By: Colin Reese
Here are the 23 footballers that World Soccer Source believes that the United States Men’s National Team needs for the 2014 World Cup as of March 2014.
These are not the players that Jürgen Klinsmann will likely select, but they are the players that World Soccer Source wishes to see on the USA 2014 World Cup roster.
Readers will see proven veterans like Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley plus proven American players who have seen limited USMNT playing time such as Joe Corona, Mix Diskerud, and Juan Agudelo, and readers will also see USA veterans like Benny Feilhaber, Eric Lichaj, and Jonathan Spector all of whom have been frozen out by Klinsmann.
Finally, readers will see new and/or internationally-inexperienced players like Chris Klute, Shane O’Neill, DeAndre Yedlin, Andrew Farrell, and Benji Joya, and these players are included because the United States needs better defenders plus a complete midfielder like Benji Joya who is one of the only Number 8s in the American player pool, in addition to being an attacking midfielder than can be used anywhere in the midfield.
Some of the fan favorites and Klinsmann favorites such as Graham Zusi, Omar Gonzalez, and Matt Besler have been excluded from World Soccer Source’s preferred 23-man World Cup roster, and they are excluded because players such as Joe Corona, Michael Orozco, and Shane O’Neill are more talented than they are – plus all three contain the tools to be better at the international level which has been on display either in club football or in the U-20 World Cup.
23 Footballers for the USA roster for the 2014 World Cup:
GOALKEEPERS: Tim HOWARD, Brad GUZAN, Nick RIMANDO.
CENTER BACKS: Geoff CAMERON, Michael OROZCO, Shane O’NEILL, Andrew FARRELL.
OUTSIDE BACKS: Jonathan SPECTOR, Eric LICHAJ, DeAndre YEDLIN, Chris KLUTE.
CENTRAL MIDFIELDERS: Michael BRADLEY, Jermaine JONES, Maurice EDU, Benji JOYA.
ATTACKING MIDFIELDERS: Clint DEMPSEY, Landon DONOVAN, Benny FEILHABER, Mix DISKERUD, Joe CORONA.
STRIKERS: Jozy ALTIDORE, Aron JÓHANNSSON, Juan AGUDELO.
– Geoff Cameron, Maurice Edu, and Shane O’Neill can play as center backs or as defensive midfielders.
– Joe Corona excels as a playmaker or as an attacking midfielder out wide on the left or on the right.
– Only three strikers are included because Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, and Joe Corona can all play the second striker or supporting striker role.
– Benji Joya is included for both his status as one of the best and most exciting young American players and for his completeness as a midfielder. Joya is one of the only players that can replace Michael Bradley, and Joya is a central midfielder that can also play anywhere in the midfield whether it be in a more defensive-minded or more attack-minded role. Joya is internationally-inexperienced, but he is proven against Paul Pogba.
-Eric Lichaj and Jonathan Spector are the logical outside backs to take to Brazil, and Chris Klute and DeAndre Yedlin are regarded by many as the two best outside backs in MLS.
-Andrew Farrell had an outstanding rookie season as Yedlin did, and Farrell is a versatile player who can excel as a center back or as a outside back. The United States needs to incorporate young defenders like Farrell, Klute, Yedlin, and O’Neill because the American defense isn’t good enough to omit them.
-Michael Orozco is one of the most underrated American players, but his overall skill-set as a footballer and as a defender in addition to his speed and quickness make him a center back that the United States will need in Brazil as he can keep up with attackers better than Omar Gonzalez or Matt Besler.
– The United States needs skilled and fast center backs, and Shane O’Neill’s play in the U-20 World Cup and his 2013 MLS season were widely regarded as evidence of a player with the tools needed out of a center back at the international level. O’Neill also plays as a defensive midfielder, right back, or left back.
– This roster includes all of the players needed to start an experienced and talented USMNT XI, but it also includes part of the new crop of American players that bolster the talent and quality of the United States.
Who would this writer start to give the USMNT a proven XI?
HOWARD; SPECTOR, OROZCO, CAMERON, LICHAJ; JONES, BRADLEY; DONOVAN, FEILHABER, DEMPSEY; ALTIDORE.
Who would this writer start for a really proactive, aggressive, and adventurous USA XI?
HOWARD; YEDLIN, FARRELL, CAMERON KLUTE; BRADLEY, JOYA; CORONA, JOYA, DEMPSEY; AGUDELO.