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USMNT earns road point in 0-0 draw in El Salvador

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The U.S. men’s national team went into Thursday’s World Cup qualifying opener with the ambitious goal of taking nine points from the three September qualifiers, and the Americans were reminded that Concacaf qualifying is always a challenge.

The USMNT settled for a 0-0 draw in San Salvador on a night with few clear chances for either side.

Kellyn Acosta had one of the chances, but saw his goal-bound header kept out by a strong save from El Salvador goalkeeper Mario Gonzalez.

On a night when the USMNT started nine players making their World Cup qualifying debut, Gregg Berhalter’s team stood up well to El Salvador’s physical play in the first half, but couldn’t generate much of an attacking threat.

The second half saw more chances for the Americans, but they managed just two shots on goal on a night when they outshot El Salvador 12-7.

The U.S. defense held up well, with Matt Turner only being called on to make one save on the night, as Tim Ream and Miles Robinson formed a solid partnership in central defense to help Turner post his seventh shutout in eight USMNT matches, though Thursday was the first time he failed to win.

Ream started in place of a healthy John Brooks, who was presumably being saved for Sunday’s important clash with Canada, a team that boasts a far more potent collection of forwards than El Salvador.

It was a forgettable night for the attack, with Josh Sargent going another match without a goal, Brenden Aaronson struggling to make his mark and Konrad De La Fuente delivering a quiet performance.

The Americans return to the United States to take on a Canada side that opened its World Cup qualifying final-round campaign with a 1-1 home draw against Honduras.

Comments

  1. the problem with our faux barca stuff is for defensive reasons we play strictly up our channels. we don’t do a ton of showing to the ball. a lot of the passing lanes are straight lines upfield. a straight pass upfield is a defender’s dream. layers of defenders can step across and intercept. the only diagonals and width are wingbacks sneaking upfield. we deliberately try to pinch the wing forwards in. if we do get the ball built up, we take it to the corner flag and pass it around for a half hour, then hit an aimless cross. predictable, opposite of positionless, not a ton of showing to the ball either.

    the italians do this 433 thing with more aggressive pressing and faster passing tempo. barca does it with more expensive technical players and a more positionless approach, such that the forward can show to ball, someone else makes a run in, more overlapping and triangles, less straight lines.

    if you want to sense where this has gone awry, go back to the original sales pitch, then compare it to now. to me it’s like this should be more like italy or more like barca but not this in between stuff. and i think a lot of the in between stuff is a coach who can’t quite commit to what he’s selling, and hence runs out two way hustle mids who end any chance of his offensive concept working. or runs out wingbacks who can’t mark ensuring we aren’t italy.

    to me this is a better team when it’s much more direct. deadballs, yes. but over the top, or dribblinb right at people. it’s at its worst when it turns into some sort of 90s english team where every attack is premised as a wide cross to the striker. everything seems to be get it wide then get it back in. what happened to direct?

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  2. I still don’t buy the Concacaf excuse at all. They were objectively bad. bad decisions, individuals dispossessed all over the place, errant passes, shanked shots, balls out of bounds. Outplayed as individual players, and zero cohesion. The “pickup game” comment below was spot on.
    I did NOT see the field quality causing errors, a biased referee, the crowd throwing things, or any of the other “horrors” of Concacaf. (I can’t speak to hotel noise, but if that’s not addressed by now there’s a problem).
    Why are we supposed to believe it’s more physical than a game in, say, Manchester? It wasn’t. Easily the most chippy move of the game was made by Acosta, and McKennie after that.
    I’ll give them jet lag. That actually can explain the concentration issues. Maybe better Sunday.

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    • this is really not complicated. when is the last time they looked “good” in a contested match? maybe a few minutes with the subs in late against mexico playing another formation? we can’t pick if we’re emphasizing offense or defense, and the offense generally looks disjointed. meanwhile the talent steadily gathers and as a consequence results follow. ask yourself how a team this talented seems to never get on a page. ask yourself how you could have that much talent but be consistently churning one goal wins. ask yourself who picks a midfield of hustlers rather than creatives. ask yourself why all talk aside this ends up looking like decades of US teams, just less direct? remind yourself who played last night and who got left off the whole touring roster. hmmmm what could the common denominator, the problem, possibly be?

