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Official U.s. National Team Thread


Philly Rover ®
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With the Premiership season over, our focus inevitably shifts to the World Cup this summer... and all this passionate debate over Rooney and Theo Walcott and Sven and McClaren has got me thinking about the U.S. and our chances for success this summer.

The 23 man American squad

I have to admit that I thought Twellman was a certainty over Ching, and Berhalter (despite having a stinker against Germany) would be chosen over Jimmy Conrad... but if Arena has proven anything, it's that he knows best in these types of situations. I'm also very happy that Arena took John O'Brien--despite the injuries, he's one of our top five players, so it's worth the risk.

God only knows what Arena will choose to send out as his XI against the Czechs on June 12--and I'm sure that the three friendlies in two weeks' time will go a long way toward deciding that--but I think this is the lineup I'd go for:

------------------Keller----------------------

Cherundolo---Pope---Onyewu---Lewis

-----------Reyna-----Mastroeni-----------

Dempsey-------------------------Beasley

-------------------Donovan-----------------

-----------McBride---------------------------

Reyna and Mastroeni clamp down Rosicky, Nedved and the Czech counterattack, while Beasley, Lewis and Cherundolo raid up the flanks, Dempsey gets himself into goalscoring positions, and McBride's industry gives Donovan more freedom to float and create things offensively.

I guess we're still a long way away and things can change... but I can't wait for everything to get started.

Edited by Philly Rover ®
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I for one will be following the US team with interest after spending a year out here. It is amazing how many 'soccer' fans out here (who nearly all, at least in Seattle, profess their team to be Chelsea, Man Utd or Arsenal. I ask them about MLS but they don't seem to know) don't realise that the US team made it to the quater final last time round.

I think they will suprise everyone again and will be my second team after Engerrrrrrland. Obviously.

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I think that many more people in the world will be following the US should they beat the Czechs... I hope for that to be quite an opening round match (and as I'll be there, it will be fun to watch).

From the roster, the US weakness remains - lack of a proven international (i.e., matches at the international level) striking force. After McBride, who is a target forward, there simply isn't the same amount of quality as compared with other sides in this tournament. If anything, and this is not intended to start a war with the England folks, but our forwards are much like the ones Sven selected (presuming Rooney isn't fit). By that, I mean there is one very proven player (who although recovering from injury is one of the top in the world) and then several others who have some experience and a few goals, but not the dynamic history you want at a World Cup.

The US has improved dramatically in MF, which was their surprise at the last WC. I will not be surprised to see a rotation of 17-18 players through the cup play, mainly because of having the depth to play more tactically against the competition. If anything, I wouldn't be surprised to see some of the younger players try to take the stage (Dempsey and Convey especially) to places where other players (i.e., Donovan) just don't go. And the US will be very dangerous down the left. Defensive MF will be up to their health. Some good folks back there but are either injured (O'Brien) or injury-prone (Mastroeni).

Defensively, again the US is improved, but they lack sufficient depth this time around. Aside from 2 players (Cherundolo who is likely Bolton bound) and Onyewu, who may be the breakout player of this squad if he can do to the Europeans as he did to Concacaf), the other spots are really still to be determined. Centrally there are good players with experience and others up and coming who may or may not be ready for this stage. On the fullbacks, they're still experimenting with converted MFs, but as this has gone on for 18 months now, aer much mroe comfortable with it. Then they're Cory Gibbs, who just signed with Charlton, who can play central or left, but may not play either.

Keeper - still solid, even if a step down from Big Brad, who almost certainly would still be starting if he did not retire.

I think we'll see something like this (4-3-3):

Keller

Cherundolo Pope Onyewu Lewis (cent. sub Gibbs, then Bocanegra, then Conrad; right sub Albright, left sub Gibbs)

Mastroeni (sub Olsen)

Reyna (sub O'Brien) Beasley (sub convey)

Donovan (sub Dempsey/EJ) Wolff (sub Convey/Beasley/EJ)

McBride (sub EJ/Ching)

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My only problem with not taking Twellman is that, although short, he's great in the air and a good poacher at the end of matches. Either last season or the season before (I think the season before), NE scored in the last 10+ minutes a number of times and he was a big part of that.

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I for one will be following the US team with interest after spending a year out here. It is amazing how many 'soccer' fans out here (who nearly all, at least in Seattle, profess their team to be Chelsea, Man Utd or Arsenal. I ask them about MLS but they don't seem to know) don't realise that the US team made it to the quater final last time round.

I think they will suprise everyone again and will be my second team after Engerrrrrrland. Obviously.

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Glad to have you on board, joey. After the U.S. I normally go for Ireland then England (my last name is O'Brien, after all), but without my Guiness-drinking brethren in the Cup I'll just be pulling for America and England.

Rebelzero... I actually think I like that formation a bit better, but ideally I'd go for O'Brien (if fit) instead of Wolff and push Beasley forward. 4-3-3/4-5-1 with three capable central midfielders, McBride to play more of a lone role and Donovan and Beasley attacking from further deep like it's 2002 again.

