USMNT: Hold My Beer

Zososoxfan

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 30, 2009
9,229
South of North
As for the game, I posted this elsewhere but it's downright strange to see the team undone by something that was their strength (defense, in breaking up counters / not giving up easy chances). Our defense might've been the best the USMNT has ever had, so for it to fall apart like that suddenly is really not on the coaching. Ferreira not being up for the role that we needed from him (and Sargent being injured) is unfortunate, but again, not really on the manager, unless you think Pefok would've done better, or Pepi would be ready for this level. I'll listen to the idea that we should've gone Gio Reyna false 9 from the start, but I was pretty supportive of the Ferreira selection before kickoff, so it'd be hypocritical to slam it now. And Gio was clearly not 100% out there, whether it's injury or just being out-of-form from injuries this year.

Overall, Gregg met expectations and maybe even exceeded them a little bit, and did so with a very, very young team who really enjoys playing together and has shown moments of tremendous ability as a group. He outcoached Gareth Southgate, which might not be a feat by "world cup contender" standards, but is certainly a feat by American coach standards.
And that's the same England team who romped to the Euro final. That and the Mexico home WCQ match were his crowning achievements and is a very good resume for whatever his next thing is.

I don't expect either USSF or Berhalter to be interested in another cycle of him in charge.
I agree about your post-mortem. The goals weren't the Dutch methodically picking us apart--they were lapses in concentration almost certainly due to fatigue. The second goal happened right before the HT whistle, a notorious time to give up soft goals. I still blame Dest for that though.

I just thought that Aaronson's running would've been best used from the start. Let him go crazy for an hour, then bring on Gio or Ferreira against tired legs.

Someone else said it before, but it's probably best for all involved to move on from the GGG cycle. He accomplished a lot, the team is in a good place, and we have a great opportunity to start with a new manager on a clean slate.

GGG had a very good group stage. I can’t make up my mind about today. Most xG models have it even. If Pulisic buries that early chance it’s a different game. Ferreira was useless, Gio or Aaronson would have done more….. but with no true 9 to deal with the redwoods in the Dutch defense…. We were not deep enough and ran our horses into the ground….

I don’t know. Those defensive lapses were brutal. The focus that we had in the group was gone. I’m not sure what tactical adjustment I would have made. Maybe both Gio and Aaronson to start, and then… McK sitting?

A better manager gets more out of that group in that game but it might just be a matter of maturity, both players and coach. Donovan called out our naïveté. He’s right.
QFT

Some names that come to mind for me, particularly taking USSF’s predilections into account (and assuming Berhalter doesn’t get the second cycle).

If Marsch gets fired from Leeds in the next three (maybe six) months, it’s almost definitely him.

Pellegrino Matarazzo is available, coaches solid soccer in a German style that suits a lot of our players and is from New Jersey (a weirdly determinative criterion in the past 20 years of the USMNT).

If they go with an MLS guy again, I think it’s either Cherundolo or Curtin. I prefer Cherundolo of the two I think, he has more global experience and national team experience and his setups are more pragmatic and flexible than Curtin’s. Curtain has way more actual managerial experience, of course.

For non-American managers, it’s a weird needle to thread of who is good enough to be exciting but doesn’t just want a club job instead. Bielsa could conceivably fit, not sure who else jumps out at me.
For future managers they usually fall into one of these categories:
1. Career International manager mercenaries
2. Lower league managers who don't think they will be able to get a top 8 league job.
3. Top league managers who are getting old or have health issues and want to slow down.
4. Rarely, managers who are fairly young but in a non-premium league who think a deep WC run is their ticket to a top league (most commonly S. A. leagues.

So a Marsch is likely a no go, he's in a top league and young, even if fired at Leeds he'll have top league options.

Names that come to mind...
Bielsa (profile fit, think no chance he comes here)
Ferreira (rumors he's on the Brazil shortlist)
Pellegrini? (does he want to slow down and leave Betis?)
Low? (not quite cat 1 since he did all 15 years with one national side)
Gallardo (former rising star, didn't take the top 5 league job when he could, sacked by River)
Koller?
I think Bielsa is a terrible fit for the Int'l Game, as his time with Argentina showed. He runs such a unique system that he needs the time that the club game affords to implement it. His run with Chile is legendary and quite the counterexample, but that team also had insane talent that I would guess grew up together and probably had a lot of the chemistry all built in.

I can't imagine Pellegrini would be interested in the job, but if he is I'd take him in a heartbeat. Gallardo is another manager that would a home run hire, but I bet he gets a club job in the next few months.

No thanks on Low.

I think a big problem is our lack of depth. Most of the bench players in this team are relatively good soccer players, but they are clear downgrades from the starters. So in many cases, it's basically impossible to rotate.

The USMNT today just seemed a bit physically and psychologically worn out in ways that get exposed when you go up against a team like the Netherlands.

I'm not sure how much could be done. I think the USMNT played at a pretty good level today. If the team played this well in ten consecutive matches against the Netherlands, they'd win a few of them. The breaks didn't go our way today with the finishing and a few catastrophic lapses in off the ball defending. That's the way it goes sometimes. The USMNT isn't good enough to have a margin for error with this stuff.
Look no further than this. I’m staggered at how much my son’s U8 team costs. It’s bordering on obscene. This is supposed to be premiere, and in terms of coaching and 50% of the players it very much is. The second half (including my son) wouldn’t have made the team on merit. Does anybody doubt those slots could have been taken by players potentially even more talented than what was already there, but for the price tag?

Until that’s fixed, I struggle to see the US developing the elite talent needed to win a WC.
The general shape of the system that the Belgians, Dutch, & Germans use had the FA pay clubs to run organized leagues, programs, and tournaments for all youth in their local catchment with licensed coaches. At age 10, players can be recruited in to team-run & FA-supported academies - all are fully accredited secondary schools, some residential & some day schools. At age 16 players can sign professional contracts, either with the team whose academy they came through or another club, which would owe the academy club a solidarity fee for training the player.

There some variation, but the keys are that professional teams and the FA have systems for training up youth with licensed coaches & that they are paying the costs, not the kids’ families.

In many other soccer-mad countries, the clubs or professional intermediaries scour youth teams, parks, and pick up games looking for talented youth to funnel into academies. In poor countries, this often includes payment to the parents or jobs for them. And in many of these countries, the school part of the academies is a joke or barely existent - kids are training 8+ hours a day.
This post should probably be pinned, and we should start a new thread about USSF player development.

I don’t think it’s necessary to have a crisis of confidence in our player development. The visible results of American development have shown plainly apparent improvement in the last half decade. It’s worth remembering that the lag time in player development improvement is long. These guys were shaped in large part by practices already in place in the late 00s and early 10s. Change takes time.

MLS academies are cranking out talent at a vastly greater rate than before. The world market is taking notice and is paying up for it. We have engaged the positive feedback loop as laggard MLS clubs see the on field and financial benefits of developing talent. Not every MLS club will be that good at this, but we also don’t need them to be.

The next four years should see continued improvements to the player pool. There’s every indication that things are heading in the right direction.
For sure, we can definitely tell that e.g. FC Dallas and NYRB have excellent academies and it shows in their transfer business and year-to-year results, I'm just wondering what can be done to develop talent below academy age since pay-to-play cuts out a lot of kids who don't have cash/don't live in cities/etc.
The stuff that matters most to generate high upsides is development that happens early. It’s very stingy to not give the US full credit for McKennie, Reyna, and Pulisic — they benefited from their moves overseas but the reason why they were in demand was because of development that happened in the US. Obviously all players with high upsides will need to move on to the biggest leagues to fulfill their potential, but that’s different from cultivating the upside in the first place. But we need to be generating the raw materials, and we're doing a much better job than we have been.

Things are also changing fast. MLS has been a solid enough pathway that guys even a few years younger than some of the players on this list are using MLS as a launching pad for their pro careers at this point. And for the most part, they are getting chances, improving, and drawing Euro interest.
WRT @SocrManiac 's post above, I think U8s are just on the gray area of where pay-to-play really begins to hurt us. Like @67YAZ said, most professional academies kick into gear at 10 years old, but I'm sure the bigger ones probably start around 8. Anything younger than that, and it gets to other posts I accidentally deleted that talk about soccer culture.

