USMNT: Hold My Beer

67YAZ

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Long starting again and Acosta at the 8, so Twitter will be thrilled with this one.
Are they wrong tho?

With Walk, Long, McKennie, and Acosta surrounding Adams this group is going to struggle to progress the ball to the attack. If KSA presses intelligently, they can bind up the center of the pitch and keep the most dangerous Americans way out on the flanks.

Hopefully we get to see what Cardoso can do in the second half.
 

Kliq

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US looks better at least, but Saudis look very, very crummy so not that much comfort in it.
KSA will be one of the weakest sides at the World Cup AND this is far from the best side as they have a lot of injuries; US should really be playing them off the field.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Given the opponent quality, is this actually more of a bummer than the Japan match so far? That's kind of where I am landing, right as we give up a tap-in opportunity that a player not in the Saudi second division probably takes.
 

DJnVa

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I don't really think this is indicative of anything that will happen when the WC starts, but this is gross to watch. Even if they pot 4 goals in last 30 minutes, it's still 60 minutes of nothing versus KSA.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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I don't really think this is indicative of anything that will happen when the WC starts, but this is gross to watch. Even if they pot 4 goals in last 30 minutes, it's still 60 minutes of nothing versus KSA.
I do think it might indicate that this team has one coherent way to progress the ball right now which is "dump it to Musah". They look lost for ball progression ideas without him.
 

67YAZ

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But Adams can play so much faster. Every week at Leeds, like he did at RBL and RBS before, he’s 1 or 2 touches and then the ball gets progressed. He’s great at accelerating a counter. But he needs guys who predictably and consistently show for him and create window with forward movement.

Too often he’s getting the ball facing his own goal or scanning around to see mids, CBs, and FBs standing there waiting for Adams to create the passing lane.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Well, I have seen this team look good at some various points in this cycle, so just hope Musah's back and we can catch some of that lightning in a bottle when it counts I guess.

I'm very worried about Berhalter's VOGH* stats though

Value over Guus Hiddink, or insert similar two-decade journeyman international manager here.
 

InstaFace

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That sucked. I had to choose between doing my work, or watching while pretending to do my work, and I ended up actually doing my work.

Fuckin' Berhalter, man. When it's one or two guys, you can blame those two guys. When it's everyone who looks out-of-sorts... like, were our players this confused about what to expect from each other during the Emergency Bruce Arena Rescue-Job Era?
 

Joe D Reid

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It is a huge bummer that CCV got hurt, because he would have been the most interesting thing to watch this window AND spared us Long.
 

Kliq

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The shitty field and shitty, pandemic-era atmosphere didn't help at all. Just felt like a boring scrimmage, not a thrilling send-off for the boys to go take on the world. Even though England was kind of shit yesterday, that game felt hot and active and exciting; this was just bleh.
 

rguilmar

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That sucked. I had to choose between doing my work, or watching while pretending to do my work, and I ended up actually doing my work.

Fuckin' Berhalter, man. When it's one or two guys, you can blame those two guys. When it's everyone who looks out-of-sorts... like, were our players this confused about what to expect from each other during the Emergency Bruce Arena Rescue-Job Era?
This is where I’ve been. I’ve felt that too often most of the players haven’t played well, and when that happens that’s on the manager. When the team is decent and some players are off, then that’s on the players. Overall just very disappointed in this window.

For this game, it looked like Saudi Arabia had difficulty with the left side in the first half, especially with Weston making runs and opening up space for Pulisic. I don’t know why that stopped in the second half. Adjustment by the opponent? It looked like Weston wasn’t making that forward run as much though.

Aaron Long just isn’t it, but I’m not sure McKenzie did enough to displace him on the roster. McKenzie got caught unawares a few times today, and that gives me pause. Hopefully GGG rates Richards ahead of Long AND Richards is healthy. Otherwise I don’t like the chance of getting out of the group.

I have no clue what Gregg should do at the 9. Today when Pepi was in I thought Ferreira would do better, then when Ferreira was in I thought Pepi would do better. It probably means neither is a great fit.

