USMNT: Hold My Beer

teddykgb

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I see what Teddy is saying, but Gregg has also been very good about giving slots to guys who have earned them. From the outside, that seems to be part of why the program’s culture has improved so much - there are no free passes on to the roster for dual nationals, old friends, or kids too green to contribute.

Like Slonina - he certainly seems like the future in goal for the USMNT and many would argue that he should go to Qatar as the #3 to soak in the experience. But Johnson was the better keeper this year and more likely to excel in the emergency situation that the 3rd keeper gets thrown in.

There’s no single right answer here and having quality forth that generates these controversies is a good thing. But I think Gregg has been pretty steady on his principles here.
There’s nothing wrong with making people earn it. It’s a fair comeback to what I’m saying. But what on earth has Haji Wright done to earn it? a good month and a half in Turkey? Jordan Morris?

FWIW I’d have taken Slonina as well as I think the exposure and just being there pays long term but you’re probably correct that it’s important to throw a bone to players in cycle who do all the right things. I just don’t think he’s been all that consistentabout that principle here.
 

rguilmar

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The one miss for me was not including Pepi. The rest I don’t really have an issue with. With the 26 man roster and the legit likelihood that only 16-17 guys will actually play any significant minutes, why not include him? I think it would’ve sent a great message to Mexican American dual nationals. I’m aware that Mexico aren’t bringing either Araujo or Ochoa, but this was a chance to put down a marker.

Players 21-26 on this roster aren’t going to play much, if at all (and if they do we are f*cked anyways) so I’m not really going to stress about Morris vs Arriola or Moore vs Cannon or anything like that. My one wish is just that Pepi was included as part of this back end of the roster, the guys who won’t be playing anyways.

I will be fretting about the minutes going to Long and Ferreira, but the team is what it is now, so I’m all on board rooting for the 26 guys wearing the red, white, and blue.
 

GB5

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This is the Worls Cup, this is everything. The manager should pick his 26 that give him the absolute best chance to win as many games in the next two months as possible. I don’t want a manager even thinking about anything outside of winning each 90 minute match during the WC. You don’t play for the next WC. Are we only stating this bevause we are already guaranteed our spot in the next WC.
 

ThePrideofShiner

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This is the Worls Cup, this is everything. The manager should pick his 26 that give him the absolute best chance to win as many games in the next two months as possible. I don’t want a manager even thinking about anything outside of winning each 90 minute match during the WC. You don’t play for the next WC. Are we only stating this bevause we are already guaranteed our spot in the next WC.
Agreed. Using slots for looking forward purposes is how we ended up with fucking Julian Green instead of Landon Donovan.
 

rguilmar

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This is the Worls Cup, this is everything. The manager should pick his 26 that give him the absolute best chance to win as many games in the next two months as possible. I don’t want a manager even thinking about anything outside of winning each 90 minute match during the WC. You don’t play for the next WC. Are we only stating this bevause we are already guaranteed our spot in the next WC.
I agree to a point. The manager should absolutely pick the squad he thinks gives him the best shot. My thought process is that players at the end of the roster don’t matter anyways in terms of winning. A team doesn’t need 26 players to have a successful World Cup. France didn’t even bring 26 players*. Spain didn’t bring their full allotment to the Euros. If GGG said to himself “I need these 24 guys there” and chose two others to fill the roster for different reasons- experience (having it or getting it), eyes and vibes, a reward for being a good soldier, get credibility as a stepping stone into managing, whatever- that’s fine too. We don’t know the thought process behind every decision that was made, but I find it pretty doubtful Gregg thinks having Shaq Moore, a player I like a lot, just absolutely must be on the squad to give the US the best chance. And that’s fine.

*You could argue bringing fewer players helps France given their history of player revolts and implosions at the World Cup.

Agreed. Using slots for looking forward purposes is how we ended up with fucking Julian Green instead of Landon Donovan.
I tend to think there is more to that story than just picking Green over Donovan. Regardless, that team advanced out of a group with Germany, Portugal, and Ghana. They went on to lose in extra time to Belgium, one of the favorites, and Green scored in that game.

Granted only three subs were allowed in that tournament but 18 players got into a match.

