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Tag Archives: Freddy Adu
July 18, 2012Posted by on
Last week our writer Pat posted a list of 15 reasons why you should have been at the US Open Cup semi final. We decided that we will try to post a similar list once a week on a variety of MLS or soccer related subjects. Today we will look at why the Philadelphia Union, and MLS as a whole, deserve more media coverage then they are receiving.
1. The Union recently look good
Over the past few weeks Union fans have been enjoying some of the most exciting soccer we have seen from the team since their creation. We are scoring goals, playing incredible defense, and using an entertaining style of soccer. If non-soccer fans are going to watch a match, this is the type of team they should take a look at. Unfortunately, Union games are only broadcast on the Comcast Network with a minimum amount of advertising. The games that do make it onto channels like ESPN 2 or NBC may hit more viewers but still are not marketed well. When was the last time you saw a commercial for a soccer game on a major network that was not shown during another soccer game? Exactly.
2. Other Philadelphia teams either look bad or are out of season.
The Eagles are in pre-season, the Sixers and Flyers are also in their off season, and the Phillies are in last place of the NL East with a 40-51 record. Being a Philadelphia sports fan is a bit of a drag right now. Many people in the city are looking for a team that has been performing well and strives under pressure; the perfect fit for the Union. Sport’s news has also been slow and will probably continue to be until the Olympics start, so why not fill some of that gap with a local team?
3. There is an audience for soccer in Philadelphia
PPL Park holds a little over eighteen thousand fans and the Union have consistently sold out the stadium for league games. When the Union played Spanish giants Real Madrid at Lincoln Financial Field last season the total attendance was over 57 thousand. Over 30 thousand fans came out to see the US Men’s National Team play Mexico last year also. These numbers all prove that soccer does have an audience in the Philadelphia area. Of course teams like the Phillies and Eagles have a stronger hold on the sports fans of the city but these numbers are not low enough to 100% cut soccer out of the media spot light.
4. Philly is already a sports town
As mentioned multiple times above, Philadelphia is a huge sports town. The city tends to soak in any major sporting event that comes to it. If more marketing and advertising were done in the area, there is no doubt in my mind that the number of Union and soccer fans will grow. Thankfully the city is seeing its fair share of large teams coming in, with the next being the return of Real Madrid as they play Scottish Premier league champions Celtic. These games with well known foreign teams are probably the best advertisement the Union can get until they are shown more through television ads.
5. The Union and fans can basically market themselves
Anytime I bring a soccer virgin to a Philadelphia Union game they always leave telling me the same thing: “the atmosphere was amazing.” Yes, the River End is full of passionate and loud fans but so is most of the stadium. Being part of this “third team” in the stands whose only purpose is to yell at players and question the referee’s decisions is quite the experience for most non-soccer fans. It makes you want to go to as many games as you can and to support this club. The team also wants you to pay attention to them. They are a third year team full of young but talented players. This underdog of a team basically is a movie script. All you would need to do for commercials is show the passion of the SoBs and the youth of the team and BAM, commercial. Then you would need to air it once in awhile. I know the Union have some commercials like this already but how often do you see them used?
6. No one knows who we are
You ask any Philadelphian to name some players on the Philadelphia Union and you will get one of two responses: either “The Philadelphia who?” or “Freddy Adu”. There is no connection between the Union and Philadelphians mostly because no one knows who is on the team. Even if you are not a football fan you knew who Donavon McNabb was. The signing of Freddy Adu was great if just to give the team a face that people recognize. Now that the team has a player that most people have at least heard of we can start getting him out there more. Get him interviews on TV, then start bringing in a few other players with him. Eventually, and slowly, the city will start recognizing the faces of the team.
7. Watch the future of American soccer grow up
Last summer we learned that the only time America cares about soccer is during the World Cup. What many people in Philadelphia don’t know is that there are many players on the Union that have a legitimate chance of playing for the US Men’s National Team either this World Cup cycle or early next cycle. Talented players like Amobi Okugo, Sheanon Williams, Freddy Adu, Michael Farfan, Jack McInerney, and Zac MacMath all have shot to be called into the men’s camp. Of course not all of them will be chosen but wouldn’t it be cool to say you were a fan of them before they became national sensations?
