Getting Stuck In: Should they stay or should they go?

The Getting Stuck In column delves into some of the more intriguing aspects in US Soccer and MLS, shining a light on the stories regarding the league’s teams and its most-loved characters. This week Dave Lewis looks into whether American players should strive to play in Europe or keep their feet grounded on home soil…

When Jurgen Klinsmann claimed that he wanted American players to push themselves to play at the highest level, he intentionally took a jab at MLS. Actually, it was more like a slap. The American soccer landscape shook. Just this week, Klinsmann’s second in command Andi Herzog was quoted as saying: “Our goal is to get as many players to Europe as possible.”

How could Klinsy dismiss MLS this way? I mean, this is his adopted country where he gets his tan and laid back SoCal vibe. And with so many MLS players on his January roster (20), why alienate them? How does that help his cause?

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It’s no secret Europe is the highest level when it comes to soccer, with Champions League football being the toughest competition out there. And Helen Keller could see that MLS is nowhere near the level of Europe in general. That being said, the American player has always faced a dilemma: ‘Do I stay in the States and play college, get drafted by an MLS team and maybe get a shot in Europe later, or do I try and ply my trade in Europe right away (given the chance)?’

So many players have made the wrong choice. They either went too early or too late to Europe. Or they never go at all, leaving US fans wondering, what if.

Landon Donovan, arguably America’s finest footballer, did go to Europe but was all over the map – literally. His journey is the best example of what American footballers face; chaos and confusion.  He was brave and bold by going over to Germany as a teenager, playing with Bayer Leverkusen. Most players would recognize this as a dream – the Bundesliga, a big club, living in Germany – But he just never adjusted to the German culture. Donovan was just homesick (or maybe a victim of an unwritten anti-US bias). He was subsequently loaned to San Jose in MLS. When given another chance with Leverkusen years later, he lasted just seven games before getting homesick again.

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Many US fans dubbed Donovan a bust in Europe despite having won two MLS Cups before the age of 23. It’s obvious LD went too young. But when Bayern Munich and his former Cal pal and Bayern manager Jurgen Klinsmann called in his late twenties, well, we all thought this was it. LD will do work for the Bavarian giants. But he worked for only six miserable games on loan. He would go on to have two incredible loan spells with Everton near the end of his career, that included winning a player of the month honour. His performances would leave me and my buddy Eric glued to the television going bananas with pride over how he looked like a legit Premier League player. But the verdict on LD’s career has to be MLS rich, European poor.

Players are plucked at different points from MLS rosters with varying degrees of success. Clint Dempsey (Revs) was young. Brian McBride (Crew) was old. And Carlos Bocanegra (Fire) was somewhere in between. They all are legends with Fulham so their timing was right. But the timing for players like Jozy Altidore was probably all wrong.

Jozy did well with the Red Bulls (37 games and 15 goals) and caught Villarreal’s attention while still a teenager. He was raw, but again Helen Keller could have seen he had talent. After a few loan spells he went to Hull and laid an egg: 1 goal in 28 appearances. Then, after crushing the Dutch League (my grandmother could score in that league and she has no left foot), he went to Sunderland and laid an even bigger egg: 1 goal in 42. As a result, most would label him a European catastrophe.

So Jozy went back to MLS where maybe he belonged all along. Some think Jozy got a fair chance in Europe. But some would say the deck was stacked against him from the start. Hull and Sunderland were bottom-dwelling teams clawing their way to stay up. Most managers don’t trust unknown commodities like US players to save their clubs and their jobs.

Fair? Not really. US players may lack technical skills and flair but they work hard, are extremely fit and are total professionals. That’s why when ex-Sounder DeAndre Yedlin got subbed after 18 minutes for Sunderland in December I thought: “Man, he sure wasn’t ready for England, and he sure didn’t deserve that.”

So now, with the January transfer window open, I thought I would look at three US players linked with European moves and evaluate whether they should stay in MLS or listen to Klinsy.

Matt Miazga – Age 20 – Central Defender – New York Red Bulls

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Rumors: The Polish-American (hasn’t decided which national team to play for) was linked in the fall to Chelsea, Leicester, Stoke and Swansea.

What he does well: Strong in the air, exceptional pace for his size and defends set pieces like a warrior.

What he needs to work on: Ball at his feet, less fouling and temper.

Stay or go?: Will he sit on a bench in Europe if he goes? If he goes to the Prem, most likely. Germany? Less likely. His game needs to develop and getting matches under his belt in MLS (only 34 appearances so far) defending against the likes of Drogba, Villa, Kamara, Giovinco and Keane can’t hurt. STAY (for now)!

