So the easiest place to start with this roster is to start with the keepers, there should be zero debate about the three keepers JK will be taking with him to Stanford, and further more to Brazil. These keepers are:
Timothy Howard (Everton), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
All three have had stellar form for their club and regular picks of Jurgen.
So now that the keepers are decided we are left with 27 players remaining. Currently the back line should be all the concern of the fans. Players like Besler and Gonzalez who were in form a year ago, are now playing consistently inconsistent. While there is little debate these players will be on the 30 man roster and potential starters in Brazil. There are still many players fighting their way into the ranks of the US back line, Tim Ream (Bolton) has had a phenomenal year in the Championship, and was recently awarded played of the year for his club. More importantly than this Ream is capable of playing anywhere in the back line. Players like Ream I place a high value on because of their versatility. Ream will get a chance to prove himself at Stanford, and will also, in my eyes, redeem himself to all the Tim Ream haters out there as he potentially makes his way on the roster in Brazil. Similar to Ream, Geoff Cameron is a versatile player who can play RB, CB, and even CDM (where I personally love him paired with Bradley) The left and right backs are just as enigmatic as the CB. JK seems to favor converted midfielders in these roles, and honestly there have been mixed results in doing this. JK seems to favor Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders) at RB and DeMarcus Beasley (Puebla FC) in these roles. While if fit both players make the 30 man roster this should not be considered the ideal RB, LB combo, In a perfect world Timothy Chandler (FC Nuremberg) will regain match fitness and make the trip to Stanford amd take over as the number one RB as he should. Fellow German – American Fabian Jonhson (Hoffenheim) is my ideal LB, who can easily move up the pitch as the game progressess; F. Johnson has a very impressive skill set and can be used from LB to LW successfully. One more “must have” player on this back line is John Brooks (Hertha Berlin). I cannot say enough good things about Brooks. I think he will be great in 2014 and a complete monser in 2018. Other players “othe bubble” who will see the squad are Deandre Yedlin; who very well maybe the future but had a lot to show to prove it, Clarence Goodson is also a name on the lips of the US faithful, but honestly, he just an older and slower version of Gonzalez and Brooks. Goodson was able to play extremely well in last years Gold Cup, but was more than farmore sluggish in his minutes more recently versus the Ukraine. Goodson makes it to Stanford howeverm unless JK is solely looking for WC experience (which Goodson has not logged a minute, but made the trip) he will not be going to Brazil. Parkhurst’s recent return to MLS was done for Parkhurst to inscrease his odds of getting to Brazil. His current form in MLS will get him to the camp, but sadly for Parkhurst there might just be btter options for the team.
Cameron/Evans, Yedlin, Goodson, Besler, Gonzalez/Brooks, F. Johnson/Beasley/Parkhurst
The midfield is up for grabs, and everyone is going to have a variation of these position, I am no different, My midfield looks like this:
Donovan, Bradley/Mikkel, Beckerman/Jones, Zusi/Bedoya
Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City), Alejandro Bedoya (FC Nantes). Mikkel Diskerud (Rosenborg), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake). These names should be on everyone lips in terms of who will be making the roster. My list includes players like Brek Shea in my midfield roster, who understandably is a very polorizing figure. He sees little playing time for his team Stoke City, and had a highly publicized and unsuccessful loan to Barnsley. Shea is a player I just love, he has a certain swagger on the field that just makes it hard for me to leave him off the 30 man roster, and also to be honest to keep him out of Brazil. Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy). for me is going to be in the mix for the any USMNT success. He is still one of the best products of American Soccer, and will remain one. While Donovan might not be the player he as in 2010, i still expect him to play a vital role.
Honestly, Bedoya is a very underratted talent in the USMNT pool. Bedoya plans high quality soccer in a high quality league. I believe that Bedoya’s talents would be an asset to any MLS team and would be revered by more than just the hardcore USMNT fans.
Jermaine Jones is another polarizing figuring to fans of US Soccer. Jones, undeniably is a talented defensive midfielder (perhaps outside of Bradley the mosy talented,) however, he is also a liability and all but certain to see a yellow card or two. This should be a huge concern, despite this, JK seems to favor Jones, and even has considered him a part of the USMNT “spine.” If I were to bet on it Jones will certainly see Brazil, but that does not me I have to like, but frankly I don’t hate it either. Jones is a good player, and has a lot of international exerperience under his belt; which sh be should highly considered in JK’s final decision making. I also see Jones getting a start primarily against teams like Portugal and Germany. I think Beckerman will get the sansen start against the less physical Ghana,
Many people include the likes of Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union), and Danny Williams (Reading) on the bubble of the midfield, but to be frank these players are lesser options than the ones listed above. I just cannot see, at this current time making it to Brazil, certain additions to the Stanford camp.
For the first time in perhaps the history of the program the US has a plethora of potential forwards.
Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Aron Johansen (AZ Alkmaar), Julian Green (Bayern II), Terrance Boyd (SK Rapid Wien) Eddie Johnson (DC United), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
Dempsey is best utilized playing underneath the main striker, which creates a conundrum for Johansen, who is currently on a at tear for his club.
Let me just get this out if the way, for better or for worse, Julian Green will make the roster for Stanford and beyond. He is a young talent, that does not walk through the doors of the USMNT everyday, While his first showing was short for the US, and did highlight some flaws, he did show a fearless nature to take on defenders, andcould serve to be a great situational player off the bench.
Now if you know a thing or two about me I do not like Chris Wondolowki, however, give Eddie Johnson’s draught at DC, as of this moment I am far more confident with Wondo coming off the bench at this time over E. Johnson. I am hoping that EJ returns to form, and he can be seen as more reliable, but time is running out.
Players in BOLD I predict are going to Brazil