World Cup 2014: Scribbled On The Gym Wall

Just around the corner?

The topic. Who’s getting in line for a spot on the USMNT at World Cup 2014?

TSG gives you some breakdown of whose names may be on the gym wall come 2014, but first it is vital we lay the groundwork with some broad strokes and guidelines that lend credibility to our selections–lest we be just picking some random names from a player pool.


• Don’t assume a 4-4-2

Why Marvell may still be in play (hint: keep reading)

Even if Bob Bradley is the coach, you can’t even pencil that formation in. (Just a reminder, that Bradley moved from a 4-3-3 to a 4-5-1 to a 4-4-2 throughout his tenure.)

Over the past two years, two scheme changes have seemed to dominate many of the world’s top club and international sides:

» First, the deployment of 4-3-3 formations to try to gain width when striking and create an imbalance with the traditional, and staid-and-stale, 4-man backline.

With a 3-man attacking front, the offenders can either thrust outside flankers up the pitch to create a five-versus-four offensive advantage or “fill” narrowly with their midfielders to achieve a 3-2 advantage against the opponents two central defenders.

» Second, the advent of flipping a winger so that their natural foot is the lead foot when moving in from their wing position. Using the aforementioned central seams, voila, shots on goal. See David Villa Spain against Portugal.

To combat the 4-3-3, some teams in World Cup 2010 employed a 3-man backline (Chile, New Zealand, CONCACAF-rival Mexico). This positioning offset a 4-3-3 by–depending upon the strategy–matching up 1-on-1 with the three attackers or re-positioning the  backline more narrowly and tasking wingbacks with shifting back defensively for 5-man defensive lines.

Okay, great TSG, but do you have a point here?

How does that impact your depth chart for 2014?

Good questions. We’ll start on the defensive, so to speak.

Acutely important in 2014– and a reason that TSG has long championed the “promise” of Jonathan Bornstein–will be the need for faster and more mobile outside backs, to track the next Robinhos and Robbens and support the offense. This seems to be an indisputable trend occurring.

Thus, players with the complexion of a Sean Franklin and even a Marvell Wynne become more valuable as the game gets more dynamic on the flanks.

Will Spector still be tasked with shutting down wings?

Similarly, Jonathan Spector–who was continually exposed against speedy wingers at West Ham and more recently in the United States game against Turkey–may be more of a candidate for central back come 2014.

Moving up front, if you look at the some of the forthcoming personnel in concert with trends of the game above, it is now time to make the argument that a front six in a 2-3-1 or 3-3-3 or even a 3-2-1 makes a lot of sense.

The single striker scenario is likely because zonal marking has gotten so good in terms of one defender passing an attacker to the defender next to him. That’s much harder though when you have a striker traipsing across the entire defense, from left flank to right flank let’s say, in front of the entire back four.

It’s no coincidence that some of the best movement for the Yanks’ came when Jozy Altidore, in the 2nd halves of the Slovenia and Algeria matches, was employed alone up top and initiated a run on one side that dragged across to the other side. It created a target in front of Donovan and space behind him for Clint Dempsey to work.

Which gets us to the skillset of the forthcoming personnel….

• Style–and available personnel of course–help shape the team

How will the United States play in 2014? Good question and the answer is, “Don’t know yet.”

It depends upon the coach, player development and an assortment of other questions.

Donovan another Figo in the making…

Will the Yanks again be built again completely around the strengths of Landon Donovan and his spacious open field runs? Doubt it. It’s possible though. Portugal went “semi-final” in 2006 often relying on 33-year-old Luis Figo to engine the offense. (By the way, I’m starting to find the comparisons of Donovan to Figo more on-point).

That said, if you look at the pedigree of players that may be ready to lead the attack from the midfield, names likes Stu Holden, Benny Feilhaber, Sacha Kljestan, Jose Torres centrally and Alejandro Bedoya, Robbie Rogers and even Brek Shea potentially outside, beyond Landon Donovan you see a very different look-and-feel to how the US might play and attack come 2014.

Skipping the box-to-box destroyers or holding players like Michael Bradley and Maurice Edu, there are two groups: a) extremely methodical possession-oriented players centrally and b) bigger, more gallant, dynamic attacking players out wide.

The best preface to this set-up from the States in 2010?

Think of the Yanks’ second half offense in their friendly against the Netherlands, where DaMarcus Beasley and Alejandro Bedoya marauded wide and Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley carried possession internally with Maurice Edu watching the back door.

• Youth–specifically youth with experience–will be served.

Polak (right): A rising star….for 2018…

Think Eric Lichaj and Omar Gonzalez, not Tyler Polack. Let’s explain why Polack likely doesn’t make sense.

Polack–whose game I really liked under Wilmer Cabrera in the U-17s last year–will be all of precocious 22 when the States head south in four years. However, it’s not specifically Polack’s age, but it’s his need to improve his resume of experience, and fast, to be considered.

In World Cup 2010, only 25 defenders, or less than one per team, were 22-years-old or younger.

Nearly 80% of these players, didn’t start or have yet to come off the bench. Sure, there are some exceptions, but they are, in one word, exceptional.

Names like 21-year-old Simon Kjaer for Denmark and 22-year-old Gregory Van Der Weil for the Netherlands. The former Kjaer already has two years at Serie A Palermo as a starter while the latter Van Der Weil is tenured for over 14 years as part of the Ajax system and has started for four years for the senior side.

No United States defender was younger than 24-years-old in South Africa–though Kevin Alston, 22, was the youngest during the lead-up though he only got some “B” side run.

So basically, if you’re pulling for Polack, you’d have to have to see a somewhat unprecedented stratosphoric…..a meteoric rise to a “decent club” accompanied with some serious playing time reps for Polak combined, of course,  with his physical development.

Sounds like a stretch.

This leads to the general axiom to invoke when taking a shot at the 2014 roster, “The further you move away from goal positionally, the lesser experienced, and generally younger, a player can be.

So a goalie–like Tim Howard–can still be prime in his mid 30’s. Central defenders? Early 30s.

Two reasonings for this:

» First, the closer to goal you are, the more an inexperienced mistake can hurt you. And that obviously makes sense–make a critical mistake at goalie and your team is likely down a goal; at defender and 9 times out of 10 your team is down a goal…a striker doesn’t put his team in peril often with a mistake.

» Goal scoring and attacking ability are always at a premium. In short, if you can deposit the ball in the net, it doesn’t matter if you’re 15 or 45.

This year twin 23-year-olds, Dutch Eljero Elia and Uruguayan Endison Cavani who faced off Tuesday, were looked at as major offensive sparks for their respective team.

General premise conclusion. If you’re going to take a risk on youth in 2014, that player needs experience. No experience, then they likely need to play far away from goal.

• Expect the focus again to be on Americans abroad

No knock on MLS here whatsoever, but more American are finding their ways overseas these days.

Until MLS competition arrives at, say top-10 league status in the world, coaches will want players who have been hardened in better leagues and have come up against the players they’ll face in the World Cup–it only makes sense.

One thing that TSG pointed out after that March 3rd friendly against the Dutch, was that DaMarcus Beasley and Maurice Edu–both from the Scottish Premier League–adapted much more quickly to the level of play during the game than Jonathan Bornstein and Robbie Findley.


Okay let’s get rolling.

TSG might pick more than twenty-three players below. We’ll see how it shakes out.

TSG will move to a 4-4-1-1 for this discussion.

And note, our choices might be off, but we believe in the guidelines we just set out. Note, we will accompany the player with their age at World Cup 2014.


Will Howard still be minding the nets?


Leading candidates: Tim Howard (35 in 2014), Brad Guzan (29), Bill Hamid (23)

The skinny: Tim Howard’s got great reflexes. Should he avoid injury and continue his fine form, hard to not make him the favorite on the depth chart.

Brad Guzan needs to get some playing time at Aston Villa or elsewhere. Charlie Davies calls Guzan “the most underrated player on the US”.

Good chance he nails it over the next few years and at least pushes Howard for that number one spot.

That third spot right now? Names like Chris Seitz or Dominic Cervi swirl. However, while both players are good keepers, they may not be international difference makers.

The third goalie for the States will likely not see the field. With Howard outgoing and Guzan perhaps the next inline, Bill Hamid has that potential and should be the selection if he continues his growth. I also think it’s possible though you’ll just see an experienced veteran in South America.

Others in consideration: Chris Seitz (27) , Dominic Cervi (27), Troy Perkins (32), Nick Rimando (35)

The Union goalkeep is going to need to get some run overseas to have a shot in our mind.  Cervi, third stringer for Celtic in the Scottish Premier League, is going to need to push for time or find a new club. You have to wonder if it makes sense to groom either of these players considering their age proximity to Brad Guzan’s.

If the US coach wants a clipboard carrier and good citizen, both Perkins and Rimando seemingly have a shot right now.



Can Franklin maintain his health and progress?

Leading candidates: Sean Franklin (29), Eric Lichaj (25), Kevin Alston (27)

The skinny: I discussed wide backers above. They need to be mobile and fit. Just ask Diego Maradona who likely wishes he put Javier Zanetti, or just about anyone, at right back against Germany instead of fish out of water center back Nicolas Ottamendi (22-years-old we might add) who had a most regrettable game.

TSG was championing Lichaj for at least a look-see this year, but only becuase of the Yanks’ options. The reality is with four years of seasoning, the apple of Martin O’Neill’s eye should be at least be ready to compete. Lichaj is expected to crack the 18 at top-6 EPL club Aston Villa this year.

(Note: Lichaj played both rightback and leftback last year in his first loan of the season to Lincoln City. Aston Villa however see him as both a rightback and a centerback.)

Should Lichaj earn consistent playing time he would arguably–nay, easily be–the most accomplished American defender in the EPL since Carlos Bocanegra. And, in our opinion, he should have a lot more press right now, especially given the new three-year deal he just inked.

On Franklin, TSG was at a US camp practice earlier this year and we were talking with a L.A. Galaxy beat writer. His comment to us on Franklin, “Bruce Arena says Franklin is one of the smartest players he’s ever coached.”

Quite a compliment.

Franklin, MLS’s rookie best-in-class just two years ago, needs to maintain his fitness–he got knocked out of most of his 2nd campaign for the Galaxy–and will likely need a loan or trip overseas.

Kevin Alston, who we mentioned above, will also be in play if he continues to trend positively.

Other in consideration: Marvell Wynne (29), Jonathan Spector (29), Danny Williams (25)

Wynne may get another look. TSG has no clue about Danny Williams–who hasn’t been capped yet by the States–but other reports seem to suggest he’s an option.

Jonathan Spector we’ll discuss right now….



Gooch will still be physical, but play the wise sage in Brazil…

Leading Candidates: Oguchi Onyewu (32), Jonathan Spector (29), Omar Gonzalez (25), Ike Opara (25), Chad Marshall (29)

The skinny: Center backs, as we stated above are typically older and wiser. It’s why Onyewu, despite his poor form, started against England. Bob Bradley knew he needed the experience.

At 32 years-old heading to Brazil in 2014, Onyewu will be just passing the prime of his career. Seems like a starter if he can get reps at AC Milan and prove he’s every bit as athletic as before.

His partner? Take a flyer on Jonathan Spector. Nimble enough inside, decent in the air and with a very good ability to distribute, Spector’s got a shot to start there if he keeps getting high-level playing time.

That said, youngster Omar Gonzalez in our opinion is the real deal. He kind of reminds me of American-turned-Norwegian Brede Hangeland, aggressive in postioning and play and goes to headers with abandon. I think he’s that good; he’s third.

And finally, I’m coming around to Ike Opara. Living in San Francisco, I get to watch quite a bit of Opara’s games with San Jose. He’s improved quite a bit technically and his instinct for the play is very good.

With extremely shifty players for Mexico (Vela, Hernandez) and Costa Rica (Bryan Ruiz) up top, the States are going to need to Cannavar0-type to pressure up the pitch. Opara would seem to fit this role. Well.

Other in consideration: Clarence Goodson (32), Gale Agbossoumonde (22), Tim Ream (26)

Agbossoumonde has the physical goods, but a little young for the centerback role in 2014.

Left Back:

The leading candidates: Jonathan Bornstein (29), <Insert back-up rightback here>

The skinny: Will the Yanks ever solve their leftback conundrum? Perhaps Bornstein will continue to develop and make that leap–he looked more the part in South Africa than he ever has.

Beyond Bornstein, you’ll likely have one of the rightbacks (Lichaj, Wynne, etc.) migrate over.


