This will be the first of many predictions about the roster (we are going to try to do this on the first of every month), and it will be based on a player's club and national team performances. Each position will start with the player who has the strongest chance, down to the player with the most to prove in order to keep their spot. For the Gold Cup the teams in CONCACAF listed a 35-man preliminary roster before selecting their 23. I like this format, because it will give us a good look at the fringe players, there are never just 1 or 2 of them, and on this US roster there are lots of guys waiting in the wings. I will always pick 3 keepers, 7 defenders, 8 mids, and 5 strikers.
I also want to make it clear that I have no inside information or influence, this is all speculation based on statistical analysis, hours of game footage and quotes from Coach Klinsmann
Now lets get this started. August edition of our World Cup Roster Prediction
Tim Howard, G - For now, this is Klinsmann's best option at keeper. If he loses his spot at Everton, it may pave the way to having Guzan start. Retirement or Injury would be the only thing keeping him off this roster.
Brad Guzan, G - Can do anything Howard can do, and has the advantage of youth. Keeper 1B, the unfortunate truth about keepers is that you need the guy ahead of you to falter for you to take their job.
Nick Rimando, G - There is a chance that one of the young guys will go for future experience, but I think Rimando earned his spot following the Gold Cup.
Matt Beslar, D - Arguably the best defender in the player pool, unlike his defensive partners very little has been negative about him (exception being the turnover against Honduras in WCQ).
DaMarcus Beasley, D - The veteran may have to fight for his starting spot during the upcoming qualifiers, but his experience is invaluable, and the ability to play LB or LM will be useful.
Clarence Goodson, D - Might have forced Gonzalez out of the starting line-up with a great Gold Cup. Consistency is the only thing keeping this young man out of the 11.
Fabian Johnson, D - With the addition of new options at LM, Johnson should move back into defense to compete for LB or RB. Versatility is the name of the game.
Omar Gonzalez, D - Clearly Klinsmann wants this guy to be the starter, but he needs to prove it. 2013 has been a weak year at all levels for Omar.
Geoff Cameron, D - Jack of all trades, master of none. Can play all 4 defense spots and CM, he figures to be a prominent player plugging any hole we need.
Michael Parkhurst, D - A Klinsmann favorite, on the roster for all but 1 WCQ thus far, had a solid Gold cup and can play any spot in defense. Could contend at RB but if Chandler or Cherundolo get healthy he could miss out.
Michael Bradley, M - This is the leader of this team, the US's weakest performances in the Klinsmann era have been played without Bradley.
Graham Zusi, M - His performances with the National Team this year have been incredible, and following the Gold Cup he is clearly the best option at RM.
Jermaine Jones, M - Klinsmann likes the veteran's mean streak, and the US needs an enforcer for lack of a better term. Age and injury may catch up with him, but his play with Bradley has been excellent. A possession style game may move him to the bench.
Maurice Edu, M - Great back-up in central mid and even in defense. Shouldn't play much except off the bench to ice a game.
Mix Diskerud, M - The Gold Cup was a revelation for this young man, and I think given a few more looks he will earn his spot. The team has holding mids, but this young may be the best central mid creator in the pool.
Brek Shea, M - Shea went down with an injury in a friendly days ago, if he is healthy he is on this roster, his ability off the bench is phenomenal…that being said, knee injuries are always iffy.
Joe Corona, M - Great to see the young man get extended run-outs in the Gold Cup. Can play wide, can play inside, can play left can play right. Still a few years removed a being a big contributor, but a great role player
Jozy Altidore, F - Unless Jozy completely bombs out at Sunderland, this is your starting striker. In my opinion, the EPL competition will only help him.
Clint Dempsey, F - Oh Captain My Captain, I worry a little bit about his playing time with Tottenham, but they have FA Cup, Capital One, Europa League and the EPL…he will find playing time somehow.
Eddie Johnson, F - A fixture since Klinsmann called him last fall, appeared in all 14 games he has been on the roster for. Can play wing or striker, great energy off the bench, the US's ideal 12th man after Brek Shea
Landon Donovan, F - The only question now is "Where will he play?" both in terms of his position on the field with the US and in 2014. 5 goals and 8 assists over 6 games, we haven't seen that from a US player in a while.
Terrence Boyd, F - Weird to think of him as the striker of the future when he is only a little younger than Jozy, but Klinsmann likes the young man. Still unproven at the international level, hasn't had much of a run-out since Scotland in 2012.
Hercules Gomez, F - Has taken a few knocks lately and with the re-emergence of Jozy, Herc has taken a back seat. If he gets healthy he will be on the preliminary roster and could get the call because of his ability to play wide, but age is a factor
Ok, ok so I lied this time and picked 6 strikers, but no one really knows where Donovan is going to play with this team. Gomez, E. Johnson, & Dempsey have also played and been listed in the midfield, so versitility is the name of the game. Now this isn't necessarily the roster I'd like to see, but I think it is the roster that is the most likely to be chosen by Klinsmann.
Now lets round out this list with the 12 guys on the fence, ranked from best chance to worst.
Kyle Beckerman, M - A Klinsmann favorite who will miss out because of younger, more capable players in the same position. First guy called if a CM is dropped.
Timmy Chandler, D - Does he know where his phone is? Klinsmann needs a RB, this guy was supposed to be that guy. If he ever gets back into the fold, he will likely be on the plane to Brazil (whether he enjoys the flight or not is another story)
Chris Wondolowski, F - 6 goals gets you noticed. 6 goals against Guatemala, Cuba and Belize do not. I think Wondo merits another look against a bigger team, but he just doesn't do enough for a World Cup squad that will require you to be World Class at your primary position or extremely versatile, he is neither…shame really
Sean Johnson, G - The #1 young goalkeeper, it's really a coin flip to see if its him or Rimando that goes as the 3rd keeper, I think Johnson will just miss out this time, but should he move overseas in January it could be a whole new ballgame
Steve Cherundolo, D - I love Dolo. He is one of my favorite US player of the past 10 years. If he's healthy, he may go. But I think Klinsman is going to go with youth. Dolo has yet to see the field in 2013.
Jose Torres, M - Solid gold cup, unbeatable left foot…just plays a position we have stocked with talent, and the position he is forced into a lot (LM) is just a little awkward.
Brad Evans, D - I think Evans could play GK if necessary. Will probably get a look in upcoming WCQ at RB but I think maybe it's time to look at his Sounders Teamate that regularly plays that position, DeAndre Yedlin.
Alejandro Bedoya, M - His semi-final and final performances in the Gold Cup where very good, hopefully will get some looks in WCQ especially with Shea likely out for the next few.
Michael Orozco, D - Versatile defender, merits another look, but buried behind more talented players. Would be interesting to see him play RB, the spot he plays in at Puebla.
Edgar Castillo, M/D - A defender who can't defend? No thank you. Solid in attack, but we have better options at LM. I want to stop pretending Castillo is a LB, he was embarrassed by Germany and Cuba
Danny Williams, M - Another Klinsmann favorite who has dropped off the face of the earth. Needs a rebirth at Reading, but there are a lot of holding mids ahead of him on this US roster, he and Edu are too similar and Edu has more experience.
Stuart Holden, M - Does anyone have worse luck than Stuart Holden? This injury will keep him out for the rest of the WCQ and that likely means he won't have a shot at the World Cup. This truly is a shame, I wish him a speedy recovery and I hope to see him on the field again.
Now there are a few younger players who haven't really seen a lot of time with the team, as you can clearly see, I've listed a ton of right backs and I have a ton more that I feel merit a look (see a blog coming soon), I hope to see what these younger guys can do, and there is always the potential of a few older guys working their way into the mix.
Disagree with me? This someone else deserves to be mentioned. Post a comment below, I'd be more than happy to defend these choices and exclusions, I'm always up for a little lighthearted debate when it comes to our boys representing the stars and stripes.
Check in on September 1st for our next edition