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​⚽ OFFICIAL GOLD CUP THREAD: United States Beats Mexico. Again. ⚽


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6 minutes ago, NewlyRetired said:

I give GGG a good grade tonight.  We can all quibble about the quality but he gets the top guys and the second tier guys to play for him hard.

He clearly has a bit of a blind spot for Lletget but other than him, he appears willing to give players their chance to claim a position.

I think Lletget gives that consistent veteran presence that helps keep team shape in place, and usually decent offensive abilities and good positioning defensively. That's not sexy on tv, but it's important.

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On 7/19/2021 at 1:17 PM, Dinsy Ejotuz said:

Three deep at every position (my taek/guess only):

  • Sargent, Pefok, Zardes
  • Pulisic, Aaronson, Hoppe
  • Reyna, Weah, Clark
  • McKennie, Lletget, Williamson
  • Musah, LDLT, Busio
  • Adams, Acosta, Sands
  • Dest, Robinson, Vines
  • Brooks, Robinson, Miazga
  • Zimmerman, McKenzie, Richards
  • Cannon, Moore, Reynolds/Yedlin
  • Steffan, Horvath, Turner

UPDATED!!  THE OFFICIAL WORLD CUP 23 is bolded.

 

 

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18 minutes ago, Dinsy Ejotuz said:
On 7/19/2021 at 1:17 PM, Dinsy Ejotuz said:

Three deep at every position (my taek/guess only):

  • Sargent, Pefok, Zardes
  • Pulisic, Aaronson, Hoppe
  • Reyna, Weah, Clark
  • McKennie, Lletget, Williamson
  • Musah, LDLT, Busio
  • Adams, Acosta, Sands
  • Dest, Robinson, Vines
  • Brooks, Robinson, Miazga
  • Zimmerman, McKenzie, Richards
  • Cannon, Moore, Reynolds/Yedlin
  • Steffan, Horvath, Turner

UPDATED!!  THE OFFICIAL WORLD CUP 23 is bolded.

I like this with the only change being Zardes, TBD, Someone We've Never Heard Of, Dike, Dempsey, Sargent

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Didn't watch the match myself, but based on the running commentary here, it sounds like the match went as expected for this squad and coach.  Sounds like up til now, we've just had more overall talent than our opponents, but Qatar is a seasoned, successful, somewhat organized team, albeit with blemishes that can be exploited. It's here where things go up a level, so we'll see if GGG suspends the experimentation and puts a sensible lineup out there. Actually, this has been a pet peeve of mine with the USMNT going back to the Bob Bradley days; the 'optimal' lineup never seems to take the field, and this isn't what I think is optimal, it's what I've always heard as the consensus from commentators and in the soccer threads here.  Before the lineup was announced, I thought Zardes would be the better fit in this match than Dike, for the reasons you guys mentioned during the match.  If I can see that as well, GGG MUST see that also, so he must have started Dike as an experiment. Same with Busio and probably Hoppe.  On one hand, it's made for some very anxious moments for us so far, but on the other, GGG should now have a very clear picture of what he has and how to optimize it.

Riffing on a couple of the comments that caught my eye while catching up:

I fully agree with the assessment that Dike's strength is working in tight space. At this point, he's probably best as a sub when more offense is required. My initial hope for him was that he could become our Zlatan, at least in becoming a presence with the physical tools to impose his will and create goals few can, but right now he's closer to becoming our Andy Carroll. This next year or so will go a long way to determine which way he'll go.

Regarding the CB depth chart, as a Miazga fan, it pains me to agree with the comments that he's been passed on the depth chart and probably doesn't fit into what GGG wants from his backs.  I've already resigned myself to wishing there was space on the roster for him during the Ocho, but yeah, his skill set doesn't mesh with what GGG has his CBs doing.

 

 

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I think GGG has done just fine.  Unless he trots out Yueill or does something crazy in the semis then I consider this Gold Cup pretty much a success at this point.  We were at the point last night and now Thursday where it's go time to try and win this thing.  He put out pretty much the best lineup available and they got a result. 

Edited by AAABatteries
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Some waking thoughts..

Acosta as the 6 genuinely helped the US shape defensively. He needs to stay there vs Qatar.

Busio's positioning wasn't bad. And in spite of my dislike of his passing accuracy on the night (stats aren't going to tell the story of passes that get to the man, but arent setting the man up for his next play), he was making the right pass.

