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BSL: USMNT 4


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#41 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 05:18 PM

Hamid 

 

Zusi  Miazga  Besler  Villafana

 

Pontius  McCarty  Rowe  Bedoya Corona

 

Dwyer

 

The good - Miazga and Hamid finally see the field

 

The bad - Zusi, Bedoya, and Corona see the field. None are bad but we already know all they have to offer. I think in the case of Zusi its just to save Lichaj some minutes. But Bedoya and Corono are likely to be sent home anyway.

 

The other bad - Unless Corona has figured out in training how to play more forward with Rowe and Dwyer then its a total waste.



#42 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 05:44 PM

Just so you all know how this works for the next stage. The managers have 24 hours from the completion of their last group stage match to announce the moves they are making prior to the quarterfinals. Each team can make up to six changes to their 23 man rosters.

 

Back channel news is that Arena will go with the following additions:

Howard, Bradley, Dempsey, Ngabe, and Altidore have already joined the training camp. That means there is one more potential addition to come. And at least 5 of the current 23 man squad will be sent back to their clubs.

 

One of the trickiest decisions is going to be Jordan Morris. If Arena keeps Morris in camp AND adds Dempsey then he is taking two front runners away from the Seattle Sounders. Too bad for Seattle perhaps but this is what I hope happens.


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#43 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 08:11 PM

Good guys win 3-0 even though we had two penalties and didn't convert either one. Solid all around game for us with no major mistakes.  Zusi showed the one reason he is on this team. That free kick to Miazga was a perfectly weighted ball. Still I think he is at best a late game sub for that exact situation.

 

Gotta mull things over in my head and tomorrow I'll post my player evaluations. In the meantime, well done guys. Winning the group is big and allows Arena a whole lot of options for the game Wednesday night. If we had to play Costa Rica he'd likely have to go with the full main team (at least those that are there). May not have to do that now which can plat dividends in the semi and hopefully final. Fresher legs.



#44 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 10:59 AM

Ok after mulling it over and watching some tape here's my thoughts on last night. Overall the teams best match so far. They scored three and didn't allow many opportunities for the opposition. And we earned two PKs. The game was solid all around (although to miss two PKs in a tournament match is usually a disaster). So here's my Plus/Minus/Neutral ratings for the match

 

Hamid - Neutral. I like his aggressive play to go after balls in the air that are out beyond the six yard box. One of my major complaints on Cuzan. Had to make one good stop and he was up to the task. But wasn't tested much to hard to say he did much to bolster his stock.

 

Zusi - Plus. But barely his defense is just not good enough for international level play. But he still has the ability to deliver a free kick like he did last night. May be worth a spot on a 23 man roster just for a late sub and injury depth. But at best I see him as the #3 RB now.

 

Miazga - Plus. Was solid on defense although not tested. Passed well out of the back and scored the important third goal and a superb header. It is very difficult to get above the ball and direct it down with force. That header he scored was top notch work.

 

Besler - Plus. Totally controlled the back line and moved the ball well with McCarty to link forward to the attack.

 

Villafana - Neutral. Guy plays hard and is quick. Helps the attack and he was ok defending. Still a work in progress.

 

Bedoya - Plus. Best game I have seen him play in a long time. But looks like he has been sent home to be with his wife who is due to give birth anyday.  Probably the MOTM.

 

McCarty - Plus. Solid and did some very good linking passes forward. Still a bit worried that he is slow to react and slow physically to add much but could be a good backup for Bradley at DM. However, I really wish Arena would move Geoff Cameron to DM. Its his best position and he is really good there.

 

Pontius- Neutral. Nothing really noteworthy but no big mistakes either.

 

Rowe - Plus. Another really good game. The guy just knows how to play and creates lots of havoc on the wing. Love to see a midfield of Rowe, Ngabe, Bradley, and Pulisic!!!

 

Corona - Plus, by just a little. One of his better games. Linked much better with the rest of the midfield and getting the ball forward. Still don't see him on a 23 man roster. The guy can't shoot.

 

Dwyer - Neutral. Only slightly. Just didn't make much happen and you can't miss a PK at this level. But he was in good position numerous times just nothing developed. Still well in the mix for a spot on the 23.

 

Subs:

 

Arriola - Ok nothing great.

 

Agudelo - Man I just don't know about this guy. He plays really well. Covers his area. Is really good with the ball. Moves well to space. BUT he just can't find that one finishing pass or shot. Sorry but he's a forward and that is what they are paid to do. He just holds the ball too long and doesn't seem to recognize when he has created danger and then make the pass.


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#45 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 11:04 AM

Roster changes announced.

 

http://www.ussoccer....gold-cup-roster

 

IN - Dempsey, Howard, Bradley, Ngabe, Altidore   and wait for it.......Jesse Gonzalez!!!!!!!!

