Jones: USA practicing with three backs

The U.S. national team is slim on outside backs at the January being conducted in Carson, California, and it looks like there's a reason. It has been practicing with a 3-5-2 in training camp, according to Jermaine Jones, who has been converted to center back on the national team.

The only senior player with experience on the outside in camp was Brad Evans and he was injured and left. The only other players listed as defenders on the camp roster are his replacement, Matt Hedges, and Matt Besler, Steve Birnbaum and Perry Kitchen.

Outside back is the one position where all the national team's incumbent players are based at foreign clubs: DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham), Greg Garza (Tijuana), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Moenchengladbach) and Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt). Right back is not Geoff Cameron's favorite position, but that's where he's playing for Stoke City.

The USA has not played with three in the back in years. It beat Mexico, 2-0, in the second round of the 2002 World Cup when Bruce Arena switched to a 3-5-2 for the knockout phase with Gregg Berhalter joining Eddie Pope and Tony Sanneh. The USA opened the 1998 World Cup with a 3-6-1 with Thomas Dooley, David Regis and Pope.

Both U.S. archrival Mexico and the Netherlands played a 3-5-2 with success at the 2014 World Cup.

Jones, the center of the three central defenders in practice, refused to reveal how the seven players in front of the backline would line up. 3-5-2? 3-4-3?

"You'll see," he said on Tuesday after practice.
4 comments about "Jones: USA practicing with three backs".
  1. Jake Lammi, January 21, 2015 at 3:40 p.m.

    Why is Klinsy set on Jones still being in the mix? He isn't a CB and I don't see him starting in the next cup. He has been a solid player for the U.S. but move on and develop new players. The experimentation is stunting the growth of the defense.

  2. Allan Lindh, January 21, 2015 at 4:40 p.m.

    Jones is a grownup, and has curtailed his foolish rash tackles. Essential he be on the squad to illustrate on the field what a courageous, no nonsense, hard-nosed player looks like. The US used to have a bunch, the Goose, Harte, Balboa, etc. Now they have one, he may of necessity be on the squad in 2018. (Actually Geoff Cameron has many of these qualities, which is why he starts for a very hard-nosed Mark Hughes at Stoke. Doesn't quite have Jones attitude yet though, needs a little more confidence.)

  3. Albert Harris, January 21, 2015 at 5:58 p.m.

    Jake and Allan:
    You're both missing the most important point for Klinsy. Jones is GERMAN!

  4. cisco martinez, January 21, 2015 at 11:47 p.m.

    I think formations can and do matter, if klinsmann can play 3 in the back and make it work, great! I do think klinsmanns idea to have Jones apart of the national team is odd because his age will be a factor in 2018. Klinsmann was brought in to develop our program, what has he done but bring in German-American who can compete, but not develop our own players.

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