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USMNT beats Iran, books place in World Cup Round of 16

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DOHA, Qatar — The U.S. men’s national team dominated Iran for much of Tuesday’s decisive World Cup Group B clash at Al-Thumama Stadium, but the Americans still spent much of the night locked in a tight battle that was too close for comfort for the entire duration of the match.

In the end, it was Christian Pulisic’s first-half header off a Sergiño Dest cross that secured a crucial 1-0 victory for the Americans, booking their place in the World Cup Round of 16. The win helped the Americans secure a second-place finish in Group B, and a knockout stage matchup with Group A winner Netherlands on Saturday.

Weston McKennie started the goal sequence with an excellent long ball from the middle of the field to Dest on the right wing, and from there the AC Milan fullback served in a perfect cross to an on-rushing Pulisic, who bundled home the finish.

Pulisic paid the price on the goal, colliding with Iranian goalkeeper Alireza Bieranvand, which ultimately forced him to leave the match at halftime.

The Americans nearly added an insurance goal just before halftime, but Tim Weah’s would-be second goal was ruled offside, with VAR replays showing the USMNT winger narrowly offside.

The USMNT couldn’t find an insurance goal in the second half despite controlling the match for long stretches, despite Iran pushing hard for an equalizer and opening up space for the Americans to attack.

USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter closed out the match with some defensive substitutions, switching to a five-man defense to protect the 1-0 lead, as Walker Zimmerman and Shaq Moore came on for the final 10 minutes of the match.

Comments

  1. You guys are off the rails with some of this conspiracy nonsense.

    It has been great watching the US play, and win enough to get through.

    Now, then, I still think Gregg is trying to protect a lead the wrong way. And Something is up with our forwards. It is almost like they are scared of shooting (or maybe they are just too slow pulling the trigger, the space is closed and they mess around and get tricky). I’m not sure, but I was sitting there watching with the Dutch YNT coaching staff and they were like, “did [Gregg] tell the kids not to shoot the ball?”

    Also, Our guys need to learn to conserve some energy. Or, if not, then we need to include Aaronson in the game as a starter to add a guy who won’t flag in the last 20 minutes.

    But look, good teams won’t make it out of the group today and tomorrow and we did, and we may have one of the easiest paths of any team (Not sure I would pick any other group winner to play against).

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  2. the idea this was all planned is such nonsense. i believe berhalter can sometimes scout — more so than coach — and i think he planned the first half of wales. did he plan the second half? no. and everyone else in the group beat wales. i think we did purposefully play a cagey match with england, safe, chase 0-0, but only because we had a point. if not, we would have gone end to end with them like wales that needed a W. with predictable results. england stomped everyone else. then the third game. nonsense that was planned all along. third game plans usually by definition depend on first two game results. if we beat wales i guarantee you we are sitting back playing another cagey game with iran seeking 5 points. no need to get stretched out and have to defend a counter team if already have 4 — which would have been enough anyway — and were looking for gravy. we took some limited risks because we had to win. the degree of exertion in the first half complicated finishing off the second half.

    second point, no sane team comes up with some idea where they sandbag the world for 4 years looking awful only to play different at the finals. this is fake. this is a conspiracy theory. you’re pretending he didn’t select incredibly wrong in 2019 and lose the gold cup. you’re pretending like he didn’t nearly get fired group stage of nations league after losing to canada atop that gold cup. you’re pretending it didn’t look bad for years. on into WCQ. or you’re saying that was a smokescreen. sorry, nonsense. at best this is klinsi 2014. he tried to make some cute passing team. they were bad at making offense and soft on defense. it didn’t work. he woke up. or, we wander into, did he ask for the same exact thing and they just stopped doing it.

    the suggestion is made that he outsmarted his opponents and the critics. sorry, again rubbish. if you do thing A. i say A doesn’t work. try B or C. you resist. i criticize. on eve of event, ok, let’s do B. i give you some credit. you did B and it worked. we looked good for a change. we advanced without a loss, won the key game. but you resisted B for years. the fans and the critics were the ones screaming B! B! please! complete hooey to act like the coach is a sandbagging genius. i give him credit for climbing down and getting real at the end. but having not really planned all this, he still has plenty of work to do, eg, 9, 10, back, formation. if it was all one secret pre-planned thing, this would all be sorted. i think dude is still improvising, just in a better direction.

    this was all planned is also rubbish because teams like this have limited time together, and this time had a week of camp. since most teams have limited time, they work on the primary approach and test it out in games. you only mess around at the tournament if you think you have no other choice based on your prior rubbish. i buy they came up with the short corner plan this week that CP flubbed. response to poor dead balls.

    last point, i buy he may have deliberately not scouted japan and saudi to test the candidate players. i buy he may have not gone out on the field in specific ways he intended to use come tournament. we would not have known our group at the early summer friendlies, only the later ones. there is a limited window for planned sandbag, ie, the time period when we could have had specific plans for opponents. i personally think most teams play the way they want to for 4 years to prepare to be their best and only tweak it come tournament time. no team if it can help it just reboots now. you’re not admitting what it says about what preceded it. and we sure as heck didn’t know this specific trio of opponents was the endgame 4 years ago. it’s like you can’t admit while giving him some credit, that his critics were right and he won in part by adjusting.

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    • the more likely scenario is our decent scout lousy selector and game manager spends 4 years perseverating and denying the bad results and poor play but lucky for us was awake enough when he got the draw sheet to see what it meant for his tactics. the risk is at any time he can decide to revert. “well but this opponent is different.” the team has also been drilled in playing in a direction, which becomes reflex. personally i think it’s a waste of time to spend 4 years trying to forcefeed this baby barca stuff like it has general applicability only to get an actual world cup group list and go holy crap my ideas won’t work for any of these teams. that kind of feels like somewhere between head in the clouds and a fibbed sales pitch. this is part of what i have been getting at for years where the prior tactics didn’t feel like we had an opponent in mind, not fouling concacaf, not this. you don’t just play soccer like a gymnastic routine to be judged on aesthetics and juggle skill. you play opponents. tactics for teams. if you arrive at the tournament with new tactics because your old ideas fit no actual opponent, kind of a waste of time.

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    • costa rica over japan, mexico ahead of KSA (plus everyone over wales) also suggest better leadership could get better wine from the same grapes.

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    • I can’t believe I wasted my time reading all this. A national team coach has 2 goals–qualifying for the World Cup and then getting as far as possible in the WC. Everything else is aimed toward those two things. How you get there isn’t that important. How well you do in particular games isn’t important as long as you advance. In the NCAA basketball tournament, the mantra is survive and advance. Same thing with the WC. I’m no fan of GB, but your rant is just ridiculous. Ther US made it to the knockout round and played well in the process. All that other stuff is superfluous.

