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Gregg Berhalter on USMNT future: “I’ll think about what’s next”

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U.S. men’s national team head coach Gregg Berhalter has received both praise and criticism during his spell in charge of the team over the past four years and despite Saturday’s FIFA World Cup Round of 16 elimination at the hands of the Netherlands, players remain supportive of the job he has done with the program.

Berhalter watched on the sidelines as his USMNT squad lost 3-1 to the Netherlands in its first Round of 16 involvement since 2014. A trio of defensive breakdowns hurt the Americans in the defeat, with Memphis Depay, Daley Blind, and Denzel Dumfries all celebrating goals for the Dutch.

Berhalter’s current contract is set to expire at the end of the year, opening new opportunities for the 49-year-old both in the United States and overseas. However, Berhalter’s players support him for the work he has continued to put in as the program improved up the FIFA Rankings.

“I hope so,” USMNT left back Antonee Robinson said when asked about Berhalter’s possible return as head coach. “He’s given a lot of boys the chance to want develop with this group. I have certainly enjoyed playing every single minute. It’d be nice for him to continue his journey, but that’s completely up to him. We’re thankful for everything he’s done either way.”

John Dorton/ISI Photos

Berhalter has registered a 37-11-12 record in his four years with the USMNT, winning the Concacaf Gold Cup and Nation League titles in 2021. He helped the Americans return to the World Cup following their failure to do so in 2018, while also giving plenty of opportunities to new, exciting talents in the squad, such as Yunus Musah, Sergino Dest, and Gio Reyna.

The USMNT isn’t set to take the field again until late January with Serbia and Colombia opposing the Americans in a pair of 2023 friendlies. Berhalter has yet to commit his future to the USMNT following Saturday’s World Cup exit and an answer on that won’t be expected for the next few weeks.

“For the last month-and-a-half, I only focused on on the World Cup, only focused on achieving things with this group,” Berhalter said. “Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll clear my head, sit down, and think about what’s next.”

Comments

  1. Our Golden Generation deserves a first rate manager. GB did his job but was mediocre at best.

    We’ve been blessed with the best talent in pool in our history. Largely due to the Development Academy affiliates and leagues which they axed a few years back. Our next manager has as full a cupboard as we have ever had. Add is an 9 and another CB or 2 and we have both talent and depth.

    This generation deserves a manager that can look at it and unlock its best play and performance rather than trying to fit the pieces into his ‘system’.

    It’s a disservice to put a managers system over the talent we have emerging. Find a manager that can see the roster as it is and work to its talents and strengths.

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  2. I for one have had enough of Gregg and hope he decides to take his “system” elsewhere. The fact that almost 1/2 the players he brought could not be trusted to see the field, that his “system” produced 2 goals in the first 3 games and 3 goals in the first 4. Its time for a new manager

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  3. I’m not a Berhalter guy but here’s the truth……we will more likely hate the next manager too. We have hated every USMNT manager to date.

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  4. Time to turn the page. Thank Gregg for what he did….and find a new coach. Preferably hire someone who can look at the player pool and create tactics/formations that get the best of the players and not select players for a predetermined formation or for the “Vibes” they bring.
    IMO Gregg met the minimum requirements/expectations. Qualified for the WC (tied for 3rd), Advanced from the group (2nd position). Nothing he did exceeded expectations with the possible exception of beating Mexico 3 times in a calendar year.
    With the foundation set/experience gained by this young group of players we need a coach who can move the needle and get this team/program further. And that person is NOT Gregg Berhaulter.
    People keep referencing that No national team has won the WC with a foreign coach. But look at the nations who’ve actually won a WC….Brazil, Germany, Spain, Argentina, France, etc…. they’ve go 100 years of domestic league history and coaching. The US has what 30? How many English born/raised coaches are there in the NFL? In college American Football? None, because they don’t have history/experience in coaching that sport at the highest Levels. Just as the US doesn’t have top tier coaches in Soccer.
    USSF needs to find a coach who can relate to our best players, has international coaching experience, and has ideas on how to take this group of players beyond the round of 16.

