USMNT Daily Update: A closer look at right back heading into September’s World Cup qualifiers

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

The position across the defense that has historically given the U.S. Men’s National Team the most trouble in solving is left back, but it is the other fullback spot that is likely to have Jurgen Klinsmann more carefully weighing his options ahead of next month’s round of World Cup qualifying.

With Steve Cherundolo all but out for September’s games against Costa Rica and Mexico due to the third knee surgery he has had this year, right back has become a position that is fairly open. Yes, Brad Evans seems like the penciled-in starter for the road match in San Jose and the home game in Columbus given his impressive string of starts for the U.S. this summer, but who is brought in as his competition is still relatively unknown.

That does not mean Klinsmann lacks options from which to choose from at right back. There are actually several players in contention, including Michael Parkhurst and Timmy Chandler, but Klinsmann will need to figure out which one or two in addition to Evans will give the Americans the best probability of grabbing six points and moving one step closer to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Here’s a closer look at the right backs who could potentially be called in by Klinsmann in September:

BRAD EVANS

The odds-on favorite to line up against Costa Rica and Mexico. Evans enjoyed a dream summer with the U.S., one in which he boosted his stock tremendously with solid performances against the likes of Germany and Honduras. Evans has also been given a taste of what it’s like to play on the road on the international level, starting and faring well in matches in Jamaica and Bosnia, so it would be a big surprise if he is not the player lining up at right back on Sept. 6.

ERIC LICHAJ

Many observers have long felt that Lichaj deserves a look under Klinsmann, but the reality of the situation is that the versatile defender has not played all that consistently at the club level since the German was appointed the U.S. head coach back in July 2011. That has seemingly changed now, with Lichaj receiving start after start and performing well for Nottingham Forest at the beginning of their season in the Championship. Lichaj is unlikely to be used as a starter in next month’s qualifiers, but do not be shocked if he sneaks on the roster.

MICHAEL PARKHURST

Parkhurst is in a precarious situation. He is not seeing the field at all for FC Augsburg, struggling to even make the bench consistently, but the veteran defender was a solid contributor to the U.S. team that lifted the Gold Cup trophy in July. Klinsmann has called upon Parkhurst in the past and his versatility (he played left back vs. Guatemala during the semifinal round of World Cup qualifying) could see him summoned despite his lack of playing time in the Bundesliga.

TIMMY CHANDLER

Klinsmann made it clear earlier this month that Chandler is currently behind several other players in the depth chart, but the German-American is playing on a weekly basis for FC Nurnberg. Still, Chandler is the right back after Cherundolo with the best offensive tools and that combined with his steady dose of playing time may have Klinsmann leaning towards bringing Chandler back into the fold for depth purposes.

GEOFF CAMERON

Playing right back at a high level with Stoke City, Cameron clearly seems like a candidate to potentially start at that spot for the United States. But Cameron is the player of this bunch who offers the least going forward, a tactic Klinsmann clearly favors, and that hinders his chances of playing, much less starting on the right side of defense. Cameron, seeing some time there should not completely be ruled out, however, as he will likely be on the roster and in-game situations could dictate whether he is used in the position that he plays at so regularly for his club.

TONY BELTRAN

The dark horse of the group, Beltran could make his way onto the roster if Klinsmann is unconvinced by the majority of his other options. The Real Salt Lake defender has been included in several of the previous camps and his familiarity with the position will keep him in the conversation.

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What do you make of the U.S.’s right back situation? Which of these players would you call in? Who would you start vs. Mexico and Costa Rica?

Share your thoughts below.

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142 Responses to USMNT Daily Update: A closer look at right back heading into September’s World Cup qualifiers

  1. paulwp says:

    JK has had plenty of time to evaluate all of these players besides Lichaj. I know nothing about him, but seeing that nobody else seems to be able to prove worthy above Evans, it seems like it’s his turn for a shot. I’d rather bring in a new face in Lichaj, then re-cycle an old one that we know won’t beat Evans out in Parkhurst or beltran. Dolo and Chaldler are completely different conversations since their dilemmas are health and phobia related.

    • Lost in Space says:

      Actually Lichaj would be a bit of a re-cycle for the USNT. He was part of the 2011 Gold Cup, and showed very well in the matches he was a part of (although he was primarily used at LB).
      Raw talent wise Chandler & Lichaj both beat out Evans as they are more technical, faster, and are actual right backs week in, week out. Dolo is also a better fit, but due to his age and multiple knee surgeries, I don’t see him in the picture right now.
      Don’t get me wrong, Evans had done very well as the RB….and will be in the picture right up to the end. However, if Lichaj gets an opportunity and continues to play well in the championship I truly believe he’ll leapfrog Evans. Chandler has all the tools (and has shown them on occasion) but he’s in a slump/funk at the moment. If he ever turns it around at the club level, he too will move ahead of Evans.

    • GW says:

      paulwp,

      Lichaj isn’t a new face. JK has much more reliable data on him that anyone on SBI.
      He has had plenty of time to consider what he has to offer and hasn’t called him in.
      Whatever it is he sees in Eric he clearly doesn’t like all that much.

      And for those who keep saying he should give him a chance live and in person, well why? Is Eric better live? If you don’t like what you see on DVD and on TV or from the stands, if you don’t like what your scouts and/ or contacts are telling you, why bring him in?

      That’s like dating someone that you don’t want to because everyone else is telling you should.

      JK already has a group of players he clearly likes and wants to get better.

      JK is just not that into Lichaj.Bu t then it would not surprise me if he called him in for Costa Rica.

      • 2 OKC teams 1 cup says:

        “JK is just not that into Lichaj.Bu t then it would not surprise me if he called him in for Costa Rica.”

