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23 for 2015: Projecting the USMNT Gold Cup roster (January 2015 Edition)




The 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup might still feel like it’s a long time from now, but the reality is we are only about five months from knowing the team Jurgen Klinsmann will select to try and defending the U.S. team’s title.

Four months will likely fly by, but there will be a plethora of friendlies to bring Klinsmann closer to finding the team he wants, and now that the first friendly of 2015 is in the books, the U.S. coach must have a slightly clearer picture of his options.

What we are still trying to figure out is just how serious is Klinsmann’s commitment to a shift to the 3-5-2 formation. He only used it for the first half of the Chile friendly, but given the personnel in the player pool, we shouldn’t be surprised to see much more of the new formation in the more than half-dozen friendlies between now and the Gold Cup.

The next match is next week against Panama, and that match should help weed out some pretenders and identify some more serious candidates for Gold Cup roster spots.

As we reach the end of the first month of the new year, here is a look at the latest SBI 23 for 2015:

Projected USMNT Gold Cup Roster (January 2015 Edition)

(New additions in BOLD)


Brad Guzan, Nick Rimando, Bill Hamid

Outlook- Rimando continues to look like a good bet for the back-up spot behind Guzan, leaving Hamid and Johnson to fight for the final spot. Hamid’s injury kept him from taking part in the January camp, but both players still have plenty of time to state their cases.

Missed the Cut– Sean Johnson, Steve Clark, Cody Cropper


Jermaine Jones, Greg Garza, Fabian Johnson, Matt Besler, John Brooks, Omar Gonzalez, Timmy Chandler, Steve Birnbaum

Outlook- The potential shift to a 3-5-2 formation would certainly shake things up in terms of trying to project a roster. Would it mean trouble for someone like Greg Garza, a more natural fullback than wingback? Would it mean a premium on mobile central defenders who can function as the marking backs in a three-man defense? Would that mean trouble for the likes of Gonzalez and Brooks?

Until we know more about Klinsmann’s commitment to a formation change, we will stick with a similar-looking group of defenders. One player who boosted his stock is Steve Birnbaum, who impressed against Chile and looked well-suited for a right marking back role in a 3-5-2.

Robbie Rogers not getting a call drops him down in the pecking order, but you have to wonder whether Rogers might not be an excellent option as a left wingback at some point.

Missed the Cut– Tim Ream, Matt Hedges, Michael Orozco, Chris Schuler, Eric Lichaj, Perry Kitchen, Robbie Rogers.


Michael Bradley, Alejandro Bedoya, Mix Diskerud, Geoff Cameron, DeAndre Yedlin, Kyle Beckerman, Lee Nguyen, Brek Shea

Outlook– By signing with Orlando City, and setting himself for some regular playing time, Brek Shea works his way back into the Gold Cup conversation. He also showed in the Chile friendly that he just might be a good wingback option. If Orlando City plays Shea as a left back, as some have suggested, it could help Shea’s development even further.

Yedlin shifts into the midfield group considering he seems more likely to play as a wingback or wing midfielder than pure right back. Graham Zusi misses out for now, but the veteran could certainly play his way back into the conversation.

We list Cameron in midfield for now, but he could be the perfect option as the right marking back in a 3-5-2.

Missed the Cut– Graham Zusi, Wil Trapp, Alfredo Morales, Joe Corona, Danny Williams, Harrison Shipp, Luis Gil, Miguel Ibarra,  Joe Gyau, Teal Bunbury.


Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, Aron Johannsson, Rubio Rubin.

Outlook- The same four forwards we listed last month remain in their slots. One interesting question surrounds Rubin, who could wind up missing the Gold Cup if Klinsmann decides Rubin should be limited to the Under-20 World Cup. If so, then someone like Zardes could get the nod, and given how good he looked in his cameo against Chile we should see more of Zardes in the coming friendlies.

Missed the Cut– Gyasi Zardes, Chris Wondolowski, Bobby Wood,  Jordan Morris, Charlie Davies.


What do you think of this group of 23 players? Who are you happy to see included in the squad? Who is missing that you feel should have made the cut?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. If they go 3-2-3-2 then I agree 100% with Dennis that the best back 3 would be Cameron, Jones, Besler with Yedlin and Fabian J as wing backs. Then Mix, Bradley, Bedoya as midfield 3. Dempsey and Altidore the 2 up top.

  2. Psh, das needs abe like dis:


  3. If we continue with a 3 man backline, it would be a tragedy if Tim Ream is not part of the squad. He has been phenomenal for Bolton on the left side of a back 3. He was particularly incisive against Liverpool. He also has adapted quite well to playing left back in a back 4. He’s had his pitfalls with the Nats, but he seems to be a much better player now. I, for one, would love to see him get more opportunities this year.

  4. I really hope that we keep the 3–5–2 formation! It gets the PLETHORA of MF’s that we have on the field. In my mind it could accomplish the same effect as the 3 midfielders in a 4-3-3 (Destroyer -Time Keeper – Creator) with the additional effect of speed on the wings, security in the rear guard and added attacker on the front line while also allowing the attacker drop into the MF to “crowd” the lane.

    I also see this as a chance for guys like Danny Williams, Mo Edu (Back up/replacing the aging Jones) and “Gringo” Torres (head to head battle with Mixx for the “Time Keeper” role) a chance to get back in the mix. Add in guys like Nguyen, Gil or Corona to push MB90 for the creator and distributor roles and this could get intense!

  5. Beckerman over Williams would be a mistake. We need to get Williams back in the team. He continues to play well for Reading. Not mentioning Castillo, Orozco, and even Alvarado is a bit interesting. Castillo and Orozco fit perfectly in a 3-5-2 and I believe Puebla even played that last season with Orozco on the right.

    As for Alvarado, looks to be a starter now and if we can get him, then he’s immediately a top consideration for the Gold Cup.

  6. I like SBI’s picks but i think a bit too much stock was placed in the Chile game. I hope Birnbaum and Shea need more that 1 possibly above average game to book a spot.

    The 5-3-2, 4-4-2 (diamond) and the 3-5-2 are vertually the same lineup When you have our best team together.
    Gkp: Guzan, Rimando, S. Johnson
    Lwb: Chandler, Garza
    Lcb: Besler, Brooks
    Sw/Cdm: Jones,
    Rcb: cameron, Gonzalez
    Rwb: F. Johnson, Yedlin
    Lcm: Mix,
    Rcm: Bradley,
    Cam: Dempsey, Nguyen
    Lf: Altidore, Zardes
    Rf: Johannsson, Rubin

  7. I like the 3-5-2 as I think it complements our CB depth, along with getting our glut of CM options in the middle of the field where we certainly need help, fits natually with Yedlin + Fabian + Chandler on the wings, and puts another body up top with Jozy. If we can find/develop a solid CAM (Nguyen?) this could be a formation that really plays to our pool.

    However, I’m bailing on this ship if this formation is used as an excuse to get Brek f-ing Shea playing time.

  8. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for a player who goes by Fafa. He is a former US U-20 winger/FWD and has landed with Sparta Prague in the Czech Republic.

    Some notes about him:
    Former US U-20 winger/FWD
    Former Cagliari academy prospect form 2006-2011
    Former NASL Ft Lauderdale player. Scored 12 goals in 24 appearances in 2014. Better than Miguel Ibarra.
    Signed with Sparta Prague. Probably the best team not only in the Czech Republic but in that entire region of Europe. Many great players have come out of Sparta Prague.
    He scored two goals yesterday for Sparta Prague in a friendly match.

  9. Hmm…


    Gonzalez Cameron Brooks

    Yedellin Bradley Mix Torres


    Maars Altidore

    If Boyd and Kevin Bacon are healthy and scoring: both would be starter over Altidore and Maars.

    I would like Morales play behind the forward in some, call Olimpic age players like: Guido, Pelosi, Gyan, Olivare, Koroma, Green, Zardes, O’Neil, and Gil.

      • Dempsey isn’t natural striker and slowly down a lot. I rather see younger player take his place. This is perfect time develop a new forwards like Zardes, Maars, Boyd or someone else.

        I like to see Bedoya behind forward for once, Bedoya cut or cross from both side. and the middle gives better to shoot from long-range.

  10. I like the 3-5-2 experiment. During the first half against Chile, they always had good numbers in midfield and numbers in the attack. The big problem was the back line looked disorganized, but let’s remember the line was anchored by a midfielder (Jones) and I am not sure that position change is going to take. A back line with three true center backs would probably fare better. This formation could do well in the Gold Cup against CONCACAF opponents to break down defensive shells. I am not sure how well it would work against higher caliber opponents. I think the key will be finding the right center backs with strong positional discipline and having the right speed players on the wings.

    • I agree with you, but I don’t think Jones was the only problem. This was Jones’ worst game in a while…he tried to do too much and had some bad turnovers. That said, Shea’s and Yedlin’s defending was poor. Yedlin had the bigger screw ups on the night, but he was facing a tougher mark.

  11. Jones does not have the size or speed to be a CB, Jones has great vision and ability to win the ball move it forward, also a real leader, and waste playing as CB. Please Jurgen, move Jones as DM.

  12. At this point we just need results. Excuses are like A holes, everyone has one. Even this team of “dropouts” in a 3-5-2 formation has the talent with a coach like a Bruce Arena to reach the semi-finals……. so no more excuses Klinsmann, all we want results.

    ————————–GYASI ZARDES——————————————————————–


    ————————PERRY KITCHEN———————DANNY WILLIAMS——————-

    —————————————-LUIS ROBLES———————————————————

    • The guy has gotten results. It may shock you to learn that he actually (gasp) won the tournament last time…. with unprecedented ease and a “B” team.

      All this panic over winter friendly results is just comedy. They have been proven time and again to be an outstanding indicator of absolutely nothing. The team will be ready to go in June, as they always are.

      • In 3 years Cravin’ Frottage we should know who we are…..we shouldn’t be experimenting with players, better yet with formations…..Formations? How are you going to develop and train players to a particular style of play when you can’t pick or stick to and develop one? I’m sorry but experimenting with formations and players with the Gold Cup less than 6 months away is cause for concern not to mention a recipe for disaster. What you haven’t built in 3 years you are not going to miraculously develop in 6 months……USMNT are playing like we are lost when teams like Costa Rica (16) and Mexico (20) always seems to be improving

      • bizzy

        “In 3 years Cravin’ Frottage we should know who we are…..we shouldn’t be experimenting with players, better yet with formations…..Formations? How are you going to develop and train players to a particular style of play when you can’t pick or stick to and develop one? I’m sorry but experimenting with formations and players with the Gold Cup less than 6 months away is cause for concern not to mention a recipe for disaster. What you haven’t built in 3 years you are not going to miraculously develop in 6 months……”

        It’s not 3 years.

        The 2014 World Cup is over that team is history. JK took BB’s team and players , made some modifications and went to Brazil with it.

        Now JK is faced with taking the best of what is left and building a new team for Russia and maybe even Copa America.

        “USMNT are playing like we are lost when teams like Costa Rica (16) and Mexico (20) always seems to be improving”

        Just how closely do you follow Mexico and Costa Rica? Do they play the kind of brutal schedule the US does?

        Costa Rica had a magical run in Brazil do you think they will carry that over to Russia?

      • On 29 July 2011, Klinsmann was named head coach of the United States, January 31st 2015 we are still trying new formations……so yeah more than 3 years. FYI

      • bizzy,

        The 2014 World Cup ended about 6 months ago.

        While parts of it will remain going forward, that team is done

        Try reading what I wrote.

      • we have Altidore, Dempsey, Bradley ,Bedoya, Jones, Guzan, Howard, Gonzalez, Fabian johnson, Beckerman, yedlin etc…..what do you mean that team is gone? Or maybe by team you mean Donovan and Beasley’s retirement….

