Speculation: Who’s Van Goghing To The ‘Dam?

A TSG commentor asked us today who’s going to Amsterdam to face the Netherlands on March 3rd. We always try to oblige the community with their requests.

Old Skool Dutchland....any Galaxy fans out there?

With the USMNT roster selection occurring the end of this week, we might as well take a stab at the participants in “March Camp” and then do it all over again when the roster goes official. Mind you, this is TSG playing Bob Bradley….without the sweatpants….not necessarily who we want.

If you didn’t see our piece on the provisional roster already selected for Dutchland, just click here.

Likely GK: Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Marcus Hahnemann

The skinny: Pretty ho-hum here….the one asterisk is that Guzan is set to play in (interesting whether he starts or is a backup) in the Carling Cup final this coming Sunday so maybe he gets announced a little later. That’s the only “drama.”

Should anyone come down with a nick, then Troy “MLS” Perkins is your fill-in.

Getting pretty set, if not set already, at goalkeeper.

Possible DEF: Jonathan Spector, Jay DeMerit, Carlos Bocanegra, Jonathan Bornstein, Clarence Goodson, Chad Marshall, Heath Pearce

On The Fence: Winner of Feb Camp RB (Cameron vs. Wynne?), Eric Lichaj, Frank Simek

The skinny: Looking a little thin on the “certain” status….Other fundamental problems with the above possibilities? Too many wannabee centerbacks and potentially three leftbacks (Boca, Johnny B, and Pearce) and no rightback back-up.

Like the ‘keep position above, with the exception of the likely battle between Marshall and Goodson, most of WC 2010 roster is now likely set.

Without ‘Dolo, we’d like to see Lichaj get his shot at that rightback reserve role. The wing fullback played at lower level Lincoln City over the past six months, but is now awaiting reassignment. Hey Coach USA, he’s available and just a skip away.

Simek: Welcome back?

However if Bob Bradley is true to form, he’ll go with someone he’s gotten looks at before. That suggests Frank Simek. The Sheffield Wednesday defender, who was so promising to end 2007, has consistently battled injuries and not been recalled by Sr. Sweatpants in quite a while either.

Or with Bob’s history he might just leave Heath Pearce in there (who started  against England on the left in the 2008 Wembley friendly) as the back-up  or it may be the starter against El Salvador, likely Geoff Cameron or Marvell Wynne if they play well. Gulp!

Our odds: Just Pearce as back-up, 2 to 1.

Feb Camp Winner, 3 to 1. Simek, 4 to 1. Lichaj, 10 to 1.

Note: Remember Robbie Rogers can be that righty back-up in a big pinch as well.

Possible MID: Landon Donovan, Stu Holden, Mikey Bradley, Maurice Edu, Sacha Kljestan, Kyle Beckerman, Alejandro Bedoya, Robbie Rogers, Jose Francisco Torres, Edgar….

On The Fence: ….Castillo, Freddy Adu, DaMarcus Beasley, Dax McCarthy

The skinny: Fun to hypothesize, tough to predict and a boatload of fringers.

Again, Edgar Castillo is a midfielder on the national scene in our mind.

Does Freddy Adu get a shot? TSG says not likely* in the midfield role because he’s not a true winger and he’s certainly not a defender in the middle. Can you imagine Adu being asked to provide cover over Boca on Gerrard on June 12th? Ha!

Can you bring Maurice Edu, but not DaMarcus Beasley? We think so. Beasley has only played reserve ball for the last 6 weeks as is rounding back into shape.

Oh please, oh please, oh please....

Bedoya?! Look, we like him over here at TSG. He’s match fit (as far as we know) and he’s an attacker on the wing. (And check out some recent video of Bedoya knocking in goals in the snow….thanks to TSG contributor Greg for the link.)

Dax McCarthy. I really like Dax. He’s a great interview and seems positive at all times on the field. He’s on the fence for me for this camp as I don’t thing he’s seasoned enough (he’s mature enough) to play with the Dutch.

Stu Holden finally gets some reps. Do Kyle Beckerman and Sacha Kljestan get invited to their make-or-break game?

Our final nine (point five) is kind of heavy here…but looks about, sort-of right. I could see Castillo getting dropped from this group…and maybe another?

Possible STR: The Jozy Altidore, Conor Casey, Brian Ching, Robbie Findley, Jeff Cunningham, Eddie Johnson, (Freddy Adu)

On The Fence: Chris Rolfe

The skinny: Even more fun debating here. Especially because at max the US will use four strikers in this friendly and you’ve got as many as two who may go, but who won’t grace the pitch.

