U.S. Soccer released its 23-man squad for the late March qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico. The U.S. is currently at the bottom of the Hex, after losing 2-1 away at Honduras. Here are the selections followed by a couple thoughts.
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan [Aston Villa], Sean Johnson [Chicago Fire], Nick Rimando [Real Salt Lake]
Defenders: Tony Beltran [Real Salt Lake], Matt Besler [Sporting KC], Geoff Cameron [Stoke], Omar Gonzalez [LA Galaxy], Clarence Goodson [Brondby], Justin Morrow [SJ Earthquakes]
Midfielders: DaMarcus Beasley [Puebla], Kyle Beckerman [Real Salt Lake], Michael Bradley [Roma], Joe Corona [Club Tijuana], Maurice Edu [Bursaspor], Jermaine Jones [Schalke], Sacha Kljestan [Anderlecht], Brek Shea [Stoke City], Graham Zusi [Sporting KC]
Forwards: Jozy Altiodre [AZ Alkmaar], Terrence Boyd [Rapid Vienna], Clint Dempsey [Tottenham], Herculez Gomez [Santos], Eddie Johnson [Seattle Sounders]
The inexperience at the back is scary. Besler, Beltran, Gonzalez and Morrow have six caps combined. Only Clarence Goodson has experienced a full qualifying cycle. Timmy Chandler and Fabian Johnson are out with injuries. This may be the end of the line for captain Carlos Bocanegra, after 110 caps. Have to ask why now and not two years ago? Compound that with Guzan starting in place of Howard and the team’s general disorganization and…yikes.
Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Graham Zusi and Maurice Edu each face a suspension with another yellow card. Jermaine Jones has the potential to be Jermaine Jones. A stringent referee against Costa Rica could leave the squad very short-handed heading into the second match at Azteca. Landon Donovan remains on leave.
Two years in and this still feels like the trial and error method of squad selection.
[Photo via USA Today Sports]