Post #1
Thursday June 27, 2013 3:26am

Joined Jul 2012
Total Posts: 10,356
Something that I think has gone under the radar for awhile is the emergence of the young American CB in MLS the past two years. Here is a look at these CB's:

Amobi Okugo 23, 5'11": Okugo made the transition to CB last year and hasn't looked back. He is on the shorter side for a CB, but has the athletic, positional, and solid defensive ability to play CB. He also is very calm on the ball, and can pass out of the back with good efficiency.

Matt Hedges 23, 6'4": Matt Hedges was a mainstay for FC Dallas as a starter in his rookie season, due to John and Ihemulu being injured. He anchored the backline admirably, and this year he has looked even better. He has deceptive quickness for his size, his positional awareness is better, and usually looks to pass out of the back.

Austin Berry 24, 6'2": He won ROTY in 2012, but Friedrich really covered up a lot of his mistakes. This season he has had a tough time without Friedrich back to cover his mistakes. He has good speed, but gets caught ball watching to much. His positional game is lacking a little bit, and his age( he will turn 25 later this year) is a hit against him.

Andrew Jean-Baptiste 21, 6'2": Jean-Baptiste had an underwhelming rookie season, but has started to come into his own after a shaky start this season. His positional awareness has been cleaned up a lot in the past few months. He is very athletic, looks to pass out of the back, and having a coach like Porter to help him this season, can only increase his stock.

Shane O'Neill 19, 6'2": This kid is the real deal. He solidified the U-20's defesne against France, and showed that he has the athletic ability as well as the cerebral ability to take his game to the next level. Oscar Pareja clearly likes O'Neills ability. And the numbers speak for themselves. With Shane O'Neill in the Colorado defenseive line-up the Rapids give up fewer goals, and generally look like more solid defensively. A former CM that can spray good passes out of the back.

Connor Shanosky 21, 6'4": Signed a homegrown contract with DC United two years ago in the same year Andy Najar did. He was signed as a DM/CM, but hit another growth spurt and eventually reached his current height. Last season he was converted to CB, and hasn't looked back. He is a cerebral, but physical CB. He has the athletic ability and passing skills that is needed as a modern CB. With Ethan White injured all of the time and Ben Olson clearly not happy with Brandon MCdonald; Connor Shanosky is poised to get some serious minutes with DC United.

Walker Zimmerman 20, 6'3": A physically imposing CB. He is a beast in the air, and has the athletic ability and speed to take his game to the next level. He has very good feet and generally looks to pass out of the back. Should be on the U-20 team. Both George John and Matt Hedges have been picking up little injuries this season, so Walker Zimmerman is poised to see a lot of minutes in his rookie year.

I don't think I have seen this collection of young, talented American CB's ever in MLS. A lot of these guys will probably be in the USMNT player pool in the next couple of WC cycles, and most of these guys are primed to be the future of MlS CB's.

Post #2
Thursday June 27, 2013 3:43am

Joined May 2013
Total Posts: 3,113
Great work and list.

I really like zimmerman who obviously shouldve been on the u20 team.

Okugo is a favorite. Confident with the ball and athletic.

Oneil could become the best of the bunch. Not as athletic as Okugo but becoming a better defender as the days go by.

Post #3
Thursday June 27, 2013 4:45am

Joined Jul 2012
Total Posts: 284
As I guess a dark horse/ honorable mentions, you can add Gboss as well to this list. Unless Henry (another young promising CB) gets hurt before the Gold Cup, Gboss should get another long stretch as starting CB for Toronto

Post #4
Thursday June 27, 2013 5:59am

Joined May 2013
Total Posts: 3,315
Love seeing MLS produce more talent every year and it keeps becoming constant. It's gonna get to the point were we wont know what to do with so much talent. Seeing how the U-20 is being developed into a more technical team even though have no defense in the tournament the people you have mentioned will only make our future brighter.

Pittsburgh Pa
Post #5
Thursday June 27, 2013 11:03am

Joined Jan 2013
Total Posts: 77
Nice post 2tone.. I feel cb is a weak spot on the usmnt so its good to hear about some young promising talent developing..

Post #6
Thursday June 27, 2013 2:20pm

Joined Aug 2012
Total Posts: 1,151
Jury still out on Shanosky, IMO. He definitely has some potential though. This will be his best opportunity to prove he is ready for 1st team minutes. He doesn't necessarily have a lot of time to do that though because Olsen has shown he does not mind playing our fullbacks centrally. Aside from incumbents Jakovic & White, Rochait, Riley and Woolard have all seen minutes at CB. So Connor is in the clear for the time being but there are other players who could snatch that spot from him if he shows that he still isn't ready.

Charleston, South Carolina
Post #7
Thursday June 27, 2013 4:02pm

Joined Sep 2012
Total Posts: 1,404
The future is REAL bright for the MNT, that's all I'm saying.

Post #8
Thursday June 27, 2013 4:42pm

Joined Jun 2012
Total Posts: 1,016
Decent list.

I can only see Zimmerman and O'Neill becoming USMNT mainstays and possible stars.

Boston, Mass
Post #9
Friday June 28, 2013 5:43am

Joined Apr 2013
Total Posts: 164
Anyone else find it odd days after this thread is posted we see our Gold Cup roster with 2 center backs both over 30 and both considered by most USMNT fans as over the hill and wastes of call ups?

Post #10
Friday June 28, 2013 5:49am

Joined Jun 2013
Total Posts: 84
When you look at the ages of the guys in front of them currently I can easily see ONeill and Zimmerman pushing Gonzalez and Besler, if they both continue to develop. I can see Okugo and Hedges both having solid steady bench spots in the future. Hopefully these guys all develop because a lot of our CBs now will not really be factors in 18.

Post #11
Friday June 28, 2013 4:50pm

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 1,467
I was pretty impressed with Stanko during his u20 WC, definitely performed better than the two 4-1 scorelines would have suggested...same with Cropper now that I think about, but that's another thread.

With Jesse Marsch and David Wagner at the helms of teams in the top flight, YA will cover their exploits this season.
YA Transfer Tracker
Yanks Face Relegation in England
Tale of Two Young Yanks in Europe
Wagner Nears Premier League Goal