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Who Should Start for the USMNT vs. Brazil?

The U.S. men’s national team could desperately use a bounce-back performance ahead of the 2024 Copa America, but getting one against No.5 ranked Brazil won’t be easy.

Gregg Berhalter’s squad heads into Wednesday’s showdown off the back of a 5-1 hammering at the hands of Colombia. It marked the USMNT’s largest margin of defeat since 2016 and the first time they’ve conceded five goals in a match since 2009.

Defensive errors and mental breakdowns cost the USMNT against Colombia and the Americans can ill-afford a similar showing against Brazil.

Tim Weah and Joe Scally were two of the minimal bright spots against Colombia and will be among those pushing to stay in the starting lineup. Tyler Adams, Josh Sargent, and Brenden Aaronson were among those who did not play on Saturday and will be fighting to earn crucial minutes before the group stage begins.

Here is the starting lineup we could see the USMNT deploy against Brazil on Wednesday, as well as the lineup we would deploy if we were making the final lineup decisions:


Who will start: Ethan Horvath

Who should start: Ethan Horvath

Matt Turner has earned most of the opportunities in recent years with the USMNT, but Wednesday should see a change in net.

Ethan Horvath played heavily during the second half of the EFL Championship season with Cardiff City and deserves a shot to prove himself. Horvath has mainly served as a backup behind Turner but has the edge in terms of minutes played this year.

The USMNT can survive without Turner for one night.


Who will start: Shaq Moore, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Miles Robinson, Antonee Robinson

Who should start: Joe Scally, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Miles Robinson, Antonee Robinson

Rotation is key ahead of the Copa America and I expect Berhalter to make a few changes in his backline.

Joe Scally was the lone bright spot in Saturday’s loss and has a fair shot of starting again on Wednesday. The Borussia Moenchengladbach fullback held his own against Liverpool’s Luis Diaz and rarely put a foot wrong in his performance.

However, Shaq Moore did not feature against Colombia and will be a fresher option if Berhalter goes that route.

Both Tim Ream and Chris Richards struggled against Colombia and might be given a break this week. Cameron Carter-Vickers came off the bench against Colombia, but also had some shaky moments in the second half.

Carter-Vickers, Mark McKenzie, and Miles Robinson will all be pushing to start and could all feature in the match. To get a look at some other options, I expect Carter-Vickers and Robinson to start together, providing some physicality out of the back.

Antonee Robinson remains the USMNT’s No. 1 left back and will also be seeking a bounce-back performance of his own. Kristoffer Lund, who did not feature on Saturday, is fresh and might get the nod if Berhalter wants to save Robinson for the group stage opener on June 23.

Robinson would be the better option though to deal with Brazil’s dynamic wing play.


Who will start: Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah, Gio Reyna

Who should start: Tyler Adams, Yunus Musah, Malik Tillman

If the USMNT wants to dictate the tempo against Brazil, owning the midfield would be key.

Should Tyler Adams be fit to play, Berhalter could certainly use him in the starting lineup. Adams has only made five appearances this year for club and country, but important minutes this week could be vital in his role for the Copa America.

Yunus Musah and Malik Tillman both came off the bench against Colombia and have cases to start the match against Brazil. Both enjoyed positive club campaigns and could bring a little more freshness to the squad.

Gio Reyna and Weston McKennie both started on Saturday and might be saved for roles off the bench. McKennie was stretched thin against Colombia while Reyna was quiet on the attacking side of the field.

Berhalter will want to see every player before the tournament begins and both Reyna and McKennie have been seen ample times before.

Brenden Aaronson, Johnny Cardoso, Timmy Tillman, and Luca De La Torre are also options for Berhalter to consider.


Who will start: Tim Weah, Folarin Balogun, Christian Pulisic

Who should start: Tim Weah, Folarin Balogun, Christian Pulisic

Christian Pulisic was on a minutes limit against Colombia and the same could occur against Brazil.

Pulisic came close to scoring once in the first half on Saturday before being substituted off at halftime. The USMNT attacker will be eager for the opportunity to prove himself against Brazil and remains the team’s best creative piece in the final third.

