So I am going to assume we will get a highly motivated young US squad tonight as they face our nemisis and greatest rival in Soccer Mexico tonight at 7:30 pm on ESPN on 9/11 in Nashville. Not sure how many US fans will be there – tickets still in the $85-$130 range for level 1 seats and $55 in LEVEL 3 – mighty expensive. Still I suspect we will get a much nastier US team tonight. I thought the US boys played well against Brazil last Thursday in a 2-0 loss that should have been 1-0 as that penalty call as pathetic.
Tomorrow night we get the Indy 11 traveling to Penn as they look to continue to battle for playoff position as they now stand at 4th in the league but with only a 2 pt lead on 4 other squads.
Get Your Tickets to be with the BYB
The Boys in Blue get a week-long rest after a 22-day, 7 game stretch. The BYB will be following the team for two away games this month. For those who cheer the team on from Indiana, there will be watch parties and home games to get your beautiful game fix. 9/26 v Tampa Bay Rowdies (7pm) is Faith & Family Night. Don’t wait, get your BYBTIX today. It is also the evening for us to celebrate the original live mascot, Loki/Victorio. Watch for more information as the date approaches.
9/12 Wed watch party v Penn FC (6:30pm) at Union Jack in Broad Ripple
9/22 Sat 7 pm watch party v Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Union Jack in Broad Ripple ~watch for the BYB as we drown out the Puddle Poodle fans with our traveling crew.
U.S.-Mexico rivalry: Has it lost some bite or is it as strong as ever?
5:54 PM ETJeff CarlisleTom Marshall
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Landon Donovan being hit with urine bags at the Azteca, Rafa Marquez head-butting Cobi Jones and the legend of Dos a Cero. Clint Dempsey, Brian McBride’s goal in the 2002 World Cup last 16 or El Tri scoring four unanswered goals to win the 2011 Gold Cup. These are the moments and personalities that have come to define the U.S.-Mexico rivalry, but not one of the players involved will be in the starting XIs on Tuesday in Nashville (ESPN, 8:30 p.m. ET).Tuesday’s game is a bit of a clean slate, with new faces and new (interim) managers figuring each other out. Unfamiliarity tends not to breed contempt, so will just their third meeting since 2015 — and, it must be stressed, in a friendly — be as epic and full-blooded as those games in the past?The biggest stars of the current crop — Christian Pulisic and Hirving Lozano — won’t be present in Nashville, and so the likes of Tim Weah and Diego Lainez will do their part. But with the generational shift comes the sense that something has been lost in terms of the pure animosity that characterized the rivalry for decades, although it wouldn’t take much to ignite tempers anew.ESPN FC’s Jeff Carlisle and Tom Marshall talked to people on both sides of the rivalry to get a sense of where things are heading.
There’s still some fire
For the current crop of U.S. players, many of whom are still finding their feet at the international level, perhaps all that’s needed is a bit more time and exposure. A player like New York Red Bulls midfielder Tyler Adams has already experienced it: He was part of the U.S. under-20 squad that won the 2017 U-20 CONCACAF championship, defeating Mexico 1-0 along the way.Is it as intense as a match at the senior level? Perhaps not, but it gives players a taste of what is to come when there’s a World Cup spot or trophy on the line.”You can tell that those games are bit different than every other game you play in,” Adams said. “That Mexico game just had a different edge to it. Right from the first whistle, guys were laying in tackles. At that point in the game you can tell it’s going to be really scrappy, it’s going to be tough and it’s going to be hard to find a win.”‘s something different. The players from before are no longer there, but it remains a Clasico because we’ve played each other at youth levels,” Seattle Sounders midfielder and holder of four U.S. caps Cristian Roldan said.Players who came through the El Tri ranks in similar fashion agree.”As much as it may be a friendly, a game against the United States is more than a simple game,” Santos Laguna and Mexico defender Jose Abella said.Yet players from the most recent era of the rivalry feel like U.S. vs. Mexico is waiting for the next player to redefine it.
A rivalry waiting for its next heroes and villains?
