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Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by schrutebuck, Jun 22, 2019.
Gimme a break. I'm from Kentucky for f*ck's sake.
Can't possibly be as "unique" as Ross Smith, the Timbers' color guy...
Well, let's see one of your recent posts...
So since this is from like 2 months ago, you either a. forgot, or b. are trying to backtrack because I blew up your "point"/obsession with me.
Either way, it's really weird. "Shut up, don't post, it's egotistical!!!!", two months later "Where is my BFF Yurch!!!???"
And for the (sensible) record - I don't really mind Berhalter except for his MLS focus/continued use of a couple of the Old Lions (yes, i forgot Omar too, i won't watch him, and add Guzan to the mix, but I don't think he's with this squad). I'm not anti-MLS (I think Pomykal should be starting in Bradley's spot right now). And yes, when those guys who failed us last cycle are no longer with the team, I will begin to watch again. (Also, I'm not really anti-MB or the Lions, they are all just doing what they're told. They simply shouldn't be called in anymore, and it speaks to something really weird with the entire USSF setup, which I can't really explain.)
Anyways, is that enough for "inquiring minds" (aka obsessive Tomas)? Do you want me to ask me more questions? Or should I shut up again on a post-game forum, since I'm now being "egotistical". Is this "disrespectful to the forum"? What a dope.
Yeah, I just forgot. Thanks for the clarification! I'll probably remember next time.
Two quotes from a really good Athletic article by Paul Tenorio. It's paywalled, so let me know if I've broken some rule by posting what I think is fair use.
The first is commentary by Tenorio that I thought was interesting, because I hadn't seen it mentioned:
The second is from Berhalter regarding Pulisic:
Article here for those with a sub: https://theathletic.com/1043058/201...shines-in-free-role-as-u-s-men-rout-trinidad/
1. he just scored a nice goal in open cup like last week...he's not doing nothing. when he plays he looks good...and thats all that should matter.
2. Jonathan lewis, jordan morris, josh sargent etc have played on USMNT while playing less than Lee is for LAFC for their clubs...so i dont care.
3. reliability is not the issue. opportunity is. of course if you aren't called up you cant verify your reliability...its all so convenient for the people who want to annoint the players who are playing....
4. his team is 20 points ahead of crew and 17 ahead of TFC...and the forward for that team Vela is on pace to break the MLS goal scoring record - the LAFC midfield is killing it ....
why doesn't Lee get to shine off of that???? its not as if he has nothing to do with how well his team is doing....
why when a euro based player is playing for a first place team everyone goes bananas...but when an american in MLS is ...it is irrelevant?
bottomline...when I watch Lee play he has the skillset that I want in a center mid. period. if anything he is too deferential out there lately...he rarely goes for goal anymore just sits deep and shiled the backline...but I'm assuming that is by design..he did score 18 goals in 2014 and had 11 g and 15 a in 2017....bradley uses him differently but he still has it.
People are applying some circular logic. Just because Lee hasn't been call in doesn't mean that he should not be called in.
I think Lee is in the vast morass of players whose talent level means they could be called in but also that I'm not sure we're missing.
He's also 32. Yes, yes, I know Bradley isn't much younger, but Bradley has that national team experience that coaches love. I'm not justifying, I'm just explaining.
A bigger question is this:
There's some clear talent at the top of the pool, and it's not a large enough group to fill out a lineup, let alone a roster.
Below that is a whole slew of guys who are uninspiring, but who you could (and people do) build an argument for each of them over the other. There's a LOT of these guys and everyone has their favorite.
I keep hearing that we should be using these games to evaluate these players, but all these players? Each person on here has their favorites, but if you took everyone's favorites, it'd be a huge group of people. So my questions:
Do you think a coach can viably evaluate players through video and watching club play (live or on video) to make the potential pool smaller?
Do you think it's is a fair or valuable evaluation to evaluate whole swaths of new and unfamiliar players in short camps?
Do you think there's value to building cohesion?
Given your answers above, how do you manage the sheer number of people who could be evaluated with the short time to effectively do it in person, in camp and games?
