STANFORD, Calif. – Jurgen Klinsmann said at the opening of US national team camp last week that the focus for he and his staff would be focusing intensely on the positional battles playing out across the roster as 30 players compete for 23 spots on the plane to Brazil.
With one week down and one week to go, though, he’s still no closer to deciding which players will get to go and which will miss out.
“We’ll obviously discuss that daily, it’s part of our job, our work, and I don’t have a specific date in mind,” Klinsmann told reporters on Wednesday morning when asked if he would make the cuts after the USMNT’s friendly against Turkey on June 1, a day prior to the World Cup roster deadline.
Klinsmann also did not let on as to whether all seven of his cuts would come at once, or over the course of the team’s remaining preparation time, simply saying, “That is still open – if I would say feeling today and then that may be different in a week from now or whenever … so we’ll stay flexible.”
That’s not to say Klinsmann and his staff don’t have the information at their disposal. Quite the opposite, in fact, especially after one week of seeing his charges in action.
“We see them a bit closer every day, in scrimmages and training exercises, we see little things that add up, so it gives us more and more information,” he explained. “Every day is another day of you get more information on every individual, every single player. So that helps us, we exactly understand where they are right now in this moment, which is always very important, just a couple weeks away from the first game in Brazil.”
Though it's much-discussed among fans and in the media, Klinsmann made clear one criteria that wouldn't apply when he does make his cuts.
“The players know they are not judged on if they play in MLS or in Mexico or in Europe, they are judged by us depending on how we see them and how we evaluate them as a coaching staff,” he explained.
Klinsmann also did not delve into the intricacies of the positional battles during his time with the media on Wednesday, though did hammer home a long-held point regarding versatile defender Geoff Cameron, who is one of the six players on the roster with a shot at playing right back this summer.
“I’ve said that over three years, that I think his best position is center back, and it’s good to know he can play right back too, and it’s good to know he can play a No. 6, too,” the 1990 World Cup winner said. “But his best fit, his best game for himself is the center-back role.”
There may also be more space at center back for Cameron – Clarence Goodson is the only central defender on the roster with more international experience, and even he might not land a starting spot if Klinsmann opts to go with the young pairing of Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler that carried the US through qualifying.
At right back, however, Michael Parkhurst, Timmy Chandler, Brad Evans and Fabian Johnson could all be in the mix, meaning that versatility Klinsmann loves could not only book Cameron's World Cup ticket (a likely scenario), but have an effect on the chances of those around him, too.