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A look at the players on the USMNT World Cup roster bubble

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As the U.S. Men’s National Team prepares to kick off training camp ahead of the 2014 World Cup, a total of 30 players will be battling for 30 World Cup roster spots, meaning seven players will see their World Cup dream fall short.

Jurgen Klinsmann will have to make the final decision and while he has three weeks to figure out who those seven players will be, it is safe to assume he has a working list going already, and has a sense of who is currently on the chopping block.

In my latest column, I discussed the players currently on that World Cup bubble, the players who will have to have very strong training camps to have a hope of making the trip to Brazil.

Does this mean the other players will have cakewalks? Certainly not, but it isn’t a stretch to identify those players facing the stiffest tests in the coming weeks.

The number of players facing pressure goes well beyond seven or eight, and is probably closer to a dozen or so, with stars like Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard and Landon Donovan, and key contributors like Matt Besler, Geoff Cameron and Jozy Altidore being safe on the 23.

Give my column a read and then answer this question: Which seven players would you cut from the preliminary world Cup roster if you had to make those cuts today?  It is a different question than asking which seven you think Klinsmann will cut, though that prediction wouldn’t be easy either.

Let us know which players you would cut right now in the comments section below.


  1. Well I just listened to today’s Big Head Red Head Podcast…
    Anyone else listen?
    I could begin another rant about our expert pundits but would like to know if anyone else listened and would weigh in…

    All I can say is I’m so glad I visit this site daily, even with the 80% of stuff I don’t pay much attention to and the daily bickering….
    the top 20% is so good and insightful it’s damn well worth it and I’m thankful there’s people on here who really pay attention to our players, our coach, the game, keep up with what is currently happening, and take their time to post…

  2. Keeping the obvious starters on the team, you can choose any group of 23 ( that covers every position ) and I am very happy with it.

    I know we are underdogs, but we have a very good team going there. It wasn’t a coincidence that we rolled through CONCACAF in the second half of qualifying.

  3. My depth Chart:
    GK (3) we all know them

    RB (3) Cameron, Chandler, Parkhurst – all 3 are versatile
    LB (2) F Johnson, Beasley
    CB (3) Besler, Gonzales, Goodson

    CM (4) Bradley, Jones, Beckerman, Edu
    RM (2) Bedoya, Zusi
    LM (1) Green

    CF (2) Dempsey, Donovan
    ST (3) Altidore, Johannson, Boyd

    That actually adds up to 23. Lucky. That means I cut, without specifically thinking about them:
    Evans, Yedlin, Brooks, Mix, Corona, Davis, Wondo.

    In my mind, 4 of those guys could win a backup job.
    Brooks could beat Goodson out.
    Mix could beat out Edu (if JK wants more attacking)
    Davis could beat out Green
    Wondo could beat out Boyd.

    Are clear lack of depth is in the attacking positions, which is where you usually like to make subs. So I could buy the Mix for Edu pretty easily. The rest of these swaps are like for like.

      • luckily AJ went 30 minutes today and looked fine. hopefully he’ll play 90 on sunday too before heading into camp.

    • That’s as balanced a line-up as I have seen Jesse. I think you hit the nail on the head with it. I can see Donovan starting or subbing on the left wing if JG is not up to it.

    • This is dead on in my opinion.

      Those positional battles are still big question marks. Mix, Corona, Brooks, Davis, and Wondo could all win spots this month, and I wouldn’t be shocked. I think the 30 is pretty solid, and everyone is getting a chance to audition.

  4. My 23:

    Forwards: Dempsey, Donovan, Altidore, Boyd, Johansson, Green
    Midfielders: Jones, Bradley, Zusi, Bedoya, Davis, Beckerman, Edu, Beasley
    Defenders: Cameron, Besler, Brooks, F. Johnson, Chandler, Yedlin
    GK: Howard, Guzan, Rimando

    That gives us a positional total of 6 strikers, 7 wingers, 5 holding midfielders, 8 attacking midfielders, 6 side midfielders (1 true left), 5 fullbacks, 5 center backs, and 3 goalkeepers for a total of 45 potential spots. Obviously that leaves us light in defense and with only two “regular” center backs, but I think it’s worth it with guys like Edu, Cameron, and Jones who play there as well. We know JK likes to use midfielders as fullbacks and fullbacks as wingers. We also know that no matter how much he insists that Dempsey and Donovan are forwards, he will not hesitate to play either of them in midfield behind a lone striker.

    This selection gives us plenty of defensive and offensive versatility in that respect. We could play a 4-3-3 with Beasley and Yedlin as wingers backed up by Green and Bedoya, or play the defensive 4-2-3-1 with Jones and Bradley covering Besler and Cameron in central defense. Obviously the 4-4-2 and 4-1-2-1-2 formations remain viable. The key is player versatility and a mix of established and experienced veterans and young players hungry to prove themselves. The latter principle is why players like Green and Yedlin should be on the plane.

    Even with a heavily defensive lineup this team is going to allow goals. We need to be thinking about winning games 3-2 and not 1-0. The hard cut was Green over Wondo, but like I said, versatility makes a player more appealing and Wondo really only plays one role, and that role is better played by other players.

    And before anyone says that JK would never do something this attack-oriented, while you certainly may be right, I would remind you that we have seen him make subs over the course of a match that reduce his team to having only one or two true defenders. I truly think he believes that attack is the best form of defense.

    • two center backs is a recipe for disaster. We will be playing against teams that will most likely attack us continuously. Replacing a true CB with a versatile player against those teams is suicide. An injury or a red card to a CB is much more likely to occur with that kind of pressure. I would definitely rethink that strategy.

      • “MikeV

        two center backs is a recipe for disaster. We will be playing against teams that will most likely attack us continuously. Replacing a true CB with a versatile player against those teams is suicide. “

        Mr. V.

        Brett has a point.

        Where is the strength is in the player pool?.

        The US has great keepers, and questionable defenders and forwards.
        The strength of the pool seems to be in a large number of versatile midfielders.

        Besler/Gonzo appear to be set to go the distance as the center back pair. Most people, myself included are not happy with how that pair has shown but you can choose to be optimistic and believe that the pair have been building up to this and will be steady and focused and do well.

        If the Dynamic duo proves solid then you can go with 6 defenders, 2 fullbacks and 1 spare fullback able to cover flank, 2 center backs and 1 spare center back to cover both center backs.

        Good defensive teams don’t shuttle center backs in and out of the line up. They get a good pair and stick with them.

        This gives you 14 slots for the forwards and midfielders. You could bring all 6 forwards and 8 midfielders for example. The basic idea is hold ’em until we can sneak around back and put one in.

        Risky? Sure but the US is not good enough to advance out of this group by being risk averse to a fault. Some calculated risks will be necessary; they just have to find the ones that are most likely to pay off.

        “We will be playing against teams that will most likely attack us continuously”

        I have no problem with coming out very defensively except for the fact that the USMNT are not as disciplined and intelligent when defending as Chelsea is. The US will not likely to be able hold these three nations for 90 minutes.

        However, they cannot attack you if you are attacking them.

        And at some point you will have to score some goals to advance. And frankly the best players on this team Bradley, Dempsey, Donovan, Jones, Edu, Beckerman, Zusi, Bedoya, and Jozy are all happier attacking. The hottest player is Boyd and the new talents Wondo, AJ, Mix, Green are all happier attacking.

        So assuming those guys all show well, if you are going to quack you might as well be a duck.

      • GW, everyone can make good sounding points as you just did. It does not change the fact that if one of the CB’s gets injured or red carded, we would be up the creek replacing them with a non CB player. Having one extra attacking player may be a wonderful idea to some, but, to me and I am sure to others it is a disaster waiting to happen.
        I would love to see them show well as I love the way the US is playing compared to the past. For example, we out possessed Mexico in the last friendly. Not sure we have ever done that. That shows me we are headed in the right direction. Mexico is not Germany, or Portugal, and I don’t know enough about Ghana to speak about them. I do know that if we press against the first two hoping to outscore them, I believe we will be in for a short stay in Brazil. We are too error prone at this point to try and attack a much more gifted and experienced team such as Germany. Turning the ball over against CONCACAF teams is one thing, it’s totally another against the teams we will be playing.

      • I recently read that a survey of the unused players on World Cup rosters (like Clay Goodson in 2010 who did not play a minute) showed that most of them were defenders.

        It seems that typically you want an attacking sub and , as has been pointed out by others, managers generally prefer to let defenders go 90 as they have a better feel for things.

        Sure if Gonzo or Besler get hurt then the US has problems but as I keep pointing out, if this team plays it straight and by the book they are not likely to go anywhere. Frankly, on paper, the US should be demolished by all three opponents.

        Mike, this is the World Cup and it seems to me you might as well go down with all guns blazing.

        No risk, no reward.

      • GW, although getting out of the group is a tall order, I do believe we will get out. I don’t think having one extra offensive minded player sitting on the bench, who will most likely not see any playing time at all, Is a good reason to take one less CB. Your proposal risks disaster in exchange for having one extra player who will most likely never see the pitch. IMO, definitely not worth it.

  5. What I would Do:
    Yedlin (same player in Chandler with more experience), Corona, Evans, Jones (I know this won’t happen, but I think Edu and Beckerman are both better than Jones), Wondo, Corona, Davis

  6. Evans, Davis and Corona definitely get cut.
    Brooks and Yedlin will get one last opportunity to show due to uncertainty in the backline, but very likely will not make it through.
    The last 3 get caught up in the numbers game and I think its Green, Mixx, and Wondo.

    Lots of folks are saying Edu, but due to the lack of overall World Cup experience on the team (Donovan, Beasley, Howard, Dempsey, Altidore, Edu) I think you bring him.

    • Davis has a spot, I think. He provides the best left footed service of anyone in camp. Evans is out, and if Edu comes that lets JK drop Goodson or Gonzalez (or both) and Beckerman or Mix (or both). The versatility of Cameron and Johnson also allow for other defenders or midfielders to be left off.

      I think the seven cuts are: Evans, Goodson, Gonzalez, Corona, Parkhurst, Wondo (mistake) and Mix.

      It doesn’t matter how you list players if they play multiple positions.

  7. Does anyone else actually believe JK isn’t lying when he says it’s an open competition?

    Making these 7 cuts, is a much different animal than selecting your provisional 30. Given a month and two games to evaluate players under your management, I think you should forget about their legacy, their most recent club form, and everything but the second when they arrive in camp, until the whistle blows in Red Bull Arena. It’s easily the most important period when selecting the 23, when you should be pushing the players harder than ever, and they should be doing the same.

    The cream rises to the top, and players like Howard, Bradley, Dempsey, Johnson, Altidore, Donovan, Jones, Cameron, and Besler, bring too much to the table to not let it shine through in that time. That’s the only reason they are considered locks, because they’re without a doubt going to prove it to the coaches, their teammates, and us. Not just with skill, but also with leadership, athleticism, versatility, composure, endurance, etc.

    • Yea I had someone tell me a saying once that always stuck with me…
      “What you’re saying is completely true but not truly complete”
      That applies exactly in this case, as it should with any competition like this.
      We all know he’s probably got 16-18 of the 23 already in his head, wants to confirm their health, and there’s a few spots up for grabs… hence it’s an open competition….
      It’s coachspeak.. and that’s cool…
      I made a comment the other day about this that I was reminded of…
      When Lou Holtz was coaching Notre Dame, he used to say Navy was the most dangerous team on the schedule every year… nobody believed him… it was coachspeak..
      And no matter what he says, you can tell the guy wants to win… big time.. he’s a winner, and I like that

  8. So if I understand correctly, some of you want to keep Yedlin to:
    A. Use as a right midfielder
    B. Burn one of our 3 subs on him; a defender; and use him as a substitute because it might be hot and humid and he can run fast
    C. Because we need to get him ready now for 2018

    You do realize we’re not playing the Faroe Islands U-15 youth development team….

    • I agree that all three are poor reasons:

      A – unfamiliar position
      B – incredibly risky to tamper with defenders
      C – totally unnecessary

      But here would be a really good reason to bring him:

      D – if he seems like one of our top two RB options.

