United States World Cup Roster Predictions

Christian Petersen

Jurgen Klinsmann is rumored to be releasing his 30-man preliminary roster later on today, and our crack staff is going to take a guess at who he's calling in and who gets the 23 spots on that plane to Brazil.

Sometime later this afternoon, the United States will release their preliminary 30-man World Cup roster, exactly one month before the tournament kicks off in Brazil. Between now and the USA's opener against Ghana on June 16, the USMNT will play three friendies: May 27 vs. Azerbaijan (San Francisco, CA); June 1 vs. Turkey (Red Bull Arena, Harrison, NJ); June 7 vs. Nigeria (Jacksonville, FL).

Those three games and the next month or so of training camp will determine who will make the final roster for Jurgen Klinsmann's squad. And while there is no question as to which goalkeepers are going to Brazil, there are still a few spots open in the final roster and a lot for the players to prove in the next month. So who's going to Brazil? The TBM staff has their say on who's on the plane and who's getting cut.

JAKE CATANESE

GK (3): Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Nick Rimando

DEF (8): Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez, Geoff Cameron, DaMarcus Beasley, Fabian Johnson, Brad Evans, Clarence Goodson, Michael Parkhurst

MID (8): Michael Bradley, Kyle Beckerman, Jermaine Jones, Maurice Edu, Graham Zusi, Landon Donovan, Mix Diskerud, Alejandro Bedoya

FWD (4): Jozy Altidore, Aron Johannsson, Clint Dempsey, Chris Wondolowski

CUT (7): John Brooks, Tim Ream, Sacha Kljestan, Danny Williams, Julian Green, Terrence Boyd, Eddie Johnson

No real surprises among the keepers or the defense, counting Beasley and F. Johnson as left backs but it would not shock me to see Johnson starting at left wing. Parkhurst is the fourth center back/second left back. Wanted to bring a lot of extra defensive midfielders so Edu gets the call despite missing out on most of the qualifying cycle, but he did get a call up for that friendly vs. Mexico, and can also drop into the defense in a pinch so I like the versatility.

With so many holding/center midfielders, it leaves a lot of interesting options on the wings. Zusi is on the plane and could be starting, but guys like Diskerud and Bedoya are going to be there for their utility and maybe not to play a specific position. I think Donovan is starting somewhere but could be a monster off the bench. It will be interesting to see how many pure attackers like Jozy, Iceman Johanssonn and Dempsey are in the starting lineup for Klinsmann.

As far as the cuts go, J.A. Brooks and Julian Green aren't ready, Tim Ream has been great at Bolton but is just out of the loop internationally so those are the two defenders I leave home. Williams might be a surprise call in but like Ream it's hard to give him a ticket when he's been away from the national team for so long. Kljestan and Torres are good but neither have ever carved out a role in Klinsmann's 4-2-3-1. Eddie Johnson or Boyd could both make the trip over Wondo, Boyd in particular with the tear he's been on to close the season, but I'll stick with the good luck extra "W" in my jersey.

NICK HEMMING

GK (3): Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Nick Rimando

DEF (7): Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez, Fabian Johnnson, DaMarcus Beasley, Geoff Cameron, Clarence Goodson, Michael Parkhurst

MID (10): Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Graham Zusi, Mix Diskerud, Alejandro Bedoya, Kyle Beckerman, Julian Green, Brad Davis

FWD (3): Jozy Altidore, Aron Johannsson, Chris Wondolowski

CUT: DeAndre Yedlin, Timmy Chandler, Brad Evans, Brek Shea, Maurice Edu, Eddie Johnson, Terrence Boyd

Ahead of Monday's much-anticipated roster reveal, Klinsmann faces a wealth of possibilities.

Along the back line, I see Timmy Chandler, DeAndre Yedlin and Brad Evans as the squad's obvious outsiders. All three ultimately stay home for very different reasons: Chandler lacks recent experience at the senior level, Yedlin lacks overall experience and Evans lacks experience as a true defender.

In the middle, I include attackers Dempsey, Donovan and Johnson, though I believe Johnson's recent form will overshadow his Qualifying success. He stays home. Green barely makes the cut based solely on upside; he'll have to really struggle in camp to follow E.J.'s fate. And, while I like Shea as a true left-sided player, his regrettable stint in England has left a lot to be desired, Brad Davis goes as the lefty specialist. He stays home, too.

