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USMNT held to home World Cup qualifying draw against Canada


Almost five years after the U.S. men’s national team began its last Concacaf World Cup qualifying final-round cycle winless in its first two, the Americans have managed to limp out of the gate in qualifying yet again.

A Cyle Larin equalizer set up by the dazzling speed of Alphonso Davies was enough to help Canada grab an equalizer and precious road point in Sunday’s 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.

Larin’s goal, which canceled out a beautifully-constructed goal finished off by Brenden Aaronson, has left both the Americans and Canadians sitting on two points from their first two Octagonal-round qualifiers.

Americans eager to see the team that swept the Concacaf trophy run this summer were subjected to a drama-filled Sunday which began with the news that star midfielder Weston McKennie was suspended for the match by the team for violating COVID protocols, while Gio Reyna also sat out with a hamstring injury.

With that distracting backdrop, the Americans faced off against a Canadian side determined to secure at least a draw on Sunday after its own disappointing home opener in Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Honduras.

Canada’s 5-4-1 formation frustrated a U.S. team that simply lacked the creativity to break down the visitors, while the Canadians found success booming long balls forward for Alphonso Davies to use his blazing speed to run on.

The result was a match that saw the Americans dominate possession, but Canada create the more dangerous scoring chances, even despite being outshot 11-6.

Canada’s best chance of the first half came in the 14th minute, when Davies beat Sergiño Dest to a long ball bouncing from midfield toward the penalty area, and laid off a pass to a wide-open Cyle Larin, who had his mis-hit shot denied by a Matt Turner save.

Canada nearly gifted the Americans a goal in the 27th minute Scott Kennedy’s attempted clearance of a USMNT cross forced a diving save from Canadian goalkeeper Milan Borjan.

The Americans did come close to finding a goal of their own creation in the first half when Aaronson took a Sebastian Lletget pass and found Pulisic in front of goal, only for Pulisic to send his shot off the right post.

The USMNT broke through in the 55th minute after a well-worked sequence sparked by a forced turnover by Aaronson. Some quick passes led to a Kellyn Acosta pass to Antonee Robinson on the left wing, and he served up a perfect ball to Aaronson to bundle home from close range.

It only took Canada seven minutes to respond though, with Davies blowing past DeAndre Yedlin before delivering a perfect pass to Cyle Larin at the back-post for an easy finish.

Canada piled on even more pressure with the second-half inclusions of Tajon Buchanan and Jonathan David, who were a handful for the Americans to deal with in the final third of the match.

Luckily for the American defense, Davies was forced off in the 75th minute, costing Canada its most dangerous player on the night, but Buchanan quickly picked up the slack, as he blazed past John Brooks on one sequence that led to another dangerous chance for the Canadians.

The USMNT had some set-piece opportunities late in the match, but couldn’t turn those into dangerous chances, let alone goals, as the final whistle blew on a draw that will now have the Americans heading to Honduras facing serious pressure to take all three points. or risk condemning the USMNT to a poor start that would be all too similar to the poor start the Americans endured in their last World Cup qualifying cycle, when they started the final round with consecutive losses to Mexico and Costa Rica.

What did you think of the match? See the Americans getting it together against Honduras? What has you the most concerned? Was there any silver lining for the USMNT from Sunday’s draw?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I think in both qualifiers our midfield was lacking. We seemed to struggle linking thru central midfield and most forward passing goes thru the wings. Our CBs try very few line breaking passes too probably because our mf and attackers are not making the proper runs for a CB to risk it as they are riskier passes.

    Instead we seem to be be focused on wide play. We’re also playing brutally slow and wary too much ball watching rather than making runs or overloading g a side with triangles. Spacing has been terrible and playing slow and making few runs just makes it easy to bunker and counter which is going to the scouting report and blueprint on defending us for the rest of the way now.

    In many ways this is a growing pains scenario. We had a great summer our opponents took notice and now park the bus in front of goal and hope for a counter offensively.

    Our young squad isn’t ruthless or tactical enough to break down the opposition bunker ball, YET but they will learn as this group is talented they just not used to it yet.

