OT: Sweet 16

Fk_Pitt

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The World Cup is like the ncaa tourney. You fight hard over a long period of time to qualify, and the group stage is like the 1st and 2nd round. We’ve made it to the round of 16. Now it’s survive and advance.

 

BFo8

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US got it done, although the talent level they had on the field late was scarily pedestrian. Seeing this as an opening number:

USA +.5 +105
Ned -.5 -125

Seems about right, maybe a little light.
 

recruitsreadtheseboards

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Oh yeah........I have decided...

Great Lakes Christmas Ale, hell maybe a coffee type of creme brulee stout from Southern tier.

Sunny side up eggs, sausage patties, fried taters and italian toast.

Saturday AM here I come!!!!!

Banned. Grolsch, Heineken, Amstel........
 

Fk_Pitt

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Man. All our stars were involved in the goal. The pass from McKennie to Dest was such class. That’s why he’s a star. Dest showed why he’s class as well, and that goal is what Pulisic does best-arriving in the box.

Great team goal.

 
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Duneaux Harm

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Man. All our stars were involved in the goal. The pass from McKennie to Dest was such class. That’s why he’s a star. Dest showed why he’s class as well, and that goal is what Pulisic does best-arriving in the box.

Great team goal.

Absolutely that pass sequence was classic Spain!!!! I don’t know if we can beat the Dutch just because of our lack of scoring talent but it will be tight the whole match.

FK you follow this more deeply than me, but do we have a striker in the wings who will be ready in ‘26?
 

Fk_Pitt

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Absolutely that pass sequence was classic Spain!!!! I don’t know if we can beat the Dutch just because of our lack of scoring talent but it will be tight the whole match.

FK you follow this more deeply than me, but do we have a striker in the wings who will be ready in ‘26?
First off, regarding Netherlands, I think we have a real shot. It’s a really favorable draw. They aren’t France, England, Germany, Spain, Argentina, Brazil or even Croatia.

As far as a #9, I wouldn’t even say I follow the USMNT as closely as others…but my guess it’s gonna be from the same pool of guys we’ve seen and one is going to have to step up and really become a star over the next 4 years.
 

Duneaux Harm

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First off, regarding Netherlands, I think we have a real shot. It’s a really favorable draw. They aren’t France, England, Germany, Spain, Argentina, Brazil or even Croatia.

As far as a #9, I wouldn’t even say I follow the USMNT as closely as others…but my guess it’s gonna be from the same pool of guys we’ve seen and one is going to have to step up and really become a star over the next 4 years.
Don’t get me wrong there is no Group Winner besides the Dutch I would rather face but if they aren’t great they are still very good.
 

Sean Miller Fan

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Absolutely that pass sequence was classic Spain!!!! I don’t know if we can beat the Dutch just because of our lack of scoring talent but it will be tight the whole match.

FK you follow this more deeply than me, but do we have a striker in the wings who will be ready in ‘26?

I'm surprised FK didnt tell you Darryl Dike. He is the JJ Moore of the USMNT. He looks like he should be good. We want him to be good. But he isnt, at least not at this level.

The best hope for 2026 is Ricardo Pepi, who will only be 20 in January. He was a key figure in qualifying and scored maybe the biggest goal in qualifying away to Honduras in what was an early "must win" game. Lose there and we may not have qualified. However, he made a move from MLS to a really bad Bundesliga side so he didn't have many goal scoring opportunities and Berhalter (and many coaches) believe you have to be in goal scoring form so he didnt make the team. He's now doing well in the Dutch league which is a lower level but still higher than MLS. The hope is he can develop. He'd still only be 23 when the WC 2026 kicks off.

Other than him, Josh Sargent will be 23 in February. Still young but he's probably never going to be that out and out goal scorer. His hold up play has been very good in this tournament but he's never going to be at the level of Pulisic/McKennie, etc at his position.

I watched the U20s this summer and they have some good young talent but no one sticks out at that position. What they need to do is hire a coach who can develop a system to generate goals without a true #9. This isnt unheard of. Spain won championships playing a "false 9." The US's strength is its midfield and wings. They also have 3 of perhaps their best 5-6 players playing the same position. One of those guys, Gio Reyna has barely played because we are loaded at right wing. Many people including myself would like us to play our "best 11" meaning a guy like Weah or Reyna would play the 9. They aren't natural strikers but they are 2 of the best players on the team and need to be on the field. And when you look at guys coming up, Brendan Aaronson's brother and Quinn Sullivan may both be of WC quality by 2026. So you may be even more loaded in the midfield and on the wing. A coach has to convert someone and/or play a false 9.
 
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Fk_Pitt

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I'm surprised FK didnt tell you Darryl Dike. He is the JJ Moore of the USMNT. He looks like he should be good. We want him to be good. But he isnt, at least not at this level.

The best hope for 2026 is Ricardo Pepi, who will only be 20 in January. He was a key figure in qualifying and scored maybe the biggest goal in qualifying away to Honduras in what was an early "must win" game. Lose there and we may not have qualified. However, he made a move from MLS to a really bad Bundesliga side so he didn't have many goal scoring opportunities and Berhalter (and many coaches) believe you have to be in goal scoring form so he didnt make the team. He's now doing well in the Dutch league which is a lower level but still higher than MLS. The hope is he can develop. He'd still only be 23 when the WC 2026 kicks off.

Other than him, Josh Sargent will be 23 in February. Still young but he's probably never going to be that out and out goal scorer. His hold up play has been very good in this tournament but he's never going to be at the level of Pulisic/McKennie, etc at his position.

I watched the U20s this summer and they have some good young talent but no one sticks out at that position. What they need to do is hire a coach who can develop a system to generate goals without a true #9. This isnt unheard of. Spain won championships playing a "false 9." The US's strength is its midfield and wings. They also have 3 of perhaps their best 5-6 players playing the same position. One of those guys, Gio Reyna has barely played because we are loaded at right wing. Many people including myself would like us to play our "best 11" meaning a guy like Weah or Reyna would play the 9. They aren't natural strikers but they are 2 of the best players on the team and need to be on the field. And when you look at guys coming up, Brendan Aaronson's brother and Quinn Sullivan may both be of WC quality by 2026. So you may be even more loaded in the midfield and on the wing. A coach has to convert someone and/or play a false 9.
I equate the #9 position to hockey goalies. Often it just takes time. Guys like Pepi, Pefok, Sargent Slaughter, Dike and Ferreira will be 4 years older and better. But world class strikers don’t grow on trees. In our squad it’s a gaping hole. Sargents hold up play was pretty good yesterday.

Btw what did you guys think of the Sargent injury? I saw it as a problem with the soccer culture. It looked to me like he left his leg dragging behind a bit in order to draw a foul, and he got injured in the process.
 

Sean Miller Fan

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I equate the #9 position to hockey goalies. Often it just takes time. Guys like Pepi, Pefok, Sargent Slaughter, Dike and Ferreira will be 4 years older and better. But world class strikers don’t grow on trees. In our squad it’s a gaping hole. Sargents hold up play was pretty good yesterday.

Btw what did you guys think of the Sargent injury? I saw it as a problem with the soccer culture. It looked to me like he left his leg dragging behind a bit in order to draw a foul, and he got injured in the process.

Its never going to happen for your boy. He's barely playing in the Championship. You have to show something at the young ages.....like Pepi has at MLS and Eredivisie. Pepi is the best hope.
 

Duneaux Harm

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I equate the #9 position to hockey goalies. Often it just takes time. Guys like Pepi, Pefok, Sargent Slaughter, Dike and Ferreira will be 4 years older and better. But world class strikers don’t grow on trees. In our squad it’s a gaping hole. Sargents hold up play was pretty good yesterday.

Btw what did you guys think of the Sargent injury? I saw it as a problem with the soccer culture. It looked to me like he left his leg dragging behind a bit in order to draw a foul, and he got injured in the process.
Honestly I thought he just landed wrong. But maybe there was an attempt to embellish for a foul.
 

