Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Should the Deuce Be Cut Loose?

The lone American goal scorer from World Cup 2006 now has consistently played so poorly for the national team if the opponent is not Barbados, that his presence seems to actually help stagnate the side. Dempsey’s last good performance for the National Team against a decent opponent was last October in Switzerland. At the time “the Deuce” was on a nice run for Fulham, his club side and was playing with lots of confidence.

A combination of a managerial change at Fulham (A switch from Lawrie Sanchez who had a lot of faith in Dempsey to the old school Roy Hodgson) the relegation fight the Cottagers found themselves in and the need to help carry the US woeful run of play attack seemed to be too much for Dempsey to handle. He has now looked tired and disinterested on consistent basis in the last several months.

Bruce Arena seemed to have a philosophy as national team manager that if you were playing well with your club you would at the very least be called into national team camp. Bob Bradley on the other hand has proven to value the continuity of his squad selection above all, essentially narrowing his player pool down to 25-28 players and picking about 20 for each match from that group. Is this a good philosophy and is it smart to continue to pick out of players like Dempsey and Eddie Johnson over players in form? Or is it wise to keep as many familiar faces on the team, given the limited training time the national team has together? One thing is for sure: Dempsey’s play would have earned him a benching by now under Arena. But Bradley seems to manage his players differently even if his tactics are somewhat similar.

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