8. You still have time to be a fan and not a bandwagoner
Since this team is only three years old the fan base is still growing. If you start following the Union now you will not be thought of as jumping on the bandwagon because you will be one of the originals. Add the fact that the Union started off shaky at the beginning of the season and there is no way you can be called a front runner. Being able to market the team to the population by saying they can be part of the beginning is not something many franchises get the opportunity to do.
9. Union fans are awesome
As passionate as the Union fans are, they are also genuinely good people. There is a sense of community among fans, particularly the Bens, that you do not get with many other teams. I have met numerous awesome people by just going to a few tailgates, walking around the parking lots before games, or talking on Twitter. The Sons of Ben give back to the community by holding charity events or doing public works. The SoBs will be joining the Philadelphia Union Foundation with building a playground in Chester that was partly designed by Chester kids.
July 10, 2012Posted by on
Sunday’s match against Toronto FC saw an event which many Philadelphia Union fans have waited months for; the return of fan favorite and Colombian midfielder Roger Torres. Torres has not seen the field for a league match since March 24, 2012 due to a knee injury. Coming in Sunday in the 83rdminute to an enthusiastic crowd chanting his name, Roger’s first touch was less than decent, directly to a Toronto player, but he quickly recovered by feeding a beautiful through ball to a darting Antoine Hoppenot which was unfortunately snubbed out by the Toronto defense. Playing only seven minutes, Torres did not get many opportunities to show off the ball control skills Union fans have grown to love over the time he has spent here, but the fact that Torres did not play noticeably poor during his short time on the field should give Philadelphia fans hope that this major injury won’t be career changing for the midfielder. Although it will likely be a few more months until we see Roger starting, especially with the competition ahead of him, I would expect to see him regularly used as a late sub for Michael Farfan or Freddy Adu.
Roger’s absence in the midfield has allowed players like Marfan and Adu to step up and become a creative force on the field. It will be interesting to see how Coach John Hackworth organizes his midfield as Torres becomes closer to match fit.
Personally, I never really liked Torres as a starter and think he does better coming on early in the second half, where he can use his creative ball-handling on tired defenders to open up passing lanes or to get shots off. Also, the way Marfan has played as of late proves that he is needed on the field. This is the problem with a team that has so much depth; you see many talented players that would likely start at other teams benched. Torres will be joining a bench which already holds many other skilled young players like right back Raymon Gaddis and likely defensive midfielder turned center back Amobi Okugo due to the recent signing of Bakary Soumare.
When all is said and done, I am excited to see what the return of the Roger Torres era has in store. He is a player that is not scared to shoot which has been a major problem for Philadelphia Union until very recently. As Torres is slowly reintroduced to the midfield, Union fans will be watching to see if he is still the creative, offensive minded player that he was before the injury. We saw small glimpses of it against Toronto allowing the Union faithful to hold the hope that one of their favorites will make a triumphant return to the pitch later this season.
January 12, 2012Posted by on
Amidst Keon Daniel’s Passport issues, Michael Farfan’s potential transfer to Sunderland (they’ve been passing this around), the Union shopping Danny Mwanga, Roger Torres loan deal coming to a close, Freddy Adu’s yearning for Rayo (I’ve also heard that he’s a potential trade bait for the Revs 3rd Overall Pick),and the Olympics this summer it’ll be very interesting to see where we end up at the end of the offseason and even where we think we have holes for the draft.
Combine that information with this quote “The Brotherly Game was informed by a source with knowledge of team plans that the Union will be “selling some young players for profit this year.”"
It’s already been an interesting offseason, with the additions of Martinez, Gomez and Khalfan, Lopez and even McLaughlin but it looks like we should prepare for some subtractions before we realize our net gains. The Union hav e a few more to add today with choices in the MLS Draft expected by most pundits to cover depth along the defensive line.
November 6, 2011Posted by on
I know I’m a bit behind the news, I got caught up in the playoffs, and then had to get caught up in some other work, but I promise I’m trying to make it up to you.
As I mentioned earlier the Union’s youth is extraordinarily promising. USMNT-U23 and semi-former Akron Zips coach Caleb Porter called a U-23 camp in Germany for 10 days in November and invited 31 players including 8 from MLS teams who had already been eliminated.
Porter called in 4 more players recently. The Union’s Amobi Okugo, Jack McInerney and Sheannon Williams along with New Yorks Juan Agudelo will join the other players at the camp in Germany. Unless other players are added from the remaining playoff teams, the Union will join DC United as the only team with multiple representatives.
There has been no surprise that so many Union players were called in to camp. Rather there has been rumbling disappointment that Zac MacMath and Freddy Adu were not also added to the roster. I have previously noted that Adu seems to be carrying an injury, which may explain his absence.
MacMath on the other hand was snubbed behind a pair of MLS Goalkeepers (jon Kempin and Sean Bingham) who have managed 90 minutes combined(all by Kempin). MacMath started 7 games and played 675 minutes while allowing 1.06 goals per 90 minutes.
Also of note is Lancaster, PA native Zarek Valentin from Chivas USA joining the team in Germany.
Also Porter won’t be able to meet these players just yet. He’ll be in Akron with his “other” team, and Youth Technical Director Claudio Reyna will lead the U-23 camp while U-20 Head Coach Tab Ramos will section off his own age group. U-18 Coach Richie Williams will also take part. The camp will take place at Sportschule Wedau in Duisburg.
November 6, 2011Posted by on
So two years in and we got eliminated in the second rounds of the playoffs. With a bye to get past the first round the Union managed to slip into the second round of the playoffs. Despite losing to Houston in a series that was not particularly well played their performance this year was extremely impressive. We were expected to be improved, but did anyone expect us to be in contention for first in the east on the final day of the season? Or to lead the East for a large portion of the season? What impresses me most about this team is this.
Williams-21 Valdes-26 Tait-21 G. Farfan -23
M. Farfan-23 Adu-22 Torres-20 Daniel-24
Subs:Pfeffer-16, Nakazawa-23 Richter/Langley/Houapeu-22
If the Union had to start a game tomorrow with players who were at or under the league average age this is what it would look like. There are three players on here who absolutely should be starting. If we add Le Toux, Carroll and Califf into this lineup for McInerney, Okugo and Tait we have a lineup that I might even have preferred to the teams Nowak put out for the playoff games. I was much more upset to see Miglioranzi on the field than I would have been to see MacMath.
Williams-21 Valdes-26 Califf-31 G. Farfan -23
M. Farfan-23 Adu-22 Torres-20 Daniel-24
Mwanga-20 Le Toux-27
Subs:Okugo-20 McInerney-19 Nakazawa-23
Obviously my point doesn’t heal the wounds of a poorly played and poorly managed playoff exit, but it shows that the majority of our starters are (well) below the league average age. This team is extremely young and will only get better. Next year they will bring back Keon Daniel, bring back a healthy Freddy Adu who seemed to carry an injury through much of the season, along with just about every other player improving purely by getting a year older and wiser. If they can keep this team together, not the easiest thing in MLS, they will surely be competing at a higher and higher level for the next few years.
October 11, 2011Posted by on
God, if my primary goal here was to have a high page-view count all I would need to do is write endless articles on this kid. I swear articles on Brek Shea are the only thing anyone wants. I love the kid as much as the next guy (although maybe not as much as the Germericans Chandler, Johnson and Williams. All of whom I expect to start come qualifying) but really there are other players on the team. I’ll get a thousand hits for a story on Brek Shea from months ago. It makes no sense
The Big Rooster has recently been rumored to go to just about every team in Europe. Apparently “his agent” has been spreading teh idea that Brek Shea has offers from each of the big five clubs in the EPL. Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal all apparently want to bring him in.
In the interest of not forcing you to read the drivel that I write here is a quick summation of reasons why Brek Shea should not go to any of these teams no matter how much money they offer him. Ashley Young, Juan Mata, Andrei Arshavin, Samir Nasri, and Stewart Downing. 4 of these players have just been added to their respective teams. Four of these players are under 27; two are under 24. The fifth is Andrei Arshavin. These are the left wings of the big five clubs in the EPL. Exactly how many minutes do we expect Brek Shea to get behind these players?
