USMNT: Watching From Outside The Arena

Titans Bastard

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Do you like friendlies? If so, this is the place for you.

Our long national nightmare is just beginning. The failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup represents not just abject failure and deep humiliation for the program, but it's also a lost opportunity to generate fans and revenue for the sport domestically. It is, tragically, a lost World Cup for Christian Pulisic.

From October 2017 to June 2019, the USMNT will have zero competitive games, which I believe is the longest such period since the mid-1980s.

Big Questions

1. Manager

Who will replace Bruce Arena and his deeply tarnished legacy? The first step is to name an interim manager, which the USSF is expected to do this week or the next. All signs point toward Tab Ramos, who is currently the U20 manager and Youth Technical Director. Ramos is an uninspiring but acceptable choice, given that the pool of reasonable choices for a 9-10 month interim gig is probably not large. Though Ramos has a questionable track record in tactics and roster selection with the U20s over the last three cycles, he does know the pool well, especially the group of young players who should be the immediate focus on the program.

One would hope that the USSF will wait until summer 2018 to make a permanent appointment. Following the World Cup, the pool of available managers coming off club and country jobs should be at its largest.

2. President

Sunil Gulati has been USSF President since 2006 and seems likely to run for a fourth and final term in February. (The USSF has instituted term limits, but Gulati gets one more grandfathered term if he wins.) Gulati has overseen significant growth in revenue and has done a lot to grow the game over the years. However, his strengths lie on the business side of the game, not on the soccer side of the game. This would not be a problem if he were able to effectively delegate soccer decisions to capable lieutenants, but too many USSF hires at senior and youth levels have been lackluster. There is a clear lack of accountability within the USSF and Gulati's comments after the T&T catastrophe make his unsuitability for the job glaringly obvious.

After running unopposed in the past, Gulati has challengers, but it's not yet clear if any of them can muster much support among the voters that count.

3. Youth Development

The failure to qualify for the WC is a huge indictment of player development in the US and this merits a heavy doses of introspection and analysis and, ultimately, the formulation of a clear plan for the future. I think many things contributed to the failure of the USMNT, but one major issue is the general suckitude of the 1990-1994 age cohort, which has produced remarkably few NT caliber players: Nagbe (90), Wood (92), Yedlin (93), Morris (94) is simply not enough.

There is strong evidence that the next generation of players will be significantly better. Christian Pulisic probably single handedly makes the 95-99 cohort better than the 90-94s. The 95/96 and 97/98 cohorts both reached the quarterfinals at their respective U20 World Cups [the latter without Pulisic, I might add]. The 00 cohort just reached the quarterfinals at the U17 WC and has the opportunity to go further. Success at youth WCs is not a guarantee of anything, but it's an indicator. The YNT results of the 90-94 cohort were poor across the board, which foreshadowed the crappiness of that generation.

Nonetheless, it would be a big mistake to point to some nice U20 and U17 results and conclude that nothing needs to be done. A return to pre-90-94 levels of production would certainly be an improvement, but without further improvement we'd be back to the WC-R16-hoping-to-luck-into-the-QF sort of place. We should have higher ambitions.

A few thoughts:

a) The level of youth coaching across the board needs to improve across the board, from 6-18. The USSF can help this by reducing the cost of their coaching licenses, rather than treating them like a revenue generating opportunity.

b) Pay-to-play is an issue, but it's not going to go away any time soon. Nearly all MLS academies are fully funded and many big Development Academy (DA) clubs offer scholarships. However, it's a big country and that's not enough. Since the USSF is now the gatekeeper for elite boys and girls soccer in this country via the Development Academy, the USSF can play a role in reducing the impact of pay-to-play. The ever-expanding DA should find ways to reduce travel costs and the USSF should increase the number of domestic scouts to try to ensure that fewer good players fall through the cracks.

