USMNT Daily Update: After more than a year away, it’s time to bring back Lichaj

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If you are wondering who the guy is defending against Liverpool star Steven Gerrard is, it is American fullback Eric Lichaj. He just happens to be the only American defender playing with any regularity in the English Premier League (Geoff Cameron has been more midfielder than defender so far for Stoke), and has been doing so since the early part of 2012.

If you're thinking "who doesn't know that's Eric Lichaj", you could argue that it seems like Jurgen Klinsmann has no idea who he is. How else do you explain the fact that Lichaj has yet to wear the U.S. national team uniform since Klinsmann became head coach almost 14 months ago?

No, I don't honestly think Klinsmann has NO idea who Lichaj is, but it does make you wonder just how a player like Lichaj has been overlooked repeatedly. Yes, there are plenty of other players who could make up a list regular Klinsmann snubs (Sacha Kljestan anybody?) but for my money no player has been more curious a snub than Lichaj.

He is young, talented, versatile, played multiple positions where the U.S. national team lacks real depth, and he happens to play in one of the best leagues in the world.

So why hasn't Lichaj been called up yet?

Last February, when the USA played Italy, Lichaj was not yet a true regular for Aston Villa, but when it came time to select players for the U.S. team's friendlies and World Cup qualifiers in May and June Lichaj had enjoyed a lengthy run of matches for Villa. He played well during that run, and goalkeeper Brad Guzan stated pretty clearly that he felt Lichaj had played well enough to earn a call-up.

Klinsmann saw differently and passed Lichaj over.

Fast forward to the new Premier League season and Lichaj came into the new campaign expected to battle for playing time under new manager Paul Lambert. When Klnsmann snubbed Lichaj for the August friendly against Mexico, and then the September qualifiers against Jamaica, the argument could have been made that Klinsmann was letting Lichaj stay in England and fight for his starting role under Lambert.

Lichaj has done that and he's become a starter yet again. He has enjoyed a solid early-season run as Villa's left back (though he is a natural right back) and when you watch him play you can't help but wonder how anyone could think he isn't one of the top three or four fullbacks in the national team pool.

The only person whose opinion matters though is Klinsmann, and he will have another chance to call Lichaj in two weeks, for the national team's upcoming qualifiers against Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala. If Lichaj is healthy and still playing regularly for Aston Villa there will be no excuse for Klinsmann not to call him up.

Klinsmann has stuck to his "we have a depth chart" mantra whenever he is asked about players who haven't received national team call-ups, but when you consider Lichaj's status as a regular starter in a top league, and his ability to play both right back and left back, that excuse just doesn't hold much weight. After current starters Fabian Johnson and Steve Cherundolo, there is no fullback in the pool you can say is clearly better (or even as good) as Lichaj (unless you count Timmy Chandler, and what USMNT fan wants to do that anymore?).

With Steve Cherundolo coming to the final chapter of his career, with the lack of quality left back options behind Fabian Johnson, and with the uncertain future of Chandler's U.S. national team career, Lichaj should be receiving a phone call from Klinsmann sooner rather than later.

Assuming Klinsmann actually has his phone number.

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142 Responses to USMNT Daily Update: After more than a year away, it’s time to bring back Lichaj

  1. dcpohl says:

    Couldn’t agree more Ives!

  2. NATO says:

    because clearly Lichaj belongs to the Tea Party and they are anti USSF, so Gulati has poisoned JK’s mind avoid Lichaj like the plague

    is it possible to be drunk at 15mins to 2 on a Tuesday?

  3. RLW2020 says:

    i think its been a good idea to allow Lichaj to focus on Villa so far. Now that he is consistent there its time for a USNT call up.

    For a while Jurgen was really high on Castillo and Parkhurst, but its hard to believe that anyone including Jurgen believes those 2 are better than Lichaj.

    I really wish Jurgen’s depth chart was out there for all of us to see!

  4. bryan says:

    loving these USMNT daily articles!!!

    i’m very curious to see if Lichaj, Chandler, and Kljestan are in the next camp…each for their own reasons. but, to stay on point with the article, i agree that Lichaj has to get a call this time around. there are no more excuses at this point for JK to make up.

    same could be said for Chandler, but the excuses falls on him.

    i for one am very interested to see what happens with these three players in particular.

  5. rambo says:

    If Castillo is healthy he will be getting the call again over Lichaj. JK has yet to even call/contact him at this point. Most likely will get called in for the next friendly.

  6. cerebus says:

    my question is why call up Spector? Dude hasn’t played for the NT in forever yet still gets called up. For what reason? Just to compete in training or what? Seems too nice of a guy to be riding pine.

  7. cerebus says:

    Agreed. Lichaj needs playing time and to try and lock down a role with AV.

  8. Da Trufth says:

    Call him in for the November Friendly along with:

    Adam Henely, Seb Hines, Ricardo Bocanegra

  9. ron says:

    If Lichaj was German, he would be in the starting eleven.

  10. Geoff says:

    Did you see him get smoked this weekend and get pulled from the game ’cause he couldn’t hang? Watching him, I was having the ‘should he ever be called in again’ question. Granted, I saw 30 minutes of 1 game, but he was not impressive.

    Is playing regularly your criteria. Think it should be playing well, regularly.

