USMNT Daily Update: What changes might we see in the March qualifiers?

Photo by Michael Janosz/


There are six weeks between now and the next U.S. Men’s National Team World Cup qualifier, a ton of time to think about what went wrong in the loss to Honduras, and plenty of time for players to play themselves into position to break into the USMNT starting lineup.

Let’s face it, we can’t possibly see that same starting lineup that looked so awful against Honduras yet again on March 22nd against Costa Rica. It just can’t happen, and if Klinsmann did turn to that same XI, he would open the door for even more questions about whether he really has a clue about just how to put together the best U.S. team.

Plenty could change in the next six weeks. Landon Donovan could wake up one day and decide he’s done with his soul-searching sabbatical. Brek Shea could get fit and break into the Stoke City starting lineup, and play himself into good enough for to be back in the national team mix. Maurice Edu could continue to play regularly at Bursaspor, and sharpen his game enough to earn the USMNT start he should have been given against Honduras. Steve Cherundolo could return early from knee surgery that is expected to keep him out two months, too long for  return in the March qualifiers.

Even if most of those things don’t happen, we still need to see change. Klinsmann can’t go with that inexperienced back four, not against a Costa Rica side that boasts a strong forward tandem in Bryan Ruiz and Alvaro Saborio. He can’t stick with the same midfield that was so thoroughly outplayed by their Honduran counterparts. Klinsmann might also have to reconsider his decision to leave Herculez Gomez on the bench.

So what changes could come in the next six weeks? Here is a look at the squad, and what positions could be different when the national team takes the field in Colorado to take on Costa Rica:


Danny Williams didn’t get the job done. He was woefully ineffective and we shouldn’t expect that to change if he doesn’t start seeing more playing time at Hoffenheim. Maurice Edu looked like a much better option during his second-half appearance and Jurgen Klinsmann’s heavy praise of Edu after the match suggests he saw it too.

What remains to be seen is whether Klinsmann would consider Jermaine Jones for the defensive midfield role. He has stated repeatedly that he just doesn’t see Jones or Michael Bradley as ideal fits for the No. 6 role, but Jones has played that role for Schalke and played it well. Klinsmann might have to consider it in order to provide more of an attacking spark into his midfield while keeping both Jones and Bradley on the field.


Steve Cherundolo’s knee injury left the door open for Timmy Chandler to take hold of the right back spot, but he struggled badly against Honduras. Now with Cherundolo undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery it looks like he won’t be available for the March qualifiers.

Does Klinsmann go with Chandler again? Chances are he will and chances are he’ll have to. The only real scenario I can see that would have Chandler on the bench would be if Michael Parkhurst won the starting right back job at Augsburg. Parkhurst has yet to play a minute since moving to the Bundesliga though, meaning Chandler will likely have another pair of chances to prove he is the future of the position.


Eddie Johnson thrived on the left side against Antigua & Barbuda, but against a tougher Honduran side that made him work defensively and marked him well when he had the ball, Johnson was rendered ineffective.

The player who would make the best fit on the left flank would be Landon Donovan, but there is no way of knowing if he’s planning on being back and ready for March qualifiers. If he’s not in the picture, Brek Shea is another player who could be considered, but only if he makes a smooth transition to Stoke City.

You could argue that Klinsmann should consider doing away with the 4-1-3-2 we saw against Honduras and going with the 4-4-2, which could allow a pure left winger like Brad Davis to be a factor. That might make sense to some, but I don’t see Klinsmann changing systems to incorporate a player like Davis.

If Donovan and Shea aren’t available, Klinsmann might have to turn to Johnson against Costa Rica, but it’s tough to see Johnson working against Mexico in the second March qualifier.


It is unclear whether Herculez Gomez was completely healthy and just not used, or if he carried a knock into the Honduras match, but the fact that he didn’t play at all was surprising to say the least. The work he puts in defensively is invaluable, and his work also helps him create chances.

If you start Gomez then you have to either sit Jozy Altidore or playing him on the left flank, a position he isn’t completely unfamiliar with. The better question is whether Klinsmann will consider a 4-1-3-2 with true wingers supporting the flanks rather than having central-minded midfielders like Jones and Bradley serving as the “wide” players in the 3.


Do you keep Dempsey in a playmaking role or do you start him at forward and bring some other dynamic options into midfield? Players like Zusi and Joe Corona and Sacha Kljestan could do well playing in the hole behind the forwards, but that would be contingent on Klinsmann playing a 4-1-3-2 rather than a 4-3-3.

Bradley was listed as the playmaker against Honduras, but he’s not an attacking midfielder. He can serve as a box-to-box player, but when asked to be the main fulcrum of the attack it’s just a role Bradley isn’t suited for.

And exactly who is? Dempsey can handle that role, but he needs players around him who can move and pass and take pressure off him. That is something Donovan used to do very well, and right now there is nobody providing that sort of spark and threat to free things up for other American attackers.


Omar Gonzalez looked shaky at times, which is to be expected for someone with no experience in World Cup qualifying, but the U.S. can’t afford for Gonzalez to be learning on the job when the rest of the defense is also inexperienced in those kind of matches.

Bocanegra may not be the answer for the 2014 World Cup, but for right now, his experience is invaluable and if he’s healthy and playing regularly for Racing Santander then he has to be in the starting lineup vs. Costa Rica.

Is there anyone else worth considering? Not at the moment. Matt Besler isn’t any more experienced than Gonzalez while  Oguchi Onyewu isn’t playing much for Malaga. Things could certainly change by June, when the Americans have three qualifiers, but for the immediate future, Bocanegra looks to be the best option to help provide some stability and experience to a team that was sorely needing it against Honduras.


Assuming these players are healthy, here is a lineup that would make some sense:


E. Johnson———-Dempsey————Bradley


F. Johnson-Bocanegra–Cameron——Chandler


Here is a lineup I could see Klinsmann using vs. Costa Rica:




F. Johnson-Bocanegra–Cameron——Chandler


Again, a conservative lineup, but Klinsmann’s insistence on using Jones and Bradley in positions other than defensive midfield means almost any lineup he comes up with will lack some attacking spark.


And here is a best-case scenario lineup:




F. Johnson-Bocanegra–Cameron——Chandler


A dream lineup that only works if A) Shea’s playing and playing well at Stoke a month from now, and B) if Donovan returns to the LA Galaxy very soon and gets into match fitness heading into the MLS season. No, Bradley isn’t a playmaker, but he wouldn’t have to be with that quartet playing in front of him and Jones. This lineup would provide speed on the wings, would fit in the Bradley-Jones tandem Klinsmann is tied to, and gives the Americans two goal scorers up top (and yes, you could also replace Altidore with Gomez if Altidore hits a cold spell).


What do you think about the potential changes to the U.S. lineup? Which of the projected lineups vs. Costa Rica do you like more? What key change do you feel Klinsmann absolutely has to make going into the March qualifiers?

Share your thoughts below.

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192 Responses to USMNT Daily Update: What changes might we see in the March qualifiers?

  1. Ryan says:

    No bocanegra!!! Gonzalez hesitated on that goal because cameron shoulda cleared it even if that required taking out Tim Howard as well. Boca is done.

    • RB says:

      Wait — what? How can Bocanegra be “done” because of poor defensive play on the part of others, in a match where he didn’t play at all?

      • MA1 Rodriguez says:

        Bocanegra had poor games in the Qualifiers.

        • RB says:

          That’s fine, if you think so. But that doesn’t make any sense out of the idea that because of some failing on the part of Cameron, Howard and/or Gonzalez, Boca should be considered done. If anything, that play of course suggests only the opposite: perhaps Boca should have been in. That’s what people have been wondering…

          • MA1 Rodriguez says:

            No. Humid, pace, and the field are for us older guys. I blame USSF for proper preparations for the Qualifiers. Bocanegra still could play for USNT, not where extreme humid and speed are main danger for USNT.

      • Jason says:

        Wait, wait… WHAT? Ryan, as others have said b4 me (not about you personally, but you know what I mean), “I don’t understand the words that are coming out of your mouth!” +1 !

