USMNT: Hold My Beer

DJnVa

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Berhalter finding ways to compromise between his ideas and simplifying them for int'l play,
There was guest on SiriusXM FC talking about this the other day, pushing back at some of the criticism of Berhalter. He said, first of all, Berhalter is a smart tactical guy, but bringing in a tactical genius to a national team is tough because they simply don't have time to install intricate systems. Fostering a culture is much more important. He's doing that.
 
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sezwho

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I was surprised by what I saw from this team: I’ve felt the USMNT historically had sick Keeping, a strong back line, a couple strong front line players, and overall not very developed play through midfield (no offense to Bradley).

This time I saw a shambolic back line, Steffen creating anxiety, but real potential to play through midfield to build something.

The D gave the ball back early and often, and seemed to continually create 5050 balls, which I think unraveled the play up front.

Crazy Concacaf game, obviously a great result, but if the D can firm up there is something in this young wave of talent we haven’t had before.
 

Zososoxfan

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Going back several posts, I did hear goalie a lot growing up but nowadays it's a lot more keeper. I used to prefer British/global lingo and still do in some cases, but I don't care as much as I used to. We shouldn't be ashamed of our lingo here, but we should also accept that other terms are more ubiquitous throughout the world. At the end of the day, ANYTHING GOES!
 

Jimy Hendrix

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View: https://mobile.twitter.com/USMNT/status/1402011230840233990


There was a clip of this from a different angle where I had missed Daryl Dike and thought Pefok was showing off just for actual cameras (which is fine, these are soccer players, but a bit eyeroll-y nonetheless).

Seeing it from this angle that he's mostly just messing with Dike is goddamn delightful. I enjoy the goofiness of this USMNT as well as the competitiveness.
 

67YAZ

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McKenzie shared an IG post of the racist abuse he’s getting. I want to see a strong response from Berhalter & the USSF.

41770
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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"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.
Not to hijack but the %s w/r/t PKs seem ridiculous to me in context. Curious though - is anyone aware of any studies as to whether drawing PKs is a repeatable skill or is completely random?

Seems like the aspiring soccer sabermetricians should be trying to figure out how to optimize PKs in soccer strategy if at all possible.

Hand using, shot blocking guy it is, then.
Call him Saver. (or "Savior"). :)
 

Titans Bastard

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McKenzie shared an IG post of the racist abuse he’s getting. I want to see a strong response from Berhalter & the USSF.

View attachment 41770
Garbage stuff. McKenzie is one of several youthful MLS players who have been leaning into leadership roles on racial issues, so he's certainly not going to be one to shy away from grappling with this sort of behavior.
 

Titans Bastard

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There's one more game in this window. USA vs. Costa Rica, tomorrow (Wed) night at 7pm ET. The kickoff is apparently at 7:05, so no bait-and-switch for a pregame show.

I'd expect close to wholesale squad rotation. A few notes via Jonathan Tannenwald (@thegoalkeeper on Twitter, an essential US Soccer follow):

- Miazga is out. He's getting married next week.
- Walker Zimmerman has joined the squad to replace Miazga
- Steffen is out, as expected. His injury is reported to be a bone bruise, so no big deal
- Bryan Reynolds is also injured. I expected him to start otherwise.
- Berhalter said every player in the squad will have played by the end of the game, so that means Musah, Ochoa(!), Dike, and Zimmerman(?) will have some role to play. The USSF's promotional materials for this match on Twitter featured pics of Dike and Ochoa.

So a potential lineup?

GK: Ochoa? Or Horvath with Ochoa taking the second half?
RB: Cannon
RCB: Zimmerman
LCB: McKenzie
LB: Robinson
DM: Yueill (I know, but Acosta will be wiped, and Adams isn't 100% yet)
CM: Musah
CM: McKennie/Lletget split halves?
RW: Weah
CF: Dike
LW: Aaronson
 

teddykgb

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Not to hijack but the %s w/r/t PKs seem ridiculous to me in context. Curious though - is anyone aware of any studies as to whether drawing PKs is a repeatable skill or is completely random?

