Five Players the United States Should Include on its March World Cup Qualifying Roster

Five Players the United States Should Include on its March World Cup Qualifying Roster

Going into the March World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Panama, the United States must place a premium on selecting enough skill players to not get outplayed and embarrassed. Here are five players that Bruce Arena would be wise to call up again.

Sebastian Lletget

Sebastian Lletget is an essential inclusion on the United States’ roster because he improves the team’s passing ability, creativity, and overall technical ability. Lletget is an active player that constantly passes and moves, and he offers a proactive and refined playing style that the United States lacks. With Christian Pulisic certain to start, Lletget is a player that complements Pulisic’s quick, creative, and skilled play. Whether Lletget is used as a wing, playmaker, or central midfielder, the LA Galaxy midfielder has a skill-set worthy of a starter for the United States.

Benny Feilhaber

Benny Feilhaber is still the best playmaker in the American player pool, and in the recent international friendlies, he showed why he is a more creative and dangerous option than Sacha Kljestan, who is a level below Feilhaber in terms of skill and efficacy against better teams. Feilhaber facilitates quick combination play and scoring opportunities, which the United States sorely needs. The Sporting Kansas City midfielder is still at the top of his game, and he’s the United States’ best option as the Number 10 or attacking midfielder beneath the strikers.

Kellyn Acosta

Kellyn Acosta has really come into his own over the last year, and he’s the type of box-to-box midfielder that the United States has been lacking. Acosta brings excellent two-footed skill on the ball plus tons of athleticism and ball-winning ability. Acosta is also a very aggressive and direct midfielder who opens up space for the attacking players with his spirited runs into the attack. The FC Dallas midfielder is also a scoring threat from the midfield, and his tendency to rip shots on target from outside of the box unsettles the opposing defense and draws defenders away from American attackers.

Juan Agudelo

Juan Agudelo is arguably the best center forward in the American player pool after Bobby Wood, and he might offer some more flair and creativity than Wood, who appears to have only displayed part of his creativity so far. Agudelo can play either as the Number 9 or as a second striker, and he offers a complete forward skill-set of two-footed finishing, individual dribbling ability, heading ability, speed, and the needed physicality. Agudelo is needed on the roster for his aggressive, proactive play that helps the team more than Jozy Altidore’s deeper, more subdued play.

Jordan Morris

Like Agudelo and Wood, Jordan Morris is just more aggressive and direct than Altidore. Morris’ creates multiple scoring opportunities every game, and he goes straight to goal. Morris has a tendency to never use his left foot, but he still consistently beats defenders and scores.  Morris also has a huge, game-changing weapon in his phenomenal speed that allows him to torch almost any defender in a foot race. The Seattle Sounders forward excels at getting behind the defense and attacking the goal, and even with less experience than Altidore, Morris is a more difficult center forward for opposing defenders to contain. The physicality that Altidore brings is also present in Morris who doesn’t let himself get pushed around either.

Sebastian Lletget Has Earned Starting Role for the United States

Sebastian Lletget Has Earned Starting Role for the United States

Sebastian Lletget showcased his creative skillset and ability to defend when the United States played Serbia in San Diego, and he has earned a starting midfield role. The United States continues to be a national team that passes the ball poorly by international standards, but Lletget is a player than can and does facilitate better passing through one-to-two touch soccer.

Bruce Arena used Lletget as a Number 8 or box-to-box midfielder, as he did with the LA Galaxy, but Lletget is an attacking midfielder who also thrives as a wing. Nevertheless, Lletget has shown well as a central midfielder where he provides much more defending, running, and physicality than perhaps many people knew about. While soccer isn’t a sport dictated by physicality, being able to not be pushed off the ball or overpowered is important.

Given Lletget’s skillset as a creative and technical player, using him as a box-to-box midfielder does feel like something of a waste, and he seems more suited to play alongside Darlington Nagbe and Benny Feilhaber in the line of attacking midfielders playing in a more advanced role than the holding midfielders.

Against Serbia, only Nagbe was threatening the penalty area or the goal in the first half, but Lletget provided these things as well as soon as he was subbed in. The primary reason that Lletget should have earned a starting role was that the ability and playing style than he showcased was much better than everybody but Nagbe was able to display against Serbia.