    (SBI-Wasn’t his best game, but if having a bad game were enough to keep people from getting called in then Klinsmann wouldn’t have much left to choose from.)

  11. Rik says:

    Will be interesting to see if he starts for Villa next game. He was doing well this season and then had one stinker of a performance last weekend…but that happens to everyone sometimes.

    If he can hold down starting role and put in a better performance this weekend, yes…no reason for him not to be called.

  12. georkt says:

    I also saw the game and yes, he had a rough outing and got pulled but I’d still like to see him get a shot for a friendly.

  13. Stephen says:

    I’m really liking these daily reports Ives. I think you’re spot on. It’s one of the more frustrating aspects of the USNT and it’s been this way for a long time. Coaches seem to over look players that they haven’t seen in camps and yet call in guys who seem clearly inferior.

    I’m sure all these coaches have had reasoning behind what they’re doing, but it sure escapes me.

  14. Mat says:

    Agree with Geoff. Lichaj is far from dominant in the EPL, but still he is a starter there, though he’s quite young and green still to be frank.
    Basically it boils down to Lichaj vs. Parkhurst as Dolo’s backup. Though I can certainly see the argument for the former, I can also understand JK going with some more experience with the latter.
    If Lichaj were dominating in the EPL, then it would be a no brainer. But since he’s not uber dominant then it’s perhaps not as easy a choice as it would seem.

  15. Henry says:

    No he didn’t

  16. Benny Dargle says:

    Has Klinsmann called in anyone for a qualifier who hasn’t been in a camp yet? He has said this isn’t the time to look at new players anymore and perhaps that applies to Lichaj, who seems to have been injured during the most obvious previous extended camps.

  17. I think Klinsmann did him more favor by not calling him up. His bread and butter is his club team. It is far better for Lichaj to stay focused on AV right now, then be distracted by national team call ups.

    We have the horses to get through this round of qualifying. I think Lichaj becomes more valuable to the US in the next round. His form at Aston Villa will be very handy.

    If I was Lichaj, I would be relieved that I don’t have to worry about an injury during a national team call up that would set him back further.

    Let him regain his full fitness with his club. He will get his call up again.

  18. Detective johnson says:

    Correction….if Lichaj was African-American German, he would be in the starting XI. Gulati and Klinsmann have an ulterior agenda aside from winning. That explains a lot why Maurice Edu keeps getting called up.

  19. Spank says:

    You know who else got smoked this last weekend? USMNT RB Steve Cherundolo and by none other than USMNT LB Fabian Johnson! I don’t see you asking for Dolo’s head on a platter. Everyone has bad games. Both still deserve a call up.

  20. Brett says:

    Klinsmann understands how vital club minutes are to a player’s form. When you have a player on the fringe at his club, its best to leave him there so he can prove his worth.

    I expect Lichaj to get a call-up in the near future, though perhaps not for the next pair of qualifiers.

  21. Mark says:

    What about Todd Dunivant from the LA Galaxy? That guy is solid.

  22. Dave from Charlotte says:

    Ives is on a roll! +1000

  23. Felix says:

    Im a Chicago guy, so I naturally root for Lichaj.
    That being said, I don’t think he’s the rock-solid starter that some might like to claim he is. He is inconsistent.
    I do think he warrants a regular call-up, but he’s not better than Johnson or Cherundolo.

  24. US Fan says:

    Couldn’t agree more. However I think Lichaj should be our starting left back. This would free up Fabian Johnson to be a true left winger (sorry Brek Shea). FJ is deadly moving forward. Still holding out hope for Timmy Chandler to be our eventual RB after Dolo retires. If that doesn’t pan out Johnson and Lichaj would make a nice wingback pairing.

  25. Al says:

    Couldn’t agree more, Ives…Lichaj should be on the roster while, at a minimum, learning from the veteran likes of Dolo and Boca.

  26. Dave from Charlotte says:

    Seriously though, Klinsi preaches versatility at the national team level yet doesn’t bring in Lichaj? It is crazy.

    Given issues with form (Shea) and quality winger depth behind Donovan and Dempsey (who should be playing in the middle of a 4-2-3-1 or as a withdrawn forward, but that’s another discussion) only Zusi has shown a glimpse of being a capable international winger recently. Gatt obviously needs a run out and would’ve gotten it last time, but he is completely unproven at the international level.

    My point is Johnson is a very capable winger for Hoffenheim and if Dempsey gets moved around in a line up or 2nd half of a game, bringing Lichaj on and moving Johnson up to the wing makes complete sense.

    Klinsi, call him up!!!!!!

  27. Dave from Charlotte says:

    saw this after i typed up my response


  28. Rory says:

    IVES has climbed high on the soapbox this week… first the Jozy Altidore Defense piece, then the “Play Dax in the right spot or DOOOOOOOOOM!!!” piece, now the “Jurgen Klinsmen Meet Eric Lichaj” piece.

    As the wise man once said “You wouldn’t like Ives when he’s angry…”

  29. Lost in Space says:

    There are only a handful of Wing Defenders within the USNT Player Pool:
    Right Back: 1) Cherundolo, 2) Chandler, 3) Lichaj 4) Parkhurst
    Left Back: 1) Fabian Johnson, 2) Lichaj, 3) Chandler 4) Castillo

    Dolo is ageing and may not be the #1 RB much longer. Parkhurst has never impressed me at the International level.
    Chandler is still uncommitted to the cause. Leavng Lichaj and Castillo as the only likely backups. There are some promising players in MLS…but until Camp Cup-Cake roles around I don’t want to see them.

