Yanks Abroad ran their recurring feature on who will be in the roster at the WC. You can view it HERE. Take a looks at it and come back here.
I truly do appreciate the work they do cataloging who is where and what they have been up to. However, anytime they have and analysis like this they just look foolish. My 3 specific issues are with their thoughts that Bornstein won’t be in the squad, Kasey Keller will be, Johnathan Spector & Altidore will most likely be.
OK, let’s be clear, they are Eurosnobs through and through. That’s not a new thing in the US so you have to get used to it. However, to say Bornstein is ‘out’ is retarded. There is no other way to put it.
Let’s take a look back to last year in Copa America when we played Argentina. The US held Argentina at bay the first half and Lionel Messi was non-existent the first half before being switched to the other side of the formation. The person charged with covering him the first half: Bornstein. Now I may not know everything (only practically everything) but I think if Bornstein can neutralize Messi (who went on to have a MONSTER tournament) he can handle just about anyone.
Is Bornstein perfect? No. He still has his mental lapses but he’s also 23 right now. Not a baby, but still developing. Most defenders bloom a little later in life like goalkeepers. However, Bornstein gives us something no one else gives us at left back: blistering pace and a legit offensive threat. In the modern game your fullbacks MUST be dangerous in attack and be able to help in keeping the width in your attack with their overlapping runs. Bornstein is the only one really able to give us that right now as everyone else is too damn slow (they includes the right backs). I think we can see how foolish it is to suggest that he is ‘out’ in 2010. Onto the man they think will replace him: Spector.
Spector barely makes it into the gameday selection for West Ham week in and week out. He’s slow and is very prone to defensive lapses…oh did I mention that he is slow? His plus qualities: he crosses well and is versatile.
I don’t see how this is the future at left back knowing what a fullback needs to provide to your team. Spector just isn’t great at overlapping runs and doesn’t have the pace to recover as well when he does make them.
Will he be on the squad? Maybe. His versatility is his friend. However, keep this in mind: he is a Chicago boy as I am (or was; as I am in Los Angeles now) and we are big time homers. For me not to be talking him up immediately should say something. 🙂 On to their choice for #3 keeper: Keller.
Kasey Keller, let’s put one fact out there: He will be 40, about to turn 41 when WC 2010 rolls around and has already lost a step. Does that sound like someone who will ‘most likely’ make it in the side? Does it sound like someone who even remotely merits consideration? Not to me.
Let’s also keep in mind that goalkeeper is the one position that the US is BALLS DEEP with. I mean, there really is no shortage of talent at goalkeeper; it would make an English fan cry. If we are relying on a near-41 year old to be the #3 we are fucked. Lube up our asses and ram it in. You use your #3 spot to get a young guy (like Seitz) a taste of what the international stage is like. There are at least 5 other people who should merit consideration for that spot before Keller. The only capacity Keller should be in at WC2010 is as a goalkeeping coach. Finally, Altidore.
The fact that Altidore wasn’t put in the ‘locks’ section is simply mind boggling and makes me wonder if Yank Abroad actually watches games. ANYONE who has seen Altidore play knows immediately that he is a beast and immensely talented; easily the most talented forward the US has ever produced. After the LA Galaxy played RBNY last year, Beckham specifically mentioned Jozy Altidore as being very talented, strong and gifted. This is coming from a guy who plays/played with Michael Owen, Raul, van Nistelrooij, Ronaldo and on and on and on. The man knows what a gifted forward looks like and he thought Altidore was gifted. He didn’t specifically say ‘oh he is as good as Ronaldo’ but you don’t heap praise on an opponent like that especially having the frame of reference you have playing for Manchester United and Real Madrid; arguably the two biggest clubs on earth. The only way Altidore doesn’t make the squad is if he has the biggest nose dive in the history of football or if he is shot and crippled permanently.
I won’t even rant on the lack of inclusion of Donovan as a lock. I know lots of people hate him for leaving Leverkusen, but let’s face facts here people; he is still the best player on the US (for now until Altidore is fully polished) and as it stands right now, he will be no worse than second best. Is he a great leader? No, but he doesn’t need to be. He’s money at the penalty spot and more often then not is dangerous and causes problems for opposing defenses even if he is not scoring. Ask any national team manager around the world about their gameplan for the US and Donovan is the first name out of their mouths; seems to be pretty telling to me.
Of course all of that doesn’t even get to the most ridiculous part of the article: the world cup is 2 FUCKING YEARS AWAY!!! All of my points assume the players remain in their current form and no one else comes on and clearly distinguishes himself. However, the one thing we must assume is that some young kid can come in and supplant ANYONE (I’m looking at you right backs and center backs).
The fact is the youth teams are increasingly gifted. Look at the U-17 scrimmages this past summer where the US steamrolled just about everyone, including whomping Brazil. In fact if memory serves they were 3-0. (with Russia and Turkey being the other opponents) There were players on that team who I think are already about ready for the senior team. (Stefon Jerome being a player to watch in a big way)
There is also the fact that academies outside of Bradenton haven’t really been great at ID’ing talent up to this point. However, MLS has launched academies across the country and have already been finding kids who might break into the pro ranks who were never even found by the Bradenton program.
This list would make more sense coming out in winter of ’09 but I guess it wouldn’t cause as many blogger idiots (like me) to comment on it. In that case, it succeeds, in just about every other way it fails.
Sorry Yanks Abroad. Terrible list. Stick to cataloging results and archiving who is overseas and at what club until you are capable of objectively analyzing the talent we have.