It’s fair to point out that Bobby Wood and Christian Pulisic are unavailable for these January and February friendlies, and those two players provide much more skill, creativity, and movement than the rest of the regular United States squad. The U.S. needs to field anyone who can continue to add to the skill-level and playing style of its best players. Based on what Nagbe and Lletget showed against Serbia, the United States now has four lively, influential, skillful, and creative players in Nagbe, Lletget, Wood, and Pulisic.

Going forward, Lletget is a player who can provide more of the things that the United States needs to improve: skill, creativity, direct play, scoring ability, and passing ability.

2016 MLS Playoffs Match-Up: Sebastian Lletget vs. Dillon Powers

Important MLS Playoffs Match-Up: Sebastian Lletget vs. Dillon Powers

When the Los Angeles Galaxy play the Colorado Rapids tomorrow on Sunday, Dillon Powers and Sebastian Lletget are set to face off in the semifinals of the Western Conference of the 2016 MLS Playoffs, and this is an exciting duel for American soccer fans.

World Soccer Source has been high on Lletget and Powers for a few years now, and of the two, Lletget is the more exciting talent. Nevertheless, Powers is the type of complete midfielder that the United States didn’t have on the national team a decade ago.

It’s hard to see why these two don’t play for Jürgen Klinsmann on the national team yet, but the MLS Playoffs offer a chance for fans to see these two play in important games, and the two should motivate each other to raise their games.

Both Powers and Lletget have been played in basically every midfield position by their coaches, but one would have to say that Lletget is an attacking midfielder and Powers is a box-to-box midfielder. Lletget has more trickery and creativity than Powers, but Powers is a technical and creative player in his own right. Powers will shake people off the dribble, play skillful assists, and score. Using both feet to dribble, pass, and shoot is an often overlooked skill, but both of these midfielders use both feet well.

When the LA Galaxy face the Colorado Rapids, the Powers-Lletget matchup won’t be the main storyline or talking point, but this is what soccer fans and U.S. national team fans should focus on. This matchup will be a battle of two fairly young American midfielders who offer a glimpse of a more talented breed of American attacking midfielders. Although Powers was described as a box-to-box midfielder, he is also an attacking midfielder who hasn’t been mentioned when the media and fans discuss possible playmakers for the U.S. Men’s National Team.

If you want to look at the improvement and growth of American soccer, looking at these two midfielders is a great place to start. For a few decades now, Americans and non-Americans have been wondering when American soccer would really improve, and the fact that two complete midfielders like these are playing in MLS really showcases how the ability and soccer-mind of American players has noticeably improved.

It will be interesting to see if Lletget will look to turn on the creativity and individual trickery against Powers, and it will be interesting to see if Powers can wear Lletget out in the midfield. Based on this season’s play, we should see Powers displaying more skill than he gets credit for, and we should see Lletget show that he can run hard for the entire game.

Sacha Kljestan once tweeted to Klinsmann, “Are you even watching?” Obviously, he is watching, but maybe there are more American skill players out there than he will acknowledge.

Sebastian Lletget, The New USMNT Number 10

Sebastian Lletget Should Be the New U.S. Men’s National Team Attacking Midfielder

Sebastian Lletget is a viable Number 10 type attacking midfielder that can start for the United States Men’s National Team. Under coach Jürgen Klinsmann, any attacking midfielder has been a persona non grata, and this was also the case under Bob Bradley and Bruce Area.

This isn’t a Klinsmann problem as much as it is an overvaluing of non-stop full-speed running and defending to the detriment of skill and smooth passing. Despite being a striker as a player, Klinsmann’s refusal to deploy attacking midfielders might be his German mentality taking precedence over his attacking mindset as a former Number 9. Although Lletget is a young player and one who hasn’t represented the United States before, Lee Nguyen and Darlington Nagbe have played well for the national team on multiple occasions, and even this didn’t convince Klinsmann to start a Number 10.

Lletget is arguable better player than Nguyen and Nagbe, and he has a higher ceiling. There’s no evidence that he has trouble with the spotlight or playing in big games, and he appears to be fully ready right now. He would be a big boost for the national team’s poor passing, creativity, and creative play.

With center forward Bobby Wood putting in great performances for the United States in the Copa America Centenario, Lletget would be even more useful. Now that the United States has a more dangerous, aggressive, and active center forward in Wood, a true playmaker would make Wood even more of a threat.

