Posts Tagged ‘Jermaine Jones’

Jumblin: The Enigma of Jermaine Jones

Who are TSG’s Rountable participants this go around? Just click here.

Rountable Question #2:

Sure would like to have Jones in a Yanks' kit to battle Carrick this time around...

Tim Howard suggests Jermaine Jones may be a contender for inside the USMNT midfield come South Africa.

Say we’re dealing Jones into the mix, what does this mean for personnel (Benny, Mike B, Rico, Edu, even Kljestan and Torres) and what does this mean for formation or style of play? How does an edition by Jones impact the team….or does it?

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Rogers, Hillcrest Road: Well, it certainly means that one or more of those players won’t make the squad. I think that’s down to Benny, Kljestan and Torres. Michael Bradley, Rico Clark and Mo Edu are pretty much locks in my opinion.

As for style of play, I think it gives us another box-to-box type of midfielder like Bradley who can do the dirty work but still get into the attack. It would probably give us a little more precision in attack from midfield, which is likely why Howard suggests he’s still an option.

Shoaff, Black Sox: Talent wise, he’d slide into the lineup, but team chemistry is the worry.  In ’98 we had all kinds of problems (see Harkes, John; see also Sampson’s 3-6-1 formation), but a biggie was bringing Regis, Maisseneauve, and Deering into the mix so late.  All solid players, but not worth the chemistry risk.

Arbogast, Notre Dame: An unlikely scenario to begin with but one that could pay huge dividends. I think the optimal strategy to take would be to pair Jones with a creative possession-capable attacking mid like Feilhaber or Holden. Ultimately though, you’d probably see him with Junior which still has a higher ceiling than the status quo.

Michelot, Ligue 1 Talk: BB will stick with his formation. It would be a mistake to change it all for one player, so close to the start of the WC. Players like M. Bradley have been used to it and excel there. Kljestan & Torres out, Feilhaber stays because of experience, and I think Clark goes to the WC for the same reason.

McKee, “Spectator-Capped“: Jones is in, if healthy and team chemistry works.  Look what great walk-ons with the right chemistry (Landon/Everton) can do.

My picks

(optimistic, A to pessimistic, G)  Injury/recovery dictates, followed by balanced offense/defense, central/wingers:

A =favorite – slide right as needed.

If CD9 is out Dempsey goes Forward. Kljestan/Torres-sorry 2014.

Vid of Jermaine Jones: He’s Not Injured Here

Fresh on the heals of our piece earlier this week “The Vitalness of the Jermaine Jones Caboose” comes a new (and better visually, worse audibly) highlight vid of the Great German Hope (okay that nickname is sticking for now).

Put on some other music if you click play here. I feel like this guy is going to turn out to be a Pixar character or something.

The Vitalness of The Jermaine Jones Caboose

I’ve been trying not to type this column since I saw the Mikey B replay Sunday. TSG has written these thoughts before. The fans have suffered through qualifier after qualifier illuminating the sentiment contained herein. However, if I don’t write it, then I can’t come back and reference it at a later date for its braininess or its stupidity.

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Just an exquisite, amazing pass, a Donovan to be precise, from Michael Bradley for his club team, Bo’Munchen, to assist for a score against Bayern Munich this past Saturday.

<video removed by provider>

….and yet this splendid play brought out the curmudgeon in me.

I hated it for what is was “not”….hold this thought for one moment because we’re going to put it on a collision course with one below.

A polar observation:

The US draws England as the heavy in the World Cup group. Immediately I, and I’m sure you as well, had a niggling, pin-pricking voice in your mind that hinted at, “Yes, yes there is a chance we can knock down that victory.”

You’re next thought, or at least mine? How? How does it happen? How do we win that one?

The Brits, deployed in a 4-4-2. A strong 4-4-2 with maybe three exceptions or outright weaknesses: A target forward for Wayne Rooney to play off of, problems at wingfull with the shaky Wayne Bridge and oft-injured Wes Brown and Glen Johnson there, and, much like the US, a little bit unsettling situation in the midfield where James Milner might be making a play for time, but the rather limited Gareth Barry and the off-form Frank Lampard man the central pitch. These gents are flanked by very poor man’s Donovan Shaun Wright Phillips or Aaron Lennon and the Clint Dempsey of the England Steven Gerrard relegated to the wing.

Gareth Barry

Barry: Solid, but vulnerable

What I currently envision for how the game play–we can dream a bit, right?

