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Klinsmann planning to call in USMNT’s best players in October despite ongoing MLS playoff races

Clint Dempsey WorldCup Belgium USMNT (USA Today Sports Images)

Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images



MLS clubs might still be jockeying for playoff positioning next month when FIFA’s October international dates roll around, but that will not stop U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann from summoning his best players.

Klinsmann stated Thursday that he intends to assemble the best team that he can for friendlies against Ecuador and Honduras on Oct. 10 and 14, respectively, while also including some of the youngsters that helped the Americans defeat the Czech Republic in Prague earlier this month.

With clubs required by FIFA to release players selected for international duty, the likes of Clint Dempsey and DeAndre Yedlin of the Seattle Sounders, Sporting Kansas City duo Graham Zusi and Matt Besler, and Toronto FC’s Michael Bradley could all miss league matches as the MLS regular season nears its end. The LA Galaxy, who will already be without Landon Donovan as he gets a U.S. curtain call, could also be without stout centerback Omar Gonzalez for a piece of the important stretch run.

“Looking toward the October games against Ecuador and Honduras, we definitely look at the strongest squad possible,” said Klinsmann. “It’s exciting for the fans and for us. We look at bringing the players back that won in the Czech Republic, and also to mix them with the players here in MLS. We can make our comparisons and see where they are at.

“Obviously then for a coach, the most exciting part is choosing the starting XI for both games. The first game with the farewell to Landon Donovan is very special, so we want to give him the most exciting event possible. The second game against Honduras in Florida is another chance for players to make a statement. It’s fun to look forward to these two games.”

Earlier this month, Klinsmann expressed his distaste for MLS’s scheduling of games during international windows. Klinsmann talked about the conflict it presents, how often he has to sacrifice bringing in some of his premier performers, and offered a solution by saying MLS should extend its season to make room for the FIFA dates.

Klinsmann recently refrained from calling in his top talent, as he selected a roster filled with mostly young and inexperienced players a couple of weeks ago for a friendly with the Czech Republic. The U.S. won that match on European soil, 1-0, and Klinsmann now wants to see how some of the youngsters from that match fare in a camp with more veterans.

“The young players that were part of the camp in Prague and won against the Czech Republic sent a very strong message out there to the more established players,” said Klinsmann. “They sent a message of competition. They sent them a message to say we are coming through the ranks. They put themselves back in line, but they want to climb the ladder of hierarchy within the team and be part of the success going forward.

“This is what you want to have as a national team coach. You want these youngsters coming in not being scared or afraid, taking risks and making some statements. They did that in Prague, and that also means they have a very strong case of getting called back into camp for the games in October.”

If called up by Klinsmann, MLS-based U.S. players would likely miss any matches played during the league’s busy slate on Oct. 8-12.


What do you think of Klinsmann’s plans to bring in top talent during an extremely important time in the MLS season? Think he is trying to force MLS to reexamine how it schedules game? Which MLS players would you like to see brought in or left with their clubs?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Klinsmann has just made his move. I don’t think he really cares about this year, but next year (and future years) will actually matter. So Klinsmann announces this and then offers MLS a deal: if they agree to respect FIFA dates going forward, he will let most (or maybe even all) of the MLS guys who are in the playoffs stay with their teams. As long as MLS doesn’t get too big for their britches, everyone can walk away with mostly what they want.

    • Sure, so we start the season valentine’s day, and December 15. Preseason starts January 15. Oops, there’s another fifa date. Make it January 10. So teams get a three and a half week break between MLS cup and the start of training camp. And of course, camp cupcake is done, can’t miss the entire preseason. Or do you? That’s hardly good for MLS, right? What if your team is in CCL?

      Or, of course, more midweek games, three more for everyone. That means every month, you have a Weekend-Sunday-weekend stretch. If you’re in the Open cup, add another each month you’re alive. CCL? Four more between august and October. Perfectly reasonable to expect back to back 12 match months. With maybe 30k miles of travel. Ouch.

  2. I’m reading this another way. By throwing that out, it pretty much dashes any chance of his adding MLS players that are new to the pool. Couple that with players that beat Cz, (e.g., Green) and Jozy and thats about it for roster room

    This is a completely STUPID strategy. Why dress basically his WC team? What the Hell for? We are not in a qualifying… there is NOTHING at stake. This is the time to look at younger players, not fading stars. Do we really need to see Dempsey or Bradley again?

    I really thought he would have to give Lee a look but, hes found a way to screw him, and others, without even letting them on the field. Klinsmann is a JERK

  3. There is very little correlation between what Jurgen says and what Jurgen does, so anything he says on topics like this can be safely ignored (though I agree it’s certainly still a story whether or not MLS players will be called up).

