USMNT Roundtable: 30 Man Reaction
The 30-man squad has been announced, officially kicking off the World Cup preliminaries for USMNT, and allowing OTF Soccer the excuse for its first USMNT roundtable of our Brazil 2014 coverage…
And we’re off.
Jurgen Klinsmann has named his 30-to-be-whittled-down-to-23. There will be one or two friendlies to play before that happens, and one (or two) friendlies to play after the axe falls on seven hopefuls. Then it’s full steam ahead to Brazil, June 16 and Ghana, followed by Portugal, followed by Germany.
The World Cup may not be kicked off, but don’t be fooled: it has begun. OTF Soccer will be here throughout. More importantly, the USMNT roundtable will be here throughout.
We start the World Cup roundtabling with a simple question: what caught your eye about Klinsi’s 30-man squad?
John Anthony Brooks. Take a bow, sir.
Here’s a quick recap of his season:
August 10, 2013: Bundesliga debut with the side he helped win promotion to the German top flight, Hertha BSC. Scores in a 6-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt.
August 14, 2013: USMNT debut, plays full game in 4-3 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina in Sarajevo.
August 24, 2013: Subbed from Hertha’s 1-0 win over Hamburg in the 23rd minute for tactical reasons.
November 19, 2013: 2nd USMNT cap; plays full game in 1-0 loss to Austria in Vienna.
December 15, 2013: Subbed from Hertha’s 3-2 win over Werder Bremen in the 38th minute for tactical reasons. Manager Jos Luhukay says Brooks needs to “become an adult”.
March 5, 2014: 3rd USMNT; plays full game in 2-0 loss to Ukraine in Cyprus.
April 13, 2014: Benched for Hertha’s 2-1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen due to missing training after a new tattoo failed to heal. “I don’t have any understanding for that,” says Jos Luhukay.
April 26, 2014: Scores in Hertha’s first Bundesliga win since February, a 2-0 win over Eintracht Braunschweig. It is also Hertha’s last win of the Bundesliga season.
May 13, 2014: Named to USMNT 30-man preliminary squad for Brazil 2014.
He has yet to play a really good game in a USMNT shirt. He wasn’t on my list for Klinsi’s 30 and he’s never been in my expected 23. But he’s in the camp and he’s shown a remarkable capacity to bounce back from his mistakes.
I took my eye off John Brooks, but I’ll be watching his progress closely over the next few weeks.
Preferring to discuss those in camp that can help the U.S., instead of dwelling on those that will have no impact on this go-around, one name jumped off the page to me more than the others: DeAndre Yedlin. His inclusion was both unsettling and encouraging.
The prevailing, and thus unnerving, thought behind including Yedlin is the fact that Jurgen Klinsmann continues to view the right back role for Brazil as wide open. While he will certainly want to continue to push guys and create competition, calling up the young fullback from Seattle, who many pundits believe will not be in the final 23, points to Klinsi wanting to possibly give himself multiple options. This close to the tournament, such uncertainty won’t instill confidence in the American fans.
While not a lock to miss out on the trip, the battle for all the spots on the plane is so close it’s no surprise most wouldn’t include Yedlin. That said, his inclusion in the pre-World Cup camp is encouraging for the future of American soccer. This will be the third time Klinsmann will be in close contact with DeAndre on the training ground and the experience gained is immeasurable.
Yedlin possesses the skill to drive forward and recovery speed simply not otherwise present at the right back position in the U.S. pool. His arrival at this camp signifies the beginning of an era, even if the hard work doesn’t culminate in a trip to Brazil.
A strong 30-man roster was selected by Coach Klinsmann and though there were no real surprises, a couple of choices stood out.
The first was the decision to leave Eddie Johnson off the roster entirely. Personally, I thought EJ was going to get the call up for this camp, but would fail to make the final 23-man squad.
But look at this roster more closely, and it becomes clear why EJ was left out. Some may argue his off color comments about his DC United teammates revealed he could be a locker room distraction. Also, there is Klinsmann decision to move Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey out of the midfielders bucket and into the forwards slots.
Finally there is the fact that EJ is currently out of form and has not scored a goal for his DC United team: Klinsmann did not want to waste a roster spot. There was just not enough room for another forward.
The second eye-catcher about the roster is the inclusion of Timmy Chandler. Chandler has not been with the USMNT for over 15 months. This begs a question: why was he selected? The simple answer: Cristiano Ronaldo.
I think Klinsmann has not decided who’s going to be his right fullback when the World Cup kicks off. Klinsi went so far as to select five potential right fullbacks in this camp: Geoff Cameron, Chandler, Brad Evans, Michael Parkhurst, and DeAndre Yedlin. I expect three players will be selected here, with Cameron and Chandler getting the start depending on the tactics deployed for each match.
It should be stressed that Cameron is the utility man here, with the ability to cover for center back and right back. However, that surely is a lot of players selected to fight for one position. To me, this limited the amount of forwards Klinsmann could take into this 30-man camp.
Essentially, one could argue it was Cristiano Ronaldo that knocked Eddie Johnson out of the World Cup.
To join the next roundtable, contact Austin Fido @canetop.