Realistic Small Changes

Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by rgli13, Oct 21, 2019.

  1. rgli13

    rgli13 BigSoccer Yellow Card

    Mar 23, 2005
    Memphis, Tn
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    i dont believe berhalter will be fired, earnie wont be fired- no one will be fired.

    i dont see any reason to believe our selection will change in any significant way. "the group" is what it is, fitness and a decision are really the only way i see impactful additions to what weve seen.

    that said, what are some simple changes in the team you think are anywhere from remotely possible to far past due? our tactics/setup have changed in very small ways so i cant imagine a big change there- even if it were simplifying/easing up on "the system" or "principles".

    just curious if any of you have ideas, any reasons for hope with this manager, this fed and the way theyre doing things. heres a couple that stand out to me:


    1) name a freaking captain already.

    this has bothered me for months. whether its a matter of our gross lack of consistency in lineups or that berhalter wants to be the one voice on the team (which he is, like it or not, in not allowing for a player in a recognized leadership position)- this overly democratic, revolving door approach keeps us rudderless. at this point i feel like even a bad choice would be preferable to none.


    1a) some consistency would be nice.

    i know we have injuries that limit this, but look at the cb pairings alone- how many times have the same two players started two matches in a row together? has it happened?


    2) we HAVE to find a set piece taker.

    beyond all the talk of tactics, systems, principle, etc aside we are throwing away a handful of chances per match simply in not coming CLOSE to taking advantage of fks/cks.

    as much as we talk about fighting spirit, will, etc (arguably) missing in current players/teams you know what else is missing? goals. hell, even chances. we have players who are/can be dominant in the air (brooks, miazga, mckennie), along with the other 3 or 4 cbs filtering in and out, altidore and sargent are passable at worst- and yet we get absolutely nothing out of them.

    what happened to the occasional goal from boca or gooch? even a goodson or a demerit? even the THREAT? sure, concacaf has gotten better but you know what it hasnt gotten? bigger.

    for all the talk of lesser players who serve the system, "its not all about individual talent", blah, blah- where the hell is our role player who can hit a half decent corner even a third of the time? cause none of "the group" can, thats painfully clear...

    its shocking how bad we are. pomykal is the only hope i see on the horizon, but i would absolutely argue kellyn acostas set pieces alone justify his consideration/inclusion as much/more than baird, lovitz, yueill, roldan, trapp, mihilovic or aaronson. take however much worse you think he is than any of those guys and then consider he would give us 3-5 legitimate scoring opportunities per game, as opposed to now where we bang a ball into the first defender, or float a ball over the box doing nothing but giving our aerial threats a nice jog.

    in lieu of scoring chances from open play (which we see precious little of) its baffling to me that we completely ignore and/or seem to make no effort to address that lack of an entire source of scoring chances/goals.
     
  2. TOAzer

    TOAzer Member+

    The Man With No Club
    May 29, 2016
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    What's a small change I can make? Shut off the TV and go read a good book.
     
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  3. thedukeofsoccer

    thedukeofsoccer Member+

    Jul 11, 2004
    Youtube: Jimmy Dore, Secular Talk
    Club:
    AFC Ajax
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I thought about making a thread about this specific issue. It's not that small.

    In some recent games our supposed best pk options were Pulisic or Sargent. What kind of choice is that? Neither have established as being adept at it. Frankly, Pulisic's pk against Cuba was lucky. I don't think drilling it hard up the middle was what he was trying to do. It wasn't even that high. Soft and high is the play, on the occasion you actually go for that. But safer to just place in the corner. He doesn't have better than average shot control. And neither are really poised at this point.

    Honestly, on pk's I'd go w/ Morris. Poised, authoritative, and good shot control, especially w/ his stronger foot. Maybe Weah. He's a clean striker and has some deception. Same thing w/ Pomykal.

    On fk's, I think Jozy is the guy when actually available. Powerful, gets it up and down enough, w/ decent accuracy. I think Pomykal and Weah are also options here. They get bend on their longer shots and are pretty accurate. Sadly, none of those 3 were available last camp. It's slim pickings. Gregg has to account for this. Though I think rostering let alone starting Acosta for it would be an over-reaction. Green is in form, and maybe this adds to his case too, to make rosters at least. But then you'd have to start him to get the benefit.

