USMNT call-ups: The key questions ahead of this week's roster reveal

By the end of the week, players will begin arriving in Columbus, Ohio, ahead of the USA's first game in the crucial winter window of three World Cup 2022 qualifiers.

The roster for the matches against El Salvador, Canada and Honduras is expected to be announced on Friday, the day the national team breaks camp in Phoenix, where MLS players have been training.

U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter has the experience of having taken the national team through two three-game windows in which it picked up five and six points. But this third three-game window is unlike anything the national team has ever played, being held in the middle of the winter, almost two months since most MLS teams finished their seasons, in a raging pandemic to boot.

How many players will be called up? In the first two three-game windows, 22 and 23 U.S. field players showed up in camp and all but one played. Walker Zimmerman didn't play in the first window and wasn't initially called in for the second window, though he ended up starting four of the last five qualifiers.

The bottom line: Berhalter isn't going to call up extra players just to have them be "passengers," as he has described extras. (In the November window with just two games and an extra day between games, seven of the 22 field players brought in didn't play in either match.)

The January window is different for several reasons. First of all, there's the highly contagious omicron. Berhalter won't know until players clear Covid testing who if any arrived from Europe carrying the variant and will need to isolate. (He said some players called into the training camp in Phoenix tested positive.)

The window will be different for two other reasons: Many players have been on break and will be playing in what are expected to be sub-freezing temperatures for all three games.

"We'll be ready to adapt, we'll have a contingency plan in place," Berhalter said of the omicron threat. "We're not exactly sure how many extra players we'll take. But we're going to be thorough and make sure we have a roster that can compete."

Will Sergino Dest be ready to go? Sergino Dest has not played since being taken to the cleaners by Canadian Alphonso Davies in Bayern Munich's 3-0 win over Barcelona that knocked the Spanish club out of the UEFA Champions League. That was on Dec. 8, almost six weeks ago.

Dest missed the November window with back problems that continued to bother him and then he was out due to Covid-19 protocols, but he clearly is not part of Barcelona's plans under new coach Xavi. Dest says he wants to remain at Barcelona and prove his value to the club of his dreams but if he decides to leave this month there aren't a lack of suitors.

That does not solve the issue at hand for Berhalter, who will want Dest's situation resolved pronto. How much does he play Dest in the winter window? Dest was instrumental in the victories over Jamaica and Costa Rica in October, and the USA will need his attacking spirit, especially in the home games against El Salvador and Honduras.

Complicating matters at right side is the fact that DeAndre Yedlin, who started in Dest's place against Mexico and Jamaica in November, isn't playing at Galatasaray. The other options at right back are Reggie Cannon, who has won back his starting job at Boavista, and Joe Scally, who played 29 minutes for Borussia Moenchengladbach on Saturday after sitting out its first game of the month due to Covid-19 protocols. (Neither played after being called in for the November qualifiers.)

Will John Brooks be recalled? John Brooks started the second and third qualifiers but hasn't been with the national team since then. He was culpable on the goals the USA gave up against Canada and Honduras and struggled for most of the fall at Wolfsburg, at least until Dutch coach Mark van Bommel was fired.

"I don’t assume that this is going to be his last time in the national team," Berhalter said in November, noting Brooks' performance against Salzburg in the UEFA Champions League the week he revealed his roster. "I’m sure he’ll be back, and it’s just about regaining your form and performing at a high level when you get the opportunity.”

Brooks went the distance for Wolfsburg in its first two games in January, though it is now winless in its last eight Bundesliga games and faces a relegation fight after starting the season at the top. He is the USA's best passer out of the back, and could have been helpful in the 1-1 tie at Jamaica when the USA struggled to break down the Reggae Boyz over the game's final 60 minutes.

Miles Robinson, Chris Richards and Zimmerman are Berhalter's top three choices in the middle of the USA's back, but both Robinson and Zimmerman are coming off their MLS breaks, so Brooks could be needed. The fourth center back called in for the November window was Mark McKenzie, who is viewed as more of a one v one defender and effective when the U.S. backline needs to press high.

