Jurgen Klinsmann

United States Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann instructs his team against Guatemala during the first half of a World Cup qualifying soccer match Tuesday, March 29, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio. The United States beat Guatemala 4-0. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
AP Photo/Jay LaPrete

Klinsmann names USMNT preliminary roster for 2016 Copa America

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Youth is well served as Jurgen Klinsmann has named the U.S. national team’s 40-man preliminary roster ahead of next month’s 2016 Copa America Centenario.

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Youngsters Christian Pulisic, Darlington Nagbe, Matt Miazga and Jordan Morris, along with 36 others, will take part in the USMNT’s pre-tournament training camp, beginning May 16 in Miami, Fla., as Klinsmann makes his final decisions in order to trim the squad from 40 to 23 before the May 20 roster deadline.

Along with the aforementioned newcomers (relative so) is most of the regular cast of characters from Klinsmann’s nearly six years in charge — Jermaine Jones, Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, Fabian Johnson, Kyle Beckerman and Mix Diskerud, among others.

[ MORE: Dortmund’s Pulisic scores in second consecutive Bundesliga game ]

The USMNT will play three warm-up games ahead of their group-stage opener (June 3, vs. Colombia in Santa Clara, Calif.): at Puerto Rico (May 22), vs. Ecuador (May 25 in Frisco, Tex.) and vs. Bolivia (May 28 in Kansas City, Kan.).

The full preliminary roster is as follows…

Goalkeepers: David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Ethan Horvath (Molde) Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

Defenders: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Ventura Alvarado (Club America), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Monterrey), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest), Matt Miazga (Chelsea), Michael Orozco (Tijuana), Tim Ream (Fulham), DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland)

Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach), Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids), Perry Kitchen (Hearts), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Danny Williams (Reading), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Ethan Finlay (Columbus Crew SC), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund),Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (Union Berlin), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)

How will USMNT line up for Copa America opener?

PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD & TOBAGO - NOVEMBER 17: USA's national soccer team poses for a team photo during a World Cup Qualifier between Trinidad and Tobago and USA as part of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers for Russia 2018 at Hasely Crawford Stadium on November 17, 2015 in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago. From Left to Right #13 Jermaine Jones; #5 Matt Beasler; #9 Gyasi Zardes; #12 Tim Howard; # 4 Michael Bradley; #20 Geoff Cameron; #3 Tim Ream; #2 DeAndre Yedlin; #16 Michael Orozco; # 23 Fabian Johnson; #17 Jozy Altidore (Photo by Ashley Allen Getty Images)
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It is a huge summer for the U.S. national team and Jurgen Klinsmann.

[ MORE: Cameron talks to JPW ]

The host nation of the massive Copa America Centenario tournament, the USMNT will be expected to get out of a very tough group and make a splash among CONCACAF and CONMEBOL’s elite.

That’s not easy. Klinsmann will name his preliminary roster for the 2016 Copa America this Friday.

[ MORE: Howard on MLS return

With that in mind, though, there’s exactly five weeks to go until the U.S. plays Colombia in Santa Clara in their Group A opener which also opens the tournament.

How will the USMNT line up?

Below is my best starting XI. Let me know yours in the comments section below.


JPW’s best XI for USA vs. Colombia, June 3 2016

—– Howard —–

— Yedlin — Cameron — Birnbaum — Johnson —

— Bradley — Jones —

— Bedoya — Dempsey — Pulisic —

—– Altidore —–

Observations

In goal, it’s a pretty straightforward battle between Tim Howard and Brad Guzan. Sure, Howard hasn’t been playing regularly for Everton but he should start ahead of Guzan with the U.S. certain to be under plenty of pressure from Colombia, Costa Rica and Paraguay in Group A.

In defense, now that Klinsmann seems to want to play people in their strongest positions then it should be DeAndre Yedlin at right back, Geoff Cameron at center back and Steve Birnbaum alongside Cameron. Yes, the D.C. United defender is a relative rookie at national team level but he and Cameron struck up a good partnership in central defense against Guatemala and at this point I think you have to play whoever Cameron is most comfortable with in that partnership. John Brooks, Matt Miazga and Matt Besler will likely be around too. The problem area seems to be left back.

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 29: Geoff Cameron #20 of the United States Men's National Team celebrates his first half goal against Guatemala with Graham Zusi #19 of the United States Men's National Team and Clint Dempsey #8 of the United States Men's National Team during the FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifier on March 29, 2016 at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

I’ve chucked Fabian Johnson in at left back because the U.S. now has a wealth of options in midfield ahead of him. Tim Ream or Edgar Castillo are better defensively but Johnson adds more going forward and I think the U.S. is stronger with him at left back. Also, Brek Shea should get in the squad as he’s impressed since returning for Orlando City. He can operate down the left flank or in any of the attacking positions. It pays to be versatile in the U.S. setup.

