Klinsmann’s Campers, October 2011 Preview

Picking names....again....

It’s that time again.

The moment to toss out a couple of standards and a couple of surprises for who may make the next USMNT roster.

This is the first set of friendlies that–at least that we know–were made with Klinsmann involved in the decision making. (Note: It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that Costa Rica and Belgium were scheduled with the new manager’s advance knowledge.)

We dissected much of what we learned from Klinsmann recently here, in our overarching “Depth Chart” piece.

So what might we expect and look for this time around as Herr Yankee culls his mix?

• Not running the 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 would be a departure from Klinsmann’s current course

Agudelo has been impressive, but needs to show more by his lonesome...

So far, Klinsmann’s personnel has jived perfectly with his favored system of using a hub striker with two flankers running off him and then using three linking players (with different strengths) ahead of four in the backline.

Edson Buddle, Jozy Altidore and Juan Agudelo, all with some physical size have manned the pseudo target role in the middle of the field.

Names like Herculez Gomez and Charlie Davies haven’t been called as they wouldn’t be great fits for that system. Neither is a traditional winger or a traditional target forward.

Expect to see more of the same like-for-like player selections from Klinsmann this time around.

• Does Klinsmann respect the MLS schedule?

It will be interesting to see if Klinsmann gives pause to the candidacy of any players from the 11 or so teams that may still be in the MLS playoff race.

He wouldn’t call, say, Sheanon Williams if the Union were somehow fighting for a spot? What about Bill Hamid?

Will he call players from any MLS favorites heading into the playoffs? What about Brek Shea who broke down after his last fly-a-thon with the States?

• Youth or experience?

Much like his predecessor, Jurgen has seen fit to make sure there are a core group of players to ably “command” positions so that others may be tested out. Edgar Castillo played next to captain Carlos Bocanegra while Tim Ream sat watching the veteran. Tim Howard giving advice to Hamid.

Is this throw into the fire time….or steady as she goes?

• Whose the opponent?

Another runout?

A little tidbit here. Against Costa Rica, Jurgen Klinsmann’s roster had a Hispanic flair with Michael Orozco Fiscal, Edgar Castillo and Jose Torres. Only Torres started against Belgium from that crew.

With the US playing Honduras and Ecuador, will that trend continue?

Best guess camp calls:

G: Tim Howard, Sean Johnson

The skinny: Important for the veteran to be in camp as there are no others. Marcus Hahnemann and Brad Guzan haven’t been called by Klinsmann and look unlikely to be flown in on USSF’s dime anytime soon.

Hamid is sacrificed due to playoff responsibilities while Chicago’s Sean Johnson finds himself in camp after the Fire’s season has been extinguished.

Back in action?

D: Timmy Chandler, Clarence Goodson, Carlos Bocanegra, Oguchi Onyewu, Omar Gonzalez, Daniel Williams, Zach Lloyd.

The skinny: First, if you’re going to bring in Onyewu, now is the time do it. He’s on form and there is no risk.

Big if, but it does send the message that all players will be given a shot. With both Onyewu and Goodson in camp, one of George John or Omar Gonzalez gets sacrificed and in this case it’s John–both because the Galaxy have a playoff spot locked up and because Gonzalez is on some of his best form.

Steve Cherundolo has been off-form for Hannover lately. Klinsmann gives him a break here and sees what Chandler can do in that spot all by himself.

At leftback? Flummoxed. Will Edgar Castillo get another runout there? It’s possible. Guessing Zach Lloyd here. Any dark horses? Miss Jonathan Bornstein yet?

And where does Daniel Williams play?

M: Michael Bradley, Maurice Edu, Alejandro Bedoya, Josh Gatt, Mix Diskerud, Kyle Beckerman, DaMarcus Beasley, Brek Shea* (1 game), Landon Donovan (1 game), Clint Dempsey (1 game)

The skinny: With Jose Torres out, does Klinsmann replace the golden child or do away with the role? Interesting question. Dax McCarty’s not getting a call.

Alejandro Bedoya probably gets a runout out wide as, of course, does DaMarcus Beasley while on the opposite side Josh Gatt slides into the Robbie Rogers+ role. Bedoya of course can flip flop.

