Top Stories

Joe Scally “earned” USMNT roster spot with performances vs. Colombia, Brazil

Sergino Dest’s absence opened the door at right back in the U.S. men’s national team squad and Joe Scally looks to have solidified his spot as the starter heading into Copa America.

Scally and the USMNT rebounded from last Saturday’s 5-1 loss to Colombia by grinding out a 1-1 draw with Brazil on Wednesday night. The 21-year-old logged a combined 175 minutes over the past two matches, keeping in check two of the top attacking players in world football in Luis Diaz and Vinicius Junior.

Not many players would have been able to silence both Diaz and Vinicius in back-to-back matches, but Scally did and now heads into Copa America duty as Gregg Berhalter’s No. 1 right back option.

“You have two things here, you have a guy who is competing for a position, being on the roster, then you have to play against Luis Diaz, Vini. Jr, and Rodrygo,” Berhalter said postmatch about Scally’s performances. “It’s a lot and we are really happy with him. He didn’t make excuses about the opponent; he went out and did his job and I think he performed well in both matches. He certainly earned a spot on the roster.”

Scally won three duels against Brazil while also completing a match-high three tackles and making three clearances. The Borussia Moenchengladbach fullback, along with his USMNT teammates, stood firm against the dynamic Brazilian attack, earning only the program’s second-ever draw against their CONEMBOL opponents.

Scally entered camp fresh from his most productive club season yet, logging 35 combined appearances and over 2,500 minutes of playing time. Still, he didn’t let a busy campaign, nor Saturday’s lopsided loss from getting to him as the USMNT gained some much-needed confidence heading into their group stage opener on June 23.

“I knew what it was going to be, we knew the type of players they had,” Scally said in a postmatch U.S. Soccer interview. “I knew who I was going up against, they have two guys in Vinicius and Rodrygo who just won the Champions League. It was a difficult task but I thought the team did it well collectively and it was important for me to get this confidence and for the team to get this result.

“We saw what happened against Colombia, we were disappointed, the fans were disappointed. We knew we had to show a reaction tonight and we did. Now it is very important to take this momentum into the tournament.”

Scally will be favored to retain his starting spot when the USMNT takes on Bolivia in Arlington, Texas.


  1. on a competently, calmly run team, a single decent performance — requiring significant help i should add — would not a career make. he looked bad against colombia. he gave up a goal to jamaica in that semi. i’m not sold he’s the answer to anything. i am sold we want this to work and are going to hang out hat on it survived brazil. brazil was a hot mess.

    you go on a body of work. you go on consistent good performances. try stringing 2 good games together first.

    this is why we keep having problems is the mix of confirmation bias and desperation. i know coaches want their hunches to work out but 1 game isn’t the hunch is right.

    to me what’s fixing to happen is he’ll be fine for poor bolivia and the concrete will start setting in. but we keep setting starters who are not up for the “holland” or “colombia” games which means your ceiling is NOTHING. first good team you play it’s over. who sets their teams up that way? hype machines, that’s who. and it wasn’t even a win, it was a low scoring tie.

    • and to be fair, i like the kid. i am not sure he’s the fix people want, yet. i’d kind of like to see weah back there. we need to get more in the competition business and less on the hype train. put some options out there. i agree this option MAY be better than dest. but that was a lousy option. put a few guys out there including weah and see which one(s) rise above. quit picking the winner either before they play or after 1 good game ignoring the lousy game right before it.

      we don’t need to settle now other than some snobs think that helps you win more (meaningless) games. thing being, i want to do well at the world cup which doesn’t happen if you rapidly settle on a lineup chasing the copa america semis. we have the priorities backwards.

    • Kept Vini Jr. favorite for Ballon D’or this season 24g 11a for Champions League and La Liga winner Real Madrid but he wouldn’t be up for The Netherlands or Colombia. Colombia whose LW was Luis Diaz (Liverpool starter 13g this season) who had 0g 0a against Joe when everyone was bad for US. Joe wasn’t responsible for any of the 5g. But yeah we should probably move on to the next guy. I’m sure the RWB for the 12th best team in Belgium would have just shut those two guys down. Or maybe the RB for the 11th best team in Belgium who got constantly torched by a Japanese 22yr old with 3 Eredivisie goals, that Japanese kid is probably better than the best player in the Champions League.

      • within the current roster i proposed weah. after that, maybe richards. why are we discussing the belgian league?

        you also get that dest movement up, unless as a sub, is an omelette that has to break someone else’s egg? eg weah or pulisic. so i am suggesting weah, who i think we can agree plays in italy, drops back, dest takes his spot.

      • also, to repeat myself, defense was more of a team effort, turner bailing out the backs, the backs bailing out turner, the backs bailing out each other. the defense looked much worse mano a mano a few days earlier.

        off the top of my head, setting aside jamaica you keep downplaying, scally on goal 2 colombia was doubleteaming the header and the scorer is open backpost. and he was then 30 yards upfield on offense as we kept shipping goals, which is not so much a bill of good health as we were down so bad we quit caring if they scored down his side behind him.

        to then use that as a positive thing is funny.

      • Why are you talking about Dest he has an ACL injury is not on the roster. Your solution was why didn’t we bring Reynolds or Fossey.

      • JR: we can go look at my dream lineup from the other day and i wanna say it’s weah back there. you’re confusing who i think should be tried back there first, and to start, with people i just want looked at over time to evaluate how they fit in.

        fossey was on like a 30 man list of “try them and see.” not the “this is my XI for copa.” or even who i saw on a best 23 (not what GB picks) lineup or bench. our bench, 9 aside, is playing bad enough i would like to compare.

        i gave up on reynolds a long long time ago, at least a year around gold cup 23 if not earlier, based on NT performance. i don’t see folks who can’t mark as the solution for other folks who can’t mark.

      • JR: here’s the deal. when this tournament is over, dest gets healthy and comes back. the folks penciling scally in at RB, that comes at dest’s expense, and at some point he’s back and healthy. what then? personally my solution is dest high weah back. i think weah is probably better than scally.

        the deal is you get dest back someone’s egg gets cracked to make the new omelette. just like to start tillman or some other fanboy favorite, musah or weston sits. then plays worse than they do. unless adams is out, and they play his spot.

    • Everyone is making too much if this, including you.

      The only thing different today from the day before the Colombia game is that the players and the coaches, the team, have a slightly better idea of where they stand relative to the rest of the field in Copa America.

      Maybe that helps.
      Or maybe that and $3.00 will get you a squad level subscription to SBI.

      We’ll see.

      You’ve just seen their “shakedown” cruise. They proved they might do well or that they might beat the Titanic to the bottom. I said the same thing before Qatar.

      This time however, on the one hand this USMNT carcass has a bit more meat on the bones but on the other hand, the opposition just might be a little more dialed in than was the case in Qatar.

      We’re possibly better but so are “they”.

      These were two good warm ups but the downside was that they were high octane games ( very little holding back) against two teams that also are in the competition. So everyone, especially the CONMEBOL teams, can bracket the results and calibrate a little more accurately what to expect from Uncle Gregg and his Scoobies. They have shown some of their light and some of their darkness.

      “He certainly earned a spot on the roster.”

      That’s misleading. Scally “earned” his spot on this roster because of his work with BMG and because of his previous work with the USMNT. And because he’s one of Gio’s best friends so maybe Danielle said something. There is every reason to think he would have been on the roster even if Dest had not gone down with injury.

      He’s taken advantage of the chance and performed in a manner that we had not seen before, so that is encouraging. He did well vs Brazil but it’s possible that Dest would have done as well. No one will ever know.

      All anyone can really say is that Joe has done a great job filling in for Dest in his absence. Here on SBI people like you spend way too much time twisting their panties over individual players, and not enough time worried about the collective ( because it makes you sound like a commie). That’s why people come up with this bullshit like Holmes and Green will save the USMNT midfield.

      Joe is a great example of the importance of developing competitive depth for every one of the positions so that the team can have that “next man up attitude “that all the great teams have.

      Does this mean he has replaced Dest on the depth chart? Ask Gregg.

      Some coaches hold to the “you don’t lose your job to injury” while others
      don’t care about that. We will know only when Dest gets back to his previous best self.

      I don’t care because what matters is the performance and the position.
      As long as whoever is playing right back or right wingback or right center half in a three man back line, gives the team what it needs out of that position I don’t care if it is Dest, Lichaj, Chandler, Heaps, Cameron, Parkhurst, Nick Lima or Joe Scally.

      • you keep forgetting GB calls people like tillman and LDLT and not just reyna and pulisic. to make the 23 all you have to be is better than LDLT. and i think it would make a difference in these 1-1 dogfights if we had someone like green available instead of depending on ragdoll LDLT to both play any defense to keep the tie, or contribute to winning at all.

        people do get there’s a bench and you make the team in comparison to that and not being the best player ever on the team?

  2. “And I still won’t be surprised if Dest gets moved more forward in his career.” 2tone.
    I wonder why this has not happened? Dest against Mexico in NL showed how impressive and dynamic he can be on the ball. Why not give him a role where that is his primary duty and take some of the burden of defending off his plate?

