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Poll: Gold Cup

I know it's difficult, but for a moment, let's put aside the USA's 90-minute fiasco against Mexico on Sunday and consider the American players' three-week performance in the Gold Cup. Using those broader parameters.....

By Steve Goff  |  July 27, 2009; 9:54 PM ET
Categories:  Gold Cup , Poll , U.S. men's national team  
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Comments

I would say Perkins. He's the only one of the newbies whose chances of being named to the 23 man roster in 2010 are above 50%. Holden comes in second.

Honestly I was disappointed that Tino didn't play more, but I think he did enough to earn another look in some of the later WC Qualifiers and/or friendlies in the run up to the WC.

Posted by: GoUnited | July 27, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

While I thought Holden had the best tournament, and fully admitting my DC bias for Tino, I thought Tino's few minutes that he saw in the games were injections of real life for the USA. I'd like to see Bradley give him another shot going forward.

Posted by: nytshade71 | July 27, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

I think all of the players' stock rose during the Cup, except for Robles, Adu and Heaps. It's just that going from the fringe team to getting better will not warrant any "A" team minutes. These guys overachieved to get to the finals.
Now in that lot, Perkins and Holden were clearly made the most of their time at the Gold Cup.

Posted by: oranjebleeder | July 27, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

It wasn't a 90 minute fiasco, it was a 45 minute fiasco and it spoke volumes. More so than all of the minutes played during the rest of the tournament.

First time any of 'em had to deal with real pressure and now we know how they can't handle it.

Good to know now.

Posted by: PabloChicago | July 27, 2009 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Wish this one of those pick three jammies Goff.
Holden, Perkins, Beckerman, Quaranta.
Can't believe you didn't include Jay Heaps

Posted by: DadRyan | July 27, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

I voted Holden but Beckerman comes in as a close second in my book. Certainly not as a starter, but he made smart plays, good tackles, etc. I like him generally so maybe I'm slightly biased, but there it is.

Posted by: VercengetorixII | July 27, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Perkins, Holden, and Beckerman all improved their chances. The problem for Beckerman is the volume of similar players ahead of him. Holden, however, can play other other positions well enough, and Bradley is certainly a fan of bringing in versatile players.

Perkins looks like a strong contender for the #3 keeper spot, but if Guzan continues to barely ever play at Aston Villa (which seems likely, with Friedel still being so good and barely ever injured) I think the competition to be Howard's backup should be wide open. Guzan, Perkins, and Hahnemann should all be thinking that the spot is theirs for the taking.

As much as I'd like to say Quaranta has pushed himself into the reckoning, the fact that Bradley repeatedly chose Holden there instead during the elimination rounds speaks volumes. I think Quaranta's chances are hurt as much by Bradley's desire to have two holding midfielders (and wide players who pinch in) unless absolutely forced to make a change by the circumstances of a particular game. Another, more attacking coach would have found a way to get Quaranta, Holden, and Rogers on the field at the same time.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | July 27, 2009 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Good stuff as usual, Chest, but I'd also like to say Santino needs to improve his commitment as a 2 way player if he wants more minutes. He seems to think he's in a 4-3-3 a bit too much for my taste.

Posted by: JkR- | July 27, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Holden stands out for me -- the most consistently good player. He can create and he can score -- that's a combination the USA doesn't see in too many players. It's early, but I think he's putting himself in position to crack the roster. There may be a logjam in the midfield with Jones and Edu being added to the mix, but Holden definitely helped himself.

I see some criticisms of Perkins' play yesterday. I don't think they're fair. I'm not sure any USA goalie would have fared any better. It's far too soon to judge who will be the USA's #2 -- but Perkins has definitely put his name in for a trip to South Africa as #3.

As for Beckerman -- he showed he's a cut above the rest, but I thought he was terrible against Mexico. That will knock him down a peg or two, but he has time to grow. Could be another late bloomer like Armas.

Marshall, Goodson and Pearce had good moments early, but the Mexico game may have squashed their prospects. Marshall's performance was the worst of the three -- especially disappointing because he'd looked the most solid coming into the game.