      to me this is what happens when one gets stuck halfway between being a team defense that counters and plays directly — which some may view as retrograde, but which is more direct to goal on offense, and more effective at defense;

      or being a more purely offensive team — as sold — that would have a bunch of more technical players knocking it around in triangles tiki-takaing the ball into the net.

      we have better mids being left off for not being hustling two way types. we have better backs being left off for not being pure attackers. when we make up our mind maybe this takes off. as long as it’s this thing with a hustling midfield and a defense that doesn’t always defend, it’s going to be this weird mix of stuttering and yet vulnerable that will manage results on talent.

      when we decide we are an “offense” or a “defense,” it’ll get off the ground. a more technical team could have maintained keepaway, created more chances, and hopefully been more precise with them, got a goal, got 3 points. a more defensive team would have locked down the wings, won more balls, and perhaps be less burdened with a bunch of indirect, possession oriented malarkey about what to do with it once they had it. god forbid we just went to goal more often as opposed to farting around by the flag hoping top 8 regional sides totally imbalance themselves because you’re on a side not trying to goal. my experience, if you want to play around on the perimeter, so what. thanks for taking the pressure off.

      i get decontextualized grief for being a coach critic but it’s for a reason.

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    • I think that is too harsh Dave P. They were super wasteful and disjointed in the final third. This can be down to not playing with each other, jet lag, and/or just youth.

      They were the better team on the night, and just couldn’t put together the quality to win. It will get better, unless it doesn’t, in which case Berhalter will be gone. But based on past performances it will get better.

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  3. i liked adams robinson turner reyna. adams did a good job as usual running around winning balls and stopping attacks. robinson when he stepped in the attack ended. reyna had a spotty night but had a couple of those plays where he improvises an accurate chip for a chance. not a yedlin fan but he was basically solid. konrad kind of disappeared. dest was being roasted. mckennie was kind of disconnected from others. aaronson was wasted in the midfield.

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  4. Did you see our players faces during national anthem, how scared and bewildered the kids look. Especially reyna. I thought ES was going to start better and with that extra energy of the crowd, we were lucky they didn’t.

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  5. My positive takeaway: Konrad can ball.

    Man, did he provide a creative spark in that first half. Full of confidence on the ball, consistent one-on-one take-ons, and his long, mazy dribble through the center of the field should have ended up in a goal. Had it done so, I think the second half would have played out much differently.

    My negative takeaway: we’re a bit stale without Pulisic.

    Onyewu last night made an interesting point that we didn’t play like a top ten team in the world, but I genuinely don’t think we’re a top ten team without Pulisic on the field. I don’t even love Pulisic as a player, but he opens up space for the forward line, and the fact that he often gets double-teamed creates more freedom for Adams and McKennie in the midfield. Just as Portugal isn’t the same without Ronaldo and Brazil isn’t the same without Neymar (I know Pulisic isn’t anywhere near the caliber of these two), the US isn’t the same without Pulisic. We need our best players on the field playing together if we have any chance of going far in the World Cup, and Pulisic is certainly the best offensive player we’ve got at the moment.

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    • I thought that the way Konrad started by beating 3 defenders with some very clever work was fantastic. However, I think it turned out negative. I’ve seen this before. Specifically Gio Dos Santos with the Galaxy thought he was so much better than the other players he would willingly take on defenders, even if there were 2 or 3 of them. He would do that instead of passing out and it would result in turn overs. I think Konrad figured he could beat the defenders any time he wanted. Only they adjusted and he couldn’t. He did have some interplay down his side that resulted in some crosses and a few drives to the middle that were a little threatening, but after the first flurry I think he was pretty ineffective.

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    • I thought Konrad was very poor. Yeah, lots on skills on the ball and taking defenders on, but that didn’t seem to have any purpose. Nothing led to anything dangers. And eventually the defenders adjusted to him and passing the ball to Konrad was just a dead end.

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  6. too much of the early energetic portion of the game looked like wales B, where we were too content to take the ball to the flag and play keepaway before whacking an aimless cross vaguely in the direction of the box. the more dangerous part of the game was actually when the field was stretched and we had long dribbling runs but we repeatedly made the schoolboy error of not committing the defender with the pass. sargent would be running at an isolated defender with a runner to the side. instead of making the defender commit and playing the ball behind him, he would make an early pass such that the defender could cover both.

    some of that is coaching/selection, and then some was they missed pulisic and weah, the latter of which offers a missing speed element. we were a little too willing to play half court soccer.

