There is a list of things a mile long that I would rather write about than last night’s abysmal performance by the USMNT, so instead I’m going to amuse myself- and possibly you- by coming up with a 30 man preliminary roster for World Cup 2014. Some of this is “no-brainer” stuff and some of it is based on what I did (and didn’t) see last night.
These fall under the heading of “no-brainer.” Howard is the clear first choice, Guzan has finally gotten his chance at Aston Villa and proven himself worthy of it with increasingly better performances, and Rimando is exactly the kind of “third string” keeper you want on the bench- if you’re ever forced to use him he won’t be the reason you lose. I also have to wonder what would happen if the U.S. makes it to the knockout round and faces penalty kicks? It’s highly unlikely that Howard or Guzan would be pulled in favor of Rimando, but we’ve all seen what he can do in a shoot out situation. All of this being said, I suppose there’s an argument for dropping Rimando (who is 34) in favor of giving some “seasoning” to the likes of Bill Hamid or Sean Johnson, but I wouldn’t do it. Not because I’m against the logic of it, but because I’ve yet to see anything from either one of them that says, “I am the future!”
I don’t think I can adequately express how depressing I find that list. I feel relatively confident about the first four, but after that I might as well pick them out of a hat. I like Beasley, he’s versatile, he’s played on the “big stage” before, but is he really a defender? Um, no. Goodson and Spector? Well, they’re experienced- I guess. I’m still not sold on Geoff Cameron and I’m pretty sure Edgar Castillo has compromising pictures of Klinsmann- how else would you explain his continued selection? But as I said, the last four could easily be Orozco, Lichaj, Yedlin, and or Seth Sinovic. I’m not sure it really matters. Oh how I wish Steven Cherundolo could have gotten healthy in time for June…
Barring any injuries to starting players, this group looks a little better. Bradley, Jones, Zusi, and Donovan are probably the starting four, Edu has a role to play, and I just plain like Brad Davis’ game, but beyond that… Klinsmann clearly likes Beckerman- I see him as a…useful piece?- and Bedoya (for reasons I cannot comprehend), and after that I pretty much guessed that he’d go for Johnson and Williams. Kljestan and Shea have shown me little or less than that, but they probably get one last shot in this 30 man camp. Oh, and before KCGunner pipes up, no, not Benny. Ever.
Gah! There is so much potential here that I wonder how Klinsmann sorts it all out? Dempsey on form is lethal, as is Altidore. Johannsson is white-hot at the moment and some way has to be found to get him more minutes. Against Ukraine he had one shot and had it not gone straight at the keeper it would have gone through the back of the net. Wondo, well, you can’t write somebody off as a “fluke” any more when he has 8 goals in 18 matches for the USMNT (never mind 72 in his last 119 for the Earthquakes). Eddie Johnson has 7 in his last 17 caps, and while Agudelo has only two goals in limited minutes for the USMNT he brings a flair and creativity to the table that the others just don’t have.
Finally, despite what the voices in his head are telling him, Freddy Adu will not be on this roster.
Please, use the comments section to tell me just how wrong I’ve gotten all of this! 😉