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A closer look at the USMNT Depth Chart: Wide Midfielders

Landon Donovan

photo by David Bernal/


From the emergence of Graham Zusi to the return of Landon Donovan to the introduction of Julian Green, the U.S. Men’s National Team saw its options at outside midfield grow exponentially this cycle.

That may have been welcome relief for Jurgen Klinsmann, but now come the tough choices for the U.S. head coach.

Klinsmann is less than a week away from having to name his preliminary 30-man World Cup roster, and the wide midfield spots are another set of positions that he will have to think very carefully about. There are so many capable players on each flank – especially when you consider that fullback Fabian Johnson and forward Eddie Johnson are still candidates to play on the outside of the midfield – and that makes Klinsmann’s decisions all the more important ahead of a tricky World Cup group stage.

Here is a closer look at Klinsmann’s current wide midfield options:


The U.S.’s all-time leader in goals and assists has recently talked about having to earn his place on the plane to Brazil, but there is no denying that Donovan is still one of the best players in the pool when he’s on his game. On top of that, the 32-year-old midfielder is versatile enough to play either wide position and also capable of filling in up top. He also has three World Cups under his belt, can successfully drift wide or tuck in, tracks back well and is playing game-in and game-out for the LA Galaxy.


One of the players to really make a name for himself this cycle, Zusi is a sure bet to be on the final 23-man roster. He has an impressive work rate, can take set pieces, tucks in effectively and combines well with teammates. Whether he starts is up in the air, however, given the other options that Klinsmann has at his disposal. Zusi, 27, is making an impact on a consistent basis for reigning MLS Cup champions Sporting Kansas City, but he is primarily only a right midfield option for the U.S. and that hurts his chances of being a regular in the lineup a bit.


Having being one of the final cuts ahead of the 2010 World Cup, Bedoya is hungry to make it to Brazil this summer. He should be there given that he has an endless motor, some good technical abilities and can play on either flank. The recently-turned 27-year-old Bedoya has settled in nicely at FC Nantes this season and has found a regular starting role, leaving him in contention for a place in the Americans’ lineup at this summer’s tournament.


The young teenage sensation with so much potential is still a bit of an unknown at the international level. Yes, Green made his debut and showed some flashes in the 2-2 draw vs. Mexico last month, but the jury is still out on if he is able to make an impact at the international level at this point in his career. Green recently recovered from the shoulder injury sustained in that friendly, but has still only seen time for Bayern Munich’s reserve team. Klinsmann is high on Green, but the U.S. head coach will have to think long and hard as to whether the 18-year-old prodigy is worth taking to Brazil.


Currently not seeing the field for Stoke City, Shea seems unlikely to find himself on the plane to Brazil. The 24-year-old midfielder has not played in a competitive match since representing Barnsley back on March 1, and his loan at the club ended early after a notorious incident with a fan. Still, Klinsmann is known for liking what Shea brings to the table and that could at least earn the lanky player a chance at proving his worth in the preliminary World Cup camp.


The Houston Dynamo leader is seeing consistent minutes with his struggling club, but not even that is enough to assure him of a place in the 30-man pre-World Cup roster that will convene in California later this month. Davis, 32, is able to whip in a steady dose of accurate crosses and has a deadly foot on set pieces, but he has struggled to really make an impact in his last few cameos at the international level. That hurts the likelihood of him heading to Brazil, but does not rule him out completely. A strong camp, if Davis is invited, could make Klinsmann rethink things.


Despite finishing Club Tijuana’s Liga MX season not seeing as much playing time as he would like, Corona is still an option due to his ability on the ball. What helps the versatile 23-year-old midfielder’s cause is that he is able to play centrally as well, and that is important in a long tournament like the World Cup where depth is almost always tested. Corona will have to hope that his previous contributions for the U.S. combined with his recent outings for Xolos are enough to earn him a pre-World Cup camp invite.


What do you think of Klinsmann’s options at the outside midfield spots? How many of these players would you take to Brazil? Who would you like to see start on the right and left?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Timmy Chandler for Right Back, Brek Shea as relief man. And Altidore is Alt no more. Start Aron Johansson instead!!!

  2. The way you talk about these players sounds like in fact, Klinsmann does’t have that many options for midfield.

    Bedoya, Donovan and Zusi seem like his only dependable options. Am I missing something here?

  3. After reading through all of the comments… I come away with one thing and one thing only….

    Dirk is a very weird dude who clearly has a lot of conspiracy theories and a deep seeded hate of Dempsey and monstrous love for Germericans…

    Dirk.. If Green makes the team it will be the last spot available… maybe even a placate spot… JK is absolutely in charge of the USMNT, Dempsey is going to start every group stage match if healthy. Donovan and JK get along just fine.

    • +1 He (or she) strongly resembles expat4455 who went berserk several weeks ago and disappeared but most likely was still posting under other names and on this thread too. ronniet up above has that smell to it.

      • Because some posters are a waste of time to try to engage in intelligent conversation. Once we learn who they are it is nice to be able to immediately identify them as the nuisances they are and just ignore them rather than having to discover it all over again.

      • Most posters “are a waste of time to try to engage in intelligent conversation.”

    • Ha ha … since I’m killing time at work here are some things I’ve noticed over the past few weeks of reading threads while I’m waiting for the 30-man camp roster to be announced:

      – I think “Landon Klinsmann” believes Donovan’s form is bad right now and doesn’t like people basing opinions of him now on his lifetime achievements. I think a lot of people interpret this as him not liking Donovan, which may or may not be the case (not really clear to me). He seems to be a huge Dempsey supporter and I think he believes ultimately Donovan and Dempsey are competing for the same spot (withdrawn forward) and that Dempsey will win the spot.

      – “Slow Left Arm” appears to want the US team to be made up of people that grow up and learn how to play soccer in the US so he is not a big fan of the Germerican, Johanssen, Diskerud, etc. A lot of people seem to interpret this as him being a bigot, which may or may not be the case. He seems to really dislike the hype about Green to the point where he kind of seems obsessed about it.

      – “Expat” was obsessed about Green making the final 23-man roster, made a bunch of predictions and bets with other posters and seems to have disappeared after the Mexico game. I think he is also a huge Donovan fan so if Donovan shows well at the World Cup, I would expect to see a re-emergence. It is almost certain he will show up again if Green has a good cup (assuming he makes the team).

      Here’s what I think:

      – Dempsey and Donovan competing for the withdrawn forward. Donovan would probably need to lose a lot of wieght (10 – 15 pounds) from what he looked like against Mexico in order to get quickness and speed up to a level where he can beat out Dempsey. If Dempsey wins spot, Donovan goes to outside half pool. If Donovan wins the spot, Dempsey goes to striker pool to compete with Altidore (and others) for starting spot. I don’t think Dempsey can play outside half because I think he would be too much of a defensive liability. Based on performances against Mexico, I think Dempsey clearly has the nod over Donovan right now, but I think the starter against Ghana will ultimately be determined in the month leading up to the cup.