In midfield, Jermaine Jones has been flying since he joined Colorado Rapids and although long-term he won’t be around, for this summer he will be in the Copa America squad. He is one of Klinsmann’s mainstays and during the 2014 World Cup he showed he can do it on the big stage when it really matters. Alongside Jones will be Bradley in a defensive two, while the three above them are Alejandro Bedoya, Clint Dempsey and the wildcard, Christian Pulisic.

In a 4-2-3-1 formation, Bradley and Jones will sit to cover the spaces when the three ahead of the bomb forward in support of the lone front man, Jozy Altidore. With Yedlin and Johnson both eager to get forward, they’ll have to be a little more disciplined and choose when they foray into the opponents half. That said, both Pulisic and Bedoya know their defensive duties and will help out. As for Pulisic, he is 17 and on top of the world after becoming a regular for Borussia Dortmund and making his U.S. debut in the past few months. Let him express himself this summer and see what he’s made of.

Dortmund's Christian Pulisic, left, celebrates with Felix Passlack, right, after scoring the opening goal during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and Hamburger SV in Dortmund, Germany, Sunday, April 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Up top I’ve gone with Jozy Altidore but Bobby Wood can count himself unlucky and even Gyasi Zardes who I still believe is much better through the middle than out wide. It is a big summer for Altidore to prove he can still lead the line for the USMNT. I believe Klinsmann’s best XI is among the best the U.S. has ever had. It is right up there, quality wise with players playing in the Bundesliga, Premier League and Ligue 1 week in, week out plus MLS stars. However, it’s all about getting that balance right and sticking with the same team to build continuity. Can they do that this summer and make a deep run in the Copa America Centenario?

What do you guys think of the formation and players selected above?

Klinsmann salutes Fafa Picault’s brace in 2.Bundesliga; Who’s this now?

http://www.fcstpauli.com/profis/news/9628

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“I was hoping that this day would come and I’m just overjoyed.”

That’s how Fabrice “Fafa” Picault described his two-goal performance for 2.Bundesliga side St. Pauli, giving him three goals in his past four matches.

[ MORE: Jordan Morris opens his professional account ]

It seems nearly every week we learn of a “new” American prospect plying his trade overseas, and Picault is a reminder that MLS and big name academies aren’t the be-all, end-all for development.

Picault, 25, was born in Manhattan to Haitian parents, and spent his youth career with Cagliari in Italy before debuting in 2012 for Tampa Bay Rowdies of the NASL.

He’s broke out in a big way for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, scoring 12 goals, and had a brief stint at Sparta Prague. And the dual national is clearly on USMNT boss Jurgen Klinsmann’s radar, which is sure to enrage the coach’s detractors.

USMNT’s Klinsmann quashes Everton rumors. But what if he left?

United States head coach Jurgen Klinsmann reacts during the first half of a international soccer friendly match against Costa Rica, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Harrison, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
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U.S. men’s national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has denied he is joining Everton as manager.

Klinsmann, 51, was linked with the Everton job on Wednesday but the German took to Twitter to deny any interest from either party.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

“Rumours are wrong! Not going anywhere and Everton FC has a fantastic manager in Roberto Martinez!” Klinsmann said.

Everton is currently in a rough spot with Roberto Martinez, as the Toffees have gone five games without a win and are languishing in the bottom half of the table with fan and player unrest clear.

Klinsmann is currently contracted through 2018 with U.S. Soccer as both the head coach of the USMNT and as their technical director.

But, what if Klinsmann did leave in the not so distant future?

In all honesty, it is something fans of the U.S. national team should start preparing themselves for.

As we mentioned, Klinsmann’s deal isn’t up until 2018 but if the USMNT put in a poor showing at the 2016 Copa America Centenario this summer — a group stage exit wouldn’t be disastrous given their opponents, but it wouldn’t be great — then the pressure could topple Klinsmann.

Following the recent World Cup qualifying defeat in Guatemala huge fan unrest showed exactly how close the U.S. fanbase is to turning on Klinsmann and deeming it time for him to go.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

Previously he looked untouchable but over the last 12 months a series of events has seen his tenure become shaky. First, the Gold Cup debacle last summer saw big questions arrive, then a 4-1 dismantling by Brazil in a friendly further exposed issues in the squad and then after a 0-0 draw at Trinidad and Tobago in 2018 World Cup qualifying, U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati backed Klinsmann but admitted they’re going for a rough patch.

The USMNT’s head coach needs a big summer to cement his place between now and the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

I don’t agree with those arguing that he doesn’t possess the quality of players to get results. The U.S., along with Mexico and Costa Rica, should be walking the CONCACAF region every single qualification period. That should be a minimum and we’ve seen in games away at T&T and Guatemala that it’s become a struggle. That’s mainly been down to tactical mistakes from Klinsmann with players like Geoff Cameron and DeAndre Yedlin played out of position. Now, at least after the Guatemala win at home, Klinsmann seems to have stopped experimenting with the lineup and has gone with the tried and tested players in their best positions.

[ MORE: What now for USMNT?

He has to do that this summer, if possible, and at least guide the U.S. through to the knockout rounds of the Copa America. It will be tough to do that but if he doesn’t, many would feel it is time for a fresh start two years away from a World Cup. A pretty pivotal three months has arrived for the U.S.

If Klinsmann is fired or decides to leave for a bigger job if one of these so-called “interested” PL clubs — Liverpool, Aston Villa and Everton are just some mentioned and his name is always thrown in the mix due to his status in England — comes to fruition, then will the U.S. national team be in a better or worse place than when he arrived in 2011?

That’s a debate many have had time and time again and it is very tough to decide either way if progress has been made when it comes the USMNT’s performances and quality. There’s no doubt Klinsmann’s expertise and the amount of power he’s had on structuring the entire U.S. setup is working. The young players getting minutes in Europe has risen and youth teams (apart from the U-23 side) are improving. However, with a group of players far superior, at least on paper, to those Bob Bradley had before him, Klinsmann has only achieved the same results and has failed to reach a Confederations Cup, Olympics (twice) and his long-term goal of reaching the 2018 World Cup final seems to be a long way off.

If he left this summer, for another job or getting fired, many would argue that the USMNT would not be in turmoil and wouldn’t be better off than it was in 2011 when it fired Bradley. If U.S. Soccer felt it was time for a change, following the Copa America could be the last real opportunity to make one before the next World Cup cycle fully slots into place. A new manager would still have almost two years to ready a squad, create a new philosophy and that’s plenty of time to usher in a new era.

The feeling around many close to the U.S. national team camp is clear. Klinsmann needs a big summer to cement his role with the USMNT for the next few years.

USMNT’s Klinsmann linked with yet another Premier League job

Jamaica v United States: Semifinals - 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup
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U.S. national team head coach. Jurgen Klinsmann has been tipped to take over yet another Premier League club.

This time: Everton.

[ MORE: PFA shortlist announced ]

With Roberto Martinez struggling in his third season with the Toffees as the Merrseyside sit in the bottom half of the table and having only an FA Cup semifinal to brighten up what’s been a dismal campaign so far, rumors have persisted that new majority owner Farhad Moshiri may look to freshen things up this summer and appoint a new manager.

As we reported last month, Martinez is being questioned by senior players at Everton in the dressing room and just this past weekend fans held up banners saying “Martinez Out” with the Toffees winless streak now at four games. He has also been locked into a rather public spat with Leighton Baines over the left back claiming the team lacked “chemistry” this season.

Ian Darke of ESPN and BT Sport sent out the message below on Wednesday morning, prompting Everton fans across the world to scramble for their smartphones, laptops etc. to look up Klinsmann’s record with the U.S. national team over the past few years.

ProSoccerTalk contacted U.S. Soccer for a comment on the speculation and their answer was quite simple and expected: we don’t comment on speculation. Plus there has been confirmation that Everton had not been in touch with U.S. Soccer.

Klinsmann is currently the 10-1, fifth favorite to become the next Everton manager with the bookmakers in the UK. He sits behind Roberto Mancini, Manuel Pellegrini, Marcelo Bielsa and David Moyes who is the favorite to step in should Martinez get the sack.

[ MORE: Van Gaal losing the locker room?

It is worth noting that Klinsmann is good friends with countryman and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, as the former advised Liverpool about their trip to the West Coast of the U.S. this summer for the International Champions Cup.

Klinsmann has previously been linked with both the Liverpool and Aston Villa jobs in the Premier League, plus is always included in a small pack of outsiders by the bookies when most PL jobs become available.

The German coach is still fondly thought of in England after his goalscoring exploits for Tottenham in two separate spells as a player, but it’s hard to see Klinsmann swapping his idyllic life with his family in California and a long-term project with the U.S. national team for the often volatile and short-term nature of management in the PL.

However, now is an interesting time for Klinsmann if there is an offer on the table. Two years out from the 2018 World Cup in Russia, what if the U.S. national team fails badly in the Copa America Centenario this summer? They have Colombia, Costa Rica and Paraguay in a tough Group A and if they bow out at the Group Stage on home soil, U.S. fans will be calling for his head. Does he really want “fired” on his resume? It would be a big call for Klinsmann to decide to move back to club management where he’s only previously had one brief, and unsuccessful, spell in charge of Bayern Munich in 2008-09.

USMNT fans, what do you think about Klinsmann leaving for the Toffees? Is that a good or bad thin for the U.S. national team?