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USMNT Player Ratings: Pepi shines, substitutes impress, Brooks, Sands and Bello struggle vs. Honduras


Turning a match around from a 1-0 halftime deficit to a 4-1 romp generally requires a turnaround driven by substitutions, and new blood entering to replace struggling starters.

That was the case on Wednesday, as Gregg Berhalter’s substitutions helped transform the U.S. men’s national team from a lifeless and aimless bunch in the first half, to a determined and resilient group in the second half.

The injection of some experienced and effective substitutes not only gave the team life, it helped provide the support for Ricardo Pepi to put together one of the most impressive debuts in USMNT history. The 18-year-old FC Dallas striker came into the September friendlies in outstanding form in MLS, and that form carried over into a second half that saw him play a part in all four USMNT goals.

When the dust settled, there were several players who could walk away from San Pedro Sula knowing their national team stock had been given a boost, while some others endured rough nights that could put their future starting opportunities in jeopardy.

With all that in mind, here are the player ratings for the USMNT’s 4-1 win vs. Honduras:

Matt Turner  (7)

Another stellar outing for Turner, who made two saves, including a crucial diving save with the score 1-1 that helped serve as the prelude to the USMNT’s second-half goal barrage.

Tyler Adams (7)

Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos

Though his first half at right wingback was disappointing, Adams never stopped battling, and his shift into his traditional central midfield role was a key factor in the team’s turnaround. That he was able to deliver a strong 90 minutes after having already started the team’s two previous matches was a testament to his commitment to the team and the qualities that make him a strong candidate to be the team’s captain.

Miles Robinson (7)

The Atlanta United defender made it three straight strong starts in World Cup qualifying, which when coupled with his incredible Gold Cup, has Robinson looking like the most reliable central defender in the USMNT pool.

John Brooks (4)

Whether it was him struggling with the middle centerback role in Berhalter’s 5-4-1, him not feeling comfortable playing in the heat and bumpy pitch at San Pedro Sula, or a lack of familiarity with his teammates and the system, Brooks just looked completely out of sorts and nothing like the dominant force that has starred for the USMNT in the past, and with Wolfsburg. He remains an important figure for Berhalter’s setup, but his status as an unquestioned starter took a hit.

Mark McKenzie (6.5)

Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos

Somewhat surprising starter selection given his lack of recent playin time for Genk, but McKenzie was steady and played with confidence, which shouldn’t have been a surprise given the fact he had started and played well against Honduras in the Concacaf Nations League semifinals.

George Bello (4)

You can understand why Berhalter might trust the young Bello with this assignment given how well he handled starting in the Gold Cup final, but the teenager wasn’t up to the task this time around, and fell asleep on the Honduras goal, precipitating his halftime departure.

Kellyn Acosta (6)

After a less than stellar first half, Acosta stepped it up in the second half, helped by the tactical shift to the 4-3-3 and insertion of effective substitutions. He didn’t put up his usual impressive defensive numbers, but still played a meaningful part in the second-half surge.

James Sands (4)

Berhalter called Sands’ performance ‘interesting’, but most observers would have just called it terrible. The NYCFC defender/midfielder, who looked so impressive at the Gold Cup, struggled badly in the central midfield role in the 5-4-1, and didn’t fare much better in the second half. He did continue to fight, and scrap even as he seemed to struggle to keep up with the game, but it wasn’t an accident that the USMNT takeover started after he left the match.

Josh Sargent (5)

Sargent still struggled with his touches and combination play, and finished his 45-minute shift with zero shots and just eight successful passes. After a lackluster showing against El Salvador, Sargent will need to earn a starting role at Norwich City to garner the momentum he’ll need to regain the starting USMNT striker role he has likely lost for the moment to Ricardo Pepi.

Ricardo Pepi (9)

Even in the first half, when things weren’t going well for the team, you could see Pepi’s energy and desire to work, and once the second-half changes were made, they helped fully utilize Pepi and help him take over the game. People’s movement, timing and finishing were impressive to see, and it will be hard to keep him out of the starting lineup if he can continue to ride his hot form for FC Dallas heading into the October window.

Christian Pulisic (6.5)

Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos

Another gutsy, though frustrating night for Pulisic, who tried hard to push the attack forward, but struggled to find the right combinations and shake free from a Honduran defense that had clearly targeted him as the one to stop. Suggestions that his exit helped the USMNT attack are misguided, because the reality is he never got a chance to play with the setup that included Yedlin at right back and Adams in central midfield, which was the shift that really turned the tide.

