May 12, 2014, 8:57 PM EDT
This isn’t about who’s most important, or best-qualified to represent the United States at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. No, this is simply taking the 30 names Jurgen Klinsmann released today and evaluating which players, top to bottom, would be the most surprising omissions from the final 23.
For example, the three goalkeepers will be pretty high up on the list, as the Yanks will march into Brazil with three netminders.
Again, this isn’t a list of who I’d take, but who I feel is most likely to get the call. I’m not sure any player making the team would shock me, but cuts are another story. It’s an exciting time to support US Soccer and the next few weeks will be thrilling as Klinsmann culls his roster to 23 by June 2.
Without further ado, the most surprising cuts from US camp would be…
1. Michael Bradley — A two-way menace and the closest thing the States have to a world-class midfielder.
2. Tim Howard — Fifteen clean sheets at Everton and the most dependable player in his unit.
3. Jermaine Jones — At this point, if Klinsmann returned home to find his house on fire and Jones laughing while spraying a flamethrower all over his garden gnomes, I’d expect Klinsmann to say, “Hey, it happens,” crack open a beer and pat Jones on the back.
4. Geoff Cameron
5. Fabian Johnson — three players with versatility to burn/reliability to their games
6. Graham Zusi
7. Clint Dempsey — remains the face of the national team, has earned benefit of the doubt.
8. DaMarcus Beasley — still pacey after all these years, calm veteran influence.
9. Jozy Altidore — because “What if he puts it altogether?” isn’t limited to fans, but coaches.
10. Matt Besler
11. Omar Gonzalez — because you need to call your center back pairing well in advance.
12. Brad Guzan — because this is how it works.
13. Landon Donovan — many would put him further down the list, but cutting Landon Donovan would still be cutting Landon Donovan, right?
14. Kyle Beckerman — because center of the pitch depth is important, and Klinsmann has relied on him more often than not.
15. Nick Rimando — again, because this is how it works (though Southampton’s Cody Cropper sure wishes he could have a say here).
16. Michael Parkhurst — because form and experience matter, and he has both.
17. Aron Johannsson
18. Terrence Boyd — because it’s super hard to score 17 and 20 goals, respectively.
19. Julian Green — because Klinsmann sold him on this chance, and he’d have to clearly fail this chance.
20. Ale Bedoya — his form at Nantes dipped for a while, but he was still playing regularly in Ligue 1.
21. Brad Davis — again, this ranking is by surprise. He deserves to make this team and he will if healthy.
22. Chris Wondolowski — because of all the forwards, he’s the “easiest” one to dismiss (which is a shame)
23. Clarence Goodson
24. Brad Evans — because Evans either of these players being 23 on your 23 works just fine, but one gives you center back depth and more experience on the stage.
25. Maurice Edu — just don’t see him making this much of a jump back into the side this late in a cycle.
26. Timmy Chandler — when healthy, so intriguing and so good, but coming off a torn meniscus and no matches at the end of the Bundesliga season?
27. Joe Corona — a big unknown and X-factor in this group at age 23.
28. Mix Diskerud — at 23, may not be his time yet.
29. DeAndre Yedlin — youth is served… but just for camp.
30. John Anthony Brooks — has looked out of place, but gets his camp invite.
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