March Boarding: En Route to Redemption, RSA

Air Bradley One enroute to Redemption, South Africa

Oh wow…now we’re gunning for a 3rd installment of “Who’s Getting a Boarding Pass for South Africa?” And likely, our final one. Many of you are nodding your heads in affirmation.

Yes, we’re pressing our luck….much like we did when we recently asked the USSF if Bob Bradley had earned incentive compensation in fiscal 2009….didn’t go that well, we didn’t get an answer.

But that’s what we do….take it on the chin..and beat jokes to death until our readers head over to ESPN or something for a tutorial on using Brad Evans as the hub in the 4-5-1.

Here is the March installment as we’re beyond the delays created by that big old friendly up in Amsterdam. Who can stretch their legs? And who’s now waiting hopefully in the boarding area at Gate 2010.

If you haven’t read the first installment that’s here. Second one? Right here.

Go.

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FIRST CLASS

Do you believe that USSoccer.com, WorldSoccerShop and Nike don't sell Bob Bradley commemorative sweatpants?....Not even eBay?!

Bob Bradley: Blue sweatpants? Check. Red Sweatpants? Check. Um, blue sweatpants? Check. Navy sweatpants? Check.

“Hon….I’m ready…can you bring me and Junior to the airport?”

Tim Howard: It’s always, “Brad Friedel this…” “Brad Friedel that…” “Brad Friedel has a better contract…” “Brad Friedel has a shinier dome.” “Brad Friedel lives in a castle…oh no, whoops that was Kasey Keller.”

“I shut down Spain!”

“I shut down Spain!”

I invented the piano key neck tie…I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.

(Psst…Howard’s not the only one irked by all the Friedel media coverage)

Landon Donovan: Landon stows his carry-on above him and whips out a device that looks something like a cross between an iPhone and a Garvin GPS.

Mikey B: “What’s that? Is that a…a..gameboy?”

Donovan: “Nah, check it out…it’s a kickometer (kik-ŏm-m’ĭ-tər)….Beckham gave it to me.”

Mikey B: “What’s it used for?”

Landon shows his secret: The Kickometer

Landon: “Allows you to zero in your set pieces to precisely where you want them to go…how do you think I knocked ‘em onto Fellaini’s fro, Cahill’s noggin and Saha’s brillo every time.”

Rico: “Cool! Let me see it.”

Landon: “No, you’ll break it.”

Stu: “Can I see it?”

Landon: “Sure, no problem.”

Landon muttering under his breath, “Let Kljestan borrow it once, cost me $2000 to fix it.”

Michael Bradley: For the better or the worse, much of the US success in Cupville depends on Coach USA and Junior.

Jozy Altidore:

C'mon Google, get it straight...

(Editor’s note: It’s hard not to be thoroughly impressed with the composure of Altidore. This is a young man who in the last year has had to switch leagues and cultures, watch as his good friend and strike partner battled a life-threatening accident and experience his native land ravaged by natural disaster. I’m not sure I can put all of those three in perspective enough as a lay person or as a writer. Oh and in his spare time, he’s come of age as an impact player and is now indispensable to the USMNT. And we all know how old he is. If you haven’t given to Haiti relief…..)

Big Jeezy arrives and his entourage tries to board the plane with him. US Soccer coordinator Michael Kammarman barks them back…literally.

Jeezy is sporting a Jolazo t-shirt with 15 soccer ball stickers on the right sleeve, leading to this exchange:

Clint: “Hey Jeezy, what’s with the scratch-and-sniff soccer balls taped to your shirt?”

Jozy, “Funny, Deuce. Funny. What the heck is a Cottager anyway?”

Would be great if Altidore started putting stickers on his sleeve for good plays...

Clint: “No idea. Seriously, what’s with the soccer balls?”

Jozy: “Well I never went to college, but I always saw all those football guys at Ohio State and The U with the stickers for the touchdowns or interceptions or whatever on their helmets. So I decided I’m going to do that on my jerseys and shirts for goals, assists, and penalties drawn.”

Clint: “We should have Timmy add’em for each goal he’s given up…”

Timmy: “Whatever man….I’ve got the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue over here. That joke’s going to stick.”

Clint Dempsey:….is checking all the seat backs and attendant’s galleys for copies of Sports Illustrated.

Jay DeMerit: DeMerit shuffles in carrying a…a…King James Bible? Oh, no…oops, that’s just the Book on Wayne Rooney….

… increases energy and runs after the 65th minute, apply dead leg when tackling….

….hitches in from the left, when Ashley Cole overlaps…(don’t think I have to worry about that one..)

DeMerit calls to Lando, “Hey Lando, don’t have to take notes on “Chapter 11 – Interplay with Ashley Cole” now…thanks man.”

Landon, “He called me ‘Cakes…nobody calls me Cakes. By the way, who’s writing your story man….from man with a sack out of Wisconsin to the World Cup defender that shut down one of the top players in the world. Can’t wait for that.”

"The Foul"

Oguchi Onyewu: …reaches into his pocket…it’s a tattered photo of the moment (left). Ghana, 2006.

Gooch, out loud to no one, “I know you guys know it wasn’t a foul, but I’m going to make it up for it and then some this year. Mark my words.”

We believe you Gooch.

Carlos Bocanegra: Wants to let The Shin Guardian know that he’s playing nearly every game now, but some of our concerns are valid. Plus he also wants to know, “Who else does the USMNT have at leftback? Eddie Lewis?” Pipe down TSG.

Jonathan Spector: Specs, with a tough one Saturday against Bolton, is talking to USSF security, something about “Illunga…lead pipe….last guy usually in the lockeroom….but remember whatever you do, don’t hurt Robert Green, the US team needs him.”

Oh, no, I don’t like where this is heading…

Specs and Rico have flip-flopped boarding passes since February.

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BUSINESS CLASS

"CAM, please?"

Stu Holden‘s arms are tired….from diligently and copiously collecting apples for Owen Coyle’s desk….(on crutches, 03/03)

TSG would like to take this opportunity to apologize to Stu for not being there for his shin in the Netherlands. We are working diligently on a new brand of fib protectors that will be impenetrable by DeJong or Taylor or anyone else for that matter.

Steve Cherundolo: Hey, you, yes you American “soccer fan” reading this pathetic excuse for a feature piece. I haven’t slept with anyone’s wife.

I’ve got better fundamentals than the Neville sisters.

I’ve got a sh*tload more experience than that Danny Williams flash-in-the-pan on the right side. I’m the vice captain of Hannover and I’ve been doing it since freaking 1999 for Team USA.

Recognize!

Got it ‘Dolo.

Clark, looking to get, you know, ahead in the pecking order...

