Price of not qualifying. The cost of failing to qualify for the World Cup will be very high:
-- Viewers for the U.S. games at the 2014 World Cup were 10 times most audiences for the U.S. games in qualifying and 100 times most audiences for MLS games on national television.
Brazil was a special case with favorable time zones, which Russia won't have, so audiences would have been down, but Fox Sports, which will be broadcasting its first men's World Cup in 2018, will pay a heavy price.
Moreover, soccer isn't so popular that it can afford to miss an opportunity to grow the support, especially among young fans in their late teens and early 20s who are such huge soccer fans.
-- MLS will find itself in an awkward position trying to sell the league next summer. For all the conflicts the World Cup causes the summer league, that's a small price for not being able to piggy-back on the World Cup.
Promoting all the MLS players who will be playing in the tournament won't count. (The four goals Panama and Honduras scored on Tuesday -- all but the Ochoa own goal -- were scored by a current or former MLS players.)
-- Missing the 2018 World Cup could not come at a worst time as soccer has finally produced its first superstar to show off to the American public.
At the age of 19, Christian Pulisic finished as the leading scorer in the Hexagonal and was the big reason the USA finished with the best offense in the Hex. (The USA's downfall was with its backline and again conceding bad goals.)
You called? HE ANSWERS!@cpulisic_10 pulls one back after the restart to breathe life into the pic.twitter.com/ZFd0EVucJ4— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) October 11, 2017
-- Missing out also comes as the most promising generation of young stars has started breaking through: Tyler Adams, Jonathan Gonzalez and Weston McKennie. It's hard to have imagined, if the USA had qualified, that Arena would not have taken them to Russia.
-- Missing out will likely mean the end of the World Cup dreams for a lot of players. Only four U.S. players who started in Couva will be under 30 in 2022: DeAndre Yedlin, Paul Arriola, Bobby Wood and Pulisic.
Back to work. The 25 U.S. players whom Arena took to Couva will have to scatter around the world and get back to work quickly. They have jobs to do. Michael Orozco will be the first up: Tijuana plays at home on Friday night.
It's hard to know when the national team will get back to work. There's no official competition for the USA for the next 20 months. In the meantime, November friendlies? January camp? March friendlies? Pre-World Cup friendlies? They all seem so pointless at the moment, but decisions will have to be made one way or another.
Gulati in hot seat. U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said after the game preparations for qualifying for the 2022 World Cup will begin almost immediately.
The most important decision will be who will coach the team. That decision becomes complicated as the man will have to make that decision is Gulati, who will have to decide whether he will run as president of U.S. Soccer for a fourth and last term.
Steve Gans and Paul Lapointe, New Englanders like Gulati, have already announced their intentions on running. Before Tuesday night, Gulati was still the heavy favorite to win re-election. After Couva, not so much.
Irony of the Hex. Gulati re-hired Jurgen Klinsmann before the 2014 World Cup, then fired him two games into the Hex, replacing him with Arena. Those decisions alone won't be his downfall, but there is a certain irony to what happened in this Hex.
For years, the USA coasted through the Hex as rivals self-destructed, replacing their coaches at the slightest sign of trouble. This time, the four Concacaf teams that finished ahead of the USA all stuck with their coaches through thick and thin.
Luck runs out. It's a good thing that the Hex is probably over -- Concacaf wants to try to a different format for the final round in 2022 before the field is expanded in 2026 -- because the USA's luck ran out in this Hex.
There were signs of trouble beginning with the opening loss to Mexico in Columbus. After four straight 2-0 wins, it was inevitable that the USA's luck ran out.
The USA had dominated at home in the Hex -- losing only once in the previous five tournaments -- but lost twice this time. It had always stolen a win or two on the road in past tournaments. This time, it didn't win a single away game.
That wouldn't have even mattered. All the USA needed was a tie at Trinidad & Tobago to qualify for the World Cup.
Long odds against failing to qualify. There was a 1 in 27 chance of the USA being eliminated on Tuesday. Not only did it have to lose but Panama and Honduras both had to win.
To their credit, both the Canaleros and Catrachos overcame setbacks over the weekend in their previous games, but they came back from halftime deficits on Tuesday and won.
Bravo to Panama, headed to its first World Cup, and Honduras, headed to a playoff against Australia in November.
For the USA, it will be time to begin to pick up the pieces so it doesn't find itself in the same position again.
That work begins on Wednesday.
The US soccer program might as well be back in 1975. We are again a minnow soccer playing nation.
Oh, please. The USMNT is light years ahead of what they were in 1975. IN 1975, it was pretty much guaranteed three-and-out in WC qualifying. They couldn't even beat St Kitts, or Curacao, and forget Mexico, just throw uniforms on 11 guys, and hope they make it through the first half. It was also during that time period when they lost to Poland 10-0. When's the last time that happened? No, we have players in top leagues all over the world now, and MLS is miles ahead of the old NASL. This is a kick in the gut, for sure, but nothing that can't be overcome.
No doubt changes need to be made but pretending there has been no progress at all in recent years is silly too.
Yet, in 1950 the USA defeated England who, at the time were considered the "kings of football", in group play basically on sheer will and determination. The team was comprised of part time players and was thrown together ar the last minute. I would love to see that repeated today.
I think you owe Jurgen Klinsmann at least a partial apology. He may have not been a very good team manager, but he was absolutely correct about the state of the program. And being right ultimately got him fired, as his players quit on him. But he was absolutely correct to tell Primadonovan to take a hike in 2014, just as the next coach will be correct to tell Bradley, Dempsey, Howard, and most of the rest of this team that their international careers are now over.
It all came down to attitude. It doesn't matter if people say the right things. what matters is to approach things with the right attitude. US players and coach kept saying they would not take T&T lightly but actually, they underestimated them. They approached the game with cockiness and snobbishness that by just walking onto the field, they would prevail. That they have a devine right to be in the World Cup finals. Guess what, Destiny punishes those snobs very hard. Many stars of the USMNT think getting paid millions of dollars, in MLS or somewhere else, makes them better than the hard working and less paid players of this region. Cockiness at its best.
The result of a series of mistakes. If Klinsman was the problem then US Soccer waited too long to replace him. If Klinsman needed to be replaced then we needed a fresh start and not a Bruce Arena sequel. Too many players at the end of their careers but not enough effort to develop new talent to repace them. To Andrew's point -- without Christian Pulisic in this Hex we are T&T.
The biggest blunder on the USMNT has been and will forever be Michael Bradley. He drove a wedge between the team and Klinsmann because Klinsmann demanded more than Bradley was willing to give. He may be a motivator but as a field commander on the pitch Bradley is over rated and has been ineffective for 2 years. He doesn’t orchestrate the attack the way a mid fielder should not has he ever shown any tenacity as a defender. Hopefully he’ll be gone from the team.
Bradley is Bradley; he's not a quality field maestro a la Pirlo, Valderama, or any of the international playmakers...the Bradley hype was hype, nothing more. As I mentioned before at ad nauseam, this is a team effort and even with CR7/Messi; expectations would be limited.
There is no surprise there!
We are unwilling to make the big decision for our players.
We have to be bold and take steps to hire Coaches and Officials that understand
the modern game.
It starts with attitude and confidence.
Have you been to High School soccer training lately?
They are Boot Camps focused solely on fitness.
We need to start players as young as 5 years old to be good and confident with the ball and it can only happen when they become masters at the 1v1. Enough with burdening children with Tiki Taka. Teach them to fight and compete with the ball to gain touches, moves, feints, confidence.
I don’t disagree but I’ve never seen the USMNT use a tiki raja approach. Run and gun is all we’ve done for 4 years. Sure foot skills are needed but tiki take opens the field and creates opportunities. Every scoring attempt doesn’t need to be a wind sprint
George - I agree somewhat. Start at 5 - yes. 1v1 is super important also, but tiki taka is key also. If you play smart - one touch and get rid of the ball, move the ball, possess the ball - you don't need to run players into the ground. IMO, this is the primary flaw in US soccer. We still think that you can run a soccer team like an American football team - pick the bigest, strongest and fastest players and put them on the field. For christ sake look at Pulisic. He is the smallest player on the field - maybe yedlin is smaller (not sure). HS soccer is like boot camp, but also somewhat of an anomoly. Every year you get what comes in the door - no recruiting, so either you have a foot-skilled, talented team or you don't. What to do? Get them in the best shape and play the long ball. I get it, but it is not something to aspire to.
Criticizing high school programs is not criticizing USSF. It isn't even a developmental program (it is structured as a competitive program), so if you want to criticize athlete development look elsewhere.
I w I never thought Bradley was a play maker I thought he was a very good defensive mid. The manager made him a play maker. I guess because they had no one else. Valderama now that was a playmaker who had genius vision. No one would ever say that Bradley had genius vision.
Nick, you think Michael Bradley is a good defensive midfielder???? you see how slow this guy is, no acceleration or speed or fight. The only way for him play defense is positionally, that is about all he could do...I agree with you on his lack of playmaker abilities....I do miss a Valderama type out there in soccer
Frank I am going back to when he first joined the national team. That was a while ago but even then he was never a play maker. When he first started he was good until he got tired. after that happen was not there to get that pass. He can be considered dead wood now we have a lot of dead wood now.
So to review... we failed to qualify for Russia, and we did this while neglecting to call up a single future player, not named Pulisic. So now we look to 2022 with more than half of the team without any WC experience. Calling this a missed opportunity doesn't seem to describe it. Not to mention the chance to grow the sport in America, at a time that the NFL is really struggling.
Those were my thoughts exactly when they called up Benny. Not to say he is a bad player but why are we Calling up another 32 year old to a team that already has too many 30+ players. Is Pulisic really the only hope for the future? There should have been more focus on the younger players from the get go. 0nly very few 30+ players should have been included for experience.
Pulisic is not the only young player to be given a chance, but when few of them start for their clubs -- be it in MLS or overseas -- a coach's options are limited. Morris got his chance and did well, as did Yedlin. Acosta has faltered. Arriola was stuck on the bench at Tijuana and has made his mark recently. Nagbe, who is older, got into the mix as soon as he was eligible to play for the US.
Maybe if the US qualified we'd have seen Miazga, McKennie, Glad, Adams, etc. be given real shots at pushing out the veterans before the World Cup, not after, but we'll never know.
It is time to cut loose all the veterans. There is only about 6 or 7 players the team should move forward with that, have been in the pool recently. Please do it now!
i had to drop the D course until i buy a computer new enough to handle the graphics of planning small drills with triangles and circles and i wonder why uss thinks this is the future of coaching since the players don't fit in this mold-pace, foot skills, fitness, etc......i always practiced set pieces weekly, something i never see my kids 2 teams do....he could have stopped those 2 goals, need younger GKs for sure, and maybe this is finally the end of josie the pussycat...maybe Pulisic' is young enough he can play for Coatia....
This starts with Gulati and the institutionalizing of pay to play and pay to coach. We have modeled our coaching licenses after England with 8 tiers and we can see how well their coaching has done since 1966. The cost is $10k to $15k depending on state organization to acheive all licensing. Experience plays no part in waiving any tiers of the process unless you had a four year career at a first level pro team. In other words, if you have coached for twenty years and pursued NSCAA certification (a far better prepatory product) but wanted to coach at a DA, you would be required to spend a minimum of four additional years starting at the bottom rung of the licensing ladder. Germany in contrast has four levels, considers experience, and costs far less. Even more ironic is that UEFA licenses can be used as equivalnces for USSF licences but a CBF license counts for nothing despite Brazil having the most Cups. We are festering under our own ignorance and arrogance.
I could get also get started on the gutting of a relatively successful Olympic Development Program that essentially has become a funding tool for the Federation's new efforts such as the DA program. Instead of strengthening the tools that worked and embracing the experienced coaches we do have, we abandoned those for revenue generating elitist products at the youth levels and beyond. Changes need to occur but not in the way Gulati laid out...
America has lost the respect of the Soccer world. It kind of feels like 1986 today. I almost expect to see Miama Vice on Prime Time, and Ronald Reagan giving a state of the union address.
