- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On May 26, 2010
- 5 Comments
- Czech Republic
We had a feeling last night’s game would be an interesting one to watch. Going in we figured most of the key guys would sit it out so Bob Bradley could figure out who those last four to six guys were that would be going to South Africa.
Turns out the auditions got in the way of the game and the U.S. ended up getting beat 4-2 to the Czech Republic. There was plenty of good but also plenty of bad from the game last night. In a way I don’t want to read too much into the scoreline because for the most part it was a fairly even match. Still losing to a “B” squad at home is never the way to go.
Here are a few things I saw last night plus where I think the roster will go later this afternoon.
1. Gooch still has a long way to go.
I think physically we’ll find out more today how he’s feeling but mentally I don’t believe he’s there a 100% just yet. The way he was beaten on that first Czech goal was not pretty and not Gooch like. His knee is still bothering him and giving him issues in his head more than anything. I’m also a bit worried that he didn’t go the full 90 last night. Maybe that was by design for all we know and he’ll go the full 90 this weekend against Turkey. He is still getting back into game shape which does take time.
2. The D needs work…and lots of it.
I know the depth is an issue across the board, I get that but in the back its really bad. Injuries are playing a part of it I know but how many times did we get burned on the wings last night in the back? Heath Pearce will definitely be back in Dallas come tomorrow, and Jonathan Bornstein should be on his way back to LA. The difference there is I wonder if Bradley really passes on one of his guys in Bornstein. After last night he totally should.
There were some bright notes though in the back particularly with Clarence Goodson. I know there was a botched play at the end with him and Maurice Edu (another bright spot) but for the most part I felt comfortable with Goodson in the back. I doubt he is capable yet of being a full-time starter but if it comes to it come next month due to these injuries I wouldn’t be that upset.
One thing we should be able to rest on is that last night’s defense won’t be the starting defense against England.
3. Not much in the middle
Again it was audition night so the playmaking out of the middle was not there. However on the wings it was with Demarcus Beasley and Robbie Rogers. Both really brought their “A” game in a time that they both needed to. Rogers especially made his case for a roster spot last night after probably hearing for the last couple weeks that he was going to be back in Columbus after the Turkey game. Beasley did a good job tracking back to bail out Bornstein too.
Stuart Holden eased my mind about where he is physically too. He was a work horse out there and we have to be smiling for that.
Again Edu was a bright spot for me, he not only scored a goal but he was all over the place defensively. I thought in the first half he worked pretty well with Jose Francisco Torres.
Still there wasn’t much there to create offense. Obviously not having a Landon Donovan or a Clint Dempsey there was the reason so we shouldn’t put too much stock into this game.
5. Up top is still a mess
And by mess I mean there is still good reasons for a couple guys to go after last night. Obviously Eddie Johnson and Robbie Findley are out. Johnson did little to help his cause as he was nonexistent in the first half while Edson Buddle worked his ass off I thought to create chances. Findley didn’t even get a sniff of the field so that should tell you what his chances are here.
Then there is Brian Ching and Herculez Gomez who worked very well in the second half together. Ching should easily be on the plane to South Africa and I see little reason now that Gomez doesn’t join him. Buddle should but I have a feeling it will be down to him and a couple other players for that final spot.
6. So where does Bradley go?
He said he knew that 17-19 players were “in” before last night. So those other few had to play their way in last night? Partly so but I also believe too that Bradley knew for the most part who would be in that 23 and who wouldn’t be.
Below is where I think he’ll go with his roster.
Goalkeepers: Tim Howard, Marcus Hahnemann, and Brad Guzan
Defenders: Oguchi Onyewu, Carlos Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo, Jonathan Spector, Jay DeMerit, Clarence Goodson, and Jonathan Bornstein
Midfielders: Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Stuart Holden, Ricardo Clark, Maurice Edu, DaMarcus Beasley, Jose Francisco Torres, and Benny Feilhaber
Forwards: Jozy Altidore, Brian Ching, Herculez Gomez, and Edson Buddle
Seven left out: Chad Marshall, Heath Pearce, Alejandro Bedoya, Sacha Kljestan, Robbie Rogers, Eddie Johnson, Robbie Findley
After last night it came down to Buddle and Bedoya for me. Terrible really because both deserve a shot at the World Cup but I went with Buddle for different reasons. I know you can throw Dempsey and Donovan up top with Altidore or Ching but Buddle is a work horse and like Gomez has plenty of confidence right now. Its so hard for a manager to not pick a player that is playing with loads of confidence. Also he just seems to get “it” these days as he puts himself where he needs to be on the field.
We’ll likely see Bedoya get the ticket to South Africa and that’s fine.
I know a lot of folks would love to see Bornstein left off but at the end of it I know he’s a Bradley guy. With the issues in the back sometimes you have to take a risk like this. Because of the amount of injuries for this team Bradley’s hands are tied here and unfortunately its a move he’ll likely have to make.