On the positive side, Scally made a case for himself. Zim did a much better job with long passes, but it definitely looked like the Japan game strategy was to pass short no matter whats so I’m not putting that on him.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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I think him starting makes the most sense because he can link up like Berhalter theoretically wants but also has the physicality to adjust and go more direct if needed. Pepi theoretically gives you that as well, but is on much worse form than Sargent at least so far in the season.

You then being Ferreira and Pefok for adjustments if you want to go less or more direct, respectively.

Given who got which minutes this window, I don’t know that’s where Berhalter’s head is at though. I think he’s ride or die with Ferreira starting and he really wants Pepi on that plane.
 

Arroyo Con Frijoles

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I also think Gregg starts Steffen if he's healthy, reading into some of his comments this week. Between that and what sure looks like Pepi going over Pefok I'm going to be pretty annoyed.
 

rguilmar

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I also think Gregg starts Steffen if he's healthy, reading into some of his comments this week. Between that and what sure looks like Pepi going over Pefok I'm going to be pretty annoyed.
I want Pefok on that plane too. The combined xG for both games was less than one. The US just isn't creating chances right now. The guy most likely to score a low xG chance is Pefok. In terms of who shouldn't go- Ferreira, Pepi, Sargent- I really don't care. None of them are so consistently good for me. Pepi and Sargent can score off of crosses, Ferreira brings something different. Or leave off whoever of Morris or Arriola is likely to go.
 

OCST

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It's just dismal, the way that this team is less than the sum of its parts.

The mood going into the WC is just sour.

Suppose it's good for us that England are, if anything, worse.
 

Yo La Tengo

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This sums it up pretty well:

"We are in danger of being capsized by an approach in which we have allowed the manager to persuade us his system is more important than his players' form, or their ability to influence games as individuals. When he took over the team, Gregg said, "We want to change how the world views American soccer." We always just assumed he meant for the better. If we do not use the time between now and the Wales game carefully, it might turn out to be for the worse."

https://meninblazers.com/2022/09/28/rog-on-the-usmnt-are-the-usmnt-quiet-quitting/
 

teddykgb

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Berhalter is stuck in a classic trap of choosing between form and “class”. I don’t want to overstate the quality of the usmnt but many of the primary complaints are wanting form players to be emphasized. This is entirely reasonable as the World Cup is so close. But the USMNT is imo an unfortunate victim of some poor career choices and injury luck. I don’t think Berhalter is doing a great job but Pulisic has completely crashed his career at Chelsea. Pepi made an idiotic move to a Bundesliga relegation battle mid season. Dest suffered with injury and found himself out of the managers plans at Barca. McKennie and Reyna have been injured and suffering for it. Both Robinsons were playing well before injury. Berhalter probably should use form and move more toward Aaronson and Pefok and hope to catch momentum in Qatar but to me the overall shine of that seemingly talented group has really been diminished. These are still young players and they can turn it around but this WC is coming far too fast for most of them.
 

wonderland

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Berhalter is stuck in a classic trap of choosing between form and “class”. I don’t want to overstate the quality of the usmnt but many of the primary complaints are wanting form players to be emphasized. This is entirely reasonable as the World Cup is so close. But the USMNT is imo an unfortunate victim of some poor career choices and injury luck. I don’t think Berhalter is doing a great job but Pulisic has completely crashed his career at Chelsea. Pepi made an idiotic move to a Bundesliga relegation battle mid season. Dest suffered with injury and found himself out of the managers plans at Barca. McKennie and Reyna have been injured and suffering for it. Both Robinsons were playing well before injury. Berhalter probably should use form and move more toward Aaronson and Pefok and hope to catch momentum in Qatar but to me the overall shine of that seemingly talented group has really been diminished. These are still young players and they can turn it around but this WC is coming far too fast for most of them.
I agree with a lot of what you said except to some degree on McKennie. He’s played a bunch for Juventus over the last month. Now maybe his injury has hurt his development but he’s getting time. Which is actually why, as rguilmar alluded to, he didn’t push himself this window. He’s got a bunch of games coming up and wants to be healthy for the World Cup.
 

67YAZ

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After reading around for a day, I’m tapping out of the Berhalter discourse for as long as I can. I’m going to pray to any god you got for a fully healthy and in form squad (the Eredivisie is going be tonic for Pepi) and dream about Harry Maguire gifting us goals.

