U.S. Men's National Team

Ream's composure, passing impresses coaches, teammates in USA loss


photo by John Dorton/ISIphotos.com


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When Bob Bradley reflects on the U.S. national team's March camp, one of the major things he'll take away from it is the play of some of his younger players, and that doesn't only refer to Juan Agudelo and Timmy Chandler.

It also refers to Tim Ream.

In just his third cap for the United States, Ream once again demonstrated the type of calmness and composure on the ball that is rare among American centerbacks, helping the U.S. team dictate much of the flow in a 1-0 loss to Paraguay. He also put in a good 90 minutes defensively, dealing well with Oscar Cardozo and Hernan Perez.

"Ream certainly again showed that coming out of the back, his composure on the ball, his passing is a big plus," Bradley said. "His ability to size up options, play the ball forward, find midfielders, find advanced players, mix up passes, that's all good, and he continues to learn defensively in these games. But I thought he handled most situations pretty well tonight."

The 23-year-old Ream put forth arguably his best 90 minutes in a U.S. jersey thus far, connecting on the majority of his passes. Ream even hit a pass on one occasion after he slipped on the slick turf at LP Field, kicking the ball while on the ground to a teammate right before a Paraguay attacker got to it.

Along with initiating multiple attacks, the New York Red Bulls centerback also appeared to be an outlet players were comfortable passing to, maybe even a little too comfortable. There were a couple of instances where a Paraguay player was in Ream's vicinity and U.S. teammates still opted to pass it back to him. Ream repaid their faith in him, spraying pinpoint passes to the wings and to midfielders Michael Bradley, Maurice Edu and substitute Jermaine Jones.

"I thought he had a very good game. I thought he played very well," said Landon Donovan. "He is probably our best passer out of the back. He's comfortable with the ball, he's comfortable making decisions and I thought his defending was very good. He's another guy that if he keeps progressing he can help us a lot."

Ream said after the game that part of the reason for his success was due to him playing with the core group of U.S. players. In his previous two caps, against South Africa and Chile, Ream played with a much younger and less experienced side, so having talented players like Donovan and Clint Dempsey to release passes to made things simpler.

"I felt good. Obviously not as shaky as the first couple of games with the national team," Ream said. "All those guys make it so much easier. The way they move and just their whole positioning, it just makes everything easier, easier to move the ball. And there's so much communication, which for a young guy like myself is huge."

Helping his team keep possession is his forte, but Ream looked strong defensively as well. Granted, Paraguay mostly looked to hit back on the counter, but even when the South Americans tried that, Ream was up for the challenge.

That was something Ream really wanted to do, saying after the game that staying strong defensively is the biggest issue with how he plays.

One other issue Ream wanted to face head on was adjusting to the speed of play at the international level. Bob Bradley said Monday during his press conference that the speed was a bit fast for Ream at times, and the Saint Louis University product agreed following Tuesday's loss.

"Obviously it's going to be faster than MLS. To be honest, it was even faster than the January camp and the South Africa trip in November, so there is a little bit of a difference," Ream said. "But over the last 10 days in training, I think I knew that coming in so it wasn't so much of a shock."

Whether it be the speed of play or his positioning, Ream will need to continue to work on his game while with the Red Bulls. The Gold Cup is a little more than two months away from starting, and Ream is still fighting for a spot on the roster with the likes of the experienced Clarence Goodson and, perhaps to a lesser extent, Los Angeles Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez.

Ream, however, is confident that his three performances with the United States have boosted his chances of being selected for the Gold Cup.

"Look, I wouldn't be able to put a number on it, but I feel pretty confident without being cocky and saying I'm going to be there," he said. "The (chances are) as good as anybody else's, right?"

With his unique ability to accurately pass the ball and start an attack, his chances might be even better.

  • patrick

    If his defending was that large of an issue, would he be getting called in ahead of others? His 1v1 defending isn’t his strong suit, it’s not a lot of central defenders strongsuit. No one ever said he was terrible, in fact I’m FAR more concerned about Chandlers defending than I am Reams.

    My assessment of John has come from watching him in a handful of games. From what I’ve seen he’s a promising player that possesses a lot of the attributes that ream has. I just see Ream as being further along in development than John, as does the US team apparently. His passing, particularly longer passes, doesn’t seem to be as good as Reams and I think his decision making while good, is a bit slower. Again, John is a good player, but if he was as good as you play him up to be, he’d already be with the USMNT. Hopefully he’ll be on the backline with Ream one day, that would be a nice combo


  • Der_Amerikanische_Kaiser

    There is a great interview with Chandler on 1.FC Nurnberg’s web site.


  • Micah King

    His passing was awful in the game. No wonder we lost people were not even watching the same game yesterday. He has potential,but he is not there yet


  • boosted335

    1.John actually is on Bradlys radar and therefore (IMO) would likely been playing had he not missed camp for bone spur removal surgery per Mls.com article.

