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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Durham, NC

    US Soccer/2019 Gold Cup/Road to Qatar 2022

    I think there are some soccer fans hanging around here, figured it might be nice to have a thread for the upcoming Gold Cup and potentially various happenings from now to World Cup qualifying. There aren't really any stakes other than pride for the Gold Cup winner, but it will be Berhalter's first real competition as national team manager. There's another friendly today, against Venezuela. The friendly a couple days ago didn't exactly go well, but that was our B/C team at best (which will likely be the case again today). Hopefully they show a better effort today, and I'll be extremely curious to see how we fare in the Gold Cup when real play gets started.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Durham, NC
    Uh. Scratch that...nothing to see here.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
    That match was as encouraging as the shudder that went through the Titanic as it hit the iceberg.
    Man, if your Mom made you wear that color when you were a baby, and you're still wearing it, it's time to grow up!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Undisclosed
    I’m more interested in the women’s Road to France 2019 this year.

    Our USMNT is just not very good. And in the women’s game, you just don’t see nearly as much diving and wrangling in “pain” (except for Marta).
    “Fútbol is life!” — Dani Rojas, Richmond Greyhounds

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Seattle
    Nothing that has happened in the last 1.5 years has restored my faith in the USMNT. Hard to get excited for right now.

  6. #6
    Watched the USMNT vs. Curacao last night and was definitely underwhelmed. They ended up winning 1-0, but they were thoroughly outplayed for the entire second half. No creativity on offense, and midfield had way too many giveaways. Gyasi Zardes was particularly bad. Having trouble coming up with a single positive touch he had the entire game. He either passed it backwards or turned it over. The two things you want most from your forwards is the ability to create and the ability to finish. Zardes was particularly bad at both, and seemed a step slow. And Curacao was bringing in players from minor league US soccer clubs like the Charlotte Independence.

    The one amazing thing so far is that the US is undefeated and has yet to concede a goal. But I think that is more a testament to how bad CONCACAF is overall than any development of the US Men's team.

    It wasn't difficult to see how they could lose to a team like T&T all over again.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Undisclosed
    At the risk of sounding like a broken record -- how has Michael Bradley ever been one of the best players our nation can produce, let alone a player who has been on the national team for-ev-er? Yeesh.
    “Fútbol is life!” — Dani Rojas, Richmond Greyhounds

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by OldPhiKap View Post
    At the risk of sounding like a broken record -- how has Michael Bradley ever been one of the best players our nation can produce, let alone a player who has been on the national team for-ev-er? Yeesh.
    We earned a foul around midfiled in the 2H. Instead of playing the ball forward, Bradley played it sideways. It was taken away on the second touch (granted, not Bradley). You give the ball away on a free kick? Seriously? I also saw Bradley with the ball occasionally surrounded by FOUR players from Curacao. If you are being quadrouple teamed, you'd think several someones should be wide open.

    I was asking myself a similar question last night "Are you telling me that there isn't a single striker in this country better than Gyasi Zardes?" All night we were boring and predictable with possession, with no interest in creating a chance.

    Last thing - I heard from a friend there was a 20 year old forward who was on the gold cup roster and was also vying for a spot on the U20 national team. He made it thru to the final round of Gold Cup qualifying, by which time the U20 roster was set, and then he was the final guy cut for the Gold Cup. Meanwhile, Altidore and Zardes both make the cut. Is that true?

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by OldPhiKap View Post
    At the risk of sounding like a broken record -- how has Michael Bradley ever been one of the best players our nation can produce, let alone a player who has been on the national team for-ev-er? Yeesh.
    The biggest problem the UMNT has is that men wanting to play professional sports in the US of A are going to look at Basketball, Football, Golf, Tennis, Baseball, Hockey, etc...before they ever thing about soccer. The elite athletes in the US simply do not play soccer.

    Can you imagine someone like Stephen Curry growing up to play soccer? or maybe Odell Beckham Jr.? The US has the athletes to win the World Cup, they just all choose to play something other than soccer. In most other countries, their best athletes play soccer.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Undisclosed
    Quote Originally Posted by PackMan97 View Post
    The biggest problem the UMNT has is that men wanting to play professional sports in the US of A are going to look at Basketball, Football, Golf, Tennis, Baseball, Hockey, etc...before they ever thing about soccer. The elite athletes in the US simply do not play soccer.

    Can you imagine someone like Stephen Curry growing up to play soccer? or maybe Odell Beckham Jr.? The US has the athletes to win the World Cup, they just all choose to play something other than soccer. In most other countries, their best athletes play soccer.
    True. But Curacao has a population of roughly 161 thousand people (2017). We have a population of 327 million (2018). How are we getting outplayed by Curacao?

    The Netherlands is consistently better than we are (17 million population in 2018). Same with England (about 56 million population if 2017). Even accounting for the splintering of sports in the US (which I agree happens), how can we not find two dozen guys that can play at an elite level?
    “Fútbol is life!” — Dani Rojas, Richmond Greyhounds

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by OldPhiKap View Post
    True. But Curacao has a population of roughly 161 thousand people (2017). We have a population of 327 million (2018). How are we getting outplayed by Curacao?

    The Netherlands is consistently better than we are (17 million population in 2018). Same with England (about 56 million population if 2017). Even accounting for the splintering of sports in the US (which I agree happens), how can we not find two dozen guys that can play at an elite level?
    I've heard several reasons anecdotally, so take them for what it's worth:
    • At the youth level, the best players are pushed toward the best teams/clubs and travel ball is expensive, which limits opportunities for those without those means. Competitive Soccer in the US is essentially an upper middle class sport.
    • In the US, the focus is on building a competitive team rather than on improving the player. Our normal model would keep that same player on an elite team at his/her age level with a gaudy record to keep the parents happy.
    • Last thing I have heard is that at the top levels of competition, it is cutthroat to keep your spot and players develop a cautious/deliberate mentality because they are petrified of making a mistake, getting pulled, and then losing their starting spot. As a result, risk taking is not rewarded.


    Overall I agree that despite those limitations, we should be able to find 24 guys who can play at a high level, and the fact that we trot out the same tired faces for lack of a better option is infuriating.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Southbury, CT
    Glad to see folks here were watching this match (and suffering through it with me...)

    We earned a foul around midfiled in the 2H. Instead of playing the ball forward, Bradley played it sideways. It was taken away on the second touch (granted, not Bradley). You give the ball away on a free kick? Seriously? I also saw Bradley with the ball occasionally surrounded by FOUR players from Curacao. If you are being quadrouple teamed, you'd think several someones should be wide open.
    Bradley played too slow yesterday, but it was the same for everyone not named Pulisic or McKennie last night. I'm less negative on Bradley in general as I think he's still better than Trapp or other options in that #6 position except for Tyler Adams. I'm hoping that next round of callups feature Adams in this role vs. Berhalter's supposed quasi-right-back plan for him.

    I was asking myself a similar question last night "Are you telling me that there isn't a single striker in this country better than Gyasi Zardes?" All night we were boring and predictable with possession, with no interest in creating a chance.
    Jozy Altidore is definitely better and the only thing I can think of is that Berhalter was saving him for Jamaica? But beyond Jozy our current options at striker are pretty limited. I appreciate that Zardes puts in the hard work, but his touch and finishing are not good enough.

    Last thing - I heard from a friend there was a 20 year old forward who was on the gold cup roster and was also vying for a spot on the U20 national team. He made it thru to the final round of Gold Cup qualifying, by which time the U20 roster was set, and then he was the final guy cut for the Gold Cup. Meanwhile, Altidore and Zardes both make the cut. Is that true?
    You are talking about Josh Sargent, who played pretty well in the one friendly leading up to the Gold Cup and was probably the last man cut. Berhalter said something to the effect of "we couldn't afford to carry more strikers so we had to go with Altidore and Zardes". Sargent didn't end up get much playing time with his German club (Werder Bremen) last year after a hot start, so it may be better for him in the long run to get a full preseason there. Let's hope so because we need help up front and Sargent's future looks promising. Although don't they say the back-up quarterback is always the best player on the team...I'd like to see Sargent get quality playing time at club level before calling him the next best thing for the US.

    I'd consider myself an optimist when it comes to the USMNT, and I'm willing to give Berhalter some time to rebuild the team. There have been some positives tactically (he actually appears to have a plan compared to his predecessors), and Tyler Boyd (just signed with Besiktas in Turkey) and Duane Holmes (Derby County in English Championship) coming into the team. But selecting Omar Gonzales and Zardes consistently makes me worry about him having "his guys" vs. picking the best available talent. And there is a talent gap vs. the world's leading teams...can Berhalter get the most out of the talent that is available? There will come a time when we need to see consistent results vs. the team being a work-in-progress...but that time is a bit down the road for me.
    Good people drink good beer. -Hunter S. Thompson

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Vermont
    I try to watch them but every time I do they make a clunking sound as they evidently did last night...unrequited love I guess.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by budwom View Post
    I try to watch them but every time I do they make a clunking sound as they evidently did last night...unrequited love I guess.
    Practice in case you ever want to become an NC State fan

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by PackMan97 View Post
    The biggest problem the UMNT has is that men wanting to play professional sports in the US of A are going to look at Basketball, Football, Golf, Tennis, Baseball, Hockey, etc...before they ever thing about soccer. The elite athletes in the US simply do not play soccer.

