USA 2018: Defense

Submitted by Brian on July 7th, 2014 at 11:59 AM

Previously: Forwards and attacking mids; wings and defensive mids.

LEFT BACK

The Beas is finally at ease. Probably. I don't think the USA will have to resort to Beasley in 2018, but 1) left back is a difficult spot to fill for anyone and 2) if anyone is going to have a Frankie Hedjuk zombie USA career it is the Beas.

Demonstrating this: there's not a lot in the pipeline here.

FABIAN JOHNSON – Borussia Monchengladbach (Germany) – 30 in 2018 -

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Yedlin's emergence should kick Johnson back over to left back, where he was just as much of a dynamic attacking force for the Nats during qualification and the like. Hopefully he retains his speed at 30; hopefully another four years at outside back will let him work on some of the mental errors that saw players get in behind him late in games—his guy scored in both the Ghana and Portugal games after the 80th minute.

If things are going very well at outside back you could see Johnson slide up into a wing midfield spot. What are the chances of that? Not great. But I'm saying there's a chance because of…

CHRIS KLUTE – Colorado Rapids – 28 in 2018 – 0 caps

Klute appeared from nowhere in 2012 after his career had seemingly fizzled out. He lasted just one year at Furman and was idling in the reserves of the NASL's Atlanta Silverbacks; a year later he was Colorado's defensive player of the year.

He's a lightning bolt like Yedlin and is capable of playing either side, a versatility that will help him get on the roster. He is in fact more natural on the left—his crosses from there have generated a number of Rapids goals—and is thus a treasure. Already called into a USA training camp with his teammate Shane O'Neill. He is the most likely uncapped player to make the 2018 23. Because left back, yes. But also guy has talent.

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GREG GARZA – Tijuana (Mexico) – 26 in 2018 – 0 caps

soundtrack is rad, totally tubular, bitchin' yo

Garza is an on and off starter for Tijuana, having seemingly pushed Edgar Castillo out of favor there. It's been difficult to figure out just how much he's playing for the Xolos; it appears he's made 34 appearances since his 2012 arrival. So not exactly first name on the team sheet. Since I can't say I've seen him I'm going by what's out there on the internet and it's a bit confused as to whether he is a clear first choice riser or not.

But as a guy seeing time at left back for a good Mexican side you can be sure the USMNT takes a look.

JUAN PABLO OCEGUEDA – UANL Tigres (Mexio) – 24 in 2018 – 0 caps

Ocegueda was a hotly contested recruitment battle between the US and Mexico that the US won. Unfortunately for Ocegueda, he made this decision at the same time he went on a loan to Chivas. Chivas only plays Mexican nationals, so he was frozen out. Why they didn't just terminate the loan is unknown.

Ocegueda's stuck behind Jorge Torres Nilo, a Mexico international, at Tigres and will have to find a loan or move to get the playing time necessary to become a part of the full national team picture. He should be first choice for the U23 2016 Olympics, for a start.

ERIC LICHAJ – Nottingham Forest (England 2nd) – 29 in 2018 – 10 caps

Lichaj is a natural right back who's been trying to diversify his game and become, like Johnson, comfortable with both feet. He played fairly regularly for EPL side Aston Villa after coming through their academy; last year he signed with Forest on a two-year deal and saw plenty of playing time before a hip issue knocked him out of the lineup and any potential consideration for a World Cup spot. (Not that Klinsmann seemed to give him any notice when he was healthy.)

Lichaj has not appeared under Klinsmann when even Edgar Castillo was given multiple chances, so it's a bit grim for him. If he can add that versatility, though, and play regularly for a solid team he'll be in the picture.

LONGSHOTS: Edgar Castillo has 16 caps to his name but has looked like a defensive disaster in almost all of them; he'd be 31 and on the downside in Russia. Also, Garza forced his way into the starting lineup past Castillo. It's almost certainly curtains for him.

And don't ever count out DaMarcus Beasley.

RIGHT BACK

Meep meep, y'all.

