Commentary

U.S. embarrassment in Cincinnati is product of a sport that remains foundationally flawed

American soccer has a serious credibility problem.

I'm speaking about American men's soccer.

With the backdrop of the Women's World Cup -- where the U.S. women are the nation's darlings and tournament favorites -- the U.S. men's national team sank to a new low when it fell, 3-0, to Venezuela in its last tune-up game before the Gold Cup -- Venezuela, a team that has never played in the World Cup but looked at times in the first half like it was toying with the USA.

Any number of factors can explain away the performance:

-- The opening goal was a fluke;
-- U.S. players are still building up their fitness for the Gold Cup;
-- Its two best players, Christian Pulisic and Tyler Adams, and long-time captain, Michael Bradley, did not play.

But still, the look of the U.S. performance in Cincinnati was bad. Pick your adjective ...

-- Embarrassing.
-- Shocking.
-- Predictable, given what happened four days earlier against Jamaica.
-- Labored.
-- Passionless.
-- At times laughable (I think of Jordan Morris getting in the way of his buddy Cristian Roldan's attempt at an open goal).

This wasn't some some friendly airing late at night on ESPN2 or FS1, this was a game broadcast on the big Fox -- the only U.S. men's game of the summer on the network  -- with the lead-in from the three women's games played in France earlier in the day on Fox and FS1. It should have attracted the biggest TV audience of the year for a men's game on English-language television.

But late in the first half, after La Vinotinto scored its third goal, commentator Stu Holden told viewers: "I don’t blame you for not watching."

This was on Fox, which has invested more money on media rights to soccer properties involving U.S. leagues or teams -- MLS, U.S. Soccer on its own and via FIFA -- and its lead men's soccer commentator said the product wasn't worth watching.

It would be a little like walking into an Apple Store and looking to buy the latest Apple product and the store manager coming up to you and saying, "I wouldn't blame you if you didn't buy it." The product wouldn't survive with that assessment. Pick any kind of product and any associated business and it won't survive.

You got to respect U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter. Right after the Jamaica game -- a 1-0 loss in which the USA managed one shot on goal -- he guaranteed there would be more poor performances like the one at Audi Field. No one would have predicted the next poor performance would have come so soon and been so bad.

The danger is that Berhalter's players will stop buying into his system and then what? They certainly looked uncomfortable against Venezuela. But Berhalter is only working with the players he has at his disposal. All the talk about the omission of Josh Sargent from the Gold Cup roster overshadowed just how thin the U.S. team is.

On Sunday, Berhalter started four European-based players -- all players who were on teams that were relegated (Tim Ream) or finished just above the relegation zone (Tyler Boyd, Weston McKennie and Matt Miazga, albeit all bright spots). The spine of the U.S. lineup consisted of Zack Steffen in goal, Wil Trapp in central midfield and Gyasi Zardes at center forward, all players Berhalter had at the Columbus Crew, which is 1-8-1 in its last 10 games.

But I don't blame Berhalter or his players. American men's soccer is the product of a sport that remains fundamentally flawed.

The history of the game is of a sport that at every turn has been pulled up by its own boot-straps. For a quarter century, the men's national team overachieved until it didn't any more. American pro soccer failed or almost failed four times but MLS, given up for dead in 2001, persisted thanks to the commitment of a few owners and will soon hit 30 teams.

Sunil Gulati and Don Garber are regularly vilified on social media, but what they have achieved over the last 35 years for Gulati and 20 years for Garber is nothing short of an American sports miracle. That doesn't mean soccer has overcome its foundational issues.

If the American soccer boom had taken place in the 1930s, 1940s or 1950s, it could have grown without competition from European or Mexican leagues for the soccer fan because there was no television to speak of and no Internet. It could have invested in prime real estate for soccer facilities before it was all taken or prohibitively expensive. It didn't, and it's created huge barriers. Geography and weather create challenges no major soccer nation has to deal with except Brazil, and Brazilian soccer existed for years as a regional sport.

Probably the most promising thing that has taken place in the last year or two is how young players are breaking through into first teams at MLS clubs or lured to top European teams. The U.S. U-20s in Poland had players on the books at the champions of the Dutch, French, German and Spanish leagues. The U-20s represent the post-Bradenton generation -- the first generation of players who went through residential and/or educational programs MLS clubs have launched in recent years. The investment clubs are making in coaching, programming, education, housing and facilities is in the tens of millions of dollars each year.

More generally, American soccer struggles because of its lack of access to free (i.e. taxpayer-funded) and convenient facilities that are available to those growing up playing basketball and football and its pay-to-play system that was developed as an end around high school soccer and then sold as a "better pathway" to college.

The Under-20 World Cup provided a valuable lesson. As deep as Tab Ramos' pool of players was, other nations aren't sitting still either. Ecuador, which had never reached the quarterfinals before this year, matched up at least as good as, if not better than, the USA at every position. (The greatest statement U.S. Soccer could have made in this "rebuilding" year was go all in and send -- or try to get released and send -- Tyler Adams and Sargent to Poland.)

Despite all the investment of U.S. Soccer and MLS, the men's national team can continue to slog along in the face of these foundational issues. But at least there needs to be an open conversation about these challenges and possible solutions.

I have always been skeptical of promotion-relegation and whether the pros outweigh the cons but there at least needs to be a serious discussion.

Gregg Berhalter is right that the debacle in Cincinnati is the time to remain calm, but that's only good if there's a serious examination about what's wrong.

43 comments about "U.S. embarrassment in Cincinnati is product of a sport that remains foundationally flawed".
  1. Hal Barnes, June 10, 2019 at 3:25 a.m.

    Not including Josh this excluding him from the U-20s shows the idiocies of US Soccer. 

  2. Chris Stephens replied, June 10, 2019 at 9:46 a.m.

    I agree.  Leaving Sargent off the U20 or the Gold Cup is a joke.  

  3. R2 Dad, June 10, 2019 at 6:10 a.m.

    “is the product of a sport that remains fundamentally flawed” in this country is a fabulously oblique way to imply that USSF has a problem of epic proportion that remains unspecified and unaddressed. I’m tired of our collective stiff upper lip in the face of this self-inflicted condition. It’s almost as if we have taxation without representation, are hanging out at the port staring at crates of tea but just don’t know what to do next. ‘Pitchforks? Torches? Naw, let’s go get some bubble tea so we can chill and flame some people on-line instead of actually doing something’.

  4. Wooden Ships replied, June 10, 2019 at 10:28 a.m.

     Nice R2. 

  5. Ric Fonseca replied, June 10, 2019 at 1:35 p.m.

    Indeed R2D2.  At least both you and WS hit the nail on the head.  However, allow me to throw in this tid bit, and that is not only has the US - and other federations - seen Venezuela a weakling in the futbol chain, but IMHO, the US just took them to danged lightly.  Now mind you I did NOT see the game only for snipets here and there - I was working - but what little I did see was feeble-like attempts to tacke or even protect the ball, and it looked as the Vinotintos had a large plate of huevos rancheros or more wheatties for breakfast or lunch.  Yet I CAN say that when I saw the Mexico/Ecuador game and hear the Spanish language commentary, well pilgrims, those guys DID NOT HLD back on ther commentary on the US play, in fact I am sure one said that the US played very infantile and a pathetic game not worthy of a team in the tourney.  And so, "the beat goes on!!!"  

  6. Ric Fonseca replied, June 10, 2019 at 1:35 p.m.

    Indeed R2D2.  At least both you and WS hit the nail on the head.  However, allow me to throw in this tid bit, and that is not only has the US - and other federations - seen Venezuela a weakling in the futbol chain, but IMHO, the US just took them to danged lightly.  Now mind you I did NOT see the game only for snipets here and there - I was working - but what little I did see was feeble-like attempts to tacke or even protect the ball, and it looked as the Vinotintos had a large plate of huevos rancheros or more wheatties for breakfast or lunch.  Yet I CAN say that when I saw the Mexico/Ecuador game and hear the Spanish language commentary, well pilgrims, those guys DID NOT HLD back on ther commentary on the US play, in fact I am sure one said that the US played very infantile and a pathetic game not worthy of a team in the tourney.  And so, "the beat goes on!!!"  

  7. Bob Ashpole, June 10, 2019 at 8:03 a.m.

    And USSF is forcing the USSF player development process for male players on the women's side. Why should the DA clubs be the sole path to the WNT for players?

    I question the style of play on the women's side, but I haven't questioned the quality of its players. I hope that doesn't change for the worse.

  8. frank schoon, June 10, 2019 at 8:13 a.m.

    " American soccer has a credibility problem", as stated by Paul Kennedy,  but not in my eyes ,for I don't let myself get influenced by the constant BS and lack of good ,critical technical/tactical analysis that you receive daily from soccer journalists other than raving  how good American soccer is or has become. Period. And now they are in a state of shock, WOW! If soccer journalists understood could read the game better, able to conjure up a better deeper analysis of soccer, than you wouldn't be shocked of what is currently happening or actually what  has been happening for years....
    I blame much on what is happening on the LACK of real soccer know-how of soccer journalists and soccer commentators . I mean, I have to turn down the volume listening to the unrealistic garbage these soccer commentators spew, nothing critical ,all positive, lacking any real insight of the game itself. Instead like , journalists, they are selling a product.
    No ,I'm not shocked for anyone  familiar with my comments over the years can easily sense that.
    The American public needs a better, more insightful, soccer journalist who really understand the game, like they do in Holland or in Spain. As a matter of fact coaches in Holland have to be on their toes answering questions about soccer, unlike what they get from American soccer journalist here.
    By being more critical and understand the game at a deeper level, American soccer journalist can educate the American public better in their understanding of the game and as a result be less shock on the current state of affairs.
    With all due respect to SA, but for example I've read now several interviews with Bob Gansler, Anson Dorrance, etc...but how much can you learn from these soft interviews that say in reality nothing.  It's been a couple of years with no interview with Jurgen Klinsman ; how 'bout TATA who was here for 2 years and did a fantastic job for Atlanta, NOT ONE INTERVIEW. Wouldn't be interesting to find out about what he thought about American players and in areas  they should improve their game, and other opinions to improve the American game....; we have Frank de Boer, now, I hope he gets interviewed...how about his players and find out what they are learning about possession soccer or what are the American players learning that is new to them...There is so much great insights and material coaches could learn from interviewing  people like TATA, Frank de Boer. Instead we continually get soft interviews from the same ole' same ole' crowd.....
    NEXT POST.

  9. Seth Vieux replied, June 10, 2019 at 5:26 p.m.

    Could not agree with this more.

  10. frank schoon, June 10, 2019 at 8:36 a.m.

    I think SA has done some good interviews over the years but this is not the issue. SA should give interviews with underlying basis of what can the reader learn and improve his understanding of the game. The reader, especially the coaches/trianers should come away with the feeling of improving his insight of the game.
    Currently American Soccer journalism is at the level of what you read in  "Sports Illustrated", blah ,blah,blah, lacking any critical insightful interviews, about the real 'nuts and bolts' of the game which tend to be missing.
    SA should interview Nagbe ,for example , and ask him what he has really learned from the way Frank de Boer coaches as compared to what he has learned from his American coaches . What has he learned new...This is good for American coaches to learn and add to their repertoire of training techniques.
    GB explained why he failed to choose Sargent because Sargent since the winter has been lousy and has not played well, which is a standard reason for a national team coach to not choose a player. All the reader were in 'shock' and couldn't understand why Sargent wasn't picked. Considering that SA keeps tabs on our players in foreing countries ,daily, but I never read anywhere in SA  about Sargent's plight, or perhaps I missed it.
    In sum , our soccer needs not only to improve but so does the American soccer journalism in a manner it leave the fan in state of shock

  11. Ben Traxel, June 10, 2019 at 9:43 a.m.

    The issue that I rarely see discussed as to why the US isn't competitive against much smaller nations is that our best athletes do not play soccer.  Every other country has their best athletes at soccer's disposal.  Ours play other sports.  Competition from football and basketball which are much easier for kids to access and a culture that has developed making football and basketball more popular than soccer severely limits the top athletes from pursuing soccer as their sport of choice.  Practically all other countries have placed soccer on a sports pedistal while it is well down the food chain of prefered sports for our teenage youth.  Until the USSF makes a conceded effort to market and promote the game to the youth of america, the inner city, the rural areas, kids of all cultures, it will continue to languish.  It appears that blame keeps getting applied to our lack of being able to "develop" top players.  While we can develop many into very good players, the best athletes are still born with abilities most do not have.  And these are the ones we are missing.

