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Klinsmann discusses call-ups, omissions for Honduras qualifier

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Every U.S. Men’s National Team roster unveiling comes with extensive discussion. Who was brought in, left off and why are always the main topics dissected ad nauseam.

Jurgen Klinsmann’s released roster for Wednesday’s World Cup qualifier against Honduras was no different.

A much-anticipated 24-player squad was released by Klinsmann on Monday morning and shortly after the U.S. head coach addressed where several of the players stand in the pecking order. Klinsmann revealed why players like midfielder Jose Torres and Benny Feilhaber were included or omitted, and he also explained what he wants to see from some of them going forward.

For Torres, who is making his return to the United States for the first time since September, his inclusion was partially due to him moving from Pachuca to Tigres UANL this past winter.

“It helps him get to a higher level and also move out of his comfort zone and move out of the place where he kind of grew up and played for eight years there or something like that,” said Klinsmann. “Now, in a new environment, prove yourself, become a starter and he started the season really well. He’s a player who has so much more to reach and we help him in that process.”

Klinsmann also spoke on Sacha Kljestan being summoned for the road match against Los Catrachos. He said Kljestan’s steady performances with RSC Anderlecht over the past two years have led to him finding a spot in a crowded and competitive U.S midfield.

“He’s becoming a consistent player in his club,” said Klinsmann. “We watch his club games. We have people there that scout him and that go to Anderlecht and see his games and he’s done very well. 

“He won the championship and (played in) European competition and he also becomes a more consistent element overseas and we want him to bring that kind of quality back into the national team environment. He’s been in and out because of the depth we have in midfield … but he’s always been in our plans. We are pleased with his development over the last couple of years, absolutely.”

Another player whose development in recent months has pleased Klinsmann is Joe Corona, who was left off the roster for the Honduras game. Klinsmann said the young Tijuana midfielder is absent simply due to the number of other options he had available for this upcoming qualifier.

“If you look at the roster, there are so many guys fighting for those roles and it’s difficult,” said Klinsmann. “We have a very, very close eye on him because I think he’s a very special talent. But if you look at all these role players on the side of midfield or the No. 10 role that we have here, it’s just a question of who do you select now for one specific game. Joe will be back with us, definitely.

While Klinsmann touched on several players, he spoke most about Feilhaber. Klinsmann said the veteran midfielder showed well during the recent January camp and friendly against Canada, but wants Feilhaber to demonstrate more consistency with Sporting Kansas City and the U.S.

“We want him to become more a pusher in terms of being involved in the game on a consistent basis, every couple minutes, every two, three minutes,” said Klinsmann. “Here and there it seems like he’s fading out and coming back in and it’s a bit inconsistent. He’s working on that and that has to do obviously with the technical approach but also the physicality of it, the rhythm, the pace of a game.

“We are thrilled that he’s moved to Kansas now and he will get pushed by Peter Vermes doing that. I have spoken to Peter about that already and we think he absolutely has the qualities, the technical capabilities to be part of the inner circle of the national team. Not being called in now for these games does not mean he’s out, not at all. … With World Cup qualifiers, friendlies and a Gold Cup coming up, there will be opportunities as well.”


  1. I hope Feilhaber can work his way into the WC squad. When he’s on, I think he makes the offense flow. I think he has a ceiling which is much higher than many others. This issue of consistency–I hope he works it out. The team is better with him in the mix.

    My dream roster would include a reinvigorated Donovan, a healthy Holden, a grown up Failhaber. Bradley in his prime. Howard still one of the best in the world. Jozy finding his nose for the goal. Figure out the long-term replacement for Bocanegra and think you have potentially the best American team ever.

  2. Having followed the USMNT since 1990, it is refreshing to see that we now have good players who can’t make the club and people arguing over who should and shouldn’t be on the roster. It wasn’t that long ago that we would have been hard pressed to field more than a couple of players who played in a first class European league. Except for maybe Bocanegra (and only because of the Rangers situation) it is likely that every starter in the next game is a starter in a major European league. And we will have European and Mexican based players who are starters sitting on the bench. This is huge progress and must not be forgotten.

  3. If the Austrian league has been out of season, why wasn’t Boyd at the January camp? I’m not saying that sarcastically. I’m sure someone who follows Germany/Austria closely has a good answer for it.

