Who were biggest winners, losers from USMNT’s March friendlies?
Jurgen Klinsmann mixed up his squad and formations over the two friendlies in late March, but which players stood out and who needs to do more to impress?
Here’s a look at three in each category.
Brek Shea - A stunning free kick to put the USMNT up 1-0 vs. Switzerland and a solid outing at left back and at left wing. A successful March for the Orlando City man as he career continues on the up and up as regular minutes for his club side is making a huge difference. Can Shea lock down the left back spot? On this showing, it is his to lose.
Alejandro Bedoya - The Nantes midfielder was the best player on the pitch for the USA against Switzerland, especially in the first half as he bossed the right flank and whipped in some delicious crosses. Klinsmann deployed Bedoya in central midfield against Denmark, but I think we now know (if it was ever in doubt) that his best position is out on the right.
Danny Williams - Making his first appearance for the U.S. for a year, Williams plugged the holes in midfield superbly. He isn’t a flashy player but sat in the center of midfield vs. Switzerland and stopped Inler and Co. dominating possession. The Reading midfielder is well and truly back in the USMNT picture as a real option for the Gold Cup as a holding midfielder.
Aron Johannsson - Okay, so he scored against Denmark with a tidy finish... but what else did Johannsson do? Yes, his job is to score goals and he did that, but am I alone in always wanting more from the Icelandic-American? The fact that he was injured for the second game means he missed an opportunity to play in just his second USMNT game since the World Cup. The saving grace for Johannsson is that there aren’t many other forwards in the depth chart for the U.S. at the moment.
Timmy Chandler - Yes, he can whip in a lovely ball from the right flank, but sloppy defending allowed Denmark in too many times in the first friendly and he could have given away a PK for handball against Switzerland and also made a huge error in the first half to let the Swiss in. Jury is still out. Solid but we certainly haven’t seen Chandler’s club form replicate on the international stage.
Nick Rimando - I’d be very surprised if Rimando isn’t on the U.S. squad for the Gold Cup this summer, but he now has plenty of competition. William Yarbrough replaced Rimando at half time of the Swiss game after the Real Salt Lake goalkeeper struggled with his kicking in the first half. With Yarbrough and Cody Cropper breathing down Rimando’s neck, maybe he will be phased out over the next 6-8 months. That’s saying more about giving young guys a chance to shine rather than Rimando’s goalkeeping ability, as his reflexes and experience will never be called into question. But, father time is catching up with the 35-year-old and a young understudy to Tim Howard and Brad Guzan should be the priority for Klinsmann.
Quick mentions: Tim Ream - why didn’t the Bolton Wanderers man play more at CB? DeAndre Yedlin - a couple of sub appearances. Would have liked to have seen more, especially after no action at Spurs. Michael Bradley - his touches in the final third have been scrutinized, but why exactly is JK deploying him in an attacking midfield role instead of his preferred holding position?