Jurgen Klinsmann’s US Roster For World Cup 2014

World Cup bound ... Kyle Beckerman.

World Cup bound … Kyle Beckerman.


GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

DEFENDERS (8): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Nürnberg), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

135 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by nelliefreets on 2014/05/22 at 3:07 PM

    i can understand not starting donovan… but i don’t get taking brad davis over him. can anyone convince me this makes sense?


    • Posted by Arthur on 2014/05/22 at 4:38 PM

      Umm….You want good service from a free kick or a wide position in the later stages of a match? Nope, doesn’t do much for me either.

      I haven’t had time to really consider how choosing Donovan versus Davis is related to the rest of the squad, possible formations, and other tactical issues. Still, unless someone can find a good reason, Klinsmann seems to be making a huge mistake.


      • i dont see it either, i can thinking of a situation where BD gets on the field short of like 4-5 injuries….so why not have lando on the bench….to be the talisman…i am actually dissappointed in this.
        tmi, but the last time i was this dissapointed in a usmnt happening was u23s vs el salvador…


        • Posted by evan on 2014/05/23 at 2:02 PM

          i gotta think even a 32-year old Donovan is still better than Davis and Wondo. seems Klinsmann really took that sabbatical personally. and i think Edu is better suited to the pace of World Cup soccer than Beckerman. but most of all, who is the back-up target forward for Jozy? Dempsey? Wondo? Bacon? seems like a big mistake to me. either EJ the GAM, Boyd or Agudelo should be on the roster. doesn’t bode well…


    • Posted by Tim H on 2014/05/23 at 4:11 AM

      Maybe this means Kinsmann is planning to play a lot of the diamond, with Davis on the left side


  2. Posted by aztri81 on 2014/05/22 at 3:10 PM

    Wow. Seriously, wow. I never expected Landon Donovan to get axed from the WC team.


    • Posted by Crow on 2014/05/22 at 3:23 PM

      I had this weird feeling/premonition that Donovan might get cut early in the week with the mixed signals coming out of camp. That same weird feeling or vibe before a girl breaks up with you or something bad happens (‘offstage noises’- All The Kings Men)


  3. Posted by Crow on 2014/05/22 at 3:21 PM

    Very surprised about Donovan. I don’t like the decision but probably am less angry about it than others. Donovan hadn’t been playing well for awhile, but still he has proven it in every tournament in his career. I don’t see how you take the Brad Davis from 2 years ago over the current Donovan. Still, its nice that we’ve come far enough where this isn’t a ‘horrible’ decision. Four years ago Conor Casey and Brian Ching nearly made the roster and Robbie Findley, Jonathan Bornstein, and Ricardo Clark did.

    Parkhurst- kind of surprised he didn’t make it due to versatility but I’m not that torn about it. In the best case scenario he is a backup.
    Evans- sorry thanks for your service during the Hex, but there was no way Evans was ever going to Brazil.
    Goodson- this surprised me. I’m a big John Brooks fanboy and I think Goodson deserved it more than him. With the way Gonzalez is playing and hurt, I think I would have rather seen Gonzalez or Brooks cut than Goodson. Still I wouldn’t have wanted Goodson to have to play any minutes.
    Corona- shouldn’t have been named to the 30.
    Edu- a shame as his play this year for the Union might be the best of his career and he has more versatility than Beckerman. Beckerman has been ‘perfect’ though and Edu had too much ground to make up.
    Boyd- ‘surprised’ and frustrated. There is no target man option on the bench or the roster (Jozy isn’t much of a target forward) and he’s been scoring. Of all the American Germans to be cut he’s the one I didn’t want cut.

    I wish the cuts would have waited until after the game on Tuesday like 2010.


    • Posted by Spiritof76 on 2014/05/22 at 10:45 PM

      Would really love to hear more thoughts on Brooks, or if you know some good background reading on him. He’s the guy I feel the least comfortable with.


  4. Posted by Philip Pulkin on 2014/05/22 at 3:25 PM

    shocked, that Green and Davis made it over Donovan. Klinsmann gonna have to eat some serious crow if he’s wrong and it becomes clear that Landon is the missing piece


  5. Wait, we’re supposed to be surprised at Beckerman. THERE’S YEDLIN ON THE TEAM?



  6. Posted by Crow on 2014/05/22 at 3:40 PM

    Under the radar, Diskerud made the roster which made me happy.


  7. Posted by Kirk on 2014/05/22 at 3:42 PM

    Julian Green over Landon Donovan is like one of those sick punchlines in the baby-in-a-blender jokes. Sad day for US soccer that an 18 year old kid, who is neither physically or mentally ready to excel in Brazil, gets the nod over Landon. But he speaks the right language and damn he is just so chock full of potential, potential exemplified by being a complete bench-riding non-entity at Bayern Munich.

    Never scored a goal above a 4th division level but still managed to dazzle us by constantly giving the ball to our Mexican opponents in his one underwhelming appearance.

    Sad sad sad sad day indeed,


    • Posted by Usually Ranting on 2014/05/22 at 4:04 PM

      You remember when Landon Donovan was 18 and picked for a World Cup, right? When he was a reserve player for Leverkusen?

      Such a garbage post. Gross.


      • Posted by Usually Ranting on 2014/05/22 at 4:08 PM

        My bad. He was 20. But I’ll hand over a list of other 18 year olds who made serious impacts at WC later on. And yes, Landon was on loan to the MLS (which was probably the equivalent of the 4th tier Bundesliga in 2002), but he nonetheless was a World Cup star for the US despite being able to crack the senior team for Leverkusen.

        Oh and also, Donovan was added to camp and listed as a Forward. So he wasn’t competing with Julian Green. He was competing with Wondo and Boyd.


        • Posted by Usually Ranting on 2014/05/22 at 4:09 PM

          Unable*. Really wish I could edit posts at the moment.


          • Posted by Arisrules on 2014/05/23 at 11:13 AM

            Yea you should edit the post and delete it because Donovan and DMB had actually been playing when they were selected for the USMNT, and Green has not.


        • Posted by Kirk on 2014/05/22 at 5:06 PM

          You are comparing apples and oranges my friend. It only looks like you have a cogent argument as long as someone doesn’t examine it too closely.

          Let’s look at your first point. Landon was picked in 2002 while playing in MLS and unable to break into Leverkeusen.

          Can’t see how you think this is equivalent to the Green situation. What player did Landon bump from the 2002 roster by virtue of being picked? No one who would have made a difference I can tell you that. Landon was a true rising star in 2002.

          2002 and 2014 DO NOT COMPARE in terms of player pool depth. We had no depth 12 years ago. Landon and Beasley made the team because there weren’t many players of equal skill regardless of experience. Just the fact that Landon was part of Bayer Leverkeusen was landmark in of itself. We actually have a lot more depth now, which makes Green’s inclusion even more ridiculous.

          He has not earned it. Landon has.scored more World Cup goals than Messi, Ronaldo, Rooney and ibrahimovic combined. 3 goals in 31 matches.

          Landon has 5 in half that total matches.

          Your 2nd point about Landon being listed as a forward is truly short sighted.

          This was Klinsman’s OUT. List Donovan as a forward and Green as a midfielder so when he sends LD packing, he can make some piss poor excuse that it wasn’t noob Julian Green taking his spot, it was Wondo or AJ. Talk about cowardice on JK’s part. Julian Green is going to play wide midfield in Brazil? Seriously?

          Whether it’s Green or one dimensional Brad Davis, it was a dumb decision.


          • Posted by Usually Ranting on 2014/05/22 at 6:24 PM

            In terms of “who was bumped for who” it would just have easily been Wondo or Davis who bumped Landon. Or Bedoya for that matter. Saying it was Green is just a lazy argument with no factual backing. Its typical for teams to bring at least a few you up and coming players along for the tournament. Players that don’t break into the 18 and may not get a ton of time but will benefit from the first team experience. I actually think Green can contribute, but still, if you want to make the Landon argument, make it over BRAD DAVIS. And apparently 30 minutes against Mexico in his first cap when he should have drawn a penalty showed him as mentally and physically weak. I’d just like to point out that Bayern Munich is in the top 5 of toughest squads to break into in the world. Arguably its in the top 3. Julian, at 18!!!, broke in. He’s EASILY the top US prospect at the moment and perhaps, ever. If you don’t understand why he’s being brought along you are short sighted.

            And you argument above that the only reason Landon made the team in 2002 is bc of a lack of depth doesn’t help your point. Landon was a huge contributor in 2002, so the fact that he was on the team was obviously a BIG deal and an important decision. More depth SHOULDN’T have kept him off the squad. The point is, Landon’s contributions in 2002 are evidence that Julian can contribute.

            On the he has not earned it part. Are you kidding? If you have to “earn it” before you break into the national team, how would teams ever bring along young talent? Every player deserves a chance. Julian had his and so did Landon. Landon decided to spend a large portion of the 2014 cycle “sitting out”. And anyone who has watched Landon play this year knows he’s not his formal self. Should he have made the team over Brad Davis? Absolutely. But Julian Green offers something that Landon doesn’t offer anymore. Pace and the ability to take a player on 1v1.

            And yes, Julian Green is going to play wide in Brazil. Are you kidding? Where else would he play?


            • Posted by Kirk on 2014/05/22 at 6:56 PM

              Julian Green did not deserve a penalty for that Mexico flop. He was outside the box as replays showed.

              You also said this….. And you argument above that the only reason Landon made the team in 2002 is bc of a lack of depth doesn’t help your point. Landon was a huge contributor in 2002, so the fact that he was on the team was obviously a BIG deal and an important decision….

              Can the same be said of Green? No, didn’t think so.

              And I never said Landon only made the 2002 team because of a lack of depth, I also pointed out that he was obviously more skilled (along with Beasley)

              And no I’m not kidding about the ‘he hasn’t earned it part’. He has one middling appearance. If he has done something at the senior level that impressed you, please let me know. I can’t think of one thing. Aaron J is also young, but has put in the time at least. Why wasn’t Green called up for important qualifying matches if he is so great? Because he didn’t commit to the US until there was a prid quo pro deal in place. Again, unlike other players like Mix and AJ and yes Fabian Johnson, Green didn’t earn his way onto the squad by playing tough qualifiers in Panama or Costa Rica. He waltzed in on reputation alone.

              Unless of course, you can point out how his international goal scoring prowess and unblinking commitment to the US was there all along, i just missed it.

            • Posted by Usually Ranting on 2014/05/23 at 8:55 AM

              Ugh. Alright. You’re just throwing out the kitchen sink of emotional arguments.

              Your idea of earning it is just screwed up.

              How does one earn it? You’re clearly basing it on contributions to the national team, something that as anybody who follows the sport knows, is an unfair way to judge Green given he has only been eligible to play for the US for ONE GAME!!! And if contributions to the national team are a requirement – I encourage you to look through the roster and think about who has earned it. Has Yedlin earned it? Has Aron earned it? Has Cameron earned it (Cameron only became a national team regular during this cycle and has NEVER performed to the level for the US that he regularly performs at for Stoke)? I would say none of them have earned it in terms of national team contributions but I have no problem with them on the squad bc they are GOOD players. Look through the squad and most players are still earning their national team stripes. But I have no problem with that.

              I’d prefer to think of “who has earned it” in terms of a variety things. National team form, club form and overall ability to contribute. I think Green meets that criteria. Do I think Donovan meets that criteria. I do! I think he should be on the squad over Brad Davis. But I think Green should be going to Brazil. And I don’t think Donovan has done himself any favors over the last year.

              And by the way, you’re raking Green over the coals based on a single performance against Mexico (a nervous performance that still showed a few abilities that no one else in our player pool really has). Donovan was awful in that game. He hasn’t competed at a super high level for about 2 years. He made a bunch of unfortunate remarks in the press that sounded like someone coasting along and seemingly uninterested. His play backed that up. He turned down an important US qualifier to head to Cambodia. He turned down other call ups bc of injury. And can I just remind everyone – the guy should really be the captain of the team. He should be the leader. But he never stepped up. And while I think its fair to question Jurgen on certain things, I have no problem with him holding Landon accountable for those things. But to somehow go after Green as some kind of opportunist who doesn’t deserve to be there is really disgusting to me I’m sorry.

      • Posted by Splat on 2014/05/22 at 4:19 PM

        Landon was a) 20 b) 1997 U-17 Golden Ball winner c) someone who already had 10+ caps and 4 goals for the full national team.

