USMNT Daily Update: A closer look at Klinsmann’s roster selections

USA Starting 11

By IVES GALARCEP

Amid all the talk about who won’t be going to the upcoming U.S. Men’s National Team training camp, something getting lost a bit is the fact that the squad preparing for June’s qualifiers is very much a stacked squad by U.S. standards.

Injury issues with Steve Cherundolo and Timmy Chandler (and Landon Donovan’s absence) will keep Jurgen Klinsmann from having a full-strength team, but he will bring in a group that includes the nucleus of the squad that recorded four points from two World Cup qualifiers in March along with the return to health of Jermaine Jones and Fabian Johnson.

There are certainly still some concerns about the attacking quality in midfield, and whether there is enough of it, but Klinsmann sounds confident he can construct an effective midfield with the options on the roster.

Here are some more thoughts on the roster, and some more comments from Klinsmann on his decisions:

———

What is my take on the Landon Donovan omission? As even he states, it was his decision to miss the qualifiers earlier this year. It wasn’t an injury, but his own decision to take a break. The team had to go on without him and other players stepped in and carried the slack. Now that he is ready to return Klinsmann has to consider the team chemistry dynamic, and the very real possibility that Donovan’s absence didn’t go over well with the team.

Donovan has to earn his way back, and even he acknowledges that.

So what will the U.S. team do for wing options when Donovan, so clearly a good flank option, isn’t called up? Graham Zusi is clearly a player who should take on a starting role in the coming weeks, but Klinsmann also mentioned Joe Corona as a right wing threat as well. Corona has been gaining invaluable experience with Club Tijuana in Copa Libertadores and is poised to have a very big summer.

——-

So why six goalkeepers? Klinsmann plans on rotating the MLS goalkeepers throughout the match, and will let the ones who aren’t being used go back to their club teams to play in MLS matches. Here is the rotating schedule: Johnson (May 26-30), Hamid (May 30-June 2), Hall (June 2-June 8), Rimando (June 9-19)

For those not noticing a trend in the goalkeepers taken. Not only are these keepers Klinsmann has called in before, they all fit in conveniently with the schedule the team is on in those weeks. Johnson will train in Cleveland, Hamid in Washington, Hall will travel to Jamaica and Rimando will stay with the team for the qualifiers in Seattle and Salt Lake City. Based on the schedule, only Hamid is scheduled to miss a match.

—–

If you are wondering about some players who missed the cut, and who seem like good bets for the roster, Klinsmann mentioned several candidates by name as good options for July’s CONCACAF Gold Cup squad:

“There are definitely some 50-50 cases for players that we moved toward the Gold Cup where we want to have a very strong roster as well, and we are very excited about that tournament. A player like Kyle Beckerman could be in this camp, but having him in the Gold Cup is a tremendous value. We have players like Josh Gatt, Mix Diskerud, and Alejandro Bedoya, guys that are doing really well who could be ready for the upcoming camp, but will also be in a full rhythm for the Gold Cup, so in that moment we shift them over to that roster.

“Another player we have a very close eye on is Aron Johannsson, who’s playing now with Jozy Altidore at Alkmaar and is coming off an injury.  He has dual citizenship with Iceland and the United States, and we want to have him with us in the near future.

“There are a lot of players out there on our radar screen. We want to watch the Under-20s play in Turkey for the FIFA U-20 World Cup. We have some players there on the list that we want to introduce to the senior National Team program one step at a time, so we work on all fronts.”

————

So why Stuart Holden and not Donovan? This isn’t an either/or situation. Holden is a player Klinsmann sees as a strong long-term option for the team, and Holden is coming off a year-and-a-half injury layoff. He only recently returned a few months ago. The last thing he needs is rest right now, and Klinsmann knows that so he sees an opportunity to help Holden continue his recovery. His call-up is basically an investment. He is not costing anybody a roster spot. There are 26 players in camp at any one time, and only 23 dress for matches, so there is room for a player like Holden.

Brek Shea’s situation is somewhat similar, though he’s also a player who has been with the team for recent matches. He didn’t get many minutes at Stoke City, but he is as close to fully fit and recovered from foot surgery as he has been since his transfer and the next three weeks will give him a chance to show just how far he has come.

————–

The absences of Cherundolo and Chandler opened the door for Michael Parkhurst, who seemed destined to miss out after falling out of favor at German side Augsburg. He has experience in important U.S. matches and will serve as Geoff Cameron’s back-up at right back, though Klinsmann could go with the option of playing Fabian Johnson at right back and DaMarcus Beasley at left back.

—————

Carlos Bocanegra was getting minutes for Racing Santander, but still couldn’t break back in to the squad. Klinsmann clearly prefers Clarence Goodson as his veteran centerback to go with the tandem of the future, Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler. With Geoff Cameron providing cover, Klinsmann can keep Bocanegra on the sidelines and based on what Klinsmann said about European-based players not factoring into the Gold Cup if they aren’t in the May-June squad, Bocanegra seems unlikely to be in the Gold Cup either. His days might be numbered, though a move to MLS could make him a viable Gold Cup option.

—————

Remember last summer’s fiasco with Jozy Altidore being held back by club team AZ Alkmaar, which forced him to miss the USMNT training camp in May, a move that wound up costing him his fitness and starting place on the team? That scenario doesn’t look like it will play out again. Altidore is set to report to USMNT camp on May 26th

—————-

What is a reasonable selection for a first-choice lineup for qualifying? Here is one projection:

——————-Altidore——————-

Zusi————–Dempsey———–Gomez

———–Bradley——–Jones————–

F. Johnson————————-Cameron

————–Besler–Gonzalez————–

——————-Howard——————–

—————–

What do you think of the projected first-choice lineup? Excited to hear Klinsmann has his eye on some U.S. Under-20 players and Aron Johannsson? Not a fan of the goalkeeper rotation? Think this U.S. team can rack up 6 or more points in June’s qualifiers?

Share your thoughts below.

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239 Responses to USMNT Daily Update: A closer look at Klinsmann’s roster selections

  1. alocksley says:

    Weak wings, as usual. Zusi has just not raised his game for the US as he has for MLS. He may be overmatched at this level. Gomez has a great engine and work ethic, but is out of position on the wing. Altidore needs service coming in from wide areas. He’s not going to get it from those two.

    • Jermaine says:

      I have to agree..though I believe Zusi to be a work in progress, and his work ethic is good with backtracking.. as we learned in Azteca. You need speed or service on the wings, and Gomez gives you neither.

    • dan says:

      Thankfully a 4-2-3-1 does not use any wing players…

      • THomas says:

        Yep. Full backs pushing forward will be key for width.

        • OPMG says:

          I love me some Geoff Cameron. But when the fullbacks can’t get forward it really slows down the offense in this formation. If, and only if, F. Johnson is a legitimate threat on the right (we know what he can do on the left), then I wouldn’t mind seeing Castillo and Johnson man the wingback spots for a match to see what happens.

      • Brett says:

        You don’t just swap some numbers around and change the way players play.

        Formations don’t change the principles of the game. Players are going to play the game the way they play it. What every team does is move the ball, stretch the defense, put it in dangerous areas. You change play by changing players, not formations.

        In a 4-2-3-1 you are still, ideally, getting wide play, its just from the outer attacking midfielders and fullbacks instead of out-and-out wingers or midfielders who play on the lines. The problem with our selections is that we lack players who feel natural in those wider positions. This is why our shape is always too narrow and our midfield too crowded, and it’s easy for defenses to pack in and cut out our attempts to penetrate the attacking area if we don’t force them to stretch out and open space.

      • Bumby Hemmingway says:

        The 4-2-3-1 uses wing players. I am not sure where the notion they do not comes from? In the formation listed above you would have one wing in Gomez and one inside forward in Zusi that will pinch in. Only Johnson would be responsible for providing fullback width on the left side of the field where Zusi would pinch in.

    • Drew_OC says:

      Zusi maybe great in MLS, but he doesn’t have international level separation speed.

      Drives me nuts to see some of the names called in while JK publicly shames Donovan.

      • Dan says:

        Donovan’s sabbatical is the best thing to happen in years. More press & exposure. New guys fighting for spots…and suddenly the USMNT is starting to have what it needs to get through a month long tournament….DEPTH

        • Good Jeremy says:

          Yeah, we have I think four shots on goal in our last three qualifiers and considered our last two games a massive success despite only scoring one goal, so maybe having a proven setup man would be better than a depth of insufficient players in that position.

          • Dan says:

            We have to place in the top 4 out of 6 teams…putting pressure on the younger guys and forcing them to step up have made us a better team. Also, playing in high pressure, close games builds a better player. Overconfidence & running away with games reveals our hand/talent to other teams, who may take us as a more serious opponent. Why reveal this before the cup and tip them off. LD will easily drop into any position/formation when needed…he’s that quality…but he can’t play 3-4 games in 2 wks at his age without sacrificing level of play, which is why JK has repeatedly stated we need 3 quality players at each position to even be competitive at a higher level & are not there yet. This was Bradley’s failure and was most evident in the last Gold Cup final where we faded in the 2nd half after 4 games in 2wks with the same 11 guys

          • Josh D says:

            Massive success = beating Costa Rica and tying Mexico in Mexico for only the second time, and keeping a clean sheet.