Dempsey
Bedoya
Fabián Johnson
Bradley
Zusi
Jones
Beasley
Besler
Omar Gonzalez
John Brooks
Geoff Cameron
Tim Howard
Julian Green
Yedlin
Wondo
Beckerman
Brad Davis
Jozy
Johannsson
 

speedracer

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I tend to think there is more to that story than just picking Green over Donovan. Regardless, that team advanced out of a group with Germany, Portugal, and Ghana. They went on to lose in extra time to Belgium, one of the favorites, and Green scored in that game.
Wondo usually gets all the stick here, and I would have loved that chance at 90'+ (which wasn't super easy) to have fallen to Donovan's feet, but I think Wondo actually played pretty well against Belgium.

"Other than that Mrs. Lincoln" etc etc, but Wondo was running all over the place, pressing and winning the ball back, esp. after USA went down in ET. He helped vacate the field for Green's run, won a clean header that set up JJ's chance that flashed just wide, etc.
 

Yo La Tengo

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What is the case for Ferreira starting over Sargent or Wright? I suspect that will be the decision and am curious if anyone here supports that move?

(For the record, I'd start Sargent.)
 

Jimy Hendrix

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What is the case for Ferreira starting over Sargent or Wright? I suspect that will be the decision and am curious if anyone here supports that move?

(For the record, I'd start Sargent.)
I’m not saying I buy this case, but the case would be that he’s the most technically gifted of the three and is the best of them dropping back into the midfield for linkup and combination play.

In my mind, that’s overridden by the fact that Sargent is also pretty good at this while being the best physical and aerial target we’re bringing as well (yes, beyond even 6’3” Wright, his game’s more about runs behind than hold-up play).
 

speedracer

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I’m not saying I buy this case, but the case would be that he’s the most technically gifted of the three and is the best of them dropping back into the midfield for linkup and combination play.
Yeah, if that's what we want from the 9 then I put Reyna there and start Aaronson/Weah on the wing opposite Pulisic.
 

rguilmar

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What is the case for Ferreira starting over Sargent or Wright? I suspect that will be the decision and am curious if anyone here supports that move?

(For the record, I'd start Sargent.)
There are plenty of xG and xA models that rate Ferreira pretty highly. I’d imagine that whatever proprietary system the USMNT uses does the same. Without going into the weeds too much, these models indicate that Jesus puts both himself and his teammates in better positions to score. A lot has been made about his lack of finishing, and the argument is that the xG gods will over time balance things out and he will score a bunch in a row.

I find these tools useful to a point. For me, a major drawback is that they assume players score at more or less the same rate and that these rates remain the same against different levels of competition. Whatever the case, the biggest argument I see online for Ferreira is his xG numbers.
 

InstaFace

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Wondo usually gets all the stick here, and I would have loved that chance at 90'+ (which wasn't super easy) to have fallen to Donovan's feet, but I think Wondo actually played pretty well against Belgium.

"Other than that Mrs. Lincoln" etc etc, but Wondo was running all over the place, pressing and winning the ball back, esp. after USA went down in ET. He helped vacate the field for Green's run, won a clean header that set up JJ's chance that flashed just wide, etc.
Justice for Wondo! That chance was way harder than it looked. And 2014-vintage Donovan was never doing the work Wondo did to get that possession to that point.

I may have posted this before, but it's real good:

https://www.americansocceranalysis.com/home/2019/7/1/theres-something-a-miss-in-wondos-legacy

Also, holy shit did we get destroyed in that game, by xG. Tim Howard was worth like 3 goals all by himself.
 

67YAZ

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This chart comes from Analysing Anfield & their effort to identify some likely Liverpool midfield targets (outside of Bellingham).

It shows “every central midfielder who has played at least 450 minutes of football in Europe's top five leagues this season. Those over the age of 26 have been filtered out to meet Liverpool's typical age criteria.”

What pops to me is Tyler Adams.

57715
 

Jimy Hendrix

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This chart comes from Analysing Anfield & their effort to identify some likely Liverpool midfield targets (outside of Bellingham).

It shows “every central midfielder who has played at least 450 minutes of football in Europe's top five leagues this season. Those over the age of 26 have been filtered out to meet Liverpool's typical age criteria.”

What pops to me is Tyler Adams.