  12. R2 Dad replied, June 10, 2019 at 8:26 p.m.

    This dead horse has already been beaten here for years. When coaches keep looking for Messi but 6’ tall you start to understand it’s the filter not the player quality that is the problem.

  13. Philip Carragher, June 10, 2019 at 10:16 a.m.

    You're correct Ben, very few of our best athletes continue to play soccer and opt for the more popular sports. At this very moment in US Soccer we're in a Catch-22: why would a superb 12 year old athlete want to invest his future in a broken US Soccer system as opposed to baseball, basketball, or football, and, without him, how can the USMNT field a team that's exciting to follow?

  14. Wooden Ships, June 10, 2019 at 10:38 a.m.

    Ben and Philip, you’re absolutely mistaken on your athleticism assessment. 

  15. Bob Ashpole replied, June 10, 2019 at 4:09 p.m.

    It is a "suburban" legend popular with fans.

    For the most part soccer doesn't compete for the same types of athletes due to the immense and varied physical demands of the sport.  

  16. Seth Vieux replied, June 10, 2019 at 5:35 p.m.

    There is no shortage of talented athletes playing our game in the US. We certainly aren't getting 'out-athleted' internationally. We are getting completely outclassed technically and tactically, which to me is the result of the lack of high quality youth coaching as the general rule across the country. I'm not saying there aren't great coaches out there, as there certainly are, but the number of kids that get high quality technical coaching at the younger ages is so low, and of them the ones that continue to get high quality technical and tactical coaching year in and year out is comically low. As others have mentioned here so many times, the lack of a pick up game culture (other than for adults honestly) compounds the issue. So outside of the kid that hits the absolute lottery of getting proper fundamental coaching from the start and continued strong coaching throughout his or her entire life, the result are teenagers with the technical levels we should expect of decent U10s and precious little of the creativity that comes from thousands of hours of free play in pick up games.

  17. frank schoon, June 10, 2019 at 11:02 a.m.

    Ben, Philip, if it was about athleticism ,the East Germans would have the best soccer teams. Soccer deals with many more aspects than just Athleticism. Players that employ athleticism are usually not the best players, anyway, because that little round thing the soccer ball is a great equalizer....

  18. Peter Bechtold replied, June 10, 2019 at 11:41 a.m.

    Frank is correct that top athletes are not the key. Excellent examples are Leonel Messi and Marco Reus who were dismissed as youth players for being "too small and brittle".(Of course, both scored yesterday for their national teams). No, it is about having a "soccer culture" which thousands of soccer immigrants in this country understand, try to help, but are up against a huge system of dominant American culture,which values power over grace mostly( even in sports like BB with exceptions,e.g. Steph Curry,etc.) Baseball's skill players now are Caribbean, the power hitters White Americans,etc. with exceptions, of course. Most football players could not play soccer because of size and being muscle-bound. Again, don't argue with exceptions like CR7. This is why I disagree also with Ben and Philip whose arguments have been offered some decades ago by others. BTW, Klinsmann understood this, perhaps because he lived in SoCal for 2 decades before turning to "coaching", actually,"managing".
      Frank is also correct about the shill aspect of tv commentators selling a product; former US 
    NT players are particularly guilty here. It used to be that soccer was not reported on sports news, but this is no longer true. Now it is on ESPN and local news in major cities.
    Another popular argument does not help: comparing the USNWT to the USNMT. The former have benefitted tremendously from Title IX in the college structure which filtered down to the High Schools because scholarships have become available. No other country on earth has this system. But my prediction is that US dominance will disappear soon as countries with a soccer culture agree to pay some attention to their womens leagues.(See yesterday's victory by upstart Italy playing "catenaccio" against a superior Australia.)
    What can be done on the mens side ?
    I propose that we look at highly successful programs like Dallas FC which keeps producing quality players for MLS and beyond, going back to "Deuce" Dempsey.(No,I am not Texan).
    Seattle and NYRB have also done well. The LA Galaxy system could help. More later.

