Put an asterisk next to anything you learn in a U.S. men’s national team friendly; By Steve Davis

Matt Besler and Ventura Alvarado entered later to make it a foursome on trial at center back. So we know … uh … well, not a lot more. Except now we are 100 percent sure that Klinsmann still doesn’t have one center back who is an automatic selection, the way Carlos Bocanegra or Eddie Pope once were (much less two of them).

It’s possible that someone steps up against Brazil and more or less demands that Klinsmann starts him on Oct. 10. But then again, players can fall in and out of form quickly, can’t they? And Klinsmann has been very clear that having a “hot hand” matters.

SEE MORE: Remember DaMarcus Beasley on your Mount Rushmores.

So someone like Besler or Brooks could smite the (once) mighty Brazilians. But if they stumble-bumble through a couple of league games subsequently, would Klinsmann trust them with confidence at low ebb, in a match with such high stakes?

Tim Ream, on the other hand, did make everyone feel a little better about the left back position. Given injuries to DaMarcus Beasley and Fabian Johnson, it’s a good thing he played there so much last year at Bolton (before the recent move into Craven Cottage, where all good Americans abroad eventually land, apparently).

In the midfield, we don’t know much more about the ideal shape. Nor about the ideal way to combine Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley. We did gain further evidence that Alejandro Bedoya is best in wider spots. (At least when Jones is a central partner; we have seen before that Jones’ tendency to freelance can make it hard on his central mates.)

We have more evidence that Jozy Altidore can be an effective striker – when he’s properly motivated and not hurt, that is. This is where I draw a circle back up to the part that says we are still five weeks away.

Clint Dempsey? Who knows? His hamstring remains problematic, so part of the roster changes announced Sunday by U.S. Soccer is that the Sounders striker will not join the team in Boston after all.

Gyasi Zardes did shine, didn’t he? That part was encouraging. Now, can he do it when the stakes are higher, in a match that matters? We’ll see. This is a good place to issue the usual disclaimer about friendlies, about how we can never get too excited or too bummed out about anything that happens within them. We write things in pencil, so to speak, until these guys rise when the pressure is truly on.

Pages 1 2 3

Leave a Reply