USMNT begins on-field preparations for friendlies with Honduras, Ecuador

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Photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The U.S. men's national team hit the practice field on Tuesday morning to begin preparations for its upcoming friendly against Honduras, and head coach Jurgen Klinsmann picked things up where he left off in September.

The emphasis of the training session was passing, as the players were put through different exercises before breaking up into two teams of seven for a small game with two mini-goals on each side.

Following the training, Klinsmann spoke with a handful of local media and discussed what he would like to get out of the U.S. team's friendly against Honduras on Saturday as well as the one against Ecuador next Tuesday.

"Obviously, we'd like to see a progression in our work," said Klinsmann. "I think the first two get-togethers with three games combined we saw a lot. It's a group of players that have a tremendous working attitude and willingness to learn and willingness to improve.

"So we step-by-step try to build something that really prepares us well for the World Cup qualifiers next summer, and building a core group of experience – the leaders in the group – and step by step introducing some fresh blood, some younger players with tremendous potential moving forward. So we're trying to combine things, we're trying to see a lot of different things on the field in our training sessions, and then see how we can mold those things together."

Here are more notes from U.S. training:

FINDING THE BACK OF THE NET

One aspect Klinsmann is looking to address during this camp is finishing. Through three games the Americans have mustered only one goal and have yet to get a victory. They also lost both of their September friendlies by the score of 1-0, but Klinsmann insists that it is a work in progress.

"Against Costa Rica, I thought we had enough chances to put it in the net and win the game," said Klinsmann. "Belgium was a bit of a different character, even if we scored a regular goal in the last couple of minutes which was disallowed for whatever reason, the referee only knows. But it's okay. Obviously you want to get to the next step and put this thing in the net, and it's a process and the players are aware of that. … We definitely would like to see a couple of goals coming up in the next few games."

BEASLEY'S RETURN

For veteran DaMarcus Beasley, this set of friendlies marks the second time he's been called in by Klinsmann. Beasley was included on the roster for the United States' friendly with Mexico back in August, although he did not dress for the game.

Beasley was not called into camp for the September friendlies, but he returns to the fold after playing well for Mexican club Puebla in recent weeks.

"DaMarcus, he completely moved out of his comfort zone," said Klinsmann. "Coming back from Europe and being all over the place with up and downs that we all have in our lives, he kind of got his act together and he made that step going down to Mexico and proving himself. It shows his character and it shows you his willingness to fight through different environments and difficult moments. I think you see a far more mature DaMarcus Beasley now than you have seen probably a couple years ago, which is natural, it's a normal process."

KLINSMANN ADDRESSES OMISSIONS

Klinsmann touched on some of his roster omissions, which include the likes of defenders George John and Omar Gonzalez and midfielder Benny Feilhaber.

"We have a huge list of MLS players. We watch games week in and week out. I send all of our staff people, Claudio Reyna, we send them out together and watch games. If it's in Mexico, if it's in Europe, we know where they are. At the same time, as I mentioned before in (last week's) press release, we don't want to shake up the group every time we get together too much.

"We saw that there are players that want to get into this group and they have all the case, but at the same time if you want to develop consistency and you want to improve the quality of the group right now, you need to bring them in regularly. I'm not a friend of – maybe that was the idea behind a game in L.A. and a game in Belgium, having the L.A. game played by the MLS guys and having the Belgium game played by the European guys.

"That might have been the idea, but I'm not that way. I want them to have a sense of national team balance, no matter if it's here or somewhere else. It's my opinion the best that are right now available. If there are injuries, there are injuries. But in general, I want the best players always here, and that makes it difficult now for Benny or for George John and Omar Gonzalez for example, I understand that."

USMNT NOTES

  • Of the 22 players called in, 18 are currently in camp. Edson Buddle is scheduled to join the team later on Tuesday and Juan Agudelo, Tim Ream and Nick Rimando will get with the group later in the week following their respective MLS games.
  • Assistant coach Martin Vasquez was at practice, but he is still not yet employed by the U.S. Soccer Federation.
  • Jonathan Spector was the lone player not to participate as he continues to recover from a slight ankle injury picked up over the weekend. Spector jogged around the field, but was not involved in the team drills.
  • The team did some running, worked on passing drills and wrapped up the session by splitting the field players into two teams (gray and orange) of seven. The drill involved two mini-goals on each side. Clint Dempsey served as a two-way player in the drill.
  • The orange team was made up of DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Bradley, Teal Bunbury, Maurice Edu, Oguchi Onyewu, Michael Orozco Fiscal and Danny Williams.
  • The gray team was comprised of Jozy Altidore, Kyle Beckerman, Carlos Bocanegra, Timmy Chandler, Steve Cherundolo, Jeff Larentowicz and Brek Shea.
  • Altidore had his right ankle stepped on during the 7-on-7 game and was removed and tended to for precautionary measures. Dempsey took his place on the gray team.
  • Dempsey looked sharp in the game, as did Williams. The TSG Hoffenheim midfielder/defender spent a good amount of time on the left side, but players moved about freely.
  • There won't be an update on potential November friendlies until after the Euro qualifiers are played later this month, a U.S. spokesman said.
  • The United States returns to the practice field on Wednesday morning.

