Skip to content

Stock Falling: Which U.S. players’ statures are slipping …

Jun 19, 2013, 10:21 PM EDT

WCup Honduras US Soccer AP

For as many positives as there were after the U.S.’s recent run of qualifiers, there were a couple of negatives: Microscopic points of concern that may prove inconsequential; may be the fist-sized snowballs that start building once cast down the hill. With Jurgen Klinsmann’s side unbeaten in five in World Cup qualifiers, it’s hard to find major areas of concern in his 4-1-1 side. But if we were looking for falling stoacks in the USMNT portfolio, there’d be two experiencing slight downturns:

Jermaine Jones (pictured) – The conventional dialog around Jones has become so distorted, it’s near impossible to discuss the polarizing midfielder in any kind of fair context. This is a man whose been a regular starter for a Champions League caliber side for years, and although he has helped turn a U.S. midfield previously reliant on resiliency and opportunism into one which can regularly dictate a game’s flow, Jones may be the least popular starter among Klinsmann’s regular XI.

There’s a huge disconnect between fan perception and playing reality when it comes to the German-born American, a dissonance that won’t get any better after the past week. Against Panama, a game for which the Schalke man was injured, the U.S. gave their best performance of CONCACAF’s final round – a controlling affair fueled by a midfield tandem of Michael Bradley and Geoff Cameron. On Tuesday, the team was as controlling but less convincing. And they only improved once Jones came off.

To many’s disappointment, Jones won’t be anywhere close to losing his starting spot, nor does he deserved to be relieved. Lucky for U.S. soccer fans, Klinsmann has a drastically different view of Jones’s value. But Cameron made up some ground this week, with the former Dynamo man who struggled at center and right back proving a candidate in the middle. For Jones, that’s not a big deal, but if the incumbent midfielder were a stock, he’d be down a couple of points on the news.

source: Getty ImagesOmar Gonzalez (right) – MLS’s best defender said it himself after the Panama game: He’d like to make it through one game without a mistake. That didn’t happen on Tuesday, with a bad early giveaway creating a chance for Honduras. No matter the positives he brings to the field (which, when you see the protection he’s giving Brad Evans, are immense), a defender just can’t make those kind of mistakes – errors likely to prove decisive against better teams.

Though they’re entirely different types of defenders, Gonzalez is becoming the U.S.’s Mats Hummels, He’s undoubtedly the most capable defender in the pool, but he’s also a player whose aberrational mistakes are too prominent a part of his game. Still inexperienced at international level, there’s every reason to hope the Galaxy defender will work this out of his system, but with each game that expires without giving Gonzalez those 90 clean minutes, there’s more reason to think the U.S. will have to live with this type of inconsistency.

Two other U.S. players didn’t see their stocks fall, per se, but their circumstances bear mentioning:

Brad Evans – The start against Germany served as a proof of concept. If the U.S. could survive with Brad Evans at right back against that caliber of attack, surely the Sounders midfielder can handle CONCACAF qualifying. After 270 minutes and one goal allowed in three qualifying wins, it bore out. Evans at full back was good enough.

But with the exception of the support out wide that he provides for Bradley and Jones, there was little about Evans’ game that goes beyond good enough. His game-winning goal against Jamaica bears mentioning, but it was also something that’s not part of the core responsibilities for a right back (nor is it an anticipated bonus). As the likes of Jamaica and Panama sought to exploit the out-of-position player, you couldn’t help but think how much more secure things will be when Steve Cheurndolo or Timmy Chandler returns.

No evaluation of Evans would be fair without mentioning he’s answered the call. Does he consider himself a right back? No. Does he think he’s been without fault? Of course not. But if Jurgen Klinsmann thinks he can play the position, is he supposed to argue?

Evans made great strides toward winning a spot for 2014, so his stock is probably up, in the bigger picture. But for all the good he’s done during three qualifiers at right back, it’s pretty scary to imagine him starting there in Brazil.

Landon Donovan – It’s another unfair conversation, with Donovan having done all the right things to make sure he eventually gets another look with the full national team, yet if the argument for fast tracking his integration was his indispensability, that’s since been dispelled. Klinsmann’s U.S. doesn’t need Landon Donovan.

If Donovan works his way back into the team via the Gold Cup, it will be interesting to see what role he assumes. In the wake of South Africa, there’d been growing concern about Donovan’s form at international level, and with the type of all-around performances we’re seeing for Graham Zusi, the question becomes more difficult to answer: If and when he fully returns, is Landon Donovan still a starter?

Increasingly, that answer is no, and although it’s unfair to look down on Donovan merely because Zusi and the team are improving, the former focal point’s stock undoubtedly drops as the team proves they can win without him.

Latest Posts
  1. VIDEO: Premier League Player of the Week – Round 35

    May 4, 2015, 11:15 PM EDT

    Christian Benteke, Aston Villa FC Christian Benteke, Aston Villa FC

    Christian Benteke’s two goals against not only pushed Aston Villa closer to Premier League safety, but earned the Belgian POTW honors.

