USMNT: Benji Joya belongs on the World Cup qualifying roster

  You can just see how some players are better than others, and this is the case with Benji Joya compared to the majority of the players in the United States’ player pool. Benji Joya is a different type of midfielder and player than Clint Dempsey, but in the same way that this writer immediately … Read more

The World’s Best XI: The Young, The Sleepers

    *Note: Lionel Messi was not included in this list because the list is intended to be a Best XI of players who are young prodigies who are new to the scene or underrated. Lionel Messi is widely considered the best player in the world, and he belongs on a list of simply the … Read more

USMNT: The Best 30 American Soccer Players

Follow on Twitter: @COLINREESE or @FutebolSource Like WSS on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WorldSoccerSource Comment: The World Soccer Source Best 30 American Soccer Players What makes one player better than another player? Good question. The names on the list are more important than the order as many of these names are drastically different from the first thirty names on … Read more

Hunting in Packs: Mario Balotelli and M’Baye Niang attack together

Follow me on Twitter here: @COLINREESE or @FutebolSource Like the Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/WorldSoccerSource Mario Balotelli garnered most of the headlines for silencing his critics with his triumphant return to Serie A with AC Milan, but Balotelli has a history of delivering when the pressure goes up. Most of the criticism of Balotelli’s personal life and … Read more

Paul Pogba: Defensive Midfielder Extraordinaire

  Andrea Pirlo’s movement off the ball and constant movement all over the field seems to leave space for another midfielder who plays deep in the midfield, Paul Pogba, to have plenty of space to operate without getting in Pirlo’s way or hindering Pirlo’s play. Therefore, less attention should be focused on what position Pogba … Read more

In defense of Freddy Adu

  Many American soccer fans seem to judge Freddy Adu with the same illogical criterion with which Jürgen Klinsmann judges him: only total domination merits a roster spot. Klinsmann has said that he wanted to see Adu taking over games more and dominating games more before he could play for the United States, but this … Read more

The USMNT needs to start at least one playmaker

    One of the primary problems with the USMNT under Jürgen Klinsmann’s tenure has been his insistence on forcing Michael Bradley or Clint Dempsey to be deployed out of position as playmakers. Make no mistake; Klinsmann knows that both Bradley and Dempsey are not playmakers, but Klinsmann has forced both players to fill this … Read more

Many American soccer writers only watch English football and American soccer

    Many American soccer fans and American soccer writers have a limited perspective about the realities of soccer at the international level. Whenever Jürgen Klinsmann selects a roster for a friendly or a World Cup qualifier, many people look at players’ statistics in Major League Soccer, as opposed to evaluating the players based on … Read more

The USMNT Needs to Make 5 Changes

 

Benny Feilhaber. (Photo: Reuters)
Benny Feilhaber. (Photo: Reuters)

 

While many people will use the United States’ victories over Mexico and Italy as evidence that Jürgen Klinsmann is coaching well, the reality is that the United States has not passed well or played technically advanced soccer in any of their games under Klinsmann.

Many of the players used by Klinsmann are excellent soccer players, but as long as Klinsmann continues to use the same starting line-ups, the United States will not even be a first or second tier team in terms of international soccer. So far, the United States has played better soccer under Bruce Arena and Bob Bradley, and there is one year’s worth of video evidence of the low level of collective, team play of the United States under Klinsmann.

However, Klinsmann does have the ability to dramatically improve the quality of soccer that the United States play with just five starting line-up changes. If he makes these five starting line-up changes, then he will be able to field a starting line-up with 11 technically skilled and athletic players. He needs a right back, a center back to partner with Geoff Cameron, two attacking midfielders, and another striker, as opposed to just starting one.

Klinsmann needs to eliminate Kyle Beckerman, Maurice Edu, Danny Williams, Jermaine Jones, and José Torres from the starting line-up, but Jones should be starting if Michael Bradley is injured. Additionally, Edu and Jones should certainly be among the 23 players on the roster for the World Cup qualifiers against Jamaica, and starting Edu or Jones as a center back with Cameron would be preferable to starting Carlos Bocanegra or Clarence Goodson.

