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Arena cites need to find USMNT playmakers

Photo by Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports
Photo by Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports

Since being named U.S. Men’s National Team manager, Bruce Arena has repeatedly stated that he is more than pleased with the current player pool. Featuring a mix of MLS options, Liga MX regulars and European-based contributors, the USMNT pool is as big as its ever been, giving Arena a wealth of options to choose from when he begins his second USMNT tenure.

However, Arena believes the U.S. is missing one vital piece: a true No. 10.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Arena cited the need for a playmaker to pull the strings for the USMNT. Arena isn’t necessarily looking for a specific player to step up and take the reigns; rather, he’s looking for several options to emerge from a variety of places, leading to a more crisp, consistent USMNT midfield.

“Generally in the world today there’s not that (many) real No. 10s,” Arena said on Tuesday, according to Goal USA. “Some countries have it, some don’t. We need a better passer in the midfield than we have. We need to have a player in the attacking half of the field that can deliver the right ball at the right time. Who that is remains to be seen.”

Arena certainly has several options. In the most recent November qualifiers, Christian Pulisic was deployed in a more central role, giving the Borussia Dortmund prospect room to roam in the center of the field. However, Arena went on to say that he likes “where Dortmund plays him”, hinting that Pulisic is viewed more as a winger than a central option.

Michael Bradley also certainly remains an option as his best position remains up for debate. Arena, meanwhile, sees it much more clearly, stating that he thinks Bradley would be “viewed as a number six”.

Another player that could remain vital to the USMNT midfield is Jermaine Jones, who has played as a No. 10 for the Rapids, but possesses a very different skillset than what Arena has outlined. Still, despite his advancing age, Jones has a place with the U.S., Arena says, as long as his club situation is handled properly.

“Hopefully he resolves his issues contractually and he’s going to be with a club next year — he’s certainly still has something to offer the U.S.” Arena said on Tuesday. “Depending on where he ends up, I will likely have him in camp in January.

“He’s got to play. He’ll have to have a contract at some point. I think that’s important. You always look at age, but I watched him the other day. He still has a big tank.”

There’s also the case of Clint Dempsey, who has thrived in a more withdrawn role. Arena says he has tried to contact Dempsey, but has been unsuccessful thus far. However, he hopes that the Seattle Sounders forward rejoins the picture, while adding that the USMNT medical staff will be in close contact with Dempsey’s club. Still, Arena admits, “I don’t know at this point”.

Finally, Arena could certainly assess plenty of MLS options. Benny Feilhaber is almost certainly back in the mix after years away from Jurgen Klinsmann’s USMNT pool, while the recently-returning Sacha Kljestan has made a No. 10 role his own with the New York Red Bulls. Darlington Nagbe could also be back in the fold for the U.S alongside a player like Lee Nguyen, who had all but fallen off of Klinsmann’s radar.

“There’s a couple of domestic players that are very good at that that we’ll look at in camp in January,” Arena said. “That, to me, is an area that we’ve got to identify, and that’ll help identify how we play. Do we play with one striker, two strikers, do we play with three? How do we define our midfield shape based on that.

“I’m 90 percent sure we’ll play with a back four, but at the same time be prepared to play with three when need be,” Arena added. “All those little things need to be fine-tuned, but we have to find someone in the center of midfield who can be a little bit more creative than I’ve seen.”


  1. Ulll find in time that Pulisic is better than all of them at a 10. MVP at big tournaments. At Dortmund they have better, not here.

  2. If arena finds a left back and pushes fj to the wing and CP on the other side and assuming he calls gooch in and now if Perez keeps getting mins he should be called in and who knows about Gatt and gyua where does zardes fit into the team

    • Lots of ifs and maybes, Gyau has played less than 1 minute with the U23s and Gatt was playing as a striker since returning from injury. Gooch now hurt has seen his time decrease significantly so if Zardes heals back to his former self I think he’s still in the running for a starting spot depending on formation.

