U.S. Men's National Team

Who would you like to see at left back for the USMNT?

CarlosBocanegraRed (ISIPhotos.com)


Help Wanted

A natural left back. Must be quick, naturally left-footed, a good crosser, solid defender and not prone to blunders. If interested, please contact Bob Bradley at 555-NEED-A-LB

This ad isn't a real one, but it may as well be given the U.S. national team's continued lack of a natural left back option.

Carlos Bocanegra can do a solid job defensively, and his work as a left back in Ligue 1 in recent years has been steady, but you can argue he's a better centerback and not the attacking fullback option you think of when considering the ideal left back.

Jonathan Bornstein has tried to fill the role many times, but more often than not he has underwhelmed, and at times he has been downright awful. he was steadier in the World Cup, which gave us some hope that perhaps he would finally become the player Bob Bradley has been hoping to develop into the position, but shaky showings against Brazil and Paraguay have left far more doubts.

Here is are question for you. If it isn't Carlos Bocanegra, who seems like the most logical choice to play left back until a more natural alternative develops, then who would you like to see play left back?

Here are some candidates to consider (as well as a chance for you to tell us who YOU would like to see there):

Heath Pearce. Back in 2008 he was thought as very good candidate to take the job, but he has slipped by the wayside in the past year despite showing well in MLS last year (though at right back). He's fast, can cross well and is a steady defender. 

Bobby Convey. Had a stellar 2010 for the San Jose Earthquakes, though more of it was spent on the left wing than at left back. He's gone on record as saying he doesn't think Bob Bradley will ever call him in, and there's an old rumor of a rift between the two. If Convey keeps playing well in MLS the clamor for a Convey call-up may grow, but count me among those not convinced he would be the answer as a left back.

Zach Loyd. Athletic, fast and versatile, Loyd impressed in his national team debut playing at left back, and while he isn't a natural left-footer, he's certainly an intriguing prospect. If he can get more playing time at the position for FC Dallas he just might play himself into the national team mix.

Eric Lichaj. A very intriguing option, having played left back on the reserve level before. He's fast and has good size, but isn't naturally left-footed so it would remain to be seen what he could offer going forward.

Jonathan Spector. Spent a few very rough months playing left back for West Ham, but never looked comfortable there. Probably isn't a realistic option there, but his past experience at the position gets him on the list.

Steve Cherundolo.Think it's crazy to put him on this list when he's the best right back in the pool? Consider this. If Timmy Chandler really is as dynamic a right back option as he showed in the recent friendlies then maybe Cherundolo could make the move to the left, where his experience and defensive qualities would make him a solid option.

Time for you to vote. Aside from Carlos Bocanegra, who would you like to see at left back for the U.S. national team? Cast your vote here:


Who did you vote for? Who isn't on our list that you think should be on it? Who would you like to see at left back for the United States?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Tony

    A B C … Anybody But Carlos. CB was the best defender MLS produced when he departed for Europe, but his game has lagged from his stay abroad due to the lack of a stable position.

    His ability to always get his head on the ball from set pieces keeps him in he line up, but I think WE need more and better from our left back. He unbalances the team at that position, and he is lacking the qualities needed as a central defender, IMHO … see Tim Ream.

    Bob needs to start grooming others to fill the LB slot, sooner rather than later, IMHO.


  • Daniel

    I have a crazy idea. How about putting Brek Shea at LB, or like a poor mans Sergio Ramos.He has the attacking ability to get up and down the line and in Spain over the summer he really impressed at CB apparently so try sliding him outside.


  • EA

    In the pre-Beckham days of Landon Donovan, Cherundolo would take set pieces for the national team on the left, Eddie Lewis or Beasley would take them on the right.

    Cherundolo can rip them from 35 in. Pearce also has a cannon.

    I think Beckham has improved Donovan’s set piece taking, either through direct instruction or just Donovan’s observation.


  • EA

    I agree! Let’s just take all the U-20s so they can “gain experience” in the Gold Cup.

    Screw Confederations Cup 2013. We don’t REALLY need to play in that.

    Child, please.


  • Dave from Charlotte

    My biggest issue is whether or not Bradley will finally acknowledge (doesn’t have to be to the world, but at least himself) that Bornstein is not the answer. He absolutely needs to find a back up and heir apparent to Bocanegra at left back. The guy will be 35 by the WC and he isn’t getting any faster (i mean younger).

    I hope he brings in 3-4 LB or left sided players in the pre-GC camp to try and figure it out. Doesn’t mean he answers the question…

    check out the players page on yanks-abroad. There are at least a half dozen left footed / left sided backs and midfielders playing in Europe – most without a single cap, but more egregiously w/o a camp call up.

    If you call them, they will come.


  • Brad

    Its got to be Dolo for the GC. I want to see Shea at LB after some time in MLS as a defender.


  • Jack

    Lichaj played it at the club level, might be playing it again for Leeds, and I think that he has the grit and talent to at least warrant a look in the position for the NT. However, I suppose for the GC I could see Cherundolo being put in at left with Chandler as RB.

