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The Full Autopsy - U23 Qualifying

Discussion in 'Youth National Teams' started by Real Corona, Apr 2, 2012.

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  1. Real Corona

    Real Corona Moderator Staff Member

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    Let's review.


    US loses to Canada, who were comprehensively outplayed by El Salvador but lucky not to lose. Who played a whole lot of meh against Cuba and rightfully were punished with a late goal by the worst team in the tournament. Canada then got whipped thoroughly by Mexico.

    US then draws El Salvador in a game where the defense looked like it likely could not have kept a clean sheet against an NCAA squad and the the Salvadorans looked like Freddy Adu could have scored a header against them. El Salvador then went out and lost to Honduras, albeit in extra time.

    Leaving the US team maybe, if we are generous only the 5th worst team in the tournament.


    Ugh
     


  2. kokoplus10

    kokoplus10 Moderator Staff Member

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    Still waiting for the media to ask the tough questions and for Porter to answer them.

    That's the biggest issue for me. This whole thing seems to be swept under the rug.
     
  3. Stan Collins

    Stan Collins Member+

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    Well, there's also a feeling that there might not be much point in inspecting the coach, because as the Eagles said, he's already gone.
     
  4. Real Corona

    Real Corona Moderator Staff Member

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  5. Nutmeg

    Nutmeg Member+

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    The results are a symptom of the bigger issue - the US is hoping that Mexico or Germany or Norway developed some decent soccer players for us, because too many of the ones we developed aren't ready.

    This failure was a symptom of ~8+ years of somewhere between crappy an mediocre player development. Mexico has blown us by. The region is catching up.

    If the DA gamble doesn't pay off and Donovan and Dempsey aren't replaced, we're looking at the 90s all over again.

    I hope, but am still worried. I've said for years our players don't get radically better until there is an dramatic coaching overhaul. Hope I'm wrong, because the DA is a lot of the same coaches in a modified system.
     
  6. kokoplus10

    kokoplus10 Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm not looking to crucify Porter. We know he'll be gone and I'm sure he feels terrible as it is.

    I just hate that we have literally no quotes from him explaining some of his decisions. I want to know what was going on in his head.

    They pointed it out on extratime radio. No one in the press conference asked him those questions. I just want someone with press credentials to ask him the questions. That's all.
     
  7. kokoplus10

    kokoplus10 Moderator Staff Member

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    The USSF shouldn't be in charge of young American talent. The fact that they invest money to organize some youth tourneys, friendlies, hire a few coaches, and run a training facility is a bonus.

    It's MLS academies or bust. Until they get better the talent pool will remain at its current level. And they are only going to get better if they have more incentive (i.e. $$$) to develop and sign young talent.

    If we want the USSF to aid in youth development maybe they should be rewarding MLS teams who develop talented pros through their academies. Incentivize MLS teams with cash and they will produce better players.

    It's all about the Benjamins.
     
  8. Maximum Optimal

    Maximum Optimal Member+

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    Taking a step back and looking at things in a broad regional social and economic context a few things should be noted. A number of central American countries (including El Salvador) went through civil wars, political strife and severe economic problems in the 1980s and early 1990s. They have spent the past ten years recovering from these problems. Not surprisingly, the quality of their soccer is also recovering.

    Even Mexico had a severe financial crisis in the late 1990s and now has had period of relative economic stability. Note that net migration from Mexico has decreased in recent years (in part due to our own economic problems). Not surprisingly, the quality of their soccer has received a boost relative to ours during this period.

    So these ups and downs are not just about us as a soccer playing country. We are right to focus mostly on what is going on in our own soccer development environment because it is what we have the greatest ability to exert some influence over. Still it is useful to pick up our heads once in a while and look around and see some of the broader factors affecting the relative strength of the teams in the region.
     
  9. Real Corona

    Real Corona Moderator Staff Member

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    MO makes a good point and personally I welcome the growth of the rest of CONCACAF. It can only make us better, as Mexico has surely noted.
     
  10. NGV

    NGV Member

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    I think there are a few broader issues at work in the u23 failure. For example:

    Issue #1 - an MLS youth talent dry spell. Between 2004 (Adu/Bradley) and 2010 (Gil/Agudelo), few players under the age of 18 signed with MLS and went on to success - Shea, Altidore, and a lot of disappointments. Fortunately, the German reinforcements like Chandler, Johnson, and Williams have filled this gap somewhat- we'd be looking a lot worse for the next 5 years if they hadn't shown up.

    Issue #2 -Weak defense.I think this is mostly a matter of luck and bad timing. Consider that Gonzalez, Lichaj, Anibaba, and Soares were all born in October or November of 1988, just a few months off from the cutoff. On the other hand, the relative lack of 1989 defenders meant that we had to go with younger players, or players outside their best position.

    This points toward a general source of variability in youth tournaments. In a full national team tournament, players from the age of 21-30 or so can all play at or near the peak of their ability. On the other hand, a youth team will be at a disadvantage if their best talent happens to be born well before a cutoff (and physically disadvantaged) or slightly after that same cutoff (and not available). So, having the best team at any given point at time requires not only having a bunch of talented players, but also on having your team's talent conveniently align with birthdate cutoffs.

    Issue #3 - Shaky goalkeeping This one might be the most worrisome of the three. It's far too early to make any reliable predictions about the future trajectory of Hamid or Johnson; that said, neither one inspires a lot of confidence, and it wouldn't be surprising for either one to lose their starting spot in MLS this season. The US has relied on exceptional goalkeeping for quite a while. Without keepers at the level of Keller, Friedel and Howard, the prospects of international success dim considerably.
     
  11. Real Corona

    Real Corona Moderator Staff Member

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    Sean Johnson may have already lost his starting spot. I'm not familiar enough with Chicago but somebody brought that up recently.
     
  12. soccerusa517

    soccerusa517 Member+

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    Tony Meola talked about this in a podcast and I wasn't sure what to think, but he has a point now.
     
  13. xbhaskarx

    xbhaskarx Member+

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    Is anyone really worried about goalkeeping? Sure Hamid and Johnson both made some terrible mistakes, but given their age I'm just happy they're playing regularly in MLS. As long as we have a decent number of young goalkeepers in terms of quantity (Hamid, Johnson, MacMath, Bingham, Cropper, Meara, etc.) someone will likely pan out. And if not, Howard is showing no signs of slowing down, and Guzan is still only 27. Plus there are half a dozen other MLSers who could get a shot (Dan Kennedy?). The worst case scenario is Rimando, who is fairly trustworthy even if limited by his lack of size. Even if some of these guys don't work out, their replacements are likely to be other young US-eligible goalkeepers for the most part (Hamid has 23 year old Joe Willis behind him).
     
  14. Martin Fischer

    Martin Fischer Member+

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    While our player development does suck (given our size, with decent development, we should have a bunch of teams that could beat El Salvador at a youth level), I don't see any signs that the region is "catching up" in terms of talent development. Our players play in better leagues (some, but not all, of this is due to lack of opportunities for players in leagues like El Salvador) than the players on any team other than Mexico and I would be willing to bet that the total value of the players that showed up for this tournament for the US will ultimately be worth a whole lot more than those that El Salvador brought.

    The bottom line is that the USMNT had sufficient talent to qualify. The problem (and Porter's argument that it wasn't about qualification but was about imposing a new style is plausible if not completely satisfying) was that the other countries appear to be "catching up" in terms of organizing their national structures, meaning they are closer to getting the post of their limited talent base. Which means that when the USMNT stumbles and achieves less than the sum of their talent, they are vulnerable.
     
  15. soccerdisciple

    soccerdisciple Member

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    Reyna has said that it was the players fault. He did not mention any failure on the coaching staff side.
     
  16. Dignan

    Dignan Member+

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    Of course not, because the ultimate responsibility lies with Klinnsman. He signed off on Porter, talked him up as the future, and then worked with Porter to implement the 4-3-3.

    Naive.

    Hopefully, the biggest plus that we get out of this is JK wising up and really getting a handle on the reality of US and CONCACAF soccer.
     
  17. Suyuntuy

    Suyuntuy Member+

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    I said this years ago, right after the 06 World Cup: the US pipeline wasn't working as it should. Talent of the first degree failed to come forward.

    People kept citing names and names, always changing after each disappointment. Szetela and Akpan were supposed to be the next big thing. After, it was Arguez and Kyle Davies. Now it's Shea and Boyd.

    Bottomline is that the USA was blessed with a golden generation in spite of the system: Cherundolo, Bocanegra, Howard, Dempsey, Gooch, Beasley and Donovan. In particular this last guy, who's been behind all the major accomplishments.

    The system has not changed though. It could be argued that it cannot change until the league is mature enough to allow the clubs themselves to take care of the talent, as happens in the rest of the world.

    As is, it still seems to have far too much of the college mentality. It's a bit like socialism versus capitalism: in the successful countries, each young soccer player is an investment, so the clubs not only promote talent but are ruthless weeding the weak links out.

    In the American system, it's all under the federation, and there is less competition. Which is also made plain by the lack of a relegation/promotion system with the clubs. So far the USSF keeps guys in the roster regardless of performance, just because they have been around long enough, there won't be openings to take risk with new talent.

    Scouting, preparing young talent and coaching it needs to become an investment. And that is only achieved through clubs and their academies, when they are under constant economic pressure to either perform or get relegated and probably bankrupt.

    Although with it a whole new set of problems appear. If there's money floating around in large amounts, there will be shady influences even at the youth level. Just ask Italy.
     
  18. Real Corona

    Real Corona Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm not so sure we don't have talent.


    Gatt, Agudelo and Altidore all would have made a difference in the games and they were all developed here. Yes not having Donovan is slightly terrifying but I still think this U23 cycle has about 6 or 7 useful players for the full team over the next decade. Not to mention those that slightly missed the cutoff by a few months like Lichaj and Gonzalez. It's not all doom and gloom.
     
  19. Hararea

    Hararea Member+

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    If we're talking about the region as a whole, I agree, but El Salvador and Panama have improved, and what's happening in Canada is a big deal.

    I'll add that 2010 qualification was not a gimme for us. It wouldn't take a big shift in our region to knock us out.
     
  20. Hararea

    Hararea Member+

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    This is similar to a topic I was raising in the old thread. If Caleb Porter isn't a good enough coach, what does this say about coaches based in the US in general?

    Some of the DA coaching hires are amazing. Chris Leitch as San Jose's academy director? Seriously, what does he know about doing that job?
     
  21. Hararea

    Hararea Member+

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    When it comes to goalkeeping, it might be helpful to remember the 2004 and 2008 qualifying cycles.

    In 2004 there was DJ Countess and virtually no one else. He didn't make any big mistakes in qualifying but proved in MLS that he wasn't up to snuff.

    In 2008, there was Chris Seitz and virtually no one else. He didn't make any big mistakes in qualifying but proved in MLS that he wasn't up to snuff.

    In 2012, there was Hamid and Johnson, who made costly mistakes in qualifying but are already proven MLS performers.

    Was it disappointing to let in soft goals? Sure, but to a fair extent, that's what all young goalkeepers do. Doesn't really change the promising status of Hamid and Johnson, though. Before his (fixable) blunder against El Salvador, Johnson showed his potential by making several big plays.
     
  22. SPA2TACU5

    SPA2TACU5 Member+

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    I've made that point quite a few times, and was even warned by a BS mod for "trolling" when I pointed out 'fitness management' is a crucial part of professional sports, and Jurgen Klinsmann seems to play a big part in this.
    Apparently my claim aggravated some people around here. But I think by now we can clearly see the result of JK's mismanagement. Examples: Agudelo, Beckerman, Gonzalez, Shea, Donovan, Altidore.
     
  23. Martin Fischer

    Martin Fischer Member+

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    We'll see. Not by how qualification goes, because that could turn on luck and coaching, but if El Salvador, unlike last cycle, has players that actually play somewhere decent like MLS, Mexico or Europe. Right now, the US has more players getting playing time at better clubs than any of their rivals, other than Mexico, by a decent distance. That is the talent gap that I think still exists, but time will tell.
     
  24. SPA2TACU5

    SPA2TACU5 Member+

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    What's the DA gamble exactly?

    Also, how do you envision a "dramatic coaching overhaul"?
     
  25. SPA2TACU5

    SPA2TACU5 Member+

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    We're looking for confirmation.

    Excellent point.

    - No promotion / relegation.
    - Semi closed player market.
    - External trade barriers.
    - Geographical location : level of talent. Meaning non-US clubs don't have easy access to scouting/tracking/approaching players.
    - No cut throat competition on club level.

    There's very little incentive to develop talent/'produce' quality professionals.
     
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