Saturday, February 1, 2014

Number 3 on the clipboard with a bullet.

Folks have been batting around plenty of talk about players who could make a late World Cup squad charge, but few have mentioned Daniel Williams. The Reading midfielder breached the area to file away the capper in a 3-0 win at Millwall. It was his first for the Royals and his first in club play since September of 2012.

Clip to come, probably not until later tonight at the earliest...




- Greg Seltzer

63 comments:

dikranovich said...

I wonder what the status is on a gooch injury, which it looks like he suffered right at the end of his teams 1-0 win, against the rooster.

the 3-5-2 has been about seven years in the making, and our US national team really is built for this lineup. I hope we start utilizing it soon.

jon said...

Haha, yeah, keep your eyes out for it. I bet you'll definitely see it today. If not, all signs point to Klinsi busting it out in one of the 2 or 3 other games remaining before the World Cup. It's absolutely the most reasonable thing to expect. All the Gonzo/Besler chemistry talk coming out of camp? Smokescreen.

dikranovich said...

it makes so much sense though. we are deepest at defensive mid. we have a shortage of fullbacks, so much so, that most of the fullbacks in the national team picture are converted, and we have a surplus of center halfs.

with Cameron excelling at rb for stoke, it only seems natural that he would be perfect in a three man backline.

think of the injection of offense that an attacking mid would add to the offense, and technically, we already use that position in our 4-5-1, so really it is a second striker that gets added. whala!!!!

don't forget, its a 3-5-2 on offense, but its a 5-3-2 on defense.

Greg Seltzer said...

You give me a mind-ache. If Klinsi runs a 3-5-2, I will call for his job. And yours.

dikranovich said...

a classy lineup for usa tonight

Greg Seltzer said...

In what fashion? They have not looked very good at all.

John said...

3-5-2? Lol! JK is sticking with the 4-2-3-1.

dikranovich said...

john, they did not play a 4-5-1 tonight, well, maybe when EJ came on they did. id say it was more like a flat 4-4-2.

USA is a little too lax with the ball in the back and it is only a matter of time before tricky little passing in the back leads to something bad.

Beckerman is class and he just has a top soccer brain, and the skills to back it up. davis was ok and his defense is a plus for him.

wondo is such a nice finisher, he might just sneak on the plane and do some poaching this summer down in brasil.

this USA team really needs to work on its ideas in the final third. this along with shoring up the defense and we can really put something together that will be nice.

soccer boy said...

Make me and others nderstand... why do you hate 352? Is it so bad to atleast atempt it for a half or so?

Joe Fen said...

I just saw the goal on youtube. it was no bullet man. I was disappointed when I saw it after that title of yours.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ soccer boy: What is the point of that? We are not going to use it, we should not use it and we are not going to use it. Why? Because it is a terrible idea for use against teams like Germany, Ghana and Portugal that are going to stretch the field wide in attack. I could go on, but will refrain from ranting. No 3-5-2, no no no.

@ Joe: The bullet is not referring to the goal, it is referring to his fast rise up the depth chart that is currently occurring.

dikranovich said...

does anyone know what formation we were playing in, during our greatest world cup victory in the modern era? not to mention the last 35 minutes of our only quarter final app, also in the modern era?

Greg Seltzer said...

Great question, here are more:

What year is this? What squad do we have now, the 2002 squad or the current squad? What formation do a large number of these current key players play in with their clubs?

You show me the line-up you want to suggest for a 3-5-2 and I will tell you exactly why it should not happen.

dikranovich said...

oh, now you want to placate me like im your mother?

dikranovich said...

lamont, ya big dummy, give me 20, let me finish my shopping. gotta buy some ripple and spare ribs.

C. Goldkamp said...

Here are the highlights of the Reading v. Millwall game:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OpdP5pdk1kE&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DOpdP5pdk1kE

Good effort by Williams to stick with it.

Paul Poenicke said...

