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SBI’s USMNT 23 for 2014 (January 2014 Edition)

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The first month of the new year has nearly flown by, and as we prepare for the first U.S. Men’s National Team match of 2014, there has been little true movement on USMNT depth chart in recent months.

There are players struggling, like Jozy Altidore, and players dealing with injuries, like Fabian Johnson and his broken hand, but the actual projected 23-man U.S. roster for the World Cup hasn’t really changed much since November, when we last revisited the SBI USMNT 23 for 2014.

Is anyone really gaining ground on the established pack? There are some players who have improved their circumstances, such as Juan Agudelo and Oguchi Onyewu, but no player has emerged from the winter to stake a serious claim to a roster spot. Tim Chandler continues to work his way back into Jurgen Klinsmann’s consideration, and Herculez Gomez has benefited from the coaching change at Club Tijuana. Being healthy for the first time in eight months is also helping Gomez.

Not every U.S. pool player has seen their stock rise in recent months. John Brooks has seen a handful of injuries limit his action in the Bundesliga with Hertha Berlin, while Steve Cherundolo is continuing to battle knee issues that are making a miracle run at a World Cup roster spot seem less and less likely.

So what does the projected U.S. World Cup roster look like right now? Here is the latest projection of the USMNT 23 for 2014:


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

GOALKEEPERS– Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Nick Rimando

Outlook– This trio stays the same yet again, with no signs of changing any time soon.

Missed the cut– Sean Johnson, Bill  Hamid, Tally Hall


DEFENDERS– Fabian Johnson, Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez, Geoff Cameron, Clarence Goodson, DaMarcus Beasley, Brad Evans, Michael Parkhurst.

Outlook– Parkhurst’s move to MLS sets him up for a charge at a spot on the squad, while Chandler’s recent impressive form for Nuremberg has him gaining steam. The unsettled left back situation makes Chandler an even more appealing option for Klinsmann.

Brooks has seen injuries really curtail his first season in the German Bundesliga, while Oguchi Onyewu has made his way onto the radar after moving to Sheffield Wednesday and quickly establishing himself as a starter. Edgar Castillo continues to start for Club Tijuana, and can’t be forgotten as a left back option, even though he remains a questionable defender. Eric Lichaj drops off the latest roster in favor of Parkhurst, but if he continues to play well for Nottingham Forest, he will keep putting pressure on the other fullbacks ahead of him.

Missed the cut Eric Lichaj, Timmy Chandler, Edgar Castillo, Michael Orozco, Oguchi Onyewu, Steve Cherundolo, John Brooks.


MIDFIELDERS– Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Jermaine Jones,  Landon Donovan, Graham Zusi, Alejandro Bedoya, Kyle Beckerman, Mix Diskerud

Outlook– Not much has changed on this front except for the addresses of some of the candidates. Bradley’s move to Toronto FC doesn’t change his position as the best midfielder in the bunch, while Maurice Edu could push himself into the race with an impressive turn with the Philadelphia Union.

Sacha Kljestan’s candidacy has lost a bit of steam as he struggles for consistent starts at Anderlecht. Joe Corona has been in and out of the lineup under new Club Tijuana head coach Cesar Farias, while Brek Shea helped his stock stabilize thanks to a successful short loan to Barnsley.

Missed the cut– Sacha Kljestan, Joe Corona, Jose Torres, Brad Davis, Maurice Edu, Danny Williams, Brek Shea, Benny Feilhaber.


FORWARDS– Jozy Altidore, Aron Johannsson, Terrence Boyd, Eddie Johnson

Outlook– This group stays the same, though Altidore’s place as the first name on the list could be in jeopardy given his shaky form for Sunderland. Johannsson and Boyd keep on scoring while Johnson will be under pressure to score for D.C. United. Especially given the fact Juan Agudelo has settled into the Dutch Eredivisie, and Herculez Gomez has become a regular starter for Club Tijuana.

Missed the cut– Chris Wondolowski, Juan Agudelo, Herculez Gomez.


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. in:
    – orozco
    – chandler
    – lichaj
    – williams
    – edu
    – kljestan
    – agudelo

    – beasley
    – evans
    – parkhurst
    – beckerman
    – diskerud
    – boyd
    – EJ


    Oguchi Onyewu —– NEEDS TO BE ON THIS TEAM!!!

    Sacha Kljestan — NEEDS TO BE ON THIS TEAM!!!!

