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USMNT Daily Update: 23 for 2014 (February 2013 Edition)


In the wake of the U.S. Men’s National Team’s World Cup qualifying loss to Honduras it is easy to come away feeling as though some players who were once considered locks as likely members of a projected 2014 U.S. World Cup are suddenly not such safe bets (let alone the fact that the Hex-opening loss has some folks fearing that the U.S. may not even qualify).

There were plenty of bad performances to go around against Honduras, but I’m not sure any of the starters who faced Honduras are suddenly bad bets to make the World Cup team. Jermaine, Jones, Fabian Johnson and Tim Chandler are all too important to consider leaving out, and even the struggling Danny Williams is young and talented enough to see getting his act together and remaining a solid choice.

One thing the February qualifier did offer us was a glimpse of life without long-time defensive stalwarts Carlos Bocanegra and Steve Cherundolo. With Bocanegra benched in favor of Omar Gonzalez, and Cherundolo sidelined by knee surgery, we saw what the U.S. team might be like without them. Sure, it was a bit of a scary sight, but the fact that Klinsmann went with youth shows that he is ready for the next generation of defenders to take on a larger role.

Another development this month was Landon Donovan’s public assertion that he would like to return to the national team, if given the chance. Given the utter lack of viable wing options in the pool it is a safe to project Donovan as a member of the 2014 World Cup team if he is healthy and still wants to play.

There weren’t a bunch of changes to the projected 2013 World Cup team, with Donovan among the few new faces who weren’t in our January projection.

Here is the latest SBI projection for the 23 players we see on the 2014 U.S. World Cup roster (yes, assuming the U.S. qualifies):


(Changes from December in bold, new additions to the Missed the Cut list are in bold italics)

GOALKEEPERS– Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Sean Johnson

Outlook– The top two spots are set in stone, but the third goalkeeper position will continue to circulate between Johnson, Nick Rimando and Bill Hamid.

Missed the cut– Rimando, Bill Hamid.


DEFENDERS– Fabian Johnson, Timmy Chandler, Geoff Cameron, Omar Gonzalez, Maurice Edu, Matt Besler, Michael Parkhurst, Edgar Castillo

Outlook– With Eric Lichaj seeing no playing time in recent weeks for Aston Villa it is tough to project him being a part of Klinsmann’s World Cup plans right now. Castillo is starting for the defending Mexican League champions, and recorded a game-winning assist in Copa Libertadores action. There is a new name in the Missed the Cut section. German-born John Anthony Brooks is an intriguing prospect, and while he is still raw, his continued strong play for Hertha Berlin has him in the conversation. The real question is whether he will play for the U.S. or Germany. That’s a question that may not be answered until the summer.

Missed the cut– Bocanegra, Cherundolo, Oguchi Onyewu, Clarence Goodson, Eric Lichaj, John Anthony Brooks, Brad Evans, Justin Morrow


MIDFIELDERS– Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Jermaine Jones, Danny Williams, Graham Zusi, Brek Shea, Josh Gatt, Landon Donovan

Outlook– Landon Donovan is back in the picture, and while he’s still a month away from soccer activities, he does sound like someone ready to get back into the mix. No other changes to the list but Joe Corona is climbing the charts as he gains more valuable experience with Club Tijuana, most recently starting in Copa Libertadores. Jose Torres is also boosting his stock by playing well for Mexican League leaders Tigres.

Missed the cut– Sacha Kljestan, Corona, Alejandro Bedoya, Stuart Holden, DaMarcus Beasley, Nick DeLeon, Jose Torres, Mix Diskerud, Kyle Beckerman,


FORWARDS– Jozy Altidore, Eddie Johnson, Terrence Boyd, Herculez Gomez

Outlook– No changes to this group as Altidore and Boyd continue to score goals in Europe and Gomez continues to see regular playing time under Santos Laguna’s new manager (even if the goals aren’t coming as frequently as they used to). Eddie Johnson didn’t do too much against Honduras, but he’s primed for a big year in Seattle and should remain in the middle of the forward conversation for the USMNT.

Missed the cut– Juan Agudelo, Chris Wondolowski, Chris Pontius, Will Bruin.


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.


  1. Gk: Howard, Guzan, Rimando

    CB: Gonzalez, Besler, John, Hedges

    FB: Cameron, Johnson, Parkhurst, Lichaj

    D-mids: Jones, Bradley, Edu

    A-mids: Dempsey, Herc, Corona

    Wings: Donovan, Gatt, Shea, E. Johnson

    Fwds: Altidore, Boyd

  2. JK is clearly at a disadvantage with injuries, return to form, and lack of playing time for the majority of field players on the USMNT.

    Four german-American players are enough, we won’t see more.

    All the other players mentioned are either too in-experienced or not good enough to take over from the veterans at any point. JK is in a bind.

    Players in the mexican league are either not impressive or are no better than alternatives in MLS.

    Now, there’s the rub. Are any of the MLSers really going to help us qualify, to even get to the WC’s.

    I don’t think so, that include EJ, Zusi, and Wondo-works.

