The Fuzzy logic of USMNT coaching

Discussion in 'USA Men' started by Sam Hamwich, Mar 20, 2019.

  1. Sam Hamwich

    Sam Hamwich BigSoccer Yellow Card

    Jul 11, 2006
    Somewhere around 2006 when Bruce Arena decided to make Beasley a Right Wing player, invite a crumbling JOB to the dance and make an aging Reyna the focal point of the US gameplan, I realized that because US coaches do not compete against top managers around the world, they have no one to make them better.

    That means every quixotic fancy, every hair-brained idea, every obvious bad choice rarely gets tested until it is too late.

    Playing Bradley at the #6 was such a cataclysmically bad idea we now need to try it again...just in case. Taking players out of position for kicks JK and because of systemic frailties, GGG, is not a problem. Bob bradley leaving the two best attacking players in US history exposed with zero dedicated defensive midfield help...well, it's a systematic and consistent failure of coaches in the US.

    I feel GGG is like a greatest hits compilation of Bruce and Bob. Players played out of position and some excuse making and just like that, the wrong #6,8,10, and 4. Personnel mistakes and system mistakes. While they remain obvious mistakes when tested against top competition, we wont know until just like 2006 and 2010 and 2014, it's too late. (although I do think 2014 was a year in which we over-achieved). And no doubt some will think: it's too early! give him a chance! Ok, let me know how that turns out when his obvious mistakes are exposed by good opposing coaches. Then it will be some other excuse to hide behind.

    Our coaches need to coach abroad just like our players need to play abroad in order to ever hope to compete at a top 10 level in the world. MLS is not helping all that much. The top play makers in MLS are foreign. All of them. Anyone can tap in a sitter Morris or Zardes, but who created it? probably not a fellow US teammate. They will be from Argentina, Ecuador, Ghana, Mexico, England, Venezuela, etc. Places where creative soccer is encouraged not systematically discouraged because it fails to meet the coaches overall design.

    Kreis, Porter, Gonzalez, Armas, Petke,'s time to follow Marsch and suck down your ego and pride and go learn how to compete in top leagues.
  2. adam tash

    adam tash Member+

    Jul 12, 2013

    well put!!!

    it's crazy to wait this long for this......

    the year-long build-up to THIS???!?

    and now he wants to say that there is time-pressure blah blah..yeah bruh...maybe if you werent coaching the crew for the last 12 months the team would be better off (although maybe that was a USSF decision to not pay 4 coaches at once and only do 3 JK ARENA and SARACHAN IS a lot of head coaches for one team to pay simultaneously)

    CCL was embarrasing for MLS COACHES more than players, imo.

    the coaching in MLS is holding the league back more than anything.

    "WE NEED A SYSTEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" types do not produce or nurture talent....the us coaches are just so naive and not sophisticated with their approaches.....

    still waiting for the day when USMNT gets an actual top-level's gonna shock people once that happens and the team is all-of-a-sudden good. like overnight.

    not holding my breath though LOL
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  3. Sam Hamwich

    Sam Hamwich BigSoccer Yellow Card

    Jul 11, 2006
    GGG means well and he was a bit of a legend in the Bundy. He more than any US candidate probably has the best understanding of world football, but I can't help but coin his team and his actual playing system with the following phrase:

    Single Point of Failure.

    The S-POF.

    Go ahead and guess where GGG simultaneously plays the wrong player in the wrong position AND gives it the most important role on the pitch. I'll give you 10 guesses....

    Some really smart international coach is going to bookend that position, cut out the passes and with a single move the head is neatly removed from the snake.
  4. QuakeAttack

    QuakeAttack Member+

    Apr 10, 2002
    California - Bay Area
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    While I agree with your point, didn't GGG coach overseas? He apparently didn't learn about playing players out of position.
  5. nobody

    nobody Member+

    Jun 20, 2000
    Legend in the Bundy? I thought he was mostly if not entirely a player in the 2.Bundesliga. Did he play much at all in the top flight?
  6. Sam Hamwich

    Sam Hamwich BigSoccer Yellow Card

    Jul 11, 2006
    Just like England, people follow the teams wherever they may land. He was captain on his team for some years and did play at both levels.

    I am EXCITED to see the USMNT-U23!!!

    Kreis is the anti-Bruce in many ways. He is the first coach I have seen who can slice it both ways: cater to the players or ramp up a solid system and know how to call out every player on the team for not playing well.

    He also can spot talent no one else will try. Lastly, he knows how to use latin and US players in such a way that they don't end up cancelling out each others strengths.

    That NYCFC gig was poison from day one while Orlando needed 3 to 4 years to completely regenerate the early mess from the launch.

