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Stock up, stock down after the U.S.’s draw with Mexico

Apr 3, 2014, 4:18 PM EDT

chris_wondolowski AP


Kyle Beckerman – Barring a complete collapse, the Real Salt Lake anchor was going to Brazil no matter what, but after seeing over 70 minutes of what a midfield with him and Michael Bradley looks like, you can’t help but wonder if Beckerman should get more time. It’s not about whether he’s better than Jermaine Jones. There’s a reason why Jones is so accomplished at club level. Its’ more about what Beckerman allows his team’s best player to do.

Going with a two-man midfield is going to be precarious against Germany and Portugal, part of the reason Beckerman might see playing time (as the base of a three) regardless, but against a team like Ghana, allowing Bradley the freedom of knowing there’s a steady anchor behind him could be the way to go. And Beckerman is more suited to that role than Jones.

Brad Davis – Davis got the surprise start over Landon Donovan, and on an early first half set piece, he showed the unique quality he brings to the squad. His play over the course of 90 minutes against international-caliber opposition may leave U.S. fans with worries, but with the huge 23-man rosters teams can take to the World Cup, you can afford to select a specialist.

Last 10 minutes, down a goal, against an opponent whose no longer fighting for the ball? Might as well bring on your dead ball specialist and try to find Omar Gonzalez in the box. After last night, Brad Davis seems a lot closer to Brazil.

Michael Parkhurst – A second straight credible job at left back – what’s probably his worst position in defense. That flexibility might not only get him to Brazil, it may allow Jurgen Klinsmann to take some players who, unlikely to get playing time, can get some valuable experience for the next cycle. If may also make room for some bubble players, like …

Chris Wondolowski – The dream is not only still alive, it’s thriving. Wondolowski, transcending all the skepticism that has accompanied his place at the fringe of the national team, may be pushing his way into the 23. That flexibility that players like Parkhurst, Fabian Johnson, DeMarcus Beasley, and Brad Evans provide? It opens up spots for Klinsmann to say “you know what? Chris has done enough. He’s one of our 23. He’s another late match option.”

And when we see him move the way he did on Michael Bradley’s first half header, who’s to say he can’t actually be useful? Full credit to Wondolowski. He continues to defy expectations.

source: Getty ImagesFalling

Landon Donovan – According to ESPN’s coverage, Klinsmann felt Donovan hadn’t looked 100 percent in training ahead of Wednesday’s match, something that could be interpreted as a fitness concern or just a failure to perform.

It could also be something even more subtle. The players go through a battery of tests every time they’re called into the national team camp, measures that help Klinsmann’s staff round out the picture as to how the player’s training at club level.

For whatever reason, be it on the field or off, Donovan just didn’t measure up. He’ll have work to do in May, but given where he appears to be on the depth chart, is he really a lock? I’m sticking with “yes,” but it seems fair to wonder.

Omar Gonzalez – This deserves its own post. Suffice to say, the LA Galaxy star didn’t do himself any favors last night. Perhaps his role on both goals can be explained in isolation, but Gonzalez seems to require a lot of explanations of late, a discussion that goes beyond what we see in the highlight reels.

DeAndre Yedlin – Yedlin “falling” is more about perception and selection than his performance. In his very limited time on Wednesday, he was fine, but many thought that time would begin at minute one, not 23 minutes from the final whistle.

The situation is analogous to the whole DeAndre Yedlin phenomenon. Initial reaction to his debut last season was irrationally positive, but then the blowback went too far. All along, a young right back with the talent to grow into one MLS’s best has done just that: Grow.

As the right back situation’s become cloudier, we’ve caught ourselves asking if Yedlin might be actually be a first team option. When Tony Beltran got the call in Klinsmann’s starting XI, we were reminded: We gotten ahead of ourselves once more.

But just because Yedlin didn’t start, there’s no need to over-correct. He might not be as close to Brazil as we thought, but Wednesday wasn’t a set back, either. Let’s just meditate on this one, avoid being too bold about Yedlin’s potential, and see where he ends up …

Except when we’re talking about my MLS Team of the Month. Yedlin was totally in that.