DEANDRE YEDLIN – (probably) Roma (Italy) – 24 in 2018 – 7 caps

Yedlin's breakout World Cup demonstrated he was one of the fastest players in the world, and his crossing was consistently dangerous. It took under a week for AS Roma to swoop in on him and complete a transfer that will see him finish the year with Seattle, then move to Italy midseason. From there he'll be loaned out to a mid-table Seria A team (Italy allows only one non-EU player to come in per year, and Roma's used theirs) and then attempt to replace Maicon, the 32-year-old Brazilian international. So… yeah. Big shoes.

He's supposedly a little deficient when it comes to reading the game, but I mean, nits. He is 20. If he continues improving he's a holy lock… and probably even if he doesn't. But let's hope for the former.

ANDREW FARRELL – New England Revolution – 26 in 2018 – 0 caps

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BEARD

Farrell was the first pick in the 2013 draft after a formative period in Peru(!)—his parents were missionaries there for ten years—and three years at Louisville and has established himself one of the top young outside backs in MLS already. Bonus points for growing a beard until he scores.

Also bonus: depending on how he develops, Farrell may add enough positional flexibility to only bring seven defenders, as he was a center-back in college and has seen time there in MLS when injury has forced him to. He is technical:

"When he has the ball at his feet, he’s willing to do things in the back that defenders like me never did," Heaps said.  "He’s so strong, good in the air, but for me the thing that makes Andrew as good as he is, his feet are so quick. I've never seen it before on a player his size. He’ll dribble. He can get himself out of a tough situation by passing out of the back. That’s just his nature. ‘I can do this. I can get by this guy, make a move here, get by one player and open it up for a [teammate]."

That'll help him, broken record about technical defenders being a must, etc., etc.

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TIM CHANDLER – Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany) - 28 in 2018 – 13 caps

Chandler's indifferent-to-miserable form after a promising start and wavering dedication to the US cause puts his place in question. At 24 he's probably not going to make a great leap forward, either. Nonetheless, he is a regular Bundesliga starter at a spot where the US doesn't currently have a lot of options.

Chandler will have plenty of opportunities to confirm or dis-confirm his ability and desire before 2018, and if he's into it he does have the most impressive career to date. I just don't know if Klinsmann's going to play ball here—he cut Donovan ruthlessly over dedication issues.

KELLYN ACOSTA – FC Dallas – 22 in 2018 – 0 caps

Acosta skipped college entirely to become a homegrown signing for Dallas and ended up moving to right back for the bulk of this season. He's having some troubles staying on the field and picked up an injury recently, as will happen to 18-year-old pros. Dallas fans seem to think his long-term future is in the midfield; we'll see. At an international level the opportunity is greater at outside back. Like it always is.

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Never count out DaMarcus Beasley, I guess? It's tough to find other reasonable options. This list already has a converted CB and converted mid. Plus Tim Chandler.

CENTER BACK

Besler and Cameron will be 31 and 32, respectively, when 2018 rolls around. Gonzalez will be 28, Brooks 25. It is a possibility the US rolls with the same four central defenders they did in 2018.

MATT BESLER – Sporting KC – 31 in 2018 – 21 caps

chich-besler[1]

Besler is not likely to be in MLS for much longer after a terrific World Cup. Yeah, Romelu Lukaku ran through him. That'll happen in the 93rd minute against one of the most athletic strikers in the world fresh off the bench. In just about every other situation Besler found himself in, he was terrific. Dude's going to get paid, and any theories about the USA back line for the next cycle should start with Besler.

Now, if we could just incorporate his long throws

JOHN BROOKS – Hertha Berlin (Germany) – 25 in 2018 – 5 caps

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Corner hero and celebration expert. As of early June a pile of EPL teams were readying runs at him after a standout final half-season with Hertha, one that came after he infuriated his manager by getting a back tattoo so large he had to miss time because of inflammation. Getting back in the manager's good graces after that is perhaps the best sign of his talent yet.

