Let’s do a mid-week rant here to get some stuff off the proverbial TSG chest. Go:
• Freddy Adu should start against Canada.
Are you mad?! (Now watch it happen).
Freddy Adu has been out of the US picture since the 2009 Gold Cup. He’s just found some playing in the Turkish second division and seems to perhaps be priming for a good season ahead.
That said, despite Freddy’s obviously on-ball theatrics when he has some space, his composure under fire is still in question and his willingness to defend at all costs should give any coach reprieve of putting him in against the the most competitive team in the US group stage.
Bob Bradley brought him in to the squad to judge whether he should develop him for 2014, not to start the first game of the group stage.
• Michael Bradley is the unequivocal selection in midfield because of the US central performance against Spain.
The commentary from the authors on this site have always maintained the following about Bradley. On defense, “Effort guy” who tackles relentlessly–sometimes too relentlessly–but sometimes can be caught out of position. On offensive, great shooter of the ball when there is space in front of him, won’t break down a defender, probably best served by playing off the ball instead of on.
The US played Spain on Saturday with Maurice Edu and Jermaine Jones having virtually no outlet on a turn. Their collective defense can certainly be faulted for its focus. However, no Landon Donovan or Clint Dempsey ahead of them on the day meant they were absorbing pressure throughout the first half, not looking to turn on the attack.
Michael Bradley arrived on the scene in the 2nd. He calmed the midfield and played solid defense, but Spain was already thinking about Caprinhis at the time. The first half and second half observations are radically different.
Bradley is the leader in the depth chart in the midfield right now but he’s able to be challenged for that role and probably should develop at the States off-ball option.
TSG axiom again: “You can’t look at observations in isolation, you have to look at the whole body of work.”
The true body of work starts today.
• The US’s performance against Spain is acceptable with the Gold Cup around the corner.
It’s not. Either label the game an “exhibition” or come to play more. It’s poor form to play the best the world has to offer–you get that chance once, twice a year with a full squad–and not come to play. It’s disrespectful to Spain.
And as GolTV commenter Phil Schoen aptly said on Twitter, “It’s a wasted opportunity.”
And yes the US shouldn’t have played, but if Spain is going play quite a bit of their starters, the Yanks should not?
• The US should thrash or win comfortably against Canada.
The neighbors to the north may have looked a little discombobulated in a friendly they drew with Equador last week, but the front six of Canada is very talented.
Josh Simpson–Turkey Super Lig. Hey, isn’t that where the top US striker plays?
Atiba Hutchinson, PSV Eindhoven. Hey, didn’t US centerback Oguchi Onyewu just have his option not picked up in that league?
DeWayne DeRosario, neck and neck last year with David Ferreira and ahead of Landon Donovan in MLS voting last year.
Simeon Jackson–9 goals, 7 games. The US fans love Charlie Davies. Well here’s Canada’s Charlie Davies and he’s getting promoted next year to the Barclay’s Premiership.
• Sacha Kljestan and Robbie Rogers were horrible roster selections because of their performance against Spain.
Not by a long shot.
The theatre for Kljestan and Rogers is the Gold Cup. Period. And probably as part-time starters for either at best.
Kljestan deserved another look. As we’ve long maintained on TSG, he’s one of the few Yanks with vertical creativity in the center of the pitch. The others are Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey and maybe Stu Holden and Jermaine Jones. Kljestan has just always suffered from poor decision making and lack of effort on defense. While the Spain game may have asked the question about the speed of play threshold of Kljestan’s game, it didn’t condemn his selection.
Kljestan’s performance against Spain wasn’t terrible. Wasn’t great, but wasn’t terrible.
Robbie Rogers Gold Cup roster selection while puzzling, is understandable from Bob Bradley if flawed. As we talked about previously, Rogers was a “Coach’s Goggles” pick or Bob Bradley was guilty of the “Tommy Maddox Syndrome.”
That is believing that your (the coach) influence can have such an impact on a player to have him realize his physical potential.
Remains to be seen here, but the Spain match has no bearing on this.