    • As long as we put 11 players functioning as a machine without a lot of space between the Defense, Midfield, and Forwards we can play with anyone. When we play as a more compact team moving north/south east/west we play the way Klinnsman wants: up tempo, pressure on defense, 1 and 2 touch passing, backs overlap, and the goals come. I have seen the USMNT do this, but not on a consistent level. I included a link to point out exactly what I am saying. You can pause, rewind, and see the numbers around the ball on offense and defense. Look at the movement and positioning of players OFF the ball:

  3. Klinnsman had 3.5 weeks with players before the last Canada match and around half time he mentioned the team needed to show more urgency. What about those 3.5 weeks? You have to look at Klinnsman. During and after the Honduras game I never mentioned a player playing badly because as a whole the team was bad. When I look at the whole team I look at Klinnsman. Sure, we beat Italy, Mexico, but that can be contributed to individual’s making a difference and not a team difference in the approach to the game. The USMNT is a reflection of its’ leadership (Klinnsman). Enter US U-20 and Tab Ramos. Tab had a 50/50 mixed result of team play against Haiti who has a good level of team skill and came to play. Haiti is that good. Tab Ramos made some tactical changes and the team made a much better collective effort for 90+ minutes. I’m sure the U-20 team will play as well or better against Canada today. As long as Ramos is around I am not too worried about Klinnsman anymore. I am so happy for all Ramos has done as a coach and hope he continues to climb.

    • I meant the U-20 made a better collective effort over 90+ minutes against Costa Rica after making roster changes. Much better possession and much better defense due to the team playing more compact in midfield AND getting some play on the wings too.

    • +1 I was really impressed with how Ramos identified exactly what needed to be changed tactically and then made those changes, as opposed to Klinsmann who usually just says we need to show more urgency and play the ball quicker.

      • One thing you can credit Bob Bradley for is his willingness to make a change when things weren’t working. He routinely made halftime subs that made positive impact. When a starting 11/tactics aren’t getting the job done, there is no shame in making a halftime change to bring some life to the team.

  4. I’d like to see this for the worldcup lineup.

    Altidore Gomez


    Donovan Holden


    Johnson Edu Cameron Chandler


    This team will be ready. Go Yanks!

  5. I still can’t believe JK started two newbies in central defense in the first road game and left Bocanegra on the bench. A really dumb and avoidable mistake.

    • Agree. It would have been more productive to have Bocanegra and Gonzalez paired in central defense so Bocanegra can use leadership and guide hime the way Gregg Berhalter did for the Galaxy. This does not mean anything negative on Gonzalez. Bocanegra could keep him calm, help him to anticipate the game, and point out tendencies of U.S. Players…A fact is fact, but Howard did not play the ball to the backs very often in the last game.

      • It doesn’t matter how much leadership you put out there with Gonzo.

        Cameron got burned due to a tactical error. Boca would have gotten burned by speed.

        Boca + Gonzo = same (or worse) result.

    • It wasn’t a mistake. Gonzo needed to be broken into the lineup sooner than later. The sooner he is, the sooner Besler can start getting groomed as #3 in case of injury. The fact is, Boca’s lost a step and is no longer getting the PT that has allowed him to stay competitive. Goodson’s simply not that good. Ream hasn’t been getting the PT needed to overcome his mistake-prone nature. DeMerit’s injury prone. Borchers is not as good as DeMerit and is also injury-prone. Chad Marshall hasn’t been anywhere near his level of several years ago. JAB may or may not commit to the US and is just as internationally inexperienced as some of our other CBs. Edu gets club PT as a midfielder. While he showed against Mexico he can play CB in a pinch, he’s guaranteed to make an error at some point simply through unfamiliarity with the position. It was an unfortunate situation to start Gonzo w/ Cameron, but it was absolutely necessary.

      Yes, there were some vital hiccups, but the midfield didn’t do its job keeping pressure off the backline and getting the ball to attackers, especially in the 2nd half. You can win a game 4-3 with defensive errors, but not 0-1 with a mostly perfect defense.

      • Thats the difference with quality professional defenders. You cannot switch off or make a mistake or it will completely undo an entire game’s worth of great defending. Defenders are punished heavily for mistakes. That’s the nature of the business. Good defenders minimize those mistakes. You can’t really say someone had a “perfect” game, which Gonzo was far from, if they made a mistake leading to a game winning goal. Gonzo wasn’t the only player to make an error, but his mind switched off for a second during Honduras’ second goal. That cost us a point.

    • Mr. Guy,

      Isn’t 20/20 hindsight wonderful?

      What would you have done?

      Would you have been happier if JK had brought in Goodson to start next to Boca?

      And if Goodson had gifted Honduras a goal by making the same mistake Gonzo made, something Goodson has done recently, then what would you say?

      And if Boca had gifted Honduras a goal by making the same mistake Gonzo made, something Boca has done recently, then what would you say?

      Given their recent USMNT form Boca and Godson have no fans here; most of you ( maybe not you Mr. Guy) want their passports revoked.

      So now with perfect hindsight, why are you blasting JK for giving you what you want and picking your dream CB duo, bearing in mind that this may not apply to you Mr. Guy?

      So he finally gave them a chance and they let him down. Players screw up; get used to it.

      And, of course it is JK’s fault that Cameron plays like crap and Gonzo makes an error most of you would not have made had you been wearing the #5 shirt that day.

      Gonzo is a very good player. You do not expect him to make the error he made, newbie or not. And you don’t expect guys like Cameron and Howard, who made the initial clown mistakes leading to Gonzo’s mistake, to make them either. Eliminate that mistake and the game maybe stays tied.

      I think JK started the duo because it has become apparent the US is going to need them and maybe Besler, right now. He wants them ready for Costa Rica in Denver. The sooner the better, so he threw them in the deep end. It’s sink or swim time and they sank.

      The silver lining is it was the first game and there are still 9 games and 27 points out there left to be had.

      17 points or more will likely get you qualified.

      And now the center back pair of the present and the future has been blooded in a very hostile place so they should be better.

      JK made the right call.

      The fact that Howard, Cameron and Gonzo screwed up that one play does not make it a mistake. Those two, with maybe Besler in the mix, are probably going to be the first choice CB pairing going forward and the more time together they get the better.

