Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

Eric Lichaj Nottingham Forest (Getty Images)

By FRANCO PANIZO

On a weekend that may just be the worst in a long time for the Americans Abroad contingent, one of the players that U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann continuously ignores shined brightly.

Eric Lichaj was one of very few Americans to enjoy a good performance this past weekend, as he helped Nottingham Forest pick up a 3-1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday. Lichaj started and went the distance in the match and the victory moved the Reds into fourth place in the Championship and extended their current unbeaten streak to six games. With the good came some bad for Lichaj, however, as he picked up his fifth yellow card of the season in the game.

Jose Torres was also shown a yellow card on Saturday. In fact, he was shown two. Torres was sent off a minute into the second half of Tigres UANL’s 2-1 loss to Toluca for a foul during the run of play and that means he will miss his club’s upcoming match against Atlante on Oct. 18. The ejection came three days after a forgettable performance in Copa MX play in which he was partially responsible for a goal and missed a penalty kick in Tigres UANL’s penalty shootout defeat to Monterrey.

Tim Howard and Jozy Altidore also saw their teams fall. Howard and Everton’s unbeaten start to the season came to a close on Saturday with a 3-1 loss to Manchester City in which Howard was deemed to have scored an own goal, and Altidore and Sunderland remained without a victory after losing to Manchester United, 2-1, despite taking an early lead.

Here is how the Americans Abroad did this weekend:

ENGLAND

Premiership

  • Tim Howard started, played 90 minutes, made four saves, received a yellow card and scored an own goal in Everton’s 3-1 loss vs. Manchester City on Saturday.
  • Jozy Altidore started and played 90 minutes in Sunderland’s 2-1 loss vs. Manchester United on Saturday.
  • Geoff Cameron started and played 90 minutes in Stoke City’s 1-0 loss vs. Fulham on Saturday.
  • Maurice Edu did not dress for Stoke City.
  • Brek Shea did not dress for Stoke City.
  • Brad Guzan started, played 90 minutes and made one save in Aston Villa’s 0-0 draw vs. Hull City on Saturday.
  • Brad Friedel dressed but did not play in Tottenham Hotspur’s 3-0 loss vs. West Ham United on Sunday.

Championship

  • Jonathan Spector started and played 90 minutes in Birmingham City’s 2-1 loss vs. Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.
  • Will Packwood did not dress for Birmingham City. He is recovering from a leg injury.
  • Tim Ream started and played 90 minutes in Bolton Wanderers’ 2-1 win vs. Birmingham City on Saturday.
  • Stuart Holden did not dress for Bolton Wanderers. He is recovering from a knee injury.
  • Zak Whitbread started and played 90 minutes in Derby County’s 3-1 win vs. Leeds United on Saturday.
  • Eric Lichaj started, played 90 minutes and received a yellow card in Nottingham Forest’s 3-1 win vs. Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday.
  • Danny Williams did not dress in Reading’s 2-1 loss vs. Burnley on Saturday. He is recovering from a foot injury.

ITALY

  • Michael Bradley did not dress in AS Roma’s 3-0 win vs. Inter on Saturday. He is recovering from an ankle injury.

GERMANY

Bundesliga

  • Fabian Johnson did not dress in TSG 1899 Hoffenheim’s 2-2 draw vs. Mainz 05 on Saturday. He is recovering from an ankle injury.
  • Joe Gyau did not dress for TSG 1899 Hoffenheim.
  • Timmy Chandler started and played 90 minutes in FC Nurnberg’s 5-0 loss vs. Hamburg SV on Sunday.
  • Michael Parkhurst did not dress in FC Augsburg’s 4-1 loss vs. Schalke 04 on Saturday.
  • Jermaine Jones did not dress in Schalke 04′s 4-1 win vs. FC Augsburg on Saturday.
  • Steve Cherundolo did not dress in Hannover 96′s 1-1 draw vs. Hertha Berlin on Friday. He is recovering from a knee injury.
  • John Brooks did not dress in Hertha Berlin’s 1-1 draw vs. Hannover 96 on Friday. He is recovering from an elbow injury.

2. Bundesliga

  • Alfredo Morales came off the bench and played two minutes in FC Ingolstadt 04′s 1-0 win vs. VfL Bochum on Sunday.
  • Andrew Wooten did not dress in Kaiserslautern’s 3-0 win vs. Arminia Bielefeld on Friday.
  • Bobby Wood did not dress in TSV 1860 Munich’s 0-0 draw vs. Energie Cottbus on Sunday.

FRANCE

  • Alejandro Bedoya did not dress in FC Nantes’ 3-0 win vs. Evian Thonon Gaillard on Saturday. He came down with an illness prior to the game.

