[USA MEN]Jurgen Klinsmann's decision to cut Landon Donovan overshadowed some surprise decisions in his final 23-player roster for the World Cup. Six months ago, who'd have taken money on any one of John Brooks, Timmy Chandler, DeAndre Yedlin or Julian Green going to the World Cup? All of them, it turns out, are headed to Brazil.
John Brooks (Hertha Berlin). The Berlin-born Brooks only chose to play for the USA last summer after sitting out the 2013 Under-20 World Cup (for which he could have played for the USA) and Under-21 European Championship (for which he was eligible to play for Germany). Despite a couple of shaky outings in friendlies against Bosnia-Herzegovina last August and Ukraine in March, Klinsmann took Brooks after he regained his starting job at Hertha Berlin last in his first Bundesliga season.
Low point:For the second time in the fall, Brooks was pulled by CoachJos Luhukayfrom a game in the first half. After the game against Werder Bremen in December, Luhukaysaidit was time Brooks grew up. "We’re in the Bundesliga, which is tough as nails," the Hertha coach said. "He needs to become an adult."
Timmy Chandler (Nuremberg). Chandler appeared to be in Klinsmann's doghouse all through qualifying after a particularly bad game against Honduras in his first competitive match for the USA, a 2-1 loss in San Pedro Sula to open the Hexagonal. But with Klinsmann's encouragement, Chandler recovered from a bad start to the 2013-14 season with Nuremberg to regain his form. Klinsmann signaled that Chandler was likely part of the World Cup team when he said in announcing the 30-player short list that he had him scouted many times in training and thought he was a player that could make a difference "if he is on his highest level."
Low point:After back-to-back selections to the kicker Team of the Week, Chandler went into his match against local rival Bayern Munich on a high. But he had to be taken to the hospitalwith a meniscus tear suffered in the eighth minute of the Frankisch-Bayerisches derby with German champion Bayern Munich. The injury was expected keep him out 8-10 weeks. Fortunately, he returned for the last two games of the Nuremberg season that ended with its relegation from the Bundesliga.
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Julian Green (Bayern Munich). Green has yet to play a game for Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga -- his only appearance came as a late sub in a meaningless UEFA Champions League match -- but the USA had been pursuing him for months. Green, who was born in Tampa but raised in Germany, played for Germany's U-19 national team last October and needed to make an irrevocable switch to the USA to change allegiances. Weeks after training with the USA in Cyprus in March, U.S. Soccer announced that he was applying to FIFA to play for the USA. Green made his U.S. debut April 2 against Mexico.
Low point:Green seemed to be warm to making the switch last fall when he accepted an invitation to train with the USA ahead of its two friendlies last November, but he then did an about-face and declined the invite. In December, Klinsmann told Sport Bild that Green had for the moment decided to stick with the German U-19s.
DeAndre Yedlin(Seattle Sounders). Yedlin had not made his pro debut when the Hexagonal started in February 2013. But an outstanding season at right back for the Seattle Sounders earned him a starting spot on the 2013 U.S. Under-20 World Cup team and an invitation to the January national team camp. Yedlin is blessed with blazing speed but plagued by tactical deficiencies. Both his appearances for the USA in 2014 have come off the bench -- against South Korea and Mexico -- but Klinsmann thought so highly of him that he took Yedlin ahead of his Seattle Sounders teammate Brad Evans and the Columbus Crew's Michael Parkhurst, who had both played at right back in the Hexagonal.
Low point:The day before Klinsmann announced the USA's 30-player short list, Yedlin was so bad in the Sounders' 5-0 loss to New England that CoachSigi Schmidpulled him in the second half.
GOALKEEPERS (3):Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (8): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting KC), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Nuremberg), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Moenchengladbach), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders)
MIDFIELDERS (8):Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas), Graham Zusi (Sporting KC)
FORWARDS (4):Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Aron Johannsson (AZ), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes).