Commentary

USA-Bosnia & Herzegovina Men's International Friendly Player Ratings

USA-BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA EXPRESS:
Jan. 28 in Carson, California
USA 0 Bosnia & Herzegovina 0.
Att.:11,161

The USA's first game of 2018 ended in a scoreless tie with Bosnia & Herzegovina, which out-shot the Americans, 12-9, and missed a 53rd-minute penalty kick.

USA Player Ratings:
Starters
Player (Club) GP/G
6 Bill Hamid (Midtjylland/DEN) 5/0
Blocked Luka Menalo's close-range shot with his thigh in the 43rd minute -- the biggest scoring chance by either team in the first half.

5 Matt Polster (Chicago Fire) 1/0
Right back set up a Christian Roldan chance in the 60th minute during a phase in the second half in which he became more involved in the attack. Struggled defensively late in the game as B&H attacked mainly on his flank.

3 Walker Zimmerman (Los Angeles FC) 2/0
Called twice for fouls in midfield with clumsy challenges in first 13 minutes and it got worse. His bad touch set up Menalo's chance and he fouled Menalo for 53rd-minute penalty kick, which Haris Medunjanin banged off the post.

6 Ike Opara (Sporting KC) 1/0
Intercepted dangerous low ball across goalmouth in 29th minute, blocked a shot by Elvir Koljic in 79th, and cleared a low cross in the 84th with diving header.

4 Justin Morrow (Toronto FC) 4/0
Left back yellow-carded for needless midfield foul. Beaten on the wing on B&H's first-half chance.

6 Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew) 3/0
Central midfielder hit some good long-range passes, including a setup for Morris in 50th minute. Toiled defensively.

4 Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew) 38/6
Played ineffectively on the wing until being subbed at halftime.

4 Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders) 2/0
Saw very little off the ball in the first half. More active in second half on both ends, but shot wide in 60th minute after poor first touch.

4 Tyler Adams (NY Red Bulls) 2/0
Part of an incohesive midfield that rushed aimlessly forward instead of establishing possession.

4 Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders) 25/5
Sent in two OK and one horrible cross. Nicely settled Trapp's through ball but shot wide on the kind chance strikers should finish.

4 CJ Sapong (Philadelphia Union) 3/0
Started strong with a cross for Adams in first minute and forced a save in 6th minute with a high shot -- then faded.

Substitutes
5 Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC; 1/0)
Replaced Hamid at halftime. Diving save on a weak 18-yard shot in 67th.

5 Paul Arriola (D.C. United) 16/2
Zardes' halftime replacement was slightly more effective. Shot high late in the game.

4 Kelyn Rowe (New England Revolution) 3/1
Nearly got his back-heel on a low Morris delivery, but didn't trouble the B&H defense after replacing Sapong at halftime.

4 Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution) 28/3
Played hectically when composure was needed. Did hit a good cross-field pass to Arriola, who relayed it to Morris for half-chance.

NR Rubio Rubin (unattached) 4/0)
Saw seven minutes of action.

(Ratings: 1=low; 5=middle; 10=high.)

NOTABLE: Three players -- Steffen, Opara and Polster -- earned their first U.S. caps.

Jan. 28 in Carson, California
USA 0 Bosnia & Herzegovina 0.
USA -- Hamid (Steffen, 46), Polster, Zimmerman, Opara, Morrow, Trapp (Rubin, 83), Roldan (Agudelo, 68), Adams, Zardes (Arriola, 46), Morris, Sapong (Rowe, 46).
Bosnia & Herzegovina -- Sehic, Mihojevic, Graovac, Bekic, D.Todorovic, Medunjanin (Besirovic, 72), Tomic (Cavar, 46), Saric (Bilbija, 80), Ahmetovic (Koljic, 46), Menalo (Ibisevic, 83), Zakaric (O.Todorovic, 69).
Yellow cards: USA -- Morrow 36. B&H -- O.Todorovic 70, D.Todorovic 75.
Referee: Hector Martinez (Honduras)
Att.: 11,161.

