TSG’s Official USA vs. Honduras Preview

Klinsmann's Krew marches in to Miami...

When the United States takes to Sun Life Stadium Saturday for the first bookend of a two-part October camp series against Honduras, it will mark just another inch forward in Jurgen Klinsmann’s war on the old USSF system.

Klinsmann points the US forward...

After three games at the helm, the US manager is winless and nearly goalless in his time on the touchline. Results however should not be measured in wins and losses in the now-fourth quarter of 2011 or in goals for or conceded.

Where the measuring big stick can be unsheathed is on how the Yanks begin to perform on the field, Saturday against a juvenile La H from Honduras.

Klinsmann had some interesting annotations to his roster selections, not least of which was his allusion to the formation of “core.” His commentary:

We also don’t want to shake up the core structure of the team too much. We aim to build a consistency in our work approach with the established group of the team.”

With that statement and without unique or even just youthful call-ins (think Omar Gonzalez, Mix Diskerud, Josh Gatt), the expectation should be that the US, specifically in its qualified “non-counter attack” offense, will be an improved lot on the field….that is, now that the core is gelling.

It is fair to begin asking the question of Klinsmann’s troops that was asked of Bob Bradley’s squad in the Gold Cup.

That is, “Can the US dictate the rate of play and tempo to the opponent?” There have been signs under the new boss; Saturday needs to be a step forward.

Let’s get to our customary preview.

It goes:

TSG What Are We Looking At

11 At the Whistle


About the Opponent

TSG What Are We Looking At

• How and who deals with Honduras in central defense?

Orozco, selected less for the vertical, more for the wheels...

In the past three matches against Honduras (excluding “B” team affairs in the 2009 Gold Cup) , the US collection of centerbacks has been mercilessly victimized by a technically-sound, proficient and efficient Honduran strikers and midfielders.

Go up against Honduras, like clockwork the middle of the Yanks’ backline hiccups. One trip to the concession stand after another.

In the 2010 Camp Cupcake finale, Chad Marshall got beat through the box by a streaking Jerry Palacios even after Troy Perkins told him to stick his man.

That same game of course saw Clarence Goodson get beat in the box for the third Honduras goal. Oh, the first in that affair? The armbanded Jimmy Conrad–yes JC–generously handing over a penalty kick after a shirt tug on Carlos Pavon earned him a red card and an early trip to the….do you even go the showers if you’ve only been on the pitch for about ten minutes?

The previous game–the “Game to Go” in World Cup qualifying–it was Oguchi Onyewu who authored a messy turnover and then on the turn cut down the Honduran attacker. The following free kick was deposited in the netting past Tim Howard’s outstretched mitts.

And finally, in the home previous home leg of qualifying, Clint Dempsey went to the bakery and a perfectly baked turnover on an ill-advised deke in central midfield had Carlos Costly pouncing on the mistake, playing the fastest game of hot potato you’ve ever seen with Wilson Palacios and then dusting up Carlos Bocanegra in central defense to put the US down 1-nil.

In this one? This is the spot–like it or not US fans–for Michael Orozco Fiscal.

This is why Jurgen Klinsmann has made the questionable call of having Orozco in camp to deal with the pistoning reception-run-dish play of youngsters Jerry Bengston and Roger Rojas working of savvy vet Carlos Costly.

One still has to wonder why Geoff Cameron didn’t get an and it sure would be nice–even if the floodgates were to open–to see Tim Ream get some time against some technical and quick strikers at the international level without the cloud of Rafa Marquez hanging ominously close by.

• Flummoxed! Oh, leftback spot why do you torture all of us so.

At a loss here to deconstruct the thought process out on the left rear flank under Bob Bradley or now Jurgen Klinsmann.

Under Bradley it was a rotating committee of Bocanegra, Jonathan Bornstein and Heath Pearce. (BTW: Do you know who the US caps leader for the year 2008 was? That’s right. Heath Pearce.) Bradley would play the (very relative) hot hand of Bornstein and Pearce and then fall back to Bocanegra when he had had enough. Only in Gold Cup 2011, did Bob Bradley finally relent from his devotion to having a natural-footed player man the position and allow Eric Lichaj a runout.

With every Chandler call-in, BigSoccer.com's traffic drops by 7.5%....

For Jurgen Klinsmann, his Jonathan Bornstein has been Edgar Castillo who had not made his way to this camp. What is interesting–at least per the player-position associations on the roster announcement–is that there is no natural-footed player even being given a few practice reps here in October camp.

That’s all the more incredulous when you consider that: a) Steve Cherundolo is aging and has been off-form thus far for Hannover–meaning Timmy Chandler might head over there on the right faster than thought, b) with three Yanks in the middle of the pitch instead of two, an inverted fullback on the left (surmised of course to be Chandler) contributes virtually nothing to the attack. He can’t cut in; there’s a traffic jam alread there and c) It would be great to get the young Brek Shea or the dynamic Clint Dempsey an overlapping option to stretch the defense on the left.

Is there any chance Klinsmann could trot out DaMarcus Beasley in that role? It makes sense given Beasley’s previous reps at the position and that Klinsmann is looking at the ability to attack as a major factor in evaluating a player’s ability to contribute at fullback.

Very interesting come Saturday.

Head up Dredsy, not headbutt...

• The US posture & the Torres hub role

Will the United States continue to manage possession in the game? A team like Honduras–cannaballized by injury here–provides an excellent opportunity to improve against–they’re technically-skilled but prone to be undisciplined.