c) Going abroad is often an option for top players, but it's not as simple as some people make it sound. Players can't move abroad until they turn 18, which is very late in the development process. Players with a passport from an EU country can move to an EU country at 16, which helps on the margins, but most developmental years still occur in the US. Moving to a foreign country where you don't know the language or culture can also be tough on teenagers, to the point where it has a detrimental effect on their development. It's important to pick a club that knows what it is doing and can support the player in various ways.

d) MLS has a very important role to play in all this. Pro clubs drive development in every country and it has to be the case here, too. MLS academies are increasingly magnets for domestic talent and many now have the infrastructure that allows them to recruit nationally. For example, in the past year, SKC has signed two kids from North Carolina and one from Tennessee to professional contracts after they spent some time in SKC's academy. MLS clubs need to fine-tune the developmental ladder between the U19 team and the MLS team. About half the league have USL franchises now and the number of USL minutes going to U20 American players nearly doubled in 2017. Still, too many clubs seem a bit too reticent to trust youth players and opt for foreign signings instead. Investment is good, but you need to have a development culture and development mentality at your club as well.

MLS clubs can also do more to invest in grassroots youth soccer in their communities. Making improvements in the age 6-12 bracket will produce a much more robust pipeline of talent heading into the DA, which starts at the U12 level. Does anybody know of any adult pros with great technique who didn't already have well above average technique by age 12? I bet the number is very small.

Much of this stuff needs to be worked out by the individual clubs, but there are concrete steps MLS HQ can take as well. Give clubs more salary cap space for academy products and let clubs keep 100% of transfer fees for academy products.

e) MLS should be more open to selling young domestic prospects. The more young players go abroad and flourish, the less the league will be treated as a bargain bin in the transfer market as MLS products establish their value. It also sends the right message to young players, many of whom are bypassing the league to go straight to Europe. It is a win for everyone if the best young players can sign with MLS teams at a young age (before they are old enough to go abroad anyway), develop, and be sold on. It's important that MLS clubs continue to invest in development, so if they can get a piece of the action as a player is sold without hindering the player's development, that's ideal.

f) Okay, @soxfan121 - no more in-their-prime-with-legit-options-abroad players going to MLS.


The Player Pool

The missing 90-94 generation is very small, which is a big reason why our current player pool is so old. The missing generation is going to remain missing, so there's going to be a tremendous amount of turnover this cycle. Whether they're good or bad, it's almost certain that our squad in 2022 will be MUCH younger.

Here's our current player pool with ages as of 6/1/22

GK
Tim Howard (43)
Nick Rimando (42)
Brad Guzan (37)


It's time for a complete reboot. Howard was a shell of his former self at age 37, anyone want to take bets on how good Guzan will be in five years?

Bill Hamid (31) is an option, though he is very injury-prone for a GK and is inconsistent despite being capable of the spectacular.

Ethan Horvath (26), Jesse Gonzalez (27), Zack Steffen (27), and Alex Bono (28) currently look like the best bets. All have shown promise, but are inconsistent, and I'll be damned if I can figure out how to predict which GKs will gain that last bit of reliability.

RB
Graham Zusi (35)
Timothy Chandler (32)
DeAndre Yedlin (28)

Yedlin is one of the few incumbents who is a good bet to remain a starter in 2022. Chandler won't be ancient, but I doubt he will play much of a role in the future.

It's good that Yedlin will stick around because there aren't any slam dunk right back prospects in the pipeline. There are a trio of 98s who could be interesting, but also could be nothing as they haven't proved anything against adults yet. The U17s have a couple of right backs who look good, Dest and Lindsey, but they are a long way away.

I liked Desevio Payne (26) in the 2015 U20 WC, but he just can't stay healthy. I didn't like Shaq Moore (25), but somehow he's making the bench for a La Liga club now.

If we went to a formation with wingbacks, Arriola (27) might be an option. Tyler Adams (23) has been playing really well at RWB for NYRB, but may be a CM or DM long term.