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What do you think of Klinsmann's continued emphasis on passing? Do you see the United States beating Honduras on Saturday? What do you think about his comments towards some of his omissions?

Share your thoughts below.

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136 Responses to USMNT begins on-field preparations for friendlies with Honduras, Ecuador

  1. Ken says:

    Can we play an African team for the Nov. friendlies? The last African team we played was SA last Nov. IMO that wasn’t the classic African team we’d face in Brazil like the Ivory Coast or Ghana. Of course 2014 is still 3 years away but it doesn’t hurt to expose our players to different play style.

  2. Cairo says:

    Am I the only person who read Klinsy’s comments to mean that he’s got a pretty strong sense of who the “best players” are and that they are not Omar, George, and Benny? That it’s tough to get them on the squad because he wants to have the full squad composed of the “best players?” Not criticizing, but it certainly sounds like those guys are gonna have trouble getting in unless there are injuries or mitigating factors that keep the old standbys from showing up.

  3. SwerveZ says:

    Like it or not, what this means is that these “core” players are the best we got for now until other youth players develop more.

  4. DingDong says:

    Mostly how I read it. He think he has the best group now and he will continue to call in the best group. But I don’t think he ruled out the possibility that who the best group is could change.

  5. Dinho says:

    Thanks for the great write-up. Love hearing about what they do in their training sessions and who looks sharp. I haven’t seen Williams play before, but it’s nice to hear that he’s already standing out a bit. Being the neutral player in the 7 v 7, it sounds like Dempsey will play in the center mid again (like he did against Belgium). Hopefully, it turns out better for us.

  6. RevsFan says:

    you really have to question his judgement if he’s saying that the best players at centerback right now include Fiscal and Ream.

    I know Ream at some point may be a top choice, but his club showing has been severely lacking of late… and Fiscal really goes without saying.

    I also don’t get his objection to having an MLS heavy roster. Most of the voices I’ve heard have been calling for John and Gonzalez to have a go at both games, not just the LA one. Seems like he’s putting his best politician impression on and completely dodging the real issue.

  7. okifeelthat says:

    Yes, i had to reread that paragraph several times because it doesn’t really make any sense. But i got that same feeling that he already knows who his “core” is. Which is ridiculous if he is including the likes of Orozco, Larentowitz, Williams (who we haven’t even seen play ONE game yet, and Beckerman. I’m sorry but NONE of the players I listed above should be counted as regulars and there positions on there team should be fully open to any one else to grab. I’m not saying that Benny, Gonzalez, or John are entitled to become regulars either all I’m saying is that you have to give EVERYONE a chance, especially since Orozco is GARBAGE compared to John or Gonzalez.

  8. Mike Bassett says:

    So, he thinks Michael Orozco and Tim Ream are the best?? So, Tim Ream is better than Omar Gonzalez??

    How did Michael Orozco become “the best?” By not earning a starting spot on his club team??

  9. Leland says:

    I like to read Klinsmann’s quotes. He seems to say all the right things. If the players don’t have respect for him already, surely they will after a short time. I see him as someone willing to change everything if it’s not working and to me that attitude is what USMNT needs going forward. SBI is an awesome blog. Thanks.

  10. Jeff Awesome says:

    I am really interested to see how Gooch and Beasley play for the national team. It’s been a long time, but their attributes are needed. Also interested in seeing what Klinsmann will do with all those central midfielders. And Jonathan Spector is always in camp, but he never plays. Seems like he probably won’t be playing again!

  11. anon says:

    I have a feeling Larentowicz won’t be there once Holden, Torres, and Jermaine Jones come back into the squad.

    Orozco, I can’t explain.

    Whitbread will be in the team once he’s healthy. So will Heath Pearce.

    Parkhurst, Rolfe and Benny are other major snubs.

    Kljestan is not a snub – he’s a not a goalscorer or a great defender or even distributor. He’s a just very average soccer player for a fairly average European team.

  12. anon says:

    So it appears that Goodson was not called in, despite initial reports. Very interesting choice.

  13. Chris H says:

    Yeah that’s a little disconcerting. I think Beckerman has the tools to be a good holding mid in a 4-2-3-1 but the CBs have looked suspect at best, especially Orozco. I would have liked to see John or Gonzalez included also.

  14. Murph says:

    You make it sound as if it’s a no-brainer that Gonzalez is better than Ream. He’s not. Gonzalez is having a better season in the MLS, but Ream has the most upside potential on the international stage. I still think Gonzalez and John will get their shot.

  15. Eurosnob says:

    I think that he was probably referring to Gooch (Sporting) and Boca (Rangers). Ream and Fiscal are projects. John and Gonzalez are also far from a sure thing.

  16. Murph says:

    If this were a post to Klinsmann’s choices for matches that mean something, I might agree. The coach has made clear that he needs to develop those who are the best prospects years from now and mesh them with the entrenched. I still do not see how Gonzalez and John are clearly better prospects. None are Vidic quality and need to address issues.

