So in an attempt to build up and totally not tear down, aside from a little of the tearing down, I'm going to give my own 18 American players who should go to Azteca stadium and face the fearsome Mexicans. To fulfill the tearing down part, I'll be quickly explaining where the various editors/writers of Goal.com went batshit stupid-crazy in their selections.
I'm going to be specific in where I think guys should start, so I can't list off 3 Center midfielders and pretended I've answered the Who, In the Name of All That Is Good and Holy, Can Play Left Outside Midfielder (I'm looking at all 3 of you Goal.com writers--on that question, you fucking punted like Joe Theismann (1:53)
First, my starting 11:
Goalkeeper: Tim Howard--obviously. Still the best netminder the US has by a longshot.
LB: Carlos Bocanegra--probably the meanest guy in the backfield, needs to be out there, and has played the left back position well since that experiment started. This used to be the biggest question mark in the US defense. That honor goes to the RB, but in a happy way.
CB: Onyewu Oguchi--still scares me, still makes mistakes, but we don't have anyone better there. And destroys the lofted crosses of the opposing offense. Blasted, directed crosses, not so much.
CB: Jay DeMerit--yes! That Jay DeMerit! The singer of Soccer Rocks! He's also a hard-nosed defender with a good feel for the game.
RB: Jonathon Spector--narrow choice over Heath Pearce. Clearly better options than some of the other guys who get thrown out by Goal.com guys (we'll get to that)
LM: Benny Feilhaber. The toughest spot to fill, and the main reason those knuckle jockeys (new term? Maybe!) at Goal.com didn't list actual positions for their starting 11. Pussies. In an ideal world, the US would not be playing the line it is going to play, which would make this decision either easier, obvious, or moot. Also, a year or two ago, this was DeMarcus Beasley's position to lose. He lost it--he lost it so hard that it is now the biggest question in the line-up. Truth be told, I'd rather have one of the Spaz Twins (Michael Bradley, the Coach's Son or Rico Clark, The Coach's Son's Best Friend) out here, but that's not happening. I'll go with Benny and hope he roams and creates.
LCM: Landon--he will clearly move and operate as he needs.
RCM: Michael Bradley. We've got our talented offensive player in Landon, now we need a cruncher. Bradley is that, and not much more. I just wish he were smarter about it. That said, he's leagues in front of Rico Clark, who I would not even bring on the bench.
RM: Clint Dempsey. In my perfect world, the US would play a 4-3-2-1, and Dempsey and Donovan would support the lone striker, thus keeping Dempsey off of tracking back duties, which he totally sucks at. Until that happens, he wins the right midfielder position by Homer Simpson's favorite two words in the English language: "default".
ST: Jozy Altidore. Duh--The best up and coming complete package up front the US has had since Eric Wynalda. Jozy is not yet 20--by the time he is done, if he develops the way I think he will, he'll be the best striker in US history by a distance. But only if he gets to play in games like this.
ST: Brian Ching. He's like Brian McBride--except he doesn't finish in the air well, or shoot well. He's a marginal distributor with his back at the goal. But he can collect fouls. That's good enough for a team this lacking in real offensive firepower.
A goalie, I don't care who--one of Brad Guzan, Kasey Keller, or Brad Friedel. Anyone really. If Howard leaves this game, the US has lost, no matter who they put in.
Defenders: I'm bringing Jonathan Bornstein, Steve Cherundulo, and Heath Pearce. Guys I'm not bringing, no matter what? Danny Califf, Chad Marshall, Frankie Hejduk, and Marvel Wynne--all guys mentioned by the Goal.com guys. The goal.com guys are high for suggesting any of them. Danny Califf is to playing quality defense as Chris Berman of ESPN is to playing quality defense. Frankie Hejduk is high-energy! He'll get in guy's faces! He'll run up and down the field! He won't make a lick of difference doing that, but he'll do it! Marvel Wynne has a superhero name, and like all superheroes, he has a weakness--it's called "recovering after an overlap". I'm forgetting someone--oh, Chad Marshall. No surprise there. No thank you to any of those guys, writers for Goal.com!
Midfield/Striker: I'll take Santino Quaranta a thousand times before one Charlie Davies sighting (Goal.com boys are all excited about Davies, because he's quick, and shows hustle! Awesome! Can he finish a fucking sandwich, or cross a ball? I have not seen it.) Freddy Adu, because he's been relegated to bench play in every single game that he has been invited to. I hope if the score is 3-0, with 20 minutes left, regardless of who is winning, we'll get to see Adu ply his trade a little. I will also bring Stuart Holden, who was by far the most successful players in the USA-B team that played the Gold Cup.