By Jamie Ives
Jurgen Klinsmann is set to announce his preliminary 30-man squad for this summer’s World Cup on Monday and we will take a look at who we think will make this and the eventual 23-man squad that will fly out to Brazil next month.
There are obvious inclusions who we should assume are already on the plane, with Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey likely to have already packed a suitcase.
Though the less obvious, “wildcard” selections will prove to be a major talking point and there are several players that fall into this category.
Predicted: Tim Howard (Everton), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake).
Outsiders: Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire).
Expect Klinsmann to pick his experienced goalkeepers, especially with such dangerous opposition in the group. Howard is first choice and it would be surprising if Guzan or Rimando were to see a minute of action in Brazil. Howard has kept 14 clean sheets this year for Everton and has been consistent in the Premier League for over seven years now. These ‘keepers pick themselves.
(Tim Howard will be kept busy in a very tough group for the US)
Predicted: DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders).
Outsiders: John Brooks (Hertha BSC), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Tim Ream (Bolton).
Besides the usual names of Gonzalez and Besler the defenders will be tricky to whittle down. DaMarcus Beasley is experienced but question marks lie over his fitness. Geoff Cameron has to go for me as he can also play in midfield. Don’t be surprised if Brad Evans sneaks onto the plane as he’s been in fine form for Seattle this season.
(Geoff Cameron’s versatility will be vital in the hot Brazilian climate)
Predicted: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union), Fabian Johnson (1899 Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Brek Shea (Stoke City), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City).
Outsiders: Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Mikkel Diskerud (Rosenborg), Daniel Williams (Reading).
Expect Donovan and Bradley to play almost every minute as they will be needed if the USMNT are to have any chance of getting out of the group. Klinsmann will want his stars on the field at all times. The likes of Zusi and Johnson will become important if they manage to make it out of the group.
(Landon Donovan will need to be at his best to inspire the side going forward)
Predicted: Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Eddie Johnson (D.C. United).
Outsiders: Aron Johannsson, (AZ), Juan Agudelo (Utrecht), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes).
The nation’s hopes hang on the form of Clint Dempsey, he has been on fire for the Sounders this season, but the World Cup is the biggest stage on the planet. He will need to find a way of troubling the likes of Mertesacker and Pepe to enjoy any success. Eddie Johnson has struggled so far this campaign, but his physical presence should see him make the squad. Chris Wondolowski, or ‘Wondo’ will be hoping to make the squad but San Jose’s poor form could affect his chances.
(Will Dempsey be able to take his remarkable MLS form into the World Cup?)
Who do you think will make the squad?