    For corners, Bradley is okay at it. Not that I want him to start or even be on the roster when everybody is available. Need someone who can do it. Pomykal again makes a case for more aggression inclusion because he whips in dangerous crosses for FCD. Maybe a Lletget solidifies a case for some starting lineups because he's ok at it too. Similar to Bradley, plays it in a good general area, though not at ideal pace or movement. Lima's crosses from the run of play are really well delivered - bend and pace without them being skull crushers. Might be worth a try.
     
  4. rgli13

    rgli13 BigSoccer Yellow Card

    Mar 23, 2005
    Memphis, Tn
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    limas a decent shout. im not really arguing for acosta to be in the team but its just dire.

    as for bradley i have a low key conspiracy theory that once he scored that olympico he spent the next two years doing nothing but trying to repeat it. in that pursuit he lost his ability to even send in generally decent balls.
     
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  5. MarioKempes

    MarioKempes Member+

    Real Madrid, DC United
    Aug 3, 2000
    Raleigh, NC
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    The biggest problem is in the midfield. Get rid of Roldan, Bradley, and Trapp. None of them can play at this level. MB has been a good soldier for the USA and scored some important goals, but he's now past his sell-by date.
     
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  6. rgli13

    rgli13 BigSoccer Yellow Card

    Mar 23, 2005
    Memphis, Tn
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    i agree, but thats fundamental to berhalters teams and never going to change.
     
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  7. dams

    dams Member

    United States
    Dec 22, 2018
    #7 dams, Oct 22, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2019
    This is the elephant in the room, we get bossed in the midfield against almost everybody not named Cuba. It's been repeated ad nauseam on these boards but we are desperately in need of a holding midfielder who can play defense so we can actually have attack minded mids on the field that are in a position to link the back four with the attacking players. Instead we have Puli pathetically running around like a chicken with his head chopped off trying to beat 4 guys with no one to pass to. The whole idea of us playing exclusively a possession style of soccer and always playing out of the back 100% of the time is insane, but if he wants to play more attractively it's doable. Put Adams in the 6 (or the next best defensive minded 6 we have if Adams is unavailable) and bring in some of the young guys that are more suited to that style of play. It will happen organically. They will have to take some lumps at first for sure but it is what it is. Now we have a bunch of players out there that are thinking instead of playing and if the goal is to play attractive soccer, well what we are doing is not a flattering look. Until he addresses these fundamental issues, making small changes is like putting lipstick on a pig. At this point I'd rather see them crash and burn than eek out a couple of set piece goals and string along the farce.

    But unfortunately you guys are probably right...won't matter what happens one way or the other...changes will not be made.
     
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  8. CyphaPSU

    CyphaPSU Member+

    Mar 16, 2003
    Not Far
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    One small change, that would actually represent a big change for Berhalter, is to place more merit in evaluating how well players actually perform at the international level rather than on how one values their understanding of playing within a certain tactical philosophy. It could go a long way in starting to break apart the preconceived idea of a "group" of otherwise limited guys who must be called in seemingly by default since the day Berhalter has taken over.

    Perhaps a change like this would result in fewer starts for players like Roldan or fewer call ups for players like Baird, and additional call ups for players like Holmes?
     
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  9. deejay

    deejay Member+

    Feb 14, 2000
    Tarpon Springs, FL
    Club:
    Jorge Wilstermann
    Nat'l Team:
    Bolivia
    Adams and Pomykal healthy. Otherwise, Berhalter needs to go with Holmes over Roldán.
     
  10. deejay

    deejay Member+

    Feb 14, 2000
    Tarpon Springs, FL
    Club:
    Jorge Wilstermann
    Nat'l Team:
    Bolivia
    I will give credit to Stewart for consitently calling a U23 camp. If we qualify this will have important long term benefits.
     
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  11. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    I think it’s unfair to judge roldan’s performance until we see him without trapp/Bradley as regista.

    you’re probably right but I’d like to see what he can do without having to compensate for that structure and those player’s weaknesses.
     
  12. nobody

    nobody Member+

    Jun 20, 2000
    I am not generally someone who puts much stock in the Captain thing, but I think not having one at all for this long sends a message that the coach's leadership is all you need, don't think for a second that you players have anything important to say here.

