USMNT: Hold My Beer

teddykgb

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Only been able to watch the 2nd half but it has been enjoyable. Seems like a fair amount of structure in the system, a lot of passing triangles and particularly passes between the lines. Easily could have conceded a few as well, there's a bit of openness there but a pretty good first impression. I've been surprised at how good Bradley has looked, although this hasn't been the hardest test. Played a lot like a 4-2-2-2 with the ball
 

Titans Bastard

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Bradley was very good tonight. For me, though, the biggest issue with Bradley is his relative lack of quickness that makes him too soft a DM against tough teams. This weak Panama team was never going to come close to exposing him in that way.

Adams and McKennie will cover up some of Bradley's sins, though.

Offensively, I thought the US looked like some sort of weird 3-4-3, with the RB Lima tucking into the midfield alongside Bradley, which freed up the other two CMs to seize more attacking roles. It's an interesting concept against weaker, bunkering CONCACAF opposition. I'm not sure how well that will work against top teams; I'd worry that our flanks would be badly exposed to counterattacks. Having a specific strategy for CONCACAF teams that are dug in is useful by itself, though.

Next weekend is Costa Rica, which should be a somewhat tougher test even if it's not their A team either.
 

DrewDawg

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Only caught last 10 minutes and they scored twice, so they look fucking awesome to me.

I loved that play by Lima though leading to the 2nd goal.
 

67YAZ

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It's an interesting concept against weaker, bunkering CONCACAF opposition. I'm not sure how well that will work against top teams; I'd worry that our flanks would be badly exposed to counterattacks. Having a specific strategy for CONCACAF teams that are dug in is useful by itself, though.
Just had an image of Yedlin playing this role in a Hex match and it made me shudder. Yedlin has the wheels for it, but not the skills or awareness. I’d be ok never seeing this experiment again.
 

Titans Bastard

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Just had an image of Yedlin playing this role in a Hex match and it made me shudder. Yedlin has the wheels for it, but not the skills or awareness. I’d be ok never seeing this experiment again.
It's a terrible fit for Yedlin, but what if Yedlin is the normal fullback and you find someone else to perform the fullback/CM role, but on the left side?

If it works tactically for the whole team, it also helps solve the LB problem. I'm not at all sold that this tactical wrinkle will be a key part of the scheme going forward, but there are possibilities to explore.
 

Titans Bastard

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It won't be easy to watch CONCACAF Nations League games this fall.

 

Titans Bastard

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Hey just trying to get viewership down into 4 figures to match the in person attendance
Unfortunately, it's CONCACAF product to sell, so the USSF doesn't have any influence on who carries the rights.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Is this separate from the USMNT deals that actual watchable cable networks have?

Not being able to see eg. Honduras vs. Panama would be one thing, not being able to see the national team without a z-list streaming service is another.
 

Titans Bastard

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Is this separate from the USMNT deals that actual watchable cable networks have?

Not being able to see eg. Honduras vs. Panama would be one thing, not being able to see the national team without a z-list streaming service is another.
Yes, I think so. Federations can sell the TV rights to friendlies and home WCQ. Like the Gold Cup, Nations League rights are sold by CONCACAF.

US TV rights for away WCQ are sold by the host federation, so historically there's been weird PPV-only broadcasts. I remember having to schlep to the Banshee for a WCQ at Guatemala in 2012.


EDIT: or you could (partially) ignore what I'm saying. Group stage games on ESPN, but not the final few games. Still not good.

 
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Jimy Hendrix

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Holy shit, that's a really expensive streaming service too. Looks like ~$12.50 for their hilarious soccer-specific package which appears to be the Nations League, Coppa Italia & DC United games, or $30/month if you also want to watch whatever else they've cobbled together, which seems to be Euro hoops & hockey, softball, volleyball and a lot of fight sports.

Viva Univision, I guess.
 

