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USMNT vs. Serbia: Live Commentary

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The U.S. men’s national team begins its 2023 schedule on Wednesday with Anthony Hudson’s squad facing off with Serbia (10 p.m. ET).

The Americans take the field for the first time since their Round of 16 exit at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, with several young players seeking a positive USMNT debut. Alejandro Zendejas, Julian Gressel, and Gaga Slonina are among seven USMNT players making their senior debuts tonight while veteran defender Walker Zimmerman captains the squad.

Brandon Vazquez, Alan Sonora, and Aidan Morris are also among the debutants for the USMNT tonight at Banc of California Stadium.

Serbia’s squad features several domestic players with Djordje Petrovic, Dejan Joveljic, and Ranko Veselinovic serving as the lone three from MLS.

Here is the full USMNT lineup:

SBI will be providing thoughts and analysis in the comments section so feel free to follow the action here. As always, you are welcome to share your own thoughts and opinions as well.

Enjoy the action.

Comments

  1. Decent game. Some good things some bad things, but ultimately hard to know what a new coach will garner from this game. Still think the 4-3-3 is not the formation to continue with.

    Would like to see more of a 4-2-3-1 with a 10 underneath the striker.

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  2. Final from Los Angeles as the USMNT falls 2-1 to Serbia. The Americans did better to pick up the pace in the second half, but only after they went down in the 46th minute. Gabriel Slonina made two key saves in the first half while Cade Cowell, Aidan Morris, and Brandon Vazquez were the bright spots for Anthony Hudson’s squad. This is the first home loss for the Americans since September 2019.

    Thanks for joining us tonight and be sure to follow SBI for post match content!

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    • hopefully the 2 reyna goals in 2 games plus this bit of struggling Berhalter Ball without the man kick some more dirt over it. i don’t see the value of all the farting around and indirection. cowell was the most interesting thing out there because he went to goal.

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  3. Aiden Morris has been all over the field tonight, and made a good impression. Really like the motor and the distribution.
    Gomez also has earned a full 90’, and another callup. He will only improve over in Spain.
    There’s enough shown for Zendejas for another callup, if the interest is mutual. As good as advertised.
    It was no secret Cowell had the potential. Just needs more game experience.
    Kudos to Hudson for the lineup choices.
    A good start to kick off 2023. Lots of youth making a good impression.

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    • i don’t think the average US fanboy pushing this crap realizes for it to work it either needs to be a purpose built crossing team with good crossers and a target — like 90s england 433 — and they often kickballed it up to the forwards rather than bother with all the build — or more positionless. GB’s version seems confused. like he wants to do the tiki taka build but then finish it with a whacked cross, without necessarily a good crosser or target around. and to me all the ground ball build is a waste and chance to turn it over if the ultimate offense is just going to be a fairly crude cross. and i say that as someone who got some cross assists back in the day, but we’d haul but down the field to try and either get it behind the defensive line or at least not against a half court defense that got back.

      GB even sometimes seems to like positionless-type false 9s like ferreira but then there’s no special effort to combine into the box, feed the 9 to feet, swap positions. it’s everyone up a channel. then a cross in. that is pretty predictable.

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    • Cowell is like a very, very large out of control puppy out there who is having just the best time ever out there running around.

      Defenders just hate guys like him. He’s unpredictable and terrifying.

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      • because so what if you wanted a sub on 70′ take the anonymous zendejas off. and i wouldn’t be in a hurry for arriola anyway. not like we’re trialing another kid.

      • Zendajas apparently heard and has been pretty lively the last 10-15. He’s also headed out after tonight so they’re getting as much as they can. Arriola has put two on target although one was pretty weak.

    • And for Arriola of all people. Arriola has always had low shot power. So many times I’ve seen him in space with an opportunity to score but he lets off a little weak dribbler of a shot.

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      • i think in hudson’s head he’s putting on his wing forward veteran “ringer” to chase a result but then hudson had like 8 wins in 40-odd games for colorado, and he’s subbing on a vet who couldn’t make the world cup cut.

      • Got to hand it to Paul.

        I’ve never seen a player be so consistently poor with a ball that has even the slightest chance of being put in on goal.

  4. Matthew Hoppe, DeJuan Jones, and Kellyn Acosta all set to come on for the USMNT. Hopefully they can create a spark for the Americans, who are looking sloppy defensively in the second half. 61′

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  5. Cowell feeling it right now. So much better when he just shoots, when he tries to play to someone he’s got no idea where it’s going or how fast.

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    • on quite a few cowell runs he takes off ahead of him instead of shows to ball. and when he does show back a couple times he doesn’t hold his ground and starts dribbling back to midfield trying to turn or find someone. but the cross finish was nice.