  17. Chris H says:

    My guess is Gooch got the call over Goodson. We tend to think about Goodson as younger because he is newer to the USMNT, but remember he is a grand total of 4 days younger than Gooch, and Gooch brings a very similar skill set with a more imposing physical presence.

  18. Zac says:

    I think it’s also important to note that “the best right now” does not necessarily mean that they are above everyone else in the pool. it’s just that they fit what he thinks is best for his group and that they fill certain roles that he needs. It’s not that the other guys don’t belong on the same field.

  19. Alex says:

    Well think about it this way. If for some godforsaken reason, Boca, Gooch, Goodson, and every other Euro based non MLS CB is hurt, and we have a World Cup knockout round game tomorrow, who would you rather have at starting CB? Orozco and Ream? Or Gonzalez and John? I’d take the latter over the former in a heartbeat because those guys make me feel safer

  20. TomG says:

    Yah, but Goodson has much less mileage on his body – much less beat up and less injury issues. Gooch has that big, wide body type that often breaks down.

    Plus, Goodson is a better distributor from the back which I thought Klinsi liked. Gooch is more of a clear it out type.

  21. Colin says:

    Klinsmann’s comments were really unclear. We’ll see how he likes having no service to the strikers. I think he thinks of Dempsey as a playmaker, and I disagree with that. I think Dempsey is the best player but he needs Feilhaber and Adu to combine with and to set him up for more scoring opportunities. Dempsey likes to roam around, and he can’t do that if he doesn’t have Adu or Feilhaber to combine with him and hit him when he makes runs. I want the US to lose so that Klinsmann has to rethink his rosters.

  22. Answer says:

    Really? Where would you get that from? He’s injured but traveled to be in camp anyway. Why would he not be called in again after that?

  23. Answer says:

    LOL @ Parkhurst and Rolfe being snubs. That would assume they were quality and belong in the team. They aren’t and they don’t.

  24. biff says:

    What in the f are talking about? Orozco has been starting and playing 90 minutes per game for San Luis since August.

  25. francois says:

    I just really wanna see Geoff Cameron called in, I think he can be a potential starter for 2014. He’s impressed me a lot at CB.

  26. Chuck says:

    Why not have a friendly that is composed of a split U.S. national team. You get a look at twice as many players and everyone will want to see that game.

  27. Tim says:

    Were any players from the Scandanavian leagues called in? My understanding is those leagues end soon, so out of deference to the needs of those clubs those players (like Goodson) weren’t called in for these games but might be called in after league play concludes for the November friendlies and January mini-camp/friendly.

  28. biff says:

    Klinsman’s comments on the Costa Rica friendly in LA followed three days later by Belgium in Brussels are interesting. He certainly implies that he thought it was a stupid idea, especially if “the idea behind a game in L.A. and a game in Belgium, having the L.A. game played by the MLS guys and having the Belgium game played by the European guys.”

  29. Colin says:

    We need the US to lose both of these games by two goals each, so Klinsmann has to bring in our number 10′s and our newer superior defenders.

  30. Colin says:

    I salute you.

  31. Colin says:

    Buddle better not play over Bunbury.

  32. euroman says:

    Goodson isn’t here because he’s not available not because he wasn’t initially called.

  33. Colin says:

    Vidic is no Thiago Silva

  34. abc says:

    “I want the best players always here, and that makes it difficult now for Benny or for George John and Omar Gonzalez for example”

    So wanting the BEST PLAYERS makes it difficult for Feilhaber, John and Gonzalez. And presumably for others who have not been called in like Cameron, Diskerud, Gomez, Gatt, Kljestan, Bedoya, etc.

    But so far wanting the best players has NOT made it difficult for Rogers, Castillo, Ream, Orozco Fiscal, Larentowicz, or Bunbury to get called in.

    Got it.

    What does this say about Klinsmann’s ability to properly evaluate players??

  35. Cairo says:

    I think we’re thinking about this the wrong way. Players “get their shot” every week when they play in games with USMNT Coaches (Klinsmann, Vasquez, Reyna, etc) watching them. For whatever reason, it seems like the staff is not rating the play of guys like Omar, Benny, and George John. I don’t agree with their assessments sometimes, but I have a hard time claiming that I know more than Claudio Reyna and Jurgen Klinsmann. It’s highly subjective, but I’m pretty sure they aren’t snubbing anyone because they don’t like their personalities. They see something in their games that they don’t rate as highly as the call-ups. Nothing egregious yet that obviously warrants criticism

  36. Louis Z says:

    I wouldn’t read to much in to the Goodson exclusion for these friendlies. JK wants to look at other CBs like Gooch to see where they are compare to Goodson. If Gooch is better then be it.

  37. Colin says:

    Well said. Very funny. Is Klinsmann just messing with us?

  38. Colin says:

    I wonder if Klinsmann views Adu and Feilhaber as known commodities that he doesn’t need to test out.

  39. marco says:

    Of course they cannot be better at creating consistency than the repeats if they are never brought in, come-on Klinsi, sophistry.

