How likely is it for Arena to make surprise choices?

Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by Der Kaiser, Apr 17, 2006.

  1. Der Kaiser

    Der Kaiser Member

    Jul 30, 1999
    Thinking back to 02 it seems to me that Beasley and Mastroeni were two players that were a bit off the rader that were included in the team and saw minutes for the team. I keep seeing threads about Rolfe and Casey as well as others who seem to be out of the picture, yet posters think they have a shot. Does Arena maybe see youth and inexperience as a plus. Is it better to have a few young players who are too dumb (or unseasoned) to know they should be afraid of the other team in a world cup? Who fits this definition the best Adu? Conrad? Dunivant? Casey? My memory may be a bit off on Mastroeni, but Beasley had only a few caps before he was trotted out in the wc. Will Arena use this tactic in 06? Does he even think this way?
     
  2. Martin Fischer

    Martin Fischer Member+

    Feb 23, 1999
    Kampala. Uganda
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Mastroeni and Beasley both played 2 - 3 times for the USMNT in the year before the Finals and both played at least six games for the USMNT in early 2002 (Gold Cup in particular). I am not sure that someone who doesn't come close to that profile has a realsitic chance.
     
  3. Atouk

    Atouk BigSoccer Supporter

    DC United
    Apr 16, 2001
    Arlington, VA
    Club:
    Queens Park Rangers FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    FYI, at the time of the roster announcement, Beasley had 9 caps and Mastroeni had 8. Beas got 3 more in the pre-WC friendlies, while Mastro got 2 more. O'Brien, with just 13, was next lowest at the time the squad was first named.

    Five of the alternates named (including Cherundolo who was eventually on the roster) had 10 or less caps at the time of the announcement (Howard - 1, Thornton - 8, Cherundolo - 10, Mulrooney - 4, West - 6)

    http://www.ussoccer.com/articles/viewArticle.jsp_15127.html

    I guess Conrad (not involved in too many qualifiers, but played well in the previous Gold Cup and earned a good number of caps late) is the only one of the guys you named that has a profile similar to Beasley or Mastroeni, but we're deeper at his position than we were then at theirs.
     
  4. BenfromUSA

    BenfromUSA Member

    Jan 20, 2006
    Minneapolis/St. Paul
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    there could be some suprise picks at forward because twellman, and wolff have come back to the pack and its a toss up now.
     
  5. Dr.Phil

    Dr.Phil Member+

    Jan 18, 2004
    Club:
    FC Bayern München
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Olsen could be a surprise choice for the final midfield
     
  6. timpcrk

    timpcrk New Member

    Mar 10, 2005
    Bloomington
    Remember, Mastroeni got thrust into the starting lineup because Armas went down with an injury. If an important player gets injured this year (hopefully not), we could see another young player step up and perform well.
     
  7. Zeppelin

    Zeppelin New Member

    Jan 24, 2006
    I will be surprised if Coby Jones be on the roster for Germany.
     
  8. Captain10

    Captain10 Member

    Jul 26, 2000
    Marietta, GA
    Club:
    Corinthians Sao Paulo
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I cringe at this thought. I'd rather take one-cap Clark over Olsen.
     
  9. zcgf02

    zcgf02 New Member

    Mar 30, 2001
    Houston
    I think it is less likely for Arena to make surprise choices this year for the following reason:

    In 2002, no one -- I mean no one -- thought we would get out of the first round. That left Arena free to make some bold choices. In the back of his mind, I suspect Arena felt he had nothing to lose by bringing along some relatively inexperienced guys.

    This time around, however, the US is expected to do better so Arena will be more conservative in his roster selections. Ironically, it was the group of relative novices that helped us a lot in 2002 (JOB, Pablo and DMB). Will a less risky team help us in 2006? I don't know the answer to that...
     
  10. JoeW

    JoeW New Member

    Apr 19, 2001
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I don't think that Arena sees youth and inexperience as a "plus." I think the deal with DMB and Donovan in 2002 was, remember, those guys had gotten plenty of looks from Arena. They knew his system, he knew them well, brought them along slowly and despite not many caps, brought them in to the side for the WC b/c they filled holes.

    I think the key to remember with Arena is that he doesn't choose the 23 best players. He chooses the best "team." That is why, with his first Confederations Cup tournament, he brought Paul Bravo. Bravo? Well, Arena knew he was going to have a compressed schedule, would need hard workers and would be playing at altitude for some games. Bravo was with Colorado (which plays at altitude) and was a hard worker. That was a roster pick that was off EVERYONE's radar screen (including Bravo) but it fit his tactical plan and roster needs.

    I don't think Rolfe gets picked if he's one of the 4 best forwards. I do think Rolfe gets picked if Arena feels: (a) he's "hot" and (b) he would be a good role-player (b/c if we're counting on Rolfe to play major minutes then our team is hurting).

    The only guys that I think fall into the category of real "surprise" picks are guys who are overseas and just haven't had many looks (and therefore don't know Arena's system and haven't been seen by him alot). This list would include players like: Feldhaber, maybe Specter (even though he wouldn't be a shock as a choice), Casey--players of that ilk. Rolfe may not be on many players favorite lists but if EJ, Twellman and Wolff don't score in the next couple of weeks and Rolfe does, that can easily change. Or if McBride gets hurt. Or if Reyna blows out a knee (which means Donovan is a fulltime A-mid). Rolfe is one of the guys who probably isn't a "bubble player" but has to both play well and also rely on circumstances (some other guys ahead of him not seizing the moment).

    As for the comment about choosing Clark over Olsen....(sigh), you can like Ricardo Clark as a player (and he's a very good player) but also admit he's not the kind of D-mid Arena is looking for.

    As a D-mid, Arena is mostly looking for an E-W runner who doesn't need to be flashy with the ball. He does not want that D-mid to get forward much. That is why, when Clark has been in camp, he's gotten looks at outside mid or outside back (a role where he'd excel in Arena's system) or maybe as a holding mid in a 5 man midfield (which the US isn't likely to use). Clark isn't competing with Olsen. If Clark was in the running, he'd be competing with maybe Dempsey (holding mid), outside mid (Dempsey, etc.), outside back (Spector, Hejduk, Albright, etc.).
     
  11. sidefootsitter

    sidefootsitter Member+

    Oct 14, 2004
    Or Tab Ramos or Peter Vermes or Shep Messing....
     
  12. Reignking

    Reignking Member

    Feb 16, 2005
    Atlanta, GA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    David Regis :)
     
  13. mmmdonuts

    mmmdonuts New Member

    Jan 23, 2006
    Houston
    agreed.
     
  14. CLEATS

    CLEATS New Member

    May 2, 2005
    ADU.
    PARKHURST.
    These would be nice surprise picks.Seriously how much worse off would we be with these two instead of a NOONAN or a BOCANEGRA and this team desperately needs some young blood.I know that the chances of this happening are probably a million to one but one can hope.
     
  15. rgli13

    rgli13 Member+

    Mar 23, 2005
    Memphis, Tn
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    it depends on what would be a "surprise" to you. with the depth we have theres not a lot of choices that would be anything more than something you didnt presonally expect- but not really a surprise.

    the thing (or problem, you could say) is that a lot of our depth is the same level depth. at forward, for instance, would it be a surprise to anyone if it were casey, ching, or twellman? i dont think it would. olsen, zavagnin- surprised?

    weve used that depth in our roster giving everyone a look, and outside of dempsey i dont think anyones moved any closer to "lock" than five months ago. hard to say its a surprise if albright makes it when hes gotten a handful of caps this year.

    the only surprises i see as in the realm of possibility are spector, pearce, and adu- and i say pearce and spector only because they havent been able to play in our friendlies- maybe bruce has already decided. they would be a bit surprising i guess.

    freddys the only one that would really take me off guard.
     
  16. geordienation

    geordienation Moderator

    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago
    Club:
    Newcastle United FC

    Parkhurst?

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
     
  17. Davids26

    Davids26 Member

    May 31, 2000
    Oh yeah how much worse off would we be with a 16 year old who starts sometimes for his club team?

    How much worse off would we be with a guy who has one MLS season under his belt, compared to a player who's been a near consistent starter in one of the world's top leagues for 2 1/2 years now...

    That makes ALL the sense in the world.
     
  18. Der Kaiser

    Der Kaiser Member

    Jul 30, 1999
    Excellent info Joe W. That insight about Bravo explains a lot. I guess i'm wondering like most if a player is hot in MLS the next few weeks (Rolfe) could that warrant an inclusion? The Euros have the luxury of basing choices on form. I'm not sure we are there yet. O'Brien is a prime example of this -is he on the team even at less than 100%? The system and experience within it does seem to be of greater importance to Arena.
     
  19. Adam Zebrowski

    Adam Zebrowski New Member

    May 28, 1999
    i don't see adu getting a call unless donovan is out of the tourney....

    the marginal guysv are all known, they played against jamaica...

    the known guys are about 18 or so...

    the rest all were in the jamaica match....
     
  20. Captain10

    Captain10 Member

    Jul 26, 2000
    Marietta, GA
    Club:
    Corinthians Sao Paulo
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Suprise? Not likely. Disappointed? Probably.
     
  21. swedust

    swedust Member+

    Aug 30, 2004
    My surprise pick: Bruce takes only 3 forwards; Spector and Albright both go.
     
  22. Adam Zebrowski

    Adam Zebrowski New Member

    May 28, 1999
    if we count donovan as a mid, 3 forwards might be all arena needs...

    albright and spector could fill specific roles...

    I do wonder about spector at d-mid...

    can he do it!!
     
  23. Der Kaiser

    Der Kaiser Member

    Jul 30, 1999
    swedust you might have it correct. I had not thought about that possibility. After McBride, Johnson and maybe Donovan I have not been impressed. Wolff has speed, but a first touch of stone. Maybe bringing Spector and Albright might make more sense. I still worrry about who will get our goals.
     
  24. JoeW

    JoeW New Member

    Apr 19, 2001
    Northern Virginia, USA
    As I said in my earlier post, Arena is assembling the best TEAM. If Rolfe is hot but McBride gets gimpy, than Arena may need to be sure he brings extra help as a target player (thus Twellman goes even though he's not really a target man and either Ching or Casey). If JOB, Mastoreni, DMB and Reyna are all gimpy with injuries that may persist, Arena may need to blow an extra slot on a midfielder to be sure we've got depth there.

    Probably the way to look at this (or at least the way I look at it) is....Arena has mostly decided on the tactical approach for Italy, CR and Ghana. It will be tweaked as we get closer b/c their lineups aren't set and they may make some adjustments. But I think Arena already has a rough game plan. Plus, he has a model in his head of what a successful tournament team has to look like (that's part of the value of all of those semi-amateurish Gold Cups--they're great practice for setting up a team for the WC with travel, compressed scheduled, impact of injuries and suspensions, need to make quick tactical adjustments, be extremely organized, run shorter practices to allow for recovery time, put together a roster that resembles a club with leaders and good practice players). For instance, if he's thinking about a 352 or 343 against Italy that allows him to get Donovan and Reyna on the field in midfield roles (with mastroeni as a D-mid). That plan only makes sense if he's got cover for Reyna in-case Claudio goes gimpy at the last minute. That's where Dempsey comes in--he's not much of an A-mid or D-mid but he's a fine holding mid. Now that he's proven he can be a good outside mid, putting him on the roster doesn't either telegraph your strategy or burn a space on a limited player (if he had only shown the ability to be an international level holding mid at this point).

    I suspect that Arena would like to have a guy to come off the bench to run at people with quickness, especially in the last 15 minutes of the match. Ideally, that person would be EJ. But since EJ may start (if Donovan is our A-mid) and he hasn't shown outstanding form of late, then Arena is probably open to possibilities. Additionally, if our entire striker corp is cold as 3 day old oatmeal, then there is something to be said for taking a striker who is hot. I don't see that as a big factor for Arena but I don't think he'd rule it out--especially if he looks at the form EJ, Twellman and Wolff are in and it doesn't improve for at least one of them. It's not a comfortable feeling when you have 4 strikers, one has a tweak (McBride) and the other 3 aren't scoring goals domestically or internationally in recent play.

    As for form, I don't think that's the critical factor for Arena. It's "a" factor. But he's assembling a team and one to compete in a tournament. So he wants coverage for gimpy players, he ones a lot of players who are versatile (like Donovan, Convey, Lewis, Hejduk, Reyna, Mastroeni, JOB can all play multiple positions and roles on the team). He wants good locker-room guys. He wants some leaders (which is partially why I think he plays Donovan at A-mid for some games when he'll likely be a forward for us in the WC--to help reinforce the leadership role with Landon and also with his teammates). He wants some guys who've been there (so some veterans and guys who know Germany are a plus). He likes speed and quickness ALOT. And he also sees the value in having a guy to set the tempo and intensity for practice.
     
  25. VOwithwater

    VOwithwater New Member

    Oct 17, 2005

    Of the 4 you mentioned these two Conrad? Dunivant
     

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