Can Omar Gonzalez finally break through to the first team? - Harry How
3 questions with Ryan Rosenblatt of SB Nation's USMNT blog Stars and Stripes FC.
Before tonight's friendly game down in Houston, I caught up with Ryan Rosenblatt of Stars and Stripes FC, where you can go to check out the USA based view of the game, to find out more about what Canada will be up against (spoiler: it's probably not going to be all that friendly) and just how our old pal Jurgen's doing in the job. You can also click here to read my answers to Ryan's questions. So USA! USA! USA! How you doin'?
Waking The Red: It's a very MLS heavy squad, and a few veterans aside, very inexperienced. Which of the younger players are you most interested in seeing suit up, can any of them break through to the regular first team?
Stars And Stripes FC: The guy everyone wants to see is Omar Gonzalez. After his last couple seasons and with the United States' troubles in center defense, he is a prime candidate to have a good showing and force his way into the first team. If he can't, Matt Besler is another guy who can step into that massive hole at center defense.
A player also worth keeping an eye on is Mikkel Diskerud. He has the kind of style and tempo that should fit Jurgen Klinsmann's style, but he hasn't quite made an impact in past appearances for the U.S. He needs to show he can run a match at the international level and create chances with his fantastic skill. If he does, there is a spot waiting for him on a first team that lacks creative attacking players.
WTR: Your first WCQ game is February 6th in Honduras. How many of this squad will be travelling for that one? Will this be used more as a serious warm up for that game, or more as a chance to try out some newish faces? Either way, you guys are going to be taking this one seriously aren't you?
SASFC: Klinsmann has said that this camp and this match was about identifying players who he can take to Honduras. That means finding a Gonzalez or Besler to strengthen a weak position or Diskerud giving the team an option off the bench it currently lacks. It could also mean someone like Chris Wondolowski making a case for the first team or Tony Beltran earning a spot at a right back position that is being hit hard by injuries right now.
This camp and match isn't about giving players experience for a year or two years from now. The first team needs depth in several places and these are fringe players who can do that. With a spot in the first team on the line in a qualifying year, you can bet guys will be taking it seriously.
WTR: Do Americans generally feel that Jurgen Klinsmann is the right man to take the current team, and the game in the US as a whole to the next level? Has that opinion got better or worse in his time in the job.
SASFC: It depends who you ask and when. When Klinsmann was hired, most thought it was a great hire, but then it was a bad hire when the team struggled. The team beat Italy and then Mexico and it was a great hire again. After a loss to Jamaica it was awful, but then they came back and won.
Few people seem to have strong opinions on Klinsmann right now and if they are strong, they're emotional. They think whatever the last match told them to think.
Personally, I am not a fan and haven't been since he was hired. It just never made sense to me, but while the play was uninspiring in the last round of qualifying, the results were good so maybe Klinsmann will prove me wrong. I sure hope so.
Thanks Ryan, and I always say this but this time I really really mean it, best of luck in your next game.