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SBI Question of the Day: Which recent snub would help the USMNT the most in October?

Throughout September’s qualifiers, it was quite clear that the U.S. was struggling in several facets of the game. The defense was poor while making several individual mistakes leading to chances and goals. The midfield was disjointed, failing to maintain valuable forward-thinking possession. The forwards were fairly anonymous, save for Bobby Wood’s late goal to save a point in Honduras.

Each unit will need to step up, and each unit could potentially see new faces added to the mix.

The defense is likely the most concerning, especially given the recent injury issues. John Brooks is set to miss out again while Geoff Cameron’s status is up in the air. DeAndre Yedlin returns, but it became very clear during September’s matches that fullback help is needed. Timmy Chandler has done well in Germany, even if his USMNT record is less than stellar, while Greg Garza and Justin Morrow have shined in MLS play.

In the midfield, someone like Danny Williams or Sacha Kljestan could add to the group, bringing their different styles to play. Williams could be that dominant defensive midfield option, even if his longterm absence could be a detriment. Meanwhile, Kljestan could provide a spark as a pure No. 10 if the U.S. is looking to break down a defense late.

Up top, Gyasi Zardes is starting to find form with the LA Galaxy and could provide help at left midfield if Fabian Johnson is moved back to left back. Meanwhile, Dom Dwyer is someone that could provide a more energetic presence at striker, especially if Jordan Morris is out long-term.

With that in mind, which recently snubbed player do you see as someone who can make a difference and why? Vote in the poll below and state your reasoning in the comment section:

[polldaddy poll=9827700]


  1. Obviously the team is missing Brooks and Yedlin in the back, but I wouldn’t have changed the lineup otherwise. The team in the last two qualifiers just should have played better. I voted for Chandler because he might have helped, but can’t say he definitely would have helped.

  2. Garza should flat out be the starting Left Back for the USMNT…. when healthy he is the real deal. Allow FJ to play somwhere else and let Beasley be the back-up.

  3. I doubt Bruce Arena will call up any players not American enough for his liking. Anyway, if I were one of those German-Americans, I would refuse the call up from Arena if it ever came. At this point it is pretty evident that only a miracle will allow the USMNT to qualify. Why would those guys risk taking the blame for something they were not a part of?

    • A miracle to qualify? They hold their own destiny in their hands… They win the final 2 matches and Honduras can’t catch them on GD unless they score like 7 or 8 goals?

  4. don’t think we will see anyone in October that has not previously been with the team in 2017. real slim chance that williams or chandler get the call, let alone any PT. Dom Dywer replaces Morris and Matt Miazga replaces either Hedges, Gonzalez or (hopefully not – but if injured) Cameron.

    biggest additions will be Yedlin returning the squad, Fabian Johnson (hopefully) getting out of preseason mode, Arriola and Roldan stepping up into bigger roles.

  5. Nobody is addressing the real problem. What is Michael Bradley played as? Why is everybody saying WHO SHOULD PLAY WITH BRADLEY…when he’s not even the best in a defensive or offensive situation.
    A defensive Midfielder? If so we have better selections that play at a Higher level
    Danny Williams (Huddersfield Town)
    Weston McKennie (Schalke….and Michael Bradley is not good enough to make Schalke starting 11)
    Geoff Cameron (stoke City)
    Acosta (Is a better defender than Bradley)
    Cristian Roldan (Is a better defender than Bradley)
    (can you imagine a Danny Williams and Geoff Cameron DM tandem :-0 )

    As a central Attack minded midfielder? We have better attacking options in that area too than “back pass” Bradley
    Christian Pulisic (better attacker than Bradley in that position)
    Nagbe (better attacker than Bradley in that position)
    Clint Dempsey (better attacker than Bradley in that position)
    Sasha Klesjan (better attacker than Bradley in that position)
    Lee Nguyen (better attacker than Bradley in that position)
    Benny Feilhaber (better attacker than Bradley in that position)

    So, why are we trying so hard to build a midfield around Michael Bradley again….

    • I know right. For nearly a decade the question in midfield has been, Who best pairs with Bradley in MF? Maybe it was never Edu Clark, Klejstan, Jones, Acosta or Nagbe’s problem, maybe it was Bradley’s problem.
      Its true he’s not a true DM, he likes to get forward too much and watching the games he’s even running out to help defend the wide wings at times leaving his position and empty space in CM. He’s not really an AM either we all know that.
      He was in his day 2007-2013 before the ankle injury in CR the best box to box midfielder we had and a damn good one. Even though he’s not terrible old he has lost speed and his first step is not there anymore and he was never the player to dribble at and thru defense.
      He’s good at long ball delivery if he gets the time on the ball which every team’s scouting report is going to tell their CMs to pressure and close out on him immediately to force the back pass and slow down forward play..
      After the next qualifying window and possible playoff round it will be time to look for new blood and tell Bradley he had his day and he’ll be a legend but thanks for the memories. Keep him on the plane to Russia but as a backup or final 15 min sub if we’re up a goal.

