TSG: Bulleting The USMNT October Roster

Out and about yesterday.

Here, our sentiments on the 22 players that Jurgen Klinsmann is bringing in to USMNT camp.

The big man sheds the "too old, too injured" label...

• Merit to the CB Madness?

Perhaps the player who generated the most buzz yesterday with his selection was Michael Orozco Fiscal. Jokes, sneers, jeers and some plaudits for the bringing the centerback who has not precisely failed on the job for the USMNT in his few games under Klinsmann, but has not also shone.

There is, of course, merit to the selection of Orozco Fiscal. He’s got handles and he’s got speed. Honduras boasts “RoRo” Olimpia forward Roger Rojas who can easily get behind a backline while Ecuador has june bug Cristiano Benitez  who is like a bad YouTube mash-up of Charlie Davies and Jeff Cunnigham.

However, why no other speed-distribution types at centerback, specifically Geoff Cameron who faces off against Honduran Carlo Costly each day in practice or Michael Parkhurst–not as fleet of course but perhaps the most positionally sound US centerback abroad.

Why bring in Gooch? Are you going to pair his distribution with Carlos Bocanegra’s? That hasn’t been a successful recipe previously.

• The “core” is decided already? Really?

Here’s what we know about Jurgen Klinsmann at a high level previous to his USMNT job. He probably spent some time casually watching much of the US senior roster. He was a consultant for Toronto FC immediately preceding this role. He hasn’t coached since 2009.

Since his coronation, he’s managed a total of two camps and three games. He’s also commented that there is a depth chart–fair–for each role on the team.

How in the world then–if there is a depth chart–does he know just who the “core” of the team is? Wasn’t he planning on using different personnel to match styles versus certain teams.

Given that these are highly inconsequential friends here in October 2011 from a results and status standpoint how has “the core” already been determined? Who’s in the circle of trust; who isn’t?

Stay tuned here…

Conor Doyle, not precisely fleet of the feet (photo courtesy USA10kit.com)

• The strikers are who we thought they were. They ARE who we THOUGHT they were

You have to Klinsmann positive marks already for one thing–that is, putting three players in the center of the pitch instead of two. This often happened under Bob Bradley as well, but really only with a single player–Benny Feilhaber–and to seize the initiative.

I applaud Klinsman for not trying to find a striker who doesn’t clearly exist and using what he has at his disposal. That a one striker, target set-up plays to Klinsmann desire to thrust the flankers forward also helps.

Klinsmann’s selections: Jozy Altidore, Juan Agudelo & Teal Bunbury are all capable of being target strikers. Can they develop into dominant ones? The jury is still out there.

But even look deeper in the US pool. Names like Conor Doyle, Omar Salgado, Adrian Ruelas stand out at present. These are all target types as well. All go at least 6 feet in length and none would be confused with Chicharito.

The reason why Yanks fans aren’t seeing Charlie Davies or Herculez Gomez at present is because they’re more successful in a 4-4-2 in the international set-up or as a change of pace–and that’s not Klinsmann’s mission right now.

Can’t argue with these selections….yet.

• Miscellaneous

» Why no natural-footed leftback just to take a peak? No Dunivant, no Brad Davis tryout. Beasley is listed as a forward, might we actually see him in defense with Brek Shea coming on like gangbusters. Who knows.

» Is there still the “Jose Torres” hub role, now that both Torres and Stu Holden (able to play that position as well) are out? Will the role fall to WWF star Kyle Beckerman. It would seem so at present. (He’s able.)

» Jozy Altidore is almost 22-years-old. Juan Agudelo almost 19. Bill Hamid, about 21. Seems odd that an almost 21-year-old (his birthday is October 2nd, fans) Mix Diskerud and a 20-year-old Josh Gatt don’t get call-ins. Especially Mix both because of his dual nationality, but more importantly, his role, he’s the CAM-prototype that it would appear Klinsmann is looking for.



