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Weah, Zimmerman and the players who boosted their USMNT stock the most in November

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The four points secured during November’s World Cup qualifying made for a good month, even if the disappointment of Tuesday’s draw against Jamaica made it feel as though November didn’t go as well as it actually did.

The 2-0 win against Mexico was the high point for the Americans, and the best overall performance by the team since the Octagonal began, and even though there was a feeling of a major letdown against Jamaica in the wake of that masterpiece in Cincinnati, having a young team missing several key players earn a point on the road was a bigger positive than some have given it credit for being.

Just as important as the four points were the individual performances delivered by those players who made the most of November’s matches to either cement their status as starters, or make strong cases to be starters even as some missing pieces return to the picture.

With that in mind, here is a look at the USMNT players who boosted their stock the most in November:


Tim Weah


Set up the winner against Mexico and scored a beautiful goal for the lone USMNT tally in the draw with Jamaica.

As impressive as those moments were, it was his persistent and effective attacking threats throughout the Mexico match, and in the first half of the Jamaica match, that helped him earn SBI Man of the Match honors and have him looking like a serious candidate to start even when the team returns closer to full health.


Weston McKennie


It’s rare that a player’s stock rises when they don’t play, but McKennie’s absence was so glaring in the Jamaica match that it made it easier to appreciate just how much he brings to the table.

As much as it shouldn’t really surprise anybody how good McKennie can be for the USMNT, especially given the form he was riding from Juventus, but his performance against Mexico was inspiring and helped further erase any lingering doubts about him after the September departure from the team. He is one of the cornerstones of the team, and November only served to remind anyone who may have forgotten.


Walker Zimmerman


Made the most of his chances in October to earn himself a starting role in November, Zimmerman emerged as the veteran presence in central defense, with an excellent performance against Mexico and solid effort against Jamaica.

It’s crazy to think that Zimmerman wasn’t initially called into the October qualifiers before John Brooks was sidelined with a back injury. Now, Zimmerman heads into 2022 looking like a real candidate to start, though players such as Brooks and Chris Richards will continue to challenge him.


Yunus Musah


Brad Smith/ISI Photos

His masterclass against Costa Rica in October led to heightened expectations for him this month, and the Valencia midfielder did not disappoint. He was rock solid against Mexico, putting in the important work to help complement McKennie and Tyler Adams perfectly.

Musah followed that up by being one of the few bright spots against Jamaica in a performance made all the more impressive by the fact he played the match with strep throat.


DeAndre Yedlin


Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos

While a large segment of the USMNT fanbase was clamoring for the debut of Joe Scally, Yedlin stepped in for the injured Sergiño Dest and put in two strong shifts at right back in November. No stranger to being the starter at the position, Yedlin provided some good evidence to suggest he is still capable of handling the job when needed.

Did the most experienced player on the November roster do enough to potentially mount a challenge to Dest’s hold on the first-choice role? That would be a stretch, but considering where he once was in Berhalter’s pecking order, it is a testament to Yedlin’s perseverance that he has earned Berhalter’s trust and become a dependable player in the pool.


Which players impressed you the most in November? Who do you think helped their stock who didn’t make this list?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. Here’s who we have in the front among mids and wingers. Pulisic, Aronson, Weah, Reyna, McKinnie, Busio, and Adams. Then there is KDF who looked very good to me when he played in the past, a possibly healthy Morris. That doesn’t include Hoppe who is still a possibility nor does it include any strikers. That’s 7 guys for 5 or 6 positions, plus a couple of very good subs. Spain won a WC with basically a 6 man midfield and no strikers. Given our strengths, maybe it’s something we should consider or make Pulisic into a striker. I’m sure a lot of people will say we can’t do that for whatever reason, or that Berhalter would never do it. But, if you want to get you best players on the field at the same time, I think it should be considered.

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  2. i see it as a fairly sharp repudiation of the coach that most of that list were wrong side of the coach in the past year. left off, not used, internally suspended, etc. i mean c. 2019 weah got dumped to U23 and disappeared for a long time, despite beginning to have 2018 impact, zimmerman was someone i had been begging for, for a while. musah couldn’t get a minute in nations league. yedlin is the only player off the list he erred on the side of risk to choose and it paid off. the rest it’s like he grudgingly allowed them in and they then looked like they should have been here all along.

    continuing to pimp my “accident” theory, does reyna get time if morris stays healthy, does weah get time if reyna stays healthy, etc. you then have to ask when they are healthy in january does he basically undo it all, ie, steffen. you think you see turner is better and then steffen is healthy and not subject to quarantine and that’s over.

    fwiw you could solve part of this by moving reyna centrally to get a more technical element there, but GB fanboys tend to get nervous about messing with the status quo. i think our midfield could be improved but you have to have the guts to sit one big club player for another.