Up top, the roster gets interesting. I would love to see Heruclez Gomez earn a call into camp, but, with younger, hotter talent around him, I think he remains on the outside. The most difficult decision here comes on June 2, when Klinsmann will likely decide between Wondolowski and Boyd. Wondo has bagged five MLS goals in 2014, while the younger Boyd has made headlines for an outrageous spring with Rapid Vienna. In the end, Klinsmann chooses the veteran Wondolowski to counter Johannson's youth.

SETH MACOMBER

GK (3): Tim Howard, Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando

DEF (7): Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez, Geoff Cameron, Fabian Johnson, Clarence Goodson, Demarcus Beasley, and Michael Parkhurst

MID (9): Michael Bradley, Graham Zusi, Jermaine Jones, Landon Donovan, Kyle Beckerman, Mix Diskerud, Alejandro Bedoya, Brek Shea and Brad Davis.

FWD (4): Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, Terrance Boyd, Aron Johannson

CUT (7): Tim Ream, Brad Evans, Julian Green, Maurice Edu, Chris Wondolowski, Eddie Johnson, Juan Agudelo

Injuries have created some panic along the backline. I see Parkhurst usurping Evans' position since the Columbus Crew defender has looked solid since his MLS return. Beasley has also struggled with injuries, but his flexibility and speed makes him a good selection. I like Ream as an option, especially since he can play left back, but I think the team needs the World Cup experience that Goodson brings.

The starting midfielders seem pretty clear to me, so I turned my attention to those who could make the biggest impact off the bench. Diskerud and Bedoya are creative enough to give opponents nightmares late in the game. Shea is a Klinsmann guy and has shown the ability to change the game in limited minutes. Davis is a free kick specialist, who could pump the ball into the box during the game's dying moments.

The forward position will probably bring the most heartbreaking cuts. Wondolowski has done everything possible to make the World Cup squad, including adding extra W's to his jersey, but I see Boyd edging him out. Boyd has 15 goals in 29 league appearances with Rapid Vienna, which is the type of form that earns a ticket to Brazil. Johnson misses out because of his struggles on and off the field and Agudelo's inconsistency prevents him from making the trip.

COREY MAJOR

GK (3): Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Nick Rimando

DEF (8): Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez, Clarence Goodson, Geoff Cameron, Fabian Johnson, Michael Parkhurst, Brad Evans, DaMarcus Beasley

MID (8): Michael Bradley, Kyle Beckerman, Maurice Edu, Landon Donovan, Graham Zusi, Alejandro Bedoya, Mix Diskerud, Brek Shea

FWD: (8): Jozy Altidore, Aron Johannsson, Clint Dempsey, Terrance Boyd

CUT (7): Tim Ream, Julian Green, Brad Davis, Eddie Johnson, Chris Wondolowski, John Anthony Brooks, Joe Corona

The goalkeepers are obvious, and the defenders should be no surprises. I think that Michael Parkhurst's ability to play anywhere across the backline will be his saving grace for his plane ticket to Brazil. Similarly, I think Brad Evans makes the cut as a versatile option at either full back spot or basically anywhere in the midfield if need be.

For midfielders, I think Maurice Edu's form in MLS so far this season earns him a spot on the 23-man roster. I think the U.S. will find themselves in situations where they need to defend a lead, and Edu will be asked to play the part of the second-half "protector". I also think that Brek Shea gets the nod, despite his turbulent season abroad. Shea has consistently proven to be an x-factor for the U.S. and Klinsmann knows that he can be a game changer (I refer you to the U.S.'s recent historic win over Italy as an example). For me, Shea not only beats out Brad Davis for this spot but also nudges Eddie Johnson out of the picture as well.

I think one of the biggest debates is which striker to bring in addition to Jozy and Aron. For me, it's Terence Boyd. You could argue that he's not quite been in the national team picture as much as, say, Wondolowski, but I think he'll take his current good run of form into camp with him and ultimately beat out Wondo for the final World Cup roster.

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