USMNT: Soccer's Coming Home

InstaFace

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I would agree that he has shown growth in his player-selection choices, and that by the end of the cycle very few people could argue with his choices (and of those, usually only the peripheral ones). And nobody has questioned his recruiting and culture-building, which have been roundly praised by everyone who's paying attention. Those inclined to critique everything about US soccer generally acknowledge that and then move right along and pretend it has no value or weight, but I think we all know it does have a lot of value and weight, and Dest and Musah are merely the most obvious examples of that. There's plenty of meaningful risk in going with someone else, particularly if that other person lacks the american cultural awareness to perpetuate that culture and have success at recruiting.

Where the bigger worries are is around Berhalter's tactical planning abilities. When playing some talent-level peers like Canada, we routinely got out-tactic'd. We did impose our will on Mexico, but that generally said more about Mexico's player pool than about Berhalter vs Tata. Outside of CONCACAF, we got run off the field by Japan and looked unthreatening against Saudi Arabia. We kicked Morocco's ass (and it turns out theirs is an impressive one!), but Uruguay had no problem looking threatening against us and largely neutralizing our attack (though you can argue we are not talent-peers with Uruguay). 18 months ago, we took a mostly-A-team to Switzerland (a talent peer, I think) and honestly it presaged our results against UEFA teams since then: we controlled the midfield, our press gave them problems, but they were ultimately able to create a few opportunities and convert them at a high rate. In the WC group stage, we definitely played our style and had success with it, but failed to adjust to Wales' halftime adjustments (ultimately costing us through Kieffer Moore), and then of course LVG game-planned rings around Gregg.

And then the other critique you often hear is that he's way too slow to make substitutions, often riding 10-20 minutes past when he should have made subs. A hallmark of (say) Playoff Tito and other good tournament managers across all sports is the willingness to be ruthless and make a sub too early rather than too late. Berhalter has been known to be slow with subs since his Columbus days, if I'm not mistaken, and everyone saw his team run out of gas in all 4 games, but especially vs England and Iran. You can say part of that is down to the player pool, but we were protecting a late lead in two of those games, and surely better legs are preferable in defense over a more skilled player who's gassed. This is probably a lot more learn-able than becoming a better tactician, but someone needs to insist that he learn it. Who's gonna do that? You, Lieutenant Weinberg?

I think evaluating a decision to keep Berhalter needs to fairly evaluate the plausible alternatives on all of those fronts before you can draw any firm conclusions. Pellegrino Matarazzo has never coached a national team, even a youth one; are we going to bet the farm that he'll figure it out and be better than Berhalter quickly enough to matter? Hugo Perez has never coached club at a high level and his defensive tactics for El Salvador, while impressive, may not be what our team needs to go to the next level. Most other plausible candidates come with a lot of cultural risk, and while you'd probably roll the dice if it got you Mauricio Pochettino, would you do so for your average sacked EPL manager who's never worked with a national team? USMNT Twitter of course thinks it's a slam dunk and that we'd get an upgrade by replacing Berhalter with a potted plant, but if we're going to actually consider the question, we need to start by acknowledging that all alternatives come with risks and drawbacks, and be willing to name those factors and weigh them.
 

Titans Bastard

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Is it crazy to imagine a mutually beneficial extension through January camp and the March Nations League games? The pool of candidates and the array of managerial openings is generally more attractive in the summer.
 

Titans Bastard

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Miami's recently signed academy midfielder Benjamin Cremaschi '05 has been called up to Argentina U20 (managed by Javier Mascherano, no less).

We're starting to get some competition from heavyweights for youth national team players. Recently, Maximo Carrizo '07 was called up to Argentina U17, Christian McFarlane '07 was called up to England U16, and Bento Estrela '06 was called up to Portugal U17.

We'll see where they all land eventually. Most of these guys are highly rated. Carrizo's dad is a total headcase on Twitter.
 

ddeveau

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Your entire post was solid and well thought out, but I especially want to thank you for
Who's gonna do that? You, Lieutenant Weinberg?
Besides the laugh, it's nice when my near compulsive re-watching of movies pays dividends.
 

dirtynine

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If one grants that Berhalter has been uniquely good at building the team into a cohesive unit with chemistry - and particularly, a situation that talented dual nationals want to be a part of - could that potentially outweigh his tactical shortcomings? He could improve on (or get help with) the latter, but perhaps nobody would be better at maintaining the former. Considering the players he integrated that drastically improved the side during this cycle, I’m tempted to think that that skill set is enough to keep him around.

(And hey, if he sticks around and keeps building the culture and recruiting, but then gets fired in 2025 and we bring in a tactical specialist, the team has already benefited from the advantage of keeping him until then.)
 

rguilmar

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GGGs history is that of teams who cannot create chances. His reliance on his system over player pool was exposed throughout qualifying and the World Cup. His 4-3-3 is outdated and his reluctance to experiment beyond minor adjustments prior to the WC hurt the team in the end. Seriously, we are trying Gio at the false 9 in the second half of the round of 16? LVG even cited the failure of the US to adjust to what the Netherlands were doing as a reason for the result in the knockout stage. Honestly what the Dutch were doing, attacking the US flanks, was not a surprise. Both fullbacks excel at going forward and at least one CB lacked pace. Obviously the Dutch would expose that. The scoring chances for the US in that game- Pulisic, Ream (I think), Haji’s dribble around the keeper, the goal- did not result from our attacking system but Dutch errors or random Soccer happenstance.

Someone previously posted the affiliations of the 1990 team that qualified for the World Cup. That was a 24 team tournament which took only 2 CONCACAF teams if memory serves correctly. This US team would not have qualified in 1990 based on results, and I think we can agree that this version is significantly more talented (apologies to Paul Caligiuri and his amazing hair).

Credit where credit is due. He got some great dual nationals to commit to the US (though both Musah and Dest will acknowledge the impact of US experience predating Gregg). He built a strong team culture. He did phase players out of the pool. Some of his tweaks made a difference, like the move to a hybrid 4-4-2 against England. But from start to finish this team delivered less than the sum of their parts. Results over the summer of 2020 overshadowed the quality of play (or lack thereof) and bought Gregg some runway. This team has underperformed and he must bear some responsibility for it.

But his lack of flexibility was the undoing of this team and nothing in his history indicates that will change going forward. Just hire the best manager going forward. It’s not GGG or Cherundolo or Marsch. Plenty of others will be interested. I don’t care on which side of an invisible line they were born on, what their primary language is, or how they feel about Chicago (a dumb rule btw). Just hire someone with the international pedigree. Please and thank you.
 

