OT: USMNT Road to Qatar: It gon be cold

We're back! The USMNT returns for another 3-game window before the final set of 3 qualifying matches in March. For this set, 2 home and 1 away. Spoiler: it's going to be f****** cold

Schedule
Thursday, 1/27 - v. El Salvador, 7:30 PM - Lower.com Field, Columbus, OH (ESPN2)
Sunday, 1/30 - @ Canada, 3:05 PM - Tim Horton's Field (aka "The Donut Box" LMAO), Hamilton, ON (Paramount+ probably)
Wednesday, 2/2 - v. Honduras, 7:30 PM - Allianz Field, St. Paul, MN (ESPN2)

Opponents
El Salvador and Honduras sit near the bottom of the qualifying table. They are two of the weakest opponents in the Octagonal and while not mathematically eliminated, their chances of qualifying at this point are astronomical. The temperatures for these matches will be extremely (dangerously, IMO) cold and most of their players are out of season. I don't like to say this because things happen, but there is absolutely no reason we should not win both of these matches.

Canada has been a bit of surprise this time around, jumping out to the top spot in the Octagonal just past the halfway point. Having watched them a few times outside of their match with the US, they look very strong. However, their star player, Alphonso Davies, will miss this whole window with a (reportedly mild) case of myocarditis secondary to a recent bout with COVID-19. Hopefully, it is mild as they say and best wishes to him during his recovery. In addition, Canada recently cancelled a camp they were going to have in Florida to get into shape for this window due to COVID numbers in the area. They may be a bit rusty as most of their players (they have more players in MLS that we do) are still out of season. It will also likely be cold in Hamilton, but at least it is in the afternoon.

Table

  1. Canada- 16
  2. USA - 15
  3. Mexico - 14
  4. Panama - 14
  5. Costa Rica - 9
  6. Jamaica - 7
  7. El Salvador - 6
  8. Honduras - 3

Injuries

  • Gio Reyna - Injury sustained on USMNT duty in the September window. Back in training with Borrusia Dortmund, but has not made a matchday squad yet. My guess is he will not be called up for this window.
  • Tim Weah - Quad injury sustained in December. Back training and made a substitute appearance for Lille last weekend. I think he will come, but they might want to take it easy.

Hopefully none picked up this weekend!

Roster

Thoughts:

  • GKs: Only surprise is Slonina being included for 4. My guess is that this is in anticipation of Turner's transfer to Arsenal. He will need to leave camp to get that finalized and we'll need a 3rd keeper when he does. So, Steffen will likely start at least 2 of the 3 matches.
  • Defenders: A couple of surprises here. Only 4 CBs while leaving off John Brooks seems like a bad idea, especially since 2 (Zimmerman and Robinson) are not in-season. There must be something going on between Berhalter and Brooks because he is better than McKenzie and we could really use his passing against teams that will sit deep like Honduras and El Salvador. Also, why do we have 4 right backs (Dest, Cannon, Yedlin, Lennon) and only 1 left back (ARob)? Gregg is trying to be cute with these fullback selections.
  • Midfielders: A little surprised to see Busio left off (edit: apparently he tested positive and won't be able to come). Happy that de la Torre gets a chance, hopefully he plays this time. Other than that, not surprising.
  • Attackers: This is literally exactly what I predicted, so not much to say here. Happy to see Jordan Morris back. Hopefully, Weah is eased back in a bit.
  • My guess below. I think it will be a fairly large roster given 1) 3-game window 2) MLS players are out of season - may want more rotation options 3) COVID. There is already an ongoing camp of non-Euro players, so there could be some new faces.
    GKs: Turner, Steffen, Johnson
    FBs: Dest, A. Robinson, Scally, Yedlin, DeJuan Jones - January camp attendee, has reportedly been very impressive
    CBs: M. Robinson, Brooks, Richards, Zimmerman, McKenzie
    MFs: Adams, McKennie, Musah, Lletget, Acosta, Luca De La Torre, Djordje Mihailovic - January camp, reports very impressive, very strong season for Montreal FC
    Wings: Pulisic, Aaronson, Weah, Arriola, Jordan Morris
    STs: Pepi, Zardes, Ferreira

    That's 28. I don't think Berhalter has ever called in any more than that. Of course, he can call as many as he wants, so maybe there will be more. The first couple who missed the list are Roldan, Busio, Cannon, Sands, and Cameron Carter-Vickers. I'm sure I will be wrong, and don't rule out the possibility of last-minute changes or surprised exclusions due to transfers. The transfer window will close while the team is together and players making moves may have to leave early to complete medicals. I don't think many are rumored to be moving except Matt Turner (rumored to Arsenal). Arriola just moved to Dallas, so he should be good. Dike misses out due to his recent move to West Brom. I'm sure Berhalter will want to let him get settled. You could say the same for Pepi, but he's the starting 9, so we kind of need him.

    Summary
    Some people will say we need 9 points in this window and that is not true. It seems possible, but no one has done it yet this cycle. We have a decent chance with two weak opponents at home and a short road trip to Canada. But let me just warn you that you are likely to be severely let down if you are expecting 9 points. Personally, I think 7 is a reasonable expectation. I fully expect the USMNT to get there in the most roundabout way possible that makes no logical sense (i.e. - losing to El Salvador and beating Canada or something), but I think they will get 7.

    Historically, 1.7 points/match has been the amount needed to qualify for the World Cup. With 14 matches, that comes to about 23-24 points. If the US gets 7 in this window, we are good to go. Honestly, the only important thing is how far ahead of Panama we can stay. Top 3 qualify, so as long as we are comfortably ahead of #4, I won't be worried. Panama has a tough set of matches, with trips to Costa Rica and Mexico and a home matchup with a Jamaica squad looking much improved with Michail Antonio leading the line. Hopefully, we can avoid an extremely stressful final window and take care of business in these matches before a difficult draw in the final round (@CR, MEX, v. PAN).

    Edit: Added official roster and commentary

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Comments

Is this International Football (soccer)?

This is going to be great for the ACC.

I think we need 7 Points. Tie Canada and we will still be okay. A loss against Canada (Or any opponent for that matter) is no good. I'm not thrilled about the World Cup and how Qatar got it. Just want USA and Portugal to qualify for it

Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

Completely agree. 7 points, and I will be feeling comfortable. 6 is okay, but I am nervous. 5 is not doomsday, but I will be sweating bullets for the last window. Less than 5 and all hell breaks loose.