CB
Geoff Cameron (36)
Matt Besler (35)
Tim Ream (34)
Omar Gonzalez (33)

John Brooks (29)

Brooks will be the only holdover from the current group of CBs. Hopefully his endless minor injuries don't take a toll by age 29. But in any case, I'm bullish about our group of CB prospects. Matt Miazga (26) is pretty solid and could still improve. Erik Palmer-Brown (25) is heading to Man City this winter and then on loan somewhere. Cameron Carter-Vickers (24) is doing well on loan in the Championship. Justen Glad (25) already has over 50 pro appearances and is a leader for his team.

There are a few other guys of a similar age to Brooks who might come in useful, depending on how the next few years go. Walker Zimmerman (29) and Tim Parker (29), but both probably wouldn't be more than depth.

LB
DaMarcus Beasley (40)
Jorge Villafaña (32)

Are we sure DMB won't still be around? Okay, the end is nigh for him and I wouldn't count on Villafaña being an NT-level player in 2022 either. As usual, LB looks to be a problem spot. A few options include Chicago's Brandon Vincent (28), RSL's Danny Acosta (24), and Portland's Marco Farfan (23).

I'm not sure of Vincent's upside, but he's played well in MLS this year and I expect him to get a look given the paucity of options. Acosta was something of a whipping boy during the last U20 cycle, but perhaps everyone was too hard on him. He had recently converted to LB from DM and he's shown improvement this season. Farfan looked good early but has been hurt for much of the year. Like Acosta, he has a long way to go.

CM/DM
Alejandro Bedoya (35)
Dax McCarty (35)

Michael Bradley (34)
Kellyn Acosta (26)

Yet another part of the field due for a major rebuild. Like with CB, there's a lot of young firepower on the way up. I've generously not crossed off Bradley for 2022, though I think he will be very hard pressed to make it and in fact could become a bench player quite soon (though we should be testing new options anyway).

Acosta is part of the new wave and I expect Seattle's Cristian Roldan (27) to get a chance now, too. Maybe Marco Delgado (27) of Toronto.

The biggest names at the moment, though, are Schalke's Weston McKennie (23) who seems to be very highly regarded at his club, where he has become a rotational starter this season. Jonathan Gonzalez (23) has broken out in a big way for Monterrey this season, where he's been an important starter at DM for the first team. He should be called to the NT ASAP. Tyler Adams (23) has improved by leaps and bounds for NYRB this season, though he's been playing right wingback instead of midfield lately.

Chris Durkin (22) was very impressive at DM for the U17s when I watched him against Ghana. Keaton Parks (24) is an interesting player - big, but slow, with surprisingly good feet - who was recently picked up by Benfica B. Gedion Zelalem (25) is out for a while with a torn ACL and could turn into something, although his star has fallen.

AM
Benny Feilhaber (37)
Fabian Johnson (34)

Darlington Nagbe (31)
Gyasi Zardes (30)
Paul Arriola (27)
Christian Pulisic (23)

Pulisic &.....someone, hopefully. I'm crossing off FJ; I just don't see him being good enough at age 34 and he's already publicly pondered international retirement. It's possible he's played his last US game as it is.

I'm pulling the plug on Zardes.

Arriola looks like a solid role player, though he'll never be a star for the US. Nagbe's enigmatic ways could stick around for a while, but he's a vulnerable incumbent.

It's possible that Kelyn Rowe (30) and especially Sebastian Lletget (29) will get more chances. Maybe Kenny Saeif (28) at LM or LB. Maybe Lynden Gooch (26), though I think he's limited. Emerson Hyndman (26) still has time to emerge as a useful player. Tommy Thompson (26) is a fun, but athletically limited player.

There's a whole bunch of 19-20 year olds whose futures will be clearer in a year or so including NYCFC's Jonathan Lewis (24), RSL's Brooks Lennon (24), Fiorentina's Josh Perez (24), and Chicago's Djordje Mihailovic (23).

