Thursday, May 22, 2014

I need to go talk to some roasted chicken about all this.

Like so much microwave popcorn, Jurgen Klinsmann has named his final 23 for World Cup in a virtual flash.

G - Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

D - DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (FC Nürnberg), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders)

M - Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Jermaine Jones (Beşiktaş), Graham Zusi (Sporting KC)

F - Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)



Look... the volume and variety of instant "WTF" I am processing at the moment means you will need to wait for my full take. But, ohhhh, it is a-comin'. That stew is in the pot developing flavor.





- Greg Seltzer

83 comments:

Jolazo said...

I know Landon got kinda fat, but are we really going into the World Cup with Brad Davis and Julian Green as our 2 left wingers.

The Fabian Johnson at fullback experiment better be fucking over.

Feel really shitty for the guys who got cut, especially Boyd, Goodson, and Edu.

Tony M said...

Unreal. Just unreal that this clown is running our team

SleeStaxx said...

Admittedly baffled...

Regardless of who was called, it has been a distinct possibility since this death-group was announced that we won't secure a single point in this group.

That said, this mix players has some glaring dicerolls.

If Klinsi can pull off some magic, more power to him, but this roster has major WTF selections that spill blood in the water...

dikranovich said...

People....... This might just be a good thing. It's not like Donovan has been lighting up MLS this season. Coach klinsmann with all his experience knows the World Cup is really a young mans game. Plus, deuce can play left mid as well. I think he was an EPL best eleven in this spot just a couple of seasons ago.

It's hard to win if you are afraid to push all in, and obviously coach klinsmann is not afraid.

Tony M said...

No, it's not a good thing. It's nonsense from an ego maniacal buffoon who can't actually coach

dikranovich said...

Maybe Donovan slept with someone's wife. So who is actually married on this team?

Tony M said...

dikranovich this would be a really good time to cram the bad jokes.

downintexas said...

LD better be in need of a knee replacement or on stage 3 cancer. No reason to leave him off, and have Davis, dude can't run against Ghana nor Port. FUMMMING FUMMING FUMMING

Surprised but not shocked Edu ain't there.

Bernardinho said...

Headline LOL as always - I imagine Greg grilling each piece for answers to form a consensus.

dwc414141 said...

I think this roster lends a lot of credence to those who have been saying Klinsmann bought Green and Brooks with guaranteed roster spots. If the team isn't successful he should be immediately ousted. I don't care how long his contract is for. He has hitched it reputation and career to unproven players and should be held responsible. If they succeed I will naturally eat crow and worship his genius. But the problem for him is that the team was unlikely to succeed in that brutal group anyway and now he has given all of us mountains of ammunition to use against him when/if they do fail.

Tony M said...

dwc414141: Let's go further with this. SIX Germans and the only one who plays in Mexico is Beas (most of his career in Europe)

And Green, who has done nothing, and Davis, who has proved time and again he's not this level, and, frankly Wondo who has proved the same thing many times. They get spots over LD or Joe Corona or EJ?

Three and out then fired.

AWF08 said...

I just can't shake the feeling that this team selection has more to do with Jurgen's ego than it does with who the best players are. Like, he's taken this moment to prove a lot of people wrong and himself right. Or, put "people" in their place...
The only evidence I have to support this is that he's made his final team selection 8 days before he had to. And, only one day after having all 30 players in camp. How can he possibly know that one player is in better form than another after only one day. Obviously, some people only had to show up to make the team. Which makes all the competition preaching null and void.
I am absolutely at a loss as to how this is the best 23 man roster for a team that plans to play a beautiful game of soccer against the world's best...

dwc414141 said...

I keep seeing comments on social media about Donovan being excluded because he "quit" the team previously. Chandler is there and he has cherry picked what matches are worthy of his presence for the last couple years.

dikranovich said...

You really have to think that if this was about the coaches ego, then he would have brought brad Evans, but since he didn't, then it is not.

Maybe people could be reminded of lippi and our friend Brian strauss's comments about it not being the best eleven players but the players who will make the best team.

SleeStaxx said...

This is nice... Klinsmann's 14-year old kid's tweet... lasted a little under an hour and now he;s deleted his account (if real):

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BoRbGXSCQAAtKjM.jpg

SleeStaxx said...

klinsi softballing it when asked:

http://www.mlssoccer.com/video/2014/05/22/jurgen-klinsmann-toughest-decision-my-coaching-career

Tony M said...

He is a kid. But it suggests that he is repeating his father's attitude. Disgraceful

UnitedDemon said...

