Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann announced the final roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil last Thursday.
So how close were my predictions? Let’s see….
- Brad Guzan (Aston Villa)
- Tim Howard (Everton)
- Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Check, check & check. Got ’em all. This was easy though…
- DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla)
- Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City)
- John Brooks (Hertha Berlin)
- Geoff Cameron (Stoke City)
- Timmy Chandler (Nürnberg)
- Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC)
- Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy)
Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes)
- Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim)
Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew)
- DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)
I’ll admit I’m a little surprised at Goodson’s exclusion. I don’t know enough about Brooks & Chandler to weight in there, but it looks like Besler & Gonzalez are the only two centerbacks and probably starters by default. Not sure if some combination of other players can squeeze in there when the inevitable cards & injuries become a concern.
- Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake)
- Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes)
- Michael Bradley (Toronto FC)
- Joe Corona (Club Tijuana)
- Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo)
- Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg)
- Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union)
- Julian Green (Bayern Munich)
- Jermaine Jones (Besiktas)
- Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Not any real surprises here. Edu is the odd man out in the middle of the field that will likely be held down be some combination of Bradley, Jones, Beckerman, & Diskerud. The outside mid positions will be fought over by Bedoya, Davis, Green, & Zusi. Zusi is probably the only lock out of the outside mids.
- Jozy Altidore (Sunderland)
- Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna)
- Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC)
- Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy)
- Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar)
- Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
I had no surprises here, although the internet exploded over Landon Donovan’s exclusion. I’ll say that he may be worthy of inclusion, but he never really seemed to be in Klinsmann’s plans and his injury setbacks didn’t help him any. I suspect if anyone goes down in either the midfield or forward lines that Donovan will be the first name called up.
So overall, what is there to gather from Klinsmann’s selection?
With the exception of Beckerman, and perhaps Davis, this is a very athletic team. Most of these guys have played together to varying degrees over the years, but there are also lots of unfamiliar faces (Yedlin, Green, Brooks, Johnson, Bedoya) who have not played together as much. Klinsmann will have a big challenge ahead of him to integrate these players.
The average age of the entire team is 27.8 with only 9 of the 23 over age 30, but three of those are goalies so don’t really count (the older the better, like fine wine). Out of the over-30 field players Davis is the only one I’d consider “old”. Beasley & Jones are probably among the most fit on the team and can probably outrun the youngster Julian Green (age 19).
Brad Guzan, 30
Clint Dempsey, 31
Chris Wondolowski, 31
DaMarcus Beasley, 32
Kyle Beckerman, 32
Brad Davis, 33
Jermaine Jones, 33
Tim Howard, 35
Nick Rimando, 35
I’m curious to see what the three youngsters Green (19), Brooks (21), and Yedlin (21) can bring to the table. Will they be like a young Beasley & Donovan back in 2002? Or will they just serve to prevent the bench from flying away in a stiff breeze?
Only three of the players are under 5’10”, and that’s Green (5’7″), Beasley (5’8″), and Yedlin (5’8″). 15 players are over 6′ tall including likely starters Gonzalez (6’5″), Cameron (6’3″), Bradley (6’2″), Dempsey & Altidore (6’1″). Free kicks and corners will be a very important factor in the success of this team.
Mix Diskerud 6-0
Aron Johannsson 6-0
Matt Besler 6-0
Fabian Johnson 6-0
Chris Wondolowski 6-0
Jermaine Jones 6-0
Timothy Chandler 6-1
Jozy Altidore 6-1
Clint Dempsey 6-1
Michael Bradley 6-2
Geoff Cameron 6-3
Tim Howard 6-3
John Brooks 6-4
Brad Guzan 6-4
Omar Gonzalez 6-5
All three lines are weighted evenly, meaning there are 8 defenders (4 starters & 4 backups), 8 midfielders (4 starters & 4 backups), and 4 forwards (2 starters & 2 backups) which implies that there will be some variation of a 442 that will be played “most” of the time.
Ten of the players are from MLS, and the rest from various countries.