USMNT Summer 2023: Memo's Mirror Gets Sharp

InstaFace

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I think we need a new thread for this summer's tournaments, and any developments concurrent with those tournaments. The team is in a transitional state, let's have a transitional thread. Once we get through this summer, and have a permanent manager, I think TB (as is tradition) can make the new thread to carry us through Copa America and up to WC 2026.

Transitional how? Let me count the ways:

  1. Successful World Cup run despite getting almost nothing from our probably most talented player (edit: meaning Gio Reyna), who needs to get his shit together for both club and country
  2. A million senior-team regulars changing or probably-changing clubs this summer. The Leeds trio, Sergino Dest to Union Berlin (hi @candylandriots !), Pulisic, Balogun, Weah, and many others
  3. We, uh, have no manager. And our interim manager left yesterday, and so we got an interim-interim manager. This might inspire jokes all around about how we're not a serious program, except...
  4. ...The USSF brass has, against all odds, continued kicking ass and taking names. Recruited Balogun. Got us into the Copa America next year. Hired a Sporting Director who seems, uh... well-qualified?! Lining up friendlies as if we're a team that good teams actually want to play. El Cashico. This is probably the most the federation has been winning since about 1994.
  5. As a result of that good management, the U-20s are currently wrecking shit down in Argentina, look like more than the sum of their parts, and serious US Soccer fans are talking about Mikey Varas as a serious candidate for the big chair. Which also means we have some prospects bubbling up, who may push for senior-team involvement before too long (and/or a transfer out of MLS). Paredes at Wolfsburg, Che at Hoffenheim, GAGA, Diego Luna at RSL, Jalen Neal at RSL, Alvarado in Vizela, Obed at Seattle, Brandon Craig in Philly, and most eye-poppingly (And against expectations set by his last 3 years or so), Cade Cowell in San Jose looking like a world-beater.
  6. And most importantly, transitional because we're used to having a strong rival to our south to pace us, and, uh, well, El Tri has become LLL Tri for the last ~2 years, ever since we broke their brains in the 2021 Nations League Final. It's time for us to start some long-running beef with Colombia or Uruguay, imo. Not to mention those poutine-heads in the frozen north.

In short, this is an opportune summer for us to see where we're at, let the boys show out in lower-pressure situations, assess whether guys on the bubble are likely to be international-level quality, see which 2022 WC veterans are likely to hang on and be relevant for 2026 (or even Copa America), and continue building team cohesion for our youngest-squad-at-the-world-cup.

Here's what's on tap:


2023 CONCACAF Nations League Finals

Semifinal: Thursday June 15th, 10pm ET / 7pm local, at the Raiders' home in Las Vegas, vs Mexico. I don't know if this can top last time, but that definitely set a fantastic precedent that this is a game and competition we decided to care about and send our best squad to, and I expect Mexico, Canada and Panama will consequently do likewise. NBA Finals Game 6, if played, will lead into this (8:30pm ET start).

Final: Sunday June 18th, 8:30pm ET / 5:30pm local, again at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, probably vs Canada. They dunked on us twice in WCQ. We kinda got the last laugh by not sucking at the actual World Cup, but there's no revenge opportunity like a head-to-head one. Note the time change; if the NBA Finals goes 7 games, this will be head-to-head with Game 7.

I expect us to bring our first-choice squad, as if we were calling them in for the Copa America next year, and give them more reps together. Biggest roster questions for me are at Centerback: whether we see Miles Robinson and/or Walker Zimmerman, given that their club season is in full swing, Miles is only recently back from his ACL tear and Zim is getting older. Tim Ream, at 35, being our most in-form CB, and who you really can't be betting against being our best CB come next summer, either. "Backup #6" is an open competition, with Tyler Adams out, but we may stick to more of the double-pivot we played against El Salvador and instead make McKennie play a bit more defense, rather than auditioning a few contenders for Berhalter-ball.

Unlike 2 years ago, we do not have a friendly scheduled before or after the NL Finals, because coming hot on its heels is...


2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup
June 24th - July 16th

USA matches:
Saturday 6/24, 9:30pm ET, vs Jamaica, in Chicago (Soldier Field)
Weds 6/28, 9:30pm ET, vs Trinidad & Tobago*, in St Louis (CityPark)
Sunday 7/2, 7:00pm ET (!), vs Nicaragua, in Charlotte (BofA Stadium)

* This opponent is actually TBD, and will only be decided on 6/20 in the qualifiers. But it'll probably be T&T.

