USMNT: Hold My Beer

Zososoxfan

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Thanks for all the feedback. I understand the Reyna and Shaq decisions better now, but I thought Wright was very poor and didn't even put in much workrate. From what I saw of qualifying, Pepi or Pefok would've been a better option, but it is what it is.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Thanks for all the feedback. I understand the Reyna and Shaq decisions better now, but I thought Wright was very poor and didn't even put in much workrate. From what I saw of qualifying, Pepi or Pefok would've been a better option, but it is what it is.
The Wright situation was interesting yesterday. They needed a guy fast. I don't think that going into that game they were thinking that Wright was a guy who could come into a game where you're clinging to a one-goal lead late. I would have thought that maybe he was more of a guy that assumed he would only be coming in if the team needed a goal late. But they'd already made two subs with midfielders and they were in a situation in which ever minute it took to get a guy warm they were playing on ten men. So, it was a weird situation that had to be dealt with fast in a context where you have a good idea you're going to be parking the bus but there is also just enough time left that you might need another goal. It was a tough sub in a time when they probably wouldn't have wanted to make one and so he came into a difficult situation that didn't quite fit.
 

SocrManiac

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The Wright situation was interesting yesterday. They needed a guy fast. I don't think that going into that game they were thinking that Wright was a guy who could come into a game where you're clinging to a one-goal lead late. I would have thought that maybe he was more of a guy that assumed he would only be coming in if the team needed a goal late. But they'd already made two subs with midfielders and they were in a situation in which ever minute it took to get a guy warm they were playing on ten men. So, it was a weird situation that had to be dealt with fast in a context where you have a good idea you're going to be parking the bus but there is also just enough time left that you might need another goal. It was a tough sub in a time when they probably wouldn't have wanted to make one and so he came into a difficult situation that didn't quite fit.
I think the sub was defensible on some level. He was serviceable against England. The problem is that he laid an utter egg. He was a complete spectator right up to the point that he indefensibly shot the ball first time instead of going to the corner flag. Hell, knocking it out for a goal kick would have been better.
 

Zososoxfan

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He may be a target man and that's a defensible reason, but I can't get over his lack of workrate. He wasn't pressuring the CBs when they were in the US half. Astounding.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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He may be a target man and that's a defensible reason, but I can't get over his lack of workrate. He wasn't pressuring the CBs when they were in the US half. Astounding.
He's kind of overrated as a target guy because he looks like a target guy, that's not really his game the way it is for Pefok. What is his game if you look at a lot of his Turkish goals (in addition to some decent poaching) is getting in behind a stretched defense. Basically what he did at the end there except scoring goals rather than absolutely fucking it up.

It seems pretty clear that he got caught in the moment there, whether just the pressure or being torn between the goal and the corner flag. Hopefully, if the game situation dictates using him again, he takes that chance into the net (or the corner, if ti's that damn late).
 

Titans Bastard

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Haji Wright has a bit of Kenny Cooper in him, in that he's a tall forward who thinks he's a winger. Wright has grown out of that a bit from his U17 days, but he's still not good at getting the most out of his size.

Fun fact: at the start of the 2015 U-17 cycle, Haji Wright was the big star in this age cohort. Borussia Dortmund went to scout him...but ended up watching his teammate Christian Pulisic more closely.
 

Cellar-Door

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Yeah Wright is a weird inclusion to me, he's not very good and his entire career is as a guy who can only score against bottom tier opposition. He stunk in the big leagues, got sent to Turkey and scored, at the USMNT level he scored once... in a friendly and it was a penalty.

For a team that can't score goals with any consistency, bringing a guy who can't score goals from play against real opponents is a head scratcher.
 

SocrManiac

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Yeah Wright is a weird inclusion to me, he's not very good and his entire career is as a guy who can only score against bottom tier opposition. He stunk in the big leagues, got sent to Turkey and scored, at the USMNT level he scored once... in a friendly and it was a penalty.