  30. Johnny2 says:

    Has anyone asked eric if he wants to play for the usmnt
    ?…that should be the first question

  31. biff says:

    I am not comparing Castillo to Lichaj, but Castillo has improved a lot over the past year, played quite well at left back in August against Mexico in Mexico City. Technically he is one of our best players, maybe behind only Fabian Johnson and Jose Torres, and for the foreseeable future will be a lock to be included in rosters as left back/left winger.

  32. Petaluman says:

    Did I miss something or is Ives no longer working for Fox Sports? He’s pumping out a lot more SBI articles than usual these days. I’m not complaining mind you, just noticed the frequency has ramped up.

  33. euroman says:

    JK has a depth chart for each position. LB #1 Johnson #2 Castillo #3 the next guy who doesn’t get called so it could be Lichaj.

  34. bryan says:

    i agree with you. call him up, but he’s not a starter yet by any means.

  35. Michael says:

    Has anyone confirmed that Lichaj has not heard from Klinsmann at all? Obviously he has not been called in, but maybe Lichaj has knowledge of his situation based on conversations he has had with Klinsmann. I don’t have information that would support that, but it is a possibility. It would be nice to hear what Lichaj has to say on the subject.

  36. bryan says:

    what do you mean? he already has and is capped tied. or are you asking if he wants to continue playing international footy right now?

  37. biff says:

    Timothy Chandler also got smoked Friday, was flop of the match in Nurnberg’s 2-0 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt. Got yanked in the 70th minute. Chandler’s bad head clearance helped set up Frankfurt’s first goal and Chandler was beat bad to allow Takashi Inui to dribble around him to score the second goal.

    In any case, I agree that Lichaj deserves a call-up to show what he or cannot do at this point. My hunch is that Klinsmann has not called him up for fear of a good showing and that this would hurt chances of Chandler finally agreeing to be cap-tied.

  38. bryan says:

    lichaj and guzan on the bench against city today. not that surprising though given they just played.

  39. Murphy says:

    Lichaj is so much better than Castillo it’s ridiculous. Klinsmann will call him in. Anyone starting in the Premier League should get a call up, especially a young guy like Lichaj. Cherundolo, Fabian Johnson, and Lichaj are the best outside backs in the country right now.

  40. Alex says:

    That’s totally absurd.

  41. Rlw2020 says:

    +1 it depends who is healthy but if we ever find ourselves w/o Landon Donovan again we will need Johnson to move up to LM and slide Lichaj or Castillo into the LB spot

  42. cps says:

    I’d like to see Lichaj at left back and fabian Johnson above him on the wing. Talk about speed.

  43. Grubbsbl says:

    Castillo is more technically gifted than Bradley, Donovan, Dempsey??? haha I guess all one has to do is play south of the border and successfully trap a ball and USMNT fans will start labeling you as “technical.” Castillo is an average lb in a decent league, and maybe someone who should get a look as a back up (not even convinced with that). Lichaj certainly deserves a look, he plays in a better league and has proven he can compete internationally in Gold Cup – and the fact he can be a back up for either Dolo or Johnson is huge. I don’t remember Castillo playing well in Mexico City, in fact I don’t really recall any US player truly impressing.

  44. Spank says:

    That might make sense if Lichaj was truly new but he is a 2011 Gold Cup veteran. So he isn’t exactly “new”. Just hasn’t played under JK.

  45. Dinho says:

    are you serious with this? hope not

  46. gouldinho says:

    Amen. Its getting to the point where it’s stupid not too. Actually, scratch that, we are way past that point.

  47. Sabella says:

    Couldn’t agree more.

  48. 2tone says:

    Thats a very typical American fan comment. You must belong to the “he played bad in one game, so he should never see the field for the USMNT fanbase sector.” Dempsey has had plenty of mediocre games along with Donovan, Dolo, Boca, and the list goes on. Do you really think other International players for other countries don’t have bad games?

    A very naive comment if I might say. Good day sir.

  49. Waterlewd says:

    The whole team performance for Villa in the second half was poor. Lichaj was mediocre, but he wasn’t the worst defender, he just needs to improve his decision making when he goes forward. Also, the Aston Villa midfiled was a lot worse than the defenders, don’t know why they were playing a diamond and allowed Gaston Ramirez the run of the field in the second half. They just left the defense totally exposed.

    On the plus side for Lichaj, his replacement (Bennett) was constantly out of position and got run around.

  50. 2tone says:

    I will add that Lichaj was probably one of the bright spots for the USMNT in that 2011 Gold Cup tournament.

  51. 2tone says:

    Johsnon is a lock down LB. i would rather see Castillo moved to LW because Castillo is still very suspect in defense.

  52. Yusef says:

    Yikes! Inappropriate and absurd conspiracy for this blog.

  53. #6 says:

    I was really happy for Castillo in the US/ MX game as he did show a lot more confidence that in other games. But I don’t see him as an international caliber prospect because he is so slight and not particularly fast. Any physical team we would face on the global stage would get pushed around and he’s not good enough to make up for it tactically.

