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Squad Depth for the New Coach


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quote:Originally posted by BrennanFan

if simpson, peters, nakajima have solid seasons in europe this year, there is no question that they should take over on the wings. there is no reason we should be playing 30 year olds when we have these young studs in the prime of their careers who only need a chance to prove they can surpass their predecessors. the future is now.

Can't disagree with you. When you select the "in form" players, it's usually a younger gun supplanting the established vet. That's why I like G-L's topic title of "depth" because almost everyone's on notice.

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How old is JDV? If he is back in the mix I definetely think he starts. And also I think that Issey should be in the mix, not as a starter yet but on the bench and who knows how his game develops but I like his skills on the ball and confidence and he seems to make things happen whenever he is on the field. Hopefully Edgar can be playing somewhere in a first team this year and develop and move into a starters role in CB for us.

And I think Kluka has to start he has shown his pedigree at Brugges and hopefully can stay healthy this year. Overall these are great problems we are having with lots of players at every position.

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We’ve called 17 for recent friendlies (Jamaica and Hungary). Not sure why, but I’ll go with a team of 17, that can easily be reduced to 16 if that's the way we go:

for Iceland:

Lars Hirschfeld

Kenny Stamatopoulos

Paul Stalteri

Kevin McKenna

Richard Hastings

Tam Nsaliwa

Michael Klukowski

Marcel DeJong

Atiba Hutchinson

Julian DeGuzman

Patrice Bernier

Daniel Imhof

Dwayne DeRosario

Issey Nakajima-Farran

Ali Gerba

Olivier Occéan

Iain Hume

I would start:







For the second half I would change to:







with a switch of the back line to: Nsaliwa--McKenna--Klukowski---DeJong for the final 20 or so.

I was torn between DeJong and Ledgerwood and could go either way. This gives us a half with McKenna-Hastings in the middle and then McKenna-Klukowski. In my mind those are two of the three likeliest good combinations in the back. I know many will argue that McKenna isn’t the guy, but I like a guy with size paired with someone with pace and a bit of touch . . . and I’m not sure Hainault is quite ready and I think DeVos is very much on the decline. If he can earn a starting spot with Ipswich this year then he deserves a recall if he’s up for it . . . and I’m not opposed to a Klukowski-Nsaliwa combination or something, but I really think Mckenna will be back there and we need to figure out who he pairs with.

I know Imhof’s distrbution in that spot won’t be good, but I really believe that with a good CB or two, there’s no reason to play the ball to that holding/destroyer to launch the attack. Just let Tam or Klukowski do it. And I don't think Stalteri's distribution there is great either. For me he's a lock on the right flank.

For Costa Rica:

Greg Sutton

Srdjan Djekanovic

Paul Stalteri

Kevin McKenna

Andrew Hainault

Tam Nsaliwa

Ante Jazic

Chris Pozniak

Atiba Hutchinson

Julian DeGuzman

Jim Brennan

Sandro Grande

Dwayne DeRosario

Tomasz Radzinski

Jaime Peters

Rob Friend

Josh Simpson








Second half changes:







Pozniak could come in for Atiba or could play deeper and we could try Grande farther forward.

Toronto FC is in Dallas four days earlier and play at home on the 15th. If they’re okay with it (and assuming Sutton is healthy and playing first team), I’d like to see Djekanovic backup. I think he deserves it. I’d consider starting Stamatopoulos if Sutton can’t start, but I see no reason flying him or Wagenaar over to ride pine.

I’m not sure when Serioux is supposed to be back, but if he’s healthy I would really consider using him ahead of either Pozniak or Grande.

I would like to give Grande time with DeGuzman and Hutchinson to see how they click.

When thinking about this my goal was to try to look at as many options as possible in two games in question spots . . . four d-mids, four CB combos, four target forwards, four left backs . . .

Of the guys left out: Harmse, Ribeiro, Nash, Braz, Onstad, Wagenaar, etc most got time in the Gold Cup or v Venezuela which is one of the reasons I felt it was less critical to see them. I felt the play of Hainault, Hastings and Gerba deserved a call up right away (you’d hate for them to think they’ve been dropped and we should reward their commitment and play in the Gold Cup), but at the same time there are a lot of players to look at in a short amount of time.

That’s 28 players in two games, with the core/key players of Stalteri, DeGuzman, Hutchinson and DeRosario all featuring for a long time so we can try to see who fits best with them.

