Thursday, January 7, 2016

Roster Talk

While that next goodie remains in a holding pattern (as they often do), let me double back to air a few remarks on the January USMNT camp roster. First, the good:

  • Finally, we get to see Ethan Finlay - thank goodness for small miracles. I'm cool with the goalkeepers selections, and I certainly can't gripe about having a pair of actual left back prospects called.

    I'm also delighted to see Tony Tchani get a shot along with Crew teammate Wil Trapp. Despite his struggles in MLS, it's necessary to have Mikkel Diskerud on board - hopefully we can see him get proper minutes as a playmaker. 

Now to the gripes, which should be painfully obvious:

  • Erm, is this even a senior team squad? Sure, January has always been a time to check out MLS youngsters, but c'mon. Okay, so a guy like Matt Miazga will get a prime time look, but there are far too many Under-23 call-ups expected to masquerade as full internationals when several fully deserving MLS guys are overlooked yet again.

    Are we supposed to accept there are no places for the likes of Andrew Farrell, Benny Feilhaber, Matt Hedges, Sacha Kljestan, Sebastian Lletget, Dax McCarty and Chris Tierney (three of whom were Best XI selections last season), but a one-goal rookie forward and a 3.Liga winger are set for a US shirt? One even has to wonder about the otherwise earned spot belonging to Jordan Morris, who is supposed to be busy choosing his first pro club.

    Once again, the coach is too eager to gaze into the future when the present needs enough work as it is. I don't even want to come off as criticizing these youngsters. After all, this will be the last chance to gather a senior side before World Cup qualifying resumes in March and I can count all of six guys who are sure to be in that important selection. So the revolving door line-ups will continue, we will all talk about the old doomed-to-be-repeated adage for two months and I can't even promise all of these Under-23 cats will be in uniform for the huge Olympic qualifying tie against Colombia. This isn't even a mix of camps; it's a lot of kids with a handful of mentors. Gosh, what could go wrong come spring?

    Sorry, coach, I don't get it. It's one thing to bleed young senior level players. It's quite another to talk about finding out if half the roster can 'understand what it takes to step it up and to become an international-level player'. Talk about blurred lines...




- Greg Seltzer

10 comments:

dikranovich said...

The us soccer.com article that was referenced in the last post on this topic did suggest that more players could be added to this roster as the weeks progress. I'm confused, the u/23s have important games coming up, and these U/23 players are close to the senior team anyway. It's clear Matt polster is a player who is soon to be a fixture and pelosi is still regaining his form that saw him close to the Liverpool first team more than two years ago.

These are U/23s, so what gives???

Why is mix disk on the team over Benny feilhaber? That should be a no brainier who is the more productive player, and better passer. Yet, there is Mix, poor numbers and all, just waiting to spring his magic.

There are more than six players from this roster who will be playing in the March qualifiers.

Luke Sandblom said...

2 left back prospects? quite generous

Greg Seltzer said...

@ Luke: That may well be true, but considering how often the coach has tried to squeeze the position's growth, for now I'll take the small left back miracle.

@ dikranovich: Why does Benny need to be there at the expense of Mix (who clearly has produced well for the Nats when used in attack)?

As for six players, perhaps there will be more, if not so many... but I said "sure" to be there in March.

As for Polster, at what position exactly do you imagine he is soon to be a fixture? I do not share your immediate outlook.

As for your senior side/U23's confusion: I do not even slightly agree. They are the closest, but not close, and they have an entirely different next goal.

PNBklyn said...

Why not have a separate U23 group that JK could integrate with the senior side at times throughout the camp?

Luke Sandblom said...

Greg, I don't think there's a true left back on the roster. You could argue Pelosi, but he's only played in midfield for San Jose. I think Eric Miller is more of a right back, although he can definitely play on the left (certainly didn't play there much for Montreal this year). Regardless, I don't see either of those as "left back prospects". I assume you weren't referring to Kellyn Acosta, because he has made it absolutely indisputable over the last 6 months that he belongs in midfield. Classic Klinsmann to call up a guy who deserves it, only to classify him in the complete wrong position.

dikranovich said...

I don't understand this whole two camp narrative. A good portion of the U/23 team plays professionally in Europe, that means that a full camp is not even possible. Brooks, yedlin, zelalem, hyndman, Rubin, plus a couple of the keepers. You can't have a separate U/23 camp when more than half the starting lineup will not even be involved.

Luke Sandblom said...

Wrong. You could easily have a ~20 person U23 camp, all with players who at least have a reasonable chance to be on the squad going forward. And would give other deserving players a chance with the full national team

dikranovich said...

Luke, I think if you can admit that half of the starting lineup for the U/23 team is not available, then you can understand that it benefits the available U/23s to train in an environment, where they will be training with more talented players, not less talented.

Besides, two more U/23 players have withdrawn, and have been replaced by two young full national team members.

The case for separate camps is just not that strong, and only grows weaker with the absence of pelosi and his teammate.

I mean, the assistant coach of the national team is the head coach of the U/23s.

Luke Sandblom said...

I still think there should be 2 separate camps. U23s can focus specifically on their upcoming matches against Colombia that Jurgen has clearly made a huge priority. And you could get more people in full team camp who clearly deserve a look. I'm talking McCarty, Hedges, Agudelo, Lletget (won't even get into Feilhaber and Kljestan). At the very least, expand the camp so we aren't giving spots to Eric Miller, Brandon Vincent, KHIRY SHELTON at the expense of these other players.

Fennel said...


"Once again, the coach is too eager to gaze into the future when the present needs enough work as it is."

Not that anyone should ever take any WC qualifier lightly, and I doubt JK does but on the other hand do you seriously think the USMNT squad that tied TNT and beat SYG in the WC qualifiers needs serious overhauling to beat Guatemala? A Guatemala w/o their best player?

Does the US need a new keeper to do that? Granted Howard and Guzan are having a difficult time right now. Call me wildly overconfident but it seems to me Nicky Rimando and Bill Hamid might not be over awed if they had to face Guatemala.

Are Besler and Cameron likely to be out of form by then? Would you feel awful if a currently hot Brooks and god like Matt Hedges came in to shore up the CB slots? What if Miazga stays with NYRB and is playing well, think he can handle Guatemala?

You've got Finlay and Lee in this camp. If they show well, couldn't they strengthen the feeble USMNT that faced SVG and maybe help out Nagbe? And Maybe Kitchen and Birnbaum could help out too.

Maybe Garza, Shea and will be healthy in good form by March along with Villafana.

What if Dempsey is in good form by March and maybe a bit refreshed? Do you suppose that would make the US a tougher team than what faced TNT?

And wouldn't Ale Bedoya being back and healthy by March further strengthen the US?
. Would that not help the US take on the Guatemalan 11?