Compared to Nagbe and Nguyen, Lletget is more creative and technical, and he’s more dynamic in his constant probing and searching for openings in the defense. Lletget is a versatile attacking player who can play wide or centrally as well as in the midfield as an attacking midfielder or as a second striker up top. He can also play as a wing in the midfield or in a forward line.

The LA Galaxy forward and midfielder not only has the trickery and technical skill to help his team keep possession and attack, but he also has a low center of gravity and a strong ability to shield the ball and not get muscled off the ball by defenders. These shielding and physicality qualities make him more resistant to overly physical defending or just very physical defending. Some coaches dismiss Number 10 like players as luxury players because these players supposedly don’t hustle or defend, but that’s not true of Lletget. The LA Galaxy man works for his team non-stop with or without the ball, and he covers lots of ground either defending or presenting himself as a passing option for his teammates.

Anyone who watches Lletget notices a player who plays with more skill and creativity than is average in MLS where there is still too much out of control passing and movement plus a scary dose of dirty, nasty defending which borders on criminal. Skill players are still heavily criticized in MLS unless they just wipe the floor with the opposition as Sebastian Giovinco does as he is really a Serie A fantasista playing with people well below his skill level. Giovinco himself suffered from being labelled a luxury player by many coaches who also viewed his tiny size as major deficiency.

But, the problem for Lletget might be that his advanced skill level isn’t at the level where he simply embarrasses and destroys opponents like Giovinco does.

Lletget has been a standout talent since he started in MLS at the beginning of the 2015 MLS season, and the United States would be wise to bring him into the fold for the national team even if he were just to substitute into the game for the final 20 to 30 minutes. The United States needs more skill players, and they need playmakers to link the midfield to the attack and improve the creativity of the team. None of those claims are controversial, but there remains not only a reluctance for players like Lletget to be used but also for more fans and media members to call for their inclusion on the national team.

Lletget should have already been on the national team, but it’s unlikely that playing for the LA Galaxy that he will continue to be underrated much longer. He doesn’t always start for the Galaxy, but that is simply a reality of player rotation in a deep squad.


Sebastian Lletget For the USMNT

Sebastian Lletget for the U.S. Men’s National Team

Sebastian Lletget is the Number 10 that the United States have been looking for. The LA Galaxy attacking midfielder and forward brings creativity, technical skill, quickness, a low center of gravity, and active movement off the ball.

Lletget is a triple threat in that he brings passing, dribbling, and scoring. Recently against the Portland Timbers, Lletget showed how he can thrive when playing his natural position as a playmaker. With Robbie Keane injured, all of the passing and play came through Lletget, and he was able to showcase what he can do when playing his best position. The former U.S. youth international is a complete enough attacker that he has also thrived with the Galaxy in a wide role, but in the middle, Lletget has more touches on the ball.

As several people have commented on social media, there are shades of Clint Dempsey in Lletget’s balletic dribbling, and this sort of comfort and facility on the ball is the main skill that the United States and American soccer have been missing. Let’s not forget that Lletget also knows how to put the ball in the back of the net with both feet. He’s proven himself to be a composed finisher.

Lee Nguyen and Darlington Nagbe have shown well with the national team, but their inclusion doesn’t exclude Lletget. In fact, taking nothing away from Nguyen, Lletget is a more valuable player than Nguyen. Despite being an attacking midfielder, Nagbe does bring a box-to-box element to the national team, so there’s no reason to think that he and Lletget cannot play together. Right now, a strong argument could be made that the best three-man midfield might be Michael Bradley, Darlington Nagbe, and Dillon Powers, and this leaves room for Lletget to start in the attack with Dempsey and a center forward.

The United States needs Lletget’s skill-set as a goalscoring playmaker that has a direct and creative style of play. Someone needs to provide some of the creativity and skill that usually only Dempsey brought to the table, so why not let Lletget play with Dempsey this summer in the Copa America Centenario?

Lletget is ready to play for the United States now. He isn’t just a promising player or an interesting prospect, but he is arguably the best American attacking midfielder now along with Nagbe. Based on his club form since the beginning of the 2015 MLS season and his overall skill level, Lletget should not only be on the national team roster, but he should be a starter.

Time For a USMNT Lineup Overhaul

The U.S. Men’s National Team’s lineup needs an overhaul immediately.