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    • Gregg hid his plans in plain sight. Constantly evolving and testing tactics throughout his 3 years in charge. All while people were falling for his “system” talk and continuous scrawling of 4-3-3 on the lineup diagram, not noticing that Gregg and staff were tweaking things throughout. Gregg has gotten many things wrong that’s not in doubt but he was really given 3 charges by his bosses. Qualify for WC, get out of the group, and change the culture to be the US can be both gritty and beautiful in their play. He’s succeeded in that. And in three weeks I’d love for him to take over as general manager and make room for the next manager to lead us into 2026, because 2 cycle coaches rarely get better in cycle 2.

      Reply
      • Bob got out of his Group in 2010. Then he lost a winnable game to Ghana in the knockout phase. Sunil was furious because he felt that the USMNT had a chance to go further and that Bob wasn’t the guy for that. That’s when he finally pulled the trigger and swapped out Bob for JK.

        Here we are again faced with a winnable game for a shot at the quarters and Argentina?? Beating the Netherlands will go a long way towards giving Gregg more say over what happens to him next. Beating Argentina afterwards wouldn’t hurt either.

        I don’t buy “2 cycle coaches rarely get better in cycle 2.”

        That’s a myth.

        America’s experience with that is easily explained.
        Arena’s problems in round two was his squad fell apart through age , injuries and loss of form. Surprise, surprise, the USMNT did not have a ton of players to freshen up the pool and give him replacements or quality depth.

        Bob technically began his second term after the 2010 WC but that was a joke. The USSF never really liked him or wanted him and he kept his job because he was successful (2009 Confederations Cup) and there weren’t any realistic alternative options . As I explained elsewhere, his loss to Ghana convinced Sunil, Bob wasn’t the man. It took a little bit but they finally axed him.

        Same with JK. His biggest problem was that he had a talent for making enemies that he didn’t have to.

        Gregg is different from all three:

        1. He seems well connected with the power clowns in the USSF. It’s a good old boys club and he’s one of the boys.
        He’s a very good company man.

        2. He’s affordable

        3. Lots of national team managers use it as a retirement gig. Gregg still seems young and spry.

        4: Gregg doesn’t seem to harbor ambitions to manage anywhere else. A lot of national team managers use the national team as a stepping stone, which is why most don’t stay longer than one cycle. Greg could spend the rest of his career as the USMNT manager.

        5. There’s a lot of young talent coming up. All a manager has to do freshen up his message is change the players.

        This team is young but it’s done. Gregg is going to have to build another team for 2026 . That gives him a chance to sharpen his “system” talk, and weed out the bad apples like Reyna, Although 2026 will be harder because expectations will be much higher and Gregg will have to change out at least half the roster if not more. Why so much? Look at the 26 and tell me how many of them will be even better in 3-4 years.

        National team managers who are as well entrenched as Gregg are dictators for one reason. If Gio doesn’t like Gregg, he can’t demand a trade to Portugal.
        Face it , Gregg is the only game in town.

        Win that Netherlands game and he effectively becomes nearly untouchable.

        There won’t be any hard games between now and the 2026 WC. There’s no qualifying. So there’s no Japan or Saudi Arabia for the media to get on Gregg about.

        And why would you want Gregg as general manager? You already have good one in Brian McBride. Do you think Gregg brought in these duals all by his lonesome self? Gregg is the face, the front man but behind the scenes McBride is his boss. From the USSF website:

        “Working closely with Stewart and Berhalter, McBride’s primary areas of focus will be to oversee the development and management of the player pool, build and guide the culture within the Men’s National Team environment, manage relationships with clubs and represent the USMNT on the global stage.”

        If you like what ‘s been going these past few years with that player pool, you ought to give McBride just a little credit.

  3. Fantastic win! There are a lot of players stepping up there game and we’ve been calm and composed on the ball from the back through the midfield. We look like a high quality team possessing the ball.

    We’ve got some iron-lunged young players and those that don’t go the full 90 have been laying it out. Hopefully Berhalter continues to learn the players as well. He subbed Weston at the right time (he’s basically been a 55-60 minute player giving his all) and if Pulisic didn’t get hurt I’d like to think Musah was getting subbed around the 70th.

    Ream has been a great surprise. He and Adams have been the best 90 minute players, and McKennie has been up there while he’s been in. Pulisic is good for directness and magic even when he’s not at the top of his game every match.

    I know Ream’s said he’s the same player he’s always been, but that’s not correct. He really sees how to build out of the back at this stage in his career and not to make the brain f*rt passes that Zimmerman made a few times against England. Ream was always good for one or two of those per game not too long ago. Now he’s been the leader in getting the right angles and moving the other team’s pressers. Sargent, Turner, Dest have all been getting better each game. Thank goodness Turner went to Arsenal to learn how to play the ball out of the back. Jedi was off in the 2nd half but his work rate still unbalanced Iran and he made timely tackles; same with Dest who had his best game in a long time. CCV was timely and nervewracking at the same moments. Weah did well overall. He’s got to shoot more and I don’t know what he was doing those couple times dribbling over the end line. Aaronson created quite a bit and caused Iran problems before we packed it in. Zimmerman came in and did steady yeoman’s work. Agree with everyone on Moore and Wright. Wright did everything wrong – I was hoping that GB would have went with someone else that could’ve run his legs off upfront and helped cover for Musah who was a warrior but a pylon for about 10 minutes (well a pylon who gave up a poor foul I guess).

    I think we match up well with the Netherlands. I don’t think it would be an upset if we win. They are inconsistent within games and fall asleep on D often.

    Reply
    • Mr. Jersey Guy

      “I know Ream’s said he’s the same player he’s always been, but that’s not correct. He really sees how to build out of the back at this stage in his career and not to make the brain f*rt passes that Zimmerman made a few times against England.”

      I’m inclined to agree with Timmy. Timmy has always been a flawed player who needed a team that covered his flaws and maximized his assets. One of those assets has always been his passing. He’s always been two to three times the passer that Walker is.

      Watching him for Fulham now he’s doing really well but this Fulham side is also the best Fulham team he’s been on for some time. After 15 games they are in 9th place in the EPL.

      I’ve seen most every game Ream has played with the USMNT and this USMNT version is the best USMNT Timmy has ever played on.

      If Timmy had played in the Japan and Saudi Arabia friendlies I’m pretty sure his critics would have had a lot of ammo for excluding him from Qatar.

      “Thank goodness Turner went to Arsenal to learn how to play the ball out of the back. ”

      Turner has written about how much he has already improved by being with Arsenal and by the same token , how comparatively primitive things were in MLS which should give MLS zealots something to think about. Certainly his distribution is much improved.

      I expect him to eventually beat out Ramsdale.

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    • oh come off it. i am just as happy as the rest of you. but i see a lot of pro coach triumphalism on here. at most if the guy deserves credit it’s in some sort of klinsi-in-brazil way for climbing down from previous bad ideas and doing what it took to win games in a way barely recognizable from the past 4 years. “but that isolated assist looked like something someone did a year and a half ago so clearly it’s all planned out.” i think selected and coached correctly this would have been good for 7-9 points. the irony is the pro-berhalter crowd, for people who sold this as a catapult to bigger things, not just reversal of not qualifying, is intolerant of the sort of necessary outside critique that results in true improvement and progress. if you want to keep winning games we need a 9 and perhaps to swap weston. we need goals. keep pushing. this is what actual winners do. they don’t rest on their laurels. they think about what went well but also what went wrong. this is how you get CCV instead of zimmermann, for example. is let’s fix things. are you an actual winner?

