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Old 07-09-2019, 10:24 AM   #1
miami_fan
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Soccer Thread 2019-2020

Not too much talk about the African Cup of Nations in the other thread but now the competition has reached the quarterfinals. And 39 days since Liverpool won the UEFA Champions League and 42 days since Chelsea won the Europa League, both competitions have started once again.
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Old 07-09-2019, 10:46 AM   #2
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African Cup of Nations has finally thinned out most of the bad teams trying to play for 0-0 and there have actually been a few good games in the last 16, even if the atmosphere at the games has been terrible. No interest from Egyptian fans. Looking forward to Nigeria v South Africa tomorrow though, South Africa looked good knocking out Egypt.

Champions League prelim rounds coverage starts on B/R today, Ararat v AIK Stockholm now, HJK Helsinki v Torshavn next, FK Sudova v Crvena Zvezda Belgrade. It's like the long horrible summer of no real soccer is finally coming to an end.
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Old 07-10-2019, 05:28 PM   #3
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So, the new CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying is out.

If you're in the top six, you play off for the three full spots, no qualification needed.

The other 29 spots? Get shuffled into 8 qualifying groups, and then the 8 group winners play a series of knockout rounds, and the winner? Plays against the fourth place team from the Hex for the Intercontinental playoff spot.

So teams in the 7th-12th range that are up and coming, like Canada, Panama, Trinidad, etcetera?? They get fucked. Horribly. Sure, you have probably a semi-easy qualifying group, but then three knockout rounds against teams at your own level, and THEN you play the fourth place team from the hex, THEN you play against a CONEMBOL (South America) team.
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Old 07-10-2019, 06:10 PM   #4
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So, the new CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying is out.

If you're in the top six, you play off for the three full spots, no qualification needed.

The other 29 spots? Get shuffled into 8 qualifying groups, and then the 8 group winners play a series of knockout rounds, and the winner? Plays against the fourth place team from the Hex for the Intercontinental playoff spot.

So teams in the 7th-12th range that are up and coming, like Canada, Panama, Trinidad, etcetera?? They get fucked. Horribly. Sure, you have probably a semi-easy qualifying group, but then three knockout rounds against teams at your own level, and THEN you play the fourth place team from the hex, THEN you play against a CONEMBOL (South America) team.

CONCACAF is a disaster.

I felt like they should ditch the round before the hex and make the final round 10 teams. After the top 10, it gets real slim.
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Old 07-10-2019, 06:21 PM   #5
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oh, and this new format was hatched because:

(2016 article)

Concacaf set to fix 'archaic' World Cup qualifying to give more teams a shot | Football | The Guardian

From the article:

Concacaf president Victor Montagliani has instigated a review of an “archaic” format that leaves only six out of the region’s 35 teams still in with a shot at qualifying for Russia in 2018.

The end result?

Well, let's see how much has changed..

The format that leaves only six out of the region's 35 teams still in with a shot for DIRECT QUALIFICATION for QATAR in 2022.



Plus ca change., Plus ca le meme chose..

Or as the Who would sing: "MEET THE NEW BOSS.. SAME AS THE OLD BOSS"
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Old 07-10-2019, 10:21 PM   #6
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Absolutely ridiculous by CONCACAF.
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Old 07-10-2019, 10:45 PM   #7
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Doing anything by FIFA rankings is the most absurd thing ever, never mind basically getting a free pass to a 50/50 shot at World Cup qualification.

Is there any reason it needs to be some massively convoluted four round process? Federations with more teams seem to make it far less complicated... why not just start with 8 groups of 4, winner of each group goes through to two groups of 4. All teams get at least 6 games and a shot at moving on for full qualification, and then 8 teams get another 6 to qualify. Infinitely more fair and less fixture congestion as well.
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Old 07-10-2019, 11:00 PM   #8
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It's Concacaf & FIFA... someone's getting paid somewhere because of this system.

In coincidental timing, Jack Warner was ordered to pay back $79 million in bribes from his time with Concacaf. $79 million!!! Ex-FIFA executive Jack Warner ordered to pay $79 million – ProSoccerTalk
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Old 07-10-2019, 11:52 PM   #9
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bhiloy: The top teams want to protect their spot at the top of the standings. The middle teams want to be able to make money off playing the US and Mexico (remember, in CONCACAF, the home team controls the video rights, I remember last qualification cycle BeIN Sports got several USA away World Cup Qualifiers because the Caribbean nations were demanding an extortionate amount of money from ESPN/FS).

The tiny teams? They're small and can be bribed.
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Old 07-11-2019, 10:47 AM   #10
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How fluid are the FIFA rankings? How many different teams could realistically work their way into the top 6 in the next year, or are the top 6 pretty much locked in because of lack of opportunities between now and then?

Edit: For example, regarding Canada, Panama, and Haiti getting "screwed" - they all have been top 6 at points in the recent past, couldn't they possibly get there again in the next 11 months?

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Old 07-11-2019, 12:22 PM   #11
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bhiloy: The top teams want to protect their spot at the top of the standings. The middle teams want to be able to make money off playing the US and Mexico (remember, in CONCACAF, the home team controls the video rights, I remember last qualification cycle BeIN Sports got several USA away World Cup Qualifiers because the Caribbean nations were demanding an extortionate amount of money from ESPN/FS).

The tiny teams? They're small and can be bribed.

The new system takes games vs the US and Mexico off the table though, it doesn't add them. Jamaica would currently be the only team from the Caribbean to even play in the hex, the rest would all miss out and be guaranteed not to play the big two once. I just can't see any world in which this makes sense except for a basically non-existent chance that one of the smaller teams can make it through and an easier path for the US and Mexico (which may well be the true goal given all the ad and TV money missed out on in 2018).
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Old 07-11-2019, 03:20 PM   #12
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How fluid are the FIFA rankings? How many different teams could realistically work their way into the top 6 in the next year, or are the top 6 pretty much locked in because of lack of opportunities between now and then?

Edit: For example, regarding Canada, Panama, and Haiti getting "screwed" - they all have been top 6 at points in the recent past, couldn't they possibly get there again in the next 11 months?

The only spot that really is up for grabs is probably sixth place, because there's only 11 months (which is not a long time in FIFA Rankings), most matches are already set, and in several cases, they already have CONCACAF Nations League games against minnows set which won't earn them many points)
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Old 07-12-2019, 12:52 PM   #13
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The only spot that really is up for grabs is probably sixth place, because there's only 11 months (which is not a long time in FIFA Rankings), most matches are already set, and in several cases, they already have CONCACAF Nations League games against minnows set which won't earn them many points)
To put this "11 months" into perspective, since the FIFA Rankings of August 2018, the top5 in the CONCACAF all remained in that order (1 Mexico, 2 USA, 3 Costa Rica, 4 Jamaica, 5 Honduras), while Panama lost 6th place to El Salvador. El Salvador improved from 1332 to 1342 'points', while Panama dropped from 1343 to 1322 'points'.
Spots 8 through 15 all remained where they were (8 Canada, 9 Curacao, 10 Trinidad & Tobago, 11 Haiti, 12 Antigua & Barbuda, 13 Nicaragua, 14 St Kitts & Nevis, 15 Guatemala), all with pretty marginal changes in point totals. The gaps between teams are roughly 30 points each. In these 10 months time the biggest changes have been Panama losing 19 points and Costa Rica gaining 18 points.

All that before applying the recent Gold Cup results, which (as I understand from www.football-rankings.info) will see some bigger shifts in point totals (Haiti +69, USA +53, Nicaragua -43, Mexico +42, T&T -34, Jamaica +28), with the new order expected to be 1 Mexico, 2 USA, 3 Costa Rica, 4 Jamaica, 5 Honduras, 6 El Salvador, 7 Panama, 8 Canada, 9 Curacao, 10 Haiti, 11 Trinidad & Tobago, 12 Antigua & Barbuda, 13 St Kitts & Nevis, 14 Nicaragua, 15 Guatemala.

So yeah, 12 months (with August 2018 to August 2019 as an example), is very little time to be able to move spots up.
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Old 07-12-2019, 01:09 PM   #14
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Yeah, I hate that we have to do it, but after the last two cycles I get the rationale for giving the US & Mexico special treatment & an extra shot at it. It makes no sense though to draw the cutoff at 6 when team 3-11 are basically toss-ups. Haiti seems to be the one getting screwed the most, but Curacao & Canada are also on somewhat of an upswing & don't look like they can get into the top 6.

As bad as the optics would be they should just say Mexico & the US (or phrase it as top 2 if you must) get a bye to the final hex, then do two 6 team hexes with #1 in each getting a WC slot & then a 4-team hex with #2/3 on each side competing for the last auto qualifier & that 4th slot that plays South America or Oceania or whatever it is these days.
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Old 07-12-2019, 03:10 PM   #15
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One other thing that strikes me is that historically the USMNT has got an elevated sense of where it really is by getting good results ahead of big tournaments in friendlies, and while there's not a ton of value in travelling to Belize to win 7-0 there is something to be said about a grueling competitive qualification schedule to build team spirit and lead into the actual tournament. I do think there's a danger that by fast tracking the US and Mexico into the hex you are missing out on some competitive games and the chance to build a squad greater than the sum of it's parts over a full qualifying process.

It's worth noting that Europe and South America don't do any separating of the wheat from the chaff - admittedly there aren't any shitty teams in South America but you don't generally see European teams complaining about having to play in Azerbaijan on a Tuesday night.
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Old 07-12-2019, 03:47 PM   #16
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One other thing that strikes me is that historically the USMNT has got an elevated sense of where it really is by getting good results ahead of big tournaments in friendlies, and while there's not a ton of value in travelling to Belize to win 7-0 there is something to be said about a grueling competitive qualification schedule to build team spirit and lead into the actual tournament. I do think there's a danger that by fast tracking the US and Mexico into the hex you are missing out on some competitive games and the chance to build a squad greater than the sum of it's parts over a full qualifying process.

It's worth noting that Europe and South America don't do any separating of the wheat from the chaff - admittedly there aren't any shitty teams in South America but you don't generally see European teams complaining about having to play in Azerbaijan on a Tuesday night.
Actually there are shitty teams in South America, they just let them play in CONCACAF for whatever reason.

I've never really seen over confidence due to friendly results in the World Cup - 10-40 are just very fluid, especially if you had a good GK like the US basically always does, and I'd say 2002/2010/2014 they performed above or at least to expectations - even 2006 they were in a really tough group & lost a winner take all game vs a Ghana side led by Stephen Appiah & Michael Essien. The 2018 embarrassment has a bunch of things we can blame it on, but it wasn't like the US in those years was getting good results in friendlies either - it was a bad cycle of players in their primes combined with atrocious management. And even if you thought more games would be better for team chemistry (I doubt it, though it would certainly be more fair for other teams) with half the good players of every decent team in Europe it also does make a longer schedule with more games more difficult than the geographically tighter UEFA (especially if you discount the couple massive outliers in the East.)

I will add that I'm excited to see how this Nations League stuff plays out, and support any increased collaboration with CONMEBOL or inclusion of the US/Mexico in every Copa America.

Last edited by BishopMVP : 07-12-2019 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 07-16-2019, 11:21 AM   #17
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One other thing that strikes me is that historically the USMNT has got an elevated sense of where it really is by getting good results ahead of big tournaments in friendlies, and while there's not a ton of value in travelling to Belize to win 7-0 there is something to be said about a grueling competitive qualification schedule to build team spirit and lead into the actual tournament. I do think there's a danger that by fast tracking the US and Mexico into the hex you are missing out on some competitive games and the chance to build a squad greater than the sum of it's parts over a full qualifying process.

It's worth noting that Europe and South America don't do any separating of the wheat from the chaff - admittedly there aren't any shitty teams in South America but you don't generally see European teams complaining about having to play in Azerbaijan on a Tuesday night.
Beating Belize 7-0 in a friendly will only damage the FIFA Ranking, it has been that way in all the various rankings systems FIFA has used in the last 2 decades. Apparently it's better to not play any friendlies at all (like what Poland did prior to the 2018 World Cup to become a top seed).

That complaining is certainly going on in Europe as well, the top countries really aren't interested in playing against Gibraltar, Andorra, San Marino, Liechtenstein and Malta. At various times have 'experts' asked for preliminary rounds for the weaker half of federations, to make the schedule easier on all involved and make the competitiveness in the qualifiers increase in level.
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Old 07-29-2019, 07:23 PM   #18
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USSF finally responds to the USWNT Equal Pay charade, but they've already effectively lost in the court of public opinion. USSF says USWNT has made more than the men
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Old 07-29-2019, 09:36 PM   #19
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Legally speaking, this argument really is a winning one however. And I have seen a number of people online who were surprised at finally realizing that the USWNT get paid a salary.

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Old 07-29-2019, 10:44 PM   #20
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Yes, I hate defending the USSF but the pressure should be on the advertisers and FIFA. Some big advertisers have already at least pledged to pay equal fees for both sides in America, FIFA will presumably be less responsive.

It's definitely amusing to see the USWNT lawyer argue that NWSL salaries for national team players - which are paid for by the USSF as part of their CBA - shouldn't count.
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Old 08-09-2019, 02:51 PM   #21
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What kind of Wi(t)ch gets burned four times in 45 minutes?

Norwich.

4-0 Liverpool at halftime
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Old 08-14-2019, 04:07 PM   #22
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So, Jorginho is a fan favorite now for Chelsea?
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Old 08-18-2019, 02:59 AM   #23
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Bundesliga shaping up to be another close affair. Actually think Dortmund are favourites ... First 11 is a wash between them and Bayern (even with Coutinho), but Dortmunds bench is much, much deeper. Other than CB and CM, Bayern are spread so thin that 2 injuries would mean they have to play a guy way out of position or play a kid with no business being on the pitch (5 of 9 subs last game were U19 and none of them anywhere close to bluechip prospects).
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Old 08-18-2019, 06:18 AM   #24
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Bundesliga shaping up to be another close affair. Actually think Dortmund are favourites ... First 11 is a wash between them and Bayern (even with Coutinho), but Dortmunds bench is much, much deeper. Other than CB and CM, Bayern are spread so thin that 2 injuries would mean they have to play a guy way out of position or play a kid with no business being on the pitch (5 of 9 subs last game were U19 and none of them anywhere close to bluechip prospects).

Are you just hedging your bets?

I really think Dortmund are clear favorites. I am really down on Bayern. If their name was Ausberg, I think people would be more comfortable putting them lower in the table. Now lower in the table is relative for Bayern of course. There are not competing for Europa league spots. My top three are Dortmund, Leipzig, and then Bayern. I really think Bayern could have a league form similar to Real Madrid the last couple of years.
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Old 08-25-2019, 12:40 PM   #25
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If today's newcastle-tottenham game happened in FM, you'd blame the match engine, and give it the old three-finger salute.
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Old 09-01-2019, 07:30 PM   #26
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Attending the first soccer match of my life. Zlatan has a goal and just missed on a couple others. Pretty sure I took more steps walking into the stadium than he has this match too.
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Old 09-07-2019, 12:31 AM   #27
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USMNT continues to be a mess.
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Old 09-07-2019, 07:05 AM   #28
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I mean, not that the whole game already wasn't embarassing enough, but that run from 70-80 minutes was just so poor. Steffen and the back line were clueless.
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Old 09-07-2019, 09:47 AM   #29
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We're only good vs good teams when we're counterattacking. We've only been good when we're counterattacking for 25 years. So why do we keep trying to play out of the back like we're Barcelona or an elite club side?

I will also admit that while I'm happy to take the growing pains, this is what happens when you put like 7 young & inexperienced players together (or just shitty ones in Morales & Trapp's case). Even the ones I think can be part of the 22 cycle like McKennie, Steffen & Dest had massive gaffes.
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Old 09-07-2019, 09:49 AM   #30
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On the plus side I was real worried after the first 20 minutes the Netherlands would make a strong push for Dest before we cap tie him, but if they watched those last 70 minutes they won't have much urgency.
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Old 09-08-2019, 05:14 PM   #31
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On the plus side I was real worried after the first 20 minutes the Netherlands would make a strong push for Dest before we cap tie him, but if they watched those last 70 minutes they won't have much urgency.
The kid has played 3 matches in the Eredivisie so far, 1 from start to finish. Even for the usually overhyped Ajax youth academy products, where every kid playing a full game in the Eredivisie get's the "good enough for Oranje?" talk by the (Amsterdam-centric) media, it's a bit early to get that overexcited for a fullback. Apparently he's never been called up for any Oranje youth team before, which is weird for an Ajax-product. But the story to get called up by Team USA was reason enough for a mini-article in Voetbal International, I think the most read soccer magazine.

Still, smart to get him into the Team USA this quickly. Perhaps they've taken notes from what Morocco's been doing (which is politically a much more sensitive country that the USA is to poach kids born and raised in the Netherlands to play for their grandparents' homeland, something most Dutchmen should actually understand, given how loyal they usually are in supporting their own silly commercially motivated soccer clubs). Or lessons learned by Team USA from other kids with double passports active in other countries.
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Old 09-09-2019, 10:30 AM   #32
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We're only good vs good teams when we're counterattacking. We've only been good when we're counterattacking for 25 years. So why do we keep trying to play out of the back like we're Barcelona or an elite club side?

I will also admit that while I'm happy to take the growing pains, this is what happens when you put like 7 young & inexperienced players together (or just shitty ones in Morales & Trapp's case). Even the ones I think can be part of the 22 cycle like McKennie, Steffen & Dest had massive gaffes.

Yes... insane overreactions online. For years, USMNT fans have said they want to do something other than bunker and counter. And Berhalter, in a friendly, decides let's play out of the back with our young core and see what happens. Remember in the Gold Cup Final (a game that meant something), the team did not play this way.

The team did really well in places (especially the first 20-25 minutes). They won't be playing Mexico like this in Qualifying. But... against some of the other teams in CONCACAF, it may be worthwile to know how to play with some possession.

Also, I'm not sure how Steffen, who's come up under Berhalter, was that bad playing Berhalter's system even with Mexico's swarming press.
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Old 09-09-2019, 11:19 AM   #33
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The kid has played 3 matches in the Eredivisie so far, 1 from start to finish. Even for the usually overhyped Ajax youth academy products, where every kid playing a full game in the Eredivisie get's the "good enough for Oranje?" talk by the (Amsterdam-centric) media, it's a bit early to get that overexcited for a fullback. Apparently he's never been called up for any Oranje youth team before, which is weird for an Ajax-product. But the story to get called up by Team USA was reason enough for a mini-article in Voetbal International, I think the most read soccer magazine.

Still, smart to get him into the Team USA this quickly. Perhaps they've taken notes from what Morocco's been doing (which is politically a much more sensitive country that the USA is to poach kids born and raised in the Netherlands to play for their grandparents' homeland, something most Dutchmen should actually understand, given how loyal they usually are in supporting their own silly commercially motivated soccer clubs). Or lessons learned by Team USA from other kids with double passports active in other countries.
For all the talk, especially under Klinsmann, of going after dual nationals I don't think we've actually aggressively cap tied young players. Bringing Julian Green to the 2014 World Cup is the one example I can think of, but we've "lost" multiple other potential players who at least stated they would've been open to a USMNT call-up if it happened earlier. I think Dest is getting it because other than Yedlin we haven't had an international quality (natural) outside back since who, Steve Cherundolo? I want Tyler Adams in the middle next to Weston McKennie in 2 years, not playing fullback!

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Yes... insane overreactions online. For years, USMNT fans have said they want to do something other than bunker and counter. And Berhalter, in a friendly, decides let's play out of the back with our young core and see what happens. Remember in the Gold Cup Final (a game that meant something), the team did not play this way.

The team did really well in places (especially the first 20-25 minutes). They won't be playing Mexico like this in Qualifying. But... against some of the other teams in CONCACAF, it may be worthwile to know how to play with some possession.

Also, I'm not sure how Steffen, who's come up under Berhalter, was that bad playing Berhalter's system even with Mexico's swarming press.
I hate when people say bunker and counter. We didn't bunker in '02/'06/'10, but we did counter and play to our strengths. Klinsmann bunkered in '14 for all his pretty talk.

I'm sure the overreactions would've been less if this ended 1-0 or 2-1 instead of that last 20 minute abortion, but there's trying to play better soccer & build a system, and banging a square peg into a round hole. When we're playing Mexico and we're athletically superior (or at least equal), technically worse, and they're playing very high pressure you have to play long balls. There's other middling problems like Gyasi Zardes being better as a winger than a target forward, but when we looked good Friday or in the Gold Cup final it was when we played longer balls and gave players space or 1v1 matchups up the field. There's lots of really good club/national teams out there who play that way in certain matchups because it gives them the best chance to win, idk why so many people are obsessed with playing one way (and not saying you are, just ranting here )
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Old 09-09-2019, 12:12 PM   #34
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On some level you do have to be somewhat proficient in possession. That doesn't mean you go all Spain 2010, but when an opposing team is closing down counterattacks by playing a low block, having a different way to break that down is helpful. And friendlies are designed to experiment in those ways. If it doesn't work, don't use it in games that count. If it shows promise, then you can have it in your toolbelt.

On some level, that match vs. Mexico probably should have been 1-0 or 2-1. The second goal was a terrible play by Steffen. The third was a counter attack after pushing everyone forward for at least one goal. And Sargent took a terrible penalty to prevent us from getting one back.

Oh, and granted we didn't bunker much under Arena 1.0, but there was a reason that Bob Bradley's nickname with the USMNT was "Bunker Bob" (even though that completely ignores the highly offensive side he managed in 2008 and 2009).
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Last edited by ISiddiqui : 09-09-2019 at 12:14 PM.
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Old 09-09-2019, 12:56 PM   #35
BishopMVP
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Bradley did start out very defensively with the double DM system, but actually started attacking partway through his tenure.

I also think that, well, every game against Mexico matters even more than other friendlies like the Uruguay one, and both games we've lost recently we started well then our mid game adjustment was to play more small ball in the back & we looked much much worse as each game went on. If you think that we'd look much better with Adams & Brooks & even a Tim Ream in there or it'll be valuable to play this way vs other CONCACAF teams fine, but we didn't have them & we weren't playing them.
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Old 09-09-2019, 01:45 PM   #36
ISiddiqui
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Friendlies against Mexico matter just as much as friendlies against Uruguay. They are friendlies.

One also does wonder if Sean Johnson were back there would we have looked that bad - Steffen just doesn't do well with the ball at his feet.
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Old 09-09-2019, 02:04 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ISiddiqui View Post
Friendlies against Mexico matter just as much as friendlies against Uruguay. They are friendlies.

One also does wonder if Sean Johnson were back there would we have looked that bad - Steffen just doesn't do well with the ball at his feet.
Ehh, it wasn't all on Steffen though. For all I'm ready to move on from Bradley he does a much better job showing for the ball & at least trying the occasional long diagonal pass than anyone did Friday other than maybe Pulisic, who shouldn't be back within 30 yards of the goal regardless. McKennie has the youth excuse, idk why people like Morales or his performance at all, and I don't think anyone knows why Berhalter likes Trapp so much.

Of course friendlies don't matter as much as Gold Cup finals or WCQ's or the one World Cup game we've ever played, but agree to disagree on the Mexico part too. We're always going to be linked to Mexico, and them with us. Qualifying for the World Cup and staying in the top 2 in CONCACAF is a must, but past that making the knockout rounds and at least being back on equal footing with Mexico (if not re-achieving the decade of dominance we had over them) are the two realistic goals in my eyes.
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