 

Out - Cuzan, Johnson, Bedoya, Roldan, Rowe, and Dwyer

 

I am tempted to say I am shocked that Rowe and Dwyer were sent home. But its hard to know what Bruce is thinking. To me they both have earned their way onto a qualifying roster. Perhaps he is already sold on them? I would have thought he would have sent Agudelo and Corona or Pontius home.


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#46 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 11:04 AM

Note to Arena:

 

PLEASE find a way to get Jesse cap tied. Get him on the pitch.



#47 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 10:10 AM

Quarterfinal match tonight in Philly against El Salvador. Lots of options for the starting Xl tonight. Certainly Arena didn't call in the six mainstays to have them sit on the bench. However, if things go well then they have 3 games in the next 8 days. Tonight, Saturday, and next Wednesday. That is really a tough timeframe, especially the short recovery time between tonight and the semi. Another factor is that Dempsey is closing in on the all time American goal scoring lead. He has 56 goals, one behind Landon Donavon's record. There's a chance that Deuce could start to try and tie the record tonight which is clearly the easiest match left. But does he have the legs to go three matches in a row?

 

And the same general question fits for all the players. Can they go three matches? Who matches up well with the other teams? Does Arena need more game time evaluation of some fringe players (and if thats the case then tonight is the night to do that)?  When its all said and done I think we may still see some of the fringe players tonight to save more legs for Saturday and Wednesday. But we really wont know what Arena is thinking until an hour before kickoff when the starting lineup is announced.

 

So here's a pure guess on tonights lineup.

 

1609150_USA.jpg


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#48 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 11:55 AM

ESPN: U.S. and Mexico: Should the Gold Cup's 'big two' be worried given slow starts?
http://www.espnfc.us...sluggish-starts



#49 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 03:37 PM

Note to Arena:

 

PLEASE find a way to get Jesse cap tied. Get him on the pitch.

After some further digging this isn't needed. Since Jesse had played an official match for Mexico his application to switch to the US is a one time cap tie commitment. He is now only eligible to play for the US from here on out. Regardless of whether he ever see's the field or not.



#50 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 03:38 PM

Another tidbit that could prove interesting for the quarter and semifinals. If they are tied at the end of regulation they go straight to penalties. No extra time. The final would have the traditional 30 minutes of extra time before resorting to PKs.



#51 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 07:20 PM

Interesting lineup. Good mix of vets and unproven guys. Should come out strong. Hopefully Altidore and Dempsey up top will put a couple in early so at least Deuce can come off the second half.


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#52 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 11:45 AM

Thoughts for last night.

 

1. Ok, Arena, you have done your job so far. Given a lot of minutes to a lot of different players. But the evaluations need to stop now. Need to put a more cohesive unit out there the last two matches and see if we can gel as a team.

2. The defense was horrible. The center pairing of Hedges and Gonzalez doesn't work. Do not use them together anymore.

3. Ngabe was MOTM and controlled the midfield. His paring with Bradley was good and he worked well with Zardes and Arriola on the outside. 

4. Does anybody have any doubt as to who the keeper is on this team? If so you haven't been paying attention. Howard is still a world class keeper.

So here are my player ratings.

 

Howard - Starter in Russia barring any injury.

Lichaj - Neutral. Had some good moments. A great goal. And as bad a back pass to the keeper as you will ever see.

Gonzalez - Neutral. Ok defense especially in the air. But can't pass the ball. Great goal.

Hedges - Minus. How in the world was this guy MLS defender of the year????? He looks bad.

Morrow - Neutral. Overall ok but man when he makes a mistake its a doozy. The misjudged long ball was horrific.

Arriola - Neutral. Moved the ball down the wing well but just turned it over too much.

Zardes - Neutral. Much like Arriola. Did some good work on the outside but then couldn't find Dempsey or Altidore. Did score what should have counted as the first goal.

Ngabe - Plus. MOTM>

Bradley - Neutral. Ok match and didn't turn the ball over.

Dempsey - Neutral. Clearly has lost a bit of speed but he flat knows the game and his assist on the Lichaj goal was a supreme ball.

Altidore - Neutral. Problem is he's a forward and he needs to find the net.

 

Now for my rant. It is awful hard to play a solid game when you play a hack wad team like El Salvador. If there was ever a game that screamed for replay last night was it.

1. The first goal by Zardes was NOT offside. In fact it wasn't even a tough call.

2. The late cleats up tackle to the back of Lichaj's leg is a red card. That is intent to injure a player and could have ended his career. Ref didn't even give any card.

3. The purple nurple and biting on Altidore are both red cards. Neither was called. Its tough to see in the jumble of players. So a slight pass to the ref here. Video replay catches this easy and that's red card #2.

4. The punch to the gut on Morris is a red card. This has to be seen by the center or AR. No excuses it right in the play. Red card #3 missed.

 

So to the center and both ARs. Giant fail. Your number one job is to keep the game safe for the players. You did NOT do that.