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    • You had me until the no foreign coaches have won a Super Bowl or college football. The soccer culture and history in America is for more prevalent than American football anywhere outside the US and Canada. This argument might have been true 40 years ago but American managers have access to any match they want they take course work in Europe, they talk with European managers, many played in Europe. Van Gaal didn’t get the tactics right because he grew up in the Netherlands he got it right because he’s been managing longer than Berhalter has been able to vote. Berhalter played 16 years in Europe, got his UEFA A License, spent a summer in Argentina with Claudio and his family in high school. There is not a more world soccer exposed American manager out there. But he should still move on.

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  5. he is currently out of deal so it’s arguably presumptuous to talk about it like the deciding factor is you think about if you’ll be back. that is a two way street. i doubt he has an option he can just unilaterally trigger. no sane soccer fed would do that. talking about it like you have the power is a classic GB move akin to how after That Canada Game he talked about preparing for the subsequent NL window. if you’re out of deal the USSF brass decide if you come back. i have obvious feelings on the situation.

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  6. Friendly reminder-No country has won a WC with a manager not from its own country. Tab Ramos is my pick for continuity for both player & USSF. He’s cool with Stewart & McBride (his former teammates). He’s a dual-national and can relate to players of similar backgrounds, recruiting purposes etc. He’s coached a lot of the current US players at the U20 level. Hard to judge his club coaching off of one season, w/ the Dynamo but he’s won 2x at an international youth level, with different crop of players. He’s a former US player who was elite, & not GB or Bruce Arena. Laidback like Arena, less complicated tactics than GB. He hasn’t coached another country unlike Hugo. We all like Hugo, he was elite for the US as a player and seems to vibe with all his players. A workman like 3 years for GB, can’t lie, I’m less prejudice about him than when he first took over. Round of 16 was a good bar to leap over with a new coach in a new cycle!

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    • at houston his ineffective offense was basically GB’s take it to the flag and cross, type thing. we had very low GF — like 36 in 34 games — his last season. his defense was then very passive and positional like some sort of weak dutch team that didn’t care if it got scored on. like they stayed in their lines and jogged side to side. no press, no swarm in the midfield, nothing. you could pass the ball to the final line easily.
      we got destroyed on set pieces, crosses, and weak side goals. >50 GA. he is currently a USL coach. nagamura didn’t get a ton more talent, pushed an *8″ into a “10,” squeezed a few more points and GF out of the same players. but he sucked too. not sure why we’re picking around the MLS cellar for coaches. all houston fans do is moan how lousy the coaching is. why here. go get someone who wins every year.

      if you want an american hire someone who’s actually won recently. that includes ruling out all the ones in europe who are relegation battlers and never did anything other than that. we need coaches not used to win-some-lose-some midtable, or just fighting for existence, but who are used to having good players and extracting trophies from them. i feel a “david moyes” vibe here. even punching above your weight with a smaller team doesn’t show you can win if i hand you ManU. you may have an inferiority complex about setting out to beat the very sort of elite teams whose contests decide who wins league. you have not had the pressure of trying to win 60-90% of the time and actually pull it off.

      sorry but tab is a faded berhalter xerox and even worse. like his teams don’t even defend.

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  7. A second 4 year cycle is too much. It rarely works anywhere in the world. 2018 was a disaster and Berhalter moved beyond that hot mess, team got younger, won some silverware and advanced out of group at this WC. Fine accomplishments, but it’s time for new ideas and fresh perspective from someone else. Without competitive games the next 4 years, tactics will be very important in 2026.A master tactician might be what is needed.

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    • I’m sure there will be enough competitive games. Does CONCACAF WC qualifying really help the USMNT in the WC? Pretty certain The US will be invited to the 2024 Copa America. Also have the Olympics the same summer and there will be two Gold Cups. I have no doubt USSF will schedule tough friendly games as well during this cycle.