The U.S. works to combat Wayne Rooney and holds firm. On the other side of the ball, a counter attack or two netted by Landon and Stu (or maybe even Robbie Findley or Marcus Tracy) after possession had been linked through the midfield.

It’s not secret that the U.S. will need and already need to maintain more possession in the middle of the pitch. However, how ironic is it that our very first opponent in World Cup 2010 will demand that strategy as the prescription to beating them.

Crash! Back to our weekend observation. Really a gorgeous play by Coach USA’s son, the type of play that Mike Bradley does well on. It’s a relative strength for USMNT midfield stalwart, his quick reception and distribution….and it’s categorically not the type of skill that the USMNT demands in its first match-up in South Africa. The US will demand possession, protection and carriage in their central midfield, not hot potato.

Which brings me to the title of my piece. TSG, and all our contributors and commenters, have reviewed the USMNT midfield before, exhaustively, and I’m sure we’ll do it many time again. TSG has championed for more Benny Feilhaber; only his 2009 pairing with MB isn’t nearly close to the rhythmic coupling the two had in the Gold Cup of 2007.

Let’s be honest, the USMNT 3rd highest leader in minutes played during qualification and would-be minutes leader if he didn’t earn a red card and have to drop a game, Michael Bradley will most certainly be on the pitch in June barring an injury.

We know Ricardo Clark is not the answer in attack from a possession standpoint and probably from a complete game standpoint. We know that Coach USA is looking at Benny as reliever and possible winger. We probably know that Edgar Castillo is flanking in the midfield or defensive third of the pitch, but flanking, not centering.

We know Coach Sweatpants will not waver from his borderline maniacal focus on defensive coverage in the midfield–which to his credit has time and time covered for questionable play by the wingfulls while allowing for the threat of Donovan and others on the outsides.

Only the USMNT midfield demands someone who can possess the ball in combination with that defensive intensity.

We’ve been waiting for a healthy Jermaine Jones midfield caboose to rumble into town. In a moment of brilliance from Michael Bradley, here’s another, or perhaps the best, reason why.

Jermaine Jones

Casey Jones you better speed it up....

Jermaine Jones Watch Moves To The Pitch

JJ is back in training, hopefully for the long haul.

The USMNT injury tide is definitely turning.

According to Schalke 04, Jermaine Jones’ “injury misery seems to be at an end.” Jones resumed training on Tuesday afternoon. He only did some running, but it is a start.

With all the setbacks in Jones’ recovery TSG considers any contribution to the USMNT in 2010 from the central midfielder to be gravy at this point…but we love gravy.

That’s positive injury news from Davies, Demerit, Edu and now Jones in just the last few days. If only Gooch was as optimistic.

So, who’s next now? How about Chad Marshall?

Questions Up The Center For The USMNT

After Charlie Davies injury another possibility no one wants to consider is that the USMNT could be without defensive stalwart Oguchi Onyewu when the World Cup kicks-off next June. In fact, the US is facing question marks all the way up the middle with the exception of Timmy Howard between the sticks.

Might this be Gooch's "uniform" come June?

Might this be Gooch's "uniform" come June?

ESPN had a story today entitled “Onyewu plans a speedy recovery from knee injury” in which Gooch stated,

I know my body and I know how hard I work to recover and how my body heals. I think I can be back in four months, realistically.

Well, USMNT doesn’t need Gooch back, the team needs him better. With the official recovery time-line at 6 months, that seems out almost out of the question. So the best case scenario is Gooch at the WC in summer of 2008 form which is good, but not great. And let’s not forget that the recent knee injuries in the USMNT player pool (Jones and Edu), though different, haven’t resulted in textbook recoveries.

Moving up the pitch, Jay DeMerit continues to be out with an eye injury. His recovery time is slated for a much shorter duration, but we are talking about an eye here. It’d be very surprising if he didn’t make it to South Africa, but he is most likely in the midst of about a six month layoff right now.

In the central mid-field the US could be perceived as down its two most able holding mid-fielders in Twitter-fiend Maurice Edu and International Man of Mystery Jermaine Jones. And third on depth chart, Rico Clark (with a minor knock of his own), has been nothing more than serviceable as a starter in the WC qualifiers.

Can Jozy earn the #1 Striker moniker he's been given before he flies to SA?

Junior seems cemented in whatever position he is supposed to be playing at the other midfield spot, but has struggled to develop any consistency with a mid-field mate and disappears for large stretches to the point that the defense just starts bypassing him.

Perhaps the biggest (and most obvious) hole sits at striker with CD9 being out, however, TSG discussed that already. But what about Altidore?