  4. i’m into it and good for him. not his fault MLS is playing through FIFA dates. plus, i want to see this mix too. i guess i’ll give it a go…:

    GK: Guzan, Rimando, Hamid
    D: Omar, Brooks, Besler, FJ, Yedlin, Chandler, Beasley
    M: Jones, Bradley, Mix, Gyau, Zusi, Green, Bedoya, Corona, Gil
    S: Jozy, Dempsey, LD, Zardes

    Guzan and Rimando have a battle going on, both will be there and i’m picking Hamid for #3 because i’m a DC fan. sorry Johnson.

    i’m going with Zardes simply because AJ and Boyd are both injured and i don’t think JK is going to care if it screws Bruce over. but it is certainly possible he leaves Zardes in LA and brings Wondo.

    i’m thinking Gil gets the call, but Beckerman and Nguyen could jump in. i have Corona selected because JK seemed to be very satisfied with Corona’s performance against Czech Republic. but it’s entirely possible he does not go.

    as for Green and Gyau, i think they are coming for sure. Garza probably does not come because i can’t imagine Beasley being left home, but that is plausible because i think Chandler will be starting at LB either way.

    • I wouldn’t mind seeing a few younger MLS guys get a look this early in the cycle – Gil, Nguyen, maybe even Zardes although it may be a little soon for him.

      Hamid deserves a call-up, he’s had an excellent season and I think he’ll be in the mix to start in Russia, assuming Timmy is gone by then.

  5. I thought MLS made some improvement on this front last year. If I recall, they took a break during some, but not all, of the international dates. This year, other than the world cup break, I don’t think that’s been the case. JK is right to call in whoever he wants.

    These dates are set aside for international games and it’s silly for MLS to continue to schedule games in these slots. Especially when their marketing is focused on the best US players being in MLS. For example, as a RBNY supporter, Michael Bradley will both of Toronto’s trips to RBA because he was on/will be on USMNT duty.

    • Totally agree. National team managers need these dates to help build their squad for future competitions. Like you said, a U.S. national team that is successful is going to ultimately help promote MLS; the league wants top American players to be here, so they need to suck it up and acknowledge FIFA dates. It ultimately seems counterintuitive to resist this aspect of the soccer world. It is a week here and there, other leagues recognize it, so the resistance is a tad baffling.

      • Other leagues also don’t have crazy player allocation rules, college darfts, discovery picks, salary caps, etc.

        They DO have pro-rel.

        So, my point is that MLS really doesn’t seem to concerned with what everyone else does for better or worse.

      • Thompson’s played what, 5 pro games? He has yet to score an MLS goal. He hasn’t been scouted by opposing teams yet so hasn’t had to react to getting shut down. Cool your jets on Thompson.
        Gil has more potential given his youth but at this point, Nguyen is a more dangerous player.

      • I’m a Timber’s fan, and I must say the Revs have become my second favorite team, based on their play and what looks like a good group of guys. There is no doubt that Nguyen is the most skilled on their team, and there’s no way JK doesn’t call him up sometime soon of the Nats. It doesn’t mean he’s getting a whig for 2018, but ya never know. Look at Beckerhead. . . he surprised just about everyone at the WC.

      • Does Klinsmann seem like a guy who’s completely satisfied with his options. Ask Brad Evans about that. The guy went from starter to cut.

  6. While I see his point, I really hope MLS doesn’t change scheduling. I am taking a group of 25 to a Union match soon. It was hard enough getting this mostly newbie crowd to go on a Sat. evening in Oct. How many would have joined me on a Sat. evening in Jan.? And if you think we get little coverage now on major media outlets, try doing a German Split schedule or some other variation of a winter break. Not gonna happen.

    • Nice job getting people out to a game. I always think of this when people advocate for the fall-spring schedule in MLS. Who do you think it coming to a game in Jan/Feb in the northeast? No one, that’s who.

  7. I like Klingsmen inspite of him being threatened by LD and not picking him.

    But I am really getting sick of him telling us the way the world of soccer works. It is so condesending…..

    “This is what you want to see….” I will tell you the way it is….listen up dumb Americans.

    • You would be hard-pressed to find a national team coach anywhere in the world that would be happy to have players unavailable during FIFA international dates.

  8. You forgot the two best MLS players of Wondo and Davis. They are world cup vets and LD is not even in the same league as those two.

    • stupid, hateful comment. to say something like this is laughable. put together a best euro-based 11, and you will want to put in at least 3-4 MLSers in their stead without question.

      and it is a relevant story; based on the czech game one would expect a young up and coming MLS squad (zardes, trapp, shipp, etc) and not the likes of bradley/dempsey. sometimes you DO call in squads that aren’t your best. Jesus just look at the squad that did the mock brazil tour back in january and you’ve got proof.

      too many dumb people out there…

      • As long as we have multiple Nat team players in a fourth tier league, we will continue to be crushed by top 15 teams in the WC.

