Friday, June 5, 2015

A few thoughts ahead of Oranje

Just a few quick shared observations from the hour and change of USMNT training I have been able to see this week.

  • If what I've seen holds up, expect (right to left) Chandler, Alvarado, Brooks and Shea starting along the back line against the Netherlands. Those wide backs best get buckled in now, they are going to be put to work by Oranje. Meanwhile, there seems to be a tight competition between Beckerman and Williams to assume the No. 6 role in front of them. Along with Bradley, Johnson and Morales also looked like line-up material for Friday. Not entirely sure about the forwards, but I'd guess Jóhannsson will also start.
  • Bobby Wood looks to have a real spring in his step. I love his explosions through small gaps, his stride has a major bounce to it this week.
  • Guzan looks sharp. He made a couple of diving saves so good, not one player ooh-ed or aah-ed; they all just kinda said a quick "oh shit" under their breath and got back to hard work.

    And Guzan is especially riding Brooks, from a vocal keeper standpoint. Compliments, criticisms, requests, situation info... the netminder was constantly in the young LCB's ear. In other words, the Hertha hotshot is being groomed to be a leader at the back during these two forthcoming friendlies, and Guzan is playing Lee Ermey's character. That's some sneaky leadership in and of itself. Big Brad II is a real pro.
  • Watching Bradley drop those patented mid-range angled lob passes all over the final third is fun-damental. They aren't just pretty and pretty effective, they make defenders turn effectively, which is not always the easiest thing to do with guys like Altidore, Dempsey, Green, Johnson and Yedlin making the runs.

    Let's keep this simple: make defenders turn a lot and you will create more chances overall. They don't like resetting their view on the fly and Bradley lobs produce that effect even when they don't work. It also produces the effect of leaving defenders unsure of how long they get to just stand and face the attack. Make defenders think and chew gum at the same time, and suddenly more things will open up.

    And this, to me, is yet another of the many opportunity cost reasons that Bradley belongs in the No. 8 role. He's in better range for his best killer pass with one more target ahead. Does he create 1-2 nice chances playing further up as the lead playmaker? Sure, but he would already do that stationed a bit deeper. Look back at his international career. It's not really an offensive net gain when he slides up to No. 10, but it's definitely a defensive and possession loss.


- Greg Seltzer


dwc414141 said...

I hope this match is at least more entertaining than that mess from New Zealand I watched in the wee hours of the morning. Didn't expect a team of mostly professionals to be that timid and confused and the game plan was dreadful.
Hopefully it will provide a good opportunity for some of our players to begin to gel and prepare for the Gold Cup. It would've been nice if more of the top choice players were available for this match, but it should be a good learning experience for the less experienced Nats.

Bernardinho said...

How's everybody feeling about the Shea-at-LB project? Seems like at the very least, he brings more tall and fast than we've been accustomed to from back there.

Chris said...

Any chance we see Bradley playing a true 8 role in these friendlies? It seems odd that Jurgen would let him play a bit deeper in practice but force the 10 position on him in the games themselves. You're right about those lobs being dangerous. He's proved it time and time again. Let him stay a bit deeper to do those long passes, but allow him the freedom to move up in the attack and make late runs into the box. It's so frustrating that all fans have observed where Bradley is most efficacious for the Nats but our own coach just doesn't get it. What are your thoughts Greg?

David Heim said...

Finally someone gives Bobby Wood some love!

Jolazo said...

Given how well we've played defensively with Orozco starting and how everything seems to go to shit once we take him out, I'm surprised Alvarado is starting over him.

WonderKin said...

Prophetic observations. No ratings right up on MLS?

Micah said...

So...Those goodie huh?