USMNT fullbacks post mixed results in win vs. Turkey

Fabian Johnson

Photo by John Todd/ 


HARRISON, N.J. — When it comes to the U.S. Men’s National Team’s fullback spots, there is still plenty of work to be done.

Jurgen Klinsmann has long professed a desire for his outside backs to jump into the attack, but Sunday’s friendly vs. Turkey showed that the Americans’ tactical wrinkle needs to be finetuned quite a bit before the World Cup games get underway in about two weeks.

Fabian Johnson and Timmy Chandler were deployed on the right and left, respectively, and both players helped set up the U.S.’s goals in the 2-1 win at Red Bull Arena. But they were also exposed defensively on occassion for being caught far too up the field, something that left U.S. fans feeling uneasy about the group stage matches that await in Brazil and the team knowing that further improvements need to be made.

“It’s important to find the right balance. You don’t want to just have people who just are going every time,” said U.S. captain Clint Dempsey when asked of the significance of having fullbacks who push forward. “When one outside back is going, the other one is staying. It’s important to have that good mix to throw the opposition off balance because that’s decisions they’re having to make in terms of their outside backs.

“Are they going with our outside backs or our midfielders, causing problems, and the quality of service that they’re able to get in when they get in wide positions or if they’re able to get into a position like Fabian got today where they’re able to get a shot on goal and finish the way he did. I think that adds more threats for us.”

Johnson – who contrary to popular belief is right-footed despite being so adept with his left – was the better of the two U.S. fullbacks against Turkey. The 26-year-old defender was caught out of position on a couple of instances, but he also timed his overlap runs well and provided an outlet for his American teammates to play through.

“I think it’s always better when you have a role you can focus on, but I think I got my position now,” said Johnson. “I just play there all the time so I think I’m going to play there in the future. I’m used to it, I played it at Hoffenheim.”

The familiarity there allowed for Johnson’s spectacular first goal in a U.S. jersey following a beautiful give-and-go sequence with Michael Bradley in the 26th minute. Johnson played a simple pass to Bradley, and continued his foray forward with a lung-busting run that caught Turkey’s defenders sleeping. Bradley then delicately chipped the ball back into Johnson’s path and the versatile veteran finished with a one-timed, left-footed effort that Turkey goalkeeper Onur Kivrak had no shot of saving.

It was a dream goal and one that showed just how important Johnson can be to the U.S. attack this summer when it faces Ghana, Portugal and Germany in a tough Group G.

“Fabian, he’s very difficult to read for every opponent and, for us, it’s obviously a big plus to have him,” said Klinsmann. “He’s versatile, he can play the midfield the same role, on the other side the same. … He’s both-footed, he reads the game extremely well, technically, very gifted. It’s really fun to watch him, but over the last two, three years, becoming better and better.

“Not saying he’s there yet by no means, but I think it’s definitely a plus to have him and switch the gear here and there.”

Chandler did not enjoy as strong of a performance. Making his first start under Klinsmann since a 2-1 World Cup qualifying loss to Honduras in February 2013, the 24-year-old Chandler took some time to settle in at left back against the Turks and unsurprisingly did not appear to be on the same page as his other defenders at times.

He found his footing as the game wore on and wound up delivering the low cross in the 52nd minute that Dempsey tapped home from close range for the game-winner after Turkey centerback Hakan Balta botched a clearance attempt.

“For him, it’s important to get a little bit of rhythm and be back in that group and get a better understanding with the centerbacks,” said Klinsmann. “In this case, he had two next to him with (Matt) Besler in the first half and John Brooks in the second half, but also being connected then to the midfielders as well.

“It’s now automatic with every training session and with every game that we have at our disposal. The fine-tuning element is coming along. It’s getting better. It’s not there where we want it yet, there’s no question about it, but we’re working on it and the best way for a player to work on that is obviously to get out on the field and play a real match because we know that (fellow left back DaMarcus Beasley) and his way is fine tuned with everybody from many, many years.”

Chandler, however, began to struggle a bit more after left midfielder Brad Davis was replaced by Julian Green in the 63rd minute. Green did not track back as well as Davis had, leaving Chandler isolated against Turkey’s talented attackers.

Still, the biggest talking point of Chandler’s performance was the late blunder that only he has himself to blame for. Chandler was dispossessed of the ball on the left flank and that ultimately led to a penalty kick for Turkey that Selcuk Inan converted.

In the grand scheme of things, Sunday’s friendly vs. Turkey was always meant to test the fullbacks and the rest of the U.S. squad. The Americans now have a better understanding of what they can expect once they land in Brazil, and also know what areas they could be better in before getting there.

Harrison, NJ - Sunday, June 1,  2014: USMNT vs Turkey at Red Bull Stadium.

photo by Don Feria/

This entry was posted in Featured, International Soccer, U.S. Men's National Team. Bookmark the permalink.

160 Responses to USMNT fullbacks post mixed results in win vs. Turkey

  1. kevin o says:

    What a genius Juergan has been leading up to the World Cup. Introduce unfamiliar back line at the same time as an unfamiliar new attacking system!

    • Marden08 says:

      We will have our best back line possible staring the first game of the World Cup. The only question is Chandler and I think he starts, in the middle besler and brooks are left footed on one side and Cameron and Omar are right footed on the other. Johnson should be very solid on right.

    • Increase says:

      Unfamiliar back line? You act like we had 4 dudes were had been starting the whole time.

      Only Besler and Fabian earned a starting spot and the others would have good games then bad ones… You haven’t been paying attention to the team at all if you think there were 4 clear cut starters back there. We couldn’t risk Cameron a CB until now because he plays RB at Stoke. He would need time to adapt which doesn’t exist in Qualifiers.

      All these people popping up and pretending they know something about the team but basically just badmouthing a group despite coming off a win.

      • Noah says:

        Uh, I think he has a point.

        Klinsmann hasn’t called up Chandler in 15 months, and suddenly he might be a starter. Why didn’t he look at him in the Scottish, Bosnian and Austrian friendlies? Or the last couple qualifiers after we had qualified?

        Klinsmann stuck with Gonzalez over Cameron at CB last year, but suddenly he changes his mind and things Cameron is better. Well, great, but now we have two CBs who only had played together once before this camp.

        Fabian Johnson only this year switched to RB for his club. For the US team, he had only played RB twice before this camp. Don’t get me wrong, Johnson is fine at RB, but when partnered with Chandler, why not have Chandler at RB, where he is much more comfortable?

        The Yedlin call up is baffling too. He is so inexperienced. Why didn’t Klinsmann start him over TONY BELTRAN against Mexico? Instead, now one of our backups has zero starts for the national team, and less than 90 total minutes.

        I get that Klinsmann realized that he needed more out of his back line. He realized that Beasley-Besler-Gonzo-Evans wasn’t going to get it done. But he realized that way too late. Many fans could have told him last year that back line wasn’t going to get it done.

        • Increase says:

          “Or the last couple qualifiers after we had qualified?”–> Chandler was injured for the Ukraine game.

          I think Johnson on the left is because of Reus and Ronaldo. I have no idea about the Beltran thing though… thats beyond me.

          You are right about the Beasley-Besler-Gonzo-Evans line. He knew it wasn’t good enough but I think that line happened because He needed Johnson at left wing. I have no idea why we never saw Cameron at RB except maybe Klinsmann knew he would never play him there.

          What I’m saying is that qualifying went well but had injuries and missing bodies at times and it contributed to that. I think that first poster is over simplifying things.

          • KingGoogleyEye says:

            I never made much out of Beltran starting over Yedlin. Both were newcomers and ya gotta start one of them. In the end, they’re both untested, so flip a coin.

            Klinsmann likes to use friendlies to experiment. He made a lot of changes in the Mexico match, so having Yedlin come on second may have more to do with wanting to see him vis-a-vis a certain other combination of players.

            Or maybe Klinsmann knew the obvious: Beltran has more professional experience and therefore one might guess that he’d be better than Yedlin. He started Beltran, saw that Beltran was hardly the answer, so put Yedlin in.

        • bryan says:

          literally everything you just asked was cleared up by JK.

          • White Kix says:

            You believe a word that comes out of his mouth????

            • Mason says:

              At some point, the rejection of evidence moves from skepticism to nihilism. You don’t have to agree with the answers, but if you’re going to ask questions of the form,”Why did JK do X,” you’ll be better off believing him than not.

            • bryan says:

              unlike the Green situation, the Chandler one can be confirmed simply with a little Google action. for example, I can confirm that Chandler was benched for his club at a point after the Honduras friendly. on top of that, JK and Chandler both effectively confirm Chandler was not being called up based on his form and eventual lack of playing time at his club. that’s why he was not available for those games. and like someone else pointed out, it’s also easy to Google and see that Chandler injured himself against Bayern Munich in February 2014 ruling him out of any games until the pre-World Cup camp. this was, of course, after he re-claimed his starting position at his club and was playing in top form; including a Player of the Week performance.

              so no, while i do not buy everything that JK says, there are certain things (most thing) that i do believe him on. this being one of them.

        • Lost in Space says:

          To the question of the CB pairing. IMO JK was hoping that the 2 who played the bulk of the Hex Qualification games would be in form (Besler & Gonzalez). Unfortunately Gonzalez form in MLS was less then stellar. Than he got injured right before this Camp. This is the reason why Cameron has been pushed into the starting CB spot instead of RB.
          Cameron at CB requires either Johnson or Chandler at RB. Johnson won out at RB and Chandler & Beasley are fighting for the starting LB spot.
          IMO this is the reason for the later than desired switches with the back line.

    • sregis says:

      What, world class defended just miraculously materialize?

  2. stanson says:

    Fabian Johnson is pretty good: link to

    • James says:

      Keep in mind that they’re only showing RB’s going to the World Cup. I haven’t done the leg work, but I doubt there’s a ton of international right backs from Bundesliga going to Brazil.

  3. Tony says:

    Still not sure why we haven’t seen Chandler on the right and FJ on the left. I think we’d be stronger that way.

    • bryan says:

      Fabian’s quote is exactly why we haven’t seen him on the left. he clearly wants to play on the right and is comfortable there right now. given how good he is, it’s smart to let him play the position he feels he can be the best in.

      • Don the Jewler says:

        Maybe Chandler feels the same way?

        • bryan says:

          but Chandler isn’t as critical to the US team as FJ is.

          • KingGoogleyEye says:

            If Chandler rises to his full potential, then I’d say he is—and what a LB/RB combo that would be! Ronaldo couldn’t easily take either wing, but wouldn’t want to ply in the middle against Jones either. Would also give a lot of breathing room to Zusi/Davis on the attack; i.e., give them time to set up their crosses.

            In other words, FabJo at RB is great, but add a strong LB and it makes FabJo at RB 5-times greater.

            • Matt says:

              Sorry, I can’t stop laughing at this. There isn’t a player on the US that Ronaldo couldn’t destroy. Easily.

              • KingGoogleyEye says:

                Yes, yes, Matt. You’re a genius. Ronaldo is a demigod who regularly scores 27 goals per match against itsy bitsy minnows like the USA.

            • Troy in his apartment says:

              You act as if Ronaldo plays the wings all the time for the national team. He plays more central

              • KingGoogleyEye says:

                Troy i.h.a: I don’t think you understood my comment. Why would I mention left, right, and center if I “act as if Ronaldo plays the wings all the time”?

            • bryan says:

              King – for sure, i agree that Chandler has tons of potential. i’m just referring to right now, as of this moment. FJ is the guy who is in top form so i’d like to use him where he is playing his best.

      • Nate Dollars says:

        if we had another competent LB, i’d be totally fine with that.

        • Nate Dollars says:

          to clarify, i’m not trying to denigrate beasley. he’s performed admirably in the quals, and he’ll always be one of my favorites–i’d love to see him up on the wing again. he’s just not a good enough defender.