      – I think Green will make the final 23-man roster, not because I think he is the next Pele, I just see the outside halfback pool as pretty weak and I think he will show a better ability to take people on one v one during the camp. Green was critisized heavily on this site for a poor clearance that led to the second Mexican goal, but Zusi, who he will clearly be competing with for an outside halfback spot, gave up an unforced corner kick by lack of awarness that led to the first goal. I think Zusi is a lock to make the final 23, but I think other than that, this position is pretty wide open (excluding Donovan who may be considered an outside halfback by Klinsmann).

      – I think Fabian Johnson will ultimately be playing an outside back leaving fewer options for outside half creating an extra spot there.

      – I think Klinsmann is going to try Diskerud as an outside halfback during the 30-man camp. If he outperforms the competition, this is how he can get into the final 23-man roster; I don’t think he will make it if Klinsmann sees him as only being able to play centrally.

      – There will be three different starting lineups in the three group games and Klinsmann will use a lot of players (maybe even all 20 field players). I don’t think he is going to bring anyone he doesn’t contimplate using in certain situations. The results of the prior games will impact starting lineups (always does, but he just has a lot more options than Bradley had last cup) and I think he will do a lot to try to limit minutes of some of his key players (especially Bradley, Donovan, Jones, and Dempsey – assuming these guys are in good form).

      – Landon Klinsmann, Slow Leftarm, and Expat probably won’t like this post and at least one of them will lash out at me.

      • Doh! I wish I had old telecasters to base an opinion. I play teleasters because they hold their tune well and are pretty rugged compared to Gibson’s that I have trouble keeping in tune during live shows. I love the tele lipstick pickup but I swap out the bridge pickup for a Seymour Duncan and I think it is called the little 57. Might not even be the right year; I needed a screen name so I just picked that one.

      • Oops! Seymour Duncan is a humbucker so it was designed to sound like a Les Paul which is why I switch out the pickup. That might clarify what I meant a little … I think we’re on the wrong blog …

      • Very insightful post 57Tele. I believe even Expat would agree. But he did disappear. I hope he comes back, even if he has strong beliefs about what Julian Green means for the USMNT, obsessive even.

  4. This list is just sad…

    Jozy struggles without service and we don’t have anyone to give it to him.

    Clint is old and he isn’t even a real #10; he creates well for himself but not for others. Donovan would be a really good impact sub but he’s lost a step and I don’t think he can’t do what he does best (play at a really high pace, beat teams on the counter) for 90 minutes. Anyway, distribution was never the best part of his game. I don’t think Coentrao or Schmlezer will have any troubles keeping Graham Zusi under lock and key and even if he can provide good aerial service when in space (which he won’t get), his crosses are so predictable. Bedoya can’t do anything good on the right (where he has only played under Klinsmann) and I don’t know if Corona is good enough. And no way in hell Shea or Davis should make the final 23.

    After Gonzalez gets picked on for a couple goals I don’t see how we’re going to come back. In any of these games.

  5. I wouldn’t be suprised to see diskerud play wide in the 30 man camp. Most of the people that klinsmann plays wide for the dont play there for their club . I don’t think bedoya even plays wide anymore from reports. I think we can’t get stuck relying too much on players playing every minute like bradley and donovan last cup who both ran out gas against ghana at the 70th minute. I think klinsman wants to be able to use a lot more players than were used last cup and I think there is morexdepth now so people who can play multiple positions will be valued more. Kind of cool that there is enuff depth for people to debate so much.

  6. Thinking of our WC group opponents, JK needs to make selections based on tactics and game strategy. Strong 2-way players, and players who can switch in the field of play, are highly valued.
    Donovan and Bedoya are in because they are the best available to track on defense, can hold the ball, and transition quickly. Shea and Davis are one-dimensional role players, and bring limited value to the team against our group opponents.
    I’d place either Beasley or F Johnson in the MF group, depending on game tactics. We could see Chandler and Cameron at outside back, and one of Beasley or Johnson supporting the midfield.
    I’d also put E Johnson as a candidate in the group for his pace and physicality. We not beating anyone in this group on skill. There may be a game situation where he shifts to that role. His value is he can shift from striker to the outside if tactics change.
    If we bring one more MF from the group, I’d place my bet on Corona. He’s arguably the most skilled in this pool at attacking with the dribble, and I don’t see Green as beng ready to make the jump to WC yet.

  7. Here is were are, in the same place Germany was in 2006. Then, Germany with the world-cup starting in only a few days they thought they needed to sack their coach, they had a meeting, because it was less that a week before Germany would open, it was important, everyone knew that, They talked it over, Löw would run the team,

    Then afterwards, my favorite team, Bayern made the most stupid move they, or any team for that matter, could have made. The bought the Klinsi snake-oil. It will go down in history as the dumbest thing Bayern München has ever done.

      • I believe it has already been done John. I think we saw it in Klinsi’s tv interview just after the Green transfer. And for sure with the sacking of Vasquez and bringing in Berti.

        What I am saying is that everything that could be done to make our best play in Brazil has been done. Now, let’s see what May and beyond brings. I know the USMNT is in good hands now.

  8. If you get rid of Donovan’s legacy and only focus on what he has done since Klinsmann has been coach, what is his argument for getting on the plane? It isn’t like he is head and shoulders above everyone else anymore. Fabian, Bedoya, and Zusi have all been better wide midfielders than Donovan under JK. If Donovan is dogging it at camp and Klinsmann decides to go for Davis (the better crosser), Castillo (the better dribbler), or Green (faster) so be it.

    Donovan isn’t the best player on the team anymore and he acts like more of a loaner than a leader. Personally, I don’t think he makes the team better anymore and highlights from 4 years ago aren’t going to change that. He is 32, not 42. He needs to shut up and play or politely go back to Cambodia.

    • Since I really like Bradley, I wouldn’t necessarily argue that Donovan is any longer the best field player on the team (although I think its still a close question). But I do think that Donovan is still the best offensive player. Consider the 2013 USMNT statistics for the midfielders you mentioned: Donovan – 8 goals and 8 assists for 24 points in 10 games; Fabian Johnson – 0 goals and 3 assists for 3 points in 8 games; Bedoya – 1 goal and 4 assists for 6 points in 12 games; Zusi – 2 goals and 2 assists for 6 points in 12 games. Donovan also did better when compared to the forwards: Altidore – 8 goals and 2 assists for 18 points in 14 games; Dempsey – 6 goals and 2 assists for 14 points in 10 games; Wondolowski – 6 goals and 1 assist for 13 points in 9 games. You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but I know who’d be my first pick to start against Ghana.

      • The Gold Cup was a tournament made up of a bunch of CONCACAF B teams. Him being the best player on the junior varsity team means little.

      • It’s certainly fair to comment on the level of competition faced in the Gold Cup and to take that into account. But it’s not reasonable to be quite so dismissive of Donovan’s performance on that basis. He was clearly the best of all the players at the tournament, including our own. And his 8 goals and 8 assists for 24 points in 2013 is the best one-year performance ever recorded by a member of the USMNT.

      • In 2002 terms Mikey has the Reyna role and Landon just needs to figure out what combination of his old role, JOB, and Josh Wolff that he needs to do.

  9. Not sure why everyone is writing Davis off. He started the Mexico match a month ago. I’m pretty sure he’ll be in the camp, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up on the plane.

    • He started over Donovan and Green who we know are going to camp. He was more a place holder than anything else. I don’t think he will even be in camp.

  10. To me, the vast majority of the above comments that discuss the role of Landon Donovan at the World Cup fail entirely to address the only thing that really matters. True, Donovan’s lost a step. Maybe Donovan doesn’t have quite the stamina he used to have. And yes, Klinsmann has played silly games regarding Donovan’s place on the team. So what! Klinsmann knows, regardless of all other considerations, that Donovan still has the exceptional vision and passing skill that has made him the all time leader in assists for the MNT. Whatever else Donovan may or may not do, he still creates more goal-scoring chances, by far, than anyone else on the roster. Among our attacking players, no one else comes close. In 2013 Donovan had eight assist for the MNT, which was twice as many as second-best Bedoya. Going to the World Cup, no one in his right mind would leave a team’s best creator of goal-scoring chances behind and no one in his right mind would leave him on the bench. If the US is going to have any chance to get out of the group, Donovan, Dempsey and Bradley will have to start every game and all play the games of their lives. And if Donovan were replaced by anyone else, based upon the history of far fewer assists by any potential replacement, our goal-scoring potential would be reduced significantly.

    • I agree with most of your sentiment and I want to see Donovan out there too. I just don’t know if he has enough in the tank to start every game. Especially not all 7 WC games (tongue in cheek). You have to be mindful of his endurance at this point in his career. A worn out Donovan won’t be our best option.

      • You’re surely right that at his age that’s a risk. And I know he’s been talking about having to pace himself. But I haven’t seen much evidence that that’s really been a problem. Hasn’t he played the full 90 every game this year? And didn’t he do the same last year, once he rounded into shape after his sabbatical? He didn’t have to sit anything out at the Gold Cup, did he?

    • Great post. And to the list of our veterans who must play the game of their lives I would certainly add Howard. And probably Jermaine Jones and Altidore. How those 6 players play will determine whether we get out of the group or get beat down.

    • i’m pretty sure fans don’t. i’d say most of us would prefer him there. but since we all know JK is going to play him at LB, why even bother discussing Beasley in the LM pool? it’s a waste of time.

    • The fact that he can play both wing and LB make him a lock to go. I still think his best position is left wing, myself. Fact is, except for a couple of times under Bradley, about the only time DmB has played LB has been under JK. His whole club career he has played wing.

      • to be fair, he plays wingback for Puebla in a 5 man defense. so at least one club has played him there.

    • I don’t want him as a winger because I doubt he would last 90 there.

      At full back he has the whole field ahead of him and is better able to time his attacking runs.

      If he is classified only as a left winger he does not go to Brazil

    • i honestly don’t even know what to think with him anymore. i figured he down and out but he played well for Xolos to end the season strong and played well in the playoffs despite Xolos getting eliminated. obviously he should be in the left back conversation since that is where JK plays him, but i agree, he is absolutely in the outside mid conversation a bit too. his drive forward against Panama that led to Zusi’s goal was great. obviously we know defense isn’t his strong suit though.

    • I’ve been feeling the say way about Castillo for a bit now. Every talks about how he can’t defend but I always thought to myself we can’t go to the WC and play like a bunch of p*ssies and respect the other team all the time. We need people that will attack without prejudice.

      • being too aggressive to the point of carelessness (which Castillo has been guilty of) is a sure fire way to lose.

      • All our past WC teams have had the solid all round player who gives a lot defensively flavor to them and it hasn’t really worked that well for us. Look at the last WC game against Ghana or both times we got eliminated by Ghana we were missing a player like Castillo off the bench in those situations. I didn’t ask him to be in the starting 11. Just considered for the 23 because of his attacking ability

    • I’d add two things to the above statements about Castillo
      1. Yea he’s played well the last few weeks with Tijuana, but those games are so wide open, how much actual “defending” does he do? Not a lot.. won’t be the case in Brazil
      2. Yea I like his touch on the ball and quickness to drive at people, but he just as often either takes on too many guys or gives it away too easily.
      If someone.. Either his club coach or JK would commit to making him a full time midfielder, you got my vote… but not this cycle.

      • exactly, but look how good he is getting forward. i can see both arguments for Parkhurst and Castillo in terms of who should be in the 30. late game sub (because that’s what we are talking about here), i honestly would prefer Castillo. but it’s tough because Beasley is the same type of player. i’m torn.

      • I think you nailed the problem for Castillo: he brings nothing that someone else doesn’t bring, and they all bring more. Take DMB for example: speedy like Castillo, dangerous on the wing. But DMB showed that he could actually learn how to defend (he’s not perfect, but he’s way ahead of Castillo).

        The player Castillo actually seems more in competition with is Shea: fast wingers you bring on as subs to make something happen—and I think if you’re going for a wild card, no one is more unpredictable/unexplainable than Shea.

      • for sure. the thing is, Castillo has looked better than Beasley over the past couple of months. add in Beasley’s injury and you start wondering if JK would bring both. especially since he has during the entire cycle. i need this 30 man roster to come out already!

      • Yea getting this 30 man roster out can give us all a different reason to pretend we all know what we’re talking about!!!
        But seriously, if I’m forced to choose one, I’d go with DMB because of his experience.
        If I’m Castillo, after this season I’m pushing for a future as a midfielder, whether at TJ or elsewhere. He even says he sux at defending. If he could make the move permanently, he could make a serious push for PT in the next cycle

      • LOL
        You have to want to learn. Telling the world you aren’t good at it is the wrong attitude.

      • DMB is a Castillo with more experience. They both can’t defend and DMB was fast now he’s just average. Scottish league really wears the body out

      • Ives please reduce the above fontsize commensurate with the level of insight.. say, 4-points or so

      • “DMB is a Castillo with more experience.”

        No he is not.

        DMB’s injury issues began before he went to Rangers.

        I like Edgar but they used to call him “cement head ” for a reason.

        He’s better physically and maybe athletically than DMB at this point but he is not even half the soccer player Beasley was or is even now.

      • Parkhurst is really out of the question. He’s a late game sub defender for the USMNT at best. I really don’t think he’s WC material. Theres someone better than Parkurst at every skill set he has.

        1. He’s a natural CB, and if he wanted to play CB for the NT he’d be bottom of the totem pole.
        2.He lacks speed & size
        3.He gives absolutely nothing going forward.
        4.He has no left foot at all. I don’t know why people even discuss him at LB

        I don’t rate Parkhurst at all and I don’t think he belongs any where near the 30.

      • Parkhurst is most certainly not out of the picture even though i agree with you. but JK likes him and he’s as close to a lock for the 30 man roster as can be; outside of guys like Bradley. while he does not provide much going forward, he is a capable defender and he’s versatile. we’ve seen his ability when at the top of his game (e.g. when he shut down Hazard) but he isn’t there right now…nor has he been since that season.

        it doesn’t matter what you or i think though. i’m saying i can’t tell what’s going to happen with Castillo/Parkhurst in terms of what JK is going to do. even Ream and Evans could be thrown into that mix. out of Castillo, Parkhurst, Ream, and Evans i have no idea who JK will bring. i know who i would bring though.

