USMNT Daily Update: A look at the left back depth chart

FabianJohnson2 (ISIPhotos.com)

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By IVES GALARCEP

The left back position has long been a source of angst and disappointment for the U.S. Men’s National Team, but when Fabian Johnson committed to the U.S., it seemed as though the position might finally be one of strength.

All it took was a Johnson injury just before the March qualifiers for left back to once again be a shaky position. At least before DaMarcus Beasley stepped in and proved to be an admirable temporary replacement.

So where does the position stand now? Johnson remains the top choice, while Edgar Castillo continues to improve with Club Tijuana. With Beasley looking like an option, and  Timmy Chandler also capable of playing the position, maybe left back isn’t in such bad shape after all.

Wondering just how deep the position is? Here is a closer look at the U.S. National team’s depth chart:

USMNT LEFT BACK DEPTH CHART

1. FABIAN JOHNSON

The clear-cut first-choice left back. While there are some who wonder if he might not be the team’s best left wing option as well, it is tough to see Klinsmann moving him anywhere considering how good he is at left back.

2. TIMMY CHANDLER

Some might forget he looked very good at left back a year ago, but with Geoff Cameron looking like a strong right back option, and Steve Cherundolo still in the mix, perhaps we shouldn’t rule out Chandler at left back, particularly if anything happened to Johnson or if Klinsmann finally gave in and tried Johnson out as a winger.

3. EDGAR CASTILLO

His move to Club Tijuana has really helped his career take off, and he has played a key role in the team’s considerable success. There are still questions about his defensive qualities, but his attacking qualities are undeniable.

4. DAMARCUS BEASLEY

Not many would have included Beasley on this list at all, let alone as high as this. But after his impressive showing in recent World Cup qualifiers at the position you have to wonder whether this might be too low a rating. Realistically though, what Beasley certainly did was boost his standing as a utility option, with the versatility to play left back or left wing.

5. JUSTIN MORROW

One of the keys to San Jose’s success in 2012, Morrow is arguably the best left back in MLS. He had mixed results in his start vs. Canada in January, but showed some good qualities that gave Klinsmann enough confidence to bring him in as a back-up for the recent qualifiers.

6. MICHAEL PARKHURST

A natural right back, Parkhurst took a starting turn at left back in last year’s World Cup qualifying win vs. Guatemala. The issue with Parkhurst now is his lack of playing time, which is why he isn’t higher on this list.

7. JONATHAN SPECTOR

It seems like ages ago since he was struggling mightily as a left back for West Ham, but he remains a player Klinsmann has his eye on, and if not for a recent injury just before the March qualifiers, Spector just might have been called upon to play left back.

8. ERIC LICHAJ

A year ago Lichaj was getting starts for Aston Villa and looking like a very good young left back prospect. Now, he’s buried on the bench and is even further away from catching Klinsmann’s attention. For me he should be higher on this list, but given Klinsmann’s seeming disinterest, it’s tough to put him any higher. In an ideal world, Lichaj would get a look in the Gold Cup, but he may need to make a transfer move and get regular playing time before Klinsmann takes a serious look.

9. HEATH PEARCE

You might consider him a bit of a blast from the past, but after a lengthy run in MLS as a centerback, Pearce is back playing left back regularly and if he he continues there for the New York Red Bulls he will work his way back onto the radar.

10. TODD DUNIVANT

There is no denying that Dunivant is one of the best left backs in MLS, and has been for several years. So why isn’t he higher on the list? His age (32) and relative lack of pace are two big strikes against him. He still makes the list though because he’s still one of the league’s best.

HONORABLE MENTION

Seth Sinovic, Chris Korb, Greg Garza, Jorge Villafana, Chris Wingert, Kevin Alston.

————-

What do you think of the Left Back depth chart? Confident in Fabian Johnson’s ability to hold down the position? Who would you start there in June? Did you like what you saw from Beasley?

Share your thoughts below.

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109 Responses to USMNT Daily Update: A look at the left back depth chart

  1. MikeG says:

    I like the depth at LB. I think the depth would allow F Johnson to be put into a RW position on the field. I believe Beasley is either #1 or #2 as a LM (winger) on the USMNT. Chandler’s play at LB could move F Johnson to RW. I hope F Johnson continues to get more games in midfield for Hoffenheim.

    • ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

      Can anyone explain why Klinsy is being so stubborn about not playing Johnson on the wing? He played left wing (with Chandler behind him at LB) against Slovenia and he looked very, very threatening there. Not to mention our depth at LB is better than our depth on both wings put together.

      Speaking of that Slovenia game, why haven’t we played that diamond midfield 4-4-2 again? I haven’t seen us look that good EVER. 3 goals in the first half? Against a European side, on the road? It’s almost as if Klinsmann said, “Hey, that worked really well… Yeah, let’s not do that again.”