      • bizzy,

        “Altidore, Dempsey, Bradley ,Bedoya, Jones, Guzan, Howard, Gonzalez, Fabian johnson, Beckerman, yedlin etc…..what do you mean that team is gone?”

        Of that list, Guzan, Yedlin and maybe Mikey are the only ones I would be confident would be major players for 2018.

      • bizzy,

        How do I know this?

        I watch the games.

        I read the articles on the team and the games

        I have played and followed the game for years.

        Lots of people on this site have done that.

        Why is this a mystery to you?

      • Funnily, I probably watch more leagues world wide or have more experience playing the game than you do…..does the make a difference? Absolutely not so with that out the way I don’t appear to be talking on the behave of Klinsmann. It’s ok to give you opinion, and thats all it is YOUR opinion but acting like it came from the man himself is silly.

      • Oh and by the way you love to rip sections of peoples comments and elaborate on it piece by piece but what you dont realize is that it actually takes away from the full or overall statement and meaning. FYI

      • bizzy,

        ” I probably watch more leagues world wide or have more experience playing the game than you do”

        How would you know that?

        “Oh and by the way you love to rip sections of peoples comments and elaborate on it piece by piece but what you dont realize is that it actually takes away from the full or overall statement and meaning. FYI”

        I do that so that I can address that particular section directly.

        If people want more context, the full text of your comment is always readily available and easily accessed.

      • ……..You do that to elaborate on points or facts that are not correct better yet complete…if you only take a part of a comment it can have a totally different meaning…..”If people want more context” thats exactly my point, If you are responding to me or any other post why are you worried about people following? That because thats ALL you are trying to do, look knowledgable…..key word look

      • bizzy

        “……..You do that to elaborate on points or facts that are not correct better yet complete…if you only take a part of a comment it can have a totally different meaning…..”If people want more context” thats exactly my point, If you are responding to me or any other post why are you worried about people following?”

        I’ll tell what worries me.. your reply makes little sense. Whatever…If you don’t like my post, don’t read it. If you question my facts, look them up and let us all know.

        “That because thats ALL you are trying to do, look knowledgable…..key word look”

        Here’s the thing bizzy, who would try to look ignorant? Does that make sense to you?

      • lol, do you hear yourself? WHAT WORRIES ME? Like you being worried is an issue or matters…..all I’m saying is try to approach a topic like a discussion because all we do here is assume based off of what we’ve seen, read, heard or experienced.

      • bizzy,

        You don’t want to have a discussion.

        No one on this site is interested in real discussion.

        You just want a platform.

        So make your statement and be done with it.

      • I think most people do come here for discussion and information and to share with people what the think. Only a selected few come here to regurgitate the little info they read to make themselves appear wise……

    • bizzy,

      Interesting but unsurprising that most everyone here is in full blown, hair on fire, panties twisted, panic mode.

      In 2015 the main concerns are the Gold Cup, the Olympics qualification and the Under 20 WC.

      The Under 20 WC qualification has been accomplished.

      JK clearly is looking at encouraging Olympic candidates and to the extent that they will be helped by playing in the Gold Cup I suspect that factor will be an important roster consideration.

      JK will almost certainly go all out to win the 2015 Gold Cup but the FACT is the US, having won the 2013 Gold Cup, is ALREADY qualified for a playoff to get to the 2017 Confederations Cup. If they win the 2015 Gold Cup up, the playoff becomes superfluous but if they lose the playoff remains an option.

      The reality , if you bother to look, is that 2015 will be a good time to experiment and firm up plans for Copa America, and Russia the two really serious upcoming tournaments .

      • Its funny how you just go on these long “try to show knowledge” explanation you get from wiki, you talk for Klinsmann like you are in his head or camp lol………if you think Klinsmann will be able to put together a new team to win the gold cup you are delusional and as far as the old players we know their limits….so keep, improve and work on the formations they know (practice makes perfect), change a few people and keep it moving. Camp time is limited so from now to July there not that much time

      • bizzy,

        You have no idea where I get my knowledge from.