37 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jake C on 2011/09/30 at 1:12 PM

    One term I’d point out is Klinsmann’s statement about “core structure” rather than “core players.” I’d think Klinsi has maybe ten players set in stone for qualifying. Those players, especially in friendlies with such a quick turnover, need familiar environments with familiar people to perform at their peak. Not sure how he can experiment with other players in that short a window. Would make more sense to see the MLS guys in January.


  2. Posted by matthewsf on 2011/09/30 at 1:15 PM

    Another point I didn’t make above. Given the roster, highly possible that you’ll see more of a 4-2-3-1 sans Holden/Torres as well.

    And, the addition of Beasley is intriguing. If Brek Shea has locked down the fw spot on the left, will Beasley can thrown out–again–at LB?

    I mean, he does play in the Primera now….


    • Posted by Dinho on 2011/09/30 at 1:32 PM

      I don’t think Shea has “locked” it down. I don’t think Klinsi has made a decision yet. I think we see Beasley get some time in the same spot as Shea. I, for one, am very curious to see Beasley’s form on the international stage. We know that he is playing well in Mexico….


    • Posted by Martin on 2011/10/02 at 12:25 PM

      Let’s say Shea has locked down his spot. He is one encounter with Brian Mullan away from not being available.

      The 2009 Confederations Cup team taught us that the US needs to develop as much depth as possible That team did well and then lost it’s two center halves and it’s stretch the defense striker to an assortment of injuries in short order and was never able to replace them.

      JK knows this and has always said the team needs to be at least two deep and every position.


  3. Posted by Andrew on 2011/09/30 at 1:51 PM

    It seems like Klinsmann is looking for continuity while simultaneously trying to integrate at least a few new faces each camp, which may be an overly simplified description of things, but still holds true I think. He brought Bunbury, Johnson, Larentowicz and Kljestan into the fold for the Costa Rica/Belgium camp. Now he’s adding Onyewu, Williams and Rimando. I think people got used to wholly different groups of players from camp to camp under BB (A team vs. B, as some called it) so people are surprised there aren’t more than just a small number of new faces now each time a roster is announced. And I don’t think all of these recurring call-ups have a place firmly set in stone, I just think unless people fall flat on their faces (Castillo), Klinsmann wants to keep them together as much as possible to see what develops when they’re plugged in to very specific roles a few times in a row.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/09/30 at 2:22 PM

      Actually the objection is to defining a “core structure” or a “core group” of players–less the selections even or less who’s in camp, who isn’t.

      Am I troubled that if Jose Torres wasn’t injured he would be the lone player in his role and counted on each game? Yes.


      • Posted by Martin on 2011/10/02 at 12:39 PM

        One reason why JK is not capping as many newcomers as Bradley did could be that Bradley capped most of the possibiities; so we all might have to wait a little while before JK can match BB’s new cap rate.

        “Am I troubled that if Jose Torres wasn’t injured he would be the lone player in his role and counted on each game? Yes.”

        Why are you troubled? Perhaps JK is using these next two games to play w/o someone in the so called “Torres role”. It is not unheard of. Besides, the US has lost all three games withTorres in that role. Maybe a little variation is in order. Attractive, flowing football will only get you so far if you keep losing, even if these are just experimental games.

        JK is a poor loser and if you look at his playing career he played on a lot of hard, cynical teams. Do not forget that he practically introduced diving to England in the modern era.

        Or perhaps he will have Donovan , Dempsey or someone else try to play the “Torres role”..

        These next few games feel more like training sessions to me rather than actual competitive 90 minute games


  4. Posted by Dinho on 2011/09/30 at 2:18 PM

    Here’s a question….does Landon wear the #10 (everytime I say that, I think Harkes) if he is playing up top? Would be weird to see LD on the pitch in a different number (aside from 21 in the old days).


    • Posted by Martin on 2011/10/02 at 12:45 PM

      I think you will find Harkes wore #6 for most of his US career .

      Regardless of where Donovan is likely to line up #10 is will be appropriate.

      The original meaning of #10 was inside left.


