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Hudson seeking USMNT growth in final January friendly


The U.S. men’s national team closes out its January camp on Saturday against Colombia and the goal is clear for interim head coach Anthony Hudson and his keep the overall growth of the program going forward.

Hudson will lead the USMNT squad in its final tune-up before the resumption of Concacaf Nations League play in March, providing the opportunity for several players to improve their stocks within the squad. A total of eight players made their USMNT senior debuts in Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to Serbia at BMO Stadium, including Alex Zendejas, Brandon Vazquez, Julian Gressel, and Gabriel Slonina.

Several more could join that growing list on Saturday at Dignity Health Sports Park as the USMNT seeks a bounce-back performance and result.

“Firstly, we want to put them in a position to do well, and then we want them to show us what they can do,” Hudson said in his pre-match press conference on Friday. “Their objective firstly is to perform, have a good game and stay in the national team set-up. That’s what we’re looking for going into [Saturday].

“Going forward, look, I think it’s really clear in the sense that we have a very, very clear game idea,” he added. “We want to be a team that plays attacking soccer. We want to possess the ball, we want to be brave in possession defensively, we’re clear about how we want to defend. So, we naturally, whoever is in this seat, has this type of game idea. Naturally you want to keep evolving and moving it forward. So that’s the plan for us.”

John Dorton/ISI Photos

The USMNT takes the field on Saturday, only two days after U.S. Soccer announced the departure of sporting director Earnie Stewart and general manager Brian McBride from their current roles. It marks the latest changes within U.S. Soccer, adding to the continuing investigation of former USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter.

Hudson will remain interim head coach for the USMNT for now until a decision is made on the program’s long-term plans, and the former Colorado Rapids manager is preparing for a lengthy stay if needed.

“So we found out over the last few days,” Hudson said about the U.S. Soccer front office changes. “Obviously, there’s been some changes. And yeah, my focus is for however long it is, just to keep doing all I can to progress the team, prepare the team starting in March, and that’s it. Obviously, it’s a fluid situation, but that’s my focus right now.”

“I wasn’t really expecting any of any of this, how this is evolved. I’ll continue doing all I can. This is a really, really special team. I know how important this national team is, and I want to do all I can to make sure it’s in a good place for whoever comes in, whenever that is.”

John Dorton/ISI Photos

Saturday marks the first meeting between the USMNT and Colombia since 2018, as well as the 21st overall meeting between the two national teams. Los Cafeteros’ squad will feature six MLS players including Cristian Arango, Cucho Hernandez, and Santiago Moreno, as well as several others fighting for a long-term role in Colombia’s next World Cup Qualifying campaign.

Colombia will mark a tough, but beneficial test for the youthful USMNT squad, and Hudson is expecting a lively affair from Carson on Saturday night.

“They’re a good team, really good team, good individuals,” said Hudson of Colombia. “They’re an aggressive team, really a lot of good one-v-one players, lot of quick players, direct players, good on the counterattack. And then within there they have a handful of really, really top individuals that obviously we’re familiar with here in MLS. This is going to be a different test, and I would imagine that with the crowd that is going to come, it’s going to be an intense game.”


  1. hopefully that’s the end of the hudson-for-caretaker campaign. good to see fresh faces but that felt like a time warp back to 2019.

    • Who would you have called instead? You can complain all you want but who is out there you thought should have been included.
      I had it on but was doing other things at the same time. I didn’t see a lot of Barca ball as you call. Play was fairly direct, other Johnson didn’t lope it long all the time it didn’t look anymore Berhalter ball than the average team. It did look like a bunch of guys mostly in offseason whose touch and decision making was off. Seriously other than when we played Trinidad and their league had been closed for 9 months when have we ever looked like a good finely oiled machine in January. You expect a guy in 8 days to completely implement new tactics, play teenagers with no caps, and look like Argentina. Like maybe expectations are too high.

      • i don’t expect total change in a week. i was looking for a little more air in the stale stuffy room and we only let in a little, mostly game 1. based on the costa rica friendly a while back i think you’d be surprised what would happen if you just rolled the ball out and said, go play.

        in terms of who particularly to pick, hudson is a joke and as such the internet gotcha game of “who else” is laughable. you really gonna tell me none of the former coaches, former players getting started as coaches, or out of work fashionable european based coaches wouldn’t want a few months at the helm? this is like a walking, talking “it could only be thus” fallacy.