Jozy went to Villareal. It was celebrated as a young American player getting a great chance on a top team in a top league. He sat on the bench for a few years with little hope for long term success.
Freddy Adu went to Benfica. It was celebrated as a young American player getting a great chance on a top team in a top league. He sat on the bench for a few years and got loaned around with little hope for long term success.
I’m sure there are other examples but these are the two most prominent in my mind. If Foghorn is going to sign with one of these teams he had better hope he gets a good loan deal and doesn’t get stuck on the bench.
Brek was on trial with Bolton a few years ago, and a few years ago that was probably a bit too high for him still. Right now he could go in and play, maybe not start but at least compete for a starting spot, in a mid-table European team. Bolton is about the level at which he would compete now. Playing for a prestigious club is nothing if you’re not playing.
He would never touch the field for a top European club so whats the point in him going there? Yea it’s kind of cool to say that an American plays for United or Chelsea or Arsenal( I have lower opinions of Liverpool and City, but I guess that’d be cool to some.) Tim Howard stopped any interest I had in that. He went to United and looked not so good. He may not have been ready to succeed at that level. he’s gone to Everton and is widely considered one of the best keepers in the world. If Brek Shea signed with United his chances of actually playing a meaningful game for them would be about as good as Clint Dempsey’s chances of playing a meaningful game. Yes its possible some pieces could move around and there could be a space made available, but not likely.
I don’t expect Brek Shea to come back to MLS next season. I fully expect him to be playing in Europe a year from now. I hope very much that he is actually playing though and not playing around while buried on a top teams bench.
August 17, 2011Posted by on
So now for a bit more sorting, before I get to the really off the wall stuff.
GK Howard, Guzan, Hahnemann, Hamid, Johnson …
I’m not gonna be too concerned about keeper primarily because it doesn’t really affect the formation all that much. maybe Tim Howard wouldn’t be nearly as good behind a 3 man backfield, but I’m not too concerned with things like that.
First I realize this roster is heavy on center backs, but thats just because there happens to be a roster on which center backs are most likely to be on the team in 2014. There were more names mentioned that I found intriguing at that position, not that were necessarily deeper there by any means.
Gonzalez, Ream, John, Kitchen,Spector, Whitbread, Opara, Marshall, Pearce, Clark, Ihemelu, Agbossumunde,
My basic opinions on the back line are
-Timmy Chandler and Eric Lichaj have jobs locked up unless someone comes and forces them out.(I do have an idea)
-Tim Ream is someone Klinsmann will probably love, but isn’t good enough to play center back at an international level, yet. Will he be? We’ll see.
-I would much rather see Ricardo Clark and Jonathan Spector brought back in as CB than in the Midfield. We’re too deep there for them to ever be useful, and they’ve both proved that they aren’t particularly useful there for us anyway.
-I know its not where he’s having a breakout season with Dallas, but I would love to see Brek Shea fill the LB hole
-I also don’t really see either Bocanegra or Cherundolo staying with the team through a full cycle. Cherundolo might be out by qualifying if Timmy Chandler shows up and plays. Bocanegra will probably take a bit longer but I can’t see him holding on through the young backs behind him.
One idea I had for the Tim Ream issue is to try playing him in a position similar to the position Brian Carroll plays for the Union. Carroll is a DM in name, but he’s a very versatile player and this would be a different position for Ream so who knows if it’ll work out for him. I’d like to see his distribution from the back instead of the combination of Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones breaking everything up in that spot. Ream’s a good enough defender to play there for sure. I think it might be the best place for him. I’d actually like to see NYRB try it out with him after Rafa retires but that might be a while. Also if he can hold this down Ream, Chandler and Shea(theoretically) on the back line could do a lot of damage when they get the ball back.
