USMNT: Who Will Join the Men's National Team?

Zach McClellandContributor IIIMay 23, 2012

USMNT: Who Will Join the Men's National Team?

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    With an upset over Italy in February and the incredible recent form of some U.S. players, the future of world football is looking bright in the United States.

    Clint Dempsey was one of the top players in the English Premiership this season, and Jozy Altidore helped AZ finish fourth in Holland's Premier League. Some youth players have been shining for their professional clubs, and Timmy Howard is still one of the best keepers in the world.

    Jurgen Klinsman, coach of the United States Men's National Team, is going to have to make some tough decisions before Saturday.

    Let's guess the USMNT 23 for this summer.

Goalkeeper: Tim Howard

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    No surprise here.

    Tim Howard is still arguably one of the best goalkeepers in the world. He has proven so by helping Everton finish seventh in the Premiership this season, notably over their rivals, Liverpool.

    Howard is getting up there in age, but he certainly still has the skills and talent to make it to Brazil in 2014.

Left Back: Carlos Bocanegra

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    The American skipper will be retaining his starting position in the defense this summer.

    Bocanegra spent this past season playing with the financially troubled Rangers football club in Scotland.

    His last hurrah might come at the next FIFA World Cup. Now is his time to make his mark.



    The 33-year-old American is still doing well.

    The skipper for Hannover was a part of the first group called into Orlando for camp. Cherundolo's starting position might be in question down the road, seeing that defenders like Eric Lichaj and Tim Ream were not called into camp this summer.

    But Cherundolo is still one of the top defenders America has to offer.

Left Center Back: Oguchi Onyewu

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    The former AC Milan defender is now a member of the Portugal side, Sporting CP.

    Onyewu was in question during the FIFA World Cup because of a leg injury, but he looks to help his country this summer while being in full form. Onyewu certainly has the size and ability to keep ahold of opposing attackers.

Right Center Back: Clarence Goodson

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    The 6'4" center back certainly impressed a few during his role in the United States' second-place finish in the 2011 Gold Cup.

    Goodson also started in the friendly against Italy, which the Americans won, 1-0. With him and Onyewu starting in the middle of the defense, opposing strikers will have to compete with two 6'4" giants.

Right Back: Steve Cherundolo

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    The 33-year-old American is still doing well.

    The skipper for Hannover was a part of the first group called into Orlando for camp. Cherundolo's starting position might be in question down the road, seeing that defenders like Eric Lichaj and Tim Ream were not called into camp this summer.

    But Cherundolo is still one of the top defenders America has to offer.

Left Defensive Midfielder: Maurice Edu

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    Maurice Edu is a teammate of Carlos Bocanegra. The 2007 MLS Rookie of the Year has helped the Scottish side win the SPL three times during his stay in Glasgow.

    Edu certainly has the talent to cope with some of the top players in the world.

Right Defensive Midfielder: Jermaine Jones

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    The half-German midfielder has spent the past few seasons with Schalke 04 and on loan at Blackburn Rovers.

    It's not every day you see an American competing for a top European club. Jones was even the skipper for the United States in a friendly against Venezuela.

Left Attacking Midfielder: Landon Donovan

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    The hero in the FIFA World Cup 2010 hasn't been a part of the United States National Team under Jurgen Klinsman yet, but he was invited to Orlando last week.

    Donovan will go down as one of the all-time greats in American soccer history, but his time has not run up yet. It will be interesting to see what he can do against the likes of Brazil and Scotland.

Central Attacking Midfielder: Michael Bradley

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    Certainly a favorite among American soccer fans, Bradley was limited to a single goal this term for the Italian club, Chievo.

    However, Bradley has had no trouble playing well for his home country in international tournaments. The 24-year-old has scored at least once in the past three international tournaments: vs. Mexico in the 2011 Gold Cup Final; vs. Slovenia in the 2010 FIFA World Cup; and vs. Egypt in the 2009 Confederations Cup.

Right Attacking Midfielder: Clint Dempsey

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    There is certainly a case to be made that Clint Dempsey might be the best footballer in America right now. The Texas native has scored 50 goals during his time in England and has been on a tear for the United States as well.

    Dempsey scored the goal that got the U.S. to the Gold Cup Final against Panama. He also scored the lone goal in the friendly against Italy and also sparked goals against U.S. rivals England and Canada in in the World Cup and the 2011 Gold Cup, respectively.

    Dempsey has been almost unstoppable lately, and I am intrigued to see what he can do against Brazil and Scotland.

Striker: Jozy Altidore

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    The young striker, who seems like he's been around forever, scored 15 goals to get AZ to second place in the Eredivisie.

    Most have criticized him for under-performing for the United States, but it appears that Altidore has found his niche. It will be interesting to see how he performs this summer.

    With midfielders like Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley to find him, goals should be coming a little more frequently for Altidore.

