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Who should the USMNT start vs. Mexico?

USMNT lineup vs Brazil

photo by Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports


Jürgen Klinsmann’s lineup decisions have been discussed and analyzed ad nauseam in recent months.

Do not expect that to stop any time soon.

The U.S. Men’s National Team and Mexico will meet in their highly anticipated CONCACAF Cup showdown on Saturday (9:30 pm ET, Fox Sports 1/Univision) at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. A ticket to the 2017 Confederations Cup is up for grabs, as are bragging rights between these heated rivals and regional powerhouses.

For Klinsmann, the pressure has been cranked up a few notches. The U.S. head coach has struggled for results as of late, and needs to bounce back with a win against El Tri to placate the growing number of supporters that are none too pleased about the Americans’ disappointing fourth-place finish at the recent CONCACAF Gold Cup.

The good news for Klinsmann is that he has almost his entire first-team of regulars available, including the returning Clint Dempsey. The tricky part is that he has to figure out how to piece it all together for a one-off, do-or-die match that will be played in front an intense crowd of 90,000-plus.

Which players will we see Klinsmann start and how will he line them up? Here’s the starting XI we could see:

Projected USMNT vs Mexico

Some thoughts:

The first thing Jürgen Klinsmann has to figure out going into this one is how to get captain Michael Bradley and fellow veteran staple Jermaine Jones on the field together to help lead the charge and slow down Mexico’s technical attackers. In the last game against Brazil, Klinsmann went with a three-man midfield that had the duo in more advanced positions and Alejandro Bedoya sweeping up from deeper. It was an unmitigated disaster.

Klinsmann has preferred to deploy Bradley in more advanced positions for much of the past year and some change, and Jones does not have the tactical discipline to stay back strictly in a No. 6 role. As such, a diamond midfield could be used here. Bradley would serve in the hole while Jones is used as a right midfielder that would tuck in and allow the right fullback — in this case, Fabian Johnson — to bomb forward.

Someone would have to do the dirty work behind them for this to work against a quick El Tri side, and that is where Kyle Beckerman could step in. Beckerman looked a step slow at the CONCACAF Gold Cup when he played, but his work rate, experience, defensive grit, and unselfishness to move the ball quickly are all reasons why Klinsmann may go with him over someone like Danny Williams.

The other positions of real uncertainty are the two centerback spots. Klinsmann has gone with Ventura Alvarado often recently, but the young defender has admittedly had his share of struggles. Making things even worse is that he has gone from penciled-in starter to bench warmer at Club América, taking away some of his rhythm and sharpness.

If Alvarado were playing regularly these days, Klinsmann might be more inclined to give him the nod against the likes of Javier “Chicharito” Hernández. As things stand, however, the U.S. head coach could prefer to go with a veteran duo in Geoff Cameron and Matt Besler. Cameron and Besler were paired together in the first couple of World Cup games a summer ago, are both starting for their respective clubs right now, and can pass the ball well. All those attributes make them seem like the favorites here.

The rest of the team is more or less decided. Klinsmann has already said Brad Guzan will start in goal, and talked on multiple occasions about how important it is to have now-healthy veterans Johnson and DaMarcus Beasley manning the right and left sides of the defense, respectively.

Gyasi Zardes has been a welcome surprise this year with his consistently-positive play, and there is almost no doubt that the youngster starts vs. Mexico to test the southern rival with his speed and explosiveness.

Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey — who like Bradley and Jones are constantly described as part of the U.S.’s spine — figure to start up top. Altidore and Dempsey were the first-choice forwards at the Gold Cup, and them showing decently at their clubs in recent weeks and having a wealth of experience against Mexico makes them the easy choices at the tip of the attack. Altidore would be the one in a more advanced spot, though, as Dempsey drops a little bit more to help pick up the ball and create.


