USMNT Daily Update: A look at the players whose stock rose the most, and fell the most, in 2012

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By IVES GALARCEP

As we reach the final week of the year, and draw closer to 2013, it is time to think back to 2012 and the players who saw their USMNT stock rise and fall the most.

This year has seen plenty of new faces emerge during the Jurgen Klinsmann era, and also some familiar faces that faded from the picture. We’ve had comebacks, and late bloomers, but also shooting stars that saw their national team momentum fade in 2012.

Whether it was Eddie Johnson resurrecting his career, or Landon Donovan fading from the national team conversation, we saw plenty of movement on the depth chart and in the conversation about what the USMNT will look like heading into 2013.

Here are the five players who saw their national team stock rise the most in 2012, as well as the five players who saw their stock drop the most.

USMNT STOCK RISING in 2012

1. GEOFF CAMERON

When the year began, Cameron was coming off a strong 2011 with the Houston Dynamo and was being talked about as a potential national team option and European transfer target. By year’s end, Cameron had moved to English Premier League side Stoke City and had established himself as a regular starter for the national team.

2. EDDIE JOHNSON

At the start of 2012, Johnson looked like a player who might be closer to being out of pro soccer than on the national team, but things began to change when he signed with MLS and joined the Seattle Sounders. All Johnson did was establish himself as one of the better forwards in MLS while also making his way back into the national team picture. He took full advantage of his USMNT return, scoring two goals in a key World Cup qualifying win against Antigua & Barbuda. Now Johnson heads into 2013 in the competition for a starting role in the Hexagonal.

3. GRAHAM ZUSI

The USMNT needed some new blood in midfield, particularly with Landon Donovan fading from the picture. Zusi took a while but eventually forced his way into the conversation. He impressed in national team performances and also continued to establish himself as one of the best attacking midfielders in MLS.

4. HERCULEZ GOMEZ

Though his climb into the national team mix shouldn’t have come as a big surprise, the way he turned himself into a regular starter and effective forward for the USMNT certainly wasn’t expected when the year began. He hadn’t made a national team appearance since August of 2010, but finishes the current year among the team leaders in minutes played. His movement, nose for goal and tireless work rate have impressed Klinsmann and has Gomez holding a starting role heading into qualifying in 2013.

5. BRAD GUZAN

Jurgen Klinsmann’s interest in young goalkeepers like Bill Hamid and Sean Johnson had to be a cause for concern for Guzan, who came into 2012 known as a career back-up in the EPL, someone in jeopardy of becoming a national team afterthought if he didn’t start finding playing time. He re-signed with Aston Villa in the summer, gambling on being about to beat out Shay Given for the starting role. That gamble paid off as he took over the top spot and established himself as one of Villa’s best players. Now instead of fading from the conversation about USMNT back-up goalkeeper, Guzan is starting to be talked about as a serious challenger to Tim Howard’s starting role.

HONORABLE MENTION

Terrence Boyd, Edgar Castillo, Michael Parkhurst, Mix Diskerud, Eric Lichaj, Sacha Kljestan

USMNT STOCK FALLING in 2012

1. LANDON DONOVAN

Not many could have seen this coming when 2012 began. Donovan was still regarded as a pivotal member of the national team. With each passing game he missed, it started to become easier to envision a national team without him, particularly when he returned in the summer and turned in some less than stellar performances. He did have his hat-trick outing against Scotland, but showed little else the rest of the year. Now that he has made it public that he doesn’t know if he will continue playing, Donovan has gone from national team pillar to a player the USMNT is ready to move on without in 2013 if he chooses to walk away.

2. TIM REAM

Few started the year on a more promising note than Ream, who completed a transfer to then-English Premier League side Bolton and then established himself as a regular starter. Things changed dramatically as the year went on. Bolton wound up being relegated and Ream struggled in the EPL. Ream’s struggles continued when the new season began in the League Championship. He has had a tough time finding playing time and while Klinsmann has mentioned Ream as someone who is on his radar, Ream is losing ground to a new generation of centerbacks and will have a tough time regaining the spot he enjoyed in the summer of 2011.