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    • “even Iranians are celebrating the US victory more than some here”

      There’s a segment of the Iranian population who see the team as an extension of the government.

      How large a segment that is I don’t know but they were rooting for a USMNT victory.

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  4. England is going to have their hands full with that Senegal team.

    Looking forward to seeing this team compete against another top side on Saturday. We will have to control the midfield which I think the US can. If Sargent is healthy I think he gets the start. He is starting to find a good rhythm with the team.

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    • i’m happy. i just noticed how we actually won and it wasn’t how we played 4 years. that’s all. and if you want to keep winning we have some stuff to fix. that’s how winning soccer works. teams that want to prove aesthetic points don’t tend to win things — including clockwork orange.

      i thought the last two games were a win for Something Anything Else.

      Reply
      • It’s never been about aesthetics it’s been about you can’t realistically replicate a GK stopping 20 shots on target in each knockout round of the WC. Let’s say Wondo bangs it in and the US beats Belgium to think the US could then absorb even more 4 days later against Argentina then again a few days later against Netherlands and again against Germany. That’s not sustainable.

  5. Okay my heart has stopped racing:)
    1. As much as I want to see Gio, I think CPs injury affected the substitution pattern… But whatever – we WON
    2. Josh Sargent played well, if he’s healthy he’s gotta be the starter at 9
    3. The decision to play CCV paid off, because Zimmerman couldn’t go 90 again, and he should be ready to go the distance Saturday.. We’re gonna need him at his best
    4. I’m glad that ref kept the cards in his pocket for the most part(except the Adams yellow) so we’ll have everyone available
    Cheers guys😁😁

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    • re sargent, how many knockout rounds do you think you can 1-0 through with sargent scoring nothing and getting on the ball a handful of times a half. i thought he had a good game for him but he’s still not scored a goal for us in like 3 years and on a ball headed right to the middle of the 6 the dude taking one for the team is the left wing and not the 9, who is yards behind the play. if you want to have a chance with maybe holland and then beyond that france perhaps, we cannot keep sputtering in the middle. just like zimmermann needed out. teams that fix things go places. teams that get stubborn……get someone in the middle who can score and get more involved, then bring sargent in for them off the bench to chase and occasionally get a touch.

      i even thought he played well for him today it’s just are we trying to beat holland or what.

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      • Because he’s a much better choice than the alternatives.
        If you watch the In Soccer We Trust podcast Davies gives a great assessment of what we’ve seen from him

      • Bac: my point is that Reyna and Pulisic — like Landon and Dempsey before them — could and should be considered alternatives as well. i think sargent only comes out ahead if one compares within strict and malfunctioning cubbyholes. most teams would find a way to get reyna on the field. pulisic has been involved in more than one goal this cycle that looked like a striker goal — including this one.

        i’m sorry but usually your 9 is a stud. i feel like if we go with the “color within the lines” ideas in the next couple rounds we create a new “berhalter hand ball” sob story. to me this team has some dark horse potential if it can score goals. IMO if sargent continues to start it’s a 1 goal a game offense with limited shelf life left.

      • IV,
        I don’t think anyone else on our roster would have scored in these 3 games from the 9 spot.. I think it’s a function of our build up and service etc. Josh got a hockey assist and hit the post once.
        So I thought about what he’s looked like at Norwich city and he’s had some nice finishes (as opposed to Pepi for example that has mostly tap ins)
        I watched one of the podcasts that showed Wrights movement vs England and I don’t think he is all that good, I haven’t seen his goals in Turkey, then again it’s the Turkish league.
        I thought Jesus played poorly in the mls playoffs.
        Pefok had some nice finishes but hadn’t scored in like 10-12 games, something like that.. But the times I’ve seen him he doesn’t look like a complete player to me..
        So that leaves Sargent, who I think is the best center forward we have.
        Now if we were having a discussion about playing a false 9 with a Weah of Reyna for example that’s a different story.. And I agree that it GB did something like that i I’d be shocked – and I did say several times in the run up that somehow he’s gotta figure out a way to get the best guys on the field together, but I don’t see a major change coming

  6. moore was out there for the same reason CCV was and job done. when he had to make a tackle he did. i generally agree that at a point of sheer accumulation of bad passes you risk handing over the goal you’ve been put on to prevent. but he was out there as coach’s choice of superior prevention. next time cut down on the unforced errors but today and this tournament are big boy stuff and backs who can only half defend aren’t big boy stuff.

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    • for all the talk about the System TM progressing the team they advanced Old School today. kickball if they had to. direct if they had to. defense and not handing the ball to the iran counter trying 30 pass builds. that was a lot more bradley than the refutation of same. we need to keep working on skills seeking baby brazilness but old school remains a valid choice at times. the aesthetic snobs ain’t kicked the dirt over us yet.

      i expect holland to be more like england,

      Reply
  7. While the Netherlands have really looked strong, Senegal are looking like a pretty strong side as well. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Senegal give England a really tough match. Either team would be a tough match for our side.

    So the 3rd place finisher in CONCAFAF is going to be the last team standing. Canada has earned some respect. Costa Rica pulls out an unlikely win. And Mexico just looks weak. How the tables have turned….

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    • the last man standing suggests we didn’t belong 3rd. the 442 suggests so. the adapatability and grit today, same. they started off the game in a 433 hitting way too many flag crosses. did GB coach the shift or did they just riff by themselves.

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      • That goal is classic Berhalter ideals, right down to the diagonal ball to the overlapping FB running in behind the backline, head it across goal. Matt Doyle’s got a tweet out it’s the exact same action as Bradley-Cannon-Zardes 2019 GC vs Trinidad and exact same action although different positions to Brooks-Wes-Pefok NL semi.

      • “the last man standing suggests we didn’t belong 3rd.”

        Of course we did.

        If you play 14 games against 7 other teams and wind up third that’s where you belong.

      • it does remind of pefok’s goal — remember him? maybe have the big body in that mixer instead of your delicate wing. but, really we’re going to pretend like some once a year play signals the system works? if this is how we have to win games that’s not a good thing. i mean, win them any way, but the point is we’re working too hard for anything and this is not dependable.

      • V: i think talent generally dictates but i think coaches affect the margins. i agree WCQ-as-league says what you earned. but i have always believed teams have a range of possible outcomes the coach guides them within. i still think the 2017 team could have made it. i mean, one game away. few different decisions, butterfly flaps its wings, no gap in the record. i think this was a 1st place team mismanaged to 3rd. i think the world cup says with the curbs off we can ball some. if we weren’t trying to prove a point all quali i bet you this would have been at least as good as canada, who has some talent but is naive. should have been better than mexico and CR’s old farts now falling on their face.