            Context my friend.

      • LIUnited says:

        So when Klinsman asked his new team captain Dempsey if he should call in Donovan what do you think his answer was?

    • Hogatroge says:

      Are you kidding? Zusi wasn’t stellar in the last 2 WCQs, but he has been dominant in MLS since March!

  2. Vic says:

    Line-up looks good. Would prefer either Johnson or Boyd getting a look over Altidore.

  3. Chris says:

    6 goalies. No Donovan.

    Idiocy.

    • Ben says:

      This might have gotten lost on the other one with the huge number of posts, but i think we should seriously consider playing 11 goalies.

      3 keepers on the line, with 8 carousing around the box picking crosses and corner kicks out of the air and then goalie throwing down field every time.

    • bryan says:

      wow, i was one of the first people to complain about this. but dude, there is literally no difference in what is happening than if KL called in 3 keepers. no matter what, there will only be 3 keepers at each game and none of the keepers prevented anyone from joining the team.

      • MFP says:

        +1. This is a misguided complaint.

        • Chris says:

          Is it? 29 players were called up. 6 of those players were goalies. OK, so 3 of them will rotate. The other option is you ONLY CALL THREE GOALIES, and give three other spots to players like Donovan.

          What aren’t you people understanding about that?

          • MFP says:

            Because there’s no limit on the training roster. They chose 6 keepers so a few could rotate without messing with MLS seasons. It had nothing to do with anyone else’s roster spot.

            • Chris says:

              By this supposed “no limit” rule you’ve just invented, Donovan could be included as just some random player “rotating” in…so by your made up reality this is STILL a ridiculous decision.

              • Jerrod says:

                That assumes that Donovan was left out because of the lack of spots. It sounds like he was left out on purpose. They could add 50 more spots tomorrow and he still wouldn’t get a call to this camp.

              • bryan says:

                look, i was exactly where you are yesterday. but you are thinking about it wrong, like i was.

                there are 23 out field players in camp that make up the roster of this team aside from the goalies. right? plus, we know 2 goalies are locked into the roster, so now we are up to 25 locked in players. that leaves one spot left on the 26 man roster. the 4 goalies left make up roster sports 26, 27, 28, and 29. in other words, them being there does not have any effect on the number of out field players. Especially since they are just rotating anyway meaning camp will never be more than 26 people at once.

                Yes, JK could rotate any position, but that makes no sense. But it is something that actually works well for keepers. Now JK can get a good look at 4 keepers. He’s doing it to decide who he wants for the Gold Cup, lets be honest.

          • Ali Dia says:

            The keepers didn’t displace Donovan. Klinsmann could have called up 100 players and Donovan wouldn’t have been one of them. He is making a point.

    • Luke says:

      Did you read the article? Is it so hard to understand that there will only be the usual 3 keepers in camp at any one time! The MLS based keepers will rotate throughout the camp. Ives even has the rotation schedule in the article.

    • APK says:

      + 1. Yeah, really, couldn’t have made the point better myself… Along these lines, is it me or is everyone tired of this “I’ll-pick-players-who-are-currently-playing” nonsense Klinsmann blathers to the media? What adolescent propaganda. Why is it that American culture is dominated by this ideological “democratic” b.s when the truth is we all just make our own decisions as to what we think fits. Times like these make me pine for an Arena, somebody to just tell it like it is and get on with things. Klinsmann’s an utter bore.

      • MFP says:

        Except he doesn’t keep blathering it to the media. He’s said that playing regularly for your club team is an important factor in getting called up among other things, which is something that every national team coach in the world would say. Internet commenters and media have decided that it was some sort of incontrovertible rule of his, which it obviously is not, as it shouldn’t be for the US team.

        • Riggity says:

          MFP, shut your face he called in Brek Shea but didn’t call in Donovan. The jargon you posted is null and void. We might agree with your ignorance if Shea played even a little but your comment is laughable. The call ups make him look like a hypocrite, move on.

          • Peter says:

            Yes Shea hasn’t played but Shea also didn’t refuse a call up either. How do you know it isn’t the rest of the guys on the team that said you know what eff this guy!! He can’t come and go as he pleases!!

          • Todd T says:

            Riggity, I think Shea’s father is German and therefore he got the nod(note: sarcasm). I actually think this is one of the more interesting calls but not for the obvious reason. I will concede that it goes against his “have to play at club to get a call” mantra…BUT it also goes against the oft stated position that Donovan isn’t getting a call because Klinsi is mad at him. If this is true than Shea doesn’t get a call. Klinsi has been way more critical of Shea’s decision to go to Stoke and not getting any playing time.
            link to espnfc.com

            I think the answer is quite simply…Klinsi like all coaches, has players he feels are part of the future of this team and Shea is one of them. Objectively, Holden shouldn’t get a call either(I am a huge Holden fan and am excited that he got a call) because he could not break the line up of a second division club…and I don’t care if they are playing well together…if the player is good enough then you play him. If you think Holden deserves a call then emotion is guiding you in much the same way I think Donovan shouldn’t get a call. He hasn’t done enough to earn a spot. Chandler with all his wavering about which team he was going to play for, at least was, prior to injury was considered one of the best wing backs in the Bundesliga. Is Donovan one of the best attacking midfielders in the MLS right now…I mean consistently…and not against a terribly defended Union squad? If you want to talk about a guy who maybe shouldn’t have gotten a call then Williams should be your pick and not because he is German but because he couldn’t get on the field. I think a coach is going to call who he feels will help the team most currently and in the future…period…and the rest, including the “mantras” are PR. I suspect he called Williams because he sees something special there…which I have only seen in one US game…maybe he get the call because he might know the German players and be able to provide some insight to some of the other players, maybe in providing this insight he can bridge Germerican rift we have heard so much about. Maybe he gets the call for choosing the US over Germany and he has added desire to beat them, for not choosing him. I don’t know the answer but I do see that as a better argument and agree that it appears hypocritical. I suppose he could come out and say “I pick the players who I think will be best for this team.”(which is what I think he does without saying) Then you could only have an argument as to whether you agree with his choices…unless you just enjoy arguing semantics. What do you think?

    • Hogatroge says:

      Commenting on an article you clearly didn’t read.

      Idiocy?

  4. TomG says:

    I think there’s a rationale to be made for all JK’s selections, I just hate how he consistently draws lines in the sand by publicly stating that he won’t call in guys in certain situations, then immediately violates his own criteria. If you had a boss that got up in front of everybody in a meeting and laid out criteria for earning a promotion and you bust your butt to meet all those benchmarks yet he promotes some guy that doesn’t meet any of them, what are you going to think of your boss?

    • Dan says:

      Just because we are not in the team meetings doesn’t mean he isn’t following a plan…You forget that Panama, Mex, Hon, etc read the papers too. EPL & other teams are know for throwing false leads out there…why tip off the opposition with out exact gameplan?

      • Riggity says:

        …what the?…

      • TomG says:

        Because we are not talking about gameplans here. No one mentioned gameplans. This is about camp selections.

        • Dan says:

          Klinsmann has repeatedly stated we need at least 3 quality guys at each position to handle tournaments & injuries. Lack of depth is what sunk Bradley and has always been an issue. Imagine 2010 with Charlie Davies in great form up top? We have few competent backups and need to find them quickly. Having 11-14 potential starters out with injury for CR and Mexico is the best example. The gameplan is to get newer players as much experience under pressure at the highest level and select the top 18-25 for the WC. We only need to place in the top 4 of 6 teams, so a lot of the drama you’re reacting to is media PR being generated to sell tickets and gain support.

  5. Roger Ballard says:

    This line up would not intimidate anyone. Don’t see an improvement over the 2010 squad. In a lot of ways it is weaker. Not an encouraging thought for U.S. Soccer.

    • Rik says:

      A spine of Bradley, Jones, and Dempsey with Altidore up top would concern quite a few teams and give them trouble. Sure, maybe not your Spains and Germanys of the world, but there’s bite and threat in that group. Get them the width/wing service they need (WIP) and it’s a good look.

    • Socom 2 says:

      Definitely agree

      This cycle of players for the US are pretty bad. There’s no creativity, nobody with attacking and possession skills. Every national team besides Canada, every player has ball possession skills and isnt afraid to attack the opposition. We dont really have any. Everyone is too scared when pressured while in possession.

      The US U20 kids will attack and go at you. Im afraid this current generation just doesn’t have it. The next cycle will be an exciting style of soccer…

      What can save the US team is
      * Aron Johannsson
      * Shawn Parker
      * John Anthony Brooks

      Obama grants citizenship to: Junior Hoilett and Bradley Johnson

      • Wisco says:

        Hoilett is canadian/jamaican and has expressed desire to play for England(he can’t). So I don’t see how that would make sense. Parker will play for Germany. Bradley Johnson is 26 and wouldn’t help.

      • Josh D says:

        Funny: we said the exact same thing about this generation when they were playing u20. Back when Bradley was an attack minded midfielder, and Adu was tearing it up, and guys like Szetela were playing in Europe. The grass is always greener. We have guys on the fringes who will improve this team. Here’s looking at you Corona and Mix, both of whom should show up in the Gold Cup and make a case for themselves. Given the right amount of time, I’m pumped to see an attacking lineup of: Boyd as a striker, Gatt and Agudelo out wide, Corona and Mix through the middle and Beckerman to steady the ship.