    Canavaro amongst others is an example of a quality if undersized defender on the small side but had the physicality (and hops) to make up for it. Even Boca isn’t that tall for a CB. But unless Castilo hits the weights and starts eating, I’m not going to trust him as the solution in that role….

  54. Benny Dargle says:

    But being in a USMNT camp and being in a JK-run USMNT camp are two different things entirely. If he wants guys who already know how he wants things done, then Lichaj isn’t the guy (although the entire premise that people need to have been in a camp to play now is a bit problematic, especially in light of injuries and advancing age).

  55. #6 says:

    I watch the game. In the first half he slammed into the boards on a run up the flank and limped around the pitch for a few minutes. After that he seemed out of sorts and not as fluid as he normally does. Not sure if this is a factor but if he was playing through a knock it would explain both how labored his efforts were in the middle of the game and why he was subbed off.

    Agree with SBI – can’t put all your judgements on just one game.

  56. Call Up Lichaj says:

    Great article!

  57. Postmaster says:

    I have been feeling Lichaj should have been included, but was really disappointed to see he didn’t look good last weekend vs. Southampton. Perhaps an off match.

  58. GW says:

    I agree that one game, good or bad should not be the criteria one way or the other
    for why someone should be called in.

    It is worth noting however that Donovan, Dolo and Boca have a much longer more distinguished track record than a guy like Lichaj so they would get much more of the benefit of the doubt than he would:

    Here is one English perspective on Lichaj:

    link to

  59. Detective johnson says:

    If speed was so important in soccer then Jamaica should be one of the best teams in the world.

    Skill, Brains, Technique >>>> Speed

  60. Karl Schneider says:

    I want Dolo, Parkhurst, Lichaj and Fabian all called up…. is that to much to ask???

  61. Ceez says:

    Free speech and sarcasm. Read between the lines.

  62. Jeb says:

    Lichaj making a cameo for the capital one cup game…

  63. Karl says:

    Also, I am trying to predict our team for the two qulifiers.. Here’s what I got.
    Definites (16): Donavan, Dempsey, Dolo, Bradley, Howard, Guzan, J. Jones, D. Williams, Boca, F. Johnson, Altidore, Gomez, Boyd, (S. Johnson/ Rimando), Cameron, Zusi.

    With 16 players which I think are obvious picks, are there any other definites which I missed? And are there any non-definites on the list. This is of course pending injury.

  64. GW says:

    Is Johnson playing winger now for Hoffenheim or is he playing left back for them?

    JK keeps talking about how Johnson is one of the best left backs in the BL.

    Fabian would be great anywhere but it is pretty hard to find a left back as good as him anywhere. Lichaj would be quite a drop in quality.

    I would leave him there. Lichaj can back up Dolo and Fabian or play in midfield. Castillo can also be a backup or more logically play in midfield.

    It is mildy amusing that the US searched so long and so hard for a left back and now that they have a potentially great one, fans immediately want to move him out.

    The back four already has too much turmoil; why disrupt it’s best player?

  65. Primoone says:

    Easy SBI. Lets stop the Sasha campaigning for a minute…There is one big reason why Sasha has not been called in. His performance is mediocre at best for country as well as he does for club. And that is for 2 different coaches.

    It is one of the reasons that Josi is receiving criticism for his national team performances. He is great at club however, for country he under-performs. It is not his fault however, at the end of the day, a striker’s worth is not tied to the players around him. he has to find a way to make the team better when he is out on the pitch. For the most part Josi does draw a lot of attention and when in form, he scores or makes others around him better.

    Sasha? I dont feel like the team is better when Sasha is out there.

  66. Primoone says:

    *He does not play as well for country as he does with his club.

  67. Michael Stypulkoski says:

    It’s been mentioned, but I just want to stress that Lichaj is playing out of position with Villa. I take his off games with a grain of salt. (Not that that excuses everything, of course.)

  68. David says:

    Absolutely, its borderline absurd this guy hadn’t had a call-up. Look back to his performance against Chelsea at the end of last year to realize how good he is. He was able to match Torres step for step and really shut him down. If I remember he had a goal and an assist in a 2-2 draw. Or maybe they lost and his “assist” was passed again and then scored. Either way he was awesome. And is awesome.

  69. Frank Borghi says:

    Yup, this.

  70. BUD says:

    DUDE! A daily USMNT update…hell yes!

  71. RChris says:

    This ^^^ (I hope anyway). It just makes sense, especially based on comments and actions JK has taken in the past. A young player like Lichaj who is finally getting his real shot to be a regular starter in one of the best leagues in the world, will benefit much more from those minutes than getting called in to the last round of qualifying…that being said I really think he needs to be called up for the Oct games!

  72. unbeknownst says:

    Aston Villa just loaned out LB Stephen Warnock to Bolton Wanderers for three months.

    So, it looks like Villa thinks Lichaj is more than just a fill-in player.

  73. beeohb says:

    These daily MNT updates are fantastic.

  74. AMPhibian says:

    +1 this is a great run of interesting articles!