Stats: USA/B&H
Shots: 9/12
Shots on target: 3/2
Saves: 2/3
Corner kicks: 7/2
Fouls: 19/15
Offside: 2/0
Possession: 50.2%/49.8%

47 comments about "USA-Bosnia & Herzegovina Men's International Friendly Player Ratings".
  1. R2 Dad, January 29, 2018 at 1:29 a.m.

    Opara is a fine defender, but a first cap at 28 tells me his ship has already sailed. We should be seeing the next generation of 18-20 YOs, not another sop to MLS. It's like we can't even do friendlies right.

  2. Ridge Mahoney replied, January 29, 2018 at 11:55 p.m.

    Opara was defender of the year and was one of the best US players in this game.
    You need some experience out there and Opara has a lot of it in MLS.
    A few older players are not going to ruin the 2021 Hexagonal in January, 2018.
    I'd rather have seen Opara with Glad but maybe the RSL player wasn't getting it done
    in camp. 

  3. Wooden Ships replied, January 30, 2018 at 5:28 p.m.

    I’m going to agree with you Ridge in that he was pretty good in the game. And, I’ve watched and played against many older center backs, so I don’t see him as being out of contention going forward. He might have been the oldest on the pitch, but he covered ground like the youngest. Ridge, have you heard from anyone as to why this team only played one game? Seems like a waste, surely we aren’t trying to save money?

  4. Richard T. Lynch, January 29, 2018 at 6:26 a.m.

    Agree.  We shouldn't be giving minutes to anyone over 24 or so.

    Here's the other problem.  Stuart Holden's comment during the first half about Sapong was telling:  "he's big and fast but his first touch often let's him down".  THAT, my friends, is what's wrong with US Soccer. We still recruit for size and speed but not technical ability.  We've been lamenting this tendency at the youth levels for years.  Why is a guy like that on the national team?  

  5. Right Winger replied, January 29, 2018 at 7:21 a.m.

    Richard, right on.  US soccer puts no emphasis on technical ability.  

  6. j bapper, January 29, 2018 at 9:21 a.m.

    Between Sapong and Zardes, you might have two of the greatest physical specimens to ever play for the US. Unfortunately, they have absolutely no concept of a first touch or how to weight their passing or dribbling. Size and speed over technical abillity... that's still what our US coaches look for, all they way down to the U14 level. 

  7. R2 Dad replied, January 29, 2018 at 12:06 p.m.

    but, but...Best Athletes! Best Athletes!

  8. I w Nowozeniuk, January 29, 2018 at 10:10 a.m.

    I don't care how big and fast a player is; if he can play and deliver, he plays. As usual, the Soccer IQ remains at a mediocre level. So, i.e., can anyone opine why the coaching staff is so in love with Zardes?  

  9. frank schoon, January 29, 2018 at 12:24 p.m.

    I only saw the last 15min of the first half for my wife thought she would see more technical skills watching "Victoria' on PBS... what are you going to do.?? Someone had mentions a factor of age. Age has nothing to do when with dealing with the NT for what is important is to bring your best team to the tournament. I remember Mila from Cameroon ,I think, in the '90WC who was 40 at the time and playing amateur ball was one of the big stars of WC. The 15 minutes I watched offered nothing new but the same ole,same ole. You noticed the Bosnian players how they handled the ball, smooth, efficiently, good touch, ball movement, nothing special....WE DON'T HAVE THAT!! Whether you place 20 different players out there for the next game for the American team, it makes no difference. The problem is our Technical DNA is still not a good level. If anyone  believes that Jurgen Klinnsman was the problmen, really doesn't understand the game. As a matter of fact, I wish he was back, for I rather have him then what is  going happening now. It is not the coaching, it is the product out there.....

  10. Bob Ashpole replied, January 29, 2018 at 1:16 p.m.

    Frank, you and others here have changed how I watch the US matches. Instead of watching the team tactics, I watch individuals and compare their touch and positioning. Some individuals have good touch and positioning. Some individuals I would describe as "black holes" where possesion is lost. Some players were more effective even at controlling bad passes.

    The big problem I saw with the US was that they were tactically slow, which is related to your criticisms.