For a team that can't score goals with any consistency, bringing a guy who can't score goals from play against real opponents is a head scratcher.
This is just a sunday league goalkeeper talking, but throwing Moore up front to use his energy to be disruptive would have been more useful. Yedlin in for Desk, Moore up front for Sargent.
 

Cellar-Door

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This is just a sunday league goalkeeper talking, but throwing Moore up front to use his energy to be disruptive would have been more useful. Yedlin in for Desk, Moore up front for Sargent.
I would have brought on Reyna and put Weah up top, especially as he was tiring a bit.
 

DJnVa

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US is one of just 9 teams to have not suffered a loss in this tourney, and 5 of them haven't played their final game yet.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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He may be a target man and that's a defensible reason, but I can't get over his lack of workrate. He wasn't pressuring the CBs when they were in the US half. Astounding.
Truly shocking. Whether it was physical, mental, or lack of warmup, I couldn't believe my eyes at seeing a guy come in for what you knew would be a 20ish minute shift and looking like he couldn't be bothered. Should be a disqualifying performance moving forward. The reality of Haji Wright is clearly not matching up with whatever the idea of Haji Wright was meant to be, but regardless of the player profile you are trying to capture with him, how he was not out there running like his hair was on fire is astounding to me.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Truly shocking. Whether it was physical, mental, or lack of warmup, I couldn't believe my eyes at seeing a guy come in for what you knew would be a 20ish minute shift and looking like he couldn't be bothered. Should be a disqualifying performance moving forward. The reality of Haji Wright is clearly not matching up with whatever the idea of Haji Wright was meant to be, but regardless of the player profile you are trying to capture with him, how he was not out there running like his hair was on fire is astounding to me.
I'm glad that both Wright and Moore had that experience and that it worked out ok.

I think it's possible that punters like us just have no clue what it's like in that situation. We all like to think these guys have good situational awareness and poise and that the lights won't get too bright. But maybe that's just not realistic. The last 30 minutes of that game were probably the most intensity that those guys have ever seen. The weight of the moment was pretty significant. The crowd was crazy. I think for some players the game slows down and it's the same game they've been playing all their lives. Zimmerman came in and the lights were not too bright, right? He was sharp and focused and did amazing work.

And sometimes other guys just shit their pants. They literally have no idea what they are doing. That's what it looked to me. There is not much you can learn playing at Tenerife or Tansbspor or in the second tier of the Danish league that prepares you for that situation I don't think. Everything is happening so quickly. Wright just shit his pants. He had no idea what he was doing out there. That's my theory anyway. His brain just went blank and he could not focus, and he doesn't have the experience to let muscle memory take over.
 

JOBU

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US is one of just 9 teams to have not suffered a loss in this tourney, and 5 of them haven't played their final game yet.
It is impressive. They also haven’t allowed a goal in open play. Not sure which is the most impressive feat
 
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Time to Mo Vaughn

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I was thinking about the player from New Jersey who chose to play for Italy rather than the US... and then didn't make the Italian team in 2010. It felt like a crushing blow at the time. Semi-related, while I'm generally not in favor of expanding the US military presence overseas, there is definitely a side benefit for US soccer. As a former Peace Corps volunteer, I'm all for expanding that program, but, I'll concede that there tends to be fewer super athletes in those groups.
I think you were both thinking of the same player, but it's Giuseppe Rossi.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giuseppe_Rossi

Looks like he ended up having a pretty good career for Villareal primarily.
 

Cellar-Door

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I think you were both thinking of the same player, but it's Giuseppe Rossi.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giuseppe_Rossi

Looks like he ended up having a pretty good career for Villareal primarily.
Also got 30 caps for Italy, just missed in 2010, then was hurt at lot running up to 2014 so he didn't make that team either. Doubt he regrets his choice though, he was consistent that he wanted to play for Italy all the way from the youth stages (he moved to Italy at 12) and the Olympics.
 