The circumstances of the Qatar World Cup are regrettable in so many ways. I honestly wish I had the willpower to not watch because the whole thing just feels gross, but I know that I won't be able to do that. I hope teams and players are able to let their voices be heard with protests and/or demonstrations. Probably won't change much, sadly.

I agree with your thoughts on getting 7 points and we absolutely should get a minimum of 6 points. El Salvador and Honduras are average at best and with both of these being home games there are no excuses for dropping points against them.

These 2022 World Cup qualifying posts are great. They make casual USMNT fans like myself about 1000% more interested than I would normally be.

I'll definitely be watching the two ESPN2 games.

The doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughing at me.

Thank you, glad to hear people are enjoying them!

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
@BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

I believe

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

I believe that

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

I believe that we

I am not sure what to do with my hands now

I believe that we will win!

I don't know what a Hokie is, but God is one of them!

I also believe that we could use a better chant....

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

Agreed. I believe that if we do make the WC, a new one will be in order.

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
@BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

A better chant already exists

            Roster posted. Will post some thoughts when I have a chance

            Josh Sargent is furious at his omission from the roster and promptly scores two goals for Norwich lol

            I thought you were joking when I saw this.

            GOOD!!! Get mad. et fired up! Get that burn and desire.
            Love to see it.
            (I still think he's a minute away from USMNT ready, but this is a solid lean towards getting there.)

            Or, this might be a good one too.

            To you from failing hands we throw
            The torch; be yours to hold it high.
            @BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

            Sargent and Pefok need to be included

            Morris and Zardes have no ball control and play at a lower level. No offense to Mls

            Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

            Morris plays a different position, he is a winger and we're a little short on wingers right now. I like Pefok, but the Swiss league is not exactly a high level. It's marginally better than MLS at best. And ball control isn't exactly his strong suit either. I like him, but he doesn't really fit how the US want to play. He doesn't press well, his link up play is poor, and his hold-up play is not very good for a big striker. He's a very good poacher, but if we're not creating a bunch of chances he's basically dead weight.

            Sargent has been in terrible form this season until scoring 2 goals (his first of the season) today. He doesn't really have a case.

            And Zardes for how frustrating he can be with his touch, always works hard and doesn't ever really play bad when with the US. I don't think he should ever start but he is a good end of game sub with how much chaos he causes with his pressing, positioning and his touch where you never know where it's going to go.

            Exactly. Gregg knows what he is. He knows he's not a complete forward, although he did score 9 goals this year and 15 last season for Columbus. The US creates a lot of chances via the press and Zardes is very good and very organized leading that. He's not going to start over Pepi unless injuries or fatigue come into play. And he's a good player to come in and close out a game with his energy.

            I was as hard on him as anyone a few years ago, but that was more out of frustration at him being the only real option at striker. He is much better than he was then and his bad touch has been much overblown - it was quite poor early in his career when he was playing winger, but there's really nothing noteworthy about it now.

            Not exactly, Berhalter has his way but he can't hang with top European teams. The problem with us forwards is they want some perfect guy who has height and chases and scores. But when you have guys like Morris who came up as a forward suddenly become a winger. You need to develop

            Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

            I'm super excited that the last home qualifier is in Orlando! I went to the qualifier vs Panama I Orlando in 2017 and we won 4-0! Hoping for a similar result this time.
            Also, with of 2 the 3 matches in the last window at Mexico and at Costa Rica, we need at least 7 this go 'round. πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έβš½οΈ

            I don't know what a Hokie is, but God is one of them!

            That's going to be an important game, hopefully the crowd shows up!

            Like I said above, it all depends on Panama. They've been very surprisingly good so far. It feels like eventually their luck will run out. If it does this window, we will likely be safe even with only 5-6 points.

            Well, I will be there making a lot of noise!

            I don't know what a Hokie is, but God is one of them!

            I'll preface this with I'm not really a soccer fan... but what the hell is with scheduling a naturally outdoor game during the coldest time of the year? This to me is like trying to play baseball in the rain - sure, the other team isn't used to these types of conditions. But you know who else isn't? EVERYONE PLAYING

            The Columbus thing is tradition at this point (usually against Mexico, though), but you're right. Playing in Minnesota in January has taken it too far.

            Yeah it's completely dumb. To be fair, only US Soccer seems to think it's a good idea. I haven't heard any fans who think it's a good idea.

            The "idea" is to minimize travel between our home matches and our away match in Hamilton, Ontario. Also to make our Central American opponents uncomfortable in temperatures they're not used to. In my opinion, it's completely unnecessary because we are already more talented than them and bad weather is an equalizer. However, Nashville is about the same distance from Hamilton as St. Paul, so it's just completely stupid. The real reason they are having the games in OH and MN (they already played two in OH) is because US Soccer wants mainly white people in the stands.

            I think they're going for team USA fans in the stands... not a specific skin color

            To paraphrase Chris Rock, the only people of color in Minnesota are Prince and Kirby Puckett.

            USSF is absolutely trying to suppress minority representation with their venue choices. I understand not playing Mexico in Houston, but Minnesota in February is fucking ridiculous.

            It's not minorities, it's non-Americans, and it ends up being basically Latin American immigrants. It's definitely a slippery slope, but it's unavoidable when you're talking about teams explicitly representing countries from the region.

            Thats a bit of a stretch honestly. They're simply being petty as hell to try and help the US in the game and keep the crowd from being a big away crowd. It wasnt that long ago that they had a game in denver against mexico and it was still a really large turn out for mexico. Theyre doing what canada has been doing in trying to make the equatorial teams uncomfortable in the conditions. Look at where and when canada played mexico in their last qualifier. Do I think its stupid? 100% but theyre all doing it now for some reason which makes no sense to me.

            Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

            I get that, but the thing is they don't NEED to. The US team is categorically better and more talented than El Salvador and Honduras. Playing in extreme conditions detracts from the advantage that we inherently have. It is one thing to do it against Mexico like Canada did, but it's completely unnecessary and actually counterproductive against ES and HON. I know you said you agree it is stupid, so I'm not trying to argue with you or anything, I just don't think it can be overstated how stupid the decision was.