3. BREK SHEA

When the current year began, Shea’s status was that of being a player who always made it into Klinsmann’s starting lineups. Lack of production and diminishing returns eventually cost him that title. By the summer he had lost his place on the national team and turned heads after a high-profile public clash with FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman. He helped turn things around a bit, and played a key role in the USMNT victory over Mexico, but injuries sidelined him for the year and kept him from truly turning things around.

4. MAURICE EDU

How does a player who started at centerback in a shutout win over Mexico in Azteca make this list? He makes it by making a transfer move to Stoke City that has left him without playing time. The fact that he isn’t even dressing for matches is a serious cause for concern. His versatility should help keep him from falling too far off the national team radar, but if he doesn’t make a winter move to find some playing time, Edu could wind up out of the mix when World Cup qualifying begins.

5. JOSE TORRES

It might seem odd to see Torres on here considering he played quite a bit in 2012, and started in qualifying as recently as September, but his inability to really impress has cost him. Klinsmann has decided to look at other options and Torres looks to be sliding down the depth chart. Now he is facing a new challenge with a transfer move to Tigres. He is still only 25, and can play his way back into the conversation in 2013, but he definitely missed a chance in 2012 to cement a regular place on the national team.

OTHERS WHO SAW THEIR USMNT STOCK FALL

Oguchi Onyewu, Jonathan Spector, DaMarcus Beasley, Benny Feilhaber

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What do you think of these lists? Which player impressed you the most with how much they increased their stock in 2012? Who surprised you this year with how far their stock has fallen?

Share your thoughts below.

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67 Responses to USMNT Daily Update: A look at the players whose stock rose the most, and fell the most, in 2012

  1. bottlcaps says:

    Onyewu’s stock fell in 2010-11 through a series of injuries and a pre-mature return to the USMNT when he truly was not fit. His punishment for this awful time? A transfer to top-tier football via Malaga, one of the hottest teams in La Liga.Apparently they saw something SBI and JK missed. A famous basketball coach once said “You can’t teach height” And if a presence of 6’5″ on your backline doesn’t get your opponents attention, few things will. Yes, Onyewu is probably not as fast as he once was, but he still leaps well and having lots of Euro experience still makes up for his speed loss. He has not made the first team, yet. But he has climbed from the reserves to a starter in the less than important games in the UEFA Champions League. He has made to leap to the bench were he was Saturday for the Malaga win over Real Madrid!!

    If anything, I would say his stock has RISEN, and I expect it is only a matter of time before he make his way back to JK go-to list. He does have experience playing right/left back for various Euro teams, and that “utility” may make him valuable as the teams tries to qualify out of the Hexegonal..

    • bottlcaps says:

      Forgot to add the ascendency of Omar Gonzales. If returning to great form after a horrific knee injury, inflicted on the first day of training session in a Bundesliga team, and after months or rehab, making it back to the strting backline and turning the team around with formidable defense and then dominating the play-offs and getting the MLS MVP does not raise your stock, or having the speed and presence as well as the aerial ability that a 6’5: frame gives you., WHAT DOES!!

      • GW says:

        Gonzo spent the year getting back to where he was just before he got hurt.

        He is still an unproven USMNT quantity and did not prove himself at a level higher than MLS which he was trying to do by getting a loan to Nurmburg. We already knew he was an outstanding MLS defender before he got hurt.

        Shutting down Carr and Bruin is not the same as shutting down Mexico’s, Spain’s or Germany’s forwards.

        On the positive side he is back to square one.

        On the negative side he has lost one year.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          Buried within your post is the basic argument that his stock was high, dropped when he did his knee, then rose back to where it was this time last year after a decent return from surgery. He’s back in the same sort of discussions he was last year. Ergo, judged on an annual basis, his stock held at the same point.

          • GW says:

            That is what I said.

            As best as I can tell Gonzo’s stock is just about where it was before Chandler, in his traitorous, insane desire to get back at those USMNT fans on SBI who have been critical of his waffling , deliberately blew out Gonzo’s knee.

            Which is to say promising but unproven and very inexperienced internationally.

            I’m a little surprised at how everyone has already crowned Gonzo as a USMNT starter. He has a lot to prove yet.