      • You insinuated that the team just ignored Berhalter and did their own thing. I just pointed out if they did that, they did their own thing by doing exactly what Gregg instructed them to do.

      • you mean the thing they do once a year? i’m saying if they did the other 20 things he teaches we usually do every night we don’t win the game. like if they just kept whacking crosses like the first 20.

      • Mr. V.

        “if we weren’t trying to prove a point all quali i bet you this would have been at least as good as canada, who has some talent but is naive. should have been better than mexico and CR’s old farts now falling on their face.”

        The Octagon had three purposes.
        In no particular order :

        1.Qualify 3 teams for the WC and 1 team for a WC qualifier playoff.

        2.Make sure the CONCACAF qualifying teams and their players have at least some tournament practice.

        3.Make money.

        That’s about it. You can go back as far as you like and what you’ll find is that, historically, the final order of finish, has little if any value as a predictor of how a given team will do in the actual World Cup.

        Third place is fine. Even the fourth and the playoff place is fine, except for the risk.

      • I don’t care if it’s Pefok, or Pepi, or the Pope if they get kneed as hard as Pulisic, where he did, they’re going down.

      • V: complete rubbish. bornstein goal, QED. the US, even if it’s clinched and playing the bench, plays to win. has scored goals late in the last game that eliminate teams who were about to make it. that is how reality works. no tournament soccer team i played with was happy losing a game, even if they had already clinched or were rotating personnel for freshness. they want to win them all. you win them all you finish first, btw.

        now, to be fair, after the fact, they might make your sort of ad hoc generalizations, “well, 3rd is all we needed.” they might not care in the big picture, after the fact, if they clinch and play scrubs and finish second instead of first. but i think you are selling complete rubbish like they were ok with losing to canada or some of the others which then resulted in 3rd place. that is not how they acted. you didn’t hear them say but 3rd place is enough — then. because you don’t know if you get 3rd, 4th, or 5th UNTIL IT’S OVER. i think we were in 3rd going into couva. i guarantee you even going into couva it wasn’t “well 3rd is enough.” would not have been enough playing panama either. you’re selling complete rubbish.

        you sound like some of my fellow houston dynamo fans — the more gullible ones — promoting “we need a 50 point coach” ideas. just enough to make the playoffs. that is not how soccer works. you play to win games. if you win enough you don’t have anything to worry about. you don’t aim for just above the threshold. no sane team actually does that. they think they are the best and if it doesn’t quite work to plan, they try to win as many as they can and if it’s 3rd, so be it. but that’s only so be it after the fact. until then it’s a stomach ulcer. no one is shooting for acid reflux type stress. sorry, complete crap. they only say that from relief when it’s done.

      • Mr. Voice,

        Regardless, the reality is third place is fine. It’s fine because it tells you a ton about your team and their manager.

        If you expect your team to have that “real killer, Non Dynamo ” edge then give them some honest competition.

        Let them qualify out of CONMEBOL if they can.

        You seem to have this idea that qualifying should build up a team mentality towards winning. How very macho.

        Which is theoretically not one of your more vacuous ideas.

        But the competition in CONCACAF is so lame, the USMNT always goes to sleep, full Ariolla, at some point. Playing 14 games together is good for team togetherness. But it might be even more useful if those games were played vs. non high school teams.

        I never said you should shoot for third place. But the reality is CONCACAF WC qualifying is so forgiving and our player pool is so dramatically superior and we have so much more resources and money than everyone else in CONCACAF that the USMNT always lets up at some point. We show up in Ferraris, they come in used Chevy Cruze’s.

        This isn’t men vs boys. This is Godzilla vs. Bambi.

        In those circumstances you’re full of it if you think anyone can keep that edge born of desperation.

        Now if the order of finish meant more favorable seeding in the actual World Cup, that would be one thing but it doesn’t.

  8. 4 3 3 pressing for everything during qualis and the 2 friendlies before Qatar. no film on the USMNT for anyone or any opponent to study but that, for years…….

    and GB throws the changeup at the World Cup, calls in Ream who hadn’t been in the mix but is a USMNT vet, changes systems and tactics in the group stages from all that’s been done by the team under his leadership over these years…and it works.

    That is some gutsy ass sh!t

    Congratulations to GB. had to do something like this, something different than the 4 3 3 pressure system, many here called it out, and turns out GB too. GB himself said qualifying for the World Cup and playing in one need different ideas, or something like that…….

    and the players executed it, walked that walk and proved it. WOW

    anyway, warts and all, nothing but respect for GB. we may get pasted or not, but not only did we qualify after dismal 2018, we cleared our group, slowed down England who rolled the other teams in our group, and moved on.

    and I’d say GB has out-coached every opponent in the group. we’ll see vs. the Dutch

    Reply
    • Beach, I agree with you that he played the long game and sandbagged for 18 months. The fact is that none of the three teams were well prepared for the US at the beginning of each game. Now I think his in game adjustments against Wales weren’t very good and I would say the Wales coach probably outclassed him. I know people will complain, but I would have defended m ded today just like he did. I think Zimmerman and Acosta were good subs. Aaronson was his best choice and he had to bring someone in for Puli. Wright wasn’t very good but I thought he was good against England so I understand the selection. Moore had a pretty bad outing bit we don’t see how yeslin and scally are playing in training. I can assure you he put in the players he thought gave him the best chance to win. Whew!!

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      • Hey Tele, well we’ll just have to disagree.

        vs. Wales, went for the 2nd goal counter 2nd half and many chances with the right guys went awry. maybe that’s on him but not to me,and I like how we were set up 2nd half after Wales went to Moore to stretch the game; great tactical awareness from team to not dribble the middle channel vs, their 5 3 2

        vs. England, master class and had that team off balance with the many different looks 1st half, disguised defenses, and then the 4 4 2

        vs. Iran, waited 25 minutes or so to start pressuring after weathering initial Iran push, and altho hectic and nerve slamming down the stretch, pushed the right buttons to lock it down

        yes, luck is part of it!! some of our misses, some of the opponents’ misses…all could have been makes but they weren’t…….

      • Beach, I think you misinterpreted what I said; I agree with everything you said except I thought Wales coaches in game adjustments were better. I think there is no mistake that he left very little video for other teams to prepare and that was intentional. Regardless, cheers to a great win!!

      • “I think there is no mistake that he left very little video for other teams to prepare and that was intentional.”

        That makes no sense. I don’t see how anyone can prove that it was intentional.

        I’d say it was more that this team took a long time to develop for any number of reasons.

        This team arrived in Qatar with a lot of question marks. One big reason for those question marks was it was very untested.

        No really tough competition. Ever. Certainly nothing away from home. Burdened with any number of horrific displays against puke teams.

        I wrote before Qatar that these three games would be the final exam for Gregg and his team, players and managerial staff.

        They would be the only games that would really matter. And I wrote that nothing the USMNT did, positive or negative, would surprise me.

        Gregg couldn’t have made up his mind yet on real evidence about a bunch of things, as best as we can tell, because he hadn’t had a chance to try out Plan X, Y or Z in real time for any number of reasons.

