The United States Men’s National Team has a full slate of friendlies scheduled throughout this year. The Yanks are playing Brazil on September 7th, Mexico on September 11th, Colombia on October 11th, England on November 15th, and Italy on November 20th.
Two of the teams scheduled are in the top ten of the August FIFA Men’s World Rankings, with Brazil at #3 and England at #6, while Colombia is #14, Mexico is #16 and Italy is #21. The US are the lowest ranked of the six squads at #22 in the world.
Just the fact that the Federation sought out these teams shows a sign that things within management are trending in the right direction. The best teams in the world should play each other. There’s no point in the US playing some low-level team like, say, Trinidad. Or even Tobago. But definitely not both Trinidad AND Tobago together, because that’d be a nightmare.
But while it’s a good sign that the Federation is committed to the highest competition, a large question looms over the friendlies. Who the hell is going to coach them?
As of Wednesday, August 20th, 2018, at 9:04 P.M. MST, Dave Sarachan is still the “interim” manager of the USMNT. It has been 311 days, since Bruce Arena stepped down after his brief stint as USMNT for the second time ended in total, utter, complete failure. Furthermore, it has been 300 days since Sarachan was hired as interim head coach. Finally, there are only 17 days until the USMNT play Brazil, the third ranked men’s team in the world.
There are 17 days until the US Men’s National Team plays the third ranked team in the world, and they don’t have a permanent head coach. Feel that knot in your stomach? Yeah, me too.
The US isn’t supposed to win really any of these games – except the Mexico game, which the Yanks will Dos a Cero. But that wasn’t the point in scheduling the friendlies. The point is to get the young core of players that’ll lead the team through (hopefully) the next two World Cup cycles together and comfortable in the system that the Yanks will play for the next few years. But if Sarachan is coaching them, they’ll be wasted games for both teams playing, because Sarachan will probably play the US in a five back where the only tactic going forward is lobbing up long balls for Julian Green.
In a press release from the USSF, the Federation stated, “A learning curve remains, but for a team with an eye on its return to the World Cup the immediate challenges ahead will serve as a great starting point to begin the new cycle.”
Great. The Federation is sending a bunch of 21-year-olds to face Neymar to with a “learning curve,” but no one to teach or lead them.
The USSF have 17 days to hire a permanent MNT coach, or the US will be embarrassed by Brazil and won’t get any positives out of it. 2022 World Cup qualifying will start soon, and CONCACAF will still only have three automatic bids and a play-in bid.