Robinson did a good job as a Long.2. Great recovery speed, and decent positioning, 1v1 and air defense. Distribution not stellar, but I don't recall any big mistakes.

Nobody on the field could hit a cross. It was uncanny...at least until Roldan came in. Dike had a bad night winning the balls that came his way, but nobody could get him a ball across the box that he could attack.

Hoppe continues to show as Deuce.2. don't know that out wide is his preferred place- as mentioned last night, I'd like to see him farther up the field and more central in a 9 role. He seems to have all skills needed there, including more size/strength/speed than I thought he had (to go along with nice ball skills and try #### attitude).

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5 minutes ago, El Floppo said:

Busio's positioning wasn't bad. And in spite of my dislike of his passing accuracy on the night (stats aren't going to tell the story of passes that get to the man, but arent setting the man up for his next play), he was making the right pass.

I didn't attribute it to the pitch until reading this thread but then that's all I could see.  Somewhat hard to grade any of the guys completely on their passing.  It was that noticeable from the opening whistle.

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If Acosta didn't fall apart on his passes after some stellar defensive plays he would have had an all-world game.

Really wanted to see Busio take some of the corners. Don't know why Lleget keeps getting those chances, he's shown it's not a strong suit.

For me Hoppe has been our best player up top over the life of the tournament and brings some technical skills the other strikers/wingers just don't have. And really gives great energy. Agree that would like to seem some time as a 9 but we just don't have any wingers to support that on this roster.

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2 minutes ago, Dinsy Ejotuz said:

One thing I woke up thinking about... did the US dominance start as soon as Zardes came on?  Was it that direct?

Zardes did well and was a big contributor in the goal but my take is Jamaica ran themselves in to the ground in the first 45 trying to press us and get a goal.  They were gassed - that with our possession and fresh legs from some subs made the difference.

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6 minutes ago, AAABatteries said:

I think GGG has done just fine.  Unless he trots out Yueill or does something crazy in the semis then I consider this Gold Cup pretty much a success at this point.  We were at the point last night and now Thursday where it's go time to try and win this thing.  He put out pretty much the best lineup available and they got a result. 

Agree.

 

23 minutes ago, Charlie Steiner said:

so we'll see if GGG suspends the experimentation and puts a sensible lineup out there.

Feels like he's already done that with the Canada and Jamaica games which seemed like the best options available. GGGs getting a better look at these guys so must have a reason for starting Dike over Zardes, the only role I'd want changed. Same must be true for Williamson absence over Busio or Lletget.

 

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30 minutes ago, Dinsy Ejotuz said:

One thing I woke up thinking about... did the US dominance start as soon as Zardes came on?  Was it that direct?

And Roldan. I keep saying it...he was the only guy who could hit a cross.

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7 minutes ago, El Floppo said:

And Roldan. I keep saying it...he was the only guy who could hit a cross.

If a month ago, some one had told me our two best wingers at the Gold Cup were going to be Roldan and Hoppe, I think I would have simply laughed.

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I don't think Hoppe is competing with Pulisic or Aaronson.

I do think he is now in a direct competition with Weah as the two players who can play on the wing and at the 9 and if everyone is healthy, I think only one of these two will get chosen for WCQing.

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We all agree Zardes gets the start, right?  Same lineup as last night, but with Zardes in the middle? (Lletget's got more than enough history to ride out a subpar night IMO.)

Also, kind of related, it's amazing we haven't had any sort of yellow card accumulation trouble.  Usually at this point of the tournament we're missing a player or two.

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I know many were not convinced about Turner but I am unsure what else we can expect.

Across 4 games, not a single drop, not a single misjudged cross, no rebounds, hands very clean, and mostly good enough with his feet even on that crap field last night.  Outside of two nervy moments with his feet in the first game (neither of which resulted in a turn over), I think he has been very very solid.

I feel extremely confident that we have our top 3 keepers lined up now and honestly would be comfortable with any of the three starting.

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2 minutes ago, Dinsy Ejotuz said:

We all agree Zardes gets the start, right?  Same lineup as last night, but with Zardes in the middle? .

Agree on Zardes but I am not sure Nips did enough for me to warrant another start.  I am no Roldan fan but he has played half way decent in the Gold Cup with his minutes.  Maybe give Roldan 60 and Nips 30.

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1 minute ago, NewlyRetired said:

I know many were not convinced about Turner but I am unsure what else we can expect.

Across 4 games, not a single drop, not a single misjudged cross, no rebounds, hands very clean, and mostly good enough with his feet even on that crap field last night.  Outside of two nervy moments with his feet in the first game (neither of which resulted in a turn over), I think he has been very very solid.

I feel extremely confident that we have our top 3 keepers lined up now and honestly would be comfortable with any of the three starting.

He makes me nervous any time the ball comes back to him.  But maybe, as the nerdier nerds than me argue, that doesn't matter nearly as much as keeping the ball out of the net.

Certainly the save he made on the first minute offside shot was fantastic.  They never showed it again, but at full speed it looked incredible.

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I know we probably get rolled by Mexico if we beat Qatar, especially since they brought the guys we beat a month ago, but I really want that game again.

Having said... Turner, Robinson, Sands, Vines, Acosta, Hoppe.  We found the depth we were hoping for from this tournament.

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Just now, Dinsy Ejotuz said:

I know we probably get rolled by Mexico if we beat Qatar, especially since they brought the guys we beat a month ago, but I really want that game again.

Having said... Turner, Robinson, Sands, Vines, Acosta, Hoppe.  We found the depth we were hoping for from this tournament.

I wanted/hoped to get to the semi finals with this motley crew and they did it.  It wasn't pretty but that was never going to happen.

I want to see a real good fight against Qatar.  Even if we lose, it would be nice to know this group gave the reigning Asian champs a run.

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6 minutes ago, NewlyRetired said:

I wanted/hoped to get to the semi finals with this motley crew and they did it.  It wasn't pretty but that was never going to happen.

I want to see a real good fight against Qatar.  Even if we lose, it would be nice to know this group gave the reigning Asian champs a run.

Man for man I think we're probably as good as Qatar.  But they've played together so much and it shows -- especially the front 4-5.

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43 minutes ago, NewlyRetired said:

Agree on Zardes but I am not sure Nips did enough for me to warrant another start.  I am no Roldan fan but he has played half way decent in the Gold Cup with his minutes.  Maybe give Roldan 60 and Nips 30.

Granted I wasn't fully watching for most of the first half, but Nips seemed to make a few key defensive plays and I didn't see anything otherwise untoward. What did I miss with him last night?

I also agree with Roldan. He's been making use of his time out there. 

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11 minutes ago, gianmarco said:

Granted I wasn't fully watching for most of the first half, but Nips seemed to make a few key defensive plays and I didn't see anything otherwise untoward. What did I miss with him last night?

I also agree with Roldan. He's been making use of his time out there. 

He was just ok - nothing too bad but nothing that makes him a definite start in the semis.  I will reiterate what others have said - no one was providing any service to Dike (he was poor anyways) but Nips did nothing to get the attack going.  I think Roldan has looked better and I would start him and Hoppe on the wings with Zardes up top.  I would also start just about anybody on the roster over Lleget - he was awful.

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1 hour ago, Dinsy Ejotuz said:
1 hour ago, NewlyRetired said:

I know many were not convinced about Turner but I am unsure what else we can expect.

Across 4 games, not a single drop, not a single misjudged cross, no rebounds, hands very clean, and mostly good enough with his feet even on that crap field last night.  Outside of two nervy moments with his feet in the first game (neither of which resulted in a turn over), I think he has been very very solid.

I feel extremely confident that we have our top 3 keepers lined up now and honestly would be comfortable with any of the three starting.

Expand  

He makes me nervous any time the ball comes back to him.  But maybe, as the nerdier nerds than me argue, that doesn't matter nearly as much as keeping the ball out of the net.

Certainly the save he made on the first minute offside shot was fantastic.  They never showed it again, but at full speed it looked incredible.

Steffen seems the most brainfart-prone of the three.  I never saw him play at Dusseldorf, but at City and for the US it seems like he ends up in no-man's land once or twice every game.

 

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26 minutes ago, AAABatteries said:

He was just ok - nothing too bad but nothing that makes him a definite start in the semis.  I will reiterate what others have said - no one was providing any service to Dike (he was poor anyways) but Nips did nothing to get the attack going.  I think Roldan has looked better and I would start him and Hoppe on the wings with Zardes up top.  I would also start just about anybody on the roster over Lleget - he was awful.

