Saturday, June 20, 2009

Gold Cup D'OH!

As you know, I was putting the finishing touches on a column tabbing who I think should USMNT boss Bob Bradley should call to the camp preceding July's Gold Cup. Well... thanks to the folks at CONCACAF, we now have an initial 30-man squad list for that gathering (a release that I can only assume will rankle our "mum's the word" coach).

In any event, I must now try to take what I have and morph into a column complaining about who is or isn't there and praising this or that and such. Obviously, this will take me a fair spell. Oh well... here is the roster:

GK: Brad Guzan, Marcus Hahnemann, Troy Perkins, Luis Robles

D: Jonathan Bornstein, Danny Califf, Steve Cherundolo, Jay DeMerit, Clarence Goodson, Eric Lichaj, Chad Marshall, Michael Orozco, Michael Parkhurst, Heath Pearce, Marvell Wynne

M: Freddy Adu, Davy Arnaud, Ricardo Clark, Benny Feilhaber, Eddie Gaven, Stuart Holden, Pablo Mastroeni, Robbie Rogers, John Thorrington, Jose Francisco Torres, Jeremiah White

F: Jozy Altidore, Conor Casey, Kenny Cooper, Charlie Davies

- Greg Seltzer


Evan said...

really bob, we couldnt call in whitbread or johnson just to give them a look? that pisses me off. whatever, i guess im expecting too much. i have a high bradley tolerance, but he is really starting to underwhelm me and im going to be even more upset if we dont beat egypt (i have a bottle of green label on the line here with my favorite bartender and i will catch hell if we loose).

Will Lytle said...

Would have been nice to have Whitbread, but I can understand not including him for this roster. Goodson seems a bit a of a stretch here, otherwise everyone on that back line list deserves the call up.

Midfield looks very offensive, considering there are only 2 defensive players, Clark and Mastro (really, Mastro deserves to be here?). At times I imagine we'll see a 4-5-1 still, but it will be a very forward leaning group.

Lovers of Cooper got their wish. I'm not keen on him, and I don't think he's as good internationally as some people do, but at least he's got a good stretch now to prove me (or his fans) wrong.

My starting XI (for vanity's sake):








1) I'd like to see Adu in there, but I don't see a combination that's realistic (to me or Bradley). Backline and midfield is not strong enough IMO to have 3 attacking-minded mids (Benny, Adu, and Torres) on the field together for 90 minutes.

2) That left side scares me from a defensive standpoint. Teams will attack down there like Italy did in the 2nd half and Brazil did ALL GAME.

3) Holden could be swapped for Torres, especially since Bradley doesn't rate Torres (he must know something that Deportivo doesn't). Holden will give you more going back, but I'd prefer to see a little more defense by actually holding on to and moving the ball.

4) Califf could be in there for Parkhurst (especially against slower teams), as he would give the back line more voice and communication.

5) Nice to see Marshall in here, but you got to feel for Columbus; they lose an important player that's likely the 4th choice center back on this roster.

Overall, this is not a horrible start at all. It will answer some important questions on some fringe players, and I still think we have a chance to do well in the tournament....

well, until Bradley's shocking tactics and selection work against us.

Will Lytle said...

BTW, Greg you forgot Hahnemann.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ Evan: Zak was hobbling a bit as the season wound up. I do not know if he is still dealing with some sort of knock or not. If he's not, then I am very unhappy he was not called. VERY.

As for beating Egypt, they are quite capable... whether that translates to some spirit and some football, we shall see.

@ Will: Let me hit a few bullet points on ya...

- Goodson absolutely deserves to be called. No question. Did you realize that the two biggest national Norwegian newspapers have him rated as the #1 (Aftenposten) & #2 (VG) defender in the top flight? Last season was no fluke.

- I'm hoping, if not insisting, that the lack of defensive midfielders means we will not be playing the empty bucket at Gold Cup. Of course, no one on the staff seems to be able to recognize that Benny Feilhaber is a playmaker, so they probably think they have three. Urgh.

- Cooper deserves a call. No question.

- If the left side scares you, perhaps it's because you (for some crazy reason) have Bornstein starting at LB.

I mean, seriously, why would anyone? Even in his worst USMNT display, Heath Pearce defends better than Bornstein, and he is easily more competent at the back against top competition not named Mexico.

The biggest overall complaint one should have about Pearce is that he has underwhelmed going forward. He has had a few blond moments to be sure, but Bornstein has a few every 28 minutes.

I can see why Bradley does gives Bornstein extra chances, but how the fans seem to have turned on him? I just don't get it. No clue at all. There are big stars on this team that have disappointed far more since 2006 than Pearce.

- I do like the diamond set, but I do not like starting Cherundolo or Bornstein. Spector on the right, with Orozco or Pearce on the left.

I also do even know why Thorrington was called, and certainly would not start him with Arnaud and White available. And even Gaven. I just think JT has underperformed this season, but to be fair, I've really only seen about a third of the Fire's full matches so far. I suppose the good thing about him compared to the others is his defensive work.

