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Weighing up Jurgen Klinsmann’s options for Monday’s 30-man roster

May 8, 2014, 7:42 PM EDT

With Friday’s comfortable 2-0 win Friday over Jamaica, the national team is 26-9-6 under Jurgen Klinsmann. Reuters

At one point this winter, Jurgen Klinsmann said he only intended to call up 23 players this spring – the team he would take to the 2014 World Cup. In time, as competition persisted for the last few spots, the need to callup a full preliminary squad became clear. Even after nearly three years of studying, testing, and expanding the player pool, some spots will depend on what happens in Palo Alto.

On Monday, U.S. Soccer will identify the 30 men who will be called to Stanford University for the team’s pre-World Cup camp. As of now, we’d put 25 players in the “no way they miss it pile” (so odds are, one will). The big doubts are with the final five spots.

This is where you have to step into Klinsmann’s shoes. What is his process? How does he use the 30-man roster to meet his needs? How much does current form influence what he’s seen from these players first hand? In camps, games, and tournaments?

At this point, Klinsmann has a good idea of the group that’s on the plane no matter what. The time before June 2 will be about competing for the roster’s final spots – trying to meet a need Klinsmann feels his core does not. Midfield depth, wing options, and another attacking option in midfield could be the focus, with Klinsmann wanted to keep his options open of those final spots.

Here’s who we’re betting gets the call on Monday (our “definites” plus “probables” add up to 30):

source: Getty ImagesGoalkeeper

Definites (3): Tim Howard (Everton), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa),  Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Probables: None.
Possibles: None.
Others: None.

There’s no drama here, and with spots in such short supply in other, more competitive places, there’s little chance a fourth goalkeeper gets a courtesy call.

Defenders

Definites (7): DeMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew)
Possibles: John Brooks (Hertha Berlin)
Others: Edgar Castillo (Tijuana), Oguchi Onyewu (Sheffield Wednesday), Michael Orozco (Puebla), Tim Ream (Bolton), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders)

Seven defenders looks short, particularly for a 30-man roster, but there’s no competition here. Fabian Johnson (listed as a midfielder here) can also play fullback, while Maurice Edu (if he makes the team) would be a sixth player who can play central defense. The only variable John Brooks, who could be called in for depth or experience. If Klinsmann values that over adding competitors at other spots, the young German-American could get the call.

source: APMidfielders

Definites (10): Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mikkel Diskerud (Rosenborg), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Probables (3): Joe Corona (Tijuana), Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union), Danny Williams (Reading)
Possibles: Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Brek Shea (Stoke City)

Maurice Edu and Danny Williams are in competition to be a fourth central midfielder behind Beckerman, Bradley, and Jones. Corona, who missed out on the April callup because of Tijuana’s place in CONCACAF Champions League, could get a final look, particularly if Klinsmann feels he needs somebody who can play wide. Kljestan and Shea are also possibilities, but given their performances in March and, in Shea’s case, what’s happened at club level, Klinsmann may not be able to justify giving them somebody else’s spot.

Forwards

Definites (5): Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Eddie Johnson (D.C. United), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
Probables (2):  Juan Agudelo (Utrecht), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna)

We’ve had Eddie Johnson as a lock for the 23-man roster for a while, but that’s changed. At this point, there’s an open competition between him, Chris Wondolowski, Juan Agudelo, and Terrence Boyd for a forward spot. If Johnson has a strong camp and shows Klinsmann his club form may have club causes, he can win back his spot, though not necessarily at the expense of one of the other forwards. Under Klinsmann, Johnson has been used as a midfielder more often than not. He could push one of the midfielders out of the final team.

  1. cru17 - May 8, 2014 at 9:00 PM

    Chandler doesn’t even make the “others” category for defense?
    Was that an oversight or is that how low you rank him?

    • Richard Farley - May 8, 2014 at 9:11 PM

      Thanks for asking. I thought about including him, and obviously there’s been some coverage of him lately, but I can’t say (from my point of view) I see him on the same level as the others.

      I may very well be wrong, but ultimately I didn’t want to put a “cover my [butt]” name down there in response to a few reports. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong, but I thought it would be a little dishonest to approach it another way.

      • josh907 - May 9, 2014 at 4:16 PM

        You are right, Chandler isn’t on the level as the others. He is above their level. Playing in the Bundesliga and occassionally making the team of the week. Should be called in for the 30 if not go to Brazil. Evans shouldn’t have a shot. He has proven he isn’t very good on both club and national team level.

  2. bobbyoshea - May 9, 2014 at 7:00 AM

    My issues with the article:

    1. As above, I think Timmy Chandler is on the roster if he tells JK he will make the travel. If he agrees to come, I would put him in the probable category. If he joins, I think it puts Brad Evans in a compromised position.

    2. Brad Davis as a definite selection? I would place him in the possible category though I really don’t see him being on the 23 man roster unless JK wants to throw him in late in a losing game to put crosses into the box.

    3. I take issue with FJ being listed as a mid despite the disclaimer. I would place him in defense as he is likely our LB starter and our depth lies in midfield, not in the outside back position.

    4. I think Tim Ream should be moved up into either probable or possible. Great season and can add some more depth at 2 positions on the backline. If he is selected, it puts the squeeze on DB.

  3. awhayes - May 9, 2014 at 11:55 AM

    I would definitely add Chandler into the mix as well as Feilhaber. I know Feilhaber was left of the squad against Mexico but I think Klinsmann was trying to motivate him. And since then, I’m not sure anyone is playing as well as Feilhaber. Feilhaber is a much better potential game-changing option than Danny Williams or Corona and he also happens to be the most technically gifted player in the player pool (with the possible exception of Bradley). Ream and Brooks will also be in the squad. So to include Chandler, Feilhaber, Ream and Brooks, Corona would be dropped as would Danny Williams, Agudelo and Evans (or Davis or E Johnson).

    • sdbeisbol - May 9, 2014 at 12:38 PM

      You’re right about Feilhaber. He reminds me of one of guys in baseball that you can always count on coming off the bench to spark a comeback and get a clutch hit and/or make good defensive plays but their flaws are exposed while starting. Every team needs a “super-sub” and IMO Feilhaber is that guy for the US.

  4. jay1934 - May 9, 2014 at 3:44 PM

    No way should he use Green or Johannson. They aren’t that good to displace an MLS player from making the World Cup team.

    • josh907 - May 9, 2014 at 4:16 PM

      lol
      You are kidding right?

    • dstnce1500 - May 9, 2014 at 6:26 PM

      @ jay1934 – Have you ever watched Johannsson play, either at the club or national team level?? He is much better in tight quarters…better at creating space between him and defenders….and has a very deft touch on the ball when dribbling, passing, AND shooting. He gets an opportunity against a bigger team like the one he did at the end of the Panama WCQ and he will do the same thing….which is strike a good, hard, driven ball into the corner for a goal.

      The player from MLS who should be worried is Wondo. He is one dimensional and he (…and Jurgen…) knows it. It says something when Wondo was only called in for 4 games between the 3rd round and Hex (i.e. – 4th round) of CONCACAF WC qualifying. He went as unused sub in all four of those games. In fact, in the Hex, he wasn’t called up until the last 2 games of the round, AFTER we had already secured a ticket to Brazil.

      Johannsson will be on the plane…as well as Jozy (who needs a swift kick in the a** right now IMO) and Clint. And based on overall upside, when having to pick between Boyd and Wondo, for the last F spot, it will most likely go to Boyd who has been on fire the last 3 games for his club and has the fitness, speed, and physical play to come on as late sub and run circles around a tired back line.

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