Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Embarrassment of Riches

Sorry I have fallen behind on Clipboard, it has been hella-busy around here this week. I will get the #10 slot up later today, but for now let us dive into the waters of, sheesh, we have a metric ton of capable #8 candidates. There are others left off the list from the glut. Bradley is the "Duh!" pick to start, with Jones also an obvious player of impact. After that, it gets crowded.

Morales has not dazzled, but some of that may have to do with odd assignments. He will have the chance to grow exponentially in the Bundesliga this season. The ever-capable Kljestan is heating up in New York. Meanwhile, we are all trying to figure out a way to get Trapp n the mix. I believe he is the eventual successor to Bradley as two-way traffic director. When Jones slows with age, there is going to be a battle royale for the spot behind Mikey, and McCarty has only been one of the most overlooked USMNT pool players for years now.

Michael Bradley
Jermaine Jones
Alfredo Morales


Coming back into frame: Sacha Kljestan
Need calls: Dax McCarty, Wil Trapp





- Greg Seltzer

42 comments:

yankee said...

Columbus probably need to move Willie to the #8 first.

They're ruining his development by insisting he's a #6.

dikranovich said...

I think Dax would make a real good 6 on the national team level, especially as he is getting older. Dax could be the beckerman of the 18 campaign. Smart, industrious player.

The combination of Cameron, Bradley, and Mix maybe sounds good on paper, but is this a 4-3-3 formation? In a 4-5-1, this trio might work better.

Dany Tzvi said...

dax looked really good in the all-star game. i know its just an exhibition, but he showed some real skill.

dik, how is a 4-3-3 different from a 4-5-1? 3 CMs, 2 outside players, a striker. theyre the same formation, unless ur 4-5-1 is a 4-2-3-1

dikranovich said...

I think maybe it is more of a mentality than anything, but yes, the 4-2-3-1, variation of the 4-5-1. I mean what's so great aBout saying you're playing a 4-3-3, when you can just call it a 4-5-1 and move into a 4-3-3 in attack. I don't get it. The Dutch league is the home of the 4-3-3 and it is also the league that gives up the most goals. Top to bottom.

Tony M said...

Dax is unique in that he gets MORE under rated each year. He would have been a vast improvement over Beckerman in the Gold Cup. He sees the field, he's tough and his passing is always dead accurate.

Dany Tzvi said...

i believe there are too many confounding variables in dutch football for you to say that the 4-3-3 = high scoring high conceding. as you said, a lot of it comes down to mentality.

i dont think the 4-2-3-1 suits cam-mix-brads better, i think the 4-3-3 does. give bradley more room to use his range and let cameron be the true #6 destroyer.

Andy Palmer said...

Formations are also about personal. 4-2-3-1 has 2 defensive midfielders, 4-3-3 has only 1.

The differences between a 4-3-3, a 4-5-1, and a 4-1-4-1 are pretty subtle and, from what I've observed, primarily have to do with defensive responsibilities. The 4-3-3 is the most attack minded of the formations and the attacking wingers press high on the pitch, leaving the midfield 3 to control their part of the field. Conversely, in a 4-5-1, the wing midfielders defend in a line of 5, squeezing the midfield and primarily only moving up the pitch when their team has the ball. i.e., in a 4-3-3 there is more attacking space for opponents on the wings whereas the 4-5-1 is less able to press the ball.

4-1-4-1 occurs more rarely and from what I've seen, the midfield plays more like the midfield in a flat 4-4-2 whereas the -1- is more of a stopper, almost more part of the defensive line than the midfield, when the opponent has the ball. Offensively, it differs from the 4-5-1 in that there is a clear #6 who transitions the ball from back line to midfield. From what I've seen, this formation can press up the field better than a standard 4-5-1, but not to the level of the 4-3-3.

dikranovich said...

Cameron is to tall to be a destroyer in concacaf. His center of gravity is to far from the ground.

Dany Tzvi said...

*too

vieira, 6'4"
de rossi, 6'1"
matic, 6'4"
busquets, 6'2"
khedira, 6'2"
obi mikel, 6'2"
van bommel, 6'2"
sandro, 6'2"

but you want to tell me that geoff cameron at 6'3" is too tall to be a defensive center midfielder "in concacaf".

dikranovich said...

When a player comes from Northern Europe to play in Central America, the temperature means players have to adjust. It's the same concept with a defensive mid who is taller. Panama and Jamaica do have taller teams, so maybe those are the best opposition for Cameron to play against. Beckerman has a little trouble with the speed of Jamaica, yet he did well against some of the best teams in the world last summer in Brazil.

Wouldn't it make sense that if Geoff Cameron was a super d mid he would be able to hold this spot down at stoke city?

Greg Seltzer said...

1 - This is all very insightful, but CONCACAF is far from the limit to our competitive aims.

2 - Ha! You love to have it both ways... does this same logic also apply to FabJo playing wing in the Bundesliga?