      • Felix says:

        I’m not the biggest Klinnsman fan, but I disagree with your assessment. FJ is our most consistent, all-around LB option at the moment. I would love to see FJ pushed up to the wing (I prefer the left side) but who plays behind him? Castillo has played well with Tijuana, but his form on the USMNT team has been up and down, and he never has been and never will be a great 1 v 1 defender (even though he has improved). Everyone else, on that depth chart are either too green, not natural LBs or not international quality.
        Instead of clamoring for FJ to be pushed up to in order insert someone else at LB who isn’t as good (especially in light of all the upheaval and relative inexperience of our back 4), I’d much rather see Klinnsy play an actual WINGER on the left, like Beasley or Shea, who FJ can support in the attack when those moments come.

      • biff says:

        Let me ask you, ChrisTheLSUTiger? Why in the world should Klinsmann play people out of their club position? Fabian Johnson is a left back at Hoffenheim. Do you really want to open up Pandora’s Box again for Klinsmann the Tinkerer. I am happy if I never see Danny Williams again as right winger or Maurice Edu as attacking midfielder and Jose Torres as left back–or Fabian Johnson as left winger.

        • ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

          Generally I agree – Klinsmann’s propensity towards playing central (and especially defensive-minded) midfielders on the wing is just baffling.

          That said, there’s a big difference between playing Williams at right wing and playing Johnson there. Johnson has even said that RW is his best position. You’re comparing apples to oranges here. You are happy to never see Johnson as a LW? I guess you didn’t see the Slovenia game.

        • malkin says:

          Fabian plays all over the field for Hoffenheim. In fact, just last weekend he played RM. He plays left back more than any other position, but he can certainly play on either wing.

      • Josh D says:

        Because our sidebacks are usually our weakest areas and Gomez and Shea have both done well as our left winger/forward. I don’t think Johnson is the be-all-end-all winger either. As a LB, he tends to play well offensively but time and time again he can’t provide that final ball or he bites off more than he can chew.

        • ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

          Gomez, yes.

          Shea, no, not at all. At least not yet.

          • Hogatroge says:

            Are you kidding? Brek set up the match-tying goal against Mexico in Klinsmann’s debut and the winner in Azteca last year.

            Has he disappointed at times? Yes.

            To say he has never looked good at all, however, is simply a false statement.

            • ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

              He works well as a super sub, but as a starter he’s been less than impressive.

              I’ll take FJ over Shea on the wing any day. Let Shea come in at about the 70th minute and try to make something happen.

              • biff says:

                how about Demarcus Beasley at LW, ChrisTheLSUTiger. By the way, Fabian is starting at LB right now as I type for his first game under the new coach.

        • ehhh says:

          what are sidebacks?

      • GW says:

        CTLT,

        If LB depth is “better than our depth on both wings put together” why did the US have to play an emergency left back there for more than few games during qualifying?

        Most managers prefer a stable back four, or as stable as you can get. Once Donovan and Shea get back there are suddenly plenty of candidates for winger or midfield going forward. And if those two are anywhere near their best, the US will be okay.

        “It’s almost as if Klinsmann said, “Hey, that worked really well… Yeah, let’s not do that again.””

        Do you really believe that? First of all the US had Fabian Johnson in midfield because Chandler was at left back and Dolo at right back. When all these guys show up healthy at the same time again then maybe you’ll see it again.
        Second you had an in form Buddle teaming up with Jozy. Since Edson has been hurt and lost form, the US haven’t really had a partner for Jozy as good as him.

  2. Old School says:

    Sorry, Ives.

    Beasley still has quickness.
    Beasley still has recovery speed.
    Beasley is NOT a LB.

    Obviously a series of several injuries lead to his placement at LB. However, as much as I loved the match against Costa Rica, they were not actual conditions to rate a soccer match. Against Mexico (in actual conditions of a legit soccer match), Aquino was having his way with him and made it look easy. If not for the amount of times Herc had to track back to assist in defense the night could have gone from suspect to horrible.

    Could he be an emergency LB on a World Cup squad? Absolutely. However, he’s more strongly suited for an advanced role.

    Beasley is not a LB.

    • biff says:

      Basically agree, Old School. And Demarcus Beasley, in my opinion, has earned the right to start at left wing against Belgium in May, even if he drops a bit in form at the club level. I really, really want to see him at LW with the Nats.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      +1. he was adequate when we absolutely needed him, and herc tracking back made it possible. i love beas, and hope he continues to get called up, but if we have any actual defenders healthy and available, i’d rather play them there.

      still not sure why chepo abandoned attacking the wings so early on in this last game; seemed like it was working for them.

      • chuck says:

        Agree 100% with you all. I think Beasley’s performance in the Mexico game was overrated by many. I felt like he was was inches away from getting sent off on a few tackles and got beat a fair amount as well. Props to him for stepping in, but I would not feel overly confident with him as an every game left back. Definitely not 4th on my list.

      • louis z says:

        ??? .Chepo attacked from the wings. In his plan the weak link of our defense was the LB and that is where most of his attack came from.

