Monday, September 30, 2013

The Right Now Line-up

First, let's just roll it out how it would look on my clipboard and then we'll discuss the details.






So... obviously, we like moving parts in this set or the job's not done; the fullbacks and wingers try to almost slide the flank as a duo, Bradley covers so much ground he can appear as a partner in defensive midfield or a late box crasher/through ball master in attack, depending on the situation. And like midfield mates Cameron and Dempsey, he provides added aerial presence for set piece defense to compensate for mid-size wingbacks.

Speaking of them, here's it pieces together on the wing. The running/dribbling combo of Lichaj and Johnson would cause a lot of headaches together. Parkhurst is more of a crosser, adding into the serves you'll get from Donovan to give playmaking balance. Those who've been here a while know I like one side to lean toward keeping the defender wide and then running at him, while the other is more likely to get to the touchline/side door of the area for causing havoc.

Most of Altidore's "cross goals" have come via the right, while many of his combo strikes happen on the left. We also want Dempsey to get close enough for combination play, and for the team in general to get Jozy the ball where he can face the top edge of the box as often as possible. When he swings out wide, as he is wont to do, Dempsey fills as an adequate central target, with Bradley creeping in late. The USMNT is at its best with aggressive movement off the ball and quick one touch combos, which is exactly why I've wanted this formation for years.

It all plays together in attack, with Deuce and Bradley sharing the duties of outlet sprays and area raids. More over, it's only natural to expect a fair amount of switching spots between Dempsey, Donovan and Johnson. We're fine with it, assuming this practice and the slippery skills of the three will earn bushels of danger free kicks above the box. When those occur, Altidore and Dempsey share the cracks at goal, while Donovan serves the box droppers. He'll also take corners from both sides, at least until a lefty enters the game. Altidore or Donovan take spot kicks.

Defensively, Cameron almost gives the team three center backs when it's time to drop back. With Besler and Goodson behind him, that's an awful lot of defenive headers won. The wing backs will be instructed to prioritize closing off the touchline area and blocking crosses; Parkhurst's anticipation and Lichaj's bulldog-ish-ness in guarding their corners aid this strategy. We don't just aim to get in their shirts to win the ball back quickly across midfield, we want to do that everywhere. Why? Because we want the ball back at all times.

And if we get our way in that, theoretically, the defense won't have as much to do on the day. The one aspect of the rearguard that could cause concern is the idea that possession eventually breeds mistakes with the ball and counters against you. Both Goodson and Besler have had some episodes of being beaten over the top after bad turnovers. To be fair, they've also had good recent days in the category and the Bradley/Cameron duo will be trusted with ensuring that doesn't happen so often. The 4-3-3 is all about patching holes with camouflage. If they can't find the way to your weakness, it can't hurt you.

All in all, it's not a great deal different than what Klinsi typically runs these days, certain personnel aside. Tomorrow, we'll name the "right now" 23 (as it were) and talk about all that entails.





- Greg Seltzer

33 comments:

dikranovich said...

it all seems pretty reasonable. I think when we talk about formations, its fair to say that formations are fluid. I mean, a team plays a 4-3-3, but on defense, they convert to a 4-5-1. so some teams come out in a 4-5-1, and on offense, they convert to a 4-3-3. doesn't, this make sense?

maybe it is just prudence to come out in a more defensive posture and work into a 4-3-3.

my biggest beef with gregs lineup is that it is slow in the back on the right. parkhurst and goodson together does not sound like an ideal pairing to me.

Greg Seltzer said...

I think some people confuse "slow" with not fast. It's two different things, and both players have anticipation that gives them a head start.

dikranovich said...

im gonna stick with slow. as far as anticipation, I did not see parkhurst anticipating when shakhtar (sp) donesk played a cheeky little drop ball through on goal against him.

these two players are slow, and they are also not fast. as a general rule, we don't want to have two players on the backline that are slow, especially playing side by side

Tom Anderson said...

Is there a chance you could list your lineup, for those of us who don't have Lineupbuilder? Thanks.

Greg Seltzer said...

..............Howard
Parkhurst..Goodson..Besler..Lichaj
.............Cameron
........Bradley
.................Dempsey
Donovan................FabJohnson
............Altidore

Djpeisner said...

