Picking Up The Clipboard: Bradley’s March Troops?

For the past five years or so, suggestions have been made that the United States hightail it out of CONCACAF and compete in a more challenging FIFA region. That or create a combined tournament between CONMEBOL and CONCACAF–TSG’s Mark Tomaszewicz suggesting as such a two years ago.

(Deadpan) Two careers that have paralleled one another...

Well now, the USMNT is about to encounter the closest they’ll get to CONMEBOL qualifying, or tournament-level, competition in a non-World Cup or Confederation’s Cup setting.

A two-pack of games against World Cup Sweet 16 competition in Argentina–welcome back to New Jersey Mr.Lionel Messi–and Paraguay back-to-back in the States.

What makes these matches more compelling from a competition standpoint is that the Copa America is right around the corner and both nations will be airmailing their “A” roster to the States.

When Argentina’s roster announcement was made this past Friday, the only meaningful names missing were Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero. (Aguero the more interesting absence in our opinion in that he’s doing fairly well in the league, is in form right now and World Cup goal ace Gonzolo Higuain is in the midst of a lengthy rehab.)

With the relatively weak-looking loss to Brazil in August 2010’s post-World Cup friendly, the objectives for USMNT Coach Bob Bradley might look as follows: (1) Bring in as many first teamers as possible–Bradley hasn’t seen the first team in camp in nearly 6 months, (2) Take a look at the complexion of his first choice backline for the Gold Cup and beyond and, less of a priority, (3) bring two or three players through camp that might have a shot at the “A” team.

Even more challenging here for the States–and something that might necessitate that more seasoned roster selection–Argentina and Paraguay play very different games.

Argentina–almost Barca-like–prefers to hold the ball in the opponent’s defensive third with a quadrumvirate of forwards applying pressure through two-touch passing and voraciously winning balls back when those passing attacks break down. Argentina deploys captain Javier Mascherano as a true holding midfielder to seal in the ball in the their offensive half.

Goodby Santa Cruz? Hello Santander...

In Paraguay, you’ve got a team that pressures high as well and perhaps, next to Germany, played the best defensive game at World Cup 2010. In fact, the entire Paraguayan style looks downright German in their approach, from employing tall strikers–the latest being 6’2” 19-year-old Toulouse sensation Federico Santander–to secure balls over the top and in the box, to bringing a very physical defense to bear with bruise-inducing tackling.

One last note before we get started, any MLSers got a chance of making this one besides Landon? Maybe one or two max….

Let’s take a look at who might get that email from US Soccer House’s Chicago lair this week:

G: Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, David Yeldell

Yelldell

 

The skinny: This could be the game that little-known Bundesliga II keeper David Yeldell gets a call-in–being both a veteran and playing well over the past month or so. Yeldell did sustain a hand injury two matches ago, but played 90 minutes on Saturday for MSV Duisburg.

If not Yelldell, Bradley will likely go with two keepers…

And you know those two keepers, of course, as Howard and Guzan. There might be a bit of hesitation with Guzan as he bounces between Villa and Hull City looking to secure 1st team side, but a call in would only help his exposure.

DEF: Jonathan Bornstein, Oguchi Onyewu, Stevie Cherundolo, Carlos Bocanegra, Michael Parkhurst, Jonathan Spector, Eric Lichaj

The skinny: The only name from the list above that is curious might be Michael Parkhurst. Bradley likes his central defender distribution and, aside from a very-green Gale Agbossoumunde, all the rest of the centerback cover is in MLS (Tim Ream, Omar Gonzalez, maybe Brek Shea).

Somewhat incredulously, this man is the Yanks' best leftback in club ball...

I would’ve suggested that Ream might have got a call in, but with the Red Bull youngster virtually a shoe-in for the Gold Cup and Chris Albright going down for the Red Bulls, I think that would be a tough call in from a political standpoint. That said, now that Clarence Goodson is out with a broken toe, you may just see the New York Red Bulls centerback getcalled in for at least one game.

The only other name I could see factoring here would be Zach Loyd. The FC Dallas youngster plays the troubling leftback spot and he may not be a starter for his club

MID: Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Stu Holden, Maurice Edu, Ale Bedoya, Jose Torres

Hey buddy, what you been up to?

