Donovan, Reyna, McBride headline USMNT All-Time Best XI

Claudio Reyna, Brian McBride

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

With a nod to the past and present, U.S. Soccer released its All-Time USMNT Best XI to round up the Centennial year celebrations.

Six players on the list have earned more than 100 caps in their USMNT careers, including leading vote-receiver Landon Donovan (52 votes), Marcelo Balboa, Carlos Bocanegra, Clint Dempsey, Eric Wynalda, and Claudio Reyna. Brad Friedel was voted as the starting goalkeeper over Kasey Keller and Tim Howard, who finished second and third, respectively.

Also included on the All-Time Best XI are Eddie Pope, Steve Cherundolo, Tab Ramos, and Brian McBride. Though only Donovan and Dempsey have played recently with the USMNT, Friedel (Tottenham), Bocanegra (Chivas USA), and Steve Cherundolo (Hannover) are still active players.

Just missing out making the Best XI were Keller, Thomas Dooley, Michael Bradley, and Ernie Stewart.

Check out the U.S. Soccer All-Time USMNT Best XI (after the jump):

U.S. SOCCER ALL-TIME USMNT BEST XI (Votes in parentheses) 

Goalkeeper – Brad Friedel (25)

Defender – Marcelo Balboa (35)

Defender – Eddie Pope (33

Defender – Carlos Bocanegra (25)

Defender – Steve Cherundolo (25)

Midfielder – Clint Dempsey (25)

Midfielder – Tab Ramos (42)

Midfielder – Claudio Reyna (45)

Midfielder – Landon Donovan (52)

Forward – Eric Wynalda (43)

Forward – Brian McBride (45)

A group consisting of 57 former players, administrators, and media members conducted the voting for the Best XI.

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What do you think of this list? Agree with it? Who would be on your USMNT All-Time Best XI?

Share your thoughts below.

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158 Responses to Donovan, Reyna, McBride headline USMNT All-Time Best XI

  1. Monarch Bay Beachbum says:

    I like it except I would choose Thomas Dooley over Balboa any day of the week.

    • Luetchy says:

      But he had that awesome bicycle kick and great hair!

      • Chicago Pete says:

        But he missed the bike and the hair sucked!!!

        • Suave says:

          Balboa is awful. Dooley is 10x better but Balboa’s hair was nice and as I would dream about, very soft.

          • iggy says:

            Pretty sure the hair still looks the same to this day, if you are jonesing for him.

          • rees says:

            My unsolicited 2 cents: How the F is Dooley not on this list?

            • TomG says:

              Jeez, because he was 31 by the time he first put on a US kit. His best days were long behind him. He had one really good year but when 94 rolled around, he was 33 and not a standout. He was there more for his experience and tactical awareness than his actual playing ability. He was nothing special for USA. Picking him over Celo or Boca is like picking Jermaine Jones over Tab Ramos. Anyone bashing Celo never saw him in his prime. He was a dam good player. JK would love to have a skilled, reliable CB like Celo.

              • Suave says:

                Comical. You must be related to him. Do you have long flowing locks too?

              • TomG says:

                I gave you an actual rundown of his abilities as someone who saw him play a lot of matches for USMNT and MLS. You just keep talking about his hair. Gee, I wonder which of us is more credible?

              • Suave says:

                Saw he him play plenty. With the nats, foxes, and rapids. From what I HAVE SEEN over the many years and comparing to Dooley, no chance Balboa is better on the national team. Isn’t that the question? Who is the best 11 for the national team? Balboa filled a void, just like Lalas did. They were big, good in the air, and had some flair. Good player, yes. Good enough for the best 11, no. Didn’t mention hair once.

              • TomG says:

                Dude, you clearly haven’t watched Celo play much if you’re comparing him to Lalas. Celo was six feet tall and skilled. Lalas was 6’3 and unskilled. They couldn’t be more different. Celo was more like Boca. Maybe you were vey young when you saw him or you never really watched soccer before? Not sure how you could possibly make that comp.

              • GW says:

                Mr. G,

                You are way over reacting.

                Suave was not comparing Celo to cement head as a player

                The two were often associated because they played together a lot for the Nats. I always think of Lalas whenever Celo is brought up and vice versa, just like I always think of Donovan and Dempsey together.

                As a USMNT player Dooley was more dynamic and influential than Celo but he was a midfielder while Celo was a CB so that is to be expected.
                I don’t know why you are comparing Dooley and Celo, they were pretty different players. It’s idiotic to raise one up by tearing down the other. I’d like both on my USMNT team.

              • GW says:

                Mr. G,

                You are way over reacting.