Rogers wasn't consistent enough, but I think he will be part of the conversation and part of the player pool for years to come. Sam Cronin also looked decent -- I look forward to watching his progress. No one else distinguished themselves. Those homers still talking about Tino weren't paying attention during the last 20 minutes of the Mexico game. He might get there, but he's still a long way away from that level of quality.

Posted by: fischy | July 27, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

I didn't vote other, but it's worth tossing Davies into the conversation. He was on the Gold Cup team.

Posted by: sitruc | July 27, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Holden beats Tino in so many areas. Olympic experience, pace, touch, shooting ability, it's not really a contest. About the only thing Tino has on Holden is size. I think Holden could step in a WC stage and hold his own. I think Tino needs some time.

Guzan and Hahnehmann are still ahead of Troy, like it or not. Perkins has improved as a gk since DC, clearly, but Guzan has more top flight experience (Olympics, UEFA, WC Quals.) and Hahnehmann will be playing in a better league this season (EPL v Norway?!). If Troy gets called in for Mexico or the fall qualifiers, we might know something more, but I don't think he's our #3 and not even close to #2.

I look for all the players involved in Gold Cup to be playing loads for us during the qualifiers for 2014, but not next summer, barring injuries/team needs.

Posted by: delantero | July 27, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse

@sitruc -- so was Brian Ching. Those 2 are already on the "A" team. One of the two, if not both, will be starters. Davies cemented his spot last month. Ching might have hurt himself with a lackluster game on Sunday, but the options are few.

Posted by: fischy | July 27, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Perkins might win the third spot by virtue of having no other clear-cut option. I still don't see why certain people have raved about his play -- he made few mistakes, but he also made few standout plays. He was competent, but not much more. Could he be blamed for any of the goals that happened? Probably not. But he sure could have provided more resistance. IMO, he was receiving sympathy points for the putrid defensive performance the back line gave against Mexico.

Of course, maybe that harsh standard applies simply because we've been spoiled with generations of exceptional keepers in recent memory.

Guzan has yet to show rust (as far as I can remember), came through in a big way against Egypt, has greater natural instincts than Perkins, has greater range than Perkins, and has better distribution than Perkins. Nothing that transpired over the tournament would make me say that Perkins should challenge Guzan for the back-up spot, unless Guzan truly shows he's fallen off (and he should likely be tested in certain friendlies leading up to the WC). It's nice to know Perkins is a safe option, but the US has two top-notch GKs out there...one just happens to be sitting behind an EPL modern great.

Posted by: psps23 | July 27, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and Holden absolutely catapulted himself up the ranks through this tourney. After Feilhaber, he's the only multi-dimensional midfielder that can play at any spot, and who can provide an attacking spark off the bench (something that proved to be sorely needed at the CC when Clark/Bradley faced suspensions, thus forcing Feilhaber into the starting lineup). IMO, he's been long overdue for a call-in to begin with. Factoring in need, he'd be a definite 18-man substitute, regardless of who's healthy.

Posted by: psps23 | July 27, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Oops, my mistake. Clark's suspension didn't force Benny in the starting lineup. It forced Kljestan in the lineup. The point remains.

Posted by: psps23 | July 28, 2009 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Holden definitely took a big step up. Tino had flashes early, but if you can't crack the starting lineup, you're probably not doing enough in practice.
Rogers made me cringe time and again.
I thought Perkins played much better than I expected him to, particularly during the lull between Mexico's first and second goal. Three real quality saves while the defense caught their breath. Too bad the magic wore off before their breath returned.

Posted by: daggar | July 28, 2009 12:19 AM | Report abuse

@psps23 -- I've been expecting a national team slot for Holden since I first saw him play as a Dynamo sub. I still love what he can do, but I would say that his game needs a lot more polish to play at the international level (beyond CONCACAF). Your point about Kljestan is spot on. He probably played himself off the roster. As did Beasley. So, that's 2 roster spots. Jermaine Jones is probably a safe bet for one of those, replacing Kljestan in the middle. Holden is versatile enough to offer you inside or outside play, so he's got value there. Edu, though can play D-Mid or in the back line. If he's healthy, I give Edu the nod first. If another spot opens....between Torres, Adu and Holden, I vote for Holden now. Things could change...

