USMNT Notes: What Green’s commitment means, Klinsmann on Dempsey and MLS, Dolo retires, more

IMAGE, MLSSOCCER.COM

By PATRICK MACDONALD
Staff Writer

Still smarting over losing Gedion Zelalem to Germany (even though he was never really in the cards for the U.S. in the first place)?

Well then, you got a heavy dose of good news this week as it was announced Julian Green was not only going to train and play for the U.S. against Mexico, he’s going all in and committing to the United States Men’s National Team.

This is no doubt a coup for the United States, snatching away a highly-rated German youth forward who plays for such a high profile club in Bayern Munich. Seemingly, Klinsmann and his staff made quite the impression when the 18-year-old trained with the U.S. leading up to the Ukraine friendly. What makes the news all the more exciting is that Green has applied for a one-time national team switch, meaning there’s no chance of a flip-flop; Green will forever represent the Red, White, and Blue.

So with the U.S. set to face Ghana in just 90 days, what potential impact does Green’s commitment have on World Cup preparations? Part of the allure of joining the U.S. was having the “chance” to make a World Cup appearance. Klinsmann certainly used that chip as bait.

The thing American fans need to remember is that Green’s still primarily a reserve player for Bayern Munich having made only one substitute appearance for the first team in the 88th minute of a Champions League match that was well in hand. In essence, he trains with Bayern Munich as opposed to plays for them.

That being said, it’s still Bayern Munich, and for the reserve squad this season, Green has torched the competition with 15 goals and 7 assists in 21 matches. That’s quite the statistical line. He’s also a winger; a thin depth chart area for the U.S. past Landon Donovan and Graham Zusi.

What Green’s commitment does is immediately put players like Brek Shea and Alejandro Bedoya on notice. Shea in particular has made a bit of name for himself as a late game-changer with the national team despite his troubles getting playing time or sticking with a team in England. If he can’t get regular time with Stoke, its not far fetched to see Green making a late run lapping him for a roster spot.

Taking all this into consideration, the player that Green can most easily be compared to is Terrence Boyd. Boyd is a fine player, but not quite a game changer. He also lit up the Bundesliga reserves in his time with Hertha Berlin and Borussia Dortmund. He’s playing well enough for Rapid Vienna to warrant a potential transfer this summer to a higher caliber club, yet he still sits behind Jozy Altidore, Aron Jóhannsson, and possibly even Chris Wondolowski on the forward depth chart — admittedly a position far deeper than winger for the U.S..

This does, however, illustrate that Bundesliga reserve action does not necessarily translate to instantaneous international success with the U.S. National Team.

So, everyone will have their eyes glued to the Arizona friendly against Mexico in April, one I will be attending, to see what Green is capable of doing with an MLS heavy squad against a Liga MX heavy Mexico side. If he makes a difference in what will likely be a substitute appearance, than the excited chatter will grow all the more, and he just may earn himself a spot on the World Cup roster.

NEWS AND NOTES

JURGEN KLINSMANN ON ADDING JULIAN GREEN TO THE U.S. PROGRAM

KLINSMANN ON DEMPSEY BEING FOULED IN MLS ACTION

  • After suffering several knee injuries over the past few years, U.S. right back Steve Cherundolo has called it a career.  He retires with the only club team he has ever known — Hannover 96 — where he earned a team record 302 appearances since 1999.  “Dolo” appeared in three World Cups for the U.S. Men’s National Team, earning 87 caps in an illustrious career.
  • Nürnberg manager Gertjan Verbeek revealed right back Timothy Chandler will likely remain out for the season.  Originally scheduled to return from a left torn meniscus in April, Chandlers timeline now remains unknown, putting his World Cup hopes at risk.
  • Nottingham Forest’s Eric Lichaj is out after undergoing double hernia surgery, with no set return date announced.