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#2021 Mashed Potatoes

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Posted 13 February 2024 - 04:31 AM

Sounds like the US is going to have a tuneup game for Copa at Fed Ex on June 8th against Columbia!


Columbia, MD!?!?!?!!
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#2022 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 22 February 2024 - 03:46 PM

Snagged to tickets for the US - Panama COPA America match in June. Stoked!


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#2023 DuffMan

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Posted 06 March 2024 - 01:28 PM

Since returning from injury Josh Sargent has 8 goals in 11 game for Norwich


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#2024 Mashed Potatoes

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Posted 06 March 2024 - 04:25 PM

Since returning from injury Josh Sargent has 8 goals in 11 game for Norwich


Where do they have him playing?
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#2025 DuffMan

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Posted 07 March 2024 - 06:39 AM

Where do they have him playing?

Looks like still up top as a striker


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#2026 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 07 March 2024 - 07:46 AM

Yeah he has mostly played at the #9 these days. He can still get out wide but he's not been playing wing like they use to do with him. Interestingly enough, Haji Wright, who is built more like a prototypical 9 has been starting at wing for his club and scoring goals. Odd really as he would seem to not have the speed for winger but he's making it work.



#2027 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 14 March 2024 - 07:50 AM

432045513_947791213612345_31000426461421

 

Pretty much everybody is in. Hopefully Reyna and Adams will be able to put in some minutes. Adams did get 20 some minutes yesterday with Bournemouth and looked fine.



#2028 DuffMan

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Posted 14 March 2024 - 10:07 AM

Is Reyna hurt again, because he's been playing little and less for NF since moving there.



#2029 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 14 March 2024 - 11:02 AM

Is Reyna hurt again, because he's been playing little and less for NF since moving there.

Nott Forest said last week that he had a "slight knock". Can't be too hurt or Berhalter would not have to called him in. With being back to a 23 man roster its too risky to call in a guy who may not be available. He can replace players up to 24 hours before the first match if they are injured but that means it would have to be somebody from MLS. Really tough to bring in a Euro based player that quickly.



#2030 DuffMan

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Posted 14 March 2024 - 12:25 PM

Nott Forest said last week that he had a "slight knock". Can't be too hurt or Berhalter would not have to called him in. With being back to a 23 man roster its too risky to call in a guy who may not be available. He can replace players up to 24 hours before the first match if they are injured but that means it would have to be somebody from MLS. Really tough to bring in a Euro based player that quickly.

How does he get a slight knock when he's hardly been playing, dang I wish he could stay healthy.  Happy to see Adams back though...



#2031 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 14 March 2024 - 01:36 PM

How does he get a slight knock when he's hardly been playing, dang I wish he could stay healthy.  Happy to see Adams back though...

Training. Guys get knocks all the time.



#2032 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 18 March 2024 - 10:04 AM

ESPN: Is Gregg Berhalter a good coach for the USMNT?

https://www.espn.com...lter-good-coach



#2033 DuffMan

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Posted 18 March 2024 - 10:07 AM

ESPN: Is Gregg Berhalter a good coach for the USMNT?

https://www.espn.com...lter-good-coach

No, next question.


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#2034 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 18 March 2024 - 12:40 PM

Yes he is. Next question. The problem is guys think that we should have coach XYZ but the reality is they don't consider:

 

1. Is coach XYZ really available and do they WANT the US job? If yes go to next question.

 

2. Can the USSF afford coach XYZ? If no move to the next question.

 

3. Given the reality of the answers to #1 and #2 just who is better than Berhalter?



#2035 DuffMan

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Posted 18 March 2024 - 12:59 PM

Yes he is. Next question. The problem is guys think that we should have coach XYZ but the reality is they don't consider:

 

1. Is coach XYZ really available and do they WANT the US job? If yes go to next question.

 

2. Can the USSF afford coach XYZ? If no move to the next question.

 

3. Given the reality of the answers to #1 and #2 just who is better than Berhalter?

Hi Gregg ;)



#2036 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 18 March 2024 - 01:27 PM

It was a pretty comprehensive article there from ESPN. 