  3. Beckerman, Wondo, and Magee are all players I respect. Each has managed to perform very well given the athletic prowess he possesses. Each has learned to do what he does well and when successful found ways to employ teammates to help minimize weaknesses. All 3 work hard and honestly give everything they have to help their team.

    I think most of us here wonder if they may be just a bit slow for the international game. However, that in no way takes anything away from what each has been able to accomplish.

    • There aren’t any defenders who make Ronaldo look bad. Ronaldo is better than any single defender he faces, it takes good team defending to stop him. That can be done, but he will punish mistakes and the USA’s young back-line are sure to make some.

      Still Messi did not score against the US last time out, though he did get an assist. The US had Howard, Spector (Chandler, 46), DeMerit, Onyewu, Bocanegra , Bradley, Jones, and Edu. There was not a lot of speed on the US backline, but there was quite a bit of experience.

  4. i honestly laughed out loud when i read Parkhurst was in. i don’t buy that for a second. Chandler has to be above him. other than that, i think it’s pretty much spot on. that forward battle is going to be fun to watch!

  5. Castillo goes. Parky stays. LB is covered with Cameron and Evans if LB is covered by Beasley and FJ. Castillo goes so that we can have more cowbell on the left.

  6. Goalies – Howard, Guzan, Rimando
    Def – Besler, Gonzalez, Johnson, Chandler, Cameron, Brooks, Lichaj, Evans
    Mid – Donovan, Dempsey, Bradley, Jones, Bedoya, Mix, Kljestan, Beasley, Zusi
    ST – Altidore, Johansson, Agudelo

    This is the team I would like to bring to Brazil. I understand Agudelo isnt there yet, but i think he will prove his worth, plus there is more benefit to bringing him and having him ride pine at the world cup then having Eddy Johnson ride pine at the world cup. Donovan and Dempsey can both play up top, so why waste the spot on another forward who would ride pine. All the midfielders have something to offer (even if they wont be used. In defense, ever position has cover. Evans can play defense or CDM, which is why I bring him.

    • I like this. I just moved Dempsey into a Forward slot, but same idea….see below.

      My guess at the 23 that JK gives a ticket to Sao Paolo:

      GK: Howard, Guzan, Rimando (3)
      D: Beasley, F. Johnson, Gonzalez, Goodson, Besler, Cameron, Evans, Chandler (8)
      MF: Donovan, Dempsey, Bradley, Jones, Diskerud, Zusi, Bedoya, Beckerman (8)
      F: Johannsson, Altidore, E. Johnson, Boyd (4)

      If I were JK (and I’d probably get sacked), I’d take these 23:

      GK: Howard, Guzan, Rimando (3)
      D: F. Johnson, Evans, Gonzalez, Brooks, Besler, Cameron, Lichaj, Chandler (8)
      MF: Donovan, Bradley, Jones, Diskerud, Zusi, Bedoya, Feilhaber, Beasley (8)
      F: Johannsson, Altidore, Agudelo, Dempsey (4)


      • My predictions:
        1) Agudelo does well in Holland, and bumps EJ
        2) Mo does well in Philly and bumps Beckerman (or Jones, if JJ can’t find a team)

    • +1, except for agudelo. i know what you’re saying about bringing him to ride the bench, but if we have an unfortunate injury/card situation and need that last forward, you’d want someone who has performed before with these players.

  7. The midfielders Ives listed as projected to go to Brazil are heavily stacked in the middle with some right attacking options but there is nothing to address the left? How about taking Castillo out of the defenders who Missed The Cut and include him as a LM? I think a Beasley-Castillo linkup on the left has the potential to be electric. I just don’t trust Castillo as a defender.

    In the middle, I would like to see Bradley-Beckerman.


    • I like Castillo also, and I think he is a better left winger than Fabian Johnson. Would like to see Beasley one time play left wing for the USMNT, because he might be best of all in that slot.

      • what’s that, biff? you want to see players play in their natural positions? hahahaha now i’ve heard everything.

      • he said Castillo is better at left wing than Fabian, not that he should play left wing for the USMNT. euro not-oh very smart, r u?

  8. And folks are aware, aren’t they, that Clint playing in two hours against Swansea and Timmy at Liverpool. Hoping Everton can get the win. I think Brek Shea playing also, his last game for Barnsley unless the loan is extended.