Cotillion

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It is actually the other way around. The time shown is supposed to be a minimum time. So 9 minutes can be up to 9:59. It is pretty rare to see a game stopped before the time. It happened once in this tournament that I remember by just a few seconds in a 2-0 game.

I am not sure whether the Qatar stadiums have clocks that show the stoppage time. Some stadiums do not. Ref keeps the time on a wristwatch. Presumably digital with a stop button but I don’t know. Some refs you can see have two watches on their wrists. I assume someone on SOSH knows the mechanics of how this works but I am not sure. I have always assumed that when they blow it early they are actually misreading it or something.

It would be interesting to hear from a big time FIFA ref what the actual process is for this tournament.
Happened the other day to Korea or Japan (I think) when they had set play opportunity. They were pissed.
 
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singaporesoxfan

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That's wild. My son's was in the pool for 2002. This must be a "thing" now.
I'm sure it's a good living, trading on that rep. Definitely works well in the DC metro area, which if EPL viewership is any guide might be America's most soccer-mad area.

It is pretty cool to have a coach who's actually played and scored in the World Cup. Like, I'm still beaming from the time he took me aside and told me my son had a rocket of a shot, and that was months ago
 

DJnVa

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It is impressive. They also haven’t allowed a goal in open play. Not sure which is the most impressive feat
Down to only 8 teams with 0 losses, 4 of them still to play their finale.
 

InstaFace

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At the risk of beating this drum too hard, Berhalter after this tournament Berhalter or whoever comes next really needs to do everything possible to convince Folarin Balogun to pick the USMNT. The level Balogun has shown this year at Reims is just way beyond anything any of the other CF candidates have ever demonstrated and his playing style would actually fit in very well with the possession-based system the US has been developing. He really could be the missing piece to help take this squad up a level.

Balogun needs to choose soon if he's going to have a national team career anywhere, the England side looks really difficult break into and Nigeria is probably locked into Osimhen at CF for the next 8-10 years. The USMNT makes all the sense in the world for him, especially at a moment when Berhalter or whoever can really make the case to him that the team is on the rise and that he would fit in well.
I think while Balogun is very promising, we have a lot of irons in that fire, and only need one to really pan out.

Daryl Dike: Incredible physical gifts, good endurance, has both target-man skills and fast-break ability. If he improves his touch, could be a UCL-level striker in the making. Only recently returned to West Brom from injury, but that 2020-21 run for Orlando and then Barnsley - wow.

Ricardo Pepi: He's still 19, guys. And playing well in the Eredivisie. The idea that he could be a Big 5 level striker in a year or two is really not that farfetched, and his calling card at Dallas was a preternatural sense for where to move and how to find a finishing stroke. He's not the monster athlete of Dike (or the Osimhen / Lukaku / Zlatan model), but he is a supremely technical player who with a bit of polish could end up being everything we hoped Josh Sargent would become, maybe even better than we hoped.

Jesus Ferreira: He's still 21, guys. He hasn't seen the field for the USA but he's on the team at that age, and he's getting paid a bloody fortune by Dallas or else he'd be in Europe already. I expect we'll see him in Spain within 12-18 months. His long-term position might end up a 10 if his touch and decision speed translates to the next level, but even as a false-ish 9 he can end up in Firmino land still.

Brandon Vasquez: Only emerged in MLS this past year, at age 24, but we have a long and glorious history of late bloomers. He is very likely to get a first call-up in January, and if he continues his 2022 MLS success into 2023, he won't remain in that league very long.

Malick Sanogo: Could still pan out for Union Berlin. Has already declared for the US, IIRC.


We literally have a half dozen solid striker prospects, all of them young enough that you can expect a bunch of improvement, and all of them performing as first-team professionals already (OK, Sanogo is up and down to the U19s) at a good level.
 

