Since Berhalter’s appointment was announced last December there have been no results that exceeded expectations against good teams; there is currently no reason to believe that the US would be anything but makeweights at Qatar 2022, should they qualify. And there is a lack of clear evidence that the team is trending in the right direction, despite individual positives such as the continued improvement of the midfielder Weston McKennie.
Let’s all face certain facts about the USMNT:
- Gregg Berhalter has no ideas. “Bring on Zardes to score a late goal” does not qualify as an idea.
- Weston McKennie is a good soccer player. Christian Pulisic is a decent soccer player. Zack Steffen is a fairly promising keeper. Josh Sargent may well be a good soccer player someday. Nobody else on the team is any good at all. (Michael Bradley now has the mobility of a cigar store Indian and should never get another cap for the USMNT.)
- None of them, coach or players, cares very much. They are, without exception, going through the motions, without energy or commitment.
- We are at least a decade away from the USMNT playing any significant role in world soccer, and even that statement is a gesture of blind faith and hope. Berhalter has to go, and almost the entire crop of current players should go as well. Maybe there are some 12-year-olds out there who will flip the script.
The plan that the national federation established when it hired Jurgen Klinsmann was the right one, even if it didn’t work out the way that everyone had hoped. That plan was to hire a coach who had succeeded at the highest level, who could challenge American players to develop their skills in the most rigorous conditions, and who could oversee a long-term player development program. Nothing short of all that will work.
So wake me when this country has a soccer team. I won’t be holding my breath.
Also, if you set the over/under on Pulisic-to-the-MLS at 3 years, I’ll take the under.