Saturday, February 13, 2016


A new work project for Copa America consumed my attention yesterday, so I'm one day tardy with the right back Clipboard. My apologies. You probably could have guessed it, anyway.

DeAndre Yedlin
Eric Lichaj
Brad Evans

In the frame: Timothy Chandler

As his decent outing in Saturday's big win over Manchester United showed, Yedlin should be the obvious starter here as often as he is available. This is the main reason I've kept this position lean. I'm bored with griping about Lichaj's absence in the real frame; the guy is having his bet season yet. Evans is the no-frills, typically sturdy option. Chandler needs to get his club life back on track. Big time.

- Greg Seltzer


DaM said...

Agreed 100% I'm not saying Martial didn't deke him once and I get that someone has to follow up that rebound but other than that he kind of showed he has the defensive chops to shut down France's golden child and there isn't much difference in age/experience there. There should be no question that Yedlin is a right back now and, as such, is our number one option, right?

OZ said...

It'a just one game.

dikranovich said...

its good to know we have a player that is frankly, better than all on this list. its fairly common for players to age and move back into defense.

we have so many young attacking players coming into the pipeline, its a good problem to have, as is Fabian johnsons ability to play wingback better than just about any other option in the player pool.

DaM said...

@Oz it's not like it's the only game that he has played. It is evidence of a characteristic not the sole proof of it.

OZ said...

I'm not anti Yedlin as you seem to be implying but you are doing him no favors by grasping at straws and overreacting to one good game.

The question is can he do it consistently over and over again for the 30-40 plus games that a BPL needs you for.

Yedlin has improved at his time at Sunderland and has displayed some steadiness but I question whether it will be enough to get him a shot back at Spurs.

I've seen most of his games and overall I'd give him an okay rating, a C.

It might be good enough to get him bought by Sunderland or some lower level team but some would view playing for Sunderland as a fate worse than death.

Chris said...

Too bad Jurgen refuses to give Lichaj a sniff.

DaM said...

@Oz Actually I have seen most of Yedlin's minutes with Sunderland. I missed a match he subbed in for a couple of matches ago while I was away.

I would give him about a B- playing on a pretty poor team. It would be much higher if he was on a team that didn't require him to be defensively focused almost the full match. As you could see the couple of times he got forward, even ManU's defense had no clue how to adjust for his speed in attack (granted they were a bit green on the outside).

There's no chance he is getting back on Spurs while Walker is there. But that isn't the question. The question is: is a very young RB playing somewhere between a C and a B- on an under-siege-team in one of the tougher leagues if not the toughest week-in/week-out league the best choice for RB for the USMNT right now?

The answer is a resoundingly obvious yes. Not saying someone like Payne can't pass him some day... but right now it should be considered no contest. It's not like the USMNT has been a fantastic defensive side, nor do they have a go to reliable RB.

I don't see how anyone thinks it's anyone other than Yedlin or Lichaj right now and we obviously aren't seeing Lichaj until 2019.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ OZ: I wasn't basing my opinion on one match. It was just a very recent example.

@ dikranovich: The last two games Johnson played at wingback were the huge Mexico loss and the Gold Cup semifinal loss. Enough said about that.

OZ said...


“I would give him about a B- playing on a pretty poor team. It would be much higher if he was on a team that didn't require him to be defensively focused almost the full match”.

That is a very ironic observation.
The big question mark about Yedlin was could he the level required of a top class right back or was he just another speedy converted winger who could be exploited..
Allardyce’s reservations about DeAndre concern his ability to defend. Allardyce was known to be seeking a defensive fullback when he first came on, though he was not able to secure one. In the Sunderland games I have seen the impressive thing about DeAndre has been the improvement in his defensive discipline.

If you had your way he would not be able to show that he can do what his doubters say he can’t do, play disciplined defense.

“As you could see the couple of times he got forward, even ManU's defense had no clue how to adjust for his speed in attack (granted they were a bit green on the outside).”

Man U. needed to expose their defense because they were chasing the game. They needed to score and in any case, Man U’s defense is not exactly the gold standard at this point.
Not to belabor the point but this is the BPL. There are a lot of very speedy, very skilled players. If being speedy is the only thing about DeAndre he will be figured out pretty quickly.

“The question is: is a very young RB playing somewhere between a C and a B- on an under-siege-team in one of the tougher leagues if not the toughest week-in/week-out league the best choice for RB for the USMNT right now?"

