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Never Too Early To Start Second-Guessing Skeletor

Sure, the U.S. MNT doesn’t play Cuba until September 6, but like a kid a week from Christmas, I just can’t help speculating as to what Santa (er, Skeletor, er, I mean Skipper Bob Bradley) will deliver to me in the starting lineup. He’s checking his list (some say, twice) and soon we’ll find out who has been naughty (Dolo) and nice (Edu).

Hopefully, we’ll get no coal. Or Heath Pearce, the soccer equivalent of coal.

I’m sure we’ll get Pearce though. Bradley loves him for some unknown reason. I take back what I said about Pearce above being the equivalent of coal. He’s not that bad. He’s more like tube socks. Hey, it’s a functional gift and we’ll use it, but it’s definitely not what we wanted and eventually it will wear down and break leaving us exposed.

In the back, Bradley will no doubt gift us with Boca, Gooch and Pearce. With Dolo out due to his foolish red card @ GUA (so naughty), it is likely Frankie will start. I love the middle, but Pearce and Hejduk? I would employ Orozco and Wynne instead. Both had good Olympics (aside from Michael’s whole bow to the head of a Nigerian incident, very naughty), and both have a better chance of being on the pitch come 2010 than Heath or the aged Frankie.

In the middle, we can expect more of the same: Bradley, Lewis, Donovan and Pab…

Wait a minute? No Mastroeni? Was their a typo on the roster? Maybe an inadvertant omission?

Or maybe Bradley just finally realized Edu (so nice) is better than Pablo. I hope so, and I hope to see Edu for the full 90. I really wish Bradley would bench his son too (I’m a Grinch, I know) for his uninspired play and let Klejstan get some work, but methinks Bob would sooner play with 10 than play without his boy. I’d also prefer Beasley to Lewis, but Bob has quite the man crush on the newest member of the Gals and will no doubt present EL with the start.

I know what your thinking, “you wouldn’t deploy Donovan on the right?” Nope. He’s looked isolated out there. In case you hadn’t noticed, he’s no Messi or Ronaldo. We need him in the thick of it, not out on a wing. If Donovan on the right wing were a christmas gift it would be the really cool electronic gadgety thing (let’s call the i-Landycakes) that looks super cool in the commercials, but doesn’t work after you take it out of the box (ooooh, unintentional soccer pun, I love it!).

Up top, Bradley will probably go with Ching and Dempsey. Yawn. Just go ahead and wait to wake me up next Christmas if this is all that’s under the tree this year. These guys didn’t prove anything against GUA, so I am confused why they should get another chance against an even weaker opponent. I would put Donovan up top in an underneath role. Above him, I would hang our mistletoe (deadly to digest, but pretty to look at), Eddie Johnson.


Oh, Eddie Johnson, that’s right! Wasn’t he that really super fast guy who doesn’t have the greatest technical ability but can run past Cuban defenders all day without breaking a sweat. I remember him now, though I am still not sure Bradley knows who he is. He’s never looked at him on the bench, that’s for sure.

Why not at least try EJ and Donovan up top? Please Santa, er, Skeletor? I’ll be nice all year. Unless naughty is what you’re into, of course, in which case, I think I’ll just celebrate Hanukkah this year.