US National Team Trains With 24 In Advance of Ukraine Match

Can Gooch turn back the clock?

Can Gooch turn back the clock?

Klinsmann with a few surprises for next week’s US match.

The roster….

GOALKEEPERS (3): Cody Cropper (Southampton), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton)

DEFENDERS (7): John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt), Oguchi Onyewu (Sheffield Wednesday), Will Packwood (Birmingham City), Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Brek Shea (Barnsley), Danny Williams (Reading)

FORWARDS (6): Juan Agudelo (Utrecht), Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar)

Some thoughts:

> Big camp for Danny Williams and Oguchi Onyewu. Both–it says here–have a shot at Brazil. US still needs to look at a Williams or Mo Edu type as a permutation to tracking players like Ronaldo or Reus when they come inside. Just think the work that Edu did on Gio Dos Santos in Mexico City last year. That guy hasn’t been in camp. Dark horse here? Alfredo Morales who Klinsi-san seems to have a soft spot for.

> Quite a reward for Will Packwood. Back from a broken leg and getting a senior look–hell of a validation.

> Klinsmann continues to check the Brek Shea box hoping the youngster can provide the true kind of width that Fabian Johnson still has consistency problems with as well. Shea is a very possible World Cup call along the lines of a Wondo or even Boyd. Somebody who the opposition is not familiar with who maybe doesn’t have the consistency and won’t play more than 20 total minutes, but presents a different look, i.e. Walcott for England in 2006 or Edson Buddle for the US in 2010.

> The RB competition now looks set: Cameron vs. Evans vs. perhaps Parkhurst. The US will keep their RB at home and cover with the indefatigueable Graham Zusi and Alejandro Bedoya over the top. Up second for the US in Brazil? Ronaldo. There looks to be little shot now that Timmy Chandler or Steve Cherundolo get re-integrated.

26 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Chazcar2 on 2014/02/27 at 3:02 PM

    I would like to see 4-3-3/4-4-2 hybrid, not a 4-2-3-1


    but what we will likely see

    The second formation is probably better for evaluting the centerbacks, using a more consistant midfield. but the first is the formation I would like to work toward in brazil.


    DM: Williams, Cameron, Beckerman, Jones(despite being a destroyer Jones is not a DM, not enough discipline)
    LFB: Beasley, Johnson, Castillo, Ream
    RFB: Cameron, Evans, Parkhurst, Lichaj, ? Bueller?

    One last addition, only because we have these players that feel like hybrid fullbacks, centerbacks, 3-5-2



    • Posted by Chazcar2 on 2014/02/28 at 9:39 AM

      One point about my exclusion of Jones from my own preferred line ups. To me Jones should be Bradley’s backup. He plays a similar role on the field for the team, but not as well. The team needs a dedicated holding defensive midfielder on the field. Bradley and Jones are box-to-box players. While I agree Jones is probably better than most of the other players, he is injury prone, reckless and aging. If we would embrace the holding role I think we could really complete the team, but he has shown that its not really in his make up.


      • Posted by gino744 on 2014/02/28 at 8:06 PM

        Just a quick counterpoint. Jones won’t be turning to dust before this summer so even if he’s aging, he’s still quicker and more experienced at this level than Beckerman, Williams, Kljestan, et al. Klinsmann has already shown that he favors Jones to other options in midfield and changing formations (particularly a 3-man backline) just a few months before Brazil is unlikely.


    • Posted by Chazcar2 on 2014/02/28 at 9:57 AM

      Also preemptively about the 3-man backline being bad versus 1 striker. I would argue that as long as you play aggressively it can work. see a few “zonal marking” links below:
      italy vs spain in euro2012 group
      wigan using a 3-4-3
      wigan beating ManCity in 2013

      To me it all comes back to players.
      -Geoff Cameron is one of the most consistent performers at the “elite league” club level. I think we really need to figure out how to get him on the field in a systems that maximizes him.
      -Gonzalez/Onewyu are good in the air, but not really with the ball.
      -Besler/Ream are left footed and seem to work better distributing up the left side of the field and that side for the LFB (who acts more like a wingback)
      -Fabian Johnson isn’t a great defender, and is better up the field.
      -Altidore works better with someone in close support
      -Dempsey likes to free lance in behind, but usually starting left of center
      -Donovan can work as a striker or a wide attacker.

      not to get into why a 3-6-1 is a bad idea ( 1998) I could draw up a nice 3-4-3 or 3-6-1 with our player pool. But it really needs to be practiced and the players need to understand and believe in it.



  2. Posted by gino744 on 2014/02/27 at 10:36 PM

    Not too sure what to make of this roster. I get the feeling that Klinsmann has more questions than answers regarding his starting XI and full roster for Brazil. I suppose I can understand why he left off so many MLS players since the season starts so soon. Still, there are some question marks.

    As I’m writing this, it occurs to me that maybe Klinsmann actually has most of his Brazil roster inked in already and this game is just another opportunity to see who might catch on as a reserve. Not so much the game itself but the training camp for this game. There are some names here I know little about (Cropper, Morales, Packwood) and others I thought were pretty much out of the picture (Gooch, Ream, Williams, Shea, Agudelo) for this cycle.

    I’m guessing that Lichaj’s recent injury problem excluded him from one last opportunity to impress. Same with Chandler maybe. Why is Castillo here from Liga MX but not Beasley or Orozco-Fiscal? DMB is most likely on the team but it seems MOF isn’t even on the bubble anymore. For that matter is it the same for Corona, Herc Gomez or Torres? None of them are getting many starting apps anymore. Might we see one or two of them on the roster against Mexico in April?

    I guess I’ll have a better understanding of what JK is thinking when the next Orange Slices post comes.


  3. Posted by KMac on 2014/02/27 at 10:59 PM

    Gino, I feel you are correct about ink being dry. In addition to knowing the “spine” and preferred starting 11, and subs, for the group g matches at the moment , Klinsmann is still exploring depth and wild cards to pull from in the knock out rounds, and to encourage competition until the last minute. He is experienced enough with the big show to be playing out injury/card scenarios on his head, as well as fully understanding the tactical “tools” he has to keep opposition guessing. I have seen in my time enough injury and card problems to know I would want to know ALL my options until I have to submit the roster for the cup. This is a long shot, but Juergi could also be using deception in Europe to thwart German, Portuguese, and other scouts that will undoubtably be in Cyprus. Maybe I watch too many spy films and strategize too much. Maybe not.


  4. Posted by justin on 2014/02/27 at 11:11 PM

    Not to hard to break down from my perspective.
    From Klinsi’s comments the spine is take care of.

    Along the lines of Matt, my big points for the game are:
    -Who is the RB? (I hope Cam has a great 90 min showing and quiets the crowd),
    -Back up CBs? (Will we even see anything out of Cameroon or will he just be covering his two CBs all game)
    -Where does the IceMan play could he start/sub on the wing? Or he strictly a super-sub to Jozy/Duece?
    -Can Castillo contend with Beasley for LB backup (I don’t see Johnson at LM at WC, just too many wingers and too few LBs)
    – What is the original (post-Dooley) Germerican’s fitness level? Has he even played a game for Beşiktaş? (Can D. Will come back into contention with the likes of Beckerman)
    -Can Bedoya really threaten Donovan or Zusi for playing time?
    -Kjestian vs Mix? (In 4 months does it even matter in Brazil….. no)


    • Posted by cpjuengel on 2014/02/28 at 7:37 AM

      i think bedoya threatens zusi. they are at the same level IMO but do different things. bedoya can cut and take on defends, but zusi has that cross..
      BUT, when fighting for the same spot, neither threaten LD.. but hopefully “same spot” wont be the case


      • Zusi and Bedoya are the same player.

        Both are originally central midfielders forced to play out wide and doing a good job though they lack true winger instincts. Both also support their fullback very well and could play fullback in a pinch..

        And both can take over for Donovan.

        Which means you have three essentially identical midfielders. Having someone who brings something different to the table, like Shea can sometimes prove to be a very big deal..

        If Donovan gets cut by JK, Bedoya makes it otherwise he is very much at risk.


