Friday, September 6, 2019

Your USMNT Line-Up v Mexico

I'm sure parts of tonight's USMNT XI will delight and parts will frustrate. Personally, I get what the boss is doing with most of these choices - one would assume he'll give Josh Sargent the start in St. Louis and five players will depart camp after the game so they'll need to be seen first. Except, erm... John Anthony Brooks? I'm very curious to know why he's the field player exception among that group (EDIT: Apparently Brooks was slated to start, but picked up a knock). And frankly, why we even bothered pulling Johnson away from NYCFC to sit on the bench.

Obviously, we're either going to see Mr. Pulisic on the wing or Gregg Berhalter is going with an unusual formation. I hope it's the former, even if I think it's premature to move our best playmaker out of the quarterbck role. And the other problem is we are essentially using two midfield spots for what should be one job: Morales will defend (theoretically, though I'm not convinced he'll faithfully sit in front of the gate all night) and Trapp will distribute. That naturally puts added onus on McKennie to make sure the front three aren't starved for the ball.

So yeah, I can't gripe all that much about the line-up (yet, that is), but I'm still annoyed by the make-up of the selection. We'll see how it goes, and after it goes how it goes you'll get my player ratings over at MLSS.








- Greg Seltzer

15 comments:

JBS said...

Unsurprisingly Tata is playing chess and Gregg is sitting in the corner eating the checkers pieces.

JBS said...

A real federation would be starting their search for a new manager right about now.

ZackL said...

Better or worse than the Venezuela game?

Joe Bailey said...

Berhalter’s tenure will be short.

Joe Bailey said...

That Gold Cup final was our best chance to beat Mexico in a meaningful game in years and he flubbed it. I have no confidence in this coach.

Dr.Jon said...

Had a bad feeling about another Zardes start. I had a bad feeling about Trapp and Morales in midfield with McKennie. 2 6's and an 8 is not what we need. Was hoping Lletget got the start with a MF 3 of Morales/McKennie and Lletget...

I am hearing rumblings - as good of a shot-stopper as Steffen is, he is not a pass out of the back sweeper/keeper. Maybe Horvath or Jesse Gonzalez is where it is at?

A deserved loss for the coach.

Also, no one talking about how the players and coaches are still saying the same things JK was hammering on for years. Be brave, play fearless, take the press to them, composure on/off the ball, possession-based, proactive soccer. Everyone railed that the USMNT were all actually Xavi Alonso in disguise and it was the JK system (or lack of it) that was holding them back. In reality, the US (still) can't play this style soccer at the senior level (yet) because the player pool is lacking in that technical skill of keeping possession with movement, composure and precision.

downintexas said...

Putting in someone other than Zardes does not change this outcome.

There was a lack of veteran presence. Pulisic is not a leader yet. We need Jozy and yes Bradley, he is at the end of his international career but until the kids get more seasoning, what are we going to do?

We are still dealing with the JKs lost generation. Were are the 24-28 year olds? JKs never developed (played those players that failed to make the Olympics)

Mexico is an amazing team. Combo with a great coach. IF they keep their heads they will make some waves next WC. Just think if Vela decided to play.

GB is trying to build a team out of the ashes. This was just a friendly and he is dealing with a young team. He is playing the long ball not just quick fix.

Dest is only a kid as well as Weston, cannon and Pulisic. Add Long and Zimmerman who are apart of the lost generation. They all need more international games. They all have incredibly high ceiling and will be the hammer that destroys Mexico in 4 years. Out of the entire starting line up Zardes is your most veteran player with a around 50 international games.

Everyone yells: play the kids.... Coach plays the kids.....Everyone: what the hell is GB doing!?!?

DaMa said...

I think the issue for GB is that he continues to rely on things that don't work just like it was the MLS regular season and he has time to keep pounding it to see if it gets better. Unfortunately his favorite player, (Trapp) doesn't work at this level. This match was all about how overrun we were in midfield. Forget about the young kid mistake from Dest (who, not surprisingly, is still a work in progress definsively) or the pk miss/choice by sargent/pulisic. This was about getting overrun in the midfield and having no quality outlet for the defenders to give the short ball to. Granted we should have had a plan for when the press was so high (how does a coach not have a plan for Tata pressing high?), but having an actual offensive oriented midfielder in midfield and a player who isn't just north of a traffic cone on defensive mobility would have been helpful. I try not to dump on the coach immediately ... but I have to admit I am a little concerned.

