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A look at who missed the cut from the USMNT preliminary World Cup roster

Juan Agudelo FC Utrecht (Getty Images)


U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann named his 30-man preliminary World Cup squad on Monday, but there were plenty of notable absences.

Some of the standout names of players that missed the cut were Eddie Johnson, Sacha Kljestan, Brek Shea, Juan Agudelo, and defender Tim Ream. Johnson was a key contributor for the USMNT during World Cup qualifying and during last year’s Gold Cup, but his form has dipped since joining D.C. United, failing to score a goal in eight games.

Kljestan was a constant in Klinsmann’s USMNT World Cup qualifying squads but hasn’t played much in the past six months, losing his place in the Anderlecht starting lineup. Brek Shea’s time in England this year has been about as up and down as his play, though he did score the game-winning-goal in the 2013 Gold Cup.

Ream played a full season with Bolton and was named the club’s Player of the Year but has only been on the USMNT fringes since the 2011 Gold Cup. Same goes for Agudelo, who has been on and off the field for the past 12 months due to a number of injuries, and hasn’t featured for the USMNT since 2012.

Other notable absences include former members of the 2010 USMNT World Cup squad such as Herculez Gomez, Stuart Holden, Jose Torres, and Benny Feilhaber.

To give you an idea of just how much talent is in the current U.S. player pool, here is a list of 30 players who ┬ámissed the cut for today’s USMNT roster:


Bill Hamid, Sean Johnson, Tally Hall


Tim Ream, Edgar Castillo, Tony Beltran, Michael Orozco, Shane O’Neill, Oguchi Onyewu, Will Packwood, Jonathan Spector, Matt Hedges, Eric Lichaj


Sacha Kljestan, Benny Feilhaber, Stu Holden, Danny Williams, Brek Shea, Jose Torres, Josh Gatt, Luis Gil, Alfredo Morales, Eric Alexander, Joe Gyau


Eddie Johnson, Juan Agudelo, Will Bruin, Herculez Gomez, Jack McInerney, Mike Magee


What do you think of those who missed out? How many of these players do you see making the next World Cup squad?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Bruin? I watch Bruin play every week, if he ever gets near the national team again it will be an absolute shock. Should never have been called up to begin with.

  2. EJ snubbed over Green?…Hmmm. A little unfair I’d say considering Green never was part of Qualifying. But I’m okay with it because I don’t really like EJ’s cockiness. I will miss his Jumps though!

  3. I would take Kljestan, Williams, Gil, or Feilhaber over Davis any day. I will be rather miffed if he’s on that plane.

    • Ya I dont get the Davies pick. I’m tired of people saying “his left foot______”. I think he is to slow and doesn’t offer much outside of set pieces.

  4. Still having a tough time accepting that EJ didn’t make the squad after all he’s done to get the USMNT qualified and this kid Green gets called up after only 42 minutes of playing for the Nats. If he goes to Brazil that will be so unjust and undeserved.

  5. I know the list was for ____ and giggles but honestly if you took the best 16 from the above team plus the 7 who will get cut, I would wager they are man for man better than or at least equal to the US teams of the past. That’s the most awesome thing about this post.

    • looks like he has that bias… good talent level in the Championship though.
      Take a look at the promotion playoffs if you have some time. Usually good to watch.

  6. Man, there’s a lot of NE Revs hate out there. Even your 30 who missed the cut doesn’t include the guy who outplayed both Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey (not to mention taking full advantage of Yedlin’s weaknesses) in consecutive weeks. Lee Nguyen just can’t get no love from SBI!

    And Ives, if you can talk about Kyle Beckerman freeing Bradley up to play more offensively, than you can imagine Lee Nguyen’s less stalwart (but certainly not non-existent) defending fitting in the same system. It’s not that Lee doesn’t fit the national team, but that he fits a more attacking style (yeah, the kind Klinsman wants to play).

  7. i like that most of the “not included” are older, 30+ players. however, this 30 list still has too many 30+ players, Dempsey, Donovan, Goodson, Davis, Beasley, Beckerman, Jones, all exceeding 31 y.o. we need to keep a young squad, not older than 25 with a small number (may be 4-5) not older than 30.

