Nov 7, 2011

Who Should Start For USMNT Against France? Wrong Question To Ask

The question that will occupy much of the USMNT commentariat over the next week is just that simple, who will, or should or might start against the French.  So let me get that out of the way quickly.  Here is who I think will start:






Here is who I would like to see start in a 4-4-1-1: obviously limited to the current squad





*As a DC United fan, I really want Hamid to get a cap this time around, but I am okay if that happens with Slovenia.

Three reasons for this line up.

1.  The Jozy Altidore as a target striker is just not going to work in my mind and is a waste of Jozy's best talents.  Of the forwards on this squad, Buddle is the closest thing to a target striker we have and I know he is not ideal.

2.  Michael Bradley has been a beast at defensive midfielder in Serie A and that is saying something.  Let's see if he can spray things around as a passer that Klinsmann wants.

3.  I like Goodson's ball control better.  

But the line-up questions are not nearly as intriguing as the tactical questions.  Klinsmann has clearly indicated a more ball control oriented style of play.  I have to admit, I like that about Klinsmann, but he is not picking a squad that seems disposed to that kind of a game.  So is the player pool adapting to Klinsmann's desired style or is Klinsmann adopting his preferred tactics to the player pool.  Ideally, it is the former, but the evidence is not there.

If you start in the back, picking guys like Onyewu and Orozco-Fiscal  over guys like Goodson or Tm Ream or A.J. De La Garza, you are not picking ball control defenders.  Now, someone like Onyewu has a role in any side and sometimes a physical presence is necessary as a defender.  But when Orozco-Fiscal continues to get selected over better defenders or over defenders that have not been adequately observed on a international stage, it is hard to say that Klinsmann is looking for defenders who can play out of the back when his is over looking good defenders with ball control skills. Ball control has to start at the back.

I know these are friendlies and giving the upcoming World Cup qualifying that will start in the summer, Klinsmann needs to start developing groups of players who are or may be effective.  The emergence of the left flank pairing of Tim Chandler and Brek Shea is just one example of a success.  But there is a distinct lack of experimentation otherwise in the midfield absent Jose Torres.  The fact is, with Donovan and Dempsey, and to a lesser extent Bradley, Jones, Edu and Beckerman, we know what we have.  Beckerman can do the dirty work and Donovan, Bradley and Dempsey have a long history together, so what are we going to learn here that we don't already know?  Why not bring in some other players?  What about Mixx Diskerrud or Sacha Kljestan's talents?  What could they add to the ball control mix?  What about someone completely outside the box, like Mike Magee of the L.A. Galaxy or Graham Zusi of Sporting Kansas City?    The fact is that if you are going have a ball control style of play, this current midfield crop needs to be augmented and Klinsmann needs to do some experimenting.

The fact is that as we head into the World Cup Qualifying cycle, we are not getting enough new players into the mix to see if there are players out there who have that ball control style of play that Klinsmann wants to play.  So, we are seeing the same players over and over again.

But a thought has occurred to me.  If you look at the seletions of Caleb Porter and Tab Ramos and Richie Williams as youth team coaches and the claimed integrated style of play that Klinsmann was to develop across the program, is Klinsmann writing off 2014?  That is the subject of the next post.

So tell me, is Klinsmann adapting his tactics by limiting his player pool?

No comments:

Post a Comment