        • RB says:

          Well then read Ryan’s post and explain it, then. How does anything poor move that any player on the field may have made in San Pedro Sula the other day equate to Boca, who was of course never on the field, being “done”?

          • Adam says:

            He is just saying that he does not think Bocanegra can play anymore and I am inclined to agree. Everyone gets old. It happens fast for athletes. He is not implying that Bocanegra can’t play anymore because of what happened on the field in honduras. That’s a separate point. I thought the goal was more to blame on Gonzalez though. If i was Cameron, there is no way I’m taking out Timmy Howard there, but why in the blue blazes of hell did gonzo have to take that look back. That slowed him down too much. Even the ass of a coach I had as a 12 year old knew “when in doubt, put it out”.

  2. Keith says:

    I will say this, for the first time in over 20 years I don’t have a good feel for the player pool nor do I have as much interest as I did before. I used to have a knot in my stomach before the US played but I think this hire has been a huge disapointment and has left the fan based very disinterested.
    I know a shitload of others that feel just as I do.

    • Carlo says:

      Most people I know feel the exact same way.

    • Kev says:

      What you wrote is exactly how i feel as well. I was telling a buddy of mine the same exact thing.

    • PetedeLA says:

      I agree. Soccer is based on the three t’s: teamwork, tempo, and technique. The most important of the three is certainly teamwork, and I DON’T SEE IT. This must change. Bob Bradley was no Bobby Fisher, when it comes to tactics, but at least his team always looked united. We can do with some humility.

      • Bkyn says:

        I am going through the same process. Part of it may be that four of the ten field players have never lived in the US. That just takes some of the attachment out. I will go with it if the team wins, but it will take some of the fun out. If we lose, then I would rather be with players who grew up here. So in the heat, did they remember that this is just a lark for them and give up?

        • Terkyjerky says:

          The biggest problem with this team is Klinsi inability to bring in wide player into the player pool. Every time I see his selection I already know what is going to happen. We will just end up clogging the middle and leaving our forward with little to no service.

        • whoop-whoop says:

          Sorry, I don’t buy the “birthplace” theory. Best, most cohesive, team soccer played is by top clubs…. made up of a mixture of players of every combination of background imaginable.

    • Hogatroge says:

      The two replies above look suspiciously like they were written by the same person. Possibly even OP.

  3. Francois says:

    I still don’t like it, the last lineup has the most promise, but I feel like a 4-3-3 with players who can both cross, take a player 1v1 and cut inside to shoot would be best for our team. I think a midfield triangle of Jones, Bradley, and Feilhaber would give us possesion as well as somebody who is creative and can play a killer pass occasionally. Up top, I think FJ, Altidore and Dempsey would be our best attacking trio in Donovans’ abscence. I think FJ should be moved up to the wing, because he is our most skilled and technical player outside of Dempsey, and always looks dangerous going forward. That leaves left back open for Edgar Castillo, who I feel does not get enough credit for how much he has improved and how well he has played in Mexico. He is a more than capable defender, and gets forward very well. I think with that lineup, we could be dangerous offensively, and more solid defensively with the 3 in the midfield triangle sharing defensive responsiblities.

    • Daniel says:

      +1 for Castillo at LB and FJ moved up

    • Two Cents says:

      I am not a fan of Castillo in the slightest. I will admit I haven’t seen him play in quite some time, but when he did, it was awful. I have been wanting FJ to move to the wing for quite some time, but it seems we didn’t have the best coverage in the back and he has been playing LB for his club team if I’m not mistaken, so it would make sense to slot him there.
      However, I would prefer him on the wing. With the players we brought to the last qualifier, I would have the starting lineup look something like this (never happen since it seems we need the entire team to be a DM lol):

      ————-E Johnson————-Altidore—————-
      F Johnson——–Bradley——–Dempsey——-Zusi

      On the slightly more realistic side:


  4. MA1 Rodriguez says:

    Better preperation before the games like a friendly and fitness camp.

    Two forward top like : Altidore and Gomez, Altidore and Boyd, Altidore and someone else etc…

    Attack from flanks like: Donovan, Dempsey, even Beasley, Gatt, or Johnson in midfield.

    Keep similiar defenders..YES!!!…Gonzalez & Cameron & Chandler know they fuck-up & weather will be different from San Pedro Sula.

    Play with only two holding midfielders, not three holding midfielders.

  5. RB says:

    Sweet: USSSC just sent out pre-sale info to members for the March match at DSGP. Nice to get several days’ jump on getting those!

  6. THomas says:

    That last lineup is ideal to me to. However I’d see it better suited in a 4-2-3-1 with Bradley and Jones switching off who’s forward and who’s covering the back four.

    It’s all semantics in the end because once the whistle blows we all know Dempsey will drop back to get more of the ball. Regardless, starting out in a 4-2-3-1 or 4-1-3-2 gets our best players on the field in their best positions. Provided 2 out of the three from Shea, Donovan, and Zusi are available.

    • Josh D says:

      I don’t see Shea being an option. He had a torrid last season and it’ll take time to get into the Stoke side. I don’t think we see the second formation with Dempsey being relied on as an attacking central midfielder. He’s the only danger we have.

      The first one gets my vote with Mix on the bench ready to add a spark.

  7. Matt says:

    Beasley on the left

    • Lost in Space says:

      Beasley is not the answer.
      Donovan, Shea, Gatt, Bedoya, and Mix are the equal or better than Beasley

    • Pat says:

      i’m kinda with you on this although i havent watched any of his recent games. beasley would be a good option if youre looking for a player like shea on the left. Plus, he will not be intimidated by playing away in any of the CONCACAF environments

  8. OPMG says:

    I hate when people respond with some arbitrary formation, but here I go anyway. I feel like a 4-2-3-1 could be used effectively. If we’re getting pinned back the two outside mids drop back and we’re in a 4-4-2. Push one of the holding mids forward in attack (MB90) and now we’re attacking with a 4-1-3-2 as the CAM pushes forward into the hole behind the lone striker. It’s a fluid formation that plays to our strengths offensively and defensively. There’s certainly room for discussion about who starts, but here’s a shot


  9. bizzy says:

    It doesn’t matter how we flip flop people around, we know the HEX is coming and Teams are going to be hard to beat, yet this late in the game we are still doing trial and error with our National team.
    Take two carpenters…..both have their own tool boxes but one has a better quality set of tools than the other. If the carpenter with the lesser quality tools is creating, building or repairing wood better than his contemporary then he is simply the better craftsman and makes you wonder how capable would he be using the better tools.
    Klinsmann has better players than Honduras, Jamaica and Mexico (yes as a whole) but these teams currently look stronger than us going into the HEX. Its not about the players…its about the player selection, and our coach still can’t seem to do that.
    Sometimes its not all about play time or where you play…….the best team doesn’t necessarily have the best players. Example Mexico…15th in the FIFA ranking, the best team in CONCACAF but yet they make a player like Giovani dos Santos who hasn’t made more than 17 appearances a year for any of the 6 teams he’s been on a regular starter on their team, (and a total menance for the US defense), thats a coach seeing a skill set and using it
    We are worried about the wrong things…its not about the players…its not that Boca didn’t play or about chandler being capped or Williams had a bad day or Edu’s play time in Turkey….its about being this far in the game and the team being no better than the first day Klinsmann took the reins, even though he has a better player pool now than Bob Bradley did back then

    • C(note) says:

      Well said. +1

    • downintexas says:

      Could not agree more!

    • Josh D says:

      Not sure you can say Klinsi has a better team. I’d take Bradley’s back line of Dolo-Gooch-DeMerit-Boca over our current one. I’d also take his attacking force – Jozy, Davies, Donovan, Dempsey.

      Klinsi has to deal with a change of guard and a far more youthful team. Plus a moody Donovan and a nonexistent Jozy.

      • bizzy says:

        if the fans are fed up of his coaching you think a player like Donovan will be happy?….if you play 4-3-3 and have the strikers defend and tire themselves out you think they’ll be dynamic and effective up front?

    • Goalscorer24 says:

      Really, I don’t recall Bob Bradley not having Landon Donovan on his team.

