Assessment of young Americans in Europe (as a group)?

Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by dspence2311, Jan 19, 2020.

  1. RalleeMonkey

    RalleeMonkey Member+

    Aug 30, 2004
    Yes, except there is a glaring hole at forward.

    Sargeant, we all hope he comes good. I expect he will.

    After Josh, who? I don't know who we could name that would expect to reach the level, as a forward, of peak Jozy. Or, Dempsey as a forward. Or, Landon as a forward.

    We really don't know how good Davies was.

    But, I don't know which of our forward prospects you'd put your money on to exceed peak Edson or peak Herc?

    I'm sure someone will rise up. Right?

    Weah is an attacking winger .... does he count?
  2. thedukeofsoccer

    thedukeofsoccer Member+

    Jul 11, 2004
    Youtube: Jimmy Dore, Secular Talk
    AFC Ajax
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    They make one very optimistic about the U.S.' chances in the Olympics, if they manage to qualify in spite of unavailiability, playing in Latin America, and a tough group.

    As far as the senior team, you wish the "20 Pulisic's" (as the European scout called them) weren't heavily coming at once. They have upside in the long run. But ultimately getting better as a national side has little to do with whether they play now or later. Ideally they'd be staggered w/ more quality vets mixed in. But this is the group we have because a combo of a down cycle of talent and poor integration. So contending on a world stage or even for supremacy in the region will likely be delayed for quite a while.

    Ideally would compensate for this by playing a high-octane, high press style, that doesn't require much thinking rather reacting. Instead they've chosen to do the opposite. So could make the growing pains that much worse until corrected.
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  3. grandinquisitor28

    Feb 11, 2002
    I think one thing that could really benefit us is how unusual this World Cup is. It will take place six months later than normal, so instead of basically having to force the coaches hand like Donovan and Beasley by the winter of '01-'02 (which translates to winter of '21-'22), our guys will actually have the whole Spring of '22, and even perhaps the fall of '22 to force EGG's hand. That's basically a full 2.5 more seasons, plus the fall of '22 (essentially the early stages of a third season) so while I think most of us are right to expect more of the dumpster fire 23/11's to be senselessly rolled out over and over in friendlies and qualifiers for at least another 9 months or so if not longer, we will have time for the kids to change chuckleheads mind.

    In terms of the attack I have about 18 different guys I'm thinking about, and in terms of defense, probably another 8 to 10. Guys have a path, to break the door down w/this idiot they need to get their club situations sorted (not fall into that Soto/Bobby Wood Limbo scenario), and break into the starting lineup regularly. I could be wrong, but with most of our young prospects, thing should be sorted to me by late '20 to the spring of '21 at the latest barring injury. Things may go sidewise as they have for Carleton (situation and poor choices), Wright (just didn't develop), and Taitague (an endless array of injuries), but with the second half of '19-'20 to play, as well as all of the '20-'21, and '21-'22 full seasons, and even some of the early '22-'23 season as well, a huge portion of these guys should have served noticed by the time Egg makes his choices for the final 23 (if we qualify).

    This is the one reason why when I'm on the cusp of totally losing my ---- over how much of a dribbling moron EGG is, I realize that there's just a lot of time to work with if we can manage to qualify. There's literally a full 2.5 club seasons to work with for guys like Llanez, KDLF, Mendez, Ledezma, Soto, Sargent, Siebatcheu, and so, so, so many others. Nothings guaranteed, especially w/injuries, but clubs will have largely made career defining decisions with most or all of the kids by then. I imagine all of us can tell the difference between the news were getting concerning guys like Llanez, Ledezma, and Gio Reyna, as compared to the news flow we've gotten with Akale, Josh Perez, or Haji Wright. We should have a much clearer picture in terms of trajectory by next summer, and considering we'll still have another two full seasons to interpret following next summer before we even come within six months of the World Cup, a lot of clarity will have been provided, not just for EGG but for us as well.

    Theres plenty of time both for EGG to make incredibly idiotic decisions in the short term, but also be forced to make halfway intelligent one's in the long term. We just need our kids to take full advantage of the developmental opportunities they have laid out before them over the next 2.5 years.
  4. grandinquisitor28

    Feb 11, 2002
    #79 grandinquisitor28, Jan 22, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
    A lot of this had to do with certain particular things:

    Mathis: Mental Make Up and knee injury. If he had the right fitness approach and hadn't blown out his knee he would have built quite the career in Europe.