STARTING XI: (4-2-3-1)

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    GK—Tim Howard

    LB—Steve Cherundolo

    LCB—Oguchi Onyewu

    RCB—Clarence Goodson

    RB—Carlos Bocanegra (C)

    LDM—Maurice Edu

    RDM—Jermaine Jones

    LAM—Landon Donovan

    CAM—Michael Bradley

    RAM—Clint Dempsey

    ST—Jozy Altidore


    Klinnsman has expressed an "attack now and attack often" mentality to the US Men's National Team. What better way to do that than to include arguably 4 out of our best 5 players that this country has to offer in the front? Dempsey has had the season of his life at Fulham in terms of goal-scoring. Landon Donovan can still get it done and has the ability to find the open man. Michael Bradley has had a tendency to score for the United States, and Jozy Altidore is starting to come around at the professional level. Onyewu and Goodson also have the heigth that most countries would not be able to cope with and Bocanegra & Cherundolo, even while getting close to their mid-30's can get it done in the back. Granted, it's not a world class defense, but it's acceptable in terms of the United States.

The Substitutes

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    Herculez Gomez, ST—Gomez has helped Santos Laguna tremendously this season, as they made it to the CONCACAF Champions League Final and helped win the Mexico Clausura football title. He is certainly worthy of coming in and helping the U.S. attack this summer.

    Brad Guzan, GK—The backup Aston Villa keeper has been the understudy of keepers such as Shay Given and Brad Friedel, but he has spent the majority of his time on the bench. While he'll be looking for offers for a professional club this summer, Guzan is a worthy backup for Tim Howard.

    Edgar Castillo, DF—The former Mexican defender helped Santos Laguna win Mexico's top division in 2008 and has spent all of his career in Mexico. The 25-year-old was born in the United States and has been a member of the USMNT pool since 2009.

    Kyle Beckerman, MF—It's impossible to not have a guy with that hairstyle on the squad. Besides the point, Beckerman has been an MLS All-Star for three consecutive seasons and helped the U.S. to a 1-1 draw with Mexico.

    Michael Parkhurst, DF—The 2005 MLS Rookie of the Year has spent the past four seasons in Denmark. Parkhurst is a worthy defensive back.

    Terrence Boyd, FW—Another half-German player, Boyd spent this past season playing for Borussia Dortmund's second team and scored 20 goals this term. Boyd was also a goal scorer in the USA U-23's loss to El Salvador this spring. Boyd could possibly play as a winger and fill in for Dempsey or Donovan.

    Juan Agudelo, ST—Toss up between Agudelo and Chris Wondolowski. Wondolowski has won a Golden Boot in the MLS and has proven to be a dominant goal scorer for San Jose, but he has yet to score a single goal for the U.S. On the other hand, Agudelo is a 19-year-old who has spent the majority of his career on and off the bench of NYRB. He scored a goal against Argentina in 2010.

    Fabian Johnson, MF—Another solid German-American playing for the USMNT. Johnson spent this past season playing for TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, a squad that finished 11th in the Bundesliga. Johnson is 24-years-old and spent his U-23/U-21 days playing for Germany.

    Joe Corona, MF—Joe Corona is going to be a stud in the upcoming years for the United States. The kid scored a hat trick against Cuba's U-23 side and scored a goal against El Salvador in Olympic Qualifying. He'll be a name to keep an eye on over the next couple of years.

    Alfredo Morales, DF—Morales was a defender for the relegated side, Hertha Berlin, in the Bundesliga this past season. Morales has also been linked to playing for Peru, as his father was born in the country. Alfredo can also move up and play as a defensive midfielder.

    Nick Rimando, GK—Rimando is one of the top keepers in MLS. In 2009 he was the MLS Cup MVP. Rimando would also be a solid goalkeeper behind Tim Howard.

    Danny Williams, MF—He is another German-American that Klinsman has snatched to be a member of the United States National Team. Williams will be another name to keep an eye on in upcoming seasons. Williams can play multiple positions in the midfield.


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    Jurgen Klinsman has said (via that the United States Men's National Team is going to treat these three upcoming games like they are a tournament. This is going to be used as a mental tactic for the younger players to prepare for the World Cup.

    It's also pretty fitting. The top team in the "group" would be Brazil. That will be the game to keep an eye on, and Klinnsman will put his best 11 out there to compete against the 2014 hosts.

    Scotland would be the second- or third-tier team, similar to what Slovenia was in Group C of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

    Lastly, Canada is the bottom feeder of the group and should be an easy victory for a mental "3 points."

    I would like to see a victories against Canada and Scotland and at best, a tie against Brazil. If the US does not beat Brazil and Scotland, the world won't come to an end. It will show that there is work to be done.

    Guys like Tim Ream, Eric Lichaj, Sacha Kljestan, DaMarcus Beasley and Brek Shea will have to work their way into the mix to help out the team.

    The goal will always remain the same. Qualification in 2014 is a must. This will be likely with the great form of veteran players and the growing talent of younger players like Joe Corona, Danny Williams, Juan Agudelo, and others.

    The games against Scotland and Brazil will be measures as to how much better the USMNT has gotten under Klinsman.