The group of 17-18 year olds looks like it could be a bit stronger (if you set aside Pulisic) -- Atlanta's Andrew Carleton (21) looked great for the U17s today, Schalke's Nick Taitague (23) has been building steam for their U19s, Dallas' Paxton Pomykal (22) and Jesus Ferreira (21) are highly regarded.

FW
Chris Wondolowski (39)
Clint Dempsey (39)

Jozy Altidore (32)
Bobby Wood (29)
Juan Agudelo (29)
Jordan Morris (27)

Fun fact: Wondo never actually appeared in a single WC qualifier.

We have five more prime years of Bobby Wood. Jozy isn't a lock for 2022, but he won't be too old to be useful. Agudelo is a waste of talent who won't make it. It's hard to envision Morris as a starter, but his speed makes him handy off the bench.

Aron Johannsson (31) won't be ancient if he gets his career back on track. Looking to younger age groups, Josh Sargent (22) is perhaps the most interesting player. Haji Wright (24) is playing on loan in the 2.Bundesliga right now from Schalke. Timothy Weah (22) just scored a hat trick against Paraguay today and scores consistently for PSG youth teams. Not sure he's PSG quality, but I think he could be good.

We can still hold out hope for Julian Green (26), I guess. Maybe on wing as well.

The Unknown

When you are five years out, even U17s will be in their young 20s. If we are blessed with another Pulisic who would be age 19 at the 2022 WC, that player is 14 or 15 years old right now. There is a long time for players to come out of the woodwork. Four months ago, Jonathan Gonzalez was just a kid who had gotten a few YNT call ups and played in U20 qualifiers. Now, he is getting the recruitment pitch from Mexico and should be in line for a USMNT call up in November.
 

Cellar-Door

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Looking at that... it really is amazing that for the 1st time since the 1980s we don't have an excellent keeper (Keller, Friedel, Howard etc.) and it's rough, all those guys aren't very good, the u-20 team keepers aren't good, Garces is supposed to be good for his age, but he's barely 17, and 21 year olds do not often start for World Cup squads.
 

InstaFace

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I just read that entire post twice, and feel much better. Chicken Soup for the US Soccer Fan Soul.

Whatever else you might say about him, Tab Ramos is likely to Play The Kids(tm).
 

Titans Bastard

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Looking at that... it really is amazing that for the 1st time since the 1980s we don't have an excellent keeper (Keller, Friedel, Howard etc.) and it's rough, all those guys aren't very good, the u-20 team keepers aren't good, Garces is supposed to be good for his age, but he's barely 17, and 21 year olds do not often start for World Cup squads.
In truth we haven't had an excellent keeper since the 2014 World Cup because of Howard's decline.

Howard was sold to Manchester United when he was 24. Horvath, Gonzalez, and Steffen are 22, so there's still time, but if they don't raise their performances to the next level soon it probably won't ever happen.

I hear good things about the likely starter for the upcoming U20s, Brady Scott, who is at Köln. Who knows, though.
 

Cellar-Door

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I just read that entire post twice, and feel much better. Chicken Soup for the US Soccer Fan Soul.

Whatever else you might say about him, Tab Ramos is likely to Play The Kids(tm).
True, he'll play them out of position in the shittiest throwback 4-4-2 you've ever seen, but they will be on the field.
 

Titans Bastard

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Tab is weird tactically, but he's not married to the 4-4-2. The US used a 4-2-3-1 in the last U20 WC and (mostly) a 4-3-3 in 2015.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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This is an amazing examination of the situation. I know less than anyone else on this board but you should be submitting this to Boston Sports Journal and to whatever soccer publications are out there.
 

Merkle's Boner

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Really good post. Is Weah as good as he looks, or was yesterday an outlier? An attack of him and Pulisic would look nice!
 

Titans Bastard

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Really good post. Is Weah as good as he looks, or was yesterday an outlier? An attack of him and Pulisic would look nice!
It's hard to say. He hasn't been as consistently good for the U17s as he was against Paraguay, but it's also true that he's been used on the wing of a 4-3-3, which isn't supposed to be his best position. However, Josh Sargent is firmly ensconced as the CF.

