What's the USMNT identity?

Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by DHC1, Oct 17, 2017.

  1. Papin

    Papin BigSoccer Supporter

    Nov 19, 1998
    le côté obscur
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Obvious conclusion: The only thing that matters in the Hex is whether the team qualifies or not. Everything else (wins, shutouts, points, goals scored/allowed) will soon be forgotten as those stats mean virtually nothing when it comes to how the team will do at the world cup.
     
    gunnerfan7, bsky22 and TheHoustonHoyaFan repped this.
  2. bsky22

    bsky22 Member+

    Dec 8, 2003
    It seems like you think we played a counter attacking but nothing to support it. I also never said we played a possession style back then, but that we often played a more attacking style than you are claiming. The way we played was based mostly on our players. Sure we counter attacked under Arena at times because we he had Donovan, Beasely, Jones, Stewart, Convey, etc. We also focused on crosses because we had McBride, Ching, Casey, Johnson, etc upfront. We also possessed that ball in midfield because we had Reyna and O'Brien, when healthy.

    This is all I said about how we would fare against different teams now (im not sure the part highlighted is true historically or if i completely believe it)....

    I think it would make us more likely beat lesser teams (which includes our region less mexico) and has maybe a slightly worse chance against better sides. it would also mean we would have a better chance of coming from behind against better sides than we do relying solely on counter attacking.

    As I said before, I dont think we played they you described in two of my favorite games in 2002 and 2006. Here are highlights from the italy game. I dont see a team dropping off in numbers. I dont see disciplined defending either. I see players losing there marks and reckless tackles many times. I also see us possessing the ball in midfield and even the final third. I also see us sending players forward. For example, we have 6 players in the final third on the goal that is called back (note we are only playing with 9 men at that point).

     
  3. bsky22

    bsky22 Member+

    Dec 8, 2003
    You keep making this same poor argument. These data sets are too small. This is the crap that Suy always does and thought you were better than this. The extra goals we conceded in 2018 came from 3 games against our two top opponents. Two against mexico and three against CR. Of those goals, Im not sure how many were from poor defending. You know what was true about our defense the other 7 games? It was bad.

    @TheHoustonHoyaFan numbers really make your argument suspect. The cycle we played the most defensive counter attacking style was 2010. Bradley played with defensive midfielders that rarely got forward so it was rare that more than four players ever made it into the attacking third. It is kind of weird that the 2010 cycle is tied for the most GA with the 2018 cycle. What is also weird is why that most defensive style resulted in conceding so many goals in the first 15 minutes of the WC games.... England 4', Slovenia 13', and Ghana 5'. Algeria also hit the cross bar early on.
     
  4. bsky22

    bsky22 Member+

    Dec 8, 2003
    I think I missed this one.

    I want play as attacking as we can. I want to build off progress we made since 2011 instead of throwing it away. Because we wasted the last two years, I'd go back to model from the Copa. That team was organized defensively, fought hard, and it "sum was greater than the parts". They also possessed the ball out of the back and through the midfield and were also willing to send numbers forward. The results were also quite good, except when suspensions highlighted our poor depth.

    That team needs to replace Guzan, Cameron, Jones, Bradley, Bedoya, Zardes, and Dempsey. I believe Steffen, Miazga, Mckennie, Adams, Pulisic and two of Sargent/Weah/Altidore is at least close to that squad. I'd sit Adams and Mckennie in front of the back line and have them cover for outside backs going forward. I'd even consider taking off one the forwards off and playing Canouse as dmid if shows he is up to it. I think this back 7 is on par with the copa side, but the attacking 4 are much more dynamic and combine much better. The team could possess out of the back, the midfielders can transition to the attacking third and we can focus be composed in the attacking third to create chances.

    CP is highly technical and was just bought for pretty good sum of money by a team that plays a possession based attacking style of attacking soccer. While the physical and mental tools are a lot of what make mckennie and adams big "prospects" but both are technical enough to move the ball through midfield. Sargent has come off the bench in Bremen's last 3 games and Weah had a succesful debut at Celtic. It is looking less likely that Hyndman will be an option in the near term... his only hope looks to be if he is loaned back out to team that is not Hibs. I'm going to be paying very close attention to Mendez at Freiburg as I think we need a player like him to complement Mckennie and Adams.

    I think we can put a solid team on the field today and it will evolve as the younger players break through. There is no reason the team cant attack quick, but absolutely need to focus on possessing the ball all over the field, but especially in the attacking third. Maybe we go with Sarri ball or gegenpressing (there is rumor out there that Liverpool is interested in mckennie for over $20M) or something else. The point being we dont have a long term identity that we are trying to maintain, but we are still very new at this and how we play will evolve as players emerge. Every quality team has players that can possess the ball whether they play that way or not.
     
