Stock market metaphors, people. Even during times when buying shares seems like acquiescing to a scheme, a Stock Up-Stock Down post is the only tool we have to describe how players fared. For those who think the world is starting its wane from the stock market era, you better come up with some other mechanism for lazy bloggers like me. How else could I possibly explain Geoff Cameron had a good week?
But now that the drama of the U.S.’s World Cup apocalypse is starting to get some perspective, it’s a good time to take a look at which players made the most of the last two games. When the team reconvenes in October, which players will be on stronger ground? And which players have slid into less favorable spots?
Geoff Cameron – Particularly after Columbus, Cameron might be the States’ best option at center half. In addition to near-faultless play over 180 minutes, Cameron’s has a skill set Klinsmann’s other options can’t provide: Some foot speed, athleticism, and a midfielder’s comfort with the ball at his feet.
Michael Parkhurst – Before this week, he was a borderline call-in. After Friday, it would be strange to see a squad without his name in it. He’s not starter material, but he can step up in a pinch. With versatility to play all along the back line, he’s an ideal option to have on the bench.
Danny Williams – Williams was the one person who benefited from Michael Bradley’s injury. The U.S. loosing a central midfielder gave Williams a prolonged spell in his natural position. He performed well enough to make you wonder whether a Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Williams midfield is Klinsmann’s most-likely combination for Oct. 12.
Graham Zusi – Like Parkhurst and Williams, Zusi showed he’s a viable option when somebody goes down. In his case, it was Landon Donovan. Zusi provided a similar on-the-ball presence to Donovan, and while he won’t displace the U.S.’s all-time goal scorer anytime soon, Klinsmann no longer needs to shake things up if Donovan’s out.
Bradley and Donovan – Before the Jamaica games, there was little doubt as to their value, but absence truly made the U.S.-supporter’s heart grow fonder. The team scored one goal in each game without them.
Terrence Boyd, Steve Cherundolo, Clint Dempsey, Herculez Gomez, Clarence Goodson, Tim Howard, Fabian Johnson, Jermaine Jones, Brek Shea
Cherundolo, Gomez, Howard, and Johnson all played well, but their spots in the team were pretty set. Their stock didn’t go up, mostly because they would need exceptional performances to increase their standings. Although Gomez is new to this group, he now seems as certain a starter as Howard and his fullbacks.
Neither Dempsey nor Jones were convincing, but they’re still part of Klinsmann’s core, while Boyd and Shea had little chance to change their profiles.
Jozy Altidore, Kyle Beckerman, Carlos Bocanegra, Maurice Edu, José Torres
Jozy Altidore – Altidore, so valuable under Bob Bradley, is still struggling to find his place under Jurgen Klinsmann. Right now, the mesh between Altidore’s skills and Klinsmann’s approach couldn’t be less comfortable. After Friday, he looks more like a bench option than starter.
Kyle Beckerman – Beckerman’s never as bad as his detractors depict, but on Friday, it was too easy for Jamaica to force him into a negative ball. Beckerman needs to adapt, because the Reggae Boyz aren’t the only team in CONCACAF that can exert that kind of pressure. He has to find a solution.
Carlos Bocanegra – Not getting the start Friday was telling. It was surprising. We’re so used to Bocanegra being an automatic starter. Attempts to explain the decision against Rangers’ status don’t jive with Klinsmann’s use of Dempsey, Cameron, and Maurice Edu. The captain is now in a three-way fight for two spots.
Maurice Edu – You can’t make mistakes like the one which led to Jamaica’s Friday winner. The challenge was too rash in that situation (and place on the field). You have to be smarter than that. Edu may have opened the door for Williams to take some of his playing time. He may also see himself back in the picture at central defense.
José Torres – At least Klinsmann knows what he has. With the exception of one shot from distance, there wasn’t much ambition from Torres on Tuesday. He’s made himself into a safe, situational option to bring off the bench. He has been given plenty of chances to show he’s more.