Monday, March 26, 2018

What I'd like to see (in 2-D)

I gotta tell ya, the 3-5-2 side of the midfield Clipboard is puzzles on top of puzzles. I'm having the damnedest time just deciding how to portion it before I can rank it. That will be no picnic, either. We have a mess of quality veteran and young buck picks, plus plenty of ones to watch for the future. Then there's a web of variables to consider: What happens if Pulisic is there? What if he isn't? Do we want matching #8's? Who will be flanking them as wingbacks? It has all given me a headache.

So we'll switch back to the more pressing question of who should start for the USMNT in Tuesday's friendly with Paraguay. As I'm continually debating in my head over which formation is best, there will naturally be a suggested line-up for both the 3-5-2 and 4-3-3 sets. Let's start with the former...

As noted before, I'd love to see Adams and McKennie show us how that duel #8 set-up can work. The Red Bulls youngster can take the wheel for the "raid overload" side and his Schalke counterpart can run the "pick a pass" side. The back three picks itself because there are no other options, while Rubin and Wood could make for an especially irksome running pair up front. To organize a new style of defense, I'll defer to the most veteran keeper option.

As for the 4-3-3, making it work requires some other choices. Saief comes in to bookend Rubin, with Novakavich stepping into the #9 role. After much thought, I'd ask Adams to focus mostly on destroying and hope Nagbe can at least feed the wings. It's not ideal (where is Kitchen when you need him?!), but then that's why I'd rather go 3-5-2 in this one. 

- Greg Seltzer

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