The Atlanta Station Soccer initiative is exactly what this country needs to get to the next level. In case you're not familiar, check THIS out. In short:

The organization was established in 1989 and provides free soccer programs for underserved youth in the metro Atlanta area. In 2016 StationSoccer was launched on the plaza level at Five Points Station resulting in the first soccer field project inside a train station in the world. After the success of Five Points - StationSoccer, the program was expanded to include West End Station in 2018. Further StationSoccer projects will be announced over the next year as part of “The League of Stations”. Communities will represent their stations and play each other via the MARTA transit network. Partners in the project include The Atlanta United Foundation, MARTA and The City of Atlanta.
We need to get more "fields" (including rubber, concrete, and dirt ones where necessary), so that all kids need to play is a ball. Paint a goal on the wall--add ball, potential players. The more accessible the game is--more like basketball, and less like football--which requires so much gear and infrastructure, the better. It's the world's game!
 

Lose Remerswaal

Experiencing Furry Panic
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
We need to get more "fields" (including rubber, concrete, and dirt ones where necessary), so that all kids need to play is a ball. Paint a goal on the wall--add ball, potential players. The more accessible the game is--more like basketball, and less like football--which requires so much gear and infrastructure, the better. It's the world's game!
The US Soccer FOUNDATION is working on this, especially in inner cities https://ussoccerfoundation.org/
 

Zososoxfan

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 30, 2009
9,229
South of North
The US Soccer FOUNDATION is working on this, especially in inner cities https://ussoccerfoundation.org/
Thanks for sharing! It is a good program, but it needs to grow as fast as possible. I'm in Tampa, FL and to say there's a lot of general athletic talent here is a gross understatement. While it used to produce a lot of baseball players (McGriff, Sheff, Carl Everett lol, Tino Martinez, Kevin Cash, Christian Arroyo, Dave Magadan, McCullers, etc.), it's now one of the most fertile football territories in the country. This cool little article built an entire football team out of Tampa natives, and it includes Isaiah Wynn, Ted Washington, the Pouncey Twins, Shaun King, Peter Warrick, Marlon Mack, Warren Sapp, Ray Lewis, Dante Fowler, and Clinton-Dix.

The soccer player list? Currently has 23 players on it--most notably Julian Green, Bobby Boswell (played with his bro a few times), and JP Rodrigues (I played with him a few years ago, but he popped his knee for the 2nd/3rd time and he's been done ever since).

So I looked up the fields in my area and there are 3. That's good! There should be 20-30. Part of the problem is an American one--there's no public transit here, so if the field isn't within a couple of miles it essentially doesn't exist. Miami, which is much more populous and denser, has 1 (although TBF there's just a lot more existing fields there already). Fort Lauderdale has 0. Orlando has 6 which is better, but still not nearly enough.
 

67YAZ

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 1, 2000
8,777
Thanks for sharing! It is a good program, but it needs to grow as fast as possible. I'm in Tampa, FL and to say there's a lot of general athletic talent here is a gross understatement. While it used to produce a lot of baseball players (McGriff, Sheff, Carl Everett lol, Tino Martinez, Kevin Cash, Christian Arroyo, Dave Magadan, McCullers, etc.), it's now one of the most fertile football territories in the country. This cool little article built an entire football team out of Tampa natives, and it includes Isaiah Wynn, Ted Washington, the Pouncey Twins, Shaun King, Peter Warrick, Marlon Mack, Warren Sapp, Ray Lewis, Dante Fowler, and Clinton-Dix.

The soccer player list? Currently has 23 players on it--most notably Julian Green, Bobby Boswell (played with his bro a few times), and JP Rodrigues (I played with him a few years ago, but he popped his knee for the 2nd/3rd time and he's been done ever since).

So I looked up the fields in my area and there are 3. That's good! There should be 20-30. Part of the problem is an American one--there's no public transit here, so if the field isn't within a couple of miles it essentially doesn't exist. Miami, which is much more populous and denser, has 1 (although TBF there's just a lot more existing fields there already). Fort Lauderdale has 0. Orlando has 6 which is better, but still not nearly enough.
The Chicago Fire Foundation partnered with the Chicago Park district to build over 100 outdoor, concrete mini-pitches all over the city. A park near me has 2 and they are always being used…in the good weather. This being Chicago, we need a freely accessible indoor pitches, too.