      • bizzy says:

        You are right….but Bob didn’t have williams, Fabian Johnson, Chandler, Zusi, a Stoke form Cameron, a Roma form Bradley, A sharp Eddie Johnson and the list goes on and on

        • Keith says:

          Well said Bizzy. Klueless Klinsman has two players (MB and CD) that are in way better form than anyone Bradley had.
          There is no chemistry because there is not respect for American coaches (not one on his staff) and American players.
          He is bringing in guys that aren’t that good who don’t give a shit about the USMNT. That crap does nothing for team chemistry. The chemistry on this team is AWFUL and JK is largely to blame

          • Goalscorer24 says:

            And yet last year he matched the best winning percentage for the US team during a year.

            • shane says:

              His winning percentage in games that matter is terrrible. His over all winning percentage is not better than bradley’s

          • bizzy says:

            …Keith man that is so true. There is no respect for individual players, our team or coach. Taking about American coaches its funny how Ben Olsen put together an MLS All-Star team that went toe to toe with a cohesive team Chelsea and none of his American selections (apart from Johnson and Zusi) are even on the USMNT bench….how he is able to use Wondo, Donovan, Beckerman, Johnson, Zusi, Farfan and Pontius to effectively penetrate a Chelsea defense (Cole, Terry, Cahill and Ivanovic, Malouda etc)….or have Morrow,Demerit, and Beitashour fend off Essien, Lampard, Ramirez, Luiz and Lukaku. Food for thought that the best players don’t alway make the best team….why are all these players effective with their clubs but look lost when they play for Klinsmann? “There is no such thing as a bad student only bad teacher”

            • Benny says:

              You must have a lot of bad teachers then.

            • Jack says:

              You took the words right out of my mouth. If anyone has seen that movie Miracle (the hockey one) the coach in it says he isn’t look for the best players he’s looking for the right ones. Klinnsmann needs to take that philosophy into each game or we are not going to be playing in Brazil.

          • Randy says:

            I couldn’t agree more!

          • GW says:


            Unless you are on the training fields and in the locker room and on the field during the games, you have no idea what the chemistry is like on this team.

            You may think it is crap but you don’t know.

            • biff says:

              Get real, GW. We don’t have to be in the locker room to see the lack of chemistry. Anyone with two eyes can clearly see during games that there is a massive chemistry deficit.

          • biff says:

            I’m loving what you are saying, Keith, about the chemistry. So true and Klinsmann is truly starting to sound like a snob.

        • Goalscorer24 says:

          Reality is you are comparing apples to oranges. Mexico, Honduras, and Jamaica are better teams now then they were under Bradley’s era. The real question is do you think Bradley could come in to this current team, and get better results?

          • Dennis says:

            Yes, At least he would have the team fighting for each other and pushing throughout.

          • bizzy says:

            Thats because of better coaching which lead to better team/player selections…..our point exactly Goalscorer24

          • Paul says:

            Thought experiment: Do you think Klinsmann could take on Bradley’s role as the national team coach of Egypt and do a better job? I really don’t think so; I think that takes a degree of character and leadership that Klinsmann sorely lacks. That’s not to say that Klinsmann isn’t a good person; I have no idea if he is or not. Just that Klinsmann cannot inspire and motivate players the way that Bradley can, and also to say that it is not evident that Klinsmann is equally committed to his role as coach.

    • biff says:

      +1, great comment bizzy the carpenter, has nit the nail directly on the head.

  10. somedude says:

    How come Jurgen doesn’t let Joe Corona be the playmaker….

    • Goalscorer24 says:

      This is the same type of thing people were saying about Gonzalez starting at center back. Not enough experience.

      • jaime says:

        anything would have been better than the mess we saw. im starting to think that Bradley and Jones play together, there talented but they just dont work next to each other, kind of reminds me when England couldnt make lampard and gerrard play together.

    • Vic says:

      He passes the ball too well. He’d rather play Klesjtan and Edu to help out opponents with possession.

  11. MikeG says:


    ————-F Johnson——-Torres



    This is with a 4-4-2 box midfield. If Donovan is available he takes Torres’ spot. The box midfield needs to stay ‘compact’ on either half of the field and shift right and left (following the ball left or right). Gonzalez under Bocanegra’s leadership. Chandler and Cameron play north/south and overlap with midfielders. This would improve the 1-2 touch passing, possession, and increase pressure when we do not have the ball (providing we stay compact). This would help with shorter passing. This is what I would go with right now. Any other players like Beasley, Shea, or any other winger could go with a Diamond formation in midfield. Everything points to the best players available and the formation that works best for the players you have available. Experimenting with players out of position only breaks down a formation. A formation is configured to get the most from the players. More than anything the players owe it to each other.

    • MikeG says:

      Fabian Johnson in Midfield? Please refer to USA-Slovenia friendly. He has vision, speed, can dribble, and pass. Surprised many have not seen this. We have enough depth at Back to move him up.

      • OPMG says:

        If you shift all 6 players to one side of the field or the other depending on where the ball is at you will get exposed on the far side all day. It would take one chipped pass to the opposite wing and it’s off to the races. You’re also asking each player to be a central player for half of the game and a wing player for the other half…which would be difficult

  12. Bryan says:

    That dream lineup would be great with Gonzalez or Bocanegra. It frustrates me everytime Jones, Williams and Bradley are paired together. Three defensive minded mids does not create the proactive offense that Jurgen came here preaching.

  13. soonerfan237 says:






    If Eddie Johnson is in better form than Gomez, he may take that starting striker spot. Same for Brad Davis vs Zusi. If Donovan comes back, he starts on the right. If Shea starts tearing it up at Stoke you can slot him on the left and put Dempsey at one of the striker spots.

    • OPMG says:

      A 4-2-2-2 relies on a lot of movement from all of the players checking to the ball in the gaping hole in the middle of the field and then being able to control and distribute with their back to the goal. It also gives too much time for the opponents midfield to create IMO. Unless you’re meaning to a portray a 4-4-2…

  14. Mike Z says:

    JK’s selection was poor but his formation was also poor. The real head scratcher for me was not making a formation adjustment at the half. It reminded me of the 4-3-3 that Bradley trotted out at Costa Rica in the last Hex that was creamed. This US team is going to have to play differently for away games. I guarentee he won’t make that same mistake at Azteca….The third lineup would be great for the home game against Costa Rica if all are healthy and in form.

  15. Chris thebassplayer says:

    Start by putting a solid stay home defender at LB and move Fab up field.

  16. dannyboy says:

    you know Bizzy you could just be right

  17. Caleb H. says:

    Ideally if we could have Donovan and Shea with us I think maybe a 4-4-1-1 would be interesting


    Shea Donovan
    Bradley. Edu

    Chandler. Boca. Cameron Dolo

    • CroCajun1003 says:

      This is more or less the ticket. We saw vs Honduras that we MUST have wing players to stretch the defense and open up the middle.

  18. Chris Cappiello says:

    People that are really after the players are underestimating the conditions IMO. It’s not like it’s the first time we’ve seen this and the overreaction that always follows. Trot out the same lineup (not saying it should be exactly the same) against Costa Rica on the 22nd and we’d most likely be singing the praises of half the team.

    • Luke says:

      Not just the conditions, but think about Herc, Dempsey, and especially Chander who got right off his flight from Germany to get on the flight to Honduras. His jet-lag would have taken a few days to recover from, not a few hours. I’m not making excuses, we as a team just didn’t play well and are not playing as a whole as well as we should be, but it’s tough to expect guys to play at their best in such circumstances.

  19. Robbo says:

    Let’s Analyze The Teams Klinsman Has Put Together Since He Started Managing. The Germans Played Great Inspire Of Him. Bayern Munich Struggled Because He Could Not Field A Cohesive Team. His Players Complained Tha Their Roles Were Not Defined. He Was Let Go After Less Than One Year. Gulati Hired Him. We Will Struggle Because Klinsman Does What He Is Doing. He Cannot Evaluate Talent, Make Adjustment And Is Fixated With Only One Set Of Players Regardless Of Their Fitness. We Will Not Qualify Unless We Get A New Coach. Gulati And Klinsman Need To Go.