It’s unlikely that Jürgen Klinsmann will admit to unjustly snubbing players from his rosters or picking misguided starting lineups, but he is certainly capable of taking corrective action without admitting to doing so.

You have to assume that an ex-player of Klinsmann’s pedigree can easily look at the American player pool and say, “I need to simplify my lineup and play a three-man midfield with a center midfielder, a defensive midfielder, and an attacking midfielder, plus I need a Front Three with outside forwards on the right and left off a center forward.”

The problem with Klinsmann is that for some reason he thinks reinventing the wheel is just what the doctor ordered for American soccer.

Klinsmann probably holds American soccer in too low esteem.

Instead of just thinking that the United States doesn’t have enough players of Clint Dempsey’s level, Klinsmann thinks that the good players are just awful. The quality players are dismissed as not as good as elite world soccer stars, so therefore they have zero value for Klinsmann. Nothing else explains the exclusion of players like Benny Feilhaber, Maurice Edu, or Eric Lichaj.

The main problem with the U.S. National Team is a lack of a logical lineup made up of players deployed in their natural positions.

The United States is way below soccer’s giants in terms of the overall technical ability of the squad, but the United States does have international class players for every position.

Let us look over a possible lineup briefly to explore just how simple it is to form a capable, cohesive group.

The defense. There is no reason that Eric Lichaj, Maurice Edu, Geoff Cameron, and Fabian Johnson cannot perform well as the American Back Four. All of those players are being deployed in a position where they have tons of experience, and all of these players are both technically and defensively up to snuff and athletically impressive.

Edu and Cameron have experience together in the center of the defense, and both Lichaj and Johnson know their responsibilities as outside backs very well.

One of the biggest problems with the American midfield is Michael Bradley being forced to play as an attacking midfielder instead of as a defensive midfielder where he is world-class.

Bradley should anchor the midfield with Benny Feilhaber playing as a center midfielder where he has been playing in MLS for several seasons. Feilhaber, known for his creativity and attacking play, is now a much more industrious player, and he and Bradley can provide plenty of defending in the midfield.

The third player I would add to the midfield is Sebastian Lletget, who has done more than enough to prove himself for international play. Lletget is an exciting and creative attacking player that is more than happy to run non-stop and defend when the United States loses possession. Lletget also has a knack for scoring goals and setting them up.

Starting Lletget, Bradley, and Feilhaber in the midfield would be an enormous upgrade for the United States.

As for an attacking trident, Ethan Finlay, Juan Agudelo, and Clint Dempsey from right to left immediately come to mind. Finlay has been excellent in MLS assisting goals and scoring them, and he has tons of speed and skill to use attacking down the wing. Finlay is versatile enough to cut inside and also switch places with Dempsey and Agudelo in a fluid attack.

Why Agudelo hasn’t been a reference point for the team’s attack since he has been back in MLS after work visa limbo in England and Europe is a mystery, especially since Agudelo is a more dangerous and effective center forward than Jozy Altidore.

An attack with these three would also be a major upgrade for the United States compared to past incarnations.

With Brad Guzan in goal, the lineup proposed above is entirely made up of skilled and athletic players deployed in their natural positions.

There is no reason that the United States cannot start a lineup similar to this in the next two friendlies before the competitive match with Mexico for the 2017 Confederations Cup spot.

It’s unclear what the reason is for Klinsmann’s refusal to form anything resembling a logical or effective lineup, and it’s unclear why Sunil Gulati has made it clear that it doesn’t matter how Klinsmann performs as coach of the National Team.

Both Gulati and Klinsmann have to know that the media and fan base are not satisfied with the direction of the National Team, and if the same type of puzzling and bizarre lineups are used against Peru and Brazil, both men will likely witness a new level of criticism and complaints.

Proposed Starting Lineup (4-3-3): Guzan; Lichaj, Edu, Cameron, Johnson; Lletget, Bradley, Feilhaber; Finlay, Agudelo, Dempsey.

The USMNT Must Improve its Midfield

Dillon Powers (Photo: Colorado Rapids)
Dillon Powers (Photo: Colorado Rapids)


After the United States’ poor play in the 2015 Gold Cup, improving the midfield should be the first thing to address.

With the exception of Michael Bradley, the U.S. Men’s National Team needs a total overhaul.

