USMNT: Hold My Beer

Tangled Up In Red

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Why no Carter-Vickers? He's been playing frequently, and very well at Swansea. Is he really behind Ream and Long (and Omar, for that matter)?
 

Titans Bastard

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Why no Carter-Vickers? He's been playing frequently, and very well at Swansea. Is he really behind Ream and Long (and Omar, for that matter)?
CCV is on the margins for the USMNT right now because he's not a very good passer and that's a bad fit with Berhalter. Tim Parker was left off the January camp roster for similar reasons. I think they'll try to get him into the U23 camp if they can get him released.

I think Ream is here to be the CB/LB type previously played by Lovitz. His role offensively was to move up the flank a bit and be a supporting option. CCV doesn't have the passing for that. I think Long is just straight-up better than CCV in most aspects of the game.

Gonzalez is the one call up on the list where I can't quite figure out what Berhalter is trying to do.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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I find the forward selection horrifying, but less because it is a bad choice and more because it is a reasonable reflection of that side of the player pool at this point in time.
 

Titans Bastard

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I find the forward selection horrifying, but less because it is a bad choice and more because it is a reasonable reflection of that side of the player pool at this point in time.
There has been a lot of negativity about this roster on Twitter and elsewhere, but I think it's because of exactly what you describe: this is who we are and there's a lot of blah. With Sargent and Weah slated to be with youth teams in the March break, the ratio of "exciting young names" to "Omar Gonzalez and Gyasi Zardes" has once again become distressing.

I'm a bit more optimistic. Basically, the cohort of players born in the first half of the 1990s is very crap, and as a result the cohort of players currently aged 24-29 is weak. These are players in their prime and we just don't have the horses in that group.

The younger generation coming in has more talent. If the mini-generation after them is good too, we'll really be cooking. Tyler Adams will only be 31 at the 2030 World Cup. The good news is that very few important USMNT players will age out of the pool over the next eight years, so we should see constant, gradual improvement.
 

67YAZ

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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:

Ugh. I’m already on record as disliking the RB/CM because it’s both too difficult to play when you’re only practicing it in national team camp and it doesn’t maximize Adams’ skills.

I’m thinking 4-2-3-1 with Adams on the right & McKennie on the left of midfield base, Pulisic at #10. McKennie would be allowed more license to drive forward and be covered by a conservative Lovitz. Yedlin could push up the right and have coverage from the always-everywhere Adams. The wing options aren’t great, but the chance for real fluidity and creativity with a Adams/McKennie/Pulisic triangle in the midfield is too tempting to pass up.

But if Berhalter is gonna push this system, this is the time to really test it out. Also, love “Brapp.” Were that such a player existed.
 

Titans Bastard

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The USSF announced the final U20 camp prior to the World Cup this summer.

GK C.J. dos Santos (Benfica)
GK Trey Muse (Seattle Sounders)

RB Sergino Dest (Ajax)
RB Jaylin Lindsey (Sporting Kansas City)
CB Aboubacar Keita (Columbus Crew
CB Chris Richards (Bayern Munich)
LB Chris Gloster (Hannover 96)
LB Matt Real (Philadelphia Union)

CM Christian Cappis (Hobro)
CM Chris Durkin (D.C. United)
CM Alex Mendez (Freiburg)
CM Juan Pablo Torres (NYCFC)
AM Frankie Amaya (FC Cincinnati)
AM Andrew Carleton (Atlanta United)

FW Ayo Akinola (Toronto FC)
FW Jonathan Amon (Nordsjælland)
FW Konrad de la Fuente (Barcelona)
FW Ulysses Llanez (-)
FW Justin Rennicks (New England Revolution)
FW Sebastian Soto (Hannover 96)


This is a pretty good U20 team, even though a number of top players aren't here for various reasons. I'm excited in particular about Dest, Richards, Gloster, Mendez, Durkin, Amon, Llanez, and de la Fuente. Konrad de la Fuente is the only new player in this squad; like Llanez, he's a 2001 playing up a cycle. He's looked good in highlight vids that I've seen and has been moving up the ranks at Barcelona a bit faster than many of his peers. I haven't seen enough to hold out hope that he might actually have the quality to make the first team there, but he at least seems to be trending towards the "likely will at least be a pretty good Barca B player and land at a solid club" tier.


