USMNT: Hold My Beer

Jimy Hendrix

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Who are the 8s who can actually push the ball forwards after Musah & McKennie?

Acosta’s time looking good in the pool has mostly been at the 6. Aaronson and Roldan have both looked much better on the wing than the 8. Berhalter seems committed to Reyna further forward to maximize his time near the goal. It seems limited to “hope Lletget has a good one”, which he hasn’t been notably doing recently.
 

rguilmar

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Disagree completely about hunger. The one thing I will credit them for is that Berhalter has them playing exceptionally hard, at times to their detriment. It doesn’t have to be this physically demanding but I think they’ve had a superb effort with absolutely scant execution thus far
There have been some definite strengths of the team in the Gregg era. Grit, determination, togetherness are all part of it. Generally speaking the US comes out of the gate the stronger team, which is a credit to Gregg as well. But there are very real issues. I think that the results this summer glossed over a lot of performance issues. Of the 8 games this summer, 6 were 1-0, one was against Martinique, and 1 was the 3-2 thriller over Mexico, all three goals coming on set pieces. This team has problems creating chances in the run of play. Summarizing my beef (or is it beefs???) with Gregg:

1. Squad selection- Even if you are happy with the 26 (or 25 post Weah injury) that Gregg named- and I was not totally thrilled- why did he not bring more players? There were several open slots. Was Weah even replaced? The exclusion of creative midfielders who can link up with the attackers was obvious over the summer, and painfully obvious now. We have those players in Reyna (when not injured and playing as he is asked to play at Dortmund), Luca de la Torre, and a lesser extent Green. These players could have been called in without replacing any of Gregg's binkies. I am not even getting into Musah right now as he is just getting back from injury.
2. In Game Management- This has been a problem for a while. Gregg rarely makes changes tactically during a game and is very slow to make any non-injury substitutions. Even when every indication is that what the US is doing is not working, he refuses to make a change in terms of how we play or who is on the field. I think maybe against Qatar he made some halftime tactical changes, but that is the exception the proves the rule.
3. Player positioning and roles- I'll keep banging this drum. Just ask players to play where they play with their clubs and to do the same things that the clubs ask them to do on the field. This is especially true for the top players in the pool. Players spend their lives with their club teams and that is how they make their living. They come to play for the USMNT occasionally during camps. But Gregg has to "see" things in players that others don't, so we get shit like Hoppe as a winger or refusing to put Reyna in the middle where he now plays at Dortmund. Others are less egregious but still there, like putting Dest as a RB on an island defensively where at Barca they know he isn't good at defense so he either is given support or played as a RWB. He does play LB/LWB in an emergency, not when there are two other options.
4. Gregg's System- He is so stuck on his system and refuses to deviate at all. The formation and tactics are outdated by now, and more importantly they do not play to our player's strengths. There is so much "square peg in a round hole" here. I could care less about formations really, but there needs to be someone between the lines to connect the midfield to the attackers. Otherwise you have Pulisic and Reyna dropping back too far to receive the ball, and leaving the striker even more isolated than they already are.
5. The whole is less than the sum of their parts- pick your saying, but this team has consistently underperformed its talent under Gregg. Like I said, results covered up poor performances, and in soccer performances are more predictive of future results. I had less of an issue with a 0-0 tie in El Salvador and more of an issue with how the team performed. You can tie 0-0 and pepper the opponents goal all game long, hit the post 3 times etc... and I would be ok with that because that shit happens in soccer. But that is not what we are seeing here, and quite honestly that is not what we have seen in a long, long time.

The players deserve some of the blame here, but the problems in attack have been so consistent and for such a long time that most of the blame lands squarely on Gregg. His stubborn refusal to change how he plays has led to poor roster decisions and poor performances. I've been done with him for a while but realize that he is who we are stuck with because he got results. The results are just catching up to the actual performances.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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This team doesn’t have the skill / plan to break an organized defense down and they play so ponderously from the back that the defense is almost always organized.

The one goal was from a nice counterpress, which I wish we were committed to more as I think it better suits the team. Gregg has to his credit moved in that direction, but based on the weird 2019 setup it’s not his first inclination to do so.
 

tmracht

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This was not disastrous but man is it demoralizing. I'm not sure what the answer is with Weah, McKinnkie, Reyna all unavailable, Dest going down but the amount of times Pulisic had to drop to the halfway line to get a touch shows how ineffective this group in this arrangement. Especially against any team that is set to absorb pressure.

And at this point teams are quite content to not wilt against the team. The defense is fine, but there's no way to unlock. Gregg will most definitely survive the window or the next but he needs to rethink how he's going to deploy his squad. Pefok rarely had a runner to play off, the one time he did he headed it to close to the keeper as Aaronson overlapped.

