Left Out: American Players Not Headed to Brazil — Part 1

Part 1 of the 10 best eligible United States players that Jurgen Klinsmann has not called up
by Austin Farrow   |   Thursday, May 29, 2014

US Soccer Federation (USSF)

On Monday, May 12, Jurgen Klinsmann named a 30-man preliminary squad in preparation for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. With this announcement and other roster announcements in the past, you can see the players that have participated in the United States National Team within the past 4 years.

In any national team set-up, there are always players that many believe deserve a chance that don’t get one. With this being said, we will take a look at a debatable top ten list of United States nationals not called into camp this cycle.

The list is compiled with the following facets in mind; age, form, the amount of time they have been on form, performance stats, overall quality, and their position along with the need of that position on the United States team. Some players towards the bottom of the list would have likely been options for earlier in the cycle while those higher up would be considered more recent options. Being part 1 of 2, we will only be examining numbers 10-6 on the list.

Nat Borchers

A rock at central defense for Real Salt Lake since 2008, Nat Borchers has 3 US National Team caps to his name. Since that time, Real Salt Lake has been considered one of the best defensive units within Major League Soccer.

Nat Borchers, of course, is a huge reason why. Borchers has often been overshadowed by the centerbacks he’s partnered with at Salt Lake. In his first 3-4 years at Real Salt Lake after playing in Norway for Odd Grenland, Borchers played alongside two time MLS All-Star, Jamison Olave, now playing for the New York Red Bulls.

Borchers now, mostly, partners Chris Schuler, a man you will find later on in our list. Why is Borchers overshadowed? Perhaps it’s because he isn’t the athletic machine that Schuler and Olave are but on any other side he would be considered quite athletic. Borchers has seen to it that RSL have made the playoffs every year since his arrival in 2008. You would think the 6’2”, roughly 175 pound Borchers would have been called at least once or twice this past cycle but wasn’t.

At 33, Borchers probably won’t be called into the National Team again but on the other side of that coin will be considered a RSL legend for the rest of eternity.

Jay Demerit

Demerit was a vital part of the US National Team’s 2009 Confederations Cup run which saw them make it to the final before losing to Brazil 3-2. He then found himself playing in 4 out of 4 World Cup games for the US in 2010.

Though Demerit has been on the wrong side of 30 the entirety of this cycle, when there has been a need for a centerback, who better to cover than the greatly experienced Demerit? Many would argue that there is a need for fresh, younger blood but it’s not as if Jay Demerit has lost much ability over the past 4 years. This is quite impressive especially considering injury woes over the past 2 years.

As alluded to in the opening, due to club absences through injury and his age Demerit probably wouldn’t have been an option for later on in World Cup Qualifying but a proper National Team appearance earlier in the cycle would have been a nice gesture to a player who played such an important part to Bob Bradley’s tenure.

Chad Marshall

An MLS veteran for a decade now, Chad Marshall has consistently been one of the best centerbacks there is in the league. There is a reason why he was called into Bob Bradley’s preliminary World Cup squad in 2010 after all.

Last season with Columbus, Marshall only conceded 22 fouls and picked up two yellow cards which shows you the great discipline of the 6’3” defender. Need more evidence of the man’s discipline? He only received one red card in the decade that he played for Columbus.

After being traded to Seattle in December of 2013, he has continued to show why he is an option for the US National Team recording one goal and two assists in twelve appearances, all with his head. Marshall is, in fact, possibly having his best season in MLS as we speak.

Marshall probably deserved to get a call and it’s becoming a less likely possibility at 29 but if Marshall were to pick up the MLS defender of the year award this year, it becomes a good chance.

Luis Robles

New York Red Bulls’ keeper, Luis Robles is probably one of the less realistic players on this list and what I mean by that is Jurgen hasn’t had much of a chance to call him. However, his current form is too good to ignore especially considering that there might be a need for a second and third string goalkeeper on the US Team after the 2014 World Cup.

Let’s be honest, at times last season some New York Red Bull fans really missed the pre-injured Ryan Meara. Robles looked low on confidence after a rough go of it in Germany. A brief example would be the so-called howler he came up with last year against Chicago where he let a streaking Daniel Paladini score a header rather than urgently and confidently moving to extinguish the danger. Robles simply seemed unsure of himself.   

Fast forward to this season after settling in and he seems like a rejuvenated professional. Many have hailed him as one of the best goalkeepers in the league this year. The agile goalkeeper is ranked the fifth highest goalkeeper on the leagues’ Castrol Index and has had a knack for making incredible saves this season.

Perhaps there is a reason why Bob Bradley named Luis Robles to his 2009 Confederations Cup alongside the likes of Tim Howard and Brad Guzan. Perhaps he is a late bloomer. Perhaps Luis Robles is the next cycle’s Nick Rimando, or better.

Justin Mapp

Capped 8 times between 2005 and 2007 under Bruce Arena and Bob Bradley, many people have always seen potential in Justin Mapp. Though after 2008, Mapp struggled to find his feet for many years. He has returned with a vengeance since joining Montreal in 2012.

A bit like Luis Robles, Justin Mapp may have only been a US option over the past two seasons. So, that affects his ranking but his sublime play over these two seasons have helped him climb quite high regardless. Whether it be with his impeccable balance and agile movements or his precise crossing and intelligent decisions, Mapp has, in my opinion been one of the best wingers in MLS over the course of the last two years.

Last season he scored two goals and registered eight assists while he already has four assists so far this season. If you need evidence of Mapp’s current ability, look no further than his week one effort against FC Dallas where he glides past three defenders before putting an inch perfect cross on Sanna Nyassi’s head, which Nyassi finished.

Montreal’s current form doesn’t help Mapp if he hopes to get a National Team call-up again in the near future. Montreal only have one win, a narrow one, against Philadelphia this season. Mapp and Montreal Impact supporters will be hoping their fortune and quality turns around for the better this season.

Austin FARROW

Nationality:
USA
College:
Indian River State
Club Domestic:
All MLS clubs
Club Foreign:
Manchester City
Bringing you news on soccer players across MLS and American players playing in top leagues around the world, Austin is a journalism major who enjoys the fine arts. He doesn't favor one club over another, but just enjoys all MLS play.
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