        For example, Dest, Walker, Timmy and Jedi had never played together as a back four. And later on, slot in CCV for the penalty king, and that back four had never played together either. Or if they had it was so long ago that it didn’t matter.

        Two gambles. Both worked out. I can’t imagine Gregg really wanted to take them.

        I sincerely doubt Gregg or any manager would have intentionally arrived at Qatar with that many question marks just to play a little inside baseball on our opponents.

        The thing for those of us who are USMNT fans is that we can be grateful that most of the questions about the team have been answered positively.

        Now we go into the “icing on the cake” phase where Sergino gets to prove a point after playing the best and only halfway decent game of his USMNT career.

        That’s what I like about the World Cup. They are the only USMNT games where, for better or worse, the real USMNT shows up.

      • hey JR, he pressured the scrap out of Mexico twice 2 summers ago in tournaments, not sitting back, and throughout both tournaments then

      • Beach not in the NL league final, we denied Edson Alvarez the ball and wanted the CBs to have to play the ball out. Now that I think about might have been similar to how we defended England. I was really thinking playing more direct offensively in the ‘19 GC and NL finals focusing more on quick transitions than “disorganizing the opponent with ball” possession based play. I felt in NL subbing on Weah and stretching Mexico with long balls into space was the tactical change that changed everything after the Lainez goal.

      • JR, the most amazing thing to me was that we actually unsettled Mexico with our pressure D…it was amazing, and again, GB has not always gone pragmatic in tournaments. The film out there was 4 3 3 pressing

        re. England, it wasn’t just the defensive shape, it was the tactic to not counter…we only tried twice in the entire game, one a long ball from Turner, the other a chance as soon as Aaronson entered. Kept the game from going up and down at all costs. similar to Mexico in that respect, but we did not pressure England at all, just faked it, and they didn’t get it until the 2nd half

      • Beach, have to agree to disagree on NL. If you watch the extended highlights, sorry, don’t have it on dvr, you’ll see two different defenses in the first half early on Sargent sits on Alvarez (DM) and then CP and Reyna press the CBs. Then it switches to Cp and Sargent up top with Dest-Acosta-Wes-Reyna forming a clear midfield four. I think switched again with the subs of Weah and Lleget but there weren’t good looks of it on the highlights. Might have been Gregg’s best night adjusting to his opponent in match. But again thinking more offensively when I say pragmatic so maybe I need a different word maybe direct is more accurate.

    • you really believe all this was planned? i think he planned the first half to wales but not the second. i think today was more the players than him. they didn’t force balls through presses. they went kickball at times.

      i think it’s a laughable conspiracy theory he sandbagged for 4 years only to today play a lot like old school US teams. i think our pattern is games like the honduras qualifier, back to the wall, we suddenly play different as the game progresses. i think they quietly mutiny. but over the long haul the underlying system and formation look the same. you could see it parts of today.

      the secret genius doesn’t have reyna out there, has a mess at 9. does it not make more sense that within the limits he lines them up, they might sometimes take it in their own hands? seems to happen every elimination game. and i wish they did it from first minute those games but the pattern is we looked hammered crap the first half of honduras away, down a goal, before that turned. this was knife’s edge for about 30 minutes of flag crossing. we nearly got beat by mexico in nations league before horvath and reyna took over.

      Reply
      • I didn’t say he sandbagged

        I said there was no film and I, like many, was wondering if we would go to the World Cup and have nbo other plan B

        what’s laughable is your utter lack of respect after getting all your endless drivel served up for you to eat

        Thanksgiving

      • and without Reyna, who apparently has a knock, we advanced IV

        Aaronson is hardly playing, my current favorite player, and no problem!! we advanced man

        ‘we nearly got beat’ blah blah blah

        we didn’t…we will eventually, and you can crow about this and that. at that point. Eventually you’ll be right about how GB doesn’t know…….

        I don’t think GB is some genius, but I KNOW he coached us to the round of 16

      • Hey Bum.. (U guys can call him Beach-I however have the history to call him Bum as I always have:)
        I agree, there’s no way he was sandbagging anything…
        I’d say he’s been consistently inconsistent. Which is not necessarily a dig at him, but reality.
        I’ve said before I thought he made a number of mistakes on his call-ups, because of covid we had the chance to bring in more than usual numbers.. But during qualifying almost every other team brought in more players. Guys on the fringe that could have benefited from additional time in camp even knowing he wasn’t gonna play em.. Scally, Sargent, Pefok/Wright, off the top of my head.
        On the flipside, he did land a number of dual Nats that have been money.
        Tactically, he’s had his ups and downs – with a rigid system, yet he got it right more than he didn’t during the group stage. Maybe those last two poor warm up games did us and him some good…
        For example, he went nuclear with Brooks for a number of reasons – and which was easy to do when you have a healthy Miles Robinson and a guy in Richards on the verge of being the man… Only to lose them both and then giving Long EVERY chance to win the job.
        But, in the end he went back to Ream despite the number of times he said he didn’t fit his “system” .
        (That’s just a few examples to make my point)
        I agree with what Deuce said tonight, Moore over Yedlin was a head scratcher but we made it through.
        We effed up the 2nd half vs Wales, but put on a master class vs England.
        So I’ll swallow my pride and say he did the job and we’re through!
        But I agree… no way he sandbagged anything

      • IV and Vac, I am the one who said he sandbagged and I stand behind it. His tactics in qualifying were totally different than what he has shown so far in these 3 games in terms of the way the team has both defended and attacked. Vac, you were the one that called the September freindlies “scrimmages”. At the time, I said they were like NFL preseason season games where he was making roster decisions and wasn’t going to show anything that wasn’t vanilla but you and I were in the minority. That was intentional. He didnt even game plan or watch film of Japan and I suspect the same for Saudi. Do you not agree that the tactics are different? When I am saying sandbagging, I am not talking about the personnel problems that I agree he had. He wasn’t happy with the personnel from qualifying and was scrambling to finalize his roster and all the people he brought in for September that he thought would earn a spot did the opposite except Scally and Sargent. Cheers!!

      • Tele57, I believe opposition talent has a lot to do with it too. The US isn’t ready to play the same way against Panama as it does England. Berhalter has always treated friendlies as training exercises instead of results driven. That’s frustrated fans especially before events Venezuela and Jamaica before 2019 GC, Mexico before NL group stage.

      • Tele57

        “That was intentional. He didnt even game plan or watch film of Japan and I suspect the same for Saudi. Do you not agree that the tactics are different?”

        If Gregg didn’t game plan for those two friendlies, I’d say it was because the result was irrelevant and they were just scrimmages to stretch people’s legs so to speak. ” Go out there, run around, get some exercise and DO NOT GET HURT. “.

        It’s like being a liar. The problem with lying is that it is too much work. If you do it for a long a period of time it becomes impossible to keep your lies all lined up correctly.

        So if he has been trying to put one over England, Iran and Wales I think that’s a lot more trouble that it’s worth.

        Which team knew us best?

