An in-depth show about the U.S. men's national soccer team, the players who could one day make it better, and American soccer in general.
19-year-old (almost 20-yr-old) centerback Mark McKenzie joins the pod for a conversation about centerbacking, his breakout 2018 for the Philadelphia Union, January Camp, and the U20s' dominant showing in World Cup qualifying in November. Then Greg and Belz run through the player pool news, Fabian Johnson's revival (?), the USWNT She Believes roster, etc. , etc.
0:30 Mark McKenzie interview
42:10 Short Corners:
- Weston McKennie versatile, capable, but maybe injured
- Tyler Adams and his passing
- Christian Pulisic injured in 0-3 loss to Tottenham
- Josh Sargent quiet (oh wait he started a game after we recorded)
- Timo Weah fiery
- Alex Mendez, Richie Ledezma and Paxton Pomykal
- Midweek CCL discussion
- Fabian Johnson revived
- USWNT She Believes roster
- NWSL TV deal
- U17 qualifying and U20 World Cup draws
Belz goes under the knife for his garbage predictions about Miazga and Weah, and then the hosts discuss three key questions about the USMNT in the interim between January Camp and the March friendlies.
Ted Kroeten is the founder of Joy of the People, a non-profit in the Twin Cities focused on free play as a way to develop more instinctive, resourceful soccer players (and people). A former player, long-time coach and current soccer parent, Kroeten believes that up to at least the age of 14, the best way for kids to improve is by playing for fun with their friends, with minimal supervision and basically no coaching.
The USA beat Costa Rica 2-0 on Saturday in San Jose, California, with a couple of goals in the last 10 minutes. This was a Costa Rica side that was a bit stouter than the Panamanian opponent a week ago, and another convincing Concacaf friendly win for Berhalter.
Yes it was a Panama B team, but the U.S. is likely to face several similar sides at the Gold Cup in June, and the win on Sunday was a coherent, competent, even dominant, performance. Compared to US-Bosnia in 2018, and January camps in previous years, this was a step in the right direction.
We run down the action and inaction in Europe over the weekend, Greg explains what worried him about the USWNT’s 3-1 loss to France, and then we talk about who the 6 is going to be for the USMNT vs Panama, and we give our starting XIs.
LA Galaxy's academy is one of the top talent centers in American soccer, and U19 head coach Brian Kleiban is in the middle of it. He's now got former players all over the U.S. boys' youth national teams, he's been to two straight Development Academy finals, and he joined the pod for a wide-ranging conversation on everything from the time he spied on Bielsa in the early 2000s, to the MLS draft, the U20 World Cup, the Development Academy, and his long-term ambitions as a coach.
Ajax and U.S. U20 right back Sergino Dest joins the podcast from the Netherlands for a chat. And then Greg and Belz gin up predictions mostly to honor this coming weekend's return of the Bundesliga.
We talk about the Pulisic move to Chelsea and lots of other moves, run down what we’re looking for from January camp, and then (don’t miss it!) interview Martín Vásquez, the dean of the Real Salt Lake academy, which has been a factory of talent for the U.S. U20 team in recent years.
Clarhaut is the 32-year-old manager of Nyköpings BIS, a club in the Swedish third division. He’s taken the road less traveled. Grew up in New Jersey, played college soccer, was an assistant coach at a few colleges in the Northeast, and then got an assistant coaching job in Sweden and was named head coach at the club mid-season in 2017 when his boss was fired. He gave Scuffed a wide-ranging interview that covered his coaching path, his work in Nyköping, his views on the U.S. men’s national team, and some of his personal coaching philosophy, among other things.
Joey Anthone and Matt Hartman join for a draft of uncapped U-21 Americans with the goal of assembling hypothetical teams for the 2026 World Cup. The three of us each picked a 20-player roster (or 60 total players), and briefly discussed who came out best.