158 responses

  1. Monarch Bay Beachbum
    December 20, 2013

    I like it except I would choose Thomas Dooley over Balboa any day of the week.

    • Luetchy
      December 20, 2013

      But he had that awesome bicycle kick and great hair!

      • Chicago Pete
        December 20, 2013

        But he missed the bike and the hair sucked!!!

      • Suave
        December 20, 2013

        Balboa is awful. Dooley is 10x better but Balboa’s hair was nice and as I would dream about, very soft.

      • iggy
        December 20, 2013

        Pretty sure the hair still looks the same to this day, if you are jonesing for him.

      • rees
        December 20, 2013

        My unsolicited 2 cents: How the F is Dooley not on this list?

      • TomG
        December 20, 2013

        Jeez, because he was 31 by the time he first put on a US kit. His best days were long behind him. He had one really good year but when 94 rolled around, he was 33 and not a standout. He was there more for his experience and tactical awareness than his actual playing ability. He was nothing special for USA. Picking him over Celo or Boca is like picking Jermaine Jones over Tab Ramos. Anyone bashing Celo never saw him in his prime. He was a dam good player. JK would love to have a skilled, reliable CB like Celo.

      • Suave
        December 20, 2013

        Comical. You must be related to him. Do you have long flowing locks too?

      • TomG
        December 20, 2013

        I gave you an actual rundown of his abilities as someone who saw him play a lot of matches for USMNT and MLS. You just keep talking about his hair. Gee, I wonder which of us is more credible?

      • Suave
        December 20, 2013

        Saw he him play plenty. With the nats, foxes, and rapids. From what I HAVE SEEN over the many years and comparing to Dooley, no chance Balboa is better on the national team. Isn’t that the question? Who is the best 11 for the national team? Balboa filled a void, just like Lalas did. They were big, good in the air, and had some flair. Good player, yes. Good enough for the best 11, no. Didn’t mention hair once.

      • TomG
        December 20, 2013

        Dude, you clearly haven’t watched Celo play much if you’re comparing him to Lalas. Celo was six feet tall and skilled. Lalas was 6’3 and unskilled. They couldn’t be more different. Celo was more like Boca. Maybe you were vey young when you saw him or you never really watched soccer before? Not sure how you could possibly make that comp.

      • GW
        December 20, 2013

        Mr. G,

        You are way over reacting.

        Suave was not comparing Celo to cement head as a player

        The two were often associated because they played together a lot for the Nats. I always think of Lalas whenever Celo is brought up and vice versa, just like I always think of Donovan and Dempsey together.

        As a USMNT player Dooley was more dynamic and influential than Celo but he was a midfielder while Celo was a CB so that is to be expected.
        I don’t know why you are comparing Dooley and Celo, they were pretty different players. It’s idiotic to raise one up by tearing down the other. I’d like both on my USMNT team.

      • GW
        December 20, 2013

        Mr. G,

        You are way over reacting.

        Suave was not comparing Celo to cement head as a player

        The two were often associated because they played together a lot for the Nats. I always think of Lalas whenever Celo is brought up and vice versa, just like I always think of Donovan and Dempsey together.
        As a USMNT player Dooley was more dynamic and influential than Celo but he was a midfielder while Celo was a CB so that is to be expected.
        I don’t know why you are comparing Dooley and Celo, they were pretty different players. It’s foolish to raise one up by tearing down the other. I’d like both on my USMNT team.

      • TomG
        December 21, 2013

        He def was comping them, GW. H said, “They were big, good in the air, and had some flair.” Lalas was big, Celo was not. Celo had flair, Lalas did not,(not on the field). He also started this whole deal by saying, “Balboa is awful. Dooley is 10x better but Balboa’s hair was nice and as I would dream about, very soft,” so I find it odd to the point of ridiculousness that you are saying that I’m overreacting. I’m just being the voice of reason to the folks that read Dooleys Wikipedia page and have no idea that he didn’t play for USA until his thirties, and start trashing Celo when they clearly never saw either of them play. To be honest, GW, you seem to have a weird thing for me and keep making bizarre comments on me that constantly try to twist what I’m saying. No offense, but I’d rather you don’t respond directly to my comments anymore if you don’t mind and I’d be happy to return the favor. I think that would be best. Thanks.

      • GW
        December 21, 2013

        Mr. G,

        This shouldn’t be the fourth grade.

        As for your comments I respond to the content of the comments not the name .

        After all the name can be changed anytime and no one would know.

        I could respond as “TomG”.

      • TomG
        December 21, 2013

        If this was 4th grade, I wouldn’t have gone out of my way to explain myself in a nice, clear and logical way, but as is always the case, logic and clarity are lost in you, GW. it’s so annoying dealing with you when you are constantly misinterpreting and twisting everything everyone says. It’s annoying having to clarify myself and others with direct quotes that you inexplicably misread. Please read more carefully if you are going to be replying to my comments in the future.

    • Thin Skinned
      December 20, 2013

      No Ty Keough or Kyle Rote Jr.?

