You Say Benny, We Say Benny, We All Say Benny

BF: About to get Neo on El Salvador

BF: Ready to go Neo on El Salvador

The numbers are in. And they don’t lie.

We’ve now closed our poll on the right sidebar entitled: “Who should Bob Bradley sub into the midfield for the El Salvador game?”

Your choices? Individual players and combinations of players, including Benny Feilhaber, Jose Francisco Torres and Stu Holden.

And the answer is emphatically Benny Feilhaber. Our TSG mancrush continues. (Stay tuned for our final salvo post next week to get Feilhaber into the starting line-up against the Cuscatlecos…’ll love it, TSG promises….and let’s just tease it by saying TSG did a little road trip to make it happen.)

Back to the data.

First, only 2% of you want Coach Bob and the US to keep the same line-up as Mexico. That’s a pretty resounding number.

The most selected answer that won the plurality was “Benny and Stu” with 35% of the vote.

Nearly 70% of you want Benny Feilhaber starting in some capacity, either just himself or with a combination of Stu, Jose or all three. That’s another resounding number.

Amazingly, 54% of you want the Iceman Stu Holden starting in some manner. That was probably the most surprising data that came back. TSG loves Stu (check out our interview the Dynamo star if you haven’t seen it yet), but, as my brother pointed out yesterday, he’s probably going to inhabit the second half spark plug role that Feilhaber had if BF starts. Alas, Freddy, this was yours to lose at one point!

17% of you wanted Jose Francisco Torres to start by his lonesome or 32% in some combination of he and Benny and Stu. So not as loud a cry as for the others, but still bears merit.

And finally, some write-in for Kyle Beckerman. It would be great to reward the classy captain in his home stadium. That’s for sure.

No doubletake: This in fact proof that Jose Francisco Torres has been on the pitch for the Yanks.

Don't rub your eyes. This is in fact proof that Jose Francisco Torres has been on the pitch for the Yanks.

What does TSG see happening here? Hmmm, again we’ll have more in next week’s preview, but at this point we’ll go out on a limb with two possibilities: Benny as the lone replacement, with Rico going to the bench or less likely, but possible: Benny and….Torres.

Let’s add a major disclaimer here though right now. It’s highly, highly unlikely that Bradley makes more than a single switch in the midfield. Experience tells us that. It’s probably nearly non-existent to make two switches in the midfield if you are introducing a new starter in back four–which will likely be Marshall. But then again, we beat Spain and Beckham is loathed in the US, so stranger things have happened.

Why the Benny-Torres combination as likely for September 5th? You’ve got Holden who you probably want to season through a reliever role like we commented above.

Continually, Holden has clearly shown he belongs with his Gold Cup and Mexico relief resume. He doesn’t need anymore review — the question for him now is, what role to develop him into. So Holden sits.

And then you’ve got the Torres situation again. At some point, if Bob Bradley’s going to bring him to these games, he has to play him. At this point it’s borderline rude if the guy continues traveling. You have Clint Dempsey with a slight knock before yesterday’s Fulham game and his recent national team play, so you have an excuse to “rest” him so to speak.

Further, USMNT goes T&T just 4 days later on location in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago which will arguably be a more difficult match (especially if Kenwyne Jones is on his game) and you have have the argument for a fresher Dempsey.

Do we think it’s Benny-Torres-El Salvador? Probably not, but there’s some justifiable logic.

More next week and thanks for voting in our polls. It’s really helpful to corroborate or refute some of our hair-brained and not-so-hair-brained theories.

7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Berg on 2009/08/28 at 9:39 PM

    I like your points here. I would love to see Feilhaber get the nod alongside Bradley. Looking down the line though, and maybe I’m worrying to much about the hypothetical here, but I think in the end Bob will start 2 defensive mids at WC 2010.

    If and when Jones comes back, I believe he will prove too talented to keep out of the lineup. And I’m not calling Bob a nepotist here per se, but I just can’t see him pulling Michael out of the starting line up to insert a more attacking option. Again, I think Michael Bradley is a great young midfielder and that he definitely gets time based on his merit not his last name but I just don’t see a replacement happening. Feilhaber, regardless of how he performs in the next year will probably revert back to his spark plug off the bench role in South Africa.


  2. Posted by matthewsf on 2009/08/28 at 11:01 PM

    A few pieces of feedback here.

    I think Benny’s got a shot at playing because Bob had him in that role up until 2007 with Bradley providing cover behind.

    With Clark’s challenges on offense it would be tough to play Clark over Bradley.

    That being said, the Mike Bradley show has taken some deserved critical reviews lately. His temper and discipline are highly questionable — not something you want in a central defender and his play against Mexico and going back to Spain was not especially strong.

    On the flip side, BF still needs some work on his defense.

    I can see BF making a run at a starting role in 2010 though.


  3. Posted by Berg on 2009/08/28 at 11:51 PM

    You know, I was just thinking the recklessness and discipline charge could be leveled at Bradley, Clark and Jones. That’s not a good thing.

    And I hope you’re right about BF. The two defensive mids is too much a “play not to lose” move. I say take on the risk of BF’s defense and let’s go forward and score some goals.


  4. Posted by Kevin on 2009/08/29 at 1:03 PM

    I agree more with Berg on this. I would like to see BF start in 2010, but after the Jones deal is done than he’ll probably go back to sitting on the bench. On the Torres note though I think he will get more playing time soon depending on how Dempsey does against El Salvador.


  5. Posted by matthewsf on 2009/08/29 at 1:07 PM

    Fair points for sure. Bradley, if he can keep improving his offensive game will always be a better defender. I’m going to continue to beat the drum on possession though. Who’s got it and who’s got in the midfield.

    Jones is a phenomenal defender and from what I’ve seen great at coming forward, but maitaining possesion – in the very little I’ve seen (a.nd would love outside opinion) I’m sure that’s his biggest strength.


    • Posted by Berg on 2009/08/29 at 2:14 PM

      AI may be misremembering things here, but didn’t Jones play up top early in his career? Perhaps that is why he looks good coming forward. To be honest I need to see Jones play even more than I have, it isn’t easy tracking down Schalke 04 games here in the States.


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