clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Think the USMNT player pool is a bigger problem than Jurgen Klinsmann? Here's why that isn't true.

New, comments

It's easy to forget how hard it was for previous managers to find great players.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday night, the United States men's national team turned in an awful performance, losing 2-0 away to Guatemala. It was their first loss to the Guatemalans in any match since 1988 and their first loss to the Blue and Whites in World Cup qualifying ever. Naturally, fans are looking for answers.

There's a theory going around that the USMNT's struggles are more down to a player pool that is thin and lacking in quality than the decisions of head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Here's a simple counter-argument.

Presented below is an incomplete, curated list of some interesting players who received 10 or more national team caps during the Bruce Arena and Bob Bradley eras.

Kenny Cooper
Edson Buddle
Robbie Findley
Jeff Cunningham
Richard Mulrooney
Santino Quaranta
Freddy Adu
Conor Casey
Kerry Zavagnin
Chris Klein
Chris Albright
David Regis
Ante Razov
Pat Noonan

While he's outside of the parameters I've set for this discussion, we should mention 15-cap winner Zak Ibsen, who got caps in 1996 while playing indoor soccer.

Here are some guys who got 30 or more caps.

Jonathan Bornstein
Heath Pearce
Ricardo Clark

40-plus.

Clarence Goodson
Benny Feilhaber
Sacha Kljestan

50-plus.

Josh Wolff!

All of the above-listed players had very good professional careers and at least one great game for the USMNT. This post isn't meant to be disrespectful to any of them. But of the above-listed players, which ones would crack the current USMNT at their best? Any of them? Feilhaber, Kljestan, Bornstein and Clark are arguably playing better for their clubs now than they did when they were regulars under Bradley.

The United States men's national team does not have a player pool problem. It has a player selection and utilization problem.