      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/10/02 at 12:52 PM

        Numbers started out as follows:

        2 right back
        3 left back

        4 half back
        5 right wing back
        6 left wing back

        7 right winger
        8 inside right
        9 centre forward
        10 inside left
        11 left winger

        Then as formations changed**, the 5 and 6 dropped into the centre of the defence leaving the 2 and 3 on the wings. 4 is then the central defensive midfielder, in the same place as he was in 2-3-5.

        9 is always the lone striker, 10 an attacking midfielder (in 4-5-1)
        9 and 10 are dual strikers (in 4-4-2)
        8, 9 and 10 are 3 strikers (in 4-3-3)
        7 and 11 fill the wings, while 8 and 10 are creative or attacking midfielders in any of the above cases where they are not forwards.

        **Suggest reading “Inverting The Pyramid” by Jonathan Wilson


        • Posted by Martin on 2011/10/02 at 5:30 PM

          It will be interesting to see how rigid JK is about the numbers.

          George Best, who basically could play anywhere on the field and any position, would wear #7 for the most part but sometimes wore #11 or #8 depending on who else Busby was playing at the time. When United won the european Cup in 1968 Best wore #7, John Aston wore #11 and David Sadler wore #10 even though he was basically a defensive midfielder. Denis Law was injured.


  5. What happened to Bedoya????


    • Posted by PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo on 2011/10/03 at 1:35 PM

      little playing time with the Rangers…same as Jones with Schalke. Let’s see if Klinsman rates either going forward, both should have their minutes increase in the next couple of months.


  6. Posted by Excellency on 2011/09/30 at 4:44 PM

    I think Klinsmann is being conservative and I will not second guess his individual selections since there must be so many factors that go into the individual selections at this early stage.

    I would just make one comment. Klinsmann says we need focus on more eagerness to finish off up front. We have never lacked the eagerness to finish off our opponent. The problem is that somebody has to set the table and serve the meal. That person is missing while the rest of the team bangs the table impatiently with the butts of their forks and knives as the smell of victory wafts tantalizingly past their nostrils.

    Not only couldn’t Sweatpants Bradley solve that problem, he thought Robbie Findley was the answer. Robbie Findley owes me a carton of Grecian Formula.

    In any case, I am happy with Klinsmann building from the back up because the back line really was kind of dicey when he took over and we’ve done a good job holding opponents to 1 goal.

    Really looking forward to seeing Williams play. (Which means he’ll ride the pine).


  7. Posted by Connor Walsh on 2011/09/30 at 9:34 PM

    Here goes:

    Starting at keeper, am I the only person worried about the sudden lack of depth here??? Tim Howard won’t be around forever and Brad Guzan desperately needs a transfer away from Aston Villa. Rimando is far too small to really be a top keeper on the international level. Hamid looks a fantastic prospect, but he still hasn’t even played an international match at any level, and that’s as green as it gets.

    So happy to see Gooch back in the fold. All he has done since battering in the door on Sportings starting line-up is win five consecutive games, and his headed goal was a display of physical authority. Bocanegra is self-explantory. Tim Ream and Michael Orozco Fiscal are obvious head-scratchers, they’ve both been massively underwhelming at the club level this season, despite consistent playing time. I’m not sure what Omar Gonzalez, George John, Geoff Cameron, Michael Parkhurst or AJ Soares have to do to earn callups. When Zak Whitbread returns from injury he deserves a look as well imo.

    At outside back, Chandler looks set to be the left back for the next several friendlies, until the return from injury of Fabian Johnson/Eric Lichaj or until Edgar Castillo proves more at the club level. Cherundolo will likely retire from international play during this cycle (along with Bocanegra I might add) so we’re suddenly a bit skinny along the back line. Spector is the John O’Shea of the USMNT.