Has Graham Zusi ever had a run out as a right back? While I wouldn't suggest that at the moment he's a starting option there--particularly considering he never plays there-- the fact that he plays at all these days on a regular basis gives him an advantage of sorts over Parkhurst, who generally doesn't even make the bench for Augsburg. Zusi's ability to whip in crosses from the right side might be tempting if he proves to be an adequate defender. I mean, it seems if JK is okay with trying Brad Evans back there, there's no reason why he shouldn't try a guy who seems to have a much bigger upside than Evans. Perhaps it's just unnecessary meddling: I expect that the unfairly reviled Timmy Chandler is going to work his way back into the conversation for that spot in the next 6 months. Either that or the glorious resurrection and final hurrah of Steve Cherundolo.

Other than that spot--and the fact that Goodson has turned in some iffy performances in the past (fortunately in the relatively distant past)--I think this is a good looking lineup. I doubt JK will displace Jones for Cameron in the center of the field, and I have some doubt that he'll discover the wonders of Eric Lichaj after leaving him out, puzzlingly, for so long, but I'd be happy if he did both.

DrewVT6 said...

Is there some yellow card issue here that causes you to choose Goodson over Gonzalez?

Greg Seltzer said...

No, It's quite simple. Goodson has played better, and against more cultured competition and has more experience.

DrewVT6 said...

Have you watched Goodson in SJ lately?

Greg Seltzer said...

No, but as I've said many times, club form ain't everything. And Goodson has been easily the most consistently solid (or better) US center back for about 18 months now.

Greg Seltzer said...

Not to mention, he is also the largest attacking set piece threat in the entire pool at this time. We can't forget about factors like that in a short tourney.

John said...

Djperisner: Wonders of Lichaj? You're kidding right?

John said...

If club form isn't everything than Gonzalez is above Goodson. I rather have Gonzalez since he has a much higher upside than the older Goodson.

Greg Seltzer said...

"If club form isn't everything than Gonzalez is above Goodson."


Well, that just doesn't make sense. Seems like either way it's sliced, you'd say Gonzo is ahead. I gave my main reasons and Gonzo is ahead in none of those.



"I rather have Gonzalez since he has a much higher upside than the older Goodson."


A much higher upside in what time frame? Nine months or less? Highly debatable. What's not so debatable is that Goodson has performed quite a bit better than Gonzo for the USMNT this year.

Djpeisner said...

John said...
Djperisner: Wonders of Lichaj? You're kidding right?

Well, overstating it for effect, perhaps, but what I've seen of him--with Villa last season, Forest this season, and his U.S. call-ups during the Bradley era--certainly merits a look from JK, if not more. I mean, he certainly seems to be more of the leftback of the future (if not the present) than Beasley. I mean, Beasley has performed admirably filling in there, but I just don't think he's the answer for Brazil.

As for Zusi at RB, no takers? No interest? Not even for a meaningless run-out against Scotland?

Greg Seltzer said...

I'm sorry, but I'm just not clear on why we would need to try Zusi at right back. Or why we'd ever think he could suddenly play it at a World Cup level. If he's not there to provided crosses in attack, then he's not going.

Djpeisner said...

I guess I'm not really suggesting that he's suddenly an option to start at RB in Brazil, more just curious if he's ever gotten a runout there with KC. He tracks back reasonably well on the wing and I guess my thought was, I'd love to see if he could send in those crosses from a wingback position while defending adequately, much like Cherundolo has done at his best. Also, seemed a way of potentially getting a guy on the field who can make Jozy more dangerous. Since both Brad Evans and Beasley (on the other side) have been dropped back into wingback spots which they were previously pretty unfamiliar with, it didn't seem so far-fetched.

But again, more a curiosity than a firm stance that Zusi ought to be there.

John said...

@Greg: If Goodson starts in the WC (Which I highly doubt) then we are in trouble. I don't even think he will make the WC roster next summer if JK decides to only take 3 natural CB's.

Goodson is a good backup CB and can do well against Concacaf opponents, but he's not a quality CB that can help us go far in the WC. We have seen what Gonzalez can do when he's on his game (last 2 games against Mexico & CCL against Monterrey). Brooks is also in the starting CB conversation if he consistently starts for Hertha Berlin and continues to show that he is a high quality CB in the making.

John said...