  5. Excellency

    Excellency Member+

    Nov 4, 2011
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    The thread title is "what is the US identity" but every post discusses "what was the US identity".
     
  6. Suyuntuy

    Suyuntuy Member+

    Jul 16, 2007
    Vancouver, Canada
    After a year+ under an interim, and with the Old Guard sent into retirement, at this point we don't have an identity.

    The educated guess is that Gregg is going to try what JK tried until early 2012: make us play the combo & possession game until we face a couple of decent teams and get dismantled.

    After that, once again the educated guess is that we'll revert to the usual until our 17-22 year olds mature a bit more and we can give proper footballing yet another try.

    I think by then it may work. We'll have the talent with several promising guys in their prime. But it won't be in time for Qatar. Qatar is a throwaway, if we make it there it'll be a three-and-out.
     
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  7. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    For those of us who are not fully "woke", identity is something that doesn't change with each year. If that's the case, looking at the past to make statements about the future actually makes a lot of sense.

    I'm sure you know better, of course.
     
  8. Excellency

    Excellency Member+

    Nov 4, 2011
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Why stay chained to the past. It's a new cycle. Let's invent an identity based on progress.
     
  9. tomásbernal

    tomásbernal Member+

    Sep 4, 2007
    Club:
    Portland Timbers
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Given we haven't yet seen one game from Berhalter's team, I'd venture to say that we can't assess the identity of this team yet. Too much has been in flux for the last year+ and we didn't settle on anything resembling a playing style with Sarachan. Once Berhalter has a chance to run out "his" guys a few times I'd say we'll have a decent idea of what the identity of this generation is looking like.
     
  10. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    I look at this data and see that when we give up a lot of goals (2010 and 2018), we add volatility (1st place and 5th place) while when we give up single digit goals, we finish in the top three.
     
  11. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    So now you're back-tracking on saying that "playing as attacking as we can" would give us a "slightly worse chance against better sides"?

    Let's use your best 11 right now.

    ------------------------Wood------------
    ---------------Altidore------------JS/TW*
    ---------------------Pulisic------------------
    ----------Mckennie---Adams----------
    Johnson-Brooks-Miazga-Yedlin
    ----------------------Steffen---------------

    You think this team (I'm presuming that this is an attacking side in your mind - apologies if I'm wrong) is equally likely to win vs. top 20 teams than a USMNT team with a more defensive setup and organization?

    I see Brazil/Argentina/Belgium (for example) just running through the open space on the wings and putting in crosses to cutters all day long.
     
  12. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    [moved from another thread]

    LOL. This is the first time I've heard you say that our identity is "looking for players from anywhere and recruiting to our best players on the field."

    I fully agree with this statement and have been actively pushing against the concept that the JJ/TC/Sebatchieu's of the world reflect poorly upon US Soccer.

    Our disagreement is that you think we should play an attacking style and I think we should focus on giving us the best possible chance of winning vs. top teams and that means focusing on our strengths, which aren't possession oriented.

    To reiterate my point, I think that having highly athletic players focused on organized defense and a countering offense is what has and will continue to give us the best opportunity to win. I strongly believe this is who we have been and it's been built upon players who have a chip on their shoulder and makes us greater-than-the-sum-of-the-parts.

    More pointedly, I look at our top players now (and historically) and see that the clearly fit better into a Northern European direct style rather than a possession based Latin-ish style.

    Lastly, I think that the current focus on "attacking, attractive soccer" is entirely premised upon a perspective about "where we were [and are] and [we're] worried about how outsiders perceived us"
     
  13. A playing style can only develop from the league of the country. It lays the foundation into the players for the national team.
    So the league must become good enough to keep youngsters in it to be infused with the American soccer identity.
     
  14. bsky22

    bsky22 Member+

    Dec 8, 2003
    the majority of our top players are going to Germany. My starting lineup would include at least 6 bundesliga players.

    our league isnt developing many international quality players and dont seem to be too worried about it.

    There was a twitter post that showed that we had more than 20 players playing in their u20 league, but I couldn't find it in a quick search. while looking for, I found an article on why the bundesliga thinks it is happening and a list of six 19/20 year olds who may break through to the first team in the near future.

    https://www.bundesliga.com/en/bunde...-flocking-to-the-bundesliga-pulisic-2743-1186

    https://www.bundesliga.com/en/news/...tt-brewer-6-american-youth-players-473321.jsp
     
  15. bsky22

    bsky22 Member+

    Dec 8, 2003
    It is because I dont think we have an identity yet. We are still, unfortunately, at the very early stage of development. We should be focusing on getting better and finding our identity.

