Monday, July 28, 2014


Putting together an attack line for the USMNT circa-World Cup 2018 is a complex undertaking. There are so many young veterans and prospects, and there will be plenty of debate on what station many of them best project. I began with starters and worked from there. I generally prefer FabJo slicing in from the left, but in four years his crossing game could be move toward the level of his cutback game. The folks in Utrecht think Rubin is a real keeper, and who wants to argue? Gatt needs health, Shipp seasoning and Corona perhaps just more chances during the cycle (or a more advanced position in club life) to compete.

Fabian Johnson
Rubio Rubin

Josh Gatt
Harrison Shipp
Joe Corona

Also being monitored: Graham Zusi, Daniel Cuevas, Andrew Wooten

- Greg Seltzer


WilkersonMclaser said...

Can you see Yedlin making a go for this position as well? That's where he played in the WC after all.

Speaking of Yedlin, any crumbs?

RobUsry said...

Really excited about Rubin. Looked like a real player in the Dallas Cup earlier this year. Excited to see how he fares in Holland.

I think you are missing Paul Arriola in this spot though. I believe this is his best position.

Unknown said...

Interesting how much you have Zusi dropping off. He just got a new DP contract, his long-term prospects huge!! Sarcasm aside, that does bode well for the USMNT when WC starters aren't even in the top 5 next cycle (and they are still young enough).

dikranovich said...

It makes sense to note that Fabian Johnson himself in a recent interview said his best and most comfortable position is right back.

I don't know, for some reason fj is better offensively playing out of the back, and his defense is not as good when he is deployed in midfield.

I think we will just keep him in defense, unless we go 3-5-2, which is really only a 5-3-2 anyway, so he is a wing back, it's a good thing. Whatever!

bhamhawker said...

I've been thinking about this a lot:
The US pool is ripe for a change to a 5-2-1-2 structure, similar to what Van Gaal employed with Holland and is instituting at Man United.

We have a deep pool through the spine of the field, but we sorely lack talented wings. Our best outside players - Fabian, Yedlin, Chandler, etc - would function quite well in "wingback" roles too.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ WilkersonM:

1 - No, he should have RB locked down by 2018. And he played more minutes at RB than on the wing at WC14.

2 - No new update yet.

@ Rob:

Heh. I like him better in another spot.

@ bhamhawker:

Hmm. Not interested. I do not want to institute a straight counter system. We should be moving beyond that. The only reason Oranje did it was the inexperienced defense combined with the injury to Strootman.

Timmy said...

Where's Gyau been playing for his clubs? Is he not an all out winger? Or maybe you prefer him on the left?

Jay said...

I'm as big a Harry Shipp fan as you'll find, being perhaps the only Fire fan in the comments here, but I'm keeping my optimism in check regarding his national team prospects. He's only half way through his first season, and he's starting to hit the wall. We also haven't seen how he reacts to being targeted by opposing defenses yet... which I'm sure will happen next season.

There have been any number of rookie players we've clamored to see in the USMNT camps who've just... never... quite... gotten there. Yes, I *am* looking at half of the young players on DCU's roster. Let's see what Shipp does with his second season before we crown him.

Greg Seltzer said...

Having him fourth in the RW depth chart at age 26 is hardly crowning him. :)

Dan said...

I'm also a Fire fan and while I agree we should be cautious about relatively untested prospects, we should also note that Shipp is well ahead of where Zusi was at this stage of his career, for example. Right now he's on pace to hit double digits in goals and assists this season, which would make him the first rookie to do so since... ever. And I think he has the smarts and the drive to avoid flaming out or getting "figured out." The big question for me is how will his lack of athleticism translate to the international game. He will have to become near-flawless on the ball in order to compensate for that, and he's not there yet.

Unknown said...

Surprised you don't have Lynden Gooch in either the LW or RW section. Kid is electric. I foresee him at senior level as a wide FWD/wide Attacking middie.

Greg Seltzer said...

Still another list to go... :)

Jay said...

Well, we'll have to disagree on that. Putting a guy with 20 or so professional matches to his name on the list at all is tantamount to crowning as far as I'm concerned, particularly when he goes in above a guy who just played in the World Cup.

Zusi had some guys ahead of him on the depth chart at the Wiz; the Fire's roster is shady on the attacking end. Most of Shipp's goals have come as a second striker behind Mike Magee, and when the club brings in a new striker (please please please please) those opportunities will dry up. Shipp might hit double figures in assists (presuming Larentowicz keeps connecting on corners), but I don't imagine he'll do the same with goals.

Tom said...

I don't think it would be reasonable to assume Shipp does nothing in the intervening years; he's 15 appearances into his first year (that's how many Zusi had in the entirety of his first year), yes. He's got three to grow. Note Zusi debuted for the Nats 2.5 yrs before the WCF. So, give HS another season of seasoning and see.

I'd argue that Gregs list lists young a bit, but not that much. Note that the median age in the WCF was 26.something; younger players on the wings is a fairly reasonable place to put'em