USMNT Notes: Klinsmann explains Donovan benching; centerback still up for grabs; and more


Photo by Michael Janosz/


GLENDALE, Ariz. — Landon Donovan has a proven track record against Mexico, so it came as a bit of a surprise when it was revealed that he was not in the U.S. Men’s National Team’s starting lineup for their Wednesday friendly vs. El Tri.

It also came as a result of a bothersome knee and some poor training session.

U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann told reporters follow his side’s 2-2 draw with Mexico at University of Phoenix Stadium on Wednesday night that he chose not to start Donovan because the veteran midfielder had not performed well in training in the days leading up to the friendly.

Part of the reason for that was down to Donovan experiencing some tendinitis in his knee, something that allowed for Klinsmann to bring Donovan off the bench and start Chris Wondolowski in his place.

“He had no tempo in his training sessions, he had no kind of higher pace, higher rhythm, he didn’t take people on, so I sat him down (Wednesday) morning and we actually went through his training session yesterday,” said Klinsmann. “I told him based on what I saw the last three days, ‘I can’t leave Wondo out there because Wondo deserves after two goals against South Korea (in January). He’s working so hard.’

“(Donovan) understood it. He understood it. He said, ‘Yeah, I didn’t have good training sessions and I have a little bit of issues with my knee,’ and I told him, ‘You’re ready coming off the bench.’ He was ready, he came off the bench, so no problem at all.”

Donovan entered the game in the 59th minute, replacing a solid Graham Zusi on the right flank. The 32-year-old Donovan was not overly impressive, but he had some positive contributions and said afterwards that the condition of his knee had improved.

“It’s okay now,” said Donovan. “It was hurting earlier in the week, but it’s just one of those things where it’s better to be cautious at this point then put more pressure on it.”

Here are more notes from USMNT camp:


The de facto centerback pairing for much of the past year has been Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler. The two MLS standouts have enjoyed solid games under Klinsmann despite still being relatively new to the international stage and look to complement each other well.

They are still not guaranteed to start this summer, though.

Klinsmann said following the game that the competition for the top two centerback spots was still open. He added that it was difficult to say by how much, but Wednesday’s match with Mexico was a clear indicator that the heart of the American defense is far from settled.

The U.S. back line struggled mightily in the second half, especially Gonzalez. The veteran central defender was partially at fault for both goals in a second half that saw Mexico respond and rally.

Besler fared drastically better before making way for Clarence Goodson just before the hour-mark, but not even the Sporting Kansas City defender’s starting spot is safe. Not when his form in MLS has been below his usual standards.

“We have with Geoff Cameron another guy that can play centerback, John Anthony Brooks another,” said Klinsmann when asked about Gonzalez’s starting spot. “That’s why I will bring into camp more players than 23 to see then what stage they are, how long they can maintain that focus, that alertness and that sharpness that you need on international level.

“It’s normal that they struggle right now because they barely start their season. They have 2-3 games in their season, so Mexico is far ahead of us in terms of rhythm and stuff like that. We are patient in the process. Obviously, in two months from now, I will make the decisions who is going to be the ideal pairing and the two centerbacks.”


Klinsmann quantified the U.S’s ability to play at its utmost best on Wednesday by saying the Americans can sustain their top level for 55-60 minutes.

Finding a way to do that for the entirety of a match before the World Cup is the next step.

Wednesday was a prime example of the U.S. being unable to keep playing as good as it can for a full 90 minutes. The Americans dominated Mexico for much of the first half, dizzying their southern rivals with the type of movement and one- and two-touch passing that most teams dream of playing with.

That all changed once the second half came. Mexico looked like the team in control once the intermission ended and closing 45 minutes kicked off, sending waves of attacks at a U.S. back line that bent before eventually breaking.

Clearly, there is work to be done for the Americans ahead of June’s visit to Brazil.

“Part of it is just now being together more, having more of an understanding, which comes from now being in a camp together over a longer period of time, playing more,” said midfielder Michael Bradley. “The other part will certainly come from some physical work before the World Cup. I know that in those two weeks (of preparation) in Stanford, certainly there’s going to be some hard work and we need that.

“We have to understand that for us to go into a World Cup and have a real chance at making a run, we’ve got to be the fittest team there, we’ve got to be able to play at a pace and a tempo for 90 minutes that other teams aren’t comfortable dealing with, and we have to be able to do that every three or four days. That’s what we have to be about.”


What do you make of Klinsmann’s decision to bench Donovan? Who is your preferred starting centerback tandem? Think the U.S. will be able to play at its top level for 90 minutes?

Share your thoughts below.

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304 Responses to USMNT Notes: Klinsmann explains Donovan benching; centerback still up for grabs; and more

  1. Tim F. says:

    Let’s try Edu as a centerback.

    • Rex says:

      Good thought, but i am afraid its too late in the game to ‘try’ someone somewhere.

      • seamus says:

        I like Edu but at central back he has some positioning issues and looks lost sometimes if I recall.

      • R.Benjamin says:

        I think the opposite. After what we saw last night, now is the time to tryout everything and everyone. I think Klinsmann needs to see Orozco and Edu back there as well. Neither Besler or Gonzo (obviously) looked locked in.

        Positioning comes with reps. Edu is more athletic than either of them.

        Klinsmann will ultimately go with who’s hot. From what we’ve seen the last two games. None of the CBs looked hot.

        • Hogatroge says:

          I don’t think it’s too much of a risk to take Edu over Orozco as the 4th CB. That way it’s not a ‘Beckerman OR Edu’ situation, and Mo can fill in at CB in an extreme pinch.

          Just make sure Edu gets plenty of practice as a CB in camp and run him out there for a couple of the pre-WC friendlies.

        • seamus says:

          “Positioning comes with reps. Edu is more athletic than either of them.” Fully agree. He’ll have three possible reps prior to taking on some of the top attackers in the world in a new position. To go further, I don’t even like Cameron in there for the same reason, even though he has a bit more experience there.

      • Curtis says:

        Agreed its too late to ‘try’ something this late in the game. What about Bocanegra? What he lacks in pace, he generally makes up for with his positioning and focus. He plays week in and week out and has made a miserable Chivas team look competitive.

        • Dennis says:

          I suspect it will take some serious injuries to others before Boca is called in, I’m not wishing anyone get hurt, but right now, I’m not that uncomfortable with the thought.

      • Brad says:

        The shit hit the fan last night once Besler was removed. Saying that he is part of the problem, to me, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

        • Hogatroge says:

          Well, Gonzo was the weak link in central D, not Besler.

          That said, I’m sure Klinsmann wanted a continued assessment of Gonzo under duress.

          We’re pretty much guaranteed to find ourselves in disheartening situations give the group we’re for the WC.

          • RP says:

            Its going to be frantic back there during the WC just like the 09 confed and 10′ WC.

            The difference is that our guys last time (for the most part) stone-walled. I don’t see this group being a wall.

    • Brad says:

      I vote for Besler and Goodson.

      • Steve says:


      • michael f. sbi Mafia Original says:

        Wait…so Donovan had no tempo for 2-3 days and is benched but Dempsy is out of form for 15 months and starts?

        • bryan says:

          the difference is what was shown in training and because he is the captain. Dempsey looked sharp and LD didn’t. and sure enough, in the game, Dempsey looked good while LD did not look himself.

        • Sargent Shultz says:

          Its those darn socks…. He keeps having to fix them all the time.

          Its called a double standard.

        • Braden says:

          Dempsey is looking better and better. Not top shape yet, but he has been effective with Seattle. He was lively last night. He had the assist on the waved off goal. No need to get in the way of a player who’s been struggling but is on the right track again by sitting him. Donovan’s condition spoke for itself when he entered. I was asking for LD all match but when he came on, I was put in my place by his middling performance.

          • Adam says:

            You could see it when LD was getting his kit together before going on. Just looking at his body — he’s not in great shape. He used to be really, really lean, now he looks almost pudgy (by pro athlete standards). Even with the shirt down, he’s got a roundness to his belly.

            • beachbum says:


            • Troy in his apartment says:

              Wow I wasnt imagining things. I also thought his head wasnt there. Those final two runs (he got the foul on the last one) he had Yedlin wide open down the flank and forced it middle. Those are situations where he couldve exploited the space by giving it up to his RB for a cross to Johnson and Dempsey or a cut back to Donovan. Not impressed at all.

              • VMan says:

                Klinsmann was misquoted. Donovan didn’t look “flat in training.” He looked “fat in training”. Womp womp womp.

        • Hogatroge says:

          Dempsey had a decent game last night. He complained a bit much when he was fouled, BUT he didn’t get the benefit of the doubt very often either. He should have had the assist on EJ’s disallowed goal.

          Yeah, Dempsey’s been bad lately, but NOT last night. We’re all just kinda spoiled based on he fact that Deuce carried the team through so much of WCQ.

          • Troy in his apartment says:

            Um he hasnt been bad since he returned for the start of this campaign. He looked fine last night and has looked good for the Sounders.

      • MiamiAl says:


        Besler is solid. And of the remaining center backs, Goodson gives you the potential for the least amount of mistakes of the group. If Gonzalez is back there we will get exposed.

        • Hogatroge says:

          Goodson’s more likely to get muscled off the ball, but less likely to make a boneheaded mistake like, y’known, forget to mark Rafa Marquez.

          • FSegaud says:

            Did you not see the pick??? It certainly wasn’t a matter of “forgetting to mark” anyone. Honestly, I don’t know why this isn’t done on set plays more often.

            • bryan says:

              sure it was. if you get picked, you communicate to the other player to pick up your mark. Omar said nothing and Beckerman didn’t read the pick. so Rafa goes unmarked.

              it is done on set pieces all the time. usually the communication prevents what we saw though.

              • beachbum says:

                it’s actually the opposite…the other player needs to communicate the pick is coming and switch if necessary because the guy getting picked can’t see it coming, like Gonzo on that play.

              • bryan says:

                So my overall point that both failed to communicate stands. There was zero communication. Not acceptable.

            • RP says:

              It was a weak pick. Beckerman gave Gonzo plenty of space to fight thru it.

              There was no reason to switch..Gonzo has to push pull fight thru the pack to stay with his man.

              If you remember as well, he got a head to a ball on the offense side in the first half, that maybe if he pushed on someone he would have knocked in.

      • JayAre says:

        Goodson is behind Gooch, Gonzalez and Brooks.

        • Sargent Shultz says:

          lol Gooch is not going. JK has Parkhurst who can play any of the 4 positions with center as a backup though I dont know why he doesn’t try him in the middle? He certainly is no worse than Gonzo

          • JayAre says:

            From what I’ve notice Klinsmann looks at the level of competition you face in the club and in the league, which is why when Brooks and Gooch are getting PT they are always choose above guys like Goodson and Parkhurst. too much is being put into a good performance against Korea and Mexico B. The european guys lost to a full blown Ukraine team. if the Europeans played Mexico yesterday Jozy would have had a hat trick

        • Hogatroge says:

          Um… No. Goodson, prior to last night, was #3. That’s not up for debate.

