Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By IVES GALARCEP
We are just three months away from Jurgen Klinsmann selecting his 23-man roster for the World Cup, and as much as the picture is a relatively clear one right now, plenty can change in the coming months.
Little has changed in the SBI projected U.S. World Cup roster from January, with just one new name cracking the 23 for 2014. What we do see this month is several new names on the radar. In total, we have four new faces in the second batch of names.
So which players made the cut in the latest SBI 23 for 2014? Here are this month’s selections:
PROJECTED USMNT WORLD CUP 2014 ROSTER (February 2014)
(Changes from January in bold, new additions to the Missed the Cut list are in bold italics)
GOALKEEPERS– Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Nick Rimando
Outlook– No movement in this group, though things should change a month from now as the MLS contingent starts playing games.
Missed the cut– Sean Johnson, Bill Hamid, Tally Hall
DEFENDERS– Fabian Johnson, Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez, Geoff Cameron, Clarence Goodson, DaMarcus Beasley, Brad Evans, Michael Orozco
Outlook– Orozco replaces Parkhurst in the defender list as he continues to start and play well for Puebla. The balance of the defender group is a factor here, with Orozco being selected as a central defender, thus giving the group four central defenders and four fullbacks. Parkhurst will see his share of playing time as a central defender for the Columbus Crew, but it’s tough to see him as a viable centerback option on the international level.
Orozco is no lock to be the fourth central defender. Oguchi Onyewu and John Brooks could both make pushes for that spot now that they’re both back from injury. Tim Ream and Will Packwood are long shots, but but are starting regularly and stand a good chance of being called in for the March friendly against Ukraine.
Timmy Chandler stays on the radar despite the torn meniscus that will sideline him till April. He’s very much a long shot, but if he can regain his starting job right away at Nurnberg, and put in some strong performances, Chandler could earn a look in the pre-World Cup camp.
Missed the cut– Edgar Castillo,Michael Parkhurst, Oguchi Onyewu, John Brooks, Tim Ream, Will Packwood, Eric Lichaj, Timmy Chandler.
MIDFIELDERS– Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Jermaine Jones, Landon Donovan, Graham Zusi, Alejandro Bedoya, Kyle Beckerman, Mix Diskerud
Outlook– He hasn’t quite broken through into the projected 23 yet, but Danny Williams is the midfielder who has made the biggest jump on the radar. His consistent play for Reading, and recent pair of goals, have him very much on the radar. He is very much a challenger to both Mix Diskerud and Kyle Beckerman for a central midfielder spot.
Two new names on the radar are Julian Green and Jonathan Spector. Green is not eligible for the USA yet, and must file a one-time switch in order to be eligible. Klinsmann could be tempted to give Green a place on the World Cup team in order to secure his national team services, but for now we’ll call that a long shot. Spector just returned from a four-month injury layoff, and will have a hard time closing ground on the other defensive midfield options. He doesn’t play fullback at Birmingham City so it’s tough to see Klinsmann looking at him for that spot either.
Missed the cut– Danny Williams, Sacha Kljestan, Brek Shea, Brad Davis, Maurice Edu, Joe Corona, Julian Green, Jonathan Spector.
FORWARDS– Jozy Altidore, Aron Johannsson, Terrence Boyd, Eddie Johnson
Outlook– It is a four-horse race for the fourth forward spot and we’ll give Johnson the slight edge for now, even though Agudelo has closed the gap with his string of starts for Dutch side FC Utrecht.
We have added Mike Magee as the fourth forward on the radar despite the fact he missed the South Korea friendly with food poisoning. If he starts the 2014 MLS season well, he should have another chance to make his first national team appearance in April against Mexico.
Missed the cut– Juan Agudelo, Chris Wondolowski, Herculez Gomez, Mike Magee.
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.