USMNT: Hold My Beer

Titans Bastard

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Same guy also reported that Jesus Ferreira is being called up as well.
That may be moot now. I believe all of the reported call ups were to a preliminary list. I'm not sure we'll see any of the FC Dallas guys now that they've advanced in the playoffs.
 

Senator Donut

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Titans Bastard

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TB, have you had your eyes on many Galaxy matches this year? The message board hype seems to have waned on Alvarez, but I’m not sure how reasonable the expectations were on an 18 year-old on a team just going through the motions this season.
Alvarez had a decent year for a young kid, but it wasn't a massive breakout. I'd call it modest progress, though. The LA Galaxy are such a dysfunctional dumpster fire that it's hard to draw firm conclusions. Julian Araujo, who is a year older, had a stronger year but it's easier to stand out at Araujo's position than it is at Alvarez's position on a team that lacks an attacking identity like LAG.

I think chatter on Alvarez has faded for a few reasons:

a) There are so many young players doing good things that we don't have to angst about individual players as much
b) Some people started to accept that he was in the fold with El Tri and moved on
c) Due to the marketing behind them, all of the "Kleiban kids" have been somewhat to significantly overrated and people are starting to catch on.

Alvarez isn't as overrated as Alex Mendez, but they have similarly large gaps between their potential ceiling and their potential floor because of poor workrate and fitness. The good news is that both of those issues can be addressed, at least to some extent.

Alvarez has a ton of talent, but he needs to be laser-focused on the reality that the truly traditional #10 position ceased to exist 15-20 years ago and that everyone needs to run and offer a bit of defense now unless your name is Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.

Alvarez will never be the most athletic player, but that's fine. Athleticism is like a 98mph fastball — it's great to have and it gives you a margin for error in other parts of your game. Alvarez has a 89-90mph fastball for athleticism, but guys can have a ton of success with that if they do the other things really well.
 

InstaFace

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For those who would favor a more Lukaku-flavored striker option for the MNT, here was my first introduction to Orlando's Daryl Dike and, um, that first shot will get your attention:

View: https://twitter.com/USMNTvideos/status/1332750850150850565


Born in Oklahoma to Nigerian parents, did 2 years at UVA, then selected #5 overall this january before lighting MLS on fire this year, by rookie standards. The twitterers are saying he'll probably have another year in MLS before going abroad, but since he's already 20 I figure he needs to get a move on. It's not like he needs to add more strength to compete in europe, the guy is built like a brick shithouse, he ragdolls half a dozen veteran defenders in those clips.

A few weeks ago, TB said there was no news of his loyalties. His older brother played for Nigeria; his sister played for Nigeria at the WWC. Hopefully we get an update on that soon, perhaps even for December camp (??).
 
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Titans Bastard

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The El Salvador friendly is finally official. Expect a very young and extremely experimental roster. I anticipate zero Euro-based players (COVID + it's not a FIFA window anyway) and even some MLS guys will be unavailable due to the playoffs. Everyone on teams who win in the current round (11/29-12/2) are probably out though maybe it will be possible to add players from the two teams who lose in the conference finals on 12/6.

View: https://twitter.com/USMNT/status/1333108187797598213
 

Titans Bastard

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The roster's out. It's young but it's not crazy-young. I guess a lot of those rumors about '02s and '03s getting called up were based on the preliminary roster and not the final roster. Berhalter probably cast a wide net not knowing which players would be available at this point in the playoffs:

https://www.ussoccer.com/stories/2020/11/berhalter-calls-22-players-ahead-of-usa-el-salvador-on-dec-9-in-ft-lauderdale
GK C.J. dos Santos '00 (Benfica)
GK Bill Hamid '90 (D.C. United)
GK David Ochoa '01 (Real Salt Lake)

RB Julian Araujo '01 (LA Galaxy)
RB Kyle Duncan '97 (NYRB)
CB Aaron Long '92 (NYRB)
CB Mark McKenzie '99 (Philadelphia Union)
CB Mauricio Pineda '97 (Chicago Fire)
CB Walker Zimmerman '93 (Nashville SC)
LB Marco Farfan '98 (Portland Timbers)
LB Sam Vines '99 (Colorado Rapids)

CM Kellyn Acosta '95 (Colorado Rapids)
CM Frankie Amaya '00 (FC Cincinnati)
CM/AM Brenden Aaronson '00 (Philadelphia Union)
CM/AM Sebastian Lletget '92 (LA Galaxy)
AM Cole Bassett '01 (Colorado Rapids)


WG Efrain Alvarez '02 (LA Galaxy)
WG Paul Arriola '95 (D.C. United)
WG Djordje Mihailovic '98 (Chicago Fire)
WG Chris Mueller '96 (Orlando City)

FW Ayo Akinola '00 (Toronto FC)
FW Daryl Dike '00 (Orlando City)


I'd expect a few more additions after the Western Conference semifinals. Morris/Roldan from Seattle or Tessmann/Reynolds/Ferreira from Dallas, etc. Maybe Busio from KC or Dotson/Gasper from Minnesota.

