you welcome in What is this USMNT guy’s deal?a regular series in which the Defector picks a name from the countless hot young American soccer players who play in Europe and answers the question: What’s this guy’s USMNT deal with?
Since this series has been detailed for one year, USMNT is full of great young players who can do things on the ball, use their brains, and play modern football at a very high level. This is awesome and unprecedented on this scale, and all fans should love it. But, as this series also pointed out last weekInternational success is often determined by something blunt: Do you have enough Little Fuckers? Do you have men who enjoy annoying their opponents? The USMNT has many, including many of these nice guys mentioned in the first sentence, and none of them are as accomplished in the field as Paul Arriola.
Paul Areola plays on the USMNT FC Dallas feed team along with several of his international teammates and several players who will be competing for places in the upcoming World Cup. He arrived at the club in January shortly after a transfer saga, which seemed to end with Areola returning to Liga MX with a big cash deal from Club América. Unlike most other members of the Gregg Berhalter MLS Goon Squad, though, Arriola has a great deal of experience outside the nursery-like confines of MLS: He started his football career with Tijuana alongside several other American players before moving to DC United in year 2017.
Arriola has been a part of the national team system since he was 15, and has earned the trust of many USMNT coaches. He made his debut under Jürgen Klinsmann, even starting the infamous 2-1 loss to Trinidad and Tobago under Bruce Arena, and scoring the first goal of the Greg Berhalter era. Perhaps sensing the direction of that last era, Areola first tried his luck in Europe in January of 2021, joining Championship team Swansea on loan alongside USMNT teammate Jordan Morris. Like Morris, Areola suffered an early injury and played in just three games for the Swans before making a comeback across the Atlantic.
The Weston McKennie Mamma Mia Test suggests the following foolproof inference to determine whether an American player is good or not according to our rosy American standards: Do fans gently tweet about them in their local language?
Areola is a winger player. The American wing teams are as deep as any wing on the roster – it’s going to be really hard to get Pulisic, Brendan Aaronson and Gio Reina on the field as much as possible – so thankfully Areola won’t start in Qatar unless something horribly wrong goes wrong – unfair – unjust. Berhalter is as loyal to Areola as any player on the team, however, which means he is likely to see a few minutes into the World Cup despite plenty of useful arguments in football against such a result.
As hinted above, Arriola’s most useful skill is being a pest. It’s not exactly a great pressure adjuster, but it’s remarkably stiff. Whenever he plays for the USA national team, he runs fast and makes things difficult to oppose the fullbacks. He works really hard on and off the ball, and he’s running full speed the whole time with a facial expression. This is not a thing, and sometimes a thing; He has a solid record of scoring goals for both club and country, and he has scored most of these goals Being in the right place right on time. Arriola is 5 feet 6 feet tall, although he plays with the physical body of a man several inches taller. He is never afraid of getting into someone’s chest and he is Does not like to miss No chance to challenge the ball.
Unfortunately, football is more than just running. Arriola is a decent MLS-level technician, although he’s an obvious step down from most of his USMNT teammates. He’s not much of a passer, is prone to losing the ball under the slightest pressure, and doesn’t make quick enough or good enough decisions in attack to secure a start against any of the players in Europe. His speed sometimes helps him dribble defenders, and he tends to waste space afterwards with a faulty touch or a bad pass. Theoretically his best use is as a late substitute, when his legs are relatively more useful against tired players.
The Wonderteen Index is a comprehensive, objective measure that analyzes a player’s full range of skills and talents, summarizing them all into a single number that corresponds to their ultimate potential and probability of being named Wonderteen.
Although he has Outstanding taste for silly thingsAreola is 27 years old and has played three matches in Europe. earn a 1 of 7.
Arriola was once one of the most interesting young players in the American youth setup when he was with Tijuana, and while it became clear there that he belonged at a decent high level and could be useful for the first team, his trajectory of technical development also stalled and made it clear that he would never appear. As a star for the first team. I don’t want to be overly negative about Areola, because he really has become one of the best strikers in MLS, although this series is not about MLS, it’s about the players at the level of the Champions League that Areola is competing with. In this context, show exactly how useful it can be (not so much).
The European American wire is totally ridiculous with its right back, Enough to store a full eleven. It is therefore important to determine whether or not a USMNT worker of the week can play the position.
Arriola plays on the right side of the field: Check. Arriola is good at running and fighting people: Check. Arriola has played four MLS games at right-back: Excellent examination.
Like I said, Berhalter loves this guy. Arriola, Christian Roldan, Sebastian Lletget, Kellyn Acosta and Aaron Long make up a group of mid-career MLS players who are less skilled but more experienced than the young team players in Europe, and thus these MLS players seem to have an excessive amount of confidence in their coach in the moments the big one. (Walker Zimmerman doesn’t count here because he’s really good.) That doesn’t mean that none of these guys are ever useful and have no place on the team. It would be a sin to overstate abundance to roll up to the World Cup with none other than 22-year-olds. But the United States played their best when there were as few of these players on the field as possible, and they all have the same level of World Cup experience as Jill Aaronson. Arriola could produce a real US moment as a late substitute; One hopes it will be his only role in Qatar.
I don’t think he’ll start, because Reina, Aaronson, Pulisic, Tim Weah and Malik Tillman are better than him. Now that I’ve written it, he’s guaranteed to start losing the US in the Round of 16 to the Dutch!