TSG’s Best USMNT 30-Man Roster Guess

Fab J - Key in his versatility.

Fab J – Key in his versatility.

Here’s our 30 and our 23 for now. Short, sweet.

G (3): Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Nick Rimando

DEF (7): Geoff Cameron, Omar Gonzalez, Clarence Goodson, Matt Besler, DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Parkhurst, Brad Evans

CM (4): Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Maurice Edu, Kyle Beckerman

MF (6): Clint Dempsey, Graham Zusi, Landon Donovan, Fabian Johnson, Ale Bedoya, Julian Green

FWD (3): Jozy Altidore, Eddie Johnson, Aron Johannsson

The 30:

DEF: John Brooks, Oguchi Onyewu, Tim Chandler

MID: Mix Diskerud, Danny Williams

FWD: Terrence Boyd, Chris Wondolowski

Have at it.

46 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Kirk on 2014/05/08 at 9:53 AM

    I’d replace Onyewu with Tim Ream. Both play in the same league, Ream has been much better and is more versatile, can play 3 positions.

    Julian Green doesn’t belong anywhere on this list. He’s done nada. Zilch. Not ready for primetime. Not strong on the ball either.

    Do we really need Edu AND Beckerman? Pick one. Cameron can back up this position, So can Ream if he makes the 30. Hell if Williams were 100% healthy he might ace out both Mo and Beck.

    Would be sad if Mix were left off the squad. Really like him. But yeah, woohoo, they like Green’s pace on the wing, and seeing how Brek hasn’t stepped up JK probably wants a speed option off the bench. Oh well..


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2014/05/08 at 9:56 AM

      This is what I think Klinsmann will do. Not what I would do.

      Having said that Onyewu’s skillset makes more sense than Ream’s. The US plays Ghana and Germany — two teams very strong in the air. The US has *nobody* who defends well in the air. Not. A. One.

      That was supposed to be Gonzo’s strength. If anything–that’s exactly what Gooch still does well.

      I think about CM like this …. You need three (3) each game. One to come in late because you’re either defending OR you have to win the ball higher up the pitch.

      That means one back-up. I’d be fine with Cameron here, but he’ll definitely be needed in the back somewhere.

      Let’s say JJ gets injured. Now you have likely Edu-Bradley starting with Beckerman backing up.

      That makes sense to me.


      • If this is what you believe Jurgen will do, then you basically just put players that have been called up in the last 2 years and just chose the ones you believe he would call in. I’m not saying that is wrong but you just picked the players he’s brought in over World Cup qualifying, friendlies, or Gold Cup (with exception of Chandler). I don’t expect two CBs (Onyewu and Brooks) to be on there. If that is the roster or pretty close to the 30 man roster he’ll pick, then it seems pretty obvious that he trusts these players more so than others be it Castillo, Fiscal, Corona, Kljestan, and Agudelo. I don’t argue that point because if a coach doesn’t trust a player, why would you bring them in. Also, you have Danny Williams on the roster (5 CMs). I’m for bringing him in and for me I expect 3 defensive CMs to make the team (Bradley would be the 4th CM) and that last spot could be a Edu vs. Danny Williams. That should be interesting.

        I’m not on the Green bandwagon of him making the final 23 unless he shows more than what we saw vs. Mexico (that was a difficult game to throw him into as Mexico plays us very hard due to our rivalry and Green had no background with that rivalry whatsoever).

        I see you have Fabian Johnson at midfielder. You think he’ll play there? I prefer him at LM/LW but I’m just not sure we can leave LB with only Beasley and Parkhurst, who provides nothing going forward.


      • Posted by Arthur on 2014/05/09 at 6:39 PM

        @ Adrian: Interesting point about whether Klinsmann sticks with the roster dealt to him during qualifying, friendlies, and the Gold Cup–a roster, especially in defense, that was racked by injuries and failed to be fully vetted on the field–or if he decides to experiment a bit more in camp with players who may not have played less previously but are currently playing well. This clip of the upcoming ESPN series on the US team (http://tinyurl.com/khosoju) leads me to think that if Klinsmann can pronounce that he knows who his 23 would be if the World Cup were held tomorrow, he will probably go with the players he is already familiar with.

        @ Matt: I can see your concern about the strength of Germany and Ghana in the air, which is a reason to prefer Gooch over Ream. As you point out, Gonzo has some ability in the air; the Goodson, Besler, et. al. are fairly tall and, with enough coaching to focus on the tactical aspects of defending in the air (positioning, timing jumps, ect.), this issue can be mitigated.

        We know how the US can be beat, the formula other teams have used successfully in recent friendlies: press the midfield and defense, and make the US build out from the back. Ream is far better with Gooch with the ball at his feet, and I rate his ability to read the game as superior as well. Finally, Gooch tends to need more game time after a layoff to get back into playing form; recent injuries have left him with less club time to round into form for the World Cup. Perhaps he can get fit and regain form in camp. But I’ll take this year’s consistent Ream over a less than consistent Gooch (for now–the camp should include both, as I drop Brooks for Ream).


      • Posted by cpjuengel on 2014/05/11 at 11:43 AM

        are you talking about no one that defends well in the air on set pieces? cause Omar is great at defending in the air during the run of play. imo


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2014/05/12 at 8:49 AM

          Omar has been horrific defending in the air for the US. He wins balls that he is face-up against a weaker opponent. Last year I specifically remember him clobbering RSL in the air against Borchers (not aerially superior), losing out to Portland to AJB, losing out to Bernardez, losing out to Traore a few times also.

          For the US though–he has not been spectacular in the air.


  2. Posted by jeppley on 2014/05/08 at 9:56 AM

    I would have had Brad Davis in the 30, but looking at the list, I’m not sure who to bump. I missed Williams and Green in my count. Also, that D doesn’t inspire confidence.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2014/05/08 at 10:00 AM

      The big issue I have with Brad Davis is that he’s a liability defensively at the international level. Do you take him for post 75′ crosses/set pieces? I’m not so sure.


  3. What do you reckon the chances are of Eddie and Landon (gasp!) being left out of the 23 since they haven’t exactly lit up MLS early this season? If they don’t tear up Stanford are they in danger of missing the trip??


  4. Posted by SoccerSteve31 on 2014/05/08 at 10:50 AM

    I like most of your choices, and can certainly understand the rest. My only discrepancy would be that I think Mix will take Mo Edu’s spot. Mo is behind both JJ and Beckerman, as he hasn’t shown much going forward at the international level. Mix may not be a 90 minute player yet at this level, but he can be a creative spark off the bench, something which I don’t think Edu will offer. And with the teams we’re facing, I see us needing more offensive subs than defensive subs in the group stage.


  5. Posted by Justin El Matador on 2014/05/08 at 11:21 AM

    Klinsi’s got his guys, but IMO, a healthy and in-form Chandler is better than the same in Evans. O Gonz scares me, and should not make the 23. He is going to cost us at least a goal every game if he starts. Here’s hoping Klinsi starts Cam with Besler. I like Chandler and Parkhurst at RB as his backup. LB should be Beasley then FJ if necessary. Hopefully Brooks keeps the good recent form and would be 3rd CB in the game.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2014/05/08 at 11:29 AM

      Will keep making the same point here. The team defense is the key. I worry most about the Gonzalez position.

      Everyone knows Evans is going to get lit up … as well as he does. But Ronaldo, Schurrle etc also probably light up Chandler.

      Evans knows how to funnel and where to push when getting beat. From Chandler in a USMNT uniform he has not shown a great aptitude for this. (He has at Nurnberg mind you.)

      Gonzalez (like he failed to do in Mexico game, the German friendly, etc. etc. etc.) just does not react fast enough.

      That’s the bigger issue imo.

      A Chandler who is accepted and able to be integrated into the US team defensive scheme is better than Evans. Yes.


      • In that heat I’d rather play a kid from Phoenix than one from Frankfurt.


      • Posted by Justin El Matador on 2014/05/08 at 12:46 PM

        Sounds good, Matt. By the way, you work with A Weibe, no? I worked with his younger brother D Weibe.

        Anyway, I agree with you about the Gonzalez positioning with regard to team defense. And yes, absolutely, his mental lapses are a by-product of ball watching.

        Regarding defending Ronaldo or Schurrle, it will surely be a team effort, ala Atletico Madrid style sworming. I just think, taking integration and team chemistry as a given, that the below pieces fit that puzzle best.

        In an ideal world, would you not have this as your starting back line?

        DMB – Besler – Cam – Chandler

        I could even see Ream and Parkhurst as better backups than Evans due to their defensive qualities.


    • Posted by gino744 on 2014/05/09 at 7:25 AM

      I think if Tim Chandler wants to go to the World Cup, he should buy a ticket. He shouldn’t be allowed to wear our shirt in Brazil. Brad Evans, Fabian Johnson, Michael Parkhurst or Geoff Cameron all deserve it more. I wish Chandler all the luck in the world in his quest to excel for FC Nurnburg. Maybe he’ll yearn the National kit enough to wear it in Copa (United States of) America 2016.


