The United States has been very good at the World Cup. And by the way, Uruguay lost their minds at the end of their match. They won 2-0, but were flipping out apparently at a lack of a penalty call, which I felt the referee did the right job.
But we may not talk about that at all. We've got Brian Strauss from Sports Illustrated on the scene in Qatar, and I appreciate you even taking the phone call, sir. How you doing? I'm hanging in there. I think I'm halfway through. Today's like day 19 or day 20.
So this is like right at the halfway point. And, you know, maybe I'll survive. I hope you will. I really do. Thank you. I appreciate that.
It's the least you could do, really, but thank you. You know, I am team Brian Strauss. All right, so let's start with Christian Pulisic who Greg Berhalter said looks good to play tomorrow against Netherlands. Has he in a way exceeded expectations for this tournament? Maybe not his own, but I think that American soccer fans have been down on Christian Pulisic. Has he answered critics in this tournament?
Have they been down on him? I think so. Okay, I don't know. I don't know.
I don't know if I think of it exactly that way. I mean, I mean, he's a different player with the national team. He just is.
He's a different person with the national team. There's something about being in with this group, and he has hinted at this over the last year and a half or so, but there's something about being in with this group where he feels revitalized. He feels connected. He feels confident. He feels like everyone is rooting for him and supporting him and believing in him. You know, a lot of the game plan is sort of tailored to what he does well. And this environment just really seems to put him in position to be his best. You don't always get it, but he feels emboldened by being in with this team. And the last three weeks when we've talked to him, he's been more at ease.
He's joking around a bit. He's telling stories. Some of his personality comes out that you don't always get. You certainly don't get when he's in Chelsea.
You don't often get during sort of short international windows when he's coming in and out and that sort of thing and kind of feeling a bit beleaguered by what's going on in London. So, you know, he's, I just think he's feeling good about things. He's not been perfect by any stretch. There have been flaws, but look, he set up Tim way of goal against Wales.
He scored the goal against Iran. He's making the big plays. And so I think that's what you want to see out of him. And I think he's in an environment where he feels like he can do that.
Not know what a pelvic confusion is, but whatever. Well, I think he might've gotten one in the politics. It's my guess.
We don't know. You know, here might be the disconnect between where my head is at and the way you processed the question is that social media and myself, like I watch a lot of Chelsea. I watch a lot of Premier League and we have just not seen him featured at all. And when he is on, we haven't seen great impact. So we translate that into what we've seen at the national team and it hasn't always been great. But I think aside from the flaws and maybe not necessarily always seeing the right play on the field and always going forward as a maybe being more patient and creative. He's given this team everything they've needed.
So he has to get some credit for that. How much of Pulisic's personality and maybe ease has to do with Tyler Adams wearing the armband so that pressure has been relieved? I don't know that he feels pressure. I don't know that Pulisic feels more pressure when he's been named the captain. I mean, I think what's important to realize about this team is that starting from two years ago or whatever, there's been this leadership council, right?
It's six, seven players, depending on who's in camp. And they really do feel like the leadership and sort of being the conduit between the players and the staff is a shared responsibility. And I really believe that.
I've written about it. We've talked to the guys about it. So I don't think there's any sort of jealousy or jostling for the armband. That being said, they had a vote ahead of the World Cup among sort of the player pool that was in contention to be on the roster. I don't know what the final result of the poll was, but if it wasn't unanimously for Tyler Adams, I would have some questions.
Clearly the right choice. Clearly a model captain, a wonderful ambassador for the team, for the country. He's handled himself. I mean, everyone knows this, right? I'm not telling you something you haven't seen yourself. He's been incredible on the field and off.
It's interesting. There's only two captains at the World Cup under 30 and he's 23. He's a kid and he is putting this on his shoulders. And so does that help Christian on some level? I mean, it can't hurt, right?
But I don't think that's burdened Christian in the past. I just think that being in this environment for an extended period of time, being with players and staff who believe in him, being healthy, feeling like he's playing well at Chelsea, even if he doesn't get the minutes he wants. I think all of that has sort of combined to put him in a position where he's been able to make a couple of plays. Brian Strauss, Sports Illustrated, is joining us here on the Adam Gold Show. He's in Qatar, the United States and Netherlands tomorrow. 10 o'clock Eastern time, which of course is what? 6 o'clock, right? 6 o'clock where you are.
Better than 10. I went to bed the other night after the Iran game at 6 a.m. Oh my gosh. That's what it's like. A World Cup game is a different animal, man. It's just a different animal. It just takes forever.
The interview process can take two plus hours. The travel, the traffic, the writing. So yeah, these 10 p.m. kickoffs have been brutal, so we're all thrilled. We're beyond thrilled that we have a 6 p.m. local kickoff tomorrow. It's really exciting. I wasn't going to get into this, and if you don't want to deal with it, that's fine. We'll just move on to another question. But I'm just curious, because of the charged atmosphere not on the field between the United States and Iran, because I feel like that there is a lot more togetherness even with those two nations, those two teams, and I think you saw that in social media responses from the U.S. players towards the Iranian team.
But was that on the outside, was that as electrified as a match as you have covered? As a parent, no two days are ever the same. And let's face it, sometimes a little extra help goes a really long way. That's what's so great about Care.com. They make it easier than ever to find local, experienced, and background-checked childcare to help manage your family's ever-changing needs and schedule. From nannies and babysitters to daycare centers and tutors, find help for long or short-term support. Whether you need an after-school sitter or help with homework, there's a large selection to choose from. And all caregivers who use Care.com are required to complete a background check before they're able to interact with families on the platform.
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Where flavor gets its wings. The press conference was ridiculous. I mean, the press conference was an absolute circus and none of us had ever seen anything like it. And we were all just kind of speechless by just the absurdity of it.
The game itself, that vanished. That was a couple dozen Iranian journalists who, forgive me, I don't know, but I imagine to be a journalist in that country you have to have some kind of government backing or approval or something, right? It's state media.
Yeah, it's state media. Yeah. So none of us, you know, it was a circus and it was a show, but none of us sort of really took it very seriously. That being said, again, Greg and Tyler were phenomenal. I mean, they exercised more patience.
We were all talking about like, at what point would you have jumped off the stage, like gone at someone, right? And these guys, these guys were ice. I mean, it was really, really amazing. But the game itself was all about the game. It really was on every level. The atmosphere was great for a World Cup game. I mean, World Cup games are often kind of corporate, right?
It's like kind of that Super Bowl kind of feel where you've got a lot of neutrals, a lot of tourists, a lot of locals. But this was charged and it was just high stakes, man. It was just playing for survival. And so I think that was the only, once those two dozen sort of rabble rousers were sort of out of the picture, it was about the game itself. You saw that. You saw the way the players treated each other and respected each other and fought and played hard. And it was a great night.
All right. The midfield. Adams, we know, has been phenomenal. He's had a great year at Leeds. Tremendous. I mean, probably their best player. I know he doesn't score a lot of goals, but you can be your best player without scoring a lot of goals.
We see that in other sports, too. Musa was, I thought, amazing. And McKinney, oh my gosh. Yeah.
The kid's rolling downhill at all times. He's just a blast. And he's one of those athletes where you got to see him live.
It's like killing him back. You got to see this guy live. You got to see the way he just covers ground and sees the field and uses the field and blows past people. I saw France and Denmark play the other night, and France was just lights out. And Musa, I'm not comparing Musa to Kylian Mbappe, but he's just one of those guys you got to see in person.
And he's a lot of fun. The midfield's been good, though. I think even McKinney, while he might not be fit enough to go longer than 60, he has made some high-level plays. I thought the pass to Weah for the disallowed goal at the end of the first half against Iran was better than the ball he played to Sergino Dest. Yeah, you're right.
I hadn't thought of it that way, but yeah, you're right. He hits the last guy, the last U.S. midfielder who could hit a pass like that was Michael Bradley. Michael Bradley sat back a little bit more, was more of an organizer and that sort of thing. But McKinney can just cover crazy amounts of ground. He crashes the box.
He hits a beautiful ball. Yeah, the three of them obviously work really well together. Again, 24, 23, and just turns 20 years old, mind-boggling. You know, they had the run of play against England for long stretches.
I mean, the only issue is, maybe I just forget what it's like to be that young, but the only issue is how many every four days, every four days, can you keep going at that relentless pace running that far? And Tyler Adams ran eight miles the other night, right? So people got to understand that the top teams in Europe are just at a different level. Since the U.S. went back to the World Cup in 1990, they played European teams 19 times the World Cup. They won once, right?
So these guys are, this is the elite. And so it's just the margin for error is zero in this game. And so we'll see how much, you know, with all due respect to what they've done in the group stage, we'll see how much they have left in the tank for an opponent like Holland. Do you think they can beat the Netherlands? I don't know. I hate making predictions.
Okay, then don't. Of course they can. I am saying they can.
I'm actually going to predict they will, but that doesn't mean anything to you, Brian Strauss. Final thing. I'll give you an opportunity to either criticize or defend Greg Berhalter specifically to not using Gio Reyna, which has been the clarion call for everybody criticizing Greg Berhalter. Yeah, it's more just about the criticism of Greg himself, right? Like, look, a national team coach has a few jobs, right, in the U.S. You got to be the spokesman, the face of the team, the face of the program. You got to deal with fans, deal with the media, be the public face of American men's soccer, right? He's done that. Okay, you've got to have a program that people want to be a part of.
Other national team coaches haven't managed that. You have to have a program and an environment that people want to come into. They're happy to be there. They want to work hard. Sometimes a dual national like Yunus Musa or Seginio Des will pick you, right? Do the players want to be part of this program?
The answer is unequivocally yes. He has built a culture there that players want to be a part of. Okay, the next thing you got to do is win the gold cup. You got to win your conference essentially, right? Be the best in your backyard.
He's done that. And then the last thing, the most important thing is you got to get out. You got to qualify for the world cup. You got to get out of your group and you got to play well once you get out.
You may not win because the draw is brutal and who knows, it's one game, but you got to show well. So he's done every single one of these things up until tomorrow's game, right? So to me, if he doesn't think a certain game at a certain time called for G Orena, he said today that they've been, you know, they've been holding leads.
They've been trying to like lock things down and stay in front when they needed a goal against England. He did put him on toward the end. It's maybe not as early as people would have liked, but the guys earned the benefit of the doubt for me. That being said, I would love to see G Orena. He's so skillful and so much fun. And, and, and if he has a chance to come on with, you know, 25, 30 minutes to go, I think everybody would be thrilled. But I think the criticism of Greg, when you think about what, what a person in his position needs to achieve, I think the criticism of him is a bit much.
Brian Strauss, what a gentleman. I appreciate your time. Thank you so much. Get some rest. Go out.
You almost have to get up and get, get over to the stadium for tomorrow's match. I appreciate it. I'll, I'll text you. I thank you so much. All right, man. See you soon. You got it. Brian Strauss from Sports Illustrated in Qatar, getting ready for USA Netherlands. I said it.
Get ready for your quarter phone match, American soccer fans. Yeah. Going through. We're going to go, we're going to go right through the Dutch.
Like, I don't know, like chocolate. Nevermind. I would help you if I knew where this could go. Yeah, nevermind.
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