Bradley’s Clipboard: October 2010

We introduce another new series today at TSG Central: Bradley’s Clipboard.

After each camp and most friendlies, TSG will put together a piece with the following components for discussion amongst the community:

I. The Best “A” Team starting eleven.

This is the team that would play regardless of opponent, situation or formation if the Yanks had to choose a line-up blindly for one game.

 

Not your best 11...

 

II. The Depth Charts.

For each position we’ll list the top two, three or four players that if TSG–you always ask for our take instead of “what Bob Bradley will do”–was running the USMNT whom we’d have in what positions on Bradley’s clipboards.

The rules? A player can only inhabit one spot on the depth chart (hence you can’t consider Maurice Edu the thhird best central defender and third best central midfielder).

III. The “X” Things (“The 3 Things”)

Any notes or pointers that seem pertinent to the last camp.

If you like this feature after today, let us know in the commentary or via email and also how we can make it better.

Do it:

I. The Best Eleven

The Yanks are playing Spain in Reno, Nevada with a trip to Wallyword on the line. TSG goes with a 4-4-1-1 that looks like this.

G: Tim Howard

DEF: Steve Cherundolo, Oguchi Onyewu, Clarence Goodson, Carlos Bocanegra

MID: Stu Holden, Jermaine Jones, Michael Bradley,  Landon Donovan

FFW: Clint Dempsey (I’m adding “Floating” in front of FW)

STR: Jozy Altidore

The skinny: Almost snuck in Clarence Goodson ahead of DeMerit, only on fitness. When DeMerit clings on to a team and shows his wares, he likely go right ahead on the depth chart. DeMerit, however–as we’ll discuss–has a boatload a centerbacks gunning for his spot as does Gooch.

Our midfield seems standard, Dempsey cutting in from the left makes sense, since Boca is not going to overlap and play offense.

Landon sits ahead of Stu and Jones. Too tight for too many players? Could be; could be.

Jozy is your best options at forward.

The Depth Charts:

Goalie: (1) Tim Howard (2) Brad Guzan (3) TBD

The skinny: Easy enough here. Howard’s still on the top of his game. Guzan just needs a chance, but I love his positioning and reaction time. With Marcus Hahnemann perhaps retiring, no goalie has stepped up to claim the third spot. Had Bill Hamid not gotten injured recently, I might have put him in that spot.

 

Pearce, currently no higher than fourth on the TSG depth chart...

 

Leftback: (1) Carlos Bocanegra (2) Jonathan Bornstein (3) Miguel Ponce (4) Heath Pearce

The skinny: Is a statement on the quality of the USMNT’s competition or the level of play in Ligue One that Carlos Bocanegra has started every game for St. Etienne this campaign and is earning solid reviews?

He’s currently the de facto starter as captain, but my guess is he won’t be come 2014. Jonathan Bornstein still has a record of solid play at World Cup 2010 most immediately on his resume. He’s squeaks in at #2.

I’m going with Chivas Guadalaraja’s Miguel Ponce at #3. Not sure yet that he’ll play for the states, but the leftback has been lights out for the Mexican side, starting 14 games this year and netting twice.

Heath Pearce, who can actually move up with more consistency and playing against better competition, comes in at #4.

Rightback: (1) Steve Cherundolo (2) Eric Lichaj (3) Jonathan Spector (4) Sean Franklin

The skinny: Steve D is playing the most consistently and at the highest level that he ever has right now. Dolo’s had a stretch of being healthy and seems to have jumped his play a level.

Eric Lichaj edges Jonathan Spector for the next spot, and that’s not because we’ve been a long time fan. It’s our belief–as I wrote here–that the outside fullback position (with more and more teams employing speedy wingers and outside mids as part of different formations) has to be manned by someone with quickness. It can’t be a weakness or an afterthought. Lichaj has more quickness. It’s that simple.

Is it a contradiction to have Sean Franklin fourth? I don’t think so. He just likely needs one cap to show he has the requisite depth and he’s moving up. At least that’s the thinking right now.

Centerback: (1) Oguchi Onyewu (2) Clarence Goodson (3) Jay DeMerit (4) Omar Gonzalez

 

Goodson moving quickly up the depth chart?

 

The skinny: Onyewu is on his way back to full fitness and is the first name called here. Jay DeMerit, with age and being out of contract slips to #3 on the CB depth chart as he is getting ousted by Clarence Goodson and pushed by Omar Gonzalez.

