Friday, July 13, 2018

Starting Over: #8

As always, pardon my slack - there's just a lot going on around here lately. Instead of going in numerical order, we'll stick to a field progression by moving to the two-way midfield guys. It's a deep position, if not the deepest in the USMNT pool. Lots of strong competition means lots of movement, and there has been a bit of shuffling for this edition.

Tyler Adams
Weston McKennie
Darlington Nagbe

Hangin' around: Christian Roldan
Need to pick it back up, fellas: Kellyn Acosta, Marky Delgado
Could move up this season: Keaton Parks

Due to a combination of his form, a slight spring slip from McKennie and some tactical thoughts of mine, Adams has moved to the top of the list here. I don't feel our young group is quite ready to hog the ball yet, so the Red Bulls midfielder's game probably provides the better fit at this time. Don't get me wrong: McKennie will no doubt rise again and I've not yet abandoned the idea of them playing side-by-side, but that's definitely a work in very early progress.

Nagbe is out for a couple months, but should be ready for when the fall friendly tests begin. He's been so money for Atlanta, it would be foolish to think he is ready for the out door. In fact, he has plenty to teach our young talents. Roldan hasn't really shined in a US shirt yet, but at 23, he could well line up as our depth man for when European-based players are unavailable (yeah, Adams will be over here soon enough).

Perhaps because he was injured at the start, Acosta has struggled some this season. I'd think he will rebound, but how long before his Euro-interest returns? Yes, I'm absolutely implying that he'll need to make the pond jump to keep up with the Joneses at this position. Delgado has also had a down year so far, and it is certainly reasonable to say he might have a better shot at climbing in a more seasoned and settled USMNT side. It is up to Parks to earn Benfica playing time and gain some of the experience he'll need to leapfrog some of the names ahead of him. Some may project him as a #6, but his defensive abilities need a lot of work and I'm not so eager to move him that far from the attack anyway.

I'll be back tomorrow with the #10 chart. Scout's honor.

- Greg Seltzer

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