        • Nate Dollars says:

          i noticed that in the first half, not so much in the second, which is why i was thinking they had abandoned it. i may have missed it.

    • Steve says:

      Still doesn’t change the fact that he got the two starts in the most recent qualifiers when #1/#2 were out. Whether we like it or not, he is # 3 on the depth chart.

      • Old School says:

        The one point I will agree with Ives, he’s no higher than 4th on our depth chart.

        Not 3rd.

    • Fredo says:

      Agree

    • GW says:

      Old School,

      “ Beasley is not a LB”

      True, but it’s not a big deal.

      You don’t have to be a LB to play there for the few games that he will. Consider that Fabian wasn’t really a LB before JK used him there. He had just been shifted there by Hoffenhiem just before or just after the US used him there. Prior to that his main position was either right back or the right side of midfield as a holding midfielder.

      It’s different with national teams as opposed to club teams.

      Obviously it would great to have all your starters playing the same positions they do with their clubs but that isn’t always possible even with the best national teams. Spain played Fabregas at striker this past Euro and he did well enough so that they won the thing.
      Besides, just because you play left back for your club it does not mean that that is the only position you can play or that left back is even the best position for you. Cameron appears to be Pulis’ idea of Stoke’s right back even though I don’t think Cameron is a “real” right back. I like right backs who can put in a good cross. And Mascherano a defensive midfielder, is Barca’s center back even though he is “not a CB”.

      Filling in is more the norm with national teams, which is after all a part time gig for most players. An EPL starter at left back might get 40-50 games there in a season. National teams play anywhere between 14 to 20 games a year depending on a variety of factors. And the national team LB starter might only get maybe half to two thirds of those game for one reason or another.

      So yeah, DMB might not be a LB but if he can fake it for a few games that’s all the team needs.
      .

  3. Michael says:

    What happened to Jonathan Bornstein? Is he really that much worse a player now than he was when he was a fixture with the national team from 2007-2011 and started in two World Cup matches?

    • Old School says:

      The 2011 Gold Cup is all you need to know about Jonathan Bornstein.

      That literally sums up his ability as a LB and highlights why he’s been unofficially retired.

      • Bobb says:

        That’s ridiculous when Bornstein was just fine at the 2010 World Cup (and just recently in CCL vs Seattle), and Todd Dunivant is ranked here.

        • Old School says:

          Sorry, but I think you’d find about five people who thought he was “just fine” to start two matches in the World Cup in 2010.

          You, Jonathan himself, his Mother and Father and lastly Bob Bradley (who sealed his fate as Nats manager by subbing him in and relying on him in the 2011 Gold Cup).

          Just because Bob trusted him doesn’t mean the fanbase did. Of course, had Bob REALLY trusted him, he would have started the Gold Cup final against Mexico…and that wasn’t the case, for reasons that became extremely evident with his entry (USA 2 – Mexico 0) and the final score (USA 2 – Mexico 4). All goals scored on his side and/or against him.

          There’s nothing “just fine” about that.

          • RB says:

            “Sorry, but I think you’d find about five people who thought he was “just fine” to start two matches in the World Cup in 2010.
            You, Jonathan himself, his Mother and Father and lastly Bob Bradley…”

            Yeah, no: look back and you may recall that actually people were pleasantly surprised at how well he acquitted himself when called upon in WC action (the GC being a different story).

            Not saying I want him back on the squad, mind you — just commenting for accuracy’s sake on that.

            • Ulysses says:

              Bornstein is a star in Honduras and not so popular in Costa Rica. That’s his legacy.

            • louis z says:

              You do realized in those 2 games he was hardly tested. Ghana didn’t do their homework, just about all of their attack was from the middle and right side.

          • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

            Bornstein actually had a pretty solid World Cup. I don’t think he should be anywhere near the US team at this point, but for all the hate the guy gets, he really showed up when it mattered most. People shouldn’t forget that.
            I’ve always wondered how “fans” can direct soo much hate to a guy on their own team. What has he done to make people hate him so much? He didn’t pick himself, but he always worked hard for the team. Just wasn’t good enough. Give the guy a break.

            • RB says:

              That pretty much sums it all up, yes.

            • Old School says:

              “I’ve always wondered how “fans” can direct soo much hate to a guy on their own team.”

              Just because he’s my countryman, doesn’t mean he’s exempt from criticism.

              I don’t hate him nor do I think he’s a bad guy. What I will confirm, stand by and say till I’m blue in the face: He was our weak link and should never be called up again.

              I’m sorry if stating reality is too harsh for some people. Johnny seems like….a nice guy…I guess.

              • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

                It wasn’t you necessarily that I was directing this towards. No one is exempt from criticism. Bornstein has certainly earned plenty of it from some of his performances. There is real hate behind some peoples comments though. I’ve seen people wish injury and worse on the guy…That I do not understand.

