Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Back End Bookends

Sorry for the Clipboard delay, been rather busy the past few days and I keep dozing off early at night (early for me, anyway). To make up for it, today we'll do the double at the wingback slots, each of which features a far-and-away clear starter in my book. First to the right side...

DeAndre Yedlin
Eric Lichaj
Timothy Chandler

Break glass in case of emergency only: Brad Evans

It seems like forever since we've seen Yedlin in action, but the next time we do he'll be back in the Prem facing old club Tottenham. Lichaj could have tightened the race for the starting job at Gold Cup, but a couple of bad errors have left him still well back in second on this depth chart. The mention of Chandler's name in this context will always draw gripes (some legit, some loony, and some even from me), but he remains a solid Bundesliga starter with speed, strength and a nasty cross. Geoff Cameron can, of course, always be culled over from the middle mid-tournament if absolutely necessary.

The time to sneak a look at Matt Polster was at Gold Cup, so his World Cup 2018 ship has surely sailed and that's a shame. Instead we got yet more Zusi, a right back move that teaches us nothing and offers only moderate success. Frankly, I'd rather he remain in the right wing discussion.

Now we'll break on through to the other side...

Jorge Villafaña
Justin Morrow
Gregory Garza
Break glass in case of emergency only: DaMarcus Beasley

Yes, I know. It's certainly not the deepest, most thrilling or experienced lot we'll talk about, but at some point ya just need to let them work on it. With less than a year until World Cup prep camp opens, that time has long since arrived. These guys needs all the reps they can get, stat.

Villafaña still has a couple of things to work on, but no one is even close to him from where I'm standing and he should only get better. So far, Morrow has played it rather safe, which I suppose isn't the worst thing in the world for a green back-up to do. Garza has guts and skills, but I worry about his athleticism.

I understand that people will look at these charts and holler for a 3-5-2. And I'll admit that I'm closer to advocating that set than I've ever been. But I'm not there yet, and I'd advise letting all these guys continue to acquire seasoning before we blow up the four-man back line on relatively short notice.

- Greg Seltzer


UnitedDemon said...

Zusi has earned his ticket to Russia, IMHO. Chandler is not. A. Good. Defender. For. The. US.

He gets forward smoothly, and his crosses are sometimes poetic in their look and strong in their accuracy, BUT.... on defense, he has never once been beaten by a player that he then ran back and got in front of. He has never once made a play defensively that I say, "hey, this fullback is good!"

I wish I could pose a gif of Chandler huffing and puffing during his first US WC Qualifier, which we lost. To Honduras. Away, yes, but that was the single most shocking perfomance I've ever seen from a pro left back.

I question his fitness, I don't believe he has any kind of recovery speed, and he does not form an impenetrable backline.

Zusi isn't really a RB, and Yedlin should start, totes magotes.

But Zusi is a more tenacious player, he's a faster player, defensively a much smarter player, and he makes mistakes and gamely soliders on.

He was not directly responsible for a single #$%^ing goal in the Gold Cup. You can say he got "torched," but he put out the fire on himself almost immediately.

Zusi as the WB option, Yedlin as the starter, Lichaj as the utility fullback.

UnitedDemon said...

With Besler on the bench,

Don't see why we need a backup left back. Villafana, Yedlin, Zusi, Lichaj.

Greg Seltzer said...

Quick point of order: Zusi was definitely at fault on Panama's equalizer in the opening game of Gold Cup.

But you also need to remember that this is not a Gold Cup Clipboard. It's a World Cup Clipboard. And if Zusi has troubles with Miguel Camargo and Darren Mattocks, what's going to happen when he has to face Eden Hazard or Mario Götze?

I'm not sure I ever want to find out. I say leave him in the right wing pool where he belongs.

Patrick said...

Zusi only looked serviceable because Arriola basically marked his man and Omar was always shading to cover for him (breaking the offside trap many times to do so). He is a liability and I don't see any pro for him. His continued inclusion is baffling. If Shaq Moore gets starts in La Liga, he should instantly move ahead of him.

FabJo played LB in his last preseason game with BMG. Not LWB but a straight up LB in a back 4. If that is where he plays this year for them, he will start there in Russia. His wish was not to play LW, but to "play where he plays for his club team." We will see as the BL season starts. Solves our LB problem and gets Nagbe in his best position at LW. Opens the RW as the position most up in the air.

FiveTwo said...

What concerns do you have about Garza's athleticism that you don't have about Villafana's? Jorge is pretty stiff and slow (although I agree he is the best option right now)

FiveTwo said...

Also, I think Zusi could put Gotze in his pocket. He has been incredibly mediocre since the world cup. On current form, he doesn't start for BVB. He may get the chance based on his pedigree, but he is not playing well.

Mbappe, Dembele, Mane... they would destroy Zusi's career.

Unknown said...

Lichaj has played on the left for club, hasn't he? Feel like he'd be an upgrade over Villafana...

Unknown said...

Zusi is a bad fullback.

UnitedDemon said...

Zusi is a RWB.

Yedlin is a RB.

If he brings Yedlin, Villafana, Lichaj, and Zusi, he's covered.

DaMa said...

Wait did someone just say Zusi is "a faster player"?

I agree with your rankings here Greg, but I have the strong suspicion that Mr. Arena does not.

Maybe I am being unduly optimistic, but I am really excited for the year Yedlin is about to have. No doubt there are a plethora of good wingers in the EPL but there are also a fair amount of guys who cannot compete with his speed but think they can.