USMNT: Hold My Beer

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MDLzera
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Previous US squads seemed to get by on attitude, some swagger (unearned in many cases), even though the talent wasn't there all across the squad (obviously there was some individual talent--Dempsey, Donovan, etc.). Now they seem to have that swagger AND a lot of talent.

That makes it fun.

Imagine guys all across the squad playing with attitude like Dempsey used to bring.
Dest has the Dempsey swagger, but he's not nearly as mean as Dempsey. Deuce wanted to score goals on you, but most particularly wanted to hurt you, and if scoring goals accomplished that, well, so much the better. That aggression is a quality you really want in a CF, and it's part of the reason I enjoy watching Luis Suarez, even though he's obviously an asshole a deeply troubled person in general. He NEEDS to get on the end of that ball, he's going to make run after run until he grinds you down. Bobby Wood had a bit of that in his better years, maybe too early to say anything about Sargent or Llanez.

But yeah, Dest has got the whimsy, the playfulness, and it's easy to see what Barcelona loved.
 

cromulence

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I hope all the guys are being super nice to Musah and adding him to the group text. I want him to commit.
 

Kliq

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I know its Panama and some people were disappointed we couldn't find a better opponent for these games, but the USMNT needs to wreck other CONCACAF teams. I'm as satisfied with them destroying a team that DID qualify for the last World Cup as I would be about them merely looking good against a world power.
 

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Definitely got a little CONCACAF-y out there towards the last few minutes of the half. Wouldn't mind protecting Reyna and/or Dest with subs a bit into the 2nd half.
 

Titans Bastard

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Fun game so far. The quality of this Panama team is not great compared to some recent versions of Panama, but you can only the play the team in front of you and it's nice to see the kids develop a mutual understanding.

There's so much upside here, both for the individual players and for the collective.


BTW, I'm thinking that a lot of Central American teams (Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras) aren't going to be quite as good as they have been recently. There are a lot of key players from those countries getting old and aging out. Panama used to start Roman Torres and Felipe Baloy. Now they are starting a guy from the Maltese league.
 

Titans Bastard

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Wow, that's a BLOOD red card from McKennie in a competitive match.

He's protecting his teammates after a series of dirty Panama CONCACAFing, but he'll need to be more careful in how he does that in the future.
 

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Steffen had that covered if it's on-target. Great springs on him, as usual.

And yeah, McKennie would be looking at a decent suspension if that was for his club.
 

67YAZ

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Been so long since I saw a legit handball call, I didn’t understand at first.

And that was a shit take.
 

OCST

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But Panama's 9 just missed a sitter.

Got carved open a little bit too easily on that. Panama could have another one or two here (just missed an upper-90 when I tuned it at about 55' (?))
 

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Sunny von Bulow
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Panama with some real attacking intent here, USA barely coming up with timely interventions. If I didn't know better, off the 15 minutes I've seen I would guess that they were the ones with the 2 goal lead.
 

sodenj5

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The formless blue mass on USA's kits - it's as if someone tried to illustrate entropy.
On the other hand, their white kits are really fantastic. Super clean design that says U.S. without having to go full Waldo.

Right up there with the bomb pop kits.
 

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It took 10 years, but someone finally answered TB's Prayer For Fullbacks.

SOTO! Nice headers all around by our forwards.

edit: deflection off of Soto's defender. I don't even know if Soto's hit was on-target.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Maybe Miazga needs to mark guys running to his side between him and Ream.

or maybe this isn't his level.
It's not like we've never started defenders who can't track runners, and in far more important games than this, but he has a hell of a long way to go to prove that he is as good as, like, Omar Gonzalez?
 

Titans Bastard

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It's really annoying to give up these sorts of goals, but Ream's time with this team is running out and Miazga will only ever be a backup.
 

67YAZ

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Welp, this has been a wild last few minutes. I don't put much stock in padding out the goal tally in garbage time, but this has to be great for chemistry and confidence with such a young squad. They just slapped down a team that beat them to the last World Cup. Hell yeah.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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It's really just the extremely scruffy goalkeeping, but I like to think those braces were a message about trying that false 9 stuff again.
 

dirtynine

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That offensive movement around the box in the last 5 minutes or so was fantastic. I am salivating to see this group grow into something.
 

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It's not like we've never started defenders who can't track runners, and in far more important games than this, but he has a hell of a long way to go to prove that he is as good as, like, Omar Gonzalez?
If we're getting beat by Panama on the two goals that beat us today, maybe we need to give Walker Zimmerman a call.

Though I'm assigning 20% blame on the first one to Steffen for not coming out to punch a ball he probably could've reached. It was only to the 6. He might've eaten shit in the process, so maybe he does that only in a competitive match, but after about half a dozen replays I think he could've gotten there.

edit: 'pon further review, I think that earlier take was bullshit. The ball was really low and fast and at the time it was kicked, Miazga was level with his guy before losing track of him and slowing down. That's pretty much all Miazga.
 
