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USMNT falls flat in Panama, suffering first loss of the Octagonal

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On the four-year anniversary of failing to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the U.S. men’s national team suffered another historic World Cup qualifying defeat.

Anibal Godoy’s second-half header was all Panama needed to claim its first World Cup qualifying win ever against the Americans, earning a 1-0 victory. It was the first defeat of the octagonal round for Gregg Berhalter’s side, who failed to register a shot on goal for the first time in this new cycle.

Berhalter made seven changes to the USMNT starting lineup following Thursday’s 2-0 victory over Jamaica, but the moves didn’t give the Americans any spark in the opening 45 minutes. Matt Turner made two saves to keep the USMNT tied heading into halftime, denying Edgar Barcenas’ looping shot from outside of the box in the 44th minute.

Walker Zimmerman’s third-minute header glanced just over the crossbar, which ended up being the only dangerous effort for the USMNT.

Despite a pair of substitutions by Berhalter, it was Panama that struck first in the 53rd minute. Godoy’s header off an Eric Davis corner kick deflected in off of Gyasi Zardes, giving Panama a deserved lead and raising the pressure on the USMNT.

Ricardo Pepi came off the bench and had the best look for the Americans, slicing a shot just wide of Luis Mejia’s goal in the 69th minute.

Panama defended the rest of the way, picking up an important home victory to jump into third place in the Octagonal standings. The USMNT dropped to second place after failing to claim a third-consecutive win and will now face pressure to rebound this coming week.

The USMNT concludes its October schedule on Wednesday in Columbus, Ohio against Costa Rica. The Ticos picked up their first qualifying win of the Octagonal on Sunday, coming back to defeat El Salvador, 2-1, at home.

Comments

  1. anyone who believes this coach is our global secret sauce when he’s about half-competent for concacaf is dreaming. his results out of the region speak for themselves, if we address this dream directly. indirectly, reality is concacaf is catching us and he’s only incrementally pushed us forward within the mosh pit. i think there is a breed of fan who thinks that concacaf is its own beast and he is quietly, secretly preparing us for global success while having to deal with brutal concacaf. i have news for you. anyone fairminded sees a lot of concacaf is trying to get slicker just like our coach was selling. and they are catching up. you have some people talking like road losses are natural, except for several years there when we were a top 8 or 16 team, we’d only lose away to CR and Mexico. so far as i am concerned, the sales pitch is arrogance from the same world where we need to somehow qualify out of and play all our games against south america and europe. that we are better than all this. been a decade since that was true in any consistent sense. trinidad, guatemala, panama. people need to dial back the snake oil and start from foundational principles. who are our best personnel, what tactics work best with them, what maximizes us in concacaf. we need to get that piece squared before i even listen to this “world class tactics” malarkey. far as i am concerned objective reality is he’s meh in the region and it only gets worse — not better — outside. so we need to get that reality straight while we decide what’s best for this. this is trending towards we run 2nd or 3rd and really have to work for this. this is in no way trending towards he has secret sauce and we cakewalk.

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  2. Side note: Does any team waste time as much as Panama? They literally started their antics around the 76′ mark, and effectively killed off the game by flopping, calling for stretchers, complaining, having fans/ballboys kick other balls on the field, etc. I’m not saying it would have mattered in this one, but I can’t help but wonder why everyone just accepts this. Concacaf letting them get away with it is creating an unfair and significant advantage. Wonder what reaction would be if our players did this at one of our home games?

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    • i do think that there were elements of our game and others (ES’ red comes to mind) that beg for VAR and better reffing. however our burst of competitiveness — as with couva — was after the halftime subs — and we got worse and worse as the game went on. i agree can we fix some of these things while we’re thinking about them, but it wouldn’t have changed the outcome. we had 7 injury minutes and barely looked dangerous. 15 might not have done it. coaching. there were people on the bench or off the roster who could have changed that. mckennie could have changed that.

      also, to be fair, we don’t tend to writhe in pain on the ground, we foul like heck on a lead.

      personally i thought we lost discipline in the second half, and i don’t think it helps when your captain is a back. zim can’t come running from the back to say stop the clock and get the stretcher out. sometimes if a ref is dithering it helps to have the captain in their ear, not to dispute the call or complain about the injury, but rather to insist on prompt fixes. ok, he looks like he’s not getting up, are you calling the stretcher or what?

      all due respect to some of the arguments, we can ask for more professionalization of the refs but you’re always going to have regional politics. it’s not going to be a US guy reffing. it’s gonna be central american or caribbean. depending who we play that may not bode well. you then better have your game plan and exit strategy worked out because they may not be helping. it’s not entirely fair but it’s reality and at a point it’s strategies to deal with it.

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      • I totally agree it wouldn’t have mattered no matter how long the extra time but that was some elite Concacafing by Panama. 3 pitch invaders, a guy who needed a stretcher, ball boys kicking balls into play while the play was going and apparently also kicking balls under the stands so they couldn’t be used. Yet whistle blew right at the stroke of 7. I think the ref just decided no one wanted to see anymore of that.

    • Yep. And when I saw an article that asked ‘will the US learn from this…’ all I thought was ‘Will Berhalter learn from this?.’

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      • sometimes i see the players’ quotes as ventriloquizing the coach, particularly when they are young, dependent, and impressionable. well, they talked after the last set like they were unprepared for the reality of what they faced. a different read is GB had a plan and it got punched in the face. you could have shown the kids a long list of decades’ worth of games and said, this is what it’s going to be like. feels like we are learning on the job, which is not what you hire a coach for. to me this is a wasted opportunity, you have this player boom that is young enough it needs help, and this is their guide. their guide has abandoned his original sales pitch and is flailing about. what are we getting out of this?

    • Well it is always a lot easier to fire the coach than the whole team. I think in this case, the players on the field carry with them a lot of responsibility for their poor performance. You can argue it was the coach who picked the players, but he did not tell them to go easy on Panama, yet they did. Panama’s players are no better, they simply put forward a sound effort.

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      • sorry but that was not costa rica away last cycle where they gave up. it was a hustle team that tried. i didn’t see a bunch of players half-a$$ing. they just didn’t belong out there together. that’s the coach’s decision who is out there as a unit. it’s player’s fault if you can name more people than lletget that you’re unhappy with, and usually such arguments involve you liking them some other day and just not yesterday. if you hate them everyday it becomes the coach’s fault for picking them over and over. not complicated.

      • My view is that if it is 1 or 2 players who aren’t up for a game, it’s on them. If you have a whole team looking uninspired and flat, then the coaching staff must bear a lot of responsibility. Certainly at halftime Berhalter should have given a fire and brimstone speech. Something along the lines of you are representing you country and if you can’t fight hard for your country then in the future I will pick players willing to give it there all. I want to see everyone on the pitch playing like it might be there last game in the US shirt because if I don’t see more effort it will be.And then he could have gone into tactics like more high pressing.