        Probably England for a lot of obvious reasons.. Southgate and Gregg are BFF. So he knew what he was dealing with. And I’m sure he told his guys ad nauseum, to respect the USMNT, blah, blah blah blah.

        But Southgate’s prior research, whatever it was, it was in one ear out the other. You could see in that game that the majority of those England guys were shocked by how good we were.

        Whatever surprise attack the USMNT has it’s due to them being a lot better than people expect. And when all they do is play friendlies at home or play CONCACAF it’s hard for a team like England and its players to put the USMNT in context. And sometimes, the only way to find the proper context is to play against the USMNT.

        And by then it’s too late.

        It’s clear that even the Iranians were not expecting the USMNT to be that good.

      • JR, here is what I think and some is based on things GGG said. 1) he thought his players were vastly superior to any other CONCACAF team besides Mexico 2) he fully expected to qualify 3) he wanted to change the perception of US soccer by running away with qualifying and scoring a lot of goals 4) he thought pushing significant numbers forward would accomplish that (proved not to be the case) 5) he had no intention to ever play in the WC the way he played in qualifying. I, like many, said his qualifying tactics were foolish but after they qualified I changed my opinion that both his tactics and player selections were good enough to win Gold Cup, win Nations League, and get automatic qualification to the world cup essentially with a game in hand (they were not going to lose to CR by 6) which are facts really, not an opinion. My position from then to now has not changed and I always said he was going to change the tactics for the WC. I will elaborate if you want me to on what I think the specific differences in his tactics are and how drastic they are. If Holland tries to watch footage from qualifying to game plan against US, they too will be unprepared in the first half. I will say that I have revised my description of his qaulifying tactics from foolish to absurd, but absurd was good enough with that player pool for CONCACAF.

  9. Win and advance is what matters. There are no style points in a WC. We haven’t played close to our best game and we’ve made it to the round of 16?! Just like live chat on u tube, complain, complain, complain no matter what. We didn’t qualify for the WC in 2018, and people are complaining like we’ve won one before. We pump & prop up players who play for billion dollar clubs and in the Champions League and these players eventually make it pass the group stage, …and we complain?! Have you noticed that these complaints come from people who said we wouldn’t make it out the group stage. That was the expectation, right?! Make it out of the group, was it?! We did dat!! Go USA! I don’t have selective memory. I remember how it felt not to see the country qualify for a WC. I’m going to celebrate this feeling compared to THAT feeling. Ew, my bad, I do apologize. I’ll go back to the adult table, now.

    Reply
      • it’s not criticism that irks people, but the negative energy is interesting considering this team came into this tournament with a lot of questions in terms of health(McKennie, De La Torre and Dest), full game fitness of several players(Sargent, Pulisic and Reyna), as well unresolved questions for the CB pairing and at ST(still not answered). So, to play the way they have is impressive and deserves credit. No one said it’s been perfect, and a lot of the complaints seem to suggest its perfection or nothing! Young team at this level, young manager at this level, so mistakes were expected but we’ve avoided any major errors via good tactics, determination, and quality from the boys

    • Pulisic was taken to the hospital, though.

      How long does it take for your junk to heal? That one hurt me and I was watching on TV.

      Talk about a buzzkill for Pulisic. And us. Hey, in the spirit of calling Beckham “Golden Balls”, does this mean we now can refer to Pulisic as “Flattened Balls”, or is it too soon? Ouch, man. Ouch.

      Reply
      • That’s good info and does make me feel better. Exchanged a couple of texts a half-hour ago with my old club director – he’s got an “A” license, has coached college teams, and was offered the director’s chair at FC Dallas’s youth academy about ten years back – and he’s got a bunch of people up the USSF food chain…he said Gio picked up yet another knock early in camp and hasn’t been nearly 90-minutes fit yet…but will hopefully be good to go Saturday. (He also said Eric Wynalda is a self-promoting sh!t-stirrer and was taking stuff completely out of context.)

        FWIW. Very much hope he’s right. It would explain a lot.

      • Q: why would reyna say he is ready if he’s not? i have a feeling wynalda is a lot closer to the reyna family and by extension the horse’s mouth than your academy coach is to senior NT brass by way of the YNT pipeline or whatever telephone game you’re claiming. i kind of believe the family doesn’t want to play along because implying he remains injury prone undermines his reputation and market value. if he’s healthy they want that known. they don’t want some transfer screwed because the coach couldn’t just say what he meant.

        let’s be real, i think the coach sat reyna because he favors weah wide, doesn’t have the brains to try him 9 or 10, foresaw a 3 game battle, and didn’t want to risk reyna’s perceived softer defense. for all the skill uplift talk he picked players as much for team defense as anything. reyna being his best skill player didn’t do anything for him once he favored weah wide. i think the injury talk is intended as face saving. i think wynalda, reyna dad, and son don’t want his pity or “cover.” call it what it is. he made a choice.

        since i don’t think we’re gonna face anyone else with no offense reyna has to defend — it gets harder not easier — i assume mr. reformed team defense is saving reyna for a game he doesn’t think he can hold the score down and we have to go end to end and try and outscore.

        i kind of don’t buy every MF and so many of the Fs have to be two way guys picked for team defense. i think if we had a 442 instead of a 433 the formation does some of the lifting and you can select at least a guy or two just for skill. or he could always play 9 where we are useless. if you can’t figure out a way to get him on the field — your best skill player and dribbler — you’re dumb.

      • Q: hyndman at SMU it helped to be the only D1 in the whole state for years (i played select here), though he had a dallas bias which is maybe why he never got them above 3rd in the finals. he couldn’t repeat it at grand canyon where he coached several years, made NCAA once, went out one round.

        sorry but i am pretty sure reyna dad and wynalda have more idea how his kid feels than some 6 degrees of separation thing where a formerly important (like 15 years ago) college coach supposedly talks to the YNT who talks to who talks to eventually someone supposedly in camp. i agree with those who think it’s a mix of reyna couldn’t stay healthy as the jobs were won (by weah) and then the coach looked at the schedule and decided he’d rather try and squeak the games with less technical hard working defending attackers.

        i can also see it where GB tries to play it off as injury to not criticize the player but his camp doesn’t want people acting like he’s hurt so they whisper he was healthy so GB starts whispering maybe he actually isn’t fit as opposed to literally hurt.

      • IV go online and look for Wynalda from Monday recanted the whole thing. Said “all it was was a dad feeling for another dad, I texted Claudio and said sure would be nice to see the kid play” that’s it, no conversation where Claudio confided how upset they are at Gregg. People forget Claudio has known Gregg much longer than Wynalda. They played club together, went to high school together, were in each other’s weddings,Gregg summered with Claudio in Argentina with his grandparents in their teens. Claudio isn’t going to pop off to Wynalda about him. Later Wynalda said “I didn’t mean to say he was told to lie that didn’t happen”. Erik got going basically exaggerated the whole thing. Obviously, Gio can go he played 15 minutes Friday, but is he playing at Gio level quick burst in tight spaces, effortless gliding 40 yd runs, that we don’t know because we don’t see training.

