Friday, March 23, 2012

An Olympic rout

Just wanted another excuse to look at those unis
This could be a lot of fun to watch.

Forget me and forget that you're browsing the interwebs for a minute. There is no spoon. Look at this lineup Caleb Porter pushed out against Cuba, study it, close your eyes and tell me the first thing that comes to mind. Our little project commences.

Bill Hamid, Kofi Sarkodie, Ike Opara, Perry Kitchen, Zarek Valentin; Jared Jeffrey (Amobi Okugo, 65'), Mix Diskerud, Joe Corona; Freddy Adu (c), Juan Agudelo (Teal Bunbury, 45'), Brek Shea (Joe Gyau, 57')

And here was your 4-3-3 in action, which I lifted from the excellent Steve Davis over at ProSoccerTalk.

What was yours? My response to our exercise, even before I knew the result, was the following: an unrelenting thunderstorm of apocalyptic waves of horse-riding forwards. I know, I have a ridiculous imagination.

Anyway, looking at that uppermost shelf in the set shows you how seriously Porter is valuing the attack. This is an appropriate cause to take up when the 4-3-3 is your rule. The easy play was sitting Adu in Corona's place in advanced midfield, but he shifted him upfield to make better use of his ability to play in forwards with someone pushing him from the back. Porter also more or less forces Adu's head into the water, elbowing him further up into the run of play so he has less room to disappear as he sometimes can for the Union. Smart move, I'd say.

Also, it is unfortunate to see Kitchen stuck at CB considering Ben Olsen is beginning the process of moving him to holding mid, where he should be and where his talents seem best served. I can understand the move, however, if there is some collusion afoot between Klinsmann and Porter based on need. The center back pool is decidedly weaker than the midfield, and it may be more difficult for Kitchen to displace guys like Bradley and Edu than, say, Goodson et al. But, then again, that's not Ben Olsen's problem.

The two players I think will emerge from these qualifiers, and by extension the Olympics themselves, as the most impressive without being the most known are Mixmaster Flex and Joe Corona, who put three past a lifeless Cuban side that barely lifted a finger over the final 20 minutes. But, the very best of the best will be Brek Shea. There will be no better player in qualification. Can a brother get an UNLEASH THE BREKEN t-shirt? I just pray we don't place too much emphasis on Shea busting on a bunch of young guns and then angrily extend that, quite erroneously, to his play with the Nats and his inability to bag goals. That's a losing argument and a pointless run-around that serves no purpose other than for message board blather. Don't need it.

Finally, Davis suggests #BabyNats as the Twitter hashtag for this group. I don't know why, but coming out of my mouth that sounds dirty. I'll stick to #ubros, thank you very much.

- Will Parchman


dikranovich said...

where else would freddy play in a 4-3-3, sept up top? it was interesting that the broadcasters on universal referred to it as two up top with shea and agudelo taking those spots.

from klinsmanns comments, he wants deuce in the hole behind two strikers. to me, that sounds like coach klinsmann is going to be playing the 3-5-2 at some point.

Tom said...

I think Shea may be an age-group wonder. Maybe not. But that's what I'm seeing these days.

Kitchen doesn't convince me *at all* in the midfield.

Will Parchman said...

Give Kitchen time. He was a boy wonder in midfield in college and played on the back line in DC last year because of necessity, not because Olsen wanted him there long term. DC is only two games into Kitchen's move. He needs to knock some of the rust off. Oh and he's a month removed from his 20th birthday. There's that also.

Tom said...

Will, I watched a bunch of Cochina in college, and he was definitely an excellent midfielder at that level. What I've seen even in age group play with NT is less than impressive (I'm thinking with the U20s).

Phil McCracken said...

Good young centerbacks are as difficult to find as good young goalkeepers. So much success at those spots comes down to positioning and reading the game well and both of those skills take time to develop at the professional level.

Ryan said...

"I think Shea may be an age-group wonder."

Yeah, but he really tore up the MLS U-23s last year.

Tom said...

I'd be happy to be wrong. He had a very fine 2011, and that at a young age. Still and all, Eddie Johnson scored 2,2,4,14 goals in his first four seasons starting at 17 or 18... they don't always pan out, those of the young hot hand.

I like to see a longer string of excellence before I call a good year something more than a fluke--half of all your years will be above your median.

UnitedDemon said...

Brek Shea is a shy monster. Once he figures out exactly how and when to release the Breken (I do like that) he's going to be a handful. He already is against teams like Mexico, who can't handle his combination of speed, skill, and strength.

I'm just smiling because next game we can expect Terrence Boyd and Joe Gyau to get more time. And what a fun time it will be for Canada, too.