Yedlin- say what you will against Brad Evans, he started important matches for the US and didn't cause the backline to implode. Yedlin's inclusion is shocking.

Chandler's added importance is shocking. He hasn't played for the US since utterly bombing against Honduras- I've never seen a player struggling that hard to breath.

Landon's omission is amazing.

But the thing that jumps out at me the most: There's no direct replacement of Jozy's type on this roster. That's utterly shocking. OK, you don't take EJ, at least take Terrence Boyd. AJ doesn't have the hold up play that Jozy has, and Wondo is a poacher who (as someone more clever once penned) "needs 90 minutes for the defense to forget about him." I'm worried that we won't have another body to throw in there who can hold his own. We need an athletic strong option. If Jozy goes down, that's a big concern.

dikranovich said...

It really is not much of a stretch to see Donovan playing in brasil this summer. Someone could always be injured. We should be thankful we don't have players with the attitude of Ashley. Cole. If Donovan is called upon at a later date, he will surely accept with honor and give his best.

futfan said...

>No, it's not a good thing. It's nonsense from an ego maniacal buffoon who can't actually coach

This! Completely and totally this. As Tony said, Klinsmann is an ego-maniacal buffoon.

I want him fired immediately - yes even before the WC. Landon Donovan is the absolute last person who should have been left off the squad. For many reasons not the least of which is experience and his ability to mentor and settle the younger guys on the squad. Klinsmann is an absolute joke. A clown.

dikranovich said...

Not that stats mean everything, but this season for galaxy, dan ninja man gargan has more assist, and Stefan ishizaki has more goals than LD, and ld has only one assist and zero goals

futfan said...

>There's no direct replacement of Jozy's type on this roster. That's utterly shocking. OK, you don't take EJ, at least take Terrence Boyd... We need an athletic strong option. If Jozy goes down, that's a big concern.

Klinsmann is an idiot. He proved that with this team selection. Not only should Boyd be going instead of Wondolowski - Jozy is literally in the worst form of his career. The idea that he should/will necessarily be the focal point at striker is plain stupidity right.

I am so pissed off right now. What an insult to Donovan and the U.S. fans. Seriously I hope U.S. soccer fans refuse to stand for this garbage and call for Klinsmann's ouster.

futfan said...

dikranovich

By your logic then Altidore should be nowhere near the squad. Shouldn't have even been brought in the 30.

Just stop. Not choosing Donovan was stupid and completely insulting. And worse it was probably for petty reasons. Klinsmann is a joke.

futfan said...

>If Donovan is called upon at a later date, he will surely accept with honor and give his best.

If I were Donovan and that occurred, I would very loudly and publicly tell Klinsmann to shove the "honor" up his ass.

downintexas said...

After seeing Klinsmann's sons tweet and his apology. I now know Landon had 0% chance of making the squad. JK only brought him in as show.

Green, one day, might, might be better than LD but has not done anything to deserve a call up let alone go over LD. He has only played one real game, and that was a friendly. If I'm a betting man I'd give Green a 50/50 shot of starting one game.

I can't imagine what the veteran guys are thinking.

JK is a classless petty man. We will go 3 and out. With that said, prove me wrong!

Tony M said...

futfan:

If I were Donovan and that occurred, I would very loudly and publicly tell Klinsmann to shove the "honor" up his ass.

Exactly. Although I used my middle finger to demonstrate the same feeling.

Thing is, Donovan would go. He's a good solider. Then I hope he scores and THEN gives JK the finger

Kirk Diggler said...

I hate to root for an injury, but if Julian Green or Brad Davis were to roll an ankle, I wouldn't be upset.

But then watch Klinsman call in Boyd instead. Asshat.

justinwkoehn said...

This coach just led the USMNT to their best year in HISTORY you fkin ass-hats. Now you want him fired cause he didn't include semi-retired landy-cakes? You guys are jokes.

I personally would have included Landon over Davis and Parkhurst over Gonzo, but I wasn't in camp, so I respect JK's judgement. He did lead Germany to a surprise 3rd place when they weren't expected to get out of the quarters in 2006. You want his head over a player being cut?

I'm shocked with Green and Yeldin's inclusion as well, but if we are to make it out of the group, we need something special, and if Jurgen see's that in those two, I'm excited to see how they will be used. Sit back and watch boys. If anything, I have more respect for JK not playing it safe with the daunting task ahead.

Tony M said...

"best year in our history", What a joke, Do recall how close we were to not qualifying? Poor Jamaica defending and snow in Denver saved his job and our chances. And, by the way, Donovan's dominance in the Gold Cup had a little to do with the "best year".