Seems like the aspiring soccer sabermetricians should be trying to figure out how to optimize PKs in soccer strategy if at all possible.



Call him Saver. (or "Savior"). :)
You don’t really need a study. You just put on a Man United kit and penalties fall from the sky like rain
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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You don’t really need a study. You just put on a Man United kit and penalties fall from the sky like rain
Funny. I poked around a little after my post and while not finding anything on my original question, I did find this study - https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/78898261.pdf - of the 2002, 2006, and 2010 World Cup plus the 2004 and 2008 EURO tournaments, a team that converts a PK wins or draws almost 90% of the time.

That's kind of remarkable.
 

67YAZ

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I tried to poke around this a little, but couldn’t find consistent annual “touches in opponents box” data. It’d probably take 3 years of team data to get significant results, and upwards of 6 years for individual players except the most extreme outliers (anyone in a ManU kit).

My unexciting guess is that the players who earn the most fouls overall also earn the most penalties, and they do so at a somewhat constant if minuscule rate per touch in the box. I suppose you could also identify the defenders who foul the most and attempt to isolate them in the box vs your best foul-magnet, but you don’t quite need advanced stats to figure that out. And defenders who give away a lot penalties tend not to see the pitch.
 

Kliq

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If you really wanted to try and game the system, you would strongly emphasize lofted crosses from inside the 18 yard box. Those types of crosses are not particularly common and would seem to increase the likelihood of getting a handball call (think Sissoko in the 2019 UCL Final). You would probably sacrifice scoring traditional goals though, since aerial crosses from inside the box are not a particularly efficient way to score.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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If you really wanted to try and game the system, you would strongly emphasize lofted crosses from inside the 18 yard box. Those types of crosses are not particularly common and would seem to increase the likelihood of getting a handball call (think Sissoko in the 2019 UCL Final). You would probably sacrifice scoring traditional goals though, since aerial crosses from inside the box are not a particularly efficient way to score.
I'd think you'd also tell your offensive players to try to initiate contact with the defenders so that perhaps the refs will blow the whistle - kind of like how NBA players lower their shoulders on drives. Giving up a few fouls in the box pales in comparison to getting the PK.

Frankly, changing the strategy from trying to score goals to trying to get PKs is probably the correct move.

But I'd hate to see teams do any of this. Analytics have already been accused of ruining two sports (baseball + NBA).
 

Tangled Up In Red

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Similar to Kliq's suggestion, train players to shoot AT defenders. Between a deflection and the absurd handball rules, seems as good a way as any to create goals.
 

67YAZ

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Similar to Kliq's suggestion, train players to shoot AT defenders. Between a deflection and the absurd handball rules, seems as good a way as any to create goals.
If someone has the bandwidth, you could probably use StatBomb's open data sets to identify types shots and passes that most commonly result in PK calls (starting location, angle, height, position of other players).

Again, the rate of occurrence is so low I doubt it would be a very efficient strategy for most professional teams to alter their tactics to chase PKs. But maybe for the international game, where tactics are simpler and attacking maneuvers less sophisticated? Still, seems like you'd be better off focusing on pressing to create turnovers.

In the EPL, maybe you just wait for Mike Dean or Michael Oliver to ref your match. But still, they each only average ~7 PK calls per season. How many more could you elicit from them?
 

Titans Bastard

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Lineup against Costa Rica tonight (ESPN2/UniMás/TUDN)

Aaronson -- Dike -- Weah
Musah -- Lletget
Adams (c)
Robinson -- Ream -- McKenzie -- Cannon
Horvath​

As expected, close to a full rotation. I thought Zimmerman would start simply because he has fresh legs, but I guess not. I think it's likely we'll see some HT subs, perhaps for guys who logged a ton of minutes against Mexico like McKenzie and Lletget.

Excited to see Musah and that front three.
 

tmracht

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Glad McKenzie gets a chance to shake off last game quickly. Hopefully he gets a good shift in.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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One more (quick and tight) ball through would have been a tap in, but still a nice play from Dike to set up a good chance. I love what he brings occupying space and defenders in the box. Jozy + 40 pounds.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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It has been night and day and very encouraging. Everything I complained about their connectivity versus Mexico is much improved here. Intensity of Mexico match may just have gotten to them
Mexico also pressed the hell out of the USMNT, Costa Rica are very content to sit in.
 

