U.S. faces a glut of midfielders 

October, 22, 2009
The terms "depth" and "U.S. soccer" rarely appear together, unless you're talking about keepers. But one of the most interesting turns in a fascinating World Cup qualifying cycle for the Americans has been a sudden surplus of midfielders. This week's official addition of Jermaine Jones to the U.S. player pool is only part of the story. With the recent emergence of youngsters Stuart Holden, Jose Francisco Torres and Robbie Rogers, U.S. coach Bob Bradley is suddenly rich with midfield options -- on paper at least.

Torres and Rogers were huge in last week's dramatic come-from-behind draw against Costa Rica that helped the U.S. to finish atop the CONCACAF standings. The duo injected needed energy into what had been a frustrating game that saw the Americans miss several chances and fall behind 2-0 in the first half.

Torres played that final half-hour in a holding role, staying honest and tracking back on defense. He maintained possession expertly, and his defensive hustle helped the U.S. win the corner kick that set up Jonathan Bornstein's dramatic last-minute equalizer.
Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine. He has covered American and international soccer since 2002.
Luke Cyphers is a former senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.