Klinsmann explains his picks

[USA MEN] A day after naming his squad of players for the upcoming set of five matches -- two friendlies and three World Cup qualifiers -- U.S. national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann spoke with reporters on Friday and explained the thinking that went into his selections.

Klinsmann did say Donovan, who has not played in a qualifier since the June 2012 matches against Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala, was catching up.

"I see him getting in a rhythm, getting more games in and we’ll follow him through that," he said. "I don’t see him ready yet to come back into our group. On the other hand, I see guys in our group that are ahead of him in his position.”

Klinsmann, on the other hand, admitted the camp in Cleveland in advance of the opening match against Belgium on May 29 will allow him and his staff to evaluate some players who have not been playing regularly.

"For example," Klinsmann said, "Brek Shea has played very little so we want to evaluate him and see what the case is. We have Stuart Holden back in the mix, which we are excited about, but we also know he has a way to go. But I think it is important for him to see that we give him this opportunity coming in, catching up and being part of our program again. I think it will give him a huge lift. Then we’ll see what he’s missing still to get back from the old player he was or even better than that. So a couple of players come in that still have some catching up to do, but over the stretch of a month that is doable."

With Danny Williams, who has not played since March 30 for Bundesliga relegation candidate Hoffenheim, Klinsmann also wants to see where he's at and go from there.

“Danny didn’t get much playing time because he was injured," he said. "He always had minor injuries on the way back. He’s back in shape now. He’s been training full speed for two weeks. Obviously with them in that relegation battle -- I spoke to his coach at length -- it was difficult to break in right away and help out there. He’s back in shape, and we’ll see that. He’s another one similar to Brek Shea."

Klinsmann said Williams was brought in because he was an option at right back, where the first two choices, Steve Cherundolo and Timmy Chandler, are unavailable because of injuries.

"Danny gives us a little bit of flexibility if I have some problems at the right back position," he said. "Right now, we have Michael Parkhurst, we have DaMarcus Beasley, who can also play right back, and Geoff Cameron can also play right back if we do it like we did it against Mexico and Costa Rica. Danny can play that position as well, which is good for us to think about."

The choice of Parkhurst -- who has not played for Augsburg since February -- was a surprise. Asked what kind of message it sends players who are getting playing time with their clubs that other players that have not been getting playing time are getting called in instead of them, Klinsmann responded:

“I totally get where you’re coming from, but at the end of the day it all comes down to the positions that we have to fill. Michael Parkhurst is fit and ready to go but is not breaking in there, but he’s playing in a position where Steve Cherundolo and Timmy Chandler both are not available, so you get caught in a situation where you have to make that compromise. You don’t have to make that compromise in the center back position -- and I see Carlos [Bocanegra] only as a center back, I don’t see him as a left back -- and there we are fully loaded. It goes down to position by position, what is your ranking.”

U.S. national team roster:
GOALKEEPERS: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Tim Howard (Everton), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (8): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Michael Parkhurst (Augsburg)
MIDFIELDERS (10): Michael Bradley (Roma), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Maurice Edu (Bursaspor), Stuart Holden (Bolton Wanderers), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Brek Shea (Stoke City), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur), Herculez Gomez (Santos), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC).

Note: Backup goalies will be rotated through the team: Sean Johnson (May 26-30), Hamid (May 30-June 2), Hall (June 2-June 8), Rimando (June 9-19).

USA Schedule:
May 29: Belgium (friendly) in Cleveland
June 2: Germany (friendly) in Washington, D.C.
June 7: at Jamaica (World Cup qualifying)
June 11: Panama (World Cup qualifying) in Seattle
June 18: Honduras (World Cup qualifying) in Sandy, Utah



12 comments about "Klinsmann explains his picks".
  1. Julie Jacobson, May 18, 2013 at 9:09 a.m.

    If Klinnsman has to explain the choice of three other players who he says are not up to speed, what's the deal with not letting Donovan have the same opportunity. I believe there is something personal in him leaving Donovan out of the mix. It needs to get fixed so we put the best possible U.S. on the field.

