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I've been meaning to put this together for some time. For our newer US soccer fans, here is a little primer of things to know about the history of your team and some of the background of internationa

I didn't get to see a lot of the match because I had a fussy infant and a toddler to get to bed.  I saw the last 30 minutes or so.  I guess that was a blessing.  Even in the last 30 minutes, I found m

not a soccer fan here, how does this work?  Argentina gets ball for the first 45 minutes then the US gets it in the 2nd half?

Just now, El Floppo said:

I get not being able to collect all these kids in the same place for a long period of time- even tougher to do in a country this big. but I'm curious about how well and wide the net is thrown? 

in my idealistic theory above- the downside is that US will start becoming more and more myopic with the scouting, primarily focusing on academies (and I assume the kids going overseas or to mexico). how do they find the kids that for whatever reason fall between the huge cracks?

My honest opinion is that they are already lost by ages 10-11 and these academies/national team programs are just filtering through what's left.   

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11 minutes ago, Sammy3469 said:

Hey Bruce...the system is so good we have on average 0.5 U23 US players playing regular minutes in MLS this year and 2 of the 13 are GKs.  When it's cheaper to bring in someone like Struna (28 year old RB NYCFC just brought in that immediately supplanted an OK-sh 26 year old American) can be brought in and paid 75K a year or you can bring in Rodney Wallace @ 220K a year who supplants a 20 year old American first round pick, well Bruce, something's wrong with the system.  And NYCFC is one of the good teams at developing and playing young guys.  I shudder to think what's happening at some of the other clubs.

its strange... england doesn't appear to have a cap on foreign players or much of an imperative to play their own players in the EPL. but they're in a bit of a renaissance at the national level (just won u20s, IIRC). I've wondered how the country would fare as the EPL grows in world status, but appears to increasingly minimize local development. a part of me thought- well, if the best of the best are playing in your country- maybe by osmosis the talent level can rise. that having the best around for your kids to compete against is a long-term benefit. dunno if that's what's happened there or not...or if calling rodney wallace "the best of the best" is an appropriate comparison- but I'm torn between the push for locals' PT and the push for better competition. 

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Just now, Sammy3469 said:

My honest opinion is that they are already lost by ages 10-11 and these academies/national team programs are just filtering through what's left.   

lost? like- not playing any more? or that they need to be better developed before 10?

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Just now, El Floppo said:

lost? like- not playing any more? or that they need to be better developed before 10?

My guess is not playing anymore in a setting where they can be seen.  I think it would also help if AYSO/USsoccer made it much easier to figure out all the programs in your area and provide guidance on what each program offers (though this may be just an NYC complaint).  

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3 minutes ago, Sammy3469 said:

My honest opinion is that they are already lost by ages 10-11 and these academies/national team programs are just filtering through what's left.   

Curious what you mean by this?  Who's lost?  Potential players?  U12 is the key age to judge potential based on skills imo.  It's amazing how much puberty, weight gains, and growth spurts mess with kids footwork and overall games.  If the kids are identified as highly skilled before those physical changes, they wouldn't just be forgotten about by the time they come out of it a year or so later.  That's a HUGE problem imo.  

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5 minutes ago, El Floppo said:

its strange... england doesn't appear to have a cap on foreign players or much of an imperative to play their own players in the EPL. but they're in a bit of a renaissance at the national level (just won u20s, IIRC). I've wondered how the country would fare as the EPL grows in world status, but appears to increasingly minimize local development. a part of me thought- well, if the best of the best are playing in your country- maybe by osmosis the talent level can rise. that having the best around for your kids to compete against is a long-term benefit. dunno if that's what's happened there or not...or if calling rodney wallace "the best of the best" is an appropriate comparison- but I'm torn between the push for locals' PT and the push for better competition. 

Wallace isn't the best of the best which is sort of the point.  When a slight upgrade on a U20 American only costs 220K (or 75K in the case of Struna), MLS teams will do that 10 times out of 10.  There have to be some incentives (maybe increasing TAM/GAM for playing young Americans so that you can pay for bigger names at the expense of that international depth...i.e. incentivize teams to pay 5 foreigners a million each rather than 10 cheaply) so that chances open up.  Right now the entire MLS structure is built on finding 7-10 quality international field players and a US goalie.  

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7 minutes ago, PIK95 said:

Curious what you mean by this?  Who's lost?  Potential players?  U12 is the key age to judge potential based on skills imo.  It's amazing how much puberty, weight gains, and growth spurts mess with kids footwork and overall games.  If the kids are identified as highly skilled before those physical changes, they wouldn't just be forgotten about by the time they come out of it a year or so later.  That's a HUGE problem imo.  

Yeah, potential players just fall off.  There's simply not enough quality coaching and the bigger kids (ie the one's growing first) get filtered up while the smaller kids get pushed out. (and if you don't think that's still a problem check out the birthdates on the current U17 roster) 

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I'm seeing a lot of "burn it all down" / "get the old guard out", with some specific references to Tim Howard, on Twitter over the past 12 hours.  While he's an outlier due to his position and age, he's somewhat a microcosm of this entire development failure.  Tim Howard effectively retired after the 2014 Cup.  Every goalkeeper in the US had the opportunity to take his spot.  Hell, Brad Guzan was starting in the EPL.  No one could.  

We can ##### about Bradley, and he did not play well last night, but when does someone step up and take his spot?  

As a player, your goal is to be the best player you can and to help your team win.  You want to be on the field in a game like last night.  If you don't want to be on the field, you don't have the drive to be a professional athlete, let alone someone challenging for a spot on the world's stage.  While we can sit here in the post-mortem and pick-apart the shortcomings of the current players on the roster, I think it's more important to pick-apart the shortcomings of the development system in this country (like we are doing in here).  If you're Bruce Arena, you're going to take the best 11 that you have in whatever strategic philosophy you want, and put those players on the field.  Going to the Cup, while it would've been great and I wouldn't complain, would only serve to continue masking the overall point that we do not develop young players as well as we should.  While the refrain of "our best athletes don't play soccer" may be true, you can't tell me that there aren't thousands of elite athletes playing soccer in this country.  The US is "more athletic" than most teams in the world in terms of sheer raw athleticism, endurance training, etc.  It is not an excuse.  There are elite athletes playing soccer; we are just failing to develop them.

