With two huge matches looming, experience is key. With a battle against scrappy Costa Rica next, and a trip to Mexico ahead, the road looks bumpy. It has become a wonder, then, as to how Carlos Bocanegra played himself out of a spot.
Jurgen Klinsmann announced his roster for the upcoming two qualifiers. The stunner lies in the defense, where long-time captain Carlos Bocanegra has been dropped from the side. The 33 year-old captain recently reached 100 caps for team USA. He has been heralded as one of the more consistent players for the U.S. In his place, captaincy candidates include Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, and Jermaine Jones.
The new young-gun defensive combination may have cemented a place in the team. Geoff Cameron, Fabian Johnson, Omar Gonzalez, and Timothy Chandler fared well in the team’s last game. The four resemble the future of the USA defense, notated by Klinsmann’s exclusion of Carlos Bocanegra.
Numerous roster selections are hampered with injury. Edgar Castillo, Timmy Chandler, Steve Cherundolo , Tim Howard, Fabian Johnson, Jonathan Spector, Jose Torres and Danny Williams all burden nagging ailments. Most concerning is Tim Howard’s back injury, likely sidelining him for the two games. Klinsmann has already promoted Brad Guzan publicily as the starting keeper.
Brek Shea will highlight a midfield core anchored by the reliable Michael Bradley. Look for Jermaine Jones to play on the wing opposite Shea, in a more defensive role. The lone-striker competition between Jozy Altidore, Terrance Boyd, Eddie Johnson, and Herculez Gomez will rage on. Look for either Altidore or Gomez to partner with attacking midfielder Clint Dempsey of Tottenham.
GK: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
D: Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Justin Morrow (San Jose Earthquakes)
M: DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Roma), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Maurice Edu (Bursaspor), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Brek Shea (Stoke City), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
F: Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur), Herculez Gomez (Santos), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC)