February 2010

Previewing The US/El Salvador Match

Tonight’s match in Tampa will be Bob Bradley’s last chance to assess several of his team’s fringe players prior to selecting the squad that will fly to South Africa. El Salvador is no joke, but at this point they should be a better measuring stick for the Yanks B/C team than the starting unit. Yeah yeah, on any given day El Salvador could handle the U.S. starting roster, but this is still a better match for the U.S. reserves than say, Netherlands next week. That being said, here’s what I’m looking for out of this match, staring with the starting lineup.

Goalie: Rimando

Defenders: Bornstein, Marshall, Goodson, Wynn

Midfielders: Rogers, Kljestan, Beckerman, McCarty

Forwards: Ching, Cunningham

First off, the basics. If the team can go ahead and avoid an early red card in this match that’d be greeeaaat. Also, the 4-4-2 formation should be elementary at this point. To quote Pro Evolution Soccer for my now obsolete Playstation2, “They’re sticking with the most basic and common formation known to modern football,” and they’ll be doing it in South Africa, so there’s no room to get creative in a warm-up game like this. If Bradley is assessing how a player fits into the system, he’s go to see that player in the system.

In goal Troy Perkins has had plenty of opportunities and still hasn’t proven to be better than Wolves veteran Marcus Hahnemann. Can we please just bring Hahney and give Rimando a shot on Wednesday night? Perkins hasn’t been horrible, and most of the goals he’s allowed haven’t been his fault, but he hasn’t proven himself to be worthy of a roster spot for this World Cup. Simply put, Bradley might as well give Rimando a look for the future.

On defense, I see Goodson and Marshall as being the best center halves on this roster. Throw ‘em out there together. Give Bornstein another chance to make his case for a starting berth, and since none of our three best right backs are on this roster, might as well throw the speedy Marvell Wynne on the pitch.

Midfielders Sacha Kljestan, Robbie Rogers, and Kyle Beckerman are all on the World Cup bubble and warrant another opportunity to showcase their skills. Kljestan may play wide for his club, but he’s had his only real successes in a US shirt when playing center attacking mid. Bradley should start him there with Beckerman playing his familiar holding position. Robbie starts out wide to the left, and I more or less just threw Dax McCarty a bone there with the other starting spot because he has sweet hair. That could be Eddie Gaven or a couple of the other middies on the roster, but none of these dudes are going to the World Cup.

As far as the forwards go, I hope Brian Ching was omitted from the roster for the last friendly solely to keep him fresh. He should start, as he should be a possible starter at the WC if the rapidly improving Chuck D isn’t ready to rock. I don’t think the combo of Conor Casey and Chinger would work together, so maybe Ching and Cunningham will provide a nice contrast? Casey can come on in the second half and show how not-as-good-as-Brian-Ching he is.

What about you, faithful Yanks Are Coming reader? Who should start? Who are you excited to see? Are you coming to our awesome Yanks/American Outlaws tailgate in Tampa?!

Jon Levy is a managing editor and senior writer for The Yanks Are Coming. He can be reached at jon@yanksarecoming.com.

Jon Levy

  • Stacey

    I definitely want Rimando to be the goalie, and I want to see Chris Pontius play. I just hope the score isn’t 1-3 or worse this time.

  • AdamTheRed

    Ching? I just don’t think he is World Cup quality.

    I would much rather see the speedy Findley get another run-out.

  • I’ll go out on a limb and say the US will win 2-0, with Chingy and Robbie Rogers both grabbing their respective goals. I think you meant to say, “El Salvador is a joke, but so is our B/C team.” Now I love the US MNT just as much as the next guy, but at this point in the year Bob Bradley should not be trying out players, such as Marvell Wynne and Nick Rimando. Rimando would be pretty much just be filling a void, I think we should use TFC’s Stefan Frei instead.

    Ching and Bornstein (probably Casey as well) are the only guys who have really claimed their ticket to South Africa, but I do think that the entire US midfield in your Starting XI has a good chance of making the squad (especially Robbie Rogers). If Beckerman can emulate last season’s form, then he’s a sure bet to be included in the 23-man roster.

    Let’s be honest, the Netherlands game next week will provide 100x more excitement, drama, and speculation. But it is good to see our boys back on the pitch again! I’ll certainly be watching.

    On a completely random note, I really miss the days when ProEvo ruled over FIFA. Martin Tyler and Andy Gray sort of creep me out with their undeniable guy-love.

    “- Well Andy, we’ve got the greatest job in the world, though I’m sure
    you’d rather be playing the game, you have to admit this is a good gig.

    – Yeah, I love it Martin, it’s been special doing this for a good 15 years with you, they’ve been magical!”

  • Stoehrst

    Ching should not be on the World Cup roster…his ability to hold up the ball and use his strength up top has diminished exponentially on the international level in the last two years. Give a younger kid a shot, or pull someone from Europe who doesn’t get a lot of looks.

