Monday afternoon Jurgen Klinsmann finally unveiled the preliminary U.S. World Cup roster. The German coach named 30 players and will pare the list down to 23 by June 2. The list isn’t very far off from what Ty and I projected last week.
Of note, Julian Green — despite an injury keeping him out of action with Bayern Munich — made the provisional list. Timmy Chandler, another German-American, returns to the camp after a long spell away from the National Team dating back to the February 2013 loss to Honduras which left to many questioning if Klinsmann was the right man for the job. Green’s inclusion on the list isn’t any surprise, but he’ll now have about three weeks to prove he’s worthy of one of the final 23 spots in training and the three upcoming friendlies. Including Green features little, if any downside.
Given the state of the U.S. defense, Chandler’s inclusion could be important. Chandler, a right back by trade in Germany, could fill the position and allow Geoff Cameron to play in the center of the U.S. defense (or midfield). Presumed starter Omar Gonzalez has recently picked up a minor injury, too. As I wrote last month, given the U.S. opponents, right back is going to be a huge position on the field tactically. If Chandler flashes the form he did when he initially joined the U.S. 2011 it could be a boon and give the team more options. (I’m still hopeful DeAndre Yedlin gets a chance at right back, too.)
I guess I could get upset about some of the exclusions, such as Eddie Johnson, who was sharp in qualifying but has since seen his form decline at DC United this year. Some, too, thought Brek Shea would be a useful player off the bench as a change-of-pace sub. Let’s be realistic, if the U.S. needs Shea for it’s World Cup roster we’re all in a lot more trouble than previously thought. A player like Joe Corona offers much more upside.
Sacha Kljestan is a good, useful player, but there wasn’t a spot in Klinsmann’s system and already crowded central midfield. Maybe you can moan-and-groan about Tim Ream, Bolton’s Player of the Year, but honestly how many American-based soccer fans are watching the English Championship religiously? Two-three years ago Juan Agudelo figured to be a certain 2014 World Cup player, but it didn’t happen for him, although his growth is something to monitor down the road for 2018.
All-in-all, Klinsmann’s roster is about as strong as could have come up with given the state of the player pool–or a previously unknown, uncapped Brazilian star clamoring for last-minute American citizenship.
The longest shot to make the roster? Probably Michael Parkhurst. Terrence Boyd and Chris Wondolowski are likely fighting for one place. Whenever I watch MLS I find myself appreciating the play of Brad Davis, but he too will have to have a great camp to make the 23-man roster.
As it stands, about the only genuine surprise for the final roster would be if Klinsmann drops Landon Donovan.
GOALKEEPERS (3) : Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (11) : DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Nürnberg), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)
MIDFIELDERS (10) : Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (6) : Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
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