This isn’t a roster prediction or projection, rather this is a roster proposal, which advocates for a group of players to look to continue to improve the United States Men’s National Team.
Guessing which players Jürgen Klinsmann will call up is next to impossible, and while Klinsmann has enjoyed recent success, there are still areas for improvement in the quest to make the United States a top national team.
This writer would argue that Klinsmann has shown some improvement in his formations and tactics, but this writer would also argue that Klinsmann is doing two things wrong: overlooking many players that could improve the United States and not starting all of the best players at each position together.
USMNT September Roster Proposal
GOALKEEPERS: Tim HOWARD, Brad GUZAN, Nick RIMANDO
CENTER BACKS: John Anthony BROOKS, Shane O’NEILL (also an outside back and defensive midfielder), Andrew FARRELL (also an outside back)
OUTSIDE BACKS: Eric LICHAJ, Chris KLUTE, DeAndre YEDLIN, Kofi SARKODIE
DEFENSIVE AND BOX-TO-BOX MIDFIELDERS: Geoff CAMERON (also a defender), Michael BRADLEY, Jermaine JONES, Benji JOYA
ATTACKING MIDFIELDERS: Clint DEMPSEY, Landon DONOVAN, Benny FEILHABER, Joe Benny CORONA, Mix DISKERUD
STRIKERS: Jozy ALTIDORE, Juan AGUDELO, Aron JÓHANNSSON, Gyasi ZARDES
-Geoff Cameron is listed as a midfielder because of Cameron’s ability to thrive as a midfield destroyer, but Cameron is also a center back and outside back, which means that the roster does in fact have eight defenders.
-Benny Feilhaber is on the roster despite a long absence from the national team because of his current MLS club form, his proven-ability to perform as a playmaker against top national teams, and his ability to bring creativity and high-caliber passing to the team. World Soccer Source is a strong backer of Benny Feilhaber.
-The American defense has been a problem, and changing it seems like a necessary action to take. New defenders like Shane O’Neill, Andrew Farrell, DeAndre Yedlin, Chris Klute, and Kofi Sarkodie are probably needed at this point to look to improve defensive weaknesses that truly are a problem for the USMNT.
-John Anthony Brooks answered any questions people had about him when he put in a very strong showing against Bosnia and Herzegovina. Getting Brooks to play for the United States instead of Germany was quite the achievement for the United States, especially since Brooks was born and raised in Germany and a product of German football.
-Like Brooks, Aron Jóhannsson proved his worth against Bosnia (not to mention with AZ Alkmaar), and the United States snatched up another player who is essentially from another country (Iceland) but who is also a U.S. citizen.
-Gyasi Zardes is on World Soccer Source’s USMNT September Roster Proposal for World Cup qualifying because Zardes’ combination of skill, size, speed, aggressive attacking, and total fearlessness makes him a player who can be valuable to use to disrupt defenses and score if Altidore or the other strikers aren’t having success. Zardes should prove to be more than just a striker the national team uses late in the game to terrorize tired defenses, but right now, using a skilled freak of nature like Zardes late in games should prove to be a handful for opposing defenders. Zardes leads MLS in shots, and there’s nothing wrong with a skilled, athletic, and fearless striker who simply doesn’t care if it takes him 10 shots to score.
The United States Men’s National Team has reached a point where it can compete with top national teams when the right combination of players are started together.
Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Tim Howard, and Jozy Altidore are the keys to the team, but playing Geoff Cameron as the midfield destroyer allows Bradley to be a bigger part of the American attack. Additionally, Landon Donovan hasn’t been reincorporated into the A Team.
Using Cameron as a midfield destroyer with Bradley as a box-to-box midfielder gives Clint Dempsey and another attacking midfielder like Joe Benny Corona midfielders who can fulfill more of the defensive duties in the midfield while still be vital protagonists in the USMNT’s passing and attack.
This combination of Cameron and Bradley behind attacking midfielders like Donovan, Corona, and Dempsey who themselves are behind Altidore looks to be perhaps the soundest strategy for the United States right now.
The defense is a problem. John Anthony Brooks looks to be a starter already at one of the center back spots, but some major changes need to take place in the American defense.
This writer advocates using Chris Klute at left back and Andrew Farrell at right back, in order to bring better defending, technical ability, and speed to the outside back positions. Right now, Farrell looks to be a better defender than DeAndre Yedlin, but Yedlin might be better going forward. Nevertheless, both Farrell and Yedlin are skilled at attacking from outside back positions.
As for Brooks’ center back partner, Shane O’Neill is a viable option despite his age and lack of much international experience. Many observers view this as risky, but there seems to be a lot of evidence that O’Neill is simply a better athlete, player, and defender than both Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler. That’s controversial to many observers and experts, but so be it.
Who would this writer advocate starting in the next USMNT World Cup qualifier?
USMNT Starting XI Proposal (4-2-3-1):
Tim HOWARD; Andrew FARRELL, Shane O’NEILL, John Anthony BROOKS, Chris KLUTE; Geoff CAMERON, Michael BRADLEY; Landon DONOVAN, Joe Benny CORONA, Clint DEMPSEY; Jozy ALTIDORE.