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  8. I think Cherundolo or Wolff are next. Fit with what Stewart sees as the vision. Former teammates of McBride and Stewart.
    Cherundolo prefers the 4-3-3 but his LAFC team a faster pace style with it. Wolff is from the Berhalter coaching tree but prefers the 4-2-3– Gregg used in Columbus. Gio would be overjoyed to play the Druissi role.
    I thought maybe Wilfred Nancy might be an interesting choice if the USSF was looking within MLS but it seems like Crew have finally almost sealed that deal. Thierry Henry anyone?

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    • Cherundolo has coached in Germany as well as played there a long time. He has his European coaching license, so I think we can assume that he has a lot of good European contacts, especially in Germany. Given how many of our best players are overseas, I think that is a benefit in his favor.

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      • hey Gary, he played at Hannover and was their team captain, was called the Mayor of Hannover, and I think he played his whole career there but I could be mistaken, a pretty long career too. To me he’s always overlooked when the greatest USMNT player discussions come up. He’s top 5 for me.

        injuries messed with him though. I think he’d be a wonderful choice to coach the USMNT at some point

      • Agree Cherundolo won MLS Cup right off the bat and has extensive German soccer background. Wolff nice coach but from the Gregg tree. If you’re looking for new ideas than go with Steve if you must have an American coach. Marsh would be interesting but not sure he would leave Leeds now.

  9. this has been sold as a long project he was going to helm. we have indulged odd tactics and mediocre results. i think a lot of US coaches would have been axed after That Canada Game if they weren’t on some project. not sure you want to finish the project? fine, project’s over. bye. go coach the fire. i don’t want a project coach not chomping at the bit to finish his project. ditto not getting goosebumps the minute this one ended that he could be the coach of the host team next time.

    if you have to think about it you’re not the guy we need. to be real, klinsi’s agent floated spurs interest before the world cup, but klinsi himself never expressed doubt. klinsi was signed for 2018 before we played 2014. his ideas then got stale but there was no doubt he wanted to go again. (to be fair — that is the point when USSF needs to evaluate whether you have something left to give, not just rubber stamp. klinsi didn’t have it but we didn’t know it at the time. i kind of doubt mr. berhalter has more knowledge left to dispense but that’s me. he tried to teach something, it didn’t work, he abandoned it most of the tournament. when we tried his way we sucked.
    he’s spent.)

    this to me is a team full of prospects and promise and if you don’t feel it in your bones i don’t want you.

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    • His contract runs out in a couple of weeks. If this was a long project he would have been hired for both cycles. I don’t think this was every billed as a long project he was going to helm.

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      • i felt like on hire/fire and how the job was going he was indulged as though we were engaged in a longer term thing. otherwise that Canada loss as well as how quali started was the sort of stuff that got Bradley or Klinsi fired. i think there are even mcbride/stewart quotes to the effect of indulging him since he’s changing things.

    • It was sold as a long term project but not that Gregg was the only leader. This is the vision of Earnie Stewart and in theory Cindy Parlow Cone. If Gregg leaves don’t expect Sam Allrdyce to be brought in to play route one soccer.

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      • i think you’re stereotyping what i want. i am not looking for whole game hoofball. but i think you’re also ignoring what is actually working on the present world stage. that is not glacially slow building tiki taka. the world has had 2-3 cycles to evolve to how to stop a 433 short passing game. what you are faced with here, is do i want to treat world cup cycles as player development work — try and turn U20s into tiki taka players, then somehow evade defenses set up to thwart that specifically — or do we trend towards current reality. the dutch aren’t even playing dutch 433 soccer right now. the dutch had turned into a 1990s england team. why are we still playing dutch soccer.