FWIW, Roldan said that Dike/Arriola/Hoppe's job the first 60 minutes was to simply tire our Jamaica with runs behind and that once he came on they inverted the right side which gave him the space.  If that's the strategy against Qatar you almost have to start Dike since Zardes strength is finding space in cluttered boxes; not necessarily making defenders run.  Same with Roldan since he doesn't exactly exploit space himself physically.  

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28 minutes ago, CletiusMaximus said:

at City and for the US it seems like he ends up in no-man's land once or twice every game.

He does.  I almost never get to see him, but he's just in the wrong spot fairly often.  It happens to everyone sometimes, but his instincts may be  dicey.  Which seems like it probably does matter more than whether you can hit a 40 yard ball to the sideline with your left. 

One thing I like about Turner is that no matter what happens he seems to be set and ready to react when the ball is hit.  Even on the scramble plays where timing the shot is hard he seems to be able to do it.  And I've yet to see him be anywhere except between the ball and the goal when the shot comes in.

Edited by Dinsy Ejotuz
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Wanted to revisit the play Robinson made on the Jamaican breakaway last night.  Called it van Dijkian in real time, and here's why.

Same idea last night... Robinson was in a bad spot, but doesn't try to do too much.  He makes up his mind that he's going to keep the Jamaican on his outside, take away the easy passing lane to the middle, and hopefully be able to challenge any shot from the Jamaican's right foot.  Basically he's giving up a shot from the left and giving up the space further to the outside.  And Robinson telegraphs what he's doing early and strongly too, so hopefully Turner is picking up where the shot is likely to come from.

When the Jamaican cuts to the middle very late Robinson has already committed to the shot but is just able to get his foot in and make the tackle.  Super defending that doesn't show up in the box -- there's not even a shot -- but it's a huge play.

Edited by Dinsy Ejotuz
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1 hour ago, CletiusMaximus said:

Steffen seems the most brainfart-prone of the three.  I never saw him play at Dusseldorf, but at City and for the US it seems like he ends up in no-man's land once or twice every game.

 

I think most would be fine making Steffen the backup.  I don't think anybody believes he should be a starter based on his club's stature.  The question becomes, will GGG have the balls?

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1 hour ago, gianmarco said:

Granted I wasn't fully watching for most of the first half, but Nips seemed to make a few key defensive plays and I didn't see anything otherwise untoward. What did I miss with him last night?

I also agree with Roldan. He's been making use of his time out there. 

Arriola didn't look quite like his usual hard-charging self - he made a couple nice plays but I agree with AAA he didn't provide much impact overall. Part of it was that no one could hit a decent long ball when he did get open, part of it might be him still working thru whatever his injury was from Haiti.

Roldan has played surprisingly well and looked a lot more active last night, so I wouldn't mind giving him the start Thursday night. Could also go with Gioacchini but he hasn't seen much time so far.

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9 minutes ago, Possum said:

Arriola didn't look quite like his usual hard-charging self -

I've never been overly impressed by Nips.  I put him in the GGG's blindspot group although he seems to be well liked in this forum.    He gets run because GGG is familiar with him and Nips knows his system.  The type of player that will look great against minnows but would be a liability in qualifying IMHO.   Players like Nips and Lletget are a given to be outclassed on the WC stage.

It would be nice to find a better player to replace his spot IMHO.  When our roster doesn't have any more Nips Lletget types, you know we are ready to take our game to the next level and will be one step closer to arriving on the international stage.

 

 

Edited by TripItUp
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2 hours ago, NewlyRetired said:

I wanted/hoped to get to the semi finals with this motley crew and they did it.  It wasn't pretty but that was never going to happen.

I want to see a real good fight against Qatar.  Even if we lose, it would be nice to know this group gave the reigning Asian champs a run.

I suspect this will end up like like another Gold Cup I remember where a largely B/C team fought their way to the finals only to get annihilated by Mexico.  And I'm OK with that.  This team should not be able to beat the team that Mexico brought to the Gold Cup.  And because good teams generally improve as tournaments go on, I'd expect Mexico to look very good in the final (it helps that Canada doesn't even really have a striker to play in the semis with Cavlini on yellow card suspension).

