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You have just been hired as the new head coach of the MNT (hey, anything is possible). You are an outsider and are starting with a fresh slate. JDG2 has told you he is not going to play for Canada. You have had a one month training camp and 3 friendlies to get familiar with all the players and for them to get familiar with you. All of the players are fully fit and in form. WCQ starts tomorrow. Who is in your starting eleven and what is your formation??

----------Friend-------Radz------------

-----------------DeRo------------------

---------JDG1------------Atiba---------

---------------Serioux-----------------

--Simpson--McKenna--Nsaliwa--Stalteri--

-----------------Lars------------------

Reason: I chose the 4-3-1-2 because I think it suits our team's talents best. Looking back on the 2 games against Jamaica, I think the 4-5-1 was leaving Friend too isolated. Even if you consider it a 4-3-3, the wingers (Simpson and Radz) were out wide leaving Friend all alone. Right now, Radz is our most dangerous threat to score. I want him closer to the box, getting on the end of Friend's flick ons or knock downs. I don't want him being the one whipping in crosses, even though this is what he has been doing a lot for Fulham this year. With some more support for Friend, I think he could be more dangerous as well.

I decided to go with DeRo behind them. Despite some lackluster performances for the national team in the past, I'm a new coach so he is going to get a shot under me. His flashes of brilliance can change a game and even if he turns the ball over, makes bad passes and poor decisions he just has to do something special once to win a game.

JDG1 and Atiba were automatics. It was who would go with them that was the question. I like Grande and how he builds plays up from the back. But he doesn't contrast enough with JDG1 and Atiba. I needed more bite. Bernier does nothing special for me. He is a player that makes up the numbers but serves no real purpose. Serioux was my choice. He will do the dirty work. I want JDG1 and Atiba to feel like they have more freedom to go forward. Plus, I felt that Jamaica progressed far too easily through the midfield when we played them. I need a bulldog and he's it.

This system has no real width so the only way its going to work is if you have some fullbacks that will go forward. Simpson and Stalteri will be my Zambrotta and Grosso a la WC2006. Simpson has the speed and dribbling ability that I want. Thats the reason I pick him ahead of Klukowski. Although Josh is more of an attacking player, I think he can play in the back as he did briefly versus the US in Gold Cup 2005. Stalteri likes to make runs as well. Even though he doesn't have the possesion skills to play in midfield, his enthusiasm and energy going forward will be beneficial.

Big Kev's dominance in the air is important both defending and attacking corners and set pieces. His lack of speed could be complimented nicely with Nsaliwa. Now, Tam is the player I probably know the least about but his performance against Hungary was promising. I give him a slight edge over Hainault as McKenna's partner, probably because he is playing at a higher level. Reda, Braz and Gervais do not enter the picture.

With his club performances over the last couple of years, Lars has proved that he is back to where we thought he would be when he shone at the Gold Cup (2003?). He is playing consistently at the highest level out of all of our keepers. At this position, that is the most important factor.

WCQ starts tomorrow. I wasn't going to risk any youthful errors by starting Peters, Johnson or Edgar in my first 11. Their time will come. I want to win now.

For my subs, I want cover at every position so versatility is key. These were though choices.

Bench: Sutton, Hume, Brennan, Nakajima, Klukowski, Hainault, Grande

Missing: Occean, Gerba, Imhof, De Vos, Peschisolido, Wagenaar, de Jong, Bernier, Ademolu, Dodds, Hastings, Jazic, Onstad, Stewart, Bircham, Reda, Braz, Gervais, Pozniak

This is Canada's winning 11. What do you think??

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Lars

Stalteri---Mckenna---??????-Kluklowski

-----Bernier---Hutch---JDG------

DeRo----XXXXXX-----Rad

I think no one has stepped up yet for the ????? spot. There are a number of options such as Nsaliwa, Serioux, Reda, Gervais and possibly Hainault and even Edgar. However, I don't think anyone of them can ink their name into the line up as of yet. This position is definitely a worry until a couple of them step up.

