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Early reactions from Monday’s U.S. World Cup roster announcement

Feb 4, 2013, 9:50 AM EDT

us soccer

Now we know which players will be entrusted as the United States national team launches that final U.S. push toward Brazil 2014.

U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann named a 24-man roster for Wednesday’s contest in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. There the United States begins a 10-game schedule in CONCACAF qualifying’s final round. The United States must finish at least third  in the six-team group for passages into Brazil 2014 without going through a final playoff.

Check back later for additional roster analysis, and for what the call-ups mean to some individuals.

(MORE: Four notable roster omissions on Monday’s announcement)

(MORE: Jurgen Klinsmann addresses Benny Feilhaber’s status)

For now, the early reactions:

  • The winners from this January’s national team camp, one that always features mostly MLS men: Omar Gonzalez, Brad Davis, Matt Besler and Brad Evans. None were in the mix last year during semifinal round qualifying, so it’s fair to say that three weeks under Klinsmann in Southern California weighed heavily on the manager’s selections.
  • Others from the camp on today’s roster, like Graham Zusi and Eddie Johnson, were also in the January camp. But Zusi made his move in 2012; he was always likely to be on this roster.
  • Jose Torres, now with Tigres in Mexico, is on the roster, something of a surprise considering last year’s up-and-down year and comments from Jurgen Klinsmann that come as close as he ever gets to being truly critical.
  • Torres, Kljestan or Evans are probably on the roster where Kyle Beckerman would have been. That’s one of the surprises, as Beckerman had seemed to gain Klinsmann’s trust previously.
  • No surprises among the four strikers named, Johnson, Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey and Herculez Gomez. Chris Wondolowski and Juan Agudelo had chances to move up in the order but needed to do more in last week’s friendly. Agudelo, 20, has plenty of time.
  • Sacha Kljestan kept his spot, having gained some ground over the second half of 2012. Kljestan, 27, is in the sweet spot of his career, old enough to know, still young enough to do.  A fan favorite, this is going to please a bunch of U.S. Soccer supporters.

The entire roster looks like this:

GOALKEEPERS (3) : Brad Guzan (Aston Villa – 5/3 SO), Tim Howard (Everton – 22/9 SO), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire – 0/0)

DEFENDERS (9) : Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City – 0/0), Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander – 31/5), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City – 5/0), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana – 0/0), Timmy Chandler (Nuremberg – 0/0), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders – 0/0), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy – 0/0), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim – 3/0), Michael Parkhurst (Augsburg – 3/0)

MIDFIELDERS (8) : Michael Bradley (Roma – 19/5), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo – 0/0), Maurice Edu (Bursaspor – 9/0), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04 – 5/0), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht – 12/0), Jose Torres (Tigres – 9/0), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim – 4/0), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City – 3/0)

FORWARDS (4 ): Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar – 17/6), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur – 26/10), Herculez Gomez (Santos – 6/2), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders – 11/10)

  1. dfstell - Feb 4, 2013 at 10:03 AM

    What are those numbers after the names? Is that something like the total number of competitive games each player has played for the USMNT (i.e. exclusive of friendlies)?

  2. Steve Davis - Feb 4, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    My bad. That was a cut and paste from U.S. Soccer. The numbers are World Cup qualifier caps / goals. (In the case of GKs, it’s World Cup qualifier caps / shutouts)

  3. Sam - Feb 4, 2013 at 10:10 AM

    So…Donovan not being named to the team is not a surprise? Personally, I’m shocked.

    • Steve Davis - Feb 4, 2013 at 10:42 AM

      C’mon, Sam! You gotta keep up, man! (Seriously, Donovan is taking a break, not even back into LA Galaxy camp, although he says he’s coming back … the “when” remains unknown. We’ve all written a lot about it.

      • Sam - Feb 4, 2013 at 11:51 AM

        I knew that he was taking a break – I just didn’t expect that to extend into actual world cup qualifiers.

      • joeyt360 - Feb 4, 2013 at 6:31 PM

        Klinsmann said a few weeks ago that Donovan wasn’t going to be here. It’s the only way that made sense, really–he hasn’t played a competitive game in months.

