Woohoo we won in Honduras! If my sarcastic tone isn't evident in saying that, just know that it's there because those three games, and the media sh*t-storm in between, took years off my young life. I knew I wanted to say something about this window, but in a sense it feels like there's too much to say, and no one wants an essay. Instead, I've decided to look forward and think about three key roster construction changes Gregg Berhalter could make in order to curb the rising blood pressure issue that hampered me over the last week.
1. BRING MORE PLAYERS
It's painfully obvious but I'm going to keep saying it on here and on Twitter because I'm pretty sure Gregg reads everything we say (and ignores us out of spite). Before the roster came out for the September camp, GGG said that he was going to bring 26-28 players into camp. We got 26. I know most of us have tried to make a 23 man World Cup roster, and in doing that it becomes quickly evident that 23 players really isn't a lot, and leaves a lot of talent behind. So then imagine thinking that three players more than that, with three games in seven days across CONCACAF would be sufficient. That doesn't even include the fact that Tim Weah was down for the count before the window really began. Plenty of time to get someone who could play at least the last two games. I'd say 30 players at minimum would be sufficient for October, specifically with depth at the shakier positions.
2. A Right-back That Plays Defense
That brings me to my next point. It's so pre-September to say that Dest is a nailed on starter for this team. Yedlin doesn't inspire confidence either. Competition brings the best out of every player, and I'm basically ready for open tryouts at that position again. Dest and Yedlin can partake in the tryouts, but not without some combination of Cannon, Moore, Reynolds, Scally, or Araujo (?) in the mix as well. To piggy-back on the last paragraph, this is a position that should have three guys in the next camp, ideally with some different skill sets. When it was time to play Canada, we were all left scratching our heads as to which RB was going to be the lesser of two evil's in marking Alphonso Davies. Jamaica's Leon Bailey is the next challenge for the RB group, and I for one, am going to pull my hair out if I see another defender play naive defense against a player with pace. Reynolds has speed and strength, Scally locked up Leroy Sane, and Shaq Moore had a solid Gold Cup. Whoever it ends up being, I'm just hoping they do their primary job.
3. Creative Central Players
It's completely baffling that in our lone home game of the September window, we lined up with a midfield three of Tyler Adams, Kellyn Acosta, and Sebastian Lletget. Doesn't get much more conservative than that. Don't get me wrong, Tyler Adams can play both ways, but if we ask that of him, it's going to leave our backline exposed. As for Acosta, he's a sturdy disruptor but not much else. Lletget is the most attacking of the three, but he hasn't shown an ounce of creativity. None of those three are going to make a line breaking pass, or be able to get the ball on the turn and run at the back line. With Gio Reyna likely out for the next window, I'd like to see some combination of Caden Clark, Yunus Musah, Julian Green, or Luca De La Torre called in. Despite different skill sets, these four have all shown with their club teams, that despite being midfielders, they can creatively distribute or advance the ball, and then meaningfully join the attack. In Gregg's current system, the responsibility to score goals seems to be completely on the front three (we saw that against Honduras as well), and it's the reason we went five halves of soccer with only one goal.
4. Matthew Hoppe
I know I said it was going to be three things, but if Hoppe isn't in the next camp, you'll find me destroying property in my local downtown area. The kid was made for CONCACAF.