Midfielders and Forwards
Bradley, Jones, Edu(who I’d rather see at CB too actually), Beckerman(Ream)
Torres, Adu, Donovan, Dempsey, Diskerud, Shea, Holden
Box to Box
Bradley, Holden, Beckerman
Donovan, Adu, Dempsey, Shea, Bedoya, Klejstan, Gatt
Donovan, Agudelo, Altidore, Bunbury, Braun, Sapong, Doyle, Salgado, McInerney, Dempsey, Gyau
-I can’t see Klinsmann continuing the multiple holding mids with no skill on the field together. As I said previously I’d like to see Ream fill that hole on his own.
-I could very easily see both Gatt and Gyau on the wings by 2014, but I won’t put that down at least until they get a first team start. Even this far out I wouldn’t bet on anyway who has yet to be capped starting for us. I’m sure it will happen but maybe two or three and I’m not trying to guess which ones make it, but they’re my favorites to do so at the moment. Plus I’m already assuming it’ll happen on the back line because of age and need. We don’t need these two to rush up and get on the team.
-Will Donovan and Dempsey still be playing? Will they still be starting? Will they still be key for this team? Its so hard to know. I’d say that if either Landon or Clint are the most important offensive weapons on this team in 3 years we haven’t developed much at all. I’d be disappointed and I think they’re both very good players.
-I would bank on Freddy Adu staying around here a bit longer. He may not be on a top team again, but I don’t expect him to sit on many benches. I doubt he goes to Europe again unless he’s expecting real competition to start. Playing time can be nothing but good for this kid.
-I believe the same kinds of things for Jozy Altidore. He’s been a good player for us and, while Juan is younger, he’s still young. Given that I expect Agudelo to come in to either change our shape or for Jozzy pretty often. He’d be a very good 1st sub in most matches.
As far as I’ve explained so far, I imagine a ton of the offense coming from the back, so the top side of the field would probably be key for holding apossession and being able to knock balls to overlapping runners. Also finishing the crosses that players like Shea and Chandler put in right in front of the net. If Robbie Rogers can do it…
I’d bet on one of the two big D’s being in the starting lineup with the other playing a key role off the bench, but again no idea who might replace them so they’re both in for now
So here’s what I’ve got in mind at the moment. It’s a bit of an unorthodox use of a few players, but I think they’re positions they could succeed at. Shea and Chandler would be key to our offensive movement. Honestly this is a lineup I’d like to see Jurgen toy with a bit, with Bocanegra or anyone else in Gales spot as he’s not quite there yet. It’d be an interesting look at our team and what it could be. I can’t really see him playing players (Shea and Ream) out of position like this unless they have started to play there with their clubs with some consistency. Especially Shea, Ream could transition easier, but Shea didn’t look bad at all as a center back earlier in the year. i figure split the difference between LM and CB and we have a future LB (or a CM but I wouldn’t bet on that one.) Anyway, here’s what I’ve got so far. Maybe I’ll try again next year.
I guess you could call it a 5-4-1 if you wanna call Ream a defender and Dempsey a mid. Or a 5-3-2 if you call Adu or Dempsey a forward. Or just a 4-4-2 if you call Ream a defensive mid and and Adu a mid and Dempsey a forward. Or a 4-4-3 if Dempsey and Adu are both forwards and Reams a defender. Or maybe a 5-2-3 if Adu and Dempsey are forwards and Reams a fullback?
The basic idea is that one striker would allow Omar and Gale to take control. Two would allow Ream to drop back, a third or fourth high attacker and we can bring Shea and Chandler in too. Of course three of these players would be absolute keys to our offense too. Shea and Chandler’s speed, endurance and skill along with Ream’s adept passing from the back would be a very interesting addition to an attack that wasn’t horrible without them. Bringing players from wierd angles and odd positions like these three would be able to do would only help us. Ream, Holden and Adu would allow us to control the pace of the game against the CONCACAF teams we haven’t dominated as well as we should recently. Those fullbacks allow us to counterattack against the Euro and South American teams(and Mexico if necessary) who we can’t get the ball off of. Maybe it needs work and I’m definitely picking from a made-up pool that probably will be completely different by then, but a few shifts in position could make for a very formidable and versatile team.
