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Projecting the USMNT Gold Cup roster (June 2015 edition)

USMNT celebration Germany friendly


For the U.S. Men’s National Team, the time to tinker, experiment, and prepare is over.

Results are all that matter now.

The U.S. is two weeks away from opening its CONCACAF Gold Cup title defense, and head coach Jurgen Klinsmann will unveil his 23-man roster for the regional tournament on Tuesday. Klinsmann has to select from a 35-player preliminary squad that he named earlier this month, but has promised that the final product will be the best available team.

Narrowing down the roster surely has not been easy exercise for Klinsmann, especially after seeing a shorthanded side go into the Netherlands and Germany and pick up friendly victories at the start of June. But what has surely helped him in finalizing his selections is knowing that he has the luxury of making six possible changes to the team after the group stage.

Even so, Klinsmann will have to leave off some good talent as he rounds out a squad that he wants to see lock down a berth to the 2017 Confederations Cup by winning this summer’s Gold Cup.

Here are the 23 players we see Klinsmann settling on (as well as the potential six reserves he might call upon after the group games):

Projected USMNT Gold Cup Roster (June 2015 Edition)

(*- Potential knock-out phase additions)


Brad Guzan, Nick Rimando, William Yarbrough

Outlook- No changes here from the last roster projection. Klinsmann has already named Brad Guzan the No. 1 choice for the tournament, and Nick Rimando is all but guaranteed to be the veteran backup. The third spot is more up for grabs, but Klinsmann may want to continue to integrate William Yarbrough into the program and potentially cap-tie the Mexican-American netminder in the final group match if qualification is already secured.

Klinsmann, however, is big on having his players with their clubs for the beginning of their preseasons, meaning Bill Hamid could replace Yarbrough on the roster (while actually staying with D.C. United unless needed) throughout the knockout rounds.

Missed the Cut– *Bill Hamid



Omar Gonzalez, Ventura Alvarado, John Brooks, Michael Orozco, Fabian Johnson, Greg Garza, Timmy Chandler, DeAndre Yedlin, Brek Shea

Outlook- There are plenty of options across the back line, but many questions remain at centerback. No one has run away and made the position their own in recent outings, which should allow for Omar Gonzalez to return to the fold given his experience and form.

John Brooks, Ventura Alvarado and Michael Orozco have received the majority of the most recent looks in central defense, and will likely be summoned by Klinsmann again for the early parts of the Gold Cup. Like Yarbrough, Alvarado and Orozco could be sent back to their Liga MX clubs after three games so as to allow them a better opportunity to earn starting spots. If that scenario plays out, expect Matt Besler and Brad Evans to be summoned for the do-or-die matches.

The fullback spots seem locked up by Fabian Johnson, Timmy Chandler, Greg Garza, and Brek Shea, but the surprise inclusion of DaMarcus Beasley in the preliminary squad makes for an interesting wrinkle. Beasley’s experience and skill could still be of use for the U.S., though they likely will not be needed until after the group games.

If that’s the case, Klinsmann could have the luxury of bringing in Garza for the opening phase of the competition before allowing him to head to his new Liga MX side.

DeAndre Yedlin is listed as a fullback here, but will likely continue to serve as an attacking supersub.

Missed the Cut– *Matt Besler, *DaMarcus Beasley, *Brad Evans, Tim Ream


Michael Bradley, Alejandro Bedoya, Mix Diskerud, Kyle Beckerman, Gyasi Zardes, Alfredo Morales, Joe Corona

Outlook– The midfield seems pretty straight forward. The veteran trio of Michael Bradley, Alejandro Bedoya, and Kyle Beckerman will lead the way while promising youngsters like Gyasi Zardes and Alfredo Morales provide depth behind them. Mix Diskerud’s form still is not what it was at the start of the season, but he’s been a staple of Klinsmann’s roster selections since last fall and should again have a place in the team.

The one potential surprise could be Joe Corona, who was brought in for the April friendly against Mexico. Corona is another Liga MX player that has switched clubs this summer, and as such could be someone that is swapped out for a veteran like Graham Zusi after the group stage so as to better adjust to his surroundings.

Morales could also leave camp early if Klinsmann prefers to see the midfielder return to Ingolstadt and prepare for its jump to the Bundesliga. In that scenario, a like-for-like change could come with the addition of Perry Kitchen.

Missed the Cut– Perry Kitchen*, Graham Zusi*, Lee Nguyen, Brad Davis


Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, Aron Johannsson, Jordan Morris

Outlook- With Clint Dempsey done serving his suspension by the time the tournament starts, Klinsmann can call in the best group of forwards possible. Dempsey should be paired with Jozy Altidore, and Aron Johannsson should be in the mix as well given the way he closed out the Eredivisie campaign.