              • GW says:

                Old School,

                The USMNT has a winning record when Bornstein was on the field, both for friendlies and for competitive games.

                That would be my assumption for why Bradley played him, that and the fact that there seemed to be no credible alternatives.

                Re: 2011 Gold Cup: “All goals scored on his side and/or against him”

                JB did not play well but to lay the
                blame entirely on him lets too many other underachievers off the hook.

                JB did poorly on the first goal. On the second and tying goal by Guardado, Bornstein and another defender let the winger (Gio?) get in the cross which was low and went right to Lichaj in the 6 yard box. Eric then promptly “passed” it to Guardado who said “gracias” and immediately scored.

                On the third goal Bornstein’s man Barrera scored after the Mexicans waltzed through our midfield. Lots of help there.

                And the fourth goal where Howard chased Gio almost to the halfway line (an exaggeration I know) only to have Gio chip the entire US defense? I don’t know if that was Gio being a genius or the entire US defense being clowns.

                Jonny boy looked lost, understandable given his rust but what excuse did the other ten guys have for being so pathetic?

        • Gary Page says:

          If he were to start regularly for Tigres and do well, thus showing he has improved considerably, then he should be considered, but not until then. He almost never gets into a League MX game. In fact, he is lucky to even dress for a game.

    • Old School says:

      I imagine SBI is ok with youtube videos: link to youtube.com

      USA 2 – Mexico 0.

      As soon as Cherundolo goes down and Lichaj switches from LB to RB, literally every goal came at the expense of Bornstein or for the 4th, on his side when Bocanegra chased Hernandez to the corner (Bornstein’s corner).

      Was he the worst LB of all time? Absolutely not.
      Was he the biggest liability on defense? Absolutely.

      If he never wears a Nats kit again, it’ll be too soon.

      • RB says:

        Don’t think anyone is disagreeing on how he played in the GC…

        • Old School says:

          I’m sorry, the Gold Cup was a huge indictment on JB’s contribution to the national team as a whole.

          You’re welcome to point out a game or two while others will point out the body of work.

          • RB says:

            I just pointed out that you were rather mistaken in claiming that basically no one thought he did sufficiently well in the WC. Thanks.

            • Old School says:

              …and I can count on one hand the amount of people that believes that.

              If that’s the basis of your defense of JB, thanks indeed.

              • RB says:

                Wow — I just realized you’re the same guy! Just Sorry I slipped up and corrected you again — my bad!

                I should be able to remember your name better after this second time around…

      • chuckinbham says:

        Thanks for reminding me how much this match made me want to rip my toe nails out. JB has no business on the pitch or in the swing. NO BUSINESS! Not even sure why we are discussing him.

  4. nick says:

    I agree that LB isnt in as bad of shape as some people made it seem…just have to get healthy, which is easier said than done.

    • MidWest Ref says:

      I think that we have a number of players who can fill in, but I don’t know that any of them regularly play at the level we want for the USMNT. I mean Beasley filled in admirably, but he sure didn’t look comfortable against Mexico (not that many LBs would).

      Almost everyone at the top of SBI’s list primarily plays at another position. The regulars at LB are a significant drop off.

      • Gary Page says:

        The state of the US team is such that anyone who starts regularly for a team in one of the 4 top leagues in Europe is good enough to play on the US team. Thus, Johnson and Chandler qualify, even if they don’t always play LB.

  5. louis z says:

    Ives, why don’t you ask your ex-compatriot saco-vertiz to come and play with us. I’m just amazed how many U23 of 2012 were.

  6. chris_thebassplayer says:

    Maybe Cameron at number three on the LB depth chart? I think both Cameron and Chandler could play either side. Both can handle a stay home defensive role at LB. Count me in the camp that would like to see Johnson moved up field. I’m fine with Cameron or Chandler behind him.

  7. SBI Troll says:

    Some thoughts:
    *Eric Lichaj in form is 3rd on this list. He needs to get in some games somewhere so we don’t have to rely on Beasley, who should get a look on the wing.

    *I haven’t seen Spector play in ages but I always thought he should get a try at CB when we were trotting out Gooch, Boca, and Goodson.

    *Chandler seems to have hit a rough patch but I think he offers more going forward on the right side than the left. With that being said, Cameron would the LB and Chandler the RB if those two were the only available fullbacks.

    Summary:
    Once Johnson and Chandler get some chemistry with the new look backline, they should provide the US with some dynamic fullbacks who offer a lot of technical ability, crossing and width, along with speed to track back on defense. If Klinnsmann gives him a chance (Gold Cup?), Lichaj can form some solid depth at fullback with Cherundolo (who is winding down), Castillo, and Morrow.

    • Felix says:

      Eric Lichaj can barely crack the bench at a terrible Aston Villa – I don’t know why people continue to clamor for him.
      I’m a Chicago guy, so I naturally pull for Lichaj (who hails from the west suburbs here), but if and when he’s playing consistently well SOMEWHERE, than he should be in the conversation.

      • ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

        I think people clamor for him because in his showings with the Nats he has looked very, very solid.

      • Jeff says:

        We continue to clamor for him because of the quality and potential we saw in 2010-11. He was a good defender on that Gold Cup squad, and even showed some good crosses getting forward when deployed on the right.

        I agree, that he needs to move on. He will never start at Villa ahead of Lowton (better player and 2 years younger), and Lambert continues to play him on the left, where his play out of the back is suspect, at best. He is still a quality defender, but he offers almost nothing getting forward on the left. He needs to be on the right to be effective in that role. His play this year hasn’t been exceptional, but that defense is terrible in general. Hopefully he can find a better situation this off-season.

        • Nate Dollars says:

          ‘We continue to clamor for him because of the quality and potential we saw in 2010-11.’

          +1. sort of the same situation as chandler. they’re not doing well now, but they’re still young; it’s not like they just hit their peak and they’ll never be as good as they once were.

          • GW says:

            The big difference from the outside is it does not look like his club values Lichaj, while Chandler , if not doing as well lately, still seems to be in Nuremburg’s plans.

            It’s hard to say that about Lichaj.

            And these are the people best positioned to know about these guys.

    • Dennis says:

      Spector has the physical size, decent speed and some skill. But, I think, anywhere on the back line he has too many moments where he forgets what he is supposed to be doing out there and fails to mark an attacker he should or simply fails to stay engaged. Playing solid defense is as much about staying focussed and doing what is needed as it is about physical attributes. When he played for West Ham, I thought his best games came when he was moved to midfield. At Birmingham, he played midfield for a while, but has become a starter now at right back, so perhaps his ability to concentrate for 90 minutes has improved.

    • Josh D says:

      Only thing I disagreed with is Spector. Even at Spector’s height as a player, he was suspect as a sideback. He was too slow and not technical enough. Now, with so few starts, I’d imagine he’s worse. Lichaj and Pearce should be higher.

      • GW says:

        I haven’t seen Heath play in about three years but at his best Jonny Spector has a ton more experience than Lichaj has at the EPL level.

        You are underestimating him.

    • Gary Page says:

      Just a mention about Spector. He had the bad luck to be on West Ham when they were relegated and then chose the wrong team in the Championship hoping to get promoted. People tend to forget that he was a starter in the Confed Cup and has played a lot of national team games. He was a semi-regular in the EPL when he was only 18 at Charlton and a couple of years ago he actually scored twice in an FA Cup game against Man U of all teams. He is not always the best defender, can be inconsistent at times, but he certainly is experienced and is still only about 28 or so, so he is always a decent option in a pinch.

  8. bizzy says:

    “Not many would have included Beasley on this list at all, let alone as high as this”….this is soooooooo true about many players in the USMNT pool. People jump on the band wagon only after the fact, never before; not seeing the player’s key attributes before hand, even with results in clear plain sight. If Fabian Johnson was healthy…if Castillo was match fit….we would never be having this conversation about DMB, for LB or LM, even with all his international experience and good run with Puebla.
    So is going to be held true for 2 or 3 more players (that I’d rather not mention…lol) if they get selected for the upcoming gold cup………

    • GW says:

      “People jump on the band wagon only after the fact, never before; not seeing the player’s key attributes before hand, even with results in clear plain sight.”

      bizzy,

      Definition: jump on the bandwagon also get on the bandwagon: to support something that is popular

      Playing DMB at left back was not popular before he did so. This means there was no bandwagon for you to jump on before it happened

      When you write “people” I assume you are talking about the people on this site. In the case of DMB and players like him whose positive play was unexpected, what JK and his staff have over those ”people” , as well as over you, is that they know a lot more about that player’s recent form, where he is at and what the team needs, etc.etc. than those “people” and even you.

      After all it’s their job.

      • Ives Galarcep says:

        GW, there actually was a “Try Beasley at left back” bandwagon before he played there and I was the one driving it. It was empty, but it existed. LOL

        • GW says:

          Don’t you need more than one or two people to have a bandwagon?

          Anyway you get credit for it.

  9. Jeremy says:

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    It is just 26 questions (it should be quick – say 10 minutes) and I am trying to reach out to as many soccer fans as I can to get their participation. Please feel free to send this out to friends, family, teammates…

    Here is the link: link to surveymonkey.com

  10. biff says:

    I think we are well covered now at left back, but I think it is still an open question as to who will be the designated starter for the June WCQ games. I like Johnson a lot, but he has not been particularly strong in his most recent USMNT appearances. That said, although Castillo has been impressive at club level, we have not gotten a good look at him in a US shirt for some time.

    I think it would be wrong to automatically name Fabian starting left back. He needs to earn it, fight for it. I think both Fabian and Castillo should get some minutes against Belgium and Germany for evaluation purposes before Jamaica game in early June.