NETHERLANDS

  • Aron Johannsson started and played 66 minutes in AZ Alkmaar’s 2-1 loss vs. FC Groningen on Sunday.

RUSSIA

  • Eugene Starikov did not dress in FK Tom’ Tomsk’s 3-0 loss vs. Zenit St Petersburg on Sunday.

BELGIUM

  • Sacha Kljestan started and played 71 minutes in RSC Anderlecht’s 1-0 loss vs. KV Kortrijk on Sunday.

DENMARK

  • Conor O’Brien started and played 74 minutes in Odense BK’s 3-1 win vs. Esbjerg on Sunday.

AUSTRIA

  • Terrence Boyd started and played 90 minutes in Rapid Vienna’s 0-0 draw vs. FC Magna Wr. Neustadt on Sunday.

SWEDEN

  • Brian Span did not dress in Djurgarden IF’s 2-1 win vs. IFK on Sunday.

NORWAY

  • Mix Diskerud started and played 68 minutes in Rosenborg BK’s 0-0 draw vs. Honefoss BK on Sunday.
  • Josh Gatt did not dress in Molde FK’s 1-0 win vs. Tromso on Sunday. He is recovering from a knee injury.
  • Ethan Horvath dressed but did not play for Molde FK.
  • Ben Spencer did not dress for Molde FK .
  • Steve Clark started and played 90 minutes in Honefoss BK’s 0-0 draw vs. Rosenborg BK on Sunday.

MEXICO

  • Michael Orozco started and played 90 minutes in Puebla’s 3-1 loss vs. Club Leon on Saturday.
  • DaMarcus Beasley started and played 90 minutes for Puebla.
  • Jose Torres started, played 46 minutes and received TWO YELLOW CARDS in Tigres UANL’s 2-1 loss vs. Toluca on Saturday.
  • Jonathan Bornstein did not dress for Tigres UANL.
  • Edgar Castillo started and played 90 minutes in Club Tijuana’s 1-0 win vs. Queretaro on Friday.
  • Greg Garza started and played 41 minutes for Club Tijuana.
  • Paul Arriola came off the bench and played 35 minutes for Club Tijuana.
  • Herculez Gomez came off the bench and played 26 minutes for Club Tijuana.
  • Joe Corona dressed but did not play for Club Tijuana.
  • Joaquin Alonso Hernandez did not dress in Monterrey’s 2-1 loss vs. Atlante on Saturday.

BRAZIL

  • Freddy Adu did not dress in Bahia’s 1-1 draw vs. AA Ponte Preta on Sunday.

—–

What do you think of these performances? Wondering what Lichaj has to do to get called in by Klinsmann? Disappointed by the overall bad weekend?

Share your thoughts below.

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40 Responses to Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

  1. Umlaut says:

    damn

  2. Umlaut says:

    This Lichaj situation has stoped being confusing and is just frustrating at this point. Really I don’t think there’s much confusing about it, JK just has some personal reason that prevents him from giving Lichaj a. single. look. his entire tenure.

    • Clyde Frog says:

      I think you are reading too much into the comment above about his star shining brightest. This is a very pro-Lichaj site, and without some elaboration about what made Lichaj’s game better than Spector’s or Whitbread’s or Ream’s, just to cite some guys in the same league, I would take that comment with a huge grain of salt.

      And speaking of Spector, I don’t really know what the argument for Lichaj over Spector is. I’m not saying there isn’t one. I’m just saying I haen’t heard it from Lichaj’s legion of devoted supporters on this site.

      • KJ says:

        Spector and Lichaj are getting playing time. Maybe their chance will come in the friendlies.

      • Josh D says:

        Thanks for being logical. The weakness of this feature is there’s little to no context. Lichaj didn’t play any better than Ream who has been called one of Bolton’s best players of the season.

        I’d like to see Lichaj, but putting him above Spector is a toss up. I hope the media asks questions. Klinsi answers questions honestly.

        • Joamiq says:

          The Ream comparison doesn’t really make sense though. CB is not a position of need right now. Right back is.

      • Vic says:

        Ream isn’t a very good defender so he was moved to def. midfield for Bolton. We have plenty of depth at that position. Although Spector has a good cross his defending was pretty poor in the chances he’s gotten in the past for the USMNT. Is he even playing defense for Bolton or dmid? We are pretty weak in the outside back position, Lichaj has played very well in the past for the USMNT both at RB and LB.