  40. away goals says:

    Maybe klins called up what he considered his best players against mexico. Now he’s sticking with that core group until he can establish the camp atmosphere and team philosophy that he wants.

    Then little-by-little he’ll start blooding new players around the fringes. Both youth and potential immediate upgrades.

    This way, he doesn’t have to start from scratch at every camp. The ‘old guard’ will have it down and the new faces can ease their way in.

    Because again, this isn’t a video game where players have ability numbers attached to their name. They need to settle into a rhythm. Especially when they’re being introduced to a whole new system.

  41. marco says:

    Not good, or he gave a very poor reason.

  42. marco says:

    Just say you rate them lower than Rogers, Orozco, Ream, Larentowicz, and Castillo who you did call in.

  43. Vic says:

    If Klinnsman wants to play a passing game, why did he leave out so many skilled players in favor of athletic players. I wasn’t a huge Bradley fan but I liked his selections more.

  44. away goals says:

    We might need to be careful about how we interpret his ‘core.’ I get the feeling the current group (now in its 3rd camp) is just the immediate core.

    If we’re patient I’m sure we’ll see the johns and gonzalezeses get their opportunities. At the same time we’ll probably see the players who continue to under perform fall by the wayside.

    Third camp. Zero meaningful matches played.

  45. mistadoblina says:

    always thought that would be interesting.. could be a good twist on the January camp.

  46. mistadoblina says:

    seriously he called in a bunch of d-mids and target strikers and no one (besides Lando) that really fits the #10 role.

    I’m interested in what the hell he is planning!

  47. boosted335 says:

    “that makes it tough for John or Gonzalez”
    what a joke Klinnsman.
    If he cant see that Omar and especially John are clear upgrades over Oro and Ream then we should expect even more disappointment leading up to and through 2014

  48. hogatroge says:

    I’m not worried about his omission yet, but I’ll be baffled if he’s not at least given a look by February. Of all the current CBs and CB prospects, Cameron’s the only one with any pace. He’s got good ball skills for the position, he’s an aerial threat, and he can make deep runs from the back. It seems like Klinsmann’s more focused on distribution from the back, so Cameron’s attacking ability is probably moot. However, Gooches and Bocanegras have too much potential to get burned by speedy players. Cameron deserves a look before WCQ, even if JK decides to go with Gooch, Goodson and Bocanegra without calling in John or Gonzalez.

  49. Centralscrutinizer says:

    I agree, sounds reasonable to me.

  50. away goals says:

    Hopefully gooch shows some composure on the ball this go round. I’m cautiously optimistic that his long-ball-itis was a symptom of the previous system.

    Anyone know if the long ball is his default mode at the club level? I never caught a standard liege game, and I haven’t seen him with sporting either.

  51. hogatroge says:

    To be fair, Rogers and Castillo weren’t called back in. Tim Ream has been in bad form, but he still has tremendous potential and he’s not worth writing off yet. Orozco had a relatively solid showing against Mexico. Larentowicz was actually very good in his limited minutes in September. Bunbury’s one of the only young, speedster-style strikers we have and has recently regained his form.

    That said, Bedoya’s still settling with Rangers and only recently got his first start in League play. Gatt and Diskerud are still green, so they’re exclusion is hardly a contentious point. Gomez is old, and while I personally think he deserves another call up, he’s probably off JK’s radar now.

    The only real omission to me is Kljestan, especially when Klinsmann has called in a relatively depleted midfield. Cameron definitely needs a look, but I’ll wait another 4 months or so before I start calling it a snub.

  52. hogatroge says:

    I agree that John and Gonzalez are worth looks, but they are hardly “clear upgrades” over Orozco and Ream. Orozco had a decent showing against Mexico, especially for a first senior team cap. He sucked a bit against CR, but it wasn’t an axe-worthy performance.

    Gonzalez is in good form now, but he lacks certain aspects that could potentially hurt him at the international level. Speed, agility and ball skills come to mind. I’m not saying he shouldn’t get a chance to prove everyone wrong, though.

    John hasn’t been in great form since the Blackburn fiasco. He and Ihemelu let in 5 (I know some were penalties) against the worst team in their CCL group. That said, I rate him higher than Gonzo, even though Gonzo’s doing better in MLS and the CCL.

    Ream has ball distribution and vision qualities John and Gonzalez haven’t been shown to match. Yes, Ream’s season has been marked by some pretty amateur errors. Probably a victim of the ridiculous hype machine and expectations. He will surmount this, though.

  53. David says:

    Wow, it is like the Omar Gonzalez/George John fan club in here. I assume Ream is consistently called in because Klins want to play out of the back and Ream can do that. His weaknesses have been exposed this season but at the end of the day I am sure most coaches feel teaching a young center back better positioning and working on strength and quickness is a lot easier than teaching composure on the ball. Yeah he has had to horrible giveaways in the league this year but only 2 over 2 seasons for a center back that doesn’t immediately booted out is pretty good.

    Also notice he hasn’t played a minute under Klins. that should also be a sign that Klins sees him as a player of the future, not present. He is there to learn.