Club needs and NT needs are usually quite different, and clubs can always go sign the exact piece they want. And of course, each player or position situation is different. Etc etc etc.

dikranovich said...

1. Greg, USA did not participate in the World Cup finals for over 40 years, because??? We could not navigate the waters of CONCACAF.

2. Berti vogts explained best why Fabian Johnson is best at wing back for our national team.


G, the real truth is that you are the one that feels that the national team has to change to fit the players need, altidore being the prime example of this thinking. You Remember the days when you felt the national team had to catch up to altidore level of play, back in his AZ days?

Greg Seltzer said...

1 - Yeah, and now we have qualified for seven straight and by increasingly easy measures. Besides, there is always time for back-ups to have impact, what with all the club absences during qualifying. While I certainly would not want the players adopting this attitude, it's a non-issue at this point and will remain so as long as they don't adopt this attitude.

2 - Not to be an ass to Berti Vogts, but that is also the guy who had a hand in the recent Gold Cup run. Sooooo yeeeeah. But, naturally, you didn't even acknowledge my question. :)

And, yes, I take the radical stance that a team running a 4-2-3-1 (at the time of the conversation) should work to feed its #9 striker. Such crazy talk, I know.

UnitedDemon said...

@ Greg

I actually would prefer a diamond midfield with Mix at the top, Bradley covering, Zardes and Bedoya on the wings, Clint Dempsey and Jozy up top. I know AJ is in better form, but I love what Jozy can bring to the team. He's learned a LOT about being an unselfish, hardworking target forward, and I think he should get some credit, MLS form be damned.

p.s. Greg, what's your take on Timmy Chandler? We won all our games with him at the Gold Cup, yet he's constantly huffing and puffing on defense like he doesn't have any energy, which is weird, because he's actually kind of fast!!! He's a mind-boggler, to me.

justinwkoehn said...

UD, I agree with that formation and your picks for the top and bottom of the diamond. Pirlo played at the base of the 4-4-2 Diamond for Juventus, and I think Bradley can play in that same manner. I'd rather have Johnson on the wing instead of Zardes, and AJ over JA for now though.

UnitedDemon said...

That's fair. Personal preference: Chandler and FJ as attacking fullbacks, Gonzalez and JAB on defense. In goal? I'd start Bill Hamid over Guzan. I know, crazy, but would be crazy like a fox. Hamid is becoming (almost) impossible to score against. I would sub in Guzan for PK saves, though.

dikranovich said...

Greg, the logic question is situational. Cameron has not locked down a d mid spot at stoke, maybe because he is not capable enough in the attack, and he is a decent right back for the same team, but maybe he could have done better on the Liverpool goal this weekend, playing center half.

F Johnson has played better at wingback than he has in a more advanced role, for the national team. I don't know, maybe some people disagree with this statement. I'd say Cameron has played better at center half for the national team than he has at right back, that's for sure.

This 4-2-3-1 has basically become the go to formation for most teams. It's not radical to think you feed the 9 in this formation, just simplistic. Every team has a 9, and he is a striker, regardless of the formation. When a team has Ronaldo and he is out wide, and the team is playing in a 4-5-1, the team is feeding Ronaldo.

Greg Seltzer said...

First of all, faulting Cameron on the Coutinho goal is just silliness. As is suggesting he has played his best USMNT games at CB. I mean, really.

Secondly, you are still dancing right around my point. Somehow.

Finally, yeah, feeding the #9 is simplistic, as in it is simply the whole point of the formation. And you know damn well I am referring to the positional number, not the shirt number.

dikranovich said...

Greg, Cameron was our starting center back in two games at the World Cup, and not for nothing, but we picked up four points in those two games. You wanna hang this d mid cap on a guy that played it well in one game in front of a pumped up Seattle crowd against a team that did not even qualify for the World Cup

UnitedDemon said...

Cameron had a god night as a DM, though. Was it against Honduras? I forget. But he had a goal and an assist, if I recall. In all, his play led to no less than 3 goals.

Didn't manage to do much against Belgium, however. They didn't really play through the middle, so his effectiveness was limited.

Dany Tzvi said...

we also conceded 3 goals in those 2 games, 2 of them on bad cameron mess-ups

id also like to bring up the fact that geoff cameron developed as a CDM, in 2009 houston moved him to CB when he was like 24, then he went back to being a DM, then in 2012 it was back to CB. CDM *is* his natural position, it wouldnt be us playing him out of position, its stoke who have been doing that.

UnitedDemon said...

I actually totally agree with you, Dany. He's just so versatile, it's hard to pick, isn't it?

Greg Seltzer said...

Yeah, I don't ever mean to make it seem any of this exercise is easy. But I also don't flake from my decisions willy-nilly and I'm not around to run training to see if my brand of madness works or not. I've mentioned the aspect of having an extra set piece marker around. To boot, Cameron is not much for the crossing game and I'd worry about his flat out speed in certain match-ups as a right back. Besides, I always hated the idea of losing his skill at joining attack from the middle. I think people forget he has some.

