The US males’s national team beat a hodgepodge Jamaican side 4-1 on Thursday afternoon in Austria. They outshot the Reggae Boyz 28-9 and out-possessed them 69% to 31%. It wasn’t exactly a “there’s just one team on the field” performance in the best way that current wins over Trinidad & Tobago, El Salvador and Panama had been, however there was a transparent protagonist, and that was the US.
Proudly owning that position and making it one thing the team’s comfy with has been head coach Gregg Berhalter’s mandate since he took the job a bit over two years in the past. I feel it is honest to say that there is been some noteworthy progress, however that extra is required.
A couple of takeaways:
The Full Gio Reyna Expertise
Reyna most likely has the very best upside of any player within the pool, save perhaps for Christian Pulisic (Sergino Dest can be in that dialog as well, however attackers are just extra helpful than defenders). He’s, at 18-year-old a regular for one of many best teams in Germany, and he has moments of skill which can be inimitable from throughout the pool.
That is excellent:
Reggie Cannon’s overlap is late, so Reyna freezes the defense then cuts inside and attracts the eye of virtually your complete Jamaican backline. This was a “superb, I am going to do it myself” moment out of the Clint Dempsey playbook. He was quick, decisive, ruthless and inventive in that moment, and credit score to Liam Moore for making a great learn to get a block on Josh Sargent’s shot.
You possibly can’t educate what Reyna did proper there. Gamers together with his mixture of particular person approach and athleticism are uncommon, and it is price dwelling with the errors he makes by way of his studying of the sport and potential to make his teammates higher. However man, are moments like this irritating to observe:
This time — which was earlier within the sport — Cannon’s underlap was completely timed and Reyna merely has to play him by means of. The entire point of positional play as Berhalter’s system makes use of it’s 1) to manage the sport, and 2) to place players in positions the place their strengths amplify the qualities of their teammates. For the wingers, that usually means making the correct alternative in that actual spot in order to get the ball into the optimum assist zone on the foot of an overlapping (or underlapping) fulllback for a pull-back throughout the face of the goal.
This was it. This was precisely how the system is meant to work, and Reyna left Reggie on learn. It was not the one time he did that (we’ll get to the opposite one later on), and it’s much like what we have seen from him on the youth level, in his earlier full US look and throughout this season for Dortmund. He had a chance to make the correct play, however as an alternative he tried to make the hero play.
It is thrilling as a result of he has the power to make the hero play. There is a reason he is thought-about one thing like a $50 million asset. It is irritating as a result of the frequency with which he makes the proper play is low.
We have seen it on the membership level, too. Reyna had 2g/4a in his first 5 video games for his membership team this season. Over the next 29 he is managed just 2g/2a and has fairly clearly dropped down the pecking order.
I do not thoughts this, by the best way:
First off, that was the precise proper run he wanted to make in order to search out the primary chance. His contact received away from him just a little bit, however that may occur to actually anyone. If Reyna’s constantly entering into that place — a massive “if” given his off-ball motion nonetheless wants work — he’ll score goals.
Secondly, I completely do not thoughts the decision to shoot together with his weaker left foot moderately than slip a cross to Brenden Aaronson on the top of the field. Being egocentric when making an attempt to dribble 4 guys on the top of the field is one factor; being egocentric when in capturing place with the ball on your foot and you are within the midst of a months-long stoop? Zero problem with him having one other crack at it there.
Anyway, at some point it is going to click on for Reyna. He’ll bring all his talent to bear and be each a floor-raiser and a ceiling-raiser and fairly probably crucial cog on this machine Berhalter is making an attempt to construct.
However as proficient as he’s, it wasn’t at this time.
Kellyn Acosta, D-Mid
Defensive midfield is the thinnest place within the pool by most measures, and Tyler Adams having to withdraw from camp may’ve opened a spot for Acosta to work his approach into the image. Acosta has bounced between fullback and extra of a No. 8 position all through his career for each membership and country, however at this time he appeared like a real No. 6 by way of placing out fires, winning the ball and organizing the attack. And he is received an actual talent for ball-progression:
Sure, that is one other missed underlap from Reyna.
Anyway, Acosta had a powerful all-around day at an iffy spot on the depth chart. I am unsure if that places him into the combo as a defensive midfield in Berhalter’s system on an extended timeline — he performs as an 8 for the Rapids and his low utilization numbers would fear me if the US had been decided to play by means of him — however he is made a stable case as a “break in case of emergency” defensive midfield substitute, and his potential to play a number of positions makes him a worthwhile gameday 18 sort of player.
A couple of bullet points to consider:
- Set pieces had been a problem for the US. Jamaica’s solely goal got here from a counterattack off a US corner, and then the final 10 minutes had been rife with US sloppiness defending restarts. I do not assume it is a persistent factor, however I will be maintaining a watch on it for Sunday on this camp’s second friendly against Northern Eire.
- There’s, fairly clearly, an excellent case for Dest at LB. There’s much less of a case to move him to LB in order to get Cannon onto the field, as Cannon struggled. After all, so did Antonee Robinson, who’d nominally be the beginning LB if Dest is moved to RB.
- Christian Pulisic was poor in his 45 minutes of motion, his first for the US since October 2019. I am going to decide on to not learn an excessive amount of into it for now.
- Brenden Aaronson, in the meantime, was a game-changer after he got here in for Pulisic on the wing (informed ya that is his spot). He consistently discovered house, pressured the Jamaican backline on and off the ball, created possibilities and even finished one. I do not assume we’ll be seeing a ton of Aaronson within the Free 8 roles going forward; I genuinely assume he is a winger.
- I am glad Josh Sargent received a stunning assist on Aaronson’s goal — that exact play, which I do not assume every other forward within the US pool makes, is exactly why I’ve Sargent atop my own, private center forward depth chart. However past that play, his hold-up work was glorious, his urgent was superb and his motion in and across the field was encouraging. He deserved a goal.
- Luca De La Torre was a nice shock. He is received a deceptiveness and a change-of-pace to his sport that opened up house for each himself and his teammates, and he confirmed a capability to finish passes on the run. I am unsure he played himself immediately into the primary team, however he is Olympic-eligible. It’s totally simple to think about him in a type of Free 8 roles this summer season, ought to the US make it to Tokyo.
- Calling Sebastian Lletget “Mr. Dependable” for the US is each a deserved complement and a disservice to his all-around potential. It’ll take loads to get him out of the XI for any big sport.
- If somebody has a petition for Valencia to move Yunus Musah from the wing to central midfield, tweet it at me. I’ll sign it.