What’s the biggest positive you took from the USMNT’s two friendlies?

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Photo by Tony Quinn/ISIphotos.com

The U.S. men's national team has just one more match before the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and these past two friendlies against Argentina and Paraguay were rather important in helping Bob Bradley with his personnel and tactical decisions ahead of this summer's competition.

While there are still plenty of issues and concerns — the weak pool of left backs, the trouble scoring in the run of play, the lack of cohesion in a 4-5-1 to name a few — there were still some positives to take from the 1-1 tie with Argentina and the 1-0 loss to Paraguay.

Between the emergences of Timmy Chandler, Juan Agudelo and Tim Ream, earning a result against a strong Argentina side and having the team's No. 1 goalkeeper put on a fine performance, there's much to build on heading forward.

What's the biggest positive you took from the two friendlies? Cast your vote after the jump:

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How did you vote? What are you feeling most hopeful about after the two matches these past four days? Or do you only see doom and gloom in the USMNT's future after its recent showing?

Share your thoughts below.

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165 Responses to What’s the biggest positive you took from the USMNT’s two friendlies?

  1. Joe says:

    Lets not anoint him just yet, but Juan Agudelo will be VERY TOUGH to remove from the forward position based upon his past 3 performances.

  2. USA says:

    Positives:Chandler, Ream, Agudelo

    Negatives:

    Bornstein, Altidore, Bradley?, Onyewu, Spector

  3. froboy says:

    Chandler looks like the real deal, if only Jozy could remember how to score goals and Holden could have a miraculous recovery, then we would be looking pretty

  4. Lorenzo says:

    Not so much what I liked as much as I didn’t like. People all over Agudelo when he clearly still has limitations and places where he needs to grow, then turning around and bashing Altidore who is a few years older and doing the same things as a young kid. People never learn. They bash Altidore without providing an alternative (are you really going to start Bunbury- who is same age as Altidore- or recovering Davies in place of Jozy?)

    Maybe Jozy should just take a break from the MNT, and Agudelo can play alone up top in a 4-5-1 and then you can start hating on Agudelo on how he probably isn’t as great as you hoped and won’t be the next Theirry Henry.

  5. PTM says:

    I would rather see them try Buddle or Benny at left back than ever see Bornstein again.

  6. Todd says:

    We need Stu Holden more than we think.

  7. Chad OchoCinco says:

    Bradley, a negative? Child please.

  8. kpugs says:

    …and my one big negative. Clint Dempsey is 28, he’s not some kid playing any open position at New England anymore.

    He is a relied-upon attacking force for club and country. He needs to grow up, stop diving, and stop wasting chances. He is so talented, and yet he wastes most of that talent on awful first touches and horrific shots into row Z.

    He needs to lead by example. If he can stop wasting his chances both receiving passes and taking shots, maybe the younger kids on the national team will follow suit.

    As much as I love him, dribbling until he falls down is just not acceptable anymore. Grow up Clint.

  9. Taylor says:

    no, i thought Bradley was good last night. not great or spectacular, but solid. he was popping up all over the field and didn’t lose the ball nearly as much. i’d like to see some more of him and Jones in a 4-4-2, with Bradley more freedom to get upfield.

    chandler excited me most. he combined well with a lot of players, and when he went to midfield and lichaj came in, our speed of the right was a real asset.

    i’d like to see us play a 4-4-1-1 with Dempsey in the whole off of Agudelo. with Dempsey freedom to roam, he is at his best, and he could play off of Agudelo’s runs well, which he showed he can do last night. chandler and lichaj both send in good balls into the box, and Dempsey has a convenient knack for winning headers

  10. Andy in Chicago says:

    Why do we have to state an alternative? All we want is for Jozy to do well.

    The difference between him and Agudelo in these 2 games was night and day. There’s no denying that.

    There’s nothing wrong with criticizing one player’s performance while praising another when it was this clear to everyone.

    Believe me, we’d all love for Jozy to do great things on the pitch, but he’s just not at the moment.

  11. Andy in Chicago says:

    I can agree with this to some degree. Clint sure has turned into quite the talker/complainer. I don’t know if he’s just trying to play mind games or what but he sure does mouth off a lot to the other team and even sometimes the referee.

    There was one foul in the game that he clearly saw coming and just let happen as if he were drawing a foul in the NBA, and I honestly think he may have been better off moving and keeping play going instead of stopping it all just for a free kick.

  12. Taylor says:

    yea, except for he never dives, he just draws fouls because of the way he plays. if you were surprised by last night, you must not observe Dempsey at Fulham. he is consistently one of the most fouled players in the EPL, and he roams the field looking for the ball and takes players on or takes shots from outside. they don’t always go in, but he’s scored 10 goals this season, about 6 more than anyone else on his team, so that’s pretty awesome. just because he didn’t score, and Paraguay was playing rugby last night(i can’t remember the fould ratio, but it was pretty lopsided, something like 19-6, and they should have had multiple cards and probably a penalty) doesn’t mean we need to bench him. he is our best player if you ask me

  13. SBI Troll says:

    So he draws countless free kicks, which we excell at, and he’s a diver? If anything Donovan needs to relinquish taking the kicks to Holden or Chandler.

  14. swoopy says:

    Between Chandler, Ream, Agudelo, Lichaj in the friendly, and basically the entire U20 team (with an emphasis on the speedy and skilled Gyau), i’m pretty pumped up about the future of the men’s Nats.

  15. alf says:

    If he doesn’t have enough skill to contribute offensively and to help play the ball out of the back, and he’s a mediocre defender with at least one/two major errors per game (last night possibly excluded), what does he bring to the table? He’s not a spring chicken any more and the move to Mexico seems to have if anything made him worse. Time to give somebody younger with at least the potential to get better and grow the minutes at left back in this cycle – Bornstein has topped out and his top is just not good enough.

  16. Mike says:

    I voted Chandler, because I think he was a revelation, but Agudelo was also a great positive.

    We have question marks, but clearly the long term prospects at LB are most worrying. Boca can hold it together for the Gold Cup, but we are kidding ourselves if we think Boca is going to have the wheels for LB in 2014. He is barely adequate at LB right now in 2011. I think he is still very much a contributor in 2014, but I would feel much better if he was in the CB rotation, and not the LB rotation.

    So what are our legitimate options? I don’t pretend to know the answers to any of these, just offer some suggestions…

    Young up and coming true LBs- Loyd. is there anyone else who fits this description?

    Retreads- Bornstein, Pearce

    Guys who haven’t gotten a look (or need a new look)- Castillo, Convey

    Position switches (like Boca)- Lichaj. Maybe Edu- he is athletic and quick and might be the odd man out in the midfield. Could he legitimately fill the role? We played Beasley at LB once upon a time, is Edu that much worse of an option?

    I am hoping some of you with more knowledge can throw out other names, because this little exercise didn’t convince me that we are anywhere near solving the LB problem.

  17. Clayton says:

    I like Agudelo up front mixing it up and Chandler with his speed and crosses at right back.

    We have to be more dangerous/creative on set pieces. They had one chance off their corner kick and scored. We had plent of free kicks in dangerous areas. We need better crosses (Holden) and someone to get on the end of it.

    Very optimistic about the Gold Cup/WC cycle.

