Top Stories

Sarachan expects to still be USMNT coach for November friendlies


EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — When asked whether he still expects to be the U.S. Men’s National Team coach for the team’s November friendlies in Europe, Dave Sarachan made it clear that, at present, he has no reason to believe otherwise.

If Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Peru does wind up being Sarachan’s final match as USMNT coach,  his stint as caretaker coach will likely be remembered for beginning to establish the next generation of players.

U.S. Soccer general manager Earnie Stewart has said he hopes to have selected the next USMNT head coach by Nov. 1, and it seems a foregone conclusion that it will not be Sarachan who is appointed.

Nonetheless, Sarachan thinks he will be at the helm of the USMNT’s final two friendlies of the year, against England and Italy in a month’s time.

“Yeah. Until they tell me I’m not, I’m full bore man,” said Sarachan when asked if he expects to still be in charge in November. “Keep going. This is too much fun.”

A plausible scenario that could keep Sarachan in charge a little while longer is U.S. Soccer hiring its next permanent head coach next month but not having that person run the November camp. After all, planning for that camp, including selecting a roster, has to begin well before the first match against England on Nov. 15.

The federation could, however, begin the process of making the change in the next couple of weeks. If it does, Sarachan’s tenure as U.S. boss would end with a 3-3-4 record that includes a win over Mexico, tie with France, and a loss to Ireland.

More important than the results, Sarachan will have begun the transition of moving away from the old guard that painfully failed to reach the 2018 World Cup and into the promising but very green next generation of players. Sarachan went almost exclusively with up-and-coming youngsters like Tim Weah, Zack Steffen, and Matt Miazga since his first match in charge last November, and a foundation has been laid for the future that the next head coach could very well tap into.

“I think each set of games over the past 10 months, we’ve progressed from one set of games to the next,” said Sarachan. “We’ve established an identity of competing, playing aggressively, coming together, understanding each other, building a camaraderie on the field and off the field.

“I think the progress from camp to camp and games to games is moving in the right direction and I feel that there’s a real good hope with a lot of these young guys and with this group.”

While Sarachan did do a good job of looking at plenty of new faces during the past year, there is a wide belief from fans and media that he was limited tactically. Sarachan did not seem to have a detailed plan for how the U.S. should attack to break down opposing teams, as evidenced by the fact that eight of his 10 games as coach ended with the Americans scoring one goal or less.

“I think the U.S. definitely still needs an identity of how we want to play,” said teenage forward Josh Sargent when asked what the U.S. can get better at.

Still, Sarachan was not brought in to do a thorough revamp of the entire program. That will be the job of the permanent manager that should be named in the coming weeks.

Sarachan’s job was to start building towards the future, and he looks to have done that that even if the results, performances, and tactics were not always overwhelmingly positive or convincing.

“I think as an interim, it’s always a tricky position,” said midfielder Wil Trapp. “In many respects, he could have mailed it in and he never did that. From the first game in Portugal last year to tonight, he’s always put out a lineup that he’s confident in and he’s always given the group a plan.

“I can’t say enough good things about how he’s approached this situation and the way he’s brought this group along.”


  1. This delay is irritating but remember WC 2022 is going to start in Nov. not June as usual. We still have 4 full time to get a consistent lineup to gel. Have to wonder if a full time coach was in place would Pulisic, McKennie and Adams have felt compelled to come to the latest Friendlies?

    • Certainly I agree with your point — these guys do have time to develop together before they (potentially) perform at the highest stage together. Still — I am starting to become less and less enthused by the idea that we only do one thing that “matters” every four years — at the World Cup. Odd considering we all accept we will not be lifting the Jules Rimet trophy in 2022. Even more odd when we consider the stakes in the interim — we can do ourselves some big favors in the future (especially as relates to WC 2022) — are perhaps just as high starting next summer. We’ve had fun experimenting, but the time for results is coming sooner than we think.