Ricardo Clark: Poor guy reverse-hexed himself by going to spy on Jermaine Jones…now he’s spent time on the shelf…and TSG created the Match Fit Index upon his injury.

Benny Feilhaber: Benny’s had his fair share of the wrong side of 50/50 tackles, but he’s tougher in the hole than you think.

Bum ankle, be damned.

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COACH CLASS

Clarence Goodson: Hey Chad, I go up against quality strikers like Pape Pate Diof, Daniel Nannsogg and Rade Prica….you?

(Look TSG readers, I don’t know those guys either but they’re better than Freddie Montero and Jeff Cunningham, I can assure you that.)

Now back from injury, raise your hand if you'd like to see Edu take his game to the next level on the junior circuit...

Maurice Edu: We haven’t seen a major comeback this strong since John Travolta stopped going baby voice on us and started buying $5 milkshakes.

Well played in Amsterdam, Mr. Twitter.

Marcus Hahnemann: “Hey Guz…you and I are now in the same row….cool beans! Guz?”

Brad Guzan: The Guz has been conspicuously absent from 24A for about 30 minutes now…leading to the following:

A flight attendant leans over to Clarence Goodson, “Hey you know where the bald guy went? We’re about to start taxi-ing.”

Goodson: “You know I think he went to the back of the plane about 30 minutes ago?”

Attendant: “Can you help me find him?”

Goodson and the attendant start combing over the seats and hollering Guz’s name…they arrive at the lavatory and it’s cracked open just enough to peak in and they hear….

…”That’s it…just about right…I got it…got it….dome? Glossed….Git-up? As canary as they come….just…about…set.” (Why?)

Goodson to the flight attendant, “Uh, mam, you’re on your own here.”

Jonathan Bornstein: Why am I back in Coach?

Hey Borny, we still got your back, but with that mayday move you pulled up north you broke our hearts.

You’re lucky you’re still in Coach buddy.

Bobby Convey?!

DaMarcus Beasley: “How does this happen?! The next to last row in the plane! I was on the cover of Sport Illustrated in 2006!”

TSG: “….yeah and so was Bobby Convey….how does that happen?!”

Alejandro Bedoya: Something told me “Santiago Munez” was going to stick…just like Bedoya is in our Coach class.

This is just so good and so bad at the same time. (SorryAlejandro…we haven’t even met you in person yet….but score one for the Tynesiders for TSG, okay?)

Brian Ching: Ching adopts his new identity as The Big Aloha…and his entire game has changed for the better…that’s what an interview with The Shin Guardian does for you.

Heath Pearce: Like a bat out of hell….of course Pearce’s chances were helped by moving back to MLS and Jonathan Bornstein’s reach-and-grab job.

"Thing:" rumblin' like Casey?

Conor Casey (23a): Okay, TSG, I get it, Mr. Clean, hardy-har-har.

C’mon, does it look like I’ll clean floors. What about something tough and cool, like Thing! You know from the Fantastic Four. (right)

TSG whispering, “….well now we understand your first touch.”

Casey: “What?”  … TSG:  “Nothing…didn’t say nothing.”

That’s 23.

SPECIAL EXEMPTION

Charlie Davies (23b): Checklist: 4 pounds duct tape, 2 quarts crazy glue, 25,000 sutures, 1 gigantic heart.

You’ve got the last seat Mr. Davies….enjoy the flight. Welcome back. You’re number 23b currently…but once you step on that pitch….lookout Conor Casey, lookout Brian Ching, lookout England…hopefully.

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FLYING STANDBY

Sacha Kljestan: Listen, we’re backing Sacha Kljestan for that 23rd spot and then some. This is a man that scored the last had trick for the US in a friendly in who knows how long. And then he knocked in that stunner of a game winner against El Salvador a few weeks ago. He’s got phenomenal free kicks…and he was once on the radar at Celtic. Pure money…Really?! Yes, really.

I mean check out this highlight reel from killer video group (if you don’t know about these guys, you should) 723Football Films profiling all of Kljestan’s 4 strikes for the USMNT.

(Editor’s note: Sacha, something we are fond of saying….”act as if.” When you score a goal against a disinterested El Salvador squad, but you fail to coalesce with your teammates on the pitch and instead run over and celebrate wildly in front of your coach like you scored the game-tying goal against Brazil, it doesn’t say, “I’m the man!” It screams, “I don’t belong.” Act as if, a netter against El Salvador should be business as usual for y0u.)

(723 Football Films on YouTube for your free time.)

JFT...still not on the plane...

Jose Francisco Torres: Little man Torres, played a little porous, while manning the middle in Amsterdam.

When along came Bedoya, and Edu the Destroya, who both get the call for Uncle Sam.

Robbie Rogers: You are wonderful. Thank you. I’ve worked had to become so. I admit it, you are better than I am. Then why are you smiling? Because I know something you don’t know. And what is that? I….am not left-footed! (3:30 mark)

Will the world ever know?

Robbie Findley: Sort of like Tom Hanks in Big.

Jermaine Jones: I am not who you think I am.

Eddie Johnson: EJ’s come all the way to Chicago to plead his case for a spot in the 23.

He strides into Asst. Coach Mike Sorber’s office, flips a VHS tape to Sorber and pounds the desk, “Sorbs, I want my shot. Look at the tape; look at my chops!”

Sorber: “Eddie, I’ve seen that tape before…it’s from 2005 or something. At least put it on DVD and doctor the jerseys or something.”

Chad Marshall: Tossed out of February’s plane by Mikey Bradley? Goodson has mopped him up big time.

Jeff Cunningham: Cunningham, your tribe has spoken. Your flame has been extinguished. It’s time to go.

Jimmy Conrad: It’s actually not his form, it’s the wear-and-tear of CBA negotiations. Keep it up Jimmy.

Chris Rolfe: Way too little, too late….but…on second thought…why not another shot with the data on Findley and Cunningham?

"Kyle Beckerman"

Kyle Beckerman: You will not find a more deserving player and leader who is just a shade below what’s necessary. Dale Murphy didn’t get into the baseball hall of fame, still hell of a valuable player.

Kenny Cooper: So you’re saying there’s  a chance….

Troy Perkins: I’m back in MLS too, doesn’t it help my chances? Sure does Troy…but not enough.

Eric Lichaj: Danny Williams? Heath Pearce? I’m one injury from at least the 18 of Aston Villa.

Edgar Castillo: Remember me? Um, no, …actually no we don’t.

Frank Simek: Someone call my name? No, no Frank, we didn’t.

Gale Agbossoumonde: Uh, hello starting for Braga over here. Hey Bob…Marvell who?! By the way, if anyone wants a Freddy Adu Belenenses jersey, they’re like 2 for $3. Just email me at NotAdu@PortugeseLiga.com.

