A look at an all European-based USMNT squad

Oguchi Onyewu


With the January camp in the rear-view mirror, and the MLS-based contingent of U.S. Men’s National Team players now preparing for the upcoming Major League Soccer season, it is time to think about the next USMNT match, which will feature a team consisting almost exclusively of European-based players.

Given the recent exodus of American talent from Europe to MLS, it might seem like the pickings are slim overseas, but the reality is there are still a variety of options for Jurgen Klinsmann to consider as he evaluates the talent pool.

In my latest piece for Goal.com, I look at what the USMNT squad could look like that Klinsmann calls in for the March 5 friendly against Ukraine. It is a stronger team than you might expect given all the departures from Europe in the past six months.

What the proposed group definitely has is players who have been missing from the national team radar, such as Timmy Chandler and Danny Williams, who have both gone a full year without playing for the USMNT.

Here are some more thoughts on this proposed group:

The centerback options are a bit thin, which is why John Brooks could step in and start despite only recently coming back from a knee injury.


Stuart Holden and Josh Gatt seem like good bets to be invited into camp, if only to participate in training and spend time with the group. Both are in the final stages of returning from ACL surgeries and having them play in the friendly vs. Ukraine might be pushing it a bit.


Younger prospects like Bobby Wood and Joe Gyau  are interesting options to bring into the group for the few days the team will be together, but the one to watch will be Julian Green and whether he will accept a call-up. With it being an international fixture date, and Ukraine not being far from Germany, there really wouldn’t be a reason why he couldn’t come into the camp.


Do you bring Michael Bradley in or not? He’s off that week, but do you let him stay in Toronto as he gets settled into his new city, or do you bring him in to have another chance to play him and Jermaine Jones together? I think it’s a toss-up at this point.


What do you think of the proposed European-based squad I put together? Who would you like to see start in that match? Who are you excited to see included in the projected group?

Share your thoughts below.







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84 Responses to A look at an all European-based USMNT squad

  1. matty says:

    Is Green eligible to play right now or would he need to file a switch and could only participate in the camp but not play in the game pending approval of his switch ( unlikely he would do that just to play in a friendly if that was the case )

    • Gerard D. says:

      File da switch.

    • TomG says:

      There are no restrictions on players who wish to switch national associations at youth level. Since JG has only represented Germany on a youth level, this should not be an issue, whatsoever, right?

      • Travis says:

        I believe if you have played at an official FIFA tournament at the youth level you still need to file a switch. I think JAB had to do this since he had played for Germanys youth teams at either the Euros or a youth WC.

        • away goals says:

          Agree with you on the rule, but I don’t think brooks did it. As far as I know he can still change his mind and file a switch to play for germany.

          I think it was fabian who had to file.

        • TomG says:

          No JAB hasn’t filed a switch. He’s wide open.

          • somedude says:

            Brooks doesn’t have to file a switch. He went a German U-20 camp and played in friendlies.

          • Travis says:

            Ok was it AJ then? I thought somebody had to file a onetime switch after only playing in the youths.

            • Exactly. Aron Johannson played in a youth international tournament (an official youth match) for Iceland. That’s why he had to file a switch.

              I believe green has played for only the German youth teams, and not the American youth teams but neither in an official match.

              • Travis says:

                Ya that is what I originally said I just said JAB instead of AJ cause I couldnt remember which it was.

        • cj says:

          If JAB wants to play for Germany now he would have to file a switch to Germany since he has played in frendlies for the USA.

      • away goals says:

        Pretty sure he’d have to file the switch. My understanding is that if a player appears in a FIFA youth match, he has to file a one time switch to play for another national team.

        (Also he must have been eligible to play for said national team at the time he made his first appearance.)

        • Kingsly Alexander says:

          He’d have to file a switch in order to be eligible to play

          A camp invite just for the sake of him getting to know the setup and the team is something else though

    • jd says:

      latest interviews not encouraging. he’s got all sorts of leverage to wait out a German full team call up. Lets all move on, so when he decided to rep zee Germans we arent all disappointed.

  2. James says:

    It’ll be interesting to see if Green comes. Interviews with the other German-Americans made it sound like they were sold quickly on the team chemistry.

  3. TomG says:

    I predict that Gatt and Holden will bang knees in training, knocking them both out for 2 weeks which will turn into 8 months…. and I will be sad.