      • And what I mean by that is u said fighting for a starting spot, is he gonna start over CP or FJ

      • You didn’t list FJ so I assumed you have him slotted at LB. If everyone you listed was healthy and Fabian is at LB I think Bruce would definitely start Gyasi and CP on the wings. Gooch might be off the bench and we haven’t seen enough of Gyau and Gatt (Gatt might actually pair well with Jozy up top) lately or Perez ever, to move Gyasi out of that spot. Remember Gyasi may have been a Klinsmann guy, but he’s played for Bruce for four years and the Bruce trusts him. His MLS scoring average is similar to Morris and his national team rate is far better.

  3. I do agree with Bruce, but I also see the realities. In the whole of the USMNT there’s only been like 2 true #10’s. I would say Tab Ramos and Landon Donovan. These are attacking Midfielders who get the ball forward and are able to do so with skill and clutch. I also don’t think there’s any one out there who can fill this role. Yes, we can debate as to who can play that role but no one of our current pool can. Kljestian is more of a box 2 box CM, not saying he’s not good he’s just a different player. So why not play to our strengths rather than trying to fit a square peg in a round hole?

    I do agree that for the long term we need these attacking midfielders that can push the ball forward. So many times I’ve watched games where the ball stops dead at the top of the 18 and people run out of ideas. No one puts their head down and “takes it to the hole” to help break up defenses.Its always run the ball up to the 18 and then… “Now what?”. We end up relying on counters that dont come very often(and we dont have the speed to pull this off consistently) or the occasional cross and hope for something to go wrong in the box so someone can poke it in.

    This how people beat us they just have to contain us until the top of the 18 then stay tight and pressure. Landon Donovan and Tab Ramos were good and keeping defenses on their toes and were able to shake things up for others to open up or score themselves. How many times has Landon done a flick or a simple ball control move to completely fool defenses? Thats what we need and thats whats lacking. Imagination, creativity, and guts when it counts. And its unfair to make the current players think like this because they have other great qualities, like I wouldnt want Bradley trying to do this. hes a great #6 leave him there to do his thing. We need to change our coaching philosophy and mentality so we produce more Landons and Tabs and less rigid players.

    • Donovan a 10? Please, the other Ronaldo isn’t a 10 either, BTW, and he is way better than landon ever was so its not because I am calling him a bad player… he just isn’t a 10. Ramos and Reyna. No one since. And It’s OK, not every country has a 10. Shit, Italy hasn’t had anyone there since Totti/Del Piero and Brazil didn’t have anyone between Ronaldinho and Neymar… I will give you that Argentina seems to have an endless supply of 10s… going back to di Stefano.

      • Someone on a team will get the #10, but they are usually never the gifted playrmaker that has defined that position. Donovan will be the first to tell you he was never a true 10. As will Dos Santos, the current holder for the LAG

      • Yeah, my point here is that Donovan’s position wasn’t even that of playmaker… he was always a beckham/Ronaldo/Nedved player… he had his ups and downs, and he was great at what he did… but he was never played in the play-maker position… in the middle of the field. And he was uncomfortable whenever he was put there. So I think the original post is silly.

      • Im only arguing within the context of getting a #10. I don’t think a team needs a #10 if they have other ways to get the ball to the final 1/3. We don’t.

        Having said that Reyna wasnt a #10 he was a box 2 box CM with some very good offensive skills. I actually dont think he was that special. I do think Donovan as a #10 because he had always played behind the forwards(and sometimes forward as well) and was the one person in the midfield who you can count on to bring the ball up into dangerous situations. And more importantly he was clutch. When you needed him he always showed up even if it didn’t always turn out as a positive result. And he did it on the highest most important levels not just some friendly or random game.

        I guess what my point is, that we dont have a person in the midfield (wether that be a winger, CM, AMC, etc) that can make shit happen. Like a Tab Ramos or Donovan would. We need to focus on that because thats the one thing we are missing. We have guys who can defend pretty well(because of our physicality), we have guys who can knock the ball in, we have no one to run the offense. Its like we are a good football team without a proper quarterback or a good basketball team without a point guard.

