I was pretty impressed by the USA team more than i thought I’d be. I think it helps to have second generation players good control of the midfield and better ball control than in the past
The problem with US has a lot to do with its youth system. Until recent years, the system was a pay-to-play game costing thousands for each of its youth players each season. Contrast that with the Premier League where cost are fronted by the clubs.
Travel and club expense are no f@&!?%# joke.
“Scholarships” for gifted players were few and far between.
Doesn’t hurt that many of our best players were either born outside of the US or play in the top leagues in Europe. I think we can make some noise in 2026.
One of my son’s good friends plays for a very competitive U14 club team in Irvine. He was invited out to the FC Barca youth academy. It’s like night and day.
Thankfully, a few lucky lads’ parents can fully fund em.
Good for him! It doesn’t hurt to train with and play against the best day in and day out at La Masia!
Not sure how tall your friend’s son is but La Masia had a rule that would only admit players that would grow to at least 5’ 9" before the great Cruyff took over in the late 80’s. He banished that silly rule since the academy became a brute players factory instead of creating technical players that his style of football requires. If it weren’t for him, we might never have heard of 3 of the greatest players in history that are only 5’ 7": Messi, Xavi, and Iniesta.
Soccer was practically non-existent in the US until 1967 and didn’t catch on all that fast.
Spain doesn’t seem to have that one big star this year but they do look really good still
Pedri’s a Xavi/Iniesta hybrid! He’s composed, controls tempo really well, can take on players with flair, never loses the ball, has superb vision and passing range.
Gonna be a hell of a game against Germany tomorrow if Japan wins against Costa Rica. Death to cagey games!
I doubt that - you can’t just rely on some players performing decent in European top leagues but you need some higher quality US leagues with a good youth system where they are trained in multiple technical systems (with well qualified coaching staff). The current MLS plays on a 2. or 3. league level compared to the top 5 European leagues. As a soccer nerd I have watched/wasted too much time at MLS games on TV and unfortunately it is a pretty sad quality level - there is a reason why most top players only play in the MLS at the very end of their career to make some easy money but not playing on a real high level.
Germany plays pretty lousy on a national team level for the last ~6 years (there are some more fundamental issues currently with the youth system which can’t be fixed very fast) and I doubt that they will perform well against Spain. Most likely they will be out tomorrow- which will be hopefully the necessary wake up call for the DFB
I don’t watch MLS much. Almost all our starters are playing abroad except Zimmerman with Acosta, Yedlin off the bench. Long term I agree we need a better MLS but if our best players are starting at Premier League, La Liga, Seria A, etc… I don’t think it matters. The problem is we’re in a weird middle area where our players are good enough to play in Europe but not start in many cases. Would it better for the national team of Pulisic, Turner, etc… stayed home and started in the MLS? Some of the kids on this team are going to be very good footballers. We’re still young and in 4 years the core will still be intact and theoretically should be better.
We don’t have enough quality, skill and finishing ability in the final 3rd.
ARGENTINA FIELD REPORT: I’d originally been planning to go to the Mexico venue Guelaguetza for today’s match vs. Argentina, but then I realized an Argentine venue on the list at the top of this thread had not been in-person experienced yet, so I went there instead as I’m dedicated to sussing all venues out personally. New Buenos Aires Café in Burbank turned out to be so bad that I’ve since deleted it off the list. There was no staffer stationed for customers, i.e. at the counter; just a girl in the back/kitchen who’d come out if she heard some noise or the customer shouted for assistance. The place lacked energy, and exhibited little enthusiasm for drawing in customers and maybe even for itself. They had three potted plants near the front window in distress with leaves turning dead brown, bone-dry. When I asked the staffer if there was water, she promptly said, “No”; when I then said that I wanted it to water their parched plants, she laughed at me and quipped something unintelligible. There is no washroom for customers. (I always like to wash my paws before dining; couldn’t.) Food-wise, first I got a conical chocolate-topped pastry; the staffer first said before she’d hand it to me, “There’s leche inside,” as if a warning. I took a bite, and yes there was dulce de leche within. It was okay, but the item did not taste made in-house. Next was a spinach-cheese empanada ($3). It was fresh enough and a nice full size, but the filling had no discernible cheese, and was pronouncedly spiced with nutmeg. I would have liked more queso than nuez moscada. Next, after reviewing the menu’s steak and milanesa plates, I ordered the Neapolitan Steak, described as a breaded beefsteak topped with tomatosauce/ham/cheese. But the staffer replied – and here was New Buenos Aires Café’s biggest shortcoming of all – that the ONLY items they were serving from the food menu were empanadas, and a chicken milanesa plate ($17). Nothing else! I’m not into chicken much but I went ahead and ordered this as it was virtually the only meal possible there. The first bite evinced tasty breading. The second bite produced a hair. Not a big deal; I simply took it out and continued; but…uh, you know what I mean. It was tender/juicy and I did consume the rest. The side order of mashed potatoes was inedible. It was made at least in part of potato flakes or similar dry/pre-fab crap furnished by restaurant suppliers. I took a couple forkfuls and left the rest of the bowl. The spuds’ presentation was sloppy, too. Maybe New Buenos Aires Café will learn something from rejected bowls of cold mash, but I doubt it. I’d arrived well before the game, in case it got packed; instead I was the only sit-down customer in there at all, until midway thru the game’s 1st period, when one sole woman came in to watch. We both left at halftime. It seats 40 persons, and had 2 game TVs going; but I reckon the locals, i.e. Argentine expats of Burbank, are hep to New Buenos Aires Café’s limitations, and went elsewhere. This place may be OK to grab a quick coffee or something to go, but without a washroom and brews, and failing to serve its full menu (during their most important game of the past 4 years!!), it sucks as a soccer-watching venue. After leaving at halftime, I took a couple empty water bottles from my car, filled them up at Mickey D’s across the street, returned to the café and watered its desperate plants. Then I left for good.
Report card: Food/drink D+, venue C-, value C.
Here’s the chicken milanesa I didn’t want, with atrocious potato buds:
Noble TV setup, saluting both Argentina and America; but plenty of empty seats:
This will probably jinx us, but at least we ain’t Mexico. That was awful today.
There’s a graphic floating around showing that a lot of the usmnt’s best players came up (at least briefly) through MLS developmental league.
Reyna, Aaronson, Weah, Ream, Adams, McKennie, Turner all played at least a little with MLS academies. MLS is obviously years away (likely never) from being a top league but what matters more is that it can develop top players. Those guys plus Davies, and importantly Thiago Almada (an Argentina call-up who plays for Atlanta!) plus guys like Almiron, shows that it can.
As a die-hard Norwich City fan with lots of lower British league experience, I think MLS is maybe like a mixture of the championship and league one, perhaps?
So why is the women’s team so good?
US women soccer got a head start compared to other countries. Passing of Title IX in 1972 paved the way but skill gap between US women soccer and the rest of the world is closing.
Woman soccer outside of the US was very unpopular across Europe for the last 30-40 years. Only in the last 5-10 years some more professional structures are getting into place but are still very, very far away from men soccer. Many of the female players for example in the German top league still have a “regular” job beside playing soccer
GERMANY FIELD REPORT: I woke up ill today (cold? RSV? with ocular headache, ugh!), so I got a slow start down to Rasselbock in Long Beach for the match, medicated on Advil. When I arrived at the door, 50 minutes prior to gametime, I was informed by the young hostess that the seating was completely reserved/taken and I’d have to stand. “How do I eat while standing up?” I asked her. She had no answer. It got packed to the rafters with millennials who apparently don’t mind a venue where they have to stand, and is loud as f—k. I am middle aged, was the oldest person there and too old for this shi’ite. I’m sure it’s good as a regular restaurant (it normally doesn’t open until for dinner), but I won’t be back for the Cup. ‘scuse me, I have to go fill out my AARP application. Miraculously a true gentleman let me have a seat of his at the bar for while I wolfed my plate down. I’d scoped out the menu online in advance, and wanted the potato-leek-cabbage soup (sick – I need soup!) and porky jaegerschnitzel. But instead, they had only a limited menu for the game. I wound up with a porkloin wienerschnitzel/kraut/red spuds plate ($19). The schnitzel was a winner, red spuds tasty but rosemary-heavy (is that German?), and kraut sour enough but thick-ish strips al dente (I prefer mine thinner & softer, like the Red Lion’s), and not high on flavor to some degree. Didn’t consume all the kraut, but did everything else, thanked the true gentleman profusely, and got my sick ass out of there at halftime. The millennials must have gone krazy when Germany later goaled. Things would wind up a 1-1 draw with Spain.
Report card: Food/drink B+, venue C- (for age 50+) / A (for millennials), value B+.
Porkloin wienerschnitzel plate:
Gameday limited menu:
Very-much-Germany-soccer decor all around the Rasselbock Long Beach:
YEP! I was once chatting with a fellow Angel City soccer fan and how their friend in Europe couldn’t understand the fuss. His comment… Why would I go see a Horse Race with Mules? honest2gawd.
Am taking a sick day off from the daily World Cup frenzy, so no field report today. I’d just like to take this opportunity to express gratitude to the ownership/management of FTC, and FTC’s membership (especially LA), for an astounding ONE THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED views of this thread. And after only one week! I am overjoyed, and so thankful! Let’s keep rockin it all the way to the championship on Dec. 18!