TSG is not a huge fan of Torres’s game, but here’s a few things to remember about JFT: a) he’s only 23. So that make him younger than both Stu Holden and Maurice Edu in the States’ midfield. b) he’s got a World Cup start under his belt and c) he’s starting to come on now.

(Note, and not to go back, but…I don’t begrudge Torres his tough World Cup start. I mean honestly since when does a national team player get their first start 2nd start in nearly two years at the World Cup?! Torres lone start in 2010? Against the Dutch in a friendly where he just wasn’t able to impact the game.)

The rest goes as follows–and who wouldn’t want to see Stu Holden man the middle. But isn’t that always the question around these parts.

A Sacha Kljestan or Benny Feilhaber might sneak in here as well. Kljestan being the better fit as Feilhaber hasn’t played since November of last year.

FW: Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Mix Diskerrud

The skinny: You’ll probably see both Donovan and Dempsey–where on the field is still a good guess.

Mix, we like him inside, outside, or just below the striker. He should be a key player with his size and attack prowess against Paraguay at least.

STR: Jozy Altidore, Edson Buddle, Eddie Johnson

The skinny: A shame about Team Bunbury’s injury because after his performance in both South Africa and in January Camp, it’s possible the Kansas City forward might have been inline for this camp, even with the MLS season kicking off.

Juan Agudelo probably not a consideration in this one. He’s over a groin strain and the Charlie-In-A-Bottle candidate needs to settle into some club games as his first priority.

Bet on Jozy Altidore (of course), Edson Buddle (maybe) and/or Eddie Johnson. Yes, Eddie Johnson. Got another speed option who’s fit and not in diapers? If not EJ, than perhaps Coach Sweats plays the buddy system and bring up Jose Torres’s Pachuca mate Herculez Gomez from down south.

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70 responses to this post.

  1. Interesting selections. As I look over your list and the changes I’d make to it, I can’t help but be excited at the player pool we have to choose from. Not that we’re “deep”, but I can think of at least a few players at each position that could feasibly make the cut. A good sign for the USMNT.

    The most glaring absence: no Cherundolo? Not sure if I’m missing something here, but he has to be a lock if he’s healthy and available. I’d love to see Loyd included (I was very impressed by his performance against Chile) but agree he’s a long shot.

    I’m a big fan of both Bedoya and Torres, so I’d be happy if they were called into camp. Their two spots (after Bradley Jr, Jones, Stu, and Edu) seem like they could go to any number of players – Feilhaber and Sacha, as you mention, and Ricardo Clark also comes to mind. Not that I’d want Clark there – but Bob seems to like him.

    Mix also impressed me against Chile, and I’d love to see him get another chance, this time surrounded by first-team players. Up front, Altidore and Buddle definitely get called in; not sure on the third spot. I think Wondolowski deserves a chance with some players who can get him decent service, but this camp might not be the time.

    My two cents.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/03/13 at 11:39 PM

      ‘Dolo’s in there.

      Reply

      • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/03/13 at 11:41 PM

        I think with Ricardo Clark, he’s just back after fracturing his skull. Not sure either game is the best to throw him into with the depth in midfield.

        Now as for the starters and formation…with Argentina almost playing a play four upfront–that will be interesting.

        That piece is coming…

        Reply

        • Posted by Tux on 2011/03/14 at 6:44 AM

          That noise you hear is me bashing my head against my desk. Maybe if I do it hard enough, somehow it will re-damage Clark’s skull and he won’t get called up.

          Either that or I’ll get a headache, which will happen anyways if Clark gets into camp.

          Reply

        • My bad on the Cherundolo thing. Looking forward to seeing your ideas on starters/formation. I’m hoping we see a little experimentation from Bob.

          Reply

  2. Posted by JasonPrice on 2011/03/13 at 11:58 PM

    Timothy Chandler?