What do you think of this lineup? Is there a player who is not listed here that you think will/should be? How would you get Jones and Bradley together in the midfield? Which formation would you use?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Here’s something to muse this Sat morning:

    Which players in the USMNT pool have a specific skill or attribute in which they can be considered world-class? Keep in mind I’m not arguing that any of these players are world-class, just that they excel at this one specific attribute. These are the players/skills that came to mind for me:

    – Tim Howard is unquestionably world-class in this aspect, and many others.
    – I’m not sure I’d put Guzan in this category, but I would say Hamid is already a world-class shotstopper. He has plenty to improve on in his positioning, distribution, and decision-making, but his instincts and athletic ability have him regularly making eye-popping saves.

    – Dempsey is still world-class in this specific ability.

    – Yedlin. Who knows how players would fare in a timed 40-yard dash, but some players just look fast at game speed, and Yedlin is one of those. At least a few times every game he wows with his burst of speed and blows by somebody.
    – I haven’t seen him enough vs. international competition, but Morris supposedly has top-end speed.

    – Bradley. People can and will argue the value of this attribute, but there’s no denying that Bradley is one of the most fit players in the world. The dude goes all-out, all the time.

    Polarizing a fanbase
    – Through no fault of his own, Altidore ranks among the world’s best when it comes to making his team’s fans bitch and moan.

    A few more that are maybes/potentials for me:

    Distribution – John Brooks has flashed elite talent when distributing out of the back.

    Aerial Prowess – Omar Gonzalez. Maybe.

    Dribbling/close control – Darlington Nagbe. He’s on another level in tight spots.

    I’m sure there are more.

  2. Anybody thought about this?


    I think Bradley and Guzan have earned it, but Morris has been too good to replace and, in fact, could cover for everyone else.

  3. I’ve given up trying to guess whom JK will start.

    I am only confident that he will not start anyone not on the 23 man roster (so fantasies about Morris, Lee, etc. are the only things I am fairly sure will not happen).

  4. For those who think it is sacrilegious to play important players out of position, Deschamps put Martial – who some call an out-and-out striker – in on the left wing last night. Watching the french broadcast, not once did they question the decision, even as Martial was struggling a little. They talk about Martial “needing to find space” but not in a stubborn positional sense. In principal he could find space anywhere on the field, as long as there is movement. Good players will, like Jermaine Jones did from the same wing in the world cup. In countries where tactics are really evolved and clear (because all the players, like great stage actors or dancers, know every other person’s part as well as theirs, as if they’ve been studying it since they were kids), there as surprisingly little talk about positions and formations.

    • maybe you could’ve picked a better example (like if martial was played as a left back), as he is known to be able to play any of the front three positions, with some projecting him as more of a winger than a central forward.

      • I chose that example because I had just finished watching the game, and he is mu’s #9 right now.

        I thought it was worth sharing current events.

    • to use the already-overused bedoya example: klinsmann had played bedoya in multiple positions (usually wide mid or attacking mid) before without any uproar or necessitating an explanation. the problem arose when he played bedoya as the lone defensive mid against brasil.

      i contend that that’s a lot different than playing martial on the wing against armenia.

      • Nate Dollars,

        Bedoya as a #6 is hardly a big stretch.

        Bedoya started out as a centrally located attacking midfielder. That is where he made his name with Orebro in Sweden,

        Bob Bradley decided to deploy him as a winger basically to replace Landon in a game. Since then he has been seen as a winger for the USMNT. For his clubs he has played both centrally and on the wing.

        He has long been known for being a good defender just like Zusi and has often, for all intents and purposes, wound up playing right back before.

        He was garbage against Brazil but that was because Willian was on fire and I doubt that Cameron,, Beckerman, Jones, etc. would have looked a lot better than Ale that night.

        And had he done well now you have a much more versatile, mobile, attack capable #6 who is younger than most of the usual suspects but still a hardened veteran..

        The team will be getting younger and younger sooner rather than later and this was just another way to see if you can keep a good veteran presence in the lineup.

        It didn’t work vs Brazil but it might later on.

      • it was a poor experiment.

        1) yes, bedoya is known for not being useless at defending. he’s played occasionally–but not often–as a right wing-back (*not* a traditional fullback) for his club. i hope you can see the difference between the defensive responsibilities of a wingback compared to that of the lone d-mid.

        2) since we don’t have a limitless amount of friendlies, it’s klinsmann’s job to decide which experiments are worth trying. sacha kljestan has also been known to play defense–i really hope that klinsmann doesn’t need to see how he plays as a d-mid against germany.

        “It didn’t work vs Brazil but it might later on.”

        exactly. klinsmann should’ve tried it against a team where bedoya might actually have a chance at looking decent. essentially, the experiment told us nothing even the average fan couldn’t have guessed.

      • but hey, there was that small chance of klinsmann looking like a genius if it worked out, so i guess it wasn’t a total waste.

      • You are too negative

        If it had worked vs El Salvador then so what? Who cares?

        That’s just wasting time.

        But if it had worked vs Brazil then what better test could there be?

      • So all attacking midfielders who have never played a defensive position during their professional careers should be able to easily transition to a defensive midfield position against a top 5 team in the world who may also be one of the top 3 technically gifted teams in the world.

        The worst part of the experiment is that if it doesn’t work out, the coach takes no responsibility for the failed experiment yet finds time during the halftime interview to publicly state that the mis-positioned player “didn’t have it” that day.

      • That’s the worst part?

        Midfielders by definition attack and defend. You obviously haven’t watched Ale play. He’s normally a fine defender.

        He didn’t have it that day.

      • JJ has been “aging” for most of his USMNT career.

        This is just one game not a 4,5,6,7 game World Cup.

        If he is fit and motivated then, to paraphrase Toby Keith:

        He ain’t as good as he once was
        But he can be as good once ( for one game) as he ever was

  5. This is just about the best lineup we could go with. I would go with Bedoya instead of Zardes, and put him on the right and Jones on the left, but I can see the argument for Zardes. Otherwise, this is about as good as the USMNT gets right now. I hope we see something like this, and not another head scratcher from Jurgen, but who knows.

  6. Really the time for the Nyguen, Morris, Donovan, Wood, etc… talk was when this question was asked two weeks ago. Its just pointless to name people not on the roster.

  7. Bedoya (presuming he can go) for Jones and Jones for Beckerman. JK likes Bedoya because he can defend the wing. Jones offers more all around than Beckerman. I love Yedlin as a starter because of his speed, but I think JK uses him as a sub for Bedoya. Somehow Mexico is always favored in these games because fans focus on the individual talent of the players. Somehow the US wins these games because soccer is a team sport. I don’t expect anything different this time. I still think we’ll see a very nervy 2-1 US win.

  8. Morris over Zardes, anytime. Johnson on the left side of midfield holds ball for USNT and adds creative spark. While Yedllin right creates a bit of trouble against mexico.

  9. What if we went with a 5-3-2?
    Would give us a lot of wing plays with Johnson & Yedlin runs

  10. Jones would not stay home in an outside position. He will expose who ever is behind him when he ventures forward. Bradley and Beckerman up the middle? Forwards will count on one hand the times they see the ball.

    There is no magic answer. This roster cannot win if Mexico decides to play. If we do manage to win, it will empower JK to think he’s got something right. He doesnt.

  11. Let’s see:

    Brian McBride (because even at 60, he’s better than Altidore)
    Jordan Morris (duh)
    Stuart Holden (just give him the same leg splint they gave Bruce Wayne)
    Gyasi Zardes
    J. Jones
    Deandre Yedlin
    Defense: just put up four cones in front of the goalie
    Brad Friedel

  12. ………………Dempsey……………………………

    Zardes……….Williams……..Bradley………Jones/Edlin 2nd half

    Beasley….. Besler…… Cameron…… Johnson


  13. “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”…..Einstein



    Players to score against Mexico 2011 – 2015: Eddie Johnson, Landon Donovan, Bradley, Wondolowski, Jordan Morris, Juan Agudelo, Michael Orozco, Robbie Rogers

    That attack = 2 – 0 Mexico, we might as well call it a loss (and that’s the exactly the forward line-up Klinsman will play) but from a coach that isn’t on edge or stressed to lose his job, regardless of the next 5 outcomes, what do you expect.
    (Some fan in Mexico just saw the SBI forward line-up and was like “PLEASE OH PLEASE OH PLEASE!!!”)

