USMNT: To Rüssia With Love

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Wood draws the easiest penalty to call in the history of organized football and Jozy slots it home.
 

Cellar-Door

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Nice to see Jozy continuing his USMNT standard of picking up goals against inferior competition, and playing like shit in one game.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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US keeps trying to force the ball through near midfield, which you just can't try to do on this field. The cricket crease is causing unpredictable bounces and one of them led to a counterattack that should have been a goal but for a fortunate offside. Coming across midfield, they need to pass wide. You can't play passes on to that crease.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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On one hand, Rongen is going insane with Pulisic overpraise right now.

On the other hand, that first touch for the goal, woo that was smooth.
 

Gunfighter 09

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Can we get Congress to pass a law forbidding MLS from overpaying for him?

We are all T&T fans tonight:

T&T wins = USMNT is into the Hex

Draw = USMNT is into the Hex with a draw vs T&T on Tuesday - T&T would be motivated to draw since they would be into the Hex as well, tied at 11 points with Guatemala stuck at 10 after they beat St Vincent & Grenadines

Guatamala wins = USMNT is into the Hex with a draw vs T&T on Tuesday - but in this scenario T&T would be playing for their lives
 

soxfan121

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First, we should all be T&T fans all the time. Visit T&T. You will not be disappointed.

Second, I would go door-to-door in support of the Leave Pulisic in Europe referendum.
 

djhb20

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Anyone know if this (Guatamala v TandT) is on TV? Doesn't appear to be on BeIN.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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It's on NBC Universo. 410 if you have Directv.

Kenwyn Jones just missed a sitter to all but put the game away for Trinidad and Tobago and put them through.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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T&T just barely hold on for the draw. They went up a man and proceeded to give away a goal and many opportunities but get what they need in the end.

They are through. USA needs a point, or Guatemala to make up no more than an 11 goal difference.
 

Titans Bastard

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Against T&T, Bradley will return from suspension. Besler has departed camp because his wife gave birth two weeks early and Yedlin is suspended for YC accumulation.

Gonzalez or Birnbaum will probably replace Besler and Orozco or Johnson will probably replace Yedlin. We really need more real fullbacks in the mix.


I vote for something like:

Altidore - Wood
Bedoya - Kljestan/Nagbe - Bradley - Pulisic
Johnson - Cameron - Gonzalez - Acosta
Howard
Mediocre FB Acosta is still better than Orozco, I think. With Kljestan and Nagbe available, I'd rather use Bedoya as a worker bee outside midfielder, since he's better at that role than Zusi. It's time to give Pulisic a start and even if the Pulisic/Acosta flank looks soft defensively, I say go for it. It's T&T and we're at home.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Does yellow accumulation carry forward to the hexagonal? That could be potentially significant if USA wins the group and has to play the first game against Mexico.
 

DJnVa

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Watching replay now...it's like watching the USMNT play on my daughter's club's field.

And it's like Bill Walton doing color.
 

crystalline

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Watching replay now...it's like watching the USMNT play on my daughter's club's field.

And it's like Bill Walton doing color.
Kind of cool close up shots of the players, however. Bedoya could not have looked more bored on slowmo replay after that first goal.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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From what I've seen of Pulisic I honestly don't even worry about him defensively. He tracks back and has great awareness. Yes he's still slight and can be outmuscled but he can also lead a counter perhaps better than anyone on the roster. Certainly better than Zusi.

It's time to let the kid loose and prepare the team to have him leading the attack in 2018 instead of Captain Hospital Ball.
 

Titans Bastard

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Haji Wright is getting some attention at Schalke... sounds like he's in the perfect developmental situation.

http://www.topdrawersoccer.com/the91stminute/2016/08/germany-is-all-aboard-the-haji-wright-hype-vehicle/
I think that article gets one key thing wrong. I don't think there are major questions about Wright's technique, which is pretty good for a big man. The issue with him is tactical: his speed of thought and decision making. Wright looks like he will have good physical qualities as an adult, but he was ridiculously dominant in that category as a 15 year old. Coupled with good technique, he scored goals for fun early in the U17 cycle. The problem is that those attributes allowed him to coast on the tactical side. By the end of the U17 cycle, he wasn't nearly as effective a player and was in fact pretty frustrating to watch, as he showed a poor tactical understanding of the game in his movements and decisions.

By the last U17 WC, I was pretty down on Wright. He looked to me like another early maturer whose good technique wouldn't save him from a deficit in tactical knowledge. However, he seems to have rebounded. He's been productive since joining Schalke late last season and that's continued this year; though he hasn't scored in his first two U19 games, he has five assists(!)

The factor that I think I underestimated was how poor everyone looked under former U17 manager Richie Williams, who is almost universally acknowledged by people who follow YNTs as an awful youth coach. Even Pulisic merely looked good, not great under him. As the 1998 cohort has progressed over the past year, quite a few pretty quickly looked better once they left Bradenton, rendering the sorry performance at the World Cup in Chile last fall all the more disappointing. The key is how quickly he can make up for lost time while at Schalke.


Interestingly, Tab Ramos has declined to call Wright up for the U-20 team thus far. Wright finally got into a U-19 camp (basically, the B team filled with 98s, whereas the U-20s are a mix of 97s and 98s) that's going on right now. Given some of the forwards who have been called up for a look-see, that seems pretty silly to me.
 

dirtynine

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Thanks, TB. The detail is really appreciated. My hazy recollection (littered with so many USMNT prospects that flare up and burn out) was that he was a guy who made his early reputation on, as you say, being more physically advanced than his peer group. When I read the above article and saw that the German press was making some noise about him, I figured there must be something more going on. I hope he gets onto Tab's radar soon.
 