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I didn't get to see a lot of the match because I had a fussy infant and a toddler to get to bed.  I saw the last 30 minutes or so.  I guess that was a blessing.  Even in the last 30 minutes, I found myself kind of zen about it all.  I guess the last election night had kind of hardened me to doomsday scenarios.

I've never been one who thought it would be "good" for the US to miss a World Cup.  Not that changes couldn't help, but I worry that we'll change things that either were never broken or which had already been fixed.  For instance, it's obvious that we've had a lost generation of the players who should now be in their early 20s.  We've missed two Olympic cycles and most of those guys are just not breaking through (Hi, Luis Gil!).  But that's largely a consequence of how they were developed six yeasr ago.  We have no idea if our current crop of U17s and U20s will do better.  So while I think Sunil will probably want to step down, I'd be leery of a guy looking to blow up the development system or fire Tab or whatever.  So I think it's important that we recognize the opportunity to make some changes, but that we're pragmatic about it.  I also think we need to be careful about just saying the easy thing about players having to go to Europe to develop.  Johann Vanegas (a spot MLS starter) ate John Brooks' (an established Bundesliga defender) lunch in the hex.  We've had young players' careers die on the vine in Europe.  For me, it's far more important that we start getting our best prospects professional games in their teens.  I don't care where they get them. 

On a less systemic level, here are what I think we need to think about for the senior team right now:

1.  GK -- Lots of fingers can be pointed at lots of players, but this Hex is largely about subpar play from the GKs and CBs, IMO.  Which is kind or weird for a US team.  Howard had multiple bad games in the qualifying.  And it wasn't howlers or mental things.  It was being slow of foot and unable to make up the distance on a long shot like last night (it was a ThunderBastard, but he didn't look quick or explosive in trying to get to it).  That's not going to get better.  Guzan probably still has some decent starts left in him, but the prime mission right now is to get Horvath, Hamid, Gonzalez, Steffen or whoever else in on the radar (Klinsmann?, Von Stieg?) and find our next generation of goalkeepers.  Bring them in.  Tell them there is absolutely no pecking order right now and let them fight it out.

2.  CB --  Did any CB have a good Hex?  Ream was great at Azteca and bad at RBA.  Cameron was worse at RBA.  Gonzo was bad in San Pedro Sula and (fluke or not) wore the goat horns in Coava.  Besler made mistakes that he wasn't punished for.  Much like GK, we do have a next crop out there.  I have no idea if CCV, Miazga, Glad, and EPB are better or not.  But there's no reason to not start calling them in to see.  Particularly because I'd like to see 3 CBs become the default (more on that later).

3.  FB -- Well, it's a problem.  I'm not sure we have a solution.  Yedlin is fine.  From what I can see, Tyler Adams is also going to be a very good RB/RWB if they commit to keeping him there.  One the left?  Weeeeellllll .... Your guess is as good as mine.  Villafana is probably the best we have, and that's not good enough.   Could it be Fab again?  Or Chandler?  I don't know.  Both have qualities.  Both aren't young anymore (Fab is only 1 year younger than Bradley).  Neither appears great at integrating with the team.  But then again, the veteran core of this team doesn't have to be the veteran core anymore.  By 2026, maybe we have George Bello and Xhu Xhu Hilton and this area is a strength, but the cupboard looks thin for Qatar. 

4 CM --  I'm sure there's going to be a call for Bradley's international retirement.  I think that's premature.  But there's no reason for him to start all the time either.  He's not the type of player who's going to age gracefully, so I don't see him contributing in Qatar at 34.  But he probably still has value in the beginning of the qualifying campaign.  WIth that said, we can't just plug him in and then try to jigger the rest of the MF around him anymore.  It's time to take our Acostas, Roldans, McKinnies, Johnathan Gonzalez's etc. and let them build their own type of midfield understanding.  And Bradley can be a valuable piece to plug in where needed like Bedoya is now. 

5 Wide play --  Bruce believed in Nagbe and stuck with him.  And I understand the reasoning.  It is unfortunate that Nagbe's skillset is so weird.  He's so talented in some areas, but when your holes are end product on final balls and defensive positioning and workrate that leaves you kind of as a player without a position.  I'd keep giving him call-ups, because maybe you find the legs in the MF to allow the luxury of using him as a deeper lying playmaker or something.  But he's not, IMO, an international winger.  He isn't imposing enough to be a balls out pressing machine and for whatever reason he just doesn't produce the way you want a pure offensive player to produce.  I don't see a truly creative wing in the pipeline (if we assume CP is a CAM).  Maybe Taitague, but he's not ready yet IMO.  So we're stuck with guys like Arriola.  Arriola has worse end product that Nagbe, but he is a tireless worker (maybe not against T&T, but we'll get to that in coaching).  I know Arriola played a bit at RWB for Tijuana.  And he's played a bit at LW for the Nats.  Could he maybe be a credible LWB?  I think that a 3/5 man backline is a decent way to serve wide players who have workrate, but lack some of the technical skills.  My own sense is that the game is moving toward the creators being central.  Most of the best flank players are essentially inside forwards.  There is still use of wings, but not in the sense of creating a ton of space yourself and then getting the cross in.  Most crosses leading to goals, IMO, come when a 2 v 1 situation leads to an uncontested cross. 

CAM-- Obviously it's Pulisic's spot.  I think if there's a silver lining, it's that we now can focus 100% on building a team for Pulisic to try to compete for an Olympic medal.  One of the worst things about this failure, IMO, is that we wasted a chance to find out if Feilhaber or Klejsten could have been a 10.  They're both too old to really be in play for the next cycle and I don't see a successor for them in the pipeline (unless Hyndman somehow starts getting games). 