August 13, 2011Posted by on
I planned on attending two games this week a while ago and didn’t realize how significant they would be. The first game was the recent USA vs Mexico game, which was obviously a big deal in itself, but pumped up a lot more due to Jurgen Klinsmann joining the team. Of course Sunil and the gang still managed to screw things up by setting the game for a Wednesday night at 9 o clock; a bit off of prime time as far as most people are concerned. The support was fairly weak from both sides. Presumably a game on the weekend would have seen crowds coming in from out-of-town to attend. Even a 7 or 8 o’clock start would have made the game a ton more accessible. Never the less the game was played and players looked good and players looked bad. WE’ll start with the bad.
It was fairly obvious that Edgar Castillo was not the best player on the field; especially after he got hit in the back of the head surrendering a corner. If we had any kind of depth at the left back position he would be out of the team for a while. Although looking at who else we have available, I wouldn’t be shocked if he shows up pretty soon again unless things fall apart for him at his club. Also he looks like an alien.
Jermaine Jones absolutely disappeared from the game and we totally forgot he was on the field. We saw Brek Shea and another light-skinned player warming up on the sideline. Everyone in my group assumed it was Jermaine until they announced that he was being subbed out and Juan Agudelo was being subbed in. He was that unnoticeable.
The good side of it, as has been reported everywhere was from a bunch of MLS players. Brek Shea, Robbie Rogers, and Juan Agudelo all put in pretty solid performances. I was personally very impressed with Brek Shea, and not quite as impressed with the other two. Neither did anything much wrong, but they both put in good games at a time when they are midseason and most of the other players competing were in preseason. It is a factor for sure. So while they looked good, they should have looked good considering that fact. Shea looked great though. He looked better than almost everyone on the field in the entire second half. I understand Mexico’s team had been a bit depleted by pulling subs, but Dos Santos didn’t make quite the quality or quantity of plays that Shea made in the time he was in. Again consider his form a factor, but Shea impressed a lot of people and earned more of a look.
That’s only part of why this is Brek Shea week here in Philadelphia. The other game I was supposed to be attending that also became a much more prominent one than I had first expected was Saturdays game against Brek Shea and FC Dallas. Dallas has looked nothing short of spectacular for most of the season, in no small part thanks to Shea. On second thought, imagine what this team will be able to do if David Ferraira comes back the way he was last year. As we have seen first hand an MVP season can be hard to replicate but it would be very interesting to see that teams attack.
After impressing for country Shea is back to impressing for club; who will be facing off with the Philadelphia Union tomorrow night. Obviously the Union saw how many headlines Shea was grabbing and felt a need to grab a few of their own from their next competitor. Those headlines all came in the form of very bad puns. “Much Adu About Nothing”,”Just Adu It” “Adoop.” Freddy Adu was welcomed back to MLS as Chivas was no longer an option. As all the headlines told you, he was reunited with his former coach and mortal enemy Piotr Nowak. Apparently things were exaggerated a bit and Adu actually came back, in large part, for the opportunity to play with Nowak again. Interesting, but what I find more interesting is what this means tactically.
Presumably (read:hopefully) this means that Justin Mapp will be pushed to the sideline, while it also likely means that Roger Torres has lost a few rungs on the ladder of this team. As much as I would love to see Freddy and Roger creating in the middle of the field, I can’t imagine Nowak doing it and not having the two of them get beat up on every single ball in the air. We can’t have two players in one midfield standing under 5 foot. There’s a rule against that somewhere I’m sure. I don’t expect Adu to come in and start tomorrow, although I would assume he gets his first appearance this weekend as the team is on the road after that, but I would say I do expect him to be a pretty significant player for the Union by the end of the season. If we don’t get any one else added to this team (the only name I’ve heard is Juan Pablo Angel, who doesn’t really piqué my interest anymore and definitely not for his price tag. Maybe short-term till Nowak decides Mwanga can go 90, we’ll see), this is the lineup I would expect to see come out from here on out, with a few notes on key subs.
Williams Valdes Callif GFarfan
Le Toux Daniel
Obviously Mwanga playing the same super-sub role he has lately. Torres or Mapp coming in for Paunovic or Daniel, with Le Toux filling in any adjustments necessary.