Titans Bastard

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Thanks, TB. The detail is really appreciated. My hazy recollection (littered with so many USMNT prospects that flare up and burn out) was that he was a guy who made his early reputation on, as you say, being more physically advanced than his peer group. When I read the above article and saw that the German press was making some noise about him, I figured there must be something more going on. I hope he gets onto Tab's radar soon.
Yeah, the fact that he has made a good first impression is a good sign. When ballyhooed American players sign abroad and turn out to be tactical trainwrecks, it is usually recognized very quickly. That does not seem to be happening with Haji. That doesn't mean he won't have issues, but I don't think he'll be the youth team version of Eddie Johnson.

Currently, Tab's favored U-20 forward is Jeremy Ebobisse, who just went pro after two years at Duke. He trialed abroad but ended up signing with MLS, where he'll go into this winter's draft. He's on loan in the USL with Charleston for the rest of the year. Other CF types that he's capped include Emmanuel Sabbi (who just signed with Las Palmas), Brandon Vazquez (debuted for Tijuana in Copa MX last month), Sebastian Elney (Philly academy, currently at Maryland), and Victor Mansaray (Seattle).

I think Wright is definitely better than Elney and Mansaray and likely better than some of the other guys, too. Of course, it's hard to be completely confident when evaluating players who are scattered around the world and are rarely seen on TV (or even grainy pirated stream). It's also hard to be confident in Tab Ramos for other reasons!
 

Titans Bastard

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I vote for something like:

Altidore - Wood
Bedoya - Kljestan/Nagbe - Bradley - Pulisic
Johnson - Cameron - Gonzalez - Acosta
Howard
Wow, this may have been the closest I've ever come to predicting a JK lineup!

First start for Pulisic.

Kljestan partners with Bradley in CM. Cameron starts at RB, with Birnbaum/Gonzalez at CB. With those three + Altidore + Wood, we better see some good service on set pieces because that's a lot of aerial ability.

EDIT: via Ives Galarcep, though I doubt it's a diamond midfield as portrayed.

 

DJnVa

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Wood and Pulisic? I'm almost giddy enough to bring out the jingoistic pics.
 

luckiestman

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Bradley plays soccer like Trump runs for president in that a lot of the time it looks like he's trying to lose on purpose
 
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Pulisic had an awful half, particularly by his recent standards. Every cross hit a defender, every attempt to juke was read, every final pass was behind or in front of its target, and he had that swing-and-a-miss for a negative highlight.

Kljestan, meanwhile, must think he's died and gone to heaven with how his last 2 weeks have gone. If only he had the speed to play winger, we could leave Bedoya behind.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Having Wood, Pulisic, Bradley, and Altidore on the field together just highlights how inconsequential the latter two are. Bradley especially, as Jozy still has his moments of conviction. Bradley is just a guy out there.
 

Titans Bastard

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Pulisic had an awful half, particularly by his recent standards. Every cross hit a defender, every attempt to juke was read, every final pass was behind or in front of its target, and he had that swing-and-a-miss for a negative highlight.
Tough crowd.
 

DJnVa

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Pulisic had an awful half, particularly by his recent standards. Every cross hit a defender, every attempt to juke was read, every final pass was behind or in front of its target, and he had that swing-and-a-miss for a negative highlight.
Lalas just called him the best player on the field.

And while he might not have been, he was closer to that than "awful".
 

teddykgb

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The tactics stink. Players are so poor at interchanging. Constantly have two attacking players in the same space. JK has Wood trying to come deeper but that is the space Klejstan wants to occupy. Bedoya is having a mare as the English say but he's got almost no support and keeps getting stuck in blind alleys with no options. Our two best players are the left side of attack and the best thing you can say about the right is that they've sometimes created the space for the left side to operate. I wish I had enough faith in our managers tactics to feel that was intentional
 

DJnVa

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The tactics stink. Players are so poor at interchanging. Constantly have two attacking players in the same space....
Isn't that going to happen when we are pushing new players into the starting lineup?
 

candylandriots

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Having Wood, Pulisic, Bradley, and Altidore on the field together just highlights how inconsequential the latter two are. Bradley especially, as Jozy still has his moments of conviction. Bradley is just a guy out there.
I get excited thinking of how good Wood will be by 2018.
 

teddykgb

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Isn't that going to happen when we are pushing new players into the starting lineup?
To some extent absolutely but I'm more stressing the generic idea of a 4-4-2 with a withdrawn striker drifting into the 10 space being incompatible with what they're trying to do otherwise. Bradley is sitting g so deep with Klejstan mostly in front of him vertically so there is one space there for the striker to come deep
 

Titans Bastard

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The problem with the right side is that partly that Bedoya is having a bad game and partly that Bedoya is really a central player who can play a pinched-in wide role. That role creates a lot of space for an overlapping fullback like Yedlin, but Cameron is not that sort of player.
 

JimBoSox9

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And the upside is that the left had at least three possessions around the box in the first half that almost fooled you into thinking these guys practice offense together.
 

Titans Bastard

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Meanwhile, Guatemala is only beating Vincy 4-2, powered by a hat trick from the ageless El Pescadito.