                Suave was not comparing Celo to cement head as a player

                The two were often associated because they played together a lot for the Nats. I always think of Lalas whenever Celo is brought up and vice versa, just like I always think of Donovan and Dempsey together.
                As a USMNT player Dooley was more dynamic and influential than Celo but he was a midfielder while Celo was a CB so that is to be expected.
                I don’t know why you are comparing Dooley and Celo, they were pretty different players. It’s foolish to raise one up by tearing down the other. I’d like both on my USMNT team.

              • TomG says:

                He def was comping them, GW. H said, “They were big, good in the air, and had some flair.” Lalas was big, Celo was not. Celo had flair, Lalas did not,(not on the field). He also started this whole deal by saying, “Balboa is awful. Dooley is 10x better but Balboa’s hair was nice and as I would dream about, very soft,” so I find it odd to the point of ridiculousness that you are saying that I’m overreacting. I’m just being the voice of reason to the folks that read Dooleys Wikipedia page and have no idea that he didn’t play for USA until his thirties, and start trashing Celo when they clearly never saw either of them play. To be honest, GW, you seem to have a weird thing for me and keep making bizarre comments on me that constantly try to twist what I’m saying. No offense, but I’d rather you don’t respond directly to my comments anymore if you don’t mind and I’d be happy to return the favor. I think that would be best. Thanks.

              • GW says:

                Mr. G,

                This shouldn’t be the fourth grade.

                As for your comments I respond to the content of the comments not the name .

                After all the name can be changed anytime and no one would know.

                I could respond as “TomG”.

              • TomG says:

                If this was 4th grade, I wouldn’t have gone out of my way to explain myself in a nice, clear and logical way, but as is always the case, logic and clarity are lost in you, GW. it’s so annoying dealing with you when you are constantly misinterpreting and twisting everything everyone says. It’s annoying having to clarify myself and others with direct quotes that you inexplicably misread. Please read more carefully if you are going to be replying to my comments in the future.

    • Thin Skinned says:

      No Ty Keough or Kyle Rote Jr.?

      I think Joe Gaetjens should get an honorary vote.

    • Zezo says:

      Ditto. I would also replace Tab Ramos with Freddy Adu.

    • Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

      I can’t argue with any of them except Balboa. Lalas was better than him and saved his ass many times for those of us who watched with a neutral eye.

  2. James says:

    Not sure who he would replace, but its amazing to not have MB on the team. Also, whoever didn’t vote fore Reyna should be removed from further voting.

    • Dinho says:

      Ramos.

      • danny says:

        just wait another couple years, and Bradley is a no-brainer. He’s too young to be on that list right now.

      • James says:

        I think Bradley is ultimately better than Ramos, but Ramos was equally important to USMNT in his day. He was also such a unique player in our history, so it’s hard to argue with him. I’d probably say leave Wynalda off and have 5 mids

        • Rick says:

          Not even close. Ramos was the best ever. Bradley is good now

          • JoeW says:

            Ramos had amazing technical ability. But if that’s your criteria, then why not Hugo Perez? Perez was amazing. Personally, I’d choose Bradley or even Dooley (who started as a MF for the US) over Ramos.

            • GW says:

              Hugo Perez was arguably the most gifted attacking midfielder the US ever had. But when comparing him to Tab the thing is Tab was more long lived and consistent.

              Now that may be because the team was better when Tab came up than when Hugo was in his prime but tough.

              Mikey is great but he is more like Claudio who also was not in Tab’s class as an attacker. Claudio was more like the timekeeper, the guy who set the tempo and kept the ball circulating and could also do a little bit of everything, especially defensively. For example, Reyna was the starting right back for much of his time there when Rangers were really good.

              Right now I take Reyna over Mikey every time.

              Overall he had a better career than Mikey has had but MB90 has time yet.

              • Rivaldo says:

                This time next year MB will be on that team. Tougher and bigger balls than CR and Tab combined.

                Exactly correct on the GK. Freidel the best then Keller and Howard is still overrated.

      • Chris Whyte says:

        Bradley will eventually replace Dempsey, not Ramos.

        • iggy says:

          Tab was very important for the US in his day, BUT the highest level he played at was what, 2nd division in Spain? Was he really that good or was the US team just a lot weaker then.

          Dempsey has obv. had a great career for the Nats as well, and club career is miles ahead of Tab’s.

          I think the tough thing for this list is to remember that the criteria is influence on the USMNT, not club career. It’s hard to separate the two

          • BrianK says:

            Ivy,

            Tab was very unlucky. If i am not mistaken, he was with Real Betis when they were promoted from the 2nd division to the 1st division. BUT,….as you probably know, Leonardo elbowed him in the head, fractured his skull and Betis released him when the doctors recommended that he sit out at least a year.