          After last night, Goodson might have moved to #2.

          • Tyrone says:

            Agreed. Goodson is at the least the #3. He might now be a starting CB, except I don’t think Klinsy is ready to give up on Gonzo just yet.

            • Troy in his apartment says:

              I think if we are in a pcikle and have no confidence in our CB’s then Cameron will be moved there

    • Josh D says:

      Gonzo is a walking goal-scoring mistake. Every game he makes at least one gaff that costs us. I really wish he had made the move to Europe where he would have had that ironed out of him fast.

      Gooch is finally playing day in-and-out. He’s as fast as Gonzo (as slow, I mean), he’s as big, and he’s more experienced. Gooch and Besler for the start please, Klinsi!

      • don Lamb says:

        About the Gonzo to Europe thing – Moving to Europe does not “iron out wrinkles.” If he is a mistake waiting to happen, he would be buried on the bench on a decent team in Europe.

        • Joamiq says:

          Well, that’s accountability though. That would be better than him not being forced to learn from his mistakes as is the case now. It would force him to learn to focus for 90 minutes. If he’s not capable of that, then he shouldn’t be starting for the US.

        • GW says:

          Mr. lamb,

          “If he is a mistake waiting to happen, he would be buried on the bench on a decent team in Europe”

          Then we would know for sure that he is not up to it and he could get out of the way.

          Right now he is great for about 88 minutes. But, unlike a center forward , a center back can more easily lose the game for his team in two minutes or less.

          Gonzo is a bomb with a fuse of undetermined length , waiting to explode.

          Europe would have made Gonzo sink or swim, like it did to Shea and to a lesser extent Jozy. It is better the US know now what to expect from those guys than to find out in Brazil.
          I would not have cared if he went to Europe, South America, Mexico, Russia, Qatar, Vietnam, North Korea, Antarctica or stayed in LA. The real problem is Gonzo, wherever he is playing, has not improved since he got his money.

          He is consistently inconsistent.

      • Oculus says:

        You think Gooch is better? Have you any of his games for the USMNT? Gooch is finish and isn’t a better option then Omar at this point. Just pair Goodson with Besler, problem solved. And Europe wouldn’t have helped Omar, because positioning is not his problem, he suffers from mental lapses.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          Goodson is as much a giraffe on rollerskates as Gonzalez. His failing is lack of foot speed.

          • Oculus says:

            Goodson has been good every game under Jurgen. While Omar hasn’t.

            • The Imperative Voice says:

              No, Russia, etc. People have forgotten that Goodson’s poor play opened the door to the next option, and the next, etc.

              • Tyrone says:

                I remember consistent performances from Goodson. You are picking out one match (Russia) out of many, and even in that match I don’t recall Goodson playing “poorly”.

              • Hogatroge says:

                Russia was in 2012. Goodson has been solid since the Snow Classico.

              • Jesse D says:

                Goodson has been caught ball watching a few times and been out muscled in the box a few times. He isn’t a great option, but he might be more consistent than Omar right now.

            • bryan says:

              no he has not.

            • Hogatroge says:

              Goodson has been consistently for the US since the Costa Rica match over a year ago. He was a rock in the Gold Cup and partnered with Besler very well.

              The Russia match, lest we forget, was in 2012. It’s now 2014.

          • Jake says:

            But he’s not an opportunity machine for the other team.

            • McQ says:

              …you obviously haven’t been watching Goodson long enough. He is good against a certain level of talent but then as the competition gets faster is so out of his element that he is repeatedly victimized. There is a reason his European career never progressed beyond Scandinavia.

              • GW says:


                True, but if you have a better idea let’s hear it.

                The devil you know and all that cliche stuff.

                Look, Clay is not auditioning for Man. U. He needs to play over his head for three or hopefully a lot more games in Brazil. And right now , I’m betting he is more capable of that than Gonzo, who seems to have gone down hill since he got his money.

                Then Clarence can retire to the Bay area and run a Bullwinkles for all I care.

        • Drew11 says:

          The problem is OG has been awful for LAG this season. Similar to last night. He had one U-8 move against Vancouver (?) where the ball bounced over his foot and his mark went in on goal alone.

          • Oculus says:

            Not Vancouver, it was RSL.

          • Manny says:

            He did that at TJ too, in the Champion’s League

          • Alex H says:

            Agreed. As a long time LAG fan I always thought Gonzo got a bum rap for being “slow”. However, recently, he really does look slow and he lurches around the field, he is getting beat to the line and he is dropping back rather than challenging other players. I heard that he had been carrying a long term injury and needed the off season to recover so hopefully he just isn’t fit. We really do need him but if he can’t hack it we need a replacement.

            • beachbum says:

              in the first half he was aggressive and the entire team played with a high tempo and a high line. That’s when he’s at his best and it showed in the first half.

        • Gill King says:

          For some strange reason, aside from the frequent mental lapses where Gonzo is getting abused while ‘ball watching’.. for some unexplicable reason his once valuable weapon of being a scoring threat on set pieces has gone away. This is frustrating, also watching his recent mediocrity also at LA Galaxy.

          • bryan says:

            he almost scored off a set piece last night.

            Omar was a beast in the first half. if you look at his stats, you would have never known he had a bad game. sadly for him, he was clearly at fault for both goals. he just zoned out.

            • Alex H says:

              Gonzo wasn’t clearly at fault for both goals. It’s not like he got nutmegged. He got picked on the first and was slow to react when the shot hit the post on the second. It could have happened to anybody. That said he could have done better on both but didn’t. The question remains who, if anybody, can step up and do better in the short time that remains.

              • bryan says:

                i think he was clearly at fault for both goals. yes, he got picked, but he and Beckerman weren’t even communicating like they were in the 1st half. and in that play, it falls on Omar to communicate to Beckerman. Beckerman was still marking his guy while Omar got stuck out of position.

                on the second, i blame Beckerman for allowing the original shot to get off but Omar just gave up on the play. similar to what Gooch and JAB did against Ukraine. Omar was looking for an offside call but in reality he completely lost his mark who finished from close range without any pressure.

                Omar was a beast in the 1st and his play in the first half is exactly why it is hard to drop him. but then he has these mental lapses and you seriously wonder about him. but like you said, who is that much better? Gooch, JAB, and Goodson, over the past year or so, have all had moments for club and the US where you wonder what they are thinking. i think Goodson will get his chance in the next camp but i’m still not ruling out Gooch. i think Gooch/Besler could be an awesome pairing.

              • Hogatroge says:

                Gonzo was clearly at fault for the FIRST goal. What US Soccer player lets Rafa “I score headers all the time” Marquez go unmarked?

                The 2nd goal started with a poor headed by Julian Green right into the path of an onrushing attacker. He should have let the ball go out of play, even if it were a Mexico throw. That said, AFTER the header, there’s a lot of blame to go around.

              • bryan says:

                on second examination, Beckerman, Parkhurst, Goodson, and Omar all did VERY poorly on that goal. it was chaos.

              • beachbum says:

                he didn’t let him go unmarked, he got picked, and unlike what bryan is saying, the onus to communicate is not on the guy getting picked but on the OTHER player

              • bryan says:

                Beachbum, you clearly didn’t read everything because I said Beckerman should have communicated to Omar as well. So yeah…

                Both failed to communicate but I still put more blame on Omar. He had plenty of room to continue running.

              • beachbum says:

                please bryan, I read the whole thing. It was Beckerman’s responsibility! How is the guy getting picked from behind supposed to make the call? It’s JUST like in basketball, and Beckerman is the one here with the responsibility.
                we just disagree :) I always read your posts man, always great contributions from you! Ok man?

            • PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo says:

              I agree Gonzo was partially responsible for the goals, he failed to fight through a pick and Beckerman failed to give him a hand in fighting through it. On the 2nd goal, he was not ready and Beltran was caught following his man leaving Gonz’s man onside.
              Still, I thought Besler was TERRIBLE in the first half, when Gonz shined. I had Besler as the lowest rated player in the 1st half.
              Either way, they both need to clean their mess up. Here is where the lack of caps/reps together hurts…and that is on Klinsmann…if he wasn’t going to go with Boca – he should have brought in Gonz earlier and worked him into the system. It took him forever to cap Gonzo.

              • Jimmy Chapman says:

                Besler didnt have many opportunities to shine in the first half. He did make a terrific stop on a ball that wouldve been a goal scoring opportunity.

              • bryan says:

                yeah man, Omar made me forget Besler was even on the field in the first half. but Besler was solid too with 10 clearances.

              • beachbum says:


            • josh says:

              Beast, beast, beast, brain-fart. That is Gonzo. Both for LAG and MNT.

      • Elite Hunting says:

        You mean the kind of goal-scoring mistakes that Omar Gonzalez made twice last night? Gonzalez makes costly errors all the time in the USMNT jersey. I, too, vote for Besler and Goodson. Gonzalez is a defensive liability for the U.S.

      • Gary Page says:

        Gonzalez has seriously regressed. I agree with Klinsmann that Cameron is now our best option to pair with Besler. I prefer him to either Goodson or Gooch, who are both playing in lower level leagues. Then we gotta hope that Chandler is recovered and fit in time and can play RB since Evans won’t be up to the job against the teams in our group. I prefer Parkhurst to Evans at RB if Chandler isn’t available. Parkhurst is pretty steady and showed pretty well last night. Parkhurst has also played CL and has much more international experience than Evans. Also, Parkhurst was in Germany for a season, so he knows German players, even if he didn’t play.

        • Bac says:

          Dead On.
          He has regressed big time. And it’s not just the few mental lapses everyone focusses on, he looks slower and not fluid or athletic anymore. I don’t know if his knee never completely healed right or what, but watching him turn and run he doesn’t look right. The mental lapses have grabbed the spotlight, but there’s more to it.

        • Hogatroge says:

          Parkhurst’s Germany situation had nothing to do with his ability.

          He was injured soon after arriving at Augsburg, and a new coach was brought in that simply didn’t rate him.

          He showed last night that, despite being undersized and not having great pace, he’s extremely solid, ESPECIALLY when he’s getting PT at the club level. Remember, he put in decent performances during the Gold Cup and 2013 friendlies while he wasn’t even making the Augsburg bench.

        • Jesse D says:

          I’m not sold on Cameron as a CB. He is prone to the same mental lapses everyone is complaining about with regards to Omar. Cameron did play a half at CB this year for Stoke and his team gave up about 5 goals. It was pretty ugly.
          Cameron is safer as a RB, because the mental lapses don’t are less likely to lead to immediate goals.

          • GW says:

            Yes but Cameron sins by commission

            Gonzo sins by omission.

