News: Malik Tillman Has Reportedly picked The USMNT

Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by Sebsasour, May 19, 2022.

  1. nobody

    nobody Member+

    Jun 20, 2000
    The thing about Tilman that gets my interest is pretty simply that he produces. We have many guys who get a lot of minutes, play hard, cover ground and all that. But we have a much smaller group of players who put numbers on the board. Of course, I hope that he can keep improving and do the same thing at a higher level over time. But a guy who shows up on the scoreboard regularly is not someone you should ignore. I feel like we get an awful lot of talk about individual players abilities to do this or that, guys who hang in there, players we talk up because they look good and get solid minutes, but at some point we need to value what shows up on the scoreboard at least a bit and of our young guys right now, we've go Gio and Tillman actually putting up some numbers and a lot of other guys who look good and have nice moments but aren't showing up on the scorecard much if at all. We saw it last cycle where we had plenty of midfielders called up based on MLS performances while a guy like Mihailovic who was consistently putting numbers on the board in the same league had to wait his turn and Pefok got fewer chances than others who failed to score, some of whom were also dropped. Eventually, we need to start focusing on guys who actually produce in tangible ways with a bit less emphasis on guys who are good role players. Luca getting something on the board in La Liga with his recent assists (the last of which was very impressive) is a really big deal to me and something that puts him more firmly in the conversation for a bigger role. We can always find guys who can run hard and make basic plays to fit into the group and play a role. We need to focus on those who can bring more to the table first. Role players are by definition secondary types. When I start thinking about who was either out of the team or only a bit part player over the last cycle who could step up, the guys who actually produce goals and assists need to be first in line for chances, Tillman included.
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  2. gogorath

    gogorath Member+

    United States
    May 12, 2019
    Generally I don't disagree on a high level with Tillman or Reyna. I just think we have to go past numbers to how it is being done. It's absolutely reasonable to say, look, doing it right but not producing is an issue somewhere, but just production where it doesn't seem sustainable ... I think it is right to question.

    I do think Pefok's production was a mirage -- which was proven out. He's not creating those goals, he was a cog in a not very good machine and lost his spot. I get the competition is bad, but when we're talking production, you have to see a reason it scales. I feel the same way about Wright.

    I'll be curious to see on Luca. His assist was a good pass, but it was an incredible play by the striker. I think we fool ourselves into thinking most players couldn't make that pass, even at La Liga levels. Matthew Hoppe had five goals in 3 games in the Bundesliga -- pretty much every player on our team is capable of that pass. And they make those passes everyone in a while, but they don't often have a striker capable of doing that.

    What is important is being able to execute that consistently. I'm not trying to dog the assist or even Matthew Hoppe's goals. But it's now about who can do what -- there's a compilation of Paul Arriola bangers out there -- it's about how often you can replicate those plays.

    Tillman and Mihailovic are showing / have shown they can do that at a lower level. Tillman got a look and will get more; Djordje got hurt and the timing sucked. Of course, Ferreira and Pepi and Vazquez all produce at that level as well.

    But yeah, that is what is intriguing about Tillman. The question for me is whether he can (1) do it at a higher level either now or in the future and (2) whether he can do it on a team where nearly everyone on his team isn't better than everyone else on the other team.

    I'd say the difference from him and Reyna is actually pretty interesting because Tillman doesn't need to be on the ball to be goal productive, and those guys are a large part of what we are missing. With Reyna, the question is how we integrate him with other on ball people or whether he can adapt a bit more to playing a bit more work off ball.
    Elninho repped this.
  3. nobody

    nobody Member+

    Jun 20, 2000
    I agree you want to see it over time and you want consistency in production. I would say that Pefok has produced on multiple teams over time so he does indeed give you some of that. Sure, he had a dry spell playing at a level none of our other strikers even get on the field at, but he also just scored a winner recently. He's not a great creator, more a finisher but the team does need to actually generate chances for the striker or what's the point? If you need your striker to create all his own chances, your general team play in attack is pretty poor. We saw plenty of this problem whoever was at striker because we didn't create enough chances as a team. We discarded a proven finisher because he couldn't do what you shouldn't be asking your striker to do anyway. i don't think he is some amazing striker, but compared to the rest of the US squad, only Wright has anywhere near the argument for sustained high level production and thus far he's always been just a step or two lower down the totem pole. But yeah, Tillman is consistently creating and finishing chances, so I like what I'm seeing but I do still want to see him do it at a higher level because as pointed out, we have plenty of guys who have produced at lower levels. The number of players we have who produce at high levels is very small so I think you want to do as much as you can to involve those types and keep them around. I'm hopeful that Tillman can become one of them.
    grandinquisitor28 and gogorath repped this.
  4. TheHoustonHoyaFan

    Oct 14, 2011
    FC Schalke 04
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    You are continuing with the MLS insecurity theme which is not interesting and certainly not in a Tillman thread unless Tillman is moving to MLS, god forbid.

