Key takeaways from the US males’s national team January camp | Armchair Analyst

Right here is the usual caveat: It’s dangerous to learn an excessive amount of into any friendly outcome. It’s particularly dangerous to do so when it is the US males’s national team’s January camp friendly. There was an additional layer of “maintain on a second, let’s take a deep breath…” on this year’s model of the annual sport, Sunday evening’s 7-0 destruction of Trinidad & Tobago, given this specific T&T side was affected by semi-pros who hadn’t, because of the pandemic, stepped on the field since last March.

So do not dive in too far. 

On the identical time, do not select to learn nothing into it, both. I do suppose that probably the most we will study what occurred with the US over the past month got here from the roster cuts and XI decision (extra on every in a bit), however the sport itself can nonetheless converse.

This is what it said:

Patterns of play

The mark of an excellent team is the flexibility to create repeatable, high-level possibilities based mostly upon well-drilled and purposeful motion of the ball, and of the players off the ball. For the US over the past year, we have seen vital progress in that regard, whether or not it is from central midfield or by way of the fullbacks pushing up. Colorado left back Sam Vines has confirmed notably adept at getting up excessive and then selecting out runners with that left foot of his:

The primary clip in that sequence is from last winter’s friendly win over Costa Rica. The second is from the December win over El Salvador. The third was from Sunday evening. In every case this sample of play put a US attacker into the field at a dash, and twice it resulted in goals.

That is just from Vines, nevertheless it applies just as a lot when it is the correct back pushing up, or when it is both the defensive midfielder or one of many center backs stepping to the midfield stripe and having the ability to decide their head up. The entrance 5 — the US attack out of a 2-3-2-3 form lately — make complementary runs based mostly upon each the place the ball is as well as their positions in relation to one another, which is the character of positional play.

  • If the center forward drops back, then the wingers pinch in and make direct runs to goal.
  • If the wingers dive inside, it is the center forward’s turn to stretch the field.
  • If the winger stays large, the near-side attacking midfielder will make an inside run to penetrate the defense whereas both the center forward drops back, or the weak side attacking midfielder slides over into a real No. 10 spot.

This T&T team was bad, and that El Salvador team was bad, and the Panama team the US beat back in November was bad, however you do not score 19 goals throughout three video games with three considerably completely different lineups based mostly solely upon talent differential. You do it by having a plan and executing it.

Will that plan work against a greater opponent? Well, the US aren’t going to drop seven on Mexico or Costa Rica. However it’s value remembering they did really dominate that friendly win vs. the Ticos 12 months in the past, even when the scoreline was close, and controlling video games against Concacaf opponents is an efficient option to finally qualify for the World Cup.

Turning that management into goals on a regular foundation is what the best teams within the world do. The US aren’t there but, however Gregg Berhalter is clearly making an attempt to place them on that path.

The depth chart

No one’s about to push into the primary XI based mostly upon a January camp, however I believe it is value noting Vines, Aaron Lengthy, Jackson Yueill, Sebastian Lletget and Paul Arriola, the 5 players from this group I would name “regulars,” all began and played well. As a result of whilst you cannot win a long-term gameday 18 job in January, you possibly can certain lose one.

Jonathan Lewis would possibly’ve discovered that at this time last year, when he was crushed out by Uly Llanez for the beginning position. Neither man goes to displace Christian Pulisic on the depth chart, however preventing for the spots behind him is an actual factor. Lewis presumably outplayed Chris Mueller and Benji Michel this past month and whereas that does not assure something going forward, it does present a benchmark for all three of these players, as well as Llanez, Tim Weah, Konrad de la Fuente and a couple of others they know they need to hit in the event that they need to get into the rotation and probably push Arriola or Jordan Morris out.

Miles Robinson, I am guessing, outplayed Walker Zimmerman and Mauricio Pineda. Aaron Herrera was seemingly higher than Kyle Duncan. Kellyn Acosta did extra to earn it than Cristian Roldan, Tanner Tessmann or Andres Perea.

Acosta’s presence, by the way in which, ought to give coronary heart to the likes of Jeremy Ebobisse, Eryk Williamson and Djordje Mihailovic. Acosta had been out within the chilly for practically two years, and now he is played in two straight video games. I do not suppose the door might be completely closed for anybody who’s out there performing with their membership team.

Or, in some circumstances, not performing. Jesus Ferreira, who had a depressing season for FC Dallas, may be a particular case on this pool since he is really a pure false 9, and he is now confirmed as a lot in his two caps. Two goals and three assists is absurd irrespective of the opponent or state of affairs, however his best little bit of play did not even present up within the boxscore:

I do not love false 9s, as I believe enjoying and not using a true center forward often muddies up attacking patterns and generates fewer attractiveness. That definitely wasn’t the case on Sunday, although, because the US had been a lot smoother and extra dangerous with Ferreira main the road than when he was replaced by Daryl Dike.

Once more: Lengthy-term, this most likely will not imply a lot. However short time period, each now have a clearer concept of the level they have to hit. The competition within the player pool calls for it.

Olympic tune-up

Okay, so all the things I just wrote was by the full USMNT lens. You possibly can view this camp very in another way if you wish to peer by the Olympic qualifying lens, since Olympic qualifying is now lower than two months away. Making the Olympics is clearly not the precedence for the US this year, nevertheless it’s clearly a precedence, which is correctly.

The US Olympic qualifying team is prone to be composed solely of MLS players since MLS players are prone to be the one ones launched by their golf equipment for the match. Six of the starters on Sunday had been age-eligible for the qualifiers (born January 1, 1997 or later), and I do not suppose it is an excessive amount of of a stretch to think about US U-23 head coach Jason Kreis sees these six because the seemingly core of his team. That group contains Herrera, Robinson and Vines on the backline, Yueill at d-mid, and Ferreira and Lewis up top.

Nothing is assured, however there are significant video games about six weeks away. What occurred on this camp will certainly inform the choices Kreis makes in that camp to an honest diploma.

So let’s go back to the top: Do not learn an excessive amount of into the outcome itself, because it’s just a friendly. However I do suppose it is truthful to learn a bit into the way in which the outcome was achieved, and — in case you’re taking a look at it from an Olympic qualifying perspective — who had been the blokes out there reaching it.

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