In two dreary games, the USMNT went from being expected to advance out of its World Cup group to a genuine doubt. What’s wrong? And how will the team’s most important players respond?
Grant, Grant, Grant.
Behind the Music was on VH1, not MTV.
Hopefully access to players goes up in November. It’s important for the growth of the game.
But what’s most important for growth of the game in the US is success on the field.
I wonder to what extent the team was in first gear in these two friendlies. If you’re virtually guaranteed a roster spot, why would you go all out in these matches a risk an injury that could result in you missing the trip to Qatar?
Is a “knock” common soccer/football injury language? You referenced it in this piece, and they used that same language during the Japan match. Is that a knock to the head? Hadn’t heard that word in that context before.
It is likely a good thing that there are no more friendlies for the US. 1. They are demoralizing and 2. We would lose more players to injury.
Fingers crossed we wake up in November with a relatively healthy squad, Gregg gets out of his own way and we find some bite in our play. This window really puts a dark cloud over the WC.
Wow. What just happened? Everyone feels it and it’s not just the quality of play. Like Grant and many others wrote, the word “grim” describes the situation. Let’s also throw in “ennui” and “funk”. For all of our sake, I hope the vibes turn around! I dunno. Maybe get some Beach Boys playing in the locker room? Ayahuasca retreat? I still love these guys though.
It seems like Gregg just refuses to acknowledge that the players he picks aren’t a good fit for a system that wants to control the ball. Most of these guys would be better in a Red Bull type system, but maybe that would be too big a blow to the ego to switch to at this point. And probably too late to adequately prepare for the WC.
Great analysis, Grant. And as someone writing a book on soccer in the USA, I concur that those in the sport could be much more open and accessible.
Great insight as always, but i think you're too kind about your anticipated exclusion of Pefok. Instead of not be surprised about his omission, it should be, "shockingly, Greg will likely omit Pefok. There's no clear or logical explanation for it, but that's Greg."
The U.S. has been pretty bad all year. Let's not get too excited about home wins against Honduras and Panama and a wasted chance to win in Mexico.
Players, coaching, whatever, none of this should be a surprise.
On the other hand, even in the good old days consistency was a problem (02 World Cup and 09 Confed Cup prime examples).
Great read Grant, thanks as always for your insight. I'm (as always) hopeful the US team shows well on the international stage.