  19. Philip Carragher, June 10, 2019 at 11:46 a.m.

    I agree FS, it's more complex than simple athleticism, however, I have witnessed most-of-the-best -of the athletes in my sports environments leaving soccer for the other more popular or quickly growing sports (lacrosse). I do believe we can do much, much better with the athletes who do stick around, but not everything can be laid on poor coaching or poor player development. How about that French U20 player that kept turning the corner on the US defenders like he was a sports car speeding around a soccer mom's van? Out of all of the athletes in the US, where is our sports car? (And hats off to Tab Ramos for his solution to that danger.)

  20. frank schoon replied, June 10, 2019 at 3:27 p.m.

    Philip, I couldn't get the French game. And that particular French player that kept turning the corner on our defenders..Hey ,that happens but then again there are counter measures to thwart that which ,as you state, Ramos did. But that is the beauty about soccer. It is like when playing against opponents whose front line seem like a foot taller than our defenders. So what you do is not to give away corners and try to stop their forays on the wing that prevents crosses. 
    That is why Athleticism is just another aspect but a dominant issue. Hey, remember Romario of Brazil. He was unathletic, small, not fast, but in the penalty area he's unbeatable...great player.
    I remember when he played for Barcelona when Cruyff was coach. Cruyff criticized Romario when he first came to Barcelona for running too much. Romario with a puzzled look stated that the last coach complained that I was too lazy and didn't work hard enough. Cruyff answered," I got you for your goal scoring ability, so keep your butt in the penalty area...that's all I want you to do ,the other players will take care of the rest for you."....

  21. Ben Traxel replied, June 10, 2019 at 4:04 p.m.

    Wooden and Frank, I respectfully disagree.  Based on your premise, the best players are created and not born.  I agree that development can create some great players and we need to do whatever we can to have the best development processes in place.  But beginning with the best athletes (not denying we have some already) and developing them will inherently create a much larger number of top level players.  Football and basketball have and have had players like Tyreek Hill, Kyrie Irving, Jason Kidd, Julio Jones, etc. all of which would have made incredible soccer players.  They all spent equal time perfecting their skills in their respective sports.  Those sports require development as well.  The same time on the soccer field would have produced exceptional results.  Soccer is not so unique that athleticism can be drastically downplayed.  There are thousands and thousands of athletes, not tall enough for pro basketball, not strong enough for pro football who have culturally been drawn to those sports over soccer.  Having a pool to choose from that includes these kids would increase our chances of producing world class soccer talent tremendously.  Denying this situation will only help continue our tradition of mediocracy.  To attract this talent we have to change the culture of soccer being thought of as a suburban sport and do a much better job of marketing the game and providing better access for everyone.  This isn't a one or the other decision.  We must do a better job at development, AND we must tap into the vast resources that already exist in our country.  If we want soccer to climb we must make it "cool" for these kids to play, and create a better access path for them.  This requires both marketing and a better development system.

  22. Bob Ashpole replied, June 10, 2019 at 5:21 p.m.

    In sports science, Ben, athletic "talent" is not a level of performance, but rather how fast an athlete develops. Talent is defined by the athlete's rate of progress during training compared to the rates of others. Performance is compared individually. Rates are compared to others. In short what you propose is impossible. There is no way to identify talent prior to the start of development.

    "Natural talent" is a myth, which provides a handy excuse for people not to compete. In athlete development, where you start performance-wise on day one of training is irrelevant to final development.  

  23. Phil Hardy, June 10, 2019 at 1:18 p.m.

    It seemed obvious to me that our U-20 team had better technical ability and stamina than our senior team! They certainly had more heart. Many of the players yesterday should never wear the shirt again. They aren't good enough or care enough--or both.

  24. Mario Cesarone, June 10, 2019 at 2:33 p.m.

    "I have always been skeptical of promotion-relegation and whether the pros outweigh the cons but there at least needs to be a serious discussion."

    The point of this article seems to be that Pro/Rel is the reason why we are flawed and thus not sucessful on the world stsge.  Incredible bull.... The tremendous strides made in the ball skills of our players is clear, especially in the younger ones.  The new coach is now working on getting tactics to a more advanced level which is a good idea if we are to continue growing on that.  Is he going about it in the right way is a question only time will answer.  USL with dozens of teams developing players is tremendous growth.  Pro/Rel is just not a factor.

