What Berhalter could and should change for USMNT vs Mexico in Nations League final
He’s been more careful (Matt has used “shy”) in his choices for the USMNT lately, playing like he’s embarrassed, or afraid of being the weak link, which is a quick way to become. the weakest link. “Fear of money doesn’t make money,” and the clip above alludes to the frustration he risks cultivating in his teammates by not playing more efficiently and instinctively.
Here is where we come to the coach. I’ve had flashbacks to the Olympic fiasco, because Berhalter shows the same strictly orthodox insistence on his currently favorite version of the 4-3-3 (specifically, with 8 twins ahead of a single 6) that Jason Kreis dropped. in Guadalajara, which happened crescendo with a costly loss to… [checks notes] Honduras. While loyalty to a clear and methodical tactical system is commendable, Thursday night was yet another example of a Concacaf environment hitting your meticulous plan in the face, to paraphrase Mike Tyson.
Why is Jackson Yueill a very different type of player than Tyler Adams! – apparently the only option at 6 when Adams isn’t available (what injuries have become all too common lately)? Technically they’re both defensive midfielders, but they’re also NOT suited to be the only shield for the four full-backs behind the 8s like Weston McKennie, Sebastian Lletget or Yunus Musah. The current structure simply does not prepare Yueil for success.
If Berhalter’s system requires pushing Yueil into the spotlight for which he is not suited in the name of consistency across the XI, then the system needs tweaking. If Adams is fit to start against Mexico, then it makes sense to stick with this interpretation of 4-3-3. Otherwise, drop one of those 8 deeper, and maybe simple turnovers won’t turn into fire drills in the back as easily. We don’t even have to call it a 4-2-3-1!