USMNT Report: World Cup Roster Continues the Trend

USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann names an unsurprising roster with some confusing selections, which isn’t all that new for the USA
by Herb Scribner   |   Tuesday, May 13, 2014

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

Most of the United States Men’s National Team’s preliminary World Cup roster announced Monday wasn’t surprising. Maybe it was all the hype and predictions. Maybe it was the continued analysis. Regardless, the squad, for the most part, was familiar and expected.

Except for a few minor spots.

USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann made a few surprising calls when it came to the roster, especially by leaving some well-performing players at home and bringing some inconsistent Americans along for the ride, leaving the entire squad to look a little bit confusing.

Here’s a look at the roster:

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

DEF: DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Nürnberg), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders)

MID: 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)

FWD: Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

Klinsmann has been notoriously known during his tenure with the United States for odd selections and inconsistent lineups. The same holds true for this roster.

Players like Timmy Chandler, John Brooks, Maurice Edu and Julian Green have received few call-ups during this qualification cycle, and yet they’re all listed for this World Cup’s roster. Brooks didn’t impress in his few appearances, Edu has aged and isn’t close to being a world class defensive midfielder, especially since he’s behind Kyle Beckerman, Michael Bradley and Mix Diskerud in the depth chart, and Green is, well, green and untested on the pitch.

Chandler is a confusing pick, seeing as he’s been uncommitted to the USA, choosing not to travel with the team, and has rarely played with the core American players. He’s skilled, but there’s little to no chemistry between him and the other Yanks. Luckily for Chandler, Klinsmann values him, despite the Nurnberg midfielder’s uncommitted ways.

The lineup is also inconsistent in the case of the forwards. Eddie Johnson, who has been with the USA in the last couple of years and saved the Yanks on multiple occasions, is nowhere to be found. He’s been out of form for DC United so far this season, and he’s proven to be rash at points. But he’s a proven USMNT forward who can perform when under pressure. It’s odd that he’d be left out because of his cold foot when Jozy Altidore has similarly been stone cold sober in the last 6 months for Sunderland. But forwards like Terrence Boyd, Clint Dempsey and Aron Johannsson are all entering this camp on scoring tears and should help plenty in Brazil.

EJ isn’t the only surprise snub. Bolton defender Tim Ream has been left out, despite his strong form in the English Championship. Ream, a natural defender, would be useful for Klinsmann, seeing as 2 of the likely wing defenders for the USA squad (Brad Evans and DaMarcus Beasley) are converted midfielders and are both coming off their own respective injuries.

While Evans and Beasley will have their own issues to work through, other choices in the defense are worrying. Michael Parkhurst and Clarence Goodson aren’t word class players by any means, and are likely just being called in case the top defenders get injured. It’s good to see DeAndre Yedlin getting a call-up, given his age and potential, but he’s had few starts with the USA and might be too unproven to make a serious impact in Brazil.

The midfield will be the space to watch for this American squad. Joe Corona’s inclusion is a surprise, but he’s done well in Liga MX this year and was a staple during last summer’s USA run. Graham Zusi, Brad Davis, Kyle Beckerman and Michael Bradley are all in good form in MLS, too. How Klinsmann decides to assemble his midfield, though, will be something to keep an eye on. Will Beckerman start over Jermaine Jones? Will Davis get the nod on the left? Will Donovan drift between the forwards and the midfield? Lots of questions surround the middle of the pitch.

But maybe Klinsmann won’t answer them at all. He’s built his campaign on inconsistency and surprises. And so far, it’s offered mixed results in a weakened CONCACAF and against European B teams. With the World Cup a month away, the former German international has stuck to his guns and called up his valued players and left some surprising players behind. It’s typical Klinsmann — unpredictable and inconsistent.

But when the USA plays its international rival Ghana, the masterful Portugal and the powerhouse Germany, Klinsmann’s value of the players won’t matter any longer. It’ll be how well they perform on the pitch that’ll show how much these players are worth.

NEXT UP: May 27 – Friendly: United States vs. Azerbaijan, Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California. 10 p.m. EST, ESPN2, WatchESPN, UniMas.


UMass Amherst
Club Domestic:
Club Foreign:
FC Barcelona
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.