    • Would have rather seen him return Stoke and play there. But he did look great on his goal and seemed like good chemistry with his cellar dweller teammates, so probably in the end a good deal for his development.

      • Yeah, he only really got 2 matches at Barnsley because one was rained out then Stoke didn’t let him play in the FA cup.

  9. I very much appreciate what Beasley and Evans have done for the team but I’d rather take Yedlin and Castillo. Cameron and Fabian are your starters while Parkhurst can be a safe cover for both. Yedlin and Castillo are just such good options to have off the bench to add to an attack without having to take off one of your starting attacking players.

    • Yedlin is NOT ready!! I want him to be but he’s not. How could you even consider that?! Can we have Yedlin AT LEAST play a full WCQ cycle before considering him for the biggest sporting tournament of any kind in the entire globe?

      • Perhaps but my point is really I don’t see taking so many players who are just safe backups.I think the squad should have more options given different situations. Sure Yedlin is a risk, but that’s kind of the point. If you need a goal, who are you going to bring on? If you bring on a striker that means your taking one off as well.

  10. I like Beckerman for his work ethic but I hope that Edu can return to the form he had and push his way back into consideration for Brazil. Over the past few years I thought he was the 2nd best CDM the US had behind Bradley. I also think that Edu’s ability to move back to CB could play into his favor as he could be used there in a pinch. While he could conceivably be used by the Union at CB and would make for an interesting pairing with Okugo there have been rumors that the Union agreed to not play him there.

    • Exactly Mo doesn’t have to be better than Beckerman to take his spot on the bench. Mo’s got more experience internationally and against stronger club competition, he’s still more familiar with most of the national team than Beckerman is, he can play CB, and he’s played World Cup games before. If Mo can be a top CDM in MLS, not the best, just up there with Beckerman and Alonso, I think Klinsi books him a ticket based on everything else.

  11. as of right now; pretty good 23. i wouldn’t pick Parkhurst over Lichaj until we see how good he plays in Columbus.

    a couple months from now; RB, CM, CF are completely open competition.

  12. As much as I like Beasley and Evans, I’m really hoping that Chandler pans out, or that Cameron gets a full shot at RB, and that Fabain Johnson plays LB. I wouldn’t mind watching Chandler trying to redeem himself for the Honduras game and his flaking games for so long with a 90 min matchup against Cristiano Ronaldo.

    • id take Cameron.

      as much as i don’t like Chandler he could play him self in.

      if we had a different group, like Mexico’s, I would be okay with Evans and Beasley but this group is all going to be non stop attack on the fullbacks from some of the best wingers in the world.

  13. IMHO there are still a number of questions to be answered before the selection of 23 going to Brazil. Most of the questions are at Midfield & Defense.
    As it stands right now, with Jones club situation is question, if he doesn’t get a loan or a transfer he may miss the cut for the squad.
    Edu & D. Williams have a real shot to unseat Beckerman and Possibly Jones (if he doesn’t move). Both are equal to Beckerman….but are faster and able to cover more ground.
    Could also see Feilhaber & Shea make late pushes for spots. Benny has experience, and Shea is a wild-card in a wide possition that is fairly thin.
    While CB is covered by Besler, Gonzalez, Cameron, Goodson/Brook/Gooch(????)…The outside backs to me are up for grabs, as I’m not comfortable with Beasley or Evans. Both have done an acceptable job to date, but would be worried to field them in the group we’re in. Cameron, Chandler & Lichaj to me are all better options than Evans, and Lichaj/Chandler can both play LB as on par with Bealey, but hold up to the physical play better.

    • A few years ago I would’ve placed Beckerman and Edu as roughly equal, but in the last year Beckerman has quietly delivered a very solid body of work, both for club and country. Edu can’t say the same in either respect. I get that Beckerman can seem slow and lacks flash, but he has a very subtle and consistant game that allows the players around him to be more creative. He holds position, interupts passing lanes, makes smart (though simple) passes and rarely makes mistakes. IMO it would take a lot for Edu to surpass him.

    • None of those you cite play LB for their club. Ream does and so (sometimes at least) Fabian Johnson. Perhaps Lichaj has appeared there from time-to time, not sure.

      • ream only occasionally plays at LB–mostly CB. fabian most often plays LB, and lichaj has been playing LB for the past month or so.

