World Soccer Source

Soccer and Football News and Commentary on World Soccer, the United States Men's National Team (USMNT), Major League Soccer (MLS), World Football, and American Soccer. All articles, opinions, and commentary by Colin Reese. Twitter: @COLINREESE. Facebook: WorldSoccerSource

Gold Cup: The NT Positional Depth Chart

May 8th, 2015

 

William Yarbrough and Ventura Alvarado (Photo: US Soccer)

William Yarbrough and Ventura Alvarado (Photo: US Soccer)

 

By: COLIN REESE

 

GOALKEEPER

     Starter: Brad Guzan

     Back-Up: William Yarbrough

     Third GK: Clint Irwin

 

RIGHT BACK

     Starter: DeAndre Yedlin

     Back-Up: Fabian Johnson

 

RIGHT CENTER BACK

     Starter: Ventura Alvarado

     Back-Up: Maurice Edu

 

LEFT CENTER BACK

     Starter: John Brooks

     Back-Up: Michael Orozco

 

LEFT BACK

     Starter: Greg Garza

     Back-Up: Brek Shea

 

DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER

     Starter: Geoff Cameron

     Back-Up: Jermaine Jones

 

CENTER MIDFIELDER

     Starter: Michael Bradley

     Back-Up: Dillon Powers

 

RIGHT ATTACKING MIDFIELDER

     Starter: Joe Corona

     Back-Up: Alejandro Bedoya

 

CENTRAL ATTACKING MIDFIELDER

     Starter: Benny Feilhaber

     Back-Up: Mix Diskerud

 

LEFT ATTACKING MIDFIELDER

     Starter: Clint Dempsey

     Back-Up: Kelyn Rowe

 

STRIKER

     Starter: Juan Agudelo

     Back-Up: Jozy Altidore

 

 

 

Looking at the First Team

 

Guzan in goal with Yedlin, Alvarado, Brooks, and Garza as the Back Four is a strong defense. American soccer fans can be proud and confident with this defense.

 

Cameron and Bradley as the defensive midfielders with Corona, Feilhaber, and Dempsey is a balanced and talented combination of defensive midfielders and attacking midfielders.

 

This midfield even has the all-important duo of a stay-at-home defensive midfielder with a box-to-box midfielder, and it has a true Number 10 flanked by technical and creative attacking midfielders with lots of freedom to float around.

 

Agudelo as a striker gives the United States a very talented striker that is creative, fast, tall, and strong, and he can score with both feet and his head. Agudelo also can create his own scoring chances and set up others to score.

 

 

Hope For the Future of American Soccer

May 7th, 2015

 

Bradford Jamieson IV (Photo: Hana Asano/LA Galaxy)

Bradford Jamieson IV (Photo: Hana Asano/LA Galaxy)

 

 

By: COLIN REESE

 

 

There is much for which to be hopeful for the future of American soccer and the United States Men’s National Team. Plenty of talent is coming through the pipeline.

 

The United States has technical and athletic players that are young and youngish at virtually every position.

 

In goal, the USA has William Yarbrough, Clint Irwin, Cody Cropper, and Zack Steffen.

 

In defense, the USA has DeAndre Yedlin, John Brooks, Andrew Farrell, Greg Garza, Erik Palmer-Brown, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Matt Miazga, and Christian Dean.

 

In the midfield, the Stars and Stripes have the likes of Mix Diskerud, Joe Corona, Dillon Powers, José Villarreal, Kellyn Acosta, Benji Joya, Emerson Hyndman, Luis Gil, and Paul Arriola.

 

In the attack, the United States has Juan Agudelo, Gyasi Zardes, Bradford Jamieson IV, Jordan Allen, Rubio Rubin, Mario Rodriguez, Alonso Hernandez, Junior Flores, and Romain Gall.

 

These young players coupled with others that weren’t listed along with the players in the 25-32 year old range give the USMNT a deep pool of talent where many need experience, playing time, and seasoning.

 

But, one thing is for sure, and that is that the skilled and proven experienced players can be started with a few of the younger players to give them experience, seasoning, and chemistry with the senior squad.