    2.FCD and NYRB play a different system so (most times) Ream holds the ball longer looking like a QB in the pocket finding a passing lane in the D while John (mostly) gets the ball of his foot in 1-2 touches as FCD is always on counter. Both are excellent passers but the NY system lends itself to being recognized more for it.

    While a Ream/John combo sounds sweet I really want to see whoever outplays the other(s) in camp.

    Competition is the word. I only post hoping Bradly hasnt used pen on his roster list yet.


  • Mike

    Man, some people are just never gonna be happy. It was a friendly people, losing happens, it isn’t the end of the soccer world as we know it. And for those people that take issue with positive stories about USMNT players, I have to ask: What would writing a bunch of negative articles about a game that was positive overall accomplish exactly? And if you really get off on trashing people, you know Jamie Trekker pretty much has that covered, right? I can’t even imagine what some of you would say if you were Argentina fans after the game with the U.S. I imagine it would be somewhere along the lines of, Messi sucks and should be kicked off the team because he can’t score against a backwater footballing nation like the U.S.


  • Josh

    Too funny. But let’s be honest, we’ve got some good CBs. It’ll be when we FINALLY get a good LB, and the poor dude will die in the tunnel after the game.


  • r.benjamin

    I agree. And it seemed he was more composed when he had Ream next to him. They seemed to be a good mix of raw get stuck in and composure.

    My question is.. Can Ream BATTLE in those games we need to. Like against Argentina and Spain.. anyone? I barely get to see him play and there was little battle yesteday.


  • cudevil

    So when this site and numerous other media outlets (not to mention commenters) report that Ream was effective with his distribution from the back, they were all wrong and you’ve got it pegged?


  • Idahosa

    you know instead of bornstein why didnt bradley bring gonzalez in??? i wonder and oh yea Tim Ream is a good player his passing was very precise and people tend to talk bad about the MLS we are making this talent


  • ManicMessiah

    We could do more to take advantage of Ream, which I don’t think happened enough in the Paraguay game. Our midfielders can push up the field because they don’t need to take the ball from basically the feet of our defenders, and that pushes up the forwards too. Maybe then our forwards won’t need to be coming to pick up the ball 35 yards from goal.


  • Ceez

    @ErikAbarca, @nando31, and @Herb_Maldonado can testify…I called it from DAY ONE. From the very first day I saw him in an RBNY uniform I called him being on the USMNT in a year or two. This man is something special.


  • Rob

    Naa they would have all committed hari-kari, and we wouldn’t have to deal with them….

    In all seriousness it’s good to be critical, or things will never get better. Compliantly is a bigger sickness that USMNT reports and fans have had over the last few years. That being said the few who go over board on criticisms are also hurting the process, because it empowers the compliant to staunchly defend their position, not allowing them to also see that there is a grey area that is correct.


  • Champ Kind- Sports

    …. and when all of this is over, we should get an apartment together.


  • GSScasual

    you should NEVER be allowed to watch or comment football ever again after that stupid post. Of course Ream’s passing was great…. not 1 bad thing about his distribution.


  • Rob

    Complacency not compliantly….and complacent not compliant…. wow I need to stop posting on an Apple mobile device


  • mbw

    That would be Boss, who will be there in 2014 if his developmental trajectory remains what it is now.

    I LOVE Ream and watch him play with NYRB every chance I get, but I think he’s at least 5-10% worse without the ball than any of the other top-choice centerbacks. If he ever develops Demerit-like tenacity in 1v1 he’ll be a really top-notch player. Until then, every time he takes the field I’ll have visions of the matador defense he played on Bobby Convey’s second goal last fall.


  • marthac

    Id rather see Geoff Cameron on the backline than ream. Defensively hes a turnstile


  • martha

    Because Gonazalez is too slow for the Intl game and horible on the ball. watch the USA Brazil tape and youll never ask that again


  • d-bar

    I’m pretty sure Gonzalez is injured; he didn’t play in the huge LAG/RSL match. Also, how would that have helped at LB?


  • Brian

    Uhhh Omar Gonzalez isn’t that good on the ball and his passing isn’t all that great, and I’m a Galaxy fan. And Boca has decent passing and ball skills. He’s better than Gooch for sure.


  • Taylor

    its a refreshing sight to see a US centerback spraying thirty yard passes right to teammates, it was ver nice. as opposed to Guch hoofing it 70 yards away into space, like he’s afraid of the ball(i love him, but come on) as for Omar Gonzalez, i’m not drinking the kool aid quite yet. he’s a great physical specimen and can move for his size, but he looked like Guch 2.0 in his last outing, booting it as hard as possible with no destination. Ream can hopefully force him to be better with the ball if he wants to play anytime soon


  • Jay

    George John’s problem is staying healthy. And I think for the future our CB combo is Ream and either Opara or Boss. Ream is prone to getting beat 1v1 so I think Bradley would want a physical beast that could compensate for that. If I had to guess barring something sort of player regression or injury our 2014 starting CB combo is Ream and Boss.


