Jurgen Klinsmann’s 30-man U.S. Men’s National Team roster has sparked debate on the few players included – and the many left out.
Across the board, the consensus is Eddie Johnson was the surprise exclusion within the group.
However, New York Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke has his own opinions on the matter.
“Listen, the whole Eddie Johnson thing to me is obvious,” Petke told reporters during his weekly press conference. “Unless I am way off, it has to do with his form this year in Major League Soccer. Jurgen is obviously a very good coach and intelligent coach and I am sure he didn’t just look at his lack of goals. He looked at everything and he felt strongly that other players are a bit ahead of him.”
If the criteria is form, Petke’s surprise cut should be no surprise at all; Tim Ream.
“One thing I was hoping, that was deserving, at least for the initial roster, the 30-man or whatever it is, would be Tim Ream,” he said. “It’s not because he played here and it’s not because he is a friend of mine.”
Unlike Johnson, who has gone goalless since joining D.C. United, Ream has become a vital fixture with Bolton after suffering two years of uncertainty with the English side.
“He went over to a tough league, had a bit of a rough go last year, and the next thing you know, he is the player of the year, playing something like 40 straight games,” Petke explains. “In the games I watched him, he has done well in a number of positions, whether it be left back, centerback, holding midfielder — he did well in all of them.”
That kind of dynamic play across several defensive positions would be a boon to the U.S. Men’s National Team which is admittedly inexperienced on the backline. Ream, who has had a taste of both Premiership and Championship action, would bring that kind of stability and flexibility the U.S. could need in dire situations.
“I thought he would possibly get a look in there,” Petke says.
Klinsmann clearly saw things differently.
As for the rest of the roster, the Red Bulls’ boss puts his confidence in the U.S. coach, despite disagreeing with that one omission.
“It would be foolish of me to say I disagree with certain things,” he says. “I think Jurgen has done a tremendous job with the U.S. team and they have a tough task with the group games they are playing, but he has done a good job with the selection – other than my buddy Tim Ream.”