Is the Torres hub role still in play? No Jose Torres until 2012. Stu Holden, perish the thought for now.

Is the “Torres role” Kyle Beckerman’s to lose–or will the US go double-pivot and use Michael Bradley and Beckerman to manage possession with a holder in Maurice Edu behind them. How does it play out?

• Lead passes:

» Interesting call-in of Edson Buddle to replace Landon Donovan in camp. That gives the States potentially four target strikers for what would seem like a single spot per match.

» Always good to see how a young player who’s called in despite struggling for their club fares. For Brek Shea, it would appear The Rooster is exhausted from being an irreplaceable cog in the FC Dallas attack. Can he summon the resolve to play consistently and dazzle on occasion?

For Tim Ream, his latest observations show a player working hard to play through a slump. Does he get a shot to play a match in this camp–I think he does–and is he plagued by the same positional and defensive technique challenges that have torpedoed he end of his campaign at Red Bulls?

» Still looking for the right wing on the roster. No Bedoya, no Gatt, no….nothing.

11 At The Whistle

The US line-up...perhaps...

G: Tim Howard

The skinny: I don’t understand this three keeper thing though it sure looks like Rimando is Klinsmann’s Guzan, no?

DEF: Steve Cherundolo, Michael Orozco, Carlos Bocanegra, Tim Chandler

The skinny: Once again Chandler is flip-flopped to the detriment of the attack on the left. Another two-hour examination for Orozco.

CDM: Maurice Edu

The skinny: “Run here.” “Now run over there.” “Now here.” “Over there.” That’s either Klinsmann barking directives at Edu in national team practice or the outtake reel of a bad Old Spice commercial.

CM-hub: Kyle Beckerman

The skinny: Dr. Magic Spray could work no charms on Torres or Holden. Make a go of it Senor Headbutt.

CM-box-to-box: Michael Bradley

The skinny: Another chance for Michael Bradley to push forward in the attack. Freed from the double-headed responsibility of managing the States’ attack and funneling the opponent on defense, will Bradley get that role and will he play with confidence after a fast start at Chievo?

LM/RM: Brek Shea, Clint Dempsey

The skinny: The quintessential on the right, the protege on the left. A perfect complementary duo actually.

Dempsey the junkballing, herky-jerkey Vegas dealer who loves to play now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t; Shea the loping, angle-taker who can get vertical (both aerially and pitch-wise) in a hurry.

Jozy Altidore in "The Drifter"

STR: Jozy Altidore

The skinny: The continued maturation of Altidore at the national level needs one thing: consistency for 90 minutes.

“The Drifter” needs to lose the nickname.


» Dempsey moves centrally to CAM, *someone to right mid, Bradley is dropped.

Odds: 25%

The skinny: It’s possible–though the pesky issue of not having a right flanker–could Tim Chandler conceivably play that role?–makes it difficult.

» DaMarcus Beasley to LB

Odds: 35%

The skinny: A better shot here. Jurgen Klinsmann likes defensively-lite, attacking lefty fullbacks from the Primera who should be playing midfield.

Typecast! And a few more caps from Beasley and the man is amazingly over 100.

» A 3-man backline; a 5-man midfield

Odds: C’mon man, gimme a break

The skinny: Yeah, it won’t happen, but the personnel sort-of-might-kind-of make sense here. You’d have the backline of Orozco-Onyewu-Bocanegra preceded by–in some staggered vertical ordering–Beasley-Beckerman-Edu-Bradley-Chandler

Won’t happen, but I had a blast writing that last paragraph.

About the Opponent: Honduras

Many US fans are quite familiar with Honduras with the US having played the central American club five times in the past slightly more than two years. That and the progressions of formations from LA H are somewhat similar to the ones that Bob Bradley used to go through.

Honduran matches during the Bradley era were typically wars of attrition with each team striving to make as few errors from midfield back and with the opponent looking to pounce on those opportunities.

Honduras typically plays a 4-4-2 and works the offense around the hashmarks, but if the situation dictates La H will migrate to a 4-1-4-1 (against better teams) or a 4-2-3-1 (though rarely).

La H's attack involves interplay between the wingers and the strikers on the hashmarks...

As for the Honduran personnel, that’s actually less predictable this go-around, inverse to past rosters and, upon review, rather, well, weak. The roster is young with many players having single digit caps and only two players older than 27 who are candidates to start.

No idea on who the keeper is–let’s move on.

Honduras typically has a soft underbelly in central defense. However, youth captain Jhonny Leveron and Osman Chavez, who has come into his own with top Polish club Wisła Kraków, will start here before qualifying and try to change that perception heading into 2012.

EPL star Maynor Figueroa has been deployed centrally for the Wigan Latics this campaign but he’ll slide out to his more comfortable leftback position while grey-haired  Mauricio Sabillon, whose lost a step and will have his hands full with Shea and perhaps Beasley, mans the right.

The Honduran defensive central midfield used to showcase a duo you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley showdown in Wilson Palacios and Hendry Thomas–two cut from the “speak softly and carry a big stick” ilk.

The pair would snuff out even the faintest hint of an attack in the central midfield and allow their forwards and wingers to freelance more up the pitch creating offense.

Both, however, are injured and out for this one which will surely hurt on both sides of the ball.

Take a guess as will we to the central midfield double is because it’s been a rotating cast since the Gold Cup.

Our best? Sporting KC’s Roger Espinoza plays the left central holder role while Olimpia’s Boniek Garcia shuffles in from his club right wing position. Big thumpers they are not–though Espinoza has been known to mix it up on the pitch from time-to-time, often after the whistle.

