USMNT: Watching From Outside The Arena

lostjumper

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Throw in Pulisic, McKennie, and Adams and you have one hell of an Olympic front six.
But this is the USMT remember. So the next coach will probably decide Bradley has the grit and tenacity to be the CM...

Also, love Sargent getting his first goal, hope to see the Weah/Sargent combo for the next decade.
 

Titans Bastard

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But this is the USMT remember. So the next coach will probably decide Bradley has the grit and tenacity to be the CM...

Also, love Sargent getting his first goal, hope to see the Weah/Sargent combo for the next decade.
You can never rule anything out, but the thing is that after the decline of Jones and Beckerman we just didn't really have any alternatives in CM who were good ball-winners. Now we have Adams and McKennie.

Sometimes I wonder what Bradley's career would have looked like if he was just left alone as a box-to-box midfielder. The crazy move to make him a #10 for the US was followed by a conversion to #6 for club and country.

He played his best soccer as a box-to-box midfielder.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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In the interest of MLS Fullback Fairness, I’ve liked Cannon about as much as I’ve disliked Sweat.

Goddamn, I am a grim reaper for when I praise the players and they get subbed out.
 

Titans Bastard

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In the interest of MLS Fullback Fairness, I’ve liked Cannon about as much as I’ve disliked Sweat.

Goddamn, I am a grim reaper for when I praise the players and they get subbed out.
You know what needs to be done. Start typing that glowing review of Ben Sweat right now.

I liked Cannon too. He barely played last year, but has hardly missed a minute in 2018 and has improved quite a bit over the course of the year. He's another starter on our hypothetically epic Olympic team.

Maybe it's just because I just watched Yedlin get subbed in and pull a Tim Chandler, but I don't think it's out of the question that Cannon could be competing for a starting job at some point this cycle.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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I just can’t get that Sweat praise typed up, although that was a solid tackle towards the end.
 

Titans Bastard

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Okay, so that wasn't a great game to watch but I think there were some worthwhile developments:
  • Weah and Sargent look like major parts of the attack going forward. They're good now, have plenty of room to improve, and will probably be more productive immediately when you replace Delgado/Trapp/Acosta with Adams/McKennie/Pulisic.
  • Amon has a lot of positive qualities, but he's raw. He needs to adjust to the speed of the game — at times he tried to do too much. Defensively he needs some work too. He's explosive, though, and belongs in the mix.
  • Cannon was solid and definitely merits more opportunities. He's definitely ahead of Lichaj and Moore in my book.
  • I'm very meh on all three CMs. Acosta does a decent job of getting forward at good moments, but he's just not as clean on the ball as I'd like him to be. Trapp is basically Bradley Lite. Neither are good ball-winners and don't bring enough on the other side of the ball to justify a starting role right now given the competition. Delgado has the potential to be a "glue guy" in certain situations, I think, but he gave the ball away too much tonight.
  • I thought Long / CCV acquitted themselves decently with all things considered, though I'm not sold on either of them just yet.
  • Sweat is not NT-caliber, but we knew that going in. There's pretty much no way that LB won't continue to be a vexing problem for at least another year or two.
  • Green is too slow to be an effective winger and not inventive enough to be an effective central attacker. Given the paucity of quality attackers right now I get keeping him around, but ideally he'll be phased out at some point.
 

Titans Bastard

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This won't get all that much attention from the fanbase, but I believe the identity of Flynn's replacement is considerably more important than the USSF president.
 

Titans Bastard

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The squad for the U20 CONCACAF Championship (a.k.a. qualifying for the U20 World Cup) has been released.