    As for Orozco, I don’t much about him besides what I have seem under Klins and he hasn’t been that bad…

  54. Aaron in StL says:

    So I wonder if John starts looking at Greece much more seriously if they ever call. Although he’d probably be a striker there the way they play

  55. TomG says:

    True, but let’s face it: substitute the name Bob Bradley for Jurgen Klinsmann and watch the tenor of the discussion change. Don’t get me wrong: I’m glad people are a little more rational about things now, but something has to be said for the ridiculous, baseless and illogical abuse that was heaped upon BB for his selections.

    If you have any objectivity, you’ve got to look upon the selections thus far by Klinsi as being much less logical and merit based than BB’s in general. People HOWLED at BB for not bringing in different guys, but he was WAY more inclusive than Klinsi seems to be. Many bashed BB for playing favorites, but his choices were clearly more logical and merit based than Klinsi who clearly has a BUNCH of guys that he likes for his team that don’t seem to jibe with current form. The only real BB “favorite” that could be argued would be Bornstein, but even that is understandable in light of the fact that the pool was just entirely barren at LB at that point.

    I’m not saying that either approach is right or wrong, but the difference in the tenor of the comments is remarkable. I hope it’s just people growing up or smartening up, but I think there was also a weird, irrational hatred for BB that clearly had nothing to do with any of his actual decisions, but rather something going on inside the haters themselves.

  56. ozotkd says:

    Totally Agree

  57. Murph says:

    Touché

  58. wildchild says:

    okay, let’s cherry pick quotes.

    “We saw that there are players that want to get into this group and they have all the case, but at the same time if you want to develop consistency and you want to improve the quality of the group right now, you need to bring them in regularly”

  59. abc says:

    How is that cherry-picking quotes??
    “Best players” is the response he gave when asked specifically about not calling in Gonzalez, Feilhaber and John, and he mentions all three of them. By name. In the very same sentence.

  60. Carl says:

    If Gonzo or John made the types of errors Ream has this year, they wouldn’t be in the conversation. Ream has been, quite simply, awful. He had another error this weekend against TFC, not tracking his man, which lead to a goal.

    Can’t we demand that a player be solid at the club level before he becomes a national team regular? Gonzalez has demonstrated this, Ream has not.

  61. marc-oh-Vi-boost35-Coli-bcd says:

    Don’t think so, David. I do not think this is the Omar Gonzalez/George John fan club. It is rather the smoldering hard-core remnants of the BB Fan Club (aka Klinsmann Haters) who are not yet ready to move on and are trying to sow discontent with Klinsmann among USMNT fans. These jokers are not true USMNT fans, they are prikks with knives sharpened in the hope that our USMNT will lose so that Klinsman will be judged a failure and that they can tear him apart. Nice guys, huh? You should not waste your time trying to discuss with them. Ignore them. Just ignore them and let them wallow in their hate.

  62. beachbum says:

    how do you come up with this, that Ream has better upside? please explain this position which you state as if fact.

  63. beachbum says:

    these matches mean something. what are you talking about?

  64. beachbum says:

    it’s remarkable, and revealing

  65. beachbum says:

    I thought Coach’s whole thing was that you had to be playing for club, and playing well? it seems he cherry picks whom to apply that to

  66. Chav Bollocks says:

    +1

    I think those friendlies will be in Europe; it would make a lot of sense to play a European team and an African team (in Europe) on that trip

  67. beachbum says:

    it’s the USMNT fan club in here mate.

  68. Khan says:

    Chris Rolfe is a stud.

  69. beachbum says:

    what a tremendous pile of BS this is

  70. Goalscorer24 says:

    I am a KLinsmann fan, but I am little nervous that he is leaving out players like Gonzalez, and John. I hope he calls on them in November.

    Also I was hoping he would go for a younger team in general. It will be interesting to see how the Olympic team shapes up.

  71. Goalscorer24 says:

    I don’t know if I would agree TOMG. BB had some head scratchers too. Time will tell. I guess everyone has their opinions.

  72. marco says:

    That’s is the question, why aren’t John and Gonzalez projects that are called in ?

  73. marco says:

    I liked the comment but disagree with his conclusion. That may have been a perfect and only time to do just that.

  74. g in humboldt says:

    Klinsmann could have added “…the best players available who I think best fit into the system I’m trying to create, in the in the time window I hope to have. I want to show the US Soccer communities those players/attributes I value most and hopefully these attributes trickle down to the younger players. This is part of the process of bringing my ideas to bear on US Soccer while maximizing USMNT results.”

    He’s weighting the importance of a bunch of variable, finds players that best fit these variables, and hopes the results = raised level of USMNT play in the near future, World Cup 2014 success in the mid term, and an improved soccer system in the US in the long run. I hope he can pull off all three.

  75. SBI Troll says:

    Someone’s drank the Kool-Aid.

  76. marco says:

    One doesn’t know if John, Gonzalez, and Cameron will make the grade. One does know that Klinsmann’s answer ‘consistency’ is weak, because what value is there in consistently bad.

  77. marco says:

    I’d prefer he said that, we are trying three new players at ……. so there was no room for bleeding three more at this time.