The American midfield must have some logical balance of center midfielders and attacking midfielders. There’s no possession or clinical and elegant passing in the American midfield, and there’s no collective defense being played.

The real problem with the midfield is the personnel. The right players aren’t starting, and the right combination of players are not being played together.

Under various national team coaches, the United States has not fielded a midfield with the right balance of possession and ball recovery.

In a time when the best club and national teams are mostly using a three-man midfield made up of a defensive midfielder, a center midfielder (box-to-box midfielder), and an attacking midfielder, the United States refuses to field something similar.

The American player pool has all of these types of midfielders, even if they aren’t famous, world-class players.

In the past, World Soccer Source has backed Dillon Powers, Michael Bradley, and Sebastian Lletget, and there’s no reason that these three midfielders cannot start for the United States now.

Many observers seem to want guarantees and years of experience from American players before even a single national team call-up for a friendly comes, but the United States isn’t at the level yet where qualified midfielders like Powers and Lletget can be left off the National Team, especially when they fulfill a specific need.

For a national team that needs to improve, inserting the impressive two-way play and engine of Powers with the skill, creativity, and activity off the ball of Lletget can improve the American midfield.

Bradley thrives in the center of the midfield, so he should start the deepest and in the middle of a three-man midfield. Powers provides enough running and defending to allow Bradley to go forward, but the midfield should really be a unit of three players working together with and without the ball.

Based on all of the available information, there is nothing to suggest that Powers and Lletget lack the talent, the confidence, the mentality, the work rate, or the athleticism to play for the National Team.

If the goal is to improve the National Team with quality players that can represent the team long-term in order to raise the level and respect of American soccer, then Powers and Lletget are the two players right now that can partner with Bradley for years to come.

Time will tell what other players make their case or how the careers of Powers and Lletget go, but these two midfielders are exactly what Bradley and the United States need to be more successful.

If for no other reason, Lletget and Powers can play with Bradley and produce quality and effective soccer, and this is so important for the midfield of a soccer nation on the rise.

The United States needs better coaching decisions to improve the midfield, and it shouldn’t be acceptable for various players that aren’t midfielders to be forced to play out of position in the midfield.

Powers and Bradley in slightly deeper midfield roles than Lletget is a sound formula to fielding a quality three-man midfield for the United States.

This trio gives the National Team technical skill, a high work rate, effective defending, and quality midfield passing.


Young American Attacking Talent



Is it true that the American player pool lacks the types of game-changing attacking players to take the U.S. Men’s National Team to the next level?


The United States doesn’t have a Lionel Messi or a Neymar or an Alexis Sánchez, but that doesn’t mean that the United States doesn’t have dynamic, quick, and talented attacking players that can improve the Americans’ offense.

Besides the veteran Clint Dempsey, there are plenty of other young, talented American attacking players. These players aren’t veterans, but they are willing and able to be effective at the international level. Some are more ready than others.

Any American starting lineup should have two center midfielders responsible for recovering possession in the midfield, but it should also have four attacking players.

A respectable squad should have a center forward and either an attacking midfielder or a second striker. Likewise, fast and dynamic wings are also advisable to really compete at the highest level.

The formation impacts what kinds of attacking players start, but we can divide attacking players into four categories (some of which overlap): attacking midfielders, wingers, second strikers (withdrawn forwards), and center forwards (first strikers).

Below, World Soccer Source discusses several of these attacking players, and Juan Agudelo is excluded because he is a known commodity.

Bradford Jamieson IV, the jewel of this list, fits into every category.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of new American attacking players.

Let’s break down the players into categories:

Attacking Midfielders

(Sebastian Lletget, Emerson Hyndman, Marc Pelosi, Bradford Jamieson IV, Luis Gil, Benji Joya)

Technically, attacking midfielders includes wings and Number 10s, but here the term attacking midfielders will refer to Number 10s.

Sebastian Lletget has a ton of exposure playing with the LA Galaxy, and he keeps surpassing expectations. If you’ve been waiting for an American attacking midfielder or Number 10 that checks all the boxes for skill, athleticism, and workrate, then look no further than Lletget. The LA Galaxy attacking midfielder combines very well with elite teammates, and he puts the ball in the back of the net.

Now back in MLS, Marc Pelosi should have the playing time to be able to show more of what he can do. Luis Gil is a known talent that continues to improve, and Bradford Jamieson IV is more of a forward that is good enough to thrive in any attacking position (he’ll be discussed more later).

