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Eric Lichaj omission from U.S. squad a surprise? Nah

Kyle Walker, Eric Lichaj

Tottenham Hotspur’s Kyle Walker, left, vies for the ball against Aston Villa’s Eric Lichaj during their English Premier League soccer match at Villa Park, Birmingham, England, Sunday May 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Tim Hales)


When it comes to surprises and reactions to the just-released U.S. Soccer roster – I was surprised.

Lots of supporters and more than a few of my media brethren were reeling about Eric Lichaj’s omission from Jurgen Klinsmann’s 27 selections.

I get it – but only to a point. The Aston Villa man certainly closed well this spring. So if you want to argue that Lichaj should be on the roster, especially given Timmy Chandler’s youthful flakiness, that’s fine. Personally, I thought Lichaj was more than competent when thrusts into the left back spot in last summer’s Gold Cup. I like the young defender and what he offers.

But when it comes to predicting who’s in and who ain’t, “what I like” has nothing to do with it.

So I wasn’t a bit surprised that he wasn’t selected. (And, no offense, guys …but some of my media pals who were surprised haven’t been paying attention.)

Klinsmann has spelled it out about as clearly as he can: the assessment phase of his time in charge is over for now.

The first nine months were all about players and coaches getting comfy with the new ways and with each other. But all the tinkering, tweaking and experimenting is done and doner.

It’s like Klinsmann and his players were in college, planning for life while partying, exploring and experimenting. (Not that I know about any of that stuff.) Now they’ve graduated and it’s time to get serious, time to get a doggone job and get something productive out of life.

It’s about results now. And for the manager, that means turning to guys Klinsmann feels he can trust. It’s no knock on Lichaj; this one is just down to unfortunate timing.

And that’s where the boot hits the ground: Lichaj has not appeared in a national team camp under Klinsmann. Got that?

These things remain in evolution, of course, and if the fullback spot gets any more stretched or unstable, the Aston Villa man could be inbound.

But given everything Klinsmann has told us recently about results vs. assessment, I just don’t see how this one caught anybody off guard.