    Can you imagine someone like Stephen Curry growing up to play soccer? or maybe Odell Beckham Jr.? The US has the athletes to win the World Cup, they just all choose to play something other than soccer. In most other countries, their best athletes play soccer.
    Because we have such a large diverse population, and because soccer has been growing in this country quite well, I don't think lack of top level athletes is the issue any longer. There are a ton of amazing athletes in the country.

    As Highlander points out the problem in the US is that we don't have a proper path to high level soccer that other countries have. I've seen that change some around here of late with Academy teams forming at the high school level. But my understanding is that other countries simply have better training and a better path to professional soccer than we have here. For most of our better soccer players, soccer is a way to get their college tuition paid (which is a great thing for most of the kids). How about if US soccer offered kids scholly's and if you got accepted into 'the program', you were guarenteed a certain level of scholarship for school either during or after 'the program'? That way kids could choose to go for it and if they don't make it they still get to go to school.

    At the same time, in this day and age, I find it so frustrating that we can't field a competitive team. Thank goodness for the USWNT.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by PackMan97 View Post
    The biggest problem the UMNT has is that men wanting to play professional sports in the US of A are going to look at Basketball, Football, Golf, Tennis, Baseball, Hockey, etc...before they ever thing about soccer. The elite athletes in the US simply do not play soccer.
    I agree with the general principle. But I'm pretty sure US men's soccer isn't losing elite athletes to tennis.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Durham, NC
    Will US Soccer bring home two trophies today?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by PackMan97 View Post
    The biggest problem the UMNT has is that men wanting to play professional sports in the US of A are going to look at Basketball, Football, Golf, Tennis, Baseball, Hockey, etc...before they ever thing about soccer. The elite athletes in the US simply do not play soccer.

    Can you imagine someone like Stephen Curry growing up to play soccer? or maybe Odell Beckham Jr.? The US has the athletes to win the World Cup, they just all choose to play something other than soccer. In most other countries, their best athletes play soccer.
    With respect (and nothing personal), this is a frustrating ongoing false narrative.

    In a country of 300 million plus people, there are enough elite calibre athletes for practically every sport.

    There have been some comments about cost related to development, and while it pales in comparison to travel hockey, the cost to play youth soccer at a competitive club level is not insignificant.

    I “get it”, and at the same time I don’t truly understand why the US can’t field a dominant men’s soccer team.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Undisclosed
    Quote Originally Posted by fuse View Post
    I “get it”, and at the same time I don’t truly understand why the US can’t field a consistently competitive and enjoyable men’s soccer team.
    “FIFY” as the kids say.

    Per FIFA link, we are #30 out of 50. It would be a great upset to beat Mexico — who is only 18th.

    https://www.fifa.com/fifa-world-rank...ing-table/men/
    “Fútbol is life!” — Dani Rojas, Richmond Greyhounds

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Outside Philly
    Quote Originally Posted by fuse View Post
    With respect (and nothing personal), this is a frustrating ongoing false narrative.

    In a country of 300 million plus people, there are enough elite calibre athletes for practically every sport.

    There have been some comments about cost related to development, and while it pales in comparison to travel hockey, the cost to play youth soccer at a competitive club level is not insignificant.

    I “get it”, and at the same time I don’t truly understand why the US can’t field a dominant men’s soccer team.
    Several years ago (2014), Neil Paine at FiveThirtyEight wrote an article breaking down some of the various schools of thought on the U.S. men's soccer futility. It's wonderfully sourced and if you're interested, would encourage following some of the links out. I found The Atlantic article referenced early that argues against high school sports to be engaging. It notes the U.S. spends more tax dollars per high school athlete than per high school math student.

    Anyway, the article has a lot of historical context and stats. The author basically concludes U.S. soccer is similar to, say, European basketball --- the sport developed in other parts of the world and that's where the best players continue to be cultivated and featured and U.S has only just begun to break into that competitive system (similar to Euro stars slowly infiltrating the NBA). The U.S. tried to short cut some of that history by hiring Klinsmann to bring a European approach but it's probably just going to continue to take time, investment, and exposure.

    Worth a revisit even though it's an old article.

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