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Five takeaways from the USMNT October roster: Weah’s chance to shine, new blood in midfield and more

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The absences of Christian Pulisic and Gio Reyna from the U.S. men’s national team’s October roster was enough to leave USMNT fans understandably concerned, but the voids left by the two best attacking threats in the U.S. player pool will present some prime opportunities for different players to step into the spotlight.

The trio of Tim Weah, Gyasi Zardes and Paul Arriola are back from injuries that kept them out of the September qualifiers, and Berhalter will be hoping their speed and experience will help pick up some of the slack in the absence of Pulisic and Reyna.

The October roster wasn’t without its surprises, and question marks, but it would be an exaggerating to portray the overall roster as all that surprising. There are clearly some players missing who could have very easily been included, but part of that is down to the improved depth in the talent pool, particularly at the centerback and striker positions.

Consider that Josh Sargent, Jordan Pefok and Daryl Dike were left out of the striker spots, while Matt Miazga is earning La Liga starts and still didn’t make the cut.

Some of the leading storylines coming out of the roster announcement were covered on SBI on Wednesday, including Weston McKennie’s return, and the shakeup at striker, but there are plenty of other storylines to touch on.

Here is a closer look at some of the key takeaways from the USMNT roster for October’s qualifiers:


Weah leads the wing options


No Pulisic and no Reyna means Berhalter will need some new faces to help on the wings, and Tim Weah should be front and center among the options to step in.

The Lille speedster has been in excellent form, and only an injury in late August kept Weah from taking part in the September qualifiers. Weah has had bad luck with injuries coming on multiple occasions when he was ready to step in and potentially take on a more prominent role with Berhalter’s side, but if he can stay healthy for the October qualifiers, Weah could be one of the most important pieces to the USMNT’s attacking puzzle.

“For Timmy, I like his versatility,” Berhalter said of Weah. “He’s another one that plays up front sometimes for his club, plays wide sometimes for his club. He’s a threat vertically, he’s a threat in transition and he’s in a good run of form right now. He got fouled for a penalty the other day, he had an assist the other day in his game and he’s doing a good job. I really like how he’s been playing and we think he’s going to help us.

“When I’m talking about rotation talking about depth talking about the ability for substitutes or solutions to impact the game you know he’s certainly one that can do it in a couple ways right either from the start or coming off the bench.”


Busio, Musah and De La Torre add creativity to midfield


Along with leaving the USMNT light on quick attacking threats, Pulisic and Reyna being absent also cuts into the team’s creativity, which is something Berhalter will be hoping he can offset with some of his central midfield callups.

Gianluca Busio is on an excellent run of form for Serie A side Venezia, Yunus Musah brings some quality on the ball and the ability to keep possession, and Luca De La Torre comes in on good form as well with Dutch side Heracles, with his improving two-way ability making him a good fit for one of the box-to-box midfield roles in the USMNT midfield.

“With Luca, we really like how he’s performing with his team,” Berhalter said of De La Torre. “We liked what he gave us when we saw him in camp for the friendlies and we think he gives us, I think this directness is a midfielder, a midfielder that can break lines dribbling, is good in combination play, and again, we think he’s in good form.”

How Busio, Musah and De La Torre do in camp will determine whether Berhalter will have the luxury of deploying Brenden Aaronson in a wide role. Aaronson plays in a central role for Red Bull Salzburg, and has played centrally for much of his club career, but he has seen more time on the wing for the USMNT, and the absences of Pulisic and Reyna make it more likely Aaronson stays wide for the October qualifiers.


Moore over Scally a surprise at right back


Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos

A choice between a fullback starting regularly in the German Bundesliga over a fullback stuck on the bench in the Spanish second division might seem like a fairly easy decision to make, but Berhalter’s call to bring in Shaq Moore over Joe Scally showed that it wasn’t quite that simple.

Scally, who has started seven consecutive matches in all competitions for Borussia Moenchengladbach, has been one of the breakout stories of the season among Americans in Europe, with the 18-year-old taking full advantage of his opportunity to break into the Bundesliga side.

Scally’s early-season success hasn’t gone unnoticed by Berhalter, who admitted to coming very close to calling up the teenager.

“I had a conversation with Joe probably 15 minutes before this call, explaining to him that the reasoning but also letting them know that he was really close,” Berhalter said. “He’s a guy that we’re excited about, has been playing in the Bundesliga as a wingback, sometimes a fullback, and doing a decent job. But most impressive is his age and that he’s able to compete at that level. So I think he’s going to be a key contributor to what we do in the future.”

Moore’s inclusion was a bit surprising because of his lack of minutes for Tenerife since returning from an impressive run with the USMNT at the Gold Cup in July. Moore has not started a match since returning to Tenerife, but that didn’t stop Berhalter from giving him the call-up alongside Sergiño Dest and DeAndre Yedlin due to his recent experience against opponents in the region.

“What we’re talking about now is is somewhat guys that have been through it before,” Berhalter said. “If you look at our fullbacks on the roster, these are the guys that all know what Concacaf is about and we thought that was important for this window.”


Berhalter’s September lessons should mean more rotation


Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos

Something that was largely overlooked in the wake of September’s World Cup qualifiers was the fact that those matches served as Berhalter’s first experience coaching a team in qualifying, and the trio of matches provided him just as much of an education as it provided his players.

“From a coaching standpoint, I think we learned about rotations and the importance of the impact of substitutes,” Berhalter said. “I think the impact of getting fresh bodies on, how we can physically wear down opponents, what these what these games end up looking like as the window goes on. We played 21 different starters in this last window and that’s a lot. To be juggling that in seven days, use 21 different starters, is a really interesting task for the coaches. So I think in general that’s what we’re taking away, is how we need to use the entire squad to be successful.”

Berhalter will need to spread out minutes even more for a variety of reasons, including the team’s plan to leave it’s UK-based players in the United States when the team travels to Panama for the October 10 qualifier in Panama City. Panama’s status as a red-list country means UK-based players face a daunting challenge to return to their teams if they play in Panama, and Berhalter went on record on Wednesday saying he would let those players travel directly to Columbus, Ohio ahead of the October 13 qualifier against Costa Rica.

That means Antonee Robinson, Zack Steffen and Tim Ream won’t travel to Panama, with Robinson’s absence being the most consequential, because it will mean either starting Sergiño Dest at left back against Panama, or going with youngster George Bello, who struggled mightily as a starter in the road qualifier against Honduras.

There will also be the concern over avoiding the burning out of players. Miles Robinson and Tyler Adams were the only field players to play all 270 minutes in the September qualifiers, and it is a safe bet Berhalter will try to avoid having any of his field players log every minute, especially with Tyler Adams having just recovered from a minor injury, and given the number of centerback options he has brought into camp.


Konrad and the other snubs


Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos

Konrad De La Fuente’s omission was a surprise given the team’s need for wingers, and the absence of Pulisic and Reyna, but the reality is he failed to make a major impact in his start against El Salvador, and has started just one of his six matches since returning to Marseille, which made it easier for Berhalter to bring back the veteran Paul Arriola instead.

“Konrad came back from the (September)  camp and took some time to get back into his role in Marseille, but is still contributing there at a decent level,” Berhalter said. “He was another difficult decision.”

“You have Matt Miazga, who’s playing for Alaves, they just beat Atletico Madrid. James Sands, who’s done a good job with us in the past, (you have) Walker Zimmerman,” Berhalter said. “These are the really difficult decisions and you know, we tried to put a roster together balanced roster that we feel can compete through all three games.”

Comments

  1. Ream has pulled out for “family reasons” and has already been replaced by Zimmerman. At least we’ve learned that part of the lesson. Crossing fingers everyone makes it through the weekend.

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  2. “Julian hasn’t had the opportunity to perform with us yet, it’s just one of those circumstances,” Berhalter said. “He’s playing in the Bundesliga, doing a decent job with his team, so it’s just a timing issue of when to get him in.” suggests green is being left off at this point….because he hasn’t been called. fun with circularity. GB does realize there were games before he came around eg Belgium, France?

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    • That is the comment I was referring to earlier. It’s clear GB is never gonna call in Green, and it’s such B.S. I think it’s a Germerican grudge..
      – Sarachan really liked Green, said something to the effect of “he’s the one guy who is not afraid to try and score goals” ( paraphrasing)
      – Green isn’t the speedy winger we thought he was supposed to be, and he’s reinvented himself as an attacking midfielder.
      – He’s 26 with a lot of experience and has played a lot of soccer the last few years.
      – In case GB hasn’t noticed, he’s yet to find a #10 in his 433..
      – Also in case he hasn’t noticed with the exception of Adams performance (and Acosta when playing the #6) our midfield has sucked.
      – I like Llegett and think he’s a better version of utility Bedoya in the 2014 cycle, which we need, but I don’t see him as an answer at attacking mid.. Busio isn’t an attacking mid. Musah may be a future star but he hasn’t done anything yet. Acosta is a #6.. At best a backup to Mckennie but as good as he was as the 6 in the gold cup, he’s equally absent at other spots. Aaronson looked lost at that spot & shined on the wing.
      – Unless he plans to play Reyna at mid I don’t see how anyone can say there’s one bit of consensus on our 3rd midfielder.

