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SBI Question of the Day: What grade would you give Gregg Berhalter for 2019?

The 2019 campaign has come to an end for the U.S. Men’s National Team, and so closes the first chapter of Gregg Berhalter’s tenure as head coach.

Berhalter has endured his share of ups and downs in his first season, from the high of reaching the Gold Cup final, to the low of consecutive losses to Mexico and historic defeat in Canada. He succeeded in helping the team end on a high note, with back-to-back wins to secure first place in the team’s Nations League group, securing a place in the tournament semifinals.

With the year now over from a competitive standpoint, it’s time to ask what you think of the year. Did you consider it a success, a failure, or somewhere in the middle?

Cast your vote on what grade you would give Berhalter and share your vote and thoughts on the year in the comments section below.

[polldaddy poll=10463405]


  1. It’s a “C” for me. I don’t have a ton to add to the discussion here— the arguments for higher or lower have all been articulated pretty well. I’d say that I will reserve the right to “retroactively amend” the grade for 2019 depending on how our situation evolves (or fails to) in the next year. Gregg has clearly been given a mandate to “play the long game” by Stewart. Hope this ends up meaning something.

  2. I have a D, below average. Berhalter did have some rough injuries at bad times which made it hard to find consistency in the group. But im optimistic for the future, plotted out our strongest 23 at this point and its more than serviceable.

    GK-Steffen, Guzan, Hamid
    D-Brooks, Long, Ream, Miazga, Dest, A.Robinson, Yedlin, Cannon
    M-Adams, Bradley, McKennie, Morales, Green, Pomykal/Lleteget
    F- Pulsic, Arriola, Morris, Weah/Boyd, Altidore, Sargent

    That a pretty good team and relatively young core to build around going forward

    • Many of us have plotted out a 23 man roster that on paper should be strong enough to contend with CONCACAF and potentially get us into the round of 16 at the next world cup.
      The problem is that Berhaulter’s plotted 23 and that of fans is significantly different as is evidenced by who he calls up for these games. There has been nothing to indicate that he wont continue to call up “His Guys” (Lovitz, Roldan, Trapp, Zardes, etc….), nor has there been any indication that he ever will call up some of the players you (and many others) have suggested….Green, Weah, etc…
      Nor is there any indication that he won’t revert back to his stupidity of forcing Adams into the RB position so that Bradley can be the hub of the wheel.
      If this keeps up much longer I won’t be surprised if we another “Rift” develop between the players & coaching staff. Where the players basically ignore GB, play their way and force Berhaulter to leave them out of the side.

      • Weah has been hurt all Fall hardly an indictment of Berhalter’s player selection. Reports were Weah opted for the U20 WC to build his resume for his transfer which it did.
        Under 23 qualifying has complicated things as building a cohesive group is clearly a desire that Berhalter, Stewart and Kreis have. Players that may have been brought in in other years were unavailable because they were with the U23s. I’d argue it’s better for Robinson to build with the U23s than to fly across the Atlantic to just play Cuba.
        In a year Berhalter has brought in Cannon, Dest, Yeuill, Sargent, Pomykal. He secured both Boyd and Dest.

  3. I was surprised to see so many people gave him a C. A C is supposed to be average. Beating Cuba twice and Canada at home is average. Losing to Mexico 1-0 the first time was average. Losing 3-0 at home to Mexico was not average, it was below. Losing to Canada for the first time in over 30 years is way below average, even in Canada. Losing to Jamaica was below average. Losing to Venezuela in the US was below average. Drawing at home with Uruguay was a bit above average. You can always come up with excuses. Any manager can find excuses. Results are what matter. When you add them up, it’s a D grade.

