A closer look at the USMNT Depth Chart: Right Backs

Geoff Cameron

Photo by John Todd/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

The U.S. Men’s National Team entered the last two World Cups not spending all that much time worrying about their right back situation, but that will not be the case this year.

The retirement of the long-serving and solid Steve Cherundolo earlier this year was just the latest reminder that, for the first time in a long time, the right side of the Americans’ back line is up for grabs ahead of a World Cup. Jurgen Klinsmann has a bevy of players available to be Cherundolo’s successor, but what makes things tricky for the U.S. head coach is that not all of them are capable of getting forward as often as he likes and they all lack World Cup experience.

Geoff Cameron, Brad Evans, and Timmy Chandler are just some of the options Klinsmann has right now and so is Fabian Johnson, though he is projected to be a left-sided player this summer. But deciding on which of them suits up against Cristiano Ronaldo and the rest of the U.S.’s tough group opponents in Brazil will be something that will need to be carefully weighed to help ensure the Americans have a shot at piecing together some strong defensive performances.

Here is a closer look at the current pool of right backs:

GEOFF CAMERON

The versatile Cameron is a lock to be in Brazil, and he is the one player who has been seeing consistent minutes at right back at an elite level in recent months. Cameron, 28, does not get forward as well as some of the other options listed, but he has shown at Stoke City that he is a very solid defender who occasionally can jump into the attack. What hurts Cameron’s chances of starting at right back against Ghana is that he might be called upon to play in the heart of the defense given the Americans’ recent centerback struggles.

BRAD EVANS

Another versatile option, the Seattle Sounders veteran showed well in 2013 while serving as a makeshift right back. His recent outings have shown some of his shortcomings at the position, however, leaving some to question whether he will make it to Brazil. The 29-year-old Evans is a capable defender who can add to the attack, but he has not gone up against the level of competition that the U.S. will see this summer on a frequent basis and that will surely be something Klinsmann considers when making roster decisions.

TIMMY CHANDLER

Recently recovered from a knee injury that seemed to end his apparently slim chances of being in Brazil, Chandler is making a very late push at FC Nurnberg to earn an invite to Klinsmann’s pre-World Cup camp. The 24-year-old fullback has quite a few things going in his favor – his versatility, propensity to whip in crosses and ability to motor up and down the flank – but that still might not be enough to erase the fact that he was absent for much of the qualifying campaign by his own choice.

MICHAEL PARKHURST

The Columbus Crew defender is able to play any spot across the back line and that will boost his case for being on the plane to Brazil. Parkhurst, 30, has shown to be a solid option at right back when deployed there by Klinsmann, and he is also able to overlap and get forward every now and again. That said, Parkhurst will need to have a strong pre-World Cup camp to see off the other versatile options and earn his place on the final 23-man squad.

DEANDRE YEDLIN

An admitted long shot for Brazil, Yedlin still has a chance to sneak onto the roster if he is invited to the pre-World Cup camp and impresses. The speedy youngster looked more polished and at ease in his second cap in the U.S.’s 2-2 draw vs. Mexico last month, and that combined with his steady performances with the Seattle Sounders makes him an intriguing depth option that might be worth a longer look. Yedlin, 20, is a player Klinsmann is high on, but that still does not guarantee him a place on the 30-man roster that will convene in Stanford, California, next week.

TONY BELTRAN

The consistent Beltran has been called upon by Klinsmann for the occasional look in recent years, but the odds of him making it to the pre-World Cup camp seem slim given how many other options are available. The Real Salt Lake defender also wasn’t overly impressive against Mexico in the April friendly in Phoenix, Arizona. That performance may have placed the final nail in the coffin for the 26-year-old veteran’s hopes of playing in his first World Cup.

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What do you think of the current state of the USMNT’s right back spot? How many of these players would you bring to Brazil? Who would you like to see start versus Ghana?

Share your thoughts below.

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174 Responses to A closer look at the USMNT Depth Chart: Right Backs

  1. Gerard D. says:

    In Klinsmann’s system, a right back has to be able to get forward, carry the ball, and overlap wide. As most people know, Cameron is really poor going forward. He can’t cross. He can’t dribble.

    He’s great defensively, but he also plays for a team that requires he do nothing more than sit back and defend.

    • slowleftarm says:

      Klinnsmann has a system?

    • kevino says:

      You clearly haven’t watch Stoke play this season. Cameron gets forward and hits crosses regularly with Stoke, and he is the best dribbler on our list of right backs. He’s not Roberto Carlos, but he’s the best right back we have.

      • Gerard D. says:

        Brad Evans is the best dribbler not named Chandler. Cameron’s most recent USMNT outing saw him hit only 1 of (5 I believe) successful crosses.

        • skyman says:

          Exactly, wasted balls. I counted 2/6. NOT cutting it, and I remember some of those balls going out of bounds.

          • Gerard D. says:

            Yeah.

            There were a couple crosses that he hit–with no pressure–20 yards out behind the goal. They were bad.

