USMNT Report: Confidence Key in Upcoming Qualifiers

With familiar faces out due to injury, many USMNT players will find themselves with increased roles in this next batch of World Cup Qualifiers
by Herb Scribner   |   Monday, October 07, 2013

USMNT Report - coverage of the United States Men's National Team

As expected, not all of the top United States Men’s National Team players will join manager Jurgen Klinsmann for this final batch of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers.

On Sunday, the former German international released his latest 20-man roster, which included many familiar faces who will be called in to fill the holes that some injured players – like Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey – left open.

Here’s an overview of the roster:

GK: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

DEF: DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City) Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy)

MID: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Jermaine Jones (Schalke), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

FWD: Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders)

No new faces will play for the United States in this upcoming round. Rather than experiment with new players, Klinsmann has chosen a more experienced lineup.

With Bradley sidelined and Jermaine Jones in question (depending on what reports you believe) it’s likely Kyle Beckerman will see increased minutes for the USA. After shaking off the jitters he had when starting with the national team, Beckerman has been one of the most consistent American players. He’s even been a leader at the club level with Real Salt Lake throughout the year. Beckerman has proven he can play the whole 90 minutes and be vital towards his teams’ success, especially with his leadership capabilities and fire to regroup and restructure when momentum is in the opponents’ favor. With Bradley’s spot open and Jones likely serving a lighter role, Beckerman should be offered a healthy amount of time on the pitch.

There should be some interesting combinations up top. Landon Donovan, who is also nursing an ankle injury and may receive less playing time than usual, should play behind the strikers in a central role, leading the offensive third. Eddie Johnson has been as hungry as ever in the last month, but his recent run in Seattle has been cooled, and a good amount of any striker’s success comes from confidence.

Confidence may hinder Jozy Altidore too, as he’s been shooting blanks for Premier League side Sunderland since his arrival. He was tallying up the goals in the Netherlands last season, but service has not been kind to him in England and he may not have the same fire he did for AZ Alkmaar. Aron Johannsson, who plays for AZ still, has been scoring in droves. If he receives playing time, his confidence may be enough to push the Americans forward.

But once more it’ll be the backline that’ll be a cause for concern with the United States. No more experiments are being brought in, and it seems Klinsmann has settled on a select group of players who will take up the defensive mantle. Luckily for the USA, a ticket for Brazil has been punched. Fatal mistakes caused by Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler and DaMarcus Beasley, who are still learning and growing in their roles in the backline and as a group, won’t limit the US from qualifying.

It appears Klinsmann isn’t taking his foot off the gas and is looking to steamroll into Brazil with momentum. Despite the injuries and uncertainties with this lineup, it looks like the United States is putting its finest “healthy” foot forward and making a last push to win the Hexagonal and call itself the best in CONCACAF for this World Cup qualification cycle.

NEXT UP: October 11 – World Cup Qualifier: United States vs. Jamaica, Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kans. 6:30 p.m. EST, ESPN, UniMas.


UMass Amherst
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SN managing editor and award-winning journalist, Herb has always been known as "The Soccer Guy" wherever he goes. He's a leftback in most outdoor and indoor leagues. He also writes for Deseret News National.