      • Todd Marsch says:

        I wouldn’t say this cycle of players is bad. Maybe it’s a bad mix in that we don’t have much in the way of creative attacking players or wide attacking players. However, players Dempsey, Bradley, Jones, and Altidore are performing at a higher level professionally than pretty much any Americans ever. Spurs, Roma, and Schalke are big clubs, and those guys are playing big minutes for them. Altidore is scoring at a better pace than any American ever (albeit in a mid-tier Euro league).

      • Riggity says:

        “The next cycle will be an exciting style of soccer”… Said every US fan ever. I’d love to believe that’s gonna pan out but I have been waiting on that for almost twenty years and I’d be a fool to believe these are the boys who are gonna do it.(hoping they will, but not expecting it)

        • Peter says:

          Maybe they will maybe they won’t but watching them play shows they grew up playing a different way than most of the older generations. They are poss based team with some actual ball skills. Maybe its the latin influence or how the game has changed but I’m excited from this group.

        • Todd T says:

          +1 hoping

      • Hogatroge says:

        It’s funny how none of the “saviors” you’ve identified are creative MF players.

    • Dan says:

      We’ve all seen what injuries can to to a team without depth. Just think what losing LD, Deuce or Bradley would do to us? If Donovan was ever hurt and couldn’t play a month or two before the WC (Charlie Davies anyone?) we would be screwed is we only focused on 11 guys. Why doesn’t anyone else see this?
      While there is time, why not give newer players experience so that the loss of 1 guy won’t have such a detrimental effect?

  6. BobbyG says:

    The Nats still have NO ONE in the system that can wreck havoc on an opponent like LD can. Just look at what he did to Phily on Wed night in a 20-minute second half span. Those are 3 huge qualifiers in June and JK has omitted our most dangerous player from the roster. I get having to earn back his place, but come on, JK is playing with fire here. LD on the field makes Dempsey and Altidore so much more effective.

    • alocksley says:

      A blind man can see that his qualities are what’s mising from the Nats right now.

      • Dan says:

        A blind man can see that there are 11 on the field who need to be challenged an step up with experience without coasting and hoping LD can pull something out. Barring injury, he’ll be in Brazil, but we need depth and experience to come from other players and only a year to make up for decades lost. Klinsmann is doing EXACTLY what the team needs…and fixing the same things that made Coach Bradley fail.

    • Scott says:

      Too bad we are not plying Philly in the qualifiers.

    • MFP says:

      I agree that he’s playing with fire and he’s accountable if they fail.

      If they lose all 3 qualifiers and end up in a terrible position for Brazil, I’ll be mad. If, OTOH, they figure out how to score some goals w/o Landon and end up in a great position, I think Klinsmann will deserve a lot of credit, and I think learning how to be effective without Donovan will be a huge long term advantage for the team. If it’s somewhere in the middle, I dunno how I’ll feel.

      • MFP says:

        I bet JK thinks the team is about to turn the corner from being effective (good results, not many goals) to being a legitimately deadly team in CONCACAF without Donovan as the anchor. I think that would be a great thing. It’s not good to rely on one player…what if he gets injured just before Brazil? I’m willing to let him see if that happens.

        • Todd T says:

          I agree with both statements…a team in transition must always find ways to play without there star players. The really good teams have the answers in the depth of their roster. Think of some of the players on the German, Spanish, Argentine and Brazilian benches. It is a gamble but to move forward it must be done and it is better to do it in game that don’t count(friendly’s) or in games that do matter but we should win even with a lesser team. Klinsi did this in Germany and it worked out. Just imagine if it works out here…a US team that doesn’t depend on Donovan but still has him on the field would be pretty dangerous. The downside realistically, is that will still qualify and we don’t make it out of the group stage…pretty much the status-quo. Klinsi will be fired and we move on to the next coach we don’t agree with.

  7. biff says:

    I think something major has been overlooked here, with all the fallout from Klinsmann’s snub of Donovan and his double-standard in calling up several players who have not even made the bench in months. The word is that Klinsmann did not invite to camp that motivational speaker guy who with his bare hands bends frying pans and rips big city telephone books in two. This has me very, very worried. How in the world can the team get fired up to win important WCQ games without that guy in camp. Remember how well the team played last September against Jamaica in Kingston just a couple of days after being motivated by the frying pan guy. Was a stroke of genius by Klinsmann calling him in.

    • Brian says:

      The real stroke of genius was scheduling the blizzard to coincide with the Costa Rica game after the US managed a goal.

      • Eric W says:

        I’m not sure who you’re referring to about the Frying Pan Guy, but if Klinsmann is planning to use motivational speaker Matt Foley I gotta say I am all for it!

  8. TomG says:

    I’m not always on the same page as you, Biff, but this made me laugh.

  9. David says:

    Can anyone provide some insight as to why Lee Nguyen has never been called into camp with JK? He seems pretty creative and aggressive. I know he’s a little small in size but really, he’s the same size as Landon. I think he was MVP of the Revolution last night. Just curious.

    • TomG says:

      I would say that his position is pretty overloaded. Is he better than Feilhaber? Probably not and Benny usually does not get called in.

  10. biff says:

    As I supporter of Michael Parkhurst call-ups in the past this call-up I think is a travesty that in no way can be justified. Parkhurst was injured for almost two months beginning in, I think, February, and since then made the bench one time about two or three weeks ago and did not play.

    Meanwhile, Eric Lichaj is making an inspired comeback playing against teams like Chelsea and does not get sniff, not once sniff in almost two years. He has not only 8 USMNT caps, but 25 for the U17 and a couple for U20. He is committed to the team and Herr Klinsmann won’t even give a young man who is a fullback in the Premier League one little chance to show what he can do, but instead brings in as full back DaMarcus Beasley, who is an offensive attacker/forward/winger. Crazy.

    • biff says:

      And speaking of Aston Villa, after watching their last two games I am really starting to like this team a lot and am expecting them to be much stronger next year. Also, with Benteke almost a sure bet to get snatched by a bigger team, I think Aston Villa would be perfect destination for a guy name Jozy Altidore. I think he could be a starter there and fit into the system and I would love to see it.

      I also would like to see Jozy score a goal for the USMNT in June to prove he can compete internationally in Klinsmann’s attack-minded system that he has developed so well in, gosh, it’s only taken JK 22 months to turn the team into attacking dynamo capable of scoring a goal every two or three games. And I betcha that within the next two or three years he will start teaching the team how to do a counter-attack. That will be great and by World Cup 2018 we might be able to score a counter-attacking goal. Something to look forward to.

      • beto says:

        +1 on Jozy and Villa… idk what Lichaj did to kill his chances with Jurgen.

        • GW says:

          Lichaj got his one recent start because Matt Lownton got hurt and then Villa lost that game.

          Not the best recommendation.

        • Lampard in the End Zone says:

          I am a Villa supporter (nickname from Special1 TV) and have watched every PL and most of Villa’s cup games this season.

          Matt Lowton was brought into the team to play right back and he is a better right back than Lichaj. Lowton offers more going forward, is better on the ball, and a better defender.

          Lichaj started the season at left back (not his natural position) and seemed out of his depth. Joe Bennett was purchased from ‘Boro and replaced Lichaj early in the season.

          Lichaj started the game because Lowton has been injured and has played alright. I like Lichaj and want him to play well for both club and country, but he should not be in the USMNT discussion right now.

      • MFP says:

        So, if the USMNT gets good points and scores some goals, even without Lichaj on the attack, in the upcoming qualifiers, will you eat your words?

      • Hogatroge says:

        Lichaj hasn’t been involved with the Nats this WCQ cycle. For most of the time, he was also in bad form. Villa wasn’t doing well when he played. Leaving him off the roster when he hasn’t been involved at all under Klinsmann has, honestly, been justified. He may step it up for the Red, White and Blue, but under Klinsmann’s reign, he hasn’t earned the call up.

        That said, he improved down the stretch. If he’s not at the Gold Cup (in spite of JK’s “MLS-heavy squad” comments), that will be a major snub.

    • Dan says:

      Lichaj when fit has Chandlers speed too…he played well when called up…..no idea why…

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        He played well when Bradley brought him in. He is back to playing with Villa more. I don’t understand. If he doesn’t get a Gold Cup call do you think he just blocks Klinsi’s number? Odd.

        • Hogatroge says:

          Despite the head-scratching decisions JK seems to make at times, leaving Lichaj off is not one of them.

          When Lichaj was playing well last year, so were Parkhurst and Castillo. At the time, Cherundolo and Fabian were the #1s, and Castillo & Parkhurst were the backups.

          Lichaj lost his starting role and stunk it up for most of the year. He didn’t do anything to earn a call up from a coach he’s never played under. Forget however well he played under Bradley.

          That said, Lichaj has earned his way back into minutes late in the year as AV escaped relegation again. Parkhurst may not have been playing for Augsburg, but he’s 1) familiar to JK, and 2) only a couple of months removed from the best season of his life. Injury prevented him from cracking Augsburg’s lineup… this is a team that is still fighting relegation.