      • Huh? Ok… So you are right… teams can win without a #10… Portugal just did… Greece before them. And teams with a guy like Messi can totally fail to win… and Maybe Reyna was a poor 10 on a global scale… but that was his position, and that is what he brought to the team when he played. As for Clutch… I think Dempsey was far more clutch. Landon dropped out of lots of important games and just disappeared, and no, I didn’t think we could count on him to be the link between offense and defense… well, not consistently anyway. That being said… Algeria was a wonderful moment and he certainly was a top class winger. I guess my point is WHAA? we don’t have a person in the MF that can make shit happen… Well, Pulisic. Klejstan (maybe), Bradley (people will disagree, and his play has deteriorated since leaving Roma… but Bradley can still make things happen), Fabian as a MF can do it… and we have a bunch of youngsters coming up who may be able to… point is… I think you are off.

  4. I do see this more natural 3-5-2.

    USNT does lack DM with IQ, Jones is getting hurt and old, Beckerman is old without elite level performance, Bradley seem more neutral CM.

    • The problem is that none of our CBs or Dms really play that formation for their clubs. Also, unlike the Italian national team its not the historic formation of our country so I don’t know how many even played it coming through the ranks. It does sound like Arena wants to prepare multiple formations over time so that if an injury or strategic advantage can be gained its familiar. JKs biggest flaw was his inability to adapt to injuries during training or in the week or two leading up to camps.

      • wait, what? 3-5-2 the historic formation? by all means, enlighten me. Also, I love how everyone jumped on JK for going 3-5-2… because supposedly our players couldn’t wrap their minds around it… and yet, here they are proposing it.

      • @turkmenbashy

        “Also, I love how everyone jumped on JK for going 3-5-2… because supposedly our players couldn’t wrap their minds around it… and yet, here they are proposing it.”

        as was explained numerous times after the mexico game: the problem with the 3-5-2 wasn’t that it would never work with our player pool, but that it was a terrible time to try it.

      • Unless you backline is very experienced and has a lot of time in a three man backline formations, it can be a disaster, as your coverages change in a big way and you 5th midfielder must be one that can cover large amounts of space and can cover the gaps in front of the backline. Klinsmann forgot to remind his midfielders to cover runs to the front center of the box when the backline defenders had to cover the wings and you had one centerback. So the US flirted with disaster nad could have given up two more goals before they morphed back to more standard defensive shape. I can see what he was doing though. With the fifth midfielder you can protect th wings better. The Mexican teams love to bomb passes from the wings outside of thirty yards to Peralta or Chicharito, and having a 5th mid sort of can control that, Sort of, because it was not really done well and the backline was left exposed and as they were not having a good game anyway, whatever the formation was, the US were actually lucky to not have their clocked cleaned.

        Gonzales, at least, will have a more defined defensive shape and will play a lot better under Arenas formations and generally ,I think, the US defense will improve immensely as the backline will not get bent out of its shape. I

  5. The biggest thing I took from this was how transparent Bruce is compared to JK who never really said anything and could never give a straight answer about lineups, tactics, etc…

    • Generally speaking, what exactly are we owed or entitled to as outsiders/fans? I’ve never understood this as a flash point of criticism. Communication and transparency are irrelevant if the results are where they should be (which they were for an extended period of time pre-World Cup).

      I guess as a fan I don’t feel the managers are in debt to fans who, by and large, haven’t a clue what they’re talking about but act as if they know more than a professional manager hired for the job.

      • Some of the greatest coaches, in their respective sports, aren’t very forthcoming. I don’t see a correlation or dire need as a fan to have that access but to each their own.

        There are, after all, fans who wanted cameras in the locker rooms that the NFL strongly considered before realizing how inappropriate it was.

