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Stock dropping: the United States men whose standing seems in decline

Oct 18, 2012, 1:30 PM EDT

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Carlos Bocanegra:

Whereas Steve Cherundolo is hiding his age with aplomb, the same can’t be said for Bocanegra, whose performance may be suffering from his club choice, Racing Santander in Spain’s second division.

That early goal against Guatemala wasn’t all his fault – plenty of blame to go around on that disconcerting bit schoolboy business – but it’s on the wise old hand to set the line and keep the organization tidy in the rear.

Mostly, however, it’s the speed issue that will be an ongoing concern. Quickness was never Bocanegra’s forte, anyway. So any loss of pace (which is inevitable, of course) will be costly in the final round of qualifying. It certainly was in Tuesday’s opening minutes as Bocanegra futilely chased Carlos Ruiz from behind. As I said in another post, Ruiz is a lot of things, but “fast over distance” isn’t one of them.

We all knew that a World Cup at age 35 might be a stretch for the U.S. captain. So it’s fair to begin asking whether it’s time for Jurgen Klinsmann to begin making the center back transition now, to blood Omar Gonzalez or get more international experience for Tim Ream during the coming pressure cookers of final round qualifying?

Jermaine Jones:

His yellow card against Antigua was needless and potentially costly. How could a veteran with his level of experience possibly adjudge that blatantly swatting a ball out the air, in a spot where there was little impending danger, was a good idea? Can Jurgen Klinsmann really trust this guy in the coming final-round matches, where the margin for error will shrink significantly?

We’ll keep saying it: What Jones adds to the team, only Jurgen Klinsmann could say. (More on that one in this post from earlier in the week)

Tim Howard:

This is relative, of course; there is no real threat to the longtime No. 1 in U.S. goal. But if we’re honest, Howard wasn’t at his best Tuesday. His starting position on the early Guatemalan goal was surprisingly poor, and the hesitation in coming out to challenge Ruiz earlier was distinctly un-Howard-like. But clearly the man has earned plenty of benefit of the doubt. So, let’s call this one “stock falling, but with an asterisk.”

(MORE: The U.S. men whose stock is on the rise)

(MORE: The U.S. men who stock is strong and steadfast)

  1. teamperkins11 - Oct 18, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    Bocanegra should be added to this list. What was evident over this round was that he is too slow to play CB in the system that JK wants to play. He does provide great leadership and potential for goals on the offensive end, but his lack of pace was evident on the two goals given up in A & B and KC. The goal in KC can be placed on Cameron, but a faster CB would have been able to at least provide better cover. I do not know where he fits when the US faces the quicker teams in CONCACAF, let alone in WC play. I think the after what was seen this round JK has to start looking strongly for replacements for Boca. If not the speed of Jamaice, Mexico, etc. may undress the back line of the US.

    • wfjackson3 - Oct 18, 2012 at 3:18 PM

      Um, he is the first guy on the list.

      • teamperkins11 - Oct 18, 2012 at 5:40 PM

        Wow that is pretty bad…lol

  2. wfjackson3 - Oct 18, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    The thing that I found odd about that goal by Ruiz is it appeared to me that Bocanegra pulled up long before the play was over. If he had been sprinting the whole time, even at his old age, he would have had a shot at a goal line clearance. I think that this more than anything is an indictment that others should be considered. Love Bocanegra, but where is the wiggle room for a CB that isn’t trying his hardest to save the goal?

    • joeyt360 - Oct 18, 2012 at 5:44 PM

      I think if he’d stepped up on that play he’d have caught Ruiz offside.

    • teamperkins11 - Oct 18, 2012 at 5:44 PM

      I saw the same thing from Boca. I actually have really respected what Boca has done with the USMNT, but either he was hurt or just wasn’t willing to give the effort to get to that ball. If he was playing injured and JK felt he was a better option than Goodson, then can’t fault Boca. But if he was healthy, not pursing the ball for a clearance was not something you want to see from a team captain.

      • schmutzdeck - Oct 19, 2012 at 10:37 PM

        He was expecting Howard to come out. So was I.

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