Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Central Park Rangers

This may surprise you, but I now feel the USMNT is dangerously thin at defensive midfield spot.  There's just not many I trust right now for the competitive matches that remain in this World Cup cycle.

Michael Bradley
Daniel Williams

I mean, what else can we do?

McCarty? Doesn't seem solid enough defensively for this role at this level. Jermaine Jones? Positional discipline is not his bag. Beckerman? I sense that time has passed. Kitchen? Not convinced. Evans  or Cronin? Concerned about passing from and handle in tight spots. Trapp? See Dax (but even more so). Caldwell? Totally unseasoned. Roldan or Adams? Not really their position, which is not ideal at all for such green types. Derrick Jones? Too soon.

So basically what I'm saying is Cameron slides up from the back line if Bradley can't go for any reason.

On the other hand, there is no shortage of #8 options...

Darlington Nagbe
Alejandro Bedoya
Jermaine Jones

In the mix, but needs to be more assertive: Kellyn Acosta

I could have included several other names, including some listed above as not quite right for the #6 role, but for me this position looks set through next summer. Many folks want Nagbe on the wing, but this is clearly where he can have the most impact in this group. Bedoya is the very reliable workhorse back-up who can certainly start in various pinches.

For my money, Jones is now a game-changer sub. And those who were all ready to hand this starting slot to Acosta received a rude awakening at Gold Cup. He's simply not ready to compete for a place in the line-up... yet.

- Greg Seltzer


UnitedDemon said...

Don't disagree on any particular point. If Williams succeeds at all in the EPL, Dax probably doesn't make the plane, despite some crisp passing abilities.

Shame about Acosta not being ready, but Nagbe sure as hell is.

Unknown said...

What about Alfredo Morales?

Adrian said...

Caldwell's lack of seasoning is a fixable problem. However he's 26 now - the time he should have been called in was 2014 when he was playing next to Jermaine Jones (and JJ called for him to get a USMNT callup). Which is too bad. He's consistently improved each season (not many have in New England), thinks quickly, and is a great passer. He and Nagbe could have simply played keepaway from teams for ages.

Patrick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patrick said...



Was watching his shift against Crystal Palace in preseason, had excellent first touch, moves the ball very quickly, and cuts the central passing lanes, and can make a tackle

Greg Seltzer said...

@ Weston Houghton: I considered placing him third on the DM chart, but he wanders like Jones. In the #8 slot, there's just too many guys ahead of him with much rounder games.

@ Adrian: Sure, it's fixable in theory... but when do we do that before next summer?

@ Patrick: McKennie has all of 13 quiet minutes as a first team pro to his credit. At this point, that puts him well behind the likes of Hyndman, Delgado, Roldan, et al, who can't currently and almost certainly won't crack the top four in the #8 slot before Russia.