Three players whose USMNT fortunes could hinge on a strong Gold Cup

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The United States men’s national team is riding high after European soil wins over Netherlands and Germany, and supporters of the Yanks are looking forward to some “easier” matches ahead.

Looking at the States’ provisional roster for the Gold Cup, it’s clear that competition for places in a match day will be fierce. Some of that is due to Jurgen Klinsmann’s stubborn belief in certain players, while other players have nudged his hand with strong performances (We say nudged because we’re not sure Klinsmann’s hand is ever forced).

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While most of the starters’ jobs aren’t up for debate when it comes to the tournament, which players stand to gain or lose the most come July, from a friendly against Guatemala on July 3 to the group stage versus Honduras, Haiti and Panama, and beyond?

1. Timmy Chandler

Look, Klinsmann obviously wants to give the Eintracht Frankfurt man every chance to be a starting back, but Chandler commits a minimum of one horrific gaffe a game. Sure, he’s capable of sublime crosses and also does at least one brilliant thing per match, but the U.S. manager isn’t a fool; There’s very little chance he’s been even half-pleased with Chandler.

2. Mix Diskerud

It’s not so much whether New York City’s rambunctious creative force can play a role for the States, but can he take the next step. Diskerud has taken a calculated risk in returning to Major League Soccer and is a prime candidate for a high-profile loan once the domestic season ends. He’s scored plenty for Klinsmann, but can he become “the man” to partner with Michael Bradley for a long time? Can he be the player who allows Klinsmann to slide Bradley a bit deeper in the formation?

3. Perry Kitchen

It’s easy to forget Kitchen is just 23, and his agent says he’s garnering interest from the Bundesliga amongst other clubs. While DC United fans won’t like to hear that, he seems destined for a shot at a “bigger” European opportunity should he cement himself in the U.S. lineup. Kyle Beckerman has looked ageless and defiant in the midfield, but Kitchen likely needs to unseat Beckerman in order to open the eyes of American supporters. Of the three, Kitchen is the only one who might not make the jump from 35-man provisional roster to the final 23, though we’re hopeful.

At some point soon, we need to have a discussion about Omar Gonzalez and John Anthony Brooks, too, but that’s a bit different than the topic of this post.

Here’s the full provisional roster again. Who would you add to the list?

PROVISIONAL USMNT GOLD CUP ROSTER

Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), William Yarbrough (Club Leon)

Defenders: Ventura Alvarado (Club America), DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Greg Garza (Club Tijuana), Michael Orozco (Puebla), Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers), Brek Shea (Orlando City SC), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur)

Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach), Perry Kitchen (D.C. United), Alfredo Morales (FC Ingolstadt), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

Forwards: Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution), Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Alan Gordon (LA Galaxy), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Jordan Morris (Stanford University), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)