Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By IVES GALARCEP
With the ticket to Brazil officially punched, and the U.S. Men’s National Team qualified for the 2014 World Cup, we can leave out the ‘assuming they make it’ disclaimers and start to really think about what the U.S. team will look like that heads to the World Cup next summer.
The latest 23 for 2014 projection comes for the first time since July, when the CONCACAF Gold Cup triumph helped propel the stock of several players. We saw Mix Diskerud become a regular on the projected list, as well as Kyle Beckerman.
There are a few new names on the latest 23 for 2014, perhaps the least surprising being red-hot forward Aron Johannsson. The AZ striker is scoring goals in bunches on the club side, and impressed in his USMNT debut back in August.
Who else made the latest SBI 23 for 2014? Here is our projected USMNT roster for the World Cup, as of September of 2013:
PROJECTED USMNT WORLD CUP 2014 ROSTER (September 2013)
(Changes from July in bold, new additions to the Missed the Cut list are in bold italics)
GOALKEEPERS– Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Nick Rimando
Outlook– This trio stays the same yet again, with no signs of changing any time soon.
Missed the cut– Sean Johnson, Bill Hamid, Tally Hall
DEFENDERS– Fabian Johnson, Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez, Geoff Cameron, Clarence Goodson, DaMarcus Beasley, Steve Cherundolo, Brad Evans.
Outlook– Brad Evans has worked his way into a starting role when healthy and he makes our list for now, replacing Michael Parkhurst, who is mired in a terrible situation at German side Augsburg.
We continue to list Steve Cherundolo even though he is out injured, and has injured his share of injuries lately. We’ll stick to the idea that he will be on the team if he is healthy.
John Anthony Brooks is not cap-tied yet, but his chances of playing for the U.S. are much greater than they used to be, and he is a very good candidate to replace a player like Goodson on the squad.
Michael Orozco has continued to see regular starts for Mexican side Puebla, and merits consideration. He didn’t play well at right back against Costa Rica earlier in September, but he’s still very much an option.
Timmy Chandler continues to be a tough one to figure out. He’s back to playing regularly for Nuremberg, but has been left out of recent U.S. squads. October would be a good chance to see him, but if he doesn’t get a call, it might be the clearest sign yet that Klinsmann has moved on.
Missed the cut– Edgar Castillo, Michael Orozco, Michael Parkhurst, John Anthony Brooks, Eric Lichaj, Timmy Chandler.
MIDFIELDERS– Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Landon Donovan, Graham Zusi, Alejandro Bedoya, Kyle Beckerman, Mix Diskerud, Eddie Johnson
Outlook– The only change to this group is the listing of Eddie Johnson as a midfielder instead of a forward. We have seen him deployed on the wings, as well as at forward. He replaces Joe Corona, who is suddenly in danger of slipping down Klinsmann’s depth chart as he struggles to earn regular minutes with Club Tijuana.
Sacha Kljestan continues to play well for Anderlecht, but was left out of September’s qualifiers, even after Klinsmann called in reinforcements.
Maurice Edu and Brek Shea continue to be MIA at Stoke City, and they will both need to look toward January moves if they can’t find some playing time this fall.
Missed the cut– Sacha Kljestan, Joe Corona, Jose Torres, Brad Davis, Maurice Edu, Danny Williams, Brek Shea, Mike Magee
FORWARDS– Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, Aron Johannsson, Terrence Boyd
Outlook– It’s tough not to include Johannsson now considering how outstanding he’s been for AZ Alkmaar in recent months. He showed glimpses in his first national team appearance, and all signs point to him developing into a real force.
What will be interesting to see is what happens with Terrence Boyd. He is also scoring goals for Austrian side Rapid Vienna, but Klinsmann could be tempted to just go with Eddie Johnson and bring along one more natural midfielder. I don’t see that happening just yet.
Herculez Gomez endured an injury-hit summer, but he’s back now and already scoring goals for Club Tijuana. His situation with Xolos will be worth monitoring, because if he gets rolling again he will certainly merit consideration.
Missed the cut– Herculez Gomez, Chris Wondolowski, Juan Agudelo, Jack McInerney.
What do you think of this group? Which player are you happy to see make our projected 23-man roster? Who didn’t make the squad that you think should have?
Share your thoughts below.