Nine players -- including four starters -- not old enough to buy a beer in the United States saw action for Coach Gregg Berhalter against Wales. Three U.S. starters and three subs made their national teams debuts. The game produced zero goals and few chances, but the most cohesive play and the few sparkles came from the young Americans. They had 61 percent of the possession, made it difficult for the home team to play out of its half, and stifled the Welsh when they did attack.
USA Player Ratings
(1=low; 5=middle; 10=high.)
For his two saves, Zack Steffen made an easy stop on Tom Lawrence's long-range shot and got his foot on a more threatening close-range effort from Brennan Johnson. His ill-advised pass to Tyler Adams nearly led to disaster, but Steffen shouldn't have been put that situation. He proved himself capable of fine distribution with his chip to the head of Konrad at the halfway line in the 67th minute.
Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
Zack Steffen (Manchester City/ENG) 18/0 (25)
Right back Sergino Dest was the USA's most active attacker in the first half and kept surging in the second half. The best his crosses and passes from the wing produced -- a couple went to the keeper -- were a couple of corner kicks, but the pressure from his forays no doubt contributed to Wales' cautious play. Defensively, Dest impressed when in the 7th minute he stole the ball and won a throw-in despite seeming trapped in a 2v1 battle. It was Matt Miazga who had time and options for better choices than a painfully slow backpass to Steffen in the 55th minute. Miazga, who led the game with four fouls, provided the game's most farcical moment when he dissented on the yellow card he got for a shirt-pulling, grabbing and shoving Kieffer Moore on the foul that presented Wales a potentially dangerous free kick. John Brooks played with more poise in the central defense. He blocked a shot from Moore in the 34th minute and his clean tackle on Rabbi Matondo ended what looked to be some early second-half momentum from Wales. Brooks also hit some good deep passes -- his 43rd minute crossfield service to Konrad bordered on magnificent. Brooks also intervened briskly when left back Antonee Robinson gifted Wales a counterattack. Robinson's nerves calmed after the early blunder. He didn't attack like Dest, but set up a shot for Weston McKennie in the 54th minute.
Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
Sergino Dest (Barcelona/ESP) 4/0 (20)
Matt Miazga (Anderlecht/BEL) 19/1 (25)
John Brooks (Wolfsburg/GER) 39/3 (27)
Antonee Robinson (Fulham/ENG) 8/0 (23)
Weston McKennie provided much of the service, including pinpoint crossfield passes after beating Welsh foes one-on-one, that set Dest on his way. McKennie's all-around performance included robbing the Welsh in midfield and a pass from the right wing that set up Sebastian Lletget for a close-range back-heel shot. Tyler Adams hit some poor passes but deserves credit for playing the role that allowed his fellow midfielders ample freedom to attack. Gio Reyna found his groove in the second half. He hit the game's best cross, to Konrad's head in the 50th minute. He baffled the Welsh when he dribbled parallel to penalty area line in a sequence that set up a McKennie shot, which was deflected for a corner kick. Reyna floated a perfect pass to McKennie in the 67th minute that nearly produced a scoring chance. Yunus Musah struggled at times -- but did better than one might expect from a 17-year-old debuting with teammates he just met.
Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig/GER) 11/1 (21)
Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund/GER) 1/0 (17)
Weston McKennie (Juventus/ITA) 20/6 (22)
Yunus Musah (Valencia/ESP) 1/0 (17)
Sebastian Lletget unleashed two of the USA's seven shots: the blocked back-heel and another from 17 yards that keeper Danny Ward grabbed on the dive but was headed wide. Lletget, who took five fruitless corner kicks, took part in some passing sequences that kept the Welsh on the defensive but wasn't the kind forward the USA needed on the day. Konrad de la Fuente skied a close-range volley on the USA's best scoring chance and misplayed some balls -- but met normal expectations from 19-year-old debutant.
Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy/USA) 14/2 (28)
Konrad de la Fuente (Barcelona/ESP) 1/0 (19)
Uly Llanez replaced Konrad in the 71st minutes and within two minutes took the best shot of the game. His 25-yard effort required a diving save from Ward and earned the USA a corner kick. Johnny Cardoso -- one of the six debutants -- replaced Adams in the defensive midfield role and with a swift toe poke robbed Wilson of a scoring chance. Johnny again intervened crucially a minute later when Brennan Johnson threatened.
Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
Uly Llanez (Heerenveen/NED) 2/1 (19)
Johnny Cardoso (Internacional/BRA) 1/0 (19)
Tim Weah (Lille/FRA) 9/1 (20)
Nicholas Gioacchini (Caen/FRA) 1/0 (20)
Owen Otasowie (Wolverhampton/ENG) 1/0 (19)
Reggie Cannon (Boavista/POR 11/0 (22)
TRIVIA: Gio Reyna's start for the USA turned the Reyna family into the first in history in which both father and mother and son played for full U.S. national teams. Hall of Famer Claudio Reyna made 112 U.S. appearances in 1994-2006. Danielle (née Egan) Reyna was capped six times in 1993.
Nov. 12 in Swansea
Wales 0 USA 0.