      • Posted by Dare2Dream on 2014/05/10 at 9:49 AM

        The person who deserves to go is the who is the best player. Period. The WC is not a junket to reward hard work and loyalty. JK’s job is to put the best possible team on the pitch he can and, if that team includes Timmy Chandler, he needs to be in Brazil. That being said, if Chandler shows no better in camp than the others, I agree the others should get the nod.


        • Posted by gino744 on 2014/05/10 at 10:32 AM

          I get what you’re saying BUT as you said, JK’s job is to put the best possible team on the pitch. Someone who has just 10 caps and 0 in the past year is unlikely to be a good fit for a team. A team needs players who are committed to a common cause. Chandler has a track record for putting his club career ahead of the US. That’s his choice and that’s fine. But of all the German imports Klinsmann has brought into the fold, Chandler is the only one in my mind who has done this to a fault.

          If I was trying to build a team, I wouldn’t want resentment festering in the clubhouse. If Ghana allows Boateng and Essien to join their team just in time for the World Cup and it doesn’t disrupt team chemistry, so be it. I’m just worried Chandler’s mercenary behavior wouldn’t be accepted and could be disruptive to the team. Maybe my saying that those other candidates for RB deserved it more sounded too personal. What’s important is how everyone else wearing the US shirt feel and whether they feel Chandler deserves it.


  6. Posted by @Fixturewire on 2014/05/08 at 12:11 PM

    For me I think the obvious no-go you have in the 23 is Edu. I have not once been impressed with any of his performances in this World Cup cycle and he just is not worth wasting a spot in such a heavily covered position. With Edu out, that opens up one spot in the 23 that should obviously go to Diskerud. However, If Edu somehow magically makes the 23, I still rate Mix over Bedoya because of their relative performances for the team.

    The next debate is who gets the third Forward spot: EJ or Wondo? While I prefer Wondo, as a player and person, you cannot make this decision in a vacuum given the teams we are facing. Given how goals will likely come in a tournament format like the World Cup set pieces will be key, and EJ has shown he can come up big in dead ball situations (as has Wondo). Although the key for me is that I would not mind having EJ’s speed running against tired legs in the South American heat. In the end I think it comes down to which of the two can create a moment of magic “on their own” in the closing minutes of a game. While Wondo is a good clean up man, I have never seen this as part of his skill set. EJ with his speed alone has the chance to creat something on his own, so EJ goes to Brazil.

    For me the once obvious player in the 23 I would not want near the squad right now is Gonzalez. I have seen literally nothing from him that would warrant him being more than cover on the bench. So why waste the spot when you have so much utility coverage from Cameron and Parkhurst let alone if we did end up bringing in a player like Ream? For me it seems like a wasted spot on a tight roster.


  7. Posted by Chazcar2 on 2014/05/08 at 1:07 PM

    Johnson as the Right Fullback is the biggest thing I see overlooked by media in general. He is regularly playing there for his club and has played there for USMNT. Johnson as the starting Right fullback completely changes the roster in my mind. I can then slide cameron to CB and I now need to be more conservative at the left fullback. Given Ream’s resurgence it makes sense to put him in and to be more aggressive on our right flank. Beasley drops out of the 18 (makes reserves as a backup LFB). Now you have Johnson’s pace and skill the deal with Ronaldo, Asamoah, or Schuller. He would be backed up by Cameron. Everyone in our backline would be fairly quick and have decent agility. It might lack the strength we would really want, but honestly only Onewyu brings that to the table, Goodson and Gonzalez both under use their size advantage. So see below

    MY starting lineup. 4-3-1-2

    In the 18: Guzan, Parkhurst, Goodson, Jones, Diskerud, Johannsson, Donovan
    In the 23: Rimando, Beasley, Gonzalez, Davis, Boyd
    Rest of the 30: Onewyu, Chandler, Evans, Castillo, Edu, Greene, Wondolowski,
    Next in: Brooks, Johnson

    Big deals:
    1. Donovan not starting. Bedoya and Zusi deserve the start on the wing. Donovan can come in for either as necessary. How much of a boost would seeing the leading goal scorer for the US coming onto the field? If he has the mentality for it then we could have an amazing advantage. I see whoever of Zusi or Bedoya needs to come out more at 60 minutes being replaced by Donovan.
    2. Jones not starting. This is all about Bradley maximization. If Jones can overcome himself and play the CDM then he deserves to start. Also if anything happens to Bradley or if I feel the need to rest him I can see jones coming on in that same position. Jones’s energy, ability and tenacity could really lift the team as a sub too. Take beckerman off and bring on jones and you have a more aggressive team, but I don’t think we want to start games that way.

