On this web page, I would like to share my thoughts on our U.S. team. (Press on the additional colored words which are links.) The match was between a 1st place team vs the 2nd place USA, in Cincinnati. It was scoreless at the break. It was a crucial World Cup qualifier. Read about that past game in this PDF.
The world will come to us in 2026 when the World Cup will be played in the American hemisphere.Team USA has dared to venture in 2022, however, they are no push overs, and have impressed the world with their skills. The U.S. team has shown fluidity of passing and a spark to get the ball wide to Weah, McKinney or Pulisic, forwards with awesome speed. But it is not just speed. Of what has been demonstrated, many of our players also show an instinct of what to do next. One must remember they have come a long way since early-Sept., when four key players were nursing injuries, Weah, Robinson, Steffen, and Musah who got injured in far-away Spain just two months ago; actually almost three months ago.
Out of the ashes of the last World Cup, a new chapter is being written and thus far, as I had written in Oct., they have found a way to exorcise their weakness, our Defensive tactics.
World Cup play for the USA started at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan on Monday Nov. 21 vs Wales. The first round was composed of the nations England, Iran, and Wales. That stadium is sometimes just called the Al Rayyan, home to a multi-sports club. It lies at the edge of a desert, 20 kilometers w. of central Doha. It is sad that a lot of labor workers who built the new stadiums died of cardiac arrest and heat; Britain's Guardian periodical reported at least 6,500 migrant workers died since the World Cup was awarded. In 2020, worker's rights were alleviated a bit with the new law that there was now a monthly min. wage. The reigning World Cup champion is France who was able to move out of the first round stage.
The U.S. Team
Here is the final roster of America's talented team: Forwards: Jesus Ferreira, 21 yrs of age, ht: 5'8, hometown McKinney, TX; Jordan Morris, 28, 6 ft, hometown: Mercer Is, WA; Christian Pulisic, 24, 5'8 hometown: Hershey, PA; Gio Reyna, 19, 6'1, hometown: Bedford, NY; Josh Sargent, 22, 5'10, hometown: O'Fallon, MD; Tim Weah, 22, 6 ft, hometown: Rosedale, NY; Haji Wright, 24, 6'4, hometown: Los Angeles, CA.
Midfield: Brenden Aaronson, 22, 5'10, hometown: Medford, NJ; Kellyn Acosta, 27, 5'9, hometown: Plano, TX; Tyler Adams, 23, 5'8, hometown: Wappingers Falls, NY; Luca de la Torre, 27, 5'8, hometown: San Diego, CA; Weston McKennie, 24, 6 ft, hometown: Little Elm, TX; Yunus Musah, 19, 5'10, hometown: London, England; Cristian Roldan, 27, 5'8, hometown: Pico Rivera, CA. Oh, the U.S. has new uniforms. It is my understanding the U.S. men's team will wear white vs Wales and their blue jerseys against England and Iran. (above).
Defenders: Cameron Carter-Vickers, 24, 6'1, hometown: Southend-On-Sea, England; Sergino Dest, 22, 5'8, hometown: Almere-Stad, Holland: Aaron Long, 30, 6"1, hometown: Oak Hills, CA; Shay Moore, 26, 5'11, hometown: Powder Springs, GA: Tim Ream, 35, 6 ft, hometown: St Louis, MO; Antonee Robinson, 25, 6 ft, hometown: Liverpool, England; Joe Scally, 19, 6 ft, hometown: Lake Grove, NY; De Andre Yedlen, 29, 5'8, hometown: Seattle, WA; Walter Zimmermann, 29, 6'2, hometown: Lawrenceville, GA. Three goalkeepers: Sean Johnson, 33, 6'3, hometown: Lilburn, GA; Ethan Horvath, 27, 6'3, hometown: Highlands Ranch, CO; and Matt Turner, 28, 6'3, hometown: Park Ridge, NJ. (25 of the 26 will experience their first World Cup.)
There are 8 groups in the tournament, but I don't consider Iran that strong, as they were trashed by Mexico 2-0, Wed. Nov. 9, 2022. The U.S. is young but no push overs. 14 U.S. players of the above play in the world's top five pro-leagues: England, Germany, Spain, Italy, and France. So they better not freak out. Of the 26 young men, 14 guys had even played in at least one FIFA Youth World Cup.