          The big snub will be if Lichaj doesn’t get a sniff for the Gold Cup. Every camp is of the essence now for WCQ. There is not time to break in new players before the Gold Cup. That said, we’re not so deep at RB/LB as to leave him out yet again in July.

          • The Imperative Voice says:

            All due respect but Lichaj is mobile and Parkhurst is a slow dribbling cone who got away with it in MLS because of positioning. Parkhurst is not ready for prime time — like Kljestan — and all he’s doing is blocking people with talent from emerging.

            The Gold Cup would be a means around the experience issue but I’ll be interested if Klinsi calls him then.

  11. DCUnitedWillRiseAgain says:

    One thing we might see is if Castillo has really come along as far as they say, play him at LB and move F. Johnson up to the LW.

    Why in the heck did he call up Danny Williams? Isn’t that experiment over YET?

    • beto says:

      re castillo: i hope so. This will be the first time the two of them are both healthy and in good form. I agree Ives’ line up is the best XI but take out Altidore, Gomez or Zusi at any point and put in Castillo for a little additional wing play…
      —————-Altidore————
      Johnson——-Dempsey—Zusi-
      ————Jones—-Bradley—–
      -Castillo-Besler-Gonzo-Cameron-
      —————-Howard————-

    • GW says:

      Fabian is the best right back after Dolo. Play him at right back and Castillo or Beasley at left back.

  12. the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

    Said this in another story but would like to see us mix up the formation a bit if our attack keeps faltering. 4-3-2-1 and 4-1-2-1-2 fit could work

    ———————back 5
    ———Bradley–Jones–Kljestan
    ————-Dempsey—Zusi
    ——————–Altidore

    ———————-Back5
    ———————-Jones
    ———–Bradley———F. Johnson
    ———————Dempsey
    ————–Altidore—–Gomez

    • bryan says:

      i don’t think a 4-3-2-1 is going to help us on offense…

      a 4-1-2-1-2 (4-1-3-2) is just a 4-4-2. that’s basically how we have been playing. Bradley sitting back while Jones goes forward. i think a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 is what we should play, just need the players to fit in nicely. which clearly isn’t happening yet.

      • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

        Klinsmann has made it pretty clear he wants Dempsey playing centrally at the heart of our attack. That’s not going to happen in a straight 4-4-2 or 4-3-3.
        A better attack isn’t just about putting numbers forward in the formation. Its putting players in their best positions to succeed. 4-3-2-1 does that, especially with Donovan.
        The 4-1-2-1-2 is nothing like what we have been playing. Jozy has been isolated up top. We used the 4-1-2-1-2 against Slovenia and looked great. If our struggles continue it could merit another look.

        • bryan says:

          yeah, but how does a 4-3-2-1 fit “Dempsey in centrally in the heart of the attack”? there is NO center attack. three deep lying mids, two wider players, and a striker.

          i understand your point, but i don’t ever see it happening again. we use to play Bradley, Jones, and Edu all the time in that formation. never worked out well. no one could connect to the offense in that formation either.

          and yes, you are right about the 4-4-2. we don’t use it much, but when we do, that’s how we line up. that’s what i was trying to say. in other words, that formation wouldn’t be new. unless, of course, it was a 4-4-2 set up to play wide as opposed to the box mid we tried to use.

          i just think a 4-3-2-1 with our players would be like how Mourinho set his up, the “trivot” (Alonso, Khedira, Essien). yes, Holden/Jones/Bradley would fit in very nicely there, but i think with only 3 players in front of them, it’ll be hard to make it work.

          • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

            in the 4-3-2-1, the 2 are basically playing free underneath the striker. It looks a lot better if its dempsey and donovan there. If we did go with that I would never want to see the Bradley, Edu, Jones combo. too defensive like you said. It would have to be a Kljestan, Holden or Zusi type in Edu’s spot to work.

            Its definitely a Mourinho like system. 3 very hard working CMs who will do the dirty work but have the energy to spring forward when we can counter. Donovan and Dempsey floating into spaces underneath Jozy…. On paper I love it, but execution is everything. I’m just throwing out an alternative I like because what we have used so far has not produced any sort of attacking threat.

            • bryan says:

              that’s true, at this point we should be open to anything that gets the team clicking offensively.

  13. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    Yawn. When are we going to move Johnson up to the wing? It’s like Klinsmann saw how well he played in that position against Slovenia and was like, “Nah, let’s not do that again. Too easy.”

    • OPMG says:

      Everytime I see your name on here my scumbag brain reads ChrisTheSLUTiger. Chris the Slut Tiger is a pretty sweet name though.

      • Dan says:

        The Southeastern American Slut Tiger is an endangered species… preoccupied with wingers over strykers they are quickly being eradicated from the wild…

      • ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

        Haha I wish I got that much play to warrant that being my name.

    • Hogatroge says:

      To be fair, Johnson has played the last few games for Hoffenheim on the wing, and it haven’t worked out too well. I’m certainly willing to give him the benefit of the doubt with the USMNT, but he’s in a bit of a lull at present.

      Let’s also face it… Slovenia’s not that good. Despite the (at the time) poor USMNT track record in Europe, anything less than a win would have been a shame. We cut it close as it was..

  14. Cairo says:

    For these qualifiers, the following is likely to be true for US fans:

    1. We will keep a very defensive posture
    2. We will get no service from the wings
    3. We are unlikely to get more than one goal in each of these games
    4. We will be wringing our hands as every game will be close and low scoring.

    I hav a headache

    • downintexas says:

      However we will play a very fluid attacking style agains Belguim and Germany

  15. Chuck says:

    If I’m playing a game tomorrow and you tell me I can have Donovan or zusi out wide I’m picking Donovan 100 times out of 100.

    • Bumby Hemmingway says:

      I have to agree with this. The idea that Donovon was not even brought to camp to deal with the teammate backlash and given an opportunity to fight for his starting position again …. is just petty politics on Klinsman’s part.

  16. Brain Guy says:

    This is meant to be a straightforward question, not snarky — what does LD have to do to earn his way back onto the squad – or even into the camp for the next round of qualifiers? Score boatloads of goals? Dominate MLS? What do you think JK’s criteria are?

    • biff says:

      He needs to learn German and then get on the injured list for the next three months of games. That should do it, get him a call up from Klinsmann in September.

    • David says:

      Play in the Gold Cup, put out 100% effort in training and the games, and be effective on the pitch.

    • Dan says:

      Play more than 5 games after a several month soul-searching party. Play a full 90 consistently at a high level which should dominate a league like MLS instead of 10-20 min. MAKE your penalties under pressure when your team is losing. Even LD admitted in todays Grant Wahl interview he was nowhere near ready

    • Hogatroge says:

      If the USMNT can’t take 4 points from the next 2 games w/o Donovan, they don’t deserve to go the WC.

      To earn his way back, Donovan needs to play in the Gold Cup. The Galaxy got by just fine during his early absence this year, so club commitments will not be an excuse. ‘Nuff said.

  17. Eric W says:

    Yeah, I agree. The only proof we have that other players think chemistry is an issue is that Klinsmann said so. That’s not quite good enough for me. Not only do coached frequently have good reason to ‘stretch the truth’ but Klinsmann seems particularly disconnected from reality. I’m not saying I think he can’t be a good coach, just that he feels a little shifty to me.

    • biff says:

      That is a very good pont, Eric W. It could be that Klinsmann is projecting the bad chemistry he feels toward Donovan onto the team. Unfortunately for Donovan, and you see this in the workplace, if the boss is sending out signals that he does not like a certain employee, then the co-workers pick up on that and start treating the co-worker the same way. Would really be a shame if Klinsmann is effecting such a scenario on the best American player of the past decade.

      • biff says:

        Actually, would not be a shame. let me rephrase that: If Klinsmann is being so petty and egotistical that he would try to destroy Landon Donovan’s reputation it would be unforgivable and grounds for immediate dismissal. We all know that Klinsmann’s hand-picked assistant Martin Vasquez has an outstanding tactical soccer mind and has the 100% respect of the players would be perfect to take over and continue at the same level of Klinsmann.

      • David says:

        Donovan effected that scenario on himself.

        • Wisco says:

          Even so, the addition of Don would be an upgrade in any scenario. No downside to adding him.

        • Brit says:

          You are supposed to pick the players who can provide the best chance of winning, Klinsmann even said so. However you and Klinsmann continue to hold a grudge because Donovan took some time off.

          If Donovan had said he needed time off to rejuvenate a bad back you would be crying for him to be back. Instead you feel Donovan was disloyal and should be punished.

          I do not see you can continue to blame all this on Donovan.

        • Dan says:

          Donovan trashed the MNT management prior to the Mexico win at Azteca (youtube). His mouth has frequently got him into trouble. He’s learning the hard way that no player is greater than the team (France anyone?)

          • anne says:

            Good statement! I too watched that several times only thinking “ouch”. So for me it wasn’t Klinsmann but Donovan who opened a power play. Seems that latest interviews offering a different Donovan now and that Klinsmann is signalling to call him in again later.