            So you’ll feel better going down with Geoff’s errors because at least he tried and they are less embarrassing than Gonzo waving his hands for offside.

            • Jesse D says:

              Yes Geoff occasionally makes that clumsy foul, but I’ve seen him get caught ball watching a few times too. I’m just trying to caution everyone against saying “our CB Savior is here”.

      • The Garrincha says:

        Josh D. I am just about getting on that bus too.

        If Gooch, is fully 100 percent fit?, he has the goods and the experience.

        USA V Spain, says it all for me.
        As for his age, he is balancing the downside of his prime.
        So, this is it for him, all or nothing?.

      • beachbum says:

        yep, playing in Europe fixes everything…lol

  2. Nic D "the Texas two-stepper" says:

    Great game last night! I’m not sure why everybody keeps blaming gonzo for the second goal. Alan Pulido was not his mark. Alan rain into the box from 10 yards away from gonzo onto a rebound that was just too slow to react to. Almost every player in the world is too slow to react to that type of ball. While we play the gonzo again?

    • Byrdman says:

      I am no expert but i kind of thought beckerman lost his mark which resulted in wide open initial shot. Would love to know what more knowledgable folks think.

      • Dave says:

        On a pick play (which this was) you either switch or call it out. This is usually set by the person guarding the picksetter (Gonzalez) When the picksetter grabs the cutter you have to switch,

        • mouf says:

          just grab your mark for second, it will not be called

        • byrdman says:

          I was talking about the second goal, where Beckerman’s man stopped his run at the top of the box and received the cut back pass. He then hit the frame with his shot that rebounded to Pulido. Sorry I wasn’t clear

          • josh says:

            You were clear… and correct. I can’t stand that impulse for defenders to sink back into the box and play goalie when they get confused by attacking movement. Leaves space for the shot and screens the keeper. Step Up!

            Can you tell I am a goalkeeper? 😉

        • R.Benjamin says:

          On a pick play it is the marker’s responsibility to fight through screens hard. Watch the ncaa tourney you see this every time down and you see the kids going hard to stick with their mark. If the pick is too tough to get thru you call switch.

          Watch the goal. Beckerman gave Gonzo plenty room to fight through the screen, but gonzo just stops and throws his arms up.

      • Greg says:

        I couldn’t agree more. Beckerman does ok up the pitch as a holding MF, but his defensive positioning in the box is suspect. He was standing alone not marking after both goals were scored. Sure you can distribute some blame elsewhere, but really good players make their teammates better by covering in those situations. Just my humble opinion.

      • Vik says:

        I don’t think I’m more knowledgeable, but I thought the 2nd goal should have been avoided by green heading the switch ball out of bounds instead of back into play. He was then out of position to track his man.

        • R.Benjamin says:

          Yea.. I agree. The second goal started with his poor clearance. It left a big hole.

          That said, the center midfield didn’t pick it up at all. And although it wasn’t gonzo’s fault really on the rebound, a world class back and/or one that is scratching to be a WC starter, might be more on his toes there and be in a better position.

          The ball could have been botched by the keeper as well and Gonzo would be in no position. Stay on your toes!

        • Amru says:

          Yeah I’m with you, it was Green’s turnover and then failure to stay with his mark that lead to the goal. Beckerman probably should have noticed the open player and marked him, but at this level you can’t just leave your man unmarked and expect him to get picked up, especially after you caused the turnover

          • Amru says:

            My main point, which I forgot to include, is that it’s really not fair to lay the blame for the second goal on Gonzo

          • bryan says:

            it wasn’t the best header given the situation, but where was Beckerman. if you pause the video when Green heads it, he is jogging at the other end of the midfield.

            further, Green did not lose his man. he chased him down and was all over him. if you pause at 2:52, Green and Beckerman are both on top of the guy. but Parkhurst then drifts over to that man, leaving his guy wide open! Mexican player passes it to him, Parkhurst starts back tracking. Parkhurst gets in good position to block the cross though while the CBs and the RB have the cross covered. Green pushes out wide to help Parkhurst, as he should but Beckerman just leaves the mark entirely. at 2:55 you see Beckerman WAY out of position (he was trying to get in a position to head out a cross when he didn’t need to be) and the Mexican player is left WIDE open.

            then Goodon and Beckerman scramble to the player. both lunge and miss the tackle! Omar clearly assumed they would make the tackle or block the shot, which they don’t, shot hits the post and Omar is nowhere to be found and Beltran was forced to cover Goodson’s mark so he isn’t at the right post either.

            point is, Green’s header was not the problem on that goal. it certainly did not help, but the defense was atrocious on that play all around.

            • Amru says:

              Yes Green chased him down after he lost the ball, but as soon as Aguilar passed the ball to the winger he stopped chasing him and just stood in no mans land not doing anything. Now should Beckerman have realized this and picked up Aguilar? Yes, but if the US is going to have and success, everyone needs to put in the extra defensive effort.

              • bryan says:

                he went to go mark the winger with Parkhurst, which is what he was supposed to do. since Parkhurst left the winger wide open, Green went to help pressure the winger. meanwhile Aguilar was just sitting in the middle of the box, that is all Beckerman’s territory. but Beckerman was going to get in a position to head out a potential cross even though Omar, Goodson, and Beltran had everyone marked.

                i’m not saying Green didn’t play a role, but it doesn’t make sense for Beckerman to rush all the way over to Aguilar to then just stop marking him once Aguilar passes out wide. he’s the #6, not Green.

              • Amru says:

                Can’t disagree with that

          • Dennis says:

            Yes, that was not the best decision by Green. A more cautious defensive player would probably have played more safely, Green’s enthusiasm got the best of him.

            Gonzo might not have been able to prevent the goal, but he was caught flat-footed, and not ready to even try. That is unacceptable.

        • Hogatroge says:

          Glad someone else is pointing this out. I’ve been saying this, but I only watched the game once (and no highlights), so I wasn’t sure if my memory failed me.

          Still, there was plenty of FAIL to go around after Green’s unfortunate header.

    • BK says:

      Gonzo isn’t solely at fault for the second goal but his body shape and positioning were awful. As the weak side defender, you have to open your body up to see the field in front and to the side of you. This is specifically so you don’t let some run on your blind side. That’s why people are getting on Gonzo for the second goal. He got caught ball watching and let someone sneak behind him for an easy rebound.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        Amen. He gets picked off because he is chasing his man and not goal side.

        And his man outreacts him on the rebound for the equalizer.

        He’s not the only one at fault but defenders should earn their spot by playing well, not by dodging fault.

        • Hogatroge says:

          Gonzo’s been a professional AND an international starter for years now. This isn’t the first time he’s had a pick set on him.

          He’s a 6’5″ guy, and the leader of LA’s defense. He left Rafa Marquez unmarked in the box. No excuses.

          For the 2nd goal, he’s only partially at fault. Started with a poor Green header.

      • SwanseaPS says:

        I just thought that Gonzo needed to be more aggressive in getting through that pick.. He didn’t make a good effort. That is similar to a basketball play and you just have to fight through the screen to get ball side on your man and make that shot difficult. Marquez is a good header of the ball, so why would he switch marks with Beckerman? Our CB needs to be on one of their top headers.. Get aggressive and get through the screen Gonzo!!

    • beachbum says:

      +1 Nic D

  3. Dave says:

    Sorry to say Landon looked a little fat and a lot old, knee or not. This was probably his last game against El Tri.

    • 57tele says:

      He did look a little chubby didn’t. I think he ate an entire pizza at half time. That’s what my belly looks like after I eat a pizza.

      • R.Benjamin says:

        When you consider Bedoya and Johannson weren’t available. Landon’s spot as a starter seems less secure after last night.

        Definitely slow and slow getting rid of the ball and less than a first class touch as well..

    • Josh D says:

      I too thought Donovan played a lot slower than the commentators made out. Yes he ran with the ball, but there was very little actual speed there. Klinsi made the right call to bench him. Let’s hope Donovan finds his form in June.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I don’t care if he’s skinny or chubby, the problem is that even the hit and miss Julian Green looked more interesting than he did. To the extent that he is fighting for pecking order that did not push him past anyone. But then that could be said about some starters and other subs.

    • Drew11 says:

      He looked baked.

      • Herschel Skywalker says:

        He’s still 5 times as good as Brad “Alfred E. Newman” Evans. Hate that guy. Onyewu will start w/ Besler in middle against Ghana also. Gonzo will probably get other starts, but we need size and experience against Ghana.

        • Jimmy Chapman says:

          Gooch starting? in this world cup? He shoulnt have started in the last one. Also Gonzo lost way too many headers last night in the defensive half. Personally I’d like to see a Besler Parkhurst pairing but thats highly unlikely so Geoff Cameron and Besler is my vote. Goodson’s MLS play has been shaky, and the last two games hes played in he has taken someone out in the box and the ref missed the PK call on both.

        • Hogatroge says:

          Not only will Gooch NOT start, but he won’t make the plane.

          The CBs will be, in order of likelihood to start:
          Besler > Goodson > Gonzo > Orozco/Edu

        • Troy in his apartment says:

          If you hate Evans its because you hate Seattle. So just say it. Evans is a professional and does his job, whatever it may be. Do I wish we had more options, yes, but he has done his job

    • josh says:

      He was eating as he entered the game!

      • josh says:

        And it looked like he was completely gassed over the free kick at the end of the game. After coming in as a sub! This from the guy who coud go at top speed for an entire 90!

  4. Tony says:

    I think it was a good game from the standpoint of learning where different players are at this point. In my opinion (and in no particular order)

    – It was reinforced that Bradley needs to be the more advanced of the two center-mids. That said, I like Edu (and even Cameron) more than Beckerman in that role. If Jones could be convinced to play that style, that would be ideal.

    – Parkhurst has real limitations on the left. He did a decent job defending, but has no left foot and as such his distribution out of the back is limited. I’d still probably take him to Brazil due to his versitility

    – I like EJ more than Wondo, and they might be competing for one spot. I just think EJ is better in the air, with the ball at his feet, combining passes, etc. He can also play on the wing in a pinch.

    – Greene isn’t ready. However, neither are Davis and Shea. I wouldn’t take any of them to Brazil.

    • Lorenzo says:

      I agree it seems unlikely for Green to go, and his performance probably helped cool people’s expectations. But at the same time, the kid has very little experience and very player needs some time to calm down and adjust to going out and playing high pace and big crowds. He looked more promising and comfortable towards the end. And you started to see a player who should be out there. Not sure if it can really justify bringing him into 30

      • Josh D says:

        This. And I’m glad the commentators pointed out that it took Donovan a year before he found his place on the team and when he had his first cap, he was playing for the reserves.

        Anyone who thought Green was going to light up the world was mistaken. He did what ever teen earning his first cap does: some things good, some things bad.

        For Green to be on a plane to Brazil, he has to find time on the Bayern first team. Otherwise, someone like Shea is a better option off the bench.