    • louis z says:

      I agree that we need to revisit the Castillo at left proposition. In FJ’s defense (no punt intended) the times he looked shaky was when he was caught out of position because the midfield loses the ball in a bad position.

  11. biff says:

    Would like to note that Timothy Chandler last played left back for the USMNT not a year ago, but 18 months ago in November 2011. After that, his next USMNT appearance was not until his weak performance against Russia at right back in November 2012 and then his heartless awful performance at left back against Honduras in February. I do not see how Chandler can be named 2nd on the left back depth chart after only two performances at right back — one bad and one so-so — in the last 18 months? What criteria are being used?

    If Chandler decides this summer to postpone his vacation and not make up a silly excuse as he has a half dozen times in the past and actually accept Klinsmann’s invitation to the May-June camp, shouldn’t Chandler, just like the other players, have to fight for a spot on the team. I don’t understand how after two appearances in 18 months he is not only automatically included on the WC 2014 roster by some, but as an automatic starter. Makes no sense to me and is slap in the face to other players in the player pool who Klinsmann says have to prove they deserve a spot.

    • biff says:

      Just want to add that I agree that Geoff Cameron has locked down either the starting right back position or the 2nd slot behind Cherundolo after his strong showings against Costa Rica and Mexico. At this point, Cameron, who is playing right back in the Premier League, in a US shirt is a better right back than Chandler and definitely plays with more heart the Chandler and, unlike Chandler, is willing to always make the trip over from Europe when healthy and invited to join the team.

      I don’t see Klinsmann sitting Cameron in June in order to play Chandler, assuming Chandler feels like joining the next camp. After the player mutiny last month and the complaints of preferential treatment by Klinsmann of German born players at the expense of US-born players, the spot light will be on Klinsmann. He needs to treat all players equally and find the right chemistry for the team and give first preference to players who always accept call-ups when healthy and who always give 100% when in a US shirt.

      • byrdman says:

        Biff, have you considered Chandler’s perspective. No honestly. Don’t just ignore the next few sentences. Imagine if you as a lifelong American citizen and resident, were asked by Brazil to play on their national basketball team. You are really good, but not quite good enough yet to crack the US lineup, but you have dreamed of the DREAM TEAM your whole life. You are 21 or 22 years of age and can’t make up your mind. So in trying to keep everyone happy, and not eliminate your chance to play Internationally the sport you love, you ride the fence a little. It takes you a year or 18 months to realize that the DREAM TEAM aint callin’. So you commit to the Brazilian Hoops team. Are you a bad guy??

        I’d say no. You are an immature kid trying to make a decision that will affect, at the very least, your professional career, and possible more.

        How bout giving us all a break on the anti Chandler banter. Anyone that comes here with any regularity:
        1) has already heard your opinion about him. Not that it is not a reasonable one, but we’ve all heard it a few times.
        2) Has already made up their mind on the subject, since its very old news.
        3) Does not have any influence over whether or not he plays.

        Just a request from a guy like you that loves the game, the team, and this site. Hope I didn’t offend you. Really just trying to help you help all of us.

        • Tawmmy from Quinzee says:

          Byrdman-

          But TIMMAY is just a PRETENDAH – HE’S GOT NO HAHT!!! Give me a true blooded american like GEOFF CAMERON… I can NAWT stand these JAHMEN pretend-ahs. They have no cawmprehension of AMERICAN SPAWTS!

          NO ONE DENIES THIS.

          -Tawmmy

      • louis z says:

        I would take Cameron as our CB starter than having Gonzalez or anybody else for that matter that plays CB regularly at club level. Cameron is that good.

      • GW says:

        biff,

        “He needs to treat all players equally and find the right chemistry for the team and give first preference to players who always accept call-ups when healthy and who always give 100% when in a US shirt.”

        You can’t treat all players equally because, as individuals, they all need something different. It might be good to avoid the APPEARANCE of favoritism but in reality some players matter more than others, and all the players know it. USMNT players are not naive idiots.

        There are the subtle but important differences in handling individuals in a group of players. And only JK and his staff have the experience with and knowledge of these guys to understand how best to handle them.

        Certainly, as an outsider with no access to the chemistry of the core group you have no idea why JK and his staff handle the players the way they do anymore than any of us would understand how the politics in your job affect how your office, or the equivalent, works.

        The fact that you don’t like a given US player does not mean his teammates and management agree with you.

        In other words when you talk about “players who always accept call-ups when healthy and who always give 100% when in a US shirt.” your perspective on those players may be completely at odds with the story behind facts.

        These guys are all pros and that means you play with the other ten players as if they were best friends even if you hate their guts. This is what is expected of a “professional”. When JK won the World Cup his captain was Lothar Matthaus a man renowned for being unlikely to have a friend anywhere outside of Mordor. And even that was debatable.