Defense is an open book. 5 slots filled, but 3 are open. Too bad that Hejduk, or even Wynne weren't there on Sunday. Either of them would have had a shot at shutting Vela down. Not sure if we have a left back yet who could have coped with Dos Santos.

Posted by: fischy | July 28, 2009 12:59 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't write Marshall off on the basis of one bad game. Over the tournament he demonstrated he is the best defender on the team.

Posted by: Ron16 | July 28, 2009 6:09 AM | Report abuse

As much as I'd like to vote for current DCUer Quaranta, former DCUer Perkins, or fellow Arundel Wildcat alum Beckerman, my vote goes to Holden as well. I think he's all but cemented a spot in our top 25, and should be one of our top options off the bench in WC matches as a sub for Dempsey.

Perkins also looks to be our definite #3 keeper, with a shot at being #2. Beckerman would probably need an injury to Bradley or Feilhaber to get included.

Posted by: DCUMD | July 28, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Come on. Someone vote "other". Do it!

Posted by: Wendell_Gee | July 28, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

I thought Andy Schleck was a big surprise.

Posted by: Reignking | July 28, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Goff,

A related poll question might be:

Other than Brian Ching, which player who got substantial playing time in the Gold Cup will see significant playing time in the 2010 World Cup?

Posted by: Dougmacintyre | July 28, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I voted for Firpo. I heard he knocked Dempsey clean out of the ring.

Holden, Perkins, Beckerman and Chad Marshall all should have improved their reputations with Bob Bradley. None of them would be a surprise as callups for upcoming World Cup qualifiers but that also depends on who in the US side gets injured and which player's club teams will give Bradley more heartburn about being called away from their clubs.

All are call-up worthy but probably not starting XI-worthy.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | July 28, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I thought Andy Schleck was a big surprise.

Posted by: Reignking | July 28, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Really?;-) I was actually surprised to see Cavendish finish this year, let alone rack up all those stage wins. This reminds me, do I get anything other than bragging rights for winning the Argy Bargy Maillot Jaune?

Posted by: DadRyan | July 28, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Fischy, there is no Way that Torres shouldn't make the world cup roster. I finally admit Adu is not ready yet.

However, I still don't think we'll win the world cup without a player like Freddy being on fire.

Anyway, Torres is the only Reyna like player we got. If Bradley had coached him in college, as Arena did with Reyna at UVA, he'd be playing every game.

I think Holden and Perkins should definitely go, but I still think Quaranta should have a chance. He is big, strong, skilled, can cross, can score, and is the kind of midfield/forward hybrid that provides crucial depth. (Rather him than Casey).

I also think Cooper has to be ranked over Ching. Please, did nobody see how useless Ching was? And how Cooper actually made PLAYs when he came on?

Ching is a work horse asked to be a race horse. Stop this sick coddling and realize that a starting striker has to be able to score, and make the Mexican defense SCARED. He's only going to get worse with time.

I would take Jaqua at this point.

As for Goodson and Marshall, the only question is who had a Less stupid look on their face on every through ball.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | July 28, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Hey, an American who can score some goals in Scandinavia. Check out the two goals from Bedoya.

http://www.freesoccerhighlights.com/soccer/highlights/2009/07/27/bk-hacken-2-orebro-sk-2-swedish-allsvenskan-monday-july-27-2009/

Posted by: lrg1231 | July 28, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I'm not usually a fan, but I thought Cooper was interesting off the bench, though that could be more of a function of Arnaud's poor play. I'm having a hard time buying Marshall (or any of the Gold Cup defense) after watching that second half on Sunday. Holden was the only player that clearly separated himself on that roster.