    • He can conceivably play three positions on the right side and might be the fastest player on the pitch when he comes on. I really like his aggressiveness.

      The guy has been a professional player for long enough to be considered. No one is saying we pencil him in as a starter and 90 minute player, but to act like he wouldn’t be more dangerous than Parkhurst or Evans is laugh-out-loud ridiculous.

      • 1. I would not take Evans at any position- I thank him for his fill in service and adequate play the first few games, but he was awful the last 4
        2. You don’t sub defenders in big tournament play unless there is an injury, a swap out late for an attacker if you need a goal, or the guy is just getting flat out torched..
        3. “He can conceivably play 3 positions on the right side”
        If you seriously think he should be a right sided midfielder or forward, positions he doesn’t play, in this World Cup.. Well that’s kinda laugh out loud ridiculous

        If he makes the final 23 as a right back because JK and Berti think he’s one of the best two options, I’d be shocked, but in JK I trust.
        With Chandler, Cameron, and the ability to move Fabian to RB all as existing and realistic options, I think Mr Yedlin will have his time down the line..

      • I do think he can play a more advanced role, and I think JK does too. I think Yedlin’s best position is a right winger and his pace would be a nightmare in the 80th minute. As a fullback, he’d be an emergency choice. The point is flexibility.

      • Can you cite a quote or article or example to lead you to this belief that Klinsmann agrees with your feelings that Yedlin can and or will play in a more advanced role? Specifically in this World Cup?

      • No.

        But it is fun to think about: 80th minute, game tied, playing in 100F heat index, Green comes in on the left and Yedlin on the right. As a defender on the other team, I would not be happy. (Especially if I was already sitting on a yellow card.)

      • I’ll order that…
        Nice folks got the thinking caps on.
        like that Green-Yedlin, super sub combo thing you got going on there.

      • Bac: Evans would not be my first choice anything. But that doesn’t mean that I’d cut him. It really depends on how the other players look. I know that’s true of everyone on this squad, but particularly in Evans’ case: he is a very versatile player. He could jump in to just about any midfield or defensive role and do well—not great, but certainly better than most other players being “played out of position.” He’s a better LB than Beckerman, a better CDM than Beasley, a better RM than Davis or Parkhurst.

        He is the Jack of all trades. Sure, we’d like to play only Kings and Aces, but do we have 23? Evans is a bubble player…sitting on a lot of bubbles.

      • OH Yea? But is he a better striker than Guzan???
        HA!! Or central attacking middie than Rimando??
        I think not!!

      • Howard does have two EPL goals. And Rimando began his youth career as a forward, and only switched to keeper because he was at a summer camp and no one else would do it.

  9. I leave Evans, Parkhurst, Edu, Corona, Davis, Wondolowski and unfortunately Yedlin.

    I would love to give Yedlin a shot in this World Cup but Chandler is the much safer pick.

  10. So tired of hearing people put Wondo in the cuts. It’s hard for me to understand why he’s even on the bubble. After 80+ league goals in 5 yrs, 9 goals in 19 appearances with the national team, several of which weren’t starts, and a goal against Chelsea’s starting defense in the All Star game. People keep saying he hasn’t scored against top flight international competition, but the truth is that he’s only gotten a couple of chances against that level, so that’s just a silly point. I can recall more than a few games in which our sure things failed to score against subpar competition. People mention the 2011 gold cup where wondo didn’t finish a couple oc chances, but the same was true of dempsey missing wide open opportunities in that tournament.
    Finally, i don’t get Boyd over Wondo at all. Why do we need a Jozy like sub on the roster? We have only 20 outfield tickets but we need a second Jozy type instead of a pure goal scorer? Jozy is really durable, and so why Boyd? I like him, and he ,ay end up being the guy next cycle, but it seems really silly. Personally, i think US fans apply NFL combine attributes to soccer players more than anybody else in the world. If he’s tall and muscular he must be better than the the guy that outscores everybody else. Such problematic thinking…

    • Cairo: “i don’t get Boyd over Wondo at all. Why do we need a Jozy like sub on the roster?”

      Jozy can be durable and still get tired, or earn two yellow cards, or one red. Lots of ways that a player like Jozy could need to be subbed out. If you could replace him with a perfect clone, that might be really nice because it wouldn’t require any other adjustments to the lineup or game plan. Thus, Boyd.

      That said, I already explained why I don’t think Wondo is competing against Boyd for a spot.

    • I actually don’t see how Jozy and Boyd are all that similar. I think a lot of what faults Jozy is people try to play in that hold up role. Jozy needs the ball at his feet and really isn’t all that great in the air. Boyd is far more aggressive and attacks the ball. To me Boyd is closer to EJ.

  11. Has there ever been a better guarantee of a ton of comments than asking the question “which 7 players would you cut?”

    But I totally am falling for it. I’d cut:
    Brad Evans, Michael Parkhurst, DeAndre Yedlin, Joe Corona. Brad Davis, Maurice Edu, Chris Wondolowski
    Who I think Klinsi would cut:
    Change Parkhurst to Brooks. Change Davis to Green… maybe. Possible he takes Wondo over Donovan? I’m not saying he will… but I can’t help but be curious. Current form – edge to Wondo. Form over last year – edge to Wondo. Attitude towards USMNT – presumably edge to Wondo. History/ WC Experience – edge to Landon

  12. Hard to cut someone with Yedlins speed, especially if klinsman can drill some understanding of responsibilities into him during camp.

    Wondo stays because whether he looks impressive throughout a game or not he is an excellent poacher who cleans up and scores when he is in the 6 yard box. Wondo can be invisible for a half and then just pop one in like its nothing. Boyd might be more of an attacker, but I would bet more on a poacher scoring a couple goals than someone who is trying to penetrate the defense of our group stage opponents. I have a real hard time leaving either guy off the squad.

    Beasley stays as him and Johnson could both be used as left back or left mid. Both on the same side together would be a dangerous pairing.

    Evans, Davis, Brooks, Bedoya, Mix, Goodson …. Who is the last one out?

    • Actually, it’s quite easy to cut someone with Yedlin’s speed, if he needs JK to teach him a sense of his responsibilities in the last few weeks before the WC. More generally, except possibly as a sort of “rabbit” to run around training sessions to give others a sense of dealing with crazy pace, I see absolutely no role for him, and find his inclusion in the 30 mystifying.

      • Why? He has a strong motor, is fit, plays hard, is good in possession, and is eager to play. Do we want players to fill spots or do we want players who can change a game?

      • All true, and yet those attributes describe, or at least should describe, just about every professional. I’m not saying Yedlin is awful; I’m just saying that I think he is still a bit raw and has not yet risen to the level of a possible WC roster pick. But only JK knows for sure, I guess.

      • Ghana, Portugal and Germany have some fast guys too and they are also pretty good soccer players.

        From what little I’ve seen of Yedlin I think he has promise but I also think he would get cut up bad by our opponents. If he were a full time attacker then that would be one thing but as a right back he looks like he will get burned sooner of later.

        However, JK and his staff obviously think he has something so we will see.

  13. Honestly, I know who I would cut but I have no idea what JK is thinking. It will come down to where does he see Fabian and Cameron (if not off the bench) playing.

  14. I got very worried every time edu played in WC 2010. But this year I feel better about it. If gonzo was hurt, I think he’d be a good pairing with besler, providing some experience and leadership. With beckerman in front of them supporting Bradley I’d feel very comfortable with our central midfield and defensive setup.

  15. I know this probably isn’t in the cards, but if gonzo is hurt…. I like edu teaming up with besler providing some experience, with beckerman in front of them supporting Bradley. I’d be happy to see that

  16. Personally, I’m hoping that JK takes a chance on the youth and takes them to Brazil. Why not prepare them for 2018 by pitting them against these kinds of teams? Just saying.

    • espada,

      2018 is four years off. There is no guarantee that any of these young guys will even be playing pro soccer in 2018, let alone be first choice for the USMNT.

      If you doubt me just Google Theo Walcott and tell me about his great contributions to the English World Cup cause.

      And if JK brings in a bunch of kids and they get slaughtered in the Group of Death, JK could get fired , contract extension be damned. In sports contract extensions are about as iron clad as promise rings.

      At the very least he would put himself under enormous pressure. If the USMNT has three stinkers it will dent his dual national recruiting credibility and just generally make his life a lot harder. Lalas and Twellman would absolutely cream in each others’ pants.

      In addition the US will have Copa America, the Gold Cup, the Olympics (for the kids) and probably the Confederations Cup as competitive tournaments in which to blood any young lions in preparation for 2018.

      I doubt that he is as stupid as you think.

    • I kind of agree with you, honestly. He did that with Germany and they finished third. Obviously, they were an extremely talented group of young players, but I honestly don’t mind seeing the younger players.

      • If you think they can do something is one thing but taking them with idea its going to mean something in 4 years, i don’t get.

  17. There’s nothing from Klinsmann’s comments and recent history that would indicate that Donovan is the lock to make the 23. Especially if he’s listed and competing up top rather than in MF. I still think he goes, but he’s never been discussed by Klinsmann in the same way as Bradley, Jones, Dempsey and Jozy as being the foundation of the team. If it’s tomorrow I would say that Davis, yedlin, corona, parkhurst, brooks, edu and wondo miss out….by June 2nd, who the hell knows?

    • Hugh,

      “he’s never been discussed by Klinsmann in the same way as Bradley, Jones, Dempsey and Jozy as being the foundation of the team.”

      At the beginning of JK’s two years, Landon removed himself from consideration for the title of ” Foundation of the Team”.

      When he decided to return he then had to regain fitness and subsequently was faced with a series of niggling injuries. Landon has never really been hurt before and now he was finally learning the lesson we all learn; after a certain age it gets harder and harder to tell your body what to do. He was not playing well for the Galaxy.

      I hear he is finally rounding (pun absolutely intended) into fighting trim. Good for him but in the interim he learned the other lesson we all learned; sometimes you can’t go back.

      This is not his team anymore.

      He has missed a lot of important games. Will he fight his way back to his former prominence? I thought his heart wasn’t in it but maybe I’m wrong.

      If so then it will be wonderful for the USMNT. And we get further proof of the fact that JK actually does know a thing or two about how to handle players and how to get them to play their best, especially sensitive superstar icons.

      After all, it takes one to know one.

    • “…What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate…”
      They may end up doing the samba after all, it’s a wacky old world.

      • Damarcus Beasley and Fabian Johnson ring any bells? Brad Davis is too slow for the International game. In that case we should have brought in castillo. Davis is too slow. Corona can play at LM and so can Green.

  18. I don’t see how to make a prediction about who gets cut. It seems that too many of the players aren’t competing directly with each other.

    Take the obvious: goalkeeper. Clearly they all go and are competing directly for the starting spot. But it quickly becomes sticky after that.

    Let’s look at definite starters for JK’s 4-2-3-1 (with their likely understudies in parenthesis):

    —————————————-Jozy (Boyd)
    ————————————-Deuce (Donovan?)
    Davis/Corona/FabJo (???) —————————————————————Zusi (Bedoya)
    ————————-Jones (Beckerman) ———— Bradley (Mix)
    FabJo/DMB (Parkhurst/Evans?) — Besler (Cam?) — Omar (Brooks) — Evans/Chandler/Cam (???)
    ———————————-Howard (Guzan, Rimando)

    And “understudies” is the key word for some of those positions. I’m not talking about any potential sub, but rather the guy who can most seamlessly replace an essential piece of JK’s team’s “spine.”

    Who plays LM? Well, that might depend on how DMB looks at LB, and how Parkhurst or Evans or even Chandler looks as a backup LB. FabJo is a great LM if he’s not needed at LB.

    Does LD look fit enough to start? If so, then scratch him as a sub for Deuce and put him at LM or RM. That affects those pecking orders, and increases the need for Aron to back up Deuce.

    How does Green look? Can he be the game-changing “super-sub”? If so, that might drop Aron from the list, even though they play different positions. Or does that actually drop Wondo from the list—again, very different positions, but both Green and Wondo could be seen as “make something happen” types.