  25. Seth Vieux replied, June 10, 2019 at 5:44 p.m.

    I agree with everything here except the assertion that GB is trying to get us to a more superior tactical framework. Would love to know which other successful managers in the world are successful with this wonky formation he insists on pursuing? He's trying to use far lesser players to do something that the best managers with the best talent would never consider doing. My suspicion is that GB fancies himself a brilliant tactician and innovator. For god sakes the tactics he's employing suck in the first place and he's trying to force poor player selection in to make it work. I don't think we have the personnel to play 4-3-3, but certainly the 4-2-3-1 is at least more workable for our player pool than this hybrid 3-4-3 he won't let go of.

  26. beautiful game, June 10, 2019 at 2:56 p.m.

    The performance was terrible; the TV commentary made it worse.

  27. Wallace Wade, June 10, 2019 at 3:08 p.m.

    No organized and agreed upon pyramid. Closed shop. Federation is conflicted and compromised. Reform

  28. Wooden Ships replied, June 11, 2019 at 2:09 p.m.

    Afraid that the stakeholders (voting members) make change a near impossibility. Remember in the last election (USSF) how they closed ranks. Perhaps a parallel program could make in roads.

  29. Jim Ngo, June 10, 2019 at 3:37 p.m.

    Jordan Morris going up for a header that was 5 feet over his head represents everything wrong with this team and U.S. men's soccer:  Working really hard at accomplishing nothing.

  30. Bob Ashpole, June 10, 2019 at 4:16 p.m.

    The issue is confusing because some people think of athleticism in terms of size. Size has absolutely nothing to do with athleticism as the term is used in athlete development. Some body types have advantages in specific sports, but body type is not athleticism.
     

  31. Kevin Leahy, June 10, 2019 at 5:16 p.m.

    The men's program is a mess from the top down. It is disappointing to see the lack of progress since 2002. I am just surmising but, it is my belief that, Tab and others are looked over because they might be more outspoken. It is the same reason Cruyff was frozen out by the Dutch Federation. I am not a fan of systems of play, especially if they can't adjust to an opponents system of play. Does G.B. adjust for his opponent? Let's hope so! It has to be first & foremost about who is available to plug in to your system. This coach has seen enough players by now to have a great idea of what he has to work with. Qualifying for the next W.C. is this coach's # 1 priority. He seems to believe that Jozy & Gyasi are the forwards to get them there. He also seems to believe that Bradley & Trapp will be part of the midfield that will get them there. There shouldn't be anyone there that isn't part of getting us through the next qualification. The U.S. team has been outgunned plenty in the past but, seemed to have a certain grit that is missing now. I do have one other question. Does G.B. not have a deal with Nike, or is it with someone else? He does not seem to have the swoosh on any garments.

  32. frank schoon replied, June 10, 2019 at 6:12 p.m.

    Kevin, the reason that Cruyff never became the National Coach, were several. He was asked to become coach, but one time Rinus Michells didn't want him for he supported Leo Beenhakker because he could control Beenhakker but not Cruyff. At another time, he was asked by the Dutch Federation to be coach, but Cruyff's demands meant that the KNVB leadership would not be welcome would have to sit in the peanut gallery like the rest of the fans. Cruyff would be boss and control what is needed. He stated , if" I fail it would be because of my decisions and planning and no one else". Cruyff's mouth was legendary and he could back up anything he says ,besides who has the knowledge to even debate him soccer.  
    The KNVB realized, there is no fighting against Cruyff for control if he became coach, for what he said was law. And of course those in leadership didn't like being placed second.
    You have to have a system to follow.  Cruyff states," there is a difference between playing a system and tactics but many tend to view them as the same. A system is basicly the skeleton, it is the Tactics, the nuances that really matter. For example , you can play a 4-3-3 , but the centerforward could  withdrawn or hidden #9 or be a point man. It all depends upon how you  want to fit the players together via their strengths and weaknesses. 
    Any coach who simply follow a system doesn't understand soccer and I'm sure GB is aware of that. The problem with GB is the quality of players, more so than anything else

  33. Kevin Leahy, June 10, 2019 at 7:12 p.m.

    No one is confusing the USMNT with great Dutch teams. The team doesn't have the talent or depth but, don't like to see a team rollover like that. There has got to be a lot more bite than that! We we will see what the Gold Cup brings but, who can feel optimistic after the last week. Something else I want t see is, the first person that hits Pupisic hard gets dumped hard @ the first chance. It will probably come from Panama.