  14. Two things that Klinsy will do:
    1. Start Alvarado
    2. Play someone out of position in the midfield.

    He can’t help himself.

  15. While I hope Franco Is right about the CB pairing, I can’t help but think Jürgen throws a curveball and starts Alvarado. Side note, Beckerman will be put out to pasture in favor of Danny Williams. I think he’s ready to be a big contributor this next cycle.

      • So, it looks like this:



        Bedoya………………… Jones…………….


        Beasley….. Orozco…..Cameron…… Johnson


      • Zardes has not played well in that position for the US. Of course one could also point out when he’s played their the US has been awful in possession and given him no service. The more he plays there the more Gyasi is lazy chants we’ll start to see.

    • I dont get statements like this. Altidore has a bad first touch, can’t dribble and isnt a good passer…lots of turnovers. So why put him anywhere where he has to handle the ball? Really bad idea

      • perhaps re-read his statement:

        “Williams for Beckerman.
        Zardes up top for Altidore and Bedoya slots in at LM.”

        it doesn’t have Jozy even on the field, let alone “[handling] the ball”…. lol wow

      • Thanks, Davis.

        Reading comprehension seems to escape many on this site. Glad you are among the exceptions.

  16. My lineup would look like this:



    Johnson Zardes


    Beasley Besler Cameron Ream


    My rational is this: Mexico plays a possession style game. The US has no style and has always been successful when they disrupt the what another team wants to do. Bringing DMB out of retirement frees up JK to put Fabian in a position he plays in Germany with success and will allow him to get forward into the attack. I put Bradley deep in the CDM position-frankly I think it’s where he plays best and we want our best player with as many touches as he can get. Jones is also withdrawn but is good in supporting the attack. You cant put Jozy and Dempsey on the field at the same time…they don’t work hard enough defensively to get the ball back…I put Bedoya in the CAM role because of his work rate and he actually play more centrally for Nantes. Subs would be based on the situation but could see Williams coming in for Jones at some point and putting on Yedlin for Zardes for speed in second half as Mexico really struggled against T&T’s speed and power late on in the Gold Cup.

    • Amendedto show positioning



      Johnson………………………………… Zardes


      Beasley….. Besler…… Cameron…… Ream


    • Bedoya has gone on record that he prefers to play close to the touch line.

      P.S. Bedoya has been nursing a nagging injury all week. There is a chance he may not play at all.

      • Yeah I saw that and was hoping he would be able to play but it’s up in the air at this point. I would love to trade out Bedoya for Nguyen (if he was on the team) in this formation. Anyone who hasn’t seen Nguyen play this year cannot appreciate the value he can bring on the ball in tight spaces where hold up play is a need.

      • I agree with you about Nguyen. It’s just too bad Klinsy doesn’t rate him enough. I think Nguyen would be perfect as an offensive sub for the Nats.

  17. Big games also require bold and unexpected moves. Bench the junk//Altidore is and has been a bust. let depsey be the setup star pushing jones back inside with beckerman bringing betoya back to the wing

    • i also think that a 4-1-4-1 (similar to your 4321)
      is our best shot. I don’t really like Dempsey as the solo striker but I would rather another CM (either Williams or Beckerman) behind Jones and Bradley than Jozy in the line up. This allows GZ, JJ or MB all to jump into the attack as needed – all can be big game goal scorers and attempt to hold possession and keep pressure off of our backline.

    • so #4 on the all-time scoring list is a bust? look, i get you may not prefer his style but you can’t just hyperbolically jump to claiming him as a bust…lol it just makes you look silly.

      I’d honestly like to hear your definition of “a bust” (without referencing Jozy’s career or any player for that matter)

    • Has Morris been recalled from the U-23’s? They have a critical match on Saturday that will qualify them for the Olympics. He and Kieswetter have been lights out. Hard to see him recalled with qualification on the line.

      • Awful because he put us in a position where we have to choose between the USMNT and the Olympic team.

      • I personally don’t think we need Morris for this game but if JK thought we did, the senior team comes first.

