USMNT: Watching From Outside The Arena

DrewDawg

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And then Mexico retaliates. Ha.

I mean, we need *something* here with no World Cup.
 

Titans Bastard

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Who on this roster is even creative?

We talk about the striker pool being thin (and it is), but I’m more worried about creative attacking midfielders. That cupboard seems to get very bare very fast after Pulisic.
We have enough good forward prospects that I feel decent about where we'll be at that position in a couple of years.

Agree that AM is a bigger concern. It's bad after Pulisic. There are some real prospects, but they are younger than and/or not as far along as some of our CM young guns like Adams and McKennie. All that being said, it's hard to evaluate whether some of the mediocre types like Arriola and Green can be somewhat useful role players when there's basically no tactical scheme at all.
 

Mr. Wednesday

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And then Mexico retaliates. Ha.

I mean, we need *something* here with no World Cup.
On replay, I don't think he was trying for it, looked like he slipped a little bit and it sent his foot over the ball. (Still a red every day of the week and twice on Sunday, of course.)
 

Kliq

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Ian Darke really reaching with that 9/11 line. Deserved goal from the US though.
 

Titans Bastard

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Love the late run into the box from Adams. It reminds me of the time Bradley scored a zillion goals for Heerenveen that way.
 

thehitcat

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Miazga has looked a little like Lackey out there tonight. He just stared down Yedlin after earlier doing it to Robinson. Maybe, like Lackey, they love the guy, but I'd personally tell him to mind his own patch.
 

Titans Bastard

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With Delgado on for Weah, we're back to four CM territory! Sarachan feeling good now.
 

Titans Bastard

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Ugly, red card-aided win.

1) Hire a coach please. I want to see the team build towards something and under Sarachan it feels like random tryouts for CMs sometimes.
2) Stay healthy, Christian
3) I liked what I've seen from Miazga as a defender and as a leader
4) Adams is going to get 100+ caps before it's over
5) Robinson at LB is worth investing more playing time
6) I think Trapp may have a place in the player pool, but I don't understand why he's used as an indispensible midfield fulcrum. He's not good enough for that.
7) A clear tactical plan will do wonders for the US midfield and will help the attack on the margins. We'll need to be patient for more AMs and wingers to come through.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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A couple years ago when I saw Miazga—maybe during his brief time at Chelsea before being loaned—I remember not liking some of the passivity I was seeing in terms of winning balls in the air and that sort of thing. Glad to see some grit and swagger. There has been such a shit stagnant attitude permeating everything for the last few years and it continues with the MLS waiting game otherwise known as our managerial search, so you need the players at this point to be able to just say fuck it and play.
 

Titans Bastard

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I wholeheartedly agree with Jones. Youth coaching is by far the largest obstacle between the US and being a true WC contender.

In other news, the draw for the CONCACAF U20 Championship has been made. This tournament serves as qualifying for the 2019 U20 World Cup.

First stage group:

USA
Trinidad & Tobago
Suriname
Puerto Rico
Saint Vincent & the Grenadines
US Virgin Islands

All five group stage games will be hosted in Bradenton, FL played every other day on November 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9. Only the top team advances, so given the competition the US will basically just need to beat T&T to move on. No problem.....right?!?!?

T&T is the third match, so the backups will surely get a nice runout two days prior against USVI.


The second stage consists of six group winners, who are divided into two groups of three. Group A (US group) is paired with Group C (Honduras or Cuba) and Group E (Costa Rica or Haiti). The US would just need to not finish last in this group to advance to the WC. However, you have to win the group to advance to the CONCACAF final.

The timing of this tournament is TERRIBLE for the US. While MLS clubs are very accommodating to YNTs for official tournaments, this CONCACAF U20 is being held in November. That means it coincides not just with the European season and the MLS playoffs, but also with the NCAA tournament. Player availability will be dicey and we'll likely have to go a ways down the depth chart at some positions. The second part of the tournament occurs during a FIFA window, so perhaps Ramos will be able to get a couple of players just for that section of the tournament, but he can't afford to go too short-handed during the 5 games/9 days first group stage.
 

Titans Bastard

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I missed this from the pregame of one of the recent friendlies. It's good stuff from Twellman.

 

Cellar-Door

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It's the same thing as always with USSF, they know that there isn't real pressure from media coverage, so they will always make decisions the same way.... what helps me and my buddies, what benefits the people who got me this job, and how do I make sure they keep money and power. They made superficial changes because there was brief outcry, and now it's back to business as usual. If anything it looks like the Garber/MLS block is looking to even more solidly consolidate power on the argument that a foreign coach failed. There will be no fixes attempted with youth development, it will be a DA doubledown. An MLS based coach, and the same old people in the youth side.
 

Titans Bastard

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I'm pretty sure they will hire an MLS coach, but I'm not convinced it's because of lobbying by people like Garber. I don't think that's even necessary — as you point out, the USSF is an extremely insular, old boys network type organization. They ventured out of the network with Klinsmann, got burned, and will probably get even more risk-averse in the future.

But yeah, an insiders' club: the CEO of USSF Dan Flynn has been working with the organization since at least the Bora Milutinovic era. Many USSF personnel and YNT coaches have strange resumes that make it look like that relied on personal connections to find their jobs.

My big-picture view is that a lot of people who run the USSF and the state associations are people who were the only ones willing to put in the thankless work in the 90s when there was much less support, interest, money, and attention. They kept the home fires burning when no one else cared, but now they are old, static thinkers, and get extremely defensive when questioned. The problem is that the game has grown considerably, the needs of US soccer have evolved, and new skills, energy, and vision are required.

The ego-to-production ratio among many US soccer administrators and coaches (especially youth coaches!) has never been good.