And by the way, the best year in our history is still 2002, when we won a second round game in the World Cup. You want to count some friendlies more than that, go ahead.

justinwkoehn said...

And the 2002 game vs Germany could have gone the other way too. That was definitely our best tournament in recent memory.

I don't think you've marginalized the good run of form in 2013 until now when it suits your anger towards Landon's exclusion. It's amazing how personal people have been taking it, even though most predictions had LD as marginally making the 23, but making it based on experience. He's been huge for the USMNT, but JK is the coach, and I trust his judgement until I see otherwise. We need unity around the 23 putting on the red, white, and blue in Brazil.

downintexas said...

Justin, how's the Kool-aid?

also, who on this site said fire JK?

Matt said...

Have you all seen LD play this year? He's ineffective in MLS. He's lost a step (or 2) and while he has the skill and vision to play in a different way, he doesn't seem to have altered his style at all.

Matt said...

As for Evans, he just doesn't have the speed to defend against Ghana, Portugal and Germany. Heart and intelligence don't make up for it if the other guys can run around you

dikranovich said...

Tony M. You sit here with a straight face and tell me the USA has not played some of its most beautiful soccer ever over the past year or so, and I'm going to have to call you a liar, or a joker.

We have played Ghana two world cups in a row, and we have tried to beat them with athleticism. This time around we are taking players with higher soccer IQs

dikranovich said...

Downintexas, if you actually read all wthe post, you can find the answer to your second question

downintexas said...

Dik, no one disagrees that the past year has been great, but LD was part of it. How many goals did Jozy score when LD is playing vs not playing.

Are saying LD is only speed with no intelligence? I know you say crazy stuff but wow, just wow.

justinwkoehn said...

dikranovich: I think you have it backwards. JK wants a high level of fitness, mostly because of the sweltering conditions and the worst travel schedule of any team. With LD saying he can't play at a high level if he trains the same amount as the rest of the team, I think he condemned himself.

And the roster includes six German-Americans, not six Germans. Being the son of a serviceman still entitles you to being an American last I checked. JK gets great marks at being able to recruit dual-nationals then ridiculed for actually using them. I'm really interested to get Greg's take. I recall that he was big on Chandler and thought a camp + 3 friendlies was enough to integrate him into a backline. Wonder if he feels the same about both Chandler and JAB.

downintexas said...

Thanks dik, only one person futfan. One out of about 20 posts.

dikranovich said...

Well when half the post are mine......... You are down to one rotten apple out of ten, then you got the "I'll eat crow if I'm wrong" aholes, and that makes it about half the posters.

So basically 50 % of USA fans are fare weather dick weed half wit, no intelligence fans, with no hearts, or balls. Little itty bitty monkey balls.

downintexas said...

Yes Dik I would agree with all thoses fans who could care less if LD is not on the team, who won't hold coaches accountable for their actions, who wont ask questions, yes those are the no intelligence, nohearts or balls ect ect

Jay said...

There's certainly a "OMG WTF HOLY SHIT IS THIS REAL LIFE" air about Donovan being left off the roster. I get it. I've got the same knee-jerk reaction.

But let's be honest here: the big crazy mind fuck bullshit is John Anthony Brooks being anywhere near this roster. In his two caps he's been lost, incommunicative, positionally poor, and unobservant. He's a liability, even if one considers him the 23rd man. But of course, he isn't the 23rd man -- he's the third of only three center backs. That means he's expected to play.

Did you hear that? Maybe I didn't say that loud enough. THE GUY WHO SUCKED SO MASSIVELY AGAINST UKRAINE IS EXPECTED TO PLAY IN THE FUCKING WORLD CUP. Seriously, I'm having an aneurism. Holy goddamn shit.

Jay said...

Also, dik, that quip about Donovan banging someone was actually kind of funny.

Don't let it go to your head.

justinwkoehn said...

I think Cameron will be a CB come World Cup. JK keeps hinting at it. That may put JAB at #4 on the depth chart. That being said, I could see JAB passing Gonzo after a whole month of preparation, based on the level of players each one has to defend against in their respective leagues. JAB's two games for the USMNT have come with little time to gel with the rest of the team. Anyone who knows anything about soccer knows you cant just throw together a back line and expect it to hold up.

justinwkoehn said...

And by thrown together I'm referring to friendlies with a day or two of mini-cap to prepare, not the whole month leading to the WC.

Jay said...

You're right. Slapping together a squad is a recipe for disaster. Klinsmann, are you listening?

There's something to be said for not having time to gel, and there's something else to be said for not paying attention. I feel like JAB's scenario leans very heavily towards the latter.

And you're right: I missed Gonzo on the roster. So, yes, there are four center backs. But JAB is a left-sided center back; he's understudy to Besler, and won't be competing with Gonzo -- a right-sided center back. My point still stands. At some point, he'll be expected to perform. He isn't there for the experience of it, he's there to carry minutes.

dikranovich said...

What I see on this 23 man squad is a lot of players who could have breakout tournaments. The next generation of defenders include players like Conor Donovan, who will probably be playing for a big team in Europe soon, but this cycle has players like Besler, who can use this event in brasil to attract much attention.

Michael Bradley could break out as well, into a higher level of collective appreciation. Such a player, and he is not going to be second guessing his coach, and you all know it. I mean if any person in this country would have reason to second guess the coach, it would be this guy. People ought to be ashamed of themselves for not having more fortitude.

Wouldn't that be a god damn Greek tragedy if Julian green went off in the first couple warm up games only to get injured and replaced by Donovan, who then Goes on to miss at this World Cup. And if you espouse to the every other World Cup policy, this is the down side of every other for Landon.

Aaron johansson might be a big star, and so to might mix, and both have a very real chance to do big things this summer. You add players like Davis and beckerman, who both brings worlds of smarts, and a point to prove and the ingredients are there for something special.

Matt said...

I think anyone that has ever done business with a German company or team might have experienced this: a complete and utter lack of sentimentality or feeling that someone is "owed" something.

I don't think this is ego we are dealing with, I think it's hyper-rationality.

I, for one, welcome our new German overlord and actually believe we are going to do just fine without Landon.

The Streetsweeper said...

Okay.

Just for fun, I'm gonna try to prove that there is a lot of good news in this roster.

1. The inclusion of Chandler and Yedlin seems to clearly indicate that Geoff Cameron is in camp as a CB. This should be terrific news to all of our ears. A Besler/Cameron pairing is by far our strongest tandem in terms of physical attributes + soccer smarts.

2. Given that Yedlin has a skillset that is uniquely his own (youth), it means that Chandler beat out Parkhurst and Evans for the starting RB spot. This should be received as good news, because we needed better than those two guys come June (I think Parkhurst has been underrated by fans in his return).

3. Ask yourself this, in the entire pool, who are the two best outside midfielders (I won't say "wingers") at tracking back defensively over 90 minutes? I'm gonna say Bedoya and Zusi. Can Bedoya play on the left for 60 minutes, and then make way for Dempsey to slide out wide when we insert an offensive-minded sub? Heck yeah.

- - - - -

Now, that said, a few questions

I. People are clamoring for Boyd or EJ's hold up play. Perhaps my memory is off but I don't really recall EJ having much in the way of hold up play skills. Sounds like that's one of his problems at DC this season, the fact that he doesn't like to do that kind of stuff as a target forward. As for Boyd… has anyone on here actually watch Boyd play 90 minutes of soccer? Does he hold the ball up? Or is he just tall and strong so we assume he does?

II. I share everyone's surprise about JAB over Goodson, but am I right in thinking that the 4th CB is the least used man on most WC rosters? If Cameron is ahead of Gonzo, and Gonzo is ahead of Goodson… then I'm not sure the JAB inclusion is that big a deal.

III. Anyone else see Beasley coming on in the final 15 minutes of a game as a sub at left mid to help kill off a game, or steal a late goal, with his veteran savvy? (That said, it does make Davis's inclusion over Parkhurst feel problematic)

- - - - -

And finally, on Landon Donovan vs. Julian Green

A. I can personally pinpoint the exact moment when I felt okay with Landon not making the plane. (doing this from memory, so the specifics might be a bit off) In the second half of the Mexico friendly Donovan gets the ball on the right flank around midfield with a ton of open space in front of him. This has always been where the magic happens. He takes the space in front of him (though noticeably with a bit less explosiveness) until he finally encounters a Mexican defender maybe 30 yards from goal. He takes the touch to burst past him… or a touch that was intended to set up a move… or a pass… or something… only nothing happens because the defender stonewalls him. Plucks it off his feet. Transition over. And th worst part? It's friggin Rafa Marquez. Donovan without the physical ability to create in transition does not have a place in the 23.

B. You know who can take on guys one-on-one? Julian Green.

C. You know who won't raise a single eyebrow on game day when he doesn't make the 23? Julian Green. Yes I am sure today's news regarding Landon will take a hit on the locker room. But isn't it better to get this over with now than in the moment down in Brazil? I can see Donovan, who is already not the world's greatest locker room guy, becoming a liability if he didn't see the field after the first game or two.