InstaFace

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Someone previously posted the affiliations of the 1990 team that qualified for the World Cup. That was a 24 team tournament which took only 2 CONCACAF teams if memory serves correctly. This US team would not have qualified in 1990 based on results, and I think we can agree that this version is significantly more talented (apologies to Paul Caligiuri and his amazing hair).
We wouldn't have qualified in 1990, either, but for Mexico being suspended from that world cup qualifying cycle.

It's a poor line of argument. Here's our finishing position in the hex, 1998-present: 2nd, 3rd, 1st, 1st, 1st, 5th, 3rd. In which of those qualifying finishes did we have our best World Cup performance? In which did we get skunked? Luckily, we have a whole lot of other indicators to rely on about the quality of our team relative to any of those eras.

I feel pretty good with the idea that if today's USMNT had to play 1990 qualifying (minus Mexico), we'd have found a way to do at least as well. Yeah, the 1990 team got away wins 0-1 at Trinidad and El Salvador, and we can think of recent times when we were unable to do likewise, but I think the odds would favor us pretty considerably.
 

rguilmar

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We wouldn't have qualified in 1990, either, but for Mexico being suspended from that world cup qualifying cycle.

It's a poor line of argument. Here's our finishing position in the hex, 1998-present: 2nd, 3rd, 1st, 1st, 1st, 5th, 3rd. In which of those qualifying finishes did we have our best World Cup performance? In which did we get skunked? Luckily, we have a whole lot of other indicators to rely on about the quality of our team relative to any of those eras.

I feel pretty good with the idea that if today's USMNT had to play 1990 qualifying (minus Mexico), we'd have found a way to do at least as well. Yeah, the 1990 team got away wins 0-1 at Trinidad and El Salvador, and we can think of recent times when we were unable to do likewise, but I think the odds would favor us pretty considerably.
I mean, I wouldn’t use World Cup performances as an indicator either. There is too much variance in that tournament- lucky or unlucky draws, player and team form, random soccer luck- that judging a manager based on one World Cup seems extreme. Was the 2002 team really that much better than 2006? Qualification has less variance, at least in CONCACAF (given it’s no CONMEBOL) because you’re playing much the same teams, there are many more games, and players will go in and out form throughout. I’ll concede to your overall point, though, that it’s not a great way to measure a manager.

GGGs teams have been poor at creating chances and finishing going back to his days managing in Sweden. That has been consistently evident throughout his tenure as USMNT. Sure, he’s improved his tactics a bit, but have we really seen anything in his history, both for the USMNT and beforehand, that tells us that he’s up to the task of taking this team to the next level? I’d prefer moving on to someone who has a proven track record, preferably at the international level.
 

InstaFace

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I just can't lay the finishing at the proverbial feet of the manager. Some things are just down to the talent pool of the team and what level they're able to perform at for their clubs.

Creating chances, and in particular adjusting to the tactical changes or wrinkles thrown at him by opposing managers - that's all fair to criticize. But the fact that Sargent or Ferreira sometimes have two left feet, at the one position on the field where you need to have an uncanny ability to anticipate, subtly misdirect an opponent and react faster than anyone else... like I don't think Pep Guardiola is going to fix that, much less anyone we might hire.
 

SocrManiac

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Creating chances, and in particular adjusting to the tactical changes or wrinkles thrown at him by opposing managers - that's all fair to criticize. But the fact that Sargent or Ferreira sometimes have two left feet, at the one position on the field where you need to have an uncanny ability to anticipate, subtly misdirect an opponent and react faster than anyone else... like I don't think Pep Guardiola is going to fix that, much less anyone we might hire.
Pep is, weirdly, a shockingly good comp. He didn’t have a finisher, either. He can, of course, go out and buy Haaland to solve the problem long-term. Before that, though, he DID find ways of getting his team goals. He didn’t maintain a system that required an absolute god in the box. Maybe there was no 4D chess solution to getting the ball in the net with this mix of personnel, but asking Sargent to be a guy he’s not seemed destined for failure.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Pep is, weirdly, a shockingly good comp. He didn’t have a finisher, either. He can, of course, go out and buy Haaland to solve the problem long-term. Before that, though, he DID find ways of getting his team goals.
I mean, you can say this and it's often true, but how many of his Man City seasons started with Pep trying to sideline Aguero for Jesus and ended with Aguero scoring 15 - 25 goals
 

SocrManiac

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I mean, you can say this and it's often true, but how many of his Man City seasons started with Pep trying to sideline Aguero for Jesus and ended with Aguero scoring 15 - 25 goals
I’m not sure I understand. Aguero is that guy. Give him 10 chances and he’ll score 14 goals. Jesus should have been that target but didn’t work out.

Last year, before Haaland, they were still scoring (though not at this rate) with no clear cut favorite up front. @teddykgb is better to answer this than I am.
 

InstaFace

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Is it crazy to imagine a mutually beneficial extension through January camp and the March Nations League games? The pool of candidates and the array of managerial openings is generally more attractive in the summer.
I would sign up for that. Give Gregg a few games to show improvement or else get tossed aside like the proverbial Daniel Lovitz.

Bit like going month-to-month on your rent after your lease expires.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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I’m not sure I understand. Aguero is that guy. Give him 10 chances and he’ll score 14 goals. Jesus should have been that target but didn’t work out.

Last year, before Haaland, they were still scoring (though not at this rate) with no clear cut favorite up front. @teddykgb is better to answer this than I am.
Ah, didn't realize you were talking about last season specifically. Over Pep's career I think the "he just wants 11 midfielders" talk is somewhat overrated, Haaland aside he's had Aguero, Lewandowski and plenty of other capital S Strikers to help cap off his attacking. Yeah, last season he was just able to get goals from everywhere.
 

SocrManiac

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Ah, didn't realize you were talking about last season specifically. Over Pep's career I think the "he just wants 11 midfielders" talk is somewhat overrated, Haaland aside he's had Aguero, Lewandowski and plenty of other capital S Strikers to help cap off his attacking. Yeah, last season he was just able to get goals from everywhere.
Apologies. My failure to communicate.

Succinctly, my attempted point was that last year, when Pep didn't have a reliable CF, he didn't keep playing a system that needed one. Gregg didn't have a reliable CF and played a system that required one.