  4. whordy - Feb 4, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    Dude is having/had a mid life crisis at 30. Even if he has come back (he is training with LA as normal, right?), he has been out of it so far that you would need to call him up based on name alone. And as we’ve seen, JK is not someone who always does that.

  5. digbysellers - Feb 4, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    So just a quick question…you mention “others from the camp on today’s roster…Beckerman” but then he’s not below in the entire roster. I’m assuming he didn’t make it then?

    • digbysellers - Feb 4, 2013 at 11:01 AM

      You’re welcome

    • Steve Davis - Feb 4, 2013 at 11:14 AM

      Yes … updated. Missed that one on my first pass through the list.

  6. bigdinla - Feb 4, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    This is one of the weakest collection of midfielders the USMNT has ever fielded IMO. Only Bradley is a true world class player. Jones is overrated as is Zusi. Where is the speed?

    • charliej11 - Feb 4, 2013 at 12:01 PM

      Ditto, but you add LD to Bradley and almost every combo is very good.

      My hunch is there is something between him and JK. It just doesn’t add up the way it is going down.

    • wfjackson3 - Feb 4, 2013 at 12:33 PM

      You don’t always necessarily need speed from your midfield. And please elaborate on Zusi. In what way is he overrated?

    • valiantdraws - Feb 4, 2013 at 12:44 PM

      Jones is an enforcer. In fact, I think this subject may have been covered on here before. Anyway, Klins keeps him around to bruise guys up. All teams need a guy like this, and Jones is ours. Granted, I think he’s way overrated, and I’d like to see him left off the roster, but I understand the motivation to include him.

  7. bigdinla - Feb 4, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    Zusi is MLS quality. He is good at a lot of things, but not great at anything. Speed is very important if you lack technical ability. Speed is why a team like Jamaica is dangerous. USMNT is not good enough in the midfield to build slowly through the middle.

    Jones is a hack. He is a more athletic version of Pablo Maestreoni. He is no Gattuso!

    • crossmlk - Feb 4, 2013 at 3:53 PM

      bigdinla,
      I assume you’re saying Zusi isn’t fast. And in that assesment you’d be wrong. He isn’t Eddie Johnson fast but he has plus speed.

      I’m sensing MLS hatred here. You might not like the MLS overall (after all it is the fashionable thing these days), but there are good players in the league.

    • wfjackson3 - Feb 4, 2013 at 11:26 PM

      Oh Jamaica? You mean that team that is expected by many to finish last in this round?

      How many games have you watched Zusi play? He cuts in well, he plays accurate crosses (especially early crosses along the ground) AND he has the ability to hit the through ball. Not sure what else you want out of a CM/RM/RW player, but that about covers it for me.

  8. camsoup91 - Feb 4, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    Anyone have thoughts about Joshua Gatt or Eric Lichaj being left off? Or Lichaj’s lack of callups while starting for a team on the Premier League. Can’t be worse than Castillo.

  9. bigdinla - Feb 4, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    I have no idea why they are both not on this roster. JK does not like Lichaj for some reason, but he played very well in the GC until he was moved to RB. Gatt brings much needed speed. No reason for Davis or Evans over Gatt. Hell, I would take Gatt over slow and useless Torres.

    • boscoesworld - Feb 4, 2013 at 4:43 PM

      Gatt will have his time. He is like a young colt that needs to be broken at this point. He has unbridled energy but it needs to be harnessed. I like seeing that aggression and athleticism on the way up. Lichaj may have some residual injury problems.

    • wfjackson3 - Feb 4, 2013 at 11:27 PM

      Gatt doesn’t know when to pass. He doesn’t EVER attack the end line, and for a winger, that is kind of a problem. He has some skills in his toolbox, but he isn’t really ready just yet and we all know it.

  10. boscoesworld - Feb 4, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    I just can’t get behind the Eddie Johnson inclusion. Never has someone so heralded contributed so little yet still has a job. He doesn’t run off the ball particularly well. He doesn’t hold the ball well. He is not a good shooter and he appears to take significant time off during games. Other than that he is a fine forward. Is he the best we have? Top four? Not in my book.

    • wfjackson3 - Feb 4, 2013 at 11:28 PM

      I have been surprised by EJ’s play on the wing. Maybe they are bringing him in for tactical versatility? His desire to do what the coaching staff asks of him?

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