Wales -- Ward; Roberts, J.Lawrence (Roden, 69), Lockyer, Gunter; Smith (Sheehan, 46), Levitt (Morrell, 80), T.Lawrence, Wilson, Matondo (Johnson, 62); Moore (James, 62).
USA -- Steffen; Dest (Cannon, 87), Miazga, Brooks, Robinson; McKennie, Adams (Johnny Cardoso, 72), Reyna (Weah, 79), Musah (Gioacchini, 79); Lletget (Otasowie, 87), Konrad de la Fuente (Llanez, 71).
Yellow cards: Wales --. USA-- Miazga 57, Cardoso 80, Dest 81. Red cards: none.
Referee: Nick Walsh (Scotland)
Att.: behind closed doors.
Shots on target: 2/1
Corner Kicks: 3/5
Mike, I had a different perspective which has to do more with TEAM USA not being able to recognize passing lane opportunities to make things happen. That 61% possession number does not validate a good performance. Both teams showed no rhythm and lacked cohesiveness.
I will tell you that some of the player ratings are questionable. Rating Reyna above Musah very questionable. Reyna didn't show up until 15 minutes into the second half.
I agree. Rating Gio higher than Tyler and Yunus, really?
I saw Great Potential... Lots of Quick Muscle Twitch and Quick Unpredictable Thought...
There IS Hope.!!!, But, Is There Heart.???
Too much Whinning at The Ref, But what do you expect for a Bunch Of High School Kids.!!!
#1 Thing... Nobody Knelt Down during the National Anthem.!!!
Santiago, No one knelt during the anthem. They knelt later. During the anthem, the entire team and staff linked arms which prevented rendering honors to the flag. I saw 1 player who awkwardly placed hand near heart while his arm was linked. No one else. It doesn't bother me one way or another. Myself, I would honor the flag. But that is my choice. So its just kneeling that upsets you?
Yeah, it's the Knelling DURING the National Anthem... That's what I have said All Along...
Jozi Altidore never put his Hand over his Heart for Religious Reasons,
I Never had a Problem with that, once I learned that.
I wonder if Philip Cannon was Knelling On the Sideline.???
Your ignorance is appauling!!!! Get a grip amigo.
@ BGame... Have you ever Stood as a Member Of a USSF National Team, for The US National Anthem in a Hostile Foreign Country.??? I HAVE, So go Grip Yourself... Enjoy.!!!
I quit watching at the end of the first half. What I saw was two teams playing mediocre soccer. What does it say when your most dangerous attacker is a fullback?
What amused me was that the Welsh system reminded of how people attacked in 442 30 years ago! A real trip down memory lane.
The most important question I had was answered quickly. Coach GB has them playing long ball. Konrad looked like a fish out of water playing kick and run. When Renya was listed as the RW, I suspected that the US was going to play a 442 instead of a 433. So I agree with that part of the Game Report.
Brooks was an embarrassment, playing dirty and tactically slow. When he lowbirdged the opposing forward in a friendly match, I was disgusted. People have broken their backs that way. It is also inviting retaliation against our own forwards. Not a reputation that we want to have.
I saw a whole lot of bad fundamentals. What stuck out the most was bad facing.
This game did not do much for me, it was very disappointing. First of all I wish we would just stick to soccer for we have enough problems in that department as it is. I watched our team come out on the field with all these silly slogans, on their nice outfits. And the camera HAD to show every slogan on the players backs to make sure we all saw them. I was hoping to see one slogan saying, "vote legally" or "vote early and vote often" or on the light side "your mother wears combat boots". Can we just go on and play soccer instead of displaying all of this DRAMA QUEEN crap. I found it so refreshing seeing the Wales team come out on the field in ,nondescript outfits, without all this nonsense and faldera.
Furthermore, like what they do with fake crowd noises still should do that with the commentating. Don't bother with them just use some commentating from another game, just played that out in the backround, for these commetators are absolutely useless for they don't say anything worth listening to.....
Our team had difficulty stringing two passes together. Wales, not exactly a team that I would get up at 4AM in the morning to watch play for they are basically stiffs, as far as soccer goes. But you know what, there were at times passing the ball around 4 or 5 times in succession with good solid bangs on the ball. Their front line consisted of a few potted plants on wheels. But you know what they played better soccer than we did.
Sure we pressured them ,which we should for English players , like us , are not good in small spaces and it helped not having Gareth Bale on the front line. I got so sick and tired watching the ball played back to the goalie by the Wales team that I'm beginning to believe that FIFA should install a ruling that a team is allowed on 4passes back to the goalie per half. I'm kidding ofcourse, but you know what this is one way of teaching players to play and look forwards and thereby forcing to teach them better positioning off the ball for that is soooo missing in today's game of building up from the back....NEXT POST.
I thougt you over rated Renya. I was very disapointed in his play.
There was only one player on our team that actually displayed decent soccer 'skills' and that was DEST. If we had 10 like him we would have a decent and respectable team. Note, Dest didn't become like that playing for Barcelona in the past month. He had ofcourse had an Ajax developing backround but even more importantly as one notices how he HANDLED the ball 'one on one' against an opponent. He looked more like an attacker type employing some of his moves with the ball and quick, tricky, short passes in the opponent's third than a back. What he did was nothing special, he didn't dazzle anyone, but what he did is something our players are incapable of performing.
