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Who will survive 'Kamp Klinsmann?'
by Ridge Mahoney, May 15th, 2012 6:16PM
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TAGS:  men's national team


[USA MEN] So now we know the initial contestants for "Survivor: Kamp Klinsmann" that will convene this week in Florida.

Already the canny Jurgen Klinsmann has served up a curler: Expected to name as many as 20 members of a 29-man squad, he instead chose only 16, with additional selections to be announced Sunday. By doing the math, that means a lucky 13 will be named, and by logic, it can be assumed at all or most of the 13 will also survive the final cut down to 23.

Otherwise, why wouldn’t they be named in the first group?

Ergo, if the numbers hold up, 16 players in Florida are probably vying for 10-12 spots. The figures could change, say, if one or two of the so-called "Sweet 16" are too banged up to train or suffer injuries in the first few days of training.

It’s also possible that those additional 13 have yet to be finalized, with further changes pending if matches to be played Wednesday through Sunday yield injuries or illnesses that bump a player from the roster. Defender Oguchi Onyewu is playing for Sporting Lisbon in the Portuguese Cup final Sunday, and two other defenders, Clarence Goodson and Michael Parkhurst, are playing in Denmark.

The roster didn’t include defender/midfielder Tim Chandler, and all manner of speculation can spring from Klinsmann's references to “commitment to playing international football” and “opportunities we have given him,” but until Chandler comes back to the U.S. or, as some still suspect, declares his playing allegiance to Germany, he’s off the radar screen.

Does that open a slot for Edgar Castillo to play left back, despite the scorch marks left on him in his last U.S. experience at that position? His inclusion in the squad follows some impressive showings for Club Tijuana as a left-sided mid, which is another position the U.S. can use some help. Another option is Fabian Johnson, who played left back in the 1-0 win over Italy in February. One would think that if Klinsmann had DaMarcus Beasley in mind at left mid, he’d have been called in with the initial 16. But Klinsmann does have 13 more names to play with, and a squad of 23 to fill out.

The RSL pair of Nick Rimando and Kyle Beckerman don’t play a league match until May 26, the same day the USA plays Scotland, and then are off until June 16, which is five days after the second qualifier in Guatemala. Given that schedule, the need for three keepers, and Klinsmann’s fondness for the dreadlocked destroyer, it’s not hard to conclude that both RSL players will be on the 23-man squad.

As for the rest of the 16, well, we all know who the locks are. The bubble boys include one based in Germany and two in Mexico: Alfredo Morales, perhaps called to vie for a spot that Chandler would have filled, Jose Torres and Joe Corona. Of the three, Torres has the most experience and is more seasoned than Corona, who fared well with the U-23s during the ill-fated Concacaf Olympic qualifying campaign  but faces a logjam of midfield competition.

It’s quite possible that because the U.S. plays five games in 17 days Klinsmann keeps Michael Bradley, Maurice Edu, Jermaine Jones, Danny Williams, Beckerman and Johnson from the initial squad of 16. But if he does load by early in midfield, that could also squeeze out Sacha Kljestan, fresh off helping Anderlecht win the league title in Belgium.

The coach has stated that this long run of camp and games isn’t for experimentation, so while players may still be moved around it’s not likely to see them tested in new positions, which makes the absence of Chandler all the more troublesome.

Much has changed since Klinsmann took over for Bob Bradley last summer, but the issues at left back persist.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake).
DEFENDERS (4): Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Alfredo Morales (Hertha Berlin).
MIDFIELDERS (8): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Chievo Verona), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Jose Torres (Pachuca), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim).
FORWARDS (1): Clint Dempsey (Fulham).