#2037 DuffMan

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Posted 18 March 2024 - 01:33 PM

It was a pretty comprehensive article there from ESPN. 

I don't have plus so I can't read and don't necessarily want to. What needs to be said that hasn't already been said about the guy?  If nothing else, I am not a fan of keeping the coach on for a 2nd WC  cycle



#2038 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 18 March 2024 - 03:07 PM

I don't have plus so I can't read and don't necessarily want to. What needs to be said that hasn't already been said about the guy?  If nothing else, I am not a fan of keeping the coach on for a 2nd WC  cycle

 

Gregg Berhalter's tenure as manager of the U.S. men's national team has divided opinion from the start.

Yes, he'd helped the Columbus Crew punch above its weight as the Designated Player era in MLS entered its second decade. But he was hired while his brother was the chief commercial officer at the U.S. Soccer Federation, raising questions about a potential conflict of interest.

 

On top of that, his hiring seemed to some like a retrenchment back to the relatively small and insular community of U.S. Soccer. After the disastrous reign of Jurgen Klinsmann -- the ultimate outsider and a critic of U.S. Soccer -- no more outsiders would be leading the way.

 

Despite such concerns, Berhalter then went on to lead the U.S. through a successful 2022 World Cup qualification campaign, which helped erase memories of the USMNT crashing out four years earlier thanks to a hole Klinsmann dug early on in qualifiers. Once in Qatar, the Americans under Berhalter reached the round of 16, which was neither a high nor low mark for the USMNT. Some felt Berhalter met expectations at the World Cup, but others questioned whether the team should've done better with a group of players widely viewed as the best U.S. generation ever.

Just over five years since Berhalter was first hired, opinion remains divided among players, coaches and fans: Is Berhalter actually a good coach?

 

ESPN analyst Ryan O'Hanlon will delve into the numbers to see how Berhalter stacks against his USMNT predecessors. Has there been discernible progress on the field? Is the team winning more often than it used to? Has Berhalter been able to institute the kind of cohesive attacking style that USMNT fans have been calling out for? And most importantly, does he have the team performing at, above, or below the level of its talent?

 

But there are also aspects beyond the numbers to consider. Can Berhalter manage the egos of these players and get them pointed in the same direction? Do the players in the USMNT locker room trust him? And is his tactics-heavy approach the right fit at the international level? ESPN national reporter Jeff Carlisle spoke to former players and colleagues to get answers.

 

"I thought he was an excellent coach -- very, very good tactically," former Columbus Crew and U.S. international defender Michael Parkhurst told ESPN. "And just understanding the game, no detail went unnoticed."

Former U.S. international forward and "Fútbol Americas" host Herculez Gomez takes a different view: "I don't think he's the best coach for the U.S. men's national team. That doesn't mean he can't be a good coach. I just think he's a very inexperienced coach."

 

Trust between player and USMNT coach must be "unbreakable"

Part of what makes answering some of these questions difficult is that Berhalter does some of these things well for the most part, only to get tripped up enough to cast some doubt. Man-management is a primary example for his critics.

 

It was an unforced error for Berhalter to tell a room full of people after the World Cup that he almost sent an unknown player home, when it was clear that he was referring to Gio Reyna. The event created the animosity that snowballed into Reyna's parents disclosing a 30-year-old domestic violence incident between Berhalter and his wife, which prompted an investigation that cleared the way for Berhalter to keep coaching the USMNT. Berhalter could've never anticipated the Reyna family's reactions, but he needed to show better judgement.

 

Gomez feels there are other times when Berhalter has broken trust with some players, like when he left Zack Steffen off the World Cup roster.

 

"If I'm a player and I see what he did to Steffen, I think that could happen to me," he said. "Steffen was one of his guys. There are things that you don't do as a coach to break trust for the player. And I think he's done a few of those things."

 

Steffen, who played under Berhalter in Columbus, said Berhalter hadn't communicated his plan going into the World Cup, which the coach later said was focused on having an undisputed No. 1 in goal rather than goalkeepers battling for position. "I didn't hear about that until a couple of months later," Steffen told ESPN last year. "I heard someone say that, but I thought it was a rumor. He and I have a long history and, yeah, I thought it was a little bit different than it was."When a team is going through difficult periods, Gomez added, trust with players is all a coach has, and "that should be unbreakable."