Who will be the backups in midfield? The good news is that Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie and Yunus Musah are all starting with their clubs in Europe. The USA has won all three games in which it started its "MMA" midfield, but they were all at home where it would be expected to win. McKennie missed the last two road games in which the USA picked up only one point.

With a home-away-home schedule, like in October, Berhalter will have to decide whether to try to stick with his first string for all three games or rotate heavily in the second game, at Canada, where all players will need to be vaccinated if they want to enter the country.

Gianluca Busio started in McKennie's place at Jamaica but has played just 11 minutes in Venezia's last two games. Kellyn Acosta, whom the Colorado Rapids traded to LAFC on Friday, has been the first player off the bench in midfield in the last two qualifiers. Luca de la Torre was not called back in November but continues to play well for Heracles, whose form has improved after a terrible November and December. MLS veterans Christian Roldan (used by Berhalter more on the wing) and Sebastian Lletget are considered Berhalter favorites, but neither player played in November. James Sands, who has moved to Rangers, was called in for the Jamaica game after McKennie was suspended but he hasn't played for the USA since the match at Honduras. One long-shot: 20-year-old Tanner Tessmann, who has been starting at Venezia in midfield.

Who will start with with Christian Pulisic on the wings? Christian Pulisic missed the October window with an ankle injury suffered in the 4-1 win at Honduras but came off the bench to scored the winning goal against Mexico in Cincinnati and play the last 25 minutes at Jamaica. He has been starting regularly for Chelsea and should be an automatic choice for the USA up front if he remains healthy.

Brenden Aaronson and Tim Weah started in the last three qualifiers, but Aaronson hasn't played a competitive match for the last five weeks — he played the second half of a scrimmage at Salzburg on Friday and has two more this week — and Weah hasn't dressed for Lille since injuring his quad on Dec. 3. Gio Reyna resumed training with Borussia Dortmund late last fall after being injured in the 0-0 tie at El Salvador on Sept. 2, but he did not dress for Dortmund in its first two games in January.

Berhalter said last week and this week would be important for Weah and Reyna. After being off for almost two months, Pulisic played briefly in two games before being brought into the November camp. Both Lille and Dortmund have two games this week, so if Weah and Reyna return to play this week, they could get called in. But don't count on either player playing significant minutes in the winter window.

Who are the other options on the wings? Paul Arriola (two starts, one good, the other bad, in October) and Jordan Morris (out for the entire fall Octagonal) are in Phoenix with the MLS group. Konrad de la Fuente hasn't been called in since the September window and has played just 16 minutes for Marseille in January, sidelined first with Covid-19 and then what was described as a muscle injury. Matthew Hoppe has played 25 minutes in Real Mallorca's last two games after being sidelined for about three months.

Two alternatives would be Josh Sargent and Dest. Sargent looked very uncomfortable when he started on the wing and exited at halftime of the 4-1 win over Honduras, but he set up the first goal -- an own goal -- from his position on the right wing in Norwich City's 2-1 win over Everton on Saturday, his first game back after becoming a father.

Dest was starting on the wing at Barcelona for Ronald Koeman before the Dutchman was fired. When asked in the fall about using Dest on the wing, Berhalter did not rule out the possibility but said the USA has used its wingers differently than Barcelona used Dest, as vertical players, like Weah did effectively in recent qualifiers, but he also noted that the USA had other options on the wing at the time. Without Weah or Reyna, Berhalter might look at the situation differently.

40 comments about "USMNT call-ups: The key questions ahead of this week's roster reveal".
  1. R2 Dad, January 17, 2022 at 9:01 a.m.

    Oof. Injuries and club form are the elephants in the room. If GB can pull a rabbit out of his hat he will earn his paycheck during this window, but that will require 6 points and no injury aggravation for the star players. He seems to have managed it last window, but had active seasons and more players getting club minutes. Good luck Nats!

  2. frank schoon, January 17, 2022 at 9:02 a.m.