      • “Some of the greatest coaches, in their respective sports, aren’t very forthcoming. I don’t see a correlation or dire need as a fan to have that access but to each their own.”

        the great coaches can get away with being curmudgeonly because they’re great. if you’re losing games or just not meeting expectations, it becomes more of a requirement to be able to explain yourself.

    • This is a case of people can see the same things and draw completely different conclusions. To my memory, neither Bob Bradley or Arena were all that transparent when they were national team coaches and Arena has not been especially known as a talkative coach while with the Galaxy. He seems rather sphynx like, actually. Klinsmann communicated much more with the press and fans (Facebook Q&A, for example) than either of his two predecessors. I think Arena is speaking out more than usual, for him, because of the situation. I think he feels the need for some pr and to reassure fans and players.

    • I think, generally, coaches do not want to give up much information as to what they are going to do, especially at the international level where options are greater, coaches are more experiences in counters and benches are a lot deeper. Arena used almost a different lineup for almost every game this year for the Galaxy, but it wasn’t out of desire, it was for injuries and call ups, But even if he did not use the same lineups, for the most part, he used similar lineups. Formation changes came when key players were out, but often changes to counter opponents lineups too.

      As National team gameday rosters are generally a lot deeper, personnel wise with a lot more experienced players, you have a lot more options open to you than you would have on a normal team. With more depth, comes the ability to change the starting 11, and you like to keep these things close to the chest.

  6. Arena needs to realize the strength of this team is the young speedy forward pool consisting of Pulisic, Wood, Green, Gooch and Morris, along with Yedlin’s speed from the back. We need a style that maximizes those players, and minimizes reliance on a stagnant center of the field consisting of two defensive mids with limited going-forward ability and a hold-up striker who isn’t particularly good at that. We don’t have a 10, then don’t play a style that requires one. We don’t have good box-to-box mids (at least not on current form), so don’t rely on that. Let Bradley or Cameron occupy a central defensive role, and let your forward pool have at it in front of them. Run instead of punt and hope. Churn though the defense off the ball. Move sides. Link up instead of hold up. Jozy-Bedoya-Jones-Bradley isn’t the future, and it shouldn’t be the present.

    • Play to the strengths of the players in the pool. We’ve got some nice speedy player (Yedlin, Fabian, Pulisic, Wood, Nagbe, Zardes, Gooch, Agudelo, Morris), a decent pool of Center Backs (Brooks, Besler, Gonzalez, CCV, Birnbaum, Miazga), and a number of high endurance CMs (Bradley, Cameron, Jones, Williams, Lleget).

      At the moment I think a 4-2-3-1 is our best formation….


      With the versatile nature of a number of these guys it would be easy to transition players based on form, gain a tactical advantage, grind out a result, or rest players during tournament play.

      Need Size or Speed: Insert Zardes (RW/F), Agudelo(F), Jozy(F), Morris(F)
      Need more possession: Insert Lleget (CM/LM/RM)
      Need more Physical Grit: Insert Williams(DCM), Jones(DCM)

      My concerns remain the depth options at the Outside Back positions. We’ve really only got Chandler as our depth option at the moment. We really need to find additional options at both LB & RB.

    • My biggest problem with this lineup is who’s the new captain, I would have to go with Cameron or Jozy which leads to the problem that both are injury prone.


      Strikers: Wood, Morris, AJ
      Wingers: Zardes, Gooch, Finlay, Arriola, Perez
      CM: Bradley, Jones, Nguyen, Williams, Accosta, Bedoya
      DM: Kitchen, Canouse, Trapp
      LB: ?
      RB: Lichaj, Chandler,Rosenberry
      CB: Besler, Miazga, CCV

      • While I like Green he needs to figure out his club situation. Until he’s getting consistent club minutes somewhere he shouldn’t be in the 23. Players like Zardes, Gooch, & Bedoya/Zusi will be ahead of JG in the depth chart.

      • For left back I would do. Villafana, Ream, and D Payne. I know Payne has not gotten a lot of first team action. Maybe he will shine when we need him the most. I would also add Johnsen who plays with Kitchen at Hearts to your strikers list. Gyau could have been a number 10 if he had not gotten injured and been out so long.

