Kyle Beckerman is clearly one of the most important players in our team. In fact, there's a pretty strong argument that he is one of the most important players in the nation, and you'll probably hear us making that argument tomorrow when he (presumably) starts against world powers Germany.
Without him, we've struggled a bit. His tactical sensibilities and his abilities both defensively and offensively allow us to play with a single defensive midfielder — an anchor, if you will — who is consistently getting into the attack. He's a rare sort of player to have that sort of understanding of the game.
What do we do without him? We've asked this plenty of times before, but it does start to look like the answer demands a tactical re-think. We don't have a player with the glut of ability Beckerman has, and we don't have one with the same level of understanding in the position.
The solution might seem simple: Two defensive midfielders. But approaching it with two players shielding the back line is overtly defensive and doesn't meet our desires to play attacking soccer.
The solution is something more akin to playing two central midfielders and alternating their dropping off — getting one into the attack consistently. We saw this once with John Stertzer and Cole Grossman playing alongside each other, and it looked acceptable, if a little raw. It's the sort of thing, though, that takes more than one game.
This enables us to get Luke Mulholland into a more attacking position, where he's going to be better, and it gives Luis Gil a chance on the opposite side — we get a little more attacking play out wide, we get a little more help deep, and we start to suss out how we play without two strikers, given Saborio's injured state.