What will Jurgen Klinsmann’s USMNT roster look like for 2015 Gold Cup?

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The 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup kicks off in 97 days. I’m not entirely sure, but I do believe the 2014 World Cup just ended in Brazil and Germany were crowned world champions.

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Yet here we are, almost an entire year later with CONCACAF’s bi-annual tournament just three months away. Not to make July 7 seem any sooner than it really is, the U.S. national team has just three more exhibitions scheduled — vs. Mexico (April 15, in San Antonio) and at Netherlands (June 5) and Germany (June 10) — before Jurgen Klinsmann’s side begins its quest to retain their 2013 Copa Oro title.

With just three fixtures left between now and the time Klinsmann’s 23-man roster is due in to CONCACAF, it’s the perfect time to begin speculating what that roster may look like and pinpointing battles for the roster’s final places.

2015 Gold Cup roster projections — April 1 edition (in order of depth)

Goalkeepers (3)

source: AP
Brad Guzan

Brad Guzan, Nick Rimando, Bill Hamid

As things stand, Brad Guzan is the undisputed No. 1 of the USMNT, and even if/when Tim Howard returns from his self-imposed year-long break, it should stay that way. Sure, welcome Howard, a legend in his own right, back with open arms — just as Klinsmann should have done with Landon Donovan — but as the No. 2 ‘keeper fighting to win the job from Guzan.

Klinsmann and Bob Bradley have proved over the last 10 years that as long as Nick Rimando has a pulse, he’ll be on a USMNT tournament roster. This time, he enters camp as the No. 2, with young Bill Hamid hoping to prematurely usher those above him toward the exit door. He’s the man after 2018.

Missed the cut, but could/should go: William Yarbrough

[ MORE: Biggest winners and loses from the USMNT’s two March friendlies ]

Defenders (8)

source: AP
Matt Besler & Omar Gonzalez

Fabian Johnson, Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez, DeAndre Yedlin, Brek Shea, John Brooks, Geoff Cameron, Timothy Chandler

Here’s where the questions begin. Will the three-man backline return after going away for two months, thus bringing into question the position of Jermaine Jones. Is DeAndre Yedlin a right back or winger, right now? Why can’t Fabian Johnson, a natural and really good left back, just play left back?

With only three games to be played before the Gold Cup, it’s hard to imagine Klinsmann trying to force the 3-5-2 into happening again. But then again, he’s Jurgen Klinsmann. Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez haven’t done much on the USMNT stage to lose their starting spots, but John Brooks, still just 22, has had a great season for Hertha Berlin and in recent USMNT appearances. In a perfect world, he forces Klinsmann’s hand and his play demands a starting place.

Missed the cut, but could/should go: Greg Garza, Tim Ream, Michael Orozco

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Denmark 1-1 USA ]

Midfielders (8)

source: AP
Michael Bradley & Jermaine Jones

Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Alejandro Bedoya, Mix Diskerud, Alfredo Morales, Danny Williams, Miguel Ibarra, Julian Green

If Jones is a midfielder again, what does that mean for Mix Diskerud and does it mean Michael Bradley is once again shoehorned into the No. 10 role? Couldn’t Diskerud play the 10 and Bradley, arguably the best player currently in CONCACAF, play his natural position, a deeper-lying role and hit inch-perfect balls like THIS all day long? That seems pretty simple to me.

Julian Green went to the World Cup, so there’s no way Klinsmann doesn’t select him for the Gold Cup a year later. Not doing so would, in a way, mean Klinsmann admitting his own misstep, and that’s not going to happen anytime soon. Alfredo Morales and Danny Williams act as predictable cover for Bradley and Jones, with Miguel Ibarra the truest wild card pick of the bunch.

Missed the cut, but could/should go: Graham Zusi, Kyle Beckerman, Lee Nguyen, Wil Trapp

[ MORE: On Klinsmann, and Bradley playing “out of position” ]

Forwards (4)

source: AP
Clint Dempsey & Jozy Altidore

Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, Aron Johansson, Gyasi Zardes

There’s honestly very little to discus regarding the forwards — there’s not a ton of great options outside the obvious two or three regulars. Clint Dempsey’s “position” will always be a forward/midfielder hybrid, but he’s most likely to play alongside or just off the should of Jozy Altidore this summer, so he’s listed here as a forward.

