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USMNT send four players back to their clubs, bring in Fire’s Johnson

Landon Donovan

Photo by John Todd/


If the U.S. Men’s National Team are going to end its successful 2014 World Cup qualification campaign with a victory, they will have to do so with a team comprised mostly of reserves.

U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann announced his expected roster changes on Saturday afternoon, dropping four veteran starters from his side ahead of Tuesday’s final qualifier in Panama. Landon Donovan and Jermaine Jones were sent back to their clubs due to injury concerns to their ankle and knee, respectively, and Tim Howard and Matt Besler also were released as part of a planned rotation of players.

“Landon is still struggling with the ankle injury from a couple weeks ago, so he will go back to Los Angeles and try to get back to 100 percent,” said Klinsmann. “Jermaine’s case is more of a concern. His knee was bothering him all night but he battled through. It’s clear that the issue with his knee is something that should be taken care of right away so he can be 100 percent for Schalke and the National Team as soon as possible.”

The lone player brought into camp as a replacement is Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson, who joins Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando as netminders on the U.S. squad. Klinsmann said Guzan will start on Tuesday against the Canaleros.

“Brad Guzan has earned the opportunity to start against Panama,” Klinsmann added. “He has been outstanding for Aston Villa all year, and he has been huge in the games he has played for us in World Cup Qualifying. As I said before, we have one of the best situations in the world when it comes to our goalkeepers.”

Here is the updated 19-man U.S. roster:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

DEFENDERS (6): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Michael Orozco (Puebla)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)


What do you think of the roster? Think this squad has enough to beat Panama on the road? Wishing another player or two would have been called in?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Beckerman was pretty good in the Gold Cup, but against better competition (and on brighter stages) he has shown himself to be both nervous and overly-conservative. His proclivity to pass the ball backwards on these brighter stages, when the flow of the game is dictating (and allowing) positive possessions, is frustrating to watch.

  2. I’m guessing we see Cameron and Goodson and Beckerman and Klejstan. Which will make it very easy for JK to convince himself that Beckerman is a decent stand in for Jones, and Cameron is a solid option at CB, instead of seeing that Beckerman actually does the job better than Jones, and Cameron is better than either of them. Translation, Jones is invincible in the lineup, no matter what happens.

    • Beckerman was pretty good in the Gold Cup, but against better competition (and on brighter stages) he has shown himself to be both nervous and overly-conservative. His proclivity to pass the ball backwards on these brighter stages, when the flow of the game is dictating (and allowing) positive possessions, is frustrating to watch.

  3. Panama has got to be looking at this roster with an incredible sinking feeling. This is a group of players they can handle – take away Jimenez’ bicycle kick, and they’d be in control of their own destiny.

    • I don’t thinking sinking is the right adjective. How about rising or increasing sense of elation that they are facinv a weakened team.

  4. JK says he wants competition but then rarely makes changes based on performance. For example, Beasley has stunk for the last game or two. Goals were scored from his side, poor passing (Jamaica), just poor all around. Castillo was my MOTM against Jamaica…turned the game around… he has earned the next start. Jozy had a poor game and JK gave Aron the hook. should have been Jozy and he should not start on Tuesday. Guzan should be playing more too. IK hes starting on Tuesday but he should be playing more in preparation for the WK. Howard is still good but is starting to show wear.

    Will be interesting to see if Jozy’s club time changes with the new manager… will JK hold him to the same standard he uses when he doesnt call in Parkhurst?

    • Why all the undue criticism of Klinsi?

      Beasley has had a couple bad games and it will be interesting to see if Castillo starts. However, nobody will be surprised if JK goes DMB, Goodson, Cameron, Evans along the back line. Results matter and JK’s selections have done the job.

      The same applies to Tim Howard. Results matter. Given the USA’s position, it’s hard to bench Howard, as you are suggesting.

      Finally, I thought AJo was not as sharp as he has looked in prior appearances. From where I sit, the next game would be the perfect opportunity to give the Altidore Boyd pairing a look.

      • I’m not a Howard fan. Guzan is a better BPL keeper than Howard.
        However, ever since Timmy realized his US job is in jeopardy he has raised his game.
        In the games he has lost it would be hard to say that having Guzan there would have changed anything.
        I suspect Howard is #1 because JK believes Guzan can perform as a backup much better than Timmy would. In other words:

        If Timmy is #1 , Guzan is 1A
        If Guzan is #1, Timnmy is #2

        Right now the keeper situation is good and it is stable. If everyone maintains present form it will stay that way.

