USMNT: Making Sense of that Roster (+ anxiety)

I think I'll lead with the anxiety:

""It's critical in this game that the veterans step up and make sure they put a stamp on the game."
- Pablo Mastroeni, on the Mexico game, Houston Chronicle (LINK), 02.04.07

Last time I checked, Mastroeni knows only one way to "put a stamp" on a game and it usually involves his cleats and some other guy's leg. So, how long do folks think Pablo'll last out there? If this is where his head is, I'm thinking we'll be playing with 10 men by the end of the first half.

Turning now to roster talk, it's fair to say the squad Bradley named wasn't uncontroversial, leaving some frustrated, and others confused and - even if he didn't admit it - a bit uneasy. In what reads like something of a response to the confusion, Allen Hopkins wrote a piece for ESPN that addresses some of the surprises:

"In camp, a group has emerged over the last month as the preferred first team: Jonathan Bornstein, Bobby Boswell, Jimmy Conrad and Chris Albright in defense, Clark, Pablo Mastroeni, Justin Mapp in midfield, with Chris Rolfe and Landon Donovan up top."

"Bradley spent the last couple of days last week training the defense, specifically the back six (as opposed to four) working with Bornstein, Boswell, Conrad, Albright with Clark and Mastroeni in front. The staff emphasized getting out of the back quickly and not playing so deep when Mexico has the ball. The center back pairing of Conrad and Boswell looks as if it is beginning to gel."

I can't say whether this makes anyone feel better, or only confirms their worst fears, but that's an answer anyway.

For further reading, Jeff Carlisle did some line-up prognostication as well, though of a more general sort, while Ives Galarcep chatted a bit about the USMNT in his most recent Q & A with readers. I think Galarcep had some good things to say, like he always does, but was particularly pleased by the bit about Bobby Boswell; like Galarcep, I don't think he's ready for this level.



Anonymous said...

Ives is partisan, he supports the Dead Cows (RB New York) so of course he doesn't like Boswell. It would be too much like admitting that United and MLS's Defender of the Year is international quality.

Don't be surprised to see Bobby star or come off the bench.

The Manly Ferry said...

Or it could be he's just not that impressed with him. I'm not that impressed with him.

For all that, I won't be surprised to see him either start or come off the bench. I also won't be surprised to see him screw up royally.

But I'd be happier to see him whoop some ass and make both Galarcep and me eat our doubt. We need new blood in defense and I don't much care where they come from so long as they get the job done.