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USMNT needs to “change mentality” following Colombia loss

The U.S. men’s national team played its worst match under Gregg Berhalter on Saturday against Colombia and admitted that changes are needed to avoid another potential lopsided result against Brazil.

Several defensive mistakes and turnovers hampered the USMNT in an eventual 5-1 defeat, their worst in Berhalter’s two spells as head coach. Errors from Antonee Robinson, Tim Weah, and Cameron Carter-Vickers all led to goals for Colombia while several other errant passes easily could’ve led to a much larger scoreline.

No. 5 ranked Brazil awaits the USMNT on Wednesday in Orlando and they will be confident fresh off a 3-2 victory over Mexico.

“From being on the field you learn how much these games mean to other teams,” veteran defender Tim Ream said Monday. “I know we talk about these being friendlies and you’re not playing for three points or moving on in a knockout stage, but you understand and start to get a feel for what those games are going to be like.

“We’re moving into tournament play after this week,” he added. “So knowing what it means to them, I think it needs to mean as much if not more to us and that goes back to the intangibles, the fight and the will to try to get a result.”

Ream and fellow centerback Chris Richards started the match on Saturday while Carter-Vickers replaced the Fulham defender after the hour mark. However, all three had their share of mistakes in the match, one that the USMNT will want to forget in due time.

With the USMNT’s Copa America group stage beginning just 11 days after the Brazil match, Berhalter will hope for a bounce-back performance to get confidence sky high in his squad. Mostly all of their mistakes that occurred against Colombia are doable to fix against Brazil and that will be the goal in the match, not the overall scoreline after 90 minutes.

“I think a few things will need to change, not just structurally but also I think mentality, like Tim spoke about,” Richards said. “When you play these types of teams, even if it’s a friendly, you can tell the spirit, the fight that they have. And so I think for me, the one thing that we really need to change is our mentality.

“Some of the positives that we can take from the game is that we did play with one of the Copa favorites [Colombia] for 65, 70 minutes,” Richards added. We watched the tape back, I think almost all of their goals were goals that we gave to them rather than completely being broken down.”

Comments

  1. Too casual and lack of urgency. Also, they need to combine a little better in the attacking third of the field and stop being too predictable with the vertical play.

    Last part is a coaching decision, and with the all the time and talent GGG has had, there’s simply no excuse at this point to be playing like this.

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  2. IV: I think most telling thing about that result at the 2019 U20 WC with Weah and Richards was that we lost to Ecuador, not Colombia. We lost to Colombia in 2015, with Arriola, Zelalem, Tommy Thomson, and Desevio Payne. The only two players on the pitch that day that played Saturday were Borre and Carter-Vickers. Only 3 Colombia players from Saturday even represented their U20s ever. An U20 result 9 years ago has no connection to Saturday would have been pretty meaningless regardless since a lot of Colombia’s players were too old to represent them at the 2019 U20 WC. Plenty of things to complain about we don’t need to find false relevancy.

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  3. Team sports or team working dynamics come down to doing what is expected of each individual in a collective effort and success comes when everyone does there job. When a mistake occurs the rest of the team needs to correct the mistake immediately and prevent a series of mistakes from occurring. Generally three mistakes occur leading to giving up a goal. US first goal conceded really came from a hustle play on Columbias part. US was very organized defending even if compressed in there defensive third. Right place right time, on the front foot, hunting in space, and exploit the opportunity. Second goal came from conceding a corner and not winning or controlling the first ball in and not clearing the second aerial ball in the six yard box. Again, the positives of being in the right place right time. Plus, poor goal keeping by Turner on both those goals, make one save there and give the team a chance to regroup and grow into the match.
    Do your job, poise, patience, most of persistence. Teammates work together, with purpose, and most of all create opportunities out what your opponent gives you

