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Breaking down the candidates to replace Weston McKennie for the March USMNT qualifiers

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  1. I like Aaronson. He has played more centrally for Salzburg lately, but I do not think he would miss a step by playing as a wider attacking mid. He did that from tiome-to-time for the Union. He has shown the ability to track back and defend, his quick feet allow him to win balls you would think he would not get, but, of course, let’s face it he is not physically intimidating.
    While on the treadmill., I just watched his last CL group game. He played central mid and set up the first goal with a beautiful pass to the wing who crossed for a relatively easy score.

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  2. Master O,

    No one has said it’s not a big loss.

    But the USMNT should be able to overcome it.

    Or are you saying they are now out of the World Cup?

    They have the talent to run the table. They probably won’t but if the manager and the players do their jobs they should be able to get 4- 5 points which would probably get them third and qualification.

    Will it be easy?

    Before Wes got hurt I was expecting three tough, ugly games.

    I’m still expecting three tough, ugly games.

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  3. MO,

    “McKennie is also the US’ biggest aerial threat. He simply cannot be replaced. He had grown as irreplaceable as Adams.”

    That’s going overboard a little.

    Huge loss no doubt but if they can’t make up for his absence in this window, they don’t deserve to go anyway.

    Even w/o Wes, the USMNT should have aerial superiority on set pieces vs. Mexico, Panama and CR. Pulisic, Miles, Zimmerman, Brooks ( assuming his attitude is “good”) are all excellent in the air.

    It’s an opportunity for the manager to show how good or how awful he is.

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    • Or, it is a good time for these players we keep putting on a pedestal that they haven’t earned to step up more. Berhalter getting the lineup right is one thing, and for 95% of the time he has, it’s on the players to prove their worth! Blaming Greg for everything is just lazy commentary for me, and it seems the fanbase in most instances refuse to lay any accountability at he feet of the players.

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      • “Blaming Greg for everything is just lazy commentary for me, and it seems the fanbase in most instances refuse to lay any accountability at he feet of the players. ”

        Try reading more of the critical comments. It’s lazy to say that fans refuse to lay “ANY accountability at he feet of the players”. Fans lay a lot of accountability at the feet of the players.

        But this manager is an authoritarian. For the most part it is his way or the highway.

        In such cases, managers should not be surprised to get the lions share of the blame, something he rarely takes. Instead he says “we did not play the way we wanted to”. In other words, that means if the players had done what he told them, then everything would have worked out. It’s their fault.

        It’s practical matter.

        You expect players to fail, to screw up. The manager’s job is to arrange things so that that is kept to a minimum and that the team , succeeds more than it fails.

        You say he has gotten the lineup right 95% of the time?
        At the end of this window it will be 50 games.
        5% of that is 2.5 games.
        You better hope his 5% is not this window.

        He supposed to make everyone confident that he has the answers for that 5% . He’s supposed to make us all feel like he knows what he is doing.

        How do you evaluate that?

        For me it’s simple.

        1. Does this team, which has a vast talent advantage over the majority of their opponents since this manager took over, make the most of what it has?
        2. Does this team succeed because of the manager or in spite of the manager?

        Dig into that if you don’t want to be accused of being lazy.

      • “But this manager is an authoritarian. For the most part it is his way or the highway.”

        You lost me after this. An authoritarian is the guy that’s invading Ukraine. If anything, Berhalter is more of a players manager, as they all play hard for him. He has tried alot of different players, and tried a couple different systems, you can’t do much more than that in limited NT time. Legitimate criticisms of the manager would include tactical choices, in-game adjustments, venue choices for qualifiers. There is real data supporting those, instead of random judgments based on…I’m not sure what.

      • @Vacqui my post about a lack of player accountability stems from reading blogs, twitter and other outlets, how do you think I came to that conclusion, this stuff doesn’t just emanate out of thin air. SBI has a small community compared to other outlets, here there is more of a middle ground on criticisms aimed at player and coach, but I’ve been in other places were there is nothing but vitriol aimed at Greg. People keep hollering tactics, personnel, and in game management, which are all important, but those same tactics won us 2 trophies months apart, with 2 different teams mind you, and now have us in second place in wcq. So, while we could be playing better, you have to take the good with the bad, this is a really young team with little international experience, led by a manager with little international coaching experience who is dealing with depleted rosters via Covid, suspensions and our biggest bugaboo being injuries. Our Euro players are highly heralded in all USMNT forums because many of them are CL players or are playing in big teams, and my point has been from the beginning that until our NT players become influential stars week and out for their clubs, the NT will only be as good as their play with their clubs. I can only think of one player that fits that bill, maybe 2, and those players are Aaronson and McKennie!

      • Ronnie,

        “until our NT players become influential stars week and out for their clubs, the NT will only be as good as their play with their clubs.”

        That is not true. Never has been, never will be.
        National teams need the whole team to respond. Weston might come in on fire, but the others must respond to that appropriately. They need to be “managed”.

        National teams around the world have always been lifted up by non-superstar guys who suddenly become Superman when they pull on the national team shirt.

        National teams are about passion. That is why managers really matter with most national teams. The good ones know how to take that passion, weave it into the fabric of the team over a short period of time and turn it into wins.

        Again, look at Herdman as one example. Losing Alphonso does not hurt so bad when the rest of the team are playing well together and above their media profile.

        In 2010 we tied England in the World Cup at South Africa. That England, with guys like Gerrard and Lampard and was, talent wise and in terms of where they played, many levels above us. But talk to the USMNT players who played in it. Anyone who saw that game saw that we played them even and should have won it. We played better together. Not that I’m biased.

        I evaluate the USMNT based on what the players and manager have done over the last three years and forty-seven games for and with the USMNT not based on what everyone says in the media or on SBI.
        I posted that this manager should have been fired after the 2019 Lovitz Gold Cup. He proved that he had no feel for a game and that has not improved very much since then.
        The team still lacks identity, still lacks consistency and it is because of the manager not the players.
        He is very intelligent and knows more about soccer than most. But as a manager, for him it is all on paper. He is a power point nerd (which is not a bad thing) who has it all worked out beforehand. Except soccer is not like that. Things change during games, and he does not adjust well to the punch in the mouth. This is a young and inexperienced team, and they are reliant on his instincts, and he has failed them.

        “a manager with little international coaching experience who is dealing with depleted rosters via Covid, suspensions and our biggest bugaboo being injuries.”

        Are we supposed to feel sorry for him?

        Those issues are SOP for all a national team managers. All of them deal with the same basic issues. Not all were immune to being fired.
        Herdman of Canada kept losing Davies. That did not appear to slow Canada down all that much.
        So, this USMNT manager is a victim? He got pushed into taking this job? Just doing his brother a solid?

        Do me favor, pick a couple of your personal favorite managers.
        Give them the USMNT job in December of 2018. Give them the same unalloyed support that this guy seems to have gotten from the USSF. Give them three years and forty-seven games to get ready for the Octagon. Give them the same pool of players and resources as this manager has had. Give him the mostly garbage opponents he this manager has had to deal with.

        Do you think they could produce a better team than this guy has? A team that has more of an identity, is more consistent, one that knows what to do when faced with a decent opponent?

        As for the players not being accountable, no one is more accountable.
        When the USMNT plays bad, Ronnie Thomas does not get dropped, the player does. The only accountability that really matters for a player in this case is how accountable the manager holds him, not what some people on SBI think about the player.

    • when was the last time Lleget played a minute for the USMNT? This fanbase continues to call out a player that’s played no minutes in the last 4-5 games, and who is a squad player at best…..hilarious

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      • Embarrasing really – for the anti Llegett and Roldan posters…Zardes too. I call it Berhalter Derrangement Syndrome.

      • right! I get that people don’t think they should be called in, it’s questionable or me too, but only 23 players get to suit up to play, so even if the players that many feel should supplant Lleget, Roldan and Zardes on the roster got call ups, there is still a good chance they wouldn’t play, or would have diminished role, because they’d also be considered squad players. I guess that mere fact some of those players were included is enough to ward off #Berhalterout though LOL

      • “only 23 players get to suit up to play, so even if the players that many feel should supplant Lleget, Roldan and Zardes on the roster got call ups, there is still a good chance they wouldn’t play, or would have diminished role, because they’d also be considered squad players.”

        On a 23 only 20 are outfield players. That means the Lletget, Roldan and Zardes are 15% of the roster. Those three have proven their limitations, their ceiling. which means you’re going into a tournament with 17 outfield players instead of 20.

        As I’ve said elsewhere, that’s like a pilot justifying having a non functional parachute by reasoning that the chances of him having to use it are pretty slim.

        This manager routinely takes that risk.

  4. McKennie is also the US’ biggest aerial threat. He simply cannot be replaced. He had grown as irreplaceable as Adams.

    The physicality of CONCACAF qualifying doesn’t seem a good match up for any of these options – Aaronson and Busio don’t even have their man bodies yet. Luca plays in a league without defense. Maybe Acosta is the best option. Is Ferriera an option here? I know he plays mid at Dallas. How’s his tracking back?

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    • MO,

      “McKennie is also the US’ biggest aerial threat. He simply cannot be replaced. He had grown as irreplaceable as Adams.”

      That’s going overboard a little.

      Huge loss no doubt but if they can’t make up for his absence in this window, they don’t deserve to go anyway.

      Even w/o Wes, the USMNT should have aerial superiority on set pieces vs. Mexico, Panama and CR. Pulisic, Miles, Zimmerman, Brooks ( assuming his attitude is “good”) are all excellent in the air.

      It’s an opportunity for the manager to show how good or how awful he is.

      Reply
      • McKennie has shown he is the most consistent aerial threat on set plays as well as during the run of play. Also Robinson and Zimmerman aren’t even guaranteed starters. McKinne’s level of play was next level compared to every other player on the field the last two windows – especially the last. He and Adams are the only US “stars” written in pen on their club teams line-up sheet and McKennie plays at an elite club not a 2nd tier Euro club. This is a big loss. Yes, there’s more depth behind him than ever but the drop is pretty drastic – that speaks more to McKinnie’s form and what he brings physically than to what the others offer. I mean we are discussing and indespensible starter at Juventus with players from the Austrian Bundesliga, Eredivisie, bottom of Serie A and MLS…the drop is kinda obvious – not overboard.

      • Master O,

        No one has said it’s not a big loss.

        But the USMNT should be able to overcome it.

        Or are you saying they are now out of the World Cup?

        They have the talent to run the table. They probably won’t but if the manager and the players do their jobs they should be able to get 4- 5 points which would probably get them third and qualification.

        Will it be easy?

        Before Wes got hurt I was expecting three tough, ugly games.

        I’m still expecting three tough, ugly games.

    • We don’t use an AM though in Gregg’s most recent iteration. When we’re in possession Musah and Wes go wide to protect Jedi and Serge pushing up. Two #8s no #10. It’s why Aaronson was so bad against El Salvador down there. It’s really how Venezia uses Busio, but between Covid, card accumulation and new transfer Gianluca hasn’t played much since Christmas.

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