Antonee Robinson (8)

Energetic and decisive, Robinson was just what the USMNT needed on the left flank, and really helped shut down his side of the field, while posing a threat in attack. His goal helped settle American nerves, and he played an impressive 45 minutes that should help him lock down the starting left back spot going forward.

Sebastian Lletget (8)

His poise, vision and ability to find the soft spots in the Honduran defense helped give the USMNT attack something it lacked in the first half, and he finished with a goal while helping set up another of the goals.

Brenden Aaronson (7.5)

Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos

Came on and helped give some needed energy to the front line, with his pressing, and his relentless movement helping overwhelm a tiring Honduran defense.

Cristian Roldan (6.5)

Didn’t show up on the scoresheet, but his effort played a part in the sequences leading to two goals, and his four duels won and three aerials won contributed to the USMNT takeover in the final 30 minutes.

DeAndre Yedlin (7)

Came on and set up Pepi’s goal just two minutes after entering the match with a pinpoint cross, Yedlin closed the match out with a solid finish that helped restore some faith in his ability after his struggles against Canada.

What did you think of the USMNT individual performances? Who impressed you? Who disappointed you the most?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Thanks for the welcome guys…. I have been wanting to post for a while, but it just seems like this was the right time. Not just about Sands, but how perfectly we are set up for a real 352.

    I came around about 10 years ago, and I have been studying and perfecting it since. Several deep playoff runs in high school, and area qualifiers in club.

    We can get into strategy and such another time, but it troubles me to see us play without a purpose or identity. Its all about what your players are best at, and we have the ability on the USMNT to really embrace it and play it. We have the guys…

    • I’m OK with the US playing a 4-3-3, it seems to fit the player pool to my eye. I am interested in your use of the 3-5-2 though because 20 years ago I started focusing on it as a tactical formation as a HS player as I became a college player and HS JV coach I applied it successfully. I didn’t use it all the time though, it was more of a half-time tactical change I would use. Some coaches choose to deploy 3 center backs and then wing-backs, but I prefer a:
      RB – CB – LB
      DM – DM
      RW – AM – LW
      RS – LS

      Allowing the RB/LB to overlap the Wingers and the Wingers to fall back, the DMs sliding into the gaps to support if needed.

  2. Swap Aaronson & Lletget’s rating. Aaronson provided more pressure & product than Lletget.
    Roldan (except for 1 or 2 plays) was fairly invisible. Would drop his rating by 1 point.
    Pulisic was the one of the few bright spots in the 1st half. May not have been up to his usual standards but was that due to the F’ed up formation & players around him….or was it his form? I actually think that to get the best out of Pulisic we have to have another attacking threat lined up opposite him. Without Aaronson or Reyna on the other side it’s too easy for the opponents to cheat to Pulisic’s side.
    Otherwise, I think the ratings were fairly accurate.

  3. Turner has played awesome, can’t fake on dat! He’s one bad turnover away from getting a nickname. Anyone watching can see it, and no one wants it to happen. News flash- Turner is around the same age as Horvath & Steffen. This isn’t a tournament. Rotate! I’ve been on Captain Adams ship since 2018. GB HAD to put him at RB to conserve his energy, because you can’t have Adams on the bench. So GB got some minutes at RB and still had Adams close the match at the 6. Do you know how difficult it is to play the 6 in our region? Do we expect Turner, Miles, Adams to play 270 + minutes every window? And be successful? Rotate!! Brooks can’t play in a 3 CB system. He consistently only plays 1 WCQ match per window, after that he’s a detriment. I wanted to see him start then subbed out. Glad it happened! Mark McKenzie gets a 9 in my book. He’s intelligent. Played LCB in a unfamiliar formation. Stepped up to win the ball, every-time, especially when Jedi came on, and got the ball to Jedi every-time. No one else was looking for Antonee. Bello > Jedi, & Vines is joke, but not funnier than Scally >Shaq & Cannon! Every host on a U-tube channel and their momma rates two, 18 year olds higher than seasoned vets?! Pronouncing Bello’s name, with 2 L’s as a Y was a clue. These people never saw him play. Double 6s don’t work. Can’t play Acosta & Sands next to each other-pick 1. Rotate! If you’ve been making excuses for Sarg’ and not giving every other CF the same treatment! Congratulations!! You’re biased. Pepi, one of the 5 reasons, why rotation is needed at the 9/CF. (Siebatcheu, Dike, healthy Zardes, Sargent). CP is the face of Hero Ball! Goes 1 on 3, with wreck less abandon, and get’s injured. Deserves a 4.5 or 5. Jedi has been making plays at LB since 2018 v. Bolivia. 1st match -1st assist. He has one less assist than Arriola but half the matches played. Lleget & Roldan are in their late 20s, making them prime candidates for sub roles, especially on the road. BA has nonstop energy. Yedlin still has value. He’s the only traditional RB. GB can maximize his productivity if he only starts 1 match & subs 20 minutes in another. Anything over that, and Dre’s a detriment. Squad rotation will help keep players healthy. It will maximize players productivity and cuts down the chance of making catastrophic mistakes. While showing players that you have an opportunity to contribute. Traditionally, this doesn’t happen. News flash- We aren’t in traditional times. These aren’t traditional players. I wanted 4 goals against Honduras in the NL. We got 4 goals on the road in a WCQ. History making!!!