    Reply

  3. EJ…. If he’s the best we can do up front, then we might as well pack up and go home. :/

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/03/14 at 5:22 AM

      But the US is already playing at home…

      Reply

    • Posted by EFG on 2011/03/14 at 5:27 AM

      I actually like EJ to other options. He gets 90 minutes week in and week out unlike Herculez. I can speak as an ex-striker that a lot of form is tied to confidence, but it is amazing to see how much EJ’s game was tied to his confidence. As soon as he lost that he has been a shade of his former self. Besides, Clint likes him and they make a good freestyle duo.

      Reply

      • Posted by KickinNames... on 2011/03/14 at 8:46 AM

        Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh! That’s my brain on Eddie Johnson. Please. no. more.

        Reply

    • Posted by Izzy on 2011/03/14 at 4:56 PM

      Who the HELL said that Eddie Johnson was the best we could do up front? We have two other up and coming strikers who are probably better than him and another two already mentioned in this post that are for sure better than him. PLEASE….just try being rational and thing before you put up a post. Don’t waste people’s time.

      Reply

      • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/03/14 at 5:19 PM

        Quick Isaac. Name a fast striker who’s available for this friendly, not injured, and has more than 2 club goals under belt.

        Who else are you going to bring in.

        Whether he scores or not at least eddie johnson can strtetch the defense and open space for the midfielders who are team usas real scorers.

        Just curious. Who’s your guy?

        Reply

        • Posted by Grant on 2011/03/14 at 5:46 PM

          Yes maybe Eddie can stretch the field a little but like Mr. Findley in the world cup, speed only does so much. If you give the ball away every time you touch it, then you are more harm than you are good. I would rather see wondo again or maybe check out Matt Taylor who is school like crazy in Bundesliga 3. I know Bundesliga 3 but what could it hurt.

          Reply

  4. Posted by Crow on 2011/03/14 at 7:32 AM

    Darn, I didn’t know Clearance Goodson was injured. I was wondering why he wasn’t listed.

    BTW- just curious. How many games has MB90 played the last 3/4 months? I don’t think I want him starting vs. Argentina. I don’t see Bob leaving him out, though.

    Reply

  5. Posted by babbalicious on 2011/03/14 at 7:33 AM

    no borstein! I would rather recall agoos, scary!

    Reply

  6. Posted by John on 2011/03/14 at 8:05 AM

    Bud-dle! Bud-dle! Bud-dle! Bud-dle!

    Reply

  7. Posted by dth on 2011/03/14 at 8:28 AM

    To me, I’d rather bring in Sean Johnson (for Guzan) and Tim Ream (for Parkhurst). I feel especially strongly about the Ream-Parkhurst switch because we know what we have in Parkhurst, it’s probably not going to get much better, and I’m not even sure he makes the Gold Cup squad anyway. Why not take a gamble on upside? I want to see what the young guys are capable of against the best opposition. Might stink a bit for Red Bulls but they’ve got cover on the back four.

    Reply

    • Posted by Jake C on 2011/03/14 at 10:41 AM

      I heartily second this. I would LOVE to see Ream get minutes against these teams. Don’t think it’s likely though with the MLS season just getting underway.

      Reply

  8. Posted by Joe on 2011/03/14 at 8:59 AM

    I really wish Teal wasn’t injured it would be his first time against a legitimate “A” team squad. Plus I just want to be able to scream “I LIKE THAT BOONBOOREE” when he scores. So jealous of the KC fans this year.

    Reply

  9. Posted by RJ on 2011/03/14 at 9:35 AM

    didnt jose torres start in costa rica in qualifying?

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/03/14 at 10:14 AM

      You’re correct….I’ll revise, but my point still holds true. Hadn’t started a meanigful game for the US since then. 2008, correct?

      Reply

      • Posted by RJ on 2011/03/14 at 10:24 AM

        yeah I believe those are his only 2 starts. I agree with ya though, tough to come in in that situation

        Reply

        • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/03/14 at 10:26 AM

          Not only tough, but this is the guy that’s supposed to be your distributor and have a feel for where everyone is on the field. I hate going back to the WC, but I feel many beat writers missed this criticism of Bradley because they were enamored with JFT’s to play possession.

          That would have been 1 out of 11 players playing possession for the Yanks.

          Anywho…thanks for the comment.

