Sunday, December 9, 2018

The Heart of the Matter

As promised, I'm here to follow MLS Cup with a pair of USMNT Clipboard positions. However, we're gonna do the order a little different this time. Instead of sliding straight to right back (a ka the #2), let's start the back line discussion with the central spots. There's plenty to unpack here, even if the starters (kinda) seem solid at the top of their ranks.

It's also worth noting that, with competitive games now about six months away, I'm tightening up the depth charts. As far as I'm concerned, there's no more "take a look" call-ups after January.

Let's start with the left side this time:

John Anthony Brooks
Aaron Long
Walker Zimmerman

In the frame: Tim Parker

Brooks should be the clear, obvious top pick here - but maaaan, he's had a string of bad US outings. Okay, we can let him play through them for now, but don't sleep on the trajectory of Long. For now, he's probably best left to start when we expect to be on the front foot all game.

Zimmerman has some tools, needs consistency (you could say that about nearly every US defender from side to side, though). Parker had a rough Atlanta series, but he typically enhances the calm on his teams, and like so many names at the back is just getting started at this level.

And on the right:

Matt Miazga
Erik Palmer-Brown
Cameron Carter-Vickers

In the frame: Brendan Hines-Ike

Miazga obviously needs to remedy his Nantes benching, but he also can feel fairly comfy in his spot because everyone chasing him is so green. I would most often turn to EPB over CCV at this moment, but both need more club experience and consistency. Hines-Ike is gathering both of those attributes by performing well in his first Belgian top flight season. 

On Monday, we'll deal with the wide back slots.

- Greg Seltzer


UnitedDemon said...

I actually think Long has played better than JAB in his recent games for the USMNT.

Adrian said...

Why wouldn't you just start JAB on the left and Long on the right, since Long is right-footed?