    Both El Salvador and Canada had very organized lines and spacing defensively. They closed down passing lanes and pressed us hard and quickly taking away time on the ball. The counter to this is quicker one two touch passes with triangles and line breaking passes from CB but we seem to not understand the counter to how we were played defensively. And instead played right into their defensive strategy by playing mostly thru the wings and playing slow passes and too many touches hero ball.

    All of this is on GB for not having the correct tactical adjustment for how we were being played defensively. The blueprint has been shown now it’s on GB to adjust tactically to that. We have the players this cycle and there no more excuses with the talent of this generation.

    NL and GC mean nothing at this point. Qualification means everything. No doubt GB has been outcoached and out maneuvered by Hugo Perez and Heard the past two games and he had the better players both games.

  2. I’m not off the Berhalter bus yet but I’m officially pulling the stop please cord and working my way to the door. Lose Weah, Wes, Reyna, and Dest and your one replacement is Jackson Yueill. We already know what he can do against Honduras and it’s not good. This is beyond frustrating. I understand there are limits with travel and a short turn around but Ferreira is red hot, has experience with the staff, and is creative, Clark is high energy like Aaronson but also likes to create, Cowell can stretch a backline something lacking the first two matches. If you watched the first two matches and thought we’ve got too much off ball movement and too much creativity I don’t know how I can believe you understand about soccer. People like to compare him to Arena, but he’s just an American Klinsmann, doubling down when criticized because he’d rather lose than make reasonable changes that weren’t his idea. We were told Yueill was being giving a chance against Swiss to show what he could do against better opponents, he failed. Given another chance against, Honduras, he failed. Given another chance in GC, he failed. Move on Gregg because we’re moving on if you don’t.

  3. All you need to know about GB’s mentality going into this game is clear to see in the subs he had available for this game

    (14) R.Pepi – Forward
    (20) De la Fuente – Forward
    (9) J.Sargent – Forward
    (8) S.Johnson – Goalkeeper
    (18) E.Horvath – Goalkeeper
    (7) C.Roldan – Midfielder
    (16) J.Sands – Defender / Midfielder
    (15) M.McKenzie – Defender
    (13) T.Ream – Defender
    (22) D.Yedlin – Defender
    (3) W.Zimmerman – Defender
    (21) G.Bello – Defender

    6 defenders? SIX!!!??? 0 attacking midfielders?….Seriously what was the game plan?

    And we wonder why we looked flat with no flair and coordination moving forward as a team. Player selection to execute tactics and strategy falls on the shoulders of the coach…..and we got simply out coached by John Herdman

  4. I can see none of these comments are coming from coaches. Since you can’t teach heart then teach what you got. The US has speed and strength with some pretty good passing. So lets play like the Germans, press like crazy and bring in a Nagbe/Gundogan type who can HOLD THE BALL IN THE FINAL THIRD AND CREATE HAVOC.

    Isn’t that why Gregg had Yunush Musah line up in midfield? Time for emergency use authorization.

  5. This regime was installed over two and a half years ago. Canada was game 37 in charge.
    Early on in its first tournament in charge, Gold Cup 2019, many of the same flaws we are now seeing in the Octagon were already evident. What we saw early on was:

    • Poor roster construction
    • Teacher’s pet players
    • Mediocre substitution choices
    • A lack of “feel” for the game and consequently an inability to adjust.

    The manager’s intent was to build a team with more of a “club” structure. By installing the manager’s “system” and slotting the players into it the USMNT hoped to solve the problem of player availability.

    The manager was chosen at a time when his brother held enormous power in the USSF. This vision of a “Club USA” would take time and a lot of experimentation. And when your brother is the CEO, you can operate with more of an eye to the future and not be held accountable for poor short-term results.

    Jay is gone but there is still an ongoing lack of accountability with this regime. That 2019 Gold Cup was lost. Results improved this summer with the twin trophy wins.

    It was a false dawn.

    The Mexico they beat now looks like it was their pre-season squad. The real Mexico seems to be showing up now. The trophies were just papering over the USMNT cracks.

    If anyone looked at the actual play of the team, the in-game management was only marginally improved. This is still a poorly organized, poor coached, leaderless team.

    Unfortunately for the USMNT, the time for experimentation is now over.

