USMNT: Hold My Beer

Titans Bastard

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Ooh, Llanez is taking the penalty. And scores! 1-0.

That was well-taken.
 

Titans Bastard

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They look....(relatively) good?
Yeah, it was a pretty good showing for January camp, which is notorious for disjointed, ugly performances. With lots of kids on the field, there's a lack of consistency throughout the 90s minutes — a big part of development in the late teens and early 20s is learning how to use your skills to consistently influence games. But these guys have solid fundamentals, make good decisions quickly, and were able to have some nice, snappy interplay.

To me, it is increasingly clear that the generation coming up is better than the previous generations. How much of a step up remains to be seen, but they are good.

If we have something close to a full-strength team we could really do some damage at the Olympics, should we qualify.

2019 was painful, but I think the USMNT will have be one of those young, fun NTs that's not quite there yet by WC 2022. By WC 2026, there's a chance that we're actually pretty good.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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The only good thing to come out of the recent failures is that people are actually paying attention to who is running the show and the general clown shoes nature of how things are being run. These people have faced very little scrutiny relative to federations around the world.
 

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First dates for the Hex are on labor day weekend. Just get some decent FIFA windows where they're mostly healthy, to play together and gel a bit, and February won't matter.
 

Titans Bastard

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First dates for the Hex are on labor day weekend. Just get some decent FIFA windows where they're mostly healthy, to play together and gel a bit, and February won't matter.
God willing.

This weekend was most disappointing for Tim Weah, who reinjured himself in his first 10 minute appearance since his initial hamstring injury in August.
 

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I feel bad for whoever our opponents will be in the two Hex matches in that first window. They're gonna come out flying, if it's anyone except Mexico you'd expect Pulisic to net a hat trick.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Don't know how long this will stay up, but someone already made an every touch video. He had some nice moments beyond the (fairly basic) assist. It's wild to see how solid he looks on a field of BVB and PSG players at his age.

View: https://twitter.com/USMNTvideos/status/1229888076404740103
The settle and turn up-field while pinned to the sideline by two defenders (one of whom had to drag him down) at about :45 was seriously good. He looks fearless, with several good touches under pressure and a knack for turning up field. Very limited viewing of course.
 

67YAZ

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Love the way his first touch always takes him towards open space, even when tightly contested. His willingness to put his body in there and take the foul is good, too.
 

Titans Bastard

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Who likes Jermaine Jones interviews?!



With all due respect, this is an amazing quotation:

“Bruce Arena, with all due respect, is the worst coach I ever had in my whole career. The worst. And he’s like the No. 1 American coach.”
This is sadly true (bolding mine):

Everything we are doing here is run like a family business,” Jones says of soccer in America. “It’s like: Who do I know and who can help me out? Bruce Arena’s son [Kenny]? Come on, he’s not a coach. But then straight away he’s a national team assistant coach. Gets kicked out, and then he gets to LAFC because his dad has a friend, Bob Bradley. He has another job, and you’re like, goddamn, how is that possible?”
 

dirtynine

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I was all about Jermaine’s coaching career until approximately halfway into the article (the AR-15 part). Correct as he is about the US setup, not sure his judgement and maturity is where it should be yet. Hopefully he stays out of trouble and gets things in order - a focused JJ at 50 with a bunch of coaching experience could be formidable.
 

67YAZ

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I was all about Jermaine’s coaching career until approximately halfway into the article (the AR-15 part). Correct as he is about the US setup, not sure his judgement and maturity is where it should be yet. Hopefully he stays out of trouble and gets things in order - a focused JJ at 50 with a bunch of coaching experience could be formidable.
Yeah, that piece made me sad and concerned for him. I loved the way he played and always appreciated that he was honest to a fault. But ol’ dude needs to get himself together right now.

Also, LOL at his wife claiming not to buy anything for an entire year. And ROTFL at David Charvet being a key figure in this drama.
 

Titans Bastard

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Paul Arriola tore his ACL and will miss the entire MLS season and a bunch of USMNT games. I think this will expedite the process of integrating some of the young guns like Llanez and Reyna into the team, although the Olympics will be a factor in how the USSF juggles player availability.

Weah would be in the mix too, except he's out for an unknown period of time after reinjuring his hamstring literally minutes after his long-awaited return.


There's also guys like Tyler Boyd and Jonathan Lewis, but...meh.
 

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Paul Arriola tore his ACL and will miss the entire MLS season and a bunch of USMNT games. I think this will expedite the process of integrating some of the young guns like Llanez and Reyna into the team, although the Olympics will be a factor in how the USSF juggles player availability.
Did someone say Gio Reyna? Well, turns out, the US isn't the only footballing nation interested in him...


...Reyna is starting to shine and looks set to enjoy a bright career for club and country.

