wherein DF travels to Deutschland for the 2006 world cup to follow the US men's national soccer team

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Final roster: to the extent that there are questions, why do we care?

So the relative dearth of haps in the USMNT camp of late has led me to engage in major hand-wringing over the final 23-man roster that's due to be announced in a couple weeks. And before the readership derides me as a hopeless soccerneurotic, I'd like to point out that you're all the same as me.

But in the interest of quelling my obsessiveness so I can at least pretend to focus on work, I've come to the conclusion that the roster announcement doesn't really matter. The reason is that the only hard questions come at the margins: will we take Wolff or Ching? Albright or one of Berhalter/Conrad? Olsen or Noonan?

Answer: it simply doesn't matter. The likelihood is that none of these guys will see much time (well, maybe the forward--but even then it will be marginal). As of right now, we know who the key players are, and the ones that are last on the roster will likely just be filling up space.

But wait, DF, you rightly say. Isn't it the case that Bruce is nearly unique among major national coaches in using almost all his roster players? A couple things. First, Bruce doesn't necessarily use all his players. Last WC, in addition to KK and Meola, neither Regis nor (was it?) Vanney saw any time. So it could be the case that the last defender or midfielder picked spends all their time on the bench.

But true also that last time around Bruce used unlikely players like Llamosa and Cobi in late-game role-filling positions. So Albright/Berhalter or Olsen/Noonan could well see some time. Fair enough, but does anyone really think that if we're trying to kill some time at the end of a game or we need support on the right for the last ten minutes of a game because Reyna is gassed it'll make that much of a difference if one or the other of these guys fills that spot? I can't really see it.

Now this all may be a rationalization designed to convince myself that I should just go ahead and accept the lack of news from the USMNT camp. If that's the case, please don't convince me otherwise. I need to at least make a pretense of getting some work done.


Blogger mirarchi said...

I agree that in the end, the choice of who to take for the final two or three roster spots that are still open won't matter too much.

I don't think Vanney was on our WC roster in '02 (I'm pretty sure Regis was the only non-goalie on the roster who didn't get any playing time). I thought Bruce's use of his roster was brilliant in the '02 WC -- his adjustments from game to game were so good, as was his use of late-game subs. I still remember how much Cobi helped us kill the clock against Mexico.

And I also thought Bruce used JMM and Chuck Llamosa well as a late-game subs to help protect a lead (I can't remember now, which games those guys actually appeared in).

11:27 AM, April 19, 2006


Post a Comment

<< Home