Depth charts III – MF

Three weeks and counting till we get our World Cup qimg_1611ualification back on track (right?).

In the meantime, Pat and Chris have been offering their thought
s on depth at positions for the USMNT. We started at goalkeeper, hit defenders last week; This week, we hit the midfield.

Let’s wade into some depth…NOTE: We named players where we think they fit best, rate best or have the best chance of making the team. If a player fits in more than one position, we only named him in his #1 spot.

NOTE DOS: We went with a four-man midfield because we think that makes best use of our talent. A 4-2-3-1 or some other formation that puts five in the midfield would change things. But you already knew that.

Defensive midfielders

  1. Michael Bradley – We’re not debating this. He read this sentence four times just because he works that much harder than you.
  2. Jermaine Jones – He’s 35, but can still play like a man in his prime. The only guy on this list who truly can challenge Bradley for the vision and skill to split the defense from the base of midfield.
  3. Danny Williams – He has a tendency to disappear, but he’s also one of the few guys who can pick up a ball at his own box, dribble through three guys, reach the other team’s box and take a shot.
  4. Kellyn Acosta – If his preseason form continues, we don’t see how Bruce can keep him off the field. This could be a year for a big jump.
  5. Dax McCarty – The most direct replacement for Michael Bradley. Everyone else on this list is more of a box-to-box midfielder.
  6. Perry Kitchen – Another potential Bradley back-up.

Left midfielders

  1. Christian Pulisic – Move Fabian Johnson to midfield (despite what Bruce now appears to be saying) and we move him to the right. Regardless of where he goes, the kid’s starting.
  2. Sebastian Lletget – He doesn’t have much international experience under his belt, but his skill, speed, attacking drive and ability to serve a ball on the ground or in the air, plus his connection to Bruce, make him an interesting addition.
  3. Darlington Nagbe – A combination of incredible and invisible. If he could be more consistent with his talent, defenders for almost every team we face would fear him.

Right midfielders

  1. Alejandro Bedoya – Attacking isn’t his greatest strength, but with DeAndre Yedlin raring to run the overlap, his defensive capabilities serve to lock down the side.
  2. Paul Arriola – The way he’s playing for Club Tijuana, it can’t be that much longer till he’s in the running for the #1 spot (again, assuming Fabian is a fullback and Pulisic plays on the left). We still consider Bedoya in the driver’s seat because of Yedlin’s attacking focus.
  3. Lynden Gooch – This is more of a Gold Cup prediction. A young player, from the Premier League, has to get a shot. But he really needs to get consistent playing time before these ducks can be counted.

Attacking midfielders

  1. Sacha Kljestan – He didn’t look as sharp in January (it was the offseason), but his quality in MLS over the last couple years shows what he’s capable of.
  2. Benny Feilhaber – Just a step behind Sacha in MLS lately, he actually looked better than him in January. Like Bruce once said of Clint Dempsey, “He tries shit.”
  3. Emerson Hyndman – We’re hoping to see him in the Gold Cup. The way he’s playing for Rangers, right now, he looks too good to hold him back.
  4. Lee Nguyen – The other options, including many guys already on our list, limit his chances.

@finetoothcombs

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