What I’d really like to see happen by the end of the season, at least at some point, purely for excitement. I do think it could realistically be an occasional lineup for the coming seasons as Jack, Danny and Roger grow up a bit, although the odds of this are pretty low seeing what it would do to our ability to win the ball back in the midfield. Of course if you don’t ever give it up in the first place…
Williams Valdes Calliff G Farfan
Torres Adu Le Toux
We’ll see what Piotr does this week.
June 26, 2011Posted by on
Of course the entire attack went at Bornstein when he came in. Mexico knew he was the weak point and challenged him the whole game. Cherundolo has stopped everything in fornt of him all tournament. Yes losing Cherundolo was bad and definitely hurt the US chances despite the fact that they were up 2-0. Anyone who has seen this team for the last few years should’ve known the blowout was no longer called for as soon as Cherundolo went down. Of course other players didn’t play up to the standard they had set (Lichaj, Jones etc.) And yes Bob probably shouldn’t have brought Bornstein on. Bornstein probably shouldn’t have even been on the roster, and if Timmy Chandler had been willing to accept an invitation that, from what I have read, was sent out, we might not be having this conversation. Spector could’ve come in. Whitbread could’ve been on the roster. But they key here is that Bornstein is not a long term part of this team and his faults are not something we should get too concerned about. There is a fresh batch of youth on his tail and will be filling his spot before the next major tournament. Missing out on the Confederations Cup isn’t the best, but we grew a lot in this tournament. Ale Bedoya really showed up and earned a starting spot. Sacha Klejstan showed up and showed more consistent (although not all the way consistent) flashes of being a very useful player for this team.
At the moment our probable starting roster for the next period includes lots of players who weren’t in for the majority of the Mexico match. Not to say that injuries are an excuse, but they are a reason that makes this a loss thats not too hard to swallow. Jozy will come back, Cherundolo will come back, Stu Holden will come back. On top of that Timmy Chandler will be added into the mix and I fully expect him to start within a very short amount of time. (To be honest I think he may be on of the most talented player on the roster in not too long. I can’t say I expect him to surpass Donovan, Dempsey and Howard but I expect him to be that caliber of player quickly and debatably more ) Agudelo, Ream and Adu, who all showed flashes during this tournament will likely grow into better players. Jermaine Jones and Eric Lichaj have both looked better in every match then they did the one before (excluding the final where they both showed a slight step back against a much better team then they had been facing.) Mexico was the better team yesterday, but not by much and we’ve got a pretty significant band of reinforcements coming tomorrow.
Ultimately our starting roster looks a lot like this long term, with everyone available, and potential subs at those position in parenth.eses
Donovan Dempsey Holden (Adu, Bedoya Klejstan, Chandler)
Bradley Jones (Edu, Chandler)
Lichaj, Bocanegra, Goodson, Cherundolo (Chandler, Ream)
Three of those starters didn’t finish and an injury happened to come at our Achilles heel of outside back. We have no depth there at the moment and will need a bit more to sustain competitiveness in these kinds of tournaments. We can do it though. This wasn’t our best showing, but it gave us a lot to be exited for. Dempsey proved himself to be even better than I remembered. Altidore started looking back where he was before. Agudelo showed more consistent flashes when he was in. Bedoya established himself as acceptable. Jones established himself as good. And Freddy Adu showed up. Least interesting of all, we learned that Johnny Bornstein is bad.
June 6, 2011Posted by on
So as we all know the Gold Cup has officially started and the USA’s first game is tomorrow night against Canada. Bob Bradley has officially locked in his roster with Ale Bedoya replacing Benny Feilhaber. The next question of course is who in that lineup gets meaningful time on the field? Well here’s my answer based on my view of what Bob believes.
Deuce Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Carlos Bocanegra and Timmy Howard all get the obvious starts. These have been the most important players for the US through the last cycle and will all likely be huge players when it comes to the next World Cup. As far as formation this doesn’t really decide anything but it will matter later so here is what I see Bob doing with these four and what I would like him to do with them (in parentheses.)
