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23 Names for the 2015 Gold Cup Roster (November Edition)
   November 4, 2014 (6:34 AM) by John D. Halloran     Email This Post Email This Post
 

23names

When the United States men’s national team kicks off the 2015 Gold Cup next July, it will not only be an opportunity to check the team’s progress in the year since the World Cup, but will also be the stage on which the USMNT can secure qualification for the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia.

In the four months since the U.S. was knocked out of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the landscape of the team has already begun to shift. Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has shown that he’s ready to bring new faces into the program and the team’s veterans will now be forced to prove they still deserve to be in the squad.

Here’s a look at 53 players who be looking to make the squad for next summer’s Gold Cup and the 23 who are in the driver’s seat to do so.

 

Goalkeepers

The one position where there will be relatively little controversy is goalkeeper. With Tim Howard out until at least the fall of 2015, Aston Villa’s Brad Guzan and Real Salt Lake’s Nick Rimando will be competing to the starting job. In the U.S.’s three friendlies since the World Cup, Guzan and Rimando have split the minutes in net. There’s no question that the two will make the roster—the only question is which one will start.

The other question at goalkeeper is who will back up Guzan and Rimando as the U.S.’s No. 3 in the net. Vying for the job will be D.C. United’s Bill Hamid, Chicago Fire’s Sean Johnson and Southampton’s Cody Cropper. Hamid has received plaudits for his efforts this season in Major League Soccer, while Johnson had an excellent, although underrated, season of his own.

Johnson is also the only American goalkeeper to receive a cap for the U.S. in the last two years other than Howard, Guzan, or Rimando.

Klinsmann’s selections in the three U.S. friendlies since the World Cup haven’t given much away, however. Both Hamid and Johnson were called in for the October friendlies, while Cropper got the nod as the backup in September.

A dark-horse candidate for the job might be the Columbus Crew’s Steve Clark, but with so much depth at the position already, it seems unlikely.

On the roster: Guzan, Rimando, Johnson

In the discussion: Hamid, Cropper

Dark-horse favorite: Clark

 

Center Backs

With Klinsmann turning to Jermaine Jones as a center-back option in the U.S.’s last friendly against Honduras, the competition at the position has only gotten tighter since Brazil. Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez seem likely to be locks for the U.S. at the moment, but both have struggled at times for their clubs since returning from the World Cup.

Geoff Cameron has also struggled this season at Stoke, having first been pushed out of his starting position at right back and then being sidelined with an injury. On the upside for Cameron, he has been in the starting lineup for his club the last two weeks, but neither appearance has been at center back (he started the first game as a holding midfielder and the second game at right back). However, that versatility alone probably keeps him on the roster for the U.S. for a long time coming.

John Anthony Brooks has also suffered a bit since the World Cup, being called out publicly by his club coach and struggling for first-team minutes. Michael Orozco, on the other hand, while missing the World Cup team, has earned starts in two out of the U.S.’s three post-World Cup friendlies and looked good in his appearances. Still, it seems likely Klinsmann will put Brooks ahead of Orozco.

After Jones, Besler, Gonzalez, Cameron and Orozco, everyone else is a long shot, at best. Tim Ream has been solid for Bolton the last two seasons, but has never quite appeared up to the job at the international level. Maurice Edu played center back a fair amount this season for the Philadelphia Union, and has even been used at center back by Klinsmann before, but appears to be too far down the depth chart for serious consideration.

Finally, MLS Defender of the Year candidate Matt Hedges will probably begin to earn some call-ups in the near future (the January camp seems likely), but it’s hard to see him pushing any one out of the lineup at this point.

On the roster: Jones, Besler, Gonzalez, Brooks, Cameron

In the discussion: Orozco

Misses the cut: Ream, Edu

Dark-horse favorite: Hedges

 

Outside Back

The beauty, and potential headache, for the U.S. at outside back is that the team’s two best options—Fabian Johnson and DeAndre Yedlin—are probably also the team’s two best options on the wing for the time being.

But whether or not Klinsmann starts Johnson or Yedlin in the back or in midfield doesn’t really matter, as both are virtual locks for the roster. It only becomes important to the discussion when considering who might play in the back should either, or both, be used further up the pitch.

