Surprisingly, U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann never asks the media for their thoughts on which 23 players he should take to Brazil next year; as we keep saying, these 23 golden invitations mean absolutely everything to any professional soccer player.
But … if Klinsmann ever does get stuck and needs an extra opinion, by gosh, we’re ready.
Here’ who we would like to see on the United States 23-man roster next year in Brazil.
- Tim Howard, Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando
Quick explanations: This is the easiest position to pick. These are the guys, barring injury, going to Brazil. Klinsmann has said so with his selections all along; no reason to believe anything will change.
- Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez, Clarence Goodson, John Brooks, Brad Evans, DaMarcus Beasley, Geoff Cameron, Steve Cherundolo
Quick explanations: Besler and Gonzalez are the starters, with Brooks likely to push them and Cameron ready to jump in (at this or a number of other positions). Any injuries to the center backs and Michael Orozco gets the call.
Next guy up: Edgar Castillo, who can provide some late-game push up the left flank.
- Michael Bradley, Fabian Johnson, Jermaine Jones, Graham Zusi, Landon Donovan, Kyle Beckerman, Brek Shea, Mix Diskerud
Quick explanations: Yes, Brek Shea. He provides a skills set otherwise lacking in the U.S. pool. And, no, no Alejandro Bedoya; he needed to do more with those recent starting opportunities. Note that Johnson finds himself as a midfielder; we all know he can play left back or right back (started there against Mexico in the qualifying clincher, in fact). Same goes for Cameron above; he’s a similarly interchangeable part. In terms of performance and ability to fill various roles, Sacha Kljestan and Diskerud are virtually inseparable.
Next guy up: Sacha Kljestan, who provides the same great utility as Diskerud.
- Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey, Aron Johannsson, Eddie Johnson
Quick explanations: This one more or less sorts itself out. Johannsson’s rise happened at a time when Herculez Gomez was trying to get healthy; here is a case where timing is everything.
Next guy up: Herculez Gomez, assuming he can get healthy.