Getting our best 11 on the field for WC 06

Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by Murray, Jul 13, 2005.

  1. Murray

    Murray Member

    Aug 2, 1999
    Glendale, California
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    This is probably too early, but every world cup I go down the player roster and write down on a piece of paper our best 11 men.

    Right now it would be, in alphabetical order:

    Beasley, Dempsey, Donovan, Gibbs, Johnson, Keller, Mastroeni, McBride, O'Brian, Pope, Reyna

    OK, so how do you get our best 11 on the field?


    Reyna Pope Gibbs O'Brian

    Dempsey Mastoeni Donovan Beasley

    Johnson McBride

    Simple isn't it?
  2. Red Card

    Red Card Member+

    Mar 3, 1999
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Our best XI men may not be the best TEAM.

    Anyway, there are enough threads on who should be on the WC 2006 team.
  3. sokol

    sokol Member

    Aug 4, 2004
    If we were to truly get our best 11 on the field, we'd have three or four keepers. But my realistic version would be:

    Pope Gooch Boca/Gibbs (whoever's in better form)
    Cherundolo Mastroeni JOB Lewis
  4. Steel Keeper

    Steel Keeper Member

    Jun 5, 2005
    -Cherundolo and Gooch have to be on that list. In my opinion that would take out Pope and McBride.

    -We won't have the same line-up for every game, even every knockout game at the World Cup so this point is somewhat moot.

    -Someone else had a point that I very much liked. If you are to put our best XI on the field at the same time, then you would have several keepers on the pitch. The fact is we need the best team. It's pointless to bench a guy who is marginally worse as an overall footballer for a guy who will either play out of position or move his teammates out of position. If I can quote Herb Brooks from Miracle "I'm not looking for the best players, I'm looking for the right ones." Obviously, we don't have the access to the team and to the Bruce that would allow us to make this assessment so we at BS go by what we do see, on field performance.

    -I'm not going to make a definitive statement here, but let's assume Donovan is the best player on our team when he plays AM but when he's moved elsewhere he becomes just "a guy." Why throw in someone like Dempsey who is 11th on the depth chart over a Bocanegra who let's say for the sake of arguement is 12th if it throws off the line-up. Making a line-up is much more complicated than taking the 10 best field players then fitting them into positions.
  5. ChelseaMatt

    ChelseaMatt Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Chelsea FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think our best attacking formation might be a diamond.

    One lineup I'd like to see in WC 06 is:


    Cherundolo Onweyu Bocanegra Hejduk


    Reyna Lewis


    EJ DMB

    There are so many possibilities: You could 1) drop DMB back, take Lewis out and put in McBride. 2) Take Mastroeni out, drop Reyna back and put on Ralston 3) Put in Dempsey straight up for DMB 4) Sub in O'Brien for Mastroeni, Reyna, or Lewis

    I think we have lots of offensive options-- and all will see PT in the World Cup.

    I'm more worried about our central defense: we can't have Onweyu play like he did against Mexico, and we can't have Pope play like he did against England-- as much as I've liked Pope over the years, I think he's past his prime, and Gooch will have that spot. I also think that Boca should be central and not on the wing.

    I'm hearing a lot of agreement over all of this, but I'm sure there will be some dissent. Lay it one me.
  6. Heathens '87

    Heathens '87 Member

    United States
    Mar 4, 2004
    RSC Anderlecht
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Gooch is quite young and inexperienced at the international level. Mexico was his third cap. Think about that for a moment - who else in the USMNT player pool started in the Azteca in their third cap?! Also realize that that game was his second national team start!

    Oguchi needs to play to gain experience if he's going to be ready for Germany. Expect mistakes, expect the inexperience to show, and expect improvement. I see it already, but I will continue to question the line-up Arena put out there against Mexico. Onyewu shouldn't have started, and certainly not in a central pairing with Berhalter.

    Flip this for Eddie. Pope is old and experienced. He will not make positional errors, but he is subject to being beat athletically. Expect it to happen, but don't look for improvement as it just isn't going to happen at his age. He's lost a step, and must continue to use his intelligence to adjust his positioning to cover for this, which is harder against quick teams such as England. In the right role, he is still useful, but I'm having a hard time seeing him starting against WC-class teams next summer.

    It may be a bit premature to worry about Onyewu, given that the Canada game was his fifth cap. If Eddie goes to Germany, it's because of what he can bring in terms of veteran influence on guys like Gooch....
  7. blech

    blech Member+

    Jun 24, 2002
    if he goes, it will be for more than just veteran influence. i'm not thrilled about it, and hope it would only be in an emergency situation, but the reality is that injuries and cards can result in a player having to sit a game. if we're going to focus on getting gooch and gibbs and perhaps boca more experience in upcoming games (correctly in my opinion), it stands to reason that we won't be able to "season" a backup as well. having someone with experience who you can count on positionally for a single game may make some sense under these circumstances...
  8. fusion101

    fusion101 Member

    Jan 11, 2002
    Cherundolo, Gibbs, Gooch, Boca
    DMB, Renya, Mastroeni, O'Brien
    Johnson, Donovan

    *Note- Renya and O'Brien haven't played defense for the national team and probably won't. We have such better defending abled players then the likes of Renya and O'Brien, who not to mention, would probably get pushed off the ball to easy and wouldn't be aggressive enough.
  9. asdf2

    asdf2 Member+

    Oct 11, 2004
    San Francisco
    Nifty, but this ignores:

    a) that likely 2-3 of these guys will be injured, and you don't know which ones.
    b) yellow card suspensions.
    c) substitutions, and those are likely to be different depending on the situation.
    d) we'll play with few rest days in a tournament format therefore need to use even more fresh legs.
    e) that this is not even the best TEAM as someone says above.

    You need more like 18 partially interchangable players to do well in a World Cup.
  10. Heathens '87

    Heathens '87 Member

    United States
    Mar 4, 2004
    RSC Anderlecht
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    I agree, and think that Pope is essentially in competition with Berhalter for this role.......
  11. Beast_Ed

    Beast_Ed Member

    Jul 15, 2003
    Boston MetroWest
    Picture this lineup for Germany:



    I'll bet money we see this lineup.

    Beastie Eddy

    *Complete the SOCCER SURVEY*
  12. SamsArmySam

    SamsArmySam Member+

    Apr 13, 2001
    Minneapolis, MN
    You'd bet money 11+ months in advance that we'll field a 4-2-3-1 with Reyna as one of the attacking wingers? Impressive.

    You sure you're not "Crazy Eddy"? (insert stupid smiley here)
  13. BigKris

    BigKris Member

    Jan 17, 2005
    Falls Church, VA
    Dear US passport-carrying soccer players: welcome to the big-leagues. our best 11 has about 16 members. Man, it's nice to have this kind of problem for a change -- not like where we were in France '98. Just like with most other soccer-playing nations, there's going to be some very good soccer players left on the sidelines and/or left at home when Germany '06 rolls around. Consider yourselves warned, and compete NOW. Sincerely, Bruce.
  14. K.P.

    K.P. Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I disagree with that last assertion, at least in regards to Reyna. Not only is he very strong on the ball, he also has played right back in Scotland. If Reyna has to play right back (most likely because of an injury or suspension to Cherundolo), I wouldn't worry about him getting pushed around.
  15. superdave

    superdave Member+

    Jul 14, 1999
    VB, VA
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    No right wing. I think opponents are figuring out our one-winged formations, and jamming the other 2/3 of the field. That overcrowding accounts for our difficulty creating chances in the final 1/3. And I think we won't be underscouted in 2006 like we were in 2002.

    I won't get into your dubious selection of Pope. ;) But I will note that Cherundolo is, right now, clearly one of our best X1. You could put him at fullback, and Reyna at the wing (understanding that he's a 70 minute player), and drop, as painful as it is, Dempsey.
  16. Jay510

    Jay510 Member+

    Apr 21, 2002
    Gadsden Purchase, AZ
    Blackburn Rovers FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    all this talk about our best 11 has me flashing back to the glory days of Chad Deering and Mike "uh, which post do I protect?" Burns.
  17. FirstStar

    FirstStar Hustlin' for the USA

    Feb 1, 2005
    Time's Arrow
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    To get our best players out there, we have to play a three-man back line. The situation and opponent will dictate how often we get to use this formation, but I think it now best suits the US' prefered style of play. I've put this down as a 3-5-2, since that keeps LD in the middle of the field behind the forwards, but it could be a 3-4-3 with Lando moving up and more of the offense flowing through JOB and Claudio.






    It pains me to keep Lewis off the field, but I think the US and GAM are better with a target forward. Otherwise, move DMB up front for BMB and insert Eddie in the midfield (and move LD up to a 3-4-3). I don't see Dempsey as cracking into this XI right now, but he'd be an ideal sub for Claudio if we needed more offense. The converse is true if Dempsey starts - Claudio can come in to help hold the ball and kill time - which helps keep this formation intact.

    Our right side would be more withdrawn than our left in this formation, which would give 'Dolo the opportunity to go forward more often with Mastro and Claudio in better position to track back. JOB can come forward more from his left DM spot, since DMB has the speed to track back to cover. I'd expect BMB and GAM to switch sides a lot, based on the run of play.

    We have the necessary depth at CB (with Boca and Pope and, perhaps, Spector) to play a 3 man backline. I put Gooch in the middle of the backline because I think the left CB is the most essential position for a 3 man backline and Gibbs is (IMO) our best CB now. I don't know, however, if Gooch would be up to the task of organizing the line or if Gibbs could do that from the left side.
  18. Palermo10

    Palermo10 Member

    Apr 7, 2005
    San Diego
    Real Madrid
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Ok nevermind that Pope made the MLS all-star roster, whoopeedeedoo.
    He´s old and I think he´s done at the intl level.
    Take the England friendly if you want video footage...

    Imagine Eddie Pope going up against Ronaldo?

    But I digress...

    Cherundolo Gooch Gibbs Bocanegra
    Beasley Mastroeni or Reyna O´Brien
    Johnson McBride

    Donovan has to play off those two. They are both pretty much target forwards (more so mcbride) and so in order to have some semblance of attack LD has to play a supporting role for them.
    Reyna or Mastroeni can play behind LD as a stalwart in the middle. Beasley and OBrien on the wings and we have super speed and passing.

    Dempsey, Wolff, much needed supersubs.
  19. puddleduck

    puddleduck Member

    Mar 15, 2002
    Providence, RI
    I like this line up, except that I don't know if Cherundolo is up to playing in a 3-man backline ... you really need CDs and while I'm a huge Dolo fan and I think he is one of the best defenders the US has ever produced ... he is an attacking fullback, not a central defender.

    Gooch - Boca - Gibbs would be a better backline for this formation, IMHO.

    You can then save Dolo to bring on as a defensive sub and switch to

    dolo - gooch - gibbs - Boca

    I like your midfield though ... I only wish Renya was better on the wing. He's going to play centrally .. he just is, that's the kind of player he is ... and we give up the rightside of the fields a bit too much in this formation. As others have stated I think teams will learn to shut us down when we try and send everything up the left.
  20. BigKris

    BigKris Member

    Jan 17, 2005
    Falls Church, VA
    I truly believe by the time we get to Germany, Dempsey has to be in our "best" starting XI. I think the guy who gets forced out is either: BMB (and shift Donovan up top) or Mastro (and shift Rena back).
  21. seeds

    seeds Member

    Apr 23, 2002
    Sorry, but I have not yet seen justification that Dempsey has made the WC team yet, much less has moved Brian McBride to the bench after the way he played down the stretch for Fulham.

    This discussion is also a little misleading. We should be thinking of best 11, but best 14. We have some versatile guys that Bruce will use in a variety to spots to put our best fresh legs and skill where it's needed.

    It's all academic anway. When I see that both JOB & Reyna are healthy the day before our first match in Germany, I'll worry about how Bruce will get them on the field.
  22. FirstStar

    FirstStar Hustlin' for the USA

    Feb 1, 2005
    Time's Arrow
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Good point - I was influenced by Brice's latest comments about 'Dolo. The back three with Boca would be excellent as well (although I'd put him on the left and Gibbs in the middle).

    CR has been playing wide for City and knows that he can do it. With him on the right and JOB on the left, I think we have balance in our ability to bring the ball up through the midfield. I agree, though, that it depends on Reyna's willingness to play on the right side.

    What I would really like to see is this line-up out for a friendly in a 3-4-3 with Lewis as left mid and DMB up front instead of BMB. I don't know how GAM would react without a target forward in the game, but the US would have tremendous ability to bring the ball up field and maintain possession, and then three players (Reyna, Lewis and JOB) who can serve tremendous crosses into players (Lando, DMB and GAM) who can finish and make secondary passes to each other.

    All of this, though, will change in a year and the development of some new players in the pool might force us into different formations.
  23. Adam Zebrowski

    Adam Zebrowski New Member

    May 28, 1999
    I agree if 3 backs are called for, I prefer gibbs, onyewu and bocanagra...

    have mastro and JOB sitting in front of them...

    cherundolo as the right wingback and beasley as the left wingback...

    donovan at amid with EJ and mcbride, although there could be cases wher wolff stylistically gets the call over mcbride...

    reyna and lewis and dempsey are available off the bench...

    I'd prefer another offensive force off the bench, who can eject pace and creativity...

    unfortunately the kid might be a couple years too young, but an adu-like offensive sub presence would be really nice
  24. Heathens '87

    Heathens '87 Member

    United States
    Mar 4, 2004
    RSC Anderlecht
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    As much as I think all of these players are in our Best XI, I just don't think we have the mixture of speed, athleticism, positioning, and size in each of the three backs to play a 3-back formation in the World Cup. Our talent level, in my opinion, with this formation, is not at a high enough level to play the top teams without getting seriously burned, or essentially leaving Pablo and/or JOB back as a midfielder in name only.

    Cherundolo roams a great deal already, but we'll need him to continue his steady defensive play and intelligent runs forward. Gooch is young, and I'd worry that his positioning is still suspect. Bocanegra has demonstrated that he can be beaten with speed, and Gibbs is perhaps the best mixture of talent we've got in back.

    You need a great deal of talent to get away with a 3-back defensive line, and as we saw against Cuba, even a lesser team can easily exploit a match-up when there is no cover........
  25. Adam Zebrowski

    Adam Zebrowski New Member

    May 28, 1999
    when agoos went down in korea, arena used 3 backs, although nominally, the outside wingbacks morphed into 5 defenders at times...

    also, sitting two d-mids in front of the defense, or 2 out of reyna, job, mastroeni...

    still cherundolo and beasley need to play the entire pitch...

    dmb can and I suspect dolo will prove he can too

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