Friday, July 18, 2008

Strength is relative

I didn't write the headline to my article about the Olympic roster.

Not that I object to it per se, but I do find it a bit of a paradox, because one of my main points in the article was that the U.S. didn't send the strongest team they could have to the Olympics. Obviously, World Cup qualifying was an issue that conflicted, as did the demands of club teams, especially when it came to one Landon Donovan. LD wanted to go, and there's solid info that U.S. Soccer wanted him, but the Galaxy probably told them, "Look, forget it. Take him to the Olympics, or to WC qualifying, but both? No way."
Or, if you want to hear exactly what Ruud did say on the matter, click here.
Back to the article, I think that there's no doubt that this is the strongest team of U23 players the U.S. has ever sent to the Olympics. The overage players, however, have been stronger in the past, I believe. Not to knock Parkhurst, for example, but I don't think he's a game-changer the way Chris Armas, Jeff Agoos or Frankie Hejduk were in 2000. Parky is a smart player who won't make mistakes, but he doesn't bring a lot extra to the table in terms of leadership or incredible hustle or long passes.
I also have reservations about McBride's match fitness, honestly. In 1996, the three overagers were Alexi Lalas, Claudio Reyna and goalkeeper Kasey Keller. Keller at his best beats Guzan and a young Reyna beats out nearly everyone, and Lalas, well, he was a decent defender.
Anyway, I'm not saying the headline is wrong, but I'm qualifying my agreement with it to refer to the U23 players. Is the entire team the strongest the US has ever sent to an Olympics? I'd have to say that's arguable.
Your thoughts?


Anonymous said...

a.c. - might want to let espn know about a typo. the article says:

"... there may have been too cooks in the selection kitchen."

I'm assuming you wanted it to say "too many cooks." Unless maybe you meant "two cooks," but that seems less likely given the next sentence.

Seems like there were either too many or too few cooks in the editorial kitchen this time.

A.C. said...

I didn't write that line, either. I had something something similar, though.

Nicole said...

I'm disappointed Landon didn't get to go. I would imagine he's disappointed as well, but it is understandable. The Galaxy just can't lose him for that long a period of time.

I was disappointed in the overage players chosen, but given the World Cup Qualifying coming up, that's understandable too.

But I really question some of the U23s chosen - Benny Feilhaber? Patrick Ianni? Too bad Sean Franklin got injured. He's definitely better than Ianni, IMO.

papa bear said...

Feilhaber being called in is a joke. He's getting off a knee injury and hasn't been involved in football at all for basically a year. (no, practicing at Derby doesn't count)

I'm not all that worried about the senior players. I think the U-23's are by far the strongest sent and trump any past seniors called up. Guzan is the only one I really wanted to see called up. I like Seitz, but I just think Guzan will handle the pressure better.

I for one am happy that Adu will be commanding the AM/CM this time around. They seem to baby him too much and need to hand the reigns over to him. He an Altidore simply are magic together when they are on. (see U-20 match vs. Brazil)