  18. dan says:

    Agudelo still has alot of room to grow, so lets not make him out to be a savior yet. If everything goes right and he stays in MLS for the next few years at least he could very well become our Chicharito. He seems to have the nack to find the net so that is great. Unfortunately we still need another striker, sorry but Altidore just does not cut it. Why isn’t Buddle getting more of a look?

    Perhaps by gold cup its time to bring back Charlie Davies? I would say he is our best striker period no (if he gets his groove back)

  19. Taylor says:

    yes, thank you. i don’t like how defensive people get about Jozy. i know he gets a lot of flak, and a lot of it is probably not deserved, an it’s annoying that a lot of arguments on this site get blown out of proportion about him, but the fact of the matter is we just saw 2 games, and they are the only ones we can observe and debate over before the Gold Cup, and it’s clear that Jozy was outperformed by Agudelo in these two matches. it was a little unfair for Jozy that he had to lug it out alone against Argentina, but last night, with a start alongside another striker, Agudelo performed much better.

    i’m not writing Jozy off and saying he has failed and should never play, i just don’t think he should be the entrenched starter anymore. his spot was secure for a while because we literally had no other options. with that no longer being the case, he should have some competition to start instead of just expecting it, and he should become a better player because of it

  20. Ben says:

    I don’t agree with the idea that Dempsey dives, but man does he complain, talk trash, and generally bitch, which are things I don’t like.

  21. elgringorico says:

    Yeah, I thought MB was one of the only players who maintained a certain calm and issued smart, effective passes upfield. Agree with the rest

  22. Cliff Poncier says:

    I thought Agudelo and Chandler looked good last night. I thought Agudelo showed a nice touch and Chandler is fast and aggressive. I wasn’t as impressed with Tim Ream. Bradley had an off night though he nearly came through late with that blast.

    The game looked like MLS. Everytime the U.S. advanced the ball into their third of the field Paraguay would chop someone down for a re-start.

  23. Cairo says:

    I voted for Ream because I was so thoroughly disappointed with Gooch in the Argentina game. At least five times a game, Gooch clears a ball to the other team when there is time and opportunity to distribute to a teammate and keep possession. I don’t think Ream is amazing, but he actually tries to distribute out of the back, and until we stop aimless clearing we are always going to be under attack by good teams.

    Chandler is really good, and I wonder if the future option might be Dempsey moving up top (next to whoever) and Chandler playing right mid. Dempsey was never fast, and he’s not getting any faster now.

    Agudelo–too early to tell. But Altidore has had a ton of chances and just doesn’t seem to ever score. He doesn’t seem to have that poacher’s instinct that Agudelo demonstrated in the Argentina game…

  24. Leo says:

    The Good…Chandler, Ream, Agudelo and Lichaj

    The Bad…Altidore, team finishing

    The Ugly…Borenstein…does he have pictures of Bob doing bad things? How does he keep getting CAPS?

  25. jtk says:

    Chandler was the best surprise of the night. Pretty good player …

  26. BFoles says:

    I think there were a number of obvious posistives to draw from these two matches. First and foremost is that Timothy Chandler is a stud. I cannot forsee anything stopping him from being part of/ starting at the Gold Cup. His type of wide service is something we have sorely lacked from our outside midfield. Dempsey and Donovan are built more to take on defenders and bring the ball inside. That is often times useful, but it does close down the space around our forwards, leaving them in a tough place. Chandler can beat defenders on the outside and provide quality service for our forwards to HOPEFULLY get on the end of.

    Secondly, I think Tim Ream showed nothing but quality in the back yesterday. He looked infintely more composed than our backs did against Argentina (yes, I know it is Argentina) and the ability to feed the ball into our midfield allowed our team to move forward as a unit. By staying consistent in our shape we were able to maintain posession and shift Paraguay into their half to defend.

    It is only my humble opinion and there is plenty to work on before the Gold Cup, but I am happy with the manner in which we accounted for ourselves in the two games.

  27. NC soccer guy says:

    Chandler was a beast and arguably a bigger revelation than Agudelo. However, finding good strikers trumps finding RB depth (in terms of Gold Cup outlook) so that’s why I voted for Agudelo’s performance as a bigger positive. (Props to all the young players though.)

  28. bill says:

    Agreed. Why is Bornstein getting caps over Bobby Convey?

  29. ron says:

    No More Bornstein!!!! Please, Bunker Bob – try Zack Lloyd, anyone else but Bornstein!!!

  30. GSScasual says:

    I think the Agudelo skeptics are just mad that he isnt on their club team…. jussayin

  31. Matt says:

    Can’t underestimate how important Ream’s distribution is out of the back. No one — not Bocanegra, not DeMerit, and especially not Gooch — has the talent to spray a 40 yard pass on the ground straight to the feet of our forwards. Frankly, it’s taken too long for us to develop a center back who can do this but it’s both a pleasure to watch and incredibly important to maintaining possession of the ball.

  32. away goals says:

    What he brings to the table is that he’s currently better than all other options save bocanegra.

    So if he “never wears usnt shirt again” as so many here would like, you’d all just have a new left back to complain about the same way.

    New guys do almost all their developing at the club level. Let loyd play a decent slate of mls matches and if he does well, i’m sure he’ll get his shot in the pre gold cup camp.

  33. Marc says:

    I saw several worrying things last night.

    Edu did nothing positive.

    Bradley, although he didnt have a bad game, seemed to hold on to the ball too much instead of moving it quicker.

    Bornstein is like a poor version of Frankie Hedjuk, all the speed and hustle in the world but not much skill on the ball or defensive quality. I would rather see Lichaj play on that side.

    Almost every dangerous situation in the second half seemed to originate from a Jones pass out of the back. He needs to be on the field.

    Dempsey needs to put up and shut up. Stop chirping at the ref after every whistle. Start scoring for your National Team and bringing those goals here.

    I see signs that we are improving but the first half lulls that we show are going to get us in big trouble—MEXICO

  34. c(note) says:

    First, I love Clint’s fire and compassion and at no point through these two friendlies or in games in the EPL do I think he is over reacting by running his mouth so some of those hard knocks he takes. We need a player who isn’t afraid to step up to opponents verbally and tactically with the ball. That being said he did hold on to the ball a little long in some instances last night like what Harkes called a “mini clinic” from dempsey, in which he turned the ball over.

    I think Juan impressed especially for 18 years old. Does he have room to grow? I SURE HOPE SO! he’s 18!!!!!

    Altidore will be fine, players have rough patches in form in their careers and he will work his way through it. Furthermore, who else do we put up there? Start Dempsey? a little risky to lose him in the middle and wings.

    Most impressive for me was ream’s vision and distribution out of the back. He sparked a few counter attacks and was able to find mids/forwards in space. love it. I am excited about chandlers game in general last night in the back and in the mid. and i love lichaj. He and chandler can add to the attack and are comfortable on the ball and with distribution outta the back.

    Looking forward to the Future and still can’t wait to see some of those U20’s make their way into camps.

  35. golfstrom says:

    What’s nice about Chandler is he fills a niche we need, that of an old-fashioned out-and-out winger. He gets to the byline and crosses. We haven’t had a good one since Beasley. No need to crown him after 1.5 games; if he’s just a reliable Bundesliga starter (at midfield/fullback/whatever) he’ll be a nice piece.

    Agudelo has a soccer brain and that is what’s most promising.

    p.s. where are all the ppl saying BB wouldn’t give Chandler a chance.