There’s a wild card in here somewhere and it’s not Stu Holden who is nowhere near peak performance and needs to focus on club ball.

Freddy Adu? Probably not.

No way!

F: Juan Agudelo, Robbie Findley, Jozy Altidore (1 game)

The skinny: No better time to see Findley than now when his odometer is starting to tick again at Forest and his engine is buzzing. Can Findley hold-up the ball. Bradley seemed to think so. If Klinsmann rates him which he may not, this is the opportune time for a look.

No Charlie Davies. He’s not there. Let it go….for now.

No Herculez Gomez?

See above.

No Jozy Altidore. After the little flap about his travel, he’s allowed to remain in Europe.

48 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jared on 2011/09/28 at 2:42 AM

    It will be very interesting to see if Gooch is called in. Does anyone know how well he’s actually defending? I don’t know much about the Portuguese league with the exception that it’s very top heavy and Sporting have given up 2 goals to Rio Ave and Pacos de Ferreira (per soccernet).

    If he calls in Findley there need to be very structured training with him about running the ball over the endline. I really don’t need to see that happen again.

    Very excited to see Gatt. Hope he gets the call.


    • Posted by Excellency on 2011/09/28 at 8:54 AM

      I wish Findley well, just not on the national team. We need to develop another kind of play or we just won’t develop.

      Gooch is great when he isn’t injured. Can’t remember when he was not injured. He insists on playing when he is injured which makes it look like he can’t play well.


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/09/28 at 11:58 AM

        The thing about Findley is that he is probably strong enough to play target striker and he’s fast enough to get behind the line.

        Has he reached his ceiling though? Probably. Does he have a feel for the game? No.

        Not to rehash, but I understand why Bob Bradley played him, hoping that he may come through and providing at least the threat of speed.


        • Posted by dikranovich on 2011/09/28 at 1:02 PM

          this whole idea of reaching some sort of ceiling, where did that come from? its a weird idea to me. we are talking about pro athletes that are still in, or coming into the prime of their career. if findley has reached some sort of ceiling, that will not allow him to progress further with his game, that will be ashame, but more likely, he will improve with his european experience, like most others, and he will probably also improve with age. findley could be a danger man for usa come 2014. shoot, if he is better than he was in 2010, that might just be acceptable enough.


  2. Posted by dikranovich on 2011/09/28 at 5:05 AM

    how about the rumor that coach klinsmann is thinking about calling carly lloyd into the team with junior bradley in the center of the pitch. very dynamic pairing.


  3. Posted by Freegle on 2011/09/28 at 5:46 AM

    Does anyone know what position Spector has been playing at Birmingham? He’s been getting minutes there but I havent looked closely enough to tell if hes in the MF like at West Ham last year or defending.

    Also, Whitbread please! I know he’s coming off an injury but it’s time to bring him in to familiarize him with the coaches and system and other players. Leave the MLS gents home for playoff prep.


  4. What about Luis Gil or Brad Davis?

    Could Kreis do without Gil for 1 match?
    RSL matches: Oct 6 (at VAN) and Oct 14 (at COL)
    Beckerman and Gil miss the Vancouver match; maybe one or both of them gets sent home before the Ecuador match?

    Houston has games on Oct 1 (home) and Oct 14 (at POR) (no matches in between. Davis for 1 match at least (leave the diamond importer at home)?

    Would rather see George John get a run out than Onyewu at least for evaluation of the talent pool.


  5. Why does Geoff Cameron not even get consideration….he is a threat out of the center of the defense and he and Davis have single handedly kept the Dynamo in contention. Cameron is better on the ball than Gonzalez and can play multiple positions.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/09/28 at 7:23 AM

      He does — two reasons:

      1) I think he just moved to his best position in the backline
      2) I think he’s too valuable to take away from Houston.

      He’s legit, but he’s still behind Gonzo and John in the pecking order….unless Klinsmann regards him as a, gulp, Orozco Fiscal type.

      TSG is high on Cameron–not sure about this camp though.


