USMNT Roundtable: Huh? 23 Man Reaction

Your USMNT 2014 World Cup squad  (Image: ussoccer.com)

Your USMNT 2014 World Cup squad
(Image: ussoccer.com)

Seems like we were just talking about the 30 man roster. Oh, right – WE WERE. Hastily recalled from Memorial Day party planning, the USMNT roundtable is back to talk about the guys who made the final 23, and maybe one that didn’t…

Scarcely a week ago, Jurgen Klinsmann made full use of FIFA’s World Cup preparation guidelines, called 30 players into a pre-World Cup training camp, and set them to work a little earlier than most. 

And then, before any of the pre-tournament friendlies have been played, just eight days after the players started drifting in for fitness tests and training, he cut seven loose and announced his 23 man squad for Brazil.

Terrence Boyd, Joe Corona, Landon Donovan, Maurice Edu, Brad Evans, Clarence Goodson, and Michael Parkhurst are all heading home early to fire up the grills for Memorial Day. 

So many questions: why now? What did a week in camp teach Klinsi about these guys that he didn’t already know? Why Donovan?

But mostly: huh?

To the roundtable!

Did I stutter, Landon? (Photo: bleacherreport.com)

Did I stutter, Landon? (Photo: bleacherreport.com)

Emanuel Corpus

The timing of the United States Men’s National Team roster release was unexpected.  Some of the omissions from the roster were unexpected. Really, the only expected aspect of the whole process was that Jurgen Klinsmann sprung his announcement on the world unexpected in fashion.

The whole thing was odd in serving its function as a sporting announcement, with no real warning barring a Taylor Twellman tweet beforehand and little explanation given after the fact, but Klinsmann proved his savviness again in making a real media event as everyone clamored to react.

Let’s leave the elephants in the room be for a second and talk about a conversation that is already welling up in U.S. Soccer circles: the notion that Klinsi has chosen his squad with World Cup 2018 in mind rather than Brazil.

Klinsmann is no fool. He knows that if the USMNT performs poorly in Brazil then it’s him that’s losing his job, and we have to trust that this is the roster that he thinks is best suited to him keeping his job.

You can’t tell me this man should be at the World Cup.

Maybe he's just exhaling? (Photo: imgur.com)

Maybe he’s just exhaling? Or not. (Photo: imgur.com)

Donovan threw that away, not Klinsmann. If the send-off matches are a trainwreck, then fans can start eyeing up the panic button, but until then we should leave all the hard choices to the man who has taken us this far, and the man who observed training camp.

Joe Maskivish

Reactions are aplenty in response to Thursday’s news: Jurgen Klinsmann has named his 23-man roster for Brazil. From Brad Davis to DeAndre Yedlin, Julian Green and, of course, Landon Donovan, there are several talking points with today’s selections.

The biggest shock, however, has to be the inclusion of John Anthony Brooks.

If Davis has the set piece service, Yedlin the speed, Green the raw talent and Lando the experience, what more than pure size does Brooks bring to the table?

Of course, he has shown flashes since joining Hertha Berlin of the Bundesliga, but the international game is another animal altogether. JAB’s performances in his 3 appearances for the United States have ranged from lackluster to downright disappointing.

With the glaring lack of experience on this roster, it would seem the U.S. pool of players has better options at central defense. Veterans Michael Parkhurst and Clarence Goodson, along with the versatile Maurice Edu, seemed more likely candidates to round out the Yanks’ defense, as their experience would be prized in a pinch.

The best we can hope is our German-born Gaffer knows his players much better than anyone else. While the Brooks decision is not the only to be questioned, at such a position of importance, where one mistake could send the team packing, it could be the biggest.

At this point, we can’t do anything but throw our full support behind these 23, John Anthony Brooks and all.

We weren't really expecting to see you either, JAB. (Photo: berliner-kurier.de)

We weren’t really expecting to see you either, JAB. (Photo: berliner-kurier.de)

Juan Santoliva

I think we were all shocked to not see Landon Donovan’s name on the final 23-man roster.  To be honest, I’m still trying to cope with this tragic news and probably still will be once the U.S. are three-and-out in Brazil.

It completely blows my mind that Donovan won’t be involved with the national team at all.  I think Jurgen Klinsman could take some notes from England and how they handled the David Beckham conundrum in the 2010 World Cup. 

