It’s Friday! And the start of another long weekend to boot. I’ve got plenty of rumors and news for us to talk about, so let’s get started.

Gregg Berhalter set to return as USMNT coach: sources (The Athletic)
After a long search and much speculation, U.S. Soccer has apparently chosen their old coach to be their new coach.

Sources: Alessia Russo could snub Arsenal, move to NWSL (ESPN)
To start off, we have some unnamed sources who say England WNT and Manchester United player Alessio Russo is considering a move to Washington Spirit. This would be a pretty big deal. San Diego Wave coach Casey Stoney insists Russo wouldn’t come to the NWSL without telling her first, however.

Ryan also got an update on those Nottingham Forest to D.C. United rumors he shared yesterday:

Christian Pulisic shines in USMNT’s 3-0 domination over Mexico, advance to Concacaf Nations League Final (Stars and Stripes FC)
This game, which ended in a 3-0 win for the USMNT, was wild. Four red cards mean the US will have to play without Weston McKennie and Sergiño Dest in the finals against Canada on Sunday.

Angel City fires coach Freya Coombe after 11th-place start to season (The Athletic)
Feels like the Spirit are at least partly to blame for this, having handed Angel City two of their six losses.

Messi celebrates Inter Miami move by scoring fastest goal of career (Pro Soccer Wire)
Important to note he didn’t score it for Inter Miami, though.

Loudoun United FC vs. Miami FCSat., June 17 at 7 p.m. ETFIU StadiumESPN+
D.C. United vs. Real Salt LakeSat., June 17 at 7:30 p.m. ETAudi FieldApple TV
Washington Spirit vs KC CurrentSun., June 18 at 7 p.m. ETChildren’s Mercy ParkParamount+, NBC Sports Washington
Old Glory DC vs. Rugby ATLSat., June 17 at at 7 p.m. ETSegra FieldTRN, MASN

Have a good weekend, everyone! I will be watching soccer and playing some Topgolf.

ByAnnie Elliott

Mostly writing about the Washington Spirit

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David Rusk

Annie, you’ve earned forgiveness many times over with your excellent match coverage and timeliness. I only wish that more of the Commentariat were tuning in to your Spirit coverage.


I completely agree. You and the rest of the DP team have just been fantastic about regular EARLY content.

Bryan McEachern

Annie, you and staff rock. You even beat me while I was in Scotland (team reunion 20 years) for breakfast freedom kicks….well done team!

1) I love kicking Mexico’s butt and watching them lose all form of composure, even while I was jet lagged on Greenwich time. 3-0 beat down. Hell yeah!

2) Scotland is beautiful and the people are even better. My reunion was a total blast! I’ll spare the Commentariat gaudy details, but the quick version: inter-squad game, followed by bar merriment, followed by needed showers, followed by change to kilt suits, followed by open top bus tour through Stirling and suburbs with trophies hoisted (The crowds responded! Hilarious!), followed by dinner at Cowane House next to Stirling Castle (Mark Hateley was our keynote speaker, great guy), followed by fully bar stocked (delayed for our conflict dinner) of Man City vs Inter. Crashed to bed. Crashed. Totally.

3) I toured Tynecastle (Hearts of Midlothian, Edinburgh). Museum, stadium (20,000 seats, like us), executive dining, all first rate. Never cloying, always welcoming, always made you feel important, always treasured the history of the club and the future for the supporters and community. DC United could learn a thing or two. I’d be happy to discuss with brass as to what could be better. We are decent, but a bit of polish would make us a destination.

Glad to be back, and see you Saturday (uh like tomorrow, after Scotland vs Norway on FS1)!

Talonesque #

I’m so confused by the decision to go back to Berhalter after this whole process.

The list of cons was there, especially for Gio Reyna and a lesser extent Ricardo Pepi. He’s also allergic to the USMNT attacking with speed into open spaces, so I guess we’re going to go back on possession forever dialysis against teams that will know how to handle us. After showing what this team is capable of with more of an attack minded emphasis against Mexico, this feels shitty.

This will satisfy no one, including those who have a hard time forgiving domestic violence at any point (I personally think it’s possible to move on from something you worked to eradicate from your system when you were 18, but I understand those who don’t want to forgive the transgression).

Why did we wait this freaking long, just to order the usual off the menu? I’ll never get this as a process.

Bryan McEachern

He’s a good choice. Not necessarily the greatest. Waiting so long? Let the smoke blow on, and may the Renyas stay away.

Talonesque #

It we’re just talking tactically, he’s the polar opposite of what this team needs. Wants them to build up slowly and not trust their instincts. He wasn’t even a particularly dominant MLS coach. Compared to what we saw last night, I’m likely going to roll my eyes when we slow down and do his stupid system.

Bryan McEachern

Hopefully, he will grow into that posture.


Well, I hope not all Reynas stay away because Gio is important to that team. Honestly, the federation should have started fresh of all the drama. Berhalter is just not someone that I think will take the program a step further which I think is a miss opportunity taking into the account the young talent available. Same could be said for England and their coach to be honest.

Bryan McEachern

Certainly we’d want Gio around.

Talonesque #

Anyway, worth lauding BJ Callahan and the USMNT players for one of the best performances I’ve seen… before the ref lost control completely and started prescribing reds to anyone who retaliated against real red card transgressions.

When I saw the lineup, I was like, shit, that’s top heavy, and didn’t like the idea of both Musah and McKennie covering for that front four.

