U.S. Men's National Team

Which snubbed player most deserved to get called into USMNT camp?

Sacha Kljestan 5 (Getty Images)


U.S. men's national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann unveiled the final additions to his summer training camp before World Cup qualifying on Sunday. And is the case every time a roster is announced, there was much debate and criticism over who was and was not selected.

Fans and pundits alike dissected Klinsmann's latest round of call-ups at length, especially the topic of which missing players deserved to be called into the 27-man roster that is currently training in Orlando, Fla., before this summer's slate of games. 

At the center of many of those discussions was Sacha Kljestan, the RSC Anderlecht midfielder who is coming off a season in which he helped the club win the Belgian League title. Kljestan enjoyed a career year this campaign, starting 35 of the 36 league games he played in while scoring five goals. That's not to mention his 10 starts in the Europa League.

Ultimately, however, Kljestan plays a position the United States is extremely deep at. And with the likes of Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones and Jose Torres all called in, Klinsmann may simply have felt he had enough central midfielders in camp who are already established members of his team.

Another player whose omission was surprising to some was Eric Lichaj. The Aston Villa defender started nine consecutive games for the Premiership club since recovering from a hip injury, and he performed well at both right back and left back during that stretch.

Lichaj's absence was shocking to some given the lack of fullbacks capable of playing on the left side in the U.S. pool, a long-time weakness that has been further magnified over the course of the last week due to Timmy Chandler declining a call-up.

Then there's DaMarcus Beasley, who is coming off a strong season with Puebla. Beasley started 14 of the 17 games he played in during the Mexican Clausura campaign, and he scored five goals in those matches. Beasley is also another left-footed weapon Klinsmann could have selected, but not even Brek Shea's absence was enough to bring in the experienced veteran.

A case can be made for any of the aforementioned players and as well as others like Tim Ream, Benny Feilhaber or Kenny Cooper. But as is the case with every national team roster that gets put together, not everyone can get a call-up.


Which missing player do you think was the most deserving of getting called into the Orlando camp for a look? Was it Kljestan? Lichaj? Beasley? Someone else?

Share your thoughts below.

  • $herman Maje$ty

    Kenny Cooper is the biggest snub in the USMNT camp. Somebody give the guy a chance! Look at his limited USMNT performance! The bottom line: THE GUY SCORES GOALS! Everyone talks about, “Well he should do this, do that, blah, blah, be this type of Forward, etc.” The fact is, when Cooper is healthy he gets goals, and the USMNT can always use somebody like that! If you dont believe me, check his stats.


  • Eurosnob

    The lesson is that you cannot really count on a player, who is eligible to play for another more established soccer nation, until they are capped in an official fixture. That’s why players like Boyd, Corona, Morales should get minutes in one or more of the next qualifying games. Chandler got to play against a number of top teams like Argentina, which certainly helped his development and confidence, but he also took away valuable playing opportunities from other guys who would have been proud to represent the US.


  • drew11

    You don’t take a project to road qualies in Central America. Agudelo is way too inexperienced, unfit and unsettled right now to be thrown into that environment. Beas would be a good role player to have available for that Guat match. I wouldn’t prefer him in any of the other matches but for that particular situation he fits.


  • KC

    Sacha disappoints more often than not wearing a national team jersey. I don’t call that a snub. Time to see if any of the youngsters bring it with the full team.

    Lichaj is a snub but if he isn’t fully recovered from his injury then I can understand.

    I am mostly shocked Beckerman continues to be called in.


  • The Imperative Voice

    I think there has to be a smidge of Europhilia going on, even if it’s subconscious, when one essentially equates starting and playing minutes “in the [Belgian] league AND Europa league” with good form. He played an MLS-length season and managed 4 goals.

    You’re mocking the production argument but all due respect he is a tad slow and doesn’t play defense like most of the rest of the CM pool, he better be productive some way to offset it. My experience with him tablesetting with the US is he plays too slow and goes for home run passes and loses the ball. IMO he struggles with the speed of the game when it clicks up a notch. So can he at least score goals? Exception of Sweden C the evidence suggests no.

    The Mexico comment was pointed indirectly at you — who I felt were giving him credit for merely being with a decent Belgian team — but more directly at Colin, who argued Mexican teams are inferior. All due respect but the assumption that the Scandinavian and Belgian leagues are better than US or Mexico — and thus meriting of some sort of “starts there so he must be good” checks in his favor — is not necessarily borne out by the facts. I think they offer more money but not necessarily better teams; IMO MLS is high end Championship or low end EPL, on a budget, and Mexico has more money and quality.


  • j

    Clearly Lichaj! As well as Ream and Whitebread…these guys were all starting in the EPL! Defense is our problem and will be our problem in the next world cup…cherundolo and bocanegra will be too hold…we need to develop these guys…F Sacha…we dont need that clown…the midfield players called in are better.


  • jpc

    That’s true Johnson has been good, but I think that Kljestan is really ready to take the next step, and was a pretty crucial player for his club this year… I like Jones, but he just seems to be a liability either through injury or suspension, and to me he’s just an older and poorer version of Michael Bradley. And if you take Jones on, Beckerman or Edu (preferably Edu, I think he’s awful) shouldn’t be there, or the other way around.