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    • more i think about it he doesn’t look like a holding forward type much, doesn’t shield well. he looks like he’d be better in a more dynamic, play him into space behind the defense, or counter-type attack where he’s facing the goal more.

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  6. Anyone want to tell me why we slow the ball movement down so much. Makes no sense to me. Too much passing the defensive half.

    Neal showing inexperience there on that goal.

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    • “tell me why we slow the ball movement down so much. Makes no sense to me.”

      You expect too much.

      Ever play a game with a bunch of guys you just met?
      You usually get a lot of hit and miss and all of these guys are nervous about “missing ” a pass seeing as how these guys are mostly young pros and are trying real hard to impress.

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  7. 5 stripes connected in the 1st half- Vasquez didn’t play CF because of Josef Martinez but did play enough with Gressel for 3 seasons to catch those routine crosses. Atl United fans def would feel nostalgic for ‘17-‘19 seasons with that score.

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  8. Decent first half. Would like to see Aaronson soon. Tolkin for Gomez too.

    Cade Cowell needs to get the ball more. Dude is owning their RB

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  9. HT: USA 1 – Serbia 1. Luka Ilic’s free kick equalizer just a few minutes before halftime cancelled out Brandon Vazquez’s first international goal. The USMNT showed some good fight and decent moments in the first half, but they will be frustrated to concede from a sloppy FK wall. Jalen Neal, Aidan Morris among the impressive players, as well as Vazquez/Julian Gressel.

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    • i thought it was the cowell and vazquez show. gaga couple good saves. sonora and gressel had a nice pass each. pomykal was doing well cleaning up messes until the dumb foul which was punished. Z looked awful. gomez couldn’t get a pass past the first defender. morris underwhelmed me, some bad giveaways. zendejas out there at all?

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  10. one hopes that low skipper goal is the end of the “lay behind the wall” fashion-follower silliness. that was a freaking horrible 2 foot high shot through the wall. who jumped?

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    • Is the set piece guy still employed? Why would we jump there’s no way he’s getting it up and down from so close? Or am I wrong?

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      • the set piece guy has not earned his paycheck whatsoever, if he’s still around. but, yeah, i’m not jumping in a wall unless it’s over my head. stay solid, duh, but also because if it’s smacked into me i want feet on the ground ready to clear it.

      • It looked to me like the player (Zimmerman?) completely moved out the way to the side, and left a gaping hole in the wall. It wasn’t even a matter of him jumping and the ball going under him.

      • How much time did Hudson and his crew spend on set pieces?

        Did anyone monitor how much coaching time this team had?

        They looked fairly decent for a pickup game team that probably did not have a lot of practice time.

    • Kind of felt that one coming. MLS guys really looking in preseason form as to be expected, outside the Gressell to Vazquez play.

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    • it’s about fair score on the balance but he makes the two hard body-sacrifice saves and then we give up that cheap easy crap.

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    • Z got burned way upfield, people will typically talk about needing veteran leadership but i see no value to it so far.

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      • it’s also for the pratices and the camp, not just the game. one would need more than easports managerial experience to appreciate that tho 😉

      • beach: as someone who started as a fish in NCAA i always thought the people who wanted “upperclassman” to matter were silly. sing for your supper. to the extent you’re saying the coach needs someone else around to enforce things and run practice, personally i always thought coaches who turned it over to captains and “leaders” were lazy. go run them through the paces while i go to sleep on the bench. the coach should be in charge of the practice. i want them wide awake and running it. and i always thought needing players to back you up was weak, status quo-biased, and smacks of salesmanship. i mean, come on, if GB is already on, say, reyna for walking, do i really need adams on him about his “TPS reports” too?

  11. GOAL! Julian Gressel’s delicious cross from the right wing is headed home by Brandon Vazquez. Great header from Vazquez to flick his effort into the bottom-left corner. Nothing Petrovic could do there. 1-0. 30′

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      • Certainly partially at fault for that but no one covered him when he went up. Sonora not known for his defense and Zim has to realize he can step there with no one else back.

      • JR to be fair Z was even worse on the play. to me as a CB you don’t commit and dive in up that high and not get either ball or man. at least not without richards-type recovery speed to fix it.

      • “this is the part the attacking back folks never factor in…”

        Pure unadulterated, UL lab certified bullshit.

        Everyone knows when X goes forward then Y is supposed to cover for him.

        Attacking football is inherently risky.
        Sometimes you get the bear.
        Sometimes the bear shreds your limbs and the top of your head, goes for your liver and then leaves you to die a miserable death alone and out in the wilderness.

        But this team had been together for about 5 minutes so I’m not going to lambaste these guys because they weren’t sure about who covers for who and when.
        Better teams, even top 5 league teams have blown coverages. It happens.

        That does not invalidate the tactic.