    On the US preference for size, I think coaches know smaller players are not going to grow overnight, but for some reason think that bigger players are going to develop technical skills overnight. 

      

  11. frank schoon replied, January 29, 2018 at 1:41 p.m.

    BOB, you're right, it was slow. I wish I watched the whole game but unfortunately, wasn't allowed ,LOL. I did notice our right centerhalfback, tall kid with blonde hair, no idea who he is, was so slow in the build up. His movement leading up to the pass, the pass to the back near the sideline was so slow and predictable. It is too bad the game is not repeated for I'd watch a little more.
     Interesting one of my boys, who played with Ben Olson, Mastrionne ,that generation, on the national team called me up saturday and he stated he was taking some high level coaching courses. He's been away a few years but noted the Language and coaching jargon has changed. You no longer use the word "Trap" and other things. Also he said they're trying computer programs...I stated welcome to "LAPTOP' coaching. Cruyff had his criticism opinions on this garbage and Van Hanegem had an interesting column on all this garbage.

  12. frank schoon replied, January 29, 2018 at 1:43 p.m.

    Bob, I meant to say right centerback not centerhalfback

  13. Bob Ashpole replied, January 29, 2018 at 3:49 p.m.

    Yes at the youth level "trap" or "receive" is now "first touch." The significance is in getting the coaches and players thinking ahead and playing smarter and quicker.

    The same with "passing" and "shooting," which are now "striking." The significance is in getting coaches and players to understand that the techniques are the same. Players better understand the need for accuracy, and coaches see the similarity in striking skills clearer.

    Once I understood the point behind the vocabulary changes, I fully embraced them.  

  14. frank schoon replied, January 29, 2018 at 8:04 p.m.

    Bob, <"at the youth level "trap" or "receive" is now "first touch. The significance is in getting the coaches and players thinking ahead and playing smarter and quicker."> Good grief where do they come up with this stuff. Playing smarter and quicker as a result of word games? When you trap a ball it is either " "dead" or trap it in a manner for a follow up, both are depended upon the situation at hand which  requires the player in being able to "see" the game with its various options, an ability that few really do well. without the seeing ability you can talk or create all the word games you want but it won't work. At Ajax it was the lefthalf or the linkman and WC'74 it was Van Hanegem and Cruyff who were masters at that. And here we're just only talking youth soccer, level, good grief. Maybe one of these days the USSF will come with the idea of playing faster by having place a patch with the word 'faster" on your shirt, like they have a patch "respect" sewn on. These coaches at the USSF coaching school would be better suited to teach, and able the demonstrate all the many various applications( like Van Hanegem states) which in itself could be a couching course, of what they now call 'touch".
     "Passing" and "shooting," which are now "striking." This obviously will make me a better passer/shooter, I mean 'striker' employing that term. Again to combine passing and shooting tells me more about those who originate these word games. Passing is an art form which entails so much more  technicall and seeing ability which is totally different from shooting, but both are now  placed under one term in order to facilitate quicker thinking, OMG. Soccer requires specialization for each player especially, attackers, midfielder,linkman who have a gift with ball are not well served with a generic term, instead of a more specific one. This is why  a good centerforward a goal getter specializing(specifically) when it comes to creating and shooting on goal and passing is basically a secondary function. Likewise a midfielder is associated with passing but now both are drawing together under one term "striking'.

  15. frank schoon replied, January 29, 2018 at 8:11 p.m.

    Bob here is the first part of Van Hangem column
    For all those scribes, who believe that everything has to be different to get Dutch football back on level, I used to have to laugh once in a while. But by now I have arrived at the point where I think it's crying rather than laughing. In Nijmegen I heard that a youth coach of NEC, who works with very young players, visits all schools of his talents. To get to know 'the child behind the player'.
     
    We are now floating so far away from what is important, that I start to worry seriously. Defender Dirk Marcellis of PEC who has put someone in the arm who told him to be much less self-critical. That is cheating yourself? All those thumbs that go up when a pass flies into the stands, it's to get sick of it.
     
    Our football benefits from a very critical view. In my own newspaper I read a column that we should keep silent about Frenkie de Jong. No, we just have to conclude that he does have the qualities that are needed to get far. The club now has to take him further and we on the sidelines have to follow him critically in the hope that he will become a top player.
     
