Before you ask………. No, Beckham isn’t playing with the Galaxy yet. Actually, he playing right now with the English national team against Brazil on Fox Soccer Channel (ch 242 on Cox cable). So far its 0-0 as of about 4:20pm. I can’t wait to watch this one later. Also on the national team stage, be sure to check out the USA vs China on ESPN2 and Galavision Saturday night at 8pm (US Roster, Training Camp Update).
OK, now onto the DC United game. Well, first off it looks like Brian Carroll is out for this match with an “undisclosed leg injury” (whatever that means) according to Goff. Earlier in the week it had seemed that there was going to be a change in the backline. Goff had reported that Clyde Simms had been working with the first team defense (Simms on right, Facundo Erpen and Bobby Boswell in the center, and Brian “I’ll play anwhere, coach” Namoff on the left). If you couple that tidbit with my own two eyes seeing Simms play very well at last Sunday’s reserve team match against the Houston Dynamo (photos by yours truly) at the right fullback position and I think this is more than rumor, I think it is borderline fact. Obviously, this probably puts Gros on the bench, at least for now.
Well, now with Carroll’s injury, that may change. Since I still haven’t quite figured Tommy Soehn out yet, he could go a couple of ways on this.
(side note: These guys are both pretty similar players in that they are decent sized, decent speed, good physically, play pretty much equally wherever you stick ’em, play well but never stand out.)
My option (if I were coach) would be to stick with the gameplan you’ve been building all week and play Simms at right back. A couple of reasons for this. Simms is probably not far behind Namoff in quality as a right back. Namoff is waaaaay better than Gros as a left back. So you lose a little on the right (not much) and gain a lot on the left. The net to the whole defense is pretty positive if you ask me. Simms played a few times early in the season as the right winger in a 352, but he never got up the field much and played pretty defensively. Sounds about like what he’ll be doing now huh?
Then the tough part is figuring who takes Carroll’s place in center midfield. You could put Ben Olsen in there. I’m not too fond of that idea as he doesn’t have the pace to cover the entire center of the field by himself, although I must admit I chuckle a bit at the thought of him knocking Landon Donovan down once or ten times. This would also let you put somebody at left mid like Casal or Gros. I think either of them would be great, especially running at inexperienced fullbacks that the Galaxy will have to throw out there.
The best bet is to directly replace Carroll, and that’s by putting in one of Justin Moose, Jeff Carroll (just returned from injury), Bryan Arquez (too young probably, but I’d really like to see him get some minutes), Rod Dyachenko (out of position), or one of the defenders like Devon McTavish or Marc Burch.
Of course, Soehn may just elect to use Simms at Carroll’s spot and either leave Gros back on defense, which is the least disruptive option, or replace Gros also with McTavish or Burch.
Upfront, I expect to see Jaime Moreno back with either Luciano Emelio or Guy-Roland Kpene. Unless the back injury he suffered while playing with the Bolivian national team last weekend is more serious than we thought. But he has been practicing, so maybe he just comes out early. I really liked the combo of Kpene and Emelio last week. Both were very active, and even though Emelio hasn’t scored, he has been *right there* several times. I think if he gets just one goal, he’ll probably roll for another 2 or 3 games.
Should be a good match. I expect DC to win, but LA always plays us tough. And Donovan always seems to get juiced up for games against us.