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USMNT vs. Jamaica: Your Running Commentary

The U.S. Men’s National Team brings its stars together for the first time in 2021, and welcomes back Christian Pulisic for the first time in 16 months as the Americans face Jamaica in a friendly in Austria (1pm, ESPN2).

Gregg Berhalter will deploy a lineup featuring several veterans, but also some of the exciting young faces fans are eager to watch play together, with Yunus Musah and Gio Reyna featuring and Josh Sargent starting up top:

In case you missed any of SBI’s extensive pre-game coverage, be sure to check out the SBI Pre-Game Tailgate, which runs down all our coverage.

Please feel free to make this your place to share your thoughts and opinions on today’s action. The SBI Editorial Staff will be checking in to offer updates and insight as well.

Enjoy the action.

Comments

  1. The coach might consider putting out there a mid or two capable of doing what Dest did. 30 yard shots top of the “D.” If they sit on the wingback crossing then the joy comes from cutting across, which trees out to passing into the box or taking your own shot from 30 out since the defense is all backed in the box. Might help to put someone out there with the attribute since we had several chances at it.

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    • You really need to listen to the Total Soccer Show podcast, it goes deeper into the tactics and answers a lot of the questions you keep asking.

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  2. Musah, Adams, and McKennie look to be the middle core for a while. Even without the other two, Musah was all over. Great work rate and control for his age as a box to box.

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    • Meh. Musah just kind of sat there and made basic passes to the wing playing the ball exactly where he was facing. He didn’t give the ball away much nor was he the one creating the goals either. Meanwhile subs coming in getting assists. But you’re wandering into the question of whether the Ms’ jobs are to clog or to create. What is the identity, how do we plan on scoring goals.

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      • Haha then meh is okay because no mistakes. He’s not the high attacker. He’s the box to box connector. Remember he’s just a kid at 18. Don’t overthink it.

      • Meh is we had guys like Aaronson and delaTorre coming in creating more danger yesterday. I think we vastly overrate the need for “8” type players.
        I still think he is a wing and Reyna is a central mid, which is how their clubs use them.

      • You could be right, you could be wrong. Either way, the kid is playing above his age. Remember, we are all just fans acting as armchair analysts.

  3. I’m not sure if we learned umch new from this game, other than Lledget can score goals. In the first half, Jamaica played with so many players inside 20 yards that any dribble attempted by Pulisic, Reyna or Musah inevitably ended in 3 players surrounding them. In the second half, Jamaica came out a bit more and that allowed the US to have more success with dribbles and in the last 15 minutes things opened up at both ends of the field. Defensively, the US looked pretty solid; Long did well, probably better than Richards and even helped bail Brooks out. I was not overly impressed with eithr Richards or Cannon. Aaronson showed why he is doing well for Salzburg and despite not scoring, Sargent looked very good.

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  4. Nice score line but team this young team looks tissue soft. Mid-level European teams are going to have their way with us.

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    • That is a consequence of a team that has a lot of players under 23 and not yet physically matured. As this group grows in physical strength, that sort of criticism will fade. But despite that, this team held up well against a much more physical Jamaica squad.

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    • I think they need to decide are they a defensive team or are we really trying to possess. If you really want to clog the opposing team the starting 3 need 1-2 more helpers in the formation. If they want to possess I am not sure we are really starting the best 3 technical mids. I think Klinsi grasped this better than GB does. If you want to play one way it’s one set of people (and perhaps some formation shift), and if you want to play another way it’s a few different players. GB kind of acts like fanboying either way with an all star team is how to go and is stuck in between. What is the identity. Who fits it.
      I’d be curious what GB is really wanting to happen because his primary premise seems to be get the ball to the flag and cross to the 9 which is how precisely none of the goals went in. The goals were instead a shot from the “D” — which I think these games have been begging for — and then balls squared across the box on the ground into the run of a player. Not lofted hopeful crossing.

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  5. Is there a reason for the half-time substitution of Pulisic and Long?
    Strategy?
    Getting more guys on the field?
    Promises to Chelsea?