Moreover, as the city shrugs off our Black and low income families, we need similar partnerships with the suburban communities that are seeing these populations rapidly grow with little infrastructure to support them.

But we also need a ton more licensed coaches to work with youth (and not have the families carry all the costs of that). I’ve coached for 6 years now and have partnered with and coached against a lot of adults who are energetic, supportive, positive, and know little of the game. They tend to focus on really discrete bits of the game they feel they can coach up, like throw in technique or side-footing a pass while stationary. They tend to miss the joyful, improvisational, competitive parts - the drills that are closer to free play and pure fun, like kids get playing any kind of pick up sport. So much of the youth game is building a love for playing the sport.

(I’m not licensed or trained either, but have studied hard at YouTube University and so on. But I def would have gone to a free licensing program if that was the requirement to coach my kids.)
 

DJnVa

Dorito Dawg
SoSH Member
Dec 16, 2010
53,997
USA passed and pressed like a modern club side. Will they have convinced the world?

Results aside, this team really did look different than before. They played like they knew what they were about, and what they were about wasn’t the scrappy counter-attacking game that’s kept the USMNT punching above its weight for the last 20 years. Maybe, just maybe, American soccer had changed.
Some stats:
Possession: US was 13th at the WC, with 53%.
Long balls: 8th lowest (so we didn't just boot the ball upfield, even if protecting a lead)
Field tilt: 8th (this did not translate to goals, but it's still a good thing. In 2014th we were 31st)
Possessions reaching final third: 4th (behind Germany, Brazil, Portugal)
Crosses: 29th (not that great, but Croatia made the finals 4 years ago with similar numbers, but a bigger target)
Counter-pressing: 5th (behind England, Brazil, Spain, Germany)

…but something had definitely changed.

This traditionally counter-attacking side played on the front foot for long stretches of all four of its games, including against a couple of major European powers. The United States passed and pressed like a modern club side, which helped them take full advantage of a new crop of kids playing at some of the best clubs in the world.
 

Jimy Hendrix

Member
SoSH Member
Jun 15, 2002
5,852
The crosses have truly jumped out this whole cycle. As a fellow Spurs fan, you're surprisingly familiar with the pre-Haaland Man City failure mode of "lump deep crosses into a packed box towards a little guy". The USMNT have looked like that a lot with a whole lot fewer of the incisive box moments and movements that make Man City a murder machine usually.

It's definitely not intended for Berhalter's tactics, if he wanted that many crosses I think he'd have been a lot more Pefok curious than he was. I think our guys are just not crafty enough in and around the box to do much else against a disciplined, elite defense (optimistic case, add yet, pessimistic case, end the clause there).
 

speedracer

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
3,835
I might be off base here…but a big part of the failure to cross effectively seemed to be that other than in transition scenarios, the wide players simply could not create enough space for themselves to get a decent cross off, whether through combination moves or beating a defender off the dribble.

Maybe we need to lay off the high press a little bit, let the opppnents out of the box more often and then try to counter?
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
SoSH Member
Jan 10, 2004
24,533
The 718
Yeah. These numbers in and of themselves are the numbers of a "better" side, especially with midfielders who can control the middle of the park, but the quality attempts and goals aren't there. Without better strikers we're going to have the same results - defensively solid, capable of getting forward, not tactically sophisticated or skilled enough on or off the ball to put up 2+ goals/game against good opposition.
 

DJnVa

Dorito Dawg
SoSH Member
Dec 16, 2010
53,997
Yeah. These numbers in and of themselves are the numbers of a "better" side, especially with midfielders who can control the middle of the park, but the quality attempts and goals aren't there. Without better strikers we're going to have the same results - defensively solid, capable of getting forward, not tactically sophisticated or skilled enough on or off the ball to put up 2+ goals/game against good opposition.
Sure, but at least we're addressing part of the issue. In the past we'd struggle to score but also not do these other things that top teams can do. At least part of the equation is getting better.
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
SoSH Member
Jan 10, 2004
24,533
The 718
Sure, but at least we're addressing part of the issue. In the past we'd struggle to score but also not do these other things that top teams can do. At least part of the equation is getting better.
No doubt. Glass half full. Glass a lot more than half full, actually. Put a good striker up top, and add a couple of depth pieces, and we'd have a side with a real shot at getting into and deeper than the QF.