Bob: Commence the Experiment

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?

6 Responses

  1. I think it means you were a crappy defender. 🙂

  2. Jeff,

    While I like you having both Robinson and Davis in the lineup, and I also like the idea of experimentation, there are a few things I think should happen differently. First, you don’t bring Clint Dempsey all the way home to Texas and not play him. Also, no one gets in the Mexicans’ heads like Landon Donovan. He’s got to start. Ricardo Clark is also a surefire starter, perhaps more so than fellow Dynamen Eddie Robinson and Brad Davis. I’ve never been all that sold on Noonan, either, especially without Taylor Twellman receiving his passes. So here are my alterations:

    Guzan or Howard (I really don’t care here. Maybe Howard because he has owned the Mexicans.)
    Moor-Robinson-Parkhurst-Corrales (I’m all for experimentation)
    Adu-Clark-Edu-Donovan or Donovan-Clark-Adu-Davis

    What do you think?

  3. On Dempsey: Right…that’s why I wouldn’t have brought him home. But I do see your point (e.g. that’s what happened).

    On Donovan: I really don’t care whether or not we win; I’d prefer a win, sure. But, like I said, I’d rather test-drive the unknowns than play one of the few players that’s an outright given – e.g. Donovan. That said, I can see the argument for seeing how the bubble players work with Donovan – totally valid. I think the boredom is getting to me…and boredom makes me erratic.

    Noonan: Bears some relationship to my thinking on Dempsey – probably the inverse, actually. He’s there, so, why not play him? Otherwise, why invite him? Then again, Noonan so damn weird as a player, I’d try to build an attack that works with him AND, say, Donovan.

    All that said, I’d be sufficiently intrigued, Martek, if I see your line-up on Wednesday. On a couple levels, I’d say your set-up makes more sense. I just have my little experiments I’d like to see…that’s kind of how I tick. In any case, I think your line-up is more likely and there’s enough educational material in there to keep me interested.

  4. Goose: Christ. I was awful. I fucking HATE defense…

  5. And geez, louise, I forgot all about Baby Bradley. He’s so hot right now for Heereenverreneereneveeenereeveneen (I think that’s how it’s spelled) that you’ve kind of got to play him. And you could still make an argument that it’s experimental because he’s so young. So here’s the lineup I’d like to see:

    Guzan or Howard (I still don’t care here.)
    Moor-Robinson-Parkhurst-Corrales (Still for experimentation)
    Adu-Clark-Bradley-Donovan or Donovan-Clark-Bradley-Adu

    Basic 4-4-2 with nice mix of veterans and youth.

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