Folarin Balogun and Tim Weah connected on the USMNT’s lone goal against Colombia and should have the nod to start together again. Balogun was held in check for most of Saturday’s match, but did show great awareness to spring Weah into the box for the winger’s eventual goal.

Weah worked tirelessly on the right wing and should receive another opportunity against a tough defensive unit.

Josh Sargent’s status remains unknown due to a nagging foot problem, opening the door for Ricardo Pepi and Haji Wright to earn chances off the bench. Wright started strong but finished slow against Colombia while Pepi didn’t have plenty of time to offer much in the final third.

Both will be eager to create a spark off the bench this time around, knowing an unavailable Sargent could lead to larger roles for the Copa America.

What do you think of our projected lineups? Which would you start? Who are you most excited to see play? Are there any doubts you have?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Matt was great in this game.

    But I’ve never seen him look more awkward with his feet. It is painful to watch. Just watching him with the ball at his feet must have taken a few years off of Ream’s lifespan.

    On the other hand he had no real howlers with his distribution and he did have one quick outlet pass to Balogun that was promising.

    With Matt it is best to focus on the positive not the negative.

  2. Gio coming out strong here to start 2nd half

    strong recovery run early and then a close out to help thwart an early Brazil counter
    dropping back in the build out to get the touch
    fouled in the holdup with a strong play

    and an absolutely incredible reversal here…well done
    tip of the cap to the officials

    • Gio’s response after getting cleated, excellent. he was a defensive force

      Pepe played the role great, worked, adjusted, decision making

  3. Beasley’s comment ont he counter pressing…excellent
    I would just add the decision making on WHEN to do it has been excellent, mostly…not just all the time and predictable, better disguised

    • for the record, I mute the games but like to listen to Beasley 😉
      no offense to Martino or the rest, I like Martino

  4. keeping Gio as the lone high player or part of a pair up high in our half defensively hides him well, but in the tramnsition when we win it, he’s not in his usual pockets underneath and is more of a 9 holdup role, and it’s been hit and miss, it’s different role

    • falls all the way back to a 4 5 1 in our low block

      so 4 3 3 in their half, 4 4 2 at midfield or so, and low block 4 5 1

    • the way to beat this sloppy brazil bunch is what we did to earn the free kick. let them make the bad passes, win it, get it wide, then feed it top of the box on the ground, turn, go to goal. they are kind of standing around in zone lines sitting very deep, doing a lousy job tracking runners inside.

      that’s the 9, reyna, the mids. just find the soft spot in the zone.

  5. we come out of the water break, like a timeout, and GB goes with high pressure..which is immediately sliced by Brazil line after line


    • we’re starting to fade back into default mode…….some farting around by the flag creeping in……

      this is not a good brazil team, they kind of play like berhalter ball,
      fart around near the flag except dancing.

      clean up the distribution, show to ball around the box and make your passes. most of the GA are self inflicted right now. wayward, forced passes.

      • I think our decision making, mostly, has been good on whether to build or send, possess and recycle, and down the stretch, we even looked patient in their 3rd…Weah first to decide not to attack off the wing against bad numbers, then CP did the same on the other side once he received

        we don;t do that very often man!! anyway, fun half

        Musah was great sans that dribbling turnover

      • they will let you pass. so don’t get silly and dribble, except to move the shape around to make a nicer pass. pass is faster than dribble and less dangerous, let the ball do the work. then take them on in roughly the spot we did, top of the D, danger area.

  6. earned goal

    that was a training ground special there too, nice free kick

    this has been a fun game to watch so far

    • dude, getting beat low shot to the keeper side when you should see it coming around the wall the whole way is pretty bad. got caught cheating wall side. which is weird when you have the “lay down” guy for the low ones wall side.

      • I know, still they set it up, all had a role, the movement in front of the wall…goal
        dude 🙂

    • to be fair, free kick was the fruit of ball at feet around the box going to goal for a change, no take the ball to the flag and cross for a change.

      i’m all for go end to end with them because i don’t think the defense and keeper GB has out there can keep the score down.

    • thing is, i hadn’t really looked at the whole CONMEBOL standings, star power aside, they’re sitting 6th, more losses than wins, lots of GA. we should be getting chances……and we are. based on what i am seeing, play it quick and go end to end with these suckers. but finish your chances.

      not your usual brazil team.

