The US Roster To Face Mexico: The Last Ride for Edu

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GOALKEEPERS (3): Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

DEFENDERS (8): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Michael Orozco (Puebla), Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

FORWARDS (4): Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Eddie Johnson (D.C. United), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

> Excellent addition of Mo Edu. Those that follow TSG know that the missing element in the mix–by this publication’s call–is a speedy, tracking CM for when the US knows it will be an up-down game. Danny Williams acquitted himself reasonably well in Cyprus. Now it’s Edu’s turn.

> Big go as well for Michael Parkhurst who sure is looking (Cameron, Gonzo, Besler, DMB, Evans, Goodson, Fab J*) like the “seven-and-a-halfth” defender on the roster. (Depth Chart coming soon.)

> Don’t understand the calls for EJ being on the bubble. He is clearly Klinsmann’s preferred back-up to Jozy Altidore as he presents the strength to hold-up the ball and take on a defender that Terrence Boyd and Juan Agudelo just don’t have the reps for.


25 responses to this post.

  1. im ok with EJ on the roster, but he just cant start imo. he needs to be used as the 2nd sub that offers a spark.


  2. Posted by Joamiq on 2014/03/27 at 12:06 AM

    Boyd doesn’t have the reps with the US for that, and he may not by the time Brazil rolls around, but some (myself included) think he’s better suited for the role than EJ. He has the strength to hold up the ball as well, and is better at taking on defenders – all EJ has is that slow touch-slow touch-break move that he tries every time and usually fails with. EJ is stronger in the air, but Boyd’s all around game is better, I think. That being said, if Boyd doesn’t get those national team reps, EJ may still be the better call, as an exciteable Boyd may make even more mistakes than EJ does.

    No Feilhaber, meanwhile. Guess Klinsmann’s decided against him.

    I’d love to know who TSG thinks is the ideal partner for Bradley – Jones? Edu? Cameron? Or is Bradley best tasked with sitting in front of the backline with a more offensive midfield ahead of him (something like Zusi-Donovan-Bedoya, for example).


    • Posted by SamT on 2014/03/27 at 8:53 AM

      Surprised not to see Feilhaber.

      Agree with the assessment that this must mean JK has decided against him. Just surprised he wasn’t given one more chance given that this is a US-based camp.

      Typically you bring two sides of 11 + the third GK = 23. The clear missing player here is Benny, a player who was prominent on during the Brazil camp.

      Sends a clear message to everyone that it’s decision time.


  3. […] Worth repeating what was written at TSG yesterday regarding the Maurice Edu call-up. This is a very big opportunity for Edu. That he’s back in […]


  4. Not surprised to see Feilhaber off the list. Who does he realistically replace on 23? Barring injury, we’ve already pretty well determined our midfield, particularly with the crossover players (Cameron, F. Johnson, Dempsey, Donovan, Green(?)) allowing for more options at the positions of greater need. That, and his track record of shrinking away during big games. (A few exceptions, yes. But just a few.)


  5. Posted by Chazcar2 on 2014/03/28 at 8:25 AM

    I am going to think of this camp as continued building to the 2014 world cup. For me we have 3 big challenges. We don’t have a striker that can thrive in a single striker system. We don’t have a solid group defensive duo. We are weak on the wings.

    These things lead me to think that the 4-2-3-1 is not our best formation. Even when it has been successful it looked more like a 4-4-2. But playing with only 2 central midfielders against high level teams means we can’t win the midfield zone. Then Dempsey moves deep and doesn’t have the pace and explosiveness to move forward in time to support the striker (who doesn’t have the ability to create for himself). Also when we send the fullbacks forward we open our defenders up because they have to split wide to cover. That is where its useful for a center mid to drop deep to cover that middle. But Jones doesn’t do that. When Bradley plays with Jones he does that. But Bradley is one of our best players in managing the game further forward…

    So anyway I am arguing for a change from the 4-2-3-1 we have been playing to something more like a 4-1-3-2. In any team the try to fit the system to the players, especially true on a national team with limited options. So everyone agrees the “core” of this team is Bradley, Dempsey, Howard, and Altidore. Klinsmann includes Jones and leaves out Donovan. For me I include Donovan and leave out Jones. Jones is not a “giver”. He plays his game and the rest of the team adapts to him. He is not as good as Bradley, who is the chief player that has to change his game to suit Jones. For me, Jones is not good or consistent enough to demand that.

    My starting formation in Brazil is looking more like:*****

    I am looking at a few players for the question marks. Cameron and Johnson spring to mind at Right back. I am leaning to Johnson. I want Cameron on the field though. I don’t think he has shown well enough to slide into Centerback. I like Zusi/Bedoya for the right midfield. I can’t justify Bradley at Dmid as it leaves a hole up the field and I don’t think it maximizes his skills.

