- 3 points put in the bag! #JOzySaves #USMNT we are so close. So close to Brazil 16 hours ago
- We are not popping bottles just yet 16 hours ago
- Ohh baby! jozy the executioner 16 hours ago
- Jozy Jozy Jozy Jozy Jozy Jozy Jozy Jozy 16 hours ago
- Damit! Dempsey puts a shot on a frame and just couldn't finish. 16 hours ago
Tag Archives: Jozy Altidore
August 8, 2012Posted by on
Jurgen hasn’t announced his rosters, and neither has de la Torre. It’s expected that much of the Mexican roster will come from the Olympic squad which is currently making a run at the Gold Medal. Unfortunately Jurgen doesn’t have that luxury and will not be able to call in new names who have shown well in a high level international competition. Instead it seems he will have to call in as many regulars as possible for a match at Azteca stadium, one of the most notoriously difficult stadiums for any team to play in. It’s well noted that the USMNT has never won a game at Azteca and it seems odd that the FMF would give them any more opportunities to do so, and shake a bit of the lore off of it, in something as unimportant as an August friendly. Then again these decisions always seem to come down to many anyway.
Any expected roster for a match of this level will surely involve every piece of the central core of the team who is available. As it is a FIFA date, that should be everyone, but I wouldn’t count on recent transfers coming in. Jurgen has shown a preference to let players settle in with clubs. That would likely mean Michael Bradley will be staying in Italy and Terrence Boyd will be staying in Vienna, along with any of the other USMNT regulars who may be looking for transfers (Dempsey, Bocanegra and Edu.) So that throws a bit of a wrench into the plan of calling in all the regulars.
GK: Howard, Guzan, (I expect Guzan to actually get substantial minutes as he’s the back-up for the rest of WCQ and could use a little just-in-case time with the team) Hamid (Many are calling for NYRB Meara, but if he’s losing his starting spot for club I don’t see why you call him in for this. Johnson and Rimando both make more sense with more sustained succcess)
D: Goodson(surprising he’s the first name in but I had CBs on the mind and he’s the only one we can really count on at all) Cherundolo, Lichaj(shocked he wasn’t called for WCQ), Johnson, Bocanegra (Because he’s about the only player who hasn’t commited to leaving Rangers yet), Parkhurst, (cause I don’t want Onyewu in camp again, he showed poorly since he came back from injury) Chandler (Yes I think he’s one of the best player’s in the pool so I will give him a call until he says no firmly. Many suggest waiting till qualifying, and I’m sure Jurgen knows the situation and will handle it in an appropriate way)
M:Jones, Beckerman, Edu, (I see these three starting with Bradley left in Rome.) Kljestan(although if he couldn’t get a call for WCQ why would he get one now that he’s not starting. He is scoring in UCL), Torres, Dempsey (unless of course he gets his transfer), D.Williams, Corona,(almost entirely because the space left by Bradley is gaping. I’m not sure Corona gets a call for a full strength game. He didn’t get any minutes in WCQ, but that’s not exactly unexpected. I think he sticks around like Jurgen has shown he likes to do with newly integrated players.)
F:Gomez, Altidore(even though Alkmaar may not be willing to give him up), Donovan, Young MLS Player To Be Named Later (Probably one of the younger players in the pool, I expect this to go to an MLS standout,not an Eddie Johnson or Kenny Cooper. Wondo is the only older MLS player whos really earned a look and I’m reluctant to even give him that.), Wondolowski (I hate giving it to him, I already feel like he’s to old to be playing for the USMNT, but his pace in MLS is so high that you have to call him in and see if you can make it work. Gomez did and has almost cemented the starting spot, so give him a bit more time. I don’t want him to take time from a younger player, but there’s not a clear player he’s taking time from.)
and for those who don’t want to read my ramblings
GK: Howard, Guzan Hamid
D: Goodson, Cherundolo, Lichaj, Johnson, Bocanegra, Parkhurst, Chandler
M: Jones, Beckerman, Edu, Kljestan, Torres, Dempsey, D. Williams, Corona,
F: Gomez, Altidore, Donovan, Young MLS PTBNL, Wondolowski
November 10, 2011Posted by on
So everybody’s putting out line-ups right about now and I really don’t know how to handle that. I’ve been looking for a way to sum up in a simple formation what I expect Jurgen to do. I can’t I can tell you the 11 players I expect to start though and I guess we can go from there.
1. Tim Howard-obviously we need a keeper and he’s the one that’ll start. Although I’d really like to see Hamid get some minutes, he shouldn’t get them against France
2/3. Steve Cherundolo/Timmy Chandler- A given at right back for this team until someone really steps up at left back. Until we see someone other than Chandler who can hold down the left spot this is it. Chandler will eventually take over Dolo’s spot on the right, but not until they fill the hole on the left.
4.Carlos Bocanegra- He’s the captain and we’re not going into the game without him. The interesting thing for me is that I think his spot is much more up for competition than the other CB spot.
5.Michael Orozco Fiscal- Jurgen is doing something very specific by giving this spot to Fiscal and later subbing him out for Ream. I was personally shocked when I saw that he put both Onyewu and Bocanegra on the field at the same time. Fiscal and Ream have been getting called in because they play a totally different role from Onyewu, Bocanegra and Goodson. Those three might be the better defenders, but Fiscal fills the role better. The only issue with that is, with Ream being out the only real backup I can think of here is the newcomer Alfredo Morales who reportedly can play CB and would seem to not be the hulking style of player that Bocanegra, Onyewu and Goodson are.
6.Kyle Beckerman- Everyone thinks Beckerman does nothing and doesn’t do it particularly well, but there’s a reason that Jurgen keeps putting him in this spot. The deep lying holding midfield who starts the attack from the back is an important part of what he is trying to do. Beckerman might not be Makelele but he fits the same role and gets a lot of the exact same complaints from critics. Beckerman may not be the best player but he’s the best at that position. Edu may be a better defender but his passing isn’t quite there. Bradley may be appealing to some, but he’s very much a box to box midfielder. the only other player I’d be particularly interested in seeing in this role would be Danny Williams. I haven’t seen much of him at Hoffenheim, but from what I have he looks to have the qualities required to play this position pretty well. Although I still think Beckerman has done well.
Landon Donovan-Honestly the hardest spot to judge what might happen. It’s Landon’s spot ultimately because he has no real competition. There’s a reason that Robbie Rogers and Danny Williams have both gotten time there since Jurgen joined the team. There’s not a ton of depth on the wings. I’d assume that we might see one of those two out there again although it’s equally possible that Shea or Run DMB get the start there. If I had to hazard a guess (which i guess I really set myself up to do) I’d go with DaMarcus Beasley, but it could really be anyone.
8.Michael Bradley- I don’t see either Bradley or Edu owning this spot if everyone’s healthy, but I think this is the spot they’re fighting for now as they’re both vaguely box-to-box players and that will fill this spot well enough. With a full roster this is probably Stuart Holden’s spot(assuming he comes back where he left off), but that won’t be for a while. If not him I’d give it to Jose Torres(assuming he comes back where he left off) but that won’t be for a while either.
9. Jozy Altidore- He’s looked better and better playing back to goal since he’s started playing alone consistently for the Nats. I’m not in love with him either, but I don’t see much of a better option. The only real thought I have on strikers is that Gomez should get a chance to prove he’s not the one. I definitely see Altidore on the field, but where is a question. I think we might be better suited to have Dempsey play back to goal and have Altidore a step deeper playing where he can face the net and pepper shots rather than worrying about the distribution.
10. Clint Dempsey-The only player on the team who really doesn’t have a potential sub. I may not have mentioned other’, but Howard could be subbed for Hamid, Altidore could be subbed for Buddle, everyone else could come off for a worse player but with no huge loss to the formation. Who would really be able to fill in for Dempsey? Fabian Johnson would probably be the only player who even qualifies as the same position. Any issue with Dempsey means that either Landon fills his spot or we start playing with a second striker. He is given this kind of free reign in the middle of the park for a reason. Landon Donovan is not the best player on this team any more and the transition to Klinsmann has only made that more apparent (although getting the best two on the field together sometime soon would be nice(and Torres and Holden too?)).