GK Brady Scott (Köln II)
GK C.J. dos Santos (Benfica U19)
RB Jaylin Lindsey (Sporting KC)
RB Manny Perez (NC State)
CB Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union)
CB Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy U19)
CB Sam Rogers (Seattle Sounders 2)
LB Chris Gloster (Hannover 96 II)
LB Matthew Real (Philadelphia Union / Bethlehem Steel)
CM Brandon Servania (FC Dallas / Tulsa Roughnecks)
CM Juan Pablo Torres (Lokeren reserves)
CM Alex Mendez (Freiburg U19)
CM Isaac Angking (New England Revolution)
AM Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas)
AM Anthony Fontana (Philadelphia Union / Bethlehem Steel)
AM Ulysses Llanez (unattached — but likely Wolfsburg when he turns 18)
AM Frankie Amaya (UCLA)
FW Justin Rennicks (Indiana)
FW Griffin Dorsey (Indiana)
FW Ayo Akinola (Toronto FC)

This roster is just okay, which is expected given the awful timing of this tournament during MLS playoffs + Euro season. Tab Ramos will be allowed to make six changes to the squad after the initial group stage. We don't know which additional 15 players are on the 35-man squad, but I'd assume there are some bigger guns available for the final phase of the tournament, which occurs during the November FIFA window. (No one ever has to release players for a tournament, but it's more likely at that time.)

All of these players were born in 1999 or later. Two – Araujo and Llanez — are 01s playing up a U20 cycle.

Some eligible players of interest who are not in the squad for various reasons (but mostly because they weren't released):

RB Sergino Dest (Ajax U19)
CB Chris Richards (Bayern Munich U19)
CM Tyler Adams (NYRB)
CM Chris Durkin (D.C. United)
CM James Sands (NYCFC)
AM Jonathan Amon (Nordsjælland)
AM Andrew Carleton (Atlanta United)
AM Nick Taitague (Schalke II)
AM Richie Ledezma (PSV Eindhoven)
FW Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen II)
FW Timothy Weah (PSG)
FW Sebastian Soto (Hannover U19)

If everyone were healthy and available, I think this would be a pretty good team.

The schedule:

11/1 vs. Puerto Rico
11/3 vs. US Virgin Islands
11/5 vs. Trinidad & Tobago
11/7 vs. Saint Vincent & the Grenadines
11/9 vs. Suriname

Barring another disaster against T&T, the qualification group in the second round would likely consist of the US, Honduras, and Costa Rica/Haiti.
 

Titans Bastard

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There's a report that the USSF has approached Rennes forward Jordan Siebatcheu and Heerenveen CB/LB Kik Pierie.

https://theathletic.com/613126/2018/10/25/sources-usmnt-search-for-dual-nationals-continues-with-two-u-s-born-europe-based-players/

Siebatcheu is a triple-national eligible for France and Cameroon. He has played for French youth teams, but not in official games. I could see him winding up in US camp at some point. Siebatcheu was sold from Reims to Rennes for pretty big money, but hasn't really performed well in Ligue 1 yet.

Pierie is a player with an interesting profile in that he's been an Eredivisie mainstay for the last year despite being only 18. He's a guy who two Dutch parents who happened to live in the US when he was born. He moved back to the Netherlands at a young age, so he doesn't have a family connection or any lived experience in the US. It doesn't seem likely he'd opt for the US unless he doesn't make the grade with the Netherlands. While the Dutch have more talent than we do, there's only so far a player can fall before he's not that interesting to the US either.
 

Kliq

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TB; what do you think about Konrad De La Fuente? Seems to be the monthly favorite of USMNT Twitter.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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If a left back has set foot on US soil for longer than 10 minutes, we should probably try to recruit him for the USMNT.
 

Titans Bastard

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TB; what do you think about Konrad De La Fuente? Seems to be the monthly favorite of USMNT Twitter.
Cautiously optimistic.

I've only ever seen highlight videos of him. He looks like he has some real skill. He also seems to be on a nice trajectory at Barcelona, where he's advancing up the ranks at a faster pace than most of the other La Masia players in his age cohort. I'm not fully on board the hype train because I haven't seen enough of him and because I don't know how he'll shake out athletically as an adult.
 

Titans Bastard

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The USSF hasn't done a very good job of pretending that there's a real managerial search.

I mean, Berhalter wouldn't be my first choice but I don't think he'll necessarily be a terrible choice. But if he's the choice, then just do it and stop acting like there's some big process.
 

Cellar-Door

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The USSF hasn't done a very good job of pretending that there's a real managerial search.

I mean, Berhalter wouldn't be my first choice but I don't think he'll necessarily be a terrible choice. But if he's the choice, then just do it and stop acting like there's some big process.