Well, turns out I had a lot to get off my chest.

Thanks for listening, internets.

I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ dikranovich:

I am sorry, did you just explain that leaving off Donovan while bringing Green increases our soccer IQ? Huh? Do you even read the words you type?



@ The Streetsweeper:

Erm, when precisely do you imagine Cameron has taken part in by far our srongest CB anything? I must have missed that game.

As for the whole Donovan vs. Green section... oi.

But I also have a question: What do you believe we will win exactly?

dikranovich said...

Greg, it's so boring around here when I'm not beating down the naysayers. I mean really!!!

Paul Poenicke said...

"beating down" is to be taken in the sense that a tick beats down the host it is feeding on.

dikranovich: I do think your "post" at 11:47 contained one insight. Johansson is primed to have a strong World Cup. After ditching Donovan, he is the first player off the bench who, like Shea, provides a unique set of attacking skills that will put opponents at a disadvantage. His speed, strength, shot, and sheer desire to get attempts on goal provide such a useful sub off the bench. After the starters, particularly Bradley, Altidore, Dempsey, Johnson, and the backline duo, perhaps the most important player for the US to advance will be Johansson. The US needs goals to advance, and Johansson has the skills to change a game. (In my mind, Wondo comes in second, to sneak a ball into the net after the 70th minute.)

justinwkoehn said...

@Greg
JK see's Cameron's role differently:

“I’ve said that over three years, that I think [Cameron's] best position is center back, and it’s good to know he can play right back too, and it’s good to know he can play a No. 6, too, but his best fit, his best game for himself is the center-back role.”

Greg Seltzer said...

Yes, I am aware of what he says. I am asking if you or anyone here can match an actual game performance with this view.

justinwkoehn said...

I'll have to admit, the only recent memory I have of Cameron as a CB for USMNT was vs Jamaica in October, where he commanded a sharp back line to a shutout. But I understand Jamaica <<<<< Ghana/Portugal/Germany/Belgium

Carl said...

I don't necessarily have issue with the selection, although I would probably select Donovan because he normally performs very well in a US shirt. The last Mexico game was either an anomaly or what Landon has become (may the latter was Klinsi's conclusion).

My main issue is that Klinsmann constantly preached how much competition for spots matters, then makes his cut two days after the last guys arrive and prior to any games being played.

Just seems strange, perhaps he all of a sudden felt that the 23 needed time to develop chemistry more than compete for spots. IT just struck me as odd.

downintexas said...

Carl,

Klinsmann says one thing but does another. He has done this over and over again.

I just hope this does not effect Timmy, Bradley, Jozy, and Demps. Look how well we played when Boca was tossed aside. Hope JK handled this well with in the team. I wouldn't be surprised if LD knew this was coming, hence his extra humbleness.

justinwkoehn said...

I like the timing of the one and final cut. Now players are not competing against each other, thinking "how can I beat this guy out", rather they are now thinking how can I help this team. The focus is now on Ghana, and using the upcoming three friendlies to prep for it, not making the cut.

Greg, that chicken done roasting? Has the stew simmered long enough? Gotta strike while the iron is hot!

SleeStaxx said...

Lost in all this is with or without Donovan we are going to have to pull off a big miracle to get out of this group.

The back 4, collectively, is horrible and likely not up to WC standards.

Namely if Beasley and Gonzo are starting... People can slag off Brooks as well, but part of the problem was that Klinsi only trialed brooks a couple times and went back to Gonso after it was clearly evident that Gonzo is good for 2-3 WTF mistakes a game. Playing CB well takes time to build relationships with your partner CB, the D-mids, etc. Gonzo got most of that that time even tho it is clear he's a liability. Brooks certainly looked no better in his limited trial, but he certainly could have used a few more games. I'm much more worried about he backline... Donovan in or out is a secondary concern at best...

WonderKin said...

Donovan has not looked good in MLS. He has struggled for fitness and has hinted at nagging injuries.

Klinsmann may be wheeling and dealing to secure 2018 German-American allegiance, but we be won't complaining when he is starting for Bayern Munich in 2017. JAB looks like a blue chip prospect as well. (Long term at least) I'm not gonna freak out about the 22nd and 23rd spot.

Julian is an upgrade from Brek Shea, and may be used in a tactically similar manner. LD is still a better player overall than Julian Green at this point, but his days of running at defenders are behind him.

I just hope Beckerman plays. I salivate at the idea of Cameron, Besler, and Beckerman moving the ball from the back. Up the spine to Bradley, Dempsey, and Jozy. They will be a nightmare to defend. Johanson fits nicely as well.

