USMNT

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El Gato Bandito

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...anyone else going to watch the friendly vs Paraguay?...
I only got to watch the last 15 minutes or so, but it seemed like they were pretty feisty out there. That's good to see I guess.

CCV looked like a beast out there. He is such a strong dude who plays smart. Miazga looked like a good partner for him as well, I am pretty excited about their potential as a defensive pairing. Glad they trotted out some fresh blood and cap tied some of the younger guys like Weah and Delgado but don't know why they are playing Villafana and Nagbe type players. We know what they offer. Play new guys.
 

Pokes28

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Last night's match was a fantastic watch for me. A lot of names that have been on the radar for a long time really looked the part.

Plusses:
Adams was a machine out there. Always moving, always finding space, strong with the pass and in the defense. His run the ended in the penalty was a thing of beauty.
Trapp: The guy still isn't comfortable under pressure, but he was excellent last night
Teamwork: When the guys came to each other's defense when Paraguay started their meat head crap was awesome.
Saif was really good. He was probably the best at providing the high press from the midfield.
Overall energy level: These guys wanted to play and show what they could do. There was more movement last night than in any USMNT match I've seen in years.

Negatives:
Wood continues to struggle. He's lost his clinical edge. He should have at the very least gotten 3 or 4 more shots on target, instead, he was too timid in the box and ended up either passing out delaying long enough that his shot was blocked. Only redemptions for me was his work rate was good and he did make the penalty shot.
free kick defense was iffy all night. Corners and free kicks were always way too congested in front of the keeper. Fortunately, even when the ball ended up at the feet of the enemy, it was too congested for them to get a shot off.

Now, I don't want to go over the top on any of this. Paraguay sucks. They aren't very skilled and are pretty slow as a team. But they have a lot of matches together whereas we do not. It was a really good showing for the newness of our guys.
 

El Gato Bandito

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I think its a pretty solid hire for the GM role. He was a great player and regular for the national team for a long time. I don't think his work at Philly was all that amazing, but he had a successful run in the Dutch Eredivese before then as technical director for a few of their larger clubs. He has a lot of connections and is a smart guy. If he is the guy who is now in charge of hiring a manager for the MNT, then I am optimistic they will make a good hire.
 

O-St8

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So someone tell me about Gregg Berhalter.
So I'll say I was surprised at the hire. Off the top of my head all I know about him is he was a decent national team player and went to a couple world cups (I think 2002/2006). After that all I know is he played somewhere in Europe for most of his career and has been coaching at the Columbus Crew. It's a head scratcher to me. I'll have to do some reading. I'm not saying it's a horrible hire...I'm just saying I would have never seen it coming.
 

El Gato Bandito

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He is probably a pretty safe bet to improve moral and get some of the stupid fundamentals they haven’t done well the last few years cleaned up. Not sure he will revolutionize anything or make the team super dynamic and different. But if he can stabilize this team and make them competitive again it’s a good hire.
 

Pokes28

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That all depends. With exception, International football is not nearly as technical as club football. The only exceptions to that on a regular basis are Brazil and Spain. Other countries will play more technical when their talent allows it, but considering these guys simply don't get that much time together and all play in different systems with their clubs, the play ends up being pretty fundamental most of the time.

Back in the 80s when the US was at its peak in regards to world rankings, we weren't technically gifted. Sure we had some very good players that played all over the world, but the team can only play as expansive as the weakest link will allow. What our teams did was play fundamentally sound and literally ran other teams into the ground. Our players were on the whole bigger than most and while maybe not faster, they were unrelenting.

If you look at Berhalter teams in Columbus, that is a pretty good description of how they played the last couple seasons. They had some talent, but they were nothing fancy. They were just very well organized and at the end of matches, opposing teams were pretty tired and beat up. I don't know that we have the right type of blue collar players for that right now. We know that we can't be a possession based team as we don't have the midfield talent for that. So our play style will still be a counter attack style. It has to be. What that generally means is that our defensive midfielder has to be a beast. A guy that plays defensive like a center back but has the passing talent of an attacking mid-fielder. We really haven't had that guy in a long time. We also have pretty crap options at fullback. Our strikers need to be clinical. They don't have to be creative, they need to be fast and when they get an opportunity, at least put it on frame. We have had way too many wasted chances in the last decade where we didn't even force the opposing keeper to make a play.

The strength of our team right now is on the wing. This could change if some of the young bucks develop into the players we want them to become, but until that happens, Berhalter will have his hands full finding a style that not only beats the teams we should beat, but also gives us a chance against the teams that are more talented.
 
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I always want the USMNT to do well. But frankly, these dark times aren't a surprise. We keep shifting players, several are young and there is zero chemistry.
Not a surprise at all. Should have seen it coming when it took over a year to hire a coach after an "extensive search" that turned out to be not so extensive at all. We ended up hiring the brother of the soon to be COO of US Soccer. The entire organization is filled with greed and nepotism. I wanted to give Berhalter a chance but it's just not working out. We need to cut our losses and try and re-group before qualifying. I don't mind continuing to play the kids but they just don't have any real leadership, tactics, formations, organization, etc. And it's fairly evident.

I would throw all of our eggs into the Jesse Marsch basket who led Red Bull Salzburg to the Champions League and nearly knocked off Liverpool in group play. He also gave us the gem below. But I'm convinced that US Soccer will let Berhalter stay at least until qualifying. And if that gets off to a poor start, which looks likely, we are headed for another missed World Cup.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLMmr2HvTwI
 

Pokes28

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I'm not ready to pull the plug on GB just yet. I think that he is a good coach. The nepotism is a really bad look. Frankly, if by some chance we don't qualify for 2022, then I'll really be upset. But as for now, I'm willing to cut some slack.

Remember where the team was when he took it over. The best players (sans Pulisic) were all old and many should have retired from international football a couple years earlier. It can't be easy to put together a whole new team and get them playing well when they only get a couple weeks together every other month. Add in that nobody knows who our best 11 is, yet alone our best 22-25. If a year from now we still look this out of sorts, I may change my mind, but this was a massive rebuild/repair job. It is crazy to think that anybody could be successful under these circumstances. If you look at teams like Mexico, they have their core and they only change a couple players here and there. Many of their elite players play for 2-3 teams in Mexico, so they get a lot of time together. They only rotate in a new player or two every couple matches and only in friendlies until they show they can play well with the group. We haven't had a consistent roster yet alone starters in 2 years. And even with that, some Americans that have shown their value for club never even get a sniff, IE Ike Opara who has won MLS defender of the year 2 of the last 3 years for two different clubs.

I'm anxious to get things settled, but I really don't know when or how that will happen.
 

El Gato Bandito

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It’s been a tough run. I was excited for Berhalter when he was hired but at this point I haven’t seen anything to convince me he is capable of taking this team into the next World Cup and doing anything with them (if they even make it there). They quit on him out there last game. Hard to come back from that. Dude needs to be more flexible and make some adjustments in match. He looks overwhelmed in big games.