Thursday, August 28, 2008

U.S. National Team Suggestions Continued--The Midfielders

Earlier this week, I talked about who amoung strikers Bob Bradley should call up.

I promised to take a look at other players that should be called up.

As I have mentioned before, the midfield is vitally important and in the modern game the players in this area of the field have to be not only supremely fit, but also have the best touch on the ball, quick both physically and mentally, and creative to a fault. So with that in mind, here are a some midfielders I would like to see get a better viewing by Bob Bradley.

Robbie Rodgers. I was torn between putting him up top or in the midfield, but I think Rodgers is a better winger than striker. He has pace aplenty and is coming off a good performance in Beijing and is probably a solid replacement for a player like Eddie Lewis. Rodgers has gotten better at creating chances, making space for himself and other players and crossing the ball in a dangerous manner. He has enough height to be a danger on set peices, but I haven't see him do that. Perhaps improvement in that realm will go a long way to seeing him on the full national team soon. Rodgers is a regular for Sigi Schmid's Columbus crew, with 19 games (18 starts) for the Crew and five goals.

Dax McCarty. Not the biggest guy around and probably why Bradley has been reluctant to bring him into the full national team. McCarty has good pace but more importantly an solid ability to read the game and make that dangerous pass. The only drawback is that with his club, McCarty is not getting a lot of starts but has a fair number of appearances. He also didn't get a lot of time in Beijing, although he makes an impact when he does make an appearence.

Kyle Beckerman. The dreadlocked Beckerman has been consistenly overlooked by Bradley. Is he Deco? Is he Ballack? Is he even Adu? No. What Beckerman is like Mo Edu, a workhorse, not a showhorse. Watching Real Salt Lake, you can't miss Beckerman's workrate. He is all over the field, plays tough defense (which has to appeal to Bradley), makes great passes to start counter attacks, has a wicked long distance shot and enough scrap to take on the world's best with a chip on his shoulder.

Eddie Gaven. Bradley has already called Gaven in, having been capped for the U.S. in the Cope America last year, at age 20. Gaven, like Rodgers above, plays for the Crew and already has a long professional career. He is not a flashy goal scorer, but gets the goals and gets the assists.

There are others playing overseas that probably deserve a shot, more on them later.

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