  7. Brazil with 6 players in our half in our build out…just looking to pounce on anything

    Turner is a great shot stopper still but his distribution is still a gift to the opposition

      • on the replay it looked like brazil had kind of packed the middle and were fronting our mids. at a loss why you’d even hit it central. i might hit one long over the top but i’m never trying to hit a goal kick just over the head of someone being fronted. that’s hitting it into double coverage and like you saw, hit it even slightly soft and it’s to the other side.


    • indeed…..and as though on cue he hands them one.

      what happened to clearing the ball other side of the circle? i took the goal kicks some of the time in college. i would be embarrassed with the inaccuracy but if i play the ball other half — it ain’t coming right back at me in one pass in 5 seconds.

      it’s been like he’s trying to hit the mids short.

    • Matt was great in this game.

      But I’ve never seen him look more awkward with his feet. It is painful to watch. Just watching him with the ball at his feet must have taken a few years off of Ream’s lifespan.

      On the other hand he had no real howlers with his distribution and he did have one quick outlet pass to Balogun that was promising.

      With Matt it is best to focus on the positive not the negative.

  8. Sick of the stupid mistakes like a near post goal let in by Tuner. Saw similar goal he gave up at Forest. Enough is enough and he doesn’t even start for them so what is the excuse he should keep starting? Horvath’s turn now.

    • lineup’s already out, dude, 9/11 of the colombia lineup, turner still in net, musah for cardoso, and pepi for balogun.

      • If we lose big against Brazil and still play badly like Colombia game, hope he’s done and we get a new coach.

    • “Sick of the stupid mistakes like a near post goal let in by Tuner. ”

      Watch any compilation of goals the last few seasons. You’ll be amazed how many of them are near post goals.

      Defense of the near post does not seem as impregnable as it used to be.

  9. Some fun facts:

    Gregg Berhalter’s base salary was the 12th highest at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar at approximately €1.25M.

    That was more than the likes of:

    🇪🇸 Spain’s Luis Enrique (€1.15M)
    🇧🇪 Belgium’s Roberto Martínez (€1.2M)
    🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia’s Hervé Renard (€1.1M)

    Haha…….food for thought. What in the actual @#$%???!!!!!!!

    • Considering that the USA had a better World Cup than all three of those teams, I’d say those salaries made sense.

  10. whoever plays, I don’t see how we can line up and press them throughout. Maybe selectively, depending on this or that, but I wouldn’t want to get into 1v1s defending in the midfield or flank areas where one guy gets beat off the dribble and they’re in

    so I would think we see something else, anything else, than that. and so we’d need some hold up players who can do it AFTER defending hard and in the team concept, throughout the lines, along with some counter threats. You know, the all around stars we don’t have, lol. But a guy like Musah in the mix for me, Weah, and the right 9 who will do the work and understands the role

    so for me it’s got to be structural, with players who buy the idea and work hard together to execute it. the better the ideas, the more that is likely of course, but the selection has got to be to execute the gameplan, depending on the opponent.

    We are no where near good enough to just roll out our same ideas and beat teams because we’re so good. The teams with stars can do that, not us, imho of course

    • so we’re seeing fake high pressure from the USMNT, dropping back to a 4 4 2 in our half from the 4 3 3, first 10 minutes; only pressing from specific trigger, like a throw in

      10 minutes in

  11. hahaha…..I just heard the best quote about the USMNT and GB

    “…..the situation of the United States National team and Gregg Berhalter is like a terrible chef cooking in a five-star restaurant. You will not get the full potential of the facility”

    • couple things.
      1–i sat down and thought about it and the ’24 NL tournament where we had to win the semi in OT rhymes more with the squeaker ’21 NL tournament (last minute honduras win, OT mexico win) than it reminds you of the ’23 NL victory, which was prettier to watch and more comprehensive in scoreline (3-0 MX 2-0 CAN).

      anyone remember what was different about ’23? hmm? exactly. and i don’t even think that guy is that great a coach. he’s just better than this dunce. heck, i think sarachan is better than GB is. he at least didn’t take years to figure out who could “play” in the pool.

