World Cup Qualifiers

Discussion in 'Prem talk, Those Other Leagues, and International' started by BarryWhite, Jul 29, 2021.

  1. BarryWhite

    BarryWhite Well-Known Member

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    Early thoughts

    For fans, formations are a nice way to tell us where players might be standing at kick-off.

    For managers and coaches, formations are an essential way to tell players how they would like said players to perform a series of impossibly fast if this then then that logic equations to accomplish a goal.

    For players, formations are a framework to manage the if this then that equations that must be performed under stress while taking into account a set objects moving in multiple directions at variable rates of speed within a confined field of vision with some objects working in harmony with their goal and other objects working opposed to their goal and another set of objects moving in multiple directions at variable rates of speed outside of their field of vision with some objects working in harmony with their goal and other objects working opposed to their goal with all sets of objects seen and unseen confined within a limited playing surface and all objects seen and unseen potentially trying to directly or indirectly impact the direction of some of the other sets of objects contained within the playing surface. It is the players job to make these often split second if this then that calculations to accomplish the goals that have been conveyed to them by their managers and coaches.

    Why did I write that? Because believe it or not I think Gregg Berhalter has a vision for how he wants to see the USMNT play, I believe he has been using the Gold Cup as a place to experiment, and I believe he has gotten some good WCQ data.

    1. The CB depth is very good for qualifying going at least 9 deep in John Brooks, Chris Richards, Mark McKenzie, W. Zimmerman, Matt Miazga, C. Carter-Vickers, Miles Robinson, E. Palmer-Brown, and James Sands.
    2. He probably found two back-up 6’s. Kellyn Acosta as the pure destroyer and James Sands as the potential regista.
    3. Busio is closer to being ready than farther away but may still need some work.
    4. Hoppe has talent but Berhalter might be looking for where he fits.
    5. Matt Turner and is good and Shaq Moore is at least pretty good.
    6. Daryl Dike may need some seasoning, or he may just need some rest.

    Whether or not he can be successful with his vision is up for debate but what Berhalter has not solved during the Gold Cup in my opinion is one of the USMNT’s biggest area of weakness which is creative central midfield depth. Personally, like a lot of people I was hoping Yunus Musah was going to get a lot of playing time during the Nations League. However, Musah curiously did not and now to compound that fact he is injured and likely will not play during the September qualifiers. Lleget’s passing stats have remained high in terms of completion percentage but there is a high frequency of sideways and backwards passing and low frequency of turn and move it forward to the playmakers, and as noted above Busio looked promising at times but may or may not need a little more time in Italy.

    For the WCQ’s I think we’re about to find out if Berhalter is going to try and keep pounding the square peg of Sebastian Lleget into the round hole of his vision of how the game should be played. Either Berhalter is explicitly getting what he is asking for out of Lleget or he feels like he doesn’t have any other options which I would find a little confusing. If he is getting exactly what he is looking for out of Lleget then I don’t at all understand his vision of how a 4-3-3 is supposed to work. Otherwise, in Julian Green and Luca De la Torre he seems to have two individuals who would fit better with turning in tight spaces and getting the ball forward to USMNT playmakers and we have not seen either in a competitive USMNT match. I think he was hoping to find these traits in Busio the consistency wasn’t quite there in my opinion. We may still see Busio come September, but he also may be busy in Venezia trying to win a position. Personally, I am hoping the experimentation isn’t quite done when the first WCQ camp opens, and we see both Green and De la Torre called up.
     
    #1
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  2. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

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    That may be the longest sentence I have ever read.

    However, you're on to something for sure. Thanks for breaking it down!
     
    #2
  3. astroevan

    astroevan Well-Known Member

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    The roster for the first trio of WCQ matches is out.

    https://www.ussoccer.com/stories/2021/08/usmnt-september-2022-concacaf-world-cup-qualifying-roster

    It is mostly unsurprising but there are definitely a few names that I did not expect to see - Bello, Pepi, Pefok, de la Fuente. I would rather have seen de la Torre instead of Roldan (but apparently my Fulham bias has not influenced the USMNT staff). Yedlin gets the call despite few minutes at Galatasaray thus far this season.

    It looks at this point that Sargent is the man up top. I was wondering who will serve as his back up, but then found out that Jordan Pefok is the same as Jordan Siebatcheu. I guess Zardes and Dike are both injured which opened the door for Pefok. But what about Hoppe?

    Who will pair with Brooks in the middle of the back line? Will it be McKenzie again? Did Miles Robinson do enough in the Gold Cup to get the nod?

    I'm most curious as to how Berhalter rotates (or doesn't rotate) the line-up with 3 matches in 7 days and a lot of players that have to travel in from afar. The fact that the most difficult opponent, Canada, is the middle match. Does Berhalter put his best 11 out against El Salvador in the first match or reserve many of them for the final two?
     
    #3
  4. SoCalJoe

    SoCalJoe Well-Known Member

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    Pretty brutal schedule to start. Fly to San Salavador back to Nashville back to Honduras…ALL within 6 days. Conversely Canada hosts Honduras in Toronto, then takes a 2 hour flight to Nashville.

    That said let the craziness begin. Hope the lads are ready for the hotel to be surrounded w/honking horns, music, lights shining in windows. The pitch to be bumpy, and suited for the home team. El Salavador will likely start rolling around in the handshake line, Gawd forbid if they get an early goal, it’ll be a Greek tragedy of guys being ‘hurt’.

    https://www.espn.com/soccer/soccer-...with-schalke-over-usmnts-matthew-hoppe-source
    @astroevan Hoppe getting his club situation straightened out must be the reason for his absence.

    Hoppe officially signed for Mallorca.
     
    #4
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2021
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  5. astroevan

    astroevan Well-Known Member

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    First Tim Weah drops out due to injury and now Pulisic stays stateside as the team travels to El Salvador.

    https://www.si.com/soccer/2021/09/01/christian-pulisic-out-usmnt-world-cup-qualifying-el-salvador

    One can only hope that he will be ready for Sunday.

    Qualifying will not be easy by any stretch of the imagination but I'm growing weary of the mindset that it's acceptable to leave an away match with a draw at best. The US is usually the better team but rarely plays as the better team. They get conservative and play down to the opponent's level when they should walk right in like they own the place. We should not play scared but boss the match. It's time for this team to showcase its talent.
     
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  6. stlouisbrad

    stlouisbrad Well-Known Member

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    I'll begin my trial of paramount+ tomorrow to catch the game. Looking forward to it.
     
    #6
  7. BarryWhite

    BarryWhite Well-Known Member

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    It’s on tonight!
     
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  8. astroevan

    astroevan Well-Known Member

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    I'm excited now. But that will probably change once my usual bedtime rolls in around 9:30 and we'll still be at least half an hour from kickoff.
     
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  9. stlouisbrad

    stlouisbrad Well-Known Member

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    Well, we should have put one or two in early in the game, but we didn’t. Overall though the draw seems fair. El Salvador worked hard and got the point. It wasn’t the flopping, time wasting affair I expected. Now let’s just win the next two.
     
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  10. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

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    exactly my take. I thought both sides played robust but fair considering the pressure.

    It was good to see the ref not taking any crap very early on. It set the tone. I really enjoyed the match.

    Did anyone else notice the police presence at the corner flags hoisting those large shields? It took me a while to guess that they were there to counter laser attacks on corner kicks. Am I right or just paranoid?
     
    #10
  11. SoCalJoe

    SoCalJoe Well-Known Member

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    I should’ve done the trial! Stupidly assumed the game would be on a Spanish channel (Marcelo Balboa does the color on the US matches)…DOH!!! Hard to comment on seeing the highlights only, but without Pulisic and a true striker (Sargent reminds me of another Josh..Josh Wolff, hard working, solid player that chips in a goal here or there) goals are going to be really hard to come by. The old adage is take a point on the road, win at home and you’ll be fine. However, 1 point at El Salvador is dropping 2 points, since most of the other teams will win there. Poor start, is Brooks hurt?? No way Ream should start over him.
     
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  12. astroevan

    astroevan Well-Known Member

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    I probably shouldn't have, but I expected more. The old adage has been stated time and time again - but for a hexagonal. This is an octagonal. There are two teams that usually don't make the cut. Therefore as one of the top teams in the region, we should be thinking 3 points for those two extra away matches.

    Berhalter was definitely considering squad rotation when he put together that lineup. Not enough experience up top. And I'm not just talking experience in WCQ matches, but experience of playing together. I know some of these guys have come up playing together in the youth sides, but there hasn't been enough time at the senior level.

    Brooks was apparently (and rightfully) not played so he will be fully rested in order to take on the more skilled Canadian players. To be honest, I thought the defensive middle of the US squad was by far the best performers on the night. Ream, Robinson, Adams, and (to a lesser extent) Turner rarely set a foot wrong.

    I was also encouraged in the first half by the trio of Reyna, McKennie, and Yedlin and how they worked the triangles along the sideline. Unfortunately, their work never made it to the front of goal so the scoring chances were few and far between. I was equally discouraged by the trio of Aaronson, Konrad, and Dest on the left. They never seemed to be on the same page and spent too much time trying to take on multiple defenders at one time.

    In the end, a goalless draw was the most appropriate result. Neither team did much to muster any real threats (combined 3 total shots on target). But we cannot dwell on that result with Canada just over 48 hours away.
     
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  13. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

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    So pleased that FS 1 is carrying the Canada match. I don't know about the rest of you, but the Paramount+ connection in Casa de Hatter puts its graphics in the upper left hand corner completely blocking out the score and the clock.

    Looking forward to seeing Pulisic on the pitch at some point.

    Oh, and I'm sporting the USA shirt with #13 and Hatter on the back. That should confuse my fellow oldies today.
     
    #13
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2021
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  14. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

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    Isn't there another right back that's eligible? Really? And one who REALLY plays right back -- I'm looking at you Dest. We were doing fine until Yedlin came in for Dest. Could there be a worse nightmare when playing Canada than Davies going 1-on-1 aganst Yedlin? Berhalter shouldn't have allowed the situation to arise ... Yedlin trying to control Davies.

    Jeez ... Honduras is a MUST win.
     
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  15. SoCalJoe

    SoCalJoe Well-Known Member

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    #15
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2021
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  16. nevzter

    nevzter Well-Known Member

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    Cannon 'wasn't playing regularly' right now so he was intentionally omitted, ummm...I guess Yedlin is?
     
    #16
  17. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

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    Seems to me he transgressed in the same matter in Italy as well.
     
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  18. SoCalJoe

    SoCalJoe Well-Known Member

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    He not only snuck out one night, but snuck someone in another :mad:

    Yep HD, he hosted a party in Italy of all places. I can’t imagine how it’s going to go back at Juve for him. Their new gaffer didn’t bring him in, and already has him coming off the bench.

    There still is 11 matches after this, so a loss isn’t a hole we can’t dig ourselves out of, but anyone feeling good about tonight??
     
    #18
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2021
  19. astroevan

    astroevan Well-Known Member

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    Where is the leadership? Berhalter has played hot potato with the captain's armband, but someone needs to grab some oven mitts and take hold of that thing and Lead. The. Team!

    I don't have paramount+ and I'm kind of glad. I'm going to go to bed and not think about the match at all. I don't need any more frustration.
     
    #19
  20. stlouisbrad

    stlouisbrad Well-Known Member

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    Missed the first 30 minutes because I was at the Cardinals game. Based on what I heard at halftime I'm glad I did. Not a perfect 2nd half, but the ball got in the net and that's what matters.
     
    #20
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