            But for the head injury,…I personally think Tab would have had a productive time in the Spanish 1st division.

    • TomG says:

      Debatable, but I might put MB ahead of Reyna. Claudio had some great moments but there were also a lot of underwhelming matches. MB has been more consistently good and consistently healthy and consistently better at getting the offense going from the deep lying role. Claudio was awesome in 2002 WC while MB doesn’t have a similar high point to compare. Tabare was the most skilled player to ever wear the US kit and was amazing for the Nats but doesn’t have the club track record to match MB or CR. I’ve yet to see another US field player frustrate a world power in a tournament the way Tab did against Brazil in the WC, to the point where they took a straight red just to knock him out (literally). I was so mad, I was screaming at the tv.

      • James says:

        I still strongly think Renya was the best field player in US history. People have a sour taste in their mouth from his final matches in 2006, but remember he was carrying an injury and was 33 at the time. His 2002 performance was so good. Still the only American to make the all world cup team.

        • TomG says:

          He was amazing in 2002, but that performance was much, much better than most of his turns with the Nats. I was frequently disappointed by his disappearing act though it’s probably not completely fair since he was frequently the focus of the opposing team and could only do so much. It would have been really interesting if JOB had been healthy to see them together for a long run.

          • pd14 says:

            Agree with everything you mentioned. Really do think JOB could have been one of our best mids ever, if no the best

      • JoeW says:

        Nah. People forget that Reyna was on the US 1994 WC roster and then torn a groin muscle. He was a vital part of every USNT he was ever one, he was often the ONLY guy who had a sense of pass and distribution and a feel for the game and he was a pioneer in Europe…as a field player in Scotland, Germany and the Premiership. He’s really the first American that had Europeans believe that Americans produced more than GKs.

        • Matt C says:

          Totally agree JoeW. Add to your plaudits for Reyna, that my memory is that at one time or another he was served as captain for every team he’s ever played on. ..i think even for a short time at ManCity.

    • tga says:

      Reyna….all he ever did was get caught in possession and give Ghana a gift goal in 06

  3. Dinho says:

    Really shows how weak, historically, our back four has been.

    I can’t stomach having Balboa in there, but we don’t have a decent left back… maybe Caliguri at LB and slide Boca central with Pope?

    Also, the Friedel v. Keller argument is a toss-up.

    Finally, MB should replace Ramos. No doubt in my mind.

    • Dinho says:

      Or maybe Dooley for Balboa and leave Boca at LB. Put simply ABB (Anyone But Balboa)

    • TomG says:

      Celo was a tremendous player. Quick, Strong, good positionally, good tackler and extremely skilled for a cb. It’s sad that many who never saw him play or only saw him at the tail end of his career are knocking him. You folks only care about Europe but you don’t understand how impossible it was for AMericans to play in Europe in those days. It simply wasn’t done. There were no channels, no open doors, no nothing. If Pope and Celo were coming up through our systems today, European scouts would be all over them. It’s sad they never really got a chance.

      • JoeW says:

        Actually Pope had a transfer offer in his prime to Feyenoord and chose not to take it.

      • Gary Page says:

        As i recall, Balboa played in Mexico, which was about as good as most US players could do at the time. Balboa was much more important and influential than Dooley.

  4. AlexH says:

    Taking this trip down memory lane makes me think we should have voted Bora coach of the millennium!

  5. Peretz says:

    I’m sorry Dooley just missed out. He really belongs in a Best XI. I agree that Bradley didn’t get in because he’s still fairly young. If we did this in five years he probably would be in. Overall, the voters did a decent job.

  6. USMNT says:

    Whats great about this list is that we can all say that in 25 years almost all of these players will be replaced with a best XI of someone else. Our talent is getting better and the pool is growing. Most of these players were good to very good in their prime club players as well as USMNT but do you not think that with the exception of maybe Donovan and Friedel, who stays?

    • Matt C says:

      Good point. So now let’s reach into the future and have a truly silly hypothetical discussion about which players of this group, you think would still be on this All Time US team?

      I’d say Reyna, LD and maybe McBride…maybe Brad. Possibly Dempsey depending on the next WC. I wouldn’t think any of the defenders survive.

      • go euro or go home says:

        altidore is easily on track to replace mcbride. if we are talking 25 years, i would guess that someone will replace altidore too.

    • USWNT says:

      I agree completely – but I say in 7 years instead of 25. Altidore is on pace to replace McBride and The Iceman has hints of being the other on this list. Bradley obviously will be in the top 11… If Howard dominates the WC then he gets a boost up as well. The next 2 cups (if good which I think at least the 2018 one will be) will produce top defenders as well.