In the October friendlies, Greg Garza proved his worth and pushed himself into the discussion for not only a roster spot, but a spot in the starting XI. The other possibility at left back is DaMarcus Beasley, but it remains to be seen whether Klinsmann sees the 32-year-old as a viable option heading into the future.

Timmy Chandler, despite not playing a minute in Brazil, still appears to be a favorite of Klinsmann and has started all three of the U.S.’s games since the World Cup. His versatility—he has routinely started for the U.S. on both sides of the defense—is a plus, but his consistency in a U.S. jersey is still lacking.

Dark-horse candidates in the back include Robbie Rogers, who has enjoyed a revival of form since being converted into a defender by LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena, and Edgar Castillo, who was a pre-World Cup favorite of Klinsmann and who is still enjoying regular playing time in Liga MX.

Castillo’s past performances for the U.S., especially defensively, have always been a bit shaky, but he does get forward well—something Klinsmann clearly expects out of his outside backs.

On the roster: Yedlin, Johnson, Garza, Chandler

In the discussion: Beasley

Dark-horse favorites: Castillo, Rogers

 

Center midfielders

Although nearly every U.S. fan agrees that Klinsmann has been using Mix Diskerud and Michael Bradley in the wrong roles, those same fans would agree that both Diskerud and Bradley are locks for the roster next summer.

Jones and Cameron, both now considered center backs by Klinsmann, can also offer cover as defensive midfielders, if needed.

Since the World Cup, Klinsmann has been giving the majority of minutes at center midfield to Alejandro Bedoya and Joe Corona. Bedoya’s performances in the middle have not been spectacular, but have been solid in their simplicity. Klinsmann has also stated that he sees Bedoya as a leader of the team going forward. Corona, on the other hand, has struggled in his last three performances for the U.S. and a recent foot injury will keep him out until 2015.

After that, the speculation begins. Kyle Beckerman will be 33 next summer, but played extremely well in the World Cup and is still in fine form for RSL. Whether Klinsmann decides to keep him around, or begin searching for younger talent, remains to be seen.

Another option is Alfredo Morales, who has been getting consistent playing time in the 2. Bundesliga for the last two seasons and was capped by Klinsmann in each of the U.S.’s last three games.

Danny Williams has also recently returned from injury for Reading and was enjoying a standout club campaign last season before getting hurt. Lee Nguyen is also in good form right now and finished the 2014 MLS regular season with 18 goals and five assists.

It’s hard to see how Klinsmann can avoid giving Nguyen a chance in this year’s January camp, although Nguyen will likely miss out on the November friendlies due to the Revolution’s playoff commitments.

Among the longshots at center midfield are Fulham’s Emerson Hyndman, RSL’s Luis Gil, Columbus Crew’s Wil Trapp, Tigres’ Jose Torres and possibly even Wiener Neustadt’s Conor O’Brien.

Hyndman got off to a bright start in the English Championship this year, but has struggled for playing time in recent weeks. Gil had a terrific moment of skill in RSL’s playoff game this weekend, nutmegging two LA Galaxy defenders in a single sequence, but his performances are still far too inconsistent for the international level.

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Trapp was recently given high praise by Thierry Henry, but is still probably a year or two off from breaking through with the national team. Finally, there’s no sign that Torres, who still enjoys consistent playing time in Liga MX, will earn a recall to the team from Klinsmann and O’Brien, despite regular playing time in Austria, doesn’t appear to be on Klinsmann’s radar either.

On the roster: Bradley, Diskerud, Bedoya, Morales

In the discussion: Beckerman, Corona, Williams, Nguyen

Misses the cut: Hyndman, Gil, Trapp, Torres, O’Brien

 

Outside Midfielders/Wingers

Out wide, there are plenty of options, but no clear favorites.

Joe Gyau was just breaking into the U.S. lineup—and Dortmund’s—before injuring his knee last month against Ecuador. He’s expected to be out until January and it remains to be seen whether he can regain fitness and form in time for next summer. Julian Green also seems a lock, but his loan move to Hamburger SV has only resulted in 85 total minutes of playing time thus far.

Graham Zusi has had a drop in form since the World Cup and 1860 Munich’s Bobby Wood was recently demoted to 1860’s second team. Brek Shea—to no one’s real surprise—has once again struggled to find minutes, this time with Birmingham in the English League Championship.