  36. away goals says:

    I’m with you on chandler. His speed on the wing is such a different dynamic than what dempsey gives us.

    And since dempsey can easily slot into a recessed forward role, we can have our cake and eat it too.

    Let the competition for the other forward spot begin. Right now, i give it to agudelo. But a lot can happen in two months.

  37. Laszlo says:

    Well – not to bash on MB, but one of BB’s comments after the Paraguay game was the lack of that killer pass in the final third to create scoring chances. Part of this criticism is attributable to both MB and Edu. Neither one of them is a really good passer of the ball. That’s why I believe that Jones needs to be one of the starting CM’s at the Gold Cup.

  38. Matt C in Tampa says:

    Agree Chad85.

    Change Jr’s last name and no one complains. Better yet, change it something “foreign sounding” and the MB haters would turn to lovers.

  39. away goals says:

    Second that.

    The fact that ives can provide five legitimate choices in his survey says a lot about how well these friendlies went.

  40. Andy in Chicago says:

    Chandler showed Beasley-esque speed at times last night, which was awesome to see. Dare I say he might have been even faster than DaMarcus.

  41. PetedeLA says:

    While I also thought Chandler was great, I was impressed by Lichaj’s ability to make a contribution off of the bench.

    One of the two MUST be able to play left back!

    Bob…. figure this out!

  42. SoccerJohn says:

    Agreed on all counts. I’m excited about the contingent of promising young players. To the list of players we didn’t know so well before last week (Chandler, Ream, Agudelo and Lichaj) we can add established youngsters like Michael Bradley, Stuart Holden and, the last out-of-position starts aside, Maurice Edu.

  43. Judging Amy says:

    Well said.

    Not to hate on the GAM, but Eddie Johnson was a kid who had a blistering start to his Nats career at a young age (better than Agudelo’s showings) and yet look where he’s ended up. Not to say this will happen with Juan, but the point is you just never know with young players.

    After Lichaj’s first cap there was all this clamoring for him to start. A few bad performances in the EPL and the hype has died down significantly.

    Jozy has been almost consistently good for the Nats since his debut. He’s hit some rough spots where he’s had trouble producing but overall much more good than bad.

    My point with the Lichaj and Johnson examples is that there’s something to be said for experience and consistency over hype.

    We all have our biases, but its important to scrutinize them. Agudelo and Jozy did some good things last night. Neither had a great or even very good game. I think you could say Juan outplayed Jozy but its close. Juan saw a lot more of the ball because he was playing more withdrawn.

    Here’s hoping both young boys continue to develop and play well.

  44. Ole says:

    Why not try Tim Ream at left back? He could be the next Bocanegra, switching between center back and left back roles?

  45. Matt C in Tampa says:

    Chandler remind anyone else of Cobi Jones? Someone with wheels who can attack down the wings? Is he the new and improved Cobi? Taller? Bigger? More skill?

  46. Mingjai says:

    So assuming Holden’s out for a while, it this 4-4-1-1 (which could morph into a 4-2-3-1) the US’s best lineup?

    —————Agudelo——————–

    ——————–Dempsey—————

    –Donovan———————Chandler–

    ————Bradley——Jones————

    Bocanegra–Ream–DeMerit–Cherundolo

    ——————Howard——————

  47. Crosebud says:

    I have a general question as I don’t watch many Rangers matches. Is Mo Edu used diferently in Rangers? The reason I ask is that when he plays center mid for us it feels like we’ve added a third center back. Though whenever I check in he seems to be scoring goals for Rangers. Is he playing a more attacking role for them? I remember back when MB was paired with Benny – Bradley played a supporting defensive role and Benny attacked most of the match. Also did you notice how few players we had in the box on some of those great crosses by Chandler?

  48. JoeW says:

    Agudelo, without a doubt. The way the question was phrased was what was the biggest positive. I think that Howard, Chandler, Ream all played better and a draw with Argentina is excellent. But let’s face it:
    –Howard is class and he’s always looked better against some teams (Argentina being one of them) so as good as he was, that’s not a big positive…that’s just Tim Howard reminding us of what he’s capable of.
    –Ream: love to have that distribution and calm on the ball back there. That said, we made knock-out rounds with DeMerti and Bocanegra and Onyewu at center back and if Ream were to retire today to become a priest or a day trader, it wouldn’t cripple our WC qualifying efforts.
    –Chandler: what a fine. But we’ve got right backs that either can or potentially can perform at the international level. At outside mid, the best thing we could say is that he’s either coverage for Dempsey if he gets injured. OR maybe he makes it easier to move Dempsey to forward. But Chandler could continue to play like he did and still be a bench player for the NT (if Cherundolo and Dempsey continue to stay healthy and play well).

    But Agudelo….make no mistake: in the run of play he can show a lot better. He’s not close to a finished product. He still hasn’t had a dominant game at this level. But on a team that is crying out for forwards (not forwards with potential but guys who are getting it done) and especially those who can finish, he’s been the best of a very poor lot the past 6 months. Do we really think that Wondolowski is a serious candidate for our NT? Altidore has yet to show that he can finish at this level. Maybe someone like Cooper or Davies will re-emerge. But right now, the single biggest hole this team faces isn’t at A-mid or left back (though those are holes to be sure) but having just a mediocre finisher. Our goals come from set pieces and players who aren’t on the frontline. A player who demonstrates both the potential to get better and the ability at the international level to finish is something that this team is missing…except for Agudelo. While he didn’t play the best among our players in either game, to me his performance is the most important because if fills the greatest need right now and over the foreseeable future (say…next 6-12 months).

  49. Ryan says:

    Chandler? Have we even seen him try a FK? What kind of secret intelligence are you hoarding from the rest of us?

  50. Slyboy says:

    Come one man! stop the hate, Edu was beyond shaky last night, and so called expert readers on this board have calling him to start instead of MB

  51. Annelid Gustator says:

    Los is too old and slow to be viable at LB for much longer. Maybe a couple of years at the outside. We need to either push a right back over, pull a left mid back, or pull up some more youth options.

    Loyd was pretty fair. Pearce is still worth a look in my book. Borno might still be okay. Convey, sure. But the last three in that list will be older in 2014 than Bocanegra is now…

  52. Forest says:

    I think mentality has been the glaring difference between Jozy and Aguedelo. Aguedelo has been assertive and aggressive. Jozy has disappeared. Was he in the lineup last night? It felt like Aguedelo was everywhere.

  53. Redneck says:

    I went in to last night’s match wanting to see three things:
    1) is Bornstein as bad as everyone says?
    2) is Bradley as bad as many people on this board claim?
    3) what’s the deal with Chandler?

    For 1, yes. Bornstein was pretty bad, made lots of mistakes. I had always liked him, but geez, he stunk it up.
    For 2, no. No way. Bradley had a pretty good game. Several nice passes and deft touches. Seems like he reads the game really well and can be where he needs to be at the right moment.
    For 3, I hope to see a lot more Chandler. He made several nice runs and has got crazy speed.

  54. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    Bradley had an off night? He was one of the most consistent players for us. He definitely played better than our other CMs.