Greg, let me sketch a feasible 3-5-2 for the national team to play in Brazil. Note: I agree with you that such an experiment is unwise for a number of reasons (personnel, tactics, the fact that we have little time to institute the system before Brazil, ect.). Still, tossing the idea around might be informative, and I would enjoy hearing your detailed analysis of why such a 3-5-2 would fail.

A possible 3-5-2 for Brazil:
Altidore-Jóhannsson
Donovan-Dempsey-Zusi
Bradley-Jones
F.Johnson-Besler-Cameron

The formation has the advantage of getting our best eleven players on the field, while eliminating players who are either playing out of position (Beasley) or are not at their best against international competition (Evans). Beyond the fact that we would be able to field out best five attackers, the reasons for a 3-5-2 start to run thin. Your thoughts?

Jamie said...

Paul: Putting Fabian Johnson in a three-man backline is not feasible. It is the opposite of feasible. It is infeasible. It is very, very infeasible.

Thomas said...

------AJ---Jozy------
-------Dempsey-------
Johnson-Bradley-JJ(Zusi)-Donovan
--Besler--Omar--Cameron--
---------Timmy---------

Not suggesting that this is our best lineup, but I think it could work with the personnel. Never a bad idea to have a backup plan, I suppose. Not sure what Gatt's situation is either, and it definitely seems as if he is at best a longshot for brazil at this point, but it seems he could be effective as a RWB. Dempsey could also replace AJ up top with Donovan sliding in behind.

Paul Poenicke said...

@Jamie: Agreed on the point about F.Johnson. The point of the post was attempting to encourage why a/the most feasible 3-5-2 *overall* would not work, despite having some upsides. I take the position of F.Johnson in the 3-5-2 to be a significant point of weakness. (Although one might try to argue why the overall benefits of a 3-5-2 would eclipse those of our current 4-2-3-1. Fabian's position is questionable, but perhaps other parts of the formation would be improved, such that on balance the team would flourish.)

UnitedDemon said...

Forgot about Williams. Is he ready to challenge Evans for that spot? He's got better tools, for sure.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ United Demon: Challenge Evans for what spot?

@ Paul:

First of all, as was noted above, in no way should Johnson EVER be used in a three-man back. Secondly, using Jones there in front of a three-man back is asking for problems. He will not stay in a disciplined shape partnering Bradley with four defenders, so I shudder to think of asking him to hold the gate for three. And even if those were our best 11 players, that does not necessarily make the best team. In today's game a 3-5-2 is basically conceding both flanks. For me, to win most games, you must win central park and the flanks. Giving away two of the three for the other is not gonna get it done against any decent opponent.


@ Thomas:

The first thing that jumps out at me like a klieg light in your line-up is you will be burning Donovan to the wick fast in a short tournament. Instant no bueno. Especially if he is stationed next to the wandering Jones. We would be countered to death with two guys at the back who have never played at a WC before AND have never faced top competition in club life. It is a tremendous whole lot to ask everyone, including the attack, which would have to produce extra (likely in tons of 3-v-5 or 6 on the fly or half-court because they will be forced to wait for numbers).

Let us frame it this way. We now want to play out of the back - fine, that can fit. We want to hold more possession against good teams. Hmm, maybe could fit, especially if passing around the back is good enough to suffice (it is not). We want to force turnovers with pressure and attack briskly, spreading the field with as many one-touch passing moves as possible. Yeah, never gonna happen in a 3-5-2 with this squad. Not in any real tournament. And that includes Gold Cup.

Greg Seltzer said...

But hey, give me 2002-era Sanneh, Pope, Hejduk, JOB and Reyna (not to mention Donovan, DMB and McBride), and then we can discuss it.

Paul Poenicke said...

@Greg: All solid points. I tend to agree with your analysis of winning in the contemporary game: if central midfield is lost, then one must secure both flanks. A 3-5-2 is not an optimal system for our contemporary game. But...you suggested in your most recent post that with the right personnel, there might be a sensible 3-5-2 that the US could use for success. Other than getting into a time machine and grabbing JOB and company for Brazil, do you think the US could find a decent eleven to field a 3-5-2?