    • I think we may be able to get by with more 30+ players than most because our US based players don’t play as many games and our Euro based players either do not consistently start or play for teams that aren’t deep into cup or Euro tournaments. Bottom line they are less banged up than players of other countries which is a good thing for the geezers. That said you are right about our team being too long in the tooth, I just think that the negatives associated with that are less for our team than out competitions’.

      • Ha, Ha! We’ve been saving our strength! I like it.

        Position it right, and we can upgrade our sponsorship deals from Metamucil to Viagra, getting a lot more money for the program!

    • Of those players only Dempsey (just turned 31) and Jones (32) are locks to start. (With FJ listed as a defender I’m guessing he’s our starting LB.) Donovan maybe. The rest will not need to play 90 minutes. More under 25’s than over 30s on this squad. I’m OK with the age distribution.

  8. Jose Torres is the only player that I feel deserved to be on the 30 man roster. I have seen games where Torres was the BEST or one of the best USMNT players on the field.

    • Agreed about Castillo. Although he’s shaky on defense, he’s got speed and guile to get into the box. Someone you’d like to put into a game if we need a goal in the last 15 minutes.

      I’d guess the absence of hispanic players is a bit embarrassing for Team USA, thus Jose Corona in the 30. He’s a skillful young midfielder but his playing style doesn’t mesh well with the rest of the team and he hasn’t been a regular starter at Xolos this year. Will he really make the 23?

  9. dan, if you want to make a case for “just how much talent is in the current U.S. player pool”, you probably shouldn’t include a list of mostly average players directly below.

  10. No surprises. Injuries and form eliminated those with a real chance at making the 30. The timing doomed Ream despite his successful club season. He just hasn’t played with the Nats in so long, and he doesn’t bring anything that’s overwhelmingly superior to the other choices. I have to laugh at those who think Ream could play LB against the teams we’re facing. I wondered if Agudelo might sneak into the 30, he has the talent and has shown an ability to produce when given a chance, but again just being out of the team for so long hurt his chances.

      • We have a bunch of okay attackers. We also have a deficit of okay defenders. I think it’s that simple. I don’t know if Chandler can do the job, either, but we don’t have many options for outside backs who can play against Ronaldo. In fact we probably have just one, but Chandler might be the second.

  11. Compare this to 4 years ago…

    I’d have taken ANY of those FWDs over 2010 Robbie Findley. and all but MAYBE two of those MFs over 2010 Redcardo Clark.

  12. Was this really all about form in the case of EJ, or was it mostly that he was just not enough of a “pure giver” in JK’s eyes? After all, if his goal in the Mexico friendly in limited minutes had properly counted, can it be fairly said that his recent USMNT form was really all that bad?

    • His recent club form–not to mention his PUBLIC (and frankly completely inaccurate) shredding of his teammates–is probably why he’s not here.

      The guy is a cancer AND he’s not scoring.

  13. Not really surprised by any of these names. The real difficult part will be getting down to 23. Some really deserving players are going to miss out.

  14. Bruin will be MLS for life

    McInerney. He has the talent. Needs to go abroad within a year.

    Gomez lost his chance once the Gold Cup was over and he moved to Tijuana and forgot how to score a goal.

    EJ has a huge EGO but isn’t scoring.

    Agudelo will have 2018 to score goals

    • I agree that EJ should of not made the 30. But that being said, you could say the exact same thing about Mr. Altidore.

    • “Bruin will be MLS for life”

      I recall when folks were questioning Cameron’s ability and age when he went to the Prem, and now here we are. Not saying that’s Bruin’s path but the definitive way in which folks post about other people’s capabilities on the interwebs is puzzling.

      • I don’t doubt Bruin at all I think its a Houston thing. its so hot down there that all their players look mediocre until the go somewhere with better weather. I remember Holden was the same way. He was way better at Bolton than he was in MLS

  15. While there’s certainly good players in there, I don’t think there’s a particularly convincing argument to be made for any of those guys to have been included over those who were picked, with the exception of Tim Ream, maybe.

      • + 1

        I swear some of these comments. It’s like people either don’t know all of the factors (which when that’s the case I eaither do some reasearch before commenting) or they do know all of the factors but just choose the ones to make some strange point with so many wholes in it.

        I am a DC fan but EJ being left off does not bother me one bit and if he’s fair with himself he should have seen this coming. His attitude didn’t help either. One can make the argument that he was going through a lean stretch, a challenging time – it happens. But how you behave and handle yourself in those periods say a bit about you.

