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United States

Insider: 2015 USMNT positional outlook

United States

Julian Green, healthy again, says he can learn while on loan at Hamburg

ESPN FC's Steve Nicol discusses the 25 most important players for the United States, which includes a few younger players such as Julian Green.

Julian Green remains confident he'll be able to make the most of his stint with Bundesliga side Hamburg while on loan from Bayern Munich.

In the first half of the season, Green made just five appearances totaling 111 minutes for his new club. This was far short of what was expected given that Green excelled for Bayern's reserve side in 2013-14, and then scored a memorable goal for the U.S. against Belgium at last summer's World Cup.

On the rare occasions Green has seen the field, he has struggled...

Gedion Zelalem currently ineligible but United States can get FIFA exception

Jurgen Klinsmann believes U.S. soccer has done a fine job connecting youth teams to the senior side and hopes to focus more on individual player development, following 17-year-old Gedion Zelalem's recent U.S. citizenship.
ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop and Craig Burley respond to Gedion Zelalem's recent U.S. citizenship, where Burley explains the 17-year-old is miles away from making the grade as a professional footballer.

Arsenal prospect Gedion Zelalem is currently ineligible to play for the United States and will be for at least five more years, FIFA rules state, but U.S. Soccer could receive an exception for him to play earlier.

When the German-born, Maryland-raised Zelalem acquired United States citizenship last month in Washington, most American soccer observers believed it paved the way for him to immediately represent the U.S. in international competition.

Turns out it didn't.

Zelalem is a naturalized...

USMNT positional outlook for 2015

What roles will Fabian Johnson, Michael Bradley and Julian Green play for the U.S. in 2015 and beyond?
What roles will Fabian Johnson, Michael Bradley and Julian Green play for the U.S. in 2015 and beyond?

The United States men's national team opens up its 2015 international schedule this week, and as the team transitions into preparations for the 2018 World Cup, there is little certainty within the squad's core lineup. Manager Jurgen Klinsmann has a large player pool that is competing for positions all over the field, and in the coming year it is likely that new faces will become integral to the team, while old faces fade away.

With so much in flux, ESPN Insiders Alejandro Moreno and Adrian Melville joined forces to discuss the U.S. player pool, position-by-position, to get a sense of which players are poised to contribute in 2015 and beyond.

Here is a look at each USMNT position heading into 2015.

Adrian Melville: I'm really intrigued to see how this World Cup cycle plays out, Alejandro, and I wanted to run through the positions to see what you think are the strengths and weaknesses in this talent pool. Let's start with your favorite group of guys: the forwards. Klinsmann has experimented with using either one or two forwards in his starting lineup, and looking toward 2018 the position seems fairly wide open in terms of candidates. Who do you see as the leaders at forward at this point?

Alejandro Moreno: I don't know that this forward competition is as wide open as you may think. If all candidates are healthy and playing well, I think Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey remain the best options available. If Klinsmann decides to play with one striker, nobody can provide the hold-up play that Altidore does. Whatever his shortcomings have been at the club level, with the national team we have seen a different player. Plus, we saw that once he went down with an injury at the World Cup, there was some serious scrambling by the coaching staff trying to find answers that frankly were not sitting on that bench, at least not as a single striker.

While Dempsey can play underneath the striker or out in wide positions, he is a goal scorer, and goal scorers should be in positions where they will receive service in the final third. If the decision is to go with two strikers, then Dempsey must be that player. He can play off Altidore with freedom to find spaces in between lines of defending, forcing other teams to adjust to his movement.

As far as other options, ...

USMNT prospects blog: Five players primed to break out in 2015

Columbus Crew midfielder Wil Trapp impressed at the USMNT's January camp.
Columbus Crew midfielder Wil Trapp impressed at the USMNT's January camp.

When the U.S. team kicks off its 2015 slate Wednesday in Rancagua, Chile, against the host nation, several promising youngsters will be hoping to earn their first international cap.

They can't all get one, of course. With regular starters Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey and Jermaine Jones among the nine World Cup veterans on Jurgen Klinsmann's 23-man roster for this match and next month's friendly against Panama, getting on the field at Estadio El Teniente won't be easy for the newbies.

Still, every new year has its breakout player. In 2014, it was DeAndre Yedlin, who went from February debutant to World Cup spark plug before securing a rich move to Tottenham of the English Premier League. This year's Yedlin could be one of the five up-and-comers listed below -- three of whom are age-eligible to wear the red, white and blue at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro should the Yanks qualify.

Here's a chance to get to know them now.


By ESPN Staff
22 hours ago

U.S. ready for Chile after tough training

United States midfielders Lee Nguyen and Wil Trapp are ready for the match against Chile following weeks of training.


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