    One other point. Altidore and Dempsey up top isn’t a great combo. Neither has the speed to scare a defense into playing deeper. The US doesn’t have the ability to push through a squeezed midfield zone. We need the opposition to play deeper (honestly all teams do, but us especially). I think Donovan is a great striker for this role. Not only does he have speed, but he think fast. Give me 60-70 minutes of top tier Donovan and then we can discuss who to bring in as a sub. Dempsey on the wing isn’t a great option, but I envision that position for player that can manage possession and become an alternative target for crosses from the right wing (Zusi).

    My alternative formation thought would be 4-3-1-2****

    ****Disclaimer: Formations are constructs for talking specific player roles. I try to imply how I envision the system working, but really when I write Dempsey on the left wing I full expect a wandering playmakerish, forwardish, make shit happen, defensively weak performance.

    So with that in mind, this game could be a good venue to try out players for Two starting positions: Right back and Defensive Mid and Three tactical subs: true Left winger, Second striker, lock down defender.

    Mexico Game starters:
    ———E Johnson—Donovan——-

    Subs: Edu for Beckerman, Parkhurst for Yedlin, Gil for Dempsey, Green for Donovan


    • Posted by Chazcar2 on 2014/03/28 at 8:25 AM

      ok that is way too long of a post.


    • Posted by KickinNames... on 2014/03/28 at 1:56 PM

      That’s a fantastic breakdown and analysis Chaz. Reminds me why I keep coming back here to TSG.
      I like your thoughts re Donovan and I think that continuing to depend on the “As Is” Dempsey model for significant offense let alone D is a bigger question mark than it was a year ago. I ‘m not saying he’s shite but his lack of form and his attitude for the last year is worrying.


  6. Posted by Paul on 2014/03/28 at 1:00 PM

    I saw someone on…bleacher report maybe? …also advocating a 4-1-3-2, and I agree it puts the best players on the field. The single D-mid ought probably be Jones, Cameron, or Beckerman. I don’t know what’s up between Klinsmann and Jones that he can’t keep him tied back where he belongs, but if he would stay put and let Bradley do his thing, the team would work so much better. Maybe just showing him a chart where the whiteboard calls for him to be clearly behind Bradley would cement it in his head?


    • Posted by KickinNames... on 2014/03/28 at 1:49 PM

      I think cement and head belong in any discussion re Jones. He has the want to and grit for CDM but I don’t think he fits the cerebral player type that you need in that role. He’s a react guy not a destroy and distribute. I still think that Cameron is a hell of an option there as he can and will distribute and is an excellent open field destroyer ball winner. And what he lacks we gain by having a positionally considerate CDM that truly (and finally IMO) allows Bradley to do what he does better than anyone else in the side.
      Edu is an above avg tackler but is far too erratic in distribution.


  7. Posted by ArlingtonMA on 2014/03/31 at 5:13 AM

    Open question: what are the thoughts behind the USMNT coaching changes three months before the World Cup? Pros v. Cons?

    Ramos v. Vasquez
    Berti Vogts

    I read a rumor that Puebla did not release Orozco and Beasley. Pure speculation, but do you think the change had something to do with an inability to get them release?

    Another line of thought is that Vasquez may move to coach U-23’s and Klinsy wants someone there that understands the USMNT direction.


  8. Posted by Chazcar2 on 2014/03/31 at 10:42 AM

    So just saw that Beasley won’t be making the trip. Might I suggest we go 3-5-2 to match Mexico


    Or 3-4-3

    or 4-3-3


  9. Posted by Usually Ranting on 2014/03/31 at 12:41 PM

    Great post.

    Disagree a bit on the EJ being the preferred back up to Jozy. I think Aron is clearly the best back up, unless Jurgen plays him out wide (which, I think, could be a very effective position for Aron given the lack of other established options).

    That said, I can’t discount how important EJ has been to the US’s impressive run in 2013. I just think that he has a habit of being out of a game for 60-70 minutes.


  10. Posted by Usually Ranting on 2014/03/31 at 2:59 PM

    Great debate right now between Godfrey and Leander re: Altidore. Leander saying what many don’t have the balls to say “Jozy just might not be good enough for the PL”.


    • Posted by KickinNames... on 2014/03/31 at 7:01 PM

      I think the body of evidence is pretty strong between his failure at Hull and now not bringing it at Sunderland . His work rate and lack of desire to do the hard work as a hold up striker tell the story. As Klinsmann noted last year, his 30+ Eredivisie goals was not a real test of his abilities. When you put him up against top defending on a weekly basis he just doesn’t measure up. Unfortunate.
      You compare him to Brian McBride who didn’t have half the natural skills and physical gifts but worked his ass of for every ball and succeeded far beyond his skill level.


