More and more tweaks but first a special thank you to @spaceman2321 for the stunning backdrop. Not as near as cool as this never-be USA jersey but I'm still grateful all the same.
I ended up dropping the +2 growth that FIFA 12 has in their game play. (Well. It's more like 1.5-1.7.) Instead I just set a target rating for each player. A bold enough mission in itself but why not post the predictions just to appear really out there?
Bobby Wood - 79
Bill Hamid - 78.5
Dilly Duka - 77.5
Kelyn Rowe - 77
Eric Lichaj - 76.5
Corey Hertzog - 76.5
Josh Gatt - 76
Joseph Gyau - 76
Timmy Chandler - 75.5
Perry Kitchen - 74.5
Jack McInerney - 74
Sebastian Lletget - 74
Greg Garza - 74
Sean Johnson - 74
Kendall McIntosh - 74 **
(** - Awesome save in the highlights by McIntosh at 0:47)
Pretty unnecessary and puts me on a vulnerable limb but seeing as this blog is limited to about seven readers I'm not too worried about it.
Probably the biggest difference between last post and this one is the drop in caps everyone received from this new system. With the +2/year, Omar Salgado was on pace to be an 83. Not saying he's worthless and can't do it, but my 73.5 seems a bit more comfortable. But I would have no qualms with him showing how wrong I was. That said...
predicted caps. player - pos - (club) - age
129. Bobby Wood - ST - (1860 Munich - Germany.2) - 19.2
118. Bill Hamid - GK - (D.C. United) - 21.2
105. Eric Lichaj - OB - (Aston Villa - England.1) - 23.2
104. Kelyn Rowe - CM - (New England Revolution) - 20.1
99. Timmy Chandler - OB - (FC Nurnberg - Germany.1) - 21.9
98. Josh Gatt - RW - (Molde FK - Norway.1) - 20.5
94. Joseph Gyau - ST - (1899 Hoffenheim - Germany.2) - 19.4
94. Dilly Duka - M - (Columbus Crew) - 22.4
93. Corey Hertzog - ST - (New York Red Bulls) - 21.5
83. Perry Kitchen - D - (D.C. United) - 20
78. Jack McInerney - ST - (Philadelphia Union) - 19.5
77. Daniel Potts - D - (West Ham United - England.2) - 17.8
76. Mikkel Diskerud - M - (Stabaek - Norway.1 LOAN Gent - Belgian.1) - 21.3
76. Sebastian Lletget - M - (West Ham United Reserves) - 19.4
73. Omar Salgado - ST - (Vancouver Whitecaps) - 18.4
73. Greg Garza - LB - (Tijuana - Mexico.1) - 20.5
70. Sean Johnson - GK - (Chicago Fire) - 22.7
70. Raul Mendiola - F - (Sevilla FC - Spain.1) - 17.7
70. Andrew Oliver - F - (U17s) - 17
68. Zarek Valentin - D - (Montreal Impact) - 20.5
Special mention to...
36. Michael Parkhurst - D - (FC Nordsjælland - Denmark.1) - 28.0
...who now has ten caps with the national team. A darkhorse for the 2014 roster but not completely out of the race by any means.
Let's see if I can give you a little more on the players' current status this time...
Bobby Wood - Should be returning from an injury he received in November. (Not sure what exactly but it's held him out three months = / ). He doesn't collect a ton of minutes for the second league team but is apparently well liked by the fans and returned from the last injury quickly. Making the Olympics will be a push for sure and Porter and company might not want to risk it.
Bill Hamid - Obtained his first cap against Venezuela. Anything praised by Tim Howard with the lightning reflexes and pure athleticism he has gets a positive mark in my book.
Eric Lichaj - Recently overcame an injury to return to Aston Villa's bench. From what I've read, the RB spot at AVL is busy but unsecured. But while he's healing physically and trying to find time on the field, he may not heal from this emotional trauma...
Kelyn Rowe - Has been training with the U-23s after getting drafted first round by the New England Revolution in the MLS SuperDraft (what a dumb name). Not a lot of comments on how his camp is going but the ones I've seen are positive.
Timmy Chandler - In regards to a recent game, "Chandler's coming off a hamstring injury, and his coach doesn't want to start him. Presumably, he's worried about 90 minutes fitness, not the injury." Chandler was subbed on at the 59th minute at RM. An aggressive RB option for the national team. Defensively I'm not worried about too much. I'd like to see an increase in field vision when he has the ball but all things considered I'm very happy with his performance at the moment.
Josh Gatt - Probably one of the more raved about U-23s. He helped Molde capture their first league championship ever in 22 season appearances. Gatt was experimented at RB in camp but did not show too well. A likely candidate for the Olympic squad. Two write-ups on the speedy winger on his family and club ball.
Three more things and that'll be it because the Super Bowl is about to start.
1. This video of Diskerud's interview is very warm and funny, despite the bored newsreporters, which actually makes it funnier for me.
2. Mendiola is not a US Citizen at the moment, which should beg the question of "Why is he on the list?" Mendiola is still young (almost 18) and has shown interest in playing for America in the past. His citizenship apparently moving forward, not to mention being invited to (and attending) US camps previously. The Mexican has a lot of time before he needs to make a definitive decision.
3. I'm having trouble finding the latest on Andrew Oliver. He scores here but then... ??? He doesn't make the U17 WC roster but I'm sure he'll pop up somewhere yet again.
I may come back and edit this to add more info on the players (unlikely) or I'll just wait until next post to write on the next top six players I haven't covered yet.
Congrats to the AFC for finally winning a coin toss.