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Klinsmann eager to integrate promising youngsters into USMNT

Matt Miazga U20 World Cup (Getty Images)

While the decision to bring in a few fresh faces to the U.S. Men’s National Team roster came as a surprise to some, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has been keeping a close eye on all U.S. players, including the young ones.

Klinsmann named his 23-man roster on Friday for the USMNT’s upcoming World Cup qualifying matches against St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago on Nov. 13 and 17, respectively. While 11 players Klinsmann decided to bring in went with the head coach to Brazil during the 2014 World Cup, there were a pair of eye-opening inclusions.

Portland Timbers midfielder Darlington Nagbe, who only received his U.S. citizenship in September, earned his firs call-up. Matt Miazga, meanwhile, has been highly involved with U.S. Soccer in 2015, competing at the U-20 and U-23 levels.

Miazga climbed another level in the U.S. Soccer system on Friday, as Klinsmann gave the New York Red Bulls defender his first senior call-up. Those additions may seem atypical given that qualifying games lie ahead, but Klinsmann has had an eye on both of them for some time now.

“Those are two players that have been on our radar for a long time,” Klinsmann said. “Matt is a youngster coming through our system. He played for the Under-20’s and he played for the Olympic team. In Darlington Nagbe we have a player who we’ve been following for quite a while and he finally became eligible for the United States.

“We are looking forward to having them with us. They will get their first taste of the senior national team. I’m pretty sure they will be excited and want to do well. It’s good to see that we have players coming through and give us more of an option.”

Klinsmann also decided to bring along another youngster in the attack, choosing to call in college standout Jordan Morris while leaving out Seattle Sounders forward Clint Dempsey.

“At this point in time, I want to give the younger strikers a chance to prove themselves and this is a good stage to do it,” said Klinsmann. “I communicated with Clint about it and it’s all fine.”

The U.S. head coach added that injuries and illnesses forced his hand in making some of his decisions, with FC Nantes midfielder Alejandro Bedoya being one of the regular players left off of this month’s roster.

The U.S. is meeting in Miami, Florida, to begin training for next Friday’s contest against St. Vincent & the Grenadines, a team Klinsmann thinks provides a unique challenge because of its status as a relative unknown.

“You’re not very familiar with that team,” said Klinsmann. “You watch their previous games, you analyze their individual players as much as you can, but you don’t have that detailed picture that you have for teams like T&T, who played in the Gold Cup, or the usual powerhouses in CONCACAF that you know pretty well.

“This is a bit tricky. We have a lot of respect for them like we always have with our opponents, and we expect a lot of work against St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”

Trinidad & Tobago is more familiar to the U.S. and is expected to cause more problems than its Caribbean counterpart. The Soca Warriors have flashed their talent, strength and skill this year, and forward Kenwyne Jones has been a hassle to deal with for most teams that have played against T&T.

Klinsmann sees T&T, as well the humidity down in the Caribbean, as huge challenges for the Americans, but he expects results no matter what.

“It’s a team full of players coming out of the English Championship – difficult players, and players that know how to play their game,” Klinsmann said of Trinidad & Tobago. “They did tremendously well in the Gold Cup. It’s going to be a challenge and that’s what we are preparing for.

“It’s going to be a difficult game, but we are ready to jump that hurdle and get a good result against T&T.”


  1. I’d love to see this line up one day.


  2. I have no issue with youth players being part USNT. The main issue is tactic system/coach’s strategy, and players playing out their best or natural position.

    USNT Senior vet players are slow downing rapid pace and no longer save USNT from important games.

  3. Yawn! Despite being a very long time fan of the national team, I find this all amazingly boring. Jurgen likes to talk and the media have to write about something. There are all sorts of players who probably deserve consideration for the national team and very few of the “regulars” deserve automatic selection. That said, Jurgen simply doesn’t know what he is doing. There is no master plan, no real logic to any of this. And so long as we are playing the region’s minnows, his mindless selections probably make no difference one way or another.