  4. Charlie G says:

    Should bring in Bradley (at least he’s not flying from the West coast)

    • Matt C says:

      Agree, and how long does it take to settle into a new city. Seems like he’s been there for months..though i know that’s not entirely accurate. Dude needs to train and play.

    • Kingsly Alexander says:

      Regardless , I don’t think TFC would release him. Wouldn’t it be something if MLS’ record signing was injured and wasn’t available to start the season

      • Hogatroge says:

        TFC has no ability to block his release for a FIFA date, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t decline the call up.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      The point to Bradley coming back was to get him involved in MLS quickly to keep his sharpness. So they leave him put.

      Agudelo AJ
      FJ Mixx
      Lichaj Brooks Gooch Cameron

      I think Chandler is superior to Cameron as a RB if he participates. Then move Cameron in CB and sit Gooch.

      Some back
      Green (if he comes)

      Ream is an awful defender who might be called for experience but is basically a waste of time. Ditto Gooch in the now. Personally I’d call someone fresh at those spots to take a longshot because on the merits I’d move Cameron, Edu, or a list of people insider before I’d rely one minute on Gooch or Ream. Pointless.

      • Dave-O says:

        some back? can you not even be bothered to google someone’s name? how about Will Packwood? and do you realize Tim Ream is having a very good year with Bolton?

  5. Bac says:

    Ummm…. how do you call in Fabian Johnson and NOT predict him in the starting lineup?

  6. TomG says:


    Wouldn’t be opposed to sliding Cam in at CB for Gooch and putting Chandler in at RB or sliding FJ in at LW for Shea and putting Chandler at LB or Seeing Williams or Kljestan in at either CM spot. I just don’t want to see Williams pushed out wide. I’m done with that.

    • JayAre says:

      Why would you disrespect Tim Ream like that?

    • Kingsly Alexander says:

      Shea isn’t a starter. He isn’t at the level yet where he can bring it for a whole game. He’s best suited as an impact sub really.

      • TomG says:

        Not a full squad – just Euro players. He might start.

      • joshw says:

        I agree with that. And I’ve been convinced for awhile now that he’s going to make the Brazil 23 for that specific purpose (unless somebody like Green or Gatt comes out of the blue). I think Klinsmann knows that’s what Shea’s good at at this point in his career and that he can’t really be trusted to start a game (defensively, possession-wise, tactically), but it’s puzzling that Shea keeps getting starts in the half-strength squad matches. I think putting him out there does a disservice to the other guys who are trying to impress because a rusty Shea is definitely a weak link that makes the whole thing break down. I hope the fact that he’s getting consistent minutes now doesn’t tempt Juergen yet again.

        • TomG says:

          Agree he profiles as a guy who’s better off the bench, but with regular minutes lately, JK might want to give him a shot. He’s the only true wing on the roster.

          • Kingsly Alexander - Sankt Pauli says:

            And even at that, I’d still personally rather have Johnson start on the left wing with Chandler behind him.

    • beachbum says:

      switch Jozy and AJ and I hope MB is called in too

      • TomG says:

        You want to play AJ as the lone striker and Jozy underneath? You cray cray?

        • John says:

          I actually think that could work. I think Aron is the more likely to make that timed run and pull the defenders. While Jozy is alittle better on the ball and might be the better passer. I wouldn’t mind giving it a look anyway.

  7. TomG says:

    Good article, Ives. I forgot there was still so much talent in Europe. If you got rid of the tr0llz I would definitely follow goal.com more but their comment sections are infested with idiots from what I remember and looking at the comments on your article, I can see nothing’s changed. ugh

    • bryan says:

      this is my only problem with goal.com. it’s amazing how much time that “JACK DAVIS” tr011 puts into it, but come on, there has to be a way to limit the amount of tr011ing going on over there on any US-related thread. the lack of action, to me, says that goal.com doesn’t really care about US fans or even the quality of their comment section.

  8. martin says:

    If I’m JK I’d bring in the guys who would be the world cup team. Then tell the players left off that if the WC started today, they’d miss out. It could be motivational tool.

    • Alex H says:

      +100000. This is a FIFA date so to limit the team to just European based players is silly. At the very least bring in Besler and Gonzo so they get some more game time under their belt, but in truth they should bring the A team with the possible exception of the outside backs because their is a good possibility that upgrades at those positions may exist.