        So you believe Lichaj isn’t good enough, but wouldn’t be suprised if he’s called up? What’s up with that?

        • GW says:

          2OKC,

          What’s up with that is simple.

          It is a new year.

          Maybe Eric figured out he needs to get better.
          Getting fired does that to people.

          Obviously, Lichaj did not impress too many people, especially those who know him best, with his last season and a half at Villa. I take Paul Lambert’s judgment over some guy who last closely watched Lichaj in the fall of 2011.

          Eric has moved on. I haven’t seen him at Forest have you? Have you watched him play? Maybe he has figured it out and now the second coming of Cafu or Maicon.

          The point is if he has I’m sure JK and his staff know about it. Unlike a lot of people on this board I don’t follow Forest religiously and I’m not familiar with Lichaj’s form today
          . .
          So yeah it would not surprise me if JK knew more than I did about the September 2013 version of Eric Lichaj.

          Should I be surprised?

      • slimkid32 says:

        I tend to agree. It was always unsettling to me that AV, a team who is building through young, promising players, decided to part ways with Lichaj, who would seemingly fit into that mold. Lambert didn’t see what many US fans have seen in Lichaj, as he continually lost out to players a year or two his junior and eventually earned a free transfer to the Championship.
        My feeling is that he is not as far along in his development as we might think. Almost like we base where he should be professionally on his age, when in actuality he is closer to the u-20′s development wise than to the full National team. And my gut tells me that he does not read the game well. Physically he seems to have all the tools, but something about him has professionals like JK and Paul Lambert rating him low. To that point, Brad Evans getting converted to RB has more to do with his ability to read the game than anything else. That tells me that is a quality JK is looking for in that position.
        All that being said, it is very promising that Forest is doing well and he is part of that success and I am rooting for him to fulfill his potential. Hopefully this continues, as four matches is promising, but far from a resume.
        And just clarifying my stance, I would have zero issue if Lichaj were called in, I just question whether he actually would provide more than the others ahead of him on depth chart.

    • Long Time Listener, Twelfth Time Caller says:

      Lichaj is hardly a new face. Thanks for tuning in, good to have you.

  2. SanFran415 says:

    It’s Evans spot to lose. He’s been playing at a very high level.

    This is the culture Klinsmann has created. You beat out the player in front of you or you don’t play.

    • Tony in Quakeland says:

      Really? People need to stop judging fullbacks simply by their ability to get forward and delivering an cross.

      If better options don’t emerge than Evans and Beasley on the other side, we’re in for a miserable time at the WC.

      Frankly, head case though he may be, Chandler is the guy we need to emerge – or, believe it or not, Yedlin.

      • SanFran415 says:

        First off, the backs in Klinsmann’s system are EXPECTED to get forward and deliver crosses.

        So the entire basis of your comment is nonsense. You aren’t the coach. This isn’t your team.

        And Evans is clearly a more than capable defender who has continually demonstrated the ability to defend world class talent.

        That you choose to ignore that is your prerogative, but to claim that and then say YEDLIN of all people is a better option is ridiculous. He’s a barely capable MLS defender who people like because he’s aggressive going forward.

        • Tony in Quakeland says:

          Every fullback is expected to get forward and attack. Too many people base their evaluation of fullbacks SOLEY on their attacking. It’s why converted midfielders get excited reviews from people who actually don’t understand that the first job is defense. When it comes down to it, I want at least one of the full backs to be able to defend, at least a little.

          Using converted mids as fullbacks is an invitation for disaster. For instance, take a look at the first goal we gave up in 2006 against the Czech Republic, when Eddie Lewis when crashing up field, leaving a gap that the Czech efficiently exploited for a ridiculously easy goal. Defensive shape counts, folks. And it’s not easy to learn how to keep it.

          As for Yedlin, what part of the word “emerge” don’t you understand? I have watched him improve a lot in his defense this year and ten months from now – who knows? Chandler is more likely.

          • Jovins says:

            You’re right converted mids usually struggle.

            I mean, it isn’t like Leighton Baines, Glen Johnson, Ashley Cole, Kieran Gibbs, Jordi Alba, Kwamdoah Asamoah, all started out higher up the pitch professionally, and many if not most fullbacks played wide midfielder as youth players. Piszczek at Dortmund was unsuccessful as a winger, and has become one of the best fullbacks in the world.

            The problem isn’t that players are “natural” fullbacks or not – what matters is that players are natural wide players, and are willing workers and intelligent players.

            And the reason fullbacks are judged primarily going forward is because they have more touches in today’s game than any player on the field in many cases. If you don’t have a fullback who is very comfortable on the ball, the team is going to struggle mightily.

        • Nate Dollars says:

          ‘who has continually demonstrated the ability to defend world class talent’

          no, he hasn’t.

        • Rocco says:

          Chiiiillll Winston.

      • GOYA-GOYA says:

        Ummmm, I think you totally missed the point of the post. He doesn’t mean literally beat the man in front of you. He means in terms of who starts vs. who sits.

        The last time I looked, you win by putting more goals in the back of the ole onion bag than the other team. Getting forward and pressuring the team you are playing, and yes crossing the ball in, are major components of this strategy. I support putting on the pitch the best player on that day.

        Seems Klinsi has a different opinion than you, and it seems to be working. Stop second guessing and just enjoy the ride.

        • Tony in Quakeland says:

          Last time I looked, you win by preventing the other team from putting more balls in the back of your net than you put in theirs.

          Fullbacks – at least one of them – are relied on for some attacking width in today’s game. No one questions that. But their first job is defense – and right now it is the glaring weakness of our team.

