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Breaking down the USMNT 30-man roster

Written by Will Parchman


Here it is. The 30 before the 23 before Cristo Redentor.

Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

DEFENDERS (11) : DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Nürnberg), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)

MIDFIELDERS (10) : Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

FORWARDS (6) : Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

All opinions, of course, but here’s how I read the roster breakdown via the players who were locked in, the fringe players who were solid choices and then the puzzlers. In that last group, I’ll contrast that player with someone who might’ve felt similarly snubbed by the selection.

The locks
DaMarcus Beasley, Matt Besler, Geoff Cameron, Omar Gonzalez, Fabian Johnson, Kyle Beckerman, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Michael Bradley, Alejandro Bedoya, Jermaine Jones, Graham Zusi, Jozy Altidore, Aron Johannsson, Nick Rimando, Brad Guzan, Tim Howard

This group of 17 were objectively picked across the board to make the 30, and barring a freak injury, this nucleus will assuredly be the backbone of the roster that goes to Brazil. There’s still some question as to Cameron’s role, though it looks increasingly like he’ll start on the right to spare Brad Evans from having to mark the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Marco Reus. The battle higher on the right for PT between Bedoya and Zusi will be interesting, because both will assuredly make the 23, and it’s hard to imagine both on the field at the same time. Where Fabian Johnson fits is also up in the air. With DaMarcus Beasley ensconced at left back and Landon Donovan looking increasingly like the left midfielder, Johnson appears to be talented cover off the bench. With Aron Johannsson as cover for Jozy and Clint Dempsey the picture of versatility, do you need a third out-and-out striker? Maybe not, which makes Boyd’s position tenuous.

The fencers
Joe Corona, Julian Green, Clarence Goodson, Michael Parkhurst, Terrence Boyd, Mix Diskerud, Brad Evans, Maurice Edu, Timmy Chandler, DeAndre Yedlin

Hello, Julian Green. The most puzzling player in the pool has arrived at the 30, and now whether or not he makes the 23 is as much as mystery as there is here. I’d take him, but I can understand the reticence. Parkhurst could be surplus with Fabian Johnson as a lefty swingman, but Goodson is as close to a lock as a fencer can be as cover at CB. I think Yedlin’s good but not outstanding form at RB is good enough for the 30, but it’ll probably cause him to lose out to teammate Brad Evans for the spot. Chandler seems like an easy cut barring an otherworldly camp, and Mix and Corona are probably battling over one spot. I probably take Corona. As for Edu, you already have Jermaine Jones, Kyle Beckerman and Michael Bradley as three-deep in the midfield and Cameron available to slot over in a pinch (to his more natural position anyway). Add in Edu’s erratic form in Philly and he seems like an odd man out.

The puzzlers
John Brooks, Chris Wondolowski, Brad Davis

A couple months ago, the Brooks pick would’ve looked considerably rosier, but the disaster against Ukraine took off a modicum of the shine. That night exposed him as a talented prospect, but very much a raw one, and now his inclusion here looks more like a nod to his youth (which isn’t all bad). Still, the pick at the expense of Tim Ream is the real reason for the affront. I think Klinsmann owed it to himself to see if Ream could hack it, and Brooks’ USMNT experience wasn’t such that his pick here was preordained. The Wondo-over-Eddie Johnson pick is probably the most confusing, and since I’m not high on Wondo as a USMNT player anyway you know where I come down. I feel similarly about Davis – poor. While that’s more of an indictment against the pool than Klinsmann, a younger player might’ve taken Davis’ spot and we wouldn’t have batted an eyelash. The inclusion of Julian Green on the left would seem to make Davis redundant for the 23. At least it’s not Brek Shea.

Predicted cuts: John Brooks, Brad Davis, Chris Wondolowski, Mix Diskerud, DeAndre Yedlin, Maurice Edu, Timmy Chandler


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