Words by: Mark Vincent Lincir and Elliott “Not Vincent” Spruell
With the US’ first match of the 2010 World Cup “Send Off Series” bearing down upon us, the question being kicked around the 90:00 Soccer Office is, “Will Bob Bradley use this match against the Czech Republic as a measuring stick for the fringe players before he books 23 tickets to South Africa, or has he seen enough in camp to use this match to fine tune his possible starting XI in preparation for the USA’s clash with the blokes from the UK on June 12?”
Photo from fOTOGLIF
Elliott’s OpinionCheap jerseys
As a youth soccer coach, I have been in charge of many tryouts, and I can tell you that when a club manager tells me that he wants to conduct four hour tryouts, Monday-Friday, I cringe. You know why? Because after watching twenty minutes of small sided games, I can tell you exactly who I want on my team, and then I can use the remaining 15 hours and 40 minutes on preparing my players to play the game instead of humoring players that stood no chance after the first twenty minutes of tryouts.
While deciding who will represent the US in the World Cup is a bigger decision than picking players to play on a U-12 soccer team in Wisconsin, after seeing these guys perform at the current camp in New Jersey and in past US training camps, Bob-O should have a pretty good idea about what each player brings to the table and which players can contribute on the world’s largest stage and which ones will falter under the pressure.
With that being said, with only three matches remaining for the good ol’ USA to fine tune not only its line up, but also its play before arguably the most anticipated match of the opening round of World Cup 2010, being played against the country that invented football, I believe that Coach Bradley should do everything in his power to make sure that the players that are going to be playing against Rooney &. Co. come June, are prepared, familiar with each other, and firing on all cylinders. No offense to players like Kljestan, Rogers, and Findley, but your chances of making the final 23 are slim to none, and if somehow you do mange to sneak onto the roster, the likely hood of you stepping onto the pitch in South Africa other than to warm up are even slimmer, so do us all a favor, and if for some reason Coach does ask you to play against the Czech tomorrow, kindly decline and let someone who needs those 15 hours and 40 minutes, use them.
Elliott’s Proposed Lineup
Spector Gooch Demerit Boca
The key for the US team in the upcoming send off games and the World Cup is Clint Dempsey! So goes Clint, so goes the U.S. this summer, it’s that simple. Remember the timely goals he scored in the Confederations Cup? He’s the only player on the team who has proven that he can score goals against big-time competition.
Photo from fOTOGLIF
The problem for Clint will be that everyone will be keying on him. If Beasley plays, it’s likely the other team won’t even bother to mark him. The problem I see with Elliott’s lineup is the two forwards up front. The U.S. needs to go with a counter-attacking 4-5-1 and have Edu, Bradley (though I don’t agree with it, I know that’s how it will be) and Feilhaber in the middle with Dempsey and Landon out wide. I’m fine with the same back four, but an omission I still don’t understand is Pablo Mastroeni. Why not bring him to South Africa as an option at center back? He’s strong, hits hard, is experienced and can organize. But Coach Bob knows better. It’ll be more effective to slot Bornstein in there, right? Wrong. How is Bornstein even in the 30? He had the worst run up of games in recent memory and not only will he be in the 23, he might start if there’s an injury or two in the back! That’s a real problem, because he’s not good enough to play in the World Cup…yet.
Coach Bob needs to use these next two games to play his starters together in the formation they will play in South Africa. By now, he knows who can contribute. Forward-wise…give each guy a half a game up top in the lone striker spot. But South Africa will be all about defending with their lives and counter-attacking.
Mark’s Proposed Lineup
Spector Onyewu DeMerit Bocanegra
Landon Bradley Edu Dempsey