          Reply

        • Posted by Jake C on 2011/03/14 at 10:36 AM

          He came out at the half during both of those games, too. Bob definitely doesn’t see him as a stalwart in the midfield, that’s for sure. I hope to see him improve and get some more minutes though.

          Reply

          • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/03/14 at 10:38 AM

            You can’t ask a player to play against world class competition in a role that requires him to find teammates up the pitch (who aren’t used to making check-back runs) without starting him on ,multiple occasions.

            Obviously I’m still angry about this! :>

            And I goofed again. He started against the Dutch as well.

            Still…those my argument is headed down the toilet.

            Reply

        • Posted by Jake C on 2011/03/14 at 10:45 AM

          I agree with you Matt, I think he’s still one for the future–the Turkey game was great to watch, he schooled their entire team. Needs more reps for sure.

          Reply

    • Posted by Dave on 2011/03/14 at 8:05 PM

      This does get interesting. José Torres is getting more minutes lately than Michael Bradley, does that put him above MB in the pecking order? (No.) But these kind of issues do make it more difficulty for Bob Bradley, trying to evaluate players playing in very different leagues, some getting minutes in weaker leagues or on weaker teams, others not getting much time in better leagues/teams.
      Then there’s the question of depth and limited preparation time with the Nats. For example, whatever you think of Bornstein at left back, he has had some decent performances there, and knows how he fits in. (Granted, he has made some big mistakes there, too). Still, the first choice left back seems to be Bocanegra, who is also a first choice centerback. The other LB’s out there either haven’t spent much time with the Nats or have been inconsistent(Pearce). So do you go with the devil you know or take a risk with someone you don’t?
      Back to JFT, Matthew makes a good point that 1 guy out of 11 playing possession ball is a bit difficult. Those passes back to Jay Demerit? At Pachuca they go to Muñoz Mustafá, a centerback comfortable on the ball, who has other players moving to give him an outlet. On the Nats, not so much.
      JFT also has the difficulty that he doesn’t see a lot of time in the friendlies, so he doesn’t get accustomed to the international speed of play. But this is because it’s more important to get the players ahead of him time in the “A” friendlies and league play keeps him out of the “B” friendlies–not FIFA dates. Nor does he play the strong defensive role with Tuzos that Bob Bradley seems to like with his central mids.
      Aside from the innate skills JFT has, maybe what Nat’s fans are wishing for is some measure of his technical skills(partly a result of training in the club system in Mexico)to be more common among US players.
      For the record, I like JFT’s work ethic and attitude(minus complaining to refs), appreciate his contribution(that point in El Salvador–Hejduk and Torres had a lot to do with that), but I think there are players ahead of him who on balance offer more–better defenders, stronger, faster, adequate to good offensive skills, versatility(Holden can play wing at least adequately on a team that has few true wingers).

      Reply

      • Posted by Martin on 2011/03/15 at 5:32 PM

        JFT is wonderfully comfortable with the ball, maybe more so than any other US player.

        However, that in itself doesn’t mean he can do anything dangerous with the ball.

        I’ve watched him with the USMNT and a fair amount with Pachuca and when all is said and ddoen, he doesn’t seem very dangerous with the ball. With Pachucha they seem to use him as a link up guy.

        He certainly has the skill to send in the sort of dangerous passes a Beckham, a Xavi or, in US terms, a guy like Mix or JOB before him could do but that doesn’t mean he has the instinct. Maybe he just needs to go where he can do that or maybe he never will develop it.

        I just know that when JFT has the ball, it’s pretty clear the other team is not very afraid of what he will do with it.

        Reply

  10. Love the time and thought put into this piece.

    Thoughts…
    Isn’t it worthwhile to bring in as many of the viable players (that might be on the Gold Cup squad) even if some of them see scant minutes? Above 22 players are listed; no inclusion limit, right? (except for the theoretical amount while practicing effectively). Not saying 30 players, but 25?

    To me Rico, Kljestan, and Findley etc. do not = viable. Don’t bring more fringe; instead poach some MLS players. (Possibilities: Ream, Demerit, Sean Johnson, Zach Loyd, Bunbury, + Feilhaber)

    Yes these players have MLS matches, injuries, etc. but couldn’t they come for camp for some time/play 1 match?

    Having more players at camp (for at least partial time) may be advantageous for 2 reasons:
    1) Getting everyone on the same page as far as tactics for the current formations/game-plans (say BB trys Holden and Jones CM; And wants to work on playing more balanced (i.e. make our Left side more robust) with the current personnel and formation options. Seeing how his current options link up with the most available choices would help.

    2)Most importantly: CB pairings need time to mature. Having as many CB’s available (at least in practice and 1 game) would be very helpful. BB seems to enjoy trialing combinations in practice. Having only Onyewu, Boca, and Parkhurst wouldn’t help foster pairings for the Gold Cup. No, I don’t see Spector as a top CB option. Couldn’t he tried out at RM (if Holden and Demps are used more centrally)?

    Reply

  11. Upcoming matches for possible (part-time inclusions):
    Not saying these should all come, but some? Definitely. Listed in most to least want to see called in…

    Tim Ream
    (couldn’t the Red Bulls do without him for 1 match?) Trialing CB pairings is crucial.
    3/26 Columbus v NY
    4/2 NY v Houston

    Jay Demerit
    (see Ream above) Also I know he hasn’t played meaningful min. but I don’t think he has lost it all yet. Still may contribute huge at Gold Cup. Seeing him in practice and as a poss. sub for the friendlies, why not?
    3/26 Phily v Vancouver
    4/2 Vancouver v KC

    Sean Johnson
    (Notice that he doesn’t play on 4/2, could he get some min against Paraguay? Maybe bring 4 goalies since Guzan is getting married during the Gold Cup)
    3/26 Chicago v KC
    4/9 Seattle v Chicago

    Bunbury
    (If he’s not playing for KC, getting some reps in practice may help, plus he dislocated his elbow, not broken, he may be ready to play relief min)
    3/26 Chicago v KC
    4/2 Vancouver v KC

    Zach Loyd
    (1 match?)
    3/26 FC Dallas v San Jose
    4/2 Columbus v FC Dallas

    Feilhaber = why not at least to practice?

    Can Timothy Chandler still come and practice in camp if his passport issue isn’t resolved? Gradually get him into the system.

    Reply

  12. hey guys, been awhile since ive actually commented so ill figured a good rant here would be welcome by all. Here goes:

    First off, while I totally get your exclusion of the MLS guys, the fact that a game is happening in NYC makes it highly likely that we see both Ream and Agudelo as options for at least that game. Bob has a penchant for bringin in some hometown guys since they’re travel is at a minimum. Knowing that Agudelo is still getting over an injury, I can see only Ream being called up tho. But if like you say, few if any MLSers other than Landon get called up, then how about a guy like Zak Whitbred or Gale Agbossoumonde?

    Secondly, not sure why Bornstein is being included here, since he no longer plays left back, in a league where defense isn’t exactly a strong point to begin with. It’s great that he’s getting a good amount of time, but its primarily all in midfield. Zach Loyd may be the best option here moving forward, once Bocanegra moves on. Edgar Castillo and Miguel Ponce are still out there, but Castillo is on his third consecutive loan to Puebla where he has only played in a few matches, and Ponce is out injured at Guadalajara I believe.

    Also would love to see Timothy Chandler get a call up here, but I’m not sure if he can yet?

    For my money, here are the 23 guys I would call up:
    GK: Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Dominic Cervi

    DF: Steve Cherundolo, Eric Lichaj, Timothy Chandler, Oguchi Onyewu, Michael Parkhurst, Zak Whitbred, Carlos Bocanegra, Zach Loyd

    MD: Landon Donovan, Alejandro Bedoya, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Maurice Edu, Jonathan Spector, Stuart Holden, Sacha Kljestan

    FW: Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, Eddie Johnson, Edson Buddle

    Reply

    • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/03/14 at 4:21 PM

      It’s great that he’s getting a good amount of time, but its primarily all in midfield

      I wouldn’t even really say he’s getting a good amount of time. He’s appeared in four of UANL’s ten games so far, and his last appearance was over a month ago.