            As for the crowd factor - all I will say is that Mexico and El Salvador are different propositions when it comes to away crowds. The Mexican national team is the most popular soccer team, club or international, in the USA. El Salvador/Honduras are not. No one will be able to convince me that we would have been at any discernable crowd disadvantage if we had played against Honduras in Nashville (Low of 41 on 2/2, 2 hr flight from Toronto) as opposed to St. Paul (Low of 3 on 2/2, 2 hr flight from Toronto).

            The US team is categorically better and more talented than El Salvador and Honduras.

            Let's look at how categorically better they are...
            USA vs Honduras, June 2021. USA wins 1-0. At Home in Denver.
            USA vs El Salvador, September 2021, DRAW 0-0, in San Salvador.
            Don't take them for granted.

            You state that it's counter productive...How so?

            No one will be able to convince me that we would have been at any discernable crowd disadvantage

            Huh? Now you are jumping to the conclusion that playing ANYWHERE else is a disadvantage? What? How did you get there? And you do realize the crowd doesn't play the game...but the field and the conditions DO matter. Why do you think Mexico plays in Mexico City at a mile high in elevation? (Even we do sometimes too.) Why do you think Canada scheduled Mexico in Edmonton in November? (It was in the low 20's there.) But hey, they could have played in Toronto or Montreal or Vancouver.

            A lot of our guys play in Europe, which plays over the winter for their domestic leagues. It's not a huge deal, nor is it some big conspiracy that you make it out to be.

            To you from failing hands we throw
            The torch; be yours to hold it high.
            @BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

            Should have said more talented. Obviously, that doesn't always equate to results of course. Poor wording on my part.

            The way that the US wants to play relies on accurate passing, coordinated movements and technical skill. These things are more difficult in extreme cold. You start to lose that little bit of feeling in your extremities and that touch gets away from you. Our opponents are going to be bunkering, try to play long ball counters, and maybe try and take advantage of a set piece. They will be affected by the cold of course but their game plan will be more conducive to a messy game.

            I'm not sure how you got that second point from my comment. In regards to the point about wanting a pro-US crowd, I said that I don't believe playing in Nashville, which is just as close to Toronto as St Paul, would present non-US crowd issues. And the weather would be better, which I said I believe would favor the US.

            I don't believe the US has a location that provides a unique geographical/climate advantage to them like Mexico City does for Mexico. If they had one that would benefit them more than it would the opponent, I would be all for it.

            Yeah, no

            There was a 9am game against Honduras at RFK Stadium, and it might as well have been Tegucigalpa. US Soccer loved the money, didn't like the home loss.

            That was a major turning point for the federation, and getting more qualifying games at MLS venues to control ticket allotment. Yes, they are purposely keeping tickets from going to non-US fans. Other countries do it. We finally got the memo.

            TKPhi Damn Proud
            BSME 2009

            I understand that there are certain locations which have concentrated opponent fanbases. I understand why the federation does what they do and that results are the only thing that matters in qualifying. I think they could do that without choosing venues with dangerous weather conditions and I think in general they should do a better job of reaching out to "dual-national fans" if you will, although I admit that there are better times to do that than key World Cup qualifier matches.

            And that's the last thing I'm going to say about the venue choices in relation to crowds because I think I've adequately expressed my opinion and it's not really the point of the thread.

            You keep alluding to dangerous weather conditions. For whom? They don't control the weather. They chose a cold weather venue for an advantage (which you agree they should do...)

            To you from failing hands we throw
            The torch; be yours to hold it high.
            @BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

            The forecast for St. Paul on 2/2 is currently a low of 10 degrees with snow showers. I'm sure the team will be prepared so it likely won't actually be *dangerous* for them, although they will be more susceptible to muscle injuries. What I am still maintaining is that the cold does not benefit the US team in the way that the altitude benefits Mexico. I said if we had a unique advantage that benefitted our team, it would be wise to take it. Mexico is a good example, Peru is another that plays at extreme altitudes and they almost never lose at home. I don't believe extreme cold is an advantage for the US.

            No, they don't control the weather, but they could have easily picked another venue which would have presented a much lower risk. It's not exactly hard to predict the St. Paul weather in February.

            There's another team playing as well. And their average temp is 80* in early Feb. While it's cold for the US squad, it's extra cold for them. It's about gaining an advantage, and them having to play in that cold is a net advantage for the US.

            To you from failing hands we throw
            The torch; be yours to hold it high.
            @BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

            Yep, I appreciate the rationale that the federation is using. I disagree, but it is all opinion at this point until we see the match.

            And Goff reported several times that Canada's decision to play in Hamilton ultimately decided the venues for the US.

            Logistics is also key to winning. We got Euro heavy lineups who will need to get to and from qualifying without issues. Can't have Pulisic on jet lag.

            For reference, the Panama game will be in Orlando since it's sandwiched between trips out to the Gulf. And, it's easier to fly into and out of Orlando.

            TKPhi Damn Proud
            BSME 2009

            As I said before, Nashville is the length of flight from Hamilton. Other options include Charlotte, Atlanta, Louisville, Kansas City, and St. Louis. All have soccer-specific stadiums and would be significantly better weather.

            I don't really have a gripe with Columbus because that's kind of their home base. But I'm sorry, there's just no reasonable explanation for St. Paul. San Jose and Portland would have been great if Canada had chose Vancouver as Goff had reported. I understand those wouldn't be ideal with Hamilton in between so I have no problem that they switched.

            I know the players are talking up the cold and about how they're embracing the mindset. I obviously hope they play well, prove me wrong, and show that it's a huge advantage for them and I really hope that no one gets hurt. I just think it was a big, unnecessary risk.

            I was at that RFK Honduras game. Great environment but definitely not one the USMNT wants at home.

            To paraphrase the 2020 census, Minnepaolis was over 19% black or African American. The entire US was 12.4% black or African American. So....NO, it's not about suppression of minority representation as alluded to.

            To you from failing hands we throw
            The torch; be yours to hold it high.
            @BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

            Obviously, yes they want US fans. But there are plenty of fans in other northern cities that won't be so dangerously cold. There is a huge untappped group of potential fans that they basically exclude with this strategy. The team is a huge melting pot of cultures and the fan base can be too. The federations insistence on avoiding sites with large non-white populations is not a new thing either

            So I lived a year in Costa Rica for most of 2009 and remember that the Ticos were super proud of the fact that the USMNT had never won a match in Costa Rica. Anyone know if we have gotten that monkey off the back yet? The Ticos are generally very sweet and welcoming, but they have an over-inflated opinion about their national team.