    Good Job US Soccer!
  7. Sam Hamwich

    Sam Hamwich BigSoccer Yellow Card

    Jul 11, 2006
    He was politely asked (fired) to leave his role in scandanavian soccer.

    When I mention coaching, I mean Top 5 or 6 leagues.
  8. freisland

    freisland Member+

    Jan 31, 2001
    No coach with top level international club experience can understand the American Player. They are too mysterious and complex.
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  9. Sam Hamwich

    Sam Hamwich BigSoccer Yellow Card

    Jul 11, 2006
    Forgot that old chestnut.

    Man I feel for this team. A little defensive pressure up field on the QB and this team is going to collapse. On transition those acres of space behind the RBDMACM trybrid are going to be cultivated. In fact someone might as well call it La Zona Rosa as Tata is going to make it the best part of Mexico City Attack.
  10. yurch10

    yurch10 Member+

    Feb 13, 2004
    I kinda hinted at this in a previous post, but you fleshed it out a bit more.

    What other coach in soccer, or any other sport/industry, could take your best current player (sorry CP fans, Adams is our current best player/best form), and move him to a different position, one in which he'll have less impact...and not only do that, but be pretty much universally praised for it by fans and media?

    Klinsy had a lot of time but people eventually caught up with him (maybe because he wasn't "one of us"?). Arena got so much gawddamn leeway, winning the illustrious C-team Gold Cup with his Lions, and everyone just assumed we needed to go with experience, no questions asked (is there quantifiable proof experience works? Cuz we now have evidence it doesn't).

    I don't understand why everyone is just taking this, like this guy is Belichick and the plan is going to eventually work. Because he got fired in Sweden? Or because he might have marginally overachieved with Columbus?

    Bizarre stuff...
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  11. puttputtfc

    puttputtfc Member+

    Sep 7, 1999
    This part is the key. We overvalue experience to the point that it's a detriment. Of course, it's nothing new, we've been doing it since 1998 when we needed Wynalda's experience as an outside mid or Burns' experience to cover the post. 2002 we seemed to line up our best players save Agoos and his experience. After a little, folks mistake familiarity with quality and you end up with Couva 2017.
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  12. adam tash

    adam tash Member+

    Jul 12, 2013
    its really crazy how boneheaded the majority is about soccer (and basically everything else- but thats another topic)

    i dont wanna criticize the guy b/c i genuinely believe he means well..and nothing official has actually happened...he IS still in his grace period....but there are already some troubling signs.....things that are SO OBVIOUS TOO
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  13. adam tash

    adam tash Member+

    Jul 12, 2013
    #13 adam tash, Mar 23, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2019
    there was a time when experience did indeed equal better in the US was so shallow and bereft of top-level players that experience really did equal the best option...come to think of it it was bruce arenas first run in 1990s etc...

    but that time has passed...but the tradition dies hard and lives on in the minds of backward looking people in high places....its honestly comcially lame and tragic that that 90s era stopgap measure is still being used....
  14. Master O

    Master O Member+

    Jul 7, 2006
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    As many have said on this forum, US Soccer badly needs new leadership. Until that leadership changes, they're just going to keep making the same mistakes over and over again.
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  15. Lance90

    Lance90 Member

    Feb 7, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    The greatest S-POF is when engineers try to apply their narrow minded, linear thinking to complex, dynamic, human environments in order to attain “certainty”

    Go back to work on your MCAS system.
  16. Sam Hamwich

    Sam Hamwich BigSoccer Yellow Card

    Jul 11, 2006
    Sweet, I can't wait for a real test. Not an engineer by the way, but did run a far larger, more complex team and I did learn the hard way that your competitors will isolate each and every systemic and personnel weakness and use them to break you. It shows pretty soon exactly where your weakest points are.

    If everyone is going to talk about a 'style' of play, a 'system' that will generate chances, then why not discuss the, um 'system' faults?

    Remember Bruce Arena 2006 Big Idea? I do, Mrs. Eddie Lewis, a converted midfielder at left back.

    That experiment literally lasted 4 minutes when he was caught upfield playing midfielder and the Czechs walked away with an easy victory. In that match Rosickly also exposed our midfield because of many reasons, but one big one was Lewis was meant to attack. This pulled everyone out of position. Sounds like a systemic failure to me. It might even sound familiar.

    To wit, Mastroeni and Cherundelo were out at halftime. When coach makes two changes at half in a WC game, it means he scouted wrong and the other team scouted right. It means SOME obvious mistakes were made by the coach. (an out of shape JOB, another effing mistake, and Eddie Pope? Oh man.)