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    • Reyna belongs in the middle to maximize his skillset and Weah’s predictable rise makes it all the more necessary. Would improve us in every way with spacing, unlocking compact defenses- depth. Thats going to push Musah to the bench. As I alluded to below- I think he’s a great spot starter for quick turnarounds- a second option at the 6- much better than Accosta- BUT we need to start working on these things. Qualifying as early as possible would sure be nice in this regard.

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      • The other option to explore, when or if we decided to go without a prototypical striker option, is place Weah in the center between Pulisic and Reyna, allowing Musah to stay on the pitch. Opponent-centered tactics would dictate this type of line-up. May be worth exploring at some point.

      • it’s been so long since he’s played i struggle for a specific example, but i just think he’s more dangerous in the middle running at people before passing behind the lines, than out wide. i do think he can hit an accurate lofted cross but (a) wing is about to get crowded and (b) i think where we need more danger is inside. i think mckennie and musah are good swiss army attackers but not pure center mids. they are a tad sloppy and a lot of their value is crashing the box like a 4th forward. mckennie is most likely to call his own number and dribble at net, not tee someone else up. they aren’t really playmakers. might be part of the reason so much chance creation seems to come from wide. in general i want us to spread the lines and run at teams with the AMs. personally i’d move Puli and Reyna in and let the “two way” athletes either win wing spots, deputize as bench 6s, or come off the bench as swiss army attacking subs.

        i think people resist dropping decent players to the bench but to me it’s a sign of quality and depth when a “holden” type player can’t start. the problem, to me, right now is busio or arriola can get on the field this easy. so get as many of the talented players on the field together as possible, then if musah or aaronson or mckennie or morris is a sub, that’s a nice choice to have compared to now.

        part of my beef with berhalter is the selection is sketchy, it’s a little too easy for weird choices to get minutes, and this window he’s often pulling a good starter right when puli comes in. the whole idea is try to get a critical mass of talent on the field together….same time…..

      • Moving Reyna centrally would actually maximize our players talents. Yes it would likely move Musah to the bench, but that also gives us another quality player that can be brought in as a replacement for McKennie (Card accumulation)….Reyna for a more defensive look or to close out a game…or even as a wing option (where he often plays for his club).
        I still believe a 4-2-3-1 is our best formation, especially if we shift Reyna centrally. Pepi, Pulisic, Reyna, Weah, McKennie, Adams, A. Robinson, Zimmerman, M. Robinson, Dest.
        That still gives us some serious talent off the bench:
        Sargent, Hoppe, Aaronson, Musah, Luca, Richards, Brooks, Scally
        We still need a backup CDM, but otherwise this is a squad that could/should do well.

    • I’m sorry optional voice, but what does GB fanboy have to do with the USA going to the next World Cup to try and win the whole thing? Tim weah was not ready for the national team a couple years ago. He is ready today, but by no means a lock to start next year in Qatar. Why don’t you want to see the USMNT do as well as it can in Qatar? What I’m hearing from you, is that you don’t want to see this happen. It’s weird. WTFDYTYA?

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      • my deal is if GB gets out of the way of the talent and selects right i think this is a dark horse. if not, i think we barely make qatar then go out in group round. you can’t blow every other game and go far. the distinctions matter in terms of effectiveness.

        you’re wrong on weah, he had 8 caps and a NT goal back in 2018 under sarachan. he was ready in 2019 and the coach wanted to try out roldan boyd mihailovic baird and other second raters. he got religion on weah just like he brought sargent back. he does that a lot — reverse himself. not confidence inspiring. the team does it in spite of him. i want to see how far the best version of this could go, not root for a poor coach’s skew of it.

    • You bring Reyna to the middle, with mckinnie and Adam’s behind him. Wear pulisic and someone up top. That is the best 6 on the field. Musah in as extra MF… and Busio as a sub too. That gives you plenty of options.

      Also, Busio is our best back-up for Adam’s in the number 6 spot. What I mean by that if he can play the 6 in Italy, then he can play the position at the top level and understands defense.

      Finally, Zimmerman was absolutely awful in Jamaica. He was totally unable to pick out a player with the long ball. All game he was spraying useless balls deep and just giving the ball back to jamaica.