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    • aaronson is not a M — where he had his initial cap that didn’t impress me much — he’s a LF — as his fanboys used to argue to me. it didn’t help to be down to the 3rd LF to start the game, and not really get much from aaronson in the middle. we’d have been better off with aaronson wide and someone else central. they kind of lacked a little creativity and precision in the final 3rd.

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    • should have been pefok and not sargent — who was very meh for a US striker — but that wanders into the emerging GB question of late, whether i just watched the B team play or the A team. i thought he set up a rotation and those were not his perceived best players last night. personally i think rotating your B choices in for the first game here is suboptimal mathematics. that was a winnable game as is the home fixture, honduras you just see what happens, “6 points.” he seems to instead be chasing two road ties and a home win, “5 points.” to be fair, one reason we didn’t qualify last time was fewer road points, the fewest in decades. i just thought we could have done better than that, and kind of played that one safe to save people to chase much harder honduran road points. kind of strikes me as goofy MLS coach-think, where they will risk easy mismatch points sitting people against easier teams, to have the first team rested for the harder game. each game is still 3 points no matter who you play.

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  7. we looked like the young squad we were last night, especially the midfield I thought. 9 first time WC quali players experienced what the difference is here in our pathetic region of hacks and divers. I understand why a rookie would not truly understand that playing road WC qualis in CONCACAF is brutal no matter who you’re playing but I hope they don’t need another lesson in that reality. I won’t call out specific players but there were plenty to choose from who need to learn this NOW…posters too, but it’s not critical you all get this 🙂 Robinson is the poop at CB, thought he was awesome. Pefok sshowed he is in a good moment these days, hope we see him more

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  8. Well, first, the sky is not falling, but it is raining.

    I thought the lack of effective combination play was the downfall of the US. Perhaps with Konrad and Arronson, that might be expected since they have actually not played much together, but Reyna, Sargent, Mckennie and Adams have so no excuse there. Yedlin simply looked like he had no clue what his teammates wanted. Dest tried repeatedly to beat 3 defenders rather than pass. Someone said it looked like a pickup game with a bunch of guys who didn’t know each other.

    Defensively, Miles Robinson is the man. Even Ream looked OK, but he knows he is not the fastest and repeatedly gave up to much space in order to avoid exposing his big weakness, that meant he did not pressure attackers and prevent crosses (fortunately ES crosses were not that good even unpressured). There was some confusion from time-to-time that let to repeated ES corner kicks.

    Fortunately those are fixable problems; I expect more cohesion as the qualifiers go on, hopefully sooner rather than later.

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  9. Well at least they finally experienced the road atmosphere first-hand of CONCACAC compared to playing these opponents in a nice U.S. location setting. Scrappy game all around but didn’t lose so glass half full for now. One thing I did notice, and it will vary per opponent, but Jordan was a head taller than the entire El Salvador team. I know Berhalter knows Sargent all too well, but I think for these road games, Jordan would be a good bet to start due to his physical nature and ability to hold up very well.

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  10. I’ve been a fan of thr USMNT for a long time. The 1st qualifuer I remember seeing was the US v Netherlands Antillies in 84 or 85. It slays me that people think that we “should win”. Or all this stuff about our players playing in Europe/Champions League, being some sort of advantage in these brutal games in WCQ. Thats all good. But it doeant make a difference in the 90 minute games we are playing in CONCACAF. Qualifying is never easy. Every game will be a grind. Be ready for a rollercoaster ride.

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    • Golazo. All these games are battles, every challenge is contested with physical brutality. Who can do that better and overcome it better? And on the road many of the fields are a flippin joke, from pot holed deep grass bumps to rock hard turf to you name it, and with fans throwing crap at you, etc.

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      • The thing is, none of that applied last night. The field was fine, the ref was good. The fans were at times loud, but other than one bottle being thrown I didn’t see any evidence that they ever crossed the line (nothing close to what you saw in Hungary last night or Nice last week). Weather in San Salvador was pretty good for soccer (low of 68, high of 81); Nashville will probably be hotter on Sunday. The game itself wasn’t unusually physical and I didn’t see that the Salvadorans engaged in any gamesmanship or time wasting.
        Sure road games are tough, but they’re tough for everyone, everywhere.

