Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Your USMNT Line-Up v Canada

I don't think anyone could quibble too much even if there's a nip or tuck here or there they'd make. I do think Roldan is going to need to come up big in the area of transition defense and that Yedlin can't get caught up, at least without support. Winning/controlling midfield is going to be a big deal in this one. Catch you with ratings (for both teams, actually) over at MLSS after the game.

- Greg Seltzer


DaMa said...

Wow. I mean nobody played well, but that was a shockingly bad half of soccer from Roldan. I mean I don't rate him very highly so maybe I am just looking for it, but wow.

JBS said...

Any of you want to defend Berhalter now? Never thought I'd look back on the mid-2000s as the glory years for the USMNT, but WC qualification looks a long way from a solid lock right now.

DaMa said...

Meh. I don't like to blame a coach ... but man when your team is that unprepared and just tuned out to what you are doing, that has to be on the coach. I don't get this US obsession with filling the field with defensive midfielders and no creative players. Not playing Lletget is really as much a grounds for his dismissal as anything.

Joe Bailey said...

I wonder what was going through Sergino Dest’s mind as he watched this game? I long for the bad old days when the US defended well and hit teams on the counter attack, didn’t look pretty and WON games... I want to give Berhalter a chance but he’s worse than Klinsmann

ZackL said...

I hate to be the guy who only crawls out of the woodwork to post after a loss. But, they lost again, so here I am.

That was real bad. And it feels worse because it wasn't like Canada played a perfect game by any means. The whole affair was pretty sloppy, but at least the Canadian players had a plan they could execute. The US? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I think that game re-emphasizes the pretty obvious fact that opponents have already figured out how to break Berhalter's intricate system. And they've done it before his players have managed to learn it. That is a recipe for failure.

And there were clearly poor individual performances last night, but the fundamental truth seems clearer to me with every game: Berhalter does not have the time or personnel (or some combination of the two) to make his desired tactics click. So when a player has an off night their struggles are magnified by the fact that they're being asked to do something they either don't fully understand, or simply cannot do at all.

I don't know if this qualifies as a defense of Berhalter exactly, but I do think he's a good coach. Now, he has to prove it. To the fans at least, if not to US Soccer's c-suite.

Because that's what's so infuriating about all of this: we all know he's got the job, no matter how ugly the results get, until at least halfway through the Hex.

Dr.Jon said...

"I want to give Berhalter a chance but he’s worse than Klinsmann"

That was concerning just looking at how mediocre (statistically Columbus were). He got credit for value there, and ?style over substance? (the GF/GA ratio ~1 is not good)...getting the most out of marginal players...sometimes the most from a marginal player in not international quality and wins.

2013-2018 Crew 79W-50D-75L 298GF/293GA, 0.387 win%

Supporter Shield Single table format, Crew:
2013: 16/20
2014: 7/20
2015: 4/20
2016: 18/20
2017: 5/22
2018: 10/23

ZackL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ZackL said...

@Dr. Jon
The fact that one of Berhalter's main selling points (which was widely touted when he was hired) is that he "get the best out of marginal players" is a devastating indictment of the USMNT program. And a self-own. But yeah, even his stats in Columbus weren't mind blowing.

Berhalter was also, it should be said, VERY RELIANT on Higuain to make his system work in Columbus. And there is no Higuain on the USMNT right now.

DaMa said...

@zackL generally I agree with everything you have said.

I do have to quibble about the "no Higuain issue, though. Look I am not saying someone "like" Lletget is as good as Higuain was for Colombus (note, I also am not saying he isn't, Higuain was decent but as a pure 10 brought a lot less of a well rounded game), but the fact of the matter is GB keeps trying to maintain this possession system while starting trios like Bradley/McKennie/Roldan in midfield. And then we wonder why, when CP gets the ball, he is going 1v4. You have 3 defensive midfielders (1 of whom (Wes) clearly is not a "posession" guy, 1 of whom can ping a pass but is at the point of his career where he literaly cannot do anything else (Mikey) and one who just flat isn't international quality. And we are trying to play possession football? By the way, for my money, Lovitz is a complete non fit for this style as well. Too easy to pressure him.

We should be playing with a ball-winner (yes Adams is out... there are other options), Wes as Wes and then someone who has more offensive ability than Roldan against any team other than minnows. Sure Bradley can still have a role as a late sub or against teams that are just going to bunker. But against a team that is going to try to boss the midfield like Canada? Imagine how bad this would have been if MAK doesn't get hurt? But Berhalter keeps going with a pirlo-lite pure passer (whether its Bradley or his worse replacement Trapp) and 2 defense first players.