Benji Joya is a center midfielder that also thrives as an attacking midfielder or out wide, and he should soon see the consistent playing time to show all of his talent and qualities.


(Bradford Jamieson IV, Ethan Finlay, José Villarreal, Paul Arriola, Jordan Allen, Romain Gall, Dillon Serna)

Ethan Finlay is playing outstanding in MLS where he showcases his speed and two-footed skill. Finlay’s bombing runs down the wings and inside toward the penalty box are a joy to watch. His first-time right-footed chipped goal, and his curling goal off his weaker left foot after cutting inside are two highlights that stand out for him.

José Villarreal has been displaying his creativity and footwork in MLS for several years, and he continues to show with the LA Galaxy why he should soon be a national team player. The Inglewood native is a prototypical winger who despite his flair likes to get physical. Villarreal is an ideal player to play as a wing in the midfield or in an attacking trident.

Paul Arriola had an excellent U-20 World Cup where he showcased his skill, speed, and toughness, and this club season with Club Tijuana should be a big one for him.

Jordan Allen continues to improve in MLS, and a more consistent playing position should see him thrive. Allen is mentally strong, fast, and technical with a big ceiling.

Romain Gall and Dillon Serna are similar to Allen in that more minutes and a more consistent position on the field should cause them to thrive. Serna has a collection of golazos going.

Second Strikers

(Bradford Jamieson IV, José Villarreal, Ethan Finlay)

Bradford Jamieson IV is a dream of a second striker or withdrawn forward. Amazing speed and exceptional skill and creativity make Jamieson the jewel of the United States’ upcoming attacking talents. Jamieson is a young Clint Dempsey, but much faster and maybe more technical and creative.

Ethan Finlay and Villarreal are normally thought of as wings, but they have all of the qualities to excel as second strikers, which is what Villarreal frequently plays for the Galaxy anyway.


(Rubio Rubin, Jordan Morris, Mario Rodriguez)

Anyone that follows the U.S. Men’s National Team has seen Rubio Rubin and Jordan Morris play, and in the U-20 World Cup, Rubin gave American soccer fans a lot to be excited about. Both players have featured for the National Team.

Mario Rodriguez hasn’t featured like Rubin and Morris have, but he has all of the qualities to be a Number 9 for the United States. Talented, two-footed, fast, and tall, Rodriguez is a complete striker like Rubin and Morris are. Rodriguez is a big striker that excels with the ball at his feet, plus he’s good in the air.

It will be interesting to see if all three of these players play much for the National Team and how they compare to one another.

Lineup Decisions For the LA Galaxy


Who should start for the LA Galaxy?

With the arrival of central midfielder Steven Gerrard and attacking midfielder Giovani Dos Santos, who should start for the Los Angeles Galaxy?

There’s no need to change up the Galaxy’s solid defensive unit made up of Jaime Penedo in goal, Dan Gargan at right back, Omar Gonzalez and A.J. DeLaGarza as the center backs, and Robbie Rogers at left back, but there’s not enough room in the Front Six for all of the LA’s deserving players.

Making up the two-man center midfield or defensive midfield pairing, Juninho and Steven Gerrard is a strong and non-controversial pairing.

Juninho is a solid MLS center midfielder with several years of consistently good performances. Gerrard is a legenday center midfielder that can play a box-to-box role or deeper role where he anchors the midfield with his passing, vision, and recovery play.

Both Gerrard and Juninho are intelligent players that know how to adapt their midfield play to what is needed, so there’s no need to designate one as the defensive midfielder and the other one as the box-to-box midfielder. Both players will go forward or drop back depending on what the other one does.

The more attacking roles are where the 50/50 personnel decisions will arise. Whenever Robbie Keane retires or goes elsewhere, there will be one less set-in-stone starting spot, but for now, there are many line-up decisions to be made.

In the four attacking roles, Sebastian Lletget has cemented himself as a starter, and playing as an attacking midfielder right, left, or center likely makes little difference to his positive impact in the lineup.

Lletget can also play as a forward in several tactical setups.

Gyasi Zardes has to be considered the center forward, first striker, or Number 9 for this squad with Keane sitting underneath him as the second striker or withdrawn striker, and this already turns the Galaxy’s formation into a 4-4-2 with Juninho and Gerrard in the center of the midfield.

