Friday, December 24, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
The 2009 version featured significantly less popular youngsters as the US fell out in the group stage, following embarrassing 3-0 losses to both Germany and South Korea. The 2009 class featured players like Bryan Arguez , Mikkel Diskerud, Jared Jeffery, and Sean Johnson, but even these successful professionals weren't enough to push the US through.
Gearing up for a busy 2011, Thomas Rongen has a depth pool that many international coaches would drool over. He's also done his fair share of digging up some some dual, and in one a case, a triple international player(s). Names in this class include promising young stars such as GK Cody Cropper (Ipswich Town), DF Gale Aggbossoumonde (Estoril Praia) DF Greg Garza (Estoril Praia), MD Joseph Gyau (Hoffenheim), MD Sebastien Lletget (West Ham United), MD Joshua Gatt (Altach), FW Jack McInerney (Philadelphia Union) and FW Conor Doyle (Derby County).
Other big names coming out of this class include the well known New York Red Bulls prodigy Juan Agudelo, Adrian Ruelas who is currently on trial at Celtic in Scotland, and cult hero Omar Salgado, who gave up his position at CD Guadalajara to play for the United States.
Two names that I am particularly excited about are dual-international Fabien Hurzeler, a 17 year old Bayern Munich academy star, who was the German U-17 captain, but no longer appears to be in the plans with them any longer. Rongen scooped him up and has invited him to the US' training camp for the beginning of January. The other is triple-international Alex Zahavi, currently playing professionally at Maccabi Haifa, he holds citizenship from the United States, Portugal, and Israel. He is a right-footed, left winger who loves to cut inside and attack. He made his US debut at the Torneo de las Americas tournament in November and scored a goal against Colombia.
This is arguably the deepest, most collectively talented class for a US youth team ever. Where the other classes have featured popular young stars, there were significant holes. If there is a hole in this class, I really am having a hard time finding it. A solid collection of professional and college players have really gelled under the guidance of the Dutchman Rongen.
With 2011 holding the U-20 CONCACAF Championship in April in Guatemala, and the U-20 World Cup in July and August in Colombia, Rongen will need to nail down his final group of around 30ish players and next months training camp is part of that.
Looking forward, I expect nothing less than at least a win in the CONCACAF Championship, and a march to the quarterfinals in the World Cup. That is where Rongen and these young players need to aim.
In 2011, the United should be expecting nothing less, with the start of a new World Cup cycle, a star could rise in the U-20s and make a name on the national side come June 2014. This is where it starts.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
GOALKEEPERS (4): Dominic Cervi (Celtic), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Matt Pickens (Colorado Rapids), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (9): A.J. DeLaGarza (Los Angeles Galaxy), Sean Franklin (Los Angeles Galaxy), Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles Galaxy), Ugo Ihemelu (FC Dallas), Zach Loyd (FC Dallas), Ryan Miller (Halmstads BK), Tim Ream (New York Red Bulls), Anthony Wallace (Colorado Rapids), Marvell Wynne (Colorado Rapids)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Eric Alexander (FC Dallas), Alejandro Bedoya (Örebro), Sam Cronin (San Jose Earthquakes), Mikkel Diskerud (Stabaek), Jeff Larentowicz (Colorado Rapids), Dax McCarty (D.C. United), Brek Shea (FC Dallas)
FORWARDS (4): Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls), Justin Braun (Chivas USA), Teal Bunbury (Sporting Kansas City), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
Late night here, so here's some two cents from the mastermind(s) at Ninety Plus:
- All kinds of youth here, but really only a few of the 24 players called in should be expecting much of a future in with the full team. The rest are potential stop gaps should there be an injury crisis.
- What a great collection of young forwards, something that we haven't seen at a Camp Cupcake in years. Agudelo, Bunbery, and Braun are probably the three best American forwards in MLS under age 23.
- Wait...(sniffle)...I'm having a moment, this is the first January roster that does not feature any of the US' version of the three stooges (Robbie Findley, Ricardo Clark, Jonathan Bornstein).
- I'm really looking forward to this leftback battle; Anthony Wallace, Ryan Miller, and AJ DeLaGarza. I see it coming down to Wallace and Miller, and the slight edge to Miller in this one. Does Tim Ream maybe even get a trot out on the left?? Doubtful, but it is the season for experimentation
- To counter a Chile team which is sure to bring some young attacking flash to the table, will Bob Bradley counter with a strong defense, or will he counter speed with speed? Considering his recent experimentation's, I would say that we see a bit of an energetic, attacking side. But we'll need to see Chile's line-up to better guess this one.
- Here is my favored line-up:
I need some Yanks in my life.