Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Lefty Town

On we go to the other center back slot, the one suddenly wide open for competition after being largely owned by three guys over the last five World Cup cycles.

Matt Besler
John Anthony Brooks
Carlos Bocanegra

Besler has the job right now, but not by nearly the margin some like to claim. He needs to not only be on his top game for the next nine months, but steadily improving. Why? Not just because he still has too many nap moments out there, but mostly because a certain Mr. Brooks is killing it early in the Bundesliga. And moves quicker. And has more tools in his belt at a younger age. And a higher upside. I think you get the point. As for 'Los, don't laugh. Klinsi already said he would have been on the Gold Cup squad were it not for having a club situation to resolve. In addition, no US defender knows the top level ropes better and this factor cannot be ignored when everyone else has no World Cup experience.

As for late interlopers in central defense, the only two players I see right now that could reasonably play their way into the picture besides the previously mentioned duo of George John and Oguchi Onyewu are Zak Whitbread (on the left) and Babajide Ogunbiyi (on the right).

- Greg Seltzer


AWF08 said...

Of the positions discussed--this looks to have the best available choices. My vote:
1. Right now, Besler--based on his summer.
2. Haven't seen him (outside of highlights), but Brooks seems to be making a big impression in the Bundisliga--if game reports, player ratings, and NSC is to be believed.
3. Boca--but I wouldn't be surprised to see him make the end of the bench based on experience, versatility and leadership.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Brooks in the 1 spot come WC. He'll have a full year of games between now and then, while the other two will have a large break. That's 4-5 months of top level games in which to improve. Hopefully, Besler and others can find good loan situations over the winter--and use them to their fullest advantage.

UnitedDemon said...

Boca being third doesn't surprise me- in that spot, with the limited number of CB's, he's likely to miss the plane anyway, as JK has more confidence in Goodson or Cameron starting.

We could bring Boca along as a civilian, but that didn't help England much with Becks in 2010. Overall, the emotional support should come from players who will actually impact the game, the rest is almost distracting.

Speaking of Brooks, let's cap him. It's not a formality in his case.

dikranovich said...

A healthy Matt Besler is a virtual lock, and probably for the rest of this cycle, as well as the next. Players as smart as Besler, and with the athleticism are too unique to keep on the sideline.

Do you guys really think coach klinsmann is going to play two tall center backs and potentially a 35 year old at right back, let alone a slower Pankhurst? I don't think so

Besler is in there and maybe a lefty plays at right center back, but the skc player is just too smart. Believe me, Besler has just what coach klinsmann is looking for.

Greg Seltzer said...


A virtual lock through this AND the next cycle, eh? I guess that means you are insisting Klinsi will still be the coach until 2018, as well?

Gosh... if only the younger, faster Brooks had any athleticism and smarts. And played at a wildly higher level. Ahem.

heythisisrobbie said...

Just because JAB is tall doesn't mean he isn't athletic. He's silky smooth.

If I had my preference Besler would be at RCB and JAB at LCB in Brazil.

Zach said...

You think Brooks is faster than Beslar? I'm not sure about that.

Greg Seltzer said...

Faster? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, I more accurately should have said quicker.

Jay said...

Hey, Greg -- do you have a potential 6 - 10 for your latest MLSS?

Greg Seltzer said...

Let's go with (in no particular order): Gatt, Packwood, Shea, Morales, Chandler.

dikranovich said...

we need to break this down more, and im trying to figure out what im hearing.

the world cup is a young players event, because of the obvious reason that it comes at the end of a long season. (even though it appears Europe is willing to now consider a winter world cup....hmmm) compounded by long travel to a far off land, this rigor, is harder on older legs.

yet their are two positions where experience trumps youth, and that is goal keeper, and yes, center half, or central defense if you like.

slide one spot over, to the outside backs, and youth prevails. young legs that can run hard and fast. lil stevie, at 35 years old???? I don't know.... I guess he will have the advantage of coming off injury, so maybe he will be fresher. he is not in gregs current top three, but parkhurst, troubling as it may be, is numero uno.

what are we talking about again?

oh, yeah, matt besler, this bro is an out and out baller, and he has a very good understanding with one Michael Bradley, that is undeniable. these are interlocking pieces by which other pieces are placed around. look who has given up the least goals in MLS. its SKC for a reason.