 

Of all of the younger players in the pool, with the exception of players like Agudelo, Yedlin, Alvarado, and Brooks who have proven themselves with the National Team, Bradford Jamieson IV really stands out as the most exciting national team prospect of the group.

 

Jamieson has an excellent first touch, advanced technical ability, speed, fearlessness, size, vision, excellent passing ability, and lots and lots of speed and quickness. Jamieson also has the thing that American soccer has been looking for: a player that can take defenders off the dribble and score solo goals from the run of play. Jamieson will attack defenders directly and continue to do so even when defenders take possession from him on his previous dribbling attempts.

 

If the United States wants to use a 4-2-3-1, 4-4-2, or 4-3-3 formation, there is room for Jamieson to get some real minutes with the National Team.

 

There are many conflicting views of who should start for the United States, but if we look at a 4-2-3-1 formation with the experienced and proven players, then there is room to put Jamieson in to play the first half or the last 20-30 minutes of the game.

 

What is a proven USA XI in a 4-2-3-1?

 

I’d argue that Brad Guzan, DeAndre Yedlin, Ventura Alvarado, John Brooks, Greg Garza, Geoff Cameron, Michael Bradley, Alejandro Bedoya/Joe Corona, Mix Diskerud, Clint Dempsey, and Jozy Altidore is a non-controversial and strong starting line-up.

 

If we look at that line-up, what does it hurt to start Juan Agudelo over Altidore and Jamieson over Bedoya and Corona just to give him experience and the squad an explosive and quality attacker?

 

Furthermore, how could it hurt to give Dillon Powers minutes in the midfield and to give Andrew Farrell minutes at center back?

 

Surely, these players are good enough to see minutes in friendlies or in the first round of the Gold Cup against truly weak opponents.

 

The most important thing is that MLS appears to be producing more and more technical and athletic defenders, midfielders, and forwards.

 

Despite being produced here, these players are demonstrating a level of technical ability along the lines of Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, and Michael Bradley.

 

Once again, of all of these players, Jamieson is by far the most polished and exciting of these young players, and Jamieson is the type of creative and skilled attacking player that the United States has been waiting for more of since the appearance of Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey.

 

Jamieson’s technical ability, speed, and 1v1 skills are truly special by any standard. The fact that an 18-year-old American player that was born and raised in the United States is displaying these skills is a reason for hope for the undeniable rise of American soccer.

 

Let us not forget all of the other promising young players that are defenders, midfielders, and forwards. It will be interesting to see which players begin to stand out more and more from the others.

 

Looking toward the Gold Cup, perhaps Powers, Farrell, and Jamieson are the most deserving of surprising roster inclusions for that tournament. With proven players largely already filling up the 23-man Gold Cup roster, there is room for Farrell, Powers, and Jamieson on this summer’s roster.

 

The continued improvement of American soccer will depend on risk. The players starting for the National Team should be consistent performers at the club level or at least proven performers at the club or international level, but the United States needs to start incorporating its younger players that display the most skill.

 

 

Champions League Semifinals: Juventus Can Beat Real Madrid

April 30th, 2015

 

Arturo Vidal (Photo: Giorgio Perottino/REUTERS)

Arturo Vidal (Photo: Giorgio Perottino/REUTERS)

 

 

By: COLIN REESE

 

Once again, Barcelona and Real Madrid have been playing the best club football in all of World Football, but in the match-up of Juventus against Real Madrid in the Champions League Semifinals, Juventus is not to be taken likely.

 

Juventus is a giant of World Football, and the argument can be made that Juventus has the best defense and the best midfield in all of club football, plus Carlos Tevez is Juve’s striker and the top scorer in Serie A.

 

In the defense, Juventus has Gigi Buffon in goal, and they can also use three defenders with two wingbacks or they can use a traditional Back Four with two outside backs and two center backs.

 

Juventus’ defense is the Italian national team’s defense, but by using a traditional Back Four, Juventus can field more midfielders.

 

Juventus’ defense contains Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, and Giorgio Chiellini, not to mention Angelo Ogbonna, who will soon be one of the best central defenders in the world.

 

Even without Barzagli playing in a three-man defense, Ogbonna is an incredible defender with almost unmatched pace, outstanding technical ability, and excellent marking and tackling abilities. Ogbonna is left-footed, but he is good with his right foot, which allows him to play as the right defender better than Chiellini whose right foot isn’t nearly as refined.