      2–in recent years a “personnel” excuse has popped up, which, i can’t quite tell if it’s defending the coach or just total intellectual nihilism. it’s rubbish. teams like morocco routinely go on long runs in world cup — further than we ever have — with good plans and limited personnel. you come up with excellent tactics and the thing can be more than the sum of its parts. it never is for this coach (and as i just noted above, i think you could literally hand the same lineup to someone else competent and get incrementally better results out of the box).

      but, anyhow, i think this is the best roster we have ever had, i don’t buy it sucks, nor do i think we call the best 23, and we are simply too far removed from even above average coaching to remember what it’s like to battle to an upset, which should happen with some regularity if the concept works — and used to under multiple US coaches.

      if i wanted to get punchy, circling back to comment 1, we know from the one time we ever had anyone else coach this, it perked up immediately at the A team level just to be free of the man. at which point i am inclined to believe he’s the anchor on the team, the anvil dragging behind it, rather than the team just sucks. i would give some serious coach a run at it before i’d make self serving negative assumptions.

  12. I like your lineup even though I haven’t watched much of Tillman this season. Is this the weakest we have ever been at goal and center-backs? We need two 6’s to give some cover. I am all for dropping Gio. Only for the US can someone walk into the team having not played in almost a year.

    • Gio was the only guy in the midfield Saturday that moved the ball forward up the pitch. He literally played a role in every goal at NL. He has more goal scoring actions since Gregg’s return last fall (6) than any of his replacements have in their careers.

      • JR, just to continue a previous conversation, we were able to deremine have different ideas about what is important to us as fans which means our perception of the current state of is going to be different and we were able to do it without insulting each other so hats off to us (unless you were insulting me and I didn’t pick up on it – Doh!!). There is one point you made that I did want to address and that was the goal of changing people’s perception of American soccer. I think this has happened in a very significant way since Gregg took over but I don’t think he or USSF had anything to do with it and probably not in the way you want to see it manifested, but definately in the only way I care about. Firstly, I think it is 99% the result of Pulisic’s succes at a very young age at Dortmund that opened many European clubs eyes to an entirely new potential market of fans. IMO the opportunities for Americans in Europe now is probably double what it was in 2019 and I think it is mostly financially driven, but that helps US soccer. IMO, there are a lot of people playing in Europe now being given a chance to prove themselves that wouldn’t be standpoint players in MLS and some not likely even starters but the teams are willing to take chances on developing young American players because the potential reward is high financially with little risk. I personally don’t care if people in other countries thinks the US sucks at soccer if it doesn’t hamper opportunities for players to get contracts in Europe or South America. Right now, it isn’t but I think that was the case as recently ad 2019.

      • Tele: I agree individually people around the world fans, managers, and front office suits think higher of American players. With the growth of academies clubs are able to see players at an earlier age, our prospects are now 17 or 18 not 23 or 24 and that helps. I think what Gregg talks about is changing how people see the American team. I don’t think anyone in South America gives us a shot to make the Copa semis or final (even before Saturday) or anyone world wide outside Americans think we have a shot the semis or final of the WC. Certainly over the last 10-15 opinions of non-Americans is the US is better (a factor in why we don’t get as many upsets, Portugal and Germany ‘02 and Spain ‘09 definitely overlooked the US). However, no one really sees us even close to a top ten team. I don’t look at Morocco who is likely a one hit wonder, I want to be like Croatia 3 semi finals in last 7 tournaments and developing world class players. You don’t get there with outdated tactics.

  13. re “pitch counting,” historically what would have happened is a tired or injured player would be LEFT OFF. common. sense.
    reyna, keller, and mcbride were only inconsistently involved in tournaments. i know the nerds lust to see the supposed first choice — even though the game we just watched suggests that should be debatable — but if you have to “pitch count” a european calendar regulars like pulisic for june exhaustion, they should be on vacation.

    now, i am willing to make an exception for adams to get minutes to help him for bournemouth — to get him some time someplace. US teams have historically done this “solid” for their good regulars — understanding they are rewarding talent and can create form — rather than have to follow form. he played well at nations league. but he then needs to be healthy enough he can play. you don’t call a hurt guy to get them minutes. you don’t call a guy who could use minutes who can’t actually play them.