    This midfield has two players who have no hope of making the 2014 World Cup. Why call in Beckerman and Larentowicz? Both are fine MLS caliber players, but lets be honest, if either make the WC2014 roster, something has gone horribly wrong. I could understand these callups if these games meant something as you want you’re best possible and mostly known quantities for competitive matches, but for friendlies, there is a need for experimentation. Why no Bedoya, Diskerud, or Feilhaber, who stand a shot at making the squad for the WC? Really excited to see Daniel Williams and what he can bring to the team. Let me add that if someone could please go to Jonny Evans’ house in Manchester and shoot him in the knee caps with a 12-gauge, I’d appreciate it. I was so looking forward to a Bradley-Holden midfield combo and now it wont be until next summer until we can potentially see it.

    As far as the “forwards” go, Im ok with these selections. Glad to see Beasley back in the mix, he’s doing himself well in the Primera. Arguments could be made for Edson Buddle, Hurculez Gomez, Charlie Davies and even (dare I say) Robbie Findley. But I think this is the right group for the time being. Jozy is a one man Europa League nightmare.

    OK done


    • Posted by PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo on 2011/10/03 at 1:37 PM

      Agree with all but your take on Beckerman….in a pure #6 role Beckerman is as good as anyone in the pool. Coach Klins likes him and I’d put his chances at 50-50 of making Brazil at this point.


  8. Posted by Kay20 on 2011/09/30 at 11:55 PM

    Jurgen’s line-ups have looked something like this:

    Fullback – CB – Bocanegra – Fullback
    JFT – CAM
    Speedy RM – Altidore – Shea

    I’ve put names in for folks that played A LOT of time in certain positions.

    So I would think here’s the line-up if Jurgen’s sticking with his version of a 4-3-3 (more like a 4-1-4-1, but hey, let’s stick with the theory):

    Dolo/Chandler – Orozco Fiscal/Ream – Boca/Gooch – Dolo/Chandler
    Bradley/Beckerman – Clint
    LD – Altidore – Shea

    BUT. There is the option of playing Beasley out wide – he fits the speedy RM mold…which means, what do you do with LD and Clint? Jurgen played them both in the center… Jurgen seems to want speed on the wings – which may force Clint into the middle or up top.

    Or does he bump Shea? Does Beasley sub Landon?

    LD and Clint know each other well enough to switch (frankly, DMB probably fits in there too, at least with Landon). But in Jurgen’s line-ups where everyone is numbered, seems a little more taboo. In light of that, we may see some interesting rotations…

    Good that we have depth, might lead to some interesting rotation among our vets.

    (But I think for now, DMB is a sub, and may be that way permanently to maximize his form).


  9. Posted by Excellency on 2011/10/01 at 6:05 AM

    re: youth movement – watched NC/Duke second half and ot yday. To me it seems those young players are playing more contemporary game, NC especially, than our national team players.

    The game was at Carolina and there was a record crowd for a good game.

    Too bad there isn’t a JV national team made up of college all stars who can develop their game playing nationals from lower ranked countries.


    • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/03 at 8:29 AM

      Isn’t that the point of the U20 and U23 national teams?


      • Posted by Excellency on 2011/10/05 at 4:41 PM

        No, the U-23 team is the olympic team with players who are pro. The idea behind a JV national team for college players would be to give college players a chance to show their stuff against international competition and learn something new. I think the problem with the college game is that players just play against other college players and how ready are they to go into the MLS or other leagues with that experience as opposed to kids in other countries who play for academies and sporting clubs? Also, it would help scouts evaluate US college players.


  10. Posted by Caleb on 2011/10/03 at 8:13 AM

    My consistent thought is “larentowicz? WTF?!”


  11. Posted by Jared on 2011/10/03 at 8:28 AM

    I don’t understand why Feilhaber doesn’t get in this squad. He seems to be a similar type of player to the role that Torres has been playing. He’s also put in solid performances with the US and is younger than both Larentowicz and Beckerman. I just don’t see Larentowicz as an international caliber player at 28 especially in the one position where we have about 30 guys that can play there.

    Has anyone seen Gooch play other than highlights? I’d like to know if he can actually turn again because the last time I saw him with the USMNT he was unable to turn and run back without it taking about 5 minutes.

    I’ve only seen bits and piece of CJ Sapong. Isn’t he another guy that could get into the mix? Does he have more upside than Bunbury (who seems to have stalled in his development)?


