USMNT: Hold My Beer

Titans Bastard

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But for whatever weaknesses Berhalter still has, he has developed an amazing culture. McKennie and Pulisic have stepped up as vocal leaders well beyond their ages. Guys like Dest and Musah are choosing to play for us. Dudes on the bench are invested in the matches, going wild with each goal and pulling hard for each other - hell, Adams even got a yellow against Honduras. And the sight of Horvath and Steffen, arm in arm, approaching the Outlaws section post-match? This is a tough, bonded, and confident group. Credit to Gregg and his crew.
I watched the highlights just now and was reminded that when McKennie scored the equalizer, he ran straight to Berhalter on the sidelines.
 

Pxer

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If only there was some big wall to protect our Americans from those malicious Mexicans.
You misspelled "Ethan Horvath."

Man, what a game. I'm still pumped this morning.

McKenzie had some really bad giveaways, and that needs to change. If these guys stay healthy, they could put an emphatic stamp on qualifying. They'll still be tested on the road, but this game somehow got me more hopeful about this group of players.
 

Tuff Ghost

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"Goalie" in soccer is fingernails on a chalkboard to me.
The "goalie" thing is interesting to me. I do not think I have ever heard the term "goalie" used by a British commentator. I do recall goalie being prominently used while I played as a kid growing up in New England, but at this point it seems more like a hockey-term only. I do not watch a lot of MLS, but I think they usually say goalkeeper there from what I can recall.

Do MLS fans agree? Is goalkeeper the most prominent term used on MLS broadcasts?

My kids do not play, so I am not sure what is used at the youth level in America at this point, but my guess would be that goalie is still probably sometimes used there (?). I am curious about that, though, so if others have experience with it, do chime in.

The Google ngram viewer is interesting for goalie, goalkeeper, and goaltender when comparing American English to British English. In American English, goalie is twice as common as goalkeeper, but part of that is certainly tied to the prominent usage of goalie in hockey. Goaltender (in my experience, only a hockey-term) is down below.
41735

In British English, goalkeeper is far more common, obviously because of goalkeeper being the dominant term in football, but also because hockey is less common there.
41736

Does anyone know of British people using the term goalie in reference to association football ever, like a casual dropping of "footy" or the like? I do not seem to recall that.
 

coremiller

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The "goalie" thing is interesting to me. I do not think I have ever heard the term "goalie" used by a British commentator. I do recall goalie being prominently used while I played as a kid growing up in New England, but at this point it seems more like a hockey-term only. I do not watch a lot of MLS, but I think they usually say goalkeeper there from what I can recall.

Do MLS fans agree? Is goalkeeper the most prominent term used on MLS broadcasts?

My kids do not play, so I am not sure what is used at the youth level in America at this point, but my guess would be that goalie is still probably sometimes used there (?). I am curious about that, though, so if others have experience with it, do chime in.

The Google ngram viewer is interesting for goalie, goalkeeper, and goaltender when comparing American English to British English. In American English, goalie is twice as common as goalkeeper, but part of that is certainly tied to the prominent usage of goalie in hockey. Goaltender (in my experience, only a hockey-term) is down below.
View attachment 41735

In British English, goalkeeper is far more common, obviously because of goalkeeper being the dominant term in football, but also because hockey is less common there.
View attachment 41736

Does anyone know of British people using the term goalie in reference to association football ever, like a casual dropping of "footy" or the like? I do not seem to recall that.
Celtic fans nicknamed Artur Boric the Holy Goalie.
 

dirtynine

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Goalie doesn't strike me as egregious, any more than cleats (not boots), game (not match), field (not pitch), or even soccer (not football) etc. I do say "keeper" more but they seem interchangeable on this side of the pond.
 

Gunfighter 09

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Gregg still has to sort his backline problem - he needs 2 mobile, good passing CBs comfortable defending the flanks in order to allow Dest and Robinson/Cannon/Yedlin the freedom to get up the pitch. I hope a Richards-McKenzie tandem is the solution, but even still there needs to be better balance and more understanding between the defenders. Right now, teams are isolating our CBs and creating danger every time.
Not to be that Spurs fan (and they're about to sell him anyway), but isn't this a niche that CCV can help fill?
 

