It’s like having the Get Out of Jail Free Card in Monopoly.
Nay, it’s stronger than that. It’s like having the 1st pick in the NBA or NFL draft. Nope, that player is not a given.
Ah, I got it. It’s like Peyton Manning or a vintage Kurt Warner went on waivers right before your Fantasy Football playoffs and there is no cost to picking them up.
What if the USMNT could add one player….any player from the international scene right before the World Cup. Who would they add? Who would you add if you were playing Bob Bradley?
TSG took a look. Here’s are five of our suggestions:
1. Fernando Torres
The skinny: How could we not name a striker here for the USMNT? In Fernando Torres, the USMNT would arguably have the best pure striker in the game today. The selection of Torres as our first superstar we would pick up on waivers doesn’t end on that statement.
The luxury of Torres is not only that he can get goals any number of ways, it’s that he can play in any formation up top. He can come up the pitch to receive the ball to drive to the whole. He can go balls-out and slam home a header or <salivating> he can run off Donovan…wow!
Torres needs less service than probably any other striker. I just heard the collective USMNT fan base exhale, “Hooray!”
In short, he can fit in with less than 150 days to World Cup glory in anyway Bob Bradley needs him. He fits the style of the USMNT team or he can help create the new one.
Fit rating: 100 out of 100 (um, what team can’t fit Torres in)
2. The big bad “Bison” – Mr. Michael Essien
The skinny: Those of you that read TSG religiously (“We’re watching you.”) know that Chelsea’s Makelele Plus, Michael Essien, is this writer’s favorite player. We tried oh-so-hard to put Essien number one on this list, but we could not ignore the El Nino effect.
The USMNT got a taste of Essien as Ghana shut down the States to advance in World Cup 2006. This time, he’s on the Yanks’ side.
With Essien in the middle, it hardly matters who he is paired with. Imagine Benny freelancing off Essien’s cover. Pairing Mike Bradley would work as well as MB could show his offensive wares up the pitch..
With Essien as destroyer, locking down on errant wingers and strikers and then turning the table to manage possession, the USMNT could afford to take more offensive chances, in turn putting more pressure on their group stage opponents.
Fit rating: 98 (Essien’s counterpart would need to learn real quickly how to be more offensive on the pitch without cluttering another offender’s space. Wait a second…what if the USMNT get Jermaine Jones as well. Two d-backs, still Benny up top, Donovan and Demps to the wings…and Jozy up top….problems solved.)
This clip doesn’t even represent his main skill set!
3: Cesc Fabregas
The skinny: A second Spaniard making the list. You bet. There is only one Cesc.
We think we aptly described Cesc after his goal against Villa in this year’s EPL campaign as follows “you can’t deny the talent of Fabregas who so often plays the role of Chris Paul, but could easily be a Kobe Bryant.” Were not fond of quoting ourselves, but we’re also very fond of the appropriate depiction of a player…and that is spot on.
Want more on Cesc. At the end of 2009, we came of the bench to lead Arsenal to victory over Tottenham as he streaked after an errant long pass.
Cesc has heart to go with his talent in the middle of the pitch and unlike most passing experts in the middle (Pirlo, Deco, etc), his striking chops are nearly parallel.
Fit rating: 96 (Just need to figure out who is covering in the back as either Rico or Bradley are going to the bench.)
4a and 4b: Maicon or Danny Alves
The skinny: Does it really matter? Both are weapons on the wingfulls. If we had to select one, we would most likely go with Maicon for his shear offensiveness. With Lando in tow, the USMNT could use Alves’ free-kicking ability, but it wouldn’t be imperative.
With Maicon in the fold suddenly at least one wingfull goes from a liability to a strength. Put Maicon on his natural right and you can slide Spector over to the left or into the middle. Or what about moving Donovan during the course of the game over Maicon with say, Robbie Findley, in front of them.
Still salivating over here.
Fit rating: 96 (Discount the fit a few for any tension on free kicks if Alves is the selection. For Maicon, all that is needed is quick developing good communication with DeMerit, Gooch or whomever is the center right defender….wait this column might be making me sad.)
5: Wayne Rooney
The skinny: Wayne-O on the USMNT. The USMNT has never been accused of playing the beautiful game…and frankly neither has the Manchester United superstar. Wayne-O’s got two traits that the USMNT wants–a never say die, win at all costs attitude and the willingness and steadfastness to track back and help out on defense (and you know the States need this).
Rooney is just a hair under Torres, because frankly pound for pound Torres is a better pure goal scorer. That’s the only area where Roone is discounted.
Fit rating: 95
We didn’t choose….
…Ronaldo: Too petulant. You can see it now. Even with a team of Danny, Boswinga and Deco around him, Portugal had to make hay at the end to qualify. You don’t expect that with one of the top 3 players in the world out there.
…Messi: Similar situation with dear Messi. While Argentina’s problems can be firmly affixed on the head of a foul-mouthed, snow-loving former superstar, Messi has issued more than one mia culpa in the press, begging off responsibility of carrying Argentina on his shoulders. He’s a dynamo with a ball, but hasn’t been able to lift a team yet that has the likes of Maxi, Tevez, Aimar, Higuain, Veron, Masherano. Oh wow….
Look we’re still taking Messi and Ronaldo if there on, you know, waivers…it’s just there are better teams players and fits up top.
…Drogba: Too similar to Jozy. Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! You say. We’re worried about offending Altidore’s ego or state of mind? No, not really. But having both on the pitch is redundant…we don’t need to weaken a starting position…again, there are better selections. Torres pairing Altidore might work better.
...Stevie Gerrard: We already gave a shout out to one of Bingland’s best and we’re in anti-Sminglish propaganda mode as we write this….sorry. That being said, Gerrard’s a great fit in the CAM role, but might not be the best fit for cover over the wingfull like a Rico or Mikey B.
Who we missing….? Lively debate on this one coming.