  6. The Klinnsman era is depressing at the moment. A tie against Costa Rica and a game in Azteca is very possible and could leave the squad with 1 point after a third of the hex is complete. Talent is there in certain positions but until our midfield can link up with the forwards things will continue to look bleak in an ever improving Concacaf region. If Klinnsman wants to turn things around in the qualifiers he needs to figure out how to properly utilize Jermaine Jones and Danny Williams/Mo Edu with Bradley. If that means taking taking at least one or both of these guys out and playing a player like Corona, Diskerud, Zusi, or Sacha instead, that is a chance Jürgen will have to take. If anyone remembers how some unknown guy like Charlie Davies emerged, Bob Bradley gave him a shot when things started looking bleak in the Confed Cup.

    I really see a 4-2-3-1 type formation working best with the current player pool. Obviously wing play is a question mark but I think Jürgen can get by with a 4-3-3 until we wait for Donovan, Shea, and Gatt to play in May camp.

    • agreed. Klinsmann has to bite the bullet and limit the starting line-up to only two d-mids and insert an attacking mid, maybe Joe Corona.

      • Interesting that the “attacking” Klinsi is being told to “limit” the team to 2 d-mids, while Bradley was excoriated for using 2 d-mids.

      • Agreed. I cannot figure out where the guy is coming from. Maybe Paul Garnder knows.

        Hey! Paul Gardner! Do you have any insight why Klinsmann, who advocates attacking, possession-oriented soccer, loves to use three or four d-mids in his starting line-ups? If yes, please let us know.

    • But, MikeG, Fabian has not played left wing/midfield for club or country for a long time and no doubt would be rusty. We have bona fide left wingers at club level, like Shea and Beasley, and those are the guys who should get the nod against CR/Mexico.

  7. It would be nice if youth soccer at the state level, all other youth soccer organizations, and perhaps even elementary and middle school all play 5 VS 5 either indoors or on a basketball court or other suitable size area. The elementary school districts have all the resources for kids to play 5 vs 5 on school grounds. The ideal age group would be K – U12. PE teachers would be primary sources of training and they can begin with Coever material. This could be one excellent way to incorporate the school system in to the US Soccer Federation in some way or form. This would increase the level of play in high school and NCAA when players progress to 11 vs 11 at 12 years old. This is one sure way for players and coaches/teachers to improve the game at the grass root level in the country..only then will we be a true world power.

    • A lot of programs have already moved to this model, or a similar one, which I understand was started by the Dutch. Around 2000 our program moved to 4 v 4 games (no goalies) for the U8 and below with 7 v 7 (w/ goalies) for the U12s and U10s. It gave the kids lots more time on the ball and the opportunity to develop their ball skills.

      The other big issue I would love to see “fixed” is the unlimited subs for college. Its high time the games there were more in line with professional games with limited subs.

  8. my dark horse for 2014 Jerome Wotten, I think this kid will be ready by summer time. He is playing the right wing with a lot of heart and his defense is already there. You want a player like him when we are going against the bigger teams.

  9. ______________________Howard______________________





    • Holden at R Mid? Come on’!

      At best, he is a central midfielder.

      He isn’t close to be playing for the USMNT.

      Since Bradley and Jones have to accept defensive duty,

      Dempsey has to play behind Altidore, and do it well.

  10. On the club level, our midfield is stacked with legit, proven talent, same with our forwards. Our fullbacks have more potential than any other position. If we can figure out a centerback tandem and a system to best utilize our strengths, this team has the talent to make a deep run.

  11. Depending on results, I wouldn’t be surprised if this MLS season could bring out a young new forward into the mix like a Sapong, McInerney, Salgado, Gil, or possibly a speedy winger type which players like Gatt, Shea and Donovan have abilities to provide but aren’t truly those types. Or a player like DeLeon (who’s already in the mix) might just prove that he’s ready for the A squad. That being said, B teamers will also have a chance to prove international worthiness in the Gold Cup this summer. As far as I’m concerned, EJ and Gomez’s spots are anything but concrete for 2014. For Boyd and Altidore, it’s their’s to lose.

    • Or Wondo could continue his MLS scoring lead. It would make it hard to bring anyone else from MLS who could not at least approximate his strike rate. EJ and Gomez have always been streaky players, both have been given up on in the past, how well they perform will determine their inclusion or not.

      As they say on Wall street, past performance is no guarantee of future performance, but it really the only concrete evidence we have. Past performance, at least for club where most games are played, Wondo is the clear choice among those two and some unamed young MLSer.

      • +1, Dennis. I want to see Wondo given a chance with the A-team. I think there is a chance he would surprise. He certainly cannot do any worse than Jozy, who has not scored a field goal in his last 14 USMNT games dating back to 2011.

  12. Bocanegra isn’t starting, why bother in calling him. Also, this time Cameron and Gonzale will have more of standarding, the condition won’t hot and humid, I wish just USSF did better in preperation with USNT like two friendlies are March and Camp start it late Feb but Gulati is mediocre.

  13. Michael Landrup announced that, while flattered by all the rumors, especially the ones linking him to Real Madrid, he plans to stay with Swansea City through at least next season. If Paul Gardner and others get their wish, and JK is run out on a rail, is it permissible to start a draft Landrup for USMNT manager talk?

    • Ah yes, a coach who just took the team to its highest win percentage year ever is going to be run out on rail because of one road loss against a good team in central america.

      • No, it’s not one loss. It’s all the games since he took over. There were a couple of good results, achieved by bunkering down and thanks to Howard’s heroics, in not terribly important friendlies, but there hasn’t been a single game under Klinsmann in which the team played well.

        And stop bringing up the meaningless highest win percentage — let’s schedule a few more friendlies, preferably against the likes of Antigua and Barbuda (since Canada and Jamaica are too tough for us), and improve on it.

      • So why haven’t any other years done so well? They have those not terribly important friendlies too.