    Or, we could always go with Stu’s suggestion on Twitter and put the younger Holden in there…


  • Wasatchsc

    Try Tony Beltran. Quick, left footed, and great passer. Likes to get involved in the offense.


  • JJJ

    Bocanegra may be to old by 2014. Although he has been very consistent, we need to find a replacement sooner than later. We should try lichaj as he is young and talented with lots of upside. I also vote for more Edu at CB. we need to keep our best players on the field without clogging the midfield too much. The youth movement looks very promising. GO USA


  • Buddle-icious

    Someone mentioned Danny Williams as a LB candidate but if we’re going to look for another German-American player (who happens to be black), how about Fabian Johnson of Wolfsburg?

    He’d have to apply to FIFA for a national team switch because he played for Germany on their U21 UEFA championship team, but he played there at left back.

    Since then, he hasn’t gotten any interest from the German senior team and with so many other German-Americans now with the US, perhaps he’d be willing to join them.

    Certainly worth inquiring to see if he’s interested.


  • Buddle-icious

    Oh, and I really like the idea of pursuing Miguel Angel Ponce.

    Sunil should get on the phone to one of the Americans that owns a team in Europe and ask them to buy Ponce from Chivas to open the door for him playing for the US!


  • shao2007

    Other problem is that Boca is too slow to provide any cover for Tim Ream.
    If Chandler is bombing up the field all the time, Boca and the left-side CB would get torched all day


  • Tyler

    Comment of the day: “I’m starting to wonder if the US sent any non-black servicemen to Germany, haha.”

    I literally died laughing when I read this.


  • ginhumboldt

    Landon Donovan. We’ve got a glut of midfielders, younger and faster players are coming along, and by the WC he’ll have lost a step. I believe we’ll have a solid core of CBs with new blood mixed with veterans who can hold the fort while Landon goes forward to assist in attack. He’s become a good defender and we’d get a hell of a lot more production out of LB.

    Let er rip. I can take it.


  • Dave from Charlotte

    U r dum……………………………………………………………..ZNIG!


  • plug713

    While he has had serious injury problems for the past four seasons, the only player on this list with legitimate credentials as a left sided player is Bobby Convey. He has an essential part of the Reading team that made a shambles of the Championship promotion race in 2005-06. He has featured for years at all levels of the USMNT and has always been a productive player. At the very least, he desrves a call-up and a start against a quality opponent so that his ability to produce at this level acn be assessed fairly.


  • Edwin

    Did he have US citizenship whan in 2005 or whenever he played for the German youth squads? If he did then he’s a possibility. But the player cannot ask for a switch if he played for a countries youth teams already and he wasn’t elgible for the country he want to switch to NOW. That’s why Arteta of Everton couldn’t pursue play with the National English team, when he played for Spain at the youth levels he wasn’t elgible for England


  • Edwin

    I’m surprised nobody has named him but what about Anthony Wallace? I would for him to get a look in the pre-Gold Cup camp, maybe even someone like AJ De la Garza or or Sean Franklin too to see if they can play LB? Whoever ends up there if they are not a natural lefty needs to learn how to send those croses with the outside of the foot, the way Geoff Cameron did last week vs Seattle, that was pin point and world Class to get it to Ching.

    But seriously after the Gold Cup, Bob needs to bring TWO if not 3 LB’s to each and every camp, he NEEDS to address this by the time qualifying gets going. If there are some guys abroad, contact them bring them to camp and CAP them.

    Wallace shows promise, I’d love to see what the U-20 kid Greg Garza can do, MLS had a piece on him and how he could be an answer to the problem.

    I’m still holding hope Ponce goes to another team!

    So what do you guys think of Anthony Wallace, he will be tested in CONCACAF Champions League come September and we’ll have some more material of international play to judge him on?


  • TimN

    Wasn’t Zak Whitbread called in to the camps for our recent friendly’s? However, he didn’t make the rosters for either Argentina or Paraguay. He’s been getting lots of minutes at Norwich City, mostly full games in fact. Ives, what’s the deal with this guy? At 27, he would certainly seem like an option for 2014 that could be developed. I believe he plays on the left and is left-footed.


  • GW

    He fits your formula but he is also a converted right midfielder who played left back on an emergency basis and has played about 7 games in the last two years.

    Is there anything in the formula about excelling at the position?


  • Isaac

    I’d like to see Todd Dunivant given a shot at left back. He’s been pretty solid there for a long time and I think he’s actual a pretty important part of the team for the LA Galaxy. He’s good defensively, and can make things happen offensively.


  • GW

    The problem with putting Lichaj at left back is you might lose that great attacking ability he’s shown at the right back position, especially when Chandler is at right mid.

    Better to move Cherundolo to the left.


  • GW

    Whitbread is a centerback.

    He called out injured for the Argentina and Paraguay games.


  • Phil

    so with a back 3 you could do the following 3-5-2
    (current age/2014 age).

