Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The first 16

I don't really see the reason behind this turn-up day, staggered squad announcement, and now that it's begun there seems no real rhyme to it (unless we're meant to believe that none of Chandler, Lichaj or Ream will be in the group). A few things on the group:

- Please note the USMNT has Fabian Johnson listed among the midfielders. I hope we stick to this.
- I did not realize Daniel Williams would be 100% fit yet. Had I done so, he'd have been in my predicted 29.
- Alfredo Morales is the real surprise inclusion, especially considering he was dropped by Hertha for the end of their survival drive.

G - Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

D - Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Alfredo Morales (Hertha Berlin)

M - Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Chievo), Joe Corona (Tijuana), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke), Jose Torres (Pachuca), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim)

F - Clint Dempsey (Fulham)

- Greg Seltzer


Timmy said...

Given the lack of depth at outside back, I think it's a good bet that Johnson is the first choice left back much to your (and my) chagrin.

I too wonder what the method is to the announcement madness. Gooch's season is done, he's mentioned in the press release, but he hasn't yet been named to the roster? Why?

Greg Seltzer said...

1 - I'm not sure how you've managed to assume this.

2 - I have no idea, either. It's bizarre.

Greg Seltzer said...

Oh... and we do not have a "lack of depth at outside back" - we have a lack of depth at left back. We have a cast of thousands for right back. We could dip down to our ninth right back or something and get away with the qualifying opener, no problem.

We have right backs coming out of our ears.

dallen said...

Et tu, Timmy? What's his deal, Greg? Many scribes on that t-word site are writing him off, talking about Klinsy's "moving on" comment from USSoccer.com.

Do we write him off semi-officially?

Timmy said...

On 1: I'm forecasting based on the first 11 that Klinsmann has put out there in our big games (Italy) and the lack of other options in this 16.

And you are correct, my comment is more in regards to left back than right back where there are many options after 'dolo.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ dallen: I think everyone is jumping to conclusions again. But I'll try to look into it.

@ Timmy: Okay, but then why list him in midfield? Of four defenders, we have three wide backs, including a left back. I'm guessing Klinsi has realized he needs Johnson in attack, where he properly belongs anyway.

Timmy said...

Greg - I hope you're right. I would need to go back and look, but I believe that every time Johnson's been called in in the past, he's been listed with the midfield.

Greg Seltzer said...

I'll give you a "touché" on that, but I'm not convinced it holds over for this time. I hope not.

RM said...

I agree with you on Johnson, having him at left back is absurd. The man is an attacking midfielder...leave him there!

Also,I agree on the right backs, if there is no left back put Boca or even spector or Lichaj there.

Im no fan of Klinsi and if he calls up Morales instead of an in form Lichaj,this only furthers it.

BTW, As far as Bradley and his agent not talking about his future.The Chievo management seems to be doing a lot of talking to the local newspaper L'arena.


Greg Seltzer said...

Bocanegra is the starter at LCB, and he does not fit the new style of left back we require. I can only assume Lichaj will be among the other 13. If he's not, I'll be shocked.

Italian clubs like to talk for attention, you can never tell what it really means.

jon said...

Gooch's club obligations aren't quite done yet, right? Taça de Portugal final on May 20.

On Chandler: I'm apparently less cynical than many folks on the web. Everything he's done up to this point suggests he's pledged fealty to his club's wishes and not that he's holding out hope for Germany (which would have to be a long term commitment, since they're not currently showing any interest in him).

RM said...

No way Greg, Thats just silly.

Whitbread,Onewyu and Ream are the three center backs that should be called up.Barring injuries

If injuries occur,call up young players with a future like John and Gonzales.

Boca will be in his mid-thirties at the next world cup.

Whats the point of keeping him around to play Antigua and Scotland? Silly no?

Build for the future!

John said...

Really frakking annoyed at Chandler right now. Either put up or shut up.

Greg Seltzer said...

The only thing I can think of is that he was playing through a hamstring nag down the stretch. Either way, I'm still not going to assume something nefarious every time one withdraws from camp. Maybe something changed, but he said it to my face last fall that he did not want to play for Germany. Until I hear different, that's what I'll go on.

dikranovich said...

greg, i wonder if you rate marvell wynne as a top nine right back? from the heart standpoint he has to be at least above timmy chandler. this chandler kid has no heart and we can only hope coach klinsmann was a little more expressive with where he told chandler he can go.

this opens it up for usa and eric L. i dont know what the big deal is because fabian J played a nice game against italy and there is nothing wrong with that. if he is the best left back option, then he should be the left back option. that should not be some big issue like it is, im sorry, but it is a little silly.

lets just say that if fabian johnson shows well at left back over the next couple games and it is not going to be some powder puffs he will be up against, but if he does well, we should think of him as the man for this position. lets say we play both castillo and fabian on the left, i for one sure as dung wanna see johnson in defense.