            “[...] JK: “I think Landon is catching up. We’re all excited that he has decided to continue to play. That was the first major answer that we needed to get, and now he’s just working himself back into shape and back into a playing rhythm. He will get sharper and more confident with every game he’s going to play now. So we’ll watch that, we’ll monitor that and we’ll decide then when to bring him back into our picture. It’s not going to be for these upcoming games, but maybe later on we’ll definitely expect him back in the team.” [...]”
            (link to ussoccer.com )

    • Dinho says:

      None of the guys are gonna come out and say anything like, “Landon messed with the chemistry,” or “we’re not sure if he’ll be welcome back into the group.” That is not for a player to say. That’s for the coach to say.

      Landon will be back in the fold, it’s just a matter of time.

      And, the Shea/Landon comparisons are lame (although I’d still rather have LD than Shea, if it was an either/or situation). Shea didn’t “step away” from the game and the team. It was not his “choice” to be lacking in playing time for Stoke.

      Shea trained every day (when not hurt) and was exposed to a relatively high level of play. Meanwhile, Landon was in Southeast Asia playing pick-up with some school kids (that sounds a lot worse than what it truly was).

      What I don’t get is why Williams was called in, especially in light of his lack of playing time recently. We already have Jones and Edu in camp. There is no need for Williams. None.

      • David says:

        +1 (except I’d rather LD be in the Gold Cup)

        • Dinho says:

          I am glad LD will be playing in the Gold Cup. (but I’d still take him over Shea).

          Anyway, LD at the Gold Cup will give us a chance to see if he is ready for the international stage again (albeit the side stage).

          We can all agree that he is not performing like the Donovan of old, but it remains to be seen whether he will ever get there. The Gold Cup may be a good indicator.

          • Dan says:

            Shea needs the exposure to higher competition to be ready for brazil. LD can be dropped into any formation and produce. Let LD inspire the 50-50 guys and show they how much they need to step up their game.

            • Dinho says:

              If Shea needs exposure, let him play in the Gold Cup.

              These are WC qualifiers, not a showcase.

      • fischy says:

        “Landon will be back in the fold, it’s just a matter of time.”

        If qualifying for the World Cup were a sure thing, I’d be OK with that sentiment…but, it’s not and I’m not.

        • Dinho says:

          fischy, I’m not saying I agree with it, but that’s the position JK is taking. I just think some of the comparisons are unfair.

        • Dan says:

          UM…we need to place within the top 4 out of 6 teams (top 3 automatic, 4th has a playoff with New Zealand) Mexico has bigger worries than the US right now.

        • Hogatroge says:

          Personally, I think bringing LD into camp and not playing him in the friendlies would be a strong enough message.

          That said, if the US can’t take 4 points from the next 2 WCQ matches without LD, they don’t deserve to go to Brazil.

      • Lucas says:

        I wouldn’t cal Stoke training sessions as high levels of play

      • Todd T says:

        On Williams: It puzzles me too but I think it is a for the future type of thing or maybe it was an Altidore type of conflict with the coach, where he just fell out of favor and he never got played. Williams is a good player if he is a CM and not on the wing. I actually think he could be a better version then Jones but he isn’t there yet.

    • Rog says:

      Just curious are “The Eric W”? As in Eric Wynalda. I know you weren’t a Klinsman fan. LOL

  18. fischy says:

    It must be nice to be the USA coach. In 99% of the soccer-playing countries, Klinsmann would be out of a job within days of pulling this horse-manure.

    • Jovins says:

      You mean like in Mexico, where Carlos Vela hasn’t played for the national team in years?

      • Good Jeremy says:

        I read that is Vela’s choice and he decided to focus on his club career after not getting playing time at Arsenal.

      • anne says:

        … and like in German team with offloading Ballack in a 2010 WC press conference.

    • Dan says:

      or you fail to see the underlying strategy that the rest of us have picked up on?

  19. bryan says:

    i’d like Ives to comment on players like Torres, Lichaj, Morales, and Orozco. Not that I think any of them have any business playing in WCQs, but they seem like perfect Gold Cup options. are they SOL now?

    • bryan says:

      anyone? Ives? can we get some insight into this?

    • Lampard in the End Zone says:

      Lichaj has only started for Villa because Matthew Lowton has been injured. He started at LB for the beginning of the season but was replaced by Joe Bennett. He should not be in the Gold Cup roster discussion unless there is no depth.

      • bryan says:

        there is no depth! that’s the issue. he has played enough recently to warrant a look at RB for the Gold Cup. with Dolo and Chandler out, it makes the situation a lot more desperate. especially with Morales and Orozco left out. idk, i just like him more than Beltran.

        and to be honest, my question truly applies to Torres and Morales. they both should be on the Gold Cup. Lichaj and Orozco I’m not so worried about, but they seemed like good options for the Gold Cup too.

    • Hogatroge says:

      Morales has only recently begun getting PT again. Not bringing him to the WCQs is not a surprise.

      If he’s not the starting DM at the Gold Cup, though, I would be shocked. I could also see him splitting time w/ Beckerman, though, since KB has more experience. Probably let KB start the first tough match, break Morales in with a weaker opponent, then use Morales in the KO rounds.

      • bryan says:

        Right, but dude, that’s my point. If he SHOULD be in the Gold Cup, then he HAD to be in the May/June camp. I did not say he should play any part in the WCQs. He just needed to be in the camp in order to play in the Gold Cup…since he plays in Germany. Hopefully JK breaks his own rule…

    • Hogatroge says:

      To add more…

      In order of likelihood, I think we’ll see:

      Morales, Orozco, Torres, Lichaj

      Morales has earned his shot with solid play and working his way back into the lineup.

      Orozco’s played okay at RB for Puebla this season, and we’re not so deep there as to leave off a guy with a goal against Mexico @ Mexico and a few caps.

      Torres is more familiar to JK, so he’s more likely to come in than Lichaj, though I can think of a solid 6 or 7 MF players I would take before him.

      Lichaj hasn’t seen a camp under Klinsmann. While I think he should get the call, whether he does or not is another story.

      • bryan says:

        but once again, all of those guys play in leagues that will be out of season. and JK said players in those leagues who want to play in the Gold Cup HAVE to be int he May/June camp.

        that’s what i’m trying to get insight on from Ives. how likely is it that JK bends the rules for what i consider key players for the Gold Cup.

  20. Ed says:

    So Ives, you went last night from “his absence clearly struck a negative chord with the national team” to now “the very real possibility that Donovan’s absence didn’t go over well with the team”

    Nobody really knows, but do you really think our pillars– Howard, Bradley, Dempsey, Altidore.. Don’t want the best team possible? The team chemistry argument is nonsense, these guys have played (and won) together throughout their careers in tournaments, qualifiers and world cups.

    You also said that people hoping for a Donovan comeback were being nostalgic, which is also nonsense, if anything it’s pragmatic, simply call him in and see where he’s at. Surely you agree that Donovan, one way or another can help this team right now.

    • Dan says:

      Any press is good press…the bigger the fanbase gets…we can one day dream of playing in Dallas or the Meadowlands an not have 80% of the stands rooting for the foreign team

    • Nate Dollars says:

      +1. glad someone else caught that.

  21. Ryan says:

    Here is my breakdown. So far in qualifying we have played in Azteca where our “offense” always goes to die and in a freakin blizzard. The other game was away where the pitch was iffy but still good enough to put on a better showing. I am willing, albeit with a short leash, to see how this “core” does in the coming weeks, but if we continue to lag on the wings and move the ball laterally rather than through the middle and then out to our wings/fullbacks, then I will definitely shout for Donovan, Corona, even a Gatt later in the year. We need a guy(s) who will challenge the defensive backline and push them. In this lineup I just don’t see who does that.

  22. Socom 2 says:

    ——————-Altidore——————-

    Zusi————–Dempsey———–Gomez

    Why would you put two players who arent wingers as wingers ? We are not scoring goals with players out of position. We are not scoring goals with altidore up top by himself !!!

    • Ryan says:

      Exactly what I alluded to in the post right above this one. Although these guys have talent, (I have loved Herc since he moved to Mexico because of his work rate and nose for goal), you’re right, they are NOT wingers. Zusi does not have the experience yet to break defenses down.

    • 2tone says:

      Zusi is not out of position. If people would care to notice Zusi has started almost every game as either a RW or LW for Kansas City.

      If you have watched Santos Laguna you would notice that Herc Gomez has played at LW or RW for the majority of their current season.

      Zusi is not a typical winger, but neither is Donovan. Both are more RAM’s/LAMs’ then they are wingers. There are scores of players that play on the wings that aren’t prototypical wingers.

      Herc will put in a good shift on the wing.

      To tell you the truth I fully expect to see Fabian at LW in at least one game.

      I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Shea get soem minutes as well.

      • Dinho says:

        Nice response, good points.

        But, I think the upshot is that neither of these guys “hug the touchline” like Donovan and Beasley used to do. Excuse the pun, but that speed on the flanks can be deadly. And without true “width” the attack tends to look that much more stagnant.

        • 2tone says:

          Meh Donovan never hugged the touchline. Beasley yes, Donovan was and continues to be more of a RAM/LAM.