ST -- Jozy laid an egg last night.  I know he's frustrating as hell.  He was brilliant against Panama.  Better than Pulisic even.  I don't see a better ST in the pool.  We can cross our fingers for Haji and Sargent, and Wood should always be an option.  But Wood is every bit as hot and cold as Jozy.  I'd let Clint get his record and then have a testimonial friendly for him (and Howard) and let him go off with a proper send off.  Jozy is just young enough to possibly have another cycle in him.  If someone emerges and forces a change, fine.  But I'd resist the urge to send him on the outs with a whole host of other veterans.

Coach -- Well that's the rub isn't it.  I was an Arena supporter.  But I also noticed that even in the blowouts against Honduras and Panama, we were benefitted when those teams missed chances.  He was playing a very open, risky formation that asked Bradley to cover a ton of ground.  I can understand that calculated risk.  One the road, in the second game after a hot weather game when they needed a point?  I think that's malpractice.  I can't defend that decision.  Maybe Gonzo's boner happens anyway.  But without a giant hole in CM, someone closes down on Jones and he doesn't have time to line up that howitzer. 

Bruce isn't going to take us to Qatar.  Maybe he's a steady hand to manage the transition, but I'm not sure that's tenable with the baggage of being the guy who couldn't qualify us.  So who should we hire?  We don't even know who's available.  We do, however, have a bit of an opportunity because we have some time to accommodate someone who would:  1) be unafraid to play kids; and 2) be tactically flexible.  Even if that coach had a learning curve to the international game, I think it might make sense to hire him now.  To me, one guy fits that mold.  Patrick Vieira.  At NYCFC, he's shown himself to be fearless.  He'll bench an established player and he'll play a kid.  He's tactically flexible.  He doesn't seem aloof like JK, but he has the credibility of having been a great player. 

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48 minutes ago, El Floppo said:

I get not being able to collect all these kids in the same place for a long period of time- even tougher to do in a country this big. but I'm curious about how well and wide the net is thrown? 

in my idealistic theory above- the downside is that US will start becoming more and more myopic with the scouting, primarily focusing on academies (and I assume the kids going overseas or to mexico). how do they find the kids that for whatever reason fall between the huge cracks?

If your not at an academy you're not getting seen. The odp program got flushed down the crapper and turned into a profit center. College coaches won't even sniff most club level kids. They'll bring in 200 kids at 350 a head to an ID camp with the intention watching two kids and lining their pockets.  

 

I was was at a college game last night that maybe had 200 fans half of which were parents and girlfriends.  All the revenue in this sport outside of mls is based of milking the youth player

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48 minutes ago, El Floppo said:

I get not being able to collect all these kids in the same place for a long period of time- even tougher to do in a country this big. but I'm curious about how well and wide the net is thrown? 

in my idealistic theory above- the downside is that US will start becoming more and more myopic with the scouting, primarily focusing on academies (and I assume the kids going overseas or to mexico). how do they find the kids that for whatever reason fall between the huge cracks?

If your not at an academy you're not getting seen. The odp program got flushed down the crapper and turned into a profit center. College coaches won't even sniff most club level kids. They'll bring in 200 kids at 350 a head to an ID camp with the intention watching two kids and lining their pockets.  

 

I was was at a college game last night that maybe had 200 fans half of which were parents and girlfriends.  All the revenue in this sport outside of mls is based of milking the youth player

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10 hours ago, Capella said:

Yea, Chile and the Dutch too. Both far better teams than us. Who are we to complain. 

I hear ya but...

CONMEBOL & UEFA >>>>>>> CONCACAF

Did Netherlands lose to Belarus? Nope. Not even if they played them on a bumpy wet pitch. 

 

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I have not read all the replies but believe the Pay to Play culture is killing development.  Soccer is the cheapest sport in the world to play yet it cost thousands of dollars a year to play organized soccer at any club.(PIK95 being the exception).  Those clubs emphasize physical ability over technical and tactical superiority.

 We have wealthy, somewhat motivated fast white kids that comprise the majority of our talent pool in the academies.  Until we can tap into the lower socio-economic families and get them into academies for free we will continue to spin our wheels. 

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34 minutes ago, Sammy3469 said:

@PIK95 out of curiosity what License level do you have?

I only did E and level 5.  I have a keeper one also, but that was low level.  I was going to try for D but I have physical limitations with my back.  That turned me toward the administration side and off the pitch.  I find I can do much more damage in my current role anyway.

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8 minutes ago, Ramsay Hunt Experience said:

I didn't get to see a lot of the match because I had a fussy infant and a toddler to get to bed.  I saw the last 30 minutes or so.  I guess that was a blessing.  Even in the last 30 minutes, I found myself kind of zen about it all.  I guess the last election night had kind of hardened me to doomsday scenarios.

I've never been one who thought it would be "good" for the US to miss a World Cup.  Not that changes couldn't help, but I worry that we'll change things that either were never broken or which had already been fixed.  For instance, it's obvious that we've had a lost generation of the players who should now be in their early 20s.  We've missed two Olympic cycles and most of those guys are just not breaking through (Hi, Luis Gil!).  But that's largely a consequence of how they were developed six yeasr ago.  We have no idea if our current crop of U17s and U20s will do better.  So while I think Sunil will probably want to step down, I'd be leery of a guy looking to blow up the development system or fire Tab or whatever.  So I think it's important that we recognize the opportunity to make some changes, but that we're pragmatic about it.  I also think we need to be careful about just saying the easy thing about players having to go to Europe to develop.  Johann Vanegas (a spot MLS starter) ate John Brooks' (an established Bundesliga defender) lunch in the hex.  We've had young players' careers die on the vine in Europe.  For me, it's far more important that we start getting our best prospects professional games in their teens.  I don't care where they get them. 

