USMNT: To Rüssia With Love

DJnVa

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Costa Rica is on the road and we are probably going to lose. Home vs. Mexico and Honduras - we should hold serve, but they will be two of our three toughest home matches.
From all the talk last night, this is exactly what they want. Two of the 3 (expected) tough games early, giving time late to make up ground if needed.
 
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So, what to make of Sacha? When he was subbed out, the announcers last night were talking about him having a good understanding of "his role." He seemed to understand his role last night to be to play the final third like a fucking boss.


Try for a minute to forget entirely about his history with the USMNT and his up and down history with Klinsmann. If you can, just go by what your eyes tell you from the last 110 minutes or so, plus his last year or so in MLS. I see a number 10 with vision, confidence, creativity and strength on the ball, who seems to make the right play 9 out of 10 times. He makes space for himself. He makes his teammates look better. He even occasionally slows up counterattacks. Seven goals in three halves with Kljestan on the pitch and he was involved in all but one -- he set up five of them with the play into the box that got it started or led to the goal, one of which he ended up finishing himself.
He has shown, as someone said last night, seriously great chemistry with Pulisic. He did well linking up with the central midfield, showed aggressive instincts, and usually chose the right pass. His accuracy on that final pass wasn't perfect and his positioning when the ball was on the right wing needed some work - Bedoya and Cameron needed all the help they could get last night and Bradley, frankly, did a better job than SK (and they certainly got little from Altidore tracking back - one of the many reasons I prefer Wood over Jozy). The goal he scored was pretty much an accident, he couldn't really create a shot for himself, and he had a few other possessions where his lack of extreme dribbling skill cost them time or position, but his passing was a weapon out there.

Consider his competition for the position:

- Pulisic has been used more at LW than his natural #10 position.
- Nagbe is coming back from injury and is more of a DM
- Bradley has never had much speed, prefers route-one balls and his accuracy is way down of late
- Zusi is more of a winger and, while he's bad at nothing, isn't amazing at anything either other than being fairly tall
- Arriola has rarely seen the field and usually on the wing when he does
- Beckerman is essentially pure DM

Unless they move Pulisic to the middle, or Bradley up from the #6 they've been putting him in lately, or Nagbe comes back and gets more run at AM, I'd say Kljestan has a real shot to become a regular.
 

Titans Bastard

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Kljestan has really become an enjoyable player to watch over the past few years for NYRB. This chance was well-earned and I'm glad he's made the most of it. The Hex will be the real test, as our enthusiasm must be somewhat tempered by the lack of quality of our last two opponents.

I see Kljestan as a kind of 8/10 hybrid. For the US, I think we've seen the role he has the potential to fill - a box-to-box guy who can bring vision and creativity to the role, but who will contribute defensively as well. The only question is whether he can continue to be productive against a higher level of competition. The concern is that he has fumbled these sorts of chances in the past, but he's also playing the best club soccer of his career right now.

With a good-looking stable of forwards, sticking with the 4-4-2 makes sense. In that case, we need to figure out the CM partnerships. I am hesitant to go back to the double B2B midfielders that Bob Bradley used, which left our opponents with too much space between the defensive and midfield lines.

Box-to-box contenders: Kljestan, Jones, Nagbe, Hyndman
DM contenders: Bradley, Beckerman, Kitchen, Stanko
Both(?): Morales, Williams, Acosta, Roldan

Bedoya plays box-to-box for Philly, but I don't think anyone wants to go in that direction. I think the best use for him is to phase him into Zusi's role as a defensive-minded outside midfielder held in reserve for certain situations, pushing Zusi out of the picture entirely.

It's notable how quickly Kljestan leapfrogged Nagbe. Jürgen doesn't seem to know quite what to do with Nagbe, which is understandable. Caleb Porter is only sporadically able to get the most out of him in Portland.