      I think Joe Gaetjens should get an honorary vote.

      • Joe+G
        December 20, 2013

        No love for Bert Patenaude?

    • Zezo
      December 20, 2013

      Ditto. I would also replace Tab Ramos with Freddy Adu.

    • Michael F. SBI Mafia Original
      December 21, 2013

      I can’t argue with any of them except Balboa. Lalas was better than him and saved his ass many times for those of us who watched with a neutral eye.

  2. James
    December 20, 2013

    Not sure who he would replace, but its amazing to not have MB on the team. Also, whoever didn’t vote fore Reyna should be removed from further voting.

    • Dinho
      December 20, 2013

      Ramos.

      • danny
        December 20, 2013

        just wait another couple years, and Bradley is a no-brainer. He’s too young to be on that list right now.

      • James
        December 20, 2013

        I think Bradley is ultimately better than Ramos, but Ramos was equally important to USMNT in his day. He was also such a unique player in our history, so it’s hard to argue with him. I’d probably say leave Wynalda off and have 5 mids

      • Rick
        December 20, 2013

        Not even close. Ramos was the best ever. Bradley is good now

      • JoeW
        December 20, 2013

        Ramos had amazing technical ability. But if that’s your criteria, then why not Hugo Perez? Perez was amazing. Personally, I’d choose Bradley or even Dooley (who started as a MF for the US) over Ramos.

      • GW
        December 20, 2013

        Hugo Perez was arguably the most gifted attacking midfielder the US ever had. But when comparing him to Tab the thing is Tab was more long lived and consistent.

        Now that may be because the team was better when Tab came up than when Hugo was in his prime but tough.

        Mikey is great but he is more like Claudio who also was not in Tab’s class as an attacker. Claudio was more like the timekeeper, the guy who set the tempo and kept the ball circulating and could also do a little bit of everything, especially defensively. For example, Reyna was the starting right back for much of his time there when Rangers were really good.

        Right now I take Reyna over Mikey every time.

        Overall he had a better career than Mikey has had but MB90 has time yet.

      • Rivaldo
        December 21, 2013

        This time next year MB will be on that team. Tougher and bigger balls than CR and Tab combined.

        Exactly correct on the GK. Freidel the best then Keller and Howard is still overrated.

      • Chris Whyte
        December 20, 2013

        Bradley will eventually replace Dempsey, not Ramos.

      • iggy
        December 20, 2013

        Tab was very important for the US in his day, BUT the highest level he played at was what, 2nd division in Spain? Was he really that good or was the US team just a lot weaker then.

        Dempsey has obv. had a great career for the Nats as well, and club career is miles ahead of Tab’s.

        I think the tough thing for this list is to remember that the criteria is influence on the USMNT, not club career. It’s hard to separate the two

      • BrianK
        December 20, 2013

        Ivy,

        Tab was very unlucky. If i am not mistaken, he was with Real Betis when they were promoted from the 2nd division to the 1st division. BUT,….as you probably know, Leonardo elbowed him in the head, fractured his skull and Betis released him when the doctors recommended that he sit out at least a year.

        But for the head injury,…I personally think Tab would have had a productive time in the Spanish 1st division.

    • TomG
      December 20, 2013

      Debatable, but I might put MB ahead of Reyna. Claudio had some great moments but there were also a lot of underwhelming matches. MB has been more consistently good and consistently healthy and consistently better at getting the offense going from the deep lying role. Claudio was awesome in 2002 WC while MB doesn’t have a similar high point to compare. Tabare was the most skilled player to ever wear the US kit and was amazing for the Nats but doesn’t have the club track record to match MB or CR. I’ve yet to see another US field player frustrate a world power in a tournament the way Tab did against Brazil in the WC, to the point where they took a straight red just to knock him out (literally). I was so mad, I was screaming at the tv.

      • James
        December 20, 2013

        I still strongly think Renya was the best field player in US history. People have a sour taste in their mouth from his final matches in 2006, but remember he was carrying an injury and was 33 at the time. His 2002 performance was so good. Still the only American to make the all world cup team.

      • TomG
        December 20, 2013

        He was amazing in 2002, but that performance was much, much better than most of his turns with the Nats. I was frequently disappointed by his disappearing act though it’s probably not completely fair since he was frequently the focus of the opposing team and could only do so much. It would have been really interesting if JOB had been healthy to see them together for a long run.

      • pd14
        December 20, 2013

        Agree with everything you mentioned. Really do think JOB could have been one of our best mids ever, if no the best

      • JoeW
        December 20, 2013

        Nah. People forget that Reyna was on the US 1994 WC roster and then torn a groin muscle. He was a vital part of every USNT he was ever one, he was often the ONLY guy who had a sense of pass and distribution and a feel for the game and he was a pioneer in Europe…as a field player in Scotland, Germany and the Premiership. He’s really the first American that had Europeans believe that Americans produced more than GKs.

      • Matt C
        December 20, 2013

        Totally agree JoeW. Add to your plaudits for Reyna, that my memory is that at one time or another he was served as captain for every team he’s ever played on. ..i think even for a short time at ManCity.

    • tga
      December 20, 2013

      Reyna….all he ever did was get caught in possession and give Ghana a gift goal in 06

      • SoCal Soccer Mom
        December 20, 2013

        That’s like remebering Bill Buckner only for the error he made in the 1986 World Series, not his batting title or 2,700 hit career. Reyna belongs on the list.

      • Iggy
        December 20, 2013

        Bill Buckner had 2700 hits and a batting title? Wow, amazing what one play can do for you.

  3. Dinho
    December 20, 2013

    Really shows how weak, historically, our back four has been.

    I can’t stomach having Balboa in there, but we don’t have a decent left back… maybe Caliguri at LB and slide Boca central with Pope?

    Also, the Friedel v. Keller argument is a toss-up.

    Finally, MB should replace Ramos. No doubt in my mind.

    • Dinho
      December 20, 2013

      Or maybe Dooley for Balboa and leave Boca at LB. Put simply ABB (Anyone But Balboa)

    • TomG
      December 20, 2013

      Celo was a tremendous player. Quick, Strong, good positionally, good tackler and extremely skilled for a cb. It’s sad that many who never saw him play or only saw him at the tail end of his career are knocking him. You folks only care about Europe but you don’t understand how impossible it was for AMericans to play in Europe in those days. It simply wasn’t done. There were no channels, no open doors, no nothing. If Pope and Celo were coming up through our systems today, European scouts would be all over them. It’s sad they never really got a chance.

      • JoeW
        December 20, 2013

        Actually Pope had a transfer offer in his prime to Feyenoord and chose not to take it.

      • TomG
        December 20, 2013

        Yeah, because it’s Feyenoord. If Eddie was playing in MLS today, he’d be getting offers from Budesliga and EPL clubs.

      • BrianK
        December 20, 2013

        Liverpool as well.

      • TomG
        December 20, 2013

        Transfer? I don’t remember that. Pope was soooooooo good. Size, speed, smarts and mental toughness. He was the whole package. I would have loved to have seen that.

      • Gary Page
        December 20, 2013

        As i recall, Balboa played in Mexico, which was about as good as most US players could do at the time. Balboa was much more important and influential than Dooley.

  4. AlexH
    December 20, 2013

    Taking this trip down memory lane makes me think we should have voted Bora coach of the millennium!

  5. Peretz
    December 20, 2013

    I’m sorry Dooley just missed out. He really belongs in a Best XI. I agree that Bradley didn’t get in because he’s still fairly young. If we did this in five years he probably would be in. Overall, the voters did a decent job.

    • TomG
      December 20, 2013

      Dooley was 31 when he started playing for US.

  6. USMNT
    December 20, 2013

    Whats great about this list is that we can all say that in 25 years almost all of these players will be replaced with a best XI of someone else. Our talent is getting better and the pool is growing. Most of these players were good to very good in their prime club players as well as USMNT but do you not think that with the exception of maybe Donovan and Friedel, who stays?

    • Matt C
      December 20, 2013

      Good point. So now let’s reach into the future and have a truly silly hypothetical discussion about which players of this group, you think would still be on this All Time US team?

      I’d say Reyna, LD and maybe McBride…maybe Brad. Possibly Dempsey depending on the next WC. I wouldn’t think any of the defenders survive.

      • go euro or go home
        December 20, 2013

        altidore is easily on track to replace mcbride. if we are talking 25 years, i would guess that someone will replace altidore too.

    • USWNT
      December 20, 2013

      I agree completely – but I say in 7 years instead of 25. Altidore is on pace to replace McBride and The Iceman has hints of being the other on this list. Bradley obviously will be in the top 11… If Howard dominates the WC then he gets a boost up as well. The next 2 cups (if good which I think at least the 2018 one will be) will produce top defenders as well.

      The good news is the best is here right now – and in the wings waiting for 2018 in Russia. You take out criteria 3 and you can start filling in these names already -

  7. Pedro
    December 20, 2013

    I think Friedel is the right choice and that is probably the toughest call. Keller is right there with him.

    Michael Bradley’s career at 26 crushes what the four that are in the XI had done by that age. In fact, he did more by 26 then anyone else in the XI. I would have picked him, too.

    • Dinho
      December 20, 2013

      My thoughts exactly.

      Now, for the back four…. you can’t win.

      • Pedro
        December 20, 2013

        Agreed on the back four.

    • Madden’s Chin
      December 20, 2013

      By age 26, Claudio Reyna had already played 3 full seasons in the Bundesliga for Leverkeusen and Wolfsburgh. Where he was the captain. And Reyna was also 3 years behind Bradley because he played 3 years of college (they won the NC every year he played)

      So by age 26, Reyna had captained a German bundesliga team. Fast forward 3 more year and Reyna was playing in the Champions League with Rangers and then Sunderland bought him for the EPL.

      So no, Bradley doesn’t crush all of them. In fact, Reyna achieved things Bradley isn’t close to doing.

      • Suave
        December 20, 2013

        Agreed!

      • James
        December 20, 2013

        Also, Donovan was the Best Young Player of the 2002 World Cup. Quite an accomplishment. No doubt in my mind he’s on this list, same with Duece. Midfield has always been our best position, so might as well give the team 5 midfielders.

      • Madden’s Chin
        December 20, 2013

        Yeah, Landon came alive in that tournament. It was really what broke him out of that slump he’d been in post-reserve squad at leverkeusen.

      • Pedro
        December 20, 2013

        I agree that Reyna at Wolfsburg is possibly his high point of playing time in Europe. But be realistic, he was on loan at Wolfsburg and that team survived relegation by a point. He didn’t finish the next season there. Hardly the stuff of legend.

        You think that Bradley playing consistently for Roma in the Serie A isn’t close to Reyna’s time at Wolfsburg? If Reyna had been offered a transfer to a good Serie A side he would have gone in a blink.

        You would have had a stronger argument with Friedel or Cherundolo. They both have had better careers in Europe then Reyna did.

      • Madden’s Chin
        December 20, 2013

        He captained a Bundesliga side in his early 20s. That’s nearly unheard of even for German players.

        He then played in the Champions League at Rangers were he was a star–went to the EPL and tore his ACL. He then was traded from Sunderland to Manchester City where he battled some injuries, but was a huge fan favorite and great player when healthy for years.

      • go euro or go home
        December 20, 2013

        another knock against reyna is that he was injury prone. hard to hold that against a player, but he missed a lot of BIG games due to injury. bradley has been an mfing rock.

      • go euro or go home
        December 20, 2013

        oops. kev said the exact same thing below…

      • Lorenzo
        December 20, 2013

        There is a video on YouTube of the kind of tackles he endured. I specifically remember a two footed tackle into his ankle by a player in Scotland.

      • GW
        December 20, 2013

        Pedro

        Did you ever watch Reyna in his prime? I did.

        Reyna went to Wolfsburg on loan from Leverkusen and wound up captaining the side at the age of 24. Whether Wolfsburg were a good team or not is irrelevant. They were good enough to be in the Bundesliga, however briefly and they named Claudio captain when he was a few years removed from the University of Virginia. Considering this was 1997 and few Americans were considered worthy of being allowed to play in the outfield let alone captain the team, this was a big deal.

        Mikey is not dominant at Roma; he is doing well but he is not their best midfielder . He is not the captain. He is a support player. And Roma are good this year but they are not in Europe. So the dynamic is a bit different from a club like Juve for example.

        Reyna played in the 90’s and it is pretty hard to compare teams across that time span. I would say his best time in Europe was when he was a regular starter at Rangers as the right back.

        That Rangers team was nothing like the crap team today. Look them up some time.

        I’ll bet you Dolo and Friedel would not agree with you about Claudio.

        I’ve watched Mikey his entire career and saw most of Claudio’s. Other than the fact they both have played the same basic role for the USMNT it rarely occurs to me to compare the two. They are dissimilar as players.

      • go euro or go home
        December 20, 2013

        I am not trying to make an argument for either, BUT,

        Reyna’s captaincy sounds more like an indictment of that team than anything else. A team making a American kid from college who is on loan a captain is absolutely mad, and only a coach who is absolutely pissed with his team would do it.

        meanwhile, you are discrediting Bradley for not being dominant at Roma, where he is competing with one of the best midfields in Europe. you seriously think he has even a chance of being a captain in his second season with that squad?

        I do not necessarily know how to decide between the two, but let’s be fair to both guys here.

      • Anthony
        December 20, 2013

        I like MB, but be realistic, he’s a sparsely used sub at Roma now (he’s playing more due to injuries). He would be a regular starter at mid-table Italian team, which is still impressive. By 26, Reyna had played for Leverkeusen, Wolfsburg and moved to Rangers. He was captain which is still impressive. His first year, they barely survived relegation. I remember the 2nd year that they were quite (I doubled checked and they finished 6th).

    • Rivaldo
      December 21, 2013

      +1 Pedro

  8. kev
    December 20, 2013

    Bradley >>>>>>> Reyna. Bradley is a more complete player, if less creative, and most importantly, is rarely injured. Reyna’s history of missing big games due to injuries is relevant and should exclude him from this list.

    • Suave
      December 20, 2013

      Take the injuries out if it, take each player on thier best day and I think it’s probably a toss up. Reyna was probably our most creative midfielder to play for the US.

      • kev
        December 20, 2013

        Reyna was not even that creative. He was more of a tick-tock rhythm guy who pulled off the occasional slick attacking pass. MB is defensively miles ahead of him.

      • Suave
        December 20, 2013

        MB plays a different role as Reyna did. I agree that MB should be on the list and Reyna and Donovan and take off Dempsey. Ricky Davis has to be considered for this list.

      • go euro or go home
        December 20, 2013

        i remember him playing that way too. reyna was more of a ball circulator — seldom looked to play the killer pass. bradley has developed much more of an incisive element to his game that still is getting better.

      • kev
        December 20, 2013

        Reyna missed the entire 1994 world cup, important games in 2002, and was injured in our most important game in 2006 (also turned the ball over for the initial goal).

      • James
        December 20, 2013

        What important games did he miss in 2002??? He was on the all world cup team, and was unbelievable against Mexico and Germany.

        I think a lot of people on this board must have began watching soccer in 2006, and only take that into account. 2002 would not have happened without Reyna. He was the first American captain in a top tier foreign league (Bundesliga) and was one of our most creative players ever.

        He was CAPTAIN AMERICA for crying out loud. Go back and watch some film.

      • TomG
        December 20, 2013

        Great in 2002. Great player overall, but I don’t have to watch game film. I remember all his matches and Kev is right about his inconsistency and injuries. MB has been more consistent. Reyna at his best in 2002 was a better player. It’s a tough call.

      • Madden’s Chin
        December 20, 2013

        Michael Bradley has only very recently in his career become consistent.

        It’s easy to look over the years upon years of really inconsistent and reckless club form–from being benched at numerous clubs for poor form.

        Bradley’s been quality for the national squad, but let’s not ignore that his club form up until Roma here has been frankly sub-par.

      • TomG
        December 20, 2013

        Got to call you out for highly selective and erroneous memory. 20+ goals in Holland, best player on Chievo, carrying them to mid table when everyone predicted they’d be fighting relegation. One of top if not the top player at Gladbach, carrying them to mid table when they were predicted by EVERYONE to be relegated. The only reason he was sat down at the end at Gladbach was because he was demanding a transfer. The only hiccup in his career was AV and he never had a chance there because the club was being run by an absolute lunatic who was determined to drag a top 8 club into the relegation zone.

      • go euro or go home
        December 20, 2013

        i think reyna’s creativity is way overrated. he was a very safe passer

      • kev
        December 20, 2013

        Dude, you don’t even remember that he failed to play against Portugal, our best game in the World Cup, so don’t tell me to watch film. I don’t care what he’s the “first” of- Bradley can’t help being born later in time. Also, he wasn’t even creative–he played the safe pass. Donovan, Ramos, Dempey, hell even Mix are more “creative” than Reyna, who was a very good safe midfielder.

        In any event, Donovan had a better tournament–Reyna won the award because he was a known quanitty, and Donovan was unknown at the time.

      • TomG
        December 21, 2013

        I was often frustrated by Claudio, but I think you’re going too far. Safe passing is way underrated. Its tough to boss the midfield, to win balls and make the smart distribution, especially when he was being keyed on and didn’t have much skill surrounding him. Do I feel he was not quite aggressive enough with that final pass,yes. Was he the master f the killer through ball? No, but he was a tremendous player.

      • Kevin
        December 21, 2013

        I agree with all of this, but some are making reyna out to be Zidane.

  9. HoboMike
    December 20, 2013

    Bradley should absolutely be on the list instead of Dempsey. Reyna’s qualities were lauded by teammates at every club he played for, so that’s a no brainer. Thought Cobi Jones may get some love.

    Although thought Keller would be the GK.

    • kev
      December 20, 2013

      Friedel proved to be the better goalkeeper when he actually played. This was proven by his steady starting success at the club level

      • TomG
        December 20, 2013

        Friedel better club player and had the highest moment in 2002. Keller was better overall with the Nats and had a few matches that I’d put up there with any keeper I’ve ever seen for sheer shot stopping. Friedel gets the edge IMO.

    • TomG
      December 20, 2013

      MB and Deuce play completely different positions. Tough to ignore Deuce’s stats. He’s clearly our greatest club goal scorer ever and right up there with the Nats.

    • go euro or go home
      December 20, 2013

      great point about cobi. i’d take him on the wing over deuce. he was kind of a one trick pony on the flank, but he could beat anyone for pace and served a great ball. that was the name of the game in the era that he played and he did it well. not saying he is a better overall player, but in terms of bats career, i’d take cobi

  10. Pedro
    December 20, 2013

    Looking through the list of who voted is like visiting with the ghost of Christmas past. Not surprising players like Waldo and Balboa were shown a little love.

    How are Grant Wahl and Ives not part of the media votes? Ridge Mahoney??? Jamie Trecker??? Sh*t, I’m old school. But picking those guys??? Comedy.

  11. HoboMike
    December 20, 2013

    Looking further, it’s amazing that Balboa got the most votes of any defender.

    • Pedro
      December 20, 2013

      It’s only baffling until you see who voted.

    • Benny
      December 20, 2013

      They must have thought it was a hair completion.

      • Brain Guy
        December 20, 2013

        Nah, then Lalas would have made it too.

  12. Good Jeremy
    December 20, 2013

    Was Balboa that bad/good?
    I’m too young to remember him before he was aging, but he led all defenders in votes and everyone here seems to hate him.

    Also, i’m baffled that Lalas was as far down the list as he was.