  55. JesseMT says:

    OK – Tim Ream. I get that he has lots of fans here, and I know he has lots of potential and is the best young CB prospect we have now. I also get that he can pass out of the back effectively and I appreciate that. Although, we shouldn’t pretend that every pass he made was gold. He sparked a few turnovers/Paraguay counters with bad passes out of the back up the middle of the field.

    I just don’t think he’s that great of a defender, yet. He’s not that fast, and he’s not that strong. Didn’t he pretty much fall over on the Paraguay goal? I still think he’s a clear fourth choice behind Boca, Gooch, and Demerit at CB. Maybe even behind a healthy Goodson right now. He may be a CB of the future, but for me, he’s still a few years away. Anybody else feel this way?

  56. idaho Brian says:

    The only question mark I have is Demerit in the back. Whoever is in the best form…Demerit, Gooch, or Goodson should get the start there. I do hope to see your lineup in the gold cup.

    To round out your 18, I would add Altidore, Guzan, Lichaj, Gooch/Demerit/Goodson, Edu, Buddle, Feilhaber.

  57. Eric says:

    Positives: Agudelo, Howard, Bradley, Ream, Chandler

  58. Bohawk says:

    how true

  59. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    That’s essentially how we played at the end of the game last night. You make the call on whether or not it was more effective than having Dempsey on the wing.

  60. Louis Z says:

    i beg to differ, Loyd shows so much better than JB, Loyd is faster, stronger and defends better, what JB has that Loyd doesn’t is the experience of being called for every important game by BB.

  61. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    +1 2 3

  62. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    You are forgetting Bornstein!

  63. Bradley looked much better vs. Paraguay and vs. Argentina when Jones was not on the pitch. MB and Edu work well together, but when Jones in the mix–not as well.

  64. no love nola says:

    haha, i dont know about faster but about as fast is pretty good when he has a solid 40 lbs on beas

  65. Chicago - Scott says:

    WOW this is about EXACTLY what I was going to write.

    Tim Ream is good.. but not THAT good. I don’t even think he should go to the Gold Cup. Him and Bornstein should probably watch from home.

  66. jbart says:

    What I saw the past two games is a lot of older players beginning the downside of their international careers, middle-age players who’ve hit a plateau and lot of younger players beginning their ascent.

    The US team is sort of caught in an in-between spot, just like Germany was before the 2010 WC.

    We need some of the older players to win games the U.S is now supposed to win as it moves toward qualifying for 2014. Yet we also have to hasten the development of a new generation of kids. Many of the newer kids seem to have better soccer brains, and of course they have the speed and quickness of youth.

    Clearly on the downside are Demerit, Bocanegra, Cherundolo and probably Gooch. He looked nervous vs. Argentina, and at the very least, he needs more playing time. Just doesn’t look right.

    Same for Altidore, by the way. Both players should consider moving back to the MLS, especially Jozy. He is approaching Adu territory in terms of his roaming career.

    Now the middle-age guys. We have to keep in mind that Donovan and Dempsey will be crossing the 30 mark in two years. I sincerely doubt either of these guys will play every single minute for the US in the next cup.

    As good as Donovan is, he rarely shows dazzling speed and decision making any more. I think his last big run vs Algeria in the WC will be remembered as his final blaze of glory. And I bet this season turns out to be Clint’s best ever when we look back a decade from now.

    By 2014 neither one of these guys is likely to be our best offensive-minded midfielder.

    Who is? Probably Holden if he can stay healthy. Or maybe Feilhaber. Yet both are better passers than scorers. More likely, our best midfield scoring option will be someone in our younger ranks.

    Spector is another middle-age player who may be at a plateau. Jones is also crossing the 30 mark soon. I doubt either guy is a topnotch option in 2014.

    What about Edu and Bradley? Hard to say. Both are better defenders than offensive players, but neither is a great two-way player. Edu has more potential, but his presence on the ball an creativity are lacking.

    Bradley is more of a destroyer – but so is Jones.
    That leaves the younger generation. I won’t say much here, but I like what I see in the U17 and U20 ranks.

    Chandler and Agudelo excite, in large part, not because they are young and athletic, but because they are athletic players with seemingly better soccer brains than guys at the same age in prior generations.
    Both are creative and have excellent technical skills.

    Tim Ream is not quite as young, but it’s hard not to like his distribution and calm with the ball. Sure, he has to get better at defending individually and adapt to the faster pace of the international game, but he has ability that most U.S. centerback never develop.

    There are other semi-established players floating around with good technical ability, creativity and athleticism. Two in the MLS I like to watch are Geoff Cameron and Ike Opara. Bundbury, of course, and perhaps a healthy Davies are still quite young.

    For all Bradley’s faults as a coach, I think he recognizes that a big transition needs to happen. That’s why he’s given so much time lately to younger guys. He’s also willing to take risks.

    I mean, would Arena have brought in a guy like Chandler? I doubt it.

    So Bradley has his work cut out for him. The US needs to win games and at the same time rebuild for 2014 with a lot of younger players. I suspect three-quarters of the next WC team, if the US qualifies, will be new faces.

    That means we as fans are facing both exciting and unsettling times.

  67. no love nola says:

    isnt the knock on him that hes slow?

  68. JRL says:

    I’d like to see Convey given another shot at LB. He plays there occasionally with San Jose. He is good going forward and crosses the ball better than anyone else in the pool. His defending is sometimes suspect but he has enough speed to recover. Wouldn’t be bad to have his left foot as an option for free kicks either. All in all, I think he would bring some needed balance to the team.

  69. John says:

    To say that Buddle is a better option than Altidore is absurd. The first thing I think people forget is that Altidore is still only 21 years old. He has been playing as the only striker for the majority of his career as has been able to remain consistent. When he was actually paired with a capable partner up top he looked very good (Davies in the gold cup). I don’t think the USA can afford to pass up any player playing for a competitor in the la liga let alone a 21 year old.

    Second I would love to be wrong but I’m not convinced that Davies will ever come back. it is incredible he has come this far adn is a great success story but when you look at him in 2009 he best assest was his quickness and speed. The kid broke his femur in multiple spots. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he lost even a step and is he really good enough if he doesn’t have that same speed.

    I am a big believer in burnbury and Juan but both are extremely young. I would be careful in building their hype up this much. Don’t want another johnson or Adu. young players need time to develop. The future looks bright but i would hold off on the soccer saviors for now.

  70. no love nola says:

    thats fine but dont understate what those kind of probing passes do for possession. its more than just effective its head and shoulders above our other cb’s. hopefully we’ll get to see the rest of his game develop, i agree

  71. ImaGoalMan says:

    Tim Ream is S-L-O for a LB, why does Bornstein continue to play there? Now you know.

  72. golfstrom says:

    just ignore the Bradley hate, it’s completely irrational. if kenny cooper or freddy had the resume of MB, there would be gold statues of them.

  73. golfstrom says:

    dude i don’t understand why you are judging him on his defense. jk

  74. Jose says:

    Positives:

    Lichaj

    Ream

    Agudelo

    Chandler

    Centermids are good

    Negatives:

    LB still struggling

    Bornstein too many mistakes and not consistent

    Donovan and Dempsey not consistent

    For the future:

    Demerit done look for future replacements

    Boca should play LB until we find a replacement

    Look for competition on the wings

  75. A says:

    My take on Michael Bradley is this…

    He has limited his mistakes. He has quite the motor in the midfield. But his passing and composure/decision making is simply not on an international level. It’s not even on level with the premiership.