11.Brek Shea- The one and only, the man who single handedly drives this blog. Really 90% of my traffic comes from pictures of his goofy hairstyles. He’s the best wing we’ve had since DMB was young. A few months ago I thought that Timmy Chandler would be the best player for the USMNT in 2014, but the more I see of Brek Shea the more I reconsider. They both have great promise and should absolutely be a key factor in the teams success for a long time.
I see them lining up in somewhat of a 4-3-3 or a 4-1-3-2 depending on how Brek Shea is feeling and whether or not we have the ball.
*Altidore and Shea would be a lot closer than this might make it look but Dempsey would be floating in between the two levels to play basically wherever he wants.
November 3, 2011Posted by on
The USMNT is preparing for set of friendlies against France and Slovenia and announced their roster for them both. The roster comes with the side note that anyone playing in the MLS cup finals will leave the team after the first match and still have a chance to practice for a full week with their team prior to the game.
Goalkeepers (2): Tim Howard, Bill Hamid
Defenders (7): Steve Cherundolo, Oguchi Onyewu, Carlos Bocanegra, Timmy Chandler, Clarence Goodson, Michael Orozco Fiscal, Alfredo Morales
Midfielders (9): Michael Bradley, Maurice Edu, Clint Dempsey, Brek Shea, Danny Williams, Fabian Johnson, Kyle Beckerman, Jermaine Jones, Robbie Rogers
Forwards (4): Landon Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley, Jozy Altidore, Edson Buddle
Most of the names are starting to become familiar, but there are a few key changes. Agudelo, Bunbury, Ream are out Goodson, Alfredo Morales Fabian Johnson are in. Also missing from the roster and garnering legitimate complaints area LA’s Omar Gonzalez, Dallas’s George John and Anderlecht’s Sacha Klejstan who have all looked very good in the past season. Also Hercules Gomez is missing, duh.
Klinsmann seems to have settled on a core of players pretty quickly, which was to be expected but he is still working out how they all fit together along with filling out the team. Howard, Cherundolo, Bocanegra, Chandler, Fiscal, Edu, Dempsey, Shea, Beckerman, Donovan and Altidore (Yes 11) have, I believe been called in to every camp where they were available and gotten substantial playing time. Most of the other players have also been seen under Klinsmann in some capacitiy
Goalkeepers: Cedric Carrasso (Bordeaux), Hugo Lloris (Olympique Lyon), Steve Mandanda (Olympique Marseille)
Defenders: Eric Abidal (FC Barcelona), Mathieu Debuchy (Lille), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Jeremy Mathieu (Valencia), Adil Rami (Valencia), Anthony Reveillere (Olympique Lyon), Mamadou Sakho (PSG)
Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle), Alou Diarra (Olympique Marseille), Yann M’Vila (Stade Rennes), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), Marvin Martin (FC Sochaux), Samir Nasri (Manchester City)
Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Kevin Gameiro (PSG), Olivier Giroud (Montpellier), Jeremy Menez (PSG), Loic Remy (Olympique Marseille), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich)
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.
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 18, 2011Posted by on
Basically that line uttered by Kanye summed up both last weeks Union game and the US-Guadeloupe game. Both the Union and the Nats could have scored almost 5 goals if they put away the chances they should’ve. Each team scored only one and the Union managed only a tie. Of course for the US a win is a win and pushes them on the face Jamaica tomorrow, but for the Union they only got a tie out of what looked like an easy win in the first half. A very arguable foul on the goal by Espindola of Salt Lake is what brought the game back even, but the Union were the better team by far. Very disappointing considering the performance but as many have told me, if you offered me a 1-1 tie with Salt Lake before the game I would’ve taken it. I think everyone is really starting to believe this team will do more than back into the playoffs.
Whether Carlos Ruiz stays or not I think is really insignificant for this team. Ruiz has been the lead scorer for this team, but Mwanga is stepping into that role quite comfortably while Jack is stepping right up behind him and Seba (who has been playing great) will surely put a few in between now and the end of the season. Really it would only be putting Jack back into the first-choice sub role he played last year. He’s been a step deeper on the chart as Mwanga has been seen starting many more games from the bench. Ruiz stepped in front of everyone at the start of the season, but I can’t wholeheartedly say hes played all that much better than Mwanga. The drop-off if Ruiz does end up in Mexico is not as great as some might fear. All it means is Jack is back.
The US played terribly against Panama so it was nice to at least see them look like they had touched a ball before against Guadeloupe, obviously Ream and Agudelo didn’t start. It made sense to put in Lichaj and he showed us just why. Putting in Wondolowski is a different thing entirely. My vote for last weeks formation is what I expect to come out this week.
Altidore hasn’t been the best in this formation, he’s not the greatest as a lone striker, but I think its more valuable to get Bedoya in and take Wondolowski off. Bedoya probably comes out for Klejstan later in the game and Edu comes on for either Jones or Bradley hopefully. I have always thought that the best idea is to put the team in this kind of formation. Dempsey is great from outside but neither Dempsey or Donovan provides real width on either side. I know its been used before and didn’t work out too well for us. Optimally I would have Stu Holden in Dempseys spot and Dempsey in Altidores with Timmy Chandler(pending that he stays at his current level) on replacing Bedoya. I really think this is the formation we end up with for ’14 so I’m just hoping for an early adoption.
Tonight is Vancouver which is hopefully much easier than Colorado or Salt Lake and turns up a W. Then comes Jamaica tomorrow which I see being a very good game. The US needs to turn things around and start finishing. Putting Lichaj in takes away worries about Bocanegras speed on the wings which would’ve been a real problem against a very fast Jamaica team. Hopefully two W’s this weekend.
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.
March 29, 2011Posted by on
So two nights ago my computer fell on the floor and the entire screen went black and has yet to return. I’m writing this from a library and it is a very sad day. Basically from now until I get a new computer, or at least a new monitor updates from here will be much less frequent, maybe about once a week. It’s quite disappointing seeing as the season just barely started, but I’m a college student and don’t have nearly enough money to go out and repair the screen. So from now until probably mid-May my updates will be much less frequent.
Of course I don’t want to skip over the Union, but at least for this week and any other that the USMNT plays, I will probably be focusing primarily on the national team. The Union played great, it was real nice to see Ruiz get his first goal in Chester and especially nice to see the defense continue playing as well as they had in the first game. Of course this was a brand-new Vancouver team without some of their best players, due to national team duty, but it was a win and a good game nonetheless.
What I want to focus on is obviously the US-Argentina game this past Saturday and the US-Paraguay game tonight. I’ve read and heard a lot of talk about how great Juan Agudelo could be and also a lot of talk the other way. That Agudelo is just a kid and we have no idea how good he could be. That Jozy Altidore played pretty much this well when he was coming up to. Personally watching him play I got the impression that Agudelo was confident at times, but very much balancing on the verge of overconfident. I watched Agudelo take on three Argentinian defenders, and naturally fail to get through them. That’s hardly a negative that he couldn’t get through three defenders, only one player can do that consistently and he only faces Argentina in practices. The problem is that Juan did this at least twice with open players by his side. He made a few solid passes, but it was also glaringly obvious that his on-field vision was lacking and that his ball-skills, while very good, where not exactly what he thinks they are. Agudelo is a kid and should be looked at that way. If he plays well tonight, I think it’s much more likely Bob keeps him off the field entirely than that he starts as many are calling for but I deexpect another second-half substitution, and starts making smarter passes I could see him getting starts in the latter stages of the Gold Cup. I think the kid is far from a star, but Jozy Altidore is not all that far ahead of him so he could easily compete for a starting spot on the team. He played as we expected, confident but sometimes cocky, well but sometimes fool-hardy. In short he played like you’d expect a young player to.
