Five Thoughts on the USMNT and their friendlies upcoming versus Scotland and Austria
1. The continued exodus of Timmy Chandler
For whatever reason or reasons, only known to Klinsmann and his coaching staff, Chandler continues to be not called into the 23 roster. JK has shown in the past (most recently with Landon Donovan and while in Germany, Sepp Maier, Lothar Matthaeus and Christian Woerns) to bring down the hammer on players whom he feels either undermine his authority or isn’t considered dedicated to the cause. Which makes Chandler a curious case. After years of chasing him to commit to the USMNT, Chandler finally did in an awful performance against Honduras this March. And yet afterwards, Chandler has been a no show and with no real RB option on the US depth chart (Brad Evans while admirable in his fill in, will get run roughshod by more physical countries in the World Cup) besides Cherundolo, whom is still working his way back from fitness from a horrific knee injury. It’s a wonder what Chandler has to do to get back in the fold.
2. Eric Lichaj finally gets his due
With the otherside of the coin, Lichaj finally makes his return to the USMNT, a move that I had calling for quite some time. Lichaj might not be the answer at RB and his play at Aston Villa was underwhelming to say the least but he’s been steady at Nottingham Forest (though his last game was not very impressive). While Lichaj has been called up, it’s still a whole another question if he even gets to play. I suspect JK will go for the wins but I also suspect he will use all of his subs in both games. If Lichaj gets the chance to play, here’s to hoping he makes an impression and the question of right back merely becomes a suggestion of match ups.
3. Brooks and who will start at CB?
With no Beslar, it’s curious to see who will be starting at CB for these two friendlies. Conventional wisdom in my opinions points to JK staying safe and defensive (as he’s prone to do in European friendlies) and that he will go with Cameron and Gonzalez as the starters but a curious case must be made for Brooks whom has declared to sources such as Grant Wahl and Jeff Carlisle that he wanted to be capped in the last round of qualification and would’ve been had he not been hurt during the final two games. I assume Brooks will see some playing time but whether he starts is another question. Let’s not also forget as he’s just getting over an injury so if he doesn’t start, I guess the tea leaves won’t be needed.
4. What to do with the embarrassment of riches at Forward?
It’s a forgone conclusion that Altidore with start up front but will Klinsmann deviate from his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation and possibly go with two forwards up top? With Johannsson in fine form and Boyd playing great in the Austrian League and Europa League and Eddie Johnson being Eddie Johnson, it’s a curious case to see if he goes with two up top. While Altidore has been held goalless in the EPL, his movement, ability to hold up play and his passing have elevated to better levels and he seems less afraid to come at forwards to show off his physicality. With that, who would play up top with him? Johannsson has been more clinical in his finishing and would play well with Altidore’s hold up game and his finishing is first rate. Boyd has been playing well too as his most recent Europa League performance was evident after previously being benched and he comes in to score twice. Johnson on the other hand can play up top but is better used as a winger where he can use his speed, dribbling and strength to move in with the ball and allow others to move up the flank when attacking. So with that being said, I would hope Johannsson or Boyd get the chance to show off why they should playing for spots in Brazil.
5. With no Dempsey or Johnson, who plays in the midfield?
With both starters declared injured just yesterday; naturally, they would’ve been selected to start. It’s a wonder whom will start instead. If I had to pencil in the three man midfield for Brazil, it would certainly be Johnson-Dempsey-Donovan but with all three out, Klinsmann can call in his ‘who’s next up’ depth that he’s been proud of cultivating as head coach. Now, just to be experimental, why not allow Bradley to be an CAM with Jones and Cameron playing the CDM roles and have Bedoya and Diskerud on the wings? A pipe dream but be it that these are friendlies and have no bearings on WC seedings, why not be bold?
Predicted Starters for Scotland:
Ailurophile A cat-lover.
Assemblage A gathering.
Beleaguer To exhaust with attacks.
Brood To think alone.
Bucolic In a lovely rural setting.
Bungalow A small, cozy cottage.
Chatoyant Like a cat’s eye.
Conflate To blend together.
Cynosure A focal point of admiration.
Dalliance A brief love affair.
Demesne Dominion, territory.
Demure Shy and reserved.
Denouement The resolution of a mystery.
Desultory Slow, sluggish.
Dulcet Sweet, sugary.
Ebullience Bubbling enthusiasm.
Efflorescence Flowering, blooming.
Elision Dropping a sound or syllable in a word.
Elixir A good potion.
Eloquence Beauty and persuasion in speech.
Embrocation Rubbing on a lotion.
Emollient A softener.
Epiphany A sudden revelation.
Erstwhile At one time, for a time.
Ethereal Gaseous, invisible but detectable.
Evanescent Vanishing quickly, lasting a very short time.
Forbearance Withholding response to provocation.
Furtive Shifty, sneaky.
Gambol To skip or leap about joyfully.
Gossamer The finest piece of thread, a spider’s silk.
Halcyon Happy, sunny, care-free.
Harbinger Messenger with news of the future.
Imbrication Overlapping and forming a regular pattern.
Imbroglio An altercation or complicated situation.
Imbue To infuse, instill.
Incipient Beginning, in an early stage.
Ineffable Unutterable, inexpressible.
Ingénue A naïve young woman.
Inglenook A cozy nook by the hearth.
Insouciance Blithe nonchalance.
Inure To become jaded.
Labyrinthine Twisting and turning.
Lagniappe A special kind of gift.
Lagoon A small gulf or inlet.
Languor Listlessness, inactivity.
Lassitude Weariness, listlessness.
Leisure Free time.
Lilt To move musically or lively.
Lissome Slender and graceful.
Lithe Slender and flexible.
Love Deep affection.
Mellifluous Sweet sounding.
Moiety One of two equal parts.
Mondegreen A slip of the ear.
Nemesis An unconquerable archenemy.
Offing The sea between the horizon and the offshore.
Onomatopoeia A word that sounds like its meaning.
Opulent Lush, luxuriant.
Palimpsest A manuscript written over earlier ones.
Panacea A solution for all problems
Panoply A complete set.
Pastiche An art work combining materials from various sources.
Penumbra A half-shadow.
Petrichor The smell of earth after rain.
Plethora A large quantity.
Propinquity An inclination.
Pyrrhic Successful with heavy losses.
Quintessential Most essential.
Ratatouille A spicy French stew.
Ravel To knit or unknit.
Riparian By the bank of a stream.
Ripple A very small wave.
Scintilla A spark or very small thing.
Seraglio Rich, luxurious oriental palace or harem.
Serendipity Finding something nice while looking for something else.
Summery Light, delicate or warm and sunny.
Sumptuous Lush, luxurious.
Surreptitious Secretive, sneaky.
Susquehanna A river in Pennsylvania.
Susurrous Whispering, hissing.
Talisman A good luck charm.
Umbrella Protection from sun or rain.
Untoward Unseemly, inappropriate.
Vestigial In trace amounts.
Wherewithal The means.
Woebegone Sorrowful, downcast.
(Source: andreainspired, via phoenixandthecarpet)