Questions:
1. Can Kljestan maintain good form against better opponents?
2. What is Jones' role at this point?
3. Will we ever see a DM other than Bradley or Beckerman given a real test?
4. When do the young guns get a chance? Of the 21-and-under crowd, Kellyn Acosta is the most ready
 

Cellar-Door

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I'm gonna hold off on buying the Kljestan and Jozy revival stories until I see them play against opposition that is better than 5th tier garbage.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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From all the talk last night, this is exactly what they want. Two of the 3 (expected) tough games early, giving time late to make up ground if needed.
Only thing I worry about here is getting caught in an early hole, with JK then falling back on the oldest lineup he can muster to ensure qualification, in the process collapsing the bridge to the next generation before it even has a chance to stand.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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He really shouldn't be making any ass-saving type moves anyway, as he's likely done after Russia no matter what.
 

crystalline

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I don't disagree about Bradley's mobility, but I have to think that there's a mental part of the puzzle as well. It's not like he's purely just not physically up to it anymore, he's also making more questionable decisions than he used to. He's still serviceable, but there's something that's just not right with him.
I watch him less than you guys do, but I have been wondering what's up with Bradley too. I agree athleticism doesn't seem the biggest problem.

Was it the move to MLS and playing worse competition? (-JK. Not the kidding kind).
When I've seen Bradley at Toronto, he appears to be playing as a field-dominating 8 who can play the occasional amazing ball through to guys like Giovinco. I'd say the good passes go more to Giovinco and less to Altidore as Jozy doesn't seem to be able to make the same runs, receive the pass and take a good shot. And Bradley still plays that box to box/shifty passer role well at the MLS level.

I don't think he's really got the defensive discipline, heavy tackling, and offensive restraint to play as an 6 for the US.
But I'm open to being corrected on this stuff.
 

luckiestman

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I watch him less than you guys do, but I have been wondering what's up with Bradley too. I agree athleticism doesn't seem the biggest problem.

Was it the move to MLS and playing worse competition? (-JK. Not the kidding kind).
When I've seen Bradley at Toronto, he appears to be playing as a field-dominating 8 who can play the occasional amazing ball through to guys like Giovinco. I'd say the good passes go more to Giovinco and less to Altidore as Jozy doesn't seem to be able to make the same runs, receive the pass and take a good shot. And Bradley still plays that box to box/shifty passer role well at the MLS level.

I don't think he's really got the defensive discipline, heavy tackling, and offensive restraint to play as an 8 for the US. But I'm open to being corrected on this stuff.

I really really hate watching him play and I think it is exacerbated by how high I was on him before the WC. I think he dominated the first half of a game against Mexico then was hurt right before Panama(not sure) and I have never again seen him play really well. He was bad in the WC and has been really awful every time I have seen him since. It almost seems like every touch is a turnover or a back pass. I hope he can get it together but I doubt it.
 

crystalline

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I really really hate watching him play and I think it is exacerbated by how high I was on him before the WC. I think he dominated the first half of a game against Mexico then was hurt right before Panama(not sure) and I have never again seen him play really well. He was bad in the WC and has been really awful every time I have seen him since. It almost seems like every touch is a turnover or a back pass. I hope he can get it together but I doubt it.
This captures how I feel almost exactly, with the addition that back when I played, I was a box to box midfielder with mediocre skills and my best attributes were work rate, fitness and good field vision, so I could occasionally thread a tricky pass through to the forwards. So I want to like Bradley. I was super high on him before the world cup and since then it's been so disappointing to watch him play in international competitions.
 

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Re Kljestan, in the past, his biggest problem was always being much too wasteful in possession---tending to lose the ball on pedestrian passes, rather than probing ones. Historically, I remember him having a good reputation for creativity, but he never seemed to be able to get over the easy giveaways playing for the U.S.
 

Cellar-Door

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Was thinking about it this week, but one of the few dual nationals Klinsmann couldn't get that really hurts.....
Darren Randolph.
He's probably be our best keeper right now, at the least he'd be in a real fight for the #1 and at 29 he'd be on a better timeline for Russia and possibly Qatar.
 

Titans Bastard

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Was thinking about it this week, but one of the few dual nationals Klinsmann couldn't get that really hurts.....
Darren Randolph.
He's probably be our best keeper right now, at the least he'd be in a real fight for the #1 and at 29 he'd be on a better timeline for Russia and possibly Qatar.
I don't think we ever tried to get Randolph. He has been playing for Ireland for most of Klinsmann's tenure and played for Irish youth teams as far back as Arena's second term.