    • i’m with truthin on this one. it’s a big yawner. with all the hype and investment surrounding jk, the ‘product’ (remember kids, this is entertainment) is LESS inspiring than the days of BB (who himself could be painfully methodical and uninspiring) and BA (in retrospect, a gem). The last time i remember being this apathetic is when steve sampson was couch and the discord in the team was downright embarrSsing. the player pool is sooooo much better now than it was way back then. yet, jk is doing less with it. a big yawn.

  4. I cant wait for Jozy to get all the time during the qualifiers even though we are giving the young forwards a chance. It will be yet another total contradiction by our idiot coach. If the Dempsey stuff Wynalda is saying is true imagine it….JK running off Landon AND clint. Not to mention the disgraceful way he threw out Boca.

  5. If JK brings to many younger players in at one time there is no telling the results. Bring in a few for this camp and you got the January camp for some more. I think 2 to 3 new players each camp is good. These first two qualifiers are important.

      • Why is Howard on the roster? Guzan is a lot younger. Of course a lot of the people criticizing Klinsmann for sticking with “old farts” were up in arms because he started Guzan over Howard vs. Mexico.

      • i was listening to the sunday supplement on sky and one of the reporters was just bashing Guzan. Said he was the worst keeper in the EPL.

      • I think Howard is better, but a couple of years ago Guzan was voted the MVP for his team and he once saved 4 pk”s in a shootout. He’s not exactly chopped liver. Anyone who says he’s the worst GK in the league hasn’t been paying attention or is a complete idiot. Maybe people should consider the possibility that guys like J Jones and Beckerman are still better than the younger players coming up and these are qualifiers, after all. Klinsmann has a big advantage that we don’t. He sees the US players compete against one another in practice and in camps. How many here have done that? It’s probably the best way to see if player A at a certain position is better than player B. I wouldn’t make the same selections that JK did, based on what I know. But I don’t know as much as JK. Does it mean he is always right and I am always wrong, or vice versa? No, of course not, but you need to be open to the idea that maybe he knows more than you do. And when I say that, I don’t mean just that he knows more about the game, but he also knows about which players are 100%, which aren’t, who is in form, who isn’t, and how well players mesh together on the team. He is undoubtedly talking with and/or meeting with these players on a fairly regular basis. We aren’t. Let’s wait for the results. And people need to remember that in group play like this, if you win at home and draw on the road you are almost guaranteed of going through so no need to hit the panic button if we draw at T&T.

  6. Wants to incorporate the youngsters? The why does he have so many old farts on the roster (including Altidore, who plays like an old fart). And JK will start the old guys until he falls behind, then rush the youngsters in, to little too late. JK needs to be fired.

  7. How can a person be satisfied with this squad? Do you remember how Gordon, Bradley, Beckerman, Jozy and Mix looked the last time they donned the USA shirt? The game is lost or won in the midfield. None of those named have been impressive this year. As I look over this roster, I see the same old, same old status quo. If JK was serious about changes, he would have made the changes in the areas that matters. Jozy needs to be retired. We don’t need a tall, strong or big striker. We need someone technical enough to be able to control , hold onto and and maneuver the ball through tight spaces. Jozy lacks the soccer IQ needed to spear head the USA attack. Each time a squad is selected, it reminds me of the definition of insanity.

  8. Eric Wynalda’s reporting on WTF that Clint Dempsey will NOT play for the U.S. again under JK. Something went down on the sideline during the Mexico game.

    • And we are just hearing about it now? I don’t buy it, with all the controversy over FJ don’t you think someone would have brought up the former captain and coach having it out?

    • Then Klinsmann is a liar. He said he talked it over with Dempsey and Dempsey was okay with it. I find Wynalda’s report hard to believe. BTW, where are all the people who two years ago said Dempsey was washed up, over rated and never that good anyway? I remember a # of posters saying he shouldn’t be on the team going to Brazil. Now it’s a catastrophe because he isn’t called in? That is what is so great about the internet–the mindless hypocrisy

      • Calling Klinsmann a liar may be a bit extreme, but he is well skilled in manipulating the truth. So when Klinsmann says that “Clint is fine with it”, it’s hard to accept that at face value.