Personally, I also have a harder time reading the tea leaves with French academy players than with German academy players. There's just not as much qualitative or quantitative info out there for the layperson.

Whatever happened to Rubio Rubin?
Ugh. He was an Eredivisie starter in his age 18 season, but he got hurt early in the next season and has never been the same. I don't know if he just mentally got off track or he lost something physically or both. Utrecht cut ties with him last winter. A short-term move to Denmark with Silkeborg didn't pan out and now he's with Stabæk in Norway, coming off the bench. It's been a precipitous decline and there's little reason for optimism at this point.
 

Spacemans Bong

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Sweet Pint 'O Wine would be a pretty decent get for the US, imho. The US's basic skill profile is very similar to England's, so to have somebody who can coach that style and is very good at grinding out results would be interesting. It wouldn't be shexy football, but we wouldn't be dropping points to seemingly inferior opponents either.

Someone suggested Tony Pulis in the old thread and I found that very intriguing in the same vein, although Tony doesn't appear to be done with club management (and would get the Wales job in a heartbeat if he wanted it).

Big Sam also briefly played in NASL, which doesn't really mean very much but is kinda cool.
 

DrewDawg

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Cellar-Door

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Neither of those guys would be my top choices (Bielsa, Martino) but I would be fine with either Blanc or Big Sam over Ramos or one of the non-Martino MLS managers
 

Titans Bastard

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This article has an overheated title, but raises a worthy point. Kyle Martino was considering running for USSF prez, but decided against it because it's an unpaid position.
 

Titans Bastard

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England beat Japan in a penalty shootout(!!) and will face the US in the U17 quarterfinal. The game will be at 10:30am on Saturday, so I'm excited to be able to catch this one.

The US will have an extra day of rest, which could be a nice boost. Chris Goslin will be suspended due to yellow card accumulation.
 

Titans Bastard

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Kid had a fair amount of space, but you gotta love his distribution.
This is the crux of the issue with Carleton. He has undeniable skill, flair, and vision, but how will he stack up athletically against adults and how strong will his ability to create space for himself be? Pulisic was the consensus best U17 prospect by the end of the last cycle, but he didn't become PULISIC until approximately a year later, during which time he gained a little extra speed and became a truly complete package.

A U17 kid who has had facial hair for a while is less likely to gain a burst of speed. I wouldn't be surprised if he winds up as a central attacking midfielder rather than a winger.
 

Titans Bastard

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Wahl: Landon Donovan Mulling Run for U.S. Soccer President

The nominations for U.S. Soccer presidential candidates are due on Dec. 10, and SI.com has learned that Landon Donovan is seriously considering running for U.S. Soccer president.

Donovan, who had no comment, has been asked by a number of respected figures in American soccer to contemplate running. They’re concerned about Sunil Gulati continuing to control decisions on the technical side—including hiring head coaches—and think Donovan is better qualified to handle the soccer aspects of the job.
Also, Gans is officially on the ballot:

For the first time since 1998, U.S. Soccer will have a contested presidential election. SI.com has learned that Boston lawyer Steve Gans has received the required three letters of nomination that he needs to be an official candidate in the February election.

Managerial news:

Sunil Gulati said he hoped to be able to announce an interim coach for the U.S. men’s national team by the end of this week ahead of a friendly next month at Portugal. But the process hasn’t gone as smoothly as Gulati would have hoped. He wanted Under-20 coach Tab Ramos to take the job on an interim basis. And while Ramos would love to have the job on a non-interim basis, he’s not so sure he wants to have an interim label right now.