      • Huh, Del you make no sense. Not sure why the hate on MLS, it cant be argued that the backbone of our team is MLS players, and it also cant be argued that we continue to be crushed by top 15 opponents, as we tied Portugal.

      • As long as we don’t have a top domestic league, everything history tells us suggests we have little to no chance of ever winning the World Cup, which is the actual goal, not avoiding being crushed in the short term (we aren’t going to bully any top teams regardless right now). Look at how Germany does it… they basically have the national team training year-round at the de-facto “German National Club Team” that is Bayern Munich. Spain pretty much had the same thing going at Barcelona. How are you going to compete with these guys if you are just sending your top players to a scattering of global clubs and hoping for the best? You will always be second-best. If that.

        . If you are willing to believe that we can build a national soccer team effectively from scratch in the ’90s into a team that could one day win the biggest trophy, why do you find it so hard to believe that we could do it with a league?

        It’s worth the effort, but no… it won’t be fast.

      • I agree with your points but what about the South American countries (Brazil, Arg, Col, Uruguay) they have good domestic leagues but not great. The majority of their top talents plays in Europe. I don’t think their is a set formula for success and what works for Germany may not work for the USA. There are many dynamics involved, I think we can forge our own path forward by both borrowing from euro style development and creating a system unique to us, its the American way after all.

      • Absolutely I agree. We do this our own way. Borrow what we need nothing more. Everything else we build in-house. That’s what we do. Good man.

        The South American clubs have good leagues and they would be even better, but they are limited by the domestic economies. We should have not have that problem in the long term, so it’s another opportunity for a competitive advantage.

      • It is true that Germany completely revamped training and development after flaming out of Euro 2000. And while they struggled (5-1 to England) the Bundeslegia was still a top five league. Back in the 70s before there was even a Premier League, Germany was the top league in the world. I remember “Soccer Made in Germany” with Toby Charles calling the matches. And Germany’s top clubs had always been among Europe’s elite. I think the difference, which led to this year’s winning squad was the unprecedented level of cooperation amongst the clubs in the Bundeslega

    • After seeing our euro players against Czech I’m even more down on MLS. I thought our team against Czech was better than our World Cup team. MLS is not helping our national team, it’s starting to hurt us. Other then Yedlin and perhaps Jesus Gill and Rimando I don’t see any other curret MLS players on our next World Cup Team.

  9. I think its a good story in that it seemed after the wc that JK was going to a youth movement for a while. The fact the he seems to be calling in WC veterans at this point seems to counter what he had previously stated. I think he is sick of dealing with MLS is goanna stick it to them.

    • I agree atx_colin, that’s the big issue. Klinsmann is again making things up as he goes. If you want to have the top guys for Landon’s send off that’s one thing, but this comes across as him just wanting to screw over MLS because they’ve made the business decision of ignoring some FIFA dates. And it’s a World Cup year which makes it even tougher when they took the few weeks off for group stages.

      • That’s one way of looking at it. But does it really matter who is sitting in JK’s chair? The USSF and MLS are going to butt heads about this come this time of year no matter who it is, until there is a resolution. And sure it’s a World Cup year… but next year is a Gold Cup year.. then it’s a Copa America year…. Klinsmann is the guy whose job it is to look out for the USSF’s position here, and there is gonna be conflict for now. It’s really not such a bad thing (yet). Both organizations are being aggressive and its a good problem to have, provided they are able to negotiate a solution.

        Butting heads is very normal for FA’s and domestic leagues in the global context Would we prefer to have a coach who simply said, “Go ahead, MLS… you can have these days that our really meant for us?”

    • Remember, there is a November friendly, he can go young before, A team now, and back to young. Bears noting these games are domestic and the Dublin friendly will be a road trip again.

  10. MLS has paid lip service to this issue for years, but they refuse to do anything about it. If Klinsmann wants MLS to respect the international dates, he has to make it painful for the league not to. JK should call up all 23 players from teams participating in the playoffs that weekend. It would be bad for the 2014 playoffs, but it might lead to a necessary step for the health of MLS.

    • Yeah that’s what I was thinking too, as far as what JK might be trying to do. In his mind, he already compromised to MLS by not calling anyone in for the Czech game. MLS has got to get on board with the FIFA dates, it’s getting rather silly. Too many internationals in the league now.

      And btw, definitely an interesting and newsworthy story.

      • I feel like this is one of those problems that could be solved pretty easily if both parties just went in a room together for a couple of hours and agreed to solve the problem in good faith. But that isn’t what’s happening, and it feels like it’s going to get worse before it gets better, doesn’t it?

