Scuffed | U.S. soccer, World Cup, Yanks Abroad, futbol in America

By Adam Belz and Greg Velasquez

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Category: Soccer

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Subscribers: 167
Reviews: 4

 Mar 23, 2020
By far the best place to get your US Soccer info.

J. R.
 Aug 9, 2019
Solid U.S. Soccer podcast. Smart and enjoyable listen.

 Feb 8, 2019
the best podcast to learn about US youth soccer. plus interesting music between cuts.

Michael Karsner
 Jan 16, 2019
great podcast, awesome interviews and the best podcast for young USMNT fans


An in-depth show about the U.S. men's and women's national soccer teams, the players who could one day make it better, and American soccer in general.

Episode Date
#345: England v USA recap

An encouraging performance on a huge stage, in some ways unprecedented, but still we couldn't score, and some of our decisions didn't align with the naked math of World Cup advancement. Must-win against Iran on Tuesday.
Scuffed is an ad-free podcast. Support that and get weekly exclusive episodes, plus access to our vibrant Discord server including live call-in shows and round-the-clock access to other reasonable USMNT and USWNT fans online, by signing up for our Patreon:

Nov 26, 2022
#344: Pre-England final check in

Gio Reyna not playing controversy revisited, mea culpas from Belz and Watke. And then shouts from all over the country on how we're gonna beat England.
Scuffed is an ad-free podcast. Support that and get exclusive episodes (more than 50 this year) by signing up for our Patreon:

Nov 24, 2022
#343: World Cup Debrief — Wales a day later

Greg, Watke, Vince and Belz continue to celebrate Weah's goal, talk about Gio's health, mourn the two lost points, and try to cover the waterfront as the US starts to prepare for England.
Scuffed is an ad-free podcast. Support that and get exclusive episodes (more than 50 this year) by signing up for our Patreon:

Nov 22, 2022
#342: USA v Wales recap

A bolt of blue from Pulisic and Weah, a big mistake from Zimmerman, and a disappointing draw with Wales at the World Cup. Greg and Belz talk through it.
Scuffed is an ad-free podcast. Support that and get exclusive episodes (more than 50 this year) by signing up for our Patreon:

Nov 22, 2022
#341: Final check-in; Wales looms

With Watke and Vince, irrational optimism, first goalscorer, first assist, best goal celebrations, Dest's bleach job, the Esquire photo shoot, who we sub on in the 30th minute to protect our lead, and much more.
Scuffed is an ad-free podcast. Support that and get exclusive episodes (more than 50 this year) by signing up for our Patreon:

Nov 18, 2022
#340: Naomi Girma joins the pod, plus we break down the Germany friendlies

Sanjay Sujanthakumar interviews reigning NWSL defender of the year Naomi Girma (perhaps the USWNT's top centerback now?) about everything from her Ethiopian-American upbringing to her academic work in "symbolic systems." And then Greg and Belz recap the two friendlies against Germany. Last non-USMNT episode before we happily enter the World Cup gauntlet.
Scuffed is an ad-free podcast. Support that and get exclusive episodes (more than 50 this year) by signing up for our Patreon:

Nov 17, 2022
#339: What we can do to beat Wales

Greg and Belz watch a bunch of Wales footage and report back. Gareth Bale is still very dangerous (once in a while), we're likely up against a 5-4-1 defensive block, and they'll hit fast in transition. Tyler Adams needs a good game, we need somebody to get on the ball between the lines and cook (Reyna, maybe Sarge or Ferreira or Aaronson), and we need quick runners off the ball to break Wales down.
Scuffed is an ad-free podcast. Support that and get exclusive episodes (more than 50 this year) by signing up for our Patreon:

Nov 16, 2022
#338: A World Cup primer for general U.S. sports fans

Greg and Belz talk about why you should care about the U.S. men's national team and watch them play at the World Cup. This is for sharing with friends and family, ideally.

Scuffed is an ad-free podcast. Support that and get exclusive episodes (more than 50 this year) by signing up for our Patreon:

Nov 16, 2022
#337: Monday Review — league play wraps, the World Cup is upon us

Dest looks fully back, lotta smiles at camp in Al Gharrafa, Vince beseeches us all to enjoy ourselves, Weah's team playlist unearthed on reddit, Sargent scores (so does Pepi), team jersey numbers assigned, and a lot more with Vince, Watke and Belz.
support Scuffed on Patreon:

Nov 14, 2022
#336: The actual roster for the World Cup

We talk about Steffen quite a bit, work through the 26, mourn the snubs (but especially Belz mourns Pepi), and then we build up to Greg predicting a 2-0 win over Wales. 
Scuffed is an ad-free podcast. Support that, get exclusive episodes (more than 50 this year), and gain full access to the Discord server by signing up for our Patreon:

Nov 10, 2022
#335: Leeds madness, Pulisic with Nippa, Weah at fullback

The Monday Review with Watke, Vince and Belz. Leeds 4 Bournemouth 3, Adams and Aaronson playing well, Weah at fullback, Gio's cold penalty and the AB dance, Pulisic with Nippa and his crew in the bowels of Wembley, no new injuries other than Sam Vines, Pax to Frankfurt, etc. etc.
Scuffed is an ad-free podcast. Support that and get exclusive episodes (more than 50 this year so far) by signing up for our Patreon:

Nov 07, 2022
#334: The World Cup roster — our picks and Berhalter prediction

Our World Cup roster episode. First Greg and Belz go over Berhalter's locks, then we each give our 26, then we project who Berhalter will call up. 
Scuffed is an ad-free podcast. Support that and get exclusive episodes (more than 50 this year) by signing up for our Patreon:

Nov 07, 2022
#333: Ten turning points since Couva

Greg and Belz on the Nation's League loss to Canada, the 2019 U20 World Cup, Weston McKennie's exit from FC Dallas, and seven other turning points since we failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
Scuffed is an ad-free podcast. Support that and get exclusive episodes (more than 50 this year) by signing up for our Patreon:

Nov 04, 2022
#332: Wales' strengths, weaknesses, politics and "Yma o Hyd" with Ryan March

The founder of Alternative Wales, Ryan March, talks about the Welsh 3-4-3, the need for a healthy Joe Allen, says he's unconcerned with Gareth Bale's lack of competitive minutes, and explains the song that Welsh fans will be singing in Qatar.

To see March's writing, visit Alternative Wales, and to listen to his podcast, which I recommend, go here.
Scuffed is an ad-free, listener-supported podcast. You can support us by joining the Patreon, here: Scuffed on Patreon:

Nov 03, 2022
#331: Historic Recap — England v USA, World Cup 2010

This is the fifth installment in our historical recap series, which is mostly just for patrons, and in this one we look back at a match against an opponent we face later this month in Qatar. In 2010, we got a draw! But our heroes weren't actually heroes (according to Greg), average players can do a job at the World Cup, and Jamie Carragher is still embarrassed after that Jozy Altidore run. Also the mysteries of the Jabulani, Robert Green's unbelievable error, a lovely stab from Steven Gerrard, a debate about Oguchi Onyewu's performance, the music of 2010, the clothing of 2010, and much more.  

0:30 intro, preamble, music, etc.
Wiz Khalifa's "Never Been" is the interstitial.
12:00 to the soccer!
25:00 Gerrard's goal
44:30 Dempsey's goal
52:45 the half
Listen to the four other historic recaps, and get the Monday Review delivered to your phone every week, by becoming a patron of the podcast:

Past historic recaps in the patron feed:
#1 Czechoslovakia v USA, 1990
#2 USA v Colombia, 1994
#3 USA v Iran, 1998
#4: Mexico v USA, 2002

Nov 02, 2022
#330: Canada, Costa Rica and Mexico's chances at the World Cup with Jon Arnold

It's a Conca-Catchup with Jon Arnold. We also talk a fair amount about the USMNT. Canada and Costa Rica in difficult groups, the U.S. and Mexico less-so, and that's really the big differentiator.

Sign up for Jon's newsletter:
Scuffed is an ad-free podcast. Support that and get exclusive episodes (more than 50 so far this year) by signing up for our Patreon:


Oct 28, 2022
#329: CCV struggles, Reyna's fit, Pulisic's bright

A midweek review from Greg and Belz. Also McKennie scored, Tillman was pretty good, Sargent was physical but not dangerous, and Mexico called up none of the dual nationals who one-time-switched to El Tri.
Scuffed is an ad-free podcast. Please support us on Patreon:

Oct 27, 2022
#328: Reyna curler, McKennie header, a famous win for Pepi

There was also some bad news, for Leeds, to cover from the weekend, and a lot of middling stuff. Another fully-public Monday Review with Watke and Vince. 
Scuffed is an ad-free podcast. Please support us on Patreon:

Oct 24, 2022
#327: Who is on the bubble for Qatar and who is going

Greg and Belz talk through the USMNT roster for the World Cup, which begins in exactly one month, and the decisions that still need to be made. Striker and centerback remain deeply intriguing. 
Scuffed is an ad-free podcast. Please support us on Patreon:

Oct 21, 2022
#326: Savannah DeMelo joins the pod

The Racing Louisville midfielder spoke with Sanjay Sujanthakumar in Spain last week. She didn't start playing soccer until she was 8! The southern California native and USC alum scored 4 goals and got 2 assists for Louisville in her rookie season, and received her first senior USWNT call-ups in September and October.
Scuffed is an ad-free podcast. Please support us on Patreon:

Oct 18, 2022
#325: Michele Giannone on Berhalter, the USMNT and much more

TUDN reporter and producer Michele Giannone joins the pod to talk with Watke and Belz about Berhalter on the sideline, as a person and as a manager, the USMNT's chances in Qatar, Darlington Nagbe as Neo from the Matrix, growing up in Venezuela and much more.
For the full episode, join Scuffed on Patreon for as little as $2 a month:

Patrons get a private feed for the Monday Review, which is, among other things, a run-down of club action for national team players every week with Watke and Vince. Patrons also get access to our private Discord server, live call-in shows, and the full catalog of historic recaps we're working on.

Oct 14, 2022
#324: Spain v USWNT recap

Vlatko out? Yeah, but it won't happen. So he should buckle down and ban crossing, hire a final third coach and get this team to start playing soccer in the attack. This needs to be fixed.

Join Scuffed on Patreon for as little as $2 a month:

Patrons get a private feed for the Monday Review, which is, among other things, a run-down of club action for national team players every week with Watke and Vince. Patrons also get access to our private Discord server, live call-in shows, and the full catalog of historic recaps we're working on.

Oct 12, 2022
#323: Pulisic, Pepi & Sargent score. Weah, Musah & CCV return.

A jam-packed public Monday Review with Watke and Vince and Belz. Full weekend rundown, including Aaronson's mazy, buttery run, volleys struck into the ground, dubious reportage on Scally's place in the XI, and much much much more.

Join Scuffed on Patreon for as little as $2 a month:

Patrons get a private feed for the Monday Review, which is, among other things, a run-down of club action for national team players every week with Watke and Vince. Patrons also get access to our private Discord server, live call-in shows, and the full catalogue of historic recaps we're working on. Here's what we have so far.

#1 Czechoslovakia v USA, 1990,
#2 USA v Colombia, 1994,
#3 USA v Iran, 1998,
#4: Mexico v USA, 2002,

Oct 10, 2022
#322: England v USWNT recap

A scintillating contest at Wembley. The US came up short, but was plenty threatening. Still lacking final third choreography and composure, and the ability to build sustained possession out of the back. We got robbed of a big Trinity Rodman goal by a ref who had a shocker. Girma was excellent.

Join Scuffed on Patreon for as little as $2 a month:

Patrons get a private feed for the Monday Review, which is, among other things, a run-down of club action for national team players every week with Watke and Vince. Patrons also get access to our private Discord server, live call-in shows, and the full catalogue of historic recaps we're working on. Here's what we have so far.

#1 Czechoslovakia v USA, 1990,
#2 USA v Colombia, 1994,
#3 USA v Iran, 1998,
#4: Mexico v USA, 2002,

Oct 08, 2022
#321: Chris Richards joins the pod

Sanjay Sujanthakumar interviewed Chris Richards for Scuffed in a cafe in central London. Enjoy the ambience. They talked about hanging with Jason Sudeikis, the choice to join Patrick Vieira at Palace, looked back at the Bayern Munich experience and discussed whether this national team can help get more Black Americans interested in the sport.

Join Scuffed on Patreon for as little as $2 a month:

Patrons get a private feed for the Monday Review, which is, among other things, a run-down of club action for national team players every week with Watke and Vince. Patrons also get access to our private Discord server, live call-in shows, and the full catalogue of historic recaps we're working on. Here's what we have so far.

#1 Czechoslovakia v USA, 1990,
#2 USA v Colombia, 1994,
#3 USA v Iran, 1998,
#4: Mexico v USA, 2002,

Oct 04, 2022
#320: Jenny Chiu joins the pod

CBS correspondent Jenny Chiu joins Watke and Belz to discuss growing up in El Paso, inciting a brawl by clowning on boys her age in youth soccer, the jump from Orlando City to CBS, the craft of sideline reporting, covering World Cup qualifiers, World Cup predictions, playing for Anson Dorrance, the ethics of pruning houseplants, and much more. Jenny was a good sport. Highly recommend.

Get the second half of the interview by joining Scuffed on Patreon for as little as $2 a month:

Patrons also get the exclusive Monday Review each week, which is, among other things, a run-down of club action for national team players every week with Watke and Vince. Patrons also get access to our private Discord server, live call-in shows, and the full catalogue of historic recaps we're working on. Here's what we have so far.

#1 Czechoslovakia v USA, 1990,
#2 USA v Colombia, 1994,
#3 USA v Iran, 1998,
#4: Mexico v USA, 2002,

Sep 30, 2022
#319: Saudi Arabia v USA recap

The last friendly before the World Cup is another stinker, pretty much. We talk about some hopeful reasons that these games aren't predictive of how we'll perform in Qatar, but also give full-throated voice to the doomsday sentiments, and then work our way through the action of this game, mostly the first half.

Join Scuffed on Patreon for as little as $2 a month:

Patrons get a private feed for the Monday Review, which is, among other things, a run-down of club action for national team players every week with Watke and Vince. Patrons also get access to our private Discord server, live call-in shows, and the full catalogue of historic recaps we're working on. Here's what we have so far.

#1 Czechoslovakia v USA, 1990,
#2 USA v Colombia, 1994,
#3 USA v Iran, 1998,
#4: Mexico v USA, 2002,

Sep 28, 2022
#318: Japan v USA recap

Hoo boy. Feels a little like 2019. Berhalter says we need centerbacks who can hold a high line but we couldn't establish a high line because we couldn't possess the ball in part because one of our centerbacks isn't a good passer. Add in a brutal performance from the midfield and this was a bad one. Mixed zone audio courtesy Sanjay Sujanthakumar.

Join Scuffed on Patreon for as little as $2 a month:

Patrons get a private feed for the Monday Review, which is, among other things, a run-down of club action for national team players every week with Watke and Vince and Belz. Patrons also get access to our private Discord server, live call-in shows, and the full catalogue of historic recaps we're working on. Here's what we have so far.

#1 Czechoslovakia v USA, 1990,
#2 USA v Colombia, 1994,
#3 USA v Iran, 1998,
#4: Mexico v USA, 2002,

Sep 23, 2022
#317: A USWNT check-up after Nigeria, before England

Greg on the high floor and the "stupidly high ceiling" of this group, the lack of rhythm and patience in the final third, and how Vlatko needs to "manage the ambition" of his players to hit the hopeful home run ball. Belz does what he can to help.

Join Scuffed on Patreon for as little as $2 a month:

Patrons get a private feed for the Monday Review, which is, among other things, a run-down of club action for national team players every week with Watke and Vince. Patrons also get access to our private Discord server, live call-in shows, and the full catalogue of historic recaps we're working on. Here's what we have so far.

#1 Czechoslovakia v USA, 1990,
#2 USA v Colombia, 1994,
#3 USA v Iran, 1998,
#4: Mexico v USA, 2002,

Sep 22, 2022
#316: The roster for the last friendlies before the World Cup

Greg and Belz work through the roster, and Berhalter's press conference, ahead of friendlies vs Japan and Saudi Arabia.

support Scuffed on Patreon and get all kinds of benefits:

Sep 15, 2022
#315: Jimmy Conrad joins the pod

The former USMNT defender discussed how to cope when your goalkeeper might be match-fixing, beating out Gregg Berhalter for World Cup minutes, getting nutmegged by children in pickup soccer, and managing disputes with coaches and teammates surnamed Bradley. Some of that is in the second half of the interview, which is for patrons only. Interview conducted by Watke and Belz.

Get the second half of this interview, plus the Monday Review each week, plus the historic recaps, by joining the Scuffed Patreon:

Check out In Soccer We Trust, Jimmy's main project right now:

Sep 13, 2022
#314: Monday Review — Musah & Reyna persevere, Ferreira brace, Pepi debut & the Queen

Vince, Watke and Belz work through the weekend's action, which was limited somewhat by the death of Queen Elizabeth. Musah and Reyna both lose but play ok. Jordan Pefok and Union Berlin are top of the table in Germany. Jesus Ferreira scores a brace against LAFC. Pepi debuts and gets an assist for Groningen. Full rundown.

0:30 intro and Queen Elizabeth
5:00 Reyna
10:50 Ferreira
17:30 Pepi
22:45 Pefok
28:40 Musah
32:25 McKennie
...and much more.

support Scuffed on Patreon:

Sep 12, 2022
#313: Reyna shines, a dive into CCV, and roster talk

Greg and Belz work through the mid-week Champions League action in some detail, and talk about the forthcoming roster for the upcoming September friendlies.

support Scuffed on Patreon, and get the Monday Reviews every week, the historic recaps, access to the Discord which will include participation in our live call-in shows, and a recent bonus episode with Bob Morocco:

Sep 09, 2022
#312: The ever-evolving World Cup roster picture

Greg and Belz discuss some news of the week through the lens of the ever-evolving World Cup roster discussion. Pepi perhaps falls out of the picture, but then gets a loan to Holland. Scally's case gets stronger with every minute Dest doesn't play, and now maybe Dest to Villareal? The ReSargence. Etc. etc.

Join the Patreon and get the Monday Review every week:

  • Pulisic's playing time prospects
  • Pepi to Groningen
  • Dest in purgatory, but maybe Villareal? Oh wait he's going to Milan, skip this section.
  • Brooooooooks
  • The ReSargence and its implications
  • Tillman & Sands & CCV in Champions League
  • Reyna back in squad
  • Chris Richards' uncertain start to the season
  • Scally! Scally! Scally!
  • Ledezma back on bench
  • Mendez
Aug 31, 2022
#311: World Cup lineup talk and lots of other Q&A

Greg and Belz try to answer a bunch of questions from patrons of the podcast. Who actually starts at the World Cup? Gio Reyna as a false 9, minutes vs injury risk, how many goals Sargent needs to score to get on the plane and many other questions asked, and answered.

0:30 intro, etc.
2:15 does the 2nd straight crash-out from the U-20 Women's World Cup in the group signal the beginning of the end of American dominance in women's soccer?
8:00 beginning of USMNT (obviously mostly World Cup-related) questions

support Scuffed on Patreon:

Aug 19, 2022
#310: USA v Japan (U20 Women's World Cup)

A pretty sad night in Costa Rica. The U.S. bowed out in the group at the U-20 Women's World Cup. Belz and Tara commiserate, talk through the action, and name their list of 6 players from the team who could some day make national team noise.

support Scuffed on Patreon:

Aug 18, 2022
#309: Arya Allahverdi on Iran, player unrest, a starting XI & Iranian football

Arya Allahverdi, who runs the Gol Bezan podcast, joins the pod to discuss an Iranian national team that's had its share of controversy, mostly surrounding the coach, Dragan Skočić, who was sacked and then un-sacked this summer after a poor friendly against Algeria. But Iran has several talented players, particularly in the attack, and Allahverdi thinks they'll come out and play at the World Cup, especially against the U.S. He also gives his preferred starting XI.

If you want to skip straight to the part where we talk about current Iranian players and their weaknesses, around the 40:00 mark Arya starts giving his preferred XI, and then some discussion of a likely tactical approach.

Aug 17, 2022
#308: USA v Netherlands (U20 Women's World Cup)

Vince in Louisville and Tara in Philly join Belz to talk about the second group stage game of the World Cup for the U.S. women's under-20 team, a 3-0 loss to the Netherlands. Lots of rotation, some suboptimal individual performances, a lack of flowing attack, and we get beaten on a high header, a blast from 30 and a penalty. Next is Japan and we gotta win by 2 goals to advance.

Please support Scuffed on Patreon:

Aug 15, 2022
#307: USA v Ghana (U20 Women's World Cup)

Vince in Louisville and Tara in Philly join Belz to talk about the first group stage game of the World Cup for the U.S. women's under-20 team. We beat Ghana 3-0. Lots to discuss, including Jaedyn Shaw, Olivia Moultrie, Michelle Cooper, Korbin Albert and Trinity Byars, among others.