      • Morris game is at 12 noon is Salt Lake City, Utah, Mexico’s game is at 6pm in Pasadena California, I suppose he could make it to Pasadena game if he was to leave on a private jet right after the game and take a helicopter ride from Ontario or Chino airport. Didn’t Kobe Bryant pulled a stunt like this years ago? But then, Morris is not Kobe and USSF is not the Lakers 🙂

      • Louis Z.

        Mark Hughes did it:for Wales and Bayern:

        “I seem to recall you playing two games in a day: one for Wales and one for Bayern. Did you? Or am I losing it in my old age?
        Alan Pegg, via e-mail

        No, you’re not losing it. I was due to play in a European Championship qualifier against Czechoslovakia which we needed to win to qualify. The week before, I’d signed for Bayern and I had dinner with Uli Hoeness who asked me what time the Wales match was. I told him it was around midday and he said, ‘That’s OK then, you can play in the evening as well.’ Apparently he’d done it before with Soren Lerby, the Danish international. So we kept quiet about it, Uli went to the Wales game and picked me up and we flew to the Bayern game which was just on the other side of the Czech border.
        We actually flew over the ground and missed the first half, but I got there at the start of the second half. We didn’t tell anybody – there was a guy in the Bayern team who had a similar haircut to me and when they saw him warming up everybody thought it was me. Then they put my name up and I came on. We were 2-0 down and I’d like to say I turned it round but I didn’t because I was hopelessly knackered. But the other guy who came on was Rummenigge’s younger brother; he scored two goals and we won.”

      • You’re missing the point, Morris has been a thorn on Mexico’s side against their senior and youth side. More than anything is playing head games with them.

    • Seeing how we’re playing Mexico, it’s important that the players on our bench will be players who are used to sitting on the bench in LigaMX.

    • Alvarado has not played against Javier “Chicharito” Hernández all his life. Hernandez left Mexico way before Alvarado started playing in Liga MX. To start Alvarado assuming he knows the Mexican strikers will be disastrous. Alvarado definitely has seen his teammate Peralta, but probably Peralta also knows how to beat Alvarado too!

  18. I have a hard time believing Bedoya won’t start. Replace Zardes with him and for an hour, Twitter will be full of how all of JK’s experimenting over the past year has been for naught because he’s starting the same 11 guys as he did against Ghana.


    • I’d also be ok with playing Bedoya instead of Jozy and moving Zardes up top with Clint but I doubt that will happen.

      • thought you were referring to zelalem at first. kind of funny that we now have two guys with GZ as their initials; can’t be all that common.

    • lol.. a year and half later and we have 10/11 of the same starters – just Guzan taking Howard’s spot..

      well it got the result vs. Ghana at the WC so why not Mexico in LA

    • As of yesterday Bedoya has yet being able to practice with the rest of the team, reports says that he has a small nagging injury.

    • Although I certainly wouldn’t put it past him, I would not be too excited with 3 DM’s on the field at once, especially with both Jones and Beckerman on the slower spectrum. Might be a “safer” approach, but I feel it might be unnecessary, and that leaves a lot to be desired in terms of wing play.

      It is a given that Bradley plays higher up (I still don’t get it), so I would just keep Jones behind him. Sit Beckerman, and put Bedoya out on the right wing. The rest of the lineup looks to be what Klinsmann will do.

      As for me, I can’t discount most of the players on the lineup playing relatively well together (in the past). That is an important piece to consider for this game. While I may personally want to mess with the lineup, now isn’t the most opportune time, unless I saw something in training that would truly give us a better chance to win. So, in the interest of cohesion, I would likely do exactly what I mentioned above. However, with a decent amount of wiggle room, I would do something like this (assumes no Morris due to U-23s):


      One adjustment might be for Williams to be where Bedoya is and move Bedoya to where Yedlin is. Yedlin can then come off the bench.

      • If Lee Nugyen was in there instead of Bedoya, that wouldnt be bad but alas,,, JK passed him over again in favor of his favs. Bedoya can’t carry Lee’s jock

      • If Bedoya can’t carry Ngyuen’s jock, why didn’t Ngyuen make it in Europe while Bedoya is playing regularly in France? Before coming to MLS, Ngyuen starred in Vietnam. He was cut from Holland. Not to disparage Lee, but either you don’t know what you are talking about, or coaches in Europe can’t judge talent.