On a less systemic level, here are what I think we need to think about for the senior team right now:

1.  GK -- Lots of fingers can be pointed at lots of players, but this Hex is largely about subpar play from the GKs and CBs, IMO.  Which is kind or weird for a US team.  Howard had multiple bad games in the qualifying.  And it wasn't howlers or mental things.  It was being slow of foot and unable to make up the distance on a long shot like last night (it was a ThunderBastard, but he didn't look quick or explosive in trying to get to it).  That's not going to get better.  Guzan probably still has some decent starts left in him, but the prime mission right now is to get Horvath, Hamid, Gonzalez, Steffen or whoever else in on the radar (Klinsmann?, Von Stieg?) and find our next generation of goalkeepers.  Bring them in.  Tell them there is absolutely no pecking order right now and let them fight it out.

2.  CB --  Did any CB have a good Hex?  Ream was great at Azteca and bad at RBA.  Cameron was worse at RBA.  Gonzo was bad in San Pedro Sula and (fluke or not) wore the goat horns in Coava.  Besler made mistakes that he wasn't punished for.  Much like GK, we do have a next crop out there.  I have no idea if CCV, Miazga, Glad, and EPB are better or not.  But there's no reason to not start calling them in to see.  Particularly because I'd like to see 3 CBs become the default (more on that later).

3.  FB -- Well, it's a problem.  I'm not sure we have a solution.  Yedlin is fine.  From what I can see, Tyler Adams is also going to be a very good RB/RWB if they commit to keeping him there.  One the left?  Weeeeellllll .... Your guess is as good as mine.  Villafana is probably the best we have, and that's not good enough.   Could it be Fab again?  Or Chandler?  I don't know.  Both have qualities.  Both aren't young anymore (Fab is only 1 year younger than Bradley).  Neither appears great at integrating with the team.  But then again, the veteran core of this team doesn't have to be the veteran core anymore.  By 2026, maybe we have George Bello and Xhu Xhu Hilton and this area is a strength, but the cupboard looks thin for Qatar. 

4 CM --  I'm sure there's going to be a call for Bradley's international retirement.  I think that's premature.  But there's no reason for him to start all the time either.  He's not the type of player who's going to age gracefully, so I don't see him contributing in Qatar at 34.  But he probably still has value in the beginning of the qualifying campaign.  WIth that said, we can't just plug him in and then try to jigger the rest of the MF around him anymore.  It's time to take our Acostas, Roldans, McKinnies, Johnathan Gonzalez's etc. and let them build their own type of midfield understanding.  And Bradley can be a valuable piece to plug in where needed like Bedoya is now. 

5 Wide play --  Bruce believed in Nagbe and stuck with him.  And I understand the reasoning.  It is unfortunate that Nagbe's skillset is so weird.  He's so talented in some areas, but when your holes are end product on final balls and defensive positioning and workrate that leaves you kind of as a player without a position.  I'd keep giving him call-ups, because maybe you find the legs in the MF to allow the luxury of using him as a deeper lying playmaker or something.  But he's not, IMO, an international winger.  He isn't imposing enough to be a balls out pressing machine and for whatever reason he just doesn't produce the way you want a pure offensive player to produce.  I don't see a truly creative wing in the pipeline (if we assume CP is a CAM).  Maybe Taitague, but he's not ready yet IMO.  So we're stuck with guys like Arriola.  Arriola has worse end product that Nagbe, but he is a tireless worker (maybe not against T&T, but we'll get to that in coaching).  I know Arriola played a bit at RWB for Tijuana.  And he's played a bit at LW for the Nats.  Could he maybe be a credible LWB?  I think that a 3/5 man backline is a decent way to serve wide players who have workrate, but lack some of the technical skills.  My own sense is that the game is moving toward the creators being central.  Most of the best flank players are essentially inside forwards.  There is still use of wings, but not in the sense of creating a ton of space yourself and then getting the cross in.  Most crosses leading to goals, IMO, come when a 2 v 1 situation leads to an uncontested cross. 

CAM-- Obviously it's Pulisic's spot.  I think if there's a silver lining, it's that we now can focus 100% on building a team for Pulisic to try to compete for an Olympic medal.  One of the worst things about this failure, IMO, is that we wasted a chance to find out if Feilhaber or Klejsten could have been a 10.  They're both too old to really be in play for the next cycle and I don't see a successor for them in the pipeline (unless Hyndman somehow starts getting games). 

ST -- Jozy laid an egg last night.  I know he's frustrating as hell.  He was brilliant against Panama.  Better than Pulisic even.  I don't see a better ST in the pool.  We can cross our fingers for Haji and Sargent, and Wood should always be an option.  But Wood is every bit as hot and cold as Jozy.  I'd let Clint get his record and then have a testimonial friendly for him (and Howard) and let him go off with a proper send off.  Jozy is just young enough to possibly have another cycle in him.  If someone emerges and forces a change, fine.  But I'd resist the urge to send him on the outs with a whole host of other veterans.

Coach -- Well that's the rub isn't it.  I was an Arena supporter.  But I also noticed that even in the blowouts against Honduras and Panama, we were benefitted when those teams missed chances.  He was playing a very open, risky formation that asked Bradley to cover a ton of ground.  I can understand that calculated risk.  One the road, in the second game after a hot weather game when they needed a point?  I think that's malpractice.  I can't defend that decision.  Maybe Gonzo's boner happens anyway.  But without a giant hole in CM, someone closes down on Jones and he doesn't have time to line up that howitzer. 

Bruce isn't going to take us to Qatar.  Maybe he's a steady hand to manage the transition, but I'm not sure that's tenable with the baggage of being the guy who couldn't qualify us.  So who should we hire?  We don't even know who's available.  We do, however, have a bit of an opportunity because we have some time to accommodate someone who would:  1) be unafraid to play kids; and 2) be tactically flexible.  Even if that coach had a learning curve to the international game, I think it might make sense to hire him now.  To me, one guy fits that mold.  Patrick Vieira.  At NYCFC, he's shown himself to be fearless.  He'll bench an established player and he'll play a kid.  He's tactically flexible.  He doesn't seem aloof like JK, but he has the credibility of having been a great player. 