        If Green 2014 is better than Landon 2014, then so be it. But I don’t see how he’s equal to or more accomplished than Landon 2002.


        • Posted by Usually Ranting on 2014/05/22 at 6:33 PM

          I get it. My point is, Landon is actually a terrific example of a National Team putting faith in its young players. And I only bring up the Leverkusen thing bc for whatever reason, fans are loving to say that Julian plays for Bayern II as a way of discounting his ability to contribute. The kid led Bayern II with goals this year (15) and made his first Champions League appearance at the age of 18. I’m not saying he’s a sure thing. I’m just saying he’s the closest thing we’ve ever had to Landon Donovan in 2002 and he deserves a shot.


          • Posted by Andrew M on 2014/05/22 at 7:16 PM

            How do you know he’s the closest thing? God I hate when people this! How many times have you even seen this kid kick the ball?!? I bet you could count on both hands?


  8. Posted by Usually Ranting on 2014/05/22 at 4:01 PM

    No Landon was definitely a surprise. But if you look at his recent form it makes sense.

    – The USMT has undeniably been on one of its best run of forms ever during this cycle. And Landon has barely been apart of the squad.

    – For all of those US fans who freak out that Chandler is on the squad after having “quit” on the team during important stretches. Well Landon did the same thing. Sure, maybe he’s earned it. But still. He took a break from international duty and paid the price. And his statements in the press, by the way, didn’t sound like a guy who was super excited about the 2014 WC.

    – Based purely on watching him play, he’s been in pretty poor form. Whether its for the Galaxy or USMT. He looks sluggish, his touch is off, and his killer pace (which is what made him so lethal apart from his finishing), has taken a huge step back. He just isn’t as dangerous anymore.

    – But to me – the biggest thing for Landon – he just didn’t really have a position anymore. I think the squad will 100% miss his vision, his movement, his set pieces, and his intelligence on the field (the goal against Algeria is a perfect example of a quality Landon has that no other player in the pool possess). But where do you play him? He’s not a winger anymore. He never has been good as a CM. I guess you play him as a forward, but he’s not a natural forward and I don’t think he’d be a threat from that position at this point.

    The biggest bummer for me with Donovan is the nostalgia aspect and I think he deserved a proper farewell.


    • Posted by Seybold on 2014/05/22 at 4:27 PM

      Good point about Donovan not really having a clear position. Perhaps the logic is something like this–If he wasn’t going to be a starter, then what do you want in a sub? Set-piece delivery? That’s Davis. If you want a quick dribbler to run at tired legs late in a match, that’s Green.

      That we play in Manaus might accentuate these characteristics–defenders will be tired, and Davis is used to playing in the summertime heat of Houston.


      • Posted by Arthur on 2014/05/22 at 4:53 PM

        @ Usually: It doesn’t makes sense to drop Donovan from this team. Responding to each of your points:

        #1: Many other players were not a part of this run. Just because Donovan was not part of the run does not mean he could be part of a 2014 WC run.
        #2: Donovan did take time off. He played his way back onto the team, putting in good matches during the Gold Cup and in various friendlies. While he sounded resigned to possibly coming off the bench in Brazil, he still wanted to be on the plane; the interviews you mention sound to me more like a player who was realizing his limitations and trying to improve as a vet.
        #3: Donovan has not had a dynamic club season, but he hasn’t fallen so badly. Again, he looked good in the Gold Cup; his form against Mexico and other matches in qualifying was between solid to strong. Donovan was not going to gain the speed of his youth, but going through three weeks of camp would have helped him lose the weight he has definitely put on.
        #4 This is actually a reason to keep Donovan on the team. Donovan can play multiple positions well–his flexibility, combined with his experience, determination, and scoring ability, would have made him a great sub to get a necessary goal. The only thing Brad Davis will get you is slightly superior service from set pieces and wide areas. Oh, and he might be able to play a bit better in the heat, which won’t matter if Davis/Donovan is coming off the bench to play a half hour or so.


  9. Posted by CJ on 2014/05/22 at 5:08 PM

    No Donovan is a hard blow to my psyche. With that said where has his been? Him being dropped, to me, has little to nothing to do with his ability, his position, or his fitness.

    This has to do with one thing only because as someone else mentioned here, his ability is beyond Davis’. This is due to his lack of desire. Klinsmann wants players who dream of elevating the Cup. He wants guys that are ready to die on the field if it means forever living in eternal soccer glory. There’s no one in the world, but Donovan that can show that is where he’s at. The problem is there’s also no media clip out there where we see him hungry, desiring, striving to achieve greatness. He went from a Captain in mentality to, meh, if we do well we do well. Let’s find out. C’mon Donovan. This is on you. Not Klinsmann. Landon let me down.


    • Posted by CJ on 2014/05/24 at 5:15 PM

      I have to retract some of what I’ve said here. I still attribute the situation of Donovan being left off the team due to Donovan’s laid-back mentality. Should I or Klinsmann hold that against him? No.

      I have to believe him as he mentioned in the interview that he is an honest assessor of his own abilities. “From that standpoint, I think it’s disappointing. I think every one of my teammates would probably echo the same words.”

      I wonder the effect this is going to have on the mentality of the team and if there’s a potential for division within the group by taking a leader still in his prime out because of personal reasons… @Klinsmann. I admire the coach, this decision gutted me and has left me reeling emotionally going into the tournament rather than being hyped for this group.

      JK has split the team in a way by pitting unsolicited call ups for a tried and trued veteran, former Captain, who says he’s still got it. I’d take Donovan on the pitch over Davis, Diskerud, or Green. And I like Diskerud. There’s no way, I don’t care how much talent Green has that he will outperform what Landon would be capable of. “Pure talent” Klinsmann?? How about the goal heard round the world or the top shelf strike vs Slovenia? How about the poise? How about the experience and leadership?

      Green can play ell in practice, I’ll see it that an 18 year old will not perform at his best in a World Cup because they lack the maturity to perform in the moment. He was shook vs Mexico! That was what two months ago!?


  10. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2014/05/22 at 5:31 PM

    I’m very surprised. I know the 2014 vintage is not as good as previous versions, but that’s to be expected as he’s got older. And even he accepts that he’s probably not an automatic starter.

    Obviously the talent in the player pool is better this year than prior years. I except that. But I do not believe there is the depth of talent in the US squad where Donovan doesn’t make the 23.

    I am thinking it has to do with his fitness / ability to play as frequent as required in a tournament, and his recovery time.

    Obviously eagerly waiting for Klinsmann’s explanation.


    • Posted by Larry Montanez on 2014/05/23 at 6:24 AM

      I think what you said in your next to last graph is probably spot on.

      It could be argued that one of the most important jobs of a good coach is to treat everyone equally, and expect the same from everyone. Klinsmann has mentioned that the team’s fitness was behind, so he was going work these guys hard, so they could still be playing at top levels, not just after 3 group games, but after the 4th and 5th games as well.

      Landon said himself, he can’t practice hard everyday anymore. And i don’t care who it is, when you see a guy next to you not working hard in practice, and see that he still plays, that can end up being like a cancer to a team. After a few days of dying out there, you forget what that guy jogging has done in the past. We get so used to just watching the games, we forget those games are won in practice, and the team’s work ethic in practice is what defines the team, and keeps them hungry at the end of games. I’m not saying Landon is lazy, we all know how committed he is to winning. I’m saying when you’re trying to work a team to its limit in practice, and dream like Herb Brooks did, you can’t have a guy who needs to take it easy every 4-5 days.

      Most of us believe that even if Landon wasn’t fully fit, we could bring him on late to help win 1 game, but Klinsi can’t be so short sighted. What he’s telling this team is, I’m not trying to get out of Group G, I’m doing what I think is the best to win the whole thing. That’s a very powerful message. And as sad/surprised/confused as I was about Landon being cut, now that i understand that message, I’m really happy that Klinsmann is thinking past the group stages.

      BTW, did Blanco do anything for Mex when they brought him on as a lucky charm, and who thinks having Rafa there this year will actually help them?

      Also, one of our weaknesses is our lack of pace. we don’t have a lot of burners. and yes, Landon is one of the few we have, but only in short spurts now. the last couple games with the Nats, I didn’t see Landon use that speed both ways.

      And speed is scary, because you can’t prepare for it without having it yourself. So I’m glad to see Yedlin and Green on the team, because even if they don’t end up being good enough to play, at least they help us prepare for teams that have pace.

      And experience is important, but it’s also overrated. i didn’t think Landon looked scared in ’02, and Muller didn’t look nervous in 2010.


      • Good points all around. Jurgen can’t afford to be sentimental. That’s why he cut Captain Carlos so abruptly and now Landon. I feel really bad for them because they did so much for the team and I wish they could have gone out on a better note. However, it’s not JK’s job to send them off in a parade. That’s for the USSF. I’m still waiting for somebody to acknowledge Bocanegra.


      • Posted by Paul on 2014/05/27 at 7:17 AM

        That’s a great, mature analysis. I feel like a ton of people around the world are whining because they have an emotional attachment to Landon playing in the RW&B. The coach doesn’t make decisions for the fans. There is a group of 50ish players, and dozens of staff whom he has to satisfy with his decisions. All the millions of the rest of us shouldn’t even be a consideration. Especially when we haven’t even seen the slightest hint of the implications yet.

        If USMNT goes out and fails substantially on the pitch with this squad; if they clearly have positional shortfalls and are tactically deficient – that’s when you blame Klinsmann for not doing his job. When you don’t do it is right now, when HE has all the information, and you’re just a distant fan full of nothing but speculation and semi-informed opinions. Right now is when we need to have solidarity and get behind this team and this coah, *not* put additional pressure on a tough situation by fueling a media uproar.

        I have faith in JK that he made these decisions with the best interest of the team in mind, and with an aim to field the strongest showing possible in the tournament. I could be wrong, and if I am, I’ll be right out there with all the naysayers calling for his job and replacement. But I’ll be doing that in July, with a full slate of fresh information in front of me. Not in June, with my head up my ass pretending I know more than a world-class professional coach.


  11. Posted by Eric on 2014/05/22 at 5:44 PM

    This strikes me as a roster built for the next world cup… Some serious youth in certain places here.

    Brooks, Green, and Yedlin are all exceptionally young and relatively untested (relatively). These selections in particular strike me as Jurgen looking ahead to 2018 since he’s under contract for it already. Not saying whether or not I think this is a good thing but just a thought that occurred to me.


    • Posted by Freegle on 2014/05/22 at 5:59 PM

      I’m sure Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey would be thrilled about that.


    • Posted by Crow on 2014/05/22 at 6:08 PM

      I am excited by the thought of Yedlin possibly coming on in the 2nd half of the Portugal game and torturing the exhausted Portugal defense. I hope the young guys bring it now. Its always good to have some youthful swagger on the team. I’d just rather have Donovan over Davis and wish Boyd could be there to give a target option off the bench at someone else’s expense but otherwise I’m pretty happy with the roster.


      • Posted by drizzl on 2014/05/23 at 7:38 AM

        He better never come off the bench. Any international level winger will embarrass him.


        • Posted by Crow on 2014/05/23 at 10:28 AM

          Any intl winger would embarrass Brad Evans who he beat out. At least he regularly plays RB and has the speed needed (to recover) for the conditions and this group


          • Posted by Arisrules on 2014/05/24 at 10:24 PM

            I think we are doing a bit of a disservice to our opposition here. Any winger has a great chance of humiliating Yedlin, which is what has been happening regularly in MLS this season. Evans at least has the smarts to stay back and try to stay compact.

            Also, I find building a team based on potential talent is ludicrous. I like to use the example of Sotiris Ninis who a coupel of years ago was the next great hope for Greek soccer, and this year didn’t even make the WC for a variety of reasons. I don’t think this played into JK’s thinking, but if it did then he is not fit to be coach.


  12. Posted by Crow on 2014/05/22 at 5:47 PM

    A few more thoughts-

    The 20 minutes that Brad Davis finds himself on the field in Brazil, he better send in a perfect set piece delivery/cross to make his inclusion worth it

    Julian Green and Tim Chandler better bring it.

    Jozy better be back to his 2013 hex self and fit ready to play a lot of minutes with no backup target strikers.

    Wondering how Omar’s knee and more important Aron’s ankle are doing.


    • Posted by Kirk on 2014/05/22 at 5:55 PM

      The problem with hoping Brad Davis delivers a beautiful set piece is that he needs to be on the pitch in order to deliver it. I can’t think of any situation in which he is good enough, left leg be damned. He weakens us. Too slow. MLS speed. Same reason Brad Evans is gone. No pace, limited return vs the risk of having him out there.


      • Posted by Crow on 2014/05/22 at 6:00 PM

        Trust me Brad Davis is the guy on the roster I least wanted to see there (even more so than Brooks who I am a fan of but has no reason to be there). Davis being there is my biggest issue with Donovan being left out.


  13. Posted by kurtosis on 2014/05/22 at 5:48 PM

    Zusi is fine, but not top tier at this level and that’s who I’m afraid we are going to see in Landon’s spot. Hope Zusi proves me wrong. This roster lacks attacking mids imho. The lineup I expect to see almost necessitates Bradley being pushed forward to contribute more in attack.


    • Posted by Paul on 2014/05/27 at 7:24 AM

      Granted, it’s a totally arguable point, but in my opinion he completely deserves to start over Donovan. I think Zusi was a great addition to the team and is quietly one of JK’s best moves. After watching every single qualifying match, a couple in person, and a good bit of MLS this year, he looked better every single time I saw him. It’s kind of apples to oranges though – they’re different players. Zusi might not have quite the one-off flashes of brilliance that Donovan can have, but consistently for 90 minutes on the pitch, I’ve seen him play a better overall game and contribute more to the attack than LD has this past cycle.


  14. Posted by kurtosis on 2014/05/22 at 5:51 PM

    Johnson Gonzalez Besler Beasley
    Jones (Cameron?)
    Zusi Diskerud


  15. Is everyone done with the shock of Mr. Donovan? I respect what Donovan has done for US soccer… I really do but I’ll trust Jurgen Klinsmann’s track record at the World Cup and international level as a player and coach over any of our opinions. Other good players like Parkhurst, Edu, and Goodson were left off too.

    Now, lets really look at this team. Jurgen must see something vs. Ghana, Portugal, and Germany that he can use with these specific players in either situational tactics and/or team formations.

    Lets start with why maybe a player like Brad Davis made the team. While Brad Davis lacks ground breaking pace/speed and we will all be concerned he’ll be at risk defensively too, we know he can whip a pass into the box out wide, on set pieces, or just within a game from anywhere on the pitch. I think he would be a late game sub at LM when say Fabian Johnson gets tired due to heat around the 60 minute mark and either Davis or Green comes in on left side (Green if we are losing and Davis if we are winning would be my guess).

    Lets face it, we need to go all out to win against Ghana so there is no way F. Johnson is not starting LM in that game with Beasley playing LB with his speed.

    Lets talk Yedlin over Evans and Parkhurst. I don’t expect Yedlin to get that much playing time but in a game we are down and need to push forward… would you rather have Yedlin with his pace and crossing ability or Parkhurst/Evans? Again, I’d expect him to be a late sub that can push forward in final 30 minutes to give us even more width on the right side. So this would mean Chandler is your starting RB. Personally, I felt if Chandler was 90% he would have a good chance to make team because he and Yedlin are the only true RBs. Seems like both came prepared to compete.

    John Brooks may be a surprise as well over Goodson and Parkhurst but to be honest I expect Besler to start all 3 games unless he has yellow cards/red card. So Brooks playing is not guaranteed. What he does bring to this team is that he’s the best passing CB we have (passing to fullbacks, midfield and forwards and well… he’s a big part of the future.

    Here is what I see from the 23 man:
    G Howard, Guzan, Rimando
    LB Beasley, (F. Johnson),
    LCB Besler, Brooks
    RCB Cameron, Gonzalez
    RB Chandler, Yedlin
    LM F. Johnson, B. Davis, Green
    DCM Jones, Beckerman
    CM Bradley, Diskerud
    RM Zusi, Bedoya
    CAM/ST Dempsey, Johannson
    ST Altidore, Wondolowski

    I’d rather the U.S. be productive with how this team may work rather than cry over Donovan or others that didn’t make it or you think they should have.

    Ghana runs a 4-2-3-1 or 4-1-4-1
    Portugal runs a 4-3-3
    Germany 4-2-3-1

    What do you guys see tactic wise or formation wise that fits this group? Do we work best in 4-2-3-1, 4-4-2 (diamond or no diamond), or 4-3-3?


    • Posted by Arthur on 2014/05/22 at 7:17 PM

      Adrian, appreciate your desire to move the dialogue forward and get fans to think why Klinsmann decided upon this particular 23.

      On Davis: I can see the benefits of bringing on Davis rather than Green if we are up a goal. But why bring on Davis to protect a lead if we can stick on either Beasley or Johnson (the other left back who is not playing)? Perhaps this is where the Donovan snub really boggles the mind: you need a smart player to see out a game, or to help get a goal, in the last half hour. Weather’s hot, but sub will be minimally used. Donovan, fresh off a camp that helped him get some of his fitness back, is simply a better choice than Davis–perhaps not the best crosser, but smarter, sees the field better, more tactically aware, and has the leadership ability to see how to keep a 1-0 win from becoming a 1-1 tie.

      On Yedlin: I was thinking Parkhurst as a defensive replacement, in case Chander or Cameron get overheated in Manaus. Parkhurst is one of the best pure defenders in camp; his ability to play multiple positions would give Klinsmann further flexibility to use multiple lineups to face unique challenges against Ghana, Portugal, and Germany.

      On Brooks: This is where Klinsmann really stepped in it. Brooks is a big part of the picture, but he can get experience in the future. As you pointed out, against pressing teams (see Germany if we need a win in the third game) the onus will be on the US to play well out of the back. Our best passing defender isn’t even in camp–Tim Ream was a far better choice to bring skill to the back line. Pity he isn’t going to Brazil. Additionally, Ream is another flexible player who could spell Johnson/Beasley as a late game sub–his ability on the ball would be great to keep a late lead.

      But onto the tactics against our group…This group screams 4-4-2 diamond against Ghana. Bradley is at the head of a midfield diamond of Zusi, Johnson, and Beckerman, who will stay at home and protect the back line. After gaining an early goal, the team can quickly switch into a 4-2-3-1 by bringing Dempsey, formerly the second striker, back into midfield and Bradley moving back as a second defensive mid. This is the clearest tactical set-up for me, and I think the US has a decent chance if we start aggressive with a diamond.

      I think the script gets flipped against Portugal: start with a 4-2-3-1, with Bradley and Jones (?) starting further back in midfield. By halftime, Jones will want to get forward, and a smart Bradley allows him to go forward with the rest of the boys.

      Against Germany, at this point I don’t know what Klinsmann throws out there. Probably another 4-2-3-1; Germany will be playing with a false nine and have a significant advantage of numbers in the midfield. Perhaps this is a game where Klinsmann bunkers in, throws Dempsey up to get banged around for 60-70 minutes, then unleashes Johannson to run in and behind tired German defenders.

      Thanks again for trying to get US soccer fandom from collapsing into a pile of self-loathing whiners. Evaluating the tactics of each game against our opponents, it is still easy to see why a smart, tactically-astute Donovan would be useful to throw on late against Portugal/Germany, to try for a goal or to protect a tie.


      • Thanks for the comments. I think you are assuming Donovan was practicing at a high level this last week and half just because Donovan was quoted saying he’s playing well. We don’t know that is the case so that is an assumption. I could get into a few things I thought hurt him with Jurgen in comments or attitude but its just not worth arguing because in the end, he’s not on the roster.

        Question: Did Jurgen take a pretty young Germany team to the World Cup with Podoloski, Mueller, and others that did well and has improved the last 2 World Cups since Jurgen? Anyone know/remember?


        • Posted by Freegle on 2014/05/22 at 7:37 PM

          Yedlin, Davis, and Wondo are NOT Podolski, Mueller etc. We do not have the available talent depth in order to pull that off.


          • Posted by Arthur on 2014/05/22 at 8:12 PM

            @ Adrian: I thought the quotes coming from Donovan, Klinsmann signaled Donovan needed to work harder and could expect time on the bench if he didn’t become game fit.

            I think your point is that we need to accept Klinsmann’s expertise, actual experience of the players in camp, previous results with the German national team ect. as justification for his decision. You are correct: Klinsi is an authority on the national team. I do think the USMNT fans have access to quite a bit of contrary information. Is it enough that we should give Klinsi the benefit of the doubt and accept his verdict as prima facie correct, unless further evidence arises? I don’t know the answer to that question. Usually I would tend to grant more weight to the testimony of authorities, but in this case I think I have decent evidence that Klinsmann is incorrect.


      • Posted by Paul on 2014/05/27 at 7:30 AM

        Thanks for the great discussion, guys! I feel like the fan pool has devolved into a gaggle of 13 year old fangirls over the past week. Nice to see that turning around a bit.


  16. Posted by Crow on 2014/05/22 at 6:03 PM

    Another interesting thought-

    The cut pretty much ends the national team careers of Michael Parkhurst (maybe not due to versatility), Brad Evans, Clearance Goodson, Donovan, and possibly Edu, due to age/ time to build for 2016/18/ young prospects coming up.

    At LB/RB/CB you have Brooks/Packwood/O’Neill/Farrell/Acosta/Yedlin/Lichaj/Ream for the next cycle. Edu has a chance unless Wil Trapp really steps up.


    • Posted by Arthur on 2014/05/22 at 7:26 PM

      The Parkhurst and Goodson are bad decisions 2a and 2b by Klinsmann. Normally, one might not play the back up defenders for significant stretches in a world cup. In a hot, humid Brazil, with Johnson and Chandler not prone to playing well in the heat, and Cameron being spread thin to back up right back and possibly replace an injured Gonzo, it makes more sense to keep with experience and ability rather than youth and pace.

      Thanks for the glimpse of the future. Will make tonight’s sleep easier, though only slightly better.


  17. This was my thinking on the 30-man “versatile” players from the other thread — LD, Parkhurst, Edu. 🙂 Everyone chosen on this final team has a clear position except FabJ who is versatile but clearly a fullback in Klinsi’s wise eyes. I also agree that listing LD as a forward was writing on the wall. But —– is there a tactical reason for leaving off LD? Like, does this decision tip the hand of one formation over another?


    • Posted by Arthur on 2014/05/22 at 7:22 PM

      I think if you are simply looking at leaving off Donovan, I would say no. But replacing Donovan with Wondo, or (more likely) Davis/Green, and this suggests a diamond 4-4-2, with Donovan replaced by a wide player or second striker. Donovan’s best position is not as a second striker–instead, it is as an in-cutting mid, which further suggests Klinsmann is looking for a more spacious diamond 4-4-2.


  18. Posted by Freegle on 2014/05/22 at 7:35 PM

    My disappointment with Donovan’s exclusion is not so much with Landon being left off but who he was left off for. If you see him as a forward than it’s safe to assume that Wondo “took his spot” and if you see him as a MF than it was Brad Davis (or Julian Green if you don’t like youth/potential). Just the fact that Donovan has the versatility to play both of those positions makes him a better choice than either of those two players.
    Donovan’s resume is irrelevant at this point because it blows them both out of the water but just a couple of fun comparisons to Wondo and Davis’ highest international achievements…

    Wondo has had an admirable 12 months but he has never scored a goal outside of the American soil. He had 9 goals total and 1 Ast. His first goal was less than one year ago (July 5th) and includes 3 goals vs Belize (144 FIFA rank) 2 vs Cuba (90th) and the other 4 in friendlies- 2 vs Korea’s “B” team, 1 vs Mexico, 1 Pre-Gold Cup vs Honduras. In that same timeframe, Donovan has 8 goals and 9 AST including a HUGE game vs MEX to Clinch our World Cup Birth. Donovan has also 8 career goals just in international competition (Confed and World Cups)

    Davis has only 14 caps, none of any consequence except for a 19 minute sub appearance at Mexico (when Donovan was unavailable) last March. He has only CONCACAF Caps and has never played a meaningful match outside of North America.