        • Drew11 says:

          More Bayern PT is a not a pre req for a WC ticket for Green. Reyna went to ’94 WC with limited experience. Green is at a similar development stage. There will be other teams in Brazil with younger prospects on their squad to gain experience

      • R.Benjamin says:

        Green makes the 30 no question. You have to stack rank him against your other options.

        I would like to see more minutes from him before ruling him out.

        He needs a little more confidence and a little more strength.

        • bryan says:

          agreed. Green showed more creativity than Davis and Davis played in the half where the US was playing well as a team. making the 23 is still very much up in the air, but i think Davis just got booted from the 30 man roster while Green got himself into that roster. we’ll see.

      • Gary Page says:

        As is so often the case, US fans got too excited about Green before actually seeing him. Consider this, at 17 Freddy Edu looked much more polished than Green did last night at 18. Not saying Green will have the same futile career, but he needs a lot of work.

        • Buttian_Warlord says:

          I think you making such general sweeping claims is far more delusional than the fans that were excited about Green. To say Adu looked better than Green is laughable. Green showed flashes of brilliance. Yeah sure, he messed up a couple times but tell me when a young American ever blew the roof off in his first cap? Especially, coming into such a heated game. Overall, I say Green showed a lot of positives. If I’m JK and I have the option of bringing in guys to the thirty man camp, Green comes no question.

          • Gary Page says:

            Did you ever see Adu when he was 17, especially when he played in youth world cups? Adu was and still is the only person to score a hat trick in two different youth world cups. I said about Green that it was based on last night since we have nothing else to go by so far.

            • Troy in his apartment says:

              Problem that Adu always had is that he hasnt realized its a team sport. Green looked far better the final 15 minutes.

    • Dave says:

      Lots of folks are down on Greene today. It wasn’t a shining debut but you can clearly see the class in him. The no-call at the edge of the Mex box was egregious. Greene was double teamed and he de-pantsed them. And he made one really nice penetrating run thru the D towards the right-side of the box; I think Clint hit him late.

      He’s an 18-yo whose first Nats cap is in one of the top 3 or 4 rivalries in the world. For the Nats’ sake it would have been better if BM had loaned him to Hertha. 15-20 Bundesliga starts would have been a great education.

      • Troy in his apartment says:

        Mexico set that up as well. Soon as Green got the call, Herrara put in his #1 RB to mark him. They wanted him to look bad which is all well and good. I guess I didnt thinl Green did as poor as everyone made him out to be. He was just as good as Donovan last night

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I don’t understand what people see in Parkhurst.

      I wonder if people advocating Cameron for CDM have watched him play there. He has a big ol turning radius and he likes to play the ball square upfield. He is a decent destroyer whereever played but he also dives in.

      Wondo hustled and got a goal, helped his cause. EJ was anonymous. Green showed flashes but what should have hurt him was the giveaways. People have been hypercritical of Boyd being loose with possession when subbed in late, but Green would start counterattacks. If that’s your likely role, you can’t be sloppy. I expect Green to get camped but unless we made him a promise, what I saw was someone for the future — like Agudelo or Shea type — not someone ready now.

      • Nate Dollars says:

        “I don’t understand what people see in Parkhurst.”

        i don’t really rate him all that highly, but i think he’s a good backup because he’s dependable (like beckerman), and, if he has to, he can play not-disastrously across the back. that said, i can’t see klinsmann wanting to play him on the left with our full team, simply because he provides *no* service from that side.

      • cd9 says:

        EJ scored a legit goal. The flag was wrong.

      • bryan says:

        EJ was not anonymous! he almost matched Wondo’s stats in much less time and in a half where the team wasn’t playing well. not to mention he scored a perfectly good goal with his one shot (just like Wondo) that would have won the game. neither of them gained on the other in this match. not at all.

        Wondo stats:
        Successful Passes: 17
        Unsuccessful: 6
        Tackled/Possession Lost: 7
        Fouls Won: 1
        Fouls Conceded: 1
        Layoffs: 4
        Headers: 4
        Unsuccessful Crosses: 1
        Unsuccessful Flick Ons: 3
        Shots on Target: 1
        Goals: 1
        Recoveries: 1
        Minutes: 64

        EJ stats:
        Successful Passes: 9
        Unsuccessful Passes: 3
        Tackled/Possession Lost: 5
        Layoffs: 1
        Headers: 3
        Header Off Target: 1
        Unsuccessful Dribbles: 2
        Unsuccessful Flick Ons: 3
        Key Passes: 1
        Clearances: 1
        Wrongly Disallowed Goals: 1
        Shots on Target: 1
        Shots off Target: 1
        Minutes: 26

    • Hogatroge says:

      While I agree Green isn’t ready for Brazil, after his early nerves, he started to settle, and he showed he can give Mexico’s defenders fits.

      This will be a nice confidence boost for him. It will also raise his stock at the club level. Hopefully, he’ll get more minutes with Bayern’s first team now that they’ve locked up the Championship and need to focus on the CL. Also, it will boost his stock for a loan to another 1. Bundesliga team in the fall if he’s not quite ready for 1. Bayern’s bench.

  5. Lorenzo says:

    I think I prefer Cameron at CB. Not sure where that leaves us for right back. Maybe Yedlin will be ready by June. The dude is wicked fast, that will help him keep up with anyone.

    • beto says:

      If there was a couple more friendlies id say lets try out Edu, Cameron or some new guys like Hedges or Okugo. Idk really what to do right now… I guess just keep an eye on club form and wait until May

      • Hogatroge says:

        There are a couple more friendlies.

        Giving Edu a few runs out at CB seems like a better idea by the minute.

        The guy (despite his slump in 2012-2013) is simply a better overall player and athlete right now than many of our other options for the #4 CB (Orozco, Gooch, Brooks, Ream). It also provides a way to take both Beckerman & Edu to the WC.

    • Josh D says:

      If Chandler comes back then I think you see Cameron at CB. The problem with Cameron is two-fold: he loses concentration at CB and he’s too good at RB.

      Yedlin looked fantastic during his 15 mins and proved that starting Beltran was a train wreck. I don’t think he makes it to Brazil, but he took a big step toward finding more minutes with the national team.

      • Hogatroge says:

        I would say Cam’s inconsistent at CB, but “inconsistent” for him means you don’t know if you’re getting average or excellent.

        Case in Point: Excellent Cam almost single-handedly preserving the shutout against Mexico in the historic Azteca win.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Pick your poison, some of these guys are giraffes on rollerskates, Cameron is more athletic but has poor positioning and dives in. If paired with a giraffe he is a problem because his positioning then exposes their mobility limits.

      • John says:

        We need to stop thinking there’s this perfect CB, out there just waiting to be found. We have about 6 guys with not a huge amount of difference between them.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          I beg to differ, in 2002 Pope was quite good all around and Goose was solid enough. In 2010, you had Boca and DeMerit going strong. These backs were all decent in the air, good going forward, and solid defensively.

          What this 2014 crop looks like to me, is people falling into defender caricatures but who are flawed as overall players. Gonzo and Goodson are both giraffe on roller skate types who easily win headers but are so skinny and tall they lack the mobility of their predecessors, who were shorter, more athletic, and fought in the air more with ups than sheer height.

          Then you have someone like Cameron who is as athletic as his predecessors, but being less of a pedigree development, seems to lack their soccer savvy and sense of restraint.

          Sorry, it’s more like we were spoiled by the last couple generations and really haven’t developed much of a crop of complete backs to replace them. Everyone in the pool seems to be too small, or too slow, or not the brightest, etc. They don’t have to be perfect, the problem is they are so flawed.

          Lest we act like this is a fake problem in the program, there have been some recent age group teams, eg U-23, that were very strong on offense but crippled by the same defensive woes. I’m not talking about it to jabber, it’s a real issue with competitive implications….we just tied 2-2 a game we should have won, before that we lost to Ukraine, to Austria…..leaking goals like mad. We have qualified but further success likely involves addressing the leak.

          • Horsewhistle says:

            I agree that our current CB options are not satisfactory.
            Bring in Demerit or Boca. An organizer and an aerial presence. Both different, but I rate them higher than Gooch. I don’t get this Gooch talk from other comments. I’ve never been impressed by is WC matches and felt him to be a liability.

            • John says:

              Go back and watch Carlos Ruiz get in behind the US, with Boca and Cameron, and that was 2 years ago.

          • Gary Page says:

            I thought DeMerit cost us at least one goal in 2010. One thing Cameron brings that none of the other candidates bring is that he plays against some of the top players in the world week in and week out, plays 90 minutes in almost every game. Especially given our group, we need a backline that makes as few mistakes as possible. We can’t afford to give up any weak or stupidly played goals, we need for the opponent to earn them. That’s why I like Cameron and Besler, F Johnson on the left and Parkhurst or Chandler on the right. Only one of those, Besler, doesn’t have a lot of experience in Europe. Despite all that JK says about playing out of the back and wanting the right and left backs to join in the attack, we are going to have to play very conservative to make it out of the group. We need to adjust our tactics and personnel to fit our opposition, otherwise we are doomed. If we aren’t careful I could see us giving up 3 or 4 goals to Germany and Portugal and a couple to Ghana. People who don’t recognize this are delusional.

  6. Nate Dollars says:

    to me, yedlin looked much better this game than last game (where i was not impressed). he’s always had speed, but he looked much more dependable and responsible last night.

    if everyone was healthy, i still don’t think there’s any way he’d be in brasil. but with chandler/lichaj out, and klinsmann maybe tempted to move cameron inside? i think he’s got a fighting chance.

    one thing: yedlin seemed to be caught inside a couple times at the back, almost directly in front of the cb. that’s odd to me, because usually attacking fullbacks get caught up the field, rather than defending inside. is it maybe because he’s not used to playing with a diamond midfield? trying to figure that one out.

    • Drew11 says:

      OTOH, Yedlin had a great block on a clear scoring chance for MEX. He never gets to that if he isn’t pinching inside.

      • Nate Dollars says:

        sure, and for all i know, he may have been told to do exactly that by klinsmann. just looked weird to me.

    • QuakerOtis says:

      I noticed Yedlin inside as well. I like the move, though he seemed a little confused by it at times, gave a bit too much space.

      But I assume it’s just new to a guy like him, more accustomed to blazing up and down the flanks, covering fast guys in open field as opposed to crafty attackers running plays in the defensive end.

      I was dead set against bringing Yedlin before last night. I still think he’s too young, and 15 minutes in a friendly is not 60-90 in the WC, but… I’m open to having him in the 30.

      • Brian says:

        Klinnsman mentioned playing narrow numerous times. My guess is that he will be telling our guys to overplay the inside and force everything outwide. We have a much better chance of clearing a cross than we do of stopping Ronaldo, Muller, Kroos etc…. down the middle. It may have been exaggerated but I sense that is what we are aiming towards.