  9. Bean says:


    • TomG says:

      That’s a fun lineup, but we will never see USA start 3 strikers like that.

    • Hogatroge says:

      We also won’t see Klinsmann leave JJ out of a starting XI any time soon.

      He recently stated that the “spine” of the team is:

      Howard – Jones – Bradley – Dempsey – Jozy

  10. Joe says:

    I am pretty sure Williams plays other positions for Reading as well as his normal holding mid spot. Can anyone confirm this?

  11. soccerhorn says:

    Kljestan starts. He’s the most well established Euro on this roster excluding the keepers and maybe Jones. Then, he goes to Brazil to back up Jones and Bradley.

  12. RBNY says:

    Ream gets shown no love lol

  13. jd says:

    Gyau, Packwood, Wood, Lletget, Gatt, Wooten, Stanko, Morales, Rodriguez in the lower divisions plus U20’s coming up like Hyndman, Flores, Gooch, Scott

    Lots of guys to see for 2018.

    • Hogatroge says:

      Lots of time to see them before 2018, too.

      I doubt we’ll see anyone who doesn’t have at least an outside chance of making the Brazil roster.

  14. Justin El Matador says:

    A few random notes:

    1. I honestly believe this roster to be stronger than the one we just had against SK-B, especially at LB and RB. I think our best options are Cam, Chandler, FJ and Lichaj.

    2. It will be interesting to see what happens with the ‘role in the hole’. I’m not convinced by LD there, as I honestly don’t think he imposes himself on the game enough, especially against world class teams. Deuce has it, but has also looked a few steps off the pace for quite awhile now. I hope he recovers form. Otherwise, who plays there? Bacon? Do we move Zusi or Bedoya in the hole, put LD on right and FJ on left, with Chandler and Cam as FB’s?

    • Dinho says:

      All good questions.

      I do think LD is most effective in that “hole” position, but then that leaves us lacking on the left-side of midfield (unless you play Bedoya or Zusi there, which isn’t out of the question).

      I would like to see Aron play in the “hole” for some extended period of time and see how he links with Jozy.

    • beachbum says:

      Jozy in that role underneath, I’d like to see it for a period of time to check it out, AJ too

    • joshw says:

      1. I caught myself thinking that too, but then I remembered that up until about a month ago, the euro-based players were the select group.

      2. It has to be Dempsey. He’s the only attacking player we have who can receive a pass and possibly turn under pressure.

  15. bryan says:

    i will say, i’m surprised Packwood wasn’t even mentioned given how thin the CB options are. he plays 90 minutes in the Championship, sounds like we could use him for depth in this friendly.

    very surprised FJ is not included in the starting lineup.

    • Hogatroge says:

      There’s very little time to integrate Packwood, now. Maybe if he hadn’t gotten injured before the U-20 WC he would have been called to the senior team.

      That said, we don’t have many CBs in Europe now, so who knows!

  16. Dinho says:

    As part of the spine, I think Bradley gets called in…my prediction:

    —————— Altidore ———————-
    Shea ———— Johannsson ——— Bedoya
    ———– Jones ———- Bradley————
    F. Johnson – Ream – Cameron – Chandler
    ——————- Howard —————————

    • SBI TroII says:

      Best line up so far.

      • Dinho says:


        I was waivering on Gooch v. Ream….ultimately Gooch’s lack of agility lost him a spot.

        And, deciding on Diskerud in the “hole” with Johannson on the left…. Shea as a sub.

        If Brooks wasn’t fresh back from injury, he would slot in at CB.

  17. KJH says:

    Enough with Cam playing in the middle either at D or CM. He is a starting RB for stoke all year and we are so weak in FB positions I’m not even sure why it’s a discussion. Put any two of Ream Gooch or JAB there instead.

    God I hope Chandler or Lichaj come and start in this game opposite Cam. Happy for agudelo and hope to see him too

    • Lost in Space says:

      What I’d like to see would be a back 4 of:

      Fabian still gets to play at the LM spot that JK likes him at. Cameron pushes Gonzalez to a backup role in Brazil, and Lichaj & Chandler blanket the wings up and down the field with their speed & defending. Putting in good crosses for Jozy to feed off for a brace.
      (Would have Brooks at LCB if he wasn’t just getting over his knock.

