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USMNT Notes: Klinsmann explains Besler, Feilhaber absences; Altidore receives vote of confidence; and more

photo by Peter G. Aiken/USA Today Sports


When the U.S. Men’s National Team takes to the field at a sold-out Sporting Park on Monday night, two experienced players that call the stadium home will not be in uniform.

Sporting Kansas City’s Matt Besler and Benny Feilhaber were left off the the U.S. roster for the ongoing CONCACAF Gold Cup last month, with Besler failing to make it past the provisional 35-man squad and Feilhaber not even making the cut for that. Their absences have left some observers and plenty of local fans scratching their heads, but U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann finally provided some answers on Sunday.

In Besler’s case, it was just a matter of being behind two other left-footed centerbacks in John Brooks and Tim Ream who made their way up the depth chart with strong performances for their European clubs this past season.

“He’s part of our roster and he had to swallow the pill that he’s not in the 23 right now,” said Klinsmann. “We talked through that, we’ve been in touch with each other, so it’s no problem at all. It is a constant competition going on in our extended squad.

“If you look at the two left centerbacks with John Brooks – who made a huge stamp in the last year – and Tim Ream – who played a tremendous season with Bolton – we felt that both deserved to be in here at the expense of Matt for right now.”

While Klinsmann added that Besler could be called in as one of six available U.S. replacements after the group stage concludes, Feilhaber cannot. The 30-year-old midfielder, who is having a career year in Kansas City, is not eligible to be summoned due to the fact that he was not on the provisional squad.

“The simple answer is that there are other ones ahead of him,” said Klinsmann when asked about Feilhaber’s omission.

Additionally, Graham Zusi is currently dealing with an injury, meaning that there might be no Sporting KC representation for the U.S. against Panama.

Here are more USMNT notes:


Jurgen Klinsmann already gave Jozy Altidore a vote of confidence after the U.S.’s 1-0 win over Haiti on Friday.

That still did not stop Klinsmann from vocally supporting his striker again on Sunday.

Altidore has started each of the Americans’ two games at the Gold Cup so far, but has failed to make much of an impact in either. The 25-year-old forward is trying to work his way back from the hamstring injury he suffered in May while playing for Toronto FC, and admitted after the game vs. Haiti that he felt “slow”.

Klinsmann sounds like he has no intentions to give up on Altidore, however.

“He’s the type of player that can always make a difference, that has to work himself into a rhythm,” said Klinsmann. “He obviously knows his body the best because you always know yourself the best, so that’s where we have to go. We have to give him minutes, give him the chance to come through, and pick up a higher tempo and a higher pace.

“There’s that risk that comes along and in the long run it will be a very positive one. He’s a little bit frustrated as well, but you have to go through those moments.”


In several international tournaments across the world, the final round of group games are played simultaneously. The idea is that having all four teams in each group play at the same time makes for a more fair approach, as no one can strategize their gameplan for a different result based on what happened in the other group match.

The Gold Cup does not employ that method, and Klinsmann is not a fan of that.

The two final group stage games at the Gold Cup have in recent years been played one after the other in the same stadium instead of simultaneously in different venues like is done in competitions like the World Cup, Confederations Cup, and European Championships.

While that does not affect the Americans this year due to their guaranteed first-place finish in Group C after just two games, Klinsmann still believes it would be better to have the final pair of group matches played at the same time. That way, a nation like Panama would not potentially have competitive advantage over others like Haiti and Honduras, as could be the case on Monday.

“I think it’s also not ideal to play one team before the other because Panama knows what they need then,” said Klinsmann. “I think they should play at the same time in two different stadiums. It’s just the way it should be, but we’ll take it the way it is.”

The Gold Cup is not the only tournament to have final group games played in preceding fashion. The recently-concluded Copa America in Chile also closed out group play with matches being played at different times.


What do you think about Klinsmann’s comments regarding the omissions of Besler and Feilhaber? Like that Klinsmann is sticking with Altidore here? Agree that the final Gold Cup group stage matches should be played simultaneously?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Altidore left out of squad moving forward likely due to a lack of match fitness. I don’t see it as a “vote of confidence” from Klinsmann. This blog annoys me in that it is obviously quite bias in its support of all things USMNT. The positive story writing irks me, in that it is truly not representative of the USMNT players, coaches or human behavior in general for that matter. I think writing unbiased stories about the “real” issues such as through opinion pieces will lend more support, opinion, controversy, to the parody that exists below the surface that many fans truly love. I’m truly going to stop reading this blog for this reason. Good day gentlemen and thank you Ives for growing the sport/culture of soccer in the US. Deuces!

  2. One of the issues with the USMNT is that best techical director, and coach in Kansas City last night was preparing for a match vs Montreal next week.

  3. Last night’s game showed that JK’s faith in Altidore is well-placed. He’s the only forward we have who can consistently hold up the ball.

  4. Klinsi hates creative, attacking soccer. That’s why he leaves guys like Landon & Benny home during real tournaments and plays Bradley as a 10. I don’t like Klinsi’s vision and certainly expected more from him as a manager.

    • you summed it perfectly Fredo, he likes runners, direct soccer, no time for possession or creativity from the mid….give him Jones and 10 others like Maradona with Mascherano and 10 others….sometimes it is the coach….I’m starting to lean that way, we don’t have great talent, but a bad coach can hold even Argentina back….

  5. I’m curious if the same people who have been calling for Reams inclusion after being player of the year 2x at Bolton are the same ones who are now screaming for Besler.

    Everyone is “assuming” Besler didn’t make the cut from the 35 because of the fitness comments.
    Maybe it’s as simple as JK rates JB and Ream higher as a LCB right now.

    And as far as this match being played in KC, this is a CONCACAF tournament

    And as far as the anti-MLS assumptions, seems to me there’s a few MLS guys on the 35 & 23 last time I checked

    And as far as Benny it’s kinda disheartening that a guy with that much talent finally admits at 30 that fitness is important. The Benny narrative last year was that Benny finally bought into the fact that he needs to play both offense and defense

    It continues to amaze me at the depth these arguments will go, especially considering that JK gave Beckerman his 1st real shot, brought DMB back from the dead, resurrected EJ as an Intl, etc. has a history of playing Jewish, Polish, African-Americans, bi-racials, and Mexican Americans just as much as anyone else he plays

    What I don’t see in any of these arguments or assumptions is “Wow, Besler has been in great form lately, I’m surprised JK rates him behind JB and Ream”

  6. Breaking:

    Manager X has a preference on player style, ability and attitude which plays a part in his team selection. Fans weigh-in on the error in this approach from the confines of their home with zero managerial (or professional managerial) experience.

    Meanwhile, Manager X continues to succeed and fans continue to look foolish.

    More on this feigned outrage and more nonsense at 10.

    • People fail to remember or acknowledge that JK has met every benchmark in his tenure as manager doing it his way. Regardless the players he thought were the best players for the team.

      Qualified for WC2014 – check
      Won the 2013 Gold Cup – check
      Got out of the Group of Death in WC – check
      2015 Gold Cup – First place after 2 games and in the quarterfinals

      You would think by peoples reactions the USA has not qualified for the World Cup, been knocked out in the group stages and been humiliated in the Gold Cup.

      • Reading the comment sections when LD or JK is mentioned is like turning on MSNBC or FoxNews. It’s so ridiculous, absurd and extreme it’s borderline comedy.

    • +1

      Professional coaches/managers throughout history have never been consistent and have always had favorites/players they trust more than others. Unless you are the rare player with more power than the coach i.e Lebron James, you do what he says or you are gone until a new coach comes in. It’s pretty simple how it works.

  7. We are finally at a point where we have depth, arguably quality depth, at most every position. In turn, arguably deserving players continue to get left off and others will fall behind. The battle to make the plane to Russia will be more fierce than ever. And still 3 years out, still time for new faces to make their claim. Guys like Jones and Beckerman could still be in the mix. And young guys like Zelalem, maybe even CCV or Wright or Pulisic could blossom in to an option. People complain and question JK to no end (I’m guilty as well), but the guy has expanded our pool, and I firmly believe set us on a positive course moving forward.

    Guzan, Howard, Yarbrough, Hamid, Johnson, Cropper, Steffen

    Chandler, yedlin, Desevio, Lichaj Okwuonu (impressed with him in Toulon)

    Johnson, Garza

    Brooks, Alvarado, gonzo, Besler, Ream, Orozco, Edu, Birnbaum, Miazga, O’Neill, Carter-Vickers

    Bradley, Mix, Beckerman, Jones, Morales, Williams, Trapp, Gil, Zelalem, Nguyen, Feilhaber, Kitchen, Alashe, Hyndman, Canouse

    Yedlin, Fabian, Zardes, Bedoya, Green, Gyau, Arriola

    Jozy, Dempsey, Aron, Zardes, Boyd, Rubin, Agudelo, Morris, Wood

    And there’s many others that could rise over the next 3 years:
    Packwood, Okugo, Robbie Rogers, Opara, hedges, Schuler, Farrell, EPB

    Nagbe, Finlay, Rowe, Pulisic, Flores, Delgado, Acosta, Sonora, Flores, Hernandez, Rodriguez, Pelosi, Gatt, Lennon, Roldan

    Shipp, Wright, Novakovich, Jamieson, Tall, Kiesewetter, Boxi Yomba, Akale, Gall, Thompson, Villareal

    The present and future look very bright.

  8. I do have one query for JK though.. His mention that Jozy is frustrated and says he feels slow, and that he needs more time to pick up his higher tempo and pace. What higher tempo/pace?

    Since before the WC, he’s run as little as possible, definitely not with pace, and has shown little or no confidence to even basically hold, turn and strike. Definitely not to create anything! His movement on the ball in the attack zones are fidgety, slow developing and usually turnovers or kicks back into neutral zones. I know that over various competitions over the years, he’s had some success, however mostly against the weak sisters of the scheduling. This guy is not creative, plays unmotivated and tentative and slows down or destroys many could be dangerous attacks for the team. I truly believe that we have better options up top that JA anymore. If he’s not in the lineup, I’m a lot happier with our chances of a successful offense. To be a successful striker a player has to have “IT”! and JA ain’t got “IT”!

    • Hes got enough goals to make him 5th all time in goals for the US, just 3 behind the hallowed McBride. I’d say that qualifies as more than “some” success. He also holds the season record for goals scored in Europe by a US player. If there are so many players that are clearly better, why arent they doing it?

  9. I still think Benny was the one that revealed a lot of information to Brian Straus. His call ups after that article have been nonexistent. He also seems arrogant enough to make those comments when not playing.

    • Perhaps but much of the information seemed to be from someone that was with the group that played the qualifier in Honduras. Feilhaber wasn’t there, so I’m not really sure what information he could of had. Feilhaber has really only spent a January camp with Klinsmann I believe.

  10. JK picked his squad and that’s it. Trying to argue who deserves to be on there and who doesn’t is pointless. Just accept who he called in and watch the game. All these comments on this site are so ridiculous with people either all for the MLS and think they’re the greatest players in the world, or the exact opposite.

    It all means nothing. Nothing you people argue about on this site will ever make a difference so why do it? If you guys really feel the need to belittle one another, then you are misdirecting your own issues and you need to grow up.