And thanks for the Marcus catch, did that right after I woke up. :D

bhamhawker said...

I don't see Spector listed?

I would like to see this

I'm not sold on Brad Guzan for now. He didn't strike me as great in MLS and I have seen nothing (because he hasn't played) to change my opinion.

I also want to see a "no empty bucket" formation. Let Benny and Torres get out there and create offense and make passes. We've got solid defenders, so tell them to stay home and worry about defending so our midfielders don't have to.

I'm not sold on any of the MLS mids, especially not Thorrington or Arnaud (even if he has a cannon for a right peg). White is probably our only pure winger in the entire setup, so I want him on the field.

I like Cooper just like everyone else, but I like Davies more. He also complements Altidore a bit better than Cooper I think.

bhamhawker said...

Oh, I left off Jay DeMerit because I think Bradley might end up letting him take off for the Gold Cup seeing as he ended up starting the entire Confederations Cup.

If he stays on, start him instead of Chad Marshall.

Greg Seltzer said...

Oh crud, I meant Wynne, not Spector... another early morning brain freeze moment.

I am also not convinced that Guzan should be the #2 yet. And I believe that job should very much still be open to Hahnemann.

As for Cooper, I did see a nice connection with Altidore in the limited time they had together. Not to say he's preferable to Davies necessarily, just throwing that out there.

AdamTheRed said...

Hmmm hopefully the new coach will be able to work with this!

Will Lytle said...

@ Greg

I did not know that Goodson was rated so highly over the last season, so you called me out on that one. Coverage of Scandinavia has sucked at certain unnamed sites since about, hmmmm, Summer '07 ;)

Yes, on the surface it seems we'll get a proper stretch of games with some more attacking flair. But then again, this is the guy that gave us a 4-3-3 in CR with 2 defensive midfielders. VERY cautious optimism.

As for the left side, I'm trying to balance what I'd like to see and what we'll get from Bradley. I hate to say it, but Heath (and Orozco) will likely just tag along this summer on the bench unless Bornstein scores two own goals in a game (no, one is not enough) or gets hurt. Bornstein is Bradley's boy toy, as sick as that makes many of us (and for more on that, ). [insert shameless plug here]

As for Pearce, I'd much prefer him over Bornstein. But for me, his last few appearances have left MUCH to be desired: reactions are slow, angles aren't crisp, and first touch is poor at times, which are clear indications of someone not playing.

But more importantly, he's not just competing against Bornstein in the ability department, he's competing against Bob's idea of Bornstein as the ideal solution at LB (AND perhaps certain stupid comments Heath made in the past, for right or wrong, that upset that facists a USSF).

Call for Cooper, yes. The US's answer at forward, as too many suggest, not for me.

I like Wynne's POTENTIAL, but don't agree he's better than a healthy Cherundolo. Sorry.

As for Thorrington, again it's a matter of who (I think) Bradley will start over what I would like, though clearly it's not as "in stone" as Bornstein.

White would be a very exciting player to watch going forward, but I think he'd be better as a winger in a 4-3-3 than on the right in the diamond, especially knowing that Clark and/or Mastro is there.

At the end of the day, I'd like to see a greater investment in players who can move the ball (Feilhaber, Torres, Adu, Arnaud, White) than relying on tackling and running (A LOT). But we all know that that is not going to happen any time soon under Bradley.

So knowing what we know about Bradley and being able to possibly offer something ourselves (vanity), that was the lineup I came up with.

Will Lytle said...


First off, let me say I love this lineup (except for the CDs).

Only problem for me is that BF would be forced to sit back (better defensively than JFT), which would effectively remove his skill set. This is why I went with JFT on the left in a diamond and Freddy can sub or be swapped in the starting XI. By having Clark there, it allows the guys in front of him to play more to their style/effectiveness.

Greg Seltzer said...

A few added notes:

- Pearce was bad against El Salvador. That's pretty much it. Bornstein has had the odd good outing, but he's been poor a lot more than once.

Of course, you're right about the "Used to coach in MLS" faoratism, as he shows it to the likes of Kljestan and Beasley as well.

- I'm not saying Wynne is better or worse, but A) Cherundolo is coming off surgery, B) he was was kinda dreadful with Hannover this season when healthy & C) Wynne is part of the future.

That's why I'd personally prefer to see Wynne at least towards the beginning of the tourney. We can't let him sit on that bad Costa Rica showing forever.

- Gotcha about the "Bradley factor" in picking, but I guess that's why I argued. :D

Alex said...

I would have liked to see Danny Szetela and Sal Zizzo

WhereEaglesDare said...

Alex Larsen said...
"I would have liked to see Danny Szetela and Sal Zizzo"


Matt said...

Super excited to see Eric Lichaj in action. I have high hopes for him. Has anyone actually seen him play? I assume if he got called up for that infamous UEFA cup game for Villa this year (the one that MON purposely punted on) that he must be alright.

Matt said...

And, yea, great point Alex: where is Sal Zizzo? It seems like going to bigger clubs straight from the US is the kiss of death for our players.

I can't understand why more folks don't follow Gooch to the Belgian League, which seems competitive, and is a league where someone like Zizzo (or Feilhaber, or Adu) could actually get consistent minutes.

Greg Seltzer said...

It's great to see you fellas in here kickin' it around more often lately. Don't think I'm ignoring you... just trying to save some of my views for the column I'm trying to salvage from the embers of the column I had been close to finishing when I saw the roster this morning. :)

Do carry on.

Alex said...

I mean I can only echo the comments beforehand because they are spot on.

People I would have liked to see: Whitbread,Johnson, Szetela, Sizzo but Im not sure who I would kick off the roster...I mean Mastroeni, Thorrington, and Casey but I understand the whole vet thing.

Davy Arnaud deserves his chance. What players do we have currently in the national team picture that can shoot like he can?.....Yah not too many.

As for the starting lineup I like this one:


But honestly Clark is going to start every game. Very few teams play without a defensive midfielder.

Maybe Put in Orozco at left back. I am ready to forgive him for the Olympics and I really cant see him playing his natural centerback position with his height at any higher level (yes I know cannavaro blah blah blah but come on).

Also maybe throw Luis Robles in there for a game. See what the dudes got.

Greg Seltzer said...

I will say one thing: we absolutely cannot go with Benny and Torres as the bottom of a bucket.

If you want 3 or 4 of the small AMs out there, you will need to both switch the formation and include either Clark or Pablo behind them. I also sometimes wonder if Pearce is capable of playing as a DM, but I'm not super big on moving players around - and certainly not from LB at this time.

WhereEaglesDare said...

Orozco at left back, interesting. Anything would be better than another bornstein sighting out there.

Greg Seltzer said...

Yeah, everyone remembers the early Nigeria red card, but seems to forget the nice second half against Japan and the fine outing against the Netherlands, including getting forward to set up Jozy's goal.

Besides, he is too small to play international CB.

Unknown said...

OK. I really didn't want to post this here but...

Your photo of FDB has led me to think…Isn’t it about time we’ve named the official roster for ADFC? Yes, I am talking about Arrested Development Football Club.

We’ll go with a traditional 4-4-2 to make matters simple. In addition, we’ll name four reserves who may be used as potential substitutes.
Starting up top…
F Lucille Bluth – Her predatory instincts make her the ideal striker. Always selfish and wily enough to beguile the toughest defenders in the game.
F Buster Bluth – Completes the perfect attacking partnership. Will, literally, always be an arm’s reach from Lucille and will gladly do the support work for his partner.
AM G.O.B. – The Magician, need I say more? This goes through as long as the stadium PA plays Europe’s “The Final Countdown” every time he scores.
DM Michael Bluth – The workhorse of the team. Will do the selfless running for the rest of the team, even to his own detriment. Very much the lynchpin of the whole operation.
LM Annyong Bluth – As if you didn’t even notice he was there, Annyong pops up in crucial moments of the season (read: series) to provide crucial goals (read: plot twists). A great pick-up in the foreign transfer market.
RM Lindsey Bluth Funke – Bombs in the attack from right side. Is very good at taking advantage of the mistakes of others, however her work rate leaves something to be desired.
LD & RD George Bluth Sr. & Oscar Bluth – Complete opposites, yet wholly complementary. Have always played on opposite sides but there defense of the Bluth legacy has brought them together in purpose.
CD & CD George Michael Bluth & Maeby Funke – Always destined to form a central partnership, were they not?
GK Tobias Funke – Well, honestly, doesn’t mind balls flying at his face…

Lucille Austero – Can sub in for Lucille Bluth in the latter stages…Buster would never know the difference.
Steve Holt – If the game needs a bruiser to stamp a physical presence on match, this is your man…Steve Holt!
Hermano – Has that innate ability to lose his marker (probably because he doesn’t exist). Can come into a match to stir up the opposing team, who always seem to claim that “someone named Hermano is about to get his ass kicked.”
Franklin Delano Bluth – Not named for his skill (or mobility for that matter), but for his locker room presence. The consummate entertainer and motivator. Think of him as The Dude factor.

Manager Barry Zuckerkorn – What could possibly go wrong with this guy in charge?

Jamie said...

Phillip, nice! And we do know Buster is proven at the U-9 level...albeit as a 30-year old.

And remember, America likes its soccer with cheerleaders. Two words: Hot Cops.

Greg Seltzer said...

Wow, Phillip, that was awesome. I may need to make a guest post out of that one, maybe even add my own AD supporting characters team to face them!

Unknown said...

Hot Cops! Perfect. Maybe The Blue Man Group could do all the half time shows?
@Greg I would very much welcome that. I wanted to wait to post it but got impatient. I'd like to see what you can come up with too.

bhamhawker said...

I wish we could see Danny Szetela brought in, as he would be perfect to play at the bottom of a diamond like this:

Unknown said...

Phew! No Chris Pontius, which although being selfish is good for us DCU fans.

Stronger squad than I was expecting, keeping alot of the subs from SA to get some time on the pitch.