Is Jermaine Jones a quality player? Yes.
Does he play top-flight club football? Yes.
Should Jones continue to get opportunities with the USMNT? No.
Jurgen Klinsmann’s most criticized decision over the past week was the exclusion of Jozy Altidore from the roster. Despite the fact that Altidore is the leading scorer in the Eredivisie, he was not called in.
Klinsmann justified this decision by saying Altidore has not preformed well enough on the international stage.
The same applies to Jones.
Jones was left out of the starting lineup on Friday. Perhaps this was because he was in yellow-card trouble, or because Klinsmann did not want three defensive-minded midfielders on the pitch at the same time.
However, in the 56th minute, Jones was inserted for Danny Williams, who, despite playing well against Jamaica on Sept. 11, struggled to get involved in the match on Friday.
The decision seemed completely justified. Even though Jones is not an offensive dynamo, he is certainly a better attacker than Williams.
However, like he has done so many times before, Jones disappointed with his performance.
He was yellow-carded only six minutes after his introduction on a stupid, deliberate handball. The foul also gave Antigua a free kick 30 yards from the U.S. goal directly in front of the net, something that has haunted the U.S. this World Cup qualifying cycle.
Then, in the 75th minute, Jones had a cleats-up challenge that could have easily resulted in a second yellow and his sending off.
At that time, the U.S. was desperately trying to find the equalizer and even faced repeated counterattacks by the Antiguans. Jones being sent off would have been a disaster for the U.S. and put its World Cup qualifying hopes in serious jeopardy.
This follows a long pattern by Jones of picking up unnecessary cautions. Jones has 11 cautions in 21 appearances for the USMNT, picking up 33 yellows for his club in that same time frame.
And, in his overall effort, Jones’ contribution to the match was poor.
Maurice Edu may not be the flashiest player on the USMNT squad, but he is consistent. Jones is, and always will be, a wild card.