Skip to content

Players who need to make an impact for the U.S. on Wednesday (and there are a lot of them)

Mar 4, 2014, 4:46 PM EST

FBL-WC2014-USA-KLJESTAN

If Steve Davis‘s rundown of the U.S. Men’s National Team landscape is anything close to correct, most of the seats on this summers’ plane to Brazil have been locked up. You might disagree with a name here or there, but the 19 players he’s tabbed as being locks for World Cup 2014 are strong bets to get the call, with a handful of Mix Diskerud and Alejandro Bedoya types already making strong claims to spots 20-23.

With only Wednesday’s game and a short window in May to impress head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, the handful of players vying for those last few spots need to seize their opportunities. Eight of those men are in camp ahead of tomorrow’s kickoff against Ukraine:

Defense

John Brooks – Three central defenders are definitely going to Brazil: Matt Besler, Clarence Goodson, Omar Gonzalez. With Geoff Cameron and (potentially) Michael Parkhurst also able to play in the middle, Klinsmann may not need to pick a fourth true central defender. If he does, however, he can afford to give a young guy experience, meaning the door is open for Hertha Berlin’s Brooks to show he can fit in this summer.

Edgar Castillo – With Fabian Johnson and DaMarcus Beasley on the plane, there may not be room for another left-sided defender/midfielder. But given the positional flexibility Klinsmann has at forward and central defense, the U.S. can afford to triple-up at one or two positions. Castillo can still make his case that left back should be one of those positions.

(MORE: Losing time at Sunderland, Jozy Altidore needs to impress for U.S.)

Midfield

Alejandro Bedoya – Opinions on Bedoya’s play were highly polarized during the Gold Cup. Some saw him as a revelation. Others wanted to see more. Regardless, Bedoya provides a true winger on a team were few exist. That’s an advantage he can build on with a strong camp.

Sacha Kljestan – Kljestan’s been on the fringe of a regular place since Bob Bradley was the boss, but he’s never given that one, convincing performance that put him over the top. With Mix Diserkud missing this week’s camp, the Anderlecht regular will likely see big minutes against Ukraine.

Brek Shea – In terms of World Cup hopes, Shea’s move to Stoke has been a disastrous. Though his ability to play as a true winger gives him the same advantages afforded Bedoya, he’s fallen behind the Nantes man in the pecking order. If Shea’s going to Brazil, he needs a strong performance on Wednesday, one that will keep him in the conversation come May.

Danny Williams – The former Hoffenheim, current Reading pivot man has the skill to be a valuable backup in Brazil, but like the other players who’ve lost traction over the last two years, he needs to impress from here on out. With Kyle Beckerman already on the plane, there may not be another spot for a deep midfielder who will backup Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones.

(MORE: Fear not, U.S. Men’s National Team fans: Ukraine is on the ground in Cyprus)

Forwards

Juan Agudelo, Terrence Boyd – With Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan capable of augmenting Jozy Altidore, Aron Johannsson, and Eddie Johnson, forward is another position where versatility can make up for more traditional depth. It’s up to Boyd and Agudelo to show the options they provide outweigh the benefits an extra midfielder or defender.

In that sense, Agudelo and Boyd are probably competing for one spot, at most. What each provides, however, is totally different. If Agudelo makes it, it will be as somebody who can score and create goals. If Klinsmann goes with Boyd, goals will be a part of a package that’s also provides size and a solid work ethic – the type of guy you’d put on late to help preserve a one-goal lead.

As a fourth forward, Boyd is a better fit. That doesn’t mean Agudelo can’t beat him out.

Bonus

Geoff Cameron – He’s a lock to go, but he’s far from a lock to start. Fans see him as the top choice at right back, but he’s not there, yet. Cameron, however, can start to seize that spot tomorrow, where he’s likely to start at fullback. A key will be for how he combines down the flank with Klinsmann’s midfielders, helping promote a possession game.

If Cameron starts anywhere else (central defense, midfield), we’ll have another hint at how Klinsmann sees the versatile Potter fitting into his squad. We’ll also have a few more fans wonder what Cameron has to do to win that job.

Latest Posts
  1. Radamel Falcao’s agent: I wish Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge, not Louis van Gaal

    Jan 24, 2015, 11:00 PM EST

    Radamel Falcao & Louis van Gaal, Manchester United Radamel Falcao & Louis van Gaal, Manchester United

    The bitterness is flowing freely from Falcao’s agent as he plots the Colombian striker’s next move to a “world’s best-seven team.”

  2. Italy head coach Antonio Conte supports Sebastian Giovinco’s move to MLS

    Jan 24, 2015, 8:45 PM EST

    Antonio Conte & Sebastian Giovinco, Juventus Antonio Conte & Sebastian Giovinco, Juventus

    If MLS is good enough for Italian national teamers, why isn’t it good enough for U.S. national teamers?