Gregg is who he is. He won’t change between now and the WC. I just want the best possible team to show up and show out. And that we get a new manager with international success by the end of the year.
 

InstaFace

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yeah i'm praying for health and club form. If we have our no-doubt first-choice starting lineup vs Wales in 7 weeks (!), I will be happy with whatever comes along.

I also think Dest, Pulisic and Richards are due for getting more minutes in the coming weeks, so there's plenty of reason for optimism and plenty of reason to watch their club games.
 

Joe D Reid

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After reading around for a day, I’m tapping out of the Berhalter discourse for as long as I can. I’m going to pray to any god you got for a fully healthy and in form squad (the Eredivisie is going be tonic for Pepi) and dream about Harry Maguire gifting us goals.

Gregg is who he is. He won’t change between now and the WC. I just want the best possible team to show up and show out. And that we get a new manager with international success by the end of the year.
It is usually time for a new voice after a full WC cycle anyway, and the project has always been pointing to '26. GGG's only real job was to qualify. Now we get these guys some WC experience which hopefully does not involve full '98 vibes, thank GGG for his service and turn the page.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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I wonder who the next manager might even be. The only obvious American upgrade is, at current time, in a better job that I don't think he'd want to swap out for USMNT manager.

I referenced it a bit earlier jokingly with my Guus Hiddink remarks, but I do somewhat genuinely think that the best hire might be one of those guys who bounces around international management for a few decades and has been to a few World Cups. A modern day Bora.

I don't think the USSF will be able to resist putting an American in the job though, with a slight possibility for a non-US manager but with a higher Q rating than the types I mentioned above.
 

67YAZ

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Gio out for 10 days with a muscle issue. He really needs to find a training regimen that can keep him healthy. There’s so much class there, so much potential.

It struck me this morning that If Gregg stepped down in December and was hired to manage the Fire…I’d be pretty happy all the way around.

I do think that new leadership at the USSF means a new manager for the next cycle unless the USMNT goes on a miracle run. They are going to want to put their stamp on the program.
 

rguilmar

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Gregg is who he is. He won’t change between now and the WC. I just want the best possible team to show up and show out. And that we get a new manager with international success by the end of the year.
I agree with this. My views on GGG are pretty well known, but at this point there is no point to wanting to see a different system and tactics, a different formation, or different personal. The cake is baked. Can’t go back and change the ingredients or recipe now.

I wonder who the next manager might even be. The only obvious American upgrade is, at current time, in a better job that I don't think he'd want to swap out for USMNT manager.

I referenced it a bit earlier jokingly with my Guus Hiddink remarks, but I do somewhat genuinely think that the best hire might be one of those guys who bounces around international management for a few decades and has been to a few World Cups. A modern day Bora.

I don't think the USSF will be able to resist putting an American in the job though, with a slight possibility for a non-US manager but with a higher Q rating than the types I mentioned above.
A guy who likely will be interested and probably in search of a job soon is Julen Lopetegui. I think he’s a quality manager and had Spain looking good going into 2018 when he accepted a job after the World Cup at Real Madrid. If I remember correctly he was let go of while actually in Russia with the team for accepting this position in Madrid. He’s led Sevilla to three straight top four finishes, a club record, and I don’t blame him for the predictable regression of the Andalusians this campaign. I also remember him having some interest last time around but had no relatives in US soccer to get him the job.
 

Vinho Tinto

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A guy who likely will be interested and probably in search of a job soon is Julen Lopetegui. I think he’s a quality manager and had Spain looking good going into 2018 when he accepted a job after the World Cup at Real Madrid. If I remember correctly he was let go of while actually in Russia with the team for accepting this position in Madrid. He’s led Sevilla to three straight top four finishes, a club record, and I don’t blame him for the predictable regression of the Andalusians this campaign. I also remember him having some interest last time around but had no relatives in US soccer to get him the job.
How he handled taking the Real Madrid job created a total clown show of his own doing. No one with proper judgement would believe they can line up that job and retain his role with Spain; but he did it anyways and it was announced when his team had already travelled to Russia for the tournament. The Spanish FA had to immediately fire him and hastily name Hierro as the manager.

