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Projecting Klinsmann's 30 players headed to the Farm
by Paul Kennedy, May 11th, 2014 11:35AM

TAGS:  men's national team, world cup 2014


By Paul Kennedy

On Monday, Jurgen Klinsmann will name the 30 players he's bringing to the pre-World Cup camp that begins Wednesday at Stanford University.

Klinsmann says he's very conscious how important his selections are not just for the success of the team but also for the impact it has on a player's life to be picked or passed over.

Klinsmann has used a lot of players -- 52 in all since the beginning of 2013 -- but his final selections are largely predictable. He's always been conservative in his selections, rewarding those at the top of his pecking order. There's no chance he'll do what his German counterpart, Joachim Loew, did and bring six uncapped players to Stanford.

At most, two players who were not capped before this year will be among the lucky 30 headed to the Farm at the beginning of the week. Barring last-minute injuries, these are the 30 players -- 16 from MLS clubs and 14 from foreign clubs -- projected to be on the USA's short list:

Klinsmann's Projected 30:
Brad Guzan, Aston Villa (England)
Tim Howard, Everton (England)
Nick Rimando, Real Salt Lake

DaMarcus Beasley, Puebla (Mexico)
Matt Besler, Sporting KC
John Brooks, Hertha Berlin (Germany)
Geoff Cameron, Stoke City (England)
Brad Evans, Seattle Sounders
Omar Gonzalez, LA Galaxy
Clarence Goodson, San Jose Earthquakes
Michael Parkhurst, Columbus Crew
Tim Ream, Bolton Wanderers (England)
DeAndre Yedlin, Seattle Sounders

Alejandro Bedoya, Nantes (France)
Kyle Beckerman, Real Salt Lake
Michael Bradley, Toronto FC
Brad Davis, Houston Dynamo
Mikkel Diskerud, Rosenborg (Norway)
Landon Donovan, LA Galaxy
Maurice Edu, Philadelphia Union
Julian Green, Bayern Munich (Germany)
Fabian Johnson, Hoffenheim (Germany)
Jermaine Jones, Besiktas (Turkey)
Graham Zusi, Sporting KC

Jozy Altidore, Sunderland (England)
Terrence Boyd, Rapid Vienna (Austria)
Clint Dempsey, Seattle Sounders
Aron Johannsson, AZ (Netherlands)
Eddie Johnson, D.C. United
Chris Wondolowski, San Jose Earthquakes

DeAndre Yedlin and Julian Green are the two youngsters Klinsmann will bring in. Yedlin might be considered a long shot to make the final 23, but he like Green has speed to burn and could make things interesting in the two-week camp that will precede the match against Azerbaijan May 27 in San Francisco, the first of the three friendlies in the send-off series.

The two players who made late runs to make the projected 30 are Maurice Edu and Tim Ream. Like Parkhurst, Edu returned to MLS to gain playing time. Ream, the only player not used by Klinsmann in the last 16 months, was the Player of the Year at Bolton Wanderers. Edu has a better shot at making the final 23, though he is not a certainty. Ream provides cover at what has emerged as Klinsmann's problem position -- center back -- and having another center back in camp is all the more critical because Omar Gonzalez has injured his knee.

For my book, the toughest decisions are to omit Edgar Castillo and Joe Corona, who both played eight games for the USA in 2013 and enjoyed good spring seasons with Tijuana, which reached the semifinals of the Concacaf Champions League and quarterfinals of the Torneo Clausura's Liguilla in Mexico

Castillo got one last chance against Ukraine in March but dropped down the U.S. depth chart once Michael Parkhurst returned to MLS and established himself as reliable cover at both right and left back. Corona started the 2013 Gold Cup final against Panama but he later faded from the national team picture when he struggled with Xolos last fall and Alejandro Bedoya, who blossomed after his move to French club Nantes, became an automatic selection in Klinsmann's lineup.

The only player who played more games than Castillo and Corona did in 2013 and won't make the cut is Brek Shea, who made 10 appearances for the USA last year -- more than any player not on the short list -- and whose goal won the Gold Cup for the USA. Klinsmann has overlooked Shea's club problems before, but Green's emergence gives Klinsmann a younger and more reliable option as a late-game joker on the wing.

  1. R K
    commented on: May 11, 2014 at 12:17 p.m.
    I believe Ream played most of the season at left back with Bolton (whenever I saw Bolton play he lined up on the left). He seems to be more of a natural in this spot; there's a reason why he was named the club's player of the season. No small honor. I think he should make the squad to provide cover in both spots.

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: May 11, 2014 at 12:44 p.m.
    What is most crucial that coach K devises a tactical plan of team-shape first inside a 4-4-2 or 3-5-2 formation. The nightmare of the past 4-5-1 formations speaks for itself.

  1. Walt Pericciuoli
    commented on: May 11, 2014 at 3:54 p.m.
    Can't argue too much with the list, I would still like to see Agudelo a shot, and I wouldn't count out Shea yet.

  1. Christian Franek
    commented on: May 11, 2014 at 4:02 p.m.
    I think Brek Shea could maybe sneak in too. Which makes EJ, Edu, and Davis as invites that are tenuous. Find out tomorrow!

  1. An Animus
    commented on: May 11, 2014 at 8:38 p.m.
    Feilhaber is far too skilled and in form to leave behind - could easily trade a few of these midfielders for him.

  1. VĂ­ctor Zaferson
    commented on: May 11, 2014 at 11:38 p.m.
    I want to know about MD Alfredo Morales? Is he on the plans of Klinsmann?

  1. R2 Dad
    commented on: May 12, 2014 at 12:45 a.m.
    I think the right back vs Ronaldo match-up is making JK nervous. If you're going to be scalped by CR, at least Yedlin can make up ground? Will be interesting to see who starts at the position for the US vs Portugal match.

  1. Jeff Gingold
    commented on: May 12, 2014 at 1:43 p.m.
    Yedlin is a very good player but he is literally and figuratively over his head as a defender. The debacle in New England is not unique although it is probably the most extreme example. He is not physical enough for that role, he is not intuitively a defender, and fast as he is his speed is unlikely to outpace the players he would mark in Brazil. When confronted with faster or more skillful men to mark in MLS, he has been burned consistently. He would be a better fit further up. He needs another defender to back him up, which opens space elsewhere. The Sounders and the USMNT could use his speed most effectively with a formation that has 3 deep backs and 2 withdrawn attacking midfielders, with Yedlin in that role on the right with some but not all responsibility for defending deep (he does a good job getting back to help, but less so when he is primarily responsible), and he is better positioned to attack. Given the first round opponents we are facing in Brazil, this variety of parking the bus could be really effective, particularly because Yedlin will not be faster or more skillful than the men he would be marking.

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