Drawing Fouls and Creating Set Pieces: Eddie Johnson’s usefulness?
For weeks, maybe months now all the buzz seems to be about Kenny Cooper’s non selection to the National Team by Bob Bradley. I understand most in the blogosphere share my view that Cooper’s selection for the national team should have been automatic by this point. But here are I believe some issues that have swirled through Bob Bradley’s head to explain why Cooper has not been selected since the March 2007 friendly against Guatemala.
Again I do not share these views but here is Bob Bradley possible, rational thinking on the situation:
- Kenny Cooper has been repeatedly injured when Bradley could have called him in for pre qualifying friendlies or last year’s Copa America.
- Eddie Johnson who continues to get called into the side despite an awful goal scoring record over the past two and a half years is lightning quick and often draws fouls in dangerous areas. Given Bradley’s dependence on set pieces to generate scoring for the US, isn’t it better to have someone proven to draw fouls on the international level?
- Cooper’s tendency to push wide in a rigid tactical formation that depends on the team keeping its shape is a no no at such a high level.
- Cooper’s clinical finish against Denmark last year was aberration: perhaps in that training camp as well as the Ecuador/Guatemala camp last March he just did not stand out.
- Cooper has not been part of the setup for the US at any major youth competition. As has been the case before both Bradley and Arena have been reluctant to call into camp a player who they have not seen in the system at a lower level.
- Bradley simply wants to use a friendly or the January camp to re-evaluate players like Cooper, Marvell Wynne and Edson Buddle who have gone long periods without being called up to the full national side.
It is possible however that Bradley is simply biased towards and against certain players and Cooper has done something previously to upset the manager. Whatever the case, this issue is not going away until Cooper either gets called in or the US starts scoring boatloads of goals against respectable competition.