Send us a message

Interested in being a part of the team? Get in touch with us today.
May 242014

Jurgen Klinsmann has his 23. Here’s your US Men’s National Team World Cup roster…

Goalkeepers (3): Brad Guzan, Tim Howard, Nick Rimando
Defenders (8): Demarcus Beasley, Matt Besler, John Brooks, Geoff Cameron, Timmy Chandler, Omar Gonzalez, Fabian Johnson, DeAndre Yedlin
Midfielders (8): Kyle Beckerman, Alejandro Bedoya, Michael Bradley, Brad Davis, Mix Diskerud, Julian Green, Jermaine Jones, Graham Zusi
Forwards (4): Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey, Aron Johannsson, Chris Wondolowski

The news, of course, is Landon Donovan’s exclusion so Sean Maslin and Adam Uthe took to their inboxes to react to the news.


Okay Sean, let’s hear (Er, read?) it…

What’s your reaction to the 23 man roster Jurgen Klinsmann has announced?


There are a lot of things to say about this roster.I am not sure if I feel as negative as so many other people do about it. Then again, I have been dealing with the Eddie Johnson “controversy” for about a week and a half now.

The ten thousand pound elephant seems to be Landon Donovan. I don’t understand what the controversy is about. He has clearly lost a step, his scoring touch isn’t what it used to be, and he has made comments saying that he doesn’t feel like he can give it his all everyday. Yet the media still seems to be “outraged” by him not being included.

Here is a question: Can we really expect Landon Donovan to come through in the clutch against Ghana or Portugal when he can barely put a shot on target against the Colorado Rapids?

This is Michael Bradley’s midfield. Not Landon Donovan’s. People need to grow up and move on from 2010.

I have learned a lesson today: no one pays attention to what is going on in MLS. Other than Klinsmann apparently.

I actually like a lot of these moves because it feels like he is going with a big boy model to building a squad. It can’t all just be seasoned veterans. You have to young players who will be the backbone of your national team for years. So I like seeing Yedlin, Brooks, Green, Diskerud, and Johansson factoring into the squad. I’m also a Brad Evans guy and think he adds a dimension on set pieces that many others on this team do not.

Do you think Klinsmann’s perspective is that even if the United States fails to reach the second round that this can be a success if the young players get major tournament time?


I do think Klinsmann is trying to build towards the future with this roster, but if that is the case I think there are still a few head scratchers. Brad Davis and Chris Wondolowski are both over 30 years old and have never played outside of MLS, so if you’re dropping Donovan in the name of “moving forward” then why bring in these 2? I’m also very upset to see Terrance Boyd get cut. He’s a guy who could be a real factor in 2018 if he continues to score in Europe and make a move out of Austria in the next 2-3 seasons. He’s also never been given a real chance, which makes me we wonder his cut means Jurgen has other ideas at striker going forward.

It will be very interesting to see how much Yedlin, Brooks, and Green actually play in this tournament. The first two are defenders and seem unlikely to start; for now at least. You usually don’t go to your bench for defense unless there’s an injury, so if they aren’t starting I can’t seem them playing at all. Green, on the other hand, is exactly the kind of “spark” you’d look to bring off the bench if it’s all tied up late in the second half.

The debate over Donovan feels like the larger debate over Kinsmann’s plan for the US going forward. In the past the US has banked on “Rah-Rah” guys who “band together” to “overcome the odds”, rather than rely on actual talent and skill to get results. Klinsmann wants to change that. He wants to field a team loaded with legitimate talent in 2018 and this roster (minus Davis and Wondolowski) seems to fall in place with that plan. Change is never easy, but in this case it is very necessary and I trust Klinsmann’s long term plan. There’s an interesting article over at World Soccer Talk that compares this roster to the one Klinsmann named for Germany at the 2006 World Cup, when guys like Bastian Schweignsteiger, Phillip Lahm, and Lukas Podolski first broke onto the international scene. Not a like-for-like comparison, but still makes you think.

So now that we have our 23, do you have a Starting XI in mind?


So for Ghana, I think you are going to see a starting XI that is very defensive-minded, with the hope of adding subs late in the game to give the team a more attacking-minded focus. Ghana destroyed Egypt in that first match because they were able to just put the pressure on them early and not relent. I would suspect it is going to be a 4-5-1 with Besler, Cameron, Gonzo, and Chandler on the back line. I am not fully convinced Chandler is going to be a starter but it would not shock me. He is somebody that I am very shocked is going to Brazil. That being said if he is there, let’s use him.

With the five in the midfield I like Beasley and Beckerman playing as as D-MIDs with Dempsey acting as almost a wing player and Bradley and Jones as the other two attacking mids. Upfront you have to go with Altidore.

I don’t know about you but I find it difficult to make this starting XI. Jurgen’s plan for a domestic and international team makes it difficult to gauge just who the hell he wants as a starter.