        I never recalled any discussion regarding Dempsey’s place on the team to Brazil. Short of a personal grievance with Klinsmann, Dempsey was as sure a lock for the World Cup team as any other player, including Bradley. “All the posters” you are referring to must have been from a different website because that would have been an idiotic discussion.

        I have never heard/read of any personal issues between Dempsey and Klinsmann. I haven’t seen/read the Wynalda quote regarding Dempsey/Klinsmann. Is it possible that there is some truth to a Dempsey/Klinsmann rift? Sure it is. Is it probable? Without more information, it is hard to tell.

        The only way this supposed rift is news is if it affects the USMNT going forward. Would Klinsmann gamble and once again allow a personal rift to influence his professional obligation to field the best team possible for the long term benefit of the program? Without the job security he once had, I don’t think so.

        It certainly would not be catastrophic if Dempsey is not called in to the January camp. I fully expect Dempsey to be part of the WC qualifiers in March. Until then, the supposed Dempsey/Klinsmann rift is all about nothing.

  9. Besides Yedlin name a player that JK plays regularly in a position they don’t or haven’t played significant time with for a club?

    • Haha, touche.

      I would say that he started playing Bradley at the 10 well before TFC (or anyone) started to play him there, but I wish I could do a little research before I’d try to make it a case.

      I think even Yedlin is a gray area though, as he is still kind of a raw athlete; like a smaller, better version of Shea. Even if I think Yedlin should be played at RB until he acquires a little more intelligence from experience and hones his touch, if possible, I can understand testing him out thoroughly as a 4-4-2 RM, given our lack of depth on the wings.

      I don’t think JK does that kind of experimenting on a regular basis with one other player, but that it happens sporadically–like playing Williams at RB, Bedoya at the 6 and 10, and Mix at the 6.

      Is there a website where I could go and see the formations and lineups for every professional and international game? That would be awesome. My 6 google searches yielded nothing. MLS keeps a great navigable record of games, but USSoccer and FIFA do not.

      – – – – – –

      I honestly don’t think it’s the worst thing to experiment with players positions, even if it seems to contradict the players skill set. And, it’s not like JK has done that to one player blatantly at the same position more than once, besides maybe LD, who for some reason was strictly a striker to JK, and couldn’t be considered as a CAM in a diamond, or winger, or leader, or free kick specialist, or. . . haha, okay, I’m one of the people who thought leaving Donovan behind was dumb. I let go of my anger about it, but it still probably makes me biased. That said, if JK plays Nagbe on the wing when he has become a revelation for his team since being positioned centrally, I would be disappointed, and reaffirmed. Let the guy showcase himself in the position he seems to play best before you try to get clever.

      If he plays well as a box-to-box, creative/technical CM, he could play with Bradley in the middle of a flat midfield four on the double pivot; distributing, covering for each other, and making late runs. If it appears that he doesn’t work there on that level after a 180~? minutes, give him a chance on the wing for a game or two, and/or the 10 in a diamond.

      • is your best bet but for formations I am not totally sure on the accuracy or how far back they are archived.

      • When you look at his bios on the internet they give his various statistics and always say he is a midfielder, but they don’t say how/where in the midfield MB played. However, in the Dutch League at Herenveen, in one season he had 20 goals in all competitions, so I doubt he was playing defensive mid there. He has played for 2 teams in MLS, a team in Holland, a team in Germany, two in Italy, briefly in England, plus his international career including youth teams. He has probably played everywhere in midfield at one time or another.

  10. I for one am excited to see Nagbe play centre-half. And I’m sure Miazga will be a revelation as a false 7. Thanks Jurgen.

    • JK most likely won’t play Nagbe centrally, where he has been controlling games recently for the Timbers. The roster gives me this impression: Nagbe, Yedlin, and Ibarra will be our wide mids. . .that means that Fabian is going to be right back. . .that means that Shea is going to be left back? Ugh. Playing Ream there out of position is a better option, imo. I wonder what the over/under is on how many players we have playing in a different position than they do for their club? 3.5?

