May 25, 2012

Klinsmann's May'June Roster

Jurgen Klinsmann named is final 23 man roster for the May/June friendlies and the first two World Cup Qualifying matches.  Here is the list:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (7): Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers), Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Oguchi Onyewu (Sporting Lisbon), Michael Parkhurst (Nordsjaelland)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Chievo Verona), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Jose Torres (Pachuca)
FORWARDS (6): Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Terrence Boyd (Borussia Dortmund), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Herculez Gomez (Santos), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes).

Prior to naming the team, Klinsmann had indicated that he was treating this series of games like a tournament and was going to name all three goalkeepers to the final roster.  As I expected Alfredo Morales, Danny Willams, Graham Zusi and Juan Agudelo did not make the cut.

Morales and Agudelo should not have made the roster.  Neither has had much playing time with their respective club's first teams, although that will likely change for Agudelo with his recent move to Chivas USA.  You could make an argument that Terrence Boyd was not making first team appearances for the Bundesliga Champions, but Dortmund is now out of season whereas Chivas is not. I don't expect to see Boyd on the pitch much anyway.

I think Zusi's inexperience is what ultimately cost him, but he is firmly on Klinsmann's radar and will have time to impress in the coming months.  Williams is probably a victim more of his shoulder injury than anything else.

The backline kind of picks itself right now.  You will see, R-L, Cherundolo-Bocanegra-Onyewu-Castillo.  Although depending on training performance, Parkhurst at left back is not a bad choice, but is not as attack minded as Castillo, but is certainly steadier in a defensive set.  I also like the line of Cherundolo--Goodson--Onyewu--Bocanegra.  You may see Goodson and/or Cameron get a run out in one of the friendlies, either Scotland or Canada.  I would call holding midfielder a toss up between Beckerman and Edu.  Klinsmann has favored Beckerman in the past and is a known quantity for Klinsmann.  I would expect Edu to start against Scotland and see from there.  I would think that Klinsmann will go with a more two way player in central midfield and that is likely to be Bradley in my mind.

So who plays in the attacking roles.  Dempsey is going to be unavailable for the Scotland match, if for no other reason than to give his groin a little more time to heal.  Much will depend on what kind of formation that Klinsmann wants to run, a 4-4-2, 4-3-3 or some asymetric tweak on a 4-3-1-2 mix.  A straight 4-4-2 would likely see Altidore up top, with Gomez or Wondolowski playing off him and Donovan and Torres or Johnson playing the flanks.  I think with the plethora of attacking talent in this squad, Klinsmann is going to want to have at least two strikers.  Such a system puts a burden on Bradley in the middle to pull the strings. If Donovan and Torres are played on the flanks, expect to see them pinch in on the attacks and for Cherudnolo/Castillo to provide the width on the overlap, taking some of the play making burden off of Bradley.

There is going to be some pressure for the U.S. attack to produce against all the opponents but Brazil (and I would like to see the U.S. just go at Brazil early on.  Certainly the U.S. will be expected to attack against Antigua and go into Guatamala with an attack minded plan.

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