Thursday, February 25, 2016


Oh, sorry... I meant to say "Hella-whack." It seems a certain USMNT boss has yet to so much as drop a little line the way of Santos Laguna left back ace Jorge Villafaña.

This one really grinds my gears.

- Greg Seltzer


OZ said...


I notice the left back formerly known as a Timber played vs the Galaxy last night in LA.

My guess would be your favorite Swabian would have observed that game. Unless of course, he hasn't yet forgiven him for running over his dog.

DaM said...

Seriously, at this point I have to think Klinsi is a secret agent come here to make sure US soccer doesn't advance by ensuring that we never play a quality back 4. That is now the only explanation that I am accepting.

DaM said...

And yes you'd like to think after seeing Klinsi's wunderkind Zardes completely and wholly shut down by Jorge, Klinsi would rethink his stance... but I doubt it. Not that I agree with Klinsman on the Zardes quality.

OZ said...


"Seriously, at this point I have to think Klinsi is a secret agent come here to make sure US soccer doesn't advance by ensuring that we never play a quality back 4. That is now the only explanation that I am accepting."

I am curious as to why you think that.

With the possible exception of Geoff Cameron and Fabian all of the USMNT back 4 candidates across the board are inconsistent for the US. They have a run of good games and then they do something foolish and then get okay again for a while.

The entire group is exceptionally average.

And even Cameron has his share of highlight reel dumb plays.

DaM said...

@oz I mean it was tongue in cheek to some degree. I agree with you that not very many of the back 4 have put their stamp on a starting spot. That being said, the refusal to even try guys like Lichaj and Villafana and even, to a lesser extent guys like Garza and Yedlin while continue to trot out out of position and underperforming players has been a constant minus for Klinsman. He'll have no problem running out Brek Shea and Michael Orozco for their 5th and 6th chances insisting they need some time to gel, but give a chance to Lichaj or Rogers? Nooooo...

If there is one thing Klinsman has shown me is he makes up his mind about things based on a theory and then does not let anyone insert common sense into his thought process resulting in consistently poor roster decisions.

OZ said...


I get your frustration but I suspect that gets back to the original problem, a weak player pool.

I have no problem leaving out Lichaj. He’s a squad player, nothing special.

The Villafana thing is in my view way overblown. Everyone is panicking way before they really need to. The guy likely would have been at Camp Cupcake had he not moved to Mexico. JK has a history of letting players who move to new teams, new leagues and new countries time to get settled. Granted, that Villafana is very familiar with Mexico, it just hasn't been that long to already be screaming unjusfiable freeze out, personal grudge, non German pedigree and all that other stuff.

Garza has been hurt or recovering from injury and as far as I can tell basically missed most of 2015 for that reason.

Yedlin has been capped 29 times since 2014. I believe the US has played something like 36 games in that span.
Yedlin has gone as far as he has because of his offense not his defense. Hopefully he will polish his defensive abilities at Sunderland where he slowly has been learning the defensive side of being a right back.

Shea's problem has been staying healthy. Unlike you I think he has played well when healthy and at 25 he still has a lot of potential. Having 4 goals for the US since 2013 he also adds a strong offensive aspect.

Orozco is JK's steady eddie go to guy who seems to get called in only when people unexpectedly drop out. Has has generally performed well and not everyone who gets called in the way he usually does can do that.

From what I can tell the ship has left the airport when it comes to Lichaj and Rogers. They have proven to be solid pros and would probably do a fine job with the US but they are nothing special and are in their late 20's.

I would have no problem if they were called in but I don't have a problem with them being left out either. They are average players, fourth outfielder , backup QB types. JK knows well what both can do. Lichaj recently spoke about how the US keeps tabs on him and JK certainly knows the Galaxy players as well as anyone.

Right now the USMNT has one proven, consistently above average international player, Clint Dempsey. In 2015 for the US he had 9 caps and 9 goals. That is above average.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ OZ:

1 - Lichaj is easily better than many who have been called and can play two positions of need. He is also only 27 (late 20's is a stretch) and is still improving. And how you figure Klismann knows what he can do is beyond me. Or how you know what he can do, for that matter.

2 - How could Villafana be called in January if Klinsi has never spoken to him?

3 - Shea has had more problems than staying healthy and the main point is he's not an LB.

You are so quick to let the coach off the hook for defender selections when so often the defense selected has been shabby and generous to opponents.

dikranovich said...


1. Everyone knows what the glove can do. He is pretty good, but he defends like he is playing basketball, and this is soccer. Honestly, if he was really so quality, he would be playing in the EPL. It's probably no irony that his last important game for the USA was a 4-2 loss in the confed cup play-in for Brazil. Aka 2011 gold cup finals.

We all like lichaj, but a lot of us also like feilhaber, and maybe a more egregious omission. And maybe both are just a coaches prerogative.

2. It is a fact that villafana just moved from MLS to lg mx. He probably does receive the call if he had not made that move. The guy is 26, it's not like he is 19 or 20. Is this the guy who won the first Suaso, or something like that, award?

It is easy to see how when the player pool gets larger, that faction of fans have their favorites. I tend to be in the lone faction, but you can see how it happens, nonetheless.

3. Greg, I'm not sure what you think it is that makes you the arbiter of where someone should play, but it was coaches at Atl. Madrid who said he should be playing center half. That's central defense. And these are comments from five plus years ago, well, maybe four years ago.

dikranovich said...
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dikranovich said...
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DaM said...

@Oz Don't want to restate what Greg already said so I'll just second his points. I will point out that 27-28 is generally considered an anthelete's prime. Both Lichaj and Villafana are just about in their prime RIGHT now. They clearly should at least be getting tested for the qualifiers coming up.

As for Yedlin, let's not forget that while he does have some defensive faults, he has also shown pretty well against some pretty good offensive wings, even stretching back to his performance in the Belgium match where the US was under siege. I am not saying he is flawless or a clear always start, but he certainly should be getting time at RB ahead of someone like Orozco who might be a steady eddie but that steady has been below average at RB. If the theory is we can get away with Brad Evans and Orozco at RB against CONCACAF opponents because they aren't that challenging offensively, then we certainly could make do with Yedlin who actually brings something down the wing.

brian said...

he didn't pick a player i like...waaaahhhhh ;(

OZ said...


Re Villafana. As I remember it Villafana pretty much moved to Laguna 10 seconds after the final so we all knew right then that he wasn't going to Camp Cupcake. His transfer was formally announced December 11, 2015 and the Camp Cupcake roster was announced Jan 6. 2016.
Liga MX is in season during Cupcake so traditionally, our Gringos have not been invited.

I don't quite understand why this upsets you so much. Don't you think it was in Villafana's best interests to get settled with Santos Laguna and win a job?

Re: Shea. Sue he needs to get better but if you look at his career every good run has been followed by or cut short by injury. When he transferred to Stoke he played 2 games and then immediately got hurt. When he moved to Orlando he was going well and then injury struck again. He has shown enough promise,is young enough at 25, and is at a club where he will probably get a lot of playing time. So why I don't understand why you would want to exclude him from ever being called in.

Re the Eric situation, JK is still on your "hook" but he was never on mine.

And that is probably because I have been in a similar position to JK in that I have had a job open and three candidates for it. All three were perfectly capable of doing a really good job so I moved on to a long list of secondary considerations.

I picked the person who I felt was the best overall fit for what my company or in JK's case, the team, needed.

The USMNT allows the manager that privilege so JK's personal opinion, which clearly differs from yours, enters into it.

I don't think there is any question Lichaj could do a job for the US but to date JK prefers others for what are clearly factors that we do not know about.

For example, I ruled out one of my three because I believed that person would not fit in as well, would not have the same chemistry with my staff as the person I eventually chose.
In the interests of professionalism I have never revealed those reasons to my staff in any manner other than the most general of terms.

If JK has a similar situation with Eric, I see no advantage for JK to be candid with the media and the fans either. Mostly because he may yet call Eric in.

In contrast, you might have noticed that JK finally broke his silence on Benny because Feilhaber himself brought the issue to a head. Since JK has brought in Lee and Darlington to address the "creative guy" gap and there are now a number of promising youngsters in the pipeline, my speculation is Benny will not be on the Copa America roster.

OZ said...


By the way the reason I know JK knows what Eric can do is that JK has called him into camp and Eric himself says JK has been keeping an eye on him.

Greg Seltzer said...

1 - I didn't say anything about him not being called to January camp. My post is in reference to the fact that he has never even been contacted.

2 - I never said Shea never deserves to be called. But he is not a left back at the international level. He is a left winger and has had some USMNT success there.

3 - Lichaj has played 27 minutes since Klinsi took over in 2011. That does not qualify as knowing what he can do. That qualifies as almost completely ignoring him.

OZ said...


This is what you wrote:

"2 - How could Villafana be called in January if Klinsi has never spoken to him?"

JK knew on Dec 11 nearly a month before the Cupcake roster was announced that Villafana was not going to be a Cupcaker.