    O'Brien: He was already building a career in Europe when his body fell apart, kind of that period's Taitague (although Taitague never broke through, at all, thus far, but is healthy, at least for now).

    Wolff: Like Mathis he blew out his knee. I don't know what he could've been, but I do know that he never looked quite as athletic, or energizer bunny fast post-injury as he looked at the olympics in '00 or for the USMNT circa '00-'01.

    Pope: Was not interested in playing overseas, if he had been, he would have started at CB for a legit team, not a bottom feeder.

    Donovan: One of those weirder careers. Was always undersold in Europe, never quite valued enough, especially w/that double debacle in Germany, had more success in England, but man, if he had been able to tolerate it there, he would've built a legit career, he just didn't want it.

    I could go on. A guy like McBride would've had no problem getting a gig with a team like Bremen these days. He just didn't have those opportunities.

    I think it was a mix of incredibly bad luck (injuries), preferences, and European Snobbery that stopped it.

    I still think we definitely have more cream and more depth than ever before, but I also think those guys from that great '99 Youth-'03 Senior mens team generation were every bit as legit as prospects.

    We need to remember what they did: They THRASHED Portugal, which was just two years removed from feeling robbed of a chance to win the Euro Championships in 2000, and they'd be runner up in Euro 2004, and had just won the group of death in European Qualifying for the WC (featured 1998 WC Semifinalists Netherlands, 2002 WC R16 Ireland, and of course Portugal), we tied S. Korea, in a. cup where it seemed like an act of God, or a ref that wasn't bought off was needed to survive an encounter with them, we trashed Mexico, and we outplayed Germany and we're robbed in the QF's (yes I know we got crushed by Poland, but we always seem to play at least one garbage game in a WC, and additionally that game turned on a looney call denying Donovan an equalizer, and lead directly to a second goal for Poland seconds later. It was exactly like that Steelers-Cardinals Super Bowl 11 years ago where the Cardinals were driving to tie it up or take the lead right before halftime, and instead Warner through a pick six as the clock expired for halftime, a 10-14 point turnaround on the one play which proved decisive. If Donovan's goal isn't disallowed, or heck, if it's just saved cleanly, it's a different game, we have energy and momentum 1-1 or 0-1 but waking up, instead, it's 0-2 seconds later and essentially over (interesting watching the highlights on youtube, I switched to the S. Korea-Portugal game after the first 15 mins or so, and didn't realize that Mathis was electric all game, could've had 3 goals in that match. Damn he was good, even post knee injury he still had ridiculous talent).

    These weren't just a bunch of guys hitting above their weight class for a few weeks. It was a fantastic team made up of veterans who'd played in Europe and come back home, veterans who were still playing in Europe, and kids who would make their bones in Europe to some degree, or stick around at home to grow the league. When you look down the roster, it's an ideal mix in terms of vets, prime, and youth, and in terms of talent. We undersell them too much at times. Donovan was really, really, really good (and hungry) back then. O'Brien and Mathis had world class talent, so did Pope, Reyna was a very good club player and international who made the all tournament team, McBride was the most underrated Forward in USMNT History, one could go on and on. Suffice it to say, they were damn good, and quite different from this team which is so heavily youth tilted.
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  5. gogorath

    gogorath Member+

    United States
    May 12, 2019
    We've had talent before, and this team is not near the height of our most talented teams ... yet.

    We've never had depth. There's always been a few weak points in the starting XI, or a key injury that hurts the team an incredible amount.

    This new wave of talent needs to not only have enough guys to pan out to match some of the more talented teams (like '09 and '02), but the other step change will be if we truly have real depth to both absorb injuries but also develop a pipeline.

    We've also got to do all this while noting that we had an absolutely incredible run at keeper that could have never been expected to last as long as it has. Great keeper performances have made some of our World Cup performances look a lot better than we probably deserved.
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  6. Pegasus

    Pegasus Member+

    Apr 20, 1999
    FC Dallas
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    A lot of the early MLS'ers either came back from Europe or never went to help start MLS. I think McBride did go there for a very short time (may be wrong) and others like Ramos and Wynalda could have made decent careers but were convinced starting MLS was important and came back here to stay. What's happening now is there good young players in MLS and overseas. If everything works the way it should the top players who start in MLS should leave at 18-22 for good situations in Europe. There are several players in position where they should move soon. I'm not one who thinks MLS is evil and has completely stopped players from moving but what I'd like to see with academies asserting themselves is more of a conveyor belt where the sign, develop and move and the MLS team gets a good payout and the player successfully goes onto big teams abroad. yes, I seem to have on my rose colored glasses today.
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  7. juvechelsea

    juvechelsea Member+

    Feb 15, 2006
    I still have the heterodox position that 2010 was better than 2002. 2002 was the deepest advancement, but we got 4 group points, negative goal difference, and advanced in second after losing to Poland. We then had a friendly round of 16 matchup with regional rival Mexico, who we split Hex games with, and then lost to Germany. Thus exiting with as many losses as wins. The Germany game gets laden with coulda woulda shoulda that Berhalter dines out on. In reality he played 2 world cup games his whole career, got on as a sub, and hand or not, we couldn't manage a goal and gave up one.

    2010 was the team that beat Spain in 2009 and had a lead on Brazil in the confed cup final. 2010 we won our world cup group undefeated, tied England, and lost to Ghana in extra time. So we didn't lose any game in regulation, Rico Clark coaching mistake or not.

    I think we were more competitive in 2010 but the counter tactics don't fit the narrative. The narrative is that 2010 was part of a long plateau that has to be jolted by change, not that we had found something that could be built upon. It doesn't help that second cycle Bradley lost the personnel plot.

    I do feel like the 2002 team had excellent mids, forwards, and keeping. In fact I hold up the 2002 mids when people want to pretend that we are closer to world class now than then. O'Brien Mastro Reyna Earnie Beasley rotating as starters, with Mathis and Landon (who could be mids) as forwards, Cobi off the bench. I believe the game has progressed as have we. However, the question is how close to world class are you at any time and I think we were closer then. Now we make excuses for players and would be lucky to get even a friendly upset against a good team. Then we could get friendly and game upsets. The game was simpler but we were closer to the lead pack and able to compete with them by tactics.

    I do think the next cohort up we may start catching back up.
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  8. juvechelsea

    juvechelsea Member+

    Feb 15, 2006
    I am more enthused by the sheer numbers, at least at certain positions. I would be happier if GB wasn't handling tactics, and if we had more keeping and defending prodigies as well.

    I do have my favorites but knowing not everyone turns out, or that the next prospect may be even better than the last, I am as or more enthused just by the bulk. Players A and B can fail and C gets hurt and is never the same but X, Y, and Z still find their traction.
  9. juvechelsea

    juvechelsea Member+

    Feb 15, 2006
    In terms of pipeline I am concerned by the slow walking of the YNT age group coach hiring. If you think back to your own select experience, the process takes years. U10 on up to U20. The people coming in now at 20 would have been 10 in 2010, when Bradley was still coach. I would assume many were brought into the official pipeline at U15 under Arena or Klinsi. Wicky's U17 team was a nightmare and whatever the heck is going on now may percolate back up several years from now.

    It's kind of like I wonder what happened in development with that 2010-2020 period. Pulisic was actually not an academy kid but the child of a former pro. Nagbe, Trapp, etc. stunk up the joint. I wonder if some of it was academy HGP initially being more of a "dibs" exercise than effective coaching.

    Anyhow, you're talking about a regular, flowing pipeline, and my concern is it's working right now because of past effort but in a few years the org chart game playing and GM dithering will manifest. You can't go years with "acting" coaches or existing coaches covering for empty slots, and it doesn't show. And as adult soccer fans any youth failures will show up years from now.

    And I don't trust these lengthy GM "deliberative" efforts when they result in Berhalter and Wicky. That says you wanted to give the impression of extreme consideration but then picked the winner out of a hat with one name in it.
  10. juvechelsea

    juvechelsea Member+

    Feb 15, 2006
    To me the disparity in results between the mostly amateur U17s and the almost completely professionalized U20s is telling. And that's not just this year but over time for about a decade.
  11. dspence2311

    dspence2311 Member

    Oct 14, 2007
    Weah is frequently listed as a forward, so I hope so. I assume he would get more run as a forward given (my sense ) that we have good young candidates at the wing.
  12. bsky22

    bsky22 Member+

    Dec 8, 2003
    The legend of 2002 seems grow a little bit every year. It was clearly our deepest and most balanced team, but exaggerating the succes has just led to complacency. We were lucky to draw mexico and actually lucky to get out of the group. We played well against Germany but people thinking we are in the semis if the hand ball is called seem to miss that the PK had to be converted and still needed to find another goal.

    I remember the Portugal game quite differently. We scored a few early, including a fluky deflection and hung on for our life against a team that never got going in the tournament.

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  13. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    We don't make it to the knockout rounds of 2002 unless Korea plays its heart out vs. Portugal when both they and Portugal only needed a tie to move on. The Portugese were dumbfounded at Korea's efforts.

    We owe South Korean soccer a huge debt of gratitude for our best performance in a modern WC.
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  14. LouisZ

    LouisZ Member+

    Oct 14, 2010
    Southern California-USA
    FC Barcelona
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I suppose in a nutshell one could make the argument that we had a better team because of playing better during competitions that counts vs. our current team that has more younger and better players playing in higher tier leagues. If is the latter, then our issue is with the coaching.
  15. juvechelsea

    juvechelsea Member+

    Feb 15, 2006
    When healthy Weah should be given a shot at RF because he had a NT goal before getting hurt, and beyond Morris no one has seized the bench job. Boyd had 2 goals against Guyana and nothing since, 1 nice assist against Cuba. That's all he has to show for being a roster regular from Gold Cup start through the end of LoN group play.

    If there are any questions on Boyd look at the numbers Pulisic, Arriola, and Morris put up in similar wing spots. To then be contributing only in blowouts against bad teams says something.

    And even if you liked Boyd we should be identifying and preparing 3-4 players deep per slot. Anyone can get hurt and it shouldn't become oh crap what now, not on a team with years to prepare.
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  16. juvechelsea

    juvechelsea Member+

    Feb 15, 2006
    Nah, my argument is that our talent was closer to the lead end of the curve before, as opposed to now. I think the sport has elevated and we have with it. But I think we are less special relative to the elite than then.

    2002 team had players on Ajax, Spurs, Palace, Blackburn, Bayer, NAC, Fulham, Metz, Everton, Sunderland, Hannover, Nurnberg. And many played.

    I see the difference as, back then, beyond the NT expeditionaries their interest (and our foreign contingent) would have been largely exhausted. Maybe if you were a very good NT player they would bring you over. Now we have dozens abroad and people argue that we overlook players from second divisions, particular locales. Used to be maybe you could get to Scandinavia or something without the NT. Now we can pick and choose and the ones we don't pick become a subject of discussion. I am sure the snobs could theorize a unit of nothing but European players.

    But to me the thing is back then we had more Reyna Friedel Keller O'Brien Donovan Beasley type players. In the late 2010s that dissipated down to one man. That we still had a ton abroad says something about growth and interest. However the fact we could have tons abroad and only one special also says something.

    I think we have the boom coming, I think it could be as good or better than that bunch of European tourists, or it could be Landon who has to reboot, or it could fizzle. At least one thing I was arguing the other day re GB is that passively letting only the first team club decide their fates, encourages more fizzling. I think we should be more active in trying to keep leading prospect momentum going. Take risks, call them in, don't defer so much. Why can't we introduce European teams to what they have socked away? As much as they can point out to us the ones they see as relevant? I think their clubs watch who "scores for USA." We can help lead them too.
  17. LouisZ

    LouisZ Member+

    Oct 14, 2010
    Southern California-USA
    FC Barcelona
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I thought that was the master plan when Sarachan took over but all of that went out the window when GB came in and in his eyes, results were more important.
  18. juvechelsea

    juvechelsea Member+

    Feb 15, 2006
    i disagree that results are more important under "we can lose to canada and be fine" Berhalter. to the contrary, we indulge whatever happens as for the good of the project at the moment.

    for that matter, i also think Sarachan and Berhalter didn't face equal schedules and that Sarachan got a tie from France and beat Mexico while Berhalter lost to Mexico twice and split with Jamaica and Canada. got better results. i understand why people wanted sarachan gone but i think Sarachan had some actual trophies on his CV and get down to it is a better coach. and that's thinking Sarachan is a weak echo of Bradley who he replaced at club.

    IMO sarachan while tactics-shy was selection-smart which is how he could get us some upset results. berhalter is tactic-stupid and selection-space cadet, and we now get very very predictable results. he is adding nothing to the mix where we surprise other teams. not new players to elevate the level and not tactics to maximize our roster and surprise the other guy. i don't see how beating up on minnows helps us become a more serious world championship side.

    bringing this back to the OP, he slow walks the new talent and then puts the stupid tactics between them and success. any other coach would be salivating at the talent and dreaming up ways to optimize it.
  19. juvechelsea

    juvechelsea Member+

    Feb 15, 2006
    #94 juvechelsea, Jan 22, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
    riffing on "stupid tactics between them and success," one issue i have is that i see him continually trying to bend the players to system, as though the failure is in the talent, rather than consider that, to be polite and naive, his system needs to bend to reality.

    one thing that concerns me about this "learn from europe" fetish we're on now is it can become passive and dogmatic learning. you impose a body of thought wholesale without adjustment. any adjustment is heresy. normally tactics are built to suit and adjusted for the parts the team excels at or can't execute.

    it kind of feels like we arrived at some chef who graduated from a french chef school has set up a prix fixe restaurant where the experience is he churns out courses you dutifully eat. decades of soccer competition and we're getting "if you don't eat the fois gras the chef will feel insulted and ban you."

    i wouldn't mind if we built off what we'd done in a thoughtful way adjusted to what works but this is infantilizing.

    i think we'd be better off if we'd hired an actual european coach of quality who implicitly brought their coaching but wasn't some dogmatist. berhalter has no trophy cred so his whole sales pitch is The System. probably more than even a european he probably feels like a missionary under pressure not to deviate. Klinsi had more of his own capital to spend and could do what he wanted.

    i will be curious when the bubble is allowed to move up in bulk -- c. 2022 -- whether he comes under more pulisic/pomykal type insider criticism. i think a bunch of kids who have come through dortmund and PSG and the like will be less receptive of pseudoscience hokum. they will be soccer smart enough on their own power to see the inherent flaws in his ideas, and to be aware of what else is out there. and the more of them he slow-walks, the more they may feel they owe him little. pulisic can mouth off because he's who he is. pomykal can mouth off because GB isn't his big cheerleader anyway. if, as pomykal presented it, a bunch of talented kids have to wait behind mediocre trash, they may be less eager to play along with the whole game.
  20. matabala

    matabala Member+

    Sep 25, 2002
    #95 matabala, Jan 22, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
    Yet players before them like Wynalda/Reyna/Harkes seemed to perform despite these excuses?

    I think you're overstating the international quality of these players. If it's generally accepted that Donovan was the best US player of his generation AND he was a bust in his heyday when he tried Germany...not sure how you can write it off as snobbery (or preference). McBride didn't have any opportunities because he was nothing special until he found the formula at Fulham. O'Brien/Mathis "could" have been solid Euro pros. And Marlon Brando "could" have been a contender. Pope was an above average US defender but a very average one in a better Euro league. Wolf shouldn't even be in this discussion.

    Friedel and Keller are still the best American-born players we've produced.
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  21. juvechelsea

    juvechelsea Member+

    Feb 15, 2006
    o'brien was at ajax. mathis played abroad with some success but had a personality thing.

    i feel like mcbride and donovan fought snobbery. to me when a good player can't make one team but then becomes a fixture at another, that says something. landon in particular it says something that BL passes but years later Bayern wants him there.

    we can pretend we had to "grow" or we can consider that maybe they had biases that a USMNT and MLS track record helped get you past. this is one reason i still push consider starting here and then pulling an adams. is they can pretend you're not the creme of their age group crop -- even if it's maybe their own blinders -- but they can't deny the league MVP and world cup scorer has no clue.

    there are actually several players from that era who boomeranged, started there, came here, went back with more resume and got taken seriously. landon mcbride holden etc. a lot of these players were so impactful when they first arrived here i find it hard to buy they got a fair shake

    i think it also says something to me we used to boomerang where now many just sit or go on loan. not sure how much is people getting comfortable in service of the NT and how much is that we are taken sufficiently seriously that if PSG doesn't want us someone else does.

    to me we had 3 world class keepers in the 2000s and only 1 kept a job at a name brand team.
  22. bsky22

    bsky22 Member+

    Dec 8, 2003
    What are you talking about?
  23. ceezmad

    ceezmad Member+

    Mar 4, 2010
    Chicago Red Stars
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
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  24. TimB4Last

    TimB4Last Member+

    May 5, 2006
    That's BS in a nutshell.
  25. NGV

    NGV Member+

    Sep 14, 1999
    It's much more promising than ever before by any standard - and it's extremely unlikely that it will eventually translate to the same as usual. Skepticism is not always warranted, or wise.

    Belgian soccer fans presumably weren't too happy about missing out on both World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012, and dropping out of the top 50 of the FIFA rankings in the process. But anyone who was paying close attention to Belgium's young players during those years knew that much brighter days were ahead.
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