    • I mean with expanded rosters we’re already taking more than we need. As I pointed out to you last week those “big rosters” were around 27 or 28 so not really any different. Unless you’re talking the old gold cups when they let you replace 5 or 6 guys after group stage so they could actually get the “big stars” from US and Mexico to show up. There’s nothing to say you couldn’t still drop a guy or two and replace them with someone from Olympic camp or MLS who are in season if you had more injuries.

      • i don’t understand how being legally allowed to carry extra people justifies dumb risks with those slots. 9 is the least of our problems and he calls 4 strikers. that’s how the clown uses his extra slots, is calls a hurt striker who can’t even get cleared to play a minute.

        you watched the same game i just did, did you think, hmmmmm, you know where this team is jacked up and under-powered? it’s up top. i mean, who were we all beefing about? the 3 lines behind that. should turner keep starting. who to use in the back. how some of the mids played.

        and to me you are wasting the 26 man — or it could have even been 30 for camp — opportunity when we’re dragging around 2 guys who are unfit or hurt. and when you call bunches for stable positions and not many for need areas.

        personally this whole line of argument is silly. i look at his bench and with a few exceptions i think he has picked the wrong people and is therefore neither going to help this grow tonight, nor likely to get any result out of it. which, is the one thing he seems to care about, and to be at best half effective at.

        dude routinely loses friendlies to good teams, and his world cup performance amounts to (a) blowing a lead on last place wales, (b) tying an england team going through the motions, (c) having to beat iran on blood and guts, and (d) getting his brains whacked in by holland. one win, which was sheer will rather than brilliant coaching, and a sizeable heaping of meh or worse.

  14. to point out there are other options here, historically we get our tail kicked like this in a tournament prep situation and some heads would roll. we would call more than we need. we would also be willing to add new people. injured players would be dropped, poor performers would get a ticket home. we wouldn’t really explain why, but you could guess. we didn’t just sit here passively and “take it.” whoops, shame, guess it’ll be a tough tourney.

    really? grow a pair. these are the two likely cross-over teams for the quarters — if we can even advance, which i see coming down to panama. you can either watch yourself drive over the cliff now, combine a losing roster with a short roster because you won’t even swap out the injured or rehabbing.

    or you can literally acknowledge what your eyes just showed and say, ooops, i messed this up, let’s fix it. send 3-5 guys home. bring in a few fresh faces. make some effort where we maybe advance group easier, and don’t just face a 3-1 or so exit if we do.

    passive. passive. passive. so much institutional memory has been lost. you call more than you need. you make them compete where they are ready to eat steel when they play a friendly. you then call even more people if they stink up the joint.

    i would like to see lund and a couple others play but this, without a direction change, is gonna be done after 3-5 games, and in ugly fashion, and then people will make excuses like when colombia beat us that time, or argentina.

    arrogant as heck.

    • Nah – head’s would never roll in the friendly lead ups to tournaments. The only time heads have rolled is when the US was looking bad in the actual tournament – Gold Cup failures (BB getting trounced by Mexico); difficulties in qualifying (JK and then the Bruce resigning). If you are saying head’s should roll, that is a different thing.

      Historically, in the lead up to a WC, the squad of players was pretty well set. The fringe players would be playing the bulk of the lead up friendlies to figure out who makes the final 18 or 23 or 25. The players going home were those who didn’t make a mark or worse yet, would get hurt – Chris Armas comes to mind. The starting 11 or the main 15 remained the main 15.

      It was the January camp where off the radar players would make their mark and then get called up.

      Prior Copas were generally made up of a B squad, maybe with the exception of Copa 2020 that also took place here in the US. With Copa 2024 in the US, with no need for qualifiers, GB needs to see if his starting 11 are worth their salt. Then if not, start making changes in 2025 friendlies and god forbid Gold Cup or whatever it is called now.