    • I think some of the lack of rotation comes down to the injuries to Dest, Reyna, and suspension of Wes. I can see your thought on rotating keepers but it appears Turner has fully beat out Horvath. Also he didn’t have any time playing with the Euro based defenders so that might explain that Berhalter wanted Turner to gel with them. From the sounds of it with the exception of Brooks and CP’s injury those subs were planned to rotate the players. We need at least 2 more players on the roster next time and need to replace any hurt before camp.

  4. Ok I have never blasted anyone or spoke derogatorily about this site, its contributors, or anyone in USSoccer. So I have a question that i mentioned this last time, why don’t you rate the coach? Are there consequences for speaking out against US Soccer? Don’t journalists share all the news or just that which fits the accepted narrative.

    Rate GGG – 2

    He can’t get credit for undoing the mess that he created in the first half. He was abysmal. Why won’t don’t we have a rating for him? Crickets…….chirp……chirp…

    • dude, he has taken the USA to a high ranking and high expectations. Despite Westons idiocy and injuries. Why do people think everything is the coaches fault, it’s childish.

      • Are you kidding? Or Sarcastic.? Do you watch how we play? Many of The players you mention play quite well for their clubs around the world (Epl, La Liga, Bundesliga, MLS, championship, B2, etc). Yet they play below their taalent level repeatedly when wearing the red, white, and blue. Why is that?

      • Childish is brlieving everything your daddy tells you because you are unable to reason for yourself yet. Its called immaturity.

  5. Ok, I’m going against the grain here on Dest. I sat on his side during the Canada game. He had one very bad whiff on the ball that led to Canada’s only SOG in the first half. Other than that Dest was way better than against ES. He didn’t dribble into the sideline needlessly and several times cut on the ball and Davies ran past him. From what I’ve read on this site Davies dominated Dest. Let’s look at Davies’ stats. Davies created two chances and had zero shots. I saw this stat on Futbol Americas and the context was laughable. They said Davies way outplayed Pulisic and then showed Davies’ zero shots and 2 chances created and conpared those stats directly to Pulisic’s 3 chances created and 3 shots. Would anyone argue Davies played better in the fist 40 minutes than the next 35 minutes? He was only against Dest the first 40 and the one chance he created was due to Dest misplaying a ball that came spinning out of the air. Yeah it was bad, but it wasn’t indicative of how he played. I’m not saying Dest was good against ES by any means, but I’m saying that to say Davies was the dominant player and Deat sucked because Davies owned him isn’t supported by either a decline in Davies’ effectiveness when Dest left nor by any statistics that show he either took shots or repeatedly set up teammates for chances ( 1 chance created per half for 2 total; and, zero shots in both halves). Full disclosure— I like Davies. I was a season ticket holder for the Caps for years and saw and watched him from debut through leaving. I know how good this guy is.

  6. I lost internet. Hope this doesnt show up twice. In my opinion Pulisic too low. I think game plan in first half was for hime to try to create,draw fouls individually while team bunkered hoping Hondorus tired. This was essentially Canada’s gameplan against US except probably not as ridiculous of a line up but I don’t know Canada players well to know. IMO, Brooks and Sargent too high and Brooks was a full point higher than Sargent at a minimum.

  7. Pepi

    Pulisic (or Hoppe if Pulisic is hurt) Reyna (or Musah, if hurt) Aaronson

    All three of the above should be rotating positions without the ball to create angles

    Adams- McKennie

    Robinson- Richards (should have 4-5 starts by next window)- Robinson- Scally


  8. Trying to remove emotion and look a this window soberly I think going forward the “stars” of this group need to be mixed and matched with MLSers and veterans. When I say stars I mean Pulisic, Reyna, Dest, McKennie, Adams. They,as a group, have yet to show they can play up to their potential or even with the intensity requited. They are what they are – young. I believe a keeping a rotation of couple as subs will allow them to a) have to fight for their – undesputed – starting spots through performance while wearing a USMNT shirt b)understand the intensity level needed to compete in these games by watching for 60-83 minutes c) bring them more into an on-the-field team (as opposed to individual) mentality. These “stars” need to raise their levels in all those areas. The MLSers have them beat in these areas which leads to better on field results. These are the lessons these players with superior talent levels need to learn. Of the group I’d say Adams is the furthest along in these areas. Pulisic tries too hard at times to put the team on his shoulders to the detriment of the smart pass. Reyna is improving but has work to do and Dest needs an entire reworking (he probably wishes he chose the Netherlands after not having one good game in NL or WCQ so far).

    • I really think classic overconfidence had a lot to do with these performances from the guys playing in Europe. Dest lost the ball three times on the dribble in the first three minutes against ES. Pulisic even by Wednesday would beat one guy and then try to beat a second and a third. Brooks even made a comment dismissing Canada. McKennie had better things to do. Our guys just thought they were too good for these opponents. Admittedly I did too.

      Seeing our two Barcelona guys unable to complete a pass has left me scarred. Talk about expectations vs reality.
      I’ve watched all of the games twice. It’s hard to conclude that we’re better than any of these teams, and it’s hard to argue that having players in Europe has made us better, at least in this competition. I didn’t see a whisper of European style in any of these games. It’s a slug fest, and FWIW our guys are the rougher ones out there. I think we coached them to expect it and it became self-fulfilling.

      • It is also about choosing a style of play. Are we stacking the lineup with finesse players who can’t hit hard at times? Look at Dest and Konrad on the left side vs Venezuela. How did we grind out the Gold Cup? With intensity. Not pretty, but job done. Now this is not to say we would like the US to be one dimensional. No. This is the tough thing about this group and really any group: achieving attacking/defending balance. This is the problem with John Brooks these days. Great passer, yet not so great in those 50/50 moments. Until we can dominate on the scoreboard, these issues will persist, as they even apply to Reyna, Pulisic, Aaronson. As much as they give, you have to have the defensive solidity.

  9. Ives pretty fair ratings but what exactly did Sargent due in his awful 45 mins to get a “5”?

    Actually what has Sargent done with Club or Country to still be considered as a top striker option?

    • Sargent had two goals for Werder in his last game for Werder this season. He may have only played one? In his only full game for Norwich he had a brace as well. Granted, it was a cup game, but he still took his chances.

  10. Great post, Ives. My alternate player ratings:

    James Sands (1) — for his one-dimensional, just-push-people-over play.

    John Brooks (2) — for the two goals he gave up in two games.

    Josh Sargent (3.14) — for his confusion when Berhalter told him to play as a right-winger, which turned out to be as difficult for him as solving for pi.

    Miles Robinson (444) — for being even-steven out there all game; no oddities in his play whatsoever.

    George Bello (5) — for being the odd man out.

    Kellyn Acosta (6.66) — for putting his mark on that Honduran’s shoulder and generally playing like a beast.

    Tyler Adams (70 x 7) — for the number of times he had to forgive his teammates this window for not playing up to his remarkable standard.

    Christian Pulisic (8) — for the number of bones he cracked during that foul and the number of months it will take him to recover.

    Ricardo Pepi (9) — for acting like he was old Ronaldo in the 2002 World Cup and proving all his nay-sayers wrong.

    Gregg Berhalter (10) — for making the changes at halftime that every ten-year-old kid in America could see needed making.

      • I just couldn’t bring myself to say ‘fat’. I always saw Ronaldo as pleasantly plump or dad-like or well-rounded. 😉

    • I would give Gregg! At half it was a 0. What a crap lineup and tactics to start the game. He listened to all the criticism about his lack of subs in the last game subbed early, which worked out. But really! You bench the 2 best players from the Canada game, Aaronson and A Robinson for Sargent and Bello!?!? Props for putting in Lletget, Roldon and Yedlin, players I think most of us are meh about but they played well.

  11. Ok… long time lurker but first time poster. I wanted to post on the game recap post, but I’ll just do it now.

    I have coached soccer for 21 years in high school and club (which I can get into later) but there are just some inconsistencies I need to point out.

    I think there is a bit of a double standard with James Sands. He plays a 352, and was brought in as the 352 guy. He is the centerback, and played wonderfully as that and as the libero. BUT, you decide to play him as a 6 in a 5-4-1?? Why?? With Brooks as the CB?? That makes no spacing or tactical sense. From a player rating perspective, yes… he did not do well as a 6 in that formation, but who could have?? Second half, he looked better, but again, was out of position as a CB in a 4.

    In addition, we excused a lot of the El Salvador game with the young guys as being “away CONCACAF nerves” but don’t allow for the same with Sands??

    It was his first game away in a CONCACAF game, WCQ, out of position, cold from watching 3 games while being in form.

    As a stout 352 coach, I would have loved to see Sands at CB, Adams at 6 and Acosta at RWB if you didn’t want to play Yedlin. I think Sands would have shown out. Flank him with Robinson and Brooks/McKenzie and you could work with that.

    • I agree with your analysis, and said as much in an earlier post. I understand the low rating was for this particular game, but he was thrown into the deep end off the high platform and told to learn how to swim. In the first half, everyone was out of sync, and there was no continuity. Brooks should get harsher treatment as he played in his natural position.
      I am in favor of bringing Sands in again. Sands acquitted himself well in the Gold Cup, plays with the level of grit and determination needed in CONCAFAF WCQ, and looks like he can be effective if plugged into a game in the right situation.

    • @352GURU, Totally agreed. America has been too harsh on Sands. He gave his all with grit and heart whether good performance or not.

    • Always great to have a coaches perspective! There’s a few others on SBI that have the experience, or point of view. Though, not many share tactical principles, philosophy, tradition or history. The USA has always had a manic-depressive relationship with it’s players. We live by the mantra, “There’s no such thing as a perfect person!” …then a player makes a mistake, “Throw the baby out with the bath water!” The truest of contradictions! People don’t even notice. 3-5-2 is the formation of the future! It was good for Tata’s Atl United, Southgate & England, and Roberto Martinez w/ Belgium. Sands has to play a full match at CB, then you ease him into the 6. If someone is versatile enough to play multiple positions then my belief is you play them at their best position 1st. Sands, McKenzie, & Richards are from the same birth year. It’s a forgone conclusion that they all have to make mistakes. For all the talent, Chris Richards will be next. We have seen him play after he had made a mistake. McKenzie & Sands are “CONCACAF tested and approved!”

      • agree on Sands, great post352, and clearly better 2nd half. Post more please. @ It’sOK2Think, Martinez stubbornly went 5 2 3 every euro predictable game, and when the knockouts hit, got tactically schooled on how to beat it by Italy, and he never adjusted. If his name was GB he’d get rightly roasted for it here. The 3 CBs are in vogue now essentially to counter the counters from playing with wingbacks so high in attack, gives one extra back there to help the 6 or 6s deal with that.

      • Without looking this up, I can tell you. Nacer Chadli or Yannick Carasco never dropped that far deep into LB territory. What are you talking ‘bout beachum? The whole term wingback comes from having a winger on one side and a fullback on the other. Hence, the term “Wing-back!” Muenier was on the right side in ‘18. He’s a traditional RB. I’m going to start calling you Johnny Razor because he’s good at telling me, what I see on the pitch isn’t what happened also.

      • I’m telling you why the 3 back is in vogue today, and re. Martinez, they played a harsh 5 2 3 looking to counter all the time, failed. That’s what I’m talking about

      • Beachbum- I have to disagree. Not having a healthy Kevin De Bruyne had more to do with Martínez formation change then the manager’s stubbornness. Coach looked at the depth at CB- Denayer, Dendocker, Vermalen, Aldirweld, Vertonghen, and chose to play towards Belgium’s strengths. Don’t know where have De Bruyne but if he’s not in your top 3 central attacking mid‘s in the world? I don’t see how you can understand Martínez decision to play the Euro’s without his best playmaker.