 

There have also been moments when Berhalter has shown a deft hand in managing players. The incident in World Cup qualifying when midfielder Weston McKennie was sent home for violating COVID-19 protocols was a delicate moment for the team. But Berhalter was firm in his discipline, gradually brought McKennie back into the fold, and the player was a key contributor during qualifying and at the World Cup.

 

Tim Ream was largely on the outside of the U.S. national team during World Cup qualifying, but Berhalter maintained communication with the Fulham defender, and when injury struck the likes of Miles Robinson and Chris Richards, he reached out to Ream from a position of strength rather than desperation.

 

Berhalter also seeks to connect with his players beyond what happens on the field, and his ability to recruit dual nationals such as Sergiño Dest and Yunus Musah has been impressive.

 

"I just think he's someone who lives, sleeps, dreams... I mean, everything about the game is what Gregg cares about, but he also cares about people," said current Minnesota United midfielder Wil Trapp, who played for Berhalter both with Columbus and the USMNT. "And I think that's something that sometimes maybe isn't always seen from the outside. But being on the inside, and knowing him for as long as I've known him, I mean, he cares deeply about his players, about their families, about them just beyond the soccer players."

 

Former U.S. assistant coach Luchi Gonzalez lauded Berhalter's ability to give honest feedback. The strain on Berhalter's relationship with Reyna was due in part of just such an exchange when the manager informed the player of what his role would be prior to the World Cup -- although Gonzalez admitted "no one's perfect," he's convinced that in most situations, Berhalter has navigated communicating with players well.

 

"Berhalter was the best that I've ever experienced in terms of just honesty," Gonzalez said. "Like feedback, critical, demanding, simple, concise, but yet supportive. Like, 'Hey, you have the opportunity to respond and improve the situation or, or continue the situation.' But with the staff and players, he was just always honest. And I think people, whether they liked what they heard or not, they respected it, and they wanted to respond to it."

 

That approach appeared to carry the day during the last World Cup cycle. The USMNT looked bought-in during the tournament, and that vibe has continued as Berhalter has continued this cycle. "The relationship is good," said U.S. midfielder Luca de la Torre during an appearance on Fútbol Americas. "I think what I like about Gregg is that he's a coach who players can be honest with, and he doesn't seem to hold it against them."

 

The team's top player and captain, Christian Pulisic, is firmly in Berhalter's camp as well, and he voiced support for Berhalter to continue as USMNT manager after the World Cup.

"Berhalter is someone who has grown on me a lot over the years. I've learned a lot from him and have grown so much as a player," Pulisic said during a 2023 interview with ESPN. "It's underappreciated what he's done to create that environment, which was so special within that [World Cup] team. He's helped a lot of players improve in a lot of ways."

 

How tactical is too tactical for the international game?

Berhalter's reputation is that of a tactics obsessive. His Columbus teams were heavy on possession, and this required countless hours spent on the practice field in a bid to fine-tune his system. He carried that approach with him to the USMNT. No detail was too small there, either.

 

Trapp recalled how Berhalter would stop training if a player strayed two to three meters out of position. "He's showing you, 'No, I can't have you doing that and here's why,'" Trapp said.

 

There is near universal agreement, even among Berhalter's admirers, that the approach isn't for everyone. There comes a point where the tactical detail morphs into information overload.

 

"For some players, they eat every ounce of it up and they love it," said current Houston Dynamo general manager Pat Onstad, who was on Berhalter's staff in Columbus. "And then for other players, after 30 seconds, they zone out and they're off on their own. But that doesn't mean, as a coach, that you sit there and say, 'OK, well I'll just cater to the 32nd guy, and that's it.' I think his passion and eye for detail, and the organizational part of it is infectious within the group."

 

But can a system that requires so much repetition work at an international level, where time on the training field can be limited? Trapp, who made the bulk of his 20 international appearances under Berhalter, recalled how the manager would send video clips out to players in advance in a bid to spoon-feed them information, which would help players hit the ground running once camp begins.

