USMNT: Hold My Beer

DJnVa

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Very low bar at this point. No one has really taken it as their own.
Yeah, I mean, you hope either Zardes or Sargent is in form at any given time I would guess.

Zardes would have to do less heavy-lifting if he had the rest of the A team on pitch with him.
 

Kliq

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I don't watch the USMNT nearly as much as most people in 'Gazza, but is Zardes really the best option at CF?
Not really, but he had a very strong tournament. USMNT is still waiting on one of their younger strikers to really pop off. I think Dike, Sargent, Gioacchini, Hoppe will all threaten to knock him off the next World Cup team.
 

Pxer

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I think the Dike injury was really holding him back in the Gold Cup, and he may emerge as the top choice. I think Hoppe gets a shot in one of the September qualifiers at CF.
 

Kliq

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I've enjoyed what I've seen from Hoppe. He works really hard as a presser and has flashed some really high-quality finishing ability. He is a late convert to striker as he started out as a midfielder, but he is one to watch.
 

Kliq

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I also like Jordan Pefok as another potential striker. He waited for a France call-up that never came, so he's joining our pool at 25, but he, like Dike, is a big boi that has shown he can score in Europe and had a very good season for Young Boys.
 

rguilmar

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My striker depth chart is:

Sargent 1A
Zardes 1B
Hoppe
Dike
Pefok

I am higher on Sargent than most and lower on Dike and Pefok as I prefer technical ability. Not a fan of Zardes but he gets the job done. I’d really like to see what Hoppe can do at the 9 but the next games are qualifiers so Gregg will rightly go with known players. My understanding is that teams can name a larger camp then select 23 from the list 24 hours before each game. Perhaps Hoppe gets a sub appearance against a weaker opponent?

Full court press for Balugon?
 

ninjacornelius

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Any shot Pepi gets called in for any of these games so they can cap tie as a late sub?
Yesterday I would have said that there's no chance of this happening, but now I'm not so sure? If Tata is forced out, is there a compelling argument that Mexico is substantively a better choice than the USMNT right now?
 

Joe D Reid

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I think the Dike injury was really holding him back in the Gold Cup, and he may emerge as the top choice. I think Hoppe gets a shot in one of the September qualifiers at CF.
I think Hoppe's best use would be as a second striker in a formation with 2 at the top. So I think he's valuable because he could give us another way to play, but he doesn't seem like the answer at the top of a 4-3-3.
 

dirtynine

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Is Bobby Wood completely out of the picture? I know he's not in the same potential universe as some of these young guns, but he's shown the ability to get things done in Concacaf.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Is Bobby Wood completely out of the picture? I know he's not in the same potential universe as some of these young guns, but he's shown the ability to get things done in Concacaf.
Since his last USMNT appearances, he's averaged somewhere around a goal or two per year. He'd need to absolutely catch thermonuclear fire in MLS to play himself back into the picture and even then I doubt it would happen for him.
 

dirtynine

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Since his last USMNT appearances, he's averaged somewhere around a goal or two per year. He'd need to absolutely catch thermonuclear fire in MLS to play himself back into the picture and even then I doubt it would happen for him.
OK, thanks. Appreciate the update. Not losing any sleep over saying goodbye to Wood - but to be fair I did always think he knew what to do with service. Hopefully we're well-past the point where he's even on the depth chart.
 

Titans Bastard

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Wood isn't even the best US striker on RSL right now (the Rubio Rubin Renaissance, baby!)
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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I think it's easy to forget after each cycle is over what a crazy grind each CONCACAF qualification cycle is.

It's a real marathon and will be even more so with two extra teams in the qualification round. It's fairly unrelenting and there are no minnows to relax or to use to reset cautions. The games are physical and the road has proven to be a fairly significant equalizer in CONCACAF. The best players have significant travel and everyone is tired and there are accumulations of yellows. It generally takes many more than 11 players to qualify. Sometimes you need a guy like Conor Casey to get a couple of big goals for you in San Pedro Sula.

To me, that is what is such a big deal about this summer. Finding so many guys who can step up and be that guy. After this summer I think everyone will regard qualification as pretty much done and dusted and a victory lap. Hardly. It never is in CONCACAF. An untimely red card here or there, or a bad own goal, and suddenly you're looking at needing someone else to get a result in a tough situation. The pressure between matchday rounds really builds. Qualification is so crucial for this team. It really feels like they gave themselves an excellent step towards it last night.
 

ninjacornelius

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David Ochoa is switching to Mexico. Six months ago I’d be freaking out because our GK depth looked to be as bad as it’s been since the Kasey Keller era. But now? I wish him well. What a difference this summer has made.
 

67YAZ

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David Ochoa is switching to Mexico. Six months ago I’d be freaking out because our GK depth looked to be as bad as it’s been since the Kasey Keller era. But now? I wish him well. What a difference this summer has made.
LOL.El Tri brought him to the match last night and he got to see their epic failure in person. He must have come away knowing there is a much easier path to the Mexican first team than to surpass Turner.
 

Arroyo Con Frijoles

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The classy thing to say is to acknowledge how hard the decision must have been and how I respect it etc etc, but I'll just say I hope we pummel him whenever he becomes their #1.
 

Titans Bastard

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The classy thing to say is to acknowledge how hard the decision must have been and how I respect it etc etc, but I'll just say I hope we pummel him whenever he becomes their #1.
May his El Tri career be filled with sadness and regret. He can still help the USMNT by becoming a cautionary tale!
 

Mr. Wednesday

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I don't watch the USMNT nearly as much as most people in 'Gazza, but is Zardes really the best option at CF?
His touch isn't always the best, but he can run all day (he was still pressing in ET last night) and makes great runs. I think "really" is selling him short.
 

ekim colorwaterpit

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His touch isn't always the best, but he can run all day (he was still pressing in ET last night) and makes great runs. I think "really" is selling him short.
I agree. I have never been a huge fan, but I thought he played extremely well in this tournament and I also really like what Hoppe brings. Problem is we now have a bunch of ok options but no clear cut number 1. So hopefully someone emerges.
 

67YAZ

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I agree. I have never been a huge fan, but I thought he played extremely well in this tournament and I also really like what Hoppe brings. Problem is we now have a bunch of ok options but no clear cut number 1. So hopefully someone emerges.
Zardes is a particularly unfortunate victim of the fan base wanting him to be a different player. The national team seems to really gin up this kind of angst because there’s often a strained fit between the talent pool and filling out a balanced, cohesive squad (no matter how good the Manager is at tailoring a system to the players available).

Call it the Jozy Syndrome, guys who catch inordinate amounts of shit for not being a different player. Zardes has many assets, and if we focused on how hard he works to execute his role and how well Berhalter carves out that role, we could appreciate what Zardes brings to the pitch.
 

Titans Bastard

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It also should be said that USMNT fans tend to treat career MLSers more harshly than they would if a player of the exact same caliber and ability had been playing for a European club.

Zardes has quietly improved parts of his game over the years, and he's become a reliable NT player. He's not a star and never will be, but it's not A Problem if he starts in WCQ, even if it's also true that it's a part of the team that ideally we would improve.

We'll see. We have irons in the fire, but nobody has scored consistently at a level higher than MLS. Sargent couldn't put up much of a goalscoring total in the Bundesliga, in part hampered by being on a bad team. Dike scored in the Championship and Pefok has scored in Ligue 2 and in Switzerland. I'm high on Pepi...if he stays in the program.
 

Section30

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I was impressed with Zardes's effort while defending. He worked his ass off the whole game. He cleared several dangerous crosses as well as bird dogging the top of the box.
 

Zososoxfan

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To be clear, I also thought Zardes played very well in the tourney and I'm not sure about his club form, but he's been consistently good for the USMNT in the matches I've seen--at least when the whole team hasn't been a shitshow. His physical ability and fitness are beyond question and likely a big reason why I think he's been so good in the international game.

My question was more based on the fact that 1) finishing doesn't seem to be his strength, 2) he's been on the USMNT for a long time, 3) there's so many good young players breaking through in the past few years, and 4) I know there's lots of good players who weren't on the GC squad.