UnitedDemon said...

I agree with you, Greg, he's an excellent... well, everything but right back for the US. But I somewhat agree with JK's decision to keep him on the bench for the world cup. When you have a utility player like him, and you can start others, sometimes it pays off.

That said, until Kitchen is ready for prime time, he should definitely be our DM in qualifying if we decide (well, WHEN JK decides) to play him further forward.

You've seen my ideal lineup, we just have a few disagreements.

p.s. I would NEVER accuse you of being willy nill, I agree with your judgment when it comes to a 4-2-3-1. I just happen to think JK might be onto something with the diamond, because of what it does specifically for Zardes.

UnitedDemon said...

by him, I mean Bradley, of course.

dikranovich said...

Hey, Ghana and Portugal applied a pretty good amount of pressure on the U.S. Defense. You take out the first couple and last couple mins of the Portugal game, and the last ten mins of the Ghana game, and Cameron is pitching shutouts.

Greg, you misrepresented what I said in your comment, because I said he is a better center half than he is a right back. You twisted that comment around in your reply. It's funny, in one debate, someone will say FJ is playing wing for his club team, so he should play that for the men's team, yet in another case, this guy is playing central defense for stoke, but his offensive abilities are being touted. I guess everyone's logic is situational.

I'd like to know why this formation doesn't have two d mids anyway, if that is such a strong part of our DNA.

UnitedDemon said...

dik, you are becoming a much more reasonable contributor. Practice makes perfect.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ dikranovich:

Erm... I did not twist your CB/RB comparison in any way. Not sure what you are on about.

And I never said FabJo must be the LW because he plays LW with his club. I had him as a US winger long before Gladbach even acquired him.



dikranovich said...

Greg, yes you did, but I forgive you.

UnitedDemon said...

And boom, goes the dynamite. Jesus, dik, stay classy.

Dany Tzvi said...

dik, "you take out the first couple and last couple of minutes..."

so let me get this straight

geoff cameron - magical time powers = sub-par defender
geoff cameron + magical time powers = greatest CB in human history

got it.

greg's positions for this chart have been consistently based on performances for the USMNT, and he has wanted FJ up the field for as long as i can remember. when he was playing fullback for hoffenheim, greg wanted him at W for the USMNT. doesnt matter very much what Cam plays for stoke. we are not stoke.

dikranovich said...

Dany, has Cameron played better at full back or center half, for the national team?

dikranovich said...

Dany, if the charts are consistently based on performance for the national team, then why is Fabian Johnson not a lock at one of the two fullbacks spots? We do have a game against Mexico, with a lot at stake, and this game is less than 60 days away. The charts are telling me that Tim ream is going to be our left wing back against Mexico, and frankly, it scares me.

I mean today, who is your left back. DMB, or Tim ream? Anyone..... Everyone..... Who do you freaking choose?

UnitedDemon said...

I think FJ is a lock to play fullback. He's great in the midfield, don't get me wrong, but we're a much better team with him overlapping like a beast. For me, the interesting move would be Brek Shea at leftback, FJ at LM. We did it against Italy when we won 1-0 in Italy, no small task. I know that Shea was Supposed to be a LM, and FJ a FB, but it changed on the field almost immediately. Shea dropped deeper, and FJ went forward, including on the play that led to Jozy's assist and Dempsey's excellent finish.

Bottom line, I think JK has a point with FJ at fullback, but if he wants someone else to do it, it should be Shea partnering with him.

Greg Seltzer said...

I was at that game in Genoa. Shea played LW and Johnson played LB. And having Johnson and Shea as the wingbacks is quite the risk defensively.

dikranovich said...

the USA won 1nil in Genoa, 1 nil in Azteca. What's wrong with the that? Ream is too shaky and slow as a left wingback, sitting out on an island, and when that piece isn't right, your whole house of cards falls to the ground Greg. Poof.....you don't need to be at practices to understand this fact.

Greg Seltzer said...

Ream plays left back well enough in the fastest league in the world to win consecutive POTS awards.

dikranovich said...

Bolton were 26 points out of the playoff races, in England's second division, which is not the fastest league in the world, or anywhere close to it. They do have a great fan base though.

Greg Seltzer said...

Yeah, Bolton were bad last season, meaning a higher degree of difficulty in wading through what is commonly regarded the fastest pace of game play in the world. Thanks. I forgot that excellent point.

dikranovich said...

Bolton has gotten progressively worse during Tim reams time with the team.

Greg Seltzer said...

Correct, requiring greater and greater efforts from him. Good call.

dikranovich said...

Greg, the good call would be removing him from the top of YOUR list. We have a good chance of beating Mexico, but not with ream in a left wingback position. Our chances go down dramatically with him out there on the island which you want him sitting on.