View attachment 57715
McKennie also pops there, but in a bad way. That's mostly because the things they have him doing at Juventus (receiving progressive passes, scoring more goals than CMs tend to do) are not the things on this chart.

This does confirm the eye-test with Adams, which is that in his Leeds role (aggressive double-pivot, playing more in transition), he's passing more progressively than one might expect based on him not being so good at doing so in his single pivot US role (slower play, more about big switches than slide-rule passes forwards).
 

Zososoxfan

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This chart comes from Analysing Anfield & their effort to identify some likely Liverpool midfield targets (outside of Bellingham).

It shows “every central midfielder who has played at least 450 minutes of football in Europe's top five leagues this season. Those over the age of 26 have been filtered out to meet Liverpool's typical age criteria.”

What pops to me is Tyler Adams.

View attachment 57715
I'm just getting into advanced stats in soccer, but progressive passes/90 (pp/90) seems like way too broad a stat to me in comparing MFs. I recognize that Liverpool may have more MF fluidity and require all-around players than most, but even at Pool I imagine they see 1 MF as more of a pivot, another as a B2B man, and the third the most CAM-esque of the 3.

Going back to the chart, what does it tell you that Camavinga has a higher pp/90 than Pedri, FDJ, Guimaraes, etc.? Making a 10 yard pass from the defensive third into the middle third is just so different than getting from the middle third to the final third. Just looking at what passing stats FBRef offers, it seems like the type of players that lead in progressive passes overall and progressive passing distance, are quite different from those leading in passes into the final third for example.

As a side note, it's interesting that there's a divergence between leaders in passes into penalty area vs. expected assists. The table below is for combined Big 5 leagues:

Rank Passes into Penalty Area Expected Assists
1. Messi Messi
2. KDB KDB
3. Benjamin Bourigeaud (Rennes) Neymar
4. Trippier Sosa (Stuttgart)
5. Deulofeu (Udinese) Trippier / Szoboszlai (RB Leipzig)
6. Neymar Rémy Cabella (Lille) / Florian Kainz (Köln)
7. TAA Bourigeaud
8. Kimmich Mbappe
9. Mbappe Kimmich
10. Cancelo / Grifo (Freiburg)
 

67YAZ

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I'm just getting into advanced stats in soccer, but progressive passes/90 (pp/90) seems like way too broad a stat to me in comparing MFs. I recognize that Liverpool may have more MF fluidity and require all-around players than most, but even at Pool I imagine they see 1 MF as more of a pivot, another as a B2B man, and the third the most CAM-esque of the 3.

Going back to the chart, what does it tell you that Camavinga has a higher pp/90 than Pedri, FDJ, Guimaraes, etc.? Making a 10 yard pass from the defensive third into the middle third is just so different than getting from the middle third to the final third. Just looking at what passing stats FBRef offers, it seems like the type of players that lead in progressive passes overall and progressive passing distance, are quite different from those leading in passes into the final third for example.

As a side note, it's interesting that there's a divergence between leaders in passes into penalty area vs. expected assists. The table below is for combined Big 5 leagues:

Rank Passes into Penalty Area Expected Assists
1. Messi Messi
2. KDB KDB
3. Benjamin Bourigeaud (Rennes) Neymar
4. Trippier Sosa (Stuttgart)
5. Deulofeu (Udinese) Trippier / Szoboszlai (RB Leipzig)
6. Neymar Rémy Cabella (Lille) / Florian Kainz (Köln)
7. TAA Bourigeaud
8. Kimmich Mbappe
9. Mbappe Kimmich
10. Cancelo / Grifo (Freiburg)
That's really interesting and definitely agree that final third passing/passing into the box are distinct from progressive passes elsewhere on the pitch.

My point in posting here was to shine the light on Adams. In his first season in the EPL, he's doing so well. He's the full package right now for a DM - breaking up play and springing counters.

And as @Jimy Hendrix suggests, Gregg is asking Adams to play away from his strengths, which is frustrating. There's a balance here - national team managers have to fit together parts that weren't purposefully recruited to slot into a system. But good national team managers find ways to maximize the talents of their best and key players, and I think a lot of us wish Gregg would do more of this for Adams.
 

InstaFace

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edit: somehow I missed that dirtynine's link was the same as mine. More than you ever wanted to know about the running joke that is the Landon Donovan water fountain!
 
