Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Your USMNT Line-Up v Mexico

I'm not even gonna lie. I simply didn't want to react to the USMNT Under-23 side's win over  Dominican Republican. I was so annoyed by the first half, the bitter taste remained even after they eventually woke up late. It was bad, and it was arguably bad by design. I'm not sure why this double-8's with a false 9 would ever be used against such a minnow.

And all respect to Los Quisqueyanos. They ran their tails off and made life difficult for the US for most of the game. But frankly, the US made it easy for the Dominicans to make it difficult. Big gulfs between midfield and attack, nobody moving off the ball, which led to all the safest passing. And when they did bother to breach the final third, execution was out the window. It was hard to watch, and I can't help but feel like the lackluster display was in large part caused by the set-up and some miscasting (Perea is a two-way guy and Johnny is the gate-keeper... I don't care if he played forward when he was 15... or honestly, that he raided the box for a couple chances).

Look... I'm fine with this deep midfield triangle when, say, Adams, McKennie and Aaronson are around. Or when we're facing a team that will dominate possession (yes, okay, like Mexico tonight). But taking this approach against teams that should be beaten handily just invites slooooow play. And that's what we got until Yueill, Dotson and Mihailovic hauled the team onto their backs with a half hour left. 

As for tonight's line-up, I'm worried about more miscasting. And I'm not sure how Saucedo keeps his place, but get the feeling a certain few players were given a breather before the real big one (the do-or-die qualifier in the semis).

- Greg Seltzer


DaMa said...

I guess it looks a *bit* difference with Yueill in for Cardoso and Glad in for Pineda and Vines in for Herrera. Definitely resting some guys that would make the ball move a bit quicker. That being said, I agree with you wholeheartedly. This team has felt like a Tab Ramos special from the get-go where we pick a lot of interchangeable midfielders, hope one of the wings has an amazing tournament and hope good game management overcomes bad roster selection. Not sure anyone should be surprised, Kreiss has been terrible since at picking lineups since his stint at RSL (and that was very much a case of the players he had).

DaMa said...

So let me get this right: If you bring zero creative midfield players, it is hard to create chances playing out of the back? That's unpossible.

ZackL said...

Definitely frustrating to lose but I thought there were some positives. I thought Kessler and Pineda played well. Kessler in particular did a good of bringing the ball out of the back in the first half. And, speaking of the first half, I thought the team handled Mexico's pressure well and did a good job of countering it on occasion. Plus Mihailovic had some promising moments when he was able to get on the ball.

Mostly I guess I'm OK with the fact that they limited to Mexico to only one or two decent opportunities. Especially when you consider that this group hasn't played together before this tournament AND that they're not in season yet either. So some rust/sloppiness is to be expected.

But, as everyone else has mentioned, the team didn't really offer much at all going forward, and that's been the case since day one. And I think much of that is due to the roster. It's hard to generate any attacking threat when you've only really brought along one creative midfielder, even if you're expecting your wings to provide most of the attacking impetus.

DaMa said...

Agreed Zack. I thought the whole backline looked pretty good. Pineda was way better (though still holds the ball too long/casual under pressure).

I am not even complaining about the loss/approach (I actually disagreed with bringing someone like Yuell on late risking the yellow...)

The real issue is that midfield. When Dotson is on the ball he is pretty decent, but this is the second time he has started a match and the second time I have literally forgotten he was playing because he went so long between touches. Not that that is all on him. As for Jhonny/Perea... ugh. Just ugh. I would have been starting both Parks and Williamson and neither of them even made the squad.

Obviously I have said it a ton of times on this site... but Kreiss was a terrible choice. Take away his RSL days where he got handed 5 all-time MLS greats and his squad selection issues have been a persistent problem. It's not just in the center either. Bofo has been awful (that play last night where he just basically gave up along the sidelines after being pressured out of the box was a precursor to a run of wtf plays... anyway), Soto is clearly not ready for primetime even at this level (I am, admittedly, very down on him. He can finish... I am not sure if he can do anything else).

Gotta hope there's enough quality in the back to hold off our semi opponent for long enough for us to get that lucky first goal so that we get some counter attempts later on. In a sea of positivity regarding the USMNT's future and youth, this team was constructed like a youth team from the 2000'a. Someday I would love to hear what the actual reasoning was behind some of these choices.

ZackL said...

Yeah, the midfield is super janky. I get that Kreis is trying to implement Berhalter's ideas from the senior side, but he didn't really bring along the right personnel to do so, not to my mind at least. Hard to be creative out there when you've basically got a midfield that's basically three 6s cosplaying as 10s. Or two defensively-minded 8s and a 6 like against the DR.

And I thought Perea looked OK yesterday, but yeah, Johnny hasn't been great, especially when you consider that the Brazilian league is in season.

I think what's kind of frustrating about this roster is that not only that these aren't the best age-qualified players within the USMNT pool, it's that they aren't necessarily the best age-qualified players within MLS.

Matt Doyle put out a roster on Twitter that was composed of guys who either didn't make the final cut or got snubbed entirely. It seems like a much better fit for the style of play Kreis is trying to implement.

And on Kreis in particular, was he a terrible choice? Yeah, maybe? If we make the Olympics then I guess it'll have worked out. But I really don't know what to expect from this team on Sunday and that's not a great feeling.

Greg Seltzer said...

I'm pretty sure Johnny and Perea would be fine if he just switched them back to their proper positions. Asking Perea to stand still at the gate while asking Johnny to drive play forward is just all kinds of wrong. It's so wrong one might almost think it was intentional sabotage.