Klinsmann should continue to use Tim Howard as a goalkeeper, Geoff Cameron as a center back, Fabian Johnson as a left back, Michael Bradley as the lone defensive midfielder (unless he’s injured), Herculez Gomez or Terrence Boyd as a striker, and Clint Dempsey as a free-roaming attacking midfielder.

At forward, Klinsmann needs to start two of the following three strikers at the same time: Juan Agudelo, Terrence Boyd, and Herculez Gomez. Gomez played very well against both Brazil and Mexico, and a strong argument can be made that Gomez has earned one of the two starting line-up spots as evidenced by his play against Brazil where he forced Santos’ and Brazil’s goalkeeper, Rafael, to make several very difficult point blank saves. That being said, Klinsmann has yet to test out Agudelo and Boyd together, and they might complement each other well as Boyd is more of an out-and-out striker that goes straight to goal. Regardless of which two strikers are started, Klinsmann should start two of the three strikers mentioned above at the same time.

Klinsmann needs to introduce Benny Feilhaber and Freddy Adu as dual-playmakers and free-roaming attacking midfielders to play with Dempsey. At right back, Klinsmann needs to start Eric Lichaj, and if he is unavailable, Zach Loyd or Sheanon Williams. Finally, Klinsmann needs to start Jay DeMerit, Omar Gonzalez, or George John as the second center back to play with Geoff Cameron. Among those three, DeMerit is the one that has proven himself on the international level the most with his effective and imposing defensive performances in the 2009 Confederations Cup and the 2010 World Cup. Between Gonzalez and John, Gonzalez might be quicker and more agile that John, but Klinsmann has not tested out either Gonzalez or John with Cameron to see which center back performs the best at the international level.

The five changes to the starting line-up advocated for above should be used against Jamaica, and if those changes are made against Jamaica, the United States will have, for the first time ever, 11 technically skilled and athletic starters in their line-up. Never before has the United States had the ability to field 11 technical skilled and athletic starters, and the United States now actually have more than 11 players that fit those criteria.

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Neymar at 20 years old

 

 

Neymar (Photo: Reuters)
Neymar (Photo: Reuters)

 

Although Grandmaster Ronaldinho is currently playing very well for Atlético Mineiro in the Brasileirão where he has them in first place, Neymar is now very much the face of Brazilian soccer. While Neymar garners the majority of the headlines, players likes Ronaldinho, Diego, Robinho, or Kaká should not be considered irrelevant or ineffective players for the Brazilian national team.

Neymar has excellent passing skills, but he is not a meia-armador or central attacking midfielder or playmaker like Ronaldinho, Ganso, Oscar, or Diego are. Although some of Brazil’s more established players are in their thirties (such as Maicon, Ronaldinho, and Lúcio), Brazil has several excellent players in their mid to late twenties such as Thiago Silva, Robinho, and Diego.

Neymar has already arrived on the world stage as an elite international and club soccer player, and he is very much worthy of comparisons to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Both Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo (called this out of respect for Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima) are widely considered by all of their peers and coaches around the world as the two most skilled players in world soccer. Neymar is different than both of these players in that Neymar has no observable flaws in his game, even at 20 years old.

Unlike Messi, Neymar is a more versatile passer who does not limit his passing to short passes inside the penalty box when he can no longer dribble through traffic. Messi does play quality long passes through and over the opposing teams’ defenses, but Neymar seems to do this more often. Neymar will track back almost to his own defense at times to get the ball, and he looks to play through balls, quick first-time passes, cross-field passes, and soft chips over opposing players and over the top of the opponent’s defense. Messi has never demonstrated this same degree of passing range or skill because Messi mostly plays by dribbling through defenses after his teammates at Barcelona have played keep away from their opponents.

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