USMNT: Hold My Beer

Titans Bastard

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2021-22 scheduling update.

Reports are that the USSF is close to finalizing a friendly on 3/25. They also want to play friendlies before and after Nations League.



 

Titans Bastard

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The USSF held an election for VP, which has been vacant since Cindy Parlow Cone's elevation to president. On the second ballot, Bill Taylor defeated Cobi Jones. You know who Jones is; Taylor is the president of the Idaho Youth Soccer Association. Like with all presidents of state-level adult and youth associations, I know nothing about him.

View: https://twitter.com/JeffreyCarlisle/status/1365761759995326464
 

Titans Bastard

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The USSF announced a game against Jamaica on March 25 in Wiener Neustadt, Austria. That means the March friendlies will likely have a lot of squad rotation, as the matches are only three days apart.

It's not the most exciting friendly, but Jamaica have some good players (and reportedly just picked up Michail Antonio) and should at least be a better test than our last few friendlies.

Side note, I hadn't realized that Ravel Morrison started playing for Jamaica as of November!
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Worth posting the corny hype video:

Amazing midfield core after cycling through seemingly dozens of combinations over the last decade.
 

Titans Bastard

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That's a big get for the MNT staff — something that did not seem achievable on this timeline as recently as six months ago. Our central midfield is going to be really competitive for years to come. Of McKennie/Adams/Musah, the oldest (McKennie) will be 31 for the 2030 WC. And of course, a lot is going to happen between now and then with new prospects arriving.

View: https://twitter.com/USMNTvideos/status/1371464340654714885
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Kudos to the coaching staff (Nico Estevez especially) building/maintaining the connection. Also sounds like the November camp played a big role as well in getting him onboard with the program and seeing so much talent of the same generation. I know there was a lot said at the time about the core guys going out of their way to welcome him.

More here
 

Titans Bastard

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Kudos to the coaching staff (Nico Estevez especially) building/maintaining the connection. Also sounds like the November camp played a big role as well in getting him onboard with the program and seeing so much talent of the same generation. I know there was a lot said at the time about the core guys going out of their way to welcome him.

More here
You can tell that in these modern times, there's a lot of Instagram Diplomacy. Musah cited IG support from USMNT fans, though he may just have been buttering them up, but other NT guys interacted with him a lot too.
 

McBride11

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That's a big get for the MNT staff — something that did not seem achievable on this timeline as recently as six months ago. Our central midfield is going to be really competitive for years to come. Of McKennie/Adams/Musah, the oldest (McKennie) will be 31 for the 2030 WC. And of course, a lot is going to happen between now and then with new prospects arriving.

View: https://twitter.com/USMNTvideos/status/1371464340654714885
Is Reyna underperforming and out the outside? Or these 3 are just that talented?

Amazing how we went from CP and scraps to multiple legitimate international players.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I don't put much weight on this kind of stuff at all but for anybody who wants to start reading into emojis, here you go. They are apparently friends from their days coming through the Arsenal academy together.

Balogun is at a cross-roads in his career, as his reluctance to sign a new contract with Arsenal leaves his future undetermined after this summer. He may still resign with Arsenal but has interest from other clubs in England and Germany. Meanwhile, his international career with England hasn't really been progressing at all. I think the most likely scenario is that he wants to first get more clarity on his club future this summer, start playing for the first team somewhere next year, and then will make a decision on his international future after that. Musah committing to the USMNT can't hurt our chances, at the very least.

View: https://twitter.com/dylanwalsh_/status/1371547219258658820
 
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Titans Bastard

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Is Reyna underperforming and out the outside? Or these 3 are just that talented?
Reyna hasn't been in great form for a while now, but regardless: if we stick with a 4-3-3, he's competing for a position on the wing. He's not a classic winger, but there's certainly room for a player who likes to drift inside on the RW when you have Dest at RB.

Unlike the #10 role in a 4-2-3-1, the dual #8s of a 4-3-3 are asked to do more defending than would make sense for Reyna — he wouldn't be as good at it and it would be a waste of his talents. I think that's true generally and it's especially true when we are increasingly focused on pressing in the midfield.

You could play Reyna centrally by shifting to a 4-2-3-1, but that would require benching one of the dual #8s. For the moment, that aspect is not a huge deal: the only CMs who are unbenchable right now are Adams and McKennie, and not Musah or Lletget or whoever. But a 4-2-3-1 would also probably require McKennie to have a bit less freedom and I'm not sure that's what we want.

Alternatively, perhaps Berhalter will develop a couple of different setups that he can roll out as appropriate. It's hard to know because we've had so few freaking games!!