 

Jordan Morris – Age 21 – Forward – Unattached

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Rumors: Is training with Bundesliga side Werder Bremen this month but could sign with his hometown club, Seattle Sounders, who own his MLS rights.

What he does well: Bullish approach to the game like a young Wayne Rooney; physically gifted with good speed.

What he needs to work on: Defense, pro experience

Stay or go?: This is a strange case. Usually a player like Morris, who just finished his junior year at Stanford, would go to MLS. But he already has a goal and seven caps for the national team, which is unheard of for a college player. He wants to play in Europe. His tenacity and high IQ would work well in Germany. GO!

 

Gyasi Zardes – Age 24 – Forward/winger – LA Galaxy

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Rumors: The US international has been linked to Reading in the Championship and Belgian side Gent, while more recently there was an offer from an unnamed Championship side for $3 million.

What he does well: Big, strong and powerful, runs well down the flanks, links well with midfielders.

What he needs to work on: Passing.

Stay or go?: In 2014 he was a goal-scoring machine for the Galaxy. Struggled a bit in 2015. But he had a breakout year with the national team as Klinsmann used him as a winger. This is a tough call. Is the Championship that much better than MLS (a debate for another day)? Will he develop playing in a smaller league like in Belgium? He is 24, making decent money and playing for an MLS glamour club. STAY!

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International Preview and Prediction: Germany vs USA

Competition: International Friendly – Germany vs. United States

Venue: RheinEnergieSTADION, Cologne – Wednesday, June 10 – 19:45 BST (14:45 ET)

Match Odds: Germany 4/11 – Draw 15/4 – USA 13/2

Match Preview

The US Men’s National Team face World Cup winners Germany on Wednesday night for the first time since they met in Brazil last summer.

Germany beat the USA 1-0 in the group stages on their way to World Cup victory a year ago but both sides come into this game looking ahead, rather than behind.

Die Mannschaft boss Joachim Low has had to change up his team after Philipp Lahm, Per Mertesacker and Miroslav Klose all retired after last summer’s success. Germany have only won four of their eight games since the World Cup and are behind Poland in their European Qualifying group.

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Wednesday’s friendly against the USMNT will give the Germans a good warm up before their qualifier against Gibraltar on Saturday.

But they could be in for a real test as Jurgen Klinsmann takes his USA side to his homeland for the first time in fine spirits after their 4-3 win over the Netherlands on Friday.

The USMNT rallied from 3-1 down to win the game in Amsterdam late on thanks to goals from Gyasi Zardes, John Brooks, Danny Williams and Bobby Wood.

The game in Cologne on Wednesday will be just as big a test, if not bigger, but that result has put USA fans in a great mood.

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In the 11 friendlies the USA have played since the World Cup they have only won four, but with back-to-back victories over Mexico and the Dutch coming into this, they shouldn’t be underestimated by the World champions.

It’s less than a month until the Gold Cup kicks off – a tournament the USA are co-hosting with Canada this summer, and with this being the penultimate friendly before that game, players will be desperate to prove why they need to be heading to the tournament with Klinsmann.

These two nations first met in 1993 and have faced off 10 times since. There has never been a draw, with Germany winning seven of the games between the two. The last USA win came two years ago in Washington as Klinsmann led the USMNT to a 4-3 victory.

Team News

Germany coach Joachim Low has left three World Cup winners out of his squad as Manuel Neuer, Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller have been given the chance to rest. That doesn’t mean this will be easy for the USA though as stars such as Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Mario Gotze, Sami Khedira, Mesut Ozil and Bastian Schweinsteiger are all included. Patrick Herrmann is expected to finally make his debut in midfield.

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Jurgen Klinsmann will not be able to call upon goalkeeper Nick Rimando as Cody Cropper has been called up as a replacement. Brad Guzan should keep his place in goal though, with the team likely to start in a 4-3-3 system once again. Brad Evans, Juan Agudelo and Miguel Ibarra are the only three players in the squad who didn’t see any minutes against the Netherlands so they will expect to feature.

Key Points

Germany’s last five: D/WW/D/W

USA’s last five: W/L/D/W/W

Key Stat: There have been 20 goals in the last five games between these two sides – an average of four per game.

Key Player: Michael Bradley – Since being appointed as captain, Bradley has been in fine form. His drive and leadership will be needed if the USMNT are to win this one.