  5. sad to not see Lichaj or chandler, but its understandable, JK wants to keep his crew on the same page throughout all the these friendlies, just like over the past year. so there can only be a few “extras” I guess i just would have liked to see Lichaj over Ream. Given that in Theory, the CBs are more shored up than the outside backs…Is ream going to get a spot? i doubt it. but i guess i still pull for that guy anyway.

    gosh is danny williams gonna break my heart again? he always comes into camp with so much promise then squanders it in the games with the USMNT.

    I believe in shea like JK, its intangible and illogical, but its TRUE. haha

    QUESTION: Will we get to see Jozy, LD, Duece, Bradley and Jones on the feild at the sametime before brazil? to me those 5 are starting every game, its the other offensive spot that is up for grabs: zusi, bedoya, AJ, FJ


  6. Posted by Usually Ranting on 2014/02/28 at 1:00 PM

    I’ll just say it – can anyone give me a good reason why JK doesn’t just offer Julian Green and Shawn Parker a spot on the roster? Cap tie them. They can be a spark off the bench/potentially an X factor that Donovan was in 2002. The roster is immediately boosted for years to come. The players get to go to a World Cup for this year and many years to come. Plus the chance to be the next Landon Donovan/Clint Dempsey and benefit from all the US marketing money that comes with that. I dunno. Just seems like a no brainer. The downside is pissing off US nationals who think spots are being handed away to 18 year old Germans. That is whatever to me.


    • Posted by gino744 on 2014/02/28 at 7:56 PM

      Julian Green probably wouldn’t commit to the US even if JK promised him the moon and the stars for the simple reason that Green wants to see if he can make the German squad. Not the 2014 squad but the 2018 team. If I’m not mistaken, he has lived more of his life in Germany and as he was raised by his German mother feels at least as German as he does American, if not more so. He may very well identify himself more as a German soccer player, much like Giuseppe Rossi did with Italy.


      • Posted by D on 2014/03/01 at 12:20 PM

        I don’t know a ton about Green, but I was under the impression that he lived here in the States until he was 14, at which point he signed with Bayern and went into their system. Is that not true?


        • Posted by gino744 on 2014/03/01 at 8:33 PM

          I double checked and Wikipedia says he moved to Germany when he was two. Another source just said when he was very young. Supposedly, his father is pushing for him to play for the US but I believe he has stronger ties to him mother and Germany.


          • Posted by Usually Ranting on 2014/03/02 at 3:10 PM

            Gino – Respectfully, there is nothing that points to that being the case. Let me say first, I will not be the least bit surprised if Green ends up going with the German National Team. And there are a lot of factors that will push him that direction. That said, if you don’t think going to a World Cup at the age of 18 and with the opportunity to be a serious contributor off the bench (as he likely would be if the US finds itself in trouble) is incredibly alluring. You’re crazy. I don’t need to tell you that the German team is stacked with attacking talent. If there is an opportunity for someone in 2014/2018, it is probably as a holding midfielder or defender. Not as someone who plays as part of the front three. Let me just lay out for you the players who will be in their prime for this World Cup and the 2018 World Cup. As of 2014: Kroos – 24, Schurrle – 23, Gotze – 21, Ozil – 25, Draxler – 20, Reus – 24, Muller – 24.

            Are Shawn Parker or Julian Green going to get games over those guys? I mean, you never know, but probably not.

            Green/Parker would be given the opportunity to star for a national team representing the biggest media market in the world. I’m telling you, its tough to turn down.


            • Posted by gino744 on 2014/03/02 at 10:26 PM

              I’d love to be wrong and hopefully I am. I’d love to have a forward sporting a USA crest on his chest during international duty and a Bayern Munich crest for his club. However…why does Green bother trying to make the Bayern roster when so many of the players you mention are already on their first team? If he wanted to start and star in the Bundesliga, why not sign for a club where he would face less competition and ultimately have a better shot at starting/starring on the first team? Maybe it’s because he grew up idolizing Bayern (Deutschland) and he always envisioned himself playing for them. Maybe he set the bar high for himself because he wants to play for the best, regardless of who might stand in his way. Rossi grew up in the US and still went to Italy because that was his childhood dream.

              Again, I’m pulling for Green to commit to the Yanks but I’m just trying to keep from getting disappointed. For every Aron Johannson there’s a Neven Subotic.