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Titans Bastard

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After what feels like a successful international window, a few positional thoughts:

GK

Steffen remains the clear starter. I like him, but he does have moments of shakiness in various parts of his game. But as of now, there is no real competition here. Horvath isn't playing and is inconsistent. Turner is my pick of the MLS bunch, but he still has a lot to prove.

Defense

Brooks is a starter. So is Dest. But a lot is up in the air: who is Brooks' partner and does it make the most sense to use Dest at RB or LB? I didn't think either Robinson or Cannon really seized the opportunity this window, so the fullback debate continues.

I'm not too worried about RB depth. There's always Yedlin, and there are also a variety of young prospects who could break into the NT picture in the next year or two. I'd like another pure LB in the depth chart. Right now it's Robinson and ???. Sam Vines will probably get first crack.

At RCB, it's wide open. There are a variety of veteran options who are okay-ish that I find difficult to choose from: is there really a big gap in quality between Miazga, Long, Zimmerman, et al? Richards is interesting, but still quite young for a CB. I expect Berhalter to give Mark McKenzie a long look. He'll get chances to adapt to the level defensively because he's a better passer than all of his competitors.

Central Midfield

What a trio. Adams + McKennie: please stay healthy. Musah: please stay with the US. It's amazing how good Musah looks at 17 years old.

What about depth? Bradley is absolutely cooked and shouldn't even get call ups as a veteran locker room guy anymore. Yueill fills a similar role as Bradley has in recent years, which is a deep-lying midfielder more focused on tempo-setting and circulation than defensive bite. Not exactly a like-for-like sub for Tyler Adams.

The best young American DM in MLS is James Sands at NYCFC. He is a tough defender, and his defensive reads and positioning is advanced well beyond his years. However, his passing is extremely unadventurous and he makes Adams look like Iniesta. Johnny Cardoso looks to have some interesting qualities, but I don't know that much about him and he doesn't seem ready for prime time. So, still an open question. Maybe Tanner Tessmann will evolve into a 6, though he's not ready yet either.

The depth situation at the dual #8 positions is clearer. Brenden Aaronson is ready to move into the NT depth chart. Lletget is a fine option off the bench. Pomykal would be great if he can stay healthy. There are other relatively interesting players who may get looks. No need for more Cristian Roldan at this point.

Wingers

Weird to have so much depth and quality here! Pulisic and Reyna are the starters. Morris is great to have off the bench. Then, a stable of less-proven but talented players: Weah, Konrad, Llanez. You can see the progress: Tyler Boyd and Paul Arriola are in the prime of their careers but have slipped down the depth chart. Other guys who have been great in MLS like Chris Mueller will have a tough time cracking the team.

Forward

Wide open. Jozy has quality, but he's so broken down now that he's always injured or trying to find his form after an injury. I'm just not sure if it makes sense to try to plan to have him around anymore. Zardes is a workhorse where you know what you'll get. Obviously, it's possible to oust him from the team, but doing so won't be quite as easy as some fans want. Sargent is the heir apparent, but he has an increasing amount of competition:

- Nicholas Gioacchini, interesting player who has been doing some good things in Ligue 2, we'll see if his career takes off
- Daryl Dike, great rookie season in MLS, and he'll bring a physical presence to say the LEAST because he's a tank (6'1", 220). On the broadcast today they reported that Berhalter said he "couldn't wait" to work with him
- Ayo Akinola, a guy with a zillion caps for the U17s and U20s who nonetheless was never highly rated by fans, but he broke out this season. Fast and makes smart runs.
- Sebastian Soto, scores loads of goals wherever he's played, now on loan at a low level but is scoring as usual.
- Jesus Ferreira, had a bad year in 2020 after a good 2019 that led to a nice January camp performance. Hard to see him getting a serious look until he turns it around. Part of his problem is that he's kind of a positionless attacker, not quite a CF, or a winger or a 10.

I have no idea how to rank these guys.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Never seen Dike play but I do like the idea of some beef up front to complement the core guys, many of whom are still very slight.

I assume Berhalter feels good about keeping him in the fold, though he is eligible for Nigeria as well. It looks like a brother and sister of his both represented Nigeria.

Really hope they can somehow hang on to Musah.
 

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Matt Doyle with an in-depth review of how the two games went and what he sees from each player.

 

candylandriots

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I don't think I've seen this many good crosses from the wing in the last like 8 years of USMNT play.
I just finished watching the game and that’s what stood out to me too.

I don’t know nearly as much about the sport as some of you, but damn if that did not make me more excited about the future of this team than I have ever been.

There is a long way from 2020 to 2026, but I’m excited about where this team could be then.
 

Titans Bastard

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I clicked to a random spot in the video and landed smack dab on Pulisic slaloming through Liverpool last season and teeing up Tammy Abraham. Perfection.
I clicked to a random spot in the video and landed smack dab in the middle of Bruce Arena mumbling about something.

You win some, you lose some.