Rogers, still on the radar…

Sleeper: Robbie Rogers (27)

Ability to use either foot. Speed. Offensive ability. Big body. Someone let me know why Robbie Rogers isn’t working hard on his defensive deficiencies and making himself more marketable on the club and international front.

A name you didn’t see here is Edgar Castillo. TSG will toot our horn as we were the first–to much guffaw as he was being hyped in 2009– to label Castillo a midfield and midfielder alone.

Wing midfielders:

Leading Candidates: Landon Donovan (32), Alejandro Bedoya (27), Edgar Castillo (27), Robbie Rogers (27)

The skinny: Hard not see Landon starting. Sobering thought though for Mr. US Soccer: Donovan likely just finished his best World Cup.

TSG is a fan of Bedoya. First, he’s a nice guy, but more importantly, he’s got a big body, killer drive and offensive moves. He’s looking real likely for 2014 in our mind right now.

Central midfield candidates Stu Holden and Benny Feilhaber almost merit review. Formation will matter here. If the US deploys in a 4-3-3 suddenly forward candidates like Charlie Davies might make sense up top and more possession Maxi Rodriguez-types (like Holden and Feilhaber) would sit in the middle third. Not going that route for now.

Oh and let’s cut this Bob Convey nonsense out. In the next four years, Convey will need to find his way to a better club or outright dominant MLS (as in top 3 star). He’ll need to play even better defense than the solid defense he’s played this year. In short, don’t bet on it.

If you want to consider an older player, maybe it’s a three-time World Cup attendee who’s injury-free and re-committed to the cause.

Other in consideration: DaMarcus Beasley (32), Brek Shea (24)

Sleeper: Ryan Smith (27)

Smith will be 27-years-old at World Cup and the former Arsenal product has the right mix of on-the-fly cross prowess and moves to fit in with the likes of Donovan and Bedoya. Will someone take him down to the passport shop and get him one with a United States seal on it?

Central midfield:

Attack/Possession candidate: Benny Feilhaber (29), Stu Holden (28), Mix Diskerrud (23)


The skinny: Wow, shaping up to be a huge fight in the middle here. Does the Yanks plethora of wings and midfielders auger for a 4-3-3. Quite possibly–let’s not go there in this column.

Dempsey will be the wide sage and will not be strong enough to be employed up top. At 31, he’ll still have game.

In our mind, Stu Holden is itching for a breakout year. He’s there.

As for Mikkel Diskerud, nearly every report I see has him dominating games in the midfield for Stabaek up in Norway. I’ve only seen him a few times, but he both controlled run of play and created numerous opportunities in the those games. I’ll be watching him more on some pirate feed this year.

Others in consideration: Freddy Adu

Barring an intervention of grandiose proportions, I believe Freddy Adu’s club career to be hanging by a thread in a Europe.

Box-to-box/Holder candidates: Michael Bradley (26), Maurice Edu (28), Jose Torres (27)

Michael Bradley, a given and possibly the captain if he keeps maturing. Maurice Edu, earning his hard knocks in Scottish Premier League, it’s hard not see Edu playing for someone like Blackburn or Wigan in the Premiership–in fact Wigan’s style and horrible pitch would suit Edu perfectly.

These seem like locks to me barring injury. Jose Torres as well might get a look in more of a holding role.

Other candidates: Geoff Cameron (27), Ricardo Clark (31), Sam Cronin (27), Jared Jeffrey (24)

Cameron fits somewhere in this mix–let’s leave him here for now. Ricardo Clark will be a World Cup vet. I’m not penalizing him for his gaffes in 2010; I just think his game is limited to his physical speed which will be slowing in a few years. He hasn’t proven more to me yet. (Mind you that same contention can be made about Jonathan Bornstein)

Extremely interested to see what Cronin can do now that he’s in San Jose. He’s got the ability to fit in wherever needed.

Jared Jeffrey is at Mainz in the Bundesliga. Bob Bradley was keeping tabs on him through the 2010 qualifying campaign.

Up top:



Will Dempsey be fresh off dominating Serie A for four years in Brazil?

Leading Candidates: Clint Dempsey (31), Chris Pontius (27), Sacha Kljestan (28)

The skinny: Clint Dempsey despite his advanced age seems like a natural in Brazil in his natural role though Sacha Kljestan–if he can ascend overseas–will threaten.

MLSer Chris Pontius likely gets a look if his game continues to developing. He’s the clearly third from the group above.


Likely candidates: Charlie Davies (28), Jozy Altidore (24)

The skinny: If Jozy Altidore can find consistent 90-minute effort and the back of the net, he’s the boss of this group. Charlie Davies is penciled in too if he returns to pre-injured form. Tristan Bowen, already getting reps for the Galaxy, is a likely option until another tyke establishes their candidacy.

Others in consideration: Eddie Johnson (28)

107 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Matthew on 2010/07/06 at 2:21 PM

    Outstanding point about Robbie Rogers…As a Crew season ticket holder, watching him in person week after week, he has loads of potential and tons of polishing to do. It wouldn’t be a bad idea for him to work on some defensive skills and to work into the LB role for the US. Roger Espinoza has had similar success at club level with KC. Another Crew name I would throw out there is Will Hesmer, although he will be 33 or so by WC 2014. He has turned into a very good player and has the potential to be a reserve keeper in four years for the US.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/07/06 at 2:26 PM

      I probably could have included Hesmer. I went with Rimando and Perkins only because they’ve been in the fold more recently.

      Must be frustrating to see Rogers–I watch the game this past weekend–outdribble two or three guys and–while I’m sure the stadium is screaming “Pass!” or “Shoot!” take on one more guy and get denied.

      I feel if improved that lone “dis-attribute” he would be immensely better.


      • Posted by Matthew on 2010/07/06 at 2:35 PM

        There was a point in 2008 where I thought Robbie Rogers was maybe the best pure winger in the US pool. Then he declined so much in 2009. And yes, he always takes on one too many defenders. I am encouraged that Bobby Warzycha is really pushing him to track back more, and that part of his game is steadily improving.


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/07/06 at 2:38 PM

          I like Rogers game–I actually thought that Bob Bradley *might* take him to South Africa as the 8th defender–as we know that role kind of went to DaMarcus Beasley.

          What I like about Rogers is he doesn’t seem afraid (although the flip side to that is the extra defender he takes on) and his willingness to shoot from outside the box.