Our quarterfinal (whether we win the group or are runner-up) will not be until Sunday July 9th, in Cincinnati. Semis on 7/12 (San Diego or Las Vegas), Finals on 7/16 (Los Angeles)

Mexico has Qatar in their group, so that's fun.

I expect us to call in our B- and C-team for this. Recall that for players on the bubble of the A-team, it's actually not so easy a call whether to accept a call-up here. Luca de la Torre famously declined his invite in 2021, in favor of arriving early to his club's preseason, and it paid off huge for him in that he won a starting job at Heracles, kicked butt with them, and got a move to Celta de Vigo in La Liga last summer, which saw him actually make the squad for Qatar (and where he should've seen the field a bit). I expect this team will be a motley crew of U-20s breaking out, old vets like Acosta, Roldan and Arriola seeing if they still got it, and guys who had been sidelined making a bid to re-enter the picture, like Mihailovic, Pomykal, Dike, Booth, EPB, etc. We'll also learn how Josh Sargent is rated following his season for Norwich.


MLS will be going on semi-hiatus shortly after this tournament concludes, with the inaugural Leagues Cup running 7/21 - 8/19, serving as a chance for MLS and Liga MX to gauge each other's strength and make a few bucks giving fans a chance to see matchups they otherwise wouldn't. That competition has its own thread, but I raise it here because it probably has national-team roster implications for both the US and Mexico, in terms of which domestic players they call in.


18 months ago, Memo Ochoa told TUDN that "Mexico is the mirror in which the USA wants to see itself and wants to copy". We then went out and stomped them in Cincinnati in what might still be the most complete game I've ever seen this generation play, and Pulisic had a little something waiting for Ochoa. A year later, Mexico didn't make the R16 in Qatar, and, well, we did. Mexico didn't make the U20 WC or Paris Olympics, and we did. Now 6 months on from that, the USMNT's star has continued to rise, and Mexico's has continued to fall. Now, ours is the program whose lead their fans want their federation to follow, on youth development, coaching, selling players abroad, and so on. We should have a few looks in that mirror these next 6 weeks or so, and then we'll see who's the fairest one of all.
 
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BrotherMouzone

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When you describe getting "almost nothing from our probably most talented player" at the World Cup, are you talking about Pulisic? Because if so, I don't know if I could disagree more with that take. Was involved in all three goals the team scored during the tournament, as well as delivering two Man of the Match performances.

If you're talking about a different "most talented player", please let me know, because you couldn't be more off about Pulisic's performance at the tournament. His club situation needs to be figured out obviously, but his performance on the national team over the last 12-18 months has been terrific.
 

InstaFace

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No I was speaking of one Giovanni Reyna, who I think has the highest-upside of any player in our pool (an opinion shared by many, though reasonable people can differ). And I'm speaking of his relative lack of fitness, club form, and all the drama around his selection (or lack thereof) in Qatar. Reyna came back to Dortmund after Christmas and has 1 start in the year 2023, vs 13 sub appearances, despite visibly being the best player on the field most of the time when he came in. He's clearly not injury-limited, Terzic just doesn't trust him to start (and it may have cost them the German league title).

Pulisic did what someone of his skill and experience should've done for us. I have no complaints about him, or indeed about most of our A-teamers. It's Gio who needs an IV drip of "noblesse oblige", and that right soon.
 

rguilmar

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When you describe getting "almost nothing from our probably most talented player" at the World Cup, are you talking about Pulisic? Because if so, I don't know if I could disagree more with that take. Was involved in all three goals the team scored during the tournament, as well as delivering two Man of the Match performances.

If you're talking about a different "most talented player", please let me know, because you couldn't be more off about Pulisic's performance at the tournament. His club situation needs to be figured out obviously, but his performance on the national team over the last 12-18 months has been terrific.
I don’t want to speak for @InstaFace but I’d guess he’s referring to Gio who at the very least seems to have gotten it together in Germany despite the lack of playing time. He averaged something like a goal every 83 minutes and was clearly a difference maker off the bench. The manager seemed to adopt a “if ain’t broke don’t fix it” attitude towards the starting lineup, and Dortmund might have paid a hefty price at the very end. CP played well for the US but did get hurt and had the entire USMNT fan base pretty well versed in pelvic contusions and testicular torsion. He does need a new club and I’d bet good money he finds one.

Anyways, I’m most interested to see where Ricardo Pepi lands this summer. I think this is one transfer he cannot afford to get wrong. Is he still represented by the same agent?
 