There’s a chance that former sensation Mario Martinez (who is oddly out of contract) is thrown into one of these roles as well. Martinez spent some time on loan in the same locker room as Sacha Kljestan at Anderlecht.

Elder statesmen, 32-year-old Julio César de León is back and will make himself available on the left hash mark. If you catch yourself figuratively attempting to put a finger on why his name is familiar to US national team fans, it’s because he knocked in that first goal at San Pedro Sula nearly two years ago to the day.

Hoops star Marvin Chavez: Hard to corral in MLS this year...

The right flank sees some MLS pride. Marvin Chavez is firing for FC Dallas right now, pairing with Shea to drive the Hoops’ bus in David Ferreira’s absence.

You can’t say the US dodged a bullet by missing a possible introduction of DC United’s Andy Najar because both Chavez and de León are very talented.

Up top, Carlos Costly was called in to provide a calm outlet up the pitch while whoever is in central midfield for the Yanks has to always keep an eye on Vida’s Jerry Bengston who looked fabulous in this year’s Gold Cup.

The Honduran team is young, inexperienced and lacking some of the physical traits that US teams have come to be bruised by in games against their CONCACAF foe.

If the US can’t control possession in this one, Jurgen Klinsmann should be challenged on it.

72 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Ryan on 2011/10/06 at 12:31 AM

    Klinsy commented about how he had someone in Italy watching Bradley’s match with two assists where he played out on the right. Could he try Deuce underneath Jozy (or another striker) and Bradley on the right? I have a weird feeling we’re going to see him try it and very little actual reasoning why I think we’ll see it. Just a feeling.


    • Posted by EFG on 2011/10/06 at 6:33 AM

      I posited the question last week and was laughed off the comments section!


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/10/06 at 6:42 AM

        It’s possible but Bradley doesn’t really take on attacker or loop in crosses. I would be surprised.


        • Posted by EFG on 2011/10/06 at 7:52 AM

          But if we keep being fed that “results don’t matter*” and Klinsmann is still tinkering (for a lack of a better word), then why not try it?

          *Note: Personally, I’m over the “results don’t matter” ethos, but that’s a discussion for another time.


          • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/10/06 at 9:19 AM

            I am fully in the results don’t matter camp but thats not an excuse to try anything. I have watched a lot of MB90 over the years and never have I seen him take on a defender one on one and cut in and drive to the goal for a shot or beat the defender wide and fire in a cross. Sorry but at least one those are two requisite skills if you are basically a forward in 4-3-3.


            • Posted by EFG on 2011/10/06 at 9:25 AM

              Oh, wait, we were calling for Bradley to be a forward in a 4-3-3 because I’m not for that at all. For some reason when I looked at the diagram above I thought I saw Bradley in a more defensive spot. I think I like where he in the diagram.

              Sorry for the confusion.

            • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/10/06 at 10:25 AM

              I may have misread your comment. I assumed you were talking about within the 4-3-3 discussed in the article. If you went 4-4-1-1 or something like that then I think Bradley could play on the right.

            • Posted by dikranovich on 2011/10/06 at 8:56 PM


            • Posted by justin on 2011/10/06 at 9:31 PM

              i can kindof understand this conversation, but I don’t think bradley will help the team by isolating him to the side of the field in the attacking third. His biggest contribution to the team is on the defensive end.

              Let’s keep him in the middle of the field, while we can leave that space open for wingers currently in form on the roster and those up-and-comers.

    • Posted by Dave on 2011/10/06 at 8:23 AM

      How about taking a look at Agudelo on the right side? Does he have enough defensive qualities? It might be too risky to try it with Clnt as the ACM, but I’d be more comfortable with Bradley, Beckerman & Edu in the central midfield – if Deuce were to come off or sit one of the two games.

      If Jurgen’s system is only going to have one striker, and we see Jozy & Agudelo as key players in the future, one of them has to find a new spot.


      • Posted by mbw on 2011/10/06 at 8:48 AM

        I second this (so long as it looks like Jozy can go 80+). Agudelo for Edu and Williams for Beckerman at the half — MB as 6, Williams as 8, Deuce as 10, Agudelo as 7.


        • Posted by justin on 2011/10/06 at 9:33 PM

          that would be great if they had to switch jerseys as they subbed onto the field so they knew their positions from their numbers


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/10/06 at 9:53 AM

        I would actually prefer to see Agudelo as the target man. Jozy’s first tough have always betrayed him and he doesn’t make the killer pass often enough in that role.
        Agudelo seems primed for it. He knows when to come back on defense and help and he can hold up the ball until his teammates come up the field.

        If anything, Altidore loves to drag out wide…he should head out there…with the exception of he loves to play on the left and that seems to be Shea’s spot to lose right now.

        If Altidore keeps scoring at the club level and starts to show more frequently for the national team, he should be the guy. However if he remains inconsistent I favor him as #2 on the depth chart.

        (A hard thing to say given his current form and Agudelo’s).


        • Posted by dth on 2011/10/06 at 1:57 PM

          I don’t know, I think Jozy shows a much better instinct for the pass than Agudelo does.

          The trouble for me is how to reproduce the combinations Jozy’s able to set up and participate in with AZ with the USMNT. Agudelo just wants to put his head down and go, which is a more portable style.


          • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/10/06 at 3:59 PM

            Hardly with Jozy. I would question the observations there. Jozy typically tries a very quick one-touch give-and-go pass or his pass if of the safe matter.

