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Klinsmann explains Johnson omission, other cuts, and more from USMNT roster

Eddie Johnson


Jurgen Klinsmann made it clear on Monday that he hadn’t forgotten the important goals Eddie Johnson scored while helping the U.S. Men’s National Team qualify for the World Cup.

Those goals, and those memories, ultimately still couldn’t keep  Johnson from being left off the preliminary U.S. World Cup roster.

Johnson was left off the 30-man squad that Klinsmann unveiled on Monday afternoon, easily the most surprising snub in the bunch, and Klinsmann explained his reasoning for that decision on a conference call by saying that other players had moved past Johnson on the U.S. forward depth chart.

The veteran striker has gotten off to a slow start in his first season with D.C. United this year, recording just one assist and no goals in eight starts. Johnson also recently made headlines for some uncomplimentary comments about his new D.C. teammates, but Klinsmann said that played no part in the decision to leave the 30-year-old striker out of the U.S. team that will convene for its pre-World Cup camp later this week.

“His comments and the recent couple of weeks had actually nothing to do with the decision and I spoke with Eddie quite for a long time and tried to explain it as good as I can,” said Klinsmann. “It has to do a little bit with we only take six forwards into the 30-man roster and then there’s Landon Donovan also competing for one of those spots – I don’t see Landon as a midfielder, I see him clearly as a striker, as a forward.

“You go through every one of those players and you evaluate their strengths and weaknesses and what they bring to the table and I just felt like, ‘OK, the way I want to build that puzzle for the 23-man roster, I see those players now competing a bit ahead of the curve.’ But I always recognize Eddie’s value and his strengths overall, and not only by scoring some very important goals getting us to Brazil, but he’s a player that can make a difference within a second of being on the field with scoring a goal or making an assist.”

Klinsmann’s comments regarding Donovan’s potential role in Brazil were especially illuminating given that the LA Galaxy attacker has played mostly as a midfielder for the U.S. in recent outings.

It also spoke to the fact that Donovan might not be a starter once the tournament in Brazil gets underway, though Klinsmann admitted he could still use Donovan in the midfield if certain scenarios call for it.

“By putting these 30 players together, we just think that’s where we want to see them compete in (the) first place, that’s where we see them as a first option,” said Klinsmann. “That makes it maybe then difficult for a player like Eddie that you have to leave out. In Eddie’s case, it’s really, really difficult because he’s also a player that brings so much to the table and he’s done tremendously well with us over the last two years and scored very, very important goals for us and he can also play in the left wing and right wing.

“But at the end of the day, you’ve got to put them now together and you’ve got to make your rankings and you’ve got to make the way how you look at it.”

Here are more notes from Klinsmann’s conference call:


While Johnson was the most shocking omission, he was hardly the only notable name left off the 30-man squad.

Klinsmann was asked Monday who were his toughest cuts and some of the names he mentioned aside from Johnson were midfielder Sacha Kljestan and centerbacks Michael Orozco and Tim Ream. Klinsmann also mentioned fullback Edgar Castillo and wide midfielder Brek Shea as players he had a hard time leaving off the team and who he believes can return to the fray later this year.

“There are so many, but you have to make those calls, you explain it from your perspective the best way you can do it, but then obviously you know that the player on the other end of the line has to swallow hard (and accept it),” said Klinsmann. “That’s something you’ve got to do and we’ve got to do it in three weeks again when you have to leave seven out of that 30-man roster on June 2.

“It’s definitely not easy for the players to take that message and you just have to try to encourage them as much as you can to look ahead of time and they’re all still part of our roster, they’re still part of the national team program after the World Cup.”


If there were any lingering worries about the health and availability of injured centerback Omar Gonzalez, Klinsmann put them to rest on Monday.

Klinsmann said that Gonzalez should be fully recovered from the left knee injury the LA Galaxy defender recently suffered and able to go full throttle in most of the U.S.’s preparatory camp in Stanford, Calif. Gonzalez sustained the knock in the first half of the Galaxy’s 1-0 loss vs. the Colorado Rapids on May 3, and missed this past weekend’s 1-1 draw at the Portland Timbers as a result.

“We are not concerned at all about Omar’s situation,” said Klinsmann. “It’s very short period of time that he can’t go 100 percent. By the end of the week, he actually should be at 100 percent already. It kind of runs him just a few days late, which is all right, so we have him for beginning of next week full speed with the group.

“Thankfully the injury was not that bad and it didn’t take him out for much longer. … We’re all good on Omar’s side.”


Think leaving Johnson off the 30-man roster is a bad decision? Which of the other players who just missed the cut would you have like to seen included by Klinsmann? Surprised to hear Gonzalez will be ready by the start of camp?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Let’s go USA. I do wonder if picking the 23 now would be better than still doing 30 and narrowing it down. This way the group of 23 can get quality starts prior to the world cup and start building that team chemistry and cohesion. The biggest question for me is Julian Green. I think he has a lot of potential but he hasn’t played a lot with the USMNT. I do like the fact that the kid chose US over Germany, goes to show how far US Soccer has grown.

    I believe! I believe that! I believe that we can! I believe that we can win!

  2. Being a long-time Seattle Sounders season ticket holder, a Club Coach for over 30 years and having watched Eddie Johnson numerous times, I can say that the U.S. National team Coaches made the correct decision by leaving Eddie off of the team for World Cup play. Eddie is fantastic in the air, but he is not nearly as skilled with the ball at his feet. Furthermore, he often tries to force play when he should have passed the ball, he forgets where he is or is lazy getting back and is too often called for off-sides and there are questions about team chemistry when Eddie is on a team. He is totally inconsistent relative to his work-rate when he doesn’t have the ball and on and on and on…
    The bottom line is that we have better options at Striker and Attacking Mid including Dempsey, Altidore, Wondo and more…

  3. Size & speed without soccer IQ = worthless in the World Cup. USNT is not playing El Salvador or some other CONCACAF teams that Eddie Johnson could do damage, and Eddie Johnson acted jack-ass with the “whole pay” issue with Sounders. Eddie Johnson isn’t good enough for the World Cup and Eddie Johnson’s career in Europe is proof of that.