        “if you think Klinsmann will be able to put together a new team to win the gold cup you are delusional and as far as the old players we know their limits….so keep, improve and work on the formations they know (practice makes perfect),”

        I never said JK will put together a completely new team for the World Cup.

        JK will go into the Gold Cup with a transitional version of the Brazil team. It won’t be his ideal team but it should still be able to win the thing.

        Guzan, Brooks, Garza, Mix, Chandler, and Jozy, just for starters, guys who played little or no minutes in Brazil will very likely be major players for that Gold Cup team..

        Shea, Hyndman, Green, Zardes, Boyd, Nguyen, Ruben, Morales, Birnbaum, Trapp, Danny Williams, R Rogers, and Ream , other guys who all contributed little or no minutes to the Brazil team also also have a shot at possible big roles in the Gold Cup.

        The team the US will go into the Copa America and, hopefully, the 2018 World Cup with, will most likely be even more different from the team that went to Brazil.

        You’re not paying attention.

      • I am….first of all you are not Klinsmann so stop trying to act like you are getting the fact from the coach.Secondly you are not paying attention….WE ARE STILL TRYING OUT PLAYERS AND FORMATIONS this late in the game. What part of that don’t you understand

      • Of course the US is trying out players and formations at this stage of the game.

        This is the stage when you do that sort of thing.

        Like I said, you’re not paying attention.

      • “still dont know who confidently play where? Right……”

        What makes you think you know who JK is confident in or not?

        Do you think JK couldn’t field a team next week to win the Gold Cup just because he has been experimenting in a bunch of friendlies?

        It might not be revolutionary or advance the cause of a transition to that ideal team for 2018 that he keeps talking about but, hey, business is business.

        Don’t kid yourself. They can still do 4-4-2, park the bus, play route One football, twin holding midfielders and all that jazz.

        That’s what happened in the Under 20 qualification. Tab played with what he had and it wasn’t pretty or easy but it got the job done.

        When the rubber hits the road JK doesn’t care how they win, just that they do win.

        In 2013 they were humiliated and dismantled by Belgium in a friendly in Cleveland. A few days later they beat Germany at RFK. Or maybe you forgot that.

      • It might not be revolutionary or advance the cause of a transition to that ideal team for 2018 that he keeps talking about but, hey, business is business.

        Really? His Business is to create the best possible team we have… create the best possible outcome with the odds he is given and its disappointing to see a match played against a chile team B not because of lack of talent but because of lack coaching/confidence. If he is having trouble with that then we need to find than person to take out team to the next level to compete with the Elite

      • Clearly you expect the USMNT to field the strongest possible team for every single game that it plays.

        I don’t expect that. I think it is unrealistic and counter productive.

      • well at this stage of the game when players are missing their mark, failing to make runs, overlapping too far up or covering too far back….its a clear sign that player and coach are not on the same page. so yes for friendlies at least for the first half your strongest team always goes first then second half is used for trials

      • What he is saying is that this is exactly the appropriate time to try new players and formations. This is the BEGINNING of a new cycle and team. Every national team is now going to begin to integrate new younger players to build towards 2016 and 2018.

  13. Ives, why no Ream? All the reports I read have him playing really well and I thought he wasn’t far off from the WC roster. Would love your take!

    • He’s only 19, and continuing to develop in Bundesliga play, so I’m guessing he’s not off the radar – and wouldn’t be even if he wasn’t now the youngest U.S. player to score in a World Cup.

  14. The Jones at CB experiment needs to stop. It is a short gap solution to CB that
    a) is not even working because he sucks at the position
    b) will not last more than 2 years due to his age
    c) is taking away from other CBs to prove themselves

    Besler, Brooks, Gonzalez, Cameron, and Ream are all better CBs than Jones plus there is Packwood, Birnbaum, Hedges and many other young players who can make a stake for the role. Playing Jones when we can be learning what these guys can do is a huge waste of time.

    • Possibly, but Jones brings intangibles; at least JK seems to believe so. For one, JK sees him as the guy who can instill a ‘street fighter’ attitude in the other players. That’s why he is so physical in USMNT games, but less so in Bundesliga games. It’s his role on the team, as JK has openly said a few years back. Note when the games got ‘real,’ at the World Cup, we didn’t see Jones picking up many cards anymore.