        • Dan says:

          If Josh “zoolander” Gatt ever learns to use his left foot,…oh the possibilities

    • Hogatroge says:

      Zusi does play out wide for SKC often enough to justify putting him there. He’s been off a bit for the Nats lately, but he’s in great form for club right now.

      Gomez can play there as well, and has done so often enough in Mexico.

  23. Shane says:

    rotating six goalkeepers should help a lot with the ever vital team chemistry

  24. fischy says:

    Klinsmann is a freaking ego-maniac who has bought into some quack leadership program He wants to be the center of gravity and would rather not have players around who might be their own centers of gravity. And, he wants players who are his players, who feel they owe their loyalty to him personally, because he’s the one who brought them into the fold. He might relent and bring in vest like Boca, Cherundolo and Donovan, but he’s all too quick and too happy to take them down a peg first.

    It probably really is as simple as that.

    • Dan says:

      Or that prima donna professional attitudes have ruined teams like France and England before. He’s grooming younger players for the future who lack the experience of the exposure the WC brings…let the coach take the spotlight, so the players can focus on the game….besides the PR stunt the MNT pulled prior to the last set of games turned to gold in viewer ratings…even non-fans were talking about it..and watched the game

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I see Landon as a different case because he does have a couple good games for a first division team this year. The other two, Boca broke down against Russia (and has struggled for second division PT), and Dolo has shown signs of wheels trouble. If a back can’t stay with his marks and the play, it is pasture time. Now, I am no fan of Parkhurst as a replacement, but that’s another story.

  25. Jj says:

    ————– Jozy ————-
    Fabian —– Demps —– Zusi
    ——- Bradley — Jones ——
    Castillo – Besler – Omar – Cam
    ———— Howard ————

    • Dinho says:

      I don’t mind this. Gomez off the bench for Jozy (when he tires) is a great spark.

    • David says:

      This strikes me as our best starting XI. Subs could include Gomez and Beasley if we’re chasing the game, or an Edu if we’re looking to hold on.

    • bryan says:

      i think Castillo plays a very limited role in this team and is saved for the WCQs.

    • Todd Marsch says:

      +1 This my preferred line-up too. I’m kind of iffy on Castillo, since he hasn’t been great in his other appearances (but I don’t think he was as horrible as his detractors make him out to be), and I haven’t seen his recent play in Mexico. However, I’d have to imagine he’s playing well to be a constant starter for Tijuana and is getting good experience playing in tough Liberatadores (sp?) games.

      • Nate Dollars says:

        castillo has greatly improved. and i really like the lineup above. really, fabian or castillo could line up in either spot and i’d be happy.

  26. Ed says:

    In a weird way this situation could turn out badly for Graham Zusi. For the next round of qualifiers, everyone is going to put extra scrutiny on him as “the guy occupying Donovan’s spot.” That’s a ton of pressure.

  27. Dinho says:

    Aside from Brooks, what other players do you guys see JK looking at as potentials for the Gold Cup from the U-20 team? Joya? Rodriguez?

    Anyone else?

    • bryan says:

      no one who still plays for the reserves has a chance. Villarreal has the biggest chance after JAB. Benji, while not a reserve for Santos, has yet to make an appearance.

      either way, i think JAB is the only one who could be at the Gold Cup and the U-20 World Cup.

      • Dinho says:

        Good call on Villarreal. I’d like to see him play with the B+ full team.

      • Dan says:

        Very surprised Gil & Villarreal were not called to be cap tied since Mexico has approached them

        • bryan says:

          i mean, lets be honest, they have plenty of talent. lol

          • Dan says:

            pretty sick considering their age…but want to avoid another country cap-tying them then sitting them to prevent us from getting better

        • Hogatroge says:

          I don’t think anyone’s worried about losing Gil or Villareal.

          Those kids know their future for the USMNT is secure.

    • John says:

      I’d keep an eye on Luis Gil for sure. I think he could bring something to the attack out of the midfield.

    • 2tone says:

      VIllarreal, Gil, Brooks, and Yedlin all have shots in the next year IMO. Joya and Cuevas will need to be playing first team soccer in order to get a look.

      While Dolo is still in the equation right now; I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chandler and Yedlin as the RB’s for the WC. I am a Huge Dolo fan, but he knows that he is starting to wear down, and his coaches at Hannover know it too.

      Brooks for me could actually be a starter in next years WC. I like Besler, but I am still not sold on him. Plus JAB will be playing as a starter in the Bundesliga next season.

      Villarreal probably has a lot of work to do. I mean right now I would put EJ, Altidore, Agudelo, Boyd, and Herc well ahead of him at striker. Then you have Wooten, Shea, Zusi, Lando, Pontius, Bedoya and Gatt all ahead of him as a wide forward.

      Gil is probably the most intriguing. He has the talent to make everyone around him better, and his goal scoring is getting better. But he will have the likes of Corona, Holden, and possibly Adu compete with in the AM area.

      • bryan says:

        Yedlin, good call! i knew there was someone else. and i doubt Wooten is over Villarreal. he has yet to have any appearance for any US side.

      • Todd T says:

        Nicely said…it is unusual to agree with an entire post or to see a well thought out objective argument.(not a shot at you but at 70% of the other posters..lol….including my own at times)

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      There is substantial overlap between qualis, Gold Cup, Toulon, and U-20 Worlds. When he says “watch” U-20s, I think he means precisely that, not that they will get called.

      If he was picking, Villareal and Brooks.

      • bryan says:

        yes, his quote does not mean for certain he will call them. but it does leave that possibility open. the final of the U-20 WC is July 13th I believe. as much as i love our team, i don’t see us going that far. so JAB could likely be back before the Gold Cup starts (July 7).

        we’ll see. but i think JAB, Villarreal, and Gil are the only ones who have a shot. And I think JAB has the best shot since the Gold Cup team will have enough mids and strikers.

  28. Bean says:

    This is what I’d like to see. I just want to see it.

    ——————Altidore
    ——————Deuce
    Shea—————————-Corona
    ———–Bradley—–Jones
    Castillo—Besler—Gonzo—G Cam
    ——————Timmy
    Subs:
    Guzan, Gomez, Zusi, Davis, Johnson

    • Dinho says:

      Can’t leave off F. Johnson.

      For me, he’s the next best player on the squad behind Dempsey and Bradley.

      • Bean says:

        Good point. I’d put him where Shea is on the left. Lot’s of speed for the counter.

        • Hogatroge says:

          Honestly, after making the Johnson – Shea switch, you’re probably right on as far as our best possible roster.

          Depending on how Jozy does, subbing him off about 65′ and moving Deuce up (to put Zusi in the middle) might be a good call.

  29. bottlcaps says:

    It is a poor coach who needs to intimidate to motivate. I seriously doubt that the rest of the USMNT players have any qualms about Donovan taking a break. Team chemistry? What team chemistry. The lineups for the USMNT have been all over the map. With players out for injury or conflicting club team schedules. There has been no consistent attacking presence, outside of Dempsey, How many backlines did Klinsmann go through before he “discovered” Gonzales, et al.

    Winning tough games in tough conditions (Colorado) or against tough opponents in tough venues (Azteca) does build team spirit. But lets face it ,there are people on this list (excluding goalkeepers) who have little or no chance of making Brazil if the US team gets there. They are fillers, but posees a skill that make them important

    I predict there will be at least 4-5 players who ,if the US make the WC, are playing in these qualifiers.

    If Klinsmann needs to build team chemistry, you don’t start off by denying a place who is arguably the best player for the US.

    It make little sense to most people who follow US soccer why Klinsmann will allow Holden, Shea and Williams a spot for players coming off injury, or not good enough to play minutes for their own club team and are far from being match fit or match sharp are deemed worthy of a spot, and deny a top player, who has been improving daily and was MOM on a nationally televises MLS game the night before.

    Holden and Shea DID NOT earn their way back onto the team. Holden had an injury, yes, but his club coaches did not see him fit to play yet for their lower division team, and Shea did not even suit up for most of the matches for Stoke.

    It’s clear that Klinsmann only wishes to punish Donovan for deciding to opt out for the earlier qualifiers yet he welcome Chandler with open arms after he decides to opt out of USMNT games earlier this year.

    Donovan has not played many games for Klinsmann because of injury, or Galaxy playoff scheduling, but he has not refused a call-up. Remember, Klinsmann DID NOT call Donovan into camp for the early WC qualifiers because he obviously wasn’t match fit but not because he was “taking a break”. He informed Klinsmann and Arena personally about the need to take a break. This was acknowledged by both coaches and it was only Klinsmann who is nonetheless punishing him as if he refused a call-up.

    One of the worries that the USSF has about bringing in high profile foreign coached is their mindset. JK comes from a different era and a different mentality. He comes from a continent where soccer is almighty and has little competition for the sports dollar and attention from the public.
    But his is the US, not Germany and not Europe. Soccer is a minor sport here but growing by leaps with a unique style and attitude, We will get to the top of soccer heap, not by mimicking the current standards, but by developing our own improvements over the existing.

    Klinsmann was mocked by the German press because he was a maverick and brought in new ideas. But with the US he has fallen back into the same old German sports mindset of absolute fealty to the cause, in this case, the USMNT. Step outside the boundaries and you are cast aside. Your worth is not as important as the team.

