With the USMNT's next two CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers coming up soon, it's crucial that the U.S. get some points out of these matches after losing to Honduras in the first game of the Hex.
Jurgen Klinsmann is expected to release the roster for the upcoming games against Costa Rica and Mexico on Monday. The U.S. will be at home when it faces Costa Rica on March 22 and will travel to Mexico for the March 26 match against El Tri.
Against Honduras, Klinsmann named a 24-man roster, but this time around, the U.S. will play two matches over a short period of time, which can result in yellow card accumulation and injuries. This calls for bringing in an extra player or two, so I will assume that a 26-man roster will be named.
Here are my predictions on who gets called up and who misses out.
With Tim Howard out injured, there's no doubt that Brad Guzan will be the starting keeper for the U.S. Guzan has been playing well for Aston Villa and was remarkable in Villa's 3-2 win against QPR this weekend.
Although somewhat undersized for a goalkeeper, Rimando provides the U.S. with a veteran backup just in case Guzan can't play.
The youngster seems to be Klinsmann's pick to be the U.S.' next keeper after the veterans leave the international game.
Just Missed Out:
The young D.C. United keeper is in the same boat as Sean Johnson. I see Hamid and Johnson as interchangeable, but Klinsmann picked the latter last time against Honduras.
Omar Gonzalez and Geoff Cameron:
The starting center-back pairing that did a decent job in Honduras will certainly be called up again.
This one is a little trickier since Bocanegra hasn't played in a match for Racing Santander since February 2. I think he gets the call though since he is leader on the team and can provide a calming influence and experience on the pitch if the U.S. needs to park the bus for a win.
Besler was called up for the WCQ against Honduras, and I think he makes it again just to give the U.S. some depth at CB.
Timothy Chandler and Fabian Johnson:
These two will likely be the U.S.' starting full backs. Johnson did pick up an injury recently but should be ready to go against Costa Rica.
Parkhurst's ability to play anywhere in the back line makes him very valuable, especially with injuries to other U.S. players who could've been called up (Edgar Castillo, Steve Cherundolo, Jonathan Spector).
Michael Orozco Fiscal:
The only reason why I think he makes it on the roster is for some more depth. I don't see him getting the call if others weren't injured.
Just Missed Out:
Brad Evans, John Anthony Brooks, Justin Morrow
Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones:
There's no reason why these two wouldn't make the roster. They are veteran starters who are arguably among the U.S.' top midfielders.
Maurice Edu and Danny Williams:
Edu and Williams give Klinsmann two defensive midfielder options in case he decides to go with three D-mids again. Against Mexico, this might be possible if the U.S. decides to play for a draw.
Jose Torres and Graham Zusi:
Although I don't think either of them will start, they can give the midfield a more offensive mindset if needed.
Corona didn't make the roster against Honduras, but he's been playing well and getting consistent minutes for Xolos.
Kljestan gives the U.S. an attacking option out wide and is quite versatile.
The winger hasn't played for the U.S. in a while, but he's speedy and will be comfortable playing in Mexico. He will also be going up against players that he's familiar with.
Just Missed Out:
Josh Gatt and Mix Diskerud:
These two have a future with the national team, but since the Norwegian league has been inactive since December, it's doubtful that they are called up.
The Galaxy midfielder/forward has been stellar so far for his club. If he continues to perform at such a high level, I think Klinsmann may give him a chance.
The U.S. just has too many quality defensive midfielders, and Beckerman doesn't cut it compared to Jermaine Jones, Danny Williams and Maurice Edu.
The 23-year-old has been setting the Dutch league on fire, breaking Clint Dempsey's American scoring record in the process. Now all he has to do is transfer his success to the international game.
Probably the second-best pure forward that the U.S. has, Gomez definitely makes the roster.
Although he still has plenty of time to develop, Boyd deserves a call-up. He's been scoring goals in Austria, and I think Klinsmann rewards him for that.
Eddie Johnson and Clint Dempsey:
Both Johnson and Dempsey aren't true forwards, but Klinsmann likes to play them up top or on the wing. Johnson has been in good form for Seattle and has performed well in his last few games for the U.S. Dempsey, on the other hand, is coming off an injury and has been somewhat disappointing for Tottenham.
I think Klinsmann gives Pontius his first chance on the international level. The U.S. offense has been stagnant at times, and the D.C. United man may be able to bring something new to the table.
Just Missed Out:
If Pontius doesn't get the call, then I think Shea will. However, due to Shea's lack of playing time with Stoke, he may not make the roster.
Others: Juan Agudelo, Will Bruin, Chris Wondolowski
Here's the breakdown and summary of my roster prediction.
Brad Guzan, Nick Rimando, Sean Johnson
Omar Gonzalez, Geoff Cameron, Carlos Bocanegra, Matt Besler, Timothy Chandler, Fabian Johnson, Michael Parkhurst, Michael Orozco Fiscal
Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Maurice Edu, Danny Williams, Jose Torres, Graham Zusi, Joe Corona, Sacha Kljestan, DaMarcus Beasley
Jozy Altidore, Herculez Gomez, Terrence Boyd, Eddie Johnson, Clint Dempsey, Chris Pontius
What are your thoughts on who should be called up for these two crucial WCQs?