    I do not want a youth trainer to 'discover the child behind the player'. I want that trainer to put all his energy into developing basic players' skills. That he provides technical baggage for young players, when developing the right character in the field, when they play the ball on the right foot at the right speed

  16. frank schoon replied, January 29, 2018 at 8:13 p.m.

    SECOND
    That he sets up boys who can play an opponent. It is not for nothing that people enjoy Justin Kluivert, purely because the boy does something that you rarely see in the fields? To play a man and curl the ball in the corner, it has become rare.
     
    But more and more I get the anxious idea that all those people who have been scrambling around those teams have started to determine the red thread. The exercise physiologist determines the training nowadays. And even if the training has ended again. There is someone who determines what is and especially what is not eaten, a team developer regularly walks into a stadium that closely follows the group processes. People management is more important than ever. But the crazy thing is: there is a bunch of inventors around such a team, but football is only getting less. Self initiative? It quickly disappears from our football.
     
    When I see Ajax at FC Twente, I am shocked. By the way of referee Higler, who really did everything wrong. But Ajax, they do so much wrong on the field. Frenkie de Jong finally participated in Enschede from the start. But everyone actually participated at Ajax, no one had any name on the bank. I see that as a form of not daring to choose with Marcel Keizer, which is ultimately the least sensible thing a trainer can do. Or is someone already employed by all those clubs to make difficult choices? Because it would not surprise me if we also go there in due course.

  17. Bob Ashpole replied, January 30, 2018 at 4:56 p.m.

    Choosing to settle the ball is not the problem. The problem is coaches who teach young players to habitually settle the ball and then look up.

    I like to use Pele's assist to Carlos Alberto's famous 1970 goal as an example of freezing the defense and leaving space for Alberto's run. 

  18. frank schoon replied, January 31, 2018 at 1:02 p.m.

    Bob, of course telling the kids to look up and think what's next....That is all nice and dandy but that all comes with growth. That's like telling a youth instead of beating 3 players first then pass that perhaps after beating the first player it would be better to look up to pass right after you beat the first. At  the next stage when he's developed further, perhaps tell the kid who's looking to beat the first player in his first action, maybe look to pass before to beat the player, perhaps that could be better in this situation....All stuff comes in step in a natural progression and it is all part the development...we don't need to institute and play new word games to do all this....

  19. Bob Ashpole replied, February 1, 2018 at 11:11 p.m.

    My experience is with amateur players, not professionals. Today's US players don't play soccer daily in the neighborhood like you did. They don't play other sports either. So they aren't going to learn to play like you did. Without kids playing in the neighborhood, coaches become more important to guiding development.

    I blame the reduction of childhood physical activity for a reduction in the quantity and quality of young athletes (and for the declining health of the general population of adult males of military age).

  20. frank schoon replied, February 2, 2018 at 8:22 a.m.

    Bob, we're all talking about youth and amateur players here. Remember what Cruyff stated about teaching tactics to kids when they are about 14yrs. old, for before that time it goes in one ear and out the other. In other words kids have to be ready mentally to accept these concepts as related their growth and maturity. And to tell a kid to keep his head up without understanding tactical concept is ,to me, a waste of time. Development is a step by step process. Playing these word games promulgated by the USSF coaching academy doesn't cut it for young kids. I'd be happy seeing a kid able to trap a ball dead without losing it and keeping it under control with his head down. Yes, on a professional level this is wrong, but we're dealing here with young kids.  I'm not going to say to a kid keep your head up, for that implies tactical concepts that he ,mature wise, is not ready for as yet. I prefer to spend more time on building the kid's individually prowess, which means less team concepts which at an early stage he doesn't really need to spend time on anyway until he matures and begins to understand the tactical concepts. What comes with tactical concepts is passing techniques which are not as important in the first stage as dribbling. It's step by step process the focusing on a particular aspect of the game for it depends on his maturity and capability level.

