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January 22, 2012

USMNT Hopefuls - 1.22.12

A lot of tweaks this edition, which is call for the quick re-post.
  • I bumped the qualification for the list to be under ten caps, instead of under five. (Brek Shea is on this list despite just hitting ten caps against Venezuela but I wanted to have his name down at least once. And he has great hair.) Under five caps was kinda boring and limiting a fair number of players off the list that hadn't really solidified their spot with the senior team yet.
  • I switched from purely guessing to a straight formula. This should keep me more consistent in my predictions but as I'm entering in subjective info the bias will remain (thankfully). The formula is centered around player growth paralleled in FIFA 12. I gave every player a rating, very similar to FIFA's if not exact, and extracted their growth. Every year until they turned 27 they got a +2. Then I subtracted 65 from their rating, capping it at 78, at that's how many appearances I projected. There are some more minor adjustments to account for a variety of stuff. Let's take Omar Salgado as an example because he has a really cool last name:

We could argue about a lot of things but if he progresses as above and stays healthy I think the numbers would be fairly accurate.
  • The numbers took a huge jump. There's a bit of skepticism from even me when I read that Bobby Wood is set to get 143 caps. There are about 12-15 games a year and I'm saying someone with zero caps is going to play near-full time for the next ten years? Well, yes. Let's take a look at the most capped list for America all-time:
1. Cobi Jones - 164 - (1992–2004)
2. Landon Donovan - 138 - (2000–2011) **Should finish around 180
3. Jeff Agoos - 134 - (1988–2003)
4. Marcelo Balboa - 128 - (1988–2000)
5. Claudio Reyna - 112 - (1994–2006)
6. Paul Caligiuri - 110 - (1984–1997)
7. Eric Wynalda - 106 - (1990–2000)
8. Kasey Keller - 102 - (1990–2007)
9. Earnie Stewart - 101 - (1990–2004)
10. Joe-Max Moore - 100 - (1992–2002)
10. Carlos Bocanegra - 100 - (2001–2011) **Should finish around 115
10. Tony Meola - 100 - (1988–2002)
Now let's parallel Wood's projected caps to Donovan's and Bocanegra's at the same age:

Donovan got a really early start on his capping while Bocanegra was relatively late -- only ten by 25 years old. So putting someone at 140+ caps isn't inconceivable (I'm watching Princess Bride right now).
(According to Bocanegra got 28 caps in one year, which I'm not exactly sure about that but even typo aside I think we get the point.)
So while we've only had 12 players ever to hit the century milestone, they've all come within fifteen years. So naturally in the next fifteen years you would think the squad would witness fifteen players reach the milestone. Even with Beasley, Dempsey, Cherundolo, and Howard likely to top the list, I'm not afraid to guess that another seventeen will join them.
All that said, the formula doesn't really take into account injuries, clubs not letting their players play international games on a whim, or sitting number two in the depth chart behind a world class player. So Hamid's numbers will likely be no where near this guess. But I can't really type in "=IF(starter="Tim Howard",expectedcaps-expectedcaps*.99,expectedcaps)" into Excel.
Top 21:
predicted caps. player - pos - (club) - age

142. Bobby Wood - ST - (1860 Munich - Germany.1) - 19.1
138. Joseph Gyau - ST - (1899 Hoffenheim - Germany.2) - 19.3
137. Omar Salgado - ST - (Vancouver Whitecaps) - 18.3
136. Brek Shea - M - (FC Dallas) - 21.9 ** now has ten caps
130. Bill Hamid - GK - (D.C. United) - 21.1
130. Perry Kitchen - D - (D.C. United) - 19.9
128. Jack McInerney - ST - (Philadelphia Union) - 19.4
128. Josh Gatt - RW - (Molde FK - Norway.1) - 20.4
128. Kelyn Rowe - CM - (New England Revolution) - 20.0
125. Sebastian Lletget - M - (West Ham United) - 19.3
124. Timmy Chandler - OB - (FC Nurnberg - Germany.1) - 21.8
117. Greg Garza - LB - (Tijuana - Mexico.1) - 20.4
116. Teal Bunbury - ST - (Sporting Kansas City) - 21.9
115. Mikkel Diskerud - M - (Stabaek - Norway.1) - 21.2
114. Terrence Boyd - ST - (Hertha BSC - Germany.2) - 20.9
112. Zarek Valentin - D - (Montreal Impact) - 20.4
112. Eric Lichaj - OB - (Aston Villa - England.1) - 23.1
98. Danny Williams - M - (1899 Hoffenheim - Germany.2) - 22.8
98. Corey Hertzog - ST - (New York Red Bulls) - 21.4
96. Andrew Wegner - D - (Montreal Impact) - 21.0
92. Amobi Okugo - CDM - (Philadelphia Union) - 20.8
A little something on some of the players:
I saw Bobby Wood play with the U20s and I loved him. The team went incredibly flat when he left (I think it was because of an injury). Pretty much inserted himself in every play and carried a Miles Austin-smile the entire time. The forward is in Germany at the moment, which is another plus under Klinsmann's watch...
Gyau. Another U20 prospect. Creative with speed, not just one or the other...
Eric Lichaj is still recovering from an injury but I think he can make a strong run at the starting XI at RB or possibly LB come 2014...
Still have yet to see Terrence Boyd outside of highlights but he looks promising and all the reports are raving about him...
I really like Greg Garza's approach to the game. Very composed and fits nicely in a defense. Interesting that he is going to Mexico to play club ball. I'm probably a little bit too high on him at the moment but we'll see...
I listed Wegner as a defender just so I didn't have "ST/D" written down. Seemed kinda silly...

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