            VTCC '86 Delta Company, Hokie in Peru, Former Naval Aviator, Former FBISA, Forever married to my VT87 girl. Go VT!

            Nope, still haven't. They're don't have their strongest team this time around, so we have a chance this year. But it's a really tough place to play, as I'm sure you know.

            I can't find it now, but there's an old video of the USMNT in the away locker room at halftime of a match vs Costa Rica, and the room is shaking and the ceiling is bowing. It's nuts

            They will never get over the loss in the snow.

            It burns them with the heat of a thousand suns.

            Hopefully the introduction of VAR for remaining concacaf matches will right some of the past atrocities wrongs (and some of the questionable corruption that occurs in concacaf).
            Linky

            Hopefully, but don't count on it. If anything, VAR has introduced more controversy due to the specifics of VAR rules and the inability to change seemingly obvious calls. I absolutely do not trust CONCACAF to get it right. It should have been in place this whole time, and it's crazy that they are implementing it in the middle of qualifying. Either have it or don't, but you have to pick one. It would be like the NFL saying they're only using booth reviews from Week 12 on.

            One big thing for Canada is they are missing Alphonso Davies who is a huge miss and could be one little shining beacon of hope for the US as he is a problem to play against

            Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

            Yep, mentioned that in the main post. Hope he makes a full recovery, and honestly as much as it helps us I am sad he won't be able to play because he is just such a fantastic player to watch. They are also going to be missing Eustaquio, probably their best midfielder. With a lot of their players being out of season in MLS and those two missing, we have a good chance to beat them.

            Team news from GB press conference today: Zack Steffen is not currently with the team - getting treatment in Manchester for an unspecified injury and is day-to-day. DeAndre Yedlin arriving today from Turkey, was delayed due to ice storms.

            Looks like Turner will be starting at least the first match. Hope they don't run into any issues if Turner has to leave camp to complete his move to Arsenal.

            Lineup! The game might be starting at 7? It definitely said 730 before...

            Very surprised to see Ferreira start over Pepi. I like Ferreira, so I don't hate it or anything. Just very surprised. Also surprised to see Zimmerman and Richards start over Miles Robinson. I guess we're looking for better passing out of the back and that's not Robinson's best attribute. Still strange since he's been one of our best players in the cycle. Love to see Weah starting, look for him to make a big impact tonight. Let's go boys!

            I don't know a lot about Ferreira, but missing two good looks like that definitely makes my opinion a little more negative.

            You'd like your striker to finish those, but they were a bit tougher than they looked I think.

            First one was tough, and props for staying on his feet. The second one though...any striker worth their salt slots that home ezpz with their left foot

            VB born, class of '14

            Watched it a again. Yeah...gotta finish that

            That was a pretty boring half. Wish Pulisic would stop trying to dribble everyone.

            Robinson scores! Weah makes a nice run storming past a couple defenders and gets a shot off. Ferreira heads and it falls to Robinson who lashes home from close range with a very nice left footed shot.

            Man, Pulisic just looks awful. Losing the ball almost every time he touches it.

            Oooh...Jamaica goes up 1-0 on Mexico...in the Azteca πŸ‘€

            You can tell he hasn't got of the bench for Chelsea recently. Can't say I disagreed with the sub. Hopefully he will be better on Sunday.

            Our most potent attacker is our left back. I don't think that's ideal.

            Seems like everyone was holding onto the ball a touch too long all night. Hopefully they're warmed up and will be a little sharper on Sunday.

            winning is winning.

            This is my school
            This is home

            Got 3 points, we'll take it. Not the best performance, but a win is a win.

            Happy we won. That said, not thrilled by the subs Gregg made. Kinda took the air and momentum out of the game.

            I don't care that Zardes plays there and Morris is coming back from injury. I'm cool with Aaronson. Pepi and Arriola offer so much more imo

            VB born, class of '14

            Man. Antonee's hurt hamstring celebration got me good. I said WHAT THE HELL ANTONEE.

            Good goal, decent performance. If second half weah could play for 90 minutes against everyone we would be alot better the first half was bleh. Pulisic has to move the ball better at times he cant be superman every time but he looked okay. Really impressed by Mckennie he was probably our best player on the night. For the goal robinson did great but some of his crosses leave alot to be desired to me.

            Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

            Weah and his movement off the ball are priceless on this squad. If we qualify, he's gotta be in Qatar.

            TKPhi Damn Proud
            BSME 2009

            No doubt hes been a difference maker when some of our other guys havent stepped up, he is coming along very very nicely after a little stunt in growth.

            Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

            US Soccer continues to be hampered by lack of Tactics from coaching. Yesterday was precisely the reason why you need a guy like Jordan Pefok in the Starting lineup. Also, they have Ricardo Pepi on the roster, made no sense why he didn't start. You got MckInney, Pulisic, Musah, Weah, Adams creating so in turn you need some one with middle presence in the center forward channel. Ferreira at the National team level at best is a winger and some one who is not yet ready. For those of you saying that Zardes is a hard worker, let me tell you this - the Guy is not National team material. We don't need a guy running around chasing the ball. We need to get Sargeant and Pefok along with Riardo Pepi upfront. Its also time to get John Brooks back in there, I'm happy with Richards and Zimmerman but trying to play 3 games in 6 days we need Brook's experience even if he is not starting.

            The issue here I see with the selection and tactics of Berhalter is when we play European teams. we cannot play dump and chase soccer. We need possession for attacking, we need center forwards that have a Presence in the box (Pepi, Sargeant, Pefok). I think some of the over-dribbling, can be corrected given that it was the first of 3 games.

            On the positive side, I was happy with Jordan Morris performance and looks like he is finally back to playing at a high level. We have very good wing depth and it shouldn't be a position of concern. I'm pretty happy with the way we played defense as well - Looks like the defenders and Adams are on the same page in getting back and recovering.

            Here is one more tactical switch I would make. Tim Weah has been playing Centrally underneath the forward for Lille, and Musah is naturally a winger. I would switch those two in the National team alignment. Weah should be more free to move around underneath the forward. That should create more chances

            Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

            He started Ferreira because he wanted to play a certain way. They created almost 3xG on the night so they had plenty of chances. I also would have started Pepi but it was a choice specific for this match and I wouldn't expect it to happen every time.