Without any clear options on the wing, it’s likely Klinsmann will turn to Johnson, Yedlin, or both, to provide options for the U.S. attack. Luckily for the U.S., a number of the team’s options at forward can also play wide if needed.

Additionally, Klinsmann has shown he is willing to look elsewhere to find more options. In October, he gave a surprise call-up to NASL-product Miguel Ibarra and there are several youngsters who could see themselves called in for the January camp, including the Chicago Fire’s Harry Shipp (7 goals, 6 assists in 2014), the New England Revolution’s Kelyn Rowe (5 goals, 5 assists in 2014) or D.C. United’s Luis Silva (11 goals, 4 assists in 2014).

Tijuana’s Paul Arriola, who has also been doing duty with the U.S. U-20’s lately, could also be in the mix.

On the roster: Gyau, Green

In the discussion: Zusi, Wood

Misses the cut: Shea

Dark-horse favorites: Ibarra, Shipp, Rowe, Silva, Arriola

 

Forwards

While Jozy Altidore continues to struggle for minutes with Sunderland, he showed once again what he can do for the U.S. last month against Honduras with a superb goal.

Clint Dempsey has been in fine form for Seattle this season and there’s no reason to believe he won’t still be an integral part of the squad next summer.

The U.S. will also be boosted in the November friendlies—and likely next summer—by the return from injury of Aron Johannsson and Terrence Boyd. While Johannsson didn’t play much in the World Cup, and Boyd missed the roster altogether, both should be key players for the Americans for years to come.

Rubio Rubin, who has started seven of Utrecht’s 11 Eredivisie matches so far this season, also appears to be the real deal and should make the squad.

Other candidates, should the U.S. need depth, could include Sandhausen’s Andrew Wooten (4 goals in the 2. Bundesliga so far this season), the Galaxy’s Gyasi Zardes (16 goals in 2014) or Stanford’s Jordan Morris, who Klinsmann called up for the September friendly against the Czech Republic.

On the roster: Altidore, Dempsey, Johannsson, Boyd, Rubin

Dark-horse favorites: Wooten, Zardes, Morris

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John D. Halloran

In addition to his contributions for Soccer Over There, John also writes for American Soccer Now, The Yanks Are Coming and Bleacher Report.
 
Categories: 23 Names, US Men's National Team
 

4 Responses to “23 Names for the 2015 Gold Cup Roster (November Edition)”

  1. Gregory says:

    Chandler can’t lock down a starting because he’s PE#1. If anyone else had his last 2 performances they would be celebration and praise like Garcia is getting. He out played Greg Garza vs Ecuador. Chandler was solid vs Honduras Zusi on this flank. But for real Chandler has not been mistake free or hands down man of the match.

    I think Zusi and Bessler are clearly dead legged from to many games this summer. They need an off-season of rest before fair judgements can be made.

    Lee Nguyen deserves a call-up, I really want to see if Nguyen can show that skill set with the big boys. Just being Honest Mix is over-rated. Mix has scored some big clutch goals in Friendlies, but his hold up play and first touch can be sub-par. He has not won a transfer out of Norway for a reason. I think he’s our best young option at CAM, but he needs a transfer to a Holland caliber league.

    Like all the picks expect Bill Hamid gets the call over Sean Johnson.

  2. daniil says:

    mix doesn’t really play our style, but he plays the style klinsmann wants to move us towards. he’s one for 2018, not 2014

  3. Thomas says:

    No consideration for Perry Kitchen in the midfield? He seems like a guy who would do well to get exposure to the national team camps. Has an extremely high work rate and is the kind of heady player I think Klinsman likes. Anyway great article! Keep up the good work!

  4. Julius says:

    I like this list very much here is mine.

    Goalkeepers – Guzan, Rimando, Hamid
    Right Backs – Chandler, Yedlin
    Center Backs – Gonzalez, Besler, Brooks, Orozco Cameron
    Left Backs – Johnson, Garza
    Midfielders – Bradley, Diskerud, Bedoya, Morales Gyau, Green, Zusi, Corona
    Strikers – Dempsey, Altidore, Johannsson, Boyd

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