We’ll see what happens, but I hope we try a few things and are able to make quick, sound decisions. These are two decent friendlies (a tricky, but winable Euro road game and a home game against a decent regional foe we can beat) and I think are a pretty good test. I hope we use the chance wisely.



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One player that I did not mention in my initial post in this thread was Kevin Harmse, but he should be added to the depth pool. A temporary oversight on my part.

The other interesting thing to see is the progress of Ryan Gyaki, particularly if he does crack the first-team for Hansa Rostock.

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Against Iceland I would call those players with purpose of seeing most of our players who weren't in the GC squad:

Hirsch (Wagenaar or Kenny S.)

Stalteri---Mckenna---Nsaliwa---Brennan (Kluka, Edgar)

Bernier---Hutch-----DeGuzman---Simpson (DeJong, Imhoff)

--------Occean---------Radz---------- (Hume, Johnson)

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I'd think that friendlies between now and next May are for the purpose of determining who is in the WCQ roster. There are a few who are essentially guarenteed spots; Stalteri, DeRo, DeGuzeman Hutchinson and likely McKenna, everthing else is up for grabs. Mitchell is gong to make his choices based on club play, past performances for Canada and intangibles which usually lead to charges of favoritism as that is the nature of intangibles - they can't be objectively measured.

Keepers: The main competition would likely be between Sutton and Lars, assuming Lars indeed wants the position. Onstad is in the wings, but I think that the GC was a one off. Kenny is there too, but I get the impression that his club play has not been that impressive. Wagonaar and Begovic's role is more likely that of back up but how they develop with their respective clubs will have a bearing on what role they get, Dekanovic may be in this group too. In any event all these guys ( except maybe Onstad ) should get a look either in friendlies or camps over the next nine or ten months. Personally I lean towards Lars, but that may be because we haven't seen him for so long that you tend to forget all but the good.

Defenders: I think that Mckenna still has a lock on the CB position, he played in the Bundesliga last year and by all accounts did well, also he is the captain and to go from captain to out of the starting line-up is an awfully big fall considering that there seems to be no great reason to demote him. There are a bunch of other CB's but no one has put a stamp on the position as being theirs. Most of them fall into the category of "I think they would be good in the position despite..." or that they can grow into the position. There is Hainault and Edgar for the future, Reda and Gervais for the past, Tam and Klukowski for those who we have not seen in a while and Brennan and Hastings for those playing out of position. I really don't have a clue who would be best and I don't envy Mitchell this choice because whoever he picks he will be criticized.

Stalteri has a lock of the right back, Braz is a good understudy and repacement in the event of injury, suspension or unavailability, then again so is Serioux. Left back is more interesting, there is a good competition between Jazic and Klukowski for the spot with Brennan and Simpson maybe having something to say. Really I'd be happy with any of them.

Midfield: This is our current strength with Hutchinson DeGuzeman and DeRo pretty much guarenteed spots. Whether we play four or five in the midfield it is hard for anyone to break in. After the three shoe-ins there is Hume, Bernier, Issey, Imhof, Peters and Harmse all looking for one or two spots, there are also Brennan, Simpson, and Pozniak who deserve consideration and finally there are the future players who may develop quickly Ledgerwood, Johnson and Gyaki. This is cause for optimism as no matter what the injury, suspension or availability situation the midfield should be strong and there are enough different skills to make starting line-ups that are attacking, defensive or whatever Mitchell wants it to be.

Forwards: In Friend, Occean and Lombardo you have tall holding forwards, in Gerba, Radzinski and Hume you have fast attacking forewards. Plenty of choice for Mitchell, depending on the formation chosen.

Aside from the four or five obvious starters, the players who can make an impression over the next nine or ten months can make themselves into starters by the time that WCQ begins. In light of the youth of most of these players, their stage of development and the number of open spots, the starting line-up is likely to remain fluid throughout WCQ and the line-up in the last game is likely to be very different from that in the first game.

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quote:Originally posted by Gian-Luca

One player that I did not mention in my initial post in this thread was Kevin Harmse, but he should be added to the depth pool. A temporary oversight on my part.

It's too bad he's out with a knee injury right now. He's 23 so he has some upside and thus it's worthwhile to see how he develops in MLS. Apparently Yallop likes him but if/when the gaffer gets the boot from the Galaxy it makes me wonder what it will make of Harmse's job security.

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