    As for the quality of the SPL, suspect you don't watch much. It is very fast and very physical. Since you have mentioned SPI, here is a combined SPL+MLS SPI ranked table. Tillman would produce the same or likely better in MLS.

    LeagueSPIUSMNT Players
    RangersSPL65.8Tillman, Sands
    DC UnitedMLS29.5
    Ross CountySPL28.5
  5. MPNumber9

    MPNumber9 Member+

    Oct 10, 2010
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Seems to indicate a good proportion of the SPL would be missing the playoffs in MLS. And if you're playing for Celtic, let's say, you get to play teams of that caliber up to 4 times in a season, sometimes in stadia seating less than 10,000 fans.
  6. gogorath

    gogorath Member+

    United States
    May 12, 2019
    I wouldn't agree with that. I would put Turkey, MLS, the Swiss League all within about the same level (toss in Scotland as well, as well as the Netherlands for scoring -- better league, less defense).

    Brandon Vazquez: 18/8 in 2740
    Jesus Ferreira: 18/6 in 2658
    Ricardo Pepi: 13/2 in 2100 in Dallas; 7/3 in 1269 in the Netherlands (though well above xG)
    Haji Wright: 10/0 in 1405
    Jordan Pefok: 22 in 2304 in Switzerland; 4/4 in 956 in Bundesliga
    Daryl Dike: 10/0 in 1320 in Orlando; 9/0 in 1291 at Barnsley; 3/1 in 516
    Josh Sargent: 10/2 in 2129 with most of the minutes not at striker
    Malik Tillman: 7/4 in 1589

    I don't think there's a point in quibbling about which is best. My point here is that we actually have a slew of guys who produced at the second level, with the question mark on Sargent's position considered.

    We know that doesn't translate all that consistently to our team. And I don't think Pefok's 900 minutes -- which has good numbers but the underlyings are not great -- mean that he's established as productive at the higher level or that it will translate better.

    I am exciting by aspects of Tillman, but his production is not insane. His goal production at Rangers is well below Ferreira's at Dallas, and he has the advantage of better teammates versus the competition. Ferreira is the focal point. He is young, physically impressive, and skilled, but I don't see a production advantage.

    To be clear, I bring all these guys in. But there's no production edge here. The margins are important; the style is important. It's important, I think, even with an edge, but it is really important when there's so many doing roughly the same production.

    Looks like we agree; I just think that we are downplaying some of our other guys here. Look at Daryl Dike! No one ever talks about him, and I get he does have some weaknesses, but he's a rampaging beast in a better league than Tillman with worse relative teammates.

    The old players on this list are Pefok, Wright, Vazquez and then Sargent. Sargent's old! At a position that has plenty of late bloomers.

    But I am hopeful on Tillman -- he's probably the best combo of physical and skill we have in that group. Some are more physical, but none of them have his skill. If he learns some of the poacher's art, he's going to be very, very good.

    Sure, but I think we do. I don't really get the idea we don't. People will point to Reyna, but the dude has been hurt and out of the team for 1.5 years, and before then was a lock starter. Pulisic is the focal point. McKennie is actually one of our more goal productive players at high levels, and he's a lock starter.

    Pefok simply isn't that, and a great opening run doesn't change my mind ... I'm skeptical. He can make me wrong but his npXG per 90 for Union Berlin is .17. That's a 5 goal season for a 2800 minute striker.

    Reyna has 11/7 in 3,200 career minutes for Dortmund. The eye test and stats agree. (league minutes)
    Pulisic has 20/9 in 5,359 career minutes for Chelsea. Again, agree, and in sync with Gio.
    McKennie has 9/3 in 4,123 minutes at Juventus. Pretty good for a midfielder.

    And there's literally no one else that has produced for all our hype. Weah's a low production guy at Lille; Aaronson has struggled at Leeds; Adams is a CDM; Dest for all his skills doesn't create goals directly, Jedi is great getting forward but doesn't convert. Musah is not dangerous in the final third.