I'm sort of surprised that he's getting mentioned so much (he seemed to be the second choice to Tata, the ATL coach, over at bigsoccer).  I seriously doubt he has any real interest as he seems set in the Man City structure and seems to want to go the European club coach route, but I do agree he'd be an intriguing coach for at least putting a different type of eye on the problem.  I would take issue to being tactically flexible though as he's pretty set on a 4-3-3 though there's zero chance the 3 in MF would have been Nagbe, Bradley, and Arriola as those 3 all have bite and the willingness to take a tactical foul (Pirlo notwithstanding, but he's only plays out of necessity these days).   

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8 minutes ago, berndog said:

I have not read all the replies but believe the Pay to Play culture is killing development.  Soccer is the cheapest sport in the world to play yet it cost thousands of dollars a year to play organized soccer at any club.(PIK95 being the exception).  Those clubs emphasize physical ability over technical and tactical superiority.

 We have wealthy, somewhat motivated fast white kids that comprise the majority of our talent pool in the academies.  Until we can tap into the lower socio-economic families and get them into academies for free we will continue to spin our wheels. 

The clubs have to. Don't win and you get relegated from premier who no one watches to a lower division that even the parents don't want to watch

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1 hour ago, El Floppo said:

its strange... england doesn't appear to have a cap on foreign players or much of an imperative to play their own players in the EPL. but they're in a bit of a renaissance at the national level (just won u20s, IIRC). I've wondered how the country would fare as the EPL grows in world status, but appears to increasingly minimize local development. a part of me thought- well, if the best of the best are playing in your country- maybe by osmosis the talent level can rise. that having the best around for your kids to compete against is a long-term benefit. dunno if that's what's happened there or not...or if calling rodney wallace "the best of the best" is an appropriate comparison- but I'm torn between the push for locals' PT and the push for better competition. 

I'd be hesitant to judge based on U20 results.  We've probably put together our best back to back U20 performances (losing to the winner and then losing to the runners-up).  But when those guys don't break while they're U23 eligible, they lose the period for the most explosive professional growth.  And it's hard to say that the problem is the early development there.  I don't know why Vermes never gave EPB an extended run in the side absent injuries.  I sense that he was reluctant to let him make mistakes in the short term.  But EPB certainly looks to be good enough to be a full-time MLS starter.  He'll be starting in a comparable European league next year. 

If you don't have a young player good enough, that's one thing.  But there are teams that seem willing to try (like NYCFC or Real Salt Lake once Petke got there) and teams that aren't (DC United).  I mean, Chris Durkin had 6 appearance for the Richmond Kickers this year.  Maybe he isn't ready for MLS, but this is a huge talent who needs to be getting games in the USL. 

EDIT:  Another decent example is Tommy Thompson.  He lost years dying on the vine under Dom Kinnear.  They took the wraps off when the Quakes fired Dom (along with Jackson Yueill) and he proved to be a very good MLS player. 

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1 minute ago, Sammy3469 said:

I'm sort of surprised that he's getting mentioned so much (he seemed to be the second choice to Tata, the ATL coach, over at bigsoccer).  I seriously doubt he has any real interest as he seems set in the Man City structure and seems to want to go the European club coach route, but I do agree he'd be an intriguing coach for at least putting a different type of eye on the problem.  I would take issue to being tactically flexible though as he's pretty set on a 4-3-3 though there's zero chance the 3 in MF would have been Nagbe, Bradley, and Arriola as those 3 all have bite and the willingness to take a tactical foul (Pirlo notwithstanding, but he's only plays out of necessity these days).   

I wasn't considering interest.  No idea if it's something he'd want to do.  He intrigues me more than Tata because finding promising young players in South America isn't really an option for improving the national team (to take nothing away from how Tata has gotten the most out of some MLS veterans and Gressel). 

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Just now, Ramsay Hunt Experience said:

I wasn't considering interest.  No idea if it's something he'd want to do.  He intrigues me more than Tata because finding promising young players in South America isn't really an option for improving the national team (to take nothing away from how Tata has gotten the most out of some MLS veterans and Gressel). 

The interesting part is you'd almost have to install Reyna as technical director for USSoccer since he does/runs so much of the scouting for NYCFC.  As an NYCFC homer, I think the combo of the two would work, but Man City's structure may be too good to pass up from a long-term career point of view.  (And is shocking twist that shouldn't surprise anyone, the two most techincal US players ever are actually pretty good at identifying talent...this is me saying I don't think Ramos is part of the problem).

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I guess I'm on the outside thinking that the development of players is progressing apace.

this is exactly the time when I thought we'd start to see an increase in ability- when my generation's (the first generation that grew up with the sport- but still lacked professional soccer culture) kids were playing pro ball. what I see in neighborhood playgrounds, let alone in college or youth level, shows me giant strides compared to my day. but yes- the elite upper tier guys haven't shown much improvement cycle to cycle... even though we have CP. but again- the huge LCD has risen a ton and that level below upper elite has as well. I believe that with that depth of talent rising, coupled with a hugely improved soccer culture (media coverage, families going to see or watch on tv the top games, etc, etc) and financing that we'll see the quality of our top 20 rise as well.

given all that- what's worrisome to me about the hex is what I've been beating on the drum this morning... lack of desire, drive and tactical mistakes. it feels like the US took jurgen's emphasis on trying to play more controlled to heart... but lost the traits along the way that routinely have gotten the US to the WC- tactical smart play in concacaf, work-rate/heart/desire, collective dedication to the cause. yeah- US teams used to get outplayed, but never outhustled or out-coached. they won the second balls, they kept their shape and they did what they needed to do to progress. from the beginning, this group hasn't... at least with the consistency needed. 

people are harping on caillou. to me, he's one of the only guys consistently showing all of that... but he's slowed and just can't do it alone. 