Kliq

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Goalie is perfectly fine and I use it a lot. American fans need to be okay with using American lingo to discuss soccer things; we shouldn't feel insecure or improper for having our own distinct language to describe the game.
 

67YAZ

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Not to be that Spurs fan (and they're about to sell him anyway), but isn't this a niche that CCV can help fill?
I had to check to see where he was at this season - finishing his 6th loan! He’s still young. I hope he can find a permanent club that will give him support and consistency.

He’s in a tough spot with the national team given his professional odyssey. He could make the Gold Cup squad, but Berhalter is going to try to balance promising youth (Richards and Robinson) with reliable vets (Miazga and Zimmerman) as he tries to both maintain a winning culture and develop the kids. With Long on the shelf for the year and Ream clearly ready for a gold watch, there’s a chance for CCV to make the roster and show his quality.

He’s in a tough in-between spot right now - not a trusted vet not a hot young prospect. He’s really got to grab the next opportunity by the horns.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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If there's been a more eventful US game, I can't recall it. What an amazing game of footie.

One thing that kind of stood out was that some of the set piece service was absolutely on point. Not always but a few were just perfect. This is a really important skill in CONCACAF qualification when you're on the road in a rock fight and it's hard to get things going through the middle. Also, feeling like corners are always high pressure can force teams to make bad plays in their own half. This was an aspect of Donovan's game that I think really served the US team very well for many years under the radar. Nice to see some of it last night.
 

luckiestman

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Goalie is perfectly fine and I use it a lot. American fans need to be okay with using American lingo to discuss soccer things; we shouldn't feel insecure or improper for having our own distinct language to describe the game.
When I played pick up games when I was young* we always said “goalie”.

*1980s,4-6th grade Portuguese kids who were mostly Benfica fans.
 

BaseballJones

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The Mexican coach was whining that his team outplayed the US but that the US got their goals on set pieces. I mean, so what? Set pieces are a huge part of the game.

A 2018 Washington Post article explained:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fancy-stats/wp/2018/06/20/why-set-pieces-are-dominating-scoring-so-far-at-the-world-cup/

"With players able to take up positions closer to goal, the likelihood of scoring from a set piece is more than 50 percent higher than that from a possession in the normal run of play. Based upon data collected by American Soccer Analysis, direct shots from free kicks are scored about 7.5 percent of the time, whereas crosses from free kicks are scored around 4 percent. Approximately 3 percent of corner kicks result in a goal. Penalty kicks are converted at around a 75 percent rate. Taken together, it is advantageous for a team to accumulate as many set piece opportunities as possible.
Of the 38 goals scored in the first round of group-stage matches at the 2018 World Cup, seven were from penalties, six from corner kicks, four directly from a free kick and three from free-kick crosses. All told, 53 percent of the goals came off set pieces, compared to 28 percent of goals scored at recent World Cups, which is on par with the rate scored in league competitions worldwide."

I mean, if the US can become elite at set pieces, they might be able to get at least one goal a game from them, which would be enormous.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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The Mexican coach was whining that his team outplayed the US but that the US got their goals on set pieces. I mean, so what? Set pieces are a huge part of the game.

A 2018 Washington Post article explained:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fancy-stats/wp/2018/06/20/why-set-pieces-are-dominating-scoring-so-far-at-the-world-cup/

"With players able to take up positions closer to goal, the likelihood of scoring from a set piece is more than 50 percent higher than that from a possession in the normal run of play. Based upon data collected by American Soccer Analysis, direct shots from free kicks are scored about 7.5 percent of the time, whereas crosses from free kicks are scored around 4 percent. Approximately 3 percent of corner kicks result in a goal. Penalty kicks are converted at around a 75 percent rate. Taken together, it is advantageous for a team to accumulate as many set piece opportunities as possible.
Of the 38 goals scored in the first round of group-stage matches at the 2018 World Cup, seven were from penalties, six from corner kicks, four directly from a free kick and three from free-kick crosses. All told, 53 percent of the goals came off set pieces, compared to 28 percent of goals scored at recent World Cups, which is on par with the rate scored in league competitions worldwide."

I mean, if the US can become elite at set pieces, they might be able to get at least one goal a game from them, which would be enormous.
This has always been a popular refrain. Always from losers. Usually right after they blame the refs.