“The [Javier Hernandez] ‘Chicharitos,’ the [Miguel] Layuns, for as much as they say this is a rivalry, they didn’t have the moments that Rafa Marquez had,” ex-U.S. forward and current ESPN analyst Herculez Gomez said. “They didn’t really see this dominance over the U.S. and see it snatched out of their hands. And the Landon Donovans for the U.S. are gone.”For well over a decade, Donovan was public enemy No. 1 south of the border, defining the rivalry, and with good reason. Six of his 57 international goals came against El Tri, including his first in an October of 2000 friendly as well as his last in a World Cup qualifier in 2013. Then there was the biggest dagger of them all, the header that clinched victory in the round of 16 at the 2002 World Cup. And yes, all of those U.S. wins came with the “dos a cero” scoreline.Donovan drew even more ire when he reportedly urinated on the Estadio Jalisco field before a practice session in the run-up to an Olympic qualifier. It wasn’t until very late in his career, with a stint at Club Leon and an ad campaign urging U.S. fans to cheer for Mexico at the 2018 World Cup, that the ire directed at Donovan began to subside.Then there was Marquez, Mexico’s counterpoint. The Michoacan native was 23 when he head-butted Jones and received a red card as El Tri slumped to a 2-0 loss to the United States at the 2002 World Cup. Frustration got the better of Marquez again in 2009, when he kicked out at U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard and again saw red as Mexico lost 2-0 to the U.S. in World Cup qualifying in Columbus, Ohio.Marquez might be the most detested Mexico player in history for U.S. fans, but perhaps there is an element of jealousy mixed in with the hate. No U.S. player in history has come close to enjoying the kind of success at club level as Marquez did at Barcelona, where he won two Champions League titles and La Liga four times.The current Atlas sporting president also had the last laugh, at least on the field. With pretty much his last touch in a Mexico shirt against the United States, Marquez headed in from a corner to hand El Tri a famous 2-1 victory in World Cup qualifying — and doing it in the Columbus stadium the U.S. had thought made it invincible.But with Marquez and Donovan retired, there is a sense those battles on the pitch are also gone — for now, at least.”I don’t want to say [the rivalry] gets diluted in a sense, but you definitely feel like those bad-blood moments [are gone],” Gomez said. “I don’t know how many players on both rosters have really [experienced] that.”Francisco Gabriel De Anda, a former Mexico defender and part of the 1998 Gold Cup-winning squad, agreed.”The intensity has lowered a lot. Before the 2002 World Cup and in the years after the rivalry grew a lot because of what happened in Korea and Japan. I think the rivalry has shrunk, and when you go to the United States to play in Columbus, it’s not so complicated. And when they come to Mexico there isn’t the same hostility, the atmosphere around the game isn’t as hostile, so I think the rivalry has decreased a lot.”For the longest time, Columbus was the U.S.’s not-so-secret weapon; now known as Mapfre Stadium, it added plenty to the rivalry’s mystique. It was first used against Mexico during a 2001 World Cup qualifier and was referred to as the “La Guerra Fria” due to the freezing February temperatures that El Triwanted no part of.Goals from Josh Wolff and Earnie Stewart paced the U.S. to a 2-0 win, and was the genesis not only of Dos a Cero but of using Columbus as the preferred venue to play Mexico in competitive matches. The juju was so strong that there was belief that it was actually keeping the margin down; case in point was when Clint Dempsey missed a late penalty during a World Cup qualifier in 2013 that would have made the score 3-0.”I was behind that goal, I remember it,” former U.S. international Frankie Hejduk said during a 2016 interview. “It was already 2-0 at the time, it was going to be 3-0. He hits a solid shot, but there was a little wind, and the wind [whispers] ‘Dos a Cero.’ And he missed the penalty.”Even though the curse of Columbus has been broken, the clash still carries bite wherever the games are played. Players currently featuring in top European leagues and experiencing rivalries there still think their CONCACAF clash has bite.”I think definitely it’s a different aspect when you play club and country,” said Weston McKennie, who plays for German club Schalke 04 and who’s arguably the future of the U.S. midfield. “Of course the Schalke-Dortmund rivalry is one of the biggest ones in Europe, but I think coming in with your national team to play Mexico is a different feeling than that.”Of course I have sense of what rivalry is now that I’ve played in the derby, but it’s something I’m really looking forward to, especially playing on 9/11, it will have significant meaning I think.”
A rivalry that must be experienced
those who have already experienced a U.S.-Mexico match, there is general agreement that there’s only so much you can do to prepare teammates for what lies ahead. U.S. defender DeAndre Yedlin said that at some point the players simply have to experience it for themselves.”When I played in my first one, I asked around, ‘What’s it like?'” he said. “The guys would try to explain it to me, but you can’t get a good grip on it until you actually play in it. I’ll let them experience it for themselves and they’ll do just fine.”Yedlin certainly has plenty of experience now, having played against Mexico six times, including the 1-1 draw in the Estadio Azteca back in June 2017. That match marked just the third time the U.S. avoided defeat in that venue in a World Cup qualifier.U.S. coach Dave Sarachan added, “You’ve got to live it. You can teach players history, which I try to do, and give them a real perspective. Now when they get on the field and really feel it, I think this rivalry will begin to heat up even more for these guys.”Yet there’s also an element of intrinsic motivation. Club America’s Edson Alvarez sees the fact that Mexico has a large fan base in the United States as an extra motivation to defeat the Stars and Stripes on their turf.”It is a strong rivalry and I think even more for Mexicans that live in the United States,” Alvarez told ESPN FC. “So it means a lot for me because we are the Mexican national team, their team. To play the United States in their country and win against their team, it’s very satisfying. To give Mexicans living in the United States a victory is great.”Even though players are divided on where the rivalry stands in 2018, the fans are no less emphatic about how they feel.”This goes beyond a game,” said Sergio Tristan, founder of U.S.-based Mexico fan club Pancho Villa’s Army. “Losing to the U.S. as a Mexican-American, you don’t hear the end of it because we live, work and play soccer with their fans on a weekly basis. It’s personal. We expect to win, and we want these young kids to get a taste of victory against our rivals early on.”A win this week cements a winning mentality against the U.S. for the next generation.”How will it play out among the home fans in Nashville? Dan Wiersema, communications director for the American Outlaws, said that the group was originally allocated enough tickets for three sections for Tuesday’s game but sold out only two of them.Wiersma acknowledged that there have been concerns about ticket pricing: Tickets in the supporters’ section for Tuesday’s match are $78 for AO members and $85.50 for non-members. (The cost is considerably lower, around $33, for next month’s match against Colombia.) But with the pain of World Cup qualifying failure still present, there is also a bit of a wait-and-see approach from some members.”It sure would be nice to get a victory,” Wiersema said. “That would feel like we could truly hit the reset button — beat our regional rivals, feel a bit of love in our hearts again.”