@Djpeisner: Lichaj wasn't very good for a pretty awful Villa team last season. He was mostly a bench player, but when he did get on the game he didn't look good at all. So far he has shown that he is a Championship level player, so I really don't get why he gets so much hoopla from some fans who probably haven't seen him play this season.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ Djpeisner: Tracking back and defending as a wingback are far from the same thing.

@ John:

"If Goodson starts in the WC (Which I highly doubt) then we are in trouble."

Oh, you mean like when we won in Italy? Besides, like I keep saying, this is not the team for World Cup time. It is a snapshot of now.



"I don't even think he will make the WC roster next summer if JK decides to only take 3 natural CB's."


Why on Earth would any coach decide to do that?



"Goodson is a good backup CB and can do well against Concacaf opponents, but he's not a quality CB that can help us go far in the WC. We have seen what Gonzalez can do when he's on his game (last 2 games against Mexico & CCL against Monterrey)."


When has Gonzo ever performed outside CONCACAF opposition? Hell, he's had several stinkers against mites recently.


"Brooks is also in the starting CB conversation if he consistently starts for Hertha Berlin and continues to show that he is a high quality CB in the making."


Yeah... at left center back, not right.


"Lichaj wasn't very good for a pretty awful Villa team last season. He was mostly a bench player, but when he did get on the game he didn't look good at all. So far he has shown that he is a Championship level player, so I really don't get why he gets so much hoopla from some fans who probably haven't seen him play this season."


Once again, you are twisting reality to push your bias against a player. If you said this exact comment to Villa fans, most would argue with you quite a bit. After all, their record when he played was worlds better than the one when he didn't.

John said...

@Greg:

"Oh, you mean like when we won in Italy?"

1 game but did you forget his performances in the 09 & 2011 Gold Cup Finals when the defense got slayed by 9 goals against Mexico?

"Why on Earth would any coach decide to do that?"

What's wrong with that? Besler, Gonzalez, Brooks and Cameron (Utility player) as the 4th option in case of an emergency. There's no need to have an extra natural CB (4 CB's) plus Cameron.

"When has Gonzo ever performed outside CONCACAF opposition? Hell, he's had several stinkers against mites recently."

He has only gotten to play 2 European teams (Belgium & Germany) so far in his U.S. MNT career. We'll see how he does against Scotland and maybe Austria if JK plays him.

"Yeah... at left center back, not right."

Yeah... I know that he plays at left center back and he's left footed.

"Once again, you are twisting reality to push your bias against a player. If you said this exact comment to Villa fans, most would argue with you quite a bit. After all, their record when he played was worlds better than the one when he didn't."

Bias against a player? lmao! Wow! I'm not biased at all I'm just speaking the truth. Since when does a Championship player gets so much hoopla for a call-up to the national team? Not many good national teams call-up 2div players unless they're tearing it up. Also if he was that good last season for Aston Villa why didn't Lambert play him more? Did you even watch him play last season Greg? Or are you just trusting someone's opinion on a fan forum?

Gaelen Schumann said...

Just throwing this lineup out there. I would move Cameron to right back because I can't understand starting Parkhust while leaving Jones on the bench, especially when Cameron has been tearing it up for Stoke. As an added bonus, this lineup has Donovan cutting in on his right foot with FJ overlapping down the line.

..........Howard

..Cameron.. Goodson.. Besler.. FJ

.......Jones....Bradley

. Zusi.... Dempsey ..... Donovan

............Altidore

Greg Seltzer said...

@ John:


"1 game but did you forget his performances in the 09 & 2011 Gold Cup Finals when the defense got slayed by 9 goals against Mexico?"


One game, yes, but the recent opponent and scene most like a top level World Cup opponent.



"What's wrong with that? Besler, Gonzalez, Brooks and Cameron (Utility player) as the 4th option in case of an emergency. There's no need to have an extra natural CB (4 CB's) plus Cameron."


First of all, of course there is. Secondly, Cameron is my DM starter. Finally, center back is the last of the positions he's played where I'd want him.



"He has only gotten to play 2 European teams (Belgium & Germany) so far in his U.S. MNT career. We'll see how he does against Scotland and maybe Austria if JK plays him."


1 - Yes... and he was highly culpable on five goals in those two games.

2 - Playing Scotland is hardly a great test.