            • ronniet says:

              I guess you two didn’t see Evans spraying crosses out of bounds versus Korea of all teams?! Cameron is our best rb option not named chandler(when in form)and as Kevino stated you couldn’t have watched Stoke play this year or your comments wouldn’t suggest he can’t get forward, cross balls in or score for that matter!!! Watch games before posting assumptions! Evans will not cut it against WC competition and if you can’t see that then…..hilarious

              • Skyman says:

                I am only speaking to Cameron’s ability to go for. If it right back cannot successfully cross the ball with a high percentage that it’s worthless going forward at all. And no Evans is not a good example of someone going forward on the international level either

          • Jesse D says:

            The best crossers in the Premier League complete 1 in 3. Saying 2 for 6 is bad, is just uninformed.

    • Brian says:

      You’re completely wrong and clearly haven’t watched Stoke this season. He was arguably Stoke’s best player in the first half of the season, and has gotten forward well. Clearly a healthy Chandler will be better here, but there should be some confidence in Cameron maintaining this spot based on his performance this year.

      • kevino says:

        No so sure if Chandler is better right now. Cameron has definitely had a better year on a better team. To be fair I didn’t watch much Bundesliga this year.

    • John says:

      I’ll agree with you on crossing but not dribbling. For his size his dribbling skill is actually really impressive.

    • Pd14 says:

      GD, like others have said, im not sure you have watched stoke this season, but their outside backs continually get forward. Im not one to post against someone else, but your statement is the furthest from the truth on many levels.
      The fact is that the inswinging ball from the outside is the hardest pass to consistently hit. Dani alves cant do it that consistently and hes the beat one in the game at this ball.
      Also, saying cameron cant get forward and cant dribble? Really?? CMeron is arguably our 2nd best midfielder. There are not too many midfielders that can not dribble last time i checked.
      Again, not bashing, but this, lile so many of the comments on here are complete rubbish

      • Bac says:

        Yea that’s one thing that irks me about this Cam discussion.. so many people were begging for him to play CM after that one nice game…
        So if I understand their argument correctly, he has the ball skills to play as a central midfielder, but when he plays RB he all of a sudden forgets how to dribble or cross the ball… hhhmmmm….
        Yea that makes sense….

        • UclaBruinGreat says:

          Bac, yes it does make sense. Anybody that has played soccer before in a proper/competitive/advanced level, knows that playing on the wings and playing in the middle of the field are two completely different things that require different talent and skill set.

          In the middle (especially as a holding midfielder), its more quick passing and short passes. Long passes are also easier because you can boot a ball forward and let your forwards/advanced midfielders run under the ball and adjust to it while it is in the air. You also have the mental reassurance that comes from knowing you have two-center backs behind you that can help clean up your mess.

          On the wings (especially the fullbacks), its more like being left-alone on an island at times. It requires more running, both with and without the ball, and more dribbling. You have to be able to take on a defender and get passed him, and whip in those crosses from the side (usually on the run). Whipped in crosses have to be more accurate because you are basically trying to hit a running player on the head with a line-drive. Nowhere near as easy as a chip forward, or a through-ball pass that you let the forward run onto.

          • The Garrincha says:

            UCLA Great, real nice assessment of the differences between wing and center.
            based on your experience I concur.

          • Bac says:

            Yes, your statement is completely true…
            But not truly complete…..

            If we were talking about someone who has only played one position or the other at a professional level, then sure.. I agree with everything you just said.

            But I’m talking specifically about Cam, who has played both. And the argument that he can’t cross the ball, or shouldn’t play RB, because he shanked 5 crosses in ONE game just doesn’t make sense.
            Especially if you’ve watched the difference in his play last year vs this year.

    • JB says:

      You’ve not watched Cameron play, He has played in the midfield in his career and w/the nats. Arguably has more ability on the ball than anyone else that plays in the back. Not sure what you’ve been watching.

  2. Maykol says:

    It gave me the giggles when Alexi Lalas said brad evans was just as good as Timmy Chandler

    • JayAre says:

      Lalas will argue that everything American is better than everything European.

    • John says:

      The question is which Chandler? His form seems to be all over the place often. Chandler at the start of the Bundesliga season, I’d take Evans. However just before Chandler was injured no question he was playing great.

      • Jesse D says:

        Leave Evans, high down side, no upside. At least Chandler’s downside accompanies a high upside.

        • Creige says:

          Let’s see… Evans works for his teammates and showed well during qualifying. Chandler turned down opportunities to help his team during qualifying and got burnt by the supposed Honduras minnows of CONCACAF including a nasty nutmeg by Carlos Costly. I’ll take Evans thanks.

          • bryan says:

            Doesn’t change the fact that Chandler is a better RB than Evans. Everyone got burnt that day in Honduras. They had just finished their Central American Cup and were in form. In Chandler’s case, he didn’t even get to train with the team before the game.

            Watching Evans get burned by a B team South Korea reminded everyone why he was only ever considered a temporary fix. I’m not saying Chandler will beat out Evans, but don’t be surprised.

            I’d also point out that while Chandler did reject a camp, he then went on to be benched at his club. JK didn’t call him in that entire time. it wasn’t until after Chandler worked his way back into the team and got into form that JK mentioned his name again.