This has been getting a bunch of discussion on twitter. Essentially USSF appears to have not even run a search. Even if Berhalter is your guy, not talking to a bunch of the more qualified candidates is malpractice, you learn a ton from those interviews, and you build relationships. Depressing, and a bad sign that they're going to quickly shoehorn in some incompetent insider to the CEO role when Flynn leaves (the most powerful role by far).
 

Jimy Hendrix

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The gulf between "outcome I don't mind that much" and "process I despise" is proving to be pretty impressive here.
 

Titans Bastard

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U20 qualifiers begin today at 5pm against Puerto Rico. The squad has been bolstered by Philly's loss, meaning Mark McKenzie has traveled to join up with the team, although he'll understandably sit the opener out having played last night.

Lineup, I think. USSF is among the many who sometimes use lineup graphics on twitter that are annoying and uninformative.

GK: Brady Scott
RB: Jaylin Lindsey
CB: Sam Rogers
CB: Matt Real (c)
LB: Chris Gloster
CM: Brandon Servania
CM: Juan Pablo Torres
AM: Alex Mendez
Winger: Ayo Akinola
FW: Justin Rennicks
Winger: Paxton Pomykal
 

Titans Bastard

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US up 2-0 early. Alex Mendez is particular looks really good, but it's only Puerto Rico.

Elsewhere in the group, Suriname beat USVI 13-2. US plays USVI next.... T&T, the biggest name in the group, needed to score two in stoppage time to beat St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

This first group stage sure seems like a valuable use of time.
 

Titans Bastard

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This finished 7-1. A cruise control game, with the exception of some shambolic defending that led to Puerto Rico's lone goal. There won't be much to learn about these players during the first group stage.
 

dirtynine

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Stars & Stripes (USMNT blog at SB Nation) has been doing a position-by-position depth chart vote. Results are in and the authors used the results to create some potential formations for a meaningful game that we would hypothetically have to play and win tomorrow. This is assuming full strength and full health.

I kinda like this 442:



Anyway, there's a bunch of options there. I like seeing the new generation all in one place.
 

InstaFace

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Miazga over CCV?

Who's Novakovich, why don't I know that name, and poor Lynden Gooch...
 

Titans Bastard

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Miazga over CCV?
Two CBs who aren't getting on the field for their clubs right now....

Who's Novakovich, why don't I know that name, and poor Lynden Gooch...
Novakovich is on loan from Reading in the Eredivisie at a small club, Fortuna Sittard, after scoring a bunch of goals on loan in the second division with Telstar last year. He's a big center forward who is a decent player but I suspect he will not be more than a fringe player. Guys like Sargent and Weah are prospects of a considerably higher caliber.

Gooch is cleaning up this year, but it's League One.
 

Titans Bastard

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The US U20s beat T&T 6-1 today in what was, in theory, the toughest matchup of the group stage. The US will need to dispatch Suriname and St. Vincent over the next four days. Both have already picked up losses, so it should all be a walk in the park.
 

Titans Bastard

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28 man roster for the November friendlies against England and Italy.

GK Brad Guzan (Atlanta United)
GK Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge)
GK Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew)

RB DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United)
RB Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas)
RB Shaq Moore (Reus)
CB John Brooks (Wolfsburg)
CB Matt Miazga (Nantes)
CB Cameron Carter-Vickers (Swansea City)
CB Aaron Long (NYRB)
CB Walker Zimmerman (LAFC)
LB Jorge Villafaña (Portland Timbers)
LB Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic)

CM Tyler Adams (NYRB)
CM Weston McKennie (Schalke)
CM Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids)
CM Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew)
CM Darlington Nagbe (Atlanta United)
CM Marky Delgado (Toronto FC)
AM Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund)
AM Tim Weah (PSG)
AM Julian Green (Greuther Fürth)
AM Kenny Saief (Anderlecht)
AM Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy)
AM Luca de la Torre (Fulham)
AM Romain Gall (Malmö)

FW Bobby Wood (Hannover 96)
FW Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen)


Big roster for this. A few notes:
  • Please let us see Pulisic, Adams, and McKennie together
  • No Bradley in the squad
  • Jonathan Amon was reportedly dropped at the last moment because the U20s got his club to release him for the second stage of CONCACAF qualifiers
  • First call for Romain Gall, who is a 22 year old winger. He's had a topsy turvy career — didn't make the grade at Lorient, washed out of Columbus, landed in the Swedish third division, then got the move to the top division and then to a top club in Sweden. I'm not sure he's that good but given our dearth of wingers he'll get a few chances
  • Snubs: Russell Canouse (DM) and Paul Arriola from DC United. Canouse has been great down the stretch and I'm disappointed he's not here.
 

