USMNT: Breaking Down the Roster for U.S.-Mexico

August 7, 2011

With Jurgen Klinsmann naming his 1st roster this week, let’s take a look at his selections, and omissions.

Obvious 1st team choices Tim Howard, Steve Cherundolo, Carlos Bocanegra, Michael Bradley, Maurice Edu and Landon Donovan are all automatic call-ups. Freddy Adu, while he has struggled in recent years, earned his spot through his solid Gold Cup performances. Clarence Goodson, despite some shaky moments in the Gold Cup is probably still our best option at center back after Bocanegra. Goodson was also recently awarded the captaincy of his club, Brondby, and deserves congratulations.

Decent choices
Although he got abused by Panama in the Gold Cup, Tim Ream’s call-up shows our lack of depth at the center back position. He also is fairly young and is our best possession player at center back. I’m still hopeful he will become a national team fixture. While I’m not a big fan of Jermaine Jones, he does have solid passing and top-notch experience. I’m glad to see Jose Torres get another chance to prove himself with the Nats after a disappointing World Cup. He’s still probably a fringe player at best. Although Juan Agudelo is still not quite ready, we are thin at forward unless Dempsey (not on this roster) or Donovan are deployed there. Agudelo is young and still has a promising future with the national team. I’m also happy to see Edson Buddle get the call-up. I thought he should have been there for the Gold Cup over Wondolowski. In retrospect, Bob Bradley probably does too.

Interesting choices A fixture in the U.S. lineup in the recent past, Heath Pearce has fallen into the abyss with the national team. He’s also kicked around 4 club teams in the last 5 years, not exactly confidence inspiring. Shows our lack of depth at left back.

Surprising choices While Bill Hamid has some experience with our youth teams, his MLS stats are not exactly eye-popping. Michael Orozco hasn’t seen a national team call-up in 3 years and was on loan this past year with the Philadelphia Union before returning to the Mexican league. After three consecutive loan stints, Edgar Castillo is finally back with his parent club, America. Having been out of the national team set-up for 2 years, he will need to make a big impression or find regular 1st team experience with his club to stay in the mix.

Downright crazy Really, Kyle Beckerman? A solid MLS player sure, but so is Chris Wondolowski. I think I threw up a little in my mouth when I read DaMarcus Beasley was getting another call-up. Sure he may have played some good minutes in his last couple of games in the Mexican league, but this does not make up for 5 years of fairly awful club and national team games. Beasley is the Jonathan Bornstein of our midfield. I suppose we could Ricardo Clark in the game if we need someone to draw needless cards and give away possession in our defensive third. Clark spent most of last season with his club injured. Before he was hurt, he did start some games at center back, so maybe Klinsmann was thinking about this, because Clark has no place in the center of our midfield with Bradley, Edu, Jones and a soon to be healthy Stuart Holden at that spot. Brek Shea was thoroughly disappointing in his appearances during the January friendlies. Although listed as a forward on the roster, maybe Klinsmann is planning to look at him as a left back.

Late changes Zach Lloyd replaced the ostensibly injured Timothy Chandler

Omissions I can understand how it seems wasteful to call up David Yedell or Brad Guzan for a trip across the pond to not play, but the lack of an obvious backup to Tim Howard is disturbing. Guzan does not seem to have a club excuse for missing a call-up. With the acquisition of Shay Given, Guzan will either be Aston Villa’s number 2, or get loaned out again. I think Zak Whitbread and Michael Parkhurst should get a look at center back over Tim Ream, especially considering that Bocanegra, whom I love, is unlikely to be there for us in 2014. The omission of Alejandro Bedoya is shocking who has been in good form for club and country as of late and is well established at his club. Oguchi Onyewu’s omission is understandable after his lack of playing time at the Gold Cup and struggle to regain form after his knee injury. I am hopeful he will return to the man-mountain in our backline he once was. Eric Lichaj is in a position to try and impress back with his club, but I still think he is probably our best option at left back, even though it is not his natural position. Jonathan Spector is also with a new club, but it’s not like his performances with the national team or West Ham have exactly been confidence inspiring and with Chandler, Lichaj and Cherundolo, he is pretty far down the depth chart. Dempsey, although with a new manager, is well established at Fulham and an odd omission. Jay Demerit, despite calls for a return to the national team, is not good enough to play against world class teams. Jozy Altidore is still recovering from his hamstring tear during the Gold Cup. A solid argument could also be made to include Omar Gonzalez, a player I would like to see get some more chances with the national team.

Glad they’re not there Jonathan Bornstein, Robbie Rogers and Chris Wondolowski. Thank you, Jurgen.

John D. Halloran

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2 Responses to USMNT: Breaking Down the Roster for U.S.-Mexico

  1. Steve on August 8, 2011 at 3:35 am

    I haven’t seen a number of the guys play that you like (among those mentioned,would especially like to see Whitbread and Parkhurst)–but I agree on Lichaj and Bedoya. Maybe Dempsey was left off in deference to his club’s concerns, but if Edu gets the call, why not Bedoya–believe they’re on the same club; maybe the club values them differently? I wonder why Lichaj was left off–I love his pace, workrate and intensity. From what I’ve seen, he and Chandler should be our outside defenders going forward.

    • John Halloran on August 8, 2011 at 7:14 pm

      I was thinking maybe Dempsey got left off because he has a new manager at Fulham, but he has been one of their top players the past few years, so I can’t imagine he has to worry about coming in and impressing him. I would imagine Gooch, Lichaj and maybe even Spector were left off for similar reasons, but Jones and Bradley also have new managers to impress and were called in. Odd. Bedoya won’t join Rangers until January, but is in outstanding form with Orebro and wasn’t called in. It’s a little worrying that Chandler, who is still eligible to play internationally for Germany has been hurt for the last 2 call-ups.

      I also totally forgot to mention Feilhaber and Kljestan completely in my omissions. Wonder if that was Freudian?

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