      The good news is the best is here right now – and in the wings waiting for 2018 in Russia. You take out criteria 3 and you can start filling in these names already -

  7. Pedro says:

    I think Friedel is the right choice and that is probably the toughest call. Keller is right there with him.

    Michael Bradley’s career at 26 crushes what the four that are in the XI had done by that age. In fact, he did more by 26 then anyone else in the XI. I would have picked him, too.

    • Dinho says:

      My thoughts exactly.

      Now, for the back four…. you can’t win.

    • Madden's Chin says:

      By age 26, Claudio Reyna had already played 3 full seasons in the Bundesliga for Leverkeusen and Wolfsburgh. Where he was the captain. And Reyna was also 3 years behind Bradley because he played 3 years of college (they won the NC every year he played)

      So by age 26, Reyna had captained a German bundesliga team. Fast forward 3 more year and Reyna was playing in the Champions League with Rangers and then Sunderland bought him for the EPL.

      So no, Bradley doesn’t crush all of them. In fact, Reyna achieved things Bradley isn’t close to doing.

      • Suave says:

        Agreed!

      • James says:

        Also, Donovan was the Best Young Player of the 2002 World Cup. Quite an accomplishment. No doubt in my mind he’s on this list, same with Duece. Midfield has always been our best position, so might as well give the team 5 midfielders.

        • Madden's Chin says:

          Yeah, Landon came alive in that tournament. It was really what broke him out of that slump he’d been in post-reserve squad at leverkeusen.

      • Pedro says:

        I agree that Reyna at Wolfsburg is possibly his high point of playing time in Europe. But be realistic, he was on loan at Wolfsburg and that team survived relegation by a point. He didn’t finish the next season there. Hardly the stuff of legend.

        You think that Bradley playing consistently for Roma in the Serie A isn’t close to Reyna’s time at Wolfsburg? If Reyna had been offered a transfer to a good Serie A side he would have gone in a blink.

        You would have had a stronger argument with Friedel or Cherundolo. They both have had better careers in Europe then Reyna did.

        • Madden's Chin says:

          He captained a Bundesliga side in his early 20s. That’s nearly unheard of even for German players.

          He then played in the Champions League at Rangers were he was a star–went to the EPL and tore his ACL. He then was traded from Sunderland to Manchester City where he battled some injuries, but was a huge fan favorite and great player when healthy for years.

          • go euro or go home says:

            another knock against reyna is that he was injury prone. hard to hold that against a player, but he missed a lot of BIG games due to injury. bradley has been an mfing rock.

            • go euro or go home says:

              oops. kev said the exact same thing below…

            • Lorenzo says:

              There is a video on YouTube of the kind of tackles he endured. I specifically remember a two footed tackle into his ankle by a player in Scotland.

        • GW says:

          Pedro

          Did you ever watch Reyna in his prime? I did.

          Reyna went to Wolfsburg on loan from Leverkusen and wound up captaining the side at the age of 24. Whether Wolfsburg were a good team or not is irrelevant. They were good enough to be in the Bundesliga, however briefly and they named Claudio captain when he was a few years removed from the University of Virginia. Considering this was 1997 and few Americans were considered worthy of being allowed to play in the outfield let alone captain the team, this was a big deal.

          Mikey is not dominant at Roma; he is doing well but he is not their best midfielder . He is not the captain. He is a support player. And Roma are good this year but they are not in Europe. So the dynamic is a bit different from a club like Juve for example.

          Reyna played in the 90’s and it is pretty hard to compare teams across that time span. I would say his best time in Europe was when he was a regular starter at Rangers as the right back.

          That Rangers team was nothing like the crap team today. Look them up some time.

          I’ll bet you Dolo and Friedel would not agree with you about Claudio.

          I’ve watched Mikey his entire career and saw most of Claudio’s. Other than the fact they both have played the same basic role for the USMNT it rarely occurs to me to compare the two. They are dissimilar as players.

          • go euro or go home says:

            I am not trying to make an argument for either, BUT,

            Reyna’s captaincy sounds more like an indictment of that team than anything else. A team making a American kid from college who is on loan a captain is absolutely mad, and only a coach who is absolutely pissed with his team would do it.

            meanwhile, you are discrediting Bradley for not being dominant at Roma, where he is competing with one of the best midfields in Europe. you seriously think he has even a chance of being a captain in his second season with that squad?

            I do not necessarily know how to decide between the two, but let’s be fair to both guys here.