Lastly, the reality of injuries and the intensity of the pandemic-influenced WCQ schedule means that some of these very difficult roster decisions won't actually exist for the time being. When you are playing three games across a single FIFA window, there will need to be a ton of squad rotation.

Amazing how we went from CP and scraps to multiple legitimate international players.
I don't think it's a flash in the pan, either. We got lucky with players developed by other countries in Dest and Musah, but there's plenty of US-developed talent and there's more in the pipeline.
 

Titans Bastard

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I don't put much weight on this kind of stuff at all but for anybody who wants to start reading into emojis, here you go. They are apparently friends from their days coming through the Arsenal academy together.

Balogun is at a cross-roads in his career, as his reluctance to sign a new contract with Arsenal leaves his future undetermined after this summer. He may still resign with Arsenal but has interest from other clubs in England and Germany. Meanwhile, his international career with England hasn't really been progressing at all. I think the most likely scenario is that he wants to first get more clarity on his club future this summer, start playing for the first team somewhere next year, and then will make a decision on his international future after that. Musah committing to the USMNT can't hurt our chances, at the very least.

View: https://twitter.com/dylanwalsh_/status/1371547219258658820
It's worth pursuing Balogun because he looks like an interesting prospect. That said, it's really hard to know how he stacks up among the stable of young forwards entering the USMNT pool.

You just never know when a player has barely played at the first team level.

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/aug/19/gedion-zelalem-usa-soccer-star-arsenal-rangers
 

rguilmar

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Is Reyna underperforming and out the outside? Or these 3 are just that talented?

Amazing how we went from CP and scraps to multiple legitimate international players.
I think most people have been assuming that we are looking at CP and Reyna on the outside and Musah in the middle with McKennie and Adams in a 4-3-3. Musah has been playing RW (when he plays) with Valencia but has stated his preference to play CM. So there is room for them all. I'm not too worried about Reyna's form. He's been dinged up, he's young, and Dortmund are talented and underperforming. You can see why they would lean on Sancho (finally returned to form), Reus, and the younger Hazard (who is their #10) to get them into a UCL spot.

Of course, these kids are so damn young that a lot can change between now and late 2022, never mind 2026.
 

McBride11

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Reyna hasn't been in great form for a while now, but regardless: if we stick with a 4-3-3, he's competing for a position on the wing. He's not a classic winger, but there's certainly room for a player who likes to drift inside on the RW when you have Dest at RB.

Unlike the #10 role in a 4-2-3-1, the dual #8s of a 4-3-3 are asked to do more defending than would make sense for Reyna — he wouldn't be as good at it and it would be a waste of his talents. I think that's true generally and it's especially true when we are increasingly focused on pressing in the midfield.

You could play Reyna centrally by shifting to a 4-2-3-1, but that would require benching one of the dual #8s. For the moment, that aspect is not a huge deal: the only CMs who are unbenchable right now are Adams and McKennie, and not Musah or Lletget or whoever. But a 4-2-3-1 would also probably require McKennie to have a bit less freedom and I'm not sure that's what we want.

Alternatively, perhaps Berhalter will develop a couple of different setups that he can roll out as appropriate. It's hard to know because we've had so few freaking games!!

Lastly, the reality of injuries and the intensity of the pandemic-influenced WCQ schedule means that some of these very difficult roster decisions won't actually exist for the time being. When you are playing three games across a single FIFA window, there will need to be a ton of squad rotation.



I don't think it's a flash in the pan, either. We got lucky with players developed by other countries in Dest and Musah, but there's plenty of US-developed talent and there's more in the pipeline.
I think most people have been assuming that we are looking at CP and Reyna on the outside and Musah in the middle with McKennie and Adams in a 4-3-3. Musah has been playing RW (when he plays) with Valencia but has stated his preference to play CM. So there is room for them all. I'm not too worried about Reyna's form. He's been dinged up, he's young, and Dortmund are talented and underperforming. You can see why they would lean on Sancho (finally returned to form), Reus, and the younger Hazard (who is their #10) to get them into a UCL spot.

Of course, these kids are so damn young that a lot can change between now and late 2022, never mind 2026.

Thank you both for these awesome responses. For a variety of reasons my soccer viewing has sadly declined. Getting some real, non COVID limited, USMNT action will be great.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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It's worth pursuing Balogun because he looks like an interesting prospect. That said, it's really hard to know how he stacks up among the stable of young forwards entering the USMNT pool.

You just never know when a player has barely played at the first team level.

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/aug/19/gedion-zelalem-usa-soccer-star-arsenal-rangers
Absolutely true, and Zelalem is certainly a cautionary tale in the overhyping of teenagers.