"Bias against a player? lmao! Wow! I'm not biased at all I'm just speaking the truth."


Muh huh... as you see it, which just happens to be in a way where calling a guy that can play both wingback slots, has high-level wheels and has positive EPL experience is crazy talk. I mean, saying 'he didn't look good at all' is factual statement to you - but not even close to what the club fans who watched him every time up close say.

Yeah, I'd definitely say you have some personal distaste for the player. Not sure how I'd suspect otherwise, really.



"Since when does a Championship player gets so much hoopla for a call-up to the national team?"

First of all, I think "hoopla" may be a super stretch.

But Championship or lower call-ups that started or mattered? How about Jay Demerit? Cory Gibbs? Terrence Boyd? Gregg Berhalter? Eddie Lewis? Benny Feilhaber? Any player called from MLS in at least 2006 and prior?

People need to understand that what league a guy is in is actually too arbitrary of a worthiness ranking tool.


"Also if he was that good last season for Aston Villa why didn't Lambert play him more?"


Is that Lambert the same guy who saw no need to make a transfer offer for Michael Bradley, who somehow couldn't get a game for a terrible Villa team under previous management? Or is Lambert the guy whose only plan was to just go with every young English player he could find?

He also determined there was no use for Cuellar and Bent, two guys with a record of Premier League capability, so I think basing our NT picture off what one club coach does (or all of them, for that matter) is not helpful. Club coaches have different sized stables, different game schedules to manage and no restriction on player nationality and can shop for players anywhere.



"Did you even watch him play last season Greg? Or are you just trusting someone's opinion on a fan forum?"


Seriously?

dikranovich said...

would it be possible to maybe agree that if we do start goodson, we cant have parkhurst next to him? I think we should all try and agree that two slower than average players should not be side by side on the backline.

now if we had parkhurst at left back, and besler between he and goodson, then its possible. I mean, we are talking about every other tom, dick, and harry for the left back spot, as it is.

Greg Seltzer said...

You're funny. It's as if you imagine I haven't considered all this stuff all the way around before I typed it. :)

But, no, I find you to be exaggerating how quickly these guys get mobile, a factor which is not solely down to foot speed.

John said...

Greg: Why did Lamber need to make a transfer offer for Bradley? He became manager last year just a few months before Roma signed Bradley. Having him would have improved the team but I don't get what this has to do with anything. Lambert took away Given's starting job to Guzan so he just doesn't play any English/European type player.

Greg Seltzer said...

You used Villa not keeping Lichaj as some sort of proof that he definitively was not good enough to play there. My reply was Lambert didn't want to keep Bradley with Villa's buy option, either. Pretty straightforward point, no hidden meanings.

John said...

Greg: Wasn't it Alex McLeish who didn't want Bradley after Gerard Houller (The manager who brought Bradley on loan) stepped down?

Greg Seltzer said...

You're absolutely right, I mixed them up in memory.

Nevertheless, my overall point still stands without that particular example. Just because a club does something doesn't mean he's right or even that it's relevant to the player's international team, because they have different needs, player stables, schedules to deal with, financial constraints, board pressures, etc.

It's not just "oh well they didn't keep him, so obviously they think he's not good" any more than it would be "oh well he scored against Chelsea, so obviously he's amazing" - it's a non-point.

Kirk Diggler said...

Personally I think starting in the Championship is a cut above starting in MLS overall. Nottingham Forest probably has a wage bill close to 30 million dollars.

La Galaxy, minus their DP's, is probably around 3m. Even with their Dp's it's considerably less than 20 mil.

Our 3 top rated CB's are all MLS. I'm sure they could get a job in the Championship but no way (at this point) would they snag a starting role in the EPL.

So slagging off Eric Lichaj because he is 'only' a championship level defender is the same as attacking our CB's because they're "only MLS" quality. It's what the U.S. has.

And the Championship is by far the best 2nd division league in the world. I'd take it over Austria or Switzerland or Belgium 1st anyday.

There is a reason why the Championship shuts down during Fifa World Cup qualifying dates, because a boatload of International players play there.

Greg Seltzer said...

While I agree with most of your points, the 2.Bundesliga is at least as good as the C'ship, if not better.

Justin said...

It looks like you are sacrificing any type of decent wingbacks to get our best six attacking players.

Greg Seltzer said...

Who is that to?