  6. Lee Nguyen is sure having a good season: to the tune of 9 goals and 14 assists. He certainly couldn’t hurt as a bench option, and honestly Nagbe hasn’t been stellar in the time he has been allotted. Garza actually plays soccer regularly, as opposed to Villafana. He deserves a look, and I wish Chandler would seize this spot from Zusi.

  7. Kelyn Rowe is out until at least Oct. 15 with a knee sprain. I also think we can forget about Lichaj at least until he can get back on the field for Nottingham Forest and gain some form. Two camps in a row he has been beaten out for time by Zusi. Against Honduras Zusi was the only member of the backline that made a second start, that tells you how Lichaj has played in training.

  8. Simply stated our team is in a poor run of form, and the biggest area of concern is the back line. If Bruce had any since he’d make a couple easy adjustments….
    Fix the defense first and foremost.
    Fabian @ LB. Villafana as the back-up…Garza/Lichaj 3rd string.
    Yedlin @ RB. Chandler as the back-up…Cameron as 3rd string.
    Cameron @ RCB. Miazga as the back-up….Gonzalez/Birnbaum as 3rd string.
    Brooks @ LCB. Besler as the back-up….Zimmerman/CCV/Ream as 3rd string.

    Nagbe @ LM….Saief as the back-up…Bedoya/Zardes/Green as 3rd string
    Arriola @ RM….Gooch as the back-up. Bedoya/Zardes as 3rd string
    Bradley @ CM/CDM…Williams as the back-up. Acosta as 3rd string
    Pulisic @ ACM….Dempsey as the back-up. Nagbe/Saief/Gooch as 3rd string.

    McKennie, Wright, etc…can force their way into the discussion once we’ve qualified if they continue to get minutes with their clubs.

    • how can you put FJ as the starting, locked in #1 at LB when he hasn’t played a meaningful set of games there in a long time. Villafana and Garza should 100% be ahead of FJ at LB, IMO.

  9. I don’t think I want to see Chandler back in the team, he’s inconsistent and I don’t believe his heart is in it. We know what we have in Chandler, I would take my chance with someone else.

    • this is BS. he is NOT inconsistent. he was consistently BAD with the US team and consistently good with his club. to me, that is an indicator the coach did not do well with his message. and guess who that coach was? JK. Chandler actually had decent success under Bradley for the few games he got (remember that 2011 game against Argentina when he closed Messi down?). point is, if everyone is SO clear that JK didn’t organize the team well, how is Chandler not get a break when knowing that?

      also, this idea about Chandler not caring is a tired talking point regurgitated by segments of the fan base and media. the guy is terrified of flying and his hesitation was always around that. his interaction with US Soccer on social media alone shows he DOES care. the videos of when he is with the team show him joking around and getting on well with the team. so this idea is load of BS that won’t die because people want it to be true and use it as a convenient truth as to why they don’t want him on the team.

      to say we know what we get with Chandler is insane. he has 29 caps since 2011! he had the 2015 Gold Cup where JK rotated our back line almost every game but he was there in 2 group stage games as well as the quarter final thrashing of Cuba (he assisted in that game). he got subbed at half time due to soreness in his right knee and that was the last time we saw him.

  10. I voted for Chandler and think he should be called in even if Yedlin is healthy. I’m a williams fan, but I’m concerned that he hasn’t been playing much for Huddersfield. If he doesn’t get more PT, then I’d look to other options. I think Rowe did well enough in the GC for another call up. I think Acosta did well enough against Honduras to continue to be on the squad. Miazga seems to at least a semi-regular now at vitesse and they play in the Europa League this week. It will be interesting to see if he plays at this high level. If so, he should be considered ahead of players like Gonzalez and Ream and some others who have been called in lately like Lichaj. If Zardes continues to play well, I’d bring him in also and use him at left wing with FJ at LB with Villafana rserve LB. Zardes can also take Morris’ spot if need be. So, all in all, bring in Chandler, Rowe, Miazga and, depending on form, Williams and Zardes. If Zardes doesn’t continue to play well, then I guess Dwyer is the best bet at forward to replace Morris. I’d drop Ream, Lichaj, Beasley and Gonzalez if Cameron is okay. First 4 across the back would vbe FJ, Besler, Cameron, Yedlin, backed up by Villafana, Miazga, Chandler and maybe Gonzalez.

    • FJ needs to get on the field for Gladbach in his actual position before we stick in at LB. when was the last time he had a meaningful run of games at LB? i think he would be poor there right now.

  11. Bill Hamid, Sean Johnson and Tim Melia in better form than Tim Howard. Guzan is ok in goal but awful at distribution. Not sure about Horvath, but he’s probably in better form too.

  12. Nagbe was supposed to be a tertiary creative focal point…didn’t look good at all. You can’t play him in the middle with only two central mids…too soft. When he played wide against Honduras they roughed him up and he retreated from the game.

    Pulisic and MB will continue to be double teamed, so the best thing we can do for the next two qualies is bring on another creative option. Sacha had good chemistry with Pulisic…he’d be my first choice, but I’m fine with Rowe.

    I’d also drop Omar and fast track Miazga immediately.

    Yedlin is healthy again, so RB should be covered.