My problem with GB isn't that he is a bad coach or that he doesn't understand the game... but his decisions just don't make a lot of sense to me. Guys like Lima and Yueill have been just flat better all year than guys like Lovitz and Trapp. Does GB not see that? Has he stopped watching MLS? I know Robinson got hurt but the fact that he is a secondary consideration to someone like Ream... I'm sorry but the 2nd division in england is not significantly better than MLS... Ream has not had a better season than Opara? Robinson?

I think the problem is GB gets the game and knows how to design a system but he is an abject failure at team building. And Im sorry I know CP10 was bad for large stretches last night... but pulling him for Arriola instead of pulling roldan and moving CP10 into the center (or at least Lletget) instead of bringing on an Arriola who is NOT a great attacking player (his best position is clearly wingback)....

I guess if i can go on at this length about the bad decisions GB made last night (and many other nights) then maybe I am willing to jump on the anti-GB bandwagon after all. I dunno. I thought he was the right hire at the time. I may have been wrong a bit :)

DaMa said...

(and yes like Twellman I am a little confused as to why Sargent was always so deep when we were breaking out... I have to assume that was dictated by the coach)

Joe Bailey said...

Yes, The he's worse than Klinsmann line was out of anger after watching that game. I liked him as a player, and I think he's a decent MLS coach, but rebuilding the national team is above him. I think we need someone from Europe, Bora 2.0. Yes I'm old...

ZackL said...

Agreed, I can't really wrap my head around his decision-making, across the board.

I assume that some guys like Trapp and Zardes are there because they know they system and/or because there aren't many other options (cough, cough, striker/leftback). And look, player depth is a real problem right now, a problem that is absolutely not of Berhalter's making.

But, as to why he keeps running out the SAME guys in the SAME formations with the SAME instructions, despite obvious evidence that none of the above works?

Well I don't have an answer to that.

I'm paraphrasing Matt Doyle here, but if Berhalter had started Yueill and Lletget together and still gotten the same result, at least we would have learned something. But he went the opposite route.

This idea of trusting in a "Process", essentially tanking until the results improve, seems really foolhardy with the USMNT.

I mean, have either Yueill or Lletget blown my mind with their play so far? No. But they haven't been any worse than the guys who are ahead of them. Let's see what they can do with an extended run! And, to your point, despite not being a pure 10 Lletget does offer something the team really needs. IDK, maybe give him more minutes!? That scenario applies to basically the whole team.

There comes a point where whatever lofty ambitions Berhalter might have about being a truly transformational figure within the program needs to be meet with some serious introspection on his part. Because he is currently failing on two fronts: his grand plan isn't any closer to coming to fruition AND the team isn't even doing the basics properly. Something has to change.

But, as I've mentioned before, a lot of the ill-will I'm feeling towards Berhalter, the program, and the Federation isn't due to what's currently happening on the field.

Berhalter may fundamentally be a good coach (I think he is), but maybe Earnie should have talked to more than two people? Maybe, if US Soccer knew from the start that Berhalter was their only real option, they should have prized him away from Columbus sooner? Or has the position of USMNT manager fallen so low as to even be beneath a job with a middling MLS team? Maybe his brother shouldn't get the CEO job solely because he's been there a long time, which would then preclude a pair of siblings from becoming two of the most powerful people in American soccer.

There are a lot of things to be frustrated about with US Soccer right now. The stuff on the field is only part of it.

End Rant.

DaMa said...

Yeah there's a lot of print out there right now about the berhalter-ness at the top of US soccer. We used to rant and rave about FIFA corruption, but its really disheartening to feel like we have regressed not only as a MEN's squad (props to the ladies for succeed in spite of the dysfunction) but as an entire organization for US soccer.

Really does feel like the powers that be don't get it... to hear GB talking solely about effort like that was the only issue... look i get we lost a ton of 50/50s... that happens when you are playing 2v3 or 4 so every 50/50 falls on the rebound to a guy in red.

I have a ton of soccer friends who have been really down on our system for a while now and I am constantly telling them wait-and-see. I'm all out of patience, alas.

/rant on ;)

dikranovich said...

I feel like I'm in a movie that's sort of a cross of gattica meets the omega man, this is what our astute fans have been craving for.

DaMa said...

i feel like im watching a documentary about a ego-centric know it all who is the oblivious butt of a running joke :D

reminds me of the role of donovan in the dylan documentary by scorcese. random reference.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ DaMa

Filling it with defensive midfielders, with none of them true ball winners. It's not a good idea.

@ ZackL:

I don't think teams have figured the US out so much as the US hasn't figured themselves out yet. They're over-coached for a national team. It's like they're trying to execute a program instead of playing. Too much thinking going on out there.

ZackL said...


Can't it be both? I agree, the team is definitely over-coached, but they've also given up a number of nearly identical goals in the past few games. Doesn't seem like a coincidence.