2014 World Cup
30 Men In: ASN's World Cup Camp Predictions
Thirty provisional World Cup roster spots, five soccer journalists, one long scroll of an article encapsulating our thinking. Here's the ASN take, and we expect you to tell us what we got wrong.
BY Jon, Noah, Josh, John, and Brian PostedAMERICAN SOCCER NOW'S Executive Committee for the Advancement Past the Group Stage (ASNECAPGS)—Jon Arnold, Noah Davis, Josh Deaver, John Godfrey, and Brian Sciaretta—doesn't want to waste your valuable time. We know, just like you know, that certain players are guaranteed spots on Jurgen Klnsmann's 30-man provisional World Cup roster, which will be announced early next week and then convene in Palo Alto, Calif., shortly thereafter. So while we are determined to share our predictions for Klinsmann's squad, we don't want to simply repeat a bunch of obvious names over and over again when we could just list them once and then focus on the fringe players. So here: These 17 professional soccer athletes already have their names spraypainted onto choice parking spots on the Stanford University campus. 1. Tim Howard
May 07, 2014
May 07, 2014
2. Brad Guzan
3. Nick Rimando
4. Matt Besler
5. Geoff Cameron
6. Omar Gonzalez
7. Fabian Johnson
8. DaMarcus Beasley
9. Michael Bradley
10. Landon Donovan
11. Graham Zusi
12. Jermaine Jones
13. Kyle Beckerman
14. Alejandro Bedoya
15. Clint Dempsey
16. Jozy Altidore
17. Aron Johannsson The question now: Who are the 13 other players who will make the provisional squad? Who misses the cut? That's what each of our ASNECAPGS members will address below.
JON ARNOLD18. Clarence Goodson; 19. Brad Evans; 20. Mix Diskerud; 21. Michael Parkhurst; 22. Eddie Johnson; 23. Brad Davis; 24. Julian Green; 25. John Brooks; 26. Terrence Boyd 27. Chris Wondolowski—Boyd has been the hot hand at the right time with his club and Wondolowski has done the same at the national team level. Has Eddie Johnson played his way out of the picture? I’m not sure that’s the case, but if Julian Green goes, the fact that Johnson can play on the wing off the bench loses a lot of its luster. 28. Tim Ream—Talk about a guy who could be a jack of all trades. You’re probably deep enough at defensive midfielder already, but Ream’s ability to play center back or fullback has to be attractive. Can he show Klinsmann what he’s been showing Dougie Freedman? 29. Maurice Edu—Edu’s move Stateside to get some minutes pays off as Klinsmann has more evidence in favor of a player he clearly likes. 30. Timmy Chandler—Wild card! If he and Klinsmann can make nice and Chandler a) shows up to Northern California and b) proves he’d proudly represent the country, the Nurnberg man might make a Lazarus-style return.
JUST MISSED31. Sacha Kljestan—Things just didn’t go in his favor to make this team. Not only is he at the U.S.’ deepest position, but he picked the wrong time to let club playing time go wanting.
32. Juan Agudelo—He had a stand-out performance over the weekend but needed to do that more often to surpass Boyd or Wondolowski.
33. Edgar Castillo—The weakest of the fringe fullbacks just couldn’t ever do it for the national team. The future will be interesting for Castillo. If he improves his defense and gets over the apparent mental blocks, he might be back in the mix next cycle. Teammate Greg Garza is eager to overtake him, though.
34. Brek Shea—Will we remember Shea missing this team as a consequence of the Julian Green switch, an obscene gesture, a simple lack of playing time or some combination of the three? The fact is, while he’s a nice option off the bench in the Stars and Stripes, he’s otherwise disappointed since his move from FC Dallas.
35. Deony Yeltran—Klinsmann probably likes the idea of adding fullback competition—Deandre Yedlin or Tony Beltran—and bringing some more youth into the process so they can see how things work. There are too many questions to take a risk on either of these guys yet, though.
NOAH DAVISGOALKEEPER: Sean Johnson(18)
The easiest call of the bunch: You need a fourth goalkeeper and Johnson beats out Bill Hamid and a host of other MLSers for the spot. DEFENDERS: Clarence Goodson (19), Brad Evans (20), Michael Parkhurst (21), Tim Ream (22), Timmy Chandler (23)
The first three guys are locks to be in the camp. The real question is whether Ream and Chandler can take spots from DeAnre Yedlin and Tony Beltran. (Would it surprise me if Jurgen Klinsmann brought all four and sacrificed at other positions? Not really, since fullback is the most unsettled position.) My gut says yes: Ream for how well he's playing and Chandler for the potential and experience he brings. A healthy—and here's the key —committed Chandler makes the U.S. an entirely different, more dangerous team. MIDFIELDERS: Maurice Edu (24), Mix Diskerud (25), Brad Davis (26), Julian Green (27)
Green will get the call and will take a roster spot away from someone else. Edu, Diskerud, and Davis could be fighting for a single place. I'd give Edu the pole position right now but that could change pretty easily. FORWARDS: Chris Wondolowski (28), Terrence Boyd (29), Eddie Johnson (30)
Boyd was very nearly out of the mix but is now pushing not only for a spot in the 30-man camp but on the 23-man roster. Eddie Johnson needs to re-establish himself and show Klinsmann he can stay focused during the long pre-Cup camp. Wondolowski needs to keep doing what he does best: stay positive, be in the right place, and score goals.
