Tuesday, March 21, 2017

So what so we do now?

Well, we've had so much in 'n' out with the USMNT squad ahead of Saturday's crucial World Cup qualifier against Honduras I now want a cheeseburger animal-style. Obviously, the team will sorely miss Fabian Johnson and Bobby Wood (not to mention Eric Lichaj and DeAndre Yedlin), but the show must go on.

How exactly, you ask? I have a couple suggestions. First, let me say that the empty bucket does seem desirable with this group. Asking Christian Pulisic, arguably the prime playmaker on board, to run wide from that set is not ideal. Perhaps against Spain or Argentina, that could work. But in a game we'll prefer to control, it would be awkward and potentially wasteful.

Just to remind, here is the roster after all the changes:

G - David Bingham, Tim Howard, Nick Rimando

D - DaMarcus Beasley, Matt Besler, John Anthony Brooks, Geoff Cameron, Omar Gonzalez, Michael Orozco, Tim Ream, Jorge Villafaña, Walker Zimmerman

M - Kellyn Acosta, Alejandro Bedoya, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Sacha Kljestan, Sebastian Lletget, Dax McCarty, Darlington Nagbe, Christian Pulisic, Graham Zusi

F - Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey, Jordan Morris, Chris Wondolowski

Yeah, US Soccer listed Zusi as a defender, but... c'mon. Do you want to see him saddled with containing Alberth Elis? Yeah, me neither.

So if we want to play this relatively straight and balanced, looking to take advantage of as much on-field familiarity/connectivity as possible, we could trot out something like this:

Then again, if we wish to go for a dynamic group that can go directly for the jugular...

However, I'd opt for something in between, like this...

This way, guys like Morris and Kljestan can be emergency attack subs. Anyway you slice it, the team still has plenty of ways to go, in spite of the key absences. 

Of course, we also need to keep an eye on Brooks' knee. If he isn't fully fit, I'd go with a straight Besler switch and not fret much. Like I said... this is our deepest selection ever.

- Greg Seltzer


Erik said...

With these players and 'Da Bruce at the helm, there is no excuse for coming out of these next two games with a minimum of 4 points. (Famous last words, I know)

Dr.Jon said...

....and Morris' ankle now, too. Ugh.

Patrick said...

Funny, we ended up calling a lot of JK's guys. After all the online angst, Feilhaber isn't even Top 29. Vermes must like him and he shows well on TV, but there must be a serious flaw in his game the pundits don't share.

With a less than full strength team, it will really be important to get the tactics right and executed. This is why Arena is here. To get the team paying better than an all-star team.

Your lineup with Morris on RW would have looked better with Arriola, not sure why he couldn't have been involved.

Erik said...

Patrick - I think it may be more of a locker room issue that affects Feilhaber's standing with the team. He certainly has the ability to help.

This depth we have is unprecedented. Arriola is a worthy inclusion, yet I can't fault Arena's selections for RW either. I fully expect the US to show their class and professionalism in these next two games and come away with 4, if not all 6, points.

Greg Seltzer said...

Many of our best displays/results come when the heat is on. I'm expecting six points.

Tom said...

Fingers crossed. And toes.

Matt said...

I will be there in person tonight, and I am officially nervous about this game. I don't want to see Andy Najar running riot.

Jon said...

I'm hoping for 0 points and MLS's failures coming directly into the spotlight where the Euro developed players don't cover for our failures. Then Sunil gets replaced and we open up the system to pro/rel.

Until then we're spinning our wheels.

Tom said...

" MLS's failures coming directly into the spotlight "

Honduras started 4 MLS players