Having a player like Pulisic is pointless unless the US qualifies for the world cup. What would be better than Pulisic is a lot of very good players. One star does not make a team. We need a team full of B/B+ players willing to fight on the field. That is the kind of team the US used to be in recent history. Now we are garbage again.
Maybe the USMNT performance is indictative of America's declining status as a world power.
Ibrahimovic missed the world cup last time around. This year, Chile's not going--no Alexis Sanchez, no Claudio Bravo. Holland's not going--Arjen Robben has just retired because of that. We almost had a Cup without Ronaldo or Messi. So we're in good company; histrioinics like "this is like 1986" are nonsense. In 1986, you couldn't even see the Cup final on TV in the US. But yes, it is a setback.
Scott, a voice of reason amidst the storm.
Agree with Kate. Light years ahead of 1975. I Didn't watch the entire game. I couldn't find it anywhere but on Bien TV, which I don't subscribe to. Shocked that this important US game wasn't carried by Fox or ESPN. What's up with that? Anyway, I saw the highlights this morning and I just think we looked tired. No energy, no one challenging the ball. I get that they might have been fatigued after that stellar performance against Panama, but this was too important to just sit back and wait to get beat. For christ sake Bruce, we have depth. If your players are too tired, you need to assess that and make changes. I love Tim Howard, but I'm sorry that second goal was on you. That ball was struck more than 30 yards out and hung in the air for more than 2 seconds. You just need to be better than that. Very disappointing!
We are "lights years ahead of 1975(?)", surely u jest. The international community isn't standing still, they are improving at a faster rate than we are...spare the nonsense, please!
I think one of the problems we had was the idea we were going to definitely beat our opponent. You can’t go into a game thinking like that. This was an important game lose it we are not going to Russia we are not going any where.
The first goal was an own goal.
One thing we did which I hate we divided our team into two parts One played the first half and the rest played in the second half. Some of the rest would be called starters. We should have started our best team in the first half.
On Howard on that second goal. One of the hardest saves by the keeper is a shot going away from from the keeper. He has to turn his back and try to block the ball when standing on the one side with the near arm on that far post. Howard never got the height needed to block that ball. Very hard save yes, but not an impossible save if you get the height you need to make it after you turn your back. He should go.
Oh you know we banned heading for young kids now. They don’t do that in Germany are they not afraid of head injuries?
i use a volly ball
University of Cincinnati and other colleges, as well as professional teams, are using vision training to teach players to avoid contact and to reduce injuries. Even the University of Cincinnati football program has reduces concussion by 80% over what they have averaged over the last 6 years.
Vision training not only reduces injuries but dramatically improves reaction time, improves scan rate by up to 600% (amount of data on teammates, opponents and spaces collected over the field per minute), improves near far focus changes, improves depth perception, speeds up decison making, etc. Two to three days a week for 20 minutes pre-season and on non-game dates during a season statistically shows great improvement. (Also improvement in grades for many.)
Good for them. University of Cincinnati American football program is currently 2-4 and unranked.
Their soccer program hasn't ranked in the top 20 in 7 years and when it was it was for women's.
They do qualify for a participation trophy though. I hope this helps.
This was a big game no matter who are opponent was because we lose it we are not going anywhere. It should have been treated like a one game elimination because it was. In a game like that you play all of your starters. In first half. Did we do That? You don’t sit part of your starting team in the first half.
The problem wasn't only Bruce arenas team not performing, it was a collection of many things, klinsmanns lack of development led to no Olympic appearances in 8 years. Which means no youth players developing into the national team, Klinsmann was the technical director and senior national coach, pay to play is a massive issues. Why is Cameron on the bench, feilhaber, and Fabian Johnson, why does MLS pay higher wages for Bradley to leave Roma and come to MLS to play with inferior players? Lastly, why are we promoting speed and athleticism over technical ability? Feilhaber is a true 10 and Everyone was talking about the ability for us not to break down defensive teams, I'm speechless!
How long will it take Arena to step down? I'm flabbergasted by his starting Pulisic as striker, where he would not touch the ball nearly as much as attacking mid or even forward...
The new coach needs to sit the entire team down (minus the 'old' crew who are done as far as 2022), and show them the Germany v. Azerbaijan game - Germany was playing for nothing, but kept the pressure on and played like the champions they are through the entire game until the last whistle. That is the difference between a lot of teams who are contenders, and a champion. We need our boys to recognize that - because the sad effort in T&T was a disgrace. Also, I'd like to see our best players actually play - Omar Gonzales has been a liability every time he plays, and consistently gets beat or is out of position. If Yedlin hadn't been covering for him brilliantly in the Panama game, they would have had a couple of goals - and we had Cameron on the bench for both games? Nagbe gives away posession on a regular basis, and a few good flashes in the occasional game should not be enough to be starting.
It is a shame - for Pulisic not to go to the World Cup, for U.S. Soccer to not have that showcase and ability to continue building the game, and for the fans. I'm still confused about U.S. Soccer - the only way I could watch the game was in Spanish on NBC Universo - for a must-win final qualifier to the World Cup. If you are invested in building the game, maybe you should have these games more easily viewable to people?
Arena doesn't have to step down. His contract is over.
His contract isn't over until July--it was expected he would guide the team through the World Cup. Even though there's not much international soccer going on for the next year or so, it would probably be beneficial if he retired sooner rather than later. That said--it doesn't hurt if he stays on for a bit, just to keep the seat warm, and appointment of his replacement should be the job of Gulati's successor.
Now I can watch the best matches and no other games. I wonder who our next manager will be? Now that we are out I hope Mexico does super well.
even after they and the Ticos tanked to get us out?
Yes it has a dreadful feeling that the US failed to qualify, but the writing was on the wall sevral months ago. I wrote it in this "Comments" column over and over again that they would not qualify. The team of players are simply not capable. Technically weak, lack of pace, lack of vision and cannot exploit space well or for that matter deny it as well too. It certainly starts with technical ability and that has to be the emphasis. Technically good players, automatically improve their vision, improve your vision and the tactical game becomes easier. Blaming coaches of the National team is pointless. Where does the development start? Take a hard look at that! The coaches will not be competitive on the world stage with such weak players. I don't agree that the players showed little fighting spirit, they fought! They are not good enough! When we did well in 2002 we had so many quality players on the squad. REMEMBER?