    I think you are wrong because countries "identity" on the field should match its culture. Defending and countering would not be embraced by the masses.

    I dont care how anybody perceives us. I understand that we arent a top 20 team and want to be a top 10 team. I think to do that, we need to fix our soccer culture and focus on our weaknesses. Playing the types of players you describe would reinforce youth coaches picking players on athletic ability over other aspects of the game. No top 20 team in the world is as deficient on the technical and tactical side as our players. We need to improve in those areas no matter how we play so I think it should be our priority.

    I've never said we should play a Latin style, but we shouldn't rule it out now or in the future. We would be much better off and would have many more options if we had more Latinos in our pool. I think we should focus on playing an attacking style that is possession based. my front six players are all strong physically but are in the team for their technical abilities. Five of them are playing in the bundesliga and one is at Celtic. I think they are good enough to be dominant in concacaf and give us just as good of a chance at the world cup.

    People are complaining about our defense, but I think we are just as good as we have been there if not better. I think I'd take Brooks and Miazga over any of the center back pairing we have used in the past. I'd take them over Besler/Gonzalez, Besler/Cameron, Demerit/Onyewu, onyewu/pope, pope/a good. Yedlin is probably one of the best RBs we've ever had after cherundolo and there are plenty of outside back prospects and CD depth that we could push out wide. We got two talented young goalkeepers. Then throw TA and WM in front of them we look quite solid defensively compared to past teams.
     
  16. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    First, wrt CONCACAF, we should control possession vs. all the other teams other than CR and Mexico even if we are focused on maintaining defensive integrity. When two teams play defensively and look to counter (and I'm confident that will the strategy against us), the better team will maintain possession and usually win. Where upsets are more likely to happen is when one of the teams doesn't take the other seriously and let's them counter-attack. This IMO is exactly what happened in TnT.

    I don't think we disagree much on who our core players are: CP, WM, TA, JB.

    Which of them are known for / play in a possession system vs. elite opponents?

    I believe that all are known as players who are fast, athletic, disruptive, counter-attackers and are not the type that would get chosen for La Liga possession oriented sides (not including games against weaker opponents). I think the same with Sargent and Weah. Don't get me wrong, I don't think that they have no technical skills but they excel in counter-attack direct play.

    Importantly, a possession type game is only as good as the weakest link and our GK and back line, particularly our outside backs, are not well suited for a possession game.

    Lastly, a build from the back possession game allows our opponent to set their defense and we lose our speed, athleticism advantage that I think is our greatest attacking advantage.
     
  17. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    America's culture is about achievement and winning. Losing is far worse than being known as a defending and countering team.

    Remember our origins as "wait til you see the whites of their eyes" which was the ultimate defend and counter strategy.
     
  18. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    score one for Team Possession:

     
  19. grandinquisitor28

    Feb 11, 2002
    Nevada
    The Ghana game was a real weird one though. I think the entire complexion of the game changed with two moments.

    #1: We fall behind due to an absolutely idiotic and double blow goal where Reyna not only makes a total hash of simply receiving the ball, but also tears his ACL on the play and loses his career, helplessly left to watch on the ground in agony as he see's all the work we did in the match with Italy collapse in one totally against the run of his career moment.

    #2: After immediately grabbing all the momentum in the match with Dempsey's equalizer, and 45 minutes to grab a second goal, the ref makes a horrific hair brained call and gifts Ghana a non-existent Penalty just 2 minutes later and seconds before the halftime whistle. That totally deflated the team, and while it's still worthy of condemnation (the US seemed to almost quit twice in 3 games, sandwiched between a heroic performance against eventual champs Italy, totally bizarre), it's understandable that the team felt totally jobbed (they were), and some were so deflated it clearly seemed to impact their play (maybe it was impacted also by chasing the game against the Czechs and the Italians in matchday's 1 and 2).


    I also find it interesting in that it's one of three horrific calls in our next four World Cup Matches (Group Matchday 3 against Ghana, Group Matchday 2 Disallowed goal against Slovenia, and Group Matchday 3 Disallowed goal against Algeria) that will have an astonishingly heavy impact in two consecutive World Cups (It knocks us out of WC '06, and it leaves us exhausted and having to play Ghana from behind again (due to a horrific Lineup decision from Bradley) four years later, chasing the game w/o the energy to do so. I have always felt if the US hadn't exhausted itself chasing the game through it's own faults against Slovenia and the even more after the disallowed goal, then having to do it again against Algeria because of a blown call on a legit Dempsey goal, the team would have been much more fit to handle Ghana in '10, and heck we might have had a different lineup as well w/players being fresher.

