USA names 20 to roster for Mexico trip

Most of the Confederations Cup squad was brought in, with a few notable changes.

Goalkeepers– Tim Howard (Everton), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa)

Defenders– Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan), Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes), Jay DeMerit (Watford), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA)

Midfielders– Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Michael Bradley (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo), Benny Feilhaber (AGF Aarhus), Jose Francisco Torres (Pachuca), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo)

Forwards– Jozy Altidore (Hull City), Charlie Davies (Sochaux), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids)

No real surprises from Bradley, as he continues his allegiance to MLS-based players like Bornstein, Casey, Holden, and Marshall. I’m not sold that any of the four are anywhere near National team quality, not to mention the fact that Ching will undoubtedly get a full 90 minutes in Azteca.

Ives Galarcep has already put out his predicted lineup and (shockingly) he predicts a Davies\Ching frontline.

If Bradley starts Ching ahead of either Altidore or Ching, should his head be on the chopping block?

I believe we should start this lineup, but we won’t:

Davies      Altidore
Donovan                      Dempsey
Feilhaber   Bradley
Bocanegra                          Spector
DeMerit    Gooch

If we start Brian Ching or Steve Cherundolo, my head will explode.

22 Responses

  1. Conor Casey? What is wrong with Bradley. Not only does he force us to watch Ching play pitifully but now he wastes one of the roster spots on a poor man’s Brian Ching. Spector should definitely start ahead of Cherundolo. He’s the only defender that the U.S has that has any touch on his crosses and can play good defense.

  2. Casey just made me shake my head. Enough with the MLS players who can’t cut it on an international level. There are better options out there. Hopefully Ives is right and Casey doesn’t end up suiting up on Wednesday.

    Ching will probably start. And Bradley’s head won’t be on the chopping block for it. Not unless the US loses 5-0. I’m almost resigned to it now. I’m hopeful for one of two things. That I’m wrong and Ching actually becomes the player his supporters keep insisting he is, or that he looks so poor that he never sees action with the first team again in an important game.

  3. What’s wrong with Cherundolo? I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start, actually.

    • I like Cherundolo, but he shouldn’t be a starter ahead of Spector or DeMerit. He’s too small to be an international defender, especially ahead of better players like the ones we have.

      I’ve felt for some time that Cherundolo is better suited to be a wing on the international level than a defender, and he’s played as a wing quite a bit for Hannover too.

      • I agree with some of your points but I think he has served us well. The one thing I think he has on Spector is pace; however, Spector doesn’t get burned a lot.

        What I’d be interested to see if whether we experiment with Spector at LB considering that position remains a problem for us and he has played it at the highest levels (e.g., with Man U). Dolo at RB, Specs at LB. Just a thought.

        Then again, we need some true flank players so slot him forward? I wonder if Bradley is that adventurous?

        Ultimately, I think BB is going to look at his experience, etc in determining his RB fate, whether that it is correct or not. Also, Specs has a very bad habit of getting hurt so we’ll need a decent RB available.

        I think we’ll see Dolo get some time this week. He has healed and trained in Germany, and I got the feeling we may see him vs. Mexico when he was dismissed from the GC so early.

      • I’m not sure where the whole thing about “Spector not having pace” has come from. I’ve seen it referenced a few different times, but I don’t buy it. The kid is a fine athlete and clearly has enough pace to play against the speedy wings and forwards of the premiership, so I don’t think he’ll ever have a problem with international forwards.

        Is he faster than Cherundolo? No, probably not. But he’s a better defender, passer, and overall soccer player.

        I also don’t see why people want to move Spector to left back and drop DeMerit back to the bench? DeMerit has proven himself a high quality central defender, and good match to Onyewu. Bocanegra is by far and away the best left back we have, so I don’t see any reason at all to change the backline from the Confederations Cup.

      • I never said Spector is slow but he is slower than Dolo. As I said, though, it’s not like Spector gets beaten a lot so it may be a moot point. Spector has been beaten off his first step before…but what defender hasn’t?

        And, I don’t think Boca is as good of a LB as he is a CB. We’ll have to agree to disagree on that. For example, against Brazil in the Confed Cup final, Brazil abused their right (our left) flank. Maicon, alone, had 14 crosses for the game. Of course that doesn’t just fall on our LB but it was the side they looked the strongest on.

        I like the idea of having 2 outside backs very capable of contributing to the offensive flow of the game. In this hypothetical, I’m not sure you drop DeMerit to the bench, maybe Boca. But Boca is great on set pieces. A lot to consider.

        All in all, we saw 3 or 4 players play LB between @ Costa Rica and the Brazil final. It’s clearly not a cemented position for anyone.

        I think the USMNT’s main focus should be figuring out the midfield but our back line is hardly flawless. We have 5 guys I think that all make strong arguments for the 4 available spots. Again, this is my take.

      • Some counterpoints:

        1) Yes, Boca got beat by Maicon a fair amount in that second half. However, there are a few issues there other than a simple “Boca isn’t a good left back”. Firstly, Donovan completely abandoned the defense in the second half against Brazil – I mean completely. As much defensive effort as he put in against Spain and the 1st half against Brazil, he gave the exact opposite in the 2nd half against Brazil. Maicon was aided by having Robinho flanking Boca as well, which essentially overloaded that side of our defense. Secondly – it’s Maicon, arguably the single best attacking fullback in the world. There isn’t anyone on our squad capable of defending him any better on the left side than Bocanegra.

        2) Boca is the unquestioned leader of this squad and the unanimous captain. No matter how much ESPN or Ives Galarcep or FSC wants to talk about Donovan, Bocanegra runs the team. So no chance we drop him and perform better because of it. He’s too valuable.

        (Note: Remember, too, that Rennes elected to start Bocanegra at left-back rather than center-back last year, and they had arguably the best defense in Ligue 1)

        3) While I agree that we have seen 4 or 5 guys, 2 of them were Jonathan Bornstein (an absolutely horrendous defender) and DeMarcus Beasley (who has just fallen off a cliff in terms of form). Pearce is a solid back LB, and I think Bocanegra is the 3rd best defender on the team (behind Gooch and Spector).

        I think Bradley’s biggest problem in the back is that he wants to play with “Brazilian backs”, so he opts for the small, attacking players like Bornstein and Cherundolo because they can get forward with decent speed. The problem here is that he almost entirely neglects the fact that neither of these players is a particularly sound defender (or downright awful in Bornstein’s case).

      • Too small?

        Dolo is 5’6″.

        Ashley Cole and Cafu were 5’9″, Roberto Carlos and Phillip Lahm were 5’7″. The man has captained Hannover 96. and played over 250 games for them. I doubt Hannover, who are pretty astute, think he is too small. Dolo might lose his job but your notion that he is too small to be an international defender is unsupportable.

        I like Spector and have followed him for his entire career, but he has been unable to command a regular starting spot at West Ham and he is unable to stay healthy for very long.

      • Dolo, at the most generous, is barely 5’6, probably closer to 5’5 or 5’4. He’s extremely tiny, and that’s a big difference from guys like Lahm (who is both about 5’8 or 5’9) and Ashley Cole (5’10) and Cafu (who is closer to 5’10). Also, you’re not talking about elite talents like the above players either.

        At the club level, a guy of that height and size can quite easily find a niche and be successful, as Dolo has. But, don’t be foolish enough to think he only plays in defense for them, as he often plays on the right wing.

        The problem on the international stage is that, at 5’5, Dolo has to be the quickest\fastest on the pitch to make up for his size. Almost universally, the smallest guys that succeed are exceptionally fast or quick, of which Dolo is neither. Is he fast and quick? Sure, but he’s just average when used internationally.

        At 6’1, Jonathan Spector gives us quite a bit more versatility, as well as a boost in actual defensive ability.

      • Given that, how do you feel about using a 3-5-2 vs. Mexico?

      • It’d be a terrible idea for the Mexico game. These guys (I’d bet all of them) have never played in a 3-5-2 before, because it’s just not a commonly used system.

        Now, if we had a coach committed to it, then I’d say we have a pool of players that could fit that system well, but it’d cause some selection headaches that we don’t need.

        4-3-3 is probably the best formation we could ask for, in the traditional Dutch mold.

      • Okay. The US strength, defensively, is the in the centerback pairing and the 2 defensive midfielders. Presumably, this group will be more together than the Gold Cup defenders and will do a better job of closing down the middle.

        In some ways Mexico remind me of Spain. It seems the problem we have with Mexico, at least on the field, is their ability to strike quickly down the middle(Vela and Gio) or with Gio on the wings. Those two are good but I doubt they are better than Villa and Torres were. I remember Bradley saying the key to Spain was Xavi and keeping him quiet was the key. Do you see Gio in the same light ( or perhaps Blanco, a very different threat )?

      • dos Santos is closer to Albert Riera than Xavi or Fabregas. Gio is a forward\wing\support striker that is a fantastic link between the midfield and attack.
        Xavi is a pure midfielder with unreal passing range.

        I’m going to do my “Back Four” post either this afternoon or tomorrow, but one of the points will be limiting the space that Gio gets.

      • He’s a verrrrrry generous 5’6″ though

  4. I am just glad there is no Hejduk. I dont care if he runs around alot, he has absolutely no skill and is a liability. I cant wait to watch Ching “work hard” and not score any goals like usual.

  5. Lol…while I agree 100% with your projected lineup…I’d be willing to wager that your head will commence exploding on Wednesday afternoon around 3 pm.

    Have to think that Bradley will give Chingy the starting nod.

    We shall see…

  6. Ryan,

    1) I agree with you that the mid (esp. LD and Dempsey) not defending was a big problem vs. Brazil and that’s why I stated he was not to be the only one blamed for that game. It’s also why I mentioned that our midfield is (or should be) a bigger priority at this point considering we have 2 floaters that don’t necessarily stay true to the defensive portion of their flank assignments. In reality, it’s my biggest gripe with BB’s teams.

    We saw the same on the right with Spector having to mark Robinho, Kaka, and others. Just not enough midfield support.

    2) I absolutely agree with you that Boca is the leader of this team. He is sound defender, vocal, and effective on set pieces.

    With that said, I wish we could see more dimension out of the LB when he’s slotted in that position. Perhaps this is selective memory but I don’t recall him really getting into the (run of play) attack very much. Obviously, attacking isn’t a priority for a LB but it’s an added and helpful dimension.

    3) Bornstein and Beasley should never again be on the backline depth chart.

    I adamantly disagree with your suggestion, however, that Cherundolo is a borderline defensive talent closer to the likes of Bornstein than to Spector and Gooch. And that’s where I think our fundamental disagreement centers – which is cool.

    I have always enjoyed Dolo and I think he’s solid (this is his eleventh year as a Bundesliga starter). I find as many faults with his game – there definitely are some – as I do with Spector’s. Again, I think Spector is the better overall player but I don’t see the differences being that great. I also think the USMNT is hurting for good outside backs (as opposed to CBs or DMs).

    I’ve told you before Specs is my favorite player on the team but I also really like Dolo. I want to see if Dolo still has something to bring to the field. If he doesn’t, move Spector in permanently. I don’t think, however, that BB is just going to forget about Dolo.

    Again, just my take.

  7. On a non-Dolo/Spector note, I’m surprised Goodsen wasn’t called up (yet Marshall was). I was thoroughly impressed with him during the GC.

    Gotta head out, enjoyed the conversation.

  8. Ryan-

    I think you’re right that we need to play Feilhaber. We need more midfield control, which we did not have in the Confed Cup. Luckily, we were able to counter quickly, which led to quite a few of our goals, but we were definitely lacking good midfield play. And Until we get Jones, I doubt we’ll be able to do that very well unless Feilhaber, who can create and defend, gets some playing time alongside Bradley.

  9. any word on whether an English-speaking channel will show the game?

    • The game will be broadcast on “mun2”, a channel run by Telemundo.

      If you have DirecTV, you will definitely get it for free on Channel 203.

      If you have cable or Dish, you have to check with your provider. It’s being offered free the day of the game to every provider across the country though.

      Also, ESPN(2?) is doing a 1hr preview of the game leading up to kickoff.

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