D. Wallace, you see and you know; others see and they don't get it.
Your post included the phrase "Technically good players, automatically improve their vision, improve your vision and the tactical game becomes easier." The mental game in sports is required to develop technically good players. The first part of mental fitness is having vision corrected to 20/20 or better and excellent visual processing skills. CONCUSSION RATE DROPPED BY 80% read the headline, when vision training: peripheral vision, scan rate, near far vision, dynamic acuity were all improved through training and University athletes from American football players to America baseball players all had their concussion statatics drop to just 20% of waht they had been per year for the previous 6 years. Johan Cruyff avoided losinjg the ball or being hit in the ankles because his vision was excellent. Great vision protects the athlete from hits and injury. But the other side to visual processing skills is improved visual memory. In Europe profesional soccer players are being shown game pics and drawings for between 1/8th and 1 second and then are able to identify them instantly. Players shown 3,000 of them have tested out recalling 96%. Their decision making is instantly because the not only absorb data from their senses but have been trained with a sensory library in their brain to recall and instantly react to what happens in games. In Germany they do psychological and personality profiles on soccer players to get the best possible performances game after game.
And in recent studies the most technically capable players move and plant their feet differently because of their vision, closer to the ball and are more accurate with consistently firmer shots. And the players with the best vision display better balance and body movement. Good vision, good visual processing skills, excellent STM (short term memory), LTM (long term memory with 1,000's of game and player images) learning to focus on salient targets, to ignore others, to see near and far are all skills that improve play; and mant can be tauught by simply adding an instruction to games played in practices.
The Germans are doing a lot in these and other areas. See https://www.dfb.de/en/projects/talent-development-programme/
So what your saying is Jurgen Klinsmann or Bruce Arena could take over the German men's national team right now and produce the same results as Joachim loew?
Loew has done an exceptional job with the new professional players created in the Player Development Program that even the DBF credits Jurgen for his leadership and influence to create. Please see the following quotes about Jurgen's influence and the link to the full English translation of the document citing his efforts at the end.
Oliver Kahn commenting on Jurgen's impact said "Jürgen was, indeed, the one who pushed his agenda through without compromise. If he had not been so consistent in this matter, the changes would not have taken effect so quickly." (Many in the DBF, like US Soccer resist change and fought Jurgen's effort to recreate the DBF as the Player Development Model it is today.)
"Jürgen Klinsmann’s appointment began a phase of change in the self-image of the DBF as well as innovations in the organizational and structural areas that did not take place immediately, but rather unfolded as a dynamic process over a period of time, structured project and change management being required to enforce necessary reforms to overcome hindrances and resistance that stood in the way of the successful development of the national team in a very narrowly framed time period. With the changes initiated, a clear change in behavior was possible, as well as laying a foundation for a sustainable increase in achievement for the players."
"During Klinsmann’s tenure, the national team’s performance fluctuations were at their highest. This is typical of radical change phases because the fundamental structural changes do not immediately take effect, but rather, they have an effect on performance over time. The restructuring of the organization, the addition of external experts, the reformation of the national team’s structure and the adjustment of basic training methods
provoked uncertainty and caused a loss of performance. With time Klinsmann’s measures began to take effect and triggered an increase in the
national team’s performance. World Cup success at the end of the Klinsmann Era and the return of the team to the Top 10 on the world ranking list built the basis for the national team’s sharp improvement."
Jay, Excellent points...
I think this is the result of many years of slacking by US Soccer. We did not even qualify to the Olympics which should have been an eye-opener. US Soccer needs new leadership and I personally hope Eric Wynalda gets in. This whole thing hurts but hopfully something good will come from it.
What about the flooded practice they gave us to train on. Did we practice on that day or any day leading up to this game. Unless the water was raw sewage we could have still practiced it might have been fun. Remember when the coaches carried are players across it. In Germany they had a fun game called horse and pony one player on another players back they actually played with one player on the other player back. It looked like a lot of fun so I stole the idea and did it with my adult players and it was fun especially on a flooded field.
Are u serious; our squad needs players with efficacy, not happiness.
Excuse me the game was called horse and rider.
I W the question was did the US team practice on the flood practice field? Yes or no. If no why no just because the field was blooded we they afraid of getting wet. If the water was not filthy you practice any way. That was the freaking real question not their happiness. But you can get them to do it my that game horse and rider. What country are you from any way?
I feel sorry for Christian he did not deserve that result. I keep remembering when they showed pictures of his juggling when he was a boy. They he caught the last one and he gave that little kid smile at the end. He just need better guys to play with.
Why feel sorry for Pulisic, he did his part because he is capable, unlike most of his teammtes...that is a fact.
To me one of the biggest aspects of this is that it slows down the growth of the game in this country. Every four years millions of people watch soccer who don't otherwise do so normally. True, most of those won't watch again until the next world cup. But some of those people drawn in by the world cup become fans and that just grows our soccer culture, which is essential for raising the game in the US to where we all want it to be.
There is hardly anyone on the current USMNT between ages 24-28, which is generally a player's prime. A few young guys and a bunch of over the hill players. That's a big reason why this team wasn't very good. If the US qualifies in 2022, how many of yesterday's squad will be there? Pulisic, Yedlin, Acosta, Wood maybe. I'm hopeful the upcoming generation will have more true game changers. It will need to.
Fire Your right to many has beens on the team. Now is the time to build for WC 2022 I would not even waste time crying about this loss. We have a lot of good under 17s now at least 3 of them could be on that 2022 team barring injury. The only think I know I will be there to see it I will be 75 later this month and I have no plans to kick off before the end of the 2022 WC.
I'm sure you'll be around to see our boys in 2022!
It slows down the growth of professional soccer as entertainment industry in this country but it will have no impact on the sport itself. So sponsers and fans will be upset have to adjust. So 20-some members of th US MNT are impacted. Two dozen professional players are not the sport itself with millions of registered players.
