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Looking at the U.S. national team right back situation (a bit of a strange one at January camp)

Jan 11, 2014, 4:33 PM EDT

Eddie Johnson, Brad Evans

There was surely some underlying meaning in two particular newcomers being selected for the U.S. national team’s annual January camp: Sporting Kansas City’s Chance Myers and Seattle’s DeAndre Yedlin.

Yedlin is such a talented player in terms of what he offers moving forward that his inclusion in the national team plans has looked for months like a matter of “when” rather than “if.”   On the other hand, his defensive positioning and lack of instinct/experience sometimes bites him, so a trip into Brazil as one of the 23 U.S. chosen still seems unlikely.

Myers’ place on the January camp roster says more; he’s been an effective MLS right back for some time, a tough defender at one end and willing participant on the attack. So why is Klinsmann just now taking a harder look at the SKC veteran and former No. 1 overall draft pick?

Simple: the right back position continues to be a vexing spot for the national team. That’s why three are in camp, with two potential answers (Steve Cherundolo and Geoff Cameron) still somewhere in the conversation.

We’ll know more at the camp’s conclusion when Klinsmann concludes whether Yedlin or Myers has done enough to unseat Brad Evans as the right back starter for the time being. (The team faces South Korea to conclude this month-long camp.)

Either way, it does set up something of a strange situation for Evans, a thinking man’s player and a total professional when it comes to helping his teams, both club and country. Evans (pictured above, hugging Eddie Johnson) and Yedlin are Seattle Sounders teammates; Evans mans the midfield (in a revolving role for someone with ample versatility, clearly) while Yedlin starts at right back for Sigi Schmid’s club.

In the current camp, however, Yedlin’s job is all about trying to take Evans’ job. And Evans is OK with that; like I said, a total pro, that one.

Here’s what Evans had to say about it via USSoccer.com:

It’s a balance. DeAndre is my teammate in Seattle, but when we come here, we’re both battling for the same position. That’s the way I look at it. Obviously, all the questions off the field when we’re not at practice are always going to be there. I’m always going to be there as a cornerstone for him to come to when he needs advice on what to do here and there. In that position, if I see something I’m going to let him know. Him being 20-years old, I expect him to say, ‘this is what I would do in this situation,’ and we can bounce information of each other. That just builds good relationships and we can carry that over to Seattle because I’ll probably being playing right in front of him at right mid. There will be interchange there, and I think this will provide a good base moving forward.” 

  1. skjln - Jan 11, 2014 at 6:09 PM

    Picture is Montero and Evans. Not Yedlin and Evans.

    • Steve Davis - Jan 11, 2014 at 7:05 PM

      Yup. Fixed now. Thanks for the heads-up.

  2. hildezero - Jan 11, 2014 at 8:45 PM

    Is South Korea gonna call up just domestic players that play in their domestic league?

    • bear06 - Jan 12, 2014 at 1:49 AM

      Yes, just their domestic players. There’s a few South Korean players who play in Europe who won’t get called up since they’re obviously in mid-season.

  3. talgrath - Jan 12, 2014 at 12:38 AM

    Yedlin was one of the few bright spots at the U-20 World Cup before going out with injuries, if anyone can unseat Evans it would probably be him.

    • bear06 - Jan 12, 2014 at 1:52 AM

      His defense is not good enough yet to get a WC roster spot, but he’s going to be a player for the 2018 WC cycle if he keeps improving. I think it’s going to be either one of Cameron, Chandler or Cherundolo who is going to unseat Evans.

  4. player169 - Jan 12, 2014 at 9:09 AM

    Cameron has looked real good at Stoke this year, so I think he is even with Evans (if not ahead) for the right back position. Both guys are versatile, so they’ll make the WC roster. I think JK is looking for RB #3 at this point. Chandler is probably out of consideration and Cherundelo…who knows…(I think old and injury prone)…for a #3…he’s a maybe….

    • bear06 - Jan 13, 2014 at 2:00 AM

      I think Chandler is still in the picture. He’s done very well in the last couple of months in one of the best leagues in the world, so it will be hard for Klinsmann to keep ignoring him if he keeps doing well.

  5. dfstell - Jan 12, 2014 at 9:52 AM

    It’s hard to compare fullbacks at the club level and at the international level. Part of the reason Seattle can play a guy with defensive deficiencies like Yedlin is that they are mostly on the front foot and attacking. I’m a big Manchester United fan and their starting fullbacks (Patrice Evra and Rafael) both have pretty big defensive deficiencies, but it doesn’t matter all that often because United is usually attacking. Seattle is NEVER going to get swarmed and dominated the way we will against Germany this summer.

    The USMNT is more comparable to an EPL team like Stoke: We’re better than some teams, worse than some teams. That means you need a flexible fullback who offers a little going forward, but mostly isn’t going to kill you with defensive mistakes.

    That’s why Stoke plays Cameron at fullback and it’s why I’d like to see him starting there this summer. What he lacks in flash, he makes up for in that you don’t really have to worry about him getting torched. Even a guy like Ronaldo….he’ll go past Cameron, but Cameron will do something to make him take a slightly weird angle that gives the rest of the defense a half-second to help.

    We’re not going to play anyone this summer who we’re going to swarm like when we play Cuba or Belize.

    • icereaper10 - Jan 13, 2014 at 2:12 AM

      The U.S. MNT play better football than Stoke.

      • mckestner - Jan 14, 2014 at 10:38 AM

        That’s not the point. What he is saying is that in terms of international play, we are obviously not one of the best teams in the world, but we can hold our own. In comparison to a team such as Germany, they could be considered more of a Chelsea or Manchester City because they are one of the best in the world. While we are more of a Stoke City because we aren’t quite there yet.

      • icereaper10 - Jan 15, 2014 at 1:05 AM

        I get what he was saying. I just think comparing national teams to BPL is kinda pointless.

    • schmutzdeck - Jan 15, 2014 at 11:08 PM

      dfstell,

      Comparing Stoke to the USMNT is pretty dicey. Stoke were built to kill off a game and score off the odd counter or two. They are, overall, a much more defensively solid team than the USMNT is. This comes at the price of being a rather unattractive team to watch though Hughes is trying to change that.

      JK is pragmatic and knows when to be conservative but, nevertheless, his USMNT is much more possession and attack oriented. Cameron is doing well with Stoke but that does not necessarily translate towards what JK wants to do with the USMNT.

      If you want the USMNT to play like Stoke then they would have to move away from what they do best. I think the USMNT playing like Stoke against Germany would be foolish.

      This Germany squad would tear Stoke to pieces and would do the same to the USMNT’s attempt to imitate Stoke. The Germany game wil be decided not by the US back four but rather by the midfield battle.

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