            • Anthony says:

              I like MB, but be realistic, he’s a sparsely used sub at Roma now (he’s playing more due to injuries). He would be a regular starter at mid-table Italian team, which is still impressive. By 26, Reyna had played for Leverkeusen, Wolfsburg and moved to Rangers. He was captain which is still impressive. His first year, they barely survived relegation. I remember the 2nd year that they were quite (I doubled checked and they finished 6th).

    • Rivaldo says:

      +1 Pedro

  8. kev says:

    Bradley >>>>>>> Reyna. Bradley is a more complete player, if less creative, and most importantly, is rarely injured. Reyna’s history of missing big games due to injuries is relevant and should exclude him from this list.

    • Suave says:

      Take the injuries out if it, take each player on thier best day and I think it’s probably a toss up. Reyna was probably our most creative midfielder to play for the US.

      • kev says:

        Reyna was not even that creative. He was more of a tick-tock rhythm guy who pulled off the occasional slick attacking pass. MB is defensively miles ahead of him.

        • Suave says:

          MB plays a different role as Reyna did. I agree that MB should be on the list and Reyna and Donovan and take off Dempsey. Ricky Davis has to be considered for this list.

        • go euro or go home says:

          i remember him playing that way too. reyna was more of a ball circulator — seldom looked to play the killer pass. bradley has developed much more of an incisive element to his game that still is getting better.

      • kev says:

        Reyna missed the entire 1994 world cup, important games in 2002, and was injured in our most important game in 2006 (also turned the ball over for the initial goal).

        • James says:

          What important games did he miss in 2002??? He was on the all world cup team, and was unbelievable against Mexico and Germany.

          I think a lot of people on this board must have began watching soccer in 2006, and only take that into account. 2002 would not have happened without Reyna. He was the first American captain in a top tier foreign league (Bundesliga) and was one of our most creative players ever.

          He was CAPTAIN AMERICA for crying out loud. Go back and watch some film.

          • TomG says:

            Great in 2002. Great player overall, but I don’t have to watch game film. I remember all his matches and Kev is right about his inconsistency and injuries. MB has been more consistent. Reyna at his best in 2002 was a better player. It’s a tough call.

            • Madden's Chin says:

              Michael Bradley has only very recently in his career become consistent.

              It’s easy to look over the years upon years of really inconsistent and reckless club form–from being benched at numerous clubs for poor form.

              Bradley’s been quality for the national squad, but let’s not ignore that his club form up until Roma here has been frankly sub-par.

              • TomG says:

                Got to call you out for highly selective and erroneous memory. 20+ goals in Holland, best player on Chievo, carrying them to mid table when everyone predicted they’d be fighting relegation. One of top if not the top player at Gladbach, carrying them to mid table when they were predicted by EVERYONE to be relegated. The only reason he was sat down at the end at Gladbach was because he was demanding a transfer. The only hiccup in his career was AV and he never had a chance there because the club was being run by an absolute lunatic who was determined to drag a top 8 club into the relegation zone.

          • go euro or go home says:

            i think reyna’s creativity is way overrated. he was a very safe passer

          • kev says:

            Dude, you don’t even remember that he failed to play against Portugal, our best game in the World Cup, so don’t tell me to watch film. I don’t care what he’s the “first” of- Bradley can’t help being born later in time. Also, he wasn’t even creative–he played the safe pass. Donovan, Ramos, Dempey, hell even Mix are more “creative” than Reyna, who was a very good safe midfielder.

            In any event, Donovan had a better tournament–Reyna won the award because he was a known quanitty, and Donovan was unknown at the time.

            • TomG says:

              I was often frustrated by Claudio, but I think you’re going too far. Safe passing is way underrated. Its tough to boss the midfield, to win balls and make the smart distribution, especially when he was being keyed on and didn’t have much skill surrounding him. Do I feel he was not quite aggressive enough with that final pass,yes. Was he the master f the killer through ball? No, but he was a tremendous player.

  9. HoboMike says:

    Bradley should absolutely be on the list instead of Dempsey. Reyna’s qualities were lauded by teammates at every club he played for, so that’s a no brainer. Thought Cobi Jones may get some love.

    Although thought Keller would be the GK.

    • kev says:

      Friedel proved to be the better goalkeeper when he actually played. This was proven by his steady starting success at the club level

      • TomG says:

        Friedel better club player and had the highest moment in 2002. Keller was better overall with the Nats and had a few matches that I’d put up there with any keeper I’ve ever seen for sheer shot stopping. Friedel gets the edge IMO.

    • TomG says:

      MB and Deuce play completely different positions. Tough to ignore Deuce’s stats. He’s clearly our greatest club goal scorer ever and right up there with the Nats.