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    • Getting more guys on the field, looks like. Seems reasonable to me, even though Richards didn’t have his best day, and Reyna ditto despite being kept on longer. But we saw why it was good to give Aaronson a chance. I had never even seen him before.
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      Did anyone get a glimpse of a person on the sideline in a US shirt with a name on the back like PESOK? Was I just imagining that?
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    • Generally speaking you are more concerned with learning about players or testing their positions in these games. I think there is no real doubt Pulisic starts as LF or Long plays CB. Long then had a good game as well. OK, we knew that already, let’s figured out how Aaronson or Richards fit in the team. One sub did better than the other, and that was less obvious since they are pretty new. That helps you actually fill out the 23 going forward.
      Re Long specifically, 90-something percent of the time he does his job and sometimes adds a goal. A former CB turned coach will see that. He is not a snob favorite “because MLS” or “because club form,” but I don’t think the coach cares. I think it is assumed “Brooks” is the indispensable one but it’s really Long.

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  6. I have never understood ESPN’s commentator choices. You get one guy who sounds like an Oxford literature professor but still refuses to say “Pulisic” correctly, and then he has to work with Taylor Twellman who asks such cultured questions as “where’s your depth at”. It’s a comical pairing and they do it all the time.

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    • The play by play guy is John Champion who has called Premier League games for many years. He started covering US soccer 2 or 3 years ago, replacing Ian Darke, another English announcer, who moved back to England and is again calling Premier League games. If you listen to broadcasts from the Premier League with color commentators who are ex-players and ex-managers, you will come to appreciate Twellman more. English commentators mostly say things like, “he should have scored there, or ” he really made a bad pass”, or “he is having a bad game today,”and similar remarks. At least Twellman occasionally mentions strategy and tactics and will point out how a team could improve by using its players differently, for example.

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      • I also don’t think people realize that in the sometimes “homer” world of sports broadcasting, there is some value in a former player who speaks his mind and doesn’t pull punches. Particularly with GB there is a cult thing going on sometimes. So I kind of want a “grump” saying x worked but y didn’t. Where I think he slips is when it descends into off topic macho banter.

    • “Where is your depth at,” is actually a pivotal question, despite me getting made fun of for suggesting the coach sees it this way, Dest has 4/6 of his games on the left. The coach clearly (a) is not sure about Robinson and (b) given the chance repeatedly pits Dest vs Robinson instead of Cannon. He’s now started Cannon a few times with Dest. So the trend is the coach is trying to fill that LB slot and hoping someone plays decent there. The question is does Dest just repeat the same mistakes his next game or two. Lot of Robinson/EPL fanboys who don’t seem to see he’s one foot on a banana peel.

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      • yeah — I get the left back right back thing and I don’t disagree. They made the point at least 5 times in the first half. It’s the “bro” delivery that bugs me and — if I’m honest — ending a sentence with “at”. It’s just lazy garbage English. There are lots of ex-players to choose from!