    That whole trend of Ghana in '06, then Slovenia in '10, and Algeria in '10 is just really bizzare. 3 games out of 4 victims of two totally unforgivable, totally inept calls, and a third bad call in the disallowed Dempsey goal, all of which had a massive impact on both respective cups.
     
  20. Maximum Optimal

    Maximum Optimal Member+

    Jul 10, 2001
    For a long time we were primarily a counter attacking team. At least against strong sides. This reflected the skill set of the key players. Mainly Donovan. But to some extent guys like Beasley and Wolff as well.

    I don't think the current crop favors that kind of style. But having two players like Adams and McKennie suggests we could be more of a high pressure team on defense. That might be the direction we go.
     
  21. grandinquisitor28

    Feb 11, 2002
    Nevada
    The real outliers seem to be our defending in 2010 and '18, and our toothless attack in '02, but context is always valuable too.

    In '02 we got taken to the woodshed in three consecutive games (@ Mexico, Vs Honduras in DC, and @ Costa Rica) held scoreless in two of them (hence heavily impacting the goals scored marker, but context reminds you that when we entered that cycle our attack was built around: McBride, Wolff, Mathis, and Reyna, and all four were out injured for two of those 3 games, and I believe 3 of the four were out for all three of the games. If we had lost all four of our top options in the attack at any time in any cycle, that's going to leave us held scoreless repeatedly, it would do that to almost any international side.

    I would add that I do think the '18 goal #'s are HUGELY distorted to the pile of goals we scored at home vs Honduras in March, and vs Panama in October (I believe 10 of 18 goals scored came in two games. The most telling feature is that our forwards in Jozy and Wood scored in just 3 of the 10 qualifiers in the hex and only a total of four goals from the run of play in total if memory serves.

    I think any viewpoint fixating on defense alone for the issues we had, or a huge portion of them misses the point that the attack was every bit as pathetic. That essentially we rarely could score from the run of play all hex, and depended exclusively on Pulisic, and Dempsey to score virtually all of those run of play goals (I'll give Wood credit for his trio of goals, though at least one if not more was the simple result of a goal mouth scramble, and superb timing and composure in the moment).

    Everything sucked in 2017 except for Pulisic. Pretty much everything. I give Dempsey credit too as he was playing at the risk of his life for the USMNT, and played well to boot.
     
  22. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    Interesting take. Why don't you think our offensive players would be good on the counter? I see the strength of our attackers (CP, Woods, Sargent and Weah) as being very good at running in space and creating lanes.
     
  23. bsky22

    bsky22 Member+

    Dec 8, 2003
    How come we dont play the way you suggest in any other sport? I think our ultimate style will be like our basketball team (unlikely to be seen in our lifetime). That most "American" I have ever seen was the 1980 hockey team. They were kids who didnt play scared against men.

    What kind of competitor was Brooks looking for? Big strong kids who could skate through a wall? Guys who could fly? Who could pay the price? Who could make the puck tap dance? Good Lord, spare us. Brooks wanted young, educated kids who were willing to break down stereotypes, were willing to throw old wives' tales about conditioning and tactics out the window. He wanted open-minded people who could skate. "The ignorant people, the self-centered people, the people who don't want to expand their thoughts, they're not going to be the real good athletes," Brooks says. "They're not going to be able to keep that particular moment, that game, that season in the proper perspective. I believe it. Understand this world around you."

    The players had to learn a new style of play in seven months. In simplest terms, they had to learn what any touch-football player knows by the fifth grade--that crisscross patterns and laterals are more effective than the plunge. They had to learn not to retaliate, which is almost un-American.


    All that was easy, because weaving, passing, holding onto the puck is simply a more enjoyable way to play the game. Smashing that stereotype was a cinch.

    https://www.si.com/olympic-ice-hock...t-we-can-be-1980-us-olympic-hockey-team-si-60
     
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  24. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    When our soccer talent relative to the rest of the world is near the level it is for basketball, I will be all for that.

    Even you have to agree that we're not quite there yet.
     
  25. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    Did you watch the game vs. USSR and the gold medal game vs. Finland? We were not going toe-to-toe with them.

    Finally, the concept of having our streategic competitive advantage be that we have an athletic team that is highly organized defense and attacks directly via counter is a far far way from "playing scared."
     

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