  3. Play MLS lineups, get MLS results. For all the talk about how MLS players “know” how to play in Central America, MLS teams routinely get destroyed playing there and on the field always lose composure and boot the ball down the field unable to maintain possession.

    GGG disrespected Panama and got the result his lineup was capable of. Well deserved. This was a D team. Plenty of unused depth on the bench and in Europe that should have been on the field.

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    • That’s true when they are playing Mexican teams, not true when they are playing teams from other leagues in Central America. Besides, a lot of Panamanian players play in MLS so that is just not a good argument. As they say, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the amount of fight in the dog.

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  4. I know some English based players could not go to Panama due to covid restrictions. Player selection was awful, No Dest, Busio,M Robinson, C Richards. Why does he not rate Hoppe??????????? Hoppe has the same potential as Pulisic(In my opinion).

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    • there is no “could not.” there is “if you go, you have to do quarantine at a club facility between practices and games.” this is a matter of convenience rather than prohibition. they changed the rule and we said no thank you. that’s on us just like leaving off pefok, sargent, green, etc. i understand we’re missing 2 injured players but at a point the arrogance of who starts vs who gets to skip vs who never gets called adds up to the suboptimal personnel situation we had. we should be missing 2 people and not be short more like 8-9. self inflicted.

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  5. Panama was better last night. Greg overthinks everything. Need to keep it simple. We need a core starting team that will lead to better cohesion , rhythm. possession and more chances. . If folks are too brittle physically ( injured often) or too brittle emotionally ( need to start or Play) then they are not part of the team.

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  6. This one is on the players, not enough intensity, we were not able to match their level. I was surprised at the flat performances of our veteran guys. Midfield was dreadful, completely unable to connect to our forwards. Does any player run hot/cold as extreme as Acosta? He went from dominating the center against Mexico in a final a couple months ago, to shanking every touch he took last night. Lletget was invisible. Musah was ok, tried to do too much, but I can’t really blame him given how the guys around him were playing. I’m not going to blame lineup too much, because we had to rotate, had to rest some guys. The players laid an egg. Exceptions were Zimmerman and Turner, but when your best players are your centerback and keeper, then you have problems.

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    • I agree the players did not perform well. It is not that they play in MLS (it was MLS players who won the Gold Cup against mostly first choice opponents). It is that they failed abjectly to pressure Panama and the fullbacks seemed to think they were attackers and did not need to bother to defend instead staying far up-field while no pressure was applied on Panama. The two center backs were the only US field players in the first half who took defensive responsibility seriously. Adams and Aaronson helped to apply pressure in the 2nd half, but throughout the game Ariola, Weah, Zardes, Musah, Acosta, Bello, Moore and Lletget all seemed to think they were supposed to wait for the ball to come to them and then either tried to dribble into a crowd or simply passed to Panama. I do not think any of those 8 players thought they had a good game.

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  7. For those saying Its just one game or concacrap qualifying is hard and we’re still in a good spot in the table etc….
    It’s not just one game, the first 2 1/2 games we looked like garbage.
    Read the Charles Boehm article, he gives a great example: after 2 corners where Turner had to make a save, he stuck with his zonal marking and there was 3 players inside of all our defenders on the goal.
    Not to mention we only had 4 shots, zero on goal, against Panama.
    I’m with Clint Dempsey on this one… Total embarrassment

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    • Berhalter had an answer when questioned about defending corners that seemed to me to be really condescending in the press conference around the 10:00 mark here: https://youtu.be/WNjO37XG2Ws. Just an impression, but it seems like more than anything else, over the past five years US Soccer has needed to purge the arrogance from our program, but we’ve doubled down on it instead.

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      • Yea I saw that, very persnickity… per my comment to Johnnyrazor earlier, he is not self aware.
        I’m Boehms article he also touches on how they basically shut down every attempt to play out of the back with only 2 players, allowing them to bunker easily.. And in response I think we set a new record for route one balls into the stratosphere

    • We still have a good chance to qualify and should. But for me, this is too many SIMILARLY bad results in a two year span for me to feel confident that GGG is the best guy for the job. He can’t control everything that goes on in a match, fine. But what he overthinks, drinks his own Koolaid, and those things he can control are fairly regularly bungled in a predictable fashion. Panama’s coach helped their cause by recognizing GGG’s patterns — 2nd half team (went at us rather than bunker, neutralized the press), zonal marking on corners (sequence of 3-4 balls right at Turner and lining up on Turner’s feet), and strict adherence to a “System.” I’m not saying “Fire Gregg and hire Panama’s manager.” But if Panama’s manager can figure out and exploit GGG’s weaknesses in this fashion… and many of us, even those rolling their eyes at the Berhalter Out crowd, can admit that GGG is still learning the international game… maybe Ernie Stewart needs to consider some options… If we have them.

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      • “and many of us, even those rolling their eyes at the Berhalter Out crowd, can admit that GGG is still learning the international game… ”

        Rolling your eyes, huh?

        That was the 19th national team game that Christiansen of Panama has managed in his career.

        It was our manager’s 40th. And I’d say he had a lot more to work with than Christiansen.

        They did not put ten men behind the ball, they beat the USMNT by playing football. Has our manager ever produced a performance as an underdog in a competitive game that really mattered, like Christiansen did? He’s only had half as many games as he USSF’s choice.

        When it going to dawn on people that maybe this on the job training thing is not going to work on time? I hear so much about how this manager just needs more time.

        We’re 5 games into the Octagon. There is no more time. It’s all just about results now.

        But then the USSF probably doesn’t care if they miss out on 2022, they have 2026 already secured and they already have their manager in place for it.

    • sorry but if there is one place to man-mark it’s a corner. near post runs in particular. personally i thought turner was struggling with them — the two near misses direct to back post — and they did a good job pushing him off the low block when he should have an easy foul call if they are bumping him in the 6 with the ball in the air. but then you shouldn’t have like multiple guys free near post. that’s hard enough to guard as it is.

      next time you hire a mad scientist for their wacky novel ideas you might check their resume first. the previously required league championship resume item ensures some team some place has over an extended period executed their ideas to ultimate success. when he talks about how he has matured since hammarby or the crew you realize this is new.

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  8. Why not invite Green, Scally, Richards, Sargent onto the B team? There are others in Europe as well. Why must we roll out Roldan to save us? Does anyone rate George Bello as a national team player?

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    • bello (and dest when used left side) are expressions of left side messiah syndrome. we have had heck finding LBs for years. GB despite an abundance of options never resolved it before quali started so we are now testing out many of his favorites and finding them wanting.

      personally i think we need to get past the malarkey where we pretend a “right back” can’t play “left back” or vice versa. as a former wingback that is total crap. if you are picking for defense the position doesn’t change. if you are picking for offense — part of the problem — then you start wanting to argue for someone with a natural foot. since our primary problem is defense, fix the defense. a right side guy can play left side. i had assists in college with my wrong foot, and held it down defensively fine. it’s stupid pigeonholing. he doesn’t even apply it to dest, that you can’t try both sides. it’s fake.

