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 Eduand 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 Castilloand 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.