Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Gatekeepers

Yes, I know, I was supposed to have this up last night. What can I say? Polish girls happen.

Geoff Cameron
Kyle Beckerman
Daniel Williams


Not sure why anything here would be surprising or particularly controversial. I've pushed Cameron as D-mid for as long as I can remember, and on the rare occasions one of his two teams bothers to play him there, the guy always kindly makes me look smart. In addition, playing him in midfield only increases our set piece defending potential. Beckerman gets plenty of flak, but he has obviously worked hard to patch up his international game. Regardless of how one might feel about the relative quality of MLS, it might be nice to see him make a move to Europe. He keeps it simple and that's fine, but I believe seeing new styles and training methods and levels of competition for playing time could do wonders for him. Williams moves ahead of Maurice Edu because, well, current form is one issue and not having played for months on end is quite another. Naturally, his ability to often maintain performance level against top level opposition makes Mo a major threat to get back in the squad by next summer.

However... let me warn that there is no assurance my final squad will take two of these players, as is the case with every other position ranking on this clipboard. I shall explain exactly why when we move to the crazy crowded #8 slot on Monday.





- Greg Seltzer

31 comments:

Jolazo said...

Come WC time, Edu will be either 1st or 2nd on that list.

jon said...

Are you his agent? Please elaborate.

Jolazo said...

He's the only one with World Cup experience. He's the most athletic and covers the most range of the four. He has experience being that late game sub to tighten up the defense, and he's done it both in qualifying and at the World Cup.

UnitedDemon said...

Edu would have to set the world on fire to overcome Cameron, Jones (who is still JK's #1 at this position), Beckerman, or even Williams. JK loves him some Beckerman, who has played well against CONCACAF opposition- though I'm not convinced he has the legs or the speed to keep up in Brazil. Williams was JK's darling at the beginning of the campaign (remember when he was supposed to be one of our three DM's? Yeah, I don't like remembering either).

Edu is an excellent DM, for all the reasons you've listed. However, for him to make it to Brazil would be impressive.

Tom said...

I think Edu is a bit terrified with the ball at his feet, not very good on the ball to begin with, and doesn't read the game well.

Sure, he's athletic and has been there... but I wouldn't say that he's been a big plus when he *was* there.

Tony M said...

I agree on Cameron. This is his best position - and I think he is a near liability at CB and not convincing at RB. I also agree on the (almost?) underrated Beckerman.

But the third spot I would have left blank. Someone needs to step up.

downintexas said...
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downintexas said...

Am I missing something, should J. Jones be on this list? Or is he some where else?

heythisisrobbie said...

Agreed. I wish Jones would be more interested in playing this spot. It's his best position by far, but we can't count on him staying disciplined.

Bradley knows that and plays much more conservatively to cover for Jones.

Greg Seltzer said...

It's no secret that I do not consider Jones a #6. He doesn't like to stay home. To me, he's a #8 all the way.

heythisisrobbie said...

Agreed, Greg. He's a 6 that prefers not to be a 6.

Matt said...

Cameron? You gotta be kidding. Cameron is a fine player if he doesn't have time to think...the PL is perfect for him with the frenetic pace. Once he gets his head up and has time to survey the field and pick options, he telegraphs his move and is a turnover machine.

Any team that scouts Cameron will just lay off him when he's in possession and thank him for the ball.

Greg Seltzer said...

Hmmm. Did you miss the Panama game?

UnitedDemon said...

Matt, you don't watch qualfiers. I don't think I've ever seen a DM performance like Cameron vs. Panama. Goal, assist, perfect covering, perfect partnership. He then came in for Jones against Honduras, and we played much better. The Costa Rica game had a lot more to do with Jones not distributing as well as Bradley can than with Cameron's defensive efforts.

If we have a healthy Michael Bradley, Cameron is the perfect complement.

Jon said...

Makes no sense for Beckerman to move abroad before the WC but would he do it after? Might be to old.

Frankly, guys like Beckerman, Zusi, Besler and Omar should have left for Europe over the last two windows if they were serious about stepping their games up a level, but, oh well, they preferred comfort.

I foresee the Omar/Besler likely WC pairing costing us big time with a few costly errors in Brazil, errors due to facing League One caliber attacks most weeks, and Championship level every once in a while.

And while I've been impressed with Beckerman of late I also think he'd end up costing us if he gets any kind of real playing time in Brazil. The speed of play in Brazil will be quite a step up from CONCACAF, let alone MLS. With so many of our guys choosing to stay home and comfortable or choosing to come home(bad move Clint) in a WC year I do think we're going to have some problems. Friendlies and the CONCACAF level somewhat cover that up at this point.

John said...

UnitedDemon: Panama at home is not the same against a Mexico or Costa Rica. Jones will remain a starter over Cameron or Beckerman.

John said...

Jolazo: Is that you Mo?

Greg Seltzer said...

@ John:

A couple things...

1 - Your Cameron assertions were directly refuted with mention of the Panama game, but now you've somewhat abandoned those points to somewhat move the goalpost.

2 - If you could be so kind as to share with us the competitive match when Jones played a true #6 and surpassed Cameron's effort vs. Panama, I'd love to be reminded of it.

Desert Rat said...

I agree wholeheartedly with Greg's assessment.

Jermaine Jones scares the hell out of me every time he's asked to play the DM role alongside Bradley. I'd prefer Cameron or Beckerman either one over Jones, as at least they know that their job is to stay home to be in position to break up attacks in front of the back line.

As for Edu playing himself back into the front line between now and next summer? I'm not thinking that one's going to happen. Barring injuries to the folks in front of him, I think Edu is watching this World Cup on TV.

WonderKin said...

Danny Williams over J. Jones is an absolute joke. Let me be clear that I like Cameron as a true #6, and Jones incosistency and lapses of sanity can be hard to watch, but Danny Williams is still nowhere even close to Jermaine Jones. I like Beckerman, but his lack of pace and quickness will put us in a bad spot vs. world class attacking midfielders, and forwards.

Edu without the ball is a monster, a true destroyer who covers tons of ground, but my man straight up can not handle the ball... at all.

Greg Seltzer said...

If Edu can back to playing time, he has two key factors in his favor. He easily tops the others in quickness in front of the back line and has more experience raising his game against super-scary opponents in high pressure matches than all the others combined.

John said...

@Greg Seltzer @Desert Rat It doesn't matter because JJ is one of Klinsy's favorite players and as long as he is healthy and playing regularly for Schalke he will be start over Cameron/Beckerman. He's not as consistent on the U.S. MNT as he is with Schalke, but when he is (like 2 weeks ago against Mexico) he's a Beast.

Greg Seltzer said...

1 - There is a tiny teeny eensy weeny itty bitty MAJOR problem with your Mexico game claim - Jones did not play as a #6, he played as the #8 with Beckerman behind him. And if Jones run as the #6 at World Cup, we are likely screwed.

2 - There is only one "Beast" and her name is Jaja Vankova. Ya heard.

dikranovich said...

2-4-6-8, who do we appreciate!!!

dikranovich said...
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Fennel said...
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Greg Seltzer said...

Signed through summer 2015.

John said...

@Greg As long as Jones is paired up with Bradley we have nothing to worry about.

Greg Seltzer said...

Well, that's just not true.

John said...

@Greg: Well that's just your opinion Greg. Jones is one the best midfielders in our USMNT pool. It amazes me how people can still question his importance.

Greg Seltzer said...

Of course it's just my opinion. That's the only one I can legitimately give.