FWIW, Boaz Myhill was born in Modesto.

I'd like to see Bill Hamid get a shot in January, but he has to be able to stay healthy for an extended period of time.
 

Titans Bastard

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The US U-20s will play in a friendly tournament in Manchester, UK over the October international window. The lineup is good - they play Germany, Netherlands, and England.

The roster:

GK
Jonathan Klinsmann (California)
Justin Vom Steeg (Fortuna Düsseldorf)

DF
Hugo Arellano (LA Galaxy II) - CB/LB
Marcello Borges (Michigan) - LB
Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur) - CB
Marlon Fossey (Fulham) - RB
Tommy Redding (Orlando City) - CB
Miles Robinson (Syracuse) - CB
Toni Suddoth (Stuttgart) - RB
Auston Trusty (Philadelphia Union) - CB

MF
Danny Acosta (Real Salt Lake) - DM
Luca de la Torre (Fulham) - AM/CM
Derrick Jones (Philadelphia Union) - CM/DM
Brooks Lennon (Liverpool) - winger/FW
Weston McKennie (Schalke) - CM
Jonathan Suarez (Querétaro) - ?
Gedion Zelalem (Arsenal) - CM

FW
Jeremy Ebobisse (MLS/Charleston Battery) - FW
Victor Mansaray (Seattle Sounders) - FW
Emmanuel Sabbi (Las Palmas) - FW
Sebastian Saucedo (Veracruz) - FW/winger
Isaiah Young (PDA) - FW/winger


This is one of the stronger U20 camp rosters we've seen so far, aided by the first appearances of CCV and Zelalem since the last U20 WC when they were playing up a cycle. True débutantes are Toni Suddoth (RB with Stuttgart U19) and Derrick Jones (CM who spent the year in USL with Philly's second team in Bethlehem).

As always is the case due to injuries and unavailabilities, a number of our top U20 players are not present.
 

soxfan121

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Is Jonathan Suarez the great unknown or is he one of those "this guy has skills, but no natural position" dudes?
 

Titans Bastard

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Is Jonathan Suarez the great unknown or is he one of those "this guy has skills, but no natural position" dudes?
I just don't know much about him, other than that he is a midfielder of some sort.

Suarez is kind of a strange call up. He's played sparingly for his club's U20 team in Mexico. We have dozens of U20-eligible players in Mexico, but most of our guys in Liga MX academies aren't particularly good. You'd think one of the few who were selected for the U20s would have a stronger resume.

He has been involved in one previous camp, so if he's back presumably he didn't totally suck. That being said, I've heard that there's a group of players currently in the YNT doghouse for off-the-field shenanigans and maybe he's just the beneficiary of their exclusion, plus the fact that the NCAA is in season, plus the fact that a player like Mukwelle Akale was not given a release by his club (maybe others too).

The only other thing I know is that he's from Fontana, CA, the same Inland Empire town that Maurice Edu is from.
 

Titans Bastard

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The U19s are also having a camp next week. This one is in Chula Vista, where they'll play a couple of games against a Tijuana youth team and one more opponent TBD.

GK
Matias Reynares (Fort Lauderdale Strikers)
Brady Scott (De Anza Force)
Kevin Silva (UCLA)

DF
Marco Farfan (Portland Timbers)
Edwin Figueroa (Atlanta United)
Sam Golan (Loudoun SC)
John Nelson (Internationals SC)
Sean O'Hearn (PA Classics)
Logan Panchot (St. Louis Scott Gallagher)
Grant Robinson (George Mason)
Brandon Terwege (FC Dallas)
Alexis Velela (New York Cosmos)

MF
Matias Barraza (Weston FC)
Habib Barry (Seattle Sounders)
Alexis Dionicio (Sacramento Republic)
Felipe Hernandez (Sporting Kansas City)
David Loera (Orlando City)
Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago Fire)
Jacob Montes (Portland Timbers)

FW
Milo Barton (Seattle Sounders)
Danny Griffin (Providence)
Alex Rose (CASL)
Devin Vega (FC Dallas)
Ethan Zubak (LA Galaxy)

Many of the players here are new to me. Reynares, Velela, and Zubak are the only professionals, though others have had cups of coffee in the USL. Marco Farfan has played more extensively for Timbers 2, though he has maintained his amateur status.

It's clearly an experimental group and one that is geared towards current HS seniors. Consequently, there are bunch of new and younger faces (mostly late 98 birthdays, as many early 98 guys are now freshmen in college).
 

Titans Bastard

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And the big one:

GK
David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes)
Ethan Horvath (Molde)
William Yarbrough (Club León)

DF
Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United)
John Brooks (Hertha Berlin)
Geoff Cameron (Stoke City)
Timothy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt)
Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca)
Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach)
DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United)

MF
Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana)
Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union)
Michael Bradley (Toronto FC)
Lynden Gooch (Sunderland)
Perry Kitchen (Heart of Midlothian)
Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls)
Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund)
Danny Williams (Reading)

FW
Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC)
Julian Green (Bayern Munich)
Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders)
Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
Bobby Wood (Hamburg)


Early thoughts:

- Open tryouts for GK with Howard and Guzan rested. Klinsmann: still not a fan of Bill Hamid

- I still wish JK would look at a new fullback, if just to give him a taste of camp. We're thin and not looking at new options other than recycling Chandler. Villafaña or Rosenberry, perhaps.

- First call for Lynden Gooch, who after an early flurry hasn't been playing as much for Sunderland.

- Nagbe may have lost his spot to Kljestan.

- Kitchen and Williams in, Beckerman out. Williams doesn't play DM for his club any more, but that's probably what he is under consideration for here.

- Wondo must be a world-class locker room guy or something.
 

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Titans Bastard

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Bedoya's out. That should mean more chances for the kids, unless Jurgen does something silly like play a CM out wide again. He's done it before with Williams and Kitchen, so you never know.

http://www.ussoccer.com/stories/2016/10/03/15/12/161003-mnt-alejandro-bedoya-withdraws-from-training-camp-in-miami

I saw a report that Nagbe wasn't invited to camp because of personal/family reasons. I've also heard that we can expect some roster changes between the two games.

pleasantly surprised to see Arriola on there, he had a nice goal earlier this year, seems good on the ball.
http://www.starsandstripesfc.com/2016/7/20/12239614/watch-paul-arriola-scores-brilliant-goal-in-copa-mx-action
Arriola is an easy player to like. He plays balls-to-the-wall 100% of the time, but he has enough skill to not be just a pure hustle guy. It's a little disappointing that he hasn't earned more playing time at Tijuana, where he usually comes off the bench late in games. This season, Tijuana took advantage of Liga MX's new 10/8 roster rule and imported a boatload of Argentines. Their South American strategy is working, as they are are in first place, so Arriola will have to bide his time and improve a bit more.

Arriola and Gooch have thin resumes for US call ups, but it's worth giving them an early look given our lack of depth on the wing - especially since Jurgen does not feel much urgency to free up FJ by finding another fullback option. Also, despite the "Latin flair" and "self-expression" rhetoric of yesteryear, Klinsmann exhibits a strong preference for workrate and grit; I think Arriola and Gooch both have those traits in spades.
 

InstaFace

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You don't think the Gooch call-up was solely predicated on him getting 6 starts for Sunderland in their first 8 matches? I frankly knew absolutely nothing about him before seeing him look dangerous against City. I just found this profile of his recent success, published last week, which among other fluff compares him to Donovan.

Wiki tells me he played well for our U20 team but I hadn't heard him mentioned as a stand-out (perhaps my own ignorance).
the article said:
He admits that he wants to play for the USA, despite qualifying for both the English national team and Republic of Ireland, but being left out of the U.S. U-20 World Cup squad in 2015 by Tab Ramos was not only a tough pill to swallow but something which spurred him on.

“That really hit me quite hard,” Gooch said. “I thought that without a doubt I deserved to be in that squad. I’d been in every single squad up until that point. That was very hard to take but it definitely made me want to prove them wrong even more and show them that they made a mistake.”
Oops. A commenter on the article worries he'll get ignored because he's not German enough; at least that worry has passed.
 