It's murky because a club team has a helluva lot more time to figure it out than a national side. Should Gregg have been planning for this longer term as it became apparent that he didn't know where goals were going to come from?
 

teddykgb

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Pep builds a system which generates chances. Last year City comically was woeful at finishing chances but Pep would never tolerate playing like Berhalter where chances just don’t happen. I agree with Socr that last years City is an example of one of the best managers in the world figuring out how to cope without a striker although that’s made a hell of a lot easier by having options like Foden and KDB in the squad

Pep would play a higher line and bench probably Musah or McKennie in favor of a more attacking CM. Theyd play positional so they wouldn’t run nearly as much and Pep would churn through winger options until he found two who could attack wide areas, cut inside, and be smart enoughto recycle possession
 

Titans Bastard

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Pep would play a higher line and bench probably Musah or McKennie in favor of a more attacking CM. Theyd play positional so they wouldn’t run nearly as much and Pep would churn through winger options until he found two who could attack wide areas, cut inside, and be smart enoughto recycle possession
Who?
 

Cellar-Door

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To me, the thing is.... 2nd terms generally don't go well, 2nd terms for non-tacticians usually worst of the bunch.

Gregg was a solid manager, he did a nice job recruiting dual nationals, and he took advantage of the situation to sweep out the old and bring in the new. He also isn't a very good on-pitch manager, and he finished 3rd in qualifying, he also built a team that consistently couldn't score against any decent opponent, and didn't make any effort to adjust.

This is a team that now needs a tactician to get the most out of the players rather than a recruiter, if the goal is to advance in the knockout rounds.
 

InstaFace

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Apologies. My failure to communicate.

Succinctly, my attempted point was that last year, when Pep didn't have a reliable CF, he didn't keep playing a system that needed one. Gregg didn't have a reliable CF and played a system that required one.

It's murky because a club team has a helluva lot more time to figure it out than a national side. Should Gregg have been planning for this longer term as it became apparent that he didn't know where goals were going to come from?
Really? I'm only a beginner on tactical setups, but my impression is that in Gregg's system, the wingers are assumed to prefer inverting, the fullbacks are for width in attack, and the CF is depended on more for interchange and hold-up play than for chance creation or being a target man. And that all works best in transition / counterpressing rather than in building through possession against a set defense, hence the greatest critique of the system. But I don't think the system assumes a genius striker up front.
 

Titans Bastard

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That’s for American Pep to figure out lol

I suspect he’d want to try out Busio,Pomykal, De La Torre etc
This is where I think the comparison to Man City system starts to shade into overly harsh criticism of GGG. Pep has done a great job as a manager. He's also a guy who has always had Barcelona/Bayern/Man City resources. He has basically never been asked to manage in a situation where his team is overmatched. He has basically never had a situation where he couldn't go out and get a player to fit his system.

I'd love to see what Pep would do in a situation where there were parity of resources. I think he'd do well! But it would look different.

Busio, Pomykal, DLT ain't walking through that door this cycle — we're hand-waving away a serious issue here. I think Pomykal should have gotten a look as a backup 8, but he's not going to be an offensive force that can transform the XI. We could have looked at Williamson and Pomykal, but at the end of the day the depth behind MMA and a top-end attacking CM just isn't there.

What we needed to happen is maybe just one of the following things:

1) Reyna to be healthy. If he were a consistent member of the team, we may have had the chance to have an offensive-minded 4-2-3-1 option with one of Musah or McKennie on the bench. But he was too unhealthy during qualifying and during the WC to try.

2) Musah to develop his game offensively a bit more. We need more of the game to flow through him and his passing. I think he can do it, but he is still so young. He's been tremendous but in the context of the MMA midfield I think we need a bit more from him to score more goals against top teams.

3) A really good #9. For me, Sargent has had a renaissance and solidified himself as our starter. He does a ton of the stuff you want from a CF, but he could be more goal-dangerous.


I'm ambivalent. I'd be happy to move onto a new manager, but I also won't be devastated if Berhalter comes back. At the end of the day, nobody thinks we are a top 8 team, but in the R16 we played pretty well against the Dutch and were undone by some youthful mistakes, possibly aided by the fact that we drove too many starters into the group in the group stage because the dropoff to our depth is too great right now.

If we had been told that we'd get five points and go undefeated in the group and then basically tie the Netherlands on xG in the R16, who wouldn't have taken their chances with that?

Anyway, I hope Gregg gets a nice gig in Europe, does well with it, and opens doors for other managers. But (and this isn't directed at you), I'm awfully tired of the relentless negativity, especially on Twitter when everyone is yelling about tactics without being able to articulate realistic alternatives.
 

teddykgb

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This is where I think the comparison to Man City system starts to shade into overly harsh criticism of GGG. Pep has done a great job as a manager. He's also a guy who has always had Barcelona/Bayern/Man City resources. He has basically never been asked to manage in a situation where his team is overmatched. He has basically never had a situation where he couldn't go out and get a player to fit his system.

I'd love to see what Pep would do in a situation where there were parity of resources. I think he'd do well! But it would look different.

Busio, Pomykal, DLT ain't walking through that door this cycle — we're hand-waving away a serious issue here. I think Pomykal should have gotten a look as a backup 8, but he's not going to be an offensive force that can transform the XI. We could have looked at Williamson and Pomykal, but at the end of the day the depth behind MMA and a top-end attacking CM just isn't there.

What we needed to happen is maybe just one of the following things:

1) Reyna to be healthy. If he were a consistent member of the team, we may have had the chance to have an offensive-minded 4-2-3-1 option with one of Musah or McKennie on the bench. But he was too unhealthy during qualifying and during the WC to try.

2) Musah to develop his game offensively a bit more. We need more of the game to flow through him and his passing. I think he can do it, but he is still so young. He's been tremendous but in the context of the MMA midfield I think we need a bit more from him to score more goals against top teams.

3) A really good #9. For me, Sargent has had a renaissance and solidified himself as our starter. He does a ton of the stuff you want from a CF, but he could be more goal-dangerous.


I'm ambivalent. I'd be happy to move onto a new manager, but I also won't be devastated if Berhalter comes back. At the end of the day, nobody thinks we are a top 8 team, but in the R16 we played pretty well against the Dutch and were undone by some youthful mistakes, possibly aided by the fact that we drove too many starters into the group in the group stage because the dropoff to our depth is too great right now.

If we had been told that we'd get five points and go undefeated in the group and then basically tie the Netherlands on xG in the R16, who wouldn't have taken their chances with that?

Anyway, I hope Gregg gets a nice gig in Europe, does well with it, and opens doors for other managers. But (and this isn't directed at you), I'm awfully tired of the relentless negativity, especially on Twitter when everyone is yelling about tactics without being able to articulate realistic alternatives.
Obviously Pep has had more talent to work with and if the standard is Pep then every international manager will fail.