    He holds the ball too long, and his passes are almost never dangerous. He is the anti-Xavi. Now, nobody is expecting him to morph into the best midfielder in the world, but his style of play is not conducive to attacking soccer and he puts no pressure on opposing midfields. Our trouble in the midfield will continue as long as he plays. This is the same knock on Edu and Jones. Bradley places no value on the ability to read several passes ahead and the ability to get the ball off your foot quickly.

    Torres and Feilhaber have showcased this ability the most. But they are constantly knocked because they do not defend like Bradley. I tell you what. Michael Bradley is probably a better defender than Iniesta. Iniesta is 10x the player that Bradley could ever hope to be. A central midfielder is the most important position on the field in terms of possession, pressure, distribution, and control of the game.

    If your “star” central midfielder is barely capable of passing and distributing at a professional level, your team will suffer in possession and will be dominated. And thus, the defense is shouldered with an incredible burden. We also criticize the defense, but in reality they are better than we could hope for. For the number of chances opposing teams are given, and the amount of time they spend within our half, the goal tallies are very low.

    Just my two cents… or ten I guess (long post).

  76. FattyMatty says:

    Exactly, Many people on here said that Chandler was too new to the squad to get many minutes. I argued that you throw him into fire and see what comes of it. I am glad that was the case. He impressed, and to me proved he should be considered a contributor on the Gold Cup squad.

    I also stated that these are Friendlies and should be viewed as such. Although the score is a negative, there are many positives to take away, Chandler being one of them.

    He received my vote.

  77. Benny says:

    I have been asking myself the same question for some time.

  78. KillerInstinct says:

    LOL CLASSIC!!!!

  79. c00kiem0nster says:

    theres 100 times more MB lovers than haters, hating is easy and everyone who hates MB is going to comment..

    When did the MB haters first start commenting? Only when Holden started doing well in the EPL and we had questions of who was going to pair in the middle.

    The MB haters can’t be justified right now because MB is showing better than Jones and Edu, and with Holden hurt, MB has to start with one of those 2.

  80. Matador says:

    Cant we pick two at least? I voted for Agudelo just because we desperately need forwards, but Chandler and Ream were good as well. Lichaj did well too.

  81. Thor says:

    Well he does tend to strike the ball cleanly more often than not. Donovan’s kicks were not that sharp, But icould be attributed to 2 games in 3 days.

  82. Thor says:

    Gyau should imo be the next one to receive a call up. Having Clint and LD play full minutes in 2 games did not help..giving minutes to Gyau can only spark the team much in the same way Juan has done coming off the bench.

  83. bryan says:

    I disagree, I thought with all three on the pitch, none played well. With Edu and MB, they didn’t look good. But MB and jones did…IMO.

  84. KillerInstinct says:

    actually MB looked better with jones, when he was brought in on the second half

  85. c00kiem0nster says:

    I think that should be the lineup

    With everyone healthy it should be.. Holden instead of Jones, and then at 65minutes, Holden to the wing for Chandler and Jones in for CM

  86. Benny says:

    Jesse,Ream fell because he was fouled.

  87. Thor says:

    Positives Chandler, Agudelo, Bradley, Howard and Edu.

    Thest rest were so so.

  88. Hood Rich says:

    A positive aspect from this lost allows more visibility to the known deficiencies that
    we haven’t overcome since BB was selected to take us to the “next level”.

    As you saw last night and against Argentina, we kept reverting back to depending on our pace and strength,
    esp. in dead ball situations to score. If Kreis is able to transform a team like RSL to play the way the do, then there is hope for the USMNT. You really can’t say that RSL has better players than the US team.

    These games are at home and we should be more positive with the attacking philosophy and trying new things. Instead, what we witnessed over the two games is the same of how it was played out at the World Cup.
    A lot of grit and industry but not much in way of creativity.

    With BB at the helm, nothing will change with regards to how we play the game.

  89. Thor says:

    fter the U-20 WC why not take a look at Bobby Wood. Some people thought that he and Agudelo were very close.

    I like Jozy he just needs to regain his confidence.

  90. Jeff says:

    I think it’s kind of nice that (aside from agudelo maybe) that we don’t really have any big hype kids going into this cycle. Instead we just have a really solid group of young players who have the potential to be really good. I think it’s to everyone’s benefit to let our established guys be the core but also let the young guys get some experience without too much pressure on them.

  91. RB says:

    +1 (to bryan’s comment, as well)

  92. Benjamin says:

    I am not going to hate on Altidore as much as some others, but, that being said, he needs to start scoring goals, plain and simple. To me, he does some good things as a striker: draws fouls, plays well with a “speed” striker, pulls defenders away and creates space, and occasionally makes some nice moves on the ball. However, he does not do the most important thing, as mentioned earlier. One striker from the U-20 pool has shown he can finish at the NT level; others are proving they can finish in the youth ranks, and it may be only a matter of time before they break through at their clubs. And then there is Teal Bunbury and Charlie Davies, both who may be primed to tear MLS apart this year.

    In conclusion: Jozy has a lot of talent and the National Team could really need him in the next decade. But if he does not rediscover his scoring touch, he may get left behind.

  93. Phil says:

    Cupla thoughts

    1. I think moving forward we may see more of this:

    ——- Agudelo — Jozy ——-
    LD — Junior — Jones — Dempsey
    Boca — Ream — Gooch — ‘dolo

    with
    DeMerit Chandler Goodson Lichaj and Bornstein as Defensive subs
    Holden Edu Spector Bedoya and Feilhaber and MF subs and
    Dempsey Donovan Buddle and Bunbury as S subs

    all in all, except for the left back position, that’s a really strong squad with some good depth and also tactical options.

    2. I think a theme that will continue to be a topic of debate will be

    a.) do we continue to experiment with playing a formation that works for our talent pool (making a 5 player midfield very tempting) or do we play a system that seems to work better for the US playing style (4-4-2). Personally I would like to see more 3-5-2 with 3 compact centerbacks and wingers that track back: Cherundolo Onyewu and Boca would fit that bill nicely, as would Donovan and Chandler

    The loss to Paraguay was a disappointment, but on balance I think you have to come away thinking that this Camp was overall very successful.

  94. away goals says:

    I think Mingjai’s lineup gives us a net gain by taking jozy out of the first XI.

    Strong case that dempsey is an upgrade over jozy at forward.

    Chandler may not be an upgrade over dempsey wide, but he’s certainly dangerous in his own right. Just in a different way (one that would provide dempsey a lot of service too).

    Cherundolo retains his spot at right back.

    Jozy, benny and edu could be the strongest reserves the usnt has ever had.

  95. Phil says:

    like Torres will for Spain, right? be patient, it’s to soon to be talking about casting him aside. The goals will come.

  96. LIUnited says:

    The goal of these games is to see who is ready and at what levels. Playing against Canada and Guadalupe in the gold cup the roster shouldn’t matter other than to give Jozy some confidence. Onweyu has his value for playing the likes of Spain and Argentina when we will see little possesion. Other than that I’ll take Ream and Goodson and keep Boca at Left back. Convey should be the second option. (Please note that we need defenders first, not Alves, Macion, etc in the back) I would start Lichaj at right back for serval games in the gold cup, replacing him with Cherundelo for the semis and finals. While Chandler showed well I think he is behind Lichaj. Michael Bradley outplayed Jones and Edu again. MB is our first choice in the middle. I would like to see Jose Torres back for the opening round games of the gold cup. He can distribute the ball on the ground and help the US maintain possesion and break teams down. Against bigger physical teams and teams that will control more possesion I would bring in Jones. Agedelo and Jozy up top. Donovan and Dempsy out wide. Edu, Spector (he needs a position), Sasha and Chandler on the bench.