People, it worked like a charm, and though Pulisic’s ruthless and unquestionably thirsty performance is worth celebrating, I’m gonna talk about Musah, Reyna, and Weah. They were fluid, they were mesmerizing, Musah was picking the ball off the backline and then finding spaces to drive into, Reyna was doing the same at times, Weah was roasting down the wing, and you often didn’t know where they were going to be. McKennie gets the iconic moment of the ripped shirt, but aside from a chef’s kiss secondary assist to Weah who found Pulisic, he was pretty static compared to the others. Balogun might not have scored, but I liked the touches- and so did Dest, who seemed far more comfortable interacting with technical players, and showed a lot more grit to boot.

As poorly as Mexico showed even in their play on the field, the US were Ole worthy for sure. And now we get Berhalter back to put the lid back on. Sigh.

Bryan McEachern

Wasn’t it fun? Let’s hope Greg can push it up a notch. The team is “older” and I think the hunger is real.

Talonesque #

Gregg: Wow, you all really got in behind and attacked with speed and precision. And I hate all of it.


Best game I can remember from the US in many years. Including the World Cup games and qualifiers and including the Confederations Cup and Gold Cup double in 2021.

The way we treated Mexico (we schooled them!) reminded me of how the Dutch played us (and schooled us) in the Round of 16 in Qatar. LOVED the Dos a Cero goal that was scored right after halftime. Some short passing around the back (Yikes! why are we passing to Matt Turner) led to an excellent attack down the right flank and a relatively simple but deadly cross from Weah to Pulisic’s far post run. Each pass in the sequence seemed more dangerous to Mexico until the final short range shot. Not identical, but the sequence reminded me of how the Dutch schooled us with their first and second goals against us in Qatar.

In spite of Mexico’s angry meltdown – and how it will cost us Dest and McKennie in Sunday’s final – I think there are huge positives to take from the game.

Full credit to BJ Callaghan. I think Berhalter deserves some credit too since many of these players learned to play together under his coaching. Now, if he can just get the USMNT to attack more when we get possession, we can be a very good team that is also entertaining to watch.

Talonesque #

I’m just really perplexed by anyone who thinks we could get more out of Berhalter than we did before, now that we have evidence of what this team looks like when it balls out- which we never did in four years with him. We’re going to get his system again.

Talonesque #

Anyway, as far as Mexico is concerned, the players engaged in and incited violence and tried to get everyone sent off by retaliation, their fans were appalling homophobes when the chips were down, and the whole display showed why a three goal loss was just what they deserved for their behavior. It’s a shame FIFA has the moral standing of a Dons Jon that is also mob bank, cuz someone needs to hold them accountable.

Last edited 5 months ago by Talonesque #
Bryan McEachern

Agreed. They were utterly classless and appalling.

Talonesque #

I think he wanted to be part of the night, in a way you never want that ref to be.

Ryan Hunt

I’m not a huge fan of Berhalter returning, but I think the US could have done worse and I’m glad the wait is over at least in time for the Gold Cup. We need competitive games under the head coach and this will give us some.

I think that the main things Berhalter needs to work on are:

– adding a Plan B for when MMA aren’t available (as nice as it would be to just plug someone else into their roles, the US doesn’t have anyone anywhere close to them right now). Gio moving back into midfield makes us a little less solid defensively, but it’s worth it.

– improving our ability to attack in transition. We should have never came close to tying Wales if the transition movements/passes had been quicker/sharper and beating them would have freed some of the pressure for the third group game.

– This ties into my first point, better player evaluation and selection. He’s got it mostly right, but Wright over one of Pepi/Arriola still bugs me a bit and he desperately needs to figure out the CM depth chart because it falls off a cliff after MMA right now. I think introducing a 4-2-3-1 and 3-4-3 as options would help in terms of being able to rotate the squad better.


I agree strongly with much of what you posted.

  1. I’m not a huge fan of Berhalter but also not a huge detractor. He actually was a very good MLS coach. And foreign coaches who came to MLS were like “woah–someone who is actually tactically sophisticated.” And I think he out-coached Benny and frustrated Rooney and Acosta when we got bounced in the playoffs in that magical year with the Buzzard Beater.
  2. I do think Berhalter can adapt. Particularly when the team shows “okay, we’ve mastered and buy-in to the possession game.” What the US looked like in Qatar was totally different from what Berhalter initially tried to do initially (remember the Adams as right-back idea?).
  3. I think given some of the talent coming in requires some serious work on other formations. Not just to “have options.” But for instance, if Acosta gets citizenship in time for 2026–sweet mother of God! If Balo ends up being the player he could be (not right now, I mean what he could potentially be 2 years from now and integrated in to the team). We absolutely need to learn to play quicker simply because that will sometimes be the best option. Your point about the Wales match is spot on–they were a savvy, veteran team that sought to delay transitions at every moment.
  4. I’m not as bummed about the personnel decisions (like Wright). The reality is this: we had no/zero #9 talent that was proven at that level. Everyone had a lot of question marks. Pepi was coming off of 1.5 years of no performance and it’s not like the Dutch league is the Premiership. As much as you go “Ferreira is no international class forward” the team had played a lot of games with him and he’d played well in Concacaf. Wright had youth experience and had height/an aerial game that Sargent and Ferreira didn’t have. But every single #9 candidate (including Pepi, Woods, Vazquez, Pekoe, and others) had big question marks.
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