    Goal scoring is at a premium, and I think for all the hype we have we have three guys who have proven they can directly create (G+A) at the highest levels, and two of them are hurt pretty much all the time.

    The short runs by Hoppe or Pefok or Haji Wright is hot because the Turkish league gets bullied ... I'm not shaping anything around anyone until they prove out a little bit more. Either by doing so at a higher level or with the USMNT.
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  7. gogorath

    gogorath Member+

    United States
    May 12, 2019
    Tillman would do fine in MLS, but this argument basically just states that his average competition in Scotland is lower and his teammates much better aside from the games against Celtic.

    He's a great prospect and I really like his game, but he's also not asked to be really be the man, nor is he asked to play many games where his team doesn't have a real talent edge.

    People rightly ding Jesus Ferreira for not playing well against Austin in the playoffs. He didn't play well, but he was also the offensive fulcrum on a team playing on the road in a rabid 20k stadium against a better team.

    Celtic's the only team in the league where that's true for Tillman, plus UCL/Europa, which is obviously a big step up.

    Tillman's production in league is good. But the lopsided nature of the league means that while it is impressive that he won a spot, most of the games are like getting to play DC United a lot.

    I'm excited to see his next step -- somewhere between the SPL and Bayern.
  8. iad_22201

    iad_22201 Member+

    Jan 2, 2009
    Washington, DC
    Fulham FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Eh, I question whether you actually watch the SPL if you think that the combined table you've posted here is a somewhat realistic representation of the quality of the SPL v. MLS. Look, to start with trying to rank across leagues is an incredibly difficult proposition and I give SPI credit for trying (and hell, it's probably the best ranking out there) but it's still terrible. In this specific case it vastly overstates the strength of the SPL in relation to MLS. I could give you many, many examples of the issues with SPI, but let's look at Celtic. Celtic is ranked 29th, ahead of 12 PL sides. I can assure you, the current Celtic squad would be comfortably relegated from the PL, almost certainly in 20th. The strength of their squad doesn't come close to that of PL sides.

    A much better metric to took at to compare league strength (though obviously also flawed) is spending. MLS's LOWEST spending club has a payroll ~2-2.5 times higher than the 3rd highest payroll in the SPL. When compared to the bottom 6 SPL clubs, it's ~5-6 times higher. While the Old Firm clubs are probably stronger than any MLS club, the rest of MLS is MUCH stronger/deeper than Scotland (regardless of what SPI's deeply flawed rankings say).
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  9. TheHoustonHoyaFan

    Oct 14, 2011
    FC Schalke 04
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    #709 TheHoustonHoyaFan, Feb 7, 2023
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2023
    The SPL only has 12 teams with IIRC 6 going to the championship playoff and 6 going to the relegation playoff. A datapoint that supports SPI as perhaps the best comparative tool we currently have;

    Wolfsberger (Austrian BL) SPI 41.7 just played Seattle (MLS) SPI 39.7 in a tune up friendly. The match ended 0-0!
  10. Clint Eastwood

    Clint Eastwood Member+

    Dec 23, 2003
    Somerville, MA
    FC Dallas
    The whole SPL versus MLS thing is kind of irrelevant.
    Its the job of a USMNT coach to call up players excelling in both leagues to evaluate. Particularly those in Scotland that also played well in the Champions League, as Tillman did.

    Guys like Sands didn't excel in Scotland. Mueller. Whomever. Coach's choice whether he wants to look at them. Just playing in either league isn't enough.

    I don't think Tillman's league really had anything to do with him being left off of the World Cup roster. Also, I don't think his tenure in Scotland will last that much longer anyway.
    gogorath repped this.
  11. grandinquisitor28

    Feb 11, 2002
    I don't think you're right about Pefok or Wright and I think the #'s actually prove you're in the wrong. Pefok's on 5 goals in 1030 minutes, or a goal every 200 minutes as a striker, its not great, it's not what he did with Young Boys and he had a massive dip in form from basically mid september until a weekend ago but the facts seem simple enough, and I think you get it, kind of in your write up but then walk away form it. Pefok works as a striker if you're using a system that plays to his strengths (his aerial game, his shark in the box finishing at close range, his target man skills inside the box), if you aren't playing to his skills, he's a total liability. He lacks pace and acceleration, he cannot run w/our guys, so I get why we'd leave him at home, if we were scoring goals with our approach (we were not, which is why I questioned it).