    • Why did you post anything then? Anything fans say to each other is meaningless but it’s part of the fun of being a fan. It’s more fun to debate things than it is to sit there and think “JK is the manager and he picked this team and I won’t question it or try to analyze anything because I can’t change anything anyway”

      Sounds like you’re new to fandom.

      • Not new to fandom, I just don’t see how you people do what you do and not see it as a sad, desperate cry for attention and self validation. You do it to try to prove to others that you’re more knowledgeable than the other as if it’s a competition, but really you’re not. So just read the articles, watch the games, and be happy with that.

  11. Yeah, Besler’s has not shown well since the WC. On form alone, he would struggle to make the 23 currently….let alone to mention his fitness critique episode. Not sure why people can’t understand that….then again, half the internet wonders “where’s Tim Howard?” every time there’s a USMNT roster release.

    Klinsmann simply doesn’t rate Benny (like every expert has been saying). You don’t have to like it, but it is what it is.

    On another note, anyone read Jermaine Jones’ interview that went along with his ESPN Body Issue appearance? Sounds like he intends on trying to make the 2018 WC squad. I doubt he will, but interesting that he has no plans to step away from int’l play….no questioning that German-American’s desire.

    • Since Jones wasn’t healthy for the WC in 2010, I don’t blame him for trying for 2018. I’m sure he saw how much his popularity rose after his WC last year which may be his motivation to push for another one. Hopefully he remains injury free the next few yrs.

      As for Benny, I agree with you, lots of players can be argued ahead of him: Bradley, Diskerud, Morales, Beckerman, Corona, Nguyen, Bedoya, Cameron… Not all are like for like but all can play centrally.

  12. I dont think its hard to figure out who is ahead of Benny. Look at the 35 man list- Bradley, Dix, Lee Nguyen at the very least, and after the Haiti game you could add Dempsey as an attacking mid in JK’s eyes.

    Besler has not played real well since WC, and everyone knows that. Plus he should have used his head. He could have asked Jozy and LD how going against JK works out. He doesnt care who you are, he will find someone else. Its his team, whether you like it or not. Play by his rules or sit on the outside and watch.

    • Yeah. Welcome to real life, eh? Try openly criticizing your manager and his message at work and see how that pans out.

      • Yeah, except the manager’s job is to pick the best players, not the guys who agree with him.

      • The best players are not necessarily the best guys for his team. It’s a team. You don’t have to like the guy but you have to respect him and his vision for the team. You act like these things are mutually exclusive.

      • You are obviously not a coach.

        What Besler did was dumb. If you’re a coach and a guy won’t do things your way, and you allow it, how on Earth are you supposed to lead the team? You’ll have eleven different guys all playing their own game, training however they feel like and when they feel like doing it, freelancing all over the place, with no accountability whatsoever.

        Yeah, they’d durn well better agree with me, if I’m the coach. Or if they don’t, they’d better have sense enough to shut their mouths publicly and do it my way. If they wanna come to me privately and voice their issues, that’s fine, but undercut my authority, and I’ll dump you on the spot with a cold-water ruthlessness that will leave you gasping…and so will most any other half-decent coach out there. France in 2010 was a perfect example of what happens when a coach loses control of his big egos; that will live in French memory for a long, long time.

        Good leaders are always strong leaders. That doesn’t mean a strong leader is necessarily a good leader, mind, but a coach with no control over his team is a dead man walking.

      • No, not painful… that was delicious… it was truly amazing and wonderful to see the pain in the eyes of the French populace as their team descended into chaos…

      • Damn, everyone seems to have missed the middle step of the January stupidity.

        Besler wasn’t targeted by JK. Go back and read his statements again, not once did he say Besler’s name in the same breath as fitness problem stuff.

        After JK’s comments, a stupid blogger decided to write a piece using crazy logic to come to the conclusion that Besler was the only one that JK could have been targeting with his comments. While the logic was complete crap, journalists latched on to the idea and started hounding Besler about his fitness.

        That’s why Besler made those comments. He was being targeted, interview after interview, with questions about him being terribly out of shape, lazy, or whatever other insinuations were thrown around.

      • He certainly is. And “Best” player is inclusive of a large variety of factors. Physical attributes, talent, intelligence, attitude, work ethic, type of player related to system and other available players, willingness to buy into/fit/understand team’s game plan. I am a fan, but straight up, Besler has taken a dip on the field and been far from a lock based on performance/talent. Add in a open criticism/unwillingness to buy into the coaches program and you get what you see here. Nothing unusual here.

      • See Gary Page’s comments above slowleftarm. . .

        And I am still surprised that Besler opened his mouth about the conditioning. For being a smart guy, that was definitely not smart.

      • + 1

        Folks on here like to suspend reality whenever it helps them make their “JK is a [insert whatever derogatory comment that you can only do on the internet here]” posts. Not really sure what Beasler was thinking there, but I am sure he has learned his lesson…one hopes.

      • I guess the lesson is: JK is a petty and insecure man who cannot stand having anyone disagree with him. Even when the other guy is right, as Besler was here.

        Here’s what Besler said: “My goal is to be in my peak fitness on March 1. That’s when my season starts. It goes from March to December. So on Jan. 15, we devised an offseason plan for me to hit my peak fitness on March 1, and I think that’s what most of the guys did. If the expectation is different, that’s something that needs to be discussed so we know going into a camp where we need to be.”

        Pretty mild stuff, although Peter Vermes was harsher. And he was right. Would a European coach expect guys to be in peak fitness in late July? No. Why is it different here?

      • For “petty” insert “attentive to detail”

        For “insecure” insert ” always alert to potential problems”

        Welcome to the life of a National team manager.

