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Four notable USMNT World Cup qualifier roster omissions

Feb 4, 2013, 11:25 AM EDT


One players’ gain is another’s loss, as we know. So guys like Matt Besler, Brad Davis and a couple of others who have found their way onto Jurgen Klinsmann’s roster for this week’s important World Cup qualifier did so at someone else’s expense.

Four of the “someone elses” in this case are Clarence Goodson, Kyle Beckerman, Benny Feilhaber and Oguchi Onyewu.

We may learn more later today as U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann talks about his selections. Klinsmann has a national conference call from the team’s Miami base – well, it’s base for another few hours, prior to departure into Honduras later this afternoon – scheduled for 12:30 ET.

(MORE: Early reactions from today’s roster announcement)

For now let’s look briefly at the foursome of notable omissions:

Benny Feilhaber: Against Canada, Feilhaber was one of the few players last week able to push the team forward, equipped with enough technical ability in tight spaces and the right attacking mindset to begin unlocking Canada’s stacked-and-packed defense. But then, everyone knows that about Feilhaber (pictured), who has recently moved from New England to Sporting Kansas City.

Feilhaber’s challenge over the longer January camp was always about showing he could smoothly assimilate into the larger group. Seeing as Brad Evans and Brad Davis started ahead of Feilhaber last week, and seeing as both made today’s roster, it looks like the Sporting KC man, a veteran of the United States’ World Cup efforts South Afirca 2010, may have come up short in his bid to demonstrate an improved ability to fit in.

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

Clarence Goodson: Goodson’s omission is somewhat surprising considering his status as a regular through semifinal round qualifying. He started the team’s 2-1 win over Antigua and Barbuda in the next-to-last game during semifinal stage qualifying and was on the bench a few days later as Klinsmann’s men clinched passage into the final round.

He was not, however, part of the U.S. January camp. As Denmark’s league is out of season now, Goodson would surely have been invited into that camp if Klinsmann wanted to take him to Honduras.

Time will tell if the addition of center backs Besler and Omar Gonzalez means Goodson has been pushed down in the order, or if this is just a temporary thing down to timing.

The presumption has to be that Gonzalez and Besler have more upside; Goodson, 30, is what he is.

Oguchi Onyewu: This hardly rates as a huge shocker, but it remains noteworthy because Onyewu still holds status in general supporter awareness. So many fans would love nothing more than to see Onyewu return to his former bad-a** self, back to the guy who stared down Mexico’s Jared Borgetti two qualifier cycles back, equipped with enough ability and confidence to back it up.

Bottom line: the big center back, 30, still has work ahead to rally past a deflated 2012, when he seemed to lose Klinsmann’s favor and trust. As Onyewu can’t get a toehold on any playing time for Malaga, this probably isn’t going to change anytime soon.

Kyle Beckerman: This was perhaps the biggest surprise of today’s announcement, seeing as Beckerman had previously impressed Klinsmann with his positional discipline and his day-to-day, professional approach in training.

But the Real Salt Lake man struggled last week to move the team forward with a little more urgency from his holding midfield spot. Danny Williams has clearly lapped Beckerman, 30, in the crowded U.S. depth chart of central midfielders.

Not all is lost for Beckerman; given Jermaine Jones’ tendency to collect cards, he’s still one terrible tackle away from slipping right back into the roster rotation.

  1. wfjackson3 - Feb 4, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    I tend not to want to criticize, but what the hell does Feilhaber have to do to show he is a positive for us on the field? There was one point in the Canada game where he was trying to play a ball deeper into Canada territory, but literally nobody would make a run for him. He held the ball for several seconds, waved his arms around, and eventually just passed it back.

    If the rest of the team won’t do what Klinsmann asks, why should Feilhaber fall on the sword?

  2. whordy - Feb 4, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    Yeah, Fielhaber is a mystery to me as EVERY time he came on in WC10, we looked like the better team. I have no idea why he fell off the NT radar.
    I guess his club situation did not help, but really there are other players who get called up with a questionable club situation and unlike mosto f them Fielhaber usually looks good when playing for the NT as well.

    • Steve Davis - Feb 4, 2013 at 12:31 PM

      We will get the chance to ask in about 10 mins during Klinsmann’s media conference call … check back.

    • wfjackson3 - Feb 4, 2013 at 11:18 PM

      Oh don’t get me started about WC10. I wanted to Fire Bob just for refusing to start Benny. It was almost criminal to keep waiting until 60 to bring him in.

  3. jolo2000 - Feb 4, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    Benny missing out to Gringo Torres is a bit of a surprise, but Klinsman does have his favorites like all coaches. Shocked Beckerman lost out, I thought he was his favorite on the roster.

    Steve, thoughts on Donovan not playing the qualifiers? I can’t think of another player of his stature or importance to his team that has voluntarily missed out on a WCQ. Do you know of any?

  4. mrstev - Feb 4, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    If Klinsi was handing out roster spots for professionalism and work ethic in training, then Wondo would have a spot along side Beckerman.
    Which brings me to my main point…WHERE ARE THE GOALS GOING TO COME FROM???
    Other than Dempsey, there are no proven goal scorers on the roster (and don’t even say Altidore!). I see us making it through on one-nil victories at best.

    Your thoughts Mr. Davis?

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