USMNT: To Rüssia With Love

luckiestman

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This reminds me, I was rereading Halberstam's book about Belichick the other day and saw his family's name was originally Belicic. In what world is Belichick easier to spell or pronounce?
 

luckiestman

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I've heard European commentators, both british and german, pronounce it Poo-li-sich (particularly in Bundesliga games earlier last season), which is certainly understandable in places that have plenty of people with Slavic names and traditional Slavic pronunciations. But those who become more familiar with him have generally switched to his preferred, Americanized pronunciation.

I'm sure they'd do the same to Bill Belicic if he were around.

I did not see this post and just mentioned BB below( or above? This is paradoxical)
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
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Nagbe was really good. Nagbe and Pusilic had a lot of nice business on the right side in the second half that gave T&T defense fits.

Jozy did a nice job of distributing in front of goal, I thought, which isn't one of his strengths.

Villafana was strong up the left, although as others have said he wasn't that great tracking back.

Dempsey was kind of quiet, I thought.

But boy they need someone in that N'golo Kante role badly. I guess that used to be Beckerman, and there's no one to step in there. Bradley didn't make me angry as much last night, but I wasn't quite sure what he was doing out there.
 

Titans Bastard

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https://matchcenter.mlssoccer.com/matchcenter/2017-06-08-us-mens-national-team-vs-trinidad-and-tobago/boxscore

There's some good Opta data here. Scroll to the bottom of the boxscore and wait a few seconds for it to load.

Random things I noticed:
  • Fabian Johnson completed two forward passes all game
  • Bradley's distribution looks less static than it sometimes does, though he was up against a team with sub-MLS talent in many positions.
  • If you look at his defensive stats (tackles/interceptions/recoveries/blocks), Cameron was everywhere. Brooks' defensive events tended to be much deeper; Cameron stepped up into the midfield more often
  • Yedlin & Villafaña were both pretty tidy in possession
  • Five successful dribbled for Nagbe. I like it when he ramps up the aggression a bit.

But boy they need someone in that N'golo Kante role badly. I guess that used to be Beckerman, and there's no one to step in there. Bradley didn't make me angry as much last night, but I wasn't quite sure what he was doing out there.
Beckerman is one of those guys who isn't fully appreciated until he's gone. He was a boring, unsexy player, but many individuals on the team "magically" played better when he was on the field. At DM, Bradley doesn't have the best agility and he also sometimes neglects to show for the ball consistently and/or slows the game down too much. It's a shame he's been forced into AM and DM roles for much of his NT career because he's a box-to-box player at heart.

US soccer is pumping out box-to-box guys right now, but we just don't have a lot of real DMs to work with, unfortunately. There are a few interesting guys in the pipeline and maybe some #8s like Cristian Roldan will eventually shift deeper at some point in their careers, but I don't see any obvious solutions for 2018.
 

67YAZ

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Jozy did a nice job of distributing in front of goal, I thought, which isn't one of his strengths.

Villafana was strong up the left, although as others have said he wasn't that great tracking back.
Jozy is a very good passer in the final 3rd, our best since Donovan retired. Jozy hasn't really been able to showcase it much over his career. His physique and the tactical orthodoxies of the past decade have slotted him as a lone-striker type, lots of hold up play and back to the goal. And Jozy is good at that, but getting to play off a second striker gives him the space and opportunities to flash his passing chops.
 

allstonite

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https://matchcenter.mlssoccer.com/matchcenter/2017-06-08-us-mens-national-team-vs-trinidad-and-tobago/boxscore

US soccer is pumping out box-to-box guys right now, but we just don't have a lot of real DMs to work with, unfortunately. There are a few interesting guys in the pipeline and maybe some #8s like Cristian Roldan will eventually shift deeper at some point in their careers, but I don't see any obvious solutions for 2018.
What are your thoughts on Acosta in this role? I thought I remember you being high on him a few years ago and wondering if you think he's progressed well enough to have a shot. I also didn't realize he's a great long free kick taker until the announcers last night hyped him up then he almost snuck one in.
 