  13. Falls City Outlaw
    December 20, 2013

    No Alexi? I would put him in over Boca. With respect to Boca, I wonder how many “sympathy” votes he got for his inglorious sacking by Klinsi.

    • Suave
      December 20, 2013

      Really? Alexi? One of the most overated players to play the game. At the time, we needed what he gave us. Tall, physical, good header, and funny looking facial hair. He filled a void.

      • Cabrito
        December 20, 2013

        You forgot the “guitar playing, rock-star void” he also filled. I can’t watch him on ESPN without yelling “Shut up Alexi Lalas!”. What a clown. He was our version of “Gus”, the football kicking donkey (look it up).

      • Suave
        December 20, 2013

        Right on.

  14. Madden’s Chin
    December 20, 2013

    People attempting to minimize Reyna’s career to push Bradley up make me sick. Crushes his career?

    Reyna captained a Bundesliga side a year out of college. Reyna was named to the 2002 World Cup All-Star team. He was the first American to do both.

    These were the players that he sat on the team with.
    Rivaldo (BRA),
    Ronaldinho (BRA)
    Michael Ballack (GER)
    Yoo Sang Chul (KOR)

    Claudio Reyna is still easily the best soccer player ever produced by the United States of America. How he doesn’t get his due is upsetting to say the least.

    • James
      December 20, 2013

      No doubt about it. Bradley is a beast, and will be on this list one day, but certainly not at Reyna’s expense.

      • Madden’s Chin
        December 20, 2013

        I like Bradley, don’t get me wrong.

        I’ve also been watching soccer since the 70s. I remember when you were lucky to get a single soccer match per month on a television of any kind.

        Claudio Reyna was a special player.

      • TomG
        December 20, 2013

        Then you must remember that, as great as Reyna was sometimes, there were a lot of times that he was completely taken out of the match for USA. Not saying he doesn’t deserve to be on the list, but I think you’re only remembering the good and glossing over the bad.

      • TomG
        December 20, 2013

        I don’t want to be stuck bashing CR. he was def one of the all time greats for USA, but I want to relate my sometimes frustrating experience watching him. Might not be completely fair, but that’s how I saw it at the time.

      • GW
        December 20, 2013

        “there were a lot of times that he was completely taken out of the match for USA”

        That can happen to you when you are the best player and don’t have a lot of backup and when you are clearly the team’s most important player.

        If you are comparing Claudio to Mikey , Mikey has a lot better supporting cast making it kind of hard to isolate on Mikey and take him out of the game. I notice that after Mikey went down at Costa Rica the USMNT went on to win the next three Hex games and secure WC qualification.

        The USMNT was a very different proposition when Reyna was playing.

        As for remembering only the good, why is it that leading the US to it’s best World Cup performance ever, with more than a little style, is not worth valuing over the “bad”?.

        The give away to Ghana in 2006? He turned the ball over because his knee gave out. It blew up. It ended his frigging career. That is his fault? Geez, what did you need to see blood all over the field?

        In that same game he missed a goal by a few inches. I call all that bad luck.

      • TomG
        December 21, 2013

        That is true and I admitted earlier that defenses definitely keyed on him and concentrated n taking him out f the match. Like I said, I don’t want to bash him. I think he deserves to be on the list. I just thnk him vs Bradley can be argued. It’s debatable. I don’t think CR completely blows him off the field and I do think that when all is said and done, MB will retire as the best, but it’s all subjective. I just got stuck talking about CRs flaws and my own, personal experience watching him which was sometimes frustrating because he was so good at times and other times struggled with injuries or defenses that took him out of the game.

      • Edmondo
        December 21, 2013

        Thank you! I have been watching soccer since the early/mid 80’s. I love Bradley, but Reyna, Ramos and Donovan are best midfield players that the US has produced (Dempsey to me is more of a forward to me). Besides, Bradley plays a slightly different position. Bradley will be there in few years, though, but his world cup performance will have to match. BTW, I still think what if with John O’Brien.

  15. M
    December 20, 2013

    The most gifted of all not on the list what a joke!!! Where’s Adu

  16. Vic
    December 20, 2013

    Bocanegra is a much better centerback than left back for USMNT. I would have put Dooley over Balboa. Or put Bocanegra at centerback and John O’brien at LB.

  17. CroCajun1003
    December 20, 2013

    When it’s all said and done, I’d say Bradley and Altidore make the list. Bradley for his class and consistency, and Jozy because love him or hate him, if he continues at the rate he’s on, by the end of his career his resume will dwarf Wynalda’s. Maybe McBride’s too.

  18. The Amateur
    December 20, 2013

    What I wanna know is this…

    …Could this team get out of group G at the 2014 World Cup?

    • beto
      December 20, 2013

      YES. with the help of divine force (or Jurgen!)

    • Gary Page
      December 20, 2013

      As one who has been follo0wing the USMNT closely since 1990, I’d have to say that’s a darn good question and I don’t know. None of the midfielders on the list were really good defenders, but the Best XI would be able to score on just about everybody. You could have a lot of 3-2 games with this team and Group G. Who would have the 3 and who would have the 2, I’m not sure. I feel confident they could beat Ghana; Portugal and Germany, who knows? I think the coaching would make the difference.

      • Paul
        December 21, 2013

        Imagine the backline of:

        Friedel
        -Cherundolo – Pope-Besler-*Dooley*

    • Jonny
      December 20, 2013

      I think the first question would be could everyone on this list fit into Klinsmann’s system?

      Tab, Reyna, LD, Dempsey… of course. Waldo? Hmmm… And what about that back four? Would we be confident in possession and playing out of the back with those guys?

      IMO, the back four (in their prime) would have the hardest time in Group G.

    • GW
      December 20, 2013

      First tell me who the other 12 are.

      Who are my subs?

  19. RK
    December 20, 2013

    No Beasley?

  20. 4now
    December 20, 2013

    John O’Brien at LB.

  21. Gary Page
    December 20, 2013

    I was just going to weigh in on the GK selection, but I gotta say that those knocking Balboa must not have seen him play much. Dooley had one good WC, but the next one he was much too slow and attackers blew right by him. I remember how he was totally at fault for one goal, I think against Germany. And Reyna was the best US player for a long time. And how could some people leave off Dempsey who is one of only two US players to score in two WC’s, with a chance to make it a third, and is the second all time leading scorer, ahead of both McBride and Wynalda, while playing mostly in the midfield? Finally, while it really is a coin toss between Friedel and Keller, I always preferred keller because I thought he was better at positioning and in judgment. He had a better feel for when to come out of goal and when not to. I really think Friedel messed up in the loss to Germany in 2002 by not coming out of goal on the free kick converted by Ballack. Even in recent years, with all his experience, I still see Friedel sometime hesitate about coming out of goal when he should.

    • kev
      December 20, 2013

      Dude is 42 he’s not crashing off his line anymore.

    • GW
      December 20, 2013

      That goal by Germany that Dooley was a fault for ?

      I’m thinking the scorer was JK.

      It is hardly an indictment when a goal scorer of that level scores on you.

  22. EW
    December 20, 2013

    And it’s now official. We’ve never had a good left back.

    • BrianK
      December 20, 2013

      LOL!

    • Jonny
      December 20, 2013

      rep! I’m a little surprise Bornstein wasn’t considered! ;)

      • GW
        December 20, 2013

        You obviously never saw Ramiro Corrales play left back for the USMNT.

  23. BrianK
    December 20, 2013

    IMHO,….

    They got the forwards right. McBride and Wynalda are definitely the best forwards we have ever had.

    My midfield which, I believe is the most talented team is Reyna, Ramos, Donovan and O’Brien.

    In the back,…Pope, Dooley and Cherundolo are the class of the bunch. We never did have a left back (do not say Agoos!!!). I will never forgive Bocanegra for his catastrophic mistake in ’06 against Ghana. I would go so as to say we would be better off with three in the back and either Dempsey or Stewart as the fifth midfielder.

    Friedel over Keller by such a wide margin is a head scratcher. However,….over the years I have heard that Keller is an arrogant sun-of-a-gun. Maybe that is what we are seeing.

    That said,…always enjoyed watching all the USMNT!

    • beto
      December 20, 2013

      +1 although we have never seen a 3-5-2 USMNT this might be the time to show it as LB has never been exceptional… Agoos, Regis and Bocanegra (maybe F. Johnson or DMB) probably the best LB’s we have had…

      • BrianK
        December 20, 2013

        Steve Sampson used a 3-5-2 in 1998. We crushed Austria in a per-WC friendly and were embarrassed by Germany in France.

      • Paul
        December 21, 2013

        I think the US performance in that tournament had more to do with team chemistry disruption caused by John Harkes not keeping his little man in his pants, but in Mrs. Wynalda’s pants. He was dropped last minute. I remember being distinctly embarrassed by the performance because I was working in Paris at the time and I had to defend the US team to my co-workers.

      • GW
        December 20, 2013

        Arena used a 3-5-2 against Mexico in the 2002 World Cup and won , surprise!! , 2-0.
        That is the game where Cobi Jones and Rafa Marquez cemented their relationship.

    • Matt C
      December 20, 2013

      Brian, you’re forgetting David Regis (sp?).

    • Gary Page
      December 20, 2013

      It was a mishit by Bocanegra that went to Onyewu, but the giant mistake was the referee, Dr. Marcus Merk, calling a foul/penalty on Gooch when there was nothing. It never should have been called (considering its importance, one of the worst calls in the WC I’ve ever seen) and Bocanegra would have had a darn near spotless record in the WC. BTW, I noticed that after that he always took the safe route and just booted the ball out of bounds after that whenever the back line was under pressure.

    • Gary Page
      December 20, 2013

      It was a mis-kick by Bocanegra that went to Onyewu, but the giant mistake was the referee, Dr. Marcus Merk, calling a foul/penalty on Gooch when there was nothing. It never should have been called (considering its importance, one of the worst calls in the WC I’ve ever seen) and Bocanegra would have had a darn near spotless record in the WC. BTW, I noticed that after that he always took the safe route and just booted the ball out of bounds after that whenever the back line was under pressure.