I would be mildly surprised, however, if Balogun doesn't end up at least a good Championship level striker and probably a Premier League player, with some chance to be more than that. He has a very intriguing skillset and by all reports there is a lot of interest from other clubs. He isn't just a run-of-the-mill youth prospect putting up numbers in the reserves. Young players with that level of scouting attention frequently fail to make it at a club as big as Arsenal, but they don't often end up flaming out as badly as Zelalem.
 

Titans Bastard

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The Guardian reports that Reyna is out for the Northern Ireland friendly for COVID/quarantine reasons. From what I can gather, there might be a greater chance that Bundesliga players will play in the Jamaica game due to German quarantine regulations treating travel to Austria more favorably. But I'm not really sure.

Fifa has ruled that, because of the pandemic, clubs are not compelled to release players for the upcoming international window. Dortmund have refused to allow Gio Reyna to travel to Northern Ireland where his USA team are scheduled to play on 28 March.
https://www.theguardian.com/football/2021/mar/16/jude-bellingham-told-he-cannot-travel-to-join-up-with-england-squad
 

Titans Bastard

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Roster:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge/BEL; 4/0), Chituru Odunze (Leicester City/ENG; 0/0), Zack Steffen (Manchester City/ENG; 19/0)

DEFENDERS (10): John Brooks* (Wolfsburg/GER; 39/3), Reggie Cannon* (Boavista/POR; 13/0), Sergiño Dest (Barcelona/ESP; 5/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 19/3), Matt Miazga (Anderlecht/BEL; 20/1), Erik Palmer-Brown (Austria Wien/AUT; 2/0), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 41/1), Bryan Reynolds (Roma/ITA; 0/0), Chris Richards* (Hoffenheim/GER; 1/0), Antonee Robinson (Fulham/ENG; 8/0)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg/AUT; 2/1), Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids; 25/2) Tyler Adams* (RB Leipzig/GER; 12/1), Luca de la Torre (Heracles/NED; 1/0), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 18/4), Yunus Musah (Valencia/ESP; 2/0), Owen Otasowie (Wolverhampton Wanderers/ENG; 1/0)

FORWARDS: (6): Daryl Dike (Barnsley/ENG; 1/0), Nicholas Gioacchini (Caen/FRA; 2/2), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG; 34/14), Gio Reyna* (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 2/1), Josh Sargent* (Werder Bremen/GER; 12/5), Tim Weah* (Lille/FRA; 10/1)


Brooks, Cannon, Richards, Adams, Reyna, Sargent, and Weah will leave camp after the Jamaica game.

Long, Lletget, and Acosta make the trip from MLS. First call up for Reynolds. Palmer-Brown and de la Torre return to the fold after getting a few caps a while ago.

Other Euro-based players who didn't get the call are McKennie (slight injury), Yedlin, Carter-Vickers, McKenzie, Arriola (injured), Morris (long-term injured), Konrad, Hoppe, and Siebatcheu. It's worth nothing that clubs could have refused to release players entirely, which could explain why a player of your choice wasn't called up.

Okay, as I type I'm seeing some updates from a Berhalter presser:

Siebatcheu and Hoppe wouldn't be allowed to go to the second game, so he decided not to call them up.
 

67YAZ

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That’s a strong roster. Only disappointed in missing Hoppe to see what how he does in camp.

Edit: Am I paranoid to be a lot more leery of Jamaica with Michail Antonio in the fold? Obviously, this is just a friendly and Antonio’s first run out with the squad, but he provides them with a very simple, direct tactical set up: defend with 10, have Antonio hold the ball up, let Bailey run off him, repeat as necessary. He’s also a load in the box. Seems to me that Jamaica has a key cog for an effective counter-attacking national team.
 
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wilked

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That’s a strong roster. Only disappointed in missing Hoppe to see what how he does in camp.

Edit: Am I paranoid to be a lot more leery of Jamaica with Michail Antonio in the fold? Obviously, this is just a friendly and Antonio’s first run out with the squad, but he provides them with a very simple, direct tactical set up: defend with 10, have Antonio hold the ball up, let Bailey run off him, repeat as necessary. He’s also a load in the box. Seems to me that Jamaica has a key cog for an effective counter-attacking national team.
Looks like Antonio not making the trip

https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/56440440

West Ham's Michail Antonio was not one of the six England-born players called up by Jamaica for the first time, as a 19-man squad to face the USA was named.
 

Titans Bastard

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This Jamaica squad is missing some of their best players: in addition to Antonio's absence, there's no Leon Bailey or Andre Blake, for example.

The squad does have six uncapped English-born players who they've apparently recruited, from Watford, Rotherham, Wigan, Brentford, Reading, and Blackburn.
 