    When you look at Pefok's #'s, he's solid for Bundesliga, maybe not a starter with a top performing team, but a guy who looks likely to produce double digit goals if he gets reasonable minutes is something we've literally NEVER had in the Bundesliga from ANYONE. So just suggesting he's been found out, and sucks (paraphrasing) is to me, utter nonsense, I agree that he's system dependent, and at best a borderline starter in that league, but it's not some great indictment that he's only on 5 goals in half a season for a team fighting for first place with freaking Bayern Munich.

    And Wright has scored a boatload of goals the last 3 years and is also system dependent (probably counterattacking). Not ideal, limited player, like Pefok, but in different ways.

    I get your critique, but it rings false when it suggests a failing in the player. It's not a failing in the player. This isn't a Jonathan Lewis, Will Trapp, Aaron Long, Lovitz scenario where the guy is simply overrated beyond his talent and can't hack it at all. Both of these guys were pursued by top clubs in Europe for a reason. They are both good, but they also both are not a great fit for just any team, you need to be built to utilize them, and/or have a need for what they provide specifically. They aren't a great fit for what we do, no doubt, but they're both legit players that produce quite well and far better than any other strikers in our pool by far, save maybe Pepi, at the European level. It definitely bothers me to see them put below guys that don't have 1/10th the accomplishments just because of stylistic issues. Doesnt seem fair to them in my view. They're limited players, yes, but also very talented at their skill sets, and wanted by legit big 5 clubs as a result of that. The same can't be said of the bulk of the rest of the striker pool, for now anyway (and for decades save Jozy and Wood to a lesser extent).
  12. Clint Eastwood

    Clint Eastwood Member+

    Dec 23, 2003
    Somerville, MA
    FC Dallas
    I mean, maybe its an abberation, but Pefok has played 1400 minutes across all competitions for the team currently in 2nd place. Whatever our definition of "top team" is, Pefok is currently on it.

    I totally see the point that Pefok didn't fit what Berhalter was trying to do. Didn't fit his tactical plan. But when we see the types of goals that Pefok we have guys on the roster that do that? Maybe would have been nice to have a guy available to score a goal on a set-piece once in a blue moon. [I say that with the admission that he wasn't on my personal roster.]
  13. grandinquisitor28

    Feb 11, 2002
    Good point on the prior post about Dike. He definitely does get forgotten, probably for the two key reasons that #1 he didn't seem as highly rated as any of the other strikers by Berhalter, and #2 he has been injured repeatedly the past 18 months to the extent that I even forget to list him amongst our litany of injured guys from '19-'22.

    He should be in the pool, period.

    He's got 32 goals in 5000 minutes since MLS is Back 2.5 years ago. A goal about every 1.6 games or so. He's also a physical weapon in a way nobody else is beyond Pefok (Pepi might one day develop that though I'm skeptical) and Pefok isn't as athletic or pacey as Dike. I'm annoyed I keep forgetting him.
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  14. Kirium

    Kirium Member

    Jun 18, 2007
    Edmond, OK

    Dike is from my home town of Edmond, OK.

    So I always keep hoping he'll break through.

    Physcial beast for sure. Dude just needs to be healthy and most importantly STAY healthy.
  15. gogorath

    gogorath Member+

    United States
    May 12, 2019
    Here's how I handle pretty much any small sample size, especially if my eyes don't agree.

    Take a look at the underlying numbers. In Pefok's case, they don't support his goals. Not the xG, not the shots, nothing here screams more than a 5-10g Bundesliga scorer, and I don't think those guys are necessarily any better than a 20g next level down.

    If the underlying isn't there, then I wait and see before saying the player is really a producer. I'm still in wait and see mode with Pefok, but let's just say I wasn't shocked his production declined and he lost his job.

    To me, from a proven production standpoint, he's a 20+ goal scorer in the Swiss League, and has yet to prove at the highest level.

    To be clear, this doesn't necessarily put him behind anyone else. But to me, this isn't the level of production where I say, wait clearly what I see with the National Team is misuse, just wrong, etc.

    And it doesn't mean you don't call him in. It doesn't mean he's excluded, etc. It just means I don't think it is clear he's better for the US than any of these other players.

    He works at the Second Level as a poacher, and I agree, he can be a total liability. I don't think he's proven that he's a first level scorer as a poacher, like Pulisic or Reyna.

    His style is an issue, and I don't think he's proven that he's good enough that I'd mold around him.

    Now, Folarin Balogun? Yep. Yep, I'm gameplanning for him.