          • Jesse says:

            Evans was a stop gap,. I thank him for his time. His weakness have shown clearly in his last few matches. We have several more talented RBs. Chandler included

    • Felix says:

      Don’t forget though that in Chandler’s one qualifying appearance (all other caps were friendlies) against Honduras in San Pedro Sula he was terrible. He didn’t adjust to the conditions at all – and he’s going to face more of the same in Brazil (long travel, heat, etc).
      At least Evans is used to it.
      I wish Chandler didn’t fall of the radar but I’d be real tentative to start him at RB in Brazil after seeing how he performed against Honduras.
      I wouldn’t start Evans neither, but he actually has had positive contributions in WCQ matches (remember he scored the winning goal against Jamaica at ‘The Office’ in injury time).

      • Gerard D. says:

        Don’t forget though that in Chandler’s one qualifying appearance (all other caps were friendlies) against Honduras in San Pedro Sula he was terrible. He didn’t adjust to the conditions at all – and he’s going to face more of the same in Brazil (long travel, heat, etc).

        ——

        He got off two consecutive flights around the world, with no rest or time to acclimate to time zones and jet lag, and came from European winter time to Honduran heat and humidity in a matter of a day.

        You’re being extremely disingenuous if you think that wasn’t a massive factor in the play.

        • Hogatroge says:

          Agreed. Let’s also not overlook the fact that the rest of the team was pretty bad in that match, OR the whole ‘starting Omar over Bocanegra’ debacle.

        • HoboMike says:

          It boggles my mind that more people don’t think like you. I’ve made this argument numerous times.

          When I fly from NY to Chicago, I’m groggy for 3 hours. I can’t imagine flying from Nurenburg to Miami and Miami to Honduras and feeling in any way good.

        • Shawn says:

          agree, playing in the immense heat for the first time in a long time is hell, from personal experience

      • Maykol says:

        Chandler did play terrible vs honduras, but you know who else did? Yep all the other US players played awful that day

      • slowleftarm says:

        Though I’m not a Chandler fan, I feel like this one bad performance gets emphasized more than most. Personally, I’d go with Cameron but I wouldn’t write off Chandler just based on Honduras. On the other hand, I’m not sure how much he actually cares about playing for the USMNT and his apparent problems with flying aren’t helpful either.

        • John says:

          All Chandler said was he didn’t like the long flights and everyone made it into Chandler has a fear of flying. My guessing is Fabian and Cameron and everyone else isn’t trilled about the long flights either but they did it.

          • bryan says:

            come on man, his interviews absolutely allude to he has a difficult time flying; especially on long flights. not that he just doesn’t like them. no one like 12 hour flights.

            • John says:

              This is the only quote I can fin on him flying:

              “Yeah, that’s why it was hard. You fly all the time for 12 hours. I’m a guy that I can’t sleep on the airplanes. It’s a big problem for me,”

              • bryan says:

                right, but read the part above that which adds more context:

                “‘With the U.S. national team, you fly all the time, I wanted to make sure that would be OK for me.’

                Chandler’s aversion to flying might open him up for more criticism. But looking at his club career, he isn’t used to traveling much. He admits that he doesn’t go too far for vacations and neither of his two career club teams, Eintracht Frankfurt and Nürnberg, have played in either the Europa League or Champions League. The city of Nürnberg is just south of the center of Germany, meaning the longest his team has to go for a match on the road is five to six hours.

                Compare that to the Americans’ upcoming match schedule – a trip to Cleveland, followed by a flight to D.C., then another flight to Jamaica, then at least a 10-hour flight Seattle. The travel is not easy for players who have never experienced that before.

                ‘Yeah, that’s why it was hard. You fly all the time for 12 hours. I’m a guy that I can’t sleep on the airplanes. It’s a big problem for me.’ ”

                i agree it’s probably not a fear, but it seems more than just not enjoying long flights. to me, it seems the whole idea of flying doesn’t allow him to relax or sleep. not a fear, but as they said, an “aversion.” lol

            • KingGoogleyEye says:

              Just to clarify: Chandler doesn’t like to fly in heavier-than-air aircraft. That is why he and the other defenders will travel to Brazil in a zeppelin. Fact.

              • Wispy says:

                It’ll be a heck of lot longer than 12 hours in the air, then.

              • HoboMike says:

                You’re right. They just took off and hope to land in 29 days.

              • Bac says:

                Whoa…. Hang on a sec there tough guy……

                What happened to the Jet Packs?????

              • KingGoogleyEye says:

                Bac: Klinsmann has taken the Dutch philosophy of “total football” and expanded it to “total transportation.” His squad will be ready to utilize every means of transportation available—except an airplane. No one will be on a plane.

                These plans include the DeLorean that Klinsmann himself will drive back in time so that he can go to Brazil as a player-coach. (He will travel to before he played for Germany so he will still be eligible to play for the US.)

                The defenders will travel by zeppelin and parachute into the stadium like flying Elvises. I believe it is the midfield that will use jet packs—launched from a hovercraft traveling up and down the Amazon.

              • Bac says:

                Well someone make up their minds daggumit…How am I supposed to keep track of all this…

            • Jordan Belfort says:

              Easy fix, just give him some quaaludes. Always works for me.

              link to youtube.com

        • kevino says:

          having such a strong fear of flying that it interferes this much with your job is a sign of mental illness.