    • Arena has done just that. He recognizes the speed, At the LAG he had Boateng and Zardes, two of the fastest in the league, but you also need to get the ball on to their feet in dangerous positions,. ie a good passer who can do that. Klejstan and Pulisic looked to have just that, but it was ignored by JK

  7. “believes the U.S. is missing one vital piece: a true No. 10.”
    Music to my ears. A playmaker with good ball control, vision, creativity and passing ability

    “We need a better passer in the midfield than we have.”
    Highlighting that there is currently no creativity in the Midfield with Jones and Bradley (can’t have a solution if you don’t know there’s a problem)

    “went on to say that he likes “where Dortmund plays him””
    I like to see a coach that plays his players in position, regardless of talent level

    “…that’ll help identify how we play”
    Finding an identity, something we haven’t really had in a long time

    “we have to find someone in the center of midfield who can be a little bit more creative”
    A statement which brings hope for things to come. No more loading the midfield with DM’s. Thank goodness

    From the looks of it a lot of regulars are going to be coming off the bench

    • The problem has not been a lack of recognition of the need, but a lack of talent for that position. Since Claudio Reyna retired, we have yet to find a suitable replacement. Many have been tried and found wanting.

  8. American assists over the last 2 seasons in MLS
    Kljestan – 34
    Feilhaber- 28
    Finlay- 22
    Nguyen- 21
    Dax- 13
    All should be in January camp and could throw in Rowe 13, Mcnamarra 12, as they are a bit younger.

    • good points…..considering what has transpired the last 3 weeks, this will be the most important January camp that we can all remember. Bruce will most certainly bring in some fresh faces and some old faces that have been out of the picture for whatever reason. Those players will want to prove something thus making this an excited time even with some uncertainty surrounding qualifying.

    • I’m not a fan of either Dax or of Kljestan. I’ve never been all that impressed with either of them at the club level or when they’ve played with the national team. So those are 2 names I hope aren’t called. Nguyen I have mixed feelings about. I feel he’d be good against lower tier CONCACAF teams but would likely struggle against Mex, CR, or teams from other confederations of a similar quality. The other thing about these 3 and Feilhaber are their ages. They’re young enough & good enough to get us qualified for the WC…but can they help us when we get there.

      To that end I’d much rather some of our younger players get opportunities during the January Camp(s). Guys like Nagbe, Lleget, Roldan, Delgado, etc…. They may not have the same states as the players you listed, but they are all on an upswing career wise while Dax, Kljestan, Nguyen, & Benny are/will be transitioning downwards.

      • I can see your point but right now I’m not sure you really have the luxury of looking towards building. I think you have to just think about getting a few wins however you can. I’m not saying I’d start any if I had a match tomorrow, just big them into January camp see what they do.

  9. Kljestan has earned a shot at this. He’s not flashy – but he’s developed his soccer IQ to the point of dull genius. And by the way, all you clones working up potential 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 models… as any Galaxy fan can tell you, Bruce plays a 4-4-2. Period. He loves to get three players into the forward attack, but one of them is always coming out of the midfield (you may have heard of Landon Donovan? Gyasi Zardes?) Get used to it, 442 is back!

    • I think you might want to change that to “starts with a 4-2-2”, a Bruce Arena has himself said a team is constantly morphing on the field to better adapt to the opponents offense and defense, especially his Galaxy teams. I’ve seen the team having a “libero “with a three man backline, as well as the standard 4×4. While Klinsmann used Zardes on the wing, and frequently had him falling back to the defensive third as an extra defender, Arena would use Zardes up top with a second forward,(usually Keane) but drop Zardes deep to allow him to run at defenders from deeper in the midfield mostly on the wings, but with Keane and now GDS passes out of midfield to these two.

  10. january camp xi:

    subs: Lletget, Feilhaber, Agudelo, Roldan, Rodgers, Nagbe

    this is the year we can finally get 2 goals over Canada!

