I was at the U-18 National Team camp last Thursday at the Home Depot Center – primarily populated with 93s. They played two games, one with Arsenal (1-1), the other with Chivas USA (2-0).
There were a couple big reasons for going. First, there are several players on both Arsenal and Chivas that use to play for us, and many more we have relationships with. I wanted to see them play. Second, I wanted to see if there was any quality on the National Team side.
This is the beginning of a new cycle for the U-18s, so it was a fresh batch of players being looked at. The 18s of the past, which we are very familiar with, now move on to the U-20s.
Pen and paper in hand, I was ready to jot down some names.
The US team consisted of good defenders (they can tackle and get the ball out of danger pretty well). I’ll say that I was pleasantly surprised by the willingness of the back line to connect with the midfield and not by-pass straight to the forwards. That’s a huge PLUS!
The strikers were nothing special, but then again they weren’t complete junk like I’m accustomed to seeing.
The major problem is in the midfield! There was ZERO quality. Technically deficient, field awareness and decision making sub-par, and absolutely no creativity.
The other major issue is of course the style of play. Everything is at one speed … a fast frenetic pace. There aren’t different gears in the US transmission! Go forward, go forward, go forward … and do it by never slowing down!
So although the back and front line showed some promise. The crisis (as far as players are concerned), as it always has been, is in the middle.
These are not the best we have in the country – not even close.
If you were there, what were your impressions?
El Memo says
Maybe it is players trying to impress coaches. Thinking that speed will help them stand out positively. And, coaches never coaching proper pace/rhythm, therefore players don’t know how when to pause. Not to mention that by then they haven’t developed the skills to do so.
This is a topic that interests me. What would you suggest to get a player to understand when to speed up / slow down? Beyond numbers up/down?