Sunday, October 29, 2017

A Fresh Clipboard: #8

So yeah, we're not going in numerical order this time. We're just going to advance up the field like a good build to the two-way midfielders, who are forming quite the crowd...

*Kellyn Acosta
Tyler Adams
Marky Delgado
Cristian Roldan
*Weston McKennie

Worth monitoring next season: Ian Harkes, Sebastian Lletget, Wil Trapp, Jackson Yueill
Sweet heavens, give him some PT: Emerson Hyndman

Many folks have opined over the last couple of years that this spot is for Acosta's taking. Don't get me wrong, I like his game plenty (and love his free kicks), but can't help but feel that Adams is the one they'll all be chasing soon. He's our Energizer Bunny, with plenty of tricks in his bag - and he won't turn 19 until February.

Delgado and Roldan fill similar roles on excellent clubs, even if the latter is more of a mobile presence. They're great glue guys, and young enough to add layers to their play. Of course, McKennie has tons of buzz and three solid Bundesliga starts to his ledger. He probably needs to fill out  physically to catch up with the four guys mentioned above, but he's also under 20.

I could have easily put Lletget on the wing, but this may actually be his best spot. We'll see how he's used and how he looks when he returns from injury, but I'll assume he will have a place somewhere when he is back to his old self. Really, Trapp needs to round out his game to compete either here (more offensive impact needed) or at the #6 slot (more defensive impact required). He's such a safe passer, I actually hope he can become more stern off the ball and slide back to the gate.

Harkes, Hyndman and Yueill each could conceivably move to the #10 chart at some point, but we shall see. The MLS duo had some rather encouraging outings this season, and we've already had a taste of Hyndman's skills (in both the USMNT and Rangers shirts).

I actually could have also included Nagbe here, but opted to put him elsewhere for now. Suffice it to say there will be some movement out of this station (if not also into it) over the next 4+ years.

- Greg Seltzer


DaMa said...

I agree with you so much about Adams being a future automatic in midfield that I think everyone else is going to have to find another position. Adams has a perpetual motion engine in his soft creamy center and plenty of ability and IQ. I like Acosta and McKennie but I think both of them could line up as the 6 next to Adams and probably should get some practice doing so.

Greg Seltzer said...

I definitely think Acosta could eventually grow to handle the DM spot, but to me, McKennie doesn't fit there. His wheels and passing into the final third are too good to pin back.

Zach said...

We know that predicting anything can be hard (eh, Greg?) but how would the US look with Adams and McKennie as double 8's, say, 3 years from now?

Unknown said...

Greg, any idea what's going on with Hyndman at Bouremouth? Would have liked to see him go out on loan if they weren't even going to put him in the 18 this season. Seems like a really pivotal developmental year for him and I'm worried about the lack of playing time.

DaMa said...

I think in my dreams I have Adams, Mckennie and CP10 as the 3 central midfielders and McKennie and Adams sort of share the 6/8 duties. It is kind of similar to how McKennie was playing pre-injury in Schalke's 3-4-3 next to Goretzka. There's a lot of variations out of that from the 3-4-2-1 Schalke was using to the Chelsea 3-4-3 to the good ole 4-3-3

Patrick said...

K. Acosta is young and can get better, but he hasn't played well in awhile. He doesn't show for the ball from his teammates, he doesn't know when (or how?) to commit a tactical foul, he doesn't hold the ball under pressure. I don't see any future for him in the middle of the field at the international level.

What little McKennie has played for Schalke, he is great with a defender on his back and the ball at his feet and he knows when and how to foul. Plus he is at Schalke, which is 4th in the BL at the moment. Acosta just finished 7th or 8th in the MLS second division (i.e. West).

Canouse couldn't get on the field for BL2 Bochum. He comes back to MLS for a few months and is on the Clipboard because of his MLS form. Maybe MLS isn't so difficult? Maybe we've overrated everyone in the league for the USMNT for a cycle. Yes, everyone in Europe isn't automatically better than everyone in MLS. But it is hard looking at Canouse's case not to wonder what excelling in MLS means.

ZackL said...

@ Patrick

I agree with you on Acosta's current deficiencies but I am also hopeful that the various wrinkles in his game will be ironed out in time. I'd hate to think that he's reached his ceiling as an international already.

The Canouse case is interesting, as he did see playing time at VfL (20 games per Wikipedia) but didn't seem to hold down on spot on a middling BL2 side, which is definitely disappointing, but is that objectively better than almost certain minutes with an MLS team? Moreover, he has played well (or as well as anyone has during this waste of a season) for DC and he may be able to do a job for the USMNT. I think you're right in a general sense; we may be too quick to praise guys in the MLS for playing well, when the caliber of competition that they face isn't necessarily at the level that you see in the 1st or 2nd divisions of the big European leagues. But we should really be evaluating guys on a case by case basis, not simply dismissing or including them because of the league they're in. I don't think that we have that luxury.

I suppose I would argue that excelling in MLS means succeeding in a physical league where the technical and tactical components are becoming more and more important with each passing season. And that, since we don't currently have an entire 11 of guaranteed starters getting time in Europe, we need to look at MLS guys and wonder how they might fit into the USMNT. Especially since there are legitimately exciting youth prospects in MLS right now. We should certainly cast a critical eye over anyone who pulls on a shirt for the team over the next few years, and if they don't perform they should be replaced. But what's the harm in calling them in, regardless of where they happen to be playing at the moment?

Greg Seltzer said...

Re Canouse: Remember, with no important competition(s) on the horizon, we are trying to hand this over to the youngsters for the most part. If we had qualified, he would not be getting a shout from me at this time.

And yeah, he did get 900 minutes at age 21 for Bochum. It was essentially his first first team experience, so no great shame in not being able to lock down a 2.B starting job.

Patrick said...

I've always liked Canouse; my point wasn't against him so much as being good in MLS simply can't be good enough for the USMNT, at this time. Probably not for at least 10 years.

The point was how can you have a guy staying on a bad MLS team as the starter over a starter, part time for now, at Schalke?

Greg Seltzer said...

I have not tabbed a starter at this position. The list above is alphabetical, not in order of preference. This competition is wide open as far as I'm concerned.