        And that’s an outright lie that there hasn’t been a single game. An outright, clearly biased, with an agenda lie.

        We trolled Guatemala just in October. That was the last competitive match we played before Honduras.

        Great memory though.

      • A –

        I forgot to use my sarcasm font. I just figured it’d be fun to throw out the flavor-of-the-moment manager(Although I do rate Michael Landrup very highly) as a “solution” to the Nats’ “malaise. FWIW, I agree with your earlier post that Gardner lost any credibility with his Joe Buck-style rant against Jermaine Jones.

    • And if you think you’re going to be taken seriously quoting an article where the author says this…

      “I can find nothing positive to say about Jones, a player with an appalling disciplinary record in the Bundesliga, the player whose gratuitous and nastily and dangerously vicious foul on Neymar during that Brazil game should have led Klinsmann to disown him.”

      …then don’t bother being taken seriously.

      • That “gratuitous and nastily and dangerously vicious foul on Neymar” was a poignant message to Marcelo:

        “The ref’s not calling your fouls on us, but I’m keeping tally.”

        Gardner’s a joke. Shame he gets paid to be one.

    • Landrup would be solid – but, I prefer Roberto Martinez if push came to shove. interesting the knives out for JK are appearing at an increasing rate.

  14. good 23. it will be interesting to see if any of the vets: Boca, Dolo or Holden make it back to the team this summer. I think 2/3 could be very useful..

    good to see that we have agudelo, mix, torres, corona, etc all waiting for their chance; just in case of an injury (knock on wood).

    • Thanks for the link. Hilarious article by Paul Gardner, who is basically calling Klinsmann a wierdo. I don’t agree with some of his points, especially his disgust for Jermaine Jones, but he does make a few valid points.

      • Klinsmann is a little different. I think we can give him that. The rest of the article is garbage in my opinion.

        Whats with the hatred or “gurus?” Every major professional team has these. A nutritionist and fitness expert…. What would be wrong with that? If the alternative is something like my old high school team was… Conditioning: get on the line and do sprints… Nutrition: eat some pasta…..

        The use of specialists in these areas can only help us.

  15. Although I have to agree that JK will probably pick most of these players I feel its setting us up for an early exit like 06. Look at 2010 world cup rosters. Spain, Germany, Holland were led by mostly U25 players. Brazil and Italy, 2 of the biggest disappointments were built similar to our projected 23 man roster. We need to get younger (like Mexico did) and build the players that have a chance to be world class as opposed to playing the older, more sound players but no chance of being champions league caliber. I wish JK would turn the keys over to Brooks, Mixx, Shea, Boyd, Agudelo, etc instead of keep trotting out EJ, Herc, Boca, Zusi. Most teams have 2-3 veterans on a team. We have Howard, Dempsey, and Cameron (who will be 29 in Brazil). If Lando gets back thats another 30 year old. Throw in Bradley and Jozy and Id go so far as to say we dont need J.Jones’s “leadership” either. Sadly I know its a pipe dream

  16. Will Agudelo being stuck on a bad MLS team hinder his chances of making the 23? He hasn’t produced the numbers in MLS that a player with his talent is capable of. Is that down to a poor supporting cast or just poor performances? He has looked like a good bench option for the US despite his lack of MLS productivity. I’d take him over someone like Gatt at this point

      • My patience is wearing thin with that kid. He needs to relax and use the skills God gave him when he has the ball at his feet. Don’t know what Klinsi put in the Kool Aid, but Juan seems too tense and is starting to look a lot like the younger Eddie Johnson.

      • In order for Aguedelo to make it, he’d have to get to Europe, settle down, then start performing there. I don’t want to doubt him, but that’s a mighty difficult thing to accomplish. Plenty of people with better footing in the national team camp have gone to Europe to fall off the cliff and never be heard of again.

      • Dennis,

        EJ went to Europe, learned a lot, made good money, and probably had a pretty good time.

        He’s come back far more mature and a better, more polished player. At 28 he is still young and has a good shot at making the 2014 WC team. MLS is far better than when he left and he could have a long, good future here.

        A man could do a lot worse.

    • My impression of Agudelo is he’s like one of those guys you get at pickup games. A flashy dribbler, all kinds of skill. He’s in love with the ball, so much that he forgets to pass or shoot. You end up sorry he’s on your team.

  17. I don’t understand how Jermaine Jones can be mentioned as being a bad bet to make the World Cup team. Does anyone really feel that way? His general performance against Honduras was no worse than any of the other midfielders, inlcuding Michael Bradley, whose corner kick in the 90th minute for a chance to get the equalizer flew over the goal and out of bounds almost reaching the ozone. And Jones delivered a magnificent pass to Clint Dempsey for the USMNT’s only goal.

    And after Jones’s man-of-the-match performance against Galatasaray in the Champions League and his strong performance over the weekend against Dusseldorf, I cannot imagine any USMNT fan hoping that Klinsmann kicks him off the team. As long as Jones stays fit he will be one of a handful of key players for the WC 2014 in Brazil either as a starter or a super sub.

    • Some people around here have a weird grudge against Jermaine Jones. It’s odd because he is pure class on the pitch and easily better than every other DM/CM we have sans maybe Bradley. I for one look forward to seeing him represent in Brazil.

    • I think frustration with Jones is more representative of the frustration with the system and lack of attack than the player himself. Jones hasn’t set the world alight with the US, but he is one of our best players. We just need to find a system that suits our current player pool.

      • absolutely. jones, altidore, dempsey, bradley, edu, ej, etc all seem to be in good places with their clubs. now we just need Jurgen to figure out how to put them into the national team. they all seem to play similar roles on both teams.. it might just be a matter of time.

    • Agreed. People are so illogical when it comes to bashing JJ.