      • you can disagree, but he played the same 5 2 3 every game, never adjusted. Heck, GB lost almost all of his ‘stars’ and was forced to adjust, then adjust again, etc. Martinez did not, and the Belgian golden age got dumped early on the international stage, again, and they remain the only team to have achieved a #1 fifa ranking without ever winning a WC or continental trophy. And I was pulling for them, wanted them to win it all. Italy worked the flanks in between the Belgian fron line and back line over and over again, only 2 midfielders in there for Martinez, and they got worked

      • I don’t believe you because it’s not true. 3-4-2-1 isn’t a 5-2-3. I know this. The fact that you didn’t even name players, and where they fit in relation to formation is evidence that you only watched 1 match. Italy. You didn’t say where Doku, Hazard or Vanaaken are in the formation. Then you double down and said “he played the same 5-2-3 EVERY GAME”. Another lie! I got much respect for Razor, because @ least, JR will look info up and say my bad if he’s mistaken. Next you’re going to tell me Dest is better at LB then he is at RB.

    • Guru I’d be interested to see how’d you line it up. Because to me it seems like you’d have to take off one of more established attacking players to put on an inexperienced CB.

      • Great question, @Johnnyrazor

        For the October Qual window:

        For me as a fan watching and not coaching, the key is Pulisic. If I am made coach tomorrow, I know what I would do with him.

        In my experience, the key to attacking in a 352 is to have at least one person that will attack a high line and be a threat to CBs and the backlline of oppositiion. So, if you choose to play CP as a false 9, you have to have a strong 9 to play up top, and I am not sure we have that right now. I would rather play him as the 10 and let him find the game. That being said, you have to have to high line pressers. I think Pefok, Pepi, Sargent and even Aaronson are good options for this role. I am not sure where Weah fits, but he might be in this group as well. Hoppe as well.

        The rest is super easy. We have 2 perfect wingbacks in Dest and Robinson. Bring in Bello, Vines, Scally, Cannon, Moore and Yedlin as backups as WB is a hard position to play. I’d roster 4 a game with ideas to play, but with 8 on the camp roster to rotate. A true conversion to 352 means wingbacks have to buy in because they put in more miles than everyone else.

        At CB, you have depth here. All of the normal names stay, with the only question being who else other than Sands can play in the middle?? Sands ia a killer and can even push to libero, but who else can? Obs not Brooks, but can any of Richards, EPB, CCV or even McKenzie play in the middle?? I am not sure. But, the other names, Brooks, Robinson, Mizaga, Zimmerman, Ream can come in and play. Even Richards can do this. They just do not need to overthink tactics…. they play normally with the extra man. They can still do their thing.

        Midfield is Adams at 6, McKinnie at 8. Done. Acosta can be a sub 6, with Musa, Lleget and Konrad also in the mix. Prolly have to rep another 6, maybe Roldan?? Not sure TBH.

        MY only mystery is Gio Reyna. Maybe someone with more watching can figure out how he fits. He is too talented to not play, but I am not sure if he can play as a 10 (but he would have to split with CP) or anywhere else. Can he play a false 9 up top with a super physical Pefok?? IDK. I don’t want to lose Reyna or even Aaronson, but I would need to know more about their play styles other than what I see with the USMNT.

        Dream lineup:
        Brooks-Sands-M. Robinson

        Roster for qualifying window:
        K=Turner, Steffen, Horvath
        WB=Robinson, Dest, Bello, Scally, Moore, Yedlin
        CB=Brooks, Robinson, Sands, Mizaga, Richards, Zimmerman, CCV
        Mid (6/8)= Adams, McKinnie, Acosta, Musah, Lleget, Konrad
        10= Pulisic, Reyna?
        STR: Pefok, Sargent, Aaronson, Pepi, Weah, Hoppe

        That’s 30. A little heavy on backline guys, but I need to experiment (IN PRACTICE). Also want to get some young guys on in Musah, Scally and CCV. I would need to work out some things with where Reyna can play in a 352, and where Aaronson is comfortable. He could be nasty next to Pefok/Pepi. I would need to get the guys into camp and figure out who is best where among the guys I am not 100% on (Reyna, Weah, Aaronson). I would work with CP on finding the game, and wherever he is, the drop 9 (Aaronson/Reyna) play off and make chances with Pefok/Pepi work the centerbacks. They can have carte blanche to attack since we are set on D with the set behind them.

        I can get into how I would stagger lineups later in the 3 game window, but what do you think?? Am I hired??