    • Berhalter has made it clear winning was not the top priority in those friendlies against Venz., Mexico, Jamaica, and Uruguay. We as fans can argue whether that’s a good strategy. Venezuela and Jamaica were there A squads vs our B/C squad made of guys cut or who were backups in the GC. Mexico was 1-0 with the US outplaying Mexico the first 20 minutes of the 2nd half before Mexico scored 2 late goals after we had made 5 substitutions. Just as Uruguay can’t be too big of positive given their squad was rather disinterested. Based on finishing 2nd in the GC and going 3-1 in what was basically the WC qualifying first group stage in which we often struggle on the road (Guatemala 2018, Jamaica 2014, TNT 2010, struggling to a 3-2 win in Grenada in 2006) this year has the definition of the average US year.

      • God, Johnny, you are such a homer for Berhalter. The results were because in the bad losses we played awful. I don’t care what you say, in the bad losses the team greatly underperformed. Even when the results didn’t matter, the quality of the play did and the quality sucked.

    • Meaningless games. Rate him on the ones that count and he’s done pretty much what every manager has done. We lose GC everytime Mexico sends their best available that’s a fact. We struggle to get out of the first stage of group qualifying almost everytime that’s a fact. That’s why I voted C it’s been average. Look back at my comments after Toronto I said he needs to make changes to his roster selections because he’s choosing players that don’t fit and he needs to simplify his tactics. I’d argue he got one of those right but the inclusion of Lovitz and Roldan is baffling. GC final, win the qualifying group/NL those are minimums, if he had lost to Jamaica in the GC or had finished behind Canada that would have been an F.

  4. Some people here need a reality check.
    Playing FIFA does not make you a real life soccer expert.
    This team didn’t qualify to the previous world cup.
    Other than Pulisic in his most recent form no other US player would make Mexico’s first team. Probably not even the second
    Mysterious is still a moron.

    • I am glad you are my number one fan. You are a moron for taking time to troll on a American soccer site. Oh Mexico, the same Mexico that struggled to beat Bermuda? LOL you are a dufus and Mexico lost the u-17 WC and could keep a shutout against Bermuda a team weaker than Cuba lol.

    • Yes, starting Zardes who scored two goals against Canada over Sargent who struggled against them in Toronto was a terrible move!

  5. I give him a “D” to this point.

    Yes we’ve been without some players who look to be key cogs for the future (Adams, Brooks, Weah, etc…), but Berhaulter cannot seem to get the rest of “His Guys” (Bradley, Roldan, Trapp, Lovitz, etc…) to play worth a damn, or even put forth much of an effort. Yet he keeps calling them in and rewarding them with field time. It’s past time to scrap some of these players and find someone who can potentially add something to the team.
    3 names that jump to mind are: A. Robinson, Green, & Holmes. None have been given much of a chance under Berhaulter….but are playing well for their Clubs.
    We have to stop making excuses and giving players passing grades. It’s time to hold players accountable….by dropping poor performers. And holding Berhaulter accountable for his player selections & tactics.

    • Trapp has played just once in the last 8 matches.
      Robinson plays for a bad club and didn’t play very well for the U23s or last Summer against Jamaica.
      Lovitz and Roldan looked out of their league vs Cuba.

      • Honestly don’t care that Trapp didn’t play. He was called into camp taking a potential spot of someone who could have been given a look to see if they have a future with the team. He’s already behind Adams, Yueill, Morales, Bradley….Who else could be be found who has a future with the team that is better than him that can/will pressure the other 4? We wont know because Trapp gets called up.

        Robinson my play for a bad club….but so does Lovitz. He didn’t play well against Jamaica…neither did most of those who saw the field, yet they’re still part of the team. Is he better than Lovitz? If so he should be in camp ahead of him. If he’s not than find another Left Back who is….Fabian has said he’d be open to returning to the team.

        “Lovitz and Roldan looked out of their league vs Cuba.” And yet they continue to get called & play. If they can’t cut it against Cuba, they shouldn’t be anywhere near this team. We need to stop calling players who can’t cut it….and find players who can.

