Bob Rolls the Dice

Bob's got it in for the BigSoccer servers.

How else do you explain the one-two punch of the miracle run to the Confederations Cup final followed by a Gold Cup roster that has to leave even those of faith questioning some of the choices of their skeletal lord and master? Let's review (you can figure out the color coding as you play along at home...

The Keepers
Perkins: Understandable. He's been in and out of camps for a while now and is in the frame for the #3 spot.
Robles: A young gun, getting shots at decent Euro-club. He must have impressed in the Confed/qualifying camp, so I suppose it's worth bringing him in to challenge Perkins.
Busch: WTF? Yes, I've heard he'll stay with the Fire and be the emergency option, but there are other keepers having better MLS seasons, and I'm not even sure he cracks the US's top 10 keeper list at the moment.
Assessment: I wonder why Guzan (the supposed #2) isn't being handed the reigns here? It's not like he's going to be picking up serious minutes for Villa next year. I can understand giving Hahnemann the summer off on that basis, but Guzan?

The Defense
Cherundolo: Working his way back to fitness. A veteran (50+ caps), leader (some-time captain of his club side), and solid pro. Works for me.
Marshall: Young, promising, seems to have left the noggin-knock troubles behind him. Good choice.
Pearce: Is Bob doing him a solid by giving him a shop window for the summer? I'm personally not a big fan of his, but he's not a bad choice, as he was holding down the left back spot for much of qualifying and would be sorely needed depth there if he can get regular club playing time.
Conrad: Another veteran leader, and a good man to have in the locker room. Not getting any younger though. Wonder if Califf's "family matters" led to this call-up?
Parkhurst: Smart player, though maybe without the physical gifts necessary to play the international game effectively. Time to see what changes Denmark has wrought upon his game.
Goodson: He didn't look awful last time he put on a US shirt. And apparently he's doing well in Norway. But still, I have quibbles...
Heaps: I think my head just exploded.
Assessment: Not exactly an awe-inspiring group. It'll be good to see how Goodson and Parkhurst are progressing in the Scandanavian Defender Mines and to see how Marshall stacks up outside of MLS, but Heaps?!? Can one pick make the entire selection an epic fail? Yes, when that one pick is Jay Heaps. Solid (if thuggish) MLS defender. But internationally? If you need center/left back depth, wouldn't Gibbs suggest himself more readily? Orozco? Whitbread? Also, aren't the Revs in the midst of an injury crisis? How does this pick make any sense?

The Midfield
Colin Clark: Yes, yes, and triple yes. A left mid with some tricks in his pocket who can score goals and cross the ball? I've been wondering how long it would take to get him a cap.
Robbie Rogers: Not having the best of seasons for the Crew, but he can play on both flanks, is highly technical, and can pull the spectacular out of his derrière on occasion. Time to give him the incentive to step up his play a little.
Beckerman: We've got loads of depth at defensive and 2-way mid, so Gold Cups and the Annual Scandanavian challenge might be the only looks he gets. Still not bad to see how the "third chair" players hold up.
Holden: He hasn't filled DeRo's shoes in Houston, and I've never really been convinced by his play. But he's young, makes smart runs, and can thump a ball. Wonder where Bob sees him lining up?
Arnaud: Determined, multi-position player who will add experience to a relatively young team, but I'm not sure he'll ever be anything more than "C" team material (maybe "B" with injuries). An older version of Holden?
Cronin: Left-field selection here. Young and has shown promise for TFC, but there are a handful of other MLS rookies I would rather have seen called up, particularly at positions that we aren't already stuffed to the gills at.
Pause: Really? He's been quietly effective for Chicago, but I can't see this as anything more than Armas chatting up a guy to his old mentor.
Evans: Another one from left-field. He's a decent player, but is he really cap material at this point? And how many central mids do we need?
Assessment: I'm guessing that Torres either needs some rest or requested out of the Gold Cup to settle contract talks with Deportivo, otherwise, I can't see why he wouldn't be here. Tack on some strange choices to round out the group, and I'm pegging this as the weakest area of this selection, despite the presence of Heaps in the defense.

The Attack
Adu: Get the kid some minutes and a shop window cause god knows he needs playing time...any playing time. I wonder if Bob sees him up top or on the flank?
Cooper: Another shot for the BigSoccer messiah. He's still young, still technical, and still dangerous. Now to see if he can get some discipline and refrain from hitting every 35-40 yarder that presents itself.
Davies: Looks like Davies is still part of the "B" squad despite his solid play in the Confed Cup. Or maybe his Swedish suspension makes this a no-brainer. Whatever the case, Here's hoping that Bob stays with two up top and that more minutes makes the blinders fall off a bit for Charlie.
Quaranta: Feel good, comeback story of the year, though I expect he'll probably be lining up wide on the right, rather than in attack. He's been on the national stage before, but here's hoping the newfound maturity serves him better this time around.
Ching: I'm conflicted here. Sure, it's good to have a veteran head amongst all the kiddies in attack, but we already know what we get from Chinger. Isn't the Gold Cup a chance to experiment? With Houston in mid-season, it's not like he needs the matches to regain fitness (see: Cherundolo, Steve). I don't question his inclusion in the national team picture, just his inclusion here.
Assessment: Strongest bit of the selection (it feels odd to say that, considering the questions we have up top in general), though there are some notable exclusions. That said, I don't think any of those exclusions are necessarily better than the group assembled here.


1 comment:

  1. I totally agree with you on the midfield. The Gold Cup is a great opportunity to give some young up-and-comers a chance to show if they could be regulars on the national team in the future. And while I understand the selection of a couple older reliable guys who have been here before (Beckerman, Conrad), I don't understand the selection of some of the older players with less international experience (Heaps, Busch). Like you said, above average MLS players, but not on the international level.

    I was surprised by the selections of Pause and Cronin also, but at least they're young, so I don't mind giving them a shot.