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Thread: CONCACAF World Cup 2018 Qualifying ... HEX starts 11/11/16

  1. #21
    Mod Squad jeffbear's Avatar
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    Default Re: CONCACAF World Cup 2018 Qualifying

    The HEX starts Friday people. Prime your pans.

    US vs Mexico in Columbus, Ohio ... 8:00-ish. Do it.

    Notes ... Jordan Morris was a late scratch due to injury. Altidore is molten lava hot, Bobby Wood is arctic cold, no Wondo in sight, Stanko replaced Beckerman as the defensive mid on the bench and it looks like Howard in goal. Otherwise fairly similar to the way they ended the last set of qualifying games. Oh ... also note that Klinsmann's relationship with Darlington Nagbe has gone completely to hell. He won't be a part of this or any future US sides so long as Klinsmann is boss, which is patently ridiculous.

    Mexico is Mexico ... and they brought their A lineup AND a team psychologist. Prolly a good call. If they'd get out of their own heads they're so much more talented than this US group that its not even funny. But their last result that mattered was that 7-0 drubbing in the Copa and that's still haunting them.

  2. #22
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    Default Re: CONCACAF World Cup 2018 Qualifying ... HEX starts 11/11/16

    Sasha Kljestan is as hot as Jody, coming off a 20 assist season in MLS, only the 2nd in league history. And it wouldn't be a US team without center back issues. Geoff Cameron is injured and wasn't included in the squad.

  3. #23
    Mod Squad jeffbear's Avatar
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    Default Re: CONCACAF World Cup 2018 Qualifying ... HEX starts 11/11/16

    Well ... emerging from my NC Comicon haze. I did find time to watch the match and have a couple of thoughts.

    - Klinsmann is a tactical idiot. 3-5-2? Are you freaking kidding me? A system the national team has played in IIRC one freaking match in five years and you trot it out? Against MEXICO? Idiot. I'm sorry. I've always suspected Jurgen was an idiot but I've never come out and said it before. Feels good. And look, while I think the US actually has the personnel to play a 3-5-2, that's a tricky, tricky system that takes LOTS of time to hone. Very few of the roster players are in such a system with their clubs and again ... we've only trotted that out once in a million years. So expecting them to play it against a pressing team like Mexico is just flat out nuts.

    - That said ... once Jones and Bradley talked their stupid boss into switching formations, the US actually played quite well. I liked the compete level, we produced a bunch of turnovers in midfield, Altidore and Wood combined nicely up front, we got pressure down the wings which is the only place Mexico is really vulnerable when they're settled. I liked most of what I saw after the 26th minute or so.

    - BAD coverage error by either Altidore or Brooks (or a combination) on the game winner. Look ... stuff happens and that broke my heart a little. A draw would have been a great result given the crappy start. But not to be and now they get to try and gather it up to go to Costa Rica for game 2 of 10.

  4. #24
    Mod Squad jeffbear's Avatar
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    Default Re: CONCACAF World Cup 2018 Qualifying ... HEX starts 11/11/16

    1st round of Hex results, for the record.

    Mexico 2 US 1
    Costa Rica 2 Trinidad & Tobago 0
    Panama 1 Honduras 0

    2nd Round on Tuesday 11/15

    Panama vs Mexico
    Costa Rica vs US
    Honduras vs T&T

  5. #25
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    Default Re: CONCACAF World Cup 2018 Qualifying ... HEX starts 11/11/16

    First time in forever that all 3 home teams lost in the Hex on the same day.

    I didn't see the match. I've said Klinsmann is a tactical idiot for quite some time now. I don't know if the switch to a 3-5-2 was caused by Cameron's absence, or just Klinsmann tinkering at the worst possible time.

  6. #26
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    Default Re: CONCACAF World Cup 2018 Qualifying ... HEX starts 11/11/16

    Oddly coincidental, given his club ties, that Klinsmann tried that just a few days after Spurs threw a 3-5-2 at Arsenal with three days to prepare with a cobbled-together back line, to considerably better effect. Of course, Pochettino is probably better at drilling his players, and it's less of an adjustment with a team that's together most of the time. And Jurgen should know that.

  7. #27
    Mod Squad jeffbear's Avatar
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    Default Re: CONCACAF World Cup 2018 Qualifying ... HEX starts 11/11/16

    Quote Originally Posted by andyt View Post
    First time in forever that all 3 home teams lost in the Hex on the same day.

    I didn't see the match. I've said Klinsmann is a tactical idiot for quite some time now. I don't know if the switch to a 3-5-2 was caused by Cameron's absence, or just Klinsmann tinkering at the worst possible time.
    I think it was both. He clearly doesn't trust anyone else to hold down the other CB slot aside Brooks .... just like up until the Gold Cup he didn't trust Brooks. The guy is a clown.

  8. #28
    Mod Squad jeffbear's Avatar
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    Default Re: CONCACAF World Cup 2018 Qualifying ... HEX starts 11/11/16

    God help the USA.

    Costa Rica 4 US 0 ... and it wasn't that close.
    Klinsmann MUST be out after that barf-fest. He lined up in a formation absolutely guaranteed to allow the Ticos to have 2 on 1s in midfield AND on each flank pretty much any time they wanted. There's being a tactical idiot and then there's being suicidal. I think the players want him out (see Gonzalez lack of even baseline effort and Jones basically deciding to take a stupid yellow knowing it would keep him out of the next game and shrugging ... as if he was avoiding the next game ... because I think he was) and I'm suspecting he wants out. Galati might be clueless enough not to pull the trigger, though. We'll see. We've got until March to figure something out, and at this point I don't trust Klinsmann to figure out what to order at a German bakery ... the kind where absolutely EVERYTHING is good. Did I mention that I love German bakeries. I do. Just not tactic-less German coaches.

    In other less tragicomic news ...

    Mexico 0 Panama 0 ... so much for the idea that Panama is an easy out, US fans. They slugged it out toe to toe with El Tri and didn't flinch.
    Honduras 3 T&T 0 ... the US' next opponent has some offensive pop after all, or maybe it's just that T&T are in as big a pot of boiling water as the Americans.

    Through 2 of 10 it's

    Costa Rica 6 pts
    Mexico 4 pts (2gf)
    Panama 4 pts (1gf)
    Honduras 3 pts
    T&T 0 pts (-4)
    US 0 pts (-5)

    BTW ... goal diff matters, and the US will do well to claw that back to even before the end of the Hex. Keep that in mind.

  9. #29
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    Default Re: CONCACAF World Cup 2018 Qualifying ... HEX starts 11/11/16

    If there is any silver lining, it's that Mexico finished 4th with 11 points in 2014 and qualified from the intercontinental playoff. This cycle, the opponent is from Asia. With 24 points available, getting less than half isn't too big an ask, is it? As long as Klinsmann is gone, that is.

  10. #30
    Mod Squad jeffbear's Avatar
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    Default Re: CONCACAF World Cup 2018 Qualifying ... HEX starts 11/11/16

    Look. It's not a mountain, it's big molehill. Doesn't mean Jurgen has any idea how to get over it. Literally ANYBODY would have had some sort of tactical plan for those two absolutely important games. Jurgen ... just go play harder and have fun. What an idiot.

  11. #31
    Mod Squad jeffbear's Avatar
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    Default Re: CONCACAF World Cup 2018 Qualifying ... HEX starts 11/11/16

    Conflicting reports surrounding US Soccer have Jurgen being dragged in for "emergency meetings" today or tomorrow and Jurgen attending a State dinner in Germany honoring Barack Obama ... and thus clearly unavailable for such meetings unless they are conducted on Skype.

    Stay tuned

  12. #32
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    Default Re: CONCACAF World Cup 2018 Qualifying ... HEX starts 11/11/16

    And..... he's out. Arena rumored to be coming back.

  13. #33
    Rookie VinatieriDefinesClutch's Avatar
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    Default Re: CONCACAF World Cup 2018 Qualifying ... HEX starts 11/11/16

    Hmm, wasn't really expecting to hear Arena's name again. Then again, this isn't really the time when top managers are really available.

  14. #34
    Mod Squad jeffbear's Avatar
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    Default Re: CONCACAF World Cup 2018 Qualifying ... HEX starts 11/11/16

    OK ... here's what has been bouncing around from good sources:

    - Klinsmann was toast after 4-0 to the Ticos regardless of what he said in public. Galati only delayed to allow Jurgen to get back home after he took the opportunity to be at a State dinner in Germany. Galati's blind spot for Klinsmann was well and truly a thing of the past after how pitifully the US exited the Copa last summer. Again, not that they lost to Argentina but rather that they came in with a game plan that basically guaranteed they'd get killed in that game. These last two games weren't the first time that Jurgen showed his tactical ineptitude, and they wouldn't be the last. At DFL in the Hex, there was no more room for grace.

    - Arena was contacted by US Soccer almost a year ago to sound him out about coming back. Apparently this concept that Sunil was going to stick with Jurgen whatever came were WAY off base.

    - Sounds like Arena will be on a two year contract with the sole intention to right the ship and get us through Russia 2018 in one respectable piece. Kind of a long term caretaker role.

    Switching to my own thoughts ... there's a lot of bitching about "going backwards" by looking to Arena to clean up Jurgen's mess, but let's face it ... there are a lot of idiots out there saying the US made a mistake to get rid of Jurgen in the first place. So, take that stuff with a grain of salt. Arena isn't the most dynamic manager in the world, but his time at Galaxy have put the lie to the idea the soccer media always promoted that he was too cautious ... some actually called him timid. What Bruse is is pragmatic to a fault. If he's got guns, he's going to use them. Hand him a fortress and he'll figure out how to defend it. The fact is that those US sides he had from 98 to 06 were decent but lacked high end technical ability aside from a few individuals. They bunkered and countered because that was the best use of available resources. Period.

    It's also worth noting that Arena rather successfully and rather quickly mopped up the nightmare that Steve Sampson left him following the 98 World Cup debacle. That experience alone makes this a solid call as a replacement. Right now the senior team is a mess. Guys hung out to dry by a manager who wouldn't take any responsibility for failures or come up with detailed instructions on how to fix anything. These guys need an experienced pair of hands to develop some strategies and actually freaking practice them for once so they can et their collective mess back together. Make no mistake ... these are good players who play well for their clubs. They are NOT the bumbling lot that people who only watch USMNT games think they are. A decent coach can do something with this group and Bruce Arena, no matter what you think of him, is inarguably a decent coach.

  15. #35
    Mod Squad jeffbear's Avatar
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    Default Re: CONCACAF World Cup 2018 Qualifying ... HEX starts 11/11/16

    One more thing .... if we learned anything from the Klinsmann era it's this. Jurgen Klinsmann is the best snake oil salesman in soccer management today. He's never accomplished anything without stepping into an established organization with a ton of professional support. All those reports you've heard of him being linked to this job and that job while he's been with the US program ALL came from his own agent. You'll hear more of those in the coming months .... watch. But he likely won't be actually taking any of those jobs, will he? Not until he finds another rube to sucker. And hey ... they're out there.

    Personally I'd love to see him eventually take an MLS job. So guys like Dom Kinnear, Ben Olsen and Oscar Pareja can hand him his butt on a platter.
    Last edited by jeffbear; 11-22-2016 at 10:20 AM.

  16. #36
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    Default Re: CONCACAF World Cup 2018 Qualifying ... HEX starts 11/11/16

    Keep in mind that Klinsmann had a dual role; he was the technical director too. The women's teams kept rolling along, and are at the U-20 World Cup right now. But how many of the men's teams have qualified for their World Cups? The U-23 team missed 2 straight Olympics. Even worse, how many senior players came up through the youth teams? Nagbe (whom he buried), Morris (with whom he feuded on and off), Pulisic. I'm sure (I hope) there are others, but they aren't playing prominent roles yet. He did a great job finding dual nationals but that's not sustainable.

  17. #37
    Rookie VinatieriDefinesClutch's Avatar
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    Default Re: CONCACAF World Cup 2018 Qualifying ... HEX starts 11/11/16

    In Germany, he was regarded as doing a good job overseeing their efforts to revamp the youth system, but Joachim Low was seen as the tactician behind the team. He's probably much better suited as a director/president type position than he is as a manager. And thanks to Jeff's points on Arena, I've gone from being lukewarm on this appointment to moderately convinced it's the right call.

  18. #38
    Mod Squad jeffbear's Avatar
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    Default Re: CONCACAF World Cup 2018 Qualifying ... HEX starts 11/11/16

    Bottom line ... Klinsmann's role in the German rebuild was pumped up by his own management team. As a former player with a lot invested in terms of reputation, he has always had a slick team building up his presence in the press. In truth, others did the real work and he managed the press and public relations. The guy is as big an empty suit as you could find. And Sunil Galati turned the keys to the ENTIRE US program over to him and claimed it was a revolution. Yeah, whatever. You know all those supporters groups out there questioning who hires/elects/appoints the President of US Soccer? Yeah ... that's your real revolution, Sunil.

    Quiet reports now indicate that Gulati is trying to spin the living crap out of this mess. Hinting that some in US management saw problems with Klinsmann as early as 6-8 months into his tenure, and that they had slowly but certainly removed most of the actual responsibilities of the technical director's job from Jurgen over the last 3 years. Sorry man. You hired a guy wearing clown shoes and then told us it was all fine for FIVE bloody years. You don't spin a pass to get out of that. I plain and simple do not trust Gulati to hire another USMNT coach and hope like heck his butt gets ousted at the next opportunity. Until then, Bruce Arena is a safe enough pair of hands in a storm. If I thought he was going to stick around past 2018, then I'd be disappointed. He's not and I'm not. At least now we can return players to their actual positions, give actual tactical instructions and generally play like a team that's not experimenting every time we take the pitch.

  19. #39
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    Default Re: CONCACAF World Cup 2018 Qualifying ... HEX starts 11/11/16

    Rounds 3 and 4 of the Hex play out over the next 5 days:

    Today:
    Trinidad & Tobago v. Panama 7:00 beIN Sports
    Mexico v. Costa Rica 9:50 Fox Sports 2
    US v. Honduras 10:30 Fox Sports 1

    Tuesday:
    Honduras v. Costa Rica 5:00
    Trinidad & Tobago v. Mexico 7:00 beIN Sports
    Panama v. US 10:05 beIN Sports

    The US really needs all 6 points from these matches. Jermaine Jones is out for yellow card accumulation. Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley and John Brooks are each carrying a yellow and would miss the Panama match if they pick one up tonight. Altidore and Dempsey probably start in their usual spots up top. I'm going to guess that the midfield has Bedoya, Nagbe, Pulisic and Bradley. Geoff Cameron is finally healthy and should start on the back line, but probably at fullback with Gonzalez and Brooks in the middle.

  20. #40
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    Default Re: CONCACAF World Cup 2018 Qualifying ... HEX starts 11/11/16

    From dead last in points and differential to WC spot on differential, in 90 minutes. Not bad.

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