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InstaFace

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Hearing that the US is playing a closed-door scrimmage against somebody today (or may even have already played one). Hoping to find more info on that.
 

67YAZ

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Adams voted captain for tournament. Wonderful acknowledgement for the guy who is our best player right now.

 

InstaFace

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pretty rich after Marsch shat on the entire notion of international football last week. Which, I mean, OK - you're pandering to the Leeds fans and telling them that they're the only thing that matters to you. Great. But don't play both sides like this, c'mon. Waxing poetic about how it felt to be in the stands in 1994, or watching in 2010. Either it's uninteresting to you or it isn't. Either you follow it and feel passionate about it or you don't.
 

Zomp

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“I don’t care," Marsch said. "I find international football interesting, but I’m fully immersed in club football and they’re like two different sports almost. So again, I just want our guys to do well so maybe the USA, shouldI pick the USA to win?"

He continued: "I think all of us are Americans, first of all, are very optimistic about our team and our young talent. The group is manageable but not easy and I think everyone in the U.S., anytime we play England, everyone gets really excited. So I will be watching that match.


"I will be cheering for the U.S and I know it will take their absolute best performance to have a chance. But I think that’s one of the things that’s uniquely American is that sense of fearlessness and we almost thrive and enjoy the moments when things are the hardest and when everyone expects us to lose, so we’ll see. It won’t be easy. I’m looking forward to it."



That’s what he said. You really take issue with it?
 

InstaFace

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That’s what he said. You really take issue with it?
Not to the point of, like, disliking him on the whole. Marsch is awesome. His halftime speech at Salzburg when they were playing Liverpool made me want to run through a wall.

But if you saw this video, he was casually dismissive of the international game. He was playing to his audience. As someone who is a USMNT fan first, and mostly watches club football to follow USA players, I do roll my eyes at anyone giving crap to the international game. In spite of FIFA's manifest warts, international football is enormously popular and is how lots and lots of people get into the game in the first place, unless they happen to be born in a soccer-mad country. It's a unique thing that makes following the sport a lot more fun.

"I don't care [who wins]", "two different sports", and given reason for rooting for the USA is because 2/3s of his club's internationals are americans? C'mon. That's disingenuous at the very least, disrespectful at worst.
 

InstaFace

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Here's the bottom line from today:

- We went toe-to-toe against a very good UEFA side with at least one world-class player, and were the better team for a majority of the game. Yes we should've been up more than 1, yes Zimmerman didn't need to make that tackle, but we were visibly better for large portions
- Now that we have to get better results than Wales does against England and Iran, I think today's flow shows us to be favored to do so. Wales had very few ideas in the first half and sat deep against us, even in the 10' of the first half where we were leading they basically didn't possess the ball on our half of the field.
- Our weakness, as the last few years has shown, is tactical acumen and substitutions by the coach. We could have predicted that coming out of halftime, they would try to overload one side and build up to a through ball, and that's what led to a lot of the goal-dangerous situations in the second half. That and set pieces. It wasn't breakaways, it wasn't one particular guy getting picked on, it wasn't beautiful close-control or ball interplay leaving us in the dust... it was ordinary, predictable tactics. We could have prepared for it better with our substitutions or how we prepared to play coming out of the half, but Berhalter is very inflexible in that regard (he will live and die by his preferred setup).
- My goat today is actually Yunus Musah, as much as I love him. He showed himself far more hesitant to drive the ball forward (though not in all possessions) than he usually is, and the option to drive things forward and put stress on the Welsh defense was often his, and he often declined in favor of recycling possession. He is capable of carrying the ball through the midfield and being surprisingly press-resistant, may even surprise England in that regard on Friday. But today he didn't do his job and it snuffed out a lot of promising opportunities before Pulisic had the chance to do so, or Sargent could miss a shot.
 
- Our weakness, as the last few years has shown, is tactical acumen and substitutions by the coach. We could have predicted that coming out of halftime, they would try to overload one side and build up to a through ball, and that's what led to a lot of the goal-dangerous situations in the second half. That and set pieces. It wasn't breakaways, it wasn't one particular guy getting picked on, it wasn't beautiful close-control or ball interplay leaving us in the dust... it was ordinary, predictable tactics. We could have prepared for it better with our substitutions or how we prepared to play coming out of the half, but Berhalter is very inflexible in that regard (he will live and die by his preferred setup).
Bingo. Wales made the tiniest of adjustments during half-time, adding one tall striker and pumping the ball into the penalty area. All of the skill, speed and depth advantage this team displayed during the first half just went, "poof." All of the talent in the world (and this team could be on the cusp of a golden generation with one or two positional upgrades) will be for naught without better coaching. It was a tragic display.
 