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I think that the fact that it is understood that missing out on the World Cup will stunt Pulisic's development is an indictment of the US program in and of itself.

Wales has missed every World Cup since 1958 and it is clear that this has devasted Gareth Bal....oh wait - it hasn't.

I think we are a program that looks for reasons why we can't win.  You could sense it ahead of this match with all the overwrought concern about the pitch - in the back of our minds we knew it could be this way.  

Was intrigued to see a few "Klinsmann was right" tweets as if having the wrong manager twice in a row was impossible.  Klinsmann had to go.  Arena maybe seemed like a security blanket choice but ultmately meh.  

I wouldn't mind seeing us bringing in someone that Klinsmann fronted to be - the intelligent enthusiastic guy with many answers.  But not someone who had his "know-it-all" tendencies and "go to war with the players" tendencies.  

I'm a soccer dummy so this is all kinda incoherent.  But this generation of leadership/management needs to go.  Arena and Gulati's comments are the proof - sure the boat is at the bottom of the ocean but for god's sake please don't rock it!

As for next year.  Definitely will pull for Iceland and look to see who else I can support.  As for CONCACAF screw the coefficients - I want them all to go 0-3.  

-QG

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5 minutes ago, berndog said:

I have not read all the replies but believe the Pay to Play culture is killing development.  Soccer is the cheapest sport in the world to play yet it cost thousands of dollars a year to play organized soccer at any club.(PIK95 being the exception).  Those clubs emphasize physical ability over technical and tactical superiority.

 We have wealthy, somewhat motivated fast white kids that comprise the majority of our talent pool in the academies.  Until we can tap into the lower socio-economic families and get them into academies for free we will continue to spin our wheels. 

Agreed, there has got to be a better starting 11 out of 300 million people.  We have the resources to be a formidable soccer power, but we haven't been able to take the next step.  

My son played on the State ODP team when he was 12, and was also playing middle school soccer at the time (this is where the bulk of poor kids play organized soccer).  Watching one of his school games, I saw three hispanic boys on the other team that were raw, but clearly better technical players than anyone on his ODP team.  Those kids didn't have the $ to play ODP or even the time to drive 3 hours for the designated tryout date.  6 years later, they are likely working construction or in the fields.  My kid had a good run through high school, but decided to quit playing and go to college. 

It's a useless anecdote, but I view those hispanic kids as an opportunity wasted and I'm sure it's happening all over the USA.  One thing we do not lack is participation, both formally in leagues and informally after school and on weekends in the park.  As long as we rely upon a club-based structure that favors rich kids and leaves school soccer as the only opportunity for poor kids, we aren't identifying our best talent.  Without a professional academy structure in place that has a financial incentive to develop players, it's next to impossible to find talent without a massive investment in soccer infrastructure.

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11 minutes ago, Ramsay Hunt Experience said:

I'd be hesitant to judge based on U20 results.  We've probably put together our best back to back U20 performances (losing to the winner and then losing to the runners-up).  But when those guys don't break while they're U23 eligible, they lose the period for the most explosive professional growth.  And it's hard to say that the problem is the early development there.  I don't know why Vermes never gave EPB an extended run in the side absent injuries.  I sense that he was reluctant to let him make mistakes in the short term.  But EPB certainly looks to be good enough to be a full-time MLS starter.  He'll be starting in a comparable European league next year. 

If you don't have a young player good enough, that's one thing.  But there are teams that seem willing to try (like NYCFC or Real Salt Lake once Petke got there) and teams that aren't (DC United).  I mean, Chris Durkin had 6 appearance for the Richmond Kickers this year.  Maybe he isn't ready for MLS, but this is a huge talent who needs to be getting games in the USL. 

EDIT:  Another decent example is Tommy Thompson.  He lost years dying on the vine under Dom Kinnear.  They took the wraps off when the Quakes fired Dom (along with Jackson Yueill) and he proved to be a very good MLS player. 

oh right- thompson... thought he was fantastic in the u-whatevers a while ago. also thought he looked good in limited appearances for the quakes right after that. 

durkin is still super young though, right? 

 

again- I don't know about the u20 success necessarily translating (although I don't think it should be shocking that this generation of u17 wc winners is reaching it's prime for mex and having them play as dominating as they have been). also don't know about the politics within clubs that keeps young talent off the field... could be that they're just not there yet vs grownup professionals- and that the professional teams need to win more than develop the young guys if there's a clarity of talent disparity. dunno. 

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I just don't think it's lack of desire.  We didn't win second balls last night because we didn't have the bodies in place to win second balls.  Maybe if Michael Bradley were N'Golo Kante, it would be different.  But we were playing with one midfielder, in essence.  Other guys seemed sluggish.  But Pulisic was probably not 100 percent.  Guys were coming off a hot weather game where they were kicked a ton.  All the want-to in the world isn't going to give them their legs back.  This is the one time that Bruce didn't rotate his squad.  I think that was a mistake.  Something as simple as putting Bedoya next to Bradley might have made all the difference.

We gave up 13 goals in the hex.  But I don't think that Gonzo or Brooks or Cameron didn't care.  They just made mistakes.  Gonzo, in particular, seemed unsure all the time.  Which is just weird because Bruce obviously trusted him because of familiarity. 

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5 minutes ago, Mookie said:

Agreed, there has got to be a better starting 11 out of 300 million people.  We have the resources to be a formidable soccer power, but we haven't been able to take the next step.  

My son played on the State ODP team when he was 12, and was also playing middle school soccer at the time (this is where the bulk of poor kids play organized soccer).  Watching one of his school games, I saw three hispanic boys on the other team that were raw, but clearly better technical players than anyone on his ODP team.  Those kids didn't have the $ to play ODP or even the time to drive 3 hours for the designated tryout date.  6 years later, they are likely working construction or in the fields.  My kid had a good run through high school, but decided to quit playing and go to college. 