    • mediocre results? that is absurd IV

      -won Gold Cup

      -won NL

      -qualified for WC after miserable failure previous cycle

      -made it out of group that many, including you, said they wouldn’t

      -renewed locker room love (have you read what the players say about that and GB?)

      re. “Klinsi didn’t have it but we didn’t know at the time”…BS!!! Many of us knew it almost immediately with that fraud. You might not have known, but that’s on you

      re. odd tactics…like vs. England??? They are rolling everyone,,,except us. GB’s tactiics against England were proven the opposite of what you claim, but don’t let the facts get in your way man

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      • mediocre results. yes. 3rd in quali. 2nd in group with 1 total win. round of 16 is in fact right in the middle of a 32 team field. constantly squeaking through events on tiebreakers. this is a first place team. you can either make excuses or chase its promise.

        the US plainly did not follow through on the 21 tournaments with similar success. fwiw the 2017 team won gold cup then missed qualification 5th. i think the combination of B teams and home field advantage tends to mislead about what exactly gold cup means, particular second tournament in the cycle when many teams rested players with an eye to imminent qualification contests.

      • Berhalter was naïve to run the same group of guys out four times in a row save starting Ferreira vs Holland.
        Why do you think there were defensive lapses? Fatigue produces mental lapses as well, all three goals other than the first one were back door runners that nobody facing the build up had the wherewithal to even tell someone to slide back post and pick up the runner? Sure it’s on the players but who picked them four games in a row After basically changing the lineup every single qualifying game. With Van Gaal a world class coach you offered no wrinkles just ran that 433 out there. You didn’t think he’d look and find a weakness and exploit out outside backs one who doesn’t really care to play defense. That’s just naive. Appreciate Gregg getting us this far, but tell me which one of us didn’t think we’d get out of a group when we saw the world cup draw back in April? We accomplish the minimum don’t act like it’s some huge deal. Remember all we needed was a tie versus TNT that was on the players. They missed by a single goal allowed or missed by Dempsey late. CONCACAF was horrible at the World Cup save the US. Greg had some trouble navigating the octagonal and it be quite honest when we start pounding the snot out of this region then we might be able to take on teams from Europe but until then maybe a new coach will do as most national teams turn over coaches unless they go far like semis.

  10. I hope some club makes Gregg an offer he can’t refuse. That would be a win-win-win for Gregg, the team and fans. Gregg was not a good coach for the following reasons.

    1. Qualifying record. This is the most important metric for evaluation because, unlike the world cup, it consists of a balanced 14 game schedule where luck balances out. We tied for 3rd. Not good enough. When you look at the transfer values of the USA team (according to Statistia.com) it was far greater than all of the other teams in Concacaf. Simply put, Gregg achieved less with more.

    2. World Cup record. It says something when the high point of our campaign was getting a tie. Yes, it was nice to get an unexpected point but losing 2 points by letting our lead evaporate against Wales slip away was twice as bad as tying England was good. In the knockout game we got our butts kicked.

    3. Set pieces. For the most part a coach can only watch, but set pieces are where the coach can really ensure that it is done “his way”. Our set pieces sucked. It was let Pulisic take the kicks, watch Pulisic perform poorly at it and then let him take some more and suck some more. Coaches are paid phases of the game which can be taught and evaluated on the training ground. work. Gregg did not earn his money.

    4. Defensive organization. This is another place where the coach has influence but our defense looked anything but organized. This tends to happen when your best and most experienced defender is called in at the 11th hour.

    5. Game management. In general did the US look better in the first half or the second……Enough said.

    I personally view Gregg’s body of work as mediocre at best. In general 2nd acts in coaching do not go as well as firsts so we need to find somebody new. By all means praise him to the rafters because it betters the chance that he will be gone.

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      • I think there’s probably plenty of Championship-level clubs that would take him, and some of the lower-half Prem teams might be intrigued as well. For all that plenty of USA fans don’t like him, that’s par for the course for a lot of national team coaches. What will intrigue an English club is they watched with their own eyes as the USA gave England by far their toughest match of the World Cup thus far and probably should have beaten them. He does have a clearly defined template and style and he does get out and attack, and he was successful with Columbus. Oh, and for all the Ted Lasso smack talk, there’s no language barrier.

        I’d think he’d probably be one of the first calls a Championship squad would make, actually. Also, keep in mind he spent 18 months at Crystal Palace so he’s got links to England.