  24. El Gringo
    December 20, 2013

    This is pretty much the 2002 World Cup team. I think we have 5 starters from 02 here and one reserve (Dolo).

  25. beto
    December 20, 2013

    i like this list and debate so much lets make the Second XI
    GK – Howard or Keller
    LB – O’Brien or Regis? Agoos?
    CB – Dooley
    CB – Onyewu or Lalas?
    RB – Caliguri or Sennah
    LM – Steward or O’Brien or DMB
    CM – Bradley
    CM – C. Jones
    RM – Harkes or Perez
    FW – JM Moore
    FW – Jozy or Murray

    • BrianK
      December 20, 2013

      No Friedel? Agoos,…are you serious? No Eddie Pope in back? Pope was, hands down the best defender we have ever had. Tough to overlook Cherundolo at right back,….he has played his entire professional career at a high level,…although in ’02 Sanneh was tremendous. Like the LM options,…although I think Earnie Stewart usually lined up as a forward or right mid.

      Jozy,….too early. Bruce Murray??

      • beto
        December 20, 2013

        this is the SECOND XI, Friedel, Pope, Dolo, etc are all on the FIRST XI already..

      • beto
        December 20, 2013

        and Jozy; already #6 on the all time goals scored. and 61 caps is as much as many others…

    • Gary Page
      December 20, 2013

      How about Cobi Jones playing midfield/wing?

      • Gary Page
        December 20, 2013

        Oops, there he is; I didn’t see him at first.

  26. Barksdale
    December 20, 2013

    John O’Brien. Pick a position. He’s the most talented player we’ve ever had.

    • BrianK
      December 20, 2013

      People forget how good he was and how good the 2002 team was. A big FU to Hugh Dallas wherever you are!

    • Brett
      December 20, 2013

      Agreed, but longevity has to be considered a desirable trait for a player.

      • BrianK
        December 20, 2013

        True,….then Cobi Jones would be in the BestXI.

    • Gary Page
      December 20, 2013

      Well, he could have been. Unfortunately his career was much too short. But that one WC he was by far the best US player. Oh, what might have been. Who knows, maybe Stuart Holden could have been up there with Reyna had he stayed healthy.

  27. Steve
    December 20, 2013

    Why is Wondolowski not on the list? This list is complete rubbish.

  28. Bac
    December 20, 2013

    When you make one of these lists, you never please everyone…

    So you have to look at the criteria set forth. In this case it was basically their overall contribution to the usmnt, and how their overall career affected U.S. soccer.
    With that said, I think the only controversial issue is Friedel vs Keller…
    The committee did well.

    When his career is done, Bradley will top this list… Period.

    I’m actually surprised Lalas didn’t get more votes. Lalas the player was all heart and brought a lot to the game in the US. Lalas the GM probably didn’t help Lalas the player on this list… and Lalas the broadcaster probably destroyed Lalas the player….nuff said….

    Of all the ” What IF” players people are commenting on, I think JOB is atop a very short list….
    maybe alone on that list…(for those who never saw him play healthy, yea he was that good)

    If there was a supersub award, would Cobi get it for the number of appearances, or does it go to Preki for that magic left foot….(Preki!)

    Fun stuff…. look forward to seeing this in the future….

  29. Ron
    December 20, 2013

    Who are the five people who left the USA’s all time goal scoring and assist leader off their ballots? Did Graeham Jones and Paul Gardner get votes?

  30. Me
    December 20, 2013

    5 people didn’t vote for Landon?!?!?!

  31. GW
    December 20, 2013

    Frankie Hejduk should be given the award for most likely to be mistaken for a man with his hair on fire.

    No one ever played with more heart and passion for the USMNT.

    • Gary Page
      December 20, 2013

      He was definitely the US version of the energizer bunny The man never stopped running.

  32. Dennis
    December 21, 2013

    Interesting that Preki did not get a mention. I suppose his time for the US was too short.

  33. Luke
    December 21, 2013

    8 guys from the 02 team, that’s probably not a good thing.

  34. thebumswillalwayslose
    December 21, 2013

    In an interesting twist, there was also a “Pure Talent Best 11″: link to mlssoccer.com

    If it’s just based on pure talent, how JOB isn’t on that list is absolutely beyond me, but the rest of it is pretty interesting.

    • Big Red
      December 21, 2013

      People forget that JOB was on Ajax when they were still good. It’d be like having an American on ManU today.

      Also, if this list is based on US National Team Performance then Kasey Keller is a no-brainer. He has twice as many shutouts than Friedel.

      And, I’m not so hot on McBride. He never did well in World Cup qualifiers. I remember in 04 an 05 being thankful when he was hurt.

  35. JoshW
    December 22, 2013

    Who were the 5 wanks that didn’t vote for Donovan?

  36. Alan
    December 22, 2013

    Harkes and Obrien were far better than Ramos and Dempsey. Not even close.

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