  1. talgrath - Apr 3, 2014 at 5:05 PM

    Personally I thought Yedlin improved his stock, he looked like a better defender than Beltran, particularly when the play switched between defense to attack and back.

    Personally I think Wondolowski is in, I would expect the forwards in the final tally to be Altidore, Johansson, Wondolowski and Eddie Johnson (with Dempsey and Donovan as mid-fielders); maybe with Green along for the experience more than anything.

    Gonzalez, as always, looked for 95% of the time, but it only requires 5% failure for easy and obvious goals to go in. The only problem is that I really don’t see anyone generally better to fill in for him, Besler saved Gonzalez’s ass several times too.

    Brad Davis, man that left foot of his is deadly, is it possible to have a designated kicker in soccer? Because Brad Davis would be that. On one of his corners the man nearly had a golazo, but outside of set pieces he didn’t do a whole lot. I think putting him on the plane as a sub would be very smart, give him 20-30 minutes to work his magic and put him in against a winded defense and he’ll give them fits.

    • midtec2005 - Apr 3, 2014 at 6:36 PM


      I wonder if it’d be worth losing Gonzalezs aerial abilities, and playing Parkhurst in the middle. He’s probably a more steady, consistent player and he has excellent positioning. He’s just not tall. It might at least be worth considering.

      I get nervous at the thought of Gonzalez or Cameron there. Both players seem to have a hard time staying switched on for 90 minutes.

  2. mrstev - Apr 3, 2014 at 5:35 PM

    I sincerely hope that all the Wondo-haters out there (and there are a lot on this blog) can finally give it a rest. What more can the guy possibly do?

    • braxtonrob - Apr 3, 2014 at 6:09 PM

      @mrstev, Wondo-haters are idiots! I second your sentiment about what he’s already proven – he’s a GOAL-scorer. Period.

      • Richard Farley - Apr 3, 2014 at 6:20 PM

        I think there’s a kind of middle ground here. When Wondo was first getting his cracks with the national team, he legitimately looked a bit out of pace. But though that Wondo appears to be in the past, he remains in some’s memory.

        I think to discount Wondo’s adjustments is to shortchange the work he’s had to put in to get where he is now. It’s been part of the process where he’s had to continuously prove himself to the U.S. staff. That’s all paying off now.

        I think that rise is remarkable. I love this story for it. But I also think any implication that Wondo has always been this player (or, has been since 2011 or 2012) isn’t quite right.

        I think he’s has continued to do a lot of work to get where he’s at, work that should erase those lingering memories that are clouding people’s judgment.

      • midtec2005 - Apr 3, 2014 at 6:39 PM

        They say strike while the iron is hot. I honestly wouldn’t mind seeing him start over Jozy (his “iron” is very very cold). I’m sure this opinion will be unpopular though.

    • sparkydelong - Apr 3, 2014 at 7:25 PM

      Although not a ‘hater’ I wasn’t completely convinced Wondo should make the trip to Brazil… until last night. All the guy does is score goals. Good enough for me.

    • mdac1012 - Apr 4, 2014 at 8:20 AM

      I don’t consider myself a Wondo “hater” as you put it, I like the guy, I consider myself a Wondo “realist”. One game doesn’t erase an international career of mediocrity against upper level completion. With that said, I agree with Midtec, he is hot right now and he is certainly a smart player. I wrote on here a couple of weeks ago that I wish I could put Wondo’s heart and brains in Jozy or Brek Shea’s body. My big problem with Wondo has always been that he doesn’t create goals on his own, he scores because he is in the right place at the right time type of player, like last nite. That’s a credit to his smarts, but players like that usually have a hard time finding those opportunities against upper level teams that constantly have a body on them.

      With that said, Jozy’s game and confidence looks completely shot at the moment. After last night’s game I think not only is Wondo assured of a spot on the team, I think there is a good chance he will see significant playing time. That’s not something I would have thought a year ago.

    • elgallo2001 - Apr 4, 2014 at 11:26 AM

      I was a Wondo doubter. But I know have the faith. I think he deserves to go. He can come on at some point when we are desperately needing a goal, and believe me at some point that will be the case this summer.