    There is no potential situation against any team where any cogent USMNT fan would rather have either of these two players than Landon Donovan. These inclusions/exclusions are UNJUSTIFIABLE as long as Landon is capable of kicking a soccer ball. He is more talented than all but 5 of the players on this roster and more experienced than ALL of them (In fact, he has more than Wondo – 20 Johansen – 7 Zusi – 17 Green – 1 Mix – 16 Davis – 14 Yedlin – 2 Fab -19 Omar – 18 Chandler – 10 Brooks – 3
    Besler – 13 and Rimando – 14 COMBINED)

    This is the same crap that got Klinsmann run out of Germany. He has a ridiculous ego and has to be the smartest guy in the room and is willing to do outrageous things in order to prove it. Sometimes it works well (see Germany 2006) and sometimes it doesn’t (See Bayern). This may work out but in the meantime, I am very uncomfortable with Klinsmann using our 2014 World Cup as his “I’m smarter than everyone!” proclamation at the possible expense of my World Cup enjoyment.


    • Posted by schmutzdeck on 2014/05/22 at 8:48 PM

      Most people are overthinking this.

      LD was not in competition with anyone per se. He is the best soccer player the US has ever produced and even in his dotage is one of the 30 best male US soccer players alive right now.

      If you are JK you want a guy like that leading your transition. Instead you get Donovan playing Hamlet or maybe the Clash.

      When JK was trying to get things started, when he needed players he could count on to set examples Donovan turns his back on him. So JK has to rehabilitate Clint by making him Captain, so he can serve as a good example. JK even used Stu Holden as example. Unfortunately he did not make it.

      I don’t believe JK had a vendetta with LD because of the sabbatical. However, you pay a price with your boss when you show yourself to be a high profile, high maintenance employee. Donovan erased a lot of trust and good will with that move. And when you are a cultural icon like Donovan is that is very sticky for a manager. A high level distraction like Donovan better be pure gold on the field if you are going to have to put up with the fact that LD was clearly not on board with JK’s program.

      The other day DMB said , referring to Yedlin and Green that they were threats to make to 23, that they weren’t there for the experience but because they could play in a World Cup.

      And DMB knows a little about young unknowns breaking out in a World Cup.

      Too bad LD was not paying attention.

      You know what the difference is between LD and the other WC vets, Timmy, Mikey, Clint, Jozy and DMB?

      The Furious Five have all been cut, all been told they weren’t good enough. So when JK showed up all of them knew he was serious and took risks, and worked extra hard to make sure they were in Brazil. The results were mixed but the point is these guys really wanted it bad and were willing to take a risk.

      What did Landon do? He took a sabbatical, then came back and did well in the Gold Cup but had an indifferent season with LA. That is hardly a great example for the new guys on the team.

      With all that he still made the 30 and according to JK, the difference between being cut and making it was very small for Landon. That spells underachievement in my book.

      Some say JK had it out for him, that it was personal. If so then Landon should have shut up, put his head down gotten into shape and worked extra hard and come into camp and blown everyone away like he is capable of. Then there would have been no way JK could have cut him vendetta or not.

      After all he has never really been cut by anyone before. At Leverkusen when they wouldn’t elevate him from the second team he cut them and left for MLS. And his failure at Bayern was more of a political one where the veteran players took out their dislike for JK on him.

      The fact that he did not come to camp in exceptional shape and form like he knew he should have tells me either he really can’t do it any more or that he really thought like most of you that an 80-90% Donovan was better than a 100% anyone else.
      Maybe he never really believed he would ever get cut and did not put in that extra whatever to make sure.

      In which case I am very angry with LD for depriving me of seeing one of my favorite US players play in his record fourth World Cup with DMB.

      Herb Brooks once said “If you give 99%, you will make my job very easy” .


      • Posted by Chazcar2 on 2014/05/22 at 8:58 PM

        i like this thought too. we remember 2002 and 2010 but what about 2006. what donovan showed up there?


      • Posted by Larry Montanez on 2014/05/23 at 6:45 AM

        Just saw you’re post, after i posted mine above. I made a similar connection, to Herb Brooks. they won back then, because they prepared to win the whole thing, not to win a game here or there. they worked so hard, that even after such an emotional semifinal, they didn’t know how to relax, and they still had enough desire to win the final. I’m with you, 80% of Landon is better than a lot of players, but when you’re trying to build a team that gives 100% all the time, you can’t have one guy that can only give even 90%, no matter who it is. if you have even a few % of doubt in your mind, when you’re exhausted and scared, that few % take over. Good post


      • This, this, this, and this. Great post.

        The biggest thing for me is that he came into camp out of shape. That’s enough to justify the decision for me.

        I love Landon, and as a human being, he has every right to take a sabbatical, to find his own way, and to live his life however he wants to and I have complete respect for that and for everything he’s ever contributed to US Soccer. But when it comes to this team right now, I would prefer a coach and a philosophy that looks forward.

        We have no idea what the locker room dynamics of all this were, either. I don’t remotely claim to have a window into Landon’s state of mind, but I think there are interesting anecdotes from Grant Wahl’s book about Beckham and the Galaxy that are pretty revealing about his mentality when he’s not the top dog. He’s clearly a very sensitive person who is open about some of the mental challenges of maintaining world-class form over time. The problem is, that doesn’t always make for the best teammate, so who knows – maybe there was more going on than we know behind the scenes.

        I wish it were different, but I’m fully behind this decision.


    • Posted by D Duh on 2014/05/22 at 11:19 PM

      While I’ve generally supported Klinsmann’s judgement this sounds personal based on what his son just tweeted


      Then came the apology:

      “Yes, I deleted the tweet, Yes, I realize it was VERY classless. But again, My sincerest apologies to everyone who was offended.”

      Then deleted the account.

      Where do you think his son picked that up? Does that suggest that Jurgen thinks highly of Donovan and cutting him was a ‘tough decision’ or do you think he routinely talks smack about him around the dinner table?


      • Posted by seamusbklyn on 2014/05/23 at 6:47 AM

        Just saw your comment, D. I thought the *exact* same thing.


      • Posted by schmutzdeck on 2014/05/25 at 7:22 PM

        Mr D duh,
        When I’m with my closest friends and family I say all sorts of horrendous things about the people I work with. A lot of that is venting.

        I’d love to know what Jon Klinsmann can tell us about the rest of the team and the staff and Sunil but hopefully he has learned his lesson
        But I still work with those people and I don’t expect my friends and family to broadcast my rants to the national media.

        Maybe you do the same thing. And maybe most of us do.

        And just maybe we don’t all have dumkopf kids.

        JK obviously has a different view point on what constitutes commitment , hard work etc. than Landon does.

        Everyone seems to be forgetting that JK himself has a record as a player that is arguably better than LD’s.

        I saw him play quite a bit and in many ways he was more like Wondo than LD. In other words not particularly big, strong fast or athletic. it’s obvious that he was that old cliche, a self made man. And he made himself into a great player through all those commitment things he talks about . That’s why he likes Wondo. He sees a lot of himself in him.

        When he looks at Donovan he sees a guy who might even be more naturally talented than JK himself was but yet seems a lot less hungry. I think he sees him as a wasting his talent. I also think that at 32 and given LD’s local sainthood, as we see now, there was little chance that he could rehabilitate Donovan like he has done with Dempsey by naming him Captain and Jozy by cutting him off for a while.

        You’d think LD would have taken the hint.

        I hear talk about JK dropping Mikey for a while too but that was right around the time Mikey was in limbo at Aston Villa and then moved to Italy. I’m pretty sure I remember JK being really happy about that move but also giving Mikey time to get settled into a new country and and a new team.

        I don’t think JK had much time with LD before he went off on his sabbatical and I suspect things went downhill from there.

        As I see it LD was not as big a part of this team in 2013 as he could have been so they just went off and proved they could do pretty well without him. It is of course unsurprising though disappointing to see that so many of you damm the other 23 with faint praise as if what they did w/o LD around meant nothing.

        I wanted LD on this team as much as anyone but I’m mad at him for not making the adjustments.

        JK is just like any boss. Being a part of any team is largely about skill but there are a whole lot of other factors as well. It is an equation.It is up to the employee (LD) to adjust to the new bossman’s(JK) expectations. Given LD’s talent this should not have not have been beyond him. It is tragic he proved to be so obdurate.

        Apparently, LD does not understand that the same work place politics that apply to you and me and most of us also apply to him.


  19. Posted by me on 2014/05/22 at 8:35 PM

    A fucking greed.
    Donovan has Lost IT.
    Over the last 10 months he’s been nothing.
    We have better players at his position now.
    He was fast and tough.
    Now neither.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2014/05/22 at 9:25 PM

      That’s insane. He’s not the same Donovan. He’s still a top 23 player for the US.


      • Posted by Arthur on 2014/05/23 at 4:13 AM

        Right on, Matt. Come on, this is not “the submit your crazed ideas in haiku form” forum. I don’t even know how greed comes into the picture, and how simply losing a step makes an illegitimate choice for the squad.


      • Posted by seamusbklyn on 2014/05/23 at 6:33 AM

        Absolutely right, Matt. Bruce Arena, who also sees Donovan every day–need that be noted, agrees and said if we have 23 players better than Donovan we have a chance to win the World Cup. Which we don’t–need it be noted.

        I do not get this decision, other than it being a chronic and monumental case of myopia on Klinsmann’s part. Either that or another outbreak of his contrarianitis. Or it was just personal. (I don’t care if Klinsmann’s teenage boy makes a foolish tweet, but it does provide some insight into their dinner table chat.)

        How many of our current 23 make that goal against Algeria happen? He and Howard saw the break before anyone else on the field. But what about the goal against Slovenia? He had an impossible angle and two teammates at the penalty spot but he liked his chances and launched a missile at the keeper’s head. That took some cogliones. Is Davis going to come up with that with the pressure on in the biggest game of his life, and be cool enough to pull it off? Green? Nothing against them but we don’t know do we?

        OK, he’s not 28. Who else do you go to when you need a late goal? Bring in the canny old pro who knows how it’s done, and already has 5 WC goals. You can’t find a spot on the bench for that guy? And I don’t buy the “who’s taking whose spot” arguments when some of our players will undoubtably not play an minute, as always happens. Seven or eight defenders. Donovan’s a forward not a midfielder. We have to play a diamond against Ghana and a whatever against Portugal blah blah blah. Bring him. He can ride in the jump seat. He won’t care.

        Folks talking about Donovan making into the 23 if there’s an injury shouldn’t get their hopes up; Brian Straus is basically saying no way, which makes sense at this point, unfortunately. And do we now have some resentment in the dressing room? Will this turn into a 1998 rerun? Sheesh.


        • Posted by seamusbklyn on 2014/05/23 at 3:14 PM

          Alright I take it back the last statement; if you believe JK maybe Donovan will be on the plane if there’s an injury:

          Not sure I do but…In any case, wish Ray Hudson had been at the press conference:


    • Posted by Freegle on 2014/05/23 at 5:36 AM

      Just stop it. In the last 10 months Donovan won the golden boot in the Gold Cup while captaining the team and winning the tournament, then put in a Man of the Match performance in beating out biggest rival Mexico and qualifying for the world cup in the same night.


      • Posted by Kevin O' on 2014/05/23 at 12:25 PM

        Something clearly happened between them deeper than we can shine a light on. Like the ESPN panel discussed, I too believe it happened just after Klinsi was coach of Bayern Munich and had to defend why Donovan was on the team every day from the onslaught of German media and puzzled Bayern fans. They were clearly close at the time and well before that when Arena allowed Klinsmann to be an assistant. It could be an unresolved resentment against Donovan that Klinsi hasn’t let go of yet. I have to say this has the same kind of “personal attack” feel as when Harkes was inexplicably left off the France ’98 team when he looked destined to be our captain and biggest contributor. It took over a decade later for us to learn that Harkes had an affair with Wynalda’s wife. I don’t think Lando did anything of the sort, but judging from the Klinsmann family reaction, he has been the cause of some deep rooted ill will.

        Regardless, I like them both and believe the best thing will come out of all of this. There’s usually one injury during camp, so things will get very interesting if and when that happens…


  20. Posted by gino744 on 2014/05/22 at 8:47 PM

    I’ve read all the posts up to this point and my emotions have hopped off the roller coaster: shock and disbelief, outrage then anger, and finally peace with acceptance.

    Barring injury, Landon Donovan is not in Brazil next month. We can disagree all we want but none of us coach the USMNT. Adrian Garza (see posts above) is absolutely right. Klinsmann made some hard choices and he made them for a reason, be it tactical plans for the upcoming opponents, current player form, whatever. And whatever happens in Brazil, HE will ultimately reap the praise or consequences, not any of us.

