Tuesday, March 21, 2017

So what so we do now?

Well, we've had so much in 'n' out with the USMNT squad ahead of Saturday's crucial World Cup qualifier against Honduras I now want a cheeseburger animal-style. Obviously, the team will sorely miss Fabian Johnson and Bobby Wood (not to mention Eric Lichaj and DeAndre Yedlin), but the show must go on.

How exactly, you ask? I have a couple suggestions. First, let me say that the empty bucket does seem desirable with this group. Asking Christian Pulisic, arguably the prime playmaker on board, to run wide from that set is not ideal. Perhaps against Spain or Argentina, that could work. But in a game we'll prefer to control, it would be awkward and potentially wasteful.

Just to remind, here is the roster after all the changes:

G - David Bingham, Tim Howard, Nick Rimando

D - DaMarcus Beasley, Matt Besler, John Anthony Brooks, Geoff Cameron, Omar Gonzalez, Michael Orozco, Tim Ream, Jorge Villafaña, Walker Zimmerman

M - Kellyn Acosta, Alejandro Bedoya, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Sacha Kljestan, Sebastian Lletget, Dax McCarty, Darlington Nagbe, Christian Pulisic, Graham Zusi

F - Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey, Jordan Morris, Chris Wondolowski

Yeah, US Soccer listed Zusi as a defender, but... c'mon. Do you want to see him saddled with containing Alberth Elis? Yeah, me neither.

So if we want to play this relatively straight and balanced, looking to take advantage of as much on-field familiarity/connectivity as possible, we could trot out something like this:

Then again, if we wish to go for a dynamic group that can go directly for the jugular...

However, I'd opt for something in between, like this...

This way, guys like Morris and Kljestan can be emergency attack subs. Anyway you slice it, the team still has plenty of ways to go, in spite of the key absences. 

Of course, we also need to keep an eye on Brooks' knee. If he isn't fully fit, I'd go with a straight Besler switch and not fret much. Like I said... this is our deepest selection ever.

- Greg Seltzer

Saturday, March 18, 2017

John-solation Strike

Hertha Berlin center back John Anthony Brooks certainly struggled defensively at FC Cologne today, but he also buried a wicked late header - as you can see below. It was his first club goal since December of 2015.

- Greg Seltzer

Emerson-Shiny Day (updated)

Yup, he's just broken the ice to  put Rangers up on Hamilton near the half hour. Clip to come...

UPDATE: I'll aim to switch this out for a better quality clip later, but here ya go for now.

- Greg Seltzer

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Rescue Crew

Bruce Arena has called up 24 players for this month's key World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Panama. As is often the case with USMNT selections, there are both relief sighs and worry wrinkles.

Of course, my prayer to see Villafaña's name on the list was answered. On the other hand, I'm disappointed not to see Yedlin (or at least Lichaj) - seeing as how FabJO is listed in attack, I suppose Cameron and Orozco are the right back options. I'm also surprised that one of Feilhaber or Kljestan is nowhere to be found.

The boss looked to have quite the call to make in goal, but I'm assuming Howard's successful return made it a lot easier.

G - Brad Guzan (Middlesbrough), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

D - DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin),  Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Michael Orozco (Tijuana), Tim Ream (Fulham), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna), Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas)

M - Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Jermaine Jones (LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund)

F - Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Bobby Wood (Hamburg)

- Greg Seltzer

I'll just drop this right here...

Best. MLS. Meme. Ever.

My hat's off to Galaxy social media ace Jenny Jeffries.

By the way, it seems the league office is ticked off about this.

Seriously? This one tweet has gotten MLS more attention than pretty much anything that will happen on the field this season. The thing has gone global. Even Alex Morgan has watched it numerous times over in France.

Maybe try enjoying it instead of trying to grip everything so tightly. I mean, really.

- Greg Seltzer

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Just a sprinkle of nutmeg...

Borussia Dortmund whiz kid Christian Pulisic was at it again on Tuesday, bagging the opener/winner in a 3-0 DfB Pokal win over 3.Liga underdogs Sportfreunde Lotte. He now has three goals and two assists in the last 11 days.

- Greg Seltzer