Zack Goldman and Will Parchman go tête-à-tête, foot vs foot, Donovan vs. Donovan in the 3rd TSG UperDuper USMNT Team Draft.
Good morning and welcome to the third USMNT team vs. team draft, this year featuring two new draft competitors and two new team selections.
First, the competitors. He’s a strapping young man getting an education at Oxford and interning at a grassroots English football club. He’s also a codirector of the Pali Blues based in Southern California. He’s Zack Goldman and he’ll be drafting for his uncharitable–he hopes–FC, Tony Danza Supermarine.
His foil? Hailing from Waco, Texas and a student and author on the glorious game of American football is Will Parchman. You may know Parchman from his various and heady pieces here and elsewhere on the USMNT from, “Mind the Gap: You’re USA beats Mexico” retro diary to his recent novella: “The Empty Bucket: How To Look at the US midfield as Half Full featuring Ricardo Clark (foreshadowing).” He’s Will Parchman and he’ll be drafting for his side, Dr. Sweatpants.
Okay, here’s how it works for those that are new to this column. “Sweats” and “Supermarine” will be picking from the 2010 USMNT World Cup roster and the projected 2013 USMNT World Cup qualifying roster. The managers came together first and matched up players from both sides. For example, “Landon Donovan 2010 at RM, RF matches up with Landon 2013 RM, RF.” So if you’re taking “Landon Donovan,” you have to pick the year that you want.
Conversely, and here’s the fun part, your competitor gets assigned the opposite player. So if Sweats takes Donovan 2010, that means that Supermarine gets Donovan 2013. Make sense?
So this means the draft should go according to the biggest gulf in talent. Is Tim Howard 2013 much better or worse than Tim Howard 2010? If not, then a player should use his pick elsewhere.
At the end of this whole runaround, the managers will compile their selections and give you the formation they deploy in. Then you, yes you the fan, get to vote on which team is best.
Here’s the pairings before we get going:
G: Tim Howard 2010 vs. Tim Howard 2013
RB: (Pairing) Steve Cherundolo/Jonathan Spector 2010 vs. Steve Cherundolo/Tim Chandler 2013)
CB: Jay DeMerit 2010 vs. Geoff Cameron 2013
CB: Carlos Bocanegra 2010 vs. Carlos Bocanegra 2013
LB: Jonathan Bornstein 2010 vs. Fabian Johnson 2013
CM: Ricardo Clark 2010 vs. Danny Williams 2013
CM: Michael Bradley 2010 vs. Michael Bradley 2013
CM: Benny Feilhaber 2010 vs. Jermaine Jones 2013
MF/FW: Landon Donovan 2010 vs. Landon Donovan 2013
MF/FW: Clint Dempsey 2010 vs. Clint Dempsey 2013
STR: Jozy Altidore 2010 vs. Jozy Altidore 2013
BENCH: Stu Holden, Maurice Edu, Herculez Gomez 2010 vs. Graham Zusi, Maurice Edu, Eddie Johnson 2013
WILDCARD: Edson Buddle 2010 vs. Alan Gordon 2013
Don Garber’s a nice guy and all, but in the spirit of this unique style of draft we go with Clint Mathis presiding over the proceedings.
Onward and maybe upward. Up to the podium strolls Mathis dressed in his finest T-shirt.
With the 1st pick in the 2010-2013 USMNT UberDraft…..
Dr. Sweatpants selects CM Danny Williams 2013
Tony Danza Supermarine is assigned CM Ricardo Clark 2010
Dr. Sweatpants will go ahead and start us off with the first pick, which will be CM Danny Williams (2013) over CM Rico Clark (2010).
Defense: I struggled with the top pick until I took into account the monumental gap between the levels at which these two players played in their respective years.
Rico probably gets too much blame for what transpired against Ghana in 2010, but the facts are plain; he was playing without any confidence and lacked a surety on possession that had all but killed his effectiveness by the time the boys arrived South Africa. The goal giveaway, yellow card and subsequent substitution in the 31st minute against Ghana were merely symptoms of Rico’s disease.
Williams, on the other hand, is the future of the USMNT’s deep-lying mid position, everything Clark is not. He’s smooth, calm, a tremendous passer, an implacable destroyer with boatloads of athleticism and can run the channels if needed. In essence, he is what Jermaine Jones should’ve been, a Jones’ 2.0 model if you will. And, now that Klinsmann’s awful experiment with Williams on the wing is over for good, he anchors what could end up being the best central midfield pairing in USMNT history.
That’s right, I said that.
That sound you currently hear an ocean away is the collective groan of the Tony Danza Supermarine front office. The last time Rico and I were on speaking terms was when I hurled a string of expletives his way from the second tier in Rustenburg. It was more painful in person.
Hopefully, we can move past this.
Tony Danza Supermarine selects LB Fabian Johnson 2013
Dr. Sweatpants is assigned LB Jonathan Bornstein 2010
With the 2nd pick, Tony Danza Supermarine selects LB Fabian Johnson (2013) over LB Jonathan Bornstein (2010).
Defense: Dr. Sweatpants has duly spotted one of the biggest gulfs in quality on the board — and now Tony Danza Supermarine will exploit the other by selecting Fabian Johnson and sending Johnny B. Bad to the Doctor.
In Fabian Johnson, the United States has seemingly secured its left back of the future — and the first world-class, natural option at the position in recent memory. His defensive performance in Genoa was brilliant, as was his work further up the pitch in Ljubljana.
He’s had several other wonderful showings since that demonstrate his attacking quality, commitment to marking, and comfort in possession.
Put simply: Johnson represents everything the US have needed at left back the past few cycles — and his dynamism is perfectly suited to the style of play Klinsmann is hoping to bring to the program. Great vision, great movement, great touch, and some steely defensive quality to boot — he’s been an excellent addition to the squad this cycle.
By contrast, Jonathan Bornstein has seen his foothold in the side crumble rapidly under Koach Klinsmann following his move south of the border. Actually, there was never a foothold once Bob Bradley was shown the door.
His tenure the previous cycle was much like Clark’s — some standout performances (a gritty and suffocating job against Algeria in the World Cup springs to mind) and some great highlights (like his role as Tico dream-stomper and instant Honduran royalty with the “Header Heard Around Tegucigalpa” in RFK) amid some absolute horror shows and general discomfort at left back.
It was a mixed legacy at best, and certainly not good enough on a match-to-match basis to dislodge someone of Johnson’s consistency and quality.
Oh God. Bornstein. I say his last name with snarling contempt. I will force him to stay after practice every day for latrine duty and to clean jock straps.
Dr. Sweatpants selects CM Michael Bradley 2013
Tony Danza Supermarine is assigned CM Michael Bradley 2010
With the third pick, Dr. Sweatpants takes Michael Bradley (2013) over Michael Bradley (2010).
Defense: Michael Bradley under his father was a young, tightly-wound midfielder with lofty ideas but without the gravitas or experience to expound upon them.