  1. James Hardern
    commented on: May 16, 2012 at 8:52 a.m.
    That is a curious comment at the end ("It was funny..."). Surely this is a mistake from editing? Perhaps Chandler is waiting to see if his buddy Brek Shea makes the squad. Seriously though, whatever his reasons he does need to make a decision one way or the other.
  1. Mike Gaire
    commented on: May 16, 2012 at 9:23 a.m.
    I remain baffled by the fact that the best left back in America by a mile - Todd Dunivant - is never even mentioned in discussions about the other dubious choices to fill that position!!!!
  1. Mike Gaynes
    commented on: May 16, 2012 at 10:09 a.m.
    Agreed on Dunivant, and I'd also like to see Kenny Cooper get another look. I think Dempsey is actually more potent operating from midfield, and if Klinsmann goes with a 4-4-2, Cooper might be a stronger partner for Altidore than any of the other striker candidates.
  1. Simon Provan
    commented on: May 16, 2012 at 10:11 a.m.
    I realize he has a championship to play for, but how can Herc not get consideration for a call-up? I'm baffled that he's not mentioned in this article. JK keeps insisting on players needing to be in form in order to be called. The guy is a scoring machine in Mexico and has been for a couple of years now. CALL HIM UP!
  1. Albert Harris
    commented on: May 16, 2012 at 10:23 a.m.
    Re: left back, I'd also like to see Dunivant given an opportunity; however, I'm not panic stricken over playing Fabian Johnson there. He's got at least 6 years age upside on Dunivant now plus I think he's a better player. He is starting in the Bundesliga at left back so he seems to have his coaches confidence there too. In the long run, I actually think he would be a better choice even than Chandler if he chooses to commit to the US. I see Tim more as the logical replacement for Cehrundolo when he ages out.
  1. Mike Gaynes
    commented on: May 16, 2012 at 10:59 a.m.
    Agreed, Albert, but it's still theoretical because Johnson, like Chandler, hasn't committed. So at this point my choice for #1 left back would be Eric Lichaj, who played superbly for Villa in recent weeks -- particularly in the draws with West Brom and Spurs that saved Villa from relegation. He's only 24, quicker than Johnson and offers an attacking option with his long throws.
  1. Jake Lammi
    commented on: May 16, 2012 at 11:15 a.m.
    Fabian Johnson is the best choice at left back. He played well against Italy and and is also naturally left footed. I hope Timothy Chandler does play for the U.S., with Fabian Johnson at left back, this would open up Chandler to playing as a right midfielder. Chandler flying up and down the right wing would wreak havoc on any team in the world.
  1. Clear the Ball
    commented on: May 16, 2012 at 11:18 a.m.
    Re: Dunivant. He's a solid player, but way overrated. He had a good year playing for a team that did a great job finishing chances last year. He doesn't have the speed to play internationally. There are many, many better options.
  1. Jake Lammi
    commented on: May 16, 2012 at 11:18 a.m.
    Also, Kyle Beckerman is not good. He is slow and not a great passer of the ball. He only has a right foot and is not quick enough to play that position at a high level at the international stage. I don't know why Klinsy likes him, I would pick 10+ guys to put in the defensive midfield position before Kyle Beckerman.
  1. John Ferer
    commented on: May 16, 2012 at 12:36 p.m.
    Fabian Johnson at left back is a done deal...he has been quite impressive. I didn't understand the following line: "By doing the math, that means a lucky 13 will be named, and by logic, it can be assumed at all or most of the 13 will also survive the final cut down to 23." That logic doesn't make any sense. The first group seemed to be picked because of the timing of the club seasons more than anything. I don't think there's any indication that the 2nd group has a better chance not to get cut compared to the first group. Quite the contrary actually, when you'll have more MLS players in the 2nd batch who are MORE likely not to make the final cut.
  1. Robert Kiernan
    commented on: May 16, 2012 at 1:45 p.m.
