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Discussion in 'USA Men' started by USA-Zebuel, Jul 18, 2018.
Won't those dates in 2020 and 2021 have WCQs?
I'd be fine with it eating up friendly dates - just like I'm fine with MLS regular season matches taking away time that could be potentially used for exhibitions against European teams in their preseason. Exhibition matches are lame, and I consider competitive matches to be inherently more interesting - even if they're matches against the same five CONCACAF teams over and over again.
And I don't see any reason to assume that scheduling a few friendlies per year against high-level opponents is all that valuable or essential to the national team anyway. In case anyone hadn't noticed, those "impressive" friendly wins at the Netherlands and Germany did not mean that that the NT had been elevated to new levels of greatness. In fact, they didn't mean much at all.
So the answer is to play the League of Nations and the Gold Cup twice each per cycle, plus WCQs? Yeah, no thanks. I'm fine with eating up an average of 2-3 friendly dates per year on these games ONLY because we tend to schedule at least that many friendlies against 2nd and 3rd tier CONCACAF sides anyway.
I will say that one positive of this is that it will let our younger guys get some experience playing on the road in places like Costa Rica and Honduras before WCQs come around. Aside from that, really the only plus that I see is the possibility of a nice mid-autumn Caribbean road trip for fans.
If it were up to me we'd have one Gold Cup per cycle, played the year after the WC, which would serve as a qualifier for a North/South American Copa to be played the following year (non-WC even years). Something like this:
Year 1 summer - World Cup
Late Year 1/early Year 2 - League of Nations/Gold Cup qualifiers
Year 2 summer - Gold Cup
Late Year 2/early Year 3 - League of Nations
Year 3 summer - Copa America
Year 3/4 - WCQ
I'd be happy to move the Gold Cup to once every four years.
In fact, I'd be fine with eventually eliminating the Gold Cup entirely and replacing it with a Nations League style competition. Having a single-host confederation championship is great in Europe, necessary in Africa, and a century-long tradition in South America. But in CONCACAF it doesn't make much sense. I think that USA always having home field advantage in our (non-WCQ) competitive matches against regional rivals is unfair to the other teams, and may actually make it harder to adjust to playing on the road in qualifiers.
The one thing I don't care at all about is the prospect of losing friendlies - even friendlies against strong opponents. If you want to build public interest in a team, meaningless exhibitions with no significance for the result should not make up a large percentage of that team's games. And when our best-ever away friendly results in Europe are followed by a total collapse in qualifying, I see no reason to think that having fewer of those kinds of games would be a significant detriment to our national team's performance.
Agree to an extent, but I think friendlies are useful for individual player development and high-profile friendlies can create a buzz (if the US beats, say, Spain even in a friendly the casual sports fan will take notice). They can help grow the fanbase--not only by generating buzz but because a dad is a lot more likely to want to take his kids to see a friendly against Brazil than a "CONCACAF League of Nations" game against Antigua--I think the USSF should stop letting Mexico play friendlies against third countries on US soil for this exact reason. To that end, the USSF has clearly gone out of its way to book friendlies against as many big-name teams as possible this year to help mitigate the PR disaster of missing the WC (Ireland, France, England, Mexico, Brazil, and Italy all booked for this calendar year).
Not sure I'd want it to replace the Gold Cup entirely, but only for the reason that we usually have the option of bringing a full squad for that tournament whereas I can't see flying guys like Pulisic and Yedlin across the Atlantic for a pair of "League of Nations" games other than maybe the championship round. If it weren't for that consideration I'd be fine with it. One League of Nations (which means two road games of which one will probably be against Hex-caliber opposition--gotta assume the championship round will be held in the US) and one GC per cycle seems OK to me. It's also very important that we do whatever we need to do to make the expanded Copa America a quadrennial event, or barring that get and accept an invite to the regular CA (and send our A team, even if it means sending a B squad to the Gold Cup--especially if the Confederations Cup is on its way out).
The thing I like about this Nations League concept is that we can use it to help weed out the strong and the weak when it comes to playing in tough venues.
Having more competitive games in parts of the world that are a bit hostile in CONCACAF can be beneficial to our growth and dominating the region again. Especially with the youngsters we have coming up the ranks.