I'm not saying that a coach shouldn't evaluate outside talent or that we should keep the same 23 forever. I actually don't think about half this 23 should or will be around in a year.
But I am asking, are people really proposing that we use friendlies, Gold Cup and Nations League as a revolving door of evaluation? And if not, how do you narrow a very wide and large pool of mediocre talent?
After all, if 32-year old Lee Nguyen is a real option ... the pool of midfielders is very, very large.
to me Lee made sense 6-8 years ago. I'm not sure he's the discussion today...
Adams makes more sense, or any number of young CMs. It should be a 3 year plan for whomever(s) we integrate there.
very true. "Honest" goals can be forgiven to a point. Sometimes you have to give credit to the goal scorer when he makes a good play but defenders cannot afford to make mistakes...especially mistakes that lead to goals. The cliche is that the sign of a good defender is that you don't notice him...that is the result of consistently making the little plays and not making mistakes.
Good post. New and compelling players are or should be constantly integrated. Tyler Boyd as one example.
Lee isn't a savior but he's good at his job and I would feel good about starting him against Panama.
I still remember marginal vets coming through for us a few times. Conor Casey for one example.
Yes, I would use all non-stop WCQ as rotating evaluations.The lack of that is how you end up scared to use Opara last round.
I would have preferred that he called in young AMs too. I'm happy to see Djordie but what about Rowe or Agudelo ?
well, first the topic of Lee came up because someone was repeating the tired argument that it is basically trapp/bradley and that's it...and said if you wanna object...who would you replace them with and I listed about 10 alternatives, Lee being just one of those that I'd be interested in seeing...so it's not really about advocating for him...I'm not convinced he is the answer by any means, despite rating him higher than most apparently do....
second...there is a vast morass...but my opinion is that some will and can and should be able to use the national team to lift themselves out of that morass and distniguish themselves...the USMNT has been a springboard for otherwise impossible accomplishments for many players and thus inclusion must be meted out with that fact in mind....that doesn't bode well for 32 year olds without much prior inclusion, i acknowledge....but at the same it just means that decididng who to include isn't about finding players who have an unchanging higher level of performance than others but predicting how that inclusion will impact the ones selected (which I acknowledge is DIFFICULT)...nevertheless, it is a requirement of the position of coach...and the one who does taht aspect of the job well will reap significant rewards for himself the team and especially the players involved. unfortunately there really is no way to find the "counter-factual" and test to see how well this is being done because the only evidence we get is what acutally happens..and what acutally ends up happening also eliminates all other potentialities from happening...so we can't say what might've happened in other scenarios. bottomline....just because the excluded players all seem about similar...they really aren't. some, if included would indeed seize the opportnuity and others, most, won't....so, hard as it is ...the coach nhas to try to find those that do. there is a huge opportunity cost involved in sticking with the ones who won't blossom or benefit from the chance or even just be good enough for the team...not only are they not adequate...which is lamentable in and of itself...tehy are also then preventing the others who may indeed be good and benefit from the chance...the chance that they need to become a better player and get to the "next level"....that possibility of using the springboard of the team. the worse part of it is is that by the time a player has proven themselves unworthy...the player who didn't get the chance might be out of form or their window might have closed...even though if they had been given the chance before they would've seized it and been a better option. the windows on certain players close and open randomly...and sometimes never open again...... I think that is why certain players continued inclusion draws such impassioned responses from many, myself included. we don't see all the alternatives as automatically not as good as those that are being included, far from it.
to your questions:
1. it is an extremely difficult task to evaluate the US player pool. so spread out in so any leagues. i think it can be done..with a team of people and with the decades long track record now of what success means in different leagues. it IS hard...but there really shouldnt be excuses. you use that evidence...and then verify it with callups, camps, and playing time and go from there. there isn't a way to KNOW FOR SURE based only on video though...but there doesn't need to be, imo.
