Thursday, October 17, 2013

What's Next for #USMNT After World Cup Qualification

The United States Men's National Team completed its World Cup Qualification season by scoring two stoppage-time goals and defeating Panama, knocking the hosts out of contention. In so doing, the USMNT finished the Hex with a record-tying 22 points.

Watch highlights of the US win over Panama here.

With eight months remaining before the World Cup kicks off in June, 2014, the U.S. is planning a series of friendlies to work on team chemistry and identify the best lineup and substitute options for Brazil. Going into these next eight months, here is my predicted roster of 23 players for World Cup 2014 with starters in bold:

GK: Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Nick Rimando
These three look locked in, barring injury. The U.S. is very fortunate to not only have a solid starter in Howard, but two very capable backups.

Defenders: Steve Cherundolo, Clarence Goodson, Matt Besler, Fabian Johnson, Omar Gonzalez, Brad Evans, Geoff Cameron, DaMarcus Beasley
The weakest link on this team continues to be the outside backs, but Steve Cherundolo's recent return from injuries offers promise to upgrade the right side. Johnson has looked good both in the midfield and on the outside, but midfield depth is strong so look for him to remain in the back and help push forward the attack in Brazil.

Midfielders: Landon Donovan, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Graham Zusi, Mix Diskerud, Kyle Beckerman, Alejandro Bedoya, Brad Davis
A strong and deep midfield looks better and better. Brad Davis' stellar showing against Panama, assisting on two goals and providing great service on set pieces, puts him in my roster of 23 for the first time.

Forwards: Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey, Eddie Johnson, Aron Johannsson
The U.S. is in great shape with these four front men. Johannsson has been impressive and could be a great threat off the bench in Brazil.

The USMNT has two upcoming friendlies to finish off 2014: November 15 in Scotland and November 19 in Austria.

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