      • JR: look, i listened — pregame and even sent it to a friend at the time — to a roughly 30 second snippet of a podcast where wynalda was unequivocal, acted like reyna told him his kid is fine, and only then voiced this sort of father to father, teammate to teammate compassion thing. what i don’t think you’re getting is berhalter dissenters like miazga and pomykal disappear. reyna or his dad may have jerked wynalda’s chain to climb down a little. could have even done so cynically as some reverse psychology thing to try and engratiate themselves with the coach and see if he can play anymore than he has. i know when i played on teams i usually started, but if i ever got benched, i tended to keep it quiet and ask the coach what was going on in private. preserve the relationship, sort out how to go forward. people who are willing to publicly beef usually have a foot out the door. maybe post podcast reyna’s dad was like dude i meant that to stay private. was like dude shut up and see if the coach plays him any. we can talk about this after it’s over.

        but to be crystal clear listen to the pod and he says the kid is healthy and those around him are upset. to turn it into just being upset is a climb down. there is a reason. the kid has said he’s ready to play. the coach has made a controversial decision and went with what he saw as a face saving excuse. but i am sure reyna’s family thinks the last thing he needs is more “is he hurt again” chatter. so they clapped back. it got a little too hot and dad or son tried to cool it back down. i heard what i heard wynalda say. it was not a deepfake. i am not imagining things.

      • IV what your missing is that isn’t just a coach and a dad. It’s two long time friends. Claudio isn’t going to back channel Gregg. That’s insane. Is Gregg going to blacklist Gio, the son of his friend of 30 years and bench to teach lesson. There’s no one that’s played for Gregg that’s ever mentioned him doing anything like that. Pomykal didn’t get blacklisted he got hurt and hasn’t been good enough since. He’s not better than anyone on the roster (including Roldan). I watch FCD almost every week he’s not good enough. In 3 full seasons Paxton has 4g 12a (including hockey assists) that’s not good enough as a 8/10.

    • good. i still think we need a new 9 if we want any chance to keep going…….it’s gonna be like holland, maybe france or something like that if we won the 16 game. this is still sputtering. i think pulisic showed what he can do. i think reyna is being wasted. after that, sargent looked ok when he showed to ball and got it to feet, but no point hitting him unaimed flag crosses. i wish ferreira got a few minutes where we had a clue how that could go, but i think wright was in as part of team defense. wright’s a mistake.

      Reply
    • i see some games the last 2 years where holland shipped 2-4 goals, including 1 and 2 to wales in the home and away Nations League. but they beat wales both games. so i foresee a tough game but one where we can score. continue to think it comes down to do we head to the flag and whack crosses or are we more direct or do we combine into the box. i’d also like to see some edge of box shots. we need cheap ones you don’t have to go to the hospital to earn.

      Reply
  10. Way to get it done Team! Congrats to all the players and coaches, it is quite an accomplishment. Also, wishing the best for Pulisic and Sargent, really hoping they can play saturday. Man, if we could just finish….we should have put 3 or 4 in the way we dominated the first 75 minutes. We are a striker away from being able to beat anybody. I thought Sargent did really well, held up the ball, connected passes, its just that finishing part that gets him. Gotta be honest about Wright, he was terrible, I have no idea why he keeps getting time. And can we stop bringing in Moore, good grief, we have our one world cup veteran that plays that position…Aaronson stepped in for Pulisic and did pretty well, but other than that it was a big step backwards when the subs came in. Gotta do better with that rotation. Now, nothing but rest, fluids, and shooting/finishing drills until Saturday!

    Reply
    • I thought Wright did okay or better when he started the previous game. As for Moore, I wonder what Berhalter has against Yedlin. I think Yedlin is clearly the better option. Also, what is the thing with Gio Reyna? At the very least he should have brought him on late to replace a tired player.

      Reply
      • It’s got to be a case of yes he’s injury free but just hasn’t regained the explosiveness. There were several commenters complaining earlier in the season about his apparent lack of effort on the defensive end.

      • JR,

        “There were several commenters complaining earlier in the season about his apparent lack of effort on the defensive end.”

        And they were wrong.

        At this point, Gregg clearly doesn’t think Gio can help him or he would use him.

        Whether that is true or not what matters is Gregg believes it. The health of Pulisic and Josh should greatly affect whether Gio gets out of witness protection.

        The real curiosity is Shaq. It says horrible things about DeAndre and Scally if Moore plays ahead of them.

        Shaq is a throw back to the big strong fast Americans with a ton of heart who unfortunately have zero ball control. He’s a perfect representative of Gregg’s reversion to kickball. Reverting to that is not a problem for me but I think Gregg did it too soon. And also Moore is terrifying if you’re interested in anything resembling possession.

        So far our luck is holding.

      • I saw on Yank Report something that made sense to me. When Pulisic goes out at half Gregg doesn’t feel Gio can go 45+ mins so he has to go Aaronson. So now you don’t have Aaronson to replace McKennie and you need a more defensive presence so Gio is out because he’s not going to break up plays and get “stuck in”.

    • i thought aaronson was exceptional. he held it up and advanced it well when we were pinned back. he didn’t look like a kid in his first world cup.

      Reply
  11. No more Shaq Moore again, please, especially with Joe Scally and DeAndre Yedlin watching him brick touches and then make lazy runs from the bench. Moore just does not have the skill or composure to play with this group, and it shows. Bigly. He’s an okay Gold Cup depth player in a mile over his head at the World Cup level.

    Haji Wright had a bad, bad game. I’m glad he got his World Cup but it’s probably his last unless he gets another chance and does a whole lot more with it…which he may, because Sargent got hurt.

    Sargent seemed to be finding his feet and his confidence, until he got taken out. Still room for improvement but he did some decent things and he has seemingly grown into the lineup.

    If Pulisic is out against Netherlands, Berhalter needs to kiss and make up with Gio and start him. I dunno what his beef with Gio is but it’s obviously there and he needs to solve it if the team has a prayer of going further.

    Love it or hate it, we’re stuck with Gregg another cycle. The ending of that game would be exactly why I’m so ambivalent about that. There’s a lot more to get and I really, really question if he’s the guy to get it.

    Reply
    • I don’t know that Gio is a strong enough player to handle the games in our group.

      The Iran team consisted of a bunch of big dudes. Each player looked (on tv) like he was a head taller than ours. They were all pretty fast too – noticed that more in their prior two games.

      Wales is a strong Championship-style team with a lot of physical presence.

      England, well, is England. I know the US has a past reputation of being more athletic than skilled, but come on, England has some athletic beasts.

      I don’t know – but I am not sure that Gio could hold up against some of these teams.

      Reply
  12. I am going to try to agree with IV, but he probably won’t think I am getting his point right. Lots of complaints about not bringing on Reyna but against Wales he didn’t decide to attack for the 2nd or defend for the 1-0 lead; his subs were in the middle. Today he subbed to defend and it worked. I think as unpopular as it is , Reyna doesn’t bring as much defense as any of the other players. I thought Wright was off but I did think he was pretty good against England.