  78. GW says:

    “If there are injuries, there are injuries. But in general, I want the best players always here, and that makes it difficult now for Benny or for George John and Omar Gonzalez for example, I understand that.”

    abc,

    I guess that depends on how you interpret “best players”.

    We all have our favorites and think they are the best. So should we do it by an American Idol style Poll?

    The USSF hired JK because,apparently they believed that by the time WC qualifying rolled around, he would have the best team possible assembled. Not by early October but by WC qualifying which starts next spring.

    I’ll bet you all of your money JK’s idea of “best players” will look a lot different by then.

    When BB was around he never said anything substantive about his reasons for selecting people.

    JK is far more talkative and far more interesting to listen to but I think everyone has fallen into the trap of thinking his interviews mean anything more than what BB said.

    They don’t.

    If you read them very carefully you will see that he is leaving himself just as many loop holes as BB did. They just have different styles.

    In other words it’s the same BS or coach speak if you prefer.

    JK’s teams are supposed to have more of an attacking edge. A big reason for that just might be he suddenly has lot more attacking options than BB did.

    I’ll be fascinated to see how much of JK’s attacking desire clashes with his playing experience. The man who introduced diving to England played on some very phsyical, very cynical,take no prisoners,type teams. Ask Wynalda who got stomped on by one of JK’s teams in the 1998 World Cup.

  79. GW says:

    Aaron,

    Greece played two Euro qualifiers on Sept 6 and Sept 12. If I remember correctly this was before the Blackburn transfer fell apart.

    Now if Greece were really serious about permanently capping him for them then they should have capped him then.

    They didn’t.

    Either they were respecting his impending transfer to Blackburn or they just don’t rate him that much.

    Either way, I remain unconvinced that Greece wants him that bad.

  80. Goalscorer24 says:

    I’m Sorry Bornstein was a pretty huge favorite for BB. Klinsmann lost Rogers and Castillo when they did not perform. With Ream and Orozco he hs not played them in big games like BB did with Bornstein. So far they have only been on the bench.

  81. beachbum says:

    “The USSF hired JK because,apparently they believed that by the time WC qualifying rolled around, he would have the best team possible assembled.”

    disagree. Gulati screwed up by rehiring Bradley for the second cycle, panicked after Mexico, then reacted while his heart was beating fast with anxiety. Reyna and his motions were already in play pre-klinsmann anyway

  82. Murph says:

    Really? What tournament are we in? Is it qualifying?

  83. freddino says:

    ” but I have a hard time claiming that I know more than Claudio Reyna and Jurgen Klinsmann.”

    Most sensible comment on this blog Cairo

    +1

  84. Mark Oldham says:

    Gianfranco, this is excellent reporting. Thanks!

  85. beachbum says:

    really. results always matter, as do performances, etc. If again, for example, we’re impotent in the final 3rd, does it matter? if we are not, does that matter?

    cheers

  86. Jeff says:

    I think he’s saying that Spector won’t be playing again — this time around.

  87. fiscyh says:

    I agree totally.

    Absolutely, JP.

  88. fischy says:

    Their “attributes” are needed? Sounds like Klinsi-speak is wearing off on the fans.

    I wonder would that mean in English…..

  89. fischy says:

    Touché is no Eboué

  90. fischy says:

    Just like his skivvies.

  91. fischy says:

    Actually, I think everyone has someone else’s opinion. At least, that’s my opinion.

    OK — I”m done for the night…..

  92. fischy says:

    How come you keep arguing with yourself? I mean, one doesn’t know why some other one posts replies to oneself….One does know it’s past one’s bedtime, though. G’night…..

  93. OC says:

    What’s so weird about the word ‘attributes’?

    And did you do that last bit on purpose?

    I feel as though Gooch’s skill set is pretty contrary to what Klinsi wants to see as a central defender. However, I tend to agree with the fact that when he was healthy, he was one of our most important players.

    Beas could really be something special if he’s got his mind right. Remember when he and Lando were the two next big things? Maybe this is Beasley’s last window of opportunity to be a great USMNT player.

  94. pd says:

    seriously, you’re one of those results equals performance minds? disappointed.

  95. pd says:

    what are you talking about?

  96. pd says:

    Wynalda proolly deserved to get stomped… too bad it wasn’t on the mouth…

  97. pd says:

    …or klinsmann was in the works pre gold cup.

  98. pd says:

    yalla, yalla Cairo!

  99. pd says:

    There is something to be said for the opponents we’re facing as well. Those of us who have watched CONCACAF qualifying before know full well that the majority of opponents USA playes in WC qualifying will put 11 behind the ball, bank on the quick counter for scoring opportunities and swipe at ankles every chance they get. That style of play is much more suited for two tough defensive mids, a big target striker and wicked fast flank players who can track back.

    To my mind Klinsmann needs to focus on four main things: establishing the work ethic and tempo of play he expects of all USMNT players (which takes time), establish his starting back four and create a depth chart there (which also takes time) assess players that can succeed in CONCACAF qualifiers and assess players that can succeed outside of CONCACAF. All these things need to happen within the context of club demands season demands injury etc. and the willingness of the player and his management. It’s not an easy task.

