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By position: Looking at the forwards who made the U.S.’s final 2014 World Cup squad

May 22, 2014, 8:59 PM EDT

USA Soccer Dempsey AP

Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

Others who cross over: Julian Green (Bayern Munich)

Last cuts: Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vien), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy)

Quick thoughts …

(… that don’t involve Landon Donovan, who we’ll cover elsewhere.)

1. We should have known all along – Terrence Boyd was the big cut, though we’re still getting our minds around the absences of Eddie Johnson and Juan Agudelo. Yet in hindsight, we should have seen this coming. Altidore and Dempsey were never going to miss the team, Johannsson had proven enough between club and country, and Wondolowski finished winning over Klinsmann this winter. On a 23-man team that usually plays a 4-4-2 variant, four forwards are enough.

2. There’s a clear top two – Not exactly breaking news, but when Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones have been to the midfield, Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey will be to the forward spots. Klinsmann could roll out a 4-2-3-1 formation at some point in Brazil, dropping Dempsey into more of an attacking midfielders role, but given how the roster shakes out, we’re looking more at the 4-4-2/4-4-1-1 (get as band-y as you want) that’s become the U.S.’s go-to. No matter how much people who focus on Altidore’s Sunderland performance object, the Black Cats striker is the squad’s first choice No. 9.

3. Eddie Johnson would have been a good complement – Johnson’s lackluster play for D.C. United cost him a spot in the team. He’s justifiably not going to Brazil. Had he maintained the form that got him back in the national team, however, “E.J.” would have been a great addition to this group. As we saw in qualifying, Johnson’s versatility allowed him to target opposing fullbacks and become an option on crosses from players like Graham Zusi. It would have been a valuable trick for Klinsmann to have in the squad. Unfortunately, we’ll never see Eddie Johnson vs. Joao Periera.

Conclusion

Two starters, two reserves speaks to few options Klinsmann needed after Dempsey and Altidore. Dempsey could play every minute of the tournament, while Altidore should only be a late match sub. Perhaps a player like Johnson would have offered other options, but if Klinsmann has no intention of using those, better to bring one of the The Three Kids (John Brooks, Julian Green, DeAndre Yedlin) than waste those spots.

  1. mknow406a - May 23, 2014 at 12:28 AM

    Honestly, I think JK got the EJ cut spot on. He started his old antics last season with his ‘show me the money’ routine. This season, he’s bashed his teammates in the press for not being good enough, when actually, the onus is on the marquis player to elevate the play of those around them… that’s why you now get paid the extra money. Then he managed to get himself suspended for his on the field antics… Basically, he’s back to the old self-destructive EJ that got him dropped all over Europe and almost knocked him out of the game completely… We’ve all seen that pony show before… better he not be part of the WC team at all.

    • mikeevergreen - May 23, 2014 at 1:37 PM

      Correct. If I was going to take anyone, I would have taken Chris Rolfe (3 goals in 7 appearances with DCU) over EJ.

  2. braxtonrob - May 23, 2014 at 1:31 AM

    4 forwards are NOT enough.

  3. elgallo2001 - May 23, 2014 at 10:40 AM

    Who will step out and create for us out of the middle? I’m scared.

    • talgrath - May 23, 2014 at 1:52 PM

      Graham Zusi and Michael Bradley.

  4. elgallo2001 - May 23, 2014 at 10:40 AM

    Who will step out and create for us out of the middle? I’m scared.

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