Johannsson is the change-of-pace option when they need a goal late and/or Altidore is running on fumes.  Zardes goes as the unpredictable youngster most likely to play zero minutes, though his versatility to play as a wide attacker cutting in makes the 23-year-old an interesting change-of-pace option as well.

Missed the cut, but could/should go: Chris Wondolowski, Rubio Rubin, Bobby Wood

MLS Best XI unveiled with awesome foosball video

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Major League Soccer, wow, this is terrific #content.

MLS released its Best XI on Monday with a dynamite video of the players passing the ball from Zack Steffen in goal to Josef Martinez up top… via a virtual foosball table.

[ VIDEO: An unprecedented goal ]

The XI is set in a 3-4-3, with the New York Red Bulls, DC United, and Atlanta United leading the way with a pair of players each.

My predictions? Well, I only got six correct. Whoops. The only absence that really surprises me is Graham Zusi, and Sporting KC not having representation at all. I guess that explains why SKC manager Peter Vermes is going to be announced as the next USMNT– Wait, what’s that? Oh. I’ll stop talking.

2018 MLS Best XI

Goalkeeper: Zack Steffen (Columbus)

Defenders: Kemar Lawrence (RBNY), Aaron Long (RBNY), Chad Marshall (Seattle)

Midfielders: Miguel Almiron (Atlanta), Luciano Acosta (DC), Ignacio Piatti (Montreal), Carlos Vela (LAFC)

Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA Galaxy), Josef Martinez (Atlanta), Wayne Rooney (DC)

WATCH: Striker scores potentially unprecedented goal while helping teammate

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“Look, I know you’re injured, but I’m gonna be right back. Got a goal to score for us.”

Maccabi Petah Tikva forward Habib Habibou scored what can only be described as an unprecedented goal — at least in terms of being captured on video — Israel this weekend.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings ]

Habibou, 31, and his club were locked in scoreless tussle with Maccabi Netanya on Saturday when one of his teammates was injured in the box.

The CAR striker, formerly of Zulte Waregem and Royal Charleroi, was taking care of said teammate when he spotted an 87th minute spilled rebound.

What was he gonna do, really, other than dart onto the loose ball, score the match-winner, and then return to his ailing mate?

Petah Tikva won 1-0.

Juventus executive: Bring season Serie A game abroad

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Juventus chief revenue officer Giorgio Ricci likes La Liga’s idea of taking a regular season match outside of its domestic borders.

Ricci would like Serie A to explore a similar move, saying Italian soccer can only benefit from putting its brand in other markets.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings ]

Serie A lags behind other top European league in TV money, which has hindered its ability to recruit top end talent relative to its competitors.

Ricci says if American sports see value in bringing their top leagues to Europe, it holds that the reverse would be true. From the BBC:

“If we look at some other more developed leagues in terms of commercial strategy; the NBA and NFL, they are exporting one or two of their matches abroad, to the UK or elsewhere in Europe. I think it is a good strategy. It is a way to export something that is not an exhibition.”

Would a regular season match bring any more eyes or attention than the International Champions Cup, at least enough to offset the sacrifice of atmosphere? It seems doubtful, but the money is the key here. Italy wants to catch up with Spain, Germany, and England.

FC Cincinnati switches crest ahead of MLS debut

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FC Cincinnati has unveiled its crest for 2019’s maiden voyage in Major League Soccer.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings ]

Sticking with the orange and blue color combination which has served them since inception, the shield has FC in the top left corner, Cincinnati running diagonally left-to-right in blue script on white, and a winged lion holding a sword as the primary icon.

FCC will draft up to five current MLS players in the Expansion Draft on Dec. 11. Teams will announce their protected lists on Dec. 10.

Cincinnati will play in the Eastern Conference. It won the USL regular season championship under coach Alan Koch in 2018.