fire; Chicago, Ill.), Travian Sousa (Sacramento Republic FC; Lathrop, Calif.), Akil Watts (Real Mallorca/ESP; Fort Wayne, Ind.), Sean Zawadzki (Georgetown; Oldmsted, Ohio)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union; Medford Township; N.J.), Blaine Ferri (Greuther Fürth/GER; Southlake, Texas), Marcelo Palomino (Unattached; Frisco, Texas), Thomas Roberts (FC Dallas; Frisco, Texas), James Sands (New York City FC; Rye, N.Y.),
FORWARDS (5): Hunter George (Sacramento Republic FC; Lincoln, Calif.), Matthew Hundley (Colorado Rapids; Littleton, Colo.), Manuel Lopez Terrazas (Santos Laguna/MEX; El Paso, Texas), Declan McGlynn (Seattle University; Issaquah, Wash.), Benjamin Mines (New York Red Bulls; Ridgefield, Conn.)

U17s:

GOALKEEPERS (4): Aaron Cervantes (Orange County SC; China Hills, Calif.), Damian Las (Chicago Fire; Norridge, Ill.), Bryan Dowd (FC United; Willow Springs, Ill.), Chituru Odunze (Vancouver Whitecaps FC/CAN; Calgary, Alberta)
DEFENDERS (9): Axel Alejandre (FC United; Chicago, Ill.), Adam Armour (North Carolina FC; Cary, N.C.), Tayvon Gray (New York City FC; Bronx, N.Y.), Kobe Hernandez (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.), Mason Judge (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER; Tampa, Fla.), Antino Lopez (Shattuck-St. Mary's; Las Vegas, Nev.), Joe Scally (New York City FC; Lake Grove, N.Y.), John Tolkin (New York Red Bulls; Chatham, N.J.), Rickson van Hees (NEC Nijmegen/NED; Oss, Netherlands)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Gianluca Busio (Sporting Kansas City; Greensboro, N.C.), Maxi Dietz (Freiburg/GER; Frankfurt, Germany), Gilbert Fuentes (San Jose Earthquakes; Tracy, Calif.), Cesar Garcia (FC Dallas; The Colony, Texas), Jack Imperato (Villarreal/ESP; San Jose, Calif.), Bryang Kayo (D.C. United; Poolesville, Md.), Adam Saldana (LA Galaxy; Panorama City, Calif.), Pablo Soares (Borussia Mönchengladbach/GER; Krefeld, Germany), Peter Stroud (West Ham United/ENG; Chester, N.J.)
FORWARDS (6): Jack de Vries (Philadelphia Union; Wayne, Pa.), Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez (Seattle Sounders FC; Kent, Wash.), Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas; McKinney, Texas), Giovanni Reyna (Unattached; Bedford, N.Y.), Ray Serrano (Seattle Sounders FC; Graham, Wash.), Griffin Yow (D.C. United; Clifton, Va.)


Youth rosters sometimes reveal foreign-based players previously unknown to any fans. That's the case for both van Hees and Soares here.
 

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Greg Garza has withdrawn from camp with a quad injury. That leaves Dan Lovitz, already a marginal choice for this camp, as the sole LB. That said, Berhalter could shift over one of the right backs. I believe Nick Lima has played LB for the Quakes at times.
 

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Berhalter trimmed the roster today to 23 players.

https://www.ussoccer.com/stories/2019/01/22/18/56/20190122-news-mnt-gregg-berhalter-names-final-travel-roster-panama-costa-rica-friendlies

Alex Bono, Tyler Miller, Justen Glad, and Kellyn Acosta were sent back to their clubs. Greg Garza had already left due to an injury. It's interesting that Acosta was beaten out by a host of other CMs (unless he's carrying an injury).

Sun 2/27 vs. Panama
Sat 3/2 vs. Costa Rica

Roster:

GK Sean Johnson (NYCFC)
GK Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew)

RB Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas)
RB Nick Lima (SJ Earthquakes)
RB Keegan Rosenberry (Philadelphia Union)
CB Aaron Long (NYRB)
CB Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union)
CB Auston Trusty (Philadelphia Union)
CB Walker Zimmerman (LAFC)
LB Dan Lovitz (Montreal Impact)

CM Michael Bradley (Toronto FC)
CM Russell Canouse (DC United)
CM Marky Delgado (Toronto FC)
CM Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders)
CM Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew)

AM Paul Arriola (DC United)
AM Corey Baird (RSL)
AM Jonathan Lewis (NYCFC)
AM Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy)
AM Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago Fire)

FW Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland Timbers)
FW Christian Ramirez (LAFC)
FW Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew)
 

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FWIW, Paul Tenorio is reporting that the biggest surprises in camp have been Mihailovec and Roldan. They were looking great in Berhalter’s system. Tenorio implied that others like Acosta were at the opposite end of that spectrum, possibly explaining his early departure.
 