He then bombed spectacularly at Madrid after doing the near impossible by not winning anything with Porto. I'd be very hesitant to hand him the keys to a sneaky high profile and high stakes role with the United States.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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I wonder who the next manager might even be. The only obvious American upgrade is, at current time, in a better job that I don't think he'd want to swap out for USMNT manager.

I referenced it a bit earlier jokingly with my Guus Hiddink remarks, but I do somewhat genuinely think that the best hire might be one of those guys who bounces around international management for a few decades and has been to a few World Cups. A modern day Bora.

I don't think the USSF will be able to resist putting an American in the job though, with a slight possibility for a non-US manager but with a higher Q rating than the types I mentioned above.
I’m sure Steve Cherundolo is on the list.
 

rguilmar

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How he handled taking the Real Madrid job created a total clown show of his own doing. No one with proper judgement would believe they can line up that job and retain his role with Spain; but he did it anyways and it was announced when his team had already travelled to Russia for the tournament. The Spanish FA had to immediately fire him and hastily name Hierro as the manager.

He then bombed spectacularly at Madrid after doing the near impossible by not winning anything with Porto. I'd be very hesitant to hand him the keys to a sneaky high profile and high stakes role with the United States.
All of this is true, but I look at it this way- the nature of managers is to be flawed and have failures. Julen isn’t perfect but has this going for him:

Managed a legit world soccer power to decent success, albeit for only two years of memory serves correctly.
Recent success as a manager for a top team in a top league
Actually seemed to want the job.

There aren’t going to be too many managers out there who meet those qualifications. That track record alone is miles better than any other US manager in history. Guus Hiddink will be close to 80 and has not been success at any point recently. Pep isn’t walking through that door. Is there a manager in the world that would come in without flaws or that we wouldn’t have concerns about?
 

nayrbrey

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teddykgb

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Is there any reason why Lopetegui would be interested now? I can’t imagine any current top league club manager is leaving that for the US job. Are we just speculating that Sevilla will fire him? They sold their top 2 CBs I’m sure they expected results to dip.

Im going to lose my mind when we hire Roberto Martinez after Belgium moves on from him. He’s exactly the kind of “sort of a name but not good” clown we’d hire to fully waste this group.

Mancini would have been a wonderful hire it’s too bad Italy stuck with him after failing qualifying. I have a hard time envisioning who might actually be available. I’d love to tempt Bielsa for one four year run of fury but that seems unrealistic. I think the us is of a class where we will pick from the carcass of the leftovers after the World Cup shuffling.
 

rguilmar

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Is there any reason why Lopetegui would be interested now? I can’t imagine any current top league club manager is leaving that for the US job. Are we just speculating that Sevilla will fire him? They sold their top 2 CBs I’m sure they expected results to dip.

Im going to lose my mind when we hire Roberto Martinez after Belgium moves on from him. He’s exactly the kind of “sort of a name but not good” clown we’d hire to fully waste this group.

Mancini would have been a wonderful hire it’s too bad Italy stuck with him after failing qualifying. I have a hard time envisioning who might actually be available. I’d love to tempt Bielsa for one four year run of fury but that seems unrealistic. I think the us is of a class where we will pick from the carcass of the leftovers after the World Cup shuffling.
To be fair, I’ve been predicting the firing of Julen for a while now. The fans hold him accountable for the second half of last season when the team could not win and we’re almost passed by Betis (and probably would have been if Betis were not focused on the Copa). The failings this year are on team construction and the club knows it, but at some point you fire a manager to get the pressure off yourself. I agree if he stays at Sevilla or lands another top job in Spain he might not be tempted. He did request an interview last time around but we know how that went.

Martinez would be a disaster. I like the Mancini shout and could possibly get behind Matarazzo but would prefer someone with national team coaching experience.
 

67YAZ

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Mancini would be fantastic - if even just for the high fashion upgrade over Gregg's athleisure wear.

But since Mancini survived non-qualification of Qatar, he's started turning over the squad with youth (Raspadori coming in hot!) and made it to the Nation's League final. So Mancini is definitely staying through next summer. I'd rather not see the USSF wait around for their preferred candidate again, especially since Mancini may not even be available or interested.

