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Who got snubbed? Biggest names missing from USMNT’s 30-man provisional

May 12, 2014, 3:25 PM EDT

Eddie Johnson of the U.S. celebrates after scoring a goal against Antigua and Barbuda during their 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match in St. John's Reuters

It’s a pretty bad day to be Eddie Johnson, and not a shining moment for those who projected him as a lock for the 2014 World Cup team, as the DC United forward has been left off Jurgen Klinsmann’s 30-man provisional roster for this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.

The talk was that Klinsmann wanted to see his players going against top European competition, but he’s included 15 MLS players on the provisional roster and there are plenty of European snubs. This was not a ringing endorsement for England’s second flight.

MORE: All the latest news on World Cup rosters

Let’s take a look at EJ and the other big US names who won’t be going to Brazil as a player, barring something earth-shattering.

Eddie Johnson, DC United: The mercurial 30-year-old was tipped to be a pivotal sub by many based on his track record of netting 19 times in 63 caps, including five goals in 2013 (against the likes of Bosnia & Herzegovina and Mexico amongst others). But Johnson has yet to score through eight matches for DC United this year, and managed just three shots in his four US caps at the end of 2013. Maybe it was unexpected to some, but the move seems fitting.

Juan Agudelo, unattached: Recently released by Stoke after coming to a mutual agreement to part ways — Agudelo could not land an English work permit twice — the youngster is reportedly being courted by a number of top-flight teams in Holland. Agudelo made Klinsmann’s decision tough with three goals and three assists in 14 appearances on loan at FC Utrecht. The 6-foot-1 player is just 21.

Brek Shea, Stoke City: The big Texan’s form dipped in his final MLS season, and a transfer to Stoke did not help the 24-year-old.  Shea was sent on loan to Barnsley where he made an immediate impact before finding himself in the middle of a controversial confrontation with home fans, an incident that earned him a trip back to Stoke. His pace had many tipping him for a space on the wing-light USMNT. It didn’t happen.

Danny Williams, Reading: A three-goal season and playoff-contending season with Reading was not enough to keep the German-born 25-year-old from exclusion. Williams was inconsistent in appearances wearing the stars and stripes, with 13 caps.

Sacha Kljestan, Anderlecht: He’s struggled to find playing time with Anderlecht after a strong few years in Belgium, and just hasn’t made his way onto Klinsmann’s favored list. The Ukraine game may have been his last chance to make an impact.

Oguchi Onyewu, Sheffield Wednesday: Onyewu has been strong against Championship forwards with Sheffield Wednesday, but Klinsmann’s not looking to risk his defending in a swift and deadly Group G.

Other snubs: Luis Gil, Tim Ream, Jonathan Spector, Jose Torres, Herculez Gomez.

  1. sa371916 - May 12, 2014 at 3:44 PM

    I thought Ream and Johnson would have been called instead of Yedlin and Davis, but I understand the choices. No other surprises for me.

  2. awhayes - May 12, 2014 at 3:47 PM

    Ream and Feilhaber were the biggest snubs. They are among the best passers in the player pool and would have brought useful experience. B Davis, Evans and/or Corona should have been dropped instead of Ream and Feilhaber.

  3. dws110 - May 12, 2014 at 3:51 PM

    Wondo over Agudelo surprised me. After Ukraine, I’m not at all surprised to see Gooch and Sacha miss the plane.

  4. mikeevergreen - May 12, 2014 at 4:03 PM

    Mind you, this may not be the last you hear of EJ or Agudelo this term, as FIFA no longer requires injury replacements to be selected from the provisional list. Same for Ream. If Gonzo or Goodson get hurt in the friendlies, bring him in. Had a GREAT season in England. Eddie on the club level is a clubhouse cancer, that;s why Seattle traded him. If EJ had been scoring in DC, they would not have had to bring in Chris Rolfe. You know you’re on the outs with the national side when your club side brings in somebody to pressure you.

  5. rokemi - May 12, 2014 at 4:35 PM

    I’d switch Gonzales for Ream right now. OG is so overrated. Probably trade Williams for the other overrated player we have…Beckerman

    • skjln - May 12, 2014 at 6:56 PM

      I can agree with the Ream swap. Beckerman, not so much.

    • tomcatfl - May 13, 2014 at 9:13 AM

      Gonzalez and Beckerman *are* both overrated, yes. But Omar is still better than Ream, and Williams, though with more future upside, is not as dependable as Beckerman…yet.

  6. drewvt6 - May 12, 2014 at 4:53 PM

    Does anyone really think Green can contribute more at this stage than say Agudelo?

    • dws110 - May 12, 2014 at 4:56 PM

      That’s a great big negatory. Green is the current USMNT posterboy for The Next Big Thing. Personally, I think he’s taking a spot from more valuable players.

      • tsc32 - May 12, 2014 at 5:15 PM

        Green has a lot of talent and potential out on the wing.

        If there should be any Agudelo argument, it’s should be Agudelo over Wondo. Wondo is the feel good story, but he’s not good enough for the international level. We all know this.

      • braxtonrob - May 14, 2014 at 2:03 PM

        @tsc32, I’m gonna laugh at you if Wondo gets the chance to put away strikes at the WC, … because he will!
        It makes me sad that so many fans don’t realize that Wondolowski is not a poacher, he’s a talented experienced striker who knows how to play to (and away from) space.
        If you don’t understand ‘space’, you don’t understand soccer; sorry.

    • talgrath - May 12, 2014 at 6:21 PM

      Green being called in doesn’t necessarily mean he will be playing, the field has to get narrowed to 23 people from here. I personally don’t think Yedlin will be on the plane for example, but the point of this is to verify, one last time, your opinions on particular players you’re thinking of bringing and to give players who may need to be your injury replacements some reps with the team.

      With all of that out of the way, do I think Green can contribute more than Agudelo right now? Damn straight. Agudelo has barely seen any play in the last year, making a mere 13 appearances for FC Ultrecht, and that wasn’t due to injury but to him not being good enough to play regularly while on loan from Stoke. An argument could be made that Altidore has played similar amounts, but Altidore puts the ball in the back of the net almost once per three games for the USMNT and he’s at least seeing limited playing time in the EPL while Agudelo is seeing limited play time in the Eredivisie.

  7. markburst - May 12, 2014 at 5:41 PM

    Omar Gonzalez had one or two good games, but overall, he is a liability. I would have rather seen Gooch in there, but alas, my surprise pick of the day is the Omar does not make the 23 man roster for Brazil.

  8. mknow406a - May 12, 2014 at 10:36 PM

    DC way overpaid EJ. The MLS had to pay big for Dempsey, Bradley and Donovan to keep/bring them in… The MLS needed to compete with teams in Europe. However, there was absolutely NO international demand for EJ. Any questions about his true quality was seen in the Scotland match. He could not beat English Championship League caliber defenders… he’s a solid role player if surrounded by talent that can attract defenders attention and set him up with inch perfect passes, but he simply doesn’t have the 1-on-1 abilities to create for himself or make the players around him better…

    Gooch’s fatal flaw is his inability to read the game and lead the line. Brooks looked very solid against Bosnia-Herzegovina when paired with Goodson. Brooks, young and inexperienced, would probably do fine paired with a very cerebral Besler. If Besler gets hurt, how would a Gooch/OG pairing fair? Scary to even think about… If Gooch’s not bringing experience and leadership, what would he bring?

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