TAKE NOTICE: I’M BACK AND BETTER THAN EVER!!!!! IF YOU THOUGHT I WAS DONE….
My chemically induced coma (aka our existence under Dave Sarachan) is over and I’m back with a vengeance, much like the USMNT under new manager Gregg Berhalter (“3G”).
Finally our recurring nightmare is over and we have a coach, an identity, and a direction to lead us through 2019, the Gold Cup (CUCKACAF Cup), and eventually into World Cup qualifying. Just as the Columbus Crew were saved, so too shall the USMNT by the archangel that is 3G. He was the coach we all expected, and he is probably the coach we deserve. Many feel that a man with such a silky smooth dome and a penchant for black sweaters can do no wrong, but is he the coach we need? Can he lead this group of new and upcoming talent, blend it with some of the old, and create the squad that we all know the USMNT can be? We certainly hope so because now we all must pray at the altar of Berhalter.
NOVEMBER FRIENDLIES :
The end of 2018 was essentially the embodiment of being so wasted at last call that you leave the bar crying, hit on the cab driver, but get ripped out of the cab and given an ass whooping by said cab driver. We ended Sarachan’s tenure with two matches that basically rolled the past year we had to suffer through all into one a really $h^tty November. First England gave us a strong English Breakfast tea-bagging as they stomped us 3-0 at Wembley. It was one of the saddest performances in recent memory.
Then we took on Italy and the only positive that came out of that was Ethan Horvath putting in a heroic effort in goal to keep it 0-0 heading into stoppage time, but only to have our already beaten down American hearts completely at the death as we lost 1-0. After waking up from drinking until we couldn’t feel feelings anymore, we finally were pulled to safety out of the riptide of shame we were stuck in by bald beauty from Columbus Ohio. 3G has come to the rescue and instituted something this team has desperately needed since day 1…
With 3G at the helm, the USMNT began its progress forward with its January “Camp Cupcake.” January camps are not international dates, so it is only for the MLS-based members and potential members of the USMNT to come in and fight for a spot, as well as get a head start on their training fro the upcoming MLS season. Typically these camps are uneventful, but this year’s camp meant far more than usual. It was our first look at some USMNT-potential players at the international level, but more importantly, our first look at what 3G’s plans for the team are.
3G showed that he intends for his squad to be a cohesive unit, one where you are held accountable for your role, and that to be in the Starting XI you are going to have to COMPETE!
The two January Camp friendlies were against CONCACAF rivals Panama and Costa Rica. All sides brought in were probably “C” teams for each squad. 3G brought the USMNT out with a hungry and aggressive style of play; similar to what he utilized in Columbus. It was possession-focused soccer, with Berhalter having players move freely in Midfield to create a positional advantage. This was done by moving wingers forward, tucking them inside, and keeping the shape of Berhalter’s generally fluid 4-2-2-2 which allows for the flexibility of using Nick Lima as a false fullback and pressing on defense.
Speaking of Nick Lima, likely the person making the most of January Camp for their USMNT stock, if you haven’t seen his tackle and long cross which assisted Walker Zimmerman‘s goal against Panama, here is actual footage of how ridiculous it was:
The win against Panama was a complete win in every facet of the game. There was never a time where the US played out of control or allowed any real chances to be made by Panama. There was only one time where Zack Steffen was called on to make a solid save (which he obviously did), but that came from a badly deflected ball. The match against Costa Rica was far different. While we had decent movement and possession, a solid shape, and strong defense, our legs looked heavy and the passing was a bit sloppy. Hence why it took us until the 80th and 88th minute to score the two goals. Perhaps the other reason it took that long for the goals to come was that Jonathan Lewis was not brought on until late in the second half of both matches.
That’s right folks, I SAID JONATHAN FUC#!NG LEWIS! HE IS ALIVE, WE FOUND HIM, AND HE’S DOING BIG THINGS! He basically eclipsed his total 2018 MLS minutes for New York City FC in his two appearances for the USMNT. He made the most of his time with great runs on the left wing, excellent passing, snapping necks and cashing checks as he came up big with 2 assists on two solid crosses. One low cross to find Christian Ramirez, and the second was a looping cross to find Sebastian Lletget at the back post. Lewis could be setting himself up for a super-sub role with the USMNT and maybe he’ll see well-deserved minutes for NYCFC.