      • Mike E. says:

        Um hello Klinsmann requires his backs to get forward and contribute in the attack. Its a major part of his system. Evans is also a quality defender.

        Your credibility on the matter is zilch as of now to say its riduculous to judge a player based on exactly what is expected of him.

      • SBI TroII says:

        Tony Pulis, is that you?

  3. ilikefreddyyesadu says:

    Give Zusi a look at right back!!! Zusi and Donovan working the right side and Beasley and Fabian on the left would be fun to see. Put Jozy up top with Dempsey and let Bradley/Jones patrol the middle. Zusi is a worker and could pull this off. Landon can tuck in making way for Zusi to run the flank and pepper in crosses.

    ——————-Jozy
    —————————Deuce
    Fabian –Bradley — Jones — Donovan
    Beasley– Besler– Goodson– Zusi
    ——————-Howard

    • SBI TroII says:

      Lol, Zusi or Donovan will not play fullback. Not sense even thinking about it.

      • paulwp says:

        Just like Beasley and Evans would never have played it right? I mean, I don’t think ANYONE would have thought of Beasley there. MAYBE evans, but Beasley? I would have thought of Donovan and evans before him for sure. (though none of them would’ve ever come up without this roulette system we have)

        • Alex says:

          Uhhh… Beasley played left back under Bradley. Granted, he played there once, but Beasley at left back has been discussed for a looooooong time.

          • paulwp says:

            I stand corrected then

            • Nate Dollars says:

              you stand kind of corrected, because, to be fair, beasley was abysmal when he played LB that game, and it ended with people saying that beasley at LB was a huge mistake, not to be repeated. ever.

          • rph says:

            God it’s annoying when people start online commentary with “uhhhh” or “umm.” Do you put the pauses in your speech in your online commentary too?

        • SBI TroII says:

          Evans has played there at the MLS level before. He is a stop gap option for the national team. Beasley played there a couple times under Bradley. He is also a stop gap option. Donovan is a natural goal scorer why move him to defense, somewhere he’s never played before. Zusi is an attacking mid with a good workrate. This doesn’t mean he has the experience to know good positioning at the spot. Not need to entertain this any further.

          • paulwp says:

            thank you for allowing me not to entertain this further… but I don’t care what you would like me to entertain or not. Also, you’re the one entertaining the thought… if you weren’t, you would have simply moved on to the next comment instead of blessing us with your all-powerful wisdom. yeah, the idea is crazy… it’s a message board… get over it.

            • Ben says:

              The problem with Zusi is that his more natural position in toward the center of the field anyhow. He is already a bit out of position as an outside player for the Nats, so the rightback would be a stretch. Beasley is a natural wing player, so the move from mid to back is mitigated somewhat.

          • GW says:

            You haven’t been watching the unconventional JK have you?

            JK likes his fullbacks to be two way players with a bias towards the attacking side. That is why he keeps sticking midfielders, like Torres, back there.

            Zusi would fit in just fine as a JK fullback, Donovan as well. It gives them more room to start their attacking moves, and get in their crosses. It also keeps defenders off of them and both have the fitness required for the necessary movement.

            And both have the requisite defensive skills. Donovan, who by the way is about the same size as Dolo, is probably the best tackler on the team.

            And moving either one back gives you room to use your new offensive toys, AJ, EJ and the like.

            The only fullbacks who are biased to the defensive side in terms of their skills are Parkhurst and Cameron and they both have attacking capabilities.

            JK is giving you what y’all demanded, attacking football. You have to give up something to get something.

      • ilikefreddyyesadu says:

        Didn’t Klinsi use Torres at one of the back positions in a pinch? Zusi can defend, has speed, and whips in beautiful crosses. Why not give him a look especially later in qualifying or in a friendly?

        • SBI TroII says:

          Torres played there against a team that was a CONCACAF guppy (Antigua, I think) in an emergency. He didn’t even finish the game as he got hurt.

    • paulwp says:

      Ok… so, I started laughing at this…. then I started really liking th idea. ::shake head vigorously:: yep, still like it. here’s why

      1. Zusi would be at least as good at evans at filling the defensive role.

      2. Also, this allows Zusi to launch those beautiful crosses without being defended by a top defensive wing. It would be like shooting ducks in a barrel.

      3. This solves the “how do we get our best players on the field” question.

      so, in short. As much as I initially hated this idea… as long as Evans in our starting right back… wouldn’t Zusi provide everthing he provides and more?

      Fun to think about… in fact, i’ll be thinking about this all day :)

      • Ben says:

        I don’t think so. Zusi is less defensively minded than Evans, and just because we play Evans out of positions doesn’t mean we should press a bunch of other players out of position as well. Zusi is much more offensively inclined and is more natural toward the center of the field anyhow. It’s already forcing him a bit out of position to put him on the outside of the midfield, but at least there he can tuck in at times.

        • DCUffda! says:

          EJ at LW
          Torres at LB
          Evans at RB
          Beasley at LB
          Diskeruud at Striker
          Orozco at RB
          Etc etc etc
          I’m sure there are some I’m missing but I think the picture is clear, Klinsmann’s Will be done. He plays people where he wants and thinks they will fit a role that he sees for them even if we do not. And he’s having at least some success doing it so far.

      • DanO says:

        I rate Evans as more athletic than Zusi. Plus, he’s taller and better in the air. Zusi may not be a bad option at right back for the reasons you mentioned against a team that bunkers, but if there is actual defending to be done, I would pick Evans. Zusi has been a loyal defensive servant from midfield, the the demands of right back are better addressed by Evans IMO.

  4. Joe+G says:

    We have 10 players sitting on a yellow card, so versatility will be critical for the next two games.

