By PATRICK MACDONALD
Highlighting the need for consistency leading up to the 2014 World Cup, Jurgen Klinsmann’s roster for the upcoming Mexico friendly features very few surprises as all players involved have enjoyed time with the National team. Even exciting newcomer Julian Green trained with the squad leading up to the Ukraine friendly and was an expected part of the team.
If there’s one interesting note about this roster, it’s that due to the recent European exodus of National team players, Klinsmann is able to field an A-squad for this non-FIFA date friendly based on MLS talent, including the best player in the pool today — Michael Bradley. In fact, the lineup that takes the field could very well feature seven World Cup starters, six of whom are arguable locks to do so.
Without further ado, here’s the roster followed by some thoughts:
Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Michael Orozco (Puebla), Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)
Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Eddie Johnson (D.C. United), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
THOUGHTS ON U.S. ROSTER SELECTION:
- First thing’s first: if you were surprised to not see anyone from Team America South (Club Tijuana) on the squad, it’s because they have a CCL matchup against Cruz Azul on April 1. We’ll likely have to wait and see what Greg Garza is capable of after the World Cup.
- Tally Hall, called up in January, is the odd man out as Klinsmann calls in Bill Hamid, Sean Johnson, and Nick Rimando, the three keepers he’s relied upon for most of these MLS based squads. Make no mistake; this is Rimando’s show as Klinsmann will lean heavily on those he expects to bring to Brazil. Don’t be shocked if the RSL keeper goes the full 90 like he did against South Korea.
- It appears Klinsmann’s defensive line will be manned on the outside by natural midfielders once again. With two leftbacks at Tijuana (Greg Garza and Edgar Castillo) tied up with CCL duties, DaMarcus Beasley appears to be Klinsmann’s only option at left back. Michael Parkhurst could make a cameo there, having manned the position in the South Korea friendly, but that appeared to be a stopgap measure.
- Brad Evans will once again be tasked with shutting down the right side. DeAndre Yedlin will probably see some time again, but likely as a late cameo.
- Maurice Edu’s move to Philly has paid off as he now returns to the national team fold. He’s still a long shot at making the plane to Brazil, but a good performance, likely as a sub, will go a long way in swaying Klinsmann’s opinion. For now, Kyle Beckerman will likely start over him at the number 6.
- Michael Bradley’s field general presence should help in making this one of the most well organized MLS based squads to date.
- Luis Gil played well in his national team debut. He might warrant a longer look this time around.
- Who will start up top? Until recently, Eddie Johnson was the clear favorite — until Aron Jóhannsson showed up. However, he’s failed to score in two games for DC so far, while Chris Wondolowski has scored once for San Jose (albeit in typical unspectacular Wondo fashion). Couple that with his brace against South Korea, and it’s hard to not see Wondo starting. Johnson’s biggest hope is if Klinsmann wants to use this match to get him back in form.
- What of Julian Green? Will he start? Only chance Green starts is if we get a Krazy Klinsmann nonsensical lineup, the likes of which not seen since 2011; one where Dempsey is up top, Donovan is underneath with Green and Zusi on the wings. That being said, Klinsmann’s tinkering days seem to be behind him and stability is par for the course these last few months leading up to the World Cup. No, both Zusi and Donovan have to be considered ahead of Green on the winger depth chart and as likely inclusions on the World Cup roster, thus they need to be given ample time on the field. Don’t expect to see Green on the field any sooner than the 60th minute — and likely later.