        That is how they are supposed to be and the ones who aren’t are soon ex managers.

      • Klinsmann is the one who brought Besler in and broke him in, in the Azteca no less. The coach is well placed to see and understand things about the game before we do. He has the right to drop him and not fully explain why.

        Let’s follow the team and the coach now, win the gold cup and be happy.

  13. First, let me say Besler was my favorite player at the world cup and played outstanding. But, I can’t find fault with Klinsman’s stated reasoning. Ream deserves a chance and Brooks has been playing very well and has the biggest upside. Combine that with the fact that Besler’s form fell off after the world cup. I think he should have challenged himself and moved to Europe after the World Cup. I’m sure that and his twitter comments could have had an affect on Klinsman, but that doesn’t matter compared to the fact that Ream and Brooks both took his spot.

    • Let’s be honest, there are no superstars on the USMNT backline. Everyone has their faults, and upside potential is the motivating factor right now.

      • I disagree. I think JAB is THE guy for the next 10 years, barring no injuries. That is if he can keep those u20 center backs from taking his spot. I also think Gonzo is getting better, but I worry about his physical health (he’s so big – I worry about his knees)

  14. Klinsmann is so full of crap. Besler was his choice for the World Cup. Then Besler criticized Klinsmann’s offseason conditioning demands for MLS players and suddenly he is behind a guy who wasn’t even a consideration for the World Cup provisional roster. I would love to see how different this team would be under Jill Ellis.

    • Yeah we all know JK is a petty individual who loves to play favorites. These “explanations” are hardly illuminating – there are unnamed players “ahead” of these guys.

      • “Petty?”

        Coaches with vision have a message. Besler obviously had issue with that message.

        If a coach sees – and hears – that a guy isn’t buying into his program, if there are other options, he will go with those other options.

        Besler should not have chirped back. Klinsmann is under no obligation to pick anybody.

        That ain’t “petty”, it’s just the guy in charge doing it his way and dumping the guys who won’t. Besler was neither the first – nor probably, the last – whom Klinsmann has dumped for that very reason.

        How else are you supposed to run a team?

      • `No, Klinsmann is obligated to field the best team possible. And yes that gives him a lot a wiggle room. But he plays obvious favorites to the detriment of the team. He has consistently played his favorites, even when they lack form or are injured. If there is a hint of disapproval of his methods, coaching or tactics benching or not being summoned to another camp or call-up is the norm.

        i Could go on but, we all know this.

        The simple fact is that it is poor judgement to use a very important tournament as a rehab stint for favored players. Nor should you bring injured players, in hopes they will make a recovery in time to play,

        To Klinsmann’s credit he has admitted he has learned from mistakes he has made. But as long as he has a EuroSnob complex and plays favorites with player selection, it will be to the detriment of the USMNT

      • Besler’s ill advised retort to JK’s comments about MLS conditioning aside. Besler is simply not as good as, or rather, does not offer what the players in front of him do:
        JAB: size, ball control, set piece danger
        Tim Ream: deserves a shot after playing so well with Bolton, and yes it is a tougher league (The Championship) than the MLS at this time
        Gonzo: See JAB
        Alvarado: not sure if he’s better than Besler, but he without a doubt plays on a better team in a better league

        End of discussion

      • So tell us in what major tournament or qualifying round has his player selections had a detrimental impact on the USMNT?

      • I hear hamstrings popping, pop- Altidore, pop- Besler pop Fabian Johnson, JK over-condtions=wears his guys out

      • Klinsmann is a petty little man, has been, will continue to be. What he did to Donovan was beyond petty. Now, after the World Cup, MLS and Besler was beat to death, then goes to camp in January with lingering injuries and JK starts bad mouthing Besler. That’s why Besler is not on the team. Neither Brooks or Ream are close to Besler in long throw in’s which are set pieces that produce goals. No, Jerken is a petty lil man and will continue to be. It’s time for a new coach. His petty beefs and grudges are hurting the US team when they play first division opponents. The World Cup showed many of Jerkens flaws in putting together at team and crafting a strategy. There is a reason the Germans could not wait to dump Jerken. It’s time the US dumps the lil humper too.

      • Play favorites? This is the guy who unceremoniously dismissed Boca and Donovan, left MB and Jozy off the squad early on for various reasons, and most recently, stripped Clint of his captaincy.

        He’s gone head-to-head with the biggest stars on our team. You can criticize JK for many reasons… his treatment of Boca and Donovan for instance, but having “favorites” is hard to justify.

        He never starts the same team twice and no one’s position on the team is safe. He’s made that clear over and over again.

      • What are you talking about? LD wasn’t one of his favorites – that’s why he was treated like garbage. Meanwhile, clowns with zero commitment like Chandler keep getting minutes.

      • LD wasn’t treated like garbage.

        He did not buy into JK’s program and made it clear he would play for the USMNT only on his terms so JK treated him accordingly.

      • You do not know what Chandler did or did not buy about JK’s program.

        Since he went to the World Cup my assumption is he bought into the program.

        LD on the other hand dictated his terms in the media.

      • You want to tell me how manygoals he scored?


        So did Wondo , the man who replaced him on the roster.

      • …and Wondo missed a sitter that would have sent the team through to the quarters. I’d rather lose with the 3 time world cup vet and all time leader in goals and assists, than roll the dice with a journeyman guy who hustles, but never played a meaningful international game in his life.

      • Nate,

        Assuming LD would have gone to Brazil what makes you think he would have been on the field vs. Belgium at all?

        What was the rationale for taking LD?
        Allegedly he was going to be a late game offensive catalyst as I understand it. So you know who really replaced LD? It was Yedlin.
        As for making that “sitter” look at the replay. It wasn’t exactly a sitter and I’ve seen LD miss easier chances.

