Under Jürgen Klinsmann, the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) rosters continue to be puzzling and bizarre, and there has been a pattern of omitting too many of the best American players.
This will not be a prediction of Klinsmann’s 23-man roster.
Midfielders Sebastian Lletget and Ethan Finlay should be newcomers to the National Team on the upcoming roster, and American fans will see if Klinsmann snubs these players when the roster is announced.
Klinsmann needs to select a core group of experienced players to prepare for the Confederations Cup playoff game against Mexico in October, but these experienced players aren’t necessarily players Klinsmann has regularly selected.
In goal, Klinsmann must choose three goalkeepers, and Brad Guzan and William Yarbrough should be two of them. The third goalkeeper is anyone’s guess. Clint Irwin, Bill Hamid, Luis Robles, Tally Hall, and Nick Rimando are all worthy of this third spot.
Center back continues to be a problem for the United States. Ventura Alvarado and John Brooks were scapegoated for the Americans’ poor performance in the Gold Cup, but maybe this experience created some chemistry between the young center backs.
There are calls for Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler to return as the starters, but these two probably aren’t the answer to truly improve the center of the American defense.
Maurice Edu and Geoff Cameron would be a stronger pairing as these two are more experienced, more talented, and more athletic.
The likelihood of being wrong-footed and burned by Peru and Brazil is lower with these two.
To back these two up, Andrew Farrell and Matt Miazga from MLS are two of the best young American center backs around. Edu, Cameron, Miazga, and Farrell would be a nice combination of experienced center backs and new options. Farrell in particular has all the tools to make the center of the American defense harder to beat with speed, skill, or both.
As for the outside backs, Eric Lichaj and DeAndre Yedlin stand out at right back. Lichaj is proven at the international level and in the English Premier League, and Yedlin has shown himself to be a young right back that is hard to get past, even if he has been virtually unused by Tottenham Hotspur.
At left back, Greg Garza and Chris Tierney are the two standouts. Garza has performed well for the United States and in Liga MX, whereas Tierney is widely-considered one of the best left backs in MLS. Veteran DaMarcus Beasley would be another strong option for the two friendlies and the playoff with Mexico.
There are better American midfielders now than in the past, and along with veteran Benny Feilhaber, Sebastian Lletget, Ethan Finlay, Dillon Powers, Perry Kitchen, and Kellyn Acosta stand out amongst the current player pool.
Kitchen and Acosta are defensive midfielders, while Powers is more of a box-to-box midfielder than attacking midfielders like Lletget and Finlay.
Feilhaber, an attacking midfielder by trade, has become something of a box-to-box midfielder, but Lletget is really just an attacking midfielder that excels centrally or out wide.
Finlay’s combination of speed and skill has been impressive in MLS, and he fits in nicely with the National Team out wide either as a midfielder or forward. Both Lletget and Finlay are arguably starters for the National Team, and a strong argument can be made that both are more technically-skilled and smoother than Alejandro Bedoya.
Michael Bradley is an obvious inclusion on the roster, and hopefully Klinsmann stops deploying him out of position as an attacking midfielder.
The U.S. has better forward options than Klinsmann’s previous rosters have indicated, and Juan Agudelo, Rubio Rubin, and Charlie Davies deserve to be called up.
Picking Bradford Jamieson IV would be an inspired pick by Klinsmann for the 23rd spot, and Jamieson should be incorporated into the National Team sooner rather than later.
Jamieson brings real 1v1 skill and electric speed and quickness, and he offers the National Team the chance to actually attack teams like Peru and Brazil with real unpredictability and speed.
Many will dismiss Jamieson as too young and inexperienced, but he’s both the real deal and the most exciting young American player in the entire talent pool.
Rubin, Jamieson, and Finlay are likely the future American attacking trident. They’re all ready to be on the roster right now.
For the upcoming September friendlies, World Soccer Source backs the following 23-man USA roster:
Goalkeepers (3)- Brad Guzan, William Yarbrough, Clint Irwin
Defenders (8)- Geoff Cameron, Maurice Edu, Andrew Farrell, Matt Miazga, DeAndre Yedlin, Eric Lichaj, Greg Garza, Chris Tierney
Midfielders (7)- Michael Bradley, Dillon Powers, Kellyn Acosta, Perry Kitchen, Benny Feilhaber, Sebastian Lletget, Ethan Finlay
Forwards (5)- Clint Dempsey, Charlie Davies, Juan Agudelo, Rubio Rubin, Bradford Jamieson IV