Mr. Wednesday

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The US needs at least a point this Friday, right?
A draw isn't an absolute necessity (England will be favored over Wales), but a loss plus a Wales victory over Iran would leave the U.S. not in control of their own destiny (they could then be eliminated by a Wales-England draw).
 

Yo La Tengo

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A draw isn't an absolute necessity (England will be favored over Wales), but a loss plus a Wales victory over Iran would leave the U.S. not in control of their own destiny (they could then be eliminated by a Wales-England draw).
And if England beats the US, they will have no urgency for a win v. Wales in the final game.

I expected more from Iran today. Hopefully they come back strong v. Wales on Friday.

Again, the US needs at least a point v England.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Here's the bottom line from today:

- We went toe-to-toe against a very good UEFA side with at least one world-class player, and were the better team for a majority of the game. Yes we should've been up more than 1, yes Zimmerman didn't need to make that tackle, but we were visibly better for large portions
- Now that we have to get better results than Wales does against England and Iran, I think today's flow shows us to be favored to do so. Wales had very few ideas in the first half and sat deep against us, even in the 10' of the first half where we were leading they basically didn't possess the ball on our half of the field.
- Our weakness, as the last few years has shown, is tactical acumen and substitutions by the coach. We could have predicted that coming out of halftime, they would try to overload one side and build up to a through ball, and that's what led to a lot of the goal-dangerous situations in the second half. That and set pieces. It wasn't breakaways, it wasn't one particular guy getting picked on, it wasn't beautiful close-control or ball interplay leaving us in the dust... it was ordinary, predictable tactics. We could have prepared for it better with our substitutions or how we prepared to play coming out of the half, but Berhalter is very inflexible in that regard (he will live and die by his preferred setup).
- My goat today is actually Yunus Musah, as much as I love him. He showed himself far more hesitant to drive the ball forward (though not in all possessions) than he usually is, and the option to drive things forward and put stress on the Welsh defense was often his, and he often declined in favor of recycling possession. He is capable of carrying the ball through the midfield and being surprisingly press-resistant, may even surprise England in that regard on Friday. But today he didn't do his job and it snuffed out a lot of promising opportunities before Pulisic had the chance to do so, or Sargent could miss a shot.
A lot of times it just seems part of the tactics to not take those chances on the ball. That’s why we’re always sending it safely wide for hopeless crosses. Low risk low reward plays hoping for a bounce or defensive miscue or something.

But there’s so much value in beating a man off the dribble (or even just forcing players to collapse/leave their shell a bit) and creating defensive imbalances, at a certain point you have to be a little more aggressive. Young guy, young team, most of them in their first WC game. Hoping for better next time out even if the manager will probably keep finding ways to bone them regardless.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Small sample obviously, but my biggest concern today was looking awful on set pieces on both sides of the ball. They looked as likely to give up a counter on corners as to have a chance and on the Wales set pieces they were dangerous every time.

They are going to have some frantic defending against England and if we give them five or six or seven corners they are going to get at least one in the net.
 

speedracer

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And if England beats the US, they will have no urgency for a win v. Wales in the final game.
In that situation, a big Wales loss could knock them out on goal diff.

And for all the talk about Wales wanting to bring it against England, they have to know if they open up too much England can easily shred them to slivers. I’d 100% expect both teams to settle on a England 1-0 Wales equilibrium, kind of like what happened in Germany-USA 2014.
 

DJnVa

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And if England beats the US, they will have no urgency for a win v. Wales in the final game.
I kinda disagree with this. England playing for a draw against a team like Wales that would die to finish above them and has someone like Bale that needs just one touch to ruin everything--that could lead to a Wales potentially winning the group and avoiding Netherlands in the round of 16. I assume England would push hard for a win, hoping to get a matchup with Senegal without Mane or Ecuador in the R16.