  4. Donovan value is that he can play multiple roles which I understand but I don’t understand him taking up forward role particularly when it means leaving EJ off. Donovan’s current strength is in the midfield making things happen.

    US strong suite if any has been its speed and strength. It is definitely not quality particularly around the goal where 6 -7 passes are routinely taken inside the 18 without a shot. We are going to miss bringing EJ’s speed on the wing and strength around the goal late when the other teams have tired.

    In this age of strong defenses forwards needs to be opportunists – that’s what Wondo brings to the table. It is also why Altidore and others have struggled including an older Donovan. Around the goal late was when EJ thrived and that is simply going to be missed because the coach was not impressed with his attitude.

  5. I always liked EJ when he was played out on the left, for some reason it always worked out well. Even though it didn’t make sense on paper, it always seemed to go right.

  6. Leaving EJ off is a serious omission. He can play both wing/striker with speed and lethality. If zusi starts at wing he will be destroyed by world class completion. Way too slow to be in the WC. Landon needs to play LM with bedoya opposite him now that EJ is done. Bad call by Klinsi on this one.

  7. Eddie Johnson to me is America’s most exciting striker. Every time he enters a match something good happens. At the same time Klinsmann seems to know what he’s doing. I’ll miss him being on the field and at the same time we should be OK without him.

    • Most frustrating as well. He is probably our best aerial threat, but if Boyd has caught up to him there I think he’s expendable.

  8. EJ was done when Green and AJ chose to play for US instead of their other countries. Hope our investments don’t cost us games.
    Besides, we are not going to outscore Germany, Ghana or Portugal. JK is clearly worried about our defense…and righfully so!

    • We all seem more or less in consensus. It was strange not to see some players in and others out. But really against GHA, POR, GER … the games will be totally lost on midfield and defense. Though a good early goal could put things nicely for our team.

      Everyone will have to play the game of their lives against GHA & POR. GHA steamrolled via qualifying. I can’t say POR was as dominating. It will be some tough 90 minute games. Strangely I find POR, slightly easier than GHA, but I may be wrong.

  9. Dirk telling Bryan to relax is behavior called reflection.
    You’re all wasting your breath (fingers, in this case), JK is just blowing smoke here. He is the king of double talk – he’s not going to tell EJ or the press exactly how he feels.
    Love the passion and discussion, however.

  10. I take it back. I no longer believe Yedlin’s making the 23 and playing in Brazil will be the biggest shock for SBI, although it will be up there. But I must say, there will be so many shocks it is difficult to rate them. For instance, Ream didn’t make the 30, that was a shock. I mean he was even predicted to make the 23 and beat out Chandler, or was it Brooks.

    After Azerbaijan and Turkey I believe the biggest shock will be Dempsey.

      • He will be the shock, the surprise. I believe someone this very week, maybe Tim Howard, will put it to him. And Clint being Clint will go on as he always has, believing he is the best that has ever been, and then……………………well that is where the shock to SBI comes in.

        Stay tuned. All I can say is it won’t turn out so well for our captain.

  11. I can’t sleep well whenever Gonzo is playing. Sorry, Gonzo is very erratic at times

    I don’t know why Klinsy seems to hang close to Gonzo.

  12. “I don’t see Landon as a midfielder, I see him clearly as a striker, as a forward.”

    this is a damning comment for Wondo to read. LD, Dempsey, Jozy, and AJ are locks. that leaves either Boyd or Wondo and I think we can all agree that Boyd is one of JK’s favorites.

    • +1/2,

      You are right, spot-on in fact, you are right about what Klinsi’s statement means. But I gave you 1/2 only because Boyd is a better forward than Wondo ever will be, not because he is one of Klinsi’s favorites.

      • who said Boyd wasn’t better than Wondo? Boyd is obviously better. doesn’t change the fact that Boyd is one of JK’s favorites.

      • I am sorry bryan, when you said “…it leaves either Boyd or Wondo and I think we can agree that Boyd is one of JK’s favorites” I didn’t realize what you were thinking, that Boyd is better.

        My fault.

      • But that doesn’t change the fact that bryan said, and maybe even believes, “that doesn’t change the fact”. And that is a fact.

      • It was a bit confusing. What I was trying to get across is that Boyd is one of JKs favorite and that alone is enough to put him in the 23 if it comes down to Boyd and Wondo.

        Whether or not I think Boyd is better wasn’t relevant to what I was trying to say. But yes, I do think Boyd is better.

      • Relax. what you were trying to get across, that Boyd is one of JKs favorites, and that is enough to make the difference, you most certainly did. You got that across.

        What you did not do is take a decision on the talents of the two footballers. As you said, it wasn’t relevant to what you were trying to say.

        So, tell me bryan, what is it about Klinsi that bothers you?

      • bryan, please consider this, Klinsi just lost his 8 year long yes-man Vasquez and now has Tab and Berti to help, Who do you think took that decision?

        Do you still, in the face of that, think that Klinsi’s ego, feelings, spats, or perceived slights have anything to to about anything any longer?

        I am sorry to inform you, it is only pure football now. And every player on the team knows that, including our captain, and he is very upset about it.

      • Dirk – relax about what? i was clarifying a statement that came across confusing. what isn’t relaxed about that?

        What are you even talking about when you ask what bothers me about JK?! i have no problems with him…nor have i said anything that would make it seem otherwise.

        so, let me spell this out for you again as simple as i can. Boyd and Wondo are two strikers. Boyd and Wondo are likely battling for one spot. JK likes Boyd a lot. because of that, I think Boyd has the upper hand on Wondo before we even have to discuss who is actually a better player. which, if we did, i would agree that Boyd is.

        get it?

      • And every player on the team knows that, including our captain, and he is very upset about it.