U.S. must get more creative vs. Mexico; who will fill Brooks void: W2W4
5:22 PM ETJeff Carlisle, Arch Bell and Jason Davis
U.S. faces Mexico in Nashville, Tennessee, on Tuesday (ESPN, 8:30 p.m. ET) in a friendly but with seemingly plenty still on the line. How will Dave Sarachan, Tim Weah & Co. fare against El Tri in their first meeting since June 2017? Jeff Carlisle, Arch Bell and Jason Davis pick out what to look for on the U.S. side.
The goal is clear: Create more in attack
Friday’s 2-0 defeat to Brazil witnessed the kind of U.S. attack to which we’ve grown accustomed over the years: huff, puff and hope to score on set pieces. Granted, that’s often the case when you’re limited to 35.4 percent possession, but heading into Tuesday’s grudge match against Mexico, the aim for the U.S. will be to show that its corps of young attackers can threaten the opponent in a wider variety of ways.U.S. caretaker manager Dave Sarachan admitted as much in Monday’s news conference, though to hear him tell it, the key for an improved offense will be a more cohesive, aggressive defense.”In terms of just the movement off the ball, when we do look to step and apply pressure, it has to be a little more of a collective effort as opposed to individuals on their own because what happens is now space opens up for teams that are good with ball that can pick you apart a little bit,” he said.Where that happens will be interesting to watch. Mexico isn’t on par with Brazil, mind you, but El Tri is plenty adept at playing a possession game and threading passes into dangerous spots.So will the U.S. press high or retreat into a low block? It’ll certainly have to do plenty of the latter at some point, and it seems sensible to go for that option rather than press high. But if the U.S. needs more of a collective effort in defense, it will need the same in attack.That process starts by taking better care of the ball when possession is gained, which in turn should allow some of the faster wide players like Antonee Robinson, DeAndre Yedlin and Shaq Moore the chance to break on the counter. Central midfielders like Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams will need to contribute to the attack as well. It’s the best way for this crop of young U.S. players to get back on an upward trajectory. — Jeff Carlisle
How will the defense shape up without Brooks?
Arguably the best performer for the U.S. in Friday’s 2-0 loss to Brazil was center-back John Brooks. This was the Brooks who was very good during the 2016 Copa America Centenario, not the error-prone player from 2018 World Cup qualifying. But Brooks won’t be available on Tuesday against Mexico, leaving a pretty sizable gap in the middle of the U.S. defense.Fortunately for kinda-sorta interim boss Dave Sarachan, Matt Miazga will be around to anchor the back. The Nantes man ranked right up there with Brooks for man of the match honors against the Selecao and he is fully deserving of another start against El Tri.But who will fill in for Brooks on Miazga’s left? Perhaps a pairing with New York Red Bulls defender Aaron Long might be in the making. Long has been good this season, and having the experienced Miazga (even though Miazga is two years younger) alongside him would temper any nerves.Viral moment aside, DeAndre Yedlin did little of note in attack for the U.S. and was plagued by a few too many giveaways at right-back. Still, he’s the most experienced player on the current squad and should get the nod over alternatives like Moore or Eric Lichaj. Because of club issues, Moore has yet to play a single official minute for Spanish second-division side Reus, while it is at the other full-back position that Lichaj could get the nod.The question is whether Sarachan should continue with Robinson, who struggled against Brazil, or play it safe with the versatile and more experienced Lichaj. It’s no secret that left-back has been a weakness for the U.S. for pretty much forever and Robinson has the wheels to help in attack, something that is sorely needed as evidenced by Friday’s blunt performance.It might not be popular with fans, but sticking with Robinson and instilling some confidence would be worthwhile in the long term. — As the United States and Mexico face off in Nashville, Herculez Gomez ponders whether the longtime rivals have more in common than they think.With so many new faces getting their chance at the dawn of a new cycle, we’re not lacking for areas of focus with a young U.S. national team. Everything is a work in progress, including the Americans’ confidence. Before they earn their way back to the World Cup — the most obvious goal during this “reboot” — they’ll need to re-establish a place among the elite of CONCACAF. Mexico represents the best the region has to offer even as El Tri goes through its own process of injecting younger players into the national team mix.eating Mexico on American soil could set the tone for the next four years and build the crucial belief the U.S. needs for the new cycle. The rivalry has long been a part of the identity of the United States and falling behind the Mexicans so obviously has been damaging to the national team’s psyche.Players who are expected to be part of the core for the next four years for the U.S. will have their first chance to strike a blow against the country that the Americans are most often measured against. The lack of competitive stakes makes it tough to pin down the value in most friendlies, but games against Mexico in any context mean more. For players like Zack Steffen, McKennie, Adams and Miazga, Tuesday’s match will ramp up the nerves and serve as a test of their ability to rise to the occasion. The next head coach, still unknown at this point, could use the information provided by Tuesday’s performance in determining whom can be trusted when the games actually matter.Without a significant veteran presence in this current squad, it is incumbent upon someone to step into a leadership role. Yedlin is the most experienced and Wil Trapp has been given the armband; they, or others, must take charge and help maintain composure and focus in a game where emotions will be running higher than they might in the average friendly.The Americans don’t have a match that means anything competitively until next summer’s Gold Cup. For the time being, the closest they can get to a game that matters is any match against Mexico. Can the young group with the interim head coach beat Mexico and use the victory to launch into the new cycle? — Jason Davis
The Future is Now for the USA vs. Mexico Rivalry
QUICKLY The stakes are low and the cast of characters has changed, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing on the line when the USA and Mexico renew their rivalry in Nashville.By AVI CREDITOR September 11, 2018
For the last number of years, the USA-Mexico rivalry has been defined by a pretty set cast of characters. Sure, some names have come and gone, but, over the last four years anyway, the nucleus has been rather stable.Bradley. Dempsey. Altidore. Howard. Chicharito. Guardado. Marquez. Ochoa.On Tuesday in Nashville (TV coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. ET, with first kick expected after 9), none of them will be involved as both Concacaf foes look toward the future. As is the case after one World Cup cycle concludes and another begins, new faces are ushered in as teams cast an eye on who may be key components of another qualifying run. Nothing is set in stone regarding the past rivalry stalwarts, some of whom may still have roles going forward (save for Dempsey and Marquez, who have retired). And with a pair of interim managers at the helm, it’s quite possible that much of what happens at Nissan Stadium will have little bearing going forward.It’s still USA vs. Mexico, though, and there’s no such thing as an empty rivalry bout. Here are three subplots to keep an eye on in the latest edition of their storied history:
JONATHAN GONZALEZ, IN THE FLESH
The Jonathan Gonzalez USA-Mexico story diverged into a number of directions when the California-born announced his allegiance to El Tri at the beginning of the year. And while the conversations had in the aftermath were necessary and asked some tough questions of the U.S. federation, they often steered beyond the player itself and veered into bigger-picture themes.Well, here, for the first time, Gonzalez will get to show the U.S. and its supporters what they’re missing. A former teammate of Tyler Adams on the U.S. U-20 national team and a halftime substitute vs. Uruguay on Friday, Gonzalez is expected to play a big role under interim manager Tuca Ferretti in this match. It hasn’t exactly been nine months of meteoric growth for Gonzalez since his allegiance change. He wasn’t taken to the World Cup by Juan Carlos Osorio (given Mexico’s midfield options at the time, his inclusion always appeared to be a bit of a long shot), and he had to earn his place again in Monterrey’s starting lineup (in the current Apertura campaign he’s started all of Los Rayados’ eight matches) after it switched managers. He’s fully in frame for the 2022 cycle, though, and he’s out to earn his place on the national team he selected. The boo birds might come out from the U.S. faithful (and even then, they might be outnumbered in the stands by cheers from the devoted El Tri fans who will surely turn out in droves), and they’re entitled to do that, but it’s not as if his choice was an acrimonious one. Gonzalez described the difficulty in his choice and the confidence he has in it for ESPNFC this week, and he’ll surely have a bit of added motivation to show well against the team he could have been playing for instead.
THE FUTURE IS NOW FOR THE RIVALRY
Gonzalez is far from the only rising star involved in this game. There’s Cruz Azul midfielder Roberto Alvarado and Club America forward Diego Lainez, two youth stars who have come through Mexico’s impressive youth system and appear set for larger roles with the senior national team–all while being ogled by European clubs.On the U.S. side, there’s no Christian Pulisic or Josh Sargent, but their young counterparts like Tim Weah, Weston McKennie and Adams are set to be fixtures from here on out. There’s no real nastiness or lingering bitterness between this cast of actors yet, and this will be their first attempt to establish themselves against the players they’ll be compared to and surely be seeing in qualifiers, Gold Cups and beyond in the coming years.
THE USA HASN’T BEATEN MEXICO IN OVER THREE YEARS
The USA’s all-time record vs. Mexico isn’t great, with the Americans staring at a 19-37-14 all-time clip entering this match. Since the turn of the century, though, fortune has favored the Americans, to the tune of a 13-7-6 mark. The most recent history belongs to Mexico, though. El Tri has gone 2-0-1 in the last three meetings, starting with the Concacaf Cup playoff in October 2015 that sent Mexico to the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and continuing with a 2016 triumph in Columbus that forever altered the aura surrounding their bogeyman World Cup qualifying destination.Opportunities to play against one another don’t come along that frequently, and there’s no guarantee they’ll meet in next summer’s Gold Cup, either–they haven’t played on that stage since 2011. So with a chance to get one on the all-time scoreboard and to end a few-year streak of futility, the U.S. would be hard-pressed to put some emphasis on the result, no matter the circumstances around the match–for psychological reasons, if nothing else.
U.S.’s 9/11 match against Mexico ‘powerful, emotional, exciting’ – Wil Trapp
Sep 10, 2018Jeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — United States captain Wil Trapp said the team’s Sept. 11 match against rivals Mexico will be “powerful, emotional and exciting” for the team.On Tuesday, the U.S. will face Mexico in a friendly that will take place at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium (8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN). The day will mark the 17th anniversary of the terrorist attack that saw two jetliners crash into the towers that comprised the World Trade Center, resulting in the collapse of both buildings.Another plane was also flown into the Pentagon on the same day and a fourth plane crashed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania after passengers thwarted an attempted hijacking. In total, 2,996 people were killed in the attacks.”Any time you get to play Mexico it’s a special day,” said U.S. captain Wil Trapp. “To be playing on 9/11 is even more powerful, emotional, exciting I think for all of us as players because of what that day means to our country, what it symbolizes in terms of what happened as well as the heroism that came out of it. It will be an exciting game for us as players, there will be a lot of emotions wrapped into it.”In a bid to drive home the day’s significance, U.S. caretaker manager Dave Sarachan took the players to the 9/11 Memorial in New York City prior to last Friday’s friendly against Brazil.”It was very powerful,” said Sarachan about the visit during Monday’s news conference. “We all know the ages of these guys, some of them were one year old…some were under the age of six. But I think they walk away from that with a greater understanding of the sacrifice that took place that day, and the game [Tuesday] on 9/11 wont’ be lost on the players.”Trapp said that visiting the memorial was “an emotional rollercoaster in a lot of ways.” The team was accompanied by first responders who shared their memories of the day, and for Trapp hearing their stories was the most powerful aspect.”Policemen that were in the rubble, digging people out, it was incredible to talk to them,” said Trapp.Trapp was eight years old at the time of the attack, and recalled watching what transpired on television before being sent home from school for the day.”You’re trying to put things together in your mind, but you still don’t understand what’s going on,” he said. “They send you home from school, you talk to your parents about it, and then it starts to take more shape.”He added, “The power of what happened and how we responded as a people — firefighters, policeman, normal citizens — it just brings a pride to how Americans can rally together and make a terrible day one that we saw the best in people.”As for what will take place Tuesday, Trapp acknowledged that he and his teammates will be playing a game, but they will also be representing their country on what remains a day fraught with emotion.He said, “9/11 is such a day that will live in infamy in our country, and our responsibility is to step out onto the field with pride and bravery.”
U.S. boss Dave Sarachan: We must show no fear, create more vs. Mexico
10, 2018Jeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — U.S. caretaker manager Dave Sarachan said that part of what he has tried to establish since taking over late last year was “getting our identity back.”The U.S. is set to face arch-rivals Mexico in a friendly on Tuesday (ESPN, 8:30 p.m. ET), one that’s likely to see several U.S. players experience the rivalry for the first time. Speaking at his pre-match news conference ahead of the game, Sarachan stressed what that identity consists of.”It’s going to look like a team that’s going to compete, that plays with no fear, is aggressive, that’s not afraid and I think when we get beyond that into the tactics and systems, that will all be an organic process as we develop players,” he said. “The foundation of being a U.S. soccer team and what that brings each and every time is critical and I think this group has sort of established that.”Sarachan later clarified his remarks to state that the team’s identity has had those qualities in the past, but needs to be instilled from the beginning when working with younger players.”I don’t think if you look at last year, or [the last] two or five years, that the team didn’t compete or play with heart,” he said. “But I think with the young group that needs to be reinforced each and every time we get together and that’s still an important component to what we’re about.”In terms of Tuesday’s match, 15 players on the current 22-man roster will be facing Mexico for the first time at the senior level. But Sarachan isn’t concerned about that level of inexperience, especially since some have played against Mexico at the youth level.”I think these players understand the significance,” he said.Sarachan said he plans to make between four and six changes to the lineup that started against Brazil. Wolfsburg defender John Brooks and D.C. United midfielder Paul Arriola, who both started Friday’s 2-0 defeat at MetLife Stadium, have already been released back to their respective clubs.He’s also looking for an improved performance from his attack.”I think a few things that we talked about — and hope to improve upon — is having the game a little bit more on our terms, and by that I mean in terms of a little bit more possession, a little more quality when have the ball, a little more imagination and creativity when we get into good sports going forward,” he said.”The balance of when we don’t have the ball versus not having the ball the other night against Brazil was a little tipped, and we knew that. I thought defensively our shape and collective effort against Brazil was good, and I expect the same against Mexico. But I’d like to see us be a little more useful with the ball, get into a little more advanced positions and threaten a little bit more.”Sarachan added that on the defensive side of the ball, he’d like to see his side have more coordination in terms of when to press the opponent.”It has to be a little more of a collective effort as opposed to individuals on their own because what happens is now space opens up for teams that are good with ball that can pick you apart a little bit,” he said.”Having watched the film, I thought in a general sense we were pretty good but I think that part can be improved, and this group has played enough together in the system that we play where I think they understand the improvements that need to be made on that end.”Tuesday will likely see Mexico midfielder Jonathan Gonzalez play against the country of his birth. Gonzalez, a dual U.S.-Mexico national, opted to pledge his international allegiance to El Tri last year, a move that saw the U.S. Soccer Federation come in for considerable criticism given that the player had represented the U.S. at the youth level.
