Tuesday, July 30, 2019

There's the wolf, and then there's the pack.

Let me be perfectly clear: although I have followed the standard three-man lead crew-plus-extras format for the defensive midfielder chart, this is a case of one player in ink and the rest feeding off scraps (otherwise known as the minutes available when the top dog isn't).

Tyler Adams
Michael Bradley
Russell Canouse

Situational use only: Wil Trapp
Worth a look: James Sands
Future watch: Edwin Cerrillo, Derrick Jones

So yeah, there's Adams and then there's everybody else. Gregg Berhalter and everyone who prefers the kid in the hybrid right back role like to talk about how the USMNT boss' system requires the Bradley/Trapp-esque distribution we all know very well, and the RB Leipzig ace doesn't really do that. The thing is, he doesn't need to. He just needs to play it forward safely to someone who can ship outlets to the flanks and such. The important (and so often missing) part of this job should be hacking off opposing attacks before they get to the defense. In that respect, Adams is head and shoulders and elbows and knees and ankles above everyone else at this time.

Now... Bradley can still be useful against certain opponents and/or with a more defensively consistent partner riding shotgun (in other words, not, for instance, McKennie). I'd still love to see Canouse get a shot. Trapp has his attributes, but like Mikey, requires defensive help. Although he has played a lot of center back for NYCFC, I'd say Sands projects at this level (and perhaps even soon) as a gate-keeper. Cerillo has been a bit of a revelation for FC Dallas, but for now remains a ways away from debut cap time. Same goes for Jones, who hopefully will finally get a chance to show all that he can do well (it says here that is plenty) when Nashville starts play next season. It's really not a crime that he has struggled to break into Philly's strong veteran midfield (even if I think he still should have received more PT by now).

All that matters little, however, as most every minute he's available should belong to Adams. He should be the present and the future at the #6, and it's kinda crazy to me that a considerable number of folks don't see it that way.

- Greg Seltzer


DaMa said...

Agreed on Canouse. He would have been my Gold Cup starter but didnt even get a sniff. I feel like Adams's passing gets unfairly judged because he is so good at what he gets lauded for. Maybe he isn't Bradley level yet, but there were a bunch of plays last year at Leipzig where he showed he has some real ability there. Probably not a revelatory statement. The kid can ball.

DaMa said...

(although I cant remember if canouse was still bothered by injury when the gold cup was selected...I seem to remember wondering why he wasnt on the team)

ZackL said...

I'd really like to see Canouse get a look too, even if he's had a mixed-bag of a season so far. But playing Adams as d-mid is such a no-brainer that doing anything else seems needlessly self-destructive.