          Beyond Clint Dempsey, the brief spell of Edson Buddle and an occasional foray by Michael Bradley or Sacha Kljestan so few US players go for it in the run-of-play.

          People sometimes lament a deep shot, but it forces the defender to come out next time…kind of liking taking a 3-pt shot in basketball.


  2. It’s very interesting, and encouraging, to see how many of our pool players that were considered “future” candidates might very well get passed up by up and coming players that might be better.

    I coach a different high school sport, and it’s a great sign when the “growth” roster players get challenged by the sophomore phenoms. You still need the senior leadership, but that hungry youth factor can bring a lot to the team.

    Only 1400 days until Brazil 2014!


  3. Posted by M.Ricci on 2010/07/06 at 2:29 PM

    Breck Shea????


  4. A decent article. Although I’m left scratching my head with your omission of Frankie Hejduk in your defensive discussion.


  5. Posted by anthony on 2010/07/06 at 2:46 PM

    what about jermaine jones? has the hope been completely lost?


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/07/06 at 3:04 PM

      Jones is going to be 33 at the next World Cup. I think he’s got a shot, but by no means is he a given. If he can return to his solid form in 2010-11, he’ll be back on the map.


  6. Posted by Brian Mech on 2010/07/06 at 2:53 PM

    Really think at the forward position we should mention Yura Movsisyan, who’s finishing up his citizenship. The man went from leading RSL to the MLS title to scoring 9 goals in 14 games with Randers in Denmark. I expect him to be capped as soon as he’s eligible.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/07/06 at 2:58 PM

      Yeah, I ended up reading the Ives report on his getting citizenship.

      He’s definitely plausible at 6’0 and playing extremely well in Denmark right now.
      Same boat as Ryan Smith.

      Big problem is that it takes 18mos. to 2 years to get citizenship these day…and that’s being generous; if he makes it through those years–and I’m guessing he won’t since he’s in the sweet spot of his career–I’ll probably add him in our 2012 update to this column.


  7. Antonio obviously hasn’t read this yet, so I’ll throw out the inevitable Dilly Duka reference. In fact anyone on Wilmer’s U-20 World Cup squad could merit a look if they continue to develop, and it would be a refreshing change of style if some of these players begin to integrate into the big boy setup.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/07/06 at 3:01 PM

      Nick, unless a player is going ganbusters under-20 I think they’ve got a touch road to hoe. In the absence of superstars, the States typically go with the more proven player.

      That said, it’s encouraging more the wealth of players the States will have option to choose from.


      • Agreed, but one cannot argue against the impact that a very young and raw Donovan and Beasley made on the World Stage in 2002. They’re just young enough to play without any cares or worries that creep into a veteran’s game.


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/07/06 at 3:24 PM

          Agreed — and I think one of Bradley’s mistakes was not taking Bedoya, a legitimate “I’ll just give it a shot” winger and not playing the always looking to shoot not impacted by the World Cup Buddle.

          But give me players on the radar of Bayer Leverkusen or PSV and I’m more game for the youngsters.


    • Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/07/06 at 6:15 PM

      sorry Matt, but Duke is taking Ale Bedoya’s spot :>


  8. Posted by Sam on 2010/07/06 at 3:06 PM

    Can we cap Andy Najar? Dude’s awesome, and the USMNT just doesn’t feel right without any DC United guys in the team.


    • Sad to say, Andy is Honduran through and through, and has said he wants to play for Honduras internationally. Unless he has a massive change of heart, we won’t see him in a US shirt. It’s too bad, because I think he brings a lot of fight. That equalizer volley he scored in San Jose last weekend was a thing of beauty, and if you consider it was a 17-year-old making that run and finishing that cross, it’s pretty remarkable.


  9. Just FYI, it’s David Estrada- not Danny.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/07/06 at 3:20 PM

      Thanks — fixed — meant to correct that before publishing…I probably have whole host of others wrong.


  10. Posted by Matthew on 2010/07/06 at 3:44 PM

    Everytime I thought I could get away, they just pull me back in.


  11. Posted by JW on 2010/07/06 at 4:41 PM

    In the mean-time it might be worth while considering what changes need to be made before next year’s Gold Cup. Even now, I think there are some obvious things to do to begin building talent for 4 years out. Also, remember that the winner of the Gold Cup in 2011 gets a trip to the next Confed. Cup, so we won’t be sending a B-team. The predictions for the Gold Cup should be more concrete than wishful thinking, beginning with the important: Who’s out?


    • Posted by Paul on 2010/07/08 at 1:13 AM

      That is a good question. From the World Cup squad, assuming that the squad is the basis for the 2011 Gold cup, I would not return Finley to the lineup, especially if Davies can get back to full health. Clark might be denied a spot if Jones can regain form. Other than these changes, unless one of backs starts to get old very quickly or Beasley falls out of favor for Bedoya, I see the same team being used, for good or ill.


  12. Posted by dth on 2010/07/06 at 5:04 PM

    no Tim Ream?

    Also, thought Mix was more of a winger type (uninformed).


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/07/06 at 5:19 PM

      I have Tim Ream as “Others to consider” — right now, Gonzalez has the lead for a few reasons:
      – he’s learning from a former USMNTer in Berhalter
      – he’s playing with Donovan
      – he’s playing for Arena
      – he’s already been in a camp

      Ream’s right up there, but I’d also like see how a season wears on him and how his second season goes.

      Diskerud has played predominantly in the middle.


  13. Posted by Ian on 2010/07/06 at 5:18 PM

    Do you think there is any chance of anton peterlin, cody arnoux, or joseph gyau for that cycle?


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/07/06 at 7:41 PM


      Almost put Peterlin on the list. He got good reviews for the Everton reserves this year. However now I hear he is out of contract and looking to latch on with Plymouth.

      Same with Arnoux. I think they need to make it happen now to rise with their clubs for inclusion in 2014.

      I don’t know enough about Joseph Gyau and haven’t watched him play all that much so let me reserve that opinion for now.


      • Posted by Ian on 2010/07/06 at 9:55 PM

        Yeah peterlin seems like a bit of a longshot because that is a very deep position in the team but with the lack of depth at forward it seemed like arnoux and gyau would have a shot. Although i guess gyau would probably still be too young at that point but i guess it depends on how hes developing with hoffenheim


  14. Posted by s44 on 2010/07/06 at 5:26 PM

    “viola, shots on goal”

    Viola? What do you have against violins?