            Agudelo is looking to pass out of trouble if possible first, but he typically ends up holding on to it.

            The numbers back up this contention as well. In the most recent series: Juan Agudelo was near flawless in his passing completing over 96% of his passes.

            Jozy was closer to 50%.

            With due respect, I would question your observations or ask for data that I’m missing here.


            • Posted by dth on 2011/10/06 at 8:36 PM

              Certainly different with USMNT, but on Bursaspor and AZ Jozy showed a nice eye for the pass.

              Meanwhile, whenever I see Juan play in new york, I start shouting at him to get his darn head up. And there’s a Michael Bradleyish issue with Agudelo’s pass completion statistics: they cover up the times he only reluctantly passes when he’s exhausted options to personally score, or the times his passes are off, etc. I know a lot of New York fans call Agudelo “Princess” because he (in their eyes) refuses to pass the ball. Not sure I’d go that far, but that’s certainly there.

        • Posted by Martin on 2011/10/06 at 5:15 PM

          If you watch Jozy at AZ during this latest hot streak, those two wingers of his in the 4-3-3 create a lot of opportunities for him.

          They certainly cut down the need for him to go out wide in search of the ball as he is wont to do when with the USMNT.


        • Posted by justin on 2011/10/06 at 9:40 PM

          i don’t know if i’ve seen agudelo play enough on any level to say that he’s the best american striker and #1 on the depth chart.

          however it would be cool to see altidore as a winger. I’m not gonna say they are a perfect match but he has a time or two reminded me of anelka and the outside striker role he plays at chelsea.


        • Posted by Dave on 2011/10/07 at 8:56 AM

          I see your points on Jozy being a better option on the right than Juan. My rationale for suggesting Agudelo is that he seems to show more effort tracking back, has a quicker initial burst & is trickier on the dribble. My main point is that I’d like to see them on the field together, especially if Jurgen deploys three defensive-minded central mids, so I’m glad to see the discussion.

          I apologize if this has been discussed before, but I continue to read conflicting reports on the topic. Does Blackburn’s David “Junior” Hollett have the ability to get a US passport & play for the USMNT?


    • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/06 at 1:29 PM

      When he plays on the right for Chievo isn’t more of a right central mid? The game before that they went out in a 4-3-1-2 and Bradley was the right of the 3 central mids.

      Weren’t his assists off of corners?


  2. Posted by Bob on 2011/10/06 at 4:16 AM

    Replace Torres with Beckerman on the field map.


  3. Posted by anon on 2011/10/06 at 7:45 AM

    Really missing Feilhaber I think – would be a great Torres substitute. Also would have like Rolfe as a late game sub.


  4. Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/10/06 at 9:15 AM

    The Buddle in for Donovan is even more preplexing now that I have read the preview. Would have loved to see Feilhaber in the role TSG has Bradley or Gatt in the Dempsey spot and Dempsey in the Bradley spot.


  5. Posted by Luke S on 2011/10/06 at 10:08 AM

    @TSG : just regarding your recent tweet about chris rolfe, i understand that smaller strikers don’t have much of a place in this new system (which makes sense) but rolfe has almost exclusively played wide right in recent months and has looked really good. not unreasonable to hope to see him called in given the lack of depth on the right side


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/10/06 at 10:13 AM

      Agreed — if the role were wide that may be a possibility. What’s working against him is quite a bit there though I think you would agree: 1) finding room for Donovan, Dempsey and probably both 2) pet project Robbie Rogers and up-and-coming youngsters Josh Gatt & Joseph Gyau …and maybe even Bobby Wood 3) he’s injury-prone and getting older and really hasn’t made his mark beyond MLS.

      In my opinion I would pass on him unless you are looking for some speed off the bench.


      • Posted by Luke S on 2011/10/06 at 10:45 AM

        I agree. I really want to keep seeing dempsey in that #10 role though. It gets us more numbers in the attack, and i’m not a big fan of his play on the left for us recently. Since we don’t have a left footed left back, we can’t afford for him to cut in and play centrally so much. Since I don’t really want to see dempsey out wide, I would have hoped to see somebody called in to back up landon and, now that landon is out, would have REALLY hoped to see a possible right winger replace him. maybe rolfe, or gatt, or even bedoya.


      • Posted by Luke S on 2011/10/06 at 10:58 AM

        I know in this camp we don’t have much of a choice, but I’m not a fan of the Bradley-Edu-Beckerman (similar to Bradley-Jones-Edu against Colombia). I would rather see Bradley-Holden when healthy-Dempsey or, in this case, Jones/Edu-Bradley-Dempsey with Shea and Donovan wide. Our offense has definitely been lacking but I think having Dempsey more as a withdrawn 2nd forward could help that. Do you think Bradley Holden Dempsey would work, with either Bradley and Holden sitting while the other one goes forward (switching periodically)?


      • Posted by scweeb on 2011/10/06 at 8:18 PM

        Hate to think about this but looking at the coming up World cup both Landon and Dempsey are going to be old. . . And well both are for the most part healthy (knocking on wood). Do we still see them having the impact that they do now? Or dare i say is it time to look for new blood. Kinda like when they came onto the seen in the Japan World Cup


      • Posted by dth on 2011/10/06 at 8:33 PM

        Wood is an interesting case. I’m not sure anyone knows what his best position is yet.

        Would be good if 1860 gave him some frickin’ playing time. (a second pet peeve after Amobi Okugo)>


        • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/10/07 at 6:14 AM

          I think Wood was out with an injury for a couple of weeks, but he’s been getting playing time (and scoring goals) for the U-23 squad recently.


