What a window! Qatar here we come!
Yes, I know we have to play Costa Rica, but c’mon… its over! We are back in the World Cup. For all the pundits who don’t want to celebrate yet because its “not official”… get lost. We are not losing by 6 goals to Costa Rica.
Did you know that we have NEVER won a world cup qualifying game in Costa Rica? That is crazy to me. Even with that said, the USMNT has not lost to anybody by 6 goals since 1979. I think we’re good.
Going into this window, Berhalter called this the biggest 3 games of his career. I don’t particularly like Berhalter as a manager; however, you have to give credit where credit is due. He’s done a fantastic this window. Particularly against Mexico, the USMNT looked very well organized and you could tell, had a game plan that the players believed in. Really, the only time where we were in trouble was off of individual errors at the back. Although we should have won – it’s a great result. It showed me that maybe we can go to Qatar and legitimately expect results.
For Panama… I mean, what can you say? An amazing performance all around. This is what we SHOULD be doing to Panama, and all the other smaller CONCACAF nations at home. This biggest takeaway for me was the intensity. I loved the intensity and the chip on our shoulders. For me, that’s American soccer. That fire is something that was lacking last qualification cycle, and in some games this cycle. I love seeing Pulisic making fun of the ref and shoulder barging Panamanians… I love that! His reaction to the ball being kicked at him from the Panama bench is exactly how I want my Captain to react – even if the game is a blowout.
Its hard to pick standouts this window, because everyone has been so good. But, I’ll go with Zimmerman again. Not necessarily because he has been our best player on the field… but just his consistency. He’s been rock solid at the back and may be in the form of his life. Having him back there has been so calming. His presence in both boxes reminds of me Onyewu in his prime. And again, that toughness and fire come through. If you watch his reactions to previous goals (including his own last window), or even the VAR confirmation for Pulisic’s penalty against Panama… his fire and passion are overflowing. That is what we need on our back line. I couldn’t be more confident in him, and our back line, going in Qatar.
This window has shown that this team is capable of big things. We are talented as hell… and we are scary when our mentality is on point.
As for Wednesday’s game against Costa Rica… I’ll still watch it – but it doesn’t matter. Get out of there with no major injuries, and I’m good.
The draw for the World Cup is on Friday at noon. THAT is what I’m most excited about.
See you Saturday at Audi Field.