Sarachan insisted that Gonzalez’s decision was personal, and that the player had “a good understanding of weighing out his options.””Every person has to make those important decisions, and Jonathan had to make his,” said Sarachan. “I don’t think any more beyond that to be honest. I think it’s obviously worked in the reverse cases for us as well. As we move along, there’s probably going to be more examples of that.”In the case of Jonathan, he made that choice, it was a personal decision that he had to make, and there’s not much more to it in my mind. We’ll be approaching this game and looking at personnel and looking at Jonathan and evaluate him because he’s on the other side. Personal decisions, I respect that.”
Youthful U.S. get first real reality check as Neymar, star-studded Brazil put on a show
Sep 7, 2018Jeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Three points from MetLife Stadium on Brazil’s 2-0 win over the United States in an international friendly.
- Youth is served for U.S. while Brazil feasts
The talent gap between the two sides was laid bare as the respective lineups were handed out. Brazil had five players who were regular starters during the 2018 World Cup, and another five who were reserves. Right-back on the night Fabinho was the lone interloper. The U.S. featured five outfield starters currently playing in one of the top five European leagues, but the vast majority of the players starting the match are still finding their way at the international level.Of course, much the same was said before last June’s 1-1 tie with France, though Les Bleus dominated that match. This encounter started in much the same fashion with Brazil patiently moving the ball and probing for openings. On the rare occasions when the U.S. got the ball, it couldn’t keep possession for any appreciable amount of time.The difference on this night was that it didn’t take long for Brazil to translate its dominance into goals. In the 11th minute, Douglas Costa collected the ball on the right wing, and with Antonee Robinson overcommitting and taking a bad angle, the Brazilian raced down the right flank to deliver a cross that Roberto Firmino duly volleyed into the open net from point-blank range.Brazil continued on as it had before, and it wasn’t until just over 30 minutes had passed that the U.S. had enough confidence to believe it could actually threaten the visitors’ goal. Weston McKennie was twice thwarted by the Brazil defense. His first chance was blocked by Thiago Silva after good work from Wil Trapp and Julian Green during the buildup, while his second opportunity from a corner saw his shot go straight into the gut of goalkeeper Alisson.
The United States were given a real reality check by Brazil at MetLife Stadium. Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
That proved to be a brief respite as Brazil continued to attack the left side of the U.S. defense, doubling their lead just before half-time with the help of a highly dubious penalty decision. Trapp was judged to have hauled down Fabinho as he darted in from the right wing, though there appeared to be minimal contact. Neymar calmly slotted home the ensuing spot kick and Brazil were cruising.Not much changed in the second half. It took a save from Zack Steffen combined with a fantastic clearace from Matt Miazga to deny Neymar a second after another lovely pass from Costa. Neymar then went close again a few minutes later with a shot from distance.For the U.S., McKennie threatened from another set piece midway through the second half, but his effort went wide, while Trapp had a long-distance effort that forced a sharp save from Alisson.As is often the case, the U.S. battled hard, but this match served as reminder that this young group has a long way to go.
- Youthful U.S. given first real reality check
During Sarachan’s now seven games in charge, there have been moments when his young side has showed its inexperience. The loss last June to Ireland comes to mind when game management was an issue.Yet this was the first time this group has been humbled. Brazil is one of the best sides in the world. But it’s also difficult to find many positive performances among the U.S. contingent on the attacking side of the ball.Steffen impressed once again in goal and had no chance on either of Brazil’s two on the night. Miazga, while beaten on the opening goal, improved as the game went on. Trapp hustled and had a few bright spots in the attack and was unlucky to concede the penalty. McKennie had some dangerous moments in front of goal, and Tyler Adams did his bit to break up some Brazilian attacks.The USMNT’s limitations in attack were once again evident however, with set pieces providing the best and really the only opportunities on the night. There was little created from open play, and wide players like Paul Arriola and Green offered little.Matters will no doubt improve when Christian Pulisic returns to the side, but the U.S. needs more than just one attacking orchestrator. Despite all of the playing time given to young players over the last 10 months, the questions of who can join Pulisic in providing a consistent creative threat seems no closer to being answered.With a game against archrivals Mexico just four days away, this group of players will now need to regroup quickly. It’s possible the game will be easy to shrug off. It was Brazil after all, and there will be no shortage of adrenalin against Mexico. But El Tri has shown itself to be team that can dominate possession as well, and it is bound to receive considerable support from the crowd. It will be up to the team’s senior leadership — a group that includes DeAndre Yedlin and Trapp — to lift the team’s spirits and move it back in a positive direction.
