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23 for 2015: Projecting the USMNT Gold Cup roster (September 2014 Edition)

USMNT Starting Eleven

Photo by Thomas Eisenhuth/


The 2015 Gold Cup might still be a few months away, but it is not too early to take a look at which players could wind up contributing to the U.S. Men’s National Team as it attempts to defend its title.

After coming up victorious in the last edition of the Gold Cup in 2013, the U.S. will try and win the tournament for a second straight time next summer to book a place in the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia.

U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann still has nine months to identify talent that could help his side’s cause at the Gold Cup, but that process officially began earlier this month when the Americans went on the road and beat the Czech Republic, 1-0.

There were encouraging and strong performances in Prague from some of the younger prospects in the pipeline, as well as a handful of the regular veterans. Conversely, some disappointing outings left plenty of questions as to which players will still be in the picture to partake in the Gold Cup next June.

There is plenty of time for players to boost their stock, or possibly see their stock diminish. For now, here is the September 2014 edition of the SBI Projected USMNT Gold Cup roster, as selected by SBI’s editorial staff:

Projected USMNT Gold Cup Roster (September 2014 Edition)

(Unanimous selections in bold)


Brad Guzan, Nick Rimando, Bill Hamid

Outlook- With Klinsmann admitting that Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando are battling for the No. 1 spot that Tim Howard recently vacated, the only real question was who would be taken as a third netminder. Bill Hamid’s strong year at D.C. United makes him the clear choice ahead of other candidates like the Chicago Fire’s Sean Johnson and Steve Clark of the Columbus Crew, but a lot can change between the end of this MLS season and the initial few months of the 2015 campaign.

Missed the Cut– Sean Johnson, Steve Clark, Cody Cropper


Fabian Johnson, DeAndre Yedlin, Omar Gonzalez, John Brooks, Matt Besler, Geoff Cameron, Greg Garza, Timmy Chandler

Outlook- Given how things stand now, the majority of the defense that went to Brazil this past summer will be back. There might be a shakeup as to who plays where, but the only World Cup participant that we see falling off the squad is Houston Dynamo veteran DaMarcus Beasley. Klinsmann will likely want to go younger there, and Greg Garza could be the man for the job as he continues to start on a consistent basis for Club Tijuana.

Missed the Cut– Tim Ream, Chris Schuler, Eric Lichaj, Robbie Rogers, Will Packwood, Michael Orozco, DaMarcus Beasley


Michael Bradley, Mix Diskerud, Alejandro Bedoya, Joe Gyau, Julian Green, Wil Trapp, Graham Zusi, Jermaine Jones

Outlook- There are so many talented young midfielders emerging in Europe and MLS that it seems likely that at least one or two will break through. Joe Gyau and Wil Trapp are the favorites after respectively finding some playing time at Borussia Dortmund and contributing heavily for the Columbus Crew. They probably will not be starters for the U.S. with veterans Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Alejandro Bedoya and Graham Zusi in the mix. But they could see time off the bench as the tournament goes on and depth gets tested. Fringe players like Brek Shea and Lee Nguyen will need to have either a strong run of games or an impressive January camp to warrant more serious consideration.

Missed the Cut– Luis Gil, Danny Williams, Brek Shea, Lee Nguyen, Emerson Hyndman, Joe Corona, Perry Kitchen, Alfredo Morales, Harrison Shipp


Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, Aron Johannsson, Terrence Boyd

Outlook- Altidore and Dempsey figure to be locks given their experience and game-changing abilities, but who joins them is uncertain. Johannsson and Boyd are both currently recovering from injuries, but have shown they can find the back of the net at the club level and are still young enough at 23 to warrant looks over other promising youngsters like LA Galaxy’s Gyasi Zardes and FC Utrecht’s Rubio Rubin.

Missed the Cut– Gyasi Zardes, Andrew Wooten, Rubio Rubin, Bobby Wood


What do you think of this group of 23 players? Who are you happy to see included in the squad? Who is missing that you feel should have been considered?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Zusi should stop receiving call-ups for games we care about. He had a horrible world-cup performance and is not young. Don’t waste his spot when we could see a young talent in there.

  2. He took mostly the B and C team to GC 2013. Indeed, Beckerman, Bedoya, Diskerud, and Beasley all forced Klinsi’s hand as a result of their performance during the tournament. I don’t think taking a B team to GC 2017 will matter. If 2013 is any indication, the US might need to shift a game here or there like Mexico was forced to because of their being in the CC in Brazil. If the GC is after WC qualifying, he might take the B team. If it’s before, he’ll take A and B and drop B players and add the rest of the A squad once you get to the knockout round just like he added EJ, Omar, and some other players in 2013.

