Olympic Qualifying, USA vs. Panama: Beware of the Torres

PANAMA
No. – Name – Pos. – D.O.B. – Club
1 – Jose Calderón – GK – 14.08.1985 – Chepo FC
2 – Jean Carlos Cedeño – DF – 09.07.1985 – Municipal Chorrillo FC
3 – Reinaldo Anderson – DF – 12.04.1986 – Deportivo Árabe Unido
5 – Roman Torres – DF – 20.03.1986 – CD La Equidad/COL
6 – Erick Vásquez – DF – 08.01.1988 – Municipal Chorrillo FC
7 – Edwin Aguilar – AT – 07.08.1985 – Coastzacoalcos/MEX
8 – Cristian Vega – MD – 02.04.1985 – CD Plaza Amador
9 – Gabriel Torres – AT – 31.10.1988 – CD La Equidad/COL
10 – Nelson Barahona – MD – 22.11.1987 – C. Altetico Fenix/URU
11 – Aníbal Godoy – MD – 10.02.1990 – Arsenal/ARG
12 – Gilmar Torres – GK – 11.11.1985 – Alianza FC
13 – Adolfo Machado – DF – 14.02.1985 – Alianza FC
14 – Juan DeGracia – MD – 21.04.1990 – Chepo FC
15 – Rolando Algandona – DF – 12.04.1989 – San Francisco FC
16 – Alberto Quintero – AT – 18.12.1987 – Municipal Chorrillo FC
17 – Manuel Bonilla – MD – 09.04.1988 – Municipal Chorrillo FC
18 – Reggie Arosemena – MD – 09.09.1986 – Tauro FC
19 – Carlos Rodríguez – MD – 12.04.1990 – Defensor Sporting Club/URU
20 – Eduardo Jiménez – MD – 02.04.1986 – San Francisco FC
21 – Guillermo Murillo – GK – 04.11.1987 – Chepo FC
TD: Alexandre GUIMARAES

1-0 losers to Honduras doesn’t exactly make Panama push-overs and even if Panama were 3-0 losers, Altidore and company would still have to tread lightly. To deal with it and get the result early, you can expect to see Piotr Nowak go with two forwards up front and probably some changes in the back as well. According to most other sites, Patrick Ianni was dreadful (which I somewhat disagree with, at best he was serviceable) and Kamani Hill struggled mightily (he made it hard for himself, not the other way around). If a change is necessary, expect Marvell Wynne in for Hill.

Jozy Altidore – who took a beating against Cuba as the lone striker – is expected to suit up and you could expect either Findley or Davies up there with him. If Nowak was as displeased with Davies’ diving as I was, he could even put Kamani Hill up there. One thing being thrown around is Maurice Edu moving to central defense as it seems he spent most his time close to there in the Cuban encounter anyway. Nowak should stick to his guns in this situation. Ianni needs a game to settle and, clearly, he doesn’t have time as a luxury but the Houston defender should make the most of his second chance. If you move Edu to the back, however, you place McCarty back at holding midfielder and give Stuart Holden and Sal Zizzo the chance to terrorize the wings. I just don’t know if I can give Findley and Davies another chance on the wings, but you never know…

Projected Line-Up (Actually, who I’d like to see…)

——–Altidore—–Davies——–

—————Adu—————-

Holden———Edu———–Zizzo

Freeman—-Ianni—–Sturgis—-Hill

————–Seitz—————

For Panama, it is a must-win situation and they have the speed and athleticism to capitalize on any mistakes the United States might make. They have an experienced and highly touted Roman Torres in the back. The La Equidad propsect looked solid against Honduras, but he needs to rally his defense into keeping disciplined and frugal, not making runs that aren’t needed which is what hurt them on Tuesday. The fullbacks trekked forward only to be caught napping on the counter attack. The 21-year old has already grabbed 14 caps for the senior national team and would be your man to mark Altidore (especially if Nowak opted for the single striker tactic again). He, alongside 2007 Gold Cup Best XI pick Filipe Baloy, started all three of Panama’s group stage matches, making it to the second round where they lost out to the United States, 2-1. You can expect that Torres will have the desire to tackle hard. A couple other U-23 members have recently been brought up for senior national team duty, midfielder Reggie Arosemena and goalkeeper Jose Calderon. If things are working the way they should be Nowak, Calderon should be a very busy person. Forward Gabriel Torres – who also plies his trade for La Equidad in Colombia – could pose a threat if Ianni, Sturgis, or whoever is back there are off-kilter. Torres was the captain of Panama’s U-20 team at the World Cup in Canada this past summer. No idea if there’s a relation between Gabriel and Roman (Torres is kind of a popular last name), but it seems there could be considering they both play for the same club (or not…).  