    • Posted by schmutzdeck on 2014/03/01 at 1:08 PM

      Mr. Ranting,

      “I’ll just say it – can anyone give me a good reason why JK doesn’t just offer Julian Green and Shawn Parker a spot on the roster? Cap tie them. They can be a spark off the bench/potentially an X factor that Donovan was in 2002”

      Two questions for you:

      Are you absolutely certain that Green and Parker insure that the USMNT get out of the Death Group and that w/o them the US cannot advance?

      Are you absolutely certain these two will be top class players by the time 2018 rolls around?

      1. Green hasn’t actually been in a US camp. What if the kids is a jerk and has everyone hating him by the end of the second day? Unlikely as that sounds it could happen

      2. What if for whatever reason his style just does not mesh with the USMNT’s playing style? Again unlikely but you never know.

      3. Green (and Parker who I know little about) are not the only dual nationals that JK will have to negotiate with so JK needs to be careful about what precedents he sets.

      Guaranteeing any player a World Cup spot, a very valuable thing, in these circumstances, before you have to, is a bad idea.

      Which is why, in terms of the Green issue, this training camp in Frankfurt is critical . Not only can it be useful for recruiting Green, it will be vital in determining whether it makes sense to take him to Brazil, should Green suddenly decide to file that one time switch before June.

      You might want to marry Kate Upton but it might be a good idea if you met her first.


      • Posted by Usually Ranting on 2014/03/02 at 3:21 PM

        Schmutz – On your two questions.

        1 – When did I ever say they would be the difference between getting out of the group of death or not advancing? I just said that they could be huge sparks off the bench, a la Landon in 2002. They have the three qualities that the US lacks big time, especially off the bench – pace, technical ability, and great finishing. They would just add an element that the team doesn’t currently have.

        2 – Not sure what this has to do with cap tying the German/Americans (or any other player for that matter). Are we now only cap tying players if we are certain of how good they’ll be 4 years for now? Putting aside nationalist feelings, what I WILL say is, out of all U-21 players in the US player pool, Parker and Green would immediately jump to being the top 2 prospects the US has…outside of maybe John Brooks, should they commit to the US. They are just that talented.

        Everything else is just a crazy “what if”. Like, I respect what you’re saying, but you don’t make these decisions based on concerns like “what if the kid is a jerk!?!”. That is wild stuff. Remember that even Balotelli is still playing for Italy. And even wilder “what if his style doesn’t mesh”!? You don’t turn really good players away over worries that they can’t adjust to your tactics. “yea, you know….I’d really be interested in having Messi play for the US – but you know what? Barca plays a totally different style than the US team…so we should probably not risk it”.


        • Posted by schmutzdeck on 2014/03/03 at 12:37 AM

          Mr. Ranting,

          Let me put it this way:

          Your enthusiasm for Green and Parker, two very promising players is well founded. That said, they are far from proven quantities.

          It’s not unusual for promising young players for their clubs to turn into World Cup disasters for their national teams ( see Walcott, Theo). Or maybe you have forgotten that club success does not necessarily translate to the national team? As you say, “Everything else is just a crazy “what if”.”

          You seem to have little respect for a World Cup roster spot and value it too cheaply. Most US fans seem to think JK is a lying blowhard but he has been pretty consistent about not issuing anything resembling a guarantee to anyone, except his “spine” (leaving by my count 18 places to contest) , in terms of a place in Brazil. Competition for places on that plane seem to be a very big driving force so issuing two guarantees to two guys who haven’t even come to camp kind of undermines all that.

          You seem to assume the US has nothing else to offer these people. Have you considered that if they choose to make themselves available for Germany they are very far from a sure thing to get capped let alone become the regulars they are far more likely to be for the USMNT?

          “Not sure what this has to do with cap tying the German/Americans (or any other player for that matter).”

          What it has to do is each one of these dual nationals is a unique negotiation but you are naïve if you think every other potential dual national is not watching this situation closely to see what Green is going to get for pledging allegiance to Old Glory.

          And if it is not a “negotiation” then the JK won’t have to bribe them and US fans have nothing to worry about do they?