Eddie Johnson just barely makes it for me. First, I had him on the fence but with his physique and now that he’s playing consistently, he at least merits being in the daily camp scrimmages beforehand.

Chris Rolfe? He’s just getting situated up north in the Denmark league, but isn’t he worth at least one more look….if only for camp? Tough call here.

That asterisk above: I was thinking last night that I might like to see Freddy Adu, maybe for one last time, in an advanced striker or forward role. He’s not really the guy you want up there per se, but watching him swoop in against Aris suggests he might complement Landon Donovan (complementing Donovan is high on my priority list) and watching the interplay of Pienaar and Donovan, you can’t help but make that comparison. He doesn’t have the strength, but…I know, crazy and I’m going to regret writing this last paragraph–especially because I can’t stand flash-in-the-pan invitations.

This whole skinny section just lets you know how desperate the situation is across from Altidore and over Donovan….


Your thoughts? Wednesday’s performance will have some bearing as well.

21 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/02/22 at 2:46 PM

    I have a couple of questions re. the goalkeeping position:

    How can Guzan be considered the No.2 when he doesn’t get too many minutes at Villa?
    Did Freidel retire from international football – if so why? He’d push Howard all the way for that starting spot.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/02/22 at 2:49 PM

      You know…Friedel is a hot topic….but he’s been off the scene for so long.

      It would be a shock to see him on the Netherlands friendly roster, but not a suprise (does that make sense).

      Bradley is a real team guy and if he hasn’t brought a guy in yet, he’s likely not to insert someone new….but you never know.

      You have to opposite considerations when considering Friedel in my book that line up like Ali vs. Frazier:

      If Tim Howard goes down for the US, who do you want in net? Friedel….
      If Tim Howard has a bad game, is Friedel a consideration? Shades of 2006….


    • Posted by Swa on 2010/02/22 at 4:14 PM

      Friedel did retire from international football following the ’06 World Cup, and I believe cited as his reasoning the fact that he felt as though he was jerked around by the coaching staff. He was the second to Meola in ’94, then was again second to Keller in ’98, got the starting nod in ’02 and backstopped the team to the quarters and was again second to Keller in ’06. He disliked the politics that went on behind the scenes and decided it wasn’t for him anymore. I’m sure he would come back if guaranteed the starting spot, but that’s obviously not happening.


      • Posted by Swa on 2010/02/22 at 4:21 PM

        Upon further research, Friedel actually retired from international play prior to the ’06 World Cup, but still because of the politics.


        • Posted by Matt B on 2010/02/22 at 4:31 PM

          I know that he has also credited his international retirement in helping him maintain such great form at an advanced age. Flying across the Atlantic Sunday night and back again Thursday morning with league games both before and after the trip puts quite a strain on the body.


  2. Posted by MichaelN on 2010/02/22 at 3:25 PM

    isn’t frank simek at sheffield wednesday?


  3. Interesting picks.

    In the midfield I’d really like to see what Torres can do with at least 45 minutes against a tough side like the Oranje.

    Up front, I’d really like to see what Freddy can do, like you said the interplay with Donovan makes for compelling, must watch football if they can get some possession. Plus, he’s all upside at that position if he can perform. If he can’t then we know what we have with the others (to an extent). Unfortunately, it’s getting a little late to start expirimenting so I think we’ll see the Chinger with Jozy up top to start things off.


  4. Posted by Matt Mathai on 2010/02/22 at 9:20 PM

    One goal does nota WC midfielder make. Freddy’s showing nice progress, but that wasn’t hard to do given that just getting on the field is a huge improvement from his benchwarming of the past two years.

    I’m hopeful he can regain some form and confidence playing in Greece so he can make himself a presence for the next cycle.

    I’d love to see what Torres could do with an extended run of minutes.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/02/22 at 9:28 PM

      The more I think about this, the more I think about the Counterattack Heard ‘Round the World, and the more I watch (because I’m a geek) video of Charlie Davies spreading the field ahead of Donovan…

      …the more I’m willing to try anything up there.

      Sad, but true.


  5. Posted by Jeff on 2010/02/22 at 9:33 PM

    I’ve never been a close follower of the MLS, so I don’t know firsthand how Herculez Gomez performed there. But from what I’ve read, he played well as a forward, then got moved to midfield where he was lost and essentially played himself out of the league. Now he’s back in Mexico, playing up top and scoring goals again. Why doesn’t he warrant a look? If someone was scoring at this rate in the MLS, I think he’d be garnering mention, and the Mexican league is at least as good as the MLS. I wouldn’t normally suggest someone this far off the radar, but I think that, beyond Jozy (and maybe, hopefully, a healthy Charlie Davies), I think our forward situation is pretty dire. Maybe I am missing something since I’ve never seen Gomez play, but in that case, please inform me.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/02/22 at 9:41 PM

      @Jeff…good point Jeff…and spot on with this comment: If someone was scoring at this rate in the MLS, I think he’d be garnering mention..


  6. I mentioned this a bit late on the last post, but I think Cameron is getting mischaracterized as a defender. His only stint was an admittedly stellar campaign with the Dynamo this past season, but he’s a natural midfielder and has been named as such on every roster thus far. Not that he couldn’t play right back, but I think if we see him it’ll be on the wing or even as a holding midfielder and most likely against El Salvador and not the Oranje. He’ll be first XI in 2014 though, calling it now.

    i do love what Torres brings to the squad and hope we see more of him soon. I don’t see him as a starter at this point, but like Holden he brings the ability to play anywhere in the midfield and I think would be a good roster choice for SA. Against the Dutch I’ll bet on LD to one side and Holden to the other, though I’d love to see Holden given a shot in central midfield.

    The only way I see Adu slotting in is in the same spot I’d like to see Dempsey in, as a withdrawn second striker playing under Jozy. At this point I think he might make a Holland appearance if he has another good match or two but I think he’s a long shot for the roster right now.


    • Posted by Kevin on 2010/02/23 at 6:48 PM

      Everytime I think of Holden and Torres together the more I can’t wait till 2014. It sounds bad, but think about it… Holden, Torres, Cameron, Rogers, Pontius…etc are all probably strong candidates for 2014 midfield. Up top Davies and Altidore will still be at a good age. and then the backline… Gonzales, Marshall, Goodson, Lichaej (however you spell it) all decent defenders. In goal… should I even bother? I can’t predict though, so for now 2010 is fine.


  7. Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/02/22 at 9:53 PM

    I think Freddy and Jozy up top in a couple of years will be just a delight. Freddy attends Jermaine Defoe Get Buff Camp. Sit his tiny ass in the hole. Have Jozy doing some major damn damage. Landon & Demps show what they have left, Sweatpants Jr – ok i’ll shut up now.


  8. Posted by Rhodie on 2010/02/23 at 12:32 AM

    One thing that I would like to see in this friendly is some tinkering with Jozy pairings. When Jozy was paired with a small striker type in the leage he looked threatening but that was about it. When they put him and VoH up top, a large center forward type, he looked absolutely devestating. I would love to see the US experiment with some of those pairings to find the right one to unleash Jozy.


  9. […] 3. The Shin Guardian: Speculation: Who’s Van Goghing To The ‘Dam? […]


  10. Hi ya’ll–

    Good stuff. Really will be interesting to see if Edu:

    a. starts and
    b. plays well.

    If he does– the battle for the starting spot b/w Redcardo Clark and Mo could be an epic.



  11. Posted by cesar on 2010/02/24 at 12:45 AM

    I think that the odds are pretty good Freddy gets invited to the Netherlands camp. Does he make it to the bench, or even (and God help us if he does) the field? Who knows. If he does, NO way he’s starting, though! He’d probably come in like you guys said as a withdrawn or second striker, probably well after whomever started has had a chance to soften up those CBs. I just hope that if he does eventually play, Adu can give the fans some assurance that our striking corps isn’t the haggard assembly many of us fear it is. If you’re reading this Freddy, the best way to do that is to score a goal and then maybe have a shout-out to your boy cesar. cheers!

    Anyway, the idea here is that he’s in Europe and for this friendly we’re bringing everyone that Bob *can’t* work with on a regular basis, like say the MLS guys (especially if the season doesn’t start on time, eh? something to consider). Even Eddie Johnson, Chris Rolfe and Kenny Cooper could get called in, because the loser of Cunningham/Findley and Ching/Casey will most likely be training with his MLS team at that point, having missed all of MLS preseason with the Stars-n-Stripes’ Central American Re-acquaintance Tour. Actually, I could see Coach B *only* sending the winner of Cunningham/Findley to Amsterdam just on account of having to see how that guy works with the rest of the team (whereas in the case of Ching/Casey, we’ve already seen both a handful of times working with the full squad).

    That, and he invited Freddy to the Confederations Cup BEFORE he was scoring any goals or assists, so it really wouldn’t be much of a stretch at all to think that Coach B calls him in (if anything) for just a look-see in camp. The same obviously applies to the rest of our motley crew, except Bradley never did invite Coops, Rolfe, or EJ to South Africa last year, did he? Seems Freddy’s got the upper hand here!


  12. […] case you missed it, here is the TSG community discussion from Monday on who merited a […]


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