  75. rusty says:

    Because Lichaj told Gulati to only call when the Nats are gonna play in Seattle

  76. Darwin says:

    It seems like Klinsmann sees Lichaj behind Johnson, Dolo, and Chandler. He can call him up and leave him on the bench, but why mess up what he has going at Aston Villa? He gives the call to players that are more established on their team, like Castillo and Parkhurst, because he is not as intrigued to see Lichaj play as he is to see say Geoff Cameron play. That doesn’t mean that Klinsmann doesn’t rate Lichaj it just means that he thinks that he need some more time to establish himself at Aston Villa.

  77. GW says:

    It could mean they see Lichaj as a starter or that they see him as back up to Lownton and the new left back, whose name I forget.

    Warnock was dead man walking at the end of last season.This loan amounts to putting out the recycling.

    Lambert, the new manager, brought in a new left back and a new right back. That tells you that he was not entirely convinced by Lichaj.

    But Eric is getting his shot so time will tell. Lambert is a very good manager and he is known to be conservative so I’m confident that if he has stuck with him this long, Lichaj will get a fair shot.

  78. GW says:

    Interestingly, Jozy played much better for the US when his club situation was much worse than it is now and of course, now the reverse is true.

    Mostly, I think the current US setup favors a guy like Gomez, a better defender than Jozy among other things, more than Jozy but I’m sure that will eventually get worked out.

  79. GW says:

    Right back is his “natural” position but Lichaj has played all across the backline,and in midfield for Villa when he was coming up and he started his career as a striker.

    He may eventually suffer from “Cameron” disease where your basic athleticism and versatility wind up hurting you a little bit. Still JK loves versatile players.

  80. PD says:

    I love this format of article, but actually would like to see a little more of a genuine effort to answer the question. I mean, there has to be a logical train of thought (even is it’s flawed) that could lead to a player like Lichaj not getting called in (or Diskerrud or Adu Kljestan, etc.). Not in a way that is apologist, but simply to explore the angle. Personally I think it’s coo-coo bananas that players who are fitting JK’s own criteria (starting regularly, preferably captaining or co-captaining, preferably on a CL team or at least in a top league) don’t at least get the chance to play their way into the discussion with a callup.

    To my mind, if a player has met your criteria for what a NATS player should be pedigree-wise, you owe it to them to at least get a runout, no matter how deep their position may be, but especially when they are a fullback or an attack minded and creative player.

  81. Lucas says:

    You’re having a bad day. Maybe a break from posting will give you a fresh perspective. cps mentions Fabian (who happens to be fast/athletic, technically gifted, & uses vision/creativity); Lichaj, who is improving in those areas mentioned, happens to be a fast footballer. And you think that’s bad? C’mon man. Barcelona only use skill, brains, and technique, right? And please don’t start with the “well Inietsta, Xavi, and Villa aren’t fast/quick players.” Good players have it all.

  82. Mingjai says:

    Exactly. When Cherundolo got hurt and Lichaj moved from the left to the right side, notice which side the Mexicans chose to attack…

    Not the side occupied by an international soccer newbie but the side occupied by Bradley’s Bane, who just came on.

  83. Thatpageguy says:

    Managers often make what seem to be curious, to say the least, player selections. With Bradley it was Bornstein and Ricardo Clark, who have now gone into relative obscurity. With Klinsmann it’s Beckerman and ignoring Lichaj and kljestan. Cameron has shown at Stoke that he can play defensive mid, so the solution is obvious: bring in Lichaj and drop Beckerman. If you need to, you can move Cameron to defensive mid, or keep him in the back and you have another good defender in Lichaj available. I thought Lichaj should have been brought in for the Jamaica games since I think he has better speed than anyone else in the back line except for the Germans. He is the logical successor to Cherundolo and anyone starting in the EPL should be good enough for the national team right now.

  84. THomas says:

    How do you know?

  85. mike says:

    yeah, ok. Klinsy is calling up players because they are black and German. what a load of poop.

  86. Kevin_Amold says:

    I’m a nice guy too, but I rode plenty of pine. Just couldn’t hit a curve….

  87. mike says:

    and i agree that that him stinking up the pitch against southhampton is worth considering. obvious, yes, naive, nope.

  88. mike says:

    the thing is, Lichaj is only really just getting grounded with Villa as a starter. he did make appearances late last season, true. but this is the 1st season to my knowledge where he is a starter from the get go. klinsy is justified in my mind. let the kid earn a place, get regular games and then go from there. calling it a snub is a stretch.

  89. PetedeLA says:

    This is an interesting development.

    Just noticed that Jen Chang now works for Liverpool FC. (Well…truth be told it’s been a while since Jen use to write his most critical articles.)

    Now it’s up to Ives to be the standard bearer.

    (Please don’t flame me Ives. Keep up the good work.)

  90. jimmorrison says:

    Klinsman shows a lack of respect for American soccer. He has a German hack midfielder with no skill get selected to start every time as his CMF and no American coach on his staff. And he has no clue (nor interest) on how to make our youth development better. But he sure is worth $2.5 million, ain’t he.
    And please don’t say Tab Ramos is on his staff.

  91. PetedeLA says:

    What ticks me off most is the fact that Lichaj has not just been good for the US, but also has shown a great deal of commitment.

    I remember one game where he was one of our best players. And he seemed to actually care about the shirt he was wearing.

    Granted, Chandler is perhaps a better player.

    But what kind of message does that send, to hold out hope for a guy who will only choose the US as sloppy second?

    Yes, I know this has been said over and over, but I feel it bears repeating.

