Thursday, October 6, 2011

B-Boy Hero

As with a soccer team, a successful breakdancing crew is usually made of people all playing their specific roles. Everybody is expected to add their unique flavor to the mix. Some people wow as lockers, some doing hand tutting, some add in classical training.

Indulge me a moment, please, and enjoy this performance by Boston crew Phunk Phenomenon. They are a very strong group that eventually finished third in the most recent season of America's Best Dance Crew. However, I'd like you to focus in on Bebo (the short fella in the do-rag) and then try to mentally translate all of the judge comments to 4-3-3 soccer.

The visual lesson is, when metaphorically marrying the two endeavors, the #10 is our b-boy. He's the one who suddenly pops up with the amazing move nobody saw coming, could have planned against or can typically stop. He's got the swagger in the big moment, pulling off the high-difficulty move that gets them off their feet. He's the one you point to when it comes time to turn the tension of build into "Holy shit, did you see that?!?!?" - with a reply of "I'm actually not quite sure, but the defense definitely didn't."

It may now round out the roundabout explanation by dropping the fact that five of six champion crews thus far have had at least one quality b-boy (or b-girl) able to blend in until the time is right to shine, as did three of the runners up.

When someone hears '#10', the most common initial image is of a player that can dribble, feed the wings and specializes in final passes up the middle. Some may think along the lines of a younger Totti, the striker playing from midfield.

Ideally, you want someone that does all of that and more. The most obvious current example is former Ajax ace Wesley Sneijder, so let's quickly examine his game. He often drops deep for the ball, sprays lead passes around, shoots accurately from distance, runs maddening combos with his striker, plays all manner of balls into the area and even gets back to harass the opposing defensive midfielder when the other team is camping in his own end.

Naturally, Way Out Wes (as only I call him), is the dream prototype - but don't get started on that depression over not having a Sneijder just yet. The good news is every 4-3-3 custom tailors the attack to fit their #10.

For instance, if your b-boy hero shades to the left in attack, you have the left winger religiously stay wide, while maybe playing one of those newfangled modern wingers that likes to cut in over on the right. If he's less likely to take a crack from above the area (or just not particularly good at it), you may create a lane for the #8 to get forward for shots more often. And so on. Every perceived problem has a wrinkle solution. That is the new attitude around here.

So get your head out of the oven and open your mind to possibilities. This list could see plenty of shuffle by the start of qualifying - for various reasons.

#5 - Benny Feilhaber

He's played well since joining the Revs, but maybe is not quite putting up the numbers you'd expect on that Eastern last place team - yeah, they're bad. Benny is still definitely a guy who could shoot up the list with a strong start next season. We already know he can make some impact off the bench in big games.

#4 - Mikkel Diskerud

While Feilhaber has a big experience edge and I still believe in him, Mix is the guy on the rise. He's improved significant amounts the last two season, brings the all-around #10 toolbelt to a decent extent and, sweet Moses, is his comfort on the ball in the danger zone not soooo enticing? May I remind of his USMNT hello? Diskerud was in a Lazy-Boy wearing a snuggie in the area, one goal down in the waning minutes. The real questions here are will he move this winter to a better league and would such a move slash his playing time as we approach June? The answer on both for now is too soon to tell.

#3 - Sacha Kljestan

The Anderlecht man plays the #8 for the Belgian leaders, but that has only solidified his game. His real talents are for seeing the field and delivering an easy-to-handle final ball. The problem so far has been that Kljestan lapses into indecisiveness on the ball when in a 'Nats uniform, which kinda negates those two great skills at once. Boy, it sure would be swell though if the Mauves did now begin pressing him into a true playmaking role so he can warm up his swagger moves. Once again, as always (shakes fist to the heavens)... Belgians!!!

#2 - Freddy Adu

He's still just getting back to regular PT, he's still a tactical work in progress - and yet, he's also still probably the scariest, most unpredictable attacker we can bring off the bench. He can hurt defenses in just about every way and practically sneezes unpredictable flash. And as with striker, whomever gets the nod here for qualifier one is A) a squad ace & B) quite capable of sliding elsewhere in attack. If we were looking at someone to compete for the starting job here, he'd be back a little further. As back-up minutes should be both lean and late for now, easily having the most sweet tricks is enough to come second on this chart.

#1 - Clint Dempsey

I don't consider this the long-term choice and he is obviously fairly adept from any of the four attack positions. There's really just one thing that compelled me to pick him here for CONCACAF bout numero uno: Deuce dun wanna stay wide. And hey, that's fine. So let's accommodate that. Let's let him lead the wingers, crash the box late, bomb from above the area and throw all his little Dempsey moves at the backline all day long. And geez, just imagine the number of danger free kicks a combo team of Altidore and the Texas Tornado would earn bulling up the gut. Of course, he's not a typical playmaker. But with Donovan and Chandler's crosses out wide right, some of that responsibility can be taken off his shoulders.

Tomorrow, we take the final voyage on my clipboard by sailing over to left winger-land. My record of priors...

- Keepers
- Right backs
- Right center backs
- Left center backs
- Left backs
- Defensive midfielders
- Right wingers
- Two-way midfielders
- Strikers

- Greg Seltzer


Alex said...

Do you consider Jose Torres a left winger or are you laying down some serious hate?

Greg Seltzer said...

Now, do you really think I'd kill your suspense like that?

AWF08 said...

Unexpected, but I like it. I've been wanting to see Deuce in the middle for a while now. I just wonder about the "final pass" quotient of his formula. Sometimes, I think he misses a killer pass looking for his own shot (especially w/ the nats), but maybe that's a trust issue with his teammates...
In the end, I think this is only a temporarly solution until Adu gets more games/gets better/gets more opportunities--he's shown in glimpses that he can be our #10, but he's gotta get more consistent and more fit. But, that's been the case for a while with him.
I'd have Feilhaber as my #3 and as a guy to bring off the bench in multiple roles--I still think he was great for us in that role at the World Cup.
Can't wait for the L-Wings. Only question is, if Adu starts to ball and takes over the #10--does that slide Deuce back over and make the current #1 LW the #2 at that time? What are we doin' with Deuce if Adu steps up? (I know, I know, if, if, if...)

AWF08 said...

F. temporary!