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US Men’s soccer 3-0 win over Mexico

The Adam Gold Show / Adam Gold
The Truth Network Radio
June 16, 2023 4:27 pm

US Men’s soccer 3-0 win over Mexico

The Adam Gold Show / Adam Gold

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June 16, 2023 4:27 pm

What was the process of this hiring? What went behind this decision and who are the winners and losers of this scenario? It didn’t appear to Adam as if there was a plan, does Ryan agree? Where does Ryan believe we put way too much stock into something when it comes to the success of a team? What were the biggest positives Tyan took away from the game? What about some other takeaways?

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Ryan O'Hanlon from ESPN writes about soccer, wrote about the analytics of soccer.

We'll talk about, get another plug-in for your book here before we get out of here. But basking in the glow of a 3-0 win over Mexico, I think Mexico might be just awful. The United States men's national team or U.S. soccer gave us the Greg Berhalter bombshell. Unfortunately, it's overshadowed the game. We'll get to the game in a second. But quick thoughts, or not so quick, you're up to you. On the rehiring, the hiring again, how does this work with Greg Berhalter?

What reason do you use? I think this is the opposite of a news dump, isn't it? You have one of your best performances of the past 5-10 years and you overshadow it by announcing that you're rehiring a coach that it seems like a large portion of the fan base does not like at all, which is kind of the perfect U.S. fan experience. Sitting in concert, the fans are so mad about the new coach, but also the team has all this incredible young talent that just played this incredible game against Mexico in an actual competitive game that meant something. But beyond my quibbles with the state of the U.S. M&T fan base, I can only speak so much to the process that went about hiring, how all of this happened, what words do you even want to use. I think if you want to take a step back, at least we can say that they replaced Ernie Stewart with Matt Crocker and he headed up the hiring process. He has no connection to U.S. soccer and they still ended up hiring Greg Berhalter. So I think if you want to try to look at it objectively, I think you can at least give U.S. soccer a little bit of credit that it seems like they brought in an outsider that kind of came to the conclusion that, oh, I guess we should just bring back the guy that was here.

He has per game the most points of any U.S. M&T coach ever. The U.S. scores more goals per game under Greg Berhalter than they've ever scored. And I feel like we've been wanting the U.S. to play this kind of more expansive, possession, pressing, counter-pressing style game.

Frankly, the U.S. does that. They did that at the World Cup. I think if you want to have one criticism over Berhalter, it's like they have too much of a style. So to me, I think he did a fine job with the team. I don't think you're going to hire a superstar coach to coach a national team because those guys don't want these jobs. So I think Greg Berhalter is totally fine and ultimately the fate of the U.S. is going to come down to whether their players are injured at the World Cup and how much or how little they all progress over the next four years. Ryan O'Hanlon from ESPN.

He is an author. Net gains inside the beautiful games analytics revolution. That's how our relationship began. So it is a beautiful game. I think two things can be true and I've been talking about this already today. To me, Greg Berhalter did a great job in building a culture that players wanted to be a part of. And clearly he has player support here. Christian Pulisic arguably the most important American. I think Tyler Adams also supportive of Greg Berhalter.

You're not going to find two more important American players than that and they are supportive of Greg Berhalter. So he gets full credit for negotiating the probably the last time the United States will ever have to sweat the World Cup qualification with the expanding World Cup. He gets full credit for that getting through the group stage not allowing a goal in the run of play for for those three matches as well. But I also think that while they did develop a style, I think their style was somewhat meatball surgery in that there wasn't a lot of creativity. It almost looked to me and I thought this against Iran as well as the Netherlands. So like there wasn't a plan when the when the the scrappy defensive pressing style didn't work like they didn't know what to do and they didn't it almost looked like they didn't try and I know that's not the case Netherlands were better, but it almost looked like they didn't try to probe and score.

And and just play a more aggressive attacking style. I just felt like maybe it was time for somebody else to take this team the next step. Yeah, I mean I my pushback I think that's a fair that's fair and I guess my my main point here is that like we put way too much stock into who the manager of a national team is it's just like Lionel Scoloni just won the World Cup and he basically had no managerial experience before that right you're saying it's player related Ryan.

Is that what you're saying? Yes, like obviously coaches and coaches matter, but they matter less international soccer. I think because you don't get to practice together, you know, like you play together a handful of times your job is to keep the team happy and obviously one player in particular is not happy at the World Cup, but it seems like everyone else on the team was happy which to me and that dynamic, you know, it speaks to the fact that there was there was no way to make this other other player happy.

And he could he could generate it could still be I imagine he will be reintegrated into the team. So I think to me it's I don't really know what their other options were at the World Cup. Okay, you know you're choosing between Jeff Sargent and Haji Wright and James Ferreira as your forward options and they didn't have an issue getting the ball into the attacking third. They didn't have an issue keeping it there that maybe it's a creativity issue or maybe it's they don't have the forward that knows how to find space to then get the pass which theoretically they may not have that guy with Fuller and Baligan. So, you know, I always tend to push it. I think whenever we have these questions of is it tactics or is it talent? I think it's almost always always talent in my view.

Ryan O'Hanlon from ESPN is joining us before I get to the game and I will I promise is it also possible and this is why like I'm kind of milk toast. I see the positive of it again. What Greg built but I also wonder was the talent pool they were choosing from and I know Jesse Marsh is a popular name. I'm not sure he was he would have been a better choice than Greg Berhalter or Patrick Vieira who has experience managing in the US and managing in the Premier League. Although he was just sacked for Roy Hodgson who is a hundred years old is maybe the pool of candidates just wasn't overwhelming enough. And they just went like the Pina Colada song, you know, they put the ad in the paper, but ultimately we came back to the same.

This is my old but my old lovely lady or my old my old lady and they're going to go and have, you know, champagne and not do yoga. I completely botched that Ryan. I apologize.

I just keep going keep throwing more metaphors at the wall and it will eventually make sense. Let me bring up Jesse Marsh because I think that's actually instructive here. So he got fired from Leeds to an analytics adjacent person like me. It was a stupid decision.

Their underlying numbers were very good. They're creating a lot of chances just for getting unlucky. But you know, I'm not asking for too much first from soccer clubs for them to make decisions based on that. But what Leeds found out is that sometimes when you fire a coach you're unhappy with, you can hire a worse coach. You can hire a coach that's going to make it worse. And maybe he's not a worse coach in a vacuum, but he's a worse coach for the players you have.

And I think a lot of the names that the U.S. is picking from, I think people have the criticism that Jesse Marsh has a very, he's wedded to a very particular style. Which I don't know if he would, I don't necessarily buy that he would have just been like that with the national team, but you could argue that even he would have been a worse, could have been a worse coach to the team because he would have wanted to play a particular style. Then you have all these other coaches who maybe may or may not have been better than Berhalter, but they also could have been worse than Berhalter. So there's also that option. So when you do weigh that, which I think you do have to weigh that in this, because anyone other than Berhalter, you're taking a little bit more of a risk, right? There's more uncertainty in those directions, I guess. And I think, you know, given what you're saying, the U.S. wasn't like, the best coaches just don't coach international soccer.

It doesn't happen anymore. The only sort of elite coach who was at the World Cup was Luis Enrique with Spain. And Spain, like drastically underachieving, were frankly terrible given their, given their talent.

So even he did a bad job. So the other coaches, international soccer, it's not, you're not getting Jurgen Klopp, you're not getting Pep Guardiola to coach the U.S. men's national team. So I think you're spot on with the, I don't know, Pina Colada. No more yoga.

It's funny, I could karaoke the song, but suddenly I couldn't come up with all the lyrics. Ryan O'Hanlon at R.W. O'Han on Twitter. So let's get back to the game, I guess. So Fuller and Balagoon makes his debut. We had a formation we really hadn't seen, I guess, at this level, because Berhalter the last few years had been playing a 4-3-3 pretty much exclusively, at least as far as, you know, big competitions go.

But they're in a different formation. Gio Reyna was playing, you know, behind the striker, behind Balagoon. What did you think of the U.S. performance and then we can get to how nasty the game was?

I thought they were awesome. Balagoon, not very involved, took one shot, only completed a couple passes. But I think that that's probably to be expected given that, as we said, the team does kind of have a idiosyncratic way of playing and also he's playing for a guy that's not going to be the coach any longer, so I think you can write it off a little bit. I think if I had to take one takeaway from the game, or I guess if I had to throw two at there, one, Christian Pulisic, at least this past year, it doesn't seem to matter what's happening with the club team. He's like Gareth Bale was for Wales, essentially.

That might be too much for your listeners to get that reference, but he's a golfer now. A star-level talent that was somewhat inconsistent at the club level, but always brought it to sort of the highest degree for the national team. Pulisic didn't play much for Chelsea before the World Cup. He was fantastic at the World Cup.

For me, it was like 99th percentile expectation of what you got from Pulisic. Last night, he was incredible again. Scored twice. He's now a leading, goals per game leader in US M&G history. Impressive because he's played a ton of games, so I think that is a big thing to see.

Because who knows? These club careers are very volatile, especially when you're not one of the truly elite players. And then, Tyler Adams. Tyler Adams, to me, was kind of the skeleton key of the whole thing. It would all fall apart if Tyler Adams wasn't there.

And he wasn't there. And the US played a little more. They sat back a little more than they usually do. And it gets messed up because they do usually sit back a little bit. And you think that might fall prey to not having Tyler Adams?

And it didn't matter at all. So I think those were my two, if you want to have kind of macro takeaways from the game, those were the two big positives I took from it. It's very possible that Pulisic just looks at men's national team as like his sanctuary. All the pressure that's on him to perform at the international level, or at club level, it's there, but it's different. And he knows that he is relied upon. And a very smart person told me a long time ago, it almost doesn't matter where you play. Not saying it doesn't, but that if you are a relied upon player, it changes who you can be when you get to the men's national team.

And Pulisic is a relied upon player here. I was encouraged by a lot of things. I thought we saw the best of Weston McKinney in a long time. And then we saw the good and the bad.

But we saw how dynamic he can be at times. And then we saw the nastiness. I think Mexico is just awful. But okay, it's a great rivalry and maybe the rivalry brought all that out. Yeah, I mean we don't love the chanting that was going on, the homophobic chanting. That's not the kind of thing we want to be seeing in this rivalry. But in some ways it's nice to have a little bit of the kind of spice that we had from the U.S. rivalry, whether it was Landon Donovan peeing on the field, Gucci on Yewu eyeing down Jared Borgetti, kind of all the sort of things that made U.S. Mexico such a compelling rivalry. I wouldn't say it was gone over the past four years or whatever, but it didn't seem as heated. So I don't know, from a spectator standpoint, I'm not saying I want every game to have two red cards and players to possibly get injured. But I guess if you want to say anything, it spoke to how well the U.S. played, that it sort of drove some of the Mexican players off a cliff.

Yeah, it devolved into that because Mexico had no answers. Ryan O'Hanlon, at rwohan on Twitter from ESPN, the author of Net Gains, Inside the Beautiful Games Analytics Revolution. I appreciate your time. We will talk again. I hope they can beat Canada without Dest and McKinney. I'm not sure it matters, but we'll certainly find out. I appreciate it. Yeah, I look forward to chatting when they rehire Berhalter for the third time.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-16 18:38:35 / 2023-06-16 18:45:10 / 7

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