Herculez Gomez: Ask KC Wizards fans about the real Herculez Gomez (1 goal in 34 matches). Who do we have here? Highlight vid 1. Highlight vid 2.

Freddy Adu: TSG recently had this exchange with our Arsenal expert, Chris.

Lead-in….we were talking about US proclivity on set kicks….

Chris: Isn’t Mr. Greece Freddy Adu pretty legit on set pieces – if we’re talking about set pieces?

Chris: I’m not advocating Adu, I’ve just seen him bend some free kicks in the past.

Me: True, but that’s only because you are grew up in DC. I didn’t get to see many of his junior high school games.

Thanks you. Thank you.

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EXTRAS

These Colors Don't Run!....or do they?

Jesse Bignami (USMNT Equipment Manager):  Did Nike bother to contact me and get my input on the sash? Do I get my assistants to wash the tops with colors or whites? What if that stripe turns blue or…(gasp)…pink? We’re not Palermo for crissakes…

I’ve got more important things to worry about Nike…like making sure all your different cleat types work on the field, Mr. Phil Knight. C’mon.

Anton Peterlin: No, no, no….I’m just in the airport taking a commercial flight to watch…but if you haven’t heard I’m starting some games on the Everton reserves and receiving some decent reviews. Luis Gil…this is what you should have done.

Omar Gonzalez: Hey Peterlin, got that number for the player development director at Everton? I could start next to Distin for the senior side right now.

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ANALYSIS

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• Final two spots

Right now, in my mind, competing for the final two spots are: Charlie Davies, Conor Casey, DaMarcus Beasley, Alejandro Bedoya with an outside shot to Jermaine Jones, Robbie Rogers, Sacha Kljestan, Jose Torres and the “winner” of the Findley vs. Whomever battle.\

Barring a tardy Onyewu comeback or an injury the defense and keeper position are likely set.

• Changes from February to March

The additions and subtractions from last time? Well first we had only 22 with an honorary mention for Chuck Davies.

Now we have Bedoya slotting in ahead of Robbie Rogers.. We had Bedoya pushing the 23 on February 1st remember so it’s more about his addition and less about Rogers.

Brian Ching, Heath Pearce, and Clarence Goodson also jump on the plane while Chad Marshall, Robbie Rogers, and Robbie Findley drop.

We’ve extended to 24 players for Charlie Davies for now.  Ching’s addition is less the product of his El Salvador game and more about where Jozy plays on the pitch. Heath Pearce’s addition is by necessity to make 8 defenders….Bornstein’s gaffe creates rumbles as we can’t rely on just he and Boca on the end. Continually, the addition of Pearce makes Robbie Rogers ability to fill in defensively if needed, redundant.

We rode Marshall for awhile, but now have enough observations of Goodson to suggest he’s got that position sewn up.

Continued challenges in his absence....

• Roster breakdown by position, plus striker options

If you’re counting that’s 3 goalies (Howard, Guzan, Hahnemann), 8 defenders (Boca, Gooch, DeMerit, Dolo, Specs, Borny, Goodson, Pearce), 9 midfielders (Deuce, Landy, Bradley, Clark, Edu, Holden, Feilhaber, Bedoya, Beasley)….which leaves us with room for only 3 strikers right now (Altidore, Ching, Casey/Davies). It’s unconventional, but it’s just the way we see it right now.

» Why Brian Ching? Well, you’ve got Slovenia, Algeria in the Group stage and possibly Serbia in the quarters or semis…you need a banger in there who can serve as a target man and can be aggressive on headers. To me, that role goes to Ching over Casey.

» I know TSG is aggressive on Bedoya…but here’s our consideration. Like above, you’re looking for an offensive reliever with pace late in the game. I’d rather send Dempsey up top and bring in Bedoya on the wing than take a flyer on an ill-prepared Findley or Rolfe at this point. Anyone disagree?

» Charlie Davies is making our squad, 23b, on sentiment right now, but if he misses? That role is likely going to, in order: Casey, Findley, Josh Wolff?

» Sadly enough, Conor Casey is your “speed” option (did I just write that? Slap me.) if Charlie Davies as out. Altidore will hold the ball up since Casey has not proved adept in that role and Casey will play off him. If Ching is in, then you’ve got the Aloha in the target role and Altidore playing off that. As said above if you look at the States competition–and you don’t have a viable speed option–you have to go with the guy that holds the ball and gets up in the air (Ching), not the guy that takes awhile to uncork (Casey).

» Ah Stu Holden and Clint Dempsey. If Holden is back, does the US consider that 4-4-1-1 formation straight away. If so, Dempsey becomes relevant in the FW role and only 3 strikers are really necessary.

• Jose Francisco Torres

If you’ve been paying attention to our Boarding Pass Series, you’ll notice that we haven’t had JFT on any of the planes yet to South Africa. With Coach USA employing a highly defensive midfield and this not being a JFT strong suit and while he’s a good player, the pecking order after Benny in the middle likely goes: Kljestan, Torres, Beckerman at this point. Kljestan is more valuable–in Bob’s eyes–in that he’s arguably at least a slightly better defensive player and he could possibly come up top to forward in the 4-4-1-1 if the States goes that way.

• Leftback conundrum

You have to feel for Sweatpants Senior. In the past year, he’s watched Jonathan Bornstein’s form be more volatile than Amy Winehouse, Heath Pearce play down to the competition at the Gold Cup and get relegated from Europe and Captain Carlos begin to get rickety wheels and be subbed for on an “okay” Ligue One team. Edgar Castillo? I think you saw Bob play his hand in Denmark. Castillo hails from the Primera…or Primerily Not About Defense league if you want. You want him defending a Gerrard, Lennon or Rooney?

I still say that the U.S. needed to trot out a few more options there…whether it was Specs (just to make the counterattack go even if you lost his service) or Villa youngster Lichaj.

As it stands now, Coach USA is going to let it play out with the following depth chart: 1) Boca 2nd) Bornstein 3) Pearce.

Johnny “Needs To Be Better” Bornstein still over Pearce? I think you still have Bradley thinking…if I can just get that kid to cut out that one stupid foul, I know his athleticism will make up for his lack of experience. Bob is still probably captivated by Bornstein’s over-hyped half in 2007 against Lionel Messi.

For 2009 including WCQ games, Confederation Cup games, and the two November friendlies, here’s how the distribution of starts went down at leftback:

Boca: 2nd in starts on the leftside in key 2009 games...