I'm not saying they need to play like Brazil circa 1994, but it's going to make your life tougher when you HAVE to convert each chance since you only get a couple a game.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Pefok had similar problems to Dike in the Gold Cup, mitigated somewhat by his better level of technicality.

If you’re gonna play a different type of striker but not adjust the game plan at all to play to those strengths, why even bother?
 

teddykgb

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Pefok had similar problems to Dike in the Gold Cup, mitigated somewhat by his better level of technicality.

If you’re gonna play a different type of striker but not adjust the game plan at all to play to those strengths, why even bother?
At this point I think we are so bereft of talent at ST that we need to be looking at 2 striker setups. Theoretically these big guys should be able to hold the ball up and bring wingers in but in practicality we are asking them to kill long passes in a crowd of 3-5 and I’m not sure it’s their fault the attack dies.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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The more I think about it, I retreat to what is kinda my position all along but I constantly let myself get ahead of.

As long as the US squeaks into the actual WC somehow, this whole 2022 cycle is just the dress rehearsal for 2026. The team is too young and too inexperienced and what really matters is them getting this first taste of experience.

2026 gives us this core in what should be their mid-career primes (earlier even with some of the super young dudes), plus more of the talented guys coming up behind filling the ranks out and fewer career mediocrities. Combine that with a better tactical coach (or even Berhalter with a few more years understanding what he can and cannot achieve in the international game, maybe) and we will maybe have something.

Progress in the player pool being faster than we might have hoped obscures how deep the damn hole was for the past 5 - 7 years.
 

Pesky Pole

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Who are the 8s who can actually push the ball forwards after Musah & McKennie?

Acosta’s time looking good in the pool has mostly been at the 6. Aaronson and Roldan have both looked much better on the wing than the 8. Berhalter seems committed to Reyna further forward to maximize his time near the goal. It seems limited to “hope Lletget has a good one”, which he hasn’t been notably doing recently.
I’m admittedly biased as a Union fan but Leon Flach should have been on the Gold Cup roster. He’s a younger faster Bedoya which is something this team needs right now given McKennie’s being a bad teammate. It would be impossible to bed him in now but that was an opportunity missed to see if he could step up. They are missing the guy who gets pissed off during the game and forces something different to happen.
 

DJnVa

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The more I think about it, I retreat to what is kinda my position all along but I constantly let myself get ahead of.

As long as the US squeaks into the actual WC somehow, this whole 2022 cycle is just the dress rehearsal for 2026. The team is too young and too inexperienced and what really matters is them getting this first taste of experience.

2026 gives us this core in what should be their mid-career primes (earlier even with some of the super young dudes), plus more of the talented guys coming up behind filling the ranks out and fewer career mediocrities. Combine that with a better tactical coach (or even Berhalter with a few more years understanding what he can and cannot achieve in the international game, maybe) and we will maybe have something.

Progress in the player pool being faster than we might have hoped obscures how deep the damn hole was for the past 5 - 7 years.
This makes sense. With young players in any sport the issue is consistency. Qualify and hope maybe the underlying talent does something amazing.
 

67YAZ

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A grab bag of thoughts:

Winning is instrumental in building culture, but the real test is when you’re down. Berhalter has done an awesome job remaking the team atmosphere, creating a place where guys are pumped to get to camp and pull hard for each other on and off the pitch. That’s the sea change we needed after the disastrous collapse of the Klinsman era. But this is the biggest test yet. It’s going to be a long few days - everyone together in camp, a long flight, sitting in a hotel room - they’ve got to block out all the noise and be ready to win.

As @rguilmar has pointed out again and again, Berhalter has real limitations in crafting a system to make the most of his players’ talents in the limited time of national team camps, which is compounded by poor in-match adjustments. I was really hopeful that the Gold Cup knock out rounds had showed us something different on this front, especially the second half tweaks against Jamaica that worked so well. I’m seeing similarities here to Gareth Southgate in that an excellent man manager needs a tactically minded assistant manager to lean on - but doesn’t have one on staff. This is a correctable problem, but it requires the manager to admit a limitation and make a big change to his set up.

last, I was most disappointed in Adam’s momentary lack of discipline. He’s a bell weather player for this squad. He needs to keep his cool and run these matches.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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This makes sense. With young players in any sport the issue is consistency. Qualify and hope maybe the underlying talent does something amazing.
If we got seven or more points this window I would absolutely not be saying those things, but it is my well fortified defensible position which I will retreat to when things look underwhelming in this cycle.
 

McBride11

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Weston sent back to Italy and Dest won’t play. Yuell added to the roster…..
https://www.frontrowsoccer.com/2021/09/06/usmnt-roster-update-mckennie-flies-back-to-italy-yueill-added-to-the-squad-dest-out-with-ankle-injury/#:~:text=Yueill, 24, has been added,returning to Italy later Monday.

Yikes. I mean how bad was Weston?

Will this impact his long term prospects? He seems a top 3 player so I feel they overlook this long term. But this sucks for the team and this window
 

ddeveau

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last, I was most disappointed in Adam’s momentary lack of discipline. He’s a bell weather player for this squad. He needs to keep his cool and run these matches.
I know Stu Holden didn't seem to make the right connection, but we realize Adams took out Kaye two minutes after Kaye wiped out CP, right? Maybe you still consider this a lack of discipline, but I'm okay with him trying to protect Pulisic. Granted, the timing could've been better.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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I know Stu Holden didn't seem to make the right connection, but we realize Adams took out Kaye two minutes after Kaye wiped out CP, right? Maybe you still consider this a lack of discipline, but I'm okay with him trying to protect Pulisic. Granted, the timing could've been better.
Time and place. Get your revenge by qualifying.

This team is not a lock for the World Cup and it is the most important 7 months in the recent history of U.S. soccer. There is no time for bullshit revenge tactics.

Cautions do not clear in FIFA World Cup prelims. Suspensions are likely to play a significant role in who moves on and who does not.
 

teddykgb

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And he didn’t even send a message. It was a weak shoulder barge and the other player dove to kill an extremely promising counter. It accomplished less than nothing and was completely idiotic. If you want to leave one in on him wait for a real opportunity
 

rguilmar

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Ok, so we started with 26. Since then:
Weah (winger)- hurt
Steffen (GK)- COVID protocol
Reyna (winger)- hurt?
Dest (RB/RWB)- hurt ankle
McKennie (#8)- discipline

We have left:
2 GK- Turner, Horvath
6 CB- Brooks, Robinson, McKenzie, Sands, Zimmerman, Ream
1 RB- Yedlin
2 LB- Robinson, Bello
2 DM- Adams, Acosta
CM-Lletget
5 Wingers- Aaronson, Konrad, Pulisic, Roldan, Reyna (?)
3 Strikers- Sargent, Pefok, Pepi

So of course adding another 6 in Yueill makes sense (I know the US probably was limited to MLS players at this point for replacements). Obviously hoping for a win, but this is… sub ideal.
 

67YAZ

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I know Stu Holden didn't seem to make the right connection, but we realize Adams took out Kaye two minutes after Kaye wiped out CP, right? Maybe you still consider this a lack of discipline, but I'm okay with him trying to protect Pulisic. Granted, the timing could've been better.
I’ve spent the better part of 3 decades as a too slow, hack defender and have cynically sliced down my fair share of attackers in threatening spaces. And for this unappreciated heroism, I’ve bee cursed at, carded, kicked, cleated, shoved, and once even slapped upside the head. I’ve also watched guys I had just wiped out step up and bury free kicks or bend in beautiful assists full well knowing that it’s my fault.

But the worst I ever felt was when this one dude, about 2 minutes after I put him on his ass, leaped right over me to bang in a picture perfect header. And then spent the rest of the match dribbling straight at me time and again. I eventually picked up a yellow and my captain yelled clear across the pitch to get my ass subbed off and stay off.

what Adams did was immature and counterproductive. He’s a smart kid. He’ll learn from it and be better for it. But we need better from the guys who wear the armband.
 

DJnVa

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Was the foul called a Sargent legit? It *seemed* like the player jumped over and into him, but I guess the ref thought Sargent undercut him. They never showed a replay at the game.
 

67YAZ

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Was the foul called a Sargent legit? It *seemed* like the player jumped over and into him, but I guess the ref thought Sargent undercut him. They never showed a replay at the game.
He cleared any contact by about a foot, but sold the undercut well. Mild stuff by CONCACAF standards.
 

Mr. Wednesday

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Was the foul called a Sargent legit? It *seemed* like the player jumped over and into him, but I guess the ref thought Sargent undercut him. They never showed a replay at the game.
I thought it looked like an undercut on the replay.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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That Sargent play also seems like exactly the type that refs are really worried about getting wrong. If you think there might be a foul where the infringing player gets a big advantage that may well lead to a chance, you see uncertain refs err on the side of making a call. If what you thought you saw didn’t happen but you stop play it is usually more easily forgiven then if you swallow your whistle and then see that what you thought you saw did happen on replay after a goal or a penalty.

tl;dr — attacking players who gain an advantage don’t usually get the benefit of the doubt if the ref isn’t completely certain
 

Jimy Hendrix

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The press are being very clubby and weird about the whole McKennie thing. Lotta “I know and it was bad, but I will not say” from former player pundits, not a lot of journalism. Privacy from the USMNT side makes sense for an internal disciplinary matter but the pundits going “ooh, ooh it’s bad, unforgivable, no details” is going to really rev up the more salacious than COVID violation rumors.