InstaFace

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I don't really understand Berhalter's soft spot for Shaq, but I also think that the difference between him and Yedlin isn't all that big.
I think a lot of it is the 2021 Gold Cup, where Shaq Moore flew in on 24 hours notice to cover for multiple sudden fullback injuries, and did an awesome job, basically took Reggie Cannon's spot on the team. Started the first 5 games and came in halfway through the Final and played the last 56 minutes of it. And that entire time, was basically rock solid defensively. Cannon and Yedlin have an oopsie or two per game, but I don't think Shaquell put a foot wrong that fortnight. That stuck with me.

Then the only WCQ games he started were the two Panama matches, looked bad in the away one and... fine, I guess? in the home one. I think he's just a AAAA player, up to the level of CONCACAF but out of his depth against world class competition.

These are the moments where our spotty depth really shows itself, but if we zoom out to see the big picture I think the player pool has advanced more than I or most people expected over the last four years. That this group is capable of getting into the knockout rounds bodes well. These guys have experience winning a gut-check game to get out of the group and will have experience in the big time of a knockout round game, too.

The goals for rebuilding the men's program from the Couva low for this cycle are at Mission Accomplished status. Everything from this point out is gravy. Expectations for the next cycle should be elevated.
100% on this. I'm not ready to re-sign Berhalter, that will be the next bit of angst we have, but he has achieved what we reasonably could have asked of him - overachieved, if you give him any credit for Dest and Musah. The USMNT is ascendant and should win plenty of the dual-national battles that we really want to win. Now we just need a way to get more reps against top 10 teams in the next 4 years.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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If Vazquez is on the list (and he definitely is), then frankly Sargent is still there too. Top of the Championship scoring charts at an age when McBride was in indifferent form for a then 2nd division Wolfsburg or Dempsey was chipping in fewer goals for the Revs.

None of these guys is yet a lock starter for a top 5 league team though, which is what we really want (Insert Pefok yelling here, by all means). Balogun, at least for a half season, is that guy, which might put him a cut above the other options right now. No guarantee he'd be the guy, but I sure wouldn't mind winning that recruiting battle and getting one more throw of the dice at this particular table.
 

InstaFace

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And that's very fair on both points, Jimy. Either way, the striker problem is one that isn't already solved, but has so many potential solutions that you can't help but bet that one (or more) will come good.

(And then, for the true sickos, there's Rodrigo Neri over at Atletico Madrid U18, who got run with our U19 YNT recently...)

Left-back, though, I kinda got nothin'. Certainly no levels of confidence anywhere close to that of Striker. Just stay healthy and marginally improving, Jedi. Because our other options, at any reasonable age for 2026, include:

- Sam Vines basically played his way off the team in September and has looked... OK-ish for Antwerp, but you'd hope for more than that for the USMNT at this point
- George Bello had a chance to impress in the Bundesliga right away at Bielefeld, and then he kinda didn't, his team got relegated, and he's had mostly sub duty in the 2.BL. Youth dev guys like Matt Hartman have harsh words for how Atlanta's youth academy failed him at a technical level.
- Jonathan Gomez, at Real Sociedad B. They take the long view on player development and so it's no disaster that he hasn't won a starting job in La Liga yet at age 19, but he was USL Best XI last year as an 18yo so you have to say the potential is there. He's also only provisionally cap-tied to the US and could still choose Mexico.
- Kevin Paredes is playing meaningful first-team minutes (in the Bundesliga, at age 19!) after Wolfsburg bought him from DC United... but they're mostly playing him as a winger. Whether he'd go back to a LWB or even LB role for us is still TBD.
- Caleb Wiley, age 17 at Atlanta United, is the first-choice LB for our (awesome) U20 squad, looked OK vs Brazil and Mexico but not special. And Atlanta may yet ruin him. He's been getting interest from abroad, though, so might move once he turns 18.
- DeJuan Jones, 25yo LB for your New England Revolution, won't be too old to potentially be a factor in 2026. He's shown a lot of panache since becoming the Revs starter in 2021, but if he's at the MLS level for the next 4 years it'll be hard for me to really see him upgrading over the likes of Jedi Robinson.