Bornstein: 10

Boca: 3

Pearce: 2

Beasley: 2

• Jermaine Jones

Here’s the thing on Jermaine Jones…if he’s not your starter, do you really bring him? You have both Maurice Edu and Ricardo Clark, the loser of that starting battle is arguably more fit, been in the system longer, and knows the tendency of his teammates. Jones is going to really need to set the world on fire if he’s going to make it with 90-odd days left.

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64 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Gino on 2010/03/04 at 10:44 PM

    Quick proof read here: In your analysis at the end of the article, you counted 8 defenders but omitted Pearce when you listed them. Same for the mids–9 counted but you forgot to list Beasley.

    Other than that, I’d be pretty happy with this roster. Maybe Torres, Rogers and Marshall aren’t quite ready yet, although they all have at least one more WC cycle in them. Cooper? Well everyone keeps pointing out that he doesn’t play big enough. Ching might play bigger but here’s my final argument for Cooper. If Ching gets into a game, I would think that it would be as a sub because Jozy seems to be our starting target forward. But why bring in another target man to replace Jozy? Especially one who isn’t a very big scoring threat on the int’l level? I would think it more logical to sub in a “big” guy who is a dynamic offensive threat. Well, I suppose it’s a moot point if Kenny doesn’t manage to get off the bench at Plymouth. Maybe I’m just nitpicking now. Anyway, let’s just hope that everyone on the Match Fitness Index are healthy and ready in Rustenburg.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/04 at 10:54 PM

      Gino —

      Something that was telling in the Netherlands match is that Jozy often lined up above Donovan. At least how it looked on the field Bob Bradley is going to put the “talented” striker above Donovan.

      So Ching in that case would be the target forward.

      If I had to guess right now….pending Stu’s fitness, I’m thinking that Bradley is thinking 4-4-1-1 with Dempsey up top against England and Holden or,, if injured, Beasley on the wing.

      I agree though on Cooper and even Rolfe (who will get some seasoning in a better league), in the absence of the “talent” we’ve see up top, I would be trotting out a few guys just to see if I can capture some Charlie-In-A-Bottle.

      Reply

      • Posted by Gino on 2010/03/05 at 6:33 AM

        Yeah, well I guess it really isn’t up to us anyways since Bob is the coach. I just like venting and this is one of the few places I have to do so. BTW, count me as another TSG disciple. The Shin Guardian is now the first bookmark I click on every day. Thanks and keep up the great work.

        Reply

  2. You had to mention Josh Wolff. I hate life right now

    Reply

  3. Posted by Swa on 2010/03/08 at 1:09 AM

    In the Analysis/Roster Breakdown Rogers is listed amongst the middies rather than Benny.

    But other than that small bit of housecleaning this is the 23 man roster I put together in my head after watching the Netherlands match, with the exception being Torres on the roster over Pearce. I think with the versatility of a number of the backs being able to play inside or outside we don’t necessarily need 8 but it would be foolish not to bring that many. And 10 midfielders is getting quite crowded, although it is far and away our deepest position and almost has me clamoring for some variation on the 4-5-1 just to get as much talent on the field as possible for the first 65 minutes of each game until Charlie comes in to wreak havoc.

    Reply

  4. “Jonathan Bornstein’s form be more volatile than Amy Winehouse”

    Best line in the article. And yet he makes the plane! In all seriousness…. because of our deficit at the back he’s luck to even be in a cab to the airport.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/03/08 at 7:12 AM

    So I’m siting here rewatching the US/Hondo friendly(for about the 7th time) and I’ve come to the conclusion that:

    (1) Bobbo should give El Pistolero a shot at LB in May

    (2) All Boomboosas/Golazos/Jolazos/Landinhos that don’t actually go in should be called NOlazos. I had this epiphany after seeing Rogers’s {nolazo} in the 50th. More people should watch MNT matches on galavision(even if you can’t understand) I’m telling you. ..Pablo Ramirez is awesome. At one point in the Paises Bajos(Vandam) match, he asked whether it was el-HE-ro or el-JE-ro Elia.

    Reply

  6. Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/03/08 at 7:19 AM

    Also, why doesn’t any talk about us running an attacking 4-5-1(4-3-3). Landon & Demps on the wings, Holden Edu & Junior in the middle. . .sexy, right? DMB would come on for Demps & Landon would move to the right. Benny for Holden. . .

    Reply

    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/08 at 7:45 AM

      I quite like the split forward formations (4-4-1-1 / 4-2-3-1) that was mentioned last week – especially with your striking options a little up in the air. But I guess a lot will depend on Davies’ and Dempsey’s progress. Hopefully they will be 100% fit.

      Reply

      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/08 at 8:01 AM

        4-5-1 will not work for two reasons:

        1) The US is not a linking team in the middle of the field — you really don’t want Edu, Mike B and Holden if that is the suggestion going up against say Xavi, Iniesta, Alonso.
        2) For all the width perhaps created, Jozy’s first touch is not strong enough to give him the option of turning and going vertically up the pitch 1:1

        Either split striker-forward or split forwards or wing support up the sides is going to be needed.

        Right now Deuce is likely the linker until something better comes along . Betting the ball to Deuce with the ability to thrust it forward to Jeezy or to an onrushing winger in Donovan, Holden, Beasley, Bedoya…is the best the USMNT has right now.

        Would have been better with a pacy forward ahead of Donovan to create even more depth and threaten the back four of whomever.

        http://theshinguardian.com/2010/02/26/counterpoint-jozy-the-facts-formations/

        Reply

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/08 at 8:16 AM

          Just out of curiousity MatthewSF, who would you have in the two ‘holding’ roles? Edu and Clark or would you like Jones**?

          **I am ignorant of Jones’ ability (just going on what I have read).

          Reply

          • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/08 at 8:34 AM

            Well first I in general prefer on holding midfielder since the ball can, you know, only be in one place at one time.

            Bob Bradley and probably rightfully so with the Yanks prefers flank cover via 2 mids, the Man United way over the Chelsea way so to speak. Bob lacks a linking Ronaldo or a commanding Rooney.

            That being said I am a creature or reps so right now, I would go with Edu and Clark. Jones has yet play 1 minute on the pitch. Hard to put him there as the States are battling enough copntinuity issues through defense.

            Perhaps at a later point in time I might like Jones as the solitary holder with Holden ahead of him…though I love Stu’s wing play for the nats.

            In that scenario ther States could after more reps consider Edu in a defender role.

