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May 21, 2012

Reviewing Klinsmann - Top Ten Missed Players for Summer 2012

Klinsmann is getting closer to finalizing his tournament-style roster. Trying not to bore you to death, I'll skip the details and give you the lump summary: this is a great roster that's geared towards a 4-2-3-1 by the looks of it. The fact that we have complaints about who wasn't called up and still are glad with the 27 men called in is a great sign. But because we love drama, we might as well talk about who didn't get called in. These are ten men who weren't called in that the public were crying for. Not strictly my option but as we know nothing is completely bias-free.

Furious Omissions
Players not on the roster that people are most upset about. I think.

1. Timmy Chandler - 1. FC Nuremberg - Germany.1

Why he didn't make it: drama drama drama
What his future holds: Did I mention there was a lot of drama? Well optimistically he'd fall nicely into a position that's wide open for the taking. Germany has apparently made it clear they have no plans for him (couldn't find a link but I'll trust the reports) and Chandler has shown his support in the past (here, here, and here). So as level-headed as I can be I'll meekly say he'll be ready to go come World Cup, barring injury or lack of fitness.

2. Eric Lichaj - Aston Villa - England.1

Why he was left out: I wouldn't have put Lichaj this high if the outside back wasn't so thin. Cherundolo is elderly (33), Fabian Johnson may end up in the midfield (although unlikely), Chandler's out, mixed-reviews on Castillo (although a lot of positives are out there), and Morales is young (still at zero caps). On top of all of that, nothing really conclusive has been released on why Lichaj was left out. Rumor has it he's trying to take some time off to stay in-form for Aston Villa. He ended on a very strong note with a lackluster Aston Villa after he overcame knee (?) injuries in the season. He got involved in the attack several times (picking up goals and assists in the short span) and defensive was sound albeit not great.
What his future holds: He'll turn 24 in November so it's not like he missed his only shot. At the end of 2004, centuryman Bocanegra was 25 and had only 10 caps to his name. (Lichaj is sitting at eight at the moment.) I would really be surprised if he missed the World Cup because he's like a better Spector (just in my opinion, Internet!). A transfer may be in the cards as well but everything is speculation at this point.

(Edit: Klinsmann recently spoke on multiple players' absence from the 27 called in, specifically Lichaj. "[Playing time] came in too late for him, but it’s good that he broke in [at Aston Villa]. If you look at certain positions, who are they kind of front-runners. Look at the central midfielder position. Michael Bradley, a Jermaine Jones, a Maurice Edu, a Kyle Beckerman." Ives didn't do a great job of providing context but I think he's saying Lichaj should have had more playing time. Not positive. Either way I'll give Klinsmann the benefit of the doubt here.)

3. Sacha Kljestan - Anderlecht - Belgium.1

Why he was left out: I never heard anything following this leak of a pretty weak quote on Klinsmann slashing the Belgium league, "I only look at the top leagues, and Belgium isn't one of them." Regardless, Kljestan is victim of some odd combination. Poor history with the USMNT but recent success, especially the trophy part, will leave you with mixed reviews. So needless to say a lot of people are upset on the omission but an equally lot are not surprised. It most likely came down to tough competition for the primarily center defensive mid. Beckerman, Bradley, Edu, Jones, and Williams... Could Klinsmann left one off for Kljestan? Ehh. Very debatable.
What his future holds: At 26, he's nearing his peak of play. Bradley seemed to show promise in Kljestan and Klinsmann played him against Italy sooo... who knows. Things could definitely fall his way or he could be the biggest snub come 2014.

Annoyed Omissions
Players not on the roster that no one is really going berserk over but enough comments to make some waves. As much waves as a random tweetist could.

4. Brek Shea - FC Dallas - MLS

Why he was left out: Kind of being a punk lately, and his form, if FC Dallas' standings weren't enough to verify this, has dropped. I said a year and a half ago his service looked spotty and I still stand by it. The Olympics saw the same energetic Shea making solid runs only to squander service into traffic.
What his future holds: Klinsmann still likes him, “We have watched Brek during the last few months, and given his performances and some of the other issues we felt he should be on the standby list. He’s still a young player with a lot of talent, and also a lot to learn.” Still 22, he has plenty of time to craft his skill

5. Freddy Adu - Philadelphia Union - MLS

Why he was left out: Unfortunately he's lumped in with Shea on recent suspensions despite them being wildly different. Seems a little too optimistic when he plays but then again he's one of the few American CAMs that is creatively optimistic when he plays. Probably needs to get more of a solid footing in Philadelphia before he challenges Brazil and other nations though.
What his future holds: I think he'll fair well in the MLS. The defenses don't really seem to have an answer for him at this rate and he wants to be better by the looks of it. Internationally, ehhh... a cloudy future. I don't expect him to live up to the once absurd hype but I would be shocked if he didn't reach 30 caps.

