ROSTER ANALYSIS
RECAPS
PREVIEWS
EXTRA TIME
BRIAN SCIARETTA - Friday, August 30, 2013
There is plenty to take away from Jurgen Klinsmann's latest roster for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico.

It wouldn't surprise me if this is the team that goes to Brazil

Over the summer Jurgen Klinsmann had three separate occasions to evaluate the player pool. The first were the June World Cup qualifiers, the second was the Gold Cup, and the third was the Bosnia friendly.

This roster reflects what Klinsmann sees as the best U.S team right now. The only two noteworthy injuries are to Steve Cherundolo and Terrence Boyd and both players may be on the outside looking in anyway.

That being said, this is the first time some of the best players will all be together in a long time. Dempsey, Donovan, Bradley, Altidore, and Howard are all together. There are also newcomers John Brooks and Aron Johannsson now in the mix. Finally several players have stepped it up in recent months including Mix Diskerud and Alejandro Bedoya.

If this was the final World Cup roster, would anyone be surprised?

Brooks will and should be cap-tied

The U.S team has the chance to finally cap-tie an elite prospect in John Anthony Brooks. The talented central defender recently turned down an invitation to play with Germany's U-21 team to play with the U.S against Bosnia. The U.S has used a lot of German-Americans in recent years but never has a player turned down current German interest for the United States.

At only 20 years old and a starter with Hertha Berlin, Brooks has enormous potential. He is tall at 6'4 and is remarkably discipline as it has been well over a year since his last card. The smooth passing central defender could be a boost to the U.S team for years to come.

Brooks is likely not yet a starter for the U.S team but it would be surprising if Klinsmann did not use the opportunity in these upcoming games to cap-tie this true prospect.

Fabian Johnson is now viewed as a midfielder

Fabian Johnson is the best left back in the U.S national team. He also could be the best left midfielder for the U.S team as well. The team has been remarkably productive with him in advanced positions and Jurgen Klinsmann knows it. With Klinsmann including Edgar Castillo and DaMarcus Beasley on the roster, it's clear that Fabian will be the left midfielder since there would be no other reason to bring three players who are left backs.

If Castillo and Beasley struggle at left back, Johnson will play there but that is not the intent ahead of camp.

Omissions: Corona, Kljestan, Chandler, Shea, and Lichaj

The U.S team is a tough team to make right now and there is obviously going to be difficult decisions when putting together a 23-player roster.

Sacha Kljestan still has great opportunity to make the team heading to Brazil. He is a regular starter for Anderlecht who are in the group stages of the Champions League. If he plays well in those games, he could take Beckerman's spot on the team.

Joe Corona is a hybrid right wing, central playmaker and his omission was tough one since he has enjoyed success at Club Tijuana this year. He didn't make the team because he is in direct competition with Alejandro Bedoya who has had a terrific 2013 and now starts for Nantes.

Brek Shea is still in the pool and could very well improve but it will take him some time. He has played very little soccer over the past year. Mark Hughes believes at him in Stoke so he will have the opportunity to prove himself and get back into the picture.

Timothy Chandler and Eric Lichaj are both on the outside looking in but right back remains a thin position for the U.S team. Lichaj has never been given a look under Klinsmann but he is playing well for Notthingham Forest and Timothy Chandler may be in the process of winning his starting spot back at Nurnberg. The door is closing on both but neither are out of it if they get back on track.

Dempsey and Donovan, together again

It's been over a year since Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan have played together. A lot has changed since then. Dempsey has returned to MLS with Seattle and Donovan has re-signed with Los Angeles on a multiyear deal.

In the limited times, Klinsmann has had both players, it hasn't lived up to standards. Actually, the last time the two best American players ever have played well together was at the 2010 World Cup. Getting Donovan and Dempsey to play well together is one of Klinsmann's greatest challenges before Brazil and these games in September are the first step in that process.
quin
Tuesday September 3, 2013 7:33 pm
Lichaj needs & deserves a call up. He can play RB or LB and has tremendous pace. Evans, Beastly & the two Mexican fullbacks will get eaten alive by quality European and Conmebol strikers and wingers. Sasha plays for a great European club, but he has NEVER EVER impressed at the international level. He is overmatched at any midfield spot and has no place on this roster for Brazil. Bedoya is a confident, creative and attack minded midfielder who has zero fear despite the competition. Cameron can play three positions and imo is the best player to be matched up with Bradley at CM. Jones gives the ball up too much and makes too many silly and potentially card worthy fouls. Cameron is also very quick. My best selections regardless of WCQ roster:
G- Howard/Guzan
D - Besler/Lichaj(LB) Brooks/Omar (CB) Lichaj/Cameron(RB)
CM Jones/Bradley/Cameron
RW/RM Donovan/Bedoya/Zusi
LW/LM Fabian/Bedoya
F(withdrawn) Demps/Donovan
F(top) Altidore/EJ

This roster allows JK multiple looks and positioning with very little dropoff in talent across the board, great ball skills, interchangeable players at various positions and a ton of team speed.....speed kills!!!!
pjscdn
Monday September 2, 2013 11:27 am
Good analysis. I agree with most everything.

I would disagree on Cherundolo's chances of making next year's roster. He's been a solid RB for us for many years. Let's see him get in a few months of work, and re-evaluate.

The most interesting roster spot battle is becoming Bedoya and Corona. Frankly, I'm OK with either of them. I think Bedoya may have an edge on defense and does possess a strong shot, while Corona possesses better technique and technical ability.

Capping Brooks will allow JK the option to possibly position Cameron at RB or CM with Bradley. We sure need a backup for Jones.
Bros
Sunday September 1, 2013 1:34 am
wow, no gooch? What's his deal? he's still our best CB except the good ole farm boy from Kansas matt besler. Gooch needs to find consistent playing time. everyone know's how good he can be after 2009 con fed cup was a beast. he still can be that good, but he can't bonce around from league to league. couldn't make it a villareal, sporting hurt and inconsistent, twente hurt and played out of position, ac Milan, never had a chance, Newcastle struggled mightlily, france was young. he played great in one league and never should've left Belgium. he need s to go back to Belgium where he never should've left in the first place and gone back immediately too. he helped liege to the title, and whether it's them or any team where he can play except Anderlecht, probably too competitive, but a mid table form where he can return to form and live out the last years of his career as a righteous option. Geoff Cameron is a rb in the premiership, his crossing has gotten better and will be even better by the end of the year. he's aour rb nuff said.
Dan
Saturday August 31, 2013 1:18 am
Nice analysis - thanks!The upcoming qualifiers should be very exciting.
bh ring
Saturday August 31, 2013 1:06 am
"Actually, the last time the two best American players ever have played well together was at the 2010 World Cup. Getting Donovan and Dempsey to play well together is one of Klinsmann's greatest challenges before Brazil and these games in September are the first step in that process."

This is not true. They played well together in the 2011 USMNT vs Panama game where Adu passed to Donovan who passed to Dempsey for a magnificent goal.
Ilya
Friday August 30, 2013 11:39 pm
Some thoughts:
Gomez (and Cherundulo) belong to this team.
When we have a choice to have left pair as LB - DMB, LM -FJ or LB - FJ, LM - Dempsey, who (except Klinsmann) will chose the 1st one?
Evans as RB is good enough for CONCACAF, but not for Brazil 2014. I'd try Orozko or Bedoya.
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