16 February 2006

The Pre-Season Job Center: Moving Forward

So we're officially in camp, I guess it is time to examine what the potential starting 11 and bench will shake out. I'm going to assume a 3-5-2 until I see any reason to think otherwise. Starting up top, here's what we have for the two forward slots:

The Incumbents: Jamie Moreno (2005 Stats- 29 Games, 28 Starts, 2445 mins, 16G, 7A) and Santino Quaranta (18/13/1185/5/5).

The Challengers: Alecko Eskandarian (12/7/661/0/1), Freddy Adu (25/16/1487/4/6), Jamil Walker (22/6/732/2/7), Lucio Filomeno (1/0/22/0/0), Matt Nickell (4/0/31/0/0).

Analysis: The DCU forwards are an interesting bunch. Of the incumbents, only Jamie Moreno is truly secure in his poisition. The hot race is who Moreno will partner with -- Quaranta will certainly face strong competition to accompany Moreno up-top. Despite the worry about the lack of a true striker voiced over a Big Soccer, there are three decent candidates to fit that role: Eskandarian, Filomeno, and Nickell. Matt Nickell certainly has shown the potential to emerge, but hasn't seen much in the way of minutes. At 22, he's young enough that you can keep him for another year in the reserves and look to see what happens. I wouldn't be surprised that with an injury or two he sees some first time minutes as well. His big chance will be in his 3rd year, depending on Moreno's health. Jamil Walker's speed seems to dictate that he be used similarly to 2005 - as a 2nd half sub to challenge tired legs. Quaranta is squeezed here, and I can see him dropping back to bench to make way for Eskandarian, or sliding over to the right midfield location.

Projection:

  1. Opening Day Starters - Moreno / Eskandarian
  2. Rotation Starter: Filomeno for Eskandarian
  3. Bench Order: Filomeno, Adu, Quaranta, Nickell.

2 Comments:

At 16 February, 2006 15:04, Anonymous Joe said...

You see Quaranta as the incumbent at forward? I'm not sure his hold on that position is any stonger than Adu's or Filomeno's. And I still don't get the notion that Filomeno is above Freddy on the non-existent depth chart. Freddy starts game for DC United sometimes. Filomeno never has. He's an unknown quantity, and I think wishful thinking has increased his stock on Bigsoccer. But in Nowak's book? Who knows?

If there is a second incumbent, I think it's an apparently health Esky.

 
At 16 February, 2006 15:24, Blogger D said...

Joe - Incumbent is strictly a 2005 numbers game, and Tino got more starts there last year than Adu. As you see, I don't think he holds it against a returning Esky.

Now, part of the reason I see Filomeno above Adu (and this is based somewhat on early tea leaves from what's happening in Florida, and USMNT camp) is I have this crazy theory that Freddy may be playing more CAM and LM this year, which means he won't be as available to come in as a forward. Filomeno can. That's why I am tenatively putting Filomeno ahead of Adu. I think Quaranta's stock is falling after the end of the last year, and his occasional USMNT appearences haven't helped.

From what I've seen of Filomeno (which is only a reserve game more than most, so not much, admittedly) he seems to me an Eskandarian type, playing right along the defensive line and toying with the offside call. If Esky isn't quite in 90 minute shape, Filomeno seems the most logical sub in order to keep the styles of your forwards complimentary.

 

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