 

A Juventus Back Four would contain Stephan Lichtsteiner, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, and Patrice Evra, and this defense with an overload of two-way midfielders in front of them is difficult to break down or penetrate.

 

The midfield is perhaps Juve’s biggest advantage, and Juventus possesses a monster midfield, even with Paul Pogba likely out injured for the first leg of the semifinal.

 

The Old Lady can start Arturo Vidal, Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio, and Roberto Pereyra at the same time, and if Pogba is available then they can use Pereyra, Pirlo, Pogba, Marchisio, and Vidal all at the same time with only one striker: Tevez.

 

In this final formation, Pirlo would be lining up behind Pereyra, Pogba, Vidal, and Marchisio from right to left, and that would pose a problem for Real Madrid.

 

Looking at Real Madrid’s midfield, James Rodriguez, Toni Kroos, and Isco is a world-class midfield, but Juventus’ midfield is overwhelming.

 

All of Juventus’ midfielders are two-way midfielders, and every single one is world-class and capable of scoring incredible goals.

 

All of their midfielders pass and move and cover for one another, and they all run non-stop.

 

Even Pirlo who is often seen as a languid player is a grandmaster at covering tons of ground and controlling games while looking like he is barely breaking a sweat.

 

Perhaps Real Madrid is the heavy favorite because less people watch Serie A these days, but make no mistake about it, Real Madrid’s coach, Carlo Ancelotti, and all of his players consider Juventus to be a giant of an opponent that they fully respect and recognize as an elite opponent.

 

The big question for Juventus will be which tactical scheme is the best to use against Real Madrid.

 

Is it better to go with three marking central defenders lining up from right to left, or is it better to use as many of Juventus’ elite two-way midfielders as possible to win the battle of the midfield?

 

In this match-up, Juventus has the best center midfielder in the world: Vidal.

 

So, does using three at the back diminish Juventus’ ability to control possessing and dictate the style and tempo of the game?

 

One important note about Juventus is that Marchisio is often overlooked and underrated, but the Italy international can play any position in the midfield where he can attack at pace or defend with tireless energy.

 

Marchisio also possesses a formidable shot with both feet, and he has an enormous amount of experience. He is more experienced and proven than Real Madrid’s fabulous midfielder, Isco.

 

Real Madrid is the favorite in this match-up, but this is really an even match-up where Juventus has the better defense and midfield, plus they have a feared and world-class goal-scorer in Tevez.

 

This will be a riveting Champions League Semifinal.

 

Here are some of the line-ups and formations we could see from Juventus against Real Madrid:

 

Juventus XI (4-3-1-2): Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Bonucci, Chiellini, Evra; Pereyra, Pirlo, Marchisio; Vidal; Morata, Tevez. (Assuming Pogba is still injured)

 

Juventus XI (3-5-2): Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichsteiner, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio; Morata, Tevez.

 

Juventus XI (4-5-1): Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Bonucci, Chiellini, Evra; Pirlo; Pereyra, Pogba, Vidal, Marchisio; Tevez.

 

 

The Best American Footballers (May 2015)

April 27th, 2015

 

Clint Dempsey. (Photo: Getty Images)

Clint Dempsey. (Photo: Getty Images)

 

 

By: COLIN REESE

 

After the Mexico friendly and with the 2015 Gold Cup a few months away, World Soccer Source ranks the Best American Footballers (May 2015 Edition).

 

The players are listed in order in groups of five with their position or positions and their club team. “GK” denotes Goalkeeper. “DF” denotes Defender. “MF” denotes Midfielder. “F” donates Forward.

 

Here are the rankings:

 

1-5: Clint Dempsey (F/MF, Seattle Sounders), Michael Bradley (MF, Toronto FC), Benny Feilhaber (MF, Sporting KC), Jermaine Jones (MF/DF, New England Revolution), Juan Agudelo (F, New England Revolution).

 

6-10: Jozy Altidore (F, Toronto FC), Geoff Cameron (DF/MF, Stoke City), Ventura Alvarado (DF, Club América), Mix Diskerud (MF, NYC FC), Joe Corona (MF, Club Tijuana).