EDIT:This is probably just me being too online about this qualifying cycle. If I wasn’t seeing all the unspecified pundit tut tuts I would just assume the word COVID goes in front of protocol and move on, which is probably what it is.
 
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Titans Bastard

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The press are being very clubby and weird about the whole McKennie thing. Lotta “I know and it was bad, but I will not say” from former player pundits, not a lot of journalism. Privacy from the USMNT side makes sense for an internal disciplinary matter but the pundits going “ooh, ooh it’s bad, unforgivable, no details” is going to really rev up the more salacious than COVID violation rumors.

EDIT:This is probably just me being too online about this qualifying cycle. If I wasn’t seeing all the unspecified pundit tut tuts I would just assume the word COVID goes in front of protocol and move on, which is probably what it is.
I do think the details of the McKennie incident should be fair game for journalists because, as you say, journalists are not spokespeople for US Soccer.

That being said, we should be cognizant of the fact that we don't really have the equivalent of Daily Mail / Bild type tabloid outlets and journalists who are actually professionals may need a bit more time to corroborate the story with more sources.

I would also not be surprised if some American soccer journalists have quotes ready to go that have been embargoed until after the Honduras game.
 

dirtynine

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I’m fully bracing for a loss in H and the shitstorm that will follow. Things seem really wobbly right now. Turner may need a(nother) superhuman game to secure any kind of result.
 

Jeff Van GULLY

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Well does McKenzie's selfishness bring the squad together or do they fall apart? I have no love for Berthalter but I'm not sure a loss and him getting canned is the best for this team.
 

67YAZ

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Without McKennie and Gio, I wonder Berhalter will go back to the 3-4-3 for Honduras

----------------Turner------------------
Ream------Brooks-----Robinson
Yedlin---Lletget--Adams---Robinson
Konrad------Pefok--------Pulisic

In defense it's a 3-4-2-1.

In attack, Pulisic stays higher and cuts inside while Robinson provides width and Adams cover on the flank. On the other side, Konrad and Yedlin get to over/underlap each other to their heart's content while Lletget gets to hover around the half-space inside channel. In transition, it needs to snap into a 3-2-4-1 quickly so that Pefok is available to hold up and find Pulisic running upfield.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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I’m fully bracing for a loss in H and the shitstorm that will follow. Things seem really wobbly right now. Turner may need a(nother) superhuman game to secure any kind of result.
It's starting to feel like last cycle. If history repeats we will get a 3-0 or 3-1 fairly convincing win and things will stabilize for a little bit and everyone will take a deep breath, only to see the team put itself back in harm's way next time.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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The press are being very clubby and weird about the whole McKennie thing. Lotta “I know and it was bad, but I will not say” from former player pundits, not a lot of journalism. Privacy from the USMNT side makes sense for an internal disciplinary matter but the pundits going “ooh, ooh it’s bad, unforgivable, no details” is going to really rev up the more salacious than COVID violation rumors.

EDIT:This is probably just me being too online about this qualifying cycle. If I wasn’t seeing all the unspecified pundit tut tuts I would just assume the word COVID goes in front of protocol and move on, which is probably what it is.
What could it be? If this were the NBA we'd already be passing around grainy footage of him at a strip club and having a decent laugh about it.
 

DJnVa

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What could it be? If this were the NBA we'd already be passing around grainy footage of him at a strip club and having a decent laugh about it.
What I heard was that he had someone outside the circle come back to hotel.

McKennie also had an issue in Italy with following the rules. He needs to mature quickly.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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What I heard was that he had someone outside the circle come back to hotel.

McKennie also had an issue in Italy with following the rules. He needs to mature quickly.
The MAXIMUM SCANDAL version I've seen is nobodies twitter rumormongering trying to create a Harkes/Wynalda sequel in the absence of reputable information. I pretty seriously doubt that to be the case.
 

DJnVa

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Landon takes the gloves off, calling out McKennie. Seems like Weston invited someone over.

This is a 2 minute excerpt:

 

Senator Donut

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Wow, that’s completely irresponsible for Donovan to say it is “almost beyond repair” without giving any additional details. It basically opens the floodgates for all the Harkes/Wynalda speculation.
 