    But, the biggest single change would be to redefine what is needed from the 6. That's the biggest issue on this whole team. We have no midfield bite or defensive structure and that's largely down to the expectations of the 6. You get no defensive bite from the 6 with the rest of your midfielders pushed further forward and your defense is crap and the whole thing looks soft.
     
  13. largegarlic

    largegarlic Member+

    Jul 2, 2007
    A couple things come to mind for me:

    1) Replace Bradley and Ream with Adams and Brooks, if the latter two are healthy. I feel like a lot of defensive problems are caused by other teams getting their best attacking players in the pocket between Ream and Bradley, wherever it happens to be on the field, as neither can deal with speedy, skilled opponents. Jamaica did this when they flipped Bailey from the left, where Cannon was containing him, to the right, where he could attack Ream at LB or cut inside and go at Bradley. Mexico did the same thing in the GC final with Pizarro, and Canada did the same thing with Davies, though that meant putting Davies central with Ream as CB. Berhalter clearly rates Brooks and Adams; they just haven't been healthy for him. So, it think it's realistic that he plays them, if they're fit.

    2) This somewhat related to the first point, but I feel like we should find a way to move Pulisic around more to get him on the ball in favorable situations. I feel like he was too isolated against Canada, and maybe he would have been better coming further inside to connect with teammates. I think guys like Arriola, Lletget, and Pomykal can be useful in making this happen, as they can play centrally or wide as well. We can start with Pulisic central and, say, Arriola at LW, but those two can swap if the middle is congested, but there's space on the flank and a vulnerable RB. Or it could go in the other direction...start Pulisic on the wing, and if he's not getting involved enough or lack support, pull him inside and put someone else wide.
     
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  14. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    In the absence of Adams and Brooks, I think it's important to find replacements who are most like them so that the surrounding players get accustomed to that set-up - that is decidedly not Bradley (who couldn't be more different from Adams). I'm not as sure on Ream - he's a pretty good passer as is Brooks. What would you do if Adams and Brooks aren't available?
     
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  15. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    If we were to set up the team specifically to put Pulisic in the best possible situation to influence games, what does that look like? It certainly doesn't look like Canada - he can't be the forward most player who receives the ball while surrounded by 3+ opponents.

    How can we free him up and give him space to work within?
     
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  16. RefIADad

    RefIADad Member

    Sporting KC
    United States
    Aug 18, 2017
    #16 RefIADad, Oct 22, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2019
    The team has a top defensive mid.

    The issue is that the head coach thinks the top defensive mid is really a right back.
     
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  17. Eleven Bravo

    Eleven Bravo Member+

    Atlanta United
    United States
    Jul 3, 2004
    SC
    Club:
    Atlanta Silverbacks
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Identify the core group; i.e. Weah, Pulisic, Sargent, McKennie, Brooks, Miazga, Yedlin, Steffen, and Adams. If Dest commits, he’s in that group. I could maybe call in Morales too. Call these guys in a meeting in Europe, and have a sit down talk with them. Tell them where the program is going, get their feedback, and construct a coherent plan towards building a program that will be successful through 2026. Discuss how the team wants to play and their expectations from the staff. From there, call in players that make those guys shine, and also limits the weaknesses of the player pool. I would also assign “battle buddies” for these guys to be checking in on the new guys like Reyna, Mendez, Ledezma, etc. periodically. More so, I would let them know, there’s no missing a call up, unless it’s a pre-approval, out of the ordinary circumstance, for any of these core leaders. If they’re injured, a la Adams, Weah, etc. they’re putting their broke ass on a plane and sitting on the bench with the team. No more disruptions in the continuity of the team.

    Simply, I would establish that that core needs to step up their leadership of the program and its their responsibility to bring up the new guys. I would force them in leadership positions. I would take some of the pressure off me and make the guys who should be leading this program into the WC take over the leadership duties. And, I would force regular leadership staff meetings with the group. And delegate that those leaders meet with their team in the mean time. As the coach, I want to hear how Pulisic has taught Reyna how to tie his shoes, and so forth.

    In short, I would rebuild the team and its mission and construct it based on the mechanics of good leadership.
     