Had JK at that point called anyone else to invite them to Cupcake?

As for why he hasn't called him since, what is your concern about that?

There is a month to go, Villafana himself said he wasnt worried about it one way of the other because he is more concerned about solidifiying his place at this time.

One thing about the article sticks out. Mexico hasn't called Villafana either. So are you going to criticize Osorio as well?

If he continues his present run he has a shot at getting a phone call from JK.
If he loses form and gets dropped he won't get called in.

As for Eric, as far as I can tell JK has as much information on him as he had on Ream, who got called in after a long time out and now seems like he is at least a squad member.

It is up to Lichaj to impress JK enough that JK will feel he has to call him in. Apparently Ream did that so I see no reason why Eric can't. Unlike just about everyone else, I think JK may well call Eric in at some point.

Greg Seltzer said...

Erm, my saying that was directly in response to this line of yours:

"The guy likely would have been at Camp Cupcake had he not moved to Mexico."

My point being, how could he likely be called if they've never even said hello to him. Remember, this guy is a *left back* who could make the switch to turn out for another country. And not just any country, either - our arch rival.

And I'm not here to discuss what Osorio does or doesn't do. Obviously.

Re Lichaj: What exactly is as far as you can tell? Even before Ream's recent run of starts, he had been called up on five occasions by Klinsmann, and was given eight caps totaling 338 minutes of play. The situations are not alike. Lichaj has been almost entirely ignored for four-and-a-half years, when he can play two positions that have suffered from plenty of need. It's weird, and it's surely open to criticism.

Greg Seltzer said...

Ya know, it's really strange that we have a segment of the US soccer bubble that finds there is no room to criticize a manager that just oversaw an almost complete failure of a 2015 campaign. Bradley was fired for less.

OZ said...


Sorry I just don't rate Eric as highly as you do. He has not been a difference maker and is not worth all the noise made about him.

As for your comment on the criticism of the manager it isn't strange.It just means there are people who do not share your point of view. More on that later.

Besides, you are making an apples to oranges comparison.

JK was not brought just to be a manager. If it was just about the manager’s job the USSF had zero reason to fire Bob a guy who could conceivably wind up battling with Bruce as the best manager this country has ever produced and maybe as good as anyone out there.In fact many of the criticisms JK is hit with echo those that many of you made about Bob.

Sound familiar?

JK wasn’t brought in because he was a better manager than Mikey’s dad.

He was brought in to change the culture.

That was always going to upset people and take time. That is why JK is here until at least 2018 barring a complete meltdown.

And 2015, bad as it was, was nowhere close to that.

Once Bruce got canned after 2006 the USSF saw the job JK did with Germany and decided JK was the man for the job. After all here was a guy who eviscerated by the German press for being so committed to not only continuing to live in SoCal while managing Germany but also for bringing many heretical "American ideas" to Die Mannschaft.

How ironic that when he manages the US he gets blasted for being too "German."

But JK balked so the USSF put BB in place. Bob never had the full support of the USSF.
Compare the money and power they gave to JK to what BB got. It all spelled PLACEHOLDER.
And when BB did not beat Ghana the USSF made lots of noises about how they were unhappy about the team blowing a chance to go further. But they gave BB an extension anyway, most likely because they still had not signed JK.

JK has a great contract and lots of power. After nearly 5 years of negotiating I would have expected nothing less

I have no inside information but this was all over the media at the time. And the with US' poor performance overall in the 2011 Gold Cup (they sucked) and the humiliating massacre in the final Bob gave the USSF the rope they needed to hang him and finally get their guy in.

As for the terrible 2015 JK announced publicly after the World Cup that full rebuild was on.

That meant many veterans would be rested while new guys were experimented with.

The year was pretty bad but on the other hand a lot of new players got chances to make a case for themselves and there was no permanent damage done.

I place no value on the Gold Cup which I feel is worthless, though I understand many value it. No World Cup qualifiers were lost. The Confederations Cup was lost but that was valuable only as a warm up for the World Cup. There is time to arrange something to replace it.

Overall I felt JK did the minimum to retain the sense that the program was headed in the right direction.

By that I mean, it is the beginning of 2016 and the future suddenly looks a lot more promising for the 2018 World Cup with the emergence of young candidates for center back, midfield and forward. Even Villafana, who has not been contacted by Mexico, is still in play for the USMNT. Even Eric , who is after all cap tied, might be called back into the fold.

Whether all these new and/or young players actually work out is anyone’s guess but at least JK is going into these qualifiers and the Copa with a far more promising pool of players than might have been the case a year ago at this time.