What follows could potentially be a very unpopular opinion on Brad Davis and his inclusion in the national team. First, I will lay down some things to avoid any confusion that would arise from reading this article. I want to make sure this has as little to do with club vs. country as possible. That comparison is entirely personal, and depends how good your club and/or country is, along with multiple other factors that I will choose to avoid in this writing. For all intents and purposes, know that I am a die-hard Dynamo and USMNT fan. I do not write from any biases (at least in that realm). My real focus is on Davis and any success he can achieve with either Houston or the US.
Secondly, I should lay out my "Worst Case Scenario" for this Brad Davis situation from the get-go. Its what has been running through my mind since this most recent call-up, and subsequent playing time. It goes something like this: Davis is called up for the majority of the qualifying campaign matches. Mainly due to injuries and fitness issues, Davis will see spare playing time, especially in matches that are tied late (like against Mexico) where one set-piece could mean the difference. Then, despite this inclusion, Klinsy decides to not invite him to Brazil. Or, worse-ish, he is called, but sees as much of Brazilian fields as Ching saw of German ones.
Now, the irrational among you are rushing to the comments to destroy me with words, with or without foam coming from your mouths. The rational, on the other hand, are asking why I, having seen Davis play against Mexico at Azteca (!!), would predict such a dire time for Davis in the future. I'm glad you asked that, hypothetical plot devices:
1. Davis doesn't fit in this defensive scheme
That sound you hear is the rest of the rational readers sprinting to the comments. Yes, Davis is far from a defensive liability, and no, I don't have something wrong with my brain.
What we saw against Mexico was a back line that was very strong in the center, and perhaps equally weak on the outside. Because of that, Beasley and Cameron depended on the wing players to fall back and provide support against Gio, Guardado, and Aquino. Davis is just fine at getting back and helping, but he cannot stand up against top-flight talent. That led to his unwise foul on Guardado, and a couple other times where he overran Mexican player while trying to catch up to the play.
2. Soon he will have company in the midfield
When our umlauty countrymen return from injury, the midfield portion of the selection sheet will be very very congested. In turn, the roster spot he's currently clinging to will shake him off. "Thanks for your input, but your services are no longer required".
3. His set pieces haven't been that good lately
Now I just sound like I'm holding a grudge. Look, Davis has a magical left foot. I love his left foot. Only Rex Ryan could possibly love a foot more. Still, his set pieces to start this season have been poor. They'll even out, and eventually he'll start creating an obscene amount of goals for the Orange, but will that be enough to convince Klinsmann to keep him on the roster - solely for the maybe 1-2 balls he'll put into the box? I'm not so certain. I'm not saying Gomez was putting in very good set pieces (quite the opposite), but when Zusi is there I see no reason why you need a specialist solely for 10 minutes of play. Zusi is not a better player than Davis, but he is better at what Klinsmann needs.
If Davis is indeed part of Klinsmann's future plans (read: WC2016) then his call-ups shouldn't be afterthoughts, and he shouldn't be asked to play a defensive scheme (that he can't do) in order to be present for set pieces (that may or may not come to fruition).
Davis is a weapon that any coach would want. Veteran leadership, high work rate, and a left foot that I can only assume was crafted by Hephaestus. Its no wonder that Klinsmann brought him into the squad, and its obvious why he is searching for a way to make him a big part of this Qualifying campaign. The simple truth, at least in my opinion, is that his effectiveness will run only the length of the CONCACAF schedule. At that point, what will Davis have gained? A few caps? Maybe a greater public appreciation for his talents? Sure, but will that translate to anything tangible for him - i.e. playing time in Brazil, or any semblance of a meaningful role? I just don't think so.
Taking all this into consideration, Klinsmann, I beg of you. Hands off Brad. Let him stay with us, and let him push us towards another championship. Any further flirting with your team will only leave him heartbroken, with a few more caps under his belt, but eventually lacking any true benefit from the process.
What say you, Dynamo fans? Do you like seeing Davis in the Red, White, and Blue, or would you prefer that he stay in the cozy confines of an orange jersey?