        What is this suppose to mean?

      • It is about playing team sports. Every player on the field knows which players are very good. However, there are a rare few, that in the face of that can not see themselves, they think they are the best. No matter what they did, how much they failed.

        That in a nutshell, is our captain, Clint Dempsey.

    • I think it means Landon is Dempsey’s back up in that role under the striker. but also Klinsmann says one thing and does another so often maybe its not even worth paying attention to.

      • could be. which then has implications for Mix and Corona. but yes, JK flip-flops a lot…so who knows?

      • If Donovan isn’t playing wide in the midfield does that help Corona who played there in the Gold Cup. Its hard to know.

      • Good question. It doesn’t hurt him. But you could certainly make the argument it’s better news for Corona than it is for Mix. If LD is Dempsey’s sub, that leaves Corona as a sub option for FJ. And it means that Bedoya and Zusi will be responsible for RM.

  13. EJ is one of the guys who missed the cut, that I feel most for. Classy tweet after the announcement, too.

    That said, I’m gonna wonder some negative things about him out loud. I feel bad about it, because I don’t know the dude personally, but, I’m going to do it anyway.

    I still think form was the deciding factor in that decision, but I get the impression that Wondo is a more selfless teammate, and that’s huge for guys who, if they make it to Brazil, will be sitting on the bench. If my forwards struggle, I want a bench guy who will support them and help them troubleshoot their difficulties, even when that player thinks they deserve a shot, or would perform better. I worry that EJ might let this completely natural feeling get the best of him, and even mention to a teammate or two that he should be getting minutes. I feel kind of dirty for making such an assumption, but I wanted an example. I don’t think he handled his pay situation in Seattle very maturely at all, and his most recent comments about his teammates have me worried that he still struggles to control his ego.

    Also, tales of his versatility have been slightly exaggerated in my opinion. He is okay as a wide midfielder, but I think we have a bunch of dudes on the squad who are better there, including non-mids like Landon and FabJo.

    Finally, I have seen a couple people say that if form was the main factor, Jozy shouldn’t have made the 30. As important as EJ has been for us in the run up to the cup, Jozy has proven himself to be a tier above him, talent-wise.
    Will Bruin is in better form than Wondo, but for the moment, he hasn’t worked himself up to Wondo’s level, to challenge him for a spot. The form is relative to your perceived skill level.

    • I think Klinsmann could have over looked EJ’s current form if it was only him not scoring goals right now. However when you also have Jozy coming off a nightmare season, Aron in a rough run of form and dealing with an injury, To then take EJ as well, who isn’t scoring just became too much. He had to least bring a couple strikers in some kind of form.

    • AMP,

      “EJ is one of the guys who missed the cut, that I feel most for. Classy tweet after the announcement, too.”

      The tweet was classy yes, but don’t forget that there is still almost a month of camp and three exhibition games to get thru.


      It is still possible that one or two players will get hurt and have to drop out. None of the left out guys will be burning any bridges until the Ghana game starts. Unless they are fools.

      This form business is a bit of an illusion. JK and his staff spent nearly two years getting to know 30-40 players.

      Your latest form is a factor but at the end of the day I’m sure it’s the whole body of work.

      Jozy is out of form but not by that much and the USMNT staff obviously believes that the camp and the games should be sufficient to get him back on track for the US. His overall body of work and his incentive to secure a new contract somewhere other than Sunderland would strengthen that notion.

      On the other hand it seems as if JK and his staff feel Shea has drifted too far from fitness for the same tactic to work with him. Plus, Green is available to play the wild card, instant offense late game sub role that was Shea’s.

      It seems JK is going with more attacking players than I originally thought.

      In the World Cup the one guy, the least used end of the roster guy, is almost always a defender. That is probably because it is easier to get someone to play defense than to create or score goals. So the attacking player is a better, more useful bet for your bench.

      Ideally you should only need 6 defenders

      Two fullbacks and one spare who can play either side and two center backs with one spare to cover either center back.

      That gives you more flexibility with the midfield and attack.

      • I pretty much agree with everything you said, although I don’t think Shea’s fitness had almost anything to do with him not getting called up. I believe JK thinks Green is a slightly more talented/more versatile player, and if so, I agree with him.

        I think we’ll bring more than 6 defenders, but the fact that our two most talented fullbacks can play both sides, and Killa Cam can play both RB and RCB, it’s potentially an option. I just don’t know if that is how JK is approaching it. What if he wants to start Cam over Gonzo? I suppose we could still go safely with 6 if he feels comfortable using Edu as a back-up CB. Another thing, we definitely don’t want to close the door on using FabJo in the midfield.

      • if it’s the whole body of work I find it interesting that the player with the second most WC qualifying goals ever in US history, including some big ones in this cycle, is omitted. I’m not making the case for EJ’s inclusion but instead disagreeing with that piece of your analysis

  14. Okay, so far, so good, (happy to see Yedlin), We have the 30. Now we have camp and then Azerbaijan on May 27. I think we can carry on in the meantime as everyone here has always done, Green is not deserving, Yedlin also, Chandler has a fear of flying and is not committed, Brooks stinks, it is experience that counts. Brek Shea should have been not only one of the 30 but on the plane. Ream was the player of the year for a second tier team. You have the idea.

    But after the friendly on May 27, then what will everyone say? I tell you, most of you will be shocked at finding out what you thought you knew you didn’t. btw, no player was brought into camp for anything other than coming up with the best team for the U.S. today,for this event in Brazil. Yedlin was not brought in for any other reason than that.

    And this will be the biggest shocker here, DeAndre will go to Brazil and actually play and then get an offer from a real football league, France, Spain, Italy or even Germany perhaps?

    But, I could be wrong, couldn’t I.

    • I think/hope the opinions you satirize in the first paragraph aren’t very widely held at all.

      I don’t see Yedlin playing much, if he makes it. FabJo and Chandler, Cam and Beas…I don’t see him beating those guys out. Even Parkhurst and Evans seem more experienced and reliable. I don’t see us gambling like that at the back, but like you said, who knows, he could have a miracle camp.

      • It was not satire, it was fact, Do you not remember what was written in the comments, even on this thread about Green, Brooks, Yedlin, Chandler? No my friend, you only have to read the threads here to see that those opinions are widely held here.

        Parkhurst, Beas and Evans, give me a break, at least 2 of them will be cut, if not all 3. That is so old SBI thinking. Thank goodness we have what we have now, something new. As I said AMP, you old soccer experts are in for the shock of your lives.

      • I think those people are a vocal minority, and I am not among them, so I’m not sure what you mean by me being surprised. Look at the people who posted their 30 before it was released, I only saw one dude who picked Shea. Brooks and Green are on practically every provisional roster also. Sure, people on SBI were inclined to guess who they thought JK would choose–after all, a SIGNED scarf was on the line, but If there was some groundswell of support for Shea, there would be more than that.

        Sure, I think I’ll be surprised, I hope to be, but I doubt in the way you’re projecting on me.

      • The problem I have with a player like Yedlin is that he has never faced top flight opposition. Look at our group opponents. Ghan’s strength is midfield and strikers, their weakness is defense. Portugal and Germany have some of the best attackers on the planet. Yedlin hasn’t seen anything like what we will see in the WC. At least guys like Cameron, Chandler and even Parkhurst have played against world class players. When Parkhurst played in the CL a couple of years ago he had a great game against Chelsea, for example. I fear players like Yedlin, Evans, and even Brooks will be eaten alive by the players they will come against. Only Brooks will have faced some top players, but he has so little experience.

      • Gary, I gotta agree with Ives on this one. I think Yedlin was brought in for one purpose, to simulate the speed of play on the right side that we will be facing. He will be a good player for our guys to practice against because you can’t simulate speed.
        He will not be going to Brazil.
        2 months ago, JK said he was only bringing in 23, last month he said 25-28, a few weeks ago he said the full 30. Just because he’s decided to bring in all 30 doesn’t mean all 30 have a legit shot, despite what he says in his press conference. Every coach is different, and he chose these guys for specific reasons. He’s probably got most of the 23 in his mind, with competition between a few… but Yedlin ain’t going

        My prediction
        1. Chandler
        2. Cam- if Chandler can’t go and Gonzo is ok
        3. Fabian on the right with DMB on the left if Chandler can’t go & Cam has to move to the middle

  15. He didn’t take EJ because he views LD as a forward, while he played EJ as a winger most of the time ?

    I think it came down to Wondo or EJ…either way we are fine.

  16. I think jurgen should run a 4-1-2-1-2 here is how it would look





  17. I’m betting we are not going to see LD as a forward. This forward thing is just a ploy to justify the exclusion of EJ from the team. When was the last time LD was known for his scoring ability? You are going to have to go back to last year’s GC.

    • I agree with you. Dempsey will be paired with Altidore, Boyd or AJ. Donovan is the best of the wing MF in the pool. Moving Donovan and Demosey to the forward pool allows JK to bring in more MF candidates to evaluate. I think this is where the slot opened for Corona in order to provide competition for the left midfield.

  18. Nothing that Jurgen does or says inspires any confidence. It’s really hard to see Wondo doing anything against good international opponents. Even if Johnson were a serial killer or whatever, he can still play more than one position, has the athleticism to compete internationally and has produced for the team in the recent past.
    Sadly, the best we can hope for is that, once the USA flops in Brazil, the USSF will find another coach.

    • It’s just hard to not think about Wondo struggling against El Salvador and EJ coming on and scoring within seconds.

    • Don’t worry, Wondo will not go to Brazil. Also, don’t worry so much about Klinsmann any more. Don’t forget, he just got Tab and Berti to “help” him.

      • “Tab and Berti” or “Bert and Ernie” or “Jesus and Gandhi”
        If Klinsmann needs 2 late hires this close to WC to produce results he’s lost the plot.

  19. We never get to see what I while they’re in camp, only when they play, with a few comments here and there about what happened during camp/training.
    Who knows? Maybe EJ didn’t perform well last camp, maybe he was lazy, maybe he was selfish or didn’t make smart runs or didn’t connect well with others, or maybe Wondo just outplayed him…
    Who knows….

    • Well, I do know that EJ, at age 30 has 19 goals for the Nats, while Wondo, age 31, has 9. I know that EJ has played in a world cup, while Wondo has not. I also know that EJ has scored in games that matter, while Wondo has scored over half of his USMNT goals against Belize and Cuba.

      • Yes Nate, you know that. I know that. We all know that, because they are facts.
        At no point did I say whether EJ deserved to be in or out like others who have suggested it was his statements recently, or his lack of production recently, as those are publicly known.
        What I did suggest is that there could be a number of issues that have happened in camp that we haven’t seen or heard about..
        How do you know that EJ didn’t fail his fitness tests, or dribble the ball out of bounds 8 out of 10 times during a drill, or pout and quit hustling after blowing a shot.
        As Twellman said in his interview tonight, “as I predicted back during the SK game, if EJ doesn’t start, what impact does he have and what attitude does he have.” He predicted 4 months ago EJ would get left out.
        Well we don’t know any of these answers because we’re not on the inside, but JK is, and he must have a pretty good reason to not include him in the 30… regardless of his press conference statements…

        I’ll take a quote from Herb Brooks, “I’m not looking for the best players, I’m looking for the right players”
        Do you know who Timmy Harrer is?

        We don’t know the 100% complete reason why EJ got left home, only Jurgen does, regardless of his public comments.
        Judging by the amount of criticism and 5,000 different lineups and opinions generated since 3:01 p.m. today, there will be no consensus on anything other than Bradley should start and Howard should start…

        If you are a big fan of EJ, and think he should have been included, maybe you should be upset at him, for not producing, for not being consistent, for not being professional or mature.
        If you just don’t like Wondo, then maybe you should wonder why he got picked over EJ…

        Or like I originally posted….
        Who knows….

