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Well our streak of 7 consecutive World Cups is broken - only 5 countries have a longer streak and they have each won the bloomin' thing - we're on the outside looking in this time. Along with perennial soccer powers Italy, Chile and the Netherlands. BUT my fellow junkies of the original football, there will be plenty to discuss as the month long, once-every-four-years tournament unfolds. My initial surprise is - for the first time I can remember (I started watching the WC in '70) there is no clear "group of death". We always end up in a group that could be won by 3 of the 4 countries so they probably did not create one because the US is not in the tournament. I think Germany beats Brazil in the final - again - but Belgium is my dark horse and Morocco my surprise team.

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Yeah, the lack of a "Group of Death" seems strange...almost as strange as the easy out from the A Group that Russia has, if they don't screw it up as they are prone to do.

What are your thoughts on who progresses from Group play?  My Darkhorse is Uruguay, but I believe that Deutschland will rule supreme again this year.

Edited by Mid Atlantic Tiger
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I am rooting for Messi to get the cup.  Argentina could very well do it.  Not sure if they are as stout as their runner up teams in the past but it would be a great storybook ending for a brilliant world class player. 

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The last tourney that I watched, Argentina looked woeful and I can’t imagine them winning but I also hope it happens.  The plus would mean disappointment for some of the other favorites.

since the US got bounced I’ve really not kept up.  Hope Mexico gets trounced in the group stage.  Kinda like college recruiting, their loss might keep some of the dual nationals in the US pool.

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Since there isn’t a thread ... US looked inconsistent against Ireland.  The fact that we had a bunch of teens playing makes me feel OK about it.  

I think some of these guys will really blossom in the bundesliga.  I’m always leary if guys will get solid time in the EPL and I don’t really follow the other leagues. If Weah can get real minutes at PSG ... that would be crazy impressive.  It would be cool if we were debating between pulisic, weah, sergeant, McKinney etc ... on who the best up and comer is

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14 hours ago, mustache eagle said:

Since there isn’t a thread ... US looked inconsistent against Ireland.  The fact that we had a bunch of teens playing makes me feel OK about it.  

I think some of these guys will really blossom in the bundesliga.  I’m always leary if guys will get solid time in the EPL and I don’t really follow the other leagues. If Weah can get real minutes at PSG ... that would be crazy impressive.  It would be cool if we were debating between pulisic, weah, sergeant, McKinney etc ... on who the best up and comer is

I agree with you on the US vs Ireland.  Playing the young guns doesn't give much of an idea, but I have been so dismayed since Klinsman was brought in, and Arenas didn't do much better, but he inherited a mess. I hope we can right the ship 

 

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23 hours ago, mustache eagle said:

Since there isn’t a thread ... US looked inconsistent against Ireland.  The fact that we had a bunch of teens playing makes me feel OK about it.  

I think some of these guys will really blossom in the bundesliga.  I’m always leary if guys will get solid time in the EPL and I don’t really follow the other leagues. If Weah can get real minutes at PSG ... that would be crazy impressive.  It would be cool if we were debating between pulisic, weah, sergeant, McKinney etc ... on who the best up and comer is

I have a harsh & broader take on that game. IMO countries have "golden generations" and "destructive generations" in soccer. The US is coming out of the latter where talented US players made a career out of playing lackadaisically & preparing unprofessionally for their country. Altidore, Dempsey, kleijstens, Bradley, Gonzalez & the last phase of Landon. Woods & others overlapped that generation and you could see the "whatever" after halftime against Ireland. Since our next important tourn requires all but 3 roster players to be U23 anyway (2020 olympics) keep Pulisic (after a long rest), Weah, Sargent et al out of that destructive generation poison.

France at every age right now is the real deal so our roster for this weekend's game against them could be interesting. 

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On 5/31/2018 at 12:59 PM, aucanucktiger said:

long with perennial soccer powers Italy, Chile and the Netherlands. 

I would feel better about being on this list were it not for the fact that CONCACAF should be an auto bid. Blech. 

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2 hours ago, AUDub said:

I would feel better about being on this list were it not for the fact that CONCACAF should be an auto bid. Blech. 

One of the most unforgivable, indefensible sports sins I've ever seen committed. And I'm both and Auburn and Falcons fan.