  2. in additional hudson critique, i get the idea the other day was the bench and this is his first choice from the B pool. which, tolkin is good — better than gomez — but he likes hoppe and ferreira over vazquez and cowell?

      • no, it’s just how it feels. 3 kids sprinkled in with 8 routinely capped veterans, and tolkin and aaronson looked classy. it doesn’t feel at all like he mixed equal sets of players in BCs both nights with some vets. he played kids and a C with a couple vets. then he played his B. he’s not competent so he managed the table equivalent of one point. hence my rapids critique.

        this guy had better not be the caretaker he’s useless. he misevaluates players, calls veterans of no use in 4 years, and then plays them in a system that makes it look worse. worse than that, without the first choice talent, i start asking what is the point to how we are playing.

        side point — in the age of mbappe it’s sad to see the US athletic speed neutered in favor of trying to out technique teams and not do that either. how are the goals going to even come playing this way.

  3. hudson told Telemundo at HT that changes are pre-programmed based on fitness levels. this is why it matters camp was like a week. personally while it’s rational i think it’s typical “GB style” overabstraction. while training might hint at who could last what length, how about how the game is going? eg cowell the other night.

    • Only Sonora who is out of contract is free to be here. Everyone else is here as a gift from their club. So if SJ says Cowell cannot go over 70 minutes you take him out after 70 minutes.

      • i don’t buy it . zendejas played a midweek game, obviously didn’t dress, and was back with america for the weekend. i buy that was an access deal. outside of atlanta USMNT hasn’t had to arm wrestle for MLS players and has generally seemed free to use as they see fit. cowell was a dressed unused sub. if he used up some pre-agreed minutes quota he’d be gone.

        no, the coach twice referred to fitness and pre-programmed minutes. once in discussing cowell’s use the other night postgame. once at halftime today talking to the spanish language press.

    • “seeking growth” by starting several guys too old to keep playing next tournament most of whom couldn’t contribute in qatar. waste of valuable minutes.

      • Ok yes but a got that is 19 and playing in USL probably isn’t a good option against Arrango or Coucho. You can start Neal and give him trial by fire but then everyone gets skewed experience because their down 3-0 20 minutes in.

      • JR: do you really believe we couldn’t evaluate how they played the other night because they weren’t scattered among players nominally A team? and i think you’re conflating two layers of this. (1) first layer is are they worthy of the level. (2) second level is how do they gel with the current first choice. IMO US skips tryout step 1 and starts gelling step 2. then figures out zardes bradley etc. shouldn’t have been baked in the cake. to me work on best ingredients before baking cakes.

        i just don’t buy your theory, which assumes the “upperclass” are good enough they deserve preference and to be teaching them anything. is “Z” teaching the defense anything? is that what your eyes say? my personal experience i watched upperclass blow the first game and a half of my fish year, got subbed on second half game 2 down 3-0, wreaked havoc, the team adapted to my energy rather than the other way around, we got it to 3-2. i started then out. i didn’t need to apprentice to some upperclassman. we got better when they got benched. these particular upperclassmen aren’t “pulisic” or “reyna,” or even “richards,” it’s Z who cost us a PK to wales. i think we need to shop these guys’ jobs more than pretend this makes the B team better. how is it better in any way we can sustain to march and beyond. if we have a brain most of these guys never get capped again.

        side point, the stars of the other day were cowell, vazquez, gaga — noobs. there will be time later on to sort out how they mix with the rest of the recipe.

      • JR: btw i fully understand historically x% of the people who looked ok january blow march. but the idea is to create more space for trialist players in january where they resist the reflex to field Z, arriola, etc. in march. to me this is set up to encourage picking many of the same players for march which is not what we need. what we needed was to run through several CBs, wingbacks, backup mids, 9s, and see if we have anyone quietly better than our 23. running out anyone in our 23 only clouds the process.

        americans are too short term. win me the game today. the idea is to be identifying newer better players now to help this win more in 4 years when it counts. to me this coach wants to play more of the same to defend GB, to make his own case, to get a more positive game result.

        that and IMO any additional games in the crap system is a waste of time and makes the team dumber.

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