    • Keith says:

      The last sentence was the most profound statement I have ever read on this forum

      • Red says:

        yeah, he has not adjusted Klinsy. We very well may need a new coach and new president asap. I’ll make my assumption after the Jamaica game(game four of the hex.)

  20. MikeG says:

    Cameron should play outside back. Klinnsman only played him there to ‘cover’ the issues we have at Center Back. Cameron belongs as an outside back. Same reason why Fabian Johnson moved to outside back. No more musical chairs. We have enough depth between MLS and european based players at ALL positions to allow every player chosen to play there position as best they know how.

    • Goalscorer24 says:

      You mean like Omar Gonzalez, oh wait he got torched in the last game.

    • baropbop says:

      I agree. Personally I would have gone.
      Vs Honduras
      Johnson, Boca, Gonzalez, Cameron

      ?, Boca, Gonzalez, Cameron

      I love the concept of Chandler and Johnson on the outside…I just don’t think the team will be strong/disciplined enough in the next 2 years to have offensive minded backs.

  21. Cairo says:

    I am done with Jozy for now. Love his club form, but the USMNT is not AZ Alkmaar and it is just not working. For whatever reason, Herc and EJ are more likely to get goals for the Nats, so they should play. Why people care so much about club form is beyond me. It’s a totally different setup and unless AZ’s midfield defects to the US, club form should not be the deciding factor. Honestly, i prefer all close positional battles be won by the guys who leave it all on the field. Herc and Wondo on top, Gatt on the left, Zusi on the right. We still are not going to have a creative player, but i want to be at least be the most hard working squad in the region.
    One other note. Unless Shea gets on the field soon for Stoke, i hope that Klinsy’s scouts are watching Nguyen for the Revs. He is creative, quick, can play like a true winger, and performed all kast season despite a chronic shoulder problem. He is the one guy not currently in the pool who should be

  22. redbird says:

    My ideal would be a diamond formation:
    Johnson Boca Cam Chandler

    Bradley on the right can cover Chandler who was terrible the other day. Deuce doesn’t do well as a forward for the MNT but shined last year playing in the hole. Also if Castillo really is doing better( don’t watch LMX) play him at LB and push Johnson into the mid field when he was great against Slovenia on the left of a diamond. He can also help out defensively on the wings and allow Castillo to attack. We missed Gomez’s work rate in San Pedro Sula. That would allow Jozy time to run the channels because he needs the ball played to feet on the turn or over the top.

    • Josh D says:

      I’d have to say this would be my formation too. More creative and it’s too our strength. Simply said we do not have wingers at the moment. Rely on our young and energetic sidebacks.

    • baropbop says:

      I would like your lineup more than anything JK has done.
      My ideas…
      Quick Fix:
      Herc Deuce
      Johnson/Shea/Gatt Zusi
      Cameron Boca Gonzo Chandler

      Few months Out:
      Donovan Bradley
      Johnson Edu
      Cameron , Boca, Gonzalez, Chandler?

    • Judging Amy says:

      I like it. But maybe EJ over Herc since he seems to be slowing down. Klins loves Herc and truly recognizes his work rate and scrappiness. If he held him out of the Honduras game, Herc must not have it anymore.

  23. redbird says:

    At home we only need 5 defensive players. The whole team needs to help defend but we need mid-fielders with an attacking priority to start.

  24. MikeG says:

    link to Slovenia – US Nov 15, 2011 playing with a diamond formation with Johnson on the left side of midfield….I feel like a campaign manager.

    • baropbop says:

      This match makes a great case, which I am inclined to agree with, that the USA’s problems are as much about formation as personnel

  25. CaptainBringdown says:

    It is my opinion, that the culture of American soccer ha sbeen corrupted and that starts at the top. The President, (The Indian gentlman) has not the leadership skills to lead us into a new era of American soccer. Klinsmann obviously cannot put ot gether a side that can score goals,.It is not as if these players are horrid, they play in top-flight leagues and see a good bit of playing time.

  26. Tim says:

    Any lineup/formation that does not include Altidore and E. Johnson would be wise. Both prove worthless in top, meaningful matches. I would consider Brek Shea, Jose Torres, Hercules Gomez and Benny Feilhaber.

  27. baropbop says:

    When I read about the USMNT and JK’s lineups and others suggestions I am almost always filled with rage. It is really infuriating to me that somehow people don’t universally see what I see and agree with me. I just don’t get how people can possibly come to the conclusions that I consistently see. There is way too much emphasis placed on what players do for their clubs. I couldn’t care less. Too many free passes.
    Things that REALLY jump out at me.
    1. Jones and Williams are not in the 4-5 best options in midfield. period.
    2. Michael Bradley has a turnover that results in a goal in at least 33% of the games he plays.
    3. JK used his most experimental roster to date in the game that potentially mattered most.
    4. The midfield is not good enough to play with 3-4 Forwards, even if you dress them up as midfielders. Between Dempsey, Altidore, and Johnson. Only 2 should be on.
    5. With the positioning that JK has used so far…between Bradley, Jones, and Williams….only 1 of the 3 should be on the field at any given time. They all repeatedly prove to be defensive liabilities through poor defending and/or turnovers. Another option is to put Bradley in the recessed Forward position Dempsey often plays.
    6. Omar Gonzalez is the future. I agree. Was not the time or place for him to start however. Even Cameron who is also the future, isn’t settled in yet.
    7. Just as the midfield isn’t good enough to play with 3+ forwards, the defense/midfield isn’t good enough to consistently send outside backs forward.
    8. Edu>Jones>Williams. Only 1 of the 3 should be on the field at a time no matter who you prefer.
    9. How can you possibly start EJ in that role over Zusi? Personally I would like to see Bradley in a pure attacking position.
    10. How many chances does Altidore get?
    11. If I haven’t lost you yet, I’m about to….The midfield is more organized and disciplined when Beckerman is on the pitch.

  28. Weaksauce says:

    Why do you not realize that Jones and Bradley should not be on the field at the same time. Neither are attacking midfielders so the pair are lacking some serious offense. PIck one or none !




    F. Johnson-Bocanegra–Cameron——Chandler


    • Tim says:

      Have you been involved in the soccer world? At what point in time do you think Adu would make a difference? Holden is not in form and Bradley, outside of Dempsey is the best US player we have–fearless, ever-working and box-to-box. I like your back four, but what BIG match has Altidore ever shown up for in a US uniform?

      • baropbop says:

        For every Michael Bradley highlight he has a turnover that leads to a goal. He needs to be pushed further up the pitch or put on the bench. I think he is a great talent, but he is a consistent liability with turnovers. When he makes mistakes, he makes huge mistakes. This is especially frustrating because he is almost always one of the best players on the pictch every time he steps on, then he has a huge lapse that costs the team wins.

        • Dennis says:

          That statement is hard to square with the games Bradley has played well and the opponents failed to score.

        • Dennis says:

          Or as John Wooden said the best players are the ones who make the most mistakes, simply because they are the ones who actually do things.

        • Vic says:

          I agree at times Bradley makes too many turnovers. 90% of American players have less skill and poorer touch then foreign players. However, Bradley has excellent workrate, good tackling and can score goals. Bradley should start. However, my only problem is when you add other players that have poor touch/passing like Edu, Shea, Klesjtan and Altidore you will never have more than 50% possession. Play one of these players and the rest should be players with good touch/passing that will give you more possession.

    • Keith says:

      Weaksauce, if we are calling Freddy in why not see if we can bring in Joe Max-Moore, Preki, Mike Windischman and David Regis?

  29. Beto says:

    The second line is closer to what we should have started in Honduras. No point in guessing how the next 6 weeks will go however we really need our MLS players to step up or get back into it; donovan, zusi, ej, gonzo etc although the problem with the last game was the germans; williams, johnson, chandler and jurgen

  30. Kev says:

    what happened to the days of frankie hejduk running like a mad man all over the place with his hair on fire or brian mcbride battling. i am really disapointed about this mundane team. i look forward to every game that is played and lately have been so let times, like the first goal, they look great – but it jus really makes me mad when they string passes to relieve pressure then have an opportunity to switch the field but no, they continue to go into congestion and lose it. OPEN THE FIELD!

    i do wonder is it the concacaf competition getting better? mexico tying jamaica at home and us losing.

    i am glad there is a forum to relieve frustration about this.