It's pretty thin after that (Jacob Greene, Noah Allen, John Tolkin?!), and I've largely written off the first two already, even though I shouldn't.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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If it wasn't for Jedi, we might still be running Beasly out at left back. He's not the best of the dual nats we've recruited, but even with what Musah is doing I think he's the most important, given the absolute void that position has been for the USMNT.
 

Titans Bastard

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@InstaFace I think that's a good summary but I'd contend that John Tolkin deserves his own line item and should be promoted from honorable mention status. For example, he is the same age as George Bello and IMO is clearly better at this point. Bello is one of those guys whose game hasn't progressed much since age 16. He's had some injuries, but the biggest problem is that he is an absolute space cadet in his off-the-ball defense and he's not showing signs of improvement.
 

Cellar-Door

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So I think I'm probably a little less enthusiastic about this team than some/most.
I love our young talent.
I think Berhalter deserves a lot of credit for turning around the post-Klinsmann disaster.

However.... this team can't score from play with any consistency, struggles to even create many chances from play.
The defense has been strong, but international cycles past are littered with teams that didn't concede many, but weren't real threats because push came to shove and they faced elite opponents in knockout games they couldn't score and they went home. Being able to create chances from play is what really separates the tiers of international teams.
Also... Golden generations go fast, sometimes you get 2 cycles max out of them.

I'm of the opinion that if they lose this weekend, you thank Gregg for his work building a foundation and getting player pool commits, then you go find someone new (Gregg may also choose to leave, lot of managers don't want 2 cycles, and getting out of group should give him some club options). Yes, the USMNT doesn't have a ton of healthy strikers in the pool.... but if that's the case you need to find tactical ways to manufacture goals. A lot of nations lack elite strikers and score just fine. And that's my concern with Gregg, he's never really shown any interest in adjusting to his attacking talent, he's going to run his system and if we don't score we don't score... oh well.

Of course, I will say, one concern is who wants this job? I think it's more attractive than it was by quite a bit (though probably one reason it wasn't super-attractive last time was that it was an open secret that Gregg had the job and the interviews were for show), but international manager pools are tricky.
 

Titans Bastard

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So I think I'm probably a little less enthusiastic about this team than some/most.
I love our young talent.
I think Berhalter deserves a lot of credit for turning around the post-Klinsmann disaster.

However.... this team can't score from play with any consistency, struggles to even create many chances from play.
The defense has been strong, but international cycles past are littered with teams that didn't concede many, but weren't real threats because push came to shove and they faced elite opponents in knockout games they couldn't score and they went home. Being able to create chances from play is what really separates the tiers of international teams.
Also... Golden generations go fast, sometimes you get 2 cycles max out of them.

I'm of the opinion that if they lose this weekend, you thank Gregg for his work building a foundation and getting player pool commits, then you go find someone new (Gregg may also choose to leave, lot of managers don't want 2 cycles, and getting out of group should give him some club options). Yes, the USMNT doesn't have a ton of healthy strikers in the pool.... but if that's the case you need to find tactical ways to manufacture goals. A lot of nations lack elite strikers and score just fine. And that's my concern with Gregg, he's never really shown any interest in adjusting to his attacking talent, he's going to run his system and if we don't score we don't score... oh well.

Of course, I will say, one concern is who wants this job? I think it's more attractive than it was by quite a bit (though probably one reason it wasn't super-attractive last time was that it was an open secret that Gregg had the job and the interviews were for show), but international manager pools are tricky.
I don't think too many people would disagree with your evaluation of this team's strengths and weaknesses. It doesn't have the profile of truly elite international team because it's not a truly elite international team. I think Gregg could make some changes that would make this team more dangerous in the attack, but most of those changes would also result in weakening our defensive prowess and I'm unsure if it would be a net benefit. (Not sucking on set pieces would be an undisputed win though.)