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    • thank you for pointing this out, because I’m seeing entirely too much commentary laying this defeat at the feet of solely Greg, as if we didn’t watch our players throw up all over themselves and how can you not go into a friendly looking to put on a top effort when there is a tournament to be played in less than 2 weeks? Greg hasn’t shown himself to necessarily be the answer going forward with this group, but the players equally haven’t shown themselves to be who many ppl thought them to be to this point, it’s not one way traffic in terms of blame. This talk about mentality needing to change is concerning, but it showed in the game because we looked way too cavalier on the ball and with our intent smh

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    • How many times did the US threaten their goal? Colombia is good, but their players are not world superstars. Their keeper plays for mid table team in Mexico but we couldn’t trouble him. We had 2 shots on goal all day. Our whole system is based on crosses into the box, as if it’s 1990. We were 2nd the WC in crosses behind Mexico (Mexico completed 4 more per game than the US). There is plenty of research available that shows statistically that crossing has a negative impact on scoring goals. I.e. if a team attempted no crosses at all they would score more goals. Argentina attempted half the crosses per 90 as the US, and actually completed the same amount per 90. Gregg’s response, crosses having an incredibly low probability of success (especially since our team doesn’t seem to be very good at them) why don’t we hit more. But given all information out there and all the time Gregg claims to spend on “learning the game” that he’d noticed crossing is down across all the top leagues. They didn’t listen because you told them ridiculous ideas. The players stunk 100 percent. You’d expect pros to figure it out. You’d expect Tim Weah to know better or Jedi to check his shoulder. You expect Colombia to miss hit one. They didn’t. You’d expect the manager to figure it out, he continually shows he has no ideas, “slow down and cross more” no wonder they didn’t listen.
      ————————
      Contrary to IV’s fantasy that there are better players out there, this is largely the group we’re stuck with at this point. So either Gregg needs to change his tactics to something that will actually work or there needs to be a change in who is making the game plan. I fully expect us to play better, but if Brazil comes to play and our answer is to play slow and hit more crosses …

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      • JR: ok, whatever, dude, how many times do we call someone i suggested and they turn out good or at least fine. you seem to have forgotten we had this same conversation about reyna, weah, and others — not just some dude in hungary i found interesting. a lot of the people i throw out there are pool guys — just out of fashion — or U23s. not scrubs. heck, i used to routinely argue for dual-nationaling the tillmans and balogun. i got told and told and told how they would never switch. but go ahead and persist.

        and, conversely, it’s not like what we are calling is infallible. scally? ream? LDLT? malik? no, dude, you’re engaged in GB’s version of confirmation bias or circular logic. this “is” the team, ergo it “should” be the team.

        half my point is we don’t call the euro Bs in enough to have much of a clue if we’re getting this right. i get neal, cowell, or zendejas aren’t not up to it yet, or maybe even ever. those are Bs who got actual minutes.

        but there is a whole list either uncapped or barely brought in (or even brought in, played well, then dropped for no apparent reason) — cohen, celentano, frei, trusty, EPB, sandler, sands, koleosho, maloney, vazquez, pukstas, paredes, green.

        to be crystal clear, no, i don’t believe those goalies have to be worse than horvath. or the backs worse than ream. or the mids worse than LD freaking LT, who sucks horribly.

        the roster is not spotless and all you have to do — or at least should have to do — is be better than the 26th guy on a 26 man list. they don’t have to start. but even then, like our lineup is that locked down. whatever.

      • it’s an odd hill to fight on to be acting like a coach this routinely underprepared, whose team routinely looks like a mess, who never wins any upsets……has the lineup 100%. i think it’s the man has been the coach so long he’s broken you in and you no longer fight his weirdness. or you implicitly assume the unspoken and misguided tenets guiding his lineup and roster selections. the keepers handed deed to the job for years despite inconsistent performances. the wingbacks who can’t mark. the sloppy mids some of whom are not great at transition defense. calling too many strikers, too few wings.

        so, no, i don’t like his formations, i don’t think he coaches well, and so i am pretty sure several guys not on this roster could at least be subs under the next regime. will be — but only if the coach is canned.

        and maybe some of this is also the fanboy blindspots. the assumption mckennie as beloved juve regular must be on form. alongside the article offering him a pittance and suggesting a transfer. hmm maybe y’all don’t have all their form quite pegged. the club manager sometimes seems to disagree……not that i absolutely trust club managers……but we can bring more people in camps and get them caps and discern such things in person. rather than assume a midtable swedish and MLS coach, fired for boring offense, made one final and lost it at home within 15′ with a similarly asleep crew team, is all seeing and a god.

