One players’ gain is another’s loss, as we know. So guys like Matt Besler, Brad Davis and a couple of others who have found their way onto Jurgen Klinsmann’s roster for this week’s important World Cup qualifier did so at someone else’s expense.
Four of the “someone elses” in this case are Clarence Goodson, Kyle Beckerman, Benny Feilhaber and Oguchi Onyewu.
We may learn more later today as U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann talks about his selections. Klinsmann has a national conference call from the team’s Miami base – well, it’s base for another few hours, prior to departure into Honduras later this afternoon – scheduled for 12:30 ET.
For now let’s look briefly at the foursome of notable omissions:
Benny Feilhaber: Against Canada, Feilhaber was one of the few players last week able to push the team forward, equipped with enough technical ability in tight spaces and the right attacking mindset to begin unlocking Canada’s stacked-and-packed defense. But then, everyone knows that about Feilhaber (pictured), who has recently moved from New England to Sporting Kansas City.
Feilhaber’s challenge over the longer January camp was always about showing he could smoothly assimilate into the larger group. Seeing as Brad Evans and Brad Davis started ahead of Feilhaber last week, and seeing as both made today’s roster, it looks like the Sporting KC man, a veteran of the United States’ World Cup efforts South Afirca 2010, may have come up short in his bid to demonstrate an improved ability to fit in.
Clarence Goodson: Goodson’s omission is somewhat surprising considering his status as a regular through semifinal round qualifying. He started the team’s 2-1 win over Antigua and Barbuda in the next-to-last game during semifinal stage qualifying and was on the bench a few days later as Klinsmann’s men clinched passage into the final round.
He was not, however, part of the U.S. January camp. As Denmark’s league is out of season now, Goodson would surely have been invited into that camp if Klinsmann wanted to take him to Honduras.
Time will tell if the addition of center backs Besler and Omar Gonzalez means Goodson has been pushed down in the order, or if this is just a temporary thing down to timing.
The presumption has to be that Gonzalez and Besler have more upside; Goodson, 30, is what he is.
Oguchi Onyewu: This hardly rates as a huge shocker, but it remains noteworthy because Onyewu still holds status in general supporter awareness. So many fans would love nothing more than to see Onyewu return to his former bad-a** self, back to the guy who stared down Mexico’s Jared Borgetti two qualifier cycles back, equipped with enough ability and confidence to back it up.
Bottom line: the big center back, 30, still has work ahead to rally past a deflated 2012, when he seemed to lose Klinsmann’s favor and trust. As Onyewu can’t get a toehold on any playing time for Malaga, this probably isn’t going to change anytime soon.
Kyle Beckerman: This was perhaps the biggest surprise of today’s announcement, seeing as Beckerman had previously impressed Klinsmann with his positional discipline and his day-to-day, professional approach in training.
But the Real Salt Lake man struggled last week to move the team forward with a little more urgency from his holding midfield spot. Danny Williams has clearly lapped Beckerman, 30, in the crowded U.S. depth chart of central midfielders.
Not all is lost for Beckerman; given Jermaine Jones’ tendency to collect cards, he’s still one terrible tackle away from slipping right back into the roster rotation.