    • .
      We’ve heard Jon Champion before in things like World Cup broadcasts, haven’t we? Like most of the British guys, he seems knowledgeable and enthusiastic about soccer, so hopefully he can learn not to say “Pew”-lisic as in “pee-yew.” There are still quite a few other people who have to check where the accent even goes in Pulisic — me among them — so he’s hardly alone.
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      British pundits in general, like at Sky, can seem deliberately obtuse about foreign names, especially Spanish and Portuguese ones. But Arlo White, Derek Rae, and Kate Abdo (sniff — will we ever hear the latter two again on air?) are all very good and careful, as is John Strong on this side of the pond. Ramses Sandoval is good in the other direction, pointing out e.g. that this mysterious ‘Frahncees Tessmahn’ is actually Tanner Tessman.
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      I enjoy most of the announcers, most of the time, on all the networks, and yes, it’s very helpful to hear from the ex-players about specific skills and tactics. (I miss Ian Wright, for example, but have been pleasantly surprised by Danny Higginbotham.) Taylor Twellman and Stu Holden sometimes tell hard truths, but they also make an effort to be tactful and encouraging, to younger players, to Americans, and to MLS as a league. That balance seems fine to me. Alexi Lalas can be too combative and sarcastic for my taste, but defending MLS, especially as it too gets better and attracts more international players, is by no means a bad thing. He seems to be trying to tone it down a little at the moment, but some of that “conflict” is probably just to fill airtime anyway.
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      It’s true that “Where’s the depth” is a good question, however you phrase it. “At” is just more casual, so it didn’t bother me as much as “between he and _____.” (Lalas the English major may have to explain that one to Twellman.) Even that doesn’t go as far as, say, Warren Barton, whose occasionally nonstandard comments I also used to really enjoy, back when they used to still show more soccer on actual TV. *sigh* And his brand of English in turn is quite mild compared to, say, Scott Parker of Fulham, who seems to positively relish maintaining a dialect that must hark back to the days when British footballers didn’t even have to go to school. Though at the same time, Parker too seems like a sharp person _about soccer,_ which is surely what matters.
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  7. I might just have been about to fuss at Dest a little for not closing down faster and preventing that cross from coming in, when he ran back down the other way and scored all by himself. Not sure that was in the game plan, but it was very pretty.

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  8. Nice one from Dest. Pulisic is trying to force things. Brooks is getting abused. A lot of stepping on toes because guys haven’t had much time together. I expect more goals for us.

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  9. Ah yes, rational complaints. We start 2 teenagers, a 20 year old, 21 year old, and two 22 year olds and complain the squad is too old.

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  10. I see GB is once again pushing his MLS fav Lleget. Maybe the other 8 field players (not Acosta) can succeed if the freeze him out? Lleget and Acosta do not belong on this team

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    • Too bad there’s no delete feature. I’m biased against the MLS guys too for the long-term benefit of the team, but I can’t deny Lletget gets it done.

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    • Acosta is out there because Yueill is with the U23s. But that aside he was mobile and generally did his job cutting off passes. I thought he looked better than some other candidates like Morales or Johnny have. Which is his role in the pool, margins of the 23 trying to fight their way in.

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  11. Can’t wait to see the rusty pre-season form of Lletget, Acosta, and Long in a low-stakes, friendly match against a below-average opponent, and then have to listen to Berhalter say things like “the young guys need more time and experience” before they start for the national team. What an absolute joke. Long hasn’t been himself in two seasons after his move abroad didn’t happen, while Acosta has been so poor that even him seeing the field and not playing disastrous soccer has sparked a “comeback” narrative for him. Lletget is a statistically average starter for an underachieving squad. All three haven’t played a competitive match in months, but sure let’s trot them out on national TV and show the world how much progress is being made Stateside and listen to various reasons why the starting CB for Hoffenheim and fledgling midfielder for Salzburg aren’t quite ready yet. Utter nonsense.

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      • Personally I think his best role would be something like supersub but there is no real debate the coach is trying real hard to shoehorn him on the field somehow. False 9, etc. He has 6G 2A in 19 caps — including a goal on Honduras in quali — so I am not fighting the coach on this. He is not the best mid but we will carry 6 and at this rate he will make it easy. Lame argument, presumably some mix of MLS bias or club form obsession. Watch the games. He plays people into space and produces.

    • Did you perhaps forget how long Lletget was out that time with a serious injury? And then when he came back, it was to a relatively weak Galaxy team, no? (Except for the expensive Zlatan.) He evidently does better with more help and more confidence around him, like most people. All the better, too, if the opponents underestimate him and leave him less well marked. 2 goals, not too shabby.
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      I agree that the center of gravity has mostly shifted away from MLS, and that that’s largely a good thing. But any of these guys, whether they end up on the A team or not, may be needed on some occasion in the future, like the Gold Cup. All of them just need more time and practice playing together. I was pleased to see both MLS players and European-based players at least get a chance to try to connect, however briefly, and seem to mostly enjoy it, despite the occasional crossed wire. Surely the last thing we need is more ill-tempered carping that falsely pits groups against each other. They need to be a team, and they’re working on it.
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