  34. frank schoon replied, June 10, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.

    Kevin, not impressed with the teams the US is playing in the Gold Cup.   I much rather seen them play Venezuela 3x in  friendlies for at least it would be tough competition

  35. Wooden Ships replied, June 10, 2019 at 7:47 p.m.

    Good point Kevin on the Pulisic dumping. From the first Cap, CP was roughed up regularly and nary a player backed him. Our Captain MB was virtually absent ensuring that one of his players was not disrespected. In fact the coaching staff was rather passive as well. There was indifference, some jealousy, toward Christian. And, it wasn’t the dual nationals. I’m appalled that several of the divisive players in those games are still rostered. For those that have played some serious soccer it was glaringly obvious. And Greg, CP is not a central playing mid. Leave him outside wear he can better protect himself and play the position he’s best at. 

  36. Richard Broad, June 10, 2019 at 7:25 p.m.

    Some excellent points, Paul. However, there's one that needs to also be mentioned. Where do many of the players who now represent Venezuela, Jamaica, and the countries that qualified for Russia in 2018 ahead of the U. S. play? MLS is now over 75% foreign. How can we expect our [players to be better if we are instead developing ones from other countries?

  37. R2 Dad replied, June 10, 2019 at 8:37 p.m.

    That’s the mls business model—USSF just lets the tail wag the dog.

  38. John Richardson, June 10, 2019 at 9:01 p.m.

    I see a few things which make up the list of why the USA men arent very good. 

    First , It’s not our culture for soccer to be a priority. Soccer is seen as a kids sport and after they get bored or others get better they move on to video games , school , snow boarding, hiking etc etc etc. 
    Second, our youth development has not been fully taken over by our professional teams. We still have the select soccer ( lots of internal conflicts ) and colleges who develop our players. Not a lot of 13 year olds living away from their families trying to be football players. Wait until an MLS owner understands he can sell a player like a piece of cattle - they will learn that developing youth players should be a priority. 
    Third , a kid who’s fast or strong (good athlete) at an early age isn’t pointed towards soccer - the coach probably doesn’t have the knowledge to say - you’d be a good soccer player. Other countries do. This is Part of the culture discussion. 
    Fourth , I don’t think the MLS is a very challenging league. If the best MLS team was entered into the Champoins League , they would be eliminated in the group stage. So when the majority of our MNT is made up of MLS players, we aren’t very good. And when the majority of the European based players don’t play much for their clubs,we aren’t going to be very good. Our players aren’t playing in top leagues so why do we think we are going to be very good. 

    I found the last 2 USA games disgraceful. I thought we had hit the bottom not qualifying for the last World Cup. But it has gotten worse. 



  39. Bob Ashpole replied, June 11, 2019 at 11:03 a.m.

    For you soccer is a "kids sport". You would be surprised at how alone you are in that opinion. Your "culture" is definitely not my culture.

  40. frank schoon replied, June 11, 2019 at 12:42 p.m.

    Bob, Well said

  41. John Richardson replied, June 13, 2019 at 11:24 a.m.

    Bob , I was saying that this is how the majortiy of our country views this sport as a problem.
    Not me 

  42. beautiful game, June 11, 2019 at 9:50 a.m.

    Athleticism and inherent Soccer IQ makes a good soccer player. There needs to be purpose in every move on a personal and team level. 

  43. Nick Gabris, June 11, 2019 at 12:37 p.m.

    In my opinion the experience of the coach is probably the most important and especially if they had played the game, so they have a full understandig of what it takes to be competitive. For example: I thought as much as people did not like Klinsman ( armchair players) I did. He was a world class player and he knew that if something is not working with players you had available, you had to make changes, or for the way your opposition played. The current political soccer environment does not lead to improvement. Did anyone catch the former and current USSF president sitting at the U20 players bench during their last game at the WC? shows you that the Status Quo is still alive in the MNT. Unless major changes are made, we will never make improvements at the WC.

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