6 months ago I would have put Friend's name in the XXXXXX spot after his moved to Hereenvan. But with his recent loan and poor firm, I think a good spring by Occean or even Gerba could see one of them take that spot for the Gold Cup.

I like the line up of a 4-3-3 for Canada. The full backs are generally stay at home types and McKenna is seemingly developing into a fairly steady defender. In front of that, you have 3 fast, strong, and capable defensive midfielders that all cover alot of ground. This makes us an extremely difficult side to beat. Then you have the speed on the wings in Radz and DeRo with a target man in the center. Its a very good counter attacking side and my opinion the best utlilisation of the players we have. Peters would be a good last 20 minutes sub to run a tiring defenses as well provided he continues his good form at Ipswich.

I would in some friendlies like to see DeRo in the center as some suggest but I am not convinced that at the international level he would have the time or space to be effective there. Of course, JDG2 would but its unlikely he will commit to us.

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I would go with two formations. The first would be a "conventional" one that uses the best overall players to deal with top teams and others with no extreme problems in any one area. My list would be similar to what is already posted so I won't bother right now.

The other would be rarely used, but could come in handy against any CONCACAF teams that still have the traditional CONCACAF problem of defending against aerial assault. I know it is less common now, but I'm sure some teams still have short CBs and keepers who suck at corners. In this case, I would try to scare the s**t out of the opposing coach by not just launching an aerial assault, but by ordering outright carpet bombing!

Here it is, AIR CANADA:

Lars

Stalteri - Edgar - Hutch - Kluk

DeRo - JDG1 - Radz

Friend - McKenna - Occean

I believe that Edgar and Hutch are both ok in the air, so they would compliment Friend/McKenna/Occean at both ends. DeRo and Radz are both good at crosses and would be doing here what DeRo currently does in Houston for Ching (sp?) and Radz at Fulham for McBride. They would play wide to make up for the slowness of our taller strikers, and would deliberately fire long-range shots for the keeper to deflect wide, and go into the corners to kick the ball of the defenders, in order to get corner kicks.

JDG1 is very versatile and would just have to hold the fort in the middle for awhile. If this formation succeeds, then Canada could put a couple of goals in before the opposing coach can find a counter. If the other team then subs-in taller players or launches an attack down "Route One", then there is an easy switch that dramatically changes the team while only using two subs.

Here's what you do: sub in Hume and Peters/Johnson for Occean and Friend. Move McKenna back to CB, and Hutch moves up to help JDG1 in midfield. You would still have another substitution if needed, but this is how you instantly switch Air Canada to a conventional formation in the second half as a counter-counter-measure:

Lars

Stalteri - McKenna - Edgar - Kluk

DeRo - JDG1 - Hutch - Radz

Peters(Johnson) - Hume

The quick switch with just two subs would nullify the opposing coach's changes in tactics/players by reinforcing the midfield and switching from an aerial assault to a speed/possession style with fast/fresh strikers against tired defenders.

Ok, I know you all think I'm nuts, but I think that this can be easily practiced in camp and occassionally used as a surprise weapon against a few of the CONCACAF teams that are particularly vulnerable in the air. The quick switch anticipates likely counters and helps to keep the opposition unbalanced.

You may now commence firing!

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-----------Hirschfeld-----------

Klukowski---------Nsaliwa--------

-----------McKenna---------DeJong

---------------------------------

-------JDG----------Atiba-------

--------------DeRo--------------

----------------------------Radz

----Hume-----------------------

-------------Friend------------

Looks unbalanced because it's supposed to be. Our strength attacking lies on the left hand side of this formation. De Jong is an attacking Left back/mid and Radz is an attacking left mid at the club level (he has been most of the season since Coleman switched him at the beginning of the year). Atiba has played centre mid, left mid and withdrawn striker for FCK so he shades over to the left to support.

McKenna pinches up to cover the target forward when he plays at Energie and this plays into his strength. Instead of letting forwards come at him he uses his physical strength and tenacity to get on them right away and not allow space to be created. Nsaliwa is the speed cover we need behind him to compliment his game. Between McKenna and Lars we have two outspoken players to organize the backline. Klukowski is the stay at home Right back we need since he'll only have JDG shading out as cover on that side.