        • QuakerOtis says:

          And I like that move. Could be why Vazquez got the boot (nyuck nyuck).

          Whole team staying narrow >>> Half-A**ed Empty Bucket

    • buttian warlord says:

      I agree, Yedlin looked miles better this outing. This is why I often want to slap posters who dismiss these super young guys after one game. The hate that Green is receiving at the moment is a prime example. After Thirty minutes in a super heated rivalry game folks are certain he isn’t worthy. Sounds like exactly what we heard after Yedlin’s first appearance.

      • Matthew says:

        +1000, some people who post you’re only ever going to be as good as your last performance…

      • Hogatroge says:

        Let’s also remember how worried people were that Besler was starting against Mexico in Azteca roughly a year ago.

        Now, he’s the unquestioned #1 CB and only has a few blemishes on his report card (e.g. getting burned against CR for that goal).

        I agree on the absurdity of dismissing young players basely ONLY on their age & relative inexperience. Honestly, with our current FB depth, it’s not a substantial change in risk to take Yedlin over, say, Evans.

      • Drew11 says:

        The difference is Yedlin doesn’t look physically over matched like Green does. Green was flat abused by those Liga MX guys last night. He would get snapped in half against Ghana or Germany in Brazil.

        • GW says:

          “He would get snapped in half against Ghana or Germany in Brazil.”

          I guess Bayern are very careful with Green in practice then?

      • Jesse D says:

        I’ve been calling out that Yedlin had a bad game and I was unimpressed against Korea. I’ve also consistently said he needs to be give more chances. I think most people have a similar perspective on Yedlin. Maybe not quite ready. The WC could have come 1 year too early for him.

      • Gary Page says:

        How many caps does Yedlin have? His total experience is basically one year in MLS. Against players from our WC group, well, he would be eaten alive by the likes of Ronaldo, and any number of German players.

      • Troy in his apartment says:

        Nobody is mentioning that Mexico brought on their #1 RB soon as Green came on. Mexico was striving to make him look bad

  7. Juan Villatoro says:

    Donovan looked chubby out there completely out of shape like a Mexican cuauyemoc blanco. ….Gonzalez was completely worrisome…what is Bruce arena doing?

    • Josh D says:

      Bruce is sabotaging Klinsi.

    • Thomas says:

      Dude, I thought that as well. You’re the first other person I’ve seen mention that. Either Landon has been in the gym and bulked up too much or he’s been having too many beers on the side. He definitely looked unfit and lacking his usual burst of speed.

      • Bac says:

        Landon has out thought everyone… he is ahead of the curve….
        Planning for his future as Dominoes pitchman

      • Falsify says:

        His shoulder look more broad so honestly I bet he has been in the gym bulking.

        • Troy in his apartment says:

          Could be personal issues and overeating. We have no idea.

          All we know is he looked like a steaming pile of his old self

    • haydenjo says:

      Being out of shape never seemed to effect Blancos play

  8. Paul Miller says:

    JK may say the center defender competition is still on, but my guess is that’s just coach talk. Translation: Look you guys, get your head in the game because I can still replace you!

    But in reality he can’t. Cameron is the most likely but then he was part of the awful back line that led JK to start looking for replacements from MLS. Brooks? In 2018 if he continues to develop. Now, I don’t think so. He’d be more overwhelmed than Gonzo.

    • Hogatroge says:

      Um. False.

      Klinsmann gave Besler the start at CB when he moved Cameron to RB. While Cameron wasn’t great at RB, this is around the time where he had JUST started playing RB regularly for Stoke (as opposed to being shuffled between RB, LB, CB and DM).

      Cameron was never deposed of a spot in favor of MLS players.

      And if Gonzo’s good for at least 1 surefire lapse leading to a goal per game, so what if Cameron has 2 half-lapses? It all evens out. That said, Cameron stays starting at RB. Evans doesn’t make the plane.

  9. mouf says:

    “John Anthony Brooks another,”

    If bad performances cost someone their spot, how would you bring someone in that hasn’t preformed well, once, for the same team?

    • Brain Guy says:

      That was just JK sending a message to the CBs who were on the roster for this game — especially (I think) Gonzalez. I agree that Brooks is not a realistic option. But JK is clearing signalling that he’s not happy with the CB play and that nobody’s spot is safe.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        The deal with that is it’s not a motivation problem, it’s inherent flaws in people’s games. Dempsey, motivational problem. Backline, talent and athleticism. You can only fix that with new people or a different scheme.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I said something like this a few days back, it’s like we recycle the same pool over and over, there are no out of box ideas. If one pool guy messes up, we replace him with another flawed pool option. At some point you wish he’d realize the pool itself is the problem, but we’ve just about run out of time for experimentation. You’d basically have to bring in someone cold and that’s risky too.

      • Hogatroge says:

        The problem, as I see it, is that we experimented all year last year and managed to get Ws despite the fact that the experiments weren’t entirely successful.

        Beat Germany and everyone forgets you gave up THREE GOALS. But suddenly Brad Evans is savior at RB? Exact same story with Bosnia.

        Injuries certainly played into it, as well as uncertainty at the club level (e.g. Cameron getting shuffled around the entire pitch at Stoke during the 2012/13 season).

        Let’s just be thankful that JK took a risk on Besler and we have at least 1 relatively solid CB. I think a backline of:

        Parkhurst – Besler – Goodson – Cameron

        …will serve us about as well as we can hope for in the WC.

        • Hogatroge says:

          OK… TOTALLY forgot about Fabian Johnson at LB.

          Fabian > Parkhurst > Beasley (who unfortunately misses the plane)

          • Jesse D says:

            I admit I will be very surprised if Beas misses the plane. Fabian is a better option, but Beas offers a lot more on the left than Parkhurst. Those Parkhurst is more versatile playing both left and right fullback spots.

  10. Brain Guy says:

    Gonzalez and his — I don’t know what to call it, passivity? ball-watching? — have been part of too many goals over the past two years. He is big and strong, and great in the air, but his unreliability may (should) be causing JK to have some second thoughts. I expect to see somebody else (Goodson, Cameron) paired with Besler in the WC send-off series.

    • Paul Miller says:

      We just need to face up to the reality that if we had good alternatives Gonzo wouldn’t have been rushed up to starting in the first place. We don’t have good defenders in the middle. We haven’t for a while. For the past few years this has been our weakest point.

      • Paul Miller says:

        I remember a time when the only thing we could do was defend. We could play Brazil and they’d have to work to find a goal (in part because of our keepers, but also the defenders). We had no thoughts of trying to score in games like that, but we could defend.

        Now, it’s the only thing we can’t do.

        Personally I think it’s because a few decades ago we had no idea how to build soccer skills. Most of our ‘youth’ play was in high schools, and most of our high school coaches were just guys who couldn’t get on the football coaching staffs. So what did they do? I know because I was coached by one of those guys. A lot of basketball defending drills. Sure, we made some efforts to develop ball skills. But we were drilled over and over in individual defense, unit defense, etc.

        A few years later, when guys my age with actual physical abilities (unlike me) were rising to the top of the U.S. soccer pyramid, that’s when everyone in the world had trouble scoring on us.

        • slowleftarm says:

          Interesting post, I had a pretty similar experience myself (including a high school coach who would go on to coach the football team). Coaching back then was really in the stone age. I’m pretty involved in youth soccer and I think it’s better now, but still a long way to go. The biggest problem in my estimation is the overemphasis on winning at the expense of player development.

      • Hogatroge says:


        Fortunately, we have a lot of promising CB options in the pipeline (Brooks, Packwood, Schuler, Okugo, O’Neill, Opara) and a decent amount of time before Gold Cup 2015, Confed Cup 2017, and Russia 2018.

    • Drew11 says:

      It’s not just the NT. Gonzo has been gaffe prone for LAG lately. JK has surely noticed.

  11. Tony says:

    JK may still like Evans at RB, which could move Cameron inside and keep FJ on the left so we sit Beasley. Or Beas on the ;left and FJ on the right. I think we have a number of options, it’s just that none of them inspire confidence.

    I think Zusi has done enough to start on one wing (and I’m still drinking the “Landon must start” cool-aid) so we can afford to have FJ play one of the two FB spots.

    • Lorenzo says:

      I forgot about playing Fabian Johnson on the right wing. He looked not quite as strong there as he does on the left, but he looked ok defensively. I really liked what FB was bringing a year or two ago. I hope he delivers on the field in Brazil.

      • Jesse D says:

        Fabian needs to stay on the left IMHO. We have more options on the right and Fabian is seems like a more natural fit on the left. He is perhaps our most “two-footed” player.

  12. Chuck says:

    Remember when Gonzo was supposed to be the best CB in CONCACAF because he “dominated” an out-of-form Chicarito and was ready to make the jump to Europe? Good times.

  13. sans says:

    Gonzales is a mess. If he starts in Brazil we’re screwed. Our group counterparts have to be salivating after watching his last few matches.

    Definitely in the Edu at CB camp. Would like to keep Cameron wide because of his ability to push up.

  14. A.S. says:

    Donovan is done.

    There, I said it. The thing that made him a great player – his speed – is gone. Now he’s just a guy who is small, has good not great technical skills, no longer is the hardest worker on the field, and isn’t any quicker than the guys he plays against.


    • Lorenzo says:

      Overreaction? Just maybe?

      • A.S. says:

        It’s possible. I don’t watch every Galaxy game. But my impression is not just based on 30 minutes last night.

    • Kevin_H says:

      Let’s not be so quick to write off someone after one game, especially when tendinitis likely played a part.

      • 57tele says:

        Tendentis or cheeseburgers? He wasn’t that bad. Were just so used to seeing him be the best player on the field for the us that when he doesn’t shine, people over react. He prob needs to lose 10 – 15 pounds though. I think he’s trying to time things a little in terms of peak fitness and mental preparation. I don’t think he believes he can maintain his top fitness and intensity from now to june without burning out or getting injured. Hopefully, he’s got enough left for one more strong cup.

        • Landon Klinsmann says:

          You were wrong in your disagreement with me the other day and now you are trying defend your ever weakening position. I’ll say it again, Donovan is not likely to start in WCup unless he shows something dramatic.

          • Jesse D says:

            I still think he starts. Donovan had an off couple of days, but it hasn’t been that long since Donovan last dominated the competition. Maybe he should take another flight to Cambodia.

            • Landon Klinsmann says:

              There is always hope, but he didn’t look like a starter last night. He needs to regain much in the way of form and he only has weeks, which is hard with a chronic injury. If he deteriorates any further, he doesn’t even make the 23, IMO. I don’t want that to happen, but that is how things stand.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Depends if it’s a fitness or health issue. If he’s falling apart I agree, because he generally speaking was someone who used his speed well and had solid skill around it but was just faster and fitter. But he’s never had a hard shot, and people are now stopping him when he runs right at them and tries to cut.