      • your memory is failing you. we used to routinely call several more than we needed and have a cut before the tournament — when the rosters were due. and between games 1 and 2 of the friendlies, or even during camp before the games, we’d do some swapping out. injured people would be sent home (or not called at all). if a guy played badly and wasn’t a regular, he’d be gone.

        the other defensive argument i routinely hear is “coach knows his team” or “coach watches the practices,” which, setting aside this coach’s quality, misses a point. if you call 27 to keep 26, and maybe 2 are hurt, then medical clearance is what actually decides it — not “knowledge” or “evaluation.” he routinely shows up to qualifying windows or tournaments already “short.” in which case, from a roster perspective, he wasn’t really planning on evaluative choices based on practice performance, so much as he had a set idea of the roster give or take who fails the medical/fitness test.

        i kind of wish it was decided in person at the camp, or particularly via the games. based on who starts, the games don’t matter much. based on how many get called for camp, the roster is already close to set on paper.

        i do believe the teams reflect his “paper” evaluation of the players before they arrive — completely different than reflecting an eyeball view of who practices well — but i think at this point we know he’s very subjective and stubborn. precisely the sort who could use the reality check his fanboys suggest he does, but he really doesn’t.

      • IV – you took a shot at my memory in paragraph 1 and then went on to say basically the same thing I did. You stated more numbers 27-28 in a camp than I did, as I was using the team roster numbers at the end.

        The difference between the wish in your original post and my response is that we have a 2 game lead-in to the most important tournament of the year. This is not like in years past where the US has an extended camp for world cup prep and then a series of 3-5 warm-up games. Except for 2022 when the December WC prevented that too. Furthermore, I think you then agreed with me by saying that it was the fringy-er players who would be let go if they didn’t meet the standard.

        Fringe players yes, but I think the posters here on SBI are calling for whole-sale changes to the line-up — or coach. My point is that whole sale changes are not going to happen before the Copa begins.

  15. While I do want to see Malik start this game, I could make case for Aaronson in the midfield. His ability to harrass players might be needed.

    Just looking for some sort of life from this team against Brazil.

    Also I would like to see Pepi start.

    • malik and LDLT shouldn’t even be there on performance. you’re picking the wrong tillman who deserves a fresh shot. i’d like to see tim simply because he hasn’t gotten a chance yet, and i’d like to see what he amounts to. which in GB terms means he’ll likely get 15-30 minutes sitting behind the ragdoll LDLT and his brother spraying chances wide.

      the idea of NT selection is to keep looking at people til you find the stars you are looking for. and to call more people if that guy you liked isn’t a star (yet/ever). some point that turned into assuming based on address and club stats who the stars are, and perseverating to give them more chances to become what you wished they were. which to me is malik in a nutshell. and i say this as someone who was pro-malik on the “give a chance” list. but he didn’t get it done.

  16. Rank the field players 1 to 10 who started v Colombia in terms athletic ability. 1 – best; 10 – worst.
    1. Jedi 2. Weah 3. Balogun, 4. Richards 5. McKennie 6. Cardoso 7. CP 8. Scally 9. Gio 10. Ream
    If your ranking doesn’t look like this, you are lying to yourself. There is no country with a starting LW, whose ability is at the bottom 40% of their countries athletic ability. There’s 10 players, easy to do percentages. We will not beat any country in the top 8 (Top 10 teams don’t make the quarterfinals of tournaments because there’s only 8 in QFs) with Pulisic as the LW. CP & Gio were on the same side and the Cafeteros attack that side. These 2 don’t run faster than anyone or jump higher than anyone. Jedi not only had to play defense on every player down their left side, then he had to facilitate & push tempo because those two are extremely inept athletically & defensively. CP ALWAYS struggles against athletes (Ghana), or physicality (Spizzanola/Roma). CP isn’t starting at LW for Croatia; he’s not athletic as Perisic. Croatia is extremely athletic. Hes not starting for any top country at LW. That’s why when Haji came in, his athleticism made a difference at LW, though he’s not a LW. Colombia couldn’t keep up with Weah, Jedi, Wright or Balogun. The best athletes the U.S. had on the field starting or off the bench didn’t struggle vs Colombia. It’s time for the 4-3-3, to work effectively. Weah & Jedi need to play on the same side. There needs to be a speed side & possession side. If there wasn’t so much gatekeeping, you would’ve noticed this.