  31. Carlo says:

    Jozy Herc
    Deuce Feilhaber Bradley Donovan
    Johnson Boca Cameron Dolo

    Mgr: Kinnear

  32. Stuart Murray says:

    Anyone who needs to know how the Americans have to play as a national team should look at the 1994 WC game against Colombia.

    Talent and playing time on a top pro team will not, alone, win games in the World Cup. There’s abundant talent on every national team.

    Look at US ’94 and see how passion and commitment and nonstop hustle can lift mere talent to another level. Every competitive national team in the 2014 WC will have that same passion and commitment — the passion and commitment we showed in 1994, including from Earnie Stewart, a Dutch-American pro, and Thomas Dooley, a German-American pro.

    Will our German pros give us that same commitment? If they don’t, they shouldn’t be in an American uniform. If Klinsmann — whom I’ve long backed for this job because I played with top German-American players in North Jersey in the 1960s and 1970s and admired them greatly — if he doesn’t understand what his players must give to this team, then he’ll fail, and so will we.

    As a longtime coach, I’ll take a lesser-skilled player with heart and commitment any day.

    And that goes for Landon Donovan, too. If he can’t get his self-absorbed California beachboy butt into U.S. shorts, despite any issues he might have with Klinsmann, then he should tell us now that he’s going to stay home and watch the WC games on the tube.

    But we do need him, because when he is on the field, he’s absolutely committed to his country.

    Let’s get a team that first and foremost wants to win the World Cup for the United States. We had one in 1994! We have those players today. Put them on the field, Klinsmann.

    • Dennis says:

      I would argue we had that kind of player in 2002, 2006, and 2010 as well. But the 2006 was probably a bit less talented than 2002 and 2010. Who is in charge of being sure the players are ready and committed?

      • Excellency says:

        The issue you and stuart raise will be our undoing this cycle. Try to discuss it and the xenophobia invective starts up – which is strange for me since my parents first arrived to USA in their thirties, where I was born and became American, and I am not at all in favor of this “cap him now!” hysteria in USA soccer fandom. I dont think they understand the consequences.

      • Stuart Murray says:

        We always have had those kinds of players, even in those years when they had little chance to train, and when they were at best semi-pros.

    • beachbum says:

      that Landon is from California is irrelevant. Do you know how many US players come from California? A freakin butt load!

      • Stuart Murray says:

        Of course, lots of great players.

        My “beachboy” comment was meant to say that it seems Donovan would rather stay home and enjoy the good life in California than rejoin the national team for the WC and all the demands that would make on him.

        Exacerbating the situation is the uncertainty as to whether he’ll play or not. If not, then make it definite and soon — and great thanks for all he’s given us.

        But that would be a loss all around.

        • whoop-whoop says:

          If our National Team is so frail that the omission of a single player is it’s complete undoing with that one man being made a pariah and held responsible…… we have no business being in the World Cup. The concept that in the ultimate team game everything hinges on one guy on the field and off is our undoing and why he needs a break. LD has been the face and the workhorse of not only the USMNT, but MLS for a decade. He doesn’t owe anyone, anything. Our program however, does. If we ever want to to step it up into world class, we first must stop thinking in terms of a single savior…. don’t need another Donovan, we need 11.

          • Stuart Murray says:

            I don’t know anybody who would hold Donovan responsible if he didn’t play and the USMNT did not perform well in this WC cycle. U.S. soccer is already beyond that.

            But it would be great to have him on the team, not as a “savior,” but as a top field player and a leader.

  33. 2tone says:

    Holden is going to be in the conversation as well. I gaurantee it.
    Fabian at Winger? I would prefer not to see that, but hey something needs to change.

    • Tim says:

      Would LOVE to see Holden back in the mix. Just waiting for him to get back to form, probably not till June.

  34. Sarasota says:

    1. Klinsmann needs to drop the 4-3-3 forever or go down in flames.
    2. Ives dream lineup would be better with Holden in Bradley’s position and Bradley in Jones’ position. Jones on the bench.
    3. I’d rather see E. Johnson paired w/ Dempsey at this point–more speed and energy than Altidore.
    4. Corona instead of Torres and Gatt instead of Klestjen (sp)
    5. Or since we’re going back to Mexico, maybe bring Beasely and our Mex-American defender.
    6. In fairness, Chandler’s best position is RW, just as Fabian’s is LW.
    7. Been a big JK lover, but I’m fast losing faith because he does not learn from formation & lineup mistakes. What do they call someone who keeps doing the same thing and expects a different outcome?

  35. Sarasota says:

    PS: Too bad we can’t give Landon Donovan Brian McBride’s heart. Sounds like he’s going to miss the March qualifiers as well. And he knows his country needs him. Personally, I’m tired of the Diva act.

    • beachbum says:

      there are about 50 players who have been a part of 4 World Cups, and of those about half did not play in each of those World Cups, so about half actually played in 4 World Cups. If Landon plays for the US (and I believe he will because his country needs him) and we qualify (I hope we do), he will be in some elite company of 25 or so players who actually played games in 4 World Cups. He has represented. Time for others to step up

    • Vic says:

      Lets not forget Bob Bradley gave Claudio Reyna a two year break from World Cup Qualifying so Donovan isn’t the only star that ever wanted a break. Donovan has played more than your average MLS player. Besides the regulars season Donovan has had national team games, 2 loans at Everton, MLS post season and post season friendlies in Asia and Australia.

  36. beachbum says:

    great piece Ives

    like your first lineup tho I have doubts about EJ in that role

    the lineup you see JK using looks like a good possibility based on what we’ve seen so far

    got to think Boca starts. Can’t believe Chandler will play another stinker but still hope Parhurst can find the field at club to get that spot back on the Nats where he performed so well. JJ has to be the 6 for both him and MB to play together unless there’s a system change, and a 4-4-2 would allow it and open up players like Davis out wide; even Benny could play the RM in that system as he did for many Bradley teams. But this won’t happen

    Like your dream lineup a lot, but if LD and Shea are not available and staying with that system, how about Corona for Bradley’s spot, slide Bradley out right and then pick from a few options on that left side, even EJ (I know, I aready mentioned my doubts of him in that role) or Benny, others

    been watching Castillo play well lately, I think he also could fit somewhere; he’s always struck me as a midfielder anyway, and he gets forward well

  37. cps says:

    Good lord. Get Fabian Johnson playing at left wing already. And give the starting 4 defender slots to whichever players promise on their life to actually run at attackers and close them down.

  38. atd says:

    Edu for Williams; ‘Dolo for Chandler; Donovan for EJ. Obviously all subject to one contingency or another.

  39. PAMICL says:

    It’s funny how so many MLS players are doing it well for teams like Honduras, Jamaica, Panama and Costa Rica but we decide the best left Midfielder and Right Midfielders in the MLS aren’t good enough. Play a 4-4-2 with Jones holding, Bradley box to box, Davis out wide left, Zusi on the RIght, Have Duece drop in and get dirty when we defend/pressure with 5 mids and have Jozy up top alone when we defend – he can be transition target on counter and Duece catches up and likes to come at the goal from deeper anyways. As for the backs, they are not why we lost….that could have happened to many CB’s in the world, we lost because we had no pressure on the ball ALL game long and zero width. Eventually they were gonna score 2, it was obvious.

  40. Excellency says:

    Ives, why not tweak your lineupnto match the Spurs before Sandro was injured.


    2nd team – subs and development players


    Dempsey doesnt have to be a creative player because that can come from the wings and he doesnt have too much to do defensively because the two mids defend the middle and the fb’s can be conservative, altho it would be interesting to see Fabian link with Donovan and set up shots for For the trio of EJ/Jozy/Dempsey. A really solid FB like Cameron is important in this set up.

