Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Sizing up the roster

As you know by now, Dave Sarachan has called up a fresh USMNT squad to face friendly foe Paraguay next Tuesday. I was actually in transit when the roster dropped and had work to finish when we got home near midnight, but the extra time has allowed me to hone some quibbles.

First, the squad (players looking for a debut cap are marked with an asterisk):

G - Alex Bono* (Toronto FC), Bill Hamid (FC Midtjylland), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew)

D - Cameron Carter-Vickers (Ipswich Town), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest), Matt Miazga (Vitesse), Shaq Moore* (Levante), Erik Palmer-Brown* (Kortrijk), Antonee Robinson* (Bolton), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United)

M - Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls), Marky Delgado* (Toronto FC), Kekuta Manneh* (Pachuca), Weston McKennie (Schalke), Darlington Nagbe (Atlanta United), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders), Kenny Saief (Anderlecht), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew), Tim Weah* (Paris Saint-Germain)

F - Andrija Novakovich* (Telstar), Rubio Rubin (Tijuana), Bobby Wood (Hamburg)

I'm fine with the keepers selected, and would be just as cool with any of them getting the start. The continuing fitness woes of John Anthony Brooks keeps me from getting a look at either of my first choice central defense alignments, and that's a shame. Because with Christian Pulisic left back at Dortmund, it seems the perfect time to trot out a 3-5-2 with Adams and McKennie as stereo #8's.

Of course, there's only three center backs on this team sheet, so I'm guessing a 3-5-2 is not in the cards. It's quite curious that Timothy Chandler wasn't called, but since he's probably best utilized as a left wingback in that formation these days, maybe it's okay to let that omission slide. I won't say the same about Aron Jóhannsson, who is certainly overshadowing Bobby Wood of late, to say the least.

The back line isn't the only area unbalanced. The midfield picks feature at least five guys who could work the #8 slot (which is why I understand not calling Keaton Parks for now), but no dedicated destroyer to speak of and no true attack quarterback. Gosh... I guess I can forget a 4-3-3, as well. Which is funny, because we actually bothered to bring some genuine wingers. 

And, not that I'm against the inclusion of Andrija Novakovich (who has 18 goals in the Dutch second flight), but I find it odd that we decided not so long ago that a player of similar style and build currently responsible for a dozen Eredivisie goals (rhymes with Torn Cars Ronsen) had no place in the US frame.

Basically, the selection has plenty of promise while being a bit askew. Bad luck has taken some toll (the injuries to Brooks and Daniel Williams), but the interim boss' roster routinely limit his own tactical options. Gimme a couple days to work out a suitable line-up from this group, and I'll even add a more ideal "woulda, coulda, shoulda" XI to chew on in comparison.

- Greg Seltzer

1 comment:

Patrick said...

I heard ArJo was called but is hurt.

Didn't Tab want AN for the 2015 U20WC but Reading wouldn't release? I think Ramos has a big say in picking these non-MLS guys.