Look, I'm not Jurgen Klinsmann. He's a much better soccer coach than I will ever be. But this? This 23-man roster?
This does not fill me with confidence weeks before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Klinsmann announced his final 23 players, cutting Landon Donovan, Michael Parkhurst, Brad Evans, Clarence Goodson, Joe Corona, Maurice Edu and Terrence Boyd earlier today, several days before the mandatory deadline for the final 23-man roster.
The final roster is:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa/England), Tim Howard (Everton/England), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (8): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla/Mexico), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/Germany), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/England), Timmy Chandler (Nürnberg/Germany), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim/Germany), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes/France), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg/Norway), Julian Green (Bayern Munich/Germany), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas/Turkey), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Sunderland/England), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar/Netherlands), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
That's is a lot of veteran and even World Cup experience being left out in those 7 cuts in favor of a lot of younger players that are still proving themselves at club level, let alone internationally. Brooks, Yedlin and Green are all players that are going to be heavily involved in future World Cup cycles but I don't see the value of bringing them to Brazil as backups in Group G vs. Germany, Portugal and Ghana.
Three defenders in Brooks, Yedlin and Chandler were barely involved in the national team over the last year and they are now the backups at both center back positions and right back. Brooks has had a better club season but he and Yedlin have struggled in rare minutes with the USA and Chandler hasn't featured in an international game in well over a year. Julian Green's inclusion over Landon Donovan is especially surprising, especially given the variety of positions that Donovan has played.
Also, Landon Donovan has been to three World Cups. Julian Green has played in one international game. Let that sink in for a second.
I am completely fine with Wondolowski over Boyd for the same reasons I mentioned above with the defenders. Wondo has been with the team and preforming well and while Boyd had a tremendous finish to his club season both players were fighting for the same role, the late sub trying to poach a goal.
I won't try to pick a lot of fights in the midfield, because aside from Green I can justify every person selected, even Brad Davis who will be the lefty specialist off the bench. I would have brought a fourth defensive midfielder (not counting Cameron though he can play there) and I like the options Klinsmann has in the wide roles. The key will be if Dempsey plays that central midfield role behind Jozy and Johannsson. Klinsmann's system can work and his starting 11 is strong, I'm just absolutely stunned at the lack of depth and experience on the final roster, particularly on defense.
I am not a fan of serving youth, or at least this much youth, at a World Cup. Having one or two role players like Green is one thing, but having key backups to defensive positions that have been lingering issues throughout qualifying with Yedlin at right back and Brooks at center back bothers me greatly. There should be veteran defenders who have proven themselves to be solid options behind guys like Besler, Gonzalez and even Cameron. Instead, that big question mark at right back just got bigger if Cameron is starting in the center.
The US plays three friendlies vs. Azerbaijan, Turkey and Nigeria before their Group G opener in Brazil on June 16 against Ghana.