USMNT In-Form XI: Who’s hot, who’s not heading into the World Cup

IMAGE, MLSSOCCER.COM

BY PATRICK MACDONALD
Staff Writer

By now, you have been bombarded by weekly projections from some of American soccer’s best writers attempting to seed each individual that will make the World Cup roster.

This feature isn’t that.

Welcome to the USMNT In-Form XI.

Each week, we will be looking at the hottest players in the U.S. talent pool and inserting them in a best in-form XI lineup. It’s something we started on the Yanks Go Marching podcast with my co-host Chris Kaminski, and it makes for great debate. Players chosen must have received a cap within this World Cup cycle and have a realistic (even if distant) chance of cracking the World Cup roster.

With the World’s most celebrated international tournament right around the corner, why not bring the discussion to the pages of EOS?

Just keep in mind: while there are many cases where Jurgen Klinsmann will steadfastly stick with his guys in a certain position, they may not get the call here. For example, Clint Dempsey, Jermaine Jones, Matt Besler, and Omar Gonzalez will all likely start when Klinsmann calls up his first team. However, with Deuce suspended and his lagging form, he will not make the list — even after two solid matches for Seattle. Jones only logged a 37 minute substitute appearance for Besiktas following a lengthy groin issue. Besler and Gonzalez get cut this week due to Mexican clubs scoring 9 goals combined against their respective teams in the CONCACAF Champions League.

Basically? They aren’t in form, and aren’t going to find their place on this list.

Get it? Good. Now let’s do this.

THIS WEEK’S IN-FORM XI:

Johannsson
F. Johnson Donovan Zusi
Beckerman Bradley
Beasley Goodson Parkhurst Cameron
Howard

Tim Howard – Everton:
Everton picked up some much needed points to maintain in position for a Europa League spot and a lot of that had to do with Howard making five stops against a tenacious Swansea side on Saturday.

Geoff Cameron – Stoke City:
Cameron made an error on Aston Villa’s opening goal during their Sunday tilt, but he rebounded nicely without any costly errors. He even scored his second goal of his Premier League career in Stoke’s 4-1 win. This continues with his recent strong run of play.

Michael Parkhurst – Columbus Crew:
Has been stout in the central defense for the Crew since returning to MLS. His steady play will continue to earn him World Cup consideration.

Clarence Goodson – San Jose Earthquakes:
He sat out the CCL thriller but teamed up well defensively with Victor Bernardez to shut down Sporting Kansas City’s offense in the run of play.

Fabian Johnson – Hoffenheim:
Johnson got some time on the right side and didn’t disappoint for his squad assisting on the game winner, upsetting Bayer Leverkusen. For our purposes we’ll put him on the left.

Michael Bradley – Toronto FC:
Toronto FC is looking scary good right now, and Michael Bradley is a huge reason why. His toughness hasn’t waned one bit, suffering a gash that needed staples. Plus, he sent Gilberto in on goal, the poor clearance of which Jermain Defoe cleaned up for Toronto’s game winner.

Kyle Beckerman – Real Salt Lake:
He didn’t get on the score sheet like he did the week prior against San Jose, but he was as solid as ever sitting in front of Salt Lake’s defensive line, limiting L.A. to one goal.

Graham Zusi – Sporting Kansas City:
Was very active for SKC against San Jose causing problems for the Earthquakes all game.

Landon Donovan – Los Angeles Galaxy:
One of the few players who didn’t look in over his head against Tijuana. Was solid against RSL. He’s just keeping the central slot warm for Dempsey, when the latter comes back from suspension. Then he’ll be out left.

DaMarcus Beasley – Puebla:
Beasley got the assist on Puebla’s lone goal late in their 3-1 loss to Tijuana. No, Beasley won’t be a midfielder for Klinsmann, but this is where he made his mark for his club.

Aron Jóhannsson – AZ Alkmaar:
Jóhannsson did miss a PK against PEC Zwolle on Sunday, but that’s a mere hiccup compared to his recent goal scoring bonanza. Besides, what have Jozy Altidore and Eddie Johnson done lately? You could argue they’ve been lapped by Terrence Boyd.

WHO’S NOT-HOT

You can’t talk about your best players without mentioning some of your worst in-form World Cup contenders. Each week, we will highlight some of these players as well. Again, many (like our first choice) may have their tickets to Brazil all but booked. Nevertheless, if your form is poor, you are on the not-hot list.

Jozy Altidore – Sunderland:
He remains in a goal drought and Sunderland remains in the drop zone. It’s hard to see this marriage lasting more than year. He has not scored in 22 matches across all competitions.

E. Johnson – DC United:
Johnson finally got his strongly desired DP contract, and in return, DC has registered zero goals through two winless matches with United. Note: EJ has not scored in his last five matches, including three appearances with the USMNT.

Brek Shea – Stoke City:
He made the bench, which is a step up from his pre-loan time with Stoke, but he failed to get into the match. When you go from playing regularly to not playing because of an avoidable incident, you end up on the not-hot list.

  • Dave from Dix Hills

    Danny Williams over both mids ESPECIALLY if we are talking IN FORM. Also, look towards the Championship where Tim rEam has been killing it with Bolton and Onyewu is a regular starter too. John Brooks, Sacha? Damn so much to break down!

    • Several good points here. Ream in particular has been a favorite of Dougie Freedman at Bolton. Also, would be funny to see Edgar Castillo on the list. I think he has earned a starting nod consistently in Mexico.

  • Definitely debated putting Ream on here. Onyewu I’m so over for better or for worse. Brooks only just got back from injury. Kljestan is good, but I don’t think surpasses Bradley, Beckerman, or the not listed Williams. Edgar Castillo had a good game this past weekend, but Greg Garza is the hot new kid on the LB block, will be interesting to see if one or both get called into camp for the Phoenix friendly