We know that our three defensive mids are three of the top eleven players on the team. We also know, and hope that Bob does too, that all three of them can’t be on the field at the same time. We all assume that Bob will go with Michael because he has the most experience with the team and has shown that he can play with them at a higher level than either of the other two. Personally I believe that Jones and Edu are both slightly better than Bradley but also slightly more defensive than Bradley. For me putting Bradley on the field is more about tactics than saying he is better than whoever sits. I hope to see Edu start alongside him but I have a suspicion Bob might go with Jones although I imagine they’ll split time pretty evenly.
The next question about these guys is where they go. I hated seeing the team in a 4-4-2. It simply doesn’t suit getting our best players on the field and doesn’t allow for the best team to take the field. My biggest problem with it is that, with the lineup we currently have, there is no player creating things from the middle of the field. The closest we would have is Bradley who has done so before for us, but we have players who are much more capable of this obviously the best option here is Stuart Holden but he’s out with an injury. After missing the World Cup and the Gold Cup I can’t wait to see Holden play to his potential in a big-time tournament. I, along with many others like Dempsey in the middle to fill his spot rather then going back to a 4-4-2. Although I still think Bob will go back to the 4-4-2 for the Gold Cup and count on Michael to create the attack.
Filling out the D
One would assume that neither Ream or Lichaj would start given the minutes they got against Spain but I’m not taking that into account as this is more of a “first team” for the Gold Cup rather than starters for Tuesday. I still doubt Bob starts either of them although I think they both could play their way onto the roster. I also fully expect Cherundolo to start at RB although the only reason I’d say he’s not a lock is because of his age and the fact that we really need some new faces along the back line. I expect him to start this Gold Cup but he’s not really the best option for four years from now so I’d rather start looking too soon than too late.
I fully expect Bradley to pick Onyewu for the start even though he hasn’t played well for club or country recently. I’d be much more interested in Onyewu taking a spot on the outside than seeing him in the center. I’d just rather see younger faces back there. The guys we had proved they couldn’t cut it in their primes. What makes us think they’ll be better four years later? That’s why I have Clarence Goodson. I think he’s better now and definitely better for the future.
I doubt Bradley puts Lichaj in despite the fact that he was one of the best players we put on the field in the first half against Spain. He earned it for me but I still think Bob is too invested in his guys to give up the spot. Spector gets it although I think Lichaj earns it sooner rather then later.
Filling out the O
Here are the questions I’m personally more interested in. I think Bob probably sticks with Jozy Altidore and Juan Agudelo up top. If he’s sticking with a 4-4-2 its the only real option he’s got, but if he were to try out the 4-2-3-1 formation they’ve used recently he might get a more interesting team. Obviously Juan or Jozy has to stay in as a striker. I probably have them split time pretty evenly, with Juan being a bit of a second but coming in to nearly every game. The kid is talented and really the game against Spain was the best all-around game I’ve seen from him in the Red, White and Blue. No he didn’t score and didn’t create any particularly enticing chances, but he was there with Pique and Ramos and whoever else was on him every minute he was in and kept with them. He held his own and looked very confident on the ball. Spain was better and the ball rarely got to him and he lost it too often (of course taking into account it was Spain makes this whole loss look a lot better.) I’ll say Jozy for now but I also acknowledge he may be on his last legs for now. Juan’s making a run and unless he starts lighting things up its Juans job to grab.
I’d probably put Bedoya on the wing out of the players that Bradley called up. Then again this is my blog so I can do whatever I want. If I were running the USMNT I would send Robbie Rogers home and bring in Timmy Chandler. Bedoya’s not a bad choice, considering the circumstances but I really can’t explain how much I want to see Timmy Chandler on the field.
Sidenote:Although I totally understand the idea of Chandler staying home for rest. This has been a very active season for him. It makes sense, but I still wanted to see him play. If he can play as well as he did in the Paraguay and Argentina friendlies he may be the most exciting addition to this team in a long while. I grew up playing a position like his so I have a bit of a bias (hooray transparency!), but I’ve always thought defenders who can attack are the most exciting players in the game. I’d love to have him playing at fullback, but the way he played in front of Lichaj against Paraguay makes me more interested to see what they can do together when he’s on that wing. Ultimately I’d like to see him play at left back with Dempsey in front of him and Stuart Holden in the middle, but with injuries that’s not possible just yet.