    • I respectfully disagree. What you say is true of past US teams. We have so much talent now that it is no longer true. We had better players at every single position than they did. ES was much better organized, however, and played harder.The US greatly underperformed. Can you really point to any US player and say, boy he had a good game? I think the best that can be said is, well, he didn’t screw up and played pretty good. When you see shots that don’t even come close, lost dribbles, poor passes, bad crosses, whew, almost nothing good offensively, how can you say it is a good performance? If these guys were playing for their club teams like this, they would be on the bench, with one or two exceptions. Here’s one example. Wonderkind Gio Reyna at one point beat his defender and had half a step, driving to the end line, about 10 yards to the right of the box. He had 2 or 3 teammates in the box and an open lane for a pass. Instead of making a pass back on the ground to a teammate, he hit the ball about 10 to 15 feet high, way over everybody and over the sideline on the whole other side of the field. I think every single game in the Nations League and the Gold Cup we played better than this. Playing in ES shouldn’t matter that much to pros who have played in Champions League, Europa League, and derbies in top 5 leagues.

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      • hey Gary, what happened last night is evidence to the contrary of the point you’re trying to make. in fact, even with the level of the WC road quali newbies…still last night. There’s an adjustment, and how you play in Europe doesn’t necessarily translate to a national team (Messi knows this fact well). I think the kids will learn and grow and GB is a good guide for them so far; he earned some respect from me this summer for sure. and maybe what you want can come to pass. we all want that

    • it’s fair as historical context, it misses the mark as what should “this” team do. generally speaking, on average, these are tough. i was telling anyone listening that before we played. but should this list of players be losing to ES? on paper i felt like we should have gone from being wrong side of the road points to the other side where we could take 3.

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  11. Just a thought
    (defense)Robinson-brooks-ream-yedlin
    (Midfield) dest-mckennie-adams-fuente
    (Forwards)
    Pulisic Reyna
    All of our natural strikers have proven to be useless in that position.
    It looks to me to be an imbalance of positions, talent ratio and playing players at their best positions to thrive infividually dest is not good at defense at all in all matches ive seen him play he played winger at barca and he did very well. With pulisic up top and reyna they might get into alot of one on ones in the corners and generage chances or even break away quickly on counter3with their speed and ball control

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  12. This one is purely on the players. They didn’t execute the game plan. They didn’t act as a team. They know they are better technically than their opponent and tried to play individually through them. I now know why Mexico of old struggled against the hustle and heart teams of the US. Last night was the perfect example of players thinking their individual quality is enough to breakdown an entire team. How many times did we see a player dribble into 3 defenders? Or pass on a layoff to an open team mate to try some Messi moves, or make the layoff but late because they thought they’d play through a defender? As GB said…they weren’t patient. Spacing was terrible. They didn’t spray the ball side to side to stretch the defense – which is El Salvador’s tendency in the back. This one is about overconfidence of individuals. Dest needs to benched if he won’t play team ball. McKennie had his worst game in the shirt. Reyna was selfish and forced things but seemed to grow out of it later on the match. I thought Sargent was fine. Pefok is a different sort of striker and offered a lot with his fresh legs. He should start vs more physical teams. Sargent vs Canada and Mexico and Jamaica. It’s great to get out of there with a point and hurts El Salvador by the dropping points at home. Losers last night were the home teams that drew and Jamaica. Winners were everyone else. Canada looked really vulnerable – also overconfident, like they were going just walk through because, hey, look at the clubs we play on. Should be interesting on Sunday with two teams that actually repect each other.

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    • If this team continually needs a warm up (like the equally ugly Honduras game in NL) game to remember that just because they play at bigger clubs they aren’t going to individually beat a CONCACAF team but actually need to play like they are (referencing Adam’s statements after the game) playing England or France – as a team, they are going to lose more than 2 pts. It was this attitude – and this attitude alone – that lost 2018 qualifying. Those teams thought they were superior and didn’t play as a team or with any determination. This team cannot fall into the same trap.

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    • I couldn’t agree more. I pointed out the same thing with a post above written before I read your post. Another thing I haven’t mentioned yet is the fact that we have showed the ability to defeat a high press before. It seems to have been forgotten in this game. As you allude to, you need good spacing, movement off the ball, and quick passes. We were often lacking all 3 and usually lacking at least two of these qualities. We made it easy for the
      ES defense.

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  13. After the failure to qualify last cycle I don’t want to hear the voices saying a point on the road is a good result. Because I remember the team actually getting points on the road at Mexico, at Panama and at Honduras and then losing games at home against Costa Rica and Mexico. That is exactly how they failed to qualify. When I look at the schedule the last qualifying window has away games at Mexico and Costa Rica. I expect 0-1 points from those two games. If the team doesn’t get wins this year they will be a dangerous situation.