      He’s been average at worst in pretty much every USMNT appearance. Any outliers had good reason (altitude, out of season), etc.

      He’s also been a beast several times, and has been on fire for Schalke recently.

      There is no way–barring injury–he misses out on WC2014.

  18. Looking at this roster is pretty sad. Our development has taken a huge step back and I don’t know why. In 02 our team was loaded. Have we regressed that much?

    • no, we haven’t regressed that much, you’re just looking 10 years back with rose-colored glasses. Agoos? Hedjuk? Mastroeni? Regis? C’mon now, we had one, maybe two, players who could start for top-flight teams back then. We have 5-6 now.

      The difference is that Concacaf teams are catching up to us. that explains the small margin of error.

      • I agree. MLS is giving the rest of Concacaf regular playing time with “quality” clubs. It seems to be benefiting other Concacaf nations as much or more so than the US. The home grown player rule and the development of academy sides at MLS clubs might change all that, but for now it is a good time to be from the Carribean, Canada, or Central America. I don’t think our ’02 side was loaded either. Tony Sanneh? Clint Mathis?

      • Fwd: McBride over Altidore

        Fwd: 02 Donovan over Dempsey

        MF: Reyna over current Donovan

        MF: OBrien over J Jones

        MF: 02 Beasley over D Williams

        MF: Bradley over Hejduk

        RB: Sanneh over Chandler

        CB: Pope over Cameron

        CB: Berhalter over Boca or Gonzo

        LB: 02 Cherundolo over F Johnson

        GK: wash

        I would take Mastroni over D Williams any day of the week. I’d also take Clint Mathis over any other US attacker in the current pool.


      • you’re not comparing players who play the same position. landon 2002 and dempsey 2013 don’t play the same role, and landon 2013 and reyna 2002 don’t play the same position. beasley was a winger, williams is a d-mid. and you lose all credibility when you compare MB to hedjuk (who as an outside back)

      • +1, not everyone lines up. overall the ’02 team and ’13 team are close. On paper the current side is slightly better but that team played like a team.

      • McBride was never as polished with his feet as is Jozy, Jozy doesn’t get the ball because of Klinsi’s tactical choices. In the right environment, he is much more imposing.

        02 Donovan and current Clint are too different to compare.

        Reyna was just the best we had, he was never that good. But, yeah, we still suck at that position.

        Beasley and OBrien? We can compare them after the WCup 2014. Beasley had speed, but always lacked in touch and tactical ability.

        The whole defense corps sucked. Current group can’t/won’t be worse. Dolo wasn’t half the player he is now (pre-recent injury) do you remember how many times he got smoked out in space? Despite his speed? I used to dread hearing that he made the starting 11. Now he is very smart and has redeemed his career threefold, but this is ’02 we are talking about.


      • Why would McBride play with his feet when his game was in the air.

        If you put 02 team vs our best team now 02 wins hands down. A much better TEAM.

      • GK wash?

        Friedel put on the greatest WC display by a US keeper ever.

        Howard’s 2010 display was a damp squib in comparison..

        Today, Friedel is still a better keeper.

      • Ty,

        I get the impression that you think if you lineup these 22 guys , assign them all numeric ratings,then

        whichever team has the higher cumulative rating is the better team.

        Is that what you think?

        Because, if so,that is not how it works.

        That 2002 team, if they were in their tournament form, would beat today’s guys every single time.

        JK hasn’t finished building this team yet. It’s too bad but they will be built over qualifying and if successful will continue that process leading up to the World Cup.

        It is not unusual for national teams that have little time together . Why do you think qualifying is so hard for so many of the “bigger” teams around the world? It’s because many of them often go through this same sort of transition period during qualifying.


        The key is to keep getting results even though you are playing like crap. This is America, we should all be familiar with the idea that all that matters is getting into the playoffs ; after that anything can happen.

        JK will have to build this team that way and we’ll see whether they have enough to get through.

        By the way, I’d take 2002 every time because they had a lot more ways to attack you and score, both the 02 Donovan and JOB were twice the player of anyone currently on the USMNT and Friedel was nearly unbeatable, a class above Howard .

    • I would say no. That ’02 team was a mini golden generation due to the emergence of a few players who took the world by surprise. It’s a comic book hypothetical, but: imagine how much better LD and Beasley might have become were they born in 2005 (academies, college, and 20/20 hindsight) instead of the 1970/80s (pay to play… if you were noticed in the first place).

      In hindsight, if we look at development instead of results, the ’02 team was sort of a fools-golden generation; they gave us the appearance of an arrival on the world stage, but as we now understand it, our development system is both thin (few decent scouts for a wide area) and perhaps a bit misguided (wins over development, athletes over “footballers”, pay to play, etc.).

      As for a fix to all this, we are in transition. The results aren’t what we would like for 2014, but oh well. In any event, I’m not going to dog the whole system based on one particularly poor recent performance.

  19. My darkhorse pick is Shawn Parker. Another German dual national. But has made 7 appearances (5 starts) for Mainz in the bundesliga. He’s only 19 and plays a wide winger. He’s played for Germany’s youth team but has zero shot at Brazil and is in a crowded group of talent just older and younger than him. He could start for us for 3 world cups and be the new donovan. I hope JK reaches out to him.

    • Interesting prospect, but until he’s committed to the USMNT he’s not someone we’d list. At least Brooks has been to a camp. Same applies to Johansson. Also, Parker has seven appearances and two red cards. Nice rate.

    • I’d put Wood as a darkhorse if he continues performing as a winged-forward and stays injury-free. Munich should move up next season so he’ll have a season to prove himself at the top level.