      Other the other hand, we do need some cover at left back, so if Bob’s going to avoid calling up MLSers, he may have no real choice but to bring in Bornstein.

      Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/03/14 at 8:07 PM

      Welcome back Connor.

      Figure this: Eric Lichaj didn’t play…in his hometown…in a friendly of little consequence…with his family in attendance…against the other team that he was considering playin for…Poland. (Not really considering, but you get the picture.)

      The only time I’ve see Bob Bradley drift just a smidge from pure merit or pure trust was Jay Heaps in the Gold Cup in 2009.

      Reply

      • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/03/14 at 8:34 PM

        Beckerman against El Salvador in Rio Tinto?

        Reply

        • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/03/14 at 10:48 PM

          Good counterpoint. That say, it’ like Agudelo or Ream have a career of distinguished service yet.

          Reply

      • Posted by Connor Walsh on 2011/03/15 at 4:07 AM

        The Lichaj point is a good one. That was a baffling decision by Bradley. I do tend to agree with ufficio about just needing cover at left back. An interesting option, could be a guy like Jose Torres at LB? Lol at this point I’m just throwing crap on the wall and seeing what sticks, but he is left footed, has a fair bit of pace, solid distribution, and as we saw against Turkey, can get stuck in on some tackles.

        Spector still makes my list because he can play essentially 6 positions for the US. Good cover guy. Bornstein I’ve never seen play in midfield and only short stints in central defense where he didn’t seem too comfortable.

        Also, I don’t think we’ve seen the end of the Maurice Edu CB experiment. His passing out of the back was a welcome sight against Poland and it also allows us to get Bradley, Jones, Edu, and Holden all on the field at the same time, which I think is important moving forward towards the Gold Cup.

        Likin the love for Michael Parkhurst though, greatly underrated CB who’s done quite well in Europe. We also share the same birthday so he’s basically a badass for my money.

        As I said earlier, now is as good of a time as any for CBs like Whitbred and Agbossoumonde to get integrated. CB has become a bit thin, especially with Goodson picking up an injury.

        Also, I wonder if the staff has made contact with Issac Acuna, he’s a 21 year old midfielder who plays for Queretaro down in Mexico. 3 goals in 5 games I believe. Was just called into Mexicos U22 team camp I believe so he’s someone like a Jose Torres in that regard.

        Not ready to rule out Hurculez Gomez as 4-deep striker yet either.

        Reply

  13. ^^^seeing as Chandlers passport isn’t situated, trade him for Jose Torres…

    Reply

  14. Posted by Kevin Snovicky on 2011/03/14 at 1:49 PM

    Why no Omar Gonzalez? He should at least be considered because of his age and he has had two excellent years at CB. Plus Spector shouldn’t be considered a defender anymore, same goes with Bornstein.

    Reply

    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/03/14 at 3:47 PM

      Gonzalez should not be considered because of his age. He should be considered because of his ability.

      Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/03/14 at 3:49 PM

      Omar gonzales has slow feet. I could see him playing against paraguay maybe. Not argentina.

      On spector and bornstein, why not defenders? So they don’t play there now. They’re too far down in the midfield really to be options. Explain…

      Reply

      • Posted by dth on 2011/03/14 at 5:07 PM

        Well, he’s slow AND his distribution is poor AND he’s good for one brain fart a game.

        He is aerially dominant though, to be fair.

        Reply

  15. Posted by justin on 2011/03/14 at 2:00 PM

    i have a question. Why isn’t Zak Whitbread talked about more. I know he’s older, but he’s starting for a championship side that will probably be promoted to the EPL this season….

    Reply

    • Posted by Martin on 2011/03/15 at 5:20 PM

      The Argentina/Paraguay games are the last chance to see guys before the Gold Cup yes? So BB is probably going to use them to preview his starters.

      The Gold Cup starting two CB’s will probably be Gooch and Goodson/Boca. Since Goodson is out that leaves Edu and Spector. In tournament football versatility is vital. Assuming Clarence is back for the Gold Cup, Gooch,Goodson, Boca, Edu and Spector gives you coverage for the entire defense and a lot of midfield.