    One thing that still frustrates me is that while Demps keeps getting fouled the US never gives a payback foul. It’s part of the game.

    Agedelo is going to be good, he shows well, demands the ball and trys to attack. He puts fear into the defenders. I can’t say we have seen that in Jozy for a while. Jozy needs to step otherwise lets see what Burnbury can do.

  97. Phil says:

    hear hear!

  98. Benjamin says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with you about being patient. I desperately want Altidore and even Adu to find form at the club level and really maximize their talent, because I think the National Team could use both of them. But I think there are guys coming up through the ranks that may push them aside.

    Also, I think Torres is a bad comparison, because he has a pedigree that far exceeds Altidore’s.

  99. Mat says:

    We need to stop fooling around at LB.
    Dolo’s our RB, but Chandler has shown great skill and he could easily play a better LB than Bornstein, even Lichaj could do more

    How about:
    Dolo, Gooch, Boca, Chandler
    Bradley, Jones
    Dempsey, Donnovan
    Altidore, Agudelo

    If Jozy still can’t hack it at his club, you might want to try another option, perhaps Davies if he comes back strong or else big strong striker like Burnburry or something.

    By the way, what’s the latest on Holden? I’m thinking a midfield of
    Holden, Jones
    Dempsey, Landon
    Could be pretty sweet.

  100. Pat says:

    Clearly Cherundolo is on the downside when he’s having arguably his best year at Hannover. I’ll admit that he’s getting up there in age for a soccer player and may not be able to maintain his level to the 2014 WC. But he’s captaining the third place team in the Bundesliga this year (ahead of a team called Bayern Munich, you may have heard of them).

    P.S. has it occurred to people that Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs are both well north of Dolo and Bocanegra in age but still produce at a high level. Not saying that the US guys will produce at that level but rather that they are not incapable of maintaining their level of play. Oh and Mario Yepes is 34/35 still plays some for AC Milan and was able to shut out a mixed A/B US side in october

  101. Wispy says:

    I think the emergence of Agudelo, Chandler, and Ream are all equally importane/exciting. With those guys able to start or provide depth, the U.S. is arguably two deep at every position except LB. Check this out:

    ——Altidore—–Dempsey———

    (Agudelo) (Bunbury or Buddle)

    Donovan—Bradley–Jones—Chandler

    (Benny) (Edu) (Holden) (Spector)

    Boca—–Gooch—–DeMerit—–Dolo

    (Loyd)—(Ream)—(Goodson)–(Lichaj)

    Howard

    (Guzan)

    I honestly think any of the guys in parentheses can step in and start over the guy above him and the OVERALL drop off in the team is not that great, if any. You might argue (and many of you will) that the subs I have listed above should actually be the starter — and I’d be fine with that in just about every case.

    In fact, throw in a third keeper and I’d be fine with this as the Gold Cup roster.

  102. RB says:

    Very well said, sir! I concur all around.

    I’ll just add that like many, I voted for the addition of Chandler to the squad as the best overall point to come out of these 2 friendlies. I am thankful for Agudelo, but of course we already knew about him, and just wanted to see continuation. I’m very thankful for Howard, who continues to be a monster in goal. Ream appears to have the potential to be a good new addition, as well, over time, and yes, it’s nice to earn a draw against a team like Argentina. But Chandler…

  103. Phil says:

    I totally disagree. Altidore and Agudeo are apples and oranges, just like Davis and Jozy were apples and oranges.

    With Jozy I see a player who is developing in to a striker that is primarily with his back to the goal — holding the ball, looking for the pass, drawing the foul — I also see a player that defenders are clearly told to mark and foul. These are the less sexy elements of his game that need developing and seasoning and he is tending to these things quite well. He’s not scoring goals, but he is still very much doing those other things effectively and it’s helping the team develop as well. His contribution allows space for other players like Agudelo (or Bunbury or Davies) to find that crack to slip in to. Do I wish he’d turn and shoot more often? Of course, but I do not think he’s useless because he’s having a dry spell in terms of goals.

  104. RB says:

    Question for anyone in the know: roughly how much time has Chandler been spending at each position with his club?

    (Apologies if this has already been covered above and I missed it.)

  105. Mat says:

    +1 Dolo is probably the best US fullback of all time, simple as that.

  106. Brad says:

    What we learned from these two friendlies:
    *Agudelo, Chandler, and Ream are worth developing and giving more PT. Let’s not get too over-hyped about them though.
    *We need to develop more options at LB. Loyd?
    *We need to work on offense and creating scoring chances, having Holden could have helped this probably as would have a sharper Altidore.
    *442 is our bread-and-butter but we still need to see how Holden works as the CAM in the 4231 and if it can develop more scoring chances than having two forwards.
    *Jones and Bradley together is probably the best DCM combo.

  107. DCUPedro says:

    There’s been a *significant* number of US soccer “fans” who have had their knives out for Michael Bradley since before the world cup talking about nepotism. Its an extension of what they don’t like about his old man.

    To a lot of people Bob and Michael represent old school US Soccer — Bob is an American coach, coming through the supposedly provincial and backwards U.S.college system, with an MLS coaching pedigree, who wears track suits and has a WASPy last name and ties to Bruce Arena. Oh and his son plays.

    Change Bob’s name to Roberto Bradalini and give him a pedigree with a mid-table Eredivisie squad and the SAME results, tactical decisions, player selections, etc, and a whole bunch of those who currently want to fire the coach would have no problems. Change Michael’s name to Miguel Bradarico and people would be in love with this 23 year old kid that runs all day, fights hard, and already has 8 goals from center midfield including one during the world cup — and again, his critics would be fawning over him.

    A lot of the hate comes from a deeper insecurity over US soccer culture that people just need to get over.

  108. Phil says:

    I’d rather see no LB than Bornstein. That man was a chinese fire drill one armed paperhanger comedy of errors last night. he was one banana peel slip away from being slaptick…

  109. Andy in Chicago says:

    When Torres isn’t scoring for Spain or Chelsea, he gets criticized for it.

    There’s nothing wrong with criticizing a striker for not doing what strikers are supposed to do: score goals.

  110. King Clancy says:

    The positive is that now that we don’t have to watch them for a while we can go back to pretending they don’t suck.

  111. bill says:

    I thought gooch was shakier than DeMerit. Either way if we could find a good LB and slot Boca at CB I think the team would improve.

  112. golfstrom says:

    hahaha

    We depend on “pace and strength” because…wait for it…those are our strengths.

    RSL’s best attacking players are Argentinian, Argentinian, Costa Rican, Jamaican, and Canadian.

    BB did try new things. He tried for a 2nd time the 4-2-3-1 everyone has been asking for w/ MB, JJ, ME. He tried a new young striker and gave a previously uncapped winger playing fullback the freedom to get forward.

    It played out the same as at the world cup? You mean determined, never-say-die soccer that gets results against top teams? Works for me.