Titans Bastard

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Head of FIFA is proposing a 48 team world cup with 16 teams eliminated after 1 match. Basically 16 teams would qualify automatically for the group stage, whereas the other 32 teams would play a play-in match with the winners entering the group stage.

http://www.espnfc.us/fifa-world-cup/story/2965257/fifa-president-gianni-infantino-proposes-48-team-world-cup-with-play-in-round
This change would only have downside for the US.

I really hope that the WC stays at 32, but any FIFA president will be more interested in pandering to his ill-gotten voters and expanding the pool of revenue than maintaining the integrity of a competition.
 

InstaFace

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I'd be fine with some byes for top dogs and two stages of group play, but having a bunch of countries arrive and then having half of them being one-and-done would really totally mess with their ability to get propaganda value out of it, so I imagine it would be very unpopular.

(if I'm not mistaken, there were 2 stages of group play in the '74, '78 and '82 world cups)
 

Silverdude2167

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Head of FIFA is proposing a 48 team world cup with 16 teams eliminated after 1 match. Basically 16 teams would qualify automatically for the group stage, whereas the other 32 teams would play a play-in match with the winners entering the group stage.

http://www.espnfc.us/fifa-world-cup/story/2965257/fifa-president-gianni-infantino-proposes-48-team-world-cup-with-play-in-round
This is a terrible idea. I am sure everyone would love to see a big dog go home early because some team parked the bus and stole a game....
 

swiftaw

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This is a terrible idea. I am sure everyone would love to see a big dog go home early because some team parked the bus and stole a game....
Well, if you're a big dog presumably you'd be in the 16 nations that automatically qualified for the group stage.
 

Silverdude2167

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Well, if you're a big dog presumably you'd be in the 16 nations that automatically qualified for the group stage.
I can't see any way this would get through with only European and South American teams getting byes.

It would have to be something like the first two spots from Concacaf, Caf, AFC, OFC getting byes as well. So you would be looking at France, Spain, England, Italy, Chile, Uruguay (going off of rankings right now) having to play in those games. No chance.
 

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Format issues aside, here's what adding 16 countries to the field would have done in 2014.

Let's say spots are allocated the following way which feels truthy to me based on a mix of playing strength and politics:

OFC: .5 --> 1 (+.5)
AFC: 4.5 --> 8 (+3.5)
CONCACAF: 3.5 --> 6 (+2.5)
CONMEBOL: 5.5 --> 7 (+1.5)
UEFA: 13 --> 18 (+5)
CAF: 5 --> 8 (+3)

Here'd be our bonus teams.

OFC (1): New Zealand
AFC (4): Jordan, Uzbekistan, Oman, Qatar
CONCACAF (2): Panama, Jamaica
CONMEBOL (1): Venezuela
UEFA (5): Sweden, Ukraine, Romania, Iceland, Denmark
CAF (3): let's say Senegal, Tunisia, Egypt

On the whole, that's a lot of dreck. In theory, UEFA is deep enough to still provide some quality from the next batch of countries. Then again, the Euro expansion wasn't exactly awesome.
 

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40 is fine, 48 with an extra group stage is fine. One and done is insane.

Just thought if it: 40 teams, with 8 teams getting byes to group stage. Other 32 teams play off. 16 winners advance to group stage, 16 losers play second match for last 8 spots. So everyone gets at least two matches
 

Infield Infidel

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Format issues aside, here's what adding 16 countries to the field would have done in 2014.

Let's say spots are allocated the following way which feels truthy to me based on a mix of playing strength and politics:

OFC: .5 --> 1 (+.5)
AFC: 4.5 --> 8 (+3.5)
CONCACAF: 3.5 --> 6 (+2.5)
CONMEBOL: 5.5 --> 7 (+1.5)
UEFA: 13 --> 18 (+5)
CAF: 5 --> 8 (+3)

Here'd be our bonus teams.