It’s expected that Gulati will continue to push for Ramos and the interim label. If Ramos doesn’t end up taking it, look for it to be offered to another coach who’s currently on the U.S. Soccer payroll. Keep in mind, Bruce Arena’s assistants—including Dave Sarachan, Pat Noonan, Matt Reis and Kenny Arena—are still technically on the payroll of U.S. Soccer and could be options to coach in the Nov. 14 friendly against Portugal, which will reportedly be the only match the U.S. plays during that FIFA window instead of the usual two-game slate.
Come on, Tab. Ramos should be thrilled to get the interim job despite minimal qualifications and with it, an unreasonably high chance of getting the full-time job if the USSF remains under complacent leadership.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Claudio Reyna with some straight talk.

"Our approach and our behavior to the sport here -- to coaching, to everything, is just wrong," Reyna said on Tuesday. "We're far too arrogant. We're far too obnoxious. We are egotistical having never won anything or done anything, and that's not the case around the world.

"You travel to Spain, Argentina, Germany and you run into coaches and sporting directors and there's a humility about their work that doesn't exist here, and that's, for me, seeing it, is to me a big concern.

"We have coaches who think they're better than they are. Across the board, we just think we do things better than we really do. I mean in every way. Whether it's broadcasting, or media, coaching, we're just not as far along as we tell ourselves we are.

"But the one thing that we haven't realized, I think, when we have our American soccer people go abroad to learn, I don't think they see the behaviors of the people and how they coach in their day-to-day work. That's the shake-up I hope people realize more than anything.

"You go to a U14 and U15 coach in Spain, and they are 10 times more humble than a U14 or U15 coach in Connecticut, New Jersey or New York, who thinks they're the next Pep Guardiola or Patrick Vieira.

"Until we realize that -- that we're not as good as we think we are at all levels -- then I think we're going to continue being what we are, which is mediocre."

"What I think has happened in the past 10 years is we're confusing investment, expansion, growth, [U.S. Development Academy], and all these other things with progress," Reyna said.

"All these things have sort of created a feeling that we're progressing, but I call it expanding, growth and more fans.

"From the general growth side it's happening, but are we really progressing? When I look around at certain levels I don't see progress happening."
 

soxfan121

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1. Landon Donovan, Steve Gans, Eric Wynalda - all I care about is NOT SUNIL GULATI. So, let's do this.

2. Those Reyna comments are both demoralizing and true. We're fucked.
 

Titans Bastard

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On the bright side, Reyna is in a position to make a difference. He's the TD of an ambitious, well-funded club in the largest metropolitan area in the country.

NYCFC is too new to know how youth-oriented they'll be, but their first wave is just bubbling up. James Sands made his MLS debut earlier this year and is quietly doing well with the U17s in India. Their next big academy product could be a kid named....Gio Reyna. Early days, but Reyna the Younger may be one of the big names for the 2019 U17 team.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Come on, Tab. Ramos should be thrilled to get the interim job despite minimal qualifications and with it, an unreasonably high chance of getting the full-time job if the USSF remains under complacent leadership.
This is my big fear.

“See how great they looked in meaningless games with no pressure under Tab!?!”
 

Joe D Reid

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1. Landon Donovan, Steve Gans, Eric Wynalda - all I care about is NOT SUNIL GULATI. So, let's do this.
.
Whoever can get Earnie Stewart on as technical director is the best choice for president. Let the president raise money and give discreet hanjos to FIFA officials and let someone with development experience run the soccer end.
 

soxfan121

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Whoever can get Earnie Stewart on as technical director is the best choice for president. Let the president raise money and give discreet hanjos to FIFA officials and let someone with development experience run the soccer end.
Co-signed. Fuck it, are any of Chuck Blazer's cats still alive?

Dead Chuck's Cats are a better option than Sunil "NOTHING TO SEE HERE" Gulati and his ego.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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I'm not even sure if I think Landon would be a great idea in a vacuum, as star players don't always make the best executives, but boy would it be fun to watch the USSF squirm against the populist uproar of a Donovan run given how badly they just want to put their fingers in their ears and scream I CAN'T HEAR YOU.
 