        And this isn’t even a team.

        It’s bunch of players with the same ugly uniform , an all star team thrown together for this scrimmage with Serbia.

        So why you expected them to perform with Man City, well oiled precision is beyond me.

      • V: i have played wing or wingback most of my life and it’s “well duh” level that pushing forward — really cheating forward as most backs would see it — comes with counterattack risks. we constantly do it. that has a downside risk built in.

        your idea of “cover” is naive. this is not some 352 or like. this is a GB 433. typically the wing forward and/or a mid are up there by the flag with “jedi and dest.” so it’s not like the back pushes up and the others rotate to cover. they are up there with him as alternative crossers. (part of my beef with that, risk aside, is they crowd the wing space and draw defenders over. how about 1 wing guy up there and give him some green to work in alone?)

        who else are you thinking covers? the 6? at the middle third where a wingback can be caught up, the ball’s behind the 6 already. in theory the CB can slide over but (a) they have to worry about their own guy/dominoes falling and (b) the only one i have seen do it is miles, who has been out injured and still isn’t in this camp. i didn’t see them do it last night. i don’t think slow CBs are ideal to do it. and we have several. maybe richards and miles if healthy. so factor into your concept the capability of the team to execute it. as in i have seen one guy do it in several years.

        last point, why can’t we do it situationally when it’s an advantage instead of systematically where we do it even when it’s risky. we do it all game, limited payoff, routine blowback. i don’t see where over 90′ it nets positive. holland torched our wings and despite gressel’s cross we lost last night. the idea is to win games and not imitate city or barca or ajax.

    • and i kind of thought the cross was a little shallow and vazquez did wonders flicking it back post. but compared to the usual wide starters it’s a cross on a head and a shot on cage. i give you that.

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  12. Aidan Morris wins possession in his own side of the field then leads the charge upfield before testing his luck. Petrovic with a good two-handed save to deny the Columbus Crew midfielder. 25′

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    • i thought that was wasted. you have a 3 on 2 and he doesn’t really run at the backs and try to commit them before hitting a shot outside the 18. he hasn’t impressed me so far. i prefer pomykal so far MF.

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    • was a nice pass from sonora setting it up. we don’t hit that kind of pass up the middle enough. everything is outside the wingbacks.

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  13. i liked cowell and vazquez on the chance where the shot was dragged wide. and that is one of the few instances i believe we should be pressing, awkward passback, keeper caught ball at feet.

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  14. The first opportunity for the #USMNT comes off a sloppy giveaway at the back from Serbia. Good pressure from Brandon Vazquez on Djordje Petrovic allows Cade Cowell to pick up a loose ball. Cowell’s pass is sliced wide of the net by Vazquez. 14′

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  15. i generally am not going to criticize the choices because i just want to watch some fresh faces and see what they got but Z is a disappointing choice for a veteran out there, didn’t have a great world cup and would be 33 in 4 years. personally i’d like to see something other than 433 and a halting attempt at possession soccer but the choice of caretaker likely decided at least the formation a couple weeks ago.

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  16. Hey everyone, thanks for joining us tonight for the USMNT’s first match of its 2023 schedule against Serbia. Seven players will be earning their first caps tonight in the starting lineup, and we could see some additional join that list tonight. Alejandro Zendejas, Jonathan Gomez, Alan Sonora, and Brandon Vazquez will be among the players I am keeping an eye on tonight.

    Who are you keeping a close eye on?

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    • i want to see vazquez do something, i was snowed with morris in the crew games i watched, want to see if he can hack this level, and i am interested in the non-Z backs because defense was a problem. beyond that, these january games are often awkward or mis-selected so i’m more interested who shows up and plays well individually. i want to see people who look like they could crack the 23. if there are some cracking players then the result kind of naturally follows. if you can’t stand out in this kind of game how on earth are you hacking first choice games.

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    • I was actually a little surprised (pleasantly) by the XI tonight. With the interim coach having previously been part of Gregg’s crew, I thought he’d roll out a line-up packed with Gregg’s favorites. So the fact that Johnson, Long, Acosta, Arriola, and Ferreira weren’t in the starting XI kind of shocked me, and gives me a little hope that someone realized that most of them aren’t international quality and that NOW is the time to move away from them for good.

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  17. geez the respective tv crews are going to be enough to make some of you take back all the twellman criticism. not a fan of nasty banter (english) but then universo has a sideline reporter who looks like she should be on star wars or game of thrones with the slicked back hair, elf ears, nose ring, white on white look.

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    • I always ranked Twellman near the top. Outspoken yes, but informed and insight. That is the role an analyst plays. Some people don’t care for Tony Romo for the same reasons, but he comes prepared. Stu Holden also excels in this role. And, Aly Wagner did well at the WC.

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