I don’t rate Michael Parkhurst just yet–I need to see more of him. I feel like he was a popular pick for “let me pump this guy up because he’s a lesser known name.” None of the back four were really challenged on Tuesday night and I’ve seen some real challenges in past viewings with Parkhurst’s game. Could change though.

Looking forward to national team time for Ike Opara and Tim Ream. Especially Opara.

Right midfield: (1) Stu Holden (2) Alejandro Bedoya

The skinny: If Bob Bradley is not going to give Stu a run out centrally, then this depth chart begins and ends with Holden. Not only is he one of the best eleven, I believe you could make a contention that Holden is one of the top five players on the pitch for the Yanks now.

Bedoya is definitely a different type of right midfielder, more a wing, but he’s our #2.

Center midfield(1) Jermaine Jones (2) Michael Bradley (3) Maurice Edu (4) Jose Torres

The skinny: Ideally, I’d like to see Holden get a run out here despite the solid play and class on the ball from Jermaine Jones during the October friendlies. I’m not sure Jones has the right mindset–he has the abilities–to be the chief creator, maybe vice creator would be more appropriate.

Will be interesting to see how he and Donovan link.

Bradley and Edu are pretty close here. Bradley’s had two mediocre games which only lends credence to the notion that he has a difficult time not being a focal point for the USMNT. For his club side Bo’Munchen, Bradley ably plays the more reserved, less instrumental defensive central midfielder.

Right now, Bradley offers just a little more than Edu going forward. He edges ahead here.

Not sure where I’m putting Sacha Kljestan yet, but I’ll get back to rating him when he gets back to playing. He’s been injured and hasn’t stepped on the pitch for Anderlecht in almost two months.

Left midfield(1) Landon Donovan (2) Benny Feilhaber, (3) Brek Shea (4) Robbie Rogers

 

Rogers, not a forgotten man, but a better option eventually at LB?

 

The skinny: Landon may or may not play here. He might link on the right with Dolo which probably makes sense. In that case, maybe Holden moves sides perhaps.

Benny Feilhaber, with his lack of attention to defense and more complementary role, slides a little bit in the overall USMNT pecking order.

Let me make this statement right now: either Donovan, Feilhaber or Dempsey would be that much better as inside-out wingers if they had a capable overlapping fullback to support them and make runs to open space.

Brek Shea and Robbie Rogers are both more winger-ish and have that needed left foot.

Don’t rate Edgar Castillo yet…may never, either.

Forward: (1) Clint Dempsey (2*) Mix Diskerud

The skinny: We’re putting Dempsey here, but he may of course flip-flop with Donovan. I’m slotting in Mix Diskerud here. It’s my one true reach of the column.

Striker: (1) Jozy Altidore (2) Edson Buddle

The skinny: It’s somewhat Jozy or bust right now. Given the Yanks more recent testing of a single striker, it would only warrant that Edson Buddle–who I might mention currently SCORES GOALS–be given a run-out. Buddle, by the way, notched 15 goals two years ago, and will likely have 17 this year.

Beyond them, name like Adrian Ruelas, Justin Braun and Mike Grella pop up.

And here’s the thing on Eddie Johnson. He is who we thought he was.

The “3″ Things:

• I’ve got Gooch, but who’s my Cannavaro, my chaser, and my distributor?

Seems like Bob Bradley is trying awful hard to find someone in the back who can push forward if necessary, be a catalyst of the counterattack and effectively link out of the back, and someone who chases the speedy striker from the other team.

Maurice Edu “may” turn out to be that guy. In Gooch, Goodson, Gonzalez, Ream and even Marshall, you have all the same “type” of central backs. This is not to say that like and like can’t play together. But complementary centerbacks (Cannavaro and Nesta or even presently Pepe and Carvalho) often work best.

Right now, that depth chart that was just written might soon include Edu as the second choice. And you can pretty much suggest that is why Mr. Michael Parkhurst got a runout–he does have that distribution panache.

 

What role for Junior?

 

• Speaking of Edu, is Junior now my more defensive central mid?

Last time…TSG is on record as saying we’d like to see that Holden run out.

However, looks like that center mid catalyst is prepped to be Jermaine Jones from this round of friendlies. Will Bradley be okay and excel in the more reserved complementary midfield role that Edu is certainly more comfortable with?