InstaFace

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Regardless of whether it's Donovan, Gans, Wynalda, or Maalox's monkey butler, I think it's important for the opposition to Gulati to converge around a preferred candidate so they don't divide their votes. Let's hope we see evidence of that happening, as possible candidates go around to gauge support and get nominations.
 

Cellar-Door

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One person that any smart Presidential candidate would be trying to retain (and signal to the voters that they intend to retain) is Dan Flynn. He's really good at making money, and is the primary person behind the move from massive deficit to massive surplus.
 

Titans Bastard

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The CEO role (Flynn) undercuts the argument that the president needs to be a Business Person.

That being said, Flynn is over 60 and had a heart transplant last year. Not sure how long he sticks around.
 

MetSox1

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Whoever can get Earnie Stewart on as technical director is the best choice for president. Let the president raise money and give discreet hanjos to FIFA officials and let someone with development experience run the soccer end.
As a Philadelphia Union fan I have no reason to co-sign this. At all. He's presiding over a disaster in Philadelphia, and the end of season benching of up and coming Keegan Rosenberry is not helping the image.
 

Titans Bastard

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The lineup for USA vs. England seems to be the usual 4-3-3:

Weah -- Sargent -- Akinola
Carleton
Ferri -- Booth
Gloster -- Durkin -- Sands -- Watts
Garces​

Two changes from the Paraguay game: Taylor Booth comes in for the suspended Chris Goslin and Chris Gloster returns at LB, replacing Sergino Dest who may be injured.

I've heard good things about Booth, but he's one of the youngest players in the squad and hasn't played much at this tournament yet. This will be a huge test for him. Jaylin Lindsey, who probably would have started at RB (over Watts) or CB (pushing Durkin into DM), is listed by FIFA as unavailable for some reason.

Ferri's fitness should be watched closely since he came off in the first half against Paraguay with an injury.

I haven't seen this England team play, but they are supposed to be good despite losing Jadon Sancho, who was recalled by Dortmund after the group stage. You know they are a new breed of England players because they won a penalty shootout last round.
 

cromulence

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Chandler looks like he's in a ton of pain off a non-contact injury. He was probably never coming back to the national team anyway but that could help seal the deal.
 

Titans Bastard

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England's come out pressing extremely high and have generated a few early chances. Sands cleared a ball off the line after an England attacker burned Watts.

After some stupid early long balls, the US is trying to play through the press with a little more poise now, but haven't created any danger.
 

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1-0 England. Garces pushes a cross out, but it goes to Brewster who fires home. All England so far.
 

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2-0 now after a turnover by Sands. Looks like we're going to be Paraguay this game.
 

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Ooh, Weah misses a great chance inside the 18. That would have been huge. England looks really good, though. Brewster has scored twice, but Phil Foden is killing the US down the wing.

I don't think this US team has the depth to lose three starter-level players and beat a good opponent in the QF, but we'll see.

Now Akinola with a miss. US creating a bit now and the attackers are getting involved.
 

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Okay, so the chance of the US coming back to win this game are low, but we should note that the U17s are showing more urgency and fight in the 25th minute than the US did in the 80th minute against T&T.
 

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2-0 HT.

The US was totally overrun in the first 15 minutes and got punched in the mouth with two quick goals from Rhian Brewster. The next 30 minutes were a lot more encouraging and the US actually ended the half with 53% possession and 13 shots to England's 8. Unfortunately, England has six shots on target and the US has only two.

Bad start, nice response, the finishing needs to be better.
 

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Another slow start out of the gate in the second half. Still 2-0, but without the attacking verve the US displayed in the first half.

Dest in for Booth, now. Dest is normally a fullback but it looks like he'll be playing DM. Booth was on a yellow.
 

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3-0 England now.

The game could be closer if the US were finishing better, but in the end England is just too good. They're superior athletically and technically. I wouldn't be surprised if they win the tournament.
 

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Goal, Sargent. 3-1.

Dest with a cross, or possibly a shot, that was slightly deflected by England's keeper but Sargent's there to knock it home.