    • Lance,

      That is one perspective.

      A manager has to take a broader one than you do.
      The hexagonal is a ten game tournament. You like to nit pick on mistakes here and there. Fans like you forget that it is a 90 minute game.
      What matters is whether DMB’s positives overall outweigh his negatives. The reality is the US has lost two competitive games this year and in both cases it is fair to say the entire team sucked big time.
      I also dare you to find anyone who thinks Castillo would have been better defensively or overall than DMB even now.

      I don’t know if you noticed that the US is having a very good year.

      They will have to raise their game for Brazil. But that improvement will be basically an “internal” one because this current group is more or the less the best the US has got. And for those who just hate this current roster remember that it might be radically altered before Brazil by the introduction of guys who have been part of this program but have not played lately for one reason or another, guys like Chandler, Dolo, Williams, Edu, Gatt, Brooks, Morales, Shea, Agudelo, Gooch, etc.

      Castillo deserves credit for a great game against Jamaica but he was basically playing left wing. Eric is great but not as a starter. At this point, he is probably more of a specialist , a second half situational sub brought on the spread the field.
      JK has used him this way before and if he goes to Brazil this will be his role.

      AJ was f++ling up the attack . He did not know where to go, where to be and what to do. Once he got pulled and they shifted a few things around, the offense suddenly looked a lot better and Jozy scored. I think fans like you don’t understand the value of teamwork, of knowing where your strike partner is going to be when you hit a pass. That comes only with time and practice

      AJ will get better but he had only had about 25 minutes experience with the USMNT and at AZ he only had about 26 minutes of experience of playing with Jozy.

      As for Sunderland you should watch their games. Jozy has been one of their best players period. It’s not his fault that scoring chances have been almost non existent .
      Poyet has just said the current squad will be given a chance to make their case. Since the transfer window is closed only makes sense. If there was a better scorer than Jozy on the squad they would have been given a chance by now.

  5. Its like losing half the squad! No wonder Donovan had a bad game on friday but Howard and Besler are not going to be there either?! I think Guzan is good but if he doesn’t get help from the defenders then its going to be crazy and the midfield its going to be all over the place without a leader for sure.. I mean lets hope that doesn’t happen but we gotta be realistic and think Klinsmann is going to be changing everybody again through the entire game

      • Wondo’s poaching style benefited from playing in front of one of the better attacking midfields in the league. You won’t see too many international games of consequence in which the U.S. midfield is able to dominate the same way. Plus, international defenders are better. Give Wondo the ball and some space, and he can put it away. At international levels, attackers have to make their own space. That isn’t Wondo’s strength. He works his butt off to find space before the ball comes, which is great. Left unmarked, like he was at times in the Gold Cup, he’ll get some goals. But at the higher level (international A teams) you need to do that AND have an ability to gain a half-step on a defender, either via speed or deceptive dribbling, to create your own shots.

      • Dennis, history has shown that Yanks who lead MLS in scoring do not succeed on the international level.

        Of the players who have scored 75 MLS goals or more, Donovan, McBride, and Wolff (to a much lesser degree) are the exceptions.

        Look at the others – Cunningham, Razov, Kreis, Twellman, Buddle, Lassiter, Ching, Preki, Wondo, and Ralston – and you have 10 guys who failed to make a lasting impact. Yes, Preki, Ralston, and Razov scored a goal in some big games, but none of these guys are good enough to play internationally. Wondo works his butt off and is a good guy, but he’s taking up space that he hasn’t earned this year, which Mike Magee has.

      • Dennis, how’s Wondo’s goal scoring record THIS season? Is he in top three? Top five? Who cares about how many goals he scored three or four years ago. And as other folks pointed out, it is more difficult to score at the international level.

  6. So if u think about it we will be playing with mainly the team that beat pan as ma in the gold cup and mainly the same team that won the gold cup final. Worried? Nope! #7 in the world here we come!

  7. it would suit me if jk sat jozy on the bench against panama. he looked terrible friday. it was the jozy of old..lazy, careless, no hustle whatsoever. that aint the kind of striker play that going to win games in the world cup.

    • He needs service. The guy isn’t lazy, watch his movements because he is doing everything a forward needs to do. Midfield needs to step it up and his numbers will continue to rise. He did have some bad first touches i will give you that but that is out of his norm.

    • I’ve never been convinced that he was all that. Yes he had a period where was producing but idk if he can do it game in and out. I think his club situation has the potential to turn into another “here we go again” situation which will only hurt his game.

      I want Aron to start for sure and maybe pair him with someone else. He has the most upside of anyone in the pool. JK just needs to find a good partner for him

      • We’re approaching self-parody here. Altidore has 8 goals in his last seven appearances for the usmnt.

        Fan response: BENCH JOZY

        Because apparently he can’t “do it game in and out.”

    • I didn’t see the laziness, but I did see a lot of poor passes from Jozy. I think he’s regressed. Probably because he gets foul service at Sunderland.

      • Anyone who says lazy pretty much identifies themselves as a hater at this point. It’s pretty obvious. There are those who just have miserable lives or something and somehow get off on irrationally bashing players. We’ve always had it with all our best players, from LD to Deuce, to MB to every single player who ever wore the uniform. If Messi was American and he went through a three game drought, the haters would crawl out of whatever dank corner they live in and start hating on him. There are others who just don’t rate Jozy because they either don’t watch him enough, pay attention to him enough or don’t really understand the subtleties of the game. Hold up play is one of the most important and least appreciated skills and it’s tough to find a guy who can provide good hold up play and also score goals. Jozy has a really good all around game that helps the team in a lot of different ways, but because he doesn’t spend most of his time running at defenders, many have a tough taught time seeing all the little things he does. That being said, he had an off night and a lot of fans have incredibly short memories.

      • Dude, Jozy has scored in eight consecutive games for the USMNT. Give him a break, it’s not like the other players put on a passing clinic, particularly in the first half.

      • Amen. His first touch was off but he was NOT lazy at all. In fact he came back and worked underneath AJ several times, which he’s never shown. Tactically maybe not the best game plan, first touch off……. but lazy?
        Come on Man……

  8. I don’t see the point having Altidore for this game, risky. We know what Altidore brings to USNT,plus now we need to see Boyd or Kevin Bacon to start and prove themselves.

    • You don’t see the point?

      This is the last competitive game the US will have before Brazil.
      Panama will probably be coming at the US with all guns blazing. Jozy is most likely going to be the starter in Brazil.

      So it’s good chance for forward and midfield candidates to learn how to play with the starter.

      Unless you think there is no value in that.

  9. ____________Jozy__________

    Perhaps bring in Boyd at the half to give him 45 minutes.

  10. i like the idea of giving Guzan a start and S. Johnson the concacaf away experience.. i guess we don’t really need too many other players..

    subs: castillo, orozco, davis, kljestan, boyd, wondo, sjohnson, rimando

  11. Good. Get Jermaine Jones out of here. He’s terrible, turns it over all the time and misses too many tackles. Time to bring in Freddy Adu for some creativity in midfield for once.

    • I’m going to assume this is a joke because of the Adu comment, but just to be clear, Jones turned it over less last night than he did against Mexico, and everyone agreed he played very well against Mexico. I am no huge Jones fan, but I’m just pointing out the facts. I don’t think Jones was great last night, but I thought he was fine.

      • I like jones, he is probably the most physical guy we have, if we run into a team at the World Cup that wants to play dirty and physical I like having him on the field for revenge, and then yeah, if he misses the next match it isn’t the end of the world.

    • I couldn’t agree more. Jones is consistently just bad. Has anyone ever see Adu play poorly for the USMNT? We need to get a playmaker with some flair in our midfield instead of an unimaginative brute.

      • No-one’s seen Adu play for one simple reason….He doesn’t get on the field for anyone, let alone the USMNT.

      • What? His problem is that no one who sees him train daily think he has enough quality to be in the 18, let alone start. Sounds like he has reached his potential, and his potential is a lot less than some people want to believe.

      • Last time I saw Adu he looked about 5′ 7″ 225, and expanding by the day. I would have loved to see him succeed, but after almost 10 teams and he can’t get in the 18??? I don’t think the problem is everyone else…

        I think his future is in beach soccer. In a 6 foot square area he’s got mad skills…
        Get him on a regular pitch and the guy just doesn’t get it done

        As Metallica says..
        Sad… but true

    • Beasley may have a knock so we’ll have to see how he recovers from that. Have either Cameron or Goodson played any LCB lately? If not, that’ll be an adjustment for one of them.

      • Goodson played most of the Gold Cup on the left and plays there for SJ exclusively, see he’s a real player who can play either side.

    • You just got me thinking about how jones has had a big surgery and how long it took him to come back from that. Finally US soccer fandom can breathe more easily if JJ ended up missing the WC because he can’t recover from another big surgery, thanks to the team depth. Btw I’m not saying that will happen but there isn’t a big drop in quality between jones and backups anymore.

  12. So can we assume that the four players sent back are shoe-ins for Brazil? Answer has to be yes but clearly JK wasn’t impressed with LD’s first half against Jamaica. This based off of his post game comments about substituting LD for Zusi.

    Let’s see the combo of Sacha and Mix in the middle against Panama for an offensive minded lineup with KB as a defensive mid. Zusi and Bedoya on the wings with one forward up top. It would be great to see Boyd get a chance as a sub to see what he could do.

      • Landon is in card danger (he picked up a yellow two matches ago against Mexico) and would be suspended for the first match of WC 2014 in Brazil. The same goes for Jermaine Jones.

        It would have been MONUMENTALLY stupid if Jurgen had put either of these players on the field for even a minute in this meaningless game against Panama PERIOD. But just imagine if he did and some crafty Panamanian player pulled a Joel Campbell… LOL!

        JK is not that unaware. Regardless of their injuries, and what Bruce Arena has to say about it… this had to have been Jurgen’s main motivation kicking them off the plane (to Panama 😉

      • Yellow card suspensions in qualifying do NOT carry over to the World Cup. They are separate competitions and have their own yellow card accumulation rules.

      • Very True, no yellow card carryover to the WC. But Donovan knee needs some rest. No doubt he will play Wed and so will Omar D against Montreal for the Galaxy. But they will still be missing Peneda (Panama) and Keane (Irl) for the game.

      • PS Bedoya, Kjlestan and Tim Howard are also sitting on a card, thus the same would apply to them should they play and pick up a card in this meaningless (to us) match against Panama.

      • It is up to FIFA to grant an amnesty (which they have traditionally done.) But the rules state that yellow card suspensions carry over in all FIFA competitions from one round to the next. The rules only state that they reserve the right to cancel all caution accumulation suspensions, not that they WILL per se. You are wrong.

        ref: FIFA Disciplinary Code, Ch. I, Sec. 4, Art. 36, 1. (page 22)

        Articles 37 and 38 are additionally relevant concerning the current discussion.

        that document can be read here:

        and here is a pretty thorough discussion of the whole topic on BS from before the last WC final.

        Therein the above thread a few matters are settled beyond a reasonable doubt:

        Whether or not cautions themselves carry over (the rules state that they do, but FIFA has traditionally granted an amnesty before the tournament)

        Whether or not suspensions resulting from cautions accumulated carry over between WCQ and the WC final (they do, but again are subject to be “cancelled” per FIFA’s disciplinary committee (and their decision is final.)

        Even whether or not FIFA WCQ and the FIFA WC Final are part of the same competition is covered. (They are part of the same competition.)

        So in short, its’ really up to those jokers at FIFA. If anyone gets a yellow, it says in the rules their subsequent 1 match suspension will carry over to the next match in the competition (Match 1 Group Play in WC Final 2014) and then it is up to FIFA to decide whether or not they will grant an amnesty or not.

      • They said on TV that they don’t carry over, so it must be true, because no one EVER lies on TV

    • LD is still hurting as the article suggested so he should return to his club to get healthy! It’s not a bad thing to give other players more of a chance to see what they can do in pressure situations! This all bodes well for the WC in my opinion!

  13. Does anybody know who we have that’s on a yellow card? I don’t even want to see those guys play. Why risk losing somebody for the first game of the world cup for a meaningless game against Panama?

    • The only risk any of the players have vs Panama is if someone gets a red card. Then, he’d miss the first WC game…Yellow card accumulation goes back to square one after Panama….

      • You guys are all wrong. Well Hopper is technically correct with his statement, but since he didn’t attempt to correct (albeit using an incorrect criteria as Divers Duck and THomas have here) Cowboy Junkie, I can only assume he doesn’t understand the rules either.

        Yellow cards accumulation does NOT carry over to the Finals. Yes. Correct statement.

        Yet, a player who accumulates a 2nd yellow (or an outright red) against Panama WILL be suspended for the next match (Game 1 of the WC Final Group stage.) I repeat, suspensions WILL carry over, and a second yellow (or an ejection, red card) during qualification necessitates a suspension.

        Thus, the 7 players who are sitting on a card:

        Tim Howard, Landon Donovan, Alejandro Bedoya, Sacha Kjlestan, Jermaine Jones, Clint Dempsey, Fabian Johnson

        …will have those cards wiped off their records when (and if in a few of their cases) they lace up their boots in Brazil.

        However if any of those players is shown a 2nd yellow (or an outright red… or if ANY player is shown 2 yellows in the Panama match) they will be suspended for the first group match of the WC Final. Google is your friend.

      • You are incorrect.

        For example, going into the last game of the 2010 cycle, Jozy was carrying a yellow card. He was booked in the 13th minute against Costa Rica, and most clearly played in the first World Cup match against England.

      • Same rule used in Euro 2012 and every FIFA endorsed competition. It has not changed any time recently, and surely if it had someone on TV or one of the many journos cover the team would have said as much.

        From the Euro site:

        21.03 Cautions and pending yellow-card suspensions expire on completion of the
        qualifying competition. They are not carried forward to the final tournament

        A pending yellow card suspension is what we are dealing with here.

      • You are correct, your link supports your point… If we were arguing about Euro 2012… You are linking to a rule book specifically for the UEFA Euro 2012 tournament–ie not the same rules used for “every FIFA endorsed tournament” (wonder where you would quote that wording from verbatim as it seems an arbitrarily fact-like statement that is in reality baseless and erroneous.

        FIFA (organizer of the FIFA World Cup) and UEFA are two different bodies. UEFA is a regional confederation whereas FIFA is the governing world body of the sport of football.

        FIFA is (and has always) operated the World Cup proper (including the WCQ preceding any WC Final) according to their own Disciplinary Code which can be read here:

        Pay special attention to Ch. I, Sec. 4, Art. 36, 1. (page 22) as well as
        Articles 37 and 38 if you need further clarification.

        And as you can see in my concession posted above to jlm, you and the lot saying I am wrong have a friend in FIFA as they have been known to grant an “amnesty” prior to WC finals and thus it is understandable why the thinking goes on as such, but I am not incorrect in my argument. The rules are pretty clear on the subject.

      • I know the difference between UEFA and FIFA thank you.

        Also, I don’t see how the provision you site proves your point in the least.

        For starters, it never explicitly states that World Cup Qualifying and the World Cup Final are the same competition. At best it alludes to it.

        Second, if anything Article 37 proves my opinion that they aren’t.

        2. In any case, the committee many only do this (cancel cautions that have not resulted in an expulsion so as to restore the balance among several teams that have not played the same number of matches during the first round of a competition, or in other exceptional circumstances.) once in any competition.

        If that is true, then the one time they did this was after the QF in order to keep any player from being suspended for the final of the tournament.

        If eliminating the cards after qualifying was part of the same tournament, FIFA would not be allowed to do it after the QF of the final.

        Which means that either the two are separate, or FIFA blatantly ignores their own rules, which means it is meaningless for you to cite them to prove your point.

        Now, if you can find an actual example of a player being banned for the first world cup match because of a solitary yellow card the last round of qualifying, I would love to see it.

      • I think you’re reading this incorrectly. As he stated, only if receiving a 2nd yellow in this game (or a red, which it’s equivalent of).

        It looks like you’re agreeing.

      • I disagree. Four people above him said that the only way someone would be suspended for a World Cup match would be to receive a red card in the Panama match. He then said those people were wrong.

      • They are wrong, and not one of those “four people” cited a source. At least you made an attempt at that.

      • @”first time caller”, are you brain dead?? What DON’T you understand about yellow card accumulation does NOT carry over into the World Cup??……If one of our players gets a yellow card (and ONLY a yellow card) vs Panama, it WOULD NOT carry over to the World Cup since they start at square one….IF one of our players gets a RED card (whether it’s a straight RED or an accumulation of 2 yellows WITHIN THIS GAME against Panama) then, and ONLY then, he will have to get suspended for the first game in World Cup 2014 Brazil!!….Is that plain enough English for you???

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