So here you have it…the twenty three man roster Jurgen Klinsmann will have to get us through the group of death. Obviously the big buzz is the youngster Julian Green taking what was obviously Landon Donovan’s spot (all time leading US goal scorer).
Anyone who saw Sunday’s warm-up with Turkey HAD to be suspicious of this move as Julian Green looked just the part…green. He came in as a sub half-way through the second as a left wing mid-fielder and to say he had little impact is a severe understatement. To me it seemed he came in weak to challenges, played some less than impressive through balls which never found their target, had trouble maintaining possession, and made little of a golden opportunity from fifteen yards out (I think Landon puts that in that cross net every time). I don’t want to sound like a hater though as I do remember what Jurgen’s scouting ability did for the Germans in the last cup as his then young protege stepped onto the pitch late in the quarter final to score and send German on…I really hope this kid settles down, grows up quick, and can pan out…I’d HATE to see this kid be the next Adu.
But put the Green/Donovan thing aside for a bit…our real issue is this back four. If you’d have told me a year ago that we would have a complete Bundesleague starting back four, I would have been elated…problem is, our Bundes-vier look more like a college all conference team. Fabian Johnson’s brilliant finish Sunday aside, these guys as a unit are quite weak. And its not from lack of fitness or ability, its simply a lack of cohesion which they’ve not had time to achieve. Perhaps in two years this will be a tremendous defense, but this is where I have to question Jurgen…putting a totally new group together so close to the WC. How on earth are these guys going to stand a chance against the Germans and Portuguese? Perhaps starting Beasley over Chandler can bring some management to the backfield as well as supplemental support in the attack. One thing is certain, we aren’t going anywhere marking up the way we did against the Turks.
I gotta say though, up top we are looking swell! Jozy is as fit as ever and Dempsey is hitting his veteran stride just in time. Combine that with the precision and aggression of Michael Bradley in that attacking mid-field roll and you have something sweeter than Yoo Hoo!
With these three up top, and Davis serving what will surely be MANY quality chances, so long as the US can control the midfield and push the fight to the attacking third we at least stand a shot of some close matches. If we can get by Ghana with a 3-0 win, and somehow etch out a tie with Germany or Portugal, we just may see elimination play! Good luck guys!