Brooks was stuck behind Besler this World Cup as Klinsmann stuck to a strict left/right CB pairing. Odds are by 2018 they will make a serious attempt to use Brooks, a Bundesliga starter at 21, and Besler together.

GEOFF CAMERON – Stoke (England) – 32 in 2018 – 30 caps

Cameron's lack of Beckerman-ness was ruthlessly exposed by Belgium. However: other than a couple of scuffed clearances, one of which fell directly to Nani, he was otherwise excellent as a centerback. (I don't put much blame on him for the Portugal equalizer, as Varela was Johnson's man and Cameron slowed up in anticipation of having to check one of two runners coming from his zone.) I know that is a bit "but how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln" but if Cameron's mishit clearance goes two yards further in any direction, we're talking about him as one of the revelations of the tournament, along with Besler.

Can he maintain through 32? I don't see why not. Centerbacks generally endure longer than other outfield players because positioning and anticipation are ever-burgeoning attributes.

Cameron's positional flexibility has to be considered hypothetical after Belgium, and Brooks is going to come after his job hard. Even so it's unlikely he gets bashed off the roster.

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OMAR GONZALEZ – LA Galaxy – 29 in 2018 – 23 caps

gonzalez_usmnt_chicharito[1]

everybody checks Chicharito

Gonzalez was surprisingly able when called upon for the USA's last two games, and that counts for quite a bit. The "surprising" part is something built upon a good six months of Gonzalez making goofy decisions and being obviously culpable for goals, though, and he's still the guy under the most threat for the next cycle.

One major reason: compare him to cultured CBs like Kompany and David Luiz and the difference is obvious. Hell, compare him to Cameron. Gonzalez has his uses. Unfortunately for him, they do not extend to his feet, and a US team that desires to possess the ball against elite teams may look elsewhere.

TIM REAM – Bolton (England 2nd) – 30 in 2018 – 8 caps

Ream was horrible when provided the opportunity to start at the beginning of the 2011 Gold Cup. He ceded a penalty to Blaz Perez in a 2-1 loss to Panama and was benched for the remainder. A few months later he came on as a substitute against Ecuador and was beaten for the winner in a 1-0 loss*. He faded from the national team picture, then surprisingly transferred to then-EPL side Bolton.

Bolton got relegated, with Ream a peripheral player. But Ream hung on to become a first-choice defender and occasional midfielder, appearing in 41 of Bolton's 42 league matches in 2013-14. He was named the player of the year by the club and the fans after.

Ream's best asset as a central defender is his technical ability on the ball, something that the US can really use if they're going to survive high pressing and have more of the ball. Ream's also spent some time as a defensive midfielder, a spot that's going to open up for the next cycle. He should get another look. I won't be surprised if he ends up on the roster somewhere.

*[Should be noted that this may have been the weirdest USA lineup of the past four years, as the US played a diamond with Maurice Edu in front of Kyle Beckerman, flanked by Danny Williams and Brek Shea. Okay! The D that day was the last-gasp crew: Chandler, Bocanegra, Onyewu, Cherundolo.]

WILL PACKWOOD – Birmingham City (England 2nd) - 25 in 2018 – 0 caps

Packwood debuted with Championship side Birmingham City at just 19, whereupon he almost immediately suffered a severe leg injury. He made his recovery and resumed playing on loan in the fourth tier of English football late last season; after injuries struck Birmingham he was recalled, immediately securing a place in Birmingham's starting lineup. He was named the Football League Young Player of The Month in February.

Packwood got called up for the weird game against the Ukraine that had to be played in Cyprus, though he didn't get in.

ERIK PALMER-BROWN – Sporting Kansas City – 21 in 2018 – 0 caps

At just 17, Palmer-Brown is probably one for 2022, not 2018, but he is starting in MLS right now thanks to Kansas City's injury misfortune and Besler's World Cup absence—an absence that figures to become permanent soon. Before that, Juventus came in with a 1 million dollar offer that SKC rejected. He should be a key figure in the Olympic campaign, with all eyes on him as he attempts to be the first bonafide OMG center-back prospect the USA's had.