OFC (1): New Zealand
AFC (4): Jordan, Uzbekistan, Oman, Qatar
CONCACAF (2): Panama, Jamaica
CONMEBOL (1): Venezuela
UEFA (5): Sweden, Ukraine, Romania, Iceland, Denmark
CAF (3): let's say Senegal, Tunisia, Egypt

On the whole, that's a lot of dreck. In theory, UEFA is deep enough to still provide some quality from the next batch of countries. Then again, the Euro expansion wasn't exactly awesome.
Are those FIFA or Elo rankings? FIFA rankings has CAF>>>>AFC. There are 15 CAF teams ranked higher than UAE, AFC's 7th best. And 20 CAF teams ranked higher than China (CHINA?), the 8th best AFC team

edit- just realized those are qualification standings from 2014
 

dirtynine

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Among other things, 48 would make the long WC qualifying process ridiculous. Also, any format that increases the chance of extra time and shootouts sucks.

32 is a very elegant number, just like 64 was for the NCAA tourney. But pressure means it will have to expand. If forced to, I'd do 40 teams and 8 groups of 5, top 2 still advance, QF on as normal. For 48, I'd do a pre-tournament amongst teams 25-48, 6 groups of 4, top in each group moves on to make a final 32. I'd hope the US would be in that upper 24 most years.
 

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IMHO, odd number groups are very unfair for scheduling. In 5-team groups, Teams A and E have to play 4 consecutive group matches (A skipping the 5th turn, E skipping the 1st turn), while Teams B-C-D all get byes between matches, and thus more rest.

For 40, my preferred arrangement is 10 groups of 4, with group winners and the two best 2nd place teams advancing directly to the round of 16. The other eight 2nd place teams playoff for the last 4 spots in the round of 16.
 

dirtynine

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IMHO, odd number groups are very unfair for scheduling. In 5-team groups, Teams A and E have to play 4 consecutive group matches (A skipping the 5th turn, E skipping the 1st turn), while Teams B-C-D all get byes between matches, and thus more rest.

For 40, my preferred arrangement is 10 groups of 4, with group winners and the two best 2nd place teams advancing directly to the round of 16. The other eight 2nd place teams playoff for the last 4 spots in the round of 16.
You're right, and you also wouldn't get the final-group-match-simultaneous-kickoff thing as one team would have to sit. So I might recant that recommendation. However I'd also really hope to avoid the "best second place team" thing - I find it equally unfair.
 
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48 teams = 8 groups of 6 teams each. Top 2 teams in each group advance to the knockout stage. Simple.

Biggest problems with that idea, of course, are a) the length of the tournament, which would have to start at the beginning of June and eliminate most of the normal warm-up friendlies, b) the number of stadiums required to host such a tournament, eliminating all but the biggest footballing nations from hosting in the future (which might be a feature and not a bug depending on your perspective), and c) the fact that players could play up to 9 matches if their teams reach the final, which isn't going to make any clubs happy at all. I do wonder if you could partially mitigate the last issue by expanding the rosters and mandating that each player has to sit out at least one match during the group stage.
For 40, my preferred arrangement is 10 groups of 4, with group winners and the two best 2nd place teams advancing directly to the round of 16. The other eight 2nd place teams playoff for the last 4 spots in the round of 16.
The main issue with this idea, apart from the "two best 2nd place teams" thing dirtynine just referenced, is scheduling the 2nd place playoffs in such a way to give each team enough rest without giving the top 10 teams too much rest.
 

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You could always scrap the whole group concept and have a double-elimination tournament, with consolation games for the teams that lose their first 2. The downside would be every game would be ET + PKs. It would be a lot cleaner with 32 than with 48, but the sequence goes something like:

R1: 16 byes, 32 teams play 16 matches
Loser's Bracket R1: 16 teams play 8 matches; 8 winners get a bye to L3, 8 teams eliminated
Winner's Bracket R2: 16 R1 winners play the 16 Bye teams in 16 matches
L2: 16 losing teams from W2 play 8 matches against each other; 8 teams eliminated
(interlude: consolation games for L1 losers)
W3: 16 teams (winners of W2) play 8 matches
L3: 8 winners of L1 play 8 winners of L2 in 8 matches; 8 teams eliminated
(interlude: consolation games for L2 losers)
L4: 8 winners of L3 play 8 losers of W3 in 8 matches; 8 teams eliminated
W4: 8 teams (winners of W3) play 4 matches
L5: 8 teams (winners of L4) play 4 matches; 4 teams eliminated
L6: 4 winners of L5 play 4 losers of W4 in 4 matches; 4 teams eliminated
W5: 4 teams (winners of W4) play 2 matches
L7: 4 teams (winners of L6) play 2 matches; 2 teams eliminated
L8: 2 winners of L7 play 2 losers of W5; 2 teams eliminated
W6 (Semifinal): 2 winners of W5 play 1 match
L9: 2 winners of L8 play 1 match; 1 team eliminated
L10 (Semifinal): Winner of L9 plays Loser of W6; 1 team eliminated
Final: Winner of W6 plays Winner of L10 for the championship

