For many American soccer fans, any criticism of Jürgen Klinsmann’s selections to the United States Men’s National Team is considered unpatriotic, which is odd because only people with high expectations of their country’s national team advocate for possible ways to improve it.
Many of Jürgen Klinsmann’s selections to the United States Men’s National Team are international-caliber players with the skill and athleticism to perform well at the World Cup, but there is significant room to improve the quality of the USA roster.
Despite a growing list of international-caliber American footballers such as Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley, there is a definite gap between the collective skill level displayed in MLS and on the United States Men’s National Team compared to other countries, and any person that tries to contend that MLS and the USMNT is on par with other top European leagues, many Latin American leagues, and top national teams is either being overly biased or is perhaps not fully aware of the gap between American soccer and European, Latin American, and African soccer.
For this writer, some 14 of the 23 roster selections that Klinsmann makes are strong picks, but 9 roster spots might be better spent on players that Klinsmann doesn’t regularly select or that he routinely doesn’t select at all.
For many people, there is a mentality that Klinsmann’s roster selections are infallible because of his success as a player, but no top soccer country in the world subscribes to this mentality that a coach’s player selections and coaching decisions shouldn’t be questioned if the coach was a famous ex-player.
Nevertheless, the prognosis of the United States’ chances in the 2014 World Cup looks fairly good, but improvements need to be made so that the United States can put in a strong showing and perhaps a deep run in the 2014 World Cup.
Here are Jürgen Klinsmann’s international-caliber USMNT selections:
GOALKEEPERS: Tim HOWARD, Brad GUZAN, Nick RIMANDO.
DEFENDERS: Geoff CAMERON, John Anthony BROOKS.
MIDFIELDERS: Michael BRADLEY, Jermaine JONES, Clint DEMPSEY, Landon DONOVAN, Fabian JOHNSON, Mix DISKERUD.
STRIKERS: Jozy ALTIDORE, Aron JÓHANNSSON, Terrence BOYD.
Here are Jürgen Klinsmann’s “Not Quite As Good” USMNT selections:
DEFENDERS: Matt BESLER, Omar GONZALEZ, Clarence GOODSON, Brad EVANS, DaMarcus BEASLEY.
MIDFIELDERS: Kyle BECKERMAN, Graham ZUSI, Alejandro BEDOYA, Sacha KLJESTAN.
STRIKERS: Eddie JOHNSON (A skilled, fast, and extremely athletic striker who is nevertheless not as good as Juan Agudelo).
To fix these personnel problems, World Soccer Source believes that Jürgen Klinsmann would be wise to add the following players to the group of international-caliber players listed above:
DEFENDERS: Eric LICHAJ, Chris KLUTE, DeAndre YEDLIN, Shane O’NEILL, Andrew FARRELL.
MIDFIELDERS: Joe CORONA, Benny FEILHABER, Benji JOYA.
STRIKERS: Juan AGUDELO.
The reason that the players above were listed as players that could bolster the United States Men’s National Team is because they are technical and athletic players that fulfill specific needs.
The United States needs quality outside backs, and Eric Lichaj, Chris Klute, DeAndre Yedlin, and Andrew Farrell are all outside backs that not only have shown that their play will translate to the international game but they are also better than any other options Klinsmann has at his disposal with the exception of Steve Cherundolo and Jonathan Spector.
Midfielders like Joe Corona and Benny Feilhaber are much more technical, creative, and athletic players than Graham Zusi who is a very good MLS player and someone who has done fairly well at the international level, but Corona and Feilhaber are much more dynamic and effective players when the speed of play and the quality of competition goes up.
Joya is included because Joya is a two-way central midfielder who has the same skill-set and playing style as Stuart Holden who is a USMNT player that is highly regarded for his ability to bring technical skill, creativity, running, and defense to the center of the American midfield. With Holden so often injured, the 20-year-old and internationally-inexperienced Joya is a similar type of player who brings a creative two-way skill-set that almost no other American central midfielder possesses.
If one combines Klinsmann’s strong selections with the new players listed above, one sees the makings of a United States Men’s National Team roster made up of players with the technical skill and athleticism to field an effective and balanced Starting XI with a solid group of substitutes or alternative Starting XI options.
Below is that roster:
GOALKEEPERS: Tim HOWARD, Brad GUZAN, Third-Choice Goalkeeper.
DEFENDERS: Geoff CAMERON, John Anthony BROOKS, Shane O’NEILL, Andrew FARRELL, Eric LICHAJ, Chris KLUTE, DeAndre YEDLIN.
MIDFIELDERS: Michael BRADLEY, Jermaine JONES, Clint DEMPSEY, Landon DONOVAN, Fabian JOHNSON, Mix DISKERUD, Joe CORONA, Benny FEILHABER, Benji JOYA.
STRIKERS: Jozy ALTIDORE, Aron JÓHANNSSON, Juan AGUDELO, Terrence BOYD.