Continue reading

The USMNT…A Global Endeavor

In a recent post, a reader commented on the new additions to the national team player pool being “foreigners who aren’t good enough to play for their own countries” and lamented the fact guys like Edgar Castillo and Jermaine Jones could usurp priceless WC spots from “hardworking Americans” (whose first choice was to play for the US).

Jones & Castillo...settling for playing with the USMNT?

Jones and Castillo...settling for playing with the USMNT?

Putting aside the fact that Castillo was born and raised in New Mexico, the reader’s comment got me thinking about the subject. Essentially, when it comes to the national team, what is more important…

Fielding the absolute best team, even if it means “importing” players with only technical ties to America?

OR

Fielding a team that is wholly comprised of born-and-bred, flag-respecting Americans?

The issue will never be that black-and-white because there really is a continuum of “American” from born-and-raised to I-can-trace-an-acceptable-bloodline. So before you answer consider these backgrounds in the current MNT player pool which are decidedly all over the map…

Iceman would be just as comfortable juggling in a kilt

Stuart Holden – born in Scotland, moved to Houston at age 10, became a US citizen in 2006

Clint Dempsey – born and raised in Texas

Jozy Altidore – born in New Jersey, parents are Haitian

Robbie Findley – born and raised in Phoenix, dual citizenship (USA and Trinidad & Tobago), was in camp with for the T&T U-23 squad in 2006

Freddy Adu – born in Ghana, moved to the US at age 8, became a citizen in 2003

Jonathan Spector – born and raised in Illinois, secured a German passport to play in Europe

Sacha Kljestan – born and raised in California, father is an ethnic Serb from Bosnia

Tim Howard – born and raised in New Jersey, mother was born in Hungary

Benny Feilhaber – born in Brazil, of Austrian decent, moved to the US at age 6

Carlos Bocanegra – born and raised in California, of Mexican decent

Pablo Mastoeni – born in Argentina, moved to Phoenix at age 4

And what about former MNT players…

Goose

Goose in the land of watches, army knives and neutrality?

Marcelo Balboa – grew up in California, father was Argentinean (similar to Claudio Reyna)

Tab Ramos – born in Uruguay, moved to NJ at age 11 where

Jeff Agoos – born in Switzerland (to an American diplomat), grew up in Texas

Earnie Stewart – born in the Netherlands

Fielding the best team is the right choice for two reasons. First, elevating the level of play for the USMNT would be tremendous for a variety of reasons and second…

If America stands for anything it is the acceptance of and opportunity for all people. The current USMNT represents this and with its global ties really is a true reflection of America. And besides, “foreigners” aren’t given spots, they have to earn them…another hallmark of the American experience.

In addition, a second question has emerged more recently (which the aforementioned TSG reader later clarified as his main point of contention) as result of a recent FIFA rule change. Specifically, should players that fail to catch on with foreign national teams get a second chance to play for the USMNT if they have that opportunity via American ties?

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You Called It, Donovan Is Player Of The Year

Player of the Year Fan PollAccording to Goal.com Landon Donovan just won the Honda Player of the Year award given to the best performer on the US Men’s National Team.

An ESPNsoccernet article confirms that it was a “Landoslide” with Donovan receiving 424 points/votes, Howard coming in second with 275 and Jozy checking in third with 175. With the 2009 POY award, Donovan was also named Player of the Decade.

Congratulations, Landon. Well deserved. You elevated your game and kept your foot on the gas throughout a terrific 2009 campaign for the USMNT.

In TSG’s initial commentary on the award, we were in favor of handing the trophy over to Tim Howard while noting that Donovan was just as deserving.

However, following Donovan’s heroics in the Honduras match TSG requested a mulligan in our Unconvetional Hardware piece to allow us to vote for the now six-time winner. That being said, TSG’s readers pegged it right; Howard may have had an early lead, but he was soon overtaken by Donovan in the voting.

For those wondering, Charlie Davies came in 4th place in TSG’s Fan Poll and there was even a vote for Dilly Duka! (the voter actually included the exclamation mark). Also of note, Clint Dempsey, the Bronze Ball winner at the Confederations Cup, received just one vote. For the full list player receiving votes, see Fan Stats.

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And in minor, but hopeful news, Jermaine Jones’ paperwork making him eligible to be called up to the USMNT was finally approved by FIFA. With Jones’ fitness setbacks and the terrible injury cloud that is currently enveloping the national team these days, I’ll consider him on the team the first time he steps on the pitch in a US jersey.

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