Where I disagree with you, and this is entirely subjective, is that by adopting a somewhat less enthusiastic disposition toward this team, I think you are robbing yourself of some joy. These guys ball out, play their hearts out, and ultimately play some very solid soccer. They are IMO an incredibly likable group of players and they have been really fun to root for. The goal output isn't ideal, but I think it can be easy to get lost in the moment and forget that the World Cup is a freaking hard tournament and very few teams go through this experience with flawless performances. Germany, Argentina, and France have already lost games just in the group stage.

Lastly, time will tell if this is a Golden Generation. Maybe it is. Maybe it's just the new normal.
 

Cellar-Door

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I don't think too many people would disagree with your evaluation of this team's strengths and weaknesses. It doesn't have the profile of truly elite international team because it's not a truly elite international team. I think Gregg could make some changes that would make this team more dangerous in the attack, but most of those changes would also result in weakening our defensive prowess and I'm unsure if it would be a net benefit. (Not sucking on set pieces would be an undisputed win though.)

Where I disagree with you, and this is entirely subjective, is that by adopting a somewhat less enthusiastic disposition toward this team, I think you are robbing yourself of some joy. These guys ball out, play their hearts out, and ultimately play some very solid soccer. They are IMO an incredibly likable group of players and they have been really fun to root for. The goal output isn't ideal, but I think it can be easy to get lost in the moment and forget that the World Cup is a freaking hard tournament and very few teams go through this experience with flawless performances. Germany, Argentina, and France have already lost games just in the group stage.

Lastly, time will tell if this is a Golden Generation. Maybe it is. Maybe it's just the new normal.
Oh I'm enjoying watching them while they play during the matches.

It's just afterwards when I take a look back at them, that I start analyzing where we need to go to take the next step (though also... yeah in-game in the second half of matches particularly I do sometimes find myself saying.... what are you doing Gregg?).

I do think there is some degree that more attack might hurt defense, but... that's the balance of the game.

Also some things I don't know if they would hurt the D too much to try, like... if you're running a 4-3-3 mostly, and you have too many talented MF/AM.... and no strikers, why insist on benching some of your best players to play some of your worst. I don't think playing with a false 9 and having the MF run from deep would hurt the defense at all, and I think there is a good chance that it would increase scoring.

Edit- in some ways it reminds me of West Ham who I watch at the Club level... cycled through a million strikers before just saying... okay, lets just play Antonio up top. And when he's out... let's throw Bowen inside and add one of our wingers off the bench to help create.
 

Titans Bastard

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Also some things I don't know if they would hurt the D too much to try, like... if you're running a 4-3-3 mostly, and you have too many talented MF/AM.... and no strikers, why insist on benching some of your best players to play some of your worst. I don't think playing with a false 9 and having the MF run from deep would hurt the defense at all, and I think there is a good chance that it would increase scoring.
I realize this is all hypothetical because nobody thinks Berhalter would actually go with a false 9, but anyway I think it would be far from a slam-dunk.

This USMNT team has never really tried a false 9 (except maybe that one time Lletget was pressed into service there...) and testing it out during a R16 game would be pretty crazy. It's not a video game. In trying to shoehorn a talented player into an unfamiliar role, you risk collapsing the entire offensive shape if the false 9 can't pull off the job, which not only hurts our offense but also invites pressure onto our defensive structure.

NT talent pools are uneven and sometimes the best team doesn't include the best 11 players and it can't be helped. Maybe we could have tried Reyna as a false 9 at times in a universe where Reyna wasn't injured for the vast majority of our games, but c'est la vie.

Josh Sargent is a good player who has played well at the World Cup. I know people want goals, but don't sleep on all of the other CF things he does well.

Here's the order of options IMO:

1. Sargent
2. Ferreira
3. Morris
4. Wright
5. False 9
 

InstaFace

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I'll take 45-60' of Ferreira, personally. But what I want more than my choice of striker is for Sargent and Aaronson to be on the field at the same time, so if BA is starting, then start Sargent, and if we're starting CP / Weah again (and who could argue?) then just start Ferreira and bring Sargent and Aaronson on at the same time to run our press together like wild dogs.
 

