USMNT Dish Round-Up

With a game on Sunday and next Wednesday, people are starting to pick at the U.S. Men's National Team (USMNT) roster and guess about who we'll see where and when.

Before getting to that, though, there are a couple changes to note: as reported all over the place (but here too), Brian Mullan and Wade Barrett replaced late scratches Chris Rolfe and Ricardo Clark. It's far from a straight swap positionally, but I'm content with the replacements, though I'm not sure Wade Barrett will get a sniff at left-back given everyone else on the roster; as for Mullan, I just think he's handy, kinda like a younger Cobi Jones. We could do a hell of a lot worse for backup.

The rest of what I've got is all Galarcep, as in Ives. He has not only dedicated himself to a project of analyzing the players called up by position, but he also turned in a nice primer on some of the new guys who answered USMNT Coach Bob Bradley's call from across the pond. The position-by-position previews offer some more grist for debate and, as noted above, he's doing these by position: goalkeepers, defenders, and midfielders.

I don't know enough about the Euro-boys to provide meaningful commentary and, rather than quibble with every last detail in Galarcep's posts (and I don't quibble with much), I'll briefly mention what strikes me in two of them.

1) If you look at his guesses on the defenders for both the Ecuador and Guatemala game, you'll see one name on both: Jimmy Conrad. All I've got to say there is, "hmm." As in, "you don't say?" I don't know why that surprises me, not just the call but the very real potential for it to happen, but it does.

2) Regarding Mullan, Galarcep states his call-up "doesn't excite" him, which, I know isn't the same as saying it isn't justified; he adds that "I just feel like we've seen what we're going to see out of him." I think this is true as well. But I still think it's a good call. The reasons go back to the comments about Cobi; I think Mullan has the same, late-game, fresh-legs upside.


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