            What is bad for Gonzo is he is one year older and no closer to his goal of being the US’s first choice ( at least I am assuming that is a goal of his). One wasted year is bad for an athlete though presumably he used the time off constructively so that he is now a more rounded person and athlete.

    • Tyler K says:

      As far as I know Gooch has never been a fullback.

      • Addick says:

        I believe he played some FB for Twente.

        • Addick says:

          Or he might have played on the left or right of a 3 man back line in Holland. I’m sure someone here has a better recollection of his time there than I do.

          • Josh D says:

            He played side back a couple times for Sporting. But he’s one of the slowest players I’ve seen and he’ll never find long term success there.

            • The Imperative Voice says:

              I’m a big believer in defensive speed so I agree.

              My two cents Gooch used to be so physically dominant and strong a tackler that he could get away with not being an Olympic sprinter. But as that’s eroded post-knee I think his mobility limits stand out….he becomes the Boswell of the pool…and in internationally play I think you have to be mobile if not fast. [Goodson is another example.]

          • GW says:

            During his loan at Twente his manager pretty much played exclusively at left back.

    • Grubbsbl says:

      Malaga may be one if the hottest teams in Spain but only seeing the field in throw away games is hardly something that equates “stock rising.” Now if Onyewu starts seeing the field consistently, he’ll deserves a call up again / serious consideration for 2014.

    • Lost in Space says:

      While I like Gooch and wish him the best untill he sees the field consistently for his club as a 90 minute contributor I don’t see him breaking back into the USMNT line-up except as maybe a Backup. Gooch, Boca, and Goodson should all be mentioned as players who’s stock is falling. Hopefully Gonzalez, Hines, Besler, and Brooks can step in and fill the void these guys are leaving.

      • GW says:

        There is half a season to go and every reason to think people might get hurt or lose form.

        Gooch should have a shot at some point.

      • GW says:

        Mr. Space,

        Add up the experience of Goodson, Gooch and Boca.

        Do the same with Gonzo, Hines, Besler and Brooks ( hint: these guys have one, maybe two caps between them).

        Then tell me you have enough time in 2013 to make up for that at a position where experience and leadership is very important.

        • AMPhibian says:

          leadership means very little when your leaders are being beaten for goals and chances. they are all pretty slow, and goodson is a meekling. i would rather spend the year getting experience for those with the greatest ability.

          • GW says:

            The last I checked, JK’s team using those guys you want to dump, had a winning record, with a few signature wins , finished first in their WC qualifying round and qualified for the Hex.

            And you want to replace JK’s guys with guys who haven’t proven squat. This just before we are about to start a very difficult Hex round.

            That’s called panicking.

    • danny says:

      “You can’t teach height” Seriously? This isn’t the US MNT of 20 years ago. I hope we’re not selecting guys who are obviously not at the same skill/passing level as other players just because of their “physical presence.” If we were going by the that criteria, right now I’d pick Jay Demerit, hands down. But we have other younger CBs with both speed and physical presence and better skill. I won’t even comment about his time at Malaga so far, but you are probably also one of those people who claimed that it was great that he got to practice with AC Milan.

    • Scott says:

      You also can’t teach speed, reverse aging or even improve his touch. But yes, he is tall. That basketball coach should hire him.

    • Lazio Curva Sud says:

      If Onyewu’s stock is indeed rising, one of the factors at hand would be Klinsmann’s undeniable shift away from white players in favor of black and hispanic players. With Goodson, Bocanegra, Cameron, and Ream filling out the current pool of centerbacks, it is never impossible that Onyewu will receive a nod from the coach for one of those roster spots.

      • Getrealtime19 says:

        What? What?

      • mug says:

        Carlos Bocanegra is hispanic.

      • Jd says:

        Were you dropped on your head as a kid or did that come natural? Dumbest comment I’ve heard in ages.

      • AMPhibian says:

        someone/thing has you brainwashed. you are projecting RACISM onto JK that is entirely unfair, and lacking evidence. JK is neither ignorant nor unjust, and one or both are required for that level of flawed and archaic thinking.