  3. La Liga & Serie A roundup: Barcelona, Madrid clubs win; AC Milan continue to free fall

    Jan 24, 2015, 7:45 PM EST

    Lionel Messi and Neymar, FC Barcelona Getty Images

    Barcelona were stunning as they put a half-dozen past Elche, while Real stumbled to victory. Elsewhere, AC Milan are very bad.

  4. USMNT U-20s defeat El Salvador, 2-0, qualify for 2015 U-20 World Cup

    Jan 24, 2015, 7:04 PM EST

    FIFA U20 World Cup Trophy Tour Auckland Getty Images

    The Baby Yanks are headed back to the Big Dance this summer.

  5. Sunday’s FA Cup preview: Arsenal, West Ham hope to avoid fate similar to other PL sides

    Jan 24, 2015, 5:45 PM EST

    FA Cup trophy FA Cup trophy

    A number of PL giants fell on Saturday, leaving Arsenal, West Ham and Aston Villa shaking in their boots.

  6. Jurgen Klinsmann names 23-man roster for USMNT friendlies vs. Chile, Panama

    Jan 24, 2015, 4:54 PM EST

    Jurgen Klinsmann & DeAndre Yedlin, USMNT Getty Images

    The squad is set for the first games of 2015, following a late addition and a number of cuts.

  7. Africa Cup of Nations roundup: Ivory Coast, Cameroon in 1-1 draws as Group D up for grabs

    Jan 24, 2015, 4:20 PM EST

    Bakary Sako, Mali Bakary Sako, Mali

    After four games played, absolutely nothing separates any of the four teams in Group D. Nothing.

  8. Mourinho on loss: “Me and the players must feel ashamed”

    Jan 24, 2015, 3:23 PM EST

    Chelsea v Bradford City - FA Cup Fourth Round Getty Images

    “Frustration is not the right word, embarrassed would be more appropriate.”

  9. Transfer rumor roundup: Cisse to China, Paulista to Arsenal official?

    Jan 24, 2015, 2:51 PM EST

    Newcastle United v Everton - Premier League Getty Images

    Catch up on all the latest rumors and gossip, right here.

  10. Ronaldo sees red as Bale saves Real

    Jan 24, 2015, 2:08 PM EST

    ron.red Getty Images

    Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off for Real Madrid, but Gareth Bale saved three points with a late-game penalty.

  11. FA Cup roundup: Top-three Premier League teams all eliminated at home

    Jan 24, 2015, 1:16 PM EST

    che.bra Getty Images

    Chelsea, Manchester City and Southampton were all upset in one of the craziest rounds in FA Cup history.

  12. Manchester City 0-2 Middlesbrough: Premier League champions shocked at home

    Jan 24, 2015, 12:29 PM EST

    boro Getty Images

    Another Premier League giant is out of the FA Cup as Middlesbrough got the result of a lifetime.

  13. Third-tier Bradford City come from behind to stun Chelsea 4-2

    Jan 24, 2015, 12:05 PM EST

    Chelsea v Bradford City - FA Cup Fourth Round Getty Images

    Madness at Stamford Bridge as The Bantams came from two goals down to knock Chelsea out of the FA Cup.

  14. LIVE – Manchester City down 1-0 to Championship side Middlesbrough

    Jan 24, 2015, 11:38 AM EST

    bamford Getty Images

    Middlesbrough are poised to knock the defending Premier League champions out of the FA Cup.

  15. LIVE – Goals galore at St. Mary’s as Palace lead 3-2 at half

    Jan 24, 2015, 11:04 AM EST

    Southampton v Crystal Palace - FA Cup Fourth Round Getty Images

    Southampton and Crystal Palace combined to score five first-half goals in a wild FA Cup match.

  16. WATCH: Gylfi Sigurdsson finds top corner from distance

    Jan 24, 2015, 9:49 AM EST

    gylf Getty Images

    Unfortunately, the strike wasn’t enough to save Swansea City from defeat.

  17. Mancini asked about Yaya Toure despite the Man City man’s status at the Etihad

    Jan 24, 2015, 9:23 AM EST

    Newcastle United v Manchester City - Premier League Getty Images

    Knowing that Mancini knows Yaya well, we’ll present the comments in case something comes up.

  18. Altidore ready for “incredible challenge” at Toronto FC; Klinsmann admits “There’s a lot at stake”

    Jan 24, 2015, 8:30 AM EST

    Italy US Soccer AP

    Jurgen Klinsmann knows that Altidore’s move to MLS is a risk and an opportunity.

  19. Report: Controversial midfielder Morrison agrees to deal with Lazio

    Jan 24, 2015, 7:50 AM EST

    Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United - Premier League Getty Images

    For every backheel volley highlight, there was a story like his nearly fighting Wilfried Zaha in an England U-21 match.

  20. English football set to break record number of sackings in one season

    Jan 23, 2015, 11:10 PM EST

    FBL-ENG-PR-WEST BROM-CRYSTAL PALACE Getty Images

    Check out the stats behind the sacks as the League Managers Association releases its quarterly report.

Featured video

Top five Premier League goals: Week 22