          • Gerard D. says:

            It’s just a phobia. It’s not an illness.

            • HoboMike says:

              Please address him as Dr. Kevino, PsyD.

            • KingGoogleyEye says:

              “It’s just a phobia. It’s not an illness.”

              That’s like saying “it’s not a feline, it’s a mammal.” Specific phobia is a mental disorder.

              That said, it should be abundantly clear to everyone that Chandler does not have a fear of flying! He has trouble sleeping on planes. That is all he ever said.

              • Gerard D. says:

                Phobias are mental anxieties. Illness is a very unfair and inaccurate nomenclature.

                He’s no more mentally ill than someone who is uneasy around spiders or uneasy in large groups of people.

                Those are also anxieties. We don’t call people mentally ill if they have arachnophobia, why would we if they have aerophobia?

              • Dirk says:

                That is absolutely correct. Chandler DOES NOT have a fear of flying. He never had.

                But somehow this rumor was put out there by someone in the U.S. press/internet and has been repeated so many times that many take it as fact. Including many here.

              • KingGoogleyEye says:

                Gerard D: let’s set aside Chandler for a moment, because he neither has a phobia nor anxiety nor uneasiness around airplanes. He cannot sleep on them, that’s all—and it has nothing to do with fear. It’s loud, cramped, arid, lots of epole around, etc. He knows that sleep is important for performance, so he rightfully worries about joining a team that has to fly a lot.

                Now, if you want to argue about mental illness nomencalture, then let’s bust out the DSM, because “phobia” is a form of “anxiety disorder,” and “disorder” and “illness” are synonymous. Being “uneasy” around something does not qualify someone as “phobic.” But if you’re going to say that someone has arachnophobia, agoraphobia, or any other phobia, then you are by definition saying that they have a mental illness.

                “Illness is a very unfair and inaccurate nomenclature.”

                No, what is unfair is that people have stigmatized the term “mental illness” to be something more embarrassing or disparaging than any other form of illness.

          • Sean357 says:

            Not being able to sleep in airplanes is a mental illness ? I’ve round tripped across the pond 50 + times in my life. Been doing it since I was 3 months old. Still can’t sleep, even one time I was up 50 hours by the time I landed at Newark. As much as I’m jealous of the pass out crowd I’m not mentally ill, just can’t sleep on planes! It’s just a thing for some people.

            • KingGoogleyEye says:

              Sean357: To be clear, kevino didn’t say anything about Chandler’s inability to sleep on planes. Rather, kevino erroneously stated that Chandler’s problem was “having such a strong fear of flying that it interferes this much with [his] job.” If a man—not Chandler in this case!—were so afraid of flying that it prevented him from doing his job, that would be a strong “sign of mental illness.”

              But as you point out, many people—like you and Chandler—simply find it difficult to sleep on planes.

      • bryan says:

        are people still trying to use this excuse? i’ll counter it with his really strong performance against Argentina. he not only did well to lock down Messi in his first cap, but he had multiple crosses that were very dangerous. he was up and down that right side constantly.

        • Dennis says:

          Thanks, I was about to chime in with that. Clearly he has talent. That Argentina game was in NJ in March on a warmish day.

      • Eurosnob says:

        Dude, the entire team was terrible in that game at SPS and did not adjust to the conditions- why single out Chandler?

      • Petro4ever says:

        I think the issue with Chandler’s Honduras performance is less that it’s a sign of what he’ll show in Brazil and more that the performance, along with injuries, pushed him out of the RB rotation for the rest of the Hex, meaning that he hasn’t been training with the team or playing with our other defenders in games. There’s a question as to how well he’ll be able to work with the other players on the back line if he hasn’t played with them before (keep in mind that the Honduras game was the first game that Gonzalez was promoted to starter and Besler didn’t move into the starting line-up until Chandler had already been dropped).

        Of course, given that we may shift Gonzalez out of the starting CB position and that Beasley may not be our starting LB by tournament time, that worry may be overblown. Our back line could well be make-shift no matter who is on it, so Klinsmann may as well at least invite Chandler to camp and see where he’s at form-wise.

        Just for the record, I prefer Cameron as a starter at RB to Chandler, at least for the World Cup. The impression I get is that even over the course of the season with his club team, Chandler’s performance was up-and-down. Cameron, on the other hand, has consistently performed well as a starter in a league of equal quality. Chandler may well be a starter during the 2018 cycle (at either outside back spot or on the right wing), but at the moment, Cameron’s consistency against top competition is more important to me than Chandler’s speed and attacking ability.

      • MMT says:

        I’m less worried about how bad he was against Honduras or his travel issues than I am about his absence from the team in general. Chemistry and confidence with teammates goes along way to how well a team does.

        He may be more skilled than Evans or Cameron, but at least they’ve been apart of the team the last several games.

        Full disclosure, I’m a big Chandler fan. If he and the team can quickly build chemistry, then I want him in there.

        • bryan says:

          it’s a concern but based on what Evans said to MLS Extra Time, it sounds like him and the other RBs are very aware that Chandler is back from injury and will push them. i honestly think the chemistry thing is a bit over blown too. he’ll get into camp and have a month to work it out.

