USMNT Daily Update: What an all-MLS national team lineup might look like

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Photo by ISIPhotos.com

A popular question being asked these days about the U.S. national team is "Where are the MLS players?" With Landon Donovan missing so many matches for the U.S. lately, and with Geoff Cameron having made the move to Stoke City in the summer, the number of regular U.S. national team options from Major League Soccer has diminished and we have found ourselves watching the U.S. play at times without a single MLS player.

Graham Zusi did his part to represent the league well in the national team's most recent match, the 1-0 World Cup qualifying win against Jamaica, but the general lack of MLS players made me wonder just what MLS options might get the call if Jurgen Klinsmann could only call MLS players.

Before we get into that potential lineup, let us first discuss the question of why there are so few MLS players in the recent national team mix. It's pretty simple. More and more top American players are getting opportunities to play abroad, and the reality is more and more Americans are going to better leagues to play.

This isn't a knock on MLS, but rather the reality of the professional soccer landscape. Now that being said, there is still some very good talent in MLS, and there is a strong generation of young Americans starting to make their way up the ranks. Players like Sean Johnson, Bill Hamid, Perry Kitchen, Amobi Okugo, Austin Berry and Luis Silva just to name a few.

So what would an All-MLS U.S. national team lineup look like? Here is what such a squad might look like:


—————–Chris Pontius——–Chris Wondolowski—————

Brek Shea—————–Graham Zusi—————Landon Donovan

—————————Kyle Beckerman——————————–

Heath Pearce—Matt Besler—-Omar Gonzalez—-Steven Beitashour

—————————-Nick Rimando———————————-

A few thoughts:

This is a squad based on what I think Klinsmann would call in based on past call-ups, camp invites and current league form.

As a team, this squad is pretty solid. Good wing options, solid centerbacks, really good central midfield. It's not a team that I think would do much in a World Cup, but if it got dropped into CONCACAF qualifying I think it could make the Hex, though maybe not qualify out of the Hex.

It was a coin flip between Pontius and Eddie Johnson, but with Pontius having been a national team alternate recently, he gets the nod. Chris Rolfe also merits consideration.

Both Sean Johnson and Bill Hamid have very bright futures, but if the USMNT had a game this weekend and had to have an MLS goalkeeper start, the veteran Rimando would get the nod. Dan Kennedy is someone who deserves a mention as well.

Heath Pearce isn't playing left back for the New York Red Bulls, but he remains one of the best left back options in the pool. Justin Morrow deserves definite consideration for the spot, and Seth Sinovic has quietly become a solid left back as well.

Before anybody from Seattle mentions Osvaldo Alonso, as things stand he is still not eligible for the U.S. national team and therefore doesn't get the nod (and truth be told, I don't think he'd get called before Beckerman anyway. Klinsmann is a big Beckerman fan).

Matt Besler is quietly enjoying a tremendous season and is a definitely lock for his spot. Klinsmann has noticed his progress, and has made him an alternate for recent matches. Don't be surprised if he gets a call for the upcoming qualifiers.

Klinsmann hasn't called in Omar Gonzalez yet, and he probably won't this year in order to let Gonzalez settle in with the Galaxy as he continues his full recovery from a torn ACL. Despite that, he makes this list because he's simply too good a national team prospect not to be on the list.

Brad Davis is a great player for the Houston Dynamo, and one of the best in MLS, but at his age he's just not likely to get a national team call again. The same goes for Jay DeMerit.


What do you think of the squad? Who didn't make the lineup that you feel should be on the team? How do you think this team could do in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Spank

    I would love to see that but it sounds better than it actually would be. I don’t see it being competitive. It would be more like the NFL Pro Bowl, where it’s a big joke and quarterbacks throw a bajillion ints. Did anyone watch the Messi all stars during the off season? It would be just like that.


  • Cory

    Funny, because a lot of the other teams that are going to reach the hexagonal take players both from MLS, and their own, inferior to MLS domestic leagues.


  • hogatroge

    Diskerud has only gotten back to playing consistently in the last 2 months or so. Plus, he’s not an MLSer.

    He’ll be back in a camp before 2014, even if he’s not on the WC roster.


  • hogatroge

    There’s plenty of time in January to play 2 international matches and a U23 vs. Sr. Team match.

    This January they played 2 U23-Senior matches, then the full team played Venezuela and Panama.


  • T-moble

    Doesn’t matter, he still played in MLS. The same this year when he had a hat trick against Scotland. Against Mexico, he was injured and was taken off, I think you guys are way to hard on MLS players, while we have seen many outplay Europe base players. Zusi was a beast, again he plays in MLS. The player you should be watching is Nagbe.


  • peterjh

    “It was a coin flip between Pontius and Eddie Johnson”. I don’t agree with that assessment. Wondo is always paired with a big partner, which would then make the obvious choice Johnson.


  • Jermaine Jones

    How is Jermaine Jones a liability on the pitch?

    The dude plays for one of the top teams in Germany and plays well. I think people just see the negatives they want to see. No soccer player is consistent every day, but few have the skill to put a team on their shoulders and carry them. With Jones, you get that potential.

    Personally, I like having a big, mean, tough-tackling, confident, mofo out there in the middle of the field. Jones runs circles around Beckerman, skill-wise and literally (because Beckerman is easily the slowest member of the USMNT).

    Play Jones in a World Cup and you have a chance to win and a player who has a chance to be the man of the match. Play Beckerman? Anyone who is being 100% honest couldn’t say the same thing.


  • AMPhibian

    your point is duly taken, but if beckerman is our second most reliable number 6, we are in trouble.


  • JRP

    Very true. But remember Jones’ unnecessarily rough tackle of Neymar vs Brazil? The wrong ref could have called that a red and it would have had a significant impact on the game. But you are right. Jones has more talent. Everyone is in agreement there. And the guy below is right as well. If Beckerman is the No 2, it speaks volume to the lack of depth. But for the last two years he has been No 2, or at least No 3, in that spot. Someone young better be coming up because all three of those guys are getting old.


  • Smits

    Captaining a team and winning titles in MLS is the key. That breeds leadership and confidence that is desperately needed for USA.


  • abc

    Then what does that make Kofi Sarkodie?

    Dude went to Akron, was on the U-20 team that failed to qualify for the WC, was given a Generation Adidas contract, was one of the first few draft picks, was on the U-23 team that failed to qualify for the Olympics… and is so lousy that he doesn’t play at all for the Houston Dynamo.

    So if Chandler is “overrated” (lol), what is your word to describe Sarkodie?


  • abc

    I like how the guy above has Davis in the center and you have him on the right… do you guys even know who Brad Davis is?

    (a decent MLSer who’s not good enough for the national team, that’s who)


  • abc

    Isn’t George John always injured?
    He can be on the “oft injured CBs team” with Zak Whitbread and Chad Marshall.


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