Locks, and spots still up for grabs

Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by dfb547490, Dec 13, 2005.

  1. dfb547490

    dfb547490 New Member

    Feb 9, 2000
    The Heights
    This is all assuming everyone is healthy, although I'll make plans ahead of time for O'Brien's inevitable injury.

    Locks: Keller, Howard, Hahnemann
    Spots open: 0. If these 3 are all healthy they will be the 3 on the team. The only competition here is between Marcus and Timmy for the #2 job. If Howard or Hahnemann goes down Matt Reis appears next in line to take a spot, if Keller goes down then expect Bruce to be on the phone with Friedel to reconsider his international retirement.

    Locks: Cherundolo, Onyewu, Gibbs, Bocanegra, Lewis
    Spots open: 3 (maybe 2). One spot will go to a wingback, Hejduk may not be a cast-iron lock yet but in my mind he's the perfect guy to lock down Nedved, and as such is pretty close to it; based on Frankie's performance in France and Korea, Albright will have to play his ass off over the next few months to earn a ticket to Deutschland, although Albright's size and youth will help him. One spot will be reserved for a 4th CB; Pope appears to be the frontrunner for the job right now but has lost a step, Berhalter's tactical acumen and Marshall's athleticism will both help those guys in the competition for the job. Finally, we will probably take 8 defenders to Germany (particularly if Lewis is one of them), and as such I expect the final spot to go to Spector simply because of his size, his raw talent, and most importantly his versatility (although Albright could potentially take this spot, as he has played both fullback positions and has the physical tools to play CB).

    Locks: Donovan, Beasley, Reyna, O'Brien, Mastroeni
    Spots open: 3 (maybe 4). Like Hejduk, Convey is perhaps not quite a cast-iron lock, but is damn close to it. One spot will be reserved for a dedicated winger; Ralston has been this guy thru most of qualifying, but Arena knows the difference between guys who can get the job done in CONCACAF WCQs and guys who can get the job done in the World Cup (see Williams, Richie). Mapp, Quaranta, Gaven, Pearce, and possibly Mullan and/or Klein will battle it out for this job. Each has their advantages and disadvantages, and each is capable of playing at least 1 position other than RM. Finally, you have to think that despite his recent struggles, Dempsey has a good shot at the team. He can be huge coming off the bench against tired defenders, and his versatility (he can play anywhere in the midfield as well as up top) will also help his chances. Of course, if he continues to suck in the winter friendlies and early-season MLS play this could be re-evaluated, but right now he has to be considered a likely member of the squad. Finally, we have to plan for O'Brien to be hurt since he probably will be; Arena probably wants to take a second "destroyer" midfielder to Germany. If everyone is healthy there's simply no room for one in the squad (unless we take 9 midfielders, which is possible but IMO unlikely), but O'Brien's likely absence will allow him to take one. The guy who filled this role thru most of qualifying, Armas, is likely himself out of contention with an injury that won't heal until just before the WC; Zavagnin is the safe, "you know what you're getting" alternative; while the younger guys, Clark and Carroll, will have the opportunity to play themselves into contention; and Mulrooney, if he can overcome his own ACL injury, could also get a shot. Based on his sheer athleticism, size, and rocket shot, I expect Clark to win the job as long as he can overcome his ankle injury suffered while training in Spain.

    Locks: Johnson, McBride
    Spots open: 2. This seems to be the most straight-forward position, even if there are a ton of guys who try to make their voices heard. One will be a target man type to back up McBride, and the other will be a speedy goal-poacher to back up Johnson. The front-runners currently are Ching and Wolff, respectively. Unfortunately, neither guy is totally convincing as an option in Germany. Jaqua will get ample opportunity to challenge for Ching's spot; while Cunningham, Gomez, and Rolfe will have the chance to challenge Wolff. Twellman is a bit of a "tweener" who can fit either role in a pinch but isn't really perfectly-suited for either; this, I believe, is the reason behind his failure so far to fit into the US system and establish himself on the international level despite his undeniable talent. This will be the most intriguing position to watch IMO as there are a ton of guys, many of whom are very inexperienced on the international level but possess boatloads of talent, who will be vying for 2 open spots. I really can't predict who will make the team as I'd simply be drawing names out of a hat. Ching and Wolff have disappointed recently but they're the only known qualities at the moment; I for one can't wait to see what the younger guys have to offer. It's also possible that we'll bring 2 speedier types as backups and use Johnson as the target man when McBride is not in the lineup (which he won't be at times, he doesn't have the gas in the tank to go 270 minutes in 10 days), although I don't see this happening unless we have 2 of those guys absolutely screaming for inclusion in the team and Jaqua and Ching both show nothing at all over the next few months.

    Whatever ends up happening in Germany, the next few months are going to be very fun.
  2. st ryma 7

    st ryma 7 Member

    Dec 23, 2004
    the south bay
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    johnson is definatly not a lock at forward, he has to get back into form and do some very impressive things in the friendlies to get back into the position he was in before the injury
  3. dcole

    dcole Member+

    May 27, 2005
    The original poster said he was assuming everyone was healthy (which is a valid way to analyze things). Assuming he's healthy, GAM's a lock. No question about it.
  4. st ryma 7

    st ryma 7 Member

    Dec 23, 2004
    the south bay
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    so he is a lock, if he gets healthy, plays in 4 friendlies against sub par teams and gets shut out? hes going to have to do something to reagain his post as a lock for the world cup roster, no matter what he did before getting hurt
  5. westsidepunk

    westsidepunk New Member

    May 31, 2003
    Tucson, AZ
    I agree that if these three are healthy they go, but would Bruce really call Big Bad Brad in out of retirement if Kasey goes down? I think it would be best. Tim and Marcus don't bring the consistency and ability to play at the international level that Brad does. But is there anything to the thought that Bruce rewards loyalty and would stick to the guys that have been participating?
  6. dcole

    dcole Member+

    May 27, 2005
    Who exactly is it that beats out a healthy GAM (not appropriate to use "Johnson" in that sentence!)? That's the issue. He's in.
  7. IMOX77

    IMOX77 New Member

    Jun 15, 2003
    Long Island, NY
    Was'nt Bruce quoted saying that EJ is a lock for Germany if healthy?
  8. asdf2

    asdf2 Member+

    Oct 11, 2004
    San Francisco
    Pretty darn good summary. I can't think of anyone you are leaving out. I hope you are right about Clark.
  9. darkworkz

    darkworkz Member

    Jun 10, 2004
    Tell you who I'd really like to see in January camp.

    1-Eddson Buddle
    5-Marvel Wayne

    If JJ and Marvel don't make it, no huge loss due to their ages. But we need to try out the rest ASAF'nP! I'd like to see other options besides T "couldn't hit the net if it was 20 feet wide" Twellman. :(
  10. mtr8967

    mtr8967 New Member

    Aug 15, 2003
    Arena said in an interview the last few roster spots will go to high character veterans to help set the team attitude.

    GK: agree

    D: While I love Spector for the future, his current play suggests he's not ready yet. There might be a currently fringe LB who comes out of nowhere to play, but I think the position will just be covered by shifting somebody from their natural spot (Lewis, Convey, Boca, Gibbs). And I bet Pope makes the roster.

    M: We need a couple of guys who can play on the right. Who, I don't know, but somebody will make it.

    F: Yes, Ching and Wolff as the backups, unless somebody gets hot in the lead up friendlies.

    Edit: I almost forgot. I don't think Clark makes it. Arena hasn't shown much interest in him and he doesn't play a need position. Ok, he does (DM) but Arena seems to think Clark doesn't work as a DM in Arena's system.
  11. roadkit

    roadkit Greetings from the Fringe of Obscurity

    Jul 2, 2003
    Fornax Cluster
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    If Convey keeps up his current pace with Reading, he should be on the short-short list of probable starters. He has been kicking some serious ass in the Championship.
  12. st ryma 7

    st ryma 7 Member

    Dec 23, 2004
    the south bay
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    i think convey would be a suitable starter for our team, but how many other teams in this world cup, who arent going to be taken lightly are going to be starting players in second teir leagues? its weird to think about it like that
  13. Dom. FC

    Dom. FC Member+

    May 10, 2004
    Central US
    "But we need to try out the rest ASAF'nP! I'd like to see other options besides T "couldn't hit the net if it was 20 feet wide" Twellman."

    Actually it is 24' wide but ...
  14. twenty

    twenty New Member

    Sep 28, 2004
    If Ching continues to play poorly next season, Dempsey may be a better option as a McBride replacement. His style is not really as close to McBride's as Ching's is, but I think he'd be more effective overall than Ching has been lately, while still being somewhat of a "target" player.
  15. Bob Morocco

    Bob Morocco Member+

    Aug 11, 2003
    Billings, MT
    A: The Czech Republic
  16. Delta Blues

    Delta Blues New Member

    Jun 25, 1999
    King Willieville
    If he's healthy he'll also have two months of MLS play under his belt. Again, if he's healthy he's a total, complete, 100% lock. Period.
  17. Delta Blues

    Delta Blues New Member

    Jun 25, 1999
    King Willieville
    By then he'll be a Premiership starter in all likelyhood.
  18. sidefootsitter

    sidefootsitter Member+

    Oct 14, 2004
    They may start a player in the 2nd tier league of a 2nd tier league .... which is sort of like a 4th tier?
  19. R1234

    R1234 New Member

    Sep 11, 2005
    so is the consensus that pat noonan is totally out?
  20. Davids26

    Davids26 Member

    May 31, 2000

    I think so... Thing that might work against Noonan more than anything else is the amount of Revs being considered. With Twellman, Dempsey, and Ralston all higher up on Bruce's depth chart at other positions, Noonan seems to be the odd man out. The funny thing is he could take three of these guys in one scenario, and take none in another.

    I think he'll take at least one though...
  21. bshredder

    bshredder BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 23, 1999
    Millwall FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I am not a big Connor Casey fan, but if you are going to still consider Ching as being in the running, then it would be wrong to not consider Connor as well.

    This is all assuming he comes back from his injured ACL.
  22. Galaxian

    Galaxian Member

    Oct 30, 2005
    Newport Beach, CA
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think so also , and I feel bad, because Noonan played pretty well this year , and scored on his debut I believe in Fullerton against Colombia . He played great in that game as well . Things just really haven't gone his way ... I like the way he plays though .
  23. Dr.Phil

    Dr.Phil Member+

    Jan 18, 2004
    FC Bayern München
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    Well then JOB wouldnt be a lock but he is

    EJ has time to recover therefore he is a lock
  24. GunnersBT

    GunnersBT New Member

    Feb 27, 2004
    I assume you're talking about Poborsky??

    Kinda makes you wonder how much he's faded recently. Not very many effective 33-year-old wingers out there.
  25. Autogolazo

    Autogolazo BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 19, 2000
    Bombay Beach, CA
    --If you saw the Norway playoff matches, you'll know he's an exceptional crosser of the ball. He just needs a stay-at-home right back behind him.--

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