Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The 22 for El Tri

Four friendlies to go and counting, and we have reached the one for World Cup hopefuls based in North America, with one rather notable exception. Gosh, see if you can pick that particular specimen for our microscope out of the bunch.

G - Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

D - DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting KC), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Michael Orozco (Puebla), Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders)

M - Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

F - Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Eddie Johnson (DC United), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)







- Greg Seltzer

37 comments:

Dasdude said...

Yedlin and Gil seem to be the surprise picks.

justinwkoehn said...

Brazil's formation: 4-3-3

-----Howard-----
Cameron--Parkhurst--Besler/Goodsen--Johnson
Dempsey--Bradley--Zusi
Donavon--Alitdore--Johannsson

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1417306-breaking-down-the-10-most-popular-formations-in-football/page/5

Jolazo said...

Hopefully Mo forces his way into the WC squad. When he's on form, he's our best DM.

Jolazo said...

@justinwkoehn

That lineup is craziness. We would lose every game 5-2.

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

No Castillo--good because he's fallen out of consideration, or bad because Klinsmann already knows he's coming to Brazil?

justinwkoehn said...

@Jolazo Yeah, maybe...but I like it vs Ghana. I'd pull Donavon back and make him share time with Dempsey, and add another DM for a 4-4-2 vs Portugal.

The great thing about the 4-3-3 is that it allows the LB and RB to push up the sides, which is perfect for Cameron and Johnson. Bradley also receives the ball from the back line and pushes forward in the attack. I fear Dempsey and Zusi may not do enough to clog the middle though when needed.

Back on topic: Really looking forward to what Green can do.

Timmy said...

Alex-
I read that the Tijuana players (Corona/Castillo/Gomez/etc) weren't available because of CCL.

dikranovich said...

Ok, altidore has a strike partner today, let's see if this opens things up. This game today is like a World Cup atmosphere. Let's see something positive Jozy

Tony M said...

The worst thing about justinwkoehn's line up is Howard as the lone forward...

Jolazo said...

@justinwkoehn

Basically that is a lineup that would only work in FIFA. Zusi could theoretically play CM in a 4-3-3, but he's never done it for the National Team. Dempsey isn't a CM in any sense. Even if you played him as a #10 with Zusi as the #8 in that lineup, that midfield would get flooded. Ghana would absolutely tear us to shreds if we only played 1 true central midfielder.

And Parkhurst isn't a starting CB at the international level. He's proven that time and again. He's a decent RB (preferably as a backup) who can deputize along the backline in an emergency, but that defense would get absolutely shredded in a World Cup.

justinwkoehn said...

dikranovich, check out Hull...they're playing your favorite: 3-5-2.

I'm also eager to see Jozy play with a second striker in a 3-4-1-2 (almost a 3-5-2)

justinwkoehn said...

@Tony M Funny guy. Too bad formations usually read GK to F in the rest of the world.

Tony M said...

I'll alert the editors of 4-4-2 that they have been getting it wrong.

(And I'm just being snarky. Not malice intended.)

dikranovich said...

jozy played a pretty intelligent game today. his off the ball movement was good, and he performed well with the ball at his feet and found his teammates well.

he still runs like steven seagal though.

John said...

@Jolazo: Edu is not even close to being the U.S.'s best DM.

dikranovich said...

if he was not close to being the US best DM, danny Williams would be playing alongside schweinstiger, at Bayern munich, but he is at reading, so there is really not much of a gap, either way.

oh, and if Cameron was this all world defensive center mid, he would still be playing the position at stoke city, but he is not, he is playing his third best position for stoke, and doing pretty well. on a team that defends for a living.

dikranovich said...

oh, but if you consider junior a DM, then I guess edu is not very close to being the best

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

@Justin
Wow, that lineup is not only bad it is unbalanced.

Now back to the matter at hand, here is the lineup that I would like to see which would allow us to win but still get valuable information going into the final squad selections:

--------------Rimando----------------
Beasley---Besler/Goodson—Yedlin
-------------Bradley/Gil----------------
Zusi----------Donovan----------Green
---------------Wondolowski------------

I want Yedlin in there to see how effectively he works with one of our first option back lines against a fast counter-attacking opponent. The first 45 minutes will determine whether he is going to Brazil. In spite of this making sense, Jurgen will start Evans, because questions still surround him as to whether or not he can be successful at RB against teams with exceptional speed.