OCST

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Moore and Wrights failings were mental/emotional not physical. Agree that they struggled to handle the moment.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I think while Balogun is very promising, we have a lot of irons in that fire, and only need one to really pan out.

Daryl Dike: Incredible physical gifts, good endurance, has both target-man skills and fast-break ability. If he improves his touch, could be a UCL-level striker in the making. Only recently returned to West Brom from injury, but that 2020-21 run for Orlando and then Barnsley - wow.

Ricardo Pepi: He's still 19, guys. And playing well in the Eredivisie. The idea that he could be a Big 5 level striker in a year or two is really not that farfetched, and his calling card at Dallas was a preternatural sense for where to move and how to find a finishing stroke. He's not the monster athlete of Dike (or the Osimhen / Lukaku / Zlatan model), but he is a supremely technical player who with a bit of polish could end up being everything we hoped Josh Sargent would become, maybe even better than we hoped.

Jesus Ferreira: He's still 21, guys. He hasn't seen the field for the USA but he's on the team at that age, and he's getting paid a bloody fortune by Dallas or else he'd be in Europe already. I expect we'll see him in Spain within 12-18 months. His long-term position might end up a 10 if his touch and decision speed translates to the next level, but even as a false-ish 9 he can end up in Firmino land still.

Brandon Vasquez: Only emerged in MLS this past year, at age 24, but we have a long and glorious history of late bloomers. He is very likely to get a first call-up in January, and if he continues his 2022 MLS success into 2023, he won't remain in that league very long.

Malick Sanogo: Could still pan out for Union Berlin. Has already declared for the US, IIRC.

We literally have a half dozen solid striker prospects, all of them young enough that you can expect a bunch of improvement, and all of them performing as first-team professionals already (OK, Sanogo is up and down to the U19s) at a good level.
It's definitely good to have as many irons in the fire as possible and I haven't really seen many of these guys play at all except a couple appearances with the national team.

But having watched Balogun play a lot over the years and seeing his rapid acceleration in development over the last six months, I'm pretty confident in saying that he would be a player that could help this team in both the short and long runs. Maybe somebody else like Pepi would develop really well over time and challenge him for the starting role, but Balogun would already be the best striker on this team right now. He's scored more goals in three months in Ligue 1 than Tim Weah has scored in his entire career in that league, all while playing for a team with terrible surrounding offensive talent (he has scored or assisted 10/16 goals for Reims). And he has skills that would really help this team as it is currently constructed - in particular he is way better on the ball than Sargent/Morris/Wright, both in terms of the ability to drop deep and bring others into play and in terms of dribbling/creating with the ball at this feet. I love our midfield but there is no real creator in that trio, so it would be a big plus to have a CF who can drop between the lines in central spaces, receive the ball, and do something creative/dangerous.
 

InstaFace

The Ultimate One
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Sep 27, 2016
22,894
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Guys like Dest and Weah are nice contributors and its great to have guys with the technical ability and tactical understanding to play a slicker possession-based style but their level isn't actually that high and you're going to need to improve on them if you want to really get better.
That's "Man of the Match in the most important game we've played in 8 years" Sergino Dest to you, buddy:

https://halfspaces.com/halfspaces-player-grades-usmnt-vs-iran/

^^ that article is a great review of some of the standout performances that got it done on Tuesday. I'm on Ben Harreld's mailing list because he's the only one who sits down and tries to put real numbers on the actual things that happened in the game, and if I don't read his game breakdowns, it's all kinda a blur and subjective opinion to me.
 

Time to Mo Vaughn

RIP Dernell
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Mar 24, 2008
7,337
Still no news on Sargent's injury?

Feels like that's probably good news because if he was definitely out, we'd probably have heard it. I don't think Berhalter is Bill Belichick when it comes to gamesmanship.
 