DrewDawg

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I think Gall is 23 now and closer to 24. Hopefully he can be a depth player. He seems to have developed a knack for scoring--17 goals in 29 games for the US U18 and U20s.
 

Titans Bastard

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I think Gall is 23 now and closer to 24. Hopefully he can be a depth player. He seems to have developed a knack for scoring--17 goals in 29 games for the US U18 and U20s.
Whoops. Time flies....

Gall scored a ton of goals for the U20s, more than any other player in his cycle, but he somehow managed to do so without actually looking all that good.

He has 12 goals in 24 games this year, which is decent, although the level of the Swedish league isn't that high and he hasn't been starting for Malmö in every game. I'm not overly optimistic about his NT prospects, but for the moment we just don't have many alternatives on the wing.

wow, no Jozy. Figured he'd survive the generational shift.
He's injured. I think it's likelier that we'll get use out of him over the next few years than Bradley, who is older and plays a position that has a somewhat more crowded depth chart for the US.
 

DrewDawg

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Gall scored a ton of goals for the U20s, more than any other player in his cycle, but he somehow managed to do so without actually looking all that good.
But is that a skill? It could be.

Unless he gives up possession or doesn't track back at all, a guy that somehow has a knack for scoring should have a role *somewhere*.
 

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Whoops. Time flies....

Gall scored a ton of goals for the U20s, more than any other player in his cycle, but he somehow managed to do so without actually looking all that good.

He has 12 goals in 24 games this year, which is decent, although the level of the Swedish league isn't that high and he hasn't been starting for Malmö in every game. I'm not overly optimistic about his NT prospects, but for the moment we just don't have many alternatives on the wing.
TB - do you rate Sabbi higher than Gall? My understanding is that the Danish Superliga is considered more challenging than Sweden, and Sabbi is scoring even more often than Gall IIRC. Also 2-3 years younger I think?
 

Titans Bastard

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TB - do you rate Sabbi higher than Gall? My understanding is that the Danish Superliga is considered more challenging than Sweden, and Sabbi is scoring even more often than Gall IIRC. Also 2-3 years younger I think?
Eh, it's hard to say, it's not like I watch either of these leagues. From their U20 days, neither stood out as NT caliber. I don't have a strong opinion on one vs. the other. I'm more optimistic about Amon.
 

Dummy Hoy

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I’m at the point where “making an announcement by the end of 2018” would be acceptable, but they can’t even promise that.
 

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What is the process that a sane organization would follow?

Condeiro convenes and then chairs a search committee for CEO.

They start with over a dozen well-recommended candidates, filters down to 4-5 for serious interviews.

CEO convenes and then chairs a search committee for USMNT Manager, alongside (I guess?) the "GM", whatever the hell it is he does.

Likewise, get down to 4-5 candidates for serious interviews.

This would ideally include people who are so overqualified that you have to woo them, maybe a lot, to get them to consider the job. (Gulati falling in love with one such candidate may have been his undoing, but the concept - aim for those who are good enough that they have enviable options and aren't coming crawling to you - is solid). And part of Cordeiro and CEO's jobs is being good at that wooing by setting a grand strategic vision and over-promising on resources, autonomy, and legions of adoring crowds who will credit them with bringing glories to the USA.

Right?
 

Titans Bastard

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The US U20s have concluded the useless first group stage.

11/1 vs Puerto Rico: 7-1
11/3 vs UVI: 13-0
11/5 vs Trinidad: 6-1
11/7 vs Saint Vincent: 6-0
11/9 vs Suriname: 7-0

They US will now face Costa Rica on 11/16 and Honduras on 11/19 in the second group stage. They need to win the group to advance to the final, but finishing second out of three will secure advancement to the U20 World Cup.