67YAZ

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It's a terrible fit for Yedlin, but what if Yedlin is the normal fullback and you find someone else to perform the fullback/CM role, but on the left side?

If it works tactically for the whole team, it also helps solve the LB problem. I'm not at all sold that this tactical wrinkle will be a key part of the scheme going forward, but there are possibilities to explore.
I see what you're saying, but I think that role is so specific and so demanding that it's not readily possible to coach up a player for that role on a national team. If he played it every week for his club, ok. But otherwise, it's playing with fire.

That said, ok...maybe Adams could fit the bill given his experience at RB and through the middle. But again, I think it's too difficult a role to play well if you're only doing it with the national team. And it would be a waste of Adams abilities at a time when the USMNT desperately needs CMs that defend, transition play, and link up with Pulisic.
 

OilCanShotTupac

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It's a terrible fit for Yedlin, but what if Yedlin is the normal fullback and you find someone else to perform the fullback/CM role, but on the left side?

If it works tactically for the whole team, it also helps solve the LB problem. I'm not at all sold that this tactical wrinkle will be a key part of the scheme going forward, but there are possibilities to explore.
If that's Robinson I'd be scared. He has the pace but even less football nous than Yedlin (by a lot).
 

Titans Bastard

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If that's Robinson I'd be scared. He has the pace but even less football nous than Yedlin (by a lot).
No, it definitely couldn't be Robinson. It would probably have to be Adams, but there are significant tradeoffs in doing so as @67YAZ details in the post above yours. Most likely the hybrid fullback/CM role could be a useful bunker-busting tool to be deployed only in specific situations.

In the medium term, keep an eye on Atlanta United's George Bello. He only just turned 17, but he's arguably our best prospect of his age cohort...and he's a left back.
 

Titans Bastard

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This never would have happened if Chuck Blazer were still alive.
Hah, but it would! Chuck Blazer was a strong believer in his fiduciary duty to Chuck Blazer, so if some shitty streaming service happened to be the highest bidder, no problem-o.
 

InstaFace

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ESPN would have offered way more kickbacks though. They're no idiots. Mr 10% was always open to increasing that number, and a domestic company has way more ways to make it happen.
 

Titans Bastard

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USA vs. Costa Rica on tap on Fox right now.

There are only two changes to the starting XI. Trapp is in for Bradley and Arriola is in for Ebobisse. It remains to be seen if the team will replicate the same shape that was used against Panama offensively and defensively.
 

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0-0 HT. Definitely not as good a performance as last week, which is expected because Costa Rica is better than Panama.

Costa Rica is pressing high and putting the US under more pressure. The result is that the passing has been much sloppier. US players have been misreading each other's movements, too.

Whenever Trapp is the DM, other teams always seem to be too comfortable playing up the middle.

Some of the problems are just quality issues. Baird and Zardes make good runs and consistently get into good spots, but Baird struggles to create separation in 1v1 battles and Zardes' touch is a well-known issue.

Mihailovic has shown some inventiveness, but he hasn't found the right weight on his bolder passes and he's also been a bit sloppy at times. Roldan has been pretty invisible.

I don't think Lovitz is up to this level. In both games he's misplayed simple passes in a way that feels like the game moves a bit too fast for him.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Lovitz is ahead of Sweat on my “left back who shouldn’t be there” depth chart, but that’s not a great depth chart to be on.
 

67YAZ

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Looks better the last 10 minutes, consistently finding outlets on the wings to break the press. I mean, this CR press is downright disrespectful...and it’s been working well enough. But I’m glad this squad is facing tactics like this. It should help identify the ones who should stick around for the next camp.
 

Titans Bastard

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Lletget on for Mihailovic. Djordje drew a ton of fouls, hit a few nice passes, but had some struggles this game.

This game could use Lletget's ability to dribble and his ability to create space & beat the press on the turn.
 

Titans Bastard

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Roldan off the same post now. That was very well-hit, and on his left, too.

US knocking on the door.
 