  6. Posted by Union on 2011/10/06 at 10:27 AM

    Making the rounds that Omar Gonzalez would consider playing for Mexico (would he even have a shot of making the team?). Interesting, at least some of this must be born out of his frustration over being excluded from Jurgen’s plans so far. I don’t really understand the reluctance to bring Omar in. The only thing that makes sense is if Arena has said he wants Omar to stick with the Galaxy or if Jurgen wants to see how much his veteran defenders have left in the tank before calling in the younger guys. Or maybe we all just overrate Omar as an International player. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but Omar isn’t the type of centerback that European coaches salivate over (which might be why he is still in America, despite being fairly dominating against MLS attackers at a young age). While he is a power to be reckoned with physically and is a big force in the air, his ball skills are still suspect. I agree in that he still has an enormous amount of potential and can work pass that. I mean, we all know that Gooch has had a terrific career despite being a subpar distributor. But Jurgen has placed a high premium on players that are technically sound and that might be why Omar is left out.


    • Posted by Union on 2011/10/06 at 10:43 AM

      Sorry, read more about it now (from TSG’s tweets and such). Seems overblown. As these things usually are.


  7. Posted by matthewsf on 2011/10/06 at 10:44 AM

    A few things:

    1) Tim Ream and I believe Heath Pearce are the only CBs that have been brought in under JK. It’s clear that JK favors distribution and also looks like he is looking for a Cannavaro-Nesta type pairing.

    His short term issue here? Carlos Bocanegra — no handles and positionally sound but not defensively dominant. (I think that’s why you are seeing Oguchi Onyewu in camp this October).

    Anyway, if Ream can improve his defense he’s tall enough to command the box and JK goes with a tracker on the right — thus far being Orozco Fiscal.

    I think Geoff Cameron gets in that mix eventually and now where do you place Omar or George John?

    2) It’s no guarantee that Gonzo will get a better shot south of the border. Mex have Álvarez(19) Araujo (20) and Moreno (23) — no lock down south for Gonzo either.

    And they only play 3 in the back.

    In Klinsy’s new world order, unless in my opinion, Gonzo drastically improves his touch (yes, it’s improved this year) or goes to Europe and shows he is defensively dominant, he’ll be on the outside looking in.


    • Posted by Luke S on 2011/10/06 at 10:51 AM

      I understand that Omar is on the outside right now, but it’s weird to see him overlooked time and time again knowing that he has another option (and that his other option is our bitter rival). Also, looking to the future, his age should be working in his favor. Bocanegra is in his 30’s and Goodson and Gooch aren’t much younger. After him, we don’t have a clear choice for the future. In my opinion, Ream Pearce and Orozco are average at best and don’t appear to have much of an upside in terms of future improvement (except for Ream I guess) whereas Gonzalez appears to have great potential. It’s kind of like how Klinsmann has been bringing Hamid into every camp. He’s young, and Klinsmann is trying to develop him early so that he will be that much better when it’s his time to be our #1. Since our back-up center back aren’t crucial for these camps, it would be nice to see some Klinsmann rotate a little in order to get a better feel for each player. It seems he knows plenty about Ream and Orozco, and John (and even more-so Gonzalez) deserve chances to show Klinsmann what they can do. The fact that they have other options in terms of national teams means they should be getting looked at in these camps.


      • While I would like to see Gonzalez at some point, I would be far more disappointed to lose George John.


        • Posted by Luke S on 2011/10/06 at 11:18 AM

          I can’t yet tell who is more important for the future but, for me, Gonzalez’s age is huge. Also, why should we have to consider who we would rather lose? We should make damn sure that they both play for the US and that starts by actually bringing them into camps and making them feel wanted.


          • Posted by Martin on 2011/10/06 at 5:37 PM

            All of you seem to be assuming John and Gonzo are sure-fire future stars. You’re also assuming they are wanted by JK.

            My reading of it would be there are no gurantees on the first part and for the second they are not wanted by JK.

            At least not for this bunch of games.

            While he has been here for 15 years or whatever I think we all forget JK played at the highest, most competitive level for the longest time. The man had to fight to get where he is.

            I’ll bet he’s seen players twice as good as those two never get a sniff of their national teams.

            My assumption is, if he thinks they are any good, he has spoken with both of them and told then what he has planned for them.

            JK is the boss. If they aren’t cool with that then they can go play for whoever but I doubt JK will lose any sleep over it.

            After all, he has repeatedly said he want’s players who really want to play for the US. He wants guys who are willing to sacrifice. After all there are only two starting centerback spots available at any given time.

            If I’m JK and Gonzo is pulling this whiny stuff my attitude is “So instead of buckling down, shutting his mouth and working even harder to eliminate the flaws every one can see in his game he tries to lobby me through the press? Who does he think he is Philip Lamm? F**k him.”

            But that’s me. I’m sure JK is far more diplomatic.


            • Posted by dth on 2011/10/06 at 7:14 PM

              Uh….I don’t see a lot of assumptions that they are sure-fire signs here. I see a post calling Gonzo “clumsy,” a post admitting Gonzo’s not his favorite, a post calling George John a tweener…I don’t see a lot of OTT enthusiasm here.

              That said, I do think it’s strange that Klinsmann hasn’t tried out more CBs, particularly those who are playing at a high level in MLS, particularly when he’s been set on some fairly average players.

              And while Klinsmann may have spent 15 years at the highest level, we aren’t asking him to play for us. We’re asking him to coach us. And you should be at least the slightest bit wary of his coaching record.