    His underlying numbers are not good. I don't think he's likely to get double digit goals if he gets reasonable minutes. Bobby Wood had DOUBLE the npxG/90 of Pefok while in the Bundi.

    Josh Sargent had slightly better numbers at Bremen, and about equal at Norwich when they were in the EPL.

    Now, xG is not the end all, be all. I just ask that we get more than 900 minutes before I think he's that double digit scorer you think he is.

    He's not been found out. He's a limited player who had unsustainable finishing early. That's all.

    Not at all. I've never said he sucks and wouldn't. I agree with you that he's not a great fit, but I don't think he's worse than the other options I've listed. I just don't think he's clearly better, either, because he had a few shots go in in the Bundesliga.

    I am perfectly fine seeing him again. I do not think he's a step above.

    He has. At lower levels. So has Brandon Vazquez when given the minutes. Ferreira is like four years younger and was as productive last year.

    ALL of them need to prove it at the next level. I was just objecting to the idea that we only have a couple of goal productive guys at the second level. It's simply not true.

    My concerns with Wright are that I think a lot of his goals come from his size, and he won't get that in international ball or at the top level. My concern with Ferreira is that he's small and doesn't make enough runs in the box. My concern with Vazquez is that his ball skills are not strong enough to succeed at a higher level where his physical advantages are no longer as clear (also, in much greater emphasis, Daryl Dike). My concern with Sargent is that he's not good enough at any one thing to press an advantage.

    I just reject the idea that only Wright and Pefok are producing.

    Until one of them produces for a decent period of time, with the eye test and/or underlying stats backing it up, I'm not putting them anywhere near a level up in production, and certainly nowhere near Pulisic or reyna.

    And that's my point. They don't.

    Let's put aside Pefok because we clearly don't agree about his Bundi performance to date.

    Wright. How is Wright's 24g/2a in 3,300 minutes in Turkey materially different than Brandon Vazquez' 22g/11a in his last 3,600 minutes in MLS?

    (Jesus Ferreira has 26g/14a in his last 4,900 minutes in MLS, which isn't as good on the goalscoring but is competitive on production. And oh, he's more likely be improving to the 18/6 season he just had.)

    I know you are not a Eurosnob, but it seems that there are points given for Turkey simply being in Europe. Do you really think Turkey v MLS is a core differentiator here? Maybe that's the difference.

    I've watched enough of Wright to not think that.

    And this is my crux? How does Brandon Vazquez have 1/10th the accomplishments of Wright? Jesus Ferreira?

    Are they putting up 2 goal seasons? Are are you really saying the MLS discount to Turkey is 90%?

    My bigger point here was not to put down Haji or Pefok that much -- though I realize through comparing to Reyna it came out that way -- but that I think people are way too downgrading the other strikers relative to them.

    Hell, I'd even toss Sargent out who has scored at a good clip when he gets to play striker (which is rare, so small sample).

    They have limited skill sets AND their scoring does not seem all that superior to me, if at all. Maybe to Sargent? Though I suspect he'd perform much better as a regular striker.

    Union Berlin wanted Pefok, that is true. They are not a big spender but they are very well run, and that is a point in Pefok's favor, for sure.

    Haji did not move this window, and rumors are just that.
  16. grandinquisitor28

    Feb 11, 2002
    I think he needs to improve technically which seems pretty rare at his age, so if that doesn't happen he's going to have to make it as just a lethal size/athlete scoring machine using his superb finishing skills and prowess to make up for some of the less technical gifts and it may just happen. My concern is that next to none of his goals in the championship were ever against stronger sides, he seemed to feast on the weaker sides, and get shut down by the stronger ones. Regardless, he belongs in the discussion, none of the strikers int he pool have earned the right to anything really at this point, we all have our preferences, but none stand out as just an elite, scoring weapon in a big 5 league, they all have issues and in truth, all probably need a lot of help from the midfield to put the ball into the net for us (which is the biggest problem, generating the chances for them to finish in the first place).
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  17. gogorath

    gogorath Member+

    United States
    May 12, 2019

    The slim hope for Dike is that because he went to college and never did the pro thing, perhaps he has a steeper learning curve left to him.

    The biggest upside is that he improves his ball skills, like his touch, his ability to get off quick shots, getting ANY left foot. I'd point out that Morris developed a decent left later in his career.