InstaFace

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I did not see this post and just mentioned BB below( or above? This is paradoxical)
First you make me think you have me on ignore, then you post this, now I don't know WHAT to think! :)

edit: and yeah, Jozy is a passer who's been told that he needs to be a finisher because he's built like a brick shithouse. Somehow Hulk talked his way into being a winger, you'd think Jozy would have done the same over the course of his career...
 

Titans Bastard

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What are your thoughts on Acosta in this role? I thought I remember you being high on him a few years ago and wondering if you think he's progressed well enough to have a shot. I also didn't realize he's a great long free kick taker until the announcers last night hyped him up then he almost snuck one in.
I still like Acosta, but he's developed into a box-to-box midfielder rather than a DM. I don't think he is or ever will be a #10, but he's shown increased inventiveness, flair, and attacking instincts for Dallas and has helped them navigate through the first third of the season without Mauro Diaz, their primary creator. Acosta has scored six goals across all competitions in 2017 so far - FKs, late runs in the box, some nifty 1v1 work on the edge of the box, a couple of opportunistic goals born out of good off-the-ball movement.

It wouldn't be crazy to try him at DM, but it's not what he does regularly for his club (Carlos Gruezo plays a bit more defensively for Dallas) and it would minimize a few of his emerging strengths.

Bradley, Jones, Bedoya, Acosta, Roldan, Williams...all playing as box-to-box mids right now. Among players who actually play DM for their clubs, we have Dax McCarty and a bunch of guys who aren't good enough like Wil Trapp and Perry Kitchen.

Schalke's Weston McKennie, NYRB's Tyler Adams, Philly's Derrick Jones, and DC's Chris Durkin are interesting. However, I have a hard time seeing Jones or Durkin ready for the NT by 2018; McKennie and Adams will need to keep trucking to make it, but it's not impossible....but both (especially McKennie) stand a chance of winding up as box-to-box mids, too.

Another option would be to move Geoff Cameron to the spot, which is not without its risks, too. I get the sense that Cameron marshals the defense right now and it's dangerous to mess with that.

The last option would be to adopt a tactical formation that simply doesn't call for a true DM. We haven't done that since the Bob Bradley years and using two box-to-box midfielders created gaps ahead of the CBs that caused problems that Bradley was never able to solve.

I don't know if this would work even in theory, setting aside the lack of time to get familiar with it outside of critical WCQs. But this 3-5-2 would allow the US to (a) make use of the fact that we have better forward depth than wing depth, (b) give Pulisic a free role, (c) avoid having to miscast someone as DM by a collective effort between two box-to-box mids + Cameron having leeway to step liberally step up into the defense/midfield gap. We would have a little wingback depth with Chandler, Villafaña and potentially Kenny Saeif if he works out at the Gold Cup. One downside is that it doesn't provide an obvious role for Nagbe. I dunno.
 

67YAZ

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I don't know if this would work even in theory, setting aside the lack of time to get familiar with it outside of critical WCQs. But this 3-5-2 would allow the US to (a) make use of the fact that we have better forward depth than wing depth, (b) give Pulisic a free role, (c) avoid having to miscast someone as DM by a collective effort between two box-to-box mids + Cameron having leeway to step liberally step up into the defense/midfield gap. We would have a little wingback depth with Chandler, Villafaña and potentially Kenny Saeif if he works out at the Gold Cup. One downside is that it doesn't provide an obvious role for Nagbe. I dunno.
There's some definite virtues to that formation. My immediate concern is if there is enough passing in the midfield to build up play. With the only width coming from the wing backs, I fear that the US would spend long stretches playing too narrow and get all blocked up.
 

allstonite

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Thanks for the reply TB. I love Cameron there but they've had tons of trouble then finding someone else to pair with Brooks. Cameron has been so steady in both roles for the last year or 2 and has become underrated.

Edit: With the 3 in the back, is it too late in the cycle to make that big of a switch? I remember Klinsmann tried it a few times right after the last world cup but now it seems like we should focus on qualifying (though that looks better than it did a week ago) and then getting a steady lineup familiar with each other.
 