Don't be delusional people. The MLS, under its current plan, is not going to produce top quality players. Reward for thuggery overshadows protection of talented players on the pitch. USSF system of identifying and nurturing talented players remains mediocre...as long as high school and college soccer remain stagnant, so will the talent pool. There is only one player that has the talent, efficacy, and passion at the international level. Perhaps we need to examine Pulisic's road map of development; and I would bet that it is similar to that of Giuseppe Rossi. The USMNT effort was dismal; the squad on the pitch failed. The attidue on the pitch lacked the importance of getting a favorable result against a sub-minnow soccer squad.
U.S. soccer from top to bottom has to fix their approach.
At too many levels they are seeking best athletes rather than best soccer players Guys like Messi, Aguero, Silva, Iniesta, etc. would fail in the U.S. system because coaches look at size and athleticism instead of soccer skill and intelligence.
Second, because of the selection process, coaches tend to coach toward a three pass and hit a long ball mentality instead of a possession mentality. In recent times there has been a split with some coaches continuing the old style of long ball and others implementing a possession game. These approaches are often opposed to one another but you see the contradiction from team to team and even player to player on the same team.
USMNT exemplifies this approach. The younger players like Nagbe and Pulisic are more possession oriented and have skills to keep a ball under pressure and complete a high percentage of passes. Conversley, Bradley, Gonzalez, Altidore et al all tend toward long balls and often losing possession.
It is no wonder when a team plays two diametrically opposed systems they will fail. You could see last night the only two players who could keep possession in a crowd were Pulisic and Nagbe...Wood to an extent.
We lost becuase U.S. soccer whether it be Klinsman or Arena have failed to mesh players into one approach and due to politics have kept veterans who have historically failed at every level in the squad when clearly the approach of possession makes more sense.
P.S. For Cameron one of the best US overseas players not to be in the squad compared to Gonzalez, really? How about a look at Bradley's possession stats over time? Bet they are lowed compared to good midfielders that can actually use a left foot and know positioning. I especially liked the one play where either an outside back or center back wanted to switch the field and had to play around Bradley who dropped to apparently defend his own teams effort to switch the ball.
That's ridiculous. Pulisic is the size of Messi, Iniesta, etc. and we somehow found him and he convinced coaches to play him. If you can play, even if you can't pay, a coach will want you. This team is a travesty, the coach and Sunil have to go, but the DA is set up to ID the best players and by looking at the u17 and u20 teams, it's working.
Yes, the US did not play well. But it's not like T&T dominated the game. Still not sure if the first goal was an own goal by Gonzales or if the T&T forward go a toe onto it sending it on it's loop over Howard; I suspect the latter, though no matter how many times I watched the replay, I couldn't actually see it. Regardless, a fluke goal (but credit to the T&T forward for challenging the clearance). The second goal was simply an incredible shot; 35 yds out, at an angle. While they did not show the shot from behind Howard, you could see the ball move left, then right (or vice versa), which meant he couldn't move towards the eventual side because it wasn't clear what side it would be, and by the time he could figure out the direction, it was too late. My point is, both of those goals were very unlikely, not inevitable. T&T had some good attacking plays, and their defense went very hard to the ball (easier to do when you're packing the box), but 9 times out of 10, the 11 players we put on the field would get either a win or a tie. So I don't buy the idea that these players all suck, or thought that simply because they walked on the field they thought they'd win. Maybe they were tired (or overconfident) from the Panama win (they didn't suck then, and the pressure was just as great), but I don't think there was a lack of effort. The field (long grass, wet, uneven turf) made it hard to play the kind of combination play that we prefer; a lot of our passes were either underhit or overhit (as were T&T's; it was an ugly game). While it (not qualifying, not just this game) is probably the worst thing to happen to the USMNT program since 1986, I don't think it means we are suddenly awful (it almost happened to Mexico last round). We are missing a generation of players (the 20-27 age group). I'm not sure why, though there are many things it could be. But the next generation seems like it might be the strongest we've ever had (if it weren't, then maybe the people who say we suck or have gone backward would be right). So yes, clean house; Arena and probably Gulati should go, many of the older guys on the national team shoudl retire. The rebuilding process needs to get under way. But we'll get through this; we've made tremendous strides since the last time we didn't qualify for the world cup, and this setback doesn't mean that progress wasn't real. And appreciate that playing soccer internationally is never easy; heck, Argentina (with the talent they have) was one game away from not qualifying.
Well said Kent, but most people react emotionally to disappointment.
Who would have thought all three favorites, US, Mexico and Costa Rico, would lose matches on the same day. Stuff happens.
I agree with some of your sentiment though not all of your specifics. It was clearly an own goal off Omar - he said so. Watch again and you will see a 6-5 CB casually marking and lazily swinging his leg at the ball as if it was a training session. Second goal - sorry, but Howard has to save that one. He was poorly positioned and did not react. That said, where the hell was Nagbe on the play? You can't allow players 20 yards of space in the defensive third. Agree they are unlikely goals, but products of the approach American players brought to the pitch. You say T&T defense went hard to the ball and that it is easier when packing the box - fine. Where on the field was the U.S. going harder to the ball? One team had everything on the line - the other playing only for pride. Someone who didn't know the teams involved would never have guessed which was which from that display. That is what is troubling about this group. You are right - they don't all suck and I believe the player pool - even the current one - is deeper than in the past. Yet there is something more than technical shortcomings (not new for the U.S.) missing from this group. Think back to all the excuses made for the past 2 years about this team. JK exhausted the players with too much conditioning heading into matches - JK's tactical ineptitude and constant tinkering didn't allow the team to become cohesive - JK was not a players coach, calling out his players, questioning their decisions to play at a lower level, making them uncomfortable - bringing in German players who did play with the same passion for their adopted country - the pitch - the weather - after losing to the top 2 teams in the group, the players got what they wanted. A coach who catered to them, made them happy and comfortable in approach and even team selection. And it ended with an uninspired loss to the bottom team of the group with it all on the line.