    We should get over ourselves and support our team, perceived deficiencies and all. Who is so upset that they’ll refuse to watch any of the games? Right, so we can be like those other “fans” across the world who spew poison at their coaches and players or we can root for the home team. Before I sound like an uber dork (too late), realize that our Nats were already longshots to even make it out of our group, Landon or no Landon.

    Better we look forward to TSG’s take on all this and more importantly, the fucking spectacle that is the World Cup.


    • Posted by CJ on 2014/05/22 at 9:17 PM

      Someone could fall out due to injury…


      • Posted by VASoccer on 2014/05/23 at 6:52 AM

        Conspiracy theory: JK knows one of the 23 is hurt – wants to have LD come back humble after an injury cut – LD is fired up to prove himself again – profit


        • Posted by chris_thebassplayer on 2014/05/24 at 10:18 PM

          Haha, I thought the same thing…


        • Posted by schmutzdeck on 2014/05/25 at 9:39 PM

          Well, I know and you know that Gonzo is injured , and that AJ has a suspect ankle and his performance has dropped off due to that.

          No surprises there.

          It will surprise me if no one comes up injured before the World Cup since it happened in 2002 ( Mastroeni replaced Armas) , and 2006 ( Berhalter for Gibbs).

          It did not happen in 2010 but with Davies, Gooch and Demerit getting hurt late maybe their injury quota had been filled.

          I would say Gonzo is most likely to come up lame but I can’t see calling in LD to replace a center back. AJ is the next likeliest as ankles can be tricky.


      • Posted by Larry Montanez on 2014/05/23 at 8:39 AM

        You’re right on, Gino. I think that’s the whole point. All this talk about Donovan, being one of the best 23 players, that’s thinking in terms of individuals. Klinsi can’t think about taking the 23 best players, he can only take one team. And we have to trust his judgment on this, because we can see the games, and read all the stories about comments made, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. most of the “team” is made in the practices and meetings we can’t see. I’m disappointed that Landon isn’t part of that team anymore, I had visions of him dribbling past a defender and passing off to Dempsey for a tap in, but I’m a fan, so I have the luxury of rooting for players, Klinsmann doesn’t. but when it comes down to it, I’m more a fan of the team, than of any one player, and i’ll be rooting hard for the home team, whoever is out there.

        i’m sure when the WC starts, i’ll be cursing a few players, and i might have low expectations, and be happy to get out of Group G. But Klinsmann is trying to do what he thinks is necessary to build one team, to give us a chance to win the WC. and with our talent pool, the 23 best players we have can’t do it.


  21. Posted by Chazcar2 on 2014/05/22 at 8:50 PM

    when you are structuring a 23 you run into certain problems with who will be in your 18 vs 23.

    starting 11

    bench: guzan, johansson, jones, chandler, gonzalez, yedlin, wondolowski
    reserve: rimando, green, brooks, davis, diskerud

    chandler is my backup for both fullbacks and maybe a midfield sub. aj and wondo for goal scoring. jones for both beckerman and bradley. gonzalez for besler and cameron. yedlin for wide pace.

    i could see subing yedlin into midfield to introduce a true next level kind of pace.

    anyway, where do i fit donovan in. is he replacing johansson or wondo? and once he isnt in the 18 where does he fit in the locker room. does his attitude deserve a spot? his comments about being satisfied and all the looking back, while healthy, arent great locker room boosters. do i want that over unproven and hungry? i dont know. i think if donovan had come to camp as fit as he could be then he makes it, maybe even starts, but given his current shape, i just dont know. i’ll trust the world class coaches that have a much closer view… for now.


  22. Posted by JW on 2014/05/22 at 9:55 PM

    I feel like Davis is included because he tracks back well and plays long passes out of the back accurately. Let’s say, hypothetically, that we’re leading Portugal 1-0 in the 65th minute, and whoever is playing left mid looks gassed. Who do you bring on that will track back, play smart, can pass long up the field, and will cut off service to CR? Davis fits that bill, Donovan does not. Offensively, Klinsmann thinks there are better options for this tournament – either Bedoya or Beasley, Mix, Green and Baconator could be on the bench – so spending a slot on a defensively capable midfielder makes sense. GOD D*MMIT.

    Yedlin is the type of player you bring on to press the attack. Make no mistake – teams are going to feel the heat in Brazil, and the most effective substitutes may be your track stars. Green isn’t world class, but he should be class enough to run at a tired CB, and young enough to forget that he’s at the world cup. Both of these guys could open up play late, my guess is Yedlin on for Chandler later if a game is tied.

    Brooks is the puzzling one for me. Usually, though, you bring 4 CBs and only play 3 at the most, so using a spot here on youth might be inconsequential. On the plus side, he’s supposedly good in the air, and Brooks might be handy in stopping the flying wunder-not-so-kind Klose. I haven’t seen his recent Bundesliga play, and the scouts might know something I don’t.

    What will keep me up at night – Beckerman is 32. Jones is 32. It’s going to be hot, humid, and all-together awful for at least a few of these matches. One of these two will start each match and will be subbed out for the other as needed, which could be every game. Great Atheismo forbid, but what happens if one of them gets injured or suspended? You’re in Manaus, Jones was red carded for a studs up flying karate kick in the box to Gyan’s nether regions in the 3rd minute in the previous game (costing us 3 points and setting us up for a 5-0 defeat), but improbably you’re up 1-0 on Portugal in the 70th minute… and Beckerman looks gassed in the jungle heat. In fact, he’s just collapsed, his dreads are on fire, and the pit crew is using fire extinguishers to contain the blaze. Do you move Bradley back and bring in Mix up top? Does Cameron play DM, and when did he do that last for the MNT? Wouldn’t it be nice to have Edu right now? And oh my Science the next 20 minutes are going to be intense.

    I can’t wait.


  23. Posted by Jim on 2014/05/23 at 7:39 AM

    Who gets the 10 kit? Mix?


    • Posted by gino744 on 2014/05/23 at 9:57 AM

      I feel bad for everyone who bought the new shirt with Donovan’s name on it. I might get a Donovan shirt now, in honor of the greatest USA player of all time. I might even find it at a bargain price now.


    • Posted by gino744 on 2014/05/23 at 9:59 AM

      I don’t think it’ll happen, but they could retire the #10, just for this World Cup. That would be a nice salute to Landon.


      • Posted by Jim on 2014/05/23 at 10:44 AM

        Thought the same thing. It would be classy. I wouldn’t hold it against anyone if they do wear it, thought. Either way, there’ll be an elephant in the locker room.


  24. Posted by Freegle on 2014/05/23 at 7:54 AM

    One other element I haven’t seen talked about. I believe that Klinsmann made this roster announcement before any of the friendlies specifically because he always knew he wasn’t going to keep Landon and could not afford Donovan playing well in the friendlies and then trying to justify leaving him off the roster. Cowardly, manipulative move.


    • Posted by gino744 on 2014/05/23 at 9:50 AM

      Let it go Freegle, just let it go. We all admire Landon but it’s time to look forward.


    • Posted by Jim on 2014/05/23 at 10:54 AM

      Highly doubt a grand conspiracy. I don’t agree with the move, but I don’t think there was a diabolical scheme.


    • Posted by Ghost of John OBrien on 2014/05/23 at 1:00 PM

      …or Klinsmann made his cuts now because he had seen enough over a week of practices to decide who he wanted to take, and he wants/needs all the time he can get without distractions to mold his final roster. With cuts made, now these friendlies can be used to prepare for the world cup instead of decide who gets to go.

      I’m sad that Donovan won’t be there, but I trust other people who are a lot smarter about soccer-like things to make these kinds of difficult decisions.

      I can’t wait for June 16!


  25. [TL;DR warning]

    Reading through these comments (and the ones at multiple other USMNT sites, on the Twitters, etc) what’s really struck me is how much of a Rorschach Test the Donovan exclusion serves amongst the fanbase.

    How you feel about Donovan being left off seems to show a good deal about your overall view of the state of soccer in the US. It seems like fans reflexively divide themselves up into two major camps. Those who are surprised but ultimately OK with the exclusion, and those who are outraged/incredulous. The first group will point out that Donovan has lost the qualities that once made him dangerous and that the squad is stronger with the 23 Klinsmann ultimately chose. The second group will protest that even in his diminished state Donovan still offers enough value that he should have been taken over (insert chosen controversial pick: davis, green, JAB, yedlin, wondo, etc)

    What’s must interesting to me is how the first group is essentially the members of the fanbase who 100% agree with Klinsmann’s famous monologue on ESPN after we got booted by Ghana in 2010. I’m sure everyone here has seen it enough times to remember it. Basically, that the US talent pool is too narrowly recruited from, that there’s no national soccer philosophy, that the win-now youth development culture doesn’t produce technically skilled players capable of world class touch, etc. To me, this is the group that’s often criticized for being Euro-philic, for having that whole self-hatred US soccer inferiority complex, and for looking down on MLS for its lesser quality of play. These are also the fans who never thought Landon did enough with his talent (washed out at Leverkusen and Munich, stayed in MLS his whole career, and ~15 games at Everton aren’t enough) and who were crushed when Deuce and Bradley left Tottenham and Roma for Sounders and Toronto.

    The second group consists of those who ultimately have more of a “bunker” mentality, of us-vs-Them. This group is reflexively defensive about the quality of MLS competition and of home-grown MLS talent, and seems to be the same folks who were more OK with Dempsey and Bradley returning to MLS. They will support MLS talent over foreign-grown talent when it comes to close roster choices. And this is the group that will point to a players role in Concacaaf qualifying as proof they deserve a WC spot without acknowledging that the level of competition an MLS player faces there will be vastly different from when they’re playing in the WC.

    Ultimately, I’m not sure where I fall in this spectrum (I agree with leaving Donovan off, and agree that for our current players going overseas if possible is always preferable to staying in MLS,… but I also agree w/the long term Bundesliga-inspired model of MLS player development and wouldn’t want to see us become like the South American countries and just churn out world class talent that gets sold overseas to Europe…),

    In the end, I think this divide has been illustrated clearly with the varied and emotional responses to Donovan’s exclusion. I also think with the next generation of talent coming in the USMNT will fully arrive as a recognized international force and the insecurities of both these camps will subside. It’s really a symptom of the growing pains of a league, national team, and country coming to grips with the fact that its moving from “plucky discarded upstart” to “rising force”. Time will tell how successful we ultimately are and how well Klinsmann manages this from now until 2018 and possibly beyond.


    • Posted by Paul on 2014/05/27 at 8:13 AM

      Insightful, but I’m not sure that’s a true dichotomy. I mean, there are plenty of people like myself who will agree with our need to cast the net wider and push our talent, but also see the value in a rapidly-improving MLS. I’m no Euro-phile, but I’m also not a diehard MLS person either. I think we have a good mix, and are moving in the right direction.


  26. Posted by Josh on 2014/05/23 at 10:57 AM

    Wah wah wah. For all the LandyCakes lovers crying foul – c’mon, fellas, this is sports. It’s based on *ruthless, fierce competition.* Klinsmann knows that as well as anyone on the planet, as a former world-class player and seasoned head coach. He is bringing what he considers the best 23 – in every way – to Brazil. Landon is not that anymore. Probably by very little, but enough that there are better options. His sum assets are not up to the par of the forwards taken ahead of him. Ruthless, fierce competition – Landon knows all about it. And as he rightly judged coming in to camp, he was on the bubble. His bubble burst, because JK feels he has better options. JK is taking what he considers the best 23 – end of story.


    • Posted by seamusbklyn on 2014/05/23 at 11:06 AM

      You’re in the wrong comments section.


    • Posted by KickinNames... on 2014/05/23 at 2:31 PM

      1)This is where the grown ups come to talk. The general policy on TSG is: State your case and leave the juvenile personal attacks over there with the 15 yr olds. That’s how we attempt to roll here to enable real discussion and minimize the “your mom” threads. Try to respect that.
      2) Discussion and argument are what grown ups do. For those who have watched the greatest player to put on the US uni for his entire career and who rationally look at this situation and recognize that something isn’t kosher with Klinsi’s decision here it perfectly justified to express
      -, questions about Klinsi’s decisions

      this is not a small decision. The fact that he has had to spend the amount of time he has splaining himself indicates that this was a complicated decision. I for one don’t buy Brad Davis (Brad fing Davis!) on his best day replacing 80% of Donovan. Just don’t buy it. If I need someone to come on to save my ass with 20 mins left I’d still trust that Landon could find some magic well before I’d consider Davis or Green.