Jordan Morris may have been on the bubble as recently as a month or two ago, but his recent impressive performances off the bench make him the ideal speedy substitute that can run at defenders and give Klinsmann a late offensive spark.

If Klinsmann is inclined to make one change after the group stage, it could be to bring in Juan Agudelo for Johannsson. That move would allow Johannsson to get more of a preseason under his belt with AZ Alkmaar while keeping an experienced option on the U.S. bench.

Missed the Cut– *Juan Agudelo, Chris Wondolowski, Alan Gordon


What would you think of this 23-man USMNT roster? Which six players could you see being replaced and which reserves would take their spots? Is there enough quality on this side to win the Gold Cup?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. How agudelo doesn’t get opportunity doesn’t make sense, he maybe the best skilled forward they have. Wondolowski proves time and time again he has nothing to offer, no creativity no vision no talent. Agudelo is a special player it’s time klinnsman realizies this. Within 10 min he scores when put in game vs Mexico. Give him confidence by putting on roster for future and can help create chances. Wondolowski best chance will be sitting on bench

  2. How out of shape will Dempsey be not having played, and then getting asked to exert himself. Wasn’t there a problem in January? I am not so confident about him. Also Wondolowski is the highest scoring MLS American. What’s this “missed the cut” business? The final story has not been written.

  3. I readily admit I have not been following the Nats closely at all since Brazil. I’m just starting to tune in after a long World Cup soccer hangover. A couple questions to catch me up.

    Why is Besler not the starter or first back up?

    Why no Bobby Wood?


  4. Danny Williams isn’t part of the 35 man preliminary roster…so he won’t be an option.

    Probably because Reading asked him to not play in Gold Cup, remember he spent half the season recovering from his injury. They probably want him healthy so he can help them earn promotion to the EPL

  5. Rimando has looked progressively worse for the USA so I don’t see the need for him as back-up. Hamid should get that spot. Williams is my pick over Morales in mid field. And Besler gets my call at CB over Orozco. He could more easily play next to Yedlin or in a three CB formation allowing Yedlin to play up on the wing. The remainder I agree with, but I would not be surprised to see Dempsey dropped, with or without a knock.

    • agreed. might still of value as a squad guy but at this point id value working in Hamid and Yarbrough over Rimando. Williams is unavailable and idk about Besler.. talk about the national team doghouse.

  6. Evans needs to make the cut and I think he will. He played extremely well in Germany. His brilliant pass led to the game winning Morris dummy run/Bobby Wood wonder-goal.

  7. ————- Aron ————–
    ———– Dempsey ———–
    Bedoya — Bradley — Yedlin
    ———— Kitchen ————
    Garza — JAB – Omar — Fabian
    ———— Guzan ————-

    • I like that lineup but see Jozy in for Aron and will most likely see Beckerman where you have Kitchen. It’s also tough to see Klinsman play Omar and JB together. Neither is very good passing out of the back (JAB being the better of the two) so I would imagine Alvarado being paired with one of the two. Wish Yedlin was seeing time at RB though as I would love to see Fab run up and down that right side.

  8. How does the U.S. women’s team always get the roster so right and always has a consistent back four that plays together even in friendlies, yet it is a non-stop experiment and guessing game with Klinsmann and the men’s team?

    • problem is, the women’s team didn’t get the roster right for the world cup, at least not in midfield.
      The problem with relying on a consistent back four this early in the cycle for the men’s team is all it takes is one or two injuries, and suddenly you have a mess on your hands. You need depth.

    • Because many of the WC teams couldn’t score on my rec team?
      Let’s talk about the back four after the game against Germany/France.

  9. Klinsmann should not use any of the roster spots on CB he might switch out. Our unit needs coherency. We have not had a stable centerback pair basically since the world cup. We need consistency to avoid any stupid miscommunication positioning errors. I want one pair of CB that plays together consistently throughout the GC.

    • +1. The time for experimenting is over. Time for business. We have a tough group too. Honduras and Panama were both in the hex. Honduras is a World Cup team and Panama had one foot in the door. Take nothing for granted.

      • We have the teams we saw in the last Gold Cup semi-final and final in our group this time. While Mexico might have the 3 worst teams in there group.