      I’m not saying that we have to keep players in their club positions, but I firmly think Yedlin’s best position at the moment is at fullback and Johnson’s at mid. Who knows, maybe Nagbe is better suited as a winger at the international level, I guess it’s worth a shot once or twice, but don’t start him off there.

      I think our wide-mid depth chart should look like this at the moment: Johnson, Zardes, Bedoya (Inj.), Yedlin, Finlay, Lletget. I assume Nagbe goes in there somewhere, and I still haven’t seen Ibarra enough to say.

      • I think FB best position is left midfield or right midfield, but he is still the bet RB. Yedlin is still learning the position and IS NOT as good as FB.

  11. Any other time this would be exciting seeing Nagbe get a call up but with Klinsmann at the helm its depressing. He just needs to go. A NEW coach integrating brand NEW TALENT in the ranks is what we need. We talk about change then you see Alan Gordon, Jozy Altidore, Kyle Beckerman, Jermaine Jones, Mix Diskerud…….and no Sebastia Lletget, Quincy Amarikwa ,Sasha Klesjan, Dax McCarthy or Benny Feilhaber (all better ranked Players than what we have representing the Stars and Stripes). Even Michael Bradley is not performing at his best and should not be in the starting line-up. At this point it doesn’t really matter

    • Soccer is not played on the computer Bizzy. Is anyone else willing to make a case for Quincy Amarikwa to be included with the national team? Anyone?

      He’s 28 and has scored an average of 3 goals per season, only 2 of his 7 goals this season came against a team which made the playoffs. His teams only won one of the six games in which he scored, a Fire win over Louisville.

        Soccer is not played on computer but the stats don’t lie (and shows most of our MLS players on the USMNT are rated below a seven with the exception of Dempsey and Bradley), our team is in the gutter and it shows just that. Miazga and Nagbe are rated high and warranted a call up, Altidore, Jones, Beckerman are rated low and have played as such……so maybe the ratings and statistics show something more than just goals when it comes to Amarikwa, I don’t know (but why is he the highest ranked FW with the exception of Dempsey, WHY?).

      • Bizzy,

        Are you seriously…SERIOUSLY trying to make an argument for player to be included based simply on FIFA ratings. I can’t…I just can’t with this board sometimes.

        Quincy Amarikwa does not belong on this squad. He simply IS NOT good enough. Plus he is 28. He is way past “young”. He is the same age as MB. Think about that. He has never been a prolific scorer or dangerous player. Jozy has had a horrible year, but at 13 goals has as many goals this year as Amarikwa has over the PAST 2 seasons in less than half the games. Keep in mind these past 2 seasons have been Amarikwa’s best years.

        Get off the FIFA games and engage life.

      • Anthony,
        You have a point on Amarikwa….28…never represented the US…not exactly tearing up MLS…so yes that might be far fetched but the stats say Altidore sucks and he does, it rates Diskerud, Jones, Beckerman, Zardes, Shea, low (under a 7) and the USMNT has been the worst they’ve ever been in years, it rates Miazga and Nagbe high and they got call ups, it rates McCarthy and Klesjan high and their team is beating anything and everything in MLS, It rates Feilhaber high and he’s in for league MVP. So basing EVERYTHING about Amarikwa is pretty over the edge because every other stat seems to falls into place

    • Anthony he’s using ratings, but they seem just as crazy. Hondo is rated the 2nd best player in MLS. Renaldo is the 19th rated player in the CL.

    • Kljestan, McCarty, an d Feilhaber have all been called in before and Kljestan has had numerous chances. The last time I saw him look good with the nats was when he was with Chivas in a friendly against, I think Sweden. And that was about 5 years ago. Feilhaber wasn’t valued enough to start in a playoff game for SKC. Almost every single coach who has had Benny has eventually soured on him. That should tell you something. I like Dax, but apparently JK thinks he isn’t good enough. If Lletget and Finlay don’t get called into the January camp, then you have a gripe. See my remarks above about integrating younger players.

