The U.S. Men’s National Team needed some positive news this weekend after Fabian Johnson and Bobby Wood were removed from the roster for the upcoming CONCACAF World Cup qualifying matches with Honduras and Panama due to injuries.
The good news came from in front of nets worldwide, as some of the players headed to California this week struck the back of the net in their respective club matches.
Here’s a look at all the strikes netted by the players on the USMNT roster from the past week:
The towering center back used his head to connect with a corner kick in the 69th minute of Hertha Berlin’s 4-2 defeat to Cologne on Saturday.
The importance of Altidore increased tenfold after Wood’s injury absence was announced on Sunday. The Toronto FC man left his club on a high note by providing a goal and an assist in the Reds’ 2-0 win over Vancouver Whitecaps. Altidore scored Toronto’s second tally of the contest in the 80th minute.
Jozy Altidore just loves BC Place. #TFCLive https://t.co/eNijmg3EJK
— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) March 18, 2017
Just seeing Clint Dempsey playing 90 minutes after his health scare late last year is a huge plus for the Seattle Sounders and the USMNT. But Dempsey has also found his goalscoring form to start the MLS season. He slotted home a penalty in the 28th minute on Sunday against the Red Bulls.
Classic @clint_dempsey! #ChampionshipCelebration pic.twitter.com/96Vs3miyeJ
— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) March 19, 2017
In addition to earning the penalty scored by Dempsey, Jordan Morris found the back of the net in the 66th minute following an impressive buildup led by Joevin Jones’ nutmeg on the left wing.
Jordan Morris gets his first goal of the season after a devastating meg by Joevin Jones. #SEAvNY https://t.co/U5YNTXL9Sg
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) March 20, 2017
The FC Dallas midfielder found the back of the net in CONCACAF Champions League play with a stunning free kick, helping his side earn an advantage against Pachuca heading into the second leg of the semifinals.
Despite the losses to injury, I still think Arena will chose a strategy that defends deep. That is mostly to keep our outside backs from getting involved in unwinnable footraces. That decision begs for 2 fast forwards who can stretch the other team. It does put an onus on those forwards to be able to operate effectively when they are not closely connected to the midfield (if they drop too deep to help defend, their effectiveness at stretching the other team will be lost). It also means the midfielders must be able to protect the back 4 from good dribblers and simple triangle passing that could open up the back line.
That strategy does put an enormous load on the midfielders who must defend well and be able to turn newly won possession into quick service for the forwards. The forwards for their part must be open the instant the ball is won at midfield, else it turns into a game of kick long and run.
While I like Altidore, I think Pulisic and Morris are are better suited to this strategy. Still Altidore has shown he can play facing goal pretty well and he may be better with that than he is with his back to goal.
I think especially 40 yards from goal Jozy would prefer not to have his back to goal trying to hold up the ball, defenders get pretty physical in that situation and Jozy gets frustrated because he rarely gets a call unless he’s completely hacked down (neither do most strikers to be fair). In the box as we saw this weekend if he gets it with his back to goal he can do something because the defender has to be careful.
If Arena does chose to defend deep, the forwards will spend a lot of time 40 yards from goal where, as we have all seen, Jozy can get frustrated when he is called on to play back to goal. In my opinion, he still has the speed to be effective facing goal if he is given some freedom to do that.
OTOH, when the US pushes forward, his strength in the box is a big plus no matter which way he is facing.
So, is it just me? Why wouldn’t you start the guys who are playing together… Morris and Dempsey… and bring Altidore in when Dempsey or Morris tire/when you really need a goal?
It’s a reasonable question. Of course, systems can vary from club to country, but its transferable.
Because Jozy is better, at this point in all three’s careers he’s the best, and on the best current form. Also, Jozy plays with your CM who despite playing deeper still runs the offense so being able to link those two together is equally important to the strikers playing together. (I really hope Bradley isn’t tasked with running the offense let him play the Beckerman role track the opponents players and annoy them and win balls, make an occasional run into the box and perhaps put one in the ol’onion bag.)
“Because Jozy is better, at this point in all three’s careers he’s the best”
I beg to differ a little. Morris is just as influential in games as Altidore and has skill sets we really need…and that is speed. Dempsey would not have had a penalty to take if Morris didn’t run on to that ball. Then, in the same game, he scores a goal. Its very close right now
I think in MLS games you are right there isn’t much different, however, in the international game against better defenders Morris is more of a one trick pony. Beating Sal Zisso a converted forward isn’t a standard bearer we should use. He still has to rely on speed, because he is much more limited technically than Jozy (who isn’t the most technical). Also, its Lodeiro who is springing him on most of those runs not Clint so playing Clint and Jordan together without Lodeiro is an instant must.
I think the theory of guys who play together makes sense in some cases like Zimmerman and Hedges at the Gold Cup, or Hamid and Birnbaum, but I don’t think it makes us much better this time considering Jozy and Clint have probably played more matches together than Clint and Jordan.
Jozy is by far better than than the other two at this stage of their careers. Why so much love for Morris, how many goals does he have for the national team? Morris is speed and only speed except he can hit a nice outside right footed shot or pass instead of using his left(which isn’t a good thing). Now Jozy being better than Wood is a different story but this whole Morris hype is getting ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong I think Morris is a decent player and will be a decent MLS striker his WHOLE career.
not anymore he doesn’t… I believe we have a young man named Pulisic who is now the MF link with forwards… and if he isn’t then we damn well better bring Klinsmann back.
I think there’s a number of factors to consider:
-We now only have 3 forwards
-Do we go with 2 up top in our formation with only 3 to choose from for 2 games a few days apart
-From a defensive standpoint, Woods is the last one we wanted to lose..he outworks all the others by a big margin. This matters because of the combination of people who play.. we can’t have 2 up top that don’t work hard at the same time, and for 2 games a few days apart.
I’d guess BA has to be ready for 2 formations, 442 & 4231..
Injuries happen to everyone, but geez talk about the wrong guys at the same time to lose… (Someone please put a non contact Jersey on CP)
In the home game vs. Honduras the 3 points are absolutely necessary, so you go pedal to the metal and play 2 strikers and attack, attack, attack. In Panama I think you play it close to the vest and hope it’s 0-0 going into the last 15 ;minutes or so and then you try to win it by going all out in the end part of the game. I would play Altidore and Dempsey up top the first game, with maybe Morris coming on late, then maybe Morris to start in the 2nd game, with Dempsey or Altidore on late.
Everyone seems to be forgetting the long layoff Dempsey is emerging from. One 90 min MLS game does not get him back to top form. Clint himself was quoted saying he didn’t think he was ready to go 90 in a qualifier… It’s going to be Altidore and Morris, or just Altidore as a lone striker.
I don’t think he is ready to go a full 90… but put him in, paired with Morris (though apparently Morris now has an injury?) and then bring in Altidore for 30-40 minutes once the DF is tired.