      • In terms of actually being able to defend I would only rate the following ahead of Parkhurst: F. Johnson, Cameron and Matt Besler. There are others that are better going forward than Parkhurst but the most important attribue of a defender is being able to defend.

      • Okay, here is my back line prediction for Ghana.

        Chandler-Bresler-Brooks- Cameron.

        Then in the second half:

        Chandler- Cameron-Brooks- Yedlin

      • Funny. I agree with all 4 of your statements. Yet I still rate him ahead of Evans, Castillo, Yedlin, Lichaj and Ream.

        He is solid defensively, which against the wingers we will face is the most important attribute for our fullbacks. He doesn’t make blunders, he just holds his own. He can play both left are right. He doesn’t have a left foot, but he isn’t attacking the opposing goal anyway so that really doesn’t affect him much.

        Klinsman will want to take some risks on the final roster. That means some players like Brooks, Shea, Chandler or Green will make that team. (to be clear I’m not saying all those 4 will) He will also need to take some safe, non-sexy picks to balance out the roster. Parkhurst is the epitome of safe and not sexy.

  11. Please, no EJ “triple stepover back pass” on the wing.

    It’s interesting, we have a bunch of useful attacking players that can go wide and cut inside, but I don’t see any “true wingers”(LD, Zusi like to pinch in, Bedoya prefers in the hole), besides ole Brek (scary thought).

    Here’s an interesting read:

    It’s totally plausible to see maybe Bedoya and Zusi on the wings with Altidore up top against Ghana, but then LD and A Bacon as the wingers against Portugal. Deuce and Jozy stay on.

    • Or LD and Fab J, rather. But I still do think A Bacon can play on the wing. This type of rotation would allow us to play Jk’s frantic pressing game and keep guys fresh. We have to play to our strengths. Having depth in “good” attacking players is 1 of them.

      • I think he might have played there in a friendly for the nats, and looked like he could play the part. I believe he did some good work on the wing and in the midfield during the Bosnia friendly? Either way, he’s quick, tricky and fits the role, which is he doesn’t have the size to play as a lone striker. Nowadays, forwards are forced to play as wingers because of the lone striker system.

      • Its hard to know when Klinsmann just starts throwing on strikers at the end of friendlies. I remember the end of the Ukraine match was a total mess.

      • I don’t see AJ used out wide unless JK brings out the 4-3-3. In the 4-2-3-1 we’ve been playing the majority of the last two years, there is some defensive responsibilities of the wide player that I’m not sure AJ is cut out for. In fact, AJ just doesn’t fit anywhere in the 4-2-3-1, and will probably be used as a late sub when we switch to the 4-4-2.

      • I might be the only one but I still think Johannsson’s spot is up for grabs as much as anyone’s. I think he needs to show in camp and in the friendlies this ankle knock isn’t effecting his play and can pull out of this recent drop off in form.

      • I also do not think he’s a lock. Klinsi does not rate the Dutch League, and Bacon’s slowed down.

      • JE Matador,

        Currently AJ is carrying an ankle injury and is ice cold not having scored in some time.

        He is not suited to playing on the USMNT wing because defence is not his strong suit and JK gives his left wingers defensive responsiblities.

        AJ may not even get invited to camp depending on his ankle and is certainly 50/50 to make the 23. Ankle injuries linger and are tricky to resolve.

        Aron (6 feet tall) is the same size as Daniel Sturridge, Luis Suarez , Edinson Cavani and Falcao guys who have played alone up front. Forwards play on the wing for a variety of reasons not just because of the lone striker system.

        Other that I agree with your post.

    • I fully expect JK to play three very different lineups for each match—including different subs. And not just the attackers.

      • I wouldn’t be surprised to see this either. What do you think he’ll do in midfield and at the back? Maybe some Beckerman or Edu in the middle of the park, some Goodson, Parkhurst at the back? Should be interesting to see how many players he actually uses

      • I see different strategies for each match. JK has all the arrogance, confidence, and daring of a world-class striker, but he’s not reckless. Thus, I see him aiming high, but not ridiculously high:

        vs Ghana: dominate them. Play like we really are the 13th best team in the world and they are only 38th.

        vs. Portugal: see them as equals whose weaknesses we will exploit.

        vs. Germany: respect their dominance. Frustrate them to a draw—and who knows? maybe we get lucky and win 1-0.

        It’s hard to think about specific players though before we know the roster.

      • agree. but man, for #1, i remember in 2006 when we were #4 and Ghana was #50. that was brutal.

      • Everything about Ghana matches is brutal—but Klinsmann is the Exorcist!

        Thing is, we have never really been #4—not in 2002 or 2006 or today. 13th is realistic though (optimistic, but still realistic).

  12. For those going on about LD being left off the plane. Just remeber if any sure lock should be left off plane its Altidore

    • I would say Shea has had years worth of opportunities for club and country and has proven he is not yet ready with his attitude, maturity, intelligence on/off the field, practice/game.

      Green? Who knows, but very credible managers and players have had lots of good things to say about him, his skills and his work ethic. The need to keep FJ at LB and lack of speedy, dynamic options at LW merit at least giving him a shot.

    • I would do the exact opposite. Why? Results. Green is a huge talent with fantastic potential, but he is not ready yet. Can we please let him develop and maybe start an actual first team match at club level bfore expecting him to contribute at the World Cup! Shea, for all his faults, has repeatedly made a positive impact for the usmnt

      • Does anyone know what the status on Green is? I don’t think he’s even gotten back to playing from the injury yet.

      • Shea is an immature, lazy and clearly out of form so why bring him?! You can’t reward continual immaturity and someone who just doesn’t seem to care about being a professional, especially in a WC year and with the group we’re facing! I’m sorry but he’s a no for me!

  13. I don’t understand saying that Zusi can only play on the right. He switches sides with SKC all the time. And he had two exceptional passes — one of which was scored on — in last week’s game while playing on the left.

    And although we haven’t seen JK use Zusi this way, Graham could play in the midfield if needed.

    • The author wasn’t saying that Zusi can only play on the right. He was saying that Klinsmann only plays him there for the Nats.

  14. Donavon – experience in many WC still has skill despite lost step

    Bedoya – Superb club form brings flair and if you’re starting Altidore as lone striker he can make runs inside

    Zusi – Raised his stock over last year, can cross but isnt more skilled than bedoya

    Corona – Is getting first team ball. Proved he has skill at gold cup. A little similar to bedoya?

    Green – Young energetic, Flair and proved to have the 1 v1 ability we lack up front. PLAYS FOR BAYERN MUNICH

    Davis – He’s ahead of shea because he actually plays, and jurgen has some faith in him, strong left foot. Not a big fan of him at international level (slow)

    Shea – Super sub. Last because lack of first team ball, refuses to close in on full potential

    • They crazy thing is only on of our outside midfielders Shea, truly plays wide like a out and out winger. Everyone else pinches in a little. Zusi pinches in alot

      • It usually takes pace to play like a true winger. Most of these guys don’t have so they instead need to cut in or unload an early cross. Funny you call out Zusi specifically as I’d say he is the 2nd best crosser of the bunch only behind Davis, who realistically isn’t making this team.

