In preparation for the CONCACAF Cup, USMNT manager Jurgen Klinsmann named a veteran heavy squad for the US’s match against Mexico. The move signaled that this match was about winning now, not about developing any players for the future. Prior to the match, Klinsmann stressed how important this match was and that certain players would be playing for their national team careers as should the US lose, changes to the national side would be coming.
The US fell to Mexico 3-2 Saturday night and despite many fans calling for Jurgen Klinsmann’s job, it’s clear the manager is staying. So with Klinsmann staying at least until 2018, which players should be afraid of getting dropped? Klinsmann did make this question a bit easier by dropping eight players for the US friendly vs. Costa Rica on Tuesday, but that list included Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley who haven’t seen their last days, so let’s find out who really needs to worry.
Ok so Beasley shouldn’t actually be worried per say. Beasley retired from the national team on his own terms following the 2014 World Cup, but was lured out of retirement by Klinsmann for this past summer’s Gold Cup (where he barely played due to injury) and Saturday’s match against Mexico. Beasley was called in because the US still hasn’t solved their decade long problem of not having a suitable left back. He’ll move from the team now on his own terms and the US will continue to look to fill that hole.
Over the past year, Klinsmann has already made it clear that he sees John Brooks as half of the US’s first choice center back pair of the future. For Klinsmann though, he believes the future is now as he controversially stuck with Brooks throughout the Gold Cup. With Brooks injured, Klinsmann went with the same back four he used for the first two matches of the World Cup, which included Besler. Unfortunately for them, there were plenty of times against Mexico where the back four looked just as lost as the inexperienced Gold Cup back-four had looked, giving Jurgen just the excuse he needs to look to the future.
Besides DeAndre Yedlin, you can argue that no US-based player impressed more European clubs in Brazil as Beckerman did. Klinsmann played Beckerman in a position built for him, sitting back to protect the back four, and he excelled at it. The only problem the European scouts had with Beckerman was his age, he was 32 in Brazil and he’ll be 36 when Russia 2018 rolls around. Beckerman’s other problem was his pace, or lack-there-of, which certainly won’t get any better as he gets older. While the US hasn’t found anyone else that can play the position as well or as consistently as Beckerman, the time is right to start giving players longer looks and see how they do.
Zusi emerged for the US during qualifying for Brazil and was a big reason why the US didn’t miss Landon Donovan during his sabbatical or the World Cup. Zusi parlayed his solid World Cup showing into a big contract with Sporting Kansas City, but since then his form took a drop and he struggled to earn any US call ups. He was included in the squad for the CONCACAF Cup but was an unused substitute. With Klinsmann favorite, Alejandro Bedoya still in the mix, and emerging wingers Gyasi Zardes and DeAndre Yedlin being two of the very few bright spots for the US over the past year, it’s tough to see the 29 year old Zusi staying in the mix with the national team.
Rimando is 36 and though that’s not old in goalie years (Tim Howard is also 36) he’s spent most of his career as the third choice goalkeeper for the US. Tim Howard will win the job back eventually and be the US’s number 1 in 2018, in that regard it’s better to carry a player like William Yarbrough along to be ready for when Howard steps away.
Ok, so Bradley isn’t actually going anywhere but I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to leaving him off the roster for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers vs. Saint Vincent and Trinidad and Tobago. Bradley needs a wake up call, big time. No player on the US team has seen his form drop more drastically then Bradley since his big move from AS Roma to Toronto FC. While Klinsmann critics love to point out that Jurgen has constantly played Bradley out of position, which he has, that shouldn’t mean that Bradley is no longer able to make a simple pass to his teammates or be as sloppy in possession as Bradley has become. Prior to the World Cup Jurgen Klinsmann said he wanted Bradley to be the center point of the US team. The team now is built around Bradley and as Bradley’s form has continued to drop, so have the results of the USMNT.