This might be the easiest preview to write–or the shortest due to Microsoft.
The Yanks heads into the city of Unionified City of Brotherly Love to give about 45,000 spectators the ability to assess for themselves the sum of its parts against Turkey this Saturday. (2pm EST)
Whereas Tuesday saw the developmental squad get a run-out in the 1st half while the 2nd half saluted those that earmarked back to, primarily, MLS, Saturday’s friendly such be a mix of building cohesion and experimentation.
Okay, let’s kickoff our first USMNT preview since March…and let’s get our World Cup road trip started….
As always, we’ll follow the (now-patented) TSG format:
TSG’s “What We’re Looking For”
11 at the Whistle
TSG’s “What We’re Looking For”
• Okay, let’s try this one again: Whither Gooch?
“You can’t look at observations in isolation; you have to look at the entire body of work.”
Fan observation #2 about to be served.
• What’s the forward combination?
Is Jozy Altidore going to line-up on the left in front of Landon (I don’t think so and not what this writer wants to see) or is he going to line-up on the right, where Edson Buddle started on Tuesday as your target striker?
Given Bob Bradley’s comments on Robbie Findley being effective off the bench. I think you’re gong to see a Gomez – Altidore pairing.
I’m slowly retreating from my “soft goal” stance on Herculez–he looked the part Tuesday against most of the Czech first team–let’s see what he does Saturday. Exciting if he can inhabit that “drag-the-corner-defender” role.
• Let’s hear it for Marcus Hahnemann?
The guy’s 37 — if he’s going to get another cap, this is probably the one.
If you don’t see Hahnemann to start this game, then Brad Guzan is the clear-cut #2.
• Is Maurice Edu in the hole?
Michael Bradley is your go-forward central midfielder. He’s got some ability and showed the knack in the Netherlands. Jose Torres did a superb job dropping into the hole and moving the ball on Tuesday.
Will that role go to Maurice Edu? Can he move the ball effectively in that role? Is that how the Yanks play? Ricardo Clark is, by the way, not that guy.
11 At The Whistle
G: Marcus Hahnemann
The skinny: Anybody’s guess here. I think Howard continues to get a break and Hahnemann gets the nod. My guess is if you see Howard in goal, he’s only play the 1st half and Marcus “Aurelius” Hahnemann heads between the pipes.
Tim Howard, again, is from nearby New Jersey.
G: Jonathan Spector, Jay DeMerit, Oguchi Onyewu, Carlos Bocanegra
The skinny: Do the States play arguably #1 backline. There are only two games–wow–left until England. I think they have to here and I think this is it, barring performance impacted by injury.
G: Clint Dempsey, Maurice Edu, Michael Bradley, Landon Donovan
The skinny: I can see Stu sneaking in here somewhere–and if that’s the case you’re likely seeing Clint Dempsey at forward. I know I’m in the minority, but I just don’t see Dempsey your
Conversely, Stu Holden is a better defender on that right side and that Yanks are better with him on the field (I believe that).
Will be very interesting.
STR: Herculez Gomez, Jozy Altidore
The skinny: We we learned that Edson Buddle is categorically a target man. I think you need that speed guy ahead of Landon as I mentioned above. Let’s see what Gomez does here.
• Jonathan Bornstein starts; Boca moves to the middle; DeMerit to bench?
It will be very telling if Bornstein gets a start on Saturday or against Australia…..and yes part of me just wanted to use that picture to the right.
• The forward pairing is everything, but Gomez and Altidore.
Jozy and Duece. Big Jeezy and Findley? Buddle and Gomez? If Coach USA is trying to pair Altidore, then I think Gomez here is your best bet.
• Ricardo Clark goes for Maurice Edu
Does Clark get a shot here to “compete” for the starting role? It’s hard to argue that in the two friendlies he’s played this year Maurice Edu has been solid and offered contributions. In fact, Edu has looked down right dynamic in the middle.
Wild card? Benny plays the role in the middle of Mike Bradley to start that Torres did on Tuesday and we see a number of folks reference “The Flying Hovestad” goal against Mexico in 2007. (See glossary).
• Iceman Holden makes way for someone.
As much as I think Stu will come off the bench against England, I’m finding it very hard to argue that the States aren’t better with Holden on the pitch. Holden is such an asset to Yanks, in that, he plays the complementary role to the tee, but when he’s got that one or two shots to take advantage of an offensive situation in a game, he usually doesn’t miss them.
(Note, for the youngsters, the pic of Bruce Willis up top is a reference to one of my favorite movies: “12 Monkeys.” It was set in Philadelphia…and if you thought you were getting a tired Rocky reference for the city…well.
You may get an “Invincible” reference in the review though.)