  2. Walt Pericciuoli, May 18, 2013 at 10:21 a.m.

    I agree with you Julie.Something is wrong there between the two. There should be no place for personal feelings.Klinsi has brought in 15 MF and F players, to say Donovan is not among open top 15 at those positions even right now, is a lie.

  3. David Mont, May 18, 2013 at 10:24 a.m.

    So, Cherundolo is unavailable because of an injury, yet he's starting for Hannover today.

  4. Eric Schmitt, May 18, 2013 at 11:01 a.m.

    Pissing match must end, for the good of the team. Donovan at less than 100% is still needed.

  5. Allan Lindh, May 18, 2013 at 1:50 p.m.

    Yup, whoever is in charge at US Soccer needs to have a little chat with Klingsman. Let him save face with waiting until someone on squad is hurt or unavailable, then get Donovan in. Truth is we suck at putting ball in net. Donovan is leading US scorer all time. He's got more instinct in the box than all our other forwards put together. Let him play as withdrawn forward, help in midfield as needed, attack when chance opens up. Nobody ever mentions his great motor either, he helps out all the way back to the box, maybe our best tackler as well. These are WC qualifiers coming up, if Klingsman can't get by this, time to fire his ass.

  6. Alex G. Sicre, May 18, 2013 at 2:26 p.m.

    Ahead of him in his position? Ridiculous. He's the best we've ever had and still is. Klinsi you gotta quit smokin that funny green stuff.

  7. Raveen Rama, May 18, 2013 at 2:56 p.m.

    Not including Donovan but including Brek Shea, Williams and Holden and others in the squad is not considering these players with the same standards. Even though the others are younger than Donovan, I think Donovan is actually way ahead of them.
    I can't understand Klinsman considering the German players despite their below par performances ahead of other better available players.

  8. Karl Ortmertl, May 18, 2013 at 8:35 p.m.

    Overall I've liked Klinsman, but he's got rocks in his head over this one. Jurgen is a huge fitness buff and I presume that is what ultimately explains this, but it's idiotic. Donovan at one quarter speed is much more valuable than all of these people that Klinsman rates ahead of them. Donovan has more creative ability and soccer talent in his right big toe than all of them combined. Come on, Jurgen, this isn't Germany where players have soccer in their DNA. Only a handful in America do - and the one with the best DNA, by far, is Donovan

  9. John DiFiore, May 18, 2013 at 9:50 p.m.

    It probably has a lot to do with how the locker room feels about LD...
    Oh well, we'll still finish 1st with Jones, Williams and Holden...Even Zusi can hold his own there.
    But I do agree, there is only one LD..

  10. Daniel Clifton, May 19, 2013 at 3:10 p.m.

    I don't think this one is so simple. My heart says bring Donovan in. However, Klinsi has talked in the past quite a bit about the locker room atmosphere. Donovan may not be so popular in the locker room right now. There is now way for us to know whether he is or he isn't. Klinsmann would have some insight into that issue. I think LD would be a great person to bring off the bench. I think that may be his future with the MNT. But maybe it is better for LD to play regularly with LA at this time rather than going into the MNT camp. Klinsmann has said he will be back in the future.

  11. Bob Ashpole, May 20, 2013 at 3:03 p.m.

    The quickest way to get Donovan back to top international form is to include him. It is also the quickest way to get past any locker room problem. Obviously JK is flexible when he wants to be. He can bring 3 extra #3 keepers to camp and 3 substitutes who haven't played at all for over six weeks, but not Donovan? A bad decision for the USA. I am also concerned that JK has written off Cherundolo due to his age. I remember Tomas Dooley still sprinting box to box at age 39 late in a match in Mexico City. I am afraid that I am not going to like what JK does for the Gold Cup at all.

  12. Vince Leone, May 21, 2013 at 5:58 p.m.

    LD has been inconsistent since returning, as you would expect. If his position is forward, then Dempsey, Jozy, EJ, and Hercules are all in form and should be ahead of him in the depth chart. If his position is attacking mid, then at least Bradley and Zusi should be ahead of him. Maybe Davis too. When in form, Holden is a better playmaker, and he definitely needs a chance to work back in. We need him at least as much as LD, probably more. LD is still very good, obviously, but he has lost a bit of the speed that used to really set him apart.

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