    • Are we going back to the 90s and picking players based on athleticism? And gotta quibble with your list a little too, I think CP is a fantastic athlete and should be near the top, you don’t think he’s fast? McKennie as well. I like Cardoso but he belongs at the bottom, his strength is his technique and vision. And your number one Jedi was badly at fault for multiple Colombia goals, and it had nothing to do with athleticism. How high on the list would Ream be? And even on one of his poorer games, the defense performed their 3 goal capitulation the moment he was subbed off…

      • all due respect, dude, but JK tried cute with gringo mixx etc. and ended up playing jones beckerman bradley. if you’re gonna get cute, you better put messi out there. otherwise, i am lost what the value is of trying to be the world’s 20th best skill team, other than folks like you pouting over the impoverished aesthetic and how “it’s going backwards.”

        i agree with the general vibe of where our colleague was headed. you wanna win soccer games? show up with the MOST skilled. the FASTEST. the BEST DEFENSE.

        what we do right now is win possession on weak teams with a skill quality that doesn’t step up to top 15 opposition. and then the guys we stick out there to do that can’t hold colombia, swiss, japan, germany, or even TnT away.

        to positively channel our colleague, i would like to see the technical guys moved central — puli and reyna — and then PURE GAS WIDE. fly down the wings and beat the defense back. we then have some athletes to either play a “get behind the defense” style — wright, pepi, balogun — or a “cross and head” style — vazquez.

        no, i agree with our colleague, watching that athletic team shred us, it reminded me of teams like bradley’s 2011 gold cup team, or callaghan’s 2023 gold cup team. lacking in attacking punch, players picked for skill but they don’t have much of it, not athletic to run with fast people.

        soccer is a running game, or it’s a skill game. you need to be really good at one of those or everything will be drudgery.

      • and all due respect to the skill pouting, but colombia wasn’t a bunch of messi “dancers” on the ball. the very game we just played wasn’t us being passed off the field by superior skill we need to catch up to. what i saw holland and this game was us losing 50/50 stuff on kickball and crosses. and then an athletic team with a lead hawking passing lanes daring us to try some more slow builds and passing from the back.

        the french fly down the field, speed up the wings. argentina is fairly skilled in style but they don’t “walk it up.” the dutch are willing to play kickball.

        i think you think 2010 spain is current soccer. it’s not. modern soccer is a lot more direct. wing speed, counters, outright longballs. soccer has changed in 15 years. catch up. for starters, the refs are back to swallowing the whistle. 2006-10 when spain was ascendant was also when you got cards for breathing on some one. that kind of helps a possession game. that’s over as the reffing style of the day.

        to me soccer goes in cycles. possession passing soccer is a point in the cycle. the obvious tactical response to a team that wants to push bodies forward and pass through the middle and everyplace else, is swamp the central midfield, and rapidly counterattack where they left. quick balls wide to mbappe flying down the line. or colombia or holland just kicking it over our heads diagonal and long.

        soccer has moved on to that point in the cycle. you either need to BECOME THAT, or you need to FIGURE OUT HOW TO STOP THAT KIND OF TEAM.

        but this wannabe pep nonsense is a 15 year old tactical idea everyone figured out how to stop internationally. and we tend to cross rather than play behind the defense which makes it even easier. you are not offering a modern soccer chess move, you are fighting the last war, crying about bradley ball a decade and a half ago. you just watched a team whoop our tookus playing very direct and even crude soccer.

        get over it.

        move on.

      • Was that rant directed at my reply? Where are these fantastic athletes that will make the USMNT better? Berhalter has picked the right players from who is available, I think 95% of SBI can agree to that much. It’s what happens next that is the problem. If you’ve read my posts you will find I’m in basic agreement with you regarding our system/tactics. Namely that Berhalter ball hasn’t produced enough goals or wins against top teams. I’m open to different approaches, but convinced we need to try something different. You mentioned Bob Bradley, I for one greatly admired Bradley’s approach and was wise enough at the time to appreciate he was doing what had to be done at the time to get results. Defensive setup, turn Donovan and Dempsey loose on the wings to attack. I am NOT fascinated with skills, do NOT want us to play like Pep’s Barca, and whatever other silliness you accused me of. My preferred approach (with basically the exact lineup Gregg started against Colombia) would be to set up an organized defense, draw out the opposition, press hard in the midfield, hit on counters. Win the ball, find Mckennie and Reyna, hit Pulisic and Weah on the fast break.