My biggest winners of the January camp were Nick Lima, Paul Arriola, Sebastian Lletget, and Jonathan Lewis.
Now that January Camp is over, we look ahead to the friendlies against Ecuador and Chile in March. 3G will have a full USMNT roster to choose from, and we will really get a feel for what this team is going to look like moving forward. With all of the European-based players and the MLS players available for call-ups, these will be key matches for 3G to really begin molding this team into the complete unit it should be, for competition for starting positions to begin, and for the unleashing of the USMNT’s attacking capabilities.
It gives me at least a 3/4 THROBBER to think about putting a lineup together which combines the players from January’s camp with the likes of Christian Pulisic, Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, Timothy Weah, Josh Sargent, John Brooks, Matt Miazga, DeAndre Yedlin, Antonee Robinson, Bobby Wood, Romain Gall, Kenny Saief, Shaq Moore, Luca de la Torre, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Keaton Parks, Jonathan Amon, and many other great options. The USMNT are starting to see what a wealth of talent they have, and what a great problem it is. It will be very interesting to see who are chosen are and who will ultimately fill out the Starting XI. Berhalter will likely be looking for the players to fit the system rather than the other way around. Either way, this will be a USMNT that embodies the HUNGER AND TENACITY THAT COMES FROM AGONIZING DEFEAT! WE NEVER WAN’T TO TASTE SUCH DEFEAT EVER AGAIN!!!!!!
From the above list, it should be noted that some of these players are in top form. Tyler Adams has already made an impact following his move to RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga. He has been nothing short of fantastic in the midfield and has turned that team into a real threat. Weston McKennie has really grown into a leadership role with Schalke 04 as injuries have depleted that team and Weston has played nearly every position on the field this campaign. He has provided assists, scored goals, defended strongly, and controlled the midfield. Timothy Weah has been an incredible super-sub for Celtic F.C. in the Scottish Premiership where he scored a goal in each of his first two matches. His pace, vision, and desire to score are all undeniable. Josh Sargent is also in a similar super-sub role with Werder Bremen and has been solid upfront by bagging 2 goals. John Brooks = lock down defense and amazing passing, Cameron Carter-Vickers has been coming up big in the back line for Swansea, and Matt Miazga chose to take his top defensive talents to Reading F.C. without telling anyone at FC Nantes because HE’S AMAZING AND DOES WHATEVER THE F#@K HE WANTS!!! HE LEFT FRANCE LIKE A TRUE AMERICAN:
THE 2019 MLS SEASON:
On March 2nd, the 2019 MLS season will begin and there is plenty to look forward to this year. First, and foremost, NYCFC will have 3 potential USMNT players on the squad! Sean Johnson in goal, Jonathan Lewis will presumably be in the stadium, and KEATON PARKS BETTER BE ON THE PITCH SOMEWHERE!!!! The man from Houston who went and did his thing at Benfica is back in the States and is here to show MLS and the world what he can do, and believe me it is a lot. Parks has said he means business and he is here to win some silverware with NYCFC:
Other US players who weren’t in January Camp to keep an eye on in MLS – Chris Mueller (Orlando), Andrew Carleton (ATL), Chris Goslin (ATL), Chris Durkin (DC), Jesse Gonzalez (FC Dallas), Efrain Alvarez (LA Galaxy – see if he continues to choose Mexico over US), Tim Parker (NYRB), Jorge Villafana (Portland), Jordan Morris (Seattle), Kelyn Rowe (Kansas City), and Ayo Akinola (Toronto).
Look for these players to make a statement this year, or for the upcoming youngsters to fight for playing time and make names for themselves. It promises to be another hard hitting and exciting year for MLS. NO PUSSY FOOTING FUTBOL HERE ON AMERICAN SOIL!!!
We don’t care that you’re a drunk as S#^t, you better show up to play and give Old Glory all you got!
So lets all raise a glass to a new year, a new coach, a new USMNT, and MORE CHANCES TO BRING THE FU!#ING NOISE FOR THE BOYS!!!!!
Please comment below, and if you would like to have your name officially added to the real Declaration of Independence, ABOVE JOHN HANCUCK, then follow me on Twitter @POTP_Silence
Your humble servant,
Mr. Silence Dogood