Pitch Points is ready for Bolivia

Welcome to Pitch Points, wherein I run down a few links of note from the world of soccer – from Nashville to the US Men’s National Team and beyond. As always, if you come across something you’d like me to include here, hit the socials (or e-mail), and please feel free to share the post with friends who may be interested.

Nashville SC Nashville Fairgrounds stadium
See? It’s right there!

Staaaaaadium. Thursday’s first of multiple community meetings regarding planning for the Major League Soccer stadium at the Fairgrounds came away with some interesting ideas. I was unavailable last week, but do plan to try to make it to today’s event (4 p.m. at the Fairgrounds Creative Arts Building) as well as the final public presentation next Tuesday.

Meanwhile, in “I hate the city that I am somehow on the council of” news, Metro Councilman Steve Glover indefinitely deferred his resolution to prevent an MLS Stadium from being built (presumably with a literal tail between his legs) at last week’s Metro meeting.

(For the record, if you plan to for for Mayor this week and want to make your decision on a single issue – the MLS stadium – Ralph Bristol, Jeff Obafemi Carr, Harold Love, and Carol Swain should be on your “absolutely do not vote for” list after publicly opposing it).

LigaMX2SA. The concept of a Liga MX team playing in the United States is an interesting thought exercise. This column about it… well, it’s something. Single-sentence paragraphs and dumb analogies galore, if that’s what you’re into.

Speaking with the Spurs official on background last month, I offered to drive a bag of FIFA bribe money to Laredo.

We both laughed nervously.

It was a joke.

Or was it?

Barrel of laughs, that.

That said, I’ve long thought San Antonio (and Phoenix) are not only intriguing, but important markets for bigtime soccer in our country. Whether that’s a version of USL with more exposure, a Major League Soccer franchise, or (lol) clubs existing in an open pyramid where they can move between levels, these heavily Latino areas are important – and San Antonio’s an even more interesting one with its military connections meaning you’re probably more likely to see more Herculez Gomezes than Jonathan Gonzalezes.

We want the cup! And other USMNT short stories. MLSSoccer.com’s Matt Doyle on what a 2018 USMNT World Cup squad would have looked like. It’s… well, it’s a decent group, which makes the failure to qualify all the more depressing. There are some changes I’d make to his squad, naturally, but the bones are there for what could have been a solid side.

In more… realistic news, the roster for the Bolivia friendly dropped yesterday. While we’re talkin’ specific players on it, American Soccer Now has a long interview with defender Erik Palmer-Brown.

Christian Pulisic’s future club situation is going to remain up in the air. There’s a panoply of takes (from both here and overseas) about whether this is the right time for him to move along from Dortmund. Whatever’s better for his continued development as a USMNT star is cool with me.

Here’s what the Olympic team could look like for 2020. Throw in a couple over-agers (the Olympics allow for three in addition to the standard U-23 pool), and you’re building toward the next World Cup, as well.

The search for a permanent MNT manager (or even the GM position) unsurprisingly sounds like a total shambles.

The Jurgening. Lots has been said about the recent long Jurgen Klinsmann SI profile (apologies for sending you to a link to the worst-designed website on the internet), and my observations are hardly going to be revelatory. Nor is this exactly the greatest revelation in the world, though it’s a concise way to sum up the Jurgen experience:

Klinsmann’s critics often note these dualities. They believe he over-tinkered with lineups and failed at communicating but also acknowledge the value of his big-picture ideas and his skills as a motivator. To some, it seems as if he possesses the hardware but not the software.

I don’t even know if I’d use the term “critics” there: I was an unabashed supporter for way longer than Klinsmann deserved, but that’s still a very precise description of my feelings about the guy. In short, I wish (for the big picture) that he’d been better as a coach. I still understand why he was fired.

Surely, one of the reasons for being fired is not knowing how percentages work.

He raised eyebrows last month by telling Germany’s Kicker that his U.S. squad was still well-positioned to reach Russia despite those high-profile losses to Mexico and at Costa Rica. Does he really believe that?

“One thousand percent,” Klinsmann said in an interview this week.

It doesn’t go higher than 100, dude.

Yahoo’s story also gets comment from Bruce Arena, which is depressing.

“We win 4-0 against Panama, so we decide to play the same team against Trinidad. That’s done all the time.”

That move – to ride hot hands, so to speak – has been one of the most heavily criticized, but that aspect of it is total hindsight bias to me. There are serious reasons to question the gameplan in Trinidad, of course, but “you have to rotate the squad” isn’t really one of them. “You didn’t play your best squad” would be (and is).

 

Etc.: Cubs owners buy rights to Chicago USL franchise. … More excerpts from Grant Wahl’s new book. Definitely one to check out when it comes out in paperback formats. … SocTakes on a quarter-season report card for the USL East. … Steve Gans still trying to improve soccer in our country despite not winning presidential election. “Things that will never be said about Eric Wynalda for $100, Alex.” … College soccer and USSF getting along better is a big priority in my eyes; this is a good step. … If the continental teams are going to remain in Concacaf, it’s in everyone’s interest for the Caribbean teams to improve.

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