        If JK can win a World Cup playing with such a person, he’ll expect you to play with anyone even Timmy Chandler.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      biff, i understand your hesitance about chandler, because he has been pretty bad lately. the issue is that plenty of people remember chandler playing very well for us ~2 years ago–really, he looked like the next big thing here AND in germany. and it’s not like he’s getting old, so it’s fair to say that he still has the potential to return to his great form at any moment.

      also, and more importantly, i think ives is ranking with klinsmann’s preferences in mind (based on his note about lichaj). so it makes sense that he’s ranked higher than you or i think he should be.

  12. Joe Dirt says:

    So we actually finally miraculously have depth at the LB position. We also have depth at CB and RB. The fact that we are arguing about who is best is awesome, they are all quality options. Gone are the days of Bornstein and other makeshift LB options.

    We are going into the Hex and WC years with more depth than we have ever had. Its going to be fun to watch and I’m sure Klinsmann is going to have some tough desicions to make and some seriously good experienced players are going be left off the WC squad who in years past would have locks to start.

    • DC Josh says:

      +1

      And hopefully the depth creates battles for the respective positions. It will only make the squad better. I’m still concerned with our lack of strikers though.

    • Gary Page says:

      Glad to see someone else with historical perspective. So many here expect near miracles from the US team and forget where we started and how far we have come. In France the US didn’t win one game.

  13. DC Josh says:

    Not trying to start a US-born vs. US-converted debate, but I am concerned with the lack of US-developed youth stepping into this position. Justin Morrow is a beast in MLS, but he is so raw it would be very tough for him to leap frog the men in front of him for the USMNT (although a stand-out Gold Cup performance will help his stock).

    It’s just disconcerting that the top 4 are either foreign-born or above 30. There is no US-developed youth battling for the spot.

    • Vic says:

      Castillo was born in USA.

    • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

      I’m pretty sure Castillo was born and raised in the US.

    • louis z says:

      If you are concerned with too many GermAmericans, wait until the next two cycles….we should see a great number of Mexican American players ready to take their place.

    • GW says:

      DCJosh,

      You are echoing what Arena said. Some questions:

      Are you worried that “Foreign bred” players are a bad thing because they take time away from “ US bred”players? First of all please define for me what exactly is the difference between “US bred “vs “Foreign bred”?
      .
      For example, Preston Zimmermann went to the IMG academy and put in time in the PCSL league until he was 20 and then moved to Germany in 2008 where he’s been ever since. If JK caps him is he a foreign bred or US bred? Where do you draw the line?

      Where exactly is the point in a player’s development that makes the difference between being just another player and an international quality player?

      Donovan is viewed as an MLS product but his first big money contract was with Leverkusen and he spent quite a lot of time there and did well in their reserve league, like Boyd did with Dortmund II. How much did those early years influence his development? Arena benefited a lot from Mr. Donovan. And did you know Jeff Agoos was born in Switzerland?

      Do you think Clint would be the player he is today had he stayed at New England?

      Are you then in favor of an American bred player affirmative action program for the USMNT where merit is not the issue but service time (spending x amount of years in MLS development) is the issue ?

      By the way depending on the length of service for such a program it might have left guys like Kasey Keller, Gooch, Steve Cherundolo, Gregg Berhalter, Charlie Davies, Jay Demerit, Mixx Diskerud, Benny Feilhaber,and Alejandro Bedoya out in the cold.
      It seems to me the current system where you play the best player works best but hey whatever floats your boat.

  14. Sean says:

    Please no Chandler at LB. His left foot is atrocious, and we would negate one of the best things he can bring to the table, which is his speed/athleticism going forward. In fact, he has been playing RW for Nurnberg recently.

    To me Castillo, with his strong start to the season in Mexico and recent USMNT performances, is a serious contender to the #1 LB spot. Honestly, I’m just glad there is competition there now.

    • GW says:

      Chandler scored, I believe, his first goal for Nuremburg with a left footed bomb from the edge of the penalty area.

      And when he played left back for the US against Belgium he shut Hazard down cold.

  15. Mike says:

    Thank god for Chandler and Fabian. LB is one of the few positions we dont have any current U20s that look like they could step up there. I do like Garza but his ceiling is probably as a backup.

  16. rainORshine says:

    scrap the 4-4-2 – go with johnson and chandler as wing-backs – best hope right now for legit wing presence. dolo, castillo, morrow, beasley (i suppose) could all back up at those positions. even with donovan returning, playing guys like gomez, zusi, EJ in wide areas is not making the most of your talent..

    ————–bradley——-jones—————
    johnson——————————-chandler
    ———besler–goodson–cameron———-

    choose your fave CB combo if you dont like this one (gonzo and edu could be options)
    then choose 3 more players, based on opponent, tactical plan, form, etc…:
    - dempsey
    - donovan
    - altidore
    - kljestan
    - torres
    - boyd
    - gomez
    - etc.

