A brief reaction to USA-T&T

After a young team lost tonight to Trinidad & Tobago on the road, I thought our positions on youth and away qualifiers needed a little clarification.

Some will use this result to draw two conclusions: 1. Using young/inexperienced palyers in qualifiers is risky and is usually a bad idea; 2. This (along with Mexico’s loss in Jamaica) proves that road qualifiers in CONCACAF are really hard!  Here’s my take:

1. I don’t know of anyone who suggested that tonight’s lineup was the lineup we should have used all along–I haven’t heard many calls for Califf, Guzan, Hejduk, Kljestan, or Torres to be first choices for their positions.  I believe the point that most fans calling for more youth were trying to make is that some of our players are good enough to contribute right now. I maintain that Altidore, Cooper, and Adu are good enough to be called up for any qualifier. Should they all start?  Not necessarily. But I could identify three players in most 23-man rosters that they could do better than.

2. I still think too much is made of road qualifiers in CONCACAF, and I stand by all of my statisitics identified in the Road WCQs article.  For example, in the 2006 cycle, the home team won about 49% of the time.  In MLS this season (as of two weeks ago), the home team won 51% of the time.  Why aren’t we talking more about the extreme difficulty of away MLS matches?  Yes, it’s harder to play on the road, but is anyone really denying the existence of home-field advantage?  Yeah, there were people who overreacted to 1-0 results, but I think, for the most part, American fans were just calling ugly performances what they were.  There’s nothing wrong with that.

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Roster Changes: Rolfe and Carroll in

US Soccer announced this morning that Bob Bradley has called in Chris Rolfe and Brian Carroll to replace two players who suffered injuries in their Sunday matches, Robbie Rogers (sore back) and Pablo Mastoeni (knee).  It’s a shame–I was looking forward to seeing Rogers play.  And I was about as excited to see Mastroeni play as I am to see Hejduk…

The US will be taking on Trinidad & Tobago at 8 PM ET Wednesday night.  You can see the game on ESPN or Galavision.

USA vs. T&T, 18-man roster announced (10/15/08) [UPDATED]

kenny cooper

Still no Cooper!  Here’s the roster:

GOALKEEPERS: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Troy Perkins (Valerenga)

DEFENDERS: Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Danny Califf (Midtjylland), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), Michael Orozco (San Lui), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC)

MIDFIELDERS: Freddy Adu (AS Monaco), DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers), Maurice Edu (Glasgow Rangers), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids), Danny Szetela (Brescia) José Francisco Torres (Pachuca)

FORWARDS: Jozy Altidore (Villarreal), Charlie Davies (Hammarby), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew)

UPDATE: Apparently Cooper has actually been ill/battling and ankle injury/is still in a playoff race, so he’s turned down the call up.  I guess this means Bradley is not completely off his rocker.  I respect Coop’s decision, despite the fact he seems to have angered more than a few fans, from what I can tell.  I’m keeping the picture up.  I still want Cooper.  He’s pretty obviously one of our three best forwards at the moment, and we’re eager to see what he can contribute on the national level.