          • Jesse D says:

            Good news. With all the info floating out there about individuals. Has anyone been able to piece together the 30 man roster?

          • GW says:

            bryan,

            Regarding chemistry. Most of this Chandler discussion is about stuff that happened over a year or so ago.

            Right now , with some notable exceptions, most every one of the probable 30 will know they are not safe, even if they are named Landon.

            Any potential Right back candidate knows and has known for some time that the job is up for grabs. At least that is the attitude you would expect any player with half a brain to have.

            JK spent a lot of time making sure no one felt secure of their jobs maybe because he knew it would probably come down to this, letting the 30 fight it out in the camp for the last few places. I see no reason why those players who make the team will have any issue with whoever JK picks.

            Everyone knows that no matter who goes more than a few players who maybe deserve to go will be left out.

  3. John says:

    I thought Beltran was pretty solid against Mexico. His cross set up the 2nd goal and with all the pre-match talk being about how Marco Fabian was going to destroy the right back but he was actually kept rather quite. I’d rather see him get another look then Bran Evans.

    • bryan says:

      that was about the only bright spot for Beltran though. after that, his game was not impressive.

    • Louis Z says:

      so he had an contestant cross that resulted in a score and?
      He was slow in recover and gave the ball away the first time he touch it. He is not NT material.

  4. reignman says:

    I think Yedlin makes the 30 but misses out on the 23. He clearly is a talent but just do not think he is ready to face that level of competition. Will be really interested to watch him on the next Olympics cycle, that team is going to have some good talent on it for sure.

    • JayAre says:

      The only way he can ever be ready is to actually face that competition. I think he has an outside chance.

    • Felix says:

      I agree, he’s progressing nicely – but there’s no need to throw him to the wolves yet.

    • Dirk says:

      It is past time for us to talk about the next Olympics in 2016, most of the world couldn’t care less about the soccer Olympics..

      We have something much much better in 2016. The Copa!

  5. Murica says:

    T.Chandler at RB and Cameron at CB.

    • Jesse D says:

      Not opposed to that idea. It seems pretty popular. This is probably a better attacking unit than with Cameron at RB and Omar at CB. It might be more vulnerable defensively with Cameron adjusting to a position he doesn’t play, and Chandler not always able to lock down his man and prevent crosses.

    • Louis Z says:

      I would rather see TC at LB and Cam at RB.

  6. Brian Hall says:

    I’ll admit that I don’t watch a lot of Sounders games but when I have seen Yedlin plays he seems pretty composed with the ball and has a high work rate. I trust him to defend Ronaldo and perhaps pose somewhat of a threat going forward then the other guys. It seems like a toss up at RB so I say go with the young guy who might play in another two or three world cups for us.

    • John says:

      Yedlin has the recovery speed in MLS but if you’re caught out of position against Ronaldo it’s all over. I’d trust Cameron or even Parkhurst well before Yedlin because they aren’t going to get caught out. There’s a funny video where Gary Neville rips apart Sweden’s right back for getting forward against Ronaldo in the playoff match.

      • KingGoogleyEye says:

        Brian Hall: I watch every Sounders match and have a different opinion of Yedlin. I agree with John: Yedlin’s speed covers a host of errors—errors that he will not get away with when facing fast attackers (Ronaldo, Reus). I really like Yedlin, but he has a lot to learn.

    • GW says:

      Mr. Hall,

      The US has no eligible player who, by themselves, can shut down Ronaldo for the entire game.

      Few teams, if any, have such a player. Shutting him down will take the entire team.which means you could start Yedlin. However, I don’t see Yedlin as ready and better players than him have been destroyed by World Cup pressure.

      Most likely the smart thing to do is leave him at home.

    • Gary Page says:

      You trust him (Yedlin) to defend Ronaldo? What have you been smoking? I don’t trust anyone for the US to defend Ronaldo. the best in the world can’t completely stop ronaldo and he would probably make Yedlin look sick. Ronaldo will require a team effort and at least Cameron and Chandler face world class players week in and week out. Yedlin just hasn’t faced that.

      • Mike says:

        Marvell Wynn shut him down good. Even though, he did get schooled a little the one game in 2010 when Madrid played TFC.

  7. JayAre says:

    This isn’t even a competition Cameron leads the way by miles Chandler is second because is capable of starting in the Bundesliga and he has experience playing againts most of the German national team and Parkhurst third because he was a good defender until he got challenged in Germany. This is no place for Evans, we have to play Germany A, not Germany C and Jamaica in the WC.

    • John says:

      Yes Parkhurst didn’t play in Germany but he didn’t play for a much better team then the one Chandler is on. Not saying he is better but it’s just difficult to balance or judge players only on what league or team they are on.

    • Hogatroge says:

      Parkhurst didn’t play in Germany because the manager that really wanted him got sacked and he was viewed as one of the old guy’s players. The new coach told him he didn’t want him pretty much up front, right after his transfer was completed. I’m pretty sure he got injured early, too, and wasn’t given a fair chance to prove himself.

