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USMNT Daily Update: Who should Klinsmann call in for the qualifiers?

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The U.S. Men's National Team will convene in Miami on Monday ahead of the crucial pair of World Cup qualifiers against Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala, and while we aren't going to find out the names of the 23 players Jurgen Klinsmann has selected until Monday, it isn't tough to figure out we'll be seeing many of the same faces.

Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley are expected to be back in the fold for the upcoming qualifiers so the U.S. team will be stronger than the squad that split games against Jamaica last month, but the rest of the team should be pretty much most of the same players.

Among those players is Graham Zusi, who is playing some of the best soccer in MLS at the moment, and who is riding the confidence gained from his outstanding performance against Jamaica last month. Another player enjoying a good run of form is Danny Williams, who is not only a lock to be on the squad, but will seriously challenge 


GOALKEEPERS– Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Sean Johnson

DEFENDERS– Steve Cherundolo, Carlos Bocanegra, Geoff Cameron, Fabian Johnson, Michael Parkhurst, Clarence Goodson, Michael Orozco Fiscal, Edgar Castillo

MIDFIELDERS– Michael Bradley, Landon Donovan, Jermaine Jones, Graham Zusi, Brek Shea, Jose Torres, Danny Williams, Maurice Edu

FORWARDS– Clint Dempsey, Herculez Gomez, Jozy Altidore, Terrence Boyd


Some thoughts:

If you were hoping to see some new faces, don't hold your breath. It's crunch time in qualifying and just not the time to bring in new faces. Klinsmann hs stated several times that he was unlikely to bring in players he hadn't had in before, so don't expect any surprises on Monday.

The third goalkeeper spot is an interesting one. Do you go with the youngsters in Sean Johnson or the veteran in Nick Rimando. With Real Salt Lake scheduled to play a game the day after the Guatemala qualifier in Kansas City, we see Johnson getting the nod (though you wonder if/when Bill Hamid gets another look).

No surprises among the defenders. Eric Lichaj wasn't a likely option even before his recent benching at Aston Villa, while the same centerback options are expected to return. Folks clamoring for the likes of Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez can think about January call-ups for both of them.

The midfield features three wide options in Donovan, Zusi and Shea, while five central midfield options battle it out for minutes. Kyle Beckerman is left off the list, but with the emergence of Williams, there is less of a need for Beckerman and Klinsmann can allow him to focus on the Real Salt Lake game on Oct. 17th (obviously if the USMNT needed Beckerman to play, he would be missing that RSL match, but since he's unlikely to see the field there is no point bringing him in this time.

The forwards stay the same, though you wonder if Chris Wondolowski gets a look.


What do you think of the squad? Which players are on the team that you are happy to see on it? Who is missing that you think deserves a place? Think this team is strong enough to secure the necessary results to qualify?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. It seems arbitrary to say “no new guys” even if they’re destined to be subs for this cycle. That means that Gatt’s injury last time disqualifies him now too? And next year too? I would much rather see him in the midfield possibilities than Edu (whom I like but as a CB).

  2. I’d rather have in in-form player rather than one riding the bench for sure. But I only have to look to last year’s game against Chelsea where Lichaj was easily the best player on the field, absolutely shutting down Torres and netting a goal to know that he is the future left back for us.

  3. I respect that input and the comment ” This fixture date will not be a time to bring new folks in” but right now Torres is no good pd…..and it is evident with his play time with his club and its not like he’s coming off the bench for an EPL or Serie A team. He is one of the best players in the pool at his best (at his best!!!) because of his skill set but we can both agree that right now he is far from it.
    He comes off the bench for Pachuca and plays 28 min…a team no better than the houston Dynamo or Sporting KC, week before that played 69 mins, before that 71 mins…if you can’t start, control and end a game for Pachuca you surely can’t do it for the US MENS NATIONAL TEAM.
    I’ll rather take my chances with someone who is not consistant but anytime he puts on a Nats jersey he Excels when the game is on the line, like freddy Adu, than a player like Torres

  4. Proofing aside, I’m a huge fan of Freddy and Benny, and while both are doing well on their respective (and inept) sides, Torres has been called up and is on JKs wavelength. Moreover, he is one of the best players in the pool for maintaining possession and managing the tempo of the game, which we will need if we get an early lead and need a sub for any number or MF/F players.. This fixture date will not be a time to bring new folks in. I think we see both Adu & Feilhaber and maybe Pontius in January. Until then chill.

  5. Yes that or Holland or Belgium; someplace that emphasizes possession and attack and has a rep for bringing along younger players. Bordeaux and Lyon would be good. He’d have a tougher time breaking into Marseille.

