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Focus will be on U.S. World Cup hopefuls
by Paul Kennedy, March 27th, 2014 9:31PM

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TAGS:  men's national team, mls

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[MLS: Week 4] With as many as seven possible starters and 12-13 players on the 2014 U.S. World Cup team coming from MLS, attention will this weekend be on those looking to play in Wednesday's USA-Mexico game as MLS action moves into Week 4. That includes, most notably, the three players who have returned this year from Europe with the World Cup in mind: Michael Bradley, Michael Parkhurst and Maurice Edu.

USA hopefuls in MLS:
SATURDAY:
M Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake vs. Toronto FC)
D Matt Besler (Sporting KC at Colorado)
M Michael Bradley (Toronto FC at Real Salt Lake)
M Brad Davis (Houston at Vancouver)
M Maurice Edu (Philadelphia vs. Montreal)
D Brad Evans (Seattle vs. Columbus)
M Luis Gil
(Real Salt Lake vs. Toronto FC)
D Clarence Goodson (San Jose vs. New England)
GK Bill Hamid (D.C. United vs. Chicago)
F Eddie Johnson
(D.C. United vs. Chicago)
GK Sean Johnson (Chicago) at D.C. United)
D Michael Parkhurst (Columbus at Seattle)
GK Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake vs. Toronto FC)
F Chris Wondolowski (San Jose vs. New England)
D DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle vs. Columbus)
M Graham Zusi (Sporting KC at Colorado)
IDLE:
M Landon Donovan
(LA Galaxy)
D Omar Gonzalez
(LA Galaxy)
SUSPENDED:
F Clint Dempsey
(Seattle)

Bradley will square off against Kyle Beckerman, his likely central midfield partner on Wednesday, as Toronto FC travels to Real Salt Lake in a battle of unbeaten teams.

While Bradley's spot in the U.S. lineup is secure, Parkhurst has probably most improved his chances, going from a longshot if he didn't start playing at Augsburg in Germany to a likely pick since his move to unbeaten and untied Columbus, which he is captaining.

Parkhurst's versatility on the backline has likely shot him past the likes of Edgar Castillo and Michael Orozco, and he could get a chance against Mexico at right back, depending on the fitness of Brad Evans, who is returning from a calf injury. Parkhurst will face off against Evans and DeAndre Yedlin, the third option at right back, on Saturday as the Seattle Sounders host the Crew in a battle of the second-place teams in the two MLS conferences.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING:
“A lot of things will happen between now and the World Cup. There will be some injuries unfortunately -- hopefully not, but most likely -- guys will play themselves onto the team, guys will play themselves off the team. So I just know that this is a good opportunity for me to have a couple days of training and hopefully, whatever time I get in the game, prove myself.”
-- Parkhurst optimistic that his call-up for the Mexico means he has a shot at making the World Cup team. (MLSSoccer.com)

Edu is another player who returned to MLS in a bid to resurrect his World Cup dreams after sitting in Europe. The Philadelphia Union, which hosts Montreal Saturday, is only 1-1-1 after three games, but it has been playing well with Edu working in midfield. He hasn't played for the national team for more than a year -- since the 0-0 against Mexico in Mexico City -- so his hopes of making the World Cup squad may rest on something happening to a current regular if he isn't given the 23rd spot that might otherwise go to Julian Green.

All the U.S. national team MLS players in action over the weekend play on Saturday, which will allow them to get to Phoenix on Sunday ahead of practice on Monday.
------------------------------------------------
MLS SCHEDULE, Week 4:
Saturday, March 29
4 pm ET
Philadelphia vs. Montreal MLS LIVE
D.C. United vs. Chicago NBCSN
6 pm ET
Colorado vs. Sporting KC MLS LIVE
7 pm ET
Vancouver vs. Houston MLS LIVE
8:30 pm ET
FC Dallas vs. Portland MLS LIVE
9:30 pm ET
Real Salt Lake vs. Toronto FC MLS LIVE
10 pm ET
Seattle vs. Columbus MLS LIVE
10:30 pm ET
San Jose vs. New England MLS LIVE
Sunday, March 30
3 pm ET
New York vs. Chivas USA UniMas
------------------------------------------------
MLS Standings:
EASTERN CONFERENCE
PTS TEAM W-L-T GF/GA
6 Houston 2-0-0 5/0
6 Columbus 2-0-0 5/1
6 Toronto FC 2-0-0 3/1
4 Philadelphia 1-1-1 3/3
4 Sporting KC 1-1-1 2/2
------------------------------------------------
2 Chicago 0-1-2 4/5
2 New York 0-1-2 3/6
1 New England 0-2-1 0/5
0 Montreal 0-3-0 2/6
0 D.C. United 0-2-0 0/4

WESTERN CONFERENCE
PTS TEAM W-L-T GF/GA
7 FC Dallas 2-0-1 7/4
6 Seattle 2-1-0 4/2
5 Vancouver 1-0-2 5/2
5 Real Salt Lake 1-0-2 5/4
4 Colorado 1-0-1 3/1
------------------------------------------------
4 Chivas USA 1-1-1 5/6
2 Portland 0-1-2 2/4
1 San Jose 0-1-1 3/4
1 LA Galaxy 0-1-1 1/2
------------------------------------------------
MLS: Leading Scorers
G PLAYER, TEAM
3 Will Bruin, Houston
3 Jermain Defoe, Toronto FC
3 Erick Torres, Chivas USA
2 Bernardo Anor
, Columbus
2 Victor Bermudez, San Jose
2 Gaston Fernandez
, Portland
2 Sebastian Fernandez, Vancouver
2 Federico Higuain
, Columbus
2 Jeff Larentowicz
, Chicago
2 Joao Plata, Real Salt Lake
2 Vicente Sanchez, Colorado


7 comments
  1. Dan Phillips
    commented on: March 28, 2014 at 12:07 p.m.
    Timmy Chandler needs to be the right back for USMNT. And Aron Johansson should be the main striker, not Jozy Altidore (Jozy should be benched)!

  1. cisco martinez
    commented on: March 28, 2014 at 1:17 p.m.
    Chandler is hurt for the rest of the Bundesliga and Johansson plays better with 2 strikers. I'm interested to see Bradley vs. Beckerman go at it, don't know if Edu will make the squad.

  1. Dan Phillips
    commented on: March 28, 2014 at 4:23 p.m.
    Chandler should be healed by middle to late May and can participate in the last 3 friendlies to get back into shape. And as far as strikers, ok then go to a 4-4-2 (should be that anyway, as we do not have a Messi or Ronoldo to play one striker formation. Partner Johansson with Eddie Johnson, Wondo, or even Julian Green. Anybody but Jozy (Lazy) Altidore! Forget Bckerman and Edu too. They suck! We have enough midfielders anyway (Bradley, Jeramine Jones, Donova, Dempsey).

  1. Cory Leonard
    commented on: March 28, 2014 at 6:50 p.m.
    @dan Phillips. Ronaldo plays left wing, Wondo doesn't show up against the competition that we will be playing in our group in Brazil, EJ is streaky at his best, and if you think Jermaine Jones is better than Beckerman(or Mix Diskerud whom you didn't even mention), then you should truly start paying attention to the crop of US players that we have. Also if you think that Jozy is lazy you've either never seen him play or you should have your head examined. He's the only target-style forward I've ever seen who will track back past the center circle and make tackles.

  1. Joy Hottington
    commented on: March 29, 2014 at 1:12 a.m.
    Dan is wrong on almost everything, but Jones is better than Beckerman and Mix. Also, he's a different type of player than both of them, particularly Mix...

  1. Cory Leonard
    commented on: March 30, 2014 at 9:47 a.m.
    Agreed Joy. Mix is creative, attack minded, is all over the pitch, and doesn't accumulate cards like it was his job.

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: May 11, 2014 at 10:26 p.m.
    These blogs are really worthless. What players can deliver is the question; nothing else matters. Lots of yada...yada solves nothing. Players with a high soccer IQ deliver, name them fellas.


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