67YAZ

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There it is for Lleget. Glad to see them rewarded for a strong half hour of play. It’s been a great adjustment to focus on attacking down the flanks. When they’ve been able to move the ball with some quickness, they’ve broken through the press.
 

Titans Bastard

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Lewis looks good. He has been incredibly productive in limited minutes for club and country.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Lewis’s ratio of time on field to makin’ Stuff happen is intriguing. I hope he breaks through for NYCFC this year.
 

Titans Bastard

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2-0, Arriola. Nice flick on the finish to chip the keeper.

Lletget with the assist. He didn't start either game, but he's been better than Mihailovic and Roldan.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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I know we’re supposed to hate Arriola for his triple-sins of being in MLS, being present in T&T and being over 22, but he’s still in that bucket of guys who could be Bedoya-esque contributors for the next cycle or two. Lletget as well.
 

Cellar-Door

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Lletget might be the best right now player in the pool, he's really good, doesn't have the ceiling of the youngsters, but at the moment might be better


Edit- to clarify and supercharge this take...... he's a better on field player in terms of skill and consistency than the golden boy right now.
 

Titans Bastard

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This January camp was pretty good, especially when measured against the rusty, garbage-quality performances that I've seen from the USMNT each and every year during these friendlies (going back at least to the beginning of Bob Bradley's tenure).

Lletget did really well in camp. I sure hope LA plays him in the right spot. He's been jerked around too much due to LA's penchant for chasing shiny objects. Given how weak we are among attack-minded midfielders, it's not hard to imagine him as a serious contender for the A team lineup.

Zimmerman, Long, and Lima all boosted their stock. I expect them to get invitations to the March friendlies.

Lewis looks like he can be at least a dangerous late-game sub, and maybe more. We have no depth on the wings, so he can seize a big role quickly, especially if he has a good year fo NYCFC.

Arriola is a throwback to the old-school USMNT, in a good way. I find him very likable. He's not the most skilled player, but he's all heart and hustle and has enough quality to make it work.

I think Mihailovic has good qualities, but he's not there yet. He's young enough that hoping for improvement isn't unreasonable. A strong candidate for the U23 Olympic qualifying team right now.

Zardes isn't a good player at the NT level, but I'm taking an optimistic view with him and Baird. They got into dangerous spots and weren't able to capitalize. If the team can get the RW and FW in those sorts of spots, imagine what will happen when Pulisic and Sargent are in the lineup instead.
 

Tangled Up In Red

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I go to transfermarkt to see about player profiles during transfer windows. Decided to look up Lletget, to see what positional type of player he is. I've not seen anything like this on TM
If link works correctly, loom to the 'played positions' chart for current season. Bigger circles = more time. But accordingly to this, he's played everything but RB and LB this season. I like that!
 

Titans Bastard

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Let's check in on the current status of our youth national team managers.

U23: vacant
U20: Tab Ramos
U19: Dave van den Bergh
U18: vacant
U17: vacant
U16: vacant
U15: vacant
U14: vacant


Nice. The CONCACAF U17 championship is in two months. John Hackworth resigned a while ago to take the Louisville City job. The USSF is insisting that all YNT coaches move to Chicago so that everyone will be based out of the USSF HQ. The problem is that YNT jobs are not that prestigious and nobody wants to move their family. As a result, they can't get anyone in. Some of these posts have been empty for the better part of the year.

Earnie Stewart is the GM and Tab Ramos is the Youth Technical Director, but true oversight of the YNTs is under the joint control of two USSF bureaucrats: Nico Romeijn and Asher Mendelsohn. God knows what they are doing/thinking.

The women's side is similarly understaffed. I sure hope Dan Flynn's successor can run a tighter ship.
 

Titans Bastard

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From the way Berhalter describes McKennie, it sounds like he has him slotted in one of the roles played by Roldan and Mihailovic in the January friendlies.

 

Titans Bastard

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Also, some news from the USSF Annual General Meeting a few days ago.

