Originally Posted by Hoosier Red
Back to the US for a moment, is there any knowledge to be gained from tonights titanic struggle against Japan?
I know it's mainly MLS players, but anything to look for, positives negatives?
Watching the game tonight, the biggest thing I'd be looking at is the performance of our forwards, most notably Taylor Twellman, and the midfielder Clint Dempsey. Both these guys had really nice games against Norway. Can they put two in a row? Consistency is what they've been lacking; hopefully they can show some tonight.
Out of the current squad for tonight's contest--comprised totally of MLS players--versus Japan these are the two "bubble" players who could actually end up starting a match for the U.S. in the World Cup. (The other two sure-fire starting-caliber players on this roster are Landon Donovan & Eddie Pope)
Eddie Johnson is on the roster for tonight's match but has been injured. It will be interesting to see if he is fit enough to play. He might be used as a sub, doubt Bruce will want him to go 75 or 90. If he's healthy come WC, and at top form, he'll almost certainly be the other top forward paired with Brian McBride (unless Arena puts Landon Donovan as a forward, which he does at times but would probably prefer to eschew under ideal scenarios b/c Eddie Johnson has the potential to be the "pure" goalscorer that the U.S. has never really produced.
Chris Rolfe is another to watch. He's yet to get a cap but has been a spectacular goal-scorer at times in MLS. I'd like to see him get a shot tonight.
As far as Japan is concerned, supposedly they've brought their A-team defense and their B-team forwards, so we should face, at the very least, a much more organized and skilled defense than these players (TWELLMAN & DEMPSEY) saw against Norway's C-Team which will hopefully provide a better barometer of their progression.
EDIT: Heath Pearce is a defending youngster who plays professionally in Denmark for FC Nordsjaelland. The rest are MLS.