Just MissedSacha Kljestan, John Brooks, Danny Williams, Luis Gil, Juan Agudelo
Kljestan just hasn't done enough during the many chances he's gotten while Williams is returning to form too late. Brooks and Gil aren't ready for Brazil, and Agudelo hasn't played enough recently, even though he's been strong at Utrecht.
JOSH DEAVER18. Brad Evans—A Klinsmann favorite who has been with the team through the travails of qualification. Largely unchallenged for his position, Evans may be the odds on favorite to start at right back. For now… 19. Timothy Chandler—He’s back. Written off (again) after suffering a torn ACL in February, he is recovered and, remarkably, still has a chance to get to Brazil. 20. Mix Diskerud—Diskerud will be called upon again to backup Clint Dempsey in his customary advanced midfield position. 21. Michael Parkhurst—The Leatherman tool of the national team. Able to fill in anywhere on the backline, his versatility and steadiness that may be called upon if any cracks show in the unsettled American defense. 22. Brad Davis—He’s got a really good left foot. Given the attacking options on that side of the field, that may be enough. 23. Chris Wondolowski—What a long, strange trip it’s been. Wondo has demonstrated worth in January camps—against CONCACAF minnows and most recently against Mexico and South Korea—and now has a chance to ride the momentum to Brazil. 24. Terrence Boyd—At the moment, Boyd is arguably the most in-form American striker. Yet, he’s barely featured under Klinsmann. He’ll have a chance, but will need a big showing. 25. John Brooks—Displaying good form for Hertha Berlin, Brooks will be back to contend for a spot in central defense. But can he put his performance against Ukraine behind him? 26. Clarence Goodson—If Brooks can’t step up, then the veteran Goodson no doubt will. 27. Maurice Edu—It’s a close call when comparing Edu to other defensive midfield options, but given his World Cup experience and positional versatility, he’ll get the opportunity to prove his worth. 28. Eddie Johnson—This may be the toughest inclusion for Klinsmann. Johnson has yet to be a factor this year, but will remain in the picture by virtue of his past contributions. 29. Tim Ream—This roster is all about timing. Able to play multiple positions and coming off receiving Player of the Year honors at Bolton, Ream is cresting at the perfect time. 30. Julian Green—He’s been given a chance at Brazil in exchange for American allegiance. It’s time to make it count.
JUST MISSED31. Sacha Kljestan—Sometimes players don’t fit. The inability to find a defined role with the national team combined with a steep drop off in playing time will see Kljestan left home.
32. Brek Shea—Tapped to be a key part of the U.S. attack from early in Klinsmann’s reign, he has failed to get on with Stoke, or while on loan to lowly Barnsley. There is no reason to include a player as out of rhythm as Shea.
33. Juan Agudelo—This is the toughest exclusion. Still only 21, American supporters may have to wait one more cycle to see Agudelo shine.
34. Danny Williams—He may lose out to Maurice Edu in a close, positional battle.
35. Edgar Castillo—Who knows what a decent showing against Mexico may have done for Castillo?
JOHN GODFREY18. Clarence Goodson—Unspectacular but steady, and plays a position of tremendous need. Don't be surprised if he starts a game or two in the group stage—as preposterous as that may seem. 19. Mix Diskerud—Do be surprised if Diskerud starts a game or two in the group stage, but his inventive midfield play makes him a likely substitute if the U.S. needs a late goal. 20. Michael Parkhurst—If Cameron slots over into central defense, Parkhurst is the likely starter at right back. 21. Terrence Boyd—Big, strong, on a good run of form, can fill Altidore's role if necessary. 22. Chris Wondolowski—He has done everything asked of him, and will get a shot at making the final roster. 23. Eddie Johnson—Earned the right to make this camp with quality play during qualifying. Lots of question marks surround him, but he can score late winners off set pieces, so he remains in the mix. 24. Brad Evans—Wouldn't make my team but Klinsmann loves him. 25. Brad Davis— Wouldn't make my team but Klinsmann loves him. Also: Whether you're a relief pitcher or a winger or a New York City mayoral candidate, sometimes it's good to be a lefty. 26. Danny Williams—Came on strong for Reading and can play multiple positions. 27. Edgar Castillo—A terror on the left wing. Terrifying at left back. He missed out against Mexico in April but will get one last shot here. 28. Julian Green—Yep. 29. Maurice Edu—Provides insurance for Bradley, Jones, Beckerman, Gonzalez, Besler, and Goodson. 30. Not Dan Kennedy—The Chivas USA goalkeeper deserves this spot but somebody else will get it.
Just Missed31. Juan Agudelo—If an attacker pulls a hammy this weekend, Agudelo sneaks in.
32. Tim Ream—Bolton's player of the year begged out of the U.S.-Ukraine match due to the birth of his child. While admirable on many levels, that decision will cost him a spot on this roster.
33. John Brooks—His time will come.
34. Luis Gil—So will his.
35. DeAndre Yedlin—And his.