Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My USMNT Clipboard - Big Finish.0



It's the end of May, so as promised, here is my own final depth chart for World Cup qualifier #1. The five with asterisks are not in the squad for Klinsi's wonderfully mad five-game tourney experiment.

#1 - GK
Tim Howard
Brad Guzan
Nick Rimando


Sha-bam.

#2 - RB
Steve Cherundolo
Jonathan Spector
*

Yes, Spector takes Timothy Chandler's spot - hopefully, it's only kept warm for the time being.

#3 - RCB
Oguchi Onyewu
Clarence Goodson


I told ya Gooch would be back strong. Recognize.

#4 - LCB
Carlos Bocanegra
Tim Ream
*

Geoff Cameron fans, please hold the line...

#5 - LB
Michael Parkhurst
Heath Pearce
*

You may well be incredulous, I don't care. As I said, I'd want to know exactly what I was getting in qualifier #1 - maybe that's just wacky me. If Eric Lichaj wasn't dealing with an injury nag, he'd be the new starter here, but oh well and que sera sera and here we are. Sorry to everyone that disagrees, but Fabian Johnson really is needed in his regular role if we're pondering a best possible line-up. That's my view.

#6 - DM
Maurice Edu
Geoff Cameron


Everyone's well aware of what and how Cameron plays in MLS. We aren't talking about MLS here. Up in my brain, things like skill set and position potential at this level are far more important than their typical club role.

#7 - RW
Landon Donovan
Josh Gatt
*

Yeah, that's right. Sweet Moses, I want to kick Gatt's tires in USMNT colors. Heaven help me, I really do.

#8 - CM
Michael Bradley
Jermaine Jones


As good as Jones is in friendlies, I still love the idea of having his game-changing ability in pocket. 

#9 - F
Jozy Altidore
Herculez Gomez


I considered moving DJ Cool Herc back to right wing, but funk dat, he's a definite impact sub. So if I'm fitting him into the tactics, I'll take him near the main impact zone, thank you very much.

#10 - AM
Clint Dempsey
Sacha Kljestan
*

This is the last time I move Kljestan to a different position, I swear. Blame it on all the injuries over the duration of this exercise.

#11 - LW
Fabian Johnson
Jose Francisco Torres


This just in: a very recent scientific study shows that great minds only think alike half the time. Apparently, the other half of the time, they discuss it amicably over a nosh.

--

Alright... have at it, you jackals.






- Greg Seltzer

32 comments:

brian said...

wow…too many things going on here to even try to explain. neither one of your LW will see time in that position with the USMNT. Sascha AM? you are better than this, Greg

Greg Seltzer said...

Erm... Torres started at left midfield on Saturday. He wandered around a good bit, but check his track-back assignment; Torres was definitely the left midfielder.

brian said...

now are we talking LM or LW, in my eyes those positions have 2 different roles.

Greg Seltzer said...

From a 4-3-3 to 4-2-3-1 is a very minor alteration. Regardless, Torres defines his own role to a degree, as all wide midfield attackers are not created equally. Thus, his role as a wide attacker is to wander inside often as opposed to pulling defenders wide - which is just one reason he's not my starter.

drew_brown said...

I'm not buying Klejstan as an international level AM. CONCACAF minnows? I guess, if we have to...

Greg Seltzer said...

Okay, but this whole exercise was solely pinned to CONCACAF qualifier numero uno and he'd be the back-up AM.

Besides, there's a few pretty good Europa League teams that would tell you he's much improved since we last saw him get serious USMNT minutes.

RM said...

Is Holden really going to Turkey?
I like it.

26 year old and i the second division is not good.

dikranovich said...

greg, its not about the players you have picked here, well, it might be, but its more about the timing of the article. no offense, but you could have waited 24 hours and still put this post out in may. instead, you drop this article on the fans 4 hours before we have brasil. does that really even make any sense? we got a war to fight and you are passing out purple hearts before the fighting even begins.

Greg Seltzer said...

I have no earthly clue what you're on about.

dikranovich said...

yeah yeah, im sure you dont.

brian said...

2 things after last night: gooch is NOT back strong. fabian johnson was one of our best players on the field, at LB. revised list coming soon?

Greg Seltzer said...

Do you think that one game decided everything in the universe? Gooch was far from alone having troubles last night and Johnson was barely tested. There are always variables and I am not a reactionary.

So, no, there will be no changes to my list. Final is final. Setbacks are lessons. Next!

brian said...

never said gooch was the only one with troubles but he looked lost out there all game (more than most), had a terrible touch and lucky it didnt cost us an own goal. i hope as much as the next guy he gets it back, but i have yet to see it, not on the international level. johnson was barley tested?? THEY PLAYED BRAZIL! Dude was on his toes and sharp all game. oh yeah he also assisted our goal and put a few dangerous balls into the box...

