Saturday, October 28, 2017

A Fresh Clipboard: #6

Between staying up until the wees watching knockout round games, sleeping half the day to recover and some taxing workshops on Friday, I've been in a rotating schedule of busy and severely wiped out for a few days. But now rested, it's time we move to the midfield.

These groups probably took more thought the back and forward lines combined, and there will be some debate-worthy names. This is because I am operating here on the premises that a) young midfield guys will generally need seasoning to fulfill potential at this level & b) some guys actually play/fit better with their national team than they do with their clubs.

I've also been caught up in a dilemma over where some of the guys you'll see listed over the next two days plug in best. Are they a six or an eight? Are they really neither, but can get there from where they are now? Some of these designations weren't easy, to say the least.

But enough with the ceremony, let's go to the main gate-keepers (as usual, an asterisk marks my picks for Novembers calls)...

*Scott Caldwell
*Jonathan González
*Daniel Williams

Worth monitoring next season: Russell Canouse, Derrick Jones

Right off the bat, González needs to be in the mix immediately. Duh. He's currently a lock starter for the first place side in Liga MX, with (at least for now) a nice, clean "K.I.S.S." game. Because he's still growing, both physically and as a player, I'd hesitate to call him a pure destroyer - but he certainly won't go missing in front of the defense.

Williams' previous USMNT outings have been a mixed bag, but he has rarely been used as a pure defensive midfielder. If he subscribes to the role, the Huddersfield Town man is quite capable of covering defensive ground with pace, moving the ball along safely and bursting forward for the occasional snipe in attack. This is one of the guys who clearly did not see enough time during the recently completed cycle.

Some folks, if not many, may snort at the Caldwell suggestion. Fun fact, though: when he's stationed at the #6, the Revs typically win. That dates back to their fine 2014 season, but even this year, New England went 7-1-2 (with four shutouts and wins over Toronto FC, NYCFC and Chicago) when the 26-year-old plays this position. He's mobile, consistently gets stuck in, springs counters well and can even hit a tempting deep cross when the situation calls for it.

As for the MLS rookie pair, they each have encouraging promise requiring the consistency that comes with experience. I quite like Jones, who is the most obvious "hard man" deterrent of the bunch and does possess some skill on the ball. Canouse can run hot-and-cold, especially with his passing game, but showed he's one to watch after arriving to D.C. in the summer.

- Greg Seltzer


DaMa said...

Sorry, yeah I am going to join the snorters on this one. I get liking Scott Caldwell as an MLS player. But let's not overstate his impact here. Caldwell started 26 of 33 matches played this season for a team that went 13-15-6. I think they were something like 2-4-2 in matches he didn't start. 11-11-4 or so in the 26 matches he starts is not "typically" winning to me. He is Dax McCarty 2.0. That isnt bad by any means. I get the use he would have on the national scene, but there are better prospects to bring along than someone who will be in his 30s for the next world cup.

Tyler Adams is playing like Kelyn Acosta should be playing. I would have both of them there. I know Acosta hasn't been great in his appearances with the USMNT or FCD, but FCD is a mess defensively right now (Pareja's fault imo) and I'd like to see if Acosta can get comfortable as a 6 instead of an 8. I'm guessing you may have him as an 8 so okay. Tyler Adams and Gonzalez are the two kids I want involved immediately. I think they are both 6's but I could see them playing together behind CP10 with Adams being the link. Guy covers so much ground, which is why I think he can't be a future right back (and Yedlin will be there for a while hopefully).

I feel like Ive mentioned Adams too much on this site... sounding a bit fanboyish. That being said, he has been playing real well for the last month.

Greg Seltzer said...

I was noting how often they win when he's *deployed as the #6* - not simply when he plays anywhere. When he was the one guarding the gate, they went 7-2-1 this season. When someone else did it, they went 6-13-6. And I realize that not everyone's game translate to the international level, but his outlet passing game is good enough that I want to see what he can do

And yes, Acosta and Adams will be on the next list. I don't think either fits best as a #6, and some of their most tantalizing skills would go wasted in that slot.

DaMa said...

Fair enough on both accounts. I think I am less convinced Acosta is an 8 than Adams who I think is best at that position.

Adrian said...

Caldwell is also underrated as a passer. He is really good both at simple possession passes, but also breaking lines with a through ball.

Jermaine Jones would not snort at his inclusion on this list, as Jones publicly called for Caldwell to be his replacement on the USMNT.