2. yes....I think it would be much better than never including them at all...but the real goal should be to get as many as possible on-field chances....what happens on the field is what matters. not what happens in training or in camps or even at clubs....with moderation, giving as many players as possible the chance to prove themselves should be an ongiong constant aspect of the team...especially when Donovan, Dempsey, Reyna, etc level players are not there to stake their undisputed claim to certain roles...when it is a vast morass...there should be more revolving in terms of opportunities, in my opinion. that said if you just call in a player to a camp and the y never get to play a game...that is far from fair...and as observers, being forced to just take the coaches word for it on a player is of course extremely problematic.
3. of course......which is why that first year of a world cup cycle is very very important...the beginning of a cycle is a prime time to give everyone a chance....you are building up cohesion of course...but as you go experimenting as much as possible. it is more art than science.
i think it is not easy....i could come up 10-15 names that are POSSIBILITIES at each position...which would equate to 100-200 players who are roughly in the convo....(minimum).....
but the logistiics and tradition of how that is managed is that a much smaller pool is generally looked at. I object to the idea that all excluded players would indeed be mediocre if given the opportunity....I think when you look at teams with much smaller pools...like tnt, Jamaica, guatemala etc that are getting results against the USMNT recently...those pools benefit from the fact that every decent player is at least getting a chance...no stone goes unturned...and that benefits those teams greatly.
I would like to see some kind of inter-squad compettiion in january camp...make up 2 or 4 national teams and have them play each other in public sight...see if the coach's pets really are better than the ones on the fringes.....i bet if that happened people would be surprised at which players standout. make the jan camp more of a combine than a camp...you could still do the friendlies ...just give the standouts from the interquad scrimmages the playing time in those....could be an interesting event.
but at some point, yes, cohesion matters a lot...so later in the cycle you have to narrow it down and build a squad.
still, even then, a small % of the team should and could always be new players....when a boyd comes in and does well despute never being included...or when demarcus beasly is a late add to the 2002 world cup and does well...it really shows that you don't have to have played together for years to be a good player on the USMNT....and that if a player is in-form and hot right now...no matter where the team is in the cycle...that player should be on the radar.
I love the idea of inter-squad scrimmages, spring game style.
They should definitely do that and sell super cheap tickets for the games. Kids under 12 free etc.
T and T had freaking Dwight Yorke!
Nguyen is actually a year older than Bradley. He is supposed to be a playmaker but dropped off the cliff in 2018 (3G 5A -- you can probably get a good DM to do that) and has no "points" this season at all in just 3 starts. Erring on the wrong side of age.
Lee is just an example. I want more guys getting chances.
To Lee in particular, he's a low mileage 32.
you cannot cohere what you have not fully evaluated and understood. i fear that what i advocate gets ripped as bunch of incoherent experiments. and yeah for parts of this cycle i would have just run through different sets of players to figure out who stands out. before we are a "team" we need to find out who our strongest components would be. if holmes or boyd don't play, we don't know. ditto robinson or sweat. the sorting works both ways, and if your mind is made up beforehand, you don't get properly sorted -- trapp.
but even for a tournament like this you could accomplish the goal by simple squad rotation. if half the team is rotated each game, i can begin to make comparisons game to game. if i run out the same team i made my decision before the games even began. this is saturated in confirmation bias. they believe they already have it sorted. their reflex even after a bad game is going to be, but i have this sorted. you lose the evaluation or lesson value of games, and it just becomes win lose or draw contests.
only when you know which 23 you should build around, can you cohere the right players on the field. i mean, what happens if miazga and brooks actually suck worse than zimmerman and long? what happens if bradley ages out? if trapp continues to suck? etc. and you've at least nominally "cohered" the team with them. to me this is part of the lesson of last cycle is a team that had been to war together in the midfield, but got old.