    The delusion in that post is breathtaking.

  113. DCUPedro says:

    You have to evaluate Bradley’s abilities in context of our current level of skill as a national team and its implications for our style of play.

    We are not Spain. Spain is full of technically brilliant and creative players and therefore play a style that suits those abilities. Xavi is perfect for them.

    We have enough technical ability and creativity to succeed against most national teams, but not the top 10-15 sides in the world. So we’ve built a team that relies on what we do have to get results against everyone else and steal a few points from those top 10-15 sides: pace, endurance, tactical understanding and defensive shape. These enable a counterattacking style that we need to be playing against the better sides, but also allow us to still possess the ball and break down inferior teams. We’re Sunderland/Stoke/Bolton.

    As much as I’d love a poor man’s Xavi to emerge, I’m not so sure they’d fit the rest of our playing style (again, dictated by personnel) as well as Michael Bradley does.

    I think Michael Bradley is fine at distributing at the level he needs to — the first pass that jumpstarts our counter.

    Those are my two cents.

  114. Mat says:

    I’d agree for Ream & Chandler who are both still very green. Chandler, on the other hand seems very polished, mature, and ready to go.

  115. Mat says:

    Edit:
    Ream & Agudelo…

    There should really be an editing tool on SBI!

  116. Mingjai says:

    Yeah, it was really only for about 15 minutes between when Lichaj came on for Altidore and Kljestan came on for Bornstein. By then Dempsey had been fouled about a billion times and Chandler had ran himself ragged on the right side. I’d like to see the US start with this lineup.

  117. Mat says:

    Let’s just give up on using a left-footed LB.
    Can Chandler’s or Lichaj’s left foot be any worse than Bornstein?

  118. Don Pelayo says:

    If I have to pick one, Chandler was the biggest positive from these two friendlies. Unlike Agudelo (unless he replaces Jozy), I believe Chandler could be in the starting 11 against Canada as a right midfielder, which will allow Dempsey to play in a withdrawn forward role behind Altidore.

  119. PurpleGold says:

    Agudelo’s goal came off a free kick too.

  120. golfstrom says:

    are you kidding me? the fact you compare him to Xavi and Iniesta means you’ve already lost the plot. his composure on the ball is probably the best of any USMNT player. he and Dempsey are by far our best guys at working out of tight spaces. i’m continually amazed at ppl who want to bench a guy who scored 20 goals in Holland, played in Germany, is now in England, and had an amazing world cup for a player on a last place team in Mexico or 2nd tier team in Denmark. just pure delusion.

  121. Hood Rich says:

    You must be one of the guys who drinks the koolaid the USSF gives out free during halftime.

    Didn’t Ellinger have almost the same guys that Kreis did, except for Saborio. How did they do? Still due to players, and not the system?

    4-2-3-1 is hardly an innovative formation to play attacking soccer. It’s not the players, its the system/tactics BB deploys.

    Keep believing BB is the guy to take us to the “next level.” Don’t get off the bandwagon him when he gets run over by the bus.

  122. Jeff Awesome says:

    I voted Tim Howard because he seemed somewhat average in the World Cup. I’m not blaming him for any goals, but for the US team getting a result against a top 10 team like Argentina still requires world class goalkeeing.

  123. Jeff Awesome says:

    Yes but I dare say Benny Feilhaber is not an equal replacement for Landon Donovan. Nor is Bunbury a Dempsey. Those two are irreplaceable at this point.

  124. TommyH says:

    Well put.

  125. TommyH says:

    Ream should take them.

  126. ron says:

    Bunker Bob and Convey have never gotten along going back to the Bruce Arena days…it’s personal – time to get rid of Bunker Bob and Sunil Gulati – we could have had Klinsmann twice who would have made Jozy a force instead of a conservative hold-up forward in the Arena/Bradley mode..

    Love the USMNT and want to see them succeed but this conservative mindset is going to get us killed by Mexico and Chicarito in the Gold Cup

  127. Juan from L.A. says:

    There are more negatives than positives. A lot of questions where there shouldn’t be and there wasn’t beforehand. But there shouldn’t be cause BB has been working with these guys for four years! The good thing is it was friendlies. The bad thing is our archrival, Mexico, looked really dangerous and like the team who has been playing for four years together under one head coach. The stars of this team (Dempsey, Donovan and Bradley) were average at best and that’s an issue. Bradley is not playing well and he should be benched. If Bradley continues to insist or try out the 4-2-3-1 then bench Bradley and in the absence of Holden put Donovan as the CAM and Chandler in the right. Keep Altidore and have Agudelo as that uplift from the bench. The kid is better in that regards and stop hyping the kid. Let him grow as he shows that he still has a lot to learn and develop

  128. Mudhens FC says:

    I second that, well stated arguement.

  129. Kevin_amold says:

    Roberto Bradalini got a really big laugh out of me. Good points, I agree. Well done.

  130. Soncho says:

    Biggest positive?

    Aguedelo brought down to earth

  131. steveo says:

    did you see the Argentina game? did you think that Brdley played well? or is his performance on the field irrelevant to your views?

  132. mikeandike says:

    Bradley needs to figure out something with Dempsey. The guy puts in too many mediocre perfomances for USMNT relative to what he does in EPL-the same guy scores on top defenses in the world week in and out, but barely makes a dent in half of the games he plays for US? Yesterday he constantly took on double-teams and triple-teams and lost the ball- the offense died with his ball-hogging many times…Either a) motivate him to play in the current system, b) build an offense that puts him in position to score like he does at Fulham, or c) get him off the field for Chandler/Holden- someone who is a better passer of the ball

  133. Roberto Bradolini says:

    Bad: too much cautious play going back or sideways – –is Reyna still on the team?

    Bad #2: we looked really slow, with the exception of Chandler and Agudelo

    Good: young guys playing fast and fearless and trying to make something happen

  134. JC says:

    Voted the same way for the same reason. Need to score goals to win.

  135. Since 82 says:

    The MF is a serious issue with lack of scoring from F. Altidore included.

  136. JC says:

    He’s started the last 6 games for Nurnberg. 4 at RB and 2 at RM. He was subbed in the 3 games before, for the RM, RB, and LM. Don’t know what position he then played.

  137. JC says:

    Gotta wonder how much that knock to the ribs he took against England affected him. And could any of the games ended differently.

  138. Steve says:

    Trying to come at this from a little bit of a different angle:

    The good: 4 new kids look ready to contribute this cycle (Agudelo, Chandler, Ream, and Lichaj); and the growing depth at positions like RB, CM, and even F.

    The as-expected: an awesome Howard; ultra high work rates from Bradley and Donovan; the outmatched but ultra-competitive Boca; the frustrating brillance of Dempsey; and unfortunately the useless Bornstein. At this point, I take all of these as givens.

    The bad: LB is a gaping hole; the 4-5-1 has been a struggle; I’m an Altidore fan but I’d like to see a bit more from him.

  139. skinnyj says:

    yeah, teams would be lining up to sit him on the bench like Aston Villa has done. I’m not a hater of MB, I think he is a good defensive mid. I take issue with his attacking and creativity. I also take issue that he seems to be the only one that is untouchable, aside from Lando and Deuce. BB is trying all kinds of pairings and lineups but MB is always left in for 90. I don’t get that. Maybe dad figures he’s not playing for club so he needs minutes here. On the same hand, if MB is not the son, does he play this much?

