The Runner Sports

Deconstructing Newest USMNT Roster

Coach Jurgen Klinsmann has called up 23 players for the upcoming US Men’s National team World Cup qualifying matches on November 13th and 17th.  As the opposition for these matches should provide little resistance, there was always some doubt as to how Klinsmann was going to select.  The waiting is now over, here are your 23 that will be taking on St. Vincent and the Grenadines and then Trinidad and Tobago:

GOALKEEPERS (3)
Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Tim Howard (Everton)

DEFENDERS (8)
Ventura Alvarado (Club America), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), Tim Ream (Fulham FC), Brek Shea (Orlando City SC)

MIDFIELDERS (7)
Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Miguel Ibarra (Club Leon), Jermaine Jones (New England Revolution), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland)

FORWARDS (5)
Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Alan Gordon (LA Galaxy), Jordan Morris (Stanford), Bobby Wood (Union Berlin), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)

After perusing this list, you can quickly see some new names and some semi-surprising old faces. The surprising names, relatively unknowns and notable omission:

Bill Hamid while not unfamiliar to the USMNT hasn’t made a roster in some time, but this call-up was long overdue.  He has been the best goal keeper in MLS this season, keeping his club D.C. United in many matches and on some occasions stealing points.  D.C. United coach Ben Olson has said that his team’s superstar is Hamid and I would agree.  It was time to develop the successor of the Guzan, Howard, and Nick Rimando trio and although Hamid probably won’t see the field, the practice experience and travel will do him well.

The new face in defense is Matt Miazga who was the recipient of a glowing profile by mlssoccer.com.  It has been clear that the young center back has the quality to play with the national team and Klinsmann has finally come around to calling him up.  After the embarrassing or at times simply inconsistent play of the current crop of center backs in the national team camp, it was time for Miazga to get a look.  I would assume he makes an appearance in one of the two matches if for no other reason than to become cap-tied to the USMNT.

Darlington Nagbe is another name that has been on the rise for some time now within MLS playing for the Portland Timbers.  It was just a few months ago that Nagbe became a U.S. citizen and Klinsmann is keen to cap-tie him before he can declare for his native Liberia.  Nagbe, is an exciting midfield creator that can play out wide, but is perhaps more effective in the number ten role.  If Nagbe continues to develop there is a possibility that Michael Bradley could move back to the box-to-box role that he is better suited for.

The young guns are back as Jordan Morris and Bobby Wood were both called up.  Both of these players add a dynamic aspect to the squad that Jozy Altidore simply can’t match.  It is likely they would be used off the bench as substitutes, but having these two included warms my heart.

Finally, you might notice that Clint Dempsey was left off this squad.  Unsurprisingly Twitter has blown up in reaction to Dempsey missing out, as even Landon Donovan got in on the action saying; “Agree w/ frustration that Dempsey got left off..not a smart move. But if we can’t win these games w/out Deuce, we have much bigger problems.”  After watching the Gold Cup and the Mexico match, I’m not sure Dempsey is needed any longer with this squad.  This is one of the first times I agree with Klinsmann as Dempsey no longer looks interested in tracking back defensively or distributing.  All too often he was caught in possession and couldn’t link up plays between the midfield and Altidore.  Dempsey will certainly be called back in at some point, but I hope his days of being a vital cog for the USMNT are over.

 

For better or worse, this is the lineup that I see Klinsmann trotting out:

GK: Howard

Across the back: Johnson, Cameron, Belser, Ream.

Defensive midfield: Beckerman, Jones

Wingers: Yedlin, Zardes

Attacking midfield: Bradley

Striker: Altidore

Klinsmann can’t see past starting Beckerman in key matches and although Jones has lost a step, he gets the nod once again.  The back line could see Shea step in for Ream or any combination of center backs, but a Belser and Cameron combination give the U.S. the best chance to win.  The attackers are all fairly straight forward but expect to see some rotation between the two matches.

John Harbeck

Ohio sports and all things soccer.If you like my writing follow me @JHarbeck5 on twitter

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