      • Felix says:

        What makes this post all the more curious is considering how Geoff Cameron has basically become a automatic 1st teamer at CB, despite the fact he doens’t even play the position at Stoke City.

      • Bobb says:

        Klinsmann’s shift to black and Hispanic players explains why
        – Edson Buddle, Robbie Findley, and Bornstein pretty much never get called in
        – at one point Brek Shea had played more minutes under Klinsmann than anyone else
        – Onyewu, Torres, and Fiscal have fallen out of favor…

        Should I continue?

    • Jake says:

      He barely plays in any games that matter at Malaga. Not sure what kind of “rising” that is…

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Somewhat like Omar. Periphery looking in last year, got himself into the mix, embarrassed himself against Antigua, transferred, began to rebuild his credibility. You can’t meaningfully claim his stock rose when he basically had the biggest personal market crash of any pool player including people like Holden.

      But not quite like Omar. Unlike Omar the embarrassment of Antigua was in the USMNT context, which goes on your permanent record. Unlike a knee, people will basically ask if he’s lost it no matter how well he plays for club. And given the distinctions Klinsi is willing to make re Altidore on club-country, don’t think for a moment the coach can’t tell the difference.

  2. Peter says:

    I would say Agudelo belongs on the list of people who’s stock has fallen

    • Chris says:

      How so? He’s performed about as well for Chivas as he was performing for RBNY. I think it’s funny that when he came on the scene everyone was calling him “Jozy 2.0″ what funny is it turns out he’s the anti-Jozy (perhaps Bizzaro-Jozy, I don’t know) in that Juan has performed quite well for country but not so well for club, and we all know how pretty underwelming Jozy’s been for the Nats of late and lighting it up in Alkmaar.

    • Hogatroge says:

      I have to disagree.

      Backe didn’t rate Agudelo, but now Backe’s out and RBNY’s cleaning house. Juan may have spent two large stretches injured this year, but he’s started for Chivas whenever he’s been healthy, and the few goals he’s scored for them actually represent a pretty big chunk of Chivas’ collective goalscoring for the year (however unimpressive their total may be).

      He was a beast for the U23s against Mexico and Cube before coming out of Olympic Qualifying injured. He also slotted right back into the senior team against Russia and had a very positive outing and assist. He then rounded out the year training with Celtic.

      While his stock might not have risen, he has proved that it definitely hasn’t fallen.

    • GW says:

      He’s 20.

      His last game for the US was the Russia game where he assisted on Mikey’s Golzao and showed very well.

      Juan is coming along just fine though 2013 will be big year for him.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Agudelo and Shea have lost some cachet in the big picture, but I think it’s hard to buy a player who got called in for Russia (and trained with Celtic) is much on the outs. Went down, came back up. He will be in the January camp and maybe Gold Cup. Might even sneak in on the tail end of qualifying callins. FWIW, I think the bench attacking positions are still up for grabs. No one but the usual suspects have played so well their positions are secured.

    • Ross says:

      I think Agudelos drop is due to the two awful clubs he was on. How would he have played if he had been with a stable club? RBNY and Chivas were the most dis functional clums in MLS last year. I don’t think anyone would have done well under those circumstances.

  3. boosted335 says:

    Cameron was off to a great start with the Dynamo?!? Revisionist much?

    • atd says:

      Tim Ream struggling in the EPL is also some revisionism. He was characteristically uneven but by and large pretty good, and much better than he’s been in the Championship.

  4. baldomero123 says:

    Gooch was never fast. Maybe in his previous life.

    • louis z says:

      Thank you. Not sure where this thing about Gooch being fast ever started, his physical presence was always his number one assest.

  5. Josh D says:

    Goodson should be in the top five for downward spiral. He went from starter to fan villian and bench warmer. I suppose a decent performance against Russia saved him.

    I’m not sure if Guzman deserves a spot. He didn’t play last year and yes his club form and status is as good as anyone’s, but with 0 appearances, you can’t say he’s done better or worse. Any factor of 0 is 0. If we want a keeper, Hamid would be there. A part of the failed u20 team and after getting called out by Klinsi as Howard’s backup, he hasn’t received a roster place since.

    • RB says:

      “I suppose a decent performance against Russia saved him.”