            Sorry, not sure what you're talking about re: Weah/Musah. Weah has played a second striker before, but he has played most of his minutes for Lille on the right wing. I think he'd be good in the second striker role, but that position doesn't really exist for the USMNT. Weah's runs in behind on the right have been the prime mode of chance creation for US since he came into the starting lineup so I'm not sure why you would want to move him.

            Musah plays winger for Valencia, but he's rated as literally one of the worst in La Liga as a wing. He looks 100x better playing in CM for US than he does playing for Valencia.

            I can't help you

            Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

            πŸ‘πŸΌ

            Tim Weah is by far the best option at right wing for the MNT and it's not even close. Consistently one of the best players on the field last window and in this game as well. I have no idea what you do when Gio Reyna comes back.

            The problems were up top and on the right side. Pulisic played too far inside. El Salvador played too compact between the lines for a false 9 to be successful - just clogs up the midfield even more. Musah had no space to run since Pulisic was so far inside. And the USA's DNA has been get the ball wide and either put a cross in or beat a fullback off the dribble. Both of those need a true 9 to either be the target of the cross or occupy the opposing CBs.

            Agree about Pulisic and clogging the space behind the forward , I don't know what The Ferreira thing about playing a certain way is about. We really needed someone to play in space up top in that game. I thought Pepi was the best option. I do agree that Weah is the best option at Right wing. What I'm not seeing is that true #10 creative/reserve forward type. It's almost like Weston and Yunas are right next to each other and on top you Pulisic coming in.

            Speaking of Pulisic, when it comes to the National team, is he a winger or the #10. I think Reyna should be the #10, he's already playing that position in Dortmund with a big man Haaland and Pepi is a pretty good sized forward.

            If Reyna is the starter at #10 and Yunas is the backup, that would be a solid plan. If people think that Musah is a lowly ranked winger in laLiga, he shouldn't be on the National team then. Those rankings don't factor in everything you need from a player.
            You Get Aaranson, Pulisic, Weah, Morris and Arriola at the wing you got nice depth. I think three forwards we need to take to the World Cup are Pepi, Sargent and Pefok, not Zardes.

            Central midfield we Need Weston and Tyler and Acosta seems to be the best backup but I don't think we have much more depth than that , maybe Jackson Yueil. They never gave Durkin or Canouse much of a look and while there are a number of players across MLS not sure they are at a very high level

            Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

            Musah is poorly rated as a winger because he's being played out of position by Valencia. I can't tell you why they play him there, but they do. That didn't mean they US should make the same mistake when he's clearly much better as a box to box CM

            Totally agree. As of now, I would send Pulisic to the bench and play Reyna and Weah on the wings. I don't think Berhalter will do that though.

            Pulisic just gets that hero complex for the US and always holds onto the ball 1 or two touches too long. It's very frustrating because he is so so good when he is on.

            For Both of your comments - I'll respond like this:
            Berhalter needs to implement one and only one player as a Reserve Forward Behind Pepi. I feel like he's experimenting with a 4 man line across the attacking midfield. In the long term, this will hurt us against stronger competition. Whether its Musah or Reyna or Pulisic, there should be only one player behind the striker with given responsibility and that will allow the winger to sometimes come into the middle and not overcrowd it.

            Secondly, it'll help the Adams in Defensive Midfield if he has Weston a little closer to him.

            Berhalter might have been a really good choice for the Head coaching position but there is something missing tactically and decision-making wise with him. You can hear Taylor Twellman going back to whenever...why?why?

            There is a really good crop of players right now and we should be playing much better than this. Thats all I'm saying.

            Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

            So you want them to play a 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-1-1. That makes a lot of sense with Reyna, Ferreira, Weah, or Pulisic at the 10. It's definitely a good idea, but certainly not the only way they can be successful. In CONCACAF, the US is Liverpool/City. They should be able to play aggressively with advanced fullbacks and CMs if that's how they want to play. At the World Cup, maybe playing a bit more conservatively would be a good idea. But without Reyna, I don't see them switching to a tactical setup which relies so heavily on a star #10 when they don't have one available. Even when he's back, Berhalter seems to prefer the 4-3-3 though.

            4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 is the way to go but more importantly the tactics and positional responsibility is not there. This is on Greg Berhalter as the coach

            Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

            Weah not traveling to Canada...hope it's precautionary because of the cold

            Weah is apparently unable to travel to Canada because he is not fully vaccinated by Canadian standards. In France, where he plays, he is. He had one shot and the got COVID and didn't have time after that to get the second shot. In France, that is considered fully vaccinated, but not in Canada. Feels like the federation should have been on top of that beforehand...that's a big loss but at least he should be fresh for Honduras.

            Not sure what you think the Federation should have done. His club pays him to play a lot more games for them, where he basically resides for 9 months. And we have him for 2 games of the 3 this period, so that's better than zero. I'm sure this isn't a shock for them...they brought him to the squad knowing he wouldn't be able to play in Canada.

            To you from failing hands we throw
            The torch; be yours to hold it high.
            @BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

            I don't feel strongly on this, but the federation *could* have checked everyone's status a while ago, and told Weah "yeah, you don't need a booster in France, but let's get you one anyway just to check all the boxes everywhere."

            Even if there was a rule against boosters in France (I'd be surprised, but devil's advocate), they still could have arranged to stick him as soon as he came back to the US. Has he really not set foot on US soil in months? For earlier qualifier matches if nothing else?

            They could have found out that he needed a second shot and told him to get one if he wanted to play in Canada. I incorrectly wrote above that he didn't have time to get a second shot. It sounds like he just didn't do it because France didn't require it since he had COVID and recovered. Berhalter said they learned about it three days ago, so they didn't already know and just accept there was nothing they could do, the federation just didn't check.

            I guess it's not clear when he got COVID, so it's possible he didn't have time. If that's the case, then no there's nothing that could have been done. Just unfortunate for us as he's been one of our most important attackers.

            Can't wait for our players to play in these great conditions

            They need to move that game indoors. Frostbite within 8 minutes!?

            I don't know what a Hokie is, but God is one of them!

            Zardes in. No Pepi. Wooboy we just love punishment.

            That was not ideal. Only our second loss of qualifying, but we did not play well. We need a win on Wednesday. πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έβš½οΈ

            I don't know what a Hokie is, but God is one of them!

