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OT: Final WCQ Window for USMNT


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The 27 member team has been named, and already we have one injury replacement and may have a second.  Dest is out with an injured hamstring and Bello is in.  And today Aaronson was removed from his match with a knee injury, so he is doubtful.  Reyna has been called in, but he is on a minutes count.  Turner is injured and out.  And of course McKennie is out.  Yikes.

Our striker situation is a mess.  Pepi hasn't scored since October.  Sargent was not called in.  Ferreria did score a hat trick this weekend but do you trust him.  Pefok has been solid for the Young Boys in the Swiss League but can he handle the altitude and smog of Azteca?  No Zardes.  Can this team score? 

Berhalter has an interesting decision to make.  Does he play his A team against Mexico at Azteca, where a win is unlikely, a draw possible, but a loss a definite possibility?  Or does he save his A team for the must win at home against Panama?  We don't want to go to Costa Rica needing a win, particularly with the A team on fumes..[and what would be a loss at Mexico and a draw at home for it to be a must win.]  So does he put his B team against the Mexicans and save his best for the last two matches? 

 

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I was pushing for Bello previously hopefully he seizes this chance.

Switzerland has some altitude too so maybe Pefok would be comfortable. He can go yodel in Zermatt to work on the lungs.....Ricola!  Perhaps pushing emotional buttons for Pepi as he decided for US over Mexico?

Yes striker is a mess.   Someone anyone be the guy. 

McKennie out at least Reyna is back, makes it sting less. 

 

I think psychologically you have to play to win and Mexico hasn't been all that and a bag of tortilla chips lately so maybe we get 3 points or 1 here. 

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For the few soccer heads on here, this week is the biggest soccer week for the USMNT since 2017.  We are 0-13-3 all time at Azteca.  Coach B said that he and his staff indeed did consider starting a B team tonight, but after the conversation rejected the idea.  Whatever his decision, he will be challenged unless we pull out a W.  But criticism goes with the job.

I expect he will start Acosta in McKennie's slot to bolster the defense.  A huge issue is Adams is on a yellow.  A second yellow tonight and he sits against Panama.  I hope it matters(ed) who he starts up top, hoping our offense can score in transition.  I have no clue on who he should start at the 9. 

Set pieces could be a big factor with the US using it's superior height advantage.  

I'd like to predict a draw, but......

We need Canada to hand Costa Rica an L tonight.

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I'd go hybrid line up to rest a few guys for Panama.  El Tri is old play cautious for 50-60 minutes wear em down then last 30 put in Pulisic and Reyna and pressure for a result. 

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GGG is not a tactical genius, but he is smart enough to know the next three games are the most important of his coaching career. I expect him to enlist our strongest lineup available until we secure world cup qualification.

Even with our reduced pool of regular starters, we have enough to get a result tonight. Let's go do it. 

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Concacaf World Cup qualifying scenarios

A USMNT or Mexico win sees them advance to the world cup if...

  • Panama loses to Honduras and Costa Rica loses or draws vs. Canada: This would put either team seven points ahead of Panama and seven or eight points ahead of Costa Rica.

The USMNT or Mexico clinch a top-four spot with a win and a Costa Rica loss or draw. The USMNT and Mexico essentially clinch top-four spots with a draw and if...

  • Costa Rica loses to Canada. By virtue of superior goal difference, it would take a historic comeback from Los Ticos to make up a six-goal difference with Mexico or a nine-goal difference with the United States.

If either Mexico or the USMNT loses, they will have to wait until later in the window to secure their spot in Qatar.

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Lose tonight and the Panama game becomes a must-win. I’d prefer to avoid must-wins, that didn’t go so well last cycle. Play the best players tonight, try to get 1 or 3 points. Give us a little breathing room going into Panama 

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1 hour ago, gobillsgo said:

Lose tonight and the Panama game becomes a must-win. I’d prefer to avoid must-wins, that didn’t go so well last cycle. Play the best players tonight, try to get 1 or 3 points. Give us a little breathing room going into Panama 

The US has not won a match at Azteca.  Yes, we have one friendly win in 2012, but in matches that count we are 0-13-3.

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1 hour ago, stmdragons said:

Slightly off topic, but pretty shocking to see Italy miss out on the World Cup again less than a year after winning Euro '20. 

Yeah, to the Mighty North Macedonia Lynexes, Lions or whatever they call themselves.  Italy had 32 shots and NM 4.  Goal was in the 92nd minute.

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1 hour ago, HoosierPal said:

The US has not won a match at Azteca.  Yes, we have one friendly win in 2012, but in matches that count we are 0-13-3.

And we’ve drawn our last two qualifiers there.  What’s your point?  Canada has qualified for one World Cup ever. That hasn’t stopped them from wiping the floor with the rest of CONCACAF. 
 

mexico is old and fragile, and we have more talent than ever. There’s no reason to think we can’t get 1 or 3 points. 

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Paramount+ cutting out for anyone else?

I got that Google Fiber so I don't think it's my internet

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  1. Steffen was VERY poor with his play out of the back. He was lucky it did not result in a Mexico goal once or twice. 
  2. Pulisic is in the worst form of his life (as least as it pertains to the USMNT). His touch was awful most of the night.
  3. Striker is still a major problem. I thought Pepi would solve this issue, but I was clearly wrong. Pefok has done nothing to warrant continued inclusion, and I agree with others that Sargent can't be worse and he may bring energy others don't at the moment.
  4. Our attack is infinitely more dangerous with Gio. He is a true world-class talent. Keep him healthy and our World Cup ceiling is much higher.
  5. Gregg's decision to go to a back five and insert two new defenders in the 80th minute nearly cost us the game shortly thereafter. I was shocked when he put in two defenders who had not played with the USMNT this qualifying cycle. 
  6. Costa Rica's win over Canada complicates things. We cannot afford anything other than three points on Sunday.
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3 minutes ago, BilliesBy40 said:
  1. Steffen was VERY poor with his play out of the back. He was lucky it did not result in a Mexico goal once or twice. 
  2. Pulisic is in the worst form of his life (as least as it pertains to the USMNT). His touch was awful most of the night.
  3. Striker is still a major problem. I thought Pepi would solve this issue, but I was clearly wrong. Pefok has done nothing to warrant continued inclusion, and I agree with others that Sargent can't be worse and he may bring energy others don't at the moment.
  4. Our attack is infinitely more dangerous with Gio. He is a true world-class talent. Keep him healthy and our World Cup ceiling is much higher.
  5. Gregg's decision to go to a back five and insert two new defenders in the 80th minute nearly cost us the game shortly thereafter. I was shocked when he put in two defenders who had not played with the USMNT this qualifying cycle. 
  6. Costa Rica's win over Canada complicates things. We cannot afford anything other than three points on Sunday.

And we are down Yedlin and Weah with two yellows.  I'm very glad Adams didn't pick up his second.  With Cannon out with Covid, Shaq-Moore has been called in. 

How gassed are the main guys?  We shall see Sunday.  From my perch, it the matched seemed to go to slow motion in the last 20 minutes....tired legs?

Acosta was sollid for the most part, but both he and Pulisic wasted our 4 corners.

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44 minutes ago, BilliesBy40 said:
  1. Steffen was VERY poor with his play out of the back. He was lucky it did not result in a Mexico goal once or twice. 
  2. Pulisic is in the worst form of his life (as least as it pertains to the USMNT). His touch was awful most of the night.
  3. Striker is still a major problem. I thought Pepi would solve this issue, but I was clearly wrong. Pefok has done nothing to warrant continued inclusion, and I agree with others that Sargent can't be worse and he may bring energy others don't at the moment.
  4. Our attack is infinitely more dangerous with Gio. He is a true world-class talent. Keep him healthy and our World Cup ceiling is much higher.
  5. Gregg's decision to go to a back five and insert two new defenders in the 80th minute nearly cost us the game shortly thereafter. I was shocked when he put in two defenders who had not played with the USMNT this qualifying cycle. 
  6. Costa Rica's win over Canada complicates things. We cannot afford anything other than three points on Sunday.

Yes, Pulisic was brutal….and on the couple of occasions when he did actually make a promising run, his final touch was, again, brutal.  We can only hope he recovers form when playing Panama.

Reading the Italian sites after their shocker, almost all the complaints relate to lack of a competent striker.  I could cut and paste them here and only change the names.  We need Sargent…he is a different level from the rest of these guys.

Love the way Gio played last night.  Yeah, he was going against tired legs, but that one run…Maradona 2.0 without the finish.  And the look he gave Pefok…going to be a meme for certain.

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The job's not done, though the USMNT's 0-0 draw Thursday night at Mexico put them in a strong spot for Sunday's match vs. Panama – even if short rest and yellow-card suspensions loom.

USA clinch a spot in the 2022 World Cup with:

  1. A win vs. Panama on March 27
  2. AND ... Costa Rica ties or loses at El Salvador on March 27.

OR

  1. Tie vs Panama on March 27
  2. AND ... Costa Rica lose at El Salvador.

Playoff possibility:

  • The Yanks can assure themselves of no worse than a fourth-place finish and playoff spot if they earn at least a point (draw) against the visiting Panamanians.
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