      • EJ has scored the second most goals in USA WC qualifying ever, yet will never play in a WC for the USA. Interesting fact

      • It’s sad, I feel for the guy, but this isn’t about your body of work. Lando could very well get cut after the second game if he doesn’t prove himself of significant value in camp.

  20. My understanding of a “forward in JK’s system is changing. He has defined forward more in line with a 4-4-1-1 formation. He listed both Dempsey and Donovan as forwards and said they won’t play on the wing. That pretty much means Donovan is Dempsey’s backup. We know Dempsey is playing the #10. I always thought that role was considered a Attacking Midfielder.

  21. Surprised by EJ not being there.. Id have him in the 30 for sure. Maybe not the 23 especially with 6 other cf fighting for a single spot in a 4-2-3-1 but at least give him a shot!

    Could do without 1 or 2 of the subpar RB choices of Chandler, Evans or Yedlin. You got Cameron and Parkhurst already id take 1 of those 3 at most

    • Right now Boyd is on fire, he’s young, and has a great nose for goal. Wondo is way more focused and serious about making it to Brazil – EJ is phoning it in.

      An in form Timmy Chandler is the best R-back we have. Period.

      Klinsman, Tab Ramos, and Berti Vogts are going to start cooking with some new ingredients and come up with some tasty new dishes. Look forward – the future is dawning right now.

      This US team will be surprising and wiley, and really well coached. Mmmmmmmm?

  22. No way I pick Wondo over EJ, if we’re only talking about what they contribute on the field. Oh well, time to move on with what we have…

    • Sounds like you need to start watching some MLS games. This seaon and recently with the national team, Wondo has had a better work rate, better movement, better finishing, what more do you need to convince you?

      • Neither Wondo nor EJ would be playing many minutes in the WC, so the question is who can be a better late game/situational sub? Wondo is basically a poacher who works best when the US is controlling possession, something that we probably won’t see in this WC. EJ has speed and incredible leaping ability. He is more likely able to get behind a defense or score on a leaping header on a set play than a poacher. If it was a question of who you want to start and play in MLS, you choose Wondo. but for the situations we will face in the WC, I just don’t see the logic in choosing Wondo over EJ.

      • I think this is spot-on.

        if you want Wondo to score there better be a ball bouncing around in the 6 yard box.

  23. The fact that Feilhaber wasn’t a “tough omission” is telling. I don’t know why he and JK just didn’t get along but based on pure talent Benny should’ve been at least 31-35 in Klinnsman’s mind, and IMO should’ve been in the 23.

    • matt Benny is one, Lee Nyugen is the other. This kid has bossed 2 games that included Bradley and Dempsey, and he came up on top on both. You select Julian green?? If you can orchestrate the game/midfield to beat a team like seattle 5 -0 (with dempsey, brad evans, Alonso) you are worthy of at least the 30 man roster. Where is the spark, where is the creativity? Edu? Beckerman? Jones? They all bring the same thing to the table…..defensive play. I guess we just have to trust Klinsy at this point

      • I doubt Edu will be called on for that if he even makes the 23. Jones can actually play a pretty good final pass. So can Beckerman. But that’s not the primary role of those two guys. Mix or Dempsey or Donovan or even Corona (although I doubt he makes the 23) are more “creative”.

      • Julian is an investment. Locked him in for the US by promising WC14 but looking at WC18 in reality. Just my opinion based on nothing but me sitting here thinking about it.

      • Green is already locked, he didn’t have to be select for this WC, more and more it looks like it was promised for switching.

      • bizzy,

        Running the Rev’s offense is one thing. Are you telling me you want Lee to take over for either Mikey or Deuce as the offensive fulcrum for the USMNT because he beat their team in one game?

        For one thing Lee has never played with this team, why do you think he would be better than either Mikey or Deuce?

        Or were you just going to throw him out there in a USMNT uniform and his “creativity” would magically just make things happen?

      • Mikey or Deuce? If you can out hustle the best player we have, have being the face of a franchise for years, why shouldn’t you be given a shot? How about Green? Does he qualify just after coming on as a sub? If you have 3 National team players on one team that got thrashed 5-0 by a team without a single player worthy or National team called up (Clint up top, Evans LB, Yedlin RB), wouldnt you want to know the players responsible for such a result? I think thats enough to raise an eyebrow. Especially considering the opposition we’re up against

      • bizzy

        You are taking one result and blowing up it’s significance all out of proportion.

        Outhustling Mikey or Deuce in a TFC or Sounders game is one thing .

        Outshustling Schweinsteiger, who will have help that is far better than Mikey or Deuce had, in a meaningful World Cup game,is another story.

        I like Lee but if JK were going to bring him in he should have done that a while ago because, to a large extent Lee is the Revs offensive driver and I see no reason to give Lee the keys to the USMNT car.

      • Or were you just going to throw him out there in a USMNT uniform and his “creativity” would magically just make things happen?
        = Julian Green right?

      • Green isn’t about magic or creativity.

        He has an instinct for goals, he is not afraid to take people on and unlike most US players, can beat them, he is fast with the ball, he is two footed and he is unafraid.

        His inexperience may cost him a place in the final 23 but I see him as not much more of a risk than taking Shea would have been and the US really needs what Shea, in form, can bring.

        Basically only Green and Shea were suited to that wild card late game offensive sub. And now it’s only Green.
        . .

  24. I thought the US should have played with Dempsey and Donovan as the stiker tandem in 2010 and I still think that’s the best way to maximize the talent on the field. Play a 4-4-2 with Bedoya and Zusi on the sides and let the four main attackers, supported by the occasional Bradley push forward, just try to connect, makes runs, “play”, and hit on the counter. I like Jozy, but to me you wring more out of the team by using him as a sub rather than the point of a 3-1.

    • From what I read it seems like Donovan will likely be coming off the bench. However, there are several options Klinsmann has if he is willing to change formation or move Dempsey from the central withdrawn role he as has the last couple years. For example:




      • Not sure what ur reading but Jurgen is pretty sold on 4-2-3-1. Definatly a fan of that 4-3-3 u have (w zusi over edu) but its unlikely.

      • Klinsmann said he sees Donovan as a striker. Dempsey is firmly set in the heart of the attack with his withdrawn striker/attack mid role and its tough to see Landon leading the line up top. So unless there is a shift away from the 4-2-3-1 Klinsmann prefers or he moves Dempsey from the spot he has locked down the last few years I don’t see where he starts Donovan.

      • Interesting stuff here. You do wonder about having Deuce and LD listed as forwards. In the modern game, there are lots of forwards/wingers/attacking midfielders and less strikers/center forwards. LD and Deuce are both surely the former, especially LD. Only real strikers are Jozy and Boyd, maybe Wondo. Bacon is also a “modern” forward. The 4-3-3 is intriguing, not only for the options with guys such as LD, Bacon, AJ, Zusi, flanking the center forward, but for the ability to put 3 strong central midfielders together. You need a runner/passer, shooter, and ball-winner. You have a world class runner/passer with MB90, an (almost) world class ball-winner in JJ (if he stays home), who also has a quite good passing range, and both of these 2 can hit a ball. You need another dynamic midfielder though, and I don’t know who would fit. Maybe Edu, Beckerman, Mix or even Bedoya, depending on how you deploy MB90. I see Edu as an interesting option as he would be the runner, covering lots of ground. This allows MB90 to get forward and take more shots, and (hopefully) JJ stays home and does the dirty work. A dynamic midfield behind 3 quick and tricky attacking options, sounds good to me.

      • Klinsman’s love of the 4-2-3-1 may have changed now that he has a new assistant coach.

    • JK has stated that we need to be able to play 2 or 3 different formations. I think what you have is what he considers his “backup plan.” And I think you are spot on in terms of his preferred players in that system.

      That said, I think he will still play primarily (and start against Ghana) out of the 4-2-3-1, with Altidore as the target striker and Dempsey withdrawn. Bradley and Jones as the “2”, but I think he’s still searching for the best fit out wide. Clearly he doesn’t see Donovan there.

    • Are other national sides so unsettled in formation and starting XI?
      I mean that seriously.

      The US has 1 CB position set (Besler), 2 CM (Bradley and Jones) set and 1 forward (
      Jozy for the most part) set.
      All other positions are up for grabs depending on who plays which position in which formation and who impresses in camp which may in turn reflect on the formation and who plays where.

      is this normal for most teams? Is this ok to be dealing with one month out of the WC? I’m not so sure.

      • In past WC cycles, the player pool was shallow enough that one could safely predict most starters and pretty much most of the roster. Due to increased depth in the pool, JK has flexibility that didn’t previously exist.

      • Or, previous coaches were able to make decisions and settle on a lineup and squad and built from there. Where as Klinsmann has wasted all his time tinkering, and now that it is World Cup time, he actually has to pick a squad and formation and go with it. PN, you may be right, but I think at best the real answer lies somewhere inbetween our two theories.

      • Good question.
        I think you know the answer, you just want an “amen brother”.
        Amen brother

    • Adam M.

      Playing Donovan as a striker in 2010 would have been a mistake.

      He did well there in 2002 but that team had a midfield with JOB, Reyna, etc., etc., and a really hot target forward in McBride to set up chances for him.

      In 2010, it was Donovan who was doing a lot of the creative work. Putting up front in 2010 would have kept him from touching the ball as much as possible, which was what you wanted in 2010. And who exactly was going to get him the ball in 2010?

      In 2014 his play making skills are not as sharp and this is not “his” team the way it was in 2010. It is more Mikey’s and Deuce’s team.

      What JK is saying is “okay, don’t worry about running everything, just focus on one thing, assisting or scoring goals.” Landon has not seemed focused with the US lately so this is simplifying his role.

      I get the conventional wisdom is that LD has always answered the call especially if the challenge was a big one but that was then and this is now. If LD doesn’t turn it up in camp I think JK cuts him.

      I love the guy and want him in Brazil but I question whether he is really into it. Let’s hope he proves me wrong.

      • Plus let’s not forget that it won’t be against the law if he slightly changes his tune and inserts LD as a winger after a month – I mean, he is the coach and can pretty much choose who he thinks gives us the best chance to win..

        I remember Lou Holtz used to say every year that Navy was the scariest opponent on his schedule when he was coaching Notre Dame…

  25. If its not his comments, then it’s certainly not form since a guy like Altidore doesn’t score and sits bench.

    • Really? This is not a serious comment. I hate it when people act dumb just to get me frustrated. Jozy is a young talented guy with many of the tools of a top class striker. He has had success in MLS and in Europe. Jozy has CONSISTENTLY been the 1st striker on JK’s team sheet. Eddie can say he has the speed and jumping ability of a top class striker, and previously had success in MLS. That is it. They don’t really compare.

      • Altidore has been very unimpressive of late, every bit as unimpressive as EJ. But the absolute bottom line for the U.S., for the 46 years that I have been on the planet, is a nearly complete lack of ability to produce forwards that produce goals. Altidore has done very little to suggest he is significantly better than anyone else that has ever worn the U.S. National team uniform. EJ has shown some ability to create goals all by himself, more so than Altidore has. Of the 6 forwards named to tbis squad, based on recent play, Altidore is a bench warmer, clearly. EJ got the shaft and our esteemed head coach (English not being his 1st language, taken into consideration) provided a slightly rambling statement that lacked any real rationale for his decision except that this is what he wanted.

      • Mr. Munch says:

        “But the absolute bottom line for the U.S., for the 46 years that I have been on the planet, is a nearly complete lack of ability to produce forwards that produce goals.
        Altidore has done very little to suggest he is significantly better than anyone else that has ever worn the U.S. National team uniform. EJ has shown some ability to create goals all by himself, more so than Altidore has.”

        You are exaggerating to the point where it strains your credibility.

        And what exactly is your point ?

        EJ, McBride and Jozy have been about equally productive.

        For the USMNT:
        EJ 63 caps 19 goals a goal every 3.3 games

        McBride 95 caps 30 goals a goal every 3.2 games

        Jozy 67 caps 21 goals a goal every 3.2 games

        “Of the 6 forwards named to tbis squad, based on recent play, Altidore is a bench warmer, clearly. EJ got the shaft and our esteemed head coach (English not being his 1st language, taken into consideration) provided a slightly rambling statement that lacked any real rationale for his decision except that this is what he wanted.”

        JK said he thinks the forwards that are going are better than EJ. That is the only rationale any manager in any sport needs to give. He was not hired to pick your guys. If that was the case then you should be the manager. It would be less expensive that way.

        JK was hired to pick HIS guys, the ones he thought were the best.

      • And on top of that, one other major point — impact on team chemistry. No one would say that EJ brings a feel good spirit to the team….

      • Then take someone like Wondo. JK picks him because:

        “ Every time he comes to the National Team environment, he gives you everything he has. He always goes 1000 percent. … He built his own case and he built it stronger and stronger. We’re looking forward to working with Wondo because it’s always a pleasure to have him in camp. He is a competitor. He is determined. You give him a one percent chance and he wants to make it 100 percent at the end of the day.”

      • Team chemistry is overrated.

        Jozy is out of form

        EJ is out of form

        AJ is out of form

        Donovan is just getting into form

        Wondo seems steady

        Boyd is smoking, red hot.

        JK can only bring so many out of form guys to camp hoping to get them back into it.

      • Jozy is completely over hyped. He has not and does not produce at high levels. Why he is JK’s #1 defies comprehension. When he goes looking for a new team (very soon) lets see how highly regarded he is.

        I have a problem with several of JKs picks and non picks for the 30 man roster. My biggest concern is around Green. What exactly has he done to deserve this call up? A small time in one game? Did JK have to promise this to get him to sigh? It’s totally unfair to others that have been in the trenches and are more deserving then Green. He’s done NOTHING to deserve this

        Others that were called, Im not going to get excited about until I see the 23. I still think its 3 and out and at that point… JK should be fired

      • Sometimes, the World is much more a lottery than it is fair. Kind of thing happens all the time in many walks of life, but in sports in particular. Apparently, what he has done is be born with more eye popping soccer talent than most at a position the USMNT is currently sorely lacking in: true-blue-skilled-blazing-fast-LWers (where Shea is the brightest hope 3 years running?). It’s a long-shot, hopefully it translates to this team…. they say the kid has a good work ethic and attitude.

      • People also need to realize there are different levels of in form and out of form. A guy like Eddie Johnson was already on the fringes, a lack of form this close to the World Cup cost him. Jozy is out of form, but has performed for the US and is applying himself in a harder league. Klinsi rewards that kind of effort.

        I do think Jozy has lost his automatic XI spot and has to earn it back this camp and in the friendlies.

        Not all players are equal and they shouldn’t be treated as thus.

    • Klinsi specifically said that the 6 forwards ahead of EJ are there b/c they’ve moved ahead of him. In Altidore’s case, as bad as his season has been, he’s performed very well with the NT and is in a top-league. Agree or disagree with that but in Klinsi’s mind, that puts him ahead of EJ. Everyone else (Wondo, Donovan, AJ, Boyd, and Dempsey) are all clearly having better seasons then EJ at this point.

      If it were me, I’d take EJ over Wondo. We’re not taking a starter here, we’re taking a target man with speed who can also play outside. But I understand Klinsi’s comment that there are 6 guys ahead of EJ at this point. And realistically, he’s going to cut two (probably Wondo and Boyd).

      • What has Johanssen done to prove he can play at the international level??? Too green for the big boys. You need men in the WC.

        This should not be EJ over Wondo.

      • AJ scores constantly. The same thing Wondo does. True they don’t do it for the best teams. But I can see why he’s taking Wondo and AJ. EJ has the problem of being inbetween he’s not that skillful and he’s not that prolific scoring. If Dempsey weren’t scoring so well for Seattle, I think EJ gets the nod. But with several players scoring prolifically to counter balance Jozy who’s in another dry spell, I think EJ lost that as his main case for being included.

      • First touch, vision, work rate, scores with both feet. Johansson has quality many of our forwards lack.

    • JK has contradicted almost all of his “rules” at one time or another.
      “You have to be in form”
      “You have to consistently get minutes”
      “Being part of the “group” is important to team chemistry”
      “It is only about what you have done recently” has mutated into
      “It is only about your “potential” to do something not what you’ve done”

      What are the odds that Martin Vasquez walked because JK told him that Julian Green was assured of a place on the WC roster. I’d take that bet.

      • I wish I could like the post x1000. It is absurd to me how more US fans aren’t talking about JK’s contradictory ways.

      • Choosing players is not a science. There is opinion involved obviously and no situation is exactly the same, especially when comparing various different leagues from around the world. That’s why Klinsmann doesn’t stick to these ‘rules’. In a perfect world, you could measure every player’s performances like that and know who exactly is most deserving and will play the best. But that’s not realistic. Klinsmann is right to ‘contradict himself’ so to speak.

      • Maybe the fans would talk about it more if the players did. But over the past year the overwhelming and enthusiastic message from the players seems to be “I understand my role and I know what Juergen expects from me”. And they seem to like him, respect him, and most importantly respond to him

        It’s easy to forget that all of JK’s media soundbites are not meant to provide us fans with an iron-clad selection rubric. He uses the media to motivate players… to challenge them and remind them that there is always more they can be doing. What MIchael Bradley needs is not the same as what Aron Johannsson needs or DaMarcus Beasley needs. So you get contradictions.

      • “What are the odds that Martin Vasquez walked because JK told him that Julian Green was assured of a place on the WC roster. I’d take that bet.” Vasquez didn’t walk, he was let go. In other words FIRED!

    • EJ is a marginal player and so he can’t get away with saying stupid things to the press and generally being a bad locker room guy. If he was a superstar maybe you’d have to put up with the other stuff but he isn’t so JK just picked other players who are just as good and won’t act up.

  26. I appreciate JK’s candor regarding…. that being said…. I do not view Donovan as a forward… He is a midfielder that can score in transition and open play… people really forget performances like the one in Jacksonville vs Scotland less than 2 years ago… The guy still has it when juiced up and will be very motivated against Germany you can bet…

    • Donovan has lost a step or two in the last year. It really shows. His experience up top will help tremendously. but time to make way for another speedster down the left wing.

      • Another speedster on the left? Who? Who in this pool takes that spot today? No one. We need 2-way players with pace on the wings. I believe he starts at left mid, opposite Bedoya.

      • Fabian Johnson is your speedy LW. That is where Klinsman plays him. I am just terrified that he took old slow Brad Davis over anyone else.

      • Fabian Johnson comes to mind of course that means you are then left looking for a left back – after Johnson you have a a couple of potential of Inside Forwards how could cut in from the wing such as Zusi or Bedoya.

      • Green is a speedy left, but I think he’s still too green to go to Brazil. Maybe I am wrong though. Yedlin had a stinker for his first performance and then looked like the answer in his second.

    • I’m not surprised that he left EJ out except in the context of having included Jozy Altidore. Johnson has been no worse than Altidore and in fact has been much better over the course of the past 12 months. Jozy has been absolutely horrendous for both club and country with the exception of a 2-3 game run with the Selection last year.

      But I’d have left both EJ and Jozy at home to be honest. Unfortunately, Altidore is inexplicably an considered an automaic for Ives and a majority of commentators and fans on this blog. I’ll never understand it…don’t think Klinsmann drinks such Kool-Aid but I’m about 50-50 on if he takes him in the 23. I wouldn’t.

      • At the age of 24, Altidore is tied for 6th all time for US goal scorers, and has done it at a rate which is very much comparable to folks like McBride and Wynalda.

        He has scored 8 goals in 12 US appearances in the past year. I’m not sure what 203 game run you are referring to, but even if you take out his most productive three games during that stretch, he’s 3 goals in 9 games. This does not align with the statement that he’s been “absolutely horrendous” for the US in the past year.

        If you don’t want him on the team, so be it. But the stats support the opinion that he remains among the most productive strikers, both currently, and honestly ever, in a US uniform.

      • You and all your facts!!! Enough of this truth! Wouldn’t you rather speculate and point fingers with no footing?!!??

      • Barring injury Altidore will be in the XI against Ghana because he’s still the best forward we have. The type of experience Jozy had this past season isn’t all that unusual. When a manager brings a guy in and then gets canned, sometimes the new manager just prefers someone else. Jozy will move on this summer and a good world cup will really help in that regard.

      • Jozy is not the best striker we have. He’s most qualified only because he’s the only one Klinsi has let play in the last year. Aron is hot on his heals and I think as skillful; Boyd will continue to grow and improve; and Agudelo is sharper than Jozy was when he was Agudelo’s age.

      • Was wondering when the “Jozy haters” would start coming out. By your deductive reasoning, Donovan has scored 0 goals for the Galaxy this year and if you take out the 5 goals he scored in the B-squad Gold Cup and the 2 goals in the pre Gold Cup friendly, he has exactly 1 meaningful goal in past 3 years for the USMNT. Should he be left off the team as well? Dempsey had a scoring drought for club and country until he went on his pre World Cup scoring binge. We can do this all day long. Whether you like it or not, Jozy is the best striker we have.

      • No, by my reasoning, he’s just not a good player. Now, he is an ok finisher….I can give you that, but he IS NOT A GOOD PLAYER. You guys look a the box scores too much….actually watch the game….watch the play on and off the ball and try to learn the subtlties. There are dozens and dozens of examples of players that could find the net every so often but were not good players. There are even some prolific goalscorers that weren’t really great players. Luke, there are even MORE examples of fantastic players that never score goals so forget your Luke’s Landon Donovan comparison.

        A real striker….which I agree, the US does not have many options…can finish AND can create. Jozy can’t turn nothing into something. He can, when he is on, finish goals but that’s rarely the case based on his last 12 months and certainly not enough to be considered international class. He only scores when his teammates have set the table for him….typically again poor CONCACAF competition. Against Portugal, Ghana, and Germany, his chances will be few and given that he just isn’t a good enough player to create his own, he will be little more than a big body taking up space up top, just as he has demonstrated with Sunderland. I’d take Boyd, Johanssen and Wondo way before Jozy.

  27. I’m happy to hear that he considers Donovan a forward. Father time has taken away his ability to excel out wide, but he still makes smart runs and has a great sense of when to dish to a teammate, plus he is experienced and finishes well. His struggles for the Galaxy aren’t only from a loss in form, it’s because they have often moved him into a wide midfield spot to make way for Friend up top.

      • You forgot the MO of many commenters: 1) Don’t watch the game/player in question (1b: Maybe watch highlights). 2) Check stats after game 3) If player X did not score, they are terrible/washed up/lazy/old, or some combination thereof. 4) Broadcast your new found knowledge to the world with authority. 5) Have this view reaffirmed by others who checked the very same statistics

    • I’m not. Donovan needs to be as involved as possible. I think the 4-4-2 diamond midfield is the ticket for the US, and I think you absolutely want Donovan and his workrate and ability to direct traffic from a pinched in wide role starting in that setup. He’s fine higher up, but he’s just such a damn good fit for the US as a RM or LM in that system. Ideally he goes 70 opposite Zusi or Bedoya, and the other comes in for him for the last 20 minutes after he tires.


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