      • I agree he is still needed in Houston for the next month as they make the playoff push, and for that reason alone he should probably stay put in Houston.


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/09/28 at 8:53 AM

          I actually favor Cameron at rightback more, but anywhere on the backline is better than the midfield for him.


          • Posted by Kevin on 2011/09/30 at 6:43 AM

            I’ve put some thought into Cameron at RB, he did play RM in college, but if you’re going to play him at RB he’s most likely going to push into the attack alot and might be a defensive liability. You also lose his ability as a CB distributor. If you’re going to play him on the right it might as well be midfield. I know that it’s been said that Cameron plays better with more to see in front of him, but the more accurate description is the less creative he has to be the better he is. He can’t be the focus point of the attack but he can make a good compliment.


      • Posted by Martin on 2011/09/28 at 3:12 PM

        “1) I think he just moved to his best position in the backline”

        The why did he not get a look when he was playing center back well and regularly?

        “2) I think he’s too valuable to take away from Houston.”

        Why should Klinsmann and Bradley before him care about that? They regularly took Donovan away from the Galaxy at inopportune times, for example.


        • I think to make this argument you need to choose a player other than Donovan. Donovan’s importance for the Galaxy is equal to or surpassed by his importance to the USMNT in terms of play on the field and marketability off the field. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some back-room dealings between Sunil and Baba-Booey when bringing Donovan into all those camps at inoportune times for the Gals.


  6. Posted by Crow on 2011/09/28 at 7:46 AM

    I would love to see Williams called into a camp and then maybe Chandler could give another go at LB (although I want him to be on the right in the future) with Lichaj and Johnson injured. However, its not going to happen- he just missed the Kansas City game with a concussion and the Union have a few huge games coming up.


  7. Posted by Jared on 2011/09/28 at 7:51 AM

    Any idea why the US always releases their rosters after the opponent? Both Ecuador and Honduras have released theirs. Is US Soccer looking for another excuse for why Chandler won’t be showing up?


  8. Posted by Jared on 2011/09/28 at 8:32 AM

    Well, Stu Holden is out for another 6 weeks per Bolton. I’m starting to think Holden might be John O’Brien 2.0.



    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/09/28 at 8:52 AM

      …and I just made that joke on Twitter. Clean-up surgery though is often frequent with knee surgeries.


    • Posted by Antonio H. on 2011/09/28 at 8:53 AM

      Stu and Torres not being in camp may be a blessing in disguise because it forces Klinnsman to bring it Mix, and more than likely start. DMB is definitely on form right now. I watched him destroy Guadalajara’s right flank about a week and a half ago, reminded me of the old DMB, or the young depending on how you look at it.


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/09/28 at 9:19 AM

        I don’t think Mix starts and in reality he’s more a fit for the role Donovan and Dempsey have been playing. I think you’ll see Beckerman in that role if I had to bet on it.


      • Posted by Martin on 2011/09/28 at 5:22 PM

        “Stu and Torres not being in camp may be a blessing in disguise because it forces Klinnsman to bring it Mix, and more than likely start. ”

        At this stage JK isn’t forced to do anything.

        When JK was in England he spoke about how there was no need to rush bringing back Holden. Perhaps he had a better idea than most of us on how long it takes to get back from these injuries.

        Mix is not an obvious replacement for Holden; they play different positions and have different skill sets. And Torres was playing a position for JK he doesn’t necessarily play for Pachuca.

        JK will likely be doing a lot of unexpected things which is part of the fun.

        It would be interesting to see how JK uses DMB, who can play in many spots, if he does bring him in.


    • Posted by BK on 2011/09/28 at 1:37 PM

      It is 6 weeks right? The Bolton website says 6 months and my heart skipped a beat…


    • Posted by Jared on 2011/09/28 at 1:37 PM

      Well, now it’s officially time to hit the panic button. Holden is now out for another 6 months after the routine followup surgery found cartilage damage.

      I think he’s officially John O’Brien 2.0. Although at least with JOB we’ll always have WC02.


      • Posted by Alex on 2011/09/28 at 2:21 PM

        Well, there’s always FIFA? I don’t know what else to say its devastating news for USMNT and Bolton fans. And more importantly for Stu himself. I just hope, for his sake, that he can play again at a level close to where he was. SO unfair.


      • Posted by Martin on 2011/09/28 at 3:34 PM

        It’s too early to panic about Holden. In fact it may be a blessing in disguise. Serious knee injuries often require nearly two years to come back.

        You all saw what happened when Gooch came back too soon. Better they get this right now than have some sort of set back next year. Especially if the goal is the 2014 World Cup. If Bolton gets relegated and Holden is back in form, some EPL team will pick him up. At his wages , he’d be quite a bargain.

        Holden isn’t O Brien. JOB played at a higher level for longer and accomplished much more for the US than Holden ever has. JOB’s injuries started to pile up at the end and essentially ended his pro career.

        Hopefully, Holden still has many productive years ahead, maybe just not as many for the US as he would have liked.


        • Posted by Jared on 2011/09/29 at 4:02 AM

          This knee injury of Holden’s wasn’t supposed to be that serious. Now, it’s more serious and you push the start of that comeback back another 6 months. I also don’t think Gooch came back to soon, it’s not like he played with Milan.

          JOB’s injuries started a lot earlier in his career than you realize. He’s only 34 right now and his injuries started in 2002-2003. He was essentially done as a player at 25. He only played about 10 games from 2004 until he retired.


  9. Posted by Excellency on 2011/09/28 at 8:51 AM

    If Klinsmann insists on a 4-3-3, I could suggest he play with a phantom right wing (I’ll name him herebelow). So the 4-3-3 becomes an unbalanced 4-3-2 with a phantom playing midfield on attack for the sole purpose of seeing if, at last, the USA can get something going around the top of the box with short passing.

    The right wing position gets filled, in reality, by Donovan playing right midfield and Gatt at right back – because they play best when running into open spaces. When Donovan cuts into the middle of the field, Gatt threatens to fill in on the right wing.

    Bradley plays central midfield next to Donovan. On the other side, Dempsey plays left midfield. Brek Shea is left forward and center forward can be Agudelo. The phantom is Adu who plays in the middle of the field between the center line and the 18 m line where his job will be to dribble in traffic and dish out the ball and follow the play into the box.

    Shea Agudelo


    Dempsey Bradley Donovan

    Johnson Boca x Chandler/Gatt/Dolo

    (I know Johnson is injured but the question was asked about who we would put there. In October we could play chandler at lb and gatt at rb while Johnson heals up.)

    Another possibility is to give Adu and Agudelo each a half at center forward and put Gatt in midfield with Chandler at right back. I take it Holden is still off limits due injury recovery.

    Onyewu – he’s great when he isn’t injured.


    • Posted by Charlie G on 2011/09/28 at 9:17 AM

      I like this !!


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/09/28 at 10:57 PM

      Not nearly enough steel in that line-up. Dempsey will venture forward as will Donovan and you’ll have Bradley defending 1 on 3 or 4. The US doesn’t play press up the pitch like ARgentina or Barcelona. So it’s a difficult line-up to put out there.


      • Posted by Excellency on 2011/09/29 at 9:16 AM

        Yes, we’ve gone with a minimum of Edu as 3rd centerback and even had to add Beckerman to the defence against Belgium. However, we did not have Bradley. Could be we play 4-1-3-2 with Edu helping on defence and we give Adu and Agudelo each a half at CF. Could be that having Bradley at CM will help a lot with girding the defence


  10. Posted by CrazyMike366 on 2011/09/28 at 9:44 AM

    As on form as Gatt is, Klinsmann has repeatedly stressed the need to let young players do their thing for the youth teams until they hit 22 or 23, except in cases where a player is tons ahead of the curve in a position of tremendous need, as is the case with Agudelo. There are some talented young guns in the system, but they also failed to produce for the U-20’s and watched the U20 WC from home. They’ll get another chance at the Olympics. If they qualify and perform well, we’ll see a few of them make the jump to the senior team, but not till the summer is over.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/09/28 at 12:00 PM

      Mike — good points. I put Gatt in there. In reality, we probably doesn’t get called, but he should.

      Many teams at WC 2010 brought very youthful attackers and played them–they all had gotten at least two years of experience. The US isn’t brimming at talent at really any position that it shouldn’t give a player a shot. That’s my opinion.

      I also wonder if Gatt is more ready than Agudelo. I haven’t see Gatt enough, but with Agudelo, it’s a big hurdle going from MLS sub to the speed of international play.


      • Posted by Jared on 2011/09/28 at 12:30 PM

        I have to think that at this point Gatt is more ready than Agudelo. Agudelo just seems to be going backwards while at Red Bulls.


        • Posted by dth on 2011/09/28 at 7:02 PM

          This isn’t true.

          I think a lot of people haven’t really watched Gatt play a lot, which is totally fair–he does play in Norway, after all. But he’s raw. Really, really raw. He learns quickly, has a great mentality and all that…but Agudelo is, at this point, much better than Gatt.

          Gatt may eventually pass him due to superior environment and coaching, but if you asked me to win a game tomorrow and could only pick one player…it’s Agudelo.


      • Posted by Excellency on 2011/09/29 at 9:24 AM

        Maybe Klinsman knows that Gatt isn’t ready and I’d trust him on that because you’d hate to see Gatt fall on his rear, for his own sake. For my part, I think that one doesn’t know how good somebody is until he is exposed to top line talent. If we think there is a chance Gatt is good enough for this level, we may as well find out now.I would guess the question will be: Can he keep the talented opposing wings outside on defence? That’s the sine qua non for rb.


  11. Posted by Bob on 2011/09/28 at 11:17 AM

    MF Wildcard = Feilhaber maybe?


    • Posted by Jared on 2011/09/28 at 1:40 PM

      I think the chances of seeing Feilhaber again just grew much larger with the news that Holden will be out for another 6 months.


    • Posted by Alex on 2011/09/28 at 1:49 PM

      Feilhaber has definitely been a bright spot for the overwhelmed New England Revs. Could see him.

      What about Stacha McFly (Sacha Kljestan)?? He’s still a regular for Anderlecht, who are 1st or 2nd, I can’t remember, in the Belgium League.


    • Posted by mbw on 2011/09/29 at 1:25 PM

      Benny’s more of a 10 than an 8, no? I’m for a Benny call-up, but it’s more or less unrelated to Holden going down.

      One of the (secondary) reasons this Holden-Torres double whammy really sucks is that it got the US midfield pool at its shallowest point. Do you push Bradley higher and play Edu as the 6? Play Kljestan, Benny, Mixx, or whoever out of position as an 8? Scrap the 4-3-3 altogether (since the pool is starting to look like it did ca. June 2010 . . . )?


  12. Posted by Union on 2011/09/29 at 10:45 AM

    Roster will be announced in a few hours. Really bummed about Stu Holden, I thought he was going to be a huge piece of the puzzle, but now it seems unlikely that he even suits up for the US come qualifying. With he and Torres out, it will be interesting who Jurgen picks to be the attacking center mid. Personally, I think it will be Landon, but Freddy will get an opportunity too, I hope.

    I’m with the large majority who think this will be one of the less experimental and potentially more “boring” call-ups in recent memory. Especially bc Jurgen wants his first W. A lot of Vets and MLS guys who aren’t in the playoffs.


    • Posted by Dinho on 2011/09/29 at 1:08 PM

      Where did you the info that the roster would be out in a few hours? I’m not arguing with you, just hoping it’s a reliable source. I’m eager to see who’s in the squad. Thanks.


  13. “if the Union were somehow fighting for a spot?” We are…


  14. Posted by dth on 2011/09/29 at 1:20 PM

    SHORTER KLINSMANN ROSTER: Are you Mexican/German-American? Congratulations, you’re worth a callup! (Sorry, Mssrs. Gatt and Diskerud.) It’s almost as if Klinsmann doesn’t realize Diskerud’s a dual-national.

    Also, what’s with all the old people? There are a lot of guys in their late twenties. Klinsmann does realize there isn’t a tournament next summer, right?


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