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USMNT SOCCER


AUBwins
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Dike and Weah look great early. We're dominating one of our few potential challengers for a WC spot in CONCACAF. 

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Twellman's right. Aaronson has super sub written all over him. 

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McKenzie seems to have learned some lessons on being so casual with the ball. Looks much better tonight paired up with Ream in the central defense. 

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Add Weah to the list of players that look scary with the ball at their feet.

Game has balanced a bit but we still control the run of play. 

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McKenzie just ate a yellow for a much needed professional foul. 

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2-0! Dike in the 42nd! Put through by McKenzie!

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Aaronson with some nasty footwork almost nets us a third with a cross across the 6 Musah just misses. 

2-0 at the half. We look dangerous. 

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Horvath hasn't been tested at all. As it stands it's a complete shutout.

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McKenzie off for Whitaker. Sensible sub with his booking. 

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3-0 Reggie Cannon makes it look easy in the 52nd. 

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13 minutes ago, AUBwins said:

Wow, great showing. 

We put on the clamps defensively and had our way with them offensively. Couldn't ask for better. 

And this is one of the teams expected to challenge us? Nah. We're qualifying for the World Cup Final with ease this cycle. 

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14 hours ago, AUDub said:

Aaronson with some nasty footwork almost nets us a third with a cross across the 6 Musah just misses. 

2-0 at the half. We look dangerous. 

One of the more clever sequences I've seen from an American. 

Men in Blazers had some interesting ideas about this current style we're seeing. Basically, Ggggregggg is a little too in love with trying to play pretty. It's like they used to say about Arsenal- didn't want to score if they couldn't walk it in. I agree, at least in the defensive third. We don't have individual or collective talent for tiki taka football back there.

What was really interesting is their theory for why Berhalter wants to play that way, and it's that he is the opposite of most national team coaches. Most of them are used to club teams that are better than their national teams. They're top league guys who are used to international stars that train together year round. The USMNT, though, is significantly more talented than Columbus. So naturally he wants to play with these toys and do things he can't do with his team. May or may not be onto something there but it makes sense. I know that as an American fan watching our guys occasionally win the last 30 years because of sheer athleticism and guts more than because of skill, I want to see them do pretty things. I mean, I'm borderline erect when I see any American take on defenders like Aaronson did and actually look like world class footballers.

Anyway. Beyond exciting to see this team learn important lessons and win at the same time. Trying not to get too excited but this feels like a major yoyo moment to the good after the 2017 nightmare. If American soccer has been 2 steps forward 1 step back since 1990, then the previous phase going into whatever this is feels like many multiples of that. 

Edited by McLoofus
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What I saw last night, and to an extent against both Mexico and Honduras, was a midfield capable of handling themselves well, which is something that we've never really been able to hang out hats on. We've typically been sound on the back line as a unit with a wizard in goal and 1-2 guys who could go score goals when given enough service. But we've never had a collective group of midfielders and wingers that can handle and possess and pass the way this group can.

 We looked rusty and disjointed and frankly a bit disinterested against Honduras, but you could see the signs that we could put things together at any moment and things could happen quickly for us. And then against Mexico, we struggled mightily with their high press early and trying to play out of the back didn't seem like a sound strategy, especially when we didn't have Adams in to link up. But even still, we found ways to get past the pressure and get it to our midfield and spring some attacks. Against Costa Rica, I never thought our B team could so overmatch and overpower a traditionally strong CONCACAF side, even if they weren't at full strength. It used to be that, if both us and our opponent were running B teamers, that clearly benefitted the opponent in true technical football skills and usually meant we were trying to out-athlete teams. 

To see us this deep in quality, technically savvy, competent footballers that even our second best group can dominate and look like the footballing nation (whihc has really never been the case) was really impressive to me. I'm sure there will be rough patches when this group travels to Honduras or Panama or Mexico, but as long as we don't tactically screw ourselves (looking at you, GGG), we have so much depth of talent that we should hold our own and thrive throughout WCQ.

