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Gold Cup 2021


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#1 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 07 July 2021 - 03:59 PM

Here's a look at the GC which starts Saturday.

 

https://baltimorespo...up-2021-matter/


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#2 BSLMikeLowe

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Posted 09 July 2021 - 06:48 PM

Is there an actual intent to encourage the team from WC host nations to be the guest participant in the Gold Cup within a couple years before the WC tournament? I seem to recall that both South Korea and South Africa played in it prior to hosting, and now Qatar is too.



#3 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 10 July 2021 - 08:12 AM

Mike, the answer is sort of. You are correct with South Korea, South Africa, and Qatar but not necessarily right before their hosted WC. There is nothing "rule' wise that drives this its more something the CONCACAF federation comes up with. And they seem to do this for those Gold Cups prior to a World Cup where the host country is a smaller soccer nation that doesn't have a major regional tournament to play in. 

 

The Gold Cup has existed since 1991 (there was a similar but smaller tournament before that). Here are the WCs held during this period, the host, and whether they were at the GC or not.

1994 US, and of course they were at GC

1998 France - no 

2002 Japan/South Korea - South Korea was invited as was Colombia

2006 Germany - No. South Africa and Colombia were invited

2010 South Africa -no

2014 Brazil - no

2018 Russia - no

 

I don't know why Colombia was invited for 2002 and 2006 although I suspect it was for ticket sales potential.


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#4 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 11 July 2021 - 09:22 AM

GC started off last night with a shocker. Although Mexico outshot T&T 30-4 the game ended in a scoreless draw. But the really bad news for Mexico was this horrific injury to Chucky Lozano. I was watching and it is maybe the worst collision I have ever seen. Knocked out cold and taken off on a cart in a neck brace.

 

https://twitter.com/...057771759149058

 

And maybe worse news for the soccer world in general. Once again the Mexican fans started their "chant" to the point where the match officials had to instill the match stoppage protocol. This on the heels of the same behavior at the US game in Denver last month AND the FIFA penalty issued two weeks ago for the same issue this spring. 

 

1. I hope Chucky is ok. I can't imagine he plays for a number of months.

2. FIFA is going to have to seriously penalize the Mexican federation. Two possible penalties are already being pushed by various fan organizations. 

a. Ban forcing Mexico to play its next 2 home WC qualifiers fanless. I frankly don't think this is near enough penalty. Its still forces the opposing teams to travel to Mexico. And any game held in the US has the same problem since there is no real way to keep Mexican supporters out of the stands.

b. A point reduction penalty toward qualifying. Now this would be a HUGE penalty. The number I have seen thrown around is 6. For the Ocho qualifying round the max points you can earn is 21 (3 wins in all 7 matches). So that's almost 1/3 of the potential. I am not sure if this is fair to the team itself BUT it would fix this problem once and for all.

 

I think this potential penalty is a more middle of the road. Force Mexico to play all their "home" matches on the road in neutral stadiums and with no fans. This way the "away" team still has to travel but the Mexican team has to travel and does not get the benefit of their rowdy fan base. But FIFA needs to step up and really come up with a severe penalty. The previous things they have done haven't changed one thing. 



#5 Hooded Viper

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Posted 11 July 2021 - 08:44 PM

OK remind me why none of the stars are playing tonight? Doesn’t this tournament have impact on World Cup qualifying? I’m not at all impressed with this unit.

#6 Hooded Viper

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Posted 11 July 2021 - 09:57 PM

Well that was just about as unimpressive a US win as I’ve seen in a long time. I did like that Busio kid would love to see him run with the ones.

#7 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 11 July 2021 - 10:06 PM

OK remind me why none of the stars are playing tonight? Doesn’t this tournament have impact on World Cup qualifying? I’m not at all impressed with this unit.

Read my article and you'll get why the top players are not there. As to being impressed with this unit? No you shouldn't be based on tonights performance. They are better than that but they stunk tonight.

Here's my player review.

Turner - Ok but did not command the area the way I would like to see.
Moore - Bright spot. Defended fine and added some nice attacking down the wing. Better crosser than Cannon but maybe not as good defensively. Still an option going forward.
Zimmerman - Best player tonight. Solid in the middle.
Robinson - Ok. Shaky early when he let a runner blow by him but picked it up after that.
Vines - Well he did score our lone goal. Can't defend at this level
Yueill - Not good enough to play at this level.
Acosta - Mixed bag. Some good stuff and some terrible give aways.
Lleget - He usually rises above his club play when he plays for the Nats. Not so tonight. Weak showing.
Arriola - Hurt and about all he did. Had one cross attempt and pulled up lame.
Zardes - Ran a lot. Played both ends of the field. Some ok holdup with his back to goal and got the assist on our goal. Decent.
Lewis - Been saying for 2 years now I have zero idea why he even gets called into camps. Guy is fast and that's it. Not near good enough for this level.
Busio - Better than Yueill at the #6. Need to see more of him there but he could move up to second on the depth chart behind Adams.
Dike - Eh....didnt' show much
Sands - Not much one way or the other

Need to play way better on Thursday. Hopefully chalk this up to getting used to new teammates.

#8 Hooded Viper

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 06:54 AM

Thanks, I wasn’t impressed with the group or the win, I had a typo and meant unimpressed. Have edited my post.

#9 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 10:28 AM

Thanks, I wasn’t impressed with the group or the win, I had a typo and meant unimpressed. Have edited my post.

I knew what you meant. But you really should read my article. It explains why the players that are there are and why the ones that aren't aren't. 

 

But the critical point of the whole article is that the importance of the Gold Cup is not to win it. Sure that's always the end result you want in a tournament but that is not what is at play here. THE driver for this months tournament is to get guys in camp, get them minutes in an international playing environment  and see which of these guys can be counted on for depth come WC qualifying that starts in September. 



#10 Hooded Viper

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 04:09 PM

I knew what you meant. But you really should read my article. It explains why the players that are there are and why the ones that aren't aren't. 
 
But the critical point of the whole article is that the importance of the Gold Cup is not to win it. Sure that's always the end result you want in a tournament but that is not what is at play here. THE driver for this months tournament is to get guys in camp, get them minutes in an international playing environment  and see which of these guys can be counted on for depth come WC qualifying that starts in September. 


Yep understand now, read your article. Thanks.
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#11 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 14 July 2021 - 08:13 AM

Watched the Panama vs Qatar game last night. Mostly interested to see if Qatar had any quality players. What an odd game. Tight defensively the first 45. Qatar had several good chances but the Panamanian keeper came up big. Panama had one really good chance that the Qatarian (is that right?) keeper saved.

 

Then the second half was like two different teams. Ended up in a 3-3 draw. In the first 6 GC matches there had been a total of 14 goals scored then they put up 6 in the second half last night.

 

Tonight Mexico is back at it and then the US is back in action tomorrow night.



#12 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 15 July 2021 - 08:51 AM

US vs Martinique tonight. Interesting to see what lineup and formation Berhalter sends out.

 

Many, me included, thought that the plan would be to run out two different lineups in the first two matches to figure out who is in the best form then send out the best XI against Canada on Sunday. Then use that lineup with rests as needed going forward. Of course the ultimate goal in the knockout stage would be to be able to rest several players in the quarterfinal and semifinal so the best XI would be good to go for the final (probably vs Mexico).

 

And Berhalter did get a look at 15 field players in the game against Haiti. So between that and the training sessions he should have a good idea going into tonight.



#13 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 15 July 2021 - 09:49 PM

Superb first half and US is up 2-0 and its not been that close. Midfield and attack has been really really good. Hoppe is all over the field, Dike has finished twice, and the ball movement has been terrific. Attacking over the top down the wings, down the middle to hold up players, and slotted passes behind the defense. Just a really good showing so far.

 

Couple of bad giveways in the back by Williamson and Robinson but other than that just solid.



#14 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 16 July 2021 - 10:26 AM

US wins in a cakewalk and totally dominated winning 6-1. Only Martinique goal was on a PK (poor play by Acosta). The US had 15 corners and conceded 0 to Martinique. Pretty sure I have never seen anything like that! Here's my player evaluations and how their stock for qualifying callups faired.

 

Turner - known as a shot stopper and he came up really big once last night. Stock rising even though his look at the PK was terrible.