Dest is not fast but a slower type and has no acceleration or rather he is not quick but even though he is not fast or quick he can handle himself 'one on one' against a player faster than him with no problem. Our players look so STIFF LIKE, with a ball. The tricky ball handling Dest displays comes from having played 'street/pickup soccer. What he showed at times is 'Amsterdam street Bravado' that you develop playing PICKUP, an 'one on one' element of the game that our players lack in their development. And if you think Dest picked that 'bravado' up at Ajax than you don't understand how Ajax develops its players.
Our kids because we lack good 'one on one' ball handling skills due to lack of PICKUP soccer tend to use running power and speed to beat players and McKenna many others like him ;and don't forget to further emphasize speed we put then in the 'weight' room for more muscle . We produce nothing but these turbo types of players and than send them to Europe expecting them to improve. IMPROVE in what? When you play up until your 17-18 years old a style of game where running dominates, you naturally will not develop good one on one skills and other elements of the game. Worse, where do we send these 'turbo' types to????...they end up in countries like England and Germany where 'turbo' is part of their playing make up.
Reyna, who should have gotten a 4 rating for his play. This guy is no speed demon, fortunately, is playing in a country that likes turbo play. I hate to say it but he is not taught what he needs to learn in order to be quicker which has nothing to do with running, but THINKING, POSITIONING , AND KNOWING YOUR NEXT MOVE, which he is not being taught to him. NEXT POST.
I kept hearing the commentators say Coach B wanted yesterday's game to provide hope to US fans. The only hopeful moments for me came from watching Reyna and Dest interact at the beginning of the first half. Then, for some reason, Reyna was moved to the left side. So much for that bit of fun. Llanex did a move or two that had me wanting to see more of him, but outside of these moments, just another display of lumbering soccer. In Reyna's defence, I think he's not only a great talent, but found himself in a posititon that I thought Pulisic found himself in when playing with the USMNT: who out there can play at the higher level with him? Dest can, and my instincts say Llanex can, and I'm sure I'm missing a player of two from this list, but playing without support from teammates with higher level thinking and movement creates a situation whereby that player needs to change how they play to such a degree that their talents get lost. Reyna has it, he just needs adequate support. So where are these US players that can help, that can keep up? In that vein, how is it that we field a national team without a true number 9? I suppose someone might say, well, we were missing a player or two, but still, in our nation of 330 million people and a massive nationwide recreational soccer program, somehow we end up without a true 9 in last night's game? I realize that it's not a necessity for such a player, but we need goals.
I can only assume we have to take Berhalter at his word that his focus for the game was in developing cohesiveness among the core players in possessing the ball and learning to combine in creative sequences. To some extent he got that, but failing to field a #9 and asking Lletget and Konrad to play a 2 forward set was just awful for the prospect of creating goals, whether from the forwards or from the midfielders in attack. The Welsh bunkered hard and neither of the forwards were willing to eat up threatening space amongst the center backs where they might get on the end of the few good centering passes or at least create space for the central midfielders.
This decision still baffles me to be honest. First mistake was not including Aaron Johansson in the squad in the first place. Second (and more egregious) was bringing in Lletget instead of AJ after Sargent wasn't allowed to join. Third and unforgivable was putting Lletget and Konrad as the forwards rather than Soto or even Weah in the starting lineup so we had at least one forward to press the high space and attack the scoring zone in front of the goal. Imbecilic.
My assessment was that the defense was pretty solid overall, especially in recovering the ball quickly before Wales could build out, though we did allow the occasional dangerous counterattack. For fielding a team of high-potential youngsters I was not amazed by their ability to possess the ball and be comfortable on the ball, but was satisfied and could see the potential. The problem came in patience as they often fell into traps of dribble penetrating past the first defender when 2 or more remained in cover, which was basically always as again, no #9, let alone a 9 and 10 were in areas to pin those center backs to create the space to dribble into areas where they could shoot or send those forwards through once they'd forced the center backs and 6 to come off the marks.
Reyna, does so many things wrong out there for the style of soccer he plays. First of all, WHAT IS HE DOING OUT THERE ON THE WING??? He lacks penetration therefore there was no attacking threat on the right flank. Next, how often was the ball stolen from him with an opponent coming from behind. He has a BAD habit of directly facing the passer without positioning in a manner for the next station to pass to ,which is further complicated by wanting ,and waiting the ball to come to his feet first ,causing the tempo of the game not only to slow down but also placing him in a position to have the ball stolen from behind. He never moves to the ball a quick step or two or knows what he's going to do before receiving the ball. He looks awful out there. He tends to play like his father who likewise wants the ball to his feet first and then releases the ball on the second touch; the difference in those days the opponents didn't high pressure. He also needs to work on his passing , velocity wise. Because of the manner and style of play he needs play BEHIND the ball in the opponent's half and needs to specialize more on quality passes...
Tyler Adams has a bad habit of standing around midcircle, with his legs spread and arms lowered asking for the ball, as if he thinks he's Pirlo minus the passing qualities...and even Pirlo didn't stand and asked for the ball like that.