      • Chandler was brought into the WC, but did not play a minute. That’s an odd way to treat a favorite.

        Who are these other favorites?

    • You do realize that the world cup was over a year ago right?

      Is it really unreasonable to think that the pecking order might have changed in that year especially when you consider that Besler didn’t play that well for most of that year?

      Oh, I forgot this was the internet, where Klinsmann is an asshole no matter what he does.

      • Yeah but Besler was a JK favorite until the criticism which makes me think thin-skinned JK bristled at anyone daring to disagree with him and we won’t see Besler again for the USMNT. Besler hasn’t played well this season but enough to slip from first-choice CB to not even on the roster? Not when JK faves like Chandler keep getting called in and stinking up the joint.

      • Chandler does not have a Brooks and a Ream in front of him.

        And have you actually watched Besler play?

        He was never a JK “favorite”. He earned his WC place in part because Brooks hadn’t developed yet and Gonzo and Cameron inconsistent.

        These days Brooks and Ream are playing better.

      • Ream hasn’t played for the USMNT in four years and he’s automatically ahead of Besler? Don’t get me wrong – I think Ream has a role on this team but I think there are other reasons for Besler’s slide down the pecking order besides form. I do think if Besler was playing great he would be on the roster though. IMO, JK is petty but he doesn’t totally ignore form.

      • Did you watch Ream play the other night?

        I’ve seen Besler a few times with SKC recently and he did not look as good as Ream did last night.

        Are you saying Besler should have favored status because he played well a year ago?

      • Klinsmann has always been a coach high on fitness. Besler showed up unfit, and then said he had the right to show up unfit.

        That pissed Klinsmann off. There’s the reason.

      • GW, regardless of what JK said, Wondo did not replace LD, he Julian Green took his spot. Are you kidding? I appreciate Wondo his goals were before the meat of the tournament

      • Neither Ream or Brooks played all that well in Europe. How many times did you see either play in Europe this year ? I bet none.

        Nope, this is about JK having a attitude about Besler coming to camp in January injured. He had been resting trying to get ready for a long 15 season and JK copped a attitude. When Besler chirped back at JK, he went Landon Donovan on Besler.

        Jerken is a petty little man. He plays his favorites, and if you disagree with him, you don’t see a roster spot.

        That comment Jerken made about talking to Besler is a downright lie. They talk back and forth and Besler is not a top 23. Yeah, and I am the Tooth Fairy’s cousin.

        Time for Jerken to go.

      • Bottom line is that Klinsmann is the coach and technical director. All of your insights into his character withstanding and if he doesn’t see a player performing to the level of others it is his obligation to move pass them until their form returns . Belser has been outplayed by Brooks, Alvarado and Ream in his opinion and that is the currently reality all of his detractors have to come to grips with.

      • Donald Duckett, have you ever played or coached a sport at a high level? Coaches do whatever they want that THEY think will best help out the team, regardless of what has previously occurred. Not what you think. You may see it as petty, but that is what has been occurring since professional sports began. I remember my coach in college explicitly told me that I was a better soccer player than the guy who started over me, but that guy would start because he was faster, and that would help the team more. It sucks, but that is the way sports works. You can complain that your favorite players aren’t playing when you think they should be all you want, but that isn’t how sports work at that level.

      • It’s pretty simple, to Klinsmann, anyone playing outside of MLS is automatically better. Even the fact that Mix use to play in Europe keeps him in the team, while he’s been pretty average in MLS.

      • Yeah that’s why he made Beckerman a regular from day one, when no one in the US thought Beckerman knew how to play soccer And that’s why he took so many MLS players to Brazil.

    • Well… I suppose if one were to look for a way off a team’s roster, criticizing one of your manager’s pet-peeves/offseason training while simultaneously taking a significant dip in form is a pretty good way to go about it. I am a fan of Besler’s and think he’ll find his way back into the picture, but he has his work cut out for him… fortunately, our pool seems to be maturing at many positions and finds itself with a lot more options at CB, including some fellow MLSers that have caught him.

      Benny…. damn… waited on, wanted to cheer this dude for so long- wakes up at 30? really??? He could provide something now, but…. he’s a wild-card. Past work ethic/inconsistency and age do him no favors. When in doubt, go with the greatest upside over the long haul… into WC. Probably best to invest in guys who will be growing as the cycle goes along, peaking for the big dance.

      • Beckerman as well so I don’t buy this whole upside thing….but then again that could be the excuse when it comes to certain players unfortunately!!

    • My organization sent its new managers to a week long training with top trainers with lots of experience and academic honors. One of them had a good analogy that has stuck with me for about 30 years now. He said a manager is like a coxswain on a boat. You have to have everyone rowing in sync to really get ahead. You have one guy sitting there, or, worse, rowing in the opposite direction, and it defeats the efforts of everyone else. When Besler didn’t buy into the notion of having fitness, he was that guy not rowing with the others. You don’t keep guys like that, especially when you have alternatives. I have no problem with his being left off.

  15. That was a great nondescript answer given by Jurgen re: Benny. Who exactly is ahead of him at that position? Mix? Mix has been struggling with NYCFC and Feilhaber is having a career year. WTF does Feilhaber have to do to get a sniff from Jurgen? I guess he must have Eric Lichaj disease or something.

      • Never been a huge fan of Benny, but I appreciate his attacking skills. He strikes me as a sort of selfish player that you need to center the entire offensive around if you want him to be successful. In Klinsman’s words, “a taker” (Adu also falls into this category). He is playing so well, that Klinsman should still seriously consider bringing him in, but he has not been too consistent over the years. Also, his age is getting up there for someone to reintroduce into the squad, and there are some younger players with better defensive skills and energy. Clearly, team chemistry matters to Klinsmann, and that could be what pushes the balance out of his favor.

      • Adu also falls into this category but Adu just got cut from a Finnish team that plays in a high school stadium so he’s probably further down the pecking order.

      • Don’t worry, soon Freddy will be terrorizing NASL defenses and his many fans will be screaming for his inclusion in the USMNT setup.

      • “Adu also falls in this category”… I was referring to him being a “taker” that you need to build the entire offense around to be effective… not trying to say that I rated him similarly to Benny.

      • i agree danny, id be more than happy to see Benny get to play for the NT team again but i have no problems with him not getting to, either; for the reasons you mentioned.

      • Klinsmann doesn’t give a damn about “team chemistry.” Klinsmann only gives a damn about his ego and agenda. I’m not saying that Feilhaber should be with the team, now. I’m just calling BS on Klinsmann’s “explanations.”

      • Meh – I think he was pretty direct. In his mind there are players ahead of Feilhaber. It doesn’t mean he’ll never be looked at – Lee Nguyen was given a chance for example but thus far he isn’t convinced. It happens and Feilhaber is 30 now. Yeah JK has an ego and agenda. He’d better at this level. But he’d also better have an organized plan & I’m not a fan of some tactical decisions thus far…

      • Danny, there are players with better defensive skills but it ain’t Bradley or Mix. Zusi defends better as does Bedoya. But that ain’t Benny’s game, plus he brings the team up with his link play, creativity, and possession.I could see how you could take him a selfish because to be successful he needs the ball, but what he does with the ball cannot be considered selfish, in that way he is clearly a “giver”. As far as his age, its a non-issue, a 30 year old without major injuries in his career in the best condition of his life….kind of a no brainer, too bad we are missing out on the best mid of this generation..

      • Best mid of his generation? Hahaha… His career doesn’t even come close to a MB and many others. Bradley does defend better (and Mix recently). Player’s I’d easily pick ahead of him as a CAM: MB, Dempsey, JJ, FabJ. I can see an argument that Mix,Ngyugn,Bedoya,Alfredo Morales are not as good, but that’s debatable and each of those have there pluses/minues that could put them ahead of Benny.

      • That was the exact same response Klinsmann had to the question about why Donovan wasn’t selected for last year’s World Cup team. This isn’t about rehashing that particular decision for the umpteenth time. It’s about Klinsmann’s MO and agenda. If he doesn’t like you, he’ll give that nondescript answer; count on that when he does it, again (and he will). If he likes you, (cf, Altidore and Chandler), he’ll give you chance after chance after chance after …..

      • BTW, I wouldn’t be surprised if Klinsmann held it against Besler for being “out of shape” for the January camp.

      • And despite the fact that JK called up R Rogers when he wasn’t doing much, we will never see JK call him up now that he has come out. Willing to bet money on this, that is all.

      • kinda thot this as well. figured matty was no longer a klinsmann guy when he talked out about it being offseason and vermes backed him up. then they posted an instagram phto of being ripped
        kinda funny JK loves being open and talky and all but only when he picks the subject
        would be fun if there were anyone out there who actually put tough questions on him and “looked him in the eye” about these players.
        imean fine, your the coach so you get to pick but why so easy to get 10000 words about Jozy and not a peep about Lijah and Benny?

      • To be fair, Klinsmann, or any other coach for that matter, doesn’t owe any explanation to the fans as to why he does or doesn’t pick certain players. He’s paid to get results. That’s it.

      • Yeah it was the same. But you’re looking too into it if you think it’s just about him not liking someone. The guy is wedded to his philosophy, and both players were somewhat against it. JK’s job is to put together the best team he can, drive results, and have a stamp on building the program & he needs harmony with the unit. And underneath his philosophy is a approach to fitness and pushing to get to a higher level.

        I’m not saying JK is “correct”. I think he gets too comfortable with certain players (polar opposite), I think he talks too much, and I question his bedside manner with certain players (i.e… maybe the Donovan thing could’ve been handled differently – if he’s cut he’s cut, but how you do it/handle it matters). What I am saying, he’s the manager & it’s his ass on the line if/when things go sideways and yes, he’s lived in California but he is 100%, a German manager :). IMO… it wasn’t that he disliked Donovan personally. He called the guy in over others to camp. But there was something that he saw that he didn’t like. Same with Besler. Same with some others. He’s not the first or last manager to be that way.

    • I have always loved Benny, but you can’t expect the coach to explain every player’s omission with nuance, right? He must get sick of these questions.

      • well he should explain, when asked, when a consistent national teamer is left off, like Besler or Cameron – he did and I agree with him.

        what i don’t care for is when local mls fans are outraged that their player in recent good form doesn’t make the team when they are hosting.. the cm pool is deep but a lot of players around the same level (mix, kljestan, nguyen, morales, benny, williams, other) – but they all bring unique qualities, roles or attitudes to the team. go head a criticize if you believe benny offers more than mix or morales (i agree the gap is small but don’t agree that the team would be better with benny) but some people are clearly letting their club fanaticism blur their national team opinions.

      • Interesting, but I’m not a SKC fan, but a national team fan and feilhaber has always performed for the national team. Something is going on here. To me it looks like a Germany v Brazil tussle. It’s not like feilhaber and Bradley performed poorly together when they have been on the pitch together. Oh well, Benny always has that Mexico goal, and his second half performance against Slovenia, and some other nice moments.

