In the 285 days since the rise of the American national team, it seems that a maritime story has come to the Americans. Weston McKenney’s Juventus is currently playing in the USA, while Sergino Dest and Conrad de la Fuente are playing for the first team of Barcelona. With Christian Pulis who played at Chelsea and Tyler Adams in the UEFA Champions League semifinals in Leipzig.
With such a pedigree in their ranks and youngsters as Giovanni Reyna of Borussia Dortmund and Yunus Musa of Valencia, expectations have risen considerably, even though manager Gregg Berhalter tries to downplay them.
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That’s why Thursday’s 0-0 draw against the Welsh hosts on European soil was different. If you look at the score, you might think it’s another sandy, squeaky drawing in the street, but nothing like that. The United States showed such composure and patience at the ball, which was rare on their travels in Europe. Playing in confined spaces was the rule rather than the exception, with three-man midfielders McKenney, Adams and Musa doing their best to keep the pace of the game under control.
Musa, one of the six American players who debuted on the field, didn’t look like a 17-year-old and although he could sometimes release the ball faster, he showed great defensive skill and vision. Since Musa has the right to represent England and Ghana as well as the United States, Berhalter can only hope that he will eventually decide to represent the United States with other candidates.
Rayna found it a little more complicated and sometimes even guilty of staying on the ball too long. He had several dynamic moments with the ball, but also let his disappointments get better and better. Halfway through the second half he got through to Welsh defender Tom Locker in retaliation for what he thought was an unnoticed foul. This type of street gambling in CONCACAF can be severely punished. Yet it was a day that 17-year-old Raina will remember for a long time.
As far as Adams is concerned, this is not only his first game in 20 months, but also the one in which he gained a foothold with the American midfielder after Berhalter played him from right to left. The American side looked better when Adams had the energy and passed in front of the defense, although it was mostly John Brooks who seemed to gather at the back.
I felt good because I think that’s my natural position, Miss. Adams. By being there, by commanding, as it were, everything that has gone before me, by telling the players when to go and when not to go, by initiating the press when to stay away, I can lead the team in a better direction, I think. I was sure the boys understood the tactics for me, so it made my job a little easier, but I like being the replacement, I can win balls and then pass them on to the boys for me and let them do their job.
The U.S. were also very effective in their press, with the two best U.S. chances of the night coming directly to Wales defensive third, although it should be noted that the Welsh team lacked several key players, including Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, while Ben Davis and Ethan Ampadou remained on the bench.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Gregg Berhalter hopes that Yunus Musa will decide to continue working with the United States after his impressive debut against Wales. Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images
However, for all assets held by the United States, the attacking third party was clearly lacking in strength. This is partly due to Berhalter’s decision to play Sebastian Lletgett as a fake newcomer, but it is important to see how the approach went. When it comes to providing an outlet and the opportunity to let the U.S. play from his soul mate, Llette did well and played 28 of his 32 passes. On the one hand, this is exactly what Berhalter van Lletgett wanted. But further down the field, the tactics were not as effective, although it wasn’t just one player.
We wanted him to find more than a third man, Berhalter said about Lletgett. I think he did it once or twice, but when he went down and we had to go back, I think sometimes the wings just couldn’t take advantage of it. That’s what we missed.
McKenney added that the United States could easily keep an eye on the combined game instead of running behind defensive lines, which would help a wounded pulley.
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A player who can hit a defender, stand aside and play the ball or go through, [Pulisic] has done that many times, as you’ve seen with the Gold Cup, McKenny said. I think the dynamic movement behind the line is something we missed. And that’s exactly what we’re going to watch in the video, of course, just to see how many jogs we’ve done behind the line to open up the space and make this selfless walking possible.
I have to say, this is a group that still needs time to develop chemistry. Apart from a long break due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the United States had only two days of training – and a full training session – for this competition. But the question remains open: Who will achieve the objectives and ensure such a presence in the Lodge in order to increase the attention of the opposition parties? For that reason – and because Josh Sargent was unavailable due to quarantine restrictions in Covid-19 – it might have been better to record Nicholas Gioacchini sooner or give Sebastian Soto his debut, although another game against Panama is scheduled for Monday. The previous depth map has been thin for a long time, and the possibilities to see what the current former group is capable of are limited.
However, the basis of ownership and pressure is what seems to be most firmly anchored among the actors. Given the state of affairs in the context of the pandemic, it largely depends on the progress made by American artists at club level. But Berhalter will always be happy with something to work on and the match against Wales is seen as a step forward.