USMNT In-Form XI: Altidore Ice Cold while Dempsey rises

IMAGE, MLSSOCCER.COM

By PATRICK MACDONALD
Staff Writer

The In-Form XI serves to highlight the best — and worst — in the U.S. Men’s National Team player pool. It is simply a look at the hottest players from week to week — not a prognostication for inclusion in this year’s World Cup. We leave that debate in your hands.

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It’s time once again for another USMNT in-form XI — and we have a whole lot of movement on this list from two weeks ago.

First off, welcome to the first team Clint Dempsey! Many were starting to worry about Deuce after a sub-par return to MLS and disastrous loan to Fulham. After his weekend in Portland, it’s safe to say, Deuce is BACK!

Jozy Altidore has been relegated to playing with the U-21’s in Sunderland. It’s a pretty safe bet that he may never appear on this list leading to the World Cup despite almost being assured the starter’s spot at the tournament.

Last time, we predicted Omar Gonzalez would make an appearance on this list, but after playing a role in giving up both goals to Mexico in the friendly, he’s left off as his form becomes alarming with the World Cup on the horizon.

So without further ado, here’s the in-form Best XI:

Wondolowki
Donovan – Dempsey – Bedoya
Bradley – Williams
Johnson – Besler – Ream – Cameron
Howard
Tim Howard – Everton:
Howard remains atop the tight goalkeeper pool as he minds the net for fifth place Everton. He made five saves, shutting out Arsenal in a huge win for the Toffees.

DeAndre Yedlin – Seattle Sounders:
Yedlin had a very active performance for the USMNT, one that could aide a late, albeit unlikely, push to make the World Cup. He also earned the PK that Dempsey finished to tie the Timbers late in Saturday’s thriller.

Tim Ream – Bolton:
Bolton is currently sitting 15th in the English Championship. They could be worse off if not for the everyman work ethic displayed by Tim Ream who’s been all over the field for the Wanderers. He was steady once again helping Bolton secure the 1-0 shutout against Huddersfield this past weekend.

Matt Besler – Sporting KC:
After missing the cut the first week, Besler is back where he belongs. He was the better of the two defenders against Mexico and helped secure the shutout against RSL.

Fabian Johnson – Hoffenheim:
Johnson was once again in the lineup for Hoffenheim in a 1-1 draw against fellow American John Brooks’ Hertha Berlin.

Danny Williams – Reading:
Williams has been having a great year for promotion playoff positioned Reading, scoring the game winner this past weekend against Charlton. In fact he probably should have been on the last list, but competition has been stiff in the middle. Check out his goal:

Michael Bradley – Toronto FC:
Toronto suffered a back-to-reality type loss to RSL, but Bradley was still a man in top form against Mexico, scoring one goal and assisting on another. He’s a player the U.S. cannot afford to lose in Brazil.

Alejandro Bedoya – Nantes:
Nantes had a rough go against Monaco losing 3-1, but their loan highlight came by way of Bedoya’s header late in the match.

Clint Dempsey – Seattle Sounders:
Dempsey started to show he was on his way back with a very active night against Mexico. He sprung Beltran down the flank before the right back fired the cross that led to Chris Wondolowski’s goal. But none of that compared to the monster night he had against the Timbers, scoring a hat trick.

Landon Donovan – L.A. Galaxy:
He had a solid night against Mexico coming off the bench, plus two assists this past weekend against Chivas.

Chris Wondolowski – San Jose Earthquakes:
Let’s be clear: Wondolowski still is still a longshot at seeing any meaningful playing time in Brazil, but he’s certainly looking more and more likely to be on the plane. He scored a goal Wednesday against his first non-minnow opponent in Mexico, erasing many doubts about his abilities. While he had the weekend off, Wondo’s inclusion here is well deserved.

NOT-HOT LIST

Jozy Altidore: Playing with the U-21 team when you are 24? Never a good thing.
Eddie Johnson: Waiting on that first goal …
Juan Agudelo: After a hot start at FC Utrecht, has cooled significantly. Played minutes off the bench in a route of a loss.
Brek Shea: Did not dress (again) for Stoke.
Michael Orozco: Picked up a bad hamstring knock this weekend. Severity remains unknown, but according to several in attendance, it looked like a painful one.


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  • KMac

    I would argue Edu is as in form as Williams or even more so.


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