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Score Prediction

Germany 2-2 USA – Expecting goals in this one between two sides that like to attack. Germany’s squad is not at its best and with the USA in fine spirits, it’s tough to separate the sides on paper. An entertaining draw looks to be on the cards.

International Preview and Prediction: Netherlands vs USA

Competition: International Friendly – Netherlands vs. USMNT

Venue: Amsterdam Arena, Netherlands – Friday, June 5 – 14:30 ET (19:30 BST)

Match Odds: Netherlands 8/15 – Draw 11/4 – USA 9/2

Match Preview

The US Men’s National Team take on European giants Netherlands on Friday in what will be a real challenge for the 2015 Gold Cup hosts as they continue their preparation for the this summer’s tournament.

Jurgen Klinsmann arranged friendlies with the Netherlands and then Germany five days later as his USA team will be really tested over the next week.

They won their last outing 2-0 against Mexico back in April in what was just their second victory in nine games and so matches against Guus Hiddink’s side and the World Cup winners will give a real indication of where the team are right now.

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The Netherlands beat Spain 2-0 in their last game in their second victory against the European Champions in nine months, and they are now unbeaten in three.

After reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup last summer, the Netherlands lost four of their next five but seem to have found some consistency again and will expect to beat the USA on Friday.

This will be just the fifth meeting between the two sides. The USMNT have lost all four of the previous games, scoring their only goal against the Oranje in their last meeting in 2010 in a 2-1 loss at Amsterdam Arena.

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Team News

Netherlands head coach Guus Hiddink has a strong team at his disposal and the likes of Robin Van Persie, Daley Blind, Memphis Depay, Wesley Sneijder and Klaas Jan Huntelaar will all expect to feature. Wolfsburg striker Bas Dost has been cut because of a hamstring injury.

Jurgen Klinsmann has a relatively strong USA team for the game. Jermaine Jones had to pull out because of injury, while Jozy Altidore and Alejandro Bedoya are also ruled out. Clint Dempsey will not travel as he awaits the birth of his fourth child. Brad Guzan should return in goal with Kyle Beckerman back in midfield. Eight MLS players have been included.

Key Points

Netherlands’ last five: L/L/W/D/W

USMNT’s last five: L/W/L/D/W

Key Stat: The USA have never beaten the Netherlands in four previous meetings, losing all four games and scoring just once.

Key Player: Memphis Depay – The Dutch winger will be desperate to impress ahead of his Manchester United move and will be a real threat down the wing.

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Score Prediction

Netherlands 2-1 USA – It’s tough to see the USMNT winning their first game against the Netherlands here but they should put up a good fight in what will be a real test for Klinsmann’s men.

International Preview and Prediction: USA vs Mexico

Competition: International friendly – United States vs. Mexico

Venue: Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas – Wednesday, April 15 – 20:30 ET (01:30 BST)

Match Odds: USA 13/10 – Draw 11/5 – Mexico 7/4

Match Preview

The US Men’s National Team are back in action on Wednesday night after just two weeks as they take on fierce rivals Mexico less than 150 miles from the border in San Antonio, Texas.

Jurgen Klinsmann‘s side put in their best performance for a long time in their last game against Switzerland two weeks ago as they earned a solid 1-1 draw against the 12th-ranked side.

The latest FIFA rankings saw the USA move up five places to 27th, while Mexico went up three places to 18th and Wednesday’s nights game should be another fiery one, even though it will be played outside of a designated international window.

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That means that both sides will be without several key players as the majority of European-based stars will not make the trip across to play the game.

Mexico have not beaten the USA in their last five meetings but they have been in fine form since the World Cup, winning six of eight games and have won their last two games 1-0.

The USMNT have only won two of nine games since the World Cup last summer and although things weren’t looking too promising, the 1-1 draw with Switzerland last time out will fill fans with optimism heading into this one.

Klinsmann continues to experiment with his squad and has called up 14 MLS players for this one, with DeAndre Yedlin and Julian Green the only players travelling over from Europe with Tottenham and Hamburg respectively.

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Four members of the squad play their football in Liga MX and that will add some more spice to what should be another thrilling encounter.

Their latest meeting ended 2-2 in Arizona last April as Michael Bradley and Chris Wondolowski both netted the goals.

The two USMNT veterans are both in the squad again this time and will hope to continue to guide the younger players through.