 

Berhalter has admitted that he has at times simplified his approach. Following the last international window before the World Cup -- which included a blowout loss to Japan -- Berhalter stated that he piled on too much information to a group that he hadn't seen in three months.

 

Joe Scally, during the six-month period in 2023 where it was uncertain Berhalter would return as manager, made it clear he wasn't a fan of the approach, calling Berhalter's tactics "confusing," adding that the U.S. needed a manager "that definitely understands we're not a club team. We need to just understand simple tactics, simple system that we can all apply that brings out the best in all the players. Not something to where it's too complicated and you're overthinking on the field."

 

That said, Scally did feel the U.S. played well during the World Cup, though even there Berhalter's system had its drawbacks. "As a player, when you're on the field and you're overthinking things it leads to silly mistakes and silly things where you're not yourself and you can't express yourself," he said. "I think that was one of the things that didn't work out."

 

But Berhalter is now five years into his tenure. The tactical foundation has been -- or at least should be -- established. "Now that the team's been together for a while and things are expected, I think it's a little bit easier -- it should be this time versus the first go around," Parkhurst said.

 

Berhalter, the idealist vs. Berhalter, the pragmatist

There have been times during Berhalter's tenure with the USMNT when he has stubbornly clung to his approach, sometimes to the team's detriment.

 

During his first 20 months, Berhalter was adamant that the U.S. play out of the back. in September 2019, the USMNT hit its nadir in a 3-0 defeat to Mexico, a match in which El Tri pressed the U.S. into oblivion. What followed was an evolution in which the U.S. mixed in more direct play with possession and the USMNT defense stabilized as a result -- but it also left many wondering what took Berhalter so long?

 

That stubborn streak showed itself at club level, too. Parkhurst, who indicated he loved playing under Berhalter's intricate system, said that if he had one critique of Berhalter, it would be "understanding when to adapt."

There have, however, been moments when he would relent. Parkhurst recalls conversations during the run-up to the 2015 MLS Cup final about how to handle the New York Red Bulls' high-press. The Crew's tendency to play out of the back played right into the Red Bulls' hands, so when the Eastern Conference final came around, Berhalter at last decided to take a more direct approach, using the aerial skills of Kei Kamara.

 

"That was the first time in two years that we were like, 'Hey, forget it. Let's just kick the ball long and play for seconds up there. We're the better soccer team, and we can win as long as we don't turn the ball over 20 yards from our goal,'" said Parkhurst.

 

The move paid off as Columbus prevailed 2-1 over two legs to reach that year's MLS Cup final.

That is by no means the last battle between Berhalter, the idealist, and Berhalter, the pragmatist. Onstad recalls that following another encounter with the Red Bulls, one in which Columbus again prevailed by being more direct, Berhalter said, "We're never doing that again. That's not who we are."

 

Throughout World Cup qualifying, Berhalter the pragmatist had the edge. This was especially evident in the road win at Honduras, when a trio of halftime substitutions sparked a come-from-behind, 4-1 win.

The push and pull of Berhalter's instincts was evident at the World Cup as well. The Americans' inability to deal with and adapt to Wales' insertion of target forward Kieffer Moore cost the team two points in a disappointing 1-1 draw. The U.S. played more within itself in the 0-0 draw with England, but in the round of 16, Berhalter appeared to play right into the tactical hands of Dutch counterpart Louis van Gaal, having the U.S. push forward and leaving far too much room on the counter.

 

"He sticks to it, and you think your team can do it," said Parkhurst. "On the one hand, he's got good confidence in guys. But I do think there's times to mix it up a little bit. Otherwise it just becomes too easy sometimes."

Do the stats say the USMNT is doing better under Berhalter?

To answer the question of "Is Gregg Berhalter actually a good coach?" we have to ask ourselves two smaller questions.

 

The first: "How good has the USMNT been with Gregg Berhalter as the manager?" Although that gets conflated with the question of whether or not Berhalter is a good coach, it's a different question focused purely on the USMNT's results. And in short, the answer is, the USMNT has done pretty damn good.