There is no silver lining. There is no mitigating it.

Christian Pulisic is 19 years old. He's probably got 4 good World Cups in him and we're not going to see one of them. And that's not even the worst of it. 

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4 hours ago, aucanucktiger said:

I have a harsh & broader take on that game. IMO countries have "golden generations" and "destructive generations" in soccer. The US is coming out of the latter where talented US players made a career out of playing lackadaisically & preparing unprofessionally for their country. Altidore, Dempsey, kleijstens, Bradley, Gonzalez & the last phase of Landon. Woods & others overlapped that generation and you could see the "whatever" after halftime against Ireland. Since our next important tourn requires all but 3 roster players to be U23 anyway (2020 olympics) keep Pulisic (after a long rest), Weah, Sargent et al out of that destructive generation poison.

France at every age right now is the real deal so our roster for this weekend's game against them could be interesting. 

it seems a lot of our professional sports teams don't take playing for national teams as seriously as we amateur fans would like.  I had hoped that klinnsman was going to break some of the pros out of that quagmire ... but unfortunately it looks like it got worse.  The previous generation of lesser talented, but highly competitive, defensive minded american teams were ticked at this group that mailed in their world cup opportunity this year.  i completely agree that the team moving forward needs a reset in the competitive mindset.  hopefully these young guys will have the high competitiveness ingrained in them as they play on european teams.  i hope that one day all of our stud players will be able to call mls home and brag about the quality of the home grown league as related to epl, la liga, bundesliga, etc...

one thing i like about soccer culture (other than the relegation setup) is the honor that most players feel playing for their national teams, even though their bread is buttered by their club teams.  look at messi right now.  the main argument against his greatness, is the lack of a world cup.  

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18 minutes ago, mustache eagle said:

it seems a lot of our professional sports teams don't take playing for national teams as seriously as we amateur fans would like.  I had hoped that klinnsman was going to break some of the pros out of that quagmire ... but unfortunately it looks like it got worse.  The previous generation of lesser talented, but highly competitive, defensive minded american teams were ticked at this group that mailed in their world cup opportunity this year.  i completely agree that the team moving forward needs a reset in the competitive mindset.  hopefully these young guys will have the high competitiveness ingrained in them as they play on european teams.  i hope that one day all of our stud players will be able to call mls home and brag about the quality of the home grown league as related to epl, la liga, bundesliga, etc...

one thing i like about soccer culture (other than the relegation setup) is the honor that most players feel playing for their national teams, even though their bread is buttered by their club teams.  look at messi right now.  the main argument against his greatness, is the lack of a world cup.  

Very interesting points. I hadn't considered that angle. It never even occurred to me that there would be a motivation issue, but that was a pretty lifeless group out there against Ireland. And, honestly, a few of them were phoning it in against Bolivia. That duct-tape-and-safety-pins crew that Bolivia rolled out was just that bad. And all those other external factors make sense.

 

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18 hours ago, mustache eagle said:

it seems a lot of our professional sports teams don't take playing for national teams as seriously as we amateur fans would like.  I had hoped that klinnsman was going to break some of the pros out of that quagmire ... but unfortunately it looks like it got worse.  The previous generation of lesser talented, but highly competitive, defensive minded american teams were ticked at this group that mailed in their world cup opportunity this year.  i completely agree that the team moving forward needs a reset in the competitive mindset.  hopefully these young guys will have the high competitiveness ingrained in them as they play on european teams.  i hope that one day all of our stud players will be able to call mls home and brag about the quality of the home grown league as related to epl, la liga, bundesliga, etc...

one thing i like about soccer culture (other than the relegation setup) is the honor that most players feel playing for their national teams, even though their bread is buttered by their club teams.  look at messi right now.  the main argument against his greatness, is the lack of a world cup.  

A lot of your points supported here. Really good read.

https://www.theringer.com/2018/6/5/17428184/2018-world-cup-us-soccer-inside-story-jurgen-klinsmann-sunil-gulati-bruce-arena

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5 hours ago, McLoofus said:

That was a long but good read.  I started to jot notes down but didn’t want to write my own dissertation!

how about Arsène Wenger!?

klinnsmans “vision” I think was the right one but he didn’t know how to do it.  Kinda like Bruce pearl ... it’s gonna take someone with equal parts coaching chops, credibility, charisma and the ability to read his players.  I don’t have the first clue who that would be but for some reason wynalda is the only one that jumps out at me.  He did a lot of firsts in his career, including his bundesliga stint ... who know ... hope the next guy is successful.