      • Talent and skill level is not the only reason players succeed or fail in Europe .

        The fact that Lee failed in Europe and Ale did not does not mean Ale is more skilled.

        Bedoya is a different player from Nguyen. He fits in better with what the USMNT does. He’s a better defender and is FAR more experienced in the international arena than Lee.

        Right now if you are going to drop a starter for Lee it would be Dempsey.

      • I don’t think Klinsmann will go with such as defensive lineup as predicted in this article. It’s my guess that he thinks the US can take it to them and will put only one defensive mid in the game and that is likely to be either J Jones or D Williams.

    • Bedoya will be coming in either for Zardes, or Jones who I do not think he has the legs to do high level work for 90 minutes anymore.

    • I’d swap Morris for Jozy, and Yedlin for Zardes (then switch sides with Jones). It’d be nice to have the speed of Yedlin and Morris on the field. Also, I’d like to see the chemistry between Dempsey and Morris, as we know Jozy has had zero chemistry with the rest of the team lately.

      • didn’t he score twice in his last NT app? (forgive if my memory is incorrect), i just find it odd to say he ‘has had zero chemistry…lately”

      • If you call scoring against a Peru side that openly said they didn’t want to be there something, then we are watching a different Jozy. Before that, Denmark was his last for the Nats.

    • I think people are getting a little too carried away with Morris. He’s fast and has a lot of potential but he scoring goals against weak under-23 CONCACAF sides and college players. The best college players have come to MLS and looked sub-par at best. Let the dedicated professionals handle the professional duties…when he starts scoring against professional sides, then I’ll give him another look.

      • I am judging him solely based on his performances for the senior team. And my preference for him says as much about the weakness of our other options, than about Morris.

      • I think every USMNT fan has been frustrated by the lack of options up front…I’m hopeful for Morris to be a good player but I’d just like to see a bit more once he decides to move on from college and the amateur ranks. I don’t think he has the experience to be prepared for a game that is going to be played at this level.

      • i agree, just like Adu was ‘the next Pele’, Green was ‘the germerican savior’, wood was hated, loved and now somewhat forgotten about all in 7 months, or now zelalem being ‘the young Gunner’. the US is all too good at hype. let the kids play and make judgement once they’ve really developed. remember how ‘amazing’ Brek Shea was coming out of MLS? (although i think his best season was 11 goals or so…)

        I like Morris but I’ll like Morris way more if he’s continued his growth in 3 or 4 years, while continuing to help represent the US. but until then I won’t rush to ‘demand’ that he be on the field; in due time…

      • DLOA,

        Morris and Adu do not belong in the same sentence.

        Adu was the great saviour of US soccer at 14 and in hindsight it seems his career choices, whoever made them, were not of the highest quality.

        Morris on the other hand has come upon his moment in the spotlight at a time when he is older, more mature.

        The primary negative on him is that he is JK’s pet project which means he is tainted by all the s++t people throw at JK.

        He seems to have a clear direction in mind for how he wants his life and career to go.

        And he seems to have far better coaching support than Fredinho did.

        His chosen path is not everyone’s cup of tea but it is what he wants. He doesn’t seem particularly interested in what anyone outside his support group thinks. Tough kid.

        While it seems unlikely I’d love him to stay the whole time at Stanford and still do well for the USMNT just to shove it down everyone’s throats.

      • So you’d love for Morris to waste even more time playing at an incredibly low level instead of challenging himself as a pro? Odd.

      • I do because I care about him reaching his full potential which will be tough if he wastes these key development years playing a handful of low-level games every year.

      • Well yeah, but slow- your view of him is one dimensional…. as an extension of your needs/what you’d like to see him fulfill as “a U.S. Soccer Player”…w/ the NT. Whereas he has to actually live the 24/7 results of his decisions for a lifetime… is trying to live a fully expressed life and meet his full potential as a human being. As humans, there is the mental/emotional aspect of our paths…. not having regrets, feeling fulfilled, happy are pretty powerful fuel. His path isn’t ideal for most I’d say, but for him,,, I’ll take his words that it is. So far…. seems like he doing a decent job of pulling it all off- is getting the best of both worlds- having his cake, eating it… and maybe having the last laugh. A Stanford education, a pro career and time with the National Team? Much to be proud of there.

