USMNT / World Cup

National team story lines

Altidore and Amr Zaki

Jozy Altidore

Hull City’s move for Egyptian striker, Amr Zaki, does not seem to have put Jozy Altidore in danger of losing significant minutes. Although Zaki has prior Premier League experience and is considered to be a quality striker, Altidore is playing well enough to keep Zaki from taking his place.

This week versus Manchester City, Altidore scored his first Premier League goal and continued his recent strong form. On February 2nd, Altidore went 86 minutes versus Chelsea. In that game Zaki came on to replace Jan Venegoor of Hesselink. On January 30th Altidore played well versus Wolverhampton Wanderers, but was substituted in the second half in favor of Amr Zaki.

It seems like Phil Brown has decided to bring on a third quality striker, so that he can rotate them and get strong performances. If Zaki scores a goal or two, then he might take over a starting striker spot, but that might not be Altidore’s spot. I think it is more likely to be Jan Venegoor of Hesselink’s. However, skill alone isn’t the determining factor.

Zaki has had his discipline problems, and I don’t think he will change his mindset while at Hull City. Phil Brown doesn’t deal well with unprofessional players, so I feel he may not like Zaki that much. As a third striker, Phil Brown could have a good substitute to try and catch a goal at the end of a game. Also he can bring in Zaki in case of an injury to Altidore or Hesselink. Beyond that Hesselink and Altidore seem to have good chemistry on the field. I feel like Phil Brown has seen that Hesselink and Altidore is his most productive striker partnership. I see Altidore playing a lot until the end of the season. I don’t think he has too much to fear from Zaki.

Eddie Johnson and Freddy Adu

Eddie Johnson

There is good and bad news out of Greece. Eddie Johnson got his first start and went the full 90 minutes for Aris Thessaloniki. Of course one half was played on Saturday and one half on Sunday due to a rainout. Johnson apparently played well, but wasn’t able to score. Freddy Adu on the other hand did not get onto the field. Apparently his assist in last week’s game didn’t convince the coach to give him a start. Hopefully, Freddy will get a chance to get some more minutes in their next game versus Skoda Xanthi. Johnson should be starting. It would be nice to see Johnson tear it up next game. We will see.

US v. El Salvador

Robbie Findley

Kevin Alston

Another player, who could possibly help the US in the striker department is Robbie Findley. He is on the roster for the US v. El Salvador match to be

played on February 24th in Tampa, Florida. Robbie Findley will get a chance to show whether he belongs on the US National Team. I am hoping he can turn in a strong performance. Conor Casey and Brian Ching also look to have the chance to show Bob Bradley, which one of them is the better target forward. Chris Pontius might also get a chance to show what he has. I don’t think he has a chance at going to South Africa, but he could be a great possibility for the next World Cup cycle.

There are a couple of other players to watch also. We might get a chance to see Kevin Alston at right back. Marvell Wynne played there against Honduras and showed in my opinion why he doesn’t belong on the plane to South Africa. I don’t think Kevin Alston will make the trip either, but he is definitely a player who could have an impact during the next World Cup cycle. Who knows though, he might show that he belongs on the team as a backup for the World Cup. It will be nice to see him possibly earn his first cap.

It will also be nice to see Michael Orozco and Omar Gonzalez play as centerbacks. Orozco might have the chance to grab a spot on the National Team, while Gonzalez might get his first start to show what he has on the international level. It would nice to see either or both of them get the start. Finally, I would like to see Nick Rimando get a start over Troy Perkins. I like Perkins and think he can challenge Marcus Hahneman for the 3rd goalkeeper spot on the National Team roster, but I also think that Rimando could be a strong 3rd spot goalkeeper for the US. I would like to see him perform on the international stage.

The game doesn’t seem to have much importance in determining where the US currently stands, but there is potential to see future stars and a few players cement their places on the plane to South Africa. That’s all for now. Let me know what you think.

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