Home > Forwards, MNT Lineups > Don’t Pack Your Bags Yet, Brian

Don’t Pack Your Bags Yet, Brian

A quick thanks to Michael and the spectacular job he does on this blog.  He’s been busy this past week, so you’ll have to excuse the lack of posts.  Moving and then traveling from your new home all within a four day span doesn’t leave a lot of time to blog.  Lucky for him it was a pretty slow week for USMNT news.  Actually, the most exciting news of the week for the US National Team is probably that the C team that lost 5-0 was actually playing against 13 of the 20 players on Mexico’s A team in the Gold Cup Final.  Not quite B team against B team.

The last time I checked in with an article on this blog I argued that not only did Freddy Adu need to play well, but he needed to play better than the other attacking players in the Gold Cup lineup to solidify his spot on the 2010 World Cup roster.  At the time, I (along with all of the professional writers) was unaware that Freddy was only going to be around for the first two games of the Gold Cup.

The consensus is that Freddy’s play in those two games was a bit disappointing.  Sure, I thought he looked tentative.  I also think he’s one of four guys on the USMNT that has any talent at creating for other players (for the record, it’s Landon, Deuce, Benny and Freddy).  The bad news for Freddy is that Stuart Holden has been a revelation and is deserving of a look off the bench for the “A” team.  Bad for Freddy, but good for the Nats.

Anyway, moving on, one of my favorite types of articles are those that list who are the favorites to earn a spot on the USMNT 2010 World Cup team.  Others may have done this in the run-up to Germany, but the first site that I recall with this type of article was Yanks Abroad.  In the past month other sites have gotten into the act (Soccer by Ives, ESPN Soccernet, and Greg Seltzer at Soccer365 are three that I have seen).

In looking forward to 2010, I thought it might be interesting to take a look back to 2006, or more accurately to September 2005.  Let’s give some major kudos to Yanks Abroad, who was able to accurately predict 21 of the 23 guys who were on Bruce Arena’s original roster.  Ben Olsen was one of the two guys missed, but I don’t want to discuss him right now.  Number 22, Gregg Berhalter, was added onto the team when Cory Gibbs was injured, so we’ll say that he counts as well.  Here’ s the link.


That leaves one guy.  And, if you click on the link above, for some reason, one of the players on the list is blank.  I’m not sure why that is, but I am pretty sure the blank should be Steve Ralston.  Here is what Yanks Abroad said about the “pretty safe bet” Ralston:

[Steve Ralston] – F, ()  What he lacks in skill, he makes up for in composure (or is that just plodding play?). Seems to be an Arena favorite and the goal against Mexico will help. (HK) With no obvious candidates presenting themselves, Ralston seems fairly safe for now. (NT)

Ask yourself these questions… Is there a forward on the USMNT who seems to “lack skill,” but arguably  “makes up for it in composure” with usually  “plodding play?”  Is there a current national team forward who “seems to be a [Bradley] favorite?”  Is there a forward whose role on the team is seen as fairly safe not necessarily because of his own success, but because others who would be likely candidates at forward (Freddy Adu, Kenny Cooper, Eddie Johnson, etc.) haven’t “presented themselves?”

Somewhere along the way the composed play of Ralston became plodding and his composure became too methodical. In retrospect, it’s ironic, to say the least, that one of the only two players Yanks Abroad couldn’t predict would make the 2006 USMNT was Brian Ching.

Given that 2005 Ralston appears to have been 2009 Ching, I guess the question for 2010 is “who is going to be Brian Ching’s Brian Ching?”

But that’s another post.

Categories: Forwards, MNT Lineups
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