Across the history of the USMNT, 10 men have coached the team for at least 15 games. Here's how their longevity stacks up:

 

Given that soccer wasn't truly professionalized in the United States until the early 1990s, we just don't have the same kind of historical record for the national team that, say, England or Brazil might have. Fourteen different men have managed at least 15 games for England, while 17 have done so for Brazil.

 

Bruce Arena, then, sort of brought the USMNT into the modern era. He also brought the USMNT further than they've ever gone in a modern World Cup: to the quarterfinals, where they lost 1-0 to eventual runners-up Germany. And the USMNT really outplayed Germany in a number of ways: more touches in the penalty area, controlling nearly two-thirds of final third possession, and creating more chances.

 

The bigger the circle, the higher the expected-goal value of the attempt:

Across his tenure, Arena's team scored 1.64 goals per game and conceded 0.75 -- respectively the fourth- and second-best marks among the 10 qualifying USMNT coaches. However, another coach ranks first in both goals scored (2.02) and goals conceded (0.65) per game.

 

It's Gregg Berhalter:

 

Now, this doesn't adjust for the quality of the opponent or the type of match. And the tricky thing about assessing international managers is that they don't coach many games that matter. Friendlies are games where neither team is trying to optimize to win the match: Both sides want to win, but the personnel decisions both before and during the match aren't totally aligned with getting three points. Plus, it's never clear how hard the players themselves are playing in friendlies.

 

So, then, performances in friendlies don't really matter all that much. But then when you eliminate friendlies, you're left with the Gold Cup, World Cup qualifying, the World Cup, and possibly the Copa America and/or Confederations Cup. That's maybe 20 games, total.

 

In other words, no two USMNT managers manage against the same schedules of opponents, and they all manage too few competitive matches to really put too much weight into those games, either. To start to get around that, though, we can look at the Elo rating of the team.

 

Initially developed for chess, the Elo system adjusts a competitor's rating after every match. If you win, your rating goes up; lose, and it goes down. As the World Football Elo Ratings describe their own methodology, they apply "the Elo rating system to international football, by adding a weighting for the kind of match, an adjustment for the home team advantage, and an adjustment for goal difference in the match result."

 

Since the system is based only on results, and results are quite random over a short sample, we're only going to look at the USMNT managerial stints that have lasted for 50 games or more. Here's how they stack up, based on where the team's Elo rating was at the start of the tenure and where it was by the end:

 

• Bora Milutinovic (April 1, 1991-April 14, 1995): 1601 to 1619, up 18 points
• Steve Sampson (Aug. 1, 1995-July 30, 1998): 1708 to 1697, down 11 points
• Bruce Arena (Oct. 1, 1998-July 31, 2006): 1696 to 1775, up 79 points
• Bob Bradley (Dec. 1, 2006-July 31, 2011): 1775 to 1738, down 37 points
• Jurgen Klinsmann (July 29, 2011-Nov. 21, 2016): 1738 to 1735, down 3 points
• Gregg Berhalter (Dec. 2, 2018-Dec. 31, 2022): 1743 to 1819, up 76 points

 

Despite experiencing the biggest start-to-finish decline, Bradley's team also reached the high-water Elo mark for the program after their victory against Spain in the semifinals of the 2009 Confederations Cup. But Bradley's tenure aside, these ratings check out: Milutinovic stabilized the program for the 1994 World Cup, Sampson was a disaster, Arena guided the team to a new level, and Klinsmann was supposed to "Europeanize" Bradley's squad, but ultimately made it worse.

 

With Berhalter, though, what we're left with is a coach whose team scores more goals than any U.S. manager ever, concedes fewer goals than any U.S. manager ever, and improved by a good degree over his first four-year stretch as coach.

 

If you're wondering why the team's rating jumped so much under Berhalter: The two cup-final wins over Mexico were worth massive points, and then the World Cup was an overall success, too. In Qatar, the rating dipped by a point after a draw with slightly lower-ranked Wales. It jumped by 13 with the draw with England, then a further 30 with the win over similarly ranked Iran, before dipping by 20 after the 3-1 loss to the Netherlands, who were ranked third in the world at the time. All in all, these World Cup performances bumped the USMNT's rating up by 22 points.