    Yet this manager, even though he did not have to, chose to approach the El Salvador game with an experimental lineup. An inverted left winger and an inverted left back. The left winger had only one cap back in November of 2020. The left back doesn’t normally play left back for the USMNT. And while both spent time in Barcelona, they did not play together much if at all.
    That tells you that this manager does not appreciate just how vital every single game is in the Octagon, especially early on. It tells you a bit about his arrogance and how condescending he is towards his opponents.

    It is not too late.

    If they beat Honduras, a very tall order, they will have 5 points from 3 games with 11 games (and their 33 points) to go.

    The next 3 game set is Jamaica (H), Panama (A) and Costa Rica (H). 7 to 9 points from them is certainly doable and put the USMNT in a decent spot.

    So, there is reason to hope but there is also reason to be fearful.
    This manager has proven that he takes a while to learn his lesson and even if he does, he does so incompletely.

    Even if he does beat Los Catrachos all the flaws that are on full display, the poor game day management, the baffling lineup choices, the poor roster construction, etc., are unlikely to go away.
    And even though CONCACAF teams are all less talented than the USMNT overall, most everyone, save Jamaica, seems to be putting their best foot forward.
    They are showing up bright eyed and ready to go.
    The USMNT looks like it has just got out of bed. It’s not a good look.

    • You have got to be new, or like I was waiting for a nice opportunity to drop some thoughts! People are going to stop reading after “…brother held enormous power in the USSF!” This is tin foil hat, deep state conspiracy stuff, V!!! SBI commenters have already debunked, disproved, what’cha spittin’! Jay was the COO of marketing! I repeat marketing! When USA won the Gold Cup, no fan said to themselves. ‘ I’m glad the marketing department helped us win!’ When teams when championships, fans aren’t thankful for the marketing team!? I doubt Jay had any on field decisions accept where to put digital ads. There’s a lot of smart and witty commenters on SBI, they’ll embarrass you, without cursing, or insulting you. (Speaking from experience, so I’m giving you a heads up). If you’re a go with flow type, a simple google search is cool.

  6. Bunch of individuals….Talented but can’t play well together and on same page…Also, really, Berhalter with those late, late, late subs?….Still time and hoping they’ll get it together

    • “Still Time”….not so much. If we don’t pick up the win in the third match than Gregg needs to be on a very short leash.
      El Salvador is probably the weakest opponent in this round and the fact we looked so disconnected is 100% on Gregg.
      Having such a high possession percentage against Canada and not capitalizing on it…coupled with the poor substitution is again on Gregg.
      Failure to get 3 points from the final game will put us in the same place as last cycle….except for the fact that we’ve got the hardest opponents yet to play…where as last cycle we played our 2 hardest opponents first than fired JK.

  7. After we scored the goal we played like we were behind rather than ahead We were still having our backs out to half line. After they had been beating us on the counter all night, especially Davis. No adjustments. In that situation you change and get numbers back and defend . The waiting to the last 10 minutes to put our last 3 subs in was negligent Berhalter froze and made two bad game decisions, Tyler Adam’s foul was stupid. Way behind the ball.

  8. people have rightfully commented on his waiting to make his 2nd and so on subs until 83′ when we were dragging, but to see the full impact of the injuries plus the suspension PLUS the unwillingness of the coach to restock, check out the box score. it wasn’t as bad as trinidad in terms of weapons on the bench, but he gave himself so little to work with the only attacker he didn’t use was pepi. now, you can ask him why roldan and not pepi, but he only had so much choice left. meanwhile he had 5 bench backs he didn’t use despite starting 4 and subbing 1.

    and someone on here asked how could he fix it, well, sean johnson magically appeared in camp somehow hmmmmmmm and if you’re not going to fix it before canada, perhaps before honduras? like we have never swapped out roster between qualis before. we pretty much knew pulisic would miss a game. we knew weah was out before we started. when did reyna get hurt?

    the idea to a 25 man historically has been not to carry hurt people but to have competition and game day choice. the idea has never been to just cope with attrition. we have always called in replacements and sent home hurt people. this is not MLS, you don’t just go to the next destination on the road trip with an even shorter travel roster. for a home qualifier the majority of his bench were keepers or backs.