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  18. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    Duh.

    Will never happen.
     
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  19. deejay

    deejay Member+

    Feb 14, 2000
    Tarpon Springs, FL
    Club:
    Jorge Wilstermann
    Nat'l Team:
    Bolivia
    The issue is that Adams is our only elite midfielder with ball winning skill. Regardless of who plays you need at least one and usually two guys who can win those 50/50s. Besides Adams we have only two other guys who can win the ball back and seem close to international level. Pomykal and Holmes. McKennie may fix this weakness and I know that Schalke are working on this. Three mids with this capability is minimal depth. I would give Holmes preference regardless of Bradley as a regista or not.
     
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  20. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    I think we're saying the same thing: we need a dynamic, athletic and disruptive midfield defensive identity. You cannot have a weak ball-winning link in the midfield, particularly not in the center.

    I know that 50/50 balls are currently in discussion right now but an equally important metric (that I don't think is being tracked like they do in baseball) is range and speed as if you have poor range, the amount of 50/50 is decreased and balls that should be 50/50 turn into 70/30 the other way.
     
  21. Mahtzo1

    Mahtzo1 Member+

    Jan 15, 2007
    So Cal
    I agree about Roldan but for a different reason.

    I really don't believe all roads lead to Bradley. In my mind, the biggest sins that Roldan (and others) have committed have been in possession. For all of the faults of the defense, most of our defensive issues come when the ball is unnecessarily turned over and the defense is put under pressure. (Not saying Bradley is not a liability in defense...he most certainly is (IMO).

    Others that watch Roldan more than me in MLS can say whether or not he is making the same errors in MLS as he is in the USMNT. I have a feeling he isn't. (He hasn't in the few games I have seen). I don't think Bradley was making Pulisic dribble into 4 guys and lose possession. I don't think that Bradley is responsible for poor decisions by others in possession. I believe the common denominator is that the vast majority of errors in possession are reflective of a player that doesn't' know what to do and is trying to figure it out. That is on the coach. It isn't on Bradley. Pulisic had issues. McKennie had issues. Roldan had issues.

    Bradley also has issues but his greatest issues have mostly been defensive (IMO). I believe it is 100% legitimate to complain about Bradley's play, but I believe he gets blamed/scapegoated for far more than he deserves.
     
  22. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    #22 DHC1, Oct 22, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2019
    I think it’s a mistake to only look at Bradley’s play. He is the regista for the team and we have been set up to compensator for his weaknesses.

    as a regista and the experience profession who provides leadership, a vital part of his role is to make the players around him better and he has done terribly at this.

    If he wasn’t the centerpiece, perhaps our young players would step up. We’ve seen before that his presence and intensity causes communication problems with teammates.

    furthermore, Bradley tends to sit deep in possession and often on defense, compounded by Berhalter insistence that build via possession (and usually through Bradley as our point guard). That changes our shape dramatically and causes situations where our striker feels the need to help on defense and then Pulisic gets the ball as our forward most player (even though it well within our half) and is surrounded by opponents. What is he supposed to do at that point?
     
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  23. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    Here’s a change: remember when Bradley and jones went to Klinsmann during a game against Mexico and told him that his tactical strategy was terrible and we needed to shift back to a basic 442 mid game?

    we need something like that now.
     
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  24. TheHoustonHoyaFan

    Oct 14, 2011
    Houston
    Club:
    FC Schalke 04
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Roldan has 18 caps; GB (13), Sarachan (4), Arena (1). He has 0G and 0A in those 18 caps. He can't take-on and beat opponents off the dribble. He does not win the ball or even provide decent defensive pressure. He is good at moving the ball along.

    I have never seen him do anything that suggests that he could have an impact at the international level. In the majority of his matches, much like Trapp, he has looked simply over matched

    What have you seen that suggests he would have a greater impact in cap 19, 20, 21, ...?
     
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  25. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    I think everyone should get a fresh look when we move away from the Bradley/Trapp regista. We've had USMNT contributors who weren't great and filled a role - he could potentially do that for us. I'm not pushing for him - I'm saying that we have to start all over again under a reasonable system and away from compensating for a DM that has very poor range and can't really win balls.
     

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