  • Drew

    Did Ream just leave the last 78 comments… Its funny how everyone is all over this kid after 3 caps… The sight of any new fresh face on this team and we forget about everything that Onyewu has done… Last i checked Onyewu is still playing top tier football and earning HIS spot on the team… lets not let some kid that plays for the redbulls, immediately erase what Gooch has done… Games against S. Africa, weak Brazil side, and Paraguay and this kid is the next Ferdinand? Let’s chill and let him earn his spot… He might be able to pass but he still lets players slip behind him and body him… We need to Focus on replacing Cherundolo and Boca for now…


  • Micah King

    Your stupid for thinking his passing was good. If it was so good how come his brilliant passing did not lead us to a goal. -___- How come he could not do a long pass over the Par defense then someone runs on and score. So my point is right.

    (SBI-Micah, you’re entitled to your opinion but calling people “stupid for disagreeing with you is pretty childish. Also, you might want to ask yourself why most journalists, and most USMNT players, all agreed that his passing was stellar. You seem to be living in serious denial if you’re going to ignore that. Argue that his defending wasn’t stellar, but to sit here and keep insisting his passing was bad makes me seriously question what game you were watching.)


  • HoboMike

    Why doesn’t anyone place any blame on Demerit for not clearning the ball????? For god sakes, he had a direct line on the ball, and turned his head and closed his eyes at the last second, resulting in a whiff. He’s gotta be able to clear that, IMO.


  • CroCajun

    My only question of Ream…

    We score most of our goals on set pieces. Two of our best headers are Boca and Gooch. Taking one of those guys of the field is a huge offensive loss.

    Is the distribution worth the aerial loss?


  • Chicago - Scott

    This is crazy.. Tim Ream is not that good!!!! He is going to be the next Bornstein of the National Team. :(


  • Micah King

    So I get attacked and I defend myself and its childish ? How ? He insulted me first so I insulted him back. How was Reams passing stellar ? He passed the ball to Paraguay a lot of times. He was very shakey on the ball and looked nervous. His poor defending as well as demerit made us concede. Chandler and Jones were good. Donovan was good also. Jones tackling and passing was far stellar and superior to REAM.

    (SBI-Micah, maybe I missed it, but I didn’t see anybody calling you stupid (I stand corrected, after a search I did find a “You idiot”, which I removed. Stand by your opinions, but pulling out the “you’re stupid” line was a bit much, even if someone comes at you. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    As for Ream’s “poor defending” on the goal, he got pulled down and no foul was called. If that’s what your basing your entire premise on then you might want to reconsider. Then again, it seems clear you’re set in what you believe, even if nobody agrees with you. So tell me, do you think the world is flat too? Haha.))


  • Micah King

    Okay so Ream did have one good pass to Edu which he gave to Dempsey them Dempsey took a wack and the keeper caught it. That is all I saw good.GSScasuael called my post stupid. He also said I should never be allowed to comment again or watch soccer becaue my post is stupid. Just because I state my opinion on a post, I get attacked and the post is called stupid. That is immature too.


  • MiamiFCforever

    Its awesome to see the soccer i.q of the fans getting higher. Now a days everyone (just about) knows that cb’s in the mold of gooch (spray and pray it goes out or to a teamate)are not the answer.


  • ptk

    its funny all the DeMerit bashers out there… just proves that anyone can voice an opinion. if you were playing brazil or argentina, (oh wait we did) who woud u want back as the last line of defense one on one? Goodson? Ream? sure Ream was good on the ball and passing, but against paraguay? really? Are you so quick to hand him the heavyweight title? And for those than think DeMerit is NOT good in the air….BB NEVER lets him go up on set pieces!! Have you seen what he can do with Watford? or how about with Vancouver? he had 3 headers and 2 on goal in his first game…

    Oh and before he was subbed out with an injury he managed to almost score on his last play of the half..perhaps you missed that too..

    So mush talk on here about, “one bad play” or “one bad pass” that u miss the other 89 minutes and overall picture of the next few months or years. Everyone is going to have a bad game.

    So heres my summary:

    Best CB— DeMerit

    why? Because BB HAS to play Carlos because he is the captain and solid. DeMerit played his way into the starting lineup after being shunned for a year or so… the problem is Gooch. He must have something on BB that he keeps starting. Jay lacks soccer skill and some passing ability, but im not sure Gooch EVER connected on a pass. headers out of bounds, kickball to the corners and he cant jump anymore. Would u want him chasing down Messi? bradley was in a #’s crunch and had to Jay, but also played Gooch forcing Carlos to the outside in a spot that cant be filled as of now. Weren’t the US THAT much better with Jay and Carlos in the back? Yes i know, they lost to Ghana, and both were on the highlite reel for the winning goal, but can you blame them?

    Weren’t the US the comeback kids of the Cup? I’d like to see any of you try defending for 70 minutes…. perhaps the REAL problem is up front. No one can consistently put the ball away.

    So go ahead, by all means, put Goodson and Ream back there…. Chicharito will have a summers worth of highlites!


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