    OK first the time to have picked Dunivant was several years ago... when he was NOT picked much by his current coach Bruce Arena, clearly he's better than say most of the other MLS guys who have played at LB, but at 31 he's getting too old to be brought in now... Johnson is seven years younger and starts in the Bundesliga... end of argument. Clearly Lichaj is going to be selected, but I still see him eventually playing as a central defender, something that he has done before at Aston Villa. I find myself hoping Beckerman manages to hurt himself, he simply is TOO DAMNED SLOW to play alone at DMF, so if he does play we are forced to play TWO DMF guys, take a look at the first half of the Ecuador match to see what happens when he's deployed alone, Cherundolo was being run ragged with little or no help... with Bradley, Jones, Edu, Williams, Torres, Morales... how the hell can Beckerman, now 30 be justified... this is simply not a good sign from Klinsmann. To keep Beckerman over say Jose Torres would be a travisty, especially if we play a packed midfield and limited numbers of Strikers, say Dempsey in midfield rather than up top... our central defense is actually more troubling to me than the wing fullbacks, Bocanegra, Onyewu and Goodson are all of an age where they might be out injured for long periods and since our OLYMPIC team's defense didn't look ready to take over, well that is where I'm less than comfortable with our prospects... maybe Lichaj or Parkhurst or possibly Matt Cameron but we need to find and use some under 30 year olds included in the defense and soon. ... (ICE)
  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: May 16, 2012 at 2:15 p.m.
    JK needs to play EVERY German who shows up to lock them into our system. If somebody can kidnap Chandler and throw him onto the field, let's make it happen..... Although Chandler has never impressed me all that much, I'd be much more disappointed if Fabian Johnson was acting squirrelly.....
  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: May 16, 2012 at 2:55 p.m.
    Let me amend my last statement to "every foreign-born player" rather than just German. Joe Corona would be a good one to lock in since he's stated before that he really wants to play for Mexico. A couple of 85th minute subs would do the trick on those who maybe aren't quite ready for the top 11 but may be in 2 years time.....
  1. John Ferer
    commented on: May 16, 2012 at 2:56 p.m.
    If Ream can develop in the EPL, maybe he could be one answer to centerback in the future. I know he looked pretty bad in USNT action last year, but he's 24 and will continue to improve even if he stays with Bolton after relegation. The only other centerbacks in the pipeline seem to be in MLS except Goodson.
  1. Robert Kiernan
    commented on: May 16, 2012 at 3:37 p.m.
    Scott, Johnson is committed now because he changed his FIFA international status and that can't be undone, but I agree with you that Johnson is a real catch, whether he plays at LB or at LH, he's a great pick up for our side. It's a matter of MLS having to depend on guys who are starting their professional careers a few years too late, at 21 or 22, rather than in their teens as is common practically everywhere else... until that is changed, we are going to have to change our system to make our players who wish to go pro not waste their time with weak collegiate ball, but need to train as teenagers with professional players in a professional environment... it's why a guy like Johnson can at 24 be seen not as another rookie, but as a full time professional with a looming International Career ahead... I hope it's a long one. ...(ICE)
  1. Robert Kiernan
    commented on: May 16, 2012 at 3:45 p.m.
    John, Ream had an excellent first year and then a sophomore slump, but he has decent ball skills... it's more a matter of not moving the ball quickly enough that has sometimes gotten him in trouble... but he will be in the picture for sure if he can stay healthy... but beyond MLS I'd say that Gale Agbossoumunde is also another one to keep an eye on... he was hurt during the OLYMPIC fiasco and likely would have been a real asset if he had been healthy. ...(ICE)
  1. jr cli
    commented on: May 17, 2012 at 12:54 a.m.
    If Chandler dosen't have a passion for playing with usa, best wishes to him... what do you guys think about justin morrow and chance myers.i dont think castillo is as good as lichaj or these two.
  1. Michael Adams
    commented on: May 17, 2012 at 9:40 p.m.
    another player that should get a good look at is Jonathan Spector, he had a great season with Birmingham, made the play-offs, certainly played left back before for Bob Bradley, also Jonathan Bornstein pretty experienced, world cup vet..speaking of left wingers, i dont think there is a better left footed midfield is USA pool than Brad Davis, so deserving of a call up. Another forward i'd like to see get his cap is Joe Gyau, possibly the fastest of U.S youngsters, get his feet wet.

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