    We dont have a 6 as requirednto play a 433. Let us just face facts.

    • PAMICL says:

      Who actually things EJ is a wide player – Are you kidding me? The guy is a disaster with the ball on his feet and he limits the runs Fabian can make. EJ needs to sit. You can’t count on Brek so don’t even bring his name into the mix he’s not fit and won’t be, and Davis is 5 times the player Brek is right now. Brek still hasn’t learned how to prioritize the game on the run, he has some tools but he’s miles away. We go to the HEX and play players out of position – thats JK’s fault his job is to pick a formation that suits the team, and players, then pick the RIGHT players. He keeps talking about fitness zen crap and thats what got him the boot at Bayern. Sunil and JK – OUT!

      • Excellency says:

        Notice I put the offensive minded fb, Fabian, on the right behind Donovan, with EJ in front of Cameron on the left. Fabian would be sending assists in to an enfilade of EJ cutting in from the wide left position and utilizing his aerial game in the far post position,, Jozy and Dempsey in the middle and Donovan improvising. That is an attack with the ball at the right feet and his targets in attack formation with Cameron covering on defense where he is best using his excellent running ability to mark defenders like he does at Stoke.

        The problem is that JK wants to shoehorn Chandler into the team – at ALL costs. That means Fabian is on the left and Cameron is moved out of his position.

  41. blueslug says:

    Along with the others who used the Slovenia match as inspiration, assuming we’re without Donovan and Shea I’d go with:



    ————F. Johnson———Bradley————




    With a bench of E. Johnson, Agudelo, Zusi, Edu, Kljestan, Feilhaber, Castillo, Besler, Parkhurst and Onyewu.

  42. jerry duck says:

    Is simple we most have to play all games in Alaska

  43. MikeG says:

    What is the account and bank information of the next group of referees in March?

  44. Old School says:


    Plain and simple, let’s ignore Altidore’s amazing club form and acknowledge reality: He needs to step up and it starts with him getting some help up top.

    Gomez has a motor to constantly stretch the backline and the type of workrate to take all of the focus off of Altidore.

    More than I’d like, Dempsey is prone to killing an attack by holding up the ball. However, I’ll take those issues and ignore them considering his knack for attacking and being in the right spot.

    Jones has his critics but those critics convienently ignore the contributions he makes, both on the defense and offense. Is he a picture player? Far from it. Is he one of the best midfielders we have in our pool? Unquestionable.

    Shea may or may not be ready but he adds an element of attack and pace on the wing. He’s too careless with the ball for my liking but the time to play it safe is over. We need to turn it on. 10 matches comes quick and three defensive midfielders in an improve CONCACAF region doesn’t look bright.

    If Carlos Bocanegra isn’t selected: I said it before the match and I’ll continue saying it. Besler should have been the pick. He’s more comfortable on the ball, can distribute calmly/effectively and, I believe, is a more solid defensive player than Gonzalez. Omar is more superior in the air and on set pieces but I don’t believe that’s a strong enough argument to warrant his looks, at this point.

    Johnson and Chandler looked like shadows of what we saw that excited us so much. However, they’re still the most skilled, athletic and best options at their respective positions.

  45. Dennis says:

    Without either Boca or Dolo (or even Goodson or DeMerit) in the back line to help the less-experienced backs stay organized, the US will suffer needlessly as players gain international experience. The game that got B.Bradley fired was one in which Dolo got injured and the options for dealing with that loss were found wanting. Bradley failed to find an answer with literally minutes notice, Klinsmann had ample warning and failed even more spectacularly.

    • MikeG says:

      Bob Bradley knew he had no ‘playmaker’ so he went with Dempsey and Donovan on the wings for an ’empty bucket’. Attacking on the wings. Adu played against Mexico in that last Gold Cup game because B Bradley was desperate for a spark and desperate to keep his job. Adu actually played a really good game in the Gold Cup. The offense became stagnant under B Bradley. We are seeing the same thing with Klinnsman.

    • beachbum says:

      excellent post as usual Dennis. You see.

    • MikeG says:

      I watched the first half of Jamaica and Mexico. Mexico had better possession 70/30 % over Jamaica. That stat was misleading. Mexico mostly played side to side passes. Mexico also tried to overcrowd the right wing area. Mexico did not make very many penetrating passes through the middle. This is what I saw from the Mexican midfield. Jamaican midfield stayed very compact with 4 midfielders on both sides of the field and they shifted by running, jogging, or trotting to the right when the ball was played in that part of the field by Jamaica or Mexico. Jamaica shifted left when the ball was played left. Jamaica had the better scoring chances and nearly scored twice with penetrating passes. Jamaica was more effective with the limited possession they had.

      • MikeG says:

        Second half Mexico tried to attack right down the middle and dribble into the penalty area. Jamaica immediately played bunker ball in front of the penalty area. Mexico also tried to get the ball to Aquino as much as possible on the right (as in first half). Few attacks through Reyna on the left. Mexico did not try to take shots from outside the penalty area, but made brave attempts to crash the net. Not much midfield to analyze from both sides. The U.S. will have to keep a special eye on Chicharito, Aquino, and Reyna when we play Mexico. Another good reason to have Bradley and Jones as a DM pair.

  46. louis z says:

    I’m surprise people think we need a major overhaul of the lineup. The Honduras game is not the norm, how often are we going to play in a public park of a field? How often JK will start euro players with only 2 days of rest and a Atlantic crossing. I hope he learned his lesson, although he seems to have a problem pulling Demps when has nothing left. I only see two immediate changes 1- Gonz, he is not ready. I watched the game again and in the first 7 minutes he had 3 major blunders. 2- Williams, he lost his Mojo, I think is Edu’s turn. Frankly the rest should be ok once we get team playing on professional fields.

  47. Dawsaw says:

    I would like to see a 3-5-2 pulled out for games we need 3pts. in.
    At least try it in a friendly to see if we can actually score a couple.

  48. Benny says:

    I agree with Ives’ analysis. It is spot on.

    I personally believe that the USA will defeat Costa Rica at home. They will be pumped up and ready to show that they are a better side than the one that played against Honduras. I also believe that they have a great opportunity to get a result against Mexico. It may be very possible that Mexico does not even have a win after their game in Honduras.

    Kilisi’s coaching tactics and personnel choices have me worried to death. Yes, there is a possibility that Klinsi puts out the same side and the U.S. beat Costa Rica at home; but what coach would want to take that chance? Well, Klinsi might.

    I certainly hope LD comes back. If we do not see him in one of the next two qualifiers, knowing how important they are after losing the first game, we will probably not see him again. Good luck team USA

    • louis z says:

      LD is not coming back for the next two games. Arena says he expects him back “in a couple of months”.

  49. Hayes says:

    I am not sure who will be available or in form but, IMO, JK must play a Gatt, Shea or Donovan on the wing to truly try and stretch the defense. Can’t play 3 of the Bradley, Jones, Williams, Edu group, 2 is enough.

    With LD and BS back, I would like us to play something like this:



    If Shea and LD not back:



  50. biff says:

    1. Other than firing Klinsmann, the simplest solution to pep up the USMNT is for Klinsmann to play a 4-2-3-1. This is the system that almost every other successful national team is using. Using two forwards does not work anymore. Spain won the EuroCup using no fowards and Franz Beckehbauer said last week that he would like to see Germany use the same no-forward system. That said, under a 4-2-3-1 Klinsmann will have to make a hard decision and choose one forward. And, please, Eddie Johnson is a forward, not a left winger, while Gomez mainly plays outside for Santos. Clint would be possible as the lone forward, but I think better as an attacker with someone else on top.

  51. biff says:

    2. Three d-mids in the starting line-up. No. No. No. Never again. The new rule going forward is that Klinsmann can only have two on the field at the same time from this list: Bradley, Jones, Edu, Williams, Torres, Beckerman. I, personally, would like to see Torres given a chance to distribute from the back, meaning Klinsmann would have to bite the bullet and decide whether he pairs Torres with MB or Jones, who I think are our two best d-mids and both have their strong points. Under the new rule, Klinsmann has to pull his thumb out and bring in some attacking midfielders. I am ready to see Joe Corona get a start.