- Neymar flashes the style; Firmino, Costa repay Tite’s faith
Neymar was the star attraction heading into this match, and he had his moments when he entertained the announced crowd of 32,489 fans. That included a trademark flop in the first half in which U.S. defender Yedlin could be heard asking the referee, “Did you watch the World Cup?” (It was a foul though.) But there was also the usual assortment of tricks and flicks, and it took Miazga’s aforementioned clearance to deny the Brazil captain a goal from open play.But the biggest winners on the night for Brazil were Firmino and Costa.It’s worth noting that neither player started a game at the recently concluded World Cup. Though they each were impactful coming off the bench, they were deemed second choice to the likes of Gabriel Jesus and Willian, respectively.In this match, Firmino and Costa justified their spots in Tite’s starting lineup, granted, the duo will face tougher matchups than what they saw on this night. All the more reason to show well with the Brazil-hosted Copa America less than a year away.Costa simply had his way with U.S. left back Robinson, continually shaking free to either deliver a pinpoint cross or cut inside to send the U.S. defense into scramble mode. Firmino’s first-half goal was one of the easiest he’ll ever score at international level, but his movement to shake free from the attentions of Miazga was nonetheless effective. Costa continued his domination into the second half and nearly set up Neymar for a second before Miazga’s clearance.With Brazil set to face El Salvador on Tuesday in Landover, Maryland, that seems a likely stage to give minutes to some less experienced players. But when the games get tougher, both Firmino and Costa have done enough to keep their spots in the lineup.
USA vs. Brazil: What We Learned
The USMNT fell against a star-studded Brazil side on Friday. It happens. But the real question is, what did we learn from that test to the young American squad?
The United States trotted out a squad with only 4 players with more than 10 caps against a Brazilside angry from a disappointing World Cup and stocked with European stars. As a result, the game was mostly defensive for the USMNT, with the Americans barely holding 35% of the possession. But, for the most part, the youngsters held on, losing 2-0 from an early goal and a suspect penalty. Here’s what we learned from the whole affair.
Antonee Robinson is Fast. He’s not Douglas Costa Fast.
Earlier this year, Antonee Robinson burst onto the national team scene with quick and exciting bursts up the left flank. It looked like the USMNT might have finally found an answer at left back that truly worked. Well, this match against Brazil showed that Robinson is still a work in progress. Players with tremendous speed often rely heavily on their pace, especially on defense. Alas, Robinson was not an exception, at least not in this match. And, it turned out, Brazil has a number of fast players, with arguably the fastest, Douglas Costa, lined up against Robinson. That situation was highlighted early with the opening goal. Costa peeled out wide, received a long pass, and then burned Robinson down the flank to put in a sublime cross that Fermino buried into the net. And that was merely the start. Brazil systematically attacked down the wing, especially down the US left side. And Robinson was repeatedly exposed, though the team didn’t concede from play again. The good news is that, at 21, Robinson has time to grow. He actually showed some growth during the game, taking up better positions as the match progressed, and even making an important stop on a break away. There’s still a lot to look forward to with this young player.
Miazga Took Center Stage
While Robinson had a tough time out on the left, the center backs had a much better showing. While Brooks was left in the cold by Firmino on the opening goal, the pairing, and Miazga in particular, had a good display. While Brazil found purchase on the wings, the center was left almost entirely impassable. Time and time again, Neymar would attempt to dribble through to goal, only to run into the brick wall that was Matt Miazga. His passing was mostly good and his positioning was great. In general, Miazga made Yedlin and Brooks look better. Which is exactly what the USMNT needs considering how much flux the position has been in over the last few years.
While the defenders were mostly on top of things in the back, defending alone won’t win you games. Unfortunately, the US was limited and lackluster in attack. In particular, there was a clear gap in the connection between Bobby Wood and the midfield line. In total, Wood attempted 12 passes, completing 11 of them. Only one was in the final third, and only one was a forward pass. All told, the USMNT generated just 2 shots on target, and only threatened whatsoever off of set pieces. This team has a huge, glaring Pulisic-shaped hole. And this game goes to show just how badly the team needs to learn to distribute the scoring and chance creation because, if Pulisic, who is out from this international week due to an injury, were to miss a crucial game, this team could be in trouble.
People Aren’t Buying It (OBC -ah empty stadiums in Europe too dude – less than ½ full!!)
