Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sane 8's

Well... two out of three ain't bad, anyway. But the truth is, with everyone fit, we could probably list eight decent choices for this position, which has become the roster's most crowded dogfight in recent years. I think it makes sense, as it was definitely an American soccer upbringing that produced Bradley, the most important player to this current side. I will use this moment to remind everyone that I predicted he would become pretty much this exact player for the USMNT back when he was just starting to get sub minutes with Heerenveen. Of course, my Benny Feilhaber prediction from the same column fell a little bit short, but we will just look past that tidbit today.

I know many will bristle, but Jones to me is a perfect 60th minute (or earlier, if necessary) impact sub for this tournament, almost regardless of situation. Kljestan is having a significant form dip at the wrong time. At this point, despite all the Champions League exploits, he may need to worry more about all the Dax McCartys of the world coming up behind him than he is about catching Jones. Or he could turn on the offense over the next several weeks and re-enter the #10 discussion. Something, man.

Michael Bradley
Jermaine Jones
Sacha Kljestan

- Greg Seltzer


Unknown said...

I'll be the first to admit that I didn't see Bradley's talent at first, and thought his inclusion to the USMNT was a bit of nepotism. Boy was I wrong.

I am also conflicted about Jones coming on a sub. I really want the Bradley/Jones DM tandem to work, but they are often not on the same page. As much as Jones is an enforcer, the two seem to have the greatest impact when Jones pushes forward a bit while Bradley stays in a more defensive position. I don't think that's a winning tactic overall for this squad, so I may be coming around to the Jones sub idea.

Greg Seltzer said...

And that is why I came to it, I do not want Bradley forced to stay home and mind the gate for 90 minutes.

dikranovich said...

Some very interesting poll numbers over at SBI. I'm just going to give you the numbers inside the numbers. You guys can go vote for yourself.

Basically about the same number of Americans who think Jozy should be lone striker 64% think Aron should start. It's interesting when you read it this way. Does Aron Joha have the chops to play on the wing in a 4-5-1?

An astounding 10% of fans don't think the captain should even start. That could be high though, because some of those ten percent might actually want him as the loan striker.

86% of the fans think Cameron should be starting as a wingback.

J.G. Updike (@FixtureWire) said...

Yes, because the one thing we should trust is poll numbers or inclinations from a bunch of people with only a facial understanding of modern football tactics.

Besides that, to the meat of the points:

Altidore cannot be a lone striker against the teams we are facing, because that would spell disaster for our chances. Never mind that it would essentially be an unfortunate déjà vu for Altidore to leave a shitty team like Sunderland to join his national team who now think it's smart to play like said shitty team Sunderland.

Iceman should be starting as SS/CAM as unlike Dempsey, he does not lose his effectiveness as a forward when he pulls back into the midfield for service. Never mind that I don't really think Dempsey can match him technically. The only edge Dempsey has is experience and that isn't enough for me to warrant starting him over Iceman.

Cameron should be on the field sitting next to Bradley. Let Cameron do the deep dirty work and use his effective long balls to switch things up and allow Bradley free reign in the box to box role. Jones is a liability and doesn't know how to effectively work in a midfield pairing and often sabotages the team by taking Bradley's space.

dikranovich said...

-dmb--- besler-gooch--Johnson-

is it look something like this updike, your formation?

John said...

@J.G. Updike: Jones is the opposite of a liability. He is a part of the team's spine for a reason.

J.G. Updike (@FixtureWire) said...


Not quite, but close.

I'm not sure I would run Zusi on the left because while he often makes runs for SKC from deep in the left side of the midfield with great effect I have yet to see him consistently do it for the USMNT other than temporary inversions with the opposite winger.

As a result, I would likely put Zusi on the RW and allow Donovan the free space center and left of Johannsson.

Also, I wouldn't take Gooch to Brazil, I'm not sold yet on who should sit next to Besler. On form Gonzalez would be preferable, but he is not on form. Hence, the issue with where best to employ Cameron. I think to allow Bradley the best use of space Jones has to be on the bench, but that means who sits next to him? I would normally be okay with Beckerman, and play Cameron at CB with Besler, but I worry Beckerman will just get run over by the teams we are playing.

In the end it comes down to this, I do not envy Jurgen’s job. There are few clear answers in this squad.