But if you’ll permit me to pontificate a bit as a City fan I’d like to seat away the idea that Pep has done it because of the teams he has had because I think it’s complete nonsense and is relevant to the USMNT. Remember that prior to Pep, City had Pellegrini and Mancini. Both were very good managers in their own ways but having seen the team transition to Pep ball taught me a lot about football. Most of these things are traditional Cruyff-Ian truisms but to see them put into practice is eye opening and it becomes really difficult to watch a team like the USMNT do it the “hard way”.

Maybe I’m too flippant up there when I say “adopt positional play” but Peps obsession with having a body in all of the key zones of the pitch at all times is a radical departure from what we see in most teams and if Berhalter were preaching it I’d say he was unsuccessful in implementation. When you truly inhabit the pitch in Peps grid you essentially gain immediate control over the pitch and you stop having to do the things we saw Tyler Adams and McKennie et Al doing — making these lung busting end to end runs displaying nearly super Human endurance. It’s impressive to watch but one of those things where if you’re doing it you’ve probably already lost. When you control and occupy the zones you almost always have someone available for a pass and you get all those platitudes into play “the ball is faster than the man” / “let the ball do the work” etc. Then on possession loss you always have someone available to press and that pressing man knows where his pressing supports are and the general structure that must be behind him. It simplifies the risk taking and gives the team the tools to do their specific job while knowing what everyone else is having to do as well. It’s a brilliant system and it makes players better regardless of status. So while you think nobody could play as an 8 in Peps system, I think you’d be surprised by how effective some players who aren’t defensive wizards might look in a really structured positional play setup. Nobody really thought City could get away with David Silva and KDB as 8s and now Bernardo plays there as well and while teams occasionally have success playing long balls over City you almost never see an extremely lightweight City midfield overrun. In the USMNT I think you might even see Gio playing as an 8 in this type of system.

None of this matters because Pep isn’t going to coach the USMNT now or probably ever. But I don’t believe that sticking with Berhalter because the talent isn’t high end is a logical conclusion. Again, most international managers are bad because if they weren’t they wouldn’t be international managers but the USMNT is in need of someone who can get the most out of the talent available. Which necessitates having a system or tactical flexibility that gets somewhere from 3-5 winger/AM types on the pitch (Pulisic, Reyna, Weah, Aaronson, emerging talent) along with 3 very good CM and the absence of a striker. Berhalter only really experimented at all when he threw Reyna on as a CF in a knockout game. We never saw shape variation, never saw different approaches with a limited fullback pool. Every match has been the same shape and approach with different players in the roles and hoping for the best. If the system he played were the best at getting the best talent on the pitch you might overlook it but it plainly wasn’t doing that. I think it would be a huge mistake to just keep doing this again and would lead to the type of stagnation you’d generally fear with another cycle
 

OCST

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I dunno. GGG is Schroedinger's National Team Manager. His side was solid and hard to break down, without which USA was going nowhere. I thought his approach to England was excellent, no one has played England that tough in this tourney. But his side wasn't good enough going forward, wasn't deep enough, wasn't flexible enough.

I'm not overwhelmed with his intangibles. He seems to have the respect of his players and they play for him, but not extraordinarily so.

"Necessary but not sufficient." That's where I keep coming down. GGG provided certain things that were necessary. He did not provide enough of what's needed to get USA beyond a R16 side. Yes, to a certain extent that's a function of the players at his disposal. But only to a certain extent.

He can be good, but not ultimately good enough, for another cycle. That's where I am.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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One thing that seems clearer to me after this tournament is that we can't play a 4-3-3 at that intensity level if we only have 3 quality CMs, at least in this compressed a tournament schedule. People are talking about the MMA midfield like it's carved in stone for the next cycle, but unless they get reinforcements somewhere near their quality level I wonder if we actually just want an MA double pivot with the second M available to keep all three of these players fresh and not have an utterly gassed midfield by minute 65.
 

blueguitar322

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Obviously Pep has had more talent to work with and if the standard is Pep then every international manager will fail.

But if you’ll permit me to pontificate a bit as a City fan I’d like to seat away the idea that Pep has done it because of the teams he has had because I think it’s complete nonsense and is relevant to the USMNT. Remember that prior to Pep, City had Pellegrini and Mancini. Both were very good managers in their own ways but having seen the team transition to Pep ball taught me a lot about football. Most of these things are traditional Cruyff-Ian truisms but to see them put into practice is eye opening and it becomes really difficult to watch a team like the USMNT do it the “hard way”.

Maybe I’m too flippant up there when I say “adopt positional play” but Peps obsession with having a body in all of the key zones of the pitch at all times is a radical departure from what we see in most teams and if Berhalter were preaching it I’d say he was unsuccessful in implementation. When you truly inhabit the pitch in Peps grid you essentially gain immediate control over the pitch and you stop having to do the things we saw Tyler Adams and McKennie et Al doing — making these lung busting end to end runs displaying nearly super Human endurance. It’s impressive to watch but one of those things where if you’re doing it you’ve probably already lost. When you control and occupy the zones you almost always have someone available for a pass and you get all those platitudes into play “the ball is faster than the man” / “let the ball do the work” etc. Then on possession loss you always have someone available to press and that pressing man knows where his pressing supports are and the general structure that must be behind him. It simplifies the risk taking and gives the team the tools to do their specific job while knowing what everyone else is having to do as well. It’s a brilliant system and it makes players better regardless of status. So while you think nobody could play as an 8 in Peps system, I think you’d be surprised by how effective some players who aren’t defensive wizards might look in a really structured positional play setup. Nobody really thought City could get away with David Silva and KDB as 8s and now Bernardo plays there as well and while teams occasionally have success playing long balls over City you almost never see an extremely lightweight City midfield overrun. In the USMNT I think you might even see Gio playing as an 8 in this type of system.

None of this matters because Pep isn’t going to coach the USMNT now or probably ever. But I don’t believe that sticking with Berhalter because the talent isn’t high end is a logical conclusion. Again, most international managers are bad because if they weren’t they wouldn’t be international managers but the USMNT is in need of someone who can get the most out of the talent available. Which necessitates having a system or tactical flexibility that gets somewhere from 3-5 winger/AM types on the pitch (Pulisic, Reyna, Weah, Aaronson, emerging talent) along with 3 very good CM and the absence of a striker. Berhalter only really experimented at all when he threw Reyna on as a CF in a knockout game. We never saw shape variation, never saw different approaches with a limited fullback pool. Every match has been the same shape and approach with different players in the roles and hoping for the best. If the system he played were the best at getting the best talent on the pitch you might overlook it but it plainly wasn’t doing that. I think it would be a huge mistake to just keep doing this again and would lead to the type of stagnation you’d generally fear with another cycle
Awesome post. Here’s my question: do you think it’s really possible to have this type of tactical discipline when teams only have a short time together to train? I mean, the job of a national manager is to integrate players that come from disparate systems. There’s a good reason why national team tactics are typically much staler than club football. Even teams that have the necessary players to razzle-dazzle usually get really conservative as the tournament goes on.