• Jozy  +

About time I tried out some new and young strikers. Camp Cupcake (invites) warming for maybe Ruelas (if he has not already gone to Celtic) and Bowen, perhaps?

…….

Oh and don’t worry, says here on the clipboard that formation experimentation continues…

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41 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Coca Cola on 2010/10/14 at 11:21 AM

    I love the idea for this column and am really looking forward to seeing some of those young players getting called up for Camp Cupcake.

    Reply

  2. Posted by chris on 2010/10/14 at 11:22 AM

    I’m a big Jozy fan and definitely appreciate his talent and potential, but I’d love to see Buddle getting starts up front. The guy is at his peak and I think it’s a shame that he’s not used more. Right now he’s our best finisher, hands down.

    Reply

  3. Posted by dth on 2010/10/14 at 11:27 AM

    Ponce plays for Chivas, so he can play for the U.S. if he’s interested in losing his job. (see Salgado, Omar.)

    I see the U.S.’s best formation as 4-2-3-1, with a similar 11 rearranged: I have Dempsey on the right and Holden in the middle (of the 3). I think the second CB spot is a ? right now, and I don’t agree that Gooch is a distributor–he hoofs the ball far too much to be a good one, and it’s not like he has a great eye for passes or anything. Whatever you think of Tim Ream’s overall game, he’s already much better than Gooch at distribution out of the back. (I’m skeptical, by the way, about Ream’s overall game, though let’s see what happens when he gets a runout.)

    I also have Sean Franklin ahead of Spector. Spector’s not an international-quality right back at the moment (and I’m not sure ever).

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/10/14 at 11:34 AM

      DTH – we’re in agreement with Franklin. I just want to see him get a game runout though. See our interview with Franklin – I gush way too much about the guy.

      True on Ponce and Chivas, but US exposure will do just as well for his career.

      Reply

      • Posted by dth on 2010/10/14 at 12:02 PM

        Don’t know that’s clear that U.S. exposure will help Ponce’s career.

        For one, we don’t actually know how good Ponce is. The Mexican league isn’t so good that we can assume a starter at a big club is good. The other issue is that even if he is good, it could be an Edgar Castillo-type situation: a left back that can’t defend. So we don’t even know that Ponce playing will showcase him well. Then there’s the problem of: what if he is good? Well, then he has to go find a new team–Mexican teams are notoriously collusive, and MLS just doesn’t offer the same kind of scratch. He could go European on a free, but that’s uncertain too. Point is, there’s a lot of uncertainty about the benefits of going with the U.S. team and a lot of certainty about the negatives: instant termination of contract.

        Reply

    • Posted by Standard Deviance on 2010/10/15 at 8:01 AM

      Yeah, I’ve been watching Ream all season long and his possession and distribution out of the back are top quality. It was actually hard for me to watch Gooch et al in possession these past few games, as I’m used to Ream’s smoothness back there.

      That said, I also agree with dth in that I’m less sold on the other aspects of Ream’s game. He does make some good defensive plays (often when tracking back in recovery), but he usually makes at least one or two unnecessary defensive mistakes per game, which you can maybe get away with in MLS but not at the International level. He also looks a step slower than average.

      It sounds like he’ll eventually get a look with the Nats, and I certainly hope he shows well, but I think whether or not he can be a starting International CB depends on how much his defensive game improves over the next several years. If he does improve defensively, he’d be a real nice piece to have back there.

      ps – Great series, TSG! Looking forward to future installments of it.

      Reply

  4. Posted by justin on 2010/10/14 at 11:39 AM

    I like this article. The thing that is shows me is that in the next 4 years is that the squad isn’t getting any worse, which is comforting. At least for the next 2 years we have our main squad in-tact, with our major problem areas (FW & LB). Now that we have a good skeletal foundation, we just gotta find some more meat to put on the bones. But I don’t see our midfield or 3/4ths of the back line changing for the next few years.

    Reply

  5. Good article. Lots of fodder for thought.

    I don’t think it’s fair to include Ponce in the discussion. You should only include him if he declares for the US. Otherwise he could be another Rossi. IOW, I don’t care about him until he ‘exists’.

    I’d bet heavily that Bocanegra doesn’t make the 2014 team. Even if he does, if he’s in consideration for a starting spot, we’ll be in real trouble. I think Bornstein will end up taking this spot if he can learn to control his penchant for straying forward. He has shown he can defend if he’s disciplined and can stay at home. I like the idea of experimenting w/ Rogers in that spot too. He can send in a mean cross coming forward. I just don’t know if he can defend. Albright made the transition into a pretty good MLS defender (from woeful forward) so it’s possible.

