Jan 22, 2014, 7:44 PM EDT
At first glance, you wonder if someone suggesting that Aron Johannsson is the top United States forward might also be someone enjoying some of those so-called “space cakes” sold in the Amsterdam coffee shops nearby Johannsson’s current home.
But it’s really not that far-fetched a notion once you grind the mental gears on this one just a bit. Especially since this particular piece is penned by respected colleague John Godfrey.
Johannsson, a man in a second shelf European league (the Dutch Eredivisie) has barely played in World Cup qualifiers, much less shown that he can handle the seasoned defenders of Portugal, Ghana and (egad!) Germany. How can it be that we are even talking about him being ahead of Jozy Altidore, currently earning his living in the world top league, or Clint Dempsey, about to suit up in his third World Cup?
Heck, even ol’ Eddie Johnson has a case for being ahead of the Johnny-come-lately Icelandic-American.
But can Godfrey be correct that “Johannsson is the most clinical striker in the U.S. player pool, and by a wide margin”?
He may indeed be the most “clinical,” but can he keep his wits about him in world soccer’s densest den of pressure? And has he learned all the little tactical tricks that life in the world’s top league taught Dempsey and is now teaching Altidore?
In the end, we’d have to believe that Jurgen Klinsmann won’t trust Johannsson to a starting spot right away as Godfrey suggests – not unless someone gets hurt or things go askance right away against Ghana, leaving the U.S. manager to “reach” for potential solutions.
But it does seem like a topic worth discussing. Altidore can hardly be confident; and when we talk about what striker’s need most, “confidence” is always going to arrive early and often in that conversation.
Dempsey will probably play in behind a striker, so it’s possible both are in the starting lineup as the World Cup opens against Ghana. But either way, can any of us be real sure where Dempsey is at this point, mentally and physically?
- Fulham 1-0 Newcastle United: Dejagah strike and late non-call give Cottagers three huge points 0
- Hull City 0-2 Manchester City: Silva inspires 10-man City to victory 0
- WATCH: Premier League live on NBC Sports Live Extra – Week 30 1
- Americans Abroad Preview: Yank vs. Yank match-ups in England and Mexico 0
- Is it that nuts to buy into Jamaica using Usain Bolt in 2018 World Cup qualifying? The coach is interested… 3
- WATCH: Premier League TV Schedule – Week 30 2
- Luuk de Jong Eyes Permanent Newcastle United Stay
- Wenger's Injury Inquiry Years Too Late
- Chelsea Boss wants Friday Night Lights
- Marcelo Bielsa Close To Rayados?
- Seitz Has Benefited From Push by Sanchez
- West Brom Deny Anelka Claims
- Liga MX Week 11 Must Watch / Rather Miss
- Tijuana Xolos Fans' Bus Gets Attacked
- Suarez, Sturridge Lead Liverpool Assault on Man United Back-line
- D'Alessandro Named Best Foreign Player in Brazil