U.S. Midfield/offense - Euro or MLS?

Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by morrissey, Jan 2, 2006.

  1. morrissey

    morrissey Moderator
    Staff Member

    Feb 18, 2000
    West Los Angeles, Calif
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I don't want this to be a continuation of the Piss on/ jerk off landon thread that is already busting at the seams full of pithy wisdom and the purest reactionary ignorance man has ever seen. That thread is heading toward the rivalry boards (can you have a rivalry for one player).

    I just want to get opinions on the US midfield and offense for the upcoming WC. Are we going to see that starting midfield come from MLS (Donovan in the 10 spot) or are we going to see Landon (w/ McBride) up top with service from JOB/Reyna/Convey/Lewis/DMB?

    Come May 15th who is going to be in a better position to come in and contribute to our offense the MLS players who have rested (mostly) during the off-season and played in a few friendly matches or the Euro boys who are coming off a long season and are bruised/nicked. Has the play of Lewis/Convey and their constant play and tough(ish) competition give them an upside and a mental toughness that an MLS midfield might not have?

    Just thought for a discussion.

    I will chime in with my thoughts if warranted.

    This is not a character discussion - if any of that Donovan crap ends up in here I will have the moderators kill this thread.

  2. dfb547490

    dfb547490 New Member

    Feb 9, 2000
    The Heights
    Assuming O'Brien is hurt and everyone else is healthy, I'm betting we'll see 2 of each (Donovan, Mastro, Reyna, Beasley).
  3. forza inter

    forza inter Member

    Apr 2, 2004
    Middletown, ct
    FC Internazionale Milano
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    personally i think these days alot of our talent is in europe, which is a great thing. if you look at possibe/probable players on the roster...we have euros dmb, lewis, convey, reyna, mcbride, job. along with landon who has and should be in europe, and the likes of ej, dempsey, wolfe and mastro who i think very well could play in europe. im tryin to make the point that our talent pool has gotten better and its being recognized with moves overseas. add that to the fact that all 3 gks are in europe and about half the defenders at least that we will take are in europe too. when ya look at it that way we have a 3/4 roster of euro-caliber players. very nice to see as a fan of us soccer, and mls for producing a good number of these guys.

    forza inter
  4. Cweedchop

    Cweedchop Member+

    Mar 6, 2000
    Ellicott City, Md
    I don' think the European contingent of midfielders will be that big to be quite honest.


    I put Lewis down as a defender right now. I think only Heath Pearce has a realistic chance to make the team and that is pretty minor at best. If Reyna and JOB are both unavailable, our midfield could be in a bit of bother. Let's hope those guys heal quickly. I know, I know.. JOB doesn't heal quickly but he hasn't missed a major tournament yet for the USA.
  5. elbita

    elbita New Member

    May 4, 2005
    sorry, thread isn't about defense, but in support of what you say, i think the defense will be more than half euros:


    all euros, and most will be on the roster if healthy. the first six anyway. lewis might be both M and D. non-euro defenders with a shot would be albright, hejduk, and pope and that's about it. highly doubtful, for me anyway, that anyone else has much of a chance. conrad, i guess.
  6. metrofan_goal23

    metrofan_goal23 New Member

    Aug 2, 2004
    I think from the midfield up will look something like this(assuming everyone is healthy):

  7. elbita

    elbita New Member

    May 4, 2005
    i think the M/F line will include johnson, donovan, and mastro. donovan will play pretty much all the time. johnson would probably be in the same boat if he looks as good as he did a while back. i think we'll see a lot of mastro, but not all of every game, because a)i don't see reyna and o'brien pulling repeated 90 minute shifts this time around; and b)mastro will get cards.

    back-up forward spots seem likely to come from mls, unless casey comes back in a big way.

    wolff, twellman, ching, et al
  8. benni...

    benni... BigSoccer Supporter

    Nov 23, 2004
    Chocolate City
    It depends on Bruce's attitude. If he wants an offensively aggresive team, he will put Donovan at the 10 spot, and Mcbride and Johnson i assume. If he wasnt to be conservative, i assume you will See Donovan up top with the Midfield with Reyna, and Mastro or Reyna and Job.

    There are many possiblities. Personally, it depends on which team we face. I want GAM and Mcbride up top against Italy, to ruffle Nesta and Materrazi/Cannovaro's fethers a little.

    But against a big slow backline, either or as long as it isnt Conor Casey.
  9. mattjo

    mattjo Member+

    Feb 3, 2001
    Washington DC
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    For teh main reason that most of our top midfielders are currently playing in Europe, you have to go with them. I don't think we have the midfielders in MLS who can replace: Reyna, Beasley, Lewis, O'Brien, and Convey. In MLS, I see Donovan, Mastro, and then filler. If those 7 are injury-free, they will all make up our midfield (with maybe 1 or 2 additions, back up DMF with Carroll or Clark and a RMF). If you take those 5 and 4 from LS, it is about evenly split.

    Hopefully Convey will get rested as Reading sew up promotion early. Reyna and O'Brien will either be rested or injured :( . The two main worries from Europe in midfield will be Lewis, with Leeds currently in position to earn a playoff spot and DMB as PSV battles in CL and for the Dutch domestic championship, they both could be playing important physical matches up til the month before the Cup.
  10. Galaxian

    Galaxian Member

    Oct 30, 2005
    Newport Beach, CA
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think that Donovan will play right behind the forwards , who should be BMB and Ej if he can get back into form , with Da Beez and Reyna definitely in the lineup. I think Lewis could play left mid , unless BA wants him at leftback , then Convey could take LM. The back up forwards pretty much ahve to be from MLS , because I dont think Conor Casey will be back , and there are some ok strikers here in MLS, Wolff, Rolfe and Twellman will be pushing for anther spot.
  11. StillKickin

    StillKickin Member+

    Dec 17, 2002
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think to start with, assuming everyone is healthy, that the box midfield will occur with DMB/Donovan/Reyna/O'Brien, and MCB and EJ up top.
    but I don't believe Reyna and O'Brien will be playing all 90 minutes for all 3 games in the first round.
  12. Ghosting

    Ghosting Member+

    Aug 20, 2004
    Pendleton, OR
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think Bruce has shown that he likes to switch around his lineups, so he'll probably play almost everyone he brings. Assuming 14-15 out of 23 will come from Europe, and that the only MF from MLS will be LD and whoever wins out a role of RM (Quaranta, Ralston, ... ???) I think most of the playing time will go to the Euro-based boys.
  13. dfb547490

    dfb547490 New Member

    Feb 9, 2000
    The Heights
    Don't forget Mastro. We'll bring 8 MFs and, assuming Lewis goes as a defender, there are really only 4 Euro-based candidates (Reyna, O'Brien, Beasley, Convey). Given that O'Brien will probably be hurt we're probably looking at 5 MLS midfielders (my guess--Donovan, Mastro, Quaranta, Clark, Dempsey).

    GOYA-GOYA Member

    Dec 15, 2005
    San Diego
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Well put. Watching Casey is like watching a slow McBride.


    GOYA-GOYA Member

    Dec 15, 2005
    San Diego
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    What once looked like the strongest (other than GK) position on the squad, now appears weak. When you start talking about being without JOB and MAYBE even a trully healthy Reyna, you then have to start turning away from euro based players and towards the MLS players.

    Pablo was probably on the team already, but without JOB I think he is a starter in midfield.
  16. freisland

    freisland Member+

    Jan 31, 2001
    I don't think early or late season will have anything to do with it - save perhaps from an injury pov. Bruce will go with who is showing best in camp and who makes the most sense given the opposition.

    I think that Bruce wasn't completely sold on the LD at midfield given how others have shown up front. In his perfect world, Bruce would like LD to partner McBride up front. But at what point does Bruce think we're better off with LD in the midfield and Wolff up top?

    CDM has no effect on LD, except that Bruce is more likely to want a true CDM if LD is the other CM. A healthy Pablo is most likely there, unless by some miracle Reyna and JOB are 100%.

    If four of Convey, DMB, Reyna, JOB, Pablo, Ralston, Lewis are healthy, I think you will still see LD up top. If we are choosing 4 of DMB, Pablo, Ralston, Lewis, Dempsey, Convey there's a greater chance of LD at CM.

    I would also anticipate Bruce trying Convey there again in the friendlies.

    Ralston - Pablo- Convey - DMB
    LD - McBride

    is possible if Reyna and JOB are ng. (by the way, I'm not a big Ralston fan on the international level, this is just what I expect Bruce to do.) The fact is, we'd be better off if LD were a better RM and I really don't know why he doesn't play better there.

    Dolo - Gooch - Boca - Lewis
    LD - Convey - DMB
    McBride - Wolff

    looks good on paper, but LD has not done well outside.
  17. macheath

    macheath New Member

    Jul 8, 2005
    Nice point to raise. If Donovan would/could play effectively at RM, and with EJ and Reyna both healthy, it would solve a lot of problems. I think Donovan is a more direct attacker, prefers to play more like a withdrawn forward in the middle. He can provide decent service, as he did for Gomez in LA this year, but usually as a second option once he draws the defense. I don't think we'd get much deep penetration down the right side with LD out there. and the relative lack of service would reduce McBride's effectiveness. But if Johnson isn't hurt, and regains form, then pairing EJ and McHead up top, and having Reyna (also assuming he will be able to play) and Donovan switch between the right and center, might be a good approach.
  18. sidefootsitter

    sidefootsitter Member+

    Oct 14, 2004
    I am leaning toward a diamond




    but would prefer someone else on the right to at least be given a chance to earn the spot. Otherwise, it's Beasley or Convey there flip-flopping from side to side.
  19. freisland

    freisland Member+

    Jan 31, 2001
    if Reyna and JOB are no-gos, I think this is likely what we'll see for at least one game. I think Bruce will likely also run out Ralston or another "real" RM with LD up top for a game. The thing that is nice about that diamond is all three can do a quite a bit of switching, and there's good chemistry.

    It also means that if, wonder of wonders, we have everyone healthy and on form -

    LD, JOB, Convey, DMB, Reyna, Pablo, Lewis - Bruce has quite an interesting selection dilemma.
  20. bing1985

    bing1985 Member

    Jun 14, 2004
    Near West ChiSuburbs
    To me this is a boring conversation if, as so many have, we assume Reyna and JOB are healthy. It's a very much more interesting conversation to assume they are not.

    Right mid is a problem regardless because I don't think Bruce is ready to push one of his left-siders over there as others have suggested. Evidence: look how frantically he has tried to work Ralston and Quaranta in the mix.

    Prediction (again, NOT my favorites- what I think Bruce will put on field):
    starting (if 4-4-2): Pablo, Landon, DMB, Ralston
    starting (if 5 mids): Pablo, Olsen, DMB, Landon, Ralston

    Preference (What I would LIKE to see):
    starting (3-5-2 always): Pablo, Carroll, DMB, Landon, Quaranta??(not sold on him yet)

    Two other wildcards to throw into the mix -
    - Bruce brought Chris Klein into camp (isn't he a natural RM?). I don't know what his form was at the end of last season, but I remember him as a dangerous player at times during his career. Anyone think he can shine in camp and friendlies?
    - I know Armas is much hated in these circles, but with Reyna and JOB questionable, I'm betting that Bruce is tracking Armas's therapy very closely. NOT saying he's the best option... but Bruce has always placed great stock in experience. I would not be stunned to see him again.
  21. dc 1sided

    dc 1sided New Member

    Apr 28, 2005
    That RM position is just sitting there, pretty as a picture, for Chris Klein to win. I hope he has a fantastic camp. For awhile, after Olsen's injury escapades, it looked like he would be the guy. Then, nothing. C'mon Klein, show us (more importantly, Bruce) what you got!
  22. sidefootsitter

    sidefootsitter Member+

    Oct 14, 2004
    The thing is that Reyna functions best in the 4-4-2 box with a complimentary midfielder, who can share both offensive and defensive duties. As well as Claudio has played for ManCity, the real revelation for the Blues this season has been Joey Barton, who's been superb on both ends of the pitch. If, on the other hand, you pair Claudio with someone like Brian Carroll and Chris Armas, then you get the 2nd half vs. TnT, which was painful to watch because the defense didn't give the "destroyer" any respect and the team suffocated without service from deep midfield. And that was with TnT a man down.

    Claudio and Pablo Mastroeni also did not have a good game when paired at Azteca.

    Now, JOB is a perfect foil for CR ... except Arena will have to learn to trust someone else besides JOB to be a 2-way midfielder.

    Otherwise, if you play a destroyer, then you may have to move Reyna to the right in a diamond. More isolated that way, he may become a defensive liability there without offering much compensation going forward.

    You can play him several ways in a 3-5-2 but that's a pretty risky formation for the US without a quality right-footed centerback.
  23. freisland

    freisland Member+

    Jan 31, 2001
    Well, I was writing about your diamond without Reyna. But Reyna has had good games in front of a "destroyer" type middie as well - say Mexico at Columbus among others. Trade Dolo for Frankie and Pablo for Armas and that could be our WC lineup.
  24. Martin Fischer

    Martin Fischer Member+

    Feb 23, 1999
    Kampala. Uganda
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    You make it sound easy -- who is it that Arena should trust?
  25. elbita

    elbita New Member

    May 4, 2005
    i think freisland and sfs have both made good points. personally, i'd prefer not to see a central midfield of reyna plus an offensively limited destroyer. i'd also prefer not to see reyna given the role where everything must go through him. too slow, and we have other players who can manufacture an attack just fine. i'd also rather he not take very many free kicks. donovan's are far better, IMO.

    i'm ok if reyna is out there, but more as (significant) role player than runner of the show.

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