I'll also add that I really liked what I saw out of Hoppe. Creating danger in the final third consistently and showed some nice skill.
 

rguilmar

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To be clear, I also thought Zardes played very well in the tourney and I'm not sure about his club form, but he's been consistently good for the USMNT in the matches I've seen--at least when the whole team hasn't been a shitshow. His physical ability and fitness are beyond question and likely a big reason why I think he's been so good in the international game.

My question was more based on the fact that 1) finishing doesn't seem to be his strength, 2) he's been on the USMNT for a long time, 3) there's so many good young players breaking through in the past few years, and 4) I know there's lots of good players who weren't on the GC squad.

I'll also add that I really liked what I saw out of Hoppe. Creating danger in the final third consistently and showed some nice skill.
Agree with this. The thing with Zardes is you basically know what you're gonna get, and Gregg likes himself some reliability. There will be hustle, ok touch and ok passing, and the chance at a random "defenders clears it off his face" goal. Berhalter has shown that he will stick with his players for a while, and the rise of Acosta will be an example of that working out (Acosta was a player I personally did not want to see any more of, especially after the first two games of the GC, and he def earned the right to back up Adams).

That being said, GGG has shown a willingness to move on from players, albeit slower than some, including myself, would like. I think Yueill being a recent example (I also wonder if Lletget might be next). I can see WCQ beginning with Zardes in the 23 and possibly even starting, then being phased out over time as other options emerge or find form. I said this in another thread, but I think that teams will be allowed to swap players in and out of their 23 between qualifiers, so having a bunch of options will be a good thing. With three games basically in a week, something like Player A starting games 1 and 3, Player B as sub in game 1 and starting game 2, and Player C subbing in games 2 and 3 would make sense. Would anyone at this point complain if Zardes was one of those 3?
 

Titans Bastard

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Agree with this. The thing with Zardes is you basically know what you're gonna get, and Gregg likes himself some reliability. There will be hustle, ok touch and ok passing, and the chance at a random "defenders clears it off his face" goal. Berhalter has shown that he will stick with his players for a while, and the rise of Acosta will be an example of that working out (Acosta was a player I personally did not want to see any more of, especially after the first two games of the GC, and he def earned the right to back up Adams).
And good runs!

He's one of those guys who both does dirty work and always puts himself into a position to succeed. He just doesn't succeed as much as others might because his touch isn't that great, but he might get into position more than others. Players of this profile of strengths and weaknesses always drive people crazy. I have actually been impressed with his hold-up play as of late, which has improved, and will allow him to hold off younger opposition a smidge longer.

Arriola is beset by similar issues, where the end product is simply lacking, but most of the rest of his game is pretty positive.

That being said, GGG has shown a willingness to move on from players, albeit slower than some, including myself, would like. I think Yueill being a recent example (I also wonder if Lletget might be next). I can see WCQ beginning with Zardes in the 23 and possibly even starting, then being phased out over time as other options emerge or find form. I said this in another thread, but I think that teams will be allowed to swap players in and out of their 23 between qualifiers, so having a bunch of options will be a good thing. With three games basically in a week, something like Player A starting games 1 and 3, Player B as sub in game 1 and starting game 2, and Player C subbing in games 2 and 3 would make sense. Would anyone at this point complain if Zardes was one of those 3?
I think Lletget could slip down the depth chart, but I don't expect him to get pushed out entirely. I think about it this way: a WC roster would likely have a core group of six CMs. You've got Adams, McKennie, Musah, Acosta, and Lletget right now. I'm not sure who is sixth. Roldan? Busio? Williamson? De la Torre? If healthy, give me some Paxton Pomykal over all of those guys. But you need two of them to surpass Lletget, and I don't see it yet.
 

Zososoxfan

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And good runs!

He's one of those guys who both does dirty work and always puts himself into a position to succeed. He just doesn't succeed as much as others might because his touch isn't that great, but he might get into position more than others. Players of this profile of strengths and weaknesses always drive people crazy. I have actually been impressed with his hold-up play as of late, which has improved, and will allow him to hold off younger opposition a smidge longer.

Arriola is beset by similar issues, where the end product is simply lacking, but most of the rest of his game is pretty positive.



