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U.S. Men's National Team

Tim Ream delivers stout performance vs. Peru as USMNT left back

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Photo by Brad Mills/USA Today Sports

By RYAN TOLMICH

WASHINGTON – Following the U.S. Men’s National Team’s 2-1 victory over Peru, there was one defensive player’s name that was repeated time and time again.

Tim Ream. Tim Ream. Tim Ream.

Thrust into a semi-familiar position in left back, Ream proved plenty capable, stepping in in a jam and providing a sturdy presence in the absence of the incumbent DaMarcus Beasley. Ream held his own a number of individual battles against Peru’s talented attackers, and also connected on some nice passes.

Overall, Ream played the fullback position with relative ease, something unseen earlier in his career. Having developed in the position as a member of Bolton, Ream has grown in recent seasons, developing a certain level of versatility that is very appreciated in a national team.

Yet, for Ream, Friday night wasn’t so much a turning point as it was a statement that he is ready to step in and contribute, no matter the position head coach Jurgen Klinsmann asks him to play.

“I think the biggest thing is that I’ve matured as a player, matured as a person and learned the position in a really difficult league (in the Championship),” Ream said. “I learned the ins and outs of it. It’s put me in a good spot to come in here and play either centerback or left back. From what I can tell, they’re comfortable playing me in either spot.

“It’s just a matter of getting used to it really. Back in the day, you probably didnt want to see me play left back, I hadn’t played there in so long, but now, two seasons, 40-something games in the position, I’m pretty comfortable playing either or.”

Ream’s recent renaissance was hard to envision just a few short years ago. Uncapped between 2011 and 2014, Ream was almost completely on the outs of the USMNT picture despite all of his successes at the club level. Filling in as a centerback, left back and even a defensive midfielder while earning honor after honor with Bolton, Ream was still often absent from USMNT’s call-up lists.

Change began in 2014 with Ream earning four appearances, though no starts. Yet 2015 has proven to be Ream’s best and brightest on the international stage, and the Fulham defender has earned starts in each of the last two USMNT contests.

In light of his recent success, Ream remembers exactly what it was like to be the forgotten man, making his recent return to the national team all the much sweeter.

“I think that it happened to a lot of us,” Ream said. “Young kids, thrown into South Africa and getting (their first) call-ups. Then, all of a sudden, you’re pushed down the pecking order because other guys step up.”

Now, it is Ream that’s the one stepping up, helping his team out in a real bind.

“It’s very respectful, but it’s very dynamic as well,” Klinsmann said of the logjam in defense. “I think Tim Ream played a very, very solid game and won many one-against-one situations. He played simply out of the back, which is what we asked him to do, which he’s known for.

“It’s good to see and we feel good about it. We feel good about our contenders on the flank and in the middle, that they could get the job done.”

Klinsmann’s statement must come off as music to Ream’s ears, as the defender’s continued objective is to help the team in some form or fashion.

It does not matter where he plays, either. Ream is just looking to find the field more consistently while once again demonstrating that he belongs among the very best that the U.S. has to offer.

Performances like Friday’s will do nothing but help.

“Wherever I’m given a chance or given an opportunity, I’m going to take it with both hands and run with it,” Ream said. “I’m going to make the decisions in their job difficult on who to choose. That’s the way I’ve approached this last year or so with limited minutes and now getting more minutes.”

27 comments
  • J. Thomas

    Ream is the USMNT’s most consistently reliable defender and needs to be on the field.

    Geoff Cameron needs to be on the field as well. Cameron > Chandler.

    Like

    • wowzers

      These two also know how to possess the ball. This is vital when your accompanying CB choices constantly move play the ball at a snail’s pace. We need to minimize the touch touch, look up, touch touch, hoof it up play of the ball.

      Like

  • Dennis

    I like Beasley and Johnson, but I think Ream, Cameron and Besler are better pure defenders.

    Ream is perhaps the best defender, though there will be questions about his speed which may mean he is better suited to being a CB than LB. However, much the same could be said about Bocanegra who did pretty well at both positions until age and injury finally won out.

    Like

  • Jamie Z.

    I try to avoid categorical statements, but I think Ream and Cameron have both proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that they deserve to be in any competitive USMNT squad. When and where they fit into the lineup is up for debate, but they need to be in the mix.

    Like

  • R.benjamin

    Solid.
    He played well enough to get more time v Brazil.
    Interesting 4 center back set up with Orozco.
    I liked it.

    Like

  • ChrisTheLSUTiger

    Hey do y’all remember that time he was on the Gold Cup roster and Jurgen hardly played him? Pepperidge farm remembers.