      I also understand that this is JK’s team but am still left puzzled as to how this was handled especially considering Donovan’s. That’s not wah-ing that’s just how a long time fan of the team who respects the contribution of a great soldier views it.


      • Posted by Josh on 2014/05/27 at 9:32 AM

        My apology. Did not intend to lower the level of discourse. Lesson hopefully learned. I definitely have experienced very frank discussion on Usenet and must remember this is much better, high-level stuff; which is why this blog rules and I feel bad for lowering the level of discourse. My bad.

        Regarding 2): totally agree regarding your first couple paragraphs. This decision warrants all of it and then some. I guess my point was – I caught myself all upset and to lessening degrees still do – about this decision and I remembered I had to wake up! This is football/sports and there is absolutely nothing sentimental about it! It’s fierce, ruthless competition – and JK is all about that. He is going with his vision what will best achieve results – come what may. In this sense my post was directed at me as much as anyone else.

        JK said from the start of the 30 selected he classified Landon as a forward. And when one puts Landon up against each forward *as of today, not a year ago much less 4 years ago* – I can understand why JK chose the others over him. Jozy & Clint ahead of Landon makes sense for obvious reasons. For the other two: in one important regard – Wondo is a higher-energy, better *pure poacher* than Landon right now; AJ is in better form and much younger; otherwise comparable finishing skills? So it’s not surprising when it’s broken down like that, with JK only seeing Landon as a forward.

        Now, do I still think JK is wise to go in the direction he did at forward, not including Landon; do I think he’s wise to classify Landon as a forward only? I don’t know. But I’m trying not to lose sleep over it. This is the Next Chapter of American Football, By Jurgen Klinsmann. I’m 100% behind it and am hoping Wondo/AJ/all the lads prove JK right. And I may just end up going absolutely insane in support at a match or three of ours in Brazil in a couple weeks if the old lady sanctions it!


  27. Posted by Arisrules on 2014/05/23 at 11:31 AM

    This team is 100% about who Klinsmann sees as his footsoldiers. So while he went for a lot of young players, he also brought in a lot of random older dudes who really were never part of the WC teams before who are all 30+ (davis, wondo, beckerman, some others).

    I’m going to start off by saying that I have never been the biggest Donovan fan. He fades in and out of games. He’s very tempermental.

    However, there is seriously no doubt that he’s still one of the top offensive players in the US pool, and could have easily played a role for this team. He’s also clearly not the player he was two years ago. He’s definitely become more injury prone. He’s not as effective. But a diminished Landon still basically is a starting 11 or super sub for the US right now, except in the mind of Klinsmann (and apparently some other people who drink the JK kool aid). Also, he’s easily one of the smartest and thoughtful American athletes. Not that that matters, but when he talks he makes a lot of good points. He’s also supposedly an awesome teammate.

    The roster was filled with a lot of weird decisions. Klinsmann at fullback clearly wanted speed and athleticism, so he dropped a lot of dudes who are more soccer savvy and versatile, but stay at home (evans and parkhurst). The problem is that the US isn’t good enough to have two fullbacks who bomb forward. So if you see a backline that starts Chandler (who hasn’t played for the USMNT in 1.5 years, and yet is making the world cup) and johnson, know that the US will be quickly lit up. This is what happened in qualifying against Honduras, when chandler and Jones started together and really pushed high up the field. The US was constantly exposed. I also think it is criminal that Maurice Edu was not picked. He brings versatility to play both d-mid and CB. Parkhurst should have also been picked as he can play any of the four defensive positions well. I also think that not selecting Tim Ream as a CB was bizarre (I rate him higher than all of our CBs except for Cameron and Besler).

    The other thing is that we only have one target forward in Jozy. the US just isn’t good enough to not be able to bring on a target forward and combine with the midfield. If you are spain you can play like that. If you are the US, you cannot. Diskerud is a nice talent, but bringing him on with Johanson at the 65th minute is not going to result in a goal against ghana, spain, and portugal. I guarantee this is going to be in an issue in one of the games, where somebody like Wondolowski or Johanson will be subbed in, and really won’t be able to help the US maintain possession and start something. At that point you wish you could bring on somebody like Eddie Johnson to both stretch the field, corral the ball, piss the shit out of the CBs, drop it off, and then make runs in the channels to get onto crosses (Johsnon should also be on the team, unfortunately he’s a cancer).

    Anyway, I bet this is the lineup we often see for the WC against ghana:


    This is not that bad of a team. Dempsey has been really good this year. Jozy has been shit for Sunderland, but he’s really good at maintaining possession and being a handful to deal with. Zusi is a great player, but not world class. Bradley should be starting at a top European team without a doubt. Jones is undisciplined and I wouldn’t have him within a mile of the starting lineup. On the right will be a rotation of players depending on the opponent I bet, but Bedoya will be there a lot. At the back, Besler is good. Cameron is a really underrated player, and should be a starting CB. But the problem is his backups are Gonzalez whose form sucks balls, and Brooks who is 21 and super raw. Any injury to Besler and Cameron brings a huge dropoff in quality (Brooks selection is moronic, not even considering Ream is equally moronic). There are still questions at fullback, although Johnson and Chandler do get Bundesliga minutes. But the backups there aren’t great either (yedlin and DMB are not good enough to be at this level, Yedlin has a future, but he’s not ready; massive dropoff).

    I think if we get a point out of the three games, it will be a huge victory. The biggest factor is if the backline can get in shape in 4 weeks or whatever. I doubt it, but weirder things have happened. If the backline gets exposed early (which is probably less likely with Cameron there instead of Gonzalez), and we start bombing our fullbacks forward, the USMNT will get torn up really quickly as it just does not have the quality to handle that situation.

    What I am also worried about is that I really don’t trust Klinsmann. He started off by marginalizing Bradley (I have complained about this, but I still find it ridiculous that this great website argued in favor of that, it’s a real black mark on this blog) and going with a ridiculous three d-mid midfield that left the USMNT static, exposed to counters, and generally looking horrible. Only after JK reverted back to more tried and tested tactics did the US go on any run. But the US has had a lot of bad moments (first round of qualifying was horrible), and in games that matter, I don’t know that JK has the tactical nous to get us there. Thankfully he has brought on a lot of experienced assistant coaches, who hopefully will be making more of the tactical decisions (similarly to what happened with Germany). If that’s the case, and JK is merely a cheerleader who motivates the team, then we won’t humiliate ourselves.


    • Posted by gino744 on 2014/05/23 at 7:02 PM


      I agree that Donovan appears to be a better choice than others he selected (Davis, Green, maybe Wondo and Mix). I also would have liked to see Boyd on the roster as he is a big striker with a nose for the goal and was very much in form for his Rapid Wien. I’m also unsure that Brooks is a necessity.

      However, I have to disagree with your assumption that our fullbacks were chosen with the idea of bombing forward and that they “will quickly be lit up”. Yes, I think Johnson and Chandler are better going forward than Evans and Parkhurst and that’s one reason why they’re going to Brazil. But I gotta believe Klinsmann wants speed on the outside to better contend with the offensive talent they’ll be facing. I think Evans and Parkhurst would have been more likely to get lit up, despite possibly playing deeper than their German-American counterparts. Also, we’re assuming that Beasley won’t start and that Johnson won’t line up at LM.

      I don’t believe Klinsmann marginalized Bradley at all. I think he challenged him and Bradley didn’t disappoint him by fighting for his place on the team. That’s where I feel Donovan let JK down. Landon wears his heart on his sleeve, to a fault I fear. I think Landon should have internalized his own doubts and told Klinsmann he was wrong to doubt him. Then shown him why. Instead, he talked about his decline as if he was OK with it. Maybe Donovan needed to get pissed and show that he still had the heart of a lion, that he was still invaluable to the team. It wasn’t enough for him to believe it, he needed to convince Klinsmann also.


      • Posted by Arisrules on 2014/05/23 at 10:08 PM

        I have to disagree on your point on the fullbacks. All four of the fullbacks are very aggressive and athletic (johnson, chandler, a converted midfielder in DMB, and Yedlin who does not know how to play defense). He wants speed, but if he plays both fullbacks to press forward, I have no doubt that we will be exposed. Historically we have usually played with one forward going forward aggressively, and the opposite fullback staying back. This is one thing that JK reverted back to that helped him with his historic run of victories.

        For example the past couple of years before JK, we usually played Cherundulo at RB, who had free license (as an aside, it is my opinion that Cherundulo was far and away the greatest defender the US ever produced, and was one of the most important players of the last decade, it is a shame that he was injured and had to retire, and I wish he was on this squad, we could use him), and opposite him at LB we had somebody like Boca who was more defensive.

        On MB, he was 100% frozen out for no reason. I guess JK challenged him, but it never made sense to me. JK was playing with fire (similarly to the way he went about with selection of Jozy).

        Unfortunately we have an egotistical maniac as coach, who likes to play games like challenging your best field player and target forward for no reason. Hopefully his selections are right, but it just seems to me like he’s playing games.


        • Posted by schmutzdeck on 2014/05/24 at 1:49 AM

          The US has a shaky defense and a somewhat anemic attack. What to do? JK’s solution seems to be to increase the tempo and attack, attack. What will the strikers need?


          Better flank play and strong legs would help..

          Three things:
          1. The Gold Cup. In spite of his good tournament Landon’s success there came only after he moved inside off the wing where he was anonymous.
          2. Gonzo’s knee injury.
          3. Shea’s disappearing act.

          In walk Davis, Chandler, Brooks, Yedlin and Green.
          Chandler’s ability to play left back makes Yedlin more realistic. Or he can also attack from RB. And while DMB has lost pace like his brother LD, he can still overlap from the left especially if he has Fabian in midfield to cover him.

          Gonzo’s knee gives Cameron a reason to move inside. Besides no US player is as dynamic attacking from the right flank as Chandler on an overlap.

          Even though Cameron has been shaky in his US games at CB that was probably due to inactivity there. He will have camp and the three games to get comfy.
          Cameron is best when he is not pinned to a flank and can do damage moving around in the center of the field. Eventually, if Jones leaves Cameron can take his spot Or perhaps Jones will switch with Cameron.

          I remain skeptical of a straight diamond, with Mikey as the spear point. Mexico is not as defensively vicious as Ghana. They can shut down a single man at #10, which is the flaw of the diamond.

          So a 4-2-3- 1 remains most likely though if Cameron and Brooks really shine at center back in camp, some form of the 3-5-2 may emerge. Brooks, Cameron and Besler are all reasonably speedy and smart, good on the ball and that makes a 3 man backline more plausible.

          Brooks is key. If he has improved from that pathetic Ukraine embarrassment and is mobile and good on the ball then a three man back line could work and that leads us to the flank players.

          Green, Yedlin, Chandler, bring speed and Fabian and Davis add guys who can handle the chaos with their experience and passing ability. It will be left to Clint, Wondo, Jozy and AJ to finish up.

          So why no LD?

          He had two deficits against him, his loss of flank effectiveness and his lack of scoring sharpness.

          So how about his leadership and experience. He was the hero before.

          The key word there is “WAS”.

          It comes down to leadership and commitment to the “cause”. There is no doubting the five WC vets who did make the 23. They all sacrificed, did everything they could to be in Brazil.
          LD on the other hand, has been giving mixed signals the whole time and his club season has been bad to indifferent. Overall he did not give one the feeling that he was wholeheartedly doing everything he could possibly do to make the cut. I never felt that his heart was into it.

          LD has never really had to make a team before. Every year Clint was in England Clint had to engage in a death struggle for his job. Clint knows how to win over a doubting manager and get a job. LD does not know how to do that. For the last 12 years or so he has been a stone cold case hardened automatic lock for every team he was eligible for except Bayern Munich and that was clearly political.

          He would have been better served to refrain from negotiating in the media for a backup spot and putting his head down, losing the weight and leading the Galaxy to a great start, like Clint did for the Sounders.

          Instead he showed up at camp like a guy who had crammed for a test assuming he could just skate by under the wire. It’s as if he was resting on his laurels and was willing to settle for second best. That is not the kind of leadership you want from the most influential player in the team. It sets a very bad example that you are willing to tolerate a guy who is clearly not THAT hungry.