Key Players to Watch:

DF Roman Torres
GK Jose Calderon
FW Gabriel Torres

TUNE IN AT 8:00pm, FOX SOCCER CHANNEL…might go with the LiveBlog tonight.

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Olympic Qualifying, USA vs. Cuba: Tougher Than One Might Think

CUBA
No. – Name – Pos. – D.O.B. – Club
1 – Jose Manuel Miranda – GK – 22.08.1986 – Matanzas
2 – Erlys Garcia Baró – DF – 28.07.1985 – Ciudad Habana
3 – Yenier Bermudez – DF – 08.10.1985 – Cienfuegos
4 – Raicel Mazquia Pozo – DF – 17.09.1985 – Pinar del Río
5 – Yendry Diaz – DF – 06.05.1987 – Matanzas
6 – Alianni Urgelles – MD – 25.06.1985 – Guantánamo
7 – Liván Vasconcelos – MD – 03.04.1987 – Matanzas
8 – Francisco Alexei Carrazana – MD – 23.12.1985 – Cienfuegos
9 – Roberto Linares – AT – 10.02.1986 – Villa Clara
10 – Yordany Alvarez – MD – 24.05.1985 – Cienfuegos
11 – Enrique Villaurrutia – MD – 24.04.1985 – Cienfuegos
12 – Arael Arguelles – GK – 30.04.1987 – Cienfuegos
13 – Eder Roldan – MD – 17.08.1987 – Ciudad Habana
14 – Armando Coroneaux – MD – 02.07.1985 – Camaguey
15 – Juan Carlos Martinez – DF – 30.12.1985 – Villa Clara
16 – Loanni Cartaya Prieto – DF – 12.11.1985 – Ciudad Habana
18 – Yasnier Rosales – AT – 12.07.1987 – Granma
19 – Leonel Duarte – AT – 22.08.1987 – Ciego de Ávila

A lack of information on many of the players is easily overcome by taking a look at the Cuban national team and their results over the past couple of years.  A definite standout is Leonel Duarte, who has featured the most of the Cuban national team, scoring several goals at that level. His key is his versatility – he has featured in both the defense and offense all at the age of 20. Still waiting for his prolonged chance with the national team is prolific youth level goalscorer Roberto Linares Yalmicida who has the pace to give projected centerbacks Ianni and Nathan Sturgis (who we did see get burned a couple of times at last summer’s U-20 World Cup) significant problems.

Defender Yenier Bermudez saw some time in the senior squad’s Carribbean Round of Qualifying for last year’s Gold Cup. Between Bermudez and Yendry Diaz, the Cubans hold a little bit of experience in the back but nothing fully capable of stopping a target man as imposing as Altidore.

The last line of defense, Jose Manuel Miranda, is more than capable if he has the proper protection in front of him. Miranda has already been touted as a better younger version of the current national team keeper Odelin Molina.

Enrique Villaurrutia saw time in the midfield in Cuba’s 2-1 loss to Mexico during the Gold Cup, while Leonel Duarte started the contest and made an impression on the Mexicans. You might have seen the talented Osvaldo Alonso lining up for Cuba if he hadn’t of defected during 2007’s Gold Cup. Alonso was recently on trial with the Columbus Crew and looks to latch on with a USL or MLS team by the end of the preseason. Regardless, Cuba coasted through two rounds of qualifying beating Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, and Bermuda among others along the way. Leonel Duarte scored 6 to make things relatively easy, but the key has been Roberto Linares Yalmicida who had 10 goals through qualifying. If Yalmacida and Duarte can mesh, they can exploit Piotr Nowak’s only projected weakness – his central defense. Therefore, in recap…

Players to Watch Out For…
Leonel Duarte (FW)
Roberto Linares Yalmacida (FW)
Enrique Villaurrutia (MD)
Jose Boudy Miranda (GK)

I’m sure everyone is only thinking, how many defections and with what MLS team will the defected end up???