Duneaux Harm

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I'm surprised FK didnt tell you Darryl Dike. He is the JJ Moore of the USMNT. He looks like he should be good. We want him to be good. But he isnt, at least not at this level.

The best hope for 2026 is Ricardo Pepi, who will only be 20 in January. He was a key figure in qualifying and scored maybe the biggest goal in qualifying away to Honduras in what was an early "must win" game. Lose there and we may not have qualified. However, he made a move from MLS to a really bad Bundesliga side so he didn't have many goal scoring opportunities and Berhalter (and many coaches) believe you have to be in goal scoring form so he didnt make the team. He's now doing well in the Dutch league which is a lower level but still higher than MLS. The hope is he can develop. He'd still only be 23 when the WC 2026 kicks off.

Other than him, Josh Sargent will be 23 in February. Still young but he's probably never going to be that out and out goal scorer. His hold up play has been very good in this tournament but he's never going to be at the level of Pulisic/McKennie, etc at his position.

I watched the U20s this summer and they have some good young talent but no one sticks out at that position. What they need to do is hire a coach who can develop a system to generate goals without a true #9. This isnt unheard of. Spain won championships playing a "false 9." The US's strength is its midfield and wings. They also have 3 of perhaps their best 5-6 players playing the same position. One of those guys, Gio Reyna has barely played because we are loaded at right wing. Many people including myself would like us to play our "best 11" meaning a guy like Weah or Reyna would play the 9. They aren't natural strikers but they are 2 of the best players on the team and need to be on the field. And when you look at guys coming up, Brendan Aaronson's brother and Quinn Sullivan may both be of WC quality by 2026. So you may be even more loaded in the midfield and on the wing. A coach has to convert someone and/or play a false 9.
I strongly believe in a true 9. In my life trying to win tournaments without a 9 and relying on more of a false nine tends to get low scoring affairs with one mistake and the other team has a goal in the back of the net. A true 9 putting the lead to 3-0 is such a joy.
 
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I equate the #9 position to hockey goalies. Often it just takes time. Guys like Pepi, Pefok, Sargent Slaughter, Dike and Ferreira will be 4 years older and better. But world class strikers don’t grow on trees. In our squad it’s a gaping hole. Sargents hold up play was pretty good yesterday.

Btw what did you guys think of the Sargent injury? I saw it as a problem with the soccer culture. It looked to me like he left his leg dragging behind a bit in order to draw a foul, and he got injured in the process.
Could be but it was also a little freaky in that he came down on the ball.
 

Duneaux Harm

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So as it stands now Poland advances on “fair play points”? Dafuq?
Had that happen to my daughters soccer team at a tourney. Instead of ranking the teams the stupid tournament director put the first four teams in the first group. The first four were the most competitive and organized clubs so teams rank would be 1-4 in reality. The group play finished with each team winning one game, losing one game and tying one game. All wins were 1-0 and all ties were 0-0. There is no tiebreakers other than fair play. Our team got booted out first because we had two yellow cards. One was on the coach and the other was on the coach’s daughter. Then they flipped coins for the other three teams. Unreal.
 

Fk_Pitt

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Some will be interested to learn that for the World Cup in 2026 here in the states, FIFA is considering adding penalty shootouts and eliminating ties for group play stage.
 

Sean Miller Fan

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[/QUOTE]
Earlier today someone on the SiriusXM soccer channel said that when Clint Dempsey and Brian McBride were the age that Josh Sargent is today they had still not made the national team debuts.

Different era. They went to college and didn't have the same opportunities at 15, 16, 17 like Sargent. Sargent has been in essentially a pro atmosphere since puberty.
 

Fk_Pitt

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Absolutely that pass sequence was classic Spain!!!! I don’t know if we can beat the Dutch just because of our lack of scoring talent but it will be tight the whole match.

FK you follow this more deeply than me, but do we have a striker in the wings who will be ready in ‘26?


I think for 2026, you have to consider our current pool of #9’s.

Daryl Dike and Sargent are 22 and will still only be 26 in 2026.

Ferreira is 21 and will be 25. You’d have to think he will be heading to Europe soon to get better (sorry @Pitt79 ). Bayern Munich is sniffing around him. So if Bayern is, the rest of Bundesliga is.

Haji Wright is 24 and will be 28.
Jordan Pefok might be the most intriguing as he will be in his prime and 30 years old in 2026. He’s scoring goals in Bundesliga now and could be still banging them in in 4 years.
Then you have younger guys we aren’t even talking about.

Ricardo Pepi might be the best of them all. He’s only 19 and will be 23 in 2026.

And then there’s the Arsenal Academy kids. The one is absolutely escaping me. For the life of me I can’t think of his name. He committed to the US this year. He might be a midfielder though. I’m drawing a blank.

But the other Arsenal kid, folarin Balogun is 21 and might be declaring for the USA soon. He’s a dual national who has been playing for England in his youth. He’s a forward to keep an eye on.

If I were forced to place a bet now, my money would be on Pepi, Ferreira, and a 3rd to be determined.

I really liked how Sargent looked vs Iran. He will be better in 4 years too. But I think some of the other have a higher ceiling and might pass him.
 

Sean Miller Fan

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I think for 2026, you have to consider our current pool of #9’s.

Daryl Dike and Sargent are 22 and will still only be 26 in 2026.

Ferreira is 21 and will be 25. You’d have to think he will be heading to Europe soon to get better (sorry @Pitt79 ). Bayern Munich is sniffing around him. So if Bayern is, the rest of Bundesliga is.

Haji Wright is 24 and will be 28.
Jordan Pefok might be the most intriguing as he will be in his prime and 30 years old in 2026. He’s scoring goals in Bundesliga now and could be still banging them in in 4 years.
Then you have younger guys we aren’t even talking about.

Ricardo Pepi might be the best of them all. He’s only 19 and will be 23 in 2026.

And then there’s the Arsenal Academy kids. The one is absolutely escaping me. For the life of me I can’t think of his name. He committed to the US this year. He might be a midfielder though. I’m drawing a blank.

But the other Arsenal kid, folarin Balogun is 21 and might be declaring for the USA soon. He’s a dual national who has been playing for England in his youth. He’s a forward to keep an eye on.

If I were forced to place a bet now, my money would be on Pepi, Ferreira, and a 3rd to be determined.

I really liked how Sargent looked vs Iran. He will be better in 4 years too. But I think some of the other have a higher ceiling and might pass him.

I think the only one of those kids who we can hope can become a world-class #9 is Pepi. And by world-class, I mean at the McKennie/Adams level if you call that world-class. He isnt going to be Harry Kane, though his style and body type are similar, another reason I like him and hold out hope for him. He's that big target man. But lets say that in the 2025-26 season he's at Fulham (and why not Fulham?) and isnt setting the world on fire but starting and scoring goals, I think that's realistic and our best hope. A guy like Ferreira's frame and lack of athleticism will never translate to the type of difference maker we need.
 

Gep Dawg

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I think Sargent can be outstanding. I really do. His skill set can still blossom and in the meantime he runs like a maniac and plays with an edge. Think he and Pepi will be a strength of the team in 4 years
 
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Joe the Panther Fan

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Different era. They went to college and didn't have the same opportunities at 15, 16, 17 like Sargent. Sargent has been in essentially a pro atmosphere since puberty.
[/QUOTE]


So what? Players still (speaking generally) continue to improve through their mid to late 20s before they level off and then start declining. He still likely has five or six years until he reaches his peak.

I mean jeebus, we'd kill for a striker as good as Jamie Vardy was at his best. When he was Josh Sargent's age he was playing for the Stocksbridge Park Steels. Probably because where he came from he didn't have the same opportunities as Josh Sargent, right?
 
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Duneaux Harm

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Does anyone think Spain tossed that match? They looked like they didn’t really care over the last twenty minutes or so.