  6. From watching the USMNT practice in May, I can say that I was really impressed with Castillo’s first touch when he was playing an 11 v. 11 possession game within a 40×40 yd. grid. That’s a really tight space to operate in and he did really well finding pockets of space to both gain possession and support the players with the ball. Don’t get me wrong, Dempsey is a better player, but Castillo looked just as comfortable on and around the ball as Deuce. Also, Herc tore it up in training that day! Jozy was a not-too-distant second, and Boyd definitely third.

  7. Torres, not even getting full playing time with his mexican CLUB….HIS MEXICAN CLUB, THATS LIKE COMING OFF THE BENCH WITH A TOP MLS TEAM!!! GABBAGE – Give me a Freddy Adu, Benny Feilhaber or any day of the week.

    Brek Shea is an up and coming player but as a winger for the USMNT right now, I think Chris Pontius is better all around player

    Terrence Boyd or Chris Wondolowski???…..Boyd is a very good player but he is like “an Altidore”….I think its time to try wondo up top, someone who is certifided to score when in front of goal, have him alternate with Gomez (someone with the same…back to back top scorer awards, leading the league again by a large margine….doesnt matter how he plays THE MAN CAN SCORE GOALS….period

  8. 1. Let’s assume Jones and Bradley won’t play until Guatemala.
    2. Let’s assume Jozy Donovan and Dempsey will not go 90
    (barring an injury that forces another sub).
    3. let’s assume Ives is spot on in his callups:
    4. Let’s assume JK is going to go with a 4-3-3 that is essentially using 3 DMS as he has thus far.

    vs A&B
    ———Gomez———— (sub Boyd)
    Landon—————-Deuce (sub Shea & Zusi)
    —Johnson Boca Cameron ‘dolo

    vs GUA

    ——Deuce—Altidore—- (sub Gomez)
    LD——————– Zusi (Torres for LD)
    ——Bradley-Jones—- (sub Edu or Jones if MB are not 90)

  9. probably not, and you have to wonder if he’d even still be playing (let alone playing as well) if he hadn’t.

    Plus, I wonder what kind of career Howard would be having is he hadn’t. the National Team really helped Howard establish himself in a way that simply being with Everton could have never done. In a way his retiring was a great move for the program, but it’s also sad.

    Same can be said for when Howard retired after Brazil, but if Guzan is ever get where he can be that’s gonna need to happen one day.

    Now, if someone want to talk McBride Pope and Reyna out of retirement…

  10. Dempsey Gomez

    Gatt Bradley Jones Donovan

    Fabian Boca Geoff Dolo


    Johannsson Altidore

    Zusi Williams Beckerman Torres

    Lichaj Goodson Parkhurst Spector


    Beckerman struggled in Jamaica but I will have him over Edu any day. I wish Holden was’nt injured and Onyewu would pull his head out. Shae is okay but needs to go overseas. We need Johannsson as well as Gatt. Gatt fills in the areas where USA is lacking.

  11. JK doesn’t seem to like playing Dempsey out wide, so we’ll probably see something more like this:


    Although, I could see him dropping Zusi, moving Gomez to the right and playing Jozy up top. Personally, I would rather see Williams than Jones, but not sure that’ll happen.

  12. He just signed an extension with Sporting before this season. So I would expect Sporting would only sell him for a high dollar/pound rate. Which is something I don’t see a mid-table French team being able to afford. EPL top third or mid-table La Liga. (it would be great to have a USMNT player in the Spanish league)

  13. I’m not familiar enough w/ the French League. I was thinking maybe Holland or a league that has the style of play where he can develop into a true wing option.

  14. I like that as a 4-2-3-1 but put Gomez in over Altidore. Jozy hasn’t done anything on a National level to deserve the automatic plug in as the lone forward. Sub him in late for Herc (65th min).

  15. Old School – Its hard to take Zusi off the starting 11 after he was arguably our best player against Jamaica. Do you see any potential lineups where he will start (along side Donovan)?

  16. “one of the USMNTs best technical players, behind maybe Fabian Johnson and Jose Torres”?


    Bradley, Dempsey, and Donovan would strongly disagree with that statement; as would anyone else who’s seen them all play.

  17. ^this.

    My dream lineup against A-B (never happen, but would be fun to see).


    2nd half subs: Fabian Johnson and Graham Zusi for DMB and Duece (4-4-2) then Torres for Jozy. ending formation 4-5-1.