One may need to change tactics/ to succeed. After considering the point in these posts, I am more convinced than ever that a 3-5-2 would not be a good formation for the US to use in Brazil. Thanks for your comments on this bizarre hypothetical.

UnitedDemon said...

Right back. Daniel Williams always struck me as a right back, more so than DM or right winger. We still need to figure out who can cover Ronaldo this summer. Maybe Williams should get another look.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ United Demon: Sorry, for me, Williams is only a DM. At least internationally. I would not consider him anywhere else.

@ Paul: You also need to remember these things I mention that we want to do now are not all things we wanted to do then. Besides, it was a rather wrinkled 3-5-2. They kinda morphed in and out of it.



John said...

@UnitedDemon: Williams hasn't played at RB in years when he was at Freiburg

dikranovich said...



----------howard--------------
--Cameron--gonzo--besler------
-------jones--bradley-------
-zusi-----Donovan----Johnson--
gomez---Dempsey

we played Ghana four years ago. we came out in a 4-4-2, they came with a 4-5-1. they controlled the center of the pitch, and that's where their first goal came from, and they won.


we are going to be playing a 3-5-2 before coach klinsmann leaves this post.

it makes to much sense, because we are the big team in our confederation, we have a lot of center halfs on our roster. we are looking for an injection of offense. we have a lot of defensive mids. we don't have a lot of fullbacks.


dikranovich said...

funny, but when the USA played the 3-5-2 in 2002, hey dude was never on the pitch when we used this formation.

Fabian Johnson needs to be healthy also, otherwise, Donovan slides to the left and Dempsey slides back and jozy is inserted in the first 11.

justinwkoehn said...

@dikranovich - You lost all credibility when you listed Gomez as starting up front along side Dempsey. Give it a rest.

dikranovich said...

just in, the 3-5-2 does require that at least one of the strikers be able to apply strong defensive pressure. gomez is great at that. he is not a bad attacker either.


news flash* our strikers need to become better defenders, while still working on their attacking skills.

Greg Seltzer said...

Fine. Here we go. First off, you are wrong about the Germany formation (big shocker).

http://www.ussoccer.com/news/mens-national-team/2002/06/germany-gets-past-the-united-states-on-to-semifinals-with-1-0-victory-historic-world-cup-run-for-the.aspx


Secondly, you want to leave out Altidore? Ridiculous idea. Same warning about Jones applies, same warning about Gonzo and Besler applies.

And, for good measure, what does being tops in our region have to do with playing a 3-5-2?

dikranovich said...

---------big bad brad-----------
--sanneh-pope--berhalter--hejduk-
-------reyna----Pablo----------
--Donovan---JOB------lewis
----------McBride---------

this is the starting lineup 2002 v Germany.
in the 58 min. mathis comes in for McBride. at this point in the game, Donovan slides a little higher, into a 4-4-2, and job, stays pinched in and sanneh patrols the right flank.

in the 65 min. cobi jones enters the game and hey dude exits. eddie lewis does not drop back to left back. this happens

-------------brad------------
-----sanneh----pope--berhalter--
---------reyna----Pablo--------
---cobi------job-----lewis----
------Donovan-----mathis---------

dikranovich said...

im not sold on the opinion that both deuce and jozy need to start. we are much better defensively with one of them coming off the bench.

zusi is quickly becoming any auto starter on the right, and his defense is so strong, he is making that choice easier and easier.

Greg Seltzer said...

Is ice cream free in your world?

dikranovich said...

greg, why were you keeping the juan agudelo assist v. ajax from us?

justinwkoehn said...

I don't know about you, but he told the rest of us...sorry buddy.

dikranovich said...

so we basically have five games before brasil. Ukraine next month, mexico the month after, then three games, against Nigeria, and hopefully turkey and Serbia right before the cup.