Pretty rare to hear a team that plays "beautiful" footie complain that they won on set pieces or penalties.
 

luckiestman

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The Mexican coach was whining that his team outplayed the US but that the US got their goals on set pieces. I mean, so what? Set pieces are a huge part of the game.
They are a huge part of the game and somehow I kind of agree with the Mexican coach. I prefer normal play goals.
 

Titans Bastard

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Goalie is perfectly fine and I use it a lot. American fans need to be okay with using American lingo to discuss soccer things; we shouldn't feel insecure or improper for having our own distinct language to describe the game.
A-fucking-men.

(though my personal hypocrisy is that "offsides" annoys me)



Here's a 1973 BBC interview that refers to Sir Matt Busby as a "soccer manager".

View: https://twitter.com/BBCArchive/status/926408586485551105
 

cromulence

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Martino might want to focus on his team's unspeakably terrible defending on set pieces instead of whining about the goals. There could have been two other goals off set pieces as well, so he's obviously doing a terrible job preparing his team for them.
 

Awesome Fossum

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If there's been a more eventful US game, I can't recall it. What an amazing game of footie.
It was such high drama. I know the broadcast rights to these CONCACAF properties are weird, because most of the games are not that interesting to a mainstream audience, but USA-Mexico should be on network television in primetime. It's main event stuff. Hopefully they can get this right in a post-SUM world.
 

Titans Bastard

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I "prefer" them too, but set piece goals count just as much.
Martino might want to focus on his team's unspeakably terrible defending on set pieces instead of whining about the goals. There could have been two other goals off set pieces as well, so he's obviously doing a terrible job preparing his team for them.
Obviously, the only "correct" way to play the game is the way that highlights the strengths of my team and disadvantages yours!
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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The Mexican coach was whining that his team outplayed the US but that the US got their goals on set pieces. I mean, so what? Set pieces are a huge part of the game.

A 2018 Washington Post article explained:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fancy-stats/wp/2018/06/20/why-set-pieces-are-dominating-scoring-so-far-at-the-world-cup/

"With players able to take up positions closer to goal, the likelihood of scoring from a set piece is more than 50 percent higher than that from a possession in the normal run of play. Based upon data collected by American Soccer Analysis, direct shots from free kicks are scored about 7.5 percent of the time, whereas crosses from free kicks are scored around 4 percent. Approximately 3 percent of corner kicks result in a goal. Penalty kicks are converted at around a 75 percent rate. Taken together, it is advantageous for a team to accumulate as many set piece opportunities as possible.
Of the 38 goals scored in the first round of group-stage matches at the 2018 World Cup, seven were from penalties, six from corner kicks, four directly from a free kick and three from free-kick crosses. All told, 53 percent of the goals came off set pieces, compared to 28 percent of goals scored at recent World Cups, which is on par with the rate scored in league competitions worldwide."

I mean, if the US can become elite at set pieces, they might be able to get at least one goal a game from them, which would be enormous.
I don't think the Mexican manager's comments are all that unusual or unreasonable.

Set pieces are a part of the game but they don't happen that frequently, their defense is very coachable, and goals aren't scored off them very often in general. Conceding multiple goals on set pieces in a match is pretty rare. The last World Cup was a massive anomaly in that regard.

In terms of what you take from a loss, you'd much rather be coaching a team that was dominant in open play but made some very correctable errors on set piece defending than a team that simply got dominated in open play (not saying that either captures what happens last night, just in theory).

Its sort of like an NFL coach after a game you lost by a field goal but only because the other team scored two TDs on special teams. Sure, special teams are part of the game and you played badly in that phase. But you can reasonably expect not to concede two TDs on special teams in future games - and there are things you can do in practice to make sure it doesn't happen again - so if you can keep playing like you did on offense and defense and get a normal special teams performance in future games, then you're in pretty good shape.
 
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Kliq

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One thing the game did highlight was how this group needs a true #9. Sargent/Pefok didn't offer much against Mexico and Sargent really had a few chances that he took poorly. There is still plenty of time and names in the pipeline, but I think the Pulisic/Reyna/McKennie/Adams/Dest core are going to need a true #9, and we are not sure who that is right now. Dike looks like the best bet imo.
 