It's a useless anecdote, but I view those hispanic kids as an opportunity wasted and I'm sure it's happening all over the USA.  One thing we do not lack is participation, both formally in leagues and informally after school and on weekends in the park.  As long as we rely upon a club-based structure that favors rich kids and leaves school soccer as the only opportunity for poor kids, we aren't identifying our best talent.  Without a professional academy structure in place that has a financial incentive to develop players, it's next to impossible to find talent without a massive investment in soccer infrastructure.

That's not a useless anecdote.  It's been the refrain for over a decade now that we have to identify kids like those Hispanic kids who can't pay to play.  But we can't just flip a switch and have that happen.  I think there has been an effort to expand scouting to find those players.  Smart MLS teams should certainly be looking to recruit those kids into their academies with scholarships.  We might already be well on the way to making that change, but we have to understand that those changes aren't going to suddenly improve the senior side.   

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1 hour ago, Capella said:

maybe Trinidad and Tobago's B-team is just really good and nobody knew it 

:lmao:

At least we won't have the "soccer is exploding in the US" bs for 4 more years.

Who would have thunk the US not being good at a sport where they routinely throw bananas at black players?

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2 minutes ago, Ramsay Hunt Experience said:

I just don't think it's lack of desire.  We didn't win second balls last night because we didn't have the bodies in place to win second balls.  Maybe if Michael Bradley were N'Golo Kante, it would be different.  But we were playing with one midfielder, in essence.  Other guys seemed sluggish.  But Pulisic was probably not 100 percent.  Guys were coming off a hot weather game where they were kicked a ton.  All the want-to in the world isn't going to give them their legs back.  This is the one time that Bruce didn't rotate his squad.  I think that was a mistake.  Something as simple as putting Bedoya next to Bradley might have made all the difference.

We gave up 13 goals in the hex.  But I don't think that Gonzo or Brooks or Cameron didn't care.  They just made mistakes.  Gonzo, in particular, seemed unsure all the time.  Which is just weird because Bruce obviously trusted him because of familiarity. 

Totally agree.  I'd also go so far to say our CBs looked so bad because of the space in midfield.  Teams could turn Gonzo at will and once he's turned he's in trouble.  I don't care who he put next to Bradley, but someone had to be inserted (after 3 games of giving up quality chances with Bradley isolated) and said as much before the match.  I think this is more Arena putting his players in a position to fail more than anything else.

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4 minutes ago, El Floppo said:

oh right- thompson... thought he was fantastic in the u-whatevers a while ago. also thought he looked good in limited appearances for the quakes right after that. 

durkin is still super young though, right? 

 

again- I don't know about the u20 success necessarily translating (although I don't think it should be shocking that this generation of u17 wc winners is reaching it's prime for mex and having them play as dominating as they have been). also don't know about the politics within clubs that keeps young talent off the field... could be that they're just not there yet vs grownup professionals- and that the professional teams need to win more than develop the young guys if there's a clarity of talent disparity. dunno. 

Durkin is still young.  But his parent team is bad.  Shields is also young.  His parent team is among the best in the league.  And Vieira plays him.  Durkin is a natural 6 and DCU was terrible in that position most of the year.  Things got better when they acquired Cannouse, but of course, that now blocks their best prospect.  So the guy who stagnated in Europe and missed his opportunity to develop into the next #6 for the national team is now blocking the path to games to a guy who could be 2022 or at least 2026 #6.  Not ideal.

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Just now, Ramsay Hunt Experience said:

I just don't think it's lack of desire.  We didn't win second balls last night because we didn't have the bodies in place to win second balls.  Maybe if Michael Bradley were N'Golo Kante, it would be different.  But we were playing with one midfielder, in essence.  Other guys seemed sluggish.  But Pulisic was probably not 100 percent.  Guys were coming off a hot weather game where they were kicked a ton.  All the want-to in the world isn't going to give them their legs back.  This is the one time that Bruce didn't rotate his squad.  I think that was a mistake.  Something as simple as putting Bedoya next to Bradley might have made all the difference.

We gave up 13 goals in the hex.  But I don't think that Gonzo or Brooks or Cameron didn't care.  They just made mistakes.  Gonzo, in particular, seemed unsure all the time.  Which is just weird because Bruce obviously trusted him because of familiarity. 

it's definitely both desire AND tactics. I've tried to make that point. repeatedly.

but I also watched guys consistently all hex not move towards second balls, not make the anticipatory run to help provide cover defensively- either space or 2nd defender, and not win 50/50 balls. it was exhausting and frustrating to watch and counter to what has defined much of the US's previous success. at this level, sorry- there's no excuse for that. 

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1 hour ago, Sammy3469 said:

Yeah, potential players just fall off.  There's simply not enough quality coaching and the bigger kids (ie the one's growing first) get filtered up while the smaller kids get pushed out. (and if you don't think that's still a problem check out the birthdates on the current U17 roster) 

I agree with this.  I hate the calendar year switch that US soccer made.  

The focus on "big strong athletic" kids vs. skillful players is something completely lost on US Soccer.

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2 minutes ago, Ramsay Hunt Experience said:

 

10 minutes ago, Mookie said:

Agreed, there has got to be a better starting 11 out of 300 million people.  We have the resources to be a formidable soccer power, but we haven't been able to take the next step.  

My son played on the State ODP team when he was 12, and was also playing middle school soccer at the time (this is where the bulk of poor kids play organized soccer).  Watching one of his school games, I saw three hispanic boys on the other team that were raw, but clearly better technical players than anyone on his ODP team.  Those kids didn't have the $ to play ODP or even the time to drive 3 hours for the designated tryout date.  6 years later, they are likely working construction or in the fields.  My kid had a good run through high school, but decided to quit playing and go to college. 

