Monday, February 4, 2013

Back to the future

The roster for the first hex qualifier is set. As you'd probably predict, I have a few squad gripes.

The most disconcerting is a near-to-complete lack of natural wide attack threats, a situation not helped by Klinsi' preference to play Fabian Johnson at the back. I've also listed the guys positionally how the USMNT release stacked 'em up - take from that what you will.

All in all, I'd expect a narrow look at Honduras and I mean that in all senses of the word. What ever happened to the elevation of our tactical system?

G - Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire)

D - Matt Besler (Sporting KC), Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Tijuana), Timmy Chandler (FC Nürnberg), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Omar Gonzalez (L.A. Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Michael Parkhurst (Augsburg)

M - Michael Bradley (AS Roma), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Maurice Edu (Bursaspor), Jermaine Jones (Schalke), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Jose Francisco Torres (Tigres), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim), Graham Zusi (Sporting KC)

F - Jozy Altidore (AZ), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham), Herculez Gomez (Santos Laguna), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders)

- Greg Seltzer


Mike said...

Who would you have wanted to be called in to play out wide? Gatt? Bedoya?

Greg Seltzer said...

Gatt, plus I'd use Johnson on left wing. I'd also not be opposed to seeing Rolfe, but apparently he's not in the deck of cards.

Mike said...

Yeah, the first thing I thought of when I saw this roster was that there was a lack of wide players. Do you see a Jozy, Gomez, Dempsey attacking trio starting this game?

Greg Seltzer said...

No, unfortunately, I see an empty bucket with Dempsey trailing Altidore up top.

dikranovich said...

Gatt and mix are not ready for this type of game, on the road no less. If you can play the empty bucket with a triangle of three center mids, then yes, otherwise no empty bucket and it is almost a lock that Gomez, deuce, and Jozy start.

Greg Seltzer said...

Mix has played Europa League at Bayer Leverkusen and, to me, no Honduras defenders are ready for Gatt.

As for the bucket, 1) that's what he has been playing despite bizarre claims it's a 4-3-3 & 2) I'm assuming he will switch one midfielder that should play centrally out to the wing, as usual. Or he could stick Johnson out there again. Or Dempsey, who would naturally roam to the inside.

Justin said...

Your empty bucket is my 4-3-3 and other people's 4-5-1. The difference between:




Is just how high up the two outside midfielders play.

Greg Seltzer said...

While the formations are distant cousins, it's not that simple. The field position of the "wingers" is definitely very important, but so is the tactical intent of the side. You can't do a 4-3-3 halfway, it has an inherent daring. And while fluid by design, it also has a systematic structure.

In no way have the USMNT been in a 4-3-3 or DMB-era PSV 4-5-1. It's depressing me.

Tony M said...

Can the great unwashed (i.e., us guys) admit that JK is more conservative than Bunker Bob ever was?

What's worse, is that JK seems to lack Bob's ability to communicate and defined roles. You knew what Bob's team was going to look like, how it was going to play, and the effort that it was going to bring. That has been lacking the last year and a half, AND there has been no compensating evolution in tactics.

Yes, it sounds incredible, but I would be a lot more comfortable with Bradley at the start of the Hex then I am right now...

dikranovich said...

Greg, if you say no healthy Honduran defenders are ready for Gatt, that might be true. But I just don't think these young fair skinned boys are ready for the jungle.

That's why kljestan is in and if it is Johnson and chandler as the wing backs we are going to see USA playing wide threw those two players.

You wanna label a formation tomorrow, lets be honest and call it a 4-5-1, which is a good formation for the first game, which is a tough road qualifier.

Greg Seltzer said...

And who plays those wide attacker spots, you say? Who is the #10?

WilkersonMclaser said...

Agreed w/ Tony M.

JK does seem like a servicable big picture, strategy guy, but he gets tangled down badly at the gameday level. If we're honest, we have to admit that he's a mediocre tactician at best. An Eisenhower when, for games like this, we need a Patton.

Ideally, JK would be leaning on an American Loew like Kreis or Kinnear for the tactical gobbledeegook. I'm getting nervous that Klinsi is like American soccer's George Lucas, a grand big picture thinker but a mess at execution.

Phil McCracken said...

Tom M - Totally agree with you. The Bradley era looks better & better each day.

I don't really have a problem with this roster which is set up to get a draw on the road. The US sides that JK has put out never really have had any width anyway.

While Gatt & Mix have both played in tough places in Europe, it's a different story going to Central America.

Maybe you bring Gatt so at least he gets to see what it's like and if you're in a tough spot late in the match and you need to gamble, you throw him on and see what he can do.

dikranovich said...

My guess is coach puts in two wide attackers who are able to defend. That would mean Gomez and zusi. Whoever it is will need to play defense. These wingers will also be switching sides because USA is going to be changing the point of attack. Clog the middle, shut down boniak Garcia, change point of attack, and leave with three points

The last regime did a nice job, but think back to when cherundolo got a red against Guatemala four years ago. That left tensions high until Eddie Lewis took one for the team. How about when dos santos waltzed through our defense in the opening game of the hex, in the opening minutes and forced a massive save from Howard. Or having to fight back against El Salvador on the road or Honduras at home.

Tomorrow will speak volumes. I'll be bum rushing the rendezvous bowl.

Greg Seltzer said...

While I'm glad to see you enthusiastic, I am concerned about this roster set up for a draw business. In game one?

That's not my bag, baby.

Tony M said...

WilkersonMclase: Love the Eisenhower/Patton comment, although I'm not sure JK is much of an Ike.

I actually wouldn't mind that JK is not a tactician if he turned that aspect over to someone else as he did in Germany. But he seems hell bent on proving that he is one, proving people wrong. Why else do you have pointless, doomed to fail fiddling like putting Evans on point for the attack? That is someone trying to prove he's clever - and that's a potential disaster.

Jon said...

At least under Bob when had the ability to counter out of a bunker. That's the most worrying thing about play under JK to me.

We bunker against better teams, or decent CONCACAF sides on the road, but do it with the intent to get the ball and then play a few sideways/backwards passes, where as under Bob we'd counter and counter quickly.

It's why under Bob we put far more goals on the board. Defensively these regimes are pretty similar, but we're far less potent on the counter under JK.

And yes, the lack of a 4-3-3 or any improved tactics is worrying, but JK has neutered our countering ability on top of it.

Jay said...

I sincerely hope you enjoy watching that game tomorrow, dik.

Jon said...

Another problem, JK brought along 9 defenders and not a single, true wide winger.

A bunch of central mids, yet little creativity and again, not one natural wide winger.

Torres/Davis/Zusi all come in the same mold to me at this level and don't bring much different to the table. Zusi can cross, but is slow/no pace and no 1v1 ability to speak of. Overrated imo. Davis is even slower and aside from set pieces offers nothing at this level. Torres is always played out of position and craps his pants under pressure. Offers no creativity or anything in the final 3rd.

But, none is a natural wide player either.

BTW, once again, where's Lichaj? So Evans is brought along as basically a 3rd RB, yet Lichaj stiiiiiiiill can't get a look? Much rather have Lichaj overlapping and given he played well in the GC he has more experience than Evans,not to mention he's better going forward, has more upside and plays at a higher level.

Unknown said...

Depending on backs for width is nonsense with such a defensive roster. How can one expect attacking width without attack? And it's not like this is the first time Klinsmann's dug his own grave.

Doesn't mean he won't get the 3 points, but it doesn't have to be this hard.

dikranovich said...

Yak, don't talk back. If anyone knows where to find bein sports in Wyoming ill appreciate it. I asked for bein and they said no, but we got CNN.