            Reply

      • Posted by Ben on 2010/03/08 at 8:32 AM

        I agree with the comment above about using a 4-4-1-1 with Dempsey up top and Holden out wide. Isn’t this similar to what Demps does at Fulham? Isn’t he a defensive liability? Does he not have fantastic skill to use up there rather than throwing out stone-foot Casey?
        Obviously, everything depends on the injury situation to Davies, Dempsey, and Holden, but if CD9 doesn’t make it back in time i’d like to see us trot out Holden on one side and Demps situated somewhere up top…
        4-5-1 might not work so well…
        how about a 3-5-2!?
        just kidding.

        Reply

  7. Posted by dude on 2010/03/08 at 9:13 AM

    I still think Torres makes it, if for no other reason than Feilhaber has a hard time making fitness.

    Reply

  8. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/08 at 9:28 AM

    Bringing some comment over here.

    Posted by Daniel Seco on 2010/03/08 at 9:13 AM edit

    A very well-done article, but much different from the one I came up with earlier today. My biggest concerns are Robbie Rogers and Conor Casey. I’d replace them with Kljestan and JFT.

    I guess my question becomes why Rogers and Casey? Rogers hasn’t done anything since the summer and I’d rather have Ching over Casey. Your thoughts?

    Reply

    *

    Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/08 at 9:23 AM edit

    On Rogers:

    Currently, he’s not making my 23. Remember, this is who Bob is likely bringing.
    Bedoya might have killed Rogers WC dream, but my opinion when you get that far down the roster is that you are likely not bringing in that player to be a fulltime starter at the World Cup…and if you are, your chances are already shot.

    With Rogers he gives you a differnet look from the wing than you have. He’s a big body and he has an ability to work a little space and crank a shot. He’s also deceptively quick to use that threat of the shot to be a defender.

    Plus he’s got some decent crosses. What if you have the US going up against Algeria and we need to knock in some crosses to earn the win (the best way to beat Algeria). Do you bring DMB or Rogers off the bench…you might consider Rogers.

    Hence my argument for Rogers.

    On Casey:
    I think you need at least 3 strikers. So Casey is the current 3rd by default. He knows the system, he can break people down and he can get you a goal out of garbage.

    You’re choice there–after Davies–is an inexperienced Findley versus Casey. Do you bring Findley if he’s not seasoned enough to make an impact or do you bring Casey who’s been playing for awhile and can sometimes surprise…currently leaning towads Casey there.

    Kljestan–despite our Rickroll–is right on the cusp. Observations have shown he’s only a central player — not a winger….and unless BB strays from the 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1, you’ve got to have defensive redundancy first. Who does Kljestan make it over: Clark, Junior, Edu or Feilhaber…none at this moment with the aforementioned formations.

    Should Bob be thinking 4-4-1-1 you might use Kljestan there. The challenge with Kljestan is that he drifts in and out of games (we already have the Deuce for that), he’s not super strong defensively, and his hallmark ability to knock in a shot from a trailing position looked woeful against both Honduras and El Sal. He’s not getting Landon’s kickometer.

    So he’s there at the brink, just not on this squad yet.

    JFT is a casualty of system and redundancy. Similarly weak on defense and behind, I would surmise Kljestan in the pecking order, JFT creates opportunities for others rather than creating them himself. He’s a good linking midfielder, but he plays in a non-physical league and that is huge knock here as the USMNT goes up against England, Slovenia, Algeria, perhaps Germany, perhaps Ghana, and perhaps Serbia….those are VERY physical teams. JFT would get lost in there.

    Those teams are another reason you see Bob considering Casey more….

    Reply

    • Posted by Rich on 2010/03/08 at 9:46 AM

      Quick question (a little off topic and maybe better answered another time, but still)…how might JFT develop himself to insure that he is a factor for 2014? He is 22 right now, so next cycle he should be near his peak. Should he go to Europe? Which league? Should he stay in Mexico and hope USSF fires Bradley and changes tactics? Can he play outside for the USNT in 2014? Basically, I wonder what would benefit him most so that the US can benefit.

      I see possession players like JFT and Feilhaber as the next step for our national team. I hope to see us control games and play beautifully as opposed to just trying to overpower and out-run our opponents. There is obviously a place for power and speed (see Chelsea), but I would like to see us mix in control and finesse.

      Reply

      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/08 at 1:12 PM

        Rich:
        I think he is the casualty of Bob Bradley’s strategy and the league he plays in.

        It would be great for the USMNT to have linking play through the middle a la Spain or even Germany, but they do need the horses. I think JFT is a better linking player than we’ve seen in the middle since perhaps Claudio Reyna…is he World Class? I’m not sure.

        On leagues,, I am big believer in two things 1) if you want to compete on the World Cup stage you need to at least spend some time in one of the top 4 leagues (EPL, La Liga, Serie A or Bundesliga) in some capacity.

        This is horrible top 50 lists from ESPN, but it proves a point:

        1 Lionel Messi, Argentina
        2 Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal
        3 Wayne Rooney, England
        4 Kaka, Brazil
        5 Xavi, Spain
        6 Didier Drogba, Ivory Coast
        7 Andres Iniesta, Spain
        8 Fernando Torres, Spain
        9 Steven Gerrard, England
        10 Michael Essien, Ghana
        11 David Villa, Spain
        12 Franck Ribery, France
        13 Samuel Eto’o, Cameroon
        14 Luis Fabiano, Brazil
        15 Iker Casillas, Spain
        16 Cesc Fabregas, Spain
        17 Gianluigi Buffon, Italy
        18 Dani Alves, Brazil
        19 Nemanja Vidic, Serbia
        20 Wesley Sneijder, Netherlands
        21 Maicon, Brazil
        22 Frank Lampard, England
        23 Andrea Pirlo, Italy
        24 Carlos Tevez, Argentina
        25 Robin van Persie, Netherlands
        26 Gonzalo Higuain, Argentina
        27 Diego Forlan, Uruguay
        28 Thierry Henry, France
        29 Sergio Aguero, Argentina
        30 Michael Ballack, Germany
        31 Julio Cesar, Brazil
        32 Arjen Robben, Netherlands
        33 Gerard Pique, Spain
        34 Miroslav Klose, Germany
        35 Lucio, Brazil
        36 Javier Mascherano, Argentina
        37 John Terry, England
        38 David Silva, Spain
        39 Carles Puyol, Spain
        40 Nicolas Anelka, France
        41 Ashley Cole, England
        42 Patrice Evra, France
        43 Marek Hamsik, Slovakia
        44 Karim Benzema, France
        45 Yoann Gourcuff, France
        46 Daniele De Rossi, Italy
        47 Philipp Lahm, Germany
        48 Yaya Toure, Ivory Coast
        49 Giorgio Chiellini, Italy
        50 Landon Donovan, United States

        All of these players with the exception of Gourcuff currently play in one of those leagues. Gourcuff is just biding his time as well as he is on loan from AC Milan.