For the same reason I would like to see Gil sit next to Bradley. He is potentially the future, and while I think Beckerman/Edu (I prefer Beckerman of the two) would be better options, neither is ever going to be more than a sub so I would like to see the future get an early chance against a strong opponent. Ideally, this is Holden’s position, but unfortunately we are never going to see the “Brolden” midfield in Brazil. So far, the only CM pairing I have seen work is Bradley/Cameron, but I am not sure yet if that was a one-off game in terms of chemistry and effectiveness.

Brad Davis will get a late sub in this game, as he is another utility player. Admittedly, if we are not going to start Green I would like to see Davis early to see whether he should be in the final squad. In addition, I think it would just be odd to throw Green straight into the fire even though I do think he should start “hypothetically” speaking since LM/LW is one of our weakest positions. If either Davis or Green has a good game, you can rule out Shea making the squad.

At forward, Wondo seems to be the only bubble player, so give him the start. Somehow, though Dempsey will start when he is clearly a bench player right now. I wish Jurgen would bench him and give the Captains armband to Bradley to send Dempsey a message, but is there enough time left for his psyche to recover for Brazil.

Zach said...

J.G. Updike- Wow, that lineup is not only bad, it's a fantasy.

You really think Gil is going to start as the 8? And you really think Dempsey is going to be on the bench? "Clearly" he is our captain, and "Clearly" deserves it more than an 18 year old first capper.

Edu is one of our best DM's, and definitely our most athletic and physical. Couldn't get time at Stoke, but back to being dominate in MLS. We don't have a 6 playing at a higher level than that right now, unfortunately.

dikranovich said...

updike, I think you mean yeldin on the right and dmb on the left, and im thinking gil is more CAM then DM, and this is mexico. RSL would not put gil above Beckerman, and maybe it should be the same way on the national team.

dikranovich said...

cant you just feel American fans all being on the same page???

WonderKin said...

IF Green turns out to be as good as everyone says, then it would be interesting to see him and Zusi on the wings with Donovan underneath Wondo.

Whichever way you see it, Green provides the potential to put Donovan somewhere other than the wing in a variety of formations.

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

@Zach

I said a “CM pairing”, I wouldn't run a dedicated DM per se, I would like to see how both Gil and Bradley would function as a pairing given that we've see all the other iterations available from this squad. It would hardly be the first time a player was played out of their natural position for a national team. The key to the “hypothetical” Holden/Bradley pairing was that they were both B2B CM’s who could attack from all parts of the field. In that pairing Holden would naturally sit a little higher than Bradley. Why not attempt this with Gil? No other player in the squad is going to offer you both a defensive and offensive threat without clogging up Bradley’s channels like Jones.

That was always the dangerous part about having a game against your natural rival so close to the World Cup. This is a tool to determine who should and who should not go to the World Cup. While I would love to win, outside of a cowardly performance by the squad, in the end a win or loss means very little if we do not get any necessary information out of the game due to Jurgen putting out a “comfortable” team in hopes of securing the win. Jurgen showed he was willing to put guys to the fire in Ukraine and I hope he does so again.

In addition, in regards to Dempsey, he does not clearly deserve anything. His current form is atrocious (as I say that he had his 2 best performances in a row, bar punching a guy in the nuts). He is clearly a bench player right now and should consider himself lucky to even be going to Brazil. Now it is just whether or not Jurgen has the pull to bench him and take away the Captains armband.

@dikra

You are correct in terms of the formation.

In regards to Beckerman v. Gil, see above.

Zach said...

You need to stop saying "clearly", because "clearly" you don't mean it. Dempsey scored more than half the teams goals through qualifying. He has been our captain for a year. Yes, he had a bad run of form that was made to seem worse because he played for 3 different teams in 6 months without having an offseason and battling injury.

And when has Gil ever been charged with any defensive responsibility? Not with the U-20s, and not often with RSL. He isn't going to play that spot in the WC, if he makes the team at all. More important to have Edu or Beckerman get the time w/ MB.

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

@Zach

I clearly mean it, given that I reiterated the point many times. Stop being a fan boy and look at the team objectively on current form. On current form, Johannsson is clearly the better option in the SS/CAM position. Not only that, even at Dempsey's best he has never been effective when forced to go deep into the midfield to collect the ball to attack. We have seen repeatedly this is not an issue with Johannsson’s game. While Jurgen will likely give his Captain time to find his form, and perhaps the benefit of the doubt given his historical performances for the team, even at his best he does not offer as much going forward as Johannsson.

In regards to Gil, I said I was looking for something different and I know it is not his natural position, but I hate the use of a DM in place of another CM/deep lying CAM because you are essentially conceding a player from attack into a deep lying role that only sporadically helps out offensively. It is the one thing I hate more than anything as the result of the 4/2/3/1 as the words popular formation.

Think of Roma and how they employ their “DM” in the 4/3/3. That is how I want our midfield to function. Their DM is De Rossi/Strootman who are B2B midfielders who cover the entire pitch through vision and chemistry. We would have potentially had this pairing with Bradley and Holden, we could have it with Jones and Bradley if the former had a brain, but right now we are forced into the CM/DM pairing because of our options. We know Gil is a CAM, but given we don’t need him in that role given the options already available in the squad in this cycle, and we already know what Beckerman and Edu have to offer, why not give it a try?

Greg Seltzer said...

1 - Let us not get into the fanboy name-calling

2 - On current form is not the greatest indicator, especially since Dempsey is just out of preseason/injury return. I am also not sure how we have repeatedly seen AJ do something in that position when he almost never has played in that position.

3 - Why should we not try Gil in a defensive midfield position? Hmm. How long ya got? :)

Zach said...

I'm not a fanboy! I'm a fan-man! Anyway, that's a funny thing to call someone who is arguing for our captain to stay in the squad against a person arguing a 20 year old creative midfielder should be our starting holding/defensive mid.

Dempsey has been one of our best players for 6 years now. A few months of bouncing around teams and struggling with injuries is not enough to have him lose his starting spot. Especially since Jurgen named him Captain.

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

@Greg

1 - Sorry, I get annoyed with nonsense posts, something that we appear to have in common.

2 - Johannsson has played the withdrawn forward/SS/CAM role in almost every game he has played so I am not sure we are in agreement on this point. While we have employed two forwards, it has usually been in a 4/2/3/1 or a 4/4/2 with a diamond. We have never employed two forwards in a traditional 4/4/2. While it might look like a 4/4/2 on the team sheet, in function Jurgen has always employed Johannsson facing goal and Altidore with his back to goal.

3 - I have only belabored the point repeatedly in this string of comments that I want see him as a high sitting CAM/CM with Bradley and not a DM. I understand we will run a DM in Brazil, but I wish we did not as it makes little sense long term. Although with our back line instability I am not sure we have a choice…

justinwkoehn said...

Let's be real: if it's anyone but Howard, Cameron, Besler, Johnson, Bradley, Jones, Dempsey, Donavon, and Alitdore in the starting lineup, I would be extremely shocked. Zusi is probably in there as well, leaving one CB as the only "wildcard" spot.

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

I wouldn't be shocked per se, obviously depending on the particular player, but I agree with your assessment of who Jurgen views as the spine of our team rightly or wrongly.

Zach said...

What was the nonsense in my post? That Clint should start? Or to harp on you for saying "clearly"? Saying clearly implies that you are absolutely correct, without question. And since the National Team coach, every analyst, 99% of fans, and I disagree with you, how could Clint "clearly" not deserve to start? That is "nonsense".

Johannson is a 9. Yes, in a few sub appearances for the Nats he subbed in where the 10 would normally play. But that does not make him a 10. As much as I agree that Dempsey shouldn't fall deep into midfield, I have never seen anything from Aron to suggest he would be better in that spot. Since he has never (ever) done it.

ps Greg refuted every point you made. Stop trying to act like you two are in agreement and that I am wrong. You're either lost at sea or just washed up on crazy island.

justinwkoehn said...

@Zach
Let's just start a drinking game. Everytime Updike says clearly, we take a shot. I've gone through this thread and I'm already drunk, clearly.

Objectively though, both of you have decent points, but J.G.: Lalas always says "form is fallacy."...but then again, the guy is a complete moron.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ JG Updike:

2 - What games are we talking about? Only US games or also club games? I'm confused.

3 - Well, you just made the point. Now, we need a gatekeeper. Long term goes into effect once we are done in Brazil.

John said...

@Zach: Danny Williams

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

@Greg

2 - Only considering US games since that is the point of the exercise.

Greg Seltzer said...

No, the point of the exercise is for me to choose what my depth chart would be. Not to ignore their whole club career over a few stray relief minutes in caps. He has played nearly 4000 minutes total in his career so far, maybe a half hour of that behind the striker, most of which came against NTs not of a World Cup level.

Besides, other places you talk about things like current form. This is derived mostly from club play.