    • I agree about Jones. Hard to see him making the team if he is teamless and in bad form. The guy is 32 years old and IMO he has been too inconsistent with the USMNT. Nonetheless, I don’t think JK is going to just give away JJ’s spot. Someone is going to have to earn it.

  14. Apparently Poyet is bringing in yet another striker–Ignacio Scocco. Time has come for Jozy to cut his losses and get out of Sunderland before the transfer window closes Friday. Would not be surprised to see this happen.

    • I hope he gets out to, but I doubt Sunderland lets him go for very cheap. On the other hand if scocco struggles as well it could prove once and for all that it is not Jozy, but an inept midfield that is the problem.

      • I’ve watched most of Sunderland’s matches this year and I think Jozy’s woes are a combination of things. First, they have him playing alone (most of the time) with his back to the goal holding the ball and distributing it to his teammates. He rarely gets decent chances. He has squandered a few of them. He also had a legitimate goal called back against Arsenal. But the biggest problem is that his teammates can’t pass. I’m sure that if the Black Cats had pulled off the MB90 transfer during the summer, we would be singing a different tune. As for the Nats, I think most of Jozy’s goals have come from getting service from the wings, like the goals against Germany and Panama.

    • this was discussed previously (in yesterday’s morning ticker, i think). scocco’s more of a winger, so it doesn’t necessarily mean jozy’s losing minutes, but someone did bring up that it could mean borini moving up top.

  15. I would propose switching our current 4-2-3-1 formation back to a 4-2-2-2 given the talent that we have now, including specifically Johannsson. We could use Fabian and Chandler as wing backs and tell them to get forward and provide service from the flanks, and then use two CF’s and two CAMs. All of our attacking midfielders, LD, CD, Zusi and Bedoya, are basically CAMs – not wingers. Landon and Clint have always been able to get wide if they need to from a CAM position, but with overlapping FBs, and two strikers, we can field our best players in their best positions. I know the formations don’t matter that much on the field, but thinking in those terms would allow us to make some decisions about who to bring and where to play them.

    • Honestly this is what I was thinking we should do. We always look better with two strikers up top and gets our best 4 attacking players on the field (altidore, johansson, Dempsey, and Donovan). I actually hope chandler continues to perform because then we could possibly move Cameron into the middle with Bradley where I always liked him.

  16. Here’s the deal for Brazil.

    Jones sucks, he is out. Diskerud is in. Creativity. Protects the ball. Opposite of Jones.

    Jozy is out. Aron is in. Creative, finishes his chances.

    Donovan, Demps and Zusi

    Bradley Mix

    Fabian, Besler, Gonzalez, Yedlin


    • I would swap Cameron for Yedlin. Jozy and AJ could go either way based on June form. I wouldn’t mind seeing this line up in a WC warm up.

      • AJ’s the superior finisher, but doesn’t bring the physicality/ball winning we need in a lone striker. I really like his game but think he’s better when paired with a target man.

  17. Aren’t the forward supposed to score? And what is this preference for people who have scored quite a bit in relatively minor leagues? Altidore scored in Holland. That doesn’t make the Eredivisie a topnotch place to prove talent. Sorry! I am not convinced your list can make it out of the group stage.

      • When it comes right down to it we don’y have true strikers in the mold of Van Persie, Franck Ribery, Miroslav Klose or for that matter Lukas Podolski. But we could at least have those people in the USMNT who are consistently scoring goals like Magee and Wondolowski. Of course Donovan could be up front. But who then would put up through passes to the forward or forwards?

      • this contradicts your own statement:

        “And what is this preference for people who have scored quite a bit in relatively minor leagues?”

        if Jozy/AJ scoring in Holland is minor league, what does that make MLS? or do you think MLS is at a higher level than Holland? benching Jozy for Magee or Wondo makes no sense if your argument is that your starting strikers should be scoring in top leagues…

        while i agree Jozy could lose his starting spot, it won’t be to Magee or Wondo. it’ll be to AJ, LD, Dempsey or even someone like EJ, Agudelo, Gomez, or Boyd.

      • I have followed commentary on Altidore and Dempsey. The British press is not singing praises. My own opinion is that at this point the MLS is getting pretty darn good. So why put down homegrown talent when it’s not warranted. I’d rather see our own people get a chance when those U.S. players coming out of Europe are not really showing that they can win against the top leagues in Europe. I think AJ is wonderful. I also like Boyd and Bedoya. But every time some new young face shows up, it jumps the line and is given a higher place on the ladder to our own. Klinsmann is somewhat Euro-centric. I guess we’ll see where the USMNT winds up. I only want them to win.