        • Dave80 says:

          This is not a snarky question, just maybe an ignorant one:

          I’m confused by some of the midfield discussion on this site, probably my lack of coaching knowledge. It doesn’t seem logical to say that a poor defender should play at “defensive midfield” position. When I played center midfield years ago defending was equally important to possession, passing, and pushing upfield on offense. Now I hear “d mid” and “attacking midfielder” and wonder how the “d mid” role could be soft on “d”?

          • Lost in Space says:

            CDM’s are not required to play as much Man coverage. They play more of a zone marking defense….this allows someone who is week as a
            One-V-One defender (Ream) to still be productive as a CDM where as they’d be a liability as a CB.

          • Nate Dollars says:

            it obviously wouldn’t work for every ‘poor’ defender, but d-mid can be a nice spot for a good passing defender who you wouldn’t necessarily want as the last guy back there, which is what ream has looked like.

        • Clyde Frog says:

          Spector was pretty good in the 09 Confed Cup. He hasn’t really had a similar opportunity since. Just a few friendlies.

        • Joamiq says:

          Just to add, Bolton fans have said that Ream’s passing abilities have shined in midfield, but apparently he recently had to move back to CB because of injuries, and he played well there too. Ream was never a bad defender per se – he just seemed to lose his confidence and made a bunch of mental errors his second year in NY, and it seems like he never recovered until he got a good run of games in midfield for Bolton. If his confidence is back and if he’s continuing to get smarter as a defender, then he’ll stay on the national team radar (even if we don’t at present have a need for him).

          • Brett says:

            I would say lack of confidence and regular mental errors are two indicators of being a “bad” CB.

      • Umlaut says:

        You’re right about this article providing little context, I’m more just talking about the fact that Lichaj hasn’t been called up a. single. time. in JK’s tenure. I don’t profess to know if he’d an able contributor for us or if he fits JK’s style, but I’d at least like to see him get a shot. And the same goes for Spector, if he’s playing well, he should get a call-up, and maybe they both will in the next friendlies. It just seems weird that there is so little competition at the spot we are weakest.

        • GW says:

          Umlaut,

          If you want an objective view of why JK hasn’t called in Eric you’ve come to the wrong place. You will have to do a little work on your own.

          Go back over Lichaj’s record since JK has been in charge.
          Correlate the times Lichaj has been playing well with the opportunities for him to be called in to the USMNT.

          Remember that players in the UK usually don’t get called into the January Camp Cupcake due to the schedule.

          Do a search through the Villa message boards and Birmingham media and see what their opinion of him seemed to be. Research the team and see for yourself what kind of competition he faced for playing time.

          Go on You Tube and watch his last appearance for the US, the 2011 Gold Cup final. Watch it closely and carefully. That way you can make a more informed decision on how well he really played for the USMNT when it mattered.

          Also remember that this latest edition of the USMNT just went thru qualifying quite successfully. It is not as if the team or the fullbacks have been a disaster. While I think this team could certainly use a young Dolo or a Leighton Baines I don’t see any available do you?

          When the team has lost it has been because the team has looked bad everywhere.

          JK just said qualifying is one thing and the World Cup is another, higher level. Clearly he is expecting this group to raise their game if they expect to be in Brazil. Outsiders like Lichaj and Spector, who by the way was in several of JK’s early teams and then had a run of injuries, will have to show more than just starting nine games in the Championship.

          Or you could decide that maybe the USMNT staff feel Lichaj and Spector are not good enough or don’t fit their plans.

          You don’t need to call a player into camp to decide that.

          • Brett says:

            Lichaj played very well in that tournament at left back. In the final, Cherundolo was hurt and he had to switch to right back, and Bornstein was brought in on the left. That was when we fell apart and blew a 2 goal lead.

            That was the decision that got Bob Bradley fired. He should have gone like-for-like and put in Spector for Cherdundolo. Making Lichaj switch sides and bringing on the inferior Bornstein destroyed the communication along the back line and gaps opened up on both flanks.

            The truth is somewhere in the middle of these extremes. Lichaj probably isn’t being ignored for some personal reason, he’s just a middling player on a middling team in a middling league. He’s got physical ability but has positional lapses if he’s not in the right spot and in constant communication to keep his work rate up. The puzzling part is all of our options at the fullback spots seem to be middling except for the exciting younger guys like Yedlin, who we assume will get better in time. It doesn’t seem like he could be much worse than Parkhurst or Evans, which would entitle him to at least a call-up.

            • Nate Dollars says:

              +1, well said.

              it seems that, for every person who thinks klinsmann hates lichaj, there’s another person who tries to make up excuses for klinsmann not calling him up.

              my biggest problem with the whole situation is that klinsmann has not been pushed for an adequate answer on why lichaj has not been called up.

