Clint or Landon up top?

Discussion in 'USA Men' started by TheNearPost, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. TheNearPost

    TheNearPost Member+

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    I think this is a question that has to be asked because I don't imagine Juergen would be averse to turning to either option. The U.S.'s run of good form last year came with Dempsey in the second forward role, but when given the chance, Juergen has used Donovan up top, and to good effect. It may have been against teams that weren't all at full strength, but the U.S. played good soccer during the Gold Cup and Landon was a big reason why.

    My knee-jerk reaction is that the U.S. could look pretty good either way, so long as both are in decent form. What I would also say is that there are differences between how the two play the role and the effect it has on team shape.

    When Dempsey is playing as a second forward, while he does have the ability to create chances for others, his real talent is his ability to put himself in goal-scoring positions and finish all types of chances when they come to him. He tends to start deeper than Landon, making the U.S. a 4-2-3-1 in defense, but then darts into the forward line to accompany Jozy and wait for service. His average positioning seems to change depending on Juergen's orders (if Donovan isn't around), but he is, in every sense of the word, a hybrid forward-midfielder.

    [​IMG]

    When Landon is played up top, the team has to take a slightly different shape because of the way he plays. Instead of simply joining the main striker up top, he tends to float around the space between lines and into the channels. This kind of requires him to be a bit more lax in his defensive duties, and when he is tasked with defending deep in midfield, it tends to neutralize his offensive impact, which is where we get the meme that Landon "disappears" from games.

    [​IMG]
    The big difference is that Dempsey being a bit deeper in the midfield when the U.S. defends means we can play two flat central midfielders and they won't get stretched all over the place like what happened a lot under Bob when we went with two out and out forwards. They can more adequately shield the U.S. backline.

    Conversely, with Donovan as a forward, we need a designated holder that specifically covers the space between lines and shields the defense since the U.S loses a central midfielder.

    I think that both looks could end up happening for the U.S. at the World Cup, although I'm actually starting to warm up to the idea of putting Landon back in the forward role. He has been succeeding there with LA in recent years.

    http://www.zonalmarking.net/2011/11/21/la-galaxy-1-0-houston-dynamo-donovan-tactics/

    Los Angeles Galaxy 1-0 Houston Dynamo: Donovan moves upfront to score the winner

    Even if you think back to Juergen's first game in charge against Mexico, the thing that really swung that game in our favor was, on top of some energetic substitutions, moving Donovan up front. Not just as an attacking midfielder, but in an almost free role. He instantly became more dangerous, and probably should have drawn a penalty when he galloped down Mexico's left flank and was taken down in the box.



    Juergen also went with Beckerman as a holder and Torres as a #8 sort of deep-lying playmaker (although he was much more willing to charge forward in that game than I've ever seen him before). Dreads shielded the defense, Jose distributed smartly, Rogers and Shea provided the width, Agudelo combined and controlled the ball well up front, and Donovan did what he does best - strung the individual parts of the team together. That group was makeshift as can possibly be, and that time it wasn't just against a CONCACAF minnow or [SIZE=4]weakened Gold Cup squad. That was again[SIZE=4]st a team that had just bl[SIZE=4]own us out of the water[SIZE=4].[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    SOCCERMARINE and SPA2TACU5 repped this.


  2. nobody

    nobody Member+

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    I think where to deploy Donovan and Dempsey together has been the big unanswered question that has lingered due to the players seldom being available at the same time over the course of this cycle and I still believe how this question gets answered could end up being one of the most important things about this team in Brazil. That said, I think Klinsmann has mentioned before moving Donovan out wide if Clint plays in the hole and he has on multiple occasions mentioned Clint playing in the hole being a big part of the makeup of this team. So, for practical purposes I think that's the deal. And I tend to agree with him just because Donovan is much more mobile and effective in multiple roles. With Clint, you move him wide and I think you get less out of him, especially with Klinsmann wanting wide attacking play from that role. With Donovan, you move him wide and he maintains his effectiveness.

    Also, none of this makes any difference to the central midfield. Those lineups leaving off Jones are all just fantasy. We're lining up with Bradley and Jones in tandem playing deep and generating our attacks with the players in front of them and getting wide support from the fullbacks. The central mids (Bradley and Jones) will occasionally make a move forward, but they aren't our main attackers. That's basically just a fact of life. If we do add a third central mid, it will likely be a defensive guy, likely Beckerman, and will signal really trying to grind out a low scoring game or holding a lead later.
    TheHoustonHoyaFan repped this.
  3. TheNearPost

    TheNearPost Member+

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    You had me until the part about this having no effect on the central midfield. That's really not true. I mean, you could be right that Juergen may be stuck on the Bradley-Jones pairing, but I honestly hope not because it's been ineffective a good few times, and Bradley-Cameron is a pairing that many acknowledge is better. If Parkhurst plays well at right back or even Chandler comes through, I could see JK using him there. Like I said, there are noted benefits to going with a holder instead of two #8s, like if we need to mark out a playmaker like Mesut Oezil, who we will be facing btw.

    The game I always think of when talking about how that attacking midfielder could be key in defense is the 2011 Gold Cup final. Adu had replaced Kljestan there. He offered much better raw offensive ability than Sacha, but Freddy is another guy who sacrifices defensive work to make his offensive magic happen. This left Bradley and Jones to try and deal with Torrado, Castro, and Dos Santos, and it ended with our defense completely exposed. With a guy like Sacha or Deuce whose starting block is a bit deeper, we looked defensively secure against Panama and Jamaica. Juergen also brought around the designated holder, which made us defensively more secure for a while.

    I just think our central midfield will have to shift around a few times.
  4. nobody

    nobody Member+

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    "We often talk about the spine of our team, which starts with Timmy [Howard] and then goes through midfield with Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley, and then Clint and Jozy." - J. Klinsmann

    Not sure how much more clear you expect him to be.
    onefineesq repped this.


  5. TheNearPost

    TheNearPost Member+

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    He's been wrong before and had to change things around. It wouldn't be the first time. He wouldn't be the first coach.
  6. nobody

    nobody Member+

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    We'll see in Brazil if he's right or wrong. But this is the group we're going with, these are the key players who will be on the field. Baring injury, that's not changing with only a couple games left before we head to the cup.
  7. IndividualEleven

    IndividualEleven Member+

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    If there were a great desperation to play them together, then 433 would probably be the way to go. Playing out of the formation has resulted in surprisingly good run of play figures against some pretty decent teams.

    Dempsey Altidore Donovan
    Jones Bradley Cameron
    Johnson Besler Gonzalez Chandler
    Howard
    truefan420 and Mr Martin repped this.
  8. IndividualEleven

    IndividualEleven Member+

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    The other option would be to play the typical 442/451 hybrid with Donovan on the left.
  9. TheyCallMeBruce

    TheyCallMeBruce Member+

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    I actually really like this lineup.
  10. Mudig

    Mudig Member

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    Doesn't matter. They're gonna lose big time.
  11. TheHoustonHoyaFan

    TheHoustonHoyaFan Member+

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    We saw LD and Deuce up top in the disaster at CR which should have convinced everyone we never want to see that again.

    IIRC before CR, the last meaningful match where they were deployed together was @ Guatemala in WCQ group. Deuce played in the hole underneath Jozy in the 4-2-3-1, LD played AML with Jones playing AMR!
  12. nobody

    nobody Member+

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    I basically expect this in Brazil ...

    ......................Altidore
    ........Donovan Dempsey Zusi
    ....................Jones Bradley
    Johnson Gonzales Besler Cameron
    .......................Howard

    Some of those spots are still up in the air, but a few are close to written in stone, and should be just a few months away.
  13. FearTheTurtle

    FearTheTurtle Member

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    landon has to be on the outside. He's better in open space, can send in quality crosses, and is less selfish out there.

    Dempsey has always been better as a forward than a midfielder. Why mess with his talents or try to make him something he's not? He's the only U.S. striker that I trust to score a goal when needed. I don't care if he's running as the high striker, playing in behind, or is one of 2 in a traditional 4-4-2.

    Just score baby!
  14. IndividualEleven

    IndividualEleven Member+

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    Dempsey and Donovan up top wasn't the cause of the team coughing up 3 goals at Costa Rica. Agree though a strikerless formation isn't optimal for the team.
  15. mthead14

    mthead14 Member

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    these things change as form changes and new elements are added.
  16. TheNearPost

    TheNearPost Member+

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    I also kind of lean more towards Landon at this point because he's just good at getting attackers who are not complete to play well together. We do not have a bevy of quality offensive options, so this is really useful, almost vital. Jozy especially benefits from his presence.

    He can do that from wide, too, of course. I just think him leading our attacks from up front, when he can, makes us especially dangerous.
  17. ussoccer97531

    ussoccer97531 Member+

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    Dempsey should worry about making the team. If he doesn't play better before the World Cup, I don't think he will make the team. I am starting to get worried about Dempsey. Its been about half a year that he has been playing really poorly.
  18. IndividualEleven

    IndividualEleven Member+

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    Everyone needs to worry about making the team.
  19. ussoccer97531

    ussoccer97531 Member+

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    With the way Dempsey is playing, he doesn't deserve to make the team.

    He will get the benefit of the doubt from Klinsmann for now, but if Dempsey still isn't playing well in May, I have to think that leaving Dempsey off the roster will be a real option for Klinsmann. I don't think he is the type of coach that would worry about the ramifications of leaving one of his veterans off the roster.
  20. IndividualEleven

    IndividualEleven Member+

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    The tournament is in June last I checked. Why the concern now?
  21. truefan420

    truefan420 Member+

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    I'd really like to see this tried. I think offensively we'd be fine and jones, Bradley and cam would be fantastic defensively. Only prob is I'd want that mid 3 to have more time to play together than the 2-3 chances they might get leading to the World Cup. As well as this formation needing chandler and Fabian at outside back spots to be pulled off properly. And idk if JK will start or even call in chandler to the World Cup. Might sub out gonzo for brooks tho. With Bradley, jones and cam in front of our backline his passing would be ideal. Question would be if he can get healthy and get back to the blazing start he had to start the season. To bad we didn't get to see this sooner.
  22. truefan420

    truefan420 Member+

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    Um I care if he is the high striker... He sucks there.
  23. truefan420

    truefan420 Member+

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    JK's not gonna leave Dempsey of the roster. He might not start him but he won't leave him at home.
  24. ussoccer97531

    ussoccer97531 Member+

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    Forgetting the name of the player, Dempsey's body of work over the last six months isn't good enough to make the World Cup.
  25. truefan420

    truefan420 Member+

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    I agree but Dempsey's proven he can be clutch over the years. I won't write that off just yet. I wouldn't start him but he will be on the roster. Were taking 23. No harm in have him as the 23 if his form is still in question.

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