  4. I must admit my critiques of Klinsi the last couple of days on this site have been mostly down to nervous anticipation.He hasn’t technically messed up yet.That being said wouldn’t a Kinnear, Sigi or even Kreis do a similar job to what JK has done without promising fluid passing soccer? While commanding a much lower salary.To me JK is more suited to the job Reyna has.I’m with the Mexicans who vowed not to hire a foreign coach after the Sven debacle.

  5. As an American, I certainly want to be wrong. I’ve seen how Klinsman coached the German and Bayern Teams. He does not have the ability to assess talent and place a cohesive Team on the field. Those Teams won not because of him but in spite of him. These Teams were more established and experienced than the US. Mexico, Brasil, Germany, England, Italy and other top Teams are willing to give their younger plays experience. Klinsman keep trotting out the same tired players. He has a more talented squad than Arena or Bradley had. They did more with less talented players. Does he realize how much a technically gifted player is needed in the midfield? Has he ever seen Corona play for his club which is a better team than any in the MLS? I am so frustrated with this joker. I guess daddy gave him the keys to the Porsche, now he does not know what to do with it.

  6. Klinsman is the inconsistent one. I see no creative midfielder to break down the Honduran bunker. Whose more in form, Jones, Williams, Davis, Edu, Zusi or Corona? Which one of these guys can break down the bunker mentality of these CONCACAF Teams? My concern is that Klinsman keep calling his favorite guys whether they are in form or not. I think he is in for a shocker. USA will be lucky to get a point from this game. USA will not qualify unless we have a coach who knows how to put a cohesive team together. I guess Donovan may know something we don’t. He lost his interest in the Team after Klinsman was hired as the coach. What does Kinsman have against an inform Corona who is much better than Zusi? Mixx and Corona is a much better player than Torres, Kljestan and Davis. God help us.

    • I have actually considered the fact that part of the reason doesn’t seem as interested in the national team anymore is because he sees Klinsmann as an incompetent manager. Maybe Jozy’s infamous tweet a couple months back is how many of the USMNT feel about Klinsmann and he was just the only one to snap.

      This is just rampant speculation worthy of biff, so it’s not like this is something I truly believe is going on.

    • Funny thing is that everyone had always assumed Donovan was the one calling for Klinsy all along and Dempsey stood by Bob Bradley as a show of unity with Michael. I can’t help but wonder if some lingering issues have surfaced between some of the players over how Bob was dumped out of the job. Wouldn’t have been such an insult to drop him after the World Cup with the old standbye of “it never works when you take the same coach to two World Cups so we might as well move on now.”

  7. I can’t believe the Timmy Chandler in camp is getting no attention. We berate the kid for being non-committal, then just ignore the fact when he finally commits?

    I say good for him, doing things at his own pace, at his own comfort level, and making the right decision when it was right for him. Not anybody else. Let’s hope it’s a positive addition.

      • I think we’re still just waiting to see if it really happens or not. He has to take the field before we will waste anymore time or words on his commitment issue.

  8. Wonder why no Lichaj and Evans instead??? That’s the only real question in the roster….aside from Corona which well he addressed but I rather see him….than Davis. Maybe he has faith in Davis from what he saw in camp but he didn’t even get his opportunities with set pieces to shine and that is suppose to be what Davis brings to the team that is most valuable in his game….he’s not a real winger that is going to run down the flank taking on players or crossing at the end of the goal line in the international level…he’s going to drift centrally and pick his spots to cross. Anyway, I hope if Davis plays that he puts in a great performance however many minutes he gets….

    • Lichaj has yet to be in camp for Klinsmann and played no role in the last round of WCQ. He is also no longer starting for Aston Villa, which he was doing during the last round of qualifiers.

      What part of that combination suggests to you that he should be in camp now? Castillo and Parkhurst are the 1st lines of backup at LB & RB respectively. Who knows why Evans is there, but who cares?

      • Kinda feel Evans and Davis are called up because JK is planning for them to be the veteran leaders on Gold Cup squad this summer.

    • Sorry to rehash a topic that is probably tiring to most people, but I will join you in defending my fellow Polish-American Lichaj.

      Should the guy be a NT starter right now? No. But Klinsmann’s refusal to give him a chance when he has given out so many outside-the-box chances seems almost unconscionable. We have witnessed the Robbie Rogers experiment; the Castillo experiment; the Orozco-Fiscal experiment; the Alan Gordon experiment; now the two Brads. Let’s not forget the many “Get Out of Jail Free” cards for Torres. The list could continue. But how does a Premier League defender not get invited to a single camp, even a meaningless one?

      I know he hasn’t had a great season. But if that were the litmus test, the rosters under Klinsmann’s reign would have looked very different. Besides, the Villa defense is atrocious. That back line has looked bad whether he has played or not. He offers capabilities that (in my opinion) Castillo and Parkhurst simply do not. I don’t think this is about his club performances; I think JK simply doesn’t rate him. Alas, he is the coach, and I am not.

      For the record, in anticipation of “second coming of Philipp Lahm” barbs, I rate Lichaj as the second-best LB in the pool and the third-best RB. When Cherundolo retires, he will be second-best at both fullback positions, a valuable player to have on a roster. I only am calling for him to get a shot at the place in the team Parkhurst has occupied in recent months.

      • I agree with this.How come he wasn’t called in when he was playing well with Villa towards the end of last season? My guess is that Klinsi doesn’t think he has the attacking capabilities he requires from his fullbacks.That being said Parkhurst doesn’t either and he’s been called up plenty of times.

      • The second coming of Philip Lahm is Conner Lade. Perhaps not in this WC cycle, but certainly the next. Mark my words.

      • Agreed. Lichaj is inconsistent but he has good upside. He’s fast and pesky. Plus in my opinion, seeing consistent quality and speed of play makes a difference. I see him locking down hex strikers better than Parkhurst and Evans.

      • @Roman Lewandowski: pretty much agree with what you are saying. I think Klinsmann was very unfair to Lichaj. Sometimes I wonder whether Klinsmann did not call Lichaj because he was afraind calling him up might unsettle Timothy Chandler. In other words, if Lichaj comes in and does a good job, would be harder to convince Chandler to finally give up on getting a call from the German national team and come back to the USMNTN.

      • Only one point I would make here… you say he didn’t get called in, “even to a meaningless camp”. I’m assuming you’re referring to January->Canada, but EPL players were ruled out of that from the get go because they don’t have the long winter break. Otherwise, I think there is a really good chance he would have been there.

        I think that if he sees some decent playing time this spring, there’s a very good chance he’ll be on the gold cup squad. I’m sure he’s very close and is being monitored, but in the meantime he still needs to keep fighting for time and improving consistecy.

      • I didn’t mean that camp. I meant last summer, in particular. But JK also ignored him for several camps in the spring and fall.

  9. Informative story. Glad to hear that Joe Corona is still very much on Klinsmann’s radar and and the comments on Feilhaber are very interesting, indicate the door is wide open to him if he can perform at the club level. and also good info on Torres and Kljestan.

    • Benny’s comments (see are also pretty informative.

      Feilhaber admits that he didn’t even expect to be called into camp after the season he had, and he was glad for the opportunity. He’s looking forward to playing in KC and possibly working his way back onto some rosters. Seems like he and JK have an understanding at this point.

      • Way to be judgmental, Rory.

        Maybe he’ll be at work at 4 PM and has access to a web browser there.

        If you don’t know, a simple “Dunno” would have sufficed.

  10. At least Klinsi defines what he means by playing inconsistent or fading in and out of games…BB would never define something like that for the public.

    • Andrew Brown,

      BB did not have to not to, not when it came to Benny.

      If you look up inconsistent there is a picture of Benny next to the definition. Except for a brief period in 2007 when he began his USMNT career he has always been inconsistent. That’s why he went from starting to being a second half sub to being out of

  11. Klinsi is a joke.How does going to Tigres where he was bought to be a starter improve Torre’s level of play? If he was good enough he would’ve stayed at Pachuca.Its not a move forward its a move backward.Yeah Klinsi who are “all these players we have at the 10 role”.Yeah you left out the only one,Felihaber because he doesn’t contribute to defence as much as your prefered mids do.