            • Posted by Martin on 2011/10/06 at 10:38 PM


              A national team camp has a limited amount of time, space and personnel. If I’m JK or any national team manager, I’m only bringing in people that I’m very sure I have a particular interest in for that particular time period. I sincerely doubt any serious national team manager just brings in people for a “look see” so to speak.

              What most of these posts are really saying is they want to see these how these guys look with the USMNT.

              What JK is saying, in my view, is “I don’t need to see them right now. Based on our reports, we’ve got other priorities.”
              Getting capped or even called into camp, that is in itself already a big honor. It means the USMNT think they are worthy of an even closer look.

              Apparently, JK feels John and Gonzo haven’t earned that honor.

              You earn that honor by playing well at the club level but that is not enough. You also have to show you have a skill set or a characteristic that fits into whatever it is the team needs. Omar is at best a facsimile of the younger Gooch. If Gooch is back and playing well then and holds his form until 2014 (hardly an impossibility) then what do you need Omar for? Tell me something Omar can do, other than stay healthy, which an in-form Gooch can’t?

              Do you stick him with Gooch to learn from him? Apparently, the JK feels Omar hasn’t earned that privilege yet. He’ll just have to pick it up from Berhalter or some other coach in Europe when they buy him.

              All those other MLS center backs you are concerned about? Apparently they don’t have what JK wants or they haven’t shown it yet. Maybe they’ve shown it to you but I guess JK doesn’t agree with you.

              Since his Blackburn trauma, John has not played well. Omar may be doing well in the context of the Galaxy defense perhaps but from what I have seen he is clearly not international level yet.

              As for Klinsmann’s playing experience in this instance it is helpful because he has insight into the kind of mental makeup he wants from his players. Omar doesn’t seem to have it right now.

              And why should I be “at least the slightest bit wary of his coaching record.”?

              I did not hire him and I’m not paying him. If he fails it is no reflection on me. As a spectator I find JK interesting to watch and so far it’s been fun to see the changes and the little twists and turns. I once wrote that he could do a much better managing job than Bradley and still have a worse record from the results standpoint.

              The USMNT is developing and I’ll be fascinated to see what the team looks like.

              Besides, whatever his coaching record was, it’s irrelevant now. He has the job and, for better or worse, JK is unlikely to be fired anytime soon.

            • Posted by Crow on 2011/10/07 at 6:40 AM

              I had been critical of some of Martin’s posts in the past, but I must say that these are very well written- and I’m not even saying that I completely agree with them.

              I once had high hopes for Omar Gonzalez, but maybe I was being a bit unrealisitc.

            • Posted by Martin on 2011/10/07 at 8:09 AM


              Just to sum up this USMNT selection controversy:

              Basically you and most posters think of it in terms of individuals that you fancy, this CB or that LB or that MF.

              The reality is, especially for a new guy like JK who is trying to change the previous culture, it’s about combinations of players, a back four, a five man midfield a one , two or three man front line and so on. JK has to find the combinations of players that work best with each other to form the best eleven.

              These combinations, for example, a back four, need to play with the same four players for a period of time before they can be properly judged. I don’t know exactly how long that is but it’s likely to be more than one or two games.

              So do the math. It’s all about math.

              Figure out how many games there are before qualifying and how many players need to be seen playing together for at least a minimum amount of time.

              I think you will find JK’s time is very limited. There is no time for this “Hey, Starikov just scored for three games in a row, let’s bring him in, stick him next to Jozy in the Honduras game and see what happens! After all it can’t hurt right?”.

              Well yeah it can hurt. Time is money and there are only so many opportunities to fairly judge a player or more accurately, combinations of players.

              Maybe then you can see that someone like JK has to look at maybe ten CB candidates and whittle it down to four or so and say” Okay, we focus on these guys”.

              Some guys, who individually may be better than player x or player y, will be left out but that isn’t important; what is important is how the unit, these four guys, play together. To paraphrase Marcello Lippi, who managed Italy to their last World Cup win, “ it’s not about the best 11 players, it’s about the 11 who play the best together “.

              This is a quote from Steve Jobs.

              I included the entire quote for the sake of context but the relevant part for this discussion is the second paragraph

              ( Matt Dunham/Reuters )
              “Innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10:30 at night with a new idea, or because they realized something that shoots holes in how we’ve been thinking about a problem. It’s ad hoc meetings of six people called by someone who thinks he has figured out the coolest new thing ever and who wants to know what other people think of his idea.”

              “And it comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much. We’re always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.”

              You and many of these posters are mad at JK for saying no to you and your pet individuals when what he is trying to do is make the job manageable so he can concentrate on what is really important, the team and its performance as a unit.

            • Posted by dth on 2011/10/07 at 8:36 AM

              You say Klinsmann feels this way or that way, but to me, that’s not the issue. Of course he feels that way. It’s tautological to argue about this.

              What critics are saying is that Klinsmann shouldn’t feel that way.

              I mean, what matters when building a culture and building a team? Is it consistent excellence or is it flash in the pan? Because if it’s the former, Gonzalez and John are damn near closer than Orozco Fiscal. If there’s anyone on the roster who’s looked like a pet project at CB, it’s Orozco Fiscal. And, yeah, there are different units and it’s all about getting the best team on the field, not the best 11 players…but there’s nothing Orozco Fiscal gives you that other centerbacks don’t. There’s nothing Larentowicz gives you that other destroyers don’t. There’s nothing Onyewu gives you that other players don’t. Klinsmann is wasting an awful lot of time on old, mediocre players for no discernible reason.