I would too, but what have you seen from Egg to suggest he's willing to give all these chances? His three camps so far are just about the same players, and this is the easiest time to be experimenting.
along those lines, our approach to keeping beyond steffen remains an intellectual shambles. horvath is the presumptive 2 but off of isolated games and not consistent performance. the others, who knows? they carry the clipboard most nights. ironically steffen missed an earlier part of this year with injuries, and now horvath. and yet we take for granted the pecking order and the names on it, and seem myopically focused on getting steffen the stats for a work permit we don't even know if city is going to actually require.
teams already scrimmage themselves routinely. i don't think a formal version of that would tell you much in terms of talent eval you can't get from a practice scrimmage. the only thing it would do is create a public shame factor if the game publicly goes in a manner and you still perseverate. when i was first starting out in select i was on the B team. i thought i would outplay A teamers in informal practice scrimmages. but i don't know how close the A team staff looked, it's practice. you make excuses. but when we played a formal scrimmage and the Bs romped the As I was guest playing for the As within a week and swapped over to their league team after that. to me it's less that you could evaluate than that the formal stakes would force the coach to acknowledge what we see.
that being said, the other pitfalls i can see are the stalemate potential of matched training and formations, or having one team have to play some other forced style to avoid it. in football the taxi squad often tries to run the upcoming opposition's tactics, not yours. that, and you may be more pointing out your weaknesses against yourself as opposed to against your future opponent. if we are running out a hustle playing arriola on a wing, maybe he doesn't expose robinson. but if pulisic, who has skipped many friendlies, was playing, maybe he takes him on and abuses him like brazil did.
personally i would like to see us do like italy did last year. one team for LoN. one team for our belgium neutral friendly. two places. two camps. two teams essentially. or maybe even see about a B team schedule alongside the A team. i want to see how the play other teams and not us. but i want to run more bodies through camps to sort more players as keepers or trash. we seem hypereager to instead winnow down to lineups and exclusivize and chase wins when i think what we need are games and bodies and eval to see who is worth our time relative to their cohort.
I would go with best formation for the players and played in full stadiums. Pride will turn up the heat. As you said, competitive scrimmages will show who's best.
The Seattle Seahawks have built a culture of competition for a decade. They let Russell Wilson win a job as a kid round draft pick vs a very expensive and more experienced signing.
I want that to be the model for the USMNT. The best man plays and we are always looking for the best man.
i am not sure if GB's abstracted sensibilities let him let the best man win. trapp to me is the proof the games scarcely matter. so as a result we run out consistent lineups, they do their thing or not, and we have no context to put that in. zardes had a pair? we don't know if the next guy would have had a hat trick. on that much i agree.
i agree on a culture of competition for the various reasons i have said before. i just think all a public scrimmage adds is basically stakes and public shame, not games they don't already play closed doors at practice. every team plays 7 a side, 11 a side, some days of the week. all this would add is if mckennie shows up trapp on tv with all of us watching then maybe the coach has to acknowledge what everyone else can see. but to me that should already be evident from the friendlies. and the friendlies add a team we don't know like the back of our hand, playing a style we don't. that might in part reflect system fit, but it would be concrete expression of that, and not just an abstracted concept that i think this guy could play that role.
to me i'd go more in the spring training split squad direction. more teams more players more games.
and to me what needs to happen is we identify the whole group of players who can put up a brace over time, rather than just grab the first one who does. i want to see 17 guys (limits of sub rules) play, sort them good from bad. another 17. another 17. ok, you are the 30 or so who impressed me, we will run you through a couple more friendlies, half and half. ok, who impresses in that bunch. only later in the cycle get this down to 23. those 23 earning it not because they fit an image day 1, but rather for having repeatedly played well as we played games to sort out good from bad.
that would also have the side benefit of when a guy in the 23 gets hurt, his fairly easy replacement is the guys from the 30 man. who themselves earned their stature by showing something at some point.
i also think the opaqueness and specificity of the process elevates berhalter. the team is picked per an idea in his head that is unique to him. the accountability to performance in the games we all see isn't really there. instead we look to him to instruct us on how players fit in his system. to me that undermines a lot of the accountability mechanisms, both for players and for him. if the team is instead done by performance including players that aren't his pets, then our ideas are probably as valid as his and accountability is more direct. part of the game of it being your own patented mousetrap is i have to ask you how well it is working and what parts even fit it.
They were the huge wc story that year. Here's a cool article as told by Robbie Earle.