BrotherMouzone

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No I was speaking of one Giovanni Reyna, who I think has the highest-upside of any player in our pool (an opinion shared by many, though reasonable people can differ). And I'm speaking of his relative lack of fitness, club form, and all the drama around his selection (or lack thereof) in Qatar. Reyna came back to Dortmund after Christmas and has 1 start in the year 2023, vs 13 sub appearances, despite visibly being the best player on the field most of the time when he came in. He's clearly not injury-limited, Terzic just doesn't trust him to start (and it may have cost them the German league title).

Pulisic did what someone of his skill and experience should've done for us. I have no complaints about him, or indeed about most of our A-teamers. It's Gio who needs an IV drip of "noblesse oblige", and that right soon.
Yep, got it. Should have picked up on that initially, though I probably still consider an in-prime Pulisic the more talented player over Gio. Regardless, glad I wasn't losing my mind on the first point of your post.
 

InstaFace

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Yep, got it. Should have picked up on that initially, though I probably still consider an in-prime Pulisic the more talented player over Gio. Regardless, glad I wasn't losing my mind on the first point of your post.
Yeah in my opinion, Gio (and Musah, and perhaps Adams) is our main ceiling-raiser for 2024 and 2026, as a team.

We have a number of guys capable of playing on the same field with some of the best football players on earth, who play in those top leagues and make a difference for those clubs. On our best days, like against England, we can even tilt the field a little bit against second-tier teams. But we don't have any truly world-class players, who can dominate a game even with both teams fielding rosters full of legit Big 5- or even UCL-level talent. Gio (and Musah) is just built different. He has the potential to be even better than Project Restart Pulisic, who was clearly Chelsea's best player and more or less singlehandedly dragged them to the Champions League berth in which they ultimately won the big one. Pulisic of course got hurt and has never really returned to that level of form, though we know he has it in him. But if you watch Gio (and I've watched just about every minute), he just sees the field and can make things happen at a level that at times approaches being Pirlo-esque. He has flashes of greatness, not just greatness by American standards but "pillar of a top-10 club for a decade, and they build him a statue" level greatness. Not everybody with that level of talent ends up realizing it, of course. But he's the first American we can really say has the potential to get to that level. Not just "can hack it in the Premier League", which we've had off-and-on for two decades, sometimes more guys sometimes fewer. We have a sustainable pipeline, at this point, of guys who can crank out Big 5 level careers and can assemble a roster that should easily qualify for the World Cup every time around and usually should get us out of our group. But for us to take the next step as a footballing country - especially if that next step is going to be in 2026 and we plan to mint millions of new soccer fans and youth players and inspire the nation - we need to develop greatness. And we don't get many of those lottery tickets. Very few countries do. Pulisic in 2020 looked like he had a shot to get there, and still might. But right now, my money's on Reyna. The game is just slower for him.

The Dutch shoved it in our faces in December: here's what a team who actually has a WC Contender-level talent pool looks like. "We've got our pick of starters at UCL clubs, many of whom are among their club's top stars, and whose level is always consistent, whose instincts and styles have been bred into them from a young age. Who at one end of the field can capitalize if you give them even the slightest opening, and at the other end of the field deny any such slight openings, almost never set a foot wrong." A team that gave the eventual Cup winners all they could handle in the next round, who could do things like bring Wout Weghorst off the bench, and have him score 2. All the teams at that level have multiple XIs worth of UCL-starter-grade players. But even they are in short supply when the question turns to the truly world-class players who can beat anyone at any time. If it'll take us decades to get the former - to go from churning out Big 5 regulars to churning out top-100 level players - we instead have to hope for a Morocco-like brilliance where a couple of Hakimis and Ziyeches can steal a game. Or Croatia in 2018. Can Gio Reyna rip the other team's heart out like a prime Luka Modric could? Will a Brazil or France look at us across the field and say "I feel good about today's game, but man, I dunno about those one or two guys, they scare me"? There are precious few players who can be a difference-maker at that level, can give us an edge that our overall player pool has no right to give us... but that's what we'll need to take the next step, imo.

Reyna's cockiness is not an impediment at that level; in some respects, it's an asset. His ball-hogging, even his petulance isn't that much of a problem because it's sorta common among world-class players. You want your star attacker to believe, deep down, even on days when he evidently doesn't have it, that he's the best player on the field and he's going to go shove it down the other guy's throat the next time he gets the ball. But he has GOT to establish his professionalism and work ethic, his 24/7 commitment to his craft, to nutrition, to fitness, to skills work, to film review, to going the extra mile. Weston tells stories about sitting around with Chiellini in the empty Juve stands one day, having a snack, and just watching Cristiano Ronaldo practice free kicks for an hour, what a privilege it felt like to him. As awesome a story as that is, it's still a story that involves McKennie on the sidelines eating a snack, and it's Ronaldo who was on the field, maniacally focused on his craft.