Hume strays closer to the middle and plays withdrawn then as a right flank, he can also track back into the midfield to disrupt plays or run onto balls played into his path by Friend. Friend is the target, plays back balls to the midfielders and attacks goal on crosses from Radz, De Jong and Klukowski. DeRo plays box-to-box and helps pitch in on both defence and attack which is his role at Houston.

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Tomorrow's team:

---------Lars-----

---McKenna--Klukowski

-Nsaliwa--------Stalteri

---Bernier----DeGuz--

--------Attiba------

----DeRo------Hume---

--------Occean-----

Not bad, but my 2010 team is solid back to front and can take some risks in attack. 4-3 win over the USA in the Hex with a late screamer from Huuuuuume!

-------Lars-----

----Edgar---McKenna

-Nsawliwa----Klukowski

--------DeGuz------

--------Attiba-------

-JP----Hume-----Simpson

----------Friend-----

Subs:

Begovic

Stalteri

Ledgerwood

Bernier

DeRosario

Occean

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Wow, not a lot of love for Peeters. But I guess this is a dream team of right now, so understandable. I really think this kid is coming on of late when given the chance. And I think he brings an ability to beat players, that can change a game. I think he is gonna turn some heads this summer, and hopefully some of that attention from 2 years ago will prove justified.

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quote:Originally posted by villus

Wow, not a lot of love for Peeters. But I guess this is a dream team of right now, so understandable. I really think this kid is coming on of late when given the chance. And I think he brings an ability to beat players, that can change a game. I think he is gonna turn some heads this summer, and hopefully some of that attention from 2 years ago will prove justified.

I hope that you are right. To cap an unattached 17 year old seven times, he better be something real special. I don't care if you are Brazil, or Bermuda.

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Have to agree Peters will be what 20? when qualifying begins. He is exactly the kind of player we need. A guy who can come on and attack teams to leave him off of lists when he is playing at a comparable level to all but three or four of our top veteran players is silly. I hope whoever our new coach is he sees things differently then you guys.

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Well about line ups and tactics, I always felt that Canada should be an offensive team (since we do not have a striker who consistently puts goals in), so the midfield would have to step it up to support the attack. As well, Canada should also gain more support in the midfield, in order to aid the defense as well. That being said, I feel that a sort of a dimond formation (4-1-2-1-2) would be ideal. And offensive midfielder supporting the attack and a defensive midfielder helping the defense.

I think that Yallop tried this formation in a game against Luxemburg (end of 2005), It was not that successful but I dont think that it was given enough of a chance to test it out. This would be the way I would organize it:

GK) Sutton (MLS)

RB) Stalteri (Enlgish Premiership)

CB) McKenna (German Bungesliga)

CB) Reda MLS)

LB) Klukowski (Belgium 1st div)

DM) Hutchinson (Danish 1st div)

RM) Peters (English Championship)

LM) Brenan (MLS)

AM) DeRosario (MLS)

ST) Radzinski (English Premiership)

ST) Friend (Dutch Eredivisie)

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We only have enough players of a decent class to basically field one team. It kind of picks itself for the most part, and for the spots that are left over the players are pretty mediocre/interchangeable. Everyone's dream team looks almost identical... Maybe by 2014 there can be a real selection debate eh? Let's hope.

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quote:Originally posted by Canadiense

Well about line ups and tactics, I always felt that Canada should be an offensive team (since we do not have a striker who consistently puts goals in), so the midfield would have to step it up to support the attack. As well, Canada should also gain more support in the midfield, in order to aid the defense as well. That being said, I feel that a sort of a dimond formation (4-1-2-1-2) would be ideal. And offensive midfielder supporting the attack and a defensive midfielder helping the defense.