How much of the USMNT's success can be attributed to Berhalter?

 

All of that now brings us to the second question: "How much of this is due to Gregg Berhalter vs. the players he has?"

 

To his credit, Berhalter has changed the way the team plays. TruMedia doesn't have advanced data for every USMNT manager, so unfortunately we can only compare him to Klinsmann's full tenure and Arena's second tenure. In competitive matches under those two, the team averaged about 3.1 possessions won in the attacking third per game, and they moved upfield at about 1.8 meters per second.

 

Under Berhalter, the pressing has increased -- massively. The number of possessions won in the attacking third per game has leapt up to 5.8. And that's been paired with a much more measured approach in possession -- the ball has moved upfield at a rate of 1.4 meters per second under Berhalter. The current USMNT coach is clearly attuned to the tactical ideas at the highest levels of the game, and we've seen this show up in how his team plays. He deserves credit for implementing some kind of stylistic shift in the international game, where stylistic shifts are quite difficult because of how little game and practice time a national team coach gets with his players.

 

At the same time, wouldn't we just expect some of this to happen naturally since the majority of the USMNT roster is made up of players who are playing their club ball at the highest levels of the game? These are players who are exposed to advanced pressing and possession approaches, day in and day out under their club coaches.

 

While it's difficult to compare the quality of USMNT talent across eras in any kind of objective way, there's seemingly a new stat about record contributions from Americans in the Champions League every week at this point. Previous USMNT managers weren't as fortunate, and in fact Klinsmann frequently butted heads with the commissioner of MLS over his very public criticism of the U.S.-based league and his expectation that Americans challenge themselves in Europe. Klinsmann, for all his pushing -- which included creating a Europe-based technical advisor position to scout and recruit players abroad -- never enjoyed the European-based player pool that Berhalter has.

Christian PulisicWeston McKennieTyler AdamsSergiño Dest and Gio Reyna have already been key contributors for better teams than any other preceding American has ever consistently played for. Then there's a whole different group of players who are either starting for mid-tier European teams or coming off the bench for bigger clubs: Antonee RobinsonTim WeahYunus MusahMalik TillmanRicardo PepiLuca De La TorreChris RichardsJohnny CardosoFolarin Balogun and Joe Scally. It used to be that the USMNT would just have two or three players like this. Now that number is closer to 20.

 

So, of course the team is better -- the players are better!

It may be that 2023 was a wasted year by the program and one where Elo ratings don't provide much value, but at the end of 2022, the USMNT was the 23rd-best team in the world, per the Elo ratings. That might seem like a disappointment relative to the talent level, but in 2022, it's not like American soccer players were tearing it up across Europe. They were in Europe, but most of the USMNT's best players had the worst seasons of their careers in the 2022-23 season. On top of that, the U.S. had the youngest team at the World Cup weighted by minutes played.

Per the transfer-value estimates from the site Transfermarkt, the USMNT has roughly the 21st most-valuable squad in the world -- and that's right around the level they've played at under Berhalter. He hasn't made the team better, and he hasn't made the team worse.

 

A ringing endorsement, huh?

 

Yes, Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp would do a better job managing the USMNT than Berhalter has. But they're not going to manage the USMNT any time soon. The reality is that most of the top managers in the world do not want to manage national teams for an extended period of time. The quality of play is nowhere near as high as the club game, the pay isn't as good, there's barely any time to train, and you don't really get to pick your players. Despite every big-name unemployed manager getting linked with the team, the USMNT just isn't choosing from the same coaching pool as Premier League teams.

 

A couple weeks ago, I proposed a theory of managerial value to someone who used to work for one of the biggest clubs in Europe. In short: There are a couple managers who are guaranteed to make your team better, a ton of managers whose long-term impact will be indistinguishable from each other, and then a couple managers who will actively make your team worse.

 

This person agreed with the first two parts but then corrected that final categorization. No, they said, there are a ton of coaches out there who will make your team worse, too.