  5. joe says:

    Wondowlowski

  6. Jack says:

    i wouldn’t say that Cameron is playing RB at Stoke at a high level. He has a good work rate but he’s pretty average at best when it comes to getting forward.

    I think quality wise Timmy Chandler is the best. The worrry is whether or not his heart is in it.

    • Bumby Hemmingway says:

      Being a regular starter for a Premiere League team does not constitute ‘high level’ for you?

      • GW says:

        Bumby,

        It would be if Cameron played RB at Stoke the way JK likes his RB’s to play. But from what I can tell Geoff at right back is more like a third center back / defensive mid.

        At least that was before this season. Maybe things will change.

    • dibo says:

      This is unconventional but I would try Jermaine Jones at RB and play Cameron at defensive mid. In big WC games, the team will need someone who is an athlete but who can also play soccer. That being said, Evans has met all challenges so far.

      • Dream Weaver says:

        Had that exact thought about Jones/Cameron, but wasn’t sure if I was crazy. Prefer Jones not trying to hold down the midfield…

        Jones to RB; Cameron to CDM with Bradley playing a bit more of an advanced role?

        Might not end up working out, but it seems like an interesting idea to try.

  7. ANM says:

    Clearly Evans is in pole position right now, but honestly, I think the position is going to be Chandler’s in Brazil. Chandler has so many up-sides: he’s playing at the highest level, he has the most athletic ability, the best attacking potential. It’s really only the mental thing that has to be sorted out, and there’s nothing like the prospect of a World Cup spot to give a player a sudden dose of maturity.

    I also wouldn’t rule out Parkhurst. Augsburg has had a disastrous start to the season and he may find himself in a position where he can get some serious minutes.

    • John says:

      We’ll have to wait and see if Chandler is going to even continue to get starting minutes with his club.

    • EspinDOHla says:

      You are right, Chandler has many upsides. However, regardless of those upsides, there seems to be something he is truly lacking and that is his desire to give his all for the USMNT.

      He has shown a complete lack of commitment to the USMNT. If it is really a fear of flying, what was he thinking? USMNT plays most games in the North America…that’s a lot of flying from Europe…something everyone playing for the team in Europe has to deal with.

      While Chandler has many upsides, I just don’t think he’s gonna waltz into the position after his absence and history with cap tying call ups.

  8. Korey says:

    Spector. That is all.

    • paulwp says:

      yeah, whatever happened to him?

      • Bumby Hemmingway says:

        Continuous fails at RB happened. Spector typically plays the midfield for his club

        • GW says:

          Actually he has been injured.

        • rph says:

          You mean “continuous failure” right? Because, you know, “fail” is a verb, not a noun.

          • jack says:

            Yeah, Spector is probably better offensively and defensively than all of the above names. Also the most experienced internationally. Will never forget his epic assist against Brazil in Confed Cup 2009.

      • Dennis says:

        He left the January camp injured and did not start at SJ for several games while he recovered. He just hit a nice ball to Wondo for a goal from a difficult ball to play. He is probably the best crosser of the ball in the present pool. He does like to get forward, sometimes to his detriment, but now that JS has 3 strong centerbacks, he will likely begin to again exhibit the form that was the reason Iran wanted him and that he was called into the Jan. camp.

  9. SJEarthquakesBaby says:

    Beitashour! Ok, I’m a little biased…

  10. Dawwilly says:

    To even consider Beltran over Lichaj is utter joke. It shows a weakness in Klinsman’s thinking or at least points to a deeper problem. Lichaj’s play at Villa last was substantial. Over the past 2.5 years he has face competition far superior to Beltran or Parkhurst. The latter has talent and has proven himself. Cameron offers more in midfield. It should be Evans and Lichaj that are brought in particularly given Chandler’s luke warm attitude to the USMNT.

  11. SBI TroII says:

    Chandler is out of form but remains the front runner for the RB spot in Brazil, he’s just that talented. Lichaj showed under Bradley that he provides a quality cover or alternative to LB/RB. These two along with Johnson are guys that would provide the US speed to get up and down the flanks in Brazil.

    Parkhurst and Evans pretty much stay at home but I fear could get exposed against speedy wingers. As for Cameron, I am willing to give him another shot at RB. It’s not his best position but if he’s playing there for his club we have to consider him an option. He just hasn’t looked great there for the US.

    At this point Dolo will have to prove he’s healthy to regain consideration for that spot. I wouldn’t hold my breath for him at his age and knee issues.

    • EspinDOHla says:

      This kind of thinking blows my mind…

      Chandler was given the direct route to the RB spot once Dolo got injured or wasn’t there or retired. He had it for the taking. His waffling about national teams, unwillingness to be cap tied, and his reluctance to get on a freakin’ airplane is the reason that he IS NOT the front runner for the spot. (Yes, I get he is a dual national and it is difficult to make the decision but don’t accept friendly after friendly and then suddenly disappear when cap tying games come up.)

      Evans, Parkhurst, Orozco have at least proven that they want to be there. Lichaj has also in the past under Bradley and, if given the opportunity, would probably do so again.

      Sorry Troll, but Chandler is NOT the front runner and I doubt if he even makes it to Brazil.

      • SBI TroII says:

        Chandler has the highest odds in my opinion because when he’s in form he has the highest ceiling. Brazil is also a whole club season away (there’s plenty of chances to regain his spot at a revolving door position). He also didn’t decline a call up against Bosnia because Klinsmann didn’t bother to call him up for poor play. Also we don’t know the full story on Chandler so I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt. He was injured for the June qualifiers but turned down playing in the Gold Cup allegedly. He may not have wanted to come as to not miss his preseason or get rest before the season. As for the flying, none of that has been confirmed and is just a rumor right now. I’ll wait to make jugments on Chandler and I can do that as a fan.

    • EspinDOHla says:

      is it freakin’ or troll that was moderated? i need to know for the future.

      • Nate Dollars says:

        for whatever reason, they censor “troII” (or they used to, at least, back when they were censoring “pass”). I just spell it with capital i’s instead of lower-case L’s.

    • EspinDOHla says:

      I guess it is troll but the user’s name is SBI Troll so I don’t really understand how one is ok and the other is not???

      • GW says:

        So EspinDOHla, tell me again about Chandler?

        I just want to be sure I got it right.

        • EspinDOHla says:

          Don’t be smug GW. Just want to participate in the convo like you but…moderated, moderated, and moderated…

          Was responding to SBI Tr0LL, used his SBI username in my reply, and apparently you cannot say Tr0LL on this website but it can be your username.

          Lesson learned…

    • Hogatroge says:

      I hear from multiple sources (I woke up too late) that Cameron was pretty solid at RB for Stoke against Liverpool this past weekend.

  12. ilikefreddyyesadu says:

    Who plays right back for Iceland?

  13. David says:

    I’m a Timmy Chandler fan and, like many others, think it’s his spot to lose for Brazil. However, he hasn’t been getting consistent minutes. He’s played 32 minutes over the first two Bundesliga matches. Not that I think that’s a deal breaker. But the article twice mentions his regular playing time. You might want to fact check that.

    • John says:

      The last 2 months of last season he spent on the right wing as well.

    • EspinDOHla says:

      How is it “his spot to lose” when he hasn’t even been in the picture since the losing match against Honduras???

    • Ross says:

      Please explain to me what exactly “his to lose” means? He hasn’t been apart of this team for nearly the entire year! I’d be shocked to see his name for the next two matches.

  14. ilikefreddyyesadu says:

    Michael Orozco seems to be a forgotten man. He played CB with Puebla last time out but started at right back in their previous two matches. He has shown well for USMNT when healthy.

  15. Asthma Attack says:

    What about Yedlin? Not as a starter but as a possible back up come WC time. Haven’t seen him play other than the games for the US earlier this summer at the U20 WC. I thought he was impressive at the RB spot.

  16. Cairo says:

    People here are crazy. No one is sticking up for Evans. Ok, I will do it. Playing a position at which he has little experience, he’s been the primary right back for a steaking team. He can get beat on the edge (as can every other player in the pool),but his positioning has been surprisingly good’ thus making this less likely than with, say, Edgar Castillo or Damarcus Beasley–two players with better wheels.
    His work rate is outstanding, he is a solid passer out of the back, and he gives another big option on set pieces, both on offense and defense. I thought Klinsy was crazy at first, but Evans has shown very well and is the clear choice to start the next two qualifiers. My favorite comments here are about Evans’ supposed lack of athleticism, esp. vis a vis Chandler. Chandler is faster, but I would argue that Evans is a better athlete in most every other category. Makes me wonder where these comments are coming from (dare I say stereotypes?)
    I feel more secure with Evans than anyone else, and with more reps, I think he will not be our weakest link if he ends up starting the world cup…

    • ilikefreddyyesadu says:

      I would take Evans over Chandler. I worry that he would have a phantom injury before boarding the plane to Brazil or even worse after the first game in group play.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      you must be skipping over the comments where people are defending evans…

      i agree with you, though, that ‘he will not be our weakest link if he ends up starting the world cup’. i think it’s beasley, if he starts at left back.

      • Theredshirtdies says:

        I agree. Commendable performances in previous WCQ and Gold Cup but Beasley, despite a huge heart, just can’t keep up with elite talent that we will see during the WC. We need a more viable LB.

    • Kosh says:

      Well said. Thank you.

    • Hogatroge says:

      I’m sure some people are irrational Evans haters, but you’re kind of missing the point.

      Evans is currently our #1 RB. He doesn’t play there regularly for Seattle. That leaves him vulnerable to mental lapses simply as a result of not being familiar with the position.

      Personally, I think he should keep starting at RB for now. But, what happens if he picks up a knock? What happens if he picks up a knock while JJ is on a yellow and Cameron’s playing Dmid? Yes, there are options, but you start to get pretty far from your ideal lineup.

      Now, I’m certainly not calling for Lichaj to instantly replace Evans… far from it. But the fact is, we have a proven USMNT commodity in Lichaj who is a natural RB with speed and attacking skills (things Klinsmann emphasizes). While he admittedly went through a rough season in the EPL, he had a pretty good 2 seasons before that (split btwn EPL & Championship, with the occasional bad game, like any pro). He also was solid for the US during that time and accumulated >10 caps. The fact is, he was playing pretty regularly (compared to some players in the pool) in a tough league when other players were given seemingly undeserved chances and our RB pool was getting worryingly thin.

      Why not bring him into camp? Seriously… why not? Evans and Lichaj can both be on the roster, and Evans can still start if he earns it.

  17. Ryan Curfman says:

    What about Danny Williams at right back? I remeber JK playing him at right mid, and he reminded me of how a right back would play… Defensively aggressive, good in possession, average attacking ability, great work rate

    • ilikefreddyyesadu says:

      Boo. I’d rather see a Beckerman experiment at right back

      • Theredshirtdies says:

        I admired Backpassermen’s workrate in the Gold Cup but you can’t be serious when you think he could play right back for the USMNT A-team during WCQ, especially against Costa Rica and Mexico.

  18. Nate Dollars says:

    in anticipation of someone preemptively mocking the ‘call up lichaj’ people, let me say that most of us have not been saying that lichaj’s been amazing (or even playing that well); most of us have not been demanding that klinsmann start lichaj, or even give him gametime; we just think that, given the fluidity of the current right back depth chart, klinsmann should have brought lichaj into at least one (one!) camp in the last two years.

    • SanFran415 says:

      You do realize that Lichaj was out injured for half the season–including when camp cupcake was and he would have earned a call-up?

      • Nate Dollars says:

        ‘he would have earned a call-up’

        what are you basing this on? the fact is, klinsmann has had many opportunities to call him up, and hasn’t.

        • GW says:

          Nate,

          Doesn’t that tell you JK is not impressed with Eric?

          • Nate Dollars says:

            well, yeah; that or he has some irrational dislike for the guy. i mean, he sure seems impressed enough with beltran, parkhurst, ream, and others.

            i’m not sure what your point is–i still think klinsmann should call in lichaj, because i think he can offer us solid depth.

            i also raised a fuss when klinsmann wasn’t starting bradley, and when he wasn’t playing to jozy’s strengths. that’s something fans do: talk about what their coach should do to improve their team.

      • Hogatroge says:

        Lichaj would not have been in the January camp. That would have significantly hurt his chances for PT at Villa when he was already in a precarious position. January Camp (non-FIFA dates) is for offseason players and players who are not getting PT with their clubs and won’t be missing much (Rico Clark in 2011).

      • Freegle says:

        He could not have been called into camp cupcake even if not injured because he’d have been too busy with his EPL team.

    • Sandtrout says:

      Just looked up the Championship standings and was surprised to see Lichaj’s team, Nottingham Forest, in first after 3 games with a perfect nine points and ZERO goals against. He’s starting at right back for that team, right? Anyway, he’s starting, and apparently he’s doing pretty well so far! Could be back in the Premier League before we know it.

    • Colin says:

      well said. I just don’t get how he has not been called in once…

      • MikeG says:

        he was called in before. Check previous game rosters on USMNT. All he did was play longball after longball, but he has decent speed.

        • Nate Dollars says:

          my point was that he has never been called in by klinsmann, just by bradley.

          and you might want to take another look at his games. he certainly did not just ‘play longball after longball’. one of the notable things about him was that he carried the ball forward into the attack, unlike most of our other players at that time.

    • Hogatroge says:

      Anyone arguing against Lichaj call ups should take a moment to consider why this article had to be written in the first place.

      These same people probably haven’t been following the USMNT long enough to know what they’re talking about with respect to Lichaj, anyway.

      • GW says:

        Hogatroge

        “Anyone arguing against Lichaj call ups should take a moment to consider why this article had to be written in the first place.”

        Why? My guess would be because Franco was assigned to do it. It has been a slow USMNT news cycle, and right back, with Dolo’s recent knee setback, was as good a place to start writing about as any.

        Why so dramatic? There is no crisis. JK does not “need” to call in Lichaj even for depth. There is no emergency at right back. When you win twelve games in a row there is no emergency.

        Evans is probably the starter. There are still one or two games in Germany that either Parkhurst or Chandler might get into between now and Sept. 6 so maybe they will show up with some games under their belts. Or he could shift Fabian to right back and put DMB, Castillo or Torres at left back. Or he could shift Geoff there. Or he could put Fiscal there if he is recovered. I think JK has bigger fish to fry.

        Or he could call Lichaj in assuming he continues doing well at Forest. I haven’t seen him play there. Is he attacking up the right flank without turning over the ball like JK will ask him to?

        Eric is a solid one on one defender but turnover prone on attack and not very helpful at keeping possession. If JK wants a shutdown, physical, right back the US has that Cameron guy. Attacking skills and helping keep possession are the things JK asks from his fullbacks and that is why he hasn’t called up Eric because that is where Eric is weak

        At least that is my theory. And I think the turnovers are why Villa let him go.

        If the decision was entirely up to me I’d leave him at Forest and make him prove his offensive skills for more than just a few games. Let him build up his confidence and force the issue. There is no rush to get him back.

  19. ilikefreddyyesadu says:

    Is Chris Klute a candidate for a call-up at some point? He plays left back and I do not know much about him. I am interested what people have to say about him. 7 assists in 20 matches this season and a background with the u17 and u20 teams.

    • Excellency says:

      We could play Klute at lb and move Fabian to the right to make overlapping runs behind Donovan to compensate for Dono’s reduced speed around the wings. I doubt you will see that logical combination because Klinsmann’s man at rb all along has been Chandler whom he refuses to see for what he is: a mediocre fullback who lacks desire and the right stuff to be rb for the USMNT. Klute makes a piddlng salary which will likely kill his chances for the USMNT.

  20. Pingunça says:

    Evans is a lock

  21. Lost in Space says:

    As of Right Now….it is Brad Evans position to loose. He is the current/starting Right Back for the USNT. Will he be in 10 months…..who knows.
    IMHO…. Talent and potential wise the RB depth chart looks as follows for Sept.
    Evans, Lichaj (gets consistent minutes at the position), Chandler (is at least playing), Parkhurst (stock is dropping quick due to lack of club performances)
    Oct. Qualifiers (Hopefully have mathmatically qualified for the WC)
    Lichaj, Chandler, Evans, Dolo
    Feb. 2014 (barring injury)
    Chandler, Lichaj, Dolo, Evans

  22. beachbum says:

    Evans has been stepping up to opportunities. that is a cool thing to be able to do, in the moments, deliver. it’s not like he can’t keep getting better, be in a soccer growth spurt. he’s a smart savvy player

    whatever’s going on, I’m pulling for the guy to keep representing and stepping up to his opportunities, except when he’s playing for Seattle of course

  23. chris_thebassplayer says:

    I like Evans’ overall game, he’s a coach’s dream, smart, disciplined, competitive, good distribution…reads the game well and plays with a lot of heart. The only thing he lacks is international pace. I just fear that he would be targeted. There is only so much you can tactically do to compensate for a lack of speed on the flank without unbalancing your shape and leaving yourself vulnerable. WC competition is fierce, it’s still at a much higher level than playing a friendly in Bosnia. Every detail and weakness is scrutinized by coaching staffs that are at our level or well above. Tendencies are analyzed for how we defensively rotate to cover for players getting beat. Every nuance in our defensive approach is analyzed. There are months to prepare for group opponents. Obviously the combination of speed and smarts is what you need…I just think at a WC recovery speed is a minimum requirement in the back line. If we end up with Evans, you can bet that JK is quite confident that we’ll be able to bring some legitimate offensive pressure and sustain possession further up field to keep the heat off the D.

  24. Left Wing says:

    Evans surprised me by being capable thus far. I’d agree for the qualifiers he has the “hot hand”..
    But you have to think come February its a toss up.

    A healthy motivated Chandler seems to give us the best upside.

    • OPMG says:

      Healthy and motivated being the key words there. Both have been tough to find when dealing with Chandler

  25. Dikranovich says:

    So much hostility from American fans over the opinions of others. It’s wild. Lets put the best defender at right back, and his name is Marvell wynne. I challenge anyone to show video of a potential right back candidate scoring as nice a goals as the hungry beast has.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      lol, dikranovich wins.

    • 2 OKC teams 1 cup says:

      You DO realize marvell wynne is the worst defender the US has ever called up ever, don’t you?

      GAHH its like you people have NEVER watched soccer before. You seriously have NO IDEA what you’re talking about. None.

      Can we just ban this guy already?

      (Yes, this is sarcasm folks)

  26. biff says:

    Chandler after Cherundolo with the best offensive tools? Beg to differ on that assessment. Anyone who has watched Timothy playing during the past year knows he has been average to weak offensively (and mostly weak defensively). Chandler was benched for the last games at the end of last season for poor play and warmed the bench the first game of this season and did not start the second game, came on in the second half.

    Maybe he will improve this year. And, then again, maybe not. We shall see. The bigger factor, IMO, is Chandler’s lack of chemistry with his teammates. I get the feeling that Klinsmann is not going to risk bringing him in again during the WC 2014 cycle with the potential for disrupting team harmony.

  27. biff says:

    If Geoff Cameron continues to play regularly at right back and start at the position this season under new coach Mark Hughes as he did last season under old coach Tony Pulis, then Cameron has to be considered one of the top two contenders for RB on the USMNT. That, of course, is assuming that he is playing well and I doubt that he would remain a starter at RB if his form slips. Cameron was excellent last weekend defensively against a strong Liverpool attack and he was as strong going forward against a strong Liverpool as we could expect any of the USMNT RBs listed above. Why can’t people get it through there thick skulls that Geoff for the past year has been primarily a fullback at the club level in one of the top leagues in the world.

    What does Cameron have to do to be seriously considered as a USMNT RB? Quit dressing on game day like Parkhurst or start warming the bench like Chandler?

    • Fan Futbol says:

      I agree, although I don’t know that I would rate Cameron as “strong” going forward. But that doesn’t matter. Here’s why. It’s great if the fullback gets forward and expands the attack. But it’s worse if the fullback gives up goals. I think Cameron (as RB) is less likely to give up goals against WC quality players than is Brad Evans. And I don’t think Evans alleged superior offensive game comes close to outweighing that.

      We could conceivably be fielding a lineup where Jozy, Deuce, Lando, FJ, and Bradley (and maybe even A-Jo) are all on the field at the same time. I don’t think that team needs help scoring from the RB. What it does need is an assurance that some speedy winger or overlapping fullback isn’t going to beat Evans for a goal, which credible pre-WC game planning will aim for.

      • biff says:

        Geez, Fan Futbol. You trying to humiliate me by writing such a well written and logical comment. You hit the nail on the head, man. Keeping clean sheets is the point, and Cameron was a defensive beast during the second half that I saw against Liverpool, a team with top attacking talent. And he just was not doing it in Stoke’s final defensive third, but in the middle third of the field intercepting passes and being a huge pest. With all due respect for Brad Evans, who I like a lot but does not play RB at the club level, no way can Evans defend at Cameron’s level and he would have been beat bad, I think, more than once by Liverpool. And “Evan’s alleged superior offensive game,” well put. Because that is all it is: Allege superiority.

        I repeat: Quit living in the past USMNT fans. Cameron is a fullback. Well, at least until Stoke coach Hughes says he isn’t :-)

        • OPMG says:

          Keep in mind that the threat of a fullback getting forward and being dangerous usually keeps opposing fullbacks from going forward too much. It’s a chess match out there and I think it’s more than just player1 is a better defender than player2. JK’s goal is to dictate the match, make teams react to us rather than the other way around. Just something to think about when choosing players.

    • Travis in Miami says:

      CAmeron seems so obvious it’s glaring. he plays the position weekly in a top league. The other not. I’me fine with Evans until he proves otherwise and Chandler is like a unicorn – not waiting for him.

      Those 3 battle it out.

      Cameron will not be a starting CB or CM on the USMNT. this is his ticket. Otherwise he’s a utility infielder. Too inconsistent to unseat any starters. Jack-of-all-trades master of none

      • GW says:

        Does Stoke play like the US?Does Hughes ask Cameron to do the things JK would ask his RB to do?

        If not that dilutes your argument a little.

  28. Chris says:

    I’m not a huge fan of evans at rb but at least he does have a great work rate, my depth chart right now at rb, when healthy:
    1. Cherundolo
    2. Chandler (if committed)
    3. Parkhurst
    4. Lichaj
    5. Evans

    -Cameron could slot in near the top of this list if he continues at rb for stoke. Also i think for the CRC game id go with evans over lichaj just cuz i dont wana call in lichaj and throw him right in the fire

  29. ehhh says:

    hmmm evans is a liability at best when I look at the rest of our 11. I am not sure if anyone has thrown this name out there but I will, sheanon Williams. obviously he has no shot at being called up for such vital qualifiers, but he is such a talent that it would be erroneous for him not to get sniff going forward considering how weak our rb pool is, and yes I did say weak.

  30. Jack says:

    I know JK loves a RB that goes forward but when we start playing some quality European or South American teams next summer we need physical defenders who will do anything to not let in a goal. This is why I would rather have Cameron at RB because he plays the position at Stoke and out of all our options he is clearly the best defender.

    But if JK really wants attacking outside backs I say bring Yedlin in and get him comfortable in the NT setup. He is fast great going forward (his volley against Tigres in the CCL) and pretty good at marking. His speed could handle many great wingers in Brazil. In the U20 WC he was keeping pace with Deulofeu and that kid is supposed to be the real deal. Anyone agree or disagree?

    • Lost in Space says:

      Sept. & Oct. Qualifiers would be too soon for Yedlin or Ferrell. They’ll need to finish out the year with their club (first as pros). Soonest I would expect to see either would be the January Camp Cup Cake for MLS’ers and Scandanavian players. There they would have a chance at an extended camp where they could become familiar with the players around them….and gain an understanding of what is expected of them in an environment that does not have the pressure that comes with a WCQ were we haven’t secured advancement yet.

    • GW says:

      JK sees defense as a team thing. You defend in numbers and attack in numbers.

      If and when the USMNT plays “some quality European or South American teams next summer” my guess would be he has already figured out a strategy for how they will play them.You may remember in the Italy game that the USMNT won, the pivotal figure was Williams who was nominally put on the right wing . He was put there to flood the midfield and keep the Italians from overwhelming the US in midfield, something they like to do. In addition Williams is very good on the ball and his presence in midfield gave the US defenders another reliable target to use in passing the ball out of the defensive third. This meant they did not have to spend half the game booting clearances upfield, clearances that would probably have come right back at them.

      I don’t know if you are one of those USMNT fans who seem to believe that JK has the tactical awareness of a soccer mom at an elementary school level but it is pretty clear he knows a little bit about how to put together a soccer team and how to get them to win at a pretty high level.

      If JK feels the need to shut things down he can always bring in Cameron at right back and put some destroyers in midfield. The 1990 West German team that won the World Cup with JK at striker had a sweeper behind two center backs , a Cameron type converted center half at right back and a converted midfielder at left back. And people think three so called defensive mids is conservative?

      JK knows about defensive heavy teams.

  31. Lost in Space says:

    When looking to define what qualities an Outside Back should have in order to complete with at the highest levels, most coaches would list: 1) Defensive understanding/positioning/experience, 2) Technically sound, 3) Speed, 4) Ability to get forward & contribute to the attack, 5) Physical strength/Ballance
    IMO, Using these qualities and looking at the US player pool, from a tangible/statistical perspective, people can see why the position is kind of up for grabs….(High = A/B grades, Mediocre = C, Poor = D/F)
    Dolo (Pre-Injuries): would get high marks in 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5….Post Injuries/surgeries we don’t know.
    Evans: Gets high marks in 5 & 2, mediocre marks 2, 4, Is improving in 1, but is poor at 3.
    Chandler: Gets high marks in 2, 3, & 5. Gets mediocre marks in 4, has been poor in 1
    Lichaj: Gets high marks in 3, 4, & 5, Gets mediocre marks in 2, is improving in 1
    Orozco: Gets high marks in 1, 2, & 5, Gets mediocre marks in 3 & 4
    Beltran/Yedlin/Ferrell: I have not seen enough of them to guess at their marks.

    • GW says:

      Lost,

      Ideally, “most coaches” want their outside backs to have all of the qualities you list in equal measure.

      Are you listing the “qualities ” in order of preference? If so then JK does not think like your version of “most coaches”.

      Examine the list of players he has picked to be his fullbacks and, for the most part, you will find “Defensive understanding/positioning/experience,” is not ranked as highly as “Ability to get forward & contribute to the attack,”.

      If JK valued defensive quality as most important, Cameron would have been the regular right back in just about every game since he moved to Stoke. While JK clearly likes Cameron , he also wants something else there, something more at right back than what Geoff has to offer. In addition, if he valued defensive quality above ability to get forward, JK would have brought Lichaj in a long time ago to back up Geoff because Lichaj is very good at solid one on one defending but, being turnover prone, is not so comfortable going forward.

      But he has not done that.

      I’m sure JK would rather have the more balanced skill set of Dolo,Chandler or the Parkhurst you saw against Chelsea in the Champions league (maybe his best game at right back ). Instead, in their absence, his regular guys have mostly been the offensively minded, defensively suspect players like Evans, Fabian, DMB, Castillo, and even Torres.

      Also it is increasingly obvious that a fair number of succesful coaches are willing to give up some defensive quality in favor of increased possession and high pressure as a defensive strategy. It seems the old saying, the best defense is a good offense, is in vogue. For one thing the “Barca style” has been successful and for another thing, fans have all been howling how much they deserve to have a bold, attacking USMNT.

  32. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Can’t resist linking to this, not that anyone will see at this point, but I’m not the only lunatic that thinks Yedlin could be in the picture by next summer:

    link to bleacherreport.com