Nick said...

Love how Johnson's game at LWB complements what Dempsey, Torres, and Shea all do to one degree or another, and that's roaming toward the center of the park as the situation dictates.

On Johnson not being tested, Brazil either chose not to test him or he wasn't out of position to be tested cuz Brazil is certainly going to make you pay if you're not disciplined.

Meanwhile, the first choice LB (Parkhurst) is busy getting toasted on the right.

brian said...

castillo comes in at left back, looses his mark and the 4th goal was scored. was it offsides? i really dont know, haven't seen a good replay. klinsman thinks he was "2 yrds offsides"

Greg Seltzer said...

"never said gooch was the only one with troubles but he looked lost out there all game (more than most)"


I do no agree. Bocanegra looked far more lost. Gooch made flubs. There's a difference.


"had a terrible touch"

You think this is a Gooch crime? This is way down the list. Besides, Donovan had abysmal touch all night, which is actually high on his list of duties.


"i hope as much as the next guy he gets it back, but i have yet to see it, not on the international level."


Okay... then tell me who you have seen it from at right center back on the international level and we'll compare.



"johnson was barley tested?? THEY PLAYED BRAZIL!"


Yes, and Brazil stayed on the other side nearly the whole night. The few times they actually ran at him, he was a little shaky.

Nick said...

On the one goal...good goal by me. I think Gooch kept him onside.

Greg Seltzer said...

"Love how Johnson's game at LWB complements what Dempsey, Torres, and Shea all do to one degree or another, and that's roaming toward the center of the park as the situation dictates."


To a degree, but people way overestimate having a winger cut inside to "make room" for the wingback. Watch how Ajax does it and you see those players staying closer together, often with two-man game generating out of that corner. Frankly, the US wide players cut inside far, far, far too often and it destroys the integrity of their offensive tactical set-up. They will learn.



"On Johnson not being tested, Brazil either chose not to test him or he wasn't out of position to be tested cuz Brazil is certainly going to make you pay if you're not disciplined."


Brazil was living through Marcelo. That's why.


"Meanwhile, the first choice LB (Parkhurst) is busy getting toasted on the right."


Erm... so he comes off the bench and Neymar makes him look silly one time out near midfield. Hardly newsworthy.

Greg Seltzer said...

"Is Holden really going to Turkey?"


No.

Greg Seltzer said...

"On the one goal...good goal by me. I think Gooch kept him onside."


That was also my observation, Nick.

brian said...

donavan has one sub par game with a shaky touch and you try to compare to gooch? when was the last time gooch had a touch? i like gooch; when he is dominant, and decisive. did not see any of those things from him last night, thats what i want from a RCB. its not that they never attacked the left flank, i think johnson was just in the right position so that attack never happened, forced to go another route. why would brazils game plan be to just attack dolo, a seasoned proven vet, rather than johnson who (for the fact of the argument) is a rookie. like i said castillo comes in a a goal is leaked from the left side in his what 10-15 min cameo? when will you give fabian the credit he deserves? nice run/assist he had, no?

brian said...

"On the one goal...good goal by me. I think Gooch kept him onside."


That was also my observation, Nick.

it's because gooch is lost out there. so gooch was ultimately responsible for half the goals we gave up….yikes. to be fair that penalty would probably not be called 50% of the time.

Greg Seltzer said...

"donavan has one sub par game with a shaky touch and you try to compare to gooch?"


I thought we were discussing that one game.



" when was the last time gooch had a touch? i like gooch; when he is dominant, and decisive. did not see any of those things from him last night, thats what i want from a RCB."


First off, it's simply not true that you did not see him be decisive at all last night. Every single aerial challenge was all his. He also nearly knocked the goal over with a corner kick header. So, if we want to discuss stuff, the exaggerations have to die out. It's all very emotional and I understand that Gooch made several foul-ups last night. But let's not behave as if he took the Lindbergh baby.



"its not that they never attacked the left flank,"


Oh, yes it was.

Left back Marcelo = 73 pass plays
Right back Danilo = 29

And just to drive the point further home, the two Brazil CMs each had under 50 pass plays. For the left back to have 50% more touches than both central mids is crazy lopsided.


"why would brazils game plan be to just attack dolo, a seasoned proven vet, rather than johnson who (for the fact of the argument) is a rookie."


Because Marcelo does not play right back. That's why.


"when will you give fabian the credit he deserves? nice run/assist he had, no?"


FYI: In his three left back starts for the US, I have given Johnson grades of 7, 6.5 and 7 in my US player ratings. Credit has been given, and then I explain why he might get 8, 7.5 and 8 played in his proper position up the wing, where he is sorely needed, before he gets exposed in a competitive match as the sub-par defender he is.

brian said...

according to jeff carlisle "Onyewu's night got worse in the 26th minute when his attempt to pass on the responsibility of marking Thiago Silva to Jermaine Jones during a corner kick backfired completely. The Brazilian defender ending up completely unmarked to head home Neymar's delivery."
so gooch was responsible for 3 of the 4 goals, but it's ok…he nearly knocked over the goal with a header. marcelo and danilo are DEFENDERS, putting up their passing stats do not necessarily relate to their OFFENSE. and what are "pass plays" is that there individual passes? or plays they were involved in. … agreeing to disagree, done with this, on to the next topic

Greg Seltzer said...

"it's because gooch is lost out there. so gooch was ultimately responsible for half the goals we gave up….yikes. to be fair that penalty would probably not be called 50% of the time."


For starters, the penalty was ridiculous. He was turning away and pulling his arm in to his face area.

Secondly, his flub with the line was far from the only fault to go around on that goal. I marked five players off from that play, all equally. That was a full team breakdown.

Finally, let me just go ahead and spill my notepad with what I marked for Gooch last night, major item by major item. These are not chronological and I'll leave out a few tiny notations that didn't matter much:

Plus side:
- Long throw helps set up scoring chance
- Strong header hits bar
- 3 important aerial challenge wins
- Good long ball releases attack on right (which they then quickly screwed up)

Minus side:
- Didn't cover the right lane on the 2nd goal cross (one of 3 players marked down on the play)
- His flubbed clearance led to CK, which led to another CK, which was 3rd Brazil goal (one of four marked down)
- Kept Pato onside, 4th goal (one of five marked down)
- 2 missed assignments
- 2 other ball mistakes

In the end, considering the opponent to a degree, I gave him a 5, one full grade under average. So, I gave him a D. Do you think a D report card is too kind? I don't.

Here are some things I do not mark Gooch off for:
- Looking inelegant on the ball when the pass is true
- Clearing well to allow regrouping when we're under intense heat
- Being put in a terrible position by teammate errors

brian said...

a 5 is the highest grade i have seen so far for his last performance. ESPN (not soccer gods at all) have him a 2. i would go with a 3, 4 absolute highest. have you ranked any below a 5 for this game? i also dont see how hitting the crossbar from a header, off a corner is a positive, it didnt score, didnt lead to other opportunities. good header, no doubt, unlucky. but i almost expect a CB to finish those.

Alex said...

Gooch pretty much dug his international grave with this game, he was exposed.... badly, more so than anyone else on the US. Boca looked bad also, basically we need to blood two new center backs ASAP because Gooch and Boca absolutely will NOT be able to get it done in 2014 in Brazil.

Jacob Klinger said...

OK, time for us to look in the mirror. We don't have any particularly quick right center backs.

Our best bet was to force Brazil wide and defend their crosses. Boca and Gooch are two of the most qualified men in the world to do just that.

So Gooch had some bone-ups. He also, as always, gave no quarter in the air. Would you be able to say the same about Goodson? Parkhurst?

They'd have been bullied. I guess we'll see what happens against Canada. No small taters there.

XL72 said...

Yeah I don't understand the Gooch love either. Gooch is good at one thing - winning balls in the air. And he is very good at that but that's it as far as I can see. He is ponderous and looks lost to me most of the time. Not saying Goodson is the answer but I don't think there is much of a difference between Gooch and Goodson and I would give Goodson the edge.

Another thing is - aren't we all hopeful that Holden makes it back to 100% and is in the starting 11 at some point? I know I am. Looking forward, the squad I would ideally like to see (leaving out the CFBs) is

Chandler-RB -CFB,CFB- Johnson-LB
Jones and Bradley
Donovan - Holden - Dempsey (in some order)
and Altidore/Herc (depending on form)

I would be happy if Edu never started another match. Have him on the squad, fine, but the guy is the king of hitting square. I have zero interest in seeing Castillo again.

Also - honestly, it might sound crazy, but I would like to see Guzan get more time in. Not necessarily to take over but I think he is highly underrated and it may show if he had more opportunities.

My 2 cents anyway.

Unknown said...

Its been 3 years already I mean seriously how long can the US soccer media and fans keep pretending George John doesn't exist?

Learn

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8IY-phTEW8

US2014 said...

Johnson was one of the best players against Brazil he will be one of our best LB's we have ever had, thank god the Bornstein era was over ever since Bob was relieved of his duties. If Chandler decides to play for the US him and Johnson as our fullbacks will be scary good in 2014!

US2014 said...

He couldn't even make the first team at West Ham when they were on the Championship.