--------------------Keller--------------------

Cherundolo---Pope---Onyewu---Lewis

------Reyna---Mastroeni---O'Brien------

----Donovan------------------Beasley----

-------------------McBride-------------------

Subs: Hahnemann, Gibbs, Convey, Dempsey, Wolff

I'm actually rather proud of myself with that set-up. One thing is for sure though: as you said, rebelzero, Arena will once again roll 17 to 18 players deep throughout the tournament. Other than a few irreplacable players (McBride, Donovan, Reyna) most of the squad is rather interchangeable, and Arena always gets the best out of a deep roster.

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Surely our Brad is vastly superior to Keller?! I know he's aging (and it's beginning to show in his appearance) but he's as flexible as he's ever been still and just as quick still. I can't believe he's not in the squad!

Am I being dumb and has he actually retired from international football?

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That's a shame, I genuinely believe he's good enough to still be in the starting line up. When did he announce that?

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I believe it was over a year ago.

And he did so to lengthen his club career with Blackburn Rovers.

Actually, I think he retired internationally a few months before extending his contract at Rovers

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My only problem with not taking Twellman is that, although short, he's great in the air and a good poacher at the end of matches. Either last season or the season before (I think the season before), NE scored in the last 10+ minutes a number of times and he was a big part of that.

406763[/snapback]

I'm not sure how much of this can be based upon his talent and ability versus his competition. From the international level, Twellman has looked no better than Heskey - needing 4 or sometimes 5 (or more) golden chances to score. I think he went 19 matches without a goal as well, more than half of them starting. The game against norway's B- team notwithstanding, even in regional Concacaf play, he simply didn't stand out, nor create the golden chances as some of the other players in the pool.

That last reason, IMO, is why Wolff is on the squad - the ability to create at this level (mostly because of his speed, but certainly helped by his experience).

Quite simply, think of this when regarding forwards. Do they have the potential to score 10+ goals in a top league? McBride did. Wolff, I doubt, but matched with someone like McBride, will help them both. (Sorta like a poorer version of FSP - although I can't see a Wolff Kuqi pairing tearing up the Premiership, I can see them holding their own in the Championship). EJ - the big enigma. Showed great promise to actually be the kind of international scorer the US needs - then got injured and an ego, and has yet to regain his form. Like Mathis in a way, but not at the same level. And finally Ching. the best alternative? no. Capabale of the scoring mantle? Doubtful, but stranger things have happened. Looked hopeless against Scotland, but playing with the B/C US team midfield will affect your chances and service up front.

Personally, the player I've seen in the past few months who has size, speed, the ability to challenge and sacrifice, and a vision of the game, is Kenny Cooper, the former ManUre player now with Dallas. If he keeps playing like he has, he gets a call up this fall for certain.

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One of Mexico's 2 largest clubs, Chivas, bought a franchise in MLS. To cash in on the popularity of the Chivas name in large Mexican immigrant population, they named it Chivas USA. (And it's John.)

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One of Mexico's 2 largest clubs, Chivas, bought a franchise in MLS. To cash in on the popularity of the Chivas name in large Mexican immigrant population, they named it Chivas USA. (And it's John.)

407595[/snapback]

It certainly is. Steve O'Brien was the Belfast Giant's most impressive D-man last last year. He hails from your neck of the woods-Braintree MA.

user posted image

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I'm really looking for Dempsey to make some noise in this tourney. He's brash, fiery and has the talent to back it up. I think the US Team needs someone to fire it up now and again. The squad as it stands still is a laid back force. Nobody is there to really inject any life into it. They're all still under the impression that they're the underdogs and that they have to go about their business in an unassuming way. And even though they ARE still looked upon as th underdogs, the team should believe they can beat anyone out there.

Dempsey is just the sort of hot-head the team needs to get everyone riled up and raring to go.

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I agree completely. I can't wait to see Dempsey in the WC, I think he will do very well. Like you said, he does seem like the only player with energy and outright fearlessness, willing to make things happen. I just wish we had a deeper, more talented forward department sad.gif

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I have my Dempsey jersey to wear...

He reminds me a bit of Lampard (no, I'm not saying he's that good). Always seems to be in the right place at the right time from midfield.

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I have my Dempsey jersey to wear...

He reminds me a bit of Lampard (no, I'm not saying he's that good). Always seems to be in the right place at the right time from midfield.

Clint plays in your backyard so I can see your affinity towards the guy. I've just seen him in bits and pieces and he is definitely one with promise. I just hope that his bust-up with his team-mate (Franchino?) was just an aberration and not the start of a trend. The US Natl team needs a man with stones, but not an idiot hot-head. I just wonder how much playing time he'll actually get...All of this talk about Clint might just be a moot point if Arena doesn't see fit to play him...

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World cup warm up match this evening vs Morrocco, will be interesting to see what kinda team Mr Arena puts out. Presumably with only a couple more friendles before the world cup he will put our strongest side out? Interesting use of Lewis as a left back in recent matches, good to see he can adapt from his club career. Hopefully there will a decent crowd in tonight to cheer the boys towards victory and confidence before that vital group game vs Czech! :rover:

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Ugh. A loss to Morocco is not an inspiring result.

We've been rather crap lately... losing to Germany, drawing with Jamaica and losing to Morocco?

In this particular game, I was disappointed with McBride...he was awful. And I would put Convey and/or Dempsey on the field before Beasley any time.

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Nothing special. Very tiny compared to the US players...

Not noticeable except for one move where he got a cross in past Gibbs (cross hit the first man though). I don't think he'd do well in the Prem.

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