      • Benny screams at a ref once and that is an “issue” what joke, as for Germany vs. Brazil or even vs. Austria (where Feilhaber’s parents hail from) I doubt it, more likely how JK sees or can’t see the game…I thought Bradley had trouble but when it came to 2009 and 2010 Benny was there and was a major contributor, I’m sure Bradley wishes he was in the starting XI v Ghana in 2010…

      • If Bradley had wanted Benny to start vs Ghana in 2010 he would have started him.

        Benny came on later had his chances and missed.

      • beto,

        JK gave an explanation for Besler. End of obligation.

        If you just don’t like the explanation that’s not his problem.

    • Fielhaber has had many many games with the USMNT over the years. He has gotten his “sniff” and then some. He has had some really bright moments too, but has also been wildly inconsistent. I haven’t seen much of KC lately, but have read that Fielhaber has “matured” his game to be a better all around player. Then there are always chemistry issues to be considered, and I remember this being a possible topic with him. I have no idea if that’s the case, but I do remember USMNT games where he seemed to spend more time screaming at the official than hustling back to help on D. In any case, I’m sure JK and staff are well aware of him and his play and I’ll trust their judgment on this one.

    • It’s about what a player can do for the USMNT not SKC or NYFC.

      At this point Benny is an “only in Emergency” US player.

      I’ve watched Benny his whole career.
      Actually I should say, ” I’ve watched Benny try to flush his career down the toilet for many years.”

      Benny is lucky BB was so hard up for warm bodies otherwise he would have had a LOT fewer caps.
      He’s been wildly inconsistent the whole time and his recent confession about suddenly discovering , at 30 , that maybe fitness is important to a pro athlete, merely confirms what any reasonable person might have long suspected.
      His recent purple patch for SKC is nice but it is a little bit of a day late and a dollar short or better yet, too little too late.
      I’m sure if JK was in BB’s situation, i.e short on alternatives, he would be giving Benny his shot, but fortunately, JK does have alternatives. And for those for those of you who think JK doesn’t know Benny, he took him on that pre WC tour of Brazil.

      Really, looking over Benny’s record, it’s amazing JK ever capped him at all.

      • “I’ve watched Benny his whole career.”

        Unlikely, that you watched his time at Aarhus FC in the Danish Super league.

      • more than likely, he was referring to Benny’s NT team career, which is the subject here…

      • if you are referring to his whole USMNT career then hard to understand how you think he should not be included, the last 3 years at SKC he has become the best creative mid in MLS, he had a solid run in Denmark.

      • In his USMNT career, he went from being Mikey’s sure fire partner to a second half sub.

        He lived off of that 2007 golazo vs Mexico for years
        He tried to get a move to bigger clubs from Aarhus but no one was interested.

        He did a nice job in South Africa as a the sub who allowed Clint to move up front but he usually disappeared after about 20-25 minutes.

        It’s been an okay career marked by what ifs and underachievement given his talent.

        If he is the best US midfielder of his generation then it has been a pretty mediocre generation.

      • So the reason he’s not getting selected in 2015 is that he wasn’t a world-beater in 2010?

        I was led to believe that current form wasn’t a 5-year span. This changes everything.

      • Snoproblem,

        Don’t worry. It’s not as much of a threat to your belief system as you think.

        You act like JK is leaving a Pirlo or a Rooney or a Suarez off the team. Benny’s not that consistent.

        My point is simple. Benny is an underachiever. Benny has been overrated for much of his career. He lived off of the 2007 Gold Cup final golazo vs Mexico for years.

        He is a milder version of Freddy Adu, lots of sizzle very little steak.

        I don’t know why he wasn’t picked by JK.
        I wouldn’t mind if JK picked him but if he did not I can understand that too.

        JK has had Benny in for a number of camps and took him to Brazil for their pre WC tour. So I’m confident JK knows what Benny is about. Midfield is pretty crowded and the USMNT now has guys with more upside and more consistency, like Mikey.

        JK is known for bringing in guys from out of left field such as Beckerman, a guy no one expected to flourish with the USMNT as he has. So JK picking Benny would not have been a shock. Look at how long he waited to bring Ream back.

        Benny has been in great form for SKC but why do you assume that would immediately translate to USMNT success? Do you see the USMNT like the MLB All Star team where stats and fan ballots guarantee who should be on the team?

        Edson Buddle,,Kenny Cooper Jr. and Jeff Cunningham all had great success as prolific goal scorers in MLS but were pretty much damp squibs with the USMNT.

        And don’t tell me Benny was a proven regular with BB. His career arc began with sure fire starter in 2007 and then trended downward to half time game sub by the time BB got axed.

        Having a great club season might get you in the door but it doesn’t close the deal.

      • I was hoping my hyperbole would be obvious enough for everyone to see the slight sarcasm. He’s not Pirlo or Suarez, but he does have as many World Cup goals as Rooney (requisite Rooney WC jab).

        Let me put it this way: He was called up in ’07 and the callups continued through ’10, while he was working his way through a European career with injuries and form issues popping up. Not great, but good.

        He wasn’t called up in ’11 and only once in ’12 for very good reason: His form with NERevs was terrible. Now the formation and responsibilities didn’t exactly match his skill set, but that’s a different discussion.

        2013 saw him find his stride quickly with SKC and the defensive side of his game finally showed up. He was a big part of the title run that season. He got 1 callup.

        In 2014, he continued to play very well. With no interest in 2013, it wasn’t a surprise to be left out of WC camp. He was still playing very well when SKC’s entire team took up residence in local hospitals at the end of the season.

        2015: After two great seasons with SKC, he’s left at home while Mix is tasked with doing the job Benny does very well. High press, creative passes, defensive work immediately after any turnover? That’s every game for Benny. Fill in at D-Mid when needed? Done and done well.

        How has Mix taken to that role?

        So don’t sit here and tell me that his skillset might not translate to the Nats, because his every-game job is being tasked to someone else.

