Sunday, February 19, 2017

Eights Are Enough

Okay, I am feeling myself again and ready to get back on the Clipboard program. And so we turn to what is in my book easily the toughest spot to call on the entire field. Were Geoff Cameron healthy, that would free up Michael Bradley to be the sixth player I could happily start in this slot. In fact, when we're all done, I will share a couple of alternate line-ups that hinge on who takes the #8 spot that might seem radical at first - but may also just knock your socks off.

But that's for later. Today is for these guys:

Darlington Nagbe
Jermaine Jones
Alejandro Bedoya

Yeah, Nagbe can pressure defenses from the wing, but he's not a go-to playmaking type. He is, however, a possession monster, a sneaky-good defensive recovery man, a shot of extra speed at a field location where we are often overmatched in CONACAF and a guy who will make sure traffic flows in a positive direction without hurrying it. What more could you ask for, right?

Well, how about a pair of killer veteran bench options who can cover every type of game situation. You have Jones to bring that special spark of madness and offensive insistence for tie games and those that we are chasing. If we want to dissolve the game with reliable all-around soundness, there's Bedoya.

Normally, I'd list an extra "just in case" guy, but it's not needed here at the moment. Hyndman is a "not quite yet" building his confidence at Rangers. Morales is just a plain "not quite" among this group. This is the time to begin developing cohesion in the squad and tough decisions will have to be made. With everyone else fit, coming off a long camp and raring to start a new season, those two guys can think ahead to Gold Cup for now.

- Greg Seltzer


Dr.Jon said...

I like you putting Ale as a #8. I think he is better here than on the wing.

FiveTwo said...

Paging Kellyn "I am not a fullback" Acosta. Kid has the physical and technical skills to be an 8 for this team IMO

Greg Seltzer said...

I agree. I would not, however, say he has the experience to lean on him for these next two qualifiers over a stacked pool of veterans.

FiveTwo said...

Agree, but moving toward 2018 he should be considered on the back end of the 23 man roster.

Zimmerman also looked elite last night. Has a little Jay Demerit in his game, but more size and a little more comfortable with the ball.