  • Brian

    There should at least be some mention of Whitbread. He may be out of the mix this time because of injury, but was more deserving than many who are getting ink here, including Mix, Freddie, Cooper, Bennie, etc., etc., etc….


  • GW

    “but was more deserving than many who are getting ink here,”

    Okay, that and one dollar will get you a Mega Milions ticket.

    Bradley wanted to cap him, but he kept coming up lame.

    Same with Klinsmann. Maybe Zak is trying to take the title of ” most unfortunately timed injuries” away from Stu Holden.

    If you want to be mentioned then you have to show up. This is a real team here not a fantasy team.


  • GW

    If you notice Klinsmann is pretty open and detailed when he talks about players who he is very high on, whether he calls them up or not( Chandler,Shea, Agudelo and so on).

    The fact that he hasn’t yet said anything about Lichaj leads me to believe it may be a while before we see Eric again.




    Kenny Cooper’s ceiling.

    At national team level, you’d see Kenny of 2011 when he went on a 14 game scoreless streak. Cooper is streaky. He’ll cool off for RBNY and they will wonder what happened.


  • bryan

    Well, there most definitely is not Europhilia. You just can’t seem to comprehend he plays in a good league and played almost every minute of every game. That, to me, means he should be called up. If you cannot comprehend that, then I’m done discussing it.

    I’m mocking the production argument? I never even started a production argument. I simply said he is in good form because if he wasn’t, he wouldn’t be starting and playing almost every game of the season in both the league and Europa league. Again, it’s not hard ot understand. Also, you are wrong that he does not play defense. For his club, he is one of two holding mids. In the Edu/Torres category as opposed to the Jones/Bradley category. Further, I never said he deserves to be in the 23, let alone starting. I never even said anything about his skills. He certainly isn’t going to save us and he is little more than a depth option. But again, my point was simply that he deserves to be called up to a camp of 27 players.

    As for Mexico, I don’t know why you would direct that at me. I didn’t say a thing about Mexico or the MLS that was negative. All I said was that Belgium’s league is solid, I never said they were better in my original post. It wasn’t until you brought it up that I said the Jupiter League is at least on par with MLS, if not better than. I like the Mexican league and think it’s probably better than BOTH.

    Again, the point of this thread is to state players who were snubbed. Kljestan is one of those people given it is a camp of 27 players. I think playing in the Jupiter league week end and week out merits a look. I also understand the argument we have a ton of CMs, so I’m not really surprised. But that does not mean I don’t think it is a snub.


  • THomas

    That said, does getting onto the bench cap-tie you? Or would you have to at least make a substitute appearance in that case?


  • THomas

    International quality is different during a global tournament than it is during WCQ in CONCACAF.


  • pancholama

    Shea didn’t make it because he has had recent discipline problems. Yet probably, Kilnsman thinks enough of him overall – that Shea’s suspension gave Klinsi a chance to call up other mids on the bubble to continue developing the pool.


  • josh

    Kljestan is actually not on the roster because he is attending his own bachelor party and wedding which obviously was planned well ahead of these games coming up.


  • Twinger

    Out of all mids, Sacha sees penetrating creative passes the best. He has had possession problems in past but the move to Belgium has been good for that improvement. We need goals period and his vision and touch is more instinctive than any mid on the list!!!!


  • The Imperative Voice

    Side issue but anyone else thought about the fact that both ESPN and NBC Sports are showing 4 of the 5 games in the “Klinsi tournament,” but somehow incapable to pay the fee for the 5th, and most interesting (and it counts) game, the road quali in Guatemala?

    And another interesting aspect would be that in order to take this POV you seemingly would treat, say, Brazil as an end in itself, instead of what it is supposed to be, which is build up to the last two games. Because if you think about it this is like showing pre-WC friendlies whose primary intent is preparing for the WC, but then not deigning to show part of the WC itself because “they asked too much.” Silly.


  • Isaac

    You couldn’t have exaggerated more if you tried on number 2. Besides, he wasn’t even playing his correct position. He’s been playing central midfield for Anderlecht. He was played out on the left in that game… For fifteen minutes…

    Come on. Lets give the guy a FAIR chance…


  • Air Jordanz

    Two big market teams–Blackburn & West Ham–have already decided they didn’t want George John.



  • Air Jordanz

    1. Whitbread’s never played for the USMNT (excluding some youth appearances forever ago).

    2. He’s made of glass, having missed substantial portions of the last season due to multiple injuries.

    3. He was just let go by his club.

    4. He’s not young.


  • Air Jordanz

    We’re talking about contracts with Central American governments.

    I’m sure it’s not that simple. Unfortunate, but likely true.


  • marco

    Bornstein watched a lot of good soccer down in Mexico, which to some means he improved just watching. I wonder why Woody Allen never put on a Nicks uniform?


  • Matt

    Chris Wondolowski. Wait, he actually got called up to a non-cupcake match under Klinsi…? Amazing.

    Now if he actually gets minutes…in a qualifier…but I’m not holding my breath at this point.


  • ben

    Agreed, those other players had nice seasons, but last I checked we need fullbacks (especially after the Chandler snub) on both sides and Lichaj has been playing well in the EPL. Really baffled by his lack of a callup.


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