    And what about players who can fill multiple roles: Cameron, Chandler, Parkhurst, Corona, Donovan, Edu, and Evans? Their inclusion or exclusion affects depth all over the place—e.g., if Cameron is there, then how many backup defenders do we really need?

    I could go on, but the point is that none of this looks as simple as “X is competing with Y and Z.”

    That said, the only players I see as really being likely cuts are: Goodson, Yedlin, Edu, and Parkhurst.

    • it’s certainly tricky, and i think you make good points. i will say i think it’s easier to start by listing who HAVE to be locks. to me, those are:

      Howard, Guzan, Rimando (3)
      Besler, Omar, Johnson, Cameron, Beasley (5)
      Bradley, Jones, Zusi, Bedoya, Beckerman, Green (6)
      Jozy, AJ, LD, Dempsey (4) (16)

      that leaves Davis, Evans, Parkhurst, Yedlin, Chandler, Boyd, Wondo, Edu, Goodson, Brooks, Mix, and Corona.

      i do consider Omar a lock as well as Beckerman, i just can’t see them being left off barring injury. as for Green, i explained below why i think he’s in. and despite this idea that LD could be left off, i think there is no way he is left off. starting? maybe that’s a different story. so with that, i think you break up the positional battles first. this was essentially my thought process:

      Chandler/Evans/Yedlin/Parkhurst – i agree with Ives, i think Yedlin is there to get experience and provide the type of speed to practice against that our players will see in the WC. for Evans, i cannot see him being able to hold his own against Chandler and Parkhurst. both are better than Evans at RB and LB. so for me, unless Chandler just doesn’t look good at all, it’s Evans and Yedlin out for me.

      Boyd/Wondo – this one is probably a bit harder, but i’m with Ives on this too. Boyd gets the nod over Wondo. Boyd has been there with the A team from day 1. Jozy loves the kid. he’s a very good player. he’s a good locker room guy. Plus he’s Jozy’s understudy according to JK. i think Wondo will have to destroy him in camp to get the nod over Boyd.

      Edu/Mix/Corona – this one isn’t as cut and dry as the others in terms of position. i lumped them together since they all play CM. since i see Beckerman as a lock, i have to assume that Edu is going to have to steal a spot from Mix/Corona. this could be a great battle. i actually really like Edu and think he would have taken Edu’s spot on this team if he didn’t rot at Stoke. it’s too bad. but with Jones, Bradley, and Beckerman, i just think Edu is overkill. but realistically, those three probably all have just about equal shots at going.

      Goodson/Brooks – everyone wants to talk about Omar not being in form, well it’s not like Goodson is either. arguably Brooks was in better form then them two weeks ago. but i’ll say all three are in about the same form. like i said, to me, Omar is a lock. and if i’m a betting man, i’m taking Brooks makes it over Goodson. just a feeling.

      Davis – he’ll be lucky to take a spot from one of these bubble players. no way he takes a spot from any of the locks, IMO.

      • bryan: interesting response. We both tried to approach the question by listing locks, but I tried first to consider only who was a lock to start. You went for positional battles next, whereas I was left considering how a sub for one of the starters would affect the needs in other positions.

        The biggest difference this makes is at LM. As you can see from my lineup, I’m not sure who takes it: Davis/Corona/FabJo… or LD/Zusi/Bedoya… or even Green? I really don’t know.

        But you don’t list anyone at LM. I think that might be why it was easy for you to dismiss Davis—you don’t have to look at the list of who plays LM (based on the list of who is available; i.e., not playing somewhere else on the field, like FabJo at LB).

      • yeah, that was too hard so i just decided to do locks for the 23. but i certainly did take into account subs, i just didn’t write out that out, just the overall framework.

        i just don’t think we have any need for him. between FJ, LD, Zusi, Bedoya, Beasley (these 5 are absolutely locks) and even Green, i see no need for Davis…even ignoring Green. all of them are more than capable of playing LM, IMO.

      • Good point about the LM depth. Even taking into account how other positions affect the decision, there is still too much talent available for LM. Between the guys you listed, they could be played as forward/CAM, RM, and LB, and that would still leave 2-3 of them available to cover LM.

        The only thing Davis really has going for him is service, but Zusi, Bedoya, LD, and Evans are all pretty good in that department too.

      • King, exactly dude. that’s my thought process on this whole LM thing. like you said, Davis has that great service, but we have plenty of other players who dish up good service too. i’d add Bradley onto your list as well. so to me, Davis is redundant and i would use his spot on someone else.

      • bryan: I left Bradley off my list because I was thinking about service from the left side.

        And while Bradley could give service off free kicks, I’d rather have him on the receiving end.

        With that in mind, I also include Dempsey and Altidore as good free kick options—but I would only use them at close range where they are shooting on goal. Otherwise, once again I would rather have them receive.

    • The competition is ability based, not position based. The way you are looking at your selection is not the way a coach would. You don’t pick a formation and then just have players fighting for roles in that formation.

      You might change your formation three times in a match based on what your opponent is doing. You might play 3 different formations in the group stage and then play the first one in the knockout round.

      You should pick players based on what they can do and how often they play up to their potential. That’s how you get players fighting to make a team and not sitting content knowing that no one can challenge for their spot because no one else can do it better.

      • Brett: the way you describe roster selection is actually the opposite of how most, if not every, coaches do, including Klinsmann. A coach does select players based on a certain vision. Sure, if a coach walks right into a brand new team then he might choose a formation based on the players available, but that is not the case here. Klinsmann started two years ago by deciding what style of soccer he wanted the US to play. That was not based on the players, it was based on what he would force the players to become. He’s been clear on that from the start and never hesitated to drop good players who didn’t fit his formation or to move players around (e.g., DMB) to suit his plan.

        By now, Klinsmann has sculpted certain players as the core (“spine”) of his 4-2-3-1 formation. If you want to fit into his team, you don’t just show up and “be good.” You have to show up and be good at something he needs. Short of gaining some world class player, Klinsmann is not going to rearrange his formation just to fit some able player; e.g., a really good RW who excels in a 4-3-3 is not going to find a place on Klinsmann team, where the RM (closest thing to RW) needs to have some defensive chops.

        Klinsmann plays a 4-2-3-1 and sometimes a 4-4-2. The selection decisions in this camp are certainly position-based. If not, Klinsmann would show up with a ton of midfielders—the position we’re deepest at. We can agree that the competition is ability-based, but only to the extent that it is based on the ability to play a given position(s).

      • Air Zeppelin,

        Excellent analysis.

        Naturally, just to nitpick, JK’s 4-4-2 is often more like a 4-1-3-2.

        In the second half of the Bosnia game when Jozy got hot, Mikey was the 1 in front of the back four and Jones was in the attacking middle 3. Mikey rarely crossed the half way line in the second half.

        I only say this because I’m tired of Twellman screaming about the 4-4-2.and talking about how well Jozy does with a partner.

        In that second half the US had 5 guys committed to attack not just one guy being Robin to Jozy’s Batman.

        You could argue that the 4-2-3-1, the 4-1-3-2, the 4-3-3 and a number of other schemes are just slight variations of the 4-4-2 based on the talent available.

        The English World Cup winning side from 1966 might be the most famous 4-4-2 of all time, but it was actually a 4-1-3-2, with Nobby Stiles in front of the back four, Charlton between Ball and Peters and Hunt and Hurst up front.

        The 4-2-3-1 easily slides into being a 4-4-2 diamond and back again, for example. So if you’re really obsessed and watch one of the USMNT’s games real close you should see some form of all these formations at various points in the game.

        One other thing, I think you will see JK show up with a disproportionate number of midfielders.

      • GW,

        All good points. I also try not to think too rigidly about formations because, as you point out, they’re all fluid during the match. The distinction I look for between a 4-4-2 (or 4-1-3-2) and 4-2-3-1 is when that CAM from the 4-2-3-1 looks to be hanging forward as much as the other forward.

  19. This is hilarious! Everyone in love with the shiny new toys, ie Green, Boyd, etc. have you not been watching Klinsmann these last few years at all? Green, Boyd, Yedlin, Brooks, Corona are all nods to the future, but won’t be there when the 23 are announced. Davis and Wondo are in, because that is Juergen’s MO. Better get used to it…

    • 6 of 23 22 or less in his only WC (Germany 2006)? Optimistically, we have a 1 in 5 chance of getting out of this group. Klinsi is here for 2018 and probably planning for it now.

      • You either don’t understand how odds work or you don’t understand what “optimistically” means.

    • your comment shows that YOU are the one who doesn’t get it.

      Green has a golden ticket, that’s a done deal. get used to it.

      Boyd has been called up for every single A team friendly and WCQ aside from when he had a minor injury. JK has made it clear he is Jozy’s understudy. he’ll be in the 23. get used to it.

      Brooks is another JK favorite who rebounded towards the end of the year. he’d have to royally screw up in camp to not be in the 23. get used to it.

      Davis was only a part of the team when injuries came up and for B team friendlies. he is there to show himself but his chances of making the team are slim. get used to it.

      Wondo is the odd-man out with LD, Dempsey, Jozy, AJ, and Boyd all essentially locks. he’s in camp to attempt to knock off Boyd (doubtful) or to knock off another field player and convince JK he needs all 6 of the strikers he listed. also doubtful. get used to it.

      Yedlin i agree with you on. he won’t be in the 23 barring injury to a number of players.

      Corona is a bit of a wild card, who knows with him.

      • bryan: please see my comment just below. I’d really be interested in your response.

        Also, in regards to Green’s “golden ticket.” Do you really think JK already promised him a spot? I’ve argued many times on these boards how reckless that would be for a coach—it would undermine his authority as coach and create incredible resentment from teammates. I just can’t see JK doing it. A guaranteed spot in the 30? Yes. In the 23? No way.

      • will do.

        i understand that logic, for sure, but at the same time, i think it’s similar to Chandler. by that i mean why bring them to the 30 if you aren’t SERIOUSLY considering them? with Green, some of his comments make me wonder if he really does have this golden ticket. and although i find Twellman annoying, he did say to SiriusXM FC yesterday that there is an interview with Green’s mom and Foudy in one of these mini-series episodes coming up. apparently she has some interesting comments about him going.

        of course right after that Twellman (and JP & Marcelo) all sounded dumb when they said, “why would he decide to switch to the US if he didn’t have a golden ticket? he didn’t have to yet.” and then quoted Green’s mom as saying she was surprised he chose the USA now because of the German U-21s showing how much they wanted him, alluding that he should stick it out with them and see what happens. what they all seemed to fail to realize was that if he went with the German U-21s to the Euros, he’s tied to Germany. so he DID have to decide, he had no choice. is he really going to turn down the U-21 Euros and think Germany is going to be okay about that? i wouldn’t think so.

        anyway, back on track…i just think this whole Green situation is going to play out just as we all speculated. that Green agrees to switch and goes to the World Cup. barring awful form in camp over the next few weeks, i truly think he has a golden ticket.

      • bryan: fair enough. You answered my question. And to answer your (rhetorical) question: “why bring them to the 30 if you aren’t SERIOUSLY considering them?”

        Oh I think everyone in the 30 is being seriously considered. No one is there as a luxury, a practice toy, or “just to gain experience for 2018.” Certainly some players are being more seriously considered than others, and I agree that Green is likely one of those players.

        So if when you say “golden ticket,” you mean a guaranteed serious chance to make Brazil, then I agree. But if “golden ticket” means he makes the 23-man roster regardless of others’ or his own performance in camp (and overall team needs, as I discuss below), well then I already explained why I can’t believe that.

      • “Oh I think everyone in the 30 is being seriously considered.”

        that’s fair enough. that’s not the best way i could have put it. but i can’t think of another way to convey what i mean when i say that.

        however, i still think the kid has a golden ticket unless he is AWFUL in camp. i mean, really bad. where no one could justify it. don’t get me wrong, i understand how it’s totally hypocritical and a bit ridiculous, i just think it’ll absolutely happen.