    Getting more savvy and play making ability on the field is the biggest concern right now for the next two. Need a couple guys that can keep the opposing defense honest when they’re sending so much attention to Pulisic and MB.

  13. Kellyn Rowe is my other. He had a really impressive Gold Cup run, showing skill and a penchant for putting stats to his name. Laugh all you want, but he was the biggest x-factor in the tournament, with Pulisic gone, and Nagbe more of a circulatory player in possession.

    I get why Arriola is favored off the bench. He runs a ton, gets back on defense and attack, is proficient enough at dribbling. However, he hasn’t learned how to turn all that into assists, as his service remains poor on the flank.

    Rowe is my pick. The others weren’t even really snubbed, maybe Garza.

  14. Pulisic and Nagbe need to play better in the attack, but in terms of changes what they need are midfield ballwinners and people in the back with footspeed to stay with their men. It was literally worse than 2006 when he ran Lewis out as a wingback alongside a 33 year old Pope and the uncoordinated Gooch.

    Are you seriously telling me that we can’t find anyone better than Omar/Villafana/Ream/Zusi/etc…..I think we wasted the summer going in the same old circles and giving up goals to crap teams and we at the staff level don’t have a clue what Plan C is. Some of it is the YNTs having crap defenses too but that’s not everything. We’ve gotten stubborn and just rotated through the shallow end of the player pool.

    Personally I’d like to see some players like Jones, Parker, Glad, Evans, Carter-Vickers, Chandler, FJ, O’Neill, and Orozco considered. People with footspeed and some defensive bite. Recent selections have gotten too slow and too cute.

    • I don’t know what happened but Arena’s initial selections played tough team defense and scored “enough.” At some point this started wandering back towards a soft Klinsmann technical team. Arena needs to get back out there with 11 people who are athletic and will play defense.

  15. voted for Chandler given the desperation there. but I do think Williams should be brought in over a guy like Dax. Totally agree Kljestan could be very useful to this team in October. he is playing well and has a chemistry with Bradley you can’t beat given their long history.

    Greg Garza is another good shout. Zusi and Beasley were risky bets with no thought for the future of the team. be done with that. LB should be Villafana, Morrow, and Garza w/ FJ as a potential option. RB should be Yedlin, Chandler, and Lichaj.

  16. Williams showed well in a few appearances..

    Nothing spectacular but able to hold down the position..

    He is nowhere near as physical as Jones.. Neither was he as agressive..

    Didnt really hit a clean pass but his skillset was good enough for the team at that time..

    As for the others

    Not one of those guys accept maybe an in form Zardes (who is a fantastic contributor for the US) or Chandler even warrants a mention in a crucial qualifier..

    2018 should be very interesting as guys like Mckinnie, Hyndman, Wright and many others make a case for themselves..

    World Cup squad selection is always a tough venture..

    It stands to reason that Arena will listen to a resource the tells him that some of these guys can actually play

    One would hope

    • Williams was horrible in one of his most recent matches for USMNT. That being said, he can’t be any worse than Acosta Bradley Dax, Bedoya and whoever else you can toss out there. Honestly, Jermaine Jones has played decent the last few matches for Galaxy…why isn’t he on the list?

    • A CM partner for bradley is still our most pressing need. Acosta hasn’t grabbed his opportunity yet. Mccarty doesn’t seem to be the ‘new’ Beckerman. Hyndmann and Mckennie will have to wait unti after qualis to be considered.
      Kljestan and Williams make sense to get an opportunity in the revolving door. If we can’t get someone to make it work we really need to consider changing formation to give more of a midfield presense. Our best performances of recent memory came when we played Bradley, Jones and Bedoya in the Copa America 2 years ago. I wouldn’t be opposed to another 3 man central midfield look.

      • maybe something like this for midfield/striker:


        Kljestan should be in the discussion and honestly you can play any of them as #8s or #6s with the exception of Kljestan. if he plays, you have him as a #8.

      • If they can’t find a partner for Bradley why not try out a new pair the middle all together or play Bradley in a 5 man midfield with 2 other CMs. He seems to be at his best when he has extra help. When is it time to experiment, when they don’t qualify? He plays to deep with only one partner and the middle gets overrun and if they take away a striker than the offense struggles. How about something new. Experience so far is what has gotten them to this spot which is on the verge of missing the WC. Not sure of the right answer but seems to me the problem is in the middle. Need to control the middle on both sides and that hasn’t been happening.

    • I think you are pegging Williams wrong, one of his best abilities is his strong tackles and hustle, true, Jones of 2014 was better but, I don’t think Jones is anywhere that level which should now put Williams at a higher level than Jones. PLUS, Williams has a wicked shot from outside the box which should be good for a goal once every 5 games or so. Williams was part of the team that beat Netherlands and Germany, so he can hang with top level teams.

  17. Bruce J rarely ever post anymore and I hope you read this. You looked like an absolute fool these last two matches. Beasely? Morris? Zusi? The fix is quite simple, FJ leftback, Chandler right, Williams in, Altidore bench. don’t make it more difficult than it has to be


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