Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Production Line (we hope)

The attack positions are all pretty straightforward, so let's just run through the lot covering both the discussed formations all at once.

For the 4-3-3 look, let's begin on right wing:

Paul Arriola
Sebastian Lletget
Rubio Rubin

Under surveillance: Brooks Lennon
May need a move: Jonathan Lewis

Future watch: Jonathan Amon, Andrew Carleton

This group is decent, but somewhat uninspiring at the moment. As he continues gaining fitness and (presumably) form, Lletget could easily wrest away the starting spot if Arriola can't raise production up to match his work rate.

Let's hope Rubin settles in at Tijuana and that Real Salt Lake shies away from playing Lennon at right back again. The kids are alright, but likely some months away from honest contention. And yeah, some shrewd MLS club should try to pry Lewis away from that murderous wing depth chart at NYCFC.

Meanwhile, over on left wing...

Kenny Saief
Kelyn Rowe
Lynden Gooch

Under surveillance: Julian Green, Kekuta Manneh, Timothy Weah

Future watch: Luca de la Torre

For now, this side seems to have more current big play ability and more potentially dynamic prospects. I'm already sold on Saief, it would be great to see what he could do with the first unit. Rowe is a dependable back-up producer.

Sunderland has suddenly begun using Gooch as their No. 10, but up to now I like him best port-side, away from the crowd in the middle. The hope is that the next four players listed look like better candidates as the year progresses.

Jozy Altidore
Bobby Wood

Battle royale for the third spot: Juan Agudelo, Dom Dwyer, Aron Jóhannsson, Andrija Novakovich, C.J Sapong
Keep it up and we'll talk: Gyasi Zardes
Soon, very soon: Josh Sargent

Sure, some out there will cringe or balk or cringe while balking, but Altidore is easily the most reliable striker in the bunch. He also has the most tools in his belt. It's quite possible that Wood, whose hold-up work runs warm and cold, is actually best served in a 3-5-2.

Agudelo remains an enigma and I can't help but wonder if he'll ever put it all together. While he's more talented than the other three battle royale contestants, I might actually prefer them over him at this moment. Zardes just needs to stay on his current course. I'd like to see Sargent, who Bremen loves, gets a bit of PT this summer.

In the 3-5-2 set, I'd generally prefer a runner playing off a hold-up man over a horizontal front line. As such, we'll revert to using the "hockey line" style listing, with the power forward named first.



Tomorrow, I'll lay all the Clipboard line-up options out on the table.

- Greg Seltzer

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