As expected, the Confederations Cup will not be contested again.

“It’s done and over with,” Cordeiro said. “In place of Confederations Cup there will be intracontinental playoffs to get to that 48-team (World Cup).”

Meanwhile, on the idea to expand the Club World Cup, he said, “It’s become a very divisive issue.”

And closer to home, Cordeiro made the surprising admission that the future of the Gold Cup could also be in question.

“The Gold Cup is only legislated for this year and 2021, so it could go on but it may not happen,” he said.
The Confederations Cup is dead, no surprise. Cordeiro also cast doubt on the future of the Gold Cup, although CONCACAF later refuted those remarks. I can't imagine the Gold Cup will completely go away unless there's some sort of permanent combined Copa America in the works.

A combined Copa is very important to the USMNT, I think. WCQ is about to get pretty low-stakes with the expansion to 48 countries. Friendlies with UEFA countries will be rarer because of the UEFA Nations League. The future lies in better coordination with CONMEBOL.

“As of this year, every player within every member association in the world should have a FIFA ID,” said U.S. Soccer chief stakeholders officer Brian Remedi. “We are required to submit four or five fields of data on every player that we have. And in exchange, every player gets a unique FIFA ID and that will be the ID that he or she carries with them.”

...

“They’re saying, ‘We have 60,000 players in our state and here is the corresponding payment to cover those 60,000,’” Remedi said. “We never got any data. We don’t know gender, name, address—none of that.”

Now U.S. Soccer is implementing a new system, U.S. Soccer Connect, that is designed to pull that data from members.

...

“We always said we had 4,000,000, but we never really knew how many because we never had any data on any of them. It was just anecdotal,” he said. “It’s not 4,000,000… but we will know after this registration cycle ends.”
New FIFA regulations are forcing the USSF to adopt a system that will give the much better insight into the youth soccer registration numbers. It sounds like their previous methods were embarrassingly rudimentary.



Cindy Parlow Cone is the new VP of USSF, replacing Cordeiro. She ran unopposed.
 

Titans Bastard

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FIFA U-20 World Cup Group D
USA
Nigeria
Ukraine
Qatar

At the YNT levels, you can't assume that certain teams are good or not based on their senior team's pedigree. Wonky things can happen when two-year cohorts of players are going up against each other.

Based on results Ukraine look like they could be pretty good.

Nigeria: 4th place at the CAF youth championship. Beat Burundi and Niger, drew with South Africa (x2) and Mali.

Ukraine: losing semifinalist in UEFA youth championship. Beat Norway, Montenegro, and Albania. Then beat Serbia, Romania, tied Sweden. Then beat France, Turkey, tied England. Lost to Portugal in SF.

Qatar: losing semifinalist in the AFC youth championship. Throughout the tournament, they beat Indonesia, Taiwan, and Thailand, and lost to UAE and South Korea. Seems very beatable.
 

Titans Bastard

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At the AGM, Cordeiro talked about the demise of the Gold Cup, then had to backtrack the next day probably because Montagliani chewed him out.

But anyway, he probably slipped because he's been working on this:

 

Kliq

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While the US has a pretty good chance at winning the Gold Cup, the Copa America Centenario was a ton of fun and allows them to compete with the best talent in the world. The Summer of Soccer in 2016 was a blast and I'd love to see it repeated again.
 

InstaFace

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Oh c'mon, what do you have against beating Jamaica? Assuming you're not an El Tri fan, that is.
 

Titans Bastard

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I don't mind the Gold Cup if it's only once every four years. If we lose the B Team Gold Cup and add a "Copa Dinero" tournament over the course of the cycle, that's a big win.
 

Titans Bastard

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Welp.


I hadn't realized that CONMEBOL already planned to shift Copa America to even numbered years, alongside the Euros. There will be a Copa in 2019, then another in 2020 for the schedule adjustment, then 2024, 2028, etc.