Titans Bastard

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FWIW, Paul Tenorio is reporting that the biggest surprises in camp have been Mihailovec and Roldan. They were looking great in Berhalter’s system. Tenorio implied that others like Acosta were at the opposite end of that spectrum, possibly explaining his early departure.
I like Roldan, but I've always rated guys like Adams and McKennie higher (and they are a few years younger!). That said, it's been a long while since there's been any real system in this national team, a situation that can make good players look bad. Roldan is one of those guys who has never flopped for the US, but never stood out either. I wonder if that changes now.

The news about Mihailovic is intriguing. He has flown under the radar as a prospect. He wasn't well-known among prospect-watchers when he signed with Chicago two years ago and in the 2017 U20 cycle he only got a shot late in the cycle. However, he is a Nov 98 birthday, which means he was young for that cycle and is only 1.5 months too old for the current U20 team. He surprisingly earned a lot of playing time in his rookie year in 2017, but then blew out his ACL at the end of the year. He came back in 2018, but never got up to full speed because it takes time to get back into a rhythm and because the Fire are trash.

So anyway, if anyone is going to sneak up on us from this January camp, I am very cool with it being a #10.
 

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Lineup for tonight:



It's unclear to me whether it's "technically" a 4-1-4-1, 4-3-3, or 4-2-3-1, but the main point is that there are three CMs (Bradley, Roldan, Mihailovic) and three true attackers (Zardes, Ebobisse, Baird).

Lima gets the nod over Cannon at RB, which is a tad surprising.

Lovitz was an unexpected choice for the roster and now he starts, but with Greg Garza's injury he's the only natural LB left.

Bradley and Roldan emerge from the midfield scrum that also included Marky Delgado, Sebastian Lletget, Wil Trapp, Russell Canouse, and the now-departed Kellyn Acosta.

Mihailovic, who was viewed as a very speculative pick for the camp, would be the biggest surprise of all if not for the reports that he's been one of the best players in camp. Of the three central midfielders, he's the one with the most attacking profile.

We're very shallow on the wing in this camp, so unless this is somehow a two-forward formation, one of Zardes or Ebobisse will be playing on the wing opposite Corey Baird.

EDIT: though it's interesting Arriola didn't get the nod here.



Interestingly, the captain today is NOT Bradley. It's Aaron Long.
 

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US has been knocking the ball around. Panama isn't pressuring very high. First real danger comes from a nice Ebobisse cross that Zardes heads off target. That was an uncontested header that should have been on goal.
 

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The team is defending in a 4-4-2, with Mihailovic pushing up from midfield.

Offensively, there are some unusual things happening. Nick Lima is playing a hybrid RB/CM role where he always tucks into the midfield instead of pushing up the flank. Lovitz always stays deep at LB.

Baird is putting in yeoman's work at RW. He's making good runs but people haven't recognized them and/or executed on the pass to him.
 

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The breakthrough!

Mihailovic scores on a square ball from Baird in the box.
 

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Lletget is the first sub, replacing Mihailovic.

Djordje has definitely boosted his stock this camp, based on reports from training and this game. We are very weak among central attacking midfielders, so the track will be as fast as he can handle.
 

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Great run by Lletget to set up Zardes, but GZ can't finish.

Now Jonathan Lewis comes on for Ebobisse. Lewis has produced on the wing for NYCFC at a good rate in very limited minutes, but his overall playing time has been minimal because Vieira didn't like his defensive workrate. Curious to see what he brings now.
 

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Great tackle and cross from Nick Lima right to the head of Walker Zimmerman. 2-0.
 

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Now Jonathan Lewis comes on for Ebobisse. Lewis has produced on the wing for NYCFC at a good rate in very limited minutes, but his overall playing time has been minimal because Vieira didn't like his defensive workrate. Curious to see what he brings now.
Beat his man 1v1 to set up Christian Ramirez for the tap-in.