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U.S. World Cup roster examination – Who is going to Brazil? GOALKEEPERS

Oct 16, 2013, 3:00 PM EDT

It’s not that we don’t believe U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann when he says no one has a spot guaranteed for World Cup 2014. But, seriously … if he’s not taking guys like Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard, then it’s only because they are injured… or because Klinsmann got some of that bad chicken going around and it seriously impaired his judgment.

So how about we compromise with this: Some people are less “not guaranteed” than others?

Here, then, is a position-by-position look at which U.S. men in the player pool have a right to feel comfortable about their chances of landing one of those 23 golden roster spots for Brazil.

Barring injury or an implausibly sharp drop in form, these guys will be on the charter out of the United States and into South America next June:


Start making plans, guys … you’re going to Brazil!: Brad Guzan, Tim Howard, Nick Rimando

Debate all you want about whether Brad Guzan has pulled ahead of longtime incumbent Tim Howard. That’s fine. But it’s not a debate for Klinsmann – and only his opinion count. The manager has been very, very clear that this is Howard’s job pending further notice. Either way, both ‘keepers are going to Brazil.


I know it looks a little surprising to see Rimando’s name on the “Made it!” list. Especially given that Chicago’s Sean Johnson and D.C. United’s Bill Hamid, young and talented, both, have been summoned so frequently over the last two-plus years. But Klinsmann has been clear on this, too: he wants an experienced hand as his back-up to the back-up, so there will be none of this “Take a youngster for the experience” business.

The manager’s reasoning is sound: Let’s say Howard gets hurt or gets ejected, hardly unheard of. The team is fine for the following contest with Guzan starting; everybody would fill OK about the Aston Villa man, who did the business with outstanding composure when Howard was hurt in those critical March matches against Costa Rica (in snowy Denver) and in a shutout at Azteca Stadium. But the backup on that match day would be … Hamid or Johnson?

Again, both are talented, but still flawed, with occasional positioning quirks or mental gaffes. Their time may come, but it’s not going to be in Brazil.

Still in the conversation … but just barely: Sean Johnson, Bill Hamid

(Next up later this afternoon: U.S. defenders)

  1. danielofthedale - Oct 16, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    This is clearly the most cut and dry section of the who is going to Brazil debate. Rimando has more than earned his spot in Brazil. Johnson and Hamid will get their back up experience at a World Cup in Russia as they will most likely be the backups to Guzan.

  2. digbysellers - Oct 16, 2013 at 3:47 PM

    Not for nothing, while I agree with the 3 that go to Brazil, but when’s MacMath going to get a look with these younger guys? He’s clearly had a better year than Hamid and it sure wouldn’t hurt to give him a shot in the future.

    • danielofthedale - Oct 16, 2013 at 4:13 PM

      I have not seen many DC games this season but it looks like the back line in front of Hamid has been down right awful this season and MacMath had a pretty soild one front of him. Going forward I think the backup GK situation is going to be up in the air for the next few years after this World Cup. I think Timmy will retire and Guzan will become the number next fall and we will see a lot of young keepers get there call ups to work with the National team and it will probably be a while before one solidifies himself as the next inline unless one of them makes the move to Europe and really becomes a solid number one over there.

      • talgrath - Oct 16, 2013 at 7:46 PM

        Hamid is in a situation very similar to Guzan, he’s a great goalkeeper but he’s on a crappy team with swiss-cheese defense. The DC games I have seen this season in which Hamid was playing have all featured goals that Hamid could do little about save for a miracle. Hamid also delivers some astonishing saves, highlights of his Open Cup performance are amazing. Look up Hamid’s highlights on YouTube to see what I mean.

    • bear06 - Oct 17, 2013 at 2:23 AM

      MacMath shouldn’t be ahead of S. Johnson who is 4th in the GK depth chart. Maybe he will get a shot in a few years if he improves.

  3. hildezero - Oct 16, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    “U.S. World Cup roster examination – Who is going to Brazil? GOALKEEPERS”

    This seems like an interesting article, but why make it now? Why not next month?

    • Steve Davis - Oct 16, 2013 at 4:30 PM

      We’ve done these before. I did a post on “roster locks” in the summer. Things do move around … we’ll do another one, I’m sure in or around the January camp. Seems worthy re-visiting from time to time, no?

  4. hildezero - Oct 16, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    Yeah, that’s true. Good point…

  5. alcor805 - Oct 16, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    Players I wouldn’t leave behind:
    E. Johnson

    Outside of the defense the team is pretty much set unless there is an injury

    • bear06 - Oct 17, 2013 at 2:21 AM

      Sorry to break it to you but Wondo is far from making the WC roster.

  6. braxtonrob - Oct 18, 2013 at 3:51 AM

    I’m glad Klinsmann is our coach, but if Bob Bradley we’re still the U.S. coach, Tim Howard would be the #2 keeper by now.

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