Getting kids playing time in Azteca, San Jose, El Salvador, etc with their crazy atmospheres can be beneficial when World Cup qualifying comes around. It won't be a surprise or a culture shock to see or hear those crazy fans once the REAL games of WCQ come along.
Exactly. Although I doubt we'll get any road trips to Azteca or San Jose out of this (maybe the latter in a cycle or two if CR can't replace their current aging player pool and drops out of the top tier of CONCACAF)--we won't play the other top seeds in the group stage and you have to assume the final round will be played in the US (it is, after all, a cash grab). So for the first tournament we'll avoid Mexico, CR, and one of Honduras/Panama/Jamaica in the first round.
Still, we will get the chance to send our less experienced guys to places like Honduras (maybe), El Salvador, and Jamaica, which is still beneficial. Of course with our luck, when we're actually hoping for a couple of tough road venues we'll get Canada and some Caribbean minnow.
Forgot about the semis and final possibly being a one game neutral site thing.
That has Florida/Texas/California cash grabs written all over it in March of 2020.
Exactly. Probably not Florida (relatively low Mexican population) but my money would be on one of Houston/Dallas/Phoenix/LA.
Wasn't the initial objective of this to give teams a chance to prep their young players better for the more important competitions? I don't think FIFA is forcing anyone to use the A-teams.
No, the original goal, at least in our region, was supposedly to give countries like the British Virgin Islands (that play 2 WCQ games a cycle and then everything else is meaningless) some more meaningful games.
I can think if worse preparation than having Alphonso Davies running at our players at Stade Saputo.
You'd be surprised.
There's lots of Mexicans moving to Florida.
I remember when Mexico played Colombia in Miami Gardens there were a lot of Mexicans that went to the game. Some would say more than the Colombians.
Also, when Barcelona played Chivas in Miami it seemed like half the 70,000 in the stadium were Chivas fans.
Meant "tough road venue" in the sense of an intimidating environment regardless of the quality of the opposition.
It's not that there aren't any in Florida, it's that there are a hell of a lot more in CA, TX, and AZ.
No argument against that.
But it seems more diverse with the Huge Central American populations and to a lesser extent Caribbean supporters.
Factor in the time of year and I think Miami would be perfect for a Semi.
But that is for the CONCaCAF to decide.
I'm guessing they'll just wing it and pick the venue based on who the opponents end up being. East Coast if we play a Central American team. Chicago, Texas, California against Mexico. Florida for a Carib team.
Though they haven't actually confirmed that it'd be a neutral site though, right? Possible it could go to whoever is determined to be the highest seed (though let's be honest, they're gonna want that full NFL stadium $$ and want us in the final for it).
Chicago in March? Not a good gamble my friend.
As for the confirmation I was thinking the same thing but this is the CONCACAF we are talking about. Money Grab is king.
Blah... forgot about the calendar (which could be completely different for the next cycle of this thing if it happens, though).
Texas or LA it is, then.
It would probably have to be in March every cycle because it is only taking place on FIFA match days.
Once again, I can't find anywhere that FIFA is forcing teams to use their A-teams for these LoN competitions, so my guess is that we'll see games with Camp Cupcake type of rosters if the other teams in our tier are also using reserves.
The teams in the lower "groups" are more likely to use their best players. What is the incentive for the teams at the top? The teams that made the Hex are already qualified for the expanded Gold Cup.
In other words, it may become a limited cash grab.
Since when do we use Camp Cupcake-type rosters on FIFA match days? I'd expect the rosters for these games to be like they are for FIFA-day friendlies: some experimentation and some nods to travel realities and the MLS schedule, but mostly the group of players expected to contest the next set of "meaningful" games.
Do you really see us making players travel across the Atlantic to play Cuba or Honduras B?
Wouldnt surprise me if we see a mixed group during the group stage, where maybe we get 4-5 euro guys per game with different guys making the trip for each window. Which guys will obviously depend on club commitments, 1st team stability, etc, but having yedlin come for 1 game vs guatemala doesnt seem too bad. Having him fly 3k mi 8 times in a 3 month span would be ridiculous though
If the alternative is not getting the team together to play for several months, yeah. There are only so many FIFA dates