U.S. Wins; Crew Players Don’t
I mentioned that yesterday’s game (which the U.S. won) might have been the last chance for Robbie Rogers, Chad Marshall, and Eddie Gaven to impress Bob Bradley. After looking at the roster for the national team’s game against the Netherlands, it appears I was right. None of the three earned a second look next week. It was a dull game that the U.S. controlled for long stretches, but they were unable to turn chances into goals.
It’s pretty clear that Clarence Goodson is ahead of Chad Marshall for the final defender spot on the roster. Marshall couldn’t get a start as Bradley opted to play Goodson and Jonathan Bornstein together in central defense. El Salvador did little to pressure the American defense and Goodson was rarely tested. The performance earned Goodson a call up for next week’s friendly while Marshall returns to Crew camp.
Rogers had his chance to impress, but wasn’t able to make much of the opportunity. He looked shaky as he took on defenders, his crosses were lacking, and his decision-making was dreadful. He had 86 minutes to impress the coaching staff, but looked like the unsure Rogers of 2009 rather than the confident player of 2008. He looked slightly better in the 2nd half when he was supported by the overlapping runs of Heath Pierce, but still it was painful to watch at times. With such a drop off from year to year, I wonder how much he misses the thoughtful coaching approach of Sigi Schmid.
As much as Rogers disappointed, Gaven was a surprising contributor. He looked at home on the right side of midfield. He played an uptempo game. He created several chances by repeatedly driving at defenders. His passes were crisp and his movement was superb. I did like how he played more centrally in midfield. He could create from a more central position, but it also allowed him space to cut outside or wait for the overlapping run.
If there is a benefit to the Crew’s trio of national team players missing out on a World Cup it’s that Columbus will keep them for six games they would have otherwise missed. The pre-Cup camp opens May 15th and the Crew play against Chivas USA, New York, Kansas City, LA Galaxy, San Jose, and Colorado between May 15th and the World Cup break. That’s not to say the Crew might not still lose Marshall and Rogers. They probably still have a slight chance to work themselves into contention again with a solid spring with the Crew, but they have done themselves no favors with the last two games against Honduras and El Salvador.