  10. I think that JK and the author Mr. Panzio have pigeon-holed Gyasi Zardes into a midfielder’s role. Zardes is a forward, yes, he is a forward who can play wide, and he has been sometimes asked to play a more defensive role by JK, because of his fitness, speed and physical ability into shadowing players deep into the opponents territory, and roaming where he is needed, but his natural position, and where he has scored most of his goals, is at forward. Wide midfield is not his natural position, nor is a withdrawn forward/midfielder his natural position. Gyassi Zardes is a forward. repeat after me, everybody” “Gyasi Zardes is a forward, Gyssi Zardes is a forward!”

    I’m wondering how the MLS teams like San Jose and the Galaxy, especially the Galaxy with three players named to the GC squad, will balance the IC Cup games against Club America and Barcelona?

    • He may be a forward, but he doesn’t beat out any of the other forwards. His best shot at making the squad is if he plays wide mid. His speed is his current international-level asset, not his finishing ability. He can beat the defense to balls and make good diagonal runs. Kid needs to work on striking the ball, for passes and shots alike.

      I doubt he’ll get as huffy about it as you are.

      • Yes, Zardes is still a work in process. Yes, he does need to improve his finishing. Even so, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him playing up top with Dempsey instead of Altidore. He creates problems for the defense and opportunities for himself and others that Altidore can’t come close to matching. It was no accident that the flow of the Germany game shifted noticeably in our favor when Zardes was moved up top at the start of the second half. That was a successful experiment by JK. I expect to see him follow up on that success.

    • The friendlies against America & Barca?! The less Galaxy starters available the better. But, I agree that Gyasi is a forward.

  11. I could see Evans instead of Chandler… Timmy just hasn’t looked good for the nats, and Evans can help provide calm and leadership at the back and during the group phase chaos.

  12. I like this roster+changes. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Gordon in the group stages unless Jozy is really killing it in training. perfect role Player for the group stage games.
    I think the ligaMX send backs are all logical but a bit overstated. Those clubs know what to expect this summer.

  13. I’m confused as to why Besler isn’t in the conversation. Has he fallen out of favor with JK? He doesn’t seem to be out of form and I wouldn’t rate Alvarado ahead of him. Am I missing something?

    • i suspect that JK wasn’t happy when Besler came to the January camp not in shape and then he, Besler, kind of bad mouthed the idea that he needed to be fit coming into camp. However, I would put him on the 23 and my big argument with this article is the later inclusions of Brad Evans. I just don’t think he has the quality on defense.

      • You do realize that his header was partially responsible for the ball hitting the cross bar in the final minute of the game.

  14. I don’t think we will see both Alvarado and Orozco, they are too much alike considering you already have Gonzalez. The inclusion of Beasley means the Shea experiment is over. The player I see sneaking in is Ream, he was one of the best LB in Championship and can also cover LCB if needed.

    I see Fabian Johnson playing LM not LB, there is a reason why JK decided to bring back Beasley. I don’t see Corona making it, even for the first 3 games.

  15. List is reasonable. I don’t foresee JK making that many switches after the group stage though. I think you just switch for injuries. If you are that worried about club situations, just leave them off. You pick your best 23 available and go with that through the tourney.

    • It gives flexibility to the roster so he can give minutes to guys like Morris, Zardes, Agudelo, Corona, Morales who don’t always have a chance to play in competitive games, and it doesn’t tire out the veterans who will either jump straight into preseason that will get them playing in the new season less than 3 weeks later and for MLS players go right back to the season that is already in Full Swing!

  16. Alan Gordon for the games against the bunkering midgets. He is on the 35 man list for one specific purpose. I would not take him, probably, but i am not the coach. jK likes to show us how smart he is, so i expect to see him at some point.

  17. Bobby Wood instead of Jozy Altidore, – Striker (Scorer)
    Brad Evans instead of Timmy Chandler – RB
    Graham Zusi instead of Alfredo Morales – Anywhere in the midfield

    • Bobby Wood wasn’t part of the 35 man provisional roster, probably because he wasn’t expected to play as well as he did in his two sub appearances in June..I don’t think Evans is an option at Right Back going forward as we need to set up our back line for next Summer’s Copa Ameica Centenario (assuming it still happens), and Olympics as well as first round of qualifying that starts this Fall in November, and continues in March and June….

      • Wood was omitted to focus on club situation, as with Williams ..

        Evans keeps (surprising) impressing, has he had a bad game with the USMNT?

  18. This 23 is way too logical. Is now the time JK will really stick with the best players or will he stir things up? He has been the antithesis of Bob Bradley and has ruffled a lot of feathers over the past 5 years but in my opinion he need to do what he did to improve the MNT and now is the time to see the benefit.


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