  3. JK will need two USMNT in 2017 as the ‘first’ team will probably qualify and play the 2017 Confederations Cup and the ‘second’ team will play the 2017 Gold Cup’

    This might be a good thing, it also might be a bad thing as there wont be enough time to get enough team chemistry for the second team… my guess is some players will overlap but it will be asking too much of the players physically.

  4. Lee Nguyen is more talented than three possibly four of those mid-fielders you have listed. Ridiculous criteria for selection. Can we please stop the Julian Green stuff until he gets bigger, stronger, faster, and in general at a level equal to the hype – he is taking up a spot that could be given to currently more talented players.

    • Agree that Green is well green. Needs to grow physically and mentally. BUT, he also scored a goal in the World Cup — something everyone else in the conversation save Brooks, Jones, and Dempsey has not. And he didn’t choke like Wondo.

  5. i sont think altidore sould be a lock, we are becoming too sympathetic to his situation at sunderland, he need to do a little better than he is currently doing. I would say bench him but, nobody can replace him atm. Unless you want to start a hot Zardes.

    • Because this is a projection for 9 months in the future. Gyau is now dressing and even played for Dortmund while Besler has been awful for KC since the WC. If you assume those trends continue, which you have to do in a piece like this, it makes sense why Ives has it this way.

  6. If for some reason we don’t win the 2015 Gold Cup…there is a playoff for the CONCACAF Confed Cup spot correct? Due to us winning the 2013 Gold Cup. I thought I read before that tournament that you would receive 1/2 a spot for winning the 2013 & 2015 Gold Cups. This was supposed to make the typical “B Team” Gold Cup mean something. Am I right?

  7. Honestly not sure if I see Wood making a huge impact for the Nats in the future. No doubt he is still young and can have a solid career, but it just seems like we have more promising players in his spot that are similar in age. Boyd, Zardes, Altidore, Johannson, Agudelo (if he ever finds a team and gets minutes). Would love to be proven wrong.

    • You have to be joking, he is a child. No way is he better than Bradley, Mix, Jones, Zusi and Bedoya. Gyau is completely different type of player so you don’t even make that comparison. He has good vision and distribution when he has time but he hasn’t shown he can make an impact in a man’s game. He is not even a better choice than Feilhaber, Nguyen, Nagbe and other players not even mentioned as “not making the cut”. The only reason he has a senior cap is because Klinmann was doing his friend Magath a favor by making it look like the guy was responsible for something positive at Fulham, and because Klinsmann decided to look at some young players. The best thing for Hyndman is to stay with the U teams for a few years and play in the U20 WC, the Olympics and to continue adjusting to and learning in the Championship.

  8. The only real concern is at CB. By 2018, Besler will be 31 and Cameron will be 32. If Brooks falls out of the picture we will may be hurting for depth. Maybe Packwood should get the call for the Gold Cup. It’s not like we have to win it to go to the Confederations Cup so this would be a very good time to take a chance.

    • we have a solid group of 4 cb’s two of which are in Europe; Cameron & Brooks and two of which are in MLS; Besler and Gonzalez.

      hard for guys like Packwood, Schuler, Hedges, Okugo, Ferrell and others to break in. Depth is good but I would imagine friendlies would be a better time than the Gold Cup

  9. I could quibble here or there on several, but Boyd seems the one which is remarkably unlikely. He didn’t make the 23 to Brazil and has done nothing since. Rubin, Zardes, and Gil will replace him.

    On a more general note, I doubt we will be using a 4-4-2 – much less an empty bucket 4-4-2, which your outline seems to presume, and I am very curious how some of those guys were not unanimous selections (really, Green, Cameron, and Besler not unanimous but Boyd is? If Jones isn’t there, it is because he either retired or was given the summer off.)

    • if you think Boyd is “remarkably unlikely” than you haven’t been paying attention. ESPECIALLY after the World Cup when it was real obvious we could have used him after Jozy went down (not to say Boyd would have absolutely done well, just saying). Boyd is one of our best prospects and JK loves him. especially in a target striker system. he was a part of every A team game until the actual World Cup when JK made a surprising decision to take Wondo instead.

      also, he’s “done nothing since” because it was 1. the offseason, and 2. he partially tore his ACL and isn’t back yet.

      • wat?

        This is an important tournament. It allows us to reach the Confederations Cup, and an opportunity to keep our bragging rights in a rising soccer confederation (as a Mexican-American, it means the WORLD for the US to beat Mexico).

        Mexico has found its rhythm and possess a lethal attack, one more potent than our own.

        And Costa Rica? They just went toe-to-toe with some of the more respected soccer nations in the world and beat them, not to mention going farther than any other CONCACAF team in the WC. Do you really think that they are still afraid of the US and Mexico?

      • Personally I don’t think the Ticos were “afraid” of the US or Mexico BEFORE Brazil. They almost won the snow bowl game in Denver. They actually screwed their protest because their players in the second half were in the ascendency and they didn’t want to abandon the game because they thought they were going to win.