    I think we’re in good shape at RB. It’s Cherundolo’s job until he begins to lose his speed. Then Lichaj steps in and, based upon his debut vs Colombia, will do well. If Lichaj really improves in the short term, he might just take Cherundolo’s job away.

    Onyewu is improving rapidly. His intimidating presence along with is speed and surprising agility make him the #1 choice at CB. Goodson is a solid second choice for me. Demerit might just be too slow, but we’ll see.

    Parkhurst is very calm, very tactically aware, and very good at playing (not hoofing) the ball forward. I just don’t know if has the physical strength to play at CB against top-flight competition. I like watching intelligent players, though, so I’d like to see him brought in again.

    I’d like to see Edu get a few more cracks at playing CB, but I suspect his talents lend themselves to a midfield role.

    I’ve seen Ream play twice (live) this year, and he’s looks good. He’s at least a year away from being in serious consideration for the US team, IMO. Haven’t seen Opara play, but I’ve heard good things about him.

    We have a veritable cavalcade of good-to-serviceable midfielders. That’s good, because we can pick a lineup based upon our opposition (or the formation BB chooses.) Donovan and Dempsey are locks. Holden is becoming a lock, and I think will be the Donovan replacement when the day comes for Landon to step away. I think Jones is also a lock, ahead of Bradley. Good choices all, and it’ll be fun to watch the run up to the Gold Cup.

    Jermaine Jones has already taken over command of the midfield. He has outstanding vision, matched only by Landon and Clint. If he can stay healthy, and that’s been tough for him so far, we’re already way better than we were this summer.

    Jozy worries me. To be more precise, our forward situation worries me. Jozy works hard, uses his size well, and is learning how to play the position. He just might not be exactly what we need up there. Buddle might be an answer, but are we ever going to find out?

    This might be my favorite part of the 4-year cycle. New, young players, new formations, tons of stuff for fans to argue over.

    Reply

    • Posted by dth on 2010/10/14 at 12:06 PM

      I don’t really get the Edson Buddle love. (well, beyond the fact that the backup quarterback is always the most popular quaterback on the team). He can be clumsy, over ambitious, and doesn’t really have a lot of moves. He parlayed a hot streak into a WC spot–good for him–but his finishing has declined ever since he got back, which makes him no better than Jozy, really.

      Of the players on the WC roster, I’d be more interested in seeing Herculez Gomez than Buddle, to be honest. (Of course, we’re all hoping for Danny Mwanga to become eligible…yesterday.)

      Reply

      • Buddle love? Nah, I have no great love for him, but I’d like to see him get a real tryout. He’s in great form for his club. Jozy is, er, not.

        Reply

  6. Posted by DC Lyfe on 2010/10/14 at 11:53 AM

    It’s a fine first XI.

    Still, I would like to see a serious look at at five man midfield.

    Donovan and Dempsey as wings, pushing up into more attaching positions when possible.

    And a central trio of Jones, Holden, and Torres.

    It is, sadly, unlikely to happen. I know.

    Reply

    • I agree with dropping Bradley, since Holden has come of age in the center and the addition of Jones, Bradley’s run-all-over/work way too hard style simply isn’t necessary anymore. Maybe off the bench if things start to go sour, but the composure and ability of a Jones-Holden-Torres center would be magical to say the least.

      I love this idea, especially after Michael Bradley blatantly showed he is even less compatible with Jones than Lampard is with Gerrard.

      Reply

    • Posted by jwrandolph on 2010/10/14 at 9:07 PM

      You hit the nail on the head though.

      Our best individual midfielders do not give us our best midfield option. At least one of our top 5-6 players would likely have to sit to play a good system in the middle of the pitch. I think that Edu, Bradley, Jones, Holden, Torres, Feilhaber, Torres, Dempsey, and Donovan are all talented enough to make our top 11, but they’re all in midfield.

      Either that, or we could field Timmy, Gooch, and those 9 and just see what happens :)

      Reply

  7. Posted by Nelson on 2010/10/14 at 2:13 PM

    a 3-5-2 answers many of the US’s problems in my mind. We could try utilizing Robbie Rogers as a wingback or any of the players that can cross and have great speed. Lichaj or Dolo could easily wingback as well I opine. I would also just take Jozy out of the team and make it Donovan and Dempsey floating around up top, allowing Jones, Edu, and Holden to do work behind them. Michael Bradley looks better than he is cause he gives so much effort. Maybe he could be one of the three in the back with Onyewu and Goodson.