I have no idea what Konrad is doing out there. Oh, yeah, he is associated somehow with Barcelona. Is he paying Barcelona to go to "La Masia".
I"m keeping my eye on Musah, interesting.....Antonee Robinson doesn't show me anything...
My worries are with CP's development and Chelsea when it comes to playing time. Chelsea bought the Ajax player Hakim Ziyech, who has so much quality and a great asset to Chelsea plan of attack that Pulisic will have to compete for playing time with on the left side. In relation to 'turbo' play , note the bodybuild of Ziyech. You hope no one will ever bumps into him at register at the grocery store. He is a twig, but he so much skills, technique and brains, CONFIDENCE ON THE BALL, and knows what to do before receiving the ball, playing on the right wing. He employs speed only to create a short distance like a step or two for him to make a penetrating at goal...He proves that you don't need turbo , size and speed, aspects what American players and coaches need to understand. It is all about 'savviness, and skill. He is build like Xavi, Busquets and Iniesta but more offensive.
Google this and play the video
Chelsea-debuut Ziyech: nu al nummer één voor vrije trappen en corners | VoetbalPrimeur.nl
Frank, Pulisic won't be competing for time with Ziyech on the left, as he'll continue to play exclusively on the right... I think Chelsea offering two distinctly different and dangerous flanks to opponents is going to be a lot of fun to watch when they're finally both healthy at the same time!
Seth, CP won't compete with Ziyech on the left side for Ziyech plays on the right. But the way it looks like Ziyech will probably own that right side with his unique talent thereby whoever played on the right before Ziyech came wil have to play on the left, which means CP will have another attacker to compete with as far as playing time goes. We'll see how it will end up.
As I see it, the right flank will become an open flank whereby different players will run into open space in front of Ziyech thus surprising the opponents. In this way the flanks will have different form of attack.
Also, I wonder if Chelsea will allow the opponents to build up on their left side thereby reducing Ziyech defensive work. In other words giving the technical side less work on defense in order to keep them fresh on offense.
Frank I think most always saw Ziyech as a 'luxury player' that doesn't care much for defending so the opponents will likely build up through their left because it's easy there, how Lampard decides to cover that is what's interesting to me, as Ziyech has shown what he brings to the attack is worth what he doesn't to defense. Does he try to play a more defensive 8 like Kovacic behind him but then limit the quality for Ziyech to play off of? Does he favor a more stay home RB like Azpilaqueta or go with the emerging gun Reece James who is dynamic in attack? Believe he will go with the more attacking players on the right side of midfield and fullback and just try to out score opponents! We shall see, but I think this will also create space with defenses having to really bring extra players to their left and think we'll see Ziyech send some beautiful balls from right flank right in front of a free running Pulisic more than once.
Seth, Ziyech is not a luxury player, he brings to Chelsea what Chelsea lacks when you play a 'turbo' type of game in 'turbo land'. In turbo style of play you bring in a non-turbo type of player to throw a wrench in the works. For example, backs have had the luxury of not playing against 'wingers' , they didn't have to guard wingers and therefore had the luxury of being able to move up on attack. But you place a wing against an upcoming back that forces the back to play a different game he's used to and therefore brings him out of his rhythm of play...we call it in dutch 'swimming or treading water. Another example would be to play a false #9 which forces the centerback in an uncomfortable position of not guarding anyone, forces him to question 'what do I do' - he's forced to tread water...LOL.
Ziyech brings in the necessary thinking that is required when in small spaces, and executes the technical movements, the passes and dribble, with much efficiency and accuracy along with plenty of playing confidence. Furthermore,opponents don't expect him to make blazing runs and therefore will give him a little space in which ironically he can employ to make small runs. He doesn't have to beat players on the run for he's great passing acumen knowing where the ball should go. He has so many more options ,attacking wise,thereby making him difficult to guard.
He's not a defender but you don't expect him to make slided tackles, with foam on the mouth efforts of going after a man. On the front line, defense is played different, it is more preventive type of defense. Position yourself near the back for example to just make a statement in making the opponent think twice about passing to the back. The front line, plays a positional type of defense that can force the back line to pass where you want them to pass. Don't forget Ziyech can go after a defender and force him to make a mistake on a pass or perhaps steal the ball. This is how Barcelona employed Ronaldinho, for you perhaps a luxury player, but he has qualities which are very important for the team and therefore Barcelona would force the opponents to build up on the opposite side of the field away from Ronaldinho. NEXT POST...
Seth , You know Ajax players are not build but are more like Ziyech, look at Frenkie de Jong at Barcelona the midfielder, a luxury type. This is why Holland does not play a physical style game for they will always get beat against Italian ,German, Spanish, English teams...Holland, in a way, was forced to play a smart game that requires less fighting for the ball and that is how 'positional', 'spacing' and 'accuracy' in passing is so stressed in their game. Look at the defense of Barcelona's 'Dream Team' under Cruyff of the early 90's played. Their libero was Ronald Koeman, the Centerfull back was Guardiola, of all people. Koeman was not a defender type, slow and was used for his passing ability, and Guardiola was 'twiggy' also not a defender. The outside backs were former wingers ,short but fast. They played defense in a diamond formation, for these 4 guys taken individually would be defensive disaster but as a unit and properly spaced they had no problem. Their front line was their first line of defense. Remember who made up the front line , Romario- Mr. Big Time defense expert- and Stoichkovic and Laudrup on the wing. These was your defense up front...NOT MUCH IS IT ? And at midfield you 3 munchkins with Bakero as one of them. Fortunately there was a Cruyff who showed the world that defense can be played with 'brains' not 'brawn' as shown by the players he had.