I'm mostly pleased with what GGG has achieved in this tournament.  The offense has struggled to create chances, no doubt.  But the defense has mostly been very good and Sands and Robinson have distinguished themselves while getting lots of positive experience.  Tim Ream was still getting lots of minutes in the Nations League.  We can now be pretty sure he won't be on the WCQ roster.  That's progress.  We have two guys who could conceivably cover for Tyler Adams in Acosta and Sands who are better than who had in that spot before in Yueill.  Progress.  Even if Busio isn't ready, and I don't think he is, he's gotten some much needed experience and has shown some willingness to correct deficiencies in his game.  That's also progress, albeit more toward 2026 than 2022.

Turner has shown that he can be pretty much the same guy for the Nats as for the Revs.  I don't love his distribution, but unlike Steffen, he seems to know his limitations there and isn't afraid to just put his foot through the ball and live to fight another day.  I still think we're a ways from the days when Keller, Freidel, and Howard make goalkeeping the team's greatest strength, but I don't think it's a weakness.  Which isn't how I felt last year. 

Even the decisions that I might be inclined to criticize GGG about (bringing Lewis and few wings) are defensible, IMO, as ways of propagating team culture.  Which is something GGG has shown he really understands.  There is a time to be ruthless in roster selection.  But there is also a time to keep recognizing guys who understand the system and try to what's asked of them.  And that's how a guy like Roldan, who has usually looked game but not quite talented enough for this level, can come in and turn around a quarterfinal.

There are downsides.  I think we all hoped Dike could come in and show something that made him a no-brainer as the No. 9.  It's hard not to be disappointed as that's still a big question mark.  But even there, the US has more choices now than last year.  Pefok has actually been close to dominant in a mid-tier European league on a per-minute basis.  

I'm not sure how much more I could expect going into qualifying.  Which isn't to say it won't be a white knuckle experience.  My sense is that CONCACAF is weaker at the top (with no team outside Mexico and the US as good as Costa Rica in the last ten years), but it's probably deeper.  I think the compressed schedule helps the US because teams like Canada and the Central American teams lack depth in their rosters.   

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23 minutes ago, Ramsay Hunt Experience said:

I'm not sure how much more I could expect going into qualifying.  Which isn't to say it won't be a white knuckle experience.  My sense is that CONCACAF is weaker at the top (with no team outside Mexico and the US as good as Costa Rica in the last ten years), but it's probably deeper.  I think the compressed schedule helps the US because teams like Canada and the Central American teams lack depth in their rosters.   

I thought John Strong made an excellent point last night.

We keep talking about depth in terms of players we will need for injuries but with the 3 game qualifying windows, we might see a decent amount of non injury related changes game to game.

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39 minutes ago, Possum said:

Arriola didn't look quite like his usual hard-charging self - he made a couple nice plays but I agree with AAA he didn't provide much impact overall. Part of it was that no one could hit a decent long ball when he did get open, part of it might be him still working thru whatever his injury was from Haiti.

Roldan has played surprisingly well and looked a lot more active last night, so I wouldn't mind giving him the start Thursday night. Could also go with Gioacchini but he hasn't seen much time so far.

Arriola was coming off an injury, and I do think he was tasked with a lot of defensive work because they wanted to keep Shaq relatively high.  

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2 minutes ago, Ramsay Hunt Experience said:

Arriola was coming off an injury, and I do think he was tasked with a lot of defensive work because they wanted to keep Shaq relatively high.  

That's fair but can we really name a performance that stood out against meaningful competition?

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I'm overall really pleased with this Gold Cup, we have a much better understanding of our depth and discovered what could be a few vital pieces for qualifying.  At the same time we are winning and building a culture of winning that players want to be a part of.  GGG hasn't been perfect and has his blind spots on personnel but it's hard to quibble with the results.

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2 minutes ago, TripItUp said:

That's fair but can we really name a performance that stood out against meaningful competition?

For Nips or Shaq?

Nips has always been a very high floor, low ceiling guy for the US, regardless of the competition. Can count on high work rate, decent skills, decent sense of team shape, and hitting good balls across.

The new concern for him is coming back fully from that injury in England. Dunno if we'll get old Nips back...certainly wasn't there last night.

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B team tourneys for me are about individuals rising to or exceeding the challenge and whether the coach has a feel for getting the most out of the personnel on hand- through tactics and game management.

I think Scooby and most of you all have laid out the players that stepped up, and gggggg has been ok across the board (aside from undermanning the wings selecting the initial roster).

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  • ChiefD changed the title to ​⚽ OFFICIAL GOLD CUP THREAD: United States Beats Mexico. Again. ⚽

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