On the edges we have speed,to open things up on offense.

On the edges defensively we have effort/def. track back guys for defense. Donovan is not a track back guy. Davis is a track back guy.

justinwkoehn said...

-------------Howard-----------
Chandler-Cameron-Brooks-Johnson

3 Bundesliga and 2 EPL starters. On paper, this defense would make most eurosnob US fans salivate. Doubt Brooks will be ready in time though, so insert Besler and you probably have the starting back line. Great potential, but hope they have enough time to gel.

WonderKin said...

I think it's worth noting as well that when Jurgen has had adequate prep time (more than a week) leading up to games, that the team has looked very good, very organized, and that each player understands his role and executes that role to great affect.

When we fly guys in a couple of days before and play with only one or two practices we have looked like total crap (Jamaica, Honduras, Ukraine). But you can take that with a grain of salt. Those games are more like a combine than an actual camp or real game. You can evaluate each player's individual attributes, but very difficult to evaluate things like tactical awareness when a majority of the team has no idea what is going on.

Jacob Klinger said...

Landon Donovan has always been a track-back guy. Just because he has more than one talent on a soccer field doesn't mean he doesn't put in the dirty work.

Matt Browner Hamlin said...

I think Donovan should be on the roster - and given three more friendlies & a couple weeks of training, he still may make it. But what's most confusing to me is the choice to take 8 defensive players, particularly Yedlin & Brooks. Do we really think either will get any playing time? I'd much prefer to have another 1-2 offensive minded subs on the roster. Donovan would have been well-suited for that role, as would Boyd.

Of course lost in all of the Donovan debate is that some guys who've worked long and hard to earn a spot on this squad succeeded - Beckerman & Wondo. I didn't think Wondo would make the cut & was surprised by his inclusion, but even so, good for him and Beckerhman.

Tony M said...

Tim Howard: "For me, it’s a very easy equation: If he’s on the field, he’s our top one or two players,”

Bruce Arena: "“If there are 23 better players than Landon, then we have a chance to win the World Cup.”"

Both quotes from this week

WonderKin said...

Donovan isn't outright lazy, but you can not compare his effort output to that of a Gram Zusi. Many thought that the two were competing for the same spot and Jurgen didn't deny it when asked.

Zusi and Davis both have double the CBI of Donovan (16, 17 vs 8). I wanted to find average ground covered but came up empty. Donovan openly admits he has to conserve energy where he didn't have to when he was younger.

justinwkoehn said...

Of course Bruce would say that. He brought Landon up, and is currently his head coach.

Alexander Sassaroli said...

Could The Donovan Snub be a product of JK's well-stated belief that the squad must transition from a bunkering, counter-attacking side into a side based on possession? It's the same kind of calculus he made with the German team, but in our case, that transition can be pinpointed to one players exclusion. Donovan, it can be said, is the most nimble-minded player in transition, or in a broken play, but maybe Klinsmann thinks that he is a liable in a settled situation. I don't, for one, think we are capable yet of being a possession-based team, especially against our group opponents, so the snub strikes me as missing the forest for the trees in terms of sacrificing our best transition/unsettled situation player in the hopes that JK can fit the square peg of a bunker-style program like the US in the round hole of a possession-based system.

Freegle said...

My completely irrational based totally on conjecture and way too long conspiracy theory for Landon's exclusion. Posted here because I think Greg is the only one who might understand... Read at your own risk.

Being far more cynical and less trusting of Klinsmann I have a different view than many do. Remember, we were a Brad Evans extra time goal in Jamaica and a freak blizzard away from being in the same position as Mexico (or worse) during qualifying. I feel that we qualified in spite of Klinsmann instead of because of him. I feel that many of his roster and tactical decisions from the beginning were more about proving his genius than winning matches. His first pet project was Jose Torres, basically saying he was one of the top 3 most talent players in the pool and that he would find a way to use him (failed). Then when he realized the talent pool was so shallow, he went to Germany to find more talent (success - but what did he offer Brooks and Green? I'd have probably put them on the World Cup Roster too but do they "pledge allegiance" without some sort of guarantee? Boyd was by far the most patriotic of the German converts - the one that REALLY wanted to play for the US- and he just got sent home to make room for Chris freaking Wondolowski). Even his Gold Cup roster was based on showing people his coaching was more important that talent (Tony Beltran instead of Eric Lichaj? Alan Gordon instead of -insert one of the 10 better US forward prospects who is younger - Agudelo, Boyd, etc?). He is an egomaniac who has succeeded because of the poor talent in CONCACAF, which has only fueled his self-congratulatory fire.