I think Lletget could slip down the depth chart, but I don't expect him to get pushed out entirely. I think about it this way: a WC roster would likely have a core group of six CMs. You've got Adams, McKennie, Musah, Acosta, and Lletget right now. I'm not sure who is sixth. Roldan? Busio? Williamson? De la Torre? If healthy, give me some Paxton Pomykal over all of those guys. But you need two of them to surpass Lletget, and I don't see it yet.
Poor man's Cavani, Morata, hundreds of other players.

That's glib, but the point is striker is a hard position. And getting into good position and pressing are terrific skills for the international game.
 

rguilmar

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I think Lletget could slip down the depth chart, but I don't expect him to get pushed out entirely. I think about it this way: a WC roster would likely have a core group of six CMs. You've got Adams, McKennie, Musah, Acosta, and Lletget right now. I'm not sure who is sixth. Roldan? Busio? Williamson? De la Torre? If healthy, give me some Paxton Pomykal over all of those guys. But you need two of them to surpass Lletget, and I don't see it yet.
I don't think he is out yet, or even in the near term future. If I was a betting man, I would wager Lletget starts the first WCQ. I definitely do not think Roldan has (or will ever) pass him but others will. I liked Lletget and had him in my starting XI until this summer. But he has lost a little bit and I think others will surpass him. Off the top of my head and in no particular order:
Lucas de la Torre
Eryk Williamson
Caden Clark
Paxton Pomykal
Tanner Tesserman
Julian Green

A year ago, Brendan Aaronson had I think one cap and had just moved to Austria. Now I think he's in most people's 23. Young players can rise quickly, and there are ton of them out there. I don't think guys like Busio or Nyeman will pass Lletget on the depth chart this cycle, but you never know. Beyind that, based on what I've read Dortmund apparently have shifted Reyna towards the middle of the field and away from a winger, so that is something else to keep an eye on. Just watching the highlights against Bologna he was definitely more central. The other reason I see Lletget on the way out at some point is the formation. The bulk of the roster, especially those with more defensive responsibilities, play in some form of a 3 CB formation, and I think GGG is open to using a similar formation. The soccer world is moving that direction mostly in response to the 4-3-3 that dominated the game for a while. More CB means fewer CM. Between other players rising up the chart and other changes, I do think Lletget will be on the outside looking in at some point before WC2022*

*Assuming the US qualifies
 

Titans Bastard

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The FIFA rankings were updated for the first time since May and the USMNT just moved from #20 to #10. Bodes well for WC seeding at the 2022 WC (I'm not going to caveat this with "if we qualify").

Being in the top 10 makes it that much easier for USMNT backups to qualify for a UK work permit. But honestly, the new system works out more favorably for MLS players regardless, even being categorized as a lowly Band 4 league.

6 pts for just being in MLS (Band 4 league)
5-6 pts for being a regular starter (depending on whether you get 80%+ minutes or 90%+ minutes)
potentially a few more points if you are on a good team

But now being a FIFA top ten team, you get 8 pts just for playing once for the USMNT. So basically one cap + being in MLS + playing >40% of possible minutes in MLS gives you an automatic work permit.
 
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tmracht

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The FIFA rankings were updated for the first time since May and the USMNT just moved from #20 to #10. Bodes well for WC seeding at the 2022 WC (I'm not going to caveat this with "if we qualify").

Being in the top 10 makes it that much easier for USMNT backups to qualify for a UK work permit. But honestly, the new system works out more favorably for MLS players regardless, even being categorized as a lowly Band 4 league.

6 pts for just being in MLS (Band 4 league)
5-6 pts for being a regular starter (depending on whether you get 80%+ minutes or 90%+ minutes)
potentially a few more points if you are on a good team

But now being a FIFA top ten team, you get 8 pts just for playing once for the USMNT. So basically one cap + being in MLS + playing >40% of possible minutes in MLS gives you an automatic work permit.
Yeah that's a huge development. Just keep winning games.
 

Titans Bastard

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Reports from Mexico today claim that Julian Araujo is filing a one-time switch to El Tri.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Reports from Mexico today claim that Julian Araujo is filing a one-time switch to El Tri.
I don’t like the trend, but I have yet to be devastated about any of the specific players. Pepi is the acid test for me, as that’s a position the senior team looks thin at. RB is deep and getting deeper.