      • Gerard D. says:

        And he played the same position as the captain. And they were angry he left for the USMNT.

        Perfect storm of terrible.

    • GW says:

      Mr. Are,

      You are forgetting that Fabian Johnson is a right back and has been playing there lately.

  8. In watching Cameron play for Stoke this year he gets forward far more this year than
    Last .I think he is best option .Trouble is who ever plays there will be marking Ronaldo good luck.

    • Clevelandfc says:

      +1, I think he actually has gotten forward well this year and had even has decent dribbling skills. He is our best right back by far.

  9. Murica says:

    Johnson – Belser-Cameron- Chandler ….

    • whoop-whoop says:

      Our most physically gifted combo with top end potential.

      Big question marks are Cameron’s lack of time with Besler and at CB in years- Klinsi would have to go all in so he’d have to get nearly every minute in camp and friendlies to be ready- doubt I see that happening unless it is immediately apparent that Gonzo’s injury is worse than advertised and Chandler is ready to go. Chandler… here’s to hoping as we so need another option at both RB and LB.

  10. bryan says:

    i really hope Chandler impresses in camp and gets into the kind of form he was in back in the winter. would be awesome to have him. also, it would really give JK some flexibility on how to use FJ and Cameron.

  11. fifawitz1313 says:

    I think with the quality of LWs we are up against in Ronaldo and Reus, Klinnsman will concede that side in terms of overlapping runs from the defender. He will choose a stay at home defensive RB who plays at a high level, and that man is Cameron (sorry, but he is not playing CB, it just won’t happen). Against Ghana, we could see Chandler, but against Germany and Portugal we are going to see Cameron at RB with Gonzo at CB.

    • Increase says:

      That’s a good point. That left wing is going to be owned by both Germany and Portugal. We shouldn’t try to attack up it too much. In some ways that side is our stronger side. Zusi and Bedoya both mostly play over there. I think were gunna be going up the left a lot.

    • whoop-whoop says:

      Think you could very well be correct regarding RB…. if Chandler is in form, he may be an option at LB pushing FJ to LW which would be a pretty damn dynamic/speedy attack up that side. JJ and MB are going to have to be stellar.. their work is so cut out for them.

    • analyst/therapist says:

      I wouldn’t be so convinced we won’t see Cameron at CB. Like 2 weeks ago he said right back was his third best position in an interview on ESPN. They have along camp to work out any issues regarding chemistry (and 3 games). Klinnsman has said in the past that he thinks Geoff is a central defender at his best. One of the reasons he hasn’t been paired with Besler is that we haven’t seen too many opportunities for both the Euro and North America based players to come to the same camps and friendlies. It’s been years since we had a full strength, all in squad. Now, I think we’ll see Cam at RB and Gonzo in the middle, but it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see Cam next to Beastler.

  12. peterjh says:

    Out of curiosity, have people all but given up on Alston when it comes to the USMNT picture?

  13. Shawn says:

    the only person I semi trust against Ronaldo is an in-form chandler

    • John says:

      Why? and your reason can’t only be, he plays in the Bundesliga.

      • Shawn says:

        he did make team of the week in the budesliga a lot when he was in form also he has speed

        • John says:

          Perhaps but I don’t see why you wouldn’t trust Cameron just as much.

          • Shawn says:

            I trust Cameron more in a regular game but Ronaldo is really really fast and Cameron could recover as well as chandler (not if) when he gets beaten by ronaldo

            • whoop-whoop says:

              Is what it is. He’s another level… Cameron and Chandler and pretty much anyone needs lots of help.

    • HoboMike says:

      The only person I trust against Ronaldo is Ronaldo. If he falls down and hurts himself, that’s when he’s stopped.

      Ronaldo doesn’t get stopped by 1 person, no matter what team he’s playing on or against. Who starts at RB should not be based on who will do the best against Ronaldo, because that answer is “No one in the world.”

  14. Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

    Love Yedlin, but he is just not quite ready. 100% certain it will not be “he came close, then never developed”….he is very close and will be someday, great.

    Evans. No one has faced the level of competition that we will face this summer.
    I say he makes it. I don’t think he plays, but if he makes it he earned it.

    Others probably not as much.

  15. Shawn says:

    Atleast next cycle should be pretty good for right backs

    Chandler
    Yedlin
    Acosta
    Shaquille moore
    Cameron on back end of career

  16. Pep Guardiola says:

    Best possible backline:

    F. Johnson- Besler-Cameron- Chandler

    • Clevelandfc says:

      Agree. We will need the best athletes who play or have shown they can play at a high level. And also a lot of luck.

    • Murica says:

      agreed

    • AMPhibian says:

      In Fifa, yes, but I don’t think it’s so simple. JK will have to see who is playing the best, and who fits best we each other. We will need back lines–I highly doubt we start the same back four for all three games–with good chemistry/teamwork most of all.

  17. Gerard D. says:

    I think we just need to resign ourselves to the fact that it really doesn’t matter in the end who we have in the right back slot. Ronaldo is going to make them look like a rec league player. The key to beating Ronaldo is either making sure he doesn’t get the ball (which can only be accomplished by teams with incredible midfields who dominate possession ala Barcelona) or by having tiered help defenders to force him to give up the ball. That, and hoping he misses when he does beat 3 defenders or the keeper plays out of his mind.