      But only a surprising goal from a kid on as a late sub saved him against Russia, after that foolish penalty on him gave Russia back the lead.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      If any of the MLS people look sharp in January Goodson is out of a job and maybe not even called. What a joke. And I agree with RB, from a defender’s perspective, if you seem OK but then give up goal 2 in a 2-2 game, where you nearly lose it for the US, you did not have a decent performance. Defenders are judged on full 90s.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      FWIW, I think the 8 Chelsea put on AV raises questions about Lichaj and Guzan. Guzan in particular looked pretty ineffective.

      • Chris in Des Moines says:

        The game was only 3-0 when Lichaj was pulled. So, Villa shipped 8 after that. And Guzan made 7 saves even though he let in 8. He was absolutely barraged the whole game.

        No one played well.

        But I don’t seem to recall folks saying that Arsenal’s defense wasn’t fit for national team duty after they shipped 8 to United last year. They had a shocker. It happens. Judge cumulatively.

      • MetrofanNo1 says:

        Right. Remember when he was with Chivas and teams swept the floor with them. He was their only bright spot despite their form. I guess that’s how you get better from having a lot of target practice!

  6. wilyboy says:

    Think DaMarcus is just happy someone mentioned his name.

    Not sure it can be measured, but some players definitely upped their stock in 2012 who haven’t been called in yet. We’re talking Gonzalez, Besler, and Pontius chiefly. Can’t wait for the January roster.

  7. TomM says:

    I realize his position’s been safe for sometime now, but how can you not say Bradley’s USMNT stock has risen in 2012? He went from being a midfield option to being our most valuable player. I’d say that’s a significant rise.

    • mug says:

      +1. Couldn’t agree more. Remember all the Bradley sucks, he only starts because of his dad, he’s holding us back nonsense? It wasn’t that long ago.

  8. dan says:

    putting donovan on the list is just plain stupid, he has not lost any stock in the usmnt, he was injured for most of the national games and the others were friendlies he played in. you can say that donovan is choosing to perhaps be not part of it but to say that his stock fell in klinsey’s eyes is another terrible sweeping comment yet again by you Ives

    • AMPhibian says:

      you are misguided in your rudeness as well as your point. we want players that want it, and are committed and consistent. if chandler would not have committed to the team, his USMNT stock would be falling also.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Landon played fewer games than…..
      “Klinsi favorite” Jozy (who had an enforced respite); future prospect Boyd; the embattled Goodson; the embattled Williams.

      He played as many games as…..
      Parkhurst, Shea, Zusi, Torres. The Marginals.

      He was not even on the finalists’ list for the US player of the year award, which he’d won or been on as long as I can remember.

      And one of the keys to me is, just based on the absences — gloomy press stuff aside — you are starting to see the progression of the team past his era. Which is basically what Ives said. He didn’t say Klinsi hates him, but the practical difference might not matter if Landon is either hurt or burnt out all the time.

  9. kevin says:

    how did Beasley’s stock fall?! probably his best calendar year at the club level in ages and he did well in his limited performances for the US. explanation?

    • primoone says:

      Hey Kevin…Consider the source…If it wasn’t for their articles, you and I wouldn’t be talking about how much they suck. Authors who write these types of pieces usually like who they like and see what they want to see. I can’t tell you how many times I cursed out Grant Wahl, Ives, Greg Seltzer, Matt Doyle and countless number of Journalist that have made statements that indicate just how much they have left to learn about the beautiful game. I don’t think my opinions are always correct however, they don’t cross over into absurdity. I love when they report facts however, I try not to read anything that involves their own biased opinion.

      • Ives Galarcep says:

        So let me get this straight. Journalists that cover the sport, like the guys you mentioned, have “a lot left to learn about the beautiful game” because we state opinions you don’t agree with? Okay. If you say so. I’ve read enough of your comments on this site to know just how hilarious that statement is coming from you. And no, I don’t think my opinions are always correct either, but your suggestion that my opinions are just biased, misguided musing from someone who “doesn’t know the game” is pretty hilarious considering some of the stuff you spout on here. Lastly, I ask you this. Why on earth are you even coming to this site? Sounds like you’d be better off launching your own site so you could enlighten all of us who don’t share your brilliant grasp of the game.