    ——————————HS Altidore (21/24)
    ———-WS Agudelo (18/21)———————–
    —–RAM Holden (25/29)——- LAM Bradley (23/27)—-
    LWB Lichaj——-DM Edu (24/27)——RWB Chandler (21/24)
    — RCB Goodson (28/31)–Ream (23/26)–LCB Gooch (28/31)–

    with Donovan & Dempsey as power subs (and 32 and 31, respectively)

    Lichaj and Chandler have the wheels to be wingbacks


  • Ken

    Please pass THIS letter onto the Head coach of the U.S. NATIONAL SOCCER team **(BOB BRADLEY)**.

    Coach BOB BRADLEY I have written you before back when the U.S SOCCER team was preparing for the (LAST) World Cup. And I told you a MAJOR problem with (AMERICAN) SOCCER game is AMERICAN SOCCER players ***(POOR OFFENSIVE ball handling skills)***. When I say AMERICAN SOCCER players (POOR) OFFENSIVE ball handling skill, I mean AMERICAN SOCCER player COMPARED to the EUROPEAN players are (NOT) has good and as (consistent) with PASSING the ball CONSISTENTLY to other players.

    And AMERICAN SOCCER players are (VERY BAD) at PASS the ball through the ***(AIR)***. Whenever the ball is kicked in the AIR for a LONG pass, or if the AMERICAN SOCCER players try to KICK a LONG GOAL attempt from far away, and ball the ball is kicked in the AIR, the ball is CONSISTENTLY ***(NO WHERE CLOSE)*** to their target!!!

    Watch the TAPE coach BOB BRADLEY. Watch ***(MLS)*** games. And watch tapes of ***(TOP EUROPEAN)*** teams and COMPARE their ***(CONSISTENT OFFENSIVE BALL HANDING SKILLS)*** of being able to make ACCURATE PASSES on the (GROUND) and passes in the (AIR), compared to the American players ability to **(CONSISTENTLY)** make the ACCURATE passes on the (GROUND) and pass the soccer ball in the ***(AIR)***.

    Like I said, I have written you BEFORE coach BOB BRADLEY about AMERICAN players INCONSISTENT OFFENSIVE ball handling and PASS problems! The American OFFENSIVE balling handling and PASSING soccer game has gotten BETTER, BUT it still is ***(NOT)*** good ENOUGH coach BOB BRADLEY!!!

    Watch the TAPE of the (TOP) EUROPEAN teams and compare them to the MLS teams. Watch the last FRIENDLY game the U.S. played against ARGENTINA, and see how Argentina dominated the 1ST half of the game with their ***(BALL HANDLING and BALL PASSING)*** skills! The AMERICAN players could (NOT) string more than 2 or 3 PASSES together before they LOST the ball to Argentina.

    Coach BOB BRADLEY, please continue to WORK on the U.S NATIONAL teams ***(OFFENSIVE BALL HANDLING and BALL PASSING)*** skills!!

    The U.S. players seem to get NERVOUS when THEY are PRESSURED by opposing defenders! When the US. team have the ball…and the opposing team play TIGHT DEFENSE and pressure the U.S players, the U.S. players TURN the ball over more often.

    Also the U.S. team seem to **(UNCOMFORTABLE)** at the BEGINNING of most games with their OFFENSE. Their PASSING and BALL HANDLING are (NOT) accurate like the (EUROPEAN) teams. Maybe the U.S team should spend MORE time **(BEFORE)** each game practicing their BALL PASSING and BALL HANDLING SKILLS before each game to help them feel more comfortable when the game BEGINS.

    Thank coach BOB BRADLEY for taking time out of your BUSY schedule to (ACTUALLY READ) my letter….a letter from a (LONG TIME) fan of yours, and big supporter of the U.S. NATIONAL SOCCER team and the MLS. I would REALLY appreciate a RESPONSE from you coach BOB BRADLEY to this letter.

    Once again, thank you.

    Please pass THIS letter onto the Head coach of the U.S. NATIONAL SOCCER team **(BOB BRADLEY)**.


  • Grayson

    I am interested to see one of our RB options try it out, at least as an offensive substitution when we are in need of a goal. Even if Lichaj, Chandler, or Cherundelo can’t cross well with their left foot, they could cut it back and cross with their right. Or, even better, they could cut inside and run at goal.

    I would also like to see Convey given a chance as well. I don’t trust Lichaj to start consistently and not get a red card, and I kind of feel the same way about Chandler. I hope we see Chandler on the wing more, and I hope he takes some runs at goal. If he can beat people to the end line with the ball, surely he can cut inside and have a go as well.


  • Grayson

    Okay, Ken. I agree with the gist of your “letter”, but Bob can’t just teach this to the team in the small amount of time he has with them. I think with the dominance of Spain and Barcelona right now and their emphasis on control, passing, technique, and possession, the whole world will naturally focus on this more with youngsters, and that includes the US. Players don’t develop this technique at the age of USMNT play; this is developed as a youngster.

    My second bone to pick with you is that your “letter” is written like a crazy person’s ransom note in the form of a Mad Lib. What is up with that?


  • Ben

    Umm why isn’t Guch on this list? Can’t we put Ream/Edu or maybe Gonzalez/Ream or even Boca back in the middle but since guch is playing there in europe why not keep him there?


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