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Should be noted that while I included Shane O'Neill as a defensive mid, he is a center back for Colorado and may figure in on the back line.

Traffic Sports is finally done wrecking Gale Agbossoumonde's career, so if he can latch onto the right MLS team and see the field he could start living up to his potential, once considered vast. After 14 appearances in MLS last year, he has yet to play in 2014.

German-American Alfredo Morales has a cap to his name and will be 28 in 2018. He's playing in the German second division.

GOALIE

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No need to belabor it: it'll be Brad Guzan unless Tim Howard wants to hang on until 39, and probably even if he does. The third option is unclear right now, but also irrelevant.

ONE MAN'S 23

Note that this doesn't exactly match up with the lines above, as my thinking has changed, man.

Goalie: Guzan, Howard, Hamid

Howard passes the crown to Guzan for this cycle but remains available for tournaments and as a backup; DCU's Hamid is your current leader for ceremonial third keeper.

Central D: Besler, Brooks, Cameron

Dropping down to three because three other guys on the roster can play CB. Top challengers here: Gonzalez, Ream.

Outside back: Johnson, Yedlin, Farrell, Klute

I actually feel confident about this. Disaster is around the corner, then. Top challengers: Chandler, Garza.

Defensive mid: Bradley, Trapp, O'Neill, Stanko

Bradley is obvious, and then it might depend on matchups. Trapp might have a slight edge now. Challengers: Edu, Williams.

Wing: Green, Gatt, Gyau

Speed and attacking verve here is an absolute must. The USA was playing quad-A players here this cycle and that was viciously exposed by the World Cup. I'm only including two guys here because Agudelo, Yedlin, and Johnson are good backup options. Challengers: Pelosi.

Attacking mid:  Nagbe, Diskerud, Dempsey

Forgot to even mention Dempsey in the attackers category, which was an oversight. Even at 35 he should be worth dragging along to put on the field at 70'. Main competitors here: Gil, Zelalem if he does go with the US.

Striker: Altidore, Boyd, Agudelo

A like for like with Altidore and here's a dollar that says Agudelo finds a home in the Bundesliga and plays like he belongs. Competitors: Johannsson, Zardes.

Bye

This concludes the three weeks every four years where I flip out and soccer blog. Normal service resumes currently.

Comments

dave76

July 7th, 2014 at 12:27 PM ^

Some sort of soccer website? US is out of the World Cup, 95% of sports fans won't care about the US soccer team again until about 2 weeks before the 2018 World Cup.

MichiganFootball

July 7th, 2014 at 12:28 PM ^

Another player to keep an eye on at left back is US under 20 international John Requejo as he just signed with Tijuana and people in youth national team circles apparently think super highly of him.

I also think Andrew Farrell has more of a long term future as a center back as opposed out in the right.

Dubs

July 7th, 2014 at 12:34 PM ^

How DARE you report about soccer on this blog, Brian! I want to read about Michigan athletics for FREE not soccer for free!

I wish I could, you know, not read that soccer information because I don't enjoy it! Oh, if there only a way for me to not read the content! You'd be sorry buddy! But I'm going to complain instead!

Rabble!

M Go Cue

July 7th, 2014 at 1:44 PM ^

Too late! Today I and the rest of the football minded here shall celebrate the return of our regularly scheduled programming. I have enjoyed watching the World Cup and will enjoy the rest of it as well.  Maybe Brian would consider starting a soccer blog for all of you passionate (albeit sensitive) soccer diehards. 

Negative vote me all day folks. Like I said I don't count them and I don't care. I'm just happy to finally be back to the best football blog in the nation!

 

Space Coyote

July 7th, 2014 at 2:05 PM ^

And don't mind Brian doing his soccer thing every four years. I think others would be more willing to accept it if it didn't feel like it drastically cut into some of the Michigan discussion. I think that's where the problem people have with it. If it was somehow the same amount of Michigan posts (or felt close to it), with USMNT plugged in there as well, people would be fine.