    Reading this list of players, 'in and out'...We need to get an update why they are benched or not playing like, for instance Yedlin...Why is he not playing at Galatasaray??? As a matter of fact the American soccer fan needs to know some of the inside 'poop' why the much ballyhoo Americans  going to play in Europe end up benched.  What is Wrong????????????

    SA , should inquire about those types, what is there problem that they are not playing. Could it be they're not good enough, weak in certain dept. of play, technique, mental, or is their immediate competition a grade or two better...whatever...The more we get to know what our American boys are facing perhaps certain weaknesses in their development, the better we can prepare them before they go to Europe. It would definitely help in the way we develop our our training not good enough?....We need to inquire more.  

    We also need to ask more questions of our foreign players (stars) in the MLS what they think of our boys and what our boys need to improve upon. 

    Dest should have stayed at Ajax for he would he learned much more. He left way too early in his career to go to Barca. Because Barca is going to have to rebuild and is going through their doldrums ,it is going to place demands upon Dest that he as player is not ready to cope with and this is why I think Dest left Ajax to early....
                                                              NEXT POST...

  3. Greg Gould replied, January 17, 2022 at 9:43 a.m.

    Frank, another thing I would like to know is the status of our competition in January. I assume Canada has similar challenges with a few players in Europe but most "playing" in MLS? And Honduras/El Salvador? Are their domestic leagues in season now? Do either have many players in MLS or Europe? What about the virus in those countries? Any travel restrictions? We have our issues but we should be in as good a place as anyone else. We have a large pool of young and inexperienced players. Few have distinguished themselves significantly so far in my opinion although I like the MMA midfield. Should be Next Man Up as it was in the fall. 

  4. frank schoon replied, January 17, 2022 at 10:17 a.m.

    Greg, good points..You like MMA at midfield, on paper looks pretty good, who knows. What's more important to me is the concepts that MMA needs to work within that makes them function most optimally in relation to what else we out there on the field and more specifically dealing with the front line we have.......

  5. Santiago 1314 replied, January 18, 2022 at 6:56 p.m.

    Frank, MMA is exactly what the Name Means, and why it is such a Perfect Fit for these 3... 
    They like to Mix-It Up to make Up for their Lack of Sophistiction... Fine by Me.!!!
    I think they can get Better at the Finer Points, but it shouldn't be Worried about Now...
    Musah... Recieve the Ball in Ct.-Rt. Midfield area... Beat Someone and Run at Goal
    McKenNie... Drag your Opponent from 6 yard Box-to 6 yard Box... Win EVERY Challenge.
    Adams... Sweep behind them in the Midfield, Break up Counters...Distribute Cleanly and Quickly.

    Simple Game Plan... Just Execute it.!!!

  6. frank schoon, January 17, 2022 at 9:37 a.m.

    SA, should interview our boys playing in Europe and ask them what the difference in play, technical, tactical, or what they are faced or experienced, what do they need to work on....

    Aaronsen hasn't played for a while....What's wrong? is he injured (doesn't say) ..what happened?

    We have heard that we such a large player pool to choose from ,probably the biggest that we have  ever had, more and more of our boys are playing in Europe. But as far as I see, we have lots of players, but as the dutch say, "it is like loose sand in one's hand". Their is no real structure, style, NO REAL CONCEPT to follow. We'll try this ,we'll try that, and see if this or that works....

    For example, we have Dest, Yedlin, Cannon( Santi says he sucks! OK)...All three are different players, so you expect their particular manner of play to have an influence on the team,  defense-wise,  on our attack ,at midfield and at defense. You start from there, what are the concepts as related to those three, for instance? and then work your way around the whole with different individuals.

    But the way I see it currently we handle our players like a box filled with variety of different donuts. Eat this one, next try that one...What I'm saying is that like loose sand, yes, we have plenty of sand, but we don't have a centain conceptual structure whereby we can replace a player and not lose our concept of play.....We're just thrown this player or that player in the mix without really knowing the effects each player brings to the team because we lack a good structure.  And simply saying this is how we want to play is very naive.