67YAZ

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In terms of what you take from a loss, you'd much rather be coaching a team that was dominant in open play but made some very correctable errors on set piece defending than a team that simply got dominated in open play (not saying that either captures what happens last night, just in theory).
Mexico kept playing zonal on set pieces, giving US attackers a free run up. Time and again, McKennie got a head of steam and then leaped about 2ft in the air before anyone in black & purple even got on him. The lack of adjustment after the first goal is on Tata. Hell, even some basic video scouting should have told you to put a body on McKennie.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Mexico kept playing zonal on set pieces, giving US attackers a free run up. Time and again, McKennie got a head of steam and then leaped about 2ft in the air before anyone in black & purple even got on him. The lack of adjustment after the first goal is on Tata. Hell, even some basic video scouting should have told you to put a body on McKennie.
They obviously defended set pieces poorly and that is on the manager. But at least (in theory) they can look at the video, make adjustments, and get better.

As a manager, you'd always rather have played well in open play but poorly on set pieces than vice versa.
 

DJnVa

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The Mexican coach was whining that his team outplayed the US but that the US got their goals on set pieces. I mean, so what? Set pieces are a huge part of the game.

A 2018 Washington Post article explained:
I mean, Mexico scored off a horrendous turnover, a cross from a short corner (so, not technically a set piece, but very nearly), and had a PK saved. Whine more Mexico.
 

Quintanariffic

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It had to be like this, didn't it? That goal went in after a minute and we were all in that place again. Then they took the lead late, and there we were, again. The ref was as awful as he could be. Mexico got the nonsense penalty, and again, there we were. We had to win a game like that to turn this shit around.
Agree. Had a sort of "umpires overturning the Bellhorn non HR call and the Slappy McBluelips Slap in Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS" vibe to it.
 

cromulence

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I mean, Mexico scored off a horrendous turnover, a cross from a short corner (so, not technically a set piece, but very nearly), and had a PK saved. Whine more Mexico.
The second goal you're referring to was ruled out, and their actual second came from Lainez burning Ream immediately after coming into the game. So they did get one clean goal from the run of play, and one off an awful mistake. Doesn't really matter, though.
 

DJnVa

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The second goal you're referring to was ruled out, and their actual second came from Lainez burning Ream immediately after coming into the game. So they did get one clean goal from the run of play, and one off an awful mistake. Doesn't really matter, though.
Bah, you're right. But my main point is that Mexico plays the set piece game too. And if they had converted the ultimate set piece (the PK) and won on PKs he wouldn't be saying a word.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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I don't think the Mexican manager's comments are all that unusual or unreasonable.

Set pieces are a part of the game but they don't happen that frequently, their defense is very coachable, and goals aren't scored off them very often in general. Conceding multiple goals on set pieces in a match is pretty rare. The last World Cup was a massive anomaly in that regard.

In terms of what you take from a loss, you'd much rather be coaching a team that was dominant in open play but made some very correctable errors on set piece defending than a team that simply got dominated in open play (not saying that either captures what happens last night, just in theory).

Its sort of like an NFL coach after a game you lost by a field goal but only because the other team scored two TDs on special teams. Sure, special teams are part of the game and you played badly in that phase. But you can reasonably expect not to concede two TDs on special teams in future games - and there are things you can do in practice to make sure it doesn't happen again - so if you can keep playing like you did on offense and defense and get a normal special teams performance in future games, then you're in pretty good shape.
It's not unlike hockey in that sense, in that in evaluating a team you're going to gravitate toward looking at even strength goals. But dominant hockey special teams can win championships.

Set piece goals in soccer are actually a little more common by percentage than even power play goals in hockey. About 30 percent of goals scored in soccer are on set pieces and it's been edging up a bit. That's not a small number. The world cup was a small sample size but we'll see if the trends keeps in that direction, especially with the ascendency of more technical Europe-based teams seeming to be doing better in tournaments lately as well (again, possibly a small sample size).

I don't have a problem with your analysis in terms of using success in run of play to discuss the prospects that a team has. But I still push back hard on what I think the Mexican manager was attempting to echo. There is this general argument that set pieces ruin the beautiful game and are employed by brutish and thuggish teams to try equalize with obviously more skilled and more talented teams. I think most of that is horseshit and sour grapes. Set piece attempts are often the result of great play. And scoring on set pieces is often about the stuff that we should be celebrating in sports like preparation and coaching and discipline. Maybe that's an Americanized outlook.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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It's not unlike hockey in that sense, in that in evaluating a team you're going to gravitate toward looking at even strength goals. But dominant hockey special teams can win championships.