Doug McIntyre said that Berhalter tried to get Yedlin, but Newcastle wouldn't release him. It says a lot about how things are going for Yedlin at Newcastle right now that Berhalter thought it would be worthwhile to even try.
 

Titans Bastard

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Okay, I'm go to add to/overanalyze this a bit.

GK C.J. dos Santos '00 (Benfica)
GK Bill Hamid '90 (D.C. United)
GK David Ochoa '01 (Real Salt Lake)
GK depth continues to be a problem for the US. Hamid is what he is. Dos Santos and Ochoa are both unproven and are a long way from the USMNT in competitive games. Dos Santos occasionally makes the bench for Benfica B. Ochoa was injured for much of 2020, which ruined his chance of winning the starting job.

Matt Turner would be here if the Revs weren't in the playoffs, but regardless there just isn't a lot of established talent. But in any event, it would be nice to see more breadth of talent at GK.

RB Julian Araujo '01 (LA Galaxy)
RB Kyle Duncan '97 (NYRB)
CB Aaron Long '92 (NYRB)
CB Mark McKenzie '99 (Philadelphia Union)
CB Mauricio Pineda '97 (Chicago Fire)
CB Walker Zimmerman '93 (Nashville SC)
LB Marco Farfan '98 (Portland Timbers)
LB Sam Vines '99 (Colorado Rapids)
A reasonable crew. At RB, Duncan is the offense-first option and Araujo is the defense-first option. Both will have a tough time cracking the USMNT with the way things are going at that position.

Long and Zimmerman are two of the small group of veterans on this squad. I think McKenzie will be given a big chance for the USMNT by the end of this WC cycle. There's also a strong chance McKenzie will be sold this winter. The real story here is the big win for @67YAZ in the form of Pineda's first call up.

Vines was able to noticeably improve his offensive contributions in his second season as a starter. Farfan has the weakest rationale for a call up of all the defenders, but we don't have a ton of LB options.

Atlanta may have opted to not release Miles Robinson and George Bello ahead of CCL. Bryan Reynolds and Chase Gasper may become available in the next few days depending on playoff results.

CM Kellyn Acosta '95 (Colorado Rapids)
CM Frankie Amaya '00 (FC Cincinnati)
CM/AM Brenden Aaronson '00 (Philadelphia Union)
CM/AM Sebastian Lletget '92 (LA Galaxy)
AM Cole Bassett '01 (Colorado Rapids)
It's hard to believe that Kellyn Acosta is only 25.

This roster is light on defense-minded CMs. I'm pretty confident that either Tanner Tessmann or Cristian Roldan will be called up, depending on the loser of the Seattle-Dallas game. Gianluca Busio or Hassani Dotson might get a call too if they get knocked out.

It's weird that Yueill wasn't called in. Another deserving CM option would be Eryk Williamson, who had a great breakout year for Portland. However, he left their last game injured and appears to be unfit.


WG Efrain Alvarez '02 (LA Galaxy)
WG Paul Arriola '95 (D.C. United)
WG Djordje Mihailovic '98 (Chicago Fire)
WG Chris Mueller '96 (Orlando City)
FW Ayo Akinola '00 (Toronto FC)
FW Daryl Dike '00 (Orlando City)
Efra played for the US at the U15 level, but has been with Mexico since, including official U17 games. Alvarez would need to file a one-time switch to play for the US, so this is purely a recruiting call and he won't be eligible to play.

Jonathan Lewis has slid down the pecking order, it seems.

Akinola and Dike are interesting forward options. It's hard to rank them against each other or against Gioacchini/Soto. It's just wide open competition right now.




The bottom line is that many of these guys are not particularly close to a full-strength USMNT. Some of these players are under consideration for YNT competitions like Olympic qualifying or even the U20s, and others may be candidates for the Gold Cup if Berhalter goes with a B team. Nonetheless, even at positions where the USMNT has a firm starter, there's a ton of jockeying for backup slots and places just a bit down the depth chart. Since this whole generation is young, there's still some separation within the field that hasn't fully occurred.
 

67YAZ

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The real story here is the big win for @67YAZ in the form of Pineda's first call up.
Our man, Mo! So happy for him. His coaches and teammates rave about him and work ethic. He plays hard and smart, just a kid who is very easy to root for. I suspect Gregg will appreciate having him in camp as an example-setter and culture-builder, which may be enough to keep him around the squad at a thin position.

Really hoping he can get in a match.
 

Titans Bastard

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Titans Bastard

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Marcinkowski replaces Ochoa. Marcinkowski is a rare US U23 goalkeeper who is actually getting minutes, having supplanted Daniel Vega in SJ midway through the season. I think he'd probably start for the US U23s in Olympic qualifiers, though Kreis might look to an over-23 player at the actual Olympics if we get that far.

View: https://twitter.com/USMNT/status/1334608932686467073
 

Titans Bastard

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View: https://twitter.com/ArnoldcommaJon/status/1334966228012716035



CONCACAF made yet another round of COVID-related adjustments to the WCQ calendar. FIFA has approved extended international windows during this process which will allow for three matches per window to make up for lost time. Here's the gist of it:

March 2021: First Round matches. USMNT schedules friendlies, presumably.

June 2021: First Round concludes. Second Round WCQ home-and-aways played to determine the last three Octagon participants. USMNT plays in CONCACAF Nations League SF + final or 3rd place game.

July 2021: CONCACAF Gold Cup

September 2021: The Octo begins
@A/F qualifier (El Salvador/T&T?)
vs. B/E qualifier (Panama/Haiti?)
@Honduras

October 2021
vs. Jamaica
@C/D qualifier (Canada/Curaçao?)
vs. Costa Rica

November 2021
vs. Mexico
@Jamaica

January 2022
vs. A/F qualifier (El Salvador/T&T?)
@B/E qualifier (Panama/Haiti?)
vs. Honduras

March 2022
@Mexico
vs. C/D qualifier (Canada/Curaçao?)
@Costa Rica


That list window will really be squeaky bum time if we've dropped unnecessary points earlier in the process.
 

Titans Bastard

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The US vs. El Salvador game is TONIGHT at 7:30 ET on UniMás, TUDN, and ESPN News.

One note that didn't make it into this thread yet: Daryl Dike picked up a minor injury and won't be available. I don't have clear expectations for what the lineup will look like.
 

Titans Bastard

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It looks like the lineup is this:
Akinola
Arriola ---------------------Mueller
Aaronson -- Lletget
Yueill
Vines --- McKenzie -- Long -- Araujo
Hamid​

First caps for Araujo, Mueller, and Akinola.
 

DJnVa

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Who are we watching that could conceivably play a decent-ish role on USMNT--Olympics or WC? Akinola? Yueill? Vines?
 

Titans Bastard

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Who are we watching that could conceivably play a decent-ish role on USMNT--Olympics or WC? Akinola? Yueill? Vines?
I wouldn't say anyone here is on the verge of winning a starting spot for the USMNT, but there are a lot of backup slots that are really up in the air.

- McKenzie is a ball-playing CB who is our best distributor aside from Brooks. How will he look at the NT level?
- Aaronson is a versatile player who, at his best, is probably an 8/10 tweener. He's a guy who I could definitely see slotting into the McKennie and Musah positions. Reasonably creative & technical, excellent defensive work rate. Just sold for ~$8m to Red Bull Salzburg.
- Akinola — yet another forward candidate in a crowded field that hasn't differentiated itself. His forte is speed, intelligent runs, and good finishing — he's not a hold-up forward, really.
- Yueill & Vines — we don't have many established DMs and LBs in the squad, both are potential backups.
 

rguilmar

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Who are we watching that could conceivably play a decent-ish role on USMNT--Olympics or WC? Akinola? Yueill? Vines?
For me, the two soon-to-be-former-Philly guys, Aaronson (off to RB Salzburg) and McKenzie (likely off to Europe in January too)
 

Titans Bastard

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Araujo, McKenzie, Vines, Yueill, Aaronson, and Akinola are eligible for the Olympic team. Araujo is eligible for the 2021 U20 team and 2024 Olympic team as well.
 

Titans Bastard

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Sam Vines played a nice ball in for Mueller earlier in that sequence, too. He was a competent but boring LB in 2019 but added some offensive flair this year. (edit: Matt Doyle just stole this comment!)
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Header like that and Brian McBride in the building, match director is negligent for not cutting to him.
 

Titans Bastard

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FYI: From what I understand, this is pretty close to El Salvador's best squad. For whatever that's worth.
 

DJnVa

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Okay, 5-0. Maybe time to watch something else.

Mueller gave up the hat trick to give it to Akinola.
 

Catcher Block

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That's 5. On a hat trick, and passes it up.

Now all that's left is to see who establishes themselves as a leader if/when the CONCACAFing starts.
 

Titans Bastard

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El Salvador is playing poorly, but it's nice to see the B team connecting passes and creating chances. I've been watching the US play these types of teams (Central America, Scandinavian B squads) in January camps for 15 years and usually the soccer that the US plays is much uglier.
 

Kliq

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If our B team can wreck the bad CONCACAF sides that is great. We don't need Pulisic and Co. having to fight for their lives, save them for the Mexicos and Costa Ricas.
 

67YAZ

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Wow. Took a peak at the score to see if I wanted to start from kick off or jump right into the match. Just, wow.

Now let’s get Pineda his cap and this will bet a perfect outing.
 

Titans Bastard

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Mihailovic on and Kyle Duncan makes his debut.

Fun fact: Kyle Duncan is Tim Weah's cousin.
 

Titans Bastard

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Well, there's only so much you can take away from a game like that. Nice to see some young and inexperienced players show well and it's good that they were able to get some time to learn Berhalter's system. I suppose we'll see a lot of this crowd in January as well.