    Not to diss our conference, but with the exception of Mexico Costa Rica and Honduras when they have their A team, these are not the same pool of players.

    The thing that Bob Bradley did best was he made progress through evolution, not revolution. I think that everyone expected Klinsmann to do the opposite and there’s a bit of a sobering up period not what folks are realizing that dramatic and immediate change is rare. BTW with time Bradley will be regarded as one of the greatest USMNT coaches ever (yes better than Bruce and Bora) . That’s not a dig on Klinsmann as it was time for a change…

  100. pd says:

    I want to see Japan and South Korea matches on the west coast.

  101. Detroit! says:

    I don’t think that’s exactly what he’s saying. His first principle is that he “doesn’t want to shake up” the core group. He wants to “step by step” bring that group along, and then “step by step” introduce younger players with strong potential. He MIGHT also mean that Benny and Omar and so on are never going to measure up, or he might mean they aren’t part of what he sees as the core.

    For what it’s worth, I like what I’m hearing. He’s patiently building from the team’s strengths, and in his words and the callups he’s already made, he’s clearly willing to experiment with new guys. And from what we hear of his practices, it sounds like he’s got a pretty clear idea that the team needs better passing and finishing. Hard to argue with that.

  102. Murph says:

    I don’t recall using the word fact. It’s called having an opinion. Here’s why (in my humble opinion): Ream has shown better foot skill, comfort on the ball and tactical awareness to the point that his teammates use him quite often (even on the USMNT) to start attacks out of the back and helps with a possession based game Klinsmann covets. Has he had a tough year and some bad mistakes, yes, but (in my humble opinion) he still has better upside than Gonzalez how is more in the defend and boot mold that we’ve seen with past and present US CBs. I think last night’s game is a perfect example.

  103. Nigel Aghaincourt says:

    “Best” is such an arbitrary term. Klinsman wants the players that he wants and the US soccer public and just go scratch for all he cares.

    but the bottom line is, Beckerman, Lancerowicz, Edu aren’t going to be setting up anyone for goals. and most of the other mids look like wingers.

    Glad to see Bradley back but he’s not Xavi or even Feilhaber for that matter. actually 3 years ago when Feilhaber had a career, He and Bradley paired up quite well in the middle. but so it goes.

    and Edson Buddle is 30yrs old. Herculez Gomez is 29. so what up with that all you age-o-philes.

  104. Murph says:

    Seriously, it’s that type of thinking that will keep the US in the 30′s in FIFA rankings. Klinsmann is trying to change a system to take the US to the next level and that takes time and tinkering. If he were just focused on results then he would be trotting out the same team that would beat an Ecuador but generally lose to a Top 20 team. Scores in these friendlies do not matter one bit. Performance does as does finding a system that works.

  105. Murph says:

    Indisputable fact: Tim Ream has been called into the USMNT consistently now by 2 coaches. Could it be that he is the superior player, regardless of current form, or is it that these coaches do not possess the same talent evaluation skills you have? It’s a tough call, but I would go with the former.

  106. beachbum says:

    at this level, of course! we’re not talking about some juvenile league here. You are not? very disappointed.

  107. beachbum says:

    disagree. completely. The first three games, yes, a pass…but results matter. Winning is a habit, so is losing, and so is finding excuses.

    I hope this thing works brilliantly, I am no hater. BUT, I won’t look away when what I see is disturbing and pretend

  108. beachbum says:

    so if the USA beats Mexico, so Gulati was talking behiond Bradley’s back just in case the USA didn’t beat Mexico, and he was planning for that? lmao

  109. beachbum says:

    yawn. I am hardly the only person questioning the choice…that is indesputable fact, and also happens to be my opinion.

  110. beachbum says:

    excellent post, spot on from where I’m sitting.

  111. beachbum says:

    you watched last night’s game and came up with that analysis on Gonzo and Ream’s performances? ok, got it.

  112. Murph says:

    Yes, and I would still take those coaches decisions over any one on this board.

  113. DC Josh says:

    Moving towards 2014, I’d like to see a more technical side that can dictate the flow of the game in stretches. Missing Jose Torres for 2 months is HUGE, as he showed that he can be the link that holds the offense together.

    Dempsey cannot be our playmaker. He plays his best football when he has no role to play and can be creative.

    I’m hoping we see a 4-3-3/4-5-1 and not a dull 4-4-2.

  114. Murph says:

    Absolutely. I saw a team that constantly started their attack from the back through Ream (they’ve been doing that since his first game). I recall at least 3 scoring chances that Ream broke up because his positioning was very good all game. On the other hand, while Gonzalez was stout in defense, he basically played the typical defend and boot role. We already have a number of those on the USMNT (hence him not being called up recently). Oh, and the game ended was 2-0 in favor of RBNY.

  115. Murph says:

    Of course he wants to win and of course we all want to see the team win, but you’re missing the point. If Klinsmann simply put out the team that gave him the best chance to win each time, he would not be able to develop new players and create a new system that will hopefully bring us into Top 10 contention years from now. You have to appreciate the long view here, not just let’s beat Ecuador.