Ramos has the chance to make six changes to the U20 squad at this point. It is unclear what those will be, especially because it's been so difficult to secure releases for many players.
 

Titans Bastard

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According to the CONCACAF website, the U20s have made three changes.

IN:
RB Sergino Dest (Ajax)
CB Chris Richards (Bayern)
FW Sebastian Soto (Hannover 96)

OUT:
CM Isaac Angking (NE Revolution)
AM Anthony Fontana (Philadelphia Union)
FW Griffin Dorsey (Indiana)

I'm pleased that they worked out a deal for Richards because center back is the biggest area of need. Dest gives the US three right backs, but both he and Manny Perez can be pushed up to the wing in a pinch. Another defender, Araujo, can push up to DM now that there is more depth.

Soto should be a big upgrade on Dorsey.

This is still a long ways from our strongest U20 team, but hopefully will be enough to qualify.
 

Titans Bastard

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Nagbe and Steffen are out, due to minor injuries. Jonathan Klinsmann is in.


This is an opportunity for Ethan Horvath, who recently regained the starting job at Club Brugge and became the first American goalkeeper to play in the Champions League since Howard played for Man U in the 2004/05 season.

Guzan will probably get a least a game, but as the clear #2 in this camp Horvath will likely get at least 45 minutes.

In other news, Sargent is dealing with a minor injury. He's still in camp but maybe we won't see much of him.

January camp update from the same article:

No matter who is hired, a U.S. squad comprising largely MLS players in their offseason will gather for the annual winter camp in Carson, Calif., the U.S. Soccer Federation confirmed. It will run from around Jan. 7 until early February and will include two home friendlies, both of which are close to being finalized.
 

Titans Bastard

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Here's a snippet from the Twellman - Pulisic interview that I enjoyed.


"I just want to see a guy with a plan."

Is this a criticism of:

a) Klinsmann
b) Sarachan
c) the USSF
d) all of the above
 

DrewDawg

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I'd go with d. but it's also a pretty standard type of thing to say.

Trying to get my work done so I can watch this game at 3.
 

Titans Bastard

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Trapp over Adams merits double facepalms, unless there's an arrangement to not tire Adams out prior to the conference finals in MLS.


Bench:
GK Horvath
RB Cannon
RB Moore
CB Carter-Vickers
CM Adams
CM Delgado
CM Acosta
CM Lletget
AM Saief


Not in uniform:
Luca de la Torre
Romain Gall
Jonathan Klinsmann
Aaron Long
Josh Sargent (ankle)
Walker Zimmerman
 

pedro1918

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They played better the rest of the half. Still a notch below, but better.

Two real chances from Pulisic (actually before the English goals) and then Green. Wood has been offside at least three times.
 

Titans Bastard

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Yuck. The USMNT can be so hard to watch right now. There's no shame in losing to this England team on the road, but there wasn't much to be enthusiastic about. The program has so much work to do to recapture interest and excitement.

I'm with Buddle:


Another nugget:

 

Jimy Hendrix

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The thing I'm curious about is whether the disjointedness is mostly due to not having a coach with any sort of tactical plan, or if the US despite our soccer optimists still just doesn't have the horses to possess the ball in the face of a superior pressing opponent.

If we can't keep the ball against opponents who aren't CONCACAF minnows, then we at least need some kind of coherent counter-attacking plan. I can live without possession against elite teams, but route-one to an offside Bobby Wood does not stir the blood as a vertical attacking option.
 

Cellar-Door

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The thing I'm curious about is whether the disjointedness is mostly due to not having a coach with any sort of tactical plan, or if the US despite our soccer optimists still just doesn't have the horses to possess the ball in the face of a superior pressing opponent.

If we can't keep the ball against opponents who aren't CONCACAF minnows, then we at least need some kind of coherent counter-attacking plan. I can live without possession against elite teams, but route-one to an offside Bobby Wood does not stir the blood as a vertical attacking option.
We definitely don't have the horses. Our young guys are good.... for young guys. I don't think a single USMNT pool player would make England (yes including Pulisic, who is a great talent, but in some ways a bit overrated by us). Luckily we are years off from needing to win against elite competition and the hope is that guys like Pulisic, Weah, Adams etc. grow into those roles.