Note, when you have time, study how Guardiola played at Barcelona and then compare him to Frenkie de Jong. Both have a similar style which is that they hold on to the ball as long as possible in order for the opponents to make their move and then pass which often has the effect of beating 2 or 3 players at once...
Frenkie de Jong sometimes dribbles and dribbles with no real intention of beating anyone but just to draw opponents and then pass allowing his teammate into 1v1 advantageous positions,smart play. This goes against the grain of so many who yell 'one-touch','quick get rid of it' when in a fact at times you don't need that for it doesn't bring your teammate, necessarily, in a better position.
Note, on our left side we have right footed players crossing the ball with the effect of the ball going way too far forwards and out over de endline. You won't see that with Ziyech for when crosses with his left from the right side his passes are not only more ACCURATE but also he introduces just enough spin on the ball forcing it to travel longer giving the attacker from the leftside time to get to the ball.....
I don't disagree with anything you said there other than an apparent misunderstanding between us on what the term 'luxury player.' While there is som pejorative connotation due to the implication that they don't help in all phases, but is also complimentary as it also means the player has special qualities that a coach must decide if they are worth the defensive short comings. I think it's clear Ziyech has convinced Lampard already, which is no small feat if you consider who Lampard was as a player.
Seth, I don't understand. Are you saying a forward doesn't defend if he doesn't come back and defend behind the ball?
Seth, <"but is also complimentary as it also means the player has special qualities that a coach must decide if they are worth the defensive short coming"> I agree with you on that ,but that is what coaches do when placing players on the field that compliment each other's weaknesses and strengths.
Seth, Bob we once had a discussion about 'SEEING" the game in this interview Zlatan explains it better than I. You guys tend to interpret as actual 'vision' but that is not what I meant...
Zlatan Ibrahmovic explains why he didn't play hockey - YouTube watch 6:45sec - 7:15, enjoy
Frank, anyone who has played with me or that I've coached would laugh at you thinking that I think vision is what you can see in the moment. It's about what you can imagine and interpret happening in the future. It's spatial awareness and understanding the correlation between space, time and the relative motion of all players and the ball in relation to space.
Bob, I don't think that at all. Forwards should apply the right pressure to force the opponent to give the ball away at the most advantageous position on the field, and that's not always as far up the pitch as possible. If a forward wins the ball back with a tackle on his own that's certainly not a bad thing, but it's usually even better if they can apply pressure in a way that forces a pass that teammate can cut out while placing the player himself in a good position to be available for a run through or quick combination to punish the defense while they're still mentally punishing themselves for giving the ball away. Ziyech and many other special players aren't considered weak defenders because they don't drop behind the ball or win tackles, it's because they don't contribute to winning the ball back as much as their coaches want them to.
Seth ,the reason I stated that is that you had mentioned you were a former helicopter pilot and mentioned the vision applied in that profession and there applying it to soccer. I remember Bob bringing that up to....Well, at least I hope you enjoyed the interview....
Seth, some players are not ball winners for that is not their strengths, that is why we piano carriers and piano players....A good coach tends use the strengths of the players and allows their weakness be complimented by their teammates.
When Romario came to Barcelona. Cruyff criticized Romario for running and hustling too much. Romario replied that his last coach accused him of being lazy and not running enough. Cruyff replied , "I got you to score goal so hang around the penalty area, that's all I want you to do' ,anything extra work will be picked by your teammates". I don't think Romario ever stole a ball or slide tackled an opponent, ofcourse never did Beckenbauer , he had his Schwarzenbeck and Paul Breitner do the dirty work....
Frank I remember that post before, and my comments above are basically the same as what I've posted today. A helicopter pilot doesn't sit like a sniper and just see what is there, they maneuver in time and space seeing more of the battlefield than anyone one else, and are seen by more as well. The windows to complete the task are momentary and requiring seeing many steps ahead and how the steps you and others take lead to the steps and counters others are likely to make. Very very similar concepts. On the pitch vision should not be interpreted as 20/20 or what one can and can't see in the periphery (though certainly that is so important), but more aptly vision is akin to 'visionary' or 'seeing the future.'
On Romario and Cruyff, could not agree more. As a coach I am constantly telling the striker that I want them as high and central as possible as often as possible, and when pressing I don't want them chasing fullbacks out wide for even if they/we win the ball the fullback has still done at least something right by removing our best goalscoring threat from the goal scoring area. If the striker does wander too far wide the offside wing had better recognize this problem with our shape and move into the central area in anticipation of us winning the ball.
Frank, I understand what you mean by "seeing". I use "reading" instead of "seeing". It includes also understanding the implications of what you see. Seeing without understanding is not helpful.