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Unfortunately Costa Rica is a side on decline, even if they're still a top 5 CONCACAF team, so I can't allow myself to read too much into it quite yet. 

They fired their manager, by the way. 

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2 hours ago, McLoofus said:

 Anyway. Beyond exciting to see this team learn important lessons and win at the same time. Trying not to get too excited but this feels like a major yoyo moment to the good after the 2017 nightmare. If American soccer has been 2 steps forward 1 step back since 1990, then the previous phase going into whatever this is feels like many multiples of that. 

You don't pine for the days of Graham Zusi, Michael Bradley and Alejandro Bedoya being our first choice midfield? For shame. 

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1 hour ago, boomstick said:

I'm sure there will be rough patches when this group travels to Honduras or Panama or Mexico...

At least those countries generally have decent facilities and you don't have to worry about McKennie rolling his ankle in a pasture.

We'll qualify. I expect us to come in 2nd-3rd at worst depending on Mexico. 

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2 hours ago, AUDub said:

Unfortunately Costa Rica is a side on decline, even if they're still a top 5 CONCACAF team, so I can't allow myself to read too much into it quite yet. 

They fired their manager, by the way. 

True, but in previous iterations, we couldn't play with the top of the confederation in a possession-style, beautiful game kinda way without our best squad, which even then wasn't really our style. What we did to that Costa Rica side with our backups isn't something we've been able to do in the past with any squad. CR isn't very good, and I think they'll be in a fight to qualify with Canada and Jamaica. But they've typically still been a better technical team than us on their worst day when we didn't have our been 11 on the pitch. That wasn't close to the case last night. 

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1 hour ago, AUDub said:

You don't pine for the days of Graham Zusi, Michael Bradley and Alejandro Bedoya being our first choice midfield? For shame. 

At the time, I loved some Michael Bradley, but I'm so excited that he and that whole group from the last cycle are all basically gone. No more arguments about Jozy Altidore or if Clint Dempsey or Donovan is going to keep playing at 38. Those guys surely helped raise the level of expectation after 2014, but hopefully, we're past that point never to return. 

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21 minutes ago, boomstick said:

At the time, I loved some Michael Bradley, but I'm so excited that he and that whole group from the last cycle are all basically gone. No more arguments about Jozy Altidore or if Clint Dempsey or Donovan is going to keep playing at 38. Those guys surely helped raise the level of expectation after 2014, but hopefully, we're past that point never to return. 

Bradley was a worker and a warrior, but what we're seeing now feels almost like a rebuke of that era when he defined the team. 

The set pieces alone are a breath of fresh air. 

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4 hours ago, boomstick said:

True, but in previous iterations, we couldn't play with the top of the confederation in a possession-style, beautiful game kinda way without our best squad, which even then wasn't really our style. What we did to that Costa Rica side with our backups isn't something we've been able to do in the past with any squad. CR isn't very good, and I think they'll be in a fight to qualify with Canada and Jamaica. But they've typically still been a better technical team than us on their worst day when we didn't have our been 11 on the pitch. That wasn't close to the case last night. 

I'm pulling hard for Canada. The world shouldn't be denied Alphonso Davies in a World Cup Final. 

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18 hours ago, boomstick said:

At the time, I loved some Michael Bradley, but I'm so excited that he and that whole group from the last cycle are all basically gone. No more arguments about Jozy Altidore or if Clint Dempsey or Donovan is going to keep playing at 38. Those guys surely helped raise the level of expectation after 2014, but hopefully, we're past that point never to return. 

It's hilarious how much we've closed the gap. I mean look at the side we had at the Nations' League:

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vs the side we took to T&T during the abject failure that was 2017

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Night and day.

Now we just need all of that youth to peak and we're going to be a real contender. Think the 2026 cycle is going to be our best shot in a long while. 

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Gold Cup roster should drop Monday. Probably going to be a B/C team to rest the As for WCQ, so it'll be MLS heavy. 

Mexico will probably bring an A squad over the outrage of losing the Nations' League Final though lol. 

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