I do think, all in all, the 4-5-1 is going to be the go to formation for this world cup.

we have to play with three central midfielders against Ghana. we just cant make that same mistake two cups in a row. really three in a row.

but I think this time around we will make that tactical change and it will really be what stifles Ghana.
-----------howard---------------
-cameron-gonzo--besler--Johnson-
--------jones----Bradley--------
--zusi-----deuce----Donovan---
---------the jozy---------------

this is the lineup as of today for Ghana.

if deuce slides up to attack and fj slides up the left flank, well, you know what that is.

Bryan said...

The US played a 3-5-2 against Mexico in 2002 out of necessity, and not really a specific anything vs Germany. That lineup was kind of formation-less, the most free-flowing 'total football' side the US has ever seen.

Playing 3 at the back, especially in this group, would be suicidal. It basically would be Ronaldo 1v1 vs Cameron or Gonzo, and whoever was up top would be 1v1 too...I don't think anyone likes those chances.

Nicholas said...

Not quite sure how a post about Williams has turned into an inane conversation about delusions regarding a certain formation. Actually, I do, as usual, a particular poster features prominently.

As a Royal, I have been really impressed with Williams, who does a lot more than merely hold though he will never be confused as a creative wonder, but is bombing forward and covering huge swathes of pitch. He has hit a few pile-drivers the last few games which he has been unfortunate not to score from.

His renaissance has coincided with injury to Danny Guthrie, so I'm a bit concerned how the return of tackle-averse plodder who does nothing but Hollywood stylings will hurt his form. I'm think he's best suited with another all action player, and well Hope Akpan is not much but, Williams has been fabulous. I understand the Championship isn't the greatest league competition-wise but I am curious as to how much his stock has risen with Klinsmann. It might be sacrifice and Reading bias, but on current song I prefer him to Jones.

dikranovich said...

Nicholas, I think it is fair to note that coach klinsmann named five players that make up the spine of this team. One is the keeper, Jozy and deuce are two more, then junior is a forth, and jermaine jones is five.

You wanna replace a core player?

soccer boy said...

I'm glad somebody who is an anlist or close to it can see jones does not play his role right. Why won't jk see that? If you had to put somebody as dm/ball winner, who would it b?

Greg Seltzer said...

I want Cameron to partner Bradley as the DM. Personally, as it stands, I would use Jones as a high impact sub. However, after his showing against Germany last year, perhaps he should start that game.

dikranovich said...

im just shocked!!! here we have a US national team player, he was playing champions league ball, this season, against Chelsea, and he was playing the six role very nicely.

I just don't get it, how can people be so hot to remove this player from the lineup? he is in decline is your answer, I guess. in case you goof balls have not realized yet, danny Williams moved from the bundas league to the second highest league in England, and that aint no move up.

I just don't get it. stoke is nothing special, and Cameron may turn out to be very decent at DM, but gosh, he is not deployed in this role at stoke, and he only really looked good against a team that is not even going to the world cup.

maybe the point is that all these players could work and do well, but the reality is that jones is a core player and barring injury, he is going to be the man.

so in essence, talking about danny Williams, or Geoff Cameron at dm, its a lot like talking about the 3-5-2. lets talk some more!!!

Greg Seltzer said...

I have explained it many times and at length, both in regards to how I find the best 11 players do not necessarily make the best team possible and specifically with how his piece often refuses to fit the puzzle.

But since Parkhurst played Champions League against Chelsea last season, does that mean he is your right back starter? Last I heard, you wanted to wipe his position from the formation and let Donovan run the entire right by himself.

dikranovich said...

no, I have Donovan in the hole, behind the two strikers in the formation. zusi and Fabian are on the wings. yet you complain and don't even get the facts straight.

the jones issue is pretty simple. he came into the national team and probably felt that he had to do more than he really did, and his games over the course of this cycle speak to as much. once coach klinsmann gave jones the armband last summer, that is when he really turned the corner and came around to doing what the team needs of him.

parkurst in the champions league and Jermaine jones play in the champions league are not on the same scale. I think everyone is pretty keenly aware of that.