        They beat both the US in Mexico in their “new” Chinese-made stadium in San Jose, which while it lacked the obvious home field advantage of Saprissa, was still a hostile environment.

        What I think happened is that everyone else underestimated the Ticos in Brazil.

  10. I still don’t see why Gil gets considered. Had another invisible night against Vancouver last week. Yes, he shows the occasional flash and RSL is deep at midfield, but even when he plays he doesn’t consistently make an impact on the game. And this is coming from a huge RSL homer. What am I missing other than he is young?

    • He has played well as a central midfielder for both RSL and youth national teams; he usually doesn’t when he is played out of position as an outside midfielder, which is where he usually ends up at the club level. I am withholding judgement until he is allowed to play a long stretch at central attacking midfielder either for RSL or to another team that willing to give him the keys to the car.

      • That’s ludicrous.

        I know that with all the LD hate and Green love, younger players are considered far better than older ones, but that isn’t true.

        We want to win this Gold Cup. To win, you need to call up the best players. Jermaine Jones is simply better than Edu.

      • I agree. There is a habit on this site of casting the older players aside too quickly. LD would have been a difference maker in Brazil. Players that think it might be their last chance play with more urgencey than ones that might think this is just one of many chances.

  11. I think it’s funny that we try to do this almost a year before the tournament. It’s like picking the winner of the 2016 Super Bowl.

  12. Still don’t understand why Jurgen won’t call up Eric Lichaj; I think Danny Williams will make the squad since he’ll be healthy by then and has been playing well for Reading. I’m very high on Hyndman, Morales and Wooten. They all been getting regular time for their clubs so if they keep this up they can only get better. I understand Jones and Dempsey have experience but maybe their time are up being at 32 maybe we should give our younger kids a shot but I know we are trying to win this tournament to qualify for the confederation cup so I’m all in.

    • Because Lichaj is not really a wingback.

      If Jurgen’s selections of Run DMB at left back and the likes of Fabian Johnson and DeAndre Yedlin – and his refusal to play Cameron at RB, the spot he played for Stoke – tell you anything, it’s that Klinsmann wants guys at outside back who can attack out of the back. Ultimately Klinsmann really wants to go to a 4-3-3…and that absolutely requires you get your width from your outside backs.

      Lichaj isn’t really a threat to bust forward on the outside. He’s a solid, Championship-level player…but he doesn’t fit the style Klinsmann really wants to play.

      • i kind of disagree based on what i’ve seen from Lichaj. he is quick and gets forward plenty. in fact, i’d say him and Garza are basically the same type of player. they aren’t your Cameron type of fullback, but not your Yedlin type either.

        watching Garza at Xolos every week (i live in SD), it’s become clear he isn’t a wingback like Yedlin or Beasley, which is what i assumed he was when he first got in the scene.

        but back to your point, and why i don’t completely disagree, it could be that JK just decided to pick one out of Garza and Lichaj. he went with the younger guy. i’d say JK is hoping Yedlin, Johnson, and Chandler can be those wingback type players and Garza will provide some back up depth.

        personally, i’d still like to see Lichaj.

      • If you watched a Forest game you know that he is very offensive. Regularly records shots and crosses in games. Even recall last year he went on a run of assists.

      • Am I wrong or did BB use Lichaj as a wide midfielder against Argentina in 2011 or was he just overlapping? I thought he handled himself well in that match. I’ve started watching Championship matches on BEin but Lichaj has not stood out. OTOH, Hyndmann has.

        Lichaj does have some of the skills JK wants BUT he’s less of an offensive threat than Castillo, Chanleror Ream. He’s also slower.

  13. I may be completely wrong, but I have a feeling that JK will be looking to upgrade over Zusi in the next couple of years. Nguyen is around the same age and is arguably in better club form at the moment, so don’t count him out. Gil, Shipp, and Corona, maybe even a relative unknown such as Guido, are all names to watch for in the near future. Other possible differences of opinion with this list: I think Rogers has a realistic shot of taking that spot Garza has; both Boyd and Johannsson are still largely unknown quantities, so I think Zardes could replace either one fairly soon.

  14. I’m not convinced Zusi will be a lock all that much longer either. The guy plays well, but is slow on the international level, and is very predictable. There are better guys coming up who could displace him by next summer

    • I think Zusi is one of the guys who gives up his slot, alongside Beckerman and Davis from the World Cup. Klinsi wants dynamic players like Gyau who can change a game. Zusi is more of a soldier.

  15. man, that midfield battle is going to be AWESOME. i think you could make a case for just about any combo. really looking forward to how everyone plays over the next 9 months. especially with players coming back from injury and the likely scenario of players getting injured. or, in the case of Agudelo, finding a club and seeing what happens from there.