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  14. You guys are on crack. They didn’t score, and the cutting edge wasn’t there in the final 3rd. OK, Fine. It’ll get punished later. But they also possessed the ball for much of the game, succesfully pressed ES high up the pitch and created good turnovers and didn’t give up much in the defensive end until the very end.

    Dest needs to work on defense a bit, but he recovered after every misstep, again, he’ll get punished if he keeps it up, but he didn’t play poorly either.

    Overall, it wasn’t half bad given that it is the first game, with a mishmash of players away after long trips across the atlantic. Jet lag is real.

    There is definitely room for improvement, especially with Yedlin, who looks big and slow and like he has lost his touch/confidence. But the uproar seems excessive.

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    • I’m not on crack. You bring up some good points (jet lag and a late start – it was 2am in Europe) but the guys played too individually last night. Dest was number one offender. I remember the game they did this before. It was Honduras in the NL. They seem to rate themselves so highly because where they play their club ball that they seem to need a game to come down to earth when facing CONCACAF opponents. This is why I gave GB so much credit going from Honduras to Mexico. He seemed to be able wash them clean of this entitled attitude between those games. Or maybe it was actually respecting Mexico. I hope whatever it was they find it by Sunday and play more as group. If so they win. Home games make me waaaay more nervous than away games. Home games must result in 3pts. No losing to Mexico and Costa Rica this round!

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    • As I wrote last night, let the excuses begin. Excuses are for losers. By not winning in ES, it was a moral loss and a loss of 2 points we could have had if we played better. Good teams find a way to overcome the issues you cite and the US was not a good team last night.

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  15. Very poor. Those two dropped points may prove the difference between qualifying or not. I still don’t understand what Berhalter’s play style is. It’s just seems like players are put on the field and told to figure out what to do. Everyone is trying to do something, but there is no team cohesion at all.

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  16. Our most skilled and in-form players looked sloppy and out of sync. Not sure why, but travel and time must have played a role. I know they were prepared, but the execution was still very flat. Strangely enough, the first five minutes looked really good, and then…sloppy. For all the hate Ream gets on this site, I thought he was probably our best player in this game. I can see how his passing out of the back can be a useful asset against weaker less athletic teams that will bunker against us. A little taste of humble pie is probably a good thing for this group, as superior talent has never allowed us to steamroll anybody in WCQ. ES is better than most are giving them credit for, very well organized, and once they settled in (and we didn’t put away one early) they grew into the game and played us pretty even, I don’t know if will qualify but I dont think they will be last in the octagon.

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  17. .
    Since the game was not even shown on any channel except premium cable, I didn’t watch it. It’s hard to know how US soccer expects fans to follow games that aren’t even televised. Mexico vs. Jamaica, which we did get to see, had some interesting moments.
    .
    Looking at the rest of the weekend TV lineup, the mind again boggles. ESPN2 is graciously granting us one game with England, but against an utterly meaningless opponent! While the other, better England matches remain untelevised, along with several other games that would have been very watchable.
    .
    Again, how do US soccer executives think they are ever going to increase or support interest in soccer in the US, or tap the large young partly Hispanic audience, by hardly ever showing any of the best international games on TV?
    .
    For reference (Central Time) …
    .
    Fri., Sept. 3
    9 pm – LAFC vs. Sporting KC – UniMás
    .
    Sat., Sept. 4
    6 pm – Vancouver vs. Austin – not televised
    7 pm – RSL vs. Dallas – UniMás
    9 pm – San José vs. Colorado – UniMás
    .
    Sun., Sept. 5
    11 am – England vs. Andorra (!) – ESPN2
    1:45 pm – Switzerland vs. Italy – not televised
    1:45 pm – Belgium vs. Czech Rep. – not televised
    2 pm – Brazil vs. Argentina – not televised
    6 pm – Costa Rica vs. Mexico – Telemundo
    7 pm – USA vs. Canada – FS1, UniMás
    .

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      • Thanks for your reply. So El Salvador had the rights? But why didn’t anyone else in the US buy them?
        .
        I confess I still don’t understand why it’s so hard to get more decent games on TV. Or why WCQ now seems to be going back and forth between Univisión and Telemundo, if I even got that part of the schedule right.
        .
        As a fan, it’s just frustrating.
        .

