Five Players the United States Should Include on its March World Cup Qualifying Roster

Five Players the United States Should Include on its March World Cup Qualifying Roster Going into the March World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Panama, the United States must place a premium on selecting enough skill players to not get outplayed and embarrassed. Here are five players that Bruce Arena would be wise to call … Read more

Who Should Bruce Arena Play as the USMNT Number 10?

Who Should Bruce Arena Play as the USMNT Number 10? “We need a better passer in the midfield than we have. We need to have a player in the attacking half of the field who can deliver the right ball at the right time. Who that is remains to be seen. There’s a couple of … Read more

Polarizing USMNT Figures: Benny Feilhaber and Freddy Adu

 

Freddy Adu evokes widely different opinions from Americans and non-Americans alike. (Photo: E.C. Bahia)
Freddy Adu evokes widely different opinions about him from Americans and non-Americans alike. (Photo: E.C. Bahia)

 

 

Along with Eric Wynalda, Benny Feilhaber and Freddy Adu are the two most polarizing figures in American soccer.

 

Both Feilhaber and Adu have been labeled as inconsistent luxury players who aren’t as impactful and consistent for 90 minutes as many people would like.

 

Nevertheless, the reason that both players are important for American soccer and the United States Men’s National Team is that both players fill a role that Michael Bradley, Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, and Jozy Altidore can’t fill: the playmaker role.

 

This role as the central attacking midfielder or the playmaker is essential for the success of the United States Men’s National Team because it provides a link between Michael Bradley’s defensive midfielder role and the role of Dempsey, Donovan, and Jozy Altidore as attackers and goal-scorers.

 

The playmaker not only facilitates quality passing, but the playmaker turns the passing between Jones or Cameron, Bradley, Donovan, and Dempsey into goal-scoring chances, and the ability to set up goals or score goals are arguably the two most important skills in soccer.

 

For this reason, players like Feilhaber and Adu remain relevant figures for the United States, and Feilhaber currently appears to be close to winning over Jürgen Klinsmann who has had his reservations about Feilhaber due to a perceived lack of impactful play for the full 90 minutes of playing time.

 

Read more

American Playmakers and Running

    Running, work rate, and defending have always been important soccer fundamentals that have always snuck into the conversation when discussing the performance and importance of playmakers – and also strikers for that matter.   Playmakers are sometimes referred to as luxury players or non-essential players because there is a belief that many people … Read more

USMNT: Becoming Giant Killers

    The United States Men’s National Team is close to becoming a Giant Killer.   Granted, there is a big talent gap between the technical ability of the United States as a collective unit, but someone like Clint Dempsey is a world-class soccer player, even if someone like Robinho is much better.   Furthermore, … Read more

Camisa Dez: Benny Feilhaber

 

Benny Feilhaber. (Photo: Reuters)
Benny Feilhaber. (Photo: Reuters)

 

The American soccer media revived their interest in Benny Feilhaber after his impressive outing against the Houston Dynamo in the second leg of the MLS Cup Semifinal, which caused many observers to realize that that game was part of a series of influential playoff games.

 

Benny Feilhaber and Freddy Adu seem to attract the same American critics with the difference being that Feilhaber has been used more by the United States Men’s National Team and thus has more quality international performances to cite as evidence of his playmaking skill and efficacy against something close to the highest level of competition.

 

While many people value Feilhaber for his playmaking skills and his technical ability, which the USMNT needs, other people are very critical of his playing resume and his playing style.

 

By beating the Houston Dynamo recently, Feilhaber outlasted both Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey in the MLS Cup Playoffs. Of course, Feilhaber is a different type of player than Dempsey and Donovan, but Feilhaber’s play has highlighted the importance of playmakers.

 

One thing that Feilhaber showed was that no matter what critics said or wrote about him that he was willing and able to rise to the occasion in another important game when he was needed.

 

Feilhaber’s performances disprove the belief that skilled American players who Klinsmann hasn’t really used have no place on the national team.

 

The United States Men’s National Team will need to fit the various types of players together to form a balanced and skilled national team, and Feilhaber offered a glimpse of how the United States could improve by playing Geoff Cameron, Michael Bradley, Landon Donovan, Benny Feilhaber, Clint Dempsey, and Jozy Altidore together as the Front Six.

Read more

Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey Are Not Playmakers

    Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey Are Not Playmakers   Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan are excellent attacking midfielders or second strikers, but they aren’t playmakers.   The best way to get the most out of both Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey is to start them as the right and left attacking midfielders with … Read more

The USMNT Should Start Three Number 10s

    One of the weak areas for the United States Men’s National Team is the absence of quality passing and significant possession against quality opponents. Given Michael Bradley’s ability to help to orchestrate passing from the defensive midfielder position, starting three playmakers in a line of three with a second striker and first striker … Read more

Which American Midfielders Are Good Enough For the World Cup?

    While the American defense has been a problem for the United States Men’s National Team, the midfield has also been an enormous problem because the U.S. hasn’t showcased quality passing and combination play at a level that’s good enough for a deep World Cup run. Setting the defense to the side for the … Read more

The USMNT Best XI: October 2013

  Coming into October of 2013, and since the United States has already qualified for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, here is the Best Starting XI that Jürgen Klinsmann can start for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers in October. Michael Bradley and John Anthony Brooks are currently injured with an ankle injury and elbow … Read more