Tag Archives: Berhalter

USMNT Expectations vs. El Salvador



Hey, soccer fans, we’ve got USMNT soccer! And we’ve got a young, MLS based roster for Gregg Berhalter and the red, white, and blue. 21 of 23 roster spots are filled by MLS-based players. The USMNT will also showcase young talent. Most of the roster has only a handful of caps, if any at all. Given those factors, the quickly scheduled game, and Covid, what should we expect? I want to see three things from this game:

1. Play the System

We know GGG implemented a very particular system when he took over as manager of the USMNT. He used it to perform better than his talent with the Columbus Crew, and he’s used it to some success at the international level. If the players on the roster want a future with the USMNT, they’ll need to demonstrate their understanding of GGG’s tactics.

What does this mean? On offense, the defenders will need to play with composure out of the back, the midfielders will need to control possession – and find those long, diagonal passes when able – and the strikers will need to link up to break down the El Salvador back line. Defensively: keep shape, disrupt passing lanes, and don’t give up set-piece goals..

2. Build Depth

This roster is not even close to the USMNT best eleven. The only player on it with a chance to start in World Cup Qualifying is Walker Zimmerman. This game is about building depth. I’ll be watching for Paul Arriola and Aaron Long to prove they belong or play themselves off of GGG’s roster.

The most open spot for a young player is striker. Altidore is no longer a viable starter (injury, attitude), so Zardes is the next best option (form, experience, system knowledge). Sargent still has some growing, so the spot is open for emerging MLS stars Ayo Akinola and Daryl Dike. Akinola’s finishing ability and Dike’s size and hold-up play stand out. The USMNT needs a pure striker, and these two could fill that role.

3. Win.

The USMNT needs to re-establish a winning culture, and to do that, they need to win. Despite this roster looking like the USMNT’s “C” team, they still have the talent to beat an El Salvador team ranked 70th by FIFA – the 6th best team in Concacaf as of the November rankings. They also need to consistently beat Concacaf opponents. There should be no doubt the USMNT will walk off the field with a victory when facing other confederation teams. Back-to-back wins vs. Panama and El Salvador would go a long way to re-establishing the USMNT as the premier Concacaf nation, especially with this roster.

Get excited, USMNT fans! We’ve got international soccer and a Concacaf opponent. As you watch, look out for which players fit the system, who can fill senior roster depth, and cheer for the win.

Nick
The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast

And be sure to tune in to The Sons of a Pitch YouTube channel for our USMNT vs. El Salvador watch-along, featuring live commentary and love chat. Coverage of USMNT vs. El Salvador begins at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN News, UniMás and TUDN.


USMNT in Review



Hey, soccer fans! The USMNT is back and The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast has you covered! We summarize, analyze, and hypothesize the USMNT friendlies against Wales and Panama. Tune in for all our takes, and more!

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MLS Headlines, Roundup, and USMNT Chatter



Hey, soccer fans! Welcome back to The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast. Tonight, we cover all the happenings from an action-packed week of Major League Soccer (MLS).

In the Eastern Conference, Toronto FC has risen to the top and is Supporter Shield favorites. DC United tries to rebound after firing Ben Olsen as manager – but may try to keep him as part of the organization, and Caden Clark makes a memorable MLS debut for Red Bulls New York. In the Western Conference, Sporting KC keeps winning without an offense, and Portland just keeps winning. Period.

In the second half, we discuss the record number of Americans playing in UEFA’s Champions League, and discuss whether we’re on the cusp of an American Golden Generation. If we are, WHY ISN’T USSF DOING ANYTHING ABOUT IT!? No international friendlies, no training camps, no updates on what Berhalter is thinking…are we the only ones furious?

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Americans Abroad, Re-Opening MLS



Hey, soccer fans! With Bundesliga play resuming this weekend, we’re talking Americans abroad and those players who are overseas that could make an impact on the USMNT. In the 2nd half, Nick and Mike talk about Major League Soccer’s plans to re-open after the Covid-19 hiatus, and what it means for teams and the league. Stay tuned for all this and more with The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast.

Quick USMNT Takes

-Mike thinks the USMNT will rely on Pulisic, Adams, and McKennie for the foreseeable future

-Nick thinks it’s time to move on from Tyler Boyd as a potential US striker

-The hosts talks depth at defense and midfield: Who else but Cannon and Dest start at outside back?

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Disaster in Canada, Playing with Fire, and MLS Playoffs Preview



Welcome back, soccer fans! In this episode of the Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast, our hosts give their immediate reactions to the United States Men’s National Team’s disastrous 2-0 loss to the Canadian Men’s National Team. With this result, Canada sits atop their Concacaf Nations League Group, and USA fans across the 50 states continue to question everything that US Soccer and Gregg Berhalter have done over the last two years.