          • bryan says:

            i agree with that. but i think keeping FJ at RB is very smart. i certainly don’t buy into the idea that moving Chandler over to RB is going to fix his issues. it’ll likely be the same story but on the right side. meanwhile, FJ will be back on the left which he does not prefer…even if he’s good there too.

            basically, i’ve just come to terms with the fact that Beasley and Chandler are our LB options and that to get the best out of FJ, we need to play him in his favorite position.

          • IndyElevenFan says:

            Here’s the thing about DMB – he knows his role at this point (when put at LB) is not to really move forward. He’s to stay at home, behind the midfield line and let whomever is in front of him do the offensive lifting. At the WC, that’s a lovely thing to have on the back-line. Predictability.

            • Nate Dollars says:

              if that’s what we want from our LB, then i absolutely would want a natural defender back there. having beasley do that makes no sense.

              • analyst/therapist says:

                Yes, if that’s the case then I’d take FJ on the left and cameron on the right, tell him to stay home. Clearly we want fullbacks that can get forward

    • stanson says:

      Which one would you rather have defend against Ronaldo?

      • Nate Dollars says:


        but if we can’t get him, i’d have chandler and bradley/jones double-team him above the 18, with cameron cheating to that side further back.

      • JC says:


      • Joamiq says:

        Excellent point.

      • KingGoogleyEye says:

        Can we ask Ronaldo to stay on one side? If yes, then my answer is: Fabian Johnson.

      • Ali Dia says:

        I once again make my case for the inclusion of Marvell Wynne. It’s true that he might sing the Hokey Pokey instead of the national anthem, and spend half the game shadowing a local shopkeeper, but he kept CR7 in check in their last encounter. If a glaucoma sufferer like “Slim Shady” Jedidi can officiate a game with our boys, surely we can make a home or MW420?

      • Alfredo di Stefano says:

        I take anyone on our fit *ss team and I put him on Ronaldo and I say, do not let this man touch the ball. You should be hugging him all game long, wherever he goes… literally inches away from him the entire time. I saw it done many a time… and since the sole role of this person is to not let Ronaldo touch the ball… any fit player can do it. Which means anyoine on the US roster can do it.

  4. bryan says:

    this was a good read. nothing to disagree with here. i think Beasley should and will start against Nigeria, but i would like to see Chandler get another run out at some point.

    • That's What She says:

      I would like to see Chandler get another start after the defensive line can work out some issues from that Turkey game. I thought he was good early on. Then, once we had issues with guys running free in the middle, he pinched in too much to provide cover. That left some guys open on the wings. However, he often tracked back quickly to cut down the lanes. I want to see him get another chance with Bradley staying back more defensively, if that is indeed going to happen. I know what we’re getting Beasley so I don’t need to see him anymore. He’s solid but he also turns the ball over quite a bit. And his first touch against Azerbaijan was rough. Slowed the play down a lot by him having to recollect instead of knocking the ball ahead of him and getting his head up.

      All in all, I don’t think Timmy was as bad as some of the hyperbolic fans are saying. I think he provides the most upside which is why i want to see him again before writing him off. But if he can’t go 90 at full speed and concentration, it’s got to be Beasley.

      • bryan says:

        fair enough. i would be totally fine with Chandler starting honestly. i agree that his performance was not as bad as some make it out to be. unfortunately for him, his awful mistake came at the end of the game.

  5. James says:

    As a side note to this article, I thought Yedlin put his best NT performance to date. Not that he should be in the starting conversation, but encouraging none the less.

    • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

      He should not have made the team, I guess it was a speed thing, but he is going to be great.

      In Seattle, and it is fun to watch.

      • QuakerOtis says:

        I agree with James. It’s not saying much, but at least Yedlin made a few stops, was not beat.

        And, if there’s anything to “Quit whining” about at this point, it’s our roster decisions.

        • Mr_A says:

          Still worth noting that our offense lacked spark. Dempsey had one awesome move to beat his defender, and Altidore looked pretty good, but definitely no razzle-dazzle. And LD ain’t the whole package, and has declined, but he’s got a little razzle left, so I’ll keep whining.

          • QuakerOtis says:

            Razzle? I’m sure that’s what this team needs more of…and maybe some pizzaz to boot!

            But I hear you. LD *could* provide a late attacking option. He just isn’t going to this cup, because he’s not there. No one is changing their mind on this one. So, time to move on.

          • Troy in his apartment says:

            Um we arent built on razzle dazzle. Dempsey is the closest to that. Other than that, Donovan usually beat people with his prowess not his technically gifted dribbling spinning off defenders and such.

            We looked fine going forward, Altidore needs to finish those chance though. Much more worried about the back line and the formation.

      • Increase says:

        It did seem that he shouldn’t have but so far so good. I can’t complain now that I have seen him at it.

        • QuakerOtis says:

          I strongly believe that Landon Donovan should’ve been included in this team. He will be sorely missed, I guarantee you. Fabian and Chandler are just losers that didn’t make it in Germany.

    • Kev says:

      Yes, absolutely agree! We were sitting on the upper level right above Yedlin’s position. We all thought he had his best game. When he came in we all gasped and were bracing ourselves. He had one stupid foul near the sideline in the first few minutes he started but then settled down. Glad to see him.

      And same goes with Brooks. Good game out of him too. I think I have the Ukraine game out of my head….wait, no, not yet.

      • Ali Dia says:

        I think Yedlin is doing very well and he has some monster physical tools. His future is extremely bright– quality full=backs do not grow on trees and the best ones tend to enjoy very long runs in their sides for both club and country (Lahm, Cole, Neville, Roborto Carlos, Cherundolo).

        The critical thing for Yedlin is maintaining 100% consistency, and ensuring that his positional sense is always improving. Soon or later all these guys lose a step, but they remain among the best because they are always in the right place almost never make foolish decisions (ok Roberto Carlos maybe is not the best example here)

        I don’t know what Yedlin does in Brazil. Maybe nothing. But he has a very nice opportunity in front of him and I look forward to watching him continue to improve. He is coming along remarkably fast.

        • Twomilerule says:

          Yeldin best assets speed and strength. Biggest liability is maturity and low futbol IQ. His youthful approach allows him to play fearless and reckless.
          He struggles when forced to defend against quality opponents!

          • jigones says:

            Don’t disagree. But the only way to learn is to play. Often times that youthful approach can be beneficial. When facing someone like Ronaldo speed and strength can make up for low football IQ, if you can stick with him and hound him all day. If you have a high soccer IQ, but can’t keep up, is just as dangerous. Plus, having some disrespect for those guys can make you play better than if you give him to much respect (that can also backfire). Often times I’ve seen guys grow up in a big match out of nowhere. Hopefully that will happen with him. I don’t think we have a chance with Chandler.

    • BobbyB says:

      Agree. Definitely his best match yet. And maybe some light on his potential if he really is improving this rapidly.

  6. Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

    I think the out of postition fullback line is so overused.

    So if Bradley doesn’t hit one of the best balls I have seen in a long time, is he out of position making the run that scored ? Without a doubt it would be viewed as out of position.

    So the decision is based on the result ?
    I guess he can only go forward if he knows his teamates won’t screw anything up ?

    A counter attack defense should be in place and I have yet to see a comment on a midfielder who doesn’t cover properly for the fullback making great runs…..not once.

    • QuakerOtis says:

      Jones and Beckerman both played well enough to cover those runs, imho. I think some people are concerned with how the FB not making the run was pinched inside. I read some of Howard’s commetns in Ives article, and recall Howard saying they were playing narrow back there. Maybe this gives the impression of a lack of cover, creates some of the nerves among fans?

      • QuakerOtis says:

        Also, I noticed Fabian not tracking back very well *after* his runs early on in the game. That worried me a bit, but it could just be him playing at 80% for a friendly.

    • theo says:

      “Out of position” as in defensively. That run he made on the goal is what fullbacks are supposed to do in a 4-4-2 diamond.

    • stanson says:

      TOTAL FOOTBALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • James says:

      If you watch the replay, Jones slides back, thus there are 2 Turkish forwards against 4 US defenders (if we include Jones). Even if Bradley overhits the ball, or Johnson fires it at the keeper, there’s still sufficient coverage against the counter.

      I don’t see who’s out of position?

      • Bac says:

        As Craig Buerle said last night, if they don’t know how to execute the Diamond properly, they’re all out of position…

  7. Ed says:

    I get that Johnson likes being on the right more than he does the left. But we blow a hole on the left side of the defense with having him and Chandler flip flopped. Chandler is very right footed and it has shown over these past few games. He can play left back for sure but why wouldn’t you want your best player at the position playing there? Johnson is ambidextrous and has shown in the past that he can play and play well on the left. Seems to make more sense to have Chandler in his natural position at right back where he’s better defensively and offensively, and have Johnson on the left where he contributes just as well as he has on the right.

    • Justin El Matador says:

      I agree with this for the most part. I think Chandler has shown in the past that he can play on the left. Also, was his ball in on his left foot that led to our 2nd goal yesterday. Another reason I believe JK has them inverted is because he wants them to be able to cut inside both in the final 3rd to cause problems (see Johnson, yesterday), and also to put pressure on our opponents’ top quality midfields. The risk here is getting beat deep on the flanks, which we saw yesterday a few times. FJ, and especially Chandler, will have to be disciplined, pick their moments to get forward, and know when to pinch in defensively. (Note to Chandler, this is not when the player you’re defending is looking to get in behind via a long ball)

    • Hogatroge says:

      Chandler’s cross in against Turkey (that led to Dempsey’s goal) was left footed. It’s not like he’s completely incompetent over there.

  8. Increase says:

    It did seem that he shouldn’t have but so far so good. I can’t complain now that I have seen him at it.

  9. usa fan says:

    I actually think Johnson could play Germany. We are lucky to have him playing for us. Kudos to Bob Bradley for getting him to play for us.

    • Louis Z says:

      Then you are misinformed FJ and Williams was given to him. He didn’t even know they existed until someone gave his staff their phone numbers. There was an interview way back when a reporter asked FJ when BB contacted him. FJ said he never spoke to him, it was his people who first contact him, FJ said that he didn’t actually talk to him until he showed up at camp.

      • usa fan says:

        wow never heard that and I stay on top of the USMNT news constantly. Would love to see that source. thanks for info.

  10. Del Griffin says:

    I’d much rather watch this team take chances with the inherent risks on the counter than bunker bob’s style. I love this team and am so excited.

  11. Dc says:

    Maybe they were “out of position” a few times, but I feel more comfortable with these guys than almost any other fullback we have had in the last 4 world cups, good recovery speed, good skill with the ball, good marking for the most part.
    They are not the Mayor of Hamburg, but who is?

  12. Dc says:

    ps. love how Jozy is in the background of this photo taking notes. “ahhhh, that’s how you do it.”

  13. Tim F. says:

    It’s the wingers and centerbacks that are most worrisome; not the outside backs.

    • beto says:

      Disagree. Besler-Cameron, Gonzalez in reserve is as good of a cb situation as we have had in a while.

      Davis, Bedoya, Mix and Zusi are not world best but should be steady and can at times be game changers.

      Outside backs besides Johnson are clearly our weakest spot

    • QuakerOtis says:

      I think that Klinsmann made a few mistakes while selecting this team. First, Landon’s exclusin at the expense of at least 5 players on this roster, then playing his countryman Chandler over our homegrown talent, Damascus. There you have it. We are in a world of hurt for this World Cup.

      • Troy in his apartment says:

        I would wait and see who Jurgen deploys against Nigeria at LB before crowning Chandler. His gaffe was a long time coming ….not that it was exactly the same but he tucked far too inside. Turkey probably could have gotten more if they didnt try to exploit Yedlin the last 25 minutes. To Yedlin’s credit he held his own and then the final few minutes Turkey balanced it out and got a goal off of Chandler’s poor decision. It happens but it has to give Jurgen pause.

        That Chandler gaffe happen in the world cup and you may lose a game and your starting CB for the next one. That is a MAJOR error.

  14. Hayes says:

    I think Johnson on the right gives him some flexibility without moving Johnson all over the place. With Johnson on the right, he has the option of Beasley or Chandler on the left while maintaining the cohesion on the right.

  15. Hopper says:

    Chandler was very poor against Turkey. He was consistently out of position and made several bad passes that lead directly to dangerous chances the other way. I’m hoping he never gets on the field in Brazil (along with Julian Green).

    • QuakerOtis says:

      Agreed on Green, but I think you’re asking too much of Bease, even if you don’t rate Chandler. And even then, who would you have as backups?

    • Maykol says:

      Oh yeah because beasly will be our best bet against Germany, portugal and ghana right?

    • bryan says:

      ok, he got caught out of position a few times, but not consistently. look at this heat map and try to make that claim:

      link to

      as for his bad passing, yes, it was not great. 33 successful and 14 unsuccessful. that needs to go up. Johnson was 23 successful and 3 unsuccessful, for comparison.

      • Increase says:

        Woah, If you wanna see something. Check out the different area that Fabian and Yedlin played in.

        Yedlin did soooo much more defensive work than Johnson. Because of Mix?

        link to

        • bryan says:

          FYI that link was Chandler’s stuff. you have to change it to what you are trying to show and scroll down to the bottom of the “Events Filter” column. at the bottom you’ll see “Share Your Analysis” and a URL will pop up for you to copy. that’ll save whatever changes you make.

          anyway, yeah, that is nuts! Yedlin hardly even crossed the half! that’s unreal.

          • Bac says:

            They ditched the Diamond at halftime, so I guess not that surprising. Prob told him to stay home, pick spots to go up..

            • Increase says:

              Ya, must be it but I’m still impressed with Yedlin. He did a much better job than I would think he is capable of at this point and very disciplined too.

              I think Seattle almost mandates that he push up that high. He clearly knows how to stay back when told.

              • Troy in his apartment says:

                Yes Seattle does push him up high. That is why people pooing on him and his selection saying he has been getting burnt in Seattle dont get it. He is told to go end to end consitently. There are times where he is all the way near the outer end line and has to get back and most the time he does. Schmid wants him there. He has faith that Marshall will clean up if need be plus Yedlin will get back as fast anyone can.

                There was one game where Yedlin poor and that was New England. Schmid alluded to missing Yedlin, Dempsey, and Evans the day before New England (for after that game going forward). So Yedlin knew he was in the 30. Probably part of the reason he played poor-his mind being elsewhere.

          • Increase says:

            Ah, I used your link to get there. Thanks for the heads up. Here is the correct link.

            link to

  16. Shurls says:

    Been think about this for a while now and it is becoming more apparent that this teams lack of wide players should lead to a slight tactical shift. The only problem is that there is not a clear cut solution. I think that JK really loves the marauding fullbacks and we may have the horses to pull that off but we were definitely left exposed at the back.

    So a couple schools of thought. Play a dedicated 3 in the back which would push a wide midfielder to the bench. At this point I am not terribly upset at that because I think that our wide mid options are kind of redundant. So a 3-5-2 with advanced fullbacks providing the width and an extra cover in defense.

    Play four in the back and keep a midfield trio tight and narrow. Shaping up in a 4-3-1-2. It may be too defensive but you could go with Beckerman, Jones and Bradley with MB a license to roam forward. Depmsey at the AM and Jozy and Aron up top.
    Or you could put in Zusi in place of KB and have him flair up and out into the channels. Leaving Jones as the cover.

    I am more in favor of dropping either Zusi or Davis and adding in Beckerman to give a bit more steel into the midfield. This would really give Johnson more freedom to move forward and MB the confidence to do so as well but still leave 2 sitting in front of the back four. The only problem is creativity.

    Sorry for the ramble but there is just something missing from the team in every formation I can think of.

    • Increase says:

      I would love a back 3 but this version of a 442 if hard enough. A back 3 is would be brutal. With the Fullbacks we have though, it would be cool to try in the long run.

    • Lost in Space says:

      A 4-3-3 type with Triangles would work well getting some of our best players on the field at the same time.

      —————Aron J.————————–Dempsey——————
      Still have the overlapping outside backs, but with Bradly & Zusi/Davis/Mix playing more box-to-box (#8’s) to create and distribute but with the work rate to cover back when required. Dempsey & Aron can switch side to side playing off Jozy.
      Jones shields the CB’s and covers for the Outside backs when they bomb forward.
      IMO would really clog the center of the field on the defensive side of the ball….and be fluid in the attack with good passing lanes and triangles.

      • "The TX 2 Stepper" says:

        —————St. Zusi———————————Dempsey———

        I know that 5 in the back line is not popular in the modern game but considering our strengths and weaknesses we could benefit from playing narrow with 5 at the back and playing a quick transition game to build our attack.

        Center backs clear crosses. Outside backs keep wingers forced wide and challenge crosses. Center minds clog up the middle and pressure long distance shooters. CF, LAM and RAM provide defense from the front by pressuring the back fours distribution ala Tahiti in the CONFED Cup. They got smoked because they had sub par athletes but because of their tactical approach they were tough to break down through the first 50 minutes in there matches and the broke like crazy 5 to 6 times a game creating chances for themselves. That “Ricky” guy was like willing the team forward with surging run after run. Someone in MLS should have signed him for cheap.

        • "The TX 2 Stepper" says:

          Offensively the formation turns into the “Wingless Wonder” of my old beloved AC Milan with LAM and RAM taking up positions around the corners if the 18 yard box. Bradley stepping forward of the center circle while Jones holds in the back half of the center circle as an anchor and cover in front of the back 3. The outside backs act as pressure valves for the Front Four (including BB90) or they combine and look for runs in behind to overload the edges of the box and stretch the defense.

  17. Dunno says:

    Disagree with a lot of the anti-chandler comments. In first 45 minutes, Brad Davis was often out of position and pinching too close to our central midfielders, leaving a huge gap in front of Chandler whenever the ball was switched over the top. I was at the match, then re-watched on DVR. The amount of times Davis was out of position on defense was frightening. For the 10 minutes that Zusi switched sides and played LM, Chandler looked less exposed. Turkey’s movement up-top was very good and seemed to confuse our center back’s at times. In a few instances, Beasler and Cameron seemed unsure of who to pick up, or leave to the next defender.

    Chandler had more winning tackles than any other player on the field. He broke up plays, and was smart about when to dive in/win a tackle. He also picked out passes to Jozy/Clint, skipping our midfield and catching Turkey’s back 4 off guard. In my opinion, he is tougher, bigger and more athletic than Beasley. He was nowhere near perfect, with a glaring giveaway that resulted in a turnover, then PK.. however, he most likely earned himself a starting position at LB. Jurgen gave him a full match knowing he needs as many minutes as possible to be match fit.

    • bryan says:

      yeah, Davis was all over the place and it just didn’t seem like he knew what he was doing today. yes, him and Zusi did switch sides briefly, but look at his heat map. it’s all over the place:

      link to

      his passing was junk too. 11 complete and 7 incomplete. 2 complete crosses and 4 incomplete. not impressive at all. polar opposite to his game off the bench against AZE.

      • Dirk McQuigley says:

        Davis is an older, balder, much slower Brek Shea who can cross. As such he is best used as a sub against tired legs.

    • BobbyB says:

      Agree. Chandler had a decent game and far from a terrible.

      He switches off sometimes as evidenced by his giveaway, but agree with Dunno above.

      Beas did what was asked from him in qualifiers, gave everything for the team and is ready to motivate and deputy when called on… and that is why he is going to Brazil.

  18. Joe A. says:

    I don’t know.. I know Fabian is comfortable on the right but the reality is we need him on the left.

  19. Scott e Dio93 says:

    Yedellin got better with cut-up passes and tackles, Yedellin was bit nervous a first.

    Chandler was terrible first 20 minutes, USNT was lucky not go down 4-0, in those first 20 minutes. Chandler was a good second minus that penalty mistake.

  20. Jonathan Tavarez says:

    It is just too obvious that it should be Besler, Gonzalez, Cameron, Beasley with Beckerman (back midfield), Bradley (central midfield), Johnson and Diskerud (Wingers), and Johannson with Wondolowski as fowards. If you want to go with the a little more experience route then you put Clint Dempsey in Diskerud’s place and sub him in the 60th minute. But in all honesty, I rather have someone who distributes the ball more and scores than someone who shines ocassionally, and looks laxidasical or low on steam the entire game. Dempsey lacks good decision making skills and coughs the ball over too many times in the final third of the field, which proves to be costly with regards to forgone opportunities to score which I don’t have to tell you comes very little in the world cup stage. You have to make the best of all those chances because they only come once in a while and a mix diskerud would make the best of those opportunities because he widens the field, distributes, and attacks when he has to.

    • BobbyB says:

      Gonzalez is not very good at this level and would be eaten alive as starting centerback.

      • Jonathan Tavarez says:

        I dont believe he’s very good at all as well which is why if I had a say or my choice of the litter I would of put a Brad Evans alongside a Geof Cameron. Perhaps Evans with Besler and as a substitute I’d put J. Brooks. I thought Evans was solid all throughout the internationational friendlies and the gold cup. So it came as a surprise to me as a complete shock and surprise when they named the 23 man roster that they had elected to keep Gonzalez especially after all the mistakes he made leading up to WC camp. His inability to participate in the WC camp due to the injury he had sustained prior to coming to camp. It just didn’t make sense to me. But seeing as I have no choice center back is a toss up between Besler, Gonzalez, and John Anthony Brooks. Seeing as he has yet made an error in these days leading to the tournament I have kept him there. It is subject to change should he mess up and show signs of deteriorating performance in the coming days to the WC.

    • sregis says:

      Well, can’t knock you for lack of originality.

  21. beto says:

    My opinion has not changed. And i have been trying to be open minded about this. Yedlin, Chandler and Green are not our most disciplined, experienced or WC ready players at those positions. Fact.

    I do not feel comfortable with them on the field at this level yet. Potential does not help when going up against Kwadwo Asamoah or Cristiano Ronaldo.. Discipline, expierence and drive will. Id rather have Beasley in the game or even Parkhurst. These guys are obviously inferior athletes but know where to position and how to play as a team.

    Glad to see Fabian getting confortable at RB. He and Cameron have both been all over the field for the US, as needed, but now are settling in good positions.

    • Birgit Calhoun says:

      I agree. There is a time and place to try out new players. I also hope that Altidore does not make up for his lack of goal scoring by fouling the opposition. It happened during the Turkey game. The Turkish players all looked technically superior to ours. So it would be a mistake to try fancy stuff for entertainment. Yedlin is not experienced enough with the real soccer world to judge when he can venture into an attack. Fabian Johnson obviously knows how to do that and of course, Beasley. Julian Green is going to be outplayed by anyone who knows him and would have a really hard to come up against players from Ghana. It shouldn’t be forgotten that Kevin Prince Boateng pretty much ended Michael Ballack’s career. He is a nasty reminder of how ugly the game can get. Friendlies are usually tame. There wil not be any holding back just because Yedlin and Green are young and inexperienced. Chandler does not have nearly the tactical sense to run an attack and then get into a defensive position immediately, either. Another weak spot is Brooks. He needs to get used to the team. But experiments should have been ironed out a long time before the final test of the World Cup.

  22. Petro4ever says:

    I posted about this yesterday after the game, but I think the key at this point is Klinsmann picking a back line and sticking with it for the full Nigeria game and most of the Belgium scrimmage so that the players can iron out some of the positioning issues from Sunday. Honestly, my preference has always been Beasley over Chandler at LB, but the reality is the competition between them is more or less a wash. Chandler has spent more time as a defender and transitions from defending to attacking better, but he’s right-footed and has a tendency drift out of position when we have the ball — this was always an issue with him, even in his initial appearances with us as a RB. Beasley has more big-game experience and is used to playing on the left side of the formation, but because the position is still somewhat new to him, he’s more cautious and less attack-minded. Both are fast on and off the ball and can recover from mistakes most of the time. Either is capable of starting and turning in a solid performance with a few mistakes sprinkled in throughout the match.

    Most of the issues we saw Sunday are fixable, but only if whoever is playing LB has the chance to get game minutes with the rest of the line and work out positioning. If that player is Chandler then that’s fine, but then we need to see Chandler for the max amount of time possible from here on out, even if he makes mistakes. Reps are what will solve our back line issues, further personnel changes will just make them worse.

  23. Bac says:

    Option A: Go with these 4 guys… but ditch the Diamond
    Option B: Go with any of the other outside back options that didn’t make the 23, or the 30
    I’d vote option A…

    • Increase says:

      Ya, diamond only in situations where we need a goal. I think the US is trying to keep Ghana guessing. I bet we practice a 4231 in our last 2 warm ups before the WC. Certainly against Belgium.

      • I agree. I think Klinsmann has been doing three things.

        One, increasing the competition for the starting 11 by having no sacred idols. Yes, this has led to a less than settled back line and team formation but it is also taking the whole operation up a notch. I think this is a good thing for the long term. The standard is higher. You better come in and make a difference and if you do, you can make that position yours.

        Two, playing his cards close to his chest. Previous US success has come from bunker and counter. He’s publicly stated that he wants to change the US style coming in to the position but he also doesn’t want to give Ghana, Portugal and Germany a look at his hand before the game is even played. By continuing to tinker with different systems, it will keep the opponent’s teams honest in their game plan for the US.

        And three, we *still* can’t compete on a technical, speed of play level with the elite teams. What does that leave us? Speed and athleticism. We’re getting there but he also made sure to bring horses that can run for days. This will be key for us to compete. Without speed, we’d definitely be toast and would probably be back to a bunker and set piece (no counter!) team again.

        I’m completely stoked.

        Finally, I’m going to lay it all out there. My prediction. We’re going to beat Ghana 3-0. Tie Portugal and tie Germany and get out of the group on goal differential.

  24. bryan says:

    i honestly think Davis’ awful game and TERRIBLE passing led to Chandler being caught to far up and Besler getting left out to dry. that left side just didn’t look good at all. which is weird because Chandler and Davis looked so good against AZE!

  25. Alex H says:

    Chandler has done nothing to warrant inclusion into the team. His cameo during qualifying went poorly and nothing seems to have changed these last 2 games. I would like to see the following: Fabian, Besler, Gonzo, Cameron, because Cameron over Chandler is a bigger gain than Cameron over Gonzo (assuming Gonzo is healthy). Fabian can play at either end and his preference is, frankly, a luxury that we don’t have. It’s a pretty common sense back line, so I know that Jurgen will never try it out.

    • django says:

      +1 So obvious and makes so much sense that Cameron at right back and Fabian at left back would be key elements for the strongest possible USMNT defense. But Klinsmann trying to be fancy and he has a thing for Timmy Chandler who is not strong defensively and is going to wilt under the pressure in Brazil and get chewed up just like he did in Honduras. Will be ugly and we saw a mini preview yesterday. Plus against Germany he and Julian Green will be worthless, psychologically incapable of putting up a fight against the team their relatives back home are cheering for. Thankfully that most likely will not be a problem for Fabian and Jermaine Jones.

      • BobbyB says:

        Gonzalez is not very good at this level. Cameron with very few reps has showed he is much better already.

        • Alex H says:

          Better? Maybe. Much Better? Don’t think so. I’ll leave it to JK to decide who is better but the issue is not between Gonzalez and Cameron but rather Gonzalez and Chandler. Cameron can fill equally well for both so he should replace the weaker of the two which I think is Chandler.

    • QuakerOtis says:

      Feel free to not rate him, but “nothing” is not at all true, especially given the dirth of options at FB.

      Here’s what warrant’s his inclusion: First, he was born with attributes you can’t teach — speed, relative strength, and athleticism. Second, he trained as a fullback. Third, he played as a fullback in the Bundesliga, sometimes well, sometimes poorly. Fourth, we needed speedy athletic FBs with experience in a top league, because we were drawn into a helluva group with speedy speedsters on every flank. Fifth, while he was abysmal in Honduras (where the whole team sucked), he played well enough *close enough* to the World Cup to warrant a look in camp. Sixth, he apparently showed better than much older, slower, albeit more experienced players in camp.

      I do not think Cameron is bad at RB (Stoke and what not), but there’s nothing “fancy” about moving a guy who’s played in the center most of his life back into the center of the park. And I think Cameron has looked good in the middle. We move him there and benefit from Chandler on the wings.

      As for how we use Chandler, I would prefer Bease and Bedoya to start on the left, make Chandler an early second half sub if we’re behind. But at this point, the Chandler hate is as old as the Donovan memorial. And no, those two did not compete for a spot…

      • Alex H says:

        Wow he has un-teachable speed, athleticism and strength… does Marvell Wynne. Unfortunately Timmy doesn’t rate too highly on the teachable stuff like “Pass the ball to the guys wearing the same colored shirts.” or “Don’t let the other team take the ball away from you and run unobstructed to goal.” Chandler is a wonderful fullback for the US on paper but it seems silly that in all of the time he has been a US player that the pro-Chandler folks need to point to his paper worth rather than real achievements.

        • jigones says:

          Best comment today.

        • analyst/therapist says:

          He clearly lacks some polish, but its alarming how many posters disregard a mostly strong campaign in the Bundesliga because Chandler made a few mistakes with Davis and Green in front of him, neither of whom were helpful defensively. He had a lot on his plate in a pretty wide-open game. People on this board tend to jump to very quick conclusions, use small sample sizes, etc. its crazy.

          • KingGoogleyEye says:

            “People on this board tend to jump to very quick conclusions”

            Over a friendly, at that!

  26. slowleftarm says:

    Johnson is certain starter and deservedly so. Chandler was horrendous yesterday and if he’s better than the guys we already had, he hasn’t shown it during the few occasions he could be bothered to turn out for the USMNT. I’m not at all convinced by DMB at LB either though. Maybe Brooks alongside Besler, with Cameron going out to RB and Johnson on the left? Not that Brooks has shown much either. I guess Omar remains a possibility too. None of these options are all that appealing.

  27. Brain Guy says:

    Chandler at LB is a bigger potential disaster than the omission of Donovan could ever be. He goes 15 months between MNT matches (and I’m not assigning blame for any of that), and now we hope he develops some chemistry and communication with the rest of the defense in about a month. Sure a month is a lot of time for training,but yesterday’s game showed that Chandler is still figuring things out. We are long past the time when, in JK’s words, we need to “improve a bit” or “get some things a little better.” It’s crunch time, and Chandler did not look very, er, crunchy.

  28. Bac says:

    Several months ago – Yedlin getting props & a lot of support for a call up
    A few games before call ups – Yedlin has bad outings, gives up goals – loses support for call up
    Prevailing opinion – Kenny Cooper playing in front of him left him exposed on an island

    Is it plausible to apply the same to Chandler with Davis then Green in front of him?
    Is it plausible that the Diamond made this worse? The whole back line looked out of sorts?

    Im ok with these 4 fullbacks, Evans & Parkie just too slow. Love to have the luxury of FJ on the wing but we dont have that option.
    Fixing the Diamond will help

    • Jack says:

      Well on the goal he is just lazy on the ball, it’s not even about being out of position.

      • Bac says:

        Totally agree, and he looked gassed too..
        My point was it would help..not solve…whether it’s him or Beas…

    • The Other Jeff says:

      Chandler showed some good things and other than at the end didn’t do anything awful. Same for Besler. Same for Davis. You can’t judge their defense one individual at a time, the problems were tactical – their collective spacing just wasn’t sound. Turkey took 10 shots from in or near the box on their collective side of the pitch… in the first half. It was frightening to watch how easily and how often it happened.

  29. Amru says:

    I don’t care what anyone says Jones is a defensive liability. He does a great job of pressing up the field, but can get caught up there, especially against more skilled opponents, and ends up having to try and chase the play down. He also has a habit of not tracking players all the way to the box and just hopes that someone else picks them up.

  30. bryan says:

    weather forecast for Jacksonville is all high 80s and low 90s with humidity up to around 90%. looks like scattered t-storms on game day. if you look at Manaus’ forecast, it’s pretty much identical. Nigeria game should give us a good idea of how our players will deal with the Amazon.

    • QuakerOtis says:

      We are going to have a tough time against these African studs. I love African teams. I like to look at their bulges all game long from the front row.

  31. just saying says:

    Everyone is just over reacting to everything and over analyzing excessively. Green, chandler, yedlin, look out of place or less productive because they’re relatively new to this set up. Why do you think the Bradley, Jones midfield is way better because they are more aware of each others tendencies, all of those players are talented and I’m sure they are integrating better and better every practice don’t be surprised to see a over powering USA against Nigeria. Also take in to consideration the fact that they are working hard on their fitness as well so they have a little heavy legs so as time goes on in the next couple weeks they will be as their best.

  32. jigones says:

    Why not go balls out……. Are chances are slim anyways.

    I say we go with:
    Dempsey. Mix

    JJ. KB. Bradley

    FJ. Cameron. OG. Yedlin

    JJ and Bradley are box to box with KB holding and tackling anything around him. You send FB or Yedlin forward with KB, Cameron and OG hanging back.

  33. soccerhorn says:

    Move Fabien to left back. Cameron to right back, where he played all year for Stoke. Omar and Besler in the middle.

    And send Chandler and that hideous face back to the ez chair in Frankfurt he spent the last 15 months in.

    • Alex C says:

      So sad that some people feel the need to say things like that. We will all be judged by the words that we use.

  34. Murray Braun says:

    If JK had his wish, we would be playing with 10 German-Americans and Howard in goal. He just couldn’t pull it off because the other five field players are either injured (Williams) or playing in lower divisions like Green (Morales, Wooten, etc.).
    So, JK takes Davis who is a liability as a starter, and Yedlin who’s inexperienced and cannot
    be expected to rise to the occasion in Brazil. Brooks who looks lost in a USMNT shirt, somewhat repairs his image as potentially useful at CB vs Turkey. Gonzo, another Brooks look alike, plays a half in two friendlies coming off an injury, which doesn’t answer the nagging question of who else should JK have chosen for the roster.
    Donovan would have positioned himself better than Davis. JK has dug a grave for the USMNT in Brazil against the group of death.

    • Shoeless Joe Gaetjens says:



      I will be abandoning whatever this sport is to focus full-time on staring at the mirror in a dimly lit bathroom and contemplating the bottomlessness of awful. Please don’t tell anybody.



      Nobody has to know about this.

  35. David M says:

    It’s unbelievable that Chandler keeps getting credit for the cross that resulted in Demsey’s goal! Chandler was all alone and delivered a very poor cross that will be easily cleared 99 times out of a 100. Yet, because the Turkish defender made a hash out of it, Chandler now keeps getting brownie points.

  36. Steven says:

    PLAY BESSLER at Left Back!!!! F. Johnson, Cameron, Brooks, Bessler – Pull Bradley back, Demsey behind the forwards and play johanssen and altidore up top. Use Jones as a central marker at right mid and use Davis as a wider left mid

  37. EndangeredMD says:

    It has been stated by Elder Bradley and JK that Beasley may be the best defender on the team. I think a 3-3-2-2 is not tooooo crazy……..

    Cameron— Besler—-Beasley
    Deuce———–Bradley (with frequent switching)
    Can you say defense????Thoughts????

  38. Steven says:

    Actually not bad except I would prefer Brooks instead of Beasley(too small in back 3) and switch Beasley and Chandler(use chandler as a sub) in that formation or swap chandler and johnson, like that too

  39. EndangeredMD says:


  40. Gruff and Manly Bob L says:

    I got almost the same shot of Johnson’s Goal ! ! link to