Freegle said...

This move has nothing to do with soccer. It is purely and ego move/power trip. It's the same thing that he did in Germany in 2006 that was the beginning of the wheels coming off and him having to seek refuge in southern California. Back in Germany he was fortunate enough to replace world class players with other world class players. Here he is replacing them with a 32 year old slow MF with a singular skill that is specialized and may not even be part of the game and a 31 year old FWD who feasts on minnows like Belize and Cuba but has never scored off US soil and has repeatedly been proven to be incapable of making an impact once the competition goes from awful to mediocre. Even in the Gold Cup last year, Wondo lit up crap teams with 5 goals in 2 games and then made zero impact for any of the elimination games. Meanwhile, Donovan had 5 goals (same as Wondo) AND 7 assists and won the tournament's Golden Boot. Remember the pass he made to free Shea for the winning goal at the game in Hartford? NO ONE in a US shirt (maybe for its entire history) is capable of making that pass other than Donovan.

Donovan is wired a little differently than most elite athletes and especially Klinsmann. JK could never understand why Donovan shies away from the role as the face of the US Soccer program. And to be honest, I think he resents it quite a bit. Remember Landon and Klinsmann have a history and Landon was a part of the reason Klinsmann got run out of Germany. He brought Donovan there to prove to everyone that he could take a player that they saw as mediocre and make him a star. It didn't work (probably partly because Donovan is more comfortable being anonymous and partly because he is simply not good enough to be that guy for Bayern Munich). Regardless, Klinsmann went to bat for him and Donovan didn't come through and that was the beginning of the resentment. The rest of it lies in Klinsmann not being able to fathom Donovan's reluctance to be "the guy." Juergen wants nothing more than to be the savior/face of a nation's soccer program. He could never be that for Germany because they simply have too much talent and too much history. Donovan has been that for us for over a decade and seems to have hated it. Juergen could never understand why Donovan would need "a break" from soccer and from being the most important figure in a nation's soccer program. That's his dream and he essentially takes it as an insult that someone out there has his dream and actively avoids it.

Freegle said...

Those main two factors intersected this week. Jeurgen had the opportunity to take over as the face of a nation's soccer program and at the same time eliminate a guy who he resents for shying away from that position. He also gets to use this as a platform to further his "I'm smarter than everyone and can make chicken salad out of chicken shit" agenda. What's worse, we gave him this opportunity by extending his contract through 2018. He has the golden parachute. If we succeed in Brazil, he can claim he is primary reason (or wait for the media to do it because he has given them all the access they want to get them on his side) and if we fail he can just say "Germany, Portugal, and Ghana were simply more talented and I am going to get us to that level in 2018!" while sweeping the fact that one of the reasons for the talent gap was of his own creation. Plus, he knows USSoccer cannot afford to fire him so he is essentially hitting golf balls at the driving range... swinging as hard as he Happy Gilmore style knowing there are no real consequences for the next shot.
The timing of the roster release even supports that. Klinsmann could not afford having Donovan playing well in the send-off series if he wanted to cut him. So he cut him after closed door practices and scrimmages and had built in excuses that Donovan gave him about form and fitness with comments about not being able to be at the highest level every day. EVERYONE knows that Donovan would have been in peak performance at the World Cup. But Donovan being too candid/insightful and self-aware was the opening that Klinsmann needed to justify what he wanted all along. Remember, the full team didn't even arrive at camp until Tuesday (Johanssen and Jermaine Jones we late due to club commitments). That means Klinsmann had ONE DAY to evaluate the team as a whole before making the cuts.

Freegle said...

Now he has the opportunity to get what he wants. If he pulls this off, he gets to say he was smarter than everyone else AND he becomes the new face/savior of soccer for an entire nation. He saw his chance and is taking it. In order to accomplish this he had to stain the incumbent (which he did by benching in March and forcing him to "earn" his way back in the gold cup) and then eliminate him which he did with this roster. This was a coup by a man trying to usurp the throne of US Soccer, and it's been brewing for a long time (hence the tweet by Klinsmann's son).

Apologies and thanks abound if you actually got through all of that. and extra thanks to everyone here (especially Greg and with the possible exception of dikranovich). This is the first soccer site I visit on a daily basis because I feel the content (Greg) and comments (everyone else) are the best around. Cheers and go Yanks!

Freegle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
justinwkoehn said...

Wow, be sure to put on your tin-foil hats when reading the rantings of Freegle. You did warn us though in your preface.