  16. GK: Guzan*, Rimando, Johnson
    DF: Johnson*, Besler*, Gonzo*, Chandler*, Yedlin, Ream, Brooks, Lichaj
    MF: Gyau*, Bradley*, Dempsey*, Cameron*, Bedoya*, Green, Williams, Zusi, Diskerud
    ST: Altidore*, Boyd, Johansson

    • I was in the same line of thinking last year, but the dude hasn’t really been all that great this entire MLS season, he needs more consistency, like his game though.

      • He is on a career year for assists I believe but yes the goals are non existent. I think he is just frustrated and worn down by the amount he is hacked down. Most fouled player in the league for two to three years running. Despite his lack of production this year, he is still a dangerous player with ball skills that I don’t think any other American has. He would win loads of free kicks for the US and might produce a good number of goals and assists if he isn’t fouled, or allowed to by fouled by the refs, the way he is in MLS

  17. I don’t think these picks are realistic at all. This may be a who’s who of American Soccer in 2015 but or the Gold Cup its doubtful they use Euro established players – I would like to see a revised American based team (either in MLS or MX) that is more likely.

    • what? of course they will use a strong squad. they want to win it so they don’t have to worry about a playoff game to get to the Confeds Cup. this will be an A team tournament and since it’s FIFA mandated, the clubs have to obliged.

      • I have yet to see any proof of this – if the Gold Cup was so important the they would have used an A team the last time. Granted last time was in the midst of the Hex as well. I see it as a great opportunity to give the new guys a chance to experience a tournament – the big opportunity for an A team will come the next year in the Copa. You can bet if we lose the Gold Cup (which I find unlikely even with a B team that still has some MLS based veterans) We would bring in top stars for the playoff for the Confed cup.

  18. I think Luis Robles should be in the discussion alongside guys like Clark and Johnson. He hasn’t gotten a look in a while and is quietly one of the best shot stoppers in MLS.

    • I was wondering about this too. I don’t have a particular rooting interest in MLS…I just watch whatever games are nationally televised. I feel like I’ve seen 4-5 Red Bull games in the last month or so, and in each one, Robles has had at least one fantastic save and looks generally solid the rest of the time.

    • Still a lot of season left to be played and I can see Klinsmann bringing him into the team because he’s still a young player with a lot of up side. However him pushing for a starting spot is certainly less likely now.

      • Yes because no one should ever get the benefit of the doubt because their club plays in a superior league to other players’ clubs. That would be madness.

      • Uhhh Michael Bradley not playing much for a short time in Germany prevented call-ups, Brek Shea not playing much in the premier league prevented call-ups, Edu not playing in the premier league prevented call-ups, Jozy didn’t get call-ups when he was on fire at AZ because Klinsmann didn’t like his form. There is clearly a different standard, or lack there of, for players developed in Germany

      • When was Bradley dropped for playing time? Jozy started all last season regardless of his playtime and poor scoring record, while guys like Aron and Boyd were smashing them in for fun.

        Red, white, and blue tinted glasses on? Or are they Klinsi hating tint?

      • When Bradley wasn’t getting along with the manager at Monchengladbach early in Klinsmann’s tenure he didn’t get called up. One of the matches he didn’t get called for was even in Europe. There were controversial non call-ups of Jozy when he was at AZ, they resulted in Jozy’s tweets about blaming others for your own mistakes that some thought were aimed at Klinsmann. Yes, Jozy seems to be called up no matter what now but that wasn’t always the case. No glasses just a memory and strange idea that logic and consistency should apply.


        Klinsmann became USMNT manager in July of 2011.
        At the time Mikey was technically just back with BMG after a bad time on loan at Aston Villa where he played four games. Mikey then signed with Chievo in August of 2011 one month after JK got the job. At the time JK said he was giving Mikey time to acclimate to a new league , a new country and a new language.
        Mikey got off to a great start with Chievo so whether you believe JK or not, Mikey getting time to get settled in with Chievo was a great move as it eventually led to a great season and a move to Roma.

        As for Jozy, JK dropped him because he was not playing well for the US. Jozy played quite well when he got back from being frozen out. It is possible that JK got the idea from Jozy’s manager at AZ , Verbeek, who publicly called Jozy stupid,rode Jozy hard, held him accountable, taught him how to be a better player and eventually managed him into the best two years of his career so far.

      • Yeah, what kind of idiots would want a 21 year old center back, playing in one of the best leagues in the world, with a game winning World Cup goal to his name playing for their national team?!?!

  19. Brek Shea missed the cut??? are you kidding??? He was a lock for WC until he had major disciplinary issues, was out of shape and didn’t play well-outisde of that he’s a natural left-footer and is tall- he’s a lock. he just needs to find a non-American hating coach who want to win games instead of taking his anti-American bias out on USMNT players


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