      • If he has a golden ticket, it was not issued as a guarantee by Klinsman, but by fate… that he has extraordinary tools at a position the US has few options- and the best being needed at LB. Green spent some time in camp and I am sure is aware of how he stacks up and as top players do- has the confidence to think he has a great shot. Rather than be suspicious- we all ought to be wishing him the best/hoping he meets his potential. We sure could use another dynamic option on the wing to keep these teams honest!

      • I think Bayern encouraged him to choose the U.S. Their interest is obvious. Germany has a lot of young guys with that kind of potential, but for the U.S. not so many. So if Bayern plans to keep this kid, which they seem intent to do, they can sell a lot of jerseys to Americans if Green becomes a USMNT mainstay.

        I think merchandising is responsible for more decisions than is commonly known. And the U.S. is a prize – large middle class with a lot of spending cash, that is just starting to spend on soccer.

      • JK knows that a Green inclusion could cause a major rift, especially after playing 4th division in Germany. 4th division. He in no way has a golden ticket. This is still trying to bring him into the fold because of his future potential, not becaus of his current potential.

        Davis played in Mexico, the most important qualifier that there is on the schedule. Didn’t just make the roster, but played, and has fairly consistent playing time since. So you are incorrect there as well.

        Boyd is there to challenge Wondo, not the other way around. Wondo has more appearances, more goals, and has been the more consistent producer. Boyd is trying to catch Wondo, not the other way around.

      • Wondo has more appearance, but Boyd was with the first team while Wondo was on the gold cup. He was also playing in Europe during the January camp (South Korea match) and the non-Fifa date Mexico match. Wondo’s done everything he can with those opportunities but where Klinsmann actually rates them is unclear.

      • That’s really not true. Green apparently has looked great when he’s trained with the US team, and if he’s as good as everyone says he is technically then he’s definitely our best true wing in the pool.

        You could just as easily lose a team by bringing a player everyone sees to be worse out of a misguided sense of loyalty.

        These are all big boys. They want to win, and everything else is secondary.

      • none of us will even remember this tomorrow—that’s why every SBI post about the USMNT generates 500 comments where we all rehash the same conversations 😉

      • Funny KG-EYE, very true.
        Question for Bryan or anyone else with the sentiment they have regarding JG.
        Can you name 3 potentially more impacting players from the left side?, keep in mind one may have FJ, penciled in at left back, also mindful of not wanting to compromise the quality and integrity of other positions by playing somebody out of a position they are less skillful and adept at if not necessary?.

      • i think FJ, Zusi, Bedoya, Corona, LD, and Beasley can fill in at LM without any problem whatsoever.

      • Mr Town,

        If Green does well in camp and the games then I have zero problem playing him in Brazil.

        Would his inclusion risk causing a locker room rift?

        These guys are going to be in camp together for 2 and a half weeks and three exhibition games. If Green can make them better, then every one of those guys will know that. They will see it in a way none of us ever will.

        If he does in camp what I think he can do on the field then … well the players always know and they all want to win. If he fails then everyone will also know.

        There is a “RISK”. But if JK plays it right and I suspect he will, that “RISK” will be minimal and in any case will be worth it.

        I can hardly wait to hear the outrage if and when Brad Davis makes the team over Green.

        Here is what I saw of Green at the Mexico game.
        He has excellent ball control. He doesn’t think about it . Very good in traffic and tight spaces. Unlike, for example, Gyau, he does not dribble aimlessly. In other words he is very threatening. He is very quick and very fast. He knows what to do with the ball. He’s not afraid to take on a defender and can beat them. The US has very few other players, if any, who can do that.

        Mexico are not stupid, they always had two guys on him and they quickly got very physical with him. And he is not afraid.

        You could see that.

        He is young and raw but he has a skill set that no one else in the 30 man group has. And he has the advantage of being too young to know that he should not be playing in a World Cup.

        Name me the other US player who can do what he does?

        He’s going to break out in a big way sooner or later. The World Cup Group stage is as good a place as any to do that

      • “Green inclusion could cause a major rift” – doubtful. conjecture.

        “This is still trying to bring him into the fold because of his future potential, not because of his current potential.” – duh. but that doesn’t change the fact that he has a golden ticket.

        “Davis played in Mexico, the most important qualifier that there is on the schedule.” – yeah, for 19 minutes and was awful. 3 passes completed, 3 passes incomplete. 4 tackled and possession lost, and a yellow card to boot. GREAT stuff. further, he didn’t even make the original roster for that camp! he was a late addition and didn’t participate against Costa Riva.

        “Boyd is there to challenge Wondo, not the other way around. ” – you cannot possible be serious. who was in all the World Cup qualifiers? seriously, who? BOYD was. who took part in every A team friendly? BOYD was. who was called on during B team Gold Cup and friendlies? Wondo was. so how could Boyd POSSIBLY be behind Wondo? he’s been in front of him the entire time. Wondo must take it from Boyd.

    • This is his first World Cup selection for the US. Every selection JK has made before has been leading up to this one. The World Cup is the prize and he will not hold anything back. The “nods to the future” will still be inexperienced when the next cycle rolls around unless they play in their first World Cup this summer.

      JK will bring his experienced veterans, but he will also bring the players he thinks are hungry enough to make an impact and set themselves up for success in the coming club season.

  20. When the preliminary US roster appeared on Polish soccer sites, several message-board posters made sarcastic Freddy Adu comments. “Where is the superstar Freddy Adu?” I chuckled a bit over the fact that fans in other countries still discuss him the same way many people on this site do.

      • Haha, it is a national team that is far less than the sum of its parts. Poland and Wales dominate the lineup of “Best Players Not at the World Cup.”

      • That is not fair.

        Poland has two third place finishes(1974, 1982) in the World Cup while Wales has not been there since 1958

      • I was talking purely about 2014. Poland is a proud soccer nation in general, as I well know.

      • It is weird the way Poland under preform. They have some very good players but it just doesn’t seem to work. Russia is the exact opposite. They don’t really have any standouts but they are very very solid.

      • Who performs better in tournaments that both enter? I’m just wondering if Russia enjoy a greater home field advantage and therefore qualify more often.

  21. I’d cut Bedoya….y’all are in love with him…

    dude hustles but he’s a one trick pony… run and cross, he can cut to the inside but then he has an useless left foot… his crosses are not even as good as Zusi’s or Donovan’s…

    It’s a tough call with Bedoya at RM as Donovan, Zusi, Johannson and even Dempsey can play that position… and though Donovan was selected as forward, he can play LM but he’s not as good when he plays RM.

    RM is so crowded… The real opportunity is at LM for a true left-footer as Brek Shea and EJ were left out, it’s up to Green and Davis and you know who wins that…

    -Yedlin (Tim Chandler and Cameron got this…)
    -Evans (same as above)
    -Corona (wont be able to beat Mixx, his only true competition)
    -Davis (couldnt even cut it against a Korean B team, wont beat Green, Fabian)
    -Goodson (Brooks plays in Bundesliga… and even Edu can fill in as CB if needed)
    -Wondo (Boyd is by far more athletic, faster, stronger… hustles and plays in Europe)

    • Since the U-23 level through the Gold Cup Final, Corona was preferred to Diskerud as the more complete player. The long absence for the Gold Cup hurt Corona’s place at Tijuana and he had to work hard to get back in the starting lineup…as a result, he stopped getting as many USMNT call ups.

      While I don’t really have an opinion on who’s “better,” I don’t think it’s safe at all to say Mix beats him out. Corona has been playing a lot more for the Xolos lately than Mix has for Rosenborg.

      • Let’s assume both Corona and Mixx are in, then you drop one, maybe two, MF. I don’t think Green was promised a seat – just a chance. He’s vulnerable. Then one of Edu or Beckerman. I think Edu helps us more in this group, and Beckerman is out.

    • Nah. He has shown well in a good league and can play any spot on the right (even fullback in a pinch) and can also play in the middle advanced position. He’s on the plane.

  22. I would say the easiest cuts to predict are what I would term ‘next cycle’ guys: Green, Yedlin, Corona, Brooks, and maybe even Mix fall into this category. I think Mix will make it, maybe Brooks, but the other three, I just can’t envision them being there unless they really show out in training and the friendlies.

  23. My surprise pick is Johannsson misses the cut. I just don’t think he’s been 100% for awhile now caring this ankle injury. Hopefully he can get fully fit but I can see it happening.

  24. The interesting choices are Corona vs Mix (for late game attacking finesse), Boyd vs Wondo for alt striker sub (one is better as a replacement for Jozy if need be, the other might be good to snatch a late goal), Edu vs Beckerman (for Jones sub–athleticism vs slow but secure), Goodson vs Parkhurst (defense sub)

    Left Off: Yedlin, Davis, Evans plus one each above

    • I think Evans is safe as a JK favorite although I would cut him. Same for Beckerman although personally I think he deserves to not only be in the 23 but possibly start. I think Corona and Mix will both miss out and Boyd and Wondo will both make it.

      • i’m not so sure about Evans being safe. JK called in a lot of RBs which says he’s ready for them to battle it out. Parkhurst, Evans, Chandler, and Yedlin plus Cameron (who actually is a lock).

      • Evans and Wondolowski are in fact the same person. I know this because we once sang together in a barbershop quartet with David Regis and Brian Maisonneuve.

        Wait… what was the question?

      • I just watched the replay of the Panama game last night on espn classic and dude he looked awful.. and that wasn’t one of his worse games..
        Hopefully as he and Berti have been watching film together cooler heads will prevail..

    • ehhh i would rather have Bedoya as a late game attack minded sub as he is better than both Mix and Corona. Id say Edu and Beckerman both make it

      • Honestly, out of those 3, I’d say the order of who’s safest is:

        Bedoya > Corona > Mix

        Yes, Mix has been much more involved than Joe Benny lately, but one is on the upswing and one has been relegated to the bench for his club.

  25. I think Landon is going to be among the cuts. Seemed clear from day one that JK didn’t rate him that highly for whatever reason.

      • Well considering this is a thread about which players will be cut from the 30 I think it’s pretty appropriate. I’ve also posted about several other players too.

      • I don’t think Landon is a lock, but IMO he has at least an 80% chance of making the final 23. All the other safe bets that Ives named are sure locks, and I’d include Jones and FabJo.

    • If he is even somewhat game fit, as in can put in 30 minutes as a sub, he has to be on the squad. He has so much experience and has scored massive goals for the U.S. multiple times at the World Cup; he will not be overwhelmed by the stage and often finds ways to get it done in improbable situations, and that is just too valuable to pass over.

      • Did anyone else see the stat where Donovan has scored more goals than Rooney, Ronaldo, and Messi put together at the WC. Donovan has 5 and the three put together have 3.

      • That’s an interesting fact there Mike V.
        I wonder what the odds are that LD, keeps that WC goal scoring lead over all of them. One would think if he does or even extends that margin, the Nats would possibly be in good shape to advance?.
        Here’s another one, what are the odds Klose, breaks the all time wc goal record?.
        I think there is an even better chance of this, however I would be really pleased to see both happen.

      • Mr. Manuel Francisco dos Santos, I hope he does extend it but, chances are Messi and Ronaldo will start to reel him in. It was just a fun fact.
        BTW, I love the name. 🙂

      • Donovan has 5 World Cup goals. There’s only around 50 players in soccer history with more than that. There’s only 5 or 6 active players in the world that have that many. If he can score 2 more that will put in very elite company in soccer history.

      • For some reason this comment reminded me that Messi exists, which it turn reminded me that I desperately want to see Brazil and Argentina square off at some point. That is kind of a “must” for a South American World Cup, no?

        (Yes yes I know Uruguay…Already seen that — and as far as I’m concerned, the “Hand of Suarez” was borrowed from the “Hand of Gibbs” in the Confederations Cup ’03– )

      • With the history of European teams inability to break through in SA, you may just get your wish.

      • BTW, for those who want the stats,
        Donovan – 5 goals
        Ronaldo – 2
        Messi – 1
        Rooney – 0

  26. Off Topic, but since this is the newest thread and he just discussed this on espnfc….
    Taylor Twellman’s comments regarding EJ not making the 30 are somewhat different than the comments he made when interviewed by the guys on MLS…

    And when asked about Donovans comments on the special last night, he says there’s been this clash b/w LD and JK ever since JK became coach.
    Personally, I think the “riff” was put to bed after the Gold Cup, and now it’s just about form and fitness. It appears to me the “riff” or “clash” has been kept alive more by our soccer pundits than anyone else.
    Donovan said last night what Jurgen expected of him.. that sounds like a coach acting like a coach.
    I mean JK flat out called Deuce a selfish player last night and what he expects of him to do more for the team.. why aren’t we calling that a “riff”.. sounds to me like a coach acting like a coach

    Any chance we can get some new soccer “experts” on the tube? GW? Beachbum? King Googly Woogly? Ives? FRANK????? Anyone???

    • With Clint? Well We have all seen that selfishness. I don’t think its so controversial to say it. We all know he is a shoot first guy and sometimes its works really well. Other times not so much.

      Klinsmann just wants him to be aware of when its not working and set someone else up.

      • The interesting part about the “Dempsey is selfish, I moved him so he would learn to play well with others” quote is what it says about Donovan.

        Landon has historically been exceptional at doing what Clint needed incentive to learn to do.

        Obviously JK felt Landon needed to be motivated to do something else. I feel he is sticking him at forward because he wants Landon to be more selfish.

        Ironically he wants Clint to be more like Landon and Landon to be more like Clint.

      • Yes, I agree with this also, maybe I didn’t make my first post clear enough.. I was focusing on the reporting and LD/JK…
        My Deuce reference was just an example that JK will deliver blunt messages to anyone.. that doesn’t mean there’s an ongoing clash..
        Your point though is insightful, it does look like he’s trying to get each to act more like the other…

      • I agree.. that’s my point. JK called him selfish last night, he’s stated multiple times he didn’t like Deuce coming back to MLS, last year (or maybe longer) he even said Clint “hadn’t done SH!T” …. He hasn’t minced his words…
        But there’s no “riff”
        My point was that these “experts” have been obsessed with this “LD/JK riff/clash” and I contend it got buried after the Gold Cup.. but they’re bringing it up every day…

      • You are probably right. For that matter, JK would never say “he has done sh1t” about Donovan. I think he knows that doesn’t motivate Donovan and I think any issue that come up with Donovan are more likely to be ongoing internal issues that LD has been having for like 2 years now.

        Clint and Klinsmann are fine. I think both are way too competitive not understand they both want to win.

      • For me, the biggest difference is he says Dempsey hasn’t done anything, and then names him captain, and I might be missing a game, but I don’t think he has benched Dempsey. Yet, he dropped Donovan, and benched him in our most recent game. So based on Klinsmanns words, it sounds like he is treating them the same way, but based on his actions, it looks like he treating them very differently.

        Also, based on their careers, it appears that Donovan and Dempsey are not motivated in the same way, so if Klinsmann is trying to motivate them the same, it is probably a mistake.

        All of that to say, I think there is a riff. How big of a riff, I don’t know, but I don’t think it would be unexpected between a player a who says he plays best when he is comfortable, and a coach who says he has to make his players uncomfortable to get the best out of them.

      • A riff….. like a guitar riff? Or a rift… like a split or divide.

        Personally I don’t think there is either.

    • Bac: good points.

      LD’s riff with JK generates page views. There is no good reason to let it die.

      Plus, little morsels keep dropping to feed the idea: LD playing in the lowly Gold Cup, LD not starting in the recent friendly, etc.

      And even though there have been some hints of a riff with Deuce as well, it would be too repetitive to tell that story AND the Donovan one.

      So Donovan’s story is “the prodigal son,” and Clint has to have his own story.

      • It was a tough call, Beckerman is really good and consistent, but Edu is playing really well too. Neither of these guys start right now in my opinion, so I like Edu for his athleticism and versatility off the bench, not to mention his aerial prowess.

      • I agree with you. Edu didn’t get called before because he was riding the bench at Stoke. Now he is in form and playing well. Beckerman just doesn’t have the pace and athleticism to be that disruptive d-mid we’ll need in the group stage.

      • Agreed… but my buddy and I are convinced Beckerman has compromising photos of Klinsi… Jurgen loves him. A ton. He’s on the plane.

      • I think Moe would have to be head and shoulders better than Beckerman, if these two players are close in level, JK will take Beckerman.

    • This is very close to how it would be for me.

      Yedlin, Davis, Evans, Goodson, Mix, Wondo, I have no idea

      That last spot is very hard to decide. I’d say Corona based on overall quality, but it might have to be Edu/Beckerman just because we’re so deep at that position. Jones/Edu/Beckerman all play similar roles in that spot, and Cameron can play there as well. Not sure we need that much cover at one spot.

      I also have a feeling it could be AronJo that ends up being the odd man out. He’s been slightly injured of late, but he also looked downright poor for AZ in the few games I watched prior to the injury. He’s an exciting player overall, but I honestly think Donovan/Green might be the player(s) filling the “spark-off-the-bench” role.

      It could be Chandler, if he doesn’t integrate well or takes too long to get back into form.

      It could be Green, depending on how good he really is. Or if there were some promises made 🙂

      • But what position does corona even play? He plays “rover” if we are 10 year olds. For the US he would have to play Dempsey’s slot, because he is God awful on the outside. He just isn’t needed.

  27. I hope Corona makes the roster. We have so many players that can play for either Mexico or USA and not picking any player of Mexican heritage would send a bad message to these young players.

    • Orozco, Castillo, Torres and Carona have all had many chances. I do agree with you, but for a different reason. If/when they play good enough to make the team that’s fine. Their heritage should NOT have anything to do with it!

    • Bahahahaha!!! So we should put Corona on the team to Brazil to appease the Hispanic population. What a about Nguyen so the Asian-American population doesn’t feel left out.

      NO and NO. We go with the 23 best players no matter what race or heritage.

      • I thought Graham Zusi already did plenty to “appease the Mexican-American population.”

    • A worse message would be favoring a certain player because of his ethnicity. If no Mexican American makes it, (omar gonzalez is a Mex/American btw) it is because none of them were good enough. Ive never understood why this Mexican-American thing gets so much attention. Have they shown to be inherently better than any other race? I mean honestly has a Mexican-American ever made a serious contribution to the USMNT? You can’t chalk it up to US Soccer discrimination either. None have made any type of impact in a euro league as well. Not that it really matters because Luis Gil is on the come up and he’ll be a main stay for cycles to come.

      • Herc had some great moments, lets not forget how huge that free kick was back in the Jamaica qualifier. We only get a draw at home there we might be in trouble. He probably is on this team if injuries didn’t catch up with him.

      • Chris,

        I have this guy Charlie Blackmouth on line 1. He’d like a word about Mexican-American contributions to the USMNT.

    • So you want some sort of affirmative action plan instead of the best 23?

      What if Corona is not one of the best 23, do you pick him anyway to fill your quota?

      • First off, I’m not Mexican, I’m Ukranian. As far a Omar Gonzelez, he wasn’t raised in the Mexican youth system. He never played on a Mexican youth national team nor did he seriously have to consider which country to play for at the senior level. Possession is something the USMNT struggles with at times. The Mexican based players excel in that department. They don’t play in the Mexican 2nd division, they start for good teams in Mexico. We all agree the on top 10-15 players that should go. The other spots, there’s plenty of debate and no one really knows who will play best. So if its a toss up, I would say bring one of Corona, Torres, Castillo or Orozco. There are 10-15 quality youth Mexican Americans that may need to choose a national team. Many are for Julian Green going to the World Cup. Would he really go on merit?

      • “Many are for Julian Green going to the World Cup. Would he really go on merit?”

        Of course.

        It’s late in the game and you want a goal. You want a two footed burner who can panic the defense and has a nose for assists or for goals. Green fits that mold and without Shea around is the only guy who does.

        He’s the only guy left who will remind you of what a counter with Donovan and Davies looked like.

        Only Green is already more polished than Davies ever was.

        I thought it was going to be Shea and Donovan as JK’s “instant offense ” second half sub package. Instead, if he shows well in camp, it will be Green and Donovan.

      • How can you possible say that Green is more polished than Davies????? What has he done in his career??? I am as pumped as anyone for his potential, but he hasn’t done anything yet.

      • I totally agree. THere is no way he should be going while more talented people were not even called in

      • Can those “more talented people” do what Green can?

        If not then that is why he is in the 30 and they are not.

      • Froboy,

        “I am as pumped as anyone for his potential, but he hasn’t done anything yet”

        Yeah? So who has?

        On the 30 man roster who has scored a goal or had an assist in a World Cup game?

        Donovan, Dempsey, Mikey, DMB ( assist on Clint’s goal vs Ghana 2006), Jozy ( hockey assist against Algeria, 2010).

        Who has played in a WC game? Including the guys above you have Howard and Edu.

        That is it.

        That means you have 23 out of the 30 who have never played in a World Cup game.

        Whoever makes it from that 23 to the final 23 will all be rookies.

        Are you going to tell me that, for example, Mix Diskerud who plays in a two bit third rate league and has never played before in anything like what he might see in Brazil is going to handle that better than Green might?

        At some point you guys are going to have to accept that JK and his staff know these guys far better than you do and you will have to accept that they will do their best to NOT do something contrary to their own best self interest; such as fielding a rookie who will go all deer in the headlights on them.

        This is not an exact science.

    • winning makes people fans. There are lot of Mexican Americans who love football and basketball, but those sports don’t have many Hispanic professionals. People will support the US team if the enjoy watching the product on the field.

  28. Evans, Davis, Corona, Brooks, Yedlin, Edu and Either Boyd or Wondo. I hate to cut Wondo, but, Boyd will be needed if Jozy goes down.

  29. I could see both Edu and Beckerman making it. They both can back up JJ. And, God forbid, Bradley goes down, Edu would make the most sense to replace him. Of course he doesn’t have the same qualities going forward as Bradley does. But if Bradley is out then I’d rather have a solid defender who can get forward a little then someone like Mix or Corona taking Bradley’s spot.

    • I’d suspect bedoya might be a pretty solid replacement in this situation. He’s comfortable in the middle, plays box to box, distributes well, and tracks back.

      • This. Bedoya has played centrally 9/10 (if not more) matches for Nantes. Even though he played on the wing for Rangers (when he did play) and some in Sweden, I’d like to see him centrally against Azerbaijan, even just for 15 minutes late, or something.

      • Actually, Bedoya would replace Clint. He came to prominence playing that central role for Orebro and in interviews has never made a secret of the fact that he prefers the middle.

        He is on the right wing for the US because BB used him to sub for Donovan there and he did well.

      • he could, but I was thinking more in line of Johannsson when Dempsey retires and Bedoya when Jones retires and Green replacing LD. that will give the USA an offensive force not seen in a long time, if not ever!

    • If Bradley goes out, we might as well play whatever remaining time on Brazilian fields with a young, developmental team aimed at 2018.

      He’s the heart and soul of the team. If we advance out of group, it will be because of three things – Bradley played up to his potential, our back line surpassed expectations by leaps and bounds, and we got some outside help.

  30. Did anyone find it odd that Dempsey and Donovan were listed as forwards? Seemingly closing the proverbial door, perhaps, for EJ? Whilst opening the same door for long shots (Green, Davis, Mix and Carona) in the midfield?

    • Donovan has made it clear by now that he simply lacks the fitness to play anything but high and in the middle.

      • Well said, I think people don’t realize that showing our top 11 with preferred formation would be a tactically naive mistake to make as it would allow other teams to properly prepare for us.

      • what are you talking about? you need to start using your other fingers, the thumb alone is not enough

    • Mr. suck,

      If Donovan and Dempsey are listed as forwards and if they both make the 23, when the games begin will FIFA penalize the USMNT in some fashion if Donovan drops back into midfield?

      What if Corona is listed as a midfielder and then plays as a forward in a 4-3-3 will the US get points deducted?