      That being said, if he just needs fitness, he’s probably still as good as some of the second tier options. With his history and latent ability he’ll get a camp to show what he has, and he either has gas in the tank or not.

    • Michael Stypulkoski says:

      This comment is absurd.


    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Added thought: does Landon have the physical health and/or fire in the belly to do the fitness work to get the fitness and form he’s had? If he’s physically breaking down, I witnessed Brian Ching fall apart over a period of years and it seemed like you got in a cycle of injury-rest-attempted rehab-play some-injury….etc. where he could never quite stay healthy enough to play games to get fit to make his old impact.

      Also, he did blow off soccer for a while and there might be a question whether he’s willing to do the hard work at the same level of miles run and speed work put in to be the same player. Maybe he’s decided on a different work-home balance and is content to play soccer at a particular level based on a particular amount of training. Who knows, but the old Landon seemed to be based on heavy duty fitness and the ability to run around at speed all night. If that goes away you’re left with a somewhat savvy player with average speed, a cross, but not much of a shot and probably less elusive. He was never a jukes guy so much as he blew by people. Speed goes that’s bye bye.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        Comparison would be Preki, a guy never dependent on foot speed but born with foot skills and a shot. As long as they have defensive cover those kind of people can play til they are 40 (I exaggerate, but you see what I mean) in a particular type of role because they are technical as opposed to athletic.

  15. Klum says:

    I don’t care of he has to use and place an add in 25 different languages but Klinsmann to go shopping for a CB ASAP
    There has to be somebody somewhere in the world with some kind Of an American conecction that’s better than OG.

    • Murray Braun says:

      Will Packwood and Jonathan Spector at Birmingham City are better than Gonzo, Besler, Goodson, Onyewu, and Brooks at this point. I expect they will be in camp in May. Also Mexican league player Orozco-Fiscal. Seven guys competing for three-four places in Brazil.
      If Cameron ball watches like Gonzo, forget it because he’s a better pick at RB than Evans, Parkhurst or Yedlin right now. Chandler’s rehabbing in Germany. Fabian can
      play there but then LB is abandoned to Beasley in the WC. God, that makes me
      Castillo has failed to impress, so he’s not going to Brazil either. Garza hasn’t been
      starting in Mexico.
      Edu might still be an option to try at CB if the slower Beckerman is left home and
      Edu is Jones back-up. Williams is another option at both DM and the back.
      I think Gonzo and Besler have a lot to prove in May.
      Klinsmann is going to be tough on everyone and he’s preceded that with getting rid
      of his controversial assistant coach.

  16. Pete says:

    Physical fitness is ONE problem the USMNT didn’t have much of under Bob Bradley. What is all the blood testing, dietary control, etc. Klinsmann is doing?

    Other teams used to marvel at US fitness during the cup year, especially the grueling training schedules. What happened?

    • QuakerOtis says:

      I always felt the whole “fitness” thing was ESPN/Sports media marketing to make up for the fact that we just aren’t that good. We HAVE to run our asses off. Oddly enough, the game requires that ALL teams run for 90 minutes…

    • Jack Del says:

      The whole ‘we are more fit’ bit was nonsense by the media to make up for the fact that we sucked.

      The team in the best shape in the world is bar none Spain. In fact, it’s not even close. They run teams like Germany into the ground.

      • Pete Tyler says:

        I don’t think so. Now, the media may have been playing up the training aspects, but other teams also commented on the US training program. We worked our guys a lot harder under the Bradley regime than we did under the Arena regime, and it showed.

        The US used to have little trouble playing a full 90 minutes, even if it was a dreadful 90 minutes. Now we have more skill and flair, but less stamina.

  17. user222 says:

    Donovan looks overweight…. if he cant run past 35yr old marquez then you need to be benched.

    better stop talking to much and get in shape….

  18. EspinDOHla says:

    Yedlin to Brazil. He’s the only player on the team that can keep up with Ronaldo’s speed. He could just track CR7 for the entire game!

    • user222 says:

      yep, that should be the plan….

    • Ali Dia says:

      I like the idea of man-marking Ronaldo. I also like the idea of Yedlin. But it could also go very, very badly. Youngsters have a bad way of getting caught out of position, and Ronaldo’s intelligence and ability to play anywhere on the pitch would make this a very high-risk proposition.

      But if they feel he can handle it… maybe worth a shot.

      • Jesse D says:

        It would go very very badly. Yedlin uses his athleticism to save him. CR7 is a better athlete than Yedlin, so it won’t work against him. He will have nothing to fall back on.
        There is no great option to stop CR7 that is why he is the best. I just don’t think throwing a kid on him is the best move.

        • Troy in his apartment says:

          You got a better plan?

        • Jesse D says:

          I believe Yedlin has surpassed Evans in the conversation. The safest option for this June is Geoff Cameron, but he will get beat by the pace of Ronaldo in space. He will need a lot of help and Omar isn’t the right assistant for him. So if Cameron is your RB against Portugal, Omar can’t be at CB. Chandler is the only player who has all the tools and top flight success.

  19. MMV says:

    Sooooooooo if there any chance in hell we could — you know — recreate or revive Eddie Pope?? We desperately needy a Steady Eddie in the back. It’s dire we figure out our CB combo.

  20. Petedela says:

    No mention of Graham Zuzi? When did he get so good? Bradley-Beckerman-Zuzi looked very solid. Dempsey was adequate. Wondo starting to look decent. The rest can find the far end of the bench.

  21. Landon Klinsmann says:

    Wrighteous, LIl’ Zeke, Jesse D, John Lowe said “I think I am dumber for having read this”, downintexas, bogie8 “you must be trolling”, ronniet, Gary Page, 57Tele, Ben, and Dukey.

    This is a list of just some of the folks who tried to argue with my correct understanding of the Landon Donovan situation in Ives “Who should start” thread from a few days ago. I was never trying to be “right” but just communicate my informed understanding of the Donovan situation. These folks expressed everything from simple disagreement (no problem) to utter contempt and dismissiveness (problem). How do you all like me now?

    Ives, we need to make the pie higher. It is one thing to love your country and the best player that country has ever produced, it is quite another thing to be deluded about a current situation based on a love affair with the past.

    • smartestonthepitch says:

      I dismiss you with contempt!

    • ronniet says:

      So tell what is theandon situation??? Since your some sort of prophet and won’t consider that LD has a knee injury, tells us the situation please!! If you get a hard on for wanting to be right then by all means “rise up”, but to not consider the actual words coming from the managers mouth regarding why LD didn’t start is comical! Its one friendly and lets not act like LD has a lot to prove considering his pedigree! I will agree with most that he looked a bit heavy but maybe its bc of the knee issue and he hasn’t been able to train consistently! If he’s not starting in Brazil then you can flaunt your theories!

      • Landon Klinsmann says:

        No theories, just the capacity to separate the now from the then. Landon is the greatest American ever. But I don’t think he is a starting player now. Klinsmann won’t care about pedigree when choosing the 23, or the starters, in Brazil. It is not personal, and I am not a prophet, you are just wrong and shouldn’t act so sure yourself, in light of how wrong you are.

      • Troy in his apartment says:

        If Landon has a knee injury, at his age, shouldnt he be resting as long as he can before the world cup. Sometimes injuries are excuses and sometimes they are not. Landon shouldnt have played if injured. Evans has an injury and didnt come.

    • Jesse D says:

      I still disagree with you, but I think I always played that pretty respectful. I understand your perspective. Landon isn’t that far removed from being outstanding and I think he has enough in his tank to start at least every other game. Time for him to shape up and get back in form though.

  22. Raymon says:

    So if we only have about 60 minutes of tempo in us, then the tactical question that JG needs to decide is whether we want to own the first 45 minutes (like last night) or the last 30 or so minutes, like in SA2010. Maybe we fare better getting scored on first? :-(

  23. Wispy says:

    More and more, I get the feeling that Klinsmann is viewing Brasil as important, but really just a stepping stone to a real chance for the U.S. to have World Cup success in 2018. The early contract extension. Dropping Bocanegra when he did, never giving DeMerit a sniff, and making Gonzo and Besler his starters when they had, like, 5 caps between them. Keeping Hamid and Johnson as the 4 and 5 GKs when older guys like Kennedy and Hall are arguably more deserving (and better). Going after guys like Green and Zelalem and bringing in guys like Packwood, Yedlin, and Gil this late in the process. Heck, he’s still talking about Brooks for this cycle even after the Cyprus fiasco.

    (BTW, think it’s hilarious that Broks can be on our 2014 WC team and STILL not be cap-tied if he gets no minutes in Brasil).

  24. Mark schofield says:

    I will say it again, Omar cannot play at this level without making terminal mistakes. Play him in Brazil and he will cost us a goal.

    • Joey Chestnut says:

      a goal in every game?

      • Jack Del says:

        He is actually averaging more than that right now between club and country (speaking as someone who has watched every Galaxy game this season and recent USMNT games).

        He’s even lost Galaxy fans.

        • Jesse D says:

          He wins balls that other less talented CB’s wouldn’t though, so hard to know exactly how many goals per game he is saving at the same time.

          • Troy in his apartment says:

            Not enough. He will win a header but we have guys who can win headers. He looks like a 35 year tree trunk CB moving around. He makes Mertesacker look like Varane in terms of quickness. I know speed is not a necessity but you have to have some agility. Its rather sad actually, I hope he turns it around because he is relatively young but hot dam

            • Jesse D says:

              up the field and in open space he looks off, but in tighter space his reactions still look good to me.

  25. Birgit Calhoun says:

    If Goodson hadn’t been there in the second half the US team would have lost. Goodson shoul be in there, and he can do it for 90 minutes if the rest of the backs perform. I noticed that the midfield in general was often crowding the defense. The midfield needs to play up an the left and right backs need to play wide.

    • Tyrone says:

      Goodson is deserving of a 90 minute run-out. I used to think he was a liability but his recent performances for the Nats have been consistently solid.

      • cps says:

        +1. Guy has been solid for a while now.

      • QuakerOtis says:

        Plays OK to great for the quakes as well. And I think he’s at least as threatening as OG on attacking set pieces.

      • Jesse D says:

        It is a match-up related question. If you are guarding Altidore, then Omar is your guy. If you are Guarding Donovan then Goodson is the better choice. Goodson doesn’t do well with physical Strikers.

        • Troy in his apartment says:

          GREAT point. Which would mean he could be useful against Portugal but not Germany. Not sure about the Ghanaians this cycle.

  26. Eddie Hustle says:

    Decent match last night for the US. Once they settled down in the first half the quick passing was terrific.Great team movement off the ball. I’m not a big believer in B Evans, BUT his crosses/corner kicks were top notch. Major pace, good height, very difficult for defenses to read. In the second half we were too spread out and MEX sliced us up and down.

