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

Feb 6, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

DaMarcus Beasley

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 four months away.

GOALKEEPERS

There is not a sliver of mystery about this one. (Although this is where we’ll add the usual disclaimer about injuries – and let’s hope this is the last time we’re talking about injuries serious enough to cost World Cup spots. That said …)

Tim Howard is having an outstanding  season at Everton, helping the lower budget club fight for a top 4 spot and Champions League soccer next year, a truly worthy target around Goodison Park. Stamp him “starter” and move on.

In two seasons of starting duty around Villa Park, Brad Guzan has done absolutely nothing to diminish his blue chip stock as the best American backup, and by some measure.

Nick Rimando reminds us every time he gets on the field that Jurgen Klinsmann’s “break glass in case of emergency” option is not a bad one at all.

  • Going to Brazil: Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Nick Rimando
  • On the bubble: none

DEFENDERS

Since the last time we did this (in October, just after the United States officially qualified for Brazil), we’ve added one name to the list of players who can start buying up Brazilian phrase books, Seattle Sounders utility man Brad Evans.

Of course, he’s not a utility man for Klinsmann; he’s the team’s starting right back. It may not be that way in June, certainly not with Geoff Cameron’s emergence at Stoke City (we talked about that one here), and not with Timothy Chandler doing well in his Bundesliga assignments.

Heck, Steve Cherundolo could still make a run at the position he held for so long in the U.S. shirt – if he can ever get his health sorted out and get back into the lineup for Hannover. Even then, Evans is such a highly regarded professional and the kind of “giver” that Klinsmann loves having around camp, the coach is likely to take Evans as a backup to one of those guys, if it comes to that.

In the middle and on the left, it’s pretty much status quo over the last few months with one notable exception: Anthony Brooks has introduced himself to this conversatioin, and forcefully so. The young Hertha Berlin center back probably hasn’t done enough to unseat Clarence Goodson as the third center back … but given Brooks’ upside, he might just get a roster spot, anyway.

  • Going to Brazil: DaMarcus Beasley (pictured above), Matt Besler, Geoff Cameron, Brad Evans, Omar Gonzalez, Clarence Goodson, Fabian Johnson
  • On the bubble (one or two spots available): Anthony Brooks, Edgar Castillo, Timothy Chandler, Steve Cherundolo, Michael Orozco, Michael Parkhurst

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  1. dfstell - Feb 6, 2014 at 4:54 PM

    Is Orozco really that good? I don’t watch the Mexican league enough to really judge, but with the other centerbacks listed, I can remember seeing games at the club level where they just dominated. You know….Omar has those games where he wins every single ball in the air – and we’ve seen glimpses of that at the international level. Beasler has also had games where he was just really composed, organized the heck out of the defense, played well with the ball at his feet…..and we’ve seen bits of that at the international level. Goodson has also had some of those “win everything in the air” games.

    I just have never seen anything super-special from Orozco. I’m not saying he’s a bad player, but I’m just curious why he is on the bubble with the USMNT when there are a lot of quality centerbacks who aren’t. Were there performances in Mexico that made everything think he was incredible and he just hasn’t translated that to the international level yet?

    • paizconstruction - Feb 6, 2014 at 6:13 PM

      Yes, Michael is good, he has good scoring abilities on the air, and is pretty good a defending as well, I’m not mexican i seen a lot of south american players in the mexican league, And many of them are in their national teams also,
      Sorry to say that the MLS is alot slower than the mexican league, south american league,
      I recommend you to watch a little bit of the Puebla games, He doesn’t have alot of help in the mid field and they don’t have fire power like other teams, and many of their losses are by 1 goal,
      that should tell you how good he is.

    • Steve Davis - Feb 6, 2014 at 7:05 PM

      You ask good questions. I tend to agree with you … but Klinsmann has shown repeatedly that he likes the guy, otherwise he wouldn’t keep calling on him.

  2. hildezero - Feb 6, 2014 at 5:15 PM

    I would put Hamid in the “On The Bubble”.

    • dws110 - Feb 6, 2014 at 6:36 PM

      You take three keepers to Brazil, and Hamid is nowhere near Nick Rimando on the US depth chart. He may be fourth in line, but it’s a very, very distant fourth.

    • rafibomb10 - Feb 7, 2014 at 8:47 AM

      I would agree with you. To me its like football…if you’re down to your third string QB, the chances of winning the Super Bowl are practically zero. So why not bring a guy like Hamid, Cropper, or Johnson who can grow and mature on the World Cup stage, when the chances the top two goalies both getting hurt are quite slim.

      Thinking back to 2010 world cup it worked out perfectly, when Guzan was only 24. Now he is primed and ready. I like the idea of a 3rd string goalie as more of an “internship” role. Thats just my opinion…Nothing against Rimando.

      • midtec2005 - Feb 7, 2014 at 12:43 PM

        Rimando is excellent, more like a 1C in my opinion. We may be one of the only countries that can say this, but if we are down to our 3rd string keeper, we will be fine.

  3. dws110 - Feb 6, 2014 at 7:02 PM

    I don’t know what to think about the USMNT’s right back anymore. Looking at Germany and Portugal, it seems like the main qualities you want in your right back is the ability to work with the CB’s as a cohesive unit and the ability to get forward and start a counter. Nobody in the world can defend one-on-one with Cristiano Ronaldo, and when the German Horde starts to swarm, if you’re relying on individual defensive elan to get you out of danger, you’ve already lost.

    By that standard (and I can’t for the life of me believe I’d ever be asking this)…isn’t Evans the best guy for the job? He’s had the most time to gel with the current back line, and the guy can spring a counter when the opportunity presents itself.

    I’m gonna go breathe into a paper bag now.

  4. raingardener01 - Feb 6, 2014 at 8:59 PM

    If Parkhurst does well at Columbus, I think he’s on the plane. Klinsmann had a lot of positive remarks about his abilities and calmness under pressure. He’s versatile, I think he can play any of the positions on the back line and Klinsmann likes the fact that he played in Europe even if things didn’t work on in Germany. He came back to MLS to play so he can have a chance to go to Brazil and I think Klinsmann respects his efforts.

  5. danielofthedale - Feb 6, 2014 at 10:14 PM

    Timmy Chandler should not go to Brazil. He showed time and time again his lack of commitment to the US and he should not be allowed to simply walk into the side in Brazil.

    • jaxfootballing - Feb 6, 2014 at 11:24 PM

      Here Here – totally agree with you.

    • bear06 - Feb 7, 2014 at 12:19 AM

      Sucks for both you and jaxfootballing then because Klinsmann recently said that Chandler is still in the radar. BTW Chandler is committed to the U.S. and the truth is that him and Cameron are the best RB’s the U.S. has atm.

      • danielofthedale - Feb 7, 2014 at 3:14 AM

        He really shows commitment is turning down call up after call up.

      • bear06 - Feb 7, 2014 at 10:08 PM

        Umm no. Klinsmann just hasn’t been calling him up but it looks like Chandler might get out of the doghouse soon.

  6. gr8force - Feb 7, 2014 at 3:18 PM

    Brooks made a believer out of me this last summer. Holy cow that kid stepped up and made huge contributions.

    • bear06 - Feb 7, 2014 at 10:09 PM

      Yeah, he’s a really talented CB with huge upside.

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