I have hope for 2022 because we have more talented prospects in the system than I have seen before. However, if U.S. Soccer can't identify that talent, won't committ to transforming our play, and doesn't create a competitive atmosphere in which player complacency can't take place, I'm concerened that we could see more of the same.
Greg, during JK's tenure, I never saw anything about how the players felt about JK (except for maybe LD, after he was left off the team, and maybe one other, in similar circumstances), so I wasn't sure how they felt about him. The criticisms you describe were certainly voiced outsside the team camp, and may have been inside as well, I just can't confirm that. I think JK was good at bringing people in, thinking outside the box, and letting people know they should not take anything for granted, which are all positive aspects of his tenure. But you can't keep looking at new people forever, at some point you need to build some team solidarity and let players know where they stand, and belittling players to the press is rarely appropriate (you constructively criticism them when you meet with them). While don't know enough of the inner workings of the team to know if Arena coddled the players, knowing his blunt personality, and willingness to speak directly to the problems at issue, I doubt that was the case. In retrospect, he may have been to reliant on his veterans (but they sure came through against Panama), but theoretically veterans should be steadier in uncommon situations, so it wasn't crazy to start the roster he did.
In the United States there are 2,000,000 registered youth male players and 1,900,000 registered female players. Germany, according to FIFA's Big Count, has 2,100,000 registered youth male players and according to Dr. Gunther Karsten only 33,000 registered youth female players playing for 25,500 clubs. >> USA is out, Germany's Talent Development Program is achieving. >> In Germany the DBF, German Soccer Federation's Talent Development Program has 1,200 DBF staff coaches whose mission is to identify every talented German youth player and to introduce him to a systematic training process. All 2,100,000 boys start as youth players on a local youth teams of 25,500 clubs whose teams practice for 1.5 hours, twice a week, year round and whose games are scouted by DBF coaches. Almost 15,000 players, age 11 to 15, are selected for one additional practice session per week at 366 Regional Competence Centers with instruction by 1,200 DBF staff coaches. In addition, almost 800 players in each age group are promoted to train at the youth academies at Germany's professional clubs. The most talented 1% in the U16 to U19 age groups compete at the highest national level at youth academies as part of the Elite Promotion Program. Only about half of the players making national team debuts belonged to top teams in Germany as 15 or 16 year olds. The others only became top-class players at a later stage in their development. It’s important to avoid only focusing on early developers. >> The DBF also has online eduaction system, training materials, psychological and personality profiling of players, vision training and looks at developing all aspects of their players.
Thank you for explaining the German development system so well. The key is the system is inclusive, not exclusive. In the US, if a player is not selected by age 12 lack of training opportunities make it unlikely for talented players to enter elite programs later in life.
Germany has one other distinct advantage. We lose over half our potential player pool because they can't afford our pay to play system. In Germany the Euro cost exchange rate is just under $4 a week for any player to play. >> We could have an additional 2,000,000 potential male players in our youth pool if soccer was affordable for all.
Jay, your point is well taken. i would like to add that the countries that have historically won the World Cup are generally latin based whereby the systems of play are focused on technical and tactical ability. Argentina, Brazil, italy, Uruguay, Spain, and France. In the US our American mentality is bigger is better, American coaches are taught by primarily british coaches that focus on speed versus speed of play, athleticism versus first touch, pure speed versus change of pace, etc. Moreover, our country rewards bad behavior, some our highest paid American MLS players do not try to compete in Europe and are willing to get piad more domestically than to compete for a spot in the EPL, Serie A, or Bundesliga. Our pay to play is a major issue primarily in the academies becuase coaches do not get paid well and they have to charge inordinate amount to make a living without producing talent. We have college coaches that need to win at all cost without developing talented players. Lastly, Sunil Gulatis decsion to make Klinsmann a technical director and a coach put us behind a decade becuase under his tuteliage we didnt make the olympics twice thus a lack of developement and players breaking into our national team.
Jay, very informative posting. The Germans are certainly doing it right. One other difference between Germany and the US (besides cost) is that we are geographically much more spread out. Travel costs (both time and money) are much greater in the US, so it is important the we organize a system that minimizes them as much as possible. But the German system of having paid trainers work with the most talented kids (locally and at no cost) helps both development and scouting.
Interestingly it was Jurgen who pushed for the changes in player development in Germany when he was manager of the German Men's National team that created the players now playing for Germany. See http://internshipinaustralia.com/research/ISBS_Issue_7_We_Are_The_National_Team.pdf
I seriously doubt that any club will let an exceptional player go because their parents can’t pay. No good coach would ever let that happen. In fact no good club would ever let that happen either. I personally don’t want the parents to play. They pay they think they have a say in how a player is trained or the position he plays. Unless the parent was an accomplished player himself. Then I would grab him and put him on the coaching staff in some capacity.
The time to reboot and manufacture our own brand of American, pure soccer is now. We were gifted the perfect excuse and inflection point yesterday when we were served up a humbling batch of Island Punch courtesy of the Soca Warriors who transformed us into ‘Soccer Worriers’ … and then ultimately, losers in our self-imposed game of Russian Roulette.
We need to stop this charade of wishing ourselves onto the bottom rung of the world cup totem pole, and hoping for some underdogging miracle, and instead put on our big boy pants on and take a whole new attitude and approach to how we’re going to forge our way to the head of the pack … similar to how the USWNT did it, starting with the belief that could … yeah … why not!
We have to stop just ‘playing’ soccer, and instead ‘create’ soccer – or more precisely, ‘create’ our own new brand and reality. If we’re gonna play second fiddle for the next 5 years, let’s be bold and devote ourselves to being Itzhak Perlman.
No more chop-chop kickball, and settle for mimicking the stuff that FIFA is showcasing around the world. We have the resources, resourcefulness and athletic chops … what we need now is the verve and the nerve. We need to go the full monty with some free-flowing, weaving, touch-passing, space-creating soccer magnificence, with a shmear of typical American ingenuity and irrational exuberance.
We need to re-write the book and our expectations, the way that John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins and Red Holtzman’s New York Knicks eschewed the methodical play of the day and demanded poetry-in-motion of themselves … or how The Canadiens of the 70’s and Oilers of the 80’s created ice and breathtaking mayhem, and turned their 6-at-a-time shifts into a seemingly unfair 10-at-a-time ordeal through their touch-and-go, owning-the-flow ice hockey.