But which country that will be remains undecided and The Athletic has learnt of the steps being taken by the English Football Association to potentially bring him under their flag in the future. Reyna was born in Durham in 2002 while his father Claudio played for Sunderland and a transfer to Manchester City kept the family in Britain until 2007, when they moved to the United States.

He has turned out for USA in junior age groups — ironically netting the winner against England in the prestigious Torneo delle Nazioni final two years ago — and is also eligible to wear the colours of Portugal and Argentina via grandparents, which may produce a four-way tussle for his services.

In the absence of a declaration or competitive senior cap, Reyna is among those subject to close monitoring as part of an FA system that follows every player capable of qualifying for England. It is a sophisticated set-up led by the Player Insights team at St George’s Park, which tracks a pool of roughly 1,000 talents and escalates any deemed to be credible long-term options.

Reyna falls into the latter category and is now on a priority list of around 25 players the FA is paying particular attention to. That involves a more advanced screening process thought to have seen him scouted in person on about 15 occasions and by video in the region of 30 times.
There's more, about how FIFA takes a dim view of this sort of prospect-hoarding, and the sheer number of people affiliated with the English FA who are now following his every professional move. But it underscores:

(1) We better cap-tie him quick, and
(2) He is hot shit, not just by USMNT standards, but objectively by the standards of international-level football
 

Titans Bastard

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I saw that report. Count me dubious on many fronts. I'd have a hard time imagining that Reyna would bolt, given his background and family history. Furthermore, it's very unclear to me how he'd even be eligible for UK citizenship. European countries do not have jus soli like most of the Western Hemisphere, and neither of his parents are UK citizens.

Reyna is definitely eligible for a one-time switch to Portugal, though!
 

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I dunno, if your upside with the USA is "WCF R16 and a nice pat on the back", and if taken seriously by England it's "be a leading contender for the world title", that'd give anyone pause.

Then again, his dad is a US legend, former technical director for US Soccer, and director at two MLS clubs. His parents live in just about the poshest part of Westchester County, bordering Greenwich. Reading about their family, you'd be shocked if Gio did anything except what he's "expected" to do.

But it's still England. How many Germericans have chosen us only once it was clear the Mannschaft wasn't in their future? Or Sergino Dest with the Dutch? You have to imagine that decision could go the other way, if the soccer superpower chose differently too.
 

Titans Bastard

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I dunno, if your upside with the USA is "WCF R16 and a nice pat on the back", and if taken seriously by England it's "be a leading contender for the world title", that'd give anyone pause.

Then again, his dad is a US legend, former technical director for US Soccer, and director at two MLS clubs. His parents live in just about the poshest part of Westchester County, bordering Greenwich. Reading about their family, you'd be shocked if Gio did anything except what he's "expected" to do.

But it's still England. How many Germericans have chosen us only once it was clear the Mannschaft wasn't in their future? Or Sergino Dest with the Dutch? You have to imagine that decision could go the other way, if the soccer superpower chose differently too.
Don't forget that Reyna's mother played for the USWNT as well back in the early 1990s.

I agree with most of what's in your post, but when considering the chances that Reyna would switch to England, you have to consider the reasonably strong likelihood that he isn't actually eligible to switch to England. The only paths I see are if Claudio had "settled" status in the UK in 2002 or if Danielle had an Irish passport at the time (going on nothing other than her last name — "Egan"). All the reporting has been that Gio was able to move to Germany earlier than age 18 because of his Portuguese passport; there has been no mention of a UK passport.

I do disagree that the USMNT upside is WC R16 during Reyna's expected career window. I think it's higher. I'm not necessarily saying that "reasonable expectations" will be anything beyond R16. However, given the newfound robustness of the prospect pipeline, I think it's entirely possible to do better at the 2026 WC at home.

Gio should be capped soon regardless. I'd bring him in next month given that BVB probably won't release him for the Olympic qualifiers that would be occurring at the same time.
 

67YAZ

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I dunno, if your upside with the USA is "WCF R16 and a nice pat on the back", and if taken seriously by England it's "be a leading contender for the world title", that'd give anyone pause.

Then again, his dad is a US legend, former technical director for US Soccer, and director at two MLS clubs. His parents live in just about the poshest part of Westchester County, bordering Greenwich. Reading about their family, you'd be shocked if Gio did anything except what he's "expected" to do.

But it's still England. How many Germericans have chosen us only once it was clear the Mannschaft wasn't in their future? Or Sergino Dest with the Dutch? You have to imagine that decision could go the other way, if the soccer superpower chose differently too.
Dude, we just locked down Dest. Let us enjoy a nice thing for a little while.

Plus, the English national team is currently awash in great young forwards - Sterling, Sancho, Rashford, CHO, Greenwood, Nelson, maybe Grealish since he's been playing wide for Villa this season.

Portugal has a much shorter bench of young forwards - Joao Felix and Diogo Jota jump out - but they have so many great young midfielders. I would say that their best post-Ronaldo XI has 4 mids and 2 forwards.

In other words, there is a much clearer path to the USMNT starting XI than Reyna's other options.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Dude, we just locked down Dest. Let us enjoy a nice thing for a little while.

Plus, the English national team is currently awash in great young forwards - Sterling, Sancho, Rashford, CHO, Greenwood, Nelson, maybe Grealish since he's been playing wide for Villa this season.

Portugal has a much shorter bench of young forwards - Joao Felix and Diogo Jota jump out - but they have so many great young midfielders. I would say that their best post-Ronaldo XI has 4 mids and 2 forwards.

In other words, there is a much clearer path to the USMNT starting XI than Reyna's other options.
Let's face it, there is a clearer path to becoming the best player we've ever had than there is to be a mainstay on some of these other teams.
 

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MDLzera
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Gio should be capped soon regardless. I'd bring him in next month given that BVB probably won't release him for the Olympic qualifiers that would be occurring at the same time.
Man, how I wish we could field our absolute best lineup for the Olympic qualifiers and Tokyo, and give all our U23s (plus, what, 3 selected older folks) a chance to go shine on the big screen. How awesome would that be? Incompetence robbed us of a world cup two years ago, but we can return them some measure of satisfaction and repayment this year if we wanted to. Look at friggen Neymar playing Rio 2016, right? There are only 2 CONCACAF bids to Tokyo, and we're in a pool with both Mexico AND Costa Rica which is pretty much a worst-case scenario, so we'd need to take it seriously in a month. I guess the good news is, if we can beat one of them, we won't have to face the other in the do-or-die semifinal.

And obviously I realize Chelsea and BVB are in the Champions League hunt, but the international window comes right after the R16 second leg and finishes a week before the QF first leg, so all Pulisic and Reyna would miss are 1-2 domestic league matches at most, plus training of course. I'd expect them to take a dim view, but it wouldn't be a stupid request from US Soccer, especially if we promise to hold them out of the DR match and any Final and sub them out if matches are in hand, so they'd play on 3/20, 3/26, and 3/30 if we make it, then fly back that night. I think your "probably won't release" them is fair, but there's a case to be made.

What would that best-possible lineup look like today, assuming everyone is healthy and available, and we're limited to 3 people with birth year < 1997? I guess you start with the best pure-U23 lineup, and then look at where you most need upgrades.

First Team U23s:
GK: Matt Freese, JT Marcinkowski (strong contender for an overage spot, Steffen misses by only 16 months)
DF: Reggie Cannon, CCV, Antonee Robinson... Miles Robinson? I'd like to get Dest in there, but we need a reliable second CB.
MF: Adams, McKennie, Reyna... Pomykal? Mihailovic?
FW: Pulisic, Sargent, Weah... Ebobisse (CF)? Lewis (LW)?

Bullpen / Camp:
GK: Just about squat under 23. I mean, Jonathan Klinsmann? David Ochoa?
DF: A ton of MLS prospects here: Glad (CB), Araujo (RB), Vines (LB), McKenzie (CB), Lennon (RB/RW). Especially the first 2.
MF: Yueill (CM), Aaronson (AM), Cappis (CM), Servania (CM), probably in that order
FW: Amon (LW), Llanez (RW), Ferreira (CF), Llanez is only 18 and playing for Wolfsburg's B-team; Ferreira is very clearly going to be part of the squad next month.

Upgrade (over-23) candidates:
GK: Steffen, *gulp* Guzan, Hamid
DF: Yedlin... Brooks is healthy now and playing in the Europa league.
MF: Roldan? Trapp? Not sure this is where I'd spend upgrades
FW: Altidore, Boyd (gotta make good on that one-time switch), Arriola

I pick Steffen, Boyd, and Brooks over Yedlin even though the latter is more a part of our future, just because our CB corps is so thin. Assuming Wolfsburg goes through the Europa R32, you'd be proposing to them that Brooks would miss the R16 2nd leg (3/19), so I think that's an even harder sell than Pulisic / Reyna.

But I'm tellin ya though, you wouldn't be able to watch the matches for all the splooge on your TV. We finally dump Zardes, Bradley, Omar and co, and have some legitimate speed up front and toughness in the midfield. Given how seriously most other footballing countries take the Olympics, if we can qualify in the first place, I bet we can make some noise there.
 

Titans Bastard

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A full-strength U23 squad would be so, so fun...and honestly, not that different from what a full USMNT should look like very soon.

There are so many ways you could do it because the talent pool is broad. Here's one attempt. In this 18 man roster, I'm only using one overage player. Outside of GK, I'd rather just use U23 talent because I think they are in the same ballpark or better than over-23 talent. Or in some cases, the over-23 talent is too injury-prone to be trustworthy in a tournament with a small roster (I'm looking at you, Altidore and Brooks).