      If Edu and/or Spector cannot make the tournament for one reason or another BB will almost certainly go for a versatile veteran defender meaning, Demerit, Clark (at CB), Jonny B. are next up, depending on form. Center back is no place to put a newbie in during a tough tournament.

      By the way, that said, whatever you think of Jonny B, it’s not like he suddenly forgot how to play left back because he’s been in midfield. He played a lot of centerback and some midfield for Chivas before the World Cup where, as I recall he played some of his best USMNT games. This is soccer; it’s not like asking Steve Nash to play center or Aaron Rogers to play free safety.

      If for some reason we need another candidate then for me you can choose Ream or Whitbread. Then it becomes a matter of short term benefit versus long term gain. Is Whitbread that much better than Ream that it’s worth depriving Ream of what could be a very important tournament? Remember Whitbread’s never played with the Senior USMNT setup so in some ways, he’s more of a newbie than Ream, not a good thing for central defender.

      I happen to like Whitbread and have no problem playing him ( though I think his ship has sailed) and I think Ream is pretty so-so(lack of mobility) but a lot of people rate him so maybe I’m wrong.

      Reply

      • Posted by dth on 2011/03/15 at 5:59 PM

        Tim Ream’s lack of mobility is seriously overstated: he can run pretty fast. He just looks kind of weird doing it, so perhaps this is why people think he is slow. I rarely see him beaten for pace in the MLS–and if you aren’t getting beaten for pace in the MLS, then it’s hard for you to get beaten for pace anywhere.* Ream’s problems as a defender are: a) he’s weak in the air and I’m not sure he’ll ever get better; b) his positioning/mental game as a defender could use improvement.

        * Well, in terms of RAW pace–there aren’t too many guys worldwide who are faster than the MLS’s fastest guys. The difference between those fast guys worldwide and our fast guys is that those guys are smarter about setting players up to get burnt. But chances are, if you look fast over here, you’re fast everywhere. Famous example: Robbie Findley was the third-fastest player in the World Cup, IIRC. (I believe, interestingly, Chicharito was #2.)

        Reply

  16. Posted by FutbolAmerica on 2011/03/14 at 2:07 PM

    I say let’s gut us some DC United and bring both Charlie Davies and Dax McCarty… Would be fun!

    And I still want to see Mike Grella get a run out with the national team to see how he does.

    Reply

    • Posted by USAsoccerman on 2011/03/14 at 4:41 PM

      I may be biased becasue hes my favorite player but…i think now is the time for davies long awaited recall to the national team.

      Reply

      • Posted by Martin on 2011/03/15 at 5:23 PM

        Don’t you think he should prove he can start and excel for the worst team in the MLS first?

        Reply

  17. Posted by Ufficio on 2011/03/14 at 4:24 PM

    What about Starikov? Our options at forward don’t look too appealing, especially if Agudelo and Bunbury are out of the equation.

    Reply

  18. Posted by USAsoccerman on 2011/03/14 at 4:40 PM

    I would love to see a new formation up top with the possibility of throwing mix into the group with altidore, dempsey, and donovan. That may be a finishing touch that could prove vital to the US attack and I think with 2 holding mids of bradley, jones, edu, holden, torres combinations could prove to be very interesting.

    Reply

  19. Posted by Izzy on 2011/03/14 at 5:04 PM

    I kind of want to bring in Diskerud for Torres, but that’s kind of my bias for the kid kicking in. He, for me, is an exciting prospect that is one of the few players who looks like he could take up the job of creating from Donovan and Dempsey when that(sad) time comes. He, Bedoya, Agudelo and Bunbury all seem like the second string front four for our 4-2-2-2.

    I’m also interested to see what Eugene Starikov is doing these days.

    Reply

  20. Posted by Grant on 2011/03/14 at 5:48 PM

    Any chance for Demerit for CB? I would doubt it but just curious if you thought that might be in the equation.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/03/14 at 5:52 PM

      I don’t think so in that he hasn’t played a competitive game since Ghana. That’s a lot of fitness and game speed to make up.

      Independent of mls.

      Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/03/14 at 6:01 PM

      In regards to eddie johnson. Well first. There doesn’t need to be a notion that the us has to solve every position at once.

      I would think wondo might be a choice but he’s got MLS. And frankly he didn’t show that he can create by himself againt chile. Yes. He had a hard role.

      In regards to Taylor. What is he’s bad in the club house. Can he play d at a high level?

      Can he run off landon or clint?

      Sure you have to find out sometime but that’s quite a jump going from bundesliga III to playing against world class competition.

      I appreciate that the average fan isn’t enamored with ej’s game. Its hard to be. But, if he gets called in, look at this as not an opportunity for him but one less moving part for the coaching staff.

      I could see herc called in for this. Don’t think wondo or others will be.

      And frankly having watched wondo here in the bay area, he’s similar to wondo he’s a bit of a poacher and good at finding space off the ball.

      Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

      Reply

      • Posted by KickinNames... on 2011/03/15 at 5:23 AM

        Each argument for EJ makes less and less sense. He’s a known commodity and what we know is that he lacks the ability to score goals or provide consistent hold up play in the striker role at the intl level.
        Gomez makes all the sense in the world if it’s filling a roster spot. Still has upside and has not had near enough opps to prove himself. Ascending vs descending.

        Reply

        • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/03/15 at 5:27 AM

          But your not going to use EJ for hold-up play.

          And you already know that Bunbury and Agudelo are in play, but likely not for this friendly series.

          Sure Herculez has a shot. He’s two years older though. I could see him getting picked.

          I’m still not seeing a reason why EJ is not an option. Again, it’s not about EJ; it’s about knowing the commodity because those you want (Bunbury, Agudelo maybe Ruelas at some point) are injured or not able to play.

          Having seen a compelling argument against this. I’ve only seen a “Hey I don’t agree with that.”

          Reply

        • Agree with EJ being called up for the reasons Matt stated. Another reason 4-5-1 with Buddle/Altidore will be preferred so he shouldnt see much time.
          Still think Sean Johnson should be called up for relief min in Paraguay match. When Guzan is unavailable at the Gold Cup (getting married) who is the #2 Keeper?

          Reply

          • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/03/15 at 9:21 AM

            I don’t think you take either player in for a camp fresh of injuries and with their full club season in front of them. A club season where you need them both–critically–to get games to improve.

            Reply

        • Posted by KickinNames... on 2011/03/15 at 11:32 AM

          The compelling argument is that you’ve learned everything you need to learn about EJ in the 5 yrs or so that he’s been given to prove. He doesn’t have it at this level.
          If your point is to have a guy just to have a guy, then it makes more sense to bring someone other than a guy that is not in the plans. Or shouldn’t be based on his past and recent performances. Gomez or other unknown commodity would make more sense as “a guy”.

          Reply

          • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/03/15 at 11:49 AM

            Still don’t see your point.

            If you concede that: Bunbury and Agudelo are the two strikers most likely to make the jump to the USMNT at this point.

            If you concede that you *don’t know what you’re getting in another striker coming into camp.

            If you concede that you don’t have solve all positions at once…

            then an EJ call-up makes perfect sense. Almost too much sense…you don’t *have to play him.

            Last time I’ll make the point. An Eddie Johnson call-up really isn’t about Eddie Johnson.

            Reply

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/03/15 at 3:34 PM

          What about Conor Doyle? How is he progressing at Derby County?

          Reply

        • Posted by dth on 2011/03/15 at 4:10 PM

          Conor Doyle might not end up on the u-20 world cup roster, so tough to say he should be called into the USMNT. (Other forwards in the picture: Agudelo, Wood, Ruelas, Salgado, McInerney, Tristan Bowen…and then if 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 guys like Gyau and Gatt are possible wide forwards. Depth in abundance for that team–though no phenoms.)

          Reply

    • Posted by Iggystar on 2011/03/15 at 3:22 PM

      Of course I now just glanced at your twitter feed.

      Hey have you heard about this world war 1 thing going on? Crazy.

      Reply

  21. Posted by dth on 2011/03/15 at 6:33 PM

    Ream and Agudelo called up?

    Reply

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