    I seriously do think we look better in this formation. I trust Dempsey and Donovan to convert chances up top so much more than Jozy. Plus Donovan doesn’t have to provide with Jones and Holden both capable. Not to mention his boy Dolo winging it…. Think about it. And reply if you’d like.

    Reply

    • Donovan has never been prolific when playing up top. Sure he’s scored goals (I think at least 10 of his USMNT goals have come from the spot), but once people realized the threat he can be he didn’t succeed until he had someone playing in front of him that can stretch the D and give him room to operate coming off the left flank.

      I like the idea of the 3-5-2 in principle, but I’d rather see it done with a true target striker (Dempsey could fill this role for now) and a speed option up front with Donovan coming in off the wings.

      Reply

    • Posted by jwrandolph on 2010/10/14 at 9:13 PM

      3-1-4-1?

      ——Cherundolo–Gooch——Goodson——
      —————————-Holden———–
      –Dempsey—–Jones—Bradley—Donovan-
      —————-Altidore————————

      Reply

      • Posted by jwrandolph on 2010/10/14 at 9:23 PM

        Ha! I was wondering why I’d never seen that formation before.

        Then I realized why I should learn to count to 11. Put Edu back there with Holden and I think thats my starters.

        Reply

        • i’d love to see that formation get a run out. I would just put Edu on the same side as Dempsey so he can push/stay farther up the field.

          Reply

  8. Posted by Craig on 2010/10/14 at 2:18 PM

    I don’t think I would start Altidore over Buddle currently. If I was picking 11 and had to choose between an in form striker with maturity or an out of form youngster whose play is mood dependent, I’ll choose Buddle. Jozy will be that guy but our team is more dangerous and exciting currently without him. At his age why is playing as a 60th minute sub a bad thing (I say it that way because it hasn’t been suggested, by anyone)? Being 20 he should still be taking cues from guys getting it done.

    I also love what Holden brings to the team as well. What I believe Coach prefers to due with him as a centrally minded player, equipped with a great crossing ability, is to have him play the right side over Cherundolo. Whenever Holden tucks in (which is frequent as we know) Dolo has the lone ability on our team to compensate for it. The two, once they become comfortable playing together (which I didn’t see in the friendlies leading up to the Cup hence Holden’s lack of playing time), will compliment each other well. This tends to push Donovan off to the LM with Dempsey up top as a CAM/SS or vice versa.

    My eleven:
    ————Howard——————-
    Dolo-Gooch-Goodson-Bornstein
    ———Edu—–Bradley————
    Holden—–Jones—-Donovan
    ——————Dempsey———-
    ———Buddle———————–

    Reply

    • Posted by Craig on 2010/10/14 at 2:28 PM

      I wish we could always play with an extra man, Ha! I love Edu on the field. Bradley and Jones I think are battling for the same spot so to me it’s a 3-way battle for those two CDM roles. I like the 4-4-2′s fluidity in that it can be a 4-1-3-2 or a 4-2-2-2 so really whichever 2-man combo works best in there chemistry wise not just based on talent or skillsets.

      Reply

  9. Posted by Tux on 2010/10/14 at 2:18 PM

    I feel more is expected of Jozy than he is capable of doing. His touch isn’t great, he doesn’t have amazing finishing skills, and I can’t ever remember being impressed with him laying balls off to a teammate making a run through the middle.

    I understand that he’s not an incredibly skilled player, but what he should be able to do, with his frame and his strength, is be good with his back to the net. And quite often, we see Jozy either unable to win a ball in the air (admittedly, the high ball service is not exactly of great quality) or not bring it in cleanly. He doesn’t use his body as well as we’d like, and that coupled with his lack of hustle – he’s a soccer player, he’s supposed to be able to run for the full 90, and instead he’s jogging or walking as the ball gets moved around the other side’s back line. You don’t need to sprint after the ball, but he’s jogging like an old man with that slow, shuffling gait. I feel like a benching might go a decent way to knocking some hustle into his game.

    Reply

  10. Posted by Nelson on 2010/10/14 at 2:24 PM

    I agree that Buddle should start over Jozy. I even have Gomez over Jozy.