Alas, there is only one Brian, other posters are doing things fun in the summer, and it felt like this was as much or more a Soccer blog than a Michigan blog, let alone a Michigan blog with USMNT content. I think that's where there's the disconnect, and I admit to growing a bit tired of it myself at times. It'll be nice to be back to regularly scheduled programing.

aplatypus

July 7th, 2014 at 2:52 PM ^

but you do realize that your "regularly scheduled" programming never left? Right? 

Every single tiny morsel of football news was STILL posted on the boards or here, Ace had a couple super-long recruiting round ups, and every other football news made it on here in one way or another; including nothing but fluff pictures of Jabrill Peppers and some debates over roster numbers. There was also extensive coverage of the O'Bannon v NCAA stuff.

It's the freaking middle of summer, outside of the recruiting that was already covered there is no football news and even less basketball news. At worst, you may have had to scroll down a little to see a Michigan post below a World Cup one, and heaven forbid you ever have to scroll again!

ken725

July 7th, 2014 at 12:58 PM ^

Soccer haters are the loudest and dumbest of the bunch.

It is not hard to ignore things that you don't want to read. I do it all the time with all the threads about baseball.

 

4roses

July 7th, 2014 at 12:58 PM ^

Count me in as someone whose interest in soccer went from lukewarm to pretty hot these past few weeks. I do believe that the regular MGoBlog posts helped drive my interest as well, so kudos Brian!

BTW, any suggestions on good blogs/sources for followng soccer? MLS, EPL, doesn't matter to me - anything that could help keep my interest stoked would be appreciated.

 

 

formerlyanonymous

July 7th, 2014 at 1:03 PM ^

If you want some tactical background:

http://www.zonalmarking.net/

For entertaining stuff on USMNT:

http://theshinguardian.com/

Both of those are high quality.  Shin Guardian guys are great.  Zonal Marking will be a bit more global, and they'll look at top matches from around the world during the regular season.

For generic newsfeed of anything US/MLS soccer, plus big news from around the world:

http://www.soccerbyives.net/

It won't give you great insight, but it'll give you news and updates on US players every weekend.

There's about to be a slight lull in the soccer world.  MLS is the only "major" league playing right now.  Most European teams are starting training this week.  The transfer market is about to get a bit busier after the World Cup.  I will always suggest checking out SB Nation's soccer blogs as well. If you have a local MLS team, most are covered really well.

MGoBender

July 7th, 2014 at 1:02 PM ^

MOAR soccer blogging!!!

Seriously, I know that the World Cup being in the summer coincides perfectly with UM downtime.  But.... If we could get updates during the qualifying or the gold cup or whateva that would be amazing!

los barcos

July 7th, 2014 at 1:04 PM ^

please dont leave for four years!

i know i am not alone in that i would love to keep up with the USMNT players you've mentioned, especially during some of the bigger tournaments that are on the docket before russia 2018.  i've followed a few USMNT blogs but none compare to what you're put out during this world cup run.

Bigku22

July 7th, 2014 at 1:06 PM ^

I know it's early. But I am HYPED for the next cycle. Nagbe really intrigues me. I think the next group will be far and away the most talented attacking team we've ever had.

#Iwillalwaysbelieve

Great stuff Brian. Enjoyed every second of the coverage.

ken725

July 7th, 2014 at 1:08 PM ^

Brian do you follow what goes on in the U-17, U-18 etc.?

They just called up 35 players to camp to get ready for the tournament at the end of July.

http://www.ussoccer.com/stories/2014/07/04/13/44/140704-u17-mnt-ntc-38-…

There is a chance that someone like DeAndre will pop up from this crop of players. He is not a defender, but I'm really interested in this Josh Perez kid who is playing for Fiorentina.

skurnie

July 7th, 2014 at 1:33 PM ^

I'm interested to see what this Koreniuk kid can do. He was born in Florida (American father, Dutch mother) and is at Vitesse, who have a very good youth academy (like most Dutch teams). 