  9. far as i am concerned the coaching math is a few players omitted or out, but still good enough for 1-0 like this summer, we even got that lead, but then you swap out 3/4 of the backs with people who can’t mark and it starts to look more defensively like the 19 loss and that gets you 1-1. i told my buddies pregame that defensive selection was like he didn’t learn his canada away lesson at all.

    • Now, here’s my opinion on USA fullback play. Yes, it hasn’t been the greatest, I’ll agree. It’s not the marking that gets me, because marking is applied on set piece defending, prominently. I remember reading about Koeman at Barca, saying Dest needs to have more focus throughout the whole match, not only when he has the ball. Yedlin was just that last night. No matter what formation GB has had, the backs are always STANDING on the touch line, waiting to receive the ball for width purposes. If I’m on the sideline, waiting to receive the ball, the defender has the advantage. The defender is running at full speed, while the I’m stationary. I’m no coach, or expert but I’ve always heard ‘Use the side line as a defender!’ Case in point- Yedlin is standing waiting for a pass from Miles. He rarely does an inside pass with his left. Nearest defender cuts off space, he’s not a dribbler, so Yedlin passes it back to Miles. Now, at this time Yedlin has taken himself out of the run of play. Defender is next to Yedlin, so Miles can’t pass it back to Yedlin. If all three midfielders aren’t populating the space, overloading the center of the park, especially against a low block, then Miles has no choice but kick it down field, or sideways to another CB. When Dest dribbled past 2 defenders, he left himself space between the side line for himself to make the 1st move. Dest & Shaq are the only 2 fullbacks, who like to turn and get up the pitch. Antonee likes to get up the pitch also, but needs combo play to be released, but he can’t do that facing his own goal. Midfielders have to work in coordination also. No LB, or RB in the pool, is better than A. Robinson at LB. The best balanced RB, we have is Shaq. Age, strength, defensive presence, never playing in the MLS, size tactical awareness. In 3 CB formation, on defense your wingbacks have time to fill in the space, vacated when your Left & Right CBs step up to defend, leaving one CB, preferably the middle one. So it’s not the marking in my opinion, but the positioning of the fullbacks during the match. You can’t be a detailed oriented person and get mad at someone else for being that exact same.

      • sorry, bunk, the fact his wingbacks and brooks can’t defend is basic knowledge. in reality it’s only on some sort of over-complicated detailed theoretical basis this gets excused. if you stick to, can my defenders defend, it would be solved. the GC bunch generally did their job. the NL bunch doesn’t. he went with his A team and some of the B team got left off a 10 man list. i could fix his CB problem but don’t even see the tools to do so within his wingback corps. he picked backs with known issues playing defense, for their offense. buy the ticket, take the ride.

    • The 3-4-3 gives you the same problem. The only difference is you have Sands as the middle defender and Adams next to Acosta. It gains you nothing offensively which is really the problem. We were unable to pin Davies deep and make him defend. It might have been worse because you’d have a CB defending Davies and Buchanan in space. Sometimes your best defense is a good offense.

    • M. Robinson, Sands, Zimmerman were the starting CB trio vs Canada. It’s the main reason why I thought we could see that again. M. Robinson, Brooks, Sands, get the lead sub out Brooks for Zimmerman, something like that. Why did GB bring a lot of CBs? (Brooks, Miles, Ream, Zimmerman, McKenzie, Sands). He’s played 3 in 2 matches. It’s looking like 1, or 2 are going going to ride the pine. Why bring deadweight? I’m not talking in talent, I’m speaking on not playing your personnel. Usually, coaches who use 3 CBs bring 5, or 6. Every other formation coaches bring 4.

    • I wanted to put this here too. I have been pushing for a 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 for a long time b/c of our lack of D options wide. But now, I think you actually have to go to a 4-4-2 of some stripe for the game in Honduras. Bring in the extra striker (team up Sargent and Pefok) and drop a MF. We just don’t have enough MF chops to have Pulisic running up the wing high. Pulisic and Tyler in the middle with whomever you want wide at MF offering cover to our wide backs.