    And this is why we go back full circle when I stated we need to become more analytical in our 'reportage' and begin to move away from the 'horns and tooter' stage. The more we bring out the analytics as for example what the Italian coach mentioned in an interview in Paul's recent article, the clearer the picture becomes in our play.

    As you read the Italian coach's prognosis on McKennie way of playing , where can you find this type description from our MLS coaches about soccer....NOWHERE.....

  7. Seth Vieux replied, January 17, 2022 at 11:05 a.m.

    On Aaronson, no issues with him, the Austrian Bundesliga just has an excessively long winter break. 

    RB Salzburg just played its first scrimmage / club friendly against a team I'm certain no one outside of Austria I've ever heard of, and will apparently play two or more scrimmages before their league play resumes on (IIRC) February 12th. They are basically off so long they need a 'pre-season' style prep.

  8. R2 Dad replied, January 17, 2022 at 11:34 a.m.

    Frank, I suspect a lot of this info is being aggregated by organizations developing performance metrics in order to apply statistical evaluations. I've heard talking heads reference some of these, but not in any systematic way. 

  9. frank schoon replied, January 17, 2022 at 12:21 p.m.

    R2, those organizations that deal with performance metrics are not the crowd I'm interested in for they are basicly the laptop coaches who have no clue how to see the game but follow the computer programs dure to their lack of game insight. As Cruyff once stated that today players like Messi and himself probably wouldn't have their team if you follow those Metrics, of today. Bergkamp once  stated that he never have made it if he grew up in Germany...

    If you read what that Italian coach stated, it had nothing to do with Metrics but 'seeing' the game and in this case  being able to read how McKennie plays, pure and simple.  If you have played the game at a high level,  then you can read and see things that these computer idiots don't see. Computer can't give you a technical analysis of the manner someone receives a ball. A good coach can read the psychology and kinetic movements , the psychological disposition how that effect the opponent ,for instance. For example ,I sometimes stop to watch a small sided games, and I can tell by how the players move their body vis a vis with the ball, technically speaking, that computer can't measure, to see if its worth playing with them.... 

    Look at the dutch idiots the USSF bring over from the KNVB , they are your computer program boys who have difficulty taking on a lamppost 1v1. And these are the idiots that are involved in training procedures for our youth.... Go Figure!!!

  10. R2 Dad replied, January 17, 2022 at 2:12 p.m.

    Yes, I'd like to see some sort of detailed summary--maybe more professional managment already does this--showing player performance: left foot/right foot short passing, long passing, quality of touches. It's the decision-making we should get a better handle on. Right now it's "I know it when I see it", at least in the US.

  11. frank schoon replied, January 17, 2022 at 3 p.m.

    R2, In van Gaal's book that's in dutch he had problems with this computer garbage. For example , the ratio of good to bad passes is really a meaningless metric for even if you attain 100% good to bad passing ratio, it still wouldn't tell if they were good functional passes. In the metrics, the player fulfilled the requirements but was not effective....For example, the pass can be executed perfectly to an teammate but functionality is not good if the teammate loses the ball. In other, the after effects of the pass has to many subjective variables....This can't be measured, because it has to do with game insights , the brains of the passer, the brains of the receiver, and the brains of those positioned off the ball.  A lot of that is intuitive. 

    Also for example, the manner in how a player receives the ball follows that he isn't able to do something with it because, at that he is in the wrong position. A wing could have two defenders on him and receives the ball but can't do anything with it lets which happens  quite often causing him to have lousy game even though the pass was timely,with the correct velocity and executed but is actually useless

    So whether a player can pass with his right or left foot or both is really meaningless with including the thinking which requires much more of a  subjective analysis and thinking called called into play

  12. Seth Vieux replied, January 17, 2022 at 3:59 p.m.

    I completely agree with you on the rise of baseball sabermetrics-like stats emphasis in our game. I try to keep an open mind that there may be some benefit to SOME of these stats to a coach, but would still say they would only be 'additional data points' and of limited importance to the coach's overall assessment of a player. The coach knows what players must do (and not do) to best influence the way he wants his team to play. The statisticians do not and certainly can't use apples to apples with their stats from one style of play to another.