  18. But, GW, MB also has had several weak performances last summer in the Gold Cup after hardly playing at the club level from January through May. You are making it sound like if Klinsmann does not call him up it will be for personal reasons. Klinsmann wants the best team possible for two crucial games that most likely we need at least one win and one draw. Klinsmann’s future rests with these next two games. If he fails to have the USMNT qualify for the Hex then he will almost certainly be fired and would probably be the most humiliating experience of his life. I have full faith that he will pick a roster that he feels has the best chance of saving his skin. If MB is fit enough to play this weekend against Atalanta and does a good job, Klinsmann most likely will call him in. But if MB does not make the roster or even if he is sitting on the bench I doubt that Klinsmann would be foolish enough to bend to the wishes of some fans and call him in. Better to go with players in good form who are 100% fit.

  19. I think your enthusiasm for JoCo is awesome, but thinking he’s a higher rating than Torres right now is a bit misplaced. Torres is an ideal second half sub now when the team has a lead. Maintain possession, don’t make dumb decisions. If we’re in a situation where any number of players can’t go 90 in the midfield he’s the guy for the job.

  20. agree on Castillo. he is playing 90m every game for the second placed team in Mexico and is key part of the team and is one of the USMNT’s best technical players, behind maybe Fabian Johnson and Jose Torres. Next year in the Hex (assuming we make it and we still have two crucial games before we know for sure) we are going to be very glad to have a player of Castillo’s qualities on the team to play either left back or left wing.

  21. i still like Edu, but agree a lack of playing time the past month makes him questionable for these games. Beckerman will be called up, I think, and deservedly so.

  22. Hmmm. That line-up from surprises me from you, GW, and I gotta say, I generally like it (all 18 of them) except for Goodson on the backline. But I don’t expect Goodson to get called up anyway after the yellow card mystery of the Semptember 7 Jamaica game. We will see Monday. In any case, I do think we will see Cameron as a center back for these next two games and, assuming Bradley and Jones are not called up because of injury-fitness issues, I think we would see Williams paired with Corona, Torres or Beckerman (yes, I think he gets called up) and I still think Klinsmann is going to surprise the world and call up Chris Pontius (probably instead of Brek Shea).

  23. “What dastardly deed has he done to find himself out in the hinterlands of the MNT picture?”

    Mostly he has bad luck with injuries at the wrong time. He had to pull out of a couple of potential call ups because of that. This time around his problem is that he is not really a winger and is more of a scoring attacking midfielder/forward like Dempsey. And Dempsey is better at being Dempsey.

  24. Yea, not sure why JK dropped the traditional number system.

    Then again, he also didn’t have the names on the back of the kits early on too. I think that was more setting a tone than anything.

    Regarding numbers, I think they mean more than they ever have in sports. They’ve become much more about personal meaning and even at times marketing tools.

  25. If MB90 is healthy and sound, he has proven in the past that he can get the job done, even if he hasn’t played in a while.

    Whether JK will let him is another story.

  26. JK hasn’t been consistent with the 2-11 traditional number system has he?

    It seems to me he went back to letting the players wear “their” numbers, Dolo #6, Cameron #20 and so. I’m not sure what you mean by Edu seeing himself as a #7.

    Is that the number he iat Rangers? Did he ask for it or was he assigned it?

    #7 obviously symbolizes a certain kind of player to you but Edu and JK may not see things the way you do.

    These days numbers are only there to give the ref a number to book or for people to differentiate the players.

  27. I think you nailed it, definitely LD on the left…hope to see Zusi on the right…I’d rather see Herc instead of Jozy up top though.

  28. 18 man roster



    Dolo, Goodson, Boca, Fabian

    Williams, Cameron

    Donovan, Dempsey,Zusi



    Gomez, Boyd, Castillo, Corona,Shea,Guzan,Torres

  29. Well, we’re not exactly talking about club numbers though, are we? I’m making a reference to Edu’s #7 with the Nats.

    I guess I’m more annoyed with the idea that he believes he’s a #7?

    It was also slightly weird to see William Gallas with #10 / James Riley (RB) #7.

    I don’t even consider myself a traditionalist. It’s just….you know…weird -_-

  30. Do we really need to call up Edu, Jones, Williams, and Bradley? It seems kind of redundant since they all play similar positions. I would leave Edu out of the equation for this go around and call up Corona and Gatt instead.

  31. It’s hard to say if it is just you. There are probably a couple of million (??) USMNT fans and who knows how they feel about it.

    However, you post about it so I’d have to say it’s just you.

    7 is a midfielder’s number, right wing if you are a traditionalist. Edu is no winger but he is at least right footed and he is a midfielder.

    You should be more upset with Deuce wearing #2, the number for a right back. I get he is Deuce and he wore it at New England but it’s like college quarterbacks wearing numbers higher than 19 (Flutie #22). Awkward somehow. Or Zidane wearing #5, a centerback’s number.


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