  10. While I think too manh people gave this team a pass on the El Salvador result, I’m not as harsh as most here on the Canada game result. First, I don’t know if Davies is the best player in CONCACAF,but he is certainly the most dangerous. As The Imperative Voice keeps pointing out, when you pick outside backs for their ability to go forward you leave yourself very vulnerable and you may not gain as much as you lose. Hopefully, when we play Canada again Berhalter will have learned, as will his players, that whatever side Davies is on the appropriate outside back and CB need to stay back, ahead of Davies by at least 5 yards. After the El Salvador game I said the US would have to play about 3 times better to beat Canada and I got some criticism for that. Well, the good news is that we played about twice as good as we did in the ES game. The bad news is that we needed to play 3 times better to win and we didn’t do that. Still, I’m heartened by the fact that we played a lot better than vs. ES. Also, although we had CP back, we were missing Reyna and McKennie, so that was a net loss. People may think I’m patting myself on the back too much, but I am stating what I think should be obvious, but Berhalter and the team seem to ignore the obvious at times. After we scored thanks to the cross from A Robinson, it should have been obvious that quick movement down the flanks and crossing before the Canadian D was set was the best way to attack. Yet time after time the attack was too slow and the wingers/outside backs did not go deep enough before passing into the middle. It seemed like they would get to about top of the box and then send in a hopeful ball to the middle where our guy or guys were surrounded by defenders. That’s stupid football and I hate stupid playing. The bright spot for me is that we matched Canada’s intensity. Normally you would expect that we would exceed that of an opponent when playing at home in front of a large pro-American crowd, but for this team, it’s an important step forward. Also, while we are not yet where I want us to be, at least we played more like a team than we did vs. El Salvador. Of course that is a rather low bar.

    • Some reportermade a good comment on GB…..he is an ideologue, not a pragmatist. He s basically an academic who doesn’t know how to react them punched n the mouth. He has all of the answers on paper, and in the protected comfortable confines of the classroom, but that isn’t the world. Herdman ain’t no genius, but his pragmatic, simple approach was real world, while GB’s insistence on side to side, possess, wear down is something only the super elite can do regularly. Even they have trouble breaking down organized, tenacious opponents. Even they give up breaks when teams have a few weapons. Sometimes get people in the box and send a bunch of crosses in is needed. Sometimes let the other team possess and bring them out. Even the top top teams practice this pragmatic, basic approach. It’s one that seems to elude GB’s sensibilities. No adjustment after we scored…..ugh. No subs until the 83rd minute! Ugh. Not rocket science. It’s the classroom over realty, tt’s philosophy class, and deep “self important” thinking (which creates a false world in one’s mind) over making things work at the get it done level. It’s all to cute.
      ‘m sure it makes sense on the blackboard. Cannon is much better for qualies than Dest. Zardes would create goals/chances. McKennie and Brooks should no be given untouchable status. Both are quality, and both can be sloppy, unreliable and careless. Reyna has that will, huge loss. Adams and Puli have it. Zardes, yes Zardes has it.
      We r young, so is out coach, but the coach better grow up quick. We can easily lose in Honduras. Not tie…..lose.
      We will see who shows up. If we see a CR type capitulation like last cycle them GB needs to be cut lose now. I am not a fore the coach guy. but there are very worrisone issues there.

    • I’m with you Gary. This was better than ES game.

      I think we missed Mkinnie and I think we missed Reyna a lot in terms of quality and creativity.

      I think people aren’t giving Canada credit. Canada will make this world cup. Mexico will make this world cup. Will the US? Will Costa Rica? I dunno, but Canada is right up there with the other three names I mentioned.

  11. acosta had the assist on the winner in the gold cup final, why was i watching pulisic take kicks? his service was ok but not good enough, and if that’s the case go stand in the box and watch for loose balls. in WCQ you need the best person doing a task, not “best player” pecking orders or egos. i’d have CP do the PKs but not the dead balls. and people are like, it’s not the coach. the coach is the one who could dictate that.

    • I agree about delegation of responsibilities should be on the coach! If Acosta is in, he’s the free kick specialist. One person taking every corner and all free kicks, is a ‘Serious allocation of valuable goods!’ (Saving Private Ryan). No one has pushed back on the 4-3-3 not being the best formation. We can agree 28 players needed to be call in, and injury replacements available. Imperative- U R Funny as hell! Isn’t paying attention to who’s doing the set pieces, formation and in-game management, the exact definition of pedantic?