      • You still originally said AJ and Jozy got or get preference despite playing in a minor league (Holland) and then go on to say Wondo and/or Magee should start. That makes no sense and is contradictory because MLS is not at the level of Holland.

        AJ consistently scores in Holland, a stronger league than MLS. So to say AJ gets preference despite playing in a minor league and that Wondo or Magee should start because they score consistently in MLS makes no sense. That’s all I’m saying.

      • The Dutch National team is great. That does not make the league a top notch league. Also the Spanish National team is really good. It is mostly made up of players from Barcelona and Madrid. Other than that the Spanish league is pretty mediocre. Anyhow, in my opinion, there is a huge difference between national teams and their respective leagues in Europe. At different times Sweden and Denmark have had great national teams. That doesn’t make their leagues great, though. They do know whom to pick from a relatively small player pool. Their league coaches are usually pretty good, and their national team coaches are often very good. The success of a national team depends on the knowledge of the coach combined with the right kind of players.

      • it’s like talking to a brick wall. so i’m going to start quoting what you said:

        – “And what is this preference for people who have scored quite a bit in relatively minor leagues? Altidore scored in Holland. That doesn’t make the Eredivisie a topnotch place to prove talent.”

        – “But we could at least have those people in the USMNT who are consistently scoring goals like Magee and Wondolowski.”

        – “No, I think we ought to take take Americans who know how to score”

        – “Magee and Wondolowski”

        if you cannot see the contradiction in your logic, then there is nothing left to say. AJ, and Jozy last season, score consistently and more often than Wondo or Magee and they do/did it in a stronger league.

        “The Dutch National team is great. That does not make the league a top notch league.” – who said it was? it’s still better than MLS though. i love MLS but it’s the reality.

        “Also the Spanish National team is really good. It is mostly made up of players from Barcelona and Madrid. Other than that the Spanish league is pretty mediocre.” – i don’t even understand the point of this comment in the context of responses to your original comment.

        “Anyhow, in my opinion, there is a huge difference between national teams and their respective leagues in Europe. At different times Sweden and Denmark have had great national teams. That doesn’t make their leagues great, though.” – who is making that argument? who, other than you, is even talking about the correlation between a country’s league and their national team????

        “The success of a national team depends on the knowledge of the coach combined with the right kind of players.” – again, how is this relevant?

        you said you thought it was silly that AJ gets this preference simply because he plays in Holland. which you said is not a top league, it does not matter about him scoring consistently.

        when you were asked who should, you said Magee and Wondo because they score consistently…in MLS. a league that is under the level of the Dutch league. so, why would those two, using YOUR logic, be a better fit then AJ? AJ starts for a stronger league and scores consistently.

        do you see the contradiction yet? everything you just responded with at “12:58AM, January 29, 2014” has nothing to do with what I, and everyone else, responded to.

    • Im confused, are you suggesting there are US strikers scoring in bunches in the big 4 Euro leagues that are being neglected by Klinsmann? There are none that Im aware of… Right now, the best we have are strikers who have put up big numbers in Holland.

  18. When crunch time comes in May and time to name the 23-man roster, I think Klinsmann will be carving Fabian Johnson’s name in stone as starting left back, assuming that Fabian is in good form this spring. He was weak for big chunks of time during the first half of the season. Plus, there are much better options at left wing than Fabian, guys who start at the position for their clubs. So I don’t see Klinsmann wasting a midfielder spot on Fabian. Of course, if necessary in certain situations, he could fill in there.

    Ditto with four strikers: Jozy Altidore, Aron Johannsson, Terrence Boyd, Eddie Johnson. I don’t see Klinsmann playing two strikers against Germany, Portugal or Ghana. Will have to be a more defensive-minded. I can’t imagine Boyd getting a WC ticket. He’s a loose cannon and he’s only played in a couple of USMNT games. His spot would be better filled with a an attacking midfielder who in a pinch could play up top. Let’s see how Mike Magee shows this weekend. Boyd’s time will come in WC 2018.

    Joe Corona showed well for Tijuana earlier this month under the new coach. Have high hopes he can show well in the next few months. If he regain Gold Cup form, he might be a better option than Mix. Probably one of those two will make the roster, but not both.