    Reply

  11. Posted by bnesbit on 2010/10/14 at 4:22 PM

    What if Lichaj played left back instead of Bocanegra? I know he is a natural right back but it would give us speed and the ability to get forward from the back on both sides of the pitch. He may not be able to provide the crosses that he can from the right but he will have the ability to cut inside and shoot with his right from the left. I think it should be looked at as long as ‘dolo is still around, I’m tired of seeing Bocanegra get burned down the left. If we still want Captain America on the field he could play in the Center. I thought he did a decent job from there in the world cup.

    Reply

    • Posted by thebostinian on 2010/10/14 at 7:11 PM

      Won’t happen. Whoever we play out on the left side – be it Deuce, Landon, or Stu – is looking to come inside instead of driving hard to the corner. Holden would do this less than the other two, I think – he’s left-footed, and has the ability to get to the corner to deliver a deep cross – but he looks so good on the right that I don’t think he switches over

      The only mid we have who we could really do this with is Shea…almost all our other left mids are inverted wingers. And Shea did not acquit himself well, though I’m judging him a mere 45 minutes of play.

      Reply

  12. Posted by Joe on 2010/10/14 at 10:54 PM

    why am i the only one that has thought of this… Gooch-Spector in the middle. He’s essentially a faster Boca with better distribution out of the back.
    Dolo/Lichaj-gooch-spector-boca
    That is the only way to get our 4 best defenders on the field.

    Reply

    • Posted by bunkel on 2010/10/15 at 5:22 AM

      I’m not sure I consider Spector one of our 4 best defenders right now. However, I do think his talents would be utilized better at CB than RB.

      Reply

  13. Posted by FutbolAmerica on 2010/10/15 at 6:38 AM

    Just out this morning that Grella has been moved to Carlisle for a month loan (possibly longer according to management) and will be playing with fellow American Frank Simek. Hope this bears fruit and a new striker finally emerges.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/10/15 at 6:46 AM

      Grella move happened a few days ago.

      He just needs playing time — had turned down two loans foolishly beforehand. At least, he should get run now.

      Reply

  14. Posted by Swa on 2010/10/15 at 9:10 AM

    Bradley seems to consistently be in the right place at the right time in the opponent’s 18, but Edu seems to be in the right place at the right time ALWAYS. That’s what makes him so great as a holding mid in general, but especially as a complementary one in partnership with JJ.

    The most glaring thing one notices from these two friendlies is Bradley’s God-awful positioning. The biggest knock on Rico was that he was too static and always WAY too close to Junior on the pitch. Well, that’s exactly what’s happened to MB when he shares the center with Jonesy. Our best CM/DM/HM combo is either MB/Edu or JJ/Edu, and I don’t think any argument can be made that Bradley brings more to the table than Jones.

    I was fine with bringing Bob back, and I do like that he has experimented, but if there was ever a time to have Mikey sit or see what he can bring as a sub, this was it, and thus I now see my fears from the last year or so realized. No matter who emerges, develops or wows for Club or Country over the next 4 years, Michael Bradley will be playing 90 minutes in any game that matters. He certainly doesn’t hurt the team, but a pairing of Edu and Jones picking up the defensive slack on a front 4 of Deuce, Lando, Stu, and Jozy HAS to be the best lineup we can throw out there. Edu is a better athlete, a better passer, significantly calmer in demeanor, makes cleaner and smarter tackles, and will have a Champions League goal or two in his account by January 1.

    Reply

  15. Posted by chazcar2 on 2010/10/15 at 11:33 AM

    Hello again. I have another crazy formation.
    ————–Altidore—————
    Shea——————–Donavon
    —————————————-
    ——Dempsey—Holden——–
    —————————————-
    Jones———————-Bradley
    —————–Edu——————
    ——-Onyewu—-Gonzalez——
    —————Howard—————

    Reply

    • Posted by chazcar2 on 2010/10/15 at 11:43 AM

      For non-crazy I think a 4-3-3 could be effective with a good fullbacks getting forward and a good left forward. Without that any 4 man back line is a fail.

      Shea————–Altidore————Donavon
      ——-Dempsey————-Holden———–
      ———————–Jones———————–
      Bornstien—Onyewu—Gonzalez—Lichaj
      ——————-Howard————————-

      Edu, Bradley and Jones could all change the holding role. Maybe Dempsey moves up to left forward to replace shea and Jones moves up to Left Mid, and Bradley/Edu slide into Def Mid.