              • GW says:

                No manager will publicly put down a player who might yet be useful to him.
                Why burn that bridge before he has to?
                JK will criticize a player publicly but only if he thinks they have a future with the team and it will help make that player better. JK isn’t familiar with Eric like he is with LD, Dempsey and Jozy so the best approach is to say nothing of substance.

                Excuses? More like reasons.

                Lichaj does not have a divine right to a call up.

                Every other candidate for USMNT full back has done something to impress JK enough to get called in in the first place and every one of them has done something to give reason for hope.

                Lichaj never did anything in the first place to impress JK.

                His performances for the USMNT were for another manager two years ago, were not exceptional and were followed by a serious hip injury and then by an extended period in which Eric could not win regular playing time.

                Sacha was going great at Anderlecht and playing in the Champions league and couldn’t get arrested by JK.

                Lichaj could barely get a game for a bad team.

                If Sacha’s good performance didn’t get him a call into camp why should Eric’s lame performance get him a call in? Because he was facing Marc Allbrighton in training? Right.

                Bedoya , another 2011 Gold Cup final alumni, had to bounce around and finally impress at Helsingborg before JK called him in. Yes, Eric is doing well at Forest, but it’s way later than what Bedoya did or Sacha finally did, maybe too late in the cycle.

                Lichaj has spent the majority of JK’s tenure failing to impress anyone.

                Failing to get off the bench at Villa.

                Then being handed an opportunity to earn a job and failing at that.

                Then being given opportunities later in the season to earn more time and failing with that as well
                That’s why he’s at Forest; because he failed at Villa.

                He’s had four managers in five seasons at Villa and none of them thought he was worth a regular spot. With that many managers it is not likely that there was a personal bias against him. 32 appearances in five seasons is a not regular playing time.

                And it’s not as if he was at Manchester City. The first thing Lambert did after he got the manager’s job was buy a right back and then he bought a left back. Most of you probably don’t remember their names (Lownton and Bennet ) but they were good enough to beat Eric out.

                If I’m the US manager I’m thinking, “This is not an impressive resume. This guy is a scrub on a bad team and can’t beat out Lownton and Bennett (who?)”.

                How does this sort of mediocre performance earn a guy a call up?

              • Nate Dollars says:

                gw,

                this is probably the best thing you’ve written about lichaj, and yet, it’s still horse sh!t.

                it’s completely ignoring the fact that plenty of other players have been called in for less.

                although people on your side love to imply this, no one’s arguing that lichaj is the next big thing, or that he has ‘a divine right to a call up’.

                though you won’t admit it, klinsmann’s had ample opportunity to call up a player who is playing fairly regularly in a competitive league, and who plays a relatively weak position for us.

            • GW says:

              Brett,

              Clearly we viewed the 2011 Gold Cup final through different lenses. That is why I suggested to Umlaut he view it through his own lens and make up his own mind.

              Lichaj played a few games at right back for the US before the final. He is a “natural” right back. He has given many interviews where he has said he is most comfortable there.

              Therefore it is reasonable to assume that a professional international player like him should have slotted into the right back position with no issues given that Dolo got hurt early, in the 11th minute.

              It’s not like Eric was suddenly asked to play center forward or keeper.

              “bringing on the inferior Bornstein destroyed the communication along the back line and gaps opened up on both flank”.

              I doubt that.

              Goodson and Boca lined up alongside JB in that game, with Boca was right next to JB. In fact, since 2008 the USMNT had a winning record (in friendlies and competitive games) with JB at left back, usually right next to Boca. Howard and Goodson were not strangers to Bornstein either. JB was no great shakes and had his issues but the US had won a lot of games with Dolo at right back, Boca in the center and JB at left back and Timmy in goal. Those guys knew what they were getting with JB.

              If there were communication issues they would have been with Lichaj at right back, the comparative new guy.

              My view is Lichaj had a terrible game along with every other US player. However in his case, he gave the ball away to Guardado inside the penalty box with a crap clearance that lead immediately to Mexico’s second and tying goal.

              Watch the tape.

              Mexico ultimately won that game because they seized control of possession and swamped the US in midfield. This relates to Dolo’s absence because he was an integral part of the US holding possession, something Lichaj obviously was not good at replicating.

              The US knew how to win with Dolo and JB at fullback but with Lichaj replacing Dolo you now had two fullbacks who were good at giving the ball away. As you noted “gaps opened up on both flanks”. In his time at Villa, Lichaj was noted for occasionally giving the ball away especially when going forward.

              I have not seen Eric at Forest and it is possible he has eliminated those flaws but then my guess is his run at Forest falls under the category of too little, too late for this edition of the USMNT.