    From what we’ve seen Lichaj is better than Parkhurst, so his exclusion seems absurd and unfair.

  92. Old School says:

    I love Cherundolo but that car is losing tread on his tires at a rapid rate lately.

  93. PD says:

    I think Parkhurst has some value in terms of IQ and positional awareness. If the depth chart were deeper I could see him being pushed out, but so far he’s merited inclusion with the quality of his play. He’s not a clear-cut starter, but can supply a great off the bench or injury cover option that allows Bocanegra to not have to play on the flank, which i think should be an option to phase out in the coming years.

    the same could be said of Castillo I guess, but I prefer Parkhurst…

  94. Shirley from Community says:

    oh that’s racist…

  95. PD says:

    rambo is Thai for “I am really JK”

  96. PetedeLA says:

    Remember… John O’Brien was a left back for Ajax, but was a great central midfielder for the USMNT.

  97. jimmorrison says:

    I stand corrected Rusty, thanks for pointing that out.
    However, I don’t rate Martin as a coach. Good player though.
    I have seen him enough times to be able to make that evaluation.

  98. GW says:

    Sure but the left back hole on that 2002 team was not a serious as it has been lately, even though Jeff Agoos does not have a lot of admirers.

    And the problem with this team is the defense. Because the back four is so shaky, it changes the approach for the rest of the team. There is more emphasis on defensive midfielders to shield the back four and even the attackers like Donovan, Dempsey and Gomez, must pay more attention to their defensive responsibilites.

    That obviously affects our offensive capability.

    Until they find an adequate left back replacement for Johnson I see no reason to move him. He can contribute to the attack quite well from the left back spot.

  99. GW says:

    “Good players have it all.”

    It might be more accurate to say that good players make the most of what they have.

    No one has it all.

  100. The Imperative Voice says:

    Whatever his depth chart is, it’s crocked. I don’t think we are either starting or calling up our best players. Lichaj in particular should at least be in the 18 if not starting. Behind Spector? Parkhurst?

  101. Shane says:

    +10000000000! And Rusty, Vasquez is as American as Klinsmann. Lives here, has benefited from life in the US but prefers players from his country of birth. Like Klinsmann, he also has never proven he can successfully coach a team. Klinsmann has made some of the stupidest mistakes I can imagine. He is inconsistent and contradicts himself. And as jimmorrison points out he is not good for our youth development, just a blind, “we have to do things like Europe” despite the reality that the athletic resources in this country are organized differeintly than in Europe. And you know what, the European immigrants who made this country over the last too centuries chose to organize some things differently from Europe for good reason. Anyone seen the documentary “Soccer Slaves”

  102. Dave from Charlotte says:

    He’s played both…if you read what I wrote, I’m not saying I would permanently put lichaj at left back to move Johnson up to be on the wing…it is all about versatility. I’m not sold at all on Castillo…not in the least.

    I would do it situationally be ause lichaj is not as much of a drop at LB versus Johnson being an upgrade on the wing if Dempsey is playing as an attacking midfield role, or Donovan is out hurt, etc…

  103. beachbum says:

    yes it is :)

  104. jlm says:

    hopefully we will come to understand that players like parkhurst, torres, beckerman, and shea (big fan!) have been placeholders for players like lichaj, bradley, someone (holden?), and donovan once things get real

  105. beachbum says:

    Castillo has always struck me as a winger/midfielder

  106. kevin says:

    yeah except castillo isn’t that good, he shouldn’t be in the 11, at best 3 or 4th option

  107. Goalscorer24 says:

    Remember people were saying the same thing about Gomez not getting called up. Now he is a fixture, I think the call will happen for Lichaj.

  108. beachbum says:

    Lichay’s case is curious to me too, not the only curious case. Oddest part is his versatility; he could backup both back positions IF he can work out and prove he’s able to BUT he hasn’t even been asked to try…on top of the other reasons. What if he and Chandler both get called up and Chandler actually accepts?

  109. Lucas says:

    I got ya. Just referring to the fact that it’s nice to have the speed and athletic ability to complement all the skill. But again, you can only do so much with what you got to work with. Now I feel all that much dumber after reading your enlightening statement and will be reminded every time I watch Maradono, Messi, MJ, Usain Bolt, Bo Jackson, Henry, Hugo Sanchez, Carl Lewis, Eric Heiden, Pele, Lebron, Bob Gibson, Deion Sanders, Jackie Robinson, Kun Aguero, Darrell Green, et al highlight reels….just average athletes who made do with what they had. GW, surely you can’t be serious, that’s like saying humans have larger, more convoluted brains and therefore are more intelligent than other species. Duh! just pulling your leg brah

  110. Juan says:

    I count Parkhurst as better but he should at least make the camp for the minnow games

  111. Lucas says:

    Shane, what players are you referring to in regards to vasquez? I know he was born in mexico, but which players on the NT are mexican-born? I can think of a few that came up in the much more lucrative mexican league and play there now, but none that were born there.