    • go euro or go home says:

      great point about cobi. i’d take him on the wing over deuce. he was kind of a one trick pony on the flank, but he could beat anyone for pace and served a great ball. that was the name of the game in the era that he played and he did it well. not saying he is a better overall player, but in terms of bats career, i’d take cobi

  10. Pedro says:

    Looking through the list of who voted is like visiting with the ghost of Christmas past. Not surprising players like Waldo and Balboa were shown a little love.

    How are Grant Wahl and Ives not part of the media votes? Ridge Mahoney??? Jamie Trecker??? Sh*t, I’m old school. But picking those guys??? Comedy.

  11. HoboMike says:

    Looking further, it’s amazing that Balboa got the most votes of any defender.

  12. Good Jeremy says:

    Was Balboa that bad/good?
    I’m too young to remember him before he was aging, but he led all defenders in votes and everyone here seems to hate him.

    Also, i’m baffled that Lalas was as far down the list as he was.

  13. Falls City Outlaw says:

    No Alexi? I would put him in over Boca. With respect to Boca, I wonder how many “sympathy” votes he got for his inglorious sacking by Klinsi.

    • Suave says:

      Really? Alexi? One of the most overated players to play the game. At the time, we needed what he gave us. Tall, physical, good header, and funny looking facial hair. He filled a void.

      • Cabrito says:

        You forgot the “guitar playing, rock-star void” he also filled. I can’t watch him on ESPN without yelling “Shut up Alexi Lalas!”. What a clown. He was our version of “Gus”, the football kicking donkey (look it up).

  14. Madden's Chin says:

    People attempting to minimize Reyna’s career to push Bradley up make me sick. Crushes his career?

    Reyna captained a Bundesliga side a year out of college. Reyna was named to the 2002 World Cup All-Star team. He was the first American to do both.

    These were the players that he sat on the team with.
    Rivaldo (BRA),
    Ronaldinho (BRA)
    Michael Ballack (GER)
    Yoo Sang Chul (KOR)

    Claudio Reyna is still easily the best soccer player ever produced by the United States of America. How he doesn’t get his due is upsetting to say the least.

    • James says:

      No doubt about it. Bradley is a beast, and will be on this list one day, but certainly not at Reyna’s expense.

      • Madden's Chin says:

        I like Bradley, don’t get me wrong.

        I’ve also been watching soccer since the 70s. I remember when you were lucky to get a single soccer match per month on a television of any kind.

        Claudio Reyna was a special player.

        • TomG says:

          Then you must remember that, as great as Reyna was sometimes, there were a lot of times that he was completely taken out of the match for USA. Not saying he doesn’t deserve to be on the list, but I think you’re only remembering the good and glossing over the bad.

          • TomG says:

            I don’t want to be stuck bashing CR. he was def one of the all time greats for USA, but I want to relate my sometimes frustrating experience watching him. Might not be completely fair, but that’s how I saw it at the time.

          • GW says:

            “there were a lot of times that he was completely taken out of the match for USA”

            That can happen to you when you are the best player and don’t have a lot of backup and when you are clearly the team’s most important player.

            If you are comparing Claudio to Mikey , Mikey has a lot better supporting cast making it kind of hard to isolate on Mikey and take him out of the game. I notice that after Mikey went down at Costa Rica the USMNT went on to win the next three Hex games and secure WC qualification.

            The USMNT was a very different proposition when Reyna was playing.

            As for remembering only the good, why is it that leading the US to it’s best World Cup performance ever, with more than a little style, is not worth valuing over the “bad”?.

            The give away to Ghana in 2006? He turned the ball over because his knee gave out. It blew up. It ended his frigging career. That is his fault? Geez, what did you need to see blood all over the field?

            In that same game he missed a goal by a few inches. I call all that bad luck.

            • TomG says:

              That is true and I admitted earlier that defenses definitely keyed on him and concentrated n taking him out f the match. Like I said, I don’t want to bash him. I think he deserves to be on the list. I just thnk him vs Bradley can be argued. It’s debatable. I don’t think CR completely blows him off the field and I do think that when all is said and done, MB will retire as the best, but it’s all subjective. I just got stuck talking about CRs flaws and my own, personal experience watching him which was sometimes frustrating because he was so good at times and other times struggled with injuries or defenses that took him out of the game.

        • Edmondo says:

          Thank you! I have been watching soccer since the early/mid 80′s. I love Bradley, but Reyna, Ramos and Donovan are best midfield players that the US has produced (Dempsey to me is more of a forward to me). Besides, Bradley plays a slightly different position. Bradley will be there in few years, though, but his world cup performance will have to match. BTW, I still think what if with John O’Brien.