6. Benny Feilhaber - New England Revolution - MLS

Why he was left out: Well the Revolution are pretty bad but Feilhaber is a 74 on FIFA 12 for a reason. The Brazilian really shows a vision and command on the field that is a nice trait to have at the international level. But again, the midfield position is pretty stacked for the US.
What his future holds: Personally, after Lichaj, Feilhaber was my most disappointed omission. He performed well against Venezuela and clearly really appreciated his time on the field with a real furor for the goalmouth. His time may be running out with the US but even Wondo and Beasley have been given second chances so nothing is final.

7. Tim Ream - Bolton Wanderers - England.1 England.2

Why he was left out: Klinsmann wanted to give him some rest, apparently. Ream got swept up in a whirlwind to Bolton to the point where he even missed his honeymoon. Guzan passed on last year's Gold Cup for his wedding so personal lives do exist for these players, thank goodness. Still, the CB call ups are pretty nice and his play was up-and-down for Bolton this season.
What his future holds: Ream and Klinsmann stay in touch and I'm confident that Klinsmann is confident in Ream. The Championship will help Ream's play as the league is still very fast and physical.

"Aw Man" Omissions
Players that are fan favorites but they're not there for a reason.

8. Mix Diskerud - Gent - Belgium.1

Why he was left out: Unsatisfactory Olympic play, in short.
What his future holds: Still bright as his blue eyes.

9. DaMarcus Beasley - Puebla - Mexico.1

Why he was left out: The comment "A lot of scorers and wing players already on the roster that would likely start over Beasley," would probably come up but there's Dempsey, Donovan... Zusi? Corona? Not buying it but here we are.
What his future holds: The century cap mark may be tougher than we thought...

10. A different MLS keeper

Why they were left out: Well the current three are obviously better.
What the future holds: A lot of young talent, even outside of Hamid and Johnson. Ryan Meara, my personal favorite despite playing for New York, has shown a lot of promise as well as a growing Zac MacMath. Tally Hall not too shabby as well.

Depth Chart

A bigger picture, with some personal input, on where we stand with the callups. (If you were to ever make fun of me this would be the way to do it.) I'll put a number next to each category on how many we can expect to see on the final 23.  

Bold means the player made the 27. 
Strikethrough means they were mentioned above. 
Italics means they were not mentioned but I wouldn't be terribly upset if they somehow ended up in the World Cup.

Notes for players I thought deserved them. Some of them are doubled (*) up on multiple categories because we just don't know!

 Goalies (3)
Tim Howard
Brad Guzan
Nick Rimando
Ryan Meara
About a dozen other keepers

Outside Backs (3-4)
Steve Cherundolo
Timmy Chandler 
Eric Lichaj
Michael Parkhurst*
Fabian Johnson*
Edgar Castillo
Jonathan Spector (2)
Alfredo Morales (6)
Zach Loyd
Heath Pearce

Center Backs (4-5)
Carlos Bocanegra
Oguchi Onyewu
Michael Parkhurst*
Geoff Cameron
Zak Whitbread (1) 
Clarence Goodson
Tim Ream
Omar Gonzalez (2)
AJ DeLaGarza
Chad Marshall
Perry Kitchen (3)
Michael Orozco Fiscal
George John

CDM  (3-4)
Michael Bradley*
Jermaine Jones
Kyle Beckerman
Sacha Kljestan
Danny Williams*
Maurice Edu
Jeff Larentowicz
Ricardo Clark

Center Mids (2-4)
Stuart Holden (2) 
Jose Torres
Michael Bradley*
Benny Feilhaber
Joe Corona (6)
Freddy Adu
Mix Diskerud
Dilly Duka (2)
Brad Evans
Alejandro Bedoya
Dax McCarty

Wingers (3-5)
Clint Dempsey*
Landon Donovan
DaMarcus Beasley
Fabian Johnson*
Graham Zusi
Danny Williams*
Brek Shea
Robbie Rogers (2)
Joe Gyau (3)
Josh Gatt (3)

Strikers (3-4)
Clint Dempsey*
Jozy Altidore
Chris Wondolowski
Herculez Gomez
Terrence Boyd (6)
Juan Agudelo
Evgeni Starikov (4)
Edson Buddle
CJ Sapong
Kenny Cooper (5)

(1) - The quiet ex-Norwich center back is looking for a new home but can't stay healthy for five seconds. Wouldn't be a bad addition.
(2) - Walking wounded honorable mentions. Rogers/Spector still not match fit, I suspect. Holden and Gonzalez out for a whiiiile. The Crew seem to not be rushing Duka back to the field. Probably a safe bet.
(3) - Young guns sections. I could see any of these guys on par with Corona, Agudelo as far as respective skill goes. Gyau not getting a lot of buzz but he's got a strong future with the senior circuit.
(4) - Gone MIA. Last time I checked he was good :{ /
(5) - Go MLS.
(6) - Rumors flying that these dual-nationalists were called in to convince them to play for America. Not sure if I really buy into it as all have shown strong interest already. (Morales and Boyd hold German citizenship while Corona holds Mexican.)

And lastly, here's an interesting and hopeful piece from the MLS on who should be on Klinsmann's radar.


  1. Ryan Meara is Irish...

  2. He holds dual citizenship with the US as well and isn't cap tied to Ireland. Not yet, anyway.