            • Posted by Martin on 2011/10/07 at 1:11 PM


              Well that is your feeling and your opinion which is fine.

              All you are really saying is you think Klinsmann should follow your lead and the fact he does not upsets you. More to the point you apparently don’t think he should feel the way he does, which I find very interesting. They are his choices and he has to live with the consequences, you do not.

              What your feelings remind me of is how I felt when I‘ve been turned down for jobs. I felt that the people who turned me down were wrong to think the way they did and would someday rue the day but guess what, it’s their right to do so. Tough luck for me.

              The USMNT brain trust does not agree with your assesments of Fiscal, Larentowicz, Onyewu,Gonzalez and John. Maybe they should but they get a vote and you don’t.

              What you don’t talk about is there must be a reason why the brain trust prefers Onyewu, Fiscal and Larentowicz over the others. There must be a reason but, from what I can tell no one has given specific reasons to the media.

              After all you will probably never hear JK or any manager say “ Well Omar is just too slow and clumsy and until he figures out how to fix that, no way he gets on my team”.or “ MLS strikers are one thing let’s see how John does when he has to face Aguero, Suarez or Rooney. After all Blackburn did not buy him did they?”.

              So the fact is you don’t know why those three are preferred other than vague generalities about best player for the moment or whatever other coaching BS those guys speak.

              You only know that you would not do it. You are missing a piece of the picture and none of us may ever see that piece.

              So really this all boils down to you don’t trust JK, Reyna, Dooley or any of those guys. And that is just fine. We’ll eventually see who is right and that is the entertaining part.

        • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/10/06 at 12:54 PM

          I’m off the opinion that George John is a little bit too much of a tweener. He doesn’t quite own the box and he doesn’t quite shut down all the big guys.

          He has a breadth of talent though.

          That’s why I would say that I’m leaning to slightly to Omar Gonzalez (of the two) as the one I wouldn’t want to lose. He is dominant in the air both in the attack and on defense.

          Would be great to see if Gonzalez playing on a terrible team where he is under constant bombardment.

          That would be a HUGE asterisk on this comment from me. When LAG was stretched against Dallas in the playoffs last year, only Todd Dunivant looked somewhat ok. De La Garza, Gonzalez and even our man Sean Franklin could not deal well with the pressure in transition.


        • Posted by dth on 2011/10/06 at 1:16 PM

          Gonzalez is too clumsy to be a top-flight CB, in my opinion. It’s not just his (lack of) lateral speed, it’s just that he does gawky, clumsy things from time to time. I remember one time he knocked out Ethan White in a DC-LAG game: no one got angry and Gonzalez profusefuly apologized, with the intention to communicate–I’M SORRY, I DON’T HAVE FULL CONTROL.

          Honestly, I can’t see this proclamation mattering much because I don’t think Mexico would have him. He doesn’t pass well and Mexico has some really good young options at CB. This is more of a “WTF are you doing calling Orozco Fiscal for?”


          • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/06 at 1:47 PM

            I see a lot of Gooch style calls going against Gonzalez if he’s playing internationally. The refs don’t seem to know how to handle a big guy that gets physical in the box if he’s not a known quantity. Gooch before the injury was much more athletic than Gonzalez in my opinion as well and he got called for a lot of fouls where he just overpowered his man.

            No chance he plays for Mexico on a regular basis. If he did play for them enough to get himself tied to them for good he would regret it.


    • Posted by Union on 2011/10/06 at 11:21 AM

      Well said Matt and I agree. I said last week that I’m astonished that Omar isn’t getting call ups. Not because I’m a super big fan of his, but because he is almost certainly a better option than Fiscal IMO. I think most European coaches (who as I said above, are not big fans of the giant CBs with no ball skills) would agree with that. So my bigger question is, what does the omission of Omar say about Jurgen’s mindset? JK has always said he wants the best players on the field at all times, which means the lineups will be pretty predictable. At the same time, you have to wonder why certain guys are being omitted if he is indeed looking for the best possible lineup. Buddle and FIscal do not make sense AT ALL for international duty.


      • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/10/06 at 2:32 PM

        I am curious if Omar/Gatt/John etc aren’t being called up becuase they definitely will be in January? If you are Klinsman one would hope you would lay things out in some sort of schedule. For example if you are going to give everyone a look or two over the first six months… why bring Omar now rather than the MLS offseason?


  8. Posted by Soccernst on 2011/10/06 at 11:18 AM

    I don’t think the central defense will be compromised like it was by Honduras under Sweats. With the US playing slower build up there is less room for Honduras to play smash and grab with our counter.


  9. Does an in form Gooch really not start ahead of Boca at this point? Is this just a sheer leadership thing, because in the next year I can no longer see (and stomach) Boca starting.


    • Posted by Aaron on 2011/10/06 at 4:35 PM

      Not sure where that is coming from. Boca is the most positionally sound CD that we have at our disposal and commands the back line better than anyone else. I’m pretty sure Klinnsy rates him highly as well.

      Its unknow if he will be available in 2014 but for now he will be very important to our qualifying. I also think he would be a great overage player to have in next year’s olympics (if Rangers would ever consider it).


    • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/07 at 4:37 AM

      Let’s see if Gooch is actually in form first before we start putting him in ahead of Mr. Consistency. Gooch has at this point played 4 games for Sporting after basically playing a total of what 10? games for 2 years. I think it’s a little early to start counting on Gooch.