Bob, Seth , I guess we finally got the "seeing" thing straightened out or more clarified. :) What I do find interesting is "seeing" comes in degrees with all players ranging from 0 to 100 %. No one has ever had 100%, but a few like Cruyff, Ernst Happel , Van Hanegem were high up. I remember Gerd Muller of Germany once stating that Cruyff out of 100 decisions made out on the field 90 would be correct.
likewise Gunther Netzer of German fame, likewise stated that Cruyff was a tactical genius for at any moment he could read the game and the various pemutations leading from that and most important of all he had the skills to meet the necessary permutations...
Wow.!!! Hold on You all.!!!! ....
I'm supposed to be the DOOM Sayer on the Thread.!!!
You throw a bunch of H.S. and College age Kids;
On a Rainy, Wet, Choppy, No Fans in Stands, No Pulisic, Field in WALES against their 2nd Team,
After 2 PRACTICES and expect something UnRealistic.!!!
Just go back and Look at the 1st Touches, and the Technical Speed of the Feet and Minds.
That is about all you can look at in this situation.
At Minimum... We should have a Really Good Olympic Team...
Re-Build the Program, like we did starting with 1988 Oympic Team.
I don't fault the players. I fault the system. 1988? That was 32 years ago. We should have a player pool overflowing with talent such that its impossible to figure out who to invite to national team workouts much less who put on the field. I don't agree with the comments about Reyna; I think he is a major talent that needs a supporting cast that can keep up with him. And even if these players haven't practiced or played together, players should be able to play reasonably well no matter the situation, but, again, the supporting cast must be present. In other words, we need to have all field players able to play intelligent, fluid soccer but that isn’t happening so players who have that next level in them have trouble accessing it. After awhile they just get frustrated and I’ve seen it with both Reyna and Pulisic. We need a system that produces bunches of players, in fact, every player should be able to demonstrate how good soccer is played. This was the genius of Total Soccer from years ago: no matter where you were designated to play you could play anywhere on the field with intelligence; but this intelligence would be stymied by lack of intelligent support.
PC, this is what we need: Efrain Alvarez, as the 10 in a 4-2-3-1. He's the key, the hub in a system that will allow us to play our best players in their best roles. If Ibra thinks he's ready, I would tend to agree:
Definitely agree with you Santiago, with only a few exceptions this was a youth team that looked pretty promising to me. Replace Konrad with Pulisic, Lletget with a real #9 that is at least 'capable' (Jozy, Sargent, Johansson, Weah, Soto?, Haji Wright?, Zardes?) and I think we're on the right track with emerging depth with the talent to drive the team forward in the future.
What I hope to see against Panama to get an assessment of our depth and guys that could win full time jobs: 4-3-3 (please let me forget how boring my Highschool years were playing 4-4-2) Horvath on for Steffen, Richards on for Miazga to pair with Brooks, Cannon RB and Dest LB (though am fine letting Robinson show us more), Adams at 6 (with Johnny coming on again), McKennie and Musah at the 8s, Llanez at LW with Konrad coming on, Weah at the 9 with Soto/Gioacchini coming on, Reyna at RW tucking to 10 to create space for Musah wider along with Dest if he's on the right.
R2 Dad I am personally a huge fan of 4-2-3-1 but it doesn't seem to be favored by Berhalter at all from what I can tell. As it is Dortmund's primary system, and Leipzig play it quite a lot as well, I think that's relevant with our two best attacking players very well versed along with our 6.
Think Alvarez is leaning heavily to Mexico though right? Reyna has played very well at the 10 with Dortmund but I don't see no Haalands available for us, so am not suggesting that's his obvious spot for us, but would make the most sense. Adams and McKennie as the DCMs, Reyna at the 10, Pulisic wife left, Musah wide right, and something resembling a 9 I think would be well worth trying out. I'm personally curious to see if Weah might be someone worth giving an honest chance to at 9.
Seth, Alvarez is in the Mexico system now but the die has not been cast yet. EA grew up until U15 playing with our guys, he just needs the Nats silo to pay him the attention he deserves. EA playing in LA will not feature for El Tri; Mexican club owners won't allow it. If we wait EA will get cap-tied and then will sit on the bench for El Tri unless Galaxy trade him south. GB and the rest of the Nats heirarchy need to suck it up and go to him & his family on bended knee and explain to him how they need a natural 10 who doesn't require 2 more years in the system to figure out how to play/service the front line. Of course, this would be easier if there was a head coach like Almeyda or Tata or Hugo Perez to seal the deal.
Definitely agree that EA is a player we'd LOVE committed to the USMNT, so if that's not already a big effort that would be crazy, my understanding has always just been that it's more than a long shot as his desire is absolutely to play for Mexico. Don't disagree with you that's a mistake on his part either!
R2 Dad, I looked up Alvarez and I think he's the same player I watched play in a US international match, maybe when he was U15.? I think he was taking all of the free kicks with that dangerous left foot of his and was a consistent mention by the commentators. If Ibra says this kids the real deal, then that sounds right to me. I can't be sure, but I think Reyna came into that same match later in the game and looked dangerous. Maybe we'll get lucky and have Alvarez continue with the US instead of Mexico.
