Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Top 5 USMNT v Paraguay Afterthoughts

We don't need no stinkin' ceremony.

#5 - One thing that may or may not make you go "Hmm."

I wondered when was the last time a USMNT captain started on the bench and then ended up working much of the game with another player still wearing his armband. Sadly, I imagine this answer is too hard to find. But next time it happens, we will all be at the trivia-ready.

#4 - Was Paraguay paid by the rash slide tackle?

And on a related note, was their #13 some sort of kingpin's lead henchman? Do Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey owe these guys money? It was another not-so-friendly for the 'Nats.

Hey, I'm not saying these two exhibition matches were excessively rough... but the squad enjoyed a relaxing cooldown on Wednesday by wrestling alligators. Yeesh.

#3 - Pitch Switch

I discussed the poor New Meadowlands surface this weekend. It was like a dry, sticky, carpet showroom. On Tuesday, our boys were on the other extreme, with a very slick field in Nashville. Then it started raining and we had grass hockey.

No great insight here. Just an observation to amuse myself.

#2 - Dear Santa...

I know what I want for Christmas. I want to play a few games with that crazy stride Timothy Chandler has. Just a few, to have fun with it. He has such a unique natural running style that can't be taught and is nearly as impossible for defenders to read.

The bounce of it, the space-eating range of it, the ridiculously quick second step... you can see opponents struggling just to gauge where he's heading, much less slow him down. By the time their brain processes that he is a-comin', he's already a-goin' past them.

Add in his diabolical crosses and imagination is easily led toward the future of weaponry. I commented in yesterday's U.S. Player Ratings that Eric Lichaj was so tough to handle going forward as to qualify for "offensive sub" status as a defender. But, even better, try this on for size:

What if Chandler started at right midfield or wing, where he can be slid to right back for bringing on a fresh legs flank raider in front of him when we need a goal? With his boundless energy and drive, it would be like two attack subs in one.

What's more, he did the same stuff at both extremes of the turf spectrum. As Troy would say: he's wrinkling my brain.

#1 - Restart Me Up

Okay, I'm gonna go there again. Landon Donovan should not be the de facto set piece option at all times. Or, more to my point... at all places on the field.

It seems here that Donovan is generally money from the left corner flag and its general area, and on long diagonal serves on that same side. However, when he steps to the opposite corner or deep flank, his boots are frequently short and flat. For my money, Stuart Holden does better as a righty hitting from these particular areas.

Besides, every set piece Donovan takes adds one more that our top goal scorer is miles away from the goalmouth, unable to be a converter. It's quite clear to me that coach Bradley needs to find himself a lefty restart man - even if only to use as a crunch time sub.

Robbie Rogers and José Francisco Torres, please pick up the red, white & blue courtesy phone (and your overall game with it to selection worthiness). Please.

- Greg Seltzer

PS - Oh yeah... NSC regulars Jack & Melissa emailed to inform me that this Top 5 List 'does not count until I reveal what I cooked and ate for dinner'. They say I've really been slacking on the food chatter.

Alright then. Fair enough. I'll go one better. Count it!


Tim said...

Greg - you're preaching to the choir on number 1. I've been calling for Stu to take set pieces for a while now. On the lefty option, any view on Ream's abilities? It was interesting to see him standing next to Donovan on a couple of those set pieces on Tuesday.

Greg Seltzer said...

I have wondered that about Ream myself. Frankly, I've also wondered about the dead ball ability of Pearce and Bornstein, but I can't say with any certainty about any of them. It may be a good idea for Bob to make a point to find out.