I've got lots of United States news and previews coming this week, now that the MLS Conference Finals are played out. After the jump, there are a few thoughts on the following roster Klinsmann named for this week's friendlies.
GOALKEEPERS (2): Bill Hamid (D.C.United), Tim Howard (Everton)
DEFENDERS (7): Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers), Timmy Chandler (Nürnberg), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Alfredo Morales (Hertha Berlin), Michael Orozco Fiscal (San Luis), Oguchi Onyewu (Sporting Lisbon)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Chievo Verona), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Edson Buddle (Ingolstadt), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy)
Of course, Howard will be playing again, and most likely will be our keeper for years to come. However, the news here is that Bill Hamid has becoming Jurgen Klinsmann's definite number two keeper. I think as young keepers go, most don't place much distance between Chicago's keeper Sean Johnson and Hamid. Both are the cream of the crop as young American keepers go, but Klinsmann has taken a liking to Hamid. Johnson did get called in for the U-23 camp, though. Brad Guzan has long been our number two, but he almost never sees the field and Klinsmann needs that.
My initial reactions to the defenders named.
Yes, Yes, Yes, If You Have To, Hmmmm, Oh Dear God No, Yes
There is no story in those I approve of immediately. Cherundolo, Bocanegra, Onyewu, Chandler until something better arises. Ideally, Eric Lichaj gets to play and when Cherundolo hangs it up, either he or Chandler take over right back.
Unfortunately, LA is still in the playoffs, because I would love for Omar Gonzalez to be called in as opposed to Goodson and Fiscal. Goodson is a serviceable player. Nothing about him gives me confidence nor fear. After watching the Gold Cup, I have deemed that he can't marshal a back line, and at times, he just plays soft. People tend to forget because he hasn't been in the spotlight for long that he is older than Onyewu and plays in Denmark. There is not going to be a great deal of growth or improvement, but one certainly knows what they are getting. Orozco Fiscal is Klinsmann's Jonathan Bornstein and Bradley haters certainly know what that means.
German-born Alfredo Morales and Fabian Johnson on US soccer roster - The Washington Post
Morales, a 21-year-old with Hertha Berlin, also is eligible to play for Peru, where his father was born. His father became a U.S. citizen, and Morales holds an American passport. He made his debut for Hertha Berlin last December and can play right back or defensive midfield.
"We are excited to introduce Alfredo Morales to the U.S. team," coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. "I have spoken with his coach at Hertha Berlin and he is full of compliments. He is on the way to being a starter there."
Now, here's an interesting call-up. Remember, that friendlies do not tie any player to a National team, but I would think that given a chance to play for the United States (Almost a lock to qualify for every World Cup) or Peru (Conmebol qualification in my opinion is the hardest based on top-to-bottom strength), he would pick the United States. He has played for the U-20 team before. An interesting call-up given that defensive midfield and right back are the deepest spot on our team, but he might be a center back possibility as well. Until he's a first-teamer for Hertha it will be hard to get a read on him.
Nothing unexpected here. Dempsey again will be up top, and the offense will run through him. Hopefully, Donovan will be on the right, despite being listed as a forward here, but if LA wins he might not be in Paris either. That is fine though, because Fabian Johnson can play in the right midfield as he does for Hoffenheim. Brek Shea will be on the left, and unfortunately Robbie Rodgers may see the field. Nothing more disturbing than tremendous physical talent and work-rate spoiled by a lack of intuition and skill. (Ask any English or Arsenal fan about Theo Walcott, and Rodgers isn't nearly that good)
To say, I have no idea who should be paired in the central midfield would be an understatement. Beckerman is the best stopper, but his passes go astray too often for my liking. Jones seemed oddly adventurous in the Gold Cup, and we all know Bradley does that also. Alongside Beckerman, that might be suitable, but together it leads to some criminal defending. This can lead to breaks or draw out Onyewu, who if he has a great fault it is how aggressively he attacks in a rush opening up space behind him Williams hasn't played in the center for the US, but that is his traditional role, and Edu is enigmatically ineffective for the national team. I think he's better than Beckerman, but like Goodson, Beckerman may not be flashy but we know what we have.
Just as everyone has been saying, Juan Agudelo isn't here. Klinsmann has been emphasizing playing time, and it's no good to be in the 18 and then make cameo appearances when your coach thinks Luke Rodgers might punch a guy in the face just for fun. Whether due to bad/lackadaisical training or Hans Backe's incomptence, the first rumored and the second looking more firm everyday, Agudelo hasn't been playing, so he is not on the team. He did get added to the U-23 camp. Get on the field, sooner the better is the lesson here.
Other than that, blah. Two midfielders are listed at forward. Again, they are known quantities. Donovan is the heart of the team and Beasley is a talented winger, who lacks the physicality but is both attacking and defensively vigilant. Edson Buddle is not our best option as a second striker, but our best (or most in-form) strikers are either not Klinsmann's favorites or can't make the trip. I would have picked Gomez or Bunbury, but neither is ahead of Altidore and if we're playing one up top, he's the guy.
Aside, from the continuing influx of foreign-born players, there isn't much to see here. These are the same guys Klinsmann has been calling in, or holdovers from Bradley's teams. Only two players, Hamid and Morales, haven't had a cap with the team. Klinsmann's ideal starting eleven probably hasn't changed much.
Like I said, the only spot that I'm unsure of is central midfield. I think as of now it may be a coin flip for who plays, but Beckerman seems to be favored and I just inserted Jones on such a coin-flip. With Donovan gone, expect Johnson to start on the right wing. But of course, Klinsmann might be cooking up some ingenious plan to prove me all wrong.
So tell me what you guys think. Any solutions at forward? Intrigued by any particular player? Interested in the pictures Robbie Rodgers and Michael Orozco-Fiscal took when they went on an all night bender with Klinsmann? Confused that Brek Shea is training with Arsenal, perhaps the most wing heavy team ever created? Even better, help me differentiate between our five central midfielders, so that post later in the year on our player pool is so much easier.