Posted by: VTUnited | July 28, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

@fischy, I think on talent levels, your assessment is correct with regards to who would make up a top 18-man roster. However, if I'm reading your assertion correctly, you'd have Bradley, Clark, Edu, and Jones all with spots (you didn't mention Bradley and Clark, but I'm assuming you had them in the mix). To me, that's redundant, especially since Feilhaber is also capable of playing centrally.

If you assume the CC formation is the base formation, I'd think the starting lineup would be the exact same as we saw vs. Spain, with the possible change being Jones/Edu for Clark (I'll tentatively pencil in Jones as the starter for now). After that, I'd break down the subs like this:

1. Guzan, GK
2. Feilhaber, LM/CM/RM
3. Edu/Clark, CM
4. Cherundolo, D
5. Ching, ST
6.
7.

The last two spots would be up for grabs. So far, there are two guys that can be slotted centrally off the bench (Benny and Edu/Clark), one guy that can play wide (Benny), then one striker, one defender, and one GK. You'd like to have another defender in there for emergency purposes (I'd say another wide back -- Hejduk? -- because either Bocanegra or Spector can move centrally in a second).

After that, is it worth it to use the final spot on another holding CM, when you already have two options to play centrally off the bench? I'm not so sure. I'd hope that final spot would be used for another attacking spark, either through the midfield or up top. And given the lack of depth at the striking position, I'd say Holden is the next best option (unless Torres or Adu break out soon).

The loser of the Edu/Clark battle would still be in the 23, no doubt, but I'm not sure they automatically dress if the rest of the roster is healthy.

(On another note, a lot is being made regarding the 'depth' of the National Team due to the weak options at the CC after Feilhaber, and the dismantling in the Gold Cup Final of our "B" team. But once you look at the total picture, this roster isn't shallow at all. If the US has the luck of health, throwing in Perkins as the 3rd keeper, the US will legitimately be 20-players deep, and that's not counting the potential breakout guys like Torres, Adu, or any other youngsters that may make a name for themselves in the next year).

Posted by: psps23 | July 28, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Really?;-) I was actually surprised to see Cavendish finish this year, let alone rack up all those stage wins. This reminds me, do I get anything other than bragging rights for winning the Argy Bargy Maillot Jaune?

Posted by: DadRyan

Didn't know that was you. Congrats! My team was awful -- I think I suffered because they changed the scoring in the TdF this year (no bonuses for first, etc) so to get in the top 15 was really random.

Did you see where Cancellara ended up? 91st! And Carlos was a dis-Sastre.

Posted by: Reignking | July 28, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

This reminds me, do I get anything other than bragging rights for winning the Argy Bargy Maillot Jaune?

Posted by: DadRyan | July 28, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse
======================

Yeah, the yellow shirt always gets a visit from the drug testers ;)

Posted by: OWNTF | July 28, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Honestly, if the question is whose stock rose more, I'm going with Goodson because before the Gold Cup I could have guessed call-ups for any of the other players on the team. Goodson was never even close to my radar (might have to do with the fact that I just don't watch FCD games...).

as far as Tino goes, I really don't think I'm being a homer when saying he showed he could play at this level. The Mexico game was a recipe for disaster coming on after the team was already two in the hole and playing on the wing (where he's serviceable but not special). The US needed Tino to replace Davy Araud at the half; we really could have used the possession and passes to set up GOOD chances from distance that Tino provides. I was yelling at both DCU and the US to take shots this weekend because if you can put a decent effort on frame from distance, it keeps the defense honest and often opens up the option for a final pass....both teams were trying to force playing it in and both FAILED.

Posted by: TassieTiger | July 28, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

UnitedDemon,

Your comment is funny because I remember comparing Torres to Reyna about a month or so ago on an espn message board, too. I haven't seen much of him, but from what I gather, Torres is a very calming, settle-the-game type of influence, much in the same manner that Reyna was. Not necessarily a creative or penetrating attacking spark, but a player that can control tempo and keep possession. My main concern with Torres is either his ability to contribute defensively, or his ability to break out on the counter. With the way the US plays, you need to be able to do at least one very well, and ideally, you'd want both. Right now I see Torres as a situational match-up against weaker competition (when the opposing team opts to pack it in defensively). I can't see him as a game-in and game-out option when everyone else is healthy.

Posted by: psps23 | July 28, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

For me the delta (change) was the greatest for Goodson, until the last 45'. Holden, Rogers, and Perkins were known quantities before the tournament.

@OWNTF, do you mean that DadRyan wins the Specimen Cup?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | July 28, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Perkins did it for me.

Solid in the back all tournament long. Can't really blame him for any of Mexico's goals - he made point blank saves the first and second shots there.

While I don't think he's a Tim Howard I do think he will challenge and maybe take that 2nd keeper spot.

Posted by: Colsey | July 28, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Don't see how anyone can vote for Tino.

See, the thing about a sub is that when they enter, presumably armed with tactical information provided by the coach so as to affect the game in the direction desired, they are supposed to "make a positive difference." I think Tino, and maybe BB both missed that part.
TQ is progressing but at both DC and the Nats team, he still has a long way to go.
BB does to.

Posted by: Ruthie1 | July 28, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I don't understand why Quaranta got barely any time after the performance he gave against Honduras. He was pretty ineffective when he came in against Mexico but no one really looked good then.

I would have liked to see him up front instead of Arnaud. hell, I would have even liked to see more of Cooper than Arnaud.

Posted by: joe_hill | July 28, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Here are the Gold Cup award winners - Holden, Goodson, Marshall & Cooper from the US (Perkins should have been included...maybe Beckerman too):

Award Winners
Most Valuable Player Award: Giovani dos Santos (MEX)
Golden Boot Award: Mighel Sabah (MEX)
Best Goalkeeper Award: Keilor Navas (CRC)
Fair Play Award: United States

All-Tournament Team
Goalkeepers
Keilor Navas (CRC)
Guillermo Ochoa (MEX)

Defenders
Mike Klukowski (CAN)
Freddy Fernandez (CRC)
Fausto Pinto (MEX)
Luis Moreno (PAN)
Clarence Goodson (USA)
Chad Marshall (USA)

Midfielders
Julian de Guzman (CAN)
Celso Borges (CRC)
Stephane Auvray (GLP)
Gerardo Torrado (MEX)
Giovani dos Santos (MEX)
Stuart Holden (USA)

Forwards
Alvaro Saborio (CRC)
Walter Martinez (HON)
Miguel Sabah (MEX)
Kenny Cooper (USA)

Posted by: soccerman | July 28, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Let me put it this way: in order of "chance of making the 2010 WC team" I'd put it as Perkins, Marshall and then Holden.

I think Holden had the best WC. But he has a very weak chance of making the WC team. I think some players will either need to get injured or have big drops in form (or continued bad form--like Adu, EJ, Pierce, DMB) for Holden to make the team. Why did I name some guys who don't play Holden's position as factors in this? Because if EJ and Adu make the team then unless we had a forward injured, it probably means Dempsey and Donovan are fulltime outside mids (and less need for outside mid depth). If a left back doesn't emerge so we have to swing Bocanegra over there, then it increases the value of having someone like Hejduk on the side (who can play on the left side if really needed--I mean, it's not like his crosses from the right side are that good so you don't lose much with him on the left). And again, some of the outside back candidates can play outside mid in a pinch. Which means then that Holden, in order to make the 2010 team, either has to be the first sub at outside mid or his destiny is out of his hands--guys like Convey and DMB and Adu and Pierce need to not improve.

But Perkins showed he's a bona fide 3rd GK candidate and has improved his game in a number of areas. And Marshall showed that except for the last 45 minutes, he's a force and probably the best sub for Gooch (in terms of style of play and what he brings to the table) we could get. That's important b/c if Onyewu would ever need to go out, you want to be able to sub in, not shift 2-3 positions with the replacement (like moving Bocanegra from left back to center back and Spector from right back to left back and then putting in a new right back). So ultimately, while Holden impressed a lot, he's less likely to make the 2010 team than Perkins or Marshall after the Gold cup.

Posted by: JoeW1 | July 28, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

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