    Other thoughts: Parkhurst makes the team and is on my bench. He can cover injury to the whole back 4 without me have to move anyone around (see gold cup 2011 final). Onewyu has a real shot to overtake goodson/gonzalez. Greene doesn’t make the 23. Its enough that he makes the 30 as a reward for his committment to the US. He just hasn’t shown anything to deserve the spot. I would be really disappointed with Klinsman for including him.


  8. Posted by schroeder on 2014/05/08 at 2:09 PM

    no Zelalem? 😉


  9. Posted by Crow on 2014/05/08 at 2:48 PM

    I’m a Philly fan and I’ve watched a lot of Maurice Edu this year. He has been an absolute monster- its unbelievable how much ground he is covering/fires being putting out. He needs to have a good camp but would be an asset. At the same time I do hope Diskerud somehow makes it because he has a skillset nobody else does on the roster.


    • Posted by KickinNames... on 2014/05/09 at 11:17 AM

      Edu reminds me a lot of the love that casuals have for Ramirez on Chelsea. Lots of running and pace and energy but the IMO end product lacks that level of class that a strong side needs. Especially in distributing/passing the ball with any sort of tactical nous. All the noise and speed and running seem to distract people from the fact that he’s just not dependable as a hub CM especially with that back 4. A big part of protection is distributing the ball to maximum effectiveness.


  10. Posted by chris_thebassplayer on 2014/05/08 at 10:59 PM

    I think it will be Cameron and Besler in the middle, so I’m hopeful that Chandler will be accepted back into the fold. I’d like to see Ream given a real look at LB. I know that’s a stretch at this point. JK is nuts for Evans and Parkhurst…the projected D is quite scary

    It’s a long shot but, I hope it’s Chandler… Cameron… Besler…Ream or Fab

    I agree we need three Dmids, JJ, Beckerman and another athletic destroyer, but Mo drives me nuts when he’s on the ball. He scrapes it off someone and promptly gives it right back. I thought Williams had returned and was healthy…if he truly is, I’d take him over Mo. He’s a little more comfortable on the ball and can shoot if the opportunity is there.

    I’m hoping JK decides against taking Green. He’s slight and hasn’t physically matured yet. I fear he’d take a hip and shoulder beating on every contested ball. He’s not strong enough to defend himself from getting hurt.

    I don’t think Mix gives us enough up field to make the 23…too many other options we could use there.

    I go back and forth on the Davis thing.If Green and Mix don’t make it do we have the luxury to bring a deadball specialist. I’m leaning towards yes. He’s the only guy I would trust to deliver a pinpoint cross off a free kick if we’re crashing the box late.

    I think both Boyd and Wondo make it with EJ bowing out with a bad hammy.

    I have this gut feeling that JK has big plans for Boyd.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2014/05/09 at 5:26 AM

      I prefer Williams as well.


      • I would positively trust Zusi and Donovan to deliver crosses, free kicks or otherwise. I’d love to see Cameron and Besler shielding Howard but I don’t think JK is going to pull the plug on Gonzales after grooming him for over a year now. Maybe Berti Vogts will whisper in Klinsmann’s ear and change his mind. I think Vogts will have a definite influence on our final 23 man roster and even the starting lineups.


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2014/05/09 at 8:14 AM

          In watching Azerbaijan game tape, they were–like most Germany teams–mostly positionally disciplined and used the wings to get wide.

          I personally think Voigts was brought in to improve a defense that continued to get shredded under Vasquez.


        • Posted by chris_thebassplayer on 2014/05/10 at 3:55 PM

          Gino, yeah, I didn’t mean to short LD and Zusi, they deliver a nice ball and give you so much more on the field, but Davis’ delivery is on another level. Kind of esoteric, but he’s got a wicked dropping bender, that is tougher to defend..drops right down on top of his target. LD and Zusi deliver a flatter driven ball with less bend…a little easier for a defender to step in front of. It’s all moot. JK probably can’t afford to burn a roster spot on a specialist…much as I’d like to see what Davis could do with the potential high end set pieces that Voigts and JK will come up with. We got a sneak peek of one on MB’s goal against Mexico…beautiful back post isolation play.