        • primoone says:

          Look Ives, no one likes to be criticized. However, that’s the nature of the business, especially when opinions are given by journalist. Journalist also give their fair share of criticism. Do you not hand out your fair share? If I struck a nerve, then maybe you are in the wrong business? Just like I am on the wrong website? One thing that is not smart on your part is actually running off long-time posters just because they rubbed you the wrong way. I mean, consider what it is that is actually driving the traffic on this site and generates the revenue? The content of your pieces? Sure, however, its the discussions that bring them back. It gives their voice a chance to be heard. Anyone can report the facts however, it is your biased opinion that (after all, it is a blog) that the audience agrees or disagrees with and that is the catalyst that sparks the discussions. Yes, even the discussions about how much you suck or how much they think you are spot on, my friend.

          • Ives Galarcep says:

            Nothing wrong with criticism, or disagreeing with me. What you wrote went well beyond that. I can tell you’re a “nobody knows more than me” kind of guy, who seems to think that all journalists are are people with “biased opinions”. That’s your favorite term “biased opinions.” I imagine it’s inconceivable to you that journalists can have informed opinions that are far less biased than your average American soccer follower. That would be too much for you to handle because then it wouldn’t be so easy to dismiss the opinions of journalists when those opinions so often conflict with your own.

            As for what is or isn’t smart in terms of “running off long-time posters”, I have found that “running off” people with negative attitudes only serves to improve the environment in the comments section (addition by subtraction if you will). Not everyone takes these clashes that way though. Sometimes, people actually realize that maybe, just maybe, they have been out of line, and maybe, just maybe, they are the one who should change their tone and attitude in the comments section.

            • Primoone says:

              You can attack me personally if it makes you feel better. I am a big boy, I can take it but It sounds as if I hurt your feelings. I do feel like a know it all and I do feel that my opinion is superior. I mean, F-ck ives, you have a Q&A session hosted by you! It’s not a Q&A session hosted by the forum participants. You give the answers…your opinions and your perspective because you feel your’s are the best. But if you take a look at who your forum participants are, they feel the same way I do with regards to their own opinions. I am sorry for the way that my comments made you feel. That said, I feel the way I feel and you feel strongly about how you view things as well as every other forum member does. I am not incapable of seeing things from another perspective and I can have a civil discussion about a difference of opinion. If what I have to say bothers someone then they don’t have to engage me. If I read someone’s piece and I think its garbage, then I can stop reading it right? But why would I? I obviously find entertainment in reading it. So why stop?

              • Ives Galarcep says:

                Are you really this dense? This isn’t about my “feelings being hurt.” It’s about you taking shots at me (and others in my profession who I happen to respect). There’s a difference between saying “I disagree with X about Y.” and saying “Consider the source, it’s not like they really know what they’re talking about.” I don’t have to get my feelings hurt to take offense to you taking shots at me on my own site. You really think feelings enter into it? At the end of the day you’re just some anonymous commenter. I have enough people who actually respect my work and my opinion to not lose much sleeper over anonymous trolling. That being said, if you can’t understand why I would take issue with you taking shots at me on my own site then maybe you aren’t smart as you think you are. You crossed the line, and if you can’t see how you crossed the line then you probably shouldn’t be commenting on the site anymore.

    • Ives Galarcep says:

      Beasley had a great spring, but his fall wasn’t as good as his first half (zero goals, 2 assists) and there are new wing options coming through the pipeline, so he has lost ground in the race for 2014. He had a decent cameo against Mexico in August, but didn’t get another call-up, with Klinsmann going with younger options. With the likes of Zusi, Corona, Gatt and Gyau, I’d say Beasley’s USMNT days are behind him.

  10. AMPhibian says:

    love the USMNT end-of-year stock article. nice one, ives.

  11. joe mi says:

    Yes, I can envision our NT without Donovan. And it’s a very poor team. Any team replacing Donovan level player with Zusi level player has no bench and will suffer mightily. So let’s hope that one morning invigorated Landon jumps off a bed screaming “Give me the ball”.