With the United States men’s national team set to play in Kansas City tonight, it’s no surprise that head coach Jurgen Klinsmann was asked about the omission of two Sporting KC stars from the U.S. fold.
Matt Besler performed well at the 2014 World Cup, and Benny Feilhaber is seemingly the darling of the anti-Klinsmann crowd, as his superb crosses and flashy skill set have seen him become an often dominant force in Major League Soccer.
[ MORE: USMNT vs. Panama preview ]
Klinsmann was asked about the pair on Monday, and MLSSoccer.com’s Andrew Wiebe brings us the coach’s replies:
“[Matt] had to swallow the pill that he’s not in the 23 right now,” Klinsmann said. “We talked through that. We’ve been in touch with each other. It’s no problem at all.
“It’s a constant competition going on in our extended squad. If you look at the two left center backs with John Brooks, who made a huge, huge step in the last year, and also Tim Ream, who played a tremendous season with Bolton, we felt like both deserved to be in here at the expense of Matt for right now. We’ll see after the game what we’re going to do.”
Benny Feilhaber’s status with the national team, meanwhile, is far more cut and dry.
“It’s a simple answer,” Klinsmann said. “There are other ones ahead of him.”
Feilhaber is uncapped this year and earned a single cap for the USMNT in each of 2012, 2013 and 2014. Does he deserve a look at some point? Dedicated midfielders on the squad are Michael Bradley, Kyle Beckerman, Mix Diskerud, Ale Bedoya, Graham Zusi and Alfredo Morales. DeAndre Yedlin and Gyasi Zardes have been given some midfield time as well, as has Fabian Johnson. Perhaps you’d made an argument for Zusi (28) and Morales (25), who are both younger than Feilhaber.
As for Besler, perhaps he’ll be called in after the group stage. Klinsmann’s use of Brooks and Ream outside of their club duty isn’t a head scratcher at all, and the club allowed one goal to Honduras that happened — again depending on your though process — because:
A) Ventura Alvarado was ritually abused by a feint.
B) John Anthony Brooks’ aggression forced Alvarado into a tricky position.
I choose A.
The U.S. has won its last six matches, and will face a desperate Panama side tonight after already clinching Group A.