Timmy said...

dikranovich - what if it's Lichaj vs. Johnson for left back and Johnson is the best option for LM? I don't see a name in this 16 who is a better option than Johnson at that position, and I can't think of anyone who could be added in this next week either.

Jesse said...

Fabian Johnson is too good to play at left back. As an LM he's a game changing player. If I had to choose between Lichaj and Johnson on the left or Johnson and Shea I'd rather Fabian was at LM.

dikranovich said...

it might be fair to have a recap of johnsons season with hoffenheim. fabian started the season in a more advanced role and interestingly enough, when he played in a forward or mid position, he was usually one of the first two players subbed off.

as the season wore on he was moved to defense. by the nurenburg game on dec 10th he was the left back for hoffenheim. he played left back a couple games before, but from the nurenburg game on, he was hoffenheims left back. they won against timmy chandler 2 nil, by the way. chandler would soon take out us international, LA center back, you know who we talk about.

lord only know why hoffenheim traded vladed ibesivic, but they did, and still johnson stayed in defense and ibesivic came back to haunt hoffenheim. i stand corrected fabian started at forward against dortmond and scored and was subbed out, and lost, and was back in defense the next week.

basically, aside from the last three games of the season, when hoffenheim was already assured safety, hoffenheim only lost three games when johnson was at left back and one of those games was the dortmond game, when he played forward. they also lost to stuttguart when vlad came back to score a double, and they got drubbed by munich, but all in all, looking at the stats, you would have to say johnson was a success at left back for hoffenheim this season.

there is no question he has been a success for the us national team.

dikranovich said...

timmy, im sorry, i did not answer your question with the last post, but id like to take a shot at it now. i see a player on this roster who is a much better left mid than fabian johnson.

but if it is down to johnson and lichaj and one has to play left mid and the other left back, i would put lichaj at left back and johnson at left mid, for sure. johnson would cover nicely for eric when he charges up the wing. thats what this system is all about, covering for other players.

people the 4-3-3 is a 4-5-1, its just a 4-3-3 on offense, but on defense it reverts to a 4-5-1, and i dont think most american fans understand this. in this sense, johnson is valuable in attack, because he can defend so well. hoffenheim obviously thought he was more valuable defending and attacking from the wing back position.

clint dempsey or donovan can play the left mid or left wing position in a superior fashion. and the fact that they are right footed players makes the combination of having a LEFT footed johnson at left back even more dangerous, because dempsey or donovan open up space for johnson when they take the ball inside on their stronger right foots, which they tend to do alot.

this team is not static and it has movable parts and that is one of the things that we should be nurturing, not trying to abolish. man, i mean really.

dikranovich said...

oh yeah, and dont forget, in case someone tries to say johnson is a better LM than dempsey, dempsey was named to the all neville all world epl team, as, a left mid.

Greg Seltzer said...

1 - Johnson is not a good defender, he was culpable in bad ways on goals conceded quite a bit.

"clint dempsey or donovan can play the left mid or left wing position in a superior fashion. and the fact that they are right footed players makes the combination of having a LEFT footed johnson at left back even more dangerous

2 - Fine... then who comes in to start when you move Dempsey or Donovan to left wing?

3 - Johnson is NOT left-footed. He is a righty.

Why you try so so so hard to convince everyone of things that are simply not true or unwise is beyond me. Lichaj - an actual defender - is an in-form left back starter in the EPL now, so why do we even need to weaken the attack by moving Johnson somewhere he is less than capable?

Timmy said...

You reframed the question in a way that I didn't ask it. The question was Lichaj vs. Johnson for LB, or Johnson vs. ? for LW not Johnson vs. Lichaj.

If the ? is Donovan or Dempsey, fine, but then we have to take a step back and ask what does your starting 11 look like? I have Donovan penciled in at the RW position, and Dempsey at the AM position, so my best 11 is something like this:
1: Howard
2: 'dolo
3: Gooch or Goodson
4: Boca
5: Lichaj
6: Edu or Jones
7: Donovan
8: MB
9: Jozy
10: Deuce
11: Johnson

Greg Seltzer said...

