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Evaluating striker form ahead of USMNT camp: Surprises for the 30-man?

May 4, 2014, 9:39 PM EDT

Chris Wondolowski AP

With USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann announcing 30 players for World Cup preliminary camp by May 12 — a week from Monday! — before culling the group to 23 by June 2, the time is right for plenty of roster thoughts.

And considering both Juan Agudelo and Terrence Boyd have found their striking stride for European clubs, has anything changed in Klinsmann’s mind ahead of camp?

Most would assume that, aside from how you classify Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan, there are precious few locks at forward for the roster. Jozy Altidore of Sunderland seems one, even after his miserable season in the Premier League (He has a goal and an assist in 29 PL matches).

But after that? Eddie Johnson was once considered all-but-going to Brazil, but he’s looked ordinary since his trade to DC United. Aron Johannsson lit the Eredivisie on fire before a dip in finishing form that seemed to coincide with missing two penalties in a short period of time.

Now you have to consider Chris Wondolowski’s goal in the friendly against Mexico and strong form in MLS, the leaps and bounds of growth from Rapid Vienna’s Terrence Boyd and even Will Bruin’s hot start to 2014 with the Houston Dynamo.

Who are you betting to make the 30? The 23?

Check out this short list of form since MLS season began in mid-March (with a couple bonus names thrown in):

— Eddie Johnson, DC United — 7 games, 0 goals, 1 assist, 12 shots

— Chris Wondolowski, San Jose — 7 games, 5 goals, 23 shots

— Aron Johannsson, AZ Alkmaar — 10 games, 1 goal, 1 assist, 15 shots

— Terrence Boyd, Rapid Vienna — 8 games, 5 goals

— Juan Agudelo, FC Utrecht — 7 games, 2 goals, 2 assists, 15 shots

— Ale Bedoya, Nantes — 7 games, 2 goals, 13 shots

— Jozy Altidore, Sunderland — 5 games, 0 goals, 2 shots

— Herculez Gomez, Tijuana — 5 games, 0 goals, 3 shots

— Julian Green, Bayern Munich II — 3 games, 0 goals

— Will Bruin, Houston — 9 games, 5 goals, 1 assist, 27 shots

— Jack McInerney, Montreal — 7 games, 2 goals, 1 assist, 14 shots

— Andrew Wenger, Philadelphia — 9 games, 2 goals, 22 shots

— Mike Magee, Chicago — 6 games, 2 goals, 2 assists, 19 shots

If we’re being honest, it’s hard to think EJ’s a lock simply based on experience. And if Klinsmann’s been watching club soccer as closely as we think — he is — can he ignore Boyd? Wondolowski? Bruin?

  1. gra42 - May 5, 2014 at 2:16 AM

    As odd as it is to say this, even for a Houston fan, I’d seriously consider Bruin and Agudelo alongside Dempsey. Both can make something out of nothing from any spot in the attacking half without much support, and neither has any difficulty being in place and putting the ball in the net when the support is there. Altidore a lock? The only time I’ve EVER seen him produce for the MNT in the last few years is when JK uses raiding fullbacks in defense and then the rest of the team is getting quality opportunities and goals as well. The ones I remember Jozy putting away were unpressured volleys, and honestly? Most players would slam them home too, if not work their way onto the end of the build-up. The critical thing about Jozy is that he simply can’t put the ball on the ground and beat a defender at the international level. Bruin has high quality, unassisted goals against MLS playoff defenses at least, and Agudelo has done the same in club and international competitions.

    • jimmycrackcorn99 - May 6, 2014 at 10:45 AM

      I think that Agudelo is definitely a future starter for USMNT, not sure he will make the cut. I do like his style of play, though.

    • dawhip22x - May 11, 2014 at 6:20 PM

      Jurgen got 3 years to TEST every striker and find out who is who….but he has fail as a coach….

      • gra42 - Jun 8, 2014 at 2:10 AM

        Not really, no. He got us into better shape and with more points than any other coach for the U.S. has. It’s simply numbers in the win loss column, and isn’t really debatable.

  2. - May 5, 2014 at 6:13 AM

    Not many decent option here and the fact that Jozy is a lock tells you a lot.
    Let’s hope Jozy picks up his form.

    • gra42 - Jun 8, 2014 at 2:13 AM

      His form and style has always been the same. His scoring production has always been either a matter of facing weak teams in his early USMNT days, or more recently about whether or not JK plays raiding fullbacks who keep the other teams guessing and pressed back.

  3. midtec2005 - May 5, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    Personally, I’d like to start someone with speed and decent vision alongside Clint… and someone on form. That could be Green, but we still don’t really know. Maybe it’s Boyd, but I’ve seen so little of him I don’t know that either. So (if it was my choice) I may start Johannsson anyway. I’d bring Clint, Johannsson, Wondo, Jozy, and maybe Green if he shows well enough in camp.

    I can’t see how I could justify starting Jozy, but in the end, it’s not my choice 😉

  4. jimmycrackcorn99 - May 5, 2014 at 11:26 AM

    The guys on the fringe (those we have not seen dress for USMNT in the last 3-4 games) will not make it. My 5 for the camp

    E Johnson

    If Green goes, which I think he will, it will be more as a midfielder (4-4-2), just like Dempsey & Donovan.

  5. street0123 - May 5, 2014 at 12:42 PM

    Why does everyone in the media promote Wondo as a good option for the US National team? Just stop already the man is a nice MLS player but he does nothing for the USMNT against the competition in the WC. Nice little Charlie Hustle player but not what you need at the WC. I would take Green as a forward over Wondo, in fact I really hope they take all the young players and show some real excitement and energy to their play in the WC.

    • gra42 - Jun 8, 2014 at 2:17 AM

      But then we’ve never really had forwards who could do anything anyway, but that’s simply down to the fact that until now our coaches have never fielded defenders who could support, pass, and dribble upfield. Until now teams we faced have always had the luxury of sitting back and doubling up on the ball and the forwards as well.

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