I think that Yallop tried this formation in a game against Luxemburg (end of 2005), It was not that successful but I dont think that it was given enough of a chance to test it out. This would be the way I would organize it:

GK) Sutton (MLS)

RB) Stalteri (Enlgish Premiership)

CB) McKenna (German Bungesliga)

CB) Reda MLS)

LB) Klukowski (Belgium 1st div)

DM) Hutchinson (Danish 1st div)

RM) Peters (English Championship)

LM) Brenan (MLS)

AM) DeRosario (MLS)

ST) Radzinski (English Premiership)

ST) Friend (Dutch Eredivisie)

Have you been following Cdn soccer lately? There is no way you can leave off Julian de Guzman, the only Cdn to play in the Spanish Primera.

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---------------- Lars

----Stalteri ©-----Hinault---Edgar-----Jazic

----------------Julian DeG---Hutch

----Peters-------De Rosario---------Johnson

-----------------Occean

Subs:

Sutton, Reda, Kulkowski, Serioux, Simpson, Hume, Friend.

Screw Jonathan and DeJong, if Canada can get a Manager that can build team spirit and make the team play for the Jersey then Canada can perform miracles. Look at NI.

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I have to agree with the previous two posts.

To desigols comment, "if Canada can get a Manager that can build team spirit and make the team play for the Jersey then Canada can perform miracles. Look at NI."

So true, and a perfect example.

I was living for 8 months last year in Belfast, and to see the successes of a MNT such as Northern Ireland, with the players that they have at their disposal shows that we can do much of the same. Their players are not any better than ours and their pool no deeper (plus they have the similar problem of players leaving to play for the south). Lawrie Sanchez has turned them around and made them believe they can take on anyone and win (not jsut compete or keep the score from becoming embarrassing but win - ie. They have recently beat England and Spain)

When the boys from the Norn Iron pull on their jerseys, they play as if every game is the World Cup Finals. Healy is pish, but the boy is magic when he steps on the pitch at Windsor park.

'Mon on the CSA. With a better manager of our MNT our selection debate will become that much greater bc every player will rise to the occasion when we have an International match. And with better performances, we will have less defections to other national programs.

And now a little closer to the actual topic (agreeing with Ed's comment), there is no way if we played a match tomorrow that julian DG could be left out of the first 11.

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-------------Lars-------------(Sutton)

Stalteri-McKenna-Edgar-Simpson(Nsaliwa,Klukowski)

-------Deguz------Bernier-----

Peters-------Hutch--------Radz(Dero,Johnson)

------------Friend------------(Hume)

GK: Lars is class... I assume he'll be back, if not Sutton's not a liability.

Def: As with others I'd like to see our RB and LB make some runs. McKenna is a physical force in the air and if Edgar can handle Premiership(although not regularly) then he's ready for CONCACAF.

Mids: Good speed on the wings and quality ball control in the middle... No Dero in this starting lineup, we know he tries hard, but the results are lacking.

Str: I love Friend's size and strength... bring on Hume late in games for some pace if needed.

ya. that's my squad and I think they would easily qualify out of CONCACAF... easily!!!

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quote:Originally posted by masster

JDG1 and Atiba were automatics. It was who would go with them that was the question. I like Grande and how he builds plays up from the back. But he doesn't contrast enough with JDG1 and Atiba. I needed more bite. Bernier does nothing special for me. He is a player that makes up the numbers but serves no real purpose. Serioux was my choice. He will do the dirty work. I want JDG1 and Atiba to feel like they have more freedom to go forward. Plus, I felt that Jamaica progressed far too easily through the midfield when we played them. I need a bulldog and he's it.

If Serioux's "it" for the national team, how come he wasn't the first choice defensive, dirty work midfielder for Houston? In MLS? And how come Dallas chose to continue his full time transformation into a central defender instead of as a defensive holding midfielder?

Personally, I was eager to see his continued development as a centre back this season, as a possible partner for McKenna at the Gold Cup, but I see his season is on hold for now:

http://web.mlsnet.com/news/team_news.jsp?ymd=20070216&content_id=83897&vkey=pr_fcd&fext=.jsp&team=t104

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quote:Originally posted by BearcatSA

If Serioux's "it" for the national team, how come he wasn't the first choice defensive, dirty work midfielder for Houston? In MLS? And how come Dallas chose to continue his full time transformation into a central defender instead of as a defensive holding midfielder?

