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Updated U.S. World Cup roster outlook – Who’s in for Brazil?: FORWARDS

Feb 6, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT

Italy US Soccer

After the completion of the long January camp and the first United States match of a highly anticipated World Cup year (last weekend’s 2-0 win over South Korea), let’s look at which players appear to be shipshape for a golden seat on that charter into Brazil.

Don’t forget, the first match is just a little more than four months away.

FORWARDS

Four months out from the World Cup, as we talk about any decisions still remaining on the U.S. forwards, we’re really talking about one thing:

Who is the last guy that will be chosen, because three of the four chairs already have someone’s butt firmly planted in them.

We put Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan in the list of midfielders, even though both have a certain utility and could have been listed just as easily as forwards. That’s where they were four years ago as Bob Bradley augmented the list with four guys who were more “pure strikers,” guys who are best when a little more central, a little closer to goal.

Either way, regardless of classification, there are probably four spots available for designated goal-getters.

I know there is some thought is the U.S. Soccer fandom of bumping Jozy Alitore (pictured) from the “lock” list; I just don’t personally believe Jurgen Klinsmann is thinking that way. Rather, he’s probably brainstorming for ways to quickly boost Altidore’s diminished stores of confidence upon arrival into May training camp.

Last summer the Sunderland striker put himself so far in the lead in the pecking order of U.S. frontrunners that he’s still surely Klinsmann’s first pick at the position. He’s a roster lock, no matter how ridiculous things get at the Stadium of Light.

Johannsson increases his burgeoning value because he can not only play as a central target, but also a little further back (in the position for which Dempsey and Donovan will battle). Eddie Johnson has shown what he can accomplish coming off the bench, which seems likely to his role in Brazil.

That brings us to No. 4 and Klinsmann’s fairly disparate, available options.

It will probably come down to this: What does the U.S. boss decide he wants from that fourth selection?

If he wants someone who will doggedly, dependably chase and harass and help close out a game, then look for Boyd, who seems to be progressing nicely at Rapid Vienna.

Or, if it’s a little more of a scoring touch the manager seeks, someone with a nose for goal who might become the third natural forward in a desperate situation that calls for the garbage goal of all garbage goals (and nobody cares how you get it), maybe it’s Wondolowski who gets the call.

Then again, if Juan Agudelo gets on a run at Utrecht (he had a goal today, you know), maybe he’s the designated late-game toss-in?

The other wildcard here: where is Gomez in his quest to get on a good run? At this time last year, the Tijuana attacker was a U.S. starter. Remember the Snow Clasico? Starter. Or the huge point earned a few nights later in Mexico, the second of two matches that turned it all for the United States? Starter.

But an injury here, a bad run for his club there and, well, who knows?

Going to Brazil: Jozy Altidore, Aron Johannsson, Eddie Johnson

On the bubble: Juan Agudelo, Terrence Boyd, Herculez Gomez, Chris Wondolowski

(MORE: Which goalkeepers and defenders are locks, and who is on the bubble?)

(MORE: Which midfielders are locks, and who is on the bubble?)

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  1. dws110 - Feb 6, 2014 at 6:34 PM

    Anybody but Wondo. Herc gets my vote.

  2. christophershearin - Feb 6, 2014 at 9:10 PM

    I wouldnt mind seeing Eddie Johnson bumpped for a hot agudelo, and wondo,

    • boscoesworld - Feb 7, 2014 at 12:39 PM

      I wouldn’t mind EJ being dumped for my 14yr old nephew.

  3. tylerbetts - Feb 6, 2014 at 10:32 PM

    Boyd could also get the call if Klinsman wants to bring him along with an eye on 2018.

    • tylerbetts - Feb 6, 2014 at 10:35 PM

      I suppose that could apply to Agudelo, as well. Or instead, rather, since both won’t go.

  4. danielofthedale - Feb 6, 2014 at 10:36 PM

    No Wondo. He can do it against Belize and the South Korea B team but he does not have the chops for the highest level. I think it really comes down to Boyd and Juan. Right now it’s Boyd but if Juan gets on a run I think takes that spot. Which would suck because I think Boyd might want to rep the US more than one from the interviews I hav seen and read from him.

  5. jucam1 - Feb 7, 2014 at 8:27 AM

    Is Altadore really guaranteed a spot?… Take Agudelo instead, JA is the most overrated player in the fold for US, and you see it when he competes against real world class competition. Agudelo is young, give him the spot now and when the team is in a better position to get out of the 1st leg i 18′ he will have experience.

    • bear06 - Feb 9, 2014 at 1:57 AM

      You don’t know what you’re talking about.

  6. rafibomb10 - Feb 7, 2014 at 8:55 AM

    I agree with whoever said bump Eddie Johnson. I think he will have a slow start with D.C. and it will kill his chances for Brazil. Hes got incredible skill, but his biggest problem has always been between his ears.

    Altidore, Johannson, Wondo, Agudelo…and I’m only sold on the first two.

    • bear06 - Feb 7, 2014 at 10:03 PM

      Wondo and Agudelo are in the outside looking in right now but Agudelo has a better chance since he’s playing in the Eredivisie.

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