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

Feb 6, 2014, 5:30 PM EST

Costa Rica v United States - FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier Getty Images

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.

MIDFIELDERS

If anyone made significant progress in January, they did so very quietly.

Long story short here: There are still lots  of decisions to be made.

Brad Davis, solidly on the bubble, needed a big camp and a big performance against South Korea to strengthen his position. While the longtime Houston Dynamo man didn’t exactly hurt himself, a bad turnover here and there and a failure to make a solid imprint on the game meant that it wasn’t the shining moment Davis really needed.

If anyone made significant progress in January, they did so very quietly.

Brad Davis, solidly on the bubble, needed a big camp and a big performance against South Korea to strengthen his position. While the longtime Houston Dynamo man didn’t exactly hurt himself, a bad turnover here and there and a failure to make a solid imprint on the game meant that it wasn’t the shining moment Davis really needed.

(MORE: Michael Bradley for  U.S. captain? You couldn’t do any better)

Mix Diskerud did OK, and he keeps inching ever closer to movement into that “roster lock” classification. Then again, by not grabbing hold of his opportunities any more forcefully than he has, Diskerud leaves himself open to a late charge from, say, Danny Williams, Sacha Kljestan or even Benny Feilhaber, who has moved into an “on the bubble” position since we last did this little roster examination exercise in October.

Speaking of the last time, Josh Gatt has fallen off the bubble list. Anyone who plays in Norway (or any of the Scandinavian lands) but wasn’t invited to the recent camp (as Diskerud was) probably isn’t having his name spoken in the ongoing U.S. coaching staff conversations.

On the other hand, you’d have to say Maurice Edu’s opportunity to get on the field (he’s now a featured piece of the puzzle at Philadelphia) will move him closer to the roster discussions, at very least.

Oh, and before anyone gets in a twist over Fabian Johnson exclusion, I added him to the list of defenders. In a perfect world, Johnson is probably a midfielder. (Those darting cuts inside from the left can be devastating!) But since he has played along the back line (left and right, in fact) for the United States, and given the team’s relative instability at both fullback spots, he’s probably just as likely to be in the rear guard as in the midfield.

  • Going to Brazil: Kyle Beckerman, Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Jermaine Jones, Graham Zusi
  • On the bubble (2-3): Alejandro Bedoya, Joe Corona, Brad Davis, Mix Diskerud, Maurice Edu, Benny Feilhaber, Sacha Kljestan, Brek Shea, Jose Torres, Danny Williams

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

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  1. dws110 - Feb 6, 2014 at 6:55 PM

    Beckerman a lock over Diskerud? I’d quibble with you over that one, sir.

    I long for the day when Edu and Feilhaber are never again mentioned in connection with the USMNT, except for “Remember when Edu and Feilhaber used to sometimes get a shot with the USMNT? I know, right, it’s INSANE.”

    • imagreatguy76 - Feb 6, 2014 at 7:42 PM

      Like his game or not, Beckerman is going to Brazil (assuming he’s healthy). Juergen had consistently shown/said he likes what he has in him.

      • bear06 - Feb 9, 2014 at 1:59 AM

        It’s Jurgen. Also I can see Williams beating Beckerman for a WC spot.

  2. josh907 - Feb 6, 2014 at 7:24 PM

    Out of the 6 midfielders you mentioned, only two can play out wide, Donovan and Zusi. Zusi isn’t even that good. Bedoya should be on the plane before him. Also, I think I saw Fabian Johnson on the defender list when he should really be on this list as he is the best winger the US has.
    Kljestan and Diskerud are the obvious choices for backup cms, you can leave Beckerman at home. He won’t (or at east we all pray he won’t) play in Brazil even if he is brought along and is probably too old to play in the next WC so he is complete waste of a spot.

    • Steve Davis - Feb 6, 2014 at 8:17 PM

      Those are your opinions about these players, and fair enough. I encourage a diversity of opinions. What I am telling you here is what I see based on camps, rosters and lineups over the last two-plus years. I have my own opinions, too… but they don’t matter. Jurgen Klinsmann is making these calls. Not you and not me. So … Beckerman is ahead of Kljestan and Diskerud. Zusi is a LOCK. Johnson is best as a MF (which I said in the story), but he’s just as likely to play FB. That’s just the way these things are.

      • jaxfootballing - Feb 6, 2014 at 11:40 PM

        On pure talent alone – Diskerud has to be a much better option than Kljestan or Beckerman…although he plays a similar more up the field position like Kljestan than Beckerman. Johnson is also much more skilled than either of those two also.

        Out of the bubble list for the 2-3 spots available I like – Diskerud, Bedoya and Corona at this point. These three are also young enough to feature in Russia 2018. Not many of the other chaps have the ability to take offensively charge of a game (i.e. significantly contribute) other than maybe Fielhaber or Torres. You need midfield players to be strong on the ball, dribbling and savvy, as well as steer play to the team’s strengths.

  3. danielofthedale - Feb 6, 2014 at 10:22 PM

    I think Bedoya is a lock. He is playing regularly for Nates and playing pretty well most of the time and seems to be a Klinsi favorite. I think Mixx is also very close to locking down the back up box to box slot too. He gets lots of run with the team and I feel is getting a little more comfortable with each passing game.

  4. rafibomb10 - Feb 7, 2014 at 8:51 AM

    I like the selections Steve. I tend to think that Mixx would be on the plane though because of how much Jurgen has used him over the past year especially.

    If Jose Torres makes another roster invite I’d be completely shocked. Skillful, yet terribly inconsistent.

    Interesting to see if Brek can bounce on to the plane. Depends on the number of mids he wants to take.

  5. midtec2005 - Feb 7, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    Is Joe Corona getting PT again in Mexico? I really like him as a player, so it’s a shame he fell out of favor at his club last year.

  6. minkheel - Feb 7, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    Seems a bit unfair to Josh Gatt, given that he is recovering from a serious knee injury, has not played in a live game situation since June 2013, and was only cleared to start “limited dynamic movement” about 8 weeks ago. Of course he is off the radar for Brazil, but due to injury not poor form. Only time will tell of course if he can come all the way back from the knee injury and get back in the USMNT picture.

  7. gr8force - Feb 7, 2014 at 3:08 PM

    Anyone but Davis. Gawd he looked awful in the friendly against Korea. No pace on passes, etc. The only positive I have for him was his intensity albeit totally unfocused and without purpose. Wish I could’ve seen what happened in Sao Paulo. Maybe he painted a different picture there but I doubt it.

    So who should be added? Disk and a coin toss.

  8. gr8force - Feb 7, 2014 at 3:10 PM

    Davis looked terrible in the friendly with Korea. No way he makes the team.

    So does make it? Disk and a coin toss

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