Young U.S. Soccer Stars Who Can Break into Klinsmann's Squad in Time for WC 2014

Nathan McCarterFeatured ColumnistDecember 4, 2012

Young U.S. Soccer Stars Who Can Break into Klinsmann's Squad in Time for WC 2014

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    The United States men's national team will be one of the favorites to qualify for the CONCACAF spots during The Hex.

    That leaves many wondering what roster changes could await before we reach Brazil in 2014. Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has taken a look at a lot of talent over the last 12 months.

    The U.S. roster is certainly going to look a little bit different over the next year. Many of the youth players have already started jockeying for position, and several more hope to get the opportunity to show that they are ready for the big stage.

    Here are five youngsters that could crack the roster for Brazil.

Brek Shea

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    Outside of Michael Bradley the midfield of the USMNT could change on any given day. It is a prime position to see change heading into Brazil in two years.

    Brek Shea has the abilities to make a push for one of those slots.

    It was Shea's run against Mexico that allowed the U.S. to take a 1-0 victory in Azteca. When the USMNT was down on talent and thought to have a rough go, he came in as a substitute and ignited a spark in the U.S. offense.

    The 22-year-old has 15 caps to his credit, but 2013 could see him earn more. Shea could get the call for the World Cup with more consistent performances next year.

Mikkel Diskerud

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    Mikkel Diskerud, who is 22 years old, made an impact in just a few minutes during his last outing with the senior squad.

    Diskerud was put into the match against ninth-ranked Russia at the 87th-minute mark, and three minutes in to stoppage time he was able to equalize—a great feat during a match the U.S. was outplayed in nearly from start to finish.

    We will have to wait to see if he earned himself another call-up as the U.S. enters the next phase of qualification.

    It was only his third cap overall, but his impact could earn him more time with the team. That would give him time to make his case. The midfield gives him ample ways to state his case. Diskerud will have to outperform others who have been with Klinsmann longer, but he is capable of taking one of the midfield spots.

Fabian Johnson

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    I know what you're thinking: this is kind of a cheat. The U.S. has put a lot in to getting Fabian Johnson on the squad and he is expected to be a sure thing for the roster moving forward. While that may be true, he is still a young player who could be beat out for a spot in 2013.

    Johnson, the former German youth national team member, has seen action in a lot of roles. However, with defensive deficiencies for the U.S., it is more likely that we continue to see him assist on the back line.

    He will continue to use his speed to help in attacks, but he is best used to help the U.S. defense.

    Johnson has 10 caps with the USMNT and that number will only continue to grow. This is one young gun of the U.S. that will almost certainly make the World Cup roster. Nothing is set in stone, but it is clear that the U.S. has a lot invested in his future.

Timmy Chandler

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    Timmy Chandler's announcement that he was committed to the USMNT was a sigh of relief for many. Although, we all await his appearance in a qualifying match for the U.S. in 2013.

    With a weak defense and his talents, he should be a lock to earn a roster spot for 2014.

    The 22-year-old brings new life and athleticism to the USMNT defense—one of the weakest spots gets a relatively big upgrade with Chandler's presence. It is much needed.

    Even with his statement about being committed to the U.S., there has to be some doubt that he will suit up for the qualifiers. He has declined in the past. If he keeps his word and commits to the U.S., then we will almost assuredly see him wearing the crest in Brazil.

Joshua Gatt

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    The 21-year-old has only one cap under his belt, but his exciting play could land him a spot on the senior roster for the long haul in 2013.

    The U.S. knows that life beyond Landon Donovan is just around the corner, and that could easily switch to the Gatt era.

    He may have an uphill battle with the likes of Herculez Gomez, Jozy Altidore and Terrence Boyd. The young forward can still make a case for a spot if he gets the chance to showcase his skills in 2013.

    There is a lot of excitement around this young man. The USMNT and its fans want to see his dynamic play make the U.S. attack more dangerous and more productive. If he can come through then he could be an excellent supersub for the World Cup as someone to come off the bench and give the U.S. fresh, young legs to spark the scoring.