 

Kudos to the US, and especially Altidore, for not retaliating. I was actually surprised we didn't but all that would have accomplished would have been to get carded and miss the next match.

 

Now if that had been me I would have kept my cool during the match. I would have kept my cool after the match. I would have kept my cool on the team bus on the way back to the hotel.  But then I would be just a guy on the street I would go find that POS that bit me, pinched my nipples, and kneed my crotch and he would have gotten some old fashioned American west justice.

 

Can you tell I am pissed?   :mrgreen:

 

I have zero respect for ES and most of their players. There is no place for that in soccer. CONCACAF better be handing out some after the fact punishment. I would love to see the centers final match report card. IF he realizes he missed some bad fouls then he can write that in his report and CONCACAF can then review the tapes and make after the fact punishment. But if the center doesn't write that in his report then by rules CONCACAF has no ability to go back and watch the tapes.


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#53 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 21 July 2017 - 04:59 PM

CBS Sports: USA vs. Costa Rica preview



#54 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 21 July 2017 - 05:59 PM

Well I think Roger has the score predicted correctly. But he's got the teams backwards!


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#55 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 21 July 2017 - 06:33 PM

MLS Soccer.com: Costa Rica vs. United States | 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup Semifinal Preview
https://www.mlssocce...mifinal-preview



#56 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 07:04 AM

US Soccer.com: PREVIEW: U.S. MNT Set for Gold Cup Semifinal vs. Costa Rica

http://www.ussoccer....l-vs-costa-rica



#57 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 03:51 PM

Tough match tonight. Arena has already said that he isn't going to be making the number of roster changes tonight as he has the last two weeks. Time for some consistency so the players get in tune with each other. However, he still has the issue of short turnaround from the game Wednesday and hopefully the final on Wednesday. So some tough decisions for tonight. I do however think we see a much different back four (or three which is my choice). So here's my guess:

 

1610174_USA.jpg

 

If Arena goes with a back four (which I suspect) then I think we see Villafana at LB, perhaps Zusi at RB in place of Miazga, and one of Arriola/Zardes/Acosta on the bench. We might see Dempsey up top with Morris too but I don't think we see both Altidore and Dempsey starting with the short rest.


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#58 fishteacher

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 09:53 PM

Our offensive attack has been awesome this first half, and you can't say enough about how great Tim Howard has always been and continues to be....what a great save at the 37'.


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#59 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 23 July 2017 - 06:20 AM

Sports on Earth: Dempsey ties USMNT scoring record



#60 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 23 July 2017 - 09:42 AM

Just an all around great match for the good guys. Two minor mistakes on long air balls by Gonzo were the only real chances the Ticos had all game. And those are tougher to defend than it looks especially when the referee was calling such a tight game. There were two keys to the way we played last night.

1. Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez played well and are a solid CB combination. Matt was just outstanding defensively and in passing the ball out of the back. Makes all the difference in the world. So much easier for the midfield to combine with the forwards to attack when they don't have to play so deep because the CBs can't pass the ball forward.

2. Darlington Nagbe is so solid bringing the ball forward that it gives the rest of the attack the freedom to make runs and open space.

 

So my plus - minus ratings for the game last night.

 

For the first time this tournament I have no minus scores.

Plus scores go to Morris and Ngabe. On the surface many fans will look at the match and say but Morris didn't score, didn't have an assist. And really only had that one early chance when he hit the post. Well all that is true. However, what most fans don't recognize is how hard he pushed the CR defense with his runs. He made them work extremely hard to keep track of him and over the course of the match that really wore down their backline.

 

Halfway through the first half CR changed their tactics and starting bringing Kendall Weston forward out of the back, especially on the outside. Forcing our midfield to keep a man deep on defense to mark him.  Well that never occurred in the second half. With Morris (and Arriola) making so many attacking runs in behind the CR back line they got gassed. They were forced to play much more stagnant and flat across the back.  So what happens?

 

In comes Clint Dempsey and his tactical awareness and the fitness of the US drives a stake into the Ticos defense. That pass to Altidore was perfectly weighted and Altidore's run was perfectly timed. Splits right between two defenders and they did not have the legs to recover quickly enough. Out comes the CR keeper but he only gets his fingers lightly on the ball and Jozy slots it home.

 

Then comes the free kick and Deuce finishes it with a tremendous ball UNDER the wall and curved to just inside the near post. Goal and 2-0 and game over. And Deuce ties Landon Donovan for the lead in all time goals scored for the Nats. Oh, and he did it in 20 fewer less games. Oh and he did it in front of his home crowd.  For those not familiar with Clint's upbringing its a very interesting story and worth reading about. The effort he had to put in just to train with a youth team is unreal. The guy is one incredible dude.

 

So its on to the final on Wednesday night. Its probably going to be against Mexico (although Jamaica can create some problems for the Mexican defense tonight). And given that the final is in California it will be a pro Mexico crowd. Can't wait.


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