    So, this thread asks the question: why do our coaches insist on making obvious mistakes that get exposed, almost with ease at top competitive levels, but they seem to never notice until it is too late?
  17. Sam Hamwich

    Sam Hamwich BigSoccer Yellow Card

    Jul 11, 2006
    If you read the tea-leaves in the media, the script handed to the MLS pundits and ESPN, this Coach Deflection will be the 'system.' Oh the system will win, the system is great, everything about this system makes WT defend like a monster and in a pinch make MB a better player...The system will unleash Adam's Defending, attacking, creating (I thought Nick Lima was fact, Nick Lima was a better QB than Trapp and a better RB than Adams. But he's the wrong shade of player, I guess.)

    Once the system shows some problems, the answer will be 'trust the system.' then when it gets worse, the problem will be 'we need better system players.' The coach is being completely bypassed.
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  18. Woodrow

    Woodrow Member+

    Dec 7, 2001
    Brick City
    New York Red Bulls
    At least part of the problem is that MLS continues to reward failure, especially in Americans. Berhalter was able to fail upward by landing a coaching job in MLS, instead of sticking it out or trying to latch on somewhere else in Europe. Bob Bradley might well fall into that category, too. Succeeding unexpectedly is great (until you hit a a rougher road), but learning how deal with adversity is critical to overall success, and most American coaches are well behind in that department. Few have international managing experience and even fewer are willing to learn the ropes, ala Marsch.
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  19. Sam Hamwich

    Sam Hamwich BigSoccer Yellow Card

    Jul 11, 2006
    You see at a player level that has shifted dramatically as MLS teams want to win. In come the higher quality, finished product latin americans and out go the college athletes.

    I think MLS is actually a very difficult league to coach in, but it is entirely self referential. The difficulties in coaching in MLS are endemic only to MLS because of many quirky league rules.

    Bob rolled out a very attacking system at swansea city. He did not focus on keeping games close. Instead he did what he has done all his career: push players forward and leave spaces open, particularly in the center of midfield. He was punished ruthlessly for a coaching style rewarded in MLS. Both Klopp and Ponchy took him to the woodshed.

    I think Bob should have tried to stick it out in France and get his team promoted, but I applaud his courage in taking the SC job.
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  20. Lance90

    Lance90 Member

    Feb 7, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I’m all for talking about weaknesses and system faults and your first paragraph above is spot on, but when you use terms like “weak points” and “obvious mistakes” you need to provide evidence not conjecture. People keep saying that this system is a mistake, teams will get behind and exploit the tucked in “right back”. How is there anymore space behind the right back in this system than in one where an overlapping back gets to the end line to put in cross? How about some evidence ... 3 games, 0 GA and near total domination. Oh, but we haven’t had a “real” test yet. What’s a “real” test? Every game is a test ... and every international friendly should have a little experimentation.

    3G has a plan and a process, and he’s using his system to implement it. After suffering through the 15 months prior to his arrival how can any US soccer fan judge and dismiss his system on the basis of 3 months of work and 3 games. What it tells me is that you 1) don’t understand what 3G is trying to do or 2) don’t like it, which is fine, talk about it in those terms. But don’t mask it in pseudo-scientific system analysis crap that his system is inherently flawed.

    You have to start somewhere. Someone has to have a vision and a plan. For now, I’m giving 3G the benefit of the doubt that he is and will continue to test and experiment with his system until it’s a finely tuned machine.

    Your Bruce Arena example is perfect. Wouldn’t you rather have a coach implement his system from the beginning, now, and be constantly testing it during the build up to the ultimate competition than to try an experiment in the first game of a WC?

    Here’s a counterfactual example for you. I’ve been saying on these boards for 15 years that the US success in WC 2002 was an accident. If Chris Armas hadn’t blown out his knee in the warmups to the tourney Bruce Arena would have played him in every game as a “destroyer” in midfield, and the euro teams and SK would have passed circles around him and the US wouldn’t have made it out of the group. Instead, Bruce didn’t replace him with like for like, but changed the system to have 2 more creative and dynamic CMs and the rest is history.

    Can I prove that? No. Is it testable? Not really. Was it an experiment? Not an intentional one. Sometimes sh-t happens and you have to adapt. Then it comes down to how adaptable your system and coach are. We are a ways away from knowing that with 3G. All I know is that his plan and system, whatever it’s potential faults, are a breath of fresh air after the JK/Sarachan era.
  21. adam tash

    adam tash Member+

    Jul 12, 2013
    ussf needs to divorce themselves from SUM and MLS owners....

    keep all their own tv money and not let the MLSUM get their greedy paws on it for starters.

    until that happens always gonna be a low ceiling on the team
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  22. freisland

    freisland Member+

    Jan 31, 2001
    We will never know if extensive international coaching experience on winning teams would help the US win more international competitive games until we actually try a few coaches who have extensive international coaching experience on winning teams.