  2. While I wish th3e new coach had started months ago, I think the following is unfair:”While Sarachan did do a good job of looking at plenty of new faces during the past year, there is a wide belief from fans and media that he was limited tactically. ” Sarachan was limited because he had to use a lot of new players and, lest we forget, Except when we have played in the WC, I doubt we have ever played as many top teams in one year as we will have in 2018. Given how tough the opponents have been and how he has used so many young and inexperienced player, and hasn’t even had our best young player in Pulisic, the results have really been much better than could have been expected.

    • +1. I’m disappointed to see the anger often directed at Sarachan on this site. So much of it simply involves how long he was in the position — really this frustration should be directed at the USSF and the individuals in charge of installing a long-term solution. As interim coaches go, things could have been SO MUCH WORSE. Sarachan went with youth, and coaxed high engagement out of those selected (even when the football wasn’t much to look at). We got beat a few times (by teams that should absolutely have beaten us), but we didn’t embarrass ourselves or lose 6-0. We got decent value and information out of time that could easily have been a total write-off. Nobody is going to remember this period of time fondly (that was never on the table), but he did exceed my expectations and keep the ship from taking on more water. Good job Coach.

    • You’re muddling it. I don’t think a coach in the experimental phase or a caretaker is responsible to do much in the way of tactics. You instead want to run out the team in vanilla formation and see what it does. You need to know the players more than the scheme since it won’t be your scheme.

      However, in reality, Sarachan has been fairly scheme heavy. The premise is not accurate.
      We don’t just go out in a 442 and see what happens with that day’s players. We play 451s with bunches of DMs, we tell Saief to cover this area on offense but tuck in there on defense. It doesn’t seem to work because only Mexico do we get to the whistle with the “W.” I think he has done tactics and largely ineffectively.

  3. I truly hope Dave Sarachan is gone by Nov 2. Putting in Bradley and Yedlin cost us the win. I think the transition has started. Everybody thinks the new coach is gregg berhalter and low and behold, Josh Wolff is on the bench as an assistant. Josh is gregg berhalter’s current assistant in Columbus. Sarachan also changed the formation to a berhalter formation that is used by Columbus. The transition has started.

    • Nobody cares about a win per se in a friendly where an abundance of kids are getting their first cap and others who are barely playing first team football at their club. You would like to win the game, but it’s secondary and a small feather in the cap in the grand scheme of things! Fans are expecting way too much right now, and the expectations are highly unreasonable for both the players and the “caretaker”, especially considering games that matter only still a ways away!

  4. People won’t like it but it makes sense, it seems like Nov. 1 is the date for the new manager. Clubs have to be notified well in advance at the very least Sarachan would need to be involved in the roster selection so why not the on field as well. Josh Wolf was with the team this week so we may be seeing the transition already in progress.

    • I strongly doubt we’ll see the new manager on the touchline before Jan 1, regardless of if he is announced sooner. My own impatience aside, it’s probably not the worst thing. Starting fresh in an extended January camp may be the best way to start clean on instilling a new culture, as opposed to having the new guy limp through what are likely to be some pretty uninspiring friendlies abroad.

    • The next games are November 15 and 20, 3-4 weeks from now, and 2-3 weeks after the claimed hiring timeline. I could understand a co-coach or Sarachan sideline/new coach in stands if they had 1 week or the coach is from abroad. But signs suggest an insider like Berhalter or Ramos, and Ramos coached the U20s, and Berhalter’s assistant was in this last camp. Do we really need to pretend like any insider that might get hired is so out of touch with US MNT they practically need some on ramp period? If an insider needs to play catchup on the team we hired the wrong person. If they are already USSF or in MLS they know enough to call a team and line it up 2-3 weeks after they are hired.

      If they do this theorized transition period, either with the coach in the stands or co-coach with Sarachan, it’s really to kiss up to Sarachan — which is unnecessary for a caretaker — or to separate the hiring of the coach from accountability to the results we start to get. Personally I don’t get trying to avoid the practical realities of what we’ve done. I want to see the guy we pick go over to England and either win, draw, or lose, and we start to know what we got. I also think it’s absurd to drag this out months? years? and then not even use the coach for another two months til January.


Leave a Comment