Sorry for the rant, I'm just... well, impatient I guess. But I also know what it could mean for our country, in 3 years' time. It's like olympic gymnastics: you get your one shot. Don't blow it.
 
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Jed Zeppelin

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In anticipation of moving discussion over here from the other thread, I would add that as exciting as it is to have some legitimate ceiling raisers who were not involved in Qatar, I'm just as excited by our floor raisers and the potential to keep adding more. It's easier to do so, yes, but in Qatar we were still really just 12 deep before getting into guys we wouldn't really want to see in a starting XI.

There are some positions where we're still (always) hunting for depth, like LB or the 6, but already we are seeing hints of the possibility to be 15-16 deep. Where we can really lift ourselves up relative to our Qatar performance is in the final 30 minutes. We'd bring in Acosta for defense and watch his best plays be the professional fouls after getting beat or being out of position/behind the play. We'd bring in a striker way out of his depth who at the highest level looks like a guy who will work hard but be behind the play mostly. Our bench was basically throwing Aaronson out there and hoping he did something magical.

So yes, that includes the ceiling raisers Gio and Balogun because it means you have starter-quality guys like Pepi and Aaronson as immediate depth and real quality like Sargent/Dike/etc as deep depth depending on need. Then someone like LDLT means you can pull out a tired McKennie or Musah without totally losing control of the midfield. You can plug in Zendejas who is comfy and clever on the ball and capable of supporting a certain level of ball control and offensive initiative. The CB play has been fine but expecting a talent injection there as well. The Aaron Longs of the world are, well, not long for the world of USMNT.

Instaface covered it well above re: U20s but I am seeing a lot of potential for floor raising out of that group, if not ceiling raisers (really too young to tell). It's not just guys out there physically dominating in a way that will fade—the whole squad is out there knocking it around and generally knowing what they're doing. I mean, shit, our set pieces were TERRIBLE in Qatar, that's a floor raiser right there if we can unlock that area with some fresh blood. Who knows how these guys will develop but to me it's a lot of talent that is more ready for the kind of football we want USMNT to be playing than we might have seen from previous generations. I forget which years exactly (Titan's Bastard knows) but the Russia qualifying was such a disaster because we had an entire cohort that should have been the core of our team just devoid of any talent. It feels like we're on the road to no longer worrying about having multiple years of players just giving us nothing.

As the talent pool really grows in quality, you open the door for more flexibility, more ways to beat your opponent, more ways to play 90 minutes with a lead without the last 30 being sphincter-clenching time, and more ways to play 90 minutes without a lead without the last 30 being feckless and sad. There's no substitute for having a Gio or Balogun or Pulisic in the pool, but as Zimmerman and Long fade for like 3 CBs of higher quality, Sargent/Ferreira/Wright/Morris becomes Balogun/Pepi/Sargent/Ferreira (or whoever beats him out), and so on, we should really see our 90 minute game grow against quality opponents.
 

rguilmar

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The US also apparently released a 60 man preliminary roster for the Gold Cup. I still wish Guti was on it if only to burn Chicago for not releasing him for the U-20 WC. Several other U-20 eligible players are on the roster, both those currently in Argentina and those not released like Jalen Neal.

https://prosoccerwire.usatoday.com/2023/06/01/usmnt-gold-cup-2023-preliminary-roster/

Could we see the return of one John Anthony Brooks?
 

candylandriots

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To follow up on @InstaFace ’s excellent write-up to kick this off: I am starting to come around on Dest coming to play for Union Berlin, if it does happen. I think he’ll benefit from the system in a way that Jordan hasn’t (at least up to this point) as it’s much more about pressing and creating mismatches and using speed. And from a USMNT perspective, I think it would be good for him because the fullbacks at Union are expected to play offense and defense.

The only reservation I have is the RWB is probably going to be a tough position for him to break into and get a lot of minutes, as least initially. Josip Juranovic was to me, the best player on the team since he joined (and at 27, probably at his peak), and his skill from set pieces is not easy to remove from the field. And Christopher Trimmel is probably 1B at that position and is the team captain. But Trimmel is 36, and I’d have to expect a slowdown, despite him playing so well down the stretch. And with the number of matches they’ll have again, they need the depth. Union Berlin definitely suffered in the league for brief stretches that coincided with fixture congestion. So if Dest comes here on a long-term deal, I like it from a rot, weiß AND blue perspective.
 