      • pedantry to me is i say the wingbacks sucked and instead of nodding their head the response is well, technically we didn’t have wingbacks, etc. etc. we tied 1-1 and if we’d managed a dead ball goal we win the game. the dead ball service was decent but not great. to me in tight games it’s often an accumulation of decisions like this. you suspend a guy, you don’t replace a few hurt players, you call up certain backs, you play particular backs, you have pulisic doing everything. difference between 1 or 2-0 vs 1-1. the coach makes a couple better decisions, gets the right result, we’re all saying “sloppy but got the job done.” just like this summer.

      • to me the 343 or 451 have more built-in width to them. the way GB plays the 433 with the pinched in wings makes almost every pass “square,” sideways or straight upfield. they need more angles. the 433 also has a built-in defensive soft spot at wide midfield, and leaves the wingbacks with little help. on the goal the central mid adams is trying to chase a man all the way to the sideline, who passes to the guy who rounds the corner on yedlin who has no help. “433 goal.” in theory 433 could be a goal machine but we play hustle mids instead of technical players, which undercuts the upside of an attacking formation. and we may do it because we realize the 433 is vulnerable on defense.

  12. Berhalter clearly has a complicated Plan A and no Plan B. I am reminded of a training session phot from his first camp where every single player listening to him has a look of complete confusion or frustration. I have no idea what Berhalter was explaining, but it was not going over well.

    From the outside, this looks like a guy who fancies himself a high tactician, but probably isn’t as good as he thinks he is and absolutely is missing the difference between a NT manager and a club manager. NT’s need to have simple, executable instructions that play to the roster’s strengths. It cannot be about the manager’s ego or tactical preferences.

  13. I hate the “blame the coach for everyt=thing because I am so smart here on the net” mentality. 99% of the time it’ s a joke but you guys are spot on here.

    Subs terrible.
    Can’t break down a bunker.
    Canada kept it simple and used their weapons in an effective manor.
    We r stagnant and easy to play against. Predictable.
    GB clearly over thinking things here. Clearly.
    Not good.

    The team is super, super young. Don’t forget that. It’s not easy for many. Folks need to understand thats an issue here. We have so few real toughened vets. Real negative.

    As usual we were way to arrogant before qualies. Delusional as always.

    John Brooks is a liability against CCAF. He was in 2018 cycle….and looks like he will be again. Gonna be tough.

    Weston…….sigh. Juventus was right about your lack of professionalism. Weren’t they?

  14. Agree with most of the comments here — the lack of substitutions from the 60th-80th minutes was criminal, and I’m a guy who is actually generally ok with Berhalter, and happy with what he has done with team chemistry overall. Substitution patterns seem to be a problem for GB more broadly, in my opinion — does anyone remember during NL and/or GC this summer when he makes triple-subs around the 70th or 75th, and these were our last three subs available? With all the potential variables here, why would you ever leave yourself without one remaining sub for the last 20 minutes of a match?

    And even more broadly, agree with the comments around GB doing a generally poor job with in-game adjustments; there just don’t seem to be any. Who puts Lletgjet and Dest on the right to deal with Davies, and then do nothing as they repeatedly get torc’t hed down that side? We only saw that stop (at least from 40th – 65th minute) when Dest got injured and Yedlin came in, but obviously that was an enforced change by GB. Where are the tactical adjustments when the Canadians (and Salvadorans before them) flood the middle of the field? Why aren’t we prepared to break this down?

    • Agree. GGG has never reliably shown he’s able to adjust his tactics mid-game. And it’s a huge problem.

      There were at least three problems last night from my vantage point. One A. Robinson is not skilled enough to play effectively with Pulisic. Dest and Aaronson had good chemistry and were able to play 1-2s up the right side of the field. Whenever the ball came to him, Robinson would get stuck with it without progressing the ball forward. Would much rather see Bello at that spot.

      Two, like others have noted, we don’t have a center attacking mid to occupy the half spaces and play between the lines. Towards the end of the game, there were 5 or 6 Canadian players in the middle of the park and no one there from the U.S. Would like to see Reyna (bummer about the injury) in there. But we need someone to combine with the forwards and right now there is no one doing that.

