Friday, August 29, 2008

Bradley Names 20 to U.S. Roster

U.S. Men's National Team Coach Bob Bradley has named a 20 man roster for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers againt Cuba and Trinidad & Tobago. Here is the list:

GOALKEEPERS: Brad Guzan, Tim Howard
DEFENDERS: Carlos Bocanegra, Danny Califf, Steve Cherundolo, Frankie Hejduk, Oguchi Onyewu, Michael Orozco, Heath Pearce, Marvell Wynne
MIDFIELDERS: DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Bradley, Ricardo Clark, Maurice Edu, Sacha Kljestan, Eddie Lewis
FORWARDS: Brian Ching, Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Eddie Johnson

Still no Freddy Adu (and don't give me that crap about settling in at his club, since Mo Edu has been called in and he just got to Rangers) and still no Jozy Altidore (see Adu). Still no Kenny Cooper or Edson Buddle or even Charlie Davies.

I am glad to see Wynne and Orozco on the list, but I am not expecting to see them start against Cuba, maybe against Trinidad if the U.S. win at Cuba.

Looking at this squad, all I see is "defense, defense." Sure Donovan can create and attack, as can Klejstan and even Michael Bradley, but looking at this midfield and how Bradley has used these guys in the past, I see four defensive minded midfielders (Beasley, Bradley, Clark, and Edu). I see a striker that Bradley loves not because he scores goals, but because he comes back to play defense.

Cherundolo will sit the Cuba game so expect to see Frankie Hejduk in at right back, although I think Wynne should get the nod. Expect to see Pearce at left back, although Califf is probably a better idea. Onyewu and Bocanegra are essentially penned in with Howard as starters (though admittedly Howard should be). I would not be surprised to see Guzan against Trinidad, again if the U.S. win against Cuba.

So against Cuba, this will be the line up (probably)





The problem of course is that Lewis doesn't have the pace to be dangerous on the left flank. There is not a lot of creativity in that squad and that is a problem. Oddly enough if I had to rank the players in that line up in terms of creativity, Frankie Hejduk, Michael Bradley and Mo Edu would be the top three, with Donovan a close fourth. That is scary given that Bob bradley will make sure Micheal and Mo sit back.

Although I won't happen, with this roster, I would try running a 4-1-4-1 formation that would look like this:






What does this get you? Donovan can and likes to run a players and his mobility makes him a threat no matter where he is on the field. Bradley is an attacking midfielder for his club team and a successful on at that, but if he plays a little withdrawn with Donovan a little foward, he can be more of a box-to-box midfielder. Beasley still has lots of pace, but I am not sure he is 90 minute match fit, but if he can go 60 minutes and then bring in someone like Lewis or Dempsey to play that winger, you get an impact sub out of the deal. Klejstan is creative and although normally plays well in the middle, I think he is a solid server of the ball.

Mo Edu is quickly becoming one of the best holding midfielders in the U.S. and if Walter Smith at Rangers uses him in that role, he will develop faster.

Hejduk and Wynne have speed galore. Wynne is not the best tackler in the world, but he makes up for that with lots of speed. Hejduk can cross the ball, attack forward, get back to play defense and run hard for a full 90 minutes. Wynne can do the same, although he is not as good a crosser of the ball--yet.

If Boca and Gooch earned there practical penning in with their performance in Guatamala.

Impact subs would be Dempsey and Johnson (although still not my first choice).

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