  2. VIDEO: Premier League Team of the Week — Stars of Matchweek 35

    May 4, 2015, 10:25 PM EDT

    Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal FC Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal FC

    This week’s standout performers are recognized as the 2014-15 Premier League season winds down.

  3. UEFA Champions League preview: Juventus vs. Real Madrid in semifinal, 1st leg

    May 4, 2015, 8:54 PM EDT

    James Rodriguez & Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CF James Rodriguez & Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CF

    The first semifinal kicks off on Tuesday, as Juventus host Real Madrid, with Paul Pogba and Karim Benzema out injured.

  4. VIDEO: Wenger rues early-season injuries that prevented Arsenal’s title challenge

    May 4, 2015, 6:15 PM EDT

    Alexis Sanchez & Arsene Wenger, Arsenal FC Alexis Sanchez & Arsene Wenger, Arsenal FC

    If not for an incredibly slow start to the season, Arsenal might be neck and neck with Chelsea for the Premier League title.

  5. Premier League Playback: Title in the bag, can Chelsea now create a dynasty?

    May 4, 2015, 5:30 PM EDT

    PST’s Lead Writer and Editor takes a look back at Week 35 of the PL.

  6. Hull City 1-3 Arsenal: Gunners dominant in first half, cruise past Tigers

    May 4, 2015, 4:53 PM EDT

    Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal FC Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal FC

    Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey provided all the scoring Arsenal needed in a dominant first half, making it a comfortable victory in the end.

  7. MLS Player of the Week — Week 9: FC Dallas’ Fabian Castillo

    May 4, 2015, 4:15 PM EDT

    Fabian Castillo, FC Dallas — Photo credit: FC Dallas Fabian Castillo, FC Dallas — Photo credit: FC Dallas

    Our first repeat winner as MLS Player of the Week, Fabian Castillo is in scary-good form right now.

  8. MLS Team of the Week — Stars of Week 9

    May 4, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    Obafemi Martins, Seattle Sounders Obafemi Martins, Seattle Sounders

    The stars of Week 9 are recognized as MLS’s standout performers. Giovinco, Oba and the Dallas duo highlight this star-studded cast.

  9. How did Chelsea’s players grade out in their run to the title?

    May 4, 2015, 3:15 PM EDT

    Britain Soccer Premier League AP

    Twenty-two players have hit the pitch for Chelsea so far this season. Let’s grade them out in order of Premier League import.

  10. Juventus director: “Right now there are no grounds to put Pogba on sale”

    May 4, 2015, 2:30 PM EDT

    Juventus FC v ACF Fiorentina - Serie A Getty Images

    But what does that mean? If you’re reading it like we are, Marotta has not ruled out accepting a mega-millions offer for Pogba.

  11. Watch Live: Hull City vs. Arsenal (Lineups and Live Stream)

    May 4, 2015, 2:05 PM EDT

    Britain Soccer FA Cup AP

    Laurent Koscielny makes his 200th appearance for Arsenal, which seeks to move into second place in the Premier League standings.

  12. Five things to look out for in UEFA Champions League semifinals

    May 4, 2015, 12:55 PM EDT

    FC Bayern Muenchen - Training Session Getty Images

    Inside: some keys to the fortunes of Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus as the first legs begin this week.

  13. Premier League Preview: Hull City vs. Arsenal

    May 4, 2015, 12:07 PM EDT

    Hull City v Arsenal - Premier League Getty Images

    Arsenal still holds the inside track in the race for second place in the Premier League.

  14. Four Old Traffords? LVG-mandated, OT-mirroring pitches now ready for Manchester United

    May 4, 2015, 11:11 AM EDT

    manutd.com manutd.com

    Now, when United prepares for a home match, it can prepare for everything but the crowd.

  15. Newcastle United standing by Carver through final matches of relegation battle

    May 4, 2015, 10:22 AM EDT

    FBL-ENG-PR-CRYSTAL PALACE-NEWCASTLE Getty Images

    The Magpies have allowed multiple goals in all but two matches of the losing streak, and have dropped to just two points shy of the drop zone.

  16. In defense of Chelsea: The best team won, and looked just fine doing it

    May 4, 2015, 9:39 AM EDT

    APTOPIX Britain Soccer Premier League AP

    Chelsea are the champions of England, and anyone holding a gripe with the Blues’ title simply harbors some other form of resentment for the London club.

  17. Reports: Alves still wanted by Barcelona as Liverpool agrees to terms with his Barca backup

    May 4, 2015, 8:34 AM EDT

    Martin Montoya, Fernandez AP

    The 24-year-old right back has long been behind Dani Alves in Barca’s pecking order. Alves is out of contract this summer, but the 31-year-old is still wanted by Barcelona.

  18. Spurs legend, 1966 World Cup winner Jimmy Greaves suffers severe stroke

    May 4, 2015, 7:49 AM EDT

    Jimmy Greaves Getty Images

    Greaves also played for Chelsea, AC Milan and West Ham United during the prime of his career.

  19. RVP relieved of penalty duties after miss against West Bromwich

    May 3, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT

    Manchester United v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League Getty Images

    One miss and you’re out. That’s the Louis van Gaal way.

Featured video

Hazard lauds Mourinho after title win