Fair warning: this blog will definitely take on a World Cup feel over the next couple of months… Speaking of which, ESPN aired the first of an excellent documentary series last night: Inside U.S. Soccer’s March to Brazil. Really interesting profiles of the team and coaches, with great access and inside footage. If you’re only a casual fan of the team or only pay attention around World Cup time, this series will definitely get you more familiar with our team and what they go through to qualify. ESPN will no doubt be replaying this many times, so check your program guide.
Meanwhile, Jurgen Klinsmann’s 30-man squad convened today for training camp in Stanford. They will go at it a couple of weeks before playing three friendlies – the send-off series – against Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Nigeria. Sometime during this stretch, Jurgen will cut the squad down to the required 23.
We had Jay DeMerit, Tim Ream, Juan Agudelo, and Eddie Johnson in our 30. Der Coach called in Joe Corona, Brad Davis, DeAndre Yedlin, and John Brooks instead.
Jurgen has never called in Jay, so no surprise there. Call it a difference of opinion. The others we can sorta, kinda see as well. Brooks and Yedlin are two for the future. If nothing else, they can come to camp, press other guys, and see what it will take for the next cycle. Corona is an interesting choice in that he’s been given multiple chances and hasn’t really taken advantage. It seemed like the Gold Cup last summer showed that Corona wasn’t quite fleet enough to play wide, and not quite physical enough to play central in this crowded midfield. Brad Davis is the most interesting choice. He’s the veteran, with a great left foot. If you want a left-footed veteran to come in the last 20 minutes and provide service, he’s your guy.
A lot of blogging and tweeting about Eddie Johnson’s exclusion, but not a huge surprise considering the overall EJ’s projected since his money-move to D.C. And he’s backed up the paycheck with exactly no goals this season. We’re maybe a little more surprised that Tim Ream didn’t get the call. He’s versatile, more seasoned at this point, and coming off a team player-of-the-year performance at Bolton. Instead we have John Brooks at Center back. Jurgen rating the Bundesliga and Germaricans higher? Probably.
You may also note articles claiming Landon Donovan could be anywhere from starter to not making the trip. We really have a hard time envisioning a healthy Donovan not heading to Brazil, starting, and contributing. Landon’s always been hard to figure, though, so let’s hope his head is in the right place and he gets rolling at camp.
But the biggest question has to be the defense. Who plays? Who starts? Who do you trust back there. It’s an uneasy feeling, going into the World Cup with so much back-line drama. We’re hoping these players step up and we can at least get a solid pairing in the middle. Geoff Cameron and Matt Besler, anyone?