    Also agree that you can see most if not all of what you need to assess a players current abilities and potential from watching them small sided and pick up games, possibly even more so than watching 11v11 games.

    Stats don't capture the player's understanding of space, timing, relative motion of all players and the ball, what to do with all that, etc. They don't capture the quality of a player's first touch in technical or tactical terms, don't capture how well and consistently a player checks their shoulders and surveys the field both in and out of possession, and on and on.

  13. Seth Vieux, January 17, 2022 at 11:28 a.m.

    Going to be an interesting window for a lot of reasons. Weather at all three matches, player availability for all sides (fingers crossed for sports in general w COVID), disparity of what leagues are/aren't playing across the globe, etc.

    For our boys specifically though, my largest concern is absolutely focused on availability of wingers, specifically Weah and Reyna. If those two aren't available (and time is running out for them quickly) CP ans Aaronson are the only two left that I have any confidence in to help produce goals, and they can't play all the minutes in a three game window under even ideal weather conditions. 

  14. Santiago 1314 replied, January 17, 2022 at 12:22 p.m.

    And Seth... Aaronson isn't even Playing Wing for Salzburg... More like a #10 in Ct. Midfield.

  15. frank schoon replied, January 17, 2022 at 12:39 p.m.

    Santi, Aaronson plays everything but wing if you put him on the wing....

  16. Seth Vieux replied, January 17, 2022 at 4:02 p.m.

    No doubt, but he does play wing for USMNT, and while I don't quite include him in CP/Weah/Reyna's class, I think it's a much bigger drop off to any of our other options on either wing. 

    His growing up as CM and current role for Salzburg also make him rather versatile and capable of playing well enough on either wing. 

  17. frank schoon replied, January 17, 2022 at 4:40 p.m.

    Seth ,that maybe true, but the first thing I want to know what Aaronson role is on the wing and Reyna. What are they suppose to accomplish as wing, what is their role. I would like some clarity from the coach on that and how are they connected,conceptually, to the other players....

  18. Santiago 1314 replied, January 18, 2022 at 12:27 p.m.

    Frank, I have yet to see our "Wing Plan" Attack for the Right Side...
    It's just very difficult to Implement any Cohesive Design of 1v1 or Overlap or 2v1 off Ct. Forward;
    When all we are Doing(Capable of) is Scrambling the Game to a Pace Faster than what the Opponent can Handle Technically or Tactically...
    But, it's TOO LATE to Change that...Especially when your Testicales are going to be "Curled Up" into your Body... Got to RUN Fast to keep'em Warm.!!!
    Plus the Only 1v1 Type we have seen effective so far; Weah, Looks to be OUT this Window.
    10 day Forecast for Columbus Ohio on 27th.. 26* for the HIGH.!!!!

  19. Santiago 1314, January 17, 2022 at 12:12 p.m.

    Hugo Perez said; USA has 3 Team Depth.... 33 players
    Ggg better Bring them ALL.!!!

  20. frank schoon replied, January 17, 2022 at 12:34 p.m.

    Santi, there is more than 33, you forgot to count the subs, probably 4 or so for each team, making it about 45. And if you can still play we'll make it 46......

  21. Santiago 1314 replied, January 17, 2022 at 7:20 p.m.

    Count Me IN; I can still Meg anyone... Given enough Time.!!!!... Jajaja... Just don't expect me to get the Ball, on the Other Side... But, my Euro Flop is Really Good( Sure Fire PK, every Time)

  22. Kent James, January 17, 2022 at 2:21 p.m.

    GB has a very difficult task (though the other teams should face similar difficulties).  I don't think a player not playing for their club should be an automatic disqualifier for playing for the national team.  It's obviously not helpful, but allowing a player who has proven himself for the national team a chance to show his club that he should be starting to me might be a reason to let them play (if they are the best person for the position).  It should be a case by case basis. 

    If coaches don't want to use players not starting for their clubs, I wouldn't be surprised to see Weah and Reyna not get playing time at their clubs this week just to keep them away from the national team (and avoid risking injury while giving them more time to heal). 