      • I think EJ is a good player but he’s not a superstar or head and shoulders above the other forwards in the pool. If he was, he could probably get away with more nonsense but since he’s marginal as it is, why would any coach pick him over someone who’s probably just as good and doesn’t say stupid things to the press?

    • He chased the money and got exposed it has nothing to do with athletes in America. If they pay you 3x + more to do the same job you’re doing now else where wouldn’t you leave??

    • Cristiano Ronaldo chased the money and became the best soccer player in the world…because Portugal and Spain are the lands of opportunity!!!!

      Or maybe, it only matters whether you are good at soccer or not.

      • haha CR7 best soccer player in the world? IF messi didnt exist, then yes, but Messi does. CR may have won the last Golden ball, but that still does not make him the best. WHen he wins 4 in a row and over 15 trophies in a span of 4 or 5 years, then we talk.

    • Forget the only in America part, but he has a point. This is literally the third time in his career EJ has followed this exact same cycle: excel for club and country, earn a nice contract, lose motivation and form for club, and fall out of the national team picture. It’s like clockwork. But why would you expect any different from a guy who demands “pay me” to a camera in the midst of an unremarkable 9 goal season?

      • EJ was in a dilemma of pay me now or pay me later.
        If he had stayed at Seattle,(who knows if this was an option?).
        EJ would have had a lot of time to work with Deuce and further develop their chemistry. I think that would have helped his cause and made him more indispensable.
        Was a little surprised that Ream, did not get a call regarding all the back line issues ?.
        As for Agudelo, he seems to have turned the corner a little too late.
        I did think that between he and EJ, one of the two would have been called for.
        As for Gooch, Thank you for your service to the USMNT. maybe you can go on standby in case all other center backs don’t work out?.

        P.S. Regarding Yedlin, I agree with many who say he is there for camp to offer speed to practice with. However the more I thought about it Yedlin,(a quick pesky little gnat), is perhaps the best physically suited to shadow CR7, or any other comparable opposition?.

  16. Thanks Dan! In a lot of ways, this is a more interesting read than the 30.
    Wouldve loved to see Orozco and Hedges fight for a spot in the back in camp. But at least Hedges may still have one more cycle in him.

  17. “To give you an idea of just how much talent is in the current U.S. player pool…”

    You missed the words “mediocre at best” in between the words “much” and “talent”.

      • The team is not really better. Its just more of a cohesive group compared to the last few cycles where we had players coming into the 23 last minute. For example last WC we had Jose Torres in the 23 and he never seemed to jell with the team on the field.

    • By U.S. standards, this is a deep pool. By Spain’s standards, not so much. But we’re getting there. I remember just four and a half years ago when Charlie Davies got into that car wreck we were discussing whether Bradley would have to go with a one-striker formation because, well, we didn’t have anyone else who could play with Altidore. Now, whether we play one or two up top, we have people questioning whether Altidore should start. I think he should and will if healthy, but we’ve all seen those conversations.

    • Please!

      You use what you have. We don’t have the talent that the bigger countires do (and some of the smaller countries as well to be honest) but I wouldn’t go calling this a bunch of mediocre players. “Mediocre at best” is just a very unfair assessment even for a hard case realist, IMO. This is the deepest team we’ve ever had and though it doesn’t have big name talent I wouldn’t go so far as to call this team “mediocre at best”

      • Kosh,

        The US has, a number of potentially good players. But it also has the least amount of PROVEN talent of any of the Death Group teams.

        Other than Howard and keepers don’t really count, it is highly questionable whether any USMNT starter would start for any of the other teams or even make their 23 man roster.

      • Point taken, but we play who we have. I mean when have we ever been able to send a superstar packed team to a WC?

        I get it that we don’t have the best players but calling them mediocre at best? Would our guys make the line up on these other teams? No. But here they are about to play them. On paper we shouldn’t even bother but the beauty of it all is that the game is played on the field. Let’s let them prove their worth to us one way or the other there.

        Not saying our guys are world beaters but mediocre…at best, even…is a bit too far for me.

      • Mediocre simply means average.

        None of the US players would make a list of the top 200.players in the world

        There are about 25000 pro soccer players in Europe.

        So if it makes you feel any better I’m sure US players are above average if you take that into account.

        I prefer to be realistic and am proud of the fact that the USMNT does as well as it does with the limited talent available.