Greg Seltzer said...

"the world cup is a young players event"

Seriously, one has to try extremely hard to be this overtly wrong.

"oh, yeah, matt besler, this bro is an out and out baller, and he has a very good understanding with one Michael Bradley... "

First of all, what a bizarre thing to build an argument on for a center back. Secondly, what are you on about? Try more like Michael Bradley has a very good understanding with everyone on the field.

Anyhoooo, at this point, you may wish to notice that Besler is actually atop my depth chart.

dikranovich said...

greg, you would agree that the dutch league is better than the Austrian league, on current and past form, wouldn't you?

I mean, you are saying besler is nesta, and I think maybe, actually, he is really cannavaro

Greg Seltzer said...

1 - I have no clue where this came from or where it's going, and I think every life form in the cosmos knows the answer.

2 - I don't think he's purely one of either, actually.

jon said...

greg, you would agree that peanut butter is better than tomato juice, would you not?

let me put it another way, john anthony brooks is to clarence seedorf as matt besler is to ronald koeman. I mean, if you can't see that, I...I, just don't know what we're doing here, man.

Greg Seltzer said...

I actually like tomato juice... but yeah, peanut butter is only a life essential I eat daily. No one goes through the peanut butter at my speed. If consuming it was a sport, I would be an Olympian.

dikranovich said...

j-o-n, jon, who of koeman, and seedorf is peanut butter, and who is jelly? only one of these players has lifted silverware for his country

dikranovich said...

this is important stuff, and we should not get off topic.

here is the point, we can not play a slow right center back, and a slow right wing back at the same time, it is not a good recipe.

these spots on gregs current depth chart are held by goodson, and parkhurst, with stevie cherundolo being batted around as well.

I think everyone needs to go back and look at lineup construction from the first round of qualifying.

if goodson is going to be the right center back, then a faster right wing back needs to be on the field, and guess what people, the USA lineup over the past couple of years, go look and see what truth they point too.

so, I think we need to think more about lineups and not just about........ oh damn, the best left back in the pool is not current top three at left back. yo, sorry, let me get over to the other topic, its so near and dear to my heart.

Greg Seltzer said...

Who told you Parkhurst was slow?

As for line-up construction from the first round of qualifying, so what? Do you really want to craft our World Cup line-up based on six games against three teams that won't get anywhere near Brazil next summer? The best of those three, Jamaica, has yet to win in the hex, and ummm, best us in that round you want to use as basis.

Greg Seltzer said...

beat us*

dikranovich said...

those teams the USA played were not kids greg. they were men, and they strap em on just like everyone else.

parkhurst is slow, so stop right with that, because that's just the facts. parkhurst is a smart player and he makes up with his smarts.

I don't get this, on one side, it is a guy not even playing for his club, on the other, its a guy playing on his weak foot, and in the middle, its not bad, but goodson and parkhurst or cherundolo is not going to work. period. it has not worked, and it will not work, and I hate to be so blunt.

Greg Seltzer said...

"those teams the USA played were not kids greg. they were men, and they strap em on just like everyone else."

This is truly the most pointless, misguided thing you have ever posted here. And that is saying A LOT.

If you want to base your World Cup line-up on six games with the worst Guatemala side in ages, Jamaica and Antigua, go for it. Hell, we didn't even play well in that round.

"parkhurst is slow, so stop right with that, because that's just the facts."

Facts? Fine. Give me his 40m time and I'll concede.

"I don't get this... "

Yes. Quite. And that's despite my explaining it clearly about 73 times.