            Well that was shit. 1 goal in two games and in neither has the team had any cohesion or much of a plan (that you can recognize at least). Line up and sub pattern...leaves a lot to be desired. There's plenty of talent on this team. It shouldn't be this hard.

            Been warning about everything that went wrong in this game. This is on the coaches. Sorry but even Berhalter is not the answer and Zardes is certainly not the forward Berhalter thinks he is. Why didn't Pepi start?

            Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

            Tough loss. Canada didn't really threaten much except on the counter and the first goal came from a Robison overcommit/slip. Feel Turner should have done better as well.

            I thought we looked good and were threatening for most of the rest of the first half, but really looked out of ideas in the 2nd. While he didn't really do anything noteworthy and I also would have started Pepi, Zardes is not the reason why we can't score. No one making off-ball runs, relying on 1v1s, and hitting hopeful crosses with one or two players arriving in the box is why we can't score.

            Must have 3 points on Wednesday, and likely missing Tyler Adams. Gregg needs to figure out the attack.

            Much like Fuente, Greg is missing something in the attack. Not playing like a team

            Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

            Maybe we should try some jet sweeps

            Nothing like a poorly timed overlap to simulate the corn sweep offense.

            I'm not surprised we leave Canada with no points, especially with this coaching staff. Canada is a lot better than I think people give them credit for lol.

            That being said, anything less than 3 points against Honduras next game is a travesty. And let's start Pepi please

            VB born, class of '14

            Panama up 3-1 on Jamaica with 10 mins to go. Was really hoping Jamaica could steal a point. If Panama gets a result in Mexico on Wednesday, we are nervous in the final window regardless of the result against Honduras

            Costa Rica holds Mexico to a draw in Mexico, so US remains in 2nd place for now with a GD advantage over Mexico.

            Mexico-Panama on Wednesday. We should be supporting whoever you think is least likely to collapse in the final window, which is probably Mexico. They have us at home, Honduras away, and El Salvador home. A draw is okay, but would prefer Mexico win on Wednesday.

            Preferring a Mexico win?


            Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

            Why not just have Panama win, that way, with a US W over Honduras, the US could all but eliminate Mexico from directly qualifying at Azteca.

            Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

            Because Panama is much more likely to lose more points in the final window (v. Honduras, @US, v. Canada) than Mexico (v. US, @ Honduras, v. El Salvador). Even if Mexico loses to Panama and US at home, they could still get 6 v. the other two, giving them 24 points. Panama would get 3 from Mexico, and presumably 3 v. Honduras, 0 @US, maybe 1 v. Canada. That also gives them 24. So yes, Mexico could land in the playoff in that scenario, but it's not a guarantee as you say even if we were to beat them at the Azteca (unlikely).

            I'd much rather minimize points for one so we can have as much distance as possible between us and the 4th-place team. For me, Panama is less likely to be able to keep up in the last window and we are playing them at home, so I'd rather they drop than Mexico. I understand why it feels bad to pull for Mexico, but they are going to be in the World Cup either way. Even if they get 4th, they would crush New Zealand in a playoff.

            Frustrating. There's no identity to this team. And it's like watching "next goal wins" when there's 45 minutes left in practice. They push, but don't really want to score because that means the end of it. Hard to explain, but there's a wall or something that they can't/won't break thru.

            That being said, I know we are young. Extremely young. Two field guys at 24 and only Zardes older than that at 30. We lost some time trying to get a cohesive unit with the Jurgen years, but have quite a few guys to chose from. But I feel like Gregg is still chasing, trying to find something, always tinkering. Hard to get chemistry and momentum with different lineups and focuses each time out. We are so easy to defend for the majority of the game, allowing the opponent to conserve and attack with full force on the counter. Both goals yesterday fit this to a T.

            To you from failing hands we throw
            The torch; be yours to hold it high.
            @BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

            Omar Gonzalez once complained that Juergen changed a formation just before a game. Rightfully so, bc we ended up beating Trinidad with 2 attacking midfielders instead of playing on the wings. OG didn't like it cause he shouldn't be on the field.

            These are high level, some world class, professionals. Changing a formation, moving some pieces around to win is normal for them. Instead, he's treating them like an MLS team, and tinkering with lineups. Or using less talented players in lieu of better European talent.

            You're telling me Jordan Morris was our best option off the bench? Where was Pefok? Sargent? Scally? Busio?

            We will stumble. I still think we can qualify, but we have put doubt back into the equation.

            TKPhi Damn Proud
            BSME 2009

            Agreed. I know it's qualifying, and there are a ton of logistics with getting people back, having them play 3 games when they would have maybe seen one for their club team, not to mention covid travel and everything else. It's a goulash of all sorts, but we still have to get IN the show. Right now, looks like we can. Question is the WILL.

            To the altering formations idea...we have this bravado as an American team...that we can overpower any team we are playing. We supposedly were at #11 in the world this summer. I say supposedly because we simply played more games than some others, and I don't feel like the teams from 12-25 are worse than us...anyway, point being, if that's the case, we should be able to win games simply by playing soccer the way we play. We shouldn't have to alter the approach for Honduras (#63) or El Salvador (#65). We should be able to have an identity and play our ball and beat them. Don't overthink it! Now, against Mexico or Canada, a few small tweaks, yeah, I get it. But messing with it every single game is getting old, and not allowing us to grow into a mature team. While they are professionals, 5 of the 11 starters yesterday would still be eligible to be in college playing at that level if we weren't so thin in the older grouping. (and another 2 or 3 if they redshirted or grad-transferred, using football aging to compare.) While we have "experience" we don't have the full package yet.

            I think the Morris off the bench was a product of him playing in the cold typically, and having a familiarity with the Canadian roster thru the MLS. He might not have been the most pure goal scorer, but that game needed some, as I call it, adult supervision. Also sets up for a completely different line up on Wednesday due to the cold back-to-back games. Who knows what he rolls out Wednesday night...........

            To you from failing hands we throw
            The torch; be yours to hold it high.
            @BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

            Yep, the byproduct of JK playing Michael Bradley in the middle was we knew what we were getting game in and game out. Our lineup wasn't going to be out in left field.

            Right now, I can't tell you what we are doing, other than chasing the flags on the wings to cross the ball. That's back in elementary school soccer. We should be far more nuanced than that.

            TKPhi Damn Proud
            BSME 2009

            Exactly. It's like watching local high school soccer. Shivers.