  19. Great list, Ives. Here are my changes:

    -86 Parkhurst for Timmy Chandler
    -86 Evans for Castillo (I know he’s a shaky defender, but he would come in when we are behind)
    -86 Boyd for Brek Shea (I love Boyd’s enthusiasm, but Brek is a late-game injection of pace)
    -and I’d personally 86 Beckerman for D Williams, but I understand if Jurgen wants to bring Beckerman as a “locker room type” who is a “giver.”

  20. I’m not sure Agudelo is “settled in the Eredivisie” after playing a little more than a half hour, but by April with a run of games to assess there could be more to his candidacy. Parkhurst, who hasn’t played a club match in nearly a year, has no business in the final 23 until he can establish his level of play. If he does well against South Korea and appears in the Ukraine as well as the rumored Mexico friendly in April there could be a chance for him to be in the initial 30 player group US Soccer announces in mid-May. If Jermaine Jones doesn’t find a club by the end of the week, his place has to be in doubt. Teams may not take a chance due to the knee injury he had in the fall. Danny Williams has been getting good reviews at Reading and Edu could get a good run of games with the Union to put pressure on that roster spot.

    The most positive situation is that it will be a hard competition for some of the spots on the roster and it will probably be down to the wire for final decisions to be made. Lots of these guys are one or two injuries away from being in pole position to go to the World Cup.

    • Agudelo needs to set the world on fire. If he does so he might play his way into the discussion. His potential is better than EJ’s. But I think the longer term concern is does he get his act together, because he has some more cycles in him.

      Jones I think will land somewhere. I think he knows this is his one shot and he won’t let personal terms get in the way of that.

      Edu might be a sleeper but CDM is stocked and he’d need to play well and be healthy for Philly.

      Please no Williams foolishness. Where’s he going to play well and help? Wing? Ha. CDM? Ha.

    • I think that might be an optimal outcome but Klinsi is an “earn it” type and he won’t commit and estabish his bona fides.

  21. Okay here is my brief assessment. Goalie we are set. Defense…not so much. Omar makes me nervous. Besler is a little more solid and fluid. But who are our fullbacks? Beasley? Evans? Not very sexy but then again, savvy could be the better way to go. Who will play in the midfield? Clint, Donovan, Bradley and Jones? Where’s Fabian at left back? Or is he on the left and Landon and Dempsey are rotating as Altidore’s strike partner? Then what happens to Aron? We still have some question marks obviously but I would love to see some guys step up this spring for their clubs, (Chandler, Gooch, “SwAgudelo”, Herc), and force Klinsi’s hand. This is the competitive fire we need in the squad to propel us into Brazil!! I’m fired up!

  22. I think Klinsman will want 4 wide midfielders. Dempsey and Donovan can play as forwards, so that means Boyd gets cut.

    Beckerman would get eaten alive against any of the teams we’re playing in Brazil. Get me somebody…anybody. And get me somebody while I’m waiting.

  23. I still think one of the biggest concerns for the team is who is lining up in the middle with Bradley. With jones’ club situation in limbo, and the fact that he hasn’t put in a good performance for the nats in a while, I really hope someone can step up in the next six months.

    • I disagree Ives, Castillo will hopefully be forgotten soon as a LB option. Since he is a “questionable defender” maybe we should find one with less questions and more answers.

      Chandler will be Cherundolo’s replacement.

      Onyewu and Brooks are better than Goodson is right now.

      I think its a dead heat for the following players:

      • How do you feel about Beasley at LB and CASTILLO AT LM? Anyone? I never liked Castillo as a defender but he contributes a lot going forward. Maybe this is the best compromise?


      • If Fabian Johnson isn’t at LM then I want him at LB. But I do like Castillo at LM, and I think they would be a dangerous pair (FJ and Castillo, that is).

    • @Amru: How do you know that MB will be starting in the WC? That is five months away and by then other midfielders might be in great form and MB’s form might be down. Klinsmann just got a four-year contract extension and he no longer has to worry about upsetting a certain fan base and no doubt he will field a roster that he thinks is the most dynamic with the best chance of getting results.

      • Biff I think we all know where you stand on MB, especially after his move to TFC. Whether you like it or not Bradley gives us the best chance of getting results at the WC. Personally I hope mix or feilhaber can really step it up. I always wanted to see a Bradley kljestan partnership, but for whatever reason Sacha seems to have been relegated to the bench.