The Three Lions still brought on Beckham as an advisor and to be a leader in the locker room.  I’m hoping Klinsman can somehow bring Donovan to pump the troops, but that’s highly unlikely.

I was also shocked to see DeAndre Yedlin and Julian Green added to the squad. Shocked but not upset.  These were players I was really hoping would get more playing time but would have to wait until after Brazil.  Now, both players along with Timothy Chandler and Aron Johannsson will get just those minutes. 

I do like Klinsman’s idea of cutting down the team to 23 now, rather than later. The Stars and Stripes will be able to build their chemistry and really start preparing for Ghana rather than competing to see who stays and who goes. 

The only way the U.S. will have any chance of advancing out of the group stage is to get familiar with their now official teammates and start believing.  Even if that means doing it without an American icon.

Let's talk about the real victims: Costa Rican cartoonists.  (Image: mlssoccer.com)

Let’s talk about the real victims: Costa Rican cartoonists. (Image: mlssoccer.com)

Rob Thompson

Congratulations to all the players that made the 23 man final roster for the USMNT. 

However, leaving Landon Donovan off this roster will be going down as the most controversial call ever made surrounding USMNT. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann decided that there just wasn’t enough room on this roster for the highest goal scorer in the history of the United States Men’s National Team. 

Admittedly, Klinsmann stated this was the hardest decision he had to ever make as a coach, but this decision has dumbfounded the American soccer community. 

I’m in no way saying that Donovan is given a starting role based upon his past accolades. But, late in a match, when the Nats need that spark of creativity off the bench who is going to provide it? As a community do you think Yedlin, Green, and Brooks deserved their spot on this roster before Landon Donovan? (Read my mind: absolutely not.)

Jurgen Klinsmann has made a risky decision that may alter his USMNT legacy. Statistical analysis suggests that the team hovers around a 40 percent chance to make it out of its group of death. 

If USMNT does not make it out of its group, Klinsi will certainly feel the backlash for leaving the most decorated player in US soccer history off the roster, especially when the odds to qualify for the knockout stages are no better than a whimsical maybe. 

Get ready for a “what-if-Landon-was-there” deluge from the pundits. For better or worse, there is one thing to say about Klinsi: he’s got big brass ones!

C'mon Klinsi: they're not THAT big. (Photo: huffingtonpost.com)

C’mon Klinsi: they’re not THAT big. (Photo: huffingtonpost.com)

James Vlahakis

I’m at peace with the exclusion of Landon. 

After my mini-meltdown on Twitter I’ve realized a few things. Smarter people than me hired a coach with a proven record. I’m not a professional journalist nor a scholar of the “beautiful game.” I’m just a guy who loves to give 100% every weekend on the pitch with a few guys who wish they had been Landon, Alexi, or for me, Kasey Keller. 

Jürgen has been on the world stage. He has seen hours of film, has watched Landon play within touching distance and has had one-on-one discussions with Landon. Landon has not done himself any favors despite his great performance in the Gold Cup. 

I’m coming to terms with this, but it’s still hard to deal with, because among other things, 10 years ago I was given the green light to name my first born son Donovan. My father-in-law crushed that by suggesting the nickname of “Donny.” 

This was not an easy few hours for me. Enough about me – back to soccer. 

Whether Jürgen’s decision is correct is up to untested players like Chris Wondolowski, a man who is almost as old as Landon (31 versus 32). For good or for bad (more good), Chris was not thrust into the spot light of European soccer and spit out like Landon. 

While Landon’s lost his touch, Chris is a crazy-eyed poacher who rarely misses. Chris has a spark that Landon used to have.  

Therefore, Der Jürgen, in Wondo I trust.

Looking for a crazy-eyed poacher, you say... (Image: businessinsider.com)

Looking for a crazy-eyed poacher, you say…
(Image: businessinsider.com)

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Follow @OTFSOCCER

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Follow the roundtablers: @EmanuelCorpus, @JoeMaskivish, @jsants90, @roblthom66, and @jvlaha.

To join the next roundtable, contact Austin Fido @canetop.

One thought on “USMNT Roundtable: Huh? 23 Man Reaction

  1. Pingback: USMNT Roundtable: Huh? 23 Man Reaction – Part II | OTF Soccer

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