  21. Nick Gabris, January 29, 2018 at 12:28 p.m.

    This game showed the difference between US domestic (MLS) & US Foreign based players. Once they are combined we HAVE to play against better not mediocre teams to improve. Forget the score line, play for experience, improvement, cohesiveness. Stick with the younger players. Patience, Patience.

  22. Karl Schreiber, January 29, 2018 at 12:54 p.m.

    Is it actually right to play the national anthem for something like this -- a practice match? 

  23. Bob Ashpole, January 29, 2018 at 12:59 p.m.

    This was a pre-season friendly. I cannot help but wonder why the US did not make its sixth substitution and why Rubio only saw 7 minutes? My understanding was that the coach intended to reward as many players with playing time as possible. 

  24. John Soares, January 29, 2018 at 6:48 p.m.

    ....and one more embarrasment. Only 11,000 attendance, shame on the fans as well.

  25. I w Nowozeniuk replied, January 30, 2018 at 10:03 a.m.

    Shame on the low attendance? That's 11K fans who'll always pay to watch mediocrity in progress.

  26. frank schoon replied, January 30, 2018 at 10:56 a.m.

    IW, I thought the fans were suppose to get paid to watch this?

  27. Wooden Ships, January 30, 2018 at 12:33 p.m.

    I watched, as I always will. Got to move on from GZ and Morris. I didn’t appreciate GZ’s head lowered during our anthem, it want during B&H. Me, old school that I am, would have immediately subbed him out and sent him to the locker room. My first sub before the first whistle. Like many on the last cycle, leave your social causes-butt hurt feelings off the pitch. Like Bob mentioned above and someone else, those that started were questionable and a some didn’t get in. Should have scheduled 2 friendlies with all the players. I liked the Keepers, although they seemed nervous at times. They appear as solid options going forward. Opara was solid and fit. Map was intriguing, but we didn’t play a lot through the middle. For me, the most technical and smart player that can play in combination with like players, was Rowe. Arena shouldn’t have released him after the Gold Cup. Wow, there is much riding on the election. 
    P.S. from a former striker, two golden chances in the game. First, can Jordan not perform a left footed scissor? Second, Roldan should have been cocked and ready to first time that ball. Where in the F are instinctive and polished strikers/finishers today? 

  28. frank schoon replied, January 30, 2018 at 1:11 p.m.

    Ships, agree with you on Morris and GZ and the political aspects as well. Morris has spend too much of his time in the weight room.  He's a battering ram, nothing smooth or silky about him...he projects power and size...that's it..  Zardez is not even worth mentioning....Our product out there is just blah...hey, can we make Rodney Marsh a citizen and suit him up for the next game...

  29. Wooden Ships replied, January 30, 2018 at 2:30 p.m.

    Yeah, Marsh could finish. I enjoy listening to Grumpy Pundits. I like to think that back in the mid 70’s I was one of the better strikers in the country. Two, that I played with in St. Louis, were Don Aubuchon and Steve Meyers. Don was featured in a Sports Illustrated article and while traveling on a European soccer tour, met a girl in Holland and didn’t return to the states for several years. He married, had a couple of daughters and a few years ago passed away. Great talent. Steve, played with the Cosmos and many of those great players and at one point was invited to the Regan White House with Pele. My game was akin to Carlos Tevez. Played with many in St. Louis and California that had wonderful touches and skill. I believe another former teammate(s) Larry Hulcer and Dave Arrandondo played with Marsh and another with JC. After all these years, with one constant, over coaching, we can’t find the sublime player. 

  30. frank schoon replied, January 30, 2018 at 4:04 p.m.