Titans Bastard

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Aidan Morris, who we recently discovered is a dual national, faces a key choice this summer. Canada has called him up to their Nations League roster. He stands a solid shot at being called up to the USMNT B-team squad at the Gold Cup in July. His pathway to playing time with Canada is simpler, but the upside of being part of the USMNT is greater. He's in a situation where he's likely to be cap-tied one way or the other by the end of the summer.

I would like to keep Morris in the fold because — although he does not exclusively play as a 6 — he has a bit of that Tyler Adams skillset, but we'll survive if he chooses Canada.

View: https://twitter.com/tv_jjd/status/1665167494452072448
 

67YAZ

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There’s more risk here than Feynoord, though it’s still Champions League football.

At Feynoord he’d play for Slot, one of the hottest young coaches in the game who works hand in glove with his director to build the squad. If Slot wants Pepi, you know he has a vision for the kid.

PSV is currently interviewing for managers. Ruud van Nistelrooy was having a great season but resigned before the last match because he was…er…rude to everyone at the club. Directors, staff, coaches…Ruud had issues with everyone, so he quit despite a 2nd place finish. Pretty wild.

So PSV will have a new manager, and it’s always tricky to be the player transferred in just before a new manager arrives. But old friend Ernie Stewart is the technical director now, so he knows all about Pepi.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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There’s more risk here than Feynoord, though it’s still Champions League football.

At Feynoord he’d play for Slot, one of the hottest young coaches in the game who works hand in glove with his director to build the squad. If Slot wants Pepi, you know he has a vision for the kid.

PSV is currently interviewing for managers. Ruud van Nistelrooy was having a great season but resigned before the last match because he was…er…rude to everyone at the club. Directors, staff, coaches…Ruud had issues with everyone, so he quit despite a 2nd place finish. Pretty wild.

So PSV will have a new manager, and it’s always tricky to be the player transferred in just before a new manager arrives. But old friend Ernie Stewart is the technical director now, so he knows all about Pepi.
The counterpoint is the competition, where at Feynoord he'd be competing with Santi Giminez assuming he doesn't leave the club (that would be spicy for the discourse), while at PSV it's an aging Luuk De Jong.
 

rguilmar

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Jimy Hendrix

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I'm overcorrecting based on going in the opposite direction of the whiniest people on Twitter, but this looks fun to me.

It's a victory for the "given the relative importance of the GC, we need to let almost anyone based in Europe just get in for a proper preseason" crowd, but a big L for the "MLS makes me sick and I never want to hear about its players" crowd, for whom the Gold Cup is frankly probably a rough hang given the composition of most of its teams.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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That’s a more interesting roster than I might have expected knowing it would be more of a domestic roster. Really only 3 or so names on there that fall in the “was really kinda hoping never to see this guy again” range.

Edit: Is Gressel at forward a typo?
 

rguilmar

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I’m not really seeing too much to complain about given that most of the Euro guys will be in preseason fighting for a spot or with a new team. Sure, I’d rather not see Aaron Long again but there are enough interesting names to look past that. I’m excited for it.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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I’m not really seeing too much to complain about given that most of the Euro guys will be in preseason fighting for a spot or with a new team. Sure, I’d rather not see Aaron Long again but there are enough interesting names to look past that. I’m excited for it.
Honestly, Long seems recovered enough from his injury that he's even good at doing the things Aaron Long is good at again (recovery runs, defending, etc.). We keep playing his right footed self at LCB which worsens his passing issues from sorta functional to disastrous, but that's a USMNT coaching problem more than an Aaron Long problem.
 

rguilmar

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Honestly, Long seems recovered enough from his injury that he's even good at doing the things Aaron Long is good at again (recovery runs, defending, etc.). We keep playing his right footed self at LCB which worsens his passing issues from sorta functional to disastrous, but that's a USMNT coaching problem more than an Aaron Long problem.
I'll take your word for it. I haven't seen him play since early in the season and he looked bad then, but obviously things change. With the pool getting younger and better, some of these guys will be getting phased out over time. Guys like Long will end up pretty far down the depth chart. Having guys with experience and a degree of success can be useful in a roster like this. I think this roster is better than the one that won the GC last time around.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Last time I saw him play was LAFC/Leon, where they were also playing him on the left and he looked good in defense and terrible in buildup. I am also pretty ready to move on from him, but I am also not going to get worked up about him being on a B-team Gold Cup roster the way I kinda did when he was unfit and it seemed for all the world like we were desperately trying to squeeze his unfit self into the WC roster.
 