      • Guru, I’d agree the big question is where do Pulisic and Reyna play. I’d flip flop then and have CP as the second forward and Reyna as a 10.
        I don’t see Berhalter trying to make that change in formation in these tight windows though. You basically have a day maybe two before each match to prepare. I’m going to guess you took longer when you went to the 3-5-2 with your team. I’d venture to guess that Berhalter’s 3-4-2-1 would have worked the other night if Honduras had sat back the way Canada had. When they did something different with the limited prep time our guys didn’t know how to adapt. Maybe something for next cycle or even if we qualify early.

    • Let’s all not take things so personally. 3-4-2-1 can quickly turn into a 5-2-3 if your WBs get pinned deep by your opponents attacking players. Or a 3-4-3 can turn into a 3-5-2 if you have a Eden Hazard or DeBruyne that can drop into CM. Not even mentioning that most teams defend in a different shape than the attack or possess.
      As examples that the 3-5-2 is great I’d rather see examples of teams punching above their weight both Belgium and ATLU had vastly more talent on most nights. However, I think my biggest trepidation is in these packed windows you don’t have time to rep a formation for the future you only have time for the next match. I don’t think we have an identity right now it seems we have changed from a possession team to a pressing team but in adapting the lineup to press we have no creative players to create chances when the press isn’t working.

      • In my experience, it is easy to use the 10 as more of a find the game player than the second forward. I would want CP to be in that role, and Reyna to be more structured. But, that is just me. I would get them into camp and find out.

        I totally agree. I would never advocate for trying this in one window. It took me 2 years, but those were not international players. Still, it would take longer than 2 days. However, you can start principals and install it in bits.

        I don’t want to make this a bash Berlhalter post, but it seems like he remembered he called in 8 defenders and tried to play them all. If he wanted a 5-4-1 for whatever reason, playing Adams at RWB, Sands at 6 and Acosta at 8 is criminal. Brooks at CB in a 5 might look good on paper, but he looked lost. If he would have been slotted to the left of the CB, he could have kept playing per normal.

    • For sure Brooks as the middle of the back 3 was a mistake. I think the worry is he’s not mobile enough to cover the wide areas. I think he was set on playing 5 man backline and then when Dest got hurt it ruined his minutes rotation. You look at whose more comfortable at RWB and that was clearly Tyler, given Yedlin couldn’t go 90. It hurt our ability to connect but Tyler as the RB probably prevented a chance or two that kept us in the match. I think Pulisic over dribbles and doesn’t always see the pass that would open up the defense whereas Reyna is more pass first with Dortmund. With the NT Reyna has been more shoot first so who knows.

      • I get that the worry would be Brooks in wide areas, but I would take that any day over a lost player who doesn’t know who to mark and seemed generally confused. Even if Brooks gets stuck wide, Jedi/Bello are both smart enough to cover, not to mention Adams at 6. That is the role.

        I get what he “wanted” to do, but that does not excuse the lineup. If he wanted to run a 5 back, why did Sands play 6? If Dest was your RWB and you didn’t think Yedlin could play 90, Acosta literally did it before in Nations League. That frees you up at 8. That is on coaching, pure and simple. If that was the plan, why bring in Yuiell?? You could have brought in Cannon or S. Moore, or even one of the MLS kids (Lima or Hererra) if you are worried about their club form. At the very least, if you decide Yuiell is the answer, play him at 6 instead of Sands, slide Sands back, and decide who to flank him with. Acosta can play RWB, and Adams can twin 6 with Yueill or push Yueill to 8. Either way, you are not playing more guys out of position. Or, I would have even been more understanding of trying Roldan or Lleget there, TBH. Or even straight up Yuiell at RWB for a half. Then I would have been thinking… “OK, that is where Dest should have been…” While I think Adams did admirably at RWB, you would not have had the trickle down of Brooks, Sands, Acosta and Adams all playing out of position.
        That is the exciting part of camp and maybe that is something that you can figure out in games. Try them and see. CP as a pure attacking player would be fun, especially matched with a goal-first striker. Let him roam the top line like a lion, with Pepi/Pefok matching him. Or the fireworks if it was Aaronson AND CP up top with Reyna running the 10.

    • @Think, don’t believe, be wrong. Just watch the video, it doesn’t lie. I don’t care if you believe the truth ad facts, that’s on you dude! I try to help people here Ives…I really do 🙂


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