Roster Analysis

23 Tickets for Brazil: Here Are Brian Sciaretta's Picks

It's early, yes, but we can't help ourselves. We want to start thinking about which U.S. players will make the trip to Brazil next summer. ASN contributor Brian Sciaretta took a stab. Take a look.
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
September 11, 2013
11:56 AM
THE UNITED STATES is heading to the World Cup again for the seventh straight time but the competition to make the final roster will be intense over the next nine months.

Nine months is a very long time in soccer. There is almost an entire European season ahead and there is a transfer window in January that could also shake things up. Players can rise and fall in form quickly, but as of right now, here is how I see things playing out for next summer.


1) Tim Howard
2) Brad Guzan
3) Nick Rimando
Notable omissions: Sean Johnson, Bill Hamid, Tally Hall

NOTES: Unless there are injuries, these are the three goalkeepers that will be heading to Brazil. The overall roster is hard to predict but the goalkeeping position is all but certain. Tim Howard’s performance against Mexico reminded everyone why he is still the first choice, but Brad Guzan could still push him.


4) Geoff Cameron
5) Timothy Chandler
6) Clarence Goodson
7) Matt Besler
8) John Brooks
9) Omar Gonzalez
10) DaMarcus Beasley
11) Edgar Castillo
Notable omissions: Brad Evans, Carlos Bocanegra, Michael Parkhurst, Michael Orozco, Oguchi Onyewu

NOTES: The backline is very hard to predict at the moment. The fullback position is thin since most of the key players (Fabian Johnson, Brad Evans, Geoff Cameron, DaMarcus Beasley) are not naturally right or left backs.

But here are a few predictions. Steve Cherundolo will fade this year. He’s had three surgeries in the past year and Hannover has brought in depth at right back. It is going to be hard for Cherundolo to earn minutes this year. Also, he has not played for the U.S. team in 2013—at a time when many other players have stepped up.

Timothy Chandler is down but not out. He has lost his starting spot at Nurnberg but his coach has said Chandler has been working hard in training to improve the defensive aspect of his game. Right back is very thin right now for the U.S. team. Against Mexico, Klinsmann went with Fabian Johnson and then subbed in Michael Parkhurst, a player who can’t see the field for Augsberg. With nine months to go until the World Cup, the players who are earning playing time with their clubs will have a distinct advantage. Geoff Cameron, on the flip side, is a suitable backup. Brad Evans has been serviceable at right back but he doesn’t play right back for Seattle and he could lose out to a Premier League player and a Bundesliga player who play the position.

In central defense, Clarence Goodson and Omar Gonzalez booked their ticket to Brazil last night against Mexico. Matt Besler is assured of going based on a strong 2013. The fourth spot is likely to go to John Anthony Brooks, who is rated highly at Hertha. At only 20 years old, he may be one for the future but it’s worth putting him on the fast track. He’s also one of the most promising young American players and is one of the few central defenders the U.S has playing in a top league.

Left back remains a bit of a puzzle as well. Is Klinsmann willing to continue to stick with Beasley, who has had good games (Mexico) and bad games (Costa Rica)? How determined is he to keep Fabian Johnson in the midfield? Klinsmann has said recently he wants Johnson in the midfield, so for the time being, Beasley and Castillo are the left backs.


12) Michael Bradley
13) Jermaine Jones
14) Kyle Beckerman
15) Graham Zusi
16) Mix Diskerud
17) Fabian Johnson
18) Alejandro Bedoya
19) Clint Dempsey
Notable omissions: Jose Torres, Sacha Kljestan, Maurice Edu, Danny Williams, Joe Corona, Brek Shea, Brad Davis

NOTES: The U.S. midfield changed drastically in 2013. Maurice Edu and Danny Williams are out while more offensive-minded Mix Diskerud and Alejandro Bedoya have entered the equation. Sacha Kljestan remains one to watch as he will have a unique opportunity to improve his standing with Champions League games in the fall.

The Mexican-based Joe Corona and Jose Torres are also in the mix but their current season as well as opportunities in the fall with the U.S. team will be crucial to making their case. Corona is almost in direct competition with Alejandro Bedoya, and there is little question Bedoya has had a better year with his terrific Gold Cup and his bold move to Ligue 1.

Jose Torres and Brek Shea are both left-footed options for left midfield but their standing will likely revolve around whether or not Fabian Johnson plays in the midfield or left back. If Johnson is forced to move to the back, a spot in the midfield will open up for Shea or Torres.

In central midfield, Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley are locks, as they have been instrumental this entire World Cup qualifying campaign. Meanwhile, it is hard to ignore the solid, workmanlike summer Kyle Beckerman has enjoyed. He was one of the most important players at the Gold Cup and he filled in for Bradley magnificently against Mexico. His defense has always been solid but his pass completion in the midfield against Mexico was stellar. He has put himself in a position where he almost cannot be left off the plane to Brazil.


20) Jozy Altidore
21) Aron Johannsson
22) Eddie Johnson
23) Landon Donovan
Notable Omissions: Herculez Gomez, Chris Wondolowski, Terrence Boyd, Bobby Wood

NOTES: The forward position is looking clearer and clearer with each passing week. Herculez Gomez is a very difficult omission but he has not played in months due to injury, and Aron Johannsson and Eddie Johnson have stepped up for club and/or country. Terrence Boyd is also a possibility but he could fall victim due to competition and the subpar nature of the Austrian Bundesliga.

So there you have it—my predicted 23-man roster for the World Cup. Please leave your comments below. Everything is subject to change, but we would love to have a robust discussion about these names right here and right now.

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