    Serious comment to follow.


  15. Posted by s44 on 2010/07/06 at 5:51 PM

    I generally agree on the tactical discussion and the players named, but I think you’re being too age-conservative up front. Look at the current German team — if we have the horses, we need to ride ’em no matter what age, as Arena properly did in 2002. But it’s one thing to use LD and Beasley over Joe-Max Moore, and another to have the guts to use U-23s over established big-Euro-league vets.

    The real question is: who will be our match-winners in attack? Dempsey was sort of a letdown (his poaching touch went missing), and will probably be situational for us in 2014. Donovan, yes, but we can’t expect him to run 400 minutes again (200 of that with a tweaked hammy). One of our current 20somethings may make the leap (Bedoya, perhaps, or Holden), but I think it’s at least as likely that a current teenager like Najar, Mwanga (yes, neither can play for us yet) or Lletget turns out to be the real deal. (I’ll be surprised if JackMc succeeds internationally.)

    On defense, I dunno. For us — if not necessarily other countries — youth WC performances have shown a lot about our players, and Opara and Gale bombed so badly at the U-20 that I’m not ready to pencil either in. (Gonzo, yes.) Same with Spector as a CB. Heck, if he’s that heady Franklin may make a better conversion project.


    • Posted by FulhamPete on 2010/07/06 at 6:00 PM

      Dempsey a disappointment? Perhaps for you, buy that would mean your expectations might have been excessive.

      He scored against ENG. Sure, it was definitely lucky, but he made Stevie G look FOOLISH in the build up.

      He was a menace against Slovenia and had the game winner taken from him against Algeria.

      He gave Ghana fits, to the point that they had to resort to beating him to a pulp to keep him from scoring.

      Dempsey, mark my words, will start in 2014.


      • Posted by s44 on 2010/07/06 at 6:41 PM

        You’re right, Dempsey did a lot of excellent dirty work in South Africa (winning the PK was huge), but with Bradley’s dirty-work-only forwards we needed a guy to pop the ball into the back of the net. After the Algeria goal was called back (you’re right that I’ve forgotten to fully credit that) Clint seemed to lose his usual knack for finishing.

        Anyway, I may have underrated his 2010 performance a bit, but that underscores the need for a second difference-maker in 2014. Clint is a hell of a competitor and his knack for goals shouldn’t grow old, but I doubt he’ll have the dynamism to play anywhere but up top in four years. He’ll be our poacher when we need one, but we won’t always need one… And no team relying on a pair of 30-something attackers is going anywhere.

        Until the next big gun (not only in talent but readiness/ability to be The Man) appears, we’re still going to have to build the team around Donovan — accounting, by 2014, for his weaknesses as well as his strengths. Young, ground-covering legs wanted!


        • Huh? I just find it strange that someone wouldn’t rate Dempsey. He was our best player over the course of 4 games. He was quicker of mind and foot than most of the defenders he faced. He did not drift out of games the way Donovan sometimes did.

          Donovan took most of the plaudits but Dempsey had the better tournament on the big stage.


        • Tuesday – I don’t know that you can say Donovan drifted into and out of the games, that’s putting it on him. I think to an extent he was marked out of portions of the games, but then that’s what happens when you’re the key attacking threat on the side, and Dempsey sure benefitted from ‘Cakes being so tightly watched by mutliple defenders.

          Also, Donovan’s goal against Slovenia was a defender miscue but he pounced and was looking for the pass to a higher percentage shooting area but was forced to go it alone because no one else was thinking/reacting quickly enough to get into the box and support him.


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/07/07 at 9:30 AM

        Tuesday – age old debate between you and I.

        Hard to rate Dempsey the best player for the United States at the World Cup. You could Michael Bradley or Donovan there in my opinion, but not Dempsey

        If you’re Dempsey–you have to put the ball in the net to get that award in my opinion.

        Dempsey was only “great” in the Ghana game. He was very good in the Algeria game as well.

        But with 20 shots on goal, you need to knock one in that isn’t a keeper gaffe.

        Answer this question: If Holden plays for Dempsey is that team better than Holden replacing saying Donovan?

        Age old debate between you and I. I thought Dempsey had an excellent tournament. Best play for the United States? Not sure about that.


        • Posted by FulhamPete on 2010/07/07 at 9:35 AM

          Dempsey DID put the ball in the net, twice. Again, yes the first was a fluke, but he still put Green in a position to fail. His other was a clean goal taken away by a phantom offsides call.

          He was unlucky, but every bit deserving of BPOT talk.


          • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/07/07 at 9:40 AM

            I thought I forgot one for a second Pete.

            Agreed Dempsey is deserving of Best Player Of the Tourney Talk — he just doesn’t win in my mind.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/07/07 at 10:09 AM

          What, no Tim Howard? Cannot remember him making one mistake or spilling one shot – even those faster than 44 mph.


        • Posted by s44 on 2010/07/07 at 10:43 AM

          Howard wasn’t Green, but he did disappoint. He did poorly on the second Slovenia goal and at least one of the Ghana ones. Heskey’s collision made Howard a shadow of himself — no world-class saves, either.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/07/07 at 11:34 AM

          For the first Ghana goal, I concede he probably could have done a little better positionally, but one would not expect the Ghana player to run through the middle like that unchallenged, and get a shot off. For the second one, he had every right to think one of his CBs should deal with a simple ball over the top like that.

          Anyways, I just think that Howard is a top top keeper, and I wonder if Sir Alex regrets letting him go permanently rather than sending him out on loan after a suspect start at United.


        • Actually George, we’re the US Timmy should be expecting Boateng to run right through the middle and put one near post on him. Costly (I think) of Honduras did the exact same thing against him on June 6th, 2009 in Chicago off of a Dempsey mistake. Eery how similar those two plays are.


        • Right, right… Donovan probably has more overall impact in our side, but Dempsey is the better player. It’s very similar to the Maicon/Messi debate we were having. They’re both great players – the thing is Dempsey has been playing consistently at a higher level and the trajectory of his improvement reflects that. We shouldn’t buy too much into the Donovan media-hype.

          Dempsey has a better first touch, is quicker with the ball, better in tight spaces, better in the air, more creative and a better finisher. Donovan is faster, more direct, better passer of the ball in space but his first touch let’s him down a surprising amount for a guy who is supposed to be our best technical player – this is one of the reason he needs to find space to operate.

          Dempsey was repeatedly fouled in every game because generally he was too quick with the ball for the defender. In this way he stood out – there were not many players at the world cup that did that as consistently as Dempsey. Many teams don’t have a player like this. Some teams have 1 or maybe 2. The contenders have 3 or 4. If I’m a manager, that’s something I notice and it’s the reason for the transfer rumours.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/07/06 at 7:37 PM


      My key up top is youth with real experience. You give me a forward or striker who gets time at a decent overseas club and they will be in consideration.

      Maybe Mike Grella will get their for Leeds….though Leeds is hardly a top club right now….with Jermaine Beckford gone.

      Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


      • Posted by s44 on 2010/07/06 at 8:24 PM

        How much “real experience” outside MLS did Donovan have in 2002?

        If a kid lights the world on fire at the next U-20/Olympics, he should be get his chance.

        But the key is that the Next Big US player abroad is very possibly not abroad yet (though Lletget is). MLS has some serious prospects, and others aren’t old enough to sign in Europe. If the guy’s not an attacker he’s very possibly still in college! (Edu circa 2006.)

        Look at this cycle… Most of the team was Euro-based, but they certainly didn’t start out that way.


      • Posted by s44 on 2010/07/06 at 8:28 PM

        Mind you, you did list Bowen. I like him. But Mwanga…


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/07/06 at 10:24 PM

          Like I said — further away from the goal the bigger chances one can taken.

          Further, it’s a good shot Bowen’s got at least one move overseas in him before 2014. He’s already starting semi-regularly on the Galaxy.


  16. Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/07/06 at 6:09 PM

    Just read this. And love it(kinda)

    Really Matt?

    You should already know why I’m dissapointed…


  17. Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/07/06 at 6:10 PM

    On another note… Any reason for the exclusion of Clarence Goodson?

    Robbie Rogers needs to become our Gareth Bale if you know what I mean….

    And why can’t Dempsey be strong enough to be employed up top in 4 years? You’re making this assumption that just because he’s 31 he won’t have enough strength up top to hold his own. Who knows?


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/07/06 at 10:36 PM

      I’ve got Goodson in consideration.

      Here’s the thing. Bob Bradley brings in an unfit Chad Marshall to World Cup camp.

      Goodson is given minutes but doesn’t get a sniff of the field in the World Cup.

      If Goodson can’t displace a half-fit Onyewu or a physically limited Bocanegra (could Goodson have won that ball against Gyan?) then what does that say.

      Still in play though.


      • Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/07/07 at 12:36 AM

        Maybe it’s not that Goodson wasn’t caple of displacing them through form, but Bob’s pride and reliance on his “bread & butter” left the Clary riding the pine


      • Goodson is also trending upwards in age, tho not necessarily bad for a centerback. I think he’ll be 31 in 2014?


  18. Posted by csquare on 2010/07/06 at 6:25 PM

    Do we have any promising set piece takers in the youth teams or is it going to be Donovan/ Dempsey taking the set plays again?


    • Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/07/06 at 6:30 PM

      Dempsey was really dissapointing on set pieces this summer


      • Posted by KMac on 2010/07/07 at 5:15 AM

        Was it Dempsey, or that damn ball and the altitude? I didn’t see a whole lot of quality free kicks or long balls until the very late rounds of the cup. I could be off here, but it seemed all 32 teams had struggles with striking from distance and even crosses etc early on.


        • Posted by Colin on 2010/07/07 at 10:15 AM

          all the US matches were at pretty high altitude. J-burg, pretoria, and Rustenburg x2. Personally, I think it had more to do with the altitude then the ball. The matches at the coastal stadiums (Cape town, Port elizabeth, Durban) all showed less signs of the ball floating high most of the time. (like Van Bronkhoerst’s goal and Forlan’s goal last night were at Cape Town)


        • Posted by Colin on 2010/07/07 at 10:16 AM

          I am talking about the shots that floated high…not the one’s that missed the frame entirely…thats on the players shoulders


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/07/06 at 7:42 PM

      Stu Holden is going to be real, real good on set pieces.


      • Torres is also very, very good from set pieces.


        • Torres had I think our one GOOD set piece opportunity on the tournament. I do start to wonder where all these guys are going to fit in our lineup though, Holden may end up playing more as a winger due to our crowded central midfield.


  19. Posted by Bob on 2010/07/06 at 6:45 PM

    I think Goodson should get more attention as a starter if experience is that important to defender. He is having a great year for his club and may soon earn a transfer to Denmark.

    It will be interesting to see what 4 years in the Bundesliga will do to Clark’s game and confidence.

    For 3rd GK, I would also list Samir Badr who recently had two clean sheets in a U20 international tournament last May. He is in the Porto system and gaining tremendous experience learning the international game.

    Deep Sleeper: 1860 Munich striker Bobby Wood who will be 22 in 2014.

    Any fears that Jozy’s game will plateau? I think he desperately needs a team that will give him solid minutes and that plans to keep him for 2-3 years. His bouncing from loan to loan situation is very similar to Adu and I don’t like how it may end up if he cannot stick to one team.

    Could Buddle still be in the picture then? He had a few years where he did not play that much so he still has fresh legs so to speak. I would really like to see him start in Aug. against Brazil.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/07/06 at 10:38 PM

      I’ve got Goodson in consideration.

      Here’s the thing. Bob Bradley brings in an unfit Chad Marshall to World Cup camp.

      Goodson is given minutes but doesn’t get a sniff of the field in the World Cup.

      If Goodson can’t displace a half-fit Onyewu or a physically limited Bocanegra (could Goodson have won that ball against Gyan?) then what does that say.


    • Posted by Paul on 2010/07/08 at 1:26 AM

      Even with bouncing loans, playing for Hull, ect. Jozy has steadily improved his game. Without finding the back of the net enough, he is still doing the sorts of things that make a plateau less of a concern for me. But if he can’t find a good loan, and still struggles to score, then there is more substance to the fears.


  20. Posted by dude on 2010/07/06 at 7:33 PM

    Glad someone is legitimately talking about the 4-3-3, if not yet writing a full article. We simply don’t have enough effective forwards and not enough true end to end wingers, just a lot of fast ones who like to attack. That, combined with a wealth of central talent, and the fact our defense cannot be leaned on, makes it hard to understand why it was only tried once in Costa Rica with an unfamiliar lineup.