Zimmerman - solid defensively, supported transition, and good on free kicks in the attack. Stock rising. In the conversation for #2 CB behind Brooks.

Robinson - stock neutral. Some good stuff and better than the first game defensively but not sure he is at the level we need yet. Did score a goal on a banged around corner.

Sands - stock up. Playing in the middle of the 3 CBs he did a solid job defensively. Good decision making. Like to see more of him.

Bello - Stock up. Solid overall match playing well at both ends of the field.

Williamson - Stock up. Very solid in the middle of the field. Took some time to for him and Busio to get in synch but then they took over.

Busio - Stock up...big time. 19 years old and he ran the show in the middle of the field. Got an assist. Hit the crossbar and took most of our set pieces. Rumor has him going to Europe this summer. Good move. Kid is got the stuff.

Moore - Neutral but that mostly since the game didn't go through him near as much as the Haiti match. Still a solid showing.

Dike - Stock up. Made a big step in his case for claiming the #9 role. Two goals, massive in the air, and a physical presence that the defense has to deal with.

Roldan ) Stock up. I have questioning his talent to play at this level based on his previous call ups. But the guy has really upped his game. Well done!

Hoppe - Stock up. Maybe WAY up. My MOTM. Guy was solid all over the field and his decision making and runs were just spot on.

 

Subs:

Gioacchini- Stock up. Kid just thrives in the attack. Got denied twice by the Martinique keeper but just kept pressing and got his goals.

Zardes - Stock up. High work rate to finish of the match and his goal was a superb finish.

Acosta - Stock down. Kid has got to be consistent. The last few matches I thought he was getting it right and was able to play at the international level. Then last night. Got beat 1v1 off a dribble. Bad enough. Then fouled the guy as he went by. Bad again. But he fouled the guy in the area leading to Martiniques PK and only goal. Critical goal as now the US has to beat Canada to win the group. Had they gotten a clean sheet they would only have had to tie. Not a big deal as we still advance but the knockout stage plays out a bit better if we win the group vs taking second.

 

The other guys weren't on long enough to really assess.

 

Bottom line: Ok we gets its Martinique but that was just a stellar showing and they have built some momentum going into Sundays match with Canada. 

 

So can't wait!!!



#15 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 18 July 2021 - 11:08 AM

Game Day!!

 

Interested to see who Berhalter runs out there today. Some considerations he is facing.

 

1. Both Canada and the US are through to the knockout rounds. The only thing decided to day is who takes first and second in the group The US has to beat Canada to win the group as Canada has the tiebreaker. The main difference is if you win the group you can't face Mexico until the final If you take second you likely face Mexico in the semi final. I really don't see that as a big deal one way or the other

2. Several US players have rumors of pending (like real soon) moves to clubs in Europe. Busio is apparently headed to Serie A any day now. So do you play him today? The risk of course being an injury causing the transfer to fall through. And of course the opposite can happen as well. They play really good and it ups the ante for a transfer. Busio, Cannon, Williamson, and potentially Sands are being closely looked at.

3. This will be the third match in 8 days. No doubt some guys will need a breather whether than means they start and get subbed off, are on the bench and get subbed in, or whether they just sit today totally? The good news is that we don't play again until next Sunday so rthe rest needed to recover from today isn't going to be an issue.

4. How fit are Cannon (he says hes 100%) and Arriola? If good to go they both might get the start today. I also expect to see Lleget back starting.

 

5 hours till game time!



#16 Hooded Viper

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Posted 18 July 2021 - 06:32 PM

Another unimpressive showing, albeit a win. Mexico will kill this team, assuming the US even makes it that far.

#17 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 18 July 2021 - 06:45 PM

Very disappointing match. Need to mull it over before I break it down by players. Maybe tomorrow....sigh.....



#18 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 19 July 2021 - 09:46 AM

Ok now that my blood pressure has lowered maybe I can dole out some thoughts on last night's semi-disaster. I say semi because no matter how you slice it they did come away with the W. Played poorly? Yup. Weird tactics? Yup. But they still won.

 

First some thoughts on the tactics:

1. I liked the idea of going with two strikers. Make it hard on the opponents back line to figure out how to deal with that. The problem is that both Zardes and Dike have the same base problem. Their first touches tend to be erratic.