      • Well IV I’m watching a decent number of those guys look pretty poor in the first half against Japan so I’ll stick with my assessment.

      • Everyone you named is average for their club. Could they sit the bench for the US instead of someone else, sure. None of them
        moves the needle to win Copa America or getting to the quarters of the WC. I’m not taking Gregg’s word on that I actually watch them play. I listen to other people, grassroots and established media who watch these guys. Colombia fired their manager, Nestor Lorenzo came in used the same players and bam undefeated for two years. Regragui was hired in Aug 2022 used the same players Halilhodzic and got Morocco to the semis. Nagelsman has used the same basic roster as Flick we’ll see how they do at the Euros.

  4. Apparently US U19s defeated Uruguay 1-0 on an own goal. No idea if Uruguay or Argentina brought top squads or not but anytime you can beat Uruguay and Argentina on the road and keep clean sheets in both that’s a good thing. Did it without arguably our two biggest prospects in Campbell and Kochen.
    ————————
    Qualifying tourney starts July 18. Not a great draw Jamaica, Costa Rica, and Cuba in group. If we don’t win the group likely knockout game with host Mexico for spot in WC. Oh and it’s being played at 5,600 ft.

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  5. Tom Bogart reporting Aidan Morris to Middlesbrough. He will not be with U23s tonight because he’s on a flight for his medical. Makes sense that Columbus was pumping their signing of a French MF this morning.

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  6. Thank you…..thank you….thank you Tim Ream!!! The weak, care free, entitled and mediocre mentally or mindset of “oh these are just friendlies” that many of us were talking about. Thank you. This is coming from a veteran EPL player:

    ““From being on the field you learn how much these games mean to other teams, I know we talk about these being friendlies and you’re not playing for three points or moving on in a knockout stage, but you understand and start to get a feel for what those games are going to be like.
    “So knowing what it means to them, I think it needs to mean as much if not more to us and that goes back to the intangibles, the fight and the will to try to get a result.”

    Wow Timmy, well said. “…….it needs to mean as much if not more to us”. Spoken like like a true leader. Absolutely brilliant

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  7. i am sorry but winners figure out where it went TACTICALLY wrong and bring in DIFFERENT PLAYERS. winners DO SOMETHING. they are honest with themselves what happened and fix HOW they play the game.

    losers TALK or say they will TRY HARDER. loser teams come out running hard the first 30 minutes. playing hard is like basic international soccer competence.

    i’m sorry but you’re basically ventriloquizing the coach, via comments of his dutiful young players, blaming those same players. ask this coach how he planned on winning this game and then ask yourself if that plan ever possibly was working. if the answer is really “play harder,” yeah, whatever, good luck with that. i did think they quit, as i was sad they quit holland and canada before that, some of the most abject US performances i have seen.

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    • to give an example, i am not a fan of our formation/system, but what was telling to me is it looked like we had twin 8s rather than twin 6s. we got little attacking value from weston (not much more from reyna really), and johnny second half seemed overwhelmed in transition. i thought we’d already sorted out which end of the triangle is to be the pointy end, and here we are back with twin 8s again — in a nasty game where we needed more defense.

      setting aside i just think in general we should be in something more like 451 or 442.

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      • I don’t understand Berhalter’s obsession with the 4-3-3. To me, you play the 4-3-3 if you have a team that is clearly better than your opponent. If you don’t have the better team, a 4-4-2 or 4-5-1 would seem to be more appropriate and you try to hit the other team on the counter.