      • Klinsi doesn’t seem to think so.He thinks we have a bunch of 10s hence the quote, “look at all these role players on the side of midfield or the no 10 role that we have here”. I like many USMNT fans are beginning to question Klinsis ability to asses his player pool and put them in the right situation to make the most out of the squad.

      • Claudio ‘back pass’ Reyna a #10? Claudio was awesome — one of the best the US has produced — but he wasn’t a 10.

      • As Tim Vickery says every week, Argentina doesn’t even have a true #10 anymore… so why lament that the US doesnt?

    • 8 years is a long time at almost anything, Especially so in sports.

      Torres left Pachuca because it was time to go to a NEW challenge. Pachuca have not proven to be better w/o him. Additionally he is playing better at Tigres than he was at Pachuca. Period.

      Have you watched any games? Do you know what he is doing at Tigres. Are you complaning because an inferior player that you like did not get picked?

      JFT is looking like he may recapture the form of 2009 – 10. Distributing. Tackling. Covering. Getting the job of a holding/Deep Lying MF done.

      • Once again if he was good enough for Pachuca he would have stayed there or gone to a bigger club.Not a lateral move like Tigres.He needed a new challenge because he wasn’t getting it done.

      • What are you talking about…how is moving to a team that recently won the Mexican league, is currently in first place, and in the quarters of the CCL a lateral move?

      • Your right, Tigres is a bigger club.The point I was trying to make was that if Pachuca thought he was good enough or valuable enough they wouldn’t have sold him.

      • Amen. Am real happy Klinsmann is giving Torres another chance. I read a post on another web site saying the the Pachua coach is not very good and that he is in a much better coaching situation at Tigres. I hope to heck that Klinsmann plays Jose in his preferred club position for a change which no doubt would improve his chances of success on the USMNT.

      • I don’t disagree, (except with the Tigres>Pachuca…that is nuts), but Klinsmann has never played JFT at a deep lying MF, that is not the role he sees for him on the USMNT. If it was where he was played, I do not doubt he would be a better cog in the machine. Klinsmann plays JFT in the ‘Evan role’…you know the AMF who is really a defensive minded player….

    • LOL I’m with you on this one, I’m one of the people who was thrilled for the hiring of Klismann as the new coach, But big mistake when Klismann started with his first lies, One was when he said that he was going to take his time to set his coaching staff and people were going to have their chances but right away he got Stupid Martin Vasquez as his right hand man. Big Mistake!, Second he said only players that been playing in their clubs or are in shape will be call in, He lied to Feilhaber, Adu, Sasha, Boyd, and many more even tho this call he call Sasha I guess he didn’t want to get more hit on twitter. Third lie was when he was a commentator for ESPN when he that USNMT lack of Creative, Technical, and Guts well all those players that have all those elements are out this call up list. I hope and I wish we can go out there and win or at least get a tied but most of all go there and play a good game.

  12. Ives, I’d love to see your depth chart for the USMNT as it stands after this upcoming game, position by position. Klinsmann here is beginning (and has) to show his hand as to who he is favoring and what the relative pecking order is for certain positions. Interesting stuff, especially about Feilhaber. He’s in the mix and does well over the next few months, he’s got a chance to get into some qualifiers and has a shot for being on that plane to Brazil.

  13. Their particularly tough in defense, so I think we have to score first so they can’t afford to bunker. They will take a draw, but you have to think being home the Hondurans will be playin more to win then not lose. But then again, with half the teams making it maybe Honduras plays for draws against us and Mexico and goes for it against the other 4? I don’t know. This game ha all the hallmarks of being frustrating to watch, hopefully we pull it out and stand firm defensively.

    • I think Honduras will play for the win, but it’s a close call.

      The reason you play for a draw is because you acknowledge the team you’re playing is better and just want something out of it. I’m not sure Honduras is looking at us like that right now, especially on their home field.

      Honduras can be excused if they see their primary competition as Costa Rica. The U.S. always struggles against Costa Rica, and has the misfortune of playing them at home just days before traveling to Azteca. Everyone in the confederation is picking that Denver game as a possible upset. So Honduras doesn’t want to tie the U.S. at home in their opener, only to watch CR upset the U.S. away in the second game. Gives the Ticos a nice boost.