      • great teams tend to have natural balance because they are good at everything. but good teams usually pick “one thing” and excel at it. even if they have to leave off some interesting players who don’t fit that “one thing.”

        the available “one things” are (a) aerial game (crosses, deadballs, (b) speed game (wide counter), (c) skill game (take people on, or possession), (d) defend and play for a goal. most coaches in the world aren’t handed argentina or france. they pick one of these things. they then pick players who fit one of these things. if a guy doesn’t fit the scheme, they either adapt or get dropped — regardless of reputation, club form, and perceived quality. lassiter, wondo, and twellman were some of the best league players ever for the US. but they couldn’t do it for the Nats. so what.

        the US right now fields reputational all star teams to play a confused meld of 2 schemes, which they aren’t actually suited to play as a unit together.

        i think the basic issue you’re missing is sometimes guys that come off as B team types or age group guys, might fit the actual scheme better. or sometimes an A teamer maybe needs to play a different spot or come off the bench, if they lack the qualities that actually fit the scheme.

        examples — i don’t see reyna or pulisic as wings unless the skill level of the AM slot can be improved. you don’t try to play skilled soccer with an unskilled engine.

        if we are trying to play team defensive soccer, we have far too many guys on the field with poor marking ability or tenacity. the coach is even beefing about it, but when’s the last time pulisic or jedi or ream were known for man marking?

        if we are going to cross balls, where are the big fellahs to head it in?


        no, the basic failure is the roster is picked on spreadsheet numbers and reputations, and not because the coach has figured out x fits well with y. because typically what often happens on a scheme team, is some seeming B team type guy fits the scheme perfect and works perfect with the regulars. not because “club form.” but because “he is meant to play the way we are trying to play.”

        when we figure out this is not an all star team of the guys the nerds love to watch on tv, but instead a soccer team to execute a game plan intended to beat superior paper sides, it will punch above its weight. until then, we will brag between games about how our guys play for juve and ACM and such — then watch them look like a mess together and lose half the time.

    • totally agree. He’s been solid every time for the Nat’s. Plus he’s the most in form with the most club playing time currently. It’s not really giving it to him; he deserves the start.

  17. I don’t know it matters much, but I would like to see Pepi start instead of Balogun just because Pepi had a great season in terms of minutes per goal. And
    Balogun got to play a fair amount against Colombia. As a side note, Canada, under Jesse Marsch, held France to a 0-0 draw. When you look at the stats, possession was about even as were completed passes. France had more shots and more shots on goal (0 shots on goal for Canada) plus a lot more corner kicks. Canada opens Copa America versus Argentina, so they got some confidence from holding France.

    • Totally agree. Balo has been giving sooo many chances and has not done much with them. Why not give Pepi the start against a great team like Brazil in this friendly and see how he handles it? We really don’t have much to lose.

    • With Gregg’s “system” it has to be Pepi who is much better suited. If by some miracle we did what we ought to vs a side like Brazil and played compact and organized with highly aggressive counters I’d go Balo all day. But that ain’t happening. I die inside every time we get the ball and instead of picking our heads up, taking advantage, we default to mindless, robotic, no situational awareness Berhalter ball: Stop,wait, back pass, pass out side… stop and wait for the defense to organize, side pass, repeat, hopeful cross to no one in the box. Its literally like beating ones head into a wall.

  18. This upcoming Brazil game may be a situation where GB’s insistence on a 4-3-3 will benefit the team. We lost – badly – to Colombia. We are now facing a top 5 nation on a short turn-around.

    If GB now screws around with the system, that might make it worse for the players. Knowing that the system remains in place might take some pressure off those who play, who then just have to deal with the opponent. Staying with a 4-3-3 is likely a better idea than switching, like to a 3-6-1 for a friendly.

    • He’ll play some weird formation just so when we get rolled he can say see we’re just more comfortable in a 4-3-3.

  19. At this point I really don’t care……..lets just get it over with. Can GB readjust and bounce back or not? Can the USMNT keep up with the best in the world or not? Its that simple

    • Think that’s been answered ad nauseam. 5 years of the same says no. Our manager is overly measured, cautious, up inside his head and our play corresponds. It’s only through sheer desperation, when the heat turns up that we see signs of life, get one off reactionary wins, then return to the same listless morbidity. My question is can asleep at the wheel US Soccer readjust?


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