    Like

  • cps

    Ream, Cameron and Besler need to be on the field. Those guys seem incredibly composed and competent compared to the other combinations JK’s used on the back line. You could really see the difference last night. JK needs to forget about Beasley and Chandler for a while.

    Like

  • Brain Guy

    There is just no substitute for the maturity and composure that guys like Ream bring to their positions. His versatility further increases his value. Brooks and Alvarado may have big up-sides, but for my money grown-ups like Ream, Cameron, and Gonzalez need to be the foundation of the back line. (Johnson too, but he may fit best at LM.) There are certain guys whose play and demeanor just shout,”This players just gets it.” It’s true of Jones, too, and Bradley, among others.

    Welcome back, Tim. We sorely missed you.

    Like

    • shaggie96

      People keep singing Omar’s praises, but he was the one who didn’t put enough pressure on Chavez and then turned around and had the ball deflect off of him for the goal. He also made an awful, awful (it was that bad) pass that led to a very dangerous counter opportunity. I don’t have anything against him, but he isn’t better than any of the other options. They all have their drawbacks.

      I personally thought Brooks played an excellent game. He had one bad pass, but he is as good of a 1 v 1 defender as any of the CB’s on the team, especially in space. The thing that puts him over the top with JK is his passing ability I’m guessing. The dude is by far the most accurate passer out of the back.

      Like

      • Billy

        Omar was stuck covering too much ground because Brooks was chasing guys around out on the wing, even tho Ream and Zardes had it covered.

        Like

      • shaggie96

        Even if that were the case, what does that have to do with him failing to pressure a shooter 20 yards from goal and making an absolutely horrendous pass with no one near him?

        Like

    • GW

      “Welcome back, Tim. We sorely missed you”

      That’s pretty hypocritical.

      How can you miss a player you never had, one that was practically chased out of America by SBI critics after the last time he played regularly for the USMNT.

      Ream has done wonders learning his trade at Bolton and is now proving himself to be a very important player going forward but spare us the rewritten history that he was some beloved highly respected regular who absence was keenly felt by the USMNT.
      Most of you didn’t think he was pro player material.

      Like

      • Brain Guy

        I guess would be hypocritical if I were one if those past critics. But I wasn’t. So the “we” who missed Ream doesn’t include all SBI readers.

        Sheesh.

        Like

      • GW

        I take it then that you will be at the front of the line welcoming Rico and Johny Boy Bornstein when they get called back to the USMNT and play well?

        Like

      • Brain Guy

        Drawing conclusions based entirely on assumptions and extrapolations can be dangerous. And silly.

        Like

  • Sergio of SF

    I agree, Ream was lights out all night. Would like to see him stay at left back with Fabian Johnson in front of him.

    Like

      • shaggie96

        The right side is broke. Yedlin doesn’t have the 1 v 1 skills to be a 90 minute option on the wing. At least 80% of our decent attacking chances came down the left, apart from the lead up to the second goal.

        Like

      • Bac

        Last night more chances went down the left than the right. That doesn’t mean the right side is “broke” because Yedlin is there. And if Yedlin doesn’t have the skills to beat someone 1 v 1, name me the plethora of wingers we have that can?
        Yedlin is starting off his very young career as this team’s Cobi Jones. Right now I’d take him over Zusi, Davis, and depending on the formation and personnel, Bedoya.

        Like

      • shaggie96

        The earlier point is what to do when FJ comes back. You’re right, the right side isn’t broken, however, I would rate FJ and Zardes as our two best wing options at this point. Probably then Bedoya and Yedlin.

        Like

      • Bac

        Ok, fair enough, and I’d agree. But we still have a fullback issue.
        My bigger point has always been (not directed at you) is that we have a lotta Jack of all Trades-Master of none players. And with the level of nasty criticism on here now, nobody can agree on ONE solution, about anything! Yet almost every “expert” and poster can’t wait to burn JK at the stake. I could go deeper w examples but not now, have a beer with my name on it.

        Like

  • Ike

    I’ve been shouting “Ream to LB” for years and I’m very happy to see he didn’t make me look like a complete idiot.

    Like

  • Louis Z

    Why would say semi-familiar? When he played LB for 2 years at Bolton. I thought he had a good simple game, he moved up when he saw a glaring opportunity. He was exposed a few times with his lack of top speed but recover with his good defensive technique of a true defender that he is.

    Like

  • Acidburn

    Wow Klinsmann plays someone in the same position that he plays for his club and the player actually plays well…what a revolutionary concept!

    Like

  • GW

    Acidburn,

    Ream played center back, left back and defensive midfield for Bolton. He says he is comfortable anywhere.

    It remains to be seen where he will play most of his games for Fulham.

    Like

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