    He is averaging almost more than a goal a game in the Champions League this year.

    • bryan says:

      not to mention, if the RB does shut him down, he’ll just move over to the left side. if he gets shut down there? then he’ll move up top. if he gets taken out of the game there? he’ll just drop back.

      point is, he is going to be roaming around all game making it difficult. so i agree that in the end, Ronaldo is gonna Ronaldo.

    • Wispy says:

      Doesn’t “almost more than a goal a game” just mean the same as “a goal a game”? Just asking.

      • Gerard D. says:

        Poor wording. Hedging by bets because I couldn’t remember the exact statistic. :)

      • AMPhibian says:

        Haha, good point. I think he was trying to say that Ronaldo is almost averaging 2 goals a game, with 16 goals in 10 appearances.

        He is contributing to 2 goals a game in the CL, if you count his 4 assists.

  18. Dirk says:

    Here is my out-of-the-blue prediction for the back line against Ghana.

    First half: Chandler-Besler-Brooks-Cameron

    Second half: Chandler-Cameron-Brooks-Yedlin

    • HoboMike says:

      So apparently you’re predicting Besler gets hurt? What else can you predict?

      • AMPhibian says:

        Very true, there is a lot of subtext to this comment. Dirk must see the first half against Ghana going a specific way.

        Give us some reasoning behind this prediction, por favor.

        • Dirk says:

          Just a feeling, or more probably only a hope. I see Yedlin playing and had to pick one of the 4 for him to sub in for, so I picked Besler.

  19. The Other Jeff says:

    Evans is competent on the ball, competent defending, not flashy at either but also not going to embarrass. What he brings more than the others is a presence. Like putting a coach on the pitch. I think this is what JK probably sees in him; if JK has been clear about anything, it is the value he places on player mentality. Who’s to say that’s wrong?

    • Dennis says:

      Bocanegra used his wits to stay with the USMNT for a very long run despite not being the fastest guy around, even successfully playing left back. Brains can help overcome many shortcomings, but if your opponent has space to simply knock the ball past you and then outrun you to the ball, unless you have help, he is in on goal.

    • Bac says:

      Well, he was originally put there out of necessity and desperation…
      And he did pretty well… for a few games
      Against some pretty weak CONCACAF opponents…
      And in the last 3 qualifiers, and the SK game, he got torched. He got exposed, and he was so slow he had to foul from behind several times…
      We’re not in CONCACAF anymore….

      That’s what’s wrong

  20. Tony says:

    I’d bring Cameron, Parkhurst and Chandler into the 30. I rate both Cameron and Parkhurst over Evans (although Jurgen may have a different opinion). With Chandler, he’s been both injured and out of the USMNT for so long that you don’t really know where he stands.

    If he surprises, then his speed, crossing ability and Bundesliga experience could be very useful.

    Figuring out who’s going to start in the WC is a whole other matter. For example, FJ at right back?

  21. Mueller says:

    Chandler and Parkhurst for Right Back. Cameron should start at CB with Besler.

  22. Dave from charlotte says:

    I still think our best shot at a cohesive back line is Ream-Besler-Cameron-Johnson

    If chandler shows well during camp, johnson could go back to the left, and Beasley is the only other legitimate option. We cant afford to stick one dimensional defensive LB/RB players in the line up and expect to win

  23. Mike says:

    A bit of optimism – in 2002 a defense of Sanneh-Agoos-Pope-Hedjuk beat Portugal, and got us to the QFs. Hedjuk vs Figo is not too far off from Cameron/Evans vs. CR7. So although it’s fun to debate individual matchups, I’d prefer to see commentary on what our best defensive team (defenders and DMs) looks like against Portugal.

    • automata says:

      A nice reminder indeed….I still remember waking the neighbors up with all of our hootin’ and hollerin’ with the 3 first half goals that early morning. I also remember the Germany game in the Quarterfinals that year where the US showed no fear….whatsoever and deserved at least a draw. I have faith that our boys will not have the same fears as the majority of the posters on here, they can hang with any of these teams in the group.

    • Louis Z says:

      and how many times do you think that defense would beat Portugal if played 10 times. ONE!
      Don’t expect things to work the same way just because we got lucky the first time. Our 2014 backline is way better but so is the opposition. For us to pull another “ONE” we need to overachieve again.

  24. McQ says:

    I don’t see how Cameron shouldn’t be in the starting 11 somewhere. If not at right back then where? If you assume Timmy is there (our best option otherwise) then do you put Cameron inside? instead of who – Gonzales or Besler? Because, all of the reasons listed to exclude him from the right back would seem to exclude him from left back.

    As to this “Klinsmann’s system dictates he go up the field” business, this assumes we are the ones dictating play. Now I am all for being brash and confident but let’s remember we will be going against Germany and Portugal – we are dictating nothing and will be in bunker mode for most of those games if they are competitive. Ghana is going to be a standoff at best.

    • bryan says:

      it’s been made pretty clear, if Chandler is at RB than you move Cameron to CB and bench Omar. that’s what most seem to be thinking is the best backline we can put together…assuming FJ and Besler are on the left hand side.

