The Football Hub
Published in

The Football Hub

Masked Wes Becomes a Warrior in the Cold as USA on Due Corse for Qatar with 3–0 Victory in St Paul #1385

Coldest Game In American History 2nd Coldest Game in Football History but Points Earned

On Wednesday night at Allianz field in St. Paul, Minnesota, we witnessed the United States take on Honduras in a crucial qualifier. The United States close in on World Cup qualification after missing the trip in 2018. This match was scheduled months ago; there was a general perception that it was likely to be a cold environment months before the match took place. Part of the reason behind scheduling the game in Minnesota, one of the chillier climates in the United States, was to minimize travel time; in addition to that, the environment would go very much in their favor. It became much more brutally cold than anyone truly anticipated. Several days before the match, we got a hint that it could be under disastrous weather conditions. They were never going to cancel the match, but it would be challenging for both teams to deal with. It wasn’t conditions that you feel they wouldn’t be able to handle when you think about Saint Paul, Minnesota; in February, you could predict the temperatures would be between 15 and 20 degrees. At Allianz Field, it was the second coldest game in football history. At kickoff, it was 5° with a wind chill as low as -14. It was brutally cold, but it didn’t affect the team’s play. The US national team, the environment was cold as you can imagine, but also loud fans sang and jumped together for all 90 minutes. I know this for a fact because I was there in attendance. From my experience, it was brutally cold. I dressed appropriately, but it still was freezing; you could feel the wind hitting your face; that’s why so many of us jumped and moved as much as possible. In my experience, it was still manageable, and everyone there had such a great time; my feet felt like they were frozen solid by the half-hour mark, but it didn’t make the experience any less enjoyable. Throughout the game, I kept thinking to myself, “ This is what football is all about! As cold and miserable as it was at times, the number of people that showed up and supported the national team was astounding; over 19,000 people were in attendance. On Sunday, I had gone to a Timberwolves game indoors at the Target Center. There were fewer people at Target Center to watch the Minnesota Timberwolves vs. the Utah Jazz than on Wednesday night in horrible wet weather conditions. It was a fantastic game. Honduras did have difficulty handling the environment. The US scored early on a set piece converted by Weston Mckennie, who had a man-of-the-match performance giving the United States a quick-fire 1–0 lead. Zimmerman gave them a second, converting a scramble Inside the Box. Late in the second half, Christian Pulisic came off the bench to score after Ricardo Pepi did most of the work with an incredibly accurate header along with Zimmerman that allowed the ball to go through before Christian pulisic scored a near the open goal. The United States Men’s National Team secured a 3–0 victory despite its conditions; they could thrive. There were players affected by it; the US goalkeeper Matt Turner kept pacing and running from each side of his box; when the United States had possession of Honduras, they were forced to make a couple of substitutions given that the players could not handle it situation. Everyone was given the proper heating tools to handle the occasion. There has been criticism being extinguished in the United States for allowing this game to go on schedule. I was in the stands for all 90 minutes, not to mention I walked 15 minutes to the train and 10 minutes into the Stadium. As cold and as miserable as it was, I would do it again. This is coming from somebody that was at the game standing for all 90 minutes. The players were running, and even though it was difficult for them, they could handle it, and they got a significant victory. It was a tough environment for Honduras to deal with, and I understand their complaints, but it isn’t valid at the end of the day. The United States Men’s National Team gets to choose their venues if approved; the games have to continue as scheduled. Football is a game in which there is a lot of movement, and it was difficult for both teams to handle this, but they have the opportunity to move. There have been NFL games that have been in negative temperatures much colder than one last night; all this complaining, all this criticism is just a weak mentality. I might not have been playing the game, but I was in the crowd; there’s no doubt I would do it again; everyone was given the materials to keep warm, and even though it was a little outside the comfort zone, the criticism and the whining and complaining needs to stop everyone in my section were cold. Still, they were not uncomfortable and miserable; the players on the pitch were much warmer than we were. I would do that. It was the second coldest game in football history, and I was so grateful and happy to be a part of it.

Weston Mckinnie was Up for Everything: USA Focus Must Be #8 Not#10

Weston mckennie was simply utterly spectacular on Wednesday night in the Frigid cold. The box-to-box midfielder is the most vital component of this United States national team. He is the one that the United States should be looking to in crucial situations in qualifying the rest of the way and the World Cup in November. Weston Mckennie is one of the few midfielders this season for Juventus that has given them confidence in that area. His performance against Roma was unbelievable. Being heavily involved in Juventus turning the tides in 7 minutes, it pains me to bring it up, but the American has been a player that has come up big with club and country regularly. A lot of the fans and the team, to a certain extent, look to the number 10 Christian Pulisic to dig them out. This is misguided, and inaccurate Christian pulisic is the most popular player on the u.s. he’s not the best or the most important. Weston Mckennie answers both of those questions, and he proved it last night. It still blows my mind that those out there legitimately believe that Christian pulisic is their best player. It’s nothing against Christian pulisic per se; it’s more of the fact that a large part of the US Men’s National Team doesn’t realize what they have, Weston Mckennie. Christian Pulisic was playing with Chelsea getting incredible media attention, but honestly, he hasn’t deserved it; meanwhile, Weston mckennie has been the glue and the most important piece. Against Mexico in both of the recent victories was the biggest difference-maker Christian pulisic scored that late penalty against Mexico and scored in the most recent of games as well against them; that amazing moment with that penalty was fantastic for the United States as they continue to get the better of their Rivals however in that game Christian pulisic was selfish an abysmal he scores the penalty he gets all the plaudits meanwhile Weston Mckennie the reason the United States win games whether he gets on the scoresheet or not is irrelevant the way he has total control the Midfield makes the USA tough team to play when they’re at their best. The U.S. is at its best when Weston mckennie is the primary decision-maker for the United States. Wednesday night was a performance of world-class proportions; if there’s any discussion for who the best player on this team is after Wednesday night, don’t talk to me. It wasn’t just the fact that Weston Mckennie is such an important crucial piece of his Midfield, and he played so well under the circumstances. That was the best individual performance of any player in qualifying for the United States. He was cold as ever, but it didn’t affect his play as he was as energized and as hungry as I have seen him. The masked Weston Mckennie was beyond brilliant in the cold at Allianz field. Scored a brilliant header early in the game, finding himself in the right position to secure an early lead. He went after every loose ball anytime they lost possession; he was the first guy there to try to retain it. Every 50–50 ball that there was, he sacrificed himself and his body to handle everything. Not to mention he was an utter control in the Midfield. His movement, dribbling, execution in dangerous areas, constantly setting up teammates, and keeping things rolling for the United States through the Midfield is where this game was won and lost. Weston mckennie was just on another level than everyone else the young midfielder usually is, but it was so obvious in this case. Then something occurred to me: the United States as a whole, while they do have some issues with decision-making, the team collectively plays better when Christian pulisic is operating as a super-sub and is on the bench. It was a passing Frenzy in the Midfield incredible team chemistry and ball fluidity, the complete opposite of their performance against Canada. Everything started with Weston Mckennie; the entire performance was run through the Midfield both in the attacking and defensive constellations Weston Mckinnie in person was unbelievable; his performance against Honduras was almost so good was hard to believe it was happening. Christian pulisic came off the bench, and It went the other way even though he did score a goal largely because of Ricardo Pepi’s brilliant header, but when Christian Pulisic came on the pitch, they forced it to him frequently. After scoring his goal, he had several incredibly selfish moments in the United States, no longer playing like a team. They all of a sudden started feeding the ball to him unnecessarily. Christian Pulisic is incredibly valuable considering his athleticism, but his biggest value is coming off the bench and being aggressive immediately. Christian Pulisic is a fantastic player, but we cannot keep doing this; we cannot keep putting him on a pedestal when he is not the best player or the most important he has an important value, of course, but as a Super Sub, it may be the perfect solution to qualifying for the World Cup. I don’t mean to be so harsh, but if this team really is going to qualify for the World Cup, they have to look for number eight, not number 10.

Christan Pulisic Should Come off the Bench vs Mexico; Play Through #8

To build on that a little bit, I think the United States will have to do something that might upset fans but certainly something they must do if they’re going to get a significant result against Mexico. Christian pulisic should not start the game. In his last two games against Mexico, even though he had scored, he has not been at his best, and to a certain extent, he has hindered the team because of the way they feed and the ball. The United States does have a star player, but it’s not Christian pulisic; as I said before, it’s Weston mckennie. To give themselves the best chance to perform against Mexico, which is going to be a hugely important and challenging game, they will be at Aztec Stadium in Mexico City where the Mexico fans are crazy to go wild and have a colossal environment a very well put together stayed in, and the fans make it a fortress. The United States needs to be very careful Christian pulisic coming off the bench could be a secret weapon; bringing him on in a vital sequence can make all the difference in the game; however, starting him from the start is not the answer. The team plays better when Weston Mckinnie is the decision-maker; the United States forces the ball to Christian far too much; when he’s on the pitch, it can be quite damaged, and against Mexico, I don’t think they can afford to make that type of Gamble. Start Tyler Adams and Weston mckennie in the Midfield side by side; both of them are box-to-box that can control and handle the environment. With those two side-by-side, the United States will be able to have control the Midfield, and when you control the Midfield, your chances of winning the game increase exponentially. Giovanni Reyna, probably the most talented player on this team, is out with injury; however, there is the possibility that he could come back before the Mexico game. If the u.s. is holding on to a tight lead and needs some weapons From the Bench and you bring on Christian pulisic and Giovanni Reyna, they can help the United States close out the game. You play the front three with Timothy Weah, Ricardo Pepi, and Brandon Aaronson; this formula gives you the best chance to win. While I may not be super high on Christian pulisic for various reasons, him as a Super Sub is deadly. Weston, as the primary decision-maker, allow him and Tyler Adams to control the game get a goal from the attack because with these two studs in the Midfield, they’ll create chances and keep things compact they’ll need some athleticism and some firepower from the bench to kill it off Christian Pulisic when given service in front of goal can find enough space to sting one in the back of the net Christian pulisic off the bench could be their secret weapon. Still, if the United States wants to win the game, he should start from the bench. Christian pulisic can come into the game at a crucial moment and kill it to ensure the points. It’s a big rivalry game; getting something is essential, mainly because both teams have the same qualifying points. If the United States is able to beat Mexico, they will only have Panama, and Costa Rica left on the schedule. They should handle Panama without too much difficulty, although respectfully, Panama is trying to fight for the World Cup in their own right and have some good players; however, this comes across, and whatever it takes, you simply cannot allow qualifying for the World Cup to come down to against Costa Rica at the Sapristi Stadium. If they handle themselves and follow through with the formula of dictation in the Midfield and then bring on the weapons off the bench, they should beat Mexico and Panama, but whatever they do, they cannot allow this to come down to Costa Rica. Costa Rica has perhaps the most challenging atmosphere in CONCACAF; it is not may expensive or luxurious Stadium when the US play Costa Rica; the fans get to the Stadium 3 to 4 hours early and repeatedly jump so when the United States players are changing in their locker room it feels like an earthquake when they go out on the field it is an atmosphere that the United States has never done well in. Beat Mexico and handle Panama if the United States is going to do this, decision-making must be improved and use Christian pulisic as a weapon from the bench and allow Weston mckennie and Tyler Adams to control the game before they kill it then go beat Panama; we cannot have this qualifying group determined by Costa Rica the United States does not want that smoke. Incredible victory in the bitter cold, a very tough atmosphere they should toughen them up for the rest of the way.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store