This became the first official World Cup that allowed 5 substitutes, female refs, and new technology that measured calling offside faster (theoretically 12 fancy new high-tech cameras per stadium.) The new 5-sub rule will either add zing to the waning end of any game or, bring to a game the "beating you up" tactics that may tarnish the sport. What am I talking about? When one team possesses one or two "key" stars, the opponent can resort to the concept of "rotational beat-up" ie. have a guy who can be substituted and go after the opponent's best player, without getting a red card. If issued a yellow, using the rotational system, substitute him with another dude who also goes after the opponent's best, which may resort in another warning/yellow, but the harrassment may continue. That is what Argentina did to Brazil in the last Copa America. And, Argentina won. But, there is a danger it may backfire. Once anybody gets a red card, there is no sub; the team plays with only 10 men.
The U.S. played mighty England the day after Thanksgiving, 11 am Pacific Time. America had to advance and the only way was to be one of the two best in their round; neither playing loco air ball passes nor be caught asleep. The American attackers had to utilize more killer instincts than their foes, with an ability not to miss when they had a chance to put the ball in the net.
The ratio of advancement is a product of keen instincts of midfielders to forward line communication. Figure among themselves the best way to get the ball to your most talented attackers, and keep your triangles. The last World Cup was seen by four billion people.
2021-2022 goal scoring, part of the great mix. September ended with games against Japan (Sep 23) and Saudia Arabia (Sep 27). Both were lousy. The game against Japan was ugly, and had zero shots on goal. No matter what they did in their starting 2-3-2-3 or 3-2-2-2-2 switch of the 2nd half, their passing reminds one of a bunch of rookies. The two goals from Japan were thus: they attack against our right side. The attacker moved in and most of the Americans seemed to head toward that attacker, and all he does was pass it, and it happened more than once, to his fellow forward who was unmarked and all alone to do his dastardly deed. All the while the American defense didn't mark everyone, just seemed to hang around the box. Anyone with strategy, just has to practice to get to the box and, then, pass it—using speed on the run. If the U.S. does not do better marking and correct that, that is how you get past the U.S. defense in 2022. It is ironic but before the game, everybody was talking about our weak defense being to our left side, not the right. Yet, in the game vs Japan, they hardly attacked via our weakest side.
In Japan’s 2nd goal, with 5 mins in regulation time, #15 Kamada who scored the first goal, was substituted and sat down, for he had done his duty. Then, in the 87th min, their # 18 Mitoma singularly attacked—and, guess from which side? You guessed it, he ran down our right line, cut inward and just kept advancing, however, he did not pass to anyone. He just kept on running and running and took a hard but accurate shot.
And, Japan converted their second goal and that is how it ended. Had Turner, our goalkeeper, not done world class saves, they would have scored more. (Last June, Japan had a devil of a time playing Brazil in a rainy, wet game, as they were well marked. Brazil barely won 1-0, on a penalty kick. Incidentally, Japan played Germany on Nov. 23 and defeated them 2-1.)
The U.S. lineup had 2 key forwards missing in the loss to Japan, Pepi and Pulisic. Yedlin for the back line was supposed to bolster the defense but he too had not played vs Japan. Until Sept, America had 7 wins when Pulisic wore the captain's armband. Forwards Josh Sargent, Timothy Weah incidentally did not play, nor did "Jedi" Robinson and Musah. You have a few guys missing from the roster and your entire team stinks? How can that be possible? The first game vs. Japan, we were squashed 2-0. At least we were not squashed like a bug vs Saudia Arabia. So, you think the first-line trio of Pepi, Pulisic and Reyna would show some moves, better passing, flair and progress? It never materialized. Instead, we developed new problems.
Despite showing better intensity, too many times when they tried to counterattack, one of the American players would act like a retard, and literally gave the ball away. I swear you cannot mount any decent offense if you either kick or head the ball away to your opponent. Is it a product of not playing together? Baloney. For ex: when we were able to stop their offense,we gathered the ball to try to advance, left side, right side, center it did not matter, I saw it happen all over the place, then boom, a pendejo passes the ball to the opponent's feet, or heads it to them. Both the offense and the defense repeated the error of passing. You cannot shift blame on the coach. Moreover, too many times I saw that even when there was minimal pressure and no defender near an American, they just gave it away. Luckily, the stadium stands were pretty empty, or you would have heard the boo dept. Incidentally, the first 20 minutes Pepi never touched the ball—not till the 21st. Just before the 1st half ended, Pulisic was brought down at the edge of the penalty area, but for some strange rule, there was no instant replay in this game and the referee said there was no foul. SO NOBODY REVIEWED ANYTHING.