      • V: also — not only do i disagree with the people knocking the personnel, i think they ignore how we used to do much more with less, before. was morocco “loaded?” how about japan? conversely, how far did germany advance? hmmm?

        how about croatia, turkey, etc.? not every world cup semi team is a top 5 league all star team. i am sorry but this implication is rubbish. it helps. but every cycle some dark horse comes in — and it’s never us. the existence of such dark horses complicates theories that we’re just messed because our team isn’t neymar passes it to vinicius jr. i mean, have you never watched a loaded team “blow up” at a world cup?

        this particular argument ignores the big role of scheme in results. the US used to punch above its weight because it was built to defend and be athletic and score deadballs and crosses. and i don’t mean “hit crosses and hoped,” i mean had mcbride in there to finish them. the defense would negate elite teams’ offenses some nights, and the offense was built to get 1-2 goals off counters or crosses. it wasn’t pretty, but it was an actual response to the personnel we had, and thinking about how to beat the other team. it wasn’t just, i like watching city play, let’s try to play like city without city’s checkbook or roster.

        i personally feel like the whole attitude is fanboy bs. fanboys are the ones who think (a) club form is everything; (b) your team quality is a function of where they play league ball; (c) you should play some sort of cutesy technical scheme like the high budget teams they watch on tv; (d) if we just schedule colombia and brazil and awesome teams (like the ones they watch on TV)…..we become awesome. amusing part is we imitate what we think the best are like, ground ball passing from the back, etc…….then get beat by name brand teams playing kickball over our heads. you mean name brand teams can be crude? athletic? direct? defense first? “but but but the tv soccer i watched doesn’t show this…….”

        i am sorry, anyone who played a while knows the best team doesn’t always win, but you have to actually think out how we’re gonna make that happen. i think we wandered off into some aesthetic bs and have gotten lost. this needs to get back to, if the scheme doesn’t get you a fair % of upsets — it’s not the right scheme. does the scheme win you games. period. end the mimickry. cut the crap.

      • Everyone of Morocco’s starters against France in the semi had Top 5 league experience, a couple had moved to Turkey or Saudi as they aged but all played in a Top 5 league during their prime years. Croatia had a couple guys with only Croatian Ligue experience but with years of CL appearances for Dinamo or Split, also you know a world class player in Modric.

    • conversely, while colombia did out hustle us, every colombian team i have seen runs hard and defends intensely. in terms of actual soccer, they like the dutch seemed to go after our wingbacks with longballs we were routinely losing in the air. they didn’t seem scared of our backs. and on defense they seemed content to play passing lanes and dare us to force passes from the back. we took the bait, interception, counter, numbers up, make the extra pass, goal.

      last point, but from whence i came, as we get older, “intensity” is a “personnel” problem solved by the coach. you get the wrong intensity, people get yanked and replaced on rosters. i keep hearing intensity as excuse for years now — and sometimes it’s fair. but i also keep seeing the same faces. at a point the solution is you get benched or dropped. if i didn’t play physical hardworking defense i would have been pulled. the kids who couldn’t play physical got cut. you bring back the same faces you’re telling me you don’t take this concern seriously or lack the will to keep calling different people til you get the response you want.

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    • And you expected him to say what?

      How do you get a new mentality? Drill a hole in their head and pour it in?

      Let me translate Ream for you:

      ” We were not ready”.
      ” It took us a while to figure out that they meant business”

      Okay. You’d think a World Cup veteran laden team would have needed about 3-5 minutes to figure out that they weren’t in Kansas anymore and adjusted immediately but , hey, whatever.

      To paraphrase Mike Tyson:” You can tell a lot about someone by how he reacts when you hit him in the mouth”.

      This is a chicken shit bunch of players ( when in a USMNT shirt) managed by a slightly less chickenshit manager. And to those of you who still insist on letting Gregg off the hook: Gregg can’t get out there and play for them but who selected these clowns in the first place? Who built this roster? Whose finger prints are all over every inch of this abomination technically, tactically and personnel wise? That’s right boys and girls, Uncle Gregg.