    Fortune has smiled on BB in the miraculous Gold Cup and we got out of an easy group for the World Cup, but is it enough? The way he uses the sufficient talent at his disposal suggest to me “no”. I think we should be better. Gold Cup will tell us all we need to know. Win or bust, Bradleys…

  140. JoeW says:

    Duh….which is not the point. The point is…he’s shown he can create something during the run of play and so far he’s shown he can finish. What other striker has shown those at the international level recently?

  141. DCUPedro says:

    I think he played as well as we can expect an American midfielder to play guys who start for Messi, Di Maria, Cambiasso, and Mascherano.

    Was there an American central midfielder available to us who played or could have played better that you’d like to debate? Or are you just saying that Michael Bradley looked average when playing some of the best attacking players in the world?

  142. coque says:

    Negative – Onyewu (easy), Twin holding midfielders (we desperately need Holden in the middle), Jozy

    Positive – Agudelo (real quality), Ream (classy), Chandler

    I think when Holden comes back, Jozy goes off, and Agudelo should be alone up top as a false number 9, with dempsey and donovan cutting inside

  143. coque says:

    perfect.

  144. JPGR says:

    Bornstien, Altidore, and Gooch did not impress me in the last 2 games.Or I should say since and during WC2010.

    Bocs didn’t look sharp in the last 2 games and Donovan didn’t have a good game against Paraguay. but I’m still high on them.

    New Positives… Agudelo, Ream, Chandler

    USA ALL THE WAY!!!

  145. RB says:

    Hey, thanks very much!

    So it sounds like, whatever the club’s particular needs may be, it’s more time on defense but still a good chunk of time in the midfield.

  146. JPGR says:

    Chad, I agree totally.

    M. Bradley is an excellent player for the U.S.

  147. DCUPedro says:

    I agree that Michael Bradley is not Xavi or even a top 30 center mid in the world. This is NOT the standard by which to judge whether he belongs in the US starting XI. This is all about realistic expectations. On that and with your Bob Bradley criticism, you miss the mark.

    You seem to think that our talent level is sufficient to be a top ten world power that takes qualifying for the second round of a WC finals as a birthright.

    You also seem to think that we are *so* much more talented than Mexico that we should easily win the Gold Cup every two years.

    I do not, because I actually watch world football and don’t just play it on FIFA 11. And maybe I have a dose of humility about the talent of our player pool.

    You said it yourself. Michael Bradley, as good as he is compared to the rest of our talent pool, hasn’t yet cracked the starting XI at Villa Park. Maurice Edu occasionally starts in the Scottish league, Jermaine Jones plays for f’n Blackburn Rovers. Hell, great white hope Stuart Holden plays for *Bolton Wanderers*. You may be impressed by this. I assure you, nobody else in the top 10 international teams of the world is in the least bit in awe of it.

    When we have guys starting for last 8 champions league clubs, then we can start saying that Bradley isn’t getting enough out of his talent. Back here on earth, he’s got us punching above our weight class.

  148. Dennis says:

    I saw the Argentina game in person and afterward on tape. MB was the biggest reason the US managed to escape the first half while allowing only one goal (Howard’s great saves came in the second half). MB was the midfielder most often close to Messi, who intercepted passes, muscled Messi and made Messi’s play predictable so Demerit and Onyewu could make tackles with confidence.

    Of course MB did not make great passes, but he certainly connected more passes than Edu or Jones did, if for no other reason than he stayed connected and involved in the play 100% of the time.

    MB is not a great dribbler (and in the part of the field he is most often playing, dribbling is a risk that should not be taken lightly inany case). Surely you aren’t faulting MB for not being like Messi and dribbling until he was crowded out and dispossessed?

    If nothing else, he had a better game than Messi did!

  149. Dennis says:

    Holden and Bradley are not that much different. Both work 100% of the time, risk themselves making tackles and can strike the ball well. Bradley is probably a bit stronger and more durable while Holden is, I think a bit quicker and a better dribbler. Somewhere there must be statistics about which one connects with his passes most frequently, I imagine, Holden has an edge there, but probably not as big an advantage as some on this site seem to think.

    Ives: Are there any accessible matchtracker data for the EPL so we could compare those figures?

  150. Rick says:

    I wasn’t aware those three guys were the only ones responsible for producing killer passes in the final third.

    I’ve seen MB and Jones produce some great kiler passes in the Bundesliga. I haven’t seen Edu do that but that’s not really what he does.

  151. Exit16 says:

    I also suspect its because they are from Jersey.

  152. Ground Zero says:

    Your opinion. Based on a very small sample size about a kid who very little experience.

    JB is flawed but has tons more significant experience, under fire with “real bullets” flying, under his belt, as you point out.

    And that experience matters.

    Loyd may be better in the long run but right now JB is a better international fullback.

  153. GW says:

    Did Jozy disappear or was he “disappeared”?

    If you are a US opponent, you know the US is not the most talented possession team and you know they live off the counter. So the first thing you do is seal off the target forward and compress the field.

    Ever notice how it seems the most fouled US player is Jozy followed by Clint? That is no accident. Seal them off and the counter is blunted and so is much of the US attack.

    This is why Chandler and Lichaj are so importantt to the future of the US offense along with AG.

  154. GW says:

    Clint draws so many fouls because he is the US’ best attacker and because his style is to hang on to the ball longer than Landon.

    Last night he wasn’t sharp and neither was LD. In fact Donovan was awful. That means neither one was able to bail out the other as they often do.

    If they are on we win, no doubt.

  155. Matt C in Tampa says:

    Well in Pedero!

  156. Grimey says:

    Gooch looked positively flat footed as if he re-injured his leg. I have no seen anyone comment how Messi leapt over Gooch to win a header. Messi is great but he is at least 8 inches shorter.

  157. Danny says:

    Yes, this is the best lineup. It gives Dempsey the freedom to roam and be a better playmaker and he doesn’t have the speed to be a traditional winger anyways. I think when Holden is healthy he could play either Dempsey’s or Chandler’s role. Bocanegra is still a little slow for LB, but considering our other options… Ream, Demerit is great combo of strength/tackling CB paired with a more skilled/controlled CB. In these last two games and at the WC, Demerit has proved that he’s a much better option than Gooch. Lastly, the Bradley-Jones combo will only get better as they play more together- look forward to seeing that.

  158. Hush says:

    The positive thing I saw with the U.S team overall is how well they receive their new teammates. Agudelo and Chandler were a great revelation for us. Some players looked a bit rusty or just stiffed around the field, but overall they were solid. The only person that looked bad in the friendlies was BOB BRADLEY. His decisions in both games were not so good. And please, don’t preach to me about how BB was testing out his players for the gold cup, because the same rules apply to HIM! I have all the confidence in our players, It’s BOB’s decisions that scare the crap out me.

  159. Hush says:

    Well the biggest fact on who is better is easy,.. Holden has been one of the top players for his club in the best league in the world, while MB is barely a top 50 player in the Bundesliga. Now that he is in the best league in the world, he is a bench warmer.lol Holden is a better technical player and a better distributor, pure fact. Games don’t lie.

  160. Goalscorer24 says:

    +1

  161. Goalscorer24 says:

    DCUPedro, Yeah Chandler that is a real foreign sounding name. That is why we like him.