USMNT: Winners and Losers of Jurgen Klinsmann Era so Far
It has been seven months since Jurgen Klinsmann agreed to become the leader of a high-potential USMNT squad. While the initial transition was a little bit rougher than expected, it seems as though the Yanks have finally gotten into a groove under their new manager after starting off 2012 undefeated. But while there is certainly a lot to cheer about now, there have been some players who have struggled to find their footing in the new regime.
Who am I talking about? Here is a list of the top three winners and losers of the USMNT since the start of the Klinsmann era. Enjoy!
Loser #3: Tim Ream
Oh yes, the USMNT blunder boy has definitely had a rough time since Klinsmann took the reins last summer. Ream never really had a stand out performance under Bob Bradley, yet the former New York Red Bull center back always found himself in the lineup somehow under the old regime.
However, since the coaching change, Ream has made just one USMNT appearance, in which he lost focus and let in the game winning goal against Ecuador in October. Ream’s play has not yet earned him another call up, and unfortunately for the Bolton Centerback, Klinsmann’s feelings toward him are not as sympathetic as Bradley’s.
Winner #3: Kyle Beckerman
Just three years ago, Kyle Beckerman was completely off the USMNT radar and his international career seemed all but dead. However, for some reason that many US fans can’t seem to understand, JK has had an intense interest in the Real Salt Lake midfielder’s skills ever since arriving last summer.
While his performances didn’t seem to warrant any particular praise, Beckerman continued to be called up to camp and even sported the Captain’s armband at the end of 2011. Considering where he was on the international level less than five years ago, Beckerman has to find himself on the winner’s list.
Loser #2: Benny Feilhaber
Although the American did make a January camp appearance against Venezuela, Benny still hasn’t been able to find the pitch much since Klinsmann took charge. We all expected the change to mean great things for hard-working midfielders like Feilhaber in the long run, but so far it has meant nothing but a continuation of a lack of playing time.
I understand that Feilhaber had fallen out of favor during the end of the Bradley era as well, but the failed impact the coaching change has had on his international career means Feilhaber is a loser in this situation.
Winner #2: Omar Gonzalez/George John
While they may not fill up the center back spots together until 2013, the fact that both these high-potential US stars received call ups is a definite plus. After a phenomenal 2011 season in which he took home the MLS Defender of the Year Award, many fans were wondering why Gonzalez still hadn’t found his way onto the US roster for over a year until the January camp. He was allowed to skip the January camp in order to pursue club interests with Nuremberg in Germany, only to tear his ACL the following week in a practice.
John’s Klinsmann camp invitation also seemed a bit delayed, but he finally was selected to be a part of the roster just two months ago as well. The good news for fans is that both dual-citizenship defenders seem to have committed their future to the US.
The good news for Omar and George is that a USMNT coach finally sees their incredible potential. It took a few months for Jurgen, but better late than never!
Loser #1: Freddy Adu
The rollercoaster ride of an International career for Freddy Adu may never stop for the poor prodigy. After a two year USMNT appearance gap, Adu finally seemed to break back into the spotlight last June during the Gold Cup, at which he was nothing short of fantastic in his showings.
However, like all sad stories go, as soon as it looked like Adu would be relevant once again in the USMNT lineup, a regime change has caused him nothing but disappointment as he patiently waits for his first Klinsmann cap. Adu’s whole career has been full of ups and downs, and I can only hope that one day he will find a little more consistency on the “up” trend in the future.
Winner #1: Danny Williams/Fabian Johnson
These two share the winner’s circle due to the fact that just eight months ago, neither were even looking at a potential International career. However, the addition of the German mastermind on the sidelines influenced these two young stars to make the national team switch and represent the USA at the highest level. There is no bigger honor for a player than sporting your nation’s colors on the brightest stage, and thanks to Jurgen Klinsmann, that honor is now a definite possibility.
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