      • Rimando spends more time with the ball at his feet than the other two so I would move him to target forward.

        You do bring up an interesting point. FIFA mandates three fulltime keepers to keep the outfield players at 20 ( why I’m not sure).

        One of these days though one of the keepers will get a game in midfield.

        Jose Luis Chilavert of Paraguay used to take just about all of Paraguay’s free kicks (not corners) but he never did score a World Cup goal . He did score 36 goals in 266 games for Velez Sarsfield, and he did have a hat trick. He was also a fine keeper.

      • Ah, I remember that dude. I wish more keepers had the skill and long leash from their managers to do that kind of stuff more often…

      • GW: I think the mandatory 3 goalkeepers has to do with FIFA making a concession to allow 3 goalkeepers. Teams were only bringing 22 players, but begged FIFA to let them bring a third keeper. FIFA worried that some teams would abuse this privilege and bring yet one more field player, so FIFA made three goalies mandatory.

        (I don’t remember the details, but I stumbled upon this history a few weeks ago when I was researching something else.)

      • Thank you.

        Does FIFA define who is a keeper?
        How many games do you have to play there?

        In other words, and this would not happen,could you have Mo Edu play six games at keeper for the Union and then get brought on the World Cup roster as a keeper?

      • I dunno.. but they have their rules on it…not sure how they specifically define the terms..
        I think it’s in direct correlation to next month’s deposit in Switzerland

      • Here’s the rule, straight from FIFA’s official “Regulations for World Cup 2014”:

        23 players may be entered on the start list… All goalkeepers and the captain must be identified as such. Three players must be goalkeepers, with the number 1 shirt reserved for one of them.


        Each association…shall provide FIFA
        with a list of no more than 30 players…. [This] release list (showing the full last name(s), all first names, popular name, place and date of birth,
        passport number, name and country of the club, height, weight, number of caps won, number of international goals scored) must be sent to FIFA by no later than 13 May 2014.

        Each association shall then be required to provide FIFA with a final list of 23 players three of whom shall be goalkeepers.

        The final list (showing the full last name(s), all first names, popular name, number on the shirt, position, place and date of birth, passport number, name
        and country of the club, height, weight, number of caps won, number of international goals scored)….

        Nothing about who can be designated a goalkeeper on the 23-man list; i.e., it doesn’t matter what the guy plays normally. (Yedlin could be listed as our goalkeeper.) But once that 23-man list is in, it looks like there’s no shuffling positions.

      • One oddity: what happens when a goalkeeper becomes injured or ineligible to play (red card)? One rule states that teams must list three goalkeepers on the match-day roster, but the other rule indicates that goalkeepers must be identified upon submitting the 23-man “final list.”

        The answer can be found in SA v France in WC 2010: goalkeeper Khune earned a red card in the previous match against Uruguay, so SA only listed 2 goalkeepers on its game-day roster.

        Related: suppose you’ve already used your 3 subs, but then your goalie earns a red card. He must be replaced by an active field player who was not designated as a GK.

      • Some African team in 2010, possibly Algeria was planning on bringing a MF as the third keeper. FIFA in no uncertain terms told them that a player listed as a keeper cannot play in the field, or there would be a consequence, one which at this time I can’t remember.

    • No. It was just a ploy to bring in more MF candidates. It opens the door for Corona and Davis to compete on the left. I think when the games begin, Donovan starts in MF.

    • Donovan plays very, very well with Keano up top for the Galaxy Bruce Arena, though has him playing in a variety of positions; central mid, withdrawn forward, left and right wing, so Donovan’s versatility as well as his experience make him a must have for the team. The big plus is that Donovan shows up for the “SHOW”. Put him in a pressure-packed situation and he thrives.

      I think those players like Edu, Cameron, F. Johnson, Beasley all have a leg up as they can play, well. in more than one position. This is VERY important as the heat and humidity of Brazil will task even the fittest and will make subs and player selection for every game key, so as not to overtax the starters.

      JK has not only designs of getting out of the group, which in itself would be a victory for most, but he wants a US team, ready and rested and ready to play well to whomever they face in the round of 16,

      • What would happen if JK puts him as forward in camp and falls short compare to the other forwards, does he get a bye to move back to LM or does JK cuts him? I wonder if JK is setting him up.

      • JK setting him up? Why?

        This is a coach who didn’t take Oliver Kahn, when Kahn was widely viewed as one of the best if not the best keeper in the world, and barely offered an intelligible reason why.

        If JK doesn’t think Donovan should go, he won’t go. That said, I’d bet Donovan makes the 23, and will start if physically able to play a hard 90.

      • Paul,

        You are right. JK would have zero problem cutting LD though I suspect he won’t.

        For the record, JK took Kahn he just did not let him play. And actually, Lehmann was clearly the better keeper that year. Jens was having a career year with Arsenal.

        JK did praise Kahn for being a positive influence in the locker room and on the bench.

      • Ah, good correction. I remember now reading that JK told him he wanted him to be a locker room presence. Just wasn’t going to play him, and hoped he could agree to those terms, which Kahn did.

      • With JK, it only matters if you are looking for an excuse. I do not believe Altadore will come out of camp as the top forward but am sure JK will start him anyway. Bias always trumps results with JK

      • Name “Jualin Green” should probably answer that question. His name alone got him to the 30 player roster. Let’s see how far he gets, maybe he is the real deal. I’m upset that Ream didn’t make it even when he had a stellar season.

      • In that case you should consider directing your issue towards Yedlin, Brooks, Evans, Parkhurst, Goodson, or any other “fringe” defender since that would be a like for like argument for the inclusion of Ream.. unless you think should have called in even more defenders than he did .

        Or maybe the phrase “bias always trumps results with JK” is a pretty senseless statement.

        Does Bias win games or results?

        Here’s one thing that’s so odd about those stating JK is showing some type of “bias” or favoritism, or whatever word one wants to use:
        Doesn’t it seem odd that a new coach would show “bias” towards certain players such as dual nationals yet give Wondo and Beckerman-older MLS vets so many chances and reward their work with a call? Or give DMB a chance to reinvent himself after being cast out? Or even Gooch for that matter?

        The only bias or favoritism I’ve seen is a bias towards Trying to Win…

      • so many reasons why guys get called in/don’t get called in. Coaches make their decisions on whatever they base them on, and like any person, there are things they look for, and players who exhibit these things become ‘favorites’. Hopefully they work out but I think it’s very normal for coaches to make decisions and provide opportunities to those who are outside the public mantra of how things are done. Because of a hunch, or a tactical reason (see Shea and Green as late game left wing attackers getting opportuinities), or even emotional reasons (yes, all try to say that doesn’t enter into it but I think it does), or whatever.

        and for me, so what? Klinnsman seems very up front with players so whatever is going on behind the scenes is what it is. ‘favorites’ are often good players or they fit needs as best as possible…the questionable ‘favorites’ typically

        but I think it’s a coach’s prerogative and it’s normal

      • another reason for favorites is trust between the coach and player on the field, for whatever reason its founded. those things may not always be clear to us outsiders. DeMichelis gets start after start on a winning BPL championship team, seems like a weak link to many observers, but Pellegrini obviously trusts him

      • Favoritism, has always come in to the equations, specially considering all things being equal or close to equal. You have two way players in Chandler and Parkhurst, why two extra RBs in Evans and Yedlin?

      • @ Louis
        Favoritism sure.. every coach in every sport has their favorites, whether it be a skill set, specific talent, team contribution etc..
        But that’s quite different than a Bias, or in the above post u were responding to, that “with JK Bias always trumps results”

        Regarding the specific guys u mention? I can only take a guess, but most likely it has to do with health- Seeing if Chandler is fit enough for the whole tourney, seeing if Omar recovers 100% or is CAM needed in the middle, and since FabJo just announced he would rather play mid but expects to play in the back, He and DMB go into camp on the left…
        So with so many questions at RB, that would be my guess.. but only JK knows

    • I thought about that as I wrote his name, but talk is talk. Klinsmann also said that Bradley and Dempsey aren’t locks either, so there you go.

      • Setting a tone for the team: Take nothing for granted, bust your butt. If LD has to earn his keep you do/everyone does. Nothing more than this. Barring injury or complete meltdown, LD will be on the plane and start at least one match in group play.

      • If Donovan is not on the field, who will create the goal-scoring opportunities? Throughout his MNT career, he has consistently provided more assists by far than anyone else. Just last year, he had 8 assists while the next two had 7 between them. Since we plainly don’t have anyone else who can replicate that sort of contribution, Klinsmann has to play Donovan if we are to have any chance of getting out of the Group. If Altidore, Dempsey and our other forwards are to score, they will need the service that Donovan, primarily, can provide. We are surely toast if the commentators are correct who think that Donovan is incapable of contributing as he has in the past.

      • Advocate, I totally agree with you, but I worry about what Klinsmann will do. Donovan and Klinsmann have a long history together, and although Klinsmann brought LD over to Munich, things didn’t go too well there. While I don’t know either one, they seem to be very different types of people. I get a sense that their relationship is not that great, and Klinsmann might cut Donovan for some reason, that no matter what he tells the media, only Klinsmann will know.

      • Both you and SLA think JK has a grudge against Donovan..

        If Donovan makes the 23 does that mean:
        1. There is no Grudge
        2. There is a grudge but JK doesn’t care and is going on the merits

    • I havent seen him lately. Has he shed that weight he carried into the MX dos-a-dos game? He said last night “I cant train 12 days straight, my body breaks down”. What kind of strain does the camp have? Will they train 12 days? I agree with you that LD is on the bubble. If I were JK, if I cut him, I would put him on the plane as a good luck talisman on the sidelines, and give him some kind of title like “Good Luck Talisman”. I hope he is in shape and 75-80% of the player we knew. But if not, then thank you Landon for the memories.

      • In the weekend game against Portland, he looked great (on a horrendous field). His speed was world-class, he consistently blew by defenders and his first touch has excellent. He tracked back to help defensively and went into tackles harder than I’ve seen in a while (perhaps ever). He was aggressive. He’s peaking at just the right time. If he continues to play this way — with ambition and commitment — I see him as a starter.

      • Nice! When we look back on this WC cycle, we may appreciate how JK managed each man to what they needed, providing the motivation, challenges, and support to bring out the best that each one could give. LD, Beckerman, Jozy would be exhibits A, B, C. Hopefully.

      • I don’t want him cut. I don’t think he should be cut. That said. I get the idea he will retire after this MLS season.

    • I assume Jurgen is just messing with Donovan. Trying to motivate him. It would be fairly shocking to see Donovan go home, who stays ahead of him…Wondo? Corona?

      • I think Landon going would have a more direct effect on Wondo. Corona is also a left-sided player, but I think he’s competing with the guys listed as midfielders.

        So many things could change, but the main questions to me are:

        1. Has age really hurt LD? If so, then he is on the chopping block. Huge fan of his, routed for him as a Quakes fan a decade ago, but… did I mention that was a decade ago? Guy looks slow, and, worse yet, also appears to be giving it his all. Tank may be dry, or his old training habits don’t mesh with his new body. Just don’t see it happening for him, because other guys can bring what he does yet he now lacks the speed/acceleration to create his own lanes. LD rant over.

        2. Is AJ healthy enough to regain form in camp? Even if officially “not injured”, there’s a chance AJ’s ankle proves too pesky, keeps him from making the most in camp. This may be the only way LD stays on.

        USA! USA!

      • Even if you think he’s fallen out of the starting XI, how is he not the best attacking sub we have?

    • Based on what? He is a better direct replacement for Jozy due to his style and body type. Also he has consistently been called into all camps and games when available for the last couple of years.

      • Agree. Jozy is pretty durable, but you can’t count on that. You need one direct replacement. Boyd not only does that, but his recent form allows him to take the Wondo (historically Herc) spot of hot guy you bring off the bench when you need a poacher.

        It’s not that Wonod hasn’t done what he needed to!

        But between Boyd’s form, and the fact that LD and Clint can play up top, you probably don’t want to take too many Fwds.