      Three, the off-the-ball runs and ball movement were too slow. M. Robinson was good but his horizontal passes took too long to get to Brooks and vice versa. And then once the ball had been swung to the wings, the midfield runs weren’t aggressive enough to create space. At times, it looked like we were just shuttling the ball from left to right and right to left with no purpose.

      The world is not ending but this is a concerning result. Every team–save for Mexico–is going to bunker in the same way and we don’t seem to have the answers to break it down.

    • Gary, I’m not saying it’s not worth a try but that’s not how Furth uses him. Last year it was Ernst and this year it appears to be Nielsen who is a converted forward. I think that yes we need to try Green, Ferreira, and Luca but I think it’s just as much structural. The formation is not working and just flipping for a 4-3-3 to 3-4-3 doesn’t really solve that problem. Berhalter almost always used a 4-2-3-1 with Columbus, I’m not sure why he got away from it, other than he doesn’t have Higuain.

      • This is where we disagree. I think the players you use is more important than the formation you use. The formation should be flexible anyway to meet the dynamics of an opponent and the game. As for Green, I base my evaluation on what I have seen of him when he has played for the national team and his skill set. Sometimes club managers don’t always make the best choices. When Lletget first joined the Galaxy they played on on the left wing. During his second season, injuries led the coach (can’t remember now who that was) to play center mid. After one game it was apparent to me that was his best position. They put him back onto the wing position after only a few games, Then. It wasn’t till about halfway through his 3rd season that he played regularly in the middle. Although he gets moved around a bit with the Galaxy and the USMNT, he is definitely a facilitator and not an attacker. Sigi Schmidt played Zardes for about half a season at RB, which has to be one of the stupidest moves ever.

    • Gary, boy I can’t think of a time Green has shown he’s going to unlock a compact defense. He’s good at getting off shots but I don’t remember a lot of him getting between the lines and attacking with the ball. I think you slide him in for Lletget last night you have the same issue. Green seems shot first which we’ve got a lot of.
      Generally I agree on the it’s tactics not formation but we’ve tried 5 or 6 iterations of the 4-3-3 and with the exception of bad teams in friendlies haven’t really been dangerous when the defense is set.

  15. This team hasn’t shown they can breakdown a set defense. The goal came from a turnover with the Canadian defense running back to get into position. They are to static in possession which gives no options in the attacking third and allows for opposing teams to send multiple defenders to the ball. Even the best US players can’t reliably dribble through double and triple teams. The best offensive strategy at this point is to get the ball down the wings as deep as possible, lose possession, press to regain possession and counter before the defense gets set.

    • How many teams in the world can repeatedly break down a good set defense playing with purpose and passion?

      We are not top 10. But we can still qualify for the world cup.

      • My point was they movement needs to be faster and the ball movement quicker. Yes, it’s hard to break down a low block. US teams through 2017 were able to do it. This team hasn’t shown themselves to be able to do…mainly due to the movement and speed of decision making in final third. Tactics are fine…execution is lacking (ok, yes, subs earlier please)

    • Lies! The US could never break down a low block. We scored on set pieces and with counters. You may have missed the few times we had to face this problem, because for most of USMNT history we were dominated in possession and never had to worry about low block.

      This whole “we won possession” thing is brand new (like since 2014 new) and a whole new level for the USMNT and it will take some time.

  16. GGG = Low T G. Wins in the summer tournaments masked his bad coaching. Teams played very poorly in the group stages. We need a real coach, not a Pep wanna-be.

  17. I noticed that through most of the game the Canadians (and earlier Salvadorans) were able to get to the ball before our players, just a step or a foot or a block. USA players seem to be on downers. This is reaction or quickness, not really speed, more in the sense of physicality. Not sure we can get far in this manner. The Hondurans are quite capable in this area and will be even harder to overcome.
    The incredibly bad officiating also continued its long tradition.

  18. My two cents: I can’t believe Berhalter waited until the 81st minute to make substitutions. Absolutely no ‘logic’ to that decision whatsoever, since our guys were clearly getting burned by Canada’s speed, as others have noted.

