Nov 12, 2012

Five Talking Points About USMNT Russia Friendly

So, with the final FIFA Friendly of the year on Wednesday, USMNT Coach Jurgen Klinsmann finally announced a squad, here it is:

GOALKEEPERS- Tim Howard (Everton), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS- Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Nuremberg), Maurice Edu (Stoke City), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim)
MIDFIELDERS - Michael Bradley (Roma), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Joshua Gatt (Molde), Joe Gyau (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim)
FORWARDS- Juan Agudelo (Chivas USA), Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Herculez Gomez (Santos Laguna)

So my Five Talking Points:

1.  Klinsmann went young.  The average age of this squad is 25.7 with six players aged 30 or more (Bocanegra, Gomez, Goodson, Howard, Jones & Rimando).  By contrast, the squad in the Antigua and Guatamala World Cup Qualifiers had an average age of 28.4 and nine players age 30 or more (the previously named six, plus Beckerman, Cherundolo and Gordon).  Youth is a good thing and of course a friendly is designed to see what young players can do on an international stage.  But will Klinsmann play some of those youngsters?  I hope so.  I would like to see Sean Johnson play, along with Gatt, Gyau, Boyd and Agudelo.  That is five of the permissible six subs---seems good to me.

2.  Rumor has it that Timmy Chandler is committed to the U.S.  Well, until he is cap tied to the U.S. in a qualifier or Gold Cup, I have been burned too many times before.  Seeing is believing Timmy, seeing is believing.

3.  Speed aplenty in this squad.  Chandler, F. Johnson, Gatt, Gyau, Boyd and to a lesser extent Agudelo represent some speedy guys.  Will Klinsmann's tactics use that speed?  I hope so.  

4.  Sacha Kljestan has a chance here to show what he can do.  Will he start?  I hope so.  I would like to see him on the right in 4-4-2, but if Klinsmann goes 4-3-3, Kljestan will suffer as the midfielder dropped.  Kljestan is an attacking midfielder.  Unless he has improved his box to box play, he will not supplant Bradley, Jones or Williams without an injury.

5.  Is Altidore out of the doghouse?  Sure seems like it, but as his form for AZ Alkmaar suggests, for him to be effective, he needs to be running at defenses and getting good service in the box--will Klinsmann use him that way?  Let's just say that I am not betting the farm on it.

Line-up I would like to see:



F. Johnson--Bocanegra---Cameron--------Chandler---------

--------------------S. Johnson----------------------------------------

Line-up we are more likely to see





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