Here are some potential changes for the final WC team:

GK: Brady Scott (Köln) started qualifiers and will likely start in the WC too
CB: Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union) is a definite starter alongside Chris Richards IF he's released; and Philly's GM is making it sound like he won't be.
CM: James Sands (NYCFC) has been on the outside looking in for most of the cycle but he's won the starting DM job at his club and Dome Torrent seems to really like him.
CM: Brandon Servania (FC Dallas) did really well in qualifiers
AM: Richie Ledezma (PSV Eindhoven) is not quite fit after an injury layoff, but will make the team if healthy
AM: Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas) has moved into the starting lineup at his club and had a really good game over the weekend. He was also very good in qualifiers.


Maybe I'm getting carried away with the moment, but I honestly think this is the deepest U20 team we've ever had (except at CB, where we are shallow after McKenzie+Richards).

Also: it's not inconceivable that Timothy Weah and Josh Sargent will go to the U20 WC instead of the Gold Cup. And there's a 0% chance he'll ever play a U20 game again, but Tyler Adams is eligible for this team, too.


Weah - Sargent - Amon
Pomykal
Sands - Mendez
Gloster - McKenzie - Richards - Dest
Scott​

Bench:
GKx2, Lindsey, Keita, Real, Durkin, Servania, Ledezma, Llanez, Rennicks

(And that excludes some pretty good prospects!)

Hold me.
 

Titans Bastard

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Steffen withdraws due to a knee injury. Jesse Gonzalez is called in as a replacement.

 

Titans Bastard

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No real surprise here. I have some reservations, but I'm willing to see how it plays out.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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I really hope there is a place for Yedlin. I love me me a short scrappy RB. In all seriousness though, his speed is a difference maker and he has plenty of good pro experience that will be useful as we shepherd in the next generation.
 

DrewDawg

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Here's a take on it: https://sports.yahoo.com/why-gregg-berhalter-sees-tyler-adams-as-the-usmn-ts-right-back-012158072.html

But while Klinsmann seemed to tinker on a whim when it came to both positions and lineup choices, usually with no apparent method to his madness, Berhalter has clearly spent a lot of time thinking this possibility through
“He has a good cross, and he’s primarily used in wide positions,” Berhalter added.

What Yedlin isn’t quite as good at is actual defending. For all his experience at the highest levels, he still switches off in crucial moments. Add in the fact that Berhalter’s system requires fullbacks to find the ball centrally and sometimes even play with their backs to the opposing goal, and Yedlin’s particular qualities always seemed like a less-than-ideal fit.
But with fellow Bundesliga-based 20-year-olds Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie slated to man the “dual 10” role in Berhalter’s 4-1-2-3 scheme, the coach seems to think that Adams would be more shackled in a pure holding role. That spot seems destined for a deeper-lying, stay-at-home type.
“He’s not going to be in the back,” the coach continued. “He’s going to be forward, at the top of the penalty box, or he’s going to be combining in the wide areas, and that’s right in his skill set...
 

Titans Bastard

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Jason Kreis has been named U23 manager. He remains employed as part of Inter Miami's technical staff as well.


The roster for the first Olympic prep camp is here:

https://www.ussoccer.com/stories/2019/03/19/19/55/20190319-u23mnt-young-stars-named-to-roster-for-first-2019-training-camp

GK Jonathan Klinsmann (Hertha Berlin)
GK J.T. Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

RB Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy)
RB Matthew Olosunde (Manchester United)
RB Lucas Pos (Lausanne-Sport)
CB Cameron Carter-Vickers (Swansea City)
CB Jack Maher (Indiana University)
CB Donovan Pines (D.C. United)
CB Miles Robinson (Atlanta United)
LB Marco Farfan (Portland Timbers)
LB Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic)