      • I’ll be at the game vs. Costa Rica 🙂

        re. Honduras, they usually come to play when at home, really try to push the pace early. the US has countered them well and also physically attacked them thru the air before

    • Honduras is a very good team. Keep in mind, had Conor Casey not come through with a brace, Honduras could have finished ahead of us in the Hex. They also put us on our heels with and early goal in the hex game at Soldier field. They are not a team to be taken lightly…

  14. I’m feeling optimistic about Wednesday’s game. A lot of our guys are ‘in form’. Altidore has been hot. Dempsey has been hot. Others are getting quality playing time. I’m really hoping they all come together.

  15. My guess Klinsmann is going to clog the midfield and nullify Espinoza. Chandler and Fabian can handle Honduras’ wide options. It will come down to how much of the ball Dempsey sees. If Deuce gets a lot of touches that means the USMNT is in good shape to get a tie or win.

    • I think that the key is how Jozy gets service, if he can get the ball at his feet with his head down in space, he will cut through for multiple goals. If not, we have to pray him and Deuce work a combo like they did in Italy, but that will only net us one goal and then we can’t make any mistakes at the back or we’re tied 1-1.

      • His passes are predictable and non-threatening. I actually think that he was the reason why the Canada game was so bland. He needs to play more downhill. Even Xavi and Iniesta with Barcelona, who Beckerman appears to be trying to copy, play with attacking intention in every touch. For Beckerman, his touches are just to safe spaces and he lacks the dagger delivery.

      • I disagree. I thought Beckerman put in a ‘blah’ performance. Out of all the snubs from the CAN match, I’m surprised Gatt isn’t on the roster.

      • What don’t you like about Beckerman? He is a holding mid who actually HOLDS, unlike Bradley, Edu, Jones, etc. Having Beckerman gives any of three and the attacking mid the opportunity to really push forward, knowing Beckerman is back there covering the backline from counter attacks, and keeping the play moving. He connects his passes, is obviously a good leader (hence the armband in the last match, as well as for RSL), and has a great work ethic. He isn’t super speedy, but he knows it. He plays within himself and does his job, allowing the attacking players a chance to do theirs.

      • Agree but at this point, Klinsmann wants a whole other level out of everyone,and I’m sure he is thinking not just 1 level but several more above than what they have been accustom to and as a fan I want to see our boys compete neck to neck with the best in the world.

      • Fair enough, but Jurgen has to know his player’s strengths and weaknesses and since he can’t seem to make good use of Beckerman, it’s just as well that he leaves him in Salt Lake.

      • Of course you can. It’s likely that the US will see a lot of bunkering during qualification, especially if one of the lesser teams gets an early lead. Having the creativity to break a bunker is vital, even from a DMF, and Beckerman, although hardworking, doesn’t have that sort of creativity.

      • And what DMF do we have that is so “creative”? We dont even have an attacking MF that is creative.

        I am fairly shocked Beckerman was left off, because for me he is the best at what Klinsman wants out of the #6. Is Danny Williams a better athlete? Sure. Will he eventually surpass Beckerman? We all think so, but he has reportedly been riding pine in Germany for months. Bradley needs to play higher up. Edu has also struggled for playing time recently. Maybe Jones? I dont know, but everyone who hates on Beckerman and rails at his “lack of international pace” should watch for some of the things he does to break up counters and the way he uses positioning to help his teammates and offer passing outlets. Ok rant over. Not directed at you Matt.

      • You can, cause that is what is going to happen when we play every home game sans Mexico. They will all play bunker ball against us. Beckerman has to adapt to the game

      • Plenty of teams in MLS bunker against RSL. So the argument that Beckerman can’t play against that type of approach is shallow IMO. The difference is RSL has a true #10 in Javier Morales. Beckerman’s role with USMNT isn’t to crack the defense, it’s to facilitate the offense; get the ball to the playmakers in places where they can make plays. Well, show me the playmakers on the field in that Canada game. Evans? Zusi? Davis? Nope. They’re all decent players but they’re not going to split the defense, they’re going to take what the defense gives them which is entirely different.

      • But that’s the thing. Beckerman is bad against teams that put him under pressure, but he’s excellent when he has time. Generally, Beckerman keeps the ball circulating much better than any of Jones, Edu, or Williams.

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