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Joe Scally, Shaq Moore to fight for right back opportunities with USMNT

Sergino Dest’s long-term knee injury has opened up the No. 1 right back job in the U.S. men’s national team squad for the foreseeable future and Gregg Berhalter will have two eager options chomping at the bit this summer.

Joe Scally and Shaq Moore were the two right backs named to Berhalter’s 27-player roster on Monday ahead of June 8 and 11 friendlies against Colombia and Brazil respectively. Both Scally and Moore have featured during Berhalter’s two spells as head coach and are in different periods of their 2024 year.

Scally, 21, just recently concluded his third Bundesliga campaign with Borussia Moenchengladbach, logging 2,544 minutes of playing time in 35 combined appearances. The versatile defender has featured as a right back, left back, and even as a third centerback for the club this past campaign.

The 27-year-old Moore is in the midst of his third MLS season with Nashville SC, making eight starts for the Eastern Conference club this year. His 18 USMNT caps are double the amount of that to Scally despite Moore being six years older than his younger teammate.

Both Scally and Moore are not on the level to that of Dest, but both do bring experience to the table when it comes to playing for club and country.

“Obviously, with Sergiño going down, we have to figure out the right-back situation,” Berhalter said. “We just wanted the ability in this training camp to have options to have flexibility. Some of it may revolve around a back three.

But the first objective is to see how we’re gonna fill that right-back position because we know that we’re going to be missing Sergiño,” he added.

Tim Weah, who has featured for Juventus mainly as a right wing back is also under consideration for a similar role with the USMNT, but if Berhalter decides to use a four-man backline, expect both Scally and Moore to split time during the upcoming friendlies.

The USMNT takes on Colombia and Brazil before opening Copa America group stage play against Bolivia.

Comments

  1. What you will see v England ‘22 WC. ‘82 – Shaq forces Grealish to give up the ball. ‘83- Shaq tries a pass to Sargent. Shaq later fouls Grealish 20 yards outside the defensive 1/3. ‘86- Shaq Moore forces Grealish into a double team w/ BA. BA kicks the ball out of play. Good help defending by BA. ‘86:46 – Shaq forces Grealish to the defensive right, outside of the 18. ‘88:29 – Shaq makes a nice pass into the box in the offensive 1/3. ‘90 – Shaq clears the ball for an England corner. Did he give up a goal? ‘No, but he gave up a corner!’ Did England score?.. Ok, then. Shaq fouled Grealish as soon as Shaq got in the match. He made it physical for a player with a lower body shaped like 2 Groot’s. He’s smart enough to understand he needed to make it dirty. Grealish normally takes 2 fouls from players before he gets mad at the other players. (I’ve said this during 2 Man City previous matches w/ another person watching with me and it happened in real time as a said this). He shoved Shaq right after the 1st foul. Did this affect DJ Grillz? Well, if the Jedi mind tricks, or dark magic worked, I really don’t know. What I DO know is that Jack Grealish never made it to US’ 6 yard box or came 10 yards in or around the US’ 18 yard box because Shaq Moore is a great one on one defender and didn’t allow him to. Don’t let me get into the Iran match, where he guarded 3 players (numbers 18, 25, & 14) within a 10 minute span helping us qualify for the round of 16. (Musah was visibly gassed in the ‘84, you can see it). Again, on GBs last minute notice. He’s surpassed Yedlin, back in 2018. Jones, Cannon, Reynolds then Scally. Shaq Moore teams keep the ball in the offensive 1/3 more than any RB the U.S. has*
    *Exception Dest, who played LB this season, which skews his time in the offensive 1/3, way more than Shaq’s. Dest was also a forward before he was a RB. Shaq has played mainly as a RB. Dest is all offense yet Shaq keeps the ball in the offensive 1/3 more. Go figure! Look it up

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    • “For a player with a lower body shaped like two Groots” +1
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      I’m not sure what you mean by his teams keep the ball in the offensive 1/3 more. Nashville doesn’t keep possession, they are a counter attacking team. Honestly, Jones, Reynolds, and Shaq are all on pretty bad teams so they aren’t going to have a lot of possession in the final third. Also not sure why Dest’s numbers don’t count because he played on the left. I understand you are passionate about Shaq’s skills so maybe I’m just misunderstanding what you were trying to convey.

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  2. Let’s talk about Shaq Moore’s WC. Match v England. First, let me point out, Harry McGuire LCB, never used his left foot at all in this match. Luke Shaw is their LB. The ball never went to the LB so the LB didn’t get the ball to Raheem Sterling their LW. Sterling on only the touch the ball 2x. Again, to reiterate. A RB 1st responsibility is to guard the LW. Dest played absolutely no defense!! Not one freaking minute! He didn’t have to. Jack Grealish, the 100 million Euro transfer. The most fouled player by 200 to 300+ fouls in the EPL 3 seasons in a row, which is the main reason Pep & Man City got him. (Broadcast info). Who also played the 10 his whole career for the Villians, who can dribble and create for others as well as himself and not lose the ball. Compared to Sterling’s speed/ pace & one touch shooting but doesn’t create for himself wasn’t effective so Grealish comes on in the ‘67 & instantly changes the game for England. He muscles Dest out of the way with little resistance and is inside the 6 in less than 5 minutes. Captain Adams & McKennie jumped him. They triple teamed Grealish inside the 6. It was so bad, Dest had to be subbed for Shaq, 15 minutes after Grealish came on. GB subbing in Shaq and Shaq’s great one on one defense saved us a point.

