The United States Men's National Team just completed a run of five games in 21 days including three World Cup qualifiers. During that run of games, we passed the one-year mark before the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicks off in Brazil.
The Nats won all three of their recent World Cup qualifiers and now occupy first place in the CONCACAF qualification table, five points clear of their Mexican rivals who sit in the third qualification spot.
Klinsmann and his crew now turn to the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The preliminary roster for that tournament is missing several key European-based players who need some time off before reporting to their club's team training camps.
If there is any such thing as a "lock" on the final World Cup roster, it is probably safe to assume that these overseas players are at least penciled in to Klinsmann's 23-man final roster: Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Geoff Cameron, Fabian Johnson, Jermaine Jones, Jozy Altidore, Brad Guzan and Tim Howard.
Several MLS players played important roles for the USMNT this spring. They are developing consistency, occupy key positions, and at this point, it is difficult to foresee which players in the pool could knock them off the final roster. MLS players currently penciled in to the final roster are Graham Zusi, Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler, Brad Evans and Eddie Johnson.
All of these MLS players are on the preliminary Gold Cup roster, but it is certain that their clubs are not keen on releasing them for another three-week USMNT stint. This means we'll see a new group of faces trying to impress Klinsmann during the Gold Cup.
If we can assume that these 13 players are headed for Brazil if they stay healthy and get regular playing time with their club teams, that leaves 10 open-roster spots as things stand right now.
That said, who is still on the bubble for Brazil?
The Bubble Boys will be a periodic feature until the final World Cup roster is announced.