Versatility is a priority. Squad designed around a 4-3-3 concept

GK: Steffen, Marcinkowski
DF: Dest, Cannon, M. Robinson, Richards, Glad, A. Robinson
MF: Adams, McKennie, Yueill, Pomykal, Ledezma
Wings: Pulisic, Reyna, Weah
FW: Sargent, Ferreira

Some versatility:

Dest can play LB and RW
Adams can play RB
Ferreira can play on the wing or in the hole
Weah can play up top
Reyna can play a variety of attacking positions
Pomykal can play on the wing in a pinch

In the picture:

GK: who cares, an overager is starting. Probably Ochoa at this point, especially if he wins the RSL job. (Ochoa is eligible for the 2024 Olympics, too)
RB: Araujo, Herrera
CB: CCV, McKenzie, Palmer-Brown, Trusty
LB: Gloster, Vines
Defensive-minded CMs: Sands, Servania, Dotson, Parks
Offensive-minded CMs: Aaronson, Mihailovic
Wingers: Saucedo, Lewis, Llanez
Forward: Ebobisse, Toye, Soto

If Sands starts strong I'd be tempted to bump one of the CBs for him, as a player who can cover CB+DM would handy.


I just looked over my roster and I already disagree with it.
 

Titans Bastard

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BTW, Honduras finished ahead of Costa Rica in the last two CONCACAF U20 tournaments, so they might be the bigger concern among the UNCAF countries.
 

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Titans Bastard

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The USSF announced its new CEO today. Will Wilson. No, I haven't heard of him either, but this is a business-oriented position for which soccer-oriented names aren't appropriate. His resume seems like a decent fit for the job. He did have a four year stint at MLS/SUM which will get some corners of Soccer Twitter going, but I'd advise a wait-and-see approach. He's fluent in Spanish, which is a nice touch, and hopefully a sign that the USSF will take a less clumsy approach to bilingual outreach.

 

Titans Bastard

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More fallout from the recent USWNT lawsuit brief. There's no doubt in my mind that more people were aware of the argument that was put forward, but I'm guessing Cordeiro and Wahlke will be the heads that roll for this.

Cindy Parlow Cone herself was on a legal committee at the USSF. She denies knowledge, which is a claim that deserves a lot of skepticism. I am willing to listen to arguments that she was cut out of the process or ignored, though.

View: https://twitter.com/JeffreyCarlisle/status/1242504117148237824


Jeff Carlisle
@JeffreyCarlisle

Not sure if this has been posted anywhere, but sources tell me Chief Legal Officer Lydia Wahlke has been placed on administrative leave. #USSF #USWNT
1:30pm · 24 Mar 2020 · TweetDeck
 

Titans Bastard

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This is a great collection of Clint Dempsey anecdotes from various former teammates, coaches, etc.


A few of my favorites:

Eddie Johnson, former Fulham, Seattle Sounders and U.S. teammate: Mark Hughes came and was our new manager (at Fulham). We were away, playing against Blackburn, and Mark Hughes gives the lineup the day of the game in the meeting room at the hotel. Dempsey wasn’t in our starting 11. Before the coach can even talk about set pieces and give his final coaching points before we get on the bus to go to the stadium, Dempsey interrupted and said, ‘If you don’t think I’m one of the best damn 11 players in this team, you need to sell me right now.’ I would never have the balls to do that. I’d be worried about them getting rid of me or fining me or never playing me again.
Tim Howard, former U.S. teammate: When I think about Clint, I think about 2010, when we were in South Africa. We were in Irene, call it a resort or a compound. Every day — and they were long days, because we didn’t do much — we trained, and then we had some food and watched some video, and that’s it. And every day, there was a pond in the middle of the complex, and we would see Clint posted up in this lawn chair and a camouflage bucket hat, just fishing.
 

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I'm not sure how you top this one.

Landon Donovan: I think people forget how tough that guy was and is. We were at camp, and he had his toenail stepped on when he was playing in England before he came to the U.S. He asked the doctor to look at this nail in the training room and the doctor asks him if it’s hurting, and he goes, ‘Yeah, a little, whatever.’ And I remember the doctor pulling off his shoe, and his toe was mangled. I would have been crying constantly if that happened to me. The doctor, as I was sitting there next to Clint, grabbed some kind of sharp device and pulled his whole toenail off right in front of me. And Clint sat there with a little grimace on his face but never said a word. There was no Novocain, no anything. They literally pulled his whole nail off, and he just sat there and took it. I’m just like, ‘holy shit.’ It was like a trainwreck: I didn’t wanna watch it, but I couldn’t turn away. I turned to him afterward and just said, ‘You are a fucking man, dude.’