InstaFace

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Yeah that's a fun roster. No way does Matt Turner stick around for the entire tournament, but I really don't see anyone to get upset about, aside from the omission of Mark McKenzie (and arguably Malik Tillman, who I'm pretty sure is healthy). You've got Jalen Neal on there, which is really cool for him. Would I like to see John Brooks or Pomykal on there? Sure, but I can't get worked up about it. Sam Vines is probably hurt, as is CCV. Yedlin gets to ride again. It'll be fine. Our B team is probably better than Canada's, even if our A team is neck and neck.
 

Titans Bastard

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Yeah that's a fun roster. No way does Matt Turner stick around for the entire tournament, but I really don't see anyone to get upset about, aside from the omission of Mark McKenzie (and arguably Malik Tillman, who I'm pretty sure is healthy). You've got Jalen Neal on there, which is really cool for him. Would I like to see John Brooks or Pomykal on there? Sure, but I can't get worked up about it. Sam Vines is probably hurt, as is CCV. Yedlin gets to ride again. It'll be fine. Our B team is probably better than Canada's, even if our A team is neck and neck.
FYI:
McKenzie (shoulder) and M. Tillman (hamstring) are both injured.

Kellyn Acosta and Tim Tillman are also injured.

Tanner Tessmann is getting married.


I've seen a ton of complaining about this roster but I agree with you. It might not be the world's most exciting roster, but given that it is close to a straight B team, and we have some injuries/unavailabilities, I find the roster to be quite reasonable.

I think the unwashed masses of weirdos, edgelords, and 16 year olds on USMNT Twitter don't really comprehend that the gap between the U20 level and the full NT (even the B team) can be quite large. There was a weird moment in 2019-20 when the full NT pool was so weak and we had some really advanced U20s, so there was a rapid progression for a lot of guys, but this isn't a normal state of affairs.

At the end of the day we have a bunch of guys who are talented and in their early 20s, and most of them will remain no more than fringe players, but others will take the step forward necessary to become a regular contributor with the NT. For example, Jesus Ferreira is pretty talented and his skillset may never quite work out for the USMNT, but the fans who want to toss him in the trash are way off base, IMO. Reynolds, Vazquez, Zendejas, Busio, A. Morris, and Sands are all guys who have had bumps in the road, but weirder things have happened than guys like them breaking out to a higher level in their young/mid 20s.

I think it makes sense to let them have some time since the younger (U20) guys mostly aren't that close to needing an NT audition yet.
 

InstaFace

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If I were to devil's-advocate a real complaint about this roster, it would go something like, "This should be a 90%+ U23 roster, given a chance to compete against big boys and get reps together for Paris 2024 next year. That is a bigger deal than the hope some 26 year old will suddenly make a leap to being A-team worthy. And most of the candidates to make that A-team jump are going to be U23 anyway."

Edit: so we could theoretically have the current U-20 squad, *plus* any/all of:

- Gio
- Musah
- Scally
- Pepi
- Malik Tillman
- Taylor Booth
- those unreleased for U20 WC, including Neal, Paxten, BGuti, Brady, Alvarado
- various other senior-team bit players (e.g. Reynolds, Aidan Morris, Tolkin, Johnny, Hoppe)

Some of those are hurt or doing Nations League (though some are on both rosters), and most of the rest - other than the "unreleased for U20s" group - are already here. But I suppose you could add more of those U20s who figure to play a part in Paris.
 
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Titans Bastard

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I'm speculating here, but I wouldn't be surprised if some clubs (abroad but especially in MLS) told the US that they'd release guys for the U20 WC as long as they weren't also taken to another tournament.
 

InstaFace

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Clearly Neal was released for GC but not U20s. Bit surprised we're not seeing Paxten (on the Matt Turner schedule, surely) or Alvarado though.

And whither Alex Mendez?
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Clearly Neal was released for GC but not U20s. Bit surprised we're not seeing Paxten (on the Matt Turner schedule, surely) or Alvarado though.

And whither Alex Mendez?
Paxton is in line for his first actually full European preseason, so I'm not that surprised we don't want to eff with it. Mendez & Alvarado are respectively on the bubble between sub/starter and have fallen off that club's midfield radar, so I can see why they both want to be in preseason too.