Joe Gallardo has played very well in the past at US youth competitions as well. 

ken725

July 7th, 2014 at 3:42 PM ^

I would be great if more of our development players had the option to play in the Dutch academies.

I think Christian Pulisic was supposed to go to PSV on some limited basis. 

MGoManBall

July 7th, 2014 at 1:16 PM ^

After the last 2 World Cups, anything less of making it to the knockout rounds will be a disappointment. US Soccer is growing. This is a good thing.

Zaqataq

July 7th, 2014 at 1:39 PM ^

Love the soccer blogging! Keep it up. And let's face it, it's better not to wager all of our sanity on Michigan football alone. Mix in a little hoops and futbol and I'm a more stable person.

carlos spicywiener

July 7th, 2014 at 1:45 PM ^

Not sure why you only talk about USMNT once every four years? It's not like michigan athletics news is jam-packed during the summer months. Plenty of tournaments and things to talk about, starting with the Gold / Confederations cups etc.

 

You've been at the blogging thing for a decade. You're clearly good at it. People come for the Michigan sports news, stay for the Brian-ness. Perhaps consider diversifying? Expanding to a new USMNT blog?

It may be more work than you want to deal with, but just speaking IMO

FingerMustache

July 7th, 2014 at 1:53 PM ^

This is some very solid coverage and most appreciated. of the guys you have on the outside looking in, i think pelosi, gil, zelalem, packwood, and cropper are the most likely to make the 23. 

- Zelalem - i expect klinsmann's recruiting pitch to zelalem will include a julian green-type promise (pure speculation here) that he will be on the 23 man roster. 

- Gil - hes been a force on the youth-national teams. he seems like the type of offensive engine that we were hoping bradley would be at CAM

- Pelosi - he is on the fringes of liverpool's top club.  they have a strong developmental program and view him as one of their top young prospects. if he is able to break through with liverpool or get loaned out to another top club, i dont see how he gets left off. 

- Packwood - I think klinsmann looks to develop some youth at CB, as besler and cameron will likely both be done by 2022.

- Cropper - id put my money on cropper being the next starter after guzan retires. that being the case, I think he makes the roster as a third goalie (with hamid making it if howard retires)

O'neil/Stanko - I think we bring 4 wingers and only 3 CDMs. Complete toss-up as to which gets left off.

Of the guys currently in your 23, its tough to say who doesn't go, but here is my guess. 

- Dempsey -  he doesn't have the type of style that requires great speed, which suggests he could play for a while.  But I think Klinsmann looks for more athleticism and youth here.  he is clearly not afraid to make unpopular cuts to his roster, although it is entirely possible that dempsey retires by the second half of the cycle.

- Diskerud - he looked like a solid playmaker in the pre-world cup games, and would have been a good offensive spark off the bench (either at CAM or on the wing). but his not seeing the field during this world cup makes me think hes not a favorite of klinsmann. hes not very quick or strong and i think there are younger options here with more physical ability.  

- Geoff Cameron - I thought cameron played well during this WC.  and hed be a solid, versatile, veteran for the 2018 team. but with both besler and cameron likely done after 2018, I think klinsmann will look to develop one of the younger players. 

- Hamid/Howard - As I said above, I think cropper is the starter of the future.  some have suggested he even has howard-type potential. i think he is the goalie 3 regardless of who is the second keeper.

 

Here is what it would look like:

Goalie: Guzan, Hamid/Howard, Cropper

Central D: Besler, Brooks, Packwood

Outside back: Johnson, Yedlin, Farrell, Klute

Defensive mid: Bradley, Trapp, O'Neill/Stanko

Wing: Green, Gatt, Gyau, Pelosi

Attacking mid:  Nagbe, Zelalem, Gil

Striker: Altidore, Boyd, Agudelo

 

 

aplatypus

July 7th, 2014 at 2:17 PM ^

someone posted in the other thread that he is getting his US Citizenship most likely, which has to greatly increase our chances of getting him to stay in the US. I would drop Boyd or Agudelo from the striker spot for Gedion probably. 

dave76

July 7th, 2014 at 2:33 PM ^

Freddy Adieu is making a comeback. He's gonna be the savior of US Soccer. I bet he makes soccer the most popular sport in the US.