      • I think we can all have a gripe about feilhaber. He is a league MVP candidate, and he did start in the playoff game against Portland. He didn’t start the last regular season game against LA, but he did come off the bench and provide the game winning assist.

  12. He didn’t mention the MLS playoffs as having anything to do with leaving Clint home. If he’s going to bump a veteran to ‘give the younger strikers an opportunity to sieze the moment and express themselves’. Then why not leave Jozy home? Because A.) He sucks and B.) He sucks. At least the yougner guys could learn something from Dempsey

    • I agree. I have no problem bumping anyone if the alternatives are better but I don’t think we’re at that point with Clint.

    • my guess? you have a 32 y.o. and a 25y.o., it makes more sense to bring in younger talent to work WITH the 25 y.o. than to keep the 32y.o. you can better compare apples to apples by watching the newer talent directly next to the 25y.o. accoladed player.

      as for not using Dempsey at this current moment? veteran leadership is usually more needed during tough-qualifying/big-tournament matches. If there’s any time to leave your veteran at home it’s the beginning of WCQ; bring in the vets later when it may be more dire.

      • Everything you said makes good sense, but I wonder why we couldn’t have also done this at the CM spot. We dropped Dempsey in order for Morris and Wood to get more time hopefully, but why didn’t we drop either Beckerman, Jones, Bradley, or Mix for someone like Morales or Williams?

      • Amphibian- we won’t drop these players because…

        MB: He’s the Captain and a pretty good, consistent player over his career.
        Jones: He is one of our best 2 or 3 outfield players. We can’t afford to leave him off.
        Beckerman: He plays a position where experience and chemistry is crucial, so it might not be the time, in a qualifier, to bring in a fresh face. He’s also performed much better than Danny Williams in this role. But hopefully he’s fazed out slowly for younger blood- I’d like Kitchen get a fair shot at the position
        Mix- questionable- I don’t think he deserves a call-up, but he has shown repeatedly that he can be a spark off the bench towards the end of the game as the opponent tires. Also, good lockeroom guy? Still- wouldn’t mind seeing someone else.

    • Klinsmann tells us a whole lot more about his decisions than previous US coaches, but if he doesn’t spell it out completely he still gets criticized. He mentioned that he had discussed it with Clint and Clint was okay with it. What more do you need to know? The logical conclusion is that yes the MLS playoffs have a lot to do with it. And for those who have forgotten, TFC, which means Jozy and MB, are out of the playoffs.

    • Juan Agudelo is friggin 23 years old, been to a World Cup and has many years in MLS already. Tell me oh great one. How can you justify not including him while you try to find the next Julian Green.

      Klinsmann is a giant IDIOT

      • Randy – While I believe that Agudelo should have been called up in place of the likes of Gordon… I would suggest that before you call someone an Idiot that you be sure of your facts. Juan, while he is 23 and has been in MLS for a significant amount of time he has not been to a World Cup (unless you are referring to a youth WC).
        Juan is a talented player, but has had issues with his attitude and had a long term on the sideline due to his failed European adventure. I still believe that he is more deserving and a better use of a roster spot than the likes of Gordon or Wondolowski, but you cannot make up Sh!t just because you dislike JK.

  13. One thing Klinsmann has excelled at is identifying young talent and giving them great opportunities which have mostly turned out well. There are always going to be some misses, but we should trust Klinsmann on these sort of callups.

    • Lletget, Finlay, Trapp, Shipp, Kitchen… should probably have been integrated by now. Other than that I guess he’s done alright.

      • It’s almost 3 years until the 2018 World Cup, with lots of qualifiers and friendlies in between. Then there is the January camp. Still a lot of time to bring in new players. People seem to forget that Zardes had an outstanding season in 2014, wasn’t called into camp until January, 2015, but has been a fixture ever since. If the talent is there, the playing time will come.

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