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      • if you can use an effective right back defender as a left back defender then we dramatically increase the player pool and also find a use for the many RB leftovers. it’s kind of silly to have too many RBs and then play trash at LB just to have a left footer.

  9. Sometimes the other team wins. The bEeRhOldEr SuCkS crowd needs to realize just how stupid their comments sound.
    Second place behind Mexico is about right for this tournament.

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    • It’s not just that the other team won. It’s the strange line-up to start the game, strange omissions, 0 shots on goal in 90 minutes (against Panama!), not a single chance at all.

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      • Second place, but we’ve played Canada and the bottom of the table. We need to build get points before Mexico twice, Canada away , and Costa Rica away.

      • Panama tied MX at home too 1-1 and, as I recall, MX looked pretty crap. So, maybe we don’t act like we are soooo much better than Panama than we actually are.

    • LoL. Sometimes. With evenly matched teams locking horns in tight competition- sometimes you do lose for reasons outside your control. Freak play, a bad bounce, a poor call.
      That. is. not. at. all. what occurred. here.
      That was abysmal soccer on every level in an important match.
      This not peewee soccer, it is a national team, competition at its highest level where… typically… standards and expectations can and should be very difficult. The other team didn’t “just win”. They won because our team-
      o n c e a g a I n- hugely underperformed- was lackluster and ill prepared with a misbegotten lineup, head-scratching inept substitutions. The team is consistently and considerably less than the sum of its parts.

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  10. Not gonna read the comments of those over reacting and the never-Berhalter crowd. It was a terrible game. GB left Bello in when he looked overmatched the entire game (check in again with you after the world cup George). A Gold Cup roster can win against CONCACAF in the US. A Gold Cup roster cannot win on the road in CONCACAF. We wanted rotation. Not like that though. All that said: first loss since Canada in Nation League – over a year ago. Since then 2 trophies and sitting at 2nd place in qualifying. Settle down Never Berhalters. He’s not getting fired no matter how many hashtags, blog comments or social media comments you make. Teams lose. Look at international qualifying results. It happens. Hold it together.

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    • Was it Bello… or was it coming in with a line-up that was built to eek out a draw, and then making changes too soon? I’m not against Berhalter, and I’m not overly mussed about losing this one. But I think Berhalter is very much still learning about international football and he doesn’t quite have the tactical chops – or the caliber of squad – he thinks he has. I don’t expect him to get fired either. Those people are off the wall. But I do worry about the tactical nous and squad-building in the medium term.

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      • I think Berhalter is aware of the talent and experience, or lack there of, of his squad, but a lot of fans aren’t.
        I watched the Belgium vs France semi last week and Belgium started 5 players who have over 100 caps. We don’t have any players, let alone 5 who are there. Talent and experience go hand and hand. We’re not there yet.

    • Ross, What I mean is that I think he thinks he has a capable B squad, rather than a series of competent guys who can plug 1/2 holes because of a red card.

      Llegett, in an otherwise strong squad, can fill a role, play within himself, and not hurt our chances. But I think Berhalter thinks that he can play 11 of those guys together and still have decent results, because he thinks Llegett is better than what I described. I don’t think he thinks Lleget is his first choice or anything. But I think, on the margins, he has too much faith in the capacity of guys and I think it will bite us in the medium term. A little too much rotation, a sub that is too early or too late, or a lineup that is a bit too defensive, relying on X or Y player is too much.

      [{{{{{PARAGRAPH HERE}}}}}}}] Maybe we are being too tricky by half. Maybe we should just be playing our best 11 until they can’t go anymore. Or maybe not. I’m not sure at this point. All I know is that we don’t have a B team that can win on the road in World Cup Qualifying.

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      • Try this on for a B team: Scally, Green, Busio, Adams, De La Torre Sargent, Richards. The jokers need to go back to MLS I’m talking Zardes, Roldan, Bello, Lleget. Acosta keep around for the bench.

  11. A lot of over reaction. They weren’t going to win every game this cycle and then won’t win every game next cycle regardless of whatever great coach you think is sitting around waiting for this job after Berhalter. The other teams have professional players that can run fast, trap the ball, win tackles, and piece togethor attacks. They are still in a very good position to qualify. If your point total coincides with wins at home and ties on the road, you qualify easily. Mexico is right on this pace, US is 1 point behind this pace, Canada 2, and Panama and El Salvador 4 behind. Everyone else worse than that. They laid an egg and had a crappy game on the road after 3 days rest. They are going to do that next cycle also. Some of the worst performances ever in road qualifiers have been by very good European players. The idea that if they brought in a whole bunch of other European based players they would have done better isn’t supported by history of qualifying to date. Pefok wouldn’t have done any better than Zardes with the complete lack of service and Zardes has outplayed him for the Nats this summer. They wouldn’t have won or tied because Joe Scally was there instead of Shaq Moore. Acosta didn’t play well and Lletget was awful but they are both players who have played well for the US in the recent past (more so Acosta in my opinion). Weah wasn’t effective and he is a European based player people were acting like should be annoited as the best American player ever after a good 20 minute shift running at tired Jamaican defenders. Berhalter may not be a good coach and I do think he made some bad substitutions but they are still in a better position to qualify right now than every other team except Mexico.

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    • Not saying this wasn’t a challenging fixture – it was – but Berhalter gave his team absolutely no chance.
      Where were the creative guys who were going to advance the ball and give the team a chance to score? Other than Musah, there were zero of them on the field.
      Where were the guys who could even hold posssession? It was almost like Gregg went through his roster and looked for the guys who could not pass and had wooden paddles for feet. And waddya know…until the very end of the game, when the subs finally got the ball back and kept it for awhile, Panama had the lion’s share of possession…and almost all the dangerous chances.
      Before the game started, EVERYBODY looking at the roster knew we were at best looking at yet another scoreless half of soccer until the subs got in…and of course, the worst case happened, we conceded on a corner, and got behind the 8-ball and Panama was allowed to use home-field, a frantic crowd, and a ton of artificial FREELY GIFTED momentum to play out the win.
      Gregg gave them that. That’s what happens when you roll a crap lineup on the field full of coach’s favorites and try-hard MLS C-teamers-at-best who in no way belonged on the team for actual qualifiers anyhow.
      I’m still enraged at this result because it was utterly foreseeable from the moment this roster was unveiled…and utterly preventable.
      The next time it happens Gregg needs to be gone. We need to tweak our roster a bit if we’re going to do everything we could in the World Cup…and I’m starting to think part of that purging process needs to include the coach who keeps calling these turkeys up.