Personally, I was eager to see his continued development as a centre back this season, as a possible partner for McKenna at the Gold Cup, but I see his season is on hold for now:

http://web.mlsnet.com/news/team_news.jsp?ymd=20070216&content_id=83897&vkey=pr_fcd&fext=.jsp&team=t104

I'm not going to pretend to be overly familiar with Houston's roster but maybe they had somebody better suited for that position. Looking at potential players for Canada (a roster I am much more familiar with) I can't think of a better player than him to fill that role. If you think we have one, please let me know.

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How about 4-2-3-1 with:

Stalteri, McKenna, Nsaliwa, Klukowski

DeGuzman, Bernier

Hutchinson, De Rosario, Radzinski

Friend

My roster isn't much different from yours in terms of personnel selection. I guess my underlying philosophy is that I believe you get the most out of players when they are playing in familiar roles on consistent basis at club level. Now I'm not sure about Nsaliwa's current club role, but he does fill a position of need beside McKenna.

Bernier or Serioux? I'm not overly sold on Bernier and that's why I've gone with a duo holding role with DeGuzman, who's in form playing in a similar situation with Deportivo. With regards to Serioux, he might have the physicality but I'm not sure he has the tactical nous for the position at international level, especially if you want to play him as the lone holding mid.

I like the look of Hutch, DeRo, and Radz as a trio!

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quote:Originally posted by BearcatSA

How about 4-2-3-1 with:

Stalteri, McKenna, Nsaliwa, Klukowski

DeGuzman, Bernier

Hutchinson, De Rosario, Radzinski

Friend

My roster isn't much different from yours in terms of personnel selection. I guess my underlying philosophy is that I believe you get the most out of players when they are playing in familiar roles on consistent basis at club level. Now I'm not sure about Nsaliwa's current club role, but he does fill a position of need beside McKenna.

Bernier or Serioux? I'm not overly sold on Bernier and that's why I've gone with a duo holding role with DeGuzman, who's in form playing in a similar situation with Deportivo. With regards to Serioux, he might have the physicality but I'm not sure he has the tactical nous for the position at international level, especially if you want to play him as the lone holding mid.

I like the look of Hutch, DeRo, and Radz as a trio!

I wasn't overly imressed with Serioux at centre back when I saw him on FSWC. Maybe a bit more time at the position is what he needs. I thought he chased out of position too ofter. I also think playing CB in Concacaf, a physical player like him could give away way too many PKs. In my system, I wanted a player to hinder the opponents progression through the midfield. Not even a ball winner so much as a **** disturber. I'd much rather a foul be conceded 25 yards out than in our own box.

As you said, our difference in opinion pretty much came down to Bernier vs Serioux. I haven't had the luxury of watching any of Bernier's club performances where he has supposedly been rock solid. I have watched every game he has played for the Nats since Gold Cup 2005 and I'm just not sold. I have a more negative opinion of Bernier than most people on this board so that pretty much made my decision for me.

However, this argument is useless for the next 6 months at least. With Serioux's injury, he won't be around for the Gold Cup so your setup is a lot more likely.

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Bernier seems to be very inconsistent with the national team and either plays great or terrible. When he plays well he is better than Serioux though when he is poor he looks like he doesn't even belong with the national team. Although I have been impressed with how much Serioux has improved recently he does not have the skill level of Bernier. From the reports from Norway Bernier must be a lot more consistent at the club level than the international level. Maybe he just needs to be playing in a better team/league. I think Serioux has potential as a CB but agree with your concern about possible PKs with CONCACAF opposition/refs. I would favour Nsaliwa as the first choice CB at least until we see what Edgar can do with the senior team. I think Bernier would still have to be an initial first choice as a midfield starter for our new coach but will definitely have to play at a more consistent level to maintain this. We really have a lot of potential candidates for defensive midfielder both with veteran players and younger players. I would see Serioux at the moment as a very good sub for us who would be the first choice sub for CB (where we have little depth) and a sub option for midfield (where we have a lot of depth) depending on what type of player we need to sub in.

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