Philip that's him. He played 3 U15 matches with the US before switching to Mexico where he's played 14 games between U15 and U17. Would love to have him, but he was the center of his US team (4 goals in 3 games) so switching to Mexico before U17 is a pretty clear indicator where he's most likely to end up. Kid can play though, no question about that.
@Phillip... The World Cup "Run" starting in 1990(Which Embarassingly Collapsed in 2018), was Started with the Olympic Festival/USAmatuer Trials Of 1986, 1987... A plan Developed by Sunil Gulati, in an Era Of No "Real" Pro League... Taking College Players like Harkes, Ramos, Vermes and Forming them into the Nucleus Of The '88 Olympic Team that, Though Tecnically Limited, Had The "Heart" Of "American Exceptionalism"... Hell, We didn't know we COULDN'T PLAY... I contend, that what Lacks in the CURRENT U.S. Player is the Belief that AMERICA IS EXCEPTIONAL... It was always worth a (1) Goal Margin, "Back In The Day", But, We are Currently Denigrating our Country and FLAG and National Anthem, to such a Degree, "That If you Don't Stand For Something, You will FALL for Nothing"... No matter how Good our Players Become, Technically....Without "HEART for American Exceptional" We will always Fall Short... Because EVERY OTHER COUNTRY WANTS TO BEAT THE SHITTE OUT OF THE USA, and they play above their Level to accomplish that.
As a starting point, why is no one commenting on the coaching. What sane coach would start Lieget at the forward position. He was missing in action when Dest et al hit quality crosses across goal. Berhalter was appointed to make sure there is always an MLSer in the starting line up. Berhalter has no imagination. He failed to substitute, in a friendly none the less, until almost the 70 minute. And it was easily seen that the US had no effective scoring attack. It is time to call for his replacement before we waste this young talent.
I agree Karl. There's no other explanation for Lletget. I was also surprised, I guess not surprised, at the late subbing. It didn't matter to me if we won the match or not. The earliest, earliest, point at which a managerial change would happen would be losses early in qualifying. Even then I'm not sure.
100% agree. Just baffling. I'm not even poo pooing Lletget as a player worthy of being on the team and playing minutes but shoe-horning him in as a forward was just maddening to watch play out, and he's certainly not the type of player that you just figure out a way to get on the field because he's so good. I haven't seen enough of Soto or Gioacchini to say they're on the cusp of being a first choice as a 9, but think either of them likely scores a goal in that game as they'd at least have been attacking the damn scoring area when we we're setting up wide. Crossing is low percentage but a necessary part of any attack, but it's zero percentage when not a single player is brave enough to battle for them in front of the net :-/
@Karl... Yes, Token MLSer.!!!
Hard to give an overall team assessment when half of the players were under 21, playing in lousy conditions after just 2 practices together. A couple of thinigs stood out to me: 1) Musah shows some real promise, tons of physical ability and composed, clever and attack-minded with the ball; 2) Tyler Adams is a big upgrade defensively at the 6 -- his passing needs to be better; 3) Dest and McKinnie were our best players on the night; 4) Brooks did well with the ball but his defending was atrocious -- the ball is played right past him constantly -- Miazga was poor in every way. I hope Chris Richards gets the start at CB on Monday; 5) Antonee Robinson has great speed and good ball skills moving forward -- he has potential although he seems a bit raw right now; 6) Gio Reyna was very disappointing. He played with no urgency and worse, he looks at least a step too slow. Don't want to trash the kid on his debut but he doesn't look ready for international soccer yet; 7) Lletget at striker???; 8) Pulisic is going to have to carry this team on his back, at least for a while longer, and hope that some of the young talent starts to develop, especially in the final third.
Brooks, McKennie and Dest were the stars and in that order. How good would we have done without Brooks, a dominant player? This team, when Pulisic and Sargent return, will be most exciting.
I also agree that Brooks was quite good yesterday. See some above criticizing his defense but surely missed the parts where Wales was dribbling or passing around our center backs as I'm not sure I saw a single sustained attack, just a few counters that Brooks and the fullbacks generally dealt with pretty well in nervy moments. I think McKennie looked more confident and collected in possession than ive ever seen before, starting to look like a veteran out there and hope his experience at Juve continues to bring that out in him.
Hi James and Seth. I agree with you guys that Wales had barely any sustained pressure and not many good counters either. Also, Brooks had a very good game passing out from the back, which is a critical skill. Not a Brooks-hater -- overall I think he's been our most consistent CB the past several years. I've just seen him have multiple games where he steps forward to win balls or mark a ball-handler tightly only to miss the ball completely and end up hopelessly behind the play and out of position. It happened at least 5-6 times yesterday and although it didn't hurt us, a better team will pounce on those mistakes. He's not very fast and can be exposed by speedy attackers, but truthfully a lot of CBs seem to share that trait these days. I just feel that sometimes he's overly aggressive without having the lateral mobility to play that way. Perhaps it can be addressed with coaching, or maybe provide him a faster partner for cover (Long or Richards?) My 2 cents.