    This will not work with the USMNT

    Yes, you must sacrifice for the team, you must focus on the task at hand. But you must also assist the players in that focus. If your past number one player, the player who had a hand in every World Cup success ever enjoyed by the US asks for time away, you give it to him and you expect that when he comes back he will be committed. But you do not need to ask for him to prove it.

    He already has.

    • Dan says:

      Keep in mind that JK re-built the German system from the ground up. Who are now picked to win in Brazil and dominate for the next decade. 22 new academies opened in the US this year. Trying new players during meaningless friendlies is called coaching to build depth. We need 18-20 quality guys to handle the pace at the WC…something Bradley never did which caused his final failure & dismissal after the Gold cup where the same 11 played 4 games In a couple weeks and faded in the second half of the final. We wont have our final 18 realistically until closer to Dec…

      • Shark says:

        This statement by Dan is complete balderdash….

        • Dan says:

          Becoming a US Development academy brings additional funding, training and a higher competition level. Far more to it than “in name only”

          link to ussoccer.com

          & Shark, try offering some input rather than acting like a clueless tool (ya know..like words)

        • Dan says:

          Try offering some input rather than being a clueless tool Sharky

          Shane – additional funding, training, development and higher competition are hardly an “in name only” change. The funding and exposure JK has brought in is helping US Soccer do more in his 2 yrs than we have in the last decade, when we accomplished so many things…then dropped the ball.

          link to ussoccer.com

      • Shane says:

        22 new academies did NOT open this year. Get your facts straight. The US named 22 existing clubs as US Dev Academies at the U13 an U14 level. These clubs have been around for years. It is a change in name only.

    • biff says:

      I like your rant, bottlecaps. From the heart. And a lot of us are feeling heartbroken (yes, I said it and and I mean it: heartbroken) that Jurgen Klinsmann is in charge of this team.

    • anne says:

      KIlinsmann didn’t only bring in new ideas to German soccer. After German soccer was dashed to the ground in 2004 Klinsmann brought a new soccer philosophy, new style of play & new training methods with influence on the league clubs and their youth academies.

      There is one German tabloid (BILD) who started mocking about Klinsmann. And many of the other so called journalistic press just copy pasted these stories.
      After bad experience with BILD in the 80s Klinsmann stopped to cooperate with the mighty tabloid and also excluded them from press conferences and therefore reporting of ‘Die Mannschaft’ during 2006 WC. So BILD started to create their own stories…
      The problem is that too many people are willing to believe nearly all what BILD (with the naked girls now on page 2) is producing – be it a photoshopped picture of a Green Party politician in a peacefully demonstration brandishing a massy wrench, or be it Klinsmann not knowing anything about football tactics etc.

      But don’t worry, now it’s Low who increasingly is getting into criticism of people … not knowing about tactics, not a winner, being too weak …

  30. Rich says:

    I am hoping that Holden makes a strong comeback. I do not mind Zusi, but I have seen Stuart Holden, and he is no Stuart Holden!

    I remember when Holden played right side there was usually 1 or 2 crossed that found a US head in the 6 yard box for a real decent chance. Even better would be to have Stuie in the middle.

    I am hoping for the day when we see

    ———Altidore —Boyd———————-
    —–Duece——-=——-Holden————
    Gatt (or someone)———Bradley-
    Johnson—Besler—Gonzo—Chandler
    ——————Timmy

    • Shark says:

      Holden played four games in the English Second Division this year on loan to Sheffield Wednesday and two were as subs….he is not anywhere near being the player he once was and frankly is not in the shape to play at the International level…

      • Hogatroge says:

        Hence why he is training with the US National Team for a month in preparation for the Gold Cup.

      • Dan says:

        Try to actually see beyond the obvious Sharky…like a coach, player, or actual fan of the team would

  31. Tim says:

    Fabian Johnson at left wing and Castillo at left back? Lots of speed on the left flank.

  32. Robbo says:

    Letter To Klinsmam:This Is Not Your Baby Pen Where You Tr To Match And Fit Your Lego Toys. This Is The USA Team. Plant Your German Tight Face Ego Outside And Deal With Reality. You Screwed Up And Delayed The Progress Of Bayern Munich. Please Don’t Do The Same To The USA.You Cannot Put A Square Peg In A Round Hole. We Will Not Qualify You Keep Running Out The Same Tired Squad. Donovan Provides You With The Best Chance To Win. You Need Someone Who Knows How To Evaluate Talent Because You Don’t. You Contradict Every Statement You Make With Your Actions. Shea, Williams, Etc…, What A Joke. Oh, By The Way, You Are A Joke. Coach? Who, You? You Will Never Qualify. USA Has Not Qualified For Two Out Of Three Tournaments Since You Took Over. Will It Be Three Out Of Four? Your Neighbors Are Better Than You Your Highness Or Should I Say … Help!!!! You Are Not What We Thought You Are. Sounds Familiar? Take A Hike.

    • David says:

      Wow. Is this one of those posts that’s secretly written in iambic pentameter or something? It reads like the comment equivalent of the cut-and-paste-from-a-magazine ransom note.

      • Scott says:

        I wonder if he knows that JK doesn’t read these posts?

      • Dan says:

        Please forgive Robbo, he’s off his pills and has never watched, played or coached before to understand what’s actually going on. Nice comic relief though

      • Shane says:

        but everything Robbo said is true

        • Dan says:

          The US has always has a physical edge allowing us to dominate later in games. Man United & other top clubs have implemented similar training methods years ago. But playing longball and hoping someone gets under is hardly a strategy against quality teams. We often fell to inferior teams because of that lack of technical skill. Forcing a slower, ball control oriented technical style will improve our overall game in the long run.
          Doing the same thing over and over and hoping for better results is just moronic. Truthfully, if we are not willing to challenge ourselves to improve and build on what we have than there’s no point. The US hasn’t accomplished anything yet in this sport and IS still considered a joke since we cant field a winning 11 out of 310+ million people. (England’s population isn’t that much bigger than California)

  33. DC Josh says:

    Let’s get the ball on Jozy’s feet around the box!

    I actually really like that starting XI Ives, but having Donovan would be a big jump in quality, even despite his lack of form.

  34. yanqui says:

    plenty to pick up from, a full team and more little desire to recruit.

    ——————–Yarbrough——————-
    Sakai———-R.Funes Mori——–Brooks—-Saco-Vertiz
    ————-Hines————B.Johnson—————
    R.Pizarro———————————————–Parker
    —————–G.Funes Mori—–A.Johansson—–

  35. J says:

    I think this is the day I officially give up on the SBI message boards. Everybody hears what they want to hear, piss and moan about other opinions, and talk in circles. Nothing useful comes out of it except a big bitch fest about the coach that disappears when we don’t fail (ie. 4 points in March)

    • Nate Dollars says:

      we’ll miss you!

    • Brain Guy says:

      My general rule is to stop reading, or just skip to the bottom, when the number of comments reaches 100. You can use your own number. Saves a lot of time.

  36. Robbo says:

    No, David, its speaking from the heart. I am an American who played and coached the game. To Klinsman, its a job. This is my Country which I want to see win every game and destroy every team it plays. We have the players with the technical ability but not the coach/manager to evaluate these players and field the best team. Tab got the best from his squad, why cant this clown.

    • Dan says:

      “This is my Country which I want to see win every game and destroy every team it plays”?? Then you haven’t played/coached much…
      This game is a religion that shuts down places on game day.. Try getting a cab in Madrid during ‘El Classico”. About 120mil people watch the superbowl on a Sunday in the US…last year for a regular league EPL game hosting Man-U v. Man City on a Monday…over 690mil tuned in and shut down countries. We are woefully decades behind in technical skill and depth. Even Sir Alex was gracious enough last summer to say that the MLS has progressed faster than expected, but is still at roughly the Jr college level in comparison. We’ve had plenty of dumb luck and like to win ugly…but in serious competition…where the opponent actually treats us as a competent threat…we have a long road ahead before we dominate anything and it starts with youth teams & tv coverage. JK has moved us farther forward in 2yrs than the MNT management has in the last 10…you’ll see

      • Dennis says:

        Sorry, Klinsman has had very little impact on soccer in the US, especially compared to the little speeches he used to give at the beginning of his tenure. His much bally-hooed attempts to do that have simply not born fruit. Youth soccerr in the US continues to improve at roughly the same rate as it did when Arena and Bradley were USMNT coaches. College soccer with all its warts and its arguably, properly-placed, perspective on the education of athletes (for at least non-revenue sports) has improved from the “50 yards and a cloud of dust” style of play common in the 60s and 70s to some teams playing with actual skill. The performance of the national youth teams in JK’s era has arguably been worse. JK sometimes gets credit for US p[layers moving to europe, but that was becoming more common well before the JK era. In total, JK has had little actual effect on the trajectory of US soccer as a whole.

      • Brett says:

        Yeah, under Klinsmann US Soccer has certainly grown. We’ve grown from being a perennial participant in Olympic and Youth World Cup competitions to losing Gold Cups and struggling against our regional competitors. Observation will tell you that what was a solid foundation to our national program is now much worse in the Klinsmann era.