    • Posted by s44 on 2010/07/06 at 8:33 PM

      4-2-3-1 (or 4-2-1-3 if you like) seems more likely given where our players go abroad. How often do you see big Euro teams play 3 across the middle (and not two holders and an attacker)?


      • Posted by dude on 2010/07/06 at 9:08 PM

        Thinking more like Chelsea, with an offensive midfielder (Ballack+Deco/Holden+Torres+Feilhaber) box to box (Lampard/Michael Bradley) and a super athletic destroyer (Essien/Edu not Clark).

        Playing 3 straight across the midfield isn’t done by anyone.


        • Sadly not even the Dutch play it anymore. I don’t think we can write off a specific formation at this point. The last 3-4 years have seen the 4-3-3/4-5-1 hybrid or the 4-2-3-1 become the formation of choice for a lot of the club teams out there, before that it was a 4-4-2 with a bucket midfield and at least one of the central mids being of the “Makelele” variety.

          Who knows what crazy formation Jose Mourinho will come up with at Madrid that most clubs and countries will emulate. Also, given how Germany has played this Cup, I could see a nation like the US (very few true strikers in the talent pool with appropriate experience and a plethora of midfielders) turn to something more fluid and dynamic like a traditional 4-5-1 that morphs into a 4-6-0. 4-3-3. 4-4-2, or 3-3-4 depending on the situaiton. Maybe Total Football and the strict 4-3-3 will come back, or a free-wheeling 3-5-2…


        • Posted by s44 on 2010/07/07 at 7:47 AM

          We basically played the flat mid 3 when Benny came on in our last matches.

          So did — at times — Uruguay and Argentina. Not that I’d want to take cues from Maradona.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/07/07 at 8:18 AM

          Chelsea played a lop-sided 4-3-3 for much of last season, and so did Arsenal…


  21. Posted by Colin on 2010/07/07 at 10:10 AM

    I havent even heard of most of these guys and it will give me something to keep an eye on for the next few years.

    One player I will have to contest is Freddy Adu. No, he is not as good as some people thought he would be. But we have to keep in mind that he is still only 21 years old and has been “playing” in europe for quite a while (by playing…i really mean training).

    Does anyone remember how spectacular he looked in the 2007 U20 world cup? He was one of the best players in that tournament…one which included Kun Aguero, Alexandre Pato, Giovani Dos Santos, Alex Sanchez, Gerard Pique, Luis Suarez, Javier Hernandez, Carlos Vela, Angel Di Maria, Mauro Zarate, Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, and Graham Dorrans

    Here is an 8 minute refresher from the match against Poland in that tournament:


    • A friend of mine contends that Adu’s development has plateaud because he’s older than his dodgy birth certificate suggests. Look at all the players you mentioned from this tournament, they all kept physically growing, developing, and maturing like early 20-somethings are wont to do, but Adu has not. Not that I whole-heartedly agree with my friend, but it’s an interesting hypothesis.


    • Posted by Kevin on 2010/07/07 at 10:58 AM

      So where’s this zizzo guy number 15 he was looking impressive on the video haha


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/07/07 at 11:25 AM

        Zizzo is coming back from an internal ailment and the always dangerous ACL injury.

        He should be back on the list shortly. He’s the property of Hannover in the Bundesliga, but played in a lesser league last year until injured.


    • Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/07/07 at 11:38 PM

      what was the starting back-line for that tourney?

      Ziz’ looked like a modern day Gareth Bale right there…


  22. Posted by John on 2010/07/07 at 10:47 AM

    Adu barely has a career with his club side. He has scored three goals in two years for his clubs. He has been loaned out three times from his parent club, two of which (so far) ended in failures.

    There should be a filter for US soccer websites that removes all Freddy Adu stories until he gets above 5 goals in one season in Europe in any division.

    I would rather have Jonathon Bornstein at striker.


    • Posted by John on 2010/07/07 at 10:57 AM

      Sorry that number should be 2 goals in 3 years.


    • Not that I’m on the Freddy Bandwagon but here’s his stats in his first season in Europe he scored 5 goals in 20 appearances (league and cups). Granted he hasn’t done anything since, but he did have an ok season by your standards and then the coach stopped playing him or got fired, can’t remember which.


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/07/07 at 2:39 PM

        Nick…good points. (and the below is commentary on Adu, not on your comment)

        I likely have a post coming on contracts and player development.

        The weird thing about Adu is that he doesn’t stay in the line-up. That to me is a result of one of few things that I don’t know: 1) either he’s not doing what the coach asks of him or 2) he’s a liability on a defense 3) he’s not fit or strong enough to hack it 4) there is some sort of play-and-pay clause in his contract.

        None are good.

        Frankly I don’t care if Freddy Adu is 15, 30 or 45. He needs to progress as a player which is something that hasn’t been seen from him (for contract reasons or whatever).

        Remember, up the field in the attack zone (midfield / forward) the players are typically on stride by 25. Alexis Sanches, 21 — Eljero Elia, 23 — Edinson Cavani, 23 — Fernando Torres, 25.

        Xavi…brilliant game today…is 30…by 25 he was the second in command at Barcelona.

        Even if Adu makes it at Benfica–and by that I mean he is contributing and leading on the pitch–that doesn’t even put him in the national team picture.

        You have Dempsey (EPL or maybe Serie A), Donovan (an anomaly, but likely to go to the EPL), Jose Torres (Mexican League and likely to make a jump at some point), Holden (EPL), Feilhaber (likely to go to La Liga in my opinion) all ahead of him in a similar role.


  23. Posted by Robby on 2010/07/07 at 2:32 PM

    We should hope that our starting midfield is still lando, bradley, edu and deuce


    • Posted by s44 on 2010/07/07 at 3:34 PM


      Most attackers are tailing off by 32, but I suspect (because of his incredible fitness and history) that Donovan has better-than-even odds of still being fit and in the same ballpark of effectiveness.

      But that leaves a very real chance of him losing it, whether from accumulated injuries, loss of more than another half-step, or (something — knock on wood — we’ve been hugely lucky to avoid) just some significant pre-WC knock (e.g. Ballack or Pirlo, both early 30s).

      What then? Our next coach has to be laying the groundwork for a Plan B, not just swallowing a 40% (or whatever) chance of just flaming out helplessly because we can’t score.


      • Posted by Robby on 2010/07/07 at 5:48 PM

        He will have a plan B, but 32 years old is not THAT old. I think Lando and Deuce will still be close to the top of their game come 4 years from now.


        • Posted by s44 on 2010/07/07 at 6:07 PM

          I hope so, but I know we can’t have this year’s situation where the coach is afraid to sub/rest them because the team will disintegrate.


  24. Posted by csquare on 2010/07/07 at 8:18 PM

    has jamel johnson done anything recently or has he sunk back into the ground?


  25. Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/07/07 at 10:56 PM

    Alexander Zahavi….


    • Posted by s44 on 2010/07/07 at 11:26 PM

      We’ll see at the Milk Cup. (With Lletget.) (And what about Zahavi’s Sporting youth teammate Greg Garza? We need left backs.)

      Next year’s U-20 class may be our most important ever, because a lot of these potentially big guys weren’t on our U-17 WC team.


    • Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/07/07 at 11:52 PM

      “a lot of these potentially big guys weren’t on our U-17 WC team” because they’re realizing that the US is on the precipice of becoming a footballing powerhouse(top 10 mainstay).

      Zahavi knows playing with Israel won’t get him any trophies, and it’s been on display to the world that playing with CRSelfish isn’t enjoyable at all.


      • Posted by s44 on 2010/07/08 at 12:24 AM

        Well, each of the guys I’m thinking of has a different story.

        Lletget didn’t like Wilmer’s “show up early or don’t go” policy (i.e. indirect Bradenton favoritism).
        Bowen didn’t come through that system — he’s a MLS academy discovery. We need a lot more of these going forward.
        Zahavi was (and is, until he files) cap-tied to Portugal, and played for *their* U-17.
        Mwanga won’t be a citizen until (earliest) June 2011. That’s cutting it close… Maybe too close.
        Hoyos probably won’t go, because he still hasn’t made up his mind. IMO he’d be insane to put himself in the hands of a national organization that seriously considers keeping Maradona after the Germany debacle.


  26. Posted by yo on 2010/07/08 at 1:29 AM

    im a big jared jeffery fan and hope he gets some playing time with mainz and the us. felt he was the best player for the us in the past u17 and u20 world cups. reminds me of michael bradley with hair. i also think stephan frei should get a look because he rarely has a bad game and doesnt exactly have an all star group of defenders in front of him. does he considers himself swiss at this point. im not sold on guzan.


    • I Watched Frei play in goal several times at Edwards Stadium before he left Cal. He is the real deal. At one match I was sitting with members of the Cal Ladies football team and they said he was “inspirational”. But I think if Stefan is capped it probably will be for Switzerland, and not the United States.


  27. Posted by Paul on 2010/07/08 at 2:14 AM

    Reading this post makes me feel pretty good for 2014, especially concerning the back line. However, being between Bornstein and oblivion makes left back a glaring problem even before qualifying begins. So the thought of attempting to bring Rogers into that position isn’t a bad idea at all.

    But if that is possible with Rogers, why not with Castillo? Yes, he needs to improve in the air, ect. But size alone isn’t actually a problem:

    “Matthew here, sure, it was just one observation. I saw an extremely competent player who was strong on the ball, that’s for sure. Looked to me though slated more for a left holding mid. Maybe my comments are biased since he had a thin frame (heck, Ashley Cole has a thin frame), that being said, looked like a mid-pitchman to me.” Mr. Castillo, Please Report to the Backline

    Philipp Lahm

    * Height: 5′ 7” (1.70m)
    * Weight: 141 lbs (64 kg)

    Jonathan Bornstein

    Height: 5′ 9″
    Weight: 146 lbs

    *Robbie “Big Body” Rogers

    Height 5′ 10″ (1.77m)
    Weight 163 lbs

    *Edgar Eduardo Castillo

    Height 5′ 9” (1.75m)
    Weight 168 lbs (76 kg)

    —–Finally, if we are going to try to bring new players into left back, why not try Clark (or Edu, for a little bit of tactical flexibility) there? He’s certainly got the mix of defensive and offensive ability one likes for the position; a new place on the pitch might give him a confidence–with less competition, he could grow into a decent back. We have the time to experiment with a left back, so let’s use it!


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/07/08 at 8:38 AM

      Not sure where you got your numbers–oh NEVER TRUST SOCCERNET–on Rogers and Castillo but they’re off.

      Via USSoccer:

      Rogers: 5’10” , 180lbs

      Castillo, 5’7” (and this is generous), 146lbs.

      Plus Castillo doesn’t play a morsel of defense.


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/07/08 at 8:39 AM

        You might like this piece from last year as well:


      • Posted by Paul on 2010/07/08 at 11:55 AM

        Yanks Abroad has the same stats for Castillo, but the US fed site has him listed as per your post. Still think a mere run out for Castillo at left back is warrented, given trouble at position. Ditto on Clark; his world cup has slid him firmly to 3rd on depth chart, and flexibility to play left back might be the way to keep him on 2011 Gold Cup roster.


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/07/08 at 12:06 PM

          Paul — I can categorically say that Castillo–for anyone who has watched him play–is much closer in stature to Jose Torres rather than Robbie Rogers.

          Also, I don’t think size is a predominant factor. It is an advantage *if the player has the speed or someone smaller in stature. Rogers has this coupled with an offensive game that would make him a force.

          As you noticed, I put Franklin as a first choice right back. He’s probably 5’9”, 160 or so.

          My bigger issue with Castillo is his defense is downright atrocious. Maybe it will improve this year and maybe he should get a look out there, but frankly if I had to pick a leftback for the Yanks to start a game in the Gold Cup and Heath Pearce, Johnny B, etc were all injured…or easier, I had to pick between Rogers and Castillo–I’d probably choose Rogers even right now.

          May change and Castillo deserves a look. This is just where I rate him right now.


  28. I like this Matt. Essentially all that Coach Bob or X is going to have to work with is a long list of names and scouting reports. Difficult for anyone to make sense of that now, outside of who were in their early to mid twenties at South Africa for the World Cup.


  29. […] (Note: TSG put David in our Brazil 2014 prospect column). […]


  30. […] I recommend looking at this piece from June 2010 (World Cup 2014: Scribbled On The Gym Wall) and this piece from nearly a year ago, October 2009 (“Who Strikes? What’s the […]


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