    The more likely result is simply getting better at beasting like he does. Getting in better header/poaching position and just thumping guys. So much of being a striker is getting to where the ball is going to be, and that tends to come later.
    xbhaskarx repped this.
  18. xbhaskarx

    xbhaskarx Member+

    San Jose Earthquakes
    United States
    Feb 13, 2010
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
  19. dspence2311

    dspence2311 Member+

    Oct 14, 2007
    Man Houston is appealing to his own authority on all the threads today
  20. TheHoustonHoyaFan

    Oct 14, 2011
    FC Schalke 04
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Tillman got left of a 26 player World Cup roster where the manager took Roldan instead. IMO Berhalter took Roldan in order to reward and incentivise others to value the good support soldier role.

    The World Cup is no place for any such nonsense, bring players who have the skillset in a sub role that could help you decide a match.
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  21. KALM

    KALM Member+

    Oct 6, 2006
    #721 KALM, Feb 7, 2023
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2023
    Historically, even moreso.

    By my count we've only had one player over the past 30 years who ever managed double digit goalscoring in a single top-5 league season (Clint Dempsey-twice). That's extremely small for a team that's made it to the knockout stages of the World Cup more often than not in that period. Like I would honestly be surprised if any other consistent top-30 national team had no more than one.

    If you lower the bar to 7 goals in a season, that list expands to just four players: Wynalda (9 goals once), McBride (9 goals twice), Dempsey (five times), and Pulisic (9 goals once). Just to give you a sense of how poor that is, by my count there were 200 players who managed at least 7 league goals in the top 5 leagues last season alone.

    Assists are a bit harder to track. (For one thing, Transfermarkt, which has become very popular for tracking stats, uses a very different definition of assists than official league stat-keepers do, so I tend to ignore them.) If you go by the stats in other more official sources (like the Premier League or Bundesliga's official website, or Kicker, etc.), I believe that we only have two players who managed at least 6 assists in a single season: Fabian Johnson (twice) and Pulisic (twice), both of whom topped out at 8. Donovan also assisted 8 goals over the course of 4 separate ~2-month stints in the BL and EPL that don't even add up to a full season of games where he was available, so feel free to include him as well. (Plus Gio Reyna either had 5 or 6 assists in the 20-21 season, depending on which source you consult, though the official Bundesliga website has him at 5 that year.)
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  22. grandinquisitor28

    Feb 11, 2002
    #1 I don't know how much we actually agree or disagree on Pefok, I suppose it just comes down to the fact that I'm 100% buying his poaching qualities period. I've watched enough of his finishing to know that the guy is a lethal freak in the box, and in the air close in, he's like one of those old school centers good for 12 and 10 in the paint but otherwise utterly useless. They had the footwork, and skills to play in the post, score all the technical balls a center is supposed to put in the net, but not really helpful beyond that, he has that paint game down, kind of like Juwan Howard (I'm mixing metaphors positions at this point lol), whenever I watched Howard, I just enjoyed watching a guy who clearly just knew exactly how to play above average or better 4/5 for Michigan. Pefok is just smooth and skilled inside and up close, and not much of anything else to speak of. I won't argue the xG it is what it is, but it wouldn't surprise me if he's kind of like Dike that way in that both are simply very, very good at finishing up close with power and in Pefok's case, even finesse. I expect him to finish his chances and he does. I don't think the league matters or the team so long as he gets the balls sent in to his head and his feet close up. He'll score the ball as they say.

    The problem, which I think we both agree on, is that if you're asking for more than that, well, you're not getting it. It's weird too, when I look at footage of him at Reims, he had decent enough pace, but when I look at him w/us, it looks like he's trying to wade through a swamp. It's bizarre how much slower he looks in his mid twenties to what he looked like 18-21.

    Regardless, I get that he doesn't fit our player pool well at all, and the men in blazers guys did mention that his temperament and personality aint the greatest fit either (very French, got that aloof thing, and definitely challenged in terms of his English skills. Sounds like the opposite personality of Musah).

    #2: The reason I rate Pefok higher thant he rest is simple: He's scored against the best teams in the world A LOT. You can say, well the Swiss League sucks and is irrelevant. Well, maybe it is, but he has quite a few goals in Champions League against elite teams and in the limited minutes he played against the big boys in France he somehow managed to score against every single team that won a title the past decade. Lyon-Check. Lille-Check. PSG-Check. In CL he scored against one of the best 3 or 4 teams in Italy the past 5 years in Atalanta, he scored against Manchester United, he bagged another 3 in qualifiers. In Europa he collected 3 against Bayer Leverkeusen, and he's also scored on Wolfsburg and against RBL in Bundesliga in addition to some dregs (Mainz, Hertha), in Switzerland he didn't score all his goals against the crappers, he also scored 4 against FC Zurich, a hat trick away when they were in 4th place, and another goal when they won the league, and another 2 against annual CL/Europa League side Basel (1 home, 1 away).

    This aint to argue that he's hot ---- or anything, but to put the rest the idea that he feasts on crap and can't do anything against real competition. If he stunk to that level the goals would be against the scrubs and he'd be shut down against real competition but he hasn't been. In France in very limited minutes against Ligue 1 sides he still managed to get a trio of goals against the 3 best sides in the league the past decade. While in Switzerland for 2 seasons he grabbed 6 total goals against the annual 2nd or 1st place finisher Basel, and the side that would win the title in '22 in FC Zurich (admittedly 3 of the 4 were a worse version of Zurich) and although he was totally anonymous this past fall and winter in European competition, the previous 18 months featured 8 goals in Europa and CL combined.

    If you can score against Lyon, PSG, Lille, if you can score against the top sides in Switzerland, if you can score in Europa and CL, if you can score against sides like RBL, score 5 goals in half a season in the league? Eventually it means something. It doesn't mean he's world class or anything like that, but it does mean he belongs. At this point he has what, more than 20 goals against top sides in France, Switzerland, Germany and top European competition. I just think that's far more meaningful than Ferreira's goals against whatever he's playing against in the hot as hell summer in Dallas. And more meaningful than Vasquez, it's the most accomplished collection of scalps by far of any American Striker ever. It doesn't mean he's a star, he isn't, it doesn't mean he fits for us, he doesn't, but it does mean that he's stood on the field with the biggest of boys and not ---- his pants like Ferreira did against the Netherlands. Instead he scored, against all of them: PSG, Lyon, Lille, Manchester United, Atalanta, Bayer Leverkeusen, RB Leipzig, Wolfsburgh, and Basel (lol I know) etc. That means something.

    As for Wright: He's got 24 goals in 2 years, and 4 of them are against first place Trab, and then a pair against Beskitas and Fenerbahce. To me, that's just way more impressive again than MLS anything.

    That's why I rate it a bit more, both of them have scored against the big dogs they've lined up against, they haven't just beat up the sad sacks. Wright also was almost a dead certainity to move at the window if he hadn't gotten hurt, so there's that too.

    All this being said, we may be arguing a total nothing burger because in general, we agree on the basic premise and disagree just a bit on the details.

    Pefok is a bad fit for what we do. Wright's a bit better and more useful (and I get annoyed as hell that in ----ing on Wright, which became a past time for many, the fact that he was actually useful against Netherlands, unlike Ferreira, managed to generate 2 chances in limited minutes, yes a bad touch failed him in rounding the keeper, but he got himself into that position to create the chance in the first place, nobody notes that, everybody notes the bad touch (funny that people forget the similar heavy touch from Dempsey against Belgium on that near wonder goal-of course part of it was Bradley's too much pace), and then the goal he scored is dismissed as a total fluke that he scored in spite of himself, as if he didn't create the dangerous moment w/the flick, and in his actions afterwards, 100% illustrate that he knew exactly what he was doing when he did it (on the replays you see him quickly turning backwards to see if he managed to put the ball into a dangerous position as was his intent (scoring was a dream that I 100% agree was not something he imagined was going to happen, he was simply trying to send the ball back into danger).

    It amazed me that after the loss people took pains to deny him what he did accomplish, and criticize him for where he failed instead. No credit for the goal, no credit for creating an opening and space for another goal earlier. No credit, for anything, pure indictment for any mistake. It was ridiculous. None of this means he's the best striker option, I would place him 3rd or 4th at best, but he's useful, especially situationally and is a lot better than people imagine. But fit for what we do? That definitely seems more like Pepi and Sargent to me.

    I generally agree w/you with Sargent, I just think he's better at what he's good at than you do, I think he's probably average at the skills and with a competent midfield would bag his share of goals.

    I think Pepi has the higher ceiling.

    I'm Vasquez skeptical because of his combination skills, and technical issues in general and his age (where was all this before?).

    But we should be checking them all out on the regular: Pepi, Sargent, Dike, Reyna Pefok, Wright, Vasquez, all of them, and I'd Weah and Tillman too. I will say that we know what Pefok can do so other than as a poacher, there's not a lot of point in bringing him in and using him unless there are injuries.