  18. Amru says:


    Kljestan or FJ start at LW if healthy. Then depending on how ballsy klinsmann is feeling we could see mix or Williams. As much as I would love to see altidore, AJ, and agudelo out there together (my predicted front 3 in two years time) I don’t think we see it this time around.

  19. Lost in Space says:


    Kljestan on the bench (not playing for his club at the moment due to injury)
    Guzan in 2nd half
    Bedoya in 2nd half for Mix or Agudelo
    Shea in 2nd half for Johannson
    Boyd in 2nd half for Jozy
    Gooch, Packwood, on bench as depth in case a CB gets injured.
    Gyau on bench in case of an injured attacker.

    • Lost in Space says:

      Sorry forgot Fabian….have him start at LB and Lichaj replace him.

      • Dinho says:

        Interesting lineup, indeed.

        You have Jones and Williams (presumably) sitting and playing defensively to counteract the heavily attack-minded front four. I’m not sure that’s enough… but a good thought.

        I would worry that this would required Agudelo to do too much on the defensive side of things (that they’re not used to doing)

        • Lost in Space says:

          Jones & Williams do sit deeper shifting into holes as the outside backs overlap as cover…Mix as an agitator nipping (double teaming) when the ball is turned over, to slow down the opposition rush.
          Effectivly clogs the center pushing all the opponents attacks to the wide possistions. the US team does well defending crosses….but are a little weak when opponents can slip in behind or with the diaginal ball on the ground.

    • Joe C. says:

      Man, I would love to see the sort of shenanigans we could get into with AJ, JA, and JA up top. Get these guys some reps together, I hope we’ll see a good bit of them come 2018.

  20. josh says:

    —————— Altidore ———————-
    F. Johnson—— Johannsson —— Bedoya
    ———– Jones ———- Bradley————
    Chandler – Gooch – Brooks – Cameron
    ——————- Howard —————————

    Gooch is clearly a shaky choice, but its a friendly, and he doesn’t take the place of someone that needs reps, so let the old man have a runout!

    • joshw says:

      This is what I’d probably do also. Some thoughts:

      Gotta start Gooch to see if he’s somewhat back to what he once was.

      If at all possible I’d make Dempsey delay his flight back to the States and start him for AJ.

  21. Birgit Calhoun says:

    What about Dempsey? Isn’t he over there now? And shouldn’t he get in a little shooting practice? Maybe he can score some against Ukraine. That would be a nice confidence booster.

    • MisterJC says:

      You beat me to it. Dempsey will just be completing his loan with Fulham on Friday the 28th, and the game is on the following Wednesday. Throw in the fact that he’s the captain, and I would bet money he will start against Ukraine…

    • Bob Saget says:

      Hard to say if he would or not. Seattle’s first game (a home game against SKC) is March 8th, just three days later. I’m sure Seattle will want him to start. They can’t force him to not go to Ukraine, of course.

  22. KingGoogleyEye says:

    This lineup/roster compared to the MLS-based one reveals good and bad news:

    GOOD: the USMNT has seriously good options and depth at every position. Yes, *every* position. There are so many solid players at every position that no one player—perhaps with the exception of MB90—totally stands out as a “must have.”

    BAD: see above. No one player totally stands out. I’m not asking for a squad filled with “world class” players—i.e., CR7, Ribery, Marcelo, Pirlo—but it would be nice to have a few brighter stars. Dempsey was there, but I think he’s slipped a bit. Donovan ditto. Hmmm…

    HOPEFUL: maybe this WC will be the chance for several of our players to really break out: Jozy, Bacon, FabJo, Williams, Cam, Mix….

  23. euroman says:

    I think that you will see multiple MLS players brought in depending on their schedules…many teams don’t play that first weekend so look for some of those guys.

  24. Dennis says:

    I thought Ream had been starting at LB for Bolton, but I am not sure he has the speed required against speedier competition. If JK insists that F. Johnson play in midfield then Ream is the only other player who starts there for his club. (Chandler played there under Bradley, but I think he has always been on the right for his club). I suppose it could be a spot to try Lichaj (it is one position that the US needs to improve big time).

  25. Thomas E Owen says:

    Time to maybe bring in a Ben Spencer for training with Altidore and AJ. Kid does nothing but score for the juniors.