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

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

US-Jamaica roster notes

The 18-man roster for the Jamaica friendly on April 11 in Cary, NC is out. My reading of these particular tea leaves:
  • We're not taking this one too seriously. If we were, Tony Meola wouldn't be in goal; instead, Bruce would be taking the opportunity to get a look at some of the MLS-based keepers (Guzan, Cannon, Hartman).
  • JOB! It's been almost a year since he played for the US, scoring the goal that tied Honduras in the semifinals of the Gold Cup (a great win for us that was buried because we had so many other great moments in 2005). Btw, no indication of his club status leaked in the roster; he's listed as "out of contract."
  • My guess as to the lineup: a 3-5-2, with Dunivant, Pope, and Hejduk in the back; some combination of Ching, TT, EJ, and Wolff up top; and then Landon as AM, Mastro and JOB as D-mids; and then Noonan on the right and Clint on the left. This is more to get our best guys on the field than to put everyone in their natural positions.
  • The forwards have the most to prove. The backline is likely set and going to consist of European players. But with the exception of McBride, our forwards will be MLS-based, and who's going remains very much undetermined. E.g., imagine if Twellman plays terribly but Ching bags a hat trick. Does this mean you take Brian based on recent form (including four goals for the Dynamo last weekend)? Probably not, but a hard call.
  • Expectations? I think we'll do a number on Jamaica. Our guys are going to be taking this one real serious, since it's the last chance to show Bruce what they've got before the WC roster is announced in early May. Look for the forwards especially to pour in on as they seek the few remaining spots, which as I said above remain up in the air.


Blogger mirarchi said...

Good point about this being the last chance for players on the bubble to make a statement. It will be interesting to see who seizes the opportunity, and who doesn't.

I wonder how much of a chance Albright has at making our final roster. Bruce will surely take someone to back up Cherundolo at right back. Right now, I think Hejduk has the edge over Albright. But, as I recall, Albright has done well when given the chance. And Bruce may want the option of having a big bruising defender to use at right back, if necessary.

There are some interesting omissions from the roster. Unless these guys are injured (are they?) they can kiss their chance of making our WC roster goodbye:

1. Jimmy Conrad. Is he injured? Or did he play himself off the roster in the debacle in Germany? I thought he and Berhalter were awful during those twenty minutes in Germany when everything fell apart, but it seems a bit harsh for Bruce to drop him on the basis of that one game, particularly after Conrad has done well in his other appearances. And is Nick Garcia really a better choice at this point? To be sure, I hope Conrad is left off our final WC roster -- we're so deep at center back, we don't need him (Pope, when in form, Gibbs, Gooch, and Boca are in another class). But I find it odd that he was left off the roster for this friendly (unless he's injured).

2. Chris Klein. I actually didn't think he looked all that bad against Germany, and I would think Bruce would at least want to see how he compares to guys like Noonan and Ralston. But again, given how crowded our midfield is (particularly if JOB stays healthy), I really don't think Klein would have a realistic shot at making the final roster.

3. Chris Rolfe. This WC probably comes about a year too early for him to make our final roster, but based on how they've done in recent matches with the Nats, I think I would have taken Rolfe over Ching. Maybe Ching's four-goal explosion over the weekend earned him another shot.

Anyway, I hope you're right and that we pour it on against Jamaica. It would be a nice confidence booster, and it would be great for EJ to rediscover his finishing touch with the nats.

10:16 AM, April 06, 2006


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