      • snoproblem,

        “So don’t sit here and tell me that his skillset might not translate to the Nats, because his every-game job is being tasked to someone else.”

        His skill set might translate

        It might,not. .

        I am sure JK would call Benny up in a heartbeat if something bad happened, the way,for example he has called in DMB. Of course, DMB is far more accomplished and reliable than Benny..

        Benny lost his USMNT regular starter spot back in 2008 and hasn’t done anything since to convince either BB or JK that he deserves it back. If Benny wanted it so much he should have done a better job at keeping it in the first place.

        Obviously he has won you over but you and me, we don’t count. Only the manager’s opinion counts. That is why you have one.

        JK was hired to put together “his” best team, not Snoproblem’s best team. A team is not about the 11 best players, its about the 11 players that play together the best.

        Clearly JK trusts the guys who are tasked with doing, as you put it, Benny’s “every-game job”.

        Perhaps he doesn’t trust that Benny will retain his form through to next year and the year after that.

        And maybe he has faith in Mix and the others that, as inferior as they are to Benny, they will only get better. It should be obvious to you that JK is trying to build towards 2018 and still win at the same time.

        In the meantime Mix and the others are not exactly sending the USMNT into a tailspin..

        Can you tell me that the record would be that much better if Benny had played? Benny might do a better job than Mix but how much better?

        In 2015 the USMNT has 7 wins, 2 losses, 2 ties. They are unbeaten in the last 8 games where they won 6 and tied 2.

        They have advanced, unbeaten , out of their Gold Cup Group.

        If Mix (and the other inferior to Benny guys) do well for the USMNT I don’t care how bad Mix looks for NYFC. NY is a brand new team and organization that is at times pretty disorganized so it is hard for anyone to look consistently good in those circumstances.

        In contrast Benny’s SKC has been pretty well organized in all phases for some time now.

        So comparing how they perform at their clubs isn’t as straight forward as it looks.

    • DING DING DING on the Lichaj comment… fact is I have said here before and been crucified but Jurgen is xenophobic… Lichaj’s Polish background and Feilhaber’s Jewish Austrian background…

      YUP… I said it folks… prove me wrong…

      • right, make a ridiculous personal accusation and follow it up with prove me wrong .. well Wondo and Maigza (u20s) have polish heritage and Beckerman is jewish so there goes your jk is a nazi idea… got anything else?

      • Andy in Atlanta,

        Your ethic cleansing angle is nothing new for you. You’ve often posted before that JK has not rated Lichaj because Eric is of Polish decent.

        No one can prove you wrong.
        If JK did not pick Benny because he is Jewish or Eric because he has Polish ancestry then the only way I would know that is if I could read his mind.

        And I can’t read minds. Then again perhaps you can tell whether a man is prejudiced as you say JK is, by his actions.

        This is the interesting part given JK’s close relationship with Podolski and Klose , both of Polish descent and both of whom were big parts of his Germany teams. I saw JK and Klose meet up after the US beat Germany at RFK in 2013 and if they don’t like each other, it sure did not look like it to me.

        As for Klinsmann’s alleged anti semitism, JK is an idol at Tottenham Hotspur and remains close with the club. If he was the anti semite you claim he is that would hardly have flown at Spurs.

        Oh yeah, I forgot, two of JK’s “favorites” ( one of slowleftarm’s slurs) Kyle Beckerman is Jewish and Deandre Yedlin’s mother is too. As you may be aware that means Yedlin is Jewish, a good fit for Spurs don’t you think?

      • implies they are German born, but you are right, technically the word can mean origin, usage determines the meaning when we speak of nationalities….

      • Caxamarca,

        Podolski and Klose were both born in Poland.

        Both were eligible to play for either Germany or Poland

        My understanding is that Lichaj, who was born in the Illinois, also had a similar choice in that he could have played for Poland or the US.

        Andy in Atlanta claims JK does not like to pick players solely because of their Polish heritage, ethnicity, lineage, whatever the f++k you want to call it,

        As best as I can tell Podolski and Klose are a lot “more Polish ” than Lichaj, if that is possible.

        I mean, Illinois, whatever you think of it, is in the USA not Poland right? Wasn’t McBride born in Illinois? And he was American right?

        So why JK would see Podolski and Klose as less objectionable and unpalatable than Eric makes little sense.

    • Is Benny Feilhaber world class? No you say? Well then is he 18 and maybe he will be world class in a couple years? No you say… then why are we discussing his inclusion or exclusion?

      • not world class but by far the best mid of this generation, who on our team is world class? I can’t think of one, not even a ‘keeper, damn solid keepers, but not “world class”

      • performance on the USMNT when given chance in 2007 Gold Cup, 2009 Confed Cup, 2010 WC and had a good cameo in Copa America, think it was 2008?, ability, skill, vision, creativity, present position as best creative mid in MLS, ability to hold possession…

    • Jerken has a issue with both Besler and Feilhaber much like he had with Donovan. Bottom line, Jerken has allowed his personal ego to cloud what is best for the team.

      I am one of many, many US Team supporters that have had it with Jerken and his bs. It’s time for a change. Jerken needs to go back to Europe. Since Germany doesn’t want him……maybe Austria will take him for a few years.

      Jerken has used up his goodwill from US supporters.

      • Maybe you should only speak for yourself, rather than pretending to know what all or most U.S. supporters think.

    • Yeah, ol Jerken didn’t look too good last night huh. Brooks was beaten like a baby seal on Panama’s goal. Yet Besler was not even on the 23. Yeah Jerken we know why too. You laid Besler out with your Landon Donovan sucker punch.

      Time for Jerken to go back to Germany. His BS and ego are past their time.


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