Nothing to see here. I actually got this spot on, because none of the young goalkeepers made any sort of moves in the past two years. Some regressed and Nick Rimando is still the most steady if sometimes unspectacular goalkeeper in MLS.
If he an Lichaj are equal on form, expect Chandler to play due to familiarity at this point with Klinsmann.This is a two-year old statement. I would still argue that Lichaj is our right back, but he exists in the Sacha Kljestanworld where he found a perfect place for him professionally, but not on the national team's radar. As for the other options, I obviously missed on Deandre Yedlin, but given his age and recent ascendence I'll skip the mea culpa. The other guys I talked about were nowhere near the 30 man roster. The exclusion of Brad Evans indicates that Klinsmann acknowledged that the premise of him facing Cristiano Ronaldo was harrowing. Though Evans found him to be lucky.
There is no reason why he should be number one here except his skills haven't diminished as much as we expected and no one has emerged.One man emerged, but the top two became irrelevant and As a Sporting KC fan, I could have never predicted how well this would have played out for Matt Besler, and how crucial he'd be to the entire team at this point. In fact, here is a huge mea culpa, I never even considered Besler because our depth seemed strong and I figured there would be leaps by the younger players listed. He is by far our number one center back, maybe not the overall footballer Geoff Cameron is but steadier and reliable. Omar Gonzalez is a ghost of his 2012 self, and Tim Ream is a forgotten man despite being Bolton's player of the year. The only positive is the improvement of Geoff Cameron, and I'll concede that I was a bit harsh on the team as a whole and his defensive ability.
Holy, Damarcus Beasley!!! I got this one spot on after two matches, because of all the players on the team, Fabian Johnson has actually followed a traditional career trajectory. I'm a staunch Edgar Castillo as a left midfielder supporter, but Liga MX screwed all of the Mexican-American players over by constantly refusing to release them for national team duties. Never thought Beasley would be the old man on this roster, but it goes to show what fitness and reliability can do for you as an athlete.
1. Fabian Johnson, 24, Hoffenheim (Germany), 26
Center Defensive Midfieldhttp://www.thebluetestament.com/2012/6/6/3066324/us-depth-chart-central-defensive-midfield
The commenters got this one right, and Maurice Edu's career stalled due to the demolishment of Rangers and his own poor decisions and Jones just chugged along. I just remembered Stuart Holden's knees and wept a little. That 2010-11 Holden alongside 2014 Bradley would be sick, but the fates didn't have that option. Many props are due to Kyle Beckerman, who still isn't sexy but I would call him Option 1(a) at the moment when we want a more disciplined midfielder to allow Bradley some room to roam.
2. Graham Zusi, 25, Sporting Kansas City, 27
I predicted Zusi taking Donovan's place, but I figured Donovan would play a role in the team. While their career arcs are strange, Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey are predictably the core of this squad. Benny Feilhaber is in the form of his life, but luckily for Sporting KC that wasn't noticed. I'll pat myself on the back for lauding on Mix Diskeruud while scolding my Freddy Adu love (which still exists in some way).
Brek Shea seems to be in a year on, year off mode. This was not the time for a year off. Josh Gatt is still young and an exciting prospect for 2018. The grand omission here was Alejandro Bedoya, whose move to Nantes has put him in the best position to occupy a wing across from Zusi in a 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1 or a traditional 4-4-2 look . Joe Corona just missed out, and I feel the Liga MX problem may have contributed to this as well.
3. DaMarcus Beasley, 30, Puebla (MEX), 32
ForwardsSo, I went dark and didn't write for a while (like these past seven months) and didn't post the forwards depth chart. Suffice to say the only one I would have got right was Jozy Altidore. I probably would have mentioned Juan Agudelo and Teal Bunbury, who were up and coming talents but both are out of the picture for 2014.
The Tough Choice is Usually the Right OneThis is not a John Harkes/Captain America omission. That is where we should start. If the United States fails to advance out of their group, it is not going to be due to a lack of Landon Donovan. If we could have 2006 Landon Donovan or 2010 Landon Donovan, that would be nice, but the ravages of time and the demands of the modern game don't allow for such luxuries. Here we sit on the precipice of a World Cup with the most talented 23 man roster ever assembled. In four years, it will be more talented and it's probable that Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard will join Donovan in ceding to the next generation. There are two complaints I hear, that Klinsmann took young players that won't play over players that can contribute now and that he took players that are worse than Landon Donovan. Let's address these:
1) John Anthony Brooks, Deandre Yedlin, Julian Green
These are the players that beat Donovan out that would be considered too green and too young. Each plays a position that the United States has been notoriously bad at times, and solid at other times. None are needed for this tournament, but each will be a big part of the next two World Cups. While I don't think they are playing for 2018 (see the next group), the idea of getting players used to the experience isn't a poor choice. It just happens that the United States talent pool is larger, so these players won't be on the field as a young Landon Donovan and Damarcus Beasley were 12 years ago.
2) Brad Davis and Chris Wondolowski
The United States has five players over 30 going to their first World Cup. These two were the ones who booted Landon from the 23 man roster. Brad Davis has three positives over Donovan. He's left footed and a left winger by nature. Chris Wondolowski brings Donovan's clutch scoring and one more positive he shares with Davis. They are both on form and at peak fitness. The odd accusation of the team's lack of fitness by Klinsmann struck a strange note as that had never been a criticism of the USMNT. However, if he were being more specific as to the fitness requirements he set forth, you may have seen this exclusion coming, due to Donovan's own admissions about his aging body.
I probably won't get any time off to see any of these games, but the World Cup draw set up some fantastic soccer and this group should be one of the best. Don't expect the United States to advance to the knockout stages, but don't be too surprised either.
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