      So regardless of whether he can play in the next World Cup, it isn’t hard to guess that JK might want Jones to continue instilling a mindset of more aggressiveness in younger players. Mindset and locker room chemistry are big deals for this coach. And given that he’s arguably had more USMNT success than predecessors, the approach deserves some benefit of doubt. I did say “arguably,” and granted even if conceding that JK has been the most successful USMNT coach, that can also be explained by continued development of the American game in general. The pool is getting deeper, so JK ought to be the most successful, and the next coach even more so.

      • Jones has a role in the team as a mentor for the team at CDM. I never said he didnt have a role with the team. I ams saying his role is not at CB. His placement at CB is useless in every way.

      • Agreed. Jones was bad at CB when he played there for Schalke and Blackburn. He hasn’t been awful, but it’s not like we NEED him there. JK wants him on the pitch somehow, but taking a spot from one of our stronger defenders (Gonzo, Brooks, Cameron*) is not the way to do it.

        *Portugal match excluded from resume

    • You need to realize that JK has two goals and basically two different groups of players that he needs to use/develop. He wants to win the Gold Cup this year. J Jones is now one of our best players. As he ages he is losing speed, hence the change to CB, where his defensive ability and field savvy can be important additions to the team. JK also needs to develop younger players for the 2018 WC, but many of them are not yet ready for top flight international competition. Thus, JK plays Jones in 2015 and maybe 2016, but after that he pulls a Bocanegra. I think you will see the same thing with Dempsey and other players who still can contribute, but will be too old for the next WC.

    • Maybe, but I see that as a dark horse pick. Powers has looked better in MLS than I expected after seeing him in college play. Good college player, but the kind who arguably relied on physicality more than skill, which often is an indicator of a lower ceiling. But if he continues to impress, I’m certainly in favor of JK giving him a look.

  15. So far Brooks our best defender, with Gonzalez, Cameron or someone new. Yedellin is better attacking (but Spurs ruins American players), Yedellin on right and maybe Torres (when healthy) on the left.

    • These always make me laugh. If the USMNT is ever full of regulars from Chelsea, Barca, Bayern, and Juve and the like, and they start dropping important tournament games on a regular basis, then I’ll start asking for some accountability. Until then lets take it down a notch, and not look to much into friendlies that are taking place three years before the World Cup.

      • Especially when you’re going into places like Chile and playing on the road in some of the more hostile environments in the world, and doing it with a bunch of young prospects on the field while playing an experimental formation.

        Klinsi’s taking risks, trying out a bunch of different players, and trying different things…and he’s trying to attack opponents.

        We were SCREAMING for this under Bunker Bob. Isn’t this why we got Klinsmann to begin with?

        Folks have such short memories.

      • Bob Bradley played more different platers in his tenure than Klinsmann AND gave more younger players a shot (Diskerud, Agudelo, Ream, Lichaj).

        Folks have really, really short memories.

      • Bradley’s tenure was 2 years longer than Klinsmann’s at this point, and he had 2 extra tournaments to cover (Copa America and Confed Cup at the same time as the 2009 Gold Cup).

        Plus, he really only gave most young players a shot at the Nelson Mandela Challenge, and then never used players like Mix again. Klinsmann brought Diskerud back into the fold.

      • Hogatroge,

        JK is still trying to transition the team from the BB era.

        Bob, an excellent manager, had less freedom and less support. People seem to forget that BB was never far from that “interim” tag so when he found a formula that worked, the 2009 Confederations Cup team, he spent most of time trying to perfect that. Injuries and a lack of depth really hurt that team.

        Which means BB was less inclined than JK to experiment at length with new players or tactics.

        I have little doubt that if the USSF had given BB, from the start, the same kind of support JK has gotten that BB would still be the USMNT manager.

      • As much as the result the other night vs Chile sucked, I have finally accepted the exact point you’re making. Yes, 1 win in 9 is awful, but Klinsi is trying things.