That said, we just saw Saudi Arabia beat Argentina--let's not assume results yet to come are set in stone. The US can absolutely give England a game.
 

SocrManiac

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England looks like a quasi-juggernaut right now. I don’t think they can be counted on to do anything but win all three in the group.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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England looks like a quasi-juggernaut right now. I don’t think they can be counted on to do anything but win all three in the group.
Agreed, but it takes two to tango and I am also waiting to see the second games to fully understand to what degrees England is truly better than I thought or Iran is worse to really make sense of the shape of the group.
 

Yo La Tengo

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That said, we just saw Saudi Arabia beat Argentina--let's not assume results yet to come are set in stone. The US can absolutely give England a game.
I think the US can play a competitive game on Friday. It just kills me that they missed the opportunity to beat Wales and set themselves up in a much stronger position.

No idea what Iran looks like moving forward. Again, if the US wants any control of its destiny, it needs at least a point against England.
 

Yo La Tengo

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I kinda disagree with this. England playing for a draw against a team like Wales that would die to finish above them and has someone like Bale that needs just one touch to ruin everything--that could lead to a Wales potentially winning the group and avoiding Netherlands in the round of 16. I assume England would push hard for a win, hoping to get a matchup with Senegal without Mane or Ecuador in the R16.
If England is at 2-0-0 and Wales 1-0-1 for the game, England would be fine simply not losing while Wales would need to push for the win. Even if England wins that match, the US would have to beat Iran and then rely on goal differential. I'll get over it at some point, but I'm just so pissed that the US looked gassed in the 2nd half yesterday and let the game get away from them. Thankfully Acosta fouled Bale at midfield or we would be looking at a much bleaker road forward with a loss.
 

DJnVa

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If England is at 2-0-0 and Wales 1-0-1 for the game, England would be fine simply not losing while Wales would need to push for the win. Even if England wins that match, the US would have to beat Iran and then rely on goal differential. I'll get over it at some point, but I'm just so pissed that the US looked gassed in the 2nd half yesterday and let the game get away from them. Thankfully Acosta fouled Bale at midfield or we would be looking at a much bleaker road forward with a loss.
Oh, I get it. I just don't think that England is going to want to do anything that includes taking their foot off the gas. I understand that England would be fine not losing, but my point is more that Wales, with a dude like Bale can score even if England (and Harry Maguire!) are parking the bus.

The fun part is we can see how this plays out soon enough. This can all be flipped upside down if Iran regains the defensive prowess they've shown in the past (is their keeper back?) and US nicks a point on Friday.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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If England is at 2-0-0 and Wales 1-0-1 for the game, England would be fine simply not losing while Wales would need to push for the win. Even if England wins that match, the US would have to beat Iran and then rely on goal differential. I'll get over it at some point, but I'm just so pissed that the US looked gassed in the 2nd half yesterday and let the game get away from them. Thankfully Acosta fouled Bale at midfield or we would be looking at a much bleaker road forward with a loss.
Wales is not going to promise not to score. If they have a chance to win the game and the group they are going to try. England knows that so they have to try too. If it’s tied late and you‘re England you lose the group if Wales scores late. The best way not to lose is to score.
 

lexrageorge

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If England has 2 wins and Wales has a win and a tie entering that final match, then a tie in that final match gives England 7 points and Wales 5, while the US goes home early with only 4 points with a win against Iran. So while neither team wants to lose, a draw works out fine for both.

Things get interesting if the US can steal a draw against England, as we could be set up for a three-way tie where each team has 5 points.
 

Yo La Tengo

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Wales is not going to promise not to score. If they have a chance to win the game and the group they are going to try. England knows that so they have to try too. If it’s tied late and you‘re England you lose the group if Wales scores late. The best way not to lose is to score.
I am comfortable conceding to your argument: Wales is not going to promise not to score.

But, as we saw yesterday, they struggle to score goals. If England can adopt a defensive posture due to the standings, I think Wales will be hard pressed to put the ball in the net. Big picture, the US relying on an England win (but definitely not a tie or a win for Wales), beating Iran, and then getting the best of the goal differential with Wales, is a less than optimal set of scenarios.

All of which is to say, again, that I'd much rather have the US more in control of their destiny on the final game day within this group, which means they need at least a point against England.