          Your entire team ethic is about giving everything you have and overcoming every obstacle in your way so this in not tolerable from Landon.who is still the best US player ever and still ne of the 30 best in the US.

          Landon let himself down and he should be embarrassed and ashamed. He could have done a lot better.


          • Posted by Arisrules on 2014/05/24 at 9:09 AM

            As Bruce Arena said, if there are 23 better players than LD, then we have a great shot at winning the WC. I”m not going to comment on the titanic death struggle that clint had to engage in or whatever. LD didn’t want Europe, which is fine. That was his choice. But LD should be on this team. If you ask any MLS coach would they rather have Wondo or Davis or Landon on the team, what would their response be? It would almost nearly 100% be anonymous for Landon. There just isn’t any doubt on my mind.

            However, to be content with Brooks as our fourth CB is insane. The dude clearly isn’t ready. Yedlin at RB is a recipe for disaster. I’ve watched every minute of Seattle this year, and he just isn’t there. For him to be our backup at RB is nuts.

            Injuries happen. You need to put together a lineup that is versatile and competent. We have there complete unknowns in Green, Yedlin, and Brooks. You can live with going with one unknown. But three? That is rolling the dice. Does anybody want to depend on these untested players?

            As for more aggressive flank play, we don’t have the personnel or the tactical nous. Like I said, when we rolled out Chandler and Johnson against Honduras, we were ripped apart.


            • Posted by schmutzdeck on 2014/05/24 at 6:03 PM

              Where you at the camp? Because you are acting you saw these guys there. As for Brooks, he has been playing quite well lately.

              The point about Clint is he knows how to win a job, Donovan never really had to and doesn’t know how.

              What did you expect Arena to say? He has been tied at the hip to Donovan since 2002. He owes LD big time.

              If you are using “that” Honduras game to judge USMNT players then none of those guys deserve to go to Brazil. Go back over that game roster. It was the worst performance by a USMNT team I have seen since Ramiro Corralles’ last game at left back for the US.

              As for this rolling this dice business, JK was brought in here to shake things up and he is faced with very tough opponents in their Group.
              The USMNT has the least amount of talent in that Group so any team he puts up against them, well he will have to gamble somewhere if he expects to get a result.

              I think he is a better judge of how best to go about that that you or the various MLS coaches you cited don’t you think?

            • Posted by Arisrules on 2014/05/24 at 7:13 PM

              I guess going by your logic, Clint should be kicked off the team for taking the easy route and coming home to MLS where he’s not challenged every week for his job. Same with Michael Bradley. Spare me the moralizing, because LD brings it for the USMNT. He has 5

              That’s interesting logic on Arena as well, since Bruce Arena usually seems to say whatever the hell he thinks is true. Adn he’s right, if LD isn’t good enough to make our squad, we probably should be WC favorites. As for JK compared to other MLS coaches, no I have no idea why I should trust JK over their word.

              Honduras for me was an important game, because it marked the end of JK’s initial failed tactical foray (the whole three d-mid nonsense with Danny Williams at right wing, good lord that was dumb). This includes the whole first round of qualifying which was a joke. After that, JK reverted back to tactics that were closer to our traditional bread and butter, and he saw more success. That was his attempt to shake the program up, and it failed miserable.

              For me right now he is being reckless, and he is reinventing the wheel several weeks before the WC.

            • This is so symptomatic of certain USMNT fans. Brooks “clearly isn’t ready”. According to what metric? A sample size consisting of a single game against Ukraine that was also his first ever action with these teammates? Seriously?

              The guy gets regular minutes on a Bundesliga team. But I guess the 2 year sample size there doesn’t count as much as ONE freaking friendly and so having him as our FOURTH CB is deemed “insane”.

              And the whole “which MLS manager would choose Player X over LD”. Gimmie a break. Club managers have different jobs than national team managers. The MLS also isn’t the WC, which is an elimination tournament held in a short period of time under very specific circumstances. And I’m sorry but none of these MLS managers have ever won a WC and Jurgen has. If MLS managers were the final word on which 23 US players to take then we’d have hired one to manage the USMNT.

            • Posted by Arisrules on 2014/05/25 at 10:52 AM

              Sorry, playing 14 of 34 games or whatever at Hertha does not make you ready for the WC. This is a symptom of certain US fans who have drunk JK’s kool-aid or just blithely assume that playing abroad means you are better. Yes, three games is a small sample size, but there is a reason why there were only three games and he wasn’t called in to play meaningful minutes. It is also important to consider how shocking some of those minutes are.

              Barely playing with any of your USMNT teammates in the run-up to the WC, and having no understanding of how to play with them, is also another factor. We have zero familiarity in our backline, and are completely reconstructing it several weeks before the WC. That is absolutely insane considering how long JK has had to tinker with the team. What is also insane is the revelation that Brad Evans was playing CB in the first 10 days in camp. What is that? That’s how we are going to get ready for the WC? Right now two of our backup defenders have barely played with their teammates, and just do not have the proven chops to provide anything. We have shot ourselves in the foot.

              For me it is utterly insane to drop Landon Donovan for supposed tactical considerations (which is what a lot of people are trying to argue, that it was merely tactical, instead of vindictive; those arguments are foolhardy). We do not have the talent to implement those tactics well enough, to justify the exclusion of a top 5 talent. The point of brining up MLS coaches is not so much what they think, but to show just how good he still is, and how he can impact a game.

              And that’s not to say I don’t agree with certain things that JK did. I think Chandler had to be called up, as he’s definitely amongst the most talented defenders, and has actually proven that. I have zero problem with giving Green a seat. Wondo earned his ticket as well. But in the end of the day, we have one target forward. We have a bizarre group of defenders. We have an odd group of midfielders. We have a team that got rid of many players with flexibility (parkhurst, edu, etc) in order to become more rigid. It just does not make sense to me.

            • I respectfully disagree. JAB is 21 and already has 45 appearances at Hertha under his belt (according to wikipedia). He’s comparable in top level playing experience to two players on the current German roster who may very well be called upon to play major roles now that Lars Bender is added to their growing list of midfield casualties (small bit of good news for us, btw). Matthias Ginter is 20 with 2 national team caps and Christoph Kramer is 23 with one cap. Ginter, much like brooks, is a towering young centre back who has started only 60 games for SC Freiburg. Kramer is similarly young, towering and defensive minded and has played in only 18 bundesliga matches.

              Why then are Ze Germans, who have way more talent than we do, bringing BOTH these kids along to potentially play important roles for their team if this sort of inclusion “just does not make sense” to you? Maybe Klinsmann knows what he’s doing w/r/t JAB.

              Klinsmann isn’t god. He’s made his fair share of mistakes in the past (such as putting Landon Donovan on player wish list at Bayern… lol) and will make several during the next few weeks. Some of his gambles will not work out. But nobody will bat 100% as a national team manager. What matters is that there’s a process at work here and that there are logical explanations behind each of his decisions, regardless of if they pan out in the end.

              And frankly, this is why we brought him in. To shake shit up. The Arena/Bradley/insert name of next MLS coach sort of national team manager model where we fight a war of attrition each match and play to NOT lose was reaching a ceiling. We’ve risen from plucky underdog to decent mid-tier country. To take the next step into the elite nations we need to take risks. We need to establish a national identity, we need to invest in the younger generation of players coming in, and we need to implement a youth development structure across the board that focuses on actual skills development and not just “win-now”. See: what Belgium did in the last 15 years or so. Now imagine those methods being backed by the financial and demographic might of the USA. THAT’S what we brought JK in to do. Not to scrape out an extra point or so in a Group of Death by loading up on 30+ y/o MLS Vets and bitterly going out in the group stages regardless.

            • Posted by schmutzdeck on 2014/05/25 at 10:27 PM

              Aris rules,

              The Clint and Mikey situations were public slaps in JK’s face

              But JK needs them so he made the best of it. This tells you JK can put his personal feelings aside when he needs you bad enough. Also Clint did his loan and came back and dominated for the Sounders in a way that LD did not for the Galaxy. As for Mikey he has become the one nearly irreplaceable player on the USMNT.
              I don’t think anyone will argue that.
              Obviously he does not feel he needs LD as much as them. Either that or he has been unable to reach an accord with LD like he obviously has with Clint and Mikey.
              “For me right now he is being reckless, and he is reinventing the wheel several weeks before the WC”
              What wheel? Has LD been a significant part of this team all through qualifying? All anyone has been saying for the last year is how crappy the back four has been.
              These next few games and the camp represent pretty much the first time JK has had his first string together for an extended period. JK will use that time to refine the team and it will likely be different from what we have seen finish out qualifying.
              This is good because what we have seen all year would not have been good enough.
              Think of the World Cup as the playoffs. Teams that advance in the playoffs usually have finally figured out how to get the best out of what they have.
              As for the Honduras loss that was about 15 months and 9 Hex games ago, which in soccer terms is an eternity.

            • Posted by schmutzdeck on 2014/05/25 at 10:47 PM


              “Sorry, playing 14 of 34 games or whatever at Hertha does not make you ready for the WC. This is a symptom of certain US fans who have drunk JK’s kool-aid or just blithely assume that playing abroad means you are better.””

              It’s not that Brooks plays abroad.

              It’s that he is not Gonzo.

              Have you seen Brooks in camp? Or did you watch his recent games at Hertha?

              More to the point have you seen Gonzo play for the US? Can you tell me why there has been constant concern from everyone over the US center backs since JK took over?

              Most people seem to feel that the US center back status qou is not good enough.

              Of course Brooks is a gamble. Only Tim Howard falls into the not a big gamble category. Maybe Mikey and Clint fall into that category as well. Otherwise…….
              But your objections to reinventing the wheel are amusing since that wheel , on paper, stands zero chance, with or without Donovan, of rolling into the knockout round.

              So if they want to advance they will do a few things different and I expect some of those things will be quite risky.

            • Posted by Arisrules on 2014/05/26 at 12:40 AM

              There was an easy answer to Gonzo from the start, which is not the inclusion of Brooks on the roster, but that was Cameron at CB. Why only inject Cameron into the CB discussion now, and not have him getting games with Besler? Why call Chandler only at this point and not have him getting minutes with the team? Better yet, how does he justify bringing in a team cancer like Chandler who has quit on the USMNT repeatedly and very publicly, yet Chandler now “wants” it? There is no logical answers to any of these points. The idea that there is some actual process or logic behind what we have here doesn’t seem evident to me. We have heard various justifications about what it takes to be included on the team, from current form, to testing yourself in europe, to being a good team guy, to wanting it, etc. All of those factors were applied in an arbitrary and selective manner that shows little thought.

              What I see is an individual who is constantly contradicting himself and making up justifications to rationalize what is increasingly becoming a clusterfuck.

              Kurryneggz, JK didn’t screw up by bringing in LD at BM. His screwup was that he lost that team, and then failed in his job, and was run out of Germany. He was/is a joke. He then came to the US, and repeatedly brushed off efforts by the USSF to hire him as coach. This created unnecessary drama yet again for Bob Bradley and the team. That the USMNT took a gamble on a man who couldn’t credibly get a job in his country, and hadn’t worked for several years is ridiculous. Additionally, as you like to say, JK took the easy route. JK himself says that the media and pressure here in the US is lacking. What does that say about JK? Well it’s just yet another contradiction. And I have no idea what JK has to do with Belgium. Do you know the process that Belgium went to to recreate their youth programs and systems? At what point did JK ever in his career have experience in something like that? None.

              As for shaking shit up, JK already did that with his genius three d-mid tactics, with danny williams at right wing, that failed so miserably, and barely got us through the first round of qualifying (not to mention freezing out players like Jozy; Jozy has been garbage this year, why not kick him off the team for his lack of current form?). Thankfully JK began reverting back to more tried and tested tactics with the personnel he has.

              I agree the wheel as presently or previously constructed has little chance of coming out of the group. JK though is adding to that pressure and making the odds even longer. My only hope is that like with Germany and Loew, JK’s assistant coaches will be in charge of the tactics and putting together the teams.

        • Posted by schmutzdeck on 2014/05/25 at 10:59 PM


          RE: JK freezing out Mikey.