 

And so, the USMNT really does seem to have a coach who will get the American players to play roughly to the level of their collective talent. That level of talent is somewhere within the range of No. 15 to No. 30 among all national teams, which means that with a favorable draw, some luck, and perhaps some home-field advantage, it's plausible the U.S. men can make a run at the next World Cup.

 

The U.S. Soccer Federation could take a swing for that tiny first group of coaches who will make the USMNT better, despite an even tinier number being available for national-team employment. What's the harm in taking a shot to vault away from that second group of coaches who don't make much of a difference?

 

Well, there's always a chance you end up with someone from the third group: a coach who actively makes the team worse. Remember what happened before the 2018 World Cup? The USMNT didn't even qualify.

 

Awaiting a signature USMNT win

There is a school of thought that the experienced crop of USMNT players has outgrown Berhalter as a manager. The U.S. player pool is at a point where you don't have to look hard to find Americans in the top five leagues of Europe.

"I think we talk about this generation and how young they are and how green they are, coming into their own," said Gomez. "We're talking about this team being green and these players getting minutes at Juventus, at Chelsea, at Milan, at Leipzig, etcetera. Well, our coach is probably the greenest one in this program then, because he had Hammarby [in Sweden] and had the Columbus Crew. So, I just don't think he is at the level of the pool."

There is also a bit of a fantasy that the likes of Guardiola, Klopp or Jose Mourinho will be intrigued enough by what the U.S. has to offer as a country that they might be willing to take the plunge with the USMNT. That ignores some economic realities. Coaches like that are well outside of the U.S. Soccer Federation's price range, yet the dream of hiring a foreign coach exists.

 

Part of the reason why those dreams persist is that Berhalter's record works against him here. According to ESPN Stats & Information, his record against teams above the U.S. in FIFA's rankings is 3-4-6. All three of those wins have come against a Mexico side that is widely regarded as the worst El Tri side in a generation.

Granted, when the U.S. beat Mexico in extra time at the 2021 Concacaf Nations League, it initially was counted as a signature win given that it was the first U.S. victory over their fierce rivals in a competitive fixture since qualifying for the 2014 World Cup. It was a big step forward for this generation of players.

 

But now, the stakes have been raised. It is no longer enough just to beat Mexico. There needs to be a win -- preferably more than one -- against a top side. The 3-1 defeat against Germany last October was sobering to say the least. How much of that is on the players is another one of those endless debates.

"I do understand that we have a super talented team that are playing in big games over in Europe, so it's just fantastic," said Parkhurst. "But shoot, we're still far away from the top, top teams in the world."

Berhalter is on record as wanting to change how the USMNT is perceived. In that sense, this summer's Copa America will be revealing, especially as it relates to the question of whether Gregg Berhalter is a good coach.



#2039 BSLSteveBirrer

BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 18 March 2024 - 04:35 PM

The article was pretty decent and fair. But to me, the best part was that it laid out that there really aren't these top of the class coaches just waiting for a call from the USSF.

 

NT coaching is way different than coaching a club. And in fact its way easier.

 

No I am not Gregg or any relation to him but I get tired of the incessant anti Gregg crowd when the reality is he's done a decent enough job and not sure that there was anybody better AND available AND willing to take the job for the pay USSF could offer. Yes I'd have liked to have a different coach rather than a second WC cycle with the same coach. But the reality is, all things considered, he was probably the best overall choice.



#2040 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 19 March 2024 - 12:29 PM

This window is a really good example of why coaching a national team is difficult and not something every coach wants to deal with.

 

Here's the general schedule for players and training this window.

 

1. Played on Saturday or Sunday. Travel to US on Sunday or Monday.

2. Monday light training for those in camp.

3. Tuesday light training for full camp.

4. Wednesday - Game

5. Thursday - Recovery day....very light training.

6. Friday - full day light training

7. Saturday - day before game light training

8. Sunday - game

 

In a window like this there are ZERO full squad full training days. None. This is also why its so hard to incorporate lots of new players. Just not enough time. Now there is some good news. FIFA has recognized how less than ideal these short windows are. Starting in 2026 just after the WC,  instead of having a international a short window in both September and October they are going to combine them into a single but much longer session with 4 matches. Much better IMO.






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