Friday, August 5, 2011

Observations and Ideas on JK's first USA roster

Both Freddy Adu and Landon Donovan burned up youth teams as young forwards, and Klinsmann seems to have returned them to that spot, perhaps because of the current dearth of American attacking talent in front. DaMarcus Beasley as a forward seems to me a stretch, however. I'd really rather have seen Herculez Gomez get the call. Good to see Buddle wasn't forgotten, because I think he can contribute. 

In the midfield, I'm not surprised Michael Bradley got the call. He's a good player, and unlike others in Europe right now, he actually could use national team minutes. But by giving Clint Dempsey a rest, moving LD and Adu to forward, Klinsmann has made room in the midfield for a number of players who could either challenge Bradley for a starting spot or become his new regular partner there. Rico Clark, Mo Edu, J. Jones, even Kyle Beckerman. I wonder if Klinsmann's strategy here is to see all the possibilities play side by side and then make his evaluation. It's a bit of a science experiment, but I like the approach, because I feel that previous USA coaches didn't experiment enough with player combinations. Brek Shea is hopefully past the stage where a USMNT callup makes him run around like a purposeless headless chicken, and can instead show off the talent that shocks his detractors and delights his fans. Jose Torres has to prove he's ready for the big-time as well, because who else in that midfield (unless JK is just kidding with listing LD and Adu as forwards) is going to distribute with any creativity? 

Defenders - Orozco has some bite, but hopefully, he's learned to make wiser choices than that elbow he threw long ago in the Olympics, because Mexico, even in a friendly, is an intense match. Goodson is a good footsoldier, Castillo has a burner's speed, but needs to mind his defensive positioning, Ream has the opposite problem, with generally good positioning and not so much in the speed or aerial department. Latest reports are that Chandler is out with an injury, so the German jokes 'Dolo was planning to share with him about Klinsi will have to wait. I think it's good that Pearce gets another chance, because it seemed he was dropped rather quickly previously. I'd still like to see Dunivant get a look-see, though I grant that his speed, or rather, the standard of it, may be what's held him back on the international level. That's the kind of stuff that's tough to guess, though, because Dunny seems to get to where he needs to be to stop a defender just fine in MLS matches. 

Hamid is an interesting goalkeeping pick, and perhaps JK doesn't want Brad Guzan to get too comfortable as heir apparent. Or, even more likely, didn't want to pull him from his club's preseason. Howard, of course, is the standby, though he was far from rock solid in the Gold Cup final. I hope away from the media, he's focusing more on fixing the errors he made than worrying about the amount of Spanish the trophy announcer speaks.

I'm intrigued by the roster, but to me, the real glimpse of Klinsmann's plan will be how he uses these players. Who starts from this bunch and where? What would you like to see?

Goalkeepers: Bill Hamid, Tim Howard
Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra, Edgar Castillo, Timmy Chandler, Steve Cherundolo, Clarence Goodson, Michael Orozco Fiscal, Heath Pearce, Tim Ream
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman, Michael Bradley, Ricardo Clark, Maurice Edu, Jermaine Jones, Brek Shea, Jose Torres
Forwards: Freddy Adu, Juan Agudelo, DaMarcus Beasley, Edson Buddle, Landon Donovan

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