          JK took over right around the time Mikey was in limbo and inactive at Aston Villa and then moved to Italy. I’m pretty sure I remember JK being really happy about that move but also giving Mikey time to get settled into a new country and and a new team which took a while. Once he was settled and doing well at Chievo. Mikey came back into the team

          I see no reason to interpret that as ” he was 100% frozen out for no reason.”.


  28. Posted by mark on 2014/05/23 at 11:48 AM

    Thanks for the tough love speech, Josh. Ugh. The only issue is whether Klinsmann chose the best 23 for the World Cup. Most national team observers would say he didn’t by cutting Donovan. Forget about goal scoring, Donovan is still the best passer and has the best field vision of any U.S. player including Bradley. During the press conference today, Klinsmann wouldn’t elaborate on how other players were “slightly” ahead of him. But passing isn’t one of them, and that ability is going to be in high demand when the U.S. is struggling to get the ball into the final third against Ghana, Portugal and Germany.


    • Sorry, Donovan is not the passer he once was. He doesn’t do anything as good as he once did. Go back and watch some of the last few MLS games he played. He tries stuff that he used to pull off repeatedly without thinking, and its not there. Just like that when Rafa (old himself) stripped him in the last friendly. He was GREAT. But he is not what he was.

      ALSO 3-5-2 coming. That’s my only thought on the roster moves that were made. That’s why the 4 guys on the outside that fly even if they can’t defend so well. That’s why no Donovan. Where would he start?? Not taking one of the two spots from Altidore or Dempsey. He’s not the goal scorer he once was. Sorry maybe getting cut will light the fire, who knows with Donovan.


      • Posted by Paul on 2014/05/27 at 9:08 AM

        Geez, I’m starting to think this 3-5-2 talk might be correct. But doesn’t that make us incredibly thin?? That to me puts Jones and Beckerman on the field at the same time, not to mention 3 of the 4 center backs.


        • Posted by Paul on 2014/05/27 at 9:09 AM

          AND, it has us wholesale changing the tactics 6 weeks out from the tournament. I may be surprised, but that sounds like a very shaky idea in and of itself.


  29. Posted by kurtosis on 2014/05/23 at 2:21 PM

    “If it’s going on form, what about Jozy Altidore? Oh he’s been brilliant for Sunderland!” HAHAHAHAHAHA.



  30. Posted by Berniebernier on 2014/05/24 at 1:01 PM

    Sorry in advance for the length

    Like most people here I have been listening and reading a ton on the matter. I have never been a Donovan lover but I was shocked to see him left off all together. That said, I can see the logic in it.

    Lets start stipulating we are only looking at the 30. Then lets assume we play a 4-4-2 diamond (more on why I think that below). As such our starters IMO are:


    Now you may not agree with that line-up or formation but hang with me:

    12 +13 – Guzan and Rimando (per FIFA rules you need three keepers)
    14 – Beasley (back-up LB, allows FJ to play RB if necessary)
    15 – Omar (back-up CB)
    16 – Beckerman (Jones’ back-up)
    17 – Mix (back-up for MB90)
    18 – AronJo (back-up for Dempsey and Altidore) – Here I could really argue that 19 should be Boyd as the back-up to Altidore but the lack of Boyd makes me think that we are not playing a 4-2-3-1 as you can’t look at Wondo as a hold-up forward.

    Now we have some coverage everywhere with 5 slots left to fill… For simplicity sake lets say that we need 3 offensive and 2 defensive players. Lets take a look at how a game might play out and see what we might need

    We are up in a game – not going to change the back 4 late in a game with a lead. You might add a big guy (Omar) like we saw in the GC final. JK seems to go with the fast guy to run at people and stretch the defense (most commonly that has been Shea). If we look for someone in that role its either Green or Donovan. I think Donovan has lost a step and looked horrible in this role during the most recent Mexico game (small sample size).

    19 – Green (speed off the bench)

    We are down in the game and need a goal (60 minute mark). For me the 60 minute move is to bring on AronJo. This comes down to whether you would rather bring in AronJo or Donovan. Coldly if we are down 2-1 to Ghana I would rather see AronJo coming on for Altidore (who hopefully has worn down the defense) rather than Donovan coming on to pair with Dempsey.

    We are down in the game and need a goal (80 minute mark). To me this has to be Wondo. Movement, nose for the goal, etc.

    20 – Wondo (last roll of the dice sub)

    So now we are down to three spots. Lets look at the specific skill set they would bring…

    Yedlin = SPEED
    Brooks = depth at CB
    Goodson = depth at CB
    Parkhurst = depth across the backline
    Evans = depth at RB,
    Corona = depth for Bedoya and Zusi
    Davis = left foot and set pieces
    Donovan = experience, offensive attack
    Boyd = depth for Altidore
    Edu = depth at back of diamond

    Lets look at who we can cut as part of narrowing this down:
    Evans – we already have FJ, Chandler, and Cameron who can play RB, I don’t see how he starts and not sure if I see a scenario where we sub Evans in. Its a tough cut because he was such a good soldier but.

    Parkhurst – basically the same as Evans

    Edu – already have Beckerman and Jones can’t take 3 DM in addition to Bradley

    Boyd – as I already mentioned not sure I agree if we are playing a 4-2-3-1 but if we are playing a 4-4-2 diamond I don’t see him starting or being one of my first three off the bench

    Goodson/Brooks – you only need one of the two. Goodson would have been my choice but they are close and neither is that likely to play so lets give JK the benefit of the doubt in choosing youth. We will appreciate it next WC and I don’t think it hurts us.

    Corona – my take is that if Bedoya or Zusi can’t go (injury, cards) then you move FJ up and play Beasley before you put in Corona. If so he has to go because I don’t see him starting under any scenario and don’t know where he comes in as a sub

    21 – Brooks (per above)

    So now we basically have two spots for Yedlin, Davis, and Donovan

    I can see Yedlin being used if we are down and we can just let him run at people and basically play a 3 man back line because we need a goal and are willing to risk getting burned on the D.

    I can see Davis being used if a team is clogging the middle and we thing that crosses and set pieces may make the difference

    I see Donovan being used as a sub at the 60 minute mark. However, personally I like Mix and AronJo as that option and you don’t need three options. And if we are at 80 minutes I would rather Wondo.

    Not saying I 100% agree just saying that there is some logic there. Personally I would have went with Goodson over Brooks and Boyd over Mix (and played a 4-2-3-1 where Boyd is Altidore’s back up and Mix has less of a role because I don’t him coming in for Dempsey. I also probably go for Donovan over Davis not on practical but on sentiment.


    • Posted by Lou on 2014/05/24 at 11:38 PM

      I have read tons about this roster decision in the past several days and this is the smartest thing I’ve read. Almost nothing I’ve read–whether or pro or con the Donovan cut, written by a professional or written by a fan commenter–has taken a holistic view of roster construction. When you break it down, ArJo, Mix, and Wondo are all impact offensive subs that JK rates better than LD.

      I personally rate LD a little better than Mix and Wondo but it’s not such a big difference that JK’s decision is unreasonable. Like 2010-14 LD, Mix busts out occasional moments of genius amid otherwise pedestrian performances. I don’t think Wondo is an international caliber player, and we already have an international caliber poacher in Dempsey anyway, but it’s a different enough skillset from LD’s that I can see the argument there, too, if I squint.

      For me, then, the problem with cutting LD is that he has some of the best passing, decision making, and speed of thought in the player pool. Klinsmann knows this–he’s talked about how Donovan has had to adapt as he has aged–so I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt that he doesn’t believe LD’s skill set is what is most needed to round out the roster he wants to construct.


    • Posted by Seybold on 2014/05/25 at 2:39 PM

      Great analysis re: the diamond formation.

      I wonder if the arrival of Berti Vogts might have played a role here, with a fresh set of eyes looking at the players available and what system best suits them. It wouldn’t be shocking for him to review the players, matches going back a ways, and conclude the team plays better with two upfront, that there aren’t many good wide options from midfield, and conclude that a diamond is the way to go.

      Also wonder if Jones could play as a shuttler as some point, in the style of Gatusso, with Beckerman playing as a passing holder. I like MB90 at the head of a diamond, for attacking qualities, but also as an advanced destroyer on the defensive side.


      • Posted by Berniebernier on 2014/05/26 at 2:33 PM

        That is an interesting wonder/theory, Everything seems to say Vogts is a scouting savant. It would be extremely possible/likely for JK to ask him to go back and watch various qualifying games and give a second opinion on strategy, line-ups, etc.


  31. Posted by chris_thebassplayer on 2014/05/24 at 11:16 PM

    With Fab tentatively penciled in at LB, seems the consensus among a lot of fans is Zusi and Bedoya as starting flank mids. I think against WC comp they might struggle to provide service. If/when that happens do we compensate with flank options with more pace (Fab, Green,possibly Yedlin, maybe even Chandler) or take a big risk getting hit on the counter, especially if we’re in a diamond, with overlapping our outside backs to provide service. I just don’t see Zusi and Bedoya getting enough routine separation to get enough crosses in.

    Regarding LD, at a minimum, we could have absolutely used him as an impact sub just about anywhere in the attack…his vision and passing alone would have made him a viable option…makes me sick. Why cut him without knowing if you have someone that can fill that void under pressure in a meaningful game.


  32. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2014/05/26 at 2:33 PM

    It makes me laugh hearing / seeing people say / write that Klinsmann made the right choice.

    The reason is because NOBODY came close to even suggesting that Donovan wouldn’t make the 23. NOBODY. Why? Because EVERYONE would have said that’s crazy.


    • Posted by Josh on 2014/05/27 at 9:36 AM

      No one except Landon & JK themselves. Not to mention Lalas. The former two both said Landon was on the bubble; apparently JK meant/understood it more than Landon.


  33. Posted by mbw on 2014/05/26 at 4:15 PM

    Just a thought: Does anyone else think Chandler is slated for the “Danny Williams role” against Portugal?


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2014/05/27 at 10:08 AM

      This comments section is awesome. Thanks everyone.
      – the author.

      But really great to have everyone back for the World Cup–new and old here at “Community TSG.”

      Some things I’m hearing:

      – Starting backline looks to be: FJ, Cameron, Besler, DaMarcus. I’ve heard that Chandler has gotten some reps at LFB–which really doesn’t scan to me.

      – I’ve heard that JG and DY have both been given 1st team reps. That only says that they are candidates perhaps for participation in Brazil, not that they’re starting.

      – While the US likely goes with a diamond tonight, I’m not sure they play one in Brazil.


      • I think it would be potentially suicidal playing a diamond midfield in the World Cup — would you want your FBs pushing up to provide width against ‘that lot’? I’d want them to stay home, or at least not go forward simultaneously.


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2014/05/27 at 10:38 AM

          Precisely. I think the US could get by with it against Ghana and it could work.

          Against Portugal or Germany, that’s a proverbial recipe for disaster.


        • Posted by Chazcar2 on 2014/05/27 at 11:34 AM

          I know Beasley is a converted midfielder or even wide forward, but he has always looked to stay at home a lot more than it would seem.

          This is also why I see the Diamond with dedicated tracking mids like Zusi and Bedoya. Get 60-70 minutes out of them then sub for Chandler/Yedlin and stack two fullbacks on the wings?

          If anything I can see the best thing against portugal is to be smart against the forward and not get pulled out of position by his runs then exploit the space behind Ronaldo and Contreao with Johnson and Zusi.


      • Posted by Josh on 2014/05/27 at 10:38 AM

        Thanks to you, sir! Brilliant blog/comments section, just brilliant. When it comes to USA football discussion haven’t found better anywhere online. Such high quality. Hadn’t posted in a long while (many-a-drink post forgetting haze potentially notwithstanding ;-0 – tho still 99% it has been awhile) until LandonGate. But I’m reminded being back, if never a stalwart regular myself how fantastic it is in here led by you and many others. Man there’s that one guy you utilize for guest commentary who is nothing short of Ray Hudson in written form if not better. Name escapes me at the moment. Things are heating up for Brazil 14!


  34. Posted by Josh on 2014/05/27 at 10:06 AM

    Regarding the specific knee-jerk reaction in the media/elsewhere to LandonGate, that this is JK setting the table for 2018, essentially punting on this WC:

    When one takes a moment to think about it how silly/redundant is that! For if the US bombs out of ’14 in grand, ’98 fashion because JK is simply planning for ’18 – JK possibly – likely? – won’t have a future with the US beyond ’14, as he himself alluded to!


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