        Is he also pulling some headscratching moves, such as not calling in Robbie Rogers or Matt Hedges (initially), and playing Shea for 90 minutes (when he was gassed at halftime)? Yes he is. Is he making good DMids look bad by playing them at LW just because JJ pulled if off in the WC (Morales, Trapp, Danny Williams)? Yes.

        That said, we were winning when we were playing the 3-5-2 despite the shortcomings of Shea and Yedlin. Let’s see how things go through the Gold Cup before we proclaim the sky is falling.

      • JK has stated that Rogers was left off in part to make room for the Under 23 guys.

        I don’t think RR’s time with the US is done just yet.

    • It’s a little early to fire up the #FireKlinsmann hashtag, but I would agree that if the US continues to play poorly in their pre-gold cup games and then they ALSO perform poorly at the Gold Cup then I think people should be willing to have the conversation about finding a new coach.
      The problem is, we don’t have an agreement on what “plays poorly” means. Is it fine if Klinsmann loses every game before the world cup but is playing U23 kids? Does it mean the team and players lack a clear tactical/formation identity and understanding? Is it just winning?
      I give kudos to Mexico for laying out their 2015 expectations last week so that the players and fans know what is fair to expect. It would be great if USSoccer laid out their expectations too.

      • My definitions of success for 2015, for what it’s worth:
        -Make it to the final of the Women’s World Cup
        -Make it out of the group at the U20 World Cup
        -Win the Gold Cup and lock down a Confederations Cup trip in 2017
        -Settle on a preferred playing formation and prefered positions for each player with the USMNT

      • Much too soon for your last point. Any number of things could happen between the end of 2015 and the 2018 World Cup. Your last point only needs apply in the second half of qualifying, if even then.

      • The only things that are important are the Gold Cup, the South American Cup in 2016, qualifying for the World Cup, and the World Cup. Even the Confederations Cup is only important in providing a chance for the players to get used to Russia. A lot of people here don’t seem to understand international soccer. Here’s a question–was 2014 successful for the English national team since they won their group in European qualifying? No, because they didn’t get out of their group in the WC. Everything else is subordinate to success in the WC. Qualifying is important only in that it gets you into the WC. Does it matter that Mexico got into the WC only because of the late US goal? Not really, what is much more important is that they got out of their group.

  16. Really? Brooks having trouble in a 3 man backline? I think he would be perfect for it, he’s mobile, strong in the air, good 1v1 defender, and can distribute better than any other center back in our pool. Cameron, and Brooks should be part of the starting back 3, with space open for the rest of the pool to fight it out.

    • I like Brooks more in a 4-4-2. Not convinced he would adapt well in a 3-5-2. Guess he’ll have to since he’s Besler’s backup for the left marking back spot. Though maybe Tim Ream could step in if Brooks were to struggle.

      • I like Brooks a lot in a 3-5-2… just not with the woeful defending our wingbacks have shown. Admittedly, we have a sample size of 1 match to critique.

        Ream might be a good option, too. If we have another all-Euro camp, a backline of Ream, Brooks, and Cameron might work well. Fabian Johnson on the left, Timmy Chandler on the right. Hmmnnn…

        Johannsson – Rubin

        Johnson – Bedoya – Yedlin

        Williams – Morales

        Ream – Brooks – Cameron


        Possible subs – Boyd*, Green, Corona, Garza, Chandler, Soares, Packwood, Steffen

        *if he’s healthy

    • He is certainly the guy with the highest top end or rather the only US CB that could could up at a top team in the Bundesliga/EPL.. Half of that is more a matter of being able to get hype than anything. How else does one explain David Luiz?

  17. GK: Brad Guzan, Steve Clark, Nick Rimando

    Defenders: Jermaine Jones, Greg Garza, Fabian Johnson, Geoff Cameron, John Brooks, Omar Gonzalez, Timmy Chandler, Edgar Castillo

    Mids: Michael Bradley, Alejandro Bedoya, Mix Diskerud, DeAndre Yedlin, Alfredo Morales, Lee Nguyen, Brek Shea, Joe Corona

    Forwards: Charlie Davies, Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, Gyasi Zardes

    Pretty sure Rubin’s gonna be in New Zealand Ives

    • Rubin won’t miss the Gold Cup if he’s needed.