            And, seriously, can we just make something up for Dest. He doesn't play the right back position. He plays an entire right side rover. Which requires the right mid to fill back for him when he's inside the box. I get the help on offense, but what he does is start at the back, then go to the box as quickly as he can and stay up there. The only time he's at right back is on a kick off or if he has time to get back during an opposing goal kick. Let's just say we are playing a 3-3-3 +1R or something. And it's not even an experiment at this point by Gregg. It's a habit. Maybe THAT'S his identity.I don't know why, but he just has to overload the ball on the right and play for a cross. Shivers more...

            To you from failing hands we throw
            The torch; be yours to hold it high.
            @BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

            Just guessing, 4-4-2
            Turner
            Dest, Robinson, Robinson, Yedlin
            Musah, Adams, Lletget, McKennie
            Pepi, Weah

            Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

            MD11 Scenarios:
            Jamaica will be eliminated with an L
            Jamaica will be eliminated with a T AND a PAN/MEX T
            El Salvador will be on life support with an L AND PAN W
            Canada qualifies with a W AND PAN L

            Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

            Adams and Richards officially out for Honduras. Very cool and good. Also Adams is still on a yellow card, so next one he gets causes him to miss next match. Can't wait for him to miss a very important match against Panama. It's fine!

            I'm not a deadspin follower, but this popped up and I gave it a read.
            Pretty much where I'm at with Gregg and his approach. I just want some realistic understanding from him, not "we won all the 50/50 balls, so, yeah, that's a victory..." Especially when we lose 2-0.

            https://deadspin.com/ok-maybe-it-s-time-to-have-a-talk-about-gregg-berhalte-1848454580

            To you from failing hands we throw
            The torch; be yours to hold it high.
            @BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

            I agree with a lot of this. Especially this:

            And the U.S., especially in the first half, did cause turnovers in the Canadian half or near the Canadian box. They found themselves with the ball in space. But this is where the main problem arose. Instead of using those turnovers and the space they would have before Canada could get its coffin-tight defense set to simply charge up the field and counter, the U.S. was far too determined to get whatever predetermined shape and tactic Berhalter had installed. It was so slow. It was about getting their fullbacks wide to pair with the wide forwards, but leaving Zardes isolated in a box. And Canada would be set, only too happy to let the U.S. form a constant "U" as they constantly, sluggishly, would pass the ball from one wing, out to midfield and in front of Canada's defense, to the other wing. Every time the U.S. won the ball in space, it looked like everyone was trying to remember their steps instead of just doing what came naturally, namely getting the ball up the fucking field fucking fast and wreaking havoc.

            Yes. So many times, I saw us win the ball near midfield and instead of breaking forward while Canada was in transition, they would play a square pass or a back pass and let everyone reset. There are times to do this, but we HAVE to eat in transition because that is the strength of most of our players! Many of them thrive in "Red Bull" style systems where transition is king. I love the idea of playing like City, but we aren't creating offensive output, so we've got to try something else.

            One part I don't agree with is the weird insistence that Pefok and Sargent be a part of this squad. At this point in time, in my mind, all of our strikers are basically interchangeable in terms of form. Pepi hasn't scored a goal in like 700 minutes, several players (including Pefok - Swiss league just resumed 1/29 after a 1+ month break) are not in season, and until the day of the roster drop, Josh Sargent had honestly made like 5 positive attacking actions in this whole season for Norwich. If people (or Gregg) want to include them, fine. If not, also fine. There's really no credible reason to include one over the other beyond personal preference for playing style. So if people want Pefok, okay, but let's not pretend like it's some grievous snub that he isn't included.

            This is a nice cutup video of several "chance adjacent" moments from the Canada match. Although there is certainly something that needs adjusted in the attacking tactical setup, these are several moments that could have easily been goals if a guy makes a different decision or hits a better pass. Despite how poorly they played, the game still could easily have been won. In particular, I think #2 and #6 would have been very good chances if the pass had been made. Still not a great performance, but there is hope that as the players continue to play together more, they will more consistently make the right decisions or get luckier, and on a different day maybe we win this one. Soccer can be a frustrating game.

            Lineup:

            Certainly not going with the status quo. Interested to see how Morris looks. Weah's back, and that might be enough on its own.

            Not a Morris fan, he always seems a step slow and his passes are always just a bit off the mark.

            I am not sure what to do with my hands now

            At least Pepi is starting

            I don't know what a Hokie is, but God is one of them!

            Windchill of -14. This is fucking stupid.

            McKennie with the beautiful header! πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έβš½οΈ

            I don't know what a Hokie is, but God is one of them!

            McKennie goal from the Acosta free kick! Great start!

            Another set piece goal! Zimmerman slots home after another Acosta free kick bounces around in the area. US up 2-0 and cruising. Would like to see some more chances from open play though.

            0 set piece goals so far in the qualifying. 2 tonight!! πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έβš½οΈ

            I don't know what a Hokie is, but God is one of them!

            Acosta serving em up!

            To you from failing hands we throw
            The torch; be yours to hold it high.
            @BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

            Muuuch better than Pulisic's set pieces the last two games. And Acosta's been dropping dimes in the run of play as well.

            Ok, as soon as Pulisic comes on Acosta hits a bad one πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

            Well.........at least there was someone there to clean it up!

            To you from failing hands we throw
            The torch; be yours to hold it high.
            @BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

            Another set piece goal! Acosta corner falls to Pulisic and he smashes home just minutes after coming on.

            Pulisic!!! πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έβš½οΈ

            I don't know what a Hokie is, but God is one of them!

            This is what the US should be doing in all qualifying matches, regardless of location*, and at home against Canada and Mexico.

            *I will dance in the street if we ever win 3-0 in Azteca

            Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

            Full time, 3-0. Luca de La Torre magnificent. Set piece clinic. Almost there! Enjoy it, we won't get to do this for 2026 :(

            De la Torre has an insane motor. Couldn't believe he was still making sprints like he was for the full 90.

            Ha, between last time and this time, I'm about sick of qualifying.

            The Penultimate Window of the Octagonal has finished. Here is the table.