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      • Who are the creative possession players you are talking about? The players can’t do 270 minutes in 7 days, especially not people coming off injuries like Adams and Musah. He could have played them in Panama but then you would have seen the team you saw yesterday against CR at home which is a more important game. ImpVoice would say he picked the wrong roster but he wants more Eoropean-based players which historically has not been a great formula for road qualifying games. Berhalter isnt going to get fired unless they think US is in jeopardy of not qualifying, which they arent right now. I’m sure they will reassess after this window. If US loses to CR, there may be some consideration but if they beat CR there is no way he is getting fired. Game sucked, I hated watching it, I would have taken Lletget and Weah off at halftime, I would have played Hoppe because he can make things happen individually as he proved in Gold Cup (I would have staryed Hoppe ahead of Arriola), I would not have put Roldan on as a winger, I would have added a 4th midfielder when they were getting overrun and wing play wasnt doing anything, but GGG didnt ask me for advise. Having said all that, if the players played well, the game would have been different. It isnt all on the coach when they win or lose.

    • You’re still into this Euro vs MLS players bit aren’t you?

      The problem is not the players.

      There are enough good ones to choose from.

      The problem is the manager.

      He has not been choosing the right ones at the right time and the ones he does choose, he is not “putting them in a position to succeed.” For example he has a midfield three of Musah, Lletget and Acosta. Only Musah is capable of moving the ball forward. He gets no help from Acosta or Lletget neither of whom have one creative bone in their bodies.

      Nevertheless this team will probably qualify. They are so far superior to every other team and we have so much depth that they will, most of the time , pull the team out of the holes that this manager drives the team into.

      Frankly, the depth probably confuses this manager. Bob had about 16 players he could count on so he spent his time working on ways to make the most of them. This manager is like a kid in a toy store falling in love with certain toys
      but when they get broken being paralyzed by all the choices in front of him.

      But not to worry. They won’t fire him even if they fail to qualify.

      That’s not a USSF thing, admitting to failure.

      So get used to 4 more years of this stuff as this manager gets to work on the 2026 team.

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    • There was a whole lot of over-reaction from the Jamaica game (apparently people suddenly expected us to cake-walk through the rest of qualifying based on that performance). There is a whole lot of over-reaction after this game. Suddenly the coach has to be fired and no one is good enough. Is it really people’s view that we should start our 11 best players and run them for 270 minutes come hell or high water and that, even if we did that, we would win all our games? If so, there is a lot of delusion there.

      GGG26 (I’m still annoyed he didn’t bring 30) decided he was going to run out a team that was built to get a draw. There was no ambition – 0 – in that line-up. But fine, that is not the worst thing in the world sometimes. Go let the Panamanians kick Zardes, lleget, and Acosta instead of our budding 18-yr old star, Adams, and Dest. Protect Adams from a second Yellow card in an away match with a Mexican ref. The problem I saw was that he made his first set of changes too soon. Then, once Panama scored, GGG26 couldn’t make a “whole hog” decision to go for the win (and leave Musah in) or curl up in a ball, and save Tyler Adam’s legs. If he was going to make the first change he needed to go whole hog for the win right then. To me that means Adams, Dest, Aaronson, Hoppe and Pepi. Acosta, Llegett, Zardes, Arriola are out, Weah back to MF.

      But look, when you roll out with that line-up you are always tempting fate. I mean, if I were Panama’s coach, seeing that line-up I would have told my team that it was a total lack of respect. That the American’s don’t believe we can even play with their B team and I’d get my guys all angry and fired up to go kick their ass.

      This time we got burned by playing for a draw. It happens. Also, there is an argument that the MLS troupe can compete better in the 90 degree heat/humidity and shitty conditions of CONCACAF away games. So I don’t think I can totally blame GGG26 for trying to play for the draw. It just was always going to be a dour game and if you do that, you really have to come away with the 0-0.

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      • I agree with most of what you said except I dont think the roster size had an impact. Had he brought more players in, I think we still would have seen the same players and that same lineup. Any time anyone goes away for international duty, it is a disruption to their paying jobs. It isnt like the women under contract to the USSF where the federation pays them and their first obligation is to the national team. The biggest risk is obviously injury but losing form and losing playing time is also a high risk with the European based players due to the travel. Zimmerman wasnt on the original roster but played every minute of the last two games. He was in the roster for the first window but played no games. That was probably tough for him and his club team. But he is a guy who knows the team, knows the setup, and can step in without training with the team as he showed in both games so not calling him in if you werent planning to play him makes semse to me. I’m not sure who else you would call in from MLS and I think Berhalter has these discussions with the European based players and the ones who think they are only there for injury prefer to stay with their club teams.

    • I hear you Tele. My hope, in bringing 30, would be that GGG wouldn’t have started this lineup all together… I put it somewhere else in this thread, but 1/2 of the B squad guys (maybe 3) each game as rotational tools is a good strategy. But rotating like this is a bit much.

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    • One criticism I would level at Berhalter was the setup of the team. I didn’t have a huge issue with the rotation, but he should not expect them to play the same way as the first 11 does at home.
      Set up with a 3-5-2 and play a more direct style on the road to Panama. It was always going to be a scrap, but we did not set up for one.

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      • Yeah, or just do a low block and sit back in a 4-5-1 and try and break Weah on a counter. There is a missing gap in understanding how tactics and players and situations mesh together. Like he took the “I didn’t make any subs lesson” so even though I am trying to rest guys and it is still 0-0 in a game where I brought out the catenaccio lineup… I am going to make 5 subs by the 68′” Its just bizarre.

      • actually, we set up entirely for a scrap and his error was not having sufficient technical resources available to create and finish anything, or come back from one goal down. i told people before a ball rolled that we would keep this close with the lineup but where would the goals come from? nowhere, we know with the benefit of hindsight. sorry dude but arriola and zardes is setting up to do nothing but scrap. i keep referencing italy — even the most team defense of sides has to have some finesse to it — ideally up top. back 6 scrap, pass it to the technicians, they elude panama and finish well. we exaggerated the numbers of players necessary to execute a team defensive strategy. everyone doesn’t have to be some pressing hustler. aaronson will chase but can trap, dribble out of trouble, and put a pass or shot where he means to. 3-4 guys like that on top of the mean machine and we would have gotten 1-2 goals and 1-3 points. what we did was overkill. it’s like depending on wondo to finish on belgium. at a point you need to let go of “my center forward needs to be a pressing player” so that if we get any chances they go netward. and i say this as a team-defense oriented person who spent a lot of their soccer in the back. let me do my job. us and adams. you 4-5 up top go chase our goals.

        also bears noting — and gets repeatedly lost in the regressive shuffle of the day — that sometimes a good offense is your best defense. that if the offense is crisper and more dangerous they have to sit back, take us seriously, or not constantly get errant passes conceding possession to them.