    • I’m all for Arena putting his stamp on the team, but I don’t foresee him going too experimental in January. I think we are likely to start seeing some names replaced, but I could see them being more fazed out than abruptly dropped at one time.

      After all, Arena only has a limited time to assemble a squad capable of digging their way from the bottom. Seeing names like Robbie Rogers leaves a lot to be desired. On a positive note, I agree with seeing Sebastian Lletget getting an opportunity.

    • Until the playoff game against LA, Seattle was like 0-9 with Morris on a wing.
      I’d slide one of the Dallas guys in for Besler, and maybe Morrow in for Vincent otherwise I like it for January. Ethan Finlay as well deserves another look.

  11. I love Pulisic, but I think I agree, right now, he’s looked his best outside. I think our best lineup at the moment might look something like this:


    I’m not sold that Dempsey fits back into this team now. I’d be fine with Klesjtan or Nagbe there at this moment. Also, not convinced Bedoya is the best RM, Lynden Gooch maybe? Zusi?

  12. Captain Obvious here we still need a #10.

    Don’t like his idea to keep Bradley as a #6 unless he is using him as a sub. Bradley doesn’t work well as a sole DM. He works best with a true DM next to him that allows him to roam box to box. I overall agree with his Captain Obvious statement of needing a more creative and overall forward passing midfield.

    But who fills those roles? Are we going to overhaul the midfield going into March qualifies that completely changes our spine and team leadership? Maybe that’s what we need but maybe it backfires too.

    • To me the best position for Bradley – and Jones – are as shuttlers, tucked-in outside mids in a 4-3-3. They play mostly centrally, are expected to put in a ton of defensive work, and it gets a true 10 on the field in front of them – and here’s where you look at a Darlington Nagbe or a Sascha Klejstan, somebody really slick on the ball who can link front to back. That gives you Pulisic/Altidore/Wood up top and that works pretty well too. One thing I might tinker with is finding a true winger to complement Pulisic and trying Wood up top in the 9 spot instead of Altidore, but that only works if we can find a real creative (or superfast!) winger who adds something, like a Josh Gatt or a Joe Gyau if they can ever get and stay healthy. Minus that we’re probably better off keeping using Altidore as a target man with the youngsters playing off him.

      I just plain like the 4-3-3 and I think it suits the personnel we have right now best. I actually think we’ve got a much higher level of talent to build around than we ever have before and if we just “paper over the cracks”, so to speak, this can be a very, very effective team.

      • I think if you can find a viable outside back option in Villafana or Lichaj, Johnson becomes your capable winger to compliment with Pulisic. They way Williams has been playing as of late its hard not to consider him as part of a midfield trio with Bradley and a #10 type.

      • Quozzel… “a true winger to complement Pulisic… wouldn’t that be Green? Green, Wood, Pulisic the front line. Then, play off that… do you go 2 DM and an AM? or do you go 3 CM? or do you pay 3-4-3 with wingbacks (i.e. Fabjo and Yedlin/chandler?) I’ll be interested to see where he goes. But my suspicion is that he trots out the 4-4-2 as he did at LAG

      • If your looking for a super fast winger don’t forget that Kekuta Manneh should be or will be available for selection.

      • too bad I can’t edit stuff… I was thinking about adding this:

        What I want to see/ have wanted to see was Morris Wood Altidore (yes, Altidore wide) with Fabjo, Bradley, and Pulisic behind them and Yedlin, Cameron, Brooks, Chandler (on the left with FabJo). Then, you can push Fabjo back to LB for a second DM, or a Bedoya/Gooch late… you can drop an Altidore/Morris for a Bedoya/Zusi if you need more D, you can throw in a Gooch for energy… Chandler/Yedlin can both push up to unbalance the formation as needed… etc. I think its our best formation…

    • The way I see it, there is a considerable difference between Mexico and Costa Rica and the rest of the field. Somebody like Kljestan can be good enough for the lower tier teams, as might be Nagbe or some of the others mentioned, but they are not good enough for Mexico and CR. So, Arena can get away with using one of the MLS guys for most of the games, but it won’t cut it with the remaining two games with Mexico and CR. But, we can qualify without winning both of those games. The issue will become paramount at the next WC, assuming we qualify. In short, any success with a new #10 in the Hex won’t mean the problem is solved.