For the past year, soccer officials across the Americas have held discussions about creating a quadrennial tournament involving national teams from both continents. The Copa América will take place as planned this summer in Brazil, with Japan and Qatar filling the two guest spots often reserved for teams from Concacaf. Concacaf will hold its own regional championship, the Gold Cup, at the same time.

If the offer to Conmebol is not revived, U.S. Soccer is expected to press ahead with plans for a scaled-down tournament featuring national teams from other continents, potentially including Africa and Asia.
 

Titans Bastard

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The USSF finally hired a U17 manager.


Wicky has a very accomplished resume relative to most YNT hires. It will be a challenge to get up to speed on the player pool given where we are in the U17 cycle, however. Qualifying begins soon.
 

Titans Bastard

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A few Euro clubs have announced that their American players have been called up to a US U23 camp. That's news because the US U23s have been idle since the last Olympic qualifying campaign, despite the fact that qualifying for 2020 will be in late 2019 or early 2020. The qualifying failures in 2012 and 2016 were exacerbated by getting a late start and preparations for 2020 haven't started any earlier.

Berhalter's top assistant Josh Wolff will probably be in charge. This is a typical arrangement — Klinsmann assistant Andreas Herzog was the coach in 2016. In 2012, the USSF reached into the college ranks and tapped Caleb Porter, who was then at Akron. At least Wolff should know the player pool well. Last time, it was painfully clear that Herzog simply couldn't be bothered in that regard.

The names that have trickled out so far are Man City/NAC Breda center back Erik Palmer-Brown and Hobro forward Emmanuel Sabbi.
 

Titans Bastard

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The USMNT roster came out today.

GK Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge)
GK Sean Johnson (NYCFC)
GK Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew)

RB Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes)
RB DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United)
CB John Brooks (Wolfsburg)
CB Omar Gonzalez (Atlas)
CB Aaron Long (NYRB)
CB Matt Miazga (Reading)
CB Tim Ream (Fulham)
LB Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact)

CM Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig)
CM Michael Bradley (Toronto FC)
CM Weston McKennie (Schalke)
CM Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders)
CM Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew)
AM Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy)
AM Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund)
AM Paul Arriola (D.C. United)
AM Corey Baird (RSL)
AM Jonathan Lewis (NYCFC)

FW Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders)
FW Christian Ramirez (LAFC)
FW Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)


Some thoughts:
  • This roster is definitely older than the January camp. Most notably, Weah and Sargent aren't here and will likely show up in an upcoming YNT camp. I'm a huge fan of both, but I'm okay with this. Neither is tearing it up in league play right now. Watching more of Zardes isn't enjoyable, but there's something to be said for shuttling youth between prime time (where they are still finding their feet) to the U23 or U20 levels (where they should dominate and build confidence).
  • Berhalter has said that Pulisic will be tried as a #10. It seems like he's going to continue with the same system from January. That means Pulisic will be in the Mihailovic spot (AM who becomes a forward in defense) and McKennie will be in the Roldan spot (AM who becomes a CM in defense).
  • The big question is what to do with Tyler Adams. Will he sit deep in the midfield (with Bradley/Trapp on the bench) or act as the RB/CM hybrid (with Lima/Yedlin on the bench)? We'll see... Also, unless the system changes, Yedlin really feels like the odd man out; no more than a situational sub when we need width. I really can't envision him stepping into center midfield.
  • Gonzalez is a strange callup. Ream isn't exciting, but could be a mild upgrade on the Lovitz stay-at-home LB role that acts like a 3rd CB at times. Ream has always been a nice passer, just a bit soft defensively.
  • Morris is listed as a forward, but I think he'll be viewed as one of the wing options along with Lewis, Arriola, and Baird.
 

Titans Bastard

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Oh, Bobby Wood isn't here either, but he's not exactly in good form. Maybe it's telling that I didn't even think about him when going through the roster.

Here's a reasonable projection of Berhalter's system: