Cover image of The Scuffed Soccer Podcast | USMNT, Yanks Abroad, MLS, futbol in America

The Scuffed Soccer Podcast | USMNT, Yanks Abroad, MLS, futbol in America

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

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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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.

1hr 7mins

17 Nov 2019

Rank #1

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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 weekToday’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, www.humblenutbutter.com

1hr 11mins

6 Nov 2019

Rank #2

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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

1hr 22mins

17 Jan 2019

Rank #3

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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. 

1hr 1min

6 Dec 2019

Rank #4

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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.


13 Dec 2019

Rank #5

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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

1hr 51mins

8 Jan 2019

Rank #6

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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.)

1hr 4mins

16 Oct 2019

Rank #7

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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: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/soccer-101/id1473757537 Links to all the other ways to subscribe: https://www.totalsoccershow.com/soccer101 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: https://patreon.com/scuffed

2hr 15mins

31 Jul 2019

Rank #8

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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

1hr 45mins

18 Sep 2018

Rank #9

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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: https://www.totalsoccershow.com/ They're on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/TotalSoccerShow?lang=en 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: https://www.patreon.com/scuffed

1hr 4mins

27 May 2019

Rank #10

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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 takeawaysThe Earnie Stewart/Berhalter Brothers regime takes an L on this oneConcacaf 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.


4 Nov 2019

Rank #11

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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.

1hr 37mins

10 Jul 2019

Rank #12

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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: https://www.americansocceranalysis.com/home/2019/8/14/with-or-without-you-wowy-a-plus-minus-alternative-for-soccer

1hr 2mins

21 Aug 2019

Rank #13

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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 academies. 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

2hr 35mins

22 Aug 2018

Rank #14

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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?


3 Sep 2019

Rank #15

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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: https://www.espn.com/soccer/cuba-cub/story/3989260/amateur-club-fortuna-sc-gives-exiled-cuban-players-a-shot-at-glorysense-of-community


21 Nov 2019

Rank #16

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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 discussion23:00 - Interview with Oliver Wyss, general manager of Orange County SC 


1 Oct 2019

Rank #17

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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.

1hr 22mins

17 Jul 2019

Rank #18

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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

2hr 1min

24 Oct 2018

Rank #19

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Episode 3: The roster for the Paraguay friendly, starting XI ideas, and more good news from teenagers in MLS

We tend to the matter at hand, the friendly against Paraguay on Tuesday -- break down the roster and each give a starting XI. Then we jump into MLS, chat about the upcoming Concacaf Champions League semifinals, and spend a good deal of time talking about encouraging performances from teenagers in MLS. Three sections: 1:00 Paraguay roster breakdown, quibbles, caveats 16:55 We each pick a starting XI for the Paraguay friendly 40:05 Greg continues to bring up Ryan Adams, CCL, teenagers in MLS Links to highlights: Andrew Carleton versus Vancouver: https://twitter.com/zlebmada/status/975201022011469824 Paxton Pomykal versus Seattle: https://twitter.com/zlebmada/status/975589344265285632 Chris Durkin versus Houston: https://twitter.com/MattDoyle76/status/975099236923658241

1hr 7mins

21 Mar 2018

Rank #20