      I’m not going to sit here and say I think Green is the answer to start at that spot because we haven’t seen him play there since Sarachan… But to not even get a call up and then hear that weak excuse from GB is such B.S… Especially since he’s not limited on numbers…. WEAK Greg..

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      • Gregg’s not using any 10s anymore in his set up. It’s gone kind of under the radar but we went from having 2 #10s in his original 4-3-3 with the hybrid RB to two 8s. We’ve switched from Pep ball to Klopp. It was kind of missed after ES when Gregg said he played BA as the MF instead of Reyna because he wanted Reyna closer to goal. They’ve chosen the 4-1-2-3 version over the 4-2-1-3 because it fits their counter pressing system because Gregg wants 5 players forward to counter press. Playing Reyna or Green as a 10 makes sense but it would mean scrapping the defensive system we’ve been working on since Jan. 2019. So minus a complete disaster this window (less than 5 pts) I don’t think we’ll switch back to using an AM until after we qualify if at all.

      • @Johnnyrazor Understood, and I get it, but in this case I could have just replaced #10 with “3rd midfielder” and the rest of the statement stands

      • JR: many nights GB’s offense looks like it could use a 10. i think the whole affection for 8s is faddish. get me creators or destroyers. GB lands in between and the team plays like it.

    • Bac- I do think 3rd midfielder changes it a lot. It’s not what Julian does. He’s not going to press or be a box to box guy, it’s not what he does. I haven’t seen much of him this season, they are so bad but I think he’s mostly a wing for them. I understand why people like him but I don’t think he’s a big change if he’s in the lineup over someone there. Green is in the Bundesliga because he grew up with his mom instead of his Dad. If he grows up in the US and develops the exact same skills he’s playing MLS like Roldan, Arriola, and Lleget. People rate him high because he scored a bunch of goals against U23s for Hayden II. That league is regional so each season there’s only a couple Reserve teams and a bunch of local teams you’ve never heard of the talent gap his team has was huge, like Alabama sending their freshman to play NAIA teams.
      -As for your Germerican bias Gregg spent half his career in Germany and alongside several dual nationals for the NT. It’s not some grand conspiracy he just wants a different skill set. Is a college football coach dumb for passing on an option style quarterback if they want to throw the football 40 times a game?
      -Should we be playing this current style I’m not sure, it’s created quick transition opportunities against Canada, Mexico, Switzerland and against Honduras last month but it’s also left openings that led to goals or good chances in those games and created few chances when teams bunker.
      IV: I agree with you somewhat in that, but I also think people overvalued the creative abilities of our creators and the destroying power of our destroyers.For a variety of reasons we’ve created a lot of midfielders that aren’t great tackles but also aren’t real technical to break down a low block so they end up running around a lot.I think he’s tried to find a system that fits CP, Reyna, Adams, Wes and Dest but at the expense of it doesn’t necessarily fit with the other guys he selects.

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      • JR, I know GBs history, and I also know how many in federation circles didn’t like Green because they thought he took Donovans spot in 2014 & how JK brought him in etc..
        I have seen some of his games last year (and in a few games under sarachan he’s the only one that looked good in that advanced mid role) & like I mentioned earlier player by player unless he plays Reyna as a mid I’m underwhelmed by the choices available (except I like Musahs potential- but he hasn’t done anything yet)
        If teams do bunker even more reason for someone who can play in those spaces..
        When teams haven’t bunkered it hasn’t made any difference. With the exception of the gold cup final I have yet to see a complete game from our midfield as a unit because there’s been no creative player & no linkage between the lines..
        Frankly I think our midfield has sucked as a unit, & like I said I’m not gonna sit here & say he’s a starter but I can’t think of any reason he shouldn’t be in camp. I think it’s a stupid mistake by GB to not even give him a look

      • At least u r honest and admit to not seeing much of Geen this season. I have watched every minute and it is just like his loan to B1 from Bayern to Stuttgart several years ago. He is to slow of pace, to slow of thought and not able to compete physically. He is a solid mid table B2 player. That’s it. Not a game changer, not an upside…just eh. People complaining about Green r the ones who are going to complain no matter what, over whatever player wasn’t called in. Doesn’t matter who….just that they were not called in. Boring, tedious and predictable. Green is in B1 right now, but he ain’t no B1 plsyer, and he ain’t even a top B2 player. GF and Green waaaayyy overperfromed last year. That’s his zenith and good for him. He isn’t a player to waste time on, or worry about.

