Image: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

Hi there…welcome back to the comfy, chaise lounge (insert your name, you poor, embattled USMNT fan you, here) that’s here in your USMNT Psychiatrist’s office, and let’s take a load off for you.

Yeah, you just got totally run off the pitch by a superior Colombian team. All hope seems lost in the Copa, and you find yourself wondering why you even try believing again. Sure, the chant tells you to “believe” that you will win, but you should have learned by now. Is it time for you to stop getting drawn in by all the catchy chants and not-really-functional-but-fun-to-wear scarves?

Soon…perhaps, soon.

But, until then weary traveler, there can be hope drawn from this odd German coach that has you playing the way he swore that he would never play, and it could happen within the confines of the current tournament.

Here’s the skinny:

First, it’s time to toss the old bones aside. Sure, you might need to keep them around for warmth on a cold winter’s night, but the time for them to be involved when the first whistle blows is over. Who you ask? Well, the era of Dempsey is over. There might even come a time where (in the very near future) he’s not even the best thing in a Sounders kit, but he certainly isn’t the best thing in the US kit. We did have some great times, but the Deuce would be a fantastic option to drop into the mix when you need some slight magic in the 86th minute. Why? Because the game will have settled to more of his speed, the team will be looking for someone to play a little “hero ball,” and the crazy Texan just doesn’t have the gas to go 90. He’ll be fine…he’s got a deal with Lexus. Who else? Jermaine Jones. Look, we love the hair as much as you do…and he’s made you quietly smile in the corner with some of his no-nonsense tackles, but he doesn’t have 90 at this level left in his body. Bradley? Well, we aren’t quite ready to call him “old” just yet…Beckerman on the other hand…

Second, the midfield for our tomorrow has already been recognized…let’s go ahead and shift it in. Don’t care if you don’t like Darlington Nagbe, he’s been an underrated heartbeat to anyone that isn’t a Portland Timbers fan for years. Don’t care if you think Christian Pulisic is too young, because that is the future of your midfield. Together, these two have already shown a serious knack for playing off each other and having the ability to actually make the lumbering sloth known as the USMNT look, at times, fairly quick. If Gyasi Zardes will kindly remove the bricks from his feet and Bobby Wood will convince people that he isn’t the squad’s IT guy, we could be on to something that will work through the 2022 World Cup.

Last, and you know it’s been coming, but this defense needs to start making actual decisions that seem like decisions adult men would make. Yedlin can run for days at supersonic speeds, but he wouldn’t know good positioning if they gave him a QB playbook wristband to play with. Brooks has a future, but the simple truth is that ‘ol Jurgen still doesn’t know what his best defense is…case in point is leaving proven entity (and recent champion of Liga MX) Omar Gonzalez at home while depending on two 30-year-old’s that couldn’t scrounge together more than 70 caps between the two of them (despite being THIRTY!). The gaffer might have come in preaching about attack, but that attack has to be built on a dependable defense…and it hasn’t happened yet. Plus, after Fabian Johnson’s season in Germany, it makes zero sense bringing him into the fold as a defender.

So, don’t throw away the kit just yet…and still join in when some random person starts one of those catchy chants. Just know that change is still needed…Bradley needs to not be asked to create…and the USMNT, while we should support it, should not have expectations placed upon them beyond what is truly logical.

Now…your time is up, please settle your bill with the secretary on the way out.


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