In the eyes of world soccer, Donovan pales significantly to Jurgen Klinsmann. One of the best striker's of his time, world cup winner, and former coach of the German team and Bayern Munich. Even if JK is an egomaniac, Donovan is not a threat. You may have something about LD's time in Bayern. Jurgen put all his chips in the LD pile that transfer window, and it led to JK's ousting. Maybe JK never really trusted LD since then, and LD didn't show him the passion and dedication these past few months that was needed leading up to a World Cup.

I think Klinsmann brings another level of thought and professionalism to the USMNT that was lacking, and for that I am thankful he is the coach.

justinwkoehn said...

Also the German national team begged him to stay after the 06 World Cup. The wheels weren't coming off. He is highly respected in that country, and when you say "ran out of Germany" you are being a little disingenuous. He was fired at Bayern because he butted heads with the board and didn't mesh well. At that time, Bayern made the QFs of the Champions League and were only three points of the top of the table in the Bundesliga with 5 games to play.

Tom said...

"I think Klinsmann brings another level of thought and professionalism to the USMNT that was lacking, and for that I am thankful he is the coach."

I fully disagree with the first half of this: Based on his media I would assess that he's at most a *reasonably* thoughtful coach.

I don't believe we have *any* access to information that would allow us to assess his level of professionalism.

justinwkoehn said...

I can see how many would be turned off by the brutal realism that Klinsmann brings, but I think it's more of a cultural thing. When he took the job he said that each team needs to represent the identity of the country it represents. It's his job to find that identity. He also needs to be aware how he projects himself to US fans, and be apart of the USMNT identity that reflects the nation.

Professionalism may have been the wrong word. I wanted to convey bringing in a massive amount of experience on an international level that is needed to push the US to a new level in international soccer. There is some legitimacy he brings the US, but in the end, results on the field will be only thing that increases the value of US players abroad, and increases the game's popularity in the states.

Freegle said...

Justin I expected to be skewered and there is certainly more opinion than fact in there (the general model of a conspiracy theory!) But doesn't the fact that Bayern sacked while having that "success" make it more probable the success was in spite of him rather than because of him?

Ultimately, Klinsmann has currently done nothing more (and in some cases less) than Bradley, Arena, Sampson, and Multinovic. I am pleased with the success that he's had but skeptical of what actual progress he has made. I'm probably in the same position as many of the German fans who resisted his reforms before 2006.

But looking closer, it's apples and oranges. This was not Germany 2006 - leaving off an aging star for a young star like podolski or mertsacker before playing AT HOME vs an easy host group of Costa Rica, Poland, and Ecuador to let those young guys get their feet wet. This was leaving home a legend for 2 players of the same age with less talent, experience, and leadership capabilities to play in Brazil (when neither of them have ever contributed anything outside of CONCACAF) and thrown to the fire vs Ghana, Portugal, and Germany.

WonderKin said...

@freegle
You are a tortured soul my friend.

You give Klinsman credit for masterful contract negotiations and public-perception-damage-control before the World Cup even starts. So on one hand your saying he's smart... or at least a master manipulator.

Sounds like a great strategist to me :)

dikranovich said...

This could all just be one big mind F@$K to the other teams in our group, whether Donovan goes or not, will leave Ghana and Portugal guessing. The Germany game does not even really matter, because six points from the first two games would almost certainly assure advancement. Hey Germany, how about a nice game of kickball for 90 mins for one point, seven total, and guaranteed advancement. All we really need to do is beat Ghana, and allow Germany to dismantle Portugal mentally in the first games.

USA has a tough group, but the second round games are probably against either Belgium or Russia, and the point being, first or second in our group doesn't really matter, just as long as it is one of the top two spots. Four years ago, it mattered where we finished in the group. It mattered, but it didn't. Because we did not take advantage.

Greg Seltzer said...

I love your discussion, folks. I will let loose with my full take on Monday. For this one, I eventually decided to let it sit, settle and get a good inner devilish advocacy before I spouted off. And I can assure it is not only going to be about Donovan. Far from it.

justinwkoehn said...

Greg, you are ecstatic about Chandler, admit it...even if it means Cameron plays CB :)

Freegle said...

@ wonderkin

Klinsmann is definitely smart, just not as smart as he himself believes.

He may prove me wrong and I really hope he does. But in the meantime, I think there is plenty to question in regards to his roster selection.

soccer boy said...

One thing you left out about defending with outside mids is that landon is one of the best at killing break outs of anykind cause his defense is so strong. If go back and look at many of his matches where he plays outside mid you'd see this. Raely is he beaten by any outside mid.