Please support Scuffed on Patreon:

Aug 12, 2022
#306: A first-hand account of a Sargent goal, plus the cost of USSF coaching licenses

Jake Landau from the It's Called Soccer Youtube channel joins the pod with a first-hand account from Norwich City's EFL Cup victory over Birmingham City, which featured three Americans. He also spoke about his experience getting coaching licenses from both USSF and UEFA, the topic of one of his recent videos.

Subscribe to Jake's channel:
Here's the video on coaching licenses, cost, difference in emphasis:

Join the Scuffed Patreon:

Aug 10, 2022
#305: Keith Costigan on the USMNT, the World Cup & soccer play-by-play

Costigan, who does play-by-play for the Sounders and FOX, talked about the USA's prospects at the World Cup, how he thinks the U20s this year differed from past U20 teams, Jordan Morris's return to form, Cristian Roldan's role problem with the national team, and how he preps to call games from the booth.

Scuffed is an ad-free podcast. Please consider supporting us on Patreon:

Aug 05, 2022
#304: Who could still play their way on to the World Cup roster?

Greg and Belz talk through the 16 locks, the 5 or 6 probables, and the handful of players who could play their way onto the roster for Qatar by winning the four or five remaining spots for a field player. Nearly three-quarters of the episode is a striker discussion.

Please consider supporting Scuffed on Patreon:

Aug 03, 2022
#303: Monday Review — Wes injured, Giovanni return, Aaronson balling

Join our Patreon for the full Monday Review this week and every week, get access to the Discord and a fair amount of video, get the historic USMNT recaps, and help us stay viable without running a single advertisement ever:

Aug 01, 2022
#302: C.J. Sapong interview

The Nashville SC striker is still banging in goals at 33, and he talked about how he's evolved in his training, what it's like to be his own agent, staying thankful, how soon Black America will embrace the sport of soccer, the most annoying centerbacks in the league to play against, and the importance of meditation.

Sapong's non-profit, Sacred Seeds:

Jul 28, 2022
#301: Niko Tsakiris interview

Quick interview. He was the youngest player on the U20 team that won the Concacaf Championship in style earlier this month. He made his MLS debut in March. We talked about being a coach's son, getting an EU passport, and his favorite player (will surprise you).

Jul 21, 2022
#300: USWNT v Canada recap, and we're going to the Olympics!

Greg is aghast at Canada's defensive shape after the U.S. spent pretty much the whole game running attacking drills at naked centerbacks. We could be sharper in the final third, obviously, but we just absolutely dominated the Olympic champions and weren't troubled at all until Vlatko's self-inflicted tardiness with substitutions.

By the way this is our 300th episode in the public feed. Cheers, and thanks to all our patrons and everybody who listens.

Jul 20, 2022
#299: USWNT v Costa Rica recap

A much improved performance in the semifinals of the Concacaf Championship. Full timeline and not much else from Greg and Belz.

Jul 15, 2022
#298: USWNT v Mexico recap

Not our finest hour, not Mexico's either and the federation is now undergoing a massive shakeup. But the US wins the group and does it with dominance, not conceding once. Greg gives most of the performance a pass because it was a dead rubber, but it was awfully disjointed.

Jul 13, 2022
#297: USWNT v Jamaica recap, and we're going to the World Cup!

Greg and Belz break down a much-improved attacking performance from the USA, on a night where Mexico's failures broke our way and we earned qualification to the 2023 Women's World Cup. Fun midfield, lots of action in the Man City zone, Sophia Smith scores a gorgeous goal and Girma, Huerta and Sanchez make their case.

Jul 08, 2022
#296: USWNT v Haiti recap

Lots of crossing, a little bit shaky at the back, and Alex Morgan comes up big. Greg and Belz break down the action and promise to be more timely with the rest of the games in this tournament.

Jul 06, 2022
#295: Kings of Concacaf! U20s v Dominican Republic recap

Joey, Vince, Hartman and Belz break down the action from the championship game, and try to step back and analyze the U20s as a group, stock up/stock down, where it all fits in.

Jul 04, 2022
#294: We're going to the Olympics! (U20s v Honduras recap)

Joey O and Matt Hartman recap the U20s' historic win to qualify for the 2024 Olympics in Paris. All hail Mikey Varas, and the Philadelphia Union, and Alejandro Alvarado. Quick note from Belz at the beginning of the episode.

Jul 02, 2022
#293: USWNT v Colombia recaps

A double recap of the two friendlies versus Colombia. Big questions about the striker position and the midfield pretty well answered. Lots of crossing. Next is Haiti on the Fourth of July.

Jun 29, 2022
#292: U20s v Costa Rica recap

Vince, Joey O and Matt Showalter step in to recap the U20s' Concacaf quarterfinal showdown with Costa Rica. Paxten comes up big, and despite some uneven moments in the back, the boys pass their first tough test of the tournament.


Matt and Joey's show is called MLS Benched. Here are the details...


Jun 29, 2022
#291: U20s v Nicaragua recap with Bob Morocco

Luna shines again. Sullivan as a (slightly trigger-happy) interpreter of space. xG piling up and we close out the soft part of the U20 Concacaf Championship in some style against Nicaragua. Bob Morocco joins to talk about the game, compare this side to the one that won the title in 2017, and give his preferred lineup for the Costa Rica match on Tuesday.

Jun 26, 2022
#290: U20s v Cuba recap with Bob Morocco

Bob Morocco of Big Soccer and USMNT Twitter fame joins to break down the third group stage game of the Concacaf Championship, against Cuba. Plenty to talk about. Bob, as usual, is meticulous and precise.

0:30 intro, lineups and timeline
48:00 who here has a NT future?

Follow Bob on Twitter:
Also follow Matt Hartman:

Jun 23, 2022
#289: Quick preview of the women's Concacaf Championship

Greg and Belz go through the USWNT roster, and the injuries keeping players out of it, ahead of the tournament next month at which they will aim to qualify both for the next World Cup and the next Olympics.

Jun 22, 2022
#288: U20s v Canada recap

A pretty interesting game! Matt Hartman and Belz do a "quick take hot take" a la Grove and Rockwell, right after the game. Full timeline in a wild match mostly dominated by the US, and some quick takeaways at the end.

0:30 intro and lineups
9:30 the timeline
1:02:00 quick takeaways

Jun 21, 2022
#287: U20s v St. Kitts recap

Hey! We're gonna recap all of these U20 games. This time it's Matt Hartman and Belz. A lopsided victory in Tegucigalpa, but we're all just getting reps in preparation for the knockout rounds.

Jun 19, 2022
#286: U20 player pool rundown ahead of Concacaf Championship

The tournament kicks off Saturday for the U.S. U20s against St. Kitts & Nevis. The top 2 finishers in the tournament qualify for the 2024 Olympics, and the top 4 qualify for the U20 World Cup in 2023 in Indonesia. So it's a tournament that matters quite a bit! Matt Hartman joins the pod to talk through the players on the roster, the ones who aren't for various reasons, and a few other things.

Jun 16, 2022
#285: El Salvador v USA recap

Another draw in San Salvador, but one that ended up being a lot of fun.

Jun 15, 2022
#284: USA v Grenada recap

As Greg Velasquez predicted would happen, the starting striker got a hat trick. But also, some players made a negative impression and it's hard to see them going to Qatar if they couldn't make a positive impact against a team made up of players from USL and Braintree Town.

Jun 11, 2022
#283: Tuesday Review — All our enemies are in the mud

England, Wales, Canada, Iran and Mexico, all struggling in one way or another. Plus "Americans," Pulisic getting snippy, bringing something to a party, Scally wars, 6 on 6 crime, maybe Gregg is good, Jesus at the 9, substitution-gate, actions not words, and repentance (or a lack thereof) toward Brenden Aaronson.

0:30 enemies mudded
12:55 "Americans"
19:45 Pulisic getting snippy
22:40 lip-reading RFP
26:00 Puli-Haji penalty ruse
34:30 Brenden repentance
42:00 Bringing something to a party
53:30 Twitter meta discussion
1:04:00 Tyler high, 6 on 6 crime
1:10:30 Pulisic haircut
1:13:40 substitution-gate

Jun 07, 2022
#282: USA v Uruguay recap

Another good friendly, this one in Kansas City against 13th-ranked Uruguay. Scally struggles, Ferreira against doesn't finish his chances, Musah shines, and we have a bunch of decent data heading into the softer back half of the international window.

Jun 06, 2022
#281: USA v Morocco recap

A wrinkle in the shape, a fascinating night for Pulisic, Aaronson outstanding and Luca de la Torre at the 6. Lots to discuss from a free-flowing contest against a respectable World Cup-bound opponent.

0:30 intro and lineups, etc.
5:30 Aaronson's role
18:40 Big Morocco chances
29:40 Puli to BA, 1-0
36:15 Weah smash, Bono bungle, 2-0
42:15 Greg on the USMNT's shape

Jun 02, 2022
#280: Morocco & Uruguay look-aheads, Velasquez on the roster

Greg has his say on Berhalter's call-ups, plus a quick look at Morocco and Uruguay and how we might line up against them.

May 25, 2022
#279: Equal pay & a June roster preview

Prize money equalization, and a run through prospective call-ups for the USMNT's June matches.

0:30 U.S. Soccer's new CBAs with the men and the women
15:40 June roster preview

May 19, 2022
#278: Interview with Mikey Varas, U.S. men's U20 coach

Mikey Varas joins the pod to talk about the tournament he coached the week he was hired, how the youth national teams are integrated with the senior national team, the shortage of true No. 9s in the youth ranks, the federation's approach to dual nationals, and how yoga applies to soccer.

May 16, 2022
#277: A World Cup year USMNT to-do list

The goalkeeper situation, attacking reps and a backup left back. Greg and Belz talk through those and five other things on the to-do list for Berhalter, some more urgent than others.

May 13, 2022
#276: Monday Review — Dad tweets, striker watch, endless dual nat panic

Our once-a-month public episode of the Monday Review with Vince and Watke. A selective roundup of the player pool's activity over the weekend, Mark Pulisic's deleted tweet, striker watch, a forecast of dual national panic, and much more.

May 02, 2022
#275: Hypothetical lineups, the offside rule, and late-season club stakes

Greg and Belz answer a handful of listener questions, mostly about hypothetical USMNT lineups. Then Greg gives a modest proposal for a new offside rule, and runs down the list of promotions, relegations and battles for a European spot that Americans face at clubs in Europe.

Apr 28, 2022
#274: Up-and-comers roundup with Matt Hartman and Marcus Chairez

The wheel keeps turning and we’ve got a new crop of male American soccer prospects emerging, especially at the U17 level. Marcus Chairez and Matt Hartman join the podcast to highlight the top players at the Generation Adidas Cup tournament, and we do a quick rundown of news in the men’s youth national teams.

Roughly in order, here are some of the players we discussed:

Cruz Medina, CM, San Jose
Bryan Destin, FW, Inter Miami
Stu Hawkins, CB, Seattle
Pedro Faife, CDM, Inter Miami
Angel Martinez, CB, Seattle
DeCarlo Guerra, CM, LAFC
Andrea Gitau, FW, Houston
Luis Rivera, CB, Real Salt Lake
Noah Santos, FW, Portland
Izzy Boatwright, RB, Inter Miami
...and many more!

Marcus on Twitter:
Matt on Twitter:

Apr 28, 2022
#273: A USWNT change of guard? Eh! We'll see.

The young cohort just blasted Uzbekistan, but now the US women's national team has to get ready for World Cup and Olympic qualification this summer. Greg and Belz check in on an exciting pool of young players and start to think about who might get the call in July.

Apr 21, 2022
#272: Meg Swanick on away qualifiers, binoculars, team chemistry

Meg Swanick, who writes for the Guardian US and covered every away World Cup qualifier played by the USMNT in this cycle, joins to be interviewed by Chris Russell (Watke) and take questions from listeners live on the air in the Scuffed Discord. Binoculars, whether Berhalter holds grudges, the bus ride to the Cuscatlan, the camaraderie of Weah and Yedlin, the best coffee in Concacaf, and many other things were discussed.

Here's Meg's new Substack:
And here she is on Twitter:

Apr 20, 2022
#271: West Coast Check-In with Jay Hernandez

This is a pilot for what I hope can be a regular episode with Jay Hernandez, a casual and briefer-than-normal conversation with an informed, opinionated fan of the US men's national team based in Los Angeles. The audio's pretty uneven but it's listenable, and it'll be better next time. We talked toxicity in the fanbase, Julian Araujo, Christian Pulisic, Gerson Perez's U20s, impressions of Orlando, and Berhalter. (Jay praised him twice.)

Apr 15, 2022
#270: Call-in show with Jon Arnold and Watke

We talk Concacaf more broadly, Jon's journalism origin story, the U20 Concacaf Championship, Costa Rica's surge, Jon's favorite cereal and a lot more. Recorded live on the Scuffed Discord.

Subscribe to Jon's newsletter:

Apr 13, 2022
#269: Zach Lowy on Vizela, Portuguese football & the transfer market for U.S. players

Breaking the Lines co-founder Zach Lowy joins to talk about Alex Mendez, Alejandro Alvarado, Vizela's chances of staying up and the incredible achievement that would be, Portuguese football in general, and whether the European market for young American talent is overheated.

5:00 Alex Mendez, Alejandro Alvarado and Vizela in general
28:10 Reggie Cannon and Boavista
40:00 Portugal's World Cup prospects
47:00 the European market for U.S. talent
57:00 Zach on Berhalter

@ZachLowy on Twitter, and his podcast is called Cortalinhas:

Apr 12, 2022
#268: A roster snapshot with 7 months 'til the World Cup

Who's a lock for Qatar, who's not quite a lock, and who else is fighting for a spot on the plane?

Apr 06, 2022
#267: Monday Review — Iran, Doha, frostbite, Black Friday, England (a little)

A relaxing post-qualification stroll with Watke and Vince through the World Cup draw, Iran's best players, England's profound deficiencies, frostbite, and Watke's past life on the Arabian peninsula. First Monday Review of the month, so it's in the free feed. Usually they're for patrons only.

Apr 04, 2022
#266: Costa Rica v USA recap (WCQ14)

We're going back to the World Cup. Greg and Belz recap the game in San Jose and go on a ramble about the end of qualifying and tomorrow's World Cup draw.

Mar 31, 2022
#265: USA v Panama recap (WCQ13)

A dreamy spring evening in Florida. Godoy gets handsy. Pulisic sinks the dagger. We have mostly qualified for the World Cup. Recap from Orlando, XIs v Costa Rica discussed at the end.

Mar 29, 2022
#264: Mexico v USA recap (WCQ12)

Greg and Belz gradually recap the World Cup qualifier in the Azteca.

Mar 25, 2022
#263: Jon Arnold previews MEX, PAN & CRC

Concacaf-in-general's most curious and prolific English-language journalist Jon Arnold joins to give us a sturdy look at the USA's opponents in the upcoming and final World Cup qualifying window. Will Julian Araujo start vs the USA? Can Costa Rica beat Canada at home? Will Panama rotate between Honduras and the USA? Those questions and many others addressed.

Subscribe to the Getting Concacafed newsletter:

Mar 22, 2022
#262: Judgment Day Roster Reaction & Lineup Talk

27 men called up for the final window of World Cup qualifying. Dest got hurt the day of the announcement. Brooks not called up. Erik Palmer-Brown back from the wilderness. We talk through all of that and then try to work out lineups for the Mexico and Panama games.

0:30 the roster
27:45 lineups vs Mexico and Panama

Mar 18, 2022
#261: An interview with former U.S. Soccer official Nico Romeijn

Romeijn was head of coaching education and chief sport development officer for U.S. Soccer before he left the federation to return to Holland in 2020. He spoke about the work he was involved in to revamp coaching education in the U.S., coaching philosophy, the challenges of growing the game in the U.S. and the way American soccer is viewed in the rest of the world.

Mar 17, 2022
#260: Which players have under- and over-performed in qualifying?

A day ahead of the roster release for the final window of World Cup qualifying, Greg Velasquez walks through a pretty careful assessment of each player who’s gotten minutes in qualifying. Belz tags along.

Mar 17, 2022
#259: World Cup Qualifying Recap Part 2: November and January

In Part 1, Greg and Belz went through the first two World Cup qualifying windows. In this episode, Part 2, they go through the third and fourth windows as a refresher ahead of the final, decisive set of three matches coming at the end of this month. Less time given to the most recent window than the first three, to be quite honest. These two episodes are perfect for anyone newly paying attention to the men's national team, or anyone who wants to go back and try to understand a little better how we got where we are.

Details on the March 27 festivities:

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drop us a question at this link and we’ll try to answer it:

Mar 13, 2022
#258: World Cup Qualifying Recap Part 1: September & October

Greg and Belz go back through the first two windows as a refresher ahead of the final window. What worked, what didn't work, who played, who didn't play, etc etc. Part 2, on the November and January/February windows, will come out soon.

Details on the March 27 festivities:

Mar 11, 2022
#257: Monday Review — Wes out, Pulisic good, Pefok scores again, Sir Charles drags the USMNT

Vince is back with Watke and Belz for a full recap of the week's action, including Jesse Marsch's glorious victory in the xG battle in his Leeds debut, Vince seeing the North London light on our striker situation, and Weston's confirmed season-ended status. Also, is Balogun the solution?

Mar 07, 2022
#256: Six USMNT storylines we’re tracking in MLS

The striker grab bag, the Philly and Dallas projects and the Fourth Eight race are among the national team-related storylines we're tracking in Major League Soccer. Caveats from Velasquez abound, but it's a pretty good discussion and we took a few listener questions at the end.

Mar 03, 2022
#255: John Muller, soccer analytics writer for The Athletic UK

Muller patiently explains what he thinks are the most interesting metrics in soccer right now, the basics of how data is collected and used and sold, and some of the limitations of even advanced stats. Belz plays the data-inattentive everyman, which is, after all, what he is. They also discussed and assessed Gregg Berhalter's tenure and adaptability, the US men's player pool, and what John is working on next. Then he turned a few questions on Belz.

0:30 intro and the basics of soccer analytics
29:25 Berhalter and USMNT discussion starts

Feb 22, 2022
#254: Interview with Eryk Williamson

On the brink of his return from an ACL injury last August that sidelined him for all of World Cup qualifying, Portland Timbers midfielder Eryk Williamson joins the pod to talk about cold showers in the Azores and his breakout 2020 season, what he's learned from Diego Chara, why he was left off the Olympic qualifying roster and how he overcame that setback to win a trophy against Mexico in the Gold Cup.

Feb 21, 2022
#253: Herdman’s secret plans & Berhalter’s last interview

Greg and Belz got a pretty detailed look into Canada's tactical approach from a couple of private video presentations conducted by John Herdman, which were leaked to us. We talk through those and try to relate them to the USMNT, and then talk through Gregg Berhalter's latest interview with Bobby Warshaw for U.S. Soccer's house podcast.

  • 0:30 intro, background and the basics of Herdman's ideas
  • 14:30 Canada's approach to each of the 4 phases of the game
  • 26:30 tallying up "advance platforms" as a way to measure on-field success
  • 44:25 Berhalter's latest Warshaw interview
  • 55:30 Pulisic's benching

CORRECTION: Earnie Stewart's compensation for 2020 was, according to Soccer America, $825,720. On the pod Belz said "$865,000" which is incorrect.

Feb 18, 2022
#252: Interview with Jay Hernandez

Jay Hernandez, low-key one of the easier-on-the-ears pundits in this U.S. men's national team niche of ours, joins the pod to talk about the upcoming window, his path to USMNT fandom, his experience in Columbus at the USA-El Salvador match, Christian Pulisic's struggles, and a lot more.

Hernandez is a big part of the First Touch Podcast, and covers the LA Galaxy for Areasportsnet.

Feb 17, 2022
#251: Monday Review — Signs of life from Pulisic, striker watch, fullback watch

Watke, Vince and Belz talk through a middling weekend of action for Americans abroad. Next week's Monday Review will be on the patron-only feed, so this represents a little bit of a changing of the guard.

Feb 14, 2022
#250: USMNT transfer window recap

Greg and Belz talk their way through the transfers of the past window, everything from George Bello to Arminia Bielefeld to Kobe Hernandez-Foster to HamKam, with a special focus on the players who are battling for a spot on a World Cup roster.

Feb 10, 2022
#249: Monday Review — Reyna’s return, Walker’s goal celebrations, Aaronson’s spot

Belz, Vince and Watke run through the weekend's action and take several listener questions.

Feb 07, 2022
#248: USA v Honduras recap (WCQ11)

A crazy night in St. Paul. Luca gets his shot. Striker position remains unsettled. Set pieces carry the day.

Feb 04, 2022
#247: Tuesday Review — Honduras pre-game, Canada rumination

Belz from Minneapolis, Vince from Louisville, Watke from New York. We wind our way through an extended discussion of Pulisic, the striker position, the weather in the Twin Cities, Canada, Miles Robinson, and a lot of other stuff.

Feb 02, 2022
#246: Canada v USA recap (WCQ10)

The rollercoaster ride continues, and it's gonna continue through at least the middle of the next window.

Jan 31, 2022
#245: USA v El Salvador recap (WCQ9)

We (Greg and Belz) go long on the game in Columbus, and what we think we learned.

Minneapolis City:
Kick It Forward:

Jan 28, 2022
#244: El Salvador, Canada & Honduras previews with Jon Arnold

Jon Arnold gives us a closer look at how things look from the El Salvador, Canada and Honduras points of view, and also a quick update on Panama.

Reward Jon for his help and sign up for the Getting Concacafed newsletter here:

Jan 25, 2022
#243: Monday Review — The qualifying window is upon us

The Brooks omission, Weah's blessed return, Dest getting scraps from Xavi, and Sargent's move on the parabola with Watke and Vince, all in the context of El Salvador on Thursday to kick off what Belz believes can and should be a 9 point window.

Jan 24, 2022
#242: Roster Reaction

The pivotal window of World Cup qualifying is upon us and Gregg Berhalter announced his roster today. Greg and Belz get into it. Don't worry, we don't spend much time kvetching.

Jan 21, 2022
#241: Monday Review — Pepi starts, Dike debuts, Sargent gets a W

Vince, Watke and Belz walk through the weekend of the inconclusive American striker, plus McKennie's continued excellent form, a question about whether Pulisic should be considered an elite talent, an earnestly joyful look ahead to the upcoming window, and much more.

Jan 18, 2022
#240: Interview with Luca de la Torre

Heracles Almelo midfielder Luca de la Torre, hoping for a USA call-up this week, talks about the evolution of his game under Frank Wormuth, the Fulham years, the key to ball security, and his ability to operate on the half-turn between the lines. A cerebral guy, obviously passionate about the game.

Jan 17, 2022
#239: The roster for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers

El Salvador, Canada and Honduras await, and about half the USMNT player pool hasn't seen a ton of action lately. Greg and Belz talk through it all, with Greg diving into how the spreadsheets on how many minutes each player has played, how recently.

Jan 13, 2022
#238: Monday Review — Thriller in Rome, Pepi’s debut, DeJuan Jones & Alex Mendez

A rundown of the action from the weekend with Vince, Watke and Belz. McKennie plays a key role in a huge win for Juventus, Pepi debuts for Augsburg, Dest's camp signals he wants to stay in Barcelona, and lots of other things to discuss.

0:30 intro and McKennie's big weekend in Rome
7:45 Pepi's debut
24:45 January Camp

Jan 10, 2022
#237: Interview with Vince Ganzberg on coaching youth soccer

Ganzberg, the associate director of coaching education for United Soccer Coaches, talks youth soccer coaching, coaching philosophy, the USSF and United Soccer Coaches curriculums, and the place of collegiate competition in American soccer.

Jan 06, 2022
#236: Monday Review — Puli v Liverpool, Pepi to Augsburg, Dike to West Brom

A transfer window and listener question-heavy episode with Watke and Vince and Belz.

0:30 intro and Puli v Liverpool
10:20 transfers of Pepi, Dike, JoGo, etc., and news
44:00 listener questions

Jan 03, 2022
#235: Annual Review 2021

Vince, Belz and Watke convene to run down some winter break news, hand out yearly awards in 18 categories, and spotlight the top 5 moments of 2021. Happy New Year!

0:30 intro and holiday activities rundown
14:00 Pepi to Wolfsburg, Cuevas to Club Brugge
19:25 Annual Awards

  • Most Inscrutable Player
  • Player of the Year
  • Littlest Brother
  • Best Sh-thousing (Connivance Category)
  • Best Sh-thousing (Unnerving Category)
  • Biggest Change in Belz’s Opinion
  • Most Unexpected Moment (Honorable Mention)
  • Most Unexpected Moment (1st Place)
  • Biggest Snub
  • Most Overrated Player
  • Most Improved Player
  • Biggest Disappointment (Honorable Mention)
  • Biggest Disappointment (1st Place)
  • Dad of the Year
  • Best goal for country
  • Best goal for club
  • Coach of the Year
  • Worst Coach of the Year
    57:30 What we learned this year from the Behind the Crest youtube series
    1:07:10 Top 5 Moments of 2021 from Vince and Belz. There’s a twist.
Dec 30, 2021
#234: Jonathan Gómez interview

Jonathan Gómez, the 18-year-old left back who played for Louisville City in 2021, joins the podcast. He discusses his USMNT debut vs Bosnia, his pending move to La Liga club Real Sociedad, his conversation with Xabi Alonso, his choice of a USL development path, and his future national team decision. Sharp guy.

#TheGomezWay blog:

Dec 21, 2021
#233: Monday Review — McKennie returns, calendar year records, coolness

Let's be honest. Things are slowing down. Vince, Watke and Belz convene to talk about how much the 17-win record means, reassess USMNT player coolness, and review the action from the past week. Use the shownotes as guide if you'd rather not ponder whether Weston McKennie and Sergino Dest are actually cool.

  • 0:30 intro and news
  • 9:15 coolness
  • 23:00 January Camp is Jan. 6
  • 25:20 game action rundown

Dec 20, 2021
#232: USA v Bosnia recap

Quick recap of USA-Bosnia, the final USMNT match of 2021.

Dec 19, 2021
#231: How to solve the midfield sans MMA, plus a look ahead to Bosnia

What do you do if McKennie, Musah and Adams are unavailable? We run through a lot of the possibilities, settle on some pretty clear (and perhaps obvious) favorite options, and then talk about what we'd like to see vs Bosnia on Saturday.

  • 0:30 intro and a bunch of alternate midfield setups (hint, Gio)
  • 36:00 Bosnia look-ahead

Dec 16, 2021
#230: Monday Review — Dest’s rough patch, bing bong, Ledezma’s return, etc.

Vince, Watke and Belz convene for the Monday Review, a full rundown of the news of the week, the action of the USMNT player pool in the past week, and a handful of listener questions.

  • 0:30 quick revisit of the World Cup qualifier location discussion
  • 2:00 The News (Champions League wrap, NYCFC lifts MLS Cup and Ronny Deila removes his clothes, Camp Candy Cane vibes, Araujo's Mexico debut, transfer window incoming)
  • 12:15 The 23, an unabridged look at the player pool right now, jumping off from their performances in the past week
  • 1:06:10 Listener Questions

Dec 13, 2021
#229: Monday Review — Marsch out, Gio in training, Konrad v Brenden, Matt v Zack, etc.

Belz, Watke and Vince in Louisville convene for a new look Monday Review and we think you'll probably like it. A full rundown of all the news that's fit to talk about with the USMNT this week.

Dec 06, 2021
#228: The December camp roster

Quick reaction from Greg and Belz on the 26 players called up for Camp Candy Cane, including the apparent lack of experimentation in midfield. Greg also goes on a rant about St. Paul as a location for a February qualifier.

Dec 03, 2021
#227: Belated wrap-up of the U20 Revelations Cup

Matt Hartman graciously joins again to talk through what we can have possibly learned about the U20s after their three matches against Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. This one's for the diehards.

Dec 03, 2021
#226: The dual national dilemma with political scientist José Marichal

Marichal, a Cuban-American professor of political science at California Lutheran University, joins to talk about recognition, mis-recognition, identity, and some of the deeper themes underneath the Mexican-American dual national's choice about which national soccer team to play for. No hard conclusions drawn, just some new (for me, Belz) ways to think about the issue.

Reading list:

David Ochoa’s path to Mexico:

Araujo QA with the Athletic:

Charles Taylor, “The Politics of Recognition”:

Nationalism paper:

The Hispanic Challenge, Samuel Huntington

Kwame Anthony Appiah, “Cosmopolitan Patriotism”

Dec 02, 2021
#225: Monday Review — St. Paul in February, new Top 40, leaked kits

Quick recap of the latest USMNT news and the action from the weekend with Watke and NatFan9. We covered St. Paul's weather in February, ranch sauce on pizza, Tim Weah's excellent form, etc. etc.

Nov 29, 2021
#224: Monday Review — Pulisic False 9s, McKennie flies, the Busio Discourse

Quick recap of the weekend's action for Yanks Abroad with Belz, Watke and Jordan. Join the Discord so you can vote in the next power rankings and determine the format of the Monday Review episodes.

Nov 22, 2021
#223: USA v Jamaica recap (WCQ8)

Weah, Antonio, goalkeeping minutiae, MMA midfield alternatives, a bad field, a bit of a wilt, and a 1-1 draw in Jamaica. Lots to talk about it turns out.

Nov 17, 2021
#222: More Dos a Cero revelry + the rest of Concacaf with Watke

The anthem, how this game compares to the 2002 win over Mexico in the Round of 16 match, the eye-gouging incident, Mexican newspapers, Panama's miracle comeback, Canada's win in Edmonton, Jamaica's draw and a little bit on the U20s.

  • 0:30 intro and more dos a cero reveling
  • 25:20 other Concacaf stuff
  • 36:015 Very brief U20s discussion

Nov 15, 2021
#221: USA v Mexico recap (WCQ7)

Time to bask in the glow of a historic night in Cincinnati.

Nov 13, 2021
#220: Quick US-focused USA-Mexico preview

Greg and Belz talk about what they'd like to see in the massive match on Friday, and what they'd rather not see.

Nov 10, 2021
#219: Mexico and Jamaica previews with Jon Arnold

A deep dive on Mexico’s roster and Tata’s lineup choices ahead of Friday’s showdown, including the short-term problems in the back line and the long-term problems in the midfield. And then we move straight into a substantive 25-minute discussion of a perhaps resurgent Jamaica side.

Nov 09, 2021
#218: Monday Review — Big win for Adams, Tuchel wants Pulisic to control his emotions

A run through roughly the Top 20 players in the US pool and how they did over the past week with Chris Russell and Jordan Boddie.

Nov 08, 2021
#217: State of the men's youth national teams and upcoming U20 camp

Matt Hartman (@MattsHartman) joined to tick through the U20 player pool in detail, lay out the bumpy (at best) transition from the DA to MLS Next, gets enraged at me for suggesting Cade Cowell could be a right back, goes in hard on the 2004 birth year, and tells me he cringed at my answer to the golden generation vs permanent wave of talent debate. Dude absolutely knows his stuff.

  • 0:30 intro and general "how good is the next wave of players" discussion
  • 9:20 the casualties from the abrupt end of the Development Academy
  • 14:30 how we know the 2004 birth year is a weak one for elite men's soccer talent
  • 18:45 the Golden generation vs permanent wave of talent debate (must-listen)
  • 22:25 we still got no U20 coach
  • 26:00 a review of the leaked U20 roster and the player pool beyond the call-ups
Nov 05, 2021
#216: The November WC qualifying roster

No Brooks! No Luca! But Scally and Ferreira get the call and Pulisic returns. Greg and Belz walk through the squad that Berhalter has selected and pick XIs to face Mexico next Friday.

Nov 04, 2021
#215: Monday Review — Wes scores again, Scally shines, Brooks gets a new coach

A deep dive review of the USMNT player pool in action (or inaction) over the past week with Chris Russell (aka @watke_) and Jordan, the moderator of the Scuffed Discord (@NatFan9). We start with Tyler Adams and end with Sam Vines. Most of the detail comes in the Top 20.

Nov 01, 2021
#214: TSS Crossover Part 1 — USMNT questions galore

Taylor Rockwell and Joe Lowery of the Total Soccer Show join Greg and Belz to discuss Berhalter’s regret about the Panama lineup, the US men’s midfield, how to play away Concacaf qualifiers, midfield analytics versus goalkeeping analytics, the US men’s midfield, one word to describe Berhalter’s tenure, our own histories with the game, the golden generation vs the endless generation debate, and of course, the US men’s midfield.

Find Part 2 later today on the TSS feed:

Oct 28, 2021
#213: Office Hours, Vol. 5 — U20 camp, Captain Turner's Rebellion

Watke and Belz talk briefly about the U20 player pool, Carli Lloyd's retirement from international soccer, interview the people behind Captain Turner's Rebellion, and take a bunch of questions.

  • 0:20 intro, Carli, U20s
  • 10:20 interview with Captain Turner's Rebellion (@CaptMattTurner on Twitter)
  • 25:28 questions questions questions, and a few answers
  • 51:40 "Oh Gianluca" cover by John Barry

Oct 27, 2021
#212: 9 things we learned in the last international window

Anywhere from 8 to 12 things we learned in the October window, including the preeminence of the MMA midfield, the ascendance of Antonee Robinson and our strong depth on the wing.

Oct 21, 2021
#211: Office Hours, Vol. 4 — Songs and chants, Pepi, chess, nicknames, etc.

A highly-focused investigation of several a baker's dozen soccer-adjacent topics, including a philosophy of songs and chants, the paucity of USMNT nicknames, a rough power ranking of chess ability among USMNT players, and what sort of crime could get Berhalter fired. New Pepi song at the end.

Oct 20, 2021
#210: USA v Costa Rica recap (WCQ6)

A massive timeline full of triangles, goalkeeping questions, the MMA midfield, key moments in the final 22 yards, and overall a good strong showing from the first team of the USMNT.

Oct 15, 2021
#209: Office Hours -- Is the USMNT fanbase the worst in the world?

Watke and Belz talk about a few different things live on Discord. Very little about Costa Rica.

Oct 14, 2021
#208: Panama v USA recap (WCQ5)

Fecklessness in Panama City. Full timeline and then Greg goes in on Gregg in the final 15 minutes. You won't want to miss that.

Oct 11, 2021
#207: USA v Jamaica recap (WCQ4)

A pleasant night in Austin, even without Pulisic and Reyna. Ricardo Pepi season is in full swing. Musah is a huge asset. Dest and Robinson playing well.

Here's a video version of "Oh Gianluca" if you want to watch it:

Oct 08, 2021
#206: Office Hours, Vol. 2 — Jamaica gameday, Busio song, legislatures, etc.

Almost too much to summarize. Edgar Moreno and Watke join Belz for a sprawling conversation and the release of a new song about Busio.

Oct 07, 2021
#205: Jamaica, Panama & Costa Rica previews with Jon Arnold

Why was Michael Antonio invisible vs Panama in Kingston? Is Panama for real without Andrade and Carrasquilla? When is geriatric Costa Rica gonna give youth a chance? Lots to dig into from Jon Arnold, the journalist who writes Getting CONCACAF'd newsletter, on his second visit of the qualifying cycle to the Scuffed Podcast.

  • 0:30 intro
  • 4:00 Jamaica
  • 25:00 Panama
  • 34:00 Costa Rica

Here's how to subscribe to Jon's newsletter:

support Scuffed on Patreon:
join the Discord:
buy our merch:

Oct 05, 2021
#204: October Window Rotations

Who should play in which of the three upcoming games? Who shouldn't? We sketch out a very malleable plan for that.

Meg Linehan piece on sexual exploitation in the NWSL:

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Join the Discord:
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Oct 04, 2021
#203: Office Hours, Vol. 1 — Live roster reaction, the golden age of piracy, etc.

Chris Russell (aka @watke_) joins for a live roster reaction on the Discord, a dive into the philosophy of little brothers, a look at the first ever pirate and the ballad mongers who made him famous, several listener questions, several soccer-adjacent topics dealt with. Pretty good episode.

Sep 29, 2021
#202: The October Qualifying Roster

We talk about who we'd like to see called up, and try to project who actually will be called up. Greg goes for a lean roster, Belz goes for the full 30-man roster. Berhalter's roster will come out mid-week.

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Sep 27, 2021
#201: TSS x Scuffed Crossover Part 2

This is the second part of a more than two-hour collaboration with Joe Lowery and Taylor Rockwell. Part 1 is in the Total Soccer Show feed. For this episode we just kept that conversation going and answered a ton of listener questions about the USMNT, everything from "How concerned are you about Weston McKennie's dad's deleted tweets?" to "How do each of you attempt to evaluate and attribute individual versus system based errors?"

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Sep 22, 2021
#200: Buzz Carrick on all things FC Dallas

The founder of, Buzz Carrick, who knows more about FC Dallas than anyone, joins to talk about Pepi, Pomykal, Ferreira, Che, the academy pipeline, the connection with Bayern Munich and the top young players coming up through the ranks. Lots of worthwhile insight.

0:30 Pepi
13:25 Pomykal
19:40 Ferreira
23:35 Che
29:20 the FC Dallas academy in general
49:25 academy up-and-comers
1:04:35 back story

You can find the 3rd Degree website, podcast and Patreon, here:

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Sep 17, 2021
#199: Grant Wahl on covering the Octagonal

Wahl has launched a new Substack and he's cranking out podcasts, and short and long pieces, as he covers all 14 of the USMNT's World Cup qualifiers in person. He joins to talk about San Salvador, Nashville and San Pedro Sula, and going it as an independent after decades at the top of the soccer reporting pyramid.

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Sep 13, 2021
#198: Monday Recap

Jordan (our esteemed Discord moderator) joins Belz for a quick rundown of the club action in the player pool. These have typically been available only to patrons, but I might start putting them on the public podcast feed. We'll see. Consider this a trial balloon. The show was recorded live on Discord, where patrons are able to join in the broadcast in various ways.

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Sep 13, 2021
#197: Honduras-USA recap (WCQ3)

Berhalter disasterclass in the first half, followed by three good changes at the half and a rout of Honduras in San Pedro Sula. What a crazy night, with an 18-year-old Mexican-American from El Paso as the hero.

0:30 preamble and the first half
45:00 the second half

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Sep 10, 2021
#196: USA-Canada recap (WCQ2)

First home qualifier of the cycle, in Nashville, Tenn. Trouble in Music City.

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Sep 07, 2021
#195: El Salvador-USA recap (WCQ1)

The USA men opened their World Cup qualifying campaign in San Salvador on Thursday night. Full look at the meta-interpretations, full timeline, and an assessment of the team under Berhalter now.

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Sep 03, 2021
#194: Michael Lewis on away qualifiers in Concacaf

Michael Lewis, the editor of Front Row Soccer and a reporting veteran of eight World Cups and seven Olympics, joins to talk about the USMNT playing away in Honduras, and other parts of Central America. He also discusses what it's like to cover these games, having done so himself in San Pedro Sula in 2001 and 2009.

Michael Lewis on Twitter:

Lewis’s latest piece on World Cup qualifying:

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Sep 01, 2021
#193: The September roster, rotations and exhortations

Berhalter called up 26 players for the first three World Cup qualifiers of the 2022 cycle. The time has come! We discuss the selections (mostly pleased) and spend quite a bit of time trying to figure out how to rotate for three games in seven days. There will be lots of tough choices and on-the-fly conundrums but from the comfort of our desks in Middle America we have sketched out some possibilities.


Aug 26, 2021
#192: September World Cup qualifiers roster projection

Who is Berhalter likely to select, who could be his cute selection, and who do we wish he'd select that he probably won't. The overlap between Berhalter's choices and ours is much heavier than it was in the past, because, as Greg puts it, the pool is increasingly "cute-proof."

Aug 23, 2021
#191: El Salvador, Canada & Honduras previews with Jon Arnold

The US faces El Salvador, Canada and Honduras in the first window of the Ocho, the first week of September. Jon Arnold, arguably the leading expert on Concacaf as a region, joins to help us understand these opponents before we try to get back to the World Cup, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Recording this early to give folks plenty of time to consume the episode before Sept. 2.

0:30 intro
1:45 El Salvador
29:35 Canada
51:48 Honduras

Getting Concacafed signup page:

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Aug 17, 2021
#190: The dual national dilemma with Herc Gomez

The latest news on the dual national front is that David Ochoa, the promising young Mexican-American goalkeeper who’s played for the US youth national teams since he was an adolescent and was the starter on the Olympic qualifying roster, is likely to switch and play for Mexico. Joining the pod to talk about the dual national dilemma is Herculez Gomez.

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Aug 09, 2021
#189: USA-Mexico Gold Cup Final recap

The US men faced Mexico in the second tournament final in less than two months, with a B squad and frankly nothing to lose. 


Aug 02, 2021
#188: USA-Qatar recap

The US faced the Asian champs in the semifinals of the Gold Cup. A well-organized opponent with ways to score goals. We came out with the same lineup that battled its way to a 1-0 win over Jamaica. Full breakdown, takeaways, timeline.


Jul 30, 2021
#187: USA-Jamaica recap

Back to the 4-3-3 with Sands, Busio, Hoppe and Dike getting the nod in a knockout quarterfinal in the Gold Cup. Full chronology and more. 

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Jul 26, 2021
#186: USA v Canada recap

A two-striker setup for the first time in the Berhalter era! Yay! Plus we talk about injury replacements, and then suggest fantastical non-injury-related roster changes.

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Jul 19, 2021
#185: USA v Martinique recap

Classic Gold Cup group stage contest, with a fun lineup in a 3-4-3 of sorts. 

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Jul 16, 2021
#184: USA-Haiti recap

Yueill and Lewis start, Busio makes his NT debut, Shaq Moore comes back into the picture, and the Gold Cup is underway.

Jul 12, 2021
#183: A transfers rundown and the Gold Cup group

We talked about transfers -- the done ones and the undone ones. Then we got to the Gold Cup. The Haiti match on Sunday is kind of the "big one," if there is such a thing. Berhalter should run out his best lineup and it'd sure be nice not to need points from Canada a week later so we'd better get 3 against Haiti.

Jul 08, 2021
#182: Gold Cup roster reaction

Lots of new faces, and a couple of faces we just can't quit. A look at Berhalter's 23-man roster for the Gold Cup, which kicks off for the U.S. on Sunday, July 11.

Jul 02, 2021
#181: Gold Cup roster wishlist and projection

Long episode on the Gold Cup roster, who we’d like to see from the 60-man preliminary roster, and who we think Berhalter is likely to select.

0:30 intro and USMNT Gold Cup roster
1:06:13 the USWNT Olympic roster

For anybody looking to learn or brush up on their Spanish, check out Jesse Howe’s private tutoring. He gave Belz a free lesson to help improve Belz’s poor pronunciation of Central American names, and it was great:

To join the Scuffed Podcast Discord and support the podcast with your money, visit


Jun 24, 2021
#180: A Nations League sh*thousing review w/Watke

Not a very serious episode, as you might imagine, but I'd argue it's a practical matter, especially with World Cup qualifiers on the horizon. Chris Russell (aka @watke_) joins to talk about the big incidents in the Honduras and Mexico victories, and look ahead to the next competitive fixtures.

Find Watke (Chris Russell) on Twitter:

And YouTube:

Jun 14, 2021
#179: USA-Costa Rica recap

A sunny evening for a victory lap in Sandy, Utah. Wingers with ideas, a hold-up striker, and Tyler Adams and Yunus Musah in the midfield.

For access to the Discord and other somewhat minor perks, please subscribe to this podcast's Patreon:

Jun 10, 2021
#178: USA-Mexico recap

The first-ever Nations League final vs Mexico delivered! What a night! We've got a full recap including a detailed timeline and a few big picture thoughts.

0:30 intro and lineups and general thoughts
15:30 First half timeline
42:420 Second half timeline
1:22:10 Wrap-up thoughts

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Jun 07, 2021
#177: USA-Honduras recap

Long, detailed breakdown of the action from Denver.

0:30 position-by-position breakdown
36:40 the timeline begins

Jun 04, 2021
#176: Switzerland-USA recap

A mostly full-strength USMNT faced a solid European team away. What did we learn? @USMNTvideos joins @away_goals and Belz to pick through it. 

0:30 intro, lineups and preliminary thoughts
14:10 1st half detailed chronology

41:25 2nd half detailed chronology

1:08:40 quick takeaways

May 31, 2021
#175: Now is a good time to pay attention to the U.S. men’s national team

A sharable opening 10 minutes in which we try to persuade casuals to start paying attention to a USMNT program that up until today has mostly produced bad news. Also a dive on the Nations League roster.

May 25, 2021
#174: Switzerland Roster Reaction, and the big summer ahead

It's all coming to a head, and the upcoming Nations League window is a dress rehearsal for World Cup qualifying to which we should all pay close attention. Plus our reaction to a very pleasant roster drop from Berhalter.

May 21, 2021
#173: Patron questions on strikers, Berhalter competence and NT logistics

We solicited questions on the Scuffed Podcast Patreon and got a lot. Matt Hartman joined to plow through as many as possible. There were five categories: The Number Nine, Berhalter’s competence, Brenden Aaronson, National Team logistics, and miscellaneous. Let’s go.

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May 14, 2021
#172: The Big Summer Roster Episode

A 4-game window for Nations League in late May and early June, and then a likely entirely different group of players for the Gold Cup in July. The Nations League roster is pretty easy to figure out. For the Gold Cup, though, we went full Scuffed wishlist, because it's anybody's guess.

May 07, 2021
#171: Catch-up week, Chris Richards, Justin Che and Caden Clark

News roundup led off by Richards' big performances lately, and two new features: Fourth Eights and Second Sixes. We'll see if they last into next week.

Apr 23, 2021
#170: Nine U.S. players to watch this MLS season

OK we talked about more than nine, but we tried to keep it pretty focused on players who have a chance to contribute to the USMNT in this World Cup cycle. Competition ahead of them, and fit in Berhalter's system are key considerations.

Apr 15, 2021
#169: Nine USMNT takeaways from the March window

Aaronson as an inside winger, Reyna and Musah as ball-hawking, ball-retention warriors, and much more. Also a couple patron questions.

Apr 08, 2021
#168: Friendly — Northern Ireland v USA

An A squad minus McKennie, Weah, Adams, Brooks and a few others went to Belfast to play a Championship-caliber Northern Ireland squad.

Mar 29, 2021
#167: Olympic Qualifying — the play-in game vs Honduras

Win and you're in. Lose and you're out. What happened, and what it means.

Mar 29, 2021
Episode 166: Olympic Qualifying — USA v Mexico

Third group game. Result didn't particularly matter but it was a high-intensity match and there was still stuff to learn.

Mar 26, 2021
Episode 165: Friendly — USA v Jamaica

A long one on a game full of encouraging stuff.

Mar 26, 2021
Episode 164: Olympic Qualifying — USA v the Dominican Republic

Second group game in Guadalajara for the U23s. Full timeline and analysis.

Mar 22, 2021
Episode 163: Olympic Qualifying — USA v Costa Rica

No spoilers. You just gotta listen to the episode.

Mar 19, 2021
Episode 162: European Camp roster discussion

We take a look at who's likely to be called in, and who we'd like to see called in, for a tight two-game window with matches against Jamaica and Northern Ireland. Likely going to be two different teams for the two matches.

Mar 16, 2021
Episode 161: Olympic qualifying preview

Big picture the USMNT player pool is in great shape, but Jason and the boys have their work cut out for them over the next couple weeks. We make some points about that and take a good look at Costa Rica. Good episode, in my humble opinion.

Mar 12, 2021
Episode 160: The Olympic Qualifying Roster

Lengthy discussion of who's in, who's out, how it compares to Jason Kreis's roster a year ago, and what a banger a true first-choice U23 roster would be. Also some discussion of the Jordan Morris's injury and the winger depth chart behind him.

Mar 03, 2021
Episode 159: A check-up on the first-choice up-and-comers

They're not nailed-on starters for the USMNT, but it sure would be nice if they'd ascend to that level here soon. Chris Richards, Mark McKenzie, Daryl Dike, Josh Sargent and Brenden Aaronson. We dive into the footage on each of them, and also discuss Dest's and Weah's week.

Feb 19, 2021
Episode 158: February USMNT Top 40

We finally did it. Sort of. There's a twist. But I think you'll enjoy the full rundown of the player pool.

Feb 11, 2021
Episode 157: The T&T friendly, and a 3G mind-reading exercise

We summed up the scoring, Greg ran a victory lap on Ferreira, and we tried to figure out what Gregg Berhalter might be thinking about a few key things. For a full tactical breakdown please visit the Total Soccer Show.

Feb 01, 2021
Episode 156: January Camp/European Campaign check-in

It's been a while so we talked about the latest cuts from January Camp ahead of the T&T friendly on Sunday, and checked in on the ever-expanding European pool.

0:30 January Camp
19:35 the European Pool

Jan 26, 2021
Episode 155: How one proud Mexican-American became a USMNT fan

This is a conversation with Beto Lopez, a good friend on Twitter. The story of his conversion from apathy to serious USMNT fandom in 2002 was fun for me to hear. We also discussed Eddie Guerrero, the original Selena and Oscar de la Hoya. I'd been meaning to post this for a while. Finally got around to it. Enjoy!

Jan 15, 2021
Episode 154: A January Camp Battle Royale

Twelve senior team call-ups and a bunch of U23s angling to join them by the end of the month. Call it a Battle Royale.

Jan 07, 2021
Episode 153: Sell sell sell! MLS's pleasant evolution

We talk about the reported Bryan Reynolds to Roma deal, him as a player, what it means for the national team, and a BUNCH of other stuff as we took on a baker's dozen or so questions from Twitter. Fun episode.

Dec 18, 2020
Episode 152: USA v El Salvador

Gleanings from an ephemeral night in Fort Lauderdale.

Dec 11, 2020
Episode 151: El Salvador preview

Greg takes a good look at this El Salvador team we face on Wednesday, and may well face in World Cup qualifying, and we try to answer a few patron questions. 

Dec 08, 2020
Episode 150: December Camp

Berhalter called in a young group of domestic players for a December national team camp, but no, it's not an Olympic camp, says Greg. This is just the new normal. The USMNT is young.

Thank you to our supporters on Patreon. Exclusive video and some other minor perks are available, if you want them, at

Dec 03, 2020
Episode 149: Interview with Chris Clark, Caden's dad

Chris Clark, the father of 17-year-old prospect Caden Clark, joins the pod. Caden, an attacking midfielder for New York Red Bulls, probably made as much noise as any young player in MLS this season when he came on and scored two goals in his first two appearances. The Clark family lives in Minnesota.

Nov 20, 2020
Episode 148: USA v Panama, Concacaf in Austria

It was a Concacaf meeting in Wiener Neustadt, southern Austria. Second friendly syndrome. Despite all the goals and the young debuts, it just didn’t have the same pop as that 0-0 draw against Wales. We discuss the match in detail, and what we think we learned from it.

Nov 17, 2020
Episode 147: Wales v USA — the full treatment

Might not be interesting to most of the world, but it sure was interesting to us! Debuts galore, we pressed, we built out with something like a 2-3-5. As Greg says in the pod, it’s almost like we’re starting over. So much to talk about.

Nov 13, 2020
Episode 146: How we line up against Wales and Panama

It’s time for some national team soccer! Greg and Belz talk about how Berhalter might line up the boys versus Wales. The Panama lineup will flow, of course, from that. Hard to imagine a non-interesting couple of games here. Talk to you on Thursday.

Nov 09, 2020
Episode 145: Emergency Pod! The best USMNT roster ever

Thank you Gregg Berhalter. Greg and Belz slap out a quick and dirty reaction broadcast on Election Day 2020.

Nov 03, 2020
Episode 144: November USMNT camp roster projection

We talk about who we prefer to be called in for what we hope will be two friendlies next month in Europe. As usual, we would be happy with lots of different possibilities. Just can’t wait for a USMNT match!

Oct 28, 2020
Episode 143: USMNT vs El Tri, position by position

We watched El Tri so you didn’t have to, and we have some reports. Also, a wishlist of players we would have liked to see in a domestic October camp.


0:30 Mexico vs USMNT first choice XIs

26:45 MANSCAPED is sponsoring this episode! Go to, enter the code “scuffed” and get 20% off and free shipping. We are fans of the product. Blessings on you if you act on this.

31:30 MLS players who would have been nice to see in a USMNT camp in October, and big news from the last three weeks

Thanks to all our supporters on Patreon. Big thanks.


Oct 14, 2020
Episode 142: The copy-paste USMNT cohort and Savior Committee concepts, revisited

You didn’t need more reason to be hyped, but we will give it to you anyway. This unprecedented movement of U.S. players to bigger and better clubs — it appears repeatable. The Savior Committee is deepening in number at an accelerated pace, we believe thanks to the now-defunct Development Academy.

0:30 copy-paste USMNT cohorts are coming faster than we thought two years ago
22:40 Savior Committee revisitation

Oct 01, 2020
Episode 141: McKennie, Adams & Reyna shine, so let’s talk Berhalter’s midfield

Big weekends for McKennie, Adams and Reyna, and a lot of people think they should be our three-man midfield. Not so fast, says Greg Velasquez. We go deep on the midfield setup, Reyna’s and Adams’s best roles, and the knock-on lineup effects of playing them in various ways. 

0:30 intro and a big weekend in Torino, Leipzig and Dortmund

17:26 how we gonna line up this three-man midfield? Adams, McKennie, Reyna? We get in the weeds on this.

Sep 24, 2020
Episode 140: The September USMNT Top 40

One through forty. Pure science. From Christian Mate Pulisic to Shaquell Kwame Moore. Sprinkled with discussion of our centerback situation (an embarrassment of riches when it comes to average centerbacks), why it doesn’t make sense to play 3 at the back, Gio Reyna’s role, Jordan Morris’s role, and much, much more.

If you support us on Patreon, thank you thank you thank you. If you don't please consider doing so! We are going to need your help in the coming months and years:

Sep 14, 2020
Episode 139: Big weekend ahead for Yanks abroad

Competitions kick off in England, Germany and Holland. France's Ligue 1 already underway. Italy next week. Did you know McKennie plays for Juventus now? Plus cargo shorts and a Dutch-Calvinist theologian.

2:30 Heath and Mewis to Manchester United
6:30 cargo shorts and England
18:00 Germany
35:05 Austria, Poland, Turkey
36:40 Netherlands
40:05 everywhere else

go to if you would like to support the podcast -- every pledge is much appreciated

Sep 11, 2020
Episode 138: McKennie to Juve, Weah returns, and an MLS youth bonanza

A quick run through McKennie's incredible transfer news, Weah's return from injury, and the ongoing MLS youth bonanza, plus we covered some patron questions. We recorded the afternoon before Wednesday's MLS matches so didn't get to talk about those games.

Please consider supporting this podcast on Patreon:

Sep 03, 2020
Episode 137: Tutul Rahman on the USL-MLS transfer market disconnect

Tutul (@tutulismyname) walks us through the mechanics of why it’s difficult for an MLS team to pick up a USL prospect like Jose Gallegos or Jonathan Gomez. He also talked about why FC Dallas has gone from “play your kids” to “play your 32-year-old Liga MX veterans” in the span of 12 months, and how MLS front office desire for parity gets in the way of talent development.

25 Stories that Made MLS...
...on Twitter: 

...on Apple podcasts:

Aug 24, 2020
Episode 136: Nine young Americans worth watching in USL

The busiest domestic league right now is the United Soccer League, the USL. Matt Hartman (@MattSHartman) joins the pod to discuss nine young Americans honing their craft in the league, and the still-unanswered questions about what the pathway to a higher level might look like for several of them.

Jonathan Gómez, 16, LB, Louisville City
Jose Gallegos, 18, AM/winger, San Antonio FC
Andrew Carleton, 20, AM, Indy Eleven
Caden Clark, 17, AM, NY Red Bulls
Hayden Sargis, 18, CB Sacramento Republic
Justin Che, 16, CB, North Texas SC
Mauricio Cuevas, 17, RB/LB, LA Galaxy II 
Paxten Aaronson, 16, AM, Philadelphia Union II
Beni Redzic, 17, LW, North Texas SC

Aug 19, 2020
Episode 135: Way too early projection of the Summer 2021 rosters

Gregg Berhalter will likely need substantially different squads for World Cup qualifiers in June, for the Olympics and for the Gold Cup next summer. There’s also likely to be a U20 World Cup in May and June. Who goes where? When? How? Greg V broke it all down and then we discussed.

2:50 run-down of the Summer 2021 schedule
6:48 June World Cup qualifiers roster
19:55 which is more important, the Gold Cup or the Olympics?
22:48 Olympic roster
35:45 Gold Cup roster
53:04 U20 World Cup roster
1:00:10 Spare parts and wrapup


Aug 14, 2020
Episode 134: Return of the Future Draft, where we pick XIs of un-capped U23s

American heroes Sanjiv (@usmntvideos) and Chris (@watke_) join the pod for a draft of starting XIs from the ranks of un-capped male American soccer players. 



Here are the rules:

  • Only U.S.-eligible players born in 1997 or later are allowed.
  • We go youngest to oldest in the draft order, so Sanjiv first, then Watke, then Belz, and then the draft order snakes for the rest of the picks.
  • Anyone already capped with the senior men’s national team is disqualified. That excludes, for instance, Pulisic, McKennie, Adams, Sargent, Weah and now Mark McKenzie, Uly Llanez, Sam Vines, Jesus Ferreira, Paxon Pomykal and Brenden Aaronson.
  • We’re picking specifically with the goal of assembling the best possible team in 2026. This makes it fun and pretty much releases from any responsibility to be correct in our choices. Everything will change by 2026 in ways none of us foresee.
  • We each need to come up with a starting XI, a total of 33 players.
  • Dual nationals are fine as long as they're not cap-tied with another nation.
Aug 03, 2020
Episode 133: A bunch of MLS is Back scouting reports

We dive deep (and occasionally not-so-deep) on 14 USMNT-eligible players who’ve been busy at Disney World over the past month. 

Aaron Long
James Sands
Mark McKenzie
Miles Robinson
Justen Glad
Cristian Roldan
Jackson Yueill
Frankie Amaya
Brenden Aaronson
Sam Vines
Chase Gasper
Ayo Akinola
Jeremy Ebobisse
Jordan Morris

Jul 31, 2020
Episode 132: A starting XI on Berhalter’s revised template from January

A center forward who drops deep to pick up the ball, wingers tucked into the channels, fullbacks bombing past them wide, two true box-to-box center mids and of course the deep-lying center mid distributor concept. If the Costa Rica friendly is any indication, this is what we’ll see in the next meaningful USMNT match. We make a starting XI and try to sketch out the depth chart.

Jul 24, 2020
Episode 131: Christian Pulisic is good at soccer

A discussion of the red-hot American winger at Chelsea and Frank Lampard’s praise of him for his ability to “arrive in the box.” Friend of the podcast John Muller pitches in to help us make sense of the phrase, we curate some other ideas, and we spend talk at some length about off-ball movement, maybe our favorite subject. Then we get into who needs a move and who can stay put as the contract year comes to a close.

0:30 Greg blasts Belz for his bad private takes in the past
4:45 Pulisic and arriving in the box
7:43 John Muller (@johnspacemuller) cameo, and then a note or two from @_Susaeta and @finalthrd, and then a lengthy discussion of box arrival.
24:20 Transfer talk. Below are the categories and the players:

Ready to upgrade?

  • Dest
  • Antonee
  • Sargent?
  • Kelman?
  • Cannon/Pomykal


  • Yedlin
  • Steffen?
  • Richards
  • Netherlands trio?

Contract ending

  • Miazga
  • EPB
  • CCV
  • Saief
  • Sabbi
  • fabian

Untenable situations

  • Horvath
  • Wood
  • Soto
Jul 01, 2020
Episode 130: Return from COVID and a Bundesliga rundown

The bulk of this podcast is a discussion of the decisions facing Berhalter with World Cup qualifying thrown into uncertainty, and a run-down of what we’ve learned from the Bundesliga.

0:30 DeAndre Yedlin’s stand
2:20 Dr. Velasquez on all the opportunities for assessment lost since coronavirus hit, and a discussion of how risk-averse Berhalter will be with his selection as WC qualifying eventually gets underway
19:10 Bundesliga rundown
50:15 England and elsewhere, plus NWSL kicks off this weekend

Jun 23, 2020
Scuffed Vol. 129: Interview with Ken Richards (father of Chris Richards)

Ken Richards, the father of Bayern Munich II centerback Chris Richards, joins the podcast to talk about George Floyd's death, being black in America, Chris’s choice to play soccer instead of basketball and the similarities between basketball and soccer, among other things.

- 0:30 Richards on George Floyd, his fears for his own son when he's back in the U.S., and whether this moment will yield progress
- 14:10 Richards on his basketball career, how his son got into soccer, and his own growing love for the game of soccer

Jun 04, 2020
Episode 128: A deep dive on the U20 player pool

Matt Hartman and I recorded almost 80 minutes on the U20 player pool. The bad news is we had this conversation in early March. The good news? It’s up to date, since almost no soccer has been played since then.

0:30 preamble, etc.
4:10 Hartman on how this U20 age group stacks up to its predecessors
8:00 the last U20 roster, from January
13:55 goalkeepers (David Ochoa, Chituru Odunze, Damian Las, Patrick Schulte, John Pulskamp)
18:12 right backs (Julian Araujo, Ian Hoffmann, Nathan Harriel and Mauricio Cuevas, Joe Scally, Kevin Bonilla)
25:25 centerbacks (Owen Otasowie, Leo Sepulveda, Jacob Akanyirge and George Campbell, Tayvon Gray, Nico Benalcazar, Nico Slonina, Blake Malone, Kurowskybob Pierre)
36:58 left backs (Kobe Hernandez-Foster, Travian Sousa and Jonathan Gomez, Stuart Ritchie, John Tolkin, Adam Armour)
42:30 central midfield (Taylor Booth, Tanner Tessmann, Jose Gallegos, Cole Bassett, Johnny Cardoso, Matteo Ritaccio, Leon Flach, Thomas Roberts and Gianluca Busio, Marcelo Palomino, Aiden Morris, Chris Hegardt, Moses Nyeman, Danny Leyva, Bryang Kayo)
1:05:00 wingers (Konrad de la Fuente, Uly Llanez, Cameron Harper, Cameron Dunbar, Cade Cowell, Matko Miljevic, Dante Sealy, Giovanni Reyna)
1:10:16 strikers (Ricardo Pepi, Indiana Vassilev, Matthew Hoppe, Charlie Kelman, Johan Gomez)
1:16:30 a quick recap of our respective preferred lineups

May 13, 2020
Episode 127: TSS-Scuffed Collaboration part two -- Tyler Adams interpreting the #6 role and the USMNT's top scorer in 2020

This is part 1 of the Total Soccer Show-Scuffed collaboration episode. Part one is in the Total Soccer Show feed.

In this episode, Daryl Grove and Belz talk:

Tyler Adams

Jozy Altidore

Best shot at a future elite left back

What US Soccer/the USSDA could be doing better

Does Kreis implement Berhalter’s style?

Is the USMNT back on track?

Dark horse high-quality USMNT prospects

Jordan Morris

Jerome Kiesewetter?? Yeah, Jerome Kiesewetter

Lack of centerback depth

Positions of greatest weakness

Overrated in the Scuffed Top 40

Reyna v Pulisic

A brush at the 2022 World Cup roster

Mar 14, 2020
Episode 126: The Olympic qualifying roster — this time (the player pool) is different

We talk about the men's Olympic qualifying roster, Greg V goes on a rant about how much better the men’s U23 player pool is than at any time in US Soccer history, and we give a consensus XI for the opening match in Guadalajara against Costa Rica.

1:15 goalkeepers

2:10 centerbacks

5:55 fullbacks

10:30 Greg’s bit on how much better the men’s U23 player pool is than at any time in US soccer history

16:35 midfielders

24:30 wings

26:50 forwards

28:34 our XI for the match against Costa Rica

Mar 10, 2020
Episode 125: MLS is back! A domestic rundown

A US-centric MLS opening weekend recap, plus a look ahead to USL opening weekend and some discussion of the USWNT U20s and the She Believes Cup.

0:30 intro and dolphins
4:10 Dallas — Ferreira, Pomykal, Tessmann, Cannon and Gonzalez
15:00 Philly — McKenzie and Aaronson
18:05 Seattle-Chicago — Leyva, Morris, Roldan, Mihailovic, Pineda
22:55 RBNY-Cincinnati — Kyle Duncan and Frankie Amaya
25:45 MLS short corners — Josef’s injury. Is MLS sabotaging El Tri? Bryce Duke. No Araujo or Ochoa. MNUFC wins at Portland.
30:10 USL kicks off this weekend!
30:45 San Antonio FC is one to watch — Jose Gallegos, Leo Torres, Fabrizio Bernal, Josh Ramsey
33:45 Louisville City about to make a big YNT signing
35:45 Real Monarchs — David Ochoa and Chris Garcia
36:25 Tacoma Defiance brief shout
38:00 DFB Pokal — McKennie and Schalke out, Dusseldorf out, Bremen v Dusseldorf
40:10 Miazga back, Tyler Adams close, Novakovich hot
41:55 US women’s U20s looking to qualify for U20 World Cup
43:05 She Believes Cup starts Thursday

Mar 04, 2020
Episode 124: A March rosters breakdown

Olympic qualifying kicks off March 20 for the U-23s and the senior USMNT goes to Europe during an international window at the same time for friendlies against the Netherlands and Wales. Lots of moving parts. We try to sort out who might be on each roster.

0:30 the roster for Olympic qualifying
30:20 the roster for the March friendlies vs the Netherlands and Wales

Feb 26, 2020
Episode 123: What’s John Pranjic’s problem with American soccer?

John Pranjic, the host of the 3four3 podcast, joins for a conversation about the need for promotion/relegation, his problem with most American soccer media, and the best USMNT XI right now. I made detailed shownotes for those who want to skip around.

0:30 intro
1:20 Pranjic injury news
2:45 why he says “you don’t know” to people on Twitter
7:35 is the problem ultimately the lack of promotion/relegation in U.S. soccer?
10:40 does Pranjic really think only “yes-people” get to have power at USSF?
14:00 why pro/rel is so important
20:20 Belz: we just fell into a closed system; Pranjic: no, we didn’t just fall into this
23:30 what’s the way to get to pro/rel?
27:40 is it selling out to talk about sweetening the pot to encourage MLS owners to embrace pro/rel?
31:40 how to you reconcile a deeply flawed system with some of the exciting players that are being developed?
36:00 Pranjic’s problem with the American soccer media
40:30 Belz: media criticism should be specific
42:45 Belz: do you only respect journalists who are advocating for pro/rel?
44:40 the distinction between punditry and reporting
48:00 Belz compares the Jermaine Jones interview to Day of the Locust
51:00 extended discussion of soccer media
58:00 Belz forces Pranjic to come up with a USMNT XI for March

Feb 25, 2020
Episode 122: The February USMNT Top 40

There’s enough in here for everyone to find a few things to disagree with. Enjoy! (And yes, Gio Reyna made the cut.)

We'd prefer that you listen so I won't post the whole list but here are a few rankings to give you a taste.

8. Jozy Altidore
21. Timmy Chandler
32. Mark McKenzie
38. Niko Gioacchini

Feb 14, 2020
Episode 121: USA v Costa Rica, and Berhalter plays some kids!

An 18-yr-old got a USMNT goal on his debut, another young attacker played quite well, and the U.S. beat an experienced Costa Rica side 1-0. We’ve been pleased with January Camp. We talk about all of that, plus Olympic qualifying.

Feb 02, 2020
Episode 120: Abel Meszaros — a European view on Americans in the Bundesliga

Our guest today is Abel Meszaros, a newsletter writer, TV analyst and occasional guest on the Talking Fussball podcast whose specialty is German football. Abel does a weekly show for SportTV, the Hungarian network that carries the Bundesliga, and he breaks down the Bundesliga in DETAIL in his weekly newsletter Bundesliga Bulletin. He helped us make sense of where several Americans (not all of them) stand in Germany.

  • Adams
  • McKennie
  • Sargent
  • Reyna
  • Brooks
  • Llanez
  • Richards
  • Soto
  • Chandler

Abel's Twitter:
Abel's newsletter:


Jan 28, 2020
Episode 119: Ten good things that just happened for the USMNT

Tyler Adams dominant return to the RB Leipzig midfield and Gio Reyna's professional debut headline what's been a pretty encouraging run of news for the U.S. Men's National Team. We picked out 10 things.

Jan 21, 2020
Episode 118: Brian McBride, a January news glut, and the “need-a-move” crew

We run down the big news of the past couple weeks, including Brian McBride’s hiring as USMNT general manager and Josh Sargent’s great weekend, and work through a list of American players who need or could use a move right now.

Jan 13, 2020
Episode 117: January Camp! A new roster and a fresh batch of patron questions

We discuss the January Camp roster from bottom to top and try to answer several questions from patrons on Patreon. Not a bad episode! Happy New Year and thanks for listening.

Dec 31, 2019
Episode 116: Taking stock of the year for the USMNT

We wrap up the year — what went right, what went wrong, what went reasonably ok. Actually a lot of good stuff happened! Mostly with the player pool.

Dec 13, 2019
Episode 115: The December Scuffed Top 40

We choose our Scuffed Top 40 for December, the last one of the year. Pretty straightforward episode, we start with our #1 player in the pool and work our way down to a spitballed #30 through #40. In any case it’s a good chance to discuss player selection and take another good look at the player pool. 

Dec 06, 2019
Episode 114: Young Americans in MLS season wrap-up with Matt Doyle

Who played, who played well, and who has a future with the USMNT? Freed from the constraints of things like “producers” and “brevity” and  “Andrew Wiebe,” analyst Matt Doyle joins the pod to go long on the young American player pool in the domestic league. We look back at 2019 and look ahead to 2020.

(Yo! We forgot to mention Gianluca Busio! Major omission. Interesting young player at Sporting KC. My mistake for not having him on the list. I’d put him in the “who knows” category, for what it’s worth.)

0:30 Intro, etc.
7:45 Reggie Cannon
11:20 Jackson Yueill
17:30 Brenden Aaronson
21:40 Miles Robinson
25:00 Paxton Pomykal
32:55 can Ebobisse, Toye or Pepi be a top MLS striker in 2020?
41:15 will any young wingers break through? Lewis? Saucedo?
47:10 are either Hassani Dotson or Brandon Servania that motherf*ker of a 6?
52:05 do any of Vines, Gasper or Gutman have a national team future at fullback?
55:25 rapid fire on James Sands, David Ochoa, Mark McKenzie, Jonathan Gomez and Julian Araujo
59:40 we revisit our spring list  and re-categorize a bunch of players (lots of names addressed)

Nov 27, 2019
Episode 113: Cuba 0, USA 4, and a wrapup of the int’l window

A "professional" win in the Cayman Islands. Where do we stand now? Are we still trying to disorganize the opponent with the ball? Is that possible with the players Berhalter seems to prefer? Not our best work, but we try to get into these questions and answer them. 

Tom Marshall's piece on Fortuna FC, the south Florida club for Cuban defectors:

Nov 21, 2019
Episode 112: USA 4, Canada 1, and a new defensive shape

The USMNT defeated Canada 4-1 on Friday. The big news is Berhalter dramatically adjusted his defensive tactics. Meanwhile, the boys still can't play out of the back. Dest is cap-tied. Lots to cover and we didn't get to it until a day late.

Nov 17, 2019
Episode 111: USA v Canada, a referendum on Berhalter only in our minds

We do actually think of a couple tweaks Berhalter could make that would inject this game with some hope and joy. Before that we talk about Earnie Stewart’s assessment of Berhalter’s performance in comments to reporters, give a sense of what the Canadian player pool is up to these days, and discuss potential lineups for both teams on Friday. At the end we briefly discuss the U23 Olympic qualifying camp in the Canary Islands.

Nov 13, 2019
Episode 110: Roster and XIs for Canada and Cuba, and a whole bunch of listener questions

We talk about who should start against Canada and Cuba, without tailoring our preferences to Berhalter’s tendencies, and then we read and try to answer several listener questions.

  • 0:30 opening thoughts and extended discussion of the roster and lineups for the upcoming games against Canada and Cuba.
  • 41:30 listener questions segment (IT’S REALLY GOOD)
  • 1:10:00 quick thoughts from Greg on the USWNT game against Sweden this week

Today’s sponsor is Humble Nut Butter, a company in Minnesota that makes premium, all natural nut butters with a savory flavor profile. You can find them on Amazon, and if you happen to live in the Twin Cities, you can find it at select stores. For more info, follow them on Instagram: @humblenutbutter or check out their website,

Nov 06, 2019
Episode 109: Netherlands 4, USA 0, and a U17 World Cup postmortem

The US U17s’ trip to Brazil was cut short on Saturday night with a 4-0 loss to the Netherlands. That’s it. We’re out, after a 4-1 loss to Senegal and a 0-0 draw with Japan. Scuffed regular Matt Hartman joins me to recap Saturday’s game and try to take something away from the tournament.

- 0:30 opening thoughts and lineups
- 6:15 scoring summary
- 22:15 big picture takeaways

  • The Earnie Stewart/Berhalter Brothers regime takes an L on this one
  • Concacaf qualifying was not good enough preparation for the World Cup for this cycle.
  • Our lack of dangerous wingers made us dull and predictable in the attack, even in transition.
  • Central midfield softness was once again a problem.
  • Getting MLS minutes doesn’t make you a difference maker at the U17 level. 
  • Argue about player selection all you want, the player pool wasn’t good enough to make noise in this World Cup group.
  • Most American MLS academies aren’t doing enough to contribute to the youth national team player pool.
  • Don’t give up on the players from this roster because of this tournament. Several talented players here despite the poor showing.
Nov 04, 2019
Episode 108: U17 World Cup — USA v Japan review

Joe Lowery (aka @joeInCleats) joins the pod to talk about the US U17s’ second group stage match, this one against Asian champion Japan.

Oct 31, 2019
Episode 107: A primer on some of U.S. Soccer’s dysfunction, including its problem with Latinos, from Mike Woitalla

Mike Woitalla, the executive editor of Soccer America, who broke the story about the Youth Soccer Diversity Task Force that includes almost zero people of Latino descent, joins the podcast. He discusses the “mind-boggling” omission on the diversity task force (still not rectified as far as we know), the purge that’s occurred in the men’s youth national team coaching ranks (including Tab Ramos’s exit to take the Dynamo job), and the lack of grassroots American soccer expertise at Soccer House.

Oct 29, 2019
Episode 106: U17 World Cup — USA v Senegal review

Chris Russell, aka @watke_ on Twitter, joins to recap the USA's first group stage match at the U17 World Cup.

Oct 28, 2019
Episode 105: A 5-step (at least) plan for Berhalter to rescue his tenure as USMNT coach

We lay out some loosely-numbered ideas for Gregg Berhalter to get this thing turned around, and then conclude that it's very unlikely and implausible. We also briefly discuss the U17s ahead of the World Cup, which kicks for them on Sunday.

  • 2:30, questions for Earnie Stewart
  • 5:00, anywhere from 5 to 27 steps Berhalter should take to get the USMNT back on track
  • 27:15, the US U17s head into the World Cup with some concerns but also some reasons for optimism

Oct 22, 2019
Episode 104: Canada 2, USA 0, and Berhalter takes the USMNT to a new low

Horrible night in Toronto. Failure on every level. Once again the citizens of the United States of America are encouraged to forget about the U.S. men's national team entirely, and they may yet do so. Time to rant and rave (but also to be fair), and to discuss the possibility of firing Gregg Berhalter. (This is a totally unedited episode recorded late at night. Certainly best to listen at 1.5x.)

Oct 16, 2019
Episode 103: USA v Cuba review

The first Nations League game ever for the USMNT was in D.C. against Cuba. No spoilers, this is our quick review of the match.


Check out our sponsor,, home of the Mystery Kit and Away Days FC. Use the code "Scuffed" to receive a 15 percent discount on your entire order there.

Oct 12, 2019
Episode 102: Projecting the U17 World Cup roster

The tournament starts on Oct. 26 in Brazil, the U.S. has a tough group consisting of the Netherlands, Japan and Senegal and the roster will be released any day now. Matt Hartman (@mattshartman on Twitter) joins the pod to talk about who will likely get called up and who will likely be left off. We each give our preferred roster, nodding regularly to what we think we can probably expect from coach Raphael Wicky. We discuss all the names below but you have to listen to figure out who we would like to see in the roster and who we think will actually get the call.

  • 0:30 intro, big picture discussion, disclaimers
  • 7:40 Goalkeepers (Las, Odunze, Cervantes)
  • 9:55 Defenders (Bello, Armour, Tolkin, Kobe, Carrera, Tomkinson, Gray, Anderson, Cuevas, Scally, Alejandre, Judge, Atencio)
  • 29:05 Midfielders (Leyva, Saldaña, Busio, Kayo, Fuentes, Dietz, Freeman, Dobbelaere)
  • 44:45 Forwards (Pepi, Reyna, Ocampo-Chavez, Yow, Jones, Jasson, Arce, Pynadath, De Vries)
  • 1:05:45 We re-state our rosters and answer a handful of Twitter questions.
Oct 08, 2019
Episode 101: Projecting the Nations League roster, and an interview with Orange County SC GM Oliver Wyss

Quick rundown of Gregg Berhalter's likely roster choices for the upcoming Nations League fixtures against Cuba and Canada, and then an interview with Oliver Wyss, the general manager of Orange County SC, the USL club that has given 11 starts to a 17-year-old youth national team keeper, recently signed Bryang Kayo and Diego Lopez away from MLS academies, and is trying to establish an alternative pathway to Europe for promising young American players.

0:30 - Greg and Belz USMNT roster discussion
23:00 - Interview with Oliver Wyss, general manager of Orange County SC

Oct 01, 2019
Episode 100: An interview with LAFC academy director Todd Saldaña

Todd Saldaña joins for a wide-ranging discussion on the early success of the Los Angeles Football Club academy, how they're developing players, what kind of outreach they've received from the Mexican and U.S. Soccer federations, and many other things.

Sep 27, 2019
Episode 99: The September USMNT Top 40

It’s actually a Top 45 because we broke goalkeepers into their own category. We do the goalkeepers, lay out some rationale because we think a lot of people will dispute our ranking, and then go 1 through 20, take a little break, go 21 through 40, and then a brief discussion of the Olympics.

Sep 20, 2019
Episode 98: USA v Uruguay, the friendliest of friendlies

It was a hot, sleepy night in St. Louis, but by golly we learned stuff. Different challenge, different lineup. We break down the big moments of the game and assess individual performances.

Thank you to Away Days Football for sponsoring this episode! Check out and their very cool Mystery Kit product. You pay $25, you pick your jersey size, and a few days later you receive an official club jersey in your size from somewhere in the world. You don’t know where, or what club, until you open the package. It’s a mystery! And they have lots of other cool stuff too. Use the promo code "Scuffed" for 15 percent off your entire purchase.

Sep 11, 2019
Episode 97: USA v Mexico recap, and Berhalter's stubbornness

Woe is us. Greg V lays this one at the feet of Gregg Berhalter, and this dogmatic commitment to play through a recklessly high press.

Sep 07, 2019
Episode 96: USA v Mexico preview -- how to attack El Tri & how to use Dest

We’re going to talk about what Mexico will probably look like, and then talk about how Berhalter could line up the U.S., with special emphasis how we might attack, how we could set up the midfield, and how we should deploy Sergiño Dest.

  • 2:10 Mexico's potential lineup
  • 7:20 How the US should attack Mexico's high press and man-marking
  • 15:00 Who should start in the midfield?
  • 28:50 How will Berhalter deploy Sergiño Dest?
Sep 03, 2019
Episode 95: Berhalter announces his roster for the September USMNT friendlies

Dest, Pomykal, Sargent! World Cup qualifying is now officially 12 months away and it's time to buckle down. Full breakdown of the roster, some preferred lineup discussion, and a dose of what lineups Berhalter is likely to choose.

Aug 28, 2019
Episode 94: The roster for the upcoming Mexico and Uruguay friendlies

We start up top at striker and work our way back to goalkeeper, giving our preferred rosters. And then we talk about Berhalter's likely roster, which is not entirely the same.

Here's that American Soccer Analysis piece we talked about:

Aug 21, 2019
Episode 93: Earnie Stewart’s new job, Kremlinology, and 4 young players Berhalter should call up soon

Earnie Stewart has a new job, Kate Markgraf has a new job, and we've got clips from the conference call with them and Carlos Cordeiro as they discussed their new roles. Greg and Belz get into that and what it means, and then we talk about Weah, Dest, Sargent and Pomykal, and a few other notable performances from the weekend.

Aug 14, 2019
Episode 92: A new monthly USMNT player pool Top 40, and several listener questions

The Scuffed Top 40 makes its August debut, as we run through a (highly debatable) list of the top 40 players in the USMNT pool if we were to start a World Cup qualifying campaign tomorrow. Then we take listener questions ranging from "what does Earnie Stewart do all day?" to "who is the most overrated player in the pool?" and "what is the point of the U18 men's national team?"

  • 0:30 Intro and housekeeping
  • 5:20 the August Scuffed Top 40 -- from Tyler Adams to Richie Ledezma
  • 1:06:30 Questions from patrons on Patreon

Scuffed is on Patreon, we're trying to think of perks for patrons, and your support helps a lot. $2 per month is the base level:

Aug 07, 2019
Episode 91: An early look at the player pool for the *next* U20 World Cup cycle

A deep dive into the pool of players born in 2001 or later, and thus eligible for the 2021 U20 World Cup. Joey Anthone (@USAprospects) and Matt Hartman (@MattSHartman) join to give us an early look at the players who have a chance of playing in the next U20 World Cup. Disclaimers apply (the kids are young and the tournament is two years away) and the show notes are detailed. Use them! We talk about who we think is already a lock, who’s in the next tier down, and who has an outside chance of breaking in, position by position, answering listener questions as we go. Then we names way too early rosters.

  • 0:30 Intro, the big picture and our locks for the 2021 U20 World Cup
  • 29:00 Discussion of who the next cycle's U20 coach should be, and a list of dual nationals eligible for this future roster
  • 43:40 More listener questions

THANK YOU TO TODAY'S SPONSOR, Soccer 101, the new show from the Total Soccer Show guys. We are fans of both the idea and the execution.

Apple Podcasts link:

Links to all the other ways to subscribe:

  • 51:05 Goalkeepers
  • 55:30 Left backs (whatever happened to George Bello? will Kobe Hernandez get to play LB for the U17s?)
  • 1:08:40 Right backs
  • 1:16:20 Centerbacks
  • 1:31:50 Central midfielders
  • 1:51:50 Wingers
  • 2:02:50 Strikers
  • 2:08:05 Our way too early rosters for the 2021 U20 World Cup: Belz, Hartman, then Anthone

Scuffed is on Patreon. It only costs $2 per month to support the podcast at the base level. Please consider it:

Jul 31, 2019
Episode 90: An interview with Raphaël Wicky, coach of the U.S. U17 men's national team

The U17 World Cup starts in three months! Wicky kicks off a camp in California this week as he and the boys prepare for the tournament in Brazil. He discussed how the team improved at the Concacaf Championship, his impressions of the DA playoffs, his thoughts on where on the field Kobe Hernandez-Foster will likely play at the World Cup and outlined some of the roster decisions he faces in the next three months.

Jul 25, 2019
Episode 89: 17-yr-old LA Galaxy right back Julian Araujo joins the pod

Our guest today is Julian Araujo, the young, pacey, aggressive right back for the Los Angeles Galaxy, the U.S. U20s, the U.S. U23s and hopefully, soon, the USMNT. He’s a top right back prospect who’s attracted attention from El Tri and youth call-ups from the USA. He assisted Zlatan Ibrahimovic's first goal in the Galaxy's El Trafico on Friday. We talked about that, his upbringing, his decision to play for the Barca Academy, where he wants to improve his game and his national team future.

Jul 23, 2019
Episode 88: Club status run-down for the European USMNT pool

First, Greg gives his 5 biggest needs for the USMNT roster, and Belz lists his preferred changes ahead of the fall international calendar. Then we hustle through the European player pool, talk about each guy's club status, and look briefly toward the season ahead.

Jul 17, 2019
Episode 87: A Gold Cup postmortem and look forward

A long episode breaking down the loss to Mexico, the opening flurry from the US, the gradual annexation of the game by Mexico, and that 20-minute period of utter helplessness in the second half culminating in the match-winning goal for El Tri. We try to discuss what this game and the overall performance in the Gold Cup all mean for the USMNT and the player pool in the fall and beyond.

Jul 10, 2019
Episode 86: Gold Cup — USA v Jamaica, plus a look ahead to Mexico

Easily the most pleasing to the eye performance from the USMNT in the Berhalter era. We break it down and look ahead to Mexico on Sunday.

Thank you to Away Days Football for being our first sponsor! Check out and their very cool Mystery Kit product. You pay $25, you pick your jersey size, and a few days later you receive an official club jersey in your size from somewhere in the world. You don’t know where, or what club, until you open the package. It’s a mystery! And they have lots of other cool stuff too. Use the promo code "Scuffed" for 15 percent off your entire purchase.

Scuffed is on Patreon and we're trying to ramp up the patron-only content to make patronage even more worthwhile. It only costs $2 per month to support the podcast at the base level:

Jul 05, 2019
Episode 85: Gold Cup — USA v Curaçao

The USA faced a composed, savvy Curaçao side in the quarterfinals of the Gold Cup. We take a look at the game while airplanes fly overhead and children shout in the background. It’s a busy week at Scuffed HQ. Apologies.

Scuffed is on Patreon and we're trying to ramp up the patron-only content to make patronage even more worthwhile. It only costs $2 per month to support the podcast at the base level:

Jul 01, 2019
Episode 84: Gold Cup — USA v Panama review with Henry Bushnell

Henry Bushnell, a sportswriter for Yahoo Sports who covers soccer regularly, joins to break down the USMNT's final group stage match at the Gold Cup. Rotation, rotation, rotation. But did we learn anything?

Check out Henry on Twitter:

Check out his takeaways on the Panama game:

And check out his piece on the win over Trinidad:

Scuffed is on Patreon. It costs $2 per month to support the podcast at the base level:

Jun 27, 2019
Episode 83: Gold Cup — USA v Trinidad review

You know the drill. Lengthy chances and scoring summary, followed by a series of thoughts on what the game taught us. In this case, we pose several questions and answer some of them.

Scuffed is on Patreon and we're trying to ramp up the patron-only content to make patronage even more worthwhile. It only costs $2 per month to support the podcast at the base level:

Jun 24, 2019
Episode 82: Gold Cup — USA v Guyana review

No spoilers! Except that Gyasi Zardes was in the starting lineup, Greg and Belz got loose for the game, and then they recorded real late at night.

Thank you to Away Days Football for being our first sponsor! Check out and their very cool Mystery Kit product. You pay $25, you pick your jersey size, and a few days later you receive an official club jersey in your size from somewhere in the world. You don’t know where, or what club, until you open the package. It’s a mystery! And they have other cool stuff too. Use the promo code "Scuffed" for 15 percent off your entire purchase.

Scuffed is on Patreon and we're trying to ramp up the patron-only content to make patronage even more worthwhile. It only costs $2 per month to support the podcast at the base level:

Jun 19, 2019
Episode 81: Interview with Eric Quill, head coach of North Texas SC

FC Dallas has arguably the best academy in Major League Soccer. Four players who came through its doors were on the 21-man U.S. roster at the U20 World Cup in Poland. The national teams at younger age groups are peppered with Dallas kids. And now those kids are getting professional minutes at the ages of 16 and 17 with North Texas SC, the franchise's gateway to MLS first team minutes. The coach of that team, which is 7-1-2 in USL League One, is Eric Quill, the guy who identified Chris Richards from near Birmingham, Alabama, recruited him to Texans SC, and took that team to a national title in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy playoffs in 2017. He joined the podcast for a wide-ranging conversation on everything from the training schedule in Frisco to Nico Carrera’s confidence and whether Dante Sealy has the sauce.

Jun 17, 2019
Episode 80: U20 stock report, and the USMNT stumbles into the Gold Cup

Velasquez and Belz go through the U20 World Cup roster in detail and assess each player’s performance, their likelihood of breaking into the USMNT and the likely timing of that breakthrough, when applicable.

Then we talk about the 3-0 loss to Venezuela rumors (later confirmed) of Tyler Adams’ absence, and the general crappiness that prevails at the senior level ahead of Tuesday’s Gold Cup opener vs Guyana.

Scuffed is on Patreon and we're trying to ramp up the patron-only content to make patronage even more worthwhile. It only costs $2 per month to support the podcast at the base level:

Jun 12, 2019
Episode 79: U20 World Cup — USA v Ecuador review with Matt Doyle

No spoilers! Doyle, senior writer for, joins me to break down the quarterfinal showdown with the South American U20 champions.

Scuffed is on Patreon and we're ramping up the Patron-only content. GIFs are ok there! And it only costs $2 per month to support the podcast at the base level:

Jun 08, 2019
Episode 78: Stock down! For almost everyone! But not the U20s

Greg and I break down the Gold Cup roster, talk as quickly as possible about the 1-0 loss to Jamaica, and move on briskly to the U20 World Cup.

Scuffed is on Patreon and we're ramping up the Patron-only content. GIFs are ok there! And it only costs $2 per month to support the podcast at the base level:

Jun 06, 2019
Episode 77: U20 World Cup — USA v France review with Franco Panizo

No spoilers! Joining me to break down the Round of 16 match is Franco Panizo, a New York-based reporter who covers the USMNT, MLS and all things American soccer for and other outlets.

Franco's Twitter:

Thank you to Away Days Football for being our first sponsor! Check out and their very cool Mystery Kit product. You pay $25, you pick your jersey size, and a few days later you receive an official club jersey in your size from somewhere in the world. You don’t know where, or what club, until you open the package. It’s a mystery! And they have lots of other cool stuff too. Use the promo code "Scuffed" for 15 percent off your entire purchase.

Scuffed is on Patreon and we're ramping up the Patron-only content. GIFs are ok there! And it only costs $2 per month to support the podcast at the base level:

Jun 04, 2019
Episode 76: U20 World Cup — USA v Qatar review with Brian Sciaretta

This is going to be more encouraging than you think. Brian joined me from his car, in the middle of a New Jersey thunderstorm. He made a good point about McKenzie starting at right back and projected a starting XI that will have you psyched for Tuesday.

And Scuffed does have a Patreon. We are always excited to add more pledges and are working toward a goal of 200 patrons, at which point we will do a run of rad Scuffed t-shirts:

Find Brian Sciaretta on Twitter:

May 30, 2019
Episode 75: U20 World Cup — USA v Nigeria review with Daryl Grove

The U.S. faced Nigeria in a game that was, if not must-win, at least a must-draw. The Total Soccer Show's Daryl Grove, a great friend of Scuffed since the beginning, took time to join Belz to break down the match. No spoilers here.

Check out the Total Soccer Show if you aren't already a listener:

They're on Twitter here:

And Scuffed does have a Patreon. We are always excited to add more pledges and are working toward a goal of 200 patrons, at which point we will do a run of rad Scuffed t-shirts:

May 27, 2019
Episode 74: U20 World Cup — Ukraine v USA review

No spoilers here, but we talk about the game and the game ahead against Nigeria. Tab trotted out a lineup with some headscratchers against a very tough and organized Ukraine side.

Thank you to Away Days Football for being our first sponsor! Check out and their very cool Mystery Kit product. You pay $25, you pick your jersey size, and a few days later you receive an official club jersey in your size from somewhere in the world. You don’t know where, or what club, until you open the package. It’s a mystery! And they have lots of other cool stuff too. Use the promo code "Scuffed" for 15 percent off your entire purchase.

Scuffed is on Patreon (thank you to everyone who’s already contributed!):

May 24, 2019
Episode 73: Sorting through all these USMNT rosters, and a U20s v Ukraine preview

Velasquez makes his return to the pod. We’ve got the 40-man provisional roster for the Gold Cup and a summer training camp roster to discuss. Then we quickly preview the U.S. v Ukraine at the U20 World Cup on Friday.

  • 0:30 Lots of names to sort though, but we spend the most time discussing the omissions, because we don’t know yet who will actually be on the USMNT Gold Cup roster.
  • 25:00 Greg gives his preferred 23-man roster for the Gold Cup
  • 40:05 U20s v Ukraine, Friday at 1:30 pm CT on FS1.

The Gold Cup and Summer Training Camp rosters:

Our Patreon (thank you to everyone who’s contributed!):

May 23, 2019
Episode 72: Deep dive on our U20 World Cup group opponents — Ukraine, Nigeria & Qatar

Opposition research! This week we hear from journalists on three continents about the nations the U.S. U20s will face in the group stage in Poland. Vadim Furmanov, a Ukrainian-American living in North Carolina, spoke with me about Ukraine. Emmanuel Chinaza, a reporter in Lagos, spoke with me about Nigeria. And Babagol founder Uri Levy spoke with me from Tel Aviv about the Qatari U20s. I should mention up front that the audio from my conversation with Emmanuel is spotty in sections. I did my best to smooth it over and encourage you to stick with us, but as always, please use the show notes for navigation if you want to skip around.

  • 0:30 Introduction
  • 1:15 Vadim Furmanov (@vfurmanov), a writer for on the Ukraine U20s
  • 31:44 Emmanuel Chinaza (@OkpetimE), a reporter at on the Nigeria U20s (the Super Eaglets)
  • 44:10 Uri Levy (@Levyninho), the founder of on the Qatar U20s (and a little bit on Nigeria)
May 14, 2019
Episode 71: A U.S. U17s Concacaf group stage recap with USMNTVideos

US Soccer Twitter legend @USMNTVideos joined the pod to help me recap the group stage at the Concacaf Championship for the U.S. U17s. This is the qualifying tournament for the U17 World Cup, Raphael Wicky’s first meaningful competition as coach, and a rare chance to see these players in international competition. We recap the three matches, and then look ahead to the rest of the tournament with our preferred first choice XIs.

  • 0:30 intro and pleasantries
  • 3:15 US v Canada recap
  • 14:30 US v Barbados recap
  • 24:30 US v Guatemala recap
  • 41:50 First choice XIs
May 08, 2019
Episode 70: The U.S. U20 World Cup Roster (with or without Sargent & Weah)

The U20 World Cup begins May 23 and the U.S. roster will drop in just over a week. Matt Hartman (@mattshartman) joins to chat about that roster — who we’d like to see on it, who’ll miss out, and why. You don’t want to miss Hartman’s 5 principles of a Tab-selected U20 World Cup squad. We then (pretty much) settle on a roster and an XI for the tournament.

  • 0:30 Intro and Hartman’s 5 Principles of U20 World Cup roster selection
  • 5:25 goalkeepers
  • 12:00 defenders
  • 30:00 midfielders
  • 45:00 forwards
  • 55:50 What if Weah and Sargent are on the roster? Who gets cut?
May 01, 2019
Episode 69: GA Cup/MLS academies breakdown with Bobby Warshaw and David Gass

Warshaw and Gass called much of Generation Adidas Cup from the booth, the spoke to a lot of the coaches, and they’re brimming over with thoughts about the tournament, which saw its first ever MLS academy winner in the Champions division. I joined them on Twitch last week to talk about it all, and recorded the whole thing, and published it essentially un-edited. It’s a conversation that veers from specific player assessments to the future of U.S. soccer development and back again. Scuffed being Scuffed content. Only for the pure at heart.

Apr 27, 2019
Episode 68: David Ochoa joins the pod, plus the U17 World Cup qualifying roster reaction with Hartman

Real Monarchs, RSL and U.S. U20 goalkeeper David Ochoa joins the pod to talk about how he learned to be a goalkeeper from his dad, his path from Oxnard, Calif., to Chivas, to Real Salt Lake, his decision to sign a Homegrown contract with RSL and how he practices saving Alex Mendez free kicks. Then Matt Hartman (@mattshartman) joins to talk about the USA’s U17 Concacaf Championship roster. Omissions, strengths, weaknesses, you know the drill.

  • 0:30 David Ochoa
  • 24:30 the U17 roster
Apr 25, 2019
Episode 67: Chris Gloster on his year in Germany, the U20 World Cup & racism rearing its head in soccer

Chris Gloster, the left back for the Hannover U23s and the U.S. U20s, joins the pod to talk about his 2018 move to Germany, the transition to life there and his development as a player. He discussed in detail the outrageous racist abuse he suffered in an away match at VfB Lübeck on Wednesday and his reactions to it. At the end of the interview, he looked ahead to the U20 World Cup in Poland, which starts in late May, and talked about the vibe on a squad where many positions are still up for grabs.

Apr 18, 2019
Episode 66: The USL pathway w/Darren Powell, plus Kleiban's ouster and Leyva’s signing

San Antonio FC head coach and technical director Darren Powell joins the pod to talk about the signings of teenage attackers Ethan Bryant and Leo Torres to the club, the viability of USL as a pathway to elite professional soccer, and many other things. Then Belz goes solo on Brian Kleiban's ouster at the LA Galaxy, a big weekend for a few US U20s, and the signing of Danny Leyva.

  • 0:30 interview with Darren Powell
  • 38:30 Kleiban's ouster, and good weekends for Sebastian Soto, Alex Mendez and Richie Ledezma
  • 41:45 Danny Leyva's signing, including audio of Garth Lagerwey's
Apr 11, 2019
Episode 65: A quick U17 roster discussion with Travis Clark

Travis Clark from Top Drawer Soccer joins us in our hour of need to discuss the latest U17 roster, the first called by new manager Raphael Wicky and the last before U17 World Cup qualifying in May. We run through the roster, the notable omissions and how we'd like to see this team line up.

  • 0:30 housekeeping
  • 6:30 Raphael Wicky's first U17 roster, omissions and discussion
  • 32:15 our preferred qualifying XIs
Apr 03, 2019
Episode 64: USA 1, Chile 1, and no Trinity, a bit of a slog, lessons learned

The U.S. played to a 1-1 draw with Chile on Tuesday night, and the match is actually kind of hard to summarize. It wasn’t horrible. It wasn’t great. We definitely didn't control the game. We were missing Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams and Christian Pulisic came off for reportedly precautionary reasons after a half-hour. We run through the timeline of key events, and pull out a bushel basket of takeaways.

Mar 28, 2019
Episode 63: An interview with Paxton Pomykal, the 19-yr-old FC Dallas midfielder

Paxton Pomykal was a standout performer for the U.S. U20s at the Concacaf Championship, and the creative central midfielder has come out swinging in 2019 for FC Dallas. He's started 3 of 4 games for one of the better teams (so far) in the western conference of MLS, and he's drawn attention on both sides of the Atlantic as a midfield orchestrator and disruptor in the press. He joined the podcast to talk about what's driven his success over the past 6 months, advice he received from U.S. U20 coach Tab Ramos, his role in Dallas under Luchi Gonzalez and the U20 World Cup in May.

Mar 26, 2019
Episode 62: USA 1, Ecuador 0, and a low-block test of patient possession

The U.S. beat Ecuador 1-0 in Orlando on Thursday night. It was not a match that quickened the pulse, but the U.S. out-possessed Ecuador, a generally respectable South American opponent, 62 to 38, and Berhalter now has 3 games and 3 wins since taking over the national team. We try to glean what we can from this friendly.

Mar 22, 2019
Episode 61: Ecuador on Thursday, Berhalter’s pedagogy, and a U20 roster

Greg lays out his best rationale for the roster decisions that had us scratching our heads last week. I nod along. We try to predict Berhalter's starting XI vs Ecuador (we recorded before it was reported that Adams will play right back, but generally anticipated it). Then we go over the U20 roster with an eye to the World Cup in May.

  • 0:25 "How Berhalter might have thought about constructing this roster," by Greg Velasquez
  • 14:05 lineups vs Ecuador
  • 21:50 U20 roster discussion
Mar 19, 2019
Episode 60: Roster Reaction -- Berhalter shades domestic and old with his March call-ups

This week, Gregg Berhalter announced and explained his 24-man roster for friendlies later this month against Ecuador and Chile. First big chance for him to have the full squad at his disposal and he left off Sargent and Weah, called Baird and Lewis back up. We get into all that, and also clipped a bunch of Berhalter quotes from the press conference.

  • 0:30 Roster reaction
  • 27:20 How we might lineup
Mar 13, 2019
Episode 59: MLS rundown, March friendlies roster, young Americans in USL preview with Phill Grooms

Quick rundown of the youngsters in MLS on opening weekend, an abridged discussion of the March friendlies roster (due next week), and then Phill Grooms of the USL Show joins to discuss young Americans in USL.

  • 0:30 MLS rundown and an abridged take on the March friendly rosters (child-rearing cut it a little short)
  • 16:00 March friendlies roster discussion
  • 27:40 intro Phill Grooms on USL youngsters
  • 33:40 North Texas SC
  • 44:00 LA Galaxy II
  • 53:00 Tacoma Defiance
  • 1:01:00 Real Monarchs
  • 1:10:10 Others (Reno, ATL2, San Antonio, RBNY2, Richmond, Charlotte, NCFC, Swope Park, St. Louis, Bethlehem Steel)
Mar 06, 2019
Episode 58: Young Americans in MLS preview with Matt Doyle

The 2019 MLS season kicks off this weekend, so here’s a thorough look at which young Americans to watch in the league. Matt Doyle of joins the pod to help invent some categories and work through a list of 50+ names. Everyone from Chris Durkin to Derrick Jones, Sebastian Saucedo to Omir Fernandez.

(the categories are definitely not precise)

  • 0:30 Great Expectations
  • 24:30 Hopes and Dreams
  • 1:07:45 Reclamation Projects, the Zero Expectations crew, etc.
Feb 27, 2019
Episode 57: Mark McKenzie joins the pod, then a pool report and news rundown

19-year-old (almost 20-yr-old) centerback Mark McKenzie joins the pod for a conversation about centerbacking, his breakout 2018 for the Philadelphia Union, January Camp, and the U20s' dominant showing in World Cup qualifying in November. Then Greg and Belz run through the player pool news, Fabian Johnson's revival (?), the USWNT She Believes roster, etc. , etc.

0:30 Mark McKenzie interview

42:10 Short Corners:

  • Weston McKennie versatile, capable, but maybe injured
  • Tyler Adams and his passing
  • Christian Pulisic injured in 0-3 loss to Tottenham
  • Josh Sargent quiet (oh wait he started a game after we recorded)
  • Timo Weah fiery
  • Alex Mendez, Richie Ledezma and Paxton Pomykal
  • Midweek CCL discussion
  • Fabian Johnson revived
  • USWNT She Believes roster
  • NWSL TV deal
  • U17 qualifying and U20 World Cup draws

Black Soccer in North America roundtable, in which McKenzie participated:

Feb 22, 2019
Episode 56: Mea Culpas, and three burning USMNT questions

Belz goes under the knife for his garbage predictions about Miazga and Weah, and then the hosts discuss three key questions about the USMNT after January Camp.

  • Will we see the inverted fullback system with a dedicated holding mid and dual 8/10s in March?
  • Who will Berhalter play in the central midfield?
  • What's going to happen with DeAndre Yedlin?
Feb 12, 2019
Episode 55: Interview with Ted Kroeten, an evangelist for free play in youth soccer

Ted Kroeten is the founder of Joy of the People, a non-profit in the Twin Cities focused on free play as a way to develop more instinctive, resourceful soccer players (and people). A former player, long-time coach and current soccer parent, Kroeten now believes that up to at least the age of 14, the best way for kids to improve is by playing for fun with their friends, with minimal coaching and supervision. It's an interesting idea, one that a lot of people don't accept, and I tried to ask Ted as many good questions about it as I could. Roughly 3,000 children participated in some kind of free play soccer at Joy of the People last year. Two players who grew up in the program trialed at Werder Bremen in the fall.

Feb 06, 2019
Episode 54: USA 2, Costa Rica 0, and January Camp ends on a high note

The USA beat Costa Rica 2-0 on Saturday in San Jose, California, with a couple of goals in the last 10 minutes. This was a Costa Rica side that was a bit stouter than the Panamanian opponent a week ago, and another convincing Concacaf friendly win for Berhalter.

  • 0:30 Daryl Grove's GoFundMe page:
  • 1:30 the lineup vs Costa Rica and what it means
  • 17:00 timeline of big chances and goals, player-by-player chats (the defense, the so-so guys, and the ones who tried hard)
  • 55:55 the stock-up performers from January Camp (Lletget, Arriola and sort of Lewis and Ramirez)
  • 1:02:00 overall takeaway, first-choice XIs, quick European check-in
Feb 03, 2019
Episode 53: USA 3, Panama 0, and a positive start to the Gregg Berhalter era

Yes it was a Panama B team, but the U.S. is likely to face several similar sides at the Gold Cup in June, and the win on Sunday was a coherent, competent, even dominant, performance. Compared to USA-Bosnia in 2018, and January camps in previous years, this was a large step in the right direction.

Plenty to discuss:

  • Surprises in the lineup, and a new (and largely unknown) lineup hierarchy.
  • The 3-2-4-1 attacking shape (or 3-4-3 or 3-2-2-2, whatever you want to call it).
  • Individual performances, especially Bradley, Mihailovic, Lima and Zardes.
  • And oh yeah, Tyler Adams's first Bundesliga start in a dominant win for RB Leipzig.
Jan 28, 2019
Episode 52: The Bundesliga returns! A look ahead to the Panama friendly. France downs the USWNT.

We run down the action in Europe over the weekend, mostly in the Bundesliga. Greg explains what worried him about the USWNT’s 3-1 loss to France. Then we talk about the upcoming Panama friendly, who the 6 is going to be, and we give our (half-hearted) starting XIs. Mostly we're just curious about the game.

Jan 23, 2019
Episode 51: An interview with Brian Kleiban, the LA Galaxy academy coach

LA Galaxy's academy is one of the top talent centers in American soccer, and U19 head coach Brian Kleiban is in the middle of it. He's now got former players all over the U.S. boys' youth national teams, he's been to two straight Development Academy finals, and he joined the pod for a wide-ranging conversation on everything from the time he spied on Bielsa in the early 2000s, to the MLS draft, the U20 World Cup, the Development Academy, and his long-term ambitions as a coach.

  • 0:30 Kleiban's background, his background as a coach, the Galaxy academy, sneaking in to watch Bielsa trainings, and the way American soccer is changing how it values small, technical players
  • 23:00 how he got connected with Mendez, Llanez and Alvarez, candid assessments of several players (Mendez, Llanez, Alvarez, Araujo, Kobe, Dunbar), the arrival of Dennis te Kloese, and what it means to the LA Galaxy academy to have LAFC active and aggressive in the same market
  • 50:30 US national team discussion: the U20s, Berhalter's hiring, whether Kleiban's brother Gary ever gets him in trouble, and his long-term career ambitions
Jan 17, 2019
Episode 50: Sergino Dest joins the pod, and then a few spring predictions

Ajax and U.S. U20 right back Sergino Dest joins the podcast from the Netherlands for nice little chat. And then Greg and Belz gin up predictions mostly to honor this coming weekend's return of the Bundesliga.

  • 0:30 Sergiño Dest, the 18-year-old attacking fullback who's a standout for one of the world's best academies and a U.S. youth international, talked about the upcoming U20 World Cup, where he needs to improve (in surprising detail), his ambitions, and going up against Diego Lainez.
  • 28:45 spring predictions on Sargent, Pulisic, the USMNT centerback loan army, Soto and Mendez, other players attaining “Weston McKennie status,” Tim Weah, another Tyler Adams coming out of MLS, and finally Concacaf Champions League.
Jan 16, 2019
Episode 49: Transfer season, January Camp, and an interview with Real Salt Lake academy director Martín Vásquez

We talk about the Pulisic move to Chelsea and lots of other moves, run down what we’re looking for from January camp, and then (don’t miss it!) interview Martín Vásquez, the dean of the Real Salt Lake academy, which has been a factory of talent for the U.S. U20 team in recent years. Lots of detail in the show notes so make like a honey badger and take what you want.

  • 0:30 Pulisic to Chelsea, Richards to Bayern, Weah to Celtic, Adams at Leipzig, Holmes at Derby County, etc., etc.
  • 26:00 Belz rant on why Ledezma and Mendez should be getting occasional check-ins from Berhalter or Stewart
  • 32:20 January Camp: what Greg will watch for in these friendlies, the battle for the No. 6 spot, players to watch (Long, Cannon, Steffen and a bunch of wildcards)
  • 54:10 three players to watch in the U20 camp (Durkin, Taitague and Cappis)

Martín Vásquez interview

  • 1:00:10 His work at the RSL academy
  • 1:16:15 Specific players from RSL: Ledezma, Soto, Ochoa, Arriaga, Pena
  • 1:39:35 Vásquez on the development academy and US soccer development in general
Jan 08, 2019
Episode 48: Interview with Brian Clarhaut, a young American manager making his way in Europe

Brian Clarhaut (pronounced Clair-heart) is the 32-year-old manager of Nyköpings BIS (pronounced New-shoppings BISS) in the Swedish third division. He’s taken the road less traveled. Grew up in New Jersey, played college soccer, was an assistant at a few colleges in the Northeast, and then got an assistant coaching job in Sweden and was named head coach at the club mid-season in 2017. He gave a wide-ranging interview explaining his coaching path, his work in Nyköping, his views on the U.S. men’s national team and his coaching philosophy, among other things.

I broke the interview into three parts:

  • 0:30 Clarhaut’s background, how he ended up coaching in Nyköping, how he landed the head coaching job, what third division soccer in Sweden is like, and how the last couple seasons have gone.
  • 38:00 The state of American soccer, the Berhalter appointment, differences between MLS and European playing style, and American players he rates.
  • 56:50 Coaching soccer in general, including UEFA licensing courses, his role models, his philosophy and use of periodization.
Jan 02, 2019
Episode 47: The Future Draft — picking teams of un-capped American U21s

Joey Anthone (@USAProspects), Matt Hartman (@MattSHartman) join for a draft of uncapped U-21 Americans with assembling hypothetical teams for the 2026 World Cup in mind. The three of us each pick a 20-player roster, and briefly discuss who came out best.

Here were the rules:

  • Only U.S.-eligible players born in 1997 or later are allowed.
  • Anyone already capped with the senior men’s national team is disqualified. That excludes, for instance, Pulisic, McKennie, Adams, Sargent, Weah, even though they are age-eligible.
  • We’re picking specifically with the goal of assembling the best possible team in 2026.
  • We each need to come up with a 20-man roster, including two goalkeepers. That's a total of 60 players.
  • Dual nationals are allowed, so long as they’ve accepted a youth national team call-up at some point and are not cap-tied by another nation.

We'll roll out info on Twitter (@zlebmada) and a poll to decide the winner over the next few days, but here are the major timestamps:

  • 0:30 Rules
  • 1:50 Rounds 1-10
  • 38:10 Rounds 11-20
  • 1:26:35 Brief discussion
Dec 26, 2018
Episode 46: Preseason player pool worst case scenarios, revisited

In August, we recorded a catalog of worst case scenarios for USMNT players abroad in the first half of the European season. This week we check in on those (a disconcerting number came true), and then discuss Richie Ledezma’s pending move to PSV, the Champions League draw, and Dave Sarachan’s new job.

  • 0:30 Worst case scenarios, revisited. In chronological order: Pulisic, McKennie, Weah, Adams, Acosta, Yedlin/Brooks/Amon/Saief, Wood, Sargent, Miazga/CCV/EPB/Moore/Richards, Robinson, Parks, Sabbi/Novakovich/Gall/Holmes/Gooch/Green/Hines-Ike/Hyndman, youngsters abroad, MLS youngsters.
  • 51:15 Short Corners: Ledezma to PSV, Emerson Hyndman’s resurgence, Soto to train with the Hannover first team, Champions League and Europa League draws, coaching hire news.
Dec 18, 2018
Episode 45: Catch-up week. Berhalter, January Camp, MLS Cup, Sargent’s debut goal

A lot happened over the past couple weeks in American soccer. We take it on piece by piece. Check the show notes.

  • 0:30 Gregg Berhalter
  • 18:30 January Camp
  • 28:45 MLS Cup, Atlanta
  • 33:50 Andrew Carleton's misdeeds
  • 36:45 quick lookahead to the spring calendar
  • 38:45 Josh Sargent debut and GOAL
  • 45:30 Revierderby
  • 51:40 Yedlin
  • 55:00 Encouraging Young Yanks update (Adams, Dest, Richards, and the "20 Pulisics")
Dec 11, 2018
Episode 44: Former Crew beat reporter joins to talk Berhalter, and a breakdown of the Nike Friendlies

Andrew Erickson, the former Crew SC beat reporter for the Columbus Dispatch, joins the pod to talk about covering newly announced USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter, and then Belz and Matt Hartman discuss what we learned about the U17s in the Nike Friendlies.

  • 0:30 Andrew Erickson interview
  • 26:45 the U17s at the Nike Friendlies: all the players discussed to some extent, special emphasis on midfield and centerback struggles, Gio Reyna, off-ball stasis, Ricardo Pepi and how the end of the residency program (ultimately a positive development) may be affecting team cohesion in the near-term
Dec 04, 2018
Episode 43: Tab Ramos joins the pod, plus a USMNT interim era wrap-up & a U20s breakdown

U.S. men's U20 coach and youth technical director Tab Ramos joins to talk about the Concacaf Championship and a few other things. Then Greg and Belz talk briefly about the Italy friendly, evaluate the first team minutes requirement floated by some after the game, and break down the satisfying, trophy-winning 2-0 win over Mexico in Bradenton from the U20s.

  • 0:30 Tab Ramos interview
  • 26:10 the USMNT limps toward the end of 2018
  • 49:00 U20 Concacaf Championship, and the most interesting U.S. players
Nov 28, 2018
Episode 42: A U17 Player Pool Review ahead of the Nike Friendlies

Belz, Joey Anthone and Matt Hartman take a deep dive into the pool of players born in 2002 or later and therefore eligible for the U17 World Cup next year. We talk about how this age group stacks up against past cycles, discuss more than 50 individual players and try to answer a bunch of very good Twitter questions. This is a long one. Listen at 1.5 speed. Use the show notes. If you get bored with the discussion of one position, skip to the next. We start with the top prospects, generally, and move our way down at each spot on the field.

  • 0:30 Is this U17 cycle as good as the last one?
  • 8:45 Goalkeepers: Damian Las, Chituru Odunze, Gavin Krenecki, Seth Wilson, Aaron Cervantes, Vicente Reyes
  • 19:00 Centerbacks: Mason Judge, Axel Alejandre, Michael Barragan, Antino Lopez, Casey Walls, Owen Guske, Kenneth Nielsen, Ethan Bayer
  • 32:50 Fullbacks: George Bello, Joe Scally, Kobe Hernandez, Mauricio Cuevas, Adam Armour, John Michael Tolkin, Jacob Greene, Anton Sorenson, Amir Daley
  • 48:25 Holding and box-to-box midfielders: Tayvon Gray, Joshua Atencio, Danny Robles, Peter Stroud, Gilbert Fuentes, Edwin Villareal, Maximilian Göggel, Javier Casas, Adam Saldana, Will Reilly, Danny Flores, David Rodriguez
  • 1:13:45 Attacking midfielders: Gianluca Busio, Giovanni Reyna (more of a winger, really), James Dunning, Moses Nyeman, Jack Imperato
  • 1:32:10 Wingers: Andres Jasson, Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez (more of a striker, really), Cade Cowell, Joshua Pynadath, Patrick Bohui, Andre Luis Queiroz Costa, Dante Sealy, Selmir Miscic, Sam Sarver, Julian Gaines, Ray Serrano
  • 1:49:53 Strikers: Griffin Yow, Ricardo Pepi, Sagir Arce, Tyler Freeman, Diego Lopez, Dantouma Toure
  • 2:10:05 Starting XIs and Twitter questions (a lot of good ones!)
Nov 20, 2018
Episode 41: England 3, USA 0, and a tactical disaster-class from the Americans

It was a pretty bad performance from the Americans at Wembley, but hiring a coach should help.

  • an abysmal opening 13 minutes
  • why this happened (a bad job by Sarachan and not the players' faults)
  • a roster rundown and a few other things
  • bright spots
Nov 17, 2018
Episode 40: Lining up the USMNT to face England at Wembley

The USA will face England on Thursday afternoon and Italy on Tuesday, and we’re here to talk about the roster and who we’d like to see in the starting XI. Might be the first time we get to see Pulisic, McKennie and Adams on the field at the same time! We talk about the U20s and the USWNT later in the episode.

  • 0:30 roster absences

  • 11:48 goalkeepers

  • 13:05 centerbacks

  • 17:29 right backs

  • 18:52 left backs

  • 21:20 central midfield

  • 29:37 attacking midfielders and wingers

  • 35:02 strikers

  • 38:30 preferred XIs vs England

  • 41:40 Short Corners: USMNT U20s, USWNT, USWNT U17s, MLS playoffs

Nov 13, 2018
Episode 39: Assessing the U20s in World Cup qualifying, and Alex Mendez joins the pod

We talk about quality of the soccer being played by our U20s in the Concacaf Championship, assess individual performances in some detail, give the new USMNT roster a once-over and welcome Alex Mendez to the podcast.

  • 0:30 how the U20s have looked (not great despite the 26-2 margin of victory)
  • 11:50 the good performers (Mendez, Servania, Llanez, Pomykal, Rennicks, Araujo)
  • 26:00 the ok performers (Lindsey, Gloster, Scott)
  • 29:00 the show-me-more performers (Angking, Real, Fontana, McKenzie, Ochoa, Amaya, Perez, Rogers, Torres)
  • 32:35 the go homes after the group stage (Akinola, Dorsey)
  • 34:50 who might be added to the roster when Ramos makes his changes
  • 36:35 Sarachan’s roster for the USMNT friendlies with England and Italy
  • 46:10 Interview with Alex Mendez, 18-year-old CM for the U.S. U20s and S.C. Freiburg
Nov 07, 2018
Episode 38: Richie Ledezma joins the pod, plus U20 World Cup qualifying and the USMNT roster for England and Italy

We roll through the American soccer news of the week -- MLS Decision Day, U20 World Cup qualifying, Sargentwatch and USWNT and USMNT rosters -- very quickly so we can get to an interview with Richie Ledezma, the 18-year-old phenom linked with PSV Eindhoven.

  • 0:30 MLS Decision Day from 30,000 feet
  • 5:45 U20 World Cup qualifying mini-preview
  • 9:45 Josh Sargent’s and Matt Miazga’s continuing (and very different) absences from their respective first teams.
  • 21:15 New USWNT roster
  • 26:00 New USMNT roster
  • 40:20 Richie Ledezma on his upbringing, his path to the YNT setup, his trial at PSV and what he’s looking for from the U20s over the next couple weeks.
Oct 30, 2018
Episode 37: Who can be the 10 in this 4-2-3-1? And Atlanta United 2 Coach Scott Donnelly joins the pod

The 4-3-2-1 seems to work better than the 4-1-4-1, but nobody’s claimed the central advanced midfield role. We run through the candidates, and the future candidates, for the job. Then we discuss the U.S. U20 roster for the Concacaf Championship, and then, best of all, Atlanta United 2 Coach Scott Donnelly joins to talk about coaching in USL, George Bello, Andrew Carleton, and USL as a place for young players to develop. Long episode. Please make use of the show notes to get what you want from it.

The Current Pool of 10-ish CMs

  • 2:30 Acosta
  • 6:50 Nagbe
  • 13:20 Weah
  • 17:56 Pulisic
  • 23:40 McKennie
  • 27:35 Delgado

The Kids Who Can Play the 10 or Thereabouts

  • 33:00 Richie Ledezma
  • 37:27 Alex Mendez
  • 41:05 Gianluca Busio
  • 45:00 Andrew Carleton
  • 48:45 Efrain Alvarez

U20 roster for the Concacaf Championship

  • 53:35

Scott Donnelly Interview

  • 1:05:15 intro and general ATLUTD2 questions
  • 1:22:40 George Bello
  • 1:30:00 Andrew Carleton
  • 1:37:45 Chris Goslin
  • 1:40:00 Diego Lopez
  • 1:42:00 Jackson Conway
  • 1:48:30 state of US soccer development
  • 1:52:50 USL as a place for talent to develop
  • 1:58:25 USMNT World Cup qualifying failure
Oct 24, 2018
Episode 36: USA 1, Peru 1 — All Hail the Youngs! A mostly encouraging night in Connecticut

The USA drew Peru in Hartford on Tuesday, but the big story was the US lineup. We got a starting front three of Jonathan Amon, Josh Sargent and Tim Weah. Reggie Cannon got his debut at right back. Aaron Long got his debut at centerback. Ben Sweat got a debut at left back. Brad Guzan returned from the wilderness. What did we learn? A lot! Listen up.

  • 0:30 intro and Velasquez tactical overview (not because we care about Sarachan’s tactics but because it affects the way we assess individual performances)
  • 14:00 Flores’ goal for Peru, whose fault was it?
  • 17:50 Sargent, Weah, Amon, Cannon and Carter-Vickers (extended discussion, please understand)
  • 50:20 Acosta, Delgado, Trapp and everyone else
Oct 17, 2018
Episode 35: USA 2, Colombia 4 — We got whooped, but we learned quite a bit

The laboratory was humming Thursday night in Tampa when the USA lost 4-2 to Colombia, with Saief, Bradley, Green and Weah experiments underway, among others. What did we learn? How did the midfield look in McKennie's and Adams' absences? How good is Kenny Saief? Those and many other questions asked and answered in today's episode.

Oct 12, 2018
Episode 34: Lining up against Colombia and Peru without Adams, McKennie and Pulisic

Let’s start with the bad news. Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie and Christian Pulisic will be absent for the upcoming friendlies against Colombia and Peru, but there are still a bunch of interesting players involved in the camp (Weah, Sargent, Novakovich, Amon, Cannon, Saief). We get into all that and discuss the lineup.

  • 0:30 the big absences
  • 11:29 new additions, Colombia, and the US goalkeeper and defense
  • 24:35 the US midfield, forwards and wings
  • 38:42 Short Corners: USWNT 11, Concacaf 0; Carleton's big upcoming offseason; Alex Mendez & Uly Llanez to Germany; Matias Almeyda to San Jose
Oct 09, 2018
Episode 33: Beyond Trapp — The USMNT Puzzle in Central Midfield

Dave Sarachan released the 24-man roster for the friendlies with Colombia and Peru on Oct. 11 and 16. The big question is who will play in which capacity in the midfield, and we talked about that for a while, among other things.

  • 0:30 brief overview of the roster
  • 17:45 snubs
  • 25:15 extended discussion: how are we gonna sort out this midfield?
  • 1:00:35 Short Corners: USWNT World Cup qualifiers, Cristiano Ronaldo’s depressing news, Sebastian Soto the U19 goal-scoring machine, and the U.S. U17s go to Mexico City
Oct 02, 2018
Episode 32: The U20 provisional roster is due in a week. Who's going to be on it?

Special guest Joey Anthone (@USAprospects) and I do a bare-bones run through the roster options for Tab Ramos. We also discuss the format of the U20 Men's Concacaf Championship, the roster rules and the changes that Ramos might make mid-tournament.

Sep 26, 2018
Episode 31: The new USMNT starts to coalesce, and maybe finds a formation! Also, don't miss: Sounders academy chief Marc Nicholls joins the pod

Greg and I wrap up the last USMNT camp and what we learned -- it's quite a bit more positive than our reactions to the games themselves. Then we’ve got an interview with Marc Nicholls, director of player development and academy director for the Seattle Sounders, and we come back with Short Corners at the end.

  • 0:30 takeaways from the recent USMNT friendlies and camp: 1) the 4-2-3-1 deserves further experimentation, 2) gotta find McKennie’s role, 3) we’ve got a core of 7-8 near-lock starters now, 4) let's use the next two camps to test new players against the floor, which is set by another 7-8 players we saw in the last two friendlies.
  • 46:05 Marc Nicholls, director of player development and academy director for the Seattle Sounders. Their U17 boys won the DA championship last year, they’ve given at least 9 teenagers a USL debut this season and at least 6 Sounders players have been called up to youth national teams in the past few months. We talked about his work, the Sounders’ style of play, the development academy, how they scout out-of-state players and the type of kids they’re looking for. Covered lots of ground.
  • 1:34:15 Short Corners: Champions League, MLS East homestretch, U20 Concacaf Championship draw
Sep 18, 2018
Episode 30: USA 1, Mexico 0: A bad plan from Sarachan, and good Concacafing from Miazga

We won the game. It was not pretty. But Greg thinks we learned a lot. I just wish we’d learned how to get Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie to both excel at the same time in the midfield, which we did not. Also Sarachan’s first half plan was not good enough.

  • 2:15 lineup, formation, plan and brief game overview
  • 11:40 goalkeeper
  • 12:30 centerbacks
  • 14:50 fullbacks
  • 22:05 center mids
  • 23:57 tangent on why there isn’t more tactics stuff from traditional soccer reporters
  • 28:40 back to the center mids
  • 45:22 wingers
  • 48:40 strikers
  • 54:55 what we learned, etc.
  • 1:10:38 short corners
Sep 12, 2018
Episode 29: USA 0, Brazil 2, and a 4-1-4-1 that neither attacked nor counterattacked

Sarachan surprised us with a 2-centerback formation and some shuttling specialists on the wings, and the U.S. lost 2-0 to Brazil in a limpid but not disastrous friendly on Friday night.

  • 0:30 shoutouts and Sarachan's lineup
  • 7:00 goalkeeper
  • 9:35 centerbacks
  • 14:30 fullbacks
  • 26:12 central midfielders
  • 42:00 wingers
  • 45:35 striker
  • 55:13 what we learned
Sep 08, 2018
Episode 28: USA v Brazil preview

The Sarachan roster, omissions, our starting XIs for Brazil, and a solid (IMO) discussion of Pulisic's absence.

  • 0:50 omissions

    • The Scandinavian Contingent
    • Pulisic injured and Ives article
    • Cannon, Sargent, Parks, etc.
  • 17:50 the 25-man roster Sarachan called up

  • 28:00 our starting XIs for the Brazil match in the likely 3-5-2

  • 49:00 short corners: Champions League draw and Schalke/Dortmund/PSG, U20 camp, U20 players

Sep 04, 2018
Episode 27: Who should be called up for the Brazil and Mexico friendlies?

We’re back in our comfort zone and we’ve got a roster episode. The men’s national team faces Brazil on Sept. 7 and Mexico on Sept. 11. We break down the options and in the process conduct a routine checkup on the U.S. player pool. Then we review the first matchday of the Bundesliga season and Belz spotlights the recent USL appearances of Joshua Atencio for Sounders 2.

  • 0:30 preamble
  • 9:25 goalkeepers
  • 12:08 right backs
  • 15:35 centerbacks (EPB got the call-up, listen to the segment if you want to know what we think of that)
  • 25:53 left backs
  • 28:58 central midfield
  • 41:45 wings
  • 48:54 strikers

Short Corners:

  • 56:38 Bundesliga Matchday 1 Recap
  • 1:13:56 new USL kid to watch: Joshua Atencio
Aug 28, 2018
Episode 26: Another look into the future with Joey Anthone — the upcoming Development Academy season

Games kick off Sept. 1 in the U19 regular season of the U.S. Development Academy. Joey Anthone joins to detail his preseason top 10 and the key up-and-comers across the nation. We cover some big themes at the top and then dive in. Bext XIs, preseason “awards” and answers to listener questions ensue.

  • 0:30 Introduction and Big Themes
  • MLS academies losing players to Europe for free.
  • The emerging class of elite academies who gather talent from other
  • Changes to the DA schedule to make games more competitive.
  • Joey's Top Ten
  • 32:20 FC Dallas
  • 42:40 Columbus Crew
  • 51:45 Seattle Sounders
  • 1:06:05 LA Galaxy
  • 1:14:30 New York Red Bulls
  • 1:19:15 Sockers FC
  • 1:31:05 Chicago Fire
  • 1:36:30 Sporting KC
  • 1:45:35 Atlanta United
  • 1:48:56 Preseason Awards
  • 2:00:20 Preseason Best XIs
  • 2:05:00 Listener Questions
Aug 22, 2018
Episode 25: The Cynic's Guide to the 2018-19 Season

Worst case scenarios this season for several Americans playing in Europe.

  • 0:15 Worst Case Scenarios Part 1: Pulisic, McKennie, Weah, Adams, Acosta, Yedlin, Brooks, Amon, Saief, Wood and Sargent.
  • Bach
  • 35:50 Worst Case Scenarios Part 2: Miazga, EPB, CCV, Richards, Moore, Robinson, Sabbi, Gall, Gooch and several others.
  • Billy Holiday
  • 1:10:20 Short Corners: The U.S. women’s U-20s get bounced out of the World Cup in the group stage and why is that? ESPN+ will air some Eredivisie matches this year. George Bello returns from injury.
Aug 15, 2018
Episode 24: Chris Richards joins the pod, and a non-Bundesliga Yanks in Europe preview

Chris Richards joins for a conversation from Bavaria, where the 18-yr-old is on loan at Bayern Munich, getting ready for his first regular season U19 game this weekend. Then Greg and Belz run down the European-based player pool ahead of the regular season in the big leagues, and then we take a few Short Corners.

  • 1:23 Richards interview starts. Since the audio is spotty during parts of the conversation, below are timestamps and transcriptions of key things he said that were difficult to hear in the recording.

  • 1:50 Richards on how he found out he was headed to Bayern on loan: “Towards the end of our (U.S. Development Academy) playoffs in San Diego, I got a call from the technical director and he told me that Bayern wanted me to come on loan until December and initially I was like there’s no way this is real, but then I got all my final information and was told to take the next flight to Munich about a week after our last game in San Diego. As soon as I got here I was immediately thrown into first-team training, and one day one of the administrators came up to me and she told me I was going on the first-team preseason tour to the U.S.”

  • 2:42 on whether he knew he was going to be training with the Bayern first team at all: “Oh no. They told me I was playing with the U19s so that’s all I thought I was going to do, just be with the U19s the whole semester...I was so surprised.”

  • 7:12 on training with Alaba and Martinez: “They were so open to helping me with everything. That was really great for me the first few weeks I was here. They’re world class players of course, and it’s refreshing and it’s also amazing that they’re willing to help a young guy like me. It's been really good for me.”

  • 7:38 difference between the Bayern academy and the academies he played for in the U.S.: “one of the big things that coaches here like is, when the centerback is on the ball to take space as fast as you can and then try to release the ball and keep going further down the field. In the academy back home it’s not really something that you’re taught, and when I got here...everyone’s doing it, youth all the way to the first team, and so that was one thing that they really pushed for me to get more comfortable doing.”

  • 14:55 what Texans SC coach Eric Quill saw in Richards back in 2015 and 2016: “Of course he noticed my athleticism. I’ve always been one of the faster (players) and...I’d been able to get away with my athleticism for a while before learning the technical aspect as much...and he liked my vision on and off the ball...I knew where the ball was going, so I was anticipating really well, and when I was on the ball I was always one or two steps ahead of the defense.”

  • 20:56 on whether Bayern will release him for U20 World Cup qualification in November: “I sure hope so. I’m not really sure what their plan is...but if I get the call-up for the qualifiers I’m going to push for that as hard as I can, because that’s a big box that I want to check off.”

  • 24:55 Non-Bundesliga USMNT in Europe preview: Parks, Moore, Weah, Miazga, Yedlin, Robinson, Carter-Vickers, Saief, Palmer-Brown, Novakovich, Scott, Amon, Sabbi, Hamid, Gall, etc.

  • 1:09:35 Short Corners: Busio's first MLS start, Reggie Cannon's
    ascendance, loans to buy, the USYNT hiring freeze.

Brian Sciaretta's interview with Richards from July 17:

Aug 07, 2018
Episode 23: An extended USMNT-in-the-Bundesliga season preview

We take a closer look at the league that has become the destination of choice for young American players by interviewing people who regularly talk or write about Werder Bremen, Hannover 96, Schalke and Dortmund. Josh Sargent, Bobby Wood, Weston McKennie and Christian Pulisic are the main events in this episode, but each guest gave a good sense of each club’s overall situation and addressed the rising population of Americans in the Bundesliga and Bundesliga academies. Greg and I had planned to talk about Frankfurt, Wolfsburg and Gladbach to talk about Timmy Chandler, John Brooks and Fabian Johnson, but we ran out of time, as you’ll see.

  • 1:25 Patrick Davey from the podcast Radio Free Weser, on Josh Sargent, the cocoon of development that’s being built around him including Claudio Pizarro's mentorship, Sargent's prospects for first-team minutes, the bullish case for Werder Bremen this season and some quick thoughts on Aron Johannsson and Isaiah Young.


  • 41:15 Ansgar Loecke from the HannoverliebtMSR (German-language) podcast, on the modest expectations for Bobby Wood at Hannover, a club that’s no stranger to Americans and one that should be a good place for Wood to get his groove back. We also briefly discuss Hannover’s efforts to revamp the academy, and Chris Gloster’s situation.


  • 1:15:00 Jack Mangan from the FC Schalke 04 Podcast, on a big year for Weston McKennie that’s full of opportunity, as well as Haji Wright, Nick Taitague, Zyen Jones and even Chris Richards at Bayern.


  • 2:02:10 Lars Pollman from the Yellow Wall Podcast, on an ultimately disappointing 2017/18 for Christian Pulisic and for Dortmund, the still open possibility of a transfer, and the high hopes for the young American winger in the season upcoming. Lars also discusses Lucien Favre as a manager, projects what would be a successful statistical season for Pulisic, and we venture into Lars’s NFL fandom.


Jul 31, 2018
Episode 22: Seems like there are a lot of exciting young U.S. players. Is this time different?

European preseason is always a time of inflated hopes and dreams. Players getting chances, and fresh starts, and new contracts. We run down of a lot of the action, and then Greg breaks out some half-assed high school math as we try to sort out whether the player pool is taking a step forward. (It is.)

  • 0:30 We summarize a lot of the preseason news for the under-23 player pool, including Pulisic, Hyndman, Richards, Carleton, Gall, Parks, etc.
  • 35:30 Is this time different? Buckle in for a rambling discussion of old U-20 player pools, new U-20 player pools, 2012 changes in the development academy and a hypothetical USMNT 2018 World Cup roster.
  • 1:09:45 Short Corners: Davies to Bayern and Acosta to Colorado
Jul 27, 2018
Episode 21: U20-palooza! An encyclopedic look at the player pool as U20 World Cup qualifying looms

Joey Anthone (aka @USAProspects) joined the pod to comb through the U-20 player pool and we didn’t stop. Who will be available for November qualifying? We projected that. What are the biggest challenges for Tab Ramos? We explained them. What are the areas of strength in the pool? We pointed them out. Who will be the 6? Who will be the 9? Who will be the centerbacks? Check, check, check. And then we each gave a 20-man roster and answered several listener questions. Carve out time over multiple days because you won’t be able to handle this in one sitting.

  • 0:30 Intro
  • 8:25 Who will be available for U-20 World Cup qualifying? (Adams, Sargent, Weah. Amon — no; Taitague, Soto, McKenzie, Carleton, Durkin — it’s complicated; Ledezma, Mendez, Llanez, Booth — probably)
  • 58:20 Who will be the No. 6 if DC United makes a run and gets into the playoffs with Durkin at the 6?
  • 1:09:30 Who will be Mark McKenzie’s centerback partner?
  • 1:21:40 Who will be the striker?
  • 1:31:25 Areas of strength in the pool: fullbacks and wingers
  • 1:52:30 How many guys will play up an age group?
  • 1:59:25 Efra Alvarez discussion
  • 2:13:10 Belz and Anthone give their ideal/realistic rosters for November qualifying
  • 2:28:00 listener questions (lots of good ones and lots of good answers from Joey)

Get in touch with us. We'd love to hear from you and our email is

Jul 18, 2018
Episode 20: Chris Durkin joins the pod, Jesse Marsch to Leipzig, and Yanks on the move

18-year-old DC United holding midfielder talks through how he thinks about his job on the pitch, his development as a player, and his assessment of the USMNT's World Cup qualifying failure, among other things. Greg and I get into Jesse Marsh's move and the large number of American players on the move in Europe.

  • 1:00 Chris Durkin interview
  • 38:40 the World Cup
  • 47:10 Marsch to RB Leipzig
  • 52:05 rundown of Yanks on the move in Europe
Jul 11, 2018
Episode 19: (Scuffed Lite) Concacaf's time in Russia comes to an end

A vacation-truncated mini-episode acknowledging the end of Concacaf's time in Russia

  • 0:30 Mexico loses to Brazil, etc.
  • 11:30 general Concacaf, World Cup thoughts
  • 18:40 Short Corners: Trusty and McKenzie have a rough night, the Los Dos kids light it up again, Josh Sargent is the first to show up for Werder Bremen preseason and that seals it. He's the best striker in American history.
Jul 05, 2018
Episode 18: Savior by committee for the USMNT (a shameless depth chart dweeb-out)

U.S. men’s soccer doesn’t need a savior. It needs savior by committee. We take the metaphor to within an inch of its life and run down the USMNT depth chart as we go. Later in the episode we talk briefly about Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama at the World Cup.

  • 0:30 savior by committee for U.S. men’s soccer
  • 4:10 the party elders — including two likely starters in 2022 and a bunch of question marks
  • 18:30 the executive committee — the young core for the next cycle
  • 25:00 voting members — the key supporting cast and candidates for the executive committee
  • 35:45 non-voting members — they’re around, they have a shot to be promoted, but they’re fringe for now
  • 41:00 leadership track interns — the most promising teenagers in the pool
  • 55:15 Concacaf at the World Cup
Jun 27, 2018
Episode 17: Mexico’s singular Concacaf triumph, and USYNT striker Sebastian Soto joins the pod
  • 0:30 rooting for Mexico, Landon Donovan’s Wells Fargo ad, the effect on dual-nationals of Mexican success and of course the historic win over Germany
  • 25:40 Costa Rica likely eliminated after their first game, Panama too
  • 33:10 Short Corners: progress for Andrew Carleton, a first USL start for Ethan Bryant, and whether we’ll see a wave of U.S. prospects moving this summer
  • 39:45 Interview with Sebastian Soto
Jun 19, 2018
Episode 16: Herc Gomez joins to talk El Tri in Russia, then a general Concacaf preview

Former USMNT striker and ESPN analyst Herc Gomez gets on the phone to discuss El Tri ahead of Sunday's showdown with Germany, then Greg and I talk Mexico, make quick work of Costa Rica and Panama and take a few short corners.

  • 1:30 Herc with a brisk, bright preview of Mexico and its challenges ahead of group play
  • 27:09 Tchaikovsky
  • 28:35 Belz and Velasquez go on a Concacaf ramble
  • 52:25 Short Corners: World Cup bid victory, Bruce Arena boycott, Spain fires their manager, Uly Llanez and Jaylin Lindsey
Jun 14, 2018
Episode 15: France 1, USA 1, and a happy ending (hopefully) for the Sarachan era

Has American fight been restored? Greg thinks that's "garbage narrative stuff." Did Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie play well? Hmm, not really. But the kids got a result in France, there werestandout performances and we broke it all down.

  • 0:30 opening thoughts and a correction
  • 3:30 the game action and some of the major events
  • 24:30 what we've learned about the player pool
Jun 12, 2018
Episode 14: Ireland 2, USA 1, and a look ahead to France

Playing in Dublin against an Irish squad made up of bottom-table Premier League and English Championship talent, the U.S fell 2-1 on a 90th minute game-winner from Brentford midfielder Alan Judge. It was a real test for a young American side, and yet our veteran fullbacks were the biggest problem on the field. Hmmm. We try to break it down player by player, and then look ahead to France.

  • 0:30 defense and midfield
  • 28:20 wingers, strikers, goalkeeper and the subs
  • 50:44 France on Saturday
  • 1:06:400 Short Corners: Richie Ledezma, the U-20s, Tab Ramos, Efra Alvarez, the Ringer article, old man Concacaf, etc.
Jun 06, 2018
Episode 13: USA 3, Bolivia 0, our late night reactions

Pulisic didn't show up and neither did Bolivia, but everyone else did. Debut goal for Sargent. Big night for Weah. Strong stuff from Robinson. McKennie was a man among boys.

  • 0:30 lineup, including Pulisic at the 10
  • 7:45 Bono, Robinson, Palmer-Brown, Zimmerman and Lichaj
  • 26:45 Corona, Rubin, Weah and Sargent
  • 49:00 the substitutes, and some kudos for Sarachan
May 29, 2018
Episode 12: How to get the most out of this Bolivia friendly

We try to rough out a lineup for the Memorial Day friendly in Pennsylvania, and then discuss Efrain Alvarez, Tyler Adams to RB Leipzig, Peter Vermes' contention that U.S. Soccer doesn't have a plan, and Chris Durkin's progress at holding midfielder.

  • 0:30 How we would like Sarachan to line up the boys, and how we think he will.
  • 28:45 Short Corners: Alvarez, Adams, Vermes, Durkin

That Peter Vermes interview with Soccer America:

May 23, 2018
Episode 11: Who should be called up for the three upcoming USMNT friendlies?

We go down the list, and give our locks, our hopefuls, and the somewhat longer list of those we are ambivalent about when it comes to call-ups for the friendlies with Bolivia, Ireland and France. We take it as an opportunity to give something of an update on 30 of the top players in the pool.

  • 1:50 Locks (including those who've reportedly been called up)
  • 22:50 Hopefuls
  • 40:55 Ambivalents
  • 59:00 Short Corners: JonGon doesn't get the Mexico call-up, Emerson Hyndman gets a PL start, ORLvATL is fire, and the Gold Cup opener is coming to the hometown of F. Scott Fitzgerald, my dudes: St. Paul, Minnesota.
May 18, 2018
Episode 10: Vamos Mexico (and Costa Rica)! Why we're rooting for Concacaf in the World Cup

With no USMNT to talk about in the World Cup, we're going to follow about Mexico and Costa Rica, because a better Concacaf is better for the U.S. in the long term. We explain ourselves and talk about the Mexican player pool, their chances of getting to the quarterfinals, and Costa Rica's chances of getting to the quarterfinals. Then we run down the latest on McKennie, Pulisic, Amon, Carleton, Llanez, Ledezma, Busio and others.

  • 0:30 The pragmatic case for rooting for El Tri and the Ticos
  • 11:30 Efra Alvarez is a totally nasty young player
  • 17:00 Mexico's chances, the players, and Costa Rica's group
  • 43:00 Short Corners: McKennie, Pulisic, Amon, Carleton, Llanez, Ledezma, Busio, Rooney to MLS, and the MLS salary release
May 11, 2018
Episode 9: Should the USMNT go heavy metal Klopp-style? And USL vs the European academy for American teenagers

Klopp's gegenpressing Liverpool is a game away from the biggest crown in club soccer, so naturally we discuss whether the USMNT should adopt a full-throttle pressing style. Then we get into the virtues and drawbacks of USL versus going to Europe and joining an academy, and round up some of the past weekend's action.

  • 0:30 gegenpressing and the USMNT (we're already doing some of it)
  • 29:30 Carleton, Llanez and whether they should play in USL or join a U19 side in Europe
  • 43:30 Yanks roundup (Amon, Hayes, Durkin, Pulisic, McKennie, Wood, Brooks, Johannsson)
May 04, 2018
Episode 8: Jacori Hayes joins the pod, a Michael Bradley forgiveness segment, and the sad end of Toronto's CCL run

FC Dallas midfielder Jacori Hayes, arguably the most in-form American midfielder in MLS, joins for a great conversation on his path to the pros, the value of his USL experience last year, why he always tucks his shirt in and what he needs to do to get better (he's focused on the attacking third). Then Greg and Belz take on the burning topic of the day: Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore, and whether they should be forgiven for what happened against Trinidad.

  • 0:20 Jacori Hayes interview
  • 25:00 Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore (spoiler: we don't think there is a better American No. 6 right now than Bradley, or a better striker than Altidore)
  • 49:30 Concacaf Champions League wrapup. Toronto falters on the threshold of glory. The reign of Liga MX continues.

Jacori Hayes v New England Revolution highlights:

Apr 27, 2018
Episode 7: An interview with Justen Glad, and then we get to the Revierderby and a *lengthy* discussion of Pulisic