  116. beachbum says:

    OK Murph. I hope the USMNT plays the likes of Barrett-Lopez and not Tejada or Perez up in the tandem, OR that Ream improves exponentially by the time we face those 2 again. I truly hope he does since he is getting the call.

    Gonzo did not play long boot last night…simply not accurate.

  117. beachbum says:

    missing the point? Ha ha ha!!! believe what you want. The long view needs seeds to germinate now, against Ecuador. It matters.

  118. beachbum says:

    so would I, but I still disagree. your point?

    btw, I sure enjoy all the passion that US soccer brings out in all of us. when I was growing up, that was basically non existent.

  119. bryan says:

    I read that too. Sasha should be here over Jeff L. JK is wrong for calling up Jeff L. And Bedoya deserves to be on the team too.

    Also, Mike Bassett, Fiscal starts every game for his club…so I don’t know what you are talking about. I still don’t think he is the “best”, but he plays 90 essentially every week.

  120. bryan says:

    I think Sasha is probably better than Jeff L. at this point. And I think Bedoya should be in here. Other than that, yeah, it’s pretty much our best core. If Jones continues to play, he’ll be back.

  121. bryan says:

    ok taylor twellman…

  122. bryan says:

    I think they are “core” depth players. Beckerman is not going to start if Edu and Bradley are healthy and playing 90 minutes with their club. And Jones will likely make it back, which puts Beckerman even further back. I couldn’t agree more about Larentowitz though, he has no place on this team. Especially when you have Sasha available who plays in a 4-2-3-1 formation with his (much better) club week in and week out. Fiscal (Orozco) is fine with me, he plays 90 minutes every week and is not garbage. I agree that John and Gonzalez should get a look, but Fiscal is at least deserving of his place. And I’m sure he does not mean Williams. He’s new, he’s a prospect. But he’s one of the best ones we have. Especially considering he can play LB.

  123. soccerfan says:

    Yes you are reading it wrong. He doesn’t want to have a revolving door,wants to develop consistency with the same group of players.Doesn’t want to replace a player just because it had a one poor game. If Tim Ream or anyone keeps having bad games then clearly he will give others a chance.

  124. bryan says:

    I disagree about Sasha. He absolutely deserves to be on the bench of Jeff L. I use to dislike Sasha, but he is playing 90 minutes and playing well in a solid league. Parkhurst and Rolfe aren’t snubs. Benny should be there before Jeff L. too.

  125. bryan says:

    I didn’t see that. Anyone know why he is not available? Goodson is a starter, no doubt, so I wouldn’t read into this too much. Opens the doors for Gooch to take back his spot though.

  126. bryan says:

    “what are you talking about?”

  127. bryan says:

    Rogers and Castillo were initial prospects that haven’t been called in again. Fiscal is better than most give him credit for. Mixx, Gatt and Goodson were not avaialble because their leagues end soon. Bedoya just cracked the lineup at Rangers. Gomez had a foot injury and couldn’t come.

    I do agree about him calling in Larentowicz. Waste of a spot. I agree that Sasha should be there.

  128. Murph says:

    Agree to disagree. Everyone who talks about Gonzalez’s shortcomings always begin with his lack of foot skill and tactical awareness.

  129. GW says:

    bbum,

    What does Reyna have to do with anything?

    Do you really care about all the stuff before JK was hired?

    He’s here now and his job is to handle the senior team.

  130. GW says:

    “With Ream and Orozco he hs not played them in big games like BB did with Bornstein. So far they have only been on the bench.”

    Orozco played against Mexico.

    Given that JK has only been here for three games, all exhibitions, that game was the closest thing this bunch of players has had to a “big” game.

  131. GW says:

    “The thing that Bob Bradley did best was he made progress through evolution, not revolution. I think that everyone expected Klinsmann to do the opposite and there’s a bit of a sobering up period not what folks are realizing that dramatic and immediate change is rare. BTW with time Bradley will be regarded as one of the greatest USMNT coaches ever (yes better than Bruce and Bora) . That’s not a dig on Klinsmann as it was time for a change…”

    Good post. People here hardly ever give the opposing team credit.

    I always thought that if the World Cup had been in 2011 instead of 2010, BB would still be here and by that I mean Bradley’s best team, the 2009 Confederations Cup team was torn apart by injuries to key players who were never replaced ( Demerit,Gooch and Davies).

    Bradley capped so many new players and had so many players on his radar (like Joe Corona)that it will be a while before JK can bring in a player that was truly “his” and his alone.

    I do think JK has a good foundation on which to build so this period leading up to the WC qualifiers next spring should be very entertaining. I like that he seems to not be so focused on individual players so much as he is focused on creating a new team focus and identity. A new man always needs to place his stamp on things and so far it’s been very interesting.

  132. GW says:

    “Missing Jose Torres for 2 months is HUGE, as he showed that he can be the link that holds the offense together. ”

    I don’t know about that.

    That offense scored one goal in three games.

    Torres looked good at times but if there is no end product, sooner or later, then JK will drop him. You have to score or help people score and Torres had nothing to do with the one goal that bunch did score.