Titans Bastard

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Well does McKenzie's selfishness bring the squad together or do they fall apart? I have no love for Berthalter but I'm not sure a loss and him getting canned is the best for this team.
Mark McKenzie really caught a stray here.
 

DJnVa

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Wow, that’s completely irresponsible for Donovan to say it is “almost beyond repair” without giving any additional details. It basically opens the floodgates for all the Harkes/Wynalda speculation.
I don't think it does. He said that he understands if this would have happened in Italy, in essentially a months long bubble, but in this case it was just a week, suck it up. To me, that says it's not some Harkes/Wynalda thing but just immaturity.
 

Titans Bastard

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I don't think it does. He said that he understands if this would have happened in Italy, in essentially a months long bubble, but in this case it was just a week, suck it up. To me, that says it's not some Harkes/Wynalda thing but just immaturity.
TBH, even the most salacious rumors I encountered in the last few days did not come to the level of Harkes/Wynalda. It's hard to top sleeping with a teammate's wife.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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ESPN is reporting that McKennie both had someone in his room and that he spent a night outside of the bubble. Violating the protocol so flagrantly twice is pretty brutal and makes the suspension valid.

https://www.espn.com/soccer/united-states-usa/story/4470334/mckennie-dismissed-by-usmnt-for-two-covid-protocol-violationsincluding-bringing-unauthorized-individual-into-bubble-sources
If true -- and Landon's comments suggested it was along these lines -- then I take what Landon said as fully valid and appropriate. He's in the best position to know how something like that will be viewed by the other players on the team. Can you imagine what Pulisic is thinking? He must be furious.
 

DJnVa

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Maybe it brings the team together. We will see.

Very disappointed.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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ESPN is reporting that McKennie both had someone in his room and that he spent a night outside of the bubble. Violating the protocol so flagrantly twice is pretty brutal and makes the suspension valid.

https://www.espn.com/soccer/united-states-usa/story/4470334/mckennie-dismissed-by-usmnt-for-two-covid-protocol-violationsincluding-bringing-unauthorized-individual-into-bubble-sources
Good, that both sucks for this window but given that it happened, also seems completely recoverable for our most important 8 compared to the doomsday stuff people were spinning.
 

Cellar-Door

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View: https://twitter.com/JeffreyCarlisle/status/1435366937995857920


Lol, like Berhalter a guy who is feeling his seat heat up by the minute was going to say "yeah I'll never call up one of the best young players in my country ever again".

A loss to Honduras honestly could be enough for him to be gone, doubt it, but he'd be sweating bullets every time Antonio touches the ball in the October match w/ Jamaica. Another missed WC would probably be enough, combined with some of the old guard dying off to final shake up US Soccer some.
 

teddykgb

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They’ve stuck with Bradley and Klinsmann for so long that I don’t see Berhalter having a quick hook. Speculation about his job seems pointless to me unless some ridiculously good candidate were to express interest. But I have no idea who that would be and why he’d want the job
 

ThePrideofShiner

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View: https://twitter.com/JeffreyCarlisle/status/1435366937995857920


Lol, like Berhalter a guy who is feeling his seat heat up by the minute was going to say "yeah I'll never call up one of the best young players in my country ever again".

A loss to Honduras honestly could be enough for him to be gone, doubt it, but he'd be sweating bullets every time Antonio touches the ball in the October match w/ Jamaica. Another missed WC would probably be enough, combined with some of the old guard dying off to final shake up US Soccer some.
If McKennie plays great in October, wouldn't that just negatively affect him not Berhalter? It would show that he is a huge part of this team and it's time he acted like it.
 

Cellar-Door

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If McKennie plays great in October, wouldn't that just negatively affect him not Berhalter? It would show that he is a huge part of this team and it's time he acted like it.
The point was, Berhalter is on the hot seat, McKennie is gonna be back, he's not going to leave out a top 3 player to prove a point at the possible cost of his job. The second part was, if they lose to Honduras Berhalter's seat is really hot, and the first game back in October is Jamaica, who suddenly are a real threat given Michail Antonio has a good case as the most dangerous goal scorer in CONCACAF.
 

Zososoxfan

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Just catching up on this thread. Shame on Weston who's showing some troubling behavior patterns. Big game tonight.

Going back to the previous match, is there any doubt that Belichick would practice life-threatening corners, replete with coaches using riot gear to limit space and deflect projectiles, to simulate gameday situations?
 

Section30

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I have Paramount + but the game does not show up as available tonight.

The only listing is for a standard def showing on Telemundo. Do they have a reverse SAP button?