        You want to be a difference maker on the World Cup stage? You test yourself at the highest levels. Firm believer in this…

        Reply

        • Posted by kaya on 2010/03/08 at 5:54 PM

          Don’t think I’d include the Bundesliga at the expense of Ligue 1. I think I’d rather see American players in France than Germany. There’s nothing I’ve seen recently in the CL to make me believe one is better than the other. I’d consider Ribery’s move to Munich a lateral one and I think Charlie’s move to Sochaux was a good one. If I had to pick someplace for Torres, La Liga is the obvious one, but Ligue 1 I think would also be a good match.

          Reply

          • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/08 at 6:05 PM

            I have to disagree with you there.

            Ligue 1 is where players go to get found by a better league or eventually go to die. :>

            Lyon, Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon…even Marseille…all great teams….I’m leaving out Montpelier because they’ll sell Montana and drop. versus Schalke, Munich, Leverkusen, Hamburg, Dortmund, Bremmen, Stuttgart and this year’s darling Frankfurt…

            Gotta go with the Bundesliga at the highest qualitative level.

            Bundesliga used to be a much better league but they’ve never relaxed the ownership restrictions (+50% of the team needs to be owned by the citizens)…so it keeps the overall money into the club down and–the EPL would be wise to learn from this–is hurting the quality.

            Just my two cents.

            Reply

  9. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/08 at 9:33 AM

    Also, I think you need at least 3 guys up top out of (Altidore, Davies, Ching, Casey, Findley or whomever).

    If you only bring two strikers you are one injury away from having to play someone out of position there later in the game.

    Say–gasp–Altidore goes down…with two strikers you’re going to ask Ching or Casey to shoulder entire load for that game and the next one…likely by their lonesome…don’t necessarily see it.

    Reply

  10. Hey guys,

    Some observations:

    *My 23 features 3 keepers, 7 defenders, 10 midfielders, and 3 forwards. Very unconventional, but, hear me out.

    *The keepers we have are the same. Check

    *As for defenders, we have all the same except Bornstein gets left off for me. He’s too dangerous to be kept around any part of this team. Now, with Pearce and Bocanegra as dedicated LB’s, and Maurice Edu able to play CB in a pinch, that’s essentially 8.

    *With our depth in midfield, it would be a shame to leave some of these guys at home. JFT did have a stinker against the Netherlands, but is too good to be left at home, not like Bornstein. All the other mids are the same.

    *Forwards. Its the real Young Jeezy, CD9 (have faith), and the Big Aloha. Only three you ask? Dedicated forwards…yes. But, with Dempsey and Donovan able to play up top, that can be seen as 5.

    Our clear strength in defense, which should have remained unchanged, barring injuries, ever since the Spain game (Spector, DeMerit, Onyewu, Bocanegra). We have equally as much talent in midfield, but who goes where is anyone’s question, for me it’s Dempsey, Bradley, Edu, Donovan. There’s the reason for 10 mids, give yourself options, JFT, Clark, Benny!, Iceman, Beasley, and Bedoya can all come in and change a match. As for the forwards, if CD9 (who according to his twitter is training more and more with a ball) fully recovers, he and Jeezy are certain to start, and Jeezy will love it after the Findley, Casey, Cunningham experiements where teams essentially left the other guy be and assaulted Jozy. Perhaps like you said, Chingy starts against real physical teams, where then Davies can be brought on to attack a physically beaten backline. Also, with Dempsey and Donovan able to man up top. That’s everything covered for me.

    What say you?

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/08 at 10:39 AM

      Connor.

      I think you’ve got multiple issues with 7 defenders in my opinion.

      You’ve already annointed Pearce whose body of work has not shined over the previous 12 months.

      Second. Is Boca your 1st backup at centerback right? Are you ready with Pearce starting there for all games if Boca goes middle.

      Third. Yes Borny has mental mistakes but would you rather see Bornstein Boca or Pearce in a pinch against a Walcott or Lennon?

      Just my two cents.
      Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

      Reply

      • Matt

        I personally think that Pearce is the better left back of the two (Borny and Pearce). One could argue that Bornstein’s body of work hasn’t exactly shined either. Sure the goal against Costa Rica this and that. But, its the overhead kicks, the bad positioning, the reluctance to get forward and aid the attack, and most of all the idiocy of taking down players in the box who haven’t a chance at goal.

        Had Pearce not had that screw up prior to his move to Turkey, then I think we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Pearce has played well when with the Nats. Even going back to 2008, he was our best player against England then and had a string of solid WCQ’s where he didn’t make mistakes. Against Mexico in 2009, he shutdown Gio dos Santos (hardly a comparison to Walcott or Lennon, but the styles are similar). Pearce was one of our better players in the Gold Cup, where Borny didn’t play well in his summer outing during the Confed Cup

        I know Bornstein is one of the Bradley cronies, but Pearce’s body of work was essentially the same as Bornstein’s to close out the season last year. Same league on arguably a better team. His falling out at Rostock didn’t effect his game because Bradley continued to call him in over Bornstein.

        Pearce is better at getting forward, more composed on the ball, has a good cross, solid instincts, and during matches, almost gives a Jay DeMerit aura. Cool, composed, ready for action.

        Now then, yes, Boca is my first choice backup at CB, and im less worried about Pearce than about Bornstein. Pearce hasn’t given me any reason not to trust him, not like Bornstein…

        Reply

        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/08 at 11:12 AM

          Fair points all of them.

          I’m not convinced Pearce is the better back or he wouldn’t be back in MLS.

          I think Pearce is capable of a top notch game but also a stinker. If you know you’re going to get his best effort you can trot him out, but that is still a very big if.

          I consider Bornstein and Pearce very similar in what they give you but with very different styles. One of the things I go like about Pearce is he is a very astute player offensively and defensively so his play pardon the expression is defensible.

          That ball in amsterdam, the second goal, as well as the 2nd goal against the ticos he would have played the primary threat where Bornstein was more fearful.

          Can’t argue with your points. But by having this debate I would rather take both and play whoever is in form which is what I think Coach Sweats is thinking.

          Amazing since our killer counterattack on the left has been compromised that Bradley hasn’t looked at a few more options over there.
          Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

          Reply

  11. Posted by kaya on 2010/03/08 at 11:42 AM

    Damn, Matt. You’re a machine.
    I thought we’re planning on Gooch coming back and Boca making all this left back discussion go away.
    I fully support any Zoolander reference. Not so sure about the kickometer thing… is there a 2nd degree here I’m missing?

    Reply

    • Posted by kaya on 2010/03/08 at 11:43 AM

      Your website moved to Mountain Standard Time…

      Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/08 at 1:17 PM

      @Kaya….no second degree…we’re all still waiting for Kljestan’s accuracy on free kicks and open opportunities….hence he’s not getting Landon’s kickometer.