      Given that Boyd is injured, Agudelo has been in limbo, Gyau’s out for a long damn time, Wondo’s old, Wood isn’t getting club PT, and Dempsey hasn’t looked good for the US since the end of the WC, Rubin might just be needed.

      • Rubin’s choice probably would be the Gold Cup, but this will be worked out between USMNT and U-20 coaches ahead of time, and I’m not sure JK will look at Rubin as ‘needed.’ I doubt if he or Zardes would start many games, and both of those two still have more to prove than they have already proved (though I’m excited about both). Both are prospects for future USMNT service, and that would be the reason for their inclusion now, and JK might feel that Zardes needs a look against better competition now because he’s a few years older than Rubin.

        The thing with Zardes is he consistency impresses, and few seem to notice. He just had his first cap a few days ago, and the consensus is he did pretty good – solid runs off the ball, solid touches – and there’s a lot of players we talk about who look pretty shaky in their debut, but we give them a pass because it was their debut. Zardes doesn’t need a pass, still it seems like he’s mostly an afterthought. Granted, it was just a friendly against Chile’s B team or lower, and Zardes came in second half, but that’s not inconsistent with other players’ debuts. I expect him to be a starter in Russia and beyond.

      • Re Zardes, as a Galaxy fan I’ve been following him since he joined the league. He may not become a star, but if he continues to develop he could become one of the best US players in 2018. He not only has talent, speed and a solid build, he is a very hard worker.

  18. I’m not a fan of the 3-back setup, but if we go that way, Johnson definitely should get be one wing and then Chandler or Yedlin (probably Chandler) for the other side. The backs would probably be three out of Gonzo, Besler, Jones and Brooks. I’d like to see Jones back up in midfield, so I’d go with the other three. (For a dark horse, I’d like to see Zimmerman on the bench and get some minutes, assuming he can stay injury free).

    • If we go with three backs i say Fab J at LW and Yedlin at RW. Dark horse i’d say Josh Gatt if he gets back from his injury and gets hot leading up to the Gold Cup.

      • I like Gatt – a lot of potential there. But in a three-back, the wings’ defensive roles are heightened, and I see Gatt as more of an attack-oriented wing. I haven’t seen much of his play, but based on what I have seen, it seems a bit of a stretch.

    • It’s funny. I’ve been puzzled by the 3-back formation experiment all week, but now that you mention Johnson and Chandler, it sort of makes sense. To me, they’re the only 2 in the pool who are capable of being two-way players out on the wings, and it makes sense to get them out on the field with the maximum amount of flexibility possible.

      Personally, I’d still feel more comfortable working towards a 4-3-3 with Garza at LB, Johnson at LM, and Yedlin and Chandler interchanging at RB/RM, but a 3-man back line with Johnson and Chandler as wingbacks is an (albeit riskier) approach to achieving the same goal: A line-up with a bunch of athletic flexible midfielders who play both ways and have plenty of speed on the outside.

    • Too many people putting wing backs on roster who don’t (can’t) score. Chandler would be awful. No way he finishes 90′ .


      Every one of those players can score the ball and a 3 man line means one of the cb’s can come from deep to raid the box. Besler is probably a better pick for reliable defense, admittedly.

    • I’m not sold on the 3-man backline, but our best bets there are Besler, Brooks, and Cameron. I’d rather have Gonzo on the pitch in a 4-man backline, but Cameron’s more mobile and used to playing RB for club. In a 3-man back, all 3 backs have to be able to step up into midfield, and that’s not Gonzo’s strength.

    • With 3 in back, I think Besler, Jones and Cameron would get the start though I gotta admid Birnbaum did not look too badwith Yedlin, and F. Johnson as 2 wide mids. ( I just think Shea still has some learning to do to be trusted.)


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