Jurgen Klinsmann enters the most crucial games of his tenure as USMNT manager with a rather intriguing roster. Jurgen has called in a 24 man camp with a number of “shocking” selections. This roster will be used for the final leg of the group stage in World Cup Qualifying. The US is currently in a three way tie for first place alongside Jamaica and Guatemala. In the next two games the US will face last place Antigua and Barbuda on Friday and Guatemala on Tuesday.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake).
Tim Howard will continue his role as starter for the US. The Everton net-minder has 2 clean sheets and 17 saves this season. Everton is currently sitting in 5th place in the Premier league. Back up Brad Guzan has gained a call up after becoming the starter for Aston Villa. Guzan has played well given the circumstances that Villa is not a good club with a poor defense.
DEFENDERS (8): Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Tijuana), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Maurice Edu (Stoke City), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Michael Parkhurst (Nordsjaelland).
Jurgen is going to rely on the two most experienced defenders in Bocanegra and Cherundolo. Captain Carlos makes his return to the national squad after the demise of his former club. Boca has been playing since his loan to Spanish Segunda side Racing Santander. Geoff Cameron who just transferred to Stoke looks to solidify his spot as a starter in this squad. He is having a great run with Stoke. Cameron can play both inside and outside but for the USMNT he will most likely play inside giving making way for Fabian Johnson.
I suspect Jurgen does some tinkering with the defense though given the first game is against Antigua. I would expect him to try starting Edgar Castillo and Parkhurst for the experience. Overall this US defense is fairly strong and experienced. It will be interesting to see where Edu fits into this defense, given that he has been scarily used by Stoke and still adjusting to the new defensive role.
MIDFIELDERS (8): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Roma), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City).
It will be interesting to see who Jurgen picks to start in the midfield. Bradley just came back off a lengthy injury but scored a goal and looks to be back on track. Bradley adds a new dimension to the US team and it is good to have him back! Much to my chagrin Jurgen will start Jones who is a fouling machine.
This midfield has some inexperience with Corona, Shea,Williams, Zusi, Beckerman and Kljestan. This midfield is also highly defensive with 4 holding midfielders. It has been a criticism of the US that they play too flat at times and having this many holding midfielders does not help. Hopefully players like Shea and Corona can perform and create when given the opportunity.
FORWARDS (5): Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur/England), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Herculez Gomez (Santos Laguna/Mexico), Alan Gordon (San Jose Earthquakes), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders).
It is a massive shocker that Jozy Altidore is not selected to be part of this squad. He is currently co-top goal scorer in the Dutch league and has been in great form. Jozy has been scoring and creating goals. Not to knock Eddie Johnson, he is having a heck of a season at Seattle and has deserved this call up. Another shocker is the choice of Alan Gordon over Wondolowski. Wondo has 12 more goals on the season and is coming off a hat-trick.
Pat’s Projected Starters:
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