    • David, you nailed it. This is the most ridiculous line in the piece. To give you an idea of how much taken is in the current U.S. player pool compare it to the rosters of their group opponents. Outside of Howard being the second best GK in the group we have a clear lack of talent in our player pool, and until we start making our talent judgements in relation to the world standard we are simply deluding ourselves. I think the fact that US soccer media routinely makes these type of statements is part of the problem. No real accountability.

      • Even saying Howard is second best is iffy. Rui Patricio is a monster in net, even his backup is pretty damn good. Either this group has one of the best if not the best gk in the world, and the US and Portugal have 2 very good keepers

      • Yep. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, but you’re absolutely right. We will rightly be picked to finish bottom of the group based on our roster.

      • Eh, we got jammed with the teams currently ranked second and third. I know those FIFA rankings are suspect, but whether you believe Portugal really is third in the world, they are pretty good. A little too reliant on one guy in attack, but a credible team who can play with anyone.

        We don’t have a pool of players like that yet – even taking CR out of the mix. But neither does more than half of the teams going to Brazil. We’re probably somewhere around 16th, so we should be 50-50 to get out of group, when not in what is recognized as the toughest group like we are this time around.

        But to whine about not having players like that probably is just youth showing. For some of us, when we started playing and watching this game, it seemed for the longest time we’d never climb to where we now are. I’m not sure where we were ranked back then, but I do remember how the tiny Caribbean nations used to regularly beat us.

    • mega ditto. i consider myself a huge USMNT fan. however, the quality of our talentsis really mediocre, especially consider we have to play Germany, Portugal and Ghana. Ghana, a team we think we can beat, has six key players from Serie A, two from Ligue 1 and two from Bundasligue). having said that as a diehard fan, i still root for our team even if we failed to get out of the group. i just hope they give 100%, show that they may lack the skill/technical, but can out run, out stamina everybody….

    • David,

      Let me guess: you don’t remember the ’94 World Cup, let alone the ’90. These second (wounded) 30 would have pushed the US squads from those years. Yes, compared to the abundant footballing genius of Germany, Brazil, Spain, and France (if you include their colonies), our current team is weak. However, to old geezers such as myself, our current pool is deeper than Lake Superior, compared to olden times.

      • amen to that, Ben. Our forward line is deeper than ever. I am comfortable with Clint, donovan, Jozy, AJ or Boyd out there (Wondo not so much…but no doubt he is prolific in MLS and has earned his call up).

      • + 1

        Thanks for that. Sometimes I wonder most folks point of reference on this issue. They seem to think the Spains of the world just happened over night.

    • You’ve got to be at least somewhat surprised that EJ missed out, if only because there was no way to know whether it would be him or Wondo. I’m surprised about Danny Williams losing out to Brad Davis, and I expected one of Ream or Orozco to make it (at the expense of Yedlin or Goodson).

      • Danny Williams is dealing with a nagging leg injury that would only get worse if he reported to camp and started training.

      • Yea Bud, there was an article a few days ago that his knee injury may require surgery, they’re not sure yet. Surprised not many picked up on this

      • Hoga, Bac: you’re both right. I kept hearing about his on-and-off knee issues that I stopped paying attention when he was playing again. Oops.

      • Well you were undoubtedly, predisposed, distracted, and concerned with the preflight checklist for a helium filled jet space delivery system previously designed by Richard Branson and flight tested by both Jet Pack man and James Bond… obviously…

  18. If you’re injured you didn’t really miss the cut, did you? I get what you’re trying to do here, just wouldn’t have gone 30 deep because, frankly, you’re at relative slim pickings towards the latter halves of the depth charts above…

    • Agree on injured players. If Holden was healthy for the past year he would have been a likely player on the 30. Gatt on the other hand would have been doubtful. I hope he can have a good recovery. I can see him being a part of the MNT.

    • Agreed, a bit hyperbolic. While we’re at it, you might as well include Cherundolo.

      This squad would be a pretty good team w/in CONCACAF. Compare this to the next 23 from Germany, who would still be favorites over the US WC squad.

    • + 1

      I see what you are trying to do here but this is more of an argument for depth than it is “missing out”. A healthy Holden would be going, maybe even Orozco and maybe Danny Williams. The rest were guys who were fring and some future guys whose chance will come.


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