        If he can handle MLS, he can handle the Championship. They aren’t any better a league than MLS and the stats nerds back that assertion up…actually they say Philadelphia would be the top team in the Championship, first in line to get promoted (and actually a hair ahead of bottom-dwelling Nottingham Forest in the Prem) and that LAFC would be #3 in the Championship right behind Sheffield United.
        https://www.globalfootballrankings.com/compare?first=EnglishLeagueChampionship&second=MajorLeagueSoccer

    • I agree that when it comes to national team managers, one cycle is enough. Even if the coach is successful, the second cycle usually doesn’t go as well. So although I like Berhalter and feel that he did a good job, I wouldn’t mind seeing someone new come in.
      However:
      1. We qualified, and that’s all that matters. Berhalter did something that Klinsmann/Arena couldn’t do 4 years earlier. The fact that we did better in the WC than the teams that finished ahead of us in qualification tells you all you need to know about how much stock to put into a team’s form in qualification. Qualification is the most cynical of competitions; all that matters is whether you finish above the line, not exactly where above the line you finish.
      2. I’d say the high point of the WC was the Iran game, not the England game. There was much more pressure on us against Iran, and the team performed well, at least well enough to get the win and advance. But the England game was good as well.
      3. I agree that our set pieces were not good. Pulisic’s corners were either OK or bad; when they were OK, we didn’t seem to have anyone making a committed effort to get on the end of them. I thought US Soccer hired a coach specifically for set pieces, though, so maybe Berhalter’s not the guy to get mad at for this.
      4. For the first 3 games, our defense was excellent. So I guess Ream was doing pretty well then. Yes, it broke down against the Dutch, but I’m not sure that Ream is the real or only culprit. Adams didn’t track Memphis on goal #1, and Dest let Blind beat him to the ball on goal #2. I’d like to see the third goal again, obviously the goal was scored from where Robinson probably was supposed to be and there may have been a failure to communicate between him and Ream. The ironic thing is that they’ve been club teammates for years, so the fact that Ream got called in at the 11th hour (your words) seems irrelevant.
      5. In terms of game management and the team looking better in the first half than in the second, my initial thought is that there have been a number of games over the last two years where Berhalter’s substitutions and second half changes worked out well. In the WC, yes against Wales and maybe Iran, the second half was not as good as the first half. Coaching may have something to do with that, but to some extent it’s what almost always happens when one team takes the lead.

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  11. He did a very good job. If he stays on I think I am fine with that. If he decides he wants to try his hand at another Gig then I hope USSF gets the right coach in. I look at this group and I think a coach who matches the teams ambition is needed. Don’t go to old either. First name that comes to my mind is Hugo Perez, second name is David Wagner, third name is Juan Carlos Osorio

    Hugo Perez had his beef with USSF so I don’t know if he would ultimately want the job. And he is still the Head Coach for El Salvador.

    David Wagner is a very good man manager, and has a decent amount of experience in Europes leagues as a Manager and as Klopps number 2.

    Osorio has experience as a national team coach and a lot of experience with American soccer. He is currently the Manager at Millionarios. So who knows if would want to leave that spot.

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    • Hugo would totally take it if there was a chance I think he’s pretty resigned that it won’t though. He knows this generation very well from working with them early in their careers and you can’t tell he’s very fond of them and the players are fond of him.
      ////////
      Wagner has had two good seasons at Huddersfield getting up and staying one season in EPL, but his Schalke team was epically bad and he couldn’t win at Young Boys who spend far more than anyone else in their league.
      ////////
      Osario is known as being a huge tinkerer. Not sure he’d be all that good of a fit.

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      • I’m not that big on club success being a must for national team coach. Many coaches that have had success at club level haven’t had success with National teams. And vice versa. I think being a national team coach is about fostering a good positive atmosphere in the team and good man management and good tactics.