          As for the precedent set by Landon in 2002, I think it’s fair to say JK has more depth to choose from than Arena did. It’s also fair to say y’all forget how exceptional Landon truly is and that the US hasn’t produced a player to touch him since. Also,before the 2002 World Cup LD was a proven MLS starter, having already scored 12 goals for the Quakes and having led them to the 2001 MLS Cup,

          I get that Bayern are tougher than the Quakes but then Green doesn’t play for the senior side yet does he?

          Mind you if JK gets these guys to commit to the US before June and decides to bring them to Brazil I’m on board with that. I just think trading a WC place for an unproven player’s “allegiance” in that fashion is a bad idea and I’ll bet JK agrees with me.


          • Posted by Usually Ranting on 2014/03/03 at 1:09 PM

            I say this respectfully, but I’m having a super tough time following your argument.

            My sole point, as I’ve said above, is that Green and Parker are in a unique situation. They are, at this point, fringe players for the German National Team. They have the talent to make it, but they also have 5-6 of the best attacking players in the world ahead of them on the German roster….players who will still be in the prime of their career come 2018. So unless Julian or Shawn break out in a gigantic way in the next 4 years, both are poised for the German bench for some time….if they even make the squad to begin with. The US would be offering the opportunity to immediately have an international pedigree for a country that almost always qualifies for the World Cup. And a country that is home to the biggest media market in the world. Being successful on our squad would have incredibly positive implications for each of their respective careers. So that is what Green/Parker would gain.

            The US would gain something they simply don’t have on their roster. A Raheem Sterling type of talent. A young player who has the speed, technical ability and athleticism to give the US a huge attacking spark off the bench. Yes, WC spots should not be handed away for purely strategic reasons. But giving to Parker/Green wouldn’t be a throw away. Each of these players have a legitimate chance to make an impact on this squad. Green especially, who has been blowing people aware in training. I don’t see a downside in not capping them. Is there anyone who prefers Brek Shea or Brad Davis to Shawn Parker/Julian Green?

            And I’m sorry…the only difference between Landon 2002 and Green 2014 is that Donovan played with the US his entire youth career. Thats it. In terms of impact, Green can provide what Landon provided. The idea that Landon’s goals for the MLS are somehow a symbol that he was “more prepared” for the World Cup than Julian Green, is insane. Green plays with the Bayern 1st team more often than not. And has already made a Champions League appearance. And by the way, Bayern Munich are the best club in the world at the moment. He’s an impressive kid and worth going to the mat for.


    • Posted by ernj on 2014/03/02 at 11:01 AM

      Both Green and Parker have both played for the Germany youth squads. I know that Green has appeared in an official youth competition and I don’t know for sure, but given how many youth appearance Parker has I assume he has as well. This means Klinsmann can’t just offer them a spot in the squad. They must file a 1 time switch with FIFA and that would cap tie them. They don’t have to play in any capacity at all if they fine the switch.


  7. Posted by WatertownMA on 2014/02/28 at 3:54 PM

    It’s hard for me to see Wiiliams or Gooch w/ a shot, unless injuries offer an opening. I think Jones and Beckerman are a lock and those are the roles I see for Williams.

    Has Gooch shaken off that gimpy knee, enough for us to give him the car keys? And what about his touch. That’s a lot of trust to put on a guy still trying to rebound is career. About the only thing I think Gooch has going for him is his size.

    I read this quote by Klinnsman and was curious if TSG or contributors are considering to review the final 30, (strengths, weaknesses, chemistry, giver, taker, quality)?

    “You review all of the strengths and weaknesses of all players,” he said. “You look at what you want to see from the entire team. You look at chemistry components. You look at is [a player] a giver or a taker. Definitely, on top of all the criteria is the quality of the player. You want to have a lot of good quality in there.”

    Here is a long shot thought: could Ream be potential backup for Parkurst at LB, rather than bringing DMB or Castillo? Seems doubtful.


  8. Holden is injured again.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2014/03/03 at 11:35 PM

      The sky is blue George — got anything else? :>


    • Posted by Arthur on 2014/03/03 at 11:39 PM

      Bolton’s website reported him jogging off the field: “The returning American international went down in some discomfort when chasing a loose ball, but was able to pick himself up before running from the field of play and down the tunnel.” Sounds like just a scare and Holden’s back up and running soon. Stress on *sounds*–let’s go with hope for Holden before declaring him injured again.


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