Two players that have seemingly been discussed ad nausea by me on this website finally have been called into the US National Team for the January camp. Alejandro Bedoya and Marcus Tracy are both players that fit a serious need for the United States.
Marcus Tracy has the speed, strength, and tactical discipline to be a valuable striker for the USMNT. In the wake of Charlie Davies’ injury, Tracy with his European club experience at Aalborg may have the inside track on claiming the final striker spot.
While Tracy does not score goals at the rate of some MLS based strikers, he has a skill set built for the international game. Tracy is incredibly adept at playing with his back to goal, a trait often times missing in American strikers.
Another critical function Tracy can serve is to find space in the opposing half. Tracy makes interesting runs off the ball and is often times involved in the build up play for goal scoring opportunities. Quite frankly, Robbie Findley and Jeff Cunningham are not anywhere close to Tracy in this department.
However, Cunningham and Findley are both better out and out goal scorers and posses better speed than Tracy.
The 2008 Herman Trophy Winner at Wake Forest led his team to a College Cup in 2007, and an incredible 2008 regular season in the ACC. Tracy also spent the summer of 2008 playing for the Carolina Dynamo of the PDL and that gave helped him make the move to Europe right after Wake Forest lost to North Carolina in the 2008 College Cup.
Tracy made an immediate impact for Aalborg coming off the bench in a UEFA Cup match versus England’s richest football club, Manchester City. In the match, Tracy helped AaB, score twice within 15 minutes to force extra time. Alas, for Tracy Aalborg lost in a penalty shootout.
Given this immediate impact, it was disappointing to see Tracy left out of one US camp roster after another. While Tracy is untested at the international level and could not be counted on for qualifying, several friendlies and games with “B” sides went by without him being called in.
Perhaps Tracy’s history of not having been selected for the Bradenton Academy as a youngster worked against him? Maybe the fact that Tracy was never capped for the USA at a Youth National Team level factored in as well?
A player with such obvious quality and skill being constantly overlooked is worrying. However, Bob Bradley does deserve credit for finally calling him into this team, despite his non-history in the national team program.
Bedoya too is an exciting pick. For more of my thoughts on this player, reference this MLS Talk article.