This, as others have pointed out in the past, is why some small nations like the Netherlands are consistently punching above their population’s weight. Everyone there grows up playing in their famous 4-3-3, so when they all come back from their respective clubs, they instinctively know where on the pitch they need to be even if their club team features different tactics.
 

Titans Bastard

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None of this matters because Pep isn’t going to coach the USMNT now or probably ever. But I don’t believe that sticking with Berhalter because the talent isn’t high end is a logical conclusion. Again, most international managers are bad because if they weren’t they wouldn’t be international managers but the USMNT is in need of someone who can get the most out of the talent available. Which necessitates having a system or tactical flexibility that gets somewhere from 3-5 winger/AM types on the pitch (Pulisic, Reyna, Weah, Aaronson, emerging talent) along with 3 very good CM and the absence of a striker. Berhalter only really experimented at all when he threw Reyna on as a CF in a knockout game. We never saw shape variation, never saw different approaches with a limited fullback pool. Every match has been the same shape and approach with different players in the roles and hoping for the best. If the system he played were the best at getting the best talent on the pitch you might overlook it but it plainly wasn’t doing that. I think it would be a huge mistake to just keep doing this again and would lead to the type of stagnation you’d generally fear with another cycle
I'm not saying we need to stick with Berhalter. What I'm trying to say is that Pep is a club coach with more time to work with players, exclusively works with the very best players in the world, and can hand-pick players of certain stylistic profiles on the transfer market. Basically, Pep's methods and experiences are mostly irrelevant as a model to coaching an NT. National teams are a different beast than the champagne and caviar world that he's only ever inhabited.

Whatever the merits and failures of Berhalter as NT manager are, I strongly disagree that he's not getting the best talent on the pitch. The only big talent that's not on the field is Reyna, and that's on his hamstrings, not Berhalter. If anything, part of our offensive struggles are the result of keeping our best talent on the pitch (the MMA midfield).

What different approaches do we want? Thinking about things from a basic shape standpoint:

4-3-3 - Berhalter's choice
4-2-3-1 - don't have a healthy 10
3-5-2 - sacrificing wingers to get a second FW and third CB obviously a bad move
4-4-2 - bench one of MMA for a two-forward duo, plus add defensive responsibilities to the wingers
3-4-3 - trade one of MMA for a CB? Nope

I think there's a good reason why Berhalter stuck with a 4-3-3. I guess you can knock Berhalter for not trying a false 9, but the clearest choice (Reyna) wasn't available for a majority of the cycle. I think that over the next few years, we'll hopefully develop more looks as our talent pool develops in a way that gives us more options. But if you are going to knock Berhalter for slavishly sticking to the 4-3-3, people need to make a case why other shapes would be better. And there's a reason why nobody is getting into the weeds: because doing so would reveal that their argument doesn't hold water.

The bottom line is that I think a decent portion of Berhalter criticism comes from the reality that it's easier to wishcast problems away with a different manager than confront the reality that our player pool, as strong as it has become, has limitations when it comes to competing at the WC knockout round level. It's obviously a lot easier to change the manager than change the player pool, so we have an incentive to believe our problems are really just manager problems. My viewpoint is that when you peel back the onion, a lot of tactical criticism isn't actually grounded in the realities of the choices and tradeoffs that the USMNT manager faces.

Tactically, what bothered me most about Berhalter was his consistently slow hook for obviously tiring starters. I get that there is significant dropoff in quality at some positions (particularly FB and CM), but non-elite backups are still better than totally gassed starters. It also doesn't seem like GGG has been great at making in-game adjustments when needed, even considering depth issues.
 

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As an aside, Pefok is easily the most overrated USMNT pool player right now among the USMNT Twitter hoopleheads, although I'd still take him over Wright at the WC because it would be useful to have a big aerial threat in the box late in games when we are pumping in crosses, and on set pieces. (Haji is tall but not good in the air for his height.) A guy goes on an unsustainable heater in the first month of the Bundesliga and people lose their minds, even after he unsurprisingly fell back to earth.

I'd be interested in a manager who can improve on Berhalter's in-game management, but some of the list of "potential managers" that people are hoping for makes it seem like they are not engaging in good expectation management. Someone recently told me that per the new CBA, the USSF can't pay the USMNT manager more than X% (not sure of exact number) than the USWNT manager's salary. That's going to price out some of the biggest names on people's wish lists, some of which aren't realistic names anyway.

Interesting times ahead. If we move on from Berhalter, I don't see too many interesting candidates from MLS right now, so I'm really curious what sorts of international names will pop up. We haven't had a non-charlatan foreign manager since Bora, and maybe in addition to the primary job of adding something to the team, we'd get a side benefit of The Discourse on Twitter becoming less vitriolic.
 

teddykgb

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You essentially ignored everything I said about Peps methods, but I guess I’d just say that I don’t think the basics of it are impossible for international clubs and we know this because Bielsa did it with Chile and turned them into a serious threat. Obviously Spain plays this way but they have the benefit of most players playing something like it in the clubs. My point isn’t that the US should play peps way, anyway, I was responding to a post about how Pep would deal with not having a striker and I think the point is that the absence of a striker matters in the context of what the other 9 outfield players are doing. Berhalters 4-3-3 lacks the positional discipline to properly and rapidly support the attackers so we are often treated to 3 v 4 or 3 v 5 attacking scenarios and it’s hardly a surprise that seldom turns into a solid scoring chance. Pep would have those players check back and hold possession so that the Cms can join the attacking line and even out the numbers but the US attack is still too simple minded and direct so we have Pulisic try to skin 3 and create magic instead. It’s literally never going to work.

I think the US are hurt by not having both Reyna and Aaronson in the XI. Aaronson was arguably our most in form player coming into the tournament. Given the lack of attacking threat I think the US almost certainly has to play 4 attackers or some type of diamond but 4-3-3 to me requires more trickery in wide areas than we have. It was stout with a very strong midfield but again lacked patience. Every attack was basically an initial push followed by an overlap and a cross from a fullback. That’s a useful attack when it’s varied but it wasn’t really ever threatening in concacaf never mind in WC.

