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Three U.S. players who have most to gain
by Paul Kennedy, April 1st, 2014 6:44PM

TAGS:  men's national team


[USA-MEXICO] By most estimations, 22 of the 23 berths on the U.S. World Cup teams are, barring injury, set.

The 22 includes Michael Parkhurst, who went more than a year between club games before his move from Augsburg to Columbus, and Mix Diskerud, whose Norwegian season began Saturday with a goal. That also means the American contingent south of the border with the exception of DaMarcus Beasley, who was not released by Puebla for Wednesday's game, will likely miss out on the World Cup.

That would leave several outsiders with a chance to make a case for the last ticket to Brazil on Wednesday night when the USA hosts Mexico at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. (live on ESPN, WatchESPN, UniMas at 11 p.m. ET).

MAURICE EDU. Klinsmann has always had a clear pecking order down which he goes to pick his team, so that suggests he'll start Kyle Beckerman ahead of Edu next to Michael Bradley in the middle of the U.S. midfield, but he'll want to see how Edu, now back in MLS with the Philadelphia Union, looks. Edu has been the USA talisman against Mexico, starting at center back in the 1-0 friendly win at Azteca Stadium in 2012 and filling in for Jermaine Jones in the 0-0 tie at Azteca in the 2013 Hexagonal -- his last appearance for the USA. That versatility makes Edu very hard to not take to Brazil, what with Jones' ability to go multiple games something of a question mark -- only twice in seven double or triple FIFA fixture dates did he play consecutive qualifiers -- and centerback being a position at which the USA doesn't have lots of depth.

DEANDRE YEDLIN. The 20-year-old Yedlin has nothing to lose. Again by Klinsmann's selection process, Yedlin ranks next as the choice to go in at right back after the withdrawal of Sounders' teammate Brad Evans and the refusal of Puebla to release Beasley, necessitating Parkhurst, the second choice at right back, slot in on the left side. A great game Wednesday night might not get Yedlin immediately on the 23 but it might if Evans' injury problems persist.

JULIAN GREEN. The 10, 20, 30 minutes everyone will be watching are late in the game when Green comes on to make his senior debut for the USA. He'll play the role of a joker very much like Brek Shea has played throughout his tenure. Shea has on occasion been very good, but he's been utterly awful on other occasions. Green isn't a lock to go to Brazil but as long as he doesn't have a Shea-type stinker against Mexico he should be on standby until the very end.

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