      • Agree with reignman, Boyd is more secure than Wondo. I think it’s important to keep in mind that JK has stated he’s looking at a number of factors when deciding the 23, including the contributions to the nat’l team over the last 2.5 yrs. That said, Wondo was only called into the team for 4 games between the 3rd and 4th (aka the Hex) rounds of WCQ. Wondo was an unused sub in ALL of those games. And worse, he was called in for the last 2 games of the Hex, which were after we had already punched our ticket to Brazil, and Wondo STILL went unused. That is quite telling to where JK sees Wondo as a contributer to the WC picture. If JK doesn’t see him as viable/valuable against the CONCACAF minnows [when the outcomes sort of don’t really matter] then why would he see him as viable/valuable against two Top 10 ranked teams?

    • If we take JK at his word with FabJ listed as a defender and Donovan listed as a forward who then plays LM? You seem to be cutting all three guys (Davis, Corona, and Green) most qualified to play there.

      • I don’t take JK at his word. Ever.

        But I agree with you.

        Either way, if it is me I play either Donovan or Johnson at LM. And I guess Zusi and DMB could play it if absolutely needed. But something would have gone terribly wrong at that point.

      • So it would be the end of the world if Donovan lined up at right mid? Or behind Jozy?

        When I watch soccer games I notice that players can actually move around with out penalty so that if the world did end and Donovan lined up at, for example, Right Midfield he could actually move over to the left side every once in a while just to make sure that the universe stays in order.

      • You have to take Wondo, if he plays he’s getting a goal. His knack is uncanny. You can’t teach, or coach that, And he’s been scoring for the US in his last few games. BEfor you reply you can’t say “But the opponents we’re tough.” Oh yeah? Tell that to the other forwards in the pool who haven’t been scoring – on anyone.

        So I cut Boyd. Why take him? He’s never shown it yet, though I get he’s had little time. Anyway, here are my cuts:
        Boyd, Green (though I can see him going), Davis, Edu, Brooks, Parkhurst and Yedlin.

      • You bring Boyd because they game planned around Jozy. The attack is meant to run through a big bodied striker prepared to hold up or shoot. Johannson can’t do that. Landon can’t do that. Dempsey can try. Boyd’s the closest thing we have to Jozy, and that’s why he’lll be on the roster as long as he stays on form. Also he’s currently having the best run of any US striker besides maybe Dempsey.

      • I agree, it’s often difficult to take JK at his word. Club form and minutes? Jozy fails this. A couple things I do notice about him is he loves players with guile (Beckerman had written himself off after WC2010, definitely in the mix now), speed (Yedlin is likely the fastest person of the 30 picked but still raw and as virtually everyone including myself agrees is not making the final 23, unless he tears it up in training and friendlies) and left footed types (Beasley was left for dead late in BB’s realm and still has speed for his age, F Johnson, JJ and MB are great with both feet, also…I won’t mention Shea because he’s also got a club right foot and is easy to read)….Say what you will about Jurgen Klinsmann, he’s been pretty much spot on with his selections thus far and he knows a 3 and out World Cup is likely going to cost him his job, “group of death” or not…..

      • Ooops! I forgot Brad Davis and his gifted left foot who was never really in the mix with Bob Bradley….

      • If the US plays like ass I could see it happening. You’re right.. not likely, but if we lose three and play strong…. I think we’re good. I am hoping for the best, but a strong showing is something to build on. At some point we need to just get it done.

      • Bedoya, Zusi, LD, FJ and DMB all provide options on the left. I don’t think depth concerns at left mid are going to keep Davis, Corona or Green on the roster.

      • I strongly disagree. Not a single player in your list is a true LM, and FabJ is the only option mentioned that has proven up to the position. A moderate player at his chosen position is generally superior to a slightly more skilled player, out of his comfort zone. IMO trying to get your very best eleven players on the field, is often less successful than getting your best player at each position on the field.

    • Does it bother anybody else that we will be using the three tune up games to sort out players 20-23 on the roster instead of figuring out our best starting eleven, letting it gel and figuring out our substitution rotation? Bradley did the same thing in 2010 and as a result he kept monkeying around with the central midfield partner to Bradley in all three games – something that should have been figured out and cemented in stone by the time the whistle blew for the England match.

      • Thats a good point. I am still a little confused about the Belgium game it seems very risky, hish risk low reward type game.

      • ” we will be using the three tune up games to sort out players 20-23 on the roster instead of figuring out our best starting eleven, letting it gel and figuring out our substitution rotation?”

        Did JK say that was what was going to happen?

        If so could you point that out to me where he said that ?

        Here is what I know will happen. When the players get in they will spend a certain amount of time getting their fitness tested.

        You might lose one or two guys right there.

        Unlike you, I’m afraid I do not have access how the USMNT plans to run their training sessions and the exhibition games so I’ll just watch it unfold.

      • GW no need to break the knives out! Same team! Same team!

        While I agree that we don’t really have any idea what will happen and JK has said nothing of the sort, I do think it is a valid fear, particularly across the back line. Other than the probability that Besler will be starting against Ghana, we have an absolutely massive set possible permutations among the potential back-four candidates. Really, can any of us positively say that F. Johnson/Cameron/Besler/Chandler is any more likely than Beasley/Gonzalez/Besler/Cameron? Does he try Edu at CB again? What does he need to see in order to make an assessment on JAB?

        This is a little worrying because you’d really like to see us start with a back line (or at minimum a CB tandem) who have had some meaningful reps together…. few would dispute that coordination and communication are critical in defense, and that these are increased with experience playing as a unit… Does JK pick his “best guess” and run with it for the friendlies, tinkering a bit in the second half? (or is this even beneficial, considering the opposition will likely be experimenting in the latter half of games, as well?)How does he maximize this very limited time they have to balance the potentially contradictory goals of (1) assessing “bubble” or situational players vs (2) giving sustained reps to the “first choice” guys, assuming they have been identified.

        I don’t know, but the Ukraine friendly was a waste and we can’t afford another. We shall see though… you’re right on that!

      • “While I agree that we don’t really have any idea what will happen and JK has said nothing of the sort, I do think it is a valid fear, particularly across the back line. Other than the probability that Besler will be starting against Ghana, we have an absolutely massive set possible permutations among the potential back-four candidates. Really, can any of us positively say that F. Johnson/Cameron/Besler/Chandler is any more likely than Beasley/Gonzalez/Besler/Cameron? Does he try Edu at CB again?”

        My guess is, since you don’t have access tot he latest information you are more worried about things than the USMNT is.

        The Ukraine game may have been a waste to you but I doubt the USMNT coaching staff felt the same way.

        Gooch is not in the 30 is he? .

        You and Voice, Imperative need to get together in a shielded bunker and discuss “RISK” and “valid fears”.

        Getting hit by a drunk driver or assaulted by Justin Bieber, those are “risks” and “valid fears.”

        The USMNT has played 26 games since the beginning of 2013. To put that in some perspective, England has played 13 games, in that same time frame. Of course England have a more settled squad and a much less diverse squad in terms of playing style. Still, the US is doing as much as it can to get things organized but there is only so much time.

        You want some sane perspective instead of these sophomoric contretemps over tin foil hat stuff that people keep foisting on SBI readers?

        Read what DMB has to say.

      • Maybe you could try to play well with others instead of being a pompous _$$. The point being made is that the USA continues to switch and try new defensive combos. Plus, Cameron is likely to be used as a center back instead of where he plays for Stoke (got that from national commentators who have presumably sources I do not).
        I looked at the link but there is no designation in it of the starting backs. If you look at the last 13 games the team played the facts are that there is no clear cut designated back line (Cameron alone played right, center, and mid positions). JK should have an idea but the fact remains that going in to the friendlies and the WC, it would be nice to have a set line-up who can understand each other’s style of play. In fact, it is essential, especially given the level of technical attacking proficiency that the teams we will play in the WC possess. Lots of runs and passing and crosses from different angles and players. Our backs need to react instinctively and not have to think about assignments as that is too late and leads to leaking goals.
        I think though that JK will play different combos together in camp and in two of the three friendlies and play his set four in the final one. Strikes me that this is a negative at that point in the build-up to Brazil.

      • Timmy,

        Pompous? Really?

        “I looked at the link but there is no designation in it of the starting backs”

        I don’t expect to be told who the starting backs are before the coaching staff knows who they are. .

        BB would not have told the media who the 30 were if he was not forced to announce it.

        You could look at this uncertainty as a negative. Or you could also look at it as a positive. The US has some choices to make at some positions. BB spent nearly half a year looking for a body to fill Davies’ shirt. In 2010 BB played a half fit Gooch and a recently recovered and rusty Demerit because he did not feel he had any better choices. In retrospect that back four now looks shakier than the current shaky unit. Only Dolo really redeems it.

        In theory that “depth”, that uncertainty is a good thing, or haven’t you read all the articles that claim that to be the case?

        Of course maybe you subscribe to the “if you have two quarterbacks, then you have no quarterbacks theory”.

        Or you could just be negative just because.

        Everyone knows who the main guys will be. Howard, Mikey, Deuce, etc. After that it is more or less irrelevant. The rest are more or less interchangeable parts, journeymen, rookies.
        If those main guys don’t come through you can forget about the others. Injury has already shaped the 30.

        In another week or so it will shape it further.

      • One problem is that some of the guys theoretically on the bubble to make the team could also wind up being starters. That is a particular issue on defense. Could Chandler miss out on the 23, yes. Could he start, yes. Ditto Goodson. Ditto Evans. Ditto Beasley. Ditto Green. To a lesser extent Donovan, Wondo. That is the problem. JK needs to work really hard on finding his top 14. There are a lot of players in the mix for those spots.
        Near locks to start. Howard, Dempsey, Bradley, Jones, Besler, Altidore. You need to find the next 8 guys on the depth chart. Cameron is in there, but is he in the starting 11, and if so where? There is a ton to decide and I sincerely hope JK makes his decisions sooner rather than later.

      • Ugh. This is probably a waste of time, because it will only elicit some other unnecessarily thorny response… but anyway:

        “My guess is, since you don’t have access tot he latest information you are more worried about things than the USMNT is”

        100% Correct. I do not have this information and it would help. As a rabid fan I am curious, so I go come to SBI to see what others like me might be thinking and exchange ideas. Why are you here?

        “Gooch is not in the 30 is he?”

        Nope, but JAB is, and he was equally preposterous, if not worse. Ideally, should’ve played a U.S. friendly and given minutes to a tandem that might start in Brazil.

        As for the England Comparison:
        We’ve played twice as many games as England since 2013. Great. Which only augments the argument that these have been spent heavily on individual assessment and barely at all on building a coordinated backline. Pick your favorite back 4 and it’s likely they’ve started together exactly zero times. Even limiting to CB’s, check how many reps Besler has had with anyone besides Omar. Hope you like Omar. (I do but many don’t). Or else you feel that experience together doesn’t matter in defense. That’s your view and I respect it.

        I followed your link to the glorified wire service quotes that CC times had borrowed from SJ Mercury News. Like everybody here, I had everybody had already read these and thought they were off-topic.

        You’re not the only one who can be thorny. I hate this sort of talk. I’m stopping. You should too. Your posts are usually pretty friggin good. Nobody needs to fill in for Expat. He never really left.

      • A little presumptuous to believe that’s going to take place. Also, the same starting 11 will be played in every world cup game in all likelihood. We have to let our guys get acclimated to each other, and I’d rather use these games than the cup to do it…

      • I think you’re a bit off the mark on this assumption.

        First of all, there will be a lot of time in camp before the Azerbaijan match for Klinsmann to evaluate who is in form, and who isn’t.

        Second, only 2 games (Azerbaijan and Turkey) will come before the roster is narrowed to 23. That leaves 2 games (Nigeria, closed-door match w/ Belgium) to work within the final 23.

        And that said, we already know Howard, Besler, Gonzalez, Cameron, Johnson, Bradley, Jones, Dempsey, and Altidore will be in the Starting XI, and either Zusi OR Bedoya… so there’s 10 of the Starting XI already.