      • Hard to rule out any strikers at this point considering what happened last cycle with Buddle and Gomez. I’m pretty confident Jozy and Boyd will make it. Gomez is aging and isn’t irreplaceable. EJ is just the in form striker at the moment. If he cools off someone else could easily take his place. That 4th striker spot should go to the hot hand (foot?).

  20. that’s a very young and inexperienced defensive crew. For them to be properly season by june 2014, Klinsmann basically has to commit to starting them each and every game between now and them (assuming they’re healthy) and not toggle back and forth to Boca and Dolo. And i’m not sure he’s ready to do that. and if OG or Cam get injured, we’re screwed at CB.

    Midfield looks pretty solid. I think it lacks another creator a la Holden/Benny/Adu (yeah, i said it), but people need to stop assuming MB and JJ play the 6 position, cuz they don’t, at least not for the Nats.

    EJ does not belong in the offensive groupl He had an above-average MLS season and one great game in qualifying, and now he’s an automatic call-up? I don’t think so

    • People want to see more forward drive from the center of our midfield. I think with JJ and MB, most fans don’t like them being our to more forward central midfield players. The problem is they are 2 of our best players.

      1)We can drop 1 and play someone who can give a little more offense through the center. I would not count on that happening as both are good players and Klinsmann favorites.

      2) Play one of them in the #6 role and insert a more attacking player in the middle 3. Klinsmann has shot this idea down before saying he doesn’t see either as a 6.

      3)Revert back to the “empty bucket” approach of the Bradley days while adding another striker. Been there done that in my opinion. No thanks

      4) My personal favorite is using them as a “double pivot” at the base of our midfield. No need for a traditional #6. Allow them some freedom to get forward at times with each covering the others’ forward runs. Takes a good understanding of each other (when to sprint forward/hold your position ect) but I think it gives us the most tactical flexibility.

      5) other options as well but I can’t list everything

  21. With the team playing poorly, this roster is wide open everywhere except goalkeeper. There are a ton of players who could step up and grab a starting spot with good club play. Not that it’s likely, but I could definitely see someone like Bruin having a monster year and grabbing a spot.

  22. I am just glad to see that, maybe for the first time, there are multiple quality players who won’t make that cut in this WCup cycle. That indicates more depth and more pressure on those who do make the cut. Knock MLS and Klinsi all you want, but it is MLS and German talent that is swelling our ranks enough to give USSoccer some tough choices.

      • What did you expect? A dazzling display of tiki-taka?

        Do you know how many games Bob Bradley had before his first WC qualifier? 24.

        JK had 13 games before his first USMNT WC qualifier.

      • That doesn’t make the team any less average at the moment.

        We really lack an identity. Ask any 10 people what formation/starting 11 we should use and its entirely possible you will get 10 different answers. Klinsmann just hasn’t found the right formula for the team. His time is running out.

    • I don’t know… Galaxy own the skies like the Israeli air force with Gonzales in there. I’m hoping that could translate into something useful for the Nats

      • He was a problem last game but (with the future in mind) I actually trust him FAR more than Cameron or the other established candidates. I would like to see John in there and also some more defensively sound wingbacks step up into the fold

  23. Gatt really hasn’t shown much to me (in admittedly brief viewings) except blazing speed and a willingness to run at defenders. While that is certainly amazing, he definitely needs to improve his decision making, as you can certainly tell his mind doesn’t move fast enough for the international game.

    If Donovan is definitely back and Shea plays well, I would take a playmaker (Corona or Torres) for Gatt (and possibly the other, or Beasley, for Eddie Johnson).

    • I agree regarding Gatt, particularly with the part regarding his decision making, but he is only 21 and has time to improve prior to WC 2014.

  24. I won’t be counting on Landon Donovan for 2014. I think if he needed a break than he had every right to take it, but no one can also count out the fact that he might get back and still feel the same way, or feel that way a month before the world cup.

  25. My thoughts:

    I don’t see Parkhurst making it if he remains getting zero PT

    I’m not so sure Klinsmann sees Edu as a defender anymore. He looked much better than Williams in MF in relief of Danny Williams vs Honduras

    With Danny Williams seeing no PT lately, I’d swap him and Kljestan

    I think Brek Shea could start pushing EJ for the LW spot if he continues to see 1st team minutes.

    • Good points. But Parkhurst started last week and probably would have this week if he didn’t have an illness.

      I’d agree about Edu’s position being in DM, fighting for it against Williams.

      Brek can easily get in over EJ if we’re thinking EJ is coming in as a winged forward. Next season is an exciting one for our youth.

  26. I think we should see Sacha Kljestan if he continues to play well in Belgium. Even with the addition of Donovan that midfield looks too defensive.

    • +1. Without LD in that group, there’s almost NO attacking prowess. I see one of Sacha, Benny, or hopefully a fully primed and healthy Stu included for sure.

    • He has the talent, but didn’t show the toughness JK has stated he wants from the team. I remember he was continuously out-muscled in his one appearance for the Nats in 2012. As if that wasn’t enough, he then proceeded to pull a Michael Findley(IE, complain to the ref about a non-call, while leaving the team short-handed as the ball moved in the other direction) multiple times. I think he’ll be on the Gold Cup roster, just not the WCQ roster.

      • the runout Benny got vs. Canada in 2013 saw him as the best USMNTer on the field! the lone player with the vision and skill to effectively link forward consistently…the missing ingredient to JK’s teams!!!

        just does not compute that he is not in the mix. this whole toughness apology is BS, sounds like you’re taslking about Torres, who gets called up all the time. Go read what Vermes said about Benny.

      • JK was very complimentary about Benny after the January camp. He said he wants him to get settled at KC and is confident Vermes will be good for him.

        Benny’s biggest problem is consistency. If he can have a good run at KC that would be a big his USMNT chances.

