Sorry for the delay, today was the first time this week I was able to sit down, rewatch the game and write. What I rewatched wasn't exactly rewarding. It was kind of ugly, disjointed and made me slightly nostalgic.
Nostalgia isn't always a good thing. Watching our depleted Sounders squad play over the weekend reminded me of the early MLS Sounders; lacking in touch, players who aren't on the same page, and obvious lower level skills compared to what we've become accustomed to. I got the feeling that I should be seeing Ljungberg running up the right flank and crossing towards, but over, Jaqua's head.
Vancouver played well and very easily could have taken the game if they were more clinical in their finishing. Fortunately for us, they aren't and I hope it stays that way.
Keeping in classic MLS form was the ref. Did we deserve the PK? No, I don't think so. Did a fight break out and the ref did nothing? Yes. Overall, it just wasn't pleasant to watch.
Moving the Posts In: Kenny Cooper
I was hoping to avoid writing this post throughout the season. I honestly like Cooper's game. He's good with his feet and seems to get into dangerous positions. The problem is he only seems to do this in the channels. He isn't great posting up, and he isn't great in tight space or on the turn. Really, he's done well as a winger this year and not so well otherwise. He likes to run at people, but doesn't have the necessary pace or moves to really make space for himself.
The hope was that he would push Neagle for the 3rd striker position and make us all question what his best position on the field is, but he seems to have made that argument an easy one for us. I think as a forward in this squad, he's Jaqua+; a great USOC player to get us far enough into the tournament that starters begin to phase in.
Honorable mention - I've not done this before, but Frei really, really has me concerned. I was this close to writing the whole post about him, but I also know that it was a gaffe and he had some strong saves keeping us in the game. Unfortunately his gaffes have been absolutely huge this season, and we're not half way done. It's just hard to live with the anxiety of having a bi-polar 'keeper.
Moving the Posts Out: Chad Barrett
I really struggled to find anyone showing real promise for growth moving into the WC break, and while Chad had a decent game in BC, I'm not convinced that his form will sustain or even have the chance to sustain. So, I'll reward him for this game.
He made some really creative runs and moves and of course scored the header by jumping when Reo-Coker would not. To be fair, it was a perfectly placed header right into the bottom corner, so he's got that going for him.
Again, I think he's doing what he's capable of for now, but I'm not sure he has the legs to continue this week in and week out, nor would he break the starting lineup if we have a full strength squad, so while he contributed admirably this week, I don't know that he's going to be given many more minutes except as a sub or USOC.
In Range: Zach Scott
This guy has somehow done a Benjamin Button on his career. The man used to be scary to watch in defense (in all the wrong ways) and was an absolute liability on the ball (he still has his moments) but has somehow turned it all around to be a strong 3rd or 4th option at center back.
He wasn't at his best during the Whitecaps game, but he was solid. He really shone during the SJ game, making some really strong slide tackles and dominating in the air with Marshall.
I've really enjoyed watching his career catch a second wind and hope he can continue to contribute either in MLS or USOC for a couple more years.
From the Half Way Line: USMNT - now with the 23 man roster!
And sans a certain Landon Donovan. Am I surprised he isn't on the squad? Yes. Am I upset? Not really. I do think Klinsman has an eye to 2018 bringing in the younger players and I don't think that's such a bad thing.
Landon would have been the security blanket; the player we all looked to when we needed something, anything. Even if he didn't perform, we all would have fallen back comfortably on the fact that he's played on the USMNT since the Triassic period so he can be given a pass for not making magic in his old age.
That isn't the type of thing you build on. You can't continually look to a single guy, especially if he's out of form and gas, to pull you through on a regular basis. The Bulls didn't look to Jordan after his 5th retirement, and we shouldn't lean on Donovan in his twilight years. Let's look for the best team we can build in this cycle with the guys who are in form and begin to into place a few pieces for the future.