Flynn is now in his mid-60s and recently had a heart transplant. I have to imagine that retirement beckons soon. The identity of his replacement will be far more consequential than the USSF presidential election, IMO.
 

Titans Bastard

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This is very good news for the U20s. It would be difficult to secure releases of many top players for a relatively long tournament at an inconvenient time. The key second group stage games fall during an international window, so clubs may be more likely to release players for that smaller set of games
 

Titans Bastard

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Pareja's stock was higher in 2016, I think. It's hard to parse how much of that is his fault and how much of that is FC Dallas' stodgy front office.

In 2017 he presided over an epic and total midseason collapse that saw Dallas fall from Supporters Shield contenders to out of the playoffs. In fairness a contributing factor was that the FO unsettled a number of their players by rejecting transfer offers during the summer. In 2018, Dallas has been pretty good again, but they are pretty boring to watch and IMO don't pass the eye test as convincingly as you'd think for a team currently atop the Western Conference.

Pareja has also tarnished his reputation as a youth whisperer a bit. Reggie Cannon has made strides in 2018 and will probably get a NT call up soon, but FCD has a ton of young talent and most players aren't getting chances. But again, part of the problem is that FCD's FO has maddeningly refused to launch a USL team despite having a relatively stacked academy, which means a rung on the developmental ladder is missing.
 

Titans Bastard

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Roster for Colombia and Peru:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC; 58/0), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge/BEL; 2/0), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC; 6/0)

DEFENDERS (8): John Brooks (Wolfsburg/GER; 34/3), Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas; 0/0), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Swansea City/WAL; 5/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 0/0), Matt Miazga (Nantes/FRA; 9/1), Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic/ENG; 4/0), Ben Sweat (New York City FC; 0/0), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG; 54/0)

MIDFIELDERS (10): Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids; 19/1), Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls; 7/1), Jonathan Amon (Nordsjælland/DEN; 0/0), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN; 140/17), Julian Green (Greuther Fürth/GER; 12/4), Weston McKennie (Schalke/GER; 6/1), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 21/9), Kenny Saief (Anderlecht/BEL; 2/0), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 8/0), Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain; 5/1)

FORWARDS (3): Andrija Novakovich (Fortuna Sittard/NED; 2/0), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen/GER; 3/1), Bobby Wood (Hannover 96/GER; 41/12)


The Return of Bradley...

I don't hate Bradley the way some people do, but I'm concerned that Bradley's continued presence will get in the way of needed changes, mostly because I'm unconvinced that Sarachan will have the balls to bench him and reduce his role to that of locker room veteran who can step in when needed.

There's a lot to like in this roster, though, all things considered.
  • Pulisic is back, after playing in so few of the USMNT's recent games. The attacking midfield is so dire without him.
  • I'm excited that Jonathan Amon is here. I think he could be a sparkplug on the wing almost immediately, the sort of player we wanted Joe Gyau to be. He seems to make things happen for his club every single game.
  • I'm not sure if Saief will work out or not — he's crafty, but a bit slow for a wide attacker — but it'll be better than throwing Acosta out of position out wide
  • Reggie Cannon is my bet to emerge as Yedlin's understudy at RB.
Ben Sweat is the latest LB to get called up to the NT. Though a solid MLS player, I don't think he's NT-quality. No harm done, though, since we basically don't have any NT-quality LBs and Sweat is as good as any of the other options.

I hope that Steffen retains his starting place even with Guzan on board. I think we need Guzan in the picture because Bono/Horvath/Gonzalez/Hamid aren't good enough to be a reliable #2, but I want to roll with Steffen until he gives us a reason not to.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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It's a fun exercise to make your USMNT Prospect Nerd starting XI out of this roster and then make your cynical "how many defensive midfielders can fit in this phone booth" Sarachan XI
 

Titans Bastard

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Pulisic missed today's CL match with "torn calf fibers" according to BVB. I'm not sure exactly what that means or how long he'll be out for, but it sounds like another two friendlies without CP.
 

Titans Bastard

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Pulisic missed today's CL match with "torn calf fibers" according to BVB. I'm not sure exactly what that means or how long he'll be out for, but it sounds like another two friendlies without CP.
Now official, per the USSF. Tyler Adams also is out with the back spasms that kept him out of NYRB's 2-0 win over Atlanta last weekend.

Philly Union winger Fafa Picault has been added to the squad.

https://www.ussoccer.com/stories/2018/10/05/16/36/20181005-news-mnt-christian-pulisic-tyler-adams-withdraw-october-camp-fafa-picault-added

Ugh. Someday we will actually get to see Pulisic, McKennie, and Adams on the same field.
 

Titans Bastard

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Titans Bastard

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Lineup vs. Colombia. Only two CMs, which is a real shocker!

Colombia's lineup is very strong.

 

Kliq

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This will be a big test for the young guys. The Colombian side is starting James, Falcao, Cuadrado, Sanchez; it's their A team.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Annoyed that Amon isn’t even on the bench. He’s the main guy I haven’t seen yet who I’m excited to see.

It’s an interesting lineup at least though.
 

Titans Bastard

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A few days ago, USSF announced ticket sales were around 30k. Seems like 29k are Colombians.
 

Titans Bastard

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Bench:
GK Guzan
RB Cannon
CB Carter-Vickers
LB Sweat
CM Trapp
CM Delgado
AM Picault
FW Sargent
FW Novakovich

Scratches: Horvath, Long, Amon
 

McBride11

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Why was the ref pointing but not blowing the whistle? Falcao clearly clipped Brooks after Brooks’ 2 awkward lunge / slides
 

OilCanShotTupac

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Defense not keeping any kind of shape. Guys kind of moving at random. COL could have had a couple already.

Very nice attacking sequence there though, Robinson and Green