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Confident Lichaj makes strong USMNT debut


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Butterflies, nerves, tension. 

These are usual emotions for a player representing his country for the first time. For Eric Lichaj's first cap with the United States in the U.S. team's 0-0 draw with Colombia on Tuesday night at PPL Park, these were just words. The Aston Villa defender felt right at home with the situation and his role with the team. 

“No butterflies, I’m used to it, its my job to go out there and play so I’m used to all that pressure,” said Lichaj. ”Most of them go inside because we don’t have a natural winger so it gave me a chance to go inside more, we've been training together for a week so I’m fairly comfortable and know everyone’s tendencies."

Lichaj went 45 minutes appearing exclusively in the second half for the USMNT against Colombia. Entering for Jonathan Spector, the Aston Villa full back immediately added an attacking prowess to the right back spot. His forays forward got him into trouble, but the offensive pressure that he added was helpful to a U.S. attack that was stagnant all night.

The 21-year-old contributed to one of the best attacking chances of the night delivering a cross into the center for Jozy Altidore that put the attacker in a very good attacking position. Following the match, Bradley admitted that although it was Lichaj's first cap with the team, he liked what he saw from his young full back. 

“Eric came on in the second half and we’ve seen throughout this camp that physically he’s got a great burst of speed and he’s strong," said Bradley. "He came in and acquitted himself very well in the second half."

The training experience with the national team was made a tad easier due to the prevalence of a number of players that he has experience playing with.  In his debut, he was able to play in front of goalkeeper Brad Guzan, a back-up goalkeeper for Aston Villa.

Although there were a number of players to help his transition to the national side, the ever-confident Lichaj did not worry about his experience with the national team because of his time with Aston Villa. 

“Spector and Guzan have helped my transition because I know them from England, but no one in particular tells you because we’re pros and we know what we’re doing," said Lichaj. "We’re professionals so we all know what we’re doing. Just little tweaks people will tell us but nothing major."

Lichaj will now turn his focus to Villa. He has been used exclusively in Cup matches for Aston Villa and is still searching for his first league appearance for the Birmingham-based club. He will have an opportunity to build upon his experience with the national team shortly as he returns to Villa. 

“They’ll have seen my 45 minute half that I played, but we have a Carling Cup game against Burnley coming up," said Lichaj. "hopefully Brad and I will be able to get some time in that match.”


  1. Hahnemann would still definitely be at least number 3, if not number 2. I know he’s talked about retirement, but if something happened to Timmy (God forbid), you know he’d come out of retirement in a heartbeat.

    Also I’d probably put Kasey Keller or Kevin Hartman above Cervi, Hamid, and McMath (who? lol) just based on recent form and the fact that I would trust two veteran keepers way more than a guy who never plays, a rookie, and someone whom I’m guessing is a youth team goalkeeper.

    Davies shouldn’t be anywhere near number 2 on the striker depth chart at this point. Zizzo blows. How is he even on your depth chart? And I think Parkhurst should be somewhere on the CB depth chart

  2. Lichaj supposedly can play LB. I think he played there for Villa in the Carling Cup or the Europa League. The thing is though Bob will NEVER start a right footed player at LB. Never has and probably never will. That’s why it’s always Bornstein, Bocanegra or Pearce.

  3. I think the point the person on B.S. was trying to make was not that the Bulls had a crap team in 1993, but that if you took the 1993 version of Jordan and put him on a “JV team”, that’s kinda what the frustration was like for Jones against Colombia

  4. He looked terrible against the Czech Republic. Bornstein sucked his first 45 min in that game too. Pearce had the opportunity to take Bornstein’s spot, but he effed up twice and we have up 2 goals mostly because of him. He choked and he knew it too. You could see it in his face.

  5. Jones’s emergence is certainly welcome, even though he plays the same position as two of the strongest options in our player pool. I’m wondering… what do you guys’ think his effect could be, in a chain reaction, on the rest of the lineup?

    His positioning, savvy, mistake-erasing and overall quality leads me to believe placing a more natural playmaker in front of him could actually work in this cycle. Do you guys think Feilhaber or Torres could finally come of age this time around with a stud DM to cover for them? I’d like to believe so. Also, how to fit Bradley or Edu in with him?

  6. Heath Pearce didn’t face a consistent onslaught from the wing the entire game. He’s generally serviceable as long as 1) he doesn’t have to go up against speedy wingers and 2) he isn’t made a focus of the opposition game plan. Unfortunately… all the best teams in the world have pacy, skilled wingers, and when a guy like Pearce is matched up against said wingers, opposing coaches notice that and continually attack him.

    So… what did this friendly performance prove that we didn’t already know about Pearce? I’m not trying to be a troll, although this reasoning is certainly beating a dead horse… But we wouldn’t be forced to talk about this bs if Pearce didn’t keep getting 90 min runouts with the national team.

    Isn’t Lichaj a LB? Castillo?

  7. He never used the “long throw.” At one point I thought it was coming because he started to wipe off the ball a la Rory Delap, but then he did a short range throw.

