USA Men's Soccer: Evaluating Options at Left Back
One of the biggest question mark’s of the United States Men’s National Team besides striker is the left back position.
During Bob Bradley’s tenure he struggled to find a player to put in consistent strong results as a left back but the talent pool is expanding and Jurgen Klinsmann might just find the man to answer that question mark.
Here are six left back options that Klinsmann may consider and their pros and cons for their selection for the national team squad.
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Carlos Bocanegra is the captain and one of the most important players on the US National Team. His ability to command the field is important and why he needs to be selected.
Bocanegra is one of the most sure footed defenders the US Team has. He makes up for his lack of pace with his great defensive positioning and calmness when under pressure.
He is not prone to mistakes and has been a very clutch player for the team.
His biggest con is his ability to go forward. He is more keen on kicking up the long ball then trying to work into the attack.
His lack of pace also makes him a liability going forward. He does not have the speed to catch up with any counter attack that may occur.
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Castillo is a quick defender that is able to keep with a team that runs a tactfully quick game.
His pros seem to stop there.
For Club America Castillo plays on the wing so left back understandably is not his number one position.
Castillo gives the ball away when he is asked to be on it.
He also lacks field vision which hurts him going forward.
His speed would make him a great option if he was not such a liability as far as playing a possession oriented game is concerned.
Castillo certainly could be a good option but what he showed against Mexico on August 10, 2011 certainly did not show his capability
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Heath Pearce might be more known for his humor on twitter and his mustache then his soccer right now but he is a very talented defender.
He is a left back that his current team Chivas USA converted into a center back. Would the rust at left back hurt him at the international level? It might but this is not a reason to not give him a shot again.
Pearce has had some really strong displays with the National Team but his consistency is not there. This is his biggest con.
Not knowing what you will be getting from Pearce on a given night makes him a tough player to give the nod to.
Pearce is good at getting himself into strong defensive positions when his game is on and his strength keeps offenders off balance making it difficult for them to create and get into the flow of the game.
Heath Pearce is also a player that can get forward and send in decent crosses. His pace is enough that on the counter he can track back and not leave a hole for other defenders to fill.
Pearce will probably get another shot at some point at the left back position but it probably will not be with the "A" team anytime soon.
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Jonathan Bornstein may have played himself out of the National Team after his dismal display at left back during the Gold Cup final if it was not for the lack of left back depth.
Will Bornstein make it back under Jurgen Klinsmann only time will tell but many fans really are hoping for his name not to be called on anymore under the new regime?
Bornstein is a clumsy defender who gets caught ball watching more often than not.
He also gets up into the attack but seems always a step behind offenders when trying to track back to play defense.
A big plus though for Bornstein is that he is a true left footed player who can send a nice cross in for strikers to get on the other end of.
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Eric Lichaj showed that he could be a very viable option at left back for the US National Team going forward.
He is a right back but can play on the opposite side and is very capable of using his non dominant foot.
Lichaj is a quick player who loves to get into the attack. He also does not get lost in possession. He will hold his position and fit well with the players around him.
Lichaj has a tendency to play too tough and at some point it may just catch up with him. The fire that is seen on his tackles and when he goes shoulder to shoulder with players is something fans and coaches’ love but he has to be smart about how often he displays his physical presence on attackers.
The biggest issue with Lichaj is that he is not a true left back being right footed but he played well there for the US and Leeds United during his loan in the second half of last season.
Will Lichaj be the left back of the future hopefully but it will all depend on how consistently he is getting playing time at club level and how he matures as a player.
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Timothy Chandler is a player that US National Team fans want to see on the field and for good reason.
He is a strong player with pace that defends and attacks well.
In his couple of caps he has performed well and is playing consistently at a club level.
Like Eric Lichaj he is a right back but the need to fill the left back position may have this exciting player move over to the other side of the pitch.
As long as Steve Cherundolo is in a United States uniform Timothy Chandler will have to be squeezed into another position. His next position is right midfield but he is behind Landon Donovan there.
Will Jurgen Klinsmann be more willing to use a player that is not a natural left footed player in the left back slot?
Bob Bradley did not seem to want to but if Klinsmann does then Chandler and Lichaj will be getting a lot more opportunities going forward.