Monday, January 4, 2021

Can we just go with an 0-10-0?

I actually had this 85% written up on the Sunday it was promised, but then got snowed under by work until New Year's Eve and, well, then got lazy for a few because the lady wanted to binge watch all the Star Wars movies in chronological exposition order. But we'll just jump back on the Clipboard train here and now. And honestly, I changed a few things given additional time to think over the deepest spot in the pool.

Seriously, we have so many central midfielders who are viable international players that... well... many of them won't actually be international players so often in the coming years. I mean, the USMNT Clipboard has been "thick in the middle" (so to speak) for a long while now. But not like this. Capable central park rangers are simply falling out of our ears to the extent that I ran out of room for a few guys with feasible shots at the frame moving forward. They're just gonna have to play their way through the crowd somehow.

Weston McKennie
Yunus Musah
Jackson Yueill

Don't count 'em out: Cristian Roldan, Kellyn Acosta, Marky Delgado
Looking for a level leap in 2021: Andres Perea, Frankie Amaya, Tanner Tessman, Eryk Williamson
Should be in the line above, but needs a move:
Christian Cappis

I'd love to have a chat with the folks who swore up and down that McKennie wouldn't see the field for Juventus. Not only has his game already jumped a level or even two this season, but the talent-rich Bianconeri are better when our dude is on the field than when he isn't. Dislodging him will be a feat, but then so will holding off the chasing pack for him.

Musah may not eventually commit to the US, but maaaan is he impressive. His motor and level of fight are downright oppressive to opponents, and one would think his decision-making when he approaches the final third will only get crisper. Many people (including a certain manager) like Yueill at the #6, but I'm not sure he can have enough defensive impact at the international level. What he can do is unleash attack as a diagonal-pinging fiend.

Of the three young veterans on the next line, Roldan seems the most likely to have a semi-regular role after this year's tournament glut passes. The guy covers so much ground and does so many little jobs that it adds up. He wears a foe out, if nothing else. Delgado is a similar "glue" player who just enjoyed a career season - let's see if that trend continues. Acosta has never quite fulfilled his potential, but hey, it's not too late. What's more, he's the one of this trio that offers a world class skill (set piece delivery).

The bottom two line features five young'uns with the stuff to play their way through the masses over the coming year. I'm highest on Perea, who (despite looking totally different doing it due to body type) has a lot of prime Jermaine Jones in his game. He's a game-plan destroyer who can jump forward a little, too. Amaya usually plays as a #6 in Cincy, but I think he's better suited to driving play from the two-way role.

The coming year will be huge for Tessman - who probably isn't terribly long for Dallas, if we're talking real. Like the other two, he can do a lot of different jobs in midfield. Williamson showed his mettle last year, and he should see more responsibility in Portland next season. Cappis is on cruise control in the Danish second flight, but that's not a good thing during the development years. He's a strong enough traffic director to earn PT in a much better league.

- Greg Seltzer

No comments: