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Donovan, Altidore, Howard headline strong 20-man USMNT roster for final qualifiers


Photo by John Todd/


Jurgen Klinsmann was not lying when he said he would bring in the best players available to the U.S. Men’s National Team’s final round of World Cup qualifying.

Landon Donovan, Tim Howard and Jozy Altidore headline a strong 20-man U.S. roster that Klinsmann unveiled on Sunday afternoon ahead of qualifiers against Jamaica and Panama. The U.S. head coach also called in veterans Jermaine Jones and DaMarcus Beasley and brought back players like Sacha Kljestan and Terrence Boyd, who were not in camp in September when the Americans qualified for the 2014 World Cup.

Three regulars that are not on the squad are Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley and Fabian Johnson. The trio were not selected because of injury. Young centerback John Brooks also missed out because of a knock.

The U.S. will host Jamaica in its final home match of 2013 on Oct. 11 before heading off to Panama to face Los Canaleros on Oct. 15.

Here is the full U.S. roster:

Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

Defenders: DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City) Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy)

Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Jermaine Jones (Schalke), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC)


What do you think of this roster? Any omissions/inclusions that you’re surprised by? Do you see this group of Americans winning their final two World Cup qualifiers?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. This squad is almost too strong for my taste. I would have liked to have seen one younger/newer face in defense and midfield. But hey, can’t complain too much. The biggest sad for me is no Brooks 🙁 He’s such an immense prospect. I almost hope he doesn’t play TOO well and get called up by Germany at some point. He’s got to be on their radar with his talents and skills.

    I want to see the Jozy-Bacon combo get some time up top. Boyd also needs a bit of run so we can continue to assess if he makes sense as a fifth forward for next summer.

    I want Bedoya, Diskeruud, and Kljestan to each get some run in midfield (and I’m pretty sure they will).

    I hope Cameron gets some time at CB next to Besler, as I’d like more evidence as to what kind of an understanding they have together – I’m still not sold on Gonzo due to his mental errors, though it is true that he and Besler are developing a solid partnership. I hope Cameron also gets some time at RB. I understand that he doesn’t offer as much going forward as Evans, but I’m not sure the gap is as wide as Klinsmann seems to think it is. And while Evans has done a fine job defensively, Cameron starts at RB every week in the toughest league in the world for one of its best defensive teams. He deserves every chance to fight for the starting RB job for the US.

    I also wish Fabian were available, as he also may be a good option at RB – he certainly offers more going forward than any other option there. I would like to have both Cameron and Johnson ready to start there next summer, with the choice depending on the matchup…

  2. I saw a user post something about a guy named Ogunbiyi and is a dual national and has akinfenwas strength whos playing in denmark is he any good. I prefer a Gonzo and Cameron tandem. Besler is ok but only at mls level just like zusi. I love Zusi in the mls but his work rate does not transfer to usmnt level and he should be left off all the squads.His spot is now left for Corona, Zardes,and Bedoya to take. Is lichaj good at lb?

  3. It seems to me that Altidore should not be in there. He hasn’t scored against any BPL team. How does Klinsmann think the US team is going to win with Alltidore waiting to be served. Did Klinsmann say he was watching how well everyone plays before choosing them? If Klinsmann can choose Altidore, he can choose Wondolowski who I think will be more likely to score right now. The selection process here in the US parallels the one in Germany by Loew who is also inconsistent in his choice of goal scorers. What kind of lottery is it that both of them are playing?

    • Obvioiusly you haven’t watched many Sunderland games. Altidore may not be scoring, but he is working his butt off. Lol at the mention of Wondo.

      • I have watched the Sunderland games and it doesn’t matter whether you have worked your butt off. To win you have to score. And Altidore has not scored. It also has to do with whether the players behind him are good enought etc. But that’s the conundrum. How can you tell whether someone can score or not. A forward has to depend on those who want to play with him. Same goes for the USMNT. There are probably many players in the MLS who have not scored as much because the players behind them are not quite as good as they ought to be. Still Altidore apparently is not convincing the players.

      • …no you must not have watched many Sunderland matches because it’s not jus his work rate. Altidore is one of the best players on that team, it’s obvious every time he plays. He holds the ball up well and is able to draw fouls in dangerous positions, as has been said numerous times before he isn’t getting the service to be able to say he can’t score in the EPL…. Thinking about it now I am going to assume you are being sarcastic about your whole post with that Wondolowski remark…that or your Wondolowski’s agent. And yeah, rip Loew, you’ll get a lot of backers there. Lol

      • My take on all of this is a bit on the side of sarcasm. I take any of these comments and articles with a wait-and-see attitude. My comments mostly speak to Klinsmann statements that he then doesn’t follow up on. When Bayern let him go it was partly becasue of his lack of consistency. Players sooner or later have to feel they are secure.

      • What does Bayern have to do with the USMNT? I see little if any comparison in the two situations.

        If you read his statements very carefully and then examine his actions very carefully then you will find that JK has been very consistent.

        Why do players have to feel secure? Insecurity is a basic tenet of competitive sport.

        A national team is not like a club team. The USMNT is more like a college team in that it is on a four year cycle. JK is in charge of the 2013-14 USMNT World Cup team.

        Once that tournament is over, that team will cease to exist and another one will be built for the next four year cycle. JK’s contract will be up and the cycle will begin again.

        Some elements will remain but it will be a different team.

    • Who would you play at forward then? He is the only forward we have even playing in a top 4 league. Everyone can hate Jozy’s move to Sunderland and point out he isn’t scoring but the fact is he’s pretty much all we’ve got. You really think Wondolowski doesn’t wait to be served? The only one even in the arguement is perhaps EJ did well enough to deserve anouther look.

      • Right now Wondo and Altidore play a very similar game. except that Wondolowski is much more likely to go back and help defend.

      • I don’t hate Altidore. He is a good player, but he is exactly what I was saying earlier. He is off-balance and therefore insecure because of all the surrounding stress (i.e. coach being replaced, worries about how he looks to others etc). That doesn’t alter the fact that he is apparently not able to generate goal. We’ll have to wait and see what happens against Jamaica. I hope he’ll do well.

    • You should watch Jozy play before you comment: Jozy Altidore made a huge move this summer to Sunderland, a team that has struggled and is already in the midst of a coaching change. While he hasn’t been on the scoreboard yet, how would you rate his progress there?

      JK: “I’m personally very, very happy with how Jozy is coming along in the Premier League so far. Yes he hasn’t scored the goals yet that he expects from himself, but I watch his games and he’s high energy and he’s a handful. He challenges back lines, and he’s often by himself and the support is not what it should be. He’s already been through a coaching change, which is not easy to digest. I see that jump to the Premier League being very positive. He challenges himself in a difficult environment and it’s coming along. He just needs to be patient, and his goals will come.” – See more at:

    • Be logical. If JK has called in Wondolowski before and still chooses Boyd over him, maybe that is an indication that he doesn’t think Wondolowski can add much to the squad.

      • Maybe you did not see the goal he scored that was wrongly disallowed. Great effort. Jozy not scoring at Sunderland is more about a lack of a strong attacking midfield than his ability IMHO.

      • I am not sure about that. Loew has some serious roster problems right now, and he doesn’t want to use Kiessling who was Germany’s most prolific scorer last year. I read German and I know that some of the best player are injured (Gomez, the Bender twins, Klose, and several others.)

  4. The multiple declarations that we are bringing in the A-squad and intend to win out puts some pressure on these guys to succeed. Now if we lose the excuse that “these games don’t matter, we’re already qualified” doesn’t bear any weight.

  5. What’s the injury situation with Gonzalez? I heard he was precautionarily pulled after 55 minutes today versus Chivas USA with a muscle injury. Likely to still go to KC?

    • Goodson has started to impress. I remember I remember the days when everyone cringed when he came on. Beslers passing and Intelligence are A+ but his marking is ummm let’s leave it at ok. Shame he and gonzo are injured. DEMERIT, HEDJUK COMEBACK!!!!

  6. So I thought that there was an unspoken agreement that DMB was only a temporary fix at LB. I am a little nervous that Klinsi is planing on going forward as is.

    I can’t be the only one that thinks he is a liability against top competition, right? Why not cut someones teeth in WCQ and the remaining friendlies?

    • As much as I’m not sold on Beasley, there really isn’t any other option I would trust more outside of Fabian Johnson, who is hurt.

      Hopefully someone does well at the January camp (like Chris Klute) to give us another option.

      • Kind of my point, and what is a better time to see what he offers, than a WCQ that is not a must win. I would even say we should look at Ream and Cameron as our outside backs.

      • I think that Lichaj is a good option at right back as he is naturaly right footed and should be given a chance but ream is a center back/ CDM and i think we are fine at left back with beas as the back up to fabian

      • I’m a Lichaj fan, and think he should be part of the squad – at RB. I think DMB is still a better option at LB.

  7. this is bs.. JK just threw a big stinker….

    no Arriola, Chandler Lichaj, Spector, Klute, Shea?

    Who is JK kidding, we know Castillo, Kyle Beckerman, Sacha Kljestan will not make it to Brazil.

    Evans/Cameron at RB, DMB/Castillo at LB….. Really???????

    If the WC was held next week, you might as well not watch…

      • This is a good point. Some of those players might be viable options for WC ’18, but likely won’t be on the ’14 roster. Even Lichaj. Which doesn’t bother me too much, since Cameron seems to be coming into his own at RB for Stoke.

      • Kyle Beckerman not going to Brazil????? Really?? I love how everyone goes against this man except every blogger/expert. How quick do you guys always get after he puts in a good performance that people start throwing him under the bus again.

  8. I really want to see Jozy and EJ start up top in a 4-4-2. I think it would be good to see what it looks like before the World Cup.

  9. I wish Joe Corona was getting more minutes for club, does anyone know if a transfer is likely?

    Surprised Goodson didn’t get the call-up, especially since he was the first guy called in last time after an injury.

    No Lichaj, but I guess that’s to be expected. I don’t profess to know if he’s an able contributor for us, but I’d at least like to see him get a shot.

    Here’s to hoping Johannsson gets major minutes.

    I imagine we’ll see Dolo in the next friendlies if he’s playing for club. I really hope he comes back strong. In the meantime, it will be interesting to see if the RB spot goes to Evans or Cameron, I suspect Evans, but I’d like to see Cameron there. LB is suspect too… Beasley or Castillo, hmm, lesser of two evils in my opinion.

    I thought there was a chance Jose Torres would get the call, but I’m happy with just Kliestjan and Mix. Maybe they each start one game, give them an equal chance to show their stuff. Paired with Jones (probably), or Beckerman maybe.

    Does Guzan get a shot? Doubt it, though now would be a fine time. Still a ways off of WC, but already qualified.

    Hopefully Boyd shows us something, it seems like he struggles every time for the Nats.

  10. Howard
    Cameron, Besler, Gonzo, DMB
    Becks, Jones
    Bedoya, Mix, Landon

    What I would like to see (against Jamaica)

    Cameron, Besler, Gonzo, DMB
    Bedoya, Jones, Mix, Landon
    Jozy, Aron

    The 4-2-3-1 is on the road in Panama.

    • That first lineup with Beckerman-Jones scares me a little. Maybe if we’re preserving a lead, otherwise I’d be worried about our ability to build out of the back.

      • Becks holds, and he will, Jones roams a little, and Mix is the one who distributes. I think in Panama, who will be playing for their lives, we will have to have 3 miss, with bite on the road. But it is a concern.

    • love that first. i’m anxious to see mix in the attacking mid role like he was vs. bosnia. think he’ll hold up much better this time.

      • We don’t really have another player that fills the CAM as well. What I also like about him is his work rate. He will not just float around, he will dig in and help us control the center.


  12. I’m with those who don’t understand why JK didn’t call in a full 23. You probably want 20 outfield players for practice anyway. I understand leaving off some MLSers, but why not Parkhurst, Gomez, or just some young European players to give them a little experience in practice. Even Danny Williams gives you a practice bod.

  13. I understand JK wanting to bring in his familiar group for continuity for the last two qualies, but if we don’t see some new options brought in at outside back for the upcoming freindlies, then we’ll have huge problems. JK has alluded to it in the past, I wonder if we see Evans at LB against Jamaica.

    The best thing about this roster is the inclusion of Johannsson and the exclusion of Deuce…lets the attack run through LD which could be a huge positive for Johannsson. I’d rather see LD out wide and Johannsson underneath Jozy. I really don’t want to see the Jozy/EJ show up top with Johannsson getting limited minutes…that would be a big bummer.

  14. Don’t understand Goodson’s omission. He’s been our best and most consistent CB lately. And why Boyd? He has nine appearances for the national team. Almost every time he’s looked lost and way out of his depth.

  15. The backline is mediocre. Outside of Besler, I have no confidence in the rest, especially Gonzo. With this group we will allow an average of 1 goal per game, not great for an upcoming WC.
    The midlfield, Donovan, Corona, Dempsey, Bedoya. The jury is still out on Corona and Bedoya. The forwards: Altidore & EJ.

      • He plays well with the ball at his feet for a CB. He has also shown to be pretty as well at the CB position. However, at this point, your CBs are Gonzalez, Besler, Goodson with Cameron providing cover.

      • It seems like Tim Ream is getting his form back for Bolton, so there is that. But don’t forget JA Brooks when he’s healthy. He seems like he is going to be a good one.

  16. As predicted. Hopefully Klinsmann makes use of these free matches to give Kljestan, Johannsson, Boyd, Bedoya, and Cameron more minutes.