Right now? It depends. The qualifiers are about a month away which is a very long time in soccer. Sunderland are not the USMNT. And Guatemala are not a BPL team. And who knows how hot, humid and generally horrible it will be in Guatemala when they play there?

Of course DeAndre is a consideration but so is having him play for the Under 23’s, in which case he probably won’t play vs. Guatemala.

I don’t think the USMNT needs DeAndre to beat Guatemala but we will see. For example if Cameron is fit and healthy at that point I could see using him at right back and bringing back Gonzo ( who seems revitalized at Puebla) to pair up with Besler.

Getting players for the Under 23’s will be a nightmare because teams will not be required to release their players. The composition for that roster will be touch and go until shortly before the games.

“I don't see how anyone thinks it's anyone other than Yedlin or Lichaj right now and we obviously aren't seeing Lichaj until 2019”

There are more options than those two. I could see JK calling Lichaj in if he shifts Yedlin to the Under 23’s.

Lichaj will be 31 in 2019. What makes you think he will be better then than he is now?

DaM said...

@oz I hear you on the Olympics and I am fine with that. That "right now" wasn't meant to be quite that literal as I do put value on beating Columbia. And, just because a team had a hard time defending his speed 1v2 doesn't mean there is any intention to suddenly say speed is all he has. Specious arguing, at best.

But. Really? You can see Klinsman calling in Lichaj? I guess you and I just see things very (VERY) differently. I might even insist that you are delusional.

For my dollar Cameron SHOULD be playing d-mid next to Bradley instead of the consistently overrated Jones. Oh well.

dikranovich said...

Greg, when you are formulating your left center back position, don't forget Brooks was a starter during that gold cup semi final loss also.

The smart money is on Fabian Johnson playing fullback during the upcoming qualifiers and this summer.

Eric lichaj on the right, Fabian on the left, I mean, who the heck would complain about that, besides Greg?

OZ said...


Delusional? Hardly.

I'm not a big believer in the “(BENNY, ERIC, etc. - insert your favorite excluded USMNT player) must have run over his dog" conspiracy club.
How many dogs does JK have anyway?

If JK believes you can help the team he'll call you in. So far, he doesn't feel that way about Eric.

Lichaj recently gave an interview where said he knows the USMNT scouts his games. Ream went a very long time being nowhere before he suddenly became a seemingly near regular call up.

So why not Lichaj? Lichaj is a possibility not a certainty.

I followed Eric closely when he first came up and I've never been particularly mystified or bothered by his exclusion.

If JK wanted what Eric does best he can just play Cameron, a better player, at right back. And JK prefers to not play Cameron at right back because he wants Dolo 2.0 at right back And Eric has already proved he is not that.

But maybe he is getting better so we will see.

Jones is not overrated. He remains the only USMNT player who can take over a game and boss it.

He and Dempsey are the only two USMNT players who play angry. Before JJ came around the USMNT were soft and could be pushed around. This is less true since he came on the scene.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ same old song: Ummm, and what other natural, optimum position do you imagine we can consider Brooks for? Hell, there are a handful of entirely different issue variables contained in the Johnson "debate" (as if there should even be one) that do not exist with Brooks.

dikranovich said...

Greg, I'm not sure what you are saying, but that is the point, maybe Fabian johnsons optimal position for the national team is at full back. You disagree with this, fortunately the coaches of the national team don't.

Fabian and yedlin will be nice also at the two fullback spots, birnbaum might be a better option than Cameron at right back, but if we want true wingbacks, neither birnbaum or Cameron really fit the bill.

Too many attacking options are coming into the fold to sacrifice a wingback spot with a central defender

At least when can agree that a converted central midfielder in brad Evans is a good third choice right back, and he really can step in whenever needed.

dikranovich said...

Greg, please put up your left back options next, so we can have both wing back spots out there for discussion.

Greg Seltzer said...

No, RCB is next, as usual.


Record with Johnson starting on the wing: 9-4-2
Record with Johnson starting in defense: 13-10-2

Drive home safely.

dikranovich said...

Greg, your stats look good to favor Fabian in the midfield, but when you look deeper, at games that count, that's when you really see where he is most effective for our national team.

Sorry, but it is still in a fullback position where he does best. Please don't be hurt by this truth!

Greg Seltzer said...