    • Bac- I don’t disagree with your assessment or your idea that Green should be invited. What I’m telling you is that Gregg has a soccer related reason. He looks at the lack of creativity in the MF and has said fine we’ll just press the snot out of people because we have a lot of players that can run around and cause havoc. I’m a Crew fan I think he’d be a lot better off going back to the 4-2-3-1 he used with Crew with a mid block. Maybe he’s decided he can’t use the complex patterns of play in short windows and that’s his reason for switching to pressing over possession.

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      • lemme put it this way, at some point in your 8 vs 10 analysis — which assumes a static tactical choice as opposed to some bench variety — maybe consider that when i need a goal i might want for my 23rd option to be someone who finished on belgium and france. i also find it giggle inducing that he gets treated like some wet behind the ears rube because his caps pre-date berhalter. but then some players on this roster are living off reputations they haven’t lived up to since klinsmann.

  3. read something that makes the interesting point that for depth purposes you can’t have a UK player to supplement a UK player because they’d both get wiped for Panama. one could say that suggest doing more like 30. but it explains, say, why not both steffen and horvath. except call 5 keepers and do both? but there is a logic. that and GB says horvath is off form.

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    • European clubs don’t like when you fly a guy across the pond to be the third keeper. Especially during a global pandemic. You also have the other aspect which is Horvath is fighting Samba for the #1 spot at NFor. He’s probably not super keen on leaving that competition for 3rd keeper reps in practice. If he’s a field player 3rd in line it’s completely different.

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      • our games until like summer 2022 are mandatory release qualifiers. rules say we ask they release. lost why we are kissing up when there is little room in the schedule for any discretion to say no.

        fwiw last window we had 3 euro keepers so someone was called to carry the very last choice clipboard you suggest cannot be given to a european.

    • IV: That’s why I said Euro teams don’t like when… It might even have been Ethan himself who said can I just stay if I’m not going to play. There’s no reason to anger a Club over your third keeper and have a manager say if he leaves for 10 days every month I’ll just give the starting job to Samba he’s always here.

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      • no, the coach was quoted as saying (a) “form” — when steffen has played once against a lower division team in a cup game and (b) the “red list” issue — which we both know resolved itself the day after the roster issued. we have already added one player since then. i also find laughable your suggestion that a keeper who revived his fortunes off the bench vs mexico seriously told the coach i don’t want to be bench for this window. recent history suggests he’d take his chances. you’re still making that silly summer argument you made where players stay with their clubs to be BDSM’d by the very coach who already has them benched. i’m sure he’s instead like “get me out of here a couple weeks…..and when i get back i will fire my agent….”

    • Berhalter’s not going to go in front of the press and say “Ethan didn’t want to come because when he had a chance to start a league game he made a terrible turnover and got punished with a goal so he’s still fighting for his spot.” He’s going to say “club form” because it’s vague and doesn’t throw Ethan under the bus because it just states that he’s not playing. Coaches just can’t be completely honest with the press it just doesn’t work that way.

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  4. worth noting zardes was hurt at the last window. many of us probably thought that was a performance choice but this may in fact have been a selection where the coach was prevented from doing something we would have viewed as screwy by the timing of an injury, and thus we get the screwball the next window when his favorite is available.

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    • also the coach when interviewed seemed to say he was double-booking hoppe as part of his “2.5” strikers, as opposed to weah.

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      • Lille uses two strikers when Weah plays striker for them his task is to run in behind and draw the CB(s) out so David can be isolated. That’s the same role he wants Weah to do as a WF in our 3 man front. I’m sure he does it some for Lille but he doesn’t do a lot of the come back and combine that the #9 does for Berhalter. Hoppe, Zardes, and Pepi do that in their roles for club. Considering we’ve lost wings to injury in our last two competitive windows in the first game though, yes why “double book” Hoppe.