Max of 11 games (loser's bracket finalist), minimum of 7 (winner's bracket finalist). Median team plays 3, and a third of the teams don't have to take their third (consolation) game seriously if they don't want to.

edit: looking at this in retrospect, I think the "3 days between matches" thing would make scheduling for it impossible, as the tournament length would likely be unworkable.
 

Infield Infidel

teaching korea american
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
11,463
Meeting Place, Canada
The main issue with this idea, apart from the "two best 2nd place teams" thing dirtynine just referenced, is scheduling the 2nd place playoffs in such a way to give each team enough rest without giving the top 10 teams too much rest.
This is true, however, it can be somewhat mitigated by teams scheduling practice scrimmages during extended breaks while also giving extra rest for players who may really need it. It's nigh impossible to keep 2nd place teams in the other half and also not give 1st place teams a 6-11 day break after the group stage. But I don't think anyone wants potential rematches prior to the final. With 10 groups there are also 3-6 days off between group matches. I think clubs would be more than happy for players to have longer breaks during the tourney.

Since I'm an absolute dweeb about this, I've tinkered with a spreadsheet for 40 teams WC for longer than I care to remember.

 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
SoSH Member
Jan 10, 2004
24,960
The 718
This is true, however, it can be somewhat mitigated by teams scheduling practice scrimmages during extended breaks while also giving extra rest for players who may really need it. It's nigh impossible to keep 2nd place teams in the other half and also not give 1st place teams a 6-11 day break after the group stage. But I don't think anyone wants potential rematches prior to the final. With 10 groups there are also 3-6 days off between group matches. I think clubs would be more than happy for players to have longer breaks during the tourney.

Since I'm an absolute dweeb about this, I've tinkered with a spreadsheet for 40 teams WC for longer than I care to remember.

When I was in 6th-7th grade, I would make up fictitious sports, write rules for them, make up leagues with franchise names and everything, and program my Apple II to play out the season (teams had 1-10 value on how good they were, so comparison of ranking + small bonus for home team + random number generated by Apple = final score).

I would show the results of last night's games and updated standings to the girl I had a crush on. She thought it was cute.

35 years later here I am on SoSH.
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
SoSH Member
Jan 10, 2004
24,960
The 718
I also made a schedule and played out the season for a USFL-CFL merger. Saskatchewan won the Grey Trump Cup IIRC.
 
If I actually still played Football Manager (instead of buying every other edition out of wistful reminiscence for the late 1990s and barely touching them thereafter), I'd be very tempted to tweak the existing league structure and create a European Super League. I actually sketched out a plan for how this might work in my own Excel spreadsheet a few years ago; the idea was that the top teams all played their league season against each other and only played domestically in the Cup competitions, and the bottom three teams in the Super League could get relegated back to their domestic leagues and replaced by other teams from the same or different leagues. Of course, I can't immediately find the spreadsheet and can't be too bothered to search for it, but still.
 

Titans Bastard

has sunil gulati in his sights
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 15, 2002
14,545
Altidore - Wood
Green - Kljestan - Bradley - Pulisic
Johnson - Brooks - Cameron - Yedlin
Horvath
First cap for Horvath, second-ever start for Green.

The field looks godawful.
 

allstonite

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 27, 2010
2,549
Are they playing at the fields next to Harvard stadium? I like how the sideline cameraman has a buddy next to him just standing there
 

Titans Bastard

has sunil gulati in his sights
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 15, 2002
14,545
This is pretty bad even by CONCACAF standards. Every pass the US tries to make is basically a chip from the rough.
 

ernieshore

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 24, 2006
2,381
The Camel City
It's basically the same type of field I play on in my adult league - except there isn't a loose dog running around and the substitutes aren't drinking beer.