    Ships, you said it...overcoaching and we can't find or create a sublime player. I mentioned to Bob, about one of my players who he decided to take his high level license and bone up., He played with Ben Olsen on the NT was in shock to hear you don't use the word "Trap" instead you say "first-touch". We have gotton the coaching courses down to pure wizardry when you compare to wha it was  back in the 70's(but are we better off?) , too bad this wizardry doesn't interpret to down on the field results in the player improvement category. On one side of the equation the coaching/teaching in the class room element of the game has moved by leaps and bounds, introducing new vocabulary, computer programming, you name it, but on the other side of the equation player development has gone nowhere for 50 years. The problem I find that those who teach and purvey the classroom "POOP" come from the environment of pedantism as the same types who come out academic circles that created  new ways of teaching math to make their particular discipline important. Remember,in the 50's the NEW math, and through out and now today we have COMMON CORE math( all of it has been a horror show )...We've build the pyramids but we still need "new" math after a couple thousand years.  
    I guess to keep the element of teaching of coaching to coaches constantly "new" or  refreshing or better said , packaging old ideas into material to make it appear new and exciting. 
    Van Hanegem, stated in a column (see above) called' We're drifting away from the essential aspect of soccer". What is the important is the coach/trainer to teach the skills and techniques for that is what it all about, nothing more ,nothing less. 

  31. Wooden Ships replied, January 30, 2018 at 5:22 p.m.

    It should have read Steve Moyers, not Meyer. Your math example is perfect. Citizens in our country are dumbfounded when pouring/throwing money at something doesn’t necessarily work. Often times, the more adults insert themselves the more elusive the goal and/or achievement. Frank, has anyone provided an explanation as to why we didn’t have a second match during this window?

  32. frank schoon replied, January 30, 2018 at 5:46 p.m.

    Ships, Moyers, of course, Meyers? who was that LOL?, I couldn't figure it out..Remembered Pat Mcbride...you guys had quite a history of players
     NO explanation why no second match. It might be Dave Sarachen hasn't really pushed for it, after all, he's just a caretaker, with maybe a why bother attitude. Ships, I don't understand ,this was bad USSF lesdership. We can't afford this, the NT is our flagship and to have it just flounder by these idiots at the higher echelon. We should have a couple extra games ,why not. Use these games to find new prospective talent. Get in touch with the Hispanic community to find sleepers or whatever. When you fire coaches, you better have a couple in the waiting room. As soon as Arena was let go ,we should have had someone. 

  33. Wooden Ships replied, January 31, 2018 at 8:08 a.m.

    Agreed Frank. I’m sure we could have persuaded somebody to step in, either as an interim or some other contractual arrangement. What, are we-our players so sensitive these days that it was necessary with to go with a familiar fatherly figure. No offense to Dave. One of the favorable qualities I appreciated from JK was his attempted instillation of a mental toughness and competitiveness on the USMNT. He was met with Tibetan enlightenment (LD), Tim Howard (needing family time, a year) and a passive aggressiveness by many of our more counted on players. And, let’s not forget JK’s assertion to play abroad (correctly) was not appreciated by MLS/USSF or some of the players. This, then led to some nitwits trying to claim whose American enough. Suffice it to say that many of us, you Frank, et al, know first hand the lack of technical development and couple that with a decrease in mental toughness, it’s without excuse. 

  34. Bob Ashpole replied, January 31, 2018 at 10:23 a.m.

    I see young players going overseas as a short term solution, not long term. It is not just players that we need to develop.

    I don't see overcoaching going away any time soon. The problem has been the long standing tendancy to manage and train youth like an adult senior team. There are always going to be differences in coaches. The solution is at the grass roots level, building the best programs possible one at a time.

    You don't develop good senior players by having them play possession style soccer at age 8, always playing safe short passes on the ground. Fundamentals first. I am sure I don't need to elaborate with this group, although I am sure some will disagree. 

    WS, if it wasn't for you and others convincing me that there are better players available, I would be pessimestic about the future of soccer in the US.

    About this friendly and camp, it was at best a mixed bag. The team played like a compromise rather than a team. We have a long lead time. Perhaps we should change our selection approach. Instead of starting by selecting a large group of individual players and working toward identifying a team--select a team and then improve the team by inserting better players. Countries with dominant domestic clubs like Spain do this. This is not our situation, and the end result may be selecting the same 23 players, but the philosophy and approach are different. 

    About keepers, we have enjoyed a wealth of great keepers over the years and undoubtedly the 3 older keepers are among them. It is, however, time to pick keepers based on who will be expected to be top of their game 4 years from now, and not based on who has the most experience now. I don't feel the same way about field players, because we must first qualify, of course.

    I am still upset that the MNT continues to be on the back burner while USSF engages in what amounts to office politics. 

  35. Wooden Ships replied, January 31, 2018 at 11:42 a.m.

    Bob, I’m worried that we still don’t understand the need for soccer players vs athletes, or secondly that those able to upend (symbolically) the USSF royalty will do so and then convince the masses that winning isn’t the most important thing at the youth levels. Individuality, skill, freedom are lost by most adult coaches, one because they’ve not experienced it themselves and that they mistakenly believe that it’s about them. 

  36. Bob Ashpole replied, February 1, 2018 at 10:57 p.m.

    I think I agree with you WS, but I would say it much differently. We need to stop dismissing skilled players as being "unathletic." Some people are locked into thinking athleticism is only about the physical aspect and not the other aspects (mentality, technical and tactics). Size is not athleticism. 

    For example, physical skills in a player that cannot dribble are wasted (in possession style play). Same conclusion about players with poor first touch, even if they are great passers (something I have never seen happen). In possession style, players have to be able to solve pressure by themselves. Otherwise they just boot the ball away. Likewise poor first touch means losing possession.

    Am I agreeing with you?  

  37. Wooden Ships replied, February 2, 2018 at 10:57 p.m.

    Yes, that is what I’m thinking Bob.

  38. frank schoon, January 31, 2018 at 9:03 a.m.

    Ships, you are right on with JK. He wanted to be bring more realism to the game. You said it perfect..."Tibetan Enlightenment", what about Landon 's who also needed a year off ,so to speak. I think with Landon this has got more to do the West Coast, beach , sun, surfing stuff.A. Few weeks 
    on a Dutch soccer talk show there was German coach who praised JK to the hilt for contributions to the German NT game especially at the national level. Other than you and perhaps a few others JK is not looked upon favorable here. When we watched the Bosnia game and see their players, who were nothing special, but I ask myself ,why can't we have players exhibit at least come up to  this technical level.  It has been 50 years.....

  39. Bob Ashpole replied, January 31, 2018 at 10:32 a.m.

    I have great respect for JK, but he is the wrong person to expect to tranform the MNT to a more technical style of play. He wants and can win with "nastier" players, but not more technical players who he wants to transform into nastier players. If we wanted more of the same old stuff, he would be great. To get significantly better, we need to add new strengths to our program.

  40. Wooden Ships replied, January 31, 2018 at 11:28 a.m.

    Oh, I agree with you Bob about JK and his ability to play more technical, however that was partly his stated goal. Instead of doubling down and staying with that commitment he acquissed. There are a few reasons, I believe led him in the direction he chose. When I mentioned mental toughness I wasn't referring to mean or nasty, I’m speaking of focus and habits more aligned with international clubs and nations. He underestimated the self esteem generation.

  41. frank schoon replied, January 31, 2018 at 12:48 p.m.

    Bob, I think you misunderstand what JK meant by realism and mental toughness. Cruyff was mental tough, so is Messi and so was JK but they were not known as mean and "nasty". Being mean and "nasty' has nothing to do with Mental toughness. You coach the way you as a player played and when you look at JK he was not a mean and nasty type. Ships had it right..it's all about self-esteem...
    Your quote<he is the wrong person to expect to tranform the MNT to a more technical style of play."> Bob, show me the coach who can make the MNT play a more technical style...you need to have a product out there to do it with. If we had players who come to Bosnia's level of technical dexterity, although nothing to write home about, I would say you might have a point....

  42. Bob Ashpole replied, February 1, 2018 at 10:43 p.m.

    I have read consitent claims by posters here and elsewhere that players with the skills to play a possession game exist, but are not chosen.

    We can certainly field a more technical team and lose matches. I think you would agree with that.


  43. frank schoon replied, February 2, 2018 at 8:41 a.m.