Think that is a good assessment Sam, I know he got caught a bit flat footed on the save Steffen had to make at close range, but also not sure he could have cut out that pass without giving the player a great shooting opportunity in front of goal instead of forcing the hard angle shot that Steffen can handle a little more easily. That was one where Antonee Robinson would bear the bulk of the blame if it had been scored as he was caught again too high on a counter when we weren't creating much offensively anyway.
Love or hate Long, I'm fairly indifferent, Brooks's limitation in pace is the primary reason he's played so many minutes over the last 2 years. I'm not certain Richards brings as much pace and ability to cover for Brooks as Long does, but he's certainly better on the ball and passing with a ton of potential so I'm also hoping to see him alongside Brooks on Monday and hope we get a chance to see if he's as fast as I hope he is. Playing RB for Bayern a few weeks ago I was impressed with his ball skills and willingness to push forward for a CB, but ultimately he visually looked like a big monster CB out there so tough to tell if he'd have 'looked' faster if his body type was like Dest/Robinson/Cannon. VVD doesn't exactly 'look' super fast either but he sure does cover a lot of ground!
Guys, I'm reading these different formations the USMNT should play that could suit best some of the players we have...Who knows? I'm more concerned they are able to pass to a player wearing the same color jersey 4 or 5 times in a row under pressure, able to make a pass with thought behind while employing a good touch on the ball. Or able to decently build up from the back with have to kick the ball long after the second pass..... Without improving on the micro aspects ,technically and tactically speaking, these formations are meaningless....
Agreed. Players matter. "Formations" don't.
Besides that, since the adaption of the 424 in the 1950s, "formations" have been shifting with the flow of the game through players moving between lines. Good soccer is a dynamic game.
Oh you guys are absolutely right, how a coach and team array their players on the field offensively and defensively isn't at all important to the game, especially at the professional and international level LOL
@Seth... Hahaha, Caught The Sarcasm there.!!! ... I think it is Interesting that we All "Love" The Clockwork Orange Of Cruijff, but we are saying; "this Guy is Not a #9 and that guy is Good at #6"... I would Love to see our "Superior" Athleticism and "Heart" Loosened into a More "Pressing" and Interchanging of Positions... Americans don't like Structure very Much.!!! "Free Willy.!!!"
Santiago I agree on the importance of players being able to interchange as the problem in the field demands, it does so much to create new opportunities when players that generally combine are able to understand AND ACCOMPLISH the roles of their teammates. But we select certain players for certain roles based on their strengths and weaknesses and not putting a single player on the field whose strengths, let alone mindset/heart lead them to battle for space in front of the goal where 95% of goals come from is a recipe for being left with a blank score sheet, which certainly played out yesterday. There are some positions that indeed require a distinct skill set and mindset that don't lend themselves to having just anyone step in effectively. I'm not even claiming they are any more important to team's overall make up, but someone with the right stuff better be there if you want to win soccer games: 9, 6, CBs. By the way I'm not personally a player that has skills that should land me in those positions unless there are just no other decent options, which unfortunately lands me at 9 a lot as an older guy ;-). A 9 must first and foremost have a psychology that leads them to never be satisfied with their goal count. A 9 should be the type of psycho that is pissed they didn't convert their 4th goal in the 90th minute of a 4-0 win. They will do anything and take on any physical challenge to get that ball in the back of the net. Those players tend to open up the space and lanes for others to score even though they're deep down mad they didn't score the goal themselves.
Seth, what I am getting at is that how you classify a "formation" depends largely on what moment of the game you are judging it by. The classic 433 maybe used a 433 shape for pressing high, but when defending in their own half they would use a 442 shape. When attacking the shape was 343. So do you classify it as a 442, a 433, or a 343?
No it isn't just the Dutch. Brazil defended in a 442 when they introduced the 433 in the 1960s before Ajax was a professional club.
What Frank was getting at was that formations (game plans) are meaningless if players lack the skills to execute. A lot of people say GB plays a possession game. To successfully play a possession game requires the ability to make accurate, properly weighted passes to a targets foot. It also requires first touch ability to closely control the ball. While some of the players on the field could do that, many others could not. Long ball kick or run doesn't require as much passing accuracy or first touch if all you are doing is hitting hopeful balls over the top for forwards to chase after. If a forward has good first touch then it seems dumb to hit long balls over the top for him to chase after.
@Seth, yes you are Correct... Each player has unique Characteristics and Strenghts AND Weaknesses they bring to the Squad... I doubt even Michels liked seeing Cruijff Playing "Sweeper".!!!
I just Hope this New Group Of Players will have a Chance to Develop a "Free Wheeling" "USA Spirit" of COMPETING
Brooks is an embarrassment. In the long run he is going to be a liability not because of his ability to play but his intention to injure someone . It's none sense . Yesterday wasn't the first time he has done this. Some players are named players ( they carry a name that is more recognizable than there play). It is evident without naming names that you know who I am referring to. He looked worn out 15 minutes into the game contributing little or nothing to the play. Shuffling back and forth with his hand pointing to his feet waiting for the ball. Crazy.
Mike, once more one of your articles has attracted a lot of attention and great discussion. Thank you.
Great to be talking soccer and exchanging ideas and perspectives again isn't it!? Looking forward to Monday night's discussion!