MF Derrick Jones (Philadelphia Union)
MF Cam Lindley (Orlando City)
MF Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago Fire)
MF Keaton Parks (NYCFC)
MF Eryk Williamson (Portland Timbers)
MF Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes)

FW Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland Timbers)
FW Josh Perez (LAFC)
FW Emmanuel Sabbi (Hobro)
FW Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen)
FW Tim Weah (PSG)
FW Haji Wright (Schalke)


Pretty decent roster IMO given the players who aren't available. An all-hands-on-deck U23 team with everyone
  • Adams, McKennie, Pulisic, and Lewis from the senior team
  • All the best 99s and 00s who are currently with the U20s
  • a bunch of 97s and 98s who are injured or not available
would be a scary team to play against at the Olympics. I really hope we qualify.
 

Cellar-Door

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  • Adams, McKennie, Pulisic, and Lewis from the senior team
  • All the best 99s and 00s who are currently with the U20s
  • a bunch of 97s and 98s who are injured or not available
would be a scary team to play against at the Olympics. I really hope we qualify.
At the very least the 3 i bolded probably aren't getting released by their clubs for the Olympics, which runs right up to the start of their respective seasons.
 

Titans Bastard

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At the very least the 3 i bolded probably aren't getting released by their clubs for the Olympics, which runs right up to the start of their respective seasons.
Yeah, it's unlikely. And if a 2020 Copa America is organized, it's completely dead in the water.
 

Titans Bastard

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This is much cheaper than even a January camp friendly.




Meanwhile in the US:

 

InstaFace

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At the very least the 3 i bolded probably aren't getting released by their clubs for the Olympics, which runs right up to the start of their respective seasons.
Which would suck, because if you can't qualify for the world cup, the olympics is at least a nifty and memorable consolation prize for our youngest and brightest talent. Shit, no less than Neymar deigned to give it a go. He did so at the expense of the Copa America, but you can understand why, and now he's got a gold medal for his troubles.

Frankly, I'd bet real money on a best-11 USMNT doing better at the Olympics with a U23 squad than they would in the Copa America with players of all ages. Our competitive advantage is probably better in that younger age range. Only real downside is how much harder it is to get media and fan attention during the orgy of sports activity that is the olympics fortnight, as opposed to slower summer weeks.
 

Titans Bastard

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Tonight's lineup:

Arriola - Zardes - Morris
Pulisic - McKennie
Trapp
Ream (c) - Brooks - Long - Adams
Johnson​

  • Adams is the faux-RB who will move into CM in the 3-2-2-3 attacking structure.
  • Adams, Pulisic, and McKennie have never started together for the USMNT before.
  • Trapp starts over Bradley, Long over Miazga.

Bench: Horvath, Yedlin, Miazga, Lovitz, Bradley, Roldan, Lletget, Lewis, Baird

Not dressed: J. Gonzalez, O. Gonzalez, Lima, Ramirez
 

teddykgb

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Ecuador seem focused on sitting deep and hitting on a counter so the US looks like the possession team Jk promised.

A few good chances so far. Can see that the team wants to play a bit, they even gave this City fan a heart attack passing the ball in their own box instead of booting it long.

Seems like there’s going to be a major focus on stretching the pitch hoping to open up passes to feet in the central attacking positions.
 

Titans Bastard

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Arriola can't put away a very good chance that results from some nice short passing at the top of the box.
 

Titans Bastard

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He also had a great opportunity played forward early on a long diagonal

Edit: Is Morris capable of playing this wide? Seems like he and Zardes could switch and be more natural?
Morris is playing RW at Seattle now that he's healthy again because they have Raul Ruidiaz up top. He's been really good through three games.
 

Titans Bastard

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Arriola scores, but this time Morris is ruled just offside before he had played a nice ball in
 

Titans Bastard

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it's amazing that three years ago, Aaron Long was a USL player who had washed out of two MLS organizations.
 

Titans Bastard

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McKennie rolled his ankle badly and had to come off. Hope it's not serious.

