dempsey up top?

Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by elbita, Jul 8, 2005.

  1. elbita

    elbita New Member

    May 4, 2005
    posted this on the post-game thread, couldn't resist starting another.

    let's say you want dempsey to be on the field.
    then let's say
    a)he's isn't a d-mid
    b)he isn't a right mid
    c)you still want donovan at a-mid and not up top

    let's also say you don't have anyone claiming the second forward spot (or first if eddie johnson happens to be hurt).

    could dempsey do the business up top? maybe withdrawn, with him, donovan, beasley all running around wreaking havoc?
  2. the Next Level

    Mar 18, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    I like it. However don't expect McBride to disappear if this current renaissance in his form holds up through the WC.
  3. mathiaslg

    mathiaslg New Member

    Mar 13, 2004
    Dempsey isn't a forward, nor is he an out-and-out AM. He is a CM who is most effective when making runs from deeper in the midfield.
  4. StillKickin

    StillKickin Member+

    Austin FC
    Dec 17, 2002
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Except he really wasn't making very many runs from deeper in midfield. In fact, after Cuba scored, he was never deep in midfield again. He hung around the box.

    I say make him a forward.
  5. Mr Martin

    Mr Martin Member+

    Jun 12, 2002
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Dempsey up top is possible. It will be either that or Donovan stepping in next to GAM. I think we will see, over the next many months, a regular evaluation about whether Donovan or Dempsey is the better partner for GAM, with the other one playing in the attacking midfield role behind the two strikers.

    This should not be misunderstood as a slight on McBride. I think BMB is terrific and if healthy is a lock for the WC06 roster. He will start at least one game at the Cup and appear in more than one game. But BMB is obviously on the "wrong" side of age 30, and there isn't anything that can be done to fix that over the next 11 months. :D

    So, the question becomes, who else can possibly start at striker next to GAM when needed? Strikers obviously need to SCORE, and Donovan has proven he can. Dempsey seems to be showing that useful quality, too. The other striker options seem to have scoring problems. For some reason I prefer Strikers who score from time to time.

    Personally, I'd prefer the speed/mobility combo of GAM and Donovan up top, with Dempsey playing centrally behind them. Heck, Donovan and Dempsey can even switch from time to time during the flow of the game - wouldn't that be creative...??? But I won't get all bent out of shape if Donovan plays behind GAM and Dempsey. McBride fits in as needed and sometimes starts depending on specific game matchups.

    This would be much better than trying to fit tweedle-dee and tweedle-dumb (Ching, Casey) into the starting lineup during a World Cup match.
  6. RevsRule

    RevsRule Member+

    NE Revs, LAFC
    Jun 9, 1999
    N. Eastern, Mass
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    This is a 100 % correct statement about Dempsey. When he creates an overload by moving up, he's dangerous. If he was susposed to be there, he'd be marked and would not be dangerous.

    I have no idea where he was playing last night. He seems to have been taking postitioning lessons from Beasley
  7. johnnygol

    johnnygol New Member

    Jun 28, 2004
    Dempsey is a ghost that manage to be in position to score. We all are trying to figure where he should play, for now I gonna say that he belongs in the field. Just wondering is he a golkeeper too? :)
  8. spot

    spot Member+

    Nov 29, 1999
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'd prefer him playing as a central mid rather than up top. He makes good runs, and in spite of his wide shot last night can strike the ball fairly well. He isn't Donovan, but if we're fighting for possession Donovan isn't Dempsey. That might be the key. As the game goes through cycles of possession Donovan and Dempsey could inter-change.

    All I know right now is that Donovan, Dempsey, and Beasley seemed to get on the same page. I'd hate to take anyone of them out in favor of a rigid positional description.
  9. Maximum Optimal

    Maximum Optimal Member+

    Jul 10, 2001
    I think he works best as the "middle" central midfielder in a 3-5-2. Alternatively in a box midfield where he would share attacking or defending responsibilities with another midfielder.
  10. cpwilson80

    cpwilson80 Member+

    Mar 20, 2001
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I agree. I posted this a while ago, but I think this is the best midfield the US could unveil:




    This lineup gets DMB wide left, and allows he and Donovan to feature in the attack and also pressure high up on defense. I also think Donovan works better with a second attacking mid as opposed to alone at the top of the diamond. This relies on the speed of Donovan and Beasley, which is unmatched on our team.

    This lineup gives Dempsey a loosely-defined role in the middle to basically create hav-OCK wherever he goes. I prefer him here instead of forward because he's facing the attack (whereas up top he'd have ball-winning responsibilities with his back to goal.)

    This lineup has two of our most talented players side-by-side. Both Reyna and O'Brien have incredible composure on the ball, are solid defensively, are smart players who distribute well, and can pick their spots for attack.

    The tradeoffs -- we need a second striker to complement EJ, and we play our less-familiar 3 man backline. But hey, we have a year -- let's make it happen.
  11. dcole

    dcole Member+

    May 27, 2005
    If you are trotting out 5 mids, you presumably have only three defenders. I don't see how you can go with a three-man back line without a true DMid (i.e., Pablo). I do like the line-up but for that flaw. Sorry, but Dempsey still strikes me as the odd man out, either because we go with 4 mids or because we go with 5 mids and a three-man back line.
  12. CCTX SoccerFreak

    CCTX SoccerFreak New Member

    Jan 5, 2005
    Corpus Christi,TX
    I like it...

    now we just have to convince Bruce...
  13. asdf2

    asdf2 Member+

    Oct 11, 2004
    San Francisco
    Keyword: Cuba.
  14. cpwilson80

    cpwilson80 Member+

    Mar 20, 2001
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I don't think Reyna will start every game in the World Cup -- enter Mastroeni.

    Dempsey brings an unpredictable element to the team that I think, coupled with his improvement in the next year, will make him a starter.

    The three in the back are aided by Reyna and O'Brien -- both true two way players. This also eliminates the need for two outside backs (probably our weakest are right now -- it's Cherundolo and...?)

    I'd have much more faith in a Bocanegra/Pope-Onweyu-Gibbs backline than the Sanneh-Conrad-Hejduk line we saw late last night.

    To get those 5 midfielders on the field, with nearly all of them in their best position, I'd make those tradeoffs.
  15. Maximum Optimal

    Maximum Optimal Member+

    Jul 10, 2001
    At the moment I think our best midfield would look like this:


    Dempsey probably fits in best in the Reyna slot. JOB also fits in best there, so its a little crowded. It could be by WC06 that a lack of a good second forward leads to Donovan being moved up front with GAM. This would open up a slot in midfield.
  16. rgli13

    rgli13 Member+

    Mar 23, 2005
    Memphis, Tn
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    it would be fun to see


    i dont see any combination close to ej and mcbride up top- so i start with that. the three man backline can work because reyna and job can both drop to make it almost a 5 man back- otherwise they hold the ball and spit it up to the kids in the midfield to make our chances. all three will run all day (and make good runs doing it) and can all interchange.

    not a lineup id like to see full-time, but i sure wouldnt mind seeing it a few times.
  17. Paco Joe

    Paco Joe New Member

    Jun 12, 2003
    I'm no expert on tactics, but supposing we're playing against a 4-4-2, how would we defend the flanks with this formation? Would having two d-mids allow us to cover more width to a good enough extent?
  18. Mr Martin

    Mr Martin Member+

    Jun 12, 2002
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The biggest tradeoff in this proposed setup is the question of WIDTH, or the lack of width. So, DMB plays wide left, but what about the width from the right side? Donovan has been played wide right a few time and he just dissappears from the game. It seems pretty clear that Donovan is better centrally and/or near the goal.

    Moreover, since you have to play a 3-man back line, you'll get NO WIDTH from the backs, like you would from the outside backs in a 4-man back line. This whole lineup is MUCH TO CENTRALLY FOCUSSED, in the back, in midfield, and in all likelyhood from the two strikers. Width and penetration are two key principals of attacking soccer, and this proposal kills one of them.

    I don't even want to begin my usual argument that the US does not currently have enough world-quality center defenders to commit to a 3-man back line -- Pope, Boca, Gibbs, and Oneywu are all we've got. Sanneh just proved he can't cut it, Berhalter is fading fast, Marshall is seemingly not on the radar, and Cherundolo and Hejduk are NOT center backs.

    If you are going to play this 5-man midfield, then play a 4-5-1 with GAM alone up top but supported by DMB, Donovan, and Dempsey. Then at least the outside backs like Cherundolo can help provide some additional width.

    If I'm Arena, I work on the following:




    Speed/movement/finishing up top. Workrate in central midfield. Speed and skill on the left. Skill and experience on the right to feed the speed up top. Power and speed at central defense. Skill, passing and attacking ability from the outside backs.

    (I'll even switch O'Brien for Mastro if people insist, but then you have to provide a new left back of the same quality that Mastro brings to the table.)

    Plus, it works well with the remaining depth on the roster. Lewis, Zavagnin, maybe Gavin or Quaranta in midfield; McBride and Wolff up top. Pope, Boca, and Hejduk on defense.

    Speed. Movement. Finishing. Skill. Work rate. Experience. Depth. The whole package.
  19. Jay510

    Jay510 Member+

    Apr 21, 2002
    Gadsden Purchase, AZ
    Blackburn Rovers FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Well JOB used to be a left back for Ajax if im not mistaken, so he could take some d-mid responsibilities. but that X formation may leave Dempsey in no mans land in counterattacks...

    Reyna may be more suited for that type of position, because hes great at letting the offense flow through him...

    Dempsey i think will be on the 2006 team, but he will have to play a spot thats open, and he will adjust, hes pretty versatile...

    but no on being a forward, that spot is taken so far
  20. Jonez

    Jonez New Member

    Aug 4, 2004
    If we have both DMB and LD playing AM, along with Dempsey making his runs, do we really need to use a 3 man defense? Why not a 4-5-1?
  21. superdave

    superdave Member+

    Jul 14, 1999
    VB, VA
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Cherundolo's height can be exploited when he's wide right in a 4 man backline. He flatout will kill us in a 3 man backline. No way, no how. I'm a big Steve fan, but I'd rather see, yes, Sanneh in that role than Steve. (Of course, there's a dozen players I'd rather see than Sanneh, too, but you get the point.)
  22. cpwilson80

    cpwilson80 Member+

    Mar 20, 2001
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    Some good points here, I just disagree.

    I think Beasley and Donovan have demonstrated that they have the ability to provide width as dual attacking mids. Dempsey floating in the middle can provide an anchor when one of the two venture out wide. Reyna and O'brien can do the same if we need to distribute out of the back. I'm not too concerned with the lack of width coming out of the backline.

    This is my personal standpoint, but I hate the idea of O'Brien in the back. If JOB's at full-speed, he is one of your best players and should be in the midfield. He's a true two-way player, and slotting him at left back deprives us of his full skill set. It's the same reason I don't like Beasely in the middle or Dempsey up top -- they provide a stop gap solution, but your wasting the talent of your best players.

    Concerning the rest of the roster, yes, this formation would not work with different players. I'm also not expecting us to roll out the same formation each game -- we have great flexibility in our tactics.

    As I mentioned in a later post, I think some combo of Bocanegra, Pope, Onweyu, and Gibbs could pull off a 3 man backline.
  23. cpwilson80

    cpwilson80 Member+

    Mar 20, 2001
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I don't think EJ's suited as a lone striker right now.
  24. UChicagoSoccer

    UChicagoSoccer New Member

    Mar 6, 2005
    Just a thought, but since Eddie hasn't been able to handle it as the lone striker up top, what might that lineup look like if we transformed the 4-5-1 into a 4-3-3 with the same six midfielders/forwards? DMB is already a forward in such a system for Eidenhoven, Landon is a forward for the Galaxy, and Dempsey could attack all he wants with the support of O'Brien to his left and Reyna to his right.
  25. sidefootsitter

    sidefootsitter Member+

    Oct 14, 2004
    DMB+Landon on top leave you with no size there and, to play a 4-3-3, you need a quality right-wing.

    I think people may start to get used to the idea that to field the best team, a top 10 field player like Dempsey or DMB may have to sit and wait for a situational sub role.

    As to the 3-in-the-back, you could choose from Pope, Conrad (more a right center IMO), Onyewu (center/center), Bocanegra (left center), Gibbs (left center), Spector (right center) and Mastroeni (right center). On the horizon are Jay Demerit, Chad Marshall and Uho Ihemelu. Outside looking in are Gregg Berhalter, Danny Califf and Daniel Hernandez.

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