    • While I sympathize with MLS about playing in winter in northern cities, they could start the season two weeks earlier and end it two weeks later and make room for the international dates that JK wants. Also, with computers, it wouldn’t be hard ;to program them so that games early and late in the season are mostly played in fair weather cities.

  11. I read JK’s statements as indicating that making the roster for these games means that you have shown enough to be considered a potential starter — even if you were “only” one of the youngsters who went to Prague. That is, it’s not going to be a mix of top veterans and “let’s have a look” prospects. Instead, any relatively new guys you see in October have taken a step, at least for now, to the next level.

  12. I’d rather he just give a bunch of young MLS players a look. Guys like Kitchen, Rowe, Zardes are probably playing as well as anyone else right now anyway.

    • Also if Klinsmann is serious about getting more guys playing in Europe. Then he needs to start getting young MLS players caps now. You can’t wait until a guy is 27 and then wonder why there’s no interest from Europe.

      • Part of that is a function of college soccer which, thankfully, is starting to wane as an option for our top players. When a guy wastes his age 18-22 years playing a handful of games in the fall against super low level competition, it’s going to take a while after turning pro before he’s USMNT material.

      • Even when they get interest abroad, if they haven’t played much for the national team, at least in England, they have trouble getting a work permit. See, Agudelo, Juan.

  13. Don’t purpose calling Dempsey, especially with Dempsey closing his career with USNT.

    Klinsmann should continue with the Rookies against these teams.

  14. Non-story & dopey headline.

    Who else would he call in …”Old, Retired Players & Bad Players.?????????

    Put a call into Marcello Balboa & Joseph Nane? Clint Peay? Brian Kelly? See how Mike Masters is doing?????????????

    In other news, I want to eat a delicious lunch as opposed to one that tastes bad!

    • Not one to usually comment, but how can you say it’s a non-story when MLS season is winding down and teams are fighting for playoff spots, and when Klinsmann just openly begrudgingly called in young players during an international window so as to avoid depleting MLS clubs?

      • They changed the headline. The original headine was “Klinsmann calling in young players & best players.”

        NOW the headline makes sense.

      • So, really the headline was dopey ; more so than the story.

        That said, a NAT coach bringing in his best players isn’t really the story.

        The real story is “MLS refuses to alter its schedule though it would benefit NATS.”

      • It’s a very relevant story and if it wasn’t worth “Smith’s” time to read it, he didn’t need to bother commenting.

      • Again, sweetheart, the issue was with the original title.

        And, again, the issue is really not what the coach is doing, but what MLS isn’t doing.

        “Slow Left Arm” – Former San Diego Padre Randy Jones?

    • Ummm…did you watch the last friendly? It was mainly young and upcoming players. The fact they’re bringing in the full strength squad is certainly news.

      • Yes, I did. He brought in young players. In fact, he brought in his BEST young players. Coaches bring in players they think are their best or best young or best, most experienced players, etc. This isn’t news.

        Next headline, “MEN LIKE HOT WOMEN!!!”

      • Well will you look at the sophistication on this fellow. Real man of the world aren’t you? Tell us your secrets, Mr. Bond!

      • So sorry. Not one ounce of judgement if you happen to be the sort that prefers sturdy, dim-witted or a great personality. Different strokes, yeah?

      • Wow. Smith is on a roll. I just wish the headline coud have read “Men Like Women … at least 96% of them do (and in that 96% there is a sliding scale for some dudes with same sex attraction but we’re not judging … well maybe just a little depending on our political, moral and social views)!”

        But I guess nuance is not his thing. Maybe it’s like how dogs don’t get sarcasm.

    • lol.. “Klinnsman planning to call in USMNT worst players, and oldest next month”

      it could have been “Klinnsman plans on by passing on MLS players and will only call in NASL & Bundesliga players”

      “Klinnsman plans on by passing senior team and will call in the U-23 roster plus Landon Donovan”

      Klinnsman will call in all 20 US eligible players from the LA Galaxy just to piss off Bruce Arena”

    • I think in JK’s mind it’s: “22 of the best USMNT players, plus Landon Donovan, cause it’s his farewell (don’t let the door hit you on the way out….)”

    • Water is wet — this is the national team. But we also know there are gradations and experimentations at play at different times. It will be interesting to see which veterans and which prospects get called in.

      I took it to mean, players, be ready, and if you are trying to make a case, you’re running out of time to do so this year; and teams, be ready, I’m calling up my A side even if you’re in MLS playoff peril.

      • I read it the way you do IV. Additionally, it reflects Klinsi’s opinion of MLS not cooperating “enough” with respect to…respecting international dates.

    • I can’t believe you did not mention Ramiro Corrales, Johnny Walker, Cle Kooiman, Roy Lassiter, Steve Ralston, Brain Maisonnueve, Chad Deering, Carlos Llamosa and Gale Agbossoumonde


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