    While I respect GB's desire not to call players in he doesn't plan to use, given the high probability that some players called in will not be available because of COVID, I would recommend at least having a higher number legally eligible to play in the window (even if you don't call them in until it's clear they're needed).  Better safe than sorry. 

  23. oswaldo rodriguez, January 17, 2022 at 7:41 p.m.

    With MMA starting USNT's midfield with back-up's like LDLT, Busio and maybe Tesserman, and without:  Acosta, Roldan, Llegett, Yueill and Zardes....USNT should get at least 7 points.

  24. Santiago 1314 replied, January 17, 2022 at 8:56 p.m.

    Ossie; With Davies Out... We should get ALL 9 and be Qualified for Qatar after these 3 Games.!!!

  25. Mike Coliton, January 17, 2022 at 9:21 p.m.

    Fit the shape around the skill sets of your best players.    If you've got great midfielders and alot of them, go with a 3-5-2.    Put MMA in, add Dest and A Rob with a three man back of Zimm, Robinson/Brooks, and Richards, gives us lots of width, length, a steel spine providing protection in front of the back 3.  (Who knows, just an idea.     Italy has won WC's with such ideas, but with great game managers and world class players in positions.)            Put Weah, CP, etc....... up front.    But... what strikers are actively playing and actively scoring for their club right now.........    

  26. Santiago 1314 replied, January 18, 2022 at 6:53 a.m.

    Good Point Mike, Coaches, ESPECIALLY National Team Coaches(because they can't go out and Buy Players); MUST adapt their "System" to Their Players Strengths and Weaknesses...AND CULTURAL INCLINATIONS...
    Playing only 2 Forwards will NOT Produce the Desired "GegenPress" that we MUST Employ, in Order to keep our CONcacaCrApF Opponents Pinned into their own Half, where we can "Live-Off" their Technical and Tactical Mistake...
    We are still NOT Consistently Capable of Playing Out-Of-The-Back, and are just as likely to make some Technical or Tactical Mistake In our Own Third, and "Gift" our Opponent a Goal.
    Once we Qualify; we can set up all Kind of "Friendlies" to Work on more Sophisticated Tactics... 

  27. Greg Gould replied, January 18, 2022 at 9:30 a.m.

    I like it Mike. Don't think Weah/Reyna will be available, fit, effective. Pefok is playing and scoring, Sargent, Dike, and Pepi playing but not scoring. But CONCACAF WCQ is different so I say bring them all in, pick the best players/team from camp and get after it. We can't be any worse than H and ES and I think they will struggle with the weather. Canada will be a tougher out but will be without AD as Santi pointed out. 7 points should be the minimum target and if we get that we're in good shape. 

  28. frank schoon replied, January 18, 2022 at 9:49 a.m.

    Guys, I'm sorry but whenever I see a "5" anywhere in the system means 'inefficiency' and lots of running...TURBO CITY!!! It is not about ball movement but player movement the slowest way to piay.

    Why not  play a 3-6-1, that means will have the strongest midfield in the WORLD including teams from MARS and we'll KICK ASS!!!! because when you control midfield you control the game and ofcourse we'll win the WORLD CUP!!!.....

    Also I don't trust the USMNT with having 3defenders in the back, lets keep at 4 as default and begin from there and keep it simple....

  29. Santiago 1314 replied, January 18, 2022 at 12:17 p.m.

    Frank, agree about your 4 in the Back versus 3... Also, we have Good Straight Line Runners Out of "Wing Back" Defenders... aRob, Scally, Yedlin, Moore(less so, Dest and Vines) ... Again, as Mike Said; PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS.. NOT YOUR "PIPE DREAMS"... But then, your from Holland... Lots of "Smoking Something" going on over there as I Recall... Of Course; I NEVER INHALED.!!!
    And USA Would Kick The $hit out of those Little Green men from MARS, Whatever Formation we Play.!!!

  30. frank schoon replied, January 18, 2022 at 1:02 p.m.

    Santi, my response on the bottom...don't know how it got there... must have been due to smoke in the dutch coffee shops. 