    • With the exception of one two minute appearance, Green plays for Bayern Munich reserves in the fourth division. A pretty meaningful distinction if you ask me.

      • You are so right slow. Now I can’t wait until the first 2 of the 3 send-off friendlies to hear what you will say then.

      • Dirk, don’t you know that man loves to hate dual nationals??? It’s kind of pathetic if you ask me but to each his own!!!!

      • Of course I know that ronniet, he is a bigot afterall. However, as the future of the USMNT unfolds it will be clear, even to him. But, for sure, he will deny it.

      • To be fair, he can probably still say the same thing. He plays for the reserve Bayern team.

  15. How do you not include J.F. Torres?! Not even his primary position and still plays it better than Shea ( 0 minutes as of late), Davis ( set pieces is all he can do), and Green ( way to wet behind the ears).

    • you said it. Not his primary position. He isn’t in the competition for this role. He has been tried at left mid plenty, the position doesn’t suit him.

      • He has improved as a left mid (see Gold Cup) and is still better than Shea or Davis. And of course as a center mid he’s great, much better than all of our other options except for Bradley and Jones, but has never been tried there (one 45 minute appearance). It’s a huge shame he’s not in the picture. My guess is that Klinsmann doesn’t think he’s a big game player.

      • unfortunately to the point you made, I did see the Gold Cup and if that was your definition of improved I hate to think where he started. Torres really really struggled on the left. I remember one game specifically where he completed less than half his passes, and they weren’t crosses or anything special. He was a turnover machine.
        Torres doesn’t fit the mold of an American CDM. He doesn’t have the physical strength or even the defensive fight to play that role. Offensively he is good from that #6 spot, but his defensive makes him way too big of a liability.

      • Torres actually looked pretty good on the left during the Gold Cup. When he didn’t start in the final, the commentators said they were really surprised because they thought he was one of the best players in the tournament. He’s not a good left winger but our options are that bad. I would definitely take him there over Davis and Shea.

        Torres is not an American style DM. Defensively he’s not great. His natural position is as a deep-lying playmaker. You can use one of those in a 4-5-1 if you pair him with a #6 who can cover with him. You don’t want two #6’s in a 4-5-1, you want two different players who complement each other well. Only one has to be really good defensively.

        Diskerud has been tried in this role and I don’t see why Torres hasn’t. Diskerud is a better #10 but that’s more his natural position; Torres is someone who distributes well from deeper back. I’d say Torres is a better CM and a better player.

      • I agree with you that Torres is a better CM than Mix. He just doesn’t fit well in our system and there is a lot of depth at CM, more than any other position.

        I still completely disagree that Torres looked good in the Gold Cup. I was not shocked at all that Klinsmann benched him, it was the right decision.

  16. The only locks in this position are Zusi and Bedoya. Donovan is a lock to an extent but I think if he doesn’t go to camp and give it his all during practice Klinsmann won’t mind leaving him behind. The French league has done wonders for Bedoya and he’s our clear cut number one at this time.


    • I think you’re right about Donovan. He seems perfectly positioned to be used as an example to everyone else: “Don’t think you’ll be cut? Well, Klinsmann just sent Donovan home early. What do you think about that?”

      Don’t anyone get me wrong: I do not think JK holds some kind of grudge against Donovan. I do think he holds Donovan to a higher standard. Thus, if it’s between Donovan and another player who shows about as well in camp, I could see Klinsmann cutting Donovan out of disappointment.

      • I disagree – I do think he holds some kind of grudge against Donovan. I agree that he could wind up being left home because JK feels like he needs to prove something. More likely, he’ll be on the plane but left on the bench in favor of one of JK’s favorites.

      • What grudge? To me, it comes down to his effort in practice. Kilnsmann has said if you are not putting 100% in at all times there is no place on the team. I really just think he expects more out of a veteran and to lead by example.

      • Almost 2 years ago this became an issue because LD took his sabbatical
        LD redeemed himself.
        Everyone moved on except the press.
        There is no grudge.. period…
        JK will make his decision on LD’s playing time based on fitness and performance… but he will be on the squad.
        The only ones keeping talk of any “grudge” alive are Lalas and Twellman… There has been no evidence of any issues in a long time…ZERO…

      • Didn’t Donovan say in a recent interview that as he grows older he is learning to hold back a little in some practices so he has more to give in the games? Maybe it had to do with the Galaxy as opposed to the national team, but it leads me to wonder if JK is seeing this from him.

      • Just to compare. How does Dempsey look on the “100%” all the time scale, veteran and leading by example. I think LD trumps Dempsey in all categories.
        That said, both are on the plane to Brazil.

      • Dempsey plays hard. His temper servers him well in that capacity.
        Donovan has played hard when the time called for it. I don’t think his work ethic trumps Duece’s.
        Dempsey has an attitude problem on occasion (okay often) but I don’t question his work ethic.

      • I don’t think there is a grudge. Donovan had the veteran treatment with previous coaches, did what he wanted on the field and they let him play on his merit. Klinsmann is the kind of coach that stresses competition during practice and organization on the field. He did the same to Podolski at Bayern all he wants is a team that feels they are equal and will fight for each other.

      • I wouldn’t put it all on Klinsmann wanting to prove something though. Donovan has been stop/start lately.
        Good but rarely his best. Awesome during the Gold cup but He clearly wants to retire after the World Cup. You can tell every-time he is interviewed now.

      • i think people are being ridiculous when they question if LD will be on the plane. that said, his interviews are starting to annoy me. no bite, no determination, no fire. he keeps trying to say he doesn’t care about the scoring record. well, maybe you should because he should have surpassed it at this point. when i hear him say he isn’t a lock, i get annoyed because he should be saying, “F yeah i’m a lock and i’m going to tear it up.”

        i get it, he’s trying to be the veteran, older, wiser player…but come on dude, get pumped!

      • Oh LD is going. That’s no problem but I don’t think he can do 3 group games back to back.

      • for sure, i didn’t mean to make it seem like i thought you were saying LD won’t go. that was just a quick vent during my response to your point.

        i agree with what you said regarding him starting 2 out of 3. i think that’ll be the goal, but i think a lot of that will depend on our results.

      • This has been bugging me about LD too! “I’ll be honored and happy with any role I can play.” Barf. Will you be happy as team laundry boy? sous chef? mascot? Maybe you could hold Graham’s hand as he walks out on the field to start?

        I want to hear him say, “Look, we’re all Americans and I hope for the best for Graham and Alejandro and everyone else, but if they want a starting spot then they’re going to have to tear it from the clutches of my burning corpse. I am going to Brazil. Ghana: you are going to pay.”

      • I’ve been looking at Donovan’s attitude as trying to be less abrasive. He clearly rubbed some people including JK wrong early on. Now he is trying to say “I have to earn it”. I’m okay with all that. I agree that it would be nice to hear him follow that statement with “I’m going to earn it, not based on my past performance for the US, but because of how good I am right now”

      • I don’t understand your first point with previous coaching and veteran treatment. Donovan wasn’t exactly a slouch while playing for Bradley. He was, without doubt, our most important player for the past 2 WC cycles, and was absolutely clutch in South Africa. It wasn’t “veteran treatment” – it was him being our best player.

      • I just feel like he’s been treated shabbily given everything he’s accomplished. Even in the game against Mexico recently he was reduced to a sub role. I admit he looked fat and slow when he came on which doesn’t help my argument. We’re also not there so we don’t really know.

        It may just be that I’m a huge LD fan and that makes me biased. I bet regardless of what happens, he’ll retire from the USMNT after Brazil.

      • SLA,

        I think y’all are being unfair to JK.

        He has only ever said two things about LD. He has acknowledged his greatness and he has also acknowledged LD’s issues with his motivation.

        It’s unfortunate LD’s career has gone all ambiguous just as JK was taking over. That forced JK to turn to Dempsey. No sense in building a spine around a player who might retire tomorrow.

        JK has been in LD’s shoes, the aging superstar. Do you really think he doesn’t understand that Landon is not exactly “reliable” in terms of that all out 100% commitment to the cause?

        Landon is, even now, the best all-around soccer player the US has or ever had.
        But everything about his recent behavior should tell you his heart is not really in it anymore. At least not to a World Cup level. Among other things, he has been dealing with a series of niggling injuries something he has never had before and I suspect he has yet to adjust to the betrayal of his body.

        Some players never adjust and retire.

        Some players figure it out and, make adjustments and redeploy themselves.

        If he wants to go there, I don’t think Landon is there yet.

        I suspect JK thinks a 90% committed Donovan is good enough for the 23 but maybe not for the starting 11. And I suspect JK is hoping Landon can get it together but the signs are bad.

        I think JK was halfway pushing Landon a bit with the half second half appearances business in the Mexico game. I’m hoping they had a closed door meeting afterwards and threw chairs and punches at each other. Instead you get LD saying this mealy mouthed crap about just being happy to be there and doing my part, a PC passive aggressive non answer.

        I don’t expect or want to hear that from the best player on the team, the best America has ever had. I want to hear, in so many words “F++k Zusi and Bedoya they can’t sniff my jock”, “I will make you pay and make all those doubters blow it out their a++.”

        Anyone who thinks the US does not need a 100% healthy and committed LD to get out of the group is delusional. No one in the current pool can approach him as a playmaker, a guy who makes things happen.

        I hope I am very, very wrong but I see no fire in Donovan and his recent form and behavior underscores that.

        The only consistently reliable big time scorers when you really, really need it are Deuce and Donovan. If Donovan stays this way the USMNT is in real trouble.

        You are wrong to put it on JK. If LD is not in Brazil it will probably be because he will realize in the camp or before it that he is not into it and will retire or maybe be forced to. It’s a damn shame.

      • Interesting and really insightful post, GW. But I don’t think you’re right taking Donovan to task for not beating his chest and claiming to be the greatest. That’s never been his style, and he’s not going to change now. I must admit that I don’t like “this mealy mouthed crap about just being happy to be there and doing my part” any more than you do. But I think Donovan is just being careful, being deferential to the boss and trying to avoid saying anything that might get Klinsmann so upset that he does something really stupid.

      • Well GW, it’s too bad the great Herb Brooks has passed on, maybe LD could use the “a bruise on the leg is a helluva long way from the heart” speech…
        I for one agree with MB when he said if we wanna do well we need Landon…
        In addition to some nagging injuries, I wish he’d just get this record goal out of the way.. one less issue he may be pressing on…

        But at the end of the day- I’m predicting that once he gets in camp the competitor takes over, the fire gets lit and the niceties go out the window when it’s go time

      • King GE,

        Boca and Donovan’s situations are not comparable.

        JK wanted to build the defense around Boca and Los proved that to be a bridge too far.

        You might even argue that Boca, much as I love him, was shaky in the 2010 WC. As an international, he’s done.

        Landon still has the talent and the ability. He’s not as fast as he was but Landon is about a lot more than speed.

        He is arguably the US’ most savvy and smartest player. If he really had the fire he would sit down with JK and work out a way to make up for his diminished speed and athleticism. JK need look no further than Robbie Keane to see how you can adjust to aging.

        And maybe he’s done that. We’ll know pretty soon.

      • GW: Boca and LD are absolutely comparable—you just have to know what comparison is being made. Many fans seem astonished and scandalized that Klinsmann would even consider benching the Greatest American HeroTM Landon Donovan, to which I point to how unceremoniously Bocanegra was dropped from the team.

      • Of course slow, Klinsi indeed has a grudge against Donovan. He has one against Chandler too, and many many others, especially against Herrn Rummenigge who sacked him at Bayern. And who, by the way, had to clear Julian Green’s transfer.

        But, don’t you think Bayern knew this negative personality trait of Klinsmann and took firm steps to make sure it would not interfere with business? Do you not think that Klinsi has been talked to and shown by high power people, including U.S. football, what is going on and what he is to do?

      • Lil’ Zeke: I was referring to the possibility of cutting Landon from the 30-man camp, which would instill fear in the remaining 29. (Going further: after the 23 are chosen, “cutting” him from the gameday roster of 18.)

      • Unless, Donovan totally stinks in the camp, he will be on the plane to Brazil. Why would Klinsi want to create a media firestorm around the team with the media headlines that the greatest US player was left behind? And, if the USMNT does not make it out of the group, which is a realistic possibility, would Klinsi want to entertain questions like: Considering Landon’s history of coming up with clutch plays and scoring big goals and his fantastic performance at the Gold Cup, did the team miss his contributions at the group stage?

    • Nope. Donovan is going to shine. He will score at least one goal in the World Cup, making him the only A,euro an to score goals in three World Cup tournaments. Of course, Demsey could equal the feat and become the first American to score in three consecutive tournaments, which would be even more amazing.

      But, LD will put in the work rate and show up big. Then he will retire from the USMNT.

      • when? Circa 2002, 2006 sure. 2010, maybe. 2014 I’ll put my money on Dempsey.

        Donovan still goes down as the most important player in US soccer history to date, but Dempsey is more important to the US right now.

      • Jesse, you may be right since Dempsey seems to have regained his form and is putting his shots away at a rapid clip. But I nevertheless think that a current choice between Dempsey and Donovan is a much closer question than you suggest. Neither Dempsey nor any other of our forwards is going to do much without good service. And Donovan is still, by far, the best on the roster when it comes to creating goal-scoring opportunities for others. If Dempsey is out, I would still expect Donovan to create opportunities that Dempsey’s replacement can (and hopefully will) finish. If Donovan is out, I’d be far less confident that his replacement will create anything close to the same number of goal-scoring opportunities that LD would provide.

      • If Dempsey is out, Donovan is his replacement. So that’s not really fair. Either way, you have to replace the wing position Donovan starts at. Donovan is a better creator than Dempsey, but Dempsey is certainly a better finisher.

      • Dempsey has skill and has been scoring, no doubt.
        He can also be selfish and lazy, flops and jaws at refs and team mates when the ball is still in play, instead of getting on with trying to put the ball in the net. Donovan I’ve rarely if ever seen not give 100%. MB has all the qualities you want in a captain. Committed, focused, cerebral. I get the impression that Dempsey is thinking about how he looks in a given situation, instead of paying attention to the big picture. I don’t see that in Donovan or MB. In short, Dempsey has talent but his barking and scowling come off as more insecurity than passion. I’d like to see MB as captain.

      • Dempsey may get one start, but if he does, and I don’t think he will, he will be subbed out before the first half.

      • Yes Bac, but it is opinion after all. I would like however, to believe it is based on fact and logic.

        Clint Dempsey is the one player on our team that has the ego and temperament to really mess us up. I hope this becomes clear in May and the first friendlies.

      • Ok, so if I understand you correctly, your opinion and contention is:

        1. Dempsey hasn’t a clue what football is all about
        2. He may get one start, but you don’t think he will, but if he does he will be subbed out before halftime
        3. That this is because he has a temperament and ego bad enough to mess up the entire team
        4. And you’re hoping this becomes evident during the camp and the friendlies…

        That’s your contention, that’s your opinion…. but as you say it’s based on “fact and logic” …just so I understand you correctly…

      • Donovan knows how to play football and what football is about, Dempsey hasn’t a clue. The bob is daft.

    • I am with you all the way on LD. He is not the player he used to be. Can he bring a spark to the last 20 minutes of a game? Perhaps that will be his roll. I don’t see him logging hefty minutes if he makes the 23. I have said before and I will say it again don’t be surprised if he doesn’t make it. He has not performed like top player with LA this year and going back to his time off which really stuck in Klinsmann’s craw, he might not get selected. I trust the coaching staff to make the right call on this and I know there would be some grumbling but that is the way the ball bounces.

      • What are you basing your “stuck in Klinsmann’s craw” statement on (serious question)? He (JK) was upset at the time, but I’ve never seen anything to suggest that the hatchet wasn’t buried after the Gold Cup.

      • In the Galaxy game against the Rapids in Colorado last weekend, Donovan went the full 90 and, was still going strong at the end of the game and the game was played at altitude. He was one of the fastest guys on the field. Sometimes I wonder if the people making judgments here ever actually watch the players they are commenting on. Donovan is obviously fit and still quick. People who doubt whether he is going are delusional. They are probably the same people who were saying a couple of months ago that Dempsey was washed up. I predict Donovan will start against Ghana.

      • Exactly right. Saw the game and Donovan’s performance the same way you did. He’s still not as sharp as he should be (or he’d have had a couple of goals). But that’s probably the result of the Galaxy’s peculiar one-week-on and one-week-off season. He should be fine.

      • Galaxy have also completely changed the formation every single match this year it seems. Also I feel like Donovan and Ishizaki haven’t worked everything out yet. They seem to often be running into the same space.

      • I see your point and I agree that Donovan is fit and retained some of his quickness, but don’t underestimate the talent gap between the WC and MLS. If Landon takes the field against the likes of Reus or Ronaldo, he would not be the fastest player on the field, not even close.

  17. i would expect all but Davis and Shea to be in camp. with Beasley, FJ, and EJ all able to contribute there, no reason to bring them, IMO. Zusi, Bedoya, and LD can also play there if needed. and of course Green provides even further depth.

      • Expect to see Brek Shea in camp? That statement is very difficult for me to imagine, not that Brek Shea will be in camp, he won’t, but there are people, who profess to know soccer and post on soccer blogs, that continue to say this.

        The best line is, when we’re down 2-1 who do you want to come into the game. The second is that he is unpredictable and that’s a big plus.

      • did you read that incorrectly or something? or just venting? i said i expect to see Shea and Davis left off the 30 man roster.

      • I am very sorry bryan. I was wrong to post that comment below yours. It had nothing to do with what you said, I should have put it someplace else, thank you for calling me out on it. I deserve it.

      • Okay, I have something to say. btw, thank you bryan for excusing my error.

        Anyway, Germany, the Bundesliga (Bayern) took a big gamble. but they took it. In the face of knowing everything about Klinsmann, how bad a coach he is and how confused he would get on the bench at every game, they still took it.

        It was business, they, Bayern and the Bundesliga knew Julian Green, and what it would mean for them, money wise, to have Julian play for both the USMNT and Bayern. They also knew Klinsi.

        So they took care of business, made sure the Klinsi as coach problem would be settled and it was just one week after Julian declared that there was a shake-up in the USMNT coaching ranks.

        Now today, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge announced to the German press that Bayern may send players off. Even Thomas Müller, and Götze (who they just picked up from Dortmund this year) and Martinez.

        If this is true and Bayern will offload these 3 then where does that leave them and Julian Green? Does that mean Julian will be a big part of Bayern next season? I will leave you all to answer that.

      • Just to be clear, you think Joe Corona is a real option but Brek Shea isn’t right? I don’t profess to be a soccer expert, but my uneducated eye balls can see Corona has nothing to offer. Shea is out of form, lacks crossing ability, doesn’t track back well. At least you can see he has something though. Neither belongs on the 23 roster IMHO. I can see why JK likes giving Shea a shot though.

      • whoa whoa whoa, don’t advertise your bias against Corona as fact. Corona absolutely has something to offer and as someone who watches his every weekend, i can tell you he offers plenty. there was a reason it took him getting injured before JK stopped calling him up. he likes him and what he brings.

        now, i do agree that it’s easy to see that Shea has something special too. problem for him is he hasn’t actually played. Corona certainly deserves to be in the 30 above Shea, IMO. but i will agree that neither makes the 23.

      • I don’t watch Mexican soccer, just don’t have enough hours in the day. What he has done there I can’t comment on. I have only seen Corona play for the USMNT. In the Gold Cup I believe he was the worst American on the field. He doesn’t have pace or dribbling which are key’s to playing a wide midfield role. His tracking back was limited at best, and his passing at least in that series of games was awful. What he does well is poach goals against undisciplined defenders. We saw that in Olympic qualifying. I don’t think he will find those opportunities in the World Cup. He is a guy who is very good against lower level competition but doesn’t have the tool set to go against true professional athletes.

      • i will say i watch my fair share of LigaMX, but being in San Diego, i always watch Xolos.

        i have to completely disagree Corona was bad during the Gold Cup, he put in some very strong performances, IMO. while he isn’t as fast as LD in his prime, he certainly has more pace than Zusi or Bedoya. what’s great about Corona is his technical ability and passing. for Xolos is constantly given room to roam, usually drifting from the middle to out wide.

        i think you are underrating him too much, IMO. he receives a lot of press because he truly does show great potential.

    • I agrwe as well. There is no reason to bring Shea or Davis. Neither of them bring anything other people don’t bring. I’m excited to see Bedoya again. I was the French league a lot, and he doesn’t start every game, but whenever he is on the field he makes an impact. Plus, the guy leaves it all on the field.

      • not to mention Bedoya has been starting for a few weeks straight now. and like you said, he always gets playing time even if he does not start. the guy is in good form.

    • I can think of many reasons to leave Shea out, but one overwhelming reason to expect him in camp: despite all the reasons I have come up with in the past to leave out Shea, Klinsmann keeps playing him.

      Sadly, I think the order in JK’s mind right now (for spots in camp) goes:
      Donovan, Bedoya, Zusi = yes, 2 out of 3 of these are the starters
      Shea, Green = yes, one of these will be the late sub
      Corona = do we have room? no? oh well, I guess he stays home
      Davis = no
      Jose Torres = haha – just kidding

      • “I can think of many reasons to leave Shea out, but one overwhelming reason to expect him in camp: despite all the reasons I have come up with in the past to leave out Shea, Klinsmann keeps playing him.”

        by this reasoning (and i’m not saying you’re wrong), you should have fabian at the top of your list for outside mids. i’d love to see him at fullback in brasil, but klinsmann doesn’t seem to agree.

      • D’oh! You’re right. I can’t believe I left him out. (In my defense, I didn’t think of him as a LM because dammitall Klinsmann, FabJo is a left back!!)

        It’s funny too, because as I wrote up the list, I kept thinking that I remembered this position being a bit more crowded. I mean, I only have 5 going to camp, and I kept thinking there should be room for 6 but I couldn’t think of who I was leaving out. (Which is why, after wracking my brain, I jokingly included Torres.)

      • 2 thoughts to add to the Fabian Johnson discussion:
        1. This time last year he was splitting time at Hoffenheim b/w LB and LW, while this year he’s played outside back all year. Despite JK preferring him at LM, it’s not like our outside backs don’t need to support the run of play
        2. Even though JK has done a lot of experimenting, tinkering, and playing people in different/multiple positions, a lot of that was due to either not having a full squad to field, or trying to give certain guys an opportunity to show flexibility to earn a spot.
        But now it’s big boy time..against big boy teams, and he will have all his guys available to choose from.

        In the end I think he keeps FabJo as an outside back. And with Vogts as his new technical advisor providing input.. I think that will make a difference….
        Which outside back spot? Can’t answer that one yet….

      • that’s my worry too. and don’t get me wrong, when JK called him into the Gold Cup and friendlies despite a lack of PT, i was cool with it. but this is the World Cup.

      • And yet, shea has been fairly consistent in providing a spark off the bench for the usmnt, regardless of his club situation.

      • eh, that’s debatable. his tap in goal to win the Gold Cup keeps people happy, but wasn’t it his performance the game before the one that was AWFUL? he had a very up and down Gold Cup.

        don’t get me wrong, i like Shea. when i saw him in an open training session in San Diego with the US before the Gold Cup, he clearly has something special. you could just tell. but this is the World Cup.

      • I’m not advocating for Shea to start or even make the final roster, but his work over the last cycle I think should merit a look in the 30. JK clearly favors him and I can see why, his size and pace can trouble even the best defense. He has all the physical tools but seems to struggle mentally at times.

      • for sure, his issues are more mental than anything else. but those mental issues are now affecting his physical components. his work rate isn’t doing anything for him otherwise he would be dressing for Stoke at least. everything we hear on Shea is that he is not training well or doing something stupid.

        and i’m not including the middle finger incident where he was just supporting his teammate. i believe it was only at the one supporter, not the whole of them.

        in the end i could see him being left out of the 30 just as easy as being included given JK’s preference for him. but given how tight we are on spots, i would leave him off. he’s young, he has time to turn it around.

      • Klinsi clearly favors him? Klinsi has a problem with Donovan, and with Chandler too? Klinsi loves Shea? What do you people not understand? Klinsi is no longer calling the shots, Not on who comes to camp, not on who is named to the 23, not on who starts against Ghana, or what calls to make during the Ghana game from the bench.

        Why is it so difficult for you all to see this?

      • Dirk: “What do you people not understand? Klinsi is no longer calling the shots…. Why is it so difficult for you all to see this?”

        Why should we believe that?

      • Sorry Dirk, but I’m still not seeing anything to lead me to believe that JK is no longer the man in charge.

      • Bryan, I think “jb” said “off the bench”. The game Shea was awful in, he started. That doesn’t really excuse Shea for his bad play, but I believe it is fair to characterize Shea as having been effective for the US off the bench in several games. He doesn’t make my 23, but I’d consider him for my 30 man ahead of Corona and Davis.

      • that is true, fair point. he did specify coming off the bench. idk, i just think we have too many options of guys who are actually in form and playing regularly, like Corona.

        Davis i wouldn’t bring at all and would understand Shea getting in if Davis was the only competition for that 30th spot.

        but there are a couple of players, not all LMs, who i would use that last spot on before Shea at this point in time.

      • I probably agree that I would probably find an extra striker or fullback or CM to bring into camp before Shea.

      • Yeah, and when Shea scores the 89th-minute winner against Portugal a little piece of me will die.

      • If any American player who I have lobbied against comes in and scores a late winner against Portugal, I will be the loudest happiest supporter in town. The only part of me that will die is that part of me that disliked the player.

      • I guess that means yours is for seeing attractive soccer regardless of the results. Mine includes seeing attractive soccer but if I’m guaranteed a win against Portugal I will set my need for beauty aside.

      • There is a great reason to bring Shea, and not that Klinsmann likes him.

        It has to do with roster-planning and scenarios. It’s true that Shea is out-of-form, plays poor defense, is undisciplined, and when he’s off looks like a high-school quality player. It’s a real bad show sometimes. And in terms of all-around game, he is clearly not in the same league as Zusi or Bedoya and probably not even Davis or Corona.

        But that’s not what matters. He’s not going to start, but having him as a sub makes sense. Not if you’re tied or up a goal of course, but if you’re down a goal or two and you need to trade offense for defense. Not an altogether unlikely scenario for the Americans. At that point, it may not matter if you lose by one or 5 goals, but getting one goal could make all the difference. In that case, bringing on a player with huge pace, size, and a what-the-hell attitude on offense makes sense.

        I hope we bring Shea. But I also hope we don’t need him. Sadly, I expect that we will.

      • If the USMNT is down a goal, Shea is not the player you want to bring in. He is technically and tactically deficient and would not do well against a well-organized defense that is trying to preserve the lead. His strength is his athleticism and ability to gallop in space against tired legs. So he would be a good sub if you are defending and try to catch the other team on a counter, but if you are trying to unlock a compact defense that is trying to preserve the lead, he is not your ideal option.

      • Oliver, you have made one of the most astonishing postings I’ve ever read. Out of 300,000,000+ Americans, Klinsmann has the task of selecting the very best 23 to bring to the World Cup. You propose to squander one of those precious slots on a player you describe as “out-of-form,” “undisciplined,” poor on defense, “like a high-school quality player” and “not in the same league” as others on the roster. Wow!!!

    • Shea could also be the first guy off the bench in Brazil when we need a goal, his unpredictability makes him valuable unlike any other player in the pool.

      • i see that unpredictability more as a liability. he certainly doesn’t provide anything “unlike any other player in the pool” at this moment in time, IMO. i like him, but the guy can’t even make the bench for Stoke. and he didn’t play brilliantly during his loan to justify he deserves a shot. idk what it’ll take to see him get back to his 2011 form. especially at the EPL level. i hope it’s soon but it’s not now. hard to justify bringing him in. don’t get me wrong, i know JK loves him but even he has to have a threshold.

    • Dempsey should be left wing, from where he would float in behind the lone striker. That’s the role that fits his skills and on-field preferences.

    • Thanks for repeating in summarized format what the article just said.
      I NEEDED to hear it TWICE because somehow I just didn’t understand it when Yves wrote it…….


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