 

11-15: Brad Guzan (GK, Aston Villa), Tim Howard (GK, Everton), Alejandro Bedoya (MF, Nantes), DeAndre Yedlin (DF/MF, Tottenham), Greg Garza (DF, Club Tijuana).

 

16-20: Dillon Powers (MF, Colorado Rapids), Michael Orozco (DF, Puebla), Fabian Johnson (DF/MF, Hoffenheim) Maurice Edu (MF/DF, Philadelphia Union), Charlie Davies (F, New England Revolution).

 

21-25: Aron Jóhannsson (F, AZ Alkmaar), William Yarbrough (GK, Club León), John Brooks (DF, Hertha Berlin), Andrew Farrell (DF, New England Revolution), Gyasi Zardes (F, LA Galaxy).

 

26-30:  Kelyn Rowe (MF, New England Revolution), Teal Bunbury (F, New England Revolution), Brek Shea (DF/MF, Orlando City SC), José Villarreal (F/MF, LA Galaxy), Bradford Jamieson IV (F/MF, LA Galaxy).

 

 

What’s the Best USMNT Gold Cup Roster (April 2015)?

April 23rd, 2015

 

 Joe Corona (Photo: George Frey/Getty Images )

Joe Corona (Photo: George Frey/Getty Images )

 

 

By: COLIN REESE

 

Brad Guzan, DeAndre Yedlin, Ventura Alvarado, John Brooks, Greg Garza, Geoff Cameron, Michael Bradley, Mix Diskerud, Joe Corona, Juan Agudelo, and Clint Dempsey is the Best USMNT XI in a Diamond 4-4-2 formation for the 2015 Gold Cup, and below is the best 23-man roster USMNT fans can hope to see this summer.

 

The 23-man roster is made up of three goalkeepers, eight defenders, eight midfielders, and four forwards, and the group below allows for several different formations and tactical schemes.

 

Much of this roster consists of proven and very experienced players. Such players include Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Maurice Edu, Jozy Altidore, Geoff Cameron, Brad Guzan, and Michael Orozco.

 

Other players like Juan Agudelo, Mix Diskerud, Joe Corona, Alejandro Bedoya, Fabian Johnson, Ventura Alvarado, DeAndre Yedlin, John Brooks, Greg Garza, and William Yarbrough are too good to really contest.

 

So, in essence, this roster only contains several players that are debatable, and these players are Dillon Powers, Brek Shea, Gyasi Zardes, Perry Kitchen, and Clint Irwin.

 

Powers has been very impressive in MLS for several seasons, and he plays every position in the midfield. He’s technical and fast, and he defends and attacks. He has the vision and skill to set up goals, and he can score goals himself.

 

Zardes has shown well in MLS and for the U.S., and Shea has been converted into a left back, which seems to best exploit his skill set.

 

Irwin is easily one of the very best goalkeepers in MLS, and frankly a level above Bill Hamid or Sean Johnson. Nick Rimando is more experienced, but nothing about Irwin’s play suggest that he isn’t ready to be the USA’s third goalkeeper.

 

Kitchen has been a consistently good performer in MLS, and he put in a good showing against Mexico on April 15, when he came into the game late and had no problem adjusting to the speed of play or playing well as a midfield destroyer.

 

Plenty of other players are qualified to make this roster, but except the five players singled out, this group of U.S. internationals should all be easily recognizable as highly-qualified players by USMNT fans.

 

Benny Feilhaber was excluded due to the fact that Jürgen Klinsmann has shown no intention of making him part of the U.S. Men’s National Team.