And the guy not playing for his club just helped us win the Gold Cup. I can only assume you had no problem with that result.

dikranovich said...

lol, greg, with the exception of the finals and semi finals, none of those gold cup games where close to as intense as any of the first round of qualifying.

parkhurst did good, but as you have sort of clearly stated, these are your starters as of current, for the world cup, not the gold cup.

dikranovich said...

you have our slowest center back paired with a slow right back, and the back up at right back is fast, he just cant defend worth a rats ass, and the best of the three is in the third spot.

Greg Seltzer said...

"lol, greg, with the exception of the finals and semi finals, none of those gold cup games where close to as intense as any of the first round of qualifying."

I don't think you even realize you're making my point for me. Yay, so we struggled against Antigua, Guatemala and Jamaica, while we excelled against some better teams at Gold Cup... and of course, you think we should follow the first blueprint. Of course.

"parkhurst did good, but as you have sort of clearly stated, these are your starters as of current, for the world cup, not the gold cup."

Dude. Do you speak English? What part of "right now, and not World Cup time" is not filtering through?

Oh, and, this is not the right back thread. Same warning here: post another irrelevance, I bin it without comment.

John said...

Dikranovich: Who can't defend worth a rats ass?

Greg Seltzer said...

I think he is referring to Chandler.

dikranovich said...

No, I'm talking about Castillo, the number 2 on Greg's list .

dikranovich said...

Oh, this isn't the left back thread, hold up!!!!

dikranovich said...

I can live/w jaBrooks at left center and besler sliding over, and of course f. Johnson on the left. if the hungry beast wins the MLS cup and forces his way into the picture, this makes for a fearsome foursome back four.


speed, power, and cunning is what this group offers, and very good defense

John said...

You know who can't defend worth a rats ass? Jonothan Bornstein

John said...

Marvelle Wynne is the prime example of what US soccer coaches thought was great. So captivated by his speed, didn't see his poor ball skills."

- @Weeeilll

Greg Seltzer said...

"You know who can't defend worth a rats ass? Jonothan Bornstein"

And yet he played two solid games at WC10, but we got blasted when using a winger at left back.

dikranovich said...

john, don't live in da nile, speed is coveted by coaches the world over. say what you will, but not a player in the US pool has been mentioned that can play the kind of defense marvell plays.

this is an absolute shut down defender and if greg is going back to 07 to pull j spector highlights, it is fair to say the best player for USA at the 08 Olympics was the right back, and that was a team with some good players.

there is also an MLS cup on the resume and my contention has been that if another MLS trophy goes on the shelf for Colorado, it would be hard to deny marvell his due.

John said...

If I had to pick between Bornstein or Wynne I would take a traffic cone over both of them(jk). I would probably pick Wynne.

dikranovich said...

capital john, you bring a lot of sense and understanding to these board.

now for the really interesting question.

who do you choose between eric lichaj and marvell wynne? and id love to show you video of both players scoring goals, just to help out a little, but im not sure eric has any wonder goals yet.

Greg Seltzer said...

Yes, because wonder goals is the first factor I use in judging who should play left back.

Besides, Wynne has two goals in 229 career senior games for club and country. Whenever he scores, it's a wonder goal.

dikranovich said...

greg, eric lichaj is not left back, Fabian Johnson is. we are talking about who should play right back and the choices for capital john are lichaj and wynne.

Greg Seltzer said...

Eric Lichaj played left back for the US long before Johnson, who is not really a defender at all. Ask him, he will tell you so.

dikranovich said...

well if Donovan told me he felt better playing up top, id have to tell him that he looks better playing out wide. I don't know, your coach tells you to play somewhere, you don't tell him, oh, I feel better playing somewhere else.

WonderKin said...

Bocanegra will not make it. That is just flat out not going to happen. No size. No pace. No technical ability on the ball. The US style of play has out grown him, and he has out grown his former athleticism.

John said...

I rather have Lichaj over Wynne. Fabian Johnson over any them at LB though.