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Musings and Predictions on Turkey

May 29, 2010

He’s no Wayne Rooney, but he’s got our hopes on his 4’6″ shoulders.

3 things to look for in today’s friendly against the Turks:

1. Who plays up front with Jozy?

The most likely candidate to start next to Jozy is still Clint Dempsey, as he has experience in big games and he has a knack for scoring big goals.  Maybe more importantly, he has experience playing with Jozy and doing so successfully.  If Clint starts out in the midfield, however, it will be a sign that Bradley has a good deal of confidence in at least one of the three unknown quantities(Gomez, Buddle, and Findley).  If you’re putting your money elsewhere, I’d put it on Gomez.  First, when the forwards were paired up during practice yesterday, Gomez was practicing with Jozy.  Second, Buddle’s style matches up very closely with Jozy but doesn’t compliment it as well.  Ultimately, I’m guessing there will be several different looks.

2. Can our left back hold up?

Honestly, I don’t know or care who starts at left back.  I assume it will be Cap’n Bocanegra, but it wouldn’t shock me to see Spector, Bornstein(yikes!), or even Beasley(yes….we could get THAT desperate).  The good thing about Bocanegra is that he won’t be overwhelmed, but he just doesn’t have the pace to keep up with speedy attackers.  If it is Boca, I have a feeling that Donovan will end up starting on the left side because he is most adept at tracking back and helping out on defense.  If it’s Bornstein, we should probably start both Donovan AND Dempsey on the left side and just forget about scoring.  Unfortunately, this would screw up Bob’s precious 4-4-2, so he’d choose to just give up free kicks and goals for the possibility of getting a decent counter attack opportunity every 15 minutes.  I personally would vote for Spector on the left.  I know that he had a wretched time at the position this year in the EPL, but at least he won’t be surprised at the level of competition.  Physically he has the skills to handle the position, he just has to put it together.

3. How does Gooch look?

I, for one, didn’t go crazy and pull out my hair when Gooch was scored on against the Czech Republic.  I can remember about 2 or 3 headers that he seemed pretty explosive on throughout his 65 minutes, and it’s expected that he would be a little rusty.  The word from practice was that he looked extremely fluid and explosive, much more so than in the game on Tuesday.  It will be interesting to see if that carries over to his second game.  I would expect to see marked improvement and a humongous collective sigh of relief from the US supporters.

Things I expect to see:

-Stuart Holden’s and Mo Edu’s play will be limited: Bob has said that a few of the 90 minute players from Tuesday will get a bit of a break, so expect both of these guys to either come off the bench, even if Bob plans on starting them on the 12th;

-Edson Buddle to relieve Jozy at around the 70 minute mark: I expect Edson and Herculez Gomez to each see the field in 2 of the 3 group round games, so Bob will want to continue their international educations;

-Ricardo Clark to start-Clark was given the night off on Tuesday, but he’ll play a huge role in this year’s squad;  Because of Michael Bradley’s tendency to commit the untimely foul(he could easily miss games as a result), I think Clark will end up starting at least a game, if not more.  Bob will want to rest Edu and at the same time get Clark up to speed.

-The US will score at least 3 times-Landon Donovan recently told the press that he was not worried about the squad’s ability to find the net.  If Landon isn’t worried, I’m sure as hell not worried.  Let’s go ahead and predict Jozy gets one, one to Michael Bradley, and Landon will get one as well.  There’s your three.

-The defense will have two or three momentary lapses that will result in a goal.  This is to be expected, as we still have 2 weeks to prepare for our first game and this is their first game together in a while.  We’ll all still be scared of the defense after today, but that’s better than being complacent(like 4 years ago).

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