      • I think you are being a tad assuming to state we “know” 10 of the starting eleven. I’d be shocked if at least three changes weren’t made to the starting line up for every game. Furthermore, out of form players such as Omar, are not assured starters.

    • I do think that injuries may play some role in shaping the squad, which is not going to be captured by either talent or system analysis. There’s a list of people including Gonzo and Chandler who have been hurt and if they had to drop back out the analysis changes. Gonzo in particularly might be pencilled in some 11s but may not even be healthy to go.

      Otherwise, pretty much right. Chandler could be anywhere from starting 11 to out, but if healthy and sharp he’s head and shoulders above his competition. With the exception of Honduras, his issue is commitment and acceptance by his peers.

      Boyd is being brought in as EJ’s replacement and EJ was a regular. He is there to understudy Jozy. Wondo by comparison is competing with AJ, Dempsey, Donovan, anyone who can play the speed forward roles. That is an uphill fight.

      It’s hard to read where Landon fits in.

      I personally prefer Yedlin’s speed over Parkhurst. A slow defender whose much noted soccer IQ has still not enabled him to stay in B.1 is not likely to work against the best of B.1.

      I also think it’s possible someone like Mixx who’s been anonymous for a while has a bad camp and disappears. Lots of midfield talent available.

      • Only one of Evans/Yedlin/Parhurst will make it, after all, they all can play RB and with Cameron and Chandler being about the same level. I would guess that Parkhurst will be the chosen one because he can also play LB. Yedlin’s only chance is to walk on water and make himself indispensable as an attacking RB. Another battle is Brooks vs. Goodson, my money is on Brooks. That is 3 so far. Then you have Davis, you got 4, I just can’t see Mix missing out simply because he wasn’t allowed to play the last Euro friendlies. So the fifth is going to be between Edu vs. Beckerman, that one is a toss up. Wondo is the 6 one, too many ACM/SS players ahead of him.
        The final spot is going to be between a defender or a midfielder. If Chandler beats everyone for the LB, then Beasley or Parkhurst may be the final 7th player to get cut.

      • I think Goodson gets the nod over Brooks. Brooks was putrid against Ukraine; Goodson’s been money every time he’s called upon lately and was flat-out dominant in the Gold Cup. I trust him a lot more at this juncture, and I’d be shocked if Klinsmann doesn’t.

        For the same reason I think Wondo gets the nod over Boyd. Boyd has flashed a bunch of talent but Wondo is the guy who’s found the back of the net for the USMNT.

        Obviously Bradley and Jones are in, and I think Beckerman is in. I think Mix gets the nod for the fourth CM spot because he’s an attacking midfielder who compliments the likes of Beckerman, though if he has a bad camp I could see Corona displacing him. Edu…dunno. Maybe. I could see him making it just because I think the USA only takes seven dedicated defenders, especially because Cameron can play RB or CB at need. His size, speed, athleticism, and previous WC experience make Edu a guy you really want on the plane.

        If he’s fit, Timmy Chandler makes the plane. He’s at worst the #2 or #3 outside back in the pool (behind only Fabian Johnson and maybe Geoff Cameron) and he can play left or right back…which in turn would free up FJ to play left mid, where he’s excelled in the past. You could live with Run DMB as your left back if you really, really had to but ideally you’d like some cover for him and Chandler gives you cover at two positions.

        Don’t see Yedlin making the plane this cycle unless strangeness or injuries hit, or unless Chandler just isn’t up to snuff.

        Parkhurst could maybe make it, just because he’s steady and he can play left or right.

        Don’t see Evans making it. He’s CONCACAF level, and his main drawback is lack of speed. When you’re playing Ghana and Portugal (who have, you know, Ronaldo and Nani on the wings), lack of speed is going to show up. For the same reason I question Brad Davis, who would choke on the exhaust fumes of the guys we’ll be playing.

        That leaves you with:

        FORWARDS (5): Altidore, Dempsey, Donovan, Johanssen, Wondolowski
        MIDFIELDERS (8): Bradley, Jones, Diskeruud, Beckerman, Edu, Zusi, Bedoya, Julian Green
        DEFENDERS (7): Gonzalez, Besler, Goodson, F. Johnson, Cameron, Chandler, Beasley
        …and obviously the three keepers.

        If there’s a cut from that group, I suspect it’ll be Edu for another pure outside back, probably Parkhurst, who can play left or right.

      • I agree with most of your analysis. My one change to your final list would be Parky for Beasley. Let’s suppose Chandler is manning the LB and Cameron needs to move to either RCB or even DCM, whom is going to take his place? Would you rather JK do a double change with moving Chandler back to RB and starting Beasley in his place, or would you rather just have Parky take the RB?

      • I’m a big fan of Mixx but I honestly don’t think he brings enough options to be included. Even though I believe he is currently superior at his preferred position to a player like Corona or Green, he lacks their ability to fulfill multiple roles (or play on the left). Still, you might be a bit harsh to assume he fades away after not making the team. he is a player well positioned for a transfer into a superior league.

      • During the GC, it was Mix that got the call instead of Corona. I think Mix is ahead of him.

      • LD dominated the GC yet you and many others think that is pointless to hi inclusion on the squad, but because Mix got into the GC over Corona means he’s ahead. which is it…what happened at GC matters or it doesn’t?

      • Why are you bringing up the GC opponents in to the equation? we are talking about two players going head to head for playing time and the last time it happened it was in the GC. In JK’s eyes back then Mix was the better player. I think you are getting confused between a player doing well against a weaker opponent and a player being better than his teammate.

      • I did not bring the opponents up in the equation, and my questioning of your logic remains

      • Yes you did by referring to LD domination at the GC where was a noticeable weaker opponent. The comparison between Mix vs. Corona at the GC is valid.

      • Except that’s not true. Corona and Mix were both there and it was Corona who stood out more than Mix. Of course, Mix also had a very good tournament too. But he was behind Holden while Corona was ahead of Shea.

        “The San Diego, Calif. native appeared in five games with four starts, recording two goals.”

        Mix scored one goal and played in 3 of the games, starting in only one.

      • I guess it is probably a matter of taste– I prefer Mixx here but the truth is they both have short track records, with spots of extreme promise, and moments of [crickets]. I have spent time building a case for Mixx but I’d throw it in the garbage if Corona brought something special in the friendlies. Big premium here for the guy who seizes the chance.

        I hope at least one of them sees a few minutes in the tournament. In the big picture, it would seem one (or both) of them has the opportunity to step into a big role in 2018… But for the moment, they have very talented vets in front of them, so I hope they know and appreciate the fact that they will have to earn any time they get…

        Show some aggression– prove you could create a chance or 3 against a German defense if given 30 minutes –and it could turn some heads.

      • I don’t mean disappears in a career sense, I just mean that if he (or perhaps certain others) comes in and can’t stand out from the competition, it won’t matter if they had their moments this cycle, they will be gone. There are a few players like him, including Edu and Corona, where it’s like, in theory they’re nice but what have you done for me lately.

      • I must confess I do not even see the logic of comparing Mixx and Corona. Mixx is a central player whose purpose is to be a go-to playmaker, who can distribute the ball to the wide channels or attack through the center channel. He has years of experience doing this as a consistent first-team player. Corona has plenty of potential, but he has never been primary playmaker or first-option CM. He only played sporadically this year at the club level and contributed next-to-nothing (not all his fault clearly). He doesn’t add any defensive value that would be incremental to Mixx… so what is the purpose?

        If I were to include Corona (and I wouldn’t for this WC I simply can’t see him playing other than in a case of multiple injuries) it wouldn’t be at the expense of one of our creative cental MFs. In my view, he’s more likely to take Bedoya’s spot than Mixx’s. But I’d call that unlikely, as well.

    • Based on performances for their clubs, National Team, skill set, and age my 4 clear cuts would be:
      Davis, Evans, Wondo, Yedlin,
      The last 3 will depend on performances in the 3 tune up matches….
      Brooks to battle Gonzo/Goodson for last CB spot (if Gonzo is healthy)
      Corona Vs. Mixx….who can be the spark off the bench offensively.
      Edu Vs. Beckerman…will depend on if JK goes w/ the 4-2-3-1 more or switches to a diamond midfield.

      • To go point by point…

        -I think you are unfairly lumping Yedlin in with the first cut group. Based upon your own qualifications Yedlin is young, played very well in his last national team appearance, and is favorite of his club.

        -CB is one of the few positions where I don’t give the benefit of the doubt to the young gun, which I guess means brooks is out barring Gonzo being unable to perform.

        -I like Mixx for his silky smooth creativity, but Corona gets the nod solely for his ability to move with pace, and play on the left.

        -After the year that Beckerman has had I just don’t see how he does not get the nod. He’s a well known locker room leader, and plays calm and composed in the destroyer role. Sure he’s a bit less physical than Edu, but he knows his role in the team, and has received major praise from guys like Bradley.

      • Beckerman is definitely in over Edu.

        As for Mix vs. Corona, I think Brad Davis or Wondo could perhaps be that
        offensive spark” better than either Mix or Corona. All 4 of these could possibly be playing for 1 spot. I’d prefer Wondo and we can always slide someone into a wing spot who we take along.

      • Beckerman vs. Edu is a battle that has not been concluded yet. Beckerman has shown his worth and is the clubhouse leader (assuming there is only one spot for the two). But his scorecard is all but signed and completed. He plays exactly one position, and does so well, with a high degree of consistency and a clearly-defined role.

        But Edu offers two things that Beckerman doesn’t…. (1) Versatility. Edu probably won’t start as a CB or other non CM position, but he can save the team a substitution if JK decides to reshuffle the pack in-game, whether due to tactics or injury and (2) Proven experience beyond CONCACAF. Edu has played in the WC and played well, including the most recent match vs. Ghana. He has also played (and scored) in the Champions League and has rarely looked out of his depth in any team against any opposition. Even if it isn’t at Beckerman’s expense, JK may look to carve a seat out for Edu if he feels he is performing near his peak.

        I expect him to see significant minutes in the friendlies, in at least two potential positions — it may be that he just doesn’t distinguish himself, but he has plenty to play for in the build-up

      • I agree and would add that Edu brings more on set pieces both offensively and defensively, has more pace than Beckerman which will be needed versus Ghana, and is 28 while Beckerman is 32.

      • Quite a fine analysis Ali Dia.
        I would like to see both of them even if you gotta put Becks in Klinsy’s Luggage,(what’s that?, Oh that’s my Reggae whiggy, I get jiggy with it).
        Edu, has quality international experience,
        and positionally offers a good deal of flexibility
        with his attributes.
        One can see he has been studying up on his Makelele.
        In closing I wonder how one can leave off “WonderWow”, got have one pure poacher, a joker of sorts, and he’s got some magic lighting in those shoes. Somehow I became a believer.
        If he goes?, and gets a minimum of 30 minutes total run, he bags one…

      • Hahahahaha. I gotta say that’s pretty much exactly where I come out. *IF* Wondo finds his way onto the field in Brazil, he WILL score somehow.

    • You have to take Wondo, if he plays he’s getting a goal. His knack is uncanny. You can’t teach, or coach that, And he’s been scoring for the US in his last few games. BEfor you reply you can’t say “But the opponents we’re tough.” Oh yeah? Tell that to the other forwards in the pool who haven’t been scoring – on anyone.

      So I cut Boyd. Why take him? He’s never shown it yet, though I get he’s had little time. Anyway, here are my cuts:
      Boyd, Green (though I can see him going), Davis, Edu, Brooks, Parkhurst and Yedlin.

    • Did you like Dolo? If so you want Yedlin getting experience this go around. He has the potential to be Dolo on steroids. He needs this experience.

    • Goodson, Parkhurst, Yedlin, Davis, Edu, Wondo, Corona would be my cuts. Even though I would like to see Corona in there, he’s not on the WC level yet. I’d like to see Chandler cut, but he’s too good to overlook. Green hasn’t proven himself yet, but based on the few video cuts we’ve seen, he’s got what it takes, although still a little fragile.


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