    I'm over the Ferreira experiment, I think he's legit good and going to get better but I also think he's more of a hybrid 10/False 9, Wing Forward, I don't think he's physical enough or skilled enough in the aerial game or at finishing to be a striker, period. I'd rather integrate him to Central Midfield (although that's kind of how he played against the Dutch and was god awful, but it was just one half) and at Wing Forward than waste more minutes at Forward.
    nobody and gogorath repped this.
  23. grandinquisitor28

    Feb 11, 2002
    I half agree w/you. I think what made the Roldan decision unacceptable was the Roldan was not useful on the field, at all. I think you can take glue guys, say Bedoya in '14, when they actually are usable on the field. Bedoya logged minutes, and if we'd made it in '18, he'd also have had a role and been useful as a glue guy too, defensive stopper with borderline just good enough attacking skill. Okay (and maybe that's being kind). But when you add nothing on the field at all, and there's not a scenario where you can play, what are you doing taking the player?

    Pepi was freaking left at home? I'm guess though he'd probably never admit it, Berhalter would probably like that one back right about now. Sargent went down, and what he had left was an out of form and not match fit Ferreira, and an ill suited Wright and a date with the Netherlands with a right to match up with Messi in the quarterfinals on the schedule? Do you really want to start a striker like Ferreira in that game? I suggested as much at the time, just not seeing how Wright could help, but you can bet 1000% anyone w/sense, w/that knowledge in play, would've preferred Pepi to either of them in that moment.

    Can you take glue guys to the cup as rewards for being so important for chemistry? Yes, you can, but its got to be because they offer something in the way of utility to get results and it seems pretty damn clear Roldan didn't because despite running the WF's and CM into the ground, he never lifted a finger to send Roldan to the sub line. It was a total waste and one we couldn't afford.

    I get that teammates appreciate him, but at the end of the day, you actually need to be able to use the players the players you put on the plane, if you can't, you can't give them the ticket.
  24. gogorath

    gogorath Member+

    United States
    May 12, 2019
    So I think the biggest difference comes down to this ... I don't really think most of these subtle differences in performance are necessarily indicative of a major gap in ability that is projectable.

    That's some real business speak, so let me be a bit more clear.

    I think there are real differences in competitive level, but I don't think talent or skill differentiates all that much once you start moving a little bit down the bell curve.

    In other words, I think there's a big gap between Lewandowski and a good Big Five striker, and then a small gap between a good Big Five Striker and a bad one, and not that much difference between a bad big give striker and a good next level down.

    I brought up Matthew Hoppe because when he got 5 goals in 3 games there were a lot of people who insisted that he must be very good and that most of our strikers couldn't do that. And that's BS. I think every one of our strikers could absolutely have those moments. Even over three games! There's no magic line that you have to be this good to score in the Bundesliga. There's 10,000 soccer players in the world that could grab a goal there.

    But being consistently good? Oh, ok, that's different.

    So you can be impressed with Wright scoring against Besiktas, but I don't think that means he's better than Brandon Vazquez. It *might* be a more impressive accomplishment, but I'd bet anyone on our team can do it.

    I do agree Pefok has both some goals in the Bundesliga and some European goals. I do think that's a credit.

    What I don't think is that it is enough for me to say he's definitely better or that it definitely overcomes the weaknesses. I need a bigger sample to override what I see with the team. I do think he's a better scorer -- I just don't think it is big enough to offset, if that makes sense?

    I think it is more about how I think about small samples and level differences. I've been through too many Alfredo Morales and Danny Williams arguments to not allow for the fact that just performing okay at a level doesn't necessarily put you at strong performance at a lower level.

    Maybe Pefok will prove me wrong. We'll see.


    I think the Ferreira hate has gotten out of control. He's got weaknesses, but 45 minutes at the World Cup is not even a good indicator of how he is now, let alone where he's going to be.

    I understand people don't like the style, which is a different discussion. But the idea that he's simply not up to the level is kind of silly, at least in comparison to every other striker we have.
  25. TheHoustonHoyaFan

    Oct 14, 2011
    FC Schalke 04
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Not sure what your definition of a "glue guy" is but Bedoya started 3 of the 4 matches in WC2014 and played all 4. Bedoya was IIRC one of our top 3 ball winner, he was as integral to the US in 2014 as Musah was in 2022.

    Please don't equate Bedoya with Roldan.

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