    • I got paramount plus on my phone for $5/month. First 7 days are free so I could cancel now but probably need it to watch hondorus game also. I could see okay to tell what was going on in general but not fouls, etc.

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    • It’s a streaming world now, there’s more games than you can ever watch for a pretty reasonable monthly fee on Paramount+ and ESPN+ and the latter will only get better. Cut the cord….

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    • It’s all about making money, more money, and bleeding consumers dry. ESPN used to show a fair amount of soccer, but now they put almost everything from abroad on ESPN+ so people will have to pay extra. At least CBSSN comes with my sports package on cable, but more and more you can have that package but will still have to pay extra on top of that to see a lot of games. CBSSN will probably end up giving way to Paramount+ and show a tractor pull instead, the way things are going. BTW, I signed up for ESPN+, but I rarely use it because I don’t think the quality is near as good as regular cable. So, you end up paying more for lesser quality.

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    • Sargent is not the problem. The problem is the lack of ANY midfield and a lack of a good coach. Its easy to blame the lone forward if you dont really understand the game

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      • Don, what is with you and your extreme bias? You must be his 1st cousin, or dated his sister back in the day or something. You & others said Werder Bremen midfield sux, he gets no service. Ok! One of those sorry midfielders transferred to the Canaries before Josh did. What about the US? In Nations League, Sargent had a Champions League Winner (Chelsea) winger on his left, a Dortmund winger on his right, and Juventus midfielder behind him, he gets no service. Ok! Last night, Sarg had a Marseille winger on his left, a Dortmund on his right, a Champions League midfield behind him. (Austria double winner, Juventus midfielder, and a Leipzig midfielder). He still doesn’t score. Now, your telling people they don’t understand the game!? Let me remind you, You are the one Don, that called the 2nd division Championship in England a JV League!! “I know it was you Fredo!” I also know, it was because Dike was scoring for Barnsley and earned some praise from the US fan base. Heaven forbid that someone besides Sargent puts the ball in the back of the net! Sargent isn’t scoring because he isn’t getting any service!? He’s not scoring because he’s focused on playing defense, doing want GB wants “Zardes role”. When the US press, and the ball turns over, he’s out of position. Meaning his back is to goal; or he’s facing the side line. He has to pass the ball, to someone facing forward, or further up the pitch, while being 39-40 yards away from goal. His strengths are getting into the box into shooting position, or pushing forward with a sense of urgency towards the goal, pulling at least 2 defenders. One of Dike’s greatest strengths that you don’t know is that he’s facing forward, more times than not. I guess, it’s easier to be bias than break down what’s really going on in the game.

      • if we don’t understand the game? we lacked an outlet at times to get the ball up the field. we struggled to find him in the final third. he failed to hold off his mark in holding play situations. oh, but he chased the defenders and did intangible things. which is how you tie 0-0 by the way. is you’re more interested in chasing them than scoring for you.

        more pointedly, what really came of all the chasing? he didn’t strip the ball and go score. the mids and backs were the ones winning the ball. it’s not like better forwards didn’t chase for previous decades…….

        to me it’s a division of labor. you put in a leakproof backline plus adams and then you trust the front 5 to do their part. their part is create and put balls in the net. thus properly allocated sargent would have a problem, just like dest, which is he’s not productively executing the primary concern of his position well. he does intangibles. if you want to win and not tie 0-0 you need something more than intangibles.

        i like the kid but at a point it’s does he finish those volleys or show better to the ball or hold off his man or otherwise help us put balls in the net.

  18. It was just an overall sloppy game. Second game in a row from Dest where he seemed out of his depth. At this point, he is not contributing the way the team needs him to. I would bench him if I was Berhalter. I was also disappointed with McKennie. Gave the ball away to easily. It was an off game for him. I was also not sold on Sargent. He just looks so timid. Personally, the best striker we have at the moment is Pepi, and I think he should start against Canada. Passing needs to improve greatly. The team was just to nonchalant with the ball. There needs to be more urgency from this team.

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  19. I’m wondering if Dest needs to be higher up the pitch as that can help his defensive deficiencies. He played very well in the wide position for Barca recently. Too many times he was physically manhandled while in the defensive half.