    Bob, I do believe we need to play a possessional game and yes,it takes technical players, players with decent skills, not technical wizards for these types are great on the front line which we don't have ,anyway. A possession game doesn't not call for great skilled players, but players who can think a step ahead, who can read the game, who know where to position themselves in relation to receiving the ball and at the same time position in a manner to allow the ball to move efficiently to the next station. Technically, you prefer them to be able to use both feet for it allows the ball to move faster ,but that is a rarity. Also able to pass the ball with right speed to the next player without losing tempo, and able to receive in a manner that doesn't requires extra touches to settle or move the ball. That's 90% of the possession game. That initself is quite a bit for a player to be able to do. Yes, it is nice to be technical genius but if you can't give a tempo pass, not able to read the situation at hand as far as positioning off the ball goes, and give passes in a manner the receiver needs an extra touch on the ball reducing the tempo and timing. So there is lot more to just saying we need technical players. 

  44. Bob Ashpole replied, February 2, 2018 at 9:50 a.m.

    I agree. I would add that possession style also takes players that can dribble to solve pressure solo.

    What you said is why I think fundamentals are the key to better senior play. Players should be playing to win while clubs and coaches should be focused on developing better players. Some clubs and coaches have been and still are, but I won't be satisfied until all are.   

  45. frank schoon replied, February 2, 2018 at 10:04 a.m.

    Bob, You're so right, I forgot about that one which I"m good at dribble to solve pressure solo,LOL...
    This is why, I find it so important in the beginning  for kids to able to handle ,themselves ,SOLO, with the ball for if you can't do that than playing a possession game and you find yourself with no options and you're weak SOLO then....there goes the possesion game.....
    Hey, I just got the news that Ronald Koeman will be coaching the Dutch National Team. If we could only have someone with his stature come or even his brother Erwin Koeman would be just fine...

  46. Bob Ashpole replied, February 2, 2018 at 12:54 p.m.

    I would rather have a US coach so that a US coach gains the experience. I also think we need a cooach that understands US culture.

    I think one problem JK had was that he judged US player's actions by German cultural standards. A big difference in the two cultures is how people deal with authority figures. As a result he took things US players did as personal insults. (I don't know this for a fact, but it is the conclusion I reached from observing events over the years.) 

    I have great respect for JK. He was successful, except he was hired with the great expectation that he would transform US soccer. That didn't happen. He has some great qualities but teaching foreign players to play a more technical game is not one of them.

    What we really need is for a couple of MLS clubs to establish a culture of possession style soccer and a fan base that appreciates and demands a beautiful game more than winning. In no country (except arguably Brazil) does everyone play a beautiful game. I thought that DC United and then later LA Galaxy would do that, but there have been some setbacks along the way.

    The question is will the US cultural obsession with winning prevent fans from loving the game for its own beauty. 

  47. frank schoon replied, February 2, 2018 at 1:45 p.m.

    Bob, we're at a point where the US program needs an infusion, an input of higher level soccer knowledge and experience. We did get a boost of that when Bora Milutionic took the USMNT. He brought to the game more realism on how it should be played to the Americans. Likewise we need another infusion. Yes it is good for a US coach to gain experience but as an assistent, we can't afford to a learn as you go , like Bruce Arena who stated he learned a lot his first time around. The excuse that we need a coach that understands the American player is bogus. It seems like the American players are doing just fine playing in a foreign country, all by themselves. This is a profession and were not here to moddlecolley and wetnurse a group of Americans who seem to do individually just fine in other parts of world .
    Unlike Bruce Arena, or a Bradley, we a need a coach who has played at the highest who has world cup playing experience, who knows the insides and outsides, the inner details of every level to able to coach a team at a tournament. This is one the reasons Van Gaal failed as a Dutch National team for he never even played at that high a level to understand what is really needed on the National team level. Coaching a national team takes a different knowledge much than coaching a club team. For example, take Ronald Koeman, he has the experience and was an excellent palyer to even teach and bring playing insights too players. Coachers like Arena, or Bradley, or a Sampson never had that. 
    Yeah, I agree on the possession game in the MLS. Why isn't that happening? Well, for one reason, you need to have played it, like a Guardiola, a Cruyff, a Laudrup, a Koeman ,for example,to fully understand the ropes, and insights to teach to players, which no matter how many high level coaching licensed one obtains from the coaching academy that is not going to do it. Again we need coaches who the experience and backround to teach whether on the national team or club team

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