    • 2tone: what I’m saying about Wagner is he hasn’t shown he’s a good man manager or gotten his tactics right. You can forgive that at Huddersfield in the EPL or Schalke as they were selling off guys to stay afloat but at Young Boys he had significantly more talent than the rest of the league and struggled. I believe they were in 4th when he left and finished 3rd. This year they are already 10 pts clear of second.
      Osario has pretty good tactics, and is not afraid to make adjustments but I think his teams can sometimes look confused as to what he wants them to do because of the constant changing. Love Hugo, but I don’t think it happens.

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  12. Sometimes I think too much gets made of coaching, especially amongst us fans. Ultimately it’s talent that most often decides things, “players win championships”, and a dozen different phrases from a dozen different sports. In terms of the USMNT, coaching is mostly 1) picking the best players, and 2) creating an environment that lets the players optimize their abilities and enjoy playing together to build team chemistry. I would say 3) creating and communicating a clear tactical plan and 4) managing specific games with tactical tweaks and substitutions are also important but ultimately meaningless if you don’t get the first two points right. If you don’t believe me, look what happened at the end of both the Arena and Klinsmann eras. Picking the best players is pretty simple for us, the top 13 or so guys pick themselves at this point in time and most of us here could easily do that. I always thought Berhalter’s strength was point #2, by all reports the players love playing for him, and he was highly successful recruiting major talents like Dest and Musah. He deserves alot of credit for nurturing and building the core talent that will be our team for the next cycle. Berhalter definitely had a plan and vision for how he wanted us to play and got the guys to buy in. I think criticism of whether its the most effective plan is fair. Managing the games and making changes was definitely the weakest part of Berhalter’s tenure, as we were consistently outplayed in second halves and unable to adjust when other top teams made tactical/personnel changes at halftime or late in games. In terms of results, we have to give Berhalter credit for winning the Gold Cup, Nations league, and getting this young but talented team into the knockouts of this World Cup. Also, beating Mexico three times in a row in competitive matches, these are all major accomplishments. I appreciate all his hard work. He is a smart guy and will keep getting better as a manager. Gonna conclude with a strong belief that USSF needs to make the USMNT head coaching position a 2-year gig, like they do in Europe. I know we don’t have Euros, but it keeps us from being stuck with huge buyouts if things don’t go well, gives a manager named at the beginning of the cycle major incentive (extended 2 more years thru the world cup) to prepare a team, provides a natural reassessment midway and opportunity to change or upgrade if necessary or available. It is clear to me from our recent history that 4 yrs should almost always be the maximum tenure for USMNT manager.

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    • I think your point about coaching is often true, but not necessarily in this case. Compare and contrast the US with the Dutch. I don’t think the Dutch players are all that much better than the US players. They are more experienced, but the real difference was how much more disciplined the Dutch were, how much better organized they were, and how well they played together as a team. That was coaching. Before the tournament their Coach, Van Gaal, said this was the best Dutch team ever because they bought into the team concept. Considering all the talent they had in the past, I thought he was blowing smoke, but it turns out he was right.

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      • Agreed. In a tournament, coaching is the difference maker. In Concacaf, the coaching is better (most times) which is partly why the US struggles (fields, refs and dark arts of other teams add to it). Not all the teams execute because they are not 15 players deep with quality. But with better coaching we coast through Concacaf. Not that GB was awful, but all in all he set a good foundation, now we need to find a coach that can be less naïve and help the team get to the next level….

      • fyi…we never coast thru CONCACAF

        only some US fans think it’s supposed to be like that…reality and history reveal it is not. qualifying is VERY tough here becasue of…OMG, I’m not revisiting all of the reasons we all know so well (or by now, should know so well)

        qualifying is never simple. road games in CONCACAF are brutal everywhere except in the US

  13. Consider me as one of those who thinks positive of Berhalter, and deserves a lot of credit for the WC run. It is not easy to turn over nearly an entire roster from the 2018 debacle, and mold a very young and inexperienced group into a cohesive unit that progressed as far as they did. The Nat coach is not afforded the luxury of hours and hours of practice time like a club coach, and instead has to travel extensively to scout players, and build a style of play in a limited window. If Berhalter now wants to move on and coach at a club level, presumably in Europe, he deserves it, and we should wish him well.

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