    • Posted by Martin on 2011/10/03 at 10:14 AM


      A few years back I had the impression England fans thought every single game should be played as if it was the World Cup final and that England should always massacre the opposition. I haven’t paid much attention to them the last few years so maybe England fans are more sensible but I get the feeling USMNT fans are fast heading in that direction.

      Benny is a very well known quantity.

      There are a number of other players about whom a lot less is known.
      Maybe JK wants to try Clint, Donovan or someone else in the “Torres role” .
      They’ve lost or tied all the games with Torres in that role so maybe he is going to set up a different way. Maybe JK wants to see if anyone else will rise to the occasion. Putting people in unfamiliar perhaps adverse situations tells you a lot about them.

      These two games are not meaningless but I suspect Klinsmann’ s priority is less about the final score and more about how his players play when under pressure. It is interesting to see so many people who are already set to push the panic button because of these last US three games.

      I love Benny but bringing in a guy who has shown over the years that his best role is a 20-30 minute supersub to play in the so called “Torres role” at this point is a borderline panic move.

      Particularly when that guy hasn’t exactly blown down the doors in MLS since his move to the Revs. It’s not all Benny’s fault but the last time I checked the Revs had the second lowest point total in MLS.

      At least DMB and Gooch, who are also proven vets like Benny, are showing signs of life at their new clubs Benny’s play hasn’t been as impressive as those two.
      Sure maybe Benny could do a great job but wouldn’t it be better to find out that some other guy, maybe younger or maybe better, can also do it?

      Then again, it is also possible JK thinks Benny is done as far as the USMNT is concerned .


      • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/03 at 10:17 AM

        I would agree that it’s time to bring in some other guy but he didn’t. He brought in the usual suspects of MB90, Edu, Beckerman and threw in a clone of those guys in Larentowicz.

        Was Benny ever really given the opportunity to prove that he was more than a supersub under Bob? Benny wasn’t going to fit into the bucket and usually came in to replace Dempsey on the left when Dempsey moved up top in the second half.


        • Posted by Martin on 2011/10/03 at 2:58 PM


          If you are looking for something to blame BB for this isn’t it.

          Benny has had plenty of chances to make his case. He started out as MB’s first choice partner in midfield.

          And his career did well early on when he scored that golazo against Mexico in the 2007 Gold Cup final.

          Then he ran into a lot of issues at his clubs, falling out of favor and rarely getting a game for a long time until he finally got his gig at Aarhus.

          Bradley kept faith with him by calling him in even when he wasn’t getting games at his club but Benny’s fitness wan’t always where it should have been . His transformation to a supersub made sense because it seemed like after a certain point Benny would fade.

          Whether that was because the opposition figured him out or because his fitness was lacking I could not tell you. I was hoping when he got to the Revs he would be revived and turn into a dominant player but it hasn’t happened.


        • Posted by dth on 2011/10/03 at 3:59 PM

          Yeah, if there’s anyone that Bradley can’t be accused of bailing on, it’s Feilhaber.

          But because Feilhaber’s got that Brazilian thing going on, he was never going to attract the same criticism as other players (cough–Kljestan).


    • Posted by Tony on 2011/10/03 at 10:41 AM

      Bunbury is younger than Sapong and twice as much goals as him with less player time. Stalled?


      • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/03 at 11:35 AM

        Thought they were the same age. From what I’ve heard recently in terms of form (on various podcasts as I don’t follow KC) it was Sapong playing more than Bunbury because Bunbury was struggling.


      • Posted by PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo on 2011/10/03 at 1:42 PM

        Also think Bunberry is more of #9 Target player that Klinsy is searching for (see Matts comments in the column). Sapong will be an interesting player to bring in though….he’s shown enough to deserve a Jan ‘camp cupcake’ call up at a minimum.


      • Posted by scipio on 2011/10/03 at 2:03 PM

        But Sapong gots swagger and lyrical genius!