 

 

Here is the best 23-man USMNT roster for the 2015 Gold Cup:

 

Goalkeepers (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), William Yarbrough (Club Leon), Clint Irwin (Colorado Rapids)

 

Defenders (8): Ventura Alvarado (Club America), Jermaine Jones (New England Revolution), Michael Orozco (Puebla), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham), Greg Garza (Tijuana), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Brek Shea (Orlando SC)

 

Midfielders (8): Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union), Perry Kitchen (DC United), Mix Diskerud (NYC FC), Joe Corona (Tijuana), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Dillon Powers (Colorado Rapids)

 

Forwards (4): Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution), Gyasi Zardes (L.A. Galaxy)

 

 

Deeper Positional Breakdown:

 

Goalkeepers: Guzan Yarbrough Irwin

Center Backs: Jones Cameron Alvarado Orozco Brooks

Outside Backs: Yedlin Garza Johnson Shea

Center Backs/Outside Backs: Cameron Orozco Alvarado

Center Backs/Defensive Midfielders: Jones Cameron Edu

Defensive Midfielders: Bradley Jones Cameron Edu

Center Midfielders: Bradley Jones Edu Diskerud Powers

Center Midfielders/Attacking Midfielders: Diskerud Powers

Attacking Midfielders: Diskerud Corona Bedoya Powers

Attacking Midfielders/Forwards: Dempsey Corona Bedoya

Wings: Johnson Shea Corona Bedoya Yedlin

Strikers: Altidore Agudelo Zardes

 

 

 

The Best USA XI (Diamond 4-4-2): Guzan; Yedlin, Alvarado, Brooks, Garza; Cameron; Bradley, Diskerud; Corona; Agudelo, Dempsey.

 

 

 

The Best USMNT XI (April 2015)

April 16th, 2015

 

Mix Diskerud (Photo: Getty Images)

Mix Diskerud (Photo: Getty Images)

 

 

By: COLIN REESE

 

 

Here is World Soccer Source’s Pre-Gold Cup USMNT Best XI (4-3-3):

 

 

Goalkeeper: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa)

 

Right Back: DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham)

Center Back: Geoff Cameron (Stoke City)

Center Back: Ventura Alvarado (América)

Left Back: Greg Garza (Tijuana)

 

Right Midfielder: MIX Diskerud (NYC FC)

Center Midfielder: Michael Bradley (Toronto FC)

Left Midfielder: Joe Corona (Tijuana)

 

Right Forward: Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution)

Center Forward: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC)

Left Forward: Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders)

 

 

 

Roster Explanation:

 

Brad Guzan has been ready and qualified to be the USA’s Number 1 for years, and he’s proven that he can play over Tim Howard with no drop in the level of the U.S. National Team’s goalkeeper. William Yarbrough of León is ready to be the USA’s Number 1, but Guzan is much more experienced and ahead of him. Yarbrough looks better than Nick Rimando.

 

A Defensive Back Four of DeAndre Yedlin, Geoff Cameron, Ventura Alvarado, and Greg Garza is a big upgrade for the United States.

 

Yedlin, Alvarado, and Garza have already played well together, and Cameron is a better center back than Omar Gonzalez or Matt Besler.

 

Cameron plays in a better league, and he’s more technical, more athletic, and more skilled defensively.

 

Alvarado is a young center back that starts for Club América, and he checks all the boxes for a quality international center back.

 

Yedlin and Garza are the kind of modern two-way outside backs that the United States needs. Both are attacking threats, and both are underrated defensively. Yedlin plays in the EPL, and Garza plays in Liga MX for Tijuana.

 

A midfield made up of Mix Diskerud, Michael Bradley, and Joe Corona from right to left makes so much sense. All three of these players allow the United States to keep possession, attack, and take the game to the opposition.

 

Bradley is an excellent defender and tireless runner, in addition to his technical ability and passing skill.

 

Diskerud has become formidable defensively. He aggressively looks to win back possession, and he tackles well.

 

Corona is known for his creativity and technical ability, and he has also shown a willingness to close down opponents and high press the opposition. Corona is crafty and quick with the ball at his feet, and he plays dangerous first time balls that open up games.

 

Diskerud, Bradley, and Corona make the American midfield technical and dynamic, and there is enough defending and running between those three to win back possession. Having all three playing together is key to upping the overall technical ability and creativity of the American midfield.

 

While there is room to be concerned about the lack of two defensive midfielders where a Number 6 or midfield destroyer plays deeper than Bradley who would play as a Number 8, team defense and high pressing is the name of the game.

 

With these three midfielders, and the three forwards or attackers discussed below, the United States should have plenty of team defense.

 

Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey are a dangerous strike partnership, and Juan Agudelo has to be included in the starting line-up.