    • Increase0 says:

      His dead ball work was great. Everything else was just goodish. He isn’t a traditional winger(not fast/tricky) but he got his done.

    • Ali Dia says:

      Agree with both of the above. Although I assume we are talking about Brad Davis, not Brad Evans, no?

  27. Scott e Dio93 says:

    Donovan wasn’t fit yet, you can tell by Donovan body and face. Also, Donovan far superior than Dempsey playing forward or playmaker. Donovan is a true leader and creative force, just give Donovan time to recover.

    • John says:

      I agree, Donovan isn’t a wide player anymore. Even in the gold cup he played on the right for the first half against Guatemala and did nothing, looked lost. Second half he is moved under the striker, and he goes on to have the tournament he did.

      • Troy in his apartment says:

        Donovan in the middle will get smashed to bits. Imagine Pepe destroying him. He needs to free flowing amoeba

  28. Jack Del says:

    Donovan looked like he scarfed down 10 boxes of donuts.

    He’s done. He’s bad for the Galaxy too.

    • Scott e Dio93 says:

      If Donovan is done …then Dempsey and Altidore are done.

      • Jack Del says:

        Difference between a lack of form and just sheer laziness. Donovan was visibly overweight. Like Cuahtemoc Blanco overweight.

        That’s just outright unprofessional.

        • Scott e Dio93 says:

          Dempsey looked lazy since joining Spurs. While Donovan won us the Gold Cup, carried the USNT, and MLS’s season just start it.

          • Troy in his apartment says:

            Um Dempsey arguably was our best player for a while. He did fine at Spurs but just didnt get minutes. He looks better than Landon thus far beginning the year as well.

            Landon is about done with the National Team. I think Dempsey will be around till the end of Gold Cup 2016

  29. Cairo says:

    The fact that we don’t discuss Besler (good or bad) is a sign that he’s rock solid. I also think Clarence deserves a very long look as the starter. If you recall, the big criticism of Goodson was that he’d get bullied in the box–that he was too passive in the mixer. His positioning is strong enough that his foot speed is usually enough–he’s no slower than Omar. That said, Omar is getting too much criticism for last night. I’m sorry, but hard to blame a CB for a goal off of a rebound like that. Yet people do…

    • Amru says:

      At this point it’s either choosing between Gonzo and his mental lapses or Goodson who can get pushed around by opposing forwards. Against a team like Ghana who are strong and athletic, playing Goodson scares the bajeezus out of me.

  30. Matthew says:

    A few things

    – It’s spelled Green, not Greene… if his name was difficult to spell I could understand the confusion (like Johannsson), but it’s not, so please spell it correctly

    -Omar Gonzalez was not great, but for the love of Mix Diskerud’s wonderful locks I cannot understand how anyone could be considering Gooch as an alternative to start at the WC. As a fan base do we have no “long” term memory such as to one…ONE!!! game ago against Ukraine? Whereas Omar was ok for the first half and really bad in the second, Gooch was all kinds of awful for an entire 90 minutes against Ukraine. How you can propose Gooch as an alternative to Gonzalez at this point is baffling to me, and I think a much more rational solution is either starting Goodson (who doesn’t have that sexy skill set that many fans desire but at least plays consistently for 90 minutes) or bringing Cameron into the center and letting Fabian Johnson and Beasley/Evans/Parkhurst/Yedlin play fullback.

    -Yes Green made mistakes, but look no further than to the other side of the field Wednesday night and you could find a rookie (Yedlin) playing well in his second cap after a nervous first cap. I think people forget that 30 roster spots is a lot, and we can bring Brek Shea AND Julian Green AND all of our other fringe players to the three warm up games and make any decision about who is best for our 23 man roster after those games. Don’t be surprised if Green plays better in the first send off game and makes the WC roster, and also don’t be upset if he doesn’t and instead goes back to working his way into Bayern Munich’s first team. He’s 18, give him some time….

  31. bryan says:

    for the first half:

    Bradley and Beckerman absolutely dominated. they played so well together and it was nice to see Bradley able to do whatever he wanted with Beckerman hanging back. Davis almost had that assist but Omar’s shot was saved, but outside of that, he looked slow and unable to impact the game. i think he shouldn’t even be in the 30 man roster at this point. Beltran played pretty well to be honest, got beat a few times but also had multiple good plays defensively. plus his pass to Bradley was perfect. still not sold on him though, too many possessions lost. Parkhurst played well enough, very busy. too many unsuccessful tackles and possessions lost for my liking though. overall, just an okay, overall showing, by our fullbacks.

    Omar was a beast in the first half as well. if you look at his opta stats, he had a great game on paper. most of that due to the first half. he was dominant. 7 headers, Besler had 0. Besler did well too though and had 10 clearances while Omar only had 5. the stats easily show what the game plan was between those two.

    Zusi and Dempsey played very well. Dempsey looked the best i’ve seen him in awhile and unlucky not to get that assist from EJ’s goal. sharp touch and good passing. this is promising. Zusi was a workhouse down that right hand side, he continues to show well and his assist was great. Wondo did well on that goal. great movement, great finish. but outside of that, he didn’t impact the game like we all would have hoped. opta stats back that up. his only shot was the goal. not a bad game though by any means and he certainly left the ball in EJ’s court.

    for the second half:

    wow, what a disaster. Beckerman and Omar just not talking on that first goal to get on Rafa after the pick. that’s just terrible and most of the blame has to fall on Omar there. complete opposite of what we saw from them in the first half. Besler also just didn’t look that great but he didn’t look bad either. Beltran seem to fall off and Parkhurst continued with a good work rate but not overly impressive. Yedlin actually surprised me and you could see the chemistry between him and Dempsey. JK had already confirmed he would be in the prelim roster, but he is going to make a serious push for that RB depth spot. Goodson really didn’t have much to do, did well enough but had a few giveaways despite not getting that many touches. on the second goal, again i blame Omar and Beckerman. Beckerman dropped WAY too far back in the box which allowed the shot to be taken. Omar just gave up on the play and put his hand up for offside when the guy was VERY MUCH onside. just awful.

    not very impressed with LD’s performance, but it wasn’t awful either. clearly didn’t look himself. Green actually had a good debut and seemed to settle in nicely. really deserved to get that free kick right outside the box. but i loved that he was taking guys on and forcing them into dangerous tackles. yes, his header ended up leading to the 2nd goal but he did well just getting a head to it to begin with. he’s going to need to show a lot more though. he was helped out by the fact that Davis was so disappointing though. EJ had a nice cameo and his opta stats back it up. once again he has shown he is an impact player off the bench. his goal should have counted. he completely canceled out what Wondo gained in the first half. to me, we are exactly where we started. both strikers put the ball in the back of the net with the one chance they had. we’ll see them both in the 30 man camp but i think EJ will retain his edge. he really needs to start scoring for DCU though.

    Edu actually wasn’t that bad. for people saying his passing was bad, he didn’t have any unsuccessful passes, so not sure what you are referring to. certainly need to see more from him though but given Beckerman’s struggles in the second half, i think Edu will get his chance in the prelim roster…as well as Williams.

    overall it’s hard to be THAT mad at this game. we looked SO good in the first half but mental mistakes cost us in the second. and we still should have won because EJ’s goal was onside. unfortunately, i don’t think we learned much from the game other than Davis is not at the level we need. i guess you could say we were reminded why Dempsey is a part of our spine and hopefully the people ready to drop Dempsey will shut their mouths now.

    but i’m left with more question for defense than i had before the game. if Chandler does not get back in time, i seriously wonder if it is worth putting FJ at RB, moving Cam to CB, and sticking with Beasley at LB. so many question around our defense which is terrible going into the World Cup.

    • bryan says:

      wow that was a lot longer than i thought…

      the 30 i’d like to see in May:

      GK: Howard, Guzan, Rimando
      D: FJ, Omar, Besler, Goodson, Cameron, Gooch, Beasley, Yedlin, Parkhurst
      M: LD, Bradley, Jones, Beckerman, Williams, Edu, Corona, Bedoya, Zusi, Green, Gil, Mix
      F: Jozy, AJ, Boyd, EJ, Wondo, Dempsey

      Orozco, JAB, Castillo, Agudelo, Torres, Shea, and Gomez have to work hard over the next few months but any of them could sneak there way on if they find/keep their form and someone else drops off. Chandler automatically gets put on if he gets back to fitness, but i don’t think it’ll happen. i left Beltran off because i think with Cameron, FJ, and Parkhurst we have enough cover at RB. i doubt JK leaves him off though. Gil and Yedlin included because JK basically already confirmed they would be in that camp.

      that’s going to be an intense camp.

      • jones says:

        Great comments and your 30 seem likely. And regarding Edu, those people saying he can’t pass must be blind.

        I was hoping to see Orozco in this match (and not at RB!) so it’s really too bad. And same with Garza. It is difficult with Gooch because even though he is finally playing with some regularity, every time he’s played for the Nats in the past few years he has looked very deer in headlights/shakey – I don’t trust him any more than Gonzo.

        Also I still see JK possibly bringing Shea in for the 30. So maybe that means someone like Corona or Williams misses out? I don’t know. And at this point I think Sacha, Agudelo, Gomez, Torres and probably Castillo and Davis are out for sure.

        • Ali Dia says:

          Yeah Orozco must be bumming. JK’s comments above suggest he is not in the current thinking at CB, although you’d have to think he would have gotten some minutes had his club made him available yesterday.

          I’m more-or-less indifferent. He prob would’ve made my list but only barely. I don’t think I’ll have too many “if only Orozco…” moments, but he’s a credible option and he can produce the occasional goal.

        • bryan says:

          good call on Shea given how much JK likes him. but if he gets 0 minutes between now and then, he shouldn’t be there.

          agree about Kljestan and Gomez but i think Agudelo, Torres, and Castillo will continue to make a case.

          • John says:

            Agudelo seems to be making a case for the Eredivisie’s defending.

            • bryan says:

              he certainly has to step it up. but he IS playing, so that’s good. he had a good performance off the bench last game. but he needs to start scoring.

      • Troy in his apartment says:

        No ay Evans doesnt get the call. He has been called for pretty much everything. He is one of those guys you want on the bench (if not starting-hopefully not). He can play every position in the MF and fullback positions. That is what you wnat in a pinch.

        • bryan says:

          Like Evans as a person and ok beef with him, but I don’t think we need him. He would get burned at fullback against that level and we have plenty of depth in midfield. Add in his injury and I’m not so sure he makes it. And Sigi just said today he is out this weekend and his calf is more of an issue than originally thought. I think Parkhurst takes his spot.

          • bryan says:

            He was a stop gap solution. That’s why he was called in. He did his part but showed he is not the RB we need at the WC.

      • Jesse D says:

        You can take Corona off this list. I also think Gooch probably doesn’t have enough in the tank. With those two spots back bring in your choice of JAB, Shea, Aguedelo.

    • Ali Dia says:

      We will almost certainly enter the Ghana game with big doubts and unresolved questions across the defense. It’s not even worth stressing on the talent pool — it is what it is… we know what we have to work with and all the guys have their shortcomings. All we can hope for is that the guys selected play at their abolute top level, and that Tim Howard and lady luck provide the remaining cover

      While we can’t change the talent much, other than moving the chips around, there a couple of things I would like to see happen.

      (1) The emergence of a vocal leader to captain the back line. Organization will always be a challenge if leadership and communication are lacking. Boca and Cherundolo are gone and nobody is in an obvious position fill this void, which has rarely existed for us. Even if the guys we had weren’t as talented, there were many leaders to choose from. I have not yet seen this from Besler and he is the only guy we are confident will even be on the field — would like to know if he is capable of it. Howard will be the organizer out there for now but this is a clear need.

      (2) As for the CB pairing, we can all argue about which two should be selected but I think it’s getting to the point where JK should pick two and get them as much time as possible working in tandem. Again, this can help shore up the communication issue and also give some confidence to the guys entrusted, which is obviously lacking.

      • bryan says:

        have to agree with all you said. Goodson seems like the logical choice to be that leader on the backline but him and Besler haven’t had enough time together to have that chemistry. like you said, at this point the defense is what it is and we just have to hope each defender raises his level at the WC.

        • jones says:

          I think Tim helps with that organization/leadership, but they will have few matches to get to where they should be in terms of reps together.

        • Jesse D says:

          I haven’t seen Goodson be a vocal leader very often. None of the defenders in the pool are established enough to really act as that leader. We need Howard to do it.

          • Ali Dia says:

            Works for now. We hope. A long term need regardless. And a golden opportunity that I’m hoping somebody takes.

            Problem is… how does a guy become “established” when they get very publicly lynched for every mistake? This may be a culture problem with US soccer that has nothing to do with JK or any other single individual. Expectations have grown. Fast. And the old guard has left or grown old in a big, invonvenient clump.

            More and more, the Bocanegra transition is looking expensive. Particualy when paired with Cherundolo’s unforntunate retirement. Not advocating Boca playing or even joining at this point, but one or both of them could have done a world of good during the last year to help the next generation get ready to swim in the deep end. But… I am hoping they find their bearings and more importantly feel inspired and empowered. Gotta grow sometime.

  32. DC Josh says:

    We all want a team of Michael Bradleys…

  33. Amjad says:

    Gonzalez and Besler should be the 2 center backs. There’s chemistry and good communication between them. I thought Dempsey was awful, especially in the second half. Biggest issue I saw: the Bradley Beckerman midfield being exposed in 2nd half by Mexico Mids. There was too much space in the middle that turned into attack from both flanks. Hererra adjusted his awful midfield at halftime, but the Americans didn’t adjust to what looked like a 5 midfielders formation for Mexico. Lots of work for usmnt especially finding a left and right backs that can defend speedy wingers.

    • user222 says:

      correct… Mexicans had more fresh legs to go at the defense… Jurgen took all 15+ minutes to sub in fresh legs, by that time the lead was down to 1 goal.

      btw, the sequence on mexico’s first goal is mentioned very little. After a corner kick that was cleared by US defenders outta the 18 box Mexico recovered the ball and sent in another cross into the box. Surprisingly, there were 5 US players in the box and no Mexican players around…. there was no pressure, yet Zusi stupidly headed the ball for a consecutive corner kick that would give Mexico its first goal.

      It is the basics and little things like this that make the difference in games.

      • bryan says:

        oh man, that Zusi header was AWFUL. i remember going, “WHAT HE IS GOING?!” and then they end up scoring off it. that was VERY frustrating. he had SO MUCH room to clear the ball.

        communication failure from the backline and Rimando followed by more poor communication between Omar and Beckerman to give Rafa a free header.

    • beachbum says:

      agree with everything you wrote Amjad except about Clint. Didn’t think he was that bad as much as the team did not adjust to Herrera’s adjustments

      • Troy in his apartment says:

        Clint was one of our better players last night. People are smoking crack. There were things that got done last night that wouldnt have if he wasnt in the lineup. That second goal was started by Clint playing the right ball at the right time and Beltran going from there,.

        People need to put there Seattle hate/why did he return to MLS hate aside. Clint is one of best players. I trust Clint showing up more than anyone not named Bradley. If Landon has a knee issue then he is in trouble, At the age of 25 you can overcome knee issues in months. At an older age it can take up to a year. Landon looks slow and has very little time to make up for it.

  34. Aero says:

    It’s pretty obvious that Klinsmann really likes Wondolowski. His detractors had better get used to the idea of him going to Brazil…

    • bryan says:

      lets be real here. JK does like Wondo and appreciates his work effort but if he liked him THAT much, he would have been in at least ONE WC qualifying camp. but he wasn’t. him and EJ are still battling it out and both did about the same last night. neither pulled ahead of the other. each had one shot and put it in the back of the net.

    • Joe A says:

      I think he’ll definitely be on the 30 man roster.

  35. Thomas says:

    Maybe we play three CB’s against physical teams like Ghana and Germany. The Italians utilize a three CB formation from time to time.


    • Fair Observer says:

      in this horrible formation, i’d like to ask, who would mark the opponents’ wingers? when team’s play 3 CB they also have to defensive wingbacks, your formation has zero of those, donovan and zusi are not wingbacks….. nice try but please understand how formations work before you throw out random lineups…….

    • Scott e Dio93 says:

      I prefer 3-5-2 but it’s too late now.

      Our team reminds me 3-6-1 of Sampson

      Altidore Kevin Bacon


      F. Johnson Zusi
      Jones Bradley

      Besler Gonzo Cameron

    • Jesse D says:

      I don’t think this will happen, but if it did I can guarantee Left Wing will be played by Fabian Johnson. He is the perfect fit for that role as we already discuss whether he is a LM or LB.

  36. Mike Parmenter says:

    I know this discussion is between Center Backs and Donovan, but I really want to discuss my frustration with Dempsey over the last year.

    He has been subpar in each qualifying game and lacks the passion he once had for the National Team in his playing style. The one reason I was such an avid Donovan fan, is because every time he walked onto the pitch in his USA jersey, especially during the WC, he gave 150% of his effort. This is unnoticeable with Dempsey as of late. I once loved the flair and aggressiveness/hunger for goal and taking players on. Now, he just plays lazy and is a lackluster defender when he loses possession.

    I hate to see someone of such caliber lose focus and energy. He is becoming a plague for the team, and during the national stage, (minus various factors) it should be about who wants to actually wear the Red White & Blue, not who’s tenured.

    As for Beckerman, we CANNOT have somebody with his back facing the opposing goal as a CDM. Every time you lose possession or make a bad pass, it’s going directly to our goal. More so, during the WC, you make one mistake like that, the good teams take it and capitalize.

    I’m not choosing one player over another, just pointing out obvious issues with certain players in preparation for the WC.

    • Scott e Dio93 says:

      Spurs ruined Dempsey!

    • Troy in his apartment says:

      So many words to be way off base. Dempsey is fine. He is slowly but surely coming back to form. His first two games with Seattle he looked good. DOnovan on the other hand. Bleh!

      If we want to whine about someone,, its Altidore. He has looked like the biggest pile on a team full of piles of crap at Sunderland. He has been called out by Poyet in the last month or so for laziness essentially. He has done nothing except turn a whole club’s worth of fans against him as garbage. We need Altidore for the World Cup but he is going to come in as the guy who helped achieve relegation for a squad that probably shouldnt be. He has flopped royally in his second stint. Sure they may be misusing him but he should be a target forward and he is failing miserably at it.

      The success or failure in this world cup was always going to hinge on our attack. That is Jurgen’s way. Right now, a green Aaron Johannson, is our best bet in the attack. That doesnt bode well at all.

      • Jesse D says:

        Having watched nearly every Sunderland game I disagree with Poyet. Altidore hasn’t been an answer to the problems, but the problems are an atrocious midfield. Also I keep hoping Bardsley will be benched for one game. That guy takes the worst shots and touches down the wing. He just has no awareness and is too selfish for a fullback. I’ve seen Jozy lately and he has not played lazily at all. He has tracked a lot of balls down. He just isn’t the right striker for a system where no one has the skill to do anything but hit the ball long and ask the striker to chase it down and do something with it.

  37. Scott e Dio93 says:

    I blame Gonzo on the corners, but most crosses getting into the box …it was Beltran and Parkhurst to blame.

  38. Steve-0 says:

    Too late to tryout Chris Schuler in CB?

  39. Joe A says:

    I wonder if Ream will ever get a chance to prove himself. There’s not a lot of time left but I honestly think he could be a legit option at CB.

  40. Joe A says:

    And also I’ve been saying goodson over gonzalez for a while. Goodson is more experienced and less mistake prone.

  41. Scott e Dio93 says:

    Ream as leftback? Evans worked as rightback.

  42. Troy in his apartment says:

    I still think that Jurgen should have called Chad Marshall in the camp cupcake. Sure he isnt much on the international level because of heart or desire but he is a stalwart in the air. No reason he couldnt be doing what OG has been doing.

    We need to hope that someone steps up big time with Besler because Omar has had enough time. If we are to sink or swim with Omar, then we are gonna be out of the World Cup after the Ghana game.

  43. Troy in his apartment says:

    Lets face it, Jurgen made some crazy (perceived) choices in 2006 for Germany by the youngsters he brought to the World Cup. I would not be surprised to see Jurgen take Green, Yedlin, Brooks, and others to this world cup. Heck we may be done after match #1. If we lose to Ghana that means we most likely have to beat Portugal and Germany. I bet he brings those young guys just in case crap hits the fan just to get them experience plus they could play a youthful role anyways.

    We must beat Ghana and hope that Germany and Portugal draw. Then we will be sitting pretty. That way we just need to win one of the last two or possibly draw both and get through.

    • Jesse D says:

      our best Chance is actually if Germany beats Portugal. If that happens and we were to beat Ghana we only need a draw with Portugal.

      I’m not thrilled with our odds. We’ve spoken about how Ghana is a team we can beat for over 8 years now… Here is hoping the 3rd time is the charm.

  44. EndangeredMD says:

    I think it obvious we a midfield based team – poor attack and weak defense. The idea that we can have a defensive player move on to attack from the wings is ludicrous. The 3-3-3-1 formation makes more sense every day. No laughing please.

  45. JungleMan says:

    I thought the commentators after the game were extreme in their criticism of Landon. Not making the 23? C’mon.

    The guy was clearly not normal, and yet no one considered he was playing with a knock. He had no jets at all and was clearly playing through an injury.

    And then here people are still blasting his form vs. acknowledging that he was playing through injury. How about giving the guy some credit for his toughness? Have you ever tried to play soccer or basketball with knee tendinitis?

    A lot of other stars would have bailed vs. played.