  12. The attack has been weak under Berhalter for awhile. His teams are playing excellent defensively, but something is missing. I expected more intensity from a lot of the guys that played tonight. I don’t understand why US teams can’t get up for road qualifiers. Constantly there is talk about winning home games. We are openly resting guys for the next home match. When you rest guys and don’t put out your best lineup it screams no intensity. Yes, we’re already missing 3 of our 4 best midfielders so let’s bench the other guy too. If Adams is tired then take him out, but he should start. Pepi should start because he has earned the start. Dest was dressed so probably he should have played. Hoppe showed intensity during the Gold Cup, would have liked to have seen him in this game. Even if McKennie is injured he probably should have been with the team just to keep the unity.

    Reply
    • I’d say worse, at least Pulisic scored in that one and Dempsey hit the post late. We didn’t have a single shot on goal tonight. Also Trinidad’s goals were kind of flukes against the run of play. Panama were the better side and created more chances.

      Reply
      • I don’t disagree. My comment was more of a general observation about the team’s desire and urgency in both games rather than an attempt to compare and contrast the two. In both games, the US seemed uninterested, slow, and undeservedly overconfident.

  13. Watched the press conference with Gregg. Basically he said we played bad, he felt they had to significantly rotate with the long travel and the heat and humidity but they guys they played didn’t perform to expectations. He at least took responsibility and didn’t throw anyone under the bus a la previous managers. Said Aaronson and Adams were planned minutes. He did get snippy with Sam Stejskal about zonal marking.

    Reply
    • I’ll say what I said during & after the first window..
      He overthinks and is too rigid in his process from selection to lineups to tactics. and doesn’t know what to do when his “plan” doesn’t work. (Like the Mike Tyson quote: everyone has a plan till they get punched in the face)
      I’m tonight’s case it was overestimating the readiness level of the “team” he selected, and then underleading them.

      The best leader I ever had in business had a saying, there’s two types of people in the world, those who are “process/systems” oriented & those who are “results” oriented. The results oriented people need a process or good systems to maximize results.. the process/systems oriented people need results oriented people around them maximize results. The biggest problem is that most people lack the self awareness to know which one they are, therefore lacking the ability to consistently execute.. And results suffer. So either figure out who you are & do something about it, or figure out something else to do…
      Rant over…
      We totally sucked tonight

      Reply
      • I think there’s some truth to your comment. However that was basically the lineup from GC. Full of veterans of qualifying that should have known the energy it would take. But they didn’t. And seemingly were uninterested in trying to change that.

  14. I would say this game pretty much proved that the USA’s depth is not all that strong. You can certainly say Aaronson is a very capable replacement for Pulisic or Reyna, but can anyone honestly claim that Ariola or Weah are? (sure Weah hasn’t played much, but he’s had about 90 minutes duting the last 2 games). Zardes is no solid replacement for Pepi (and probably not for Pefok or Sargent either). Does anyone think the team plays equally well with Acosta in for Adams? Lletget is no McKennie. Musah well lets excuse him a bit due to his age, but being too casual with the ball is just hard to forgive. Bello, McKenzie and Moore were poor and Yedlin was not much better. Maybe Busio or Del La Tore are good enough, but who knows for sure.

    I guess it is time to admit that the US is still just a couple injuries from being a pretty pedestrian team and that the first choice players must play every minute they are healthy until a games outcome is known.

    Reply
    • You would have thought that the players who did not start against Jamaica would come in trying to prove they were better, instead, they looked unwilling to compete. If players will not put forth 100% effort, it is more than the coach that is suspect.

      Reply
    • Dennis, Who said the US depth is strong? Whomever said that is a moron. We have 11 World-Class players on this team (not counting keepers) McKinnie, Adams, Dest, Robinson, Scally, Pulisic, Reyna, Weah, musah, aaronson, Brooks. Maybe you can add both Zimmerman and McKenzie and either Yedlin or Shaq Moore… Maybe. Pepi shows a lot of potential, there is also Sargent who has a lot of potential, Hoppe, Dike and Pefok too who have some potential… but none who scream world-class at me (two goals against Jamaica is not world class folks, it is potential).
      .
      .
      There is not much depth there. Especially when 2 or more are tired, the windows are short, and the games are many.

      Reply
  15. Looking over the stats on SofaScore were it highlights when you have the most of a category. Here are the only categories we “won”
    ———————————
    Shots off Target, Offsides, Keeper Saves, Possession Lost, Clearances, Long Balls (just number % was lower), and Crosses. Only crosses would be considered positive.

    Reply
  16. So much if this falls on the players, and I think they know it. It is rare not to see a total team effort from a US, but in this game it felt like Panama wanted this one more. In a game with a heavy rotation where new players were given a chance to impress, nobody really stood out. Zimmerman was arguably the best US player on the pitch before cramping up at the end, but it was especially disappointing to see a lackluster, disjointed effort. Time for a gut check Wednesday.

    Reply
    • “So much if this falls on the players, and I think they know it.”

      Were the players the ones who swapped out 7 players in the name of rotation? That’s 64% of the lineup. Hard to maintain an consistency with that much change. If they were hot after Jamaica, swapping out the 7 was a good way to let the air out of that balloon real fast.

      Did the players start Ariolla , whose one asset is his relentless defensive harassment of the opposition, after he just went 90 vs Jamaica and every one wonders where is the energy? He got undressed numerous times by the Panamanian left back.

      Did the players start a CB pairing that have played minimal time together and , in any case, are hardly experienced USMNT veterans? And then everyone wonders why they play like it.

      Did the players sub in and remove the one player of the midfield three who was doing anything.
      Did the players, in need of a goal, sub in Roldan and Yedlin, instead of Hoppe and Busio?

      “It is rare not to see a total team effort from a US, but in this game it felt like Panama wanted this one more.”

      Not that rare.

      Reply
      • 90 degrees and like 90% humidity, the lineup for Jamaica wasn’t realistic either. The lineup was 85% GC guys so they should not have been that disjointed. Zim and McKenzie had been in several camps together and played together twice although once was only for 7 minutes. So to some extent it is the players, yeah Wes isn’t there Ty can’t go 90 but someone has to get into Sebs ear and tell him to push the ball forward, and to tell Musah to quite taking so many touches and to settle McKenzie down. But OMG how do you expect Roldan to create a goal when we’ve had 4 shots all night?

    • You get very few chances to show the coach and staff you are ready to do what it takes to win WCQ games and maybe make the final 2022 cut, assuming they get there. When the chance comes, you play with relentless effort and focus. Fatigue was not a factor for many of the starters. This is one of the few US games I can recall where that was lacking. Zimmerman shows he can be counted on. As for other fringe players who has subpar effort, they should be looking behind their backs or looking at the bench, and realize where they now stand in the packing order. Berhalter certainly deserves criticism, but the players on the fringe who had a poor effort yesterday must know it was a lost opportunity.

