More of this, less defensive requirements. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
I know I said these would be coming at you rapidly and they would have been had other forces not intervened, namely work and general incompetence at time management on my part. This will be the depressing post followed by a less depressing more hopeful post on the strikers and then this now four month long series will be completed.
The United States is doing something outside the box by playing a 4-5-1, mainly because they have so few wingers. So this is a relatively short post, especially considering in most cases there will have to be two players from this list on the field. (Hint: For a while, there won't be.)
1. Landon Donovan, 30, LA Galaxy, 32
In reality, Donovan looked far more comfortable playing this position traditionally at Everton. He plays more centrally for LA, and this throws off the balance in this formation. When the United States is bad, Donovan and Steve Cherundolo are non-existent down the right flank. When they are good, the two play off each other much like Kei Kamara and Chance Myers do for Sporting KC. He's not going anywhere soon, but there isn't anyone nearby looking to steal this position either. Our CAM's either don't track back enough to play out wide (looking at you, Freddy Adu) or look terribly uncomfortable (Danny Williams, Graham Zusi).
2. Freddy Adu, 23, Philadelphia Union, 25
While I just complained about his lack of tracking, if you want Adu somewhere on the field where it will do the least damage this is it. His offensive talents are undeniable, and he excelled here against Mexico in the Gold Cup final. If the left back is marauding, just letting Freddy sit in behind him and wreck havoc may be a viable option.
3. Josh Gatt, 20, Molde FK (Norway), 22
That Freddy Adu paragraph was just spreader nonsense for most of you. Here's a future to look at. Josh Gatt plays mostly right back and right midfield for Molde, helping to lead them to the Tippeligaen championship last season. Gatt is young, but perhaps is not getting the attention he deserves from a senior team starving for wing help. Just think of the many unproven under-23's that have gotten call-ups simply because they're German and need to be cap tied. This is the future of our right wing; hopefully ahead of another young right back of ours.
4. Robbie Rogers, 25, Leeds United (Championship), 27
I'm not going to write this twice, so pretend I listed him on the next depth chart as 4B. Robbie has killer speed down the flanks and at times he uses that to beat defenders and supply deadly crosses. More often those crosses go ridiculously astray. After missing much of last season to injury, he must prove he is still a viable option for the United States as he does play a position thin for depth. Hopefully, Leeds helps him find some creativity and finesse to add to his obvious physical talent.
1. Edgar Castillo, 25, Club Tijuana (MEX), 27
I'm pretty straight forward about these depth charts, generally because when I go too far outside the box, I'm proved horribly wrong. (See Goodson, Clarence) In this case, I feel the statement I'm making is pretty obvious. Edgar Castillo should never again play left back for the United States. The fault lies in assuming that a left back and left wingback are equal like for like swaps. Watch the Canada game and see how a wingback defends the left back position. Does it seem like he assumes there are three men instead of two covering his back?
As a positive, Castillo does go forward with much aplomb, and sometimes shows a creativity that we didn't expect. In a team short of wingers, taking a man who doesn't quite play defense out of defense and setting him loose would be a good idea.
2. Joe Corona, 22, Club Tijuana (MEX), 24
Like the Josh Gatt post, this is where we need to look, but obviously given his recent call-up this will be sooner. Corona has not been cap tied, perhaps just out of the kindness of Klinsmann's heart. He has always said if both teams call him for Senior duties, he'd choose Mexico. Mexico, however, does not need a winger, whereas the United States is begging for them. It appears that he is in for the United States now after playing well for the u-23's in Olympic Qualifying and having a successful debut in the friendly against Scotland. His club play has been influential in the rise of Club Tijuana to relevance.
3. DaMarcus Beasley, 30, Puebla (MEX), 32
He's undergoing a career revival in Mexico, and picking him would not be a mistake. However, he is the oldest man on this list, and has been always downgraded for his small stature. Nevertheless at this moment, it would be wise to pick him over our next phenom who right now might be at the nadir of his young career.
How much difference a year makes, Jonathan Spector? Oh wait, this is Brek Shea. After last season, he was the starting left winger for FC Dallas and the national team. He was training with Arsenal and on top of the world. Then, 2012 came along and he wasn't in Europe. He started with an FC Dallas team that has been out of whack all year long, and he began to struggle. Then, he began to act out. Right now, I wouldn't lie and say that if you could get him for cheap, I'd kill for him here, but the struggles of 2012 and perhaps the mental toll of 2011 have seemed to lessen a player who seemed to be on his way to the top of the food chain.
That is a sad look at out wing depth chart. I would include Fabian Johnson there as well, but as we have no viable left back candidates, he'll be there for the near future.