Set piece goals in soccer are actually a little more common by percentage than even power play goals in hockey. About 30 percent of goals scored in soccer are on set pieces and it's been edging up a bit. That's not a small number. The world cup was a small sample size but we'll see if the trends keeps in that direction, especially with the ascendency of more technical Europe-based teams seeming to be doing better in tournaments lately as well (again, possibly a small sample size).

I don't have a problem with your analysis in terms of using success in run of play to discuss the prospects that a team has. But I still push back hard on what I think the Mexican manager was attempting to echo. There is this general argument that set pieces ruin the beautiful game and are employed by brutish and thuggish teams to try equalize with obviously more skilled and more talented teams. I think most of that is horseshit and sour grapes. Set piece attempts are often the result of great play. And scoring on set pieces is often about the stuff that we should be celebrating in sports like preparation and coaching and discipline. Maybe that's an Americanized outlook.
I totally agree with your last paragraph. They're just as much a part of the game as everything else and I've got a lot of time for a nicely worked set piece routine.

I'm not so sure about the hockey analogy. The thing about set pieces is that you don't really have teams that are dominant with them. Some teams are probably better, some worse, but there aren't that many goals scored that way and the differences between teams is mostly statistical noise. For example in the Premier League its very rare that any team is +/- more than 10 goals on set pieces in any given season. And usually teams around that mark just end up back around even the next season. Southhampton was tied for the best at +9 this season but exactly even last season. Liverpool was best last season at +10 but only +2 this season. There's not a lot of evidence that this is a true team skill or ability, whereas there is a ton of evidence that teams are better or worse at scoring goals from open play and that those results are repeatable and reflect true differences in ability or talent.

I think that 30% stat must include penalties, which are really their own category of play. I'm pretty sure scoring off true "set pieces" like free kicks and corners is probably more like 20% of goals or maybe a little less. Its possible that number is higher in international play given that offensive open play in general tends to be less fluid and cohesive.
 

tims4wins

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I totally agree with your last paragraph. They're just as much a part of the game as everything else and I've got a lot of time for a nicely worked set piece routine.

I'm not so sure about the hockey analogy. The thing about set pieces is that you don't really have teams that are dominant with them. Some teams are probably better, some worse, but there aren't that many goals scored that way and the differences between teams is mostly statistical noise. For example in the Premier League its very rare that any team is +/- more than 10 goals on set pieces in any given season. And usually teams around that mark just end up back around even the next season. Southhampton was tied for the best at +9 this season but exactly even last season. Liverpool was best last season at +10 but only +2 this season. There's not a lot of evidence that this is a true team skill or ability, whereas there is a ton of evidence that teams are better or worse at scoring goals from open play and that those results are repeatable and reflect true differences in ability or talent.

I think that 30% stat must include penalties, which are really their own category of play. I'm pretty sure scoring off true "set pieces" like free kicks and corners is probably more like 20% of goals or maybe a little less. Its possible that number is higher in international play given that offensive open play in general tends to be less fluid and cohesive.
Very interesting stats, thanks for posting. Seems to regress kind of like turnovers do in the NFL. Little predictive value.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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One thing the game did highlight was how this group needs a true #9. Sargent/Pefok didn't offer much against Mexico and Sargent really had a few chances that he took poorly. There is still plenty of time and names in the pipeline, but I think the Pulisic/Reyna/McKennie/Adams/Dest core are going to need a true #9, and we are not sure who that is right now. Dike looks like the best bet imo.
Yes yes yes, space-eating and ball-striking. I am dying to see Dike get a shot with a regular starting XI.
 