      • You’re right that anything can happen in 5 months, but do you really think JK has ever taken interests of “a certain fan base” into consideration when choosing his squad/lineups? And if so, who constitutes this fan base wielding such influence?

      • I agree, Amru, that MB stands a good chance of starting in Brazil. But was just trying point out that Klinsmann is not going to be sentimental when game time comes and he has to fill in the starting roster. And we all know that JK likes to spring surprises. It seems to me that since MB was injured in September he has not been able to regain his previous good form, and that is now five months of weak form. Obviously he will be starting every game in Toronto and will become once again MB90, with the chance to step up his game for Brazil.

        And the same for Jermaine Jones. People talk about Klinsmann’s love affair with Jones, but I have no doubt that JK will drop JJ like a ton of bricks of Jones is not able to regain his form. And what I cannot understand is why JJ did not at least participate in Schalke’s January training camp and let his agent sort out his transfer mess. JJ has now wasted a month doing who knows what and his starting role in Brazil is now questionable. Even a chance he will not make the roster.

      • Biff you are completely off base. MBs Weak Form was good enough to get regular minutes and contribute to the success of a ROMA team that was literally stacked with world class midfielders. There is nothing that any other USMNT hopeful can do in the next 5 months to surpass that. Its just naive to think otherwise.

        We don’t have anybody in the current pool playing on a team that even approached the quality at Roma. MB was a solid contributor on that team, and he bosses the midfield in the USMNT jersey like nobody else we have… Who do we have that even comes close?

      • I’m actually hoping we get to see either Williams, Cameron, or kljestan paired in the middle with Bradley, but I’m not sure we’re going to have enough time to experiment

      • I will stick by my hope that MB90 replaces Jones as the dmid and that Deuce gets dropped down to attacking mid, leaving LD to partner up top with Jozy, Fabian on the left and Bedoya/Zusi on the right. This seems to be the most lethal IF Bradley doesn’t get caught up field and IF Dempsey gets in full form. A great blend of weapons and chemistry.

        In other words…

        I won’t even try to figure out the defense because I don’t know the solution.

      • I like Donovan as the striker behind Jozy a lot. If Dempsey can re-discover his work rate, I would like this formation. Otherwise, it will have to be Diskerud or Beckerman in the middle. (This is assuming Jones is not a starter.)

    • A nice dream, but Klinsi will have to pull off a miracle for that to happen. Also, although Julian has impressed in the reserves and in the winter break friendlies, he is still not getting a lot of playing time in the Bundesliga. Will be interesting to see how this works out, although I’m not optimistic.

    • Are you serious? The guy who has never attended a USMNT camp or game? The guy whose name you would not know but for Ives?

      O.k., if you are just trying to suggest that Jurgen should recruit this guy then I guess this makes sense.

      • He was asked and declined. This is ex-girlfriend syndrome like Rossi or Subotic, and what’s worse some people seem to get more frenzied in interest the more they run away.

      • I would have agreed with this statement 3 months ago when he was still on the reserve squad, but he is making serious progress at Bayern.

        If he was committed to the team (a big if) I get the feeling he would get the call. He could fill the role of super sub in a big way. If Klinnsman was willing to give Shea multiple chances while riding the pine at Stoke, I don’t see how Green riding the pine at Bayern would be any different.

      • “If Klinnsman was willing to give Shea multiple chances while riding the pine at Stoke, I don’t see how Green riding the pine at Bayern would be any different”

        It is very different. Shea actually played a game or two for the US and did well before he went to Stoke.
        Green has never set foot in a USMNT locker room.

      • Green would be perfect for next cycle. We have such a strong pool for next cycle. And green would fit in with them.

    • While I’m not dismissing this completely, the good news is that we have a group of forwards that, right now, I think we’re all pretty comfortable with.

      • Bryan,

        “Comfortable? That is a little optimistic.

        Jozy – struggling right now, could lose PT. and not play much the rest of the way
        AJ- Good form but as Jozy proved to you all scoring for AZ in Holland does not prove he can do it at a higher level.
        Boyd- Austrian BL not the greatest league and Boyd has been anonymous for the US, except when he was bad.
        EJ – Uncertain whether he can translate to WC level

        Gomez, Magee and Agudelo need to get it on and keep it up and if they do that then maybe they slide in.

      • Maybe I read it wrong, but seems like you implied that only you knew that scoring at AZ would not translate into BPL scoring.

      • DanO,

        When Jozy was scoring many goals at AZ many posters here questioned this saying no one plays defense in Holland.

        Now AJ is scoring many goals at AZ and everyone thinks he should start for the US over Jozy.

        Isn’t it interesting that it seems like a goal scored in Holland by Jozy is worth less than a goal scored in Holland by AJ.

        What Jozy proved at AZ was he could score at AZ. That is all he proved.

        Scoring goals at any level with any kind of consistency is easy for no one and is to be respected even if your name is Wondolowski. It is a skill that is not always translated to a different team and scorers must constantly prove themselves over and over. AJ is very promising but does not have Jozy’s overall experience internationally.

        It is yet to be determined that Jozy cannot score in the BPL. Dempsey scored one goal his first year at Fulham and Lukaku, for example, scored 0 goals in his first year in the BPL.

        As I write this it is possible Jozy will be benched by Sunderland and won’t get another chance to prove that he can be a viable scorer in the BPL, but until that happens, when you look at the overall picture, at this point, Jozy has earned the right to be the US’ starting striker.

        People here keep saying a forward has to score goals but, especially in a short tournament, that is not necessarily true.
        What is true is that he has to be responsible for creating scoring opportunities either for himself or others. As long as he does that on a consistent basis and someone scores then that is all that matters. If the US beats Ghana, Portugal and Germany all by 1-0 scores and the scorers are Besler, Goodson and Howard , no one will care.

      • Do world Cup qualifiers in count as a “higher level?” or Road matches in Europe against to 20 opponents?

        I’m pretty sure Jozy has translated club form to international level scoring in 2013.

      • Oh but come on he walked out on to the field for 5 seconds in a champions league match that didn’t mean anything to Bayern.

      • yep. if you’re not good enough to play for bayern munich, you’re simply not good enough for the usmnt.

    • I don’t see why it’s such a bad thing. Most NTs have a domestic league backbone. Mexico draws on MX, Costa Rica on their league. I think it gives the team a solid talent foundation, and I don’t think you get maximum results by becoming more like Canada or Jamaica where all the talent flees and the team gets less time to gel and maybe players have other club/country priorities when they get called.

      It’s ironic that English or Italian expat players are the exception. I recognize their leagues are better but it’s a balancing process. As MLS improves, becomes financially stable, and starts paying better, I expect more Bradleys. I also expect our players to be taken more seriously abroad, but I think that will become more of a style choice than a competitive imperative.

    • I think he has his finger on JK’s pulse but there are changes I would make if I was actually trying to assemble the best team. The defense is pretty bad. I thought FJ and Goodson showed pretty definitively they were not up to task. FJ can play LM and might be preserved for that, but Goodson is an accident waiting to happen. Though we qualified fine, the amount of goals we leaked should be a warning, in light of our draw.

      I also think EJ is questionable value at the level he’s going to have to play.

      • Agree that the defense is vulnerable. Really our entire back line is average at best and the collective will need to produce the performances of their lives to get out of the group.

        Goodson is probably the weakest of the group, but I doubt he’s in line for many minutes. And honestly, it’s not like there’s anyone better trying to take his spot.

      • FJ showed pretty definitively that he is not up to the task? of playing left back??? are you being serious?

      • by “FJ”, did you mean beasley? it’s the only way i can make sense of your comment. fabian has hardly played defense for the usmnt in the past year or so; he has not “definitively” shown he’s not “up to task”, and he certainly isn’t the reason for the “amount of goals we leaked”.

        on the other hand, i totally get your first sentence. it’s hard to disagree with ives’ predictions based on what we’ve seen of klinsmann, but i’d be interested in who ives thinks should be called, just out of curiosity.

    • IVES- can we get a link to the first of these you did post-WC ’10? Not to laugh at what wasn’t able to be predicted, but to see how things have changed, who hasn’t panned out.

      Kudos to both Donovan and Dempsey, I recall most people had written them both off as possibilities and I think I said one or the other would go.

    • I think Beckerman and Mix could easily be swapped for Benny and Sacha. Agree? Defense is about right but I think we’ll be in trouble up front. We don’t score a ton as it is and with Jozy out of form I’m nervous. But love that Johannsson is scoring. Still don’t get why Jo$y left AZ for a crazy manager and bubble team. I know, I know, money. But money doesn’t get you to the WC – unless of course you work for FIFA and on the take…


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