It's time for Klinsmann to go young

By Paul Kennedy

At first blush, there is nothing startling about the 40-player list from which Jurgen Klinsmann will pick 23 players to take to the Copa Centenario in June. They're the same old suspects, you might say.

All but four players he took to the World Cup are still around two years later. And that doesn't include players like Michael Orozco and Edgar Castillo who didn't go to Brazil but have been with him dating back to his first game against Mexico in August 2011.

The paradox to Klinsmann's selections, though, is that he is extremely loyal to players whom he's used in the past but he has a long history of rolling the dice with young players.

The USA will likely still lean on veterans like Tim Howard, 37, or Brad Guzan, 31, in goal, Jermaine Jones, 34, in midfield and Clint Dempsey, 33, up front against Colombia, Costa Rica and Paraguay at the Copa Centenario.

But Klinsmann has been giving signs that he's ready to make a move and bring in youngsters like Christian Pulisic, Jordan Morris, Ethan Horvath, Kellyn Acosta and Matt Miazga to go along with John Brooks, DeAndre Yedlin and Bobby Wood, who have been with the national team for several years.

Few gave Brooks or Yedlin a chance to make the cut from 30 players to 23 on the 2014 U.S. World Cup roster, but Klinsmann took both of them to Brazil and used them in key situations. There's a good chance that Brooks, Yedlin, Pulisic and Wood could all start at the Copa Centenario.

Brooks would have likely started in the World Cup 2018 qualifiers against Guatemala in March but was injured when he came into camp from Hertha Berlin. Yedlin won the starting job at right back at Sunderland and has kept it as the Black Cats fight to avoid relegation. With each call-up, Klinsmann seems more at ease with the idea of employing Yedlin at right back. (After all, it isn't like he has a lot of other alternatives.)

Dortmund has used Pulisic in key situations throughout the winter and spring, and the 17-year-old Pennsylvanian has not once looked out of place. If he can do that for Dortmund, he can do that for the USA. Wood, the oldest player in the group at the age of 23, started both World Cup 2018 qualifiers against Guatemala ahead of Jozy Altidore, who was just returning from a hamstring injury, and has enjoyed one of the longest hot streaks an American striker has ever had.

Horvath plays for Norwegian club Molde, which will be off in June. If he is called up, he'll miss two league matches in May. Klinsmann said recently that Acosta, who started the winter friendlies against Iceland and Canada, would have likely been called up for the Guatemala series if he wasn't with the U-23s for the Olympic qualifying playoffs against Colombia.

Miazga might the longest shot of the bunch as the USA is the deepest at center back with Geoff Cameron, Matt Besler and Brooks likely to go to the Copa Centenario and Steven Birnbaum and Omar Gonzalez (plus Ventura Alvarado and Orozco and Tim Ream, who can play in the middle) also in the mix.
23 comments about "It's time for Klinsmann to go young".
  1. Raymond Weigand, May 3, 2016 at 4:53 p.m.

    Way to jump on the band wagon.

  2. Glenn Auve, May 3, 2016 at 4:58 p.m.

    Whatever happened to Julian Green?

  3. Ridge Mahoney replied, May 3, 2016 at 5:58 p.m.

    Green, who is on loan, might be backing up Bobby Wood at Hamburg in a few months, or a free agent if Bayern releases him.

  4. Joey Tremone replied, May 4, 2016 at 9:32 a.m.

    Green's loan spell is already over. This year he played for Bayern II. He made 24 appearances and scored 10 goals. It seems unlikely he'll ever be a Bayern level-player, but he might still eventually be pretty solid. He's still only 20 years old. Franck Ribery was still a relative nobody at the same age.

  5. Dan Phillips, May 3, 2016 at 7:43 p.m.

    Why was left back Brek Shea left off roster? Another dumb roster mistake by JK. And why does he waste a roster spot with old man Wondolowski?

  6. Allan Lindh, May 3, 2016 at 7:51 p.m.

    Don't forget that Cameron, Yedlin, and Bedoyin are about the only three that start regularly for in an A/A- level league. And it he starts Altidore ahead of Morris, he should be fired after first game.

  7. beautiful game, May 3, 2016 at 9:29 p.m.

    I beg to differ with Paul. He should have started with the "younger" picks as soon as WC 2014 was over.

  8. Andrew Kear, May 3, 2016 at 9:33 p.m.

    Time for Klinsmann to go.

  9. :: SilverRey :: replied, May 4, 2016 at 8:54 a.m.

    I would have been much happier with that title

  10. R2 Dad, May 4, 2016 at 12:15 a.m.

    These younger players can be tacked on to the existing formation/player pool without much change required. The real issue going forward is going to be Where will the creative force come from? If we are to get to the next level, we need a real creative at the center rather than everyone kicking at a target player--save that plan B jungle ball for the Hex. Time for JK to show us plan A--the style and substance we will need for the WC in 2018.

  11. Scott Johnson replied, May 4, 2016 at 12:20 a.m.

    I hate to Be a Nag, Darling, but there is a center-mid with a Ton of potential who may be just the answer you are looking for. He has, as they say, a lot of creative.... timber.

  12. R2 Dad replied, May 4, 2016 at 11:53 p.m.

    exactly! surprised he isn't mentioned but then again he's 25. can JK put him ahead of MB in the diamond? many more midfield options than the last WC.

  13. Dan Eckert, May 4, 2016 at 7:09 a.m.

    I got so excited when I first read the name of the article:

    "It's time for Klinsmann to go..."

    I then opened the piece and realized it was "...young"

    They ALMOST guy it right. There goes another year down the drain.

  14. Joe Linzner, May 4, 2016 at 9:22 a.m.

    let's face it, we have such a collective glut of expert coaches posting here, without either playing or coaching expertise, there certainly is no need for coaches at all. I am surprised that given the intelligencia so evident both here and on that font of knowledge "BigSoccer" we most certainly MUST hire an American born coach....

  15. Wooden Ships replied, May 4, 2016 at 11:06 a.m.

    Joe, I'll bet most people that do post in SA did play and have coached, or even continue to coach. Additionally, some of us, have been in management and even officiated. I don't demand an American (USA) coach, its immaterial to me. As you probably know a group of 10 coaches will disagree on many things. Jurgen played after my day and I enjoyed watching him and Germany. Players when games, tactics are a factor, but most important is selection. Here is where JK has fallen short. Pool expansion is to his credit, but not establishing a possession style of play is also attributed to him. That was his stated goal when coming aboard, was it not? He desired players similar to Ozil, prior to leaving Germany but he hasn't gone that direction while here. JK is fusbal royalty and I'm glad he came, but he hasn't stayed true to his word. He too has home the default US style of kick and hope. He needs to not worry about losing in the COPA, he needs to get on with a change. If not, it's more than time to replace him.

  16. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, May 4, 2016 at 11:21 a.m.

    This seems to be a favorite tactic of the few remaining JK fans out there. You can't defend him so you argue that those who want him to go aren't "qualified" to have an opinion. You don't need qualifications to post an opinion on websites like this. Now tell us why you think JK should stay.

  17. beautiful game, May 4, 2016 at 8:27 p.m.

    You guys can talk about coaches all you want, but if the squad has a cumulative soccer IQ of 5/10, than it has to have 150% effort by each player for every minute of the 90.

  18. Bob Ashpole replied, May 6, 2016 at 4:39 a.m.

    Running more is no substitute for running smart. Instead you want players to run more smart.

  19. cisco martinez, May 5, 2016 at 11:42 p.m.

    Hey Joe, get your head out of your ^%#! I don't need to put my bonafides out there to someone whom accuses everyone on this site that they've never played nor coached. I ve done both at higher levels than most, so if you want to put yours out there I welcome your lack of analysis, lack of coaching, and lack playing experience to all of us let alone me.

  20. beautiful game, May 6, 2016 at 10:52 a.m.

    R2 DAD, USMNT squad has little team chemistry and tactically can't deliver the goods. Low soccer IQ has to be substituted with heart and guts.

  21. cisco martinez, May 7, 2016 at 12:16 p.m.

    This country needs to value technical players over speed and athleticism, tactical awareness over recovery speed, speed of play versus direct play, transitional counter attacking play versus possession oriented. If we've learned anything in Major tournaments around the world, the best team doesn't always win. In 1982, Italy beat Brazil 3-2 on counter attacking football and won the World Cup in 1982, Leicester city and Atletico Madrid are showing the world that if can counter possession-oriented team and only get 30% possession and score on a counter you can win.

  22. beautiful game, May 9, 2016 at 3:27 p.m.

    It's the smart teams that mostly win; whether they be world class or not.

  23. Dan Phillips, May 11, 2016 at 2:37 p.m.

    JK should have included Brek Shea on the roster!

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