    • talgrath - Apr 4, 2014 at 1:10 PM

      I wouldn’t consider myself a hater, but I have been rather skeptical of him; now I’m convinced he should go to Brazil, but I’m not convinced he should start. Either way, I think there’s no question he goes now.

  3. kryptock - Apr 3, 2014 at 5:37 PM

    Where is the falling mention to Dempsey? He was terrible last night. He has really been very lazy and displays a nasty attitude lately. His game is suffering for some reason.

    • kryptock - Apr 3, 2014 at 5:38 PM

      However, I do believe that Dempsey will go to Brazil. I am just not liking his level of play lately.

      • Richard Farley - Apr 3, 2014 at 5:42 PM

        Yeah. His stock didn’t really move. I also think you’re being a bit hard on him, though particularly in the first half, I wasn’t a fan, either.

        It’s the same with Yedlin (to address the other comment). Did he play well? He was fine. His stock was still down, though, because we had over-inflated its value prior to kickoff. The market corrects …

      • midtec2005 - Apr 3, 2014 at 6:42 PM

        I’m not sure I could disagree any more. Dempsey was active, tricky, and didn’t turn the ball over. He didn’t get a lot of scoring chances… but so what? That doesn’t mean he didn’t play well.

        And he has ALWAYS had a nasty attitude, that’s Clint Dempsey. That chip on his shoulder is what got him to where he is. He has looked good this year so far, after the Fulham loan. But I would agree that during the Fulham loan and last year in MLS he didn’t look good at all.

    • sollya - Apr 3, 2014 at 10:44 PM

      An assist for the EJ goal which was should have been counted is decent. He & EJ have a lot of experience together and click off the field too. I hope the coach counts the goal in making his roster. I think he will.

    • sollya - Apr 3, 2014 at 10:45 PM

      Who’s goal did you like better, Wondo’s or EJ’s?

    • sollya - Apr 3, 2014 at 10:47 PM

      An assist is decent. True he’s not on fire like he used to be.

  4. jelliot1978 - Apr 3, 2014 at 7:41 PM

    From what I saw of Beckerman it looked like he was partially responsible for both of Mexico’s goals. On the first he saw Beisler blocked but didn’t try to get around it. On the second he drifted to far back and didn’t mark the player who ended up scoring.

  5. WYMF Editor - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:03 PM

    Unfortunately, none of the options at center back other than Gonzalez are ideal. Goodson always seems pretty average. We should prefer to play Cameron at right back, where he’s excelled for Stoke all season. But now, maybe we slot him in at center back for Gonzalez. Brooks and Onyewu dismissed themselves with their collective performance against Ukraine. Maybe it’s worth another look at Edu playing at center back. Again, not ideal but we need to reconsider our options. Something not mentioned is that Gonzalez recently got married, and he may simply be distracted by real life matters. He could regain focus after more MLS matches and after swallowing all of this criticism.

    Also lost in the shuffle is Beckerman’s role in both goals. Beckerman and Gonzalez failed to communicate on the corner leading to the first goal. On the second, Beckerman didn’t track his main into the box and retreated toward goal. The initial shot came from Beckerman’s mark. Yes, Beckerman had a great pass success rate, and he allowed Bradley to go forward, but Beckerman was exposed on both goals.

  6. lyleoross - Apr 4, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    The thing about Wondo, and Beckerman, is that it’s all context. At some level, Dempsey and Altidore are the same. It’s the MB context. While it may sound like I have a man crush, MB appears to be one of the more dominant mid-fielders in the game (hence my confusion about Roma and Toronto). He has a nack for positioning, and making things happen up front, all of which paid dividends for Jozi during WC qual, which paid for Wondo’s goal, and which covers for Beckerman (as opposed to the notion that Beckerman allows MB freedom).

    The real question for me is what players up front have the movement and style to allow you to capitalize on what MB brings to the table? Yes, you need a solid mid to make sure you can slow down counters when MB is pushing up, but I’m not sure that Beckerman does that any better than some others.

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