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  3. Competitive experience: Eric Davis has been Panama’s best player in the last 8 years. He’s a LB, who’s left footed & Panama matriculates the ball until Davis is in the offensive 1/3. They did the same exact thing for their young RB that scored in the’23 GC because ED was injured. After LWs & Attack midfielders, it’s the RBs job to take on the LB. Eric Davis didn’t have an assist or goal. (Turner who didn’t save the goal, or Zardes who didn’t clear it, and may have blocked Turners view are to blame not Shaq). Shaq shut him down, not once but 2x. On short notice, so GB was not playing him at all with the 1st team for the US. GB took over in ‘19 and didn’t call Shaq in till ‘21. Who’s the best player that Scally has shut down on short notice with no practice time with the 1st team?

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  4. Competitive experience: Levante played Barcelona in 2018. Shaq was the starting RB. He faced the trio of Suarez, Messi, Iniestra. He hit the post against Ter Stegen in the same game. Didn’t allow a 1 on 1 goal, tho Levante got stomped. That was La Liga 1st division. (He played more games in 1st division Spain then Scally played in the MLS which was 4 pro matches). A few months later, he faced the front line of Mbappe, Giroud, & Griezmann. In the last decade, what country has a better front line? The trio in the middle was Matuidi, Kante, & Pogba. What countries in the last decade have a comparable midfield? Will Trapp & Bobby Wood looked out of place. Not Shaq, again he allowed no 1 on 1 goals. Shaq Moore faced that competition at age 21, (what a coincidence), thats the same age Scally is now. Scally ain’t faced no competition NOW, higher than Shaq did THEN! Don’t fall for the banana in the tailpipe people. These are the same people that wanted Justin Che (9 matches), Scally (4 matches) & JoGo (USL) to start against grown adults.

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    • But yet Levante, benched him after facing Barca. Then loaned him, then sent him back to the reserve team in the third division. Then let him go on a free to Tenerife. Tenerife then moved him to RW. He had 1 yr as the regular RB in Segunda B then the following year they brought in a RB from France to replace him and Shaq played a backup role. So it’s not all locking down world class attackers there’s also being beaten out by journeyman lower division defenders. You could pick that Joe in his first Bundesliga start against the attacking line of Lewandowski, Sane, Muller, and Gnabry held his own just fine at age 18. I’m not overly high on Scally and I’m not going to be the least bit bothered if Moore makes the roster. His limitations are his lack of skill with the ball not the first priority in a RB.

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  5. Uh…is this really a competition? Shaq Moore’s a former Second Division player from Spain who fell back to MLS, Scally’s a regular starter for a German B1 club who makes double what Moore does. It’s not like Moore is terrible – though he was pretty atrocious in his cameo in the World Cup. Unlike many folks, I am not a self-loathing MLS hater and I’d point out Moore’s a TAM player in MLS, that next level of guys under the DP’s who make more than maximum salary budget charge of $683,750 but have their cap hit bought down to get under that level.

    When you’re earning close to a million dollars a year playing soccer that certainly ain’t nothin’. (Moore’s salary is $881,500 per year, which is pretty durn good for an MLS right back.) The guy isn’t Top-5 league material but he can play. But while he’s a hustler and a good athlete and generally a very solid defender Moore’s also somewhat limited technically.

    Scally’s been a bit inconsistent with the USMNT but he’s also just 21 and the talent is there…IMHO he just needed a run of games to solidify his comfort level and role with the squad and these friendlies plus Copa America should more than give him that.

    To me the real competition isn’t really between Scally and Moore, but between Moore, Brian Reynolds, Reggie Cannon, and probably DuJuan Jones for that #3 right back spot when all players in the pool are healthy. And I’d personally be a bit surprised to see Moore on the 2026 World Cup roster if Dest and Scally are healthy.

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    • I totally agree with your assessment. The fact that this is even a debate is only because Gregg hasn’t taken the opportunity to give Scally enough time to get used to the team. This is monumentally stupid because 1) players get injured with alarming frequency 2) Dest is a red card waiting to happen and 3) Sally may well be Robinsons backup as well. Two games before a major tournament is not the time to start a position battle, it is the time for Gregg to show confidence in a 21 year old player rather than play mind games.

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    • I share most of your opinion and analysis except that I wouldn’t even put Moore as the best behind Scally. Yedlin is only 31 and has played at a much higher level than Moore ever has. Plus Yedlin has a lot of international experience, much more than either Moore or Scally. While Cannon did not play for quite a while in England’s second tier, he did start the last game of the season and I would give him consideration also.

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      • Yedlin and DeJuan Jones are both injured. Cannon and Trusty were both on really bad teams and I think that played into Greg’s decision not to call them in, and that may not be fair to some people, but it’s a logical consideration to make imo.

    • Greg and everyone else would agree with your assessment, it’s the right way to look at it, but at the same time you have to say there is competition for a starting spot to keep players laser focused and bringing their best to every training session……I think it’s really that simple, and tbh Shaq could end up being cut from this roster considering the number of players there that can play RB/RWB, so I wouldn’t get too excited about the 3rd GK, 26th and 27th players on this roster like I’ve been seeing a lot of folks do

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