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1 minute ago, mustache eagle said:

That was a long but good read.  I started to jot notes down but didn’t want to write my own dissertation!

how about Arsène Wenger!?

klinnsmans “vision” I think was the right one but he didn’t know how to do it.  Kinda like Bruce pearl ... it’s gonna take someone with equal parts coaching chops, credibility, charisma and the ability to read his players.  I don’t have the first clue who that would be but for some reason wynalda is the only one that jumps out at me.  He did a lot of firsts in his career, including his bundesliga stint ... who know ... hope the next guy is successful.

Hey, managing transfers and getting the muckity mucks to open up the checkbook wouldn't be a major concern of Wenger's, so maybe????

Really stood out to me that Klinsmann fell so far short on the tactical/technical side of things. That is the one area where we actually needed his help. That he managed to screw that up AND the management side... my goodness.

Yeah. Going to be tough to find a guy to tap back into that grit and determination that used to carry us to our limited heights but also push the tactics and skill level forward.

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On 6/3/2018 at 10:32 AM, mustache eagle said:

The last tourney that I watched, Argentina looked woeful and I can’t imagine them winning but I also hope it happens.  The plus would mean disappointment for some of the other favorites.

since the US got bounced I’ve really not kept up.  Hope Mexico gets trounced in the group stage.  Kinda like college recruiting, their loss might keep some of the dual nationals in the US pool.

Same here

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Does the US have a perm coach yet or just interim?

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54 minutes ago, AUBwins said:

Does the US have a perm coach yet or just interim?

Just an interim as far as I know, but Earnie Stewart was just announced GM, so he'll probably be involved in hiring the coach?

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It only makes sense to wait until the Cup is finished.  Being that we have just hired a new GM, it seems we are on pace to pick it up quickly after the final. 

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So an encouraging result against the French. 1-1. Steffen was a beast between the sticks. We were outshot something like 20-2.

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The US youth movement has taken hold.  They played better together than their individual talents.  The French stars were noticeably bigger stronger faster more technical more savvy etc...

but our kids had a little engine that could attitude.  We needed some more pace up top.  I was disappointed with wood but there was no help for the isolated 2 up top.  Pulisic’s speed and 1v1 ability would have kept some of the French back.  Also yedlin would be a solid add to that group.  All in all, it was a performance to be proud of but we were noticeably the inferior individual players.

the French should be worried if they have to play a gifted defensive team that has speed up top ... they’ll lose to a team like that in the WC.

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3 hours ago, mustache eagle said:

The US youth movement has taken hold.  They played better together than their individual talents.  The French stars were noticeably bigger stronger faster more technical more savvy etc...

but our kids had a little engine that could attitude.  We needed some more pace up top.  I was disappointed with wood but there was no help for the isolated 2 up top.  Pulisic’s speed and 1v1 ability would have kept some of the French back.  Also yedlin would be a solid add to that group.  All in all, it was a performance to be proud of but we were noticeably the inferior individual players.

the French should be worried if they have to play a gifted defensive team that has speed up top ... they’ll lose to a team like that in the WC.

Hope we never call Bradley etc up again. Let this core grow.

They’re young and obviously overmatched in many areas, but they’re a pain in the ass to play, which is exactly what I want to see right now. Far and away better than the apathy we saw in the latter stages of CONCACAF qualifying. This team would have crushed T&T. 

Edited by AUDub
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Yep. Seems like we're still the guys who will have to win with heart, grit, defense and opportunism. Still in the minor leagues tactically and technically. But at least we're getting back to the only thing we ever had going for us, and I do feel like we have more skill available than prior groups. 

Lately I've noticed just a very few more kids playing soccer in their free time- taking a ball (instead of a football or frisbee) to the beach, kicking it around (minus any adults) after school, etc. I'm convinced that's what it's going to take for us to become a real soccer country. Kids have to love the sport, not just play it in a structured environment 5 hrs a week as their chosen extracurricular. It needs to be their entertainment, like basketball is for so many.