Not sure about his interest level, but Jim Curtin would be perfect.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Mancini would be fantastic - if even just for the high fashion upgrade over Gregg's athleisure wear.

But since Mancini survived non-qualification of Qatar, he's started turning over the squad with youth (Raspadori coming in hot!) and made it to the Nation's League final. So Mancini is definitely staying through next summer. I'd rather not see the USSF wait around for their preferred candidate again, especially since Mancini may not even be available or interested.

Not sure about his interest level, but Jim Curtin would be perfect.
Curtin's preferred tactical setup is easily a better fit for the current player pool than what we're doing now which I like, but I wonder about how tactically flexible he is. I think that's an underrated need for international managers, who don't get to pick their player pools.
 

67YAZ

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Curtin's preferred tactical setup is easily a better fit for the current player pool than what we're doing now which I like, but I wonder about how tactically flexible he is. I think that's an underrated need for international managers, who don't get to pick their player pools.
Yeah, but I’m also thinking about his familiarity with the player pool and his man management, especially with young players. He just really seems to get the best out of his guys.

On the other hand, Curtin doesn’t flip the one switch I’m most looking for - previous success on the international stage. Doesn’t have to be a WC winner or anything, but someone who can hit the ground running when appointed and not waste valuable months (years?) adapting to the constraints of limited training time and the constraints of a player pool.
 

rguilmar

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Sometimes I think many managers, Gregg among them, over complicate things. The most important stat in soccer is goals. You want strikers scoring them and goal keepers stopping them. Instead these managers look for strikers who contribute in other ways besides scoring goals and goalies who contribute in other ways than stopping goals. So we get Ferriera and Steffen instead of Pefok (or any other striker) and Turner.

Put differently, if it’s the 90th minutes, the US needs a goal, and the 9 gets a chance to score, who do you want taking that chance? Same question with the opponent needing to score- who do you want in net stopping that chance? I know “it depends on the type of chance”. But we’ve all seen the kinds of chances the US creates and concedes. We know who should be there, or more to the point who shouldn’t be.

I feel like Gregg and other managers would probably say “well, there’s more to the role than goal scoring/stopping”. Sure there is, but goal scoring/stopping is like 95% of the damn job. Just put the guy up top who is most likely to score and the guy in net who is most likely to stop the other team from scoring.
 

InstaFace

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With the news that Luca De La Torre is out with an injury, likely out of Qatar, I thought I'd make my own personal prayer hierarchy. Here is the pecking order of players in which I will most be begging for health, i.e. if I had a choice between X or Y getting injured, I will pick the one lower on the list. This is mostly based on how big the dropoff is to their likeliest replacement.

  1. Weston McKennie
  2. Tyler Adams
  3. Gio Reyna
  4. Sergino Dest
    (4.5 Miles Robinson, RIP Achilles)
  5. Antonee Robinson
  6. Yunus Musah
  7. Walker Zimmerman
  8. Christian Pulisic
  9. Brenden Aaronson
  10. Chris Richards
  11. Tim Weah
  12. Matt Turner
    (12.5. Luca De La Torre)
  13. Cameron Carter-Vickers
  14. Joe Scally
  15. Zack Steffen
  16. Kellyn Acosta
  17. Josh Sargent
  18. Mark McKenzie
  19. Ricardo Pepi
  20. Djordje Mihailovic (...I know!)
  21. Sam Vines

edit: added Joe Scally between CCV and Steffen. I trust him more than Yedlin or Moore right now.
 
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67YAZ

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With LDLT down, do we have enough 8s to confidently play a 4-3-3? McKennie & Musah are definite starters, but then?

I love Acosta as a 6, but he’s shown again and again he doesn’t offer enough attacking thrust to play the 8.

Then we have a bunch of guys who are better or regularly play higher up the pitch - Roldan, Gio, Aaronson, Arriola.

And finally some guys who haven’t been in the set up lately - Tillman, Williamson.

@InstaFace (Denzera?) - I don’t disagree with your list, but the midfield is Liverpool-level thin right now.
 
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