        And what about the on-field product? What do your eyes tell you? We used to have a team that could counter with pace and score on set plays against better opponents and boss the game against lesser opponents. Now we have a team that can knock it around the back, but looks lost in the box. There’s no flow to the play, no creativity, no purpose. Our set plays have gotten MUCH worse, to the point where a corner or free kick is now an invitation to be scored upon via counter rather than an opportunity to snatch a goal. Players playing out of position, not communicating, looking generally unsure of what the other is doing–this is our team under the great Jurgen Klinsmann.

        Is it just the fact that he’s European that makes you think he has to be making strides? As far as I can see, we’re spinning tires under his watch.

        • Dan says:

          Nothing to do with the “European aspect” He has addressed a few things though…
          Greater exposure and visibility (ESPN & NBS Sports picking up huge contracts to show games)
          Significant increase in $$ to develop programs
          Forcing players to do more than rely on longball and counterattacks and actually learn technical skills. We’ve always been a physical team, but weaker technically superior teams still beat us…why?
          Teams like Spain, Germany, Brazil will continue to crush us until we learn to improve our play. Bayern & Madrid learned that to beat Barcelona, you slow down play and control the ball.
          We can’t match Brazil’s speed, or Spain’s passing – but in learning to work the ball forward under pressure (or more talented teams) we will eventually be more successful…we’ve seen what happens when it works well..though painful to watch when it doesn’t

        • Hogatroge says:

          Klinsmann didn’t coach the U23s, so suggesting he’s at fault for the Olympic failure is utterly moronic.

          Porter had plenty of talent on that team to get to the Olympics, even if they didn’t win the tournament. Klinsmann had no part in that failure.

  37. Ed says:

    Would just like to point out that Klinsmanns base salary is $2.5 million while Bob Bradley made a shade under $900K. Xenophilia at its finest, what a total shame.

    • Bean says:

      In business, it’s common for some people to make more money then others for various reasons. When a position needs to be filled, often times a candidate can negotiate for a much better salary then the predecessor. Often times a person can be paid a lower salary then someone that they outperform. That’s why in most companies, your salary is supposed to be confidential.

  38. Ryan in NYC by way of NC says:

    The offensive prowess of that Gold Cup side appears to be very real: Holden, Shea, Donovan, Mix, Benny F, McInerney, Bedoya, Johannsson.

    YIKES

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Gatt. Agudelo.

      Not Bedoya.

      And I’d rather see Boyd get an extended run.

  39. rainORshine says:

    ives – yes this is a reasonable projection. but do you (still) think it is the best option? specifically, do you (still) feel this is a good position for gomez?

    for me, gomez is worthless offensively if not playing forward in a front 2 or front 3. for all intents and purposes this line-up is a 4-4-2 (or 4-4-1-1). how many times did we see gomez and zusi defending in our defensive third in march? a lot! dempsey simply has much more offensive freedom than wings – calling this line-up a “4-2-3-1″ is a misnomer.

    we dont have the wing options for this kind of set-up.

    bocanegra situation is a joke. goodson has 5 apps for brondby this calender year, 2 in last 2 months. besler has been out injured. i expect boca will be recalled before jamaica game

    ———-altidore—dempsey——–
    ——————zusi—————–
    ——bradley–kljestan–jones——
    johnson-bocoodler-gonzo-cameron

    - zusi finds space to either side
    - kljestan plays deep-lying play-maker adding possession / creativity as well as providing extra cover for both bradley / jones and outside backs to get forward more

    • biff says:

      That is a very informative comment. thanks. Did not know that Goodson has not been playing. Because of injury?

      • rainORshine says:

        i think a combo of injury and coaches decision. i believe he is currently injured – he did not dress for game yesterday after leaving previous game in 64th min…

        • biff says:

          Thanks. Now it makes sense why Klinsmann called him up :-)

        • biff says:

          Does anyone else get the impression that Klinsmann in camp likes to be surrounded by his guys, where they deserve to be there or not?

  40. Rowsdower says:

    So I just read most of everything posted here. I have two comments… Take a deep breath and the sky is not falling. Lets get back to bashing Mexico please.

  41. Micah says:

    I hope someone goes up top with Jozy. Jozy does not need to play by himself up top . I am sort of scared having Gonzalez and Besler in the central, but hopefully they will continue to improve and learn from their good form in the Mexico game.

  42. rainORshine says:

    i actually think even JK is clever enough to figure out that gomez is not a good option in that position. roster reveals commitment to those tactics with inclusion of shea, beasley and davis – all candidates to play in left wing spot. i realize all three were on last roster, but that roster was missing both johnson and castillo (LB, but ALSO possible LM/LWs), so beasley was obviously designated LB… i actually would not be surprised to see shea start multiple games – it is pretty clear that he is the guy JK desperately wants to inherit that position

    i dont agree with tactics, but i would agree far less strongly if JK (reasonably) tried to develop a secondary strategy involving a 3 man CM combo – with kljestan or possibly corona (NOT edu or williams) joining bradley/jones

  43. The Imperative Voice says:

    Landon used to be a fixture on the team so I don’t buy soccer chemistry issues. Really think he will struggle to sync with his teammates? He’s played with them for years. Nor have I heard any public indications of locker room animus towards him based on his sabbatical. Now, his recent performance made some sense as an excuse, but then he had the Philly game. At which point you pick up the phone. I don’t think the players who are said to be interchangeable with him have similar skill sets, for that matter.

    In terms of GKs, Johnson has always struck me as skittish and not necessarily the future No. 1, and the US continues to be a fairly productive GK producer. There are plenty of other options and I don’t mind them considering them.

    I’m a Holden fan so I don’t mind him getting “rehabbed” with us. I wouldn’t mind Shea and Donovan (and perhaps Lichaj) getting the same treatment. But if you’re going to pick and choose, Holden, Davis, EJ, Shea, and Parkhurst over Donovan, Gatt, and Lichaj?

    Parkhurst, like Spector, is just too slow to mark someone at this level. At this level his thinking man’s approach breaks down in the face of superior athleticism.

    I think we are much better with players like Dempsey or Gomez up top, Jozy looks like a target striker but lacks the ball skills, which means if you play him by himself up top it’s a black hole for distribution, and we struggle to work the ball upfield.

    • biff says:

      a coupla comments, The Imperative Voice: The only public “ indications of locker room animus” I remember are the comments from Tim Howard before the Guatemala debacle, indicating, I repeat, indicating that Timmy was not pleased with Donovan’s absence. And those comments could have been taking out of context, because it would seem to me that Howard after the Everton partnership would have a strong bond.

      As for your doubts with Parkhurst, you forget that Parkhurst has fulfilled Klinsmann’s new and improved requirements for getting a call-up, and that is not playing and/or making the the bench of your club team a couple of months.

      I agree 100% about putting Gomez up top. Gomez is not a winger and has always been played out of position by Klinsmann the Tinkerer. Would like to see Herc given a shot up top. I jthink June will be Jozy’s last chance to end his goal-scoring drought. If he remains goal-less, then other options have to be tried–or Klinsmann has to be fired.

  44. Cairo says:

    It’s an interesting time for the Nats. With the exception of Donovan it’s hard to quibble too much with the choices. At the same time, I think one could assemble a team made up of all the guys left off that could keep it close against the first team pretty much every night. One such example:

    ———————Wondo————–Bruin———————-
    Nguyen—————–Feilhaber———————Donovan
    —————————-Beckerman——————————-
    Morrow———–John————Okugo————-Morales
    —————————–Keeper———————————-

    The drop off is pretty minimal, and in some spots I’d argue that this team is better (attacking mid, right winger, for example). There would certainly be more speed and service from the wingers with this group….

  45. Ike says:

    Do not like the formation at all and not sure why JK is so stubborn. The formation constantly leaves Jozy on an island. Zusi and Gomez are decent enough players, but neither is effective in this formation. Dempsey is also not his best in this role. Sigh…

  46. Pete says:

    All I want to say is we were up 2-0 against a very good Mexican side until Dolo gets injured, and now we are out of two starters: Altidore and Dolo, and then Barrera goes nuts on Bornstein. Bob Bradley’s major problem was that he was too reliant on “his” guys: Clark, and Bornstein. But I do know this, we did score 2 against Brazil in a major cup without hardly any major European players, and I do know that we tied England, tied Slovenia (should’ve been a win), and got a last minute win against Algeria to move on in the World Cup. Won our damn group even. We qualified as top team in the Hex. So, I want to know, at what point did we really need a mentality change, as much as just our in-house talent getting better? Did Klinsmann make Dempsey better at Fulham; Jozy at AZ; Kljestan at Anderlecht; Edu at Bursaspor; Jones at Schalke. I was one of those, “Klinsmann is the right guy” post Bradley, but it is becoming strikingly apparent that he is NOT. But he does deserve his fair shake at this WC Cycle, but if we do not collect at least 5 points out of the next 3 games. I think he should be fired promptly.

  47. HUGO says:

    ————-Altidore—-Gomez————–
    Beasley———-Dempsey————Gatt
    ———————Bradley——————–
    FB—–Goodson—-Cameron—–speedback
    ——————–Howard———————