I think the 4231 and 4222 both better fit the available talent than 433 and more than anything I wish we had a manager willing to try these setups
 

Titans Bastard

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You essentially ignored everything I said about Peps methods, but I guess I’d just say that I don’t think the basics of it are impossible for international clubs and we know this because Bielsa did it with Chile and turned them into a serious threat. Obviously Spain plays this way but they have the benefit of most players playing something like it in the clubs. My point isn’t that the US should play peps way, anyway, I was responding to a post about how Pep would deal with not having a striker and I think the point is that the absence of a striker matters in the context of what the other 9 outfield players are doing. Berhalters 4-3-3 lacks the positional discipline to properly and rapidly support the attackers so we are often treated to 3 v 4 or 3 v 5 attacking scenarios and it’s hardly a surprise that seldom turns into a solid scoring chance. Pep would have those players check back and hold possession so that the Cms can join the attacking line and even out the numbers but the US attack is still too simple minded and direct so we have Pulisic try to skin 3 and create magic instead. It’s literally never going to work.

I think the US are hurt by not having both Reyna and Aaronson in the XI. Aaronson was arguably our most in form player coming into the tournament. Given the lack of attacking threat I think the US almost certainly has to play 4 attackers or some type of diamond but 4-3-3 to me requires more trickery in wide areas than we have. It was stout with a very strong midfield but again lacked patience. Every attack was basically an initial push followed by an overlap and a cross from a fullback. That’s a useful attack when it’s varied but it wasn’t really ever threatening in concacaf never mind in WC.
I didn't ignore it; it's international soccer and I think time spent together really matters! A few questions for a Man City observer:

1) NTs only spend time together only a few times a year — is it possible to implement a positional play scheme in such a short time frame? I read what you wrote about pressing triggers and defensive rotations behind the players who are pressing. That seems like something that takes time to learn.

2) McKennie and Musah are pretty good, but they aren't lock-pickers. We don't have a de Bruyne. Is slowing things down so that the CMs can get forward, which will also allow the opposing defense to get set, a worthwhile tradeoff given the USMNT personnel?

I think the 4231 and 4222 both better fit the available talent than 433 and more than anything I wish we had a manager willing to try these setups
Who would have played the 10 in a 4231? Reyna doesn't count because he hasn't been healthy enough.

In a 4222, would you have dropped Musah or McKennie (or Adams, I guess)? Who are your two players up top? (Reyna still doesn't count because he's mostly not been an option.)
 

67YAZ

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Here’s a fun comparison - Morocco’s manger, Walid Regragui. He’s been in charge since August 31. Of this year.

Regragui coaches 4.5 seasons with one Moroccan club before getting dumped mid season. He went a year and a half without a head managerial job until one of Morocco’s top clubs, Wayad, needed a last minute replacement to starts 2021-2022. Regragui led them to a league title and the club’s 3rd CAF champions league trophy.

But Wayad let him go! So he was free when the national team needed someone in a pinch.

(They needed someone because Morocco had hired Vahid Halilhodzic for this cycle. Halilhodzic is notorious for helping get both Japan and Cote d’Ivor qualified for the WC but then getting fired before the tournament actually started. And he did it again with Morocco!)

Aside from being a wild story - is Regragui the greatest quick fix manager in history? - it also tempers my enthusiasm for debating over Gregg. The international game is crazy and so much relies on a handful of matches.
 
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Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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IMO, GGG is getting a bad rap in this discussion.

Pep has literally said "My job is take you up to the final third, your job is to finish it." His teams play great stuff progressing the ball up to the final third, retaining possession in the final third while probing, counter-pressing so that it stays there, etc. All that makes him one of, if not the best, manager in the world. But you still need serious talent to turn final third possession into chances and then those chances into goals. And all his teams have had insanely talented final third players.

In this tournament at least, the US did a fantastic job getting the ball into the final third given their overall level vis-a-vis opponents. What they struggled to do was the thing that is 90% talent and maybe 10% coaching - convert final third possession into actual chances and actual chances into goals.
 

teddykgb

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I guess I disagree that the US did a great job of getting into the final third. That’s why I’m in this discussion about positional play — they arrived in the final third with too few men and were too hasty in attack to create any numerical advantages. Yes in the end talent wins but I think they have been awful at creating actual chances for all of Berhalters time.

I’ll respond more tomorrow but for those who want a really interesting read on positional play especially the new folks watching the WC give this a read

https://www.martiperarnau.com/juego-de-posicion-under-pep-guardiola/
 

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I'll just point out that Berhalter did go to a 4-4-2 against England, at least out-of-possession, and didn't have to sacrifice one of MMA to do it. He simply played McKennie at RM, which happens to be exactly his role for his club. And Pulisic has never been above doing some defensive work, so make him the LM / LW. Now you just need 2 forwards who can cook together, and then you've really got something...
 

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I think the US are hurt by not having both Reyna and Aaronson in the XI. Aaronson was arguably our most in form player coming into the tournament. Given the lack of attacking threat I think the US almost certainly has to play 4 attackers or some type of diamond but 4-3-3 to me requires more trickery in wide areas than we have. It was stout with a very strong midfield but again lacked patience. Every attack was basically an initial push followed by an overlap and a cross from a fullback. That’s a useful attack when it’s varied but it wasn’t really ever threatening in concacaf never mind in WC.
Every time the XI was posted I was like “where is Aaronson?”

Your description of the attack is spot on. Aka the “Everton”
 

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Every time the XI was posted I was like “where is Aaronson?”

Your description of the attack is spot on. Aka the “Everton”
It’s hard to take off Pulisic and Weah though. You could spell one of MMA with Aaronson in the center, but he’s not as effective on either side of the ball that way.

Aaronson is at peak effectiveness when he's playing Red Bull soccer. That's how it was in Philly (whose GM came from Red Bull), at Red Bull Salzburg, and at Leeds (where Marsch has a ton of Red Bull instincts having coached three different Red Bull clubs).
 
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Titans Bastard

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I'll just point out that Berhalter did go to a 4-4-2 against England, at least out-of-possession, and didn't have to sacrifice one of MMA to do it. He simply played McKennie at RM, which happens to be exactly his role for his club. And Pulisic has never been above doing some defensive work, so make him the LM / LW. Now you just need 2 forwards who can cook together, and then you've really got something...
Yeah, GGG has gone to a 4-4-2 defensive shape in the past. The trouble with using this version of this shape in the attack is that shifting McKennie wide can potentially work, especially with an attacking fullback behind him, but ultimately it doesn't achieve the goal of trying to get a fourth real attacker on the field. It also requires you to lose a winger from the lineup (where we are relatively deep) in place of a forward (where we are not).