  11. I know it is cautious to go with 8 defenders, but I agree with you, in taking 7. The conventional wisdom takes into account injuries and suspensions, but I feel there is enough positional flexibility with Cameron and Parkhurst to provide cover across the back four. This means that you have an ‘extra’ spot for an impact sub.

    Question: what system / personnel do you think Klinsmann will employ against each group opponent?

    I keep on hearing ‘diamond’ [or some variation of it] but in my mind, that system puts even more emphasis on the full backs to provide width. Not sure I like that considering the offensive talent you’re going to be up against. Plus, I’d personally want two players protecting the back four instead of one.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2014/05/09 at 8:12 AM

      You can count on the fact that at least against Ghana it will be Michael Bradley back there and it will be the customary asymmetrical 4-2-3-1.

      I could see the US sitting deep against Portugal with Beckerman/Edu virtually not moving from the right channel in that same 4-2-3-1. Edu sat the channel against Mexico with Dos Santos’s incutting — you have to think Klinsmann-Voigts will employ similar against Portugal.

      No idea on Germany yet.


      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2014/05/09 at 9:08 AM

        I think vs. Ghana, it will be a [more] positive line up — a draw isn’t the worst result, but considering who comes next, a win is required if you want a realistic chance of progressing. Because the last thing you’d want is *having* to get a win against Portugal and Germany.

        In you’re 4-2-3-1, guessing you want Beckerman as the anchorman, and Bradley as the advanced playmaker / box -to-box hybrid [depending on possession]?

        I agree that you’re going to clog up the middle and minimise the space between the lines vs. Portugal. Problem with defending against Ronaldo is that he can go either way [unlike Robben for example]. Will be interesting to see how much he switches flanks and drops deep during the game.


        • George, I agree. The US have to attack Ghana and go for the win in that first game. They’ll need the 3 points going into their game with Portugal, who hopefully will lose to Germany in their first game. In that scenario, Portugal will need to push forward against the Nats, making themselves vulnerable to counterattacks. If the US can go into their third game against Germany with 4, or dare I dream 6 points, they won’t be playing with their backs to the wall. Even with “only” 4 points leading into the Germany match, the hope here is that the Germans will have 6 points from their games against Portugal and Ghana and can take their foot off the petal (our throats?) in that last group game.


  12. Just a report from Seattle. In the past two matches Evans has scored an own goal and fouled in the box for a penalty. So if we feel like spotting our opponents a goal, by all means take Evans. And he is SLOW. I hope we would play someone who will not be reading the back of Renaldo’s shirt. Also, he’s just back from a calf injury and has a history of brittleness.


    • Posted by jb on 2014/05/10 at 7:25 AM

      Yeah I think injury and form keeps Evans off the plane. EJ might miss for the same reason, opening up a spot for Boyd or Wondo (maybe both?). LD and Gonzo both minor injury issues but they certainly make the camp to see where they’re at.


  13. Posted by Rafael on 2014/05/10 at 12:12 AM

    I think Cameron, Parkhurst, and F. Johnson are so versatile in playing multiple positions, that I would bring in only 6 defenders. Drop the seventh defender Evans, and his spot could go to an extra mid or forward like Mix, Boyd, or Wondo.


    • Agreed. With Cameron, Gonzalez, Besler, Goodson, Parkhurst, Beasley (and F. Johnson), each position on the back line would still have at least 3 players capable of stepping-in. We’re far more likely to need (and use) an extra attacking player than we are another defender.


  14. Posted by D on 2014/05/10 at 5:09 AM

    I think Yedlin is ready. He should be on that plane. I have feeling that if he keeps progressing, he will be the best LB we have ever produced.


  15. […] telling. The following visualization comes from adding up the picks of Steven Goff, Matthew Doyle, Matthew Tomaszewicz, Brian Sciaretta, Liviu Bird, Jeff Carlisle, Doug McIntyre, Adrian Melville, Alex Labidou, and […]


  16. Like the overall roster and 7 defenders. Would rather see Williams instead of Edu. Drop Parkhurst or Goodson, add Mix, and move FJ back to RB. I know Parkhurst is versatile so I would almost rather not see Goodson on the plane.

    ? starting lineup for friendlies (hopefully) 4-2-3-1


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2014/05/12 at 8:47 AM

      Don’t think you can start Johannsson, especially against Ghana. At least let those centerbacks bang on Jozy for awhile.


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