The USMNT made progress, but didn't win.

The USMNT made progress, but didn’t win.
picture: Getty Images

Finally, Gregg Berhalter did it everything we ask, the question most USMNT fans ask. He didn’t see the trip to the Aztecs as just a matter of getting through. It’s not just lottery spins. It’s not about keeping the powder dry on Sunday. Berhalter looked at the Mexico team, looked at his, and thought, “We can win.” He went.

He put out almost the strongest lineup. His tactics didn’t happen overnight, and no team can really do it while smoking a tangible beer fart at 7,200 feet. But they are not conservative either. The United States chose the pressure point, chose the attack point, and pushed people forward. It knew when it needed to retreat and just defended. In 80 minutes, it went as any USMNT manager or fan could hope.

What Berhalter couldn’t do, however, was stop his striker’s foot from turning to the concrete when it mattered most. That’s why Team USA ended up with a 0-0 draw.

That could be a sign of progress, and while it’s infuriating that the U.S. can come out of Aztec with a draw for the third straight game, this time it feels as if it left something on the table. It should have won. It also feels that way when it loses three of its four most important attackers in Weston McEnany, Brendan Aronson and Sergino Durst. It’s hard to recognize progress when it makes you feel “what if?”

Because as a manager, you can’t go out and do this:

You certainly can’t legislate your best striker forgetting the direction he’s facing and approaching the corner flag from 6 yards from the goal:

You can understand LeBron with Gio Reina going all out on Jordan Pefok, because everywhere, Team USA has taken all three points. Be fair to Pefok as possible, maybe he wants Reyna to shoot himself. But if you’re a No. 9, you’re always expecting that ball to come to you and finish it. But even so, it’s very charitable.

From there, Berhalter essentially declared a draw in the 80th minute, switching to a back five, hauling away Tyler Adams to save him a yellow card that would keep him out of Sunday’s games against Panama and Pulisic the match of. They had to wait a bit, but Mexico didn’t really produce any really scary moments either. This is the easiest way to see a draw in Mexico City like the US. Although I reflexively paced the living room for the last five minutes without the clock moving because that’s what it does at its worst, the pulse never really rose.

Most observers will ultimately judge whether it’s worth it until they see how the U.S. plays in Orlando on Sunday and whether players like Pulisic, Adams and Musa can get out of the plateau mud so quickly for 90 minutes. recover. America didn’t get all the other results it needed. Costa Rica was able to beat Canada, who tried their best not to score in the second half, even with 10 men.But Panama’s home draw with Honduras is a good result for the US

That means even a win on Sunday would not automatically bring the US into Qatar. However, if the U.S. wins and Costa Rica wins on Sunday, then Costa Rica will not only need to beat the U.S. in the last game of the window, but do so while making up for a huge goal difference (the U.S. currently 7 goals more than Costa Rica). So Sunday’s win, worst case scenario, is everything but the dotted i and the crossed t.

A draw will never feel positive, but keeping a distance from Mexico in the absence of three starters shows where America is, or at least can be. America’s problem has always been to back up good results with better results. The victory was followed by a frustrating performance. Draws with Canada and Jamaica and losses against Canada and Panama followed what was seen as a step forward. America really can’t afford it right now.

No, I didn’t win in the Aztecs. Maybe the chance won’t come again, at least long before I die. You’ll have to look for it, but there’s a low-key gratification that comes with a random draw in what was once considered an impregnable little boy billy in the first young guns to Dick Brewer, “I could have killed you.” The U.S. let Mexico off the hook, at home, when they could have made the knockout rounds. They are not in the US, not Mexico. Indeed the man in the mirror.

stop, gonzaga

In just one second, the NCAA needed to ban Gonzaga from the game. We do this every year. They’re not going to win, they’re wasting everyone’s time while Mark Few coaches with his hands around his neck. Even CBS couldn’t be more enthusiastic about their “Is This Year?” video pack. We all know not. Give their spot to a school that really wants to use it. Make it 30 wins at any podunk conference and then everyone can go home. That way we’ll all be happier. At some point, you won’t spin anymore. Gonzaga…prohibited.