    Hopefully we’ll see Lichaj and…dare I say…Tim Ream get looks in camp at FB for the Scotland & Austria matches.

      • Curious as to why you think they haven’t played their way into the discussion? No sarcasm here, just curious.

      • Lichaj actually has a Polish passport.

        It means he is an EU player and thus did not have to go through the UK’s permit process.

        Howard did the same thing with his Hungarian passport.

        Does slowleftarm object to Howard’s dual citizenship?

    • This “Tim Ream as left back” concept is getting too much attention. He played all of one preseason game at LB. He has played several games now as defensive mid and the last few as center back.

  17. Calling in the first team is the only ethical thing to do considering the Panama game will help determine which other teams qualify for the World Cup. Also, the time has passed for calling in players who have no realistic chance of making the World Cup squad. Everything Klinsmann does from now until June should be about the World Cup and nothing else. I expect most of this roster to be on the World Cup roster. Yet, many of these players can still play themselves off the roster with bad performances. Plus, guys like Klejstan or Evans who are on the bubble will be happy he’s not playing with a B or C team.

    • Just remember how Herc stole a spot the last time round despite not having a role in qualifying (or maybe he did play a game or two, I can’t remember). Never know what might happen. That’s the fun of this sport.

  18. No real fullbacks. Reckless.

    It will bite us at some point. I hope that happens some time before the WC so JK will swallow his pride and adjust.

      • Didn’t call for his job. I expressed my thoughts about the roster (same reason we’re all posting here) and made a prediction. Simple stuff.

      • So its ok for you guys to say JK is reckless, and hope the team suffers for it, but for anybody to criticize your opinion,…. well that’s just unreasonable. My bad.

      • I think they’re saying they’d rather see the obvious flaw in team composition exposed before the World Cup rather than during it. Your response was neither productive nor intelligent.

      • Thanks for the help. My comment was as helpful as anyones on the board, since JK does not read these. You guys want to criticize him. Mi happen to think he jnows alot more than anyone here. I think the results bare that out. Not in love with DMB in the back, but based on who is a professional and who is not COMMON SENSE says i should defer. Opinions are the reason for the site. My opinion is that the previously stated opinion is not accurate.

    • The most games you will play in a WC tournament is seven.

      Most of the candidates will all each have played nearly that many games at fullback.for either their club or country at some point. It seems now that DMB is playing left back for Puebla.

      And of course it is possible Chandler or Dolo will be back.

      Tournament play is about the short term. Spain won Euro 2012 with no “real” strikers.
      Good teams find ways to compensate over the short term.

      • I will offer the example of Ireland, which used entrenched players to get through EURO qualifying and imploded at the actual tournament.

        Players like Coleman and McCarthy got the “wait and see” treatment, and guys like Duff and Given showed their age. It can work both ways. In fact, I will even say the Spain example is less valid.

      • PD

        So what?

        Lots of teams have used players in positions other than where they” normally” play quite successfully.

        Fabregas playing striker for Spain is just an obvious example. In Euro 2012 Loew used Bender, a midfielder, at right back. The Germans in particular have a long history of using midfielders in a variety of positions. Mourinho used to regularly put Essien, a combative midfielder, at right back. Ashley Cole, a midfielder of similar physical stature to DMB has been masquerading as a left back for years.

        Goalkeeper, centerback and maybe center forward are somewhat specialized, otherwise I would go with the best soccer player I can find every time. And the one thing that probably matters most and that most fans cannot know is the personality, the soccer intelligence and the mental makeup of these players.

      • If he’s commited (and he is cap tied) give him another shot. Wonder h
        Whether klinsi is just over him, honestly doesn’t rate him above Evans and Cameron(?) or if this is on chandler’s end.

  19. I must have missed it but since Fabian Johnson is not on the list I assume he too is injured like Bradley, Brooks, & Dempsey. Worried about the lack of pace on the wings from this roster. Not a fan on playing EJ out of position on the wing. He is much more effective as a coward up top.

  20. what’s disturbing are the fullbacks. if we are really going to have Beasly as your LB and Evan as your RB in Brazil, we are in major doo doo. We can have one but not both. We need Cherondolo to return to health b/c honestly, that is on unimpressive defense.

    • With the reboot of Donovan, the emergence of Bedoya, Corona as an option etc…. I honestly think we’ll see FJ at LB in Brazil. Cherondolo back in form would be stellar, but who knows. Between Cameron and Evans, who in spite of my early skepticism seems to simply get the job done… I think we’ll be alright. There is still time for someone else to emerge between now and then. Who knows………..

    • So an old Cherundolo who has undergone major surgery on his knee and missed a ton of games is better then who we currently have playing right back? I doubt that.

      • If he’s healthy and in form. Which is most likely highly doubtful. He’s 34 and just had a major knee operation. I’d love to see him get back to where he was but I’m it counting on it.

  21. Why only call in 20 players?

    I would like to see Goodson, maybe Chandler, if not then lichaj or spector added.
    Also would like Corona on this roster without dempsey
    Maybe brad davis instead of boyd, dont really see why we need that many target men
    My starting 11


    • One possiblity is that #21-23 probably would not play.

      And those guys are probably better off with their clubs in a very busy time of year.

      And should everyone get injured between now and game, I’m sure there is provision for emergency call ups.

      • Yes im sure there is, but why not call up those three extra guys just to look at in camp, or bring in guys who deserve a shot like gil, lichaj, even ream, who is playing weekly with his club

  22. GK: Howard; Guzan; Rimando
    DEF: Chandler; Lichaj; Johnson; Castillo; Gonzalez; Besler; Cameron; Brooks
    MID: Donovan; Dempsey; Bradley; Jones; Bedoya; Beasley; Diskerud; Williams
    FWR: Altidore; Johannsson; Boyd; Gomez

  23. All Goodson does is perform capably when called on for both club and the USMNT; he deserves consistent call-ups until he shows otherwise.

  24. Jürgen likes this core group and good call bringing them. Interesting how Dempsey and Bradley really were not replaced. Either Jürgen doesn’t rates these other guys on the radar or he only trusts his core group.

    I hope to see Cameron playing RB and EJ off the bench, time to see our actual WC roles

    • injury. Read the whole post before you comment.

      And considering he’s been injured for most of his time with Seattle so far, I think it’s unfair to judge the success of his move until he’s playing regularly.

    • He needs good service at Sunderland and he has not been getting it. Have you watched any of their matches? Plus he already scored an excellent goal against Arsenal that was waved off.

      • It wasn’t “right” – though it was in the referee’s discretion. What happened was the ref blew the whistle for a foul by Sagna against Jozy (presumably thinking there was no advantage), but Jozy had already beaten him, and proceeded to put the ball into the net. Resulted in a free kick, rather than a goal for Sunderland.

        Also, the way he manhandled Sagna, a seasoned EPL vet – very impressive.

  25. It is the strongest possible group to be sure. I understand the logic behind bringing this team, and I don’t think we should have sent a C-team, but that being said, I think Altidore and Jones should have been left home. Both have logged a lot of miles for us recently, both geographically and on the field, and both have long campaigns ahead of them. And both have club-related issues: Altidore needs to time to gel in Sunderland, and Jones needs recovery/bridge building time in Schalke.

    There’s no real need for them to be there, and plenty of possible benefit if they had been given a pass from national team duty this time.

    Also, Jonathan Spector warranted a recall to this squad.

    • I def understand your point on jozy, but a few concacaf goals might boost his confidence when he goals back to Sunderland. It could also show his manager what he can do with good service

  26. I am not too happy with roster, but Dempsey not part of it (I am happy), some players need to get at least 45 minutes to prove themselves against hungry teams (Panama), and others need to get cap-tied, and some new players (like Arriola, Hoyos, Magee etc…) pop-up.

      • I know Honduran league is below MLS, but Hoyos ability to score as natural finisher. These players might not be ready Brazil 2014, but good start developing and players start understanding USNT “feeling”.

    • Need to be cap-tied? You people are pathetic. Stop being paranoid, if those players want to play for the US, we have nothing to worry about.

    • So you want to give a callup to some kid who’s played about ten games as a pro because you’re afraid he’ll decide to play for some other country? Yes, that is pathetic. When he’s good enough to play for the USMNT he should get a call and if for some reason he doesn’t want to play then that’s that.

      • Donovan never debuted as a pro, when Donovan got first cap. Some young players are dual-national starting better leagues than MLS should get a look, especially there’s nothing to lose. Some players aren’t enough for USNT, yet those players get play USNT.

  27. Nothing unexpected. Strong team, definitely. Ppl will,complain about certain ppl not being in this side, but after such a long delay, Jurgen will wait till the friendliest to bring in, potentially, Lichaj, Spector, Ream, Williams and Chandler.

    On the positives, there will be a lot of chances for ppl who haven’t proven squat in recent years for the Nats to solidify a case as to why they should be here.

    • Unless he somehow goes buck-wild between now and then, I think the chances of seeing Ream are well below Lichaj…………. z e r o.


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