We’ve talked about how the USMNT has attendance problems before, but surely, this time, for a game against the celebrated Brazilian national team, the most successful international team in the world, surely the stadium would be packed, right? Er, nope. This has been a systemic problem for years. The team does not draw well enough to fill the stadiums the team plays in and, as a result, the stadium is left half empty, even with the scores of Brazil fans. At this point, soccer is popular in this country. We cannot blame the populous for not caring because we have seen repeatedly, whether by looking at MLS attendance numbers, World Cup viewing numbers, international club viewing numbers, or by other visiting national teams, that people really do want to watch soccer. USSF is not doing a good job organizing and promoting these games and they are charging too much. At some point, this sort of a bad look needs to sink in. But yes US Soccer is charging too damn much for tickets for games like this. OBC Make Level 3 seats $10 each – and fill it with soccer kids – work with local soccer clubs to fill the upper level. Then charge out the ass for Level 1.
DeAndre Yedlin Cut His Hair
The US is not exactly known for its hair game. Indeed, we are better known for having excellent but bald players, specifically in goal. And, probably since the amazing debacle in 2002, the USMNT’s players have mostly leaned towards the conservative side for their choices in hairstyle.That is, aside from DeAndre Yedlin.Yedlin was one man willing to experiment with his hair. He was willing to go for the wild and the creative. Blonde highlights? No problem. Dreads? Can do. It was a single solo effort to at least try to elevate the American hair game.Until now.
Gregg Berhalter leading candidate for USMNT?
I gotta tell you guys something that’s really gonna blow you’re minds. Ready? Ok! What I have to tell you is that since October 10, 2017, the USMNT still doesn’t have a head coach! Cue the dramatic music! But seriously, we still don’t have a head coach.Ever since October of last year, Bruce Arena’s former assistant Dave Sarachan was appointed by US Soccer as the Interim Head Coach of the USMNT to lead them through several friendlies that US Soccer had scheduled. During his time at the helm, Sarachan has laid the foundations for the next generation of USMNT players, giving debuts to about 18 players, some of the notable ones being Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, Josh Sargent, Timothy Weah and throwing Zack Steffen(who has been tipped to be the #1 goalkeeper going forward) in the mix as well. This was something we fans have desired since the failure in Trinidad and Tobago. Sarachan has done an honest job steering the ship and has kept all of his rosters young, one of the reasons I call Sarachan Grandpa Sarachan. Let’s be real, we all know he gave the young guys some hard candy along the way along with juice boxes and orange slices.USMNT General Manager Ernie Stewart has been the man leading the charge to find Dave Sarachan’s replacement before the end of the year, most likely by November. I know what you are all thinking “why is this process taking so long?” “We need a Head Coach now!!” Yes yes I know some people here and on American Soccer social media have grown a bit impatient waiting for the new head coach to be hired, but the kind of coach Stewart has said he wants to hire is a “legacy coach”, a coach that can leave a lasting effect on the USMNT for years to come even after said coach leaves. In a way, Jurgen Klinsmann was supposed to be that kind of coach for the team but didn’t work out as well as former USSF President Sunil Gulati had wanted.During the search for a new head coach, plenty of names have been throw around to see who would make the best candidate. I’m sure the names you all heard thrown around were Tata Martino, David Moyes, Juan Carlos Osorio, Carlos Queiroz, Jorge Sampaoli and even MLS American coaches such as Gregg Berhalter, Jesse Marsch, Peter. Vermes, Greg Vanney, free agent Caleb Porter and even current U20 Head Coach Tab Ramos. Shoot even Jose Mourinho was thrown into the mix as funny and unrealistic as that will be. Stewart has claimed that the coach must speak English which to a certain degree makes sense since the players and coach must have better communication with each other.As I said above, Stewart will make the hire before the end of the year which points to an MLS coach possibly being hired. Juan Carlos Osorio, after leaving the Mexico job had been considered somewhat of a favorite for the job but is now the head coach of Paraguay. So after him, who else is the favorite for the job? According to people from ESPN, beIN Sports USA and even Ives Galarcep from Goal.Com, the one name at this moment of time who is considered a favorite for the job is current Columbus Crew Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. Berhalter is a coach who has been considered by some to one day coach the USMNT however after the failure, some people had considered a favorite to take the job sooner rather than later.Berhalter, since coming to Columbus has managed to get his team playing pretty soccer, despite the teams very limited budget in buying better players. Berhalter has also been called by many as “the striker whisperer” with his own tactics helping the striker score a lot of goals(for those unfamiliar with Berhalters tactics, here’s a video explaining it https://youtu.be/nKCW4mvhbxE). His system involves using a 4 2 3 1, with the defenders pushing high. A formation like this could perfectly suit the player pool to its full potential. With everything that’s going on right now, it does seem like the stars are aligning perfectly for Berhalter to be the next USMNT Head Coach(and no his brother Jay Berhalter won’t be involved in the search).what do you guys think! Will Berhalter be the next USMNT Head Coach? Would you like it or hate it? Leave your comments below and I’ll talk to you all later.