Why no love for Mulrooney?

Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by drace768, Oct 1, 2004.

  1. drace768

    drace768 New Member

    Jan 29, 2004
    Dallas, TX
    I am not critisizing Bruce's lineup for El Salvador/Panama, but I am curious if anyone has insight into why Mulrooney fallen so far out of the National Team picture.

    I am not saying Mulrooney should be a lock at d-mid, but he is certainly comparable to Masto, Zavag and Armas. Mulrooney even has a couple points that seperate from these three.

    1. He leads all of them in assists every year and overall is a better distributor of the ball.
    2. He is a decent set piece taker with a very powerful shot.

    I am slightly mystified why he has not received much of a look from Arena lately, especially since Arena has sometimes used the box midfield where two d-mids are used. To my recollection, when Mulrooney has been called up, he has not played poorly for the USMNT. IMO his distribution skills from the d-mid position would be very helpful.
  2. alliu23

    alliu23 I'm a Yank til I Die

    Jul 28, 2004
    Williamsport, PA
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    i agree, Mulrooney is awesome.
  3. russ

    russ Member+

    Feb 26, 1999
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Basically,I think BA just rates Zavagnin more than Mulrooney.Mastro is a special case as he can also play in the back.
    I actually compare Mulrooney more to a Reyna-type holding mid.
    Not a pure destroyer,and as I've mentioned before Bruce plays with at least one midfield destroyer.
  4. Sanguine

    Sanguine Member

    Jul 4, 2003
    Reston, VA
    right - which is why it's sort of surprising that with Reyna out this week, he didn't call on Mulrooney. I like Mulrooney as a player, and actually had him in my pre-roster-announcement lineup for the ES match.

    MLSNHTOWN Member+

    Oct 27, 1999
    Houston, TX
    I know Mulrooney is good, but is he international caliber. Assuming you have DMB and Landon starting in midfield, does he bring enough to the table to justify his insertion in central mid? He is a very good player, but he isn't "spectacular". A wonderful MLS mid, but not an international mid.

    When you look at Zav, I think he is better defensively. Same with Armas. Mastro, when he is playing good games is clearly better and he can play in the back.

    Mulrooney has never really impressed me with his defense in the center of the pitch to justify his inclusion as a d-mid like Arena normally likes. He also doesn't really have that much creativity/vision/ to justify starting him at a-mid. Not enough pace to play left or right. If we play a box, not offensive enough to play right or left up front, not defensive enough to play left or right in front of the defense.

    He just seems like an international tweener. A quality league player who really doesn't bring much to the international level to justify his inclusion. That being said, he has had one hell of an MLS career.
  6. Red Raider

    Red Raider New Member

    Feb 4, 2000
    Mulrooney is caught in a catch 22; he's not perceived by many to be of international quality because he's not called in for international duty. What separates him for me was the domination of Armas during the MLS Championship game.

    But as was the case with Armas for quite some time, and many others (Convey for example), Coach Arena has a special preference for them. If we had a different national team coach, we would have a different national team pool.
  7. drace768

    drace768 New Member

    Jan 29, 2004
    Dallas, TX
    IMO, Mulrooney's defensive skills are underrated because he is not simply a destroyer. Evidence of this was his total domination of Chicago's midfield in MLS Cup 2003. However, what he really brings to the d-mid position is superior distribution skills. I would think the box midfield would be perfect for him as a d-mid paired with a destroyer like Mastro. This is the role Reyna has played if the box is utilized and with Reyna out, Mulrooney seems like the best replacement for this role. I just feel that Mulrooney brings a very different style to the d-mid position that at times can be utilized, while Zav, Mastro and Armas are relatively similar.
  8. Chowderhead

    Chowderhead Member

    Aug 3, 1999
    Central Falls, RI
    International caliber? Who cares? I've said time and time again that smart, faceless, bureaucratic players can excel in that spot for the national team.
  9. StillKickin

    StillKickin Member+

    Austin FC
    Dec 17, 2002
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Up until recently I would have questioned his distribution skills. He just always seemed to dribble in a circle and then pass backwards. And it seemed his first thought was to go backwards, pass back or take it back himself. Lately, he seems much more into getting the ball going forward first.
  10. drace768

    drace768 New Member

    Jan 29, 2004
    Dallas, TX
    San Jose's entire team has seemed disjointed compared to years past. The fact is that since the 2000 season Mulrooney has averaged over 8 assists a season. That leads all d-mids in MLS and puts him as one of the better assist men in MLS at any position. While I am not a total believer in stats, that kind of consistancy over that period of time, shows Mulrooney can be very dangersous in his distribution.
  11. dsylvest

    dsylvest Member

    Jan 18, 1999
    concur. i'd take mulrooney over zavag...better player going forward and just as good as defensively. does he typically get more cards/foul trouble than zavagnin?
  12. Elninho

    Elninho Member+

    Sacramento Republic FC
    United States
    Oct 30, 2000
    Sacramento, CA
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Mulrooney played in a whole string of friendlies in 2003 and 2004. He was not up to the task of playing in midfield - Zavagnin looked better. He looked pretty good at right back in a few 2002 friendlies, but Cherundolo is probably our right back for WCQ.

    It might also be interesting to note that, in my MLS goal-weighting stats, Mulrooney seems to underperform. He gets a lot of assists on garbage-time goals in MLS.
  13. drace768

    drace768 New Member

    Jan 29, 2004
    Dallas, TX
    Mulrooney had 4 starts and 8 games for USMNT in 2003. Played fairly well against both Brazil and Costa Rica in the '03 Gold Cup. Mulrooney has 0 caps in '04. It seems like an odd time for him to fall off the radar, when early '04 was when Arena first started using the box midfield, requiring 2 d-mids. I am not saying Mulrooney is necessarily better than the d-mid options, but he is certainly comparable. Since both Armas and Reyna are out for the next two games, I find it surprinsing Mulrooney was not called in.

    I can't speak to your stats, because I have no idea what analysis you are doing. However, I remember Mulrooney having assisted on many important goals, including the series tying goal against the Galaxy in the playoffs and at least one goal in MLS Cup.
  14. warmblooded

    warmblooded BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 17, 2004
    Clowntown, USA
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Lil' long-ball wristband man started against Denmark in January. He was paired in the middle with Armas.
  15. SamsArmySam

    SamsArmySam Member+

    Apr 13, 2001
    Minneapolis, MN
    Very true. Bruce Arena has a special preference for players who fit his system. Mulrooney's absence says just as much about what Arena wants out of a d-mid as it does about Mulrooney's skill level. I think MLSNHTOWN hit it on the head: Not enough international quality "D" in him to fit with Arena's requirements for a d-mid or outside back.
  16. Turk from Pigs Eye

    Turk from Pigs Eye New Member

    Jun 14, 2002
    Pigs Eye (St. Paul),
    One thing that BA likes about Zavagnon in particular is that he is very vocal on the field, sort of a quarterback. Many other guys on the team aren't that way.
  17. 2ManyHeaders

    2ManyHeaders Member

    Dec 15, 1999
    I think we are getting to the answer here. I would bet that Bruce likes Zav because of better positining on the d-mid side and conservative passing. Richard looked a little lost at times, but certainly hits a very nice long ball. I don't think that is the pass Bruce wants him to make. I think his play doesn't match Bruce's style for that position.

    Now, that's not saying that Mulrooney isn't better or worse than the other guys. I happen to like his play. I think his distrubution is good.

    But on the road in El Salvador, Bruce is looking for all defense and some conservative possession.

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