Greg Seltzer said...

1 - Your Jones analysis is hilarious. Did he do all needed in the Austria loss? Or against Scotland, another team below WC level?

2 - Ah. So Parkhurst and Jones playing in the same exact stage of the same exact tourney against the same exact club is totally different. Gotcha.

justinwkoehn said...

True, they both played in the group stages, but one team got slaughtered, while the other actually advanced out of the group stages to the round of 16.

Greg Seltzer said...

That is a different distinction about clubs, not one made between two players and their personal pedigree for making the WC squad.

dikranovich said...

lets just stick with the facts. Jermaine jones is our man going to brasil. he is also going to be more hungry than most because he was injured last time around.

a motivated and hungry jones is going to be pretty fearsome for our team this summer.

justinwkoehn said...

...or it could mean an early red card and playing a man down. I like Jones, don't get me wrong, and I do think he's one of the best 11 USMNT players, but it comes down to team cohesion.

Nicholas said...

dikranovich, it is absolutely pointless to argue with you. Williams is an all-out ball winner with a sledge-hammer for a shot. As I think the original post alluded, he isn't moving into a starting role, but contention for a spot. And if you think Klinsmann list is set you are more ridiculous than imagined. Injuries, form, everything, no offense to Turkey, but Williams is playing in high-impact games almost twice a week.

So what if he moved down? I think Diskerud is our most naturally creative mid but he plays in Norway, that doesn't demean, but you get lots of time on the ball, more than in the Championship I live in Lille and go as frequently as I can, more often to Reading, even to Ipswich where Williams was suspect and it's simply insulting.

I'm not saying Williams has better pedigree but if you watch his recent form and bite then it means something. I in fact agree with Greg that Cameron should be slotted there as he provides more positional awareness but Williams is making hay. He got derided for some bad performances for the USMNT when he wasn't playing for Hoffenheim but if his current form holds I bet he buys a surprising ticket. Oh and Mighty "Bundas Liga", you are incorrigible.

dikranovich said...

just in, in a little under 6000 minutes over the past four years, Jermaine jones has one red card. maybe you should try again.

Nicholas said...

Hunger equates to performance? Watch some games. He will see far less of a challenge in Turkey than Williams in The Chump...., always I don't what kind of stat metrics the Turkish League uses but I get the impression Jones is losing his legs again. That is a completely subjective opinion that is open to scrutiny. Such is that Williams may be overused in the next months, but he has had time off, and Reading are out of the FA already

Nicholas said...

when did i mention cards? Seriously? please show me.

Nicholas said...

sorry that not pointed at me, my apologies

John said...

@justinwkoehn: Jones has gotten 0 red cards in a U.S. MNT jersey.

justinwkoehn said...

@dikranovich & John:
The comment was geared toward his affinity for bookings. To pull from Greg's MLSS post: "Jones leaves the Bundesliga with the sixth-highest rate of bookings in league history; he amassed 56 yellows and five total reds in 165 appearances for an average of 0.37 cards per game."
I'm sure he turns into a saint when he puts on the red white and blue though.

dikranovich said...

just in, thank you for helping to prove the point. JJ picks up a lot of yellows, but very few reds. in fact, he has yet to pick up a red in the Red, White, and Blue, and he only has one red in the last four years in bundas league play.

so I think you helped to prove that he is an enforcer who plays within the bounds and knows when he is giving up a yellow card foul, and not to pick up a silly second.

dikranovich said...

my guess is that Jermaine jones picks up two yellow cards during the group stages, and not in the same game, and not in the first and second games, but probably the first and the third, or maybe the second and third.

hopefully he can keep a yellow in his pocket for that Portugal game, and then he might have a special treat for chrissy.

justinwkoehn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
justinwkoehn said...

JJ didn't get any minutes today with Besiktas today. I wonder if he was eligible to play. They brought on two late subs in the final minutes. Figured he'd get a cameo.

John said...

@justinwkoehn: He was out with an injury.