Joe Bailey said...

There’s a few young kids GB won’t play. Let’s see RB’s Davis play for Trapp. He’s on a possession oriented team. Let’s see AN of the eredivisie play for Zardes. No I for one am not pissed because GB plays young guys...

ZackL said...

Lots of caveats about the game, and Berhalter's tenure so far, but what's driving me slightly crazy is the fact that I can't tell if he's actually building toward something or not.

He wants the team to play out of the back. That's fine. Does he want the team to do that because he thinks that the best set of tactics to employ with the players at his disposal or does he want them to do that because its a part of his "SYSTEM" and he is committed to it? I don't know yet and my answer to that question changes from game to game. Time will tell I guess. But the players don't necessarily seem to be improving or gaining a better understanding of how to function within the tactical framework Berhalter is trying to implement. And to top it off, other teams are figuring out how to break his plan faster than his players are learning how to execute it. That is an ominous sign.

In light of all that, the personnel issues almost seem ancillary, even with some guys being out through injury. If the plan is the wrong fit for the team, then it doesn't really matter who you have out there. All that being said, I honestly think we've seen enough of Trapp and Zardes, even if their replacements aren't readily apparent yet. If their primary roles within the team are to bring the other guys into Berhalter's system and help them understand their respective responsibilities within it, then they don't appear to be succeeding. And, moreover, they are taking up roster spots that could be filled by other players who might be able to offer more production on the field and/or gain invaluable experience. Even if they aren't fluent in Berhalter Ball.

Dr.Jon said...

@downintexas
"We are still dealing with the JKs lost generation. Were are the 24-28 year olds? JKs never developed (played those players that failed to make the Olympics)"

There is definitely a lost generation, but you can't put that on JK. These guys never developed or flamed out.

Dr.Jon said...

@ZackL
"Does he want the team to do that because he thinks that the best set of tactics to employ with the players at his disposal or does he want them to do that because its a part of his "SYSTEM" and he is committed to it?"

This is an interesting comment. If you look at Jose Mourinho he is tactically very flexible and plays systems best for his players. No one gives him credit for this, IMO. Pep, OTOH, and Klopp will play their system regardless of who is available and if they are winning or losing 6-0

ZackL said...

@Dr.Jon
I mean, I like that Berhalter is really trying to implement a progressive, attacking style of play. It's something that JK talked about a lot but never really executed. Right now it just doesn't seem to be working consistently, which is understandable since Berhalter is still in the early(ish) days of his tenure. Where I get concerned is when I start thinking about why his plan doesn't seem to be working.

To your point about Mourinho and the rest, I think that club managers have the luxury of being ideologues because they can A: Buy players to fit their system and B: coach those players day in and day out all season long. BUT! BUT! Being committed to a style or philosophy doesn't mean you have to put yourself in dangerous situations just to prove a point. I've seen keepers like Ederson or Neuer, guys who are probably the best in the world at that position with the ball at their feet, clear the ball or play it long if they have no other option. Watching Steffen repeatedly play short passes to covered defenders was maddening. And it happened over and over and over again. Across multiple games. And there are problems like that all over the field. Guys either being asked to do things they can't, or not doing what they are capable of quickly enough.

Because that's the thing with international coaches. They are operating with a smaller player pool and a shorter timeline. They don't have the luxury to pick and choose players to fit their system and then make executing that system second nature. So I think it makes sense for international managers to be more pragmatic.

But who knows? These are just friendlies. The team might really gel over the next year or so as guys get more comfortable within their roles and as younger, promising guys really start to solidify their spots. I hope that happens. I really do.

JBS said...

Watching England v. Kosovo: I'd rather have a team as well set up and on the same page as Kosovo than the garbage we have now under Berhalter.

Greg Seltzer said...

A few remarks...

@ Joe Bailey: Novakovich plays for Frosinone in Serie B now. But yeah. And I wouldn't be opposed to Davis (or Canouse or Cerillo), especially in this camp.

@ Zack L: Probably a little better. Not much, though.

@ Dr. Jon: Yeah, I knew the Trapp/Morales pairing would be a problem. However, downintexas is right about Zardes. There's nothing he could do the other night, he's the last guy to be mad at right now. It would be more appropriate to feel bad for him regarding Friday's game.