    (And by the way, I like Beerholder and think he will have a very good career as a coach, but it is hard to argue he has honed his craft on the oiled-slicked stone of top international competition...)
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  23. Sam Hamwich

    Sam Hamwich BigSoccer Yellow Card

    Jul 11, 2006
    I wrote this in the OP:

    "I feel GGG is like a greatest hits compilation of Bruce and Bob. Players played out of position and some excuse making and just like that, the wrong #6,8,10, and 4. Personnel mistakes and system mistakes. While they remain obvious mistakes when tested against top competition, we wont know until just like 2006 and 2010 and 2014, it's too late. (although I do think 2014 was a year in which we over-achieved). And no doubt some will think: it's too early! give him a chance! Ok, let me know how that turns out when his obvious mistakes are exposed by good opposing coaches. Then it will be some other excuse to hide behind. "

    This is a mistake I don't need to see made, because it is apriori a mistake. Where to start? Maybe it could make sense if the WT and Adams's positions were reversed. WT would make an excellent RB in this system.

    This is a mistake I don't need to see made, because it is apriori a mistake. Oh boy. As opposing coach I would love to see this...
  24. Lance90

    Lance90 Member

    Feb 7, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Yep, I saw ... in your opinion. Not proven yet. I disagree. What about Klinsmann’s many many mistakes? Somewhat more relevant, don’t you think.

    In my opinion, this is a process and it’s going to be a long process. The team and Federation are in disarray, our player pool is pretty much completely turning over. Why not try something new during these meaninglessness friendlies and a now irrelevant GC to build everything back up with a plan so that we can explore how wide and deep that player pool is?

    You know what JK’s biggest mistake was ... IMO. In 2014, post-WC, he needed to find replacements for half the roster and blood new young players and some new tactics for the next cycle. Freshen things up. He didn’t. Now we call it the lost generation, but it didn’t have to be if JK had a plan and didn’t just fall back on finding lower division German-Americans. Instead, we spent 2 years playing glamour friendlies in Europe. Happy with that lame friendly win against Italy in 2015 over qualifying for the WC? Didn’t think so.

    JK didn’t even realize what was going on until we got embarrassed in a GC that did matter. By then it was too late, we had meaningful games and were stuck with basically the oldest team in WCQ. You more or less noted it yourself elsewhere, other team’s are going to exploit any and all weaknesses. Dashing from short-term result to short-result is a recipe for disaster. We need to think long-term.

    IMO, the US’s biggest problem is thinking that we can identify a WC starting lineup and system 4 years before the event. We thought we could identify the 20 best u17 players, stick them at a school in Florida, and watch them play together for the US until they were 30. It was nuts! Three years ago who thought Pulisic or Adams or Sargent would be where they are today?

    Heck, I’m watching MLS again because we have 18-21 year olds starting ... in DC, NYCFC, Atlanta, Philly ... I mean Dallas played like 4 of them last weekend! Do you know which ones are going to pan out? Which system is going to be best for them in 2022? Everybody talks up Carleton, but there’s hardly anything on Sands or Durkin or Brendan Aaronson(?) ... oh, right, apparently he’s not a Bradenton guy. Not on trial for a BL2 team. Sorry, I know my starting 11 for 2022 and I know we’re going to play a 2003 version of a 4-4-2 with a skinny diamond so that CP, Adams, and Weston can play at the same time. Little premature don’t you think. You are only looking at “data” in front of you now! Nobody knows where we will be in 2021-22.

    But, IMO, if Will Trapp is still the starting #6 at the next WC or Michael Bradley is on the team then we better be on a 20-game win streak or i’ll be leading the charge calling for 3G’s head. It would mean that we had failed to develop and properly sort through all the promising young players coming up.

    Meanwhile, trust the process. It already better than Bob, Bruce2, and especially JK ...
  25. Sam Hamwich

    Sam Hamwich BigSoccer Yellow Card

    Jul 11, 2006
    I have no beef with you man. You reach a point in life where 'waiting for everyone to learn from their mistakes' no longer poses much interest. The role of benevolent dictator is one I've come to enjoy.

    As much as JK was MLS Public enemy#1 which made him an obvious and constant target...he kept the slate shifting. And it caused a lot of problems.

    But there was a major cultural divide happening. JK was simply shifting until before the tournament, when he would unleash his real plan. Germans are sneaky and secretive. He kept that 'diamond' in his pocket and it played fantastic...he just couldn't account for MB being a passive aggressive bastard and Altidore's tissue paper hamstrings.

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