      Reply
  17. Ernie Stewart cant like what he is seeing. Gregg is constantly bad and makes crazy decisions more times than not. Bottom line is we ma make the WC,… maybe but if we do, is this the guy to get us out of the group stage? NO HE IS NOT. Sometimes we succeed, in spite of GB, never because of him. We have to make a change and soon… this is NOT WORKING. GB must go!!!!

    Reply
    • right, this is my point, i think this should be top of table, if we have to work at all it’s suboptimized. under standard US coaching retention approaches, he only gets fired if qualification is at risk or we flush in group play. the talent is too good for us to miss. so do we go through the motions and go out in 3 games? maybe even extend him just for qualifying? i thought this was about improving how we played. i thought this was about improving how much we advanced. it’s kind of turning back into “just qualify us and you’ll get 2 cycles.” and today the tactics degraded into like 1990 or 1998 or 2006 stuff. how do they expect this to go anywhere if we justify the same old level finish? the expectations have to go up, if we want more. he can’t deliver the sales pitch. my concern is they give him to 2026 to try, because he’s some supposed shaman. and that will be a huge chunk of the careers of leading players. and to me he’s not yet shown he’s even the level of his longer-term predecessors. if i took seriously this is a golden generation i would see this as unacceptable.

      people don’t get, after we play CR to close out this set, and then mexico next window, that’s halfway through. in a normal cycle this would be halfway, and we’d be sitting on 8 points, pace for 16 (and in reality not having played the traditional big 2 yet). likely “in” but on a points number like we had to work for it…..with a golden generation at our disposal and some pretty good players left off our roster.

      Reply
      • Stewart needs to have a serious conversation after CR regardless of outcome for sure. However, Pulisic available 2 of 5, Reyna 1 of 5, McKennie 2 of 5, Dest 3 of 5 (maybe 4 if he was able to play tonight) Weah 2 of 5, Steffen 2 of 5. So the Golden generation has largely been unavailable.

      • i’m a broken record on this, pulisic is out for covid. someone who was finalizing a transfer or left for club reasons, and misses a whole window, was a coach’s decision. ditto anyone who missed today for “UK reasons.” the UK changed their rules to allow players serving quarantine to still participate, and we decided it would be mean to put our players through the alternative scheme. that’s our choice, not like pulling a hammy. sargent and pefok is self-inflicted. richards is self inflicted. we definitely missed pulisic and reyna but i also told everyone that one of our flaws was giving them and steffen all the minutes where few others were understudied and prepared. the focus needs to shift from star system to teambuilding. teambuilding is when a starter goes out we have another layer or two ready to go.

      • I get all that but of the true Golden Generation guys only Adams has been available each time. So yes we’ve got guys at Barca, Juve, Dortmund, Man City but they largely have been unavailable. That’s not to say we didn’t still have more talent tonight, we definitely did. We’ve gone from so nuanced that we can’t function to so pragmatic that we let anyone play with us.

    • jrazor–there are no excuses for this performance. The problem was as much or more about effort and attitude as about what players were out there. How can a US team go 90 minutes without a shot on goal? And why wasn’t Berhalter on their asses at halftime? It’s not like we were playing France.

      Reply
      • Totally agree, the comment just was Berhalter is struggling with our Golden Generation. Well those guys really haven’t been available. There were many issues out there but misusing our stars wasn’t one of them only one was there.

      • you’re narrowly defining golden generation. only the very best at the biggest clubs. the dude has players coming out of the wazoo beyond the obvious. this is not poor deprived bruce arena in 2017. we are loaded. but if you leave off some of the load and then others are hurt or sent home or left off because we won’t put them through UK quarantine, you begin stripping away the quality depth and get to ordinary. this guy loves his 2019 bunch and almost wants ordinary on purpose. and he’s not just undermined by some injuries, but by his own marginal selection choices. green, richards, holmes, pefok, etc. or he leaves hoppe with splinters. this is incredible talent accumulation but only if you cumultively run it out. you run out arriola and zardes and bello and mckenzie and roldan, etc., less special. that’s a choice. this should be closer to the 09-10 cycle team where pre injury holden might be a sub and that is no cause for depression. but only if you’re not calling ben olsen instead.

  18. Zardes has no business being on this team. None. How many times have we seen him fail? He’s not our second-best striker, or our sixth-best. I can’t watch him screw up any more.

    Reply
    • I can deal with Zardes in certain situations, and I like a lot of his game.
      He is not a starter; he’s a guy you inflict and run at a tired opponent. He’s a pure bench guy and a putty guy you can use as a striker or right wing.
      WHY ARE YOU STARTING HIM? You know exactly what you’re getting out of Zardes and it’s not goals in the first 75+ minutes. So why on Earth was he your starter and not Hoppe when the last 574 appearances of Gyasi Zardes have more than sufficed to show you what he can and cannot do?

      Reply
  19. we’re kind of stuck for the next game but this should be the end on bello and mckenzie. one bad play is an outlier. similar plays every game is a pattern…..brooks, dest. we need to see CCV, richards, and some new LB candidates. vines if he heals.

    Reply
    • Tonight though I’m not sure what choice he had besides Bello, with Vines out. Moore was pretty nonimpactful on the right, Dest perhaps not fit to play. I mean Lovitz and Gasper aren’t realistic options. I know technically we could have forced Jedi to come but then he’d have to isolate for another 10 days upon return to England, not ideal for the mental health of your player. He’d basically train for an hour or two and then go back and sit alone in his hotel room.

      Reply
      • wear one of those belts for your back as you move the goalposts. once it went from “can’t play” to “can play but have to serve out quarantine in a hotel around practices” the patriotic thing is take your lumps and enjoy the plane to panama. they basically cleared the players for club ball and coach perseverated with his plan anyway. at that point, yet again, you are simply indulging club concerns for the sake of doing so, when we have dibs. it also bears noting that some of the now more theoretical “hotel quarantine” would likely be spent flying, on a bus, or playing games. yes, you have to retreat to a hotel after. but what do you think he’s doing now?? for 10 days??

      • like i just said, i don’t see how it’s dramatically different than a 3 game 10 day roadtrip probably exclusively spent in hotels. you put someone up in a fancy enough multiroom suite — which english clubs could afford — and this is hardly torture. maybe they could bring a spouse/significant other. or friends. and then probably travel to play 2-3 games that time period.

        and then, also repeating myself, it’s about bigger goals and priorities. you’re saying we should be willing to lose this panama game to coddle the clubs and avoid inconvenience to our players. i kind of don’t buy at all this is how brian mcbride would have handled this. he would have taken his lumps and helped the NT get away points. utterly selfish crap.

        and all due respect but what is steffen hurrying back to at City, exactly??????? he can go from home-to-bench instead of hotel-to-bench??

