A couple people are posting the U.S. roster that was called in to play Mexico this Wednesday – and at least one person is playing “the roster game” (and having a couple bites at as he does it). On the other side of the affair, Sideline Views’ Luis Bueno listed Mexico’s traveling party and added some analysis for good measure. Much like Luis, I think the Mexican roster looks pretty solid – as in, a whole lot like an A-Team…or maybe that’s just what I think when I recognize many of the names on a Mexican roster.
So, to kill some time on a slow Sunday (the Super what now?), I thought I’d take some time on the question of who should we play against this bunch. Given my present state of, um, underwhelmedness regarding the significance of the result itself, I’m still advocating on-field experimentation. And, in the event we do lose, we can adopt the Mexican tactic of blaming the loss on such externals.
So, below, I’ll trot out the starting XI I’d like to Bradley trot out on Wednesday…and I do so knowing this is not the line-up we’ll see. Before naming names, I should confess I tend to favor 4-4-2’s for perhaps the dumbest reason: I’ve played as a defender in my share of 3-5-2’s and I just hate how exposed I feel back there…absolutely prejudiced me against that formation. What can I say? I view myself as a midfielder…in spite of the few seconds I’ve received on that opinion from the various coaches I’ve had.
Enough preliminaries…here it is:
——————— Guzan —————————
— Moor —– Robinson —- Parkhurst —– Corrales —
— Adu ——– Edu ——— Feilhaber —– Davis —
————- Altidore ——– Noonan —————–
Can I defend all these decisions? Can I even make a case for the essential coherence of that line-up? Conceivably. If I’m being honest, I don’t think a Robinson/Parkhurst central pairing necessarily makes sense. But that doesn’t necessarily invalidate the experiment. Why not see how these two relatively inexperienced players cope at the “real” international level playing a good team that should be hot to win…for a number of reasons? I want to know how, say, Robinson reacts when Parkhurst gets picked clean – e.g. does his reaction add up?
The same applies to my, frankly, wacky forward pairing. I don’t necessarily see Noonan and Altidore as a natural tandem; in truth, I think Noonan would throw Jozy’s game. But I do want to see how Altidore works with Davis’ crosses. I also want to see how Altidore works as a back-to-goal forward, how Noonan plays off someone like that, whether Noonan can find space, etc.
Basically, this is flat-out experimenting – but not without purpose. With World Cup qualifying just under a half-year away, I want to see which players are sitting on top of the bubble for the U.S. men. The best way to find out is to play ’em…right?
Filed under: International Soccer, Josmer Altidore, Mexico, U.S. Men's National Team, U.S. Men's Soccer | Tagged: Benny Feilhaber, Brad Davis, Brad Guzan, Drew Moor, Eddie Robinson, Freddy Adu, Maurice Edu, Michael Parkhurst, Pat Noonan, Ramiro Corrales |