19 hours ago, AUDub said:

Hope we never call Bradley etc up again.

I've never felt guiltier about never wanting to see a guy wearing my team's colors again. But something about that guy just sucked so much joy out of the USMNT experience for me for what feels like the last 15 years. 

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we did the whole travel soccer thing the last 15 years.  it is a great business model ... it is terrible for advancing the sport against international competition.  i have strong feelings about club soccer - mostly negative.  there are lots of good things that have happened to american soccer, but like Loof said, until soccer becomes a pickup game sport in the back yard and at the park like basketball then soccer wont trully advance in this country.  

i played pickup basketball and "kill the man" football starting when I could walk.  my daughter, who was a very good soccer player, never wanted to touch a soccer ball outside of organized practice.

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12 minutes ago, mustache eagle said:

we did the whole travel soccer thing the last 15 years.  it is a great business model ... it is terrible for advancing the sport against international competition.  i have strong feelings about club soccer - mostly negative.  there are lots of good things that have happened to american soccer, but like Loof said, until soccer becomes a pickup game sport in the back yard and at the park like basketball then soccer wont trully advance in this country.  

i played pickup basketball and "kill the man" football starting when I could walk.  my daughter, who was a very good soccer player, never wanted to touch a soccer ball outside of organized practice.

I "liked" this post but it's actually pretty upsetting. I almost hope my kid isn't super interested and/or talented enough to play club ball because it feels like such a racket now. 

My nephew didn't make his club team, so he's just going to play indoor. I bet he and his parents will both be generally happier about it all. 

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2 hours ago, McLoofus said:

I "liked" this post but it's actually pretty upsetting. I almost hope my kid isn't super interested and/or talented enough to play club ball because it feels like such a racket now. 

My nephew didn't make his club team, so he's just going to play indoor. I bet he and his parents will both be generally happier about it all. 

Like so many things, there are nuances to how I feel about it.  You have to ask, why are your kids playing soccer?  You hit a point to where the only option to play decent soccer is "pay to play".  If you are willing to drop the money for your "third team" kid to play and they have fun, then awesome.  It just isn't worth the money, unless you have the disposable cash.  IMO, the big clubs of BUSA and VHSC in the bham area aren't worth it for the average player - considering the cost.  We did both clubs.  If your kid is upper level ... the kid that everyone knows is top 5-7 on the top team, then it will probably be hard to keep them from playing, except it costs even more.  blah blah blah

my main piece of advise ... in a rudimentary way of explaining it, the clubs present themselves nearly like "non-profit" community athletic associations.  But! make no mistake, they are big business with the upper echelon of the clubs making approximately $200,000/year off everyone's little johnny's and little susie's.  All for a sport that has almost no career potential and girls can maybe get partial scholarships or preference for other non-athletic schollys and preference to a school they might otherwise have a hard time getting into.

The clubs are all about themselves first.  If your goals happen to work alongside their goals, then it is a great relationship.  otherwise it can be terse.  The club will always make decisions for itself and more than fine if your kid goes elsewhere.  By the time you realize you don't like the situation, you've already given them a bunch of money.  Always do what is in the best interest of your kid regardless of what they say or carrot they dangle.  Again, the bottom line is ... if your kid enjoys it and you have the money then have fun. 

FWIW, my oldest was a 4 year ODP player in Alabama.  My favorite organization and her most enjoyable on the field experience related to quality soccer, was ODP.    Her RPL club teams were overmatched by the southeastern clubs in Florida, Georgia, Texas etc...  She enjoyed club soccer kind of on a hit and miss basis.  Won a few club state titles.  By far her most fun, was high school soccer - which is not the same quality as club.   She was never interested in ECNL.  If you want to play college soccer and your good enough to make an ECNL team - they will make sure you get on a college team.

We know some of the kids going to Auburn to play this coming fall and it will be fun to watch them.  The 2000 age group in Alabama was really one of the best age groups to come through and these are some great kids and families.  I will personally enjoy watching some of them play.  Quite frankly there are about to be kids all over the SEC and southern schools that my daughter played with and against.  I hope they all succeed personally ... except when they play Auburn.

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