My biggest issue with the praise being laid upon Juan is that he was far from single-handedly the reason that the US turned their game around in the second half. Jonathan Spector was being torn apart by Angel Di Maria, again as we should expect. Spector has never played particularly well against speedy attackers. Chandler came in and played very well, again he may not have locked down Di Maria entirely, but few do. There’s a reason he plays where he does.
The most important change made at half-time was the substitution of Jermaine Jones for Juan Agudelo, but I believe this for different reasons. From what I saw Juan didn’t light things up from the front. Rather adding another attacking player lit things up. Jones, Edu and Bradley should never be on the field at the same time. If this game teaches us anything it is that. Spain only plays Iniesta and Xavi, and Fabregas sits. No matter how good he is, he does not help to form the best starting 11. Bradley would be a very solid super sub, for Holden if we need defense, or for Jones or Edu if we need offense. Maurice Edu plays Center Back for Rangers, he played attacking mid on Saturday.
Bob Bradley basically replaced Stuart Holden with Maurice Edu because he was the next mid on the chart. Agudelo is not better than Edu or Jones or Bradley, but his position is more along the lines of what the US needs. Can you imagine what they could have done if they’d had Stuart Holden playing behind Jozy all game, rather than a combination of Edu and Agudelo? Obviously not much considering Holden barely has one leg, so he probably can’t run well at the moment, but if he were healthy he makes this entire discussion moot. The conversation is about whether it is more important to have your best 11 players on the field or your best team. This game showed me that it is more about having your best team. I don’t believe Juan Agudelo is part of the best team. I personally believe that Mixx or even Jose Torres would do better there maybe bringing in Clint Dempsey and using Chandler out on the wing if he continues to play well with his club.
Ultimately I believe Bradley’s starting lineup looks like this with everyone healthy
———Donovan –Holden ——Dempsey———-
With everyone healthy, the only substantial change I would make is to try Edu in the defense, I think that is the best way to combine the ideals of getting both your best 11 and your best team on the field. Edu has played in central defense at the club level and I’d like to see if he can do it on the international level.
The lineup I expect to see tonight looks significantly different from the lineup we saw Saturday, as many of the players are in the middle of seasons and their clubs likely wouldn’t approve of two games in four days.
Ultimately, if we can get the same kind of play tonight that we got in the second half of the Argentina game we’ll beat Paraguay and look good doing it. The bigger concern is getting a look at more players, a bit deeper on the roster and seeing how they play with at least a semblance of the top-team. I expect more substitution in this game, and definitely less familiar faces, but the starters will hold the key. The biggest problem is that this team has started so weakly in so many games recently. I think a part of this can be credited to Bob Bradley adjusting well at half, but at the same time why is he not making those adjustments before the game?
March 24, 2011Posted by on
Here it is. The Red USMNT Jersey’s are officially out. The new motto which is yet to be decided will presumably be on the back, but here is what the kit will look like for this week. Pretty much what we expected, a red version of the World Cup kit, but I’m a big fan of the look.
More images here at US Soccer’s Facebook Page
March 21, 2011Posted by on
Ok so I know that all my posts this morning have involved injuries to USMNT players, and hopefully I’ll get away from that soon, but the US roster for the two March friendlies has been updated due to those injuries and I though it deserved its own post. Zac Whitbread, Steve Cherundolo and Stuart Holden are out and Eric Lichaj comes in.
Obviously Holden is the biggest story of the three but Cherundolo has been playing very well for Hannover and was the only one who required bringing in a replacement so numbers-wise it might be more significant at the moment.
Lichaj coming in gives us another chance to get him back on Bob Bradley’s radar, and also gives us a slightly different look then Cherundolo, along with a definite influx of youth along the backline. If Lichaj is needed, does that youth make it less likely for a Tim Ream to come in? I imagine Bob would be a lot more comfortable judging Ream’s performance with a full first team defense around him. The more that’s chipped away at, the less his performance could mean.
And of course, Whitbread was getting his first call up. Even if he wasn’t an immediate prospect to get a ton of playing time for the team, it still would have been nice to bring him in and establish him as an American International.