    Berhalter caused me to rethink my initial distaste for his appointment after winning the Gold Cup and Nation’s League and playing well in the process. So I’ll still give him a chance to redeem himself. But in my opinion, the way he left fatigued players out on a limb last night was a potential nail-in-coffin moment.

  19. This team is not playing to the sum of its parts. I don’t think Luca De La Torre or Julian Green or Hoppe, who should have replaced Weah are the single answer to what’s going on.

    It’s as if these players have never played together before and not coached with any game plan. While they do not play together often, neither do a lot of national teams… so that leaves… coaching?

    • Hoppe and Luca need to stay with their clubs. They need to get playing in their club situation. But I’m sure there is some MLS player available.

      Also, for chissakes go to Adams, and tell him to get in Davies pocket and not let him touch the ball for 90 minutes. Then play 10 v 10. Tactics can be really simple sometimes.

  20. It’s fine. Blame Berhalter. Nothing to worry about.
    Lets face it, the U.S. doesn’t have a 10. Our it on To lean or Pulisic….doesn’t matter you are pretending. Add a just decent forward…walla. Going to need some abracadabra to solve

  21. I really think it comes down to GB being too Prideful to make the in-games moves needed to win the games. His tactics and substitution patterns seem Pre-Determined, and there is little to no deviation or adjustment, unless it is taken out of the coach staffs hands, like an injury or card situation. I still feel like GB, even after winning the GC and NL, isn’t the guy to make this collection of players a team. IMO, the players won both those tournaments on their own merits, not anything that the coaching staff did to put them in a situation to win.
    We see it all the time at all levels of soccer, a coach has a talented and winning group of players who win, despite the poor/ lackluster coaching.

  22. Almost every other team brought in 28 players, GB called 26 then didn’t replace Weah, plus he knew he wouldn’t have CP for game one. Only brought 5 mids which seemed just wrong… Now ur going into game 2 minus Gio & Weston..
    Not only did he handcuff himself with limited options, but this pattern of bringing in 2-3 subs at a time late in the game (including gold cup) is already predictable…
    And in game 1 he had a weird substitution pattern with multiple guys going to multiple spots – also late in the game..

    My buddy said to me last night, “this guy overthinks what to do before the games then doesn’t know how to fix it when it doesn’t work”
    I think my buddy has a great point..

  23. Wow, we were just out coached plain and simple…..technically and tactically by John Herdman. It wasn’t about the individual players because we have wwwwaaaayyyy more quality on this team to look this disconnected on the pitch (…and yes, even without Reyna and McKinnie). No rhythm, no coordination, no effective strategy, no shots in the final third. Call it “Canada were sitting back”, call it “the Canadians were bunkering in with a 4-5-1″, it doesn’t matter…we just looked flat / out of sync. The world-is-not-coming-to-an-end but there is some cause for concern

  24. For some reason my DVR only recorded the end of the game. This is now officially not good. 1) What the hell was Berhalter doing waiting until the 80th minute for subs? 2) how do you not add strikers at the end – when you are looking for the win? Sargent in… fine. But double him up with Pefok and take out a MF/D. 3) What the hell was Berhalter thinking waiting until the 80th minute?

    Also, there wasn’t a lot of movement in the last 10 minutes. Everyone just kind of sat there standing on their defenders while Brooks had the ball and made him play kickball. This qualifying is going to be a nervewracking slog and I hate it.

    • Dunno. We pretty clearly had lost control of the match by about 65 but Berhalter just kept his tired guys out there and never went to the bench. He wasted the next 15 and never switched up.

      I was literally screaming “DO SOMETHING BEERHOLDER!” at the TV. Was just blown away. I dunno that I’ve ever seen a coach go into brainlock at such a critical juncture.

      We were unlucky to get caught on the counter but Gregg just didn’t respond. This one was almost entirely all on him.

      • Agreed. We had lost control of the match and I said to the TV, run roh, if we sit back like this Canada will kill us. Then they scored. And we didn’t have the legs to push back after that goal.

        I’m with you. 100% on Berhalter not making subs earlier.

    • ITA. You could tell the Americans were gassed by the time Canada equalized. Moreover, this isn’t the first game were GB has either not subbed or waited too long to make substitutions. IMO, the subs should have come on at least 10-15 minutes earlier.


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