  5. Not sure why everyone is calling for scally…because he had 6 good games….his first 6 games as a first team player..he played 5 games at nycfc…he spent last season with the B team and played 15 games…not saying he doesn’t belong but not sure why there is so much outrage…shaq moore is a seasoned professional…he has played 66 total games for tenerife since 2019…that doesn’t even include the 60-80 games he’s played for his other teams in spain…just don’t get it…

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    • I’m with you 100%! Every Utube soccer channel I’m subscribed to has lost their $%#+. I’m not in the twitter verse, but is that world heartbroken over Scally also? I’m gonna keep it 100, SD. This is absolutely hilarious!! So many grown adults upset about a teenager, has truly got me in my bag of giggles!

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      • the highlights suggest he might be a wingback who could get forward “ok” but also play actual defense, which to me would push him past several players. but quali is a tough time to take risks and i would rather see moore and cannon for now. as i pointed out below, i think one reason he got left off is the coach already doesn’t trust dest and yedlin so he wants something reliable around. but as i suggested that would justify having moore but dropping someone else if you are scally-obsessed.

      • there is that, too. nothing stops you calling 30 and having some be really there to trial in practice and only play in garbage time if we’re up 3-0. i do think we have to be more cautious calling backs for quali than a 9 but you can limit your result risk by calling other experienced players and using the rookies in any blowouts. or at least have him in to practice and get a sense how he compares and fits.

        fwiw i don’t think that clubs have an issue with their players sitting, clubs usually get cranky when they come back dented.

  6. Again I feel like GGG is getting too cute. He can bring 30 players why only 27? He brought in too few the last time and with injuries was forced to play too many players in the wrong place.
    I would have added Zimmerman because McKenzie, Ream, Richards are not aerial threats if we need to score on a set piece.
    I would have brought Scally because he can PLAY BOTH SIDES! Give him a chance to learn the system so when you badly need him there is less learning curve.
    I would add Green or Konrad because they are different players and if you are losing and need to change things up all the wing/AM players are pretty much the same. Green has a good shot from distance, and Konrad is more of a dribbler than Roldan/Lletget et al..

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    • I just hope there’s a plan this time, I get last time guys were having to stay in Europe to complete transfers but if we’d replaced Weah to begin with and brought one more attacker when CP had Covid we would have been better off.

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      • it wasn’t just transfers, it was people left off to bed in at a new club, which is different. also, as i refuted on this last time, technically each game is a fresh release opportunity and nothing was stopping us from letting players transfer but then calling them as soon as their deals were signed and the medical done, for games 2 or 3, as injury replacements as the roster eroded.

    • IV: I think it was more saying if guys couldn’t be there for game 1 leave them because with travel, Covid protocols, limited training time it wasn’t worth it. I think it would be very difficult to get someone in from Europe in the middle of a window. Maybe the options domestically aren’t exciting but there guys around with camp experience that could have played.

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  7. I voiced my opinion on the roster release. Having read Gregg’s explanations above for the decisions he made provide further proof to me that Gregg is over his head.
    Passing over a player who’s started the last 6 (7) games in the Bundesliga and is capable of playing both RB & LB….for a player who had an Up & Down Gold Cup and has been riding the pine for his 2nd division club all season makes NO Since.
    An MLS player who’s been inconsistent for one of the leagues worst clubs this season selected ahead of a Ligue 1 player who may not have shined in his one start last window….but has been contributing to his club side (although he’s cooled off a little), again doesn’t make much since.
    Lastly the fact that Gregg continues to limit himself & the team by calling up so few players proves to me that he’s learned nothing from the mistakes of the previous window.

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    • I assume you’re talking about Arriola who plays for DCU, 3rd place in the East and 7th out of 27th overall. Arriola’s “inconsistency” is related to his injuries (which should be a concern) but he scores or assists on average 1 every 2 games, that’s pretty good. Roldan is 3rd leading scorer in 2nd best team in the league, Lletget’s 1g 4a aren’t great but you aren’t going to get big numbers from a #8 who’s missed quite a few matches with the NT in June, July, and September. Acosta has the worst numbers but he’s a deep 8 on 4th place team in league. The only MLS guy on a bad team is Pepi but he’s got 13g tied for 4th in the league.
      ———————————
      I think Konrad has a much higher upside but I also think Arriola is more consistent. I think we have similar players in Hoppe and Weah who can dribble at people and run in behind like Konrad does, I don’t think we have European options that can pressure and force turnovers like Arriola. Last Konrad has never played a full pro season he’s already played a ton of preseason minutes, and early season minutes, perhaps the staff noted he was showing the effects in September and want to give him some rest?