      Reply

  12. I agree that the roster will probably consist of 8 defenders, 9 midfielders and 3 attackers. There’s just no way Klejstan makes the 23 through the midfield logjam unless through injuries. I’ve italicized injured players though and I guess there is a horrible nightmare of a chance. Worth keeping in mind that selection is a two-part process with a 35-player provisional list due May 12, with the final 23 man roster not due until after the May friendlies. Oddly, the 23 need not be selected from the 35 either.

    My roster looks similar:

    GK – Howard, Guzan, Hahnemann

    LB – Bornstein, Pearce
    CB – Onyewu, DeMerit, Bocanegra, Goodson
    RB – Cherundolo, Spector

    2 DM – Clark, Edu, (Jones);
    1 CM – Bradley;
    2 MF – Holden, Feilhaber, (Torres);
    2 AM/F – Donovan, Dempsey;
    2 W – Beasley, Bedoya, (Rogers).

    ST – Altidore, Ching, Casey (Davies if fit)

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/08 at 1:24 PM

      Agreed Tuesday…the addition of Jones and form of Edu does provoke a good debate…

      Who are the midfield starters right now. You know one is Mikey, but will Coach USA consider an Edu, Clark midfield with Bradley above them. I don’t like it, but it’s not out of the realm unfortunately.

      I also prefer, if Edu or Jones could handle it, one holding mid…then I can see Bradley (fortunately or unfortunately) above them.

      No room as you say for Kljestan here.
      I did not know that the 23 don’t have to come from the 35. I can see Bob taking a flier on a fourth striker who is in form (Rolfe, Davies, likely not Gomez) and choosing from Bedoya or DMB….though I wouldn’t like it.

      —-
      I almost might like to just see the following for ten minutes:

      4-3-3 as follows up the pitch: DMB, Edu, Holden…next line: Donovan, Altidore, Deuce…(I would put Bedoya, but that has no shot)
      It sends Mike B to the bench, but that takes protects the back and let’s arguably our most creative players reign free on the wings.

      Could you imagine Mike Jr. on the bench…anywho…too much sugar over here or something forme.

      Reply

      • Posted by Swa on 2010/03/08 at 1:41 PM

        Is it bad to hope for Junior to pick up some sort of stomach bug and miss the Turkey match so we can see some real experimentation like that 4-3-3? The kid is one of our most talented players and you can’t overlook weekly Bundesliga starters but he doesn’t ever seem to develop any chemistry with his midfield partners nor does he ever seem to play the role that is needed of him based on who those partners happen to be at given times. Not to mention his propensity for cards. I just wonder if his starting spot would be so automatic if he were not the coach’s son.

        Reply

        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/08 at 1:54 PM

          I think it’s fair…I think Denmark and Slovakia should have been that opportunity really. I can’t for the life of me understand why Mke Bradley started both of those games in his customary position.

          It’s rather a moot point now….

          Reply

        • Junior is the first name on the team-sheet. He’s not a bad player by any means, but I don’t think he’s earned such treatment. He actually is our most consistent player. I guess the galling thing about that is he tries to play like the more attacking CM, even when he’s paired with Feilhaber or Torres. Those guys never get a chance to play with anybody else. It’s not worth thinking too much about because you’ll just get mad.

          Including Dempsey and Donovan up top, I think it would end up playing as a 4-3-2-1. That’s fine with me. A front 3 of Beasley, Altidore, Donovan would yield more a classic 4-3-3.

          I don’t think Beasley works on the outside of a 3 man midfield – he’s a wide player and doesn’t have the stature to defend inside. A 3-man midfield needs to be able to get nice and narrow. Bradley, Edu, Holden, would be a good combination. Not a good tactical choice against speedy wingers though.

          I think I would like to see Beasley start on the left of midfield versus England in a 4-4-1-1 formation. He’s our best option to help defend on that side and is always capable of getting behind the right fullback, giving him something to consider before getting forward. Donovan should start on the right with Edu and Bradley in the middle. I want to see Dempsey high up the pitch trying to make life difficult for Lampard and Barry at the base of midfield. Other option is to go with Donovan on the left and Holden, who can tuck in and help out in the middle, on the right. It’s down to whether you see the bigger threat coming from the right or the left.

          Reply

          • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/08 at 2:49 PM

            You’re going to have to put Timmy Howard ahead of Mike Bradley as the USMNT’s most consistent player, but is true that Bradley is the most consistent outfield player.

            On the 4-4-3, I think you can take a page out of Moyes book and put a Beasley on the right and even Holden on the left and have them stay narrow…I wouldn’t discount Beasley’s defense…he did spend a little time their during qualifying…he’s not a backliner, but with his dominant foot inside…may work.

            But who are we kidding, if I had to bet…oh wait…I’ll save this one for “The Odds” column returning later this week.

            Reply

        • Posted by kaya on 2010/03/08 at 2:59 PM

          You’re right Tuesday…. you just get mad. The entire team is based off his ever-presence and it pi$$es me off. Bob has some interesting force of personality going on that he never even felt it prescient to feign any interest in a midfield combo that didn’t include his son.

          Reply

  13. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/08 at 2:56 PM

    4-4-3? Are you trying to sneak an extra player on Matthew?!

    The other question I have: are you sure it is a provisional 35 man squad and not 30? Surely by 12th May (provisonal date), the coach will know where he is for injuries etc. 12 players seems to be a lot to trim and smacks of indecisiveness…

    Reply

    • See the regulations here: http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/tournament/competition/56/42/69/fifa_wc_south_africa_2010_regulations_en_14123.pdf

      “1. Each association that qualifies for the final competition shall send FIFA a
      list of 35 players (showing the full last name(s), all first names, popular
      name, place and date of birth, passport number, club and country of
      the club, height, weight, number of caps won, number of goals scored)
      whom it has called up in accordance with the relevant provisions of
      Annex 1 of the FIFA Regulations for the Status and Transfer of Players.
      The provisional list of 35 players must be sent to FIFA at least 30 days
      prior to the kick-off of the opening match.

      2. The lists of 35 players will be published by the FIFA general
      secretariat.

      3. Each association will then be required to provide FIFA with a final list
      of no more than 23 players (three of whom shall be goalkeepers).
      This final list is not limited to the players on the provisional list. The
      association must send this final list to FIFA prior to the kick-off of
      the opening match in accordance with the deadline stipulated in the
      relevant FIFA circular.”

      Etc…

      Reply

  14. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/08 at 3:01 PM

    I know this is not the correct post ‘but’ our right side (Johnson and Walcott) is starting to get some playing time, hopefully they will be in tip-top condition come June!