In Major League Soccer Headlines, the Chicago Fire announce that they will part ways with Nemanja Nikolic, their former Golden Boot winner. If Nico Gaitan’s option isn’t picked up, the Fire will have 3 DP slots for new owner Joe Mansueto to fill. It could be a banner off-season for the Fire, especially as they move to Soldier Field for the 2020 season. In the NWSL, the Chicago Red Stars get set to host the Portland Thorns for the semi-finals. Led by Golden Boot winner Sam Kerr, Chicago looks to advance to the NWSL finals for the first time in team history.

In the Second Half of the show, our hosts revisit their pre-season playoff predictions (for better or worse), and give their complete breakdown for the 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs. Be sure to join their bracket challenge for a chance to win SOP swag from Redbubble and a $25 Amazon gift card, if there are enough entrants.

Thanks for listening, and be sure to join the conversation:


USMNT Embarrassment and Mediocrity, Nations League, and MLS League Roundup



Hello soccer fans, and welcome back! It’s great to have you as we recap the United States Men’s National Team’s embarrassing performance vs. Mexico and their mediocre outing vs. Uruguay. In the heat of the moment, most USMNT fans were through with the Berhalter experiment and his heavy use of MLS players. However after a 48hr cooling off period, Nick has talked himself off the ledge. Clearly, the USMNT was attempting to develop their new style, and unfortunately Mexico was the perfect team to destroy those attempts. In their next match-up vs. Uruguay, the USMNT controlled more of the game, but still could only muster a single goal. Has progress been made? When will games actually matter to Berhalter and the US Soccer Federation? Tune in to find out.

Next, the hosts give a brief update on what is the CONCACAF Nations League, how it impacts the development of soccer in North and Central America and the Caribbean, and what it means for World Cup Qualifying. We all love meaningful games, but could the new FIFA rankings based system end up hurting countries like the United States and Canada?

Finally, Nick and Mike recap the handful of Major League Soccer (MLS) games that took place this week. NYCFC is the new Eastern Conference leader, and could break their spell of early playoff exits. Meanwhile, Colorado surprises short-handed Seattle, and Portland defeats Sporting KC, despite not getting their share of referee’s whistles. Toronto FC and Orlando City pick up points to help their playoff push, but how will they fare as the season winds down?

All this and more from The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast! Be sure to join the conversation by subscribing to the podcast and joining in on social media.


September Call-ups, Expansion Update, and League Roundup



Welcome back to another episode of The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast. Tonight, we’re covering both the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) as they prepare for September friendlies and all the latest news from around Major League Soccer (MLS).

Gregg Berhalter and US Soccer released their roster for the USMNT friendlies vs. Mexico (9/6) and Uruguay (9/10), and there certainly were some surprises. No Toronto FC players made the squad, much to the ire of Michael Bradley (though Berhalter says it was to help TFC make the MLS playoffs). Fans of American youth will be happy to see Sergino Dest and Josh Sargent on the roster. And listeners of the podcast will be disappointed that Daniel Lovitz has again taken a roster spot than should be used to develop some young talent. The Montreal Impact defender has mostly ridden the bench, but Berhalter continues to include him on the roster. Meanwhile, we are excited at the possible pairing of Christian Pulisic and Josh Sargent, and the duo could provide the offense that the US roster has lacked.

Next, Nick and Mike provide an update on expansion teams Inter Miami (who are they linked to now!?), St. Louis MLS (not the USL club, this is different, it’s not a promotion), and Nashville SC (now with new DP signing Hany Mukhtar!). Finally, they round up all the action from this week’s slate of MLS games, including those with major playoff implications: Philly beats Atlanta, Loons over LAFC, and Seattle defeat the Galaxy.

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USA! USA! USA! – National Team Recaps, US Open Cup Features, and MLS Roundup



Hello soccer fans! Welcome back to The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast. And our show starts with American soccer at it’s highest levels. The USYNT was knocked out of the U-20 World Cup in Poland after a tough game vs. South American champion Ecuador. While they didn’t advance further, Tab Ramos’ team once again proved the United States is developing talent on an international level. The USMNT also had a disappointing week, with losses to Jamaica and Venezuela in international friendlies. These Gold Cup tune-up games are certainly disappointments, but Berhalter wasn’t playing his “A” team, and his tactics needs time to implement. That being said, Nick and Mike have picked against the US in the tournament, choosing Costa Rica and Mexico, respectively.

The bright spot for US Soccer has always been the USWNT, and they did not disappoint in their Women’s World Cup opener vs. Thailand. A thorough 13-0 drubbing of the Asian squad set a record for largest margin of victory and most goals in a WWC game. Alex Morgan also tied the WWC single game scoring record by netting 5 goals in a superb performance. This team has reminded the world that they are the favorites.

Meanwhile at home, the US Open Cup saw Major League Soccer teams enter the tournament. The Chicago Fire embarrassed themselves against St. Louis FC, losing the game 2-1 and losing their cool. Other MLS sides fared much better with Columbus, New England, LAFC, and Houston advancing. Chattanooga and Atlanta were postponed due to bad field conditions, and San Jose vs. Sacramento is ongoing as of time of posting.

Finally in MLS action, we saw the Union assert their dominance over the Eastern Conference with a thrilling come-back win over RBNY. The other games went as expected and all the results are up at www.mlssoccer.com. Thanks for listening, and be sure to comment below and follow us @SOPSoccer.

 


Gold Cup Preview, MLS Week 7 Roundup, and the Legal Case vs. Kaku



Hello once again, soccer fans! Thanks for returning to the Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast. In this episode, the hosts explore the draw for the Gold Cup, recap all the Week 7 MLS action, and even make a case for a fan’s possible lawsuit vs. RBNY and Kaku.

As for the Gold Cup, the four groups are drawn, and the United States Men’s National Team will face Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, and Panama. If you like story lines, this is the group for you! As you know T&T knocked the USMNT out of World Cup qualifying in 2018, and the USMNT has already faced Panama in a January friendly. How will these teams come out during the Gold Cup tournament? The US needs to be prepared for anything.

In Week 7 of Major League Soccer, we saw some movement in the Eastern Conference while the top teams in the Western Conference continued their domination. Here’s how things stack up at the top of the table:

Eastern Conference

  1. DC United – Regaining its form, DC is once again top of the conference. Can anyone knock it down?
  2. Columbus Crew – Despite the loss, the Crew remain a contender. Their margin for error is very slim, but so far have been able to overcome it.
  3. Montreal Impact – Montreal in 3rd place!? Enjoy it while it lasts, as this team has the tendency to yo-yo up and down the standings.
  4. Toronto FC – Even after their loss to Seattle, TFC have the best points per game in the conference, suggesting last year was a fluke. Watch out for the men in red.

Western Conference

  1. LAFC – Best team, best player, best coach. LAFC have a goal differential of +16 over 7 games, and they still are improving.
  2. Seattle Sounders – Finally, a strong start. Can they sustain it throughout the entire season? They way Jordan Morris is playing, Seattle just might.
  3. LA Galaxy – Zlatan keeps scoring, the Galaxy keep winning. Just imagine how good they could be when their role players start thriving.
  4. Houston Dynamo – As Nick put it, Houston is “The other contender in the West.” They haven’t lost, have a talented attack, and have a coach who has been around the league. Houston could surprise come playoff time.

 

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USMNT Friendlies vs. Ecuador and Chile and MLS Week 4 Roundup



Hello again, soccer fans! We hope you enjoyed the USMNT action to offset the short MLS schedule this weekend. We at the Sons of a Pitch certainly enjoyed seeing all the names and faces of the future of US Soccer this week.

In their 3rd game under coach Gregg Berhalter, the United States Men’s National Team played a controlling game against Ecuador, but only had a 1-0 victory to show for it. In the next game against Chile, the USMNT had a difficult time beating the high press and were on the back-foot most of the game. Despite that, they held on for a 1-1 draw. Our biggest takeaways are the continued implementation of Coach GGG’s system and the integration of the European based players, and the building of a winning culture. We really say was Adams, McKennie, and Pulisic can do together, but we also saw the flaws in letting wing-backs push too far up the field.

Rising Stock: Zardes-1 goal, 1 assist in last 2 games; Trapp-the smartest guy on the field;

Falling Stock: Baird-who was non-existent; Lovitz-who looked lost; Ream-who still makes that one, dumb play every game

Meanwhile in a less than full slate of Major League Soccer games, the headlines could read:

  • FC Dallas keeps taking points
  • Orlando City finally get a win
  • LAFC get another stoppage time victory – this time courtesy of some Walker Zimmerman brilliance
  • FC Cincinnati win again, turning critics into bandwagon fans
  • At least one New England is terrible: the Revolution are in complete disarray

Thanks for listening, and be sure to join the conversation in the comments below or on twitter @SOPSoccer.