It's a useless anecdote, but I view those hispanic kids as an opportunity wasted and I'm sure it's happening all over the USA.  One thing we do not lack is participation, both formally in leagues and informally after school and on weekends in the park.  As long as we rely upon a club-based structure that favors rich kids and leaves school soccer as the only opportunity for poor kids, we aren't identifying our best talent.  Without a professional academy structure in place that has a financial incentive to develop players, it's next to impossible to find talent without a massive investment in soccer infrastructure.

That's not a useless anecdote.  It's been the refrain for over a decade now that we have to identify kids like those Hispanic kids who can't pay to play.  But we can't just flip a switch and have that happen.  I think there has been an effort to expand scouting to find those players.  Smart MLS teams should certainly be looking to recruit those kids into their academies with scholarships.  We might already be well on the way to making that change, but we have to understand that those changes aren't going to suddenly improve the senior side.   

 

it's been a leitmotif since I was a kid. a LONG time ago.

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I have a question for the lawyers.

Would US labor law support MLS adding financial incentives to play American's under 22 years old (either through cap relief or through extra allocation money they following year if a certain amount of minutes are met)?

I have a feeling they could do this legally as long as they changed "American" to "green card holder" but that would kind of defeat the purpose.

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Just now, Ramsay Hunt Experience said:

Durkin is still young.  But his parent team is bad.  Shields is also young.  His parent team is among the best in the league.  And Vieira plays him.  Durkin is a natural 6 and DCU was terrible in that position most of the year.  Things got better when they acquired Cannouse, but of course, that now blocks their best prospect.  So the guy who stagnated in Europe and missed his opportunity to develop into the next #6 for the national team is now blocking the path to games to a guy who could be 2022 or at least 2026 #6.  Not ideal.

I was trying to remember cannouse... and never considered the lack of foresight in dc having brought him in. 

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Just now, NewlyRetired said:

I have a question for the lawyers.

Would US labor law support MLS adding financial incentives to play American's under 22 years old (either through cap relief or through extra allocation money they following year if a certain amount of minutes are met)?

I have a feeling they could do this legally as long as they changed "American" to "green card holder" but that would kind of defeat the purpose.

Considering they already have a cap on foreign roster spots, I don't see any real antitrust implications there.  The devil is always in the details and some things they'd probably need to have ratified in a CBA, but that specific provision is likely OK without the players' approval. 

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1 hour ago, El Floppo said:

its strange... england doesn't appear to have a cap on foreign players or much of an imperative to play their own players in the EPL.

They added something to slightly address this but like our "green card" holder status, this does not mean it will be exclusively English players.

But every team in the EPL is required to have 8 of the 25 man roster be "home grown players"

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Just now, Ramsay Hunt Experience said:

Considering they already have a cap on foreign roster spots, I don't see any real antitrust implications there.  The devil is always in the details and some things they'd probably need to have ratified in a CBA, but that specific provision is likely OK without the players' approval. 

I agree but my poorly worded question was about "green card" vs "American".  I think most of MLS's wording in their rules and regulation is typically "foreign vs green card", not "foreign vs  American".

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3 minutes ago, trident said:

Participation trophies for all!!

This doesn't seem to be the problem.  Particularly at the youth ranks.  If you want to win a bunch of youth league titles, or even international youth tournaments at the U15 and U17 levels, you'd just choose your most physically mature and athletic players.  And you can be the next Ghana/Nigeria.  Teams that have had a ton of youth tournament success and very limited success at the senior level. 

Particularly at the youngest level, really focusing on developing players and developing technical skills is a handicap to winning.  Long balls are going to be more effective than build-up play.  Fire enough balls at an 11 year old CB facing a more athletic 11 year old striker and you're going to score goals.  But you're not creating better soccer players when those guys are 21. 

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One thing that should be concerning for those hoping that kids developing in Europe will be the fix is that our first Euro batch is starting to bubble up and I don't think Green, Zelalem, Hyndman, Rubin and Gooch (among-st others) are any different than anything we have seen before. 

Perhaps they have slightly elevated technical skills but all have some serious flaws in their game.

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9 minutes ago, Ramsay Hunt Experience said:

That's not a useless anecdote.  It's been the refrain for over a decade now that we have to identify kids like those Hispanic kids who can't pay to play.  But we can't just flip a switch and have that happen.  I think there has been an effort to expand scouting to find those players.  Smart MLS teams should certainly be looking to recruit those kids into their academies with scholarships.  We might already be well on the way to making that change, but we have to understand that those changes aren't going to suddenly improve the senior side.   

True, but under our current system, we are still 10-20 years out from being capable of effectively addressing the talent gap.  Although a coherent and organized national strategy is still in its infancy, I still think it's fair to be frustrated with the lack of talent we have at the senior level.  This team wasn't going anywhere if we had qualified. 

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1 minute ago, Sammy3469 said:

How the hell is Donna Shalala on the USSoccer board?

https://twitter.com/DonnaShalala/status/918104240467218432

I know so little about anyone who is on the board.

I did see today that the elections are going to be in February.  It will be interesting to see whether they delay the hiring of the coach until that time or not.

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1 minute ago, Mookie said:

True, but under our current system, we are still 10-20 years out from being capable of effectively addressing the talent gap.  Although a coherent and organized national strategy is still in its infancy, I still think it's fair to be frustrated with the lack of talent we have at the senior level.  This team wasn't going anywhere if we had qualified. 

what's most frustrating... this team is talented enough to do damage. make it out of the group- why not? and then anything goes... on paper and at their best, they're capable of beating any team out there on a given day (a day that needs the top handful of teams to misfire)- line up enough given-days- only need to win 4 additional games to win the world cup- and it's a successful world cup. and even if they don't win the WC or even get out of the group... those aren't my definitions of the team "going anywhere". it's about how they stack up against the world's best when everything is on line.

but they can't even stack up against a T&T B team, so now we'll never know.

 

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