 

Given the versatility, movement, dynamism, and creativity of Agudelo’s style of play, there is no problem for him to play nominally out right while Altidore is listed as the center forward.

 

A swirling trifecta of Agudelo, Altidore, and Dempsey is exactly the type of quick, dangerous, and skilled attack that the United States needs to continue to close the gap with world soccer’s elites.

 

This line-up is based on using technical ability and high pressing to beat opponents. The 4-3-3 formation is more nominal in actuality than three lines of outfield players maintaining a square formation on the field. Constant passing and movement make the formation ever changing, but certain players like Bradley and Altidore have more fixed positions than others in the Front Six.

 

 

 

 

Dillon Powers For USMNT

April 9th, 2015

 

Dillon Powers, Colorado Rapids midfielder. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Dillon Powers, Colorado Rapids midfielder. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

 

 

By: COLIN REESE

 

Dillon Powers embodies the type of two-way midfielder that Jürgen Klinsmann has been calling for.

 

Klinsmann preaches proactive soccer where his midfielders recover possession and keep possession, and this is exactly what Powers does.

 

Powers attacks and defends with a high work rate, and he has a level of technical ability and vision that the National Team needs more of.

 

Amongst American footballers, only Benji Joya, who is younger and just settling back in with his club Santos Laguna, plays like Powers.

 

Powers’ facility at playing centrally or wide or in more defensive or more attacking roles makes him a player that can be useful to the National Team precisely because of this ability to play where he’s needed, in addition to the qualities that he brings to the squad.

 

With Michael Bradley playing best as a defensive midfielder or as a central midfielder of the box-to-box variety, Powers could partner with Bradley to play either role or Powers could play a more attacking midfielder role as he does with Colorado.

 

He can be deployed centrally or out wide in the line of three attacking midfielders, and he even plays as a second striker. Unlike some other MLS midfielders that Klinsmann has used, Powers has a more complete skill-set that doesn’t limit him to only hitting crosses.

 

The goal for American soccer is to have more players that can play with skill and speed at the international level against top national teams, and someone like Powers is simply too talented and too qualified to be routinely ignored from even consideration by Klinsmann and his coaching staff.

 

Given Powers skill-set and consistent performances at the club level, United States Men’s National Team coaches in the past would have used Powers one to two years ago with the national team, but Klinsmann’s reasons for selecting or not selecting players to represent the USA have never really been clear.

 

Anyone familiar with MLS would recognize Powers as not only a complete midfielder, but also one who has stood out in the league against players with much more experience than him.

 

On more elite national teams, there might be multiple players of Powers level, but given the problems the United States has had keeping possession and displaying a high level of technical skill, it’s hard to justify keeping him off the National Team.

 

Powers stands out for how impactful and technical he is all over the field both in the recovering of the ball and in the attack. The Rapids midfielder is all over the field positively impacting the game, and he’s scored some impressive goals that display his skill and willingness to play aggressively.

 

He’s too good to leave off the National Team.

 

Klinsmann’s snubbing of so many qualified MLS players like Powers has to be something of a running joke with American players and coaches in MLS.

 

 

MLS Players Worthy of USMNT Call-Up

April 7th, 2015

 

Dillon Powers (Photo: Colorado Rapids)

Dillon Powers (Photo: Colorado Rapids)

 

 

By: COLIN REESE

 

This isn’t a comprehensive list of MLS players that are worthy of a United States Men’s National Team call-up, but it is a list of some of the key names that World Soccer Source felt deserved special recognition.

 

Any player whose name was forgotten or accidentally overlooked isn’t necessarily not rated highly by World Soccer Source.

 

MLS and American soccer now have more quality players of various positions than there are room for on the national team.

 

Some players who were recently used by Jürgen Klinsmann aren’t discussed in this article.

 

Below are the names of MLS players that World Soccer Source chose to highlight for USMNT recognition:

 

Juan Agudelo, Forward, New England Revolution

 

The most talented and creative of all the American strikers. Jürgen Klinsmann already rates and has used Juan Agudelo, but he has been out of the national team picture the last year because of a state of club limbo that has now been resolved. Agudelo is more technical, more creative, and more impactful that Jozy Altidore, whose game has improved tremendously the past 3-4 years. Despite Altidore’s underrated technical ability, Altidore can’t do the things that Agudelo can.