      They will do better vs Brazil and Gregg has done a lot of good things. And now he finally, after 5.5 years, has a managing tool he can use to properly motivate his guys. You think they would have scheduled someone to come in and deconstruct them before Qatar but hey, better late than never right?

      But, while he may have ideas he would like to implement, these guys aren’t capable of implementing them. Or don’t want to. I don’t know which. Gregg is a square hole and these players are a round peg. It’s not that he’s lost the locker room. It’s more like they never really got what he was saying in the first place. Not really. But until now, playing JV opposition, they were good enough to mostly get away with it.

      The player pool is not anywhere near as good as most people on SBI seem to think and the expectations are way too high. Our best player just finished his first and only really good season at the top 5 level. One good season. Compare him to Mbappe. How does he look? Our second best player is looking for a club that will play him. Compare him to his BFF Jude Bellingham. How does he look?

      I expect them to right the ship vs Brazil . If they are lucky they should, all together, Gregg and the guys, use this as their come to Jesus moment and then go on to win the Copa America.

      Otherwise they should all just give up, because if USMNT go into that game with Bielsa and Uruguay without the belief that they can win the whole thing, La Celeste are going to convert them from Roosters into hens.

      Gregg should not be fired regardless of what happens. If they recover then he deserves everything he gets. If they don’t recover, then he and his softie players deserve to hang around and cleanup the mess.

      Besides, who is going to want Gregg’s shit job?

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      • Compare Pulisic to Mbappe? Nobody with half a brain would do that. Your frame of comparison is ridiculous. Nobody claimed we are even close to being as good as France in any aspect. BTW, Canada held France, in France, to a 0-0 draw. The question is how our talent compares to past US teams. Last time I saw Fulham, the broadcaster and color guy both said that Robinson had become one of the best LB’s in the EPL. Scally is what? 20, 21? He started almost every game at Moenchengladbach and almost always played 90 minutes. Only Cherundolo in the past equals that. Richards has become a mainstay at Crystal Palace and the coach has even played him at defensive mid sometimes. Richards didn’t lose his spot even after a new coach and the year before he joined CP he was a regular at Hoffenheim. Ream hasn’t played much this season, but he certainly has experience. CCV is one of the best CB’s in the SPL, not the best league, but they often make the knockout round of the CL. None of these guys should have been making the mistakes they made. It’s not effort, it’s lack of concentration and, in the case of AR a lack of awareness that led to the first goal. Why is it that the US players who play regularly in top 5 leagues seem to play much worse for the national team? If those players who played poorly played that way for their club, they wouldn’t play for their club. That’s the issue. Individually and as a team, they aren’t playing even close to their potential.

      • Gary,

        “The question is how our talent compares to past US teams.”

        You’re patting yourselves on the back for having better players now than you did 10-15 years ago?

        That ridiculous, self centered perspective is what is wrong with the USMNT fan base.

        We don’t have to beat JK and Bob and the 2014, 2010 World Cup teams.

        We have to beat 2024 Uruguay, 2024 Bolivia, 2024 Colombia and 2024 Brazil. And in 2026 we’re probably going to have to beat France and Mbappe at some point if we are allegedly a serious contender.

        Depending on who you talk to the best teams in the world right now look something like this.

        In alphabetical order:

        Argentina, Belgium. Brazil, Colombia, England, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Uruguay,

        Pulisic is our only player might start for one of these teams. Weston and a fully fit Tyler might get some playing time. But that’s it.

        I don’t see any of these teams replacing their manager with Gregg.

        Previous editions of the USMNT are just that, previous. They don’t matter to us or help us now. Dest is better than Lichaj and Jedi is better than Villafana but so what?

        I’m pretty sure that our 2022 World Cup team would have a hard time with our 2010 and 2014 teams, all things being equal.