    • Grubbsbl says:

      This looks good on paper but I am not sure we are good enough on the ball. Wing backs succeed when the team can establish dominant possession in the opposing half allowing the wide players to get high and trap the other team in. If not your wing backs get pushed back and your formation slowly turns into 5 at the back with 2 defensive midfielders. And I don’t think I’ve really ever watched a USMNT match where we have ever had multiple long spells of possession in the other teams half. Plus it requires a high level of sophistication when the midfield keeps the ball. With two wide players so high your open to the counter with loose passes. Besides Bradley not sure we really have any players at that level of on field knowledge with the ball.

    • Brad says:

      I agree with this. It would favor the our deepest position at center mid and allow us not to play guys out of position in make shift wide roles. I could also give us an opportunity to add a second striker for Jozy to combine with, which he seems more comfortable with.

      I think something like this would be a good setup. With Cameron or even D Williams just playing slightly in front of the other center backs with a little more opportunity to go higher up the field.

      —————————————-Jozy———————————————
      ———————–Dempsey———————Landon/Herc—————
      —————————–Bradley————-Jones—————————–
      Johnson——————————————————————Chandler
      ————————————Cameron—————————————-
      ———————–Besler—————————Gonzo——————-

      • rainORshine says:

        exactly – or, on the other hand, if you wanted to go a little more defensive – say on the road against a good team – you could bolster CM with a guy like kljestan and just have dempsey playing in behind central forward (so LD/gomez would come off).

        lots of options…

        • ATX_Colin says:

          Dig it, I like that Cameron can provide cover at center and right since he is comfortable doing both.

  17. Weaksauce says:

    Klinsmann needs to have a conversation with Miguel Ponce !

    He’s been out of mexico’s plans for the last year. He would be a better choice than castillo

    • Sean says:

      Would need to file a switch with FIFA. Castillo seems to be a better option anyways.

      • Weaksauce says:

        I dont think Ponce needs to file a one time switch. He was only involved in the U-23 level and never played in a meaningful youth game.

        The olympics dont count and the copa america he played in 2011 was considered a friendly match.

        His only problem is playing for Chivas wont allow it, so if he wants an international career, he needs to switch clubs.

        • Sean says:

          The olympics do count. No youth tournament requires clubs to release players, yet they provisionally cap tie.

    • chris_thebassplayer says:

      Ponce would be a great addition. I don’t think he is interested though.

  18. Jason B says:

    The depth charts I love, but I think as far as decisions go concerning the starting 11s are determined by matchups or injuries. For instance, Castillo would benefit against a team that is less physical where he wont get pushed off the ball (like CONCACAF teams), while Johnson is ideal for more physical teams from Europe. I also think Castillo is better suited to push up on his side as an attacking fullback (if there is such a thing) if the game plan is to push defenders high. I understand Johnson can attack, but as far as starting 11′s go for Klinsmann I think he chooses the best players for the startegy of that game, not necessarily the best players at the position. And yes, I know this is a depth chart post. I just envision Castillo pushing up to add another attacker while Omar, Cameron and Chandler stay back. Same as on the other side when Chandler pushes up, I envision Castillo/Johnson, Cameron and Omar staying back. It all depends if we play Belgium or Panama etc.

  19. assocfoot says:

    I might move some up and down on the main list, but largely get why it is what it is for now. However, the honorable mention list maybe should have been cut completely. I buy Sinovic, and maybe Wingert, but Korb? Garza? Alston? I am a DCU fan and I think we deal with Korb at LB because Woolard isn’t fully fit and the combination of Riley at RB and Korb at LB is better than anything else we can throw out there today, but Korb is just an OK RB, and less than OK LB, in my view. Alston is also a better than average RB who is noticeably weaker at LB and Garza shouldn’t be much ahead of 10 or 15 other guys (former youth teamers, MLS journeymen) until he shows he can start for a first team somewhere, for some period of time. Signed by Tijuana after not doing much in Portugal is enough to get an honorable mention?

    • Ives Galarcep says:

      You really had to take the time to complain about spots 12-15 on a USMNT left back depth chart, as if there are all-stars we’re ignoring? You should probably find a new hobby.

      • assocfoot says:

        You took the time to write it, a little over-sensitive? If I visit your site and read your posts, not surprising I commented, no?

        • Ives Galarcep says:

          Not being sensitive. Just think it’s pretty pointless to nitpick about the very bottom of the depth chart. But again, you’re entitled. If I didn’t think you were I would have just deleted the comment. I don’t necessarily disagree with everything you said, just didn’t see the point. We’ll both live.

        • assocfoot says:

          You are right about getting another hobby though, I’ll skip reading your site when I have a few minutes to spend on soccer

  20. Southern says:

    Ives, loving these depth charts! Keep em coming!!

  21. MiamiAl says:

    What about Bocanegra? Doesn’t he sometimes slide into LB when needed?

  22. DCUnitedWillRiseAgain says:

    Also what about Besler as a LB option?

    • Old School says:

      Besler’s future is at CB. While he may be left footed, I don’t think that suits his strengths.