Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Burce and what he has seen so far

Paddocktalk has a good run down of the recent Q&A with the Bruce about what he has seen in training camp and a few brief points about this Sunday's match against Guatemala.

Here are some of the goodies:

On whether Taylor Twellman has done enough to earn a spot on the World Cup roster:

“He’s obviously shown well in our camp as he heads back to New England. We haven’t penciled in anyone in our roster yet. I want to make that clear. We have not finalized any names. I think we need to play it out. I think if you wanted to bet that Kasey Keller would be on our roster, you would probably have a pretty good chance at being correct. I think we have a lot of competition in a lot of positions and the forward position is certainly one of them. Taylor has done nothing but help his cause but certainly, at this point in time, we’re not ready to write his name down, as is the case with our entire roster.”

On Eddie Johnson’s confidence:

“In terms of Eddie Johnson, I think over the past week he’s finally physically and psychologically recovered from his turf toe injury. That has been an obstacle for Eddie for a good six months or so. That’s completely past him. He suffered an injury in the game against Canada that set him back a couple weeks but over the last week or so we’ve seen some of the form that Eddie’s had in the past. He’s looking much sharper on the ball and he’s much fitter, and because of that, he’s confident. He still has that speed and that’s not going to change. I think that over the next couple months Eddie should be back in full form and be a player who is challenging for a spot on the World Cup roster.”

On Clint Demspey:

“What I tried to describe to Clint and made it clear, I did see that he mentioned it in an interview previously, I think he needs to model himself more towards the likes of a Steven Gerrard and a Frank Lampard: two-way midfielders, modern day midfielders who play up and down the field, can attack and defend. Not playmakers, not holding midfielders, but very active guys. They use their athleticism and their instincts around the goal to help their team and whatever needs to be done on a given day. I think as he’s gotten fitter and more experienced he understands how to play that role. Really, those are the qualities he has. He’s not experienced enough yet to put a team on his back. He’s not particularly a great passer of the ball, however he’s a guy that’s a very good goal scorer out of the midfield and that’s the way we line him up, to play him in the midfield, a little bit on the right side of the field but not out wide on touches, and giving him a little bit of freedom to move accordingly and I think he’s adjusted quite well to that responsibility.”

On the gap between the U.S. players in Europe and those in MLS, and whether the European players are on the World Cup roster:

“No, we don’t have a roster set yet for Germany. I might be doing things different than other managers around the world but that’s just the case. There is a gap in some case. Some of our players that have been in Europe a little bit longer have an edge in experience on some of our domestic players. However, as I’ve mentioned, a Landon Donovan and an Eddie Pope don’t take a backseat to any of our players. But, I think, when healthy, Keller is clearly our No. 1 goalkeeper. Reyna continues to be our leader and we have a number of other players in Europe that are among our better players such as Beasley, Eddie Lewis, Steve Cherundolo and Brian McBride. We have good players domestically and we have good players playing in Europe. On a given day they’re equally as competitive with one another.”

On who has helped their chances to make the World Cup roster:

“I think our centerbacks have been very good: Pope and Conrad. I think Todd Dunivant has shown well. Zavagnin has shown well. I think Dempsey has shown well. Noonan did a good job. Twellman and Wolff have been pretty solid. Landon Donovan has done great. He is a terrific soccer player. He just had an outstanding five or six weeks with us. He has rekindled his desire to be a real player and I think he is positioning himself to have a great World Cup.”

On an American style of soccer:

“I don’t think yet we’ve really established one particular style, but we’re certainly more suited to the styles of the European countries than the South American (style). You would say we’re maybe a little bit more similar to the Germans or the English, the Dutch and the Italians than we would be to the South American countries or the African countries.

“It’s more of an athletic game, more of an honest two-way game by players. A little bit more position oriented and disciplined as opposed to a little bit more free-flowing and a little bit more wizardry on the ball. We don’t have players like the Brazilians have. We don’t have that kind of player. Why? I don’t exactly know. We don’t have the competition and the soccer culture that you have in Brazil when you’re developing players. But we have athletic guys, bright guys and they tend to play a game that fits to their strengths. Which is much more similar to the European countries than it is to anywhere else in the world.”


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