    • They are not allowed any visitors, including spouses, significant others, yogis, mates, or their kids. I’m not sure about accommodations so probably not like prison but the rules are quite strict. It kind of sounded like they’d be staying in the dormitories on training grounds. It would definitely not be fun maybe you’d do it maybe Dempsey would have but if Antonee didn’t want to it’s send him to Columbus or he doesn’t come at all.

      Reply
    • Those 2 were my main area of concern. I keep saying no McKenzie. A poor striker means you can’t get scoring from him. A poor defender and it likely means you lose. And we started with 2.

      Reply
      • Dest with a bad wheel on short rest in heat and humidity wasn’t an option. I’m not sure on the Scally vs Bello debate. Bello makes some defensive mistakes I don’t see Joe make. Bello better offensively but his crossing wasn’t great tonight or against Honduras.

  20. I have long thought that Zardes proves time and again that he is nowhere near good enough for the US National Team. He can’t be the best alternative we have, can he?

    Reply
    • What did Pepi do or Aaronson? It was the midfield, Lleget and Acosta were awful couldn’t connect with anyone, couldn’t win any duals. The WBs were pretty awful too. Looked like my sons U10s trying to cross most of the time.

      Reply
      • aaronson looked good. what you’re missing is zardes was constantly a few steps late making the striker runs aaronson wanted. like there is actually a play where aaronson flanks his man and has to pause a second to wait for zardes’ run — when he should be off dashing as soon as aaronson makes his spin to freedom — and so the ball is blocked at about the 6 yard box. GIGO. you clearly missed my point on arriola and zardes, which was that it was going to be a long night when an iffy finisher is waiting on a shankerific crosser.

        to address your primary argument, the mids were sufficient for the first half, good for about 15-20′ after the subs at half, and then bypassed for kickball at the end. i was not impressed by lletget but that IMO is a selection glitch and not the mids sucked. adams is a mid. musah is a mid. they were fine. i have suggested other mids possessing more pure attacking skill we could have used. you give me a lecture about two way players. we clearly missed mckennie but more pointedly lacked incisive selections. someone other than aaronson who could hit a nice ball. at a point of enough bulk crap that is the coach’s fault. i told you there was not enough positive ammunition. you disagreed. you were wrong. just admit it. confession is good for the soul.

      • I know the play your talking about, it was one of the few times we actually got behind the defense and someone played the ball. It looked odd at the time but I wasn’t sure if it was Zardes or if Brendan was trying to get reset after chasing the ball to the endline. I’m not happy with Zardes or Arriola but they got little to no service all night either. Acosta’s free kicks were either poor execution or terrible strategy.
        ——————————
        When I say midfield I mean Acosta and Lleget, although Musah struggled at times but that might have just been heavy legs after the first 30 minutes. Adams was his usual self other that one very bad turnover. Acosta in the first half was ok but was not the everywhere problem solver like the knockouts of GC. Lleget killed every attack on his side. Every pass was negative or sideways never progressed the ball. If it had been Reyna instead of Tim, he would have been screaming and waving his hands all night calling for the ball.

    • to give out some praise, i thought aaronson played well but had no one to service. adams was also ok. zimmermann was decent. that’s about it. turner had problems on corners including the (near post) goal. acosta had a lousy night hitting deadballs. i am a little concerned he burned some of his starters some more who already looked tired on a rotation game he half-baked with his tactics. i’d rather they be rested for costa rica if that’s how hard he wanted to try. but you then have to select a pool of players capable of something. this was where you miss green, holmes, pefok, nico, sargent, some of the technicals pushed out so we could stack up hustle players behind aaronson and weah and pepi. a little of that goes a long way.

      Reply
      • IV, sad to see your worst predictions proven correct (for once, haha). But, I was not wrong about the plan I saw… I WAS wrong that GGG had that plan. Hear me out: The problem was one of what to do with the 2nd half. I THOUGHT GGG would execute a plan to weather the storm and then bring on personnel to play fluidly later. Two main problems occurred: (1) Lletget and Acosta had subpar games AND (2) GGG did not switch to a stronger attack at all, let alone early enough, in the 2nd half. Starting Lletget, Acosta, Arriola, and Zardes together can work IF GGG replaces Arriola, Zardes, and one or both of Acosta or Lletget with better attacking players. Instead, he overthought things and staggered subs — one “rested” hustle guy and one attacker each round of substitutions. I can hear him trying to justify it with some BS about “balance and verticality.” Instead, he brought on Adams, removed Musah prematurely, and left on Lletget with no one in the middle to help move the ball upfield. EVEN WHEN LLETGET WAS CLEARLY CRAPPING THE BED!!! The end result was a team that could NEVER connect. GGG had an idea that could have worked, except that he (a) had bad performances from Lletget and Acosta AND (b) made crap (probably pre-planned) substitutions that failed to improve the attack. This brings me back to the point where I was most wrong: I was reading too much into the starting XI, saw the only conceivable way it COULD work, and ASSUMED that this was GGG’s plan. It wasn’t. Or, it was, and GGG freaked out and crapped the bed. Either way, the positive results seem more attributable to some individual brilliance (Pepi v. Honduras) or a really bad opponent (Jamaica). GGG is a “Don’t Lose” coach, not a Winner.

    • Quaker: 100% as to what happened. I think might have actually worked if we hadn’t given up the set piece goal. Aaronson was causing problems Adams was cutting out attacks. It looked like Berhalter actually recognized the problem and swapped Lleget and Aaronson but when the goal came he couldn’t put our most goal dangerous player in midfield. But then why bring on Roldan?

      Reply
      • Right. I like Roldan for CONCACAF games, had him starting in my pre-game XI. But he’s not the guy you bring on late when you’re trailing and the team looks flat. GGG got the subs right in Honduras but mismanaged here. Bad play from your CMS, plus bad management, plus an own goal = what we saw.

  21. arriola + zardes was a 2019 move. wrong gold cup even. someone invoked gold cup? strikers were not the gold cup problem, we had them in abundance — and within a 23 man roster where he replaced one person. it was couva-esque to run out there a bunch of forwards to harass the other team instead of people who could score. and the irony is they played too fast to press much……so we had beheaded chickens chasing a track team…..an actual mismatch would have been some technicians like aaronson that they had to play soccer against….

    Reply
  22. As a coach, I was kind of grinding my teeth.

    Berhalter. Got. It. So. Wrong. And not for the first time.

    The other times – in Nations League and Gold Cup – he rolled out incomprehensible lineups and rosters a lot of matchI used to love going up against guys like Berhalter when I coached, cerebraups, they didn’t work, and then somehow Forest Gump’d his way into a 1-0 win even when the team got outplayed and outschemed and didn’t really deserve it.