I knew you would try that BS, and I knew you would try it without even actually looking it up...

Competitive record when Johnson starts on the wing: 4-2-2
Competitive record when Johnson starts in defense: 5-6-1

Greg Seltzer said...

And while we're at it...

FabJo on the wing: 1 goal, 5 assists in 1197 minutes
FabJo in defense: 1 goal, 4 assists in 1949 minutes

dikranovich said...

Greg, the third place game at the last gold cup, the Belgium game at the World Cup, And a sept 2013 qualifier in Costa Rica. That's three games where Johnson played on the wing, and three USA losses.

Greg Seltzer said...

Are you actually trying to claim that Johnson started the Belgium game on the wing? Really? You think *nobody* is going to catch such a bald-faced lie?

Sweet Moses.

dikranovich said...

Greg, dmb, and Cameron started in the fullback positions, and besler and Omar started in the middle. It's ok, you can still call me a bald headed doppy conqueror.

Freegle said...

That looks like Fab is playing defense to me. Just saying...

dikranovich said...

Come on you guys, Fabian Johnson is going to be older come Russia, and we have good young attacking players coming up. Fabian has some losses playing fullback, but they were tough games, and really he is a classy player to have on our backline.

Can people really say he will be more effective in Russia, playing in midfield over working from a wide defensive position?

I guess if we play a 4-3-3 he is not in the midfield, he is in the attack.

At least Russia will be a climate which will favor johnsons game.

Looking over the games, the panama World Cup qualifier in Seattle which we won 2-0, that was the biggest win with Johnson in playing in attack. That was the Cameron dee mid game also. That was a nice win, but I think people have maybe over inflated this games significance

Fennel said...


Here you go:

Have fun.

Unknown said...

lmao. fabian johnson started the belgium game at RB before coming off with an injury in the first half. do you even watch the games???

Freegle said...

That it dik... once you're proven wrong, change the argument... no one will notice that either.

You have two sentences to type before you should post anything else on this board... "My bad Greg. I was wrong on that one."

dikranovich said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dikranovich said...

Greg, my bad, I was wrong on that, Fabian did play right back, and Cameron did play d mid.

We looked good while Fabian was in the game though, and when he left, we were massively out shot.

Freegle, the argument is where Fabian Johnson does best for the national team. From the looks of the Belgium game and others, it seems pretty clear he is a natural fit for wingback

OZ said...


This full, frank and honest exchange of views between you and dkranovich strikes me as a bit off the mark

The USMNT is in full rebuild mode and the situation is likely to remain dynamic for a little while yet. The positive thing about that is the wait is for players who look like they are just about to become contributors. So, as horrible as it sounds, patience is in order.

The last two competitive games the US played, games that really mattered were vs. Belgium and Mexico.

The Belgium game was 20 months ago.

The CONCACAF playoff game was 4 months ago.

The next competitive game is Guatemala next month.

The real question is who starts vs Guatemala in a month?

This was the USMNT starting XI: vs Mexico in October:.

Guzan; Johnson, Cameron, Besler, Beasley; Jones, Beckerman, Bradley (C), Zardes; Dempsey, Altidore.

At that time BMG was still occasionally starting FJ at left midfield and then shifting him to right back in the same game and he hadn’t yet caught fire as a left sided midfielder the way he has since then..

Since then, Guzan has been benched, Howard was hurt and benched, DMB has retired, Cameron has an ankle injury and may or may not be fit in time, Jones is suspended, Beckerman appears to be out of the picture for the moment, and Zardes has been inconsistent for the US the last few games.

That leaves 5 probable starters,Fabian, Besler, Bradley, Dempsey and Jozy.

One of Howard or Guzan will probably start.
Wood, Williams , Nagbe , Nguyen, and Birnbaum will almost certainly be called in.
Morris, Brooks, Keisewetter and Yedlin may be shifted to the Olympics. However, since their release will not be FIFA mandated that roster makeup will be touch and go until the last minute.

Our healthy Euro or Mexican guys are more likely to be favored because they will be in mid season fitness form while the MLS guys will be just starting their season.

As for where to start FabJo, if he is still as on fire as he appears to be today then you are forced to start him at left midfield.

But a month is a long time to go and we will see who is fit and in form at that time.

dikranovich said...

I love how the minions rushed in to do what? Prove Fabians worth as a wingback. Man, I doubt they see it that way though. To busy with a feeding frenzy.