            1. Canada 25 points, +14
            2. USA 21 points, +9
            3. Mexico 21 points, +6
            4. Panama 17 points, +1
            5. Costa Rica, 16 points, +1
            6. El Salvador 9 points, -3
            7. Jamaica 7 points, -7, Eliminated
            8. Honduras 3 points, -17, Eliminated

            The next matchday will be March 24th. The elimination/qualification scenarios are as follows

            CRC v CAN - Canada qualifies win or PAN L and wins the Octagonal with a win and USA-MEX draw
            MEX v USA - Both teams cannot be eliminated if they tie AND CAN def CRC. Either team qualify with a W AND CRC AND PAN L
            JAM v ELS - ELS eliminated if PAN does not L
            PAN v HON - No change

            */super sneaky edit.

            Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

            With Mexico's win over Panama last night, we basically just need to win one more game against anyone and we are through (that assumes Panama will not get more than 7 points).

            Not sure if it's correct that Canada wins the Oct with a win. A win gives them 28 pts and US/Mexico can still get up to 30 points.

            I'm not concerned with winning the Octagonal. I just want to qualify. As long as Canada doesn't lose to Costa Rica, even if we lose to Mexico, we can clinch with a win over Panama.

            I don't know what a Hokie is, but God is one of them!

            I think it's pretty unlikely we win at this point and I agree. We are in very good shape to qualify at this point, so I'm honestly not very worried. I was just correcting the original post, which stated that Canada would clinch 1st place with just a victory in the first match.

            Much better performance all be it the worst team in the hex but much better set piece delivery from acosta tonight so no complaints there. The shithousery in having the game in minnesota however was dumb as hell. Everywhere I looked on social media last night it was being heavily criticized by all fronts especially after honduras had to make some subs due to health concerns regarding hypothermia. Play the damn games in texas or the carolinas or somewhere not so stupid cold and just be the bigger team this is a small mentality shit move that the us federation needs to stop doing.

            Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

            Yeah, it was dumb. If you want to pick a cold venue, fine. Anyone with a brain could have predicted that St Paul would be dangerously cold at night in February. Columbus is fine, last night was just stupid.

            The shithousery in having the game in minnesota however was dumb as hell.

            this is a small mentality shit move

            So, typical CONCACAF.

            I happen to agree with you, but I can see that we decided to play shenanigans like the rest of the region.

            Good win but still not sound. Luca DeLaTorre is that #10, I'm telling you, not having defined positions in international soccer will come back to haunt you. Just lining up 3 midfielders centrally and having them roaming will leave gaps. Kudos to Acosta and DeLatorre for making things happen. Weston is best when he is setup Box to Box and his deep runs into the 18 are the best, Nice goal by McKennie.

            Looking at this team, I'm fairly confident they will qualify as the #2 team in concacaf. But beyond that don't expect much more at the world cup. They can go to the second round but Berhalter's methods will not work against European and South American Strongholds.

            Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

            It looked very similar to the Canada game last night. The difference? The level of the competition and ability to defend and stay in position. AND, Acosta's deliveries on corners and set pieces. I love me some #10, but his deliveries have been subpar...head high screamers on corners hitting the first defender get zero accomplished every time. Just play it to the corner of the 18 or to the top of the box at that point...sheesh.

            At least they looked loose, and had some smiles on their faces.

            We got the W and the 3 points!!!!!! 3 more games...

            To you from failing hands we throw
            The torch; be yours to hold it high.
            @BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

            He was excellent last night, but I think Reyna is a better fit as a pure 10. LDLT definitely has some nice ability with the final ball, but his best attribute is progressive carrying through the midfield. I think his best fit is as an 8 as a Musah alternative.

            Agreed that Reyna is the best fit at 10, but LDLT should be his backup in that role. When the entire pool is healthy, I think Musah is Weston's backup - I see their style of play as similar but Weston is a true box-to-box, which Musah doesn't really offer. Since GGG loves the 4-3-3, I'd be fine with putting Reyna and McKennie as dual 8s with Tyler Adams at the 6. Back-up midfield would be either be some pairing of Busio/Musah/LDLT as dual 8s with Acosta as the 6, or either Busio/Musah as dual 6s with LDLT as an 8/10. I don't think I'd even hate a 3-4-3 with some pairing of Busio/Musah/LDLT centrally as a "break glass in case of emergency" situation.

            If we're going to do a real 4-2-3-1, I'd rather see Ferreira as the 10 than LDLT. Reyna can do it while still playing as an 8 in the 4-3-3 because he can do the real midfield things like duels and defensive actions, I don't think Ferreira can. I think LDLTs best attribute is receiving deep and making long progressive carries. I think he might be too isolated as a true 10 and limit that. The thing about playing with a #10 is that you have to have a really good #10 or it doesn't work. So use Reyna or do something else, imo.

            Wes is really special I think. He can kind of do everything. You can't really have a true replacement for that. LDLT is very similar to Musah, but has a bit better contributions in attack and maybe not quite as good physically. I think he's a good fit for a match like last night when we need to break down a low block but I'd rather see Musah if it's going to be more physical and back and forth, like Mexico. Disagree that Musah isn't B2B - I think that's exactly what he is, just needs to get better with final product.

            The thing about playing with a #10 is that you have to have a really good #10 or it doesn't work. So use Reyna or do something else, imo.

            So much this! In addition if your squad only has one player to rely on in that role, then it's not the best formation for the squad! Ideally, that 433 with 2 number 8s will work, but it's all about coaching the #6 to hold back to give the back line protect. As someone mentioned earlier, you can't have all 3 central midfielders roaming independently of one another.

            "That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

            Adams at the 6 is pretty reliable...he understands what is needed and when to push and when to drop.

            To you from failing hands we throw
            The torch; be yours to hold it high.
            @BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

            UGH.

            McKennie fractured his foot. Out 8 to 12 weeks and is gonna miss the last round of qualifiers.

            To you from failing hands we throw
            The torch; be yours to hold it high.
            @BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

            Yes, that's not ideal. Need someone to step up in his place

            I don't know what a Hokie is, but God is one of them!

            Hoping for a Musah-Adams-LDLT midfield. Last window of qualifying isn't exactly the ideal time to tinker with formations, but with our personnel, I wouldn't hate a 4-2-3-1 either.

            Seems like most insiders/writers think it will be Acosta in for Weston against Mexico, since it will be more of a high energy transition game + Acosta's set piece delivery, then LDLT in against Panama, since they'll likely sit back, and we'll need another more creative midfielder to break them down.

            As much as I don't like the idea of Acosta as an 8, that's probably the best call for Mexico at least