    • for the year we have 7 GF 8 GA. i keep harping on mediocre teams need to pick one and get better. in terms of offense, for the year, in regulation, we have scored 01211. if we can’t pitch a shutout then we need more goals than that. more broadly, GB needs to decide how he wants to win games. the offense isn’t “fire” and the defense leaks every game, either poor marking or dumb giveaways. which to me is very 1-1. you aren’t winning world cups or advancing very far playing a 1-1 style.

      i have been pimping dest as wing for years now. i agree with your diagnosis and also think his dribbling ability allows him to get out of trouble and also out of the crossing cliche. he can crank a shot. unlike pulisic he will give the ball up to teammates more often. he cannot mark to save his life. he’s a wing and not a wingback.

      personally i’d either push pulisic in or weah back or maybe both. i think the team needs more central engine. i also feel like weah, goal aside, hasn’t been playing as well as a wing creator. if dest isn’t having to defend as much, then the side of the field he is on isn’t as big a deal.

      i don’t see it happening. this team right now — as the brazil game comments underline — is kind of stuck doing what it does, even if it peaks at 1-1, and looking for any 1-1 excuse to restore excitement in doing it how it’s been done already. the degree of excitement over a tie says more about the esteem for brazil than us. it’s an ok team celebrating its encounter with a good team rather than trying to become their own good team.

      we are very eager to confirm how things are being done works — despite colombia already showing otherwise.

      i do wonder how dest sorts in with scally, but i thought scally had some horrible games before brazil, including colombia. we tend to go in circles and next rash of bad scally games GB would be right back to dest.

    • Flagermusen,

      Sometimes, when you move right backs/wingbacks/ center halves on a three man back line up to a full time midfield or the winger position they don’t do as well.

      What they see when they look up is not the same, they are probably marked more tightly, they don’t often get to go on those long dribbles that Dest likes so much.

      Koeman, who wanted him for the Netherlands and brought him to Barca originally talked about making Dest a winger but never really did.

      He’s fine exactly where he is. Dest looks to me like a “modern” right back not a “modern” winger. For one thing, I would expect a modern winger to be more goal dangerous and Dest is not that. For another thing his strength and skill on the ball is exactly what is needed when working the ball out of the back.

      “Why not give him a role where that is his primary duty and take some of the burden of defending off his plate?”

      Seriously, if you expect the USMNT to be any kind of contender, every player needs to defend 24/7/365 as if their lives depended on it.

      There’s no getting away from it.

      Gio was working his ass off on defense against Brazil. Had he not, they would have lost.

      It doesn’t matter what position you give Dest, in the tough games, I expect him to defend his ass off. And Dest’s ability to hold on to the ball is just another form of defense. If you have the ball they can’t attack you can they?

  3. He had a great game. But it also required Gio and Weah helping out. And that’s the way it should be. Whole defense need to be switched on all the time going into the copa. We wanna play smart, and pick our spots attacking. No more defensive naivety like against Netherlands at the WC and couple of days ago against Colombia.

  4. Vinicius Jr. is like greased lightning. He has to be one of the fastest players in top flight soccer. I think he got around Scally maybe once. Anyone who can stifle him deserves a starting spot. I remember an EPL game the season before last when Jedi totally shut down Mo Salah. When on their games, I think we have as good a pair of corner backs as most any team. And yes, I think Scally is better defensively than Dest.

  5. Thought he has played well. Still only 21 and growing as a defender. You can tell he wants to get forward more often. Is he as attack savvy as Dest, no and Scally never will be. Dest is probably the most technical player we have. But Scally can certainly become a pretty good Rzb in his own right. Scally is better defensively then Dest is. No one seems to like talking about that. And I still won’t be surprised if Dest gets moved more forward in his career.

    • “Scally is better defensively then Dest is. No one seems to like talking about that. And I still won’t be surprised if Dest gets moved more forward in his career.”

      I don’t see why you have to put Dest down so that you can build Scally up.

      If it made any sense to move Dest forward someone would have done it by now. Most of Dest’s managers know a bit more about soccer than we do.

      Scally plays all across the back three and on both sides of the midfield for BMG.

      He’s just as likely to be moved into the midfield as Dest is to be moved forward. To me, he’s Jedi’s best backup and threatens the World Cup chances of Musah, LDLT, Lund, Maloney and Paredes. Gregg has barely begun to explore the possibilities with this guy. He’s complained about the need for Gregg to simplify things so maybe Gregg did that. And now that Scally and Gregg have figured it out, and Joe has finally broken through, he very well could be one of those guys that are going to be very hard to hold back.

      The versatility and competence of those two are very useful to have on a team.


Leave a Comment