  10. Posted by chazcar2 on 2011/10/06 at 1:32 PM

    I think you will see boca start next to Orozco and Gooch next to Ream. I have a feeling Klinsmann might try to make pairs.

    As for Gonzalez, he is still really young. For 2014 he would be 25. That is a bit young for a center back. Maybe if he dominating a top level league it would be a different story. What I can see happening is Ream getting groomed to replace boca for 2014 along side Gooch or Goodson. Then maybe another centerback comes to play along side Ream for 2018.

    Overall, I agree with having a “core structure”. These guys are only going to see so much of each other. It can be very hard to extrapolate performance from a bunch of B side games to the A side. Also you put too many unusual pieces together and everyone starts playing as individuals.

    I have scene bradley playing for Chievo and he looked to be deployed as a Right Midfielder in a Narrow 4-4-2 Diamond/4-3-3.

    I could see that working for the US

    When Altidore or Agudelo pull wide Dempsey can fill into the Center. Otherwise 3-5-2 for me please. Especially against a team playing a 4-4-2.

    Also a question. Do the position listed by US mean anything? Like did the coach specifically call in a player to be listed as a position?


  11. Posted by Colin on 2011/10/06 at 2:39 PM

    Three holding midfielders…


    • Posted by Alex on 2011/10/06 at 3:28 PM

      Makes me think of that Colombia Friendly last year…. UGH


      • Posted by justin on 2011/10/06 at 9:50 PM

        yeah, I’ve been thinking the same thing.
        But I have a feeling it won’t look the same with some of klinsi’s ideologies inserted into the central mids. And I actually think beckerman will do a better at sliding the ball up to the two midfielders ahead of him… alot better then J. Jones at least.
        I think we’ve got a 50% chance of seeing bradley and edu sit on top of beckerman, or have dempsey switch out one of those players for a midfield spot and slide agduelo or beasley out to the other wing.


  12. Posted by Excellency on 2011/10/06 at 3:42 PM

    @matthewsf –

    yr chart:

    Maybe the idea is to put Beasley at leftwing and Shea in Beckerman’s spot on your chart, which would increase the chances of putting something at the back of the net, I think.

    Down the road, we might see Shea at inside midfield with the wingbacks playing wide on attack in a 4-1-4-1 formation.

    The wingbacks would be the Katzenjammer kids, Fabian and Timmy.



    Dempsey Shea x Donovan

    – Bradley-

    Fabian x x Timmy


  13. Posted by Mark F on 2011/10/06 at 8:16 PM

    Insert Diskerud where Beckerman is, slide Bradley to Beckerman, insert Jones where Edu is.



  14. Posted by dikranovich on 2011/10/06 at 8:44 PM

    jim leyland, the hero of a nation. we new you could do it. who will be the hero sat night? probably a flying pig or dirty donkey, or whatever


    • Posted by scipio on 2011/10/07 at 12:42 AM

      I’m actually at a loss for words. This post makes about as much sense as Wayne Rooney’s magical ability to halt hairline recession.


      • Posted by fellaini's_fro on 2011/10/07 at 6:50 PM

        Agreed. What the heck? There is another post about some college football game too on here. I hope the boobs don’t start coming over here and ruining a fine website like so many others have been with their idiotic behavior.


    • Posted by Crow on 2011/10/07 at 6:17 AM

      Comment HOF nominee anyone?


  15. Posted by Union on 2011/10/07 at 9:59 AM

    Jurgen needs a win. Especially against a CONCACAF opponent who we might need to beat in qualifying (I forget how it is set up currently in terms of who the US will likely face). Thus, I think you’ll see as close a A team as he can field out of the current player pool. I also think this is why, must to my annoyance, we don’t have a lot of young unproven guys in camp this time around.

    GK: Howard

    Def: ‘Dolo, Fiscal, Boca, Chandler

    -I think its a mistake using Chandler out left since he’s been doing so well on the right side and ‘Dolo has been off form. But what other options are there? Also, quick aside, I highly doubt we see Danny Williams/ Fabian Johnson on defense despite what posters have been saying. Both guys are at their best in MF and MF is also their preferred position. I could be wrong, but thats how I see it.

    MF – —–Beckerman—–

    —–Bradley ———–Edu———–

    -I don’t like this as I think we’re going to see the usual 2-3 Americans vs 6 defenders in the box, but I think its the best option unless Danny Williams somehow sneaks into the starting lineup (I think you’ll see him take Bradley/Edu’s spot at the 60/70 min mark. Hopefully Bradley can build off of what he has done at Chievo in terms of creating. I think he has it in him and he is by far the best player out of those 3.

    FW: Dempsey——Jozy——–Shea

    -Seems pretty straightforward. 0 chance Agudelo gets the nod over Jozy, despite that Agudelo is probably better suited as target striker. Shea is exhausted and recent reviews have been fairly negative, but who else is going to win a game for you on the left side? Dempsey on the right isn’t my favorite spot for him, but he’s the only good option w/ this crop of guys. And he generally rises to the occasion regardless.


  16. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/10/07 at 11:04 AM

    When the first WCQ starts next year, it will be interesting to see how different it is compared to the team that got eliminated from the WC by Ghana – in terms of personnel, formation and tactics / playing style.


    • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/07 at 11:27 AM

      I think it will be quite a bit different in terms of personnel with half the team being German Americans that are under 25 and play in the Bundesliga.


  17. TSG community: I’m stuck in western PA with no access to FSC. Anybody know if the game is being shown somewhere around the Pittsburgh area?




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