You could possibly square the circle by using Reyna up top as some kind of a free second forward, but that wasn't really an option this past cycle.

Side note, I do think Ferreira would thrive in a two forward system, but even as a Ferreira Optimist it's hard to design a system that caters to him at the expense of one of our good wingers.

We really need a 10 or two worthwhile forwards to play together to make it worth dropping one of MMA and shifting to a new offensive shape, I think.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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How much of McKennie being a bit out of form from injury affected things? My impression of him has been that he can be dangerous in the box, good in the air, etc. Aside from his chance against England I don't recall seeing him press the issue much. Maybe this speaks to some of what teddy is referencing with a somewhat impatient attack that lacked numbers, but to my eye it looked like he was not the peak McKennie we have seen at times. I haven't seen much of his club play recently so I could be off-base.
 

67YAZ

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Boehm with some good analysis.



The Netherlands implemented a game plan specifically designed to blunt the influence of the “MMA” trio of Weston McKennie (Juventus), Yunus Musah (Valencia) and Tyler Adams (Leeds United), who had been so central to the Yanks’ good work in advancing from Group B.

It worked, with a substantial assist from the heavy legs and mileage those three logged in the first three US matches. Man-marking those center mids, clustering numbers around the USMNT fullbacks and funneling play towards the center backs added up to a tricky tactical puzzle that manager Gregg Berhalter and his team could not solve in time.
On midfield depth:

Depth, then, played a significant role in this team’s undoing. Berhalter built his team around that excellent trio, but did not bring – or, he might argue, simply did not have access to – comparable players who could provide a comparable level of performance in those positions. In retrospect, it was always a gamble to ask them to maintain the same lofty output (both Adams and Musah ran more than eight miles in the Iran match, for example, and nearly as far vs. the Netherlands) across four high-intensity matches in 13 days.
 

Titans Bastard

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Miami's recently signed academy midfielder Benjamin Cremaschi '05 has been called up to Argentina U20 (managed by Javier Mascherano, no less).

We're starting to get some competition from heavyweights for youth national team players. Recently, Maximo Carrizo '07 was called up to Argentina U17, Christian McFarlane '07 was called up to England U16, and Bento Estrela '06 was called up to Portugal U17.

We'll see where they all land eventually. Most of these guys are highly rated. Carrizo's dad is a total headcase on Twitter.
Every World Cup quarterfinalist program wants a piece of those American dual national prospects.

View: https://twitter.com/ChicagoFCUnited/status/1596275239599546373
 

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Sam Stejskal and Paul Tenorio from the Athletic published an article about the Berhalter situation. A few relevant quotations:

International praise:

Even Van Gaal, who has a legendary coaching resume, made sure to praise the U.S. before his Dutch team beat the Americans in their round of 16 clash.

“What I see is a vision,” Van Gaal said. “What I see is a team that is keen to execute that vision, and that is of the utmost importance.”

(A subsequent quote that went viral from Van Gaal’s postgame press conference, in which he said that the U.S. did not adjust against the Netherlands, was taken out of context. He wasn’t saying that the Americans didn’t adjust their tactics during the match, but rather was noting that teams don’t typically shift their entire pregame tactical approach based on opponent in the knockout rounds of the World Cup.)
A source claiming US Soccer leadership is pleased:

One source with knowledge of U.S. Soccer leadership’s thinking, who requested anonymity to speak freely about discussions around Berhalter, said that the federation’s decision-makers were impressed with the coach’s performance in the group stage.
Throwing a bit of doubt on the idea that GGG has universal backing from players:

“I think the hardest thing as a coach is to get everybody going in the same direction,” right back DeAndre Yedlin said. “I think he’s done that very well. He’s gotten everybody bought into the culture, and that’s the most important thing.”

That said, it would have been unexpected for anyone on the team to do anything but speak positively about the coach in such a public setting. Discussions with people close to the players this week revealed a more varied reality. Those sources said some players would support Berhalter coming back as head coach, some had issues with him as manager, and others feel fairly neutral about him. None argued against the idea that the team was committed to his on-field vision.
Some questions about whether players would get sick of him over a second cycle, although this appears to be the opinion of the authors and not based on a player source. In any case, I agree that it is a relevant consideration:

The bigger question is whether his management style will be able to hold up for another three-and-a-half years.

Berhalter is exacting in his nature. He is a process-led coach who leans heavily on data and structure. Some critics looked at that as one of his more negative traits, especially in terms of on-field roles for players who might be limited by such a strict system of play. It’s worth noting that there were far fewer limitations in regards to the system by the end of this cycle than there were in the beginning. Berhalter adapted to the group. Still, he is a relatively hands-on coach and it’s easy to imagine that another three-and-a-half years could begin to grind on players.
Questions about growing challenges with ego management and with communication, although without knowing the identity of the source it's hard to determine the extent to which this is a real issue and the extent to which it is axe-grinding or inevitable conflict that happens in a competitive locker room.

One source close to multiple players on the U.S.’s World Cup team said Berhalter would face a major challenge in continuing to command respect from a group that is mostly playing in Europe. Without much experience as a coach in Europe — Berhalter spent 15 years as a player in Holland, Germany and England and one-and-a-half as a manager in Sweden — there may be some challenges with big personalities who play under experienced managers in all of the big five European leagues. Berhalter has dealt with this dynamic well so far, the source said, but it could become a bigger issue as those players potentially grow into more prominent roles in their respective clubs.

Another source close to others in the squad said that some players felt Berhalter’s messaging about why he called some players and excluded others was inconsistent over the course of the cycle.
Some positive feedback on man-management.

Others praised Berhalter for how he managed the group, particularly in Qatar. Two different sources close to the team said that he gave players plenty of freedom to be themselves inside and outside of the team setting, letting them show their personalities in the locker room and giving them lots of space and time to relax and be with their families away from the field. Those sorts of things, the sources said, don’t go unnoticed in a group that has had a hugely demanding schedule for the last 18-plus months.
@teddykgb!!! Alas, no word on whether Pep has shown interest in US Soccer. :D The article lists other big names but it sounds like just a list of names that are available and not a list that has had any contact.

Multiple sources said U.S. Soccer has in recent years shown interest in Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola, who spent a year living in the U.S. between coaching Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
One source's best guess....

At least one person close to Berhalter believes the coach will stay on as U.S. manager if he is offered the right deal. Another pointed out that it’s not just soccer that will factor into the decision. Berhalter’s family is happy in Chicago, where the U.S. federation is based, and a move to another job would uproot them.
 