I do like Araujo though.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Dest/Musah are so far positive in the ledger it’s hard to be upset at these guys swinging the other way.

Can’t imagine it’s easy, if your parents are Mexican immigrants, and the most popular team in the US is Mexico, and anytime you play in the US against Mexico half the stadium is filled with rabid Mexican fans.

Add in that, very suddenly, the USMNT pool is deeper than it’s ever been. Much less need to hang our hats on any single player now that a real player development machine is cooking.
 

Titans Bastard

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Yeah. It's a bummer to lose players, but I'm not sure if there is all that much that can be done in this scenario. Araujo and Ochoa have both been afforded lots of opportunities — for example, both played up a cycle with the U20s, and then played up a cycle again with the U23s, and have been invited to important USMNT events as well.

Worth noting that Ochoa and Araujo share an agent. Also, Araujo apparently doesn't speak good Spanish, which means that one isn't over until the fat lady sings. Always hard to tell what is an agent-driven leverage play and what is genuine.
 

tmracht

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Ochoa posted on players tribune where he said not playing for USMNT in the friendly in Salt Lake soured him.

When we met Costa Rica after the tournament in a friendly, I was thinking, They have to give me this game.

We were playing where I play home games with Real Salt Lake, in front of my own fans.

At one point, the crowd was chanting for me to come on.

The game was easy for us, too. One half. Even just 15 minutes.

But it never happened.

I’m not gonna lie about it: I was frustrated. I was angry. I felt like they didn’t really believe in me. So when Mexico invited me to a training camp before the Gold Cup, I felt like I had been given the green light to say yes. Tata Martino had coached Barcelona and Argentina — he had been working with the best goalkeepers in the world — and now he was saying that he believed in my potential. So I went just to train and check things out.


https://www.theplayerstribune.com/posts/david-ochoa-mexico-national-team-soccer
 

cromulence

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Yeah, and it's ridiculous - that had to be Horvath's game after what he did in the Nations League Final. I don't believe for a second that he would've chosen to play for the US if he'd gotten that game anyway.
 

tmracht

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Yeah, and it's ridiculous - that had to be Horvath's game after what he did in the Nations League Final. I don't believe for a second that he would've chosen to play for the US if he'd gotten that game anyway.
Yeah I'm guessing seeing how many young options were in front of him compared to the ancient El Tri keeper situation was a bigger influence.
 

Titans Bastard

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Yeah, and it's ridiculous - that had to be Horvath's game after what he did in the Nations League Final. I don't believe for a second that he would've chosen to play for the US if he'd gotten that game anyway.
100% agree. It has the feel of something that he and his agent have seized upon to use a pretext so that Ochoa can switch away from the USMNT to Mexico and feel righteous about it. Or else he's just feeling rather entitled: Ochoa had started a grand total of six games for RSL prior to that international window, and the decision to not play him would have been 0.0000% controversial if he were not a dual national.

If it's really true that not playing in one friendly despite being given lots of opportunities in recent years is enough to jump ship, then either he never really wanted to be there or he's making an opportunistic decision in search of more playing time and wants to save face.
 

McBride11

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Ochoa is still young. But between Horvath, Steffen, and the meteoric rise of Turner, Ochoa doesn't have much of path forward in the near future.
His namesake on El Tri is late 30s so could be national starter within a few years. Plus Mexico doesn't have to reprint kits then.

edit - and somehow the pool appears deep, so players may realize USMNT isn't quite the slam dunk it used to be. Ochoa just became the starter in RLS? Honestly not sure if they are splitting with last years starter, but he falls behind 2 Euro goalies and the likely best goalie in MLS
 
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Titans Bastard

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Both Zardes and Arriola went off injured in MLS play last night, but there's no word on their status.

A Zardes injury would be more relevant than Arriola, but with a lot of travel and only two rest days between games, we will be reaching fairly far down the depth chart at times during these three-game WCQ windows.

Musah is questionable, or perhaps even doubtful, for the WCQ window since he's only just starting to return to training after an injury.
 

tmracht

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Yeah the hamstring injury for Zardes is a little worrisome. Those are tough to overcome.