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      • Since August 9, DC United have played 10 league games.

        Paul missed 2 with a “muscle injury”.

        In 8 games:

        He had 1 goal vs. The Revs back in August
        2 goals vs. Cincinnati on September 26.
        He had an assist vs. Nashville on August 16th.

        3 goals, 1 assist in 8 games

        In roughly the same time frame, since August 9th KDLF has played 8 league games with Marseille.

        The last one was on Sept 26.

        He has 1 assist vs. Montpelier on August 8
        He has 1 assist vs St. Etienne on August 28th.

        2 assists in 8 games

        What does that say about them?

        Not much. Both of them are, on current form, average to mediocre. Paul could play on punt coverage for the Washington Football Team but he’s no winger for the USMNT.

        The manager is passing gas if he’s saying either one gives you “verticality”. I define verticality as what a guy like Rashford does or CD9 used to do, stretching the defense with your speed and aggression towards goal.

        Paul tries but is let down by his incompetence. He’s 26 . His soccer identity is probably already set.
        KDLF seems uninterested in going at goal. He’s 20. There’s still time to form his soccer identity.

        If the manager really wants his “verticality”, another of his soccer buzzwords, better to set up Dest and Antonee as wing backs and let them have at it. Let Hoppe do what he does best, clean up from the chaos that his wingbacks cause.

        They’ll give you more “verticality” than Ariolla and KDLF ever could.

        Instead of goal line technology, there’s a force field in place around the goal when Paul, as a USMNT player, shoots.

        KDLF either can’t or won’t shoot.

        The only reason these guys are in consideration is because once you get past them, names like Brooks Lennon, Corey Baird and the big one, Jonathan Lewis start to come up which is enough to frighten small children.

  8. The EPL and the UK announced that players will not be quarantine upon return to the UK from a Red Zone IF they have had a completed vaccine. If all of the US player are not required to have one, they have no business suspending McKennie for breaking protocols when in fact they are ignoring them.

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    • McKennie ahould have been suspended, team rules are in place for a reason and considering he has a habit of breaking said rules at both club and country it comes off as him thinking he is above rules, something that should not and has not been tolerated, and rightfully so. People trying to excuse the actions of certain players is a problem with our fanbase imho

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      • All the mellow-drama in the media was a bit much- but 100% expected. That tone has no place on a team. I think GB got it right. Matter of fact- firm, quick, clean, simple. Actions- consequences. Done. Move on.

  9. Panama will not be an easy out and their new coach seems not to have any favorites. Think of Panama as a more talented and organized team than El Salvador with a fan base as animated. Add the 90 degree temp and close to 100% humidity, long grass and there you have a receipt for another Cueva. I hate how many U.S. soccer experts are already giving the 3 points to US. Panama may not have a big name player but what they have is a a bunch of tough seasoned veterans from 2d div in Spain, other smaller European Leagues and a few playing Libertadores/Sudamericana for teams in Peru (Quintero – Peru), Bolivia, Venezuela & Uruguay (GK). Think about this, Mexico, Costa Rica or U.S. have not beaten Panama in qualifiers at their home stadium. Saludos

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    • We beat them at home 3-2 before the 2014 World Cup and kept them out of the WC. Aron Johansson scored the winning goal in stoppage time. I don’t know if it was the same stadium, but it was in Panama.

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    • US won there in 2005 and 2013, Mexico has drawn the last four but won in 2000. Costa Rica won there in 2015 and 1988. Panama draws the Big 3 in Panama a lot but they almost never win at home either. US can’t overlook them, but they’ve also never lost in Panama.

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      • The USMNT has historically had Panama’s number.

        But this is 2021.

        This team,such as it is, is more chaotic and disorganized than those earlier USMNT versions you referenced. And this team is managed by someone who, at this very late stage, has admitted to being in a learning on the job mode.

        Is no one concerned that it took him this long to figure out that substitions can really make a big difference? Are you kidding me?

        I guess he sees making a substitution as admitting he made a mistake in naming his starting 11. And this guy does not make mistakes.

        And that is how,ladies and gentlemen,the USSF plans on getting this program back on top. With a guy who is making it up as he goes along.

        Based on our talent and history Panama will be disposed of.