        “Why is it that the US players who play regularly in top 5 leagues seem to play much worse for the national team?”

        Because the USMNT is not as good a team as those player’s club teams.
        When Jedi and Ream play in the EPL, the other 9 guys make up a better TEAM, than the USMNT.
        Fulham are a very solid EPL team.
        The USMNT would not be.
        With Fulham, Timmy and Jedi are better protected and supported. They have a better manager. They are simply a better team than the USMNT. And Timmy and Jedi spend a hell of a lot more time with those guys than they do with their USMNT colleagues. Look at who Richards plays with at Crystal Palace, two of Colombia’s starters, Lerma and Munoz.

        To beat these adult teams you need the combination of good enough talent AND a very good manager. We must have both. Our players are okay but we’re not going to “out- talent” any of the adult teams. At least not anytime soon.

        So get yourself more and better players, lots more and lets see if that upgrade is enough to awaken Gregg’s inner Jurgen Klopp. AND it’s not that I’m such a big Gregg fan but I accept that the cheap and lazy USSF aren’t interested in working real hard to find a replacement and they have a salary structure they want to hold.

        You guys are under the delusion that the USSF is interested in fielding the best team possible and winning. They are, kind of, but only up to a certain point. The USMNT is really a vehicle for keeping interest up in MLS which is where the real money will eventually be made. Winning something of substance would be great but it is not necessary.

      • V: for starters, a reminder that colombia U20 beat us a few years ago when weah, richards, and co. were kids. similar style matchup. closer result.

        second, i agree we used to win a lot more “upsets,” and to generally be more competitive higher up the pecking order. these days it’s like we almost excuse not punching above our weight, which is a come down. but then i feel like a lot of people treat 2017 like it’s year zero and all the history disappears. to me the current approach gets worse results with better talent, than what we used to do. this change of direction was supposed to make this more competitive, not less. normally a smart person realizing their faulty GPS is driving them in the lake, stops driving, turns off the GPS. even if they theoretically saw the GPS as a means to improvement.

        third, i think concacaf in general has slipped and have been saying it since before the last world cup. it explains the sort of “JV” vs. “varsity” gap you mention. the region kind of imploded, and we still could only qualify 2022 in 3rd from the region on a tiebreak, barely ahead of an old fart team from costa rica. and beyond the region, rubbish.

        fourth, at a point a year or so back i ran the numbers on ppg in qualifying and 2022 was not one of our better efforts. obviously better than 2017 but hey, that says little. in historical context we have had much better qualifying efforts, finished first, and IMPORTANTLY were more effective on the road. peak US only lost to MX and CR on the road. this business where we can’t even assume at least a tie from ES, tnt, jamaica, canada, etc. on the road is slippage. it again suggests that for all the improvements this is less competitive than before. doesn’t compete with good teams like it used to. doesn’t travel well to road games. it basically works at home and when we should win the game. anyway. and i have the same criticism of some of the players. their peak effectiveness is somewhere between mexico and honduras. they are no good out there with the teams we need to beat to close the elite gap. which when i was growing up was the standard my coach used to select players — not does it work easy; instead does it win the big ones.

        we shouldn’t be playing the system we are and the formation should be one that naturally gets more bodies back, which would help solve the transition issues. i personally think we have an athletic team more than a skilled team and should be playing, well, more like colombia does. sit back, defend, let other teams mess up, quick strike counters.

        right now it’s silliness where we are picking players for team defense in a 433; trying to possess without a bunch of technical skill players; and trying to cross without a target striker. the coach doesn’t know what he is doing.

        last point but one off day they showed up lacking sufficient intensity. several such days and you’re not imposing accountability or unable to fix the problems you discern. i don’t see it as an effort issue primarily. i think he had the wrong backs out there for the athletic opponent, and then based on his selection and which way the triangle pointed, little DM cover to help them. i didn’t like they quit at the end but i thought the coach’s decisions started that ball rolling downhill.

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