  52. biff says:

    3. I am a huge fan of Fabian Johnson and fully expect him to travel to Brazil in 2014. But he has been in a funk for months at Hoffenheim and in recent USMNT appearances just a shadow of himself. We have a left back who is technically, I think, at the same level as Fabian and Torres and who plays for a league-winning team that is known for tenacious defense and his name is Edgar Castillo. I want to see Castillo get the start against Costa Rica, with other Latino-flavored talent in the line-up: Torres, Corona, and Gomez. Hey, I know these guys weren’t born in Germany, but, they are darn good players plus they play with heart.

  53. biff says:

    4. Yes, Klinsmann will most likely play his buddy Chandler against Costa Rica. But I don’t think Honduras was a fluke. If Cameron continues playing right back for Stoke, I would rather see him moved over to right back for Costa Rica, and, yes, Boca return to the starting line-up for his leadership and experience paired with Besler.

  54. biff says:

    5. We need Landon Donovan and we need him now. Klinsmann needs to stop with the tough love comments about Landon and instead telephone him, offer him the captaincy that he deserves, and bring back America’s greatest player for one last World Cup cycle. Klinsmann needs to realize that if he fails in these next three games he will be fired in disgrace and he will never again get a decent coaching job. In other words, Klinsmann needs to act and act fast.

  55. biff says:

    Conclusion: But with Klinsmann certain to start Chandler and with his love of defensive midfielders, this is the line-up I expect him to trot out against Costa Rica.

    ———-Jermaine Jones——–




    ————Tim Howard——–

  56. David M says:

    I’m beginning to think that regardless of any possible changes on the field, the only meaningful change that will see us in Brazil in 2014 is to change the coaching staff.

  57. paul says:

    I don´t comment here often, but I have to put my 2 cents in…
    I also feel disconnected from Klinsmann´s team. ..and no offense to the fine young German-American professionals playing their international (surely world cup-bound) soccer for the US … but I would feel more passionate about a team made up of US raised foreigners. I believe that having more than one or two foreign raised players in just not conducive to creating a “national team¨… I´m absolutely sure that guys like Agudelo, Diskerud, Holden and yes, even Bunbury wear their jerseys with a sense of pride and team spirit that Chandler, Johnson, Boyd, Jones, etc. simply can´t muster… I remember when US soccer was known for fitness, discipline, tactics, humility and pride…
    Just sayin´

  58. Robbo says:

    Klinsman Reminds Me Of That Kid Who Always Wanted To Drive His Dad’s Porche. One Day The Dad Gave Him The Key And Told Him It’s His. He Took The Keys But Did Not Know What The Hell To Do With it. David You Are Correct. Only Changes That Need Be Made Is The Coaching Staff. We Have The Talent To Qualify But We Need A Coach To Put The Best Players On The Field.Klinsman Keeps Trying To Put A Square Peg In A Round Hole. He Needs Either Mixx, Adu or Corona As An Attacking Midfielder. The Players In The Middle Have No Vision. There Is No One To Control The Speed And Tempo Of The Game. None Of The Players On The Field Against Honduras Could Consistently Dribble Into And Out Of Tight Space And Maintain The Ball.

  59. H-Town says:

    What if Holden returns to the starting line up for Bolton?

    • MikeG says:

      With the amount of Defensive Midfielders I cannot see room for Holden on the roster. Not taking anything away from Holden, but he is not a defensive midfielder.

  60. GatoRonaldo says:

    Let’s face the facts:
    1. the ability to play compact, quick, and simple was missing.
    2. with a hot field temperature, the turf cut high, the ball not moving, and the players not being
    aggressive, how could we mount a legitimate attack?
    3. the team was directed to play too wide.
    4. there was a total lack of aggression from any USA player. Fitness was lacking.
    5. what defense, what pressure on the ball? Totally missing!
    …these 5 basic elements were missing in the Honduras game. I blame Coach Klinsman, 100%, even for the lack of aggression form the individual players, for the team’s disaster in Honduras.
    IT WAS NOT AND IS NOT the players chosen, it is the coach’s philosophy of the game, that lacked. Sorry Coach Klinsman

    • MFP says:

      This comment is great. I have no idea whether it’s meant as dry sarcasm or a serious claim. You blame the temperature, field conditions, player fitness, and individual aggressiveness on the coach?

      • Paul says:

        When I first started following the USMNT… way back in the 80’s… most of our guys were used to playing on crappy fields, in lousy conditions… what they lacked in talent they made up for with grit, tactics, fitness… the same stuff that got us ice hockey gold in 1980. desperate defending and scrambling, often fortunate counterattacks were the norm.. it was nerve racking, often sloppy… but usually fun and exciting. Then in the 90’s the player pool improved, we were able to include one or two talented players not afraid to keep the ball (Mathis, LD, Reyna, etc. ) but the US style of play was pretty much set and we gave some of the best teams in the world a run for their money now and then. Just sayin’

  61. harry says:

    I still think that brad davis could bring width to the game as he is a true left winger who passes, serves the ball well and could take corners and dead ball fouls. He finds open players and is very effective at one and two touch soccer. At the very least, he could come in as a sub to E. Johnson.

  62. Bob says:

    Gomez needs to play. His work rate, and never say die attitude helps to create something out of nothing. I like Jozy, but he doesn’t hustle, and gives up on the ball. Gomez never stops, and drives defenders crazy. His continuous movement opens up the field, giving Dempsey the opporutnity to do what he does best – find or run into open space. Most of his goals come from this type of effort.

  63. spartansoccer says:

    Is it me or do others see a complete lack of team chemistry? It really seems like JK’s ego needs to be deflated a bit and his “captains” should be given some latitude to help decide who can get it done. Oh wait, who are JK’s true “field captains?” Just sayin’…

  64. Gary Page says:

    One of the biggest problems is Klinsmann constant tinkering with the players and line ups. With the Honduras game we had 4 defenders who had never played together and 2 who were playing their first meaningful international game. That was an obvious mistake. Anyone who has ever played knows how important communication is on defense. I really think Ives missed the boat, too, by not considering Castillo as an option for the back. Also, Latin teams generally don’t play long balls and crosses, so we don’t really need height in the back line until we play Jamaica. Go with Bocanegra and Cameron in the middle and Castillo and F. Johnson as fullbacks. Let Omar Gonzalez get his experience in friendlies and the Gold Cup before throwing him into these games. Chandler looked overmatched and I don’t think he appreciated how difficult the game would be. We need Donovan to run at defenses from the wing or the middle of the midfield. If Donovan comes back, we have a surplus of good mids, maybe we should go with just Gomez up top and 5 midfielders because with Dempsey and Donovan you have two real attackers coming out of midfield so that your 4-5-1 can quickly morph into a 4-3-3. Then you can play with Jones, Bradley, Dempsey and Donovan in the midfield and either Zusi or Edu whether or not you want to play a true winger or another defender.

  65. Norn Iron says:

    First and foremost, I think you get Carlos Bocanegra back on the back line. You don’t mess around in tricky road trip qualifiers with an inexperienced back line. No, he may not be the future of US Soccer, but right now the goal is to get qualified, NOTHING ELSE.

    I also think Edu and Gomez need to be starting. I don’t like the idea of principally relying on Altidore and Dempsey to get goals. For some reason, they just don’t seem to be a productive or synergistic tandem.

    At this juncture, a win at home against Costa Rica is critical. I would like to see this line-up:






    Yes, I know this puts Bradley a bit more lateral than the norm, but I think a central midfield of Edu and Jones, coupled with a central defense of Cameron and Boca would be pretty tough to crack. This also frees up Gomez and Altidore to get nice service from Dempsey and Bradley, while also allowing Dempsey to push forward.

  66. supergrandefilms says:

    Eddie Johnson is not good enough to be on the National team. Sorry, but that is reality. I agree that Bocanegra’s leadership is of great value, especially at this point in qualifying. He’s been there. I like Zusi / Gomez in the lineup. Still waiting for Altidore to break out and be a force.

    Best of luck USA.