  15. M says:

    The most gifted of all not on the list what a joke!!! Where’s Adu

  16. Vic says:

    Bocanegra is a much better centerback than left back for USMNT. I would have put Dooley over Balboa. Or put Bocanegra at centerback and John O’brien at LB.

  17. CroCajun1003 says:

    When it’s all said and done, I’d say Bradley and Altidore make the list. Bradley for his class and consistency, and Jozy because love him or hate him, if he continues at the rate he’s on, by the end of his career his resume will dwarf Wynalda’s. Maybe McBride’s too.

  18. The Amateur says:

    What I wanna know is this…

    …Could this team get out of group G at the 2014 World Cup?

    • beto says:

      YES. with the help of divine force (or Jurgen!)

    • Gary Page says:

      As one who has been follo0wing the USMNT closely since 1990, I’d have to say that’s a darn good question and I don’t know. None of the midfielders on the list were really good defenders, but the Best XI would be able to score on just about everybody. You could have a lot of 3-2 games with this team and Group G. Who would have the 3 and who would have the 2, I’m not sure. I feel confident they could beat Ghana; Portugal and Germany, who knows? I think the coaching would make the difference.

    • Jonny says:

      I think the first question would be could everyone on this list fit into Klinsmann’s system?

      Tab, Reyna, LD, Dempsey… of course. Waldo? Hmmm… And what about that back four? Would we be confident in possession and playing out of the back with those guys?

      IMO, the back four (in their prime) would have the hardest time in Group G.

    • GW says:

      First tell me who the other 12 are.

      Who are my subs?

  19. RK says:

    No Beasley?

  20. 4now says:

    John O’Brien at LB.

  21. Gary Page says:

    I was just going to weigh in on the GK selection, but I gotta say that those knocking Balboa must not have seen him play much. Dooley had one good WC, but the next one he was much too slow and attackers blew right by him. I remember how he was totally at fault for one goal, I think against Germany. And Reyna was the best US player for a long time. And how could some people leave off Dempsey who is one of only two US players to score in two WC’s, with a chance to make it a third, and is the second all time leading scorer, ahead of both McBride and Wynalda, while playing mostly in the midfield? Finally, while it really is a coin toss between Friedel and Keller, I always preferred keller because I thought he was better at positioning and in judgment. He had a better feel for when to come out of goal and when not to. I really think Friedel messed up in the loss to Germany in 2002 by not coming out of goal on the free kick converted by Ballack. Even in recent years, with all his experience, I still see Friedel sometime hesitate about coming out of goal when he should.

  22. EW says:

    And it’s now official. We’ve never had a good left back.

  23. BrianK says:

    IMHO,….

    They got the forwards right. McBride and Wynalda are definitely the best forwards we have ever had.

    My midfield which, I believe is the most talented team is Reyna, Ramos, Donovan and O’Brien.

    In the back,…Pope, Dooley and Cherundolo are the class of the bunch. We never did have a left back (do not say Agoos!!!). I will never forgive Bocanegra for his catastrophic mistake in ’06 against Ghana. I would go so as to say we would be better off with three in the back and either Dempsey or Stewart as the fifth midfielder.

    Friedel over Keller by such a wide margin is a head scratcher. However,….over the years I have heard that Keller is an arrogant sun-of-a-gun. Maybe that is what we are seeing.

    That said,…always enjoyed watching all the USMNT!

    • beto says:

      +1 although we have never seen a 3-5-2 USMNT this might be the time to show it as LB has never been exceptional… Agoos, Regis and Bocanegra (maybe F. Johnson or DMB) probably the best LB’s we have had…

      • BrianK says:

        Steve Sampson used a 3-5-2 in 1998. We crushed Austria in a per-WC friendly and were embarrassed by Germany in France.

        • Paul says:

          I think the US performance in that tournament had more to do with team chemistry disruption caused by John Harkes not keeping his little man in his pants, but in Mrs. Wynalda’s pants. He was dropped last minute. I remember being distinctly embarrassed by the performance because I was working in Paris at the time and I had to defend the US team to my co-workers.

      • GW says:

        Arena used a 3-5-2 against Mexico in the 2002 World Cup and won , surprise!! , 2-0.
        That is the game where Cobi Jones and Rafa Marquez cemented their relationship.

    • Matt C says:

      Brian, you’re forgetting David Regis (sp?).

    • Gary Page says:

      It was a mishit by Bocanegra that went to Onyewu, but the giant mistake was the referee, Dr. Marcus Merk, calling a foul/penalty on Gooch when there was nothing. It never should have been called (considering its importance, one of the worst calls in the WC I’ve ever seen) and Bocanegra would have had a darn near spotless record in the WC. BTW, I noticed that after that he always took the safe route and just booted the ball out of bounds after that whenever the back line was under pressure.