Ron Utah

July 7th, 2014 at 2:54 PM ^

I wouldn't mind USMNT updates every summer; there is some sort of tournament thingy each summer, and we're in the MLS season.

BTW - I do believe this was some of the best USMNT coverage on the 'net.  Well done, sir.

bluuadams

July 7th, 2014 at 5:14 PM ^

2022.  That's the world cup to be really excited about, especially if it's still Klinsmann's team/program, and especially if it ends up being on home soil.  IMO, that's going to be our first genuine chance to really establish ourselves as legitimate contenders on the international scene.  Look at all the prospects we have around that ripe 2022 age (~22ish) on top-tier clubs..

ST: Dembakwi Yomba, 17, La Liga (Spain)
AM: Junior Flores, 18, Bundesliga-1 (Germany)

CM: Gedion Zelalem, 17, Premier League (England)
RW: Julian Green, 19, Bundesliga-1 (Germany)
LW: Joe Gyau, 21, Bundesliga-1 (Germany)
DM: Caleb Stanko, 20, Bundesliga-1 (Germany)

RB: DeAndre Yedlin, 20, Serie A (Italy)
LB: Marc Pelosi, 20, Premier League (England)
RCB: Erik Palmer-Brown, 17, MLS--but still an elite prospect
LCB: John Brooks, 21, Bundesliga-1 (Germany)

GK: Cody Cropper, 21, Premier League (England)

Eight years is a long, long ass time away.  But that's a hell of a lot of top-league talent that projects to be 30 or younger in 2022.  That's a hell of a base to build on.  I don't see any true 'world-class' players in that group (i.e. super-duper-stars).  But if there's a twelve-year old kid somewhere in this country (or within our stealing grasps) who has that kind of potential, and who's groomed properly..  2022 could be a real-deal shot for the US.

 

ken725

July 7th, 2014 at 7:35 PM ^

Ben Lederman. His name was brought up in the other thread, but he is only 12 and is the first American to sign with La Masia.

 

Ben Lederman, 12, FC Barcelona (Los Angeles, CA)
Lederman’s presence at the famed La Masia, training academy for FC Barcelona, is unprecedented for an American-born player. The pre-teen initially caught the eye of Barcelona's scouting network after his U-10 club side defeated a La Masia academy team in 2011. He had a tryout, then accepted a spot in Spain. Lederman is currently featuring for the club’s Infantil B team, often on the left side of midfield. He demonstrates the skills required of a Barcelona prospect: composure on the ball, sharp passing, and excellent field vision. Lederman has also spent significant time over the last year with the U.S. U-14 boy’s national team and was one of the youngest players in camp this past November in Los Angeles. Tony Lepore, director of scouting for U.S. Soccer, sees Lederman’s progress as nothing but positive. “Benny's still a little boy [and] has a long way to go in his pathway for development,” he said. "We think the future is very bright."

http://americansoccernow.com/articles/calling-america-s-next-top-soccer…

bluuadams

July 8th, 2014 at 4:14 AM ^

"Until they turn pro, it's like popcorn in the pan.  Some pop...some don't." - Jerry Maguire

All, obviously, very exciting.  But me talking about 2022 and you talking about some 12 year old.  I feel like watching the Tigers for a little bit.  

alum96

July 7th, 2014 at 10:44 PM ^

Serious hate for Gonzalez by Brian all tourney despite impressive 2 games.  I have apparently missed the run up and friendlies where he was a complete disaster so I am not qualified but when it counted on the biggest stage he was great at his role.

ama11

July 10th, 2014 at 9:46 AM ^

Please do USMNT posts here and there. It's nice having our favorite blog cover US soccer as well. Very informative and written as if it was conversational.

I learned a lot about who our up and coming players may be on this site and would like to hear about them and any others who come into the fold as time goes by this next cycle.

Keep up the great work and keep covering soccer from time to time!