110112_bruinwill_isi_mlsmj072112053 Michael Janosz/isiphotos.com
ASN Weekly Debate

Will We Learn Anything from USMNT vs. Canada?

ASN Deputy Editor Noah Davis and contributing editor Ryan O'Hanlon discuss the upcoming friendly. Topics include dancing bears, tangoing grizzlies, Klinsmann's desire to win, and the midfield.
BY Noah Davis and Ryan O'Hanlon Posted
January 25, 2013
5:31 AM
Deputy Editor's note: Sorry if this gets weird in the middle. Ryan had the flu and Noah nearly choked to death 30 minutes before the conversation. Then again, lucidity is never the strength of this feature.

Editor in Chief's note: There's a strength of this feature?

Noah Davis: Ryan, we are now four days away from the United States' match against Canada in lovely Houston, Texas. Give me something you'd like to see.

Ryan O'Hanlon: More than anything, I have something I'd like to not see: anyone getting hurt. But beyond that, a relatively easy win so we don't think about it too much?

Davis: I have a fear that it's going to be like that listless 0-0 draw against Canada last year that came at the end of a long, hard fitness/training camp. Then again, Klinsmann sounds like he really wants to win this one, so maybe he'll let off a bit?

O'Hanlon: Seems possible, and then couple that with the roster being made up of a bunch of guys who probably feel the need to "show something"—more than that Canada roster, which was basically all full-timers—and maybe we'll actually see some goals. Or a bunch of really tired guys who are trying way too hard.

Davis: Will we get a Dancin' Bear celebration? I certainly hope so, and it sounds like Will Bruin is playing well, given the teeny, tiny little bit that leaked about the game against Tijuana's reserves. Do you think he did the Dancin' Bear after scoring one of those goals? Both? Or is there a new dance? The Angry Grizzly or something. Who's going to score? I'll say Bruin, Mix Diskerud, and Eddie Johnson.

O'Hanlon: From what I know about Tijuana, doesn't the Dancing Bear belong on that team? It seems like a perfect fit. And no, I do not like the idea of the Angry Grizzly because the Dancing Bear makes me happy, and I don't think something called the Angry Grizzly would do the same.

Davis: The Tangoing Grizzly?

O'Hanlon: The Charleston-ing Koala. But I think the Dancing Bear gets one, and so does Agudelo. Maybe Diskerud, too.

Davis: It's an American thrashing.

O'Hanlon: Well, that's if the defense, anchored by The Future of American Soccer, Besler and Gonzalez, holds up.

Davis: I'll be honest: I can't wait to see the two of them play. Although man, I wish this game wasn't against Canada. It feels like a revenge match for Klinsmann more than anything. But moving on, it will be great to see how they both adapt to the pace. I hope it doesn't come crashing down. So many hopes and dreams are riding on these two, or at least one of them.

O'Hanlon: Yeah, as anyone who reads these debates knows, I tend not to care about anything—especially not, half-strength, unofficial friendlies. But I actually am excited to see the two of them play because they could have important roles to play over the next two years and because we just haven't seen them play at this level—albeit a very watered-down version—yet.

Davis: I don't think anyone reads these chats, but I will confirm that you are consistent in your stance. Moving to the midfield, I'm interested to see what they can do. Can some combination foursome made from Davis, Diskerud, Beckerman, Feilhaber, Zusi, and Gatt control the game? Because they should be able to against Canada. And we're getting to the point where not being able to do so is cause for concern. I'm growing tired of excuses. 2013 is for execution.

O'Hanlon: Yeah, it seems like there's a ton of talent/international experience in that area of the field, so it'd be surprising to me if that didn't happen. At the same time, I guess this'll be asking a bunch of bit-part USMNT guys to take on a bigger role, so it'll be interesting to see how that goes and if it has any effect.

Davis: Do you think it will?

O'Hanlon: I don't think it will look the same as it does when Michael Bradley and Danny Williams are out there, no.

Davis: I hope not.

O'Hanlon: Well, it's lesser competition, so it's not totally unreasonable to expect that. But, I think you can find some combination of however many guys where their talents will add up to something much better than what Canada's putting out there. So, I guess that's a really terrible way of saying that none of the guys really even need to necessarily "step up" or change anything about their games.

Davis: That is terribly boring. And I disagree, actually. I think Klinsmann—more than most coaches, at least American coaches—is willing to move players around on the board in his head. I think a strong showing in this game, one that's important to him personally, can make a big difference on the depth chart that exists on Martin Vasquez's clipboard.

O'Hanlon: Yeah, that's reasonable. I just think that everyone on this roster's roles will be diminished after Houston. Many of them will still have important parts to play with the full NT, but won't have as much individual responsibility as they'll have in this one game.

Davis: I would hope this roster isn't the one that goes to Honduras, but I think there are still spots on that plane up for grabs, which we've discussed before. And now we are back to the beginning. I'll say 3-1 U.S.

O'Hanlon: Fine. Whatever. I guess I can't "read." But anyway, I'll say 4-2 just because these friendlies are weird and strange things happen and the US winning a soccer game by the score of 4-2 is not a normal thing.

Davis: Excitement.

O'Hanlon: Whatever the final, as long as we see the Dancing Bear, I'll be happy.

Davis: Me too, man. Me too.

Noah Davis and Ryan O'Hanlon do this every week. Sometimes, there is Sudafed.

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