    • Gary Page says:

      It was a mis-kick by Bocanegra that went to Onyewu, but the giant mistake was the referee, Dr. Marcus Merk, calling a foul/penalty on Gooch when there was nothing. It never should have been called (considering its importance, one of the worst calls in the WC I’ve ever seen) and Bocanegra would have had a darn near spotless record in the WC. BTW, I noticed that after that he always took the safe route and just booted the ball out of bounds after that whenever the back line was under pressure.

  24. El Gringo says:

    This is pretty much the 2002 World Cup team. I think we have 5 starters from 02 here and one reserve (Dolo).

  25. beto says:

    i like this list and debate so much lets make the Second XI
    GK – Howard or Keller
    LB – O’Brien or Regis? Agoos?
    CB – Dooley
    CB – Onyewu or Lalas?
    RB – Caliguri or Sennah
    LM – Steward or O’Brien or DMB
    CM – Bradley
    CM – C. Jones
    RM – Harkes or Perez
    FW – JM Moore
    FW – Jozy or Murray

    • BrianK says:

      No Friedel? Agoos,…are you serious? No Eddie Pope in back? Pope was, hands down the best defender we have ever had. Tough to overlook Cherundolo at right back,….he has played his entire professional career at a high level,…although in ’02 Sanneh was tremendous. Like the LM options,…although I think Earnie Stewart usually lined up as a forward or right mid.

      Jozy,….too early. Bruce Murray??

    • Gary Page says:

      How about Cobi Jones playing midfield/wing?

  26. Barksdale says:

    John O’Brien. Pick a position. He’s the most talented player we’ve ever had.

    • BrianK says:

      People forget how good he was and how good the 2002 team was. A big FU to Hugh Dallas wherever you are!

    • Brett says:

      Agreed, but longevity has to be considered a desirable trait for a player.

    • Gary Page says:

      Well, he could have been. Unfortunately his career was much too short. But that one WC he was by far the best US player. Oh, what might have been. Who knows, maybe Stuart Holden could have been up there with Reyna had he stayed healthy.

  27. Steve says:

    Why is Wondolowski not on the list? This list is complete rubbish.

  28. Bac says:

    When you make one of these lists, you never please everyone…

    So you have to look at the criteria set forth. In this case it was basically their overall contribution to the usmnt, and how their overall career affected U.S. soccer.
    With that said, I think the only controversial issue is Friedel vs Keller…
    The committee did well.

    When his career is done, Bradley will top this list… Period.

    I’m actually surprised Lalas didn’t get more votes. Lalas the player was all heart and brought a lot to the game in the US. Lalas the GM probably didn’t help Lalas the player on this list… and Lalas the broadcaster probably destroyed Lalas the player….nuff said….

    Of all the ” What IF” players people are commenting on, I think JOB is atop a very short list….
    maybe alone on that list…(for those who never saw him play healthy, yea he was that good)

    If there was a supersub award, would Cobi get it for the number of appearances, or does it go to Preki for that magic left foot….(Preki!)

    Fun stuff…. look forward to seeing this in the future….

  29. Ron says:

    Who are the five people who left the USA’s all time goal scoring and assist leader off their ballots? Did Graeham Jones and Paul Gardner get votes?

  30. Me says:

    5 people didn’t vote for Landon?!?!?!

  31. GW says:

    Frankie Hejduk should be given the award for most likely to be mistaken for a man with his hair on fire.

    No one ever played with more heart and passion for the USMNT.

  32. Dennis says:

    Interesting that Preki did not get a mention. I suppose his time for the US was too short.

  33. Luke says:

    8 guys from the 02 team, that’s probably not a good thing.

  34. thebumswillalwayslose says:

    In an interesting twist, there was also a “Pure Talent Best 11″: link to mlssoccer.com

    If it’s just based on pure talent, how JOB isn’t on that list is absolutely beyond me, but the rest of it is pretty interesting.

    • Big Red says:

      People forget that JOB was on Ajax when they were still good. It’d be like having an American on ManU today.

      Also, if this list is based on US National Team Performance then Kasey Keller is a no-brainer. He has twice as many shutouts than Friedel.

      And, I’m not so hot on McBride. He never did well in World Cup qualifiers. I remember in 04 an 05 being thankful when he was hurt.

  35. JoshW says:

    Who were the 5 wanks that didn’t vote for Donovan?

  36. Alan says:

    Harkes and Obrien were far better than Ramos and Dempsey. Not even close.