    This time, we got exactly what we deserved for the lineup Gregg trotted out. It was mind-boggling. No creative players. No scorers. Some fast guys at wingback who were going to get neutralized on a crappy field.

    Clearly, he was just expecting them to hold the line until the better reinforcements could get there…but, uhm…that being so, why were a lot of these guys on the roster to BEGIN with? We know what we’re getting with Arriola and Zardes and Roldan; they’re fine for Gold Cups but you’re not going to get much out of them either, and certainly not as starters. Lletget is a putty guy, he’s as good as whatever’s around him…and absolutely no better, he’s going to initiate zero on his own. Where was Hoppe? Where was Luca de la Torre? YOU HAD ANSWERS AND YOU DID NOT USE THEM, INSTEAD YOU WENT WITH DELIBERATELY MEDIOCRE.

    Bad, bad, bad. I’m back to thinking Gregg is basically a gym teacher again. Most of us saw this coming when the lineup was unveiled…actually, a lot of us saw this exact moment coming when the roster was announced and it became obvious Gregg was going to have to dip into his bench because of English COVID restrictions and the 3-day window and it was patently obvious he’d left himself some mediocre MLS guys and old favs as his primary backups. I don’t HATE the likes of Arriola/Roldan/McKenzie/Bello and they’ve definitely not disgraced the shirt but most of them were never good enough for truly meaningful matches to begin with and some of them like Bello aren’t quite there yet, not for qualifying when you MUST WIN, not just put a positive-minded roster on the field.

    You never roll out a roster you know isn’t good enough and expect a draw. If you’re doing that, why are you calling them?

    Reply
    • BRILLIANT! It’s so obvious, yet they continue to make the same mistake of including subpar mls players and leaving out euro-based guys at higher levels. Political sponsor influence or straight stupidity

      Reply
  23. i thought when he pushed zimmermann forward that said something about the paucity and poverty of his striker selection. yes, teams throw backs forward sometimes, but to me it begged, “where is your pefok?” or even where is hoppe. i also think he is sufficiently dim as a coach that when he was busy subbing in roldan and yedlin and such it never seemed to occur to him that if he was telling his team to whack balls into the box you might want (a) someone out there who can hit an accurate cross from wide, or ball from the back and (b) have out there a big body to head it in. i’ve said before he seemed to try to play possession soccer with hustle players, well, he was trying to play kickball without either the beginning or end of such a concept.

    like, people can make fun of bradley all they want but down 2 goals to ES he would not have subbed in backs and he would sub in davis to hit crosses and jozy to finish them. like some sort of coherent “package.” i never got how the XI was going to score and outside of aaronson and adams (at half) the subs weren’t going to make it happen either.

    Reply
    • Roldan was the bad one. Up a goal or even I can see it, but down? He’s not going to run by someone or dribble through someone. If someone can draw a defender and play to him but there was no one on his side to do that. Hoppe can create on his own or as you say win a header. Announcer kept saying Zim wasn’t moving and that’s why he was moved up I couldn’t tell because we hardly ever got near at the end.

      Reply
      • this is a pattern dating back to the jamaica 2019 semi of not getting that 99% of games he doesn’t help you win off the bench. it’s not the first time. it’s not even the first time we’ve gone ahead and lost after that’s his response to being down a goal (mexico). i recall that game he subbed on lovitz, zardes, and roldan. wingback, roldan. like clockwork.

  24. 7 out of starting XI were MLS players. Extremely Bad look. GB hasn’t figured out you can’t this many limited players on the pitch at the same time?! Zardes, Arriola w/ Weah, up top. Lletget, Acosta, & Musah in the midfield. Takes out Musah? Then Weah? It doesn’t take an analyst to see there would be… NO SHOTS on goal. Is anyone surprised? Backline was ok, Turner was better but that midfield. Holy Kreis!!! I really wanted to see LDT, Musah, Adams trident.

    Reply
    • A lot of those guys are Berkhalter favorites too. I just can’t take it anymore. Its like watching the Gold Cup were we get nothing going. Zero target shots. A few of those guys needs to stop getting the call ups. Zardes, Arriola, Roldan and lletget need to be retired from USMNT pool

      Reply
    • It just doesn’t work. I was open to the GGG plan after the last few results, but we just don’t keep or move the ball well with these players. And he doesn’t use them well either. If you’re going to use Roldan, he starts to work hard and wear down the defense before Hoppe or whomever relieves him, brings technique and skill at tired defenders. Instead, we got GGG half adding the lineup, and never quite having enough skill or quite enough hustle to make it happen.

      Reply
    • Panama’s best players were also MLS guys, and guys who aren’t all-stars either. You’d say in MLS play the US guys are better.

      Reply
      • now, this is a fair point. MLS obviously works for Panama (and for CR, and Mexico, and everyone else). i think people want for it to be a conspiracy when it’s really that he favors MLS players with more club minutes, or specific player types. horvath is out for minutes. green is out for not being a hustle player. lost in here is the idea one should be fielding their best talent, not just a club form all star team, and that if i am omitting too many good players for not fitting some theory then maybe the theory should bend so i include all my best players.

        this was a perfect “green game.” it would also have been a good sargent or pefok game. ironically i think he thought it took the hustle players tonight but that basically canceled out and they got the proverbial one goal they needed.

    • “I really wanted to see LDT, Musah, Adams trident.”
      HELLLOOOO. 100% Following first signs of creative life- he finally put a good midfield out against Jamaica- and then completely guts it. Play: LDT, Musah, Adams… add Weah Pepi, Aaronson and it is a COMPLETLY DIFEERENT game. I feel like I’m losing my mind its so blatantly obvious. Half time… He’s chasing his tail doing damage control… again goes with Pepi and Aaronson- then steps on his wanker and brings out Musah??? Then later pulls out Weah for Roldan??? Fires all his bullets scrambling to recover. He’s making all of this waaaay harder than it needs to be. Baffling. I’ve said it before- I’ll say it again. Gregg- put out the best players and get the … out of the way.

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      • Rico, some of those guys were gassed and couldn’t start. Rotation was never… But he didn’t actually rotate in a way that set the team up for success. It was a half assed, over thought lineup for both halves. Result was a team that was half rested and only half committed in both halves.

      • Not at all saying they all go 90. At some point in the match you have togo for it- have a combo of players capable of posing threat. I thought that was why GB subbed out Musah, Aaronson and Pepi v Jamaica- for this match. LoL so much for that. You put a solid lineup out there- set the tone- take the game by the scruff of the neck. That combo would have had a veryyyy good chance at grabbing at least a goal. Put Panama on their heels. … then second half- start subbing in Hoppe for Pepi, Acosta for Adams. Lletget’s back passes look less egregious with a lead in the 85th minute. That game… was a retreat before the game started… flaccid, chasing our tails from the moment that lineup was dropped down to running out of subs in the end.

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