      He was a large part of the reason the game looked so ugly.

      He might be the best, but that isn’t saying much… and if I was seeing that kind of distribution in practice… I would not call him up either.

      Admittedly, he looked better in MX game, where he wasn’t trying to make long passes. But if we think we are going into a game where it’s going to be a direct over the top type of thing… then we need someone else.

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      • Let me dispel this myth. Busio DOES NOT play the 6 in Serie A. He plays as what they call in Italy a Mezzala. He is wide and in front of the 6 (usually Vacca for Venezia). You can find lineups online that claim he played there but I’ve watched almost every match this season and he’s always the wide player with central defender in front of the CBs. Tessmann has played more 6 for Venezia than Busio.

    • Ok Johnny, I’m going to spend some time watching Venezia. I was basing that more on some of the lineups, and seeing him slow down play and Control possession in his two US appearances, than based on his actual position.

      Assuming that is true, then maybe Mckinnie slots in for Tyler when Tyler is not able to go.

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  3. Weah & Zimmerman have seen their stock rise the most over the last 2 windows. Both have proven capable of being strong options to start & perform against the highest competition in our region.
    Yedlin has shown well and proven that he’s still a viable option….but with Dest, Robinson, & Scally all a notch ahead, it’s unlikely Yedlin will ever return to being the 1st choice option. That’s not a knock on Yedlin, just an honest assessment of our quality at outside back.
    One of the biggest winners this last window is the US Fans, because Gregg may have finally realized that the Talented youth is better than the Experienced jobbers. We didn’t see Roldan or Lletget step foot on the field, and Arriola was a limited inclusion in only 1 of the games. If Gregg really has realized that these 3 don’t belong than that will be a significant boost to the team and especially some of the players who were not in this camp….
    Luca De La Torre, Konrad, Hoppe, etc….

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    • Really very happy to see GB gain trust in some of these players. The last frontier with Gregg who I a very much pulling for is something that hurt us vs Jamaica and in every window- We need a more rounded out, complete roster with 9s, wingers, creators, a spark- something more than veteran grinders available on the bench should we need a spot starter or a late goal. We also very much need to develop another option at the 6 be it players and strategy as there are no like for like replacements. Adams goes down be it injury, cards and we’re screwed. Can’t believe we’ve made no attempts in that regard- even if its using Musah or Mckennie there- Reyna or DLT, Busio at the 8. Again- we seem to be lacking pre-planning- foresight.

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      • Gregg’s plan for the 6 is currently limited to Acosta.
        However, if Musah becomes a bench player in favor of Reyna centrally than I could see McKennie used as the 6 with Musah & Reyna as the 8’s.
        Hopefully Gregg will take a look at some other MLS options in the December friendly….Flack & Sands come to mind. But with so few FIFA friendlies left available it’s going to be difficult to really test options at this point. Cappis, Cardoso, and the rest will likely have to wait until after qualifying.

  4. Weah and McKennie also bring some much needed personality to the team, something that has been missing for a long time. Great to see the youthful positive enthusiam of Weah, the relentless bite and fight of McKennie, good complement to a quiet killer like Pulisic. Add in the steady presence of Adams, veterans like Zimmerman, Brooks, even Yedlin, and it starts to be a really well-rounded team. Still really young overall, but hard not to be excited about the future.

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  5. *We learned what Juventus did- with Mckennie the most glaringly evident things are seen in the difference there is with the team in his absence.
    *So happy Weah confirmed what many thought- hoped… saw with his club.
    *As an LAFC fan (whose defense has never been the same in his absence)- I already had appreciation for Zimmerman, but I’ve still been pleasantly surprised at just how solid he’s been with the national team.
    *Musah is a key part as we have no other midfielder that brings what he does.
    *Here is hoping we/GB can continue to grow- fill out the roster/bench w/ creative difference making options off the bench.
    *We really missed Dest v Jamaica. Games like that you need players that can out of nowhere make something out of nothing.
    *With Weah looking so good at RW- GB has some decisions to make when Reyna returns. Move him to midfield… what with Musah? Great problems to have.

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    • ps: with Pulisic and Reyna back presumably starting- our bench begins to look much more lively… Aaronson, Musah… KDLF, Hoppe and others that will emerge in the coming months. Only a matter of time with Scally. Suspect he’ll be fully incorporated by summer. If we plan to press like we did vs Mexico- the toll that takes- we need as many really good options as we can get. Having quality on the bench is a necessity.

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