He's replaced by Roldan, while Yedlin comes in for Morris on the RW. Morris didn't seem up to speed tonight.
 

teddykgb

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The US may be playing the highest line I’ve seen in a men’s professional match lol. Brooks and Ream have been 20 to 30 yards into Ecuador’s half
 

Titans Bastard

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Whew, we just survived the one Tim Ream Moment that always seems to happen every game.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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On one hand, there were stretches of nice combination play that we haven’t seen much of from the US in a while.

On the other hand, Ecuador decided to bunker like a CONCACAF minnow without the counterattacking verve and it still required a goalkeeper brain meltdown to get the ball in the back of the net.

I’m not quite sure what to make of it, but it’s an improvement over the past year, which I knew exactly how to think about.
 

Titans Bastard

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Somewhat encouraging game, IMO, even if it wasn't a maestro performance.

It was like one of those CONCACAF home games where the other team camps out in their 18, except Ecuador is a notch higher in quality. The US looked very confident in possession. The defenders are all good passers, the midfield was able to work out of trouble consistently, there were some good balls hit over the top to the wingers, and occasionally good interplay in the final third. Trapp hit some nice passes, as he usually does when he isn't being pressed.

Arriola should have scored in the first half, and did score on the just-barely-offside play later on. It would have been nice to generate more chances, but it's tough against an entrenched opponent.

It takes time to build a system. I see positive things, and we'll see if more progress manifests itself in the next few games.


Main positives are:
  • Adams, McKennie (get well soon), and Pulisic got reps in the new system. I think this system has the potential to be more productive than what we saw tonight when they are fully up to speed and comfortable in it.
  • Good possession will translate into more danger when we eventually cycle Zardes out for a better forward
  • Long and Brooks look like they could be a very good partnership.

Other thoughts:
  • I'm not sold on Pulisic playing centrally yet. I think ultimately I'd rather have Lletget (or later on, someone like Pomykal/Mihailovic/Ledezma if they develop) and Pulisic out wide
  • Tyler Adams is the best player on the team
 

teddykgb

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On one hand, there were stretches of nice combination play that we haven’t seen much of from the US in a while.

On the other hand, Ecuador decided to bunker like a CONCACAF minnow without the counterattacking verve and it still required a goalkeeper brain meltdown to get the ball in the back of the net.

I’m not quite sure what to make of it, but it’s an improvement over the past year, which I knew exactly how to think about.
Yeah I agree. A bunkered approach was probably always going to be rough with so little time to prepare but overall they poked and prodded and certainly had a few bright moments. They’ll get their share of this in concacaf so they will need to learn to find a way.

In the end I’m not sure Adams role was all that revolutionary and I think Berhalter is having to fit a few square pegs in round holes. Fundamentally, if the point of all this is to give Pulisic and McKennie a lot of responsibility in the half spaces between the lines then I suppose that makes enough sense but in my view we would need some tricky wide players to really stretch teams. Right now I can’t see why a team who needs points wouldn’t just pack the middle and dare us to pump crosses for 90 minutes
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Pulisic being central makes more sense to me in old-school US counterattacking approaches than in this one.

In this kind of game, it would have been nice to see him on the end of those switches to the wing rather than a meh Arriola or an entirely ineffectual Morris.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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A bit disappointed that we don’t get to see him in that RB/CM role against a better team, but managing club relationships in this way probably pays better dividends longer term than getting a few more training days and a friendly out of him.
 

OilCanShotTupac

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I was encouraged. I agree with everything posted re: the concerns. I don't see evidence yet that the defense is going to be able to handle quality non-CONCACAF opposition.

Still, the players are young, the warhorses are being phased out, and there's a good, optimistic feeling. Night and day from Trinidad.
 