      • Gary man, I love it. Arena’s the coach… so lets trot out all these names of people who haven’t ever shown us anything… He’s gotta play them!!!! Give’em a chance!!! ha… those people will be calling for his head when those guys don’t show up in important games.

  13. Feilhaber is pedestrian at this level, but Kljestian has been making a case recently. Out of that list mentioned I’d like to see Nagbe and Nguyen given a greater opportunity.

    • i don’t see how you can say Benny is pedestrian at this level when he hasn’t been given an opportunity in years. By all accounts BF has improved his work rate and his defensive chops but from what i know he can absolutely be a candidate to fill the play making role, and he certainly would come in with a point to prove given that he has been consistently snubbed by JK.

      • i don’t see how you can say Benny is pedestrian at this level when he hasn’t been given an opportunity in years. By all accounts BF has improved his work rate and his defensive chops

        Because he is. I’ve watched enough SKC matches to know his supposed “improved work rate” is still incredibly questionable (though he has found his niche with SKC) and his defensive chops are nothing of note.

        I’m not saying he’s above an opportunity, but I am commenting on what I’ve seen when he had his chances and projecting what I’ve seen at the club level.

      • i’ll withhold taking your word for it until he is actually given a chance to perform. One thing we can agree on is that he can’t be any worse than what we’ve been putting out there in midfield considering the lack of effort some times and the turnovers that plagues that particular group. Listen, i’m not saying Benny is the answer but i do think he could help the team. He can play a final ball better than most in the pool and he’s a competitor.

      • i’ll withhold taking your word for it until he is actually given a chance to perform.

        That’s fair, and as you’ve pointed out – I could be wrong now, as it’s more of an indictment on his previous tenure (along with observing his current club performances). He’s definitely found his sweet spot with SKC but also benefits from Roger Eepinoza giving him a ton of coverage by doing the dirty work all over the pitch.

        One thing we can agree on is that he can’t be any worse than what we’ve been putting out there in midfield considering the lack of effort some times and the turnovers that plagues that particular group

        Yea, don’t mistaken my post – I’m all for competition. I was simply commenting on the names mentioned and providing my assessment of them. Truth be told, Nagbe provides very little defensive workrate himself, but he also has age on his side to be a mainstay, if earned, for another cycle or two.

      • It’s patently unfair to base a player’s ability based solely on his play with his “club” players. In many cases, players are asked to play differently and do different tasks. More importantly there are better players surrounding a playmaker on the national team as opposed to a club team. Perhaps Fielhaber’s “pedestrian” play is a result of what Vermes is asking of him, or the result of the players not being as dynamic or better than what he is working with. It is key for Arena to bring in players like Fielhaber and play with those he will be playing with. If he truly has lost many of his attributes that brought to a WC, Arena will see it soon enough.

  14. Is this (hopefully) code for, ‘You will likely never see Jones and Bradley play together in the midfield, and if you do, there will be an attacking playmaker centrally in front of them’?

    • While everyone loves a destroyer at defensive mid (Jones, Becks), I would love to see Tim Ream deployed at that spot for one game. He’s a natural defender with the ability to make clean passes. Team him with Arena’s attacking option, and whatever we lose in toughness – we makeup for in ball possession.

      • Every soccer coach has a common “sinking boat” Bruce has Reyna, Bradley has Clark’ JK has JJones, +Wodo.
        I hope this time Bruce added more 10 years experience + open mind and vision than his 1st stint he will do better than 2006.
        MLS extra time mentioned some midfielder about passing rate but none of them talking about consistency and passion for the game; all 3 players they mentioned have not played consisted or with their passionate.

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