  31. frank schoon, January 18, 2022 at 1 p.m.

    LOL, Santi, 26 degrees??? Why don't we just move the game into North Dakota where the ball will freeze on impact. They couldn't go down south where it is a little warmer?..Are we that afraid of El Salvadore or whatever central american team were playing...Geez...

    As far as cold testicals we shouldn't have to worry since our players are Turbo generators  that keeps them warm...Aaronson in this case probably needs to slow down otherwise he'll burn up his turbo generators...

    I wish SA would interview GB and ask him what are the roles of the players ,inidividually and how they need to interact, conceptually....I mean, that's what dutch journalists ask when the NT coach has a press interview....I don't need to know what his favorite color or which Hallmark movie of all time is and who is going to win the Superbowl... Lets get down to brass tacks...We have to get away from the Horns and Tooters and begin to look at the analytics, the WHYs of certain players on the team. All of that means is that GB needs to get away from the standard, generalized, USSF coaching academy BS dialogue. GB perhaps needs to call that Italian coach of Juventus or read his statement the other day in order to get an idea of how to talk soccer.

    As far as wings go , we need get an idea of how the wings should and how it all relates to our attack....

  32. Santiago 1314 replied, January 18, 2022 at 6:59 p.m.

    Hallmark.... jajaja ... LMAOROTF.!!!

  33. Bob Ashpole, January 19, 2022 at 3:58 a.m.

    Frank, the USMNT concept of wing play is penetrate by kick and chase, then "cross" a hopeful ball into the box blindly. No one wants to say that, so you get the standard USSF jargon about the importance of "verticality" to the attack.

  34. Santiago 1314 replied, January 19, 2022 at 7:36 a.m.

    ✓✓ Bob

  35. frank schoon replied, January 19, 2022 at 10:01 a.m.

    Bob ,you're right but it is worse than that.  The wingers we have are better described as put as flank players and the wingback are likewise no great help.  We needs wingers especially on the Right winger who is right footed and must be able to reach the end line through speed or trickery.
    Remember Figo, Ronaldo... 

    Having a rightfooted right wingers to reaching the ENDLINE allows you crosses that BEND AWAY from the goalie. This does FOUR things. One, reaching the endline forces the defender to go backwards leaving space for our attackers to get closer to the goal for heading and shooting and it weakens any man to man defending. TWO, the ball bending away from the goalie makes it more difficult for the goalie to get to the ball and therefore will question whether to come out.  THREE, bending away allows for the attackers to head or shoot the ball since it's coming to them. FOUR, the ball bending away, reduces the chances of any counter attack by the opponents since attackers won't have to committ all the inwards for the ball is coming to them...

    Remember FIGO,  or Ronaldo....these are  the type of wingers we...Watch the Ajax rightwing( Brazilian). IT IS ABOUT TIME WE HIRE FORMER GREAT WINGERS TO MLS TO DEVELOP AND TEACH WING PLAY

    Antony Skills Will Blow Your Mind! - YouTube

  36. Santiago 1314, January 19, 2022 at 7:39 a.m.

    Excellent uTube between Eric Wynalda and Tactical Manager(Filippo Silva)

  37. frank schoon replied, January 19, 2022 at 12:54 p.m.

    Santi, I watched it....Nothing new there for me .I do agree what he's saying about the player development and Yesterday....It has not improved....

  38. Santiago 1314 replied, January 19, 2022 at 5:34 p.m.

    Exactly Frank... What's OLD is NEW ... Same issues and Problems

  39. Santiago 1314 replied, January 19, 2022 at 5:35 p.m.

    Others might like hearing it from other Sources, besides us Two "Old Farts".!!!

  40. frank schoon replied, January 19, 2022 at 8:57 p.m.


    You're so right Santi..Same issues, same problems.  Also , I do so agree with Eric just teaching the principles is really what it's about.  Jonk the Ajax youth trainer, would have quite a few talks with Cruyff in in his last years. He stated what Cruyff only talked about were the PRICIPLES of soccer, nothing about or anything specific but teach the P..........

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