Team News

Klinsmann has only called up nine players from last summer’s World Cup as he continues to experiment, but he will likely field his strongest lineup as victory in this one is important. Michael Bradley played in the No. 10 role against Switzerland and could continue there, while Gyasi Zardes could partner Juan Agudelo in attack as Jozy Altidore is suspended. Agudelo has received his first call up in over a year and will want to make his mark.

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Mexico head coach Miguel Herrera has called up a relatively inexperienced side for the game but striker, Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres will hope to impress. The 22-year-old forward will join up with the Houston Dynamo in the summer and he will be pushing for a start in the absence of Javier Hernandez.

Key Points

USA’s last five: L/L/W/L/D

Mexico’s last five: W/W/L/W/W

Key Stat: Mexico have not beaten the USA in five attempts and their last win came during the Gold Cup in June 2011.

Key Player: Michael Bradley – The Toronto FC midfielder is the most experienced on the USA roster and is likely to captain the team once again. He has four goals against Mexico to date and will want to add to that.

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Score Prediction

USA 2-1 Mexico – If the USMNT can build on their performance against Switzerland they will be in a strong position to win this. Their recent record against Mexico is good and with the game on home turf, Klinsmann will hope to seal an important win as the Gold Cup draws closer.

Toronto’s Jozy Altidore apologises for USMNT dismissal

Toronto FC‘s Jozy Altidore has apologised for his reckless sending off in the US Men’s National Team‘s 1-1 draw with Switzerland on Tuesday.

“I want to apologize to our fans and my teammates,” Altidore said after the game.

“Emotion got the best of me and I put our team in a tough position. That’s not the type of role model I want to be. All credit to the boys for grinding it out and earning a positive result.”

Altidore received a second yellow card for dissent towards referee Luca Banti, leaving his side to play out the final 20 minutes a man down.

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Just 12 minutes after his sending off, the USMNT conceded the equaliser, adding to Altidore’s frustration. But a 1-1 draw with one of Europe’s better sides isn’t to be looked down upon and he can make amends with his Toronto side this weekend as they face Chicago Fire.

Jurgen Klinsmann told reporters after the game that he warned his players about the referee.

“I told the players, even at halftime, ‘Guys, you can do probably fouls, you can do certain things, but you can’t joke with an Italian referee. It’s unfortunate but it happened and when you get sent off for a verbal comment with an Italian referee, then you get your punishment,” Klinsmann said with a smile.

Did Jozy Altidore’s red card cost the USMNT the game?

International Preview and Prediction: Denmark vs USA

Competition: International Friendly – Denmark vs. United States

Venue: NRGi Park, Denmark – Wednesday, March 25 – 15:00 ET (19:00 GMT)

Match Odds: Denmark 23/20 – Draw 11/5 – USA 5/2

Match Preview

Denmark host the USA on Wednesday night in an intriguing international friendly as Jurgen Klinsmann and his experimental US Men’s National Team squad face a skillful Danish side at NRGi Park.

Klinsmann has only called up six MLS-based players into his 23-man squad for the upcoming friendlies against Denmark and Switzerland as the new Major League Soccer season is underway. That means a lot of less experienced faces are involved and will hope to impress.

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Regardless of who plays, the main aim will be to take positives out of the game and that means a good performance is needed against a Denmark side that boasts quality players such as Christian Eriksen and Daniel Agger.

The Danes have only won one of their last four though and have yet to play a game in 2015 so the USA will look to capitalise on any rustiness from Morten Olsen’s men.

Klinsmann has seen his USMNT side in action twice already this year as they lost to Chile 3-2 back in January before beating Panama 2-0 at the beginning of February to record their first win in six.

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The USA squad’s last trip to Europe didn’t go too well as they lost to Colombia in London before being thrashed by the Republic of Ireland in Dublin and Klinsmann will be desperate for better performances against the Danes and Switzerland.

This will be the fifth meeting between Denmark and the USA and the USMNT will hope to record a first-ever victory against the Danes, having lost two and drawn two of the previous four encounters.

The last meeting saw Denmark run out 3-1 winners at NRGi Park in November 2009 and there are now just four places between the two nations in the FIFA World Rankings so this should be close.

Team News

Denmark coach Morten Olsen has named a strong squad for the game and Christian Eriksen will be hoping to earn his 50th cap with a start in this one, becoming the youngest-ever player to do so for the Danish National Team if he does. Former Liverpool defender Daniel Agger will expect to start at centre-back and could be partnered by Aston Villa’s Jores Okore. Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel will hope to start in goal while former Arsenal man Nicklas Bendtner could start in attack.

