Here’s the number one lesson to take away from the U23 performance against Mexico:
Stop making excuses for not being able to play dominant possession-centered soccer.
You can’t play that way because this is college soccer.
You can’t play that way because it’s a physical league.
You can’t play that way because [insert some ignorant reasoning or excuse here].
Sound familiar? There’s a million more where those came from.
Whether one is talking about 10 year olds, U18s, bronze or academy level, college, boys or girls, MLS or International, the fundamentals of the game are the same!
Enough! The truth is that YOU [coach] don’t play that way because YOU [coach] don’t have the competence. 
Enough! The truth is that YOU [fan/blogger/pundit/observer/whatever] think it can’t be done because YOU [fan/blogger/pundit/observer/whatever] have never known what’s possible. You’ve been guessing. 
That is the big picture truth. Sorry.
Different Challenges Yes, but not Deal-Breakers
That’s not to say each level of play and situation doesn’t have its own set of unique – and many times subtle – challenges. Of course they do, and in great numbers.
Some are soccer related, and some are off the field (such as politics or finances). One thing is certain, there is no shortage of obstacles. And that’s precisely the reservoir from which excuses and rationalizations are derived.
Now, Caleb is in the International arena with its own set of issues separate from college. Here’s just a sample:
- Player availability.
- Time constraint – Olympic qualifying is almost on top of him.
- Far shorter period of time to work with the group.
- Political pressures of all flavors.
Can he bust right through these?
I’ll tell you this much; if you watched that Mexico game, you should be optimistic.
As long as you’re not thoroughly outclassed in terms of players and/or coaching, sophisticated dominant soccer is possible.
Meaning, I don’t expect to boss the soccer heavyweights (yet), but I think it will be the norm against others. And that my friends, is a quantum leap!
It flies in the face of the notion that “we don’t have the players”.
That game against Mexico …
… yeah, that was just the latest installment of Porter continuing to take a dump all over the monkeys that have gone unchecked at all levels of US Soccer – youth to pro.
 For those out there who are genuinely trying, open to learning, and don’t hang on and simply perpetuate these notions (in many cases excuses) as facts, I applaud you.