Titans Bastard

has sunil gulati in his sights
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Still no news on Sargent's injury?

Feels like that's probably good news because if he was definitely out, we'd probably have heard it. I don't think Berhalter is Bill Belichick when it comes to gamesmanship.
Both Sargent and Pulisic were described as "day to day" today.
 

bibajesus

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Jul 15, 2005
982
Still no news on Sargent's injury?

Feels like that's probably good news because if he was definitely out, we'd probably have heard it. I don't think Berhalter is Bill Belichick when it comes to gamesmanship.
There was a reporter on this morning that said she was told there would be no more injury updates because the USMNT doesn't want to give the Netherlands any help.
 

singaporesoxfan

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Pulisic says he didn't get hit in the balls. I'm not sure if that's true or if it's ballshit

https://www.espn.com/soccer/fifa-world-cup/story/4821710/christian-pulisic-injury-usmnt-star-aims-to-play-vs-netherlands

"I'm going to go meet now with the team medical staff and make a decision on [training] today, just kind of see how I'm feeling, taking it day by day," Pulisic said in Thursday's news conference. "Right now I'm doing everything in my power to be able to be out there on the field on Saturday."

Pulisic later clarified that he "didn't get hit in the balls. I'm all right," but that he got hit in the pelvic bone.

"It was very painful. That bone is there for a reason to protect you; I hit it well," he said. "It was sore, but it's getting better."
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill
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Sep 9, 2008
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I cancelled my trip to Qatar a few months ago and resold all my tickets through FIFA. I haven't regretted it and I still would do it the same.

But I did make the mistake of going back to see what games my tickets would have been for (I purchased them before the draw so no teams).

58350
 

rguilmar

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Jul 16, 2005
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Re Berhalter coming back for '26, the one thing that would give me some hope about it working out is how cold-blooded he ended up being about cutting players who had major roles in qualifying from the squad in Qatar. Part of the problem with coaches getting stale is that they have trouble giving up on players they trust when those players lose a step.



I wish we had xG stats going back that far. I think Turner is underrated, and he might very well deserve to start over both Friedel and Keller (he's a world-class shot-stopper, has an argument for best in the tournament, and is at least adequate with his feet at this point).

Tony Sanneh probably has to sit because Dest has been so good, but we wouldn't lose much if he had to play. His form in that tournament was incredible.

I might take Donovan over Pulisic. I think a side with peak Donovan in it would have beaten Wales by multiple goals.

I think I'd take McKennie over Reyna.
This is actually a great point. The opposite is true as well, that players have been essentially moved off the team- Ream and Acosta come to mind- then brought back in.

Another argument for keeping Gregg for another cycle when other have failed is that Gregg holding onto his core guys won’t be a drawback because they’re so young. The main argument for only giving a manager one cycle is because they do get attached to players (something GGG had been criticized of in the past) and have a hard time moving on from them when it’s best for the program to do so. That’s less of an issue because it’s not likely that it’ll be best to move on from McKennie, Dest, Pulisic, Reyna, and the rest. And as you mentioned, when it’s time to do so, Gregg has shown an ability to do so. Perhaps France sticking with Deschamps is a more similar situation?

Rewatching the game, man that first 60 minutes or so were a thing of beauty. The last 30 left me shitting diamonds all week and I wish it wasn’t as stressful. My opinion of Gregg is pretty well known, but I can’t argue with results at the World Cup. If a win tomorrow means we are saddled with GGG for another cycle, sign me up.
 

67YAZ

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Earnie Stewart is still in place, but USSF has a new CEO and President. Heading into a cycle as WC hosts, Batson and Cone may well want to put their stamp on the program by bringing in a new manager.

Also, if/when the US gets automatic qualificaton for 2026, the lead up is going to be tricky. The USMNT is going to scrounging around for qaulity friendly opponents while the rest of the world is tied up in qualitying and Nations Leagues.