We need to be committed Total Footballers, the way Rinus Michels molded his Dutch Masters before they regressed into being English stop-and-go traffic habitues again. Over the next 5 years we need to draw a line and have Christian Pulisic uphold a minimum skill standard for our MNT players … and develop an Andreas Pirlo, Carlos Valderrama, Yaya Toure, Mohamed Elneny and Thiago Silva, so that they can feed and make shine the American Cruyffs, Beckenbauers, Maradonas, Zidanes, Platinis, Peles and Messis that they will produce.
If we’re gonna come up short again, let it be because we were consumed by pursuing the ultimate, simple, weaving and flowing, jogo bonito; and not because we were a quart low on struggling for a final spot on a weaker regional hexagonal. What the ‘hex’ was that yesterday, anyway?
Maybe we should look at Iceland? They had a team reach the quarter finals in the 2016 Euros! They are the smallest nation ever to qualify for a major tournament in this game. They had 10% of their country's population come to the Euros.
Read about how they have structured their domestic program, focusing on quality, knowledgeable trained coaches. Given their climate they have built playing/training facilities that run year-round.
And I'm only a little facetious. Of course football/soccer doesn't have to compete with so many other sports choices.
But IMHO we're ignoring one of the core issues -- $$$$. And our marvelous array of available sports drives the result that so many here decry:
(1) Pay for play for young players
(2) Rule differences for youth/school/college/amateur/Pro levels of the sport
(4) Coaching/Officiating training and qualification
In simple terms, where do we get the financial wherewithall to transform the US game into the beautiful game?
If the population of the US loved the game as much as that of Iceland, I'd bet that we'd be challenging for the WC in a decade or 2. Or, maybe, if we loved it as much as that of Mexico/fill in the blank we would, too.
The first soccer game I ever saw, I was coaching (because my kids wanted to play & no one else volunteered). I bought books on playing/coaching because I wanted to do better. I've seen my little town go from a PE coach saying "We don't play Communist sports here" to several high school All-State players.
So my question for all those here who snarl and blame and whine: What have you personally to make the game better?
Do you support youth soccer? financially or going to (lots of) games
Do you coach, and get quality training?
Do you officiate, and get quality training?
Do you promote/contribute scholarships for soccer?
Do you go to amateur/semi-pro/USL/NASL/MLS games?
When your "political subdivision" considers building/improving soccer facilities, do you vote/promote/lobby for public support?
When other organizations in your community are looking for projects/organizations to support, do you push for soccer?
That's enough -- rant off.
Each of the players Ray mentioned are 1 in 10 million. So forget about producing a group like that.
Dick I know nothing about Iceland except there is no ice there.
How did Greece get so good in the euros years ago. They had no professional league there then. The one thing I remember about them was they did something on defense no other team did at that time. That was the team played man defense you can win games playing when no one has seen it in years.
i remember an Argentin youth team bearing the US handily because there back defender intercepted a lot of passes. Then attacked off that they played man in the back you got a lot of interceptions playing man.
old tactics become new again when no one has seen them for a while.
Nick, Excellent point. I will say now that the Sweeper/Libero system will come up again. I can't believe that any teams play a ,flatback,defense.... It is bad defensive system creating defenders who are unable to play good man to man defense, which is the REAL defense, and furthermore
the flatback defense forces their OWN midfielders to run more and do more work....It leads to STUPID and WASTEFUL soccer as far I'm concerned.
We needed Freddy Adu! (half joke)...same result, more entertaining.
This result is a complete condemnation of the quality of MLS.
Tell me, if we took our top European-based lads, regardless of youth, and put them out there, they would not have won 3-1 (?keeper)
Bradley was dead weight 5 years ago...nothing creative, no field vision, nothing!
MLS has, however, given our competitors in Central America a forum to play tougher, more competitive games.
Now all that I have to look forward to is The Boy In Green qualifying...and a Sounders repeat!
So the USMNT is terrible because they play in MLS (only 6 of the 11 did last night and Arriola only move to MLS two months ago). But on the other hand MLS provides great opporunities to foreign players. Huh?
One half (5/10) of field was from MLS (poor Timmy also), and BA left his quality midfielder with 5 appearances in the EPL on the bench.
Not difficult to pick 4 more motivated Europe-based youngsters to play field that would have USA planning for a great summer.
You don't think Alfredo Morales (27 y.o.), who has been a stalwart for Ingolstadt couldn't defend T&T and create chances....
The whole picture is nonsense
I keep hearing how our program has improved with msl being testament to the improvement. I don't see it. The msl is the rugby of the soccer world. I don't mean that to be an insult to rugby as I enjoy that game. Msl is knock down drag out crap. It has become the final glide path to full retirement for European stars who want to continue to play for easy bucks. Until coaching at the youth level is improved we will keep getting what we have been getting. I said it way back that what we were offering as a team here was not world class talent. When you have the youngest player in the team as being the fuse for a good team there is a problem. Pulisic is star quality and thank God we have him. He is the only capable playmaker and attacker on the team.
Build around him. Get rid of the wannabees . Play on!
There are legitimate criticisms to be made against MLS but you didn't make any of them.
I have played soccer and run middle distance since the age of 10. Players run about 5 m per game. NCAA cross country is a 5 mile event. My school in Cincinnati scheduled one meet every 7 days. I also live in central Florida and can tell you recovery time is double in.the hot season. 3 days is not enough for a 5 mile event in the same hot humidity. Arena should have kept Bradley Nagbe and pulisic and changed everyone else.
I agree that we need a fierce emphasis on player development. But what do we do if little changes? The present structure runs deep and is strong. Maybe a new structure, divorced from US Soccer and the MLS, that focuses on player development is called for.? I don't know. But the present charade has gone on for so long that I fear that the coming changes may only prove to be a more sophisiticated approach to today's focus: the business of soccer at the expense of players and their families. How about a revival of middle and high school soccer? I don't have the answers to these questions and I don't trust the present system and those running it.