      • Posted by Chazcar2 on 2014/04/01 at 6:43 AM

        I know the popular opinion of Jozy is that he doesn’t work hard enough to suceed in the premier league. I think that is a lazy evaluation. The real problem in my mind is that he doesn’t head the ball well. Premier League center forwards need to win headers. Every team uses crossing to get goals. Jozy just doesn’t win the ball well if its that high. Headers put on frame, knockdowns into the path of other forwards, defensive marking on corners… all of it. Not his strength. Play the ball to his chest and feet and he makes some great hold up plays. But not with his head.

        Johnson makes the team for his heading ability. No other forwards have that ability to the extent he does. I am tempted to say Onweyu makes the roster as a forward for “late game I need someone to redirect the ball on frame” role. Neither Goodson or Gonzalez are the dominate header of the ball Gooch is. He not only “wins” the ball in the air, he directs it to a useful spot too. Unfortunately the rest of his game is so weak now.


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2014/04/01 at 9:23 AM

          Hard to suggest that it’s lazy evaluation given his *completely body of work*.

          He shouldn’t shoulder all the blame for Sunderland or Hull for that matter and to me it’s not even the converting chances.

          The big thing for Altidore is that he’s ultimately a tweener. He’s not great at hold-up because his first-touch often betrays him.

          If he does gather the ball, he’s excellent at playing a quick give-and-go, but beyond that has little awareness of passing channels.

          If you watch the 30′ or so to the 45′ min of the Ukraine game you can see (and fair play in that the entire team looked tactically inept) Altidore clearly not pairing well or reading the game off Dempsey.

          Two or three breaks fail at Dempsey’s feet. Not because of Dempsey, but because the channel the pass was supposed to go to Altidore abandons.


          • Posted by Chazcar2 on 2014/04/02 at 7:04 AM

            I didn’t want to seem mean spirited, but so many people really just break out the “lazy” I find it annoying. Jozy isn’t lazy. Unfocused is really a better thought. The athlete that springs to mind when talking about Jozy is Carmelo Anthony. Immensely talented and driven, but subject to constant criticism over the player he isn’t. He also really needs to feel involved and valued to be at his best. Jozy needs to find the game in the first 10 minutes or he is just not going to contribute in the way you expect for his talent level.

            Also, its true about the first touch. I remember watching the Belgium game. Lukaku brought down a 40-50 yard pass with the outside of his right foot and put it right into his dribbling path. I just remember thinking that Jozy could never make that simple of a ball control.

            Which I guess brings me to my point. If that is not the player Jozy is, then stop playing that way.


            • Posted by matthewsf on 2014/04/02 at 8:58 AM

              Didn’t take it as such. I do. I think he is lazy–mentally or physically.

              It could be physically just not wanting to put in the work OR it could be mentally….not wanting to put in the work to understand where to go on the field in situations.

        • Posted by matthewsf on 2014/04/01 at 9:27 AM

          I really think it’s lazy and convenient evaluation to make the comments above.

          It ignores the complete body of work.

          What Altidore has improved on is the following since his transfer to Villarreal.

          His hold-up play, below average to average.
          His ability to create a shot in traffic– he has more patience.

          He still drifts in and out of games.
          He still is defensively deficient for large parts of the game.
          And he’s still prone to poorly timed fouls.
          Worse, he often stands around, either unsure where to go or perhaps frustrated at the lack of service.

          (He reminds of Erick Dampier in basketball…sorry..first player that came to mind.)


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2014/04/01 at 9:27 AM

          Really difficult to say he makes good hold-up plays on a consistent basis.


        • Posted by KickinNames... on 2014/04/02 at 6:51 PM

          So the only real problem he has in BPL is that he’s a poor header of the. ball?
          Have you watched him at Sunderland this year? Tell me how else you’d describe the fact that he looks lost much of the time and his poor sense of positioning and lack of intelligent running don’t help him or his teammates. Very few chances generated.In Eredivise he could turn and run whenever he wanted to without having to work that hard for the opportunity. Defending was an afterthought.
          In my viewing, doesn’t put in the effort needed to be a successful hold up striker and he doesn’t like playing with his back to goal and working to hold up either….so….put whatever word beside lazy in there you’d like.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2014/04/01 at 8:29 AM

      I think Leander is on point. Watch Jozy lately. He’s shouldering way too much blame, but his movement is really borderline lazy.


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