The USA’s January camp is behind us, this World Cup year begun with training in Sao Paulo and an unconvincing victory over South Korea last weekend. Coach Jurgen has begun his stretch run of evaluation, giving looks to the MLS-based contingent in camp while continuing to watch and track the European and Mexico-based players.
Interesting about Jurgen: he espouses a lot of new-age philosophy, talks about mindset, attitude, leaving the door open for players. But when it’s come down to it, he’s been very regimented about bringing players in, having them earn their spots over time. He’s looked at a lot, but you get the sense he’s much less likely to drop a surprise on us than his predecessors.
That said, we have significant questions about the team’s back-line, the attacking midfield spots, as well as how many forwards should make the roster. Guys are hurt, guys aren’t playing (or aren’t playing well), and MLS is still a month from kicking off. We’ll know a lot more when the March 5 friendly in Ukraine rolls around.
For now, though, it’s time to roll out the Beemsville 23: our picks (not who we think Jurgen will take) for the World Cup, based on numerous scientific factors like watching the players on TV (some more than others), FIFA 2014-PS3 edition, the opinions of soccer writers and podcasters, and the proverbial gut feeling.
Goalkeepers (3): Tim Howard (Everton), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake). Easy choices here.
Defenders (7): Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Matt Besler (Kansas City), Omar Gonzalez (L.A. Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Timothy Chandler (FC Nurenburg), DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin). Chandler is the wild-card in this group, but I’d much rather have him lining up in Brazil. John Brooks’ spot is the shakiest; Oguchi Onyewu and Clarence Goodson could slide in here.
Midfielders (8): Michael Bradley (Toronto), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas), Graham Zusi (Kansas City), Clint Dempsey (Seattle), Landon Donovan (L.A. Galaxy), Mix Diskerud (Rosenburg), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake). You could see another attacking option here, like Brek Shea or Joe Corona. Guys like Mo Edu and Danny Williams will be eyeing Beckerman’s spot also.
Forwards (5): Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Eddie Johnson (D.C. United), Juan Agudelo (FC Utrecht), Mike Magee (Chicago Fire). Whoa! Here’s some brashness for you… We have a feeling Agudelo will start scoring goals in the Dutch League, and you like a dynamic (and unpredictable) guy like him. Magee will be this cycle’s Buddle/Gomez – he’ll continue scoring in MLS, forcing his way on the team. He’s also a versatile guy. We could easily see Herculez or Terrence Boyd making their cases also.
Starters against Ghana (June 15):
Cameron————–Gonzalez —————Besler————F. Johnson