        But based on the manager that’s going to much more adventurous than it needs to be

    • Vacqui–there is another consideration. I don’t think Panama is as good as before. A number of their stalwarts have gotten old and I don’t think they have been replaced with equal quality. Not to say it will be easy, but it is a winnable game and if we don’t get at least a draw, then there is something wrong with the team or coach.

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      • Gary,

        I’m more interested in 2021.

        It doesn’t matter if Panama aren’t what they were. Just based on talent, the USMNT should beat them home and away.

        But the USMNT manager is the X factor.

        All WC qualifying games home or away, have been and are presently tough to win. That’s never been in question. But the US has, always has had and probably always will have, better players and more of them.

        The question is how hard is this manager going to make it? Is he going to pull another of his tactical innovations and make life rough on his players?

        Or is he finally going to just let them play and win the damn thing?

  10. the snub list reads like did he watch the games. i get zimmermann. but arriola? konrad? miazga? sands? sands looked awful. he may have a future but not yet a present. and some of his reasoning reads like he overrates the importance of club ball, or attributes club success to players. miazga had a modest amount to do with alaves beating atletico madrid, who hustled like usual but seemed lost for ideas other than whacking in a cross. i say this, but he left them off. i guess my thing is most people on this list, based on NT play, wouldn’t even register, and i’d be moved on to, say, scouting CCV, EPB, some wing players.

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    • From a fans perspective, we would want extra players in case of injuries, but that is probably not really a great deal for the players. Coming in is disruptive to their paying job with their club teams. MLS doesn’t even honor the FIFA windows so they miss games and the players who come over from Europe miss time with their teams and they don’t get paid unless they play. Konrad missed time with his team last window and I don’t think he has been able to get back on the field since whereas he was starting all games before last window. I think it is probably a pretty hard sell to get players to want to come in if their only chance to play is due to injury. Pefok, for example is probably 4th on depth chart behind Pepi, Zardes, and Hoppe right now. Hopefully, there are MLS players that he has at least contacted to let him know he has them in mind in the event of injuries but who knows. They got their 5 points last window but they got it the hard way … They need 7 points this window. I hooe to not have to suffer through another 45 minutes like the first half of the Hondorus game again. I think it took years off my life.

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      • re konrad, i got into this before last window. you had folks selling he was the “form” choice. they were omitting OM like many clubs was in a sort of post-euros early-season transition period. often the people starting in august aren’t the lineup after summer’s over. to me he’s kind of eased back into reality, which is “platoon” guy. one week start, one week sit. it’s not a bad gig at OM but based on the quali games he has some work to do.

  11. Anyone see Konrad today vs. Yedlin? I thought Konrad looked pretty good in the limited time I saw him. I would certainly pick him over Arriola who doesn’t have as much skill, IMO. As for Berhalter having learned from coaching on the road in CONCACAF for the first time, he played a lot in CONCACAF road games when he was on the USMNT. He should have already known from that experience. What is new is the 3 games in one window but it shouldn’t take a soccer genius to realize that more rotation is needed. Because of our depth, this type of schedule should actually benefit us as we wear down teams, especially in the third games. Finally, choosing Shaq Moore who hasn’t been playing makes no sense despite the fact that he has more experience with the national team. If Moore was a sub for Bayern, well maybe. But a sub on a 2nd division team? Makes no sense to me. I’m not a Cannon fan, but I’d pick him over Moore under these circumstances.

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      • I know, but hardly any so far this season and the usual mantra with US coaches is that they want to take players who are playing for their club teams. So, Moore shouldn’t be called in or Berhalter should be called out for hypocrisy.

    • Arriola was brought in after 1 match. The last match of the season with DC United coming off of ACL injury. GB contradicted his club form mantra with that move last year. The same as you’re contradicting yourself, now! Mr. “I’m glad y’all aren’t the manager!” in defense of Zardes. Shaq Moore name is on the roster. “He doesn’t belong, …shouldn’t be called in!, GB’s a hypocrite!” USA players have a history of not being played when they go to Europe. Coaches, who believe in these players have always called US players in, despite what’s going on with club. USA camps have always been a safe haven for players playing overseas. This shouldn’t change. See Kellyn Acosta.

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  12. i don’t get 27 if 3 have the red list problem and 1 just missed a game injured. panama is not the first game and last window suggested expect game by game attrition. so a coach planning ahead would leave himself a cushion so he can actually dress 23 in panama…..we came close last time to basically dressing everyone we had left. which is not how an extended quali roster is really supposed to work. the real idea in calling more than you need is have some choice and competition on game day……we have historically called like 25-26 for a normal 2 game window and then somebody is in street clothes…..and you’d think mister analytics would notice i started 21 people and i burned through almost everyone. his math is off…..