      Reply

      • Interesting 4-3-3. I like the overall concept but Onyewu—Gonzalez should not play together. That is one slow pairing that would not step up on cutting strikers fast enough. They are just too similar of “pillar type” players. I think I would start Boca over JB but like the ideas in the front six. Kudos for thinking outside the box. The other formations though are a bit too crazy, but interesting to look at none the less.

        Reply

  16. Love the column.

    1 question for Matt:
    Sorry if someone already pointed this out but I am confused on whether in the “Best Eleven” you wanted Dempsey or Donovan in the withdrawn role. The formation lists Demps as the withdrawn striker but the explanation sentences discuss Demps at LM with Donovan up top. (I am guessing Demps at LM was the final choice).

    Reply

    • Never mind my comment; only read half the column
      I see that Donovan is in the LM depth chart. I am guessing that the sentences about “Dempsey cutting in from the left…” in the Best Eleven section were written before you changed your mind and moved Dempsey forward. I get the high volume of material you put out and lack of time to edit. (side note when discussing Holden it says “Bradley” is one of the top five players on the pitch for the Yanks now.” I know this was meant to say Holden. Don’t sweat the editing. We the readers understand what is supposed to be said and are thankful for the insight.

      Reply

  17. Posted by Russell on 2010/10/15 at 12:48 PM

    This site is quality. I just discovered it and I have to say it’s jumped to the top my list..

    Jones is clearly the best MF, but as you said I think he’d be best as the Vice creator. I’m wondering if the best tandem could be Torres and Jones? I like Mikey and I like Edu, but a tandem including them and Jones seems to leave more gaps.

    I thought I was the only one who really likes the CM runouts of Edu. I know he wasn’t world class back there, but he certainly had the strength and speed and he played out of the back better than anyone we’ve seen in years. His positioning was suspect a few times, but in my opinion as someone who converted to that position, it only takes repetitions at that speed of play before you begin to recognize and compensate for them.

    For me. Altidore comes off the bench at min 80 and muscles and gets PKs but doesnt Flop. Dempsey is my lone striker with Donovan as the floater.

    Reply

  18. Question: I get the depth chart rules. If TSG is so high on Holden in center why not try this starting eleven?:

    —–———Howard——————-
    Dolo—Gooch–Goodson–Boca
    ———Holden—–Jones————
    Donovan—Feilhaber—-Dempsey
    ——–——Buddle———————–

    Then when we have a lead late……go to

    —–———Howard——————-
    Dolo—Gooch—Goodson-Boca
    Holden—Edu/MB—Jones—Donovan
    ———————-Dempsey————
    ——–——Gomez———————–

    Contingencies:
    Altidore could play either of those stiker roles but I think the other players are a better fit if one game is all that matters
    Would love to see Demerit in center if he plays a game soon.
    Tempted to put Lichaj at LB IF he was given just half a game to show what he has there. Move Boca centrally with either Gooch or Goodson. I know the contention about having left foot wingbacks but is Boca really going to provide that attacking width? Would you rather gamble on Lichaj or JB? I think Lichaj would play well be solid defensively and still provide enough lap over with Demps to make it work. In a one game scenario right now I would consider it. Lichaj = RB but he could serve us well if being trusted to play either in a pinch.

    Reply

  19. Posted by Tab Ramos on 2010/10/17 at 10:30 PM

    Everyone here does realize that Torres doesn’t even start on Pachuca anymore, right? He barely even plays.

    Reply

  20. Posted by Tab Ramos on 2010/10/17 at 10:35 PM

    Btw, this is definitely a good article. I have some really minor quibbles. I don’t think Feilhaber is the right guy at left mid. He should be kept centrally only. At striker, Ruelas is way too young and inexperienced and Grella hasn’t really done anything in the past year to signify that he’s anywhere near a contender for a spot. I would consider Casey, Ching, etc ahead of him in the pecking order right now. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought Diskerud played central midfield at his club. Does he play in an advanced position regularly? I know e scores goals so that’s possible, but I didn’t think it was the case. Other than that, great article. I especially liked the Cannavaro bit.

    Reply

  21. [...] Our 2nd entry in what is sure be a long-running journal. Here was our first entry in October. [...]

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  22. [...] Here was our first entry in October. [...]

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  23. [...] is our first entry in October 2010. January 2011 was our next scribbling.  And our last, post-Argentina, post-Paraguay journal [...]

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