      • slowleftarm.

        You care about Morris reaching his potential? I guess you know better than him and his support group huh?

        You seem to care more about your dogmatic view of how it “should be”.

        If Morris should succeed while staying the whole time in college that would challenge your dogma.

        So you put him down.

        Anyway, it’s too late and has been for a while

        Morris at 19 or 20 is already too old to take advantage of going to a place like for example the Nantes’ academy that Ale refers to as a kid.

        And sure going to Nante now would probably still help him but maybe he’ll be okay without doing that. Juan Agudelo doesn’t look like he’s that much further along than Jordan and Juan is 22 and ha been a pro for 5 years at least.

        As I keep saying Morris is not your average bear.

      • I think Morris has a longer vision. He’s getting good education and a degree to prepare for life after soccer. Smart boy!

      • What has he really done though? My niece writes articles for her college newspaper and had an internship with the NY Times over the summer…this doesn’t mean she’s going to waltz into the NY Times after graduation and get the window seat writing headline stories.

        I don’t knock Morris for going to school and playing there if that is what he wants to do…this is America and he has that right. I’m just making the point that I haven’t seen him do anything on the soccer field against a meaningful opponent in a meaningful game that makes me think he should be “entitled” to start on the senior team.

      • Upstate,

        “I haven’t seen him do anything on the soccer field against a meaningful opponent in a meaningful game”

        That is true of a lot of current members in the USMNT player pool.

        Who said anything about Morris being entitled to start?

        Think of Juan Agudelo.

        Juan Agudelo was six days shy of his 18th birthday when he became the youngest player to ever score for senior USMNT.

        Since then, I don’t know what went on at NYRB but we’ve all been waiting for Juan to be the USMNT terror his obvious talent suggests he should be.

        And, five years later. I think we’re still waiting.

        Morris came on the scene older than Juan was when Juan first scored.

        I would defy anyone to make the case that Juan who has been a pro all this time, is a better USMNT prospect going forward than Morris.

        Do I think every kid should go to college if he wants to be a great pro player? No.

        Do I think Morris can stay in college and realize his potential? I don’t know but there are exceptions to every rule and right now Morris is proving to be an exception.

        Did you see Django Unchained? Jamie Foxx has a line there about being “That one N word”.

        Morris may be a flop or he may just be that one. We’ll see.

      • GW,

        I think, as USMNT fans, we are all hoping Morris lives up to expectations. I wish nothing but the best for the kid..wherever his life may take him. The US Nat fans are a passionate group and we all want to get to that next level–people see the youngsters like Green, Agudelo, Morris etc. and think this will be the guy to get us to that level and elevate the player to a status that is speculative and unfair at best. I try to keep my expectations in check with these guys as the past hasn’t been kind to a lot of them–eventually someone has to be that guy right?

      • You and whoever sob that thinks the one N word reference is funny, are ignorant. Geez Ives never flag racism, the reason this blogs comment section is always complete crap. Smh!

      • Mike, there was no racism by GW, merely a reference to a movie quote. Sure the quote contained a controversial word but that makes it no less accurate. In the sole attempt of offering context, I am a black male and find no offense from GW’s initial reference(admittedly I am but one man…). The word exists; it is not ‘unusable’. It is only deemed unacceptable when used to slander. quoting a movie to, sincerely, exemplify a point is not racist in the slightest.

        Please refrain from crying wolf to Ives…

      • Harry Shipp, Tesho Akindele, Patrick Mullins, Dylan Powers, Fatai Alashe, and then there are a number of defenders, too.

      • Technically true, but come on — he has scored once total for the senior national team in the one (and only) game he has started.

      • That senior team goal was because of his speed and the tired Mexican defender’s laziness. What are the odds a Mexican defender is going to repeatedly allow Morris to run past him in this game? It will happen, but arguably not enough to give him good odds of getting the ball against the keeper one-on-one.