  • good look and very reasonsable XI… I just hope Bobbo wakes up on the other side of the bed @ GK, heh.
    There are only 5 Defs on the roster, so I don’t see too much here. 3 spots look solid and the 4th has to be a tossup between Wynne and Pearce. Pearce is a better footballer, but he looks like a headcase out there. Wynne, much like Robbie Findley, has the speed to deal with an MLS pinball match, but lacks real quality. I agree: the nod must go to Wynne in the hopes of development.
    Up front I see Ching and Findley. I don’t think Bobbo knows any other way: Target Man & Speedster. There’s only one Speedster on the roster (Findley) and nobody understands BB’s Target role like Ching. Anything else is BB giving guys (Casey or Cunningham) a final run-out before dropping them. btw: I can’t stand Ching. Biggest lump ever. Nice guy, but I’d rather have a jackleg that could finish his chances. I would love to see Casey/Cunningham in for Ching/Findley to start the second 45.
    In goal I hope BB sticks with Perkins who absolutely ruled the Gold Cup. If Rimando starts, it’s one of two things: 1) thank you for your service, here’s your cap (a la Jay Heaps), or 2) Perkins isn’t a serious contender for the 3rd GK spot.
    As for the Mid? Oye. Much like Ching, Evans doesn’t have it. Neither do Rogers (yet) or Gaven. I like your call: Kyle, Sacha, and Rogers are all on Bobbo’s xmas card list, and Dax is my favorite out of the remaining bunch.

    Wynne . Marshall . Goodson . JohnnyB

    The mids could be shuffled, but I haven’t scouted ES to have a real plan.
    I too would rather have Sacha in a creative role behind the forwards, but I don’t see him cracking the CM list which contains Rico, MB90, Mo, JJones (!), and maybe even Benny/Kyle. Sacha and Bornstein were horrible at the Confed Cup, showing that “A-minus” MLS guys are not ready for the next level; Sacha’s best shot at success is to have that little bit of extra time/space on the flank.

    Pretty sure it’s game day!

  • Puck

    Anyone who thinks that Brian Ching should not be on the World Cup Roster is jackleg. That is the only way I can put it. It is not a basic requirement for a forward to score flashy goals. He does so much more off the ball than any other forward we have. He has the presence of mind to make excellent runs that create space for players like Donovan and Clint down touch line.

    When Ching gets the start tonight, I encourage you to not only watch where the ball is on the field, but the work he does away from it.

  • re Ching:
    yeah man, like I said the guy fills BB’s role to the best of his ability; I just wish he had MORE of it. He does great work off the ball but watch his layoffs and horrible touch. And he’s certainly no threat facing goal. Gerd Muller and Gary Lineker made careers out of scoring “non-flashy” type goals but Ching misses too many to be considered anywhere near class. Even his goal in the Gold Cup was a scuffed header (off a world class cross from ‘dolo) that deflected off his hapless defender. Right now the trade-off we get by employing Ching is the plus of his workrate/understanding minus the liabilty of his ballskills/finishing-prowess. Unfortunately, he may be US roster worthy, but not world class… therein lies my beef and I don’t see him improving.
    I still think Kenny Cooper is our best option if he would focus on learning Ching’s role. He has size, touch, and coolness in front of goal.
    Either way, I sure am missing Bake!

  • Well Bob Bradley likes to go with the big striker, quick striker approach. Whether it’s LD and Ching, Jozy and Chuck D, or Ching and Cunningham (which we might see tonight), the US team thrives off of this type of attacking play. Ching is used by the States just how England uses Emile Heskey to partner with Wayne Rooney. Heskey isn’t really world-class, but he allows the players around him to really express themselves due to his physical presence.

    Sorry AdamtheRed and Stoehrst, but Ching is right up there with Jozy and Conor Casey as our best “big man” strikers. No way he’s not going to South Africa.

  • Well the game should be exciting, at least compared to that last Honduras game. I would have really liked to have seen Pontius start though. On the striker issue I don’t think we should take both Casey and Ching to S.A. They are similar players, ,except Ching is better back to goal and Casey better facing goal. Also I totally agree with the big striker, quick striker system. It worked very well at the Confed Cup and against Mexico. I hope Davies is back come World Cup, if not we might see Altidore pairing wiht E.J, Findley, or Cunningham.

  • Puck

    I hope all you Ching haters out there watched his fantastic finish for the tying goal, and his excellent combination play with Sascha to win the game.

  • Joe

    I am what you would call a Ching Hater, but the guy played really well tonight and deserves a spot on the plane to HOLLAND

    Certainly outplayed Casey, Findley, and Cunningham against a very weak El Salv backline

    As for those guys, I hope EJ and Cooper get call-ups over them