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  13. i think the conventional framing on scally misses it a little. by that i mean him vs moore. to me moore should be on the team easy and the competition should be with dest or yedlin who are poorer defenders. i instead think he had dest and yedlin in pen and then took moore over scally on experience since the first two scare him to death. what normal people do then is drop a scary player for the exciting kid, who is ticketed for garbage time usage. say, yedlin, whose continued presence is inexplicable. and he could always turn dest into a wing if he needs him around. he can get down the chalk well and creates some danger…

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  14. i think we’re conflating two distinct sets of things in the mid discussion. “creativity” vs “two way.” i think with some attackers out we could use some true creativity. DLT doesn’t have a goal or assist in eredivisie this season. busio has a single assist in serie a. if i need a goal or assist, where’s it coming from? there’s a reason i am pro green. i think we need more than mckennie rostered who if we needed a goal could be subbed in to help accomplish that. most of these guys are just a little too nagbe for me. 25 caps, 1 goal. everyone can’t be the type that runs hard and just kind of keeps the ball moving. personally i find the whole two-way thing overrated. you need truly creative or destructive players, not muddled with a little of both. really one guy on a roster like that to sit on a lead is enough.

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  15. weah, hmmm. his stats do suggest he could play striker, but U20 worlds when they tried it, not so hot. he had him a few caps and hasn’t experimented with it in a friendly or summer tourney. perhaps test this some other time than a qualifier?

    this also wanders into my double accounting discussion. i know GB loves slashes. some of them are better at slashing than others, in reality. pulisic vs roldan. but that aside, you can’t book them both places. if reyna is out and you need a RF, you can’t also be a giddy schoolboy planning on him as your 9 also. if to play weah middle you decide to play roldan wide to me you have muddled at least one spot.

    along those lines, this is quali and if we’re gonna have people out already, maybe have some reliable producers in some spots before you go dr. frankenstein.

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  16. It is refreshing to see the explanations for the roster selections, and how they fit into a strategy for the October window. The positive is that unlike past cycles, the pool of players is much wider and deeper, so players can be selected based on a specific role and set of expectations. Given the breadth and depth of the pool, we may see players in this October squad who play well get bumped in November, especially if Pulisic and Reyna are fit.
    ———
    The Panama game becomes more complicated, as both Ream and A Robinson cannot travel due to UK restrictions. I had Ream penciled in for Panama, an away game where he fits in well at defense. A Robinson can and should start against Jamaica, but Ream’s pace is not a good fit for Jamaica. Not certain how this shakes out.
    ————
    It does feel like Busio, Musah and LDLT, with similar strengths and skill sets, are in a battle for exposure and future call-ups. If Reyna and Aaronson can slot in at MF, there are not enough slots on the roster…and that is a good problem to have.

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  17. My only gripes about this roster is Moore over Scally. I know he is untested in CONCACAF but with two games at home it would have been a great time to integrate him. He was a freaking stud against Bayern Munich a couple of weeks ago! And I still would have brought De la Fuente over Ariola. Look that guys puts in a lot of work but, there is never a payoff with him. He puts in all this work, gets himself in great positions only to miss an open goal wide or over the top. Beats guys to the line only to cross the ball out of bounds. He looks great until it’s time to make the play then he wilts….

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  18. Yup. I would have liked at least one big body up front…Dike or Pefok as an option.
    Still…Arranson, Weah, Pepi, Arriola and Hoppe will bring a ton of energy and press way more effectively then in Sept.
    Reyna under them passing into lanes as these guys create space/turnovers could have been deadly.
    The reality is that while I have been a big Sarge booster since the U17’s, and Pefok has his uses, they just don’t do enough. While I know someone will comment on Pefoks scoring, predictable, I have watched enough of him to understand why Young Boys is his ceiling. Hold up, pressing, movement, combo play are not there. He leaves big holes up front and if u r going to have a luxury player forward they better be lethal. He is more of an opportunist, but as a late game sub when we are pressing his aerial prowess could be used.

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  19. Rather than lament about the number of guys called in, who’s here or not here, this looks like an opportunity to allow others to shine. Who will step up and take advantage of the opportunity as we move forward to 2022? Let’s go!

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