  112. Lucas says:

    I’m just as frustrated with JK (more so with his tactical adjustments or lack of & playing guys out of position). But who would you rather have next to Michael Bradley, besides Jermaine Jones or Danny Williams? Kyle Beckerman? I hope not. You sound like that Zimmerman kid falling into that “who’s really American” trap hole. The whole youth development thing is really complicated here in the U.S. and cannot be addressed or even identified, as in other parts of the world, for too many reasons to begin with. How can you judge JK on this conundrum, 1+ yrs into it? It’s gonna take a lot more than any single coaching staff, and a hell of lot of time to see progress. KJ will be in his capacity for a short time, but I already see higher expectations of the NT and more attention toward U.S. soccer than ever before. And that’s a good thing, right?

  113. GW says:

    I saw all the people you mentioned play or perform their athletic feats, either in person or on TV.

    That is not what we are talking about here.

    None of the USMNT players are average athletes or average soccer players. They are where they are because they are better at what they do than most Americans.

    But their competition will be their equal or better when it comes to the physical and athletic part.

    What the US needs to work on at this point is mostly between the ears.

    After the 2010 World Cup loss to Ghana, Donovan, always known for his candid answers,
    said he felt that the US could have won but Ghana were just a little bit smarter, a little bit more savvy and that made all the difference in a very close game.

    For example, as far as the people on your list, I saw Pele play live and he was a very hard man, very tough and ruthless and not above being dirty to make a point. In one game against the Tampa Bay Rowdies, Rodney Marsh had just slid out of bounds. Pele made sure none of the officals were looking and proceeded to kick and trample Marsh and then stand on his chest. This is not a just game to a lot of these guys. For many of them it is a way out of unimaginable circumstances.

    So yes, that so called “mentality” matters.
    After all, I saw the German teams JK played for and in his own way he and his German teamates were just as ruthless as Pele.

  114. GW says:

    As they say, those rules( or criteria in your case) are more like guidelines.

  115. Louis Z says:

    it is absurd but entertaining.

  116. CplDaniel says:

    Lichaj wasn’t overlooked! And he wasn’t starting for Villa until September. He was battling for first choice starter at his club under a new coach. The worst thing we could do for him was to disrupt that effort impress the new coach. For three weeks it had seemed that Lichaj had won the battle and the risks of calling him diminished. We will see. I bet he probably gets called up for next WC qualifiers, and he definately gets called for the November friendlies in Europe.

  117. Spiritof76 says:

    Love Lichaj, but the day Klinsman announced the last USMNT squad (September 2nd) it was only the third gameweek of the Premier League season. On that very day Lichaj had just played his 2nd game for Villa after not featuring in GW1. So, as Klinsman was forming his thinking for the upcoming qualifiers, he had only one game to judge Lichaj on (a 3-1 loss to Everton in which he had an assist but his side finished with just 10 men).

    Give it time. He’ll be back.

  118. GW says:

    In the last four years Lichaj has played 31 games on loan for lower division teams,Leyton Orient( League One), Lincon City (League Two), Leeds ( Championship ) , etc. and 19 games for Villa. That is 50 games

    Parkhurst has played 87 games in roughly the same time span.

    I don’t know how to compare the Danish first division to League One, Two and the Championship but I can’t imagine they are that far below those lower English leagues, if not better.

    And Parkhurst is a regular starter while Lichaj has yet to assure himself of a solid starting job. That may be enough to prefer Parkhurst over Lichaj at least for now.

    People here seem to be ignoring the fact that Lichaj’s biggest flaw is his inexperience and rawness. The best way to fix that is to play as much as possible so leaving him to win a job where he can do precisely that for a long time makes the most sense to me.

  119. sir coble says:

    Spector is a bench player who can play multiple positions.

  120. GW says:

    “Cameron has shown at Stoke that he can play defensive mid, so the solution is obvious: bring in Lichaj and drop Beckerman”

    Right. Fix a hole by creating another hole. Cameron just finally won the job as the Gooch replacement and now you want to move him to his Stoke position(because the US plays just like Stoke).

    Who do you want to replace Cameron with?

  121. GW says:

    If you respect America so much why are you still buried in Paris?

    And isn’t Tab Ramos an American?

  122. GW says:

    It takes about 40- 60 minutes to change all four tires.

  123. Hesyourlifelight says:

    Didn’t he call up Josh Gatt for the last qualifiers even though he had to pull out of camp because of injury? I don’t think Klinsmann has ever had him in camp before.

  124. Thatpageguy says:

    Im talking about a roster move, not necessarily who starts/plays. You can have Boca, Parkhurst or Goodson, Johnson and Cherundolo in the back if you have to move Cameron to the middle. You have a plethora of choices in the middle–Bradley, Jones, Edu, Williams, plus Donovan on the wing and maybe Dempsey in the mid if you play both Gomez and Altidore up top. Lichaj is the ultimate successor to Cherundolo it seems to me. Im not talking about him starting, but being on the team as a sub or fill-in, especially in case of injury or when you are playing a lot of games in a short time during tournaments.

  125. rusty says:

    Shane.. You’re so quick to disprove JK’s methods which have only been in place for how long? Modernizing the game in this country – just to compete with our regional rivals will be a tall order and is not going to happen overnight amigo.

    If what you said has an ounce of legitimacy .. why does he still insist on playing Altidore?

  126. Isaac says:

    Jonathan Bornstein got the call because there was nobody else. It’s not like Bob didn’t look for other options. Moreover, Ricardo Clark had his good run of games, and the USA’s best result last cycle involved Rico. That said, Bob made a curious decision including him against Ghana, especially after Maurice Edu’s game against Algeria.