      • Posted by dth on 2011/10/03 at 4:00 PM

        It’s interesting–I wish sometimes you could mesh Bunbury and Sapong together. Sapong makes much better runs for his teammates, in my viewing, and that’s something that’s worth quite a bit.

        Bunbury, like Agudelo, sometimes half-asses it when he thinks he won’t be getting the ball at the end of runs.


        • Posted by Tony on 2011/10/03 at 6:41 PM

          Bunbury and Sapong play, really compliment each other. Sapong’s dribble and pass to Bunbury at SJ was amazing. Unfortunately, the SKC coaching staff rarely have them on the pitch at the same time. Sapong is the point and Bunbury is the shooting guard. We should not campare the two, we should advocate for them to be playing together at the club as well as the national level.


  12. Posted by VWall on 2011/10/03 at 10:09 AM

    I’m curious why Benny, Bodoya and Adu don’t get a chance to show their creativity. I do like Brek Shea, but many of the players are Bradley robots with no imagination. Can you imagine a line up with Middies as Donovan, Shea, Bodoya, and Fielhaber (with Adu coming in at 60)? Then you can place Dempsey up top where he consistantly plays well. Just my 2 cents.


  13. Posted by chazcar2 on 2011/10/03 at 12:47 PM

    Sometimes I wonder about practice. “We talkin’ ’bout practice, not a game”

    You have to wonder if certian players practice really well and help the coach implement a scheme. Like larentowicz, maybe he really helps the coaches demonstrate some key parts of their system. I don’t know.

    Otherwise, yeah I would like to see some other players at these camps.


  14. Posted by Gregorio on 2011/10/03 at 1:12 PM

    Yeah maybe JK can emulate American coaching tactics like getting a football running back to run against the defensive unit like they used to, like getting some lineman to run as Larry Czonka, Tony Dorsett, or whoever is the latest guy, or like when Princeton faced Georgetown in the NCAA basketball tournament. their tallest player was like 6’4, so they had a guy holding a stick with a glove attached to the end of it to portray Patrick Ewing’s long shot blocking reach. Maybe they can get a 10yr old boy to run around with a ball taped to his foot to emulate Messi.
    If soccer really takes on an american bent, I will volunteer to be the goon who protects our most skilled player like Dave “Cement Head” Semenko being Wayne Gretzkys bodyguard.


  15. Posted by Union on 2011/10/03 at 5:59 PM

    Didn’t see this posted yet. Donovan is scratched and replaced by….gasp….Edson Buddle. Have to be honest, this is far and away the most painful US call up (including Robbie Rogers) that Klinsmann has made to date. He had NOTHING against Mexico. I don’t care about his 2 goals for FC Ingolstadt 04. He (and god bless him) has no place at the international level. Just doesn’t have the athleticism, vision, speed…you name it. Why not use this spot on Gomez or something? Or Diskerud. Come on.


    • Posted by Kay20 on 2011/10/03 at 11:08 PM

      Damn. I cannot believe we still have not gotten Dempsey and Donovan on the pitch at the same time. It’s getting ridiculous. Not only is it getting ridiculous, it’s getting painful as odds are LD is missing the November friendlies as well due to MLS playoffs.

      We will have three total games to integrate them together into the system. Two friendlies in December, and one on Feb 29th. Slightly concerning. Also – still have zero idea how Klinsmann is going to use them together as odds are with LD out, Clint is now slotting into the CAM role again.

      As to the Buddle note, I understand in a way why he’s getting called up – a hot striker – BUT, with now LD gone, I have no idea where creative play is coming in this line-up. Clint Dempsey is going to have to shoulder the load of creating, cause beyond him I see…[crickets]. Expect to see Michael Bradley with attacking responsibilities – hope he delivers. Clint is creative, but he’s typically not the distributor, and historically has not played the role LD has with this team.

      This game will again show what happens when we don’t have LD around – the guy who has generated the vast majority of assists in recent years – can Klinsmann get someone else in the team to stand up? JFT was getting there, Holden is out, Mixx is still young…so…. Deuce. We need you.


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