The first half ended 0-0. McKennie's speed was totally lacking; he came out at the 74 min. Pulisic was also replaced in the 2nd half. Yedlin, the only player with World Cup experience—back on June 10, 2015, he was on the team that surprised Germany and beat them—got injured. He better be ship-shape in Nov. But, the American squad tried some measure of fierce attack. The closest the U.S. came to scoring came in the first half, when midfielder Tyler Adams missed his low shot by inches.
At the 88th min, Arriola, from Mater Dei, did a left-footed shot from the R side of the box, but missed. Two minutes later, he brings down Arabia's Kanno, but luckily their free kick was crummy. There were 3 minutes of extra time, and an Arabian was taken down from behind by Adams. They were awarded a free kick but, was headed away by a tall Zimmerman. The U.S. seemed to next advance with some new momentum, until McKennie kicks the ball, into what else? the opponent, and gave the ball away. Dispossessed of the ball, the Saudia Arabia boys attacked, penetrated the U.S. defense and fired a shot from a pretty good distance. Thankfullly, it sailed over the crossbar. At the 91 min mark, 2nd half sub Brenden Aaronson near midfield thinks he is Pele or Messi when he is double teamed. So, they double team him, and Aaronson lost the ball.
What can I say? At least we did not loose the match, however, everything that the U.S. team had shown the previous 14 months or so was like evaporated, as if some mad scientist had used a secret mind-controlling machine, and that which the team knew, just was erased from their minds. However, there is something that does not bode well. As an American team, they weren't able to practice together between Sept. and early November. Many of them are quite young and never been to a real World Cup. Iran's team, an opponent, has 16 players who were with their coach in the 2018 World Cup. They were knocked out by Spain and Portugal 4 years ago. But, that coach has flown the coop since 2018, and in early November the Iraq team, guided by new Coach Carlos Quieroz was shut out by Mexico, 4-0. Wanna go for a ride in Doha? This has people on the Red Line, and video is shorter.
In the United States, Fall is mainly for U.S. football. But for the rest of the world especially in Europe, that is their soccer leagues prime time, meaning any player worth his salt and who is connected to any great European club was not released no matter what. No U.S. player that suits up in Europe can practice with any of his teammates that play in the MLS til Nov. 14 in Qatar. All European-based players were not able to join the U.S. coach and his staff, and those Americans who did play here in the U.S. (MLS) after Nov.12.
For the record, there is a 128-pg softcover book titled FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 The Official Guide, just $15.89 free shipping NEW. Just received it, and be warned, team profiles stinks. Past World Cup info and pics not bad, though.
The future is at hand, and if the U.S. guys are better than the past golden era of the early 2000s, they must bring something new and totally exciting and return to what America had seen a few months ago. The tournament in Qatar will be the second World Cup held in Asia since the 2002 tournament in South Korea and Japan when the United States did pretty good.
Christian Pulisic can be like Captain America, a leader and threat like in the movie but, this is not a Hollywood script. When the bells that chime the great World Cup ring, he and his teammates better shape up if they want to advance beyond the match with Netherlands. When the balls come down his path, he must turn to fire and it must fill his heart, and score like Landon Donovan. But he has to stay healthy. His defenders and midfielders must protect him just like as in the Avengers who rise up to give Captain America help. They must work in unison as never before and rise to the challenges.
Every team member can be a hero, but as a team, they better remember what they did when they engaged teams and won. This will be a time when everyone else will be out to get you. A team with depth and, as my father would say, with the best luck will succede to the final 16. Don't forget to give a little prayer. Illustrations courtesy of Yank Report, Sporting News and NY Post. The meaning of the logo Qatar 2022. Back to home page.
C o n g r a t u l a t i o n s
t o A r g e n t i n a
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t he W o r l d C u p!