Friday, August 26, 2011
Who Are These Guys?
So unless you live in a cave deep in the mountains somewhere, you've probably seen the 24-man U.S. roster released for the upcoming friendlies against Costa Rica and Belgium. For our friends who very may well live in a cave, here is the roster:
Goalkeepers (2): Tim Howard, Bill Hamid
Defenders (9): Carlos Bocanegra, Edgar Castillo, Timmy Chandler, Steve Cherundolo, Clarence Goodson, Zach Loyd, Michael Orozsco Fiscal, Heath Pearce, Tim Ream
Midfielders (9): Kyle Beckerman, Clint Dempsey, Maurice Edu, Fabian Johnson, Sacha Kljestan, Jeff Larentowicz, Robbie Rogers, Brek Shea, Jose Torres
Forwards (4): Teal Bunbury, Jozy Altidore, Juan Agudelo, Landon Donovan
That "mehhh" you're hearing is the collective moaning of thousands of U.S. fans who have pretty much expected the "best" US players to be called in, regardless of playing time, which is primarily what we saw under Bruce Arena and Bob Bradley. This roster is what the United States looks like when you simply call in players based on their club playing time. Every player on the roster has been seeing significant time lately for their respective clubs.
Terrifying isn't it?
There is a sheer litany of players who most fans consider "more promising", or "better", what ever you to call it, who aren't here, because they aren't seeing consistent playing time. Jurgen Klinsmann is not just paying lip service to only calling in players who are playing full matches with their clubs consistently. Let's just take a quick look at some guys who have been left off for this pair of friendlies for not playing much at their clubs:
Now a list of players who have been meeting the "playing time" clause, but who've been left off for various reasons:
Lots of players listed there isn't it?
But there's nothing we as the fans can do so we'll move on to the actual roster itself, which despite the lack of some of the "regulars", is quite strong. Klinsmann has clearly determined in his mind who the U.S. goalkeeper of the future is going to be. Bill Hamid receives his second consecutive camp call-up under Klinsmann, despite Hamid picking up what looked to be a nasty hamstring injury just last week. But he's healed and he's here. I'm happy for the kid.
Defenders are pretty much who we though they would be right? Not surprised at the inclusions of Heath Pearce and Zach Loyd. Timothy Chandler WILL be there, WILL play, back away from the edge, EVERYONE. Clarence Goodson and Carlos Bocanegra are you're CB pairing I believe, despite Michael Orozco's yeoman's performance from earlier this month. Edgar Castillo with his second consecutive call-up, and he'll likely get a start in at least one of the matches.
The midfield corp has an interesting name in it, that name being Fabian Johnson. The Hoffenheim midfielder/defender is yet another "born in Germany to an American service man" product. He's been a bit of a journeyman the last couple seasons, but prior to that, was a regular with German youth sides, so you can be assured of his quality. He has played leftback a couple of times this season for Hoffenheim, but he's primarily deployed on the right hand side of midfield, where in his last match he earned an assist and drew a penalty with a darting run into the box. I think he could very well see a Chandler/Johnson right hand side combination. Massive chance for Maurice Edu here. The absence of Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones gives Edu the proper shot he deserves to nail down a starting job in central midfield.
The strike-force includes Teal Bunbury, his first call up since the January camp. Jozy Altidore has scored braces in his last two games for new club AZ Alkmaar. Donovan and Agudelo fill out the other roles. Straight forward.
Potential starting eleven, for both matches, as Klinsmann will need to develop some kind of continuity heading towards World Cup Qualifying which will start for the United States in June of next year with a group that will include Jamaica, and will likely include Guatemala and Haiti. Here is an intriguing eleven to consider:
What about that? Dangerous? Let me know what you think.
Players will begin arriving on Monday in Los Angeles for the match against Costa Rica.