  25. AMPhibian says:

    It’s a really great debate, especially since the top 3-4 options at RB are all such different styles of player.

    • analyst/therapist says:

      this. it’s sort of an apples and oranges. and grapes and strawberries i suppose.

  26. Carlos says:

    Cameron replacing Omar & a healthy in form Chandler is our best option for the right side of our definse. But I sure wish this line up had more time together. Wish is why Chandler’s excuses for not joining the team when we needed him still irks me. But we got to go with our best options today.

  27. Bac says:

    Hypothetical question:
    If Cam gets moved to CB, which scenario would you prefer?
    - Chandler, with his one horrible game 2 years ago, his yet undefined by SBI experts flying issues, his lack of participation in qualifying, his recent return from injury….
    OR
    - Brad Evans…..

    Please choose wisely….

    • GW says:

      Chandler, if he is in form.

      And JK won’t take him to Brazil if he can’t take planes, is not reasonably healthy and reasonably in form. And if he is that, then the rest of team will accept him because he is the best right back in the pool when in form and is arguably one of the best all around soccer players on the team when in form.

      The World Cup is the dream of a lifetime for all these players and they aren’t going to let some petty BS two years ago get in the way if they believe the man can help them play better in the World Cup.

      Two years ago is an eternity in soccer. Two years ago Manchester United were a championship level team. Not now. Two years ago David Moyes was a highly respected manager with a bright future.

      • Bac says:

        Someone once told me there’s no room for logic on this board GW..lol

      • John says:

        Travel is going to be a nightmare and the US might have it worse then anyone. While I think Chandler’s concerns over flying have been over stated, everyone on this team is going to need to be prepared to put in some miles in the air.

      • John says:

        It just make it even more frustrating that he wasn’t apart of the team over the last year because he would be much better prepared for the kind of travel this team will see. Perhaps this is why Klinsmann plans to have the team travel a good amount even before they go to Brazil to see how certain players handle it.

    • Gary Page says:

      I would play Parkhurst before Evans. Not even close. At least Parkhurst has played Champions League and acquitted himself well there.

      • Bac says:

        Ah, a man with intelligence and the boldness to answer neither a nor b… once again, no room for logic here…
        (Obviously please note my sarcasm my friend)

        If Cam gets moved to the middle, I see our options as Chandler, Parkhurst, or even moving Fabian to the right side…
        Or we could go with the old Hi School 3-3-4 lineup…

  28. Joe says:

    I’ve been thinking JK is ultimately gonna have 7 extra player slots which is a lot. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of those slots is used on a future prospect like Yedlin. He’s already mentioned Yedlin and Gil being in the 30 man squad. I won’t be surprised if he sticks to that decision.

    • Joe says:

      My 30 man squad
      Dempsey Altidore Johannson E.Johnson Wondolowski Boyd
      Donovan Castillo (yes as a left mid) Green Bradley Diskerud Jones Beckerman Edu Gil Bedoya Zusi
      F.Johnson Beasley Besler Goodson Gonzalez Orozco Brooks Ream Cameron Parkhurst Yedlin
      Howard Guzan Rimando

    • Joe says:

      My bad I just realized I had an extra player. I guess I’d omit Gil in that instance.

  29. Justin El Matador says:

    I believe you will see this against Ghana:

    ——————Antiscore——————-
    —FJ————-loose Deuce——–Zusi—
    ———-MB90———JJ——————-
    —–run DMB———————-Chandler
    ——————Besler—Cam————–

    • Louis Z says:

      Bedoya will start over Zusi that has been JK preference as of late. If chandler is 100% he will start but as a LB unless OG is just bad in camp and friendlies, I don’t think JK will pull the plug on OG until he absolutely has to. He wants someone that can defend on the LB real bad so he can take FJ to midfield.

      • Justin El Matador says:

        I don’t argue with Bedoya… I’d actually prefer him to Zusi. Was just what I thought JK might do. I don’t think he’s going to sacrifice run DMB at LB. For better or worse, we’ve got ole Beas at LB. At least he has experience, recovery speed and tenacity. He is also less likely to get burned 1-on-1 as compared to say an Evans.

        I really hope Cam gets pulled inside and replaces OG. We don’t need a 6’2″ RB. He is an excellent CB, and we have more than capable replacements in Chandler then Parkhurst.

  30. Bomp Pop says:

    Goalkeepers

    Jesus Corona, Ochoa, Alfredo Talavera

    Defenders

    Paul Aguilar, Miguel Layun, Diego Reyes, Rafael Marquez, Ayala, Hector Moreno, Salcido, Guardado

    Midfielders

    Juan Carlos Medina, Jose Juan Vazquez, Isaac Brizuela, Luis Montes, Carlos Pena, Fabian, Hector Herrera

    Forwards

    Raul Jimenez, Alan Pulido, Javier Hernandez, Dos Santos, Oribe Peralta

    Mexico Rosters been released

  31. Pingback: Union-DC preview roundup, Amobi says, Zac appreciation, more news

  32. Mike says:

    Why is Jon Spector not listed as a candidate? He is in good form for BC