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Assessing players on the bubble
by Ridge Mahoney, March 3rd, 2010 11:57PM

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TAGS:  americans abroad, men's national team, mls, netherlands, world cup

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[NETHERLANDS-USA] With no more games scheduled until late May, before which Bob Bradley is expected to name his 23-man roster, here’s a rundown of where players on the bubble stand after their performances in Wednesday's 2-1 loss to the Netherlands ...

UPGRADE:
DaMarcus Beasley. Thrown into the fray unexpectedly by injury to Holden, he got lively in the second half.

Clarence Goodson. Only played the last few minutes but nearly equalized during a scramble.

NEUTRAL:
Alejandro Bedoya. Overpowered by Wesley Sneijder leading up to second goal, but looks the part offensively and certainly a future prospect.

Maurice Edu. Needed a few minutes to figure it out, grew in stature as match unfolded.

Stuart Holden. Rarely got the ball, tried to play a few combinations before getting wiped out by Nigel de Jong tackle. Now out with a broken leg.

Heath Pearce. Played the last 20 minutes after a good showing last week against El Salvador. Shortage at left back gives him a decent chance.

Jose Francisco Torres. Only played the first 45 minutes and failed to intervene on first Dutch goal. Showed good touches, and cracked one shot over the bar, but couldn’t keep possession under pressure.

DOWNGRADE:
Jonathan Bornstein. May have already earned a spot, yet may not be savvy enough to play outside and isn’t tough or rugged enough to handle the middle at a World Cup.

Robbie Findley. Not nearly impressive enough to raise his stock.

Eddie Johnson. Didn’t get much time and didn’t do much.



7 comments
  1. John Munnell
    commented on: March 4, 2010 at 9:33 a.m.
    Eddie Johnson "didn't do much." Is anyone surprised? This experiment should have ended long ago. I'd rather give Freddie Adu a few more looks. Though he has tended to disappoint at this level, he's got more upside than Eddie.

  1. Brooks Cochrum
    commented on: March 4, 2010 at 9:41 a.m.
    MOTH - Jozy Altidore. I thought he was asked to hold the ball and more than did what he was asked to do. Landon should always be our MOTH. Bradley must put Landon in a postition where he is getting the ball. Notables: Bradley played very nice Def, but didn't distribute to the wings ever. Torres was not good. Findley and Bornstein were terrible last night. Johnson doesn't know how to play forward -- but we all knew that didn't we. More Goodson !!!

  1. John Hofmann
    commented on: March 4, 2010 at 10:08 a.m.
    No mention about the hand-ball by Bornstein. My initial reaction was hope that it had been inadvertate, but the replay seemed deliberate. The ref may have been shielded, but the linesman should have seem it. If called that could have been two penalty kicks on Bornstein in less than five minutes...

  1. jake brown
    commented on: March 4, 2010 at 10:15 a.m.
    LD looked like his mind was in LA...if he was sick, why did he play. If he was fit, why a no-show. One thing for sure, patience, practicality, simplicity and execution has not improved. When the defense takes possession, too many uop-field passes are wasted and have no purpose. The latter is a coaching problem.

  1. Walt Pericciuoli
    commented on: March 4, 2010 at 10:18 a.m.
    We did as well as could be expected. The Dutch could dismantle many 1st class sides. Bornstein again makes stupid mistakes, there is no indication that he has made any progress. Enough already with Bornstein. Findley is not ready to be on this roster.Landon had an off night, he needs to be brought into the game with more balls played to him as the focal point. Since we don't seem to have another option up top with Jozy, we should play with one up top and give Landon the freedom to find space to play all over the pitch. It was good to see DeMarcus back in the picture. Edu made a case for himself. I like Goodison. Considering the quality of the opposition, I think everyone else showed OK. I too would like to see Fredie again.

  1. Gregory Weiss
    commented on: March 4, 2010 at 12:34 p.m.
    Got to say that I don't understand why everybody here (including Ridge Mahoney) thinks that Jozy Altidore is a good player for the US team. I'm not saying he's a bad player overall, just that every time I seem him on the national team he is a complete liability. He has "post" moves around the goal and a very strong boot, but he is ABSOLUTELY HORRID in the midfield. He mishandles, improperly passes, or has the ball taken away from him within 2 seconds of getting the ball. He is slow to the ball and he knows it which has made him lazy. On a team that can have him play a true forward position he is a useful asset as a specialist goal-scorer. On a U.S. team without a truly gifted creator and a struggling mid-field he is almost useless (almost because he is good on set pieces). I don't see it as a coincidence that the U.S. did better when Findley was replaced by Bedoya and Edu and Beasley came on the field. Those type of young and aggressive players were able to link up with Landon Donovan and create more opportuniies yesterday. Every time I see Jozy touch the ball my whole body tightens up waiting for him to cough up the ball. No touch whatsoever. He's a black hole for US possession. The Dutch are sophisticated enough that they change tactics to suit their opponent. Don't think it was a coincidence that they came up the gut of the defense to catch Bornstein out of possession time and time again. Similarly, it was not a coincidence that Jozy kept getting the ball with the defender a few feet off so that they could charge him to hurry his pass or immediately steal the ball. If Donovan got that kind of space he's have been a terror. Instead, they give it to Jozy because they want him to have the ball. He's just not a good all-around soccer player and this team can't carry a specialist like him right now. US soccer has some world-class players, but not enough to field a whole team and world-class opponents are going to find those holes. I don't know the answer, but keeping Bornstein and Altidore on the field creates opportunities for opponents and we need to find a way to cut down on those. Without Howard and Bocanegra making a few exceptional plays this game could have been embaressing. Frankly, it should have been and the US national team should treat it as such and take no consolation from the score.

  1. Paul Bryant
    commented on: March 4, 2010 at 7:47 p.m.
    Disappointing to say the least. Someone please teach Jay Demerit how to possess and pass the ball. All I hear about him is that he is a "hard worker." We need defenders that can initiate the attack. Like many American players, Bornstein is a one-trick pony. He had his 15 minutes of fame and has played horridly as of late. It's unfortunate what happened to Holden. I believe he has real potential. Who is our playmaker in the midfield?


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