No nation in the modern era has won the men's world cup without having first established a quality domestic professional soccer league. The professional clubs promote the identification and development of elite players.
No nation has won the world cup that was eliminated in qualifying group stage.
I'm not going to blame Bruce Arena on this failure, which is silly. The only thing I find negative about Arena is his selection of assisstant coaches which is a JOKE. If I were the coach I would have pick former "greats", like a Valderama or a Pirlo or a Schweinsteiger types who earned their spurs to advice me on midfield players during the game, and to also employ their "KNOW-HOW" to teach the midfielders the higher "INSIGHTS", instead, who do have Kenny Arena, or the other ones....this is a JOKE. On defense I would have brought in a former great, retired defender from Europe, like a Puyol, or a Danny Alves type, and on offense there are so many to choose from.
Neither will I criticize Jurgen Klinsman for, he ,at least, brought more REALISM to the American soccer scene in what it takes to coach. Read Jay Walls post on the POSITIVE comments former greats of German soccer gave about Klinsman.
My suggestion for the next coach of the USMNT should be a FOREIGN coach who likewise earned his spurs in playing high level instead of some MLS or a big time college coach. We as a soccer nation have to move beyond mediocrity and find the best coaches who have high level experience in soccer which means NO MLS or College coach. Next in his contract he must hire assistents, as I mentioned, who likewise have earned their spurs and whose job it is also to teach our players the finer elements of the game.
Here is what I thought of Klinsmann he may be able to see the big picture. But he missed the little things over and over that can get you to the big picture.
he got rid of Landon one WC to soon. He could have come of the bench and give the team a dangerous counter attack and finish situation here and there. I think he got rid of Landon because his German team got rid of him. So he though I was better then Landon and I was let go. I really believe that.
frank I did not know you liked Valderama I liked him from the first moment I saw him play he had genius version. I know you can show players some things to look for that they can not see. But teach that kind of vision is unclear plus you need the skill to get the ball there. Plus if a player had that kind of vision he has to get a lot of touches. He can’t disappear for long periods of time. The team has to understand that he is special and they have to get him a lot of touches. Then good things will happen.
i think Klinnesmann was a fantastic player but not a fantastic coach. How can you have only one player like Altidore on the team in the last WC. So he gets hurt and you have no one else like that or close to that to take his place?
Nick, you need players like a Valderama types to teach the tricks of the trade needed for midfield play. Just like Cruyff telling players 'do this and that in a particular situation" for these are short cuts that can be taught to upcoming players. These short cuts are learned only through having played many years . In no way does that mean a player will become and play like a Cruyff or Valderama. It is like a master carpenter teaching the lesser carpenter the secrets of the trade.
It is easy for us to judge Klinsman, and I'm sure he made mistakes but that is why I have constantly asked to have SA interview Klinsman and let him speak his peace and also ask him what he thinks about the american soccer as far what should be improved or what is wrong...we haven't anything as yet seen that. In the book "My Turn' by Johan Cruyff, he talks about one of Klinsman's problems which was that the USSF did not want him picking too many players from one particular MLS team , they wanted too see the USMNT as representative of as many MLS teams. Did you know that, I didn't.
This is rediculous for I remember the Spanish teams were mostly represented by Real Madrid and Barcelona players...So many countries have that...I know the Dutch team was largely reprensented by Ajax and Feyenoord and PSV.
NIck, Klinsman was not a fantastic player. He was a typical hard working German player who had a good work rate, employed lots of running in his style of play. He was not known as technical player. I never considered him a great player. As far as Landon goes, he was not mentally tough and that counts for so much when playing high level soccer. He wouldn't lasted in Holland or England or for that matter in Germany where he failed.
Nick, I always found it ironical that given Klinsmann's workman-like play, that some in the US saw him as the coach to take the US beyond our traditional workman-like play to a more Hispanic, more technical, possesion-style of play. I don't have anything against direct attacking play or Klinsmann as a player, but I don't think he was the right coach if the job was to create a legacy of highly technical possession style soccer.
Frank, aside that Donovan was arguably the greatest US field player to date, I agree that he lacked the mentality, the drive to rise to a higher level than he did. He had plenty of mental toughness, enough to play in Europe, but not the desire. He didn't fail in Germany; he quit.
In short Donovan was great by US standards, but not that great by European and South American standards. So what. The US will always be lucky to have more players like Donovan, or Tab Ramos or a dozen other hall-of-famers.
In part this is why I think our path to winning the world cup lies through greatly improving the level of play in MLS while maintaing significant, meaningful playing opportunities for US players.
Bob, to me I rank Ramos and Hugo Perez above Donovan. Donovan to me is on a lower tier by virtue that he lacked the mental toughness . He has a history of quitting or leaving, a whiner. A good player shows a presence about himself when he's on the field, Donovan lacks that...
Frank I like Hugo Perez I thought Ramos was too into his own game to help anyone else with their game. At least he was like that when he played for the Metro Stars. I never thought of him as fast, but he was very quick and could beat most defenders off his first step. He loved the flank and would beat the first defender on the flank. Then the next defender would hurt him. That was why he got injured a lot. He was a very good passer, but playing on the flank only one side of the field benefited from his passing. Someone from the Metrostars got into with a coach specicialing with flank players and how to play it differently. He worked with tab and tab would still beat the first defender on the flank but then moved inside the field where he was even more dangers with his passing which now benefited both sides of the field and he was no longer a target by the second defender at the end of his career. It made him a better player. Maybe that even helped him with his coaching who knows.
i thought Klinnesmann was a great player I would see him get a lateral pass moving to him from the right side then play the ball using the near foot in the air to his left foot and score on a volley with his left foot. Plays like that made a big impression on me.
Nick , you are probably right about Ramos. You seem to know him better that I do. Klinsman learned from his coach Arie Haan at Stuttgart. Arie Haan was Cruyff's teammate on the famous Ajax team and played on the famous Dutch Team WC'74. Arie Haan had the hardest shot on the Ajax team at the time. It was interesting that Haan on Ajax was not allowed to dribble ,even though he was good dribbler as all the Ajax players were, but was only allowed to head or shoot the ball.