The only Euro guys on the roster are two backup GKs for their clubs who are in zero danger of winning starting spots, Bryan Reynolds, who Roma could care less about except as 5 - 10 million Euros on their balance sheet, and Djordje is the one exception honestly who feel like he's in a spot with AZ where he could really use the preseason to compete. I don't know if it's a bad club sign that he's coming in, or if he just is really sick of making it to the cusp of so many rosters and just wants caps however he can get them.
 

Cellar-Door

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Paxton is in line for his first actually full European preseason, so I'm not that surprised we don't want to eff with it. Mendez & Alvarado are respectively on the bubble between sub/starter and have fallen off that club's midfield radar, so I can see why they both want to be in preseason too.

The only Euro guys on the roster are two backup GKs for their clubs who are in zero danger of winning starting spots, Bryan Reynolds, who Roma could care less about except as 5 - 10 million Euros on their balance sheet, and Djordje is the one exception honestly who feel like he's in a spot with AZ where he could really use the preseason to compete. I don't know if it's a bad club sign that he's coming in, or if he just is really sick of making it to the cusp of so many rosters and just wants caps however he can get them.
Reynolds I think is there because both he and Roma are hoping a strong GC makes someone come get him.
 

67YAZ

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What’s up with Zendejas in red?

The notes point out that the average number of caps for this roster is 14. That’s pretty exciting - there’s a lot of young talent here to assess in camp and against intense competition. Even if we don’t have our permanent manager in place, the video from these matches will reveal a lot for the next staff.

The backline is most intriguing - Jones, Neal, a rehabbed Robinson, Reynolds, Tolkin. I’d love to see 2-3 of these guys grab this opportunity and stake a claim for being a future starter.

Happy to see Djordje in the mix again, but curious he’s listed at mid.
 

Cellar-Door

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What’s up with Zendejas in red?

The notes point out that the average number of caps for this roster is 14. That’s pretty exciting - there’s a lot of young talent here to assess in camp and against intense competition. Even if we don’t have our permanent manager in place, the video from these matches will reveal a lot for the next staff.

The backline is most intriguing - Jones, Neal, a rehabbed Robinson, Reynolds, Tolkin. I’d love to see 2-3 of these guys grab this opportunity and stake a claim for being a future starter.

Happy to see Djordje in the mix again, but curious he’s listed at mid.
When they post the rosters, they put the name of the player pictured in red.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Happy to see Djordje in the mix again, but curious he’s listed at mid.
Makes a lot more sense assuming BJ continues Hudson’s pattern of just going with a double pivot and a 10 instead of trying to pretend we have another Tyler Adams. Less obvious that’s what’ll happen here than on the Nation’s League roster because both Sands and Morris could theoretically be a lone 6, but I expect both of them as a double pivot.
 

67YAZ

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When they post the rosters, they put the name of the player pictured in red.
Ah, duh. Thanks.


Makes a lot more sense assuming BJ continues Hudson’s pattern of just going with a double pivot and a 10 instead of trying to pretend we have another Tyler Adams. Less obvious that’s what’ll happen here than on the Nation’s League roster because both Sands and Morris could theoretically be a lone 6, but I expect both of them as a double pivot.
That leaves Djordje & Soñora as the 10s? That feels mighty dicey. Maybe Roldan’s veteran savvy could direct traffic from the 10 in pinch, but it’s hard to see how these pieces fit. Though I agree the double pivot makes the most sense since we don’t have enough 8s for the A squad, never mind this group.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Jesus could also play the 10 and/or work more of a 4-4-2 thing with Vazquez as well. I do agree that this interim coaching staff seems to love Soñora more than anyone in club football does and I don’t know why we’re using him for potentially meaningful depth, but he’s at least looked tidy so far.
 

Titans Bastard

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Clearly Neal was released for GC but not U20s. Bit surprised we're not seeing Paxten (on the Matt Turner schedule, surely) or Alvarado though.

And whither Alex Mendez?
Yeah, LA can’t say no to the GC call up, but they could for the U20s.
 

InstaFace

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Yeah, LA can’t say no to the GC call up, but they could for the U20s.
Alternatively, it's possible USSF told LA they wanted Neal for a couple different things, LA said "c'mon just pick one", and they thought he was advanced enough that they'd rather see him in senior camp than with the U20s.
 

rguilmar

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On top of the GGG rumors to Club America, there’s this fun tidbit.
Germany- Matarazzo and/or Low
Spain- Enrique and/or Lopetegui
Central America- Hugo?