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/08 at 8:00 PM

      I just hope that Walcott doesn’t have his one great game out of 50 against the USMNT. If he doesn’t then I’d love to have 10 Walcott’s and one Robert Green against the Yanks. :>

      Why does nobody in England appreciate Ashley Young?

      Reply

      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/09 at 7:49 AM

        You seem to forget that Walcott has been injured for most of the season and has only played half a dozen games. On Saturday (albeit against Burnley**), Walcott scored one, forced the keeper into a couple of good saves and created enough excellent chances for Bendtner to score a double hatrick. Even though he faded against Egypt, it *might* have been a different story if Lampard put away that sitter Walcott created in the 4th minute (Walcott is a confidence player). Once he is firing on all cylinders, he’s going to be very lively at the World Cup and cause ANY defender problems with his blistering pace.

        I like Ashley Young, but these are the issues IMO:
        – He plays really well for Villa but never really takes his chance with England.
        – There are not too many friendlies – Capello is not going to take too many risks in a competitive match.
        – We have great competition for places in midfield.

        **The USA left back options are probably at the same level as Burnley’s.

        Reply

  15. Posted by Dylan on 2010/03/08 at 6:54 PM

    I thought it might be cool to have an article on the top 10-15 players NOT in the world cup. Who it is we’ll be missing,
    Ibrahimovich
    Arshavin
    Keane?
    Given
    Giggs?

    You know what I mean, you would know better than I, but it might be fun?

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/08 at 8:18 PM

      Nope — good idea…I thought I saw someone do this recently.

      Here’s my pseudo (and very offensive) starting 11

      STR: Ibrahimovic, Dzeko
      FW: Arshavin,
      MID: Chris Samba, Antonio Valencia, Clarence Seedorf, Luka Modric
      DEF: Brede Hangeland, Vincent Kompany, Yuri Zhirkov
      G: Shay Given

      Honorable mentions:
      Adebayor, Bellamy, Giggs, Fellaini, Rodallega (this guy is the real deal), Victor Montano (Columbia as well),

      Zhikov wouldn’t make it for me if I didn’t need a defender…he’s done nothing for Chelsea this year….

      Reply

      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/09 at 7:51 AM

        Onyewu, Davies and Dempsey… they won’t recover!

        Reply

        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/09 at 7:55 AM

          No your just fanning the flames George….
          No need to do that…

          Reply

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/09 at 8:01 AM

          I was joking, hence the exclamation mark (!).

          Reply

          • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/09 at 8:16 AM

            I know…but I really didn’t feel like going through the whole Ashley Cole, Glen Johnson, Wayne Bridge, Aaron Lennon, Owen Hargreaves-thing…you know. :>

            Gotcha!

            Reply

  16. Few thoughts…

    1) I think either Bornstein or Pearce should be left home. I prefer Bornstein but we will see. The reasons are….
    a) Having Spector push to the left, Gooch and Demerit in the middle, and Dolo on the right would be preferable to Bornstein on the left.
    b) Boca on the left might be preferable to Bornstein as it keeps our captain on the field but maximizes our center (Gooch and Demerit).
    c) If b&c are perferrable than that is 2 options and we don’t need to worry about having 2 LB’s.
    d) If there is a scenario where Spector is out because of yellow cards and lets say Demerit is injured. Either slide Boca into the middle, Pearce comes on at LB. Or Goodson comes into the middle, boca at LB. Or as someone pointed out Edu could always play back. I just don’t think we really need 8 defenders.
    e) The service and connection between LB and Donovan is important. Spector or Pearce give us better options in that resect than Bornstein or Boca. If Donovan has to either track way back or is taken out of the game by not getting touches we are in trouble.
    f) My bias is that I never felt extremely comfortable with Bornstein at left. Even if Boca may not have the best speed back there I think his knowledge would put him in better positions than/lead to fewer mistakes than Bornstein.

    I am not altogether opposed to taking 8 defenders though because if we really don’t need/ won’t use 10 mids. I know it would make sense in case of yellow card/injury problems but I don’t want there to be a reason that Bornstein gets significant time. I do feel Torres needs to be there. For these reasons…
    a) Torres and Beasley give us 2 options at LM. They both are natural there and good crossers. Many of the other mids could not fill in there if we wanted to push Donovan to the right.
    b) Torres can an attacking possession presence that would be useful off the bench.

    Ultimately we will have to see what happens. Good luck to all the USMNT.

    In the next friendly I would like to see the 4-4-1-1 tried like this….

    Altidore
    Dempsey
    Donovan –Edu—Bradley—Holden
    Spector—Onyewu–Demerit—Dolo

    Roster for WC:
    GK – Howard, Guzan, Hahnemann
    LB – Pearce
    CB – Onyewu, DeMerit, Bocanegra, Goodson
    RB – Cherundolo, Spector
    2 DM – Clark, Edu
    M – Bradley, Holden, Feilhaber, Torres, Donovan, Beasley, Bedoya,
    ST – Altidore, Dempsey, Ching, Davies,

    Reply

    • Posted by Gino on 2010/03/08 at 11:52 PM

      Eric, I’m all for your starting backline. I’ve been clamoring for Spector at LB since last summer. What other American defender starts on the left side in one of the top three or four leagues in Europe? Spector at LB and Dolo at RB gets our two best defenders (as well as our two best attacking backs) in the starting lineup. Of course, then we’d need another option at RB just in case. Paging Frankie Simek? I also like that Bocanegra can play at LB, especially if Gooch and DeMerit start in the middle. Just the same, I’m also of the opinion that we take 8 defenders to the WC. Bring along Pearce or Bornstein, but definitely not both. Too bad we don’t any outside backs that are good enough to play on the left and right (other than Spector). I think only then could be afford to take only 7 defenders.

      Reply

  17. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/09 at 8:00 AM

    “Ligue 1 is where players go to get found by a better league or eventually go to die”

    Perhaps for the players from former African French colonies…

    Reply

  18. [...] Choosing a World Cup roster is one thing; TSG gave you our current selections and justifications for that last Monday. [...]

    Reply

  19. [...] Choosing a World Cup roster is one thing; TSG gave you our current selections and justifications for that last Monday. [...]

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  20. [...] has put its Boarding Series on hiatus so far in April as we seek more and more observations of players in hopes of getting all [...]

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  21. [...] and bustling to fight over seats. If you look over the seating chart I’ve made based on where Matthew from The Shin Guardian put you then there should be no questions as to who’s where. You got that [...]

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  22. [...] There’s been massive change over in our personnel here since we last spoke in 2010. [...]

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