Titans Bastard

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Edit: With the 3 in the back, is it too late in the cycle to make that big of a switch? I remember Klinsmann tried it a few times right after the last world cup but now it seems like we should focus on qualifying (though that looks better than it did a week ago) and then getting a steady lineup familiar with each other.
Yes, I think it's too late. My lineup was more of a thought experiment than an actual recommendation. The non-WCQ experimentation time we have is this summer's Gold Cup and then friendlies after WCQ concludes in October. As we know from the provisional roster, the Gold Cup will largely be a B squad, so experimenting with tactics won't benefit the full NT.
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
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First you make me think you have me on ignore, then you post this, now I don't know WHAT to think! :)

edit: and yeah, Jozy is a passer who's been told that he needs to be a finisher because he's built like a brick shithouse. Somehow Hulk talked his way into being a winger, you'd think Jozy would have done the same over the course of his career...
I have never seen Jozy used any other way so this is a revelation. Thanks.
 

Infield Infidel

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Titans Bastard

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Tecatito is out of this game and the Confederations Cup for personal reasons, too. That's another significant loss for El Tri.

(We're still going to lose.)
 

InstaFace

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Rafa Marquez has had our number ever since we got him back in 2002. I'm not sorry to see him off the pitch, Salcedo or no. Layun's a great player too, and his absence may mean a lot more room for Yedlin, Johnson, Wood et al.

We're still likely to lose, but our odds of a result just went up a meaningful amount.
 

Titans Bastard

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Here's Bruce telling a reporter that there will be seven changes to the lineup from T&T:


He might be bullshitting on the exact number, but there's little doubt there will be heavy squad rotation.


If there are really only four holdover starters....Howard, Cameron, Bradley, Pulisic?
 

DJnVa

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Well, one thing we usually don't have going for us is that you can argue the best player on the pitch tonight will be an American..
 

Titans Bastard

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Not official, but Univision is saying the US will play something like a 5-4-1. Wow.

Pulisic, Bradley, Yedlin, and Cameron would be the only holdovers. Guzan at GK. If true, welcome to the big time to Acosta and Arriola.

EDIT:

Reports are that the players who haven't dressed are Horvath, Bedoya, and Villafaña; the latter two have minor injuries.

EDIT #2:

The USSF just confirmed that this is the starting XI.
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
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I'm trying to think if I did something bad over the last three days to warrant punishment and Guzan is the punishment.
 

Titans Bastard

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This lineup isn't that crazy in a vacuum; nobody is being deployed out of position and you can see the logic of it. It's really risky to trot it out in Azteca for the first time because the US team doesn't have any reps in this formation, so there could be issues that stem from lack of familiarity with the system, especially missed defensive rotations.

Guzan over Howard is a head-scratcher to me, though.
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
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Well, one thing we usually don't have going for us is that you can argue the best player on the pitch tonight will be an American..
It'd be a silly argument, though, as Chicharito, Herrera and Giovani dos Santos are likely to take the field. Carlos Vela might mean he's not even the best winger on the field. When he was Pulisic's age, dos Santos had worked his way through La Masia and was starting for Barcelona. Seriously, you can argue the current Mexico team plays as less than the sum of its parts, but the parts are really fuckin' good.
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
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I'm trying to think if I did something bad over the last three days to warrant punishment and Guzan is the punishment.
Guzan over Howard is a head-scratcher to me, though.
The field players, eh ok, let's see, but Guzan?? Wow
Oh come on guys. I don't like our odds any more than the rest of ya's, but Guzan was starting in the EPL only a few weeks ago. Nobody would confuse him for David De Gea, and I prefer Howard in a vacuum too, but he's really not a liability. We've got two #1 keepers, Bruce needs to keep them in rotation.
 

SoxFanInCali

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Oh come on guys. I don't like our odds any more than the rest of ya's, but Guzan was starting in the EPL only a few weeks ago.
For a team that got relegated. Just like the team he played for last year.

He's OK, but he's more likely to give up a howler that Howard, and this is not an environment where we can overcome one.
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
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I may have said this before but Arena looks like a guy who would be standing beside his white panel van in front of a schoolyard