  8. Who ever said that needs to punch himself in the 93 was one of Jordans best teams. More like 1986 against the Celtics would have been better.

  9. I’m glad we’re finally seeing some depth in the USMNT.

    As I see it right now our depth is as follows:

    Keeper: 1)Howard, 1.5)Guzan, 2)Cervi, 4) Hamid/McMath

    LB: 1)Boca, 2)Bornstein, 2.5)Pearce, 3)Williams(?), 4)Castillo, 5)Miller, 6)Orozco/Garza

    CB) 1)Gooch, 2)Goodson, 3)Boca, 4)Gonzalez, 5)Spector, 6)Ream, 7)Opara, 8)Marshall/George/Boss

    RB: 1)Dolo, 2)Spector, 2.5)Lichaj, 3)Williams, 3.5)Alson/Franklin/Freeman

    CDM: 1)Jones, 2)Bradley, 2.5)Edu, 3)Holden, 4)Torres, 5)Clark/Vidal/Beckerman

    LWM: 1)Donovan, 2)Dempsey, 3)Feilhaber, 4)Convey, 5)Diskerud 6)Castillo/Beasley

    CAM: 1)Holden, 2)Feilhaber, 2.5)Torres, 3)Diskerud/Kljestian/Zizzo(?)/Gavin(?)

    RWM: 1)Dempsey, 2)Holden, 3)Bedoya, 4)Diskerud, 5)Zizzo(?)

    Striker: 1)Jozy, 2)Davies(?), 3)Johnson/Buddle/Gomez 4)Braun/Tracy/Taylor/Mwanga/Zahavi

    The next 2 years should be very interesting as the potential of the young prospects are evaluated and integrated into the team. I know I’ve left off a number of players, and there are always a couple who could come out of no-where to supprise/thrill but as I see it these are the current crop of players and the Top prospects to potentially be integrated into the team.

  10. LOL Are you kidding me. Lichaj looked like a young Carlos Salcido last night. I was very impressed with him. I think you need a futbol check!:).. I’m just saying

  11. This is the first time I have seen Lichaj play and he made a good impression. He came into the game at half and showed well. He played confident. This is the type of performance we need to see from alot of players. He will add depth for us. On the other hand, Brek Shea did not show well and did not have confidence. Shea was slow to the ball and slow to make decisions. His performance was forgetable. At the end of the day Lichaj earned his next cap and more match time. Shea earned nothing.

    While overall I do not think we played well you can’t judge the players from these two friendlys. The players need to develop some chemistry and comfort with each other which is why the midfield did not play well. What you did see was that Lichaj and Jones stood out and deserve more call ups, we need someone up top with confidence (the last player our opponets feared up top was McBride). No one else really stood out.

  12. Your point about Spector is well taken, although Lichaj does see close to a starting job. My issue with Spector is that I don’t think he’s an outside fullback. I know he can cross, but to my mind he is not the prototype guy you see in today’s game, where they are relied on for width in the attack. I think he is smart and a good distributor and good with his feet. I think he could be at least on Bocenegra’s level in the center. I acknowledge that this is a subjective opinion.

    PS – Good conversation. Thanks

  13. Fair enough I guess (back then West Ham was a much better team than they are today and both they and Villa finished mid-table). Though my point was that we haven’t seen enough of Lichaj IMO for the amount of gushing over him that’s been going on. At 21 Jonny had 27 matches in the Prem league where you could say, “okay this kid’s at the very least decent and he’s young”.

    Lichaj has 0 games in the Prem and 1 cap where he didn’t look too bad but had nowhere near a great game. He might be good and shows potential but thats it. Last night didn’t change all that much.

  14. Spector doesn’t look like he could even start on the Revs these days. I don’t know what Avram said to him but he seems shattered.

  15. Good 1st cap from Lichaj. Seemed confident, willing and strong. He also showed composure and skill. Really couldn’t ask for anything more for a debut.
    Given Spector’s poor and unexplainable run of form, Lichaj is climbing in the charts as Dolo’s backup (let’s not kid ourselves, there’s no way Dolo isn’t our starting RB if he’s 100%).
    I also though Pearce looked decent, and trust me it’s very hard for me to admit this. At the same time, I can’t forget Pearce’s recent awful performances. LB will be a ongoing issue for us. I don’t believe Boca is the answer there under BB’s tactics (he’s just way too slow and brings zero offense). Goodson wasn’t too bad, and Parkhurst was definitely good.
    Overall I think our player pool is getting stronger, especially with Jones who’s basically one of our best and most complete players now in my opinion.
    Striker will remain an issue. Altidore is in a funk due to lack of PT, and EJ, well he’s still EJ. It’s the only position where options seem pretty scarce.
    It was only 2 friendlies, but BB has to build the team around a healthy Jones.
    Finally, am I the only one not crazy about Howard anymore? It seems to me that in the past few games I have seen he’s at fault on some goals (despite remaining excellent in 1v1 saves.)


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