Mr. Wednesday

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Questions about growing challenges with ego management and with communication, although without knowing the identity of the source it's hard to determine the extent to which this is a real issue and the extent to which it is axe-grinding or inevitable conflict that happens in a competitive locker room.
That read like the typical Eurosnob axe-grinding that basically assumes that the only way a coach can be respected by "sophisticated" players is to have a top-league pedigree. I guess some players can be that shallow, but I don't think the top-league coaches have a monopoly on being able to set up a team.
 

Cellar-Door

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Yeah to me this is a great reason not to bring Berhalter back:
View: https://twitter.com/MenInBlazers/status/1602049744133660673


That stuff needs to be kept in-house by the manager. Purposefully going out of your way to drag it into a interview so people can speculate who it is (Reyna likely) in order to deflect any criticism is what a weak, selfish and untrustworthy manager does. Nobody in that lockerroom can trust him anymore, and that alone should seal his fate. For a guy whose claim to the position is almost all based on "man management" rather than tactical accumen that's a killer.
 

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Well, there's an update on the Gio Reyna situation tonight.

Men In Blazers tweeted this excerpt from a newsletter from an organizer called Charterworks that published some leadership tips from Berhalter. The player is question is Reyna.

View: https://twitter.com/MenInBlazers/status/1602049744133660673


Not long after, Tenorio/Stejskal broke this story for the Athletic.

View: https://twitter.com/PaulTenorio/status/1602074325057785860


The drama surrounding Reyna crescendoed during the Wales game, when Reyna threw his shin guards after not being subbed in, and then into a post-Wales training session in which Reyna’s lack of effort continued again. It prompted several veteran players to speak with Reyna, including DeAndre Yedlin and Aaron Long, who pulled him aside and urged him to show more effort moving forward.

The sources said that the situation became untenable and that it had to be addressed multiple times, including with the coaching staff, until, finally, Reyna stood up before a video session and apologized to his teammates for his initial lack of intensity and said he understood he was part of a collective group. After the apology, several players on the team spoke up to hold Reyna accountable for his actions. Sources said players believed the group and its culture would be able to overcome the issues after Reyna’s apology, and that the 20-year-old turned a corner in regards to his effort in training. Within the team, the issues with Reyna ended there, the sources said.
A reporter based in Germany chimes in:

View: https://twitter.com/StefanBuczko/status/1602088597372473344


I agree with this take:

View: https://twitter.com/MattDoyle76/status/1602091389994602497
 

Titans Bastard

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Yeah to me this is a great reason not to bring Berhalter back:
View: https://twitter.com/MenInBlazers/status/1602049744133660673


That stuff needs to be kept in-house by the manager. Purposefully going out of your way to drag it into a interview so people can speculate who it is (Reyna likely) in order to deflect any criticism is what a weak, selfish and untrustworthy manager does. Nobody in that lockerroom can trust him anymore, and that alone should seal his fate. For a guy whose claim to the position is almost all based on "man management" rather than tactical accumen that's a killer.
We don't actually know if the bolded is true. It really depends on players' attitudes toward Reyna's behavior and Berhalter's handling of it up to this point, which are all unknowns. If veteran players on the team were also actively intervening with Reyna, I wouldn't be so sure. It's possible the group understands that Reyna needs a wake-up call that can't be provided behind the cloak of locker room secrecy.

EDIT: I do think this situation going public increases the likelihood that Berhalter has decided to pursue a club job in Europe
 

Cellar-Door

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We don't actually know if the bolded is true. It really depends on players' attitudes toward Reyna's behavior and Berhalter's handling of it up to this point, which are all unknowns. If veteran players on the team were also actively intervening with Reyna, I wouldn't be so sure. It's possible the group understands that Reyna needs a wake-up call that can't be provided behind the cloak of locker room secrecy.
Maybe, but in that case I think it has to be done in something like saying "Reyna isn't playing for disciplinary reasons", the way he handled it during the cup was bad, but throwing out a no-names story to the press is bad no matter what. It's not even a question of him not being right about Reyna, it's that it's a cowardly/snake way of handling it and tells the players who he is, and that if they are ever on his bad side he'll do the same to them. Add it to him lying about Reyna's fitness after Wales, the thing with Haji Wright earlier... honestly I would guess that there are multiple camps in the player pool now and more that don't trust him than do. I think it's telling that the only players mentioned by name in the leak story are Yedlin and Long, two washed MLS guys who are firmly Gregg Favorites who probably shouldn't even have been in Qatar. I assume the sources on that were them and Gregg assistants. It also fits with the rumors that there were concerns about how the Euro based players saw Gregg.
 

Titans Bastard

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Maybe, but in that case I think it has to be done in something like saying "Reyna isn't playing for disciplinary reasons", the way he handled it during the cup was bad, but throwing out a no-names story to the press is bad no matter what. It's not even a question of him not being right about Reyna, it's that it's a cowardly/snake way of handling it and tells the players who he is, and that if they are ever on his bad side he'll do the same to them. Add it to him lying about Reyna's fitness after Wales, the thing with Haji Wright earlier... honestly I would guess that there are multiple camps in the player pool now and more that don't trust him than do. I think it's telling that the only players mentioned by name in the leak story are Yedlin and Long, two washed MLS guys who are firmly Gregg Favorites who probably shouldn't even have been in Qatar. I assume the sources on that were them and Gregg assistants. It also fits with the rumors that there were concerns about how the Euro based players saw Gregg.
I've heard that Tyler Adams got into it with Gio.

Also this just broke and changes things in significant ways if true:

View: https://twitter.com/PaulTenorio/status/1602108463382945794
 

InstaFace

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The Athletic story was coming out regardless of whether Berhalter's confirmatory comments were released.or not. I don't think it changes a thing whether the CharterWorks comments were off the record or not.
 

Cellar-Door

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I've heard that Tyler Adams got into it with Gio.

Also this just broke and changes things in significant ways if true:

View: https://twitter.com/PaulTenorio/status/1602108463382945794
Oh I think Gio was probably being a prick and a lot of players got on him, I'm talking about story sourcing.
Yeah, it's better than the Berhalter thing was off the record, though he should have known it would leak, but it's better than what originally seemed to be intentionally snaking a player.

The Athletic story was coming out regardless of whether Berhalter's confirmatory comments were released.or not. I don't think it changes a thing whether the CharterWorks comments were off the record or not.
Yeah, but there's a difference between the (bad) vibes of an anonymously sourced story like that, and your coach on the record saying it.