Monday, May 26, 2014

USMNT Gears Up For First Pre-World Cup Friendly

The United States Men's National Team has named its final 23-man roster for the World Cup, and some controversial decisions were made by Jurgen Klinsmann. Most notably, Landon Donovan was left off the roster. Donovan, the man with the most international and domestic goals in US Soccer history, was passed over in favor of four other forwards - Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey, Aron Johannsson, and Chris Wondolowski.

People have asked me what I think about Donovan being left off the roster...and I answer that I am very conflicted by it. I understand wanting to reward a player for his past production and contributions to the team and US Soccer as a whole. Donovan's goal against Algeria in the 2010 World Cup gave the USMNT its first EVER first-place finish in a World Cup and will go down as one of the greatest goals in our country's soccer history. However, Donovan's 2013 sabbatical from soccer rubbed many - myself included - the wrong way, and while he was off in Cambodia "recharging his batteries," Wondolowski was helping the US qualify for the World Cup with passion and goals. When its all said and done, I feel Donovan lost his spot because of a lack of commitment over the entirety of the qualifying season, and because Wondolowski was fully committed and produced when he was in the lineup.

The US will play three friendlies before the World Cup, starting with Tuesday night against Azerbaijan at 10 p.m. Eastern (ESPN2). The Starting XI I see Klinsmann fielding tomorrow - and the one I predict we will see against Ghana on June 16th barring injury - is as follows:

GK: Tim Howard
LB: DaMarcus Beasley
CB: Matt Besler and Geoff Cameron
RB: Fabian Johnson
DM: Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones
LW: Alejandro Bedoya
RW: Graham Zusi
F: Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey

My seven-man bench: Kyle Beckerman, Timothy Chandler, Mix Diskerud, Omar Gonzalez, Brad Guzan, Aron Johannsson, Chris Wondolowski

Here is the full final 23-man roster, courtesy of ussoccer.com:


PLAYER POS. HT. WT. BIRTHDATE HOMETOWN CLUB/COLLEGE
Jozy Altidore F 6-1 175 11/6/89 Boca Raton, Fla. Sunderland (England)
DaMarcus Beasley D 5-8 145 5/24/82 Ft. Wayne, Ind. Puebla (Mexico)
Kyle Beckerman M 5-10 165 4/23/82 Crofton, Md. Real Salt Lake
Alejandro Bedoya M 5-10 160 4/29/87 Weston, Fla. Nantes (France)
Matt Besler D 6-0 170 2/11/87 Overland Park, Kan. Sporting Kansas City
Michael Bradley M 6-2 175 7/31/87 Manhattan Beach, Calif. Toronto FC
John Brooks D 6-4 170 1/28/93 Berlin, Germany Hertha Berlin (Germany)
Geoff Cameron D 6-3 185 7/11/85 Attleboro, Mass. Stoke City (England)
Timothy Chandler D 6-1 180 3/29/90 Frankfurt, Germany Nuremberg (Germany)
Brad Davis M 5-11 165 11/8/81 St. Charles, Mo. Houston Dynamo
Clint Dempsey F 6-1 170 3/9/83 Nacogdoches, Texas Seattle Sounders FC
Mix Diskerud M 6-0 150 10/2/90 Oslo, Norway Rosenborg (Norway)
Omar Gonzalez D 6-5 210 10/11/88 Dallas, Texas LA Galaxy
Julian Green M 5-7 140 6/6/95 Tampa, Fla. Bayern Munich (Germany)
Brad Guzan GK 6-4 210 9/9/84 Homer Glen, Ill. Aston Villa (England)
Tim Howard GK 6-3 210 3/6/79 North Brunswick, N.J. Everton (England)
Aron Johannsson F 6-0 165 11/10/90 Mobile, Ala. AZ Alkmaar (Netherlands)
Fabian Johnson D 6-0 155 12/11/87 Munich, Germany Borussia Moenchengladbach (Germany)
Jermaine Jones M 6-0 170 11/3/81 Chicago, Ill. Besiktas (Turkey)
Nick Rimando GK 5-11 180 6/17/79 Montclair, Calif. Real Salt Lake
Chris Wondolowski F 6-0 165 1/28/83 Danville, Calif. San Jose Earthquakes
DeAndre Yedlin D 5-8 150 7/9/93 Seattle, Wash. Seattle Sounders FC
Graham Zusi M 5-10 160 8/18/86 Longwood, Fla. Sporting Kansas City

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