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Sizing up the USMNT World Cup roster: Wright wins striker race, dropping Steffen, and more

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  1. not sure ‘locker room guy’ is the accurate description for Ream’s inclusion

    re. the locker room, especially for teams without the topline talent depth, any pretending that it’s not huge by anyone is naive, disingenuous or something else like that. a crappy locker room can win championships, but the talent needed to overcome is HUGE

    but more than that, the definition of a ‘great locker room’ can vary greatly, right? What’s the group, what’s the best recipe to create the belief in that locker room for that group. it’s not some rudimentary rubber stamp of how to or even what it means to have a ‘great locker room’

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    • He’ll be a leader in the locker room if that’s what he meant, but he’ll also be a leader on the pitch because for me Ream starts vs Wales and England, but at the very least the England game and I expect him to play well

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  2. Roldan, Morris, and Long are similar to AYSO soccer players compared to club soccer players or MLS players compared to European soccer based soccer players.
    Kickball to soccer,, Get the picture! They have no business being on the US roster!

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  3. Ives, you do a great job parsing out these decisions but Roldan is missing from this post. I’d love to hear your thoughts about his inclusion.

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  4. Some interesting choices. I have to admit I am not a Tim Ream fan. For a while he seemed to play as the opposing teams best player with terrible passing that led to multiple counter attacks. I also don’t get to see Fulham much so I can’t attest to his play of late. Morris and Roldan is a mystery to me. I keep hearing locker room guys. Do we need locker room guys in a 3 week tournament especially ones that may not play? If they are on the roster in that capacity then what is the culture of the team around the stars? Those spots would have been better left to Pepi and Tillman. Don’t sleep on Shaq Moore.

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    • IMO the best soccer players are fairly competitive and their teams then naturally have a degree of tension as multiple competitors radiate their vibes. the few teams i’ve been on that were all good guys and got along tended to be a little soft and usually mediocre. personally i think this “locker room” thing is a self serving suggestion they likely won’t play when history says “wondo” or “green” might in fact see the field. this is still the era of covid and we have had a bunch of injuries. i wouldn’t assume. i’d put my best players on the team on down to the last guy on the theory with 5 subs and contingencies you never know.

      related thought, it’s an odd off ramp for mr. club form to exit onto “lockerroom guy.” if there is one place historically where form was king it was usually the very last selections at the end of the roster. that’s usually where evaluated “talent” had become less obvious and we’d use form as a tiebreak. “take him because he had 15 goals for bayern2.” but GB is an odd duck.

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    • If you’re going to bring guys you aren’t looking to play, bc let’s be honest, there are always 4-5 players that don’t play in a WC but are brought for leadership and who “won’t rock” the boat sort of speak, which is why I think Steffen wasn’t called in for the WC. So if you leave Morris and Roldan at home for Pepi and Tillman, then all your doing is sitting Malik and Pepi every game, instead of letting them stay with their clubs as the both of them still have 2 more WC’s in them bc of their age. Finally, but more importantly, I can see Pepi and Malik getting called in for the U-20 WC making that team a serious contender to win the WC at that level, a serious bonus for our program!

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      • Ronnie – some things to consider regarding your post/comments.
        1) ” I can see Pepi and Malik getting called in for the U-20 WC”….you may see this but will their clubs? Clubs are not required to release players for youth tournaments so I wouldn’t count on either of these 2 being released since they’re already 1st team starters for the clubs they’re on loan w/.
        2) ” if you leave Morris and Roldan at home for Pepi and Tillman, then all your doing is sitting Malik and Pepi every game, instead of letting them stay with their clubs”…European clubs are shut down during the WC. Pepi & Malik staying with their clubs does them little to no good unless they have some type of injury. Especially since their on loans currently, so it’s not like they’ll be training w/ their Parent Clubs.
        3) “there are always 4-5 players that don’t play in a WC but are brought for leadership and who “won’t rock” the boat sort of speak”…Roldan, Morris, or Long may not rock the boat, but neither do they provide any type of leadership. In a usual WC scenario yes there are usually a couple players that never see the field, but this time around Teams are allowed to make up to 5 changes (previously only 3) so that expands the likelihood of players getting on the field. All through this cycle the USMNT has struggled with Injuries so won’t be at all surprised if 24 of the 26 see at least some field time. Roldan & Morris may only get scrap minutes….but wouldn’t that be of more value giving that time to 2 players who’ll be around next cycle instead of 2 dead ends. Lastly I guarantee Long starts at least 1 game if not all 3.

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