The Scuffed Podcast | USMNT, Yanks Abroad, MLS, soccer in America

The Scuffed Podcast | USMNT, Yanks Abroad, MLS, soccer in America

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.

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    Episode 57: Mark McKenzie joins the pod, then a pool report and news rundown

    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.

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    Episode 56: Mea Culpas, and three burning USMNT questions

    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.

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    Episode 55: Interview with Ted Kroeten, an evangelist for free play in youth soccer

    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.

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    Episode 54: USA 2, Costa Rica 0, and January Camp ends on a high note

    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.

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    Episode 53: USA 3, Panama 0, and a positive start to the Gregg Berhalter era

    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.

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    Episode 51: An interview with Brian Kleiban, the LA Galaxy academy coach

    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.

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    Episode 48: Interview with Brian Clarhaut, a young American manager making his way in Europe

    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.

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    Episode 46: Preseason player pool worst case scenarios, revisited

    In August, we recorded a catalog of worst case scenarios for USMNT players abroad in the first half of the European season. This week we check in on those (a disconcerting number came true). Then we discuss Ledezma’s pending move to PSV, the Champions League draw, and Dave Sarachan’s new job.

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    Episode 43: Tab Ramos joins the pod, plus a USMNT interim era wrap-up & a U20s breakdown

    U.S. men's U20 coach and youth technical director Tab Ramos joins to talk about the Concacaf Championship and a few other things. Then Greg and Belz talk briefly about the Italy friendly, evaluate the first team minutes requirement floated by some after the game, and break down the satisfying, trophy-winning 2-0 win over Mexico in Bradenton from the U20s.

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    Episode 42: A U17 Player Pool Review ahead of the Nike Friendlies

    Belz, Joey Anthone and Matt Hartman take a deep dive into the pool of players born in 2002 or later and therefore eligible for the U17 World Cup next year. We talk about how this age group stacks up against past cycles, discuss more than 50 individual players and try to answer a bunch of very good Twitter questions. This is a long one. Use the show notes. If you get bored with the discussion of one position, skip to the next. We start with the top prospects, generally, and move our way down at each spot on the field.

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    Episode 40: Lining up the USMNT to face England at Wembley

    The USA will face England on Thursday afternoon and Italy on Tuesday, and we’re here to talk about the roster and who we’d like to see in the starting XI. Might be the first time we get to see Pulisic, McKennie and Adams on the field at the same time! We talk about the U20s and the USWNT later in the episode.

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    Episode 37: Who can be the 10 in this 4-2-3-1? And Atlanta United 2 Coach Scott Donnelly joins the pod

    The 4-3-2-1 seems to work better than the 4-1-4-1, but nobody’s claimed the central advanced midfield role. We run through the candidates, and the future candidates, for the job. Then we discuss the U.S. U20 roster for the Concacaf Championship, and then, best of all, Atlanta United 2 Coach Scott Donnelly joins to talk about coaching in USL, George Bello, Andrew Carleton, and USL as a place for young players to develop.

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    Episode 36: USA 1, Peru 1 — All Hail the Youngs! A mostly encouraging night in Connecticut

    The USA drew Peru in Hartford on Tuesday, but the big story was the US lineup. We got a starting front three of Jonathan Amon, Josh Sargent and Tim Weah. Reggie Cannon got his debut at right back. Aaron Long got his debut at centerback. Ben Sweat got a debut at left back. Brad Guzan returned from the wilderness. What did we learn? A lot! Listen up.

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    Episode 35: USA 2, Colombia 4 — We got whooped, but we learned quite a bit

    The laboratory was humming Thursday night in Tampa when the USA lost 4-2 to Colombia, with Saief, Bradley, Green and Weah experiments underway, among others. What did we learn? How did the midfield look in McKennie's and Adams' absences? How good is Kenny Saief? Those and many other questions asked and answered in today's episode.

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    Episode 34: Lining up against Colombia and Peru without Adams, McKennie and Pulisic

    Let’s start with the bad news. Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie and Christian Pulisic will be absent for the upcoming friendlies against Colombia and Peru, but there are still a bunch of interesting players involved in the camp (Weah, Sargent, Novakovich, Amon, Cannon, Saief). We get into all that and discuss the lineup.

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    Episode 32: The U20 provisional roster is due in a week. Who's going to be on it?

    U20 World Cup qualifying is now just over a month away. Special guest Joey Anthone (@USAprospects) and I do a bare-bones run through the roster options for Tab Ramos. We also discuss the format of the U20 Men's Concacaf Championship, the roster rules and the changes that Ramos might make mid-tournament.

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    Episode 28: USA v Brazil preview

    Dave Sarachan's roster, omissions, our starting XIs for Brazil, and a solid (IMO) discussion of Pulisic's absence.

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    Episode 27: Who should be called up for the Brazil and Mexico friendlies?

    We’re back in our comfort zone and we’ve got a roster episode. The men’s national team faces Brazil on Sept. 7 and Mexico on Sept. 11. We break down the options and in the process conduct a routine checkup on the U.S. player pool. Then we review the first matchday of the Bundesliga season and Belz spotlights the recent USL appearances of Joshua Atencio for Sounders 2.

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    Episode 26: Another look into the future with Joey Anthone — the upcoming Development Academy season

    Games kick off Sept. 1 for the U19 regular season of the U.S. Development Academy. It is the ocean from which the youth player pool is largely drawn. Joey Anthone (@USAprospects) joins to detail his preseason top 10 teams and key up-and-coming players across the nation. We cover some big themes at the top and then dive in. Bext XIs, preseason “awards” and answers to listener questions ensue.

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    Episode 23: An extended USMNT-in-the-Bundesliga season preview

    We take a closer look at the league that has become the destination of choice for young American players by interviewing people who regularly talk or write about Werder Bremen, Hannover 96, Schalke and Dortmund. Josh Sargent, Bobby Wood, Weston McKennie and Christian Pulisic are the main events in this episode, but each guest gave a good sense of each club’s overall situation and addressed the rising population of Americans in the Bundesliga and Bundesliga academies. Greg and I had planned to talk about Frankfurt, Wolfsburg and Gladbach but we ran out of time, as you’ll see.

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    Episode 21: U20-palooza! An encyclopedic look at the player pool as U20 World Cup qualifying looms

    Joey Anthone (aka @USAProspects) joined the pod to comb through the U-20 player pool and we didn’t stop. Who will be available for November qualifying? We projected that. What are the biggest challenges for Tab Ramos? We explained them. What are the areas of strength in the pool? We pointed them out. Who will be the 6? Who will be the 9? Who will be the centerbacks? Check, check, check. And then we each gave a 20-man roster and answered several listener questions. Carve out time over multiple days because you won’t be able to handle this in one sitting.

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    Episode 14: Ireland 2, USA 1, and a look ahead to France

    Long episode alert: we talk about the 2-1 loss to Ireland. It was a real test for a young American side, and yet our veteran fullbacks were the biggest problem on the field. Hmmm. We try to break it down player by player, and then look ahead to France.

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    Episode 13: USA 3, Bolivia 0, our late night reactions

    Pulisic didn't show up and neither did Bolivia, but everyone else did. Debut goal for Sargent. A goal for Weah in his first start. Strong stuff from Robinson at left back. McKennie was a man among boys.

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    Episode 12: How to get the most out of this Bolivia friendly

    We try to rough out a lineup for the Memorial Day friendly in Pennsylvania, and then discuss Efrain Alvarez, Tyler Adams to RB Leipzig, Peter Vermes' contention that U.S. Soccer doesn't have a plan, and Chris Durkin's progress at holding midfielder.

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    Episode 10: Vamos Mexico (and Costa Rica)! Why we're rooting for Concacaf in the World Cup

    Buck up, America. It's time to root for Concacaf. With no USMNT to talk about in the World Cup, we're going to follow Mexico and Costa Rica, because a better Concacaf is better for us in the long term. We explain ourselves and talk about the Mexican player pool, their chances of getting to the quarterfinals, and Costa Rica's prospects. (We don't talk much about Panama.) Then we run down the latest on young Yanks at home and abroad.

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    Episode 4: The U.S. beat Paraguay 1-0, and we darn well talked about it

    Not much happened in the attacking third, but there was reason for encouragement. Good performances from Tyler Adams, Matt Miazga, Darlington Nagbe and Jorge Villafana, a solid showing by the midfield trio, a tight defensive effort and a lot of good energy, especially early.

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