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    • Dest needs to stop thinking he can Messi his way through CONCACAF defenses. He needs to recognize overlapping runs and runs into the box when three damn defenders rotate over to him. I believe he, and his mentality, is the main problem. He should be less selfish. If he was his impact on the games would be much much greater than the once or twice a game he breaks through the blockade coming his way. He is single handedly dragging the defense out of shape and then turns the ball over – over and over. Whether he starts at the back or from the midfield that mentality has to change. He needs to pull those defenders and dish to team mates making runs into the space created by defenders stepping to him. Bench him if he wants to continue the same way. I’ll take a keep-it-simple Jedi Robinson.

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  20. These aren’t excuses, more of what I think is an explanation. That game started at 300 am in Europe. Even at night, the climate is very different from Europe, the travel is difficult, and historically European based players have not been stellar in road qualifiers. There arent many MLS players to choose from since so many of the top American players have jumped to Europe. I don’t ever remember US just walking over people in qualifying on the road even with the 2002 team and that team had good players. Combine that US has to play two road games this window in humidity means will need a lot of rotation. The game was what I expected except dest, de la fuenta, and Aaronson were very out of sync which was disappointing. I think expecting 7 – 9 points was probably a little unrealistic, but I am probably in the minority. I think ES is probably better than people think and will not finish in 8th place.

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  21. Positives: 1 point, no major injuries. Mantra remains, win at home, draw away. Do that and they will be fine.

    The USMNT usually has a poor first game in tournaments and then get better. Defense seemed better organized than they were in the Gold Cup.

    Negatives: When they had the ball there did not seem to be a coordinated plan of attack. Players do not appear to have options or maybe they don’t recognize them. This team does not appear to be well coached or well organized. After 36 games with this management team, this is concerning.

    On the left they had an inverted left back and in inverted left winger?? How is that supposed to work?

    The subs seemed to be slanted towards keeping the draw rather than going for a win. A draw was okay but El Salvador is the arguably the weakest team in the group and this was a wasted opportunity to get three very valuable AWAY points. Honduras should be harder.

    This was another “got away with it” game.

    If they don’t beat Canada the drum beats will start.

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    • Negatives. Too often gave away possession cheaply. Passing, especially in the final third was not crisp. We tended to impatiently launch the ball in search of a desperately direct pass, like Yedlin did and he was criticized by Mo Edu in the broadcast booth.

      My take on the Ream and Yedlin starts: Difficult 3 match, 7 day window, plus they are the most capped players, and Yedlin has World Cup experience. Ream was generally decent, Yedlin not so much.

      Did anyone else notice that it wasn’t until Robinson replaced Dest that we actually sent a quality searching cross from the left wing into the box? Dest was producing turnovers like the Hostess factory.

      Sargent did some good things, but also made many mistakes including where he passed to Konrad rather than shoot very early in the second half. Pefok provided a different look. He too put in a mixed performance. No one yet has cemented a spot as the striker. We may be forced to use a False 9 (god please, ANYONE but Lletget and his performance against Wales).

      Other than the flubbed trap and pass that resulted in an ES corner, Turner did everything that was asked. He made the one save look easy.

      Overall, I’d categorize our play as sloppy and disjointed. Sure there were moments where we were threatening and should have finished, but we surrendered 2-3 quality chances as well.

      Obviously a win is better. Still, it could have been no points and a loss against an inferior team….like T&T in Couva. This is a 14 game slog. It’s four MORE games than the Hex. The good news is we’re tied for 2nd. The bad news is we have the same amount of points as the 7th place team

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  22. Here’s something that doesn’t seem quite right, would love to hear others’ take…
    – With the new format he coulda called in more players..
    – You get 5 subs a game..
    So..
    I don’t get the thought process on how he manages selection & subs.
    (I’m not talking about Ream either)
    – He only brings in 5 mids – and even though a few guys can drop from the wing to play the #10 spot something doesn’t feel right.
    – His 3 mids off the bench Llegett, Eileen & Acosta – sub in to one spot for 5-10 mins then they switch spots again.
    – Aaronson should have been some linkage to those spaces b/c I know what you’re getting with Adams and Weston..but instead of leaving in Konrad he moves Aaronson to the wing..
    – When we had a few rare chances of creativity & looked like we coulda had a goal in us the 2nd half he makes the midfield less creative or attack minded with his subs..
    – And I didn’t really see any adjustments except 1 time Reyna switched sides for 3 minutes.
    – He started both his right backs, but then Acosta goes from the #10 to RB when the 2nd group of subs came in.
    If there woulda been a game to start Dest on the right tonight woulda made sense bc we gotta go against Davies next game.. (I assume Yedlin is the best choice vs canada)
    – I know he did a lot of this in the gold cup, but this is different.