Joe D Reid

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In the end I’m not sure Adams role was all that revolutionary and I think Berhalter is having to fit a few square pegs in round holes. Fundamentally, if the point of all this is to give Pulisic and McKennie a lot of responsibility in the half spaces between the lines then I suppose that makes enough sense but in my view we would need some tricky wide players to really stretch teams. Right now I can’t see why a team who needs points wouldn’t just pack the middle and dare us to pump crosses for 90 minutes
It beats the tactical nihilism of the last qualifying cycle. I mean, say what you will about the merits of inverted RBs; at least it's an ethos.
 

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If McKennie is actually hurt, it's going to be an absolute war going forward to get Schalke to release him for anything short of the WCF knockout rounds. He's the single player on the roster on whom a top team absolutely depends.
 

Titans Bastard

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If McKennie is actually hurt, it's going to be an absolute war going forward to get Schalke to release him for anything short of the WCF knockout rounds. He's the single player on the roster on whom a top team absolutely depends.
It's generous of you to characterize Schalke as a top team at this point...;)

The only thing Schalke can do is lean on McKennie to be "injured" during international breaks, but to an extent the player has to be willing to go along with that and that's harder when NT morale is high.
 

DrewDawg

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If McKennie is actually hurt, it's going to be an absolute war going forward to get Schalke to release him for anything short of the WCF knockout rounds. He's the single player on the roster on whom a top team absolutely depends.
Schalke is 15th and closer to relegation fight than being top team.
 

rguilmar

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Schalke is 15th and closer to relegation fight than being top team.
I assume his point is that Schalke are a top club. Routinely in the top 20 in rankings in terms of value worldwide, one of the highest membership counts in the world.

They are nowhere close to the top of the Bundesliga this season, but they finished second last year. Schalke are a huge, proud club and the fact that they are fighting relegation makes them more desperate to keep their top players, both during international breaks and even down the road when we are talking about transfers.

McKennie hasn’t only been one of the top performers for them all season, but he’s the guy who has been showing the most effort and heart. Schalke won’t want to lose him at all.
 

Titans Bastard

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A few other notes:
  • Media are reporting that Berhalter said Ethan Horvath will start at GK against Chile. With Adams and McKennie gone from camp, that means there will be at least three changes to the lineup. I'd bet on there being a few more.
  • The U23s lost to Egypt and tied the Netherlands. From reports, they looked like crap in the first game and did much better in the second.
  • The U20s tied France and beat Japan. I read that Barcelona winger Konrad de la Fuente and DC United DM Chris Durkin looked good.
 

67YAZ

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A few other notes:
  • Media are reporting that Berhalter said Ethan Horvath will start at GK against Chile. With Adams and McKennie gone from camp, that means there will be at least three changes to the lineup. I'd bet on there being a few more.
  • The U23s lost to Egypt and tied the Netherlands. From reports, they looked like crap in the first game and did much better in the second.
  • The U20s tied France and beat Japan. I read that Barcelona winger Konrad de la Fuente and DC United DM Chris Durkin looked good.
Disappointed that we aren't rolling out the best XI for Chile as a real test of Berhalter's system. I know this team isn't ready for prime time yet, but having Adam & McKennie bed in against better competition would have been helpful. At the very least, let's hope for defensive solidity and more fluidity in attack.

The TSS guys made me laugh when they called Berhalter's system "a slightly wobbly Man City." But agree that, despite the lackluster performance, things feel much more hopeful about the USMNT now that they have an identifiable system and a style of play.
 

Titans Bastard

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Lineup vs. Chile.


Lots of changes: Pulisic, Ream, Arriola, and Zardes are the only holdovers from the Ecuador game.

It looks like Yedlin gets his shot at RB. I'm curious to see if he comes inside or functions like a normal RB. Auditions for Gonzalez and Miazga at CB.
 

67YAZ

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I’m really looking for 2 things:

Can they stay solid in the middle of the park? I want to see our guys stay consistently organized and aware in the middle of the park and force Chile to attack from wide areas.

Will Pulisic be more comfortable and intuitive on the ball? It was always going to be a tough go of it against Chile no matter who was running alongside Pulisic, but I wang to see more fluidity and decisiveness from him at the #10. I want to see some progress as he adapts to the role.