  127. Vic says:

    About time a journalist criticized player selection in the U.S.. It happens all the time in other countries. In the U.S. journalists normally act like spokesman for whoever is the coach. Ives is 100% correct in his assessment.

  128. The Imperative Voice says:

    All due respect but Lichaj is a better offensive and defensive player with more mobility.

    And in terms of your CV evals, Lichaj is being signed out of his fish year at NC by Villa, at ~20, and then being loaned out to develop and get PT. He is now in the Villa first team at 23. Parkhurst did three years at Wake, and went into MLS. He did not go abroad until 24 — older than Lichaj now — and went to a Danish team, lesser order of league.

    Or, quite simply, compare them now, one starting in the EPL the other in Denmark. Holding the younger player’s loans against him kind of neglects Parkhurst’s own Revolution apprenticeship.

    Oh, I agree Lichaj is still a little raw, I watched him and Villa get schooled by Man U last year, about everyone on the defense including him naps while Welbeck steals in for a tap in back post. But from what little I’ve seen of him with the US, he looked a notch below Chandler and roughly on the level of Dolo and Boca. Versus the slow Parkhurst, dependent on positioning, it’s no real comparison to me. A team versus B or C.

  129. The Imperative Voice says:

    At which point I indulge my conspiracy theory that Chandler was not so happy being thrown left side (to allow Dolo to stay in the XI). Dolo is still a quality player but against speedy opponents he looks like he has lost a step. That’s the sort of thing which unfixed costs you goals and games at the World Cup (if not in the Hex itself).

    I think Dolo has participated long enough where this is the time to transition from Dolo to Chandler, and then you bring in Lichaj to play LB. Throw in Cameron at one CB and the best of the rest at the other, and that’s a stout defense.

    People may come back all, but he said he doesn’t want the flying, hasn’t committed to the US yet…..see what happens if we say, we will try and minimize your callups and play you on your natural right.

    I think Lichaj and Chandler need to be involved because it’s already big boy time. Play time was over when we tied in Guatemala then lost in Jamaica. Too many of the players in the selection are iffy B team types. Klinsi needs to pick the serious players now.

  130. The Imperative Voice says:

    Modernizing the game? Is 3 DMs modern soccer? I don’t see a consistent style, he varies between 433 451 and 442; I don’t see sublime selection, his choices can be as befuddling or favoritist as Bradley, maybe worse; and the results in practice are no better.

    I think he’s overrated, because Germany to the semis as host and then Bayern muddle, is not an exceptional CV given the talent level of those sides.

  131. OC says:

    I see the point of your argument re: friendlies, but when you consider that WCQ’s are essentially THE highest-level competition that the US engages in peioe to the actual Cup or maybe some of the big International tournaments, you want to see your best players called in. It is a bit of a juggling act making sure these guys get their best club opportunities at the right times but these qualifiers are important, and we should have our best guys there to ensure qualification.

  132. joel says:

    Well said Ives

  133. GW says:

    It would be more accurate to say the WCQ’s are the most intense and important competition the USMNT faces prior to the actual World Cup but they are not the highest level competition.

    Antigua and Barbuda, Guatemala and Jamaica are not high level competition but they are scrappy dangerous teams with strong home field advantages and nothing to lose. This BS that WC qualifying is easy for any team comes from people who have not been paying attention.

    So the result is the same. You still need the best possible team out there.

  134. GW says:


    If your placeholders don’t do their job the USMNT won’t be playing when “things get real”.

  135. GW says:

    You start Chandler and sit Lichaj.

    Or if Dolo is there start Chandler at left back, move Fabian up and sit Lichaj.

  136. GW says:

    I don’t doubt that Lichaj is physically and athletically superior to a lot of people, including Parkhurst.

    I’m just not convinced he is a better soccer player than Parkhurst today.

    In his four years at Villa he could not convince, O’Neill, Houllier, and McLeish to give him more than a game or two in the league. His ten starts at the end of last season happened because a starter was injured. So either his managers were stupid or Anti American or Lichaj needed to develop.

    And most critically, if you want to talk about today Lambert came in looked over his guys and bought a right back, Lownton, and a left back, Bennett. Lambert is well regarded and considered to be fairly conservative. He did not come in and clean house instead he seems to be giving people a chance to make a case.

    When Guzan signed Brad made it clear that he did so because Lambert told him he would get a fair shot. It seems that Lambert did so for both Given and Guzan. Unfortunately for Given he had a bad Euro which probably did not help his confidence and Guzan now looks like the position will be his permanently.
    I’m convinced he knew Guzan would beat out Given and I’m convinced the Lambert expects Lichaj and Bennett to battle it out all season long. And he is giving the first shot to the veteran Lichaj just like he gave the first shot to the veteran Given.

    And I’m sure JK sees this as well and realizes the best thing for Lichaj is to stay and win this battle or if he loses it, to then get a move in January and find someplace to let him play. Lichaj needs to learn the things that Parkhurst knows, like positioning, which in spite of your dismissive attitude toward Parkhurst’s use of it, is a critical part of being a top defender.

  137. GW says:

    Would you be saying that if you did not like Lichaj?

  138. ThaDeuce says:

    I’m totally liking ives when he’s angry. i know u think the same btw.

  139. ThaDeuce says: