USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter knocks John Brooks out of World Cup qualifiers

Leaving John Brooks was a mistake.

Leaving John Brooks was a mistake.
Image: beautiful pictures

Expected, disappointing. Two words that best describe my reaction when I saw the U.S. Men’s National Team roster for the final trio of Octagon World Cup Qualifiers, starting next week. In addition to the core, must-have players and super-subs, which any minded football fan can call into the team, player selections to help Yanks book accommodation Qatar, or failed in the second – light cycle, is confusing.

By far, the biggest shortcoming is midfielder John Brooks.

Brooks is an old-school bully, pushing attackers out of the ball and physically imposing his grip on every game. His form for German club Wolfsburg was below average a few months ago, leading to his absence from November’s octagon games against Mexico and Jamaica. The 29-year-old has not been called up since, although his play has returned to a familiar style. He’s a veritable brick wall in defense, the necessary stopper for the most adverse road environments. Brooks torments opponents on the upcoming U.S. trip to Estadio Azteca to face Mexican rivals on Thursday and a potential must-win in Costa Rica would be good.

USMNT Head Coach Gregg Berhalter had a chance on Friday morning to approve his mistake, and is still completely wrong.

Sergino Dest, who suffered a foot injury on Thursday for Barcelona, ​​has been called up to the 27-man squad but will not play in the crucial trio. In his place was George Bello, a brilliant player. He’s nowhere near Brooks’ skill, even if it’s not a similar converter. Even young Joe Scally is further ahead in development than Bello. If age is a factor, choose Shaq Moore. It was a typical sloppiness that identified in the last few months of Berhalter’s tenure and made me pause seriously about whether he should lead the USMNT after the 2022 FIFA World Cup, even if Americans qualify and succeed on the biggest courts. He definitely fired the shot without the automatic landing after this match window.

Another concern is the inclusion of Paul Arriola in place of Josh Sargent, who has been revived following a winter move to Norwich City. While Arriola’s experience with high-pressure games and 43 caps is valuable, what has he really done to stand out for the Yanks over the past year? Sadly, he will likely get prime time in the next window instead of a younger, better player. Anything that convinces Berhalter to keep giving FC Dallas a big role is incomprehensible.

Oddly enough, the United States was talented enough to cover up Berhalter’s shortcomings. People like Christian Pulisic, Tyler Adams, Antonee Robinson and more make this a deep pool of players to choose from. There is a blessing in disguise that there is so much good, a rarity for the USMNT that Berhalter enjoys exploiting. The hardline American Outlaws have probably memorized this next piece of information: the American men are in solid form to advance to Qatar. Their position can and should be better, but it could also be much worse.

The magic number of points the US needs to book tickets to Qatar in November is six, which means it also needs five to secure a final spot and make sure the journey doesn’t end this month. The team that is ranked 4th is Panama, the only remaining home opponent of the US in this 14-leg round-robin match. In a word, the March 27 win in Orlando, Fla., over Los Canaleros brought the magic number down to zero in the head-to-head matchup against Panama. If fifth-place Costa Rica drops a single point against first-place Canada or from a mid lane game against El Salvador, the trip to San Jose to close this phase of WCQ on March 30 will be irrelevant. to the possibility of the Americans becoming one of 32 teams at the World Cup. They will be in.

What makes the level uncertain is the quality of play the United States has shown in the past 11 WCQ finals games, especially against the best of the best. Nothing from 180 minutes ago Canada can give any American fan hope. Taking away Honduras in last place, the team the Americans should beat in this round, they have two laning points, a draw against Jamaica and El Salvador. The superb second half in Cincinnati against Mexico and the game against Jamaica in Austin were the outliers, not the norm. That is a big problem.

Hurt to destroy, Midfielder Weston McKennie and goalkeeper Matt Turner will keep the three American players out. How they make up for those losses (, with my picks of Reggie Cannon, Kellyn Acosta and Zack Steffen), will go a long way in determining the extent of instability the US faces over the two weeks next. Berhalter had the opportunity to assuage the skeptics by changing course with a number of roster picks. The young steps are there if you want to celebrate the return of Jordan Pefok after six months away from the team.

Small steps should not be on the table near the World Cup. These problems should have been resolved last year and the US was behind because of it. All the crap about “it’s hard to win on the road in CONCACAF” and “it’s impossible for the US to miss the World Cup twice in a row” are just excuses for poor play. Game conditions aren’t ideal at most CONCACAF stadiums down the road but you call the freezer the Americans provided Honduras in February, where players had to be substituted in break time to cool down? The fact that the US was eliminated from the qualifying round is very controversial. Yanks better play like that.

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