New USSF sporting director Matt Crocker has interviewed more than 10 coaches for the vacant #USMNT job — including candidates from England, France, Germany, Spain, Central America and several from the U.S. — sources tell @FOXSoccer:

View: https://twitter.com/bydougmcintyre/status/1668680241521238033?s=46&t=XvGOrrWIyL-5CHVVL_0JYQ
 

ThePrideofShiner

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In regard to the Gold Cup roster, I'm pretty irritated that Roldan is on it. He just missed two months with a concussion, which helped send the Sounders into a tailspin. He has been back for 1.5 matches now and is suddenly going to national team camp for six league matches. Anyway, I don't blame him for taking the callup.

In other news, an MLS star is on his way to US citizenship. I'm unsure on where he would slot into our team currently, but I found it interesting nevertheless.

View: https://twitter.com/tombogert/status/1669005266233204736


https://theathletic.com/4609893/2023/06/14/luciano-acosta-usmnt-eligibility/
 

Jimy Hendrix

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At 29, I suspect it gets him in line for some B - C team caps ala Julian Gressel if anything.

Like Gressel's caps, I will be comfortable with the two contradictory thoughts inside my head of "boo, not gonna help the main senior team, get some 19 year old in there who might grow to do that!" and "this is cool for that dude who has made a career for himself here, go Lucho!"
 

67YAZ

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Can we get Lucho processed in time for the Gold Cup?

Joking, but if we are going to use a system with a 10, even if just for the B squad, Lucho is definitely in the mix.
 

Titans Bastard

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At 29, I suspect it gets him in line for some B - C team caps ala Julian Gressel if anything.

Like Gressel's caps, I will be comfortable with the two contradictory thoughts inside my head of "boo, not gonna help the main senior team, get some 19 year old in there who might grow to do that!" and "this is cool for that dude who has made a career for himself here, go Lucho!"
I think Lucho is a tier above Gressel, especially given that our player pool lacks a bit of creativity in the central midfield with the MMA setup. I think he’d give us some insurance in a 4-2-3-1 that we don’t have given Gio’s numerous injuries.
 

InstaFace

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At 29, I suspect it gets him in line for some B - C team caps ala Julian Gressel if anything.

Like Gressel's caps, I will be comfortable with the two contradictory thoughts inside my head of "boo, not gonna help the main senior team, get some 19 year old in there who might grow to do that!" and "this is cool for that dude who has made a career for himself here, go Lucho!"
That resolves in my head based on the competitive context. Giving some guys a career achievement award late in their primes in Camp Cupcake / Camp Candycane / El Cashico type situations? Sure, whatever. Who cares. You're not taking a place from any serious prospect anyway. And just as obviously, the real serious competitions are A-team guys and if some 29-year-old is worthy of consideration for our games that really matter, I don't care if he just filed a switch from representing Mars, get the best team out there on the field.

But the Gold Cup is somewhere in the middle, isn't it? It doesn't not matter. If we lose to Mexico or Canada there, it still hurts. Some of that roster should be "evaluate / develop for the future", and some of it should be "win now, except without the A-teamers". Surely that roster is flexible enough that it can take on the Jalen Neals (appreciating asset) as well as the Lucho Acostas (as good as they're ever gonna get, but probably not on the WC 2026 roster) without excluding someone who truly deserves to be there.
 

Joe D Reid

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Fun question: did Patrick Vieira’s reps leak to ESPN that he wants the USMNT job or did US Soccer leak it?
 

Jed Zeppelin

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You have to keep Gregg in the mix given all the outpouring of support from the players, he said, trying to convince himself it won’t be Gregg.

In all seriousness you just know there are a bunch of hardliners amongst the decision makers who are probably demanding an American coach for the American World Cup.
 

Titans Bastard

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In all seriousness you just know there are a bunch of hardliners amongst the decision makers who are probably demanding an American coach for the American World Cup.
I don't know. Neither Batson nor Crocker seem like this type to me.
 

InstaFace

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Reminder that we play Mexico, both sides with their A-team, tonight at 10pm ET. Two years ago our game in this competition was LOCO. I'm running on 4 hours sleep but dammit I'm staying up till the final whistle.
 

rguilmar

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Ugh this late kickoff is brutal on the East Coast. The US on paper is stronger, but it’s soccer and the game isn’t played on paper. Curious to see who starts and the formation. I do want to see how Mexico approaches this missing their two top wingers and with a new manager.