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USA World Cup Match 4: Netherlands


The Earl of Texas

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This is gonna be mildly aggy of me, but I'm very proud of this team for reaching the knockouts.

England scored 9 MFing goals in its two other group matches ... but none against the USMNT.

And Iran scored twice in each of its previous group appearances ... but none against the US.

The only goal the US allowed in three matches came courtesy of a PK** ... and our badass, shotstopping keeper very nearly turned that aside!

True, our Yanks have been anemic in the offensive half, but I will blame that on customary poor finishing and--also customary--poor coaching/strategy. (Each match was a tale of two halves.)

For some reason, I like this pairing with the Dutch and sense that our boys are going to rise up, buck their habit of choking in front of goal, and overcome Gergg's inscrutable tactics and roster decisions.

Who else wants some Kool-Aid?

 

** It was the right call, but Bale definitely milked it. Had his back to goal, not much of a threat and not much contact; unfortunate that Zimmerman forgot himself and gave Bale an excuse to go to ground.

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1 hour ago, Braff Zacklin said:

True, our Yanks have been anemic in the offensive half, but I will blame that on customary poor finishing and--also customary--poor coaching/strategy. (Each match was a tale of two halves.)

I wouldn't say we have been anemic in the offensive half.  In fact, I think this team has more quality attacking than any US team I've seen in my lifetime.  There is actual creative build up play and good ball movement.  Our finishing, as mentioned, continues to be poor.  Also somewhat new, our set pieces are complete garbage.  Having one or two dangerous corners against the Netherlands would be fucking nice. 

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10 minutes ago, Bodhi said:

I wouldn't say we have been anemic in the offensive half.  In fact, I think this team has more quality attacking than any US team I've seen in my lifetime.  There is actual creative build up play and good ball movement.  Our finishing, as mentioned, continues to be poor.  Also somewhat new, our set pieces are complete garbage.  Having one or two dangerous corners against the Netherlands would be fucking nice. 

Fair points. Two goals in three matches should be anemic by any standard, but I get what you're saying. The buildup and chances are there; it's just not resulting in enough quality chances/shots/scores.

Think that might change Saturday. Hope it's prescience and not merely overexuberant fanboidom.

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1 hour ago, ztejas said:

I know I made a post maybe a few months back about everyone's favorite teams and where they rank for each poster. I couldn't tell you what my breakdown was outside of 1. Texas football and 2. USMNT. During this WC I've started wondering if the NT is really my #1 - but it could be that I just really love this iteration. I feel like I have a much better relationship as a fan with the NT than I do with the other teams I follow.

I get apathetic about my other teams or overly frustrated. I get tired of watching them play. There were a couple Texas games this season where I thought - you know - I might enjoy my day more if I just didn't watch them today. 

I never, ever get tired of watching the NT play. There are games like those early morning, weekday friendlies we had before Qatar that I don't move heaven and earth to make sure I tune in for - but every competitive match we have is circled weeks ahead for me like I'm a kid waiting for Christmas. 

You only get so many World Cups in your life. I remember after the 2010 and 2014 tournaments dreaming about where we might be as a team and where I'd be watching them in 4 years. Our team and its fans had that 2nd dream ripped away from them. Having to wait 4 years is tough enough - having to wait 8 is unbearable. 

The Nations League and Gold Cup wins in 2021 were awesome. WCQ was a fucking rollercoaster - down to having our qualification celebration shit on by the 2-0 loss in CR - but this time around when the dust settled we knew we weren't going to be watching from home. 

The friendlies and nations league games after that weren't inspiring. The injuries, fitness concerns, and not knowing if the right guys were even going to make the plane took a lot of air out of the fanbase. 

After all of that, and all of the drama in every group stage game, to get back here after 8 years and that shit sandwich in 2017 and fucking take care of business couldn't be sweeter. Especially while being reminded that making the Ro16 is never guaranteed and anyone can fuck around and drop points against anyone else. 

How do we think Mexico and Canada fans are feeling this week? 

I agree with you. I'm super proud of all of these guys. Even the ones that haven't played or haven't played well. They aren't here for the money or because they have to be. They didn't get drafted to this team or traded to it. 

It's what makes playing for country - and in particular playing in this tournament - so special. I'll never take something like qualifying or making it out of groups for granted - no matter how frustrating it is or how much better I think we should be. 

A very personal and well-written post, Z. Thank you.

USMNT has always been high on my list, as well.

Haven't had much to say during the run-up to the Cup for the reasons bolded above. I've tried to defend--or at least understand--Berhalter during the course of his stewardship but have run out of patience. One gets the sense that he believes he's the smartest guy in the room, and that any success is the result of his decisions.

Maybe it was you (or Ron?) who the other day opined that this team is winning despite Gergg. That's spot on. Before the tournament, my expectations were virtually nonexistent, and to his part, Gergg mis-managed each match as poorly as we all feared he would.

Yet the team overcame it and here they are.

The traditional powers might outpoint our team at every position, but I'll still take Adams or AAronson or Turner. It's been so rewarding watching them grow as players and win as a group.

Saturday can't get here soon enough.

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21 minutes ago, Braff Zacklin said:

Maybe it was you (or Ron?) who the other day opined that this team is winning despite Gergg. That's spot on. Before the tournament, my expectations were virtually nonexistent, and to his part, Gergg mis-managed each match as poorly as we all feared he would.

Yet the team overcame it and here they are.

Not me - although that rhetoric is accurate in some respects. 

Gregg has been good enough so far. I'm not trying to engage in some perpetual debate about the job he's done thus far but I feel like we're approaching a point where fans might start overrating our current player pool. 

It's going to be interesting to see what's said about Gregg if we win on Saturday. I feel like making the QF is pretty much this team's ceiling regardless of who's in charge, and I've felt that way for awhile. 

Edited by ztejas
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1 minute ago, ztejas said:

It's going to be interesting to see what's said about Gregg if we win on Saturday. I feel like making the QF is pretty much this team's ceiling regardless of who's in charge, and I've felt that way for awhile. 

Here's how I look at that:

Shaka's last Texas team had Final Four potential. The roster was stacked with a blend of size, experience and NBA-caliber athleticism. Though I believed Shaka was a terrible coach, if that team HAD lived up to its potential, I would've enjoyed the ride, even if it meant being cursed with Shaka's rudderless leadership for another 5-6 years.

Great moments aren't guaranteed, so you've gotta embrace them when they come along.

The same applies to Gergg. Yes, he's gotten results, like getting out of group just now, and last year's Gold Cup and Nation's League trophies. Plus, he seems to have fostered a team bond--the athletes walk and talk like they are playing for each other, and that's the sort of chemistry you need to succeed.

So I am enjoying the ride--and will continue to do so even if it means Berhalter remains in charge for another cycle--but I do feel it's despite him, not because of him. After all, this is the deepest and most skilled roster the US has ever fielded, and I write that without a hint of irony or overstatement.

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15 minutes ago, Braff Zacklin said:

Here's how I look at that:

Shaka's last Texas team had Final Four potential. The roster was stacked with a blend of size, experience and NBA-caliber athleticism. Though I believed Shaka was a terrible coach, if that team HAD lived up to its potential, I would've enjoyed the ride, even if it meant being cursed with Shaka's rudderless leadership for another 5-6 years.

Great moments aren't guaranteed, so you've gotta embrace them when they come along.

The same applies to Gergg. Yes, he's gotten results, like getting out of group just now, and last year's Gold Cup and Nation's League trophies. Plus, he seems to have fostered a team bond--the athletes walk and talk like they are playing for each other, and that's the sort of chemistry you need to succeed.

So I am enjoying the ride--and will continue to do so even if it means Berhalter remains in charge for another cycle--but I do feel it's despite him, not because of him. After all, this is the deepest and most skilled roster the US has ever fielded, and I write that without a hint of irony or overstatement.

I get what you're saying but I don't love that analogy. Gregg has already gotten this team a lot closer to what its ceiling should be on paper than Shaka ever did. 

I mean I think college basketball coaches are more important than intl team managers, but Shaka didn't even get Texas to what its baseline should be as a program. Gregg has at least done that. 

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22 hours ago, The Earl of Texas said:

Saturday December 3rd, 9am Texas time

Round of 16 play

FOX y Telemundo Deportes

22 hours ago, YGIFS said:

What the fuck is 8am, Texas Time?  

That’s when the game starts in El Paso.

 

15 hours ago, MNLonghornFUKM said:

…As a fellow nato member since 1949, they’d be speaking German if it wasn’t for us. England knew, and the Dutch should recognize…


My buddy’s mom was born & raised in The Netherlands (post WW II) and she grew up speaking German, so… 🏳️

She also learned Dutch, English, & French, but she most certainly is fluent in German.

(…As are my German friends who speak German, English, and usually at least one or two other languages.)

 

13 hours ago, TexArcher said:

…a football power like the Netherlands.  But looking at the rosters that will meet on Sat, the names on the back of the jerseys, that's what I see.  Hence, I think this is where some of the smart money will say things like, "there's value on USMNT here."


About those name on the back of the jerseys, this might be the time to inform you that the “J” in Dutch is pronounced like the “Y” in “yellow”, so those names might know mean who you think they mean.

 

12 hours ago, HornOnTheBayou said:

My son has a soccer game near the Dell Diamond in Round Rock that should finish around 9:30. Any places around there to watch the game? I need a place that will still have open seats at halftime and is teenager-friendly. Thoughts


I think that you dump the kid at the soccer fields early and go stake out a table at the pub mentioned above and let the little shit take an Uber/LYFT…

That’s what I think.

 

3 hours ago, Braff Zacklin said:

** It was the right call, but Bale definitely milked it. Had his back to goal, not much of a threat and not much contact; unfortunate that Zimmerman forgot himself and gave Bale an excuse to go to ground.

As I have posted before…

Bale wasn’t just standing on the ball with his back to goal and then suddenly Zimmerman spazzes and decided to plow right through him. 

When Zimmerman started his large body in motion with designs on lunging to toe poke the ball out of the box, Bale was behind Zimm’s right shoulder. 

Think of the FLASH character from the TV series when you think of what Bale did to Zimm. 

Bale saw the ball, saw Sl—Mo Zimm start his lumbering body in motion and then quickly kept in front of Zimm and established position between Zimm’s slow moving boot and the ball. As slow as Zimm is to start moving, he’s at least slow to stop moving (like an oil tanker) and due to Bale’s Flash-like twitch, suddenly Zimm is moving forward in slow motion and there is nothing he can do to prevent himself from smashing through Bale. 

The best way for Walker to have prevented this with his limited reflexes would have been to:

1) Been aware of where Bale was in that instance, and…

2) Moved to the right so that Bale would have plowed over him in attempt to get to the ball. 
 

IN SUMMARY: Walker’s move to go straight at the ball was never going to be a winning strategy with his slow twitch muscles and Bale just out of his peripheral vision. 

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2 hours ago, Bodhi said:

I wouldn't say we have been anemic in the offensive half.  In fact, I think this team has more quality attacking than any US team I've seen in my lifetime.  There is actual creative build up play and good ball movement.  Our finishing, as mentioned, continues to be poor.  Also somewhat new, our set pieces are complete garbage.  Having one or two dangerous corners against the Netherlands would be fucking nice. 

I would say that our output has been anemic. I think our tactics (or lack of them in the final 1/3) have contributed to that. I think our talent is loaded such that we should score a lot more.

It was me that say this team wins despite Gregg. I will back off that a touch for one reason, but harp on it for another:

Our team is playing defense really strong. That is on Gregg. Despite turtling yesterday (which opened us up to more attack), Gregg has had his defensive philosophy pretty sound. If not for a bone head tackle in the box, this team could be 2 wins 1 draw with 3 shutouts. 

Again, I will harp on Gregg for the offense because we just have no plan of what to do in the box beyond cross it or score goals on breaks, which is where are natural talent is allowed to be free.

And I will give him credit for what he is doing thus far. We are undefeated, have not conceded a goal in open play, and we made it out of our group. The Group part was Gregg's job. Let's see how he handles the Netherlands (and like many I think we can win this game - without going to PKs).

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19 hours ago, Braff Zacklin said:

True, our Yanks have been anemic in the offensive half, but I will blame that on customary poor finishing and--also customary--poor coaching/strategy. (Each match was a tale of two halves.)

For some reason, I like this pairing with the Dutch and sense that our boys are going to rise up, buck their habit of choking in front of goal, and overcome Gergg's inscrutable tactics and roster decisions.

It's not that our finishing has been poor, it's that we create very few chances.

Our combined xG for the three games in group play was 2.6 and we scored two goals. If we were creating chances and simply not finishing them, I'd be much less concerned about our attack. But we don't create for shit and that is seriously worrying, especially against a really good Dutch back line.

 

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3 hours ago, 406W30th said:

It's not that our finishing has been poor, it's that we create very few chances.

If we were creating chances and simply not finishing them, I'd be much less concerned about our attack.

But we don't create for shit and that is seriously worrying, especially against a really good Dutch back line.

 

So you’re saying:

”For the love of God…

START JESÚS!!”

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8 hours ago, Zepol87 said:

If any of you mofos are in north DFW area, our group Barra 76 is having a watch party at legacy hall with the big screen and sound on in the courtyard area. 

Damn if only I didn't have work on Saturdays I would so be there! Me and my fellow weekend coworkers will be watching in the office. 

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7 minutes ago, tokamak said:

We're gonna have to figure out CB over the next 4 years

I'm not worried about CB in 2026. We'll have Richards and Miles and whatever teenagers break out before then. And potentially an elder-statesman Zimmerman on the end of the bench - although it would be nice to have 4 guys better than what you'd expect he is at 31.

LB and striker are still the positions we need some guys to emerge at. 

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12 minutes ago, Pato del Muerto said:

Do we get all of our matches in the US?

I'm not sure - I don't think that's been hammered out yet.

For the record, I still think the triple host thing is super dumb. Apparently the confirmed bids for 2030 so far are:

  • Morocco
  • Uruguay + Argentina + Paraguay + Chile
  • Spain + Portugal + Ukraine
  • Egypt + Greece + Saudi Arabia

I mean, what the fuck?

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11 minutes ago, Pato del Muerto said:

Do we get all of our matches in the US?

Probably? At least in the group stage.

I am just saying this based on the 2002 WC when Korea & Japan had a joint hosting. Their group stages were in their own countries. They were there for the KO rounds, though I don't know how controllable that is.

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We are talking about FIFA.   Where do you think they are going to be playing KO stage games?  75-100+K NFL stadiums in the US, or 40K BMO MLS stadium in Toronto or 50K Stadium in Vancouver.    Mexico City is definitely getting KO stage matches, but the other stadiums in Mexico hold 53K & 48K.   

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32 minutes ago, tokamak said:

Uruguay + Argentina + Paraguay + Chile

This one is super cool. That's a cup I'd entertain going to. 

32 minutes ago, tokamak said:
  • Spain + Portugal + Ukraine
  • Egypt + Greece + Saudi Arabia

These are both stupid beyond belief. 

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13 minutes ago, Bottlecap said:

Any recs for a gamewatching spot near the north side of campus? I don't think Crown will be open by 9am from the 5 mins of research I did online. Other ideas?

North side of campus, no. 

Scholz, Haymaker and the Tavern all come to mind around that periphery. 

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26 minutes ago, ztejas said:

North side of campus, no. 

Scholz, Haymaker and the Tavern all come to mind around that periphery. 

I hadn't thought of Scholz, and to be honest, I've never watched a Texas game there.  They can pack a lot of people outside, but do they have a big screen up at the stage area? Weather looks to be pretty good for watching outside.

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40 minutes ago, ztejas said:

North side of campus, no. 

Scholz, Haymaker and the Tavern all come to mind around that periphery. 

Speaking of - anyone going to or heard of good watch parties? Thinking about trying to do something like that. I'll be north of the river tomorrow. Assuming one of the FC spots will do something? 

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58 minutes ago, Blotto said:

I hadn't thought of Scholz, and to be honest, I've never watched a Texas game there.  They can pack a lot of people outside, but do they have a big screen up at the stage area? Weather looks to be pretty good for watching outside.

Took my family to the UT-RGV basketball game last saturday and popped in Scholz pregame. Even in the heart of college football saturday (OSU-MI even), they were showing MEX-ARG on the majority of the indoor screens, including in that little annex where you order food with full on sound. Granted it was MEX-ARG, but i imagine they'd do that for a US game, especially in the morning. There was no outdoor screen other than the regular TV setup though it be a lot cooler if they did.

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1 hour ago, ztejas said:

North side of campus, no. 

Scholz, Haymaker and the Tavern all come to mind around that periphery. 

Thanks. I need to be north campus by the music school bc my freakin 4 and 6 year old have their winter concert starting at 10:30. My wife game me the go ahead to watch until she texts me that they're nearly on. Freakin' music nerds.

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2 minutes ago, Bottlecap said:

Thanks. I need to be north campus by the music school bc my freakin 4 and 6 year old have their winter concert starting at 10:30. My wife game me the go ahead to watch until she texts me that they're nearly on. Freakin' music nerds.

Yeah I mean you could at least call C&A and the posse to confirm. 

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