SoxFanInCali

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Too bad they cut out the CBS commentary team during the breaks, so we can't see the dude that got sent over the railing while Deuce looked on laughing.
 

teddykgb

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It’s a good win but they have a lot of work to do in attack. The parts are there but the positional play I thought was very poor. They were creating triangles and had the makings of some good play but the passes were always a little too long and with little support for the man on the ball. If they could get closer to one another they probably could put together more coherent attacks. With so many players in Europe I’d almost expect a little more sophistication on that point but it was all a little too stretched all night
 

Clears Cleaver

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my son and I were trying to figure out where the USMNT team would finish if they played in the EPL. We concluded that they likely would be relegated because they'd have the amongst the worst midfield and defense in the league. their shape when defending is horrific, they never mark properly on set plays and they only create chances when they can press, which they are not athletic enough in the midfield to do regularly. This is a poor Mexico squad and one that is very small physically, hence McKinnie was able to dominate on corners. if not for that?

happy they won, but this team is a long way away from being relevant. In fact, I think because they think they can attack, they won't park the bus as much against good teams and their horrific D will be exposed more.

OK, negative rant over.
 

67YAZ

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Man, you guys know how to harsh a mellow.

I was thinking about the November 2016 Hex match against Costa Rica where the squad simply surrendered on the pitch. Rafa Marquez had punched them in the gut in the 88th minute a few days before.In San Jose, they let CR break through just before half time and then just gave up in the second half. It was a sad and embarrassing display.

Only 4 guys from that roster where in Denver last night - Pulisic, Brooks, Yedlin, and Horvath. Yeah, those four motherfuckers who each made major contributions while surrounded by a bunch a of kids, making this staring IX average age 24. It's a total sea change at the senior level with so much talent coming up through the ranks and a manager that has fostered a great culture that really outstanding dual nationals wants to be a part of. The entire project has come so far.

There are plenty of headwinds, of course. The pandemic has meant this crew has had little time to play together. Berhalter is still making the transition to effective national team manager. Injuries have forced some patchwork lineups. And the talent pool is uneven. Who except France and the French U21s could compete at the top of the EPL?

But I think we have to circle the 2026 WC as the target for this generation. The current core of elite players will be mid- to late-20s and have spent many, many matches learning how to play together. And they’ll be on home soil gunning for a huge result.

What I want to see between now and then is qualifying for Qatar, Berhalter settling into a tactical set up that accentuates the talents and hides the deficiencies, and making the knock out stages.
 
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Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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my son and I were trying to figure out where the USMNT team would finish if they played in the EPL. We concluded that they likely would be relegated because they'd have the amongst the worst midfield and defense in the league. their shape when defending is horrific, they never mark properly on set plays and they only create chances when they can press, which they are not athletic enough in the midfield to do regularly. This is a poor Mexico squad and one that is very small physically, hence McKinnie was able to dominate on corners. if not for that?

happy they won, but this team is a long way away from being relevant. In fact, I think because they think they can attack, they won't park the bus as much against good teams and their horrific D will be exposed more.

OK, negative rant over.
They’d be a lot better in some of these regards if they played and practiced together for 10 months of the year like PL teams.
 

Titans Bastard

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Chelsea -- Werder -- Dortmund
Juventus -- LA Galaxy
RB Leipzig
Barcelona -- Wolfsburg -- Hoffenheim/Genk/NYRB -- Boavista/Galatasaray
Man City​

As MMS said, international teams spend far less time together and the USMNT squad hasn't spent much time together even by those standards. But the large majority of starters play on clubs that are clearly superior to EPL relegation fodder.
 

Titans Bastard

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Dec 15, 2002
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But I think we have to circle the 2026 WC as the target for this generation. The current core of elite players will be mid- to late-20s and have spent many, many matches learning how to play together. And they’ll be on home soil gunning for a huge result.
Agree with everything you wrote.

For me, the state of the player pool and USMNT in general is actually ahead of where I thought it would be a few years ago. I was keenly aware that we had a good generation coming up, but a lot of guys have become better players and/or improved faster than I thought they would. There have been prospect flameouts as there always are, but also prospects who have emerged somewhat unexpectedly.

I agree about 2026, but I also think we can reasonably hope for a lot of growth over the next 1.5 years ahead of the 2022 WC. This Mexico game was a "growing up before our eyes" sort of affair, and there's going to be more of that over the qualification process — both CONCACAF street fights that are a tactical mess like this one, and opportunities to play a more sophisticated game trying to break down defenses at home.

There are plenty of issues that the USMNT needs to work on right now — Berhalter finding ways to compromise between his ideas and simplifying them for int'l play, players developing chemistry, hopefully finding players who can improve on existing guys in the 23 — but I think the big-picture outlook has to be positive.