2. I liked the 3-5-2 formation with 3 CBs. Get control of the ball, play through the midfield, get the ball wide to the wingers, and flood the box. How well did that do? Well we scored the fastest goal in USMNT history. BUT

3. Losing Zimmerman to injury completed changed the complexion of the game. Two things happened here. First, we lost our best passer out of the back. Second, it forced Sands to drop back into a CB role instead of a #6. What this meant is that now our two midfielders just had trouble getting the ball from the back line, and trouble finding the outlet pass when they did get the ball against Canada flooding the midfield with 5 players.

4. Biggest concern is that Berhalter didn't adapt his tactics/players once Zimmerman was lost. Totally lost midfield possession and that translated to no attack.

5. Biggest positive. The tactics and formation aside, the team showed a strong ability to maintain defensive shape and absorb a lot of pressure.

 

Overall, I hope Berhalter comes up with a different game plan for our next match. Sure hope Zimmerman is able to go. 

 

Player Ratings:

Turner - Stock up a good bit. Solid keeping and seemed more confident in controlling the back. No real mistakes. Good match for him.

Zimmerman - Stock up even in his short time on the field. Maybe our best CB not named Brooks. Certainly in the top 3 or 4. But clearly #1 in this group of players. Losing him totally changed the dynamics of the game. That in of itself tells you how important he is.

Sands - Stock up. Again one of the best US players. Played the 6 role and CB role quite well. He may well be our backup to the 6 now when Adams isn't available. This kid is good.

Robinson - Stock up. Played a solid game yesterday and did some really good 1v1 defending.

Vines - Stock up. Showed more defensively yesterday. While not in the game for defense at the outset once Zimmerman was out our wing play had to take a back seat to defense and he did fine.

Pines - Ouch. Stock down. Did some ok stuff but that back pass to no mans land can not happen at this level. Ever. Dodged a bullet there. Hopefully he learns from that but he had a poor match.

Busio - Stock down a little. Tough to be too harsh because much of his issues (same with Acosta) is that we lost midfield numbers and they continually had to try and find passes against bad numbers. Still he did ok. Biggest concern is his physical play. Seems to get out bodied too easily.

Acosta - Stock down. Was just about invisible far too much of the match. He needed to step up and take some control of the midfield and he didn't (and yes he still had numbers against him.{

Lleget - Stock neutral. Didn't support the defense as well as I would have liked but his first touch pass for the goal was superb. He took a half volley and got it flat on the carpet for an easy goal by Moore.

Moore - Stock neutral. Got his first international goal but just didn't seem to find his space out wide and get in the crosses which is why we had two strikers in the match to begin with.

Zardes - Stock neutral. Good work rate in pressing but just never got going offensively.

Dike - Stock down. Not happy with his performance. His touches were awful. Holdup play almost non existant. And he seemed to get muscled off the ball on several occasions. He is supposed to be the immovable force up top. Didn't show it.

Hoppe - Stock up. When he finally got in the game we started getting some possession back. His ability to go at defenders on the dribble was refreshing. He needs to start.

Cannon - Stock neutral. He was ok nothing bad or really good.

 

Berhalter - Stock down. Took too long to get subs in the game and change tactics. Pines like for like sub was almost a disaster. Should have put Cannon in when Zimmerman went off and switched to a four man back line. Needed to drop Lleget deeper into the midfield to play with Busio and Acosta. I am sure they will watch the film a lot. The question is will he learn from this?



#19 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 19 July 2021 - 11:56 AM

Well a bit of good news for the rest of Gold Cup. CONCACAF has invoked the medical replacements clause. For teams that are into the knockout rounds you can apply to replace players medically unable to continue in the tournament. Their medical committee has to review and approve any changes so we'll see how that shakes out.

 

But if Zimmerman, Dike, and/or Arriola aren't medically able to continue then we at least have the option to try and replace them.



#20 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 20 July 2021 - 05:04 PM

Jamaica vs Costa Rica coming up. Important match for the US. We play the loser of this game in the quarterfinal match next Sunday. I typically tend to like to stay away from Jamaica. They always seem to have fast athletic players that cause us problems.






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