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SBI USMNT Man of the Match: John Brooks

On a day when the U.S. Men’s National Team had its toughness tested by a surprisingly aggressive Honduran national team, John Brooks stepped up to help set a much-needed tone

The veteran defender helped Gregg Berhalter’s side reach Sunday’s Final, leading the backline in a strong defensive performance against Honduras.   Brooks beat out Mark McKenzie and Jordan Siebatcheu for MOTM honors.

Brooks went the distance in Thursday’s match, forming a promising partnership with Mark McKenzie in the heart of the USMNT backline. He helped keep both Alberth Elis and Antony Lozano in check for most of the match, while also showing off his passing ability on the game-winning goal.

Brooks cross field pass to Weston McKennie was eventually finished off by Jordan Siebatcheu for the lone goal of the match, giving the Americans a first competitive victory since November 2019.

After delivering a sensational campaign in Germany this season at club level, Brooks picked back up strong with the USMNT and provided another glimpse of what he brings to the table.

What did you think of Brooks performance? Who was your pick for Man of the Match?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. I seem to recall Brooks getting caught up field multiple times causing breaks on our goal. How can he be both MOTM and a liability at the same time?

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    • You’d have to share the times you mean but if he has to play higher because he’s having to initiate the offense then someone else is responsible for not being back. Honduras’s game plan was to try to isolate Brooks and part of that was not letting Yueill have the ball because then Brooks has to defend more space against a really fast Forward in Elis.

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  2. I thought Brooks was a bit shaky in the first 15-30 minutes, when he might have had a yellow if the ref had been more assertive. That may have been more the fault of the midfield for letting things get to that point with Alberth Elis in the first place, but I don’t always sense that Brooks has complete control of his temper, which if true could mean that opponents will know what buttons of his they can easily push. Hopefully he is practicing deep breathing …
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    But as the game went on, everyone seemed to settle down a bit more, and in the closing minutes Brooks made one fabulous headed clearance that might well have saved the tying goal. On the whole I’m still very glad he’s there, and I just hope that whole back line, including Steffen, can quickly get a little more used to working together.
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    (And I really hope that that one guy on Univisión — “J. Lo.?” — will stop calling him “Johnny” Brooks, unless he really does go by that diminutive. At least Ramses Sandoval knows better.)
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    Yes, I also thought Mark McKenzie did pretty well overall, considering that he ended up having to chase guys pretty far at times. And I would also like to put in a good word for Zack Steffen. Even if he had some near disasters early on, he also had some key moments.
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    And as much as Yueill may have struggled this time, I hope he at least persists until people learn to spell his name. I keep seeing occasional flashes that might be more encouraging eventually, if he can just keep at it. Maybe Almeyda can help him figure out what he needs to work on, even if it needs to be more at club level for now.
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    In any case, I hope this settles them all down and convinces them to keep working harder on working together.
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    With any luck, the Mexican fans will manage to disqualify themselves anyway, by continuing to insist on that stupid offensive chant. (Did anyone else see an instance, IIRC in the first half of their lame game, where Memo Ochoa appeared to be surreptitiously fluttering the fingers of his left hand behind his back before a goal kick, as if to actually encourage more of that meanness? Was I just imagining that?)
    .

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    • I think Brooks was just establishing the tone in first segment of the game. He knew it was unlikely he was going to be given a card early so get a couple physical plays in and let Elis know. He played a diagonal ball to I think Reyna in the 6th minute that was a work of art. Honduras gave him way too much time on the ball all night and he finally made them pay.
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      As for the chanting I’m not sure why they think pausing the game is punishment? If they do it give them the PA warning do it again the captain gets a yellow card, a third time and it’s a red for the captain. Why is it fair to punish the other team’s fans by abandoning the game? It isn’t like El Tri fans don’t know they aren’t supposed to do it or don’t know why it’s offensive.

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  3. I can’t with Jackson Yueill. He was pedestrian in failed Olympic qualifying matches and has looked off the pace and out of his depth in both the matches he’s played lately for the US. Wil Trapp 2.0

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      • Totally agreed! Yueill struggled in most games during Olympics qualifying even against U-23 youth oppositions. I really don’t get it why the hell Berhalter rated Yueill so high. BTW, why didn’t both Musah and Weah get on the pitch at all. If anything, we should have rested Pulisic who did not have a good game today anyway. The biggest of our problem is Gregg Berhalter who does not evaluate talents correctly and put our players in the wrong positions and wrong roles. What took Berhalter 78 minutes to have the first changes subbed in when the game would have gone into penalty shootouts directly after regulation time. Berhalter sucks!

    • -Simon really rest our best player who was on more rest than the rest of the team, and played 20 mins in the final.
      -Yueill was not good but he was easily our best field player in Olympic qualify, which isn’t saying much.
      -You only get 5 subs, Robinson missed the last three weeks of season with ankle so probably wasn’t at full fitness, Sargent had run his tail off, Aaronson better in tight spaces than Weah and Hond. was sitting deeper at that time, Yueill as discussed was not good, and then you add another CB to defend at all costs the last two minutes. Aaronson has been better than Weah of late and Musah has never played the 6 in his life so in the 78 minute of a must win game might not have been the best time.
      -no idea why Berhalter waited so long on subs that was perplexing
      -Who played out of position?

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      • Johnny, you do have a good point, but I really question starting Yueill at the 6, while Adam is not at match fitness yet. Come on! We can’t find any other players better than Yueill? The “6” is critical in winning balls and distributing them forward efficiently and quickly. Yueill, Lleget & Mckennie held the key to controlling the team’s pulse & tempo by connecting the back to the front; however, the decision making were slow and the passes were not good. Our midfield was so ineffective in distributing the ball that in some ways was holding back the flow of the game forward yesterday. Personally, I’d rather play Mckennie (even out of position) at the 6 if Adam is not yet available. Gio was the only bright spot in the offense yesterday. Who did Berhalter took out at the 78th minute when the US needed to score? Again, I fear that having Berhalter as the manager will eventually fail the US long term. Exactly like Jason Kreis did to the U-23. Just my 2 cents.

    • I am with Gabe. I have seldom felt so relieved as when Acosta – Acosta! – came trotting on in favor of Yeuill, who had just made a string of about 8 or 9 straight bad passes at that point and seemed to be bent on single-handedly giving away the game.

      When you’re that existentially relieved Kellyn Acosta is getting into a competitive USMNT match, rest assured the guy ahead of him was not doing well.

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      • What I’ve noticed about Acosta the last three matches is he gets involved in more plays than Yueill but usually he does just enough to push the ball into a worse position than it was before. Last night as soon as he came on there was a play and I thought oh good Kellyn will get to that and he ended up tapping right to a Honduran at the top of the box.

  4. I thought Reyna was awesome, especially in the first half. Wouldn’t take it away from Brooks though. Also – anyone else impressed with McKenzie? I thought he looked really solid for what 4 caps now?

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    • Definitely impressed with McKenzie! I thought Reyna should have stayed and Pulisic should have come off in favor of Aaronson. Pulisic was clearly affected by the altitude and was done. I guess kicks were a possibility so keeping him in for those could have been the thought. Reyna frustrated me so much vs Switzerland but the drop in the quality pf opponent really allowed his dancing to be affective.

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