With the personnel in the roster naturally lending itself to a 4-4-2 formation, this puts Lletget and someone else as the outside midfielders or wings. Along with Lletget, the decision is Dos Santos or José Villarreal, and Dos Santos’ salary is several million dollars.

Dos Santos’ reputation and salary tends to make him be thought of as a starter, but Villarreal offers so much to the squad, not to mention his natural ability as a wing.

Villarreal like Dos Santos is left-footed, which makes him a strong choice to play as a left wing or as an inverted winger on the right wing.

For all of Villarreal’s skill, Dos Santos has to be considered more talented for now, but Villarreal is still on the rise. Villarreal is also a tougher player that runs more, tracks back more on defense, and plays with more physicality.

Comparing Villarreal and Dos Santos, Dos Santos is a more dynamic attacker, but Villarreal is also a skilled, quick, and dynamic attacker that provides more work rate and defending.

For the Los Angles Galaxy, the real lineup toss up will be the Dos Santos or Villarreal decision, and likely circumstances like fitness, injuries, and matchups will dictate who starts.

The Galaxy should be considered arguably the best team in MLS this season with their current roster, and the second half of the season should provide plenty of storylines about players and lineup decisions.

Bruce Arena will have to see what his best lineup really is and if there is more than one best lineup.

5 MLS Players That Can Improve the USMNT




The U.S. Men’s National Team could stand for an injection of new skill, and here are five MLS players that can improve the Nationa Team in the defense, in the midfield, and in the attack. All of these players are young enough to serve the National Team for many years.


1. Dillon Powers – Center Midfielder/Attacking Midfielder

Wanted: Two-Way Center Midfielders. The National Team could use an injection of complete midfielders to give the squad the type of passing, defending, and work rate that higher-level midfield play requires. Dillon Powers is the most promising of the newer center midfielders in MLS, and in his mid-twenties, he’s ready for international play now. The U.S. continues to field players out of position in the midfield, but Powers can excel as a box-to-box midfielder, as a Number 10, or as an attacking midfielder out right or left. Powers is also qualified to play as a defensive midfielder or Number 6.

2.  Sebastian Lletget –Attacking Midfielder/Center Midfielder/Wing

Playmaking and creativity in the midfield is one of the biggest weaknesses of the National Team. Link-up play between the midfield and the attack also continues to be a major weakness of the National Team. In a very short time in MLS, Sebastian Lletget has already demonstrated the qualities that transfer to the international game. His technical ability and work rate are excellent, and he’s fast and quick with a nose for goal. Lletget is a skilled finisher with either foot, and he combines quickly and well with skilled attacking and midfield counterparts. Looking over the American player pool, Lletget is a must for the National Team.

3. Andrew Farrell – Center Back/Right Back

The American defense continues to be a problem against the better national teams. The problem is having center backs that have the defensive abilities, technical skills, and athleticism needed to face off against elite attackers. Andrew Farrell stands out amongst the center backs in MLS. He’s good on the ball, strong defensively in all areas, and really difficult to body off the ball or beat for pace. In short, Farrell is a beast of a center back that defends well, plays well with the ball at his feet, and chases down attackers like a monster.

4. Bradford Jamieson IV – Forward/Wing

It’s no secret that the National Team is missing creative, skilled, and fast attackers that can score goals and create goals out of nothing. Bradford Jamieson IV is an 18-year-old attacking midfielder/forward that can beat defenders with skill, speed, or both at the same time. The LA Galaxy attacker can play anywhere in the attack, and he’s ready to play at the international level. Jamieson is a skill player like Clint Dempsey, but he has a level of speed and quickness that Dempsey never had.

5. José Villarreal –Wing/Forward

Attacking wide and centrally is important for attackers, and José Villarreal is a winger or second striker by trade that can improve the National Team’s ability to have a more dynamic and spontaneous attack. He’s another LA Galaxy player that looks like an upgrade to a dull and ineffective American attack – Clint Dempsey excluded. Villarreal is a lefty that also plays well with his weaker right foot, and he can serve the National Team well on the left, on the right, or paired with a Number 9 up top. Unlike many of the other attackers that have played for the National Team, Villarreal doesn’t need to be told to attack and go for goal. Like Lletget and Jamieson, this is another creative LA Galaxy player.