  67. Colin in MT says:

    If the game was tomorrow I’d go with…



    Gatt———-Bradley ———-Gomez


  68. Since 82 says:

    The MF is the central issue. How many times are we going to play an overly defensive MF, not maintain enough possession, and starve our Fs of service. It is THE issue.

  69. Keith says:

    I just made two SOCCER BY IVES buddies (Bizzy and Biff) but I will tell you it is not player selection it is mentality.
    Who knows what LD is thinking but don’t be suprised to see him back BUT I would bet he would rather play for BB or BA.
    US Soccer fell in love with a “Hollywood” coach and may pay a big price.

    The problem is not so much with JK but rather his boss.
    This guy is the Jerry Jones of American soccer and we are getting worse at every level.

  70. LuckyCowboy says:

    Excellent post! +1

  71. LuckyCowboy says:

    Since 82 … your post was excellent!
    Keith … not so much.

    • Keith says:

      You are a lucky cowboy but not such a lucky soccer fan. What could you disagree with?
      US Soccer is tanking and it is because we lack leadership and have an average head coach who gets paid $2.5 million a year to put us in the right direction from youth to senior team.
      And that coach has not done jack shite.
      His boss tries to have input but he is a financial wizzard and not a soccer person and should not be making soccer decisions just like Jerry Jones should not be making football decisions.
      Talk to someone in the know cowboy.

  72. Marden08 says:

    At most levels of soccer the team that gets width and crosses win because it spreads the defense. It is almost always the case at the international level if one team gets crosses and the other team doesn’t that team dominates. Outside backs can give you options for creating width but you must supplement that with wingers. That means true wingers and not forwards playing wings. Also while our midfield must have strength in the middle we need to have wingers who can defend and not permit as much penetration on the wings in the middle third particularly Honduras;s left wing. We must force crossed and defend to prevent crosses from the opponent.

  73. Michael says:

    I’m not pleased with the USMNT performances here lately either. The issue I have with all of the previous “ideas” is, have any of u been at the teams practices or workouts? Or played professional soccer for a soccer power house like Germany? Have any of you coached pro soccer? No ok then what do you have to back up any of those ideas? I say we leave it to the professionals here

    • Marden08 says:

      Michael If you were not pleased with our performance what part were you not pleased with? I generally agree with you that most of us don’t have the real life experience to comment. Bu this is a simple game. it is not rocket science. We need to find a way to create width.

    • Rivaldo says:

      Been to many national team training sessions, have coached many pros and can tell you that tactics in a game are sometimes overrated. It is soccer, not war. You keep the ball moving and try to get behind defenders and score. If you con’t keep the ball then you defend.
      JK’s team vs Honduras did not play as a team. It was one of the slowest games ever played by a national team because of the heat. There were not much in the way of tactics. The players that needed to be on the field were the one’s who could run in this climate and keep the ball moving. We would have DESTROYED Hondurus if we kept it moving and got the ball to our guys up front. Plus JK needs to know that if you are going to pair two CB together they need to play with each other and you cannot add a right back who barely knows everyone’s name.
      Terrible coaching and no team building skills.

      • MikeG says:

        I played amateur fussball in Frankfurt with mostly Germans and some Italians. I was in Frankfurt in 1990 when Germany won the world cup in Italy. I coached amateur youth teams in California with more of a ‘german approach’. I won city, area, and regional championships with boys teams. I was asked to assist coach a girls all star team. There are pickup games in Frankfurt like going to a park and seeing a pickup basketball game at a park in the U.S. Picture playing basketball..would you see a player pass the ball who does not make himself open? Picture basketball again: are all shots taken inside the paint (penalty area)? What about outside the perimeter or penalty area for shots? My teams tend to practice the way we play and I simulate the game as much as possible in all thirds of the field while only using half the field. Our teams ‘put out’ and we have a blast doing our best. Professional or amateur it is a simple game. The best championship teams at all levels play a fundamental game at a high and fast standard. Look at Ticky Taka Barelona..they pass the ball like it is a basketball game…They keep the game fundamental

  74. bjelks says:

    A lot of US fans as well as decision makers in the pool process are analyzing the team horribly wrong. The most important thing to a team being successful is TALENT. The second most important thing is sound TACTIC. Without TALENT and sound TACTIC, teamwork, effort, and passion are null and void. Spain is the best team in the world because they have the most TALENT and they have sound TACTICS that fit their TALENT.

    In other words, JK is completely to blame for not playing his most TALENTED players and not having sound TACTICS. You can never outwork Lebron, Ronaldo, Messi, because they are better than you no matter the condition. JK has inferior talent and athleticism on the field simply because of his poor player selection. He claims to want to play free flowing, attacking football and plays 3 defensive mids, it just doesnt add up.

    Stop blaming the loss on the CBs being inexperienced, Boca and Dolo get beat all the time by more talented players. It’s just the way sports work. Boca and Dolo wouldnt have made a difference. If youre under a lot of pressure because the midfield cant make plays or keep possession, the defense will break down no matter their experience.

    Play a 4-4-2. Play Shea and Demps on the wings. Play 1 defensive mid: either Bradley or Jones. Use Holden or Adu as a play maker. Move Edu to CB to partner with Cam like they did when we shut out Mexico. It’s not rocket science.

  75. Adam says:

    Why will Jurgen not play Jones or Bradley in the holding role? Did he not see Bradley at Chievo, or watch Jones with Schalke? I agree that Bradley is best as a box to box guy, but he is also very good as a defensive mid. He is not really suited as a playmaker and Jones is a black hole in attack. He should play 4-2-3-1 or 4-5-1 on the road and 4-4-2 at home for the qualifiers.

    • TN Bengal says:

      Bradley can adapt to any role in the midfield, but yes, holding midfielder is his strong suit. Not having LD and Shea not being up to speed limit our options at midfield.

  76. JSnell13 says:

    They should give Beasley a call up to open up play more on the outsides..the middle is to packed in we need aome original wingers

  77. Justin says:

    First thing I would love to see is Klinnsman released and Ben Olson hired. He bleeds high intensity and undoubtedly could get this team motivated and proud to play for the US, something that has been lacking since B. Bradley. After that, he should be calling up LD telling him his team and country need him. No more screwing around, time to go out and do some work.

    F. Johnson———-Donovan (c)
    ————–J. Jones————-

    Bench: Altidore, Edu, B. Davis, D. Williams, Guzan, Parkhurst, Shea

  78. twewlife says:

    A Couple of Things:

    1. I think E.J. had a pretty good game considering the kind of service he was getting during the game. In fact, I would go so far as to say EJ was our biggest threat over the course of the match (prior to his substitution). Specifically, his ability to create space for other runners after receiving a ball helped create several of our better attacking changes.

    2. I’m not really sure why some are still on the Edu bandwagon. Yes, he played better than Williams last game, but the chances of him dramatically improving his game within the next two years are slim to none. Moreover, his first touch and general distribution is flat out terrible. If Klinsy wants to build through the midfield instead of utilizing the long ball, which he does, Edu CANNOT be a part of the system. He’s a fine second half sub when we want to button down the hatches, but he does not have what it takes to push in to a starting 11 role.

    3. Solving the midfield problem sans Donovan is going to be tricky. Zusi is not a wide player and neither is Sasha. So who fills in the slot? I could see Brek filling in that role if he ever gets his form back (brek cutting in with his left leaving space for Chandler to make his overlapping runs, if he ever does), but that’s simply wishful thinking. Any thoughts?

  79. Paul says:

    my choice for 2014….

    Altidore Gomez

    Dempsey LD

    Johnson Cherundolo (or Lichaj)
    Gomez (or Boca) Cameron


    Subs. Diskerud, Gatt, Lichaj, Shea, Boyd, Torres, Howard
    Coach. Bob or Bruce.. or even Sigi

  80. Rick says:

    What our USMNT is missing are dynamic playmakers, that can run at you and strike fear in the defender. Guys who’s upbringing wasn’t the old “USA style”.. During our friendly against Canada we should have experimented with Joe Gyau and Charles Renken. They are the future of the USMNT