 

Benny Feilhaber, Midfielder, Sporting Kansas City

The attacking midfielder and now also central midfielder is the best playmaker in the American player pool. He has the most proven skill and experience amongst American Number 10’s. Feilhaber has always displayed smooth technical ability on the international level against elite opponents.

 

Dillon Powers, Midfielder, Colorado Rapids

 

This American midfielder is a complete midfielder that brings loads of skill, running, defending, and versatility. He’s technical and athletic, and he can play any position in the midfield, in addition to excelling as a withdrawn striker. He’s a playmaker with the work rate of a two-way center midfielder.

 

Maurice Edu, Midfielder/Defender, Philadelphia Union

 

The United States isn’t good enough to not need an experienced and proven midfielder and defender like Maurice Edu. His technical ability, defending, work rate, and athleticism are proven at the European and international level. A useful player for the national team.

 

Kelyn Rowe, Midfielder/Forward, New England Revolution

 

Kelyn Rowe is an attacking midfielder or forward that can play wide or centrally, and his two-footed skill, speed, and creativity are all qualities the national team needs. Rowe is a more talented and faster player than Graham Zusi, whom Klinsmann has used a lot during his tenure. Rowe like Powers is the type of skillful player the USA cannot afford to snub.

 

José Villarreal, Midfielder/Forward, LA Galaxy

 

José Villarreal is an exciting attacking player blessed with quickness, 1v1 skill, excellent passing, and a nose for goal. Slippery and creative, this player has a level of toughness and fighting spirit that goes underrated. One of the very best young American players.

 

Andrew Farrell, Defender, New England Revolution

 

Andrew Farrell has looked good in his natural position of center back because of his combination of skill, speed, defensive prowess and fundamentals, and impressive athleticism. The goal for USMNT center backs is to have the speed and defensive ability to defend fast and talented attackers plus the ability to calmly play the ball out of the back or calmly keep possession in the U.S.’ defensive third. Farrell checks all of the boxes for an international center back.

 

Shane O’Neill, Defender/Midfielder, Colorado Rapids

 

Shane O’Neill isn’t as athletically impressive as Farrell, but O’Neill is fast, quick, tall, and strong. O’Neill has good defensive instincts and fundamentals, and he’s excellent on the ball. He’s another center back the USMNT could really use.

 

Kofi Sarkodie, Defender, Houston Dynamo

 

For a national team that needs another modern right back that both defends and attacks like Yedlin, Sarkodie is likely the best in this regard in MLS. Sarkodie is hard to get past, and his speed and skill are a threat down the sideline in the attack. Sarkodie would seem like an obvious choice as a right back to test out with the national team as his defending is arguably better than Yedlin’s.

 

Charlie Davies, Forward, New England Revolution

 

Charlie Davies proved his effectiveness and partnership with Jozy Altidore years ago. Now fully-recovered, Davies has had several strong years in a row in MLS. The speed of Davies is a huge threat in the attack, and his overall skill-level and style of play are proven.

 

Clint Irwin, Goalkeeper, Colorado Rapids

 

The USMNT has been testing out Sean Johnson and Bill Hamid quite a lot, but Clint Irwin is a stand-out MLS goalkeeper that is positionally-sound and a great shot stopper. Irwin makes impressive saves, and he doesn’t have any clear weakness in regards to his goalkeeping fundamentals.

 

 

Who Should the USMNT Start vs. Mexico?

April 6th, 2015

 

 Joe Corona (Photo: George Frey/Getty Images )

Joe Corona (Photo: George Frey/Getty Images )

 

 

By: COLIN REESE

 

The United States faces off against Mexico on April 15. With the caveat that Jürgen Klinsmann refuses to use Benny Feilhaber, here is the USA XI that World Soccer Source backs.

 

This United States Men’s National Team XI uses a midfield diamond formation with Maurice Edu as the defensive midfielder, Michael Bradley and Mix Diskerud as central midfielders, and Joe Corona as the attacking midfielder or Number 10 to feed the strikers and orchestrate the attack.

 

Up top in the attack, Juan Agudelo and Clint Dempsey form the strike partnership with Jozy Altidore out suspended for cussing out a referee.

 

With William Yarbrough in goal, the Defensive Back Four is made up of DeAndre Yedlin, Ventura Alvarado, Michael Orozco, and Greg Garza from right to left.

 

 

The World Soccer Source USMNT XI (4-1-2-1-2) For USA vs. Mexico:

 

Goalkeeper: William Yarbrough

Right Back: DeAndre Yedlin

Center Back: Ventura Alvarado

Center Back: Michael Orozco

Left Back: Greg Garza

Defensive Midfielder: Maurice Edu

Central Midfielder: Michael Bradley

Central Midfielder: Mix Diskerud

Attacking Midfielder: Joe Corona

Striker: Juan Agudelo

Second Striker: Clint Dempsey

 

USA XI: Guzan; Yedlin, Alvarado, Orozco, Garza; Edu; Bradley, Diskerud; Corona; Agudelo, Dempsey. 

 

 

Copa America: What’s Brazil’s Best XI?

April 3rd, 2015

 

Neymar (Photo: AP)

Neymar (Photo: AP)

 

By: COLIN REESE

 

Readers will immediately notice the absence of Oscar, Willian, Luiz Gustavo, and Elias, but World Soccer Source is backing David Luiz to play as the defensive midfielder with Fernandinho playing as the central midfielder.

 

This obviously gives Marquinhos the start at center back with Thiago Silva.

 

By starting David Luiz and Fernandinho as the defensive midfielders, Brazil would have excellent ball-winning in its midfield with the distribution of David Luiz and Fernandinho to release Brazil’s attackers: Lucas, Felipe Anderson, Neymar, and Luiz Adriano.

 

Using Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, and David Luiz down the middle makes the Brazilian defense very difficult to penetrate, and Fernandinho only bolsters this defensive strength.

 

Although often playing as a defensive midfielder, Fernandinho is an excellent center midfielder full of running, vision, ball-winning, and incisive passes through the defense.

 

An attack with Lucas, Felipe Anderson, and Neymar is likely Brazil’s most talented, most creative, and most dangerous option, and Luiz Adriano is somewhat the default option to play as the Number 9. Nevertheless, Luiz Adriano’s ability to stretch defenses, attack defenses at pace, outmuscle defenders, and finish is impressive.

 

Pato is Brazil’s most talented Number 9, and by far the most explosive and deadly, but Luiz Adriano is the best Brazilian Number 9 right now.

 

Danilo has been a revelation at right back, and he’s the best Brazilian right back since Maicon. Only Bruno Peres is close to Danilo.

 

At left back, Marcelo is just better than Filipe Luís. For many, Filipe Luís is a more disciplined defender, but Marcelo is too good, too proven, and too experienced to not start in the Copa America.

 

World Soccer Source’s Best Brazil XI differs slightly from Dunga’s first-choice XI, but starting Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, David Luiz, and Fernandinho together makes the Brazilian defense and defensive midfield arguably the best in the world.

 

Willian, Oscar, and Neymar is a world-class line of three attacking midfielders, but Lucas, Felipe Anderson, and Neymar is more talented, faster, and more Brazilian.

 

Below is World Soccer Source’s Best Brazil XI for the Copa America:

 

Goalkeeper: Diego Alves

Right Back: Danilo

Center Back: Thiago Silva

Center Back: Marquinhos

Left Back: Marcelo

Defensive Midfielder: David Luiz

Central Midfielder: Fernandinho

Right Attacker: Lucas

Attacking Midfielder: Felipe Anderson

Left Attacker: Neymar

Striker: Luiz Adriano

 

 

Brazil XI: Diego Alves; Danilo, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Marcelo; David Luiz, Fernandinho; Lucas, Felipe Anderson, Neymar; Luiz Adriano.

 

 

World Soccer Source

Soccer and Football News and Commentary on World Soccer, the United States Men's National Team (USMNT), Major League Soccer (MLS), World Football, and American Soccer. All articles, opinions, and commentary by Colin Reese. Twitter: @COLINREESE. Facebook: WorldSoccerSource