        I’m not down on Morris – just noting that fast players can sometime look more effective before they are known. Once the other side sees the speed, that opens up other possibilities. When defenders aren’t covered by teammates, they are going to give someone like Morris a step of space. Does he have the skill to use that space to find a pass or to put a deceptive move on that defender? I don’t know, but if I had to guess, he probably hasn’t developed that type of skill in NCAA play as yet.

        It’s all about speed of play. Though NCAA games often look like chickens with their heads cut off because they all seem to be moving so fast all the time, its more a question of how fast you can execute your skill moves – first touch, turn, find a pass, etc. – then how fast you can run. Fast runners that also have fast skills, like international fast, go on to become big names.

      • What you are saying is that Morris scored because the Mexican defender screwed up in some way.

        Which is a perfect description of maybe 75 to 90 % of all the goals ever every level.

        Lewandoski is maybe the best scorer in the world at the moment but the two goals he scored vs. Scotland were due to blatant defensive mistakes.

        Dempsey has made a living of “being there” when a defender screws up

        Defenders at all levels make mistakes. The guys who score at whatever level, are the ones who can take advantage.

        Morris looks like he might be one of those guys.

      • True, but not really what I was saying. When an unknown kid like Morris is thrown against a defender, screw-ups are more likely. You don’t assume the average player has above average speed. Arguably a defender could assume the worst, but this was a friendly and defenders tend to be pretty cocky, especially when facing a kid who wasn’t even a pro.

        So what would happen if Morris plays the senior Mexican team again? Same thing that happens with any fast player. The defender plays more conservatively – give close space to prevent getting beat long. That’s a plus, too, if the attacker can use that space. Like Cruyff said, there is an advantage in every disadvantage. In more American terms, take what the other side is giving you (if you can).

      • Paul,
        Do me a favor and watch a replay of Jordan’s goal.

        It wasn’t Jordan vs Mexico by himself.

        In fact it was a nice “triangular” move between Mikey , GZ and Morris.

        Mikey advanced the ball, and near the top of the box, passed to Zardes who tried to immediately wall pass it back to Mikey. However GZ’s pass bounced off of one Mexican defender. The bounce fell to Morris who then bounces the ball off of another sliding defender ,manages to evade him and collect the ball and then score.

        It was a messy buildup that Morris cleaned up and finished on. The Mexican defenders failed to properly control the ball and Morris took what they gave him.

        That goal was more about intelligent positioning, speed of thought, awareness,anticipation, balance and the skill to slide his shot under the onrushing keeper. Had Clint or AJ been in Morris’ position, you could have seen them doing exactly the same thing.

        It wasn’t about Morris being the Roadrunner. As Cruyff said the faster player is the one who starts running first. Morris saw what was going to happen before everyone else and got there before everyone else.

        Your solution to the problem of speed usually works. But not always,

        If that were the case then speedy players would never bother any intelligent defense.

        But that is not what happens in the real world. ,

        Could Morris use more experience? Sure but what he has done so far is encouraging.

        He already looks more promising than 5 year pro veteran Agudelo

      • Scott,

        You would think a USMNT fan would see Jordan as a good thing.

        But Jordan hits a lot of the anti JK faction buttons. Morris is seen as a JK pet project so a lot of people want Jordan to fail because they need to have JK proved wrong about something.

        Morris has not followed the orthodox pattern of success for a USMNT player.

        Some people seem to feel Morris hasn’t “paid his dues”.
        So they put Morris down.

        Jordan was given a chance by JK. People are upset because JK hasn’t given a chance to “their guy”.

        He may yet turn out to be a flop but, to date, Morris has been productive, and has looked good.

        And the reality is that at 19-20 he’s not that young.

        Juan Agudelo was just shy of his 18th birthday when he got his USMNT debut and scored. He was a pro for NYRB at the time and has been a pro now for about 5 years. Tell me who looks more promising going forward?

        NCAA star Morris or MLS’ Juan Agudelo?

        The irony of all this is that while JK did give the kid his USMNT chance, he was very probably strongly influenced on the Jordan issue by Sigi with whom JK is said to be tight.

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