Tangled Up In Red

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Man, I want to love Dike. He looks really physically imposing and quite fast. Involvement with the first goal and almost had an assist for the second... but does he lack a killer instinct/skill (let a real opportunity pass him by and mis-hit a couple others, including the goal)?
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Hard to fathom the increase in skill and quality in the talent pool since the last time I saw USMNT in person (same opponent in the disastrous WC qualifier in Jersey).
 

teddykgb

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Mexico also pressed the hell out of the USMNT, Costa Rica are very content to sit in.
It certainly was a part of that intensity. It also has broken down a bit since. There just aren’t enough options for the man on the ball and they resort to trying to run past 2 or 3 people. For those first 20 they were more cohesive and let the ball do the work but they are playing a bit loose again. I’m spoiled week to week watching a team play Peps football and I hardly expect that level of sophistication but the way you withstand that kind of pressure is by having options and using space to decompress the press. USMNT just never seems able to not breakdown into attackers and defense with some poor soul chasing the match in the middle.

Robinson looking really good at LB
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Man, I want to love Dike. He looks really physically imposing and quite fast. Involvement with the first goal and almost had an assist for the second... but does he lack a killer instinct/skill (let a real opportunity pass him by and mis-hit a couple others, including the goal)?
He sure as shit didn’t lack the killer instinct at Barnsley, but it hasn’t happened yet for the USMNT. He needs to get locked into the tactics, after Barnsley-ball he might’ve just been shocked to have an opportunity right into feet and not slung at his head.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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He sure as shit didn’t lack the killer instinct at Barnsley, but it hasn’t happened yet for the USMNT. He needs to get locked into the tactics, after Barnsley-ball he might’ve just been shocked to have an opportunity right into feet and not slung at his head.
Seems to have remembered how it works.
 

Titans Bastard

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Love that pass from McKenzie and the patience and composure from Dike. It looked like CR's defensive line was all out of sorts, but capitalizing on these mistakes is not a guarantee.
 

Titans Bastard

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I love Brenden Aaronson. There may or may not be room in our best XI for him, but he's already turned into such a well-rounded player over the past few years. He's going to be in the pool for a long time.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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I love Brenden Aaronson. There may or may not be room in our best XI for him, but he's already turned into such a well-rounded player over the past few years. He's going to be in the pool for a long time.
Feels like a guy you won’t be able to keep out of matches, even if for consistent 30-35 minutes of run as Twellman suggested.
 

Titans Bastard

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It's a low-intensity friendly but it's pleasing to see a USMNT backup team control the game like this. IMO, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Panama are all worse than they have been in the recent past, but still.
 

67YAZ

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I love the way Dike finds space so consistently. As he continues to improve and nuance his game, I think he’ll end up being the best complement to Dest, Pulisic, & Reyna because he can work the channels and time the runs that their dribbles open up.
 

Titans Bastard

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Weah too. The wings went from thin to somewhat deep surprisingly quickly.

Here’s hoping we can say it about the six or the nine by the World Cup.
Yep. And to put a finer point on it, at DM we have a high-end performer but no depth and at forward we have a lot of depth but no high-end performer.

We could use another LB too!

Despite the total boners against Mexico, I've actually been pretty encouraged by McKenzie's overall game. I think he's a good enough passer that he can be an option to spell Brooks as the "passing CB" without having to resort to Ream and dealing with his severe mobility issues.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Yep. And to put a finer point on it, at DM we have a high-end performer but no depth and at forward we have a lot of depth but no high-end performer.

We could use another LB too!

Despite the total boners against Mexico, I've actually been pretty encouraged by McKenzie's overall game. I think he's a good enough passer that he can be an option to spell Brooks as the "passing CB" without having to resort to Ream and dealing with his severe mobility issues.
As a USMNT fan of the past 20 years I feel that we are more likely to win a World Cup than we are to have LB depth.