Knock away the Jones and Goodson choices, and I think you have hit on the quali #1 starting line-up right there, Timmy. And it would be a line-up that is hard to argue with too much.

dikranovich said...

greg, why keep saying johnson is less than capable of playing left back when hoffenheim had him playing the position since december? what, are you going to reference a 7-1 drubbing at the allianz as your proof. if johnson was not a good left back, hoffenheim would have taken some of that ibesivic money and brought in a left back in january.

we have dempsey and donovan to play on the wings, these are our two best attacking options pretty much ever. maybe coach klinsmann will call in adu or feilhaber to play the position they should be playing, which is central and attacking.

Greg Seltzer said...

Right... because Hoffenheim's manager is the Pope. If he did it, it must be right, not just for his team but also for the U.S. national team.

So are you really advocating that we let Hoffenheim's manager make all USMNT decisions from now on? Or just those involving Johnson and Williams? Maybe we should ask Hoffenheim's 11th place manager who start at the #10 while we move all our best attackers further from goal.

And as for Hoffenheim being assured of safety before the crappy end of the season, they were still in for a Europa League place when the final swoon began. Go look at those few highlight clips and count how many of the plays when they leaked goals included a Johnson misplay.

You are so busy trying to will this to be true, you stopped even looking for the truth eons ago. If you ask me, your grand plan to play Johnson at left back against all costs would weaken the team at two, if not three positions.

dikranovich said...

transfermarket.com, what a great place to see the facts. fabian johnson has the same agent as bastian schweinsteger and thats a good thing.

Greg Seltzer said...

While it's a fact, it's also irrelevant. Clint Dempsey has the same agent as Steven Hughes. So what?

dikranovich said...

who the heck is steven hughes? transfernarket.com gives the facts, they give the facts on fabian johnson, they give rating for every game he has played along with position, its a wonderful site. and take a guess which position fabian johnson was in when he recieved his two highest ratings? after you guessed that one, guess which position he was in when he received his lowest rating.

Greg Seltzer said...

I'm sorry... are you proposing Transfermarkt ratings as accurate gospel? Who did those ratings? Do you even know?

dikranovich said...

yes, i propose that all ratings are accurate, at least to those making them, and of course, those who agree with them. its like your ratings for the italy game, you thought they were accurate, right?

dikranovich said...

greg, i sure hope you dont use this defense when the dubious goal panel comes down on my side on the dempsey debate.

Tom said...

That's interesting. I'd probably go with Jones over Edu--unless that's what you meant at 6:51

dikranovich said...

i bet jones plays center half in one of these upcoming matches. cherundolo, jones, boca, and johnson.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ Tom: I prefer Edu to Jones, less erratic, keeps defensive position much better.

@ dikranovich: You bet that, huh? I'd like to see you wager money on that. Any takers out there?

Tom said...

Hm. That may be right.

Greg Seltzer said...

I feel one of the old habits we need to get away from is thinking of the line-up as the best 11 players. With the new tactics, we need to think of the formation as a whole machine, with certain types of gears needed all through it. I think Edu is a better #6 gear for what we're trying to establish. I also like the idea of being able to bring Jones of the bench as an electric game-changer.

Tom said...

Perhaps I see Edu too infrequently. I sort of think of Edu as MB two years ago--with fewer cards and less sense of the game. Come to that, I think of JJ as MB this year--with less discipline and more very occasional sublimity.

dikranovich said...

in all honesty, coach klinsmann did give jones the armband and he was strong. jones is above edu, without too much question. edu is the sub you bring in to shut the game down.

Timmy said...

I think it's just a little disingenuous to point to the fact that Klinsmann gave Jones the captains armband as proof of the manager's support. Jones was only at that camp because he was suspended for stomping on Marco Reus. Other than Rico Clark, Jones was by far the most experienced player in that camp.

I do believe that Onyewu is preferable to Goodson if healthy. I haven't read the latest on the big man, though, which is why I included Goodson's name.

dikranovich said...

timmy, you have to think the coach is a master psychalogist and he will use the instraments at his disposal. the coach has handed the armband to jones and jones showed very well, probably better than most expected. obviously jones is not getting the armband over boca, nor should he, but coach klinsmann sees the benefit to having a jermaine jones playing at his highest level, which is well above mo edus current highest level. thats all im saying.

do you think coach klinsmann is saying, uh oh, jones could go hay wire, i better start edu? we as fans also need to expect and demand the best from our players.