Inexperienced US back line heads to World Cup

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 25, 2014 at 10:47 pm •  Published: May 25, 2014

If midfielder Jermaine Jones is suspended at some point for accumulation of yellow cards, Klinsmann might call upon Johnson in the defensive midfield.

While experience on the defense would certainly be preferred at this stage, goalkeeper Tim Howard will help everyone get up to speed.

"All things considered, of course you'd like to have some guys back there who understand the rhythm and the pacing and the difference of a World Cup," said Alexi Lalas, a starting U.S. defender for the 1994 World Cup, former MLS general manager and current analyst. "This decision was made a long time ago, regardless of the final personnel, you knew you were going to have some World Cup inexperience out there. And we still don't know how the back four is going to look.

"With that being decided and the veterans no longer being part of the scene, it was about getting some sort of understanding, communication and comfort with the defense. That's really a much more important piece considering there's not going to be World Cup experience."

Cameron is considered a central defender by Klinsmann.

"I've said that over three years I think his best position is center back," Klinsmann said. "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. Still I think his best fit, his best game for himself is the center back role."

Klinsmann isn't making a big deal about the team's lack of experience. Only five players among the 23 have appeared in a World Cup.

"The plan is to help them in that process, to get in that World Cup with a lot of confidence and being sure that they know what they're doing. In every training session we will work on those pieces and we will guide them through all the different things that happen during a game, preparing the best way possible for the opponents they face in the group stage already," Klinsmann said of the defense.

"I'm sure they're going to be very well prepared and they will be ready for the task. There's always a first time in life in whatever you do. It's for some the first World Cup, though it's the first of hopefully many World Cups to come for them. I'm not worried about the inexperience."

NOTES: Landon Donovan, cut by Klinsmann on Thursday, broke the Major League Soccer goal record Sunday night. He returned to the LA Galaxy to score his 135th and 136th regular-season goals in a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union.