              I’m not convinced Lichaj would improve the USMNT fullback situation because he is physically gifted but technically and tactically limited as a soccer player. The Championship is a league that accentuates his positives and minimizes his negatives but I’m not convinced it is the best preparation for the World Cup. Still, if Eric impresses all season, then perhaps he will get a call up late this year or early next.

              However, competition will be fierce as it is clear that JK and his staff are nowhere near as deeply negative about the current fullback candidate pool as everyone on this site seems to be. So we will see.

              • Brett says:

                I can’t argue with your assessment of Lichaj, but I can contend with this idea that he’s not an upgrade over Parkhurst or Evans, neither of whom show any quality mentally or physically that Lichaj doesn’t.

                The playing time argument falls short for similar reasons. Yes Lichaj needs to play more, but show me all these minutes that Parkhurst is racking up, or all the time Evans plays at RB for his club.

    • JJ says:

      Could he start for anyone in the prem, no people need to get over the fact that he’s just not good enough. Idk what he did to make everyone have a man crush on him. The US is developing we’re gonna have players in Europe that do not make the national team get used to it.

  3. Drew says:

    Jozy needs help

    • Kevin_H says:

      True. Here are Klinsmann’s thoughts on Jozy this season, which are very full of praise:

      “I’m personally very, very happy with how Jozy is coming along in the Premier League so far,” Klinsmann said. “Yes, he hasn’t scored the goals yet that he expects from himself. But I watch his games and he’s high energy and he’s a handful. He challenges back lines, and he’s often by himself and the support is not what it should be. He’s already been through a coaching change, which is not easy to digest. I see that jump to the Premier League being very positive. He challenges himself in a difficult environment and it’s coming along. He just needs to be patient, and his goals will come.”

  4. Clyde Frog says:

    Adu did not make the 18 as usual.

  5. James says:

    What’s the scoop with Edu and Shea? Are they both still injured? Or just not making gameday rosters?

    • Josh D says:

      Just not making the team. Both have played in reserve games I believe. Shea was always going to need time to adjust. Getting injured last season and during preseason has really set him back.

      • Puffer says:

        Word on Stoke websites is that both players will be loaned out.

        • John says:

          You mean like message boards or something more offical? It seemed like there was alot of confidence in the starting 11 early in the season. However now that they’ve gone 4 matches with one goal and that was from Cameron. Either way just getting some minutes soon for both is needed.

        • John says:

          Actually looks like a number of websites are reporting Brek is going to be loaned out.

        • Josh D says:

          That’s good news. Brek’s skill-set is his physicality. He must develop his brains and technique before he can tackle an attacking left slot on a PL team. A season in the Championship would do him a world of good.

          Edu went to one of the deepest CM teams in the league. His error. Glad he’ll get playing time.

          No matter where they play, earning playing time in a competitive game is far better than riding the bench. Especially when we have the World Cup in less than a year.

          • Addick says:

            If by depth in CM you mean numbers, that might be true, but if you mean quality, I’d beg to differ. Fact of the matter is Edu isn’t PL quality and will need to take a step down in league quality if he wants to see the pitch.

  6. Luke says:

    Let’s remove Adu from Yanks Abroad until he has an assist or goal? Deal? Deal

  7. Chris says:

    What is going on with Michael Parkhust? He never dresses, but Augsburg seems to have a really crappy Defense and get killed all the time! Parkhurst plays well for the US, always was known for his work ethic and was actively sought out by Augsburg (nice city) so what’s the deal!?!?
    Can he really be THAT much worse than the guys who are doing nothing now?

    • Joamiq says:

      I know he wanted to stay and fight for his place, but if this continues, it is critical that he get the hell out in January. He needs to go anywhere where he’ll play.

    • Brett says:

      My guess would be that the coach wants a fullback who can provide a cross from the flank and Parkhurst can’t or is otherwise unwilling.

  8. ThatKidNandez says:

    y yarborough papa? Ives you need to include him! He’s playing consistently in liga mx and is starting.

  9. ThatKidNandez says:

    The reason corona isn’t playing is because the coach is defensive minded and corona does not fit it like he did when Mohamed was coach. Who was attack minded

  10. Birgit Calhoun says:

    It’s disappointing to see Juergen Klinsmann be so inconsistent in his statements. With this team he is doing the same things that he was doing with Bayern. Over there it got so bad that they got rid of him. A coach needs to start being predictable to at least the players. He doesn’t have to give away his secrets about why he likes someone. But when he says he is watching players in league play and then he doesn’t care if they don’t score that’s a problem. When the prerequisite for the position the player plays is scoring goals he should score goals in recent league play. Klinsmann was not respected in Germany. He should work on continued respect from his US team.