    I felt like I was watching a football team playing 2 QBs.. U know the old saying – if you have 2 QBs u don’t really have a QB….
    I got that same feeling tonight.
    Interested in others’ thoughts..

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    • I think you make some very good points. I think the issues you mention are part of the reason the team looked disjointed and poorly organized.
      The players did not look like they knew their roles or what they were supposed to do.

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  23. I keep waiting to be convinced that Dest is worthy of the hype, but I’m just not seeing it. If the name on his Jersey had been Vines folks would be saying it was shambolic…and it was. He got smoked multiple times, often seemed to be trailing the play, and offered little going forward…I’m not sur Antonee Robinson is better, but I think I trust him more…

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      • At Barca, he’s surrounded by a $1 bil dollars worth of transfer talent and a perfect pitch. If he loses the ball, he’s got some of the world’s best mids and CBs to get it back and if he makes a positive play, he had the world’s greatest player to finish.

        He’s not going to get double teamed or triple teamed at Barca because there are too many other players to cover. He is and he will in CONCACAF and he’s having trouble adjusting due to one dimensional game.

        He should be going for quick diagonal passing to get around the 2-3 defenders. Instead he dribbled into them and lost the ball repeatedly.

        Trust me, I can’t believe that I’m advocating for an LB from. Championship squad over Barca, but Antonee is so much a better fit for this team. More solid defensively and a natural lefty who can whip in a cross to land on Pefok’s head.

        Two inverted players on the same side did not work.

  24. Some headline–US earns road point when it should be something like US fails to win in El Salvador.Let the excuses begin. Can anyone tell me what our game plan was? Can anyone tell me if there was a game plan? The US played like a bunch of guys got together in the park and formed a team. The game plan in that case is something like, well, when you get the ball, kick it forward and run hard and try to get it. There were shots from 40 yards out, crosses that went about 10 yards up in the stands. Guys slowing down their dribble and not passing so that they could be surrounded by defenders. During breaks I switched over to the Mexico-Jamaica game and at least there the two teams were spaced out and actually played like real teams rather than just a bunch of guys. They”re going to have to play about 3 times better to beat Canada.

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    • Canada only managed a draw at home against Honduras who was without their best player. Must win game for both teams. Herdman only made 2 subs Tajon at half and Miller in the final 4 minutes. I’d expect the rested Kaye, Osorio, and Piette against the US.

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    • If we are going to need to play 3 times better then last night to beat Canada how well did Honduras play since they were up 1-0 in Canada and ended up tying them? Think your logic says Honduras is a shoe in to qualify.

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    • Hmm, so the fact that Canada played lousy makes it okay that the US played lousy? I assume that Canada will play better, but they do have a history of underperforming in major competitions, so that may be a saving grace for us.

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  25. that team not scoring was so easy to predict going into it. It’s going to be a grind the whole way through on the scoring side.

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    • Truth…shocking that dancing around selfishly with ball into 3 defenders or out of freakin bounds can make a (gasp!) hustle and heart, college bread, MLSer look more effective. Dest needs a stern talking to. I want to see more of Jedi Robinson.

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  26. I’ll take this road point. Considering we didn’t play up to our potential.
    However, we should win, on paper and based on talent though. Take it as a learning experience for the young kids, the fact that we didn’t lose, we earned a road draw (and the opposition lost two home points), all while playing fairly poorly.
    But we need to score from open play. A bit concerning.

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    • Yeah. Once again there’s Josh Sargent doing everything but scoring, can’t find the back of the net. Dude just does not score, otherwise he’s a real good forward. Love his movement, his quicks, his hold-up play, the way he runs the channels…but…no goals. Again. Except for flashes the rest of them were largely zeroes offensively, had a few moments here and there.
      Hopefully stuff gets better. That wasn’t wonderful.

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    • Good perspective, the home team lost 2 pts.

      Flip side, now a lot of pressure vs Canada.

      To me, we didn’t win this game due to the striker role. Sargent has had his chances to start.
      Jordan came in, and saw a spark in the offense. Reyna woke up.

      Do we win with Pulisic tonight? Maybe. But I’m glad he was rested for Canada. Smart.

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