Monday, January 11, 2021

Big Decision #2

I have been going back on forth about this for days. Actually, weeks. It's the biggest question revolving around the best possible USMNT line-up: Is Gio Reyna ready to take the keys to the attack?

My take is that the time for him to take a driver seat he might occupy for a decade has not yet arrived, but it's coming very soon. And the thing that makes this take convenient is that we're not in a big rush. There's time for him to grow toward it, and not just because we can always just slip Christian Pulisic back there if necessary (so yeah, I've finally opted to shift him to the wing).

So where does that leave the Clipboard? For the second time on this edition, with only two guys listed in boldface.

Sebastian Lletget
Brenden Aaronson

Looking for a big leap in 2021: Djordje Mihailovic
Awaiting your return: Paxton Pomykal
Wildcard prospect: Cole Bassett

A combo of the two designations above: Richy Ledezma

At this point, Lletget is my default #10. He's not the typical table-setter, but does enough of everything that the team runs well around him. Some may scoff at the idea, but like I said, this is only temporary. Aaronson is a bit closer to the standard style of player for this role, and more comfy working hard in two directions than Reyna for now.

I've included Pomykal even though he has only played five games last season and won't be back until March or so, simply because he should instantly enter this conversation once he resumes regular service. Bassett is a project, but he's kiiiinduva of a scary one. He's another that isn't the prototype player to slot in behind the striker, but he will get into the box to make things happen. Ledezma won't play until PSV Eindhoven have started their next season, but he was moving into position to crash this party when he got hurt. I don't normally list injured guys, but this is a special spot on the field and I'd want to keep them in mind, because I'd want to keep their mind on it. There's not much that beats having some motivated playmakers.

UPDATE: I decided today to bring Mihailovic over from the wing stable. The Clipboard is a live animal, and upon further thought, this guy can be more valuable putting in central park work than he can running wild wide.

- Greg Seltzer


Cathal said...

I think this is actually becoming Pulisic's position to lose. The leap he's made with Chelsea, particularly with his goalscoring, gives me confidence that he can play as a 10. So long as the 6 and 8 are defensively sound. Both he and Reyna excel in left-sided positions, so I'm not sure having either of them on the right would bring out their best.

DaMa said...

I guess I will wait to see what you do with Reyna. Im guessing out on the wings? I cant imagine your point is that Reyna is not ready for prime time but A-a-ron(son) is.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ Cathal: Like I said, the option to put Pulisic in this spot is always available and is somehting I'd have no problem with on the face of it. At the same time, I think both are quite capable of operating properly from the right.

@ DaMa: To answer your first question, yup. To answer your second not-quite-a-question, Aaronson's work rate and defensive grit makes him more suitable here in my eyes. At least for the moment.

DaMa said...

That's fair.