Denmark vs USA Predicted Lineups

Denmark vs USA Predicted Lineups (via LineupBuilder.com)

The USMNT have plenty of unfamiliar faces in the squad but the experienced heads in the team will likely start this one. Nick Rimando will start in goal, while Michael Bradley is almost guaranteed to start in midfield. Brek Shea will fill in at left-back once again, while DeAndre Yedlin could be used on the right wing if Fabian Johnson gets the nod at right-back. Gyasi Zardes impressed against Panama and could start again, though Dempsey and Altidore look most likely to start in attack.

Key Points

Denmark’s last five: W/D/L/W/L

USA’s last five: D/L/L/L/W

Key Stat: There have been 15 goals in the four previous meetings between the two countries. Add that to the fact that neither team has seen a 0-0 for a combined total of 43 games and it’s clear that we should be treated to goals on Wednesday evening.

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Key Player: Christian Eriksen – The Danish playmaker will be the most talented man on the pitch if he starts the game. It will be his 50th cap and he’ll want to mark the occasion with a fine performance and a goal.

Score Prediction

Denmark 2-2 USA – This should provide bundles of entertainment as both sides will look to attack from the outset. However, it is tough to separate them on paper and that could lead to a score draw in Denmark on Wednesday. It is important that the USA take positives from the game and avoiding defeat will be the main aim.

Jurgen Klinsmann not interested by Aston Villa vacancy – report

US Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is not interested in becoming Aston Villa manager, according to ESPN FC, despite being second-favourite for the job.

Paul Lambert was sacked by Villa after two-and-a-half years in charge on Wednesday afternoon and Klinsmann was quickly instilled as the second-favourite behind former Spurs boss Tim Sherwood.

Villa’s American owner Randy Lerner is believed to have been impressed by the work Klinsmann has done with the USMNT and wants the German to come and save the Villains from possible relegation with just 13 games left in the Premier League season.

But ESPN’s report indicates Klinsmann is unwilling to take a job with a struggling side this far into a season.

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The other problem is that the long-term future of Aston Villa is far from clear as Lerner put the club up for sale last May.

Villa have scored just 12 goals in 25 Premier League games this season – the lowest tally in the top four tiers of English football – and so taking the job on now will be a real challenge for whoever comes in.

Sherwood remains the odds-on favourite with bookmakers with Alan Curbishley, Glenn Hoddle and Steve McClaren also linked.

And despite early indications Klinsmann could abandon his USMNT project early to save Villa, the German remains focused on guiding the USA to the 2018 World Cup.

Who should Aston Villa appoint as their new manager?

USMNT end five game winless streak with 2-0 victory over Panama

The rot has been stopped. Jurgen Klinsmann and the US Men’s National Team ended a five-game winless streak with a comfortable 2-0 victory against Panama on Sunday.

First-half goals from Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey saw the USA record their first win since a 1-0 friendly victory against the Czech Republic back in September.

Panama were far from threatening but it’s important that the USMNT got a win under their belt and the second clean-sheet in seven since the World Cup will also please Klinsmann.

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The 3-5-2 system we saw deployed in the first-half against Chile last time out was not tried again as the German coach opted to start with a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Jermaine Jones played in defence again but he looked a lot better than he did against the Chileans and that is a project that is certain to continue through 2015.

Michael Bradley started in a deeper midfield role and controlled the game well. He opened the scoring with a ridiculously good corner that looped over LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo and into the net.

Michael Bradley’s goal against Panama (via US Soccer on YouTube):

Gyasi Zardes made his first start for the USMNT and impressed throughout as the Galaxy forward thrived at StubHub Center in the USA shirt.

Zardes played a key role in the second goal of the game as he burst into the middle of the field before threading a perfect ball to Clint Dempsey. The Seattle Sounders forward then rounded Penedo before slotting the ball into an empty net.

Clint Dempsey’s goal against Panama (via US Soccer on YouTube):

Players will now return to their clubs as the new Major League Soccer season gets underway in less than a month.

One concern to take from the game is that DeAndre Yedlin limped off and headed straight down the tunnel. Spurs fans will hope that it is nothing serious as the pacey fullback has yet to make his debut for the Premier League club since completing his move in January.

The next time we see the USMNT in action will be at the end of March as Klinsmann’s side take on Denmark and Switzerland in a pair of tricky fixtures.

What did you make of the USMNT’s performance against Panama on Sunday?

International Preview and Prediction: USA vs Panama

USA vs Panama – International Friendly

Venue: StubHub Center – Sunday, February 8 – 9:00PM GMT (4:00PM ET)

Match Odds: USA 4/7 – Draw 11/4 – Panama 5/1

The US Men’s National Team take on Panama in their second friendly of the year and will look to record their first win in six after last week’s 3-2 loss to Chile made it three defeats on the bounce.

Jurgen Klinsmann tried a 3-5-2 system in that game but there was a lot to work on in terms of the formation and it will be interesting to see if he is bold enough to start with that against Panama on Sunday.

Late goals continue to haunt the USA and they conceded twice in the final 25 minutes against Chile to lose the match, despite leading 2-1 at halftime. They have taken the lead in four of their last five but have not won in any of those matches.

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Fitness is a valid excuse at this stage of the year with Major League Soccer players only just returning to action, and 20 of the 23 players in the squad play in MLS now so they are yet to reach full match fitness.

Klinsmann has hinted that the 3-5-2 system will be used again by saying: “Definitely, we want to keep developing it, because we want to use it when the moment is there and maybe we have the players for it. And therefore, it’s a card to keep working on.”

USA Predicted Lineup vs Panama

Possible USMNT lineup vs Panama (via Lineupbuilder.com)

A friendly means substitutions can help things though and Klinsmann will expect to see his side get back to winning ways against a Panama side that is set to play their first game of 2015.

The CONCACAF side are 28 places lower than the USA in the FIFA World Rankings but will be looking to kickstart 2015 in the same form as they ended last year as they only lost one of their last seven in 2014.

USA vs Panama head-to-head record: Played 14 – USA 11 – Draws 2 – Panama 1

Three MLS players have been called up to the squad for the game against the USMNT as LA Galaxy’s Jaime Penedo, FC Dallas striker Blas Perez and Colorado Rapids forward Gabriel Torres will all expect to feature.

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If he starts, Penedo will be playing in a familiar environment as LA Galaxy’s StubHub Center will host the game.

Another Galaxy player hoping to feature will be Gyasi Zardes and the young striker will hope to start after looking sharp when coming off the bench against Chile last week.

USA’s last five: D/D/L/L/L

Panama’s last five: W/W/L/W/D

Key Stat: Panama have only beaten the USA once in 14 previous meetings – a 2-1 win in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2011.

Key Player: Gyasi Zardes – The LA Galaxy striker showed promise on his debut against Chile and will be pushing for a start. Expect him to make a difference if he is given the time.

Score Prediction: USA 3–1 Panama The USMNT to get back to winning ways with an improved performance back on home soil.

DeAndre Yedlin reveals fitness the reason behind lack of chances at Spurs

DeAndre Yedlin has revealed that his fitness is the reason behind his lack of chances at Spurs so far, but he is staying positive and looking forward to playing for the US Men’s National Team this week.

Yedlin completed his switch from the Seattle Sounders to the Premier League with Spurs at the start of January, but has only played 60 minutes for the Tottenham under-21’s to this point.

The 21-year-old right-back was a late call up to Jurgen Klinsmann’s 23-man training camp for the upcoming friendlies against Chile and Panama, but he is relishing the chance to get some minutes under his belt.

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“I think at the time with Spurs I’m obviously just training and not getting a ton of games because I still need to get my fitness up,” Yedlin told USsoccer.com.

“But I think it allowed me to get time with the National Team, which is always good, and hopefully get some games in. Game fitness is obviously the most important thing, so I think they saw a positive in it, I saw positive in it, and this will work out for everyone.”

Yedlin will face huge competition for places under Mauricio Pochettino at Spurs and will have to dislodge Kyle Walker to become the club’s first-choice right-back in the world’s most exciting league.

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But that is not something Yedlin is worrying about just yet and the young USMNT star is looking ahead to another successful year with Jurgen Klinsmann and the National Team.

“It’s been great. I have just been introduced to the club, to the fans and had a chance to experience the incredible atmosphere at home games,” Yedlin said about his new situation at Spurs.

“It’s really just right now working on getting that preseason rust off, then hopefully getting into form to where I can play. In the meantime, I’m thrilled to back in with the National Team. We have a huge year coming up, and I want to be a part of it as much as possible.”

Yedlin will expect to add to his ten international caps against Chile on Wednesday night but his long-term focus is to become a first-team star in north London with Tottenham Hotspur.

Should DeAndre Yedlin have made his Spurs debut yet? How long will he have to wait for his chance?