67YAZ

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I should have clarified, I’m no so much concerned about Jamaica for this upcoming friendly. Mostly, I just want to see the US A-team play together and avoid injury. But WCQs look a little tougher with Jamaica adding this talent. I can’t help but see the kind of straightforward tactical set up that is easy for a national team to execute effectively even with short prep compared to the more sophisticated pass-n-press systems.
 

Pesky Pole

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So did anyone listen to the press conference. I’m wondering what the comments were.


“For those listening to the ongoing USMNT news conference through the U.S. Soccer app: yes, I heard the hot mic comments after Christian Pulisic left the room.

Not sure yet whether the people talking were annoyed with me or Christian, but I'd certainly like to know”
 

Titans Bastard

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USA vs. Jamaica at 1pm ET today on ESPN2/UniMas/TUDN. I won't be able to watch this one live.

Jamaica's squad isn't their strongest, so this may not be the toughest test. I'm really curious to see what Berhalter does about DM given Adams' withdrawal from camp. Yueill is with the U23s, as are a couple of other candidates.
 

DJnVa

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So did anyone listen to the press conference. I’m wondering what the comments were.


“For those listening to the ongoing USMNT news conference through the U.S. Soccer app: yes, I heard the hot mic comments after Christian Pulisic left the room.

Not sure yet whether the people talking were annoyed with me or Christian, but I'd certainly like to know”

Jonathan Tannenwald

@thegoalkeeper


Replying to
@Paul__Dawkins
Pulisic was out of the room when the hot mic moment happened. It was two USSF staffers expressing their not being surprised that I asked him. That was it.
 

Pesky Pole

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Replying to
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Pulisic was out of the room when the hot mic moment happened. It was two USSF staffers expressing their not being surprised that I asked him. That was it.
Thanks. Once he deleted the tweet, I thought it was going to get buried. Even though Christian whiffed on the opportunity to address the much larger elephant in the room, I'm glad the hot mic moment wasn't him saying something worse.
 

cromulence

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Not super thrilled that he managed to shoehorn 3 MLS guys in there, but I guess it's just the first friendly.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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I don't like Lletget over Aaronson but I get it, and there's not really any exciting midfielders that do Kellyn Acosta things more notably than he does, so I can see that too.

Long over Richards is the one that just seems BSish to me, but I guess I can see why he still wants that Brooks/Long pairing getting reps.
 

Titans Bastard

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My theory on Long and Richards is that Berhalter didn't want to introduce additional inexperience/unfamiliarity into the spine when he already had to play Acosta at the 6 due to lack of better options on this roster.

I'm fine with Lletget over Aaronson. Lletget has never really had a bad game for the USMNT and is a bit underrated. Aaronson still has to prove that he can be effective and influential when he plays centrally. He'll bring value with the press, but he struggles to get on the ball. He's been more effective thus far as a pinched-in wide player.

I wouldn't be surprised to see an Aaronson/Dest combination on the right flank against Northern Ireland.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Does ESPN do game replays? Have an afternoon appointment and this game is starting later than I thought it was.
 

Kliq

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Does ESPN do game replays? Have an afternoon appointment and this game is starting later than I thought it was.
In my experience they have replays all the time up for VOD for Serie A and Bundesliga games so I would imagine they would for USMMT games. Not sure how quick the turnaround is though.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I don't watch USMNT very often but here's what I see in this one:

Great to see a US team that can really dominate possession (albeit against a poor opponent) and retain the ball consistently in the attacking half!

On the other hand, lots of trouble creating chances against a low block, I think largely because the players through the middle (Sargent and the two 8s) really are just a level below where they need to be. Musah is super talented but still really raw. I'm not sure what Sargent offers, he doesn't seem involved in the link up play but he's not really doing much to get on the end of chances in the box either. Lletget seems like a solid system player but not the guy who will unlock a defense (although I thought his set piece delivery was pretty good).

Dest has looked great on the left. Most of his best work has been while tucking inside almost like an attacking midfielder on the left. He is providing what you'd hope Lletget could provide, but isn't.

If I was managing this team, I'd think about moving Reyna central so that he could combine better with Pulisic. The current setup makes it hard for the best attacking players to work together. All the best stuff has involved Pulisic and Dest combining on the left. If it was a 4-2-3-1 with Reyna central, then that trio of players could combine.

Every time Jamaica has managed to get the ball into our defensive third, the back line has looked pretty fragile.
 

Section30

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Reyna looks like he is in pain, he keeps holding his right arm across his middle.

Dest looks great in his combination play confidence with the ball.
 

DJnVa

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Some good stuff out there despite some rustiness from Pulisic and Reyna (maybe not rustiness in his case, but he should have bagged one). Imagine when McKennie and Adams are added?
 

Section30

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Wow, we really suck on defending set plays/corners. I've seen two maybe three won headers on the defensive corner kicks. Three maybe four on offensive corners.