It’s funny: for all this talk about Landon Donovan, I suddenly find myself struggling to put a Starting XI together without him in consideration. That being said, here’s what my ideal lineup looks like…



I agree with you regarding Chandler: why bring him if you’re not going to start him? Cameron is needed at center back more so than right back. Fabian Johnson wants to play midfield and he can help there more than at left back. I have much more confidence in Johannsson to score a goal than Jozy. He’s the better soccer player and if the US is going to get results, it needs most skilled players on the field.

So does this roster announcement change your expectations at all? What are we looking at when it’s all said and done?


My question with Johansson is-can he do it by himself? What I would actually like to see if they have Johansson up front is to have him pair up with Dempsey. I like the chemistry that Dempsey has right now with Martins in Seattle so if you could somehow emulate that system with Johansson taking the role of Martins it may be the best way for success.

I might be in the minority on this but I do think that we could see a big tournament with Altidore. Look, he is playing to protect his reputation right now and he could very easily turn into an Eric Wynalda or Eddie Johnson (great start to his career, terrible finish) if he doesn’t get some consistency. It does seem like whenever he gets to play for the United States than he does with his club.

My concern with this team are the outside backs. Beasley got by on veteran expertise in Qualifying and Chandler is an unproven commodity. A team like Ghana that can run will stretch the outside of the defense and find plenty of holes to work with.

I have been thinking about this quite a bit and I think removing Donovan actually makes this a better squad. First, I think we are going to see a pissed off Michael Bradley. Here we have everyone saying the U.S. has no chance without their supposed best player in Donovan. Yet anyone who knows this team knows that their best player is Bradley. He must be chomping at the bit right to go at Azerbaijan right now. We are going to see a team that is angry and passionate and out to prove that they are just as good as any team out there.

The ugly truth is that Donovan has not been there for qualification since the start so in theory he should only be added if his play improves the squad. But if his presence does not benefit the team why should he be added?

Second, let’s take Germany out of the picture because I am assuming you would agree that they are the best team in this group. I look at Portugal and Ghana and I see opportunities. Portugal struggled mightily during qualification and drew against Northern Ireland and Israel. Ghana had to qualify against the likes of Zambia, Lesotho, and Sudan and then had to play an Egypt side who is currently dealing with a Civil War. I have the U.S. beating Ghana and drawing Portugal but going through.

Here is, to me, what seems to be the final deciding factor as to who will proceed. I think Ghana and Portugal have the better individual players, but I think the U.S. plays better as a team than those two sides do. Do you think the U.S.’ chemistry as a team outweighs the individual talent in Ghana and Portugal at least enough to get points?


You mentioned earlier that you expect a defensive minded 4-5-1 type of lineup against Ghana and that honestly worries me. Ghana is the game that absolutely needs to be won if this team is going to get out of the group stage. We’ve plenty of games by now, both in qualifying and friendlies, where Klinsmann had this team taking the game to their opponents and I would hate to see that mentality scrapped in favor trying to hang on for 1-0 win over Ghana. Even a draw against the Black Stars makes advancing out of the group a daunting task.

Ultimately, that’s the reason I prefer Johannsson over Altidore. This team needs a win against Ghana and preferably a draw against Portugal and both of those results will require goals to be scored. I just have more faith in Johannsson’s ability to create a goal from out of nowhere.

I don’t see Portugal as vulnerable only because their history shows that while they struggle in qualifying, they do very well at the actual World Cup tournament. In 2006 they made it to the third place game and the only reason they didn’t go farther in 2010 is because they ran into Spain in the Round of 16, where they lost 1-0 after getting out of a group with Brazil and Ivory Coast. If Real Madrid win the Champions League final this weekend, Ronaldo will be entering Brazil with sky high confidence and he will be difficult for the outside backs (I also agree this is a concern) to deal with.

I think the main reason I’m fine with Donovan’s exclusion is that this puts a lot of the pressure squarely on Klinsmann’s shoulders and the players can be loose going into their group games. This team gotten by on its chemistry and “rah-rah” spirit long enough. Klinsmann wants the US to be a team that is feared and takes the game to its opponents. Cutting Donovan loose is a bit of a symbol of the transition the entire National Team program has undergone during Klinsmann’s tenure. It’s not about trying to be organized and digging in against “better” teams. Now it’s about giving US soccer players the confidence to succeed at the world’s highest stage.

I still don’t think this team gets out of the group, but the Ghana game in particular will tell us a lot about how far the US has come under Klinsmann’s reign and how much farther they have to go before 2018.

Adam Uthe

VP of Content Development for GFT and proud supporter of Columbus Crew (MLS) and Liverpool FC (EPL). @AUtheGFT

 Leave a Reply



Refresh Image


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>