    Reply
    • see my post above. i think rather than just play 442 he played 433 but picked many players for defense, while favoring weah over reyna at RF. i agree with your ventriloquism of perhaps why but also think weah is the better wing. said about a million times i think he’d be better central. we don’t have a functioning 9 — pulisic is giving his body up for a goal instead of the striker — and i think if you play 442 then the formation gives you cover where you could maybe have a lazy defending 10. i think we made it through a tough group with a misfiring offense but we need to shift gears to stay competitive. if it’s more Get By At 9 we don’t have long left. do we want to stick around or not. if so, fix it. including get off his Reyna High Horse.

      i do think we found a semi functioning back pair today. CCV was as tough as ever and looked better than his recent friendlies. i like no nonsense, shoulder charges dude to the ground.

      Reply
      • i foresaw some version of this, though perhaps not this bad. i said before this began that weah (at the time) had been the best player on the team. i thus anticipated he would keep his job. i personally am for that because i like my wings either fast or super super technical. either can create enormous separation or can drop their service on a dime. and thus create constant good chances and danger. i thought weah had stolen the spot while he was hurt. was concerned something had to give.

        i think people think this coach is some visionary with his “false 9” and whatnot, but IMO that’s still taking the “9” part too seriously. people are not born and labeled strikers. players often have multiple slots they can fit. to me for whatever reason this coach’s idea of clever extends only as far as “false 9,” he can’t quite make it out of the box enough to get to pulisic or reyna as that 9, or to see that they share and perhaps even exceed in qualities his false 9s.

        kind of like i would like to see dest or robinson as wing attackers. LB tried as RB and vice versa. i think some of the slot distinctions are serious and just reflect different skill sets. i think sometimes players fit a bunch of slots and you do them a disservice auditioning them one slot and then benching them. surely there is a place — IMO 9 or weston’s slot — where reyna sees the field. or should.

  13. Christ. Well, we won. Happy about that. Thoughts and prayers (genuinely so) to Pulisic.

    GGG… Subs… Wow. Haji shouldn’t see the field again. Either he isn’t up for it, or he’s so jacked he is too nervous to play. That was pathetic.

    Adams, Musah, CCV, Ream, Pulisic, Dest, Robinson (in Defense at least), and Wes all played well. Weah worked hard but was off today. Pulisic sacrificed his body to get the win. Respect to him and the team.

    Reply
    • 1st paragraph – and to Sargent as well. Bad play to step on the ball and twist, like that.
      He played a real good game and there was a huge drop-off in defensive work, hustle and pressing once Haji came in.

      2nd paragraph – didn’t think Moore played well as a sub either. Was surprised not to see Yedlin come in for Robinson on the other side.

      3rd paragraph – best game Dest has played in a while. Was servicable in defense while still getting forward like we need.

      Our offense is woeful, however. Good interplay to get the goal, but how many 3 v2 or breakouts can we miss? In first half and in the second.

      Always good to have a win. This group came down to our last game, like many
      thought it would. Iran (pronounced eeh-rahn for those who don’t know) played well. They have some big boys on that team. I don’t know why they didn’t press forward more to put us under attack. The last 20 minutes were tough to watch, but boy what a relief.

      Reply
  14. I need to see what Carter Vickers and Ream look like? Oh this is not a friendly Striker 91 your an idiot! You have bad ideas striker 91! You make no sense! Comment gets deleated for defending myself! Let’s play Scally. Oh we never see what he can do! He literally played against Uruguay and Saudi Arabia in two windows, where were you? I was viewing him play and the whole game. I don’t appreciate being gaslighted! CCV and Ream is a nice combo. This my last post ever on here to blessed to be stressed!

    Reply
    • Get tough. Most every frequent commenter here gets attacked at one time or another. I have certainly been attacked a lot of times and my sanity questioned. Appreciate it if your comments are supported by future events. Ever heard the expression that virtue is its own reward? That’s because it often isn’t awarded by other people so you just have to take your personal victories when you can and ignore the slings and arrows of others.

      Reply
    • Ah c’mon now Striker. If it brings real stress than the juice probably not worth the squeeze, but… I think maybe you should reconsider, recalibrate and keep posting and not stress- not take the shots to heart. Perhaps shouldn’t be but- it’s simply the nature of lots of online commenting- especially when it comes down to sport.. Some are blindly biased, some emotional and hyper-opinionated, some have a screw loose and others comments sometimes come across much harsher than they may think or have intended. I’ve written posts and read them the next day and cringed. Anyhow- one thing we all can agree on is it’s freaking great to see this team advance and grow. Going to enjoy next game and already dreaming of possibilities next WC cycle!!! Salud

      Reply
  15. I could see Berhalter going back to that 4-4-1-1 against Holland. If Pulisic isn’t cleared to play then is it Reyna time or Aaronson gets the start?

    Reply
  16. Moore was more a liability than defensive help. Still the 3 CBs were able to deal well enough with Iran’s repeated attempts to loft the ball into the box hoping to win a header or PK.

    Man of the group stage. Take your pick, Turner, Ream, Adams, Weah, Dest. I wish more attacking players were in that mix.

    Reply
  17. Throwing up now. ha. What do you all think about the extremely defensive nature of all the subs? It worked, so I am hesitant to criticize, but seemed like we could have at least subbed in one speedy attacked to try and stretch the game a bit more. Morris?

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    • I don’t think making the defensive subs was a problem. What I would have liked to see is for them to try and maintain possession more instead of just clearing it up field with almost every turnover.

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      • Yes, I agree, but I did not like the sub selection, because the sub selection was specifically to lock up the 1-0 lead in the second half..

        In the first half, the formation and tactics were very good by GB, even if I rather have wanted Gio starting and Weah as a false 9. This is just my opinion, however. Anyway, the starting line-up was fine and CCV was a beast in this game and Sargent had great holdup play.

        I think it was Ok to sub in Aaronson for Pulisic but I rather have had it been Gio. I also rather have had Gio instead of Wright. Once I saw Acosta being subbed in, I knew GB was going to eventually bunker and Gio wasn’t going to be considered for this game.

        Once Zimmerman and Shaq Moore came on, I knew that we were going to bunker with 5 in the back and that we were going to give Iran life. Why play bunkerball and defend for your lives? There was no possession at all starting in the 80 minute, just heaving the ball out of our half and giving it right back to the Iranians, giving them life. This is Iran not Brazil. It was obvious that GB was playing for the 1-0 win, but it was totally unnecessary to do so, especially with the injury time being added in this tournament. We bunkered and had virtually no possession for 20 minutes. This is way too risky, especially playing against a team that you were dominating. The US could have put a fork in the Iranians and finished them off by putting in the correct subs and still keeping possession. We just gave Iran too many opportunities.

        The subs didn’t make sense to me because we were facing an Iranian side that can’t even pass out of the back well. Why Haji Wright (Who had a poor game)? Have Gio hold up the ball up top and continue dominating. Iran had nothing.

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