        This is why Berhaulter is getting such a low grade. He’s not making progress and isn’t looking for or calling up players who can compete for spots. This is the same thing that people harped on with BB (Bornstein), JK, Arena….it’s like people are giving a pass to GB because the player pool is young….and still trying to prove themselves. Hold the players & coach accountable. Demand Better.

      • 7.5% gave him an A or B so I don’t think that’s evidence that people are giving him a pass.
        I see what your saying about Trapp but if we’re talking about t whose the 5th guy at Deep holding mid that’s getting pretty deep. I would guess that would be Parks or Durkin who are better served working with their Euro clubs than not playing against Cuba and Canada or playing with U23s. Canouse could be 8th, had a poor season so do you ask him to cut into his already short off season to not play.
        I see a Roldan being given chances because he is a good MLS player but Holmes fits that position so much better in Berhalter’s system. Lovitz I have no idea why. He’s not good in MLS, he makes mistakes because he’s so risk adverse. I understand LB is weak but Villafana, Morrow, or Sweat would be better. FJ is hurt so it’s hard to criticize for not bringing him, he hasn’t played since August with hamstring/adductor injury.

  6. B

    He’s bringing in new talent. Some of the guys everybody is complaining about will washout by the WC. The team is on the right track and will get better and better. I like the direction we’re heading. I think he’s a solid coach and we’ll see steady improvement.

    He was a little stubborn with his 90 minute learning moments (the Mexico game was annoying)…and we gave Herdman the script and tossed Canada a bone, but Imo, he’ll get results when he needs too…qualies and WC.

    I’m pretty excited to see where this is going…

      • False. We could have beaten Mexico and we certainly could have beaten Canada. We didn’t face any tough opponents in his first year in charge and yet he has more scrutiny than any other USA coach in the last few years. He absolutely could have done better and should not receive a passing grade.

  7. Exactly. He implemented a “new, more modern style of play” that makes the US much easier to beat (unless we are playing Cuba). A system that even Canada can expose. It should be obvious to anyone if we are playing any reasonable opponent in a meaningful match, we should go back to tough minded, quick countering attacking style which we employed vs. Canada in the win, and is actually a more conventional (4-2-3-1) which works well for teams with our sortof of player pool.

  8. I give him a C+. It’s not his fault USSF waited so long to hire him, it’s not his fault that we are young, rebuilding, and the talent pool is so very thin at the prime age of 23-30. It’s also not his fault he inherited a fractured locker room bereft of leadership. I will give him credit for trying to create a more modern tactical setup, and for sacrificing results to gain experience. I give him credit for trying to rebuild a “team” atmosphere, that seems to be working, the players seem to want to play for him. He did qualify us for the Nations league knockouts, and the team played well against Uruguay. However, the players were definitely confused with this new system, and that seemed to rob them of aggressiveness during multiple matches. Until this last window, he was unwilling to alter his tactics based on who the opposition was or what they were trying to do. The team was consistently worse in the second half compared to the first, and we were outcoached in terms of in-game tactical adjustments in nearly every game of the year. We were run off the field by Mexico twice. The loss to Canada is as bad a performance as I have ever seen by a US team in all the years I’ve watched. We are not suddenly going to become more talented than Mexico in the next year or so, but we will find out if Berhalter can get this team to go on the road in concacaf and get some results in qualifying, then we’ll see what his grade truly deserves to be.

    • JB, “However, the players were definitely confused with this new system, ” I have no idea how we can continue to trot that bullshit out. professional players can’t figure out how to play in a formation/style that is not typical at the club? My god man.

      Our players might not have the technical ability to pass the ball, or the desire to run hard, but to blame the coach for player confusion… its a low we only plumbed for the Klinsmann tarring and feathering.

      and I gave him a C because the results blow, but the players have played like shit too. So all in all very average.

      • Turk,
        I’m not absolving the players at all, just sticking to the original question concerning the manager. Definitely the players needed to compete harder, especially at Canada, and they all admitted that I believe. I am actually on board with going for the big change tactically, and willing to accept some bad stretches as its implemented, and yes it shouldn’t be rocket science to pro players. That said, there are some real limitations in terms of training time and talent available to do what is asked. I like the concept of having a real stylistic identity, but I think there needs to be a fair amount of flexibility and pragmatic thought when it comes time to get results. Especially when an injury to a key player can affect a team as much as it does ours.

      • Ok, JB, then I misunderstood you.

        I think we absolutely have to have a standard that we are going to go out and try to possess the ball and impose ourselves on the game, even if it takes several years of losing to get where we need to go. I just think its a cop out to pretend these guys can’t figure out the difference between a 3-5-2 and a 4-4-2, and I hate it when people treat the players like they are 14 and that it is a coach’s fault that they didn’t show up.

        I hated it with JK and I hate it with the new guy.

  9. I only saw 4 losses, Mexico, Mexico, Venz and Canada.
    Granted it is Mexico, gotta win there…but it IS Mexico, not some team that doesn’t make the final 16 every single World cup.

  10. wow. 9% give him an A or B
    11 wins 5 losses and 2 ties
    He isn’t the only one that loves Bradley, who I don’t think should be playing.
    So the group is blaming him for Pulisic and McKinney for not being able to play the 10 and us for not developing a forward after and better than Jozy.

  11. Beating mexico in an official tournament will bump him up a grade next year if we get to the final. Mexico is still overrated. They have more pressure to beat us than we do them. With that said U.S must show concaf and mexico that we have woke up. Adding Pulisic and putting him in the most dangerous position connecting with everyone offensively will make us more of a threat. Recently though not having Bradley for these two nations league matches showed we are better defensively without him yueil showed that we don’t need him and when Tyler Adams gets back we will have two very good defensive midfielders. Bradleys only quality was long balls but we just saw we don’t need that anymore given that we have show little by little that we do have possession but we showed that we still have that American counter attack threat which is our staple as an example sergino dest counter in which he almost scored. Thats a great way we will beat better teams. Want nothing but improvements from greg I want to be in the world cup for 2022.

  12. Definitely Grade C – the absolute “minimum achievement of US Soccer objectives consistent with making progress toward becoming a TOP 15 team in the world (I wanted to say Top 10 team in the world but I’d be on that hashish lol ?)”

  13. I’m sure the FIFA Managers here will disagree but he qualified the team in first place while implementing a new, more modern style of play. That’s all you can ask from him.

    • Qualified to what? Nations League? your FIFA reference… wow… style of play… you must be shithalter’s neighbor…

      • You must be new here? ROB is a troll Mexico supporter, just ignore him. Look how Mexico struggled against Bermuda and almost tied, if that last minute goal did not go in lol.

    • 1st place in a group comprised of Canada and Cuba is hardly something to brag about, especially when it includes a historic loss to our northern rival, during which we were utterly embarrassed.

      I’m yet to see his “new, more modern style of play” work against any full strength legitimate team, so color me unconvinced so far.

      • The “new, more modern style of play” hasn’t even worked on an average team team yet, let alone a legitimate team. The first game against Canada we tried the “New system” and were destroyed. The rematch in Florida we basically went back to counter attacking ball. A game in which we had what…40% possession, got 2 goals on set pieces, and none through the methodical build-up of play.

        I give him a “D” to this point.

        Yes we’ve been without some players who look to be key cogs for the future (Adams, Brooks, Weah, etc…), but Berhaulter cannot seem to get the rest of “His Guys” (Bradley, Roldan, Trapp, Lovitz, etc…) to play worth a damn, or even put forth much of an effort. Yet he keeps calling them in and rewarding them with field time. It’s past time to scrap some of these players and find someone who can potentially add something to the team.
        3 names that jump to mind are: A. Robinson, Green, & Holmes. None have been given much of a chance under Berhaulter….but are playing well for their Clubs.
        We have to stop making excuses and giving players passing grades. It’s time to hold players accountable….by dropping poor performers. And holding Berhaulter accountable for his player selections & tactics.

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