      • He is a defensive liability, which is why Bob Bradley dropped him as a STARTER after 2 years. He paired with Michael Bradley as a starter for almost 2 years until Bradley finally gave up. Talented, but no “D”.


    • No way Chandler can play as bad as he did last game. That being said him and Johnson are likely the two fullbacks.

      If it were up to me, I’d have Gonzalez and Besler play together in central defense, they looked solid in the Canada friendly. It’s worth a shot, and that would free up Cameron to play further up the pitch. Maybe this???







    • I don’t think he’s back in training, but at least he’s started running again, from what I’ve read. People always write him off, and for some reason I’m still surprised when they do. Until it’s clear that he’s lost it, which I think he’ll retire before, he’s undoubtedly our best RB.

    • I can’t believe Ives is putting Gatt over Klejstan. It always comes down to personal preference, and sometimes certain players fit certain roles on certain teams, so who knows? But for me, Gatt has a LONG way to go. The guy plays in a league that isn’t as good as MLS, and its not like he’s considered the best player in the league.

      • Klejstan hasn’t performed once for the national team. He’s too physically slow for a wing position and too slow mentally for a central one. Plus the competition is too strong. Who is he going to oust in the middle? Bradley, Jones, Holden (fingers crossed)? Or comparable bench spots – Mix? Mix who has performed every game he’s played?

        As for a winged position, Klejstan just doesn’t bring an X factor off the bench. Gatt brings extraordinary speed. Plus, they are vying for positions 20-23 which won’t see much game time. So I’d rather we see youth there.

      • Kjlestan scored a hatter a couple of years ago in a January friendly and has had some mixed performances scattered around since then. To say he has never performed for the US is just incorrect. (I’ve noticed that is kind of a theme in your posts. Making absolute statements that don’t stand up to facts) Saying Mixx has “always” performed for us is a bit misguided too. He has played like 45 minutes for the national team and didn’t even make the bench for the recent Canada friendly. That should not be ignored.

        To be fair to Kljestan, he very seldom gets played in central midfield. I think he could do a good job for us there, but if Klinsmann won’t give him the opportunity there isn’t much he can do.

        Including Gatt says a bit about our wing options at the moment. The roster needed some variety and a winger. Enter Gatt. The fact that we have to include a kid who has made 2 unspectacular caps to be that “x factor” on the team isn’t great news.

        On another note, that back line is scary inexperienced. Edu is the only one with any world cup experience and he isn’t even a defender. Why is he still being listed there? He has only appeared there a couple of times under Klinsmann and is more often used in the midfield. They are a very versatile group though.

      • Kjlestan scored three against a C Swedish side. That’s not performing. Taking away the three he put away against that Swedish side, Kjlestan is tied with Mix on goals scored in 10 times the amount of games.

        Mix can only do things with what he’s given. He has been given three games and in those three, he has provided a gem of an assist away to South Africa and a goal away to Russia. To compare, you can say Mix has done more with 45 minutes than Kjlestan has done recently with hours and hours of more game time.

        I talk in absolutes when I believe them to be correct. Plus it makes for poor arguing if all my statements are surrounded by “maybe” or “kind of.” And I admit when my absolutes are wrong.

      • I’m not trying to be negative about Mixx, but the fact is that we really haven’t seen him play. 45 mins in 3 caps over the course of 2 years or so. That is nothing to work from. Not being selected for the bench for the Canada friendly was a big red flag for me. Klinsmann got a good look at him over the course of 3 weeks and didn’t want to include him, that speaks for itself. If there is any other information I haven’t heard in regards to that I’d be curious to hear it.

        No one on here can really speak too definitively about either player , because I doubt anyone gets to see either Mixx or Kljestan play for their clubs very often. What we do know is Sacha starts for the top team in Belgium and in European play. Mixx has bounced around a few scandanavian teams…

        At this point, I’m taking Sacha.

      • Fair enough. I just think his 45 minutes of productivity means he deserves a chance. And Klinsi came out and said Mix’s problem is that he doesn’t dig in enough – the same problem he has with Feilhaber. Until Klinsi realizes that creative players are more apt to look for space to make a pass, rather than track back 100 yards to make a tackle and have no one to pass to, we’re in trouble.

      • Gatt > Klejstan plain and simple he has so much more upside and is more polished than any other wingers plus Jose is a much better than him. like him alot hop he makes it but lets be real Gatt and Jose over him anyday

      • Gatt? Polished? Please. I agree on the upside, but right now his game is rougher around the edges as any winger in the pool.


      • If you’re talking about the Honduras match, that’s simply a false statement. He certainly didn’t raise the bar, though.

      • He’s not putting Gatt over Klejstan. They play two different positions. Gatt plays on the wing where you might have noticed, we are very thin on options. Klejstan is only effective in the middle where we are flush.

      • that was kinda my point. If Sasha were a comparably rated winger he would most likely make the cut, but compared to our other central players he’s not quite what we need. next time I’ll draw you a map.

      • If the bit we saw from Gatt against Honduras is representative of his soccer intelligence, He will not be on the 2014 roster. But he is young and can learn and improve. He certainly looked like he had more confidence than skill or brains, but that often describes 20 year-old young men. I hope for Gatt’s sake he does not get back in the US team until summer so he does have an opportunity to grow.

        It might be a bit early to rule Beasley out. and if Wondo keeps scoring in MLS and others do not it might be early to rule him out. Any of us who understand the need for soccer smarts in the back are worried about losing both Boca and Dolo, I hope at least one of them is healthy enough to provide the experience that is needed in the back.

      • 1st Gatt wasnt in the Honduras game.

        2nd, the only thing worse than losing experienced players is keeping players around longer than their effectivness. Boca, Dolo, and even Beasley, Jones, Donovan, Dempsey, Wondo, & Gomez are right on the line of where age effects the players abilities. There is the possibility (remote for sure) that all the above fail to make the team

      • Their abilities may be affected but many of the guys you listed will still be good enough to make the roster come next summer. I’m particularly worried about bringing too young/inexperienced of a back line. The guys Ives listed have very little in the way of international experience. Really hoping Cherundolo can hold on another year and make the roster. Even if he isn’t a starter, his wisdom, leadership and experience would be invaluable to the team.

    • It’s never a given that anyone will qualify. By that logic nobody should ever discuss the future where there isn’t a 100% certainty of result.

      That being said–we’re going to qualify. Take a deep breathe.

      • Could also be the full senior team that is performing how every senior team in qualifying has before them.

        For some reason people forget we lost a number of games against much worse opponents in ’06 and ’10 qualifying.

      • Hmm in 2010 qualifying one loss to T&T with a largely B team when we had locked up the next round and then two losses total in the following round: at Mexico and at Costa Rica as always.

        In 2006 no losses in our first round (a group with Jamaica and Panama); in the Hex, 2 losses:again Saprissa and Azteca.

        So far in this qualifying: 1 loss to Jamaica; 1 loss to Honduras. So while yes if we win out it remains about the same. What is bothering epeople though is that we have traditionalyl not lost in Honduras or Jamaica, but we did. We now have to make up for that with a win at Azteca or in Costa Rica where we typically do not win. You can downplay it, but there is reason for concern, especially when we watch how discombobulated the team has looked in all games where we don’t play pure counter attack against a team that dominates possession. throw into taht that we have been allowing goals at a disturbing pace: twice as many in the opening round as in 2010 and 2006.

      • @ Honduras this year will be much more difficult than @Costa Rica in previous years. It was our second most difficult match by far.

        In 2006, Costa Rica qualified with 4 losses and in 2010 Honduras and Costa Rica both qualified with 4 losses.

        We’re fine. We’ve been blown out on the road in both 06 and 10 WCQ. Take into account that we almost won despite missing our best player, having several others out of form and a new CB making a colossal error should help resettle that we’re going to be fine. We’ll pull points on the road in a draw or two and we’ll win at home.

      • the USMNT won at Honduras qualifying for the 2010, got beat on that racetrack concrete old school turf at Costa Rica, a venue i expect wil be just as inhospitable as it always is

      • So Four Loses seems to be the Mendoza line for qualification…

        Loss at Hondurus, I think we can predict a loss at Mexico, maybe a loss at Costa Rica and all of a sudden we are cutting a fine line. A screw up at home against Costa Rica and we only get a tie then we are really hurting… I really don’t want to be going into that final round with everyone knowing exactly what sort of result would mean the US would be out… Heck, I don’t even want to face a must win home and away against New Zealand

      • We traditionally don’t beat teams like Italy, tie teams like Russia, or win at against Mexico at Azteca- but we have/do now.. Be more optimistic, and you might live to see the US win the biggest final in the world… Lets Go You Yanks!


      • Agreed. We could have been eliminated up to the last game if I remember correctly, or at least only in the playoff.

        It’s one game consisting of two defensive mistakes, after coming off, statistically, our best year yet. Granted, our offense isn’t where we want it, but at least Klinsi has stopped the defense from leaking a goal every game around the 15 mark…

      • You don’t remember correctly about 2010, at least. We had the qualifying for the hex wrapped up with two games to spare (hence the loss at T&T with a B team), and we had a top three finish in the hex guaranteed after the victory at Honduras, with the game against Costa Rica to spare; the victory vs. T&T in the hex right before Honduras sealed a top 4 finish, and only some truly bizarre circumstances could have kept us out of the top 3 after T&T. So last time, it was very comfortable getting into the hex, and quite comfortable getting through the hex once we bounced back from the loss in CR with home victories against Honduras and T&T (we never expected to win or even draw in Mexico).

        I agree that there is no reason to panic–the tough road games at the beginning of the schedule this time will make it look like we are struggling more than we are, much a similar schedule did for Mexico in the 2010 hex. If we get the corresponding victories in response to the loss in Honduras (but these are just projected victories right now, and the team’s current level of play can inspire great confidence only in the most wistful of optimists or the most entrenched of apologists). But, to say that this is just business as usual for qualifying is, I think, not entirely accurate.

      • I stand corrected in terms of the last game, however, I still think the 2010 Hex was just as difficult for us, compared to everyone’s doom saying this time around.

      • Fair enough, Josh. But, it is also fair to point out that there was a LOT of doom saying after the loss in Costa Rica during the 2010 hex. We clearly were not going to qualify if we kept playing the way we were playing, in the formation we were playing, and with the players we were selecting. in that Costa Rica game we had Pablo Mastroeni in central midfield, Marvell Wynne at right back, and DeMarcus Beasley at left back, and we were trying to play a 4-3-3. That was not working. At all. After that game there were numerous changes in the players, the formation, and the approach to the hex. There was NOT much of a bland attitude that Bradley was doing just fine, qualification is assured, no real changes need to be made, etc. If we had not changed course, we would not have qualified. So, while panicking is a bad